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[] THERE it is! Joe Lockhart finds a way to make hearing on FBI's failed Nassar investigation about Brett Kavanaugh Published:9/15/2021 3:03:21 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Gymnasts expose how Larry Nassar molested them and the FBI covered it up Gymnast McKayla Maroney gave testimony before the US Senate this afternoon of how the FBI covered up the sexual molestation and abuse by Larry Nassar even after she came forward to the . . . Published:9/15/2021 1:41:36 PM
[] Just in time for the Senate hearing? The FBI FINALLY fired an agent for failing to properly investigate Larry Nassar Published:9/15/2021 9:06:36 AM
[Markets] Facebook's Invisible Elite Rules Highlight Zuckerberg's Blatant Lies Facebook's Invisible Elite Rules Highlight Zuckerberg's Blatant Lies

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Facebook's XCheck gives millions of celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users special treatment (but not Trump), a privilege many abuse...

Equal Footing Lie

I have little use for Facebook. I don't trust it and never did. Today the WSJ has an article on Facebook that is hardly surprising. 

Please note Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt.

Mark Zuckerberg has publicly said Facebook Inc. allows its more than three billion users to speak on equal footing with the elites of politics, culture and journalism, and that its standards of behavior apply to everyone, no matter their status or fame.

In private, the company has built a system that has exempted high-profile users from some or all of its rules, according to company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The program, known as “cross check” or “XCheck,” was initially intended as a quality-control measure for actions taken against high-profile accounts, including celebrities, politicians and journalists. Today, it shields millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process, the documents show. Some users are “whitelisted”—rendered immune from enforcement actions—while others are allowed to post rule-violating material pending Facebook employee reviews that often never come.

In 2019, it allowed international soccer star Neymar to show nude photos of a woman, who had accused him of rape, to tens of millions of his fans before the content was removed by Facebook. Whitelisted accounts shared inflammatory claims that Facebook’s fact checkers deemed false, including that vaccines are deadly, that Hillary Clinton had covered up “pedophile rings,” and that then-President Donald Trump had called all refugees seeking asylum “animals,” according to the documents.

Lies After Lies After Lies

The documents that describe XCheck are part of an extensive array of internal Facebook communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. They show that Facebook knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands.

Moreover, the documents show, Facebook often lacks the will or the ability to address them.

At least some of the documents have been turned over to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to Congress by a person seeking federal whistleblower protection, according to people familiar with the matter.

Time and again, the documents show, in the U.S. and overseas, Facebook’s own researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects, in areas including teen mental health, political discourse and human trafficking. Time and again, despite Congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them.

Pervasive Problem

This problem is pervasive, touching almost every area of the company. Whitelists “pose numerous legal, compliance, and legitimacy risks for the company and harm to our community.

The Solution?

The WSJ comments "One potential solution remains off the table: holding high-profile users to the same standards as everyone else."

Lies and Perjury

Facebook's treatment of Trump raises howls, but It is within bounds of the law for Facebook to have rules and to claim Trump violated them.

It is not within the bounds of the law to lie to Congress.

Please consider False Statements to the Government Can Land You in Jail written in 2010 and the examples are dated.

With the recent indictment of baseball great Roger Clemens, federal perjury and false statement charges are back in the news. While these charges tend to create press attention when they target celebrities—think Martha Stewart and rap star Lil' Kim—they are powerful, and common, tools that federal prosecutors also use against ordinary individuals every day. And while these tactics may be common, the penalties are serious: a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, for either charge.

Perjury vs. False Statement

You probably already know what perjury is—lying under oath. For example, if you lie to a grand jury, the Securities and Exchange Commission or any other federal or state agency about an important fact while giving testimony under oath, that's perjury. If you lie to an FBI agent or other government agent who has knocked on your door, or when you sign a document making a certification you know is false, you haven't committed perjury because you weren't under oath. But you may have violated the federal law prohibiting making false statements, and the penalties are just as severe. 

Consequences of Lies and Perjury

There should be consequences to lies and perjury. 

If Zuckerberg lied to Congress, and I believe he repeatedly did, the way to stop the lies is to hold CEOs accountable. 

Fine Zuckerberg $250,000 (that won't matter at all to him), and send him to prison for 5 years (that will).

Then we can address rules and how to enforce them.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Mon, 09/13/2021 - 23:20
Published:9/13/2021 10:28:47 PM
[2021 News] FBI fires lead agent in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping case

FBI fires lead agent in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping case. The same guy who had more rats (12) than kidnappers on this case. They can sure pick them. The FBI agent credited with thwarting the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been fired from the agency after domestic violence allegations were levied against him. […]

The post FBI fires lead agent in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping case appeared first on IHTM.

Published:9/13/2021 9:52:01 PM
[Markets] US Quietly Removes Patriot Missile Air Defenses From Saudi Base US Quietly Removes Patriot Missile Air Defenses From Saudi Base

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com, 

Satellite images show that several missile batteries previously deployed to Saudi Arabia, including THAAD batteries and Patriot missiles, have been removed from the area. The images show that the removal happened sometime near the end of August.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby later confirmed that the air defense assets were "redeployed," but did not provide details. The missiles were at Prince Sultan Air Base, near Riyadh.

Patriot missile file, via Breaking Defense

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal was critical of the move, saying the US must not move Patriot missiles out of the kingdom, and saying that the nation needs reassurance of US military commitment.

Faisal said this was a bad time for the US to withdraw missiles, "when Saudi Arabia is the victim of missile attacks and drone attacks, not just from Yemen, but from Iran."

With the Saudi invasion of Yemen ongoing, the Houthis have launched missiles and drones in retaliation, though these are mostly in southern Saudi Arabia, a fair distance from the US deployment. Iran’s only relation is that the Saudis tend to blame Iran for what the Houthis do, on the grounds that they are both Shi’ite.

The timing of the redeployments may also be significant, coming ahead of new releases of 9/11 documents related to Saudi involvement. The documents, as usual, are trying not to directly implicate the Saudi government in the conclusion, but with Saudis so heavily involved in every stage of the plot, the administration may have decided this was a good time to be less conspicuously providing the Saudis with military support.

Tyler Durden Mon, 09/13/2021 - 22:00
Published:9/13/2021 9:25:34 PM
[Anti-Semitism] The consequences of anti-Semitism (Paul Mirengoff) Citing FBI statistics, Tevi Troy informs us that hate crimes in 2020 reached their highest level in 12 years. Of religion-based hate crimes, 57.5 percent of them were targeted at Jews, even though Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population. That’s what I call disparate impact. Yet, nearly everything I read in the mainstream media about hate crimes focuses on other minority groups. Tevi writes: Though American Published:9/13/2021 6:50:28 PM
[Quick Takes] FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused in Fake Vaccine Card Scheme

More fraud can be anticipated if Biden's 6-prong plan is allowed to be implemented without challenge.

The post FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused in Fake Vaccine Card Scheme first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:9/12/2021 2:54:45 PM
[Markets] FBI Declassifies 9/11 Memo After Biden Executive Order: "Puts To Bed Any Doubts About Saudi Complicity" FBI Declassifies 9/11 Memo After Biden Executive Order: "Puts To Bed Any Doubts About Saudi Complicity"

Following President Biden's recently signed executive order for the declassification of many of the remaining documents relating to the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks, the Justice Dept. on Saturday night released its first one - a heavily redacted 16-page report from April 2016.

While not yet considered a smoking gun in terms of proving high level Saudi foreknowledge and complicity, it does contain new information on a Saudi student in California at the time, Omar al-Bayoumi, who is shown to have aided two of the 9/11 hijackers while enjoying close ties with Saudi diplomats. The memo ultimately shines more light on what appears Saudi intelligence continuing contact with some of the hijackers leading up to the 9/11 attacks.

Saudi Embassy in D.C., via AP.

Bayoumi like other persons of interest investigated by the FBI had connections to the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, and an associate of his maintained "anecdotes of personal interactions with Consular leadership," when questioned by the FBI.

The now declassified memo reveals that Bayoumi assisted closely in general logistics for two of the hijackers, including travel assistance, lodging and financing, as well as translation help while they were in the country. It says he was in "almost daily contact" with the hijackers. It closely aligns with prior 2017 documents from a Los Angeles court which pointed to Bayoumi being a Saudi undercover operative.

The new memo cites an FBI source who said Bayoumi held "very high status" at the Saudi consulate in LA - even "higher than many of the Saudi persons in charge" of the diplomatic mission - again strongly suggesting he was an intelligence agent running a covert op on US soil.

And more, according to The Hill:

The report said that a month before the hijackers arrived, Bayoumi checked into a hotel in Culver City, Calif., along with a man whose phone numbers were connected to a spiritual adviser to a Bin Laden lieutenant. Those two men reportedly had associations with the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles.

Further as The Hill summarizes of the newly released memo, "FBI agents... discussed their examination of phone records that seemed to link some of the subjects of the probe to an associate of Osama bin Laden or other individuals who ultimately became detainees at Guantanamo Bay."

Above: Omar al Bayoumi. 9/11 investigators have long asked "What was Omar al-Bayoumi doing in San Diego? Why did he befriend the 9/11 Pentagon hijackers?"

The newly released memo also discusses Fahad al-Thumairy, an official at the Saudi consulate known to have provided logistical support to the two hijackers.

The FBI found that Thumairy was in contact with al-Qaeda terror cells and that officials at the consulate held "extremist beliefs".

In the wake of Saturday night's document release, more of which are expected to come out over the next six months the group "9/11 Families United" issued a statement saying it "puts to bed any doubts about Saudi complicity in the attacks."

“With this first release of documents, 20 years of Saudi Arabia counting on the US government to cover up its role in 9/11 comes to an end," a spokesman for the 9/11 families said.

"Twenty years ago today they murdered our loved ones and inflicted immeasurable pain and suffering on our lives," said Terry Strada of 9/11 Families United, whose husband, Tom, was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

"Now the Saudis' secrets are exposed and it is well past time for the Kingdom to own up to its officials' roles in murdering thousands on American soil."

Read the newly released 16-pages here: 

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/12/2021 - 11:00
Published:9/12/2021 10:17:08 AM
[Markets] McMaken: 9/11 Was A Day Of Unforgivable Government Failure McMaken: 9/11 Was A Day Of Unforgivable Government Failure

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Perhaps more than anything else, the rationale given for the necessity of the state - and the necessity of supporting the regime at any given time - is that it "keeps us safe." This permeates thinking about government institutions at all levels, from “thin blue line” sloganeering at the local level, all the way up to jingoism surrounding the  Pentagon.

Presumably, the hundreds of billions of dollars extracted from taxpayers, year after year after year, is all both necessary and laudable because without it, chaos would reign on our streets, and foreign invaders would slaughter Americans.

Yet, this rationale for state power also presumes that the nation’s alleged defenders are actually competent at their jobs.

Whether or not this is case certainly remains debatable as the recent military disasters in Afghanistan have made clear. The Pentagon brass pushed for continued war in Afghanistan for 20 years, and ultimately, lost the entire country to the Taliban, the very people Pentagon generals assured us they would eliminate “soon.”

Moreover, the so-called “intelligence community” in the United States has repeatedly failed in its mission at crucial times. This can be seen in the fact the CIA was asleep at the switch in the lead ups to both the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 —both of which constituted an immense blow to American “safety” by the American regime’s metrics.

Needless to say, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were made possible by an immense military and intelligence failure on the part of the United States government. Not only did the US government provide the motivation for the attacks—through endless meddling in Middles Eastern regimes—but the US regime failed to protect its own citizens when the blowback arrived. 

Yet, as is so common following displays of incompetence by government bureaucrats, virtually no government agents was held accountable for this failure. The head of the CIA on 9/11, George Tenet, continued at his post for years afterward. There certainly was no “house cleaning” at the FBI either. 

Yet federal agencies allegedly formed to “keep us safe” were more or less AWOL in the lead up to 9/11, choosing to focus on relatively petty goals, and on augmenting the agencies’ public-relations efforts, rather than on terrorism.

The CIA at the Center

A bevy of books have been published over the last 20 years examining the massive intelligence blundering that preceded 9/11. Many of them are partisan, and many attempt to blame everything on elected officials. But the failures leading up to 9/11 go much deeper than that. Much of this is described in detail by Milo Jones and Philippe Silberzahn in their book Constructing Cassandra: Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947-2001.

The authors note that the 9/11 failure was a failure of multiple intelligence agencies, as well as numerous US policymakers across many agencies and institutions.

But, as Jones and Silberzahn contend, "the CIA stands at the center of the failure. … [p]rior to 9/11, the CIA was primus inter pares among the agencies of the U.S. intelligence community, chartered specifically to coordinate the community’s activities against threats—especially surprise attacks originating abroad."

The story of the CIA’s failure is one of an organization that was repeatedly warned of the al-Qa'ida threat by internal analysists. But both the CIA leadership, and the rank and file, chose to ignore the warnings.  Rather, before 9/11, the leadership insisted on focusing on China, Iran, and Iraq. Other priorities included drug trafficking, organized crime, and illicit trade practices and “environmental issues of great gravity.”

Thanks only partly to guidance handed down form the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, “intelligence about al-Qa’ida [was] equal to that [of] …the illegal trade of tropical hardwood.” Jones and Silberzahn note the CIA did not “push back” against these priorities but concerned itself with telling politicians what they wanted to hear. 

Looking at "CIA budgetary decisions prior to 9/11" it becomes clear that intelligence on terrorism and al-Qa’ida were “extremely low priorities” at the CIA and "the agency had repeatedly diverted money away from counterterrorism to other purposes."

For instance, the CIA’s intelligence briefings for the Bush administration in 2001 (prior to September 11) were extremely vague and never communicated much beyond the bland facts that Islamic terrorists exist and might carry out attacks—sometime, somewhere.  The agency never devoted many resources to following up on the possibility of these attacks. Briefings on the topic of Islamic terrorism were historical in nature with little effort given to anticipating the details of possible future acts. There was no "actionable warning."

The 9/11 Commission noted this problem:

Commission staff member Douglas McEachin—a veteran former CIA analyst himself—thought that it was "unforgivable" that no NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] on al-Qa’ida or terrorism of any sort was produced for four years before the attacks. McEachin was "shocked that no one at the senior levels of the CIA had attempted for years— to catalog and give context to what was know about al-Qa’ida."

Yet, to this day, apologists for the CIA will shrug their shoulders and insist “hindsight is 20/20!” and “how could anyone have known?" These defenders of the regime, of course, ignore the fact that the intelligence community in 2001 was receiving $30 billion in taxpayer money—an amount that was real money in 2001—to anticipate security threats. Providing “early warning of an enemy attack” was (and is) their job.

(It’s also worth asking if the perennial excuse-makers for government failure can provide an example of a military or intelligence failure that they wouldn’t shrug off.)

The CIA Was Warned, and Did Nothing

Moreover, the data is clear that it didn’t require revolutionary thinking to anticipate that Islamic terrorists might use airplanes as weapons, or that al-Qa’ida posed a credible threat.

After all, the CIA leadership was warned by its own analysts, especially those under Michael Scheuer who headed up the CIA’s much-ignored bin Ladin unit. As early as 1996, Scheuer had attempted to warn his superiors at the CIA of the threat of Islamic terrorism in general, and al Qa’ida in particular. Usama bin Laden had been publicly threatening Western nations to Western media since 1993, and publicly declared war on the United States on September 2, 1996.

Unlike most staffers and officials at the CIA, Scheuer took bin Ladin seriously, but he and his unit were regarded with little esteem at the agency. While Scheuer was attempting to raise the profile of al-Qa’ida, "Anyone with seniority or savvy avoided assignment to the bin Ladin unit."

Scheuer was regarded as "obsessive" and those who were assigned to work with him were usually "very junior" and also female. Indeed, the bin Ladin unit, staffed as it was by Scheuer and a number of women, came to be derisively called “The Manson Family” among CIA staff.

Eventually, Scheuer lost what little influence he had in 1999. Frustrated with senior officials, Scheuer attempted to engage CIA director Tenet directly. This was regarded as an unforgiveable breach of bureaucratic protocol and Scheuer was demoted to the position of a librarian and shunted off to a cubicle in the library at Langley.

Airplanes as Weapons: It Was Predictable

Having studiously ignored the potential threat of al-Qa’ida throughout the late 1990s, CIA staff and leadership also failed to anticipate the methods eventually used on 9/11.

Followers of early 2000s popular culture will sometimes recall that the television show The Lone Gunmen—a spinoff of The X-Files—aired an episode in March 2001 in which a nefarious "hacker" deliberately flies a 747 at the World Trade Center.

Many note with amazement that authors of fiction saw the potential for the use of airplanes as weapons while the intelligence community apparently ignored the idea. Yet, the writers at The Lone Gunmen were hardly the first to conceive of the idea, which further illustrates the lack of imagination employed at the CIA.

As Jones and Silberzahn note,

In 1994, an Algerian group hijacked a plane in Algiers and apparently intended to fly it into the Eiffel Tower; in 1995, Manila police reported in detail about a suicide plot to crash a plane into CIA Headquarters; since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the NSC actively considered the use of aircraft as suicide weapons. Tom Clancy also wrote a novel about such an attack. As the [9/11] commission itself noted, the possibility of commercial planes as suicde weapons was both “imaginable and imagined” not just at the CIA.

A Lack of Expertise

So why was the CIA leadership so incapable to taking the al-Qa’ida threat seriously?

Much of it, Jones and Silberzahn conclude, was due to sizable weaknesses in the CIA’s analytical capabilities. Just as a general example, the authors note that even as late as 2013, "very few CIA analysts can read or speak Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, or Farsi—which collectively comprise the languages spoken by nearly half the world’s population."

Jones and Silberzahn note this is part of a general problem at the CIA of cultural homogeneity. Prior to 9/11, and likely still today, the CIA capabilities in understanding foreign cultures is limited by the fact the CIA is largely the domain of college-educated Americans, generally from the same socio-economic strata.

As noted by one CIA officer shortly after 9/11:

The CIA probably doesn’t have a single truly qualified Arabic-speaking officer of Middle Eastern Background who can play a believable Muslim fundamentalist... For Christ’s sake most case officers live in the suburbs of Virginia.

Indeed, "In 2001, only 20 percent of the graduating class of clandestine case officers were fluent in a non-Romance language." It’s unlikely that in 2001, the CIA had even a single case officer who spoke Pashto, the language of the Taliban. These great intelligence "experts" were groping around in the dark, often due to bureaucratic laziness and ignorance. 

The CIA’s defenders today may still make excuses for the CIA's failure to know the details of the 9/11 conspiracy ahead of time, but it is clear today that the CIA wasn’t even looking in the right general direction to discover such information were it to present itself. Rather, in 2001, the CIA was apparently more interested in working with policymakers and media to leak headlines that would play up the foreign threats the CIA was most interested in talking about.

Unfortunately, in spite of these enormous failures, the CIA and the intelligence community have seen little damage to their reputations. Nor is there any reason to assume the situation has substantially changed and that the federal bureaucracy is any more competent today than it was on September 10, 2001. There is no market test or objective measure of success in government bureaucracies. In the decade following 9/11, the US's intelligence agencies were rewarded with a marked increase in funding over 1990s levels

Twenty years after 9/11, a much-needed culture of skepticism around the nation's "intelligence community" has yet to arise. This attitude will only pave the way for the next time it becomes tragically clear that America's well-funded collection of intelligence agencies doesn't actually "keep us safe." 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/11/2021 - 23:30
Published:9/11/2021 10:41:54 PM
[Markets] Why Did The USA Hand Afghanistan To China? Why Did The USA Hand Afghanistan To China?

Authored by Roger Simon via The Epoch Times,

Paul Shinkman of U.S. News wrote the other day:

China is considering deploying military personnel and economic development officials to Bagram airfield, perhaps the single-most prominent symbol of the 20-year U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

“The Chinese military is currently conducting a feasibility study about the effect of sending workers, soldiers and other staff related to its foreign economic investment program known as the Belt and Road Initiative in the coming years to Bagram, according to a source briefed on the study by Chinese military officials, who spoke to U.S. News on the condition of anonymity.”

As Moon Unit Zappa used to say, “Gag me with a spoon!”

Feasibility study? You don’t have to be Nostradamus to figure out how that’s going to turn out, assuming it hasn’t been done already and this is just a masquerade.

Why wouldn’t the Chinese take over Bagram? It’s sitting there.

And no real estate could be more apt for their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt, One Road), essentially a large-scale bait-and-switch operation. The Chinese—in reality the Chinese Communist Party—lends the poor country—in this case the impoverished Taliban—money to modernize their infrastructure with the caveat that, if they don’t pay off the loan in a certain amount of time, guess who owns said infrastructure?

Well, we know the answer to that. The Chinese are in essence buying the world with the help, note well, of some of the most prominent American firms (pdf) busy enriching themselves with more money than most of us can compute.

(If you’re interested in how successful the BRI has been, here’s a helpful map from the Council of Foreign Relations.)

What has occurred in recent days is that China has achieved something absolutely free for which the Soviets and the United States wasted decades of personnel (tragically dead or wounded), matériel and trillions of dollars, not to mention ended up by disgracing themselves in the eyes of the world.

Effectively, the Chinese own Afghanistan, the important parts of it anyway—airbases, ports, mineral rights, and so forth—or will shortly.

As for internal Taliban affairs, the Chinese communists aren’t about to lift a finger about the horrifying level of women’s rights or the extensive drug growing and dealing the terror group engages in, especially if they send as much of it as possible to America.

As long as the various Islamic terror organizations leave the Chinese alone, the Chinese will let them do as they wish. Yes, some—al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, one we haven’t heard of yet—may make a fuss about the treatment of the Uyghurs and make their violent presence known, but I would imagine they ultimately see the Chinese forces as much more ruthless than the Americans (now especially) and this will be at best a temporary sideshow of little global importance. Realpolitik will be at play on both Chinese and Taliban (Islamic) sides as they benefit each other, at least for now.

So how did we get here? If this is all so obvious—and it is—wasn’t our State Department and our military aware of how this would, or certainly could, turn out? (Wouldn’t they at least leave a small NATO force guarding Bagram and destroy our weaponry?)

I imagine many of our officials were—how could they not be—aware of this eventuality. And that’s highly disturbing.

Why then did the USA cede Afghanistan—a territory bounded by Iran and Pakistan, among other states, not to mention control of much of the world’s rare earths and other key resources—to the increasingly totalitarian China of Xi Jinping?

For an answer, it’s hard not to think back to those days when, shortly before declaring for the presidency and reversing himself on the topic, our current president told us “The Chinese aren’t our enemies, folks.”

Was he covering up for his own activities and connections that could have been recorded on his son Hunter Biden’s laptop, much of which is as yet unseen? Do the Chinese, in the crudest sense, have something on him? Unfortunately, considering the operations and governance of our FBI and Department of Justice, we may never know.

We can, however, make our own surmises. But whatever they may be, they’re only a part of a more depressing overall zeitgeist.

I have believed for some time—and our extraordinarily rapid and ill-conceived evacuation of Afghanistan, leaving behind not only Bagram but enough U.S. weaponry to make the Taliban’s army nearly equivalent to the Italian’s, not to mention putting our advanced military technology in the hands of the Chinese and the Russians, only underscores this—that a large percentage of our Democratic Party leadership as well as a tragically significant percentage of the Republican have long believed the Chinese regime are winning the battle between China and America for global hegemony. They are therefore, overtly or covertly, consciously or subconsciously, throwing in with the Chinese side for their own economic—and to a lesser extent survival, though the two interact—advantage.

Our globalist-leaning corporations, like the giant law firm linked above, that deal extensively with China are similar. They’re going with what they think is the winning side.

And globalism is not democracy. For the globalist, people voting has been irrelevant, even retrograde, for decades. It’s the one-party state gone world-wide.

So, to be overly colloquial, “bugging out” on Afghanistan to them is no big deal. And China taking over, well, to them it’s just part of the game.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/11/2021 - 18:30
Published:9/11/2021 5:37:29 PM
[Markets] Taliban Holds Flag Raising Ceremony On Same Day Americans Commemorate 9/11 Taliban Holds Flag Raising Ceremony On Same Day Americans Commemorate 9/11

On the day the US marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban sent its own 'message' by raising its large flag over the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Saturday.

The Taliban's cultural commission spokesman Ahmadullahh Muttaqi announced Saturday that the raising of the flag was part of a ceremony to mark the start of the new Taliban government over Afghanistan.

Taliban raise flag on the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, via WION

"The Taliban’s new Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund raised the flag in a ceremony at 11 a.m. local time to mark the official start of work by the Taliban’s 33-member caretaker government," The Associated Press reported of the event. 

The group which the US fought in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks also painted their flag of jihad over the US Embassy in Kabul, which had been quickly abandoned in the days prior to the last US troops leaving Afghanistan on Aug.30.

"Earlier, another Taliban official said the religious militia’s black and white flag was first raised at the palace on Friday," AP continues. "The militant group has also painted their banner on the entry gate to the US Embassy building."

It was on Tuesday that the Taliban named and confirmed its caretaker government, complete with an Interior Minister who is still on the FBI's 'most wanted' terrorism list. The Saturday ceremony officially inaugurates the government, but the symbolism of the timing couldn't be clearer nor more ironic. 

The Islamic 'shahada' - or Muslim confession of faith - was earlier plastered in large script over the entrance to the US embassy in Kabul...

The formal raising of the black and white Taliban flag over Kabul's government buildings took place simultaneous to the US holding somber memorial commemorations at New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania where United Airlines Flight 93 went down after al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked it.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/11/2021 - 17:00
Published:9/11/2021 4:04:51 PM
[Markets] Yeah, 9/11 Was Bad; But It Wasn't 'QAnoners Wandering Around The Capitol For A Few Hours'-Bad Yeah, 9/11 Was Bad; But It Wasn't 'QAnoners Wandering Around The Capitol For A Few Hours'-Bad

Authored (extremely satirically) by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Okay, okay, let’s all cool our jets here for a minute. I know we’re all worked up about the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and that’s all well and good. But let’s not let our emotions cloud our vision and let today’s commemorations cause us to forget the real horror we must all remain focused on: the Capitol riot this past January.

It is true that losing nearly 3,000 American lives to weaponized passenger jets was pretty bad, but I think we can all agree that this pales in comparison to the earth-shattering terror we all experienced when watching footage of wingnuts wander aimlessly around the Capitol Building for a few hours.

Serious experts agree.

In a July appearance on MSNBC’s ReidOut with Joy Reid, former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd said he felt the Capitol riot was “much worse” than 9/11 and that this is the “most perilous point in time” since the beginning of the American Civil War.

“To me, though there was less loss of life on January 6, January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been,” Dowd said. “I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War.”

“I do too,” Reid replied.

Not to be outdone, Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt cited Dowd’s claim but added that not only was January 6 worse than 9/11, but it was actually going to kill more Americans somehow, even counting all those killed in the US wars which ensued from the 9/11 attacks.

“He couldn’t be more right,” Schmidt said at a town hall for the Lincoln Project.

“The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following.”

Popular #Resistance pundit Majid Padellan tweeted back in February, “I am traumatized all over again while watching this video recap. Don’t try to tell me January 6th was NOT worse than 9/11.”

“I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system,” said Washington Post columnist George Will on ABC’s “This Week” roundtable back in May.

Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte asserted on Twitter that this year’s Capitol riot was worse than the September 11 attacks because “The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today.”

Dáte added that the events of 1/6 were “1000 percent worse” than if 9/11 hijackers had succeeded in crashing a Boeing 757 into the Capitol Building twenty years ago.

So that settles it, then: QAnoners meandering around a government building is far, far worse than thousands of people being killed in fiery explosions.

It’s a good thing we’ve got such sane, level-headed people on such prominent platforms instructing us on how to think about important events, because otherwise this perspective might never have even occurred to us. Especially since the FBI found no evidence that Trump and his allies were involved in coordinating the 1/6 riot and very little evidence of any centralized planning of any kind, and since we now know that the only person claimed to have been killed by the rioters actually died of natural causes, and since many other claims about the Capitol riot have been soundly debunked.

So now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s not let 9/11 stop us from screaming about 1/6 for all eternity, as loud as our lungs will allow. It’s important we remain rational here.

*  *  *

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 09/11/2021 - 12:30
Published:9/11/2021 11:37:47 AM
[Markets] 20 Years Since 9/11: How Events Unfolded That Morning 20 Years Since 9/11: How Events Unfolded That Morning

For Americans and people watching around the world, September 11, 2001, is a day that will never be forgotten.

As Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley details below, within three hours, New York’s tallest buildings were reduced to rubble, and the Pentagon - the nerve center of the American armed forces - was burning and partially collapsed. Thousands of civilians had lost their lives and were seriously injured, and the entire country was in collective shock, still trying to make sense of how a coordinated act of terrorism of that magnitude was allowed to take place on American soil.

In the 20 years since 9/11, the events that occurred that morning have been analyzed in-depth from a thousand different angles. Even though the attacks took place in the era just before mobile phones had viable cameras, there are countless images and videos of the event. As well, we now have the 9/11 Commission Report, which compiles interviews from over 1,200 people in 10 countries, and draws upon two and a half million pages of documents to present its findings.

For many people younger than Generation X, 9/11 is a feeling—a grim milestone from their youth—but the details are likely more fuzzy. The timeline visualization above is a high-level record of what happened that morning during the three hours when everything changed.

A Chronology of Terror

In its most simple form, the 9/11 attacks can be described as a coordinated hijacking of four commercial airplanes, which were then used to fly into high profile targets in New York City and Washington, DC. Here is a summary of the planes involved in the incident:

These four flights play a central role in what unfolded that morning. In the early hours of September 11, 2001, a collection of 19 would-be hijackers made their way through security at airports in Boston, Newark, and Washington, DC.

Our three-hour timeline begins just before 8am, as the first plane involved in the attack leaves the tarmac just outside of Boston. (In situations where the exact time isn’t known, a range is given.)

Sept 11, 2001, 7:59am – American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members, departs from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport.

8:14 – United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767, carrying 56 passengers and 9 crew members, departs from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport.

8:14 – Flight 11 is hijacked over central Massachusetts. There are five hijackers on board.

8:20 – American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 58 passengers and 6 crew members, departs from Washington Dulles International Airport, for Los Angeles International Airport.

8:42 – United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 37 passengers and 7 crew members, departs from Newark International Airport, bound for San Francisco International Airport.

8:42–8:46 – Flight 175 is hijacked above northwest New Jersey. There are five hijackers on board.

8:46 – Flight 11 crashes into the north face of the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99. All 92 people on board are killed.

8:50–8:54 – Flight 77 is hijacked above southern Ohio. There are five hijackers on board.

9:03 – Flight 175 crashes into the south face of the South Tower (2 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 77 and 85. All 65 people on board are killed.

9:28 – Flight 93 is hijacked above northern Ohio. There are four hijackers on board.

9:37 – Flight 77 crashes into the western side of The Pentagon. All 64 people on board are killed.

9:45 – United States airspace is shut down; all operating aircraft are ordered to land at the nearest airport.

9:59 – The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, 56 minutes after the impact of Flight 175.

10:03 – Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Later reports indicate that passengers had learned about the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes and were resisting the hijackers. All 44 people on board are killed in the crash.

10:28 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, 1 hour and 42 minutes after the impact of Flight 11. The Marriott Hotel at the base of the two towers is also destroyed.

10:50 – Five stories of the western side of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire.

Two and a half hours after the first plane left Boston, the iconic “Twin Towers” lay in ruins in Lower Manhattan, and brave first responders and military personnel were scrambling to save lives and secure the country.

Life in America was set on a new trajectory.

Information Shockwave

Two decades is a long time in the world of technology and media. Though the communication channels of that era may seem slow by today’s standards, the September 11 terrorist attacks still took place in the age of 24-hour cable news coverage and nascent online reporting.

Add in the fact that New York was (and still is) a linchpin of global media, and it’s easy to see why media coverage of the attack spread so quickly.

Within two minutes of the first impact on the World Trade Center, a nearby camera crew covering New York’s mayoral primary election was already broadcasting a live feed of the burning building to a TV audience. Within three minutes, news of the attack hit the Associated Press newswire, and moments after that, most major networks cut away from scheduled programming to cover the story.

Less than 10 minutes after the impact, President Bush–who was attending an event at a Florida elementary school–was informed of the crash (which at that point was characterized as an accident).

Because media outlets were able to cover the incident so quickly, millions of people witnessed the second plane striking the South Tower in real-time a mere 17 minutes after the first impact. This was a defining moment as millions of people around the world experience the events precisely as they unfolded.

The still-young internet was strained that day. Moments after the impact of the North Tower, the CNN and MSNBC websites experienced a crushing load of traffic that overwhelmed servers. The FBI’s website also experienced issues after posting the images of the 9/11 hijackers later that day.

Lasting Impact

The Pentagon has been repaired, and a shiny, 94-story World Trade Center now punctuates the skyline of Lower Manhattan, but not all wounds have healed.

For one, many 9/11 survivors are living with lingering health issues believed to be linked to the toxic smoke from the attack and building collapse. Many others are living with the absence of the nearly 3,000 loved-ones who died during the attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is still a lasting legacy of the 9/11 attacks. When DHS began operations in 2003, it was the largest U.S. government reorganization in the 50 years since the Department of Defense was created. In addition to this largely “hidden” layer of security, people now encounter more vigorous security protocol at airports around the world.

As well, the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan was a reminder that long shadow of the attack is still influencing events today, even two decades later.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/11/2021 - 07:35
Published:9/11/2021 7:05:47 AM
[] Quick Hits: Steven King Sucks Edition Thinking about attending the September 18th rally? Be careful. There is wide suspicion that the entire "rally" is just a trap set up by Your Fascist Pals at the FBI. Someone I thought might be a fed showed up yesterday... Published:9/10/2021 4:52:19 PM
[Markets] DHS's Shift To Domestic Terrorism Is "Chasing The Shiny Object", Says Ex-DHS Head At 9/11 Anniversary Event DHS's Shift To Domestic Terrorism Is "Chasing The Shiny Object", Says Ex-DHS Head At 9/11 Anniversary Event

Authored by Terri Wu via The Epoch Times,

With its recent focus on domestic terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is veering off its core competency by “chasing the shiny object,” according to former Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf.

He said that DHS should focus on international terrorism, especially given the security risks incurred by the withdrawal of American forces in Afghanistan. The talk of establishing a new statute on domestic terrorism seems like “weaponizing the criminal justice system,” added Chris Swecker, former FBI assistant director.

At a 9/11 anniversary event hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, Wolf said that DHS’s first-ever comprehensive threat assessment (pdf) published in October 2020 highlighted threats from China and Russia. However, domestic terrorism was a small piece in the overall picture, according to Wolf, adding that some people have “blown that [domestic terrorism] out of proportion.”

Given that Afghanistan has become a safe haven for terrorists and that America has withdrawn its diplomatic presence, the area will be a “black hole” for the U.S. homeland security, according to Wolf.

Wolf said that the normal vetting process for Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans is 18 to 24 months. Now Afghans are being paroled in and vetted in a matter of days. It would take only one or two bad actors to harm the security of the American homeland, added Wolf.

Swecker highlighted that international terrorist groups could pressure family members in Afghanistan to extort people in the United States to do their bidding, similar to how the Chinese Communist Party operates. This could bring additional domestic security risks, said Swecker.

Both expressed worries about a potential new statute on domestic terrorism. They said that existing laws cover prosecution of domestic terrorism acts. However, the proposed new rule seems to point to naming domestic terrorist groups or people, which could be dangerous in terms of harming people’s freedom of speech.

Furthermore, Swecker pointed out that recent DHS bulletins on domestic terrorism did not mention Antifa or Black Lives Matter riots in 2020. The DHS threat assessment report documented these events: “DHS law enforcement officers suffered over 300 separate injuries and were assaulted with sledgehammers, commercial grade fireworks, rocks, metal pipes, improvised explosive devices, and more.”

Wolf defined domestic terrorism as “committing crimes that are intended to force your ideology on a population on a government.” He said he worried that the domestic terrorism issue would become political:

“Violence is violence, whether it’s coming from the right or the left. You have to condemn it equally. Otherwise, it becomes a political issue.”

Calling the 9/11 terrorist attack “one of the most significant events of the last 100 years,” Swecker said, “It was an attack on our government and our people. And it was highly successful by a determined, well-funded, well-trained terrorist organization that hasn’t gone away.”

Wolf added that it might be hard for some Americans to fathom that there were individuals and organizations “whose sole mission is to harm America.” He said China and Russia were examples of that. “I don’t think that can be overstated enough,” said Wolf.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/09/2021 - 22:41
Published:9/9/2021 9:55:04 PM
[Markets] New Head Of Taliban Government Urges Afghan Ex-Officials To Return, Vows Their "Safety & Security" New Head Of Taliban Government Urges Afghan Ex-Officials To Return, Vows Their "Safety & Security"

Two days after being named as new acting prime minister for a Taliban caretaker government, Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund is urging former Afghan officials who fled to return to the country. He's vowing that the Taliban "will guarantee their security and safety" should they return and help in the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Akhund, who before being named head of state, was lesser known to the West than Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, named as deputy prime minister on Tuesday. According to a first exclusive interview given to Al Jazeera, Akhund further said "the caretaker government would guarantee the security of diplomats, embassies and humanitarian relief institutions, stressing that the group wanted to establish positive and strong relations with countries in the region and beyond."

"We have suffered huge losses in money and lives for this historical moment in the history of Afghanistan,” Akhund explained. "The stage of bloodshed, killing and contempt for people in Afghanistan has ended, and we have paid dearly for this."

He backed and reaffirmed prior Taliban assurances of "amnesty" for anyone returning to the country who previously helped the United States after 2001, despite most of these over the past weeks desperately trying the flee the country for fear they will be imprisoned or killed.

On this front, PM Akhund claimed there have been no revenge attacks or killings, given Taliban fighters are on orders to maintain discipline. "No one will be able to prove that he was subjected to revenge. And in such tense circumstances, it is easy to do what you want. But the movement is disciplined and controls its gunmen," he said"And, we have not harmed anyone because of his previous actions."

This contradicts widespread reports in Western media during the days following the final US troop exit from Kabul international airport on Aug.30 that Taliban gunmen had been going door to door in the capital city actively seeking past collaborators. However, these reports were largely based on the words of eyewitnesses and opposition testimony, which is hard to verify.

In the days of the US evacuation, widespread reports pointed to a revenge campaign...

Akhund continued in the interview: "Therefore, I assure the Islamic nation, especially the Afghan people, that we want all the good, the causes for success and welfare, and we seek to establish an Islamic system." He then urged for "everyone to participate with us in this blessed project."

Despite touting an "inclusive" government, international observers have criticized the Taliban for woeful lack of women in the new government; also a handful of top Taliban officials are actually internationally wanted terrorists, including militants who were formerly detained at Gitmo prison

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/09/2021 - 17:40
Published:9/9/2021 4:51:23 PM
[Markets] How The FBI's War On Drugs Helped 9/11 Happen How The FBI's War On Drugs Helped 9/11 Happen

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities,

The story of 9/11 is filled with painful "what-ifs." Among the most prominent:

  • What if the CIA hadn’t blocked two FBI agents from alerting Bureau headquarters that a future 9/11 hijacker had obtained a multi-entry US visa?

  • What if the FBI hadn’t nixed agents’ request for a warrant to search the computer of "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui after his arrest in August 2001?

  • What if the FBI hadn’t ignored a Phoenix agent’s July 2001 recommendation to contact aviation colleges across the country, on suspicion that Osama bin Laden was preparing extremists to "conduct terror activity against civilian aviation targets"?

Those what-ifs give us all pause, but they weigh heaviest on those who were closest to them, such as retired FBI counterterrorism agent Ken Williams, author of the so-called "Phoenix memo."

Though his unheeded warning about extremists at flight schools looms large in the saga of 9/11, Williams is haunted by two more what-ifs that are lesser-known but equally gut-wrenching:

  • What if his request for a surveillance team to monitor bin Laden disciples at an Arizona aviation school hadn’t been declined in favor of the FBI’s pursuit of drug smugglers?

  • What if he hadn’t been ordered to suspend his investigation of those extremists for several months to help with an arson case?

Photo by John F. O’Sullivan

For Williams, the answer is all too clear: His investigation would have led to the scrutiny of two future 9/11 hijackers—and that scrutiny may have started unraveling the entire plot.

Extremists at Embry-Riddle

In April 2000, Williams received an important tip from a confidential informant who’d once been a member of a Middle Eastern terrorist organization. The informant had built a stellar reputation for providing valuable information. "I used to refer to him as my E.F. Hutton," says Williams. "When he spoke, you listened."

The informant told Williams that two foreign students were attempting to recruit Phoenix-area Muslims to an organization called Al-Muhajiroun, or "The Emigrants." Founded in Saudi Arabia and then banned by the kingdom in 1986, Al-Muhajiroun was unabashedly extremist. Before 9/11, the group referred to itself as "the eyes, the ears and the mouth of Osama bin Laden," says Williams.

In 1998, the group’s leader issued a fatwa, or religious decree, declaring jihad against the US and British governments and their interests—including airports. After 9/11, Al-Muhajiroun became notorious for organizing a "magnificent 19" conference in London in honor of 9/11’s 19 hijackers.

The informant gave Williams one of the flyers the pair had been using in their recruiting drive. The phone number on the flyer belonged to Lebanese student Zakaria Soubra. Via surveillance of Soubra, Williams and his team identified his counterpart as a Saudi named Ghassan al-Sharbi. Both were students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. Williams describes it as a prestigious school providing an "Ivy League" education in aviation and related sciences.

Soubra was studying aviation security, while al-Sharbi studied engineering. The two were also making frequent, two-and-a-half-hour drives to Phoenix to recruit new members of Al-Muhajiroun from area mosques. Williams and another agent traveled to Prescott to interview them at the small room they shared at a cheap motor lodge. Williams quickly noticed it was decorated with photos of Osama bin Laden, Ibn al-Khattab of the Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya, and wounded mujahideen fighters.

In his years of experience, Williams had grown accustomed to Middle Eastern students being "meek, mild and intimidated as shit when you show up at their door"—the product of growing up in countries with iron-fisted security forces. Soubra, however, was a jarring exception.

"He told me he considered the FBI, the United States military and the United States government legitimate military targets of Islam, and he described bin Laden as a great Muslim brother," says Williams. "He was raising his voice, and you could see the veins on the side of his temples start to pop out of his head."

"Trust me, I did everything in my power to get him to assault me or my partner…try to push us or do something so we could arrest him for assault on a federal officer," says Williams. On the way out, he told them, "We know what you’re all about and we’re not going away. If you cross that line, you will go to jail. We’ll find you wherever you’re at."

"I don’t generally don’t make those kind of threats, because they’re idle, but I wanted to kind of up-it a notch with them," says Williams.

Links to Possible 9/11 "Dry Run"

Williams discovered that Soubra and al-Sharbi were driving a car registered to Muhammad al-Qudhaieen, a Saudi student living three hours away at the University of Arizona. Months earlier, in November 1999, al-Qudhaieen and Hamdan al-Shalawi, a Saudi attending Arizona State, were involved in an incident that prompted an America West flight to Washington, D.C. to make an emergency landing in Columbus, Ohio.

Crew members said the two had asked a variety of suspicious technical questions, and that al-Qudhaieen twice attempted to open the cockpit door. He told investigators in Columbus he’d mistaken it for the bathroom door.

Noting that these were students at a top-notch university with experience traveling internationally, Williams says he finds the excuse ridiculous. "They were conducting an intelligence-collecting operation on board the aircraft, to see how the flight crew was going to react and see how far away they could get with doing things," he says.

The America West incident has been cited in ongoing civil litigation in which 9/11 families, survivors and insurers allege various Saudi officials helped facilitate the al Qaeda plot. Al-Qudhaieen and al-Shalawi were traveling at Saudi expense to an event at the Saudi embassy. The pair were released after questioning. Immediately after the incident, Williams says, they held a press conference in Washington and claimed to have been victims of Islamophobia.

Williams says the public relations move was likely part of al Qaeda’s strategy: Well-publicized, embarrassing accusations of bigotry against America West would make other airline and airport employees reluctant to react to future suspicious behavior.

Al-Qudhaieen and al-Shalawi’s profession of innocence was undermined in November 2000, when the FBI received reports that al-Shalawi trained in Afghanistan to conduct attacks like the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers housing facility in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American service members and injured hundreds.

After being questioned by Williams, Al-Sharbi fled the United States. In the wake of 9/11, he was arrested in Pakistan with Abu Zubaydah, who was then one of the world’s most-hunted al Qaeda associates. Add it all up and Williams was clearly onto something big in the year 2000.

However, since his investigation subjects hadn’t committed any overt criminal acts, building a case would require a lot of work, with an emphasis on visual surveillance—tracking comings and goings, identifying associates by photographing them and checking their license plates, noting places subjects and their associates routinely visit.

It’s a highly labor-intensive undertaking. In the FBI, doing it well means calling in the agents of the Special Operations Group (SOG). "Surveillance is the only thing these agents do," says Williams. "They’re given extensive training on the tradecraft of whatever enemy they’re looking at…(including) how al Qaeda functions. They study whatever we have in our intelligence quivers so they know what to look for when they’re out there," says Williams.

"Every agent can do some surveillance," he continues, "but these guys have old beater automobiles, they have aircraft capabilities, electronic capabilities, photographic capabilities—video and still—and they’re trained how to use all this stuff." Their observations are summarized in a daily report provided to the lead agent on the case.

However, none of that would be available to Williams: Despite the disturbing set of facts and associations he’d uncovered, his request for SOG support was denied. Chalk it up to a warped set of institutional priorities: In the pre-9/11 FBI, counterterrorism often took a back seat to drug investigations.

"I’ve got this threat I’ve identified through my training and expertise. I’m telling my command staff 'these guys are the real deal, this is no bullshit,' yet (my bosses are) still held accountable to meeting what headquarters has set as priorities for the southwest border states—and that’s drug interdiction and that’s taking down cartel members," says Williams.   

Williams says he doesn’t blame his Phoenix supervisors, because they were following priorities dictated in Washington. He does, however, resent that the FBI had to pursue drug cases at all.

"What angers me about it and what I get upset about is—that’s what the whole Drug Enforcement Administration was created to counter. We were the only agency at that time that protected the United States from terrorists. You’ve got the DEA, every police agency and their mother looking at drugs. Why can’t the FBI get out of the drug trafficking arena and concentrate on protecting the national security of the United States of America in the areas where we have the sole purview to do it? If we don’t do it, nobody’s doing it at that time," Williams says.

America’s powerful post-9/11 marijuana legalization trend makes the de-prioritization of his counterterrorism case all the more aggravating in retrospect.

"Some of the stuff we were competing with were marijuana smuggling cases. Now, for chrissakes, every other corner out here has a marijuana dispensary. They’re as frequent as Starbucks," says Williams.

Denied SOG support, Williams and his teammates soldiered on without it, conducting their own off-and-on surveillance as best they could. "I was doing it haphazardly. I was doing it by myself and maybe with a couple squad mates," says Williams. "But there’s a huge degree of difference between having an SOG team on a target and a group of non-SOG-trained agents who do it part-time at best."

Even in well-resourced situations, pursuing such a case can take a lot of time. "Some people think 12 months in an investigation is a long time—not when you’re working these kinds of cases like Soubra and Al Sharbi," says Williams.

Collecting intelligence, trying to recruit informants, and amassing the information needed to obtain more investigative authority is a slow grind. The lack of SOG support made it all the more difficult. The prioritization of drug cases was a major drag on Williams’ investigation, but things were about to come to a screeching halt.

An Arsonist Unwittingly Abets al Qaeda

In December 2000, someone started setting fire to million-dollar houses under construction along the border of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. One of them was even burned twiceEleven structures were torched in all. The media speculated that the arson was the work of an eco-terrorist organization—perhaps the Earth Liberation Front or something akin to it. In messages at the crime scenes and elsewhere, the perpetrator started identifying as the "Coalition to Save the Preserves," and seemed to revel in taunting police.

The arson spree was racking up millions of dollars in damage and commanding high media attention. Between public pressure amid mounting concerns the fires could take a deadly turn, Phoenix police asked the FBI for help.

Williams received a profoundly unwelcome order: He and every member of the Phoenix counterterrorism squad would have to shelve their current investigations and pursue the arson case full-time.

"I went to my supervisor at the time, Bill Kurtz, and I said, ‘Bill, you can’t take me off this case. This is the real deal…these guys are with this al Qaeda group that we’re starting to learn about, that blew up the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania’."

The decision stood. And the timing couldn’t have been worse.The very month Williams was forced to turn his eyes away from Arizona’s network of al Qaeda sympathizers, Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi moved from Southern California to Phoenix.

Nine months later, they would hijack American Airlines Flight 77. Hanjour himself would steer the Boeing 757 into the Pentagon.

Williams is confident that, had he not been diverted to the arson case, Hanjour and al-Hazmi would have come under his scrutiny: "There’s no question in my mind. I’m convinced we would have crossed paths with them. Guarantee you."

"All these guys were in the same circle. We got the two guys on America West Airlines doing their dry run and collecting intel. We’ve got Ghassan al-Sharbi who was arrested with Abu Zubayda, so he was kind of a big shot. And then we’ve got these two guys getting ready to kill themselves on September 11th coming into our area. All these guys are living within miles of each other. They would’ve been bouncing off each other, I guarantee," he says.

Williams did help solve the arson spree, which turned out to be the work of a lone, thrill-seeking arsonist named Mark Warren Sands, who was indicted on June 14, 2001. By that time, Hanjour and al-Hazmi had left Arizona, arriving in Falls Church, Virginia in April.

Williams gives his former supervisor Kurtz full credit for expressing regret to the 9/11 Commission about having taken Williams off the terror case. He holds lingering anger, however, for the arsonist who put Kurtz in a tough position.

"I wish I could prosecute him for something tied to 9/11, because he really took our eyes off the guys in Prescott," says Williams. With the arson case closed, Williams ramped his counterterrorism investigation back up, posting his now-famous "Phoenix memo" on July 10.

With his investigation first slowed by a lack of surveillance assets and then halted for months by the arson investigation, his recommendation for a nationwide FBI campaign to contact civil aviation universities and colleges in search of extremist students was submitted just two months before 9/11—and then ignored until it was too late.

A Reunion with al-Sharbi

Having been arrested in Pakistan with Abu Zubaydah, Ghassan al-Sharbi—the quieter of Williams’ two Prescott investigation targets—is now detainee #682 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A 2016 government profile said "he has been mostly non-compliant and hostile with the guards...his behavior and statements indicate that he retains extremist views."

You’ll recall that Williams closed his Prescott interview of al-Sharbi with a warning: "If you cross that line, you will go to jail. We’ll find you wherever you’re at." Little did Williams know it would happen halfway around the world.

After al-Sharbi was captured, Williams traveled to Gitmo to question him. When Williams entered the room, he says al-Sharbi’s face signaled his recognition—with an expression that said, "Oh, shit."

Williams greeted him by saying, "I told you we’d find you." Recalling the scene with a chuckle, Williams says, "It was a Hollywood moment. You couldn’t script it any better."

A New Focus: Making a Case Against Saudi Arabia

While that moment gave Williams something to smile about, 9/11 remains a constant and grim presence in his life. There’s no escaping the nagging question of how the world may be different had he received the surveillance support he’d requested, or if he hadn’t been reassigned to the arson case.

"I what-if that every day of my life and I will til the day I die," he says. "How close were we?"

"My ex-wife used to say I was obsessed with it, but I’d say, 'Well, how can you not be obsessed with it? There’s thousands of people dead and you’re somehow associated with this," recalls Williams.

In 2017, Williams hit the FBI’s mandatory retirement age of 57. He soon found a perfect outlet for his 9/11 obsession: He’s working with attorneys representing the families and survivors of the 9/11 attacks in their civil suit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is still in the pre-trial phase.

His work is done under a protective order that prevents him from sharing what he’s learned from depositions and from reviewing still-classified documents from Operation Encore, the FBI’s investigation of Saudi government links to 9/11. However, he’s unequivocal about what it adds up to: "The evidence is there."

His work on the case goes against the wishes of the FBI. As Williams told me in a 2018 story that broke the news, a lawyer from the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel told him not to join the plaintiffs’ legal team, saying it could impact "other pending litigation" and undermine the pursuit of warm relations with Saudi Arabia.

This time, though, Ken Williams gets to set his own priorities.

*  *  *

Stark Realities undermines official narratives, demolishes conventional wisdom and exposes fundamental myths across the political spectrum. Read more and subscribe at starkrealities.substack.com

Tyler Durden Wed, 09/08/2021 - 23:40
Published:9/8/2021 10:47:52 PM
[Uncategorized] Taliban’s Afghan Govt. Made Up Exclusively of Jihadis, Appoints FBI Most-Wanted Terrorist as Top Minister

Biden admin: We "are concerned by the affiliations and track records of some of the individuals."

The post Taliban’s Afghan Govt. Made Up Exclusively of Jihadis, Appoints FBI Most-Wanted Terrorist as Top Minister first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:9/8/2021 12:10:52 PM
[National Security] Taliban Taps Terrorist Wanted by FBI for New Government

A Taliban spokesman on Tuesday announced the appointment of a terrorist on the FBI's most-wanted list to a cabinet-level position in its government.

The post Taliban Taps Terrorist Wanted by FBI for New Government appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:9/7/2021 1:15:38 PM
[Markets] Taliban Unveils New Government, Includes FBI 'Most Wanted' Terrorist As Interior Minister Taliban Unveils New Government, Includes FBI 'Most Wanted' Terrorist As Interior Minister

The Taliban unveiled its new government on Tuesday in the presence of invited foreign delegations from Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar - which gives a strong indicator of how Afghanistan's new foreign policy will be aligned. 

"Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, was named as acting prime minister, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday," Bloomberg reports of the announcement. The spokesman emphasized this is the current 'acting' or caretaker government.

Via Reuters

Though Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was widely expected to be named head of state, given he's until now been the public face of the group at places like Doha during negotiations, Baradar has been named as deputy prime minister

Akhund is considered among the founding members of the Taliban, according to one profile

Akhund is from the Kandahar region of Afghanistan, where the Taliban had emerged in the 1990s. He was among the founding members of the insurgency group, according to reports. He is believed to be more of a religious than a military leader and is considered close to the Taliban's spiritual and supreme leader Sheikh Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Perhaps more interesting is who was named as the new Taliban government's interior minister - none other than Sirajuddin Haqqani of the notorious terrorist Haqqani Network.

"Sirajuddin Haqqani - the leader of the Haqqani Network, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization - will serve as acting interior minister," Bloomberg continues. "That may complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups."

So this is the "inclusive" new government that the world has been anticipating, complete with an interior minister who currently has a $5 million FBI bounty on his head. According to the FBI Rewards for Justice Program, Sirajuddin Haqqani is considered "armed and dangerous" and is still "wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen."

Further, "He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008."

Below is the list of top officials named to serve in the new government, via Afghanistan's TOLO News:

  • Head of State: Mullah Hassan Akhund
  • First Deputy: Mullah Baradar
  • Second Deputy: Mawlavi Hannafi
  • Acting Minister of Defense: Mullah Yaqoub Acting
  • Minister of Interior: Serajuddin Haqqani
  • Acting Foreign Minister: Amir Khan Muttaqi
  • Acting Finance Minister: Mullah Hedayatullah Badri
  • Acting Education Minister: Sheikh Mawlawi Noorullah
  • Acting Minister for Information and Culture: Mullah Khairullah Khairkhah
Tyler Durden Tue, 09/07/2021 - 12:20
Published:9/7/2021 11:32:11 AM
[2021 News] Report: Afghans Arriving at U.S. Military Bases to Get $1,250 Payments

Report: Afghans Arriving at U.S. Military Bases to Get $1,250 Payments. Free housing, free money, free food, and free medical. Our homeless veterans should be getting this first. Also, we feel so much better the FBI will be monitoring potential terrorists questionable people the Biden administration is bringing into the US. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Afghans flagged […]

The post Report: Afghans Arriving at U.S. Military Bases to Get $1,250 Payments appeared first on IHTM.

Published:9/6/2021 6:40:19 AM
[Markets] Rolling Stone 'Horse Dewormer' Hit-Piece Debunked After Hospital Says No Ivermectin Overdoses Rolling Stone 'Horse Dewormer' Hit-Piece Debunked After Hospital Says No Ivermectin Overdoses

After Joe Rogan announced that he'd kicked Covid in just a few days using a cocktail of drugs, including Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic prescribed for humans for over 35 years, with over 4 billion doses administered (and most recently as a Covid-19 treatment), the left quickly started mocking Rogan for having taken a 'horse dewormer' due to its dual use in livestock.

Rolling Stone's Jon Blistein led the charge:

On Friday, Rolling Stone's Peter Wade took another stab - publishing a hit piece claiming that Oklahoma ERs were overflowing with people 'overdosing on horse dewormer.'

It was suspect from the beginning.

The report, sourced to local Oaklahoma outlet KFOR's Katelyn Ogle, cites Oklahoma ER doctor Dr. Jason McElyea - claimed that people overdosing on ivermectin horse dewormer are causing emergency rooms to be "so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting" access to health facilities.

As people take the drug, McElyea said patients have arrived at hospitals with negative reactions like nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and cramping — or even loss of sight.
The scariest one that I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,” the doctor said. -Rolling Stone

Except, the article provided zero evidence for McElyea's claims, causing people to start asking questions.

And while neither KFOR or Rolling Stone mention the hospital McElyea worked for, NHS Sequoyah, located in Sallisaw, Oklahoma - just issued a statement disavowing McElyea's claims, which pops up when you visit their website.

It reads:

Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room.

With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months.

NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.

All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.

We want to reassure our community that our staff is working hard to provide quality healthcare to all patients. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this issue and as always, we value our community’s support.

What about the rest of the state?

According to Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, "Since the beginning of May, we’ve received reports of 11 people being exposed to ivermectin," he told the NY Daily News (which still pushed the 'ivermectin overdoses' story despite this fact).

Meanwhile, this horseshit story has also been picked up by the far-left Business Insider and The Independent, as well as The Guardian, among other notable outlets.

And of course, the story was breathlessly parroted:

McElyea is also listed as working at Integris Grove Hospital in Grove, OK as a general family practitioner - not in the ER. A phone call to them provided no insight as to any ivermectin overdoses, however the gentleman who answered the phone sounded quite amused. What's more, Grove, OK - with a population of 7,129, had just 14 aggravated assaults in all of 2019 according to the FBI's latest data. We somehow doubt that 'gunshot victims were lining up outside the ER,' while just 11 ivermectin related hospital cases have been reported in the entire state since the beginning of May.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/04/2021 - 21:30
Published:9/4/2021 8:44:15 PM
[World] FBI abuses 'no-fly list' to infringe on second-amendment rights

Remember all the calls by Democrats to ban people on the FBI's terror watch list from buying guns? Well, it turns out that those proposals would have affected nearly 2 million people. Since the Transportation Security Administration announced in January that it was considering adding January 6th Capitol protesters to ... Published:9/4/2021 1:17:58 PM

[Markets] Subpoena Tsunami: House Dems Issue Hundreds Of Secret Subpoenas Targeting GOP Colleagues & Others Subpoena Tsunami: House Dems Issue Hundreds Of Secret Subpoenas Targeting GOP Colleagues & Others

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in the Hill on the subpoena tsunami coming out of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6th riot in Congress. The list of hundreds of targets include not only GOP members of Congress but demands for secrecy from these companies on the identity of targets. Just two months ago, the Democrats denounced such secret orders by the Justice Department as a threat to our civil liberties.

Here is the column:

“We have quite an exhaustive list of people. I won’t tell you who they are.” With those words, House Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) confirmed that a subpoena storm was about to be unleashed in the investigation of the Jan. 6 riot in Congress. The targets would include Republican members, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who have already been told to preserve their phone records to be surrendered to the committee. The Democrats are reportedly trying to prove their prior claims that Republicans conspired or assisted “insurrectionists,” even though the FBI reportedly found no evidence of a planned insurrection.

The Democrats’ move to investigate members of the opposing party is a dangerous precedent in an institution that has always protected the privacy and confidentiality of phone and office records.

Two months ago, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was on practically every network denouncing one of “the most dangerous assaults on our democracy” — meaning the Trump administration’s search of phone log information related to Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) while looking for leakers. For his part, Swalwell publicly fretted about this “fragile time for our democracy” if members could have their phone logs seized through secret surveillance orders issued to telephone companies.

After those disclosures, I testified in Congress on the need for greater protections from secret surveillance for members and reporters alike. At the hearing, the Democratic members expressed nothing short of disgust at the notion of such seizures of member phone logs.

Thompson has now admitted that he has sent letters to telecommunications companies to preserve documents — including phone logs — for hundreds of people, including members of Congress. He would offer only a type of “the usual suspects” response when asked for specificity: “you know, in terms of telecom companies, they’re the ones that pretty much you already know, maybe the networks, the social media platforms, those kinds of things.” Reports indicate that among the “hundreds” will be Trump family members and leading Republicans. The House has decided to subpoena them all and let God (and the courts) sort them out.

This is not the first such subpoena tsunami in the House. A couple years ago, Schiff unleashed a massive secret surveillance order to companies. Schiff expressly barred the companies from informing targets — another abusive tactic that was the subject of the June House hearing. That practice was denounced by many as negating Section 222 of the Federal Communications Act which allows for targets to challenge such orders.

As with the Schiff subpoenas, Thompson is not only refusing to list names of the targets, he has also asked the companies to keep the subpoenas secret. It is not clear that Congress has such enforcement authority for secret subpoenas. What’s more, the Democratic House Judiciary Chairman denounced such secrecy demands just last month, saying “they deny American citizens, companies, and institutions their basic day in court and, instead, they gather their evidence entirely in secret.”

The storm of secret subpoenas also seems to run against the thrust of recent Supreme Court decision, Trump v. Mazars, which addressed congressional subpoenas seeking personal information of the president. In sending the case back for further consideration, the court recognized the broad authority of Congress to issue subpoenas; however, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that congressional subpoenas must address a “valid legislative purpose” and be “related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress.”

The “task” at hand in this subpoena storm is highly questionable. The announcement follows an extensive investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department which reportedly did not find any planned insurrection on Jan. 6. The vast majority of the tens of thousands of protesters were not charged. Of the roughly 570 people arrested, virtually all face relatively minor charges for trespass or parading. Only 40 face conspiracy charges. As with violent protests in places like Portland and Seattle, a small percentage of Jan. 6 protesters came prepared and eager for violence and property destruction.

The FBI has already seized the phone records for those arrested, including the small number facing more serious charges. Nevertheless, according to media reports, they found that “90 to 95 percent of these are one-off cases … There was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”

Moreover, despite federal investigations, neither the FBI nor Congress found any evidence to support the much publicized claims of Democratic members that Republican colleagues helped plan or supplied access or “reconnaissance” tours to “insurrectionists.”

As someone who has long favored congressional authority (and once represented the House), my natural default still remains with the authority of the House to acquire records under Article I. However, even if there were a cognizable legislative purpose, it would not make this move right. Democratic leaders, it seems, clearly do not like the fact that the FBI did not establish a conspiracy to overthrow the country or identify co-conspirators among their Republican colleagues. So, Congress apparently will substitute its own investigation by a special committee entirely controlled by Democrats with virtually no Republican members.

Of course, this is not what Schiff previously denounced as the “politicization of the Justice Department.” Congress is by definition politicized, which is why such fishing expeditions targeting the opposing party are so dangerous. It is using subpoenas to try to embarrass or label members of the minority.

The use of subpoenas for political purposes is nothing new, particularly to paint others as “un-American.” In 1957, the Supreme Court reviewed the contempt conviction of a union official, John Thomas Watkins, who refused to name communist union members to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction 6-1, and Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote that “there is no congressional power to expose for the sake of exposure.” Citing the statements of House members, the Court found that “the predominant result can only be the invasion of the private rights of individuals.”

As in the Watkins case, it would seem the point here is to establish that key figures of the opposing party are un-American or “insurrectionists.” Indeed, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) even sought to censure members who refused to call the riot an “insurrection.”

There are times when the Congress may have serious concerns over whether an administration scuttled or undermined an investigation. No such claim has been made here.

This is a fishing expedition on an oceanic scale.

Jan. 6 remains a national disgrace and a desecration of our constitutional process. Many of us welcomed any further inquiries that might shed light on what occurred or what might have prevented this tragedy. However, that is no license to weaponize a national tragedy for political purposes.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/02/2021 - 17:20
Published:9/2/2021 4:33:22 PM
[Privacy] FBI says Chinese authorities are hacking US-based Uyghurs The FBI has warned that the Chinese government is using both in-person and digital techniques to intimidate, silence and harass U.S.-based Uyghur Muslims.  The Chinese government has long been accused of human rights abuses over its treatment of the Uyghur population and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang region. More than a million […] Published:9/2/2021 12:00:10 PM
[] Daily Tech News 1 September 2021 Top Story The Australian Federal Police - our equivalent of the FBI - now have the authority to compel Australian social network providers (of which there are none) to hand over or even alter the details of your accounts. (Tutanota)... Published:9/1/2021 4:52:38 AM
[] What Could Prompted This? FBI Believes Texas Lyft Murderer Was 'Inspired' by Foreign Terrorists Published:8/31/2021 12:44:16 AM
[In The News] Will Cuomo Be Held Accountable For Allegedly Sending Grandmas To Die In Nursing Homes?

By Ailan Evans -

The Department of Justice dropped its investigation last week into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his March 2020 order forcing nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients that resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly residents. Cuomo currently faces several other probes, including a criminal investigation by the FBI …

Will Cuomo Be Held Accountable For Allegedly Sending Grandmas To Die In Nursing Homes? is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:8/1/2021 7:52:47 AM
[Markets] Whitehead's 'State Of The Nation': Still Divided, Enslaved, & Locked Down Whitehead's 'State Of The Nation': Still Divided, Enslaved, & Locked Down

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”

- Abraham Lincoln

History has a funny way of circling back on itself.

The facts, figures, faces and technology may change from era to era, but the dangers remain the same.

This year is no different, whatever the politicians and talking heads may say to the contrary.

Sure, there’s a new guy in charge, but for the most part, we’re still recycling the same news stories that have kept us with one eye warily glued to the news for the past 100-odd years: War. Corruption. Brutality. Economic instability. Partisan politics. Militarism. Disease. Hunger. Greed. Violence. Poverty. Ignorance. Hatred.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Brush up on your history, and you’ll find that we’ve been stuck on repeat for some time now.

Take the United States of America in the year 2021, which is not so far different from the United States of America during the Civil Rights era, or the Cold War era, or even the Depression era.

Go far enough afield, and you’ll find aspects of our troubled history mirrored in the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany, in the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy, and further back in the militarism of the Roman Empire.

We’re like TV weatherman Phil Connors in Harold Ramis’ classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, forced to live the same day over and over again.

Here in the American police state, however, we continue to wake up, hoping each new day, new president and new year will somehow be different from what has come before.

Unfortunately, no matter how we change the narrative, change the characters, change the plot lines, we seem to keep ending up in the same place that we started: enslaved, divided and repeating the mistakes of the past.

You want to know about the true State of our Nation? Listen up.

The State of the Union: The state of our nation is politically polarized, controlled by forces beyond the purview of the average American, and rapidly moving the nation away from its freedom foundation. Over the past year, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have found themselves repeatedly subjected to egregious civil liberties violations, invasive surveillance, martial law, lockdowns, political correctness, erosions of free speech, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, the criminalization of lawful activities, warmongering, etc.

The predators of the police state have wreaked havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives. The government does not listen to the citizenry, refuses to abide by the Constitution, and treats taxpayers as a source of funding and little else. Police officers shoot unarmed citizens and their household pets. Government agents—including local police—remain armed to the teeth and act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies continue to fleece taxpayers. Government technicians spy on our emails and phone calls. And government contractors make a killing by waging endless wars abroad.

Consequently, the state of our nation remains bureaucratic, debt-ridden, violent, militarized, fascist, lawless, invasive, corrupt, untrustworthy, mired in war, and unresponsive to the wishes and needs of the electorate.

The policies of the American police state continue unabated.

The Executive Branch: All of the imperial powers amassed by Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush—to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which he might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability—were inherited by Joe Biden.

Biden has these powers because every successive occupant of the Oval Office has been allowed to expand the reach and power of the presidency through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements that can be activated by any sitting president. Those of us who saw this eventuality coming have been warning for years about the growing danger of the Executive Branch with its presidential toolbox of terror that could be used—and abused—by future presidents. The groundwork, we warned, was being laid for a new kind of government where it won’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the president—or whoever happens to be occupying the Oval Office at the time—thinks. And if he or she thinks you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides. In effect, you will disappear.

Our warnings continue to go unheeded.

The Legislative Branch:  Congress may well be the most self-serving, semi-corrupt institution in America. Abuses of office runs the gamut from elected representatives neglecting their constituencies to engaging in self-serving practices, including the misuse of eminent domain, earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracting in return for personal gain and campaign contributions, having inappropriate ties to lobbyist groups and incorrectly or incompletely disclosing financial information. Pork barrel spending, hastily passed legislation, partisan bickering, a skewed work ethic, graft and moral turpitude have all contributed to the public’s increasing dissatisfaction with congressional leadership. No wonder only 31 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

The Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court was intended to be an institution established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet through their deference to police power, preference for security over freedom, and evisceration of our most basic rights for the sake of order and expediency, the justices of the United States Supreme Court have become the guardians of the American police state in which we now live. As a result, sound judgment and justice have largely taken a back seat to legalism, statism and elitism, while preserving the rights of the people has been deprioritized and made to play second fiddle to both governmental and corporate interests. The courts have empowered the government to wreak havoc on our liberties. Protections for private property continue to be undermined. And Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice.

Shadow Government: Joe Biden inherited more than a bitterly divided nation teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe when he assumed office. He also inherited a shadow government, one that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country. Referred to as the Deep State, this shadow government is comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes right now.

Law Enforcement: By and large the term “law enforcement” encompasses all agents within a militarized police state, including the military, local police, and the various agencies such as the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace but now extensions of the military, are part of an elite ruling class dependent on keeping the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens. As a result, police are becoming even more militarized and weaponized, and police shootings of unarmed individuals continue to increase.

A Suspect Surveillance Society: Every dystopian sci-fi film we’ve ever seen is suddenly converging into this present moment in a dangerous trifecta between science, technology and a government that wants to be all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. By tapping into your phone lines and cell phone communications, the government knows what you say. By uploading all of your emails, opening your mail, and reading your Facebook posts and text messages, the government knows what you write. By monitoring your movements with the use of license plate readers, surveillance cameras and other tracking devices, the government knows where you go. By churning through all of the detritus of your life—what you read, where you go, what you say—the government can predict what you will do. By mapping the synapses in your brain, scientists—and in turn, the government—will soon know what you remember. And by accessing your DNA, the government will soon know everything else about you that they don’t already know: your family chart, your ancestry, what you look like, your health history, your inclination to follow orders or chart your own course, etc. Consequently, in the face of DNA evidence that places us at the scene of a crime, behavior sensing technology that interprets our body temperature and facial tics as suspicious, and government surveillance devices that cross-check our biometricslicense plates and DNA against a growing database of unsolved crimes and potential criminals, we are no longer “innocent until proven guilty.”

Military Empire: America’s endless global wars and burgeoning military empire—funded by taxpayer dollars—have depleted our resources, over-extended our military and increased our similarities to the Roman Empire and its eventual demise. Black budget spending has completely undermined any hope of fiscal transparency, with government contractors padding their pockets at the expense of taxpayers and the nation’s infrastructure—railroads, water pipelines, ports, dams, bridges, airports and roads—taking the hit. The U.S. now operates approximately 800 military bases in foreign countries around the globe at an annual cost of at least $156 billion. The consequences of financing a global military presence are dire. In fact, David Walker, former comptroller general of the U.S., believes there are “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that contributed to the fall of Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.”

I haven’t even touched on the corporate state, the military industrial complex, SWAT team raids, invasive surveillance technology, zero tolerance policies in the schools, overcriminalization, or privatized prisons, to name just a few. However, what I have touched on should be enough to show that the landscape of our freedoms has already changed dramatically from what it once was and will no doubt continue to deteriorate unless Americans can find a way to wrest back control of their government and reclaim their freedoms.

So how do we go about reclaiming our freedoms and reining in our runaway government?

Essentially, there are four camps of thought among the citizenry when it comes to holding the government accountable.

Which camp you fall into says a lot about your view of government—or, at least, your view of whichever administration happens to be in power at the time.

In the first camp are those who trust the government to do the right thing, despite the government’s repeated failures in this department.

In the second camp are those who not only don’t trust the government but think the government is out to get them.

In the third camp are those who see government neither as an angel nor a devil, but merely as an entity that needs to be controlled, or as Thomas Jefferson phrased it, bound “down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”

Then there’s the fourth camp, comprised of individuals who pay little to no attention to the workings of government. Easily entertained, easily distracted, easily led, these are the ones who make the government’s job far easier than it should be.

It is easy to be diverted, distracted and amused by the antics of politicians, the pomp and circumstance of awards shows, athletic events, and entertainment news, and the feel-good evangelism that passes for religion today.

What is far more difficult to face up to is the reality of life in America, where unemployment, poverty, inequality, injustice and violence by government agents are increasingly norms.

The powers-that-be want us to remain divided, alienated from each other based on our politics, our bank accounts, our religion, our race and our value systems. Yet as George Orwell observed, “The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.”

The only distinction that matters anymore is where you stand in the American police state.

In other words, you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

America is at a crossroads.

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

Certainly, we have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age: the age of authoritarianism. Even with its constantly shifting terrain, this topsy-turvy travesty of law and government has become America’s new normal.

As long as we continue to put our politics ahead of our principles—moral, legal and constitutional—“we the people” will lose.

And you know who will keep winning by playing on our prejudices, capitalizing on our fears, deepening our distrust of our fellow citizens, and dividing us into polarized, warring camps incapable of finding consensus on the one true menace that is an immediate threat to all of our freedoms? The government.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, when we lose sight of the true purpose of government—to protect our rights—and fail to keep the government in its place as our servant, we allow the government to overstep its bounds and become a tyrant that rules by brute force.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/22/2021 - 00:00
Published:7/21/2021 11:16:15 PM
[Crime] Did the FBI promote the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer? (Paul Mirengoff) The answer to this question appears to be that, yes, the FBI did. At any rate, that conclusion follows from this BuzzFeed article. That the FBI promoted the plot does not provide a moral defense for the people who signed on to kidnap a governor. It may not provide a legal defense, either. But if the FBI did promote the kidnapping plot, that’s a significant and disturbing fact about the Published:7/21/2021 10:07:09 PM
[2021 News] Federal Bureau Of Incompetence: An Analysis Of The FBI’s Most Embarrassing Failures

Federal Bureau Of Incompetence: An Analysis Of The FBI’s Most Embarrassing Failures. If they listed all of them the report might take months to upload.

The post Federal Bureau Of Incompetence: An Analysis Of The FBI’s Most Embarrassing Failures appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/21/2021 7:04:51 PM
[Uncategorized] Suspects in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Claim FBI Set Them Up

One defendant filed a discovery motion after the lawyer found messages between an FBI agent and an informant proving entrapment.

The post Suspects in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Claim FBI Set Them Up first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/21/2021 12:05:00 PM
[] BuzzFeed: FBI 'played a far larger role than has previously been reported' in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot Published:7/20/2021 7:57:29 PM
[] Buzzfeed: FBI Informants Initiated the "Plot to Kidnap Gretchen Whitmer." They Were So Central to the Plot It Raises the Question: Was This Always Just the FBI's Plot? Buzzfeed doesn't put it quite so starkly; they ask if there would be a plot but for the FBI's ringleading of it. But that's the same question. The government has documented at least 12 confidential informants who assisted the sprawling... Published:7/20/2021 6:29:31 PM
[Latest News] Suspected FBI Leaker Could Evade Consequences

A senior FBI official found guilty of misconduct for accepting unauthorized gifts from journalists, including tickets to pricy black-tie dinners, in 2016 could evade consequences because the official resigned before the investigation was completed, the Department of Justice inspector general said Tuesday.

The post Suspected FBI Leaker Could Evade Consequences appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:7/20/2021 5:30:51 PM
[] Inspector General: Unnamed "Senior FBI Official" Had Numerous "Substantive" Conversations with Media Prior to 2016 Election, In Defiance of FBI Policy, and Accepted Gifts and Things of Value from the Media, Again in Violation of FBI Policy Any guesses as to the identity of this chatty, media-slut "Senior FBI Official"? Either McCabe or Comey, right? INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY | 21-096 Findings of Misconduct by a Then- Senior FBI Official for Having Numerous Unauthorized Contacts with the Media, and... Published:7/20/2021 12:29:21 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: The American Descent Into Madness Victor Davis Hanson: The American Descent Into Madness

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

America went from the freest country in the world in December 2019 to a repressive and frightening place by July 2021. How did that happen?

Nations have often gone mad in a matter of months. The French abandoned their supposedly idealistic revolutionary project and turned it into a monstrous hell for a year between July 1793 and 1794. After the election of November 1860, in a matter of weeks, Americans went from thinking secession was taboo to visions of killing the greatest number of their fellow citizens on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Mao’s China went from a failed communist state to the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno, when he unleashed the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

In the last six months, we have seen absurdities never quite witnessed in modern America. Madness, not politics, defines it. There are three characteristics of all these upheavals. One, the events are unsustainable. They will either cease or they will destroy the nation, at least as we know it. Two, the law has largely been rendered meaningless. Three, left-wing political agendas justify any means necessary to achieve them.

Citizenship as Mere Residency

Two million people are anticipated to cross the southern border, en masse and illegally, over a 12-month period. If that absurdity were to continue, we would be adding the equivalent of a major U.S. city every year. The new arrivals have three things in common: Their first act was to break U.S. law by entering the country. Their second was to break the law by residing here illegally. And their third will be to find false identification or other illegal means to continue breaking the law. One does not arrive as a guest in a foreign country and immediately violate the laws of his host—unless one holds those laws in contempt.

Arrivals now cross a border that had been virtually closed to illegal immigration by January 2021. In the cynical and immoral logic of illegal immigration (that cares little for the concerns either of would-be legal immigrants or U.S. citizens), arrivals will be dependent upon the state and thus become constituents of progressives who engineered their arrival.

Yet the issue is not illegal immigration per se. If protests were to continue in Cuba, and 1 million Cubans boated to Miami, the Biden Administration would stop the influx, in terror that so many anti-Communists might tip Florida red forever.

How strange that the U.S. government is considering going door-to-door to bully the unvaccinated, even as it ignores the daily influx of thousands from Mexico and Latin America, without worrying whether they are carrying or vaccinated for COVID-19. Meanwhile, the progressive media shrilly warns that the new Delta Variant of the virus is exploding south of the border. Note how the administration applies standards to its own citizens that it does not apply to foreign nationals illegally entering the country.

Crime as Construct

Crime is another current absurdity. There exists a mini-industry of internet videos depicting young people, disproportionately African American males, stealing luxury goods from Nieman-Marcus in San Francisco, clearing a shelf from a Walgreens with impunity, or assaulting Asian Americans. These iconic moments may be unrepresentative of reality, but given the mass transfers and retirements of police, and the frightening statistics of large increases in violent crime in certain cities, the popular conception is now entrenched that it is dangerous to walk in our major metropolises, either by day or at night. Chicago has turned into Tombstone or Dodge City in the popular imagination.

Scarier still is the realization that if one is robbed, assaulted, or finds one’s car vandalized, it is near certain the miscreant will never be held to account. Either the police have pulled back and find arrests of criminals a lose-lose situation, or radical big-city district attorneys see the law as a critical legal theory construct, and thus will not enforce it. Or the criminal will be arrested and released within hours.

So a subculture has developed among Americans, of passing information about where in the country it is safe, where it is not, and where one can go, where one cannot. This is clearly not America, but something bizarre out of Sao Paulo, Durban, or Caracas.

The Campus Con

The universities over the past 40 years were intolerant, hard Left, and increasingly anti-constitutional. But they also fostered a golden-goose confidence scheme that administrators dared not injure, given the precious eggs of federally guaranteed student loans that ensured zero academic accountability and sent tuition costs into the stratosphere. There was an unquestioned supposition that a degree of any sort, of any major, was the ticket to American success. In cynical fashion, we shrugged that most prestigious institutions were little more than cattle branders that stamped graduates with imprints that gave them unearned privilege for life.

Yet universities now have both hands around their golden goose’s neck and are determined to strangle it. The public is becoming repulsed at the woke McCarthyite culture on campus, and will be more turned off when campuses open in the fall in 2019-style. At the Ivy League or major state university campuses, admissions are no longer based on proportional representation in the context of affirmative action, but are defined increasingly by a reparatory character.

Grades, test scores, and “activities” of the white and Asian male college applicants are growing less relevant. Only “privileged” white males with sports skills, connections, or families who give lots of money are exempt from the new racial reparation quotas. The new woke admission policy ironically is targeting the liberal suburban professional family, the Left’s constituency, whose lives are so fixated on whether children graduate from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, or like campuses.

Given the radical change in incoming student profiles, the faculty increasingly will have to choose between accusations of racism, or grading regardless of actual performance, given thousands of new enrollees do not meet the entrance standards of just two or three years ago. Remember that since wokeism was always a top-down elite industry, minority progressives still will fight it out with white leftists in intramural scraps over titles, salaries, and managerial posts.

The public has had enough. For the first time, people will ask why are we subsidizing student loans, why are multibillion-dollar endowments not taxed, and why do we think a B.A. in sociology or psychology or gender studies is an “investment” that prepares anyone for anything?

Commissars and Jacobins

The critical race theory craze is reaching peak woke, or is already on the downslope. No complex and sophisticated society is sustainable with a Maoist creed of cannibalizing citizens for thought crimes. Commissars do not produce anything or serve anybody, but only monitor thoughts and speech to ascertain the purity of diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are not just a drain on the productive sector but will insidiously destroy it, since their currency is to ensure a timid, obsequiousness and banal orthodoxy.

We know from the failed Soviet system and from the French Revolution that the most mediocre in society became its most eager auditors of correct behavior. The arbiters of proper thought—the self-righteous paid toady, the perpetual victim employed in service to government payback, the freelancing snitch—were always the villains of freedom, productivity, and humanity, whether we read of the killing off of Alexander the Great’s inner circle, the forced suicides of the Neronian circle, the Jacobin murder spree, or the nightmarish world described by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

That the Biden Administration has now joined with Silicon Valley to hunt down on social media any dissenters from this month’s official policy on vaccinations and mask-wearing was not so shocking as to be expected from a media that banned coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In Cuban-fashion, millions of judge-jury-executioner online snitches, with government encouragement, will help root out incorrect thoughts at light speed.

Inflation Is a Mere Construct

We used to know what inflation was, its pernicious role in past civilizations, and how to combat it. The danger of worthless currency is a staple of classical literature from Aristophanes to Procopius. The scary fact is not just that we are destroying the value of our money—the exploding price of gas, food, appliances, lumber, power, and housing are overwhelming even Joe Biden’s entitlement machine—but that we are constructing pseudoeconomics to justify the nihilism.

Right now, we witness a multitrillion-dollar fight over borrowing beyond our $30 trillion debt to build “infrastructure,” a word that has been expanded to include mostly anything but roads and bridges. What exactly is so liberal about the farmworker paying $5 a gallon for gas to commute to the fields, the small contractor doing a remodeling job with plywood at $80 a sheet, or the young couple whose loan qualification is always a month behind the soaring price of a new home?

Our People’s Military

Americans during this entire descent in madness sighed, “Well, at least there is the military left.” By that, I think they meant John Brennan had all but wrecked the CIA, while James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Kevin Clinesmith, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page, et al. had weaponized the FBI. But the military was still a bastion of traditional, nonpartisan service, whose prime directive was to defend the country, win any war it was ordered to fight, and to maintain deterrence against opportunistic enemies. It was not envisioned as a “people’s army.” It was not a revolutionary Napoleonic “nation in arms.” And it was not a “liberation army.” The Constitution, 233 years of tradition, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice all reassured America of its wonderful defense forces.

And now? We are in the process of a massive reeducation and indoctrination campaign. The revamping not only draws scarce resources away from military readiness, but targets, without evidence, the white working class, and defames it as insurrectionary—the very same cohort that disproportionately died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If only General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of naval operations, had been as animated, as combative, and as fired up in congressional testimony about winning in Afghanistan or deterring the Chinese in the waters off Taiwan as they were in defense of their recommended lists of Marxist-inspired critical race theory texts!

One purpose of the Uniform Code of Military Justice was not to prevent retired top brass from attacking beloved presidents, or even blasé ones. Its aim was to remind the country that it is the business of civilians, not pensioned retired military subject to recall in times of crisis, to galvanize opinion against loudmouth unpopular presidents like Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, or Donald Trump.

The reason why the “revolving door” became a bipartisan worry was that four-star officers had mastered the navigation of Pentagon procurement. They possessed a rare skill easily—and hugely—monetized upon retirement, and thus its use was to be discouraged wholeheartedly.

And now?

The code is a mere construct. The revolving door is an advertisement for advancing to high rank. Policing the thoughts of American soldiers is apparently more important than fathoming the minds of our enemies on the battlefield.

Keep Cuba Castroite?

What was so hard about understanding that Cuba since 1959 has been a Communist gulag, antithetical to human freedom and consensual government? What was so difficult about conceding that Cuba had been an ally of the nuclear Soviet Union, always egging it on to war against the United States?

Yet here we are with protestors against a failed, evil state in the streets of Havana, and our own government, media, and professional classes are worried that ossified Communism in Cuba may fall.

After opening the U.S. southern border to pseudo-political refugees, the Biden Administration is terrified that thousands of real ones might come to Miami in the fashion it invited millions to storm into Texas. The Biden Administration, and the Left in general, finally revealed what many of us have known: it had no real ideological view on illegal immigration. Its immigration policy was entirely utilitarian and hinged only on whether illegal immigration altered the demography of the electorate in the correct way.

The United Nations Über Alles

Finally, almost all Americans used to agree that the U.S. Constitution was unique and guaranteed personal freedom in a way the United Nations charter could not. Dozens of fascist, Communist, totalitarian, and authoritarian regimes, usually the majority of governments on earth, ensured that any General Assembly or U.N. committee ruling would parrot the views of its illiberal and corrupt members.

Not anymore. Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has invited in the U.N. to assess whether the United States meets global standards of justice or, in fact, is racist and in need of global censure: “I urge all U.N. member states to join the United States in this effort, and confront the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia,” he said last week.

That is like asking Libya in 2001 to assess whether our airline pilot training met proper standards or having China adjudicate the conditions in U.S. prisons.

America went from the freest country in the world in December 2019 to a repressive, and frightening place by July 2021. It went not so much hard-Left, as stark-raving mad.

That abrupt descent, too, is not workable and millions will collectively decide they have no choice but to push back and conclude, “In the 233rd year of our republic, we tens of millions are not going to cede freedom of thought and expression to thousands of Maoists. Sorry, no can do.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/19/2021 - 18:40
Published:7/19/2021 5:51:04 PM
[Markets] "Fear" Nears 2020 Highs As Stocks, Bond Yields, & Crude Crash "Fear" Nears 2020 Highs As Stocks, Bond Yields, & Crude Crash

After having the boot of fiscal and monetary repression firmly placed on the throat of uncertainty for months (if not years), today was a refreshing slap in the face for many 'experienced' traders who have been buying with both hands and feet since last March's stimmies arrived as possibilities of an imminent taper and Biden's big spending plan starting to stall raised the specter of reality peeking out from behind the Oz-ian curtain.

With the S&P 500 around 3.5% off its record highs, we note that fear has exploded. The last time fear was this high, the S&P was down 40%!...

Source: CNN

Well done Jay Powell, you've enabled the most fragile market in history.

And just a quick reminder before we glimpse at today's chaos, Goldman dumped a whopping $5.5 billion of its equity assets so far (excluding a modest $1.5BN in purchases) or more than a quarter of its entire portfolio in the last quarter.

The last time Goldman was "aggressively" selling into a "supportive" market? Well, we have to go back all the way to 2007 and 2008 when Goldman was busy creating the very CDOs which its prop desk would then "aggressively" short.

We all remember how prophetic that particular move turned out to be...

Remember that whole May/June rebound in the bubble assets? Well it's rapidly evaporating....

Source: Bloomberg

Amid anxiety over Delta variant spread (demand fears), OPEC+'s decision (supply increase), and a more general macro 'risk-off' sentiment that crushed levered longs, crude collapsed today to a $65 handle

That crash didn't help bond shorts at all (that are still heavy) and Treasury yields plunged by the most since November today, with the 10Y below 1.20%, at its lowest since February...

Source: Bloomberg

Real yields crashed back near record lows, around -1.08%...

Source: Bloomberg

Today was The Dow's worst day since October and the broad NYSE Composite's worst day of the year as every bounce was sold into. Of course, as always there was a completely random buying panic across all the indivces

With breadth stinky...

Source: Bloomberg

NOTE that the late bounce occurred around the ledge levels before The PPT was invited to The White House...

The early rebound, most exuberantly seen above in Small Caps, was all short-squeeze driven as "most shorted" stocks exploded off early lows...

Source: Bloomberg

The S&P 500 broke down quickly to its 50DMA...

The S&P broke a key uptrend today...

The Dow broke down to its 100DMA...

All sectors were lower today with Energy and Financials clubbed like a baby seal...

Source: Bloomberg

After Friday's OPEX erased a f**kton of gamma, vol was unleashed today with VIX topping 25 intraday...

The entire yield curve crashed today with the long-end down 11bps. NOTE the bond buying started as Europe opened...

Source: Bloomberg

The yield curve flattened dramatically...

Source: Bloomberg

Is it time for stocks to catch down to bonds' reality once again?

Source: Bloomberg

Not what we were told was going to happen...

Source: Bloomberg

Like they did last year?

Source: Bloomberg

Cryptos were also hit hard today but Bitcoin outperformed (relatively)...

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar ended the day higher after some volatility, back near its YTD highs...

Source: Bloomberg

Which pushed gold lower, but once again found support at $1800...

Delta, Schmelta!! Oh and by the way, this is what the 'market' is apparently panicking about... absolutely NO rise in deaths at all...

Source: Bloomberg

Oh, and don't forget, the NBER said the recession ended last April... so what the f**k are you whining about?

Source: Bloomberg

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/19/2021 - 16:02
Published:7/19/2021 3:19:42 PM
[Government] US blames China for Exchange server hacks and ransomware attacks The Biden administration and its allies has formally accused China of the mass-hacking of Microsoft Exchange servers earlier this year, which prompted the FBI to intervene as concerns rose that the hacks could lead to widespread destruction. The mass-hacking campaign targeted Microsoft Exchange email servers with four previously undiscovered vulnerabilities that allowed the hackers — […] Published:7/19/2021 8:17:33 AM
[Markets] US Accuses Chinese Intelligence Agents Of Masterminding Hacks On Microsoft And Others Worldwide US Accuses Chinese Intelligence Agents Of Masterminding Hacks On Microsoft And Others Worldwide

As President Biden and his administration continue to burnish his "tough on China" credentials (which is shaping up to be a "theme" for the White House in July), the US has just announced that members of China's intelligence agency of hiring cyber-criminals to carry out a global campaign of hacks and cyber intrusions.

The US is expected to say Monday that the Chinese government has been the mastermind behind a series of malicious ransomware, data theft and other cyber-espionage attacks against public and private entities around the world, including the Microsoft Exchange hack uncovered earlier this year.

According to Bloomberg, the US will present evidence showing how China’s Ministry of State Security uses criminal contract hackers to conduct unsanctioned cyber operations globally, including for its own personal profit. Additionally, the NSA, CISA and FBI will expose more than 50 tactics Chinese state-sponsored cyber hackers have used.

Before now, the US has stopped short of publicly blaming Beijing for the Microsoft hacks.

Though of course this isn't the first we're hearing of the Microsoft Exchange hack, or other Chinese cyber-intrusions. Following ransomware attacks like the one that crippled the Colonial natural gas pipeline, cybersecurity has become an increasingly important political priority this year. The measures are also reminiscent of Biden's old boss President Obama, who once charged 5 Chinese military personnel over alleged involvement in a cyberattack on American corporations. Of course, that turned out to be a lot of chest-beating and not a lot of action.

From the looks of it, the US isn't alone in this. A coalition of NATO members along with the EU, New Zealand, Japan and Australia are reportedly launching a new alliance between the NATO members that involves sharing intelligence on cyber-threats and collaborating to improve their networks security. Microsoft blamed that attack on a China-backed group called Hafnium, according to CNBC.

They're also expected to join the US in blaming China and its intelligence apparatus for ordering hacks including the Microsoft Exchange intrusion.

CNBC pointed out that the new alliance follows Biden's lobbying NATO and EU members for support in adopting a more "confrontational" approach to China's cyber-activities.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/19/2021 - 07:28
Published:7/19/2021 6:47:28 AM
[Markets] Russiagate: Luke Harding's Hard Sell Russiagate: Luke Harding's Hard Sell

Authored by Joe Lauria via ConsortiumNews.com,

The only interests this leak serves - if it was a leak - are those of Harding and U.S. intelligence, who were hung out to dry by the collapse of the Russiagate narrative...

Luke Harding of The Guardian on Thursday came out with a new story that looks at first glance like an attempt to rescue the Russiagate story and the reputations of Harding and U.S. intelligence.

The headline reads, “Kremlin papers appear to show Putin’s plot to put Trump in White House” with the subhead: “Exclusive: Documents suggest Russia launched secret multi-agency effort to interfere in US democracy.”

Harding’s report says that during a Jan. 22, 2016 closed session of the Russian national security council, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian spies to back a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump for the White House to “help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them ‘social turmoil’ in the US.”

“Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature,” Harding writes. “A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use ‘all possible force’ to ensure a Trump victory.”

The article, starting with the headline, is littered with the use of qualifiers such as “appears,” “suggests,” “apparent,” and “seems.” Such qualifiers tell the reader that even the newspaper is not sure whether to believe its own story.

Quoting from what he says is an authentic document marked “secret,” Harding writes that there is “apparent confirmation” that the Kremlin had dirt on Trump it could use to blackmail him, gathered during earlier Trump “‘non-official visits to Russian Federation territory.’”

This would seem to confirm a central part of the so-called Steele dossier, which Harding hawked in his bestselling book Collusion.

Harding’s newest story though says nothing about the involvement of Trump operatives with this Kremlin plot, as that was unfounded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

Harding also suggests that the documents that came into his possession provides evidence of a Russian hack of Democratic National Committee computers.

Harding at the Nordic Media Festival, 2018. (Thor Brødreskift / Nordiske Mediedager/ Wikimedia Commons)

He writes:

“After the meeting, according to a separate leaked document, Putin issued a decree setting up a new and secret interdepartmental commission. Its urgent task was to realise the goals set out in the ‘special part’ of document No 32-04 \ vd. …

The defence minister was instructed to coordinate the work of subdivisions and services. [Sergei] Shoigu was also responsible for collecting and systematising necessary information and for “preparing measures to act on the information environment of the object” – a command, it seems, to hack sensitive American cyber-targets identified by the SVR. …

The papers appear to set out a route map for what actually happened in 2016.

A matter of weeks after the security council meeting, GRU hackers raided the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and subsequently released thousands of private emails in an attempt to hurt Clinton’s election campaign.”

These documents would perfectly confirm the story put out by U.S. intelligence and an eager Democratic media: that Russia’s defense intelligence agency GRU hacked the DNC and Russia leaked DNC emails to damage Hillary Clinton.

Except that Shawn Henry, the head of the company CrowdStrike hired by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign (while keeping the FBI away) to examine the DNC servers declared under oath to the House Intelligence Committee that no evidence of a hack was discovered. “It appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left,” Henry told the committee.

WikiLeaks, which Harding doesn’t mention, has also denied getting the DNC material from Russia that Harding says was released by Moscow. And Harding ignores the true contents of the emails.

Dmitri Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told The Guardian the story was “great pulp fiction.”

Let’s look at the motives of the players involved in this story.

The Kremlin, Moscow. (Pavel Kazachkov/Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Harding’s Motives

Henry’s denial of a hack and Mueller’s inability to prove Collusion, embarrassed Harding after he staked his reputation on his bestseller of that name. The book is essentially the story of Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent, who was paid by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to come up with opposition research against Trump.

Harding, like the Democratic media establishment, mistook opposition research, a mix of fact and fiction to smear a political opponent, for an intelligence document paid for by taxpayers, presumably in the interests of protecting the country rather than a political candidate. Of course, the FBI and the CIA sold it to the media as such to undermine the other candidate.

Harding has had a major omelet on his face after the Russiagate tale was ultimately exposed as opposition research paid for by the Democrats, who elevated it to a new Pearl Harbor.

Now I will engage in qualifiers here but it seems Harding is desperate to find anything that might rescue the story and his reputation. That’s a vulnerable position to be in, easily exploited by intelligence operatives, the way he was exploited with the original story.

An earlier attempt by Harding at rescuing himself was the disastrous piece he wrote for The Guardian that Paul Manafort, briefly Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, had visited Julian Assange at the Ecuador Embassy in London. It blew up in Harding’s face though his paper has never pulled the story.

U.S. Intelligence Motives

Members of the U.S. intelligence committee were staring at possible prosecution in the investigation run by U.S. Attorney John Durham for their role in pushing the opposition research as truth, leading, among other things, to a doctored FBI report to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor a Trump campaign worker.

The Steele dossier became the basis for other shenanigans by U.S. intelligence. Though in the end there were no indictments, the reputation of especially the FBI took a hit.

Leaking a story now that it was all true, after all, might do wonders to restore its standing among wide sections of the U.S. public who lost faith in the bureau over Russiagate.

A Kremlin Leakers’ Motives

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Kremlin) 

Harding writes in a cryptic way about how he got hold of these materials. He says the story is based on “what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.” As they were marked “secret,” and supposedly came from Putin’s innermost circle, as Harding says, it stands to reason that few people in the Russian government would have had access to them outside of that circle.

We are being asked to believe that someone closet to Putin leaked these documents either directly to Harding or to U.S. or British intelligence who then passed it on to Harding. (Harding calling it a leak would rule out that they were obtained through a Western intelligence hack.)

It can’t be dismissed that U.S. intelligence may have an active mole inside the Kremlin. But one must ask would that mole — if he or she exists — risk their freedom by leaking documents that have absolutely no current strategic or even political significance, rather than, say, classified information about Russian troop movements and military intentions?

The only interests this leak serves — if it was a leak — are those of Harding and U.S. intelligence, who were hung out to dry by the collapse of the Russiagate narrative.

Evaluating the Story

Harding is clearly reporting from Russian-language documents, snapshots of which are reproduced in The Guardian article. He writes that these documents were shown to “independent experts” who said they “appear” to be “genuine.” Harding does not reveal who these experts are.

To evaluate the credibility of Harding’s story would require knowing how he got the documents, not the names of the person or persons who gave them to him, but the interests they represent. He is especially vague about this.

Harding writes:

“Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.”

If they were handed to Harding by U.S. or British intelligence who had them for months, the idea that these are the products of spycraft cannot be dismissed. Crafting what looks like classified evidence from an adversarial power and then leaking it to friendly press has long been in the arsenal of intelligence agencies around the world.

It is unlikely we will ever know how Harding came into possession of these documents or who the experts are who said they “seem” genuine.

But the purpose of this piece may have already been achieved.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/18/2021 - 23:30
Published:7/18/2021 10:44:17 PM
[Markets] Ending Anonymity: Why The WEF's Partnership Against Cybercrime Threatens The Future Of Privacy Ending Anonymity: Why The WEF's Partnership Against Cybercrime Threatens The Future Of Privacy

Authored by Whitney Webb via TheLastAmericanVagabond.com,

With many focusing on the recent Cyber Polygon exercise, less attention has been paid to the World Economic Forum’s real ambitions in cybersecurity – to create a global organization aimed at gutting even the possibility of anonymity online. With the governments of the US, UK and Israel on board, along with some of the world’s most powerful corporations, it is important to pay attention to their endgame, not just the simulations.

Amid a series of warnings and simulations in the past year regarding a massive cyber attack that could soon bring down the global financial system, the “information sharing group” of the largest banks and private financial organizations in the United States warned earlier this year that banks “will encounter growing danger” from “converging” nation-state and criminal hackers over the course of 2021 and in the years that follow.

The organization, called the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), made the claim in its 2021 “Navigating Cyber” report, which assesses the events of 2020 and provides a forecast for the current year. That forecast, which casts a devastating cyber attack on the financial system through third parties as practically inevitable, also makes the case for a “global fincyber [financial-cyber] utility” as the main solution to the catastrophic scenarios it predicts.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, an organization close to top FS-ISAC members has recently been involved in laying the groundwork for that very “global fincyber utility” — the World Economic Forum, which recently produced the model for such a utility through its Partnership against Cybercrime (WEF-PAC) project. Not only are top individuals at FS-ISAC involved in WEF cybersecurity projects like Cyber Polygon, but FS-ISAC’s CEO was also an adviser to the WEF-Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report that warned that the global financial system was increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks and was the subject of the first article in this 2-part series.

Another article, published earlier this year at Unlimited Hangout, also explored the WEF’s Cyber Polygon 2020 simulation of a cyber attack targeting the global financial system. Another iteration of Cyber Polygon is due to take place tomorrow July 9th and will focus on simulating a supply chain cyber attack.

A major theme in these efforts has not only been an emphasis on global cooperation, but also a merging of private banks and/or corporations with the State, specifically intelligence and law enforcement agencies. In addition, many of the banks, institutions and individuals involved in the creation of these reports and simulations are either actively involved in WEF-related efforts to usher in a new global economic model of “stakeholder capitalism” or are seeking to imminently introduce, or are actively developing, central bank-backed digital currencies, or CBDCs.

In addition, and as mentioned in the first article in this series, a cyber attack like those described in these reports and simulations would also provide the perfect scenario for dismantling the current failing financial system, as it would absolve central banks and corrupt financial institutions of any responsibility. The convergence of several concerning factors in the financial world, including the end of LIBOR at the end of year and the imminent hyperinflation of globally important currencies, suggests that the time is ripe for an event that would not only allow the global economy to “reset”, but also absolve the fundamentally corrupt financial institutions around the world from any wrongdoing. Instead, faceless hackers can be blamed and, given recent precedents in the US and elsewhere, any group or nation state can be blamed with minimal evidence as politically convenient.

This report will closely examine both FS-ISAC’s recent predictions and the WEF Partnership against Cybercrime, specifically the WEF-PAC’s efforts to position itself as the cybersecurity alliance of choice if and when such a catastrophic cyber attack cripples the current financial system.

Of particular interest is the call by both FS-ISAC and the WEF Partnership against Cybercrime to specifically target cryptocurrencies, particularly those that favor transactional anonymity, as well as the infrastructure on which those cryptocurrencies run. Though framed as a way to combat “cybercrime”, it is obvious that cryptocurrencies are to be unwanted competitors for the soon-to-be-launched central bank digital currencies. 

In addition, as this report will show, there is a related push by WEF partners to “tackle cybercrime” that seeks to end privacy and the potential for anonymity on the internet in general, by linking government-issued IDs to internet access. Such a policy would allow governments to surveil every piece of online content accessed as well as every post or comment authored by each citizen, supposedly to ensure that no citizen can engage in “criminal” activity online. 

Notably, the WEF Partnership against Cybercrime employs a very broad definition of what constitutes a “cybercriminal” as they apply this label readily to those who post or host content deemed to be “disinformation” that represents a threat to “democratic” governments. The WEF’s interest in criminalizing and censoring online content has been made evident by its recent creation of a new Global Coalition for Digital Safety to facilitate the increased regulation of online speech by both the public and private sectors.

FS-ISAC, its influence and its doomsday “predictions” for 2021

FS-ISAC officially exists to “help ensure the resilience and continuity of the global financial services infrastructure and individual firms against acts that could significantly impact the sector’s ability to provide services critical to the orderly function of the global economy.” In other words, FS-ISAC allows the private financial services industry to decide on and coordinate sector-wide responses regarding how financial services are provided during and after a given crisis, including a cyber attack. It was tellingly created in 1999, the same year that the Glass-Steagall Act, which regulated banks after the onset of the Great Depression, was repealed.

Though FS-ISAC’s members are not publicly listed on the group’s website, they do acknowledge that their membership includes some of the world’s largest banks, Fintech companies, insurance firms and payment processors. On their board of directors, the companies and organizations represented include CitiGroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley, among others, strongly suggesting that FS-ISAC is largely a Wall Street-dominated entity. SWIFT, the society that manages inter-bank communication and dominates it globally, is also represented on FS-ISAC’s board. Collectively, FS-ISAC members represent $35 trillion in assets under management in more than 70 countries.

FS-ISAC also has ties to the World Economic Forum due to the direct involvement of its then-CEO Steve Silberstein in the WEF-Carnegie initiative and FS-ISAC’s participation in the initiative’s “stakeholder engagements.” There is also the fact that some prominent FS-ISAC members, like Bank of America and SWIFT, are also members of the WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity, which houses the WEF Partnership against Cybercrime project. 

At the individual level, the founding director of FS-ISAC, Charles Blauner, is now an agenda contributor to the WEF who previously held top posts at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and CitiGroup. He currently is a partner and CISO-in-residence of Team8, a controversial start-up incubator that operates as a front for Israeli military intelligence in tech-related ventures that is part of the WEF Partnership against Cybersecurity. Team8’s CEO and co-founder and the former commander of Israeli intelligence outfit Unit 8200, Nadav Zafrir, has contributed to WEF Centre for Cybersecurity policy documents and WEF panels on the “Great Reset”. 

In addition, current FS-ISAC board member Laura Deaner, CISO of Northwestern Mutual, served as the co-chair for the WEF’s Global Futures Council on Cybersecurity. Teresa Walsh, the current global head of intelligence for FS-ISAC, will be a speaker at the WEF’s Cyber Polygon 2021 regarding how to develop an international response to ransomware attacks. Walsh previously worked as an intelligence analyst for Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and the US Navy. 

The FS-ISAC’s recent report is worth looking at in detail for several reasons, with the main one being the sheer power and influence that its members, both known and unknown, hold over the current fiat-based financial system. The full report is exclusive to FS-ISAC members, but a “thematic summary” is publicly available.

The FS-ISAC’s recent report on “Navigating Cyber” in 2021 is “based on the contributions of our members and the resulting trend analysis by FS-ISAC’s Global Intelligence Office (GIO)” and includes several “predictions” for the current calendar year. The group’s GIO, led by Teresa Walsh, soon-to-be speaker at Cyber Polygon 2021, also “coordinates with other cybersecurity organizations, companies and agencies around the world” in addition to its intelligence gathering from FS-ISAC members.

At the beginning of 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis resulted in an overt push towards digitization, FS-ISAC launched a “new secure chat and intelligence sharing platform” that “provided a new way for members to discuss threats and security trends.” It is fair to assume that the private discussions on this platform directly informed this report. According to the recent FS-ISAC report, the main trends and threats discussed by its members through this service over the past year were “third party risks”, such as the risk presented by major hacks of third party service providers, like the SolarWinds hack, and “geopolitical tensions.”

The report contains several “predictions for 2021 and beyond.” The first of these predictions is that adversarial nation-states will team up with “the cybercriminal underworld” in order to “obfuscate their activity and complication attribution.” FS-ISAC does not provide evidence of this having happened, but supporting this claim makes it easier to blame state governments for the activities of cybercriminals when politically convenient without concrete evidence. This has happened on several occasions with recent high-profile hacks, most recently with SolarWinds. As noted in previous reporting, prominent companies that contract for the US government and military, like Microsoft, and intelligence-linked cybersecurity companies, are often the sole sources for such narratives in the past and, in those cases, do not provide evidence, instead qualifying such assertions as “likely” or probable.” Even mainstream outlets reporting on FS-ISAC’s “predictions” noted that “FS-ISAC did not point to specific examples of spies relying on such tradecraft in the past,” openly suggesting that there is little factual basis to support this claim. 

Other predictions focus on how third party service providers, such as SolarWinds and the more recently targeted Kaseya, will dominate, affecting potentially many thousands of companies across multiple sectors at once. However, the SolarWinds hack was not properly investigated, merely labeled by US intelligence as having “likely” ties to “Russian” state-linked actors despite no publicly available evidence to support that claim. Instead, the SolarWinds hack appears to have been related to its acquisition of an Israeli company funded by intelligence-linked firms, as discussed in this report from earlier this year. SolarWinds acquired the company, called Samanage, and integrated its software fully into its platform around the same time that the backdoor used to execute the hack was placed into the SolarWinds platform that was later compromised.

FS-ISAC also predicts that attacks will cross borders, continents, and verticals, with increasing speed. More specifically, it states that the cyber pandemic will begin with cyber criminals that “test attacks in one country and quickly scale up to multiple targets in other parts of the world.” FS-ISAC argues that it is therefore “critical to have a global view on cyber threats facing the sector in order to prepare and defend against them.”  Since FS-ISAC made this prediction, cyber attacks and especially ransomware have been occurring throughout the world and targeting different sectors at a much more rapid pace than has ever been seen before. For instance, following the Colonial Pipeline hack in early May, JapanNew Zealand, and Ireland all experienced major cyber attacks, followed by the JBS hack on June 1. The hack of Kaseya, believed by some to be just as consequential and damaging as SolarWinds, took place about a month later on July 2, affecting thousands of companies around the world.

The final, and perhaps the most important, of these predictions is that “economic drivers towards cybercrime will increase.” FS-ISAC claims that the current economic situation created by COVID-related lockdowns will “make cybercrime an ever more attractive alternative,” noting immediately afterwards that “dramatic increases in cryptocurrency valuation may drive threat actors to conduct campaigns capitalising on this market, including extortion campaigns against financial institutions and their customers.”

In other words, FS-ISAC views the increase in the value of cryptocurrency as a direct driver of cybercrime, implying that the value of cryptocurrency must be dealt with to reduce such criminal activities. However, the data does not fit these assertions as the use of cryptocurrency by cybercriminals is low and getting lower. For instance, one recent study found that only 0.34% of cryptocurrency transactions in 2020 were tied to criminal activity, down from 2% the year prior. Though the decrease may be due to a jump in cryptocurrency adoption, the overall percentage of crime-linked crypto transactions is incredibly low, a fact obviously known to FS-ISAC and its members.

However, cryptocurrency does present a threat to the plans by FS-ISAC members and its partners to begin producing digital currencies controlled either by approved private entities (like Russia’s Sbercoin) or central banks themselves (like China’s digital yuan). The success of that project depends on neutering the competition, which is likely why FS-ISAC subtitled its 2021 report as “the case for a global fincyber utility,” with such a utility framed as necessary to defend the financial services industry against cyber threats.

The WEF’s Partnership Against Cybercrime

Conveniently for FS-ISAC, there is already a project that hopes to soon become this very global fincyber utility – the WEF Partnership Against Cybercrime (WEF-PAC). Partners in WEF-PAC include some of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, such as Bank of America, Banco Santander, Sberbank, UBS, Credit Suisse and the World Bank, as well as major payment processors such as Mastercard and PayPal. Also very significant is the presence of all of the “Big Four” global accounting firms: Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Think tanks/non-profits, including the Council of EuropeThird Way and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as well as the WEF itself, are also among its members as are several national government agencies, like the US Department of Justice, FBI and Secret Service, the UK’s National Crime Agency and Israel’s National Cyber Directorate. International and regional law enforcement agencies, such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL, both of which are repeat participants in the WEF’s Cyber Polygon, are also involved. Silicon Valley is also well represented with the presence of Amazon, Microsoft, and Cisco, all three of which are also major US military and intelligence contractors. Cybersecurity companies founded by alumni and former commanders of Israeli intelligence services, such as Palo Alto Networks, Team8 and Check Point, are also prominent members. 

The Israeli intelligence angle is especially important when examining WEF-PAC, as one of its architects and the WEF’s current Head of Strategy for Cybersecurity is Tal Goldstein, though his biography on the WEF website seems to claim that he is Head of Strategy for the WEF as a whole. Goldstein is a veteran of Israeli military intelligence, having been recruited through Israel’s Talpiot program, which feeds high IQ teenagers in Israel into the upper echelons of elite Israeli military intelligence units with a focus on technology.  It is sometimes referred to as the IDF’s “MENSA” and was originally created by notorious Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan. Eitan is best known as Jonathan Pollard’s handler and the mastermind behind the PROMIS software scandal, the most infamous Israeli intelligence operation conducted against Israel’s supposed “ally”, the United States. 

Due to its focus on technological ability, many Talpiot recruits subsequently serve in Israel’s Unit 8200, the signals intelligence unit of Israeli military intelligence that is often described as equivalent to the US’ NSA or the UK’s GCHQ, before moving into the private tech sector, including major Silicon Valley companies. Other Talpiot-Unit 8200 figures of note are one of the co-founders of Check Point, Marius Nacht, and Assaf Rappaport, who designed major aspects of Microsoft’s cloud services and later managed that division. Rappaport later came to manage much of Microsoft’s research and development until his abrupt departure early last year.

In addition to his past as a Talpiot recruit and 8 years in Israeli military intelligence, the WEF’s Tal Goldstein had played a key role in establishing Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, now part of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, now a WEF-PAC partner. The National Cyber Bureau was established in 2013 with the explicit purpose “to build and maintain the State of Israel’s national strength as an international leader in the field” of cybersecurity. According to Goldstein’s WEF biography, Goldstein led the formation of Israel’s entire national cybersecurity strategy with a focus on technology, international cooperation, and economic growth. 

Goldstein was thus also one of the key architects of the Israeli cybersecurity policy shift which took place in 2012, whereby intelligence operations formerly conducted “in house” by Mossad, Unit 8200 and other Israeli intelligence agencies would instead be conducted through private companies that act as fronts for those intelligence agencies. One admitted example of such a front company is Black Cube, which was created by the Mossad to act explicitly as its “private sector” branch. In 2019, Israeli officials involved in drafting and executing that policy openly yet anonymously admitted to the policy’s existence in Israeli media reports. One of the supposed goals of the policy was to prevent countries like the US from ever boycotting Israel in any meaningful way for violations of human rights and international law by seeding prominent multinational tech companies, such as those based in Silicon Valley, with Israeli intelligence front companies. This effort was directly facilitated by American billionaire Paul Singer, who set up Start Up Nation Central with Benjamin Netanyahu’s main economic adviser and a top AIPAC official in 2012 to facilitate the incorporation of Israeli start-ups into American companies.

Goldstein’s selection by the WEF as head of strategy for its cybersecurity efforts suggests that Israeli intelligence agencies, as well as Israeli military agencies focused on cybersecurity, will likely play an outsized role in WEF-PAC’s efforts, particularly its ambition to create a new global governance structure for the internet. In addition, Goldstein’s past in developing a policy whereby private companies acted as conduits for intelligence operations is of obvious concern given the WEF’s interest in simulating and promoting an imminent “cyber pandemic” in the wake of the COVID crisis. Given that the WEF had simulated a scenario much like COVID prior to its onset through Event 201, having someone like Goldstein as the WEF’s head of strategy for all things cyber ahead of an alleged “cyber pandemic” is cause for concern.

A Global Threat to Justify a Global “Solution”

Last November, around the same time the WEF-Carnegie report was released, the WEF-PAC produced its own “insight report” aimed at “shaping the future of cybersecurity and digital trust.” Chiefly written by the WEF’s Tal Goldstein alongside executives from Microsoft, the Cyber Threat Alliance, and Fortinet, the report offers “a first step towards establishing a global architecture for cooperation” as part of a global “paradigm shift” in how cybercrime is addressed.

The foreword was authored by Jürgen Stock, the Secretary-General of INTERPOL, who had participated in last year’s Cyber Polygon exercise and will also participate in this year’s Cyber Polygon as well. Stock claims in the report that “a public-private partnership against cybercrime is the only way to gain an edge over cybercriminals” (emphasis added). Not unlike the WEF-Carnegie report, Stock asserts that only by ensuring that large corporations work hand in glove with law enforcement agencies “can we effectively respond to the cybercrime threat.”

The report first seeks to define the threat and focuses specifically on the alleged connection between cryptocurrencies, privacy enhancing technology, and cybercrime. It asserts that “cybercriminals abuse encryption, cryptocurrencies, anonymity services and other technologies”, even though their use is hardly exclusive to criminals. The report then states that, in addition to financially motivated cybercriminals, cybercriminals also include those who use those technologies to “uphold terrorism” and “spread disinformation to destabilize governments and democracies”. 

While the majority of the report’s discussion on the cybercrime threat focuses on ransomware, the WEF-PAC’s inclusion of “disinformation” highlights the fact that the WEF and their partners view cybercriminals through a much broader lens. This, of course, also means that the methods to combat cybercrime contained within the report could be used to target those who “spread disinformation”, not just ransomware and related attacks, meaning that such “disinformation” spreaders could see their use of cryptocurrency, encryption, etc. restricted by the rules and regulations WEF-PAC seeks to promote. However, the report promotes the use of privacy-enhancing technologies for WEF-PAC members, a clear double standard that reveals that this group sees privacy as something for the powerful and not for the general public.

This broad definition of “cybercriminal” conveniently dovetails with the Biden administration’s recent “domestic terror” strategy, which similarly has a very broad definition of who is a “domestic terrorist.” The Biden administration’s strategy is also not exclusive to the US, but a multinational framework that is poised to be used to censor and criminalize critics of the WEF stakeholder capitalism model as well as those deemed to hold “anti-government” and “anti-authority” viewpoints. 

The WEF-PAC report, which was published several months before the US strategy, has other parallels with the new Biden administration policy, such as its call to crack down on the use of anonymity software by those deemed “cybercriminals” and calling for “international information sharing and cross-border operational cooperation,” even if that cooperation is “not always aligned with existing legislative and operational frameworks.” In addition, the Biden administration’s strategy concludes by noting that it is part of a broader US government effort to “restore faith” in public institutions. Similarly, the WEF-PAC report frames combatting all types of activities they define as cybercrime necessary to improving “digital trust”, the lack of which is “greatly undermining the benefits of cyberspace and hindering international cyber stability efforts.”

In discussing “solutions”, the WEF-PAC calls for the global targeting of “infrastructures and assets” deemed to facilitate cybercrime, including those which enable ransomware “revenue streams”, i.e. privacy-minded cryptocurrencies, and enable “the promotion of illegal sites and the hosting of criminal content.” In another section, it discusses seizing websites of “cybercriminals” as an attractive possibility. Given that this document includes online “disinformation” as cybercrime, this could potentially see independent media websites and the infrastructure that allows them to operate (i.e. video sharing platforms that do not censor, etc.) emerge as targets.

The report continues, stating that “in order to reduce the global impact of cybercrime and to systematically restrain cybercriminals, cybercrime must be confronted at its source by raising the cost of conducting cybercrimes, cutting the activities’ profitability and deterring criminals by increasing the direct risk they face.” It then argues, unsurprisingly, that because the cybercrime threat is global in scope, it’s “solution must also be a globally coordinated effort” and says the main way to achieve this involves “harnessing the private sector to work side by side with law enforcement officials.” This is very similar to the conclusions of the WEF-Carnegie report, released around the same time as the WEF-PAC report, which called for private banks to work alongside law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as their regulators to “protect” the global financial system from cybercriminals.

The Framework for a Global Cyber Utility

This global coordination, per the WEF-PAC, should be based around a new global system uniting law enforcement agencies from around the world with cybersecurity companies, large corporations such as banks, and other “stakeholders.” 

The stakeholders that will make up this new entity, the structure of which will be discussed shortly, is based around 6 founding principles, several of which are significant. For example, the first principle is to “embrace a shared narrative for collective action against cybercrime.” Per the report, this principle involves the stakeholders comprising this organization having “joint ownership of a shared narrative and objective for the greater good of reducing cybercrime across all industries and globally.” The second principle involves the stakeholders basing their cooperation on “long-term strategic alignment.” The fifth principle involves “ensuring value for participating in the cooperation”, with such that “value” or benefit being “aligned with the public and private sectors’ strategic interests.” In other words, the stakeholders of this global cyber utility will be united in their commitment to a common, public-facing “narrative” that serves their organizations’ “strategic interests” over the long term. The decision to emphasize the term “shared narrative” is important as a narrative is merely a story that does not necessarily need to reflect the truth of the situation, thus suggesting that stakeholders merely be consistent in their public statements so they all fit the agreed upon narrative. 

Many organizations that are related to or are formally part of WEF-PAC are deeply invested in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as well as efforts to digitalize and thus more easily control nearly every sector of the global economy and to regulate the internet. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that many of these groups may look to justify regulations and other measures that will advance these agendas in which they have long-term “strategic interests” through the promotion of a “shared narrative” that is deemed most palatable to the general public, but not necessarily based in fact. Business is business, after all.

The WEF-PAC report concludes with its three-tier model for “a global architecture for public-private cooperation against cybercrime.” The top level of this system is referred to as the “global partnership”, which will build on the existing WEF-PAC and will “bring together international stakeholders to provide an overarching narrative and commitment to cooperate; foster interaction within a global network of entities that drive efforts to fight cybercrime; and facilitate strategic dialogues and processes aiming to support cooperation and overcome barriers in the long term.” 

Elsewhere in the report it notes that chief among these “barriers” are existing pieces of legislation in many countries that prohibit law enforcement agencies and government regulators from essentially fusing their operations with private sector entities, particularly those they are meant to either oversee or prosecute for wrongdoing. In addition, the report states that this “global partnership” would focus on fostering “a shared narrative to increase commitment and affiliation”, amplifying “operational cooperation” between the public and private sectors and improving “stakeholders’ understanding of respective interests, needs, goals, priorities and constraints.”

The second level of this system is called “permanent nodes” in the report. These are defined as “a global network of existing organizations that strive to facilitate public-private cooperation over time.” The main candidates to occupy the role of “permanent nodes” are “non-profit organizations that are already spurring cooperation between private companies and law enforcement agencies,” specifically the Cyber Threat Alliance and the Global Cyber Alliance. Both are discussed in detail in the next section. Other potential “permanent nodes” mentioned in the report are INTERPOL, EURPOL and, of course, FS-ISAC. While the top level “global partnership” represents the “strategic level” of the organization, the “permanent node” level represents the “coordination level” as the nodes would supply necessary infrastructure, operational rules, and management, as well as “strategic dialogue” among member organizations.

The permanent nodes would directly enable the third level of the organization, which are referred to as “Threat Focus Cells” and are defined as representing the organization’s “operational level.” The WEF-PAC defines these cells as “temporary trust groups consisting of both public- and private-sector organizations and they would focus on discreet cybercrime targets or issues.” Per the report, each cell “would be led jointly by a private-sector participant, a law enforcement participant and a designated representative” of the permanent node that is sponsoring the cell. 

Ideally, it states that cells should have between 10 to 15 participants and that “private-sector participants would typically represent organizations that can act to enhance cybersecurity on behalf of large constituencies, that have unique access to relevant cybersecurity information and threat intelligence, or that can contribute on an ecosystem-wide basis.” Thus, only massive corporations need apply. In addition, it states that law enforcement members of threat cells should “represent national-level agencies” or hail from “network defence or sector-specific agencies” at the national, regional or international level. Cell activities would range from “scouting a new threat” to “an infrastructure takedown” to “arrests.”

The WEF-PAC concludes by stating that “in the coming months, the Partnership against Cybercrime Working Group will continue to prepare the implementation of these concepts and widen the scope of the initiative’s efforts”, including by inviting “leading companies and law enforcement agencies” to pledge their commitment to the WEF-PAC’s efforts. It then states that “the suggested architecture could eventually evolve into a newly envisioned, independent Alliance to Combat Global Cybercrime.” “In the interim,” it continues, “the World Economic Forum and key stakeholders will work together to promote the desired processes and assess the validity of the concept.”

Meet the “Nodes”

Among the organizations that the WEF-PAC highlights as shoo-in candidates for “permanent nodes” in their proposal for a global cyber utility, there are two that stand out and are worth examining in detail. They are the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), both of which are formal members of the WEF-PAC.

The Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) was initially founded by the companies Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks in May 2014, before McAfee and Symantec joined CTA as co-founders that September. Today, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks are charter members alongside Check Point and Cisco, while Symantec and McAfee are affiliate members alongside Verizon, Sophos and Avast, among several others. The mission of CTA is to allow for information sharing among its many partners, members, and affiliates in order to “allow the sharing of threat intelligence to better protect their customers against cyberattacks and to make the defense ecosystem more effective,” according to CTA’s current chief executive. CTA, per their website, also focuses on “advocacy” aimed at informing policy initiatives of governments around the world.

CTA is directly partnered with FS-ISAC and the WEF-PAC as well as the hawkish, US-based think tank the Aspen Institute, which is heavily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation. Other partners include: MITRE Engenuity, the “tech foundation for public good” of the secretive US intelligence and military contractor MITRE; the Cyber Peace Institute, a think tank seeking “peace and justice in cyberspace” that is largely funded by Microsoft and Mastercard (both of which are WEF partners and key players in ID2020); the Cybersecurity Coalition, whose members include Palo Alto Networks, Israeli intelligence front company Cybereasonintelligence and military operative Amit Yoran’s Tenable, Intel, AT&T, Google, McAfee, Microsoft, Avast and Cisco, among others; the Cybercrime Support Network, a non-profit funded by AT&T, Verizon, Google, Cisco, Comcast, Google and Microsoft, among others; and the Global Cyber Alliance, to be discussed shortly. Another key partner is the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), which has numerous ties to the US military, particularly DARPA, and the US National Security State, including the CIA’s In-Q-Tel. The CEO of the Cyber Peace Institute, Stéphane Duguin, was a participant in Cyber Polygon 2020, and the CEO of the Cybercrime Support Network, Kristin Judge, contributed to the WEF-PAC report. Some of the CTA’s partners are listed in the WEF-PAC report as other potential “permanent nodes.”

The CTA is led by Michael Daniel, who co-wrote the WEF-PAC report with Tal Goldstein. Daniel, immediately prior to joining CTA as its top executive in early 2017, was a Special Assistant to former President Obama and the Cybersecurity coordinator of Obama’s National Security Council. In that capacity, Daniel developed the foundations for the US government’s current national cybersecurity strategy, which includes partnerships with the private sector, NGOs and foreign governments. Daniel has stated that some of his cybersecurity views at CTA are drawn “in part on the wisdom of Henry Kissinger” and he has been an agenda contributor to the WEF since his time in the Obama administration. Daniel is one of Cyber Polygon 2021’s experts and will be speaking alongside Teresa Walsh of FS-ISAC and Craig Jones of INTERPOL on how to develop an international response to ransomware attacks.

The fact that CTA was founded by Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks is notable as both companies are intimately related. Fortinet’s founder Ken Xie, who sits on CTA’s board and is a founding member and advisor to the WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity, previously founded and then ran NetScreen Technologies, where Palo Alto Network’s founder, Nir Zuk, worked after his earlier company OneSecure was acquired by NetScreen in 2002. Zuk is an alumni of Israeli intelligence’s Unit 8200 and was recruited directly out of that unit in 1994 by Check Point, a CTA charter member, WEF-PAC member and tech company founded by Unit 8200 alumni. Zuk has been open about maintaining close ties to the Israeli government while operating the California-based Palo Alto Networks. Fortinet, for its part, is known for hiring former US intelligence officials, including former top NSA officials. Fortinet is a US government and US military contractor and came under scrutiny in 2016 after a whistleblower filed suit against the company for illegally selling the US military technological products that had been disguised in order to appear as American-made, but were actually made in China. Fortinet’s Derek Manky is one of the co-authors of the WEF-PAC report.

Check Point’s co-founder and current CEO, Gil Shwed, currently sits on CTA’s board of directors and is also a WEF “Global Leader for Tomorrow”, in addition to his longstanding ties to the Israeli National Security State and his past work for Unit 8200. Another Check Point top executive, Dorit Dor, is a member of the WEF Centre for Cybersecurity and a speaker at Cyber Polygon 2021, where she will speak on protecting supply chains. Gil Shwed, over the past few weeks, has been making numerous appearances on US cable television news to warn that a “cyber pandemic” is imminent. In addition to those appearances, Shwed produced a video on June 23rd asking “Is a Cyber Pandemic Coming?”, in which Shwed answers with a resounding yes. The term “cyber pandemic” first emerged on the scene last year during WEF chairman Klaus Schwab’s opening speech at the first WEF Cyber Polygon simulation and it is notable that the WEF-connected Shwed uses the same terminology. Schwab also stated in that speech that the comprehensive cyber attacks that would comprise this “cyber pandemic” would make the COVID-19 crisis appear to be “a small disturbance in comparison.”

In addition to CTA, another international alliance named by the WEF-PAC as a “permanent node” candidate is the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). The GCA was reportedly the idea of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. who “knew that there had to be a better way to confront the cybercrime epidemic” back in 2015. GCA was born through discussions Vance held with William Pelgrin, former President and CEO of the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and one of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top cyber advisors. Pelgrin and Vance later approached Adrian Leppard, the then- police commissioner of the City of London, the controversial financial center of the UK. Unsurprisingly, CityUK, the City of London’s main financial lobby group, is a member of the GCA. 

If one is familiar with Cyrus Vance’s time as Manhattan DA, his interest in meaningfully pursuing crime, particularly if committed by the wealthy and powerful, is laughable. Vance infamously dropped cases against and/or declined to prosecute powerful New York figures, including Donald Trump’s children and Harvey Weinstein, subsequently receiving massive donations to his re-election campaigns from Trump family and Weinstein lawyers. His office also once lobbied a New York court on behalf of intelligence-linked pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was seeking at the time to have his registered sex offender status downgraded. Vance’s office later U-turned in regards to Weinstein and Epstein after more and more accusers came forward and after considerable press attention was paid to their misdeeds. Vance also came under scrutiny after dropping charges against former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, for the sexual assault of a hotel maid.

Vance used $25 million in criminal asset forfeiture funds to create GCA, in addition to funding from Pelgrin’s CIS and the Leppard-run City of London police. Its official yet opaque purpose is “to reduce cyber risk” on a global scale in order to create “a secure, trustworthy internet.” Their means of accomplishing this purpose is equally vague as they claim to “approach this challenge by building partnerships and creating a global community that stands strong together.” For all intents and purposes, GCA is a massive organization whose members seek to create a more regulated, less anonymous internet. 

The role of the Center for Internet Security (CIS) in the GCA is highly significant, as CIS is the non-profit that manages key bodies involved in the maintenance of critical US infrastructure, including for US state and local governments and for federal, state and local elections. CIS, which is also partnered with CTA, also works closely with the main groups responsible for protecting the US power grid and water supply systems and is also directly partnered with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its board of directors, in addition to William Pelgrin, includes former high-ranking military and intelligence operatives (i.e. the aforementioned Amit Yoran), former top officials at the DHS and the National Security Agency (NSA) and one of the main architects of US cyber policy under the administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. CIS was created through private meetings between “a small group of business and government leaders” who were members of the Cosmos Club, the “private social club” of the US political and scientific elite whose members have included three presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices and numerous Nobel Prize winners.

GCA’s main funders are the founders listed above as well as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the foundation of the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard (HP), a tech giant with deep ties to US intelligence; Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the “philanthropic” arm of the Craigslist founder’s influence empire; and Bloomberg, the media outlet owned by billionaire and former Mayor of New York Mike Bloomberg. GCA’s premium partners, which also fund GCA and secure a seat on GCA’s Strategic Advisory Committee, include Facebook, Mastercard, Microsoft, Intel, and PayPal as well as C. Hoare & Co., the UK’s oldest privately owned bank and the fifth oldest bank in the world. Other significant premium partners include the Public Interest Registry, which manages the .org domain for websites, and ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), that manages much of the Internet’s global Domain Name System (DNS). Those two organizations together represent a significant portion of website domain name management globally. Notably, the founding chairwoman of ICANN was Esther Dyson, whose connections to Jeffrey Epstein and the Edge Foundation were discussed in a recent Unlimited Hangout investigation.

In terms of partners, GCA is much larger than CTA and other such alliances, most of which are themselves partners of GCA. Indeed, nearly every partner of CTA, including the CTA itself are part of the GCA as is CTA co-founder Palo Alto Networks. GCA’s partners include several international law enforcement agencies including: the National Police, National Gendarmerie and Ministry of Justice of France, the Ministry of Justice of Lagos, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the UK Met Police, and the US Secret Service. The state governments of Michigan and New York are also partners. Several institutions and companies deeply tied to the US National Security State, such as Michael Chertoff’s the Chertoff Groupthe National Security Institute, and MITRE, are part of GCA as are some of the most controversial and intelligence-connected cybersecurity companies, such as Crowdstrike and Sepio Systems, another Unit 8200 alumni-founded company whose chairman of the board is former Mossad director Tamir Pardo. The Israeli intelligence-linked initiative CyberNYC is also a member. Major telecommunication companies like Verizon and Virgin are represented alongside some of the world’s largest banks, including Bank of America and Barclays, as well as FS-ISAC and the UK’s “most powerful financial lobby”, the CityUK.

Also crucial is the presence of several media organizations as partners, chief among them Bloomberg. Aside from Bloomberg and Craig Newmark Philanthropies (which funds several mainstream news outlets and “anti-fake news” initiatives), media outlets and organizations partnered with GCA include Free Press Unlimited (funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the European Union, and the US, Dutch, Belgian and UK governments), the Institute for Nonprofit News (funded by Craig Newmark, Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, among others), and Report for America (funded by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Facebook, Google and Bloomberg). PEN America, the well-known non-profit  and literary society focused on press freedom, is also a member. PEN has become much more closely aligned with US government policy and particularly the Democratic Party in recent years, likely owing to its current CEO being Suzanne Nossel, a former deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations at the Hillary Clinton-run State Department. The many other members of GCA can all be found here.

 The End of Anonymity

The considerable involvement of some of the most powerful corporations in the world from some of the most critical sectors that underpin the current economy, as well as non-profits that manage key internet, government and utility infrastructure in these organizations that comprise WEF-PAC is highly significant and also concerning for more than a few reasons. Indeed, if all were to follow the call to form a “shared narrative”, whether it is true or not, in pursuit of long-term “strategic interests”, which the WEF and many of its partners directly relate to the rapid implementation of the 4th Industrial Revolution via the “Great Reset”, the WEF-PAC  global cyber utility could emerge sooner rather than later. 

As evidenced by the architecture put forth by WEF-PAC, the power that organization would have over the public and private sectors is considerable. Such an organization, once established, could usher in long-standing efforts to both require a digital ID to access and use the internet as well as eliminate the ability to conduct anonymous financial transactions. Both policies would advance the overarching goal of both the WEF and many corporations and governments to usher in a new age of unprecedented surveillance of ordinary citizens.

The effort to eliminate anonymous transactions in digital currency has become very overt in some countries in recent weeks, particularly in the US. For instance, Anne Neuberger, current Deputy National Security Adviser who has deep ties to the US-Israel lobby, stated on June 29 that the Biden administration was considering obtaining more “visibility” into ransomware groups’ activities, particularly anonymous cryptocurrency transactions. Such efforts could easily cross the line into state surveillance of any and all Americans’ online crypto transactions, especially given the US government’s history of habitually engaging in surveillance overreach in the post-9/11 era. One specific possibility mentioned by Neuberger was to prohibit companies from keeping crypto payments of concern secret, suggesting possible, imminent regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. Current efforts, per Neuberger, also include an effort to build “an international coalition” against ransomware, which will likely tie into WEF-PAC given that the FBI, DOJ and US Secret Service are already members. 

Neuberger also stated that the recent public-private partnership that took down the Trickbot botnet “should be the kind of operation used to tackle ransomware gangs in the future.” However, that effort, led by WEF partner Microsoftpreemptively took down a network of computers “out of fear that hackers could deploy [that network] to launch ransomware attacks to inhibit election-supporting IT systems” ahead of the US election. Using Trickbot as the model for future ransomware operations means opening the door to companies like Microsoft taking preemptive action against infrastructure used by people that the government and private sector “fear” may engage in “cybercrime” at some point in the future.

Notably, on the same day as Neuberger’s statements, Congressional representative Bill Foster (D-IL) told Axios that “there’s significant sentiment in Congress that if you’re participating in an anonymous crypto transaction that you are a de facto participant in a criminal conspiracy.” Coming from Rep. Foster, this is quite significant as he is a member of the Financial Services Committee, the Blockchain Caucus and a recently formed Congressional working group on cryptocurrency. His decision to use the phrase “anonymous crypto transaction” as opposed to a transaction linked to ransomware or criminal activity is also significant, as it suggests that the possibility that complete anonymity is seen to be the target of coming efforts to regulate the crypto space by the US Congress. While Foster claims to oppose a “completely surveilled environment” for crypto, he qualifies that by stating that “you have to be able to unmask and potentially reverse those [crypto] transactions.” However, if this becomes government policy, it will mean the only group allowed to have complete anonymity in online financial transactions will be the State and will open the door to the government’s abuse of “unmasking”, which the US government has done in numerous instances over the years through the systematic abuse of FISA warrants.

It is also important to mention that the US is hardly alone in its effort to wipe out online financial anonymity in the crypto world, as several governments that are supporting Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) projects, which includes the US, are either moving towards or have already cracked down on the crypto space. For example, soon after China introduced the “digital yuan”, it cracked down on bitcoin miners and companies that provide services, including ads and marketing, to crypto-related entities. This had major implications for the crypto market and resulted in a considerable reduction in bitcoin’s value, which it has yet to fully recover. It is reasonable to assume that other governments will work to aggressively regulate or even ban crypto markets following the introduction of their CBDC projects in order to force widespread adoption of the digital currency favored by the State. It is also worth highlighting the additional fact that, as China introduced the digital yuan, it also sought to crackdown on cash, stating that the anonymity offered by cash – much like anonymous crypto transactions – could also be used for “illicit activity.”

However, there are some obvious holes in the WEF-PAC’s narratives and justifications for its “solutions.” For example, even if cryptocurrencies are banned or heavily regulated, it is unlikely that this will end cyber attacks, with hackers likely finding a new way to conduct operations that provide them with some sort of financial benefit. Cyber attacks and cybercrime precede the creation of crypto considerably and would continue even if crypto were somehow magically removed from the equation.

In addition, there has been speculation about the nature of the 3 big hacks that took place over the past year: SolarWinds, Colonial and JBS. In the case of SolarWinds, attribution of blame to “Russian hackers” came down to CIA-linked cybersecurity firm FireEye claiming that the “disciplined” methodology of the hackers could only possibly have been individuals tied to Russia’s government and because FireEye’s CEO received a postcard he “suspects” was Russian in origin. Left uninvestigated was the firm Samanage, which is linked to the same intelligence networks in which the WEF’s current head of cyber strategy worked for years. 

Regarding the Colonial pipeline hack, there is the fact that the original narrative was later proven false, as the pipeline itself remained functional, but services were halted due to the company’s concerns about their ability to bill customers properly. In addition, the US Department of Justice managed to seize the vast majority of the bitcoin ransomware payment Colonial had made, suggesting that extreme regulation of the crypto market may not actually be necessary to deter cybercriminals or recuperate ransomware payments. Surely, WEF-PAC is aware of this because the US Department of Justice is one of its members. 

With the JBS hack, there is the fact that the company, the world’s largest meats processor, had partnered with the WEF just months before regarding the need to reduce meat consumption and had begun to heavily invest and acquire non-animal-based alternatives. Blackrock, a major WEF partner, is the 3rd largest shareholder in JBS. Notably, after the hack, the situation was quickly used to warn of upcoming, widespread meat shortages, even though the disruption of the hack paused operations for just one day. In addition, the JBS hack was supposedly executed by “Russian hackers” being given “safe haven” by Russia’s government. However, JBS somehow has no problem partnering the WEF, which co-hosts Cyber Polygon alongside the cybersecurity subsidiary of Sberbank, which is majority owned by the same Russian government supposedly enabling JBS’ hackers.

In addition to the effort to regulate crypto, there is also a push by WEF-partnered governments to end privacy and the potential for anonymity on the internet in general, by linking government-issued IDs to internet access. This would allow every piece of online content accessed to be surveilled, as well as every post or comment authored by each citizen, supposedly to ensure that no citizen can engage in “criminal” activity online. This policy is part of an older effort, particularly in the US, where creating a nationwide “Driver’s License for the Internet” was proposed and then piloted by the Obama administration. The European Union made a similar effort to require government-issued IDs for social media access a few years later. 

The UK also launched its Verify digital ID program around the same time, something which former UK Prime Minister and WEF associate Tony Blair has been pushing aggressively to have expanded into a compulsory requirement in recent months. Then, just last month, the EU implemented a sweeping, new digital ID service that could easily be expanded to fit with the Union’s past efforts to link such IDs to access to online services. As Unlimited Hangout noted earlier this year, the infrastructure for many of these digital IDs, as well as vaccine passports, have been set up so that they are also eventually linked to financial activity and potentially online activity as well. 

Ultimately, what WEF-PAC represents is a global organization that aims to neuter anonymity online, whether for financial purposes or for browsing and other activities. It is a global effort combining powerful governments and corporations that seeks to usher in a new age of surveillance that makes such surveillance a requirement to participate in the online world or use online services. It is being sold to the public as the only way to stop a coming “pandemic” of cybercrime, a crisis taking place largely in murky parts of the internet that few understand or have any direct experience with. Having to rely on State intelligence agencies and intelligence-linked cybersecurity firms for attribution of these crimes, it has never been easier for corrupt actors in those agencies or their partners to either manufacture or manipulate a crisis that could upend online freedom as we have known it, something these very groups have sought to implement for years.

All of this should serve as a poignant reminder that, as much as our lives have become interconnected with the internet and online activity, the fight to protect human freedom, dignity and liberty against a predatory, global oligarchy is fundamentally one that must take place in the real world, not only online. May the coming “cyber war”, whatever form it takes, remind many that online activism must be accompanied by real world actions and organizing.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/18/2021 - 21:30
Published:7/18/2021 8:43:49 PM
[114a9497-fde1-5ab2-98d8-9d794ebb0802] Penny Nance: Intel community targets Americans – what I learned from FBI's 'assessment' of me, my organization Concerned Women for America (and me as its president)?was targeted?by the Obama-Comey Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2016 for an "assessment."??? Published:7/18/2021 1:12:30 PM
[Markets] Federal Prosecutor Paused Hunter Biden Investigation Before Election, Shielding Then-Candidate Joe From Public Embarrassment Federal Prosecutor Paused Hunter Biden Investigation Before Election, Shielding Then-Candidate Joe From Public Embarrassment

As the 2020 US election entered the home stretch last summer, Delaware US Attorney David Weiss chose to pause his investigation of Hunter Biden at a critical stage which would have publicly exposed the probe, according to Politico.

Weiss, a Trump appointee (on the recommendation of two Democratic senators, Tom Carper and Chris Coons) who climbed the ranks at the US Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware starting in 2007, had received conflicting advice on whether to seek search warrants and a flurry of grand jury subpoenas. Ultimately, Weiss declined to take any action that could alert the public to the existence of the case - potentially causing a repeat of 2016 when the FBI reopened the Hillary Clinton email investigation after the Anthony Weiner laptop scandal forced their hand.

The probe, which is focused on possible tax law violations, has also examined Hunter Biden’s business dealings with foreign interests — a topic that has animated Biden detractors — and its existence first came to light amid a controversy about the leak of Hunter Biden’s laptop files. Since then, the case has become a political football: Some critics have suggested that the Trump administration’s political agenda influenced a parallel federal probe that scrutinized Hunter Biden in Pittsburgh, while some Republicans have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to shield Weiss’s investigation from the influence of the Biden administration. -Politico

Now, Weiss is weighing whether to bring charges against Hunter - the son of a sitting president who has leveraged his family name into lucrative international dealings - some of which Joe Biden was involved in (which he lied about).

The rest of the Politico piece is essentially a biographical defense of Weiss.

Weiss grew up in a middle-class home in northeast Philadelphia in the 1960s and went on to attend Washington University in St. Louis. He returned to the Philadelphia area to attend Widener University School of Law, where, in his final year, he met with a round of rejections after applying for jobs at several law firms.

Instead, he got a gig clerking for the Delaware Supreme Court in 1984, then went on to take a job with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Wilmington, Del. One former colleague recalled a joke around the office that Weiss — who played third base for Wash U.’s baseball team — was hired to improve the office softball team. While there, he got his first up-close look at the underbelly of the Delaware Way.

Weiss’s big break came when Louis Capano Jr., a member of a family of prominent Delaware developers, brought a complaint to the state’s then-attorney general, Charles Oberly, as the two watched a Little League game. Capano was being forced to pay protection money to a member of the New Castle County Council, the body that oversees the Wilmington area and on which Biden had begun his political career.

Oberly referred Capano to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. With Weiss’s participation the Justice Department set up a sting targeting the councilman, Democrat Ronald Aiello.

In June of 1989, Weiss resigned his post as an assistant U.S. Attorney and was appointed special prosecutor to oversee Aiello’s case. Aiello went on to plead guilty to extortion.

That said, Weiss isn't exactly on team Biden. Far from it, in fact. In 2007, Weiss left private practice to work for a George W. Bush-appointed US Attorney, Colm Connolly - a staunch conservative with a reputation for aggressive prosecution. Connolly clashed with then-Senator Joe Biden - who effectively blocked him from a federal judgeship after Bush nominated him in 2008. Instead, Connolly (now a private judge) entered private practice and Weiss stepped in as acting US Attorney.

Weiss and Connolly remain close.

Meanwhile, Weiss oversaw the prosecution of Biden bundler Christopher Tigani - whose family owns a beer distributorship in Delaware and maintained a longstanding relationship with the Bidens. In 2007, Tigani served as a bundler for Biden's presidential primary campaign - soliciting contributions from his employees and their partners.

Tigani engaged in a "straw donor" scheme - whereby he would reimburse those employees for their contributions in order to evade a cap on how much he was able to personally give.

In 2010, after the FBI assembled enough evidence against Tigani, Weiss got him to cooperate on a wide-ranging probe of corruption within Delaware politics.

As POLITICO first reported last summer, Tigani, under Weiss’s supervision, wore a wire and recorded conversations with Biden’s former finance chief as well as a former Biden Senate staffer and a Delaware businessman close to Biden.

Tigani said that at the beginning of his attempted cooperation, he met with Weiss and several other officials. He said that Weiss laid out the government’s theory that politicians in Delaware were complicit in straw donor schemes.

The investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and, in the end, only Tigani was indicted on federal charges, to which he pleaded guilty. Tigani also later pleaded guilty to state charges of making straw-donor contributions to the campaigns of several Delaware politicians, including Beau Biden.

Looking back on his downfall, Tigani holds grudges against just about everybody involved, from the Bidens, to the News Journal, which first brought attention to his political influence, to the federal judge who oversaw his case, to his own father, with whom he remains embroiled in long-running litigation related to the family business. The rare exception is Weiss. “He was a straight shooter,” Tigani said of the man who sent him to prison.

By late 2018, Weiss' office was investigating Hunter Biden in response to a number of leads - including his dealings with Chinese business associates. While pursuing allegations of money laundering and FARA violations, the criminal investigation eventually narrowed to whether Hunter had paid taxes on all of his income, according to a Politico source. By last summer, "the probe had reached a point at which investigators could have issued grand jury subpoenas and sought search warrants that might have revealed its existence at a time when many of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters were seeking to draw attention to Hunter Biden’s actions.' Weiss, however, chose to delay taking any public actions against Hunter.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/16/2021 - 17:40
Published:7/16/2021 5:01:05 PM
[Markets] GOP Senators Demand Answers After 60% Of Phones Used By Mueller Probe Go Missing GOP Senators Demand Answers After 60% Of Phones Used By Mueller Probe Go Missing

Two GOP Senators are demanding answers after 59 out of 96 phones assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team appear to have gone missing following their ill-fated investigation into Russian collusion.

Senators Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA) fired off a Wednesday letter to the Justice Department after discovering that the DOJ "could not locate 59 of the 96 phones used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team," according to a press release on Grassley's website.

"Further, the Justice Department failed to review over twenty phones for federal record preservation," the statement continues.

The Wednesday letter follows up on a September 2020 request regarding allegations that cellular phones assigned to "multiple people on then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team were 'wiped' for various reasons during [the Russia investigation]."

In a May 11, 2021 response, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed that 59 of the 96 phones assigned to Mueller's team were unable to be accounted for, despite the DOJ having taken possession of 79 of them in June 2019 to review for official records - including notes and text messages were sent to the DOJ or FBI for preservation, according to Just The News.

Grassley and Johnson now want to know:

  • the names of SCO employees whose cell phones were not reviewed for official records
  • what, if any, actions are being taken by the DOJ to recover the 59 phones the department has been unable to locate
  • whether the DOJ reviewed the phones to ascertain "whether they were used to leak sensitive or classified information."

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/15/2021 - 11:15
Published:7/15/2021 10:19:35 AM
[Markets] "Horrible": BLM Issues Statement Supporting Marxist Cuban Tyranny "Horrible": BLM Issues Statement Supporting Marxist Cuban Tyranny

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

The Black Lives Matter organisation has issued a statement clearly aligning itself with the Marxist government’s brutal oppression of the Cuban people throughout the country, prompting widespread backlash but little surprise given that BLM itself was founded by avid Marxists.

Rather than condemning the Cuban regime, the BLM statement blames the U.S. government under president Trump for “inhumane treatment” of the Cuban people:

The statement claims that “Since 1962, the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies, costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion.”

It’s the exact same claim that the Marxist Cuban regime is making.

The statement continues, “The people of Cuba are being punished by the U.S. government because the country has maintained its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination. United States leaders have tried to crush this Revolution for decades.”

“Instead of international amity, respect, and goodwill, the U.S. government has only instigated suffering for the country’s 11 million people – of which 4 million are black and brown”, the statement also claims.

The fact that pro-freedom protesters in Cuba are waving U.S. flags has gone completely ignored by the BLM organisation.

BLM’s statement was roundly eviscerated:

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 07/15/2021 - 10:15
Published:7/15/2021 9:19:35 AM
[Markets] FBI Foils Iranian Intelligence Plot To Kidnap Dissident On American Soil FBI Foils Iranian Intelligence Plot To Kidnap Dissident On American Soil

During the same week it's being widely reported that the US and Iran are engaging in prisoner swap negotiations related to the stalled nuclear deal talks in Vienna, it's been revealed Wednesday that the feds have charged four alleged Iranian intelligence agents for attempting to kidnap a dissident on US soil

The Associated Press reports that "An Iranian intelligence officer and three alleged members of an Iranian intelligence network have been charged in Manhattan with plotting to kidnap a prominent Iranian opposition activist and writer in exile and take her back to Tehran, authorities said Tuesday."

Author and activist Masih Alinejad

The indictment doesn't reveal the victims' names based on the sensitivity of the case, but Brooklyn-based journalist and activist Masih Alinejad says she was among those targeted in the plot. The 44-year old Iranian-American appears regularly on the US-funded satellite TV channel Voice of America Persian. There were reportedly other targets living in Canada and America.

Her activism further includes organizing events against the mandatory wearing of headscarves and other mandated religious practices in the Islamic Republic. She said at first she felt "scared" when she learned of the plot, but later posted the following statement to social media: "I am grateful to FBI for foiling the Islamic Republic of Iran's Intelligence Ministry's plot to kidnap me. This plot was orchestrated under Rouhani. This is the regime that kidnapped & executed Ruhollah Zam. They've also kidnapped and jailed Jamshid Sharmahd and many others."

An official with New York's FBI office has been cited as saying it sounded like "some far-fetched movie plot" - the details of which are laid out in The Wall Street Journal as follows

In an interview, Ms. Alinejad, who lives in Brooklyn, said federal agents informed her of the alleged kidnapping scheme last year and told her it was the first known attempt by Iranian officials to carry out a kidnapping plot on American soil.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors announced the kidnapping conspiracy charges against an Iranian intelligence official, Alireza Farahani, and three Iranian intelligence assets, all of whom remain at large in Iran. It couldn’t be determined if the men have U.S. attorneys.

Another individual has been arrested in California for reportedly providing financial support to the scheme. Essentially the goal was to get Alinejad and other targets to travel to Iran where they would have been apprehended as soon as they entered the country.

The WSJ details further that "The Iranian government tried to lure Ms. Alinejad to Iran through her relatives, prosecutors said."  But her family refused and that's when the "intelligence network paid investigators to surveil and record Ms. Alinejad and her family in Brooklyn."

"They also researched ways to sneak Ms. Alinejad out of the U.S., including a plot to abduct her to Venezuela before bringing her to Iran, according to the indictment," the report says.

The timing of this major incident coming to light is key, given Vienna nuclear negotiations are said to be stalled till August. Crucially the new Iranian president, hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, will take office August 3rd - meaning the previously stated White House desire to see a deal wrapped up before then looks out of reach.

This latest unprecedented and brazen plot allegedly overseen by Iranian intelligence will put immense pressure on the Biden administration to halt negotiations - something already being used of Iran hawks in Congress to argue against the JCPOA on both sides of the aisle. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/14/2021 - 23:30
Published:7/14/2021 10:47:15 PM
[Markets] Taibbi: Spying And Smearing Is "Un-American," Not Tucker Carlson Taibbi: Spying And Smearing Is "Un-American," Not Tucker Carlson

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News,

On Monday, June 28th, Fox host Tucker Carlson dropped a bomb mid-show, announcing he’d been approached by a “whistleblower” who told him he was being spied on by the NSA.

“The National Security Agency is monitoring our electronic communications,” he said, “and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.”

The reaction was swift, mocking, and ferocious. “Carlson is sounding more and more like InfoWars host and notorious conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones,” chirped CNN media analyst Brian Stelter. Vox ripped Carlson as a “serial fabulist” whose claims were “evidence-free.” The Washington Post quipped that “in a testament to just how far the credibility of Tucker Carlson Tonight has cratered,” even groups like Pen America and the Reporters Committee on the Freedom of the Press were no-commenting the story, while CNN learned from its always-reliable “people familiar with the matter” that even Carlson’s bosses at Fox didn’t believe him.

None of this was surprising. A lot of media people despise Carlson. He may be Exhibit A in the n+2 epithet phenomenon that became standard math in the Trump era, i.e. if you thought he was an “asshole” in 2015 you jumped after Charlottesville straight past racist to white supremacist, and stayed there. He’s spoken of in newsrooms in hushed tones, like a mythical monster. The paranoid rumor that he’s running for president (he’s not) comes almost entirely from a handful of editors and producers who’ve convinced themselves it’s true, half out of anxiety and half subconscious desperation to find a click-generating replacement for Donald Trump.

The NSA story took a turn on the morning of July 7th last week, when Carlson went on Maria Bartiromo’s program. He said that it would shortly come out that the NSA “leaked the contents of my email to journalists,” claiming he knew this because one of them called him for comment. On cue, hours later, a piece came out in Axios, “Scoop: Tucker Carlson sought Putin interview at time of spying claim.”

In a flash, the gloating and non-denial denials that littered early coverage of this story (like the NSA’s meaningless insistence that Carlson was not a “target” of surveillance) dried up. They were instantly replaced by new, more tortured rhetoric, exemplified by an amazingly loathsome interview conducted by former Bush official Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC. The Wallace panel included rodentine former Robert Mueller team member Andrew Weissman, and another of the networks’ seemingly limitless pool of interchangeable ex-FBI stooge-commentators, Frank Figliuzzi.

Weissman denounced Carlson for sowing “distrust” in the intel community, which he said was “so anti-American.” Wallace, who we recall was MSNBC’s idea of a “crossover” voice to attract a younger demographic, agreed that Carlson had contributed to a “growing chorus of distrust in our country’s intelligence agencies.” Figliuzzi said the playbook of Carlson and the GOP was to “erode the public’s trust in their institutions.” Each made an identical point in the same words minus tiny, nervous variations, as if they were all trying to read the same statement off a moving teleprompter.

The scene was perfectly representative of what the erstwhile “liberal” press has become: collections of current and former enforcement types, masquerading as journalists, engaged in patriotic denunciations of critics and rote recitals of quasi-official statements.

Not that it matters to Carlson’s critics, but odds favor the NSA scandal being true. An extraordinarily rich recent history of illegal, politically-directed leaks has gone mostly uncovered, in another glaring recent press failure that itself is part of this story.

It’s admitted. Go back to December, 2015, and you’ll find a Wall Street Journal story by Adam Entous and Danny Yadron quoting senior government officials copping to the fact that the Obama White House reviewed intercepts of conversations between “U.S lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”

The White House in that case was anxious to know what congressional opponents to Obama’s Iran deal were thinking, and peeked in the electronic cookie jar to get an advance preview at such “incidentally” collected info. This prompted what one official called an “Oh, shit” moment, when they realized that what they’d done might result in “the executive branch being accused of spying.”

After Obama left office, illegal leaks of classified intercepts became commonplace. Many, including the famed January, 2017 leak of conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, were key elements of major, news-cycle-dominating bombshells. Others, like “Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin,” or news that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials in foreign intercepts, were openly violative of the prohibition against disclosing the existence of such surveillance, let alone the contents.

These leaks tended to go to the same small coterie of reporters at outlets like the Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN, and not one prompted blowback. This was a major forgotten element of the Reality Winner story. Winner, a relatively low-level contractor acting on her own, was caught, charged, and jailed with extraordinary speed after leaking an NSA document about Russian interference to the Intercept. But these dozens of similar violations by senior intelligence officials, mainly in leaks about Trump, went not just unpunished but un-investigated. As Winner’s lawyer, Titus Nichols, told me years ago, his client’s case was “about low-hanging fruit.”

The key issue in those cases was not even so much that someone in government might have been improperly accessing foreign surveillance intercepts — revelations to that effect have been a regular occurrence since the Bush years, with the FBI a serial violator — but that such intercepts were being leaked for public effect, with the enthusiastic cooperation of reporters, often in stories involving American citizens. They got away with it in the Trump years, because it was Trump, but the arrogance to think they can keep getting away with it by power-smearing everyone who objects is mind-blowing.

During Trump’s first run for president, I nearly lost my mind trying to explain to fellow reporters that he was succeeding in part because of us, that the prestige media’s ham-handed, hysterical, anti-intellectual approach to covering the Trump phenomenon was itself massively fueling it, making a case for establishment corruption and incompetence more eloquently than he could.

Something similar now is happening with the collapse of traditional media and the rise of Carlson, the current #1 voice on cable, who is rapidly stealing the audience MSNBC somehow believed it could corral with spokesgoons like Wallace. It seems impossible that Carlson’s haters don’t realize how easy they’ve made it for him, turning themselves into such caricatures of illiberalism that they’re practically handing him the top spot.

The inspiration for his current show seemingly came when Carlson watched his former colleagues among the GOP Brahmins make a show of reacting with horror to Trump’s arrival. These were people who had no problem wantonly bombing poor and mostly nonwhite countries all over the world, made a joke of the rule of law (and America’s reputation abroad) with policies like torture, rendition, and mass surveillance, and shamelessly whored themselves out to Wall Street even after the 2008 crash. Yet they pretended to severe moral anguish before Trump even took office.

Carlson grasped that the sudden piety of the Kristols and Max Boots and David Frenches was rooted in the same terror the Democratic Party nomenklatura felt at the possibility of a Bernie Sanders presidency in 2020, i.e. fear of a line-jumping outsider tearing away their hard-fought consultancies and sinecures.

“He was threatening their rice bowl,” Carlson says. “That’s all it was. I was like, ‘Fuck these people.’”

This is an excerpt from today’s subscriber-only post. To read the entire article and get full access to the archives, you can subscribe for $5 a month or $50 a year.

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/14/2021 - 21:40
Published:7/14/2021 8:44:52 PM
[] DOJ Inspector General found 'serious errors, violations of FBI policy, and misconduct by FBI officials' in Larry Nassar investigation Published:7/14/2021 7:19:18 PM
[] IG Report: FBI Let Larry Nasser Commit Sex Crimes Against Young Gymnasts, and Then Lied About Their Actions After-the-Fact They're all patriotic straight-shooters of the highest caliber of professionalism and ethics, Andy McCarthy and the rest of the establishment simps and Deep State Dick-Riders informed me. Some quotes from Politico. One of the FBI agents delaying investigating the sexual... Published:7/14/2021 5:48:44 PM
[Politics] Will Biden Take a Powder on Journalist Iran Plotted To Abduct From Brooklyn? When I first got a whiff a while back of the plot, I thought, no way: Even the Iranian regime wouldn't undermine the nuclear talks in Vienna by kidnapping a journalist as distinguished as Masih Alinejad. Then another thought nagged me: What if the Biden administration, eager to cut a deal with Tehran, would prevent the Feds from indicting, and airing the case in public. Turns out I was wrong up to a point on both counts. All I knew earlier was that FBI agents had shown Ms. Alinejad... Published:7/14/2021 4:15:58 PM
[] Daily Dose of Downey: Today's FBI Is Not Your Father's FBI Published:7/14/2021 3:44:01 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Foils Iranian Plot to Kidnap NY-Based Exiled Women’s Rights Activist

Senior FBI official: “We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran."

The post FBI Foils Iranian Plot to Kidnap NY-Based Exiled Women’s Rights Activist first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/14/2021 2:13:39 PM
[World] DOJ inspector general to release report critical of FBI handling of Nassar allegations

A Justice Department inspector general's report is said to criticize the FBI's handling of its inquiry into Larry Nassar, an Olympic team doctor who molested many athletes.

Published:7/14/2021 1:13:04 PM
[Markets] Iran & US Negotiating Prisoner Swap As Nuke Talks Likely Stalled Into August Iran & US Negotiating Prisoner Swap As Nuke Talks Likely Stalled Into August

Now multiple months into restored nuclear negotiations in Vienna, there's been controversy over what's clearly been stalled momentum and which side is to blame after little to show from six prior rounds. The Associated Press reports Tuesday that "Iran's government spokesman said Tuesday that talks with the United States about a prisoner exchange are still ongoing, two months after Washington denied an Iranian report that deals had been struck."

And Bloomberg in its latest update writes "Nuclear talks between world powers and Iran aren’t likely to resume until after the Islamic Republic installs its new president next month, all but eliminating the chances of an early resurrection of their accord struck six years ago Wednesday and a jump in Iranian oil exports." Further two unnamed insider sources reveal that "A seventh round of negotiations in Vienna is expected to convene around mid-August" - which is likely to further tighten oil markets, sending prices higher through the summer as we've been highlighting, also as the inter-OPEC spat between the Saudis and Emirates over setting crude production levels beyond July intensifies.

Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in Iran, fate unknown.

Via The Hill: Biden administration officials are also pressing Iran for information on the fate of Robert Levinson, a former American intelligence official believed to have died in Iranian custody following his 2007 disappearance in the country.

Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei was described as saying that the Islamic Republic "many times said it is ready to free all prisoners, in return for the release of all Iranian prisoners in custody in the US." Rabiei said according to Reuters, "Negotiations are underway on the exchange of prisoners between Iran and America, and we will issue more information if Iranian prisoners are released and the country's interests are secured and the talks reach a conclusion."

It's reportedly remained a priority of the Biden administration in connection with Vienna nuclear talks, though the key focus and major hurdle remain the status of US sanctions that were systematically imposed and ratcheted up during the prior Trump administration. 

Likely if a significant prisoner swap breakthrough is soon announced, a finalized restored JCPOA deal would quickly follow. Tehran has remained insistent that no deal is possible without an immediate easing and rollback of all sanctions, while gaining the release of Americans in Iranian custody would mark a huge political victory for Biden at home. The Iranians, meanwhile, have affirmed they are interested in prisoner swaps based on "humanitarian interests". 

Spanning the last two months, initially overly optimistic reports of being "on the cusp" of a final agreement have been replaced by more dour assessments of perpetual gridlock in indirect negotiations (as the US is not directly at the table, but talks to Iran via intermediary EU partners). 

But in a positive sign that the hoped-for deal could be reached, possibly even by August, Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday submitted a 264-page report to parliament assessing in a detailed manner the current state of Vienna talks. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh indicated that the talks are near completion. He said, "This report presents the most important achievements and challenges of the implementation of the JCPOA during the last six years and the latest results of the six rounds of the Vienna talks, which stand to reflect the failure of the US government's maximum pressure against the resistance of the Iranian people."

He added on a more positive note, "Taking into account the progress made, we can say that we are approaching the completion of the Vienna negotiations. There are still some unresolved issues, but it is important that the number of resolved issues is much greater than this of unresolved ones."

The US side's perspective has tended to be much more cautious, however, the talks are still alive and importantly pandemic aid out of the West has this week been ratcheted up - in a clear sign of growing desire to see relations open up particularly between Iran and Europe. But the previously hoped-for reaching of a final deal prior to the August 3rd change of Iranian presidents does indeed seem out of reach.

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/14/2021 - 05:45
Published:7/14/2021 5:09:49 AM
[2021 News] US accused of backing Haiti assassination: American arrested over killing of Haitian president was a DEA INFORMANT who handed over warlord who led last coup in the country to US authorities as it’s revealed other suspects worked for FBI

US accused of backing Haiti assassination: American arrested over killing of Haitian president was a DEA INFORMANT who handed over warlord who led last coup in the country to US authorities as it’s revealed other suspects worked for FBI. If so what was the deal? Not kicking up to the “big guy?” Not following the […]

The post US accused of backing Haiti assassination: American arrested over killing of Haitian president was a DEA INFORMANT who handed over warlord who led last coup in the country to US authorities as it’s revealed other suspects worked for FBI appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/13/2021 12:04:48 PM
[Markets] DOJ Retracts Claim It Seized "Fully Constructed" Lego Set From Accused Capitol Rioter DOJ Retracts Claim It Seized "Fully Constructed" Lego Set From Accused Capitol Rioter

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The Department of Justice has retracted its claim that it seized a “fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set” from an accused Capitol rioter.

A U.S. Capitol Lego set seized by FBI agents from Robert Morss, an accused U.S. Capitol rioter. (DOJ)

In an memorandum asking a court to order Robert Morss be held pending trial, prosecutors claimed that law enforcement officials “recover[e]d a fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set” while arresting the defendant.

But in a supplemental motion, authorities said they erred in conveying that claim.

“Please note that after a review of the photographs from the search, there appears to have been a miscommunication and that statement appears to be inaccurate. The Lego set was in a box and not fully constructed at the time of the search, as pictured below,” they wrote.

A lawyer representing Morss did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Morss is in custody on charges including civil disorder and violent entry of a building on Capitol grounds.

Surveillance footage showed Morss on Jan. 6 push his way toward a line of officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capitol, prosecutors say. He then allegedly grabbed an officer’s shield and passed it back to other members of the crowd.

Morss and other rioters ultimately entered the Capitol through a broken window, footage showed.

Prosecutors allege he would pose a danger to the community and present a flight risk if released.

A hearing on whether to allow Morss’s release is scheduled for July 13.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/12/2021 - 20:40
Published:7/12/2021 8:00:12 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Urges People To Report “Family Members And Peers” For “Suspicious Behaviors”

I'm pretty sure they don't mean Antifa/BLM thugs who burned, looted, and murdered their way through American cities last year.

The post FBI Urges People To Report “Family Members And Peers” For “Suspicious Behaviors” first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/12/2021 4:31:55 PM
[] The Morning Rant THEY GOT NOTHINGNews item from late last week about how the FBI found a "completely constructed" LEGO model of the Capitol in the house of some Jan Sixer they busted, one of those nefarious Oathkeepers. That's it. That's their evidence.... Published:7/12/2021 10:34:03 AM
[Markets] FBI Wants Family Members To Snitch On Each Other To Prevent 'Homegrown Extremism' FBI Wants Family Members To Snitch On Each Other To Prevent 'Homegrown Extremism'

"As the Nazis worked to consolidate their power and build a cohesive “national community,” suppression of dissent played a key role. In 1933, the Nazis issued a decree that required Germans to turn in anyone who spoke against the party, its leaders, or the government..." -Facing History

The FBI issued an ominous tweet on Sunday which encourages "family members and peers" to "learn how to spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the FBI" in the name of national security.

The broadly-worded tweet from the same agency that confiscated an unassembled Lego model of the US Capitol as evidence against a Jan. 6 protester - suggests that family members are "often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence." For example, your radicalized Antifa nephew is being encouraged tell the FBI that you might be a domestic terror threat because you own guns and told the family at Thanksgiving you don't like illegal immigration.

The FBI's tweet goes hand-in-hand with a campaign dating back to at least September of 2020, when FBI Director Chris Wray told Congress that the greatest threat facing America comes from domestic extremists (and not the thousands of 'protesters' who spent much of last year looting, murdering and setting fires across American cities), which quickly morphed into 'angry white men' who disagree with Democratic policies.

Combine that with President Biden framing the Capitol rioters as 'white supremacists,' which he said is 'he most lethal terrorist threat to our homeland today', and Gen. Mark Milley, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifying last month that he wants to understand where 'white rage' comes from, and it couldn't be more clear that this is a coordinated propaganda campaign to demonize an entire race to solve a problem that largely doesn't exist, while actual domestic terrorism is excused as 'mostly peaceful' protests.

Chicago's 400 homicides year-to-date (black rage?) apparently don't register on the radar, but if your indoctrinated leftist family member thinks you're on the path to 'extremism', you may receive a knock on the door.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/11/2021 - 23:05
Published:7/11/2021 10:24:01 PM
[Markets] Suspected Assassins Of Haitian President Moïse Trained By US, Linked To Pro-Coup Oligarchy Suspected Assassins Of Haitian President Moïse Trained By US, Linked To Pro-Coup Oligarchy

Authored by Dan Cohen via MintPressNews.com,

As the investigation into Moïse’s murder unfolds, the U.S. is laying the groundwork to deploy troops into Haiti for the fourth time in 106 years, at the request of a figure it has spent decades grooming...

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media, along with the weapons and equipment they allegedly used in the attack, at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 8, 2021. Joseph Odelyn | AP

As shock grips the Caribbean island nation of Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, the Haitian government has carried out a campaign to arrest suspects it alleges are responsible for the murder.

Haitian Director of National Police Leon Charles announced at a press conference that the assassination squad that killed Moise is comprised of 28 foreigners, including two Haitian-Americans and 26 Colombian nationals. Fifteen of those Colombians have been detained while three were killed in a gun battle and eight remain fugitives. Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano has admitted that some of the Colombians are retired military personnel. Among them are at least one highly decorated soldier who received training from the United States and another who has been implicated in the murder of Colombian civilians.

Ties to oligarchs

The Haitian-Americans have been identified as James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55. Solages lives in Fort Lauderdale where he is the CEO of EJS Maintenance & Repair and runs a nonprofit group, the website of which has since been scrubbed of information. Prior to relocating to Florida, he lived in the southern Haitian coastal city of Jacmel.

According to The Washington Post, Solages’ Facebook profile, which has since been removed, listed him as the chief commander of bodyguards for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti. The Canadaian Embassy confirmed that Solages previously worked as a security guard. While in Florida, Solages was an “avid and vocal supporter of former President Michel Martelly,” the founder of Moïse’s Haitian Baldheaded Party (PHTK), according to Tony Jean-Thénor, leader of the Veye Yo popular organization in Miami, founded by the late Father Gérard Jean-Juste.

Photos of James Solages and an armored military vehicle that he posted to his now-removed Facebook page

The Haitian Times reported Solages also used to work as a security guard for both Reginald Boulos and Dimitri Vorbe, two prominent members of Haiti’s tiny bourgeoisie. Although initially friendly to him, they both became bitter opponents of Moïse. Boulos was also a prominent supporter of previous coups in 1991 and 2004 against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The Boulos family is one of the wealthiest in Haiti and owns a pharmaceutical company that, in 1996, was responsible for poisoning scores of children with its tainted fever medicine, some fatally. Since the July 6-8, 2018 national uprising against the IMF-dictated hike of fuel prices, Boulos has attempted to recast himself as a popular and progressive figure (after one of his stores was burned and looted), heading a political party called the Third Way Movement (MTV).

Vorbe is the executive director and vice president of Société Générale d’Énergie SA, one of the largest private energy companies in Haiti which had a sweet-heart deal providing power to the energy grid that Moïse sought to renegotiate after the collapse of the PetroCaribe program, under which Venezuela provided Haiti with cheap oil and credit from 2008 to 2018.

Many believe Boulos is the intellectual author and financial backer of Moïse’s murder.

“Solage’s employment by Boulos and centrality to the operation appears to confirm the growing popular consensus in Haiti that this controversial merchant-turned-politician was the principal backer of Moïse’s assassination,” explained journalist Kim Ives, continuing:

A lot of factors have been pointing to his involvement: The arrival of the mercenaries in nine brand new Nissan Patrol vehicles without license plates suggests that they were vehicles coming from the Nissan dealership owned by Reginald Boulos. The Haitian people have already concluded that Boulous was behind the assassination and have dechoukéed [uprooted] the dealership, Automeca, that he owned.”

Colombian assassin trained by the U.S.

While the Haitian-Americans reportedly served as translators, the muscle of the assassination squad came from Colombia, the U.S.’s top regional ally, which serves as a platform for destabilization and regime change plots in the region, from Venezuela to Ecuador – and now apparently Haiti.

The most prominent member of the hit squad is Manuel Antonio Grosso Guarín, a 41-year-old former special operations commando who retired from the military as a member of the Simón Bolívar No. 1 infantry battalion on December 31, 2019. According to the Colombian newspaper La Semana, Grosso “had several special combat courses, had been a member of the special forces and anti-guerrilla squads, and was known for being a skilled paratrooper who flew through the air without fear.”

Grosso is pictured in the rear (blue jeans) being moved following a press in Port-au-Prince, July 8, 2021. Joseph Odelyn | AP

In 2013, Grosso was assigned to the Urban Anti-Terrorist Special Force group, a secretive elite military detachment dedicated to counter-terrorism operations and carrying out kidnappings and assassinations (euphemistically known as ‘high value target acquisition and elimination’). This branch of the military is also tasked with providing security to VIP figures from the Colombian president to U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.

“He was one of the most prepared,” a source remarked to La Semana.

Among Grosso’s preparations was special command instruction from the United States military, which supplies training and weapons to the Colombia military, one of the most repressive armed forces in the region and one that works to secure international corporate interests and drug trafficking routes.

“How many false positives (see the following paragraph), how many social leaders, how many signers of the peace accord, will be on this man?” left-wing Colombian Senator Gustavo Bolivar commented on Twitter.

Grosso was joined by Francisco Eladio Uribe Ochoa, who had retired from the Colombian Army in 2019, according to the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. Eladio Uribe’s wife told the newspaper that he had been investigated for participation in the execution of civilians — a practice known as “false positives,” in which the Colombian military lured at least 6,402 civilians, murdered them, and dressed them in guerrilla fatigues in order to inflate their kill numbers. This gruesome practice helped military commanders reach lofty kill-count quotas set by the United States and was incentivized with bonus pay and vacation time for soldiers who carried out the killings.

Though Eladio Uribe’s wife said that he had been exonerated, his name has appeared in a file of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a court formed out of the 2016 peace accord, which has investigated several thousand cases of false positives that the Colombian government had not previously admitted. Eladio Uribe is one of two soldiers accused in the 2008 murder of Luis Carlos Cárdenas in the village of Chorros Blancos in Antioquia region.

Other alleged members of the hit squad alleged to have killed Moïse include:

  • Duberney Capador Giraldo, a retired Deputy First Sergeant (killed in a gun battle in Haiti)

  • ??Alejandro Giraldo Zapata

  • John Jairo Ramírez Gómez

  • Víctor Albeiro Piñera

Of the 28 total people who allegedly participated in the assassination, four of the Colombians arrived in Haiti on June 6, 2021. Grosso arrived in the Dominican city of Punta Cana and crossed the land border into Haiti two days later. Photos show him and other suspects at popular tourist sites in the Dominican Republic.

A photo of Grosso, left, along with some of the other suspects posing in Haiti posted to Grosso’s Facebook page

Unanswered questions and a growing consensus

Questions also remain about why Moïse’s security team failed to protect him, and if any of its members were complicit in the murder. Dimitri Herard, the head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, is under investigation by the United States government for arms trafficking, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). While there is no evidence (but many rumors) linking him to the murder, “Herard is one of the individuals most responsible for the safety of the president.”

While the Haitian government has identified what appear to be Moïse’s assassins, there is still no hard evidence — just circumstantial — linking them to Boulos and possibly even Vorbe. Nonetheless, “there is a growing consensus that Reginald Boulous, for whom an arrest warrant [was] issued last week, paid for the mercenaries,” according to Ives. “It appears to be becoming more and more evident that the sector of the Haitian bourgeois, with whom Jovenel Moïse was at war, are intimately linked to his assassination.”

As the investigation into Moïse’s murder unfolds, the U.S. appears to be preparing the groundwork to deploy troops to Haiti at the request of a figure whom it has spent decades grooming. According to The New York Times, Claude Joseph, who is in a struggle against Dr. Ariel Henry to head the Haitian state in the wake of Moïse’s assassination, requested the U.S. send military forces to guard key infrastructure, including the port, airport, and gasoline reserves. White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced that the U.S. would reinforce U.S. personnel in Haiti with FBI and DHS deployments.

Joseph is an asset of the United States and its regime-change arm, the National Endowment For Democracy. Wikileaks cables revealed that he first came to prominence in 2003 as the leader of a NED-spawned student front called GRAFNEH in the lead up to the coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He also founded another NED-funded anti-Aristide group Initiative Citoyenne (Citizens’ Initiative). He is reported by Haitian radio stations to have been, with prominent Haitian ex-Deputy Gary Bodeau, one of the principal assailants who severely beat the late Father Gérard Jean-Juste in a Pétionville church in 2005.

Jean-Juste, perhaps the most prominent supporter and surrogate of the then exiled-in-South-Africa President Aristide, had been falsely accused of involvement in the killing of his own cousin, Jacques Roche, a writer.

“Essentially, we have a U.S. puppet asking his puppeteer to invade Haiti for the fourth time in just over a century,” Ives concluded. “But both the region and, above all, the Haitian people are sick and tired of U.S. military interventions, which are largely responsible for the nation’s current debilitated, critical state both economically and politically. Much of the most oppressed neighborhoods are now heavily armed and have already announced a revolution against the likes of Boulos, so the U.S.-led invaders of 2021 are likely to face a resistance similar to that which emerged against the U.S. Marines in 1915 and UN ‘peace-keepers’ in 2004, only more ferocious.”

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/11/2021 - 19:30
Published:7/11/2021 6:53:20 PM
[Markets] Former Canadian Embassy Worker Arrested In Haiti Assassination Worked For Sean Penn Relief Org Former Canadian Embassy Worker Arrested In Haiti Assassination Worked For Sean Penn Relief Org

The assassination of Hatian president Jovenel Moïse has taken yet another strange twist, after ABC News reports that a Florida man arrested in connection with the hit formerly worked in Canada's Embassy in Haiti, and also worked for a Hatian Relief Organization founded by suspected spooky actor Sean Penn following a 7.0 earthquake in 2010 that killed over 300,000 people.

James Solages, a 35-year-old Haitian-born resident of Miami, is one of 28 suspects accused by the Haitian government of participating in the deadly July 7 ambush attack that killed Moïse.

James Solages. (Facebook)

Solages, along with 55-year-old Joseph Vincent (also of Miami), claim they thought they were acting as interpreters 'for an authorized operation to arrest the Haitian president' by a group of Columbians, who told them Moïse was going to be arrested, not killed, according to the Washington Post.

According to NBC News, Solages worked as a bodyguard at Canada's Embassy in Port-au-Prince, however relatives say he has no formal military training. Canada, of course, is adding as much distance as possible (via the Florida Sun-Sentinel):

Solages is also the president of a nonprofit organization with an office in North Lauderdale. FWA SA A JACMEL AVAN, which is Creole for “This Time Jacmel First,” has a mission of “rebuilding Haiti,” according to its website. The website as well as its Facebook page — both which were working Thursday — were no longer accessible Friday.

The website on Thursday said Solages claimed to be the chief commander of bodyguards for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti. However multiple news outlets are reporting that Canada’s foreign relation department said one of the men detained in the assassination (it did not name Solages) had been employed only briefly as a reserve bodyguard at its embassy by a private contractor.

Meanwhile, Solages worked as a driver and in a security capacity for Sean Penn's J/P Haitian Relief Organization according to two sources.

Penn laid down what he considers lifelong roots in Haiti following the earthquake, at one point even living in a tent city among some 40,000 Haitians left homeless by the natural disaster.

For his multi-year efforts on behalf of the Haitian people, former President Michel Martelly — the mentor of slain President Jovenel Moise — named Penn ambassador at large, the first non-Haitian to receive that designation. -ABC News

James Solages (left) and other suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise

The assassination was carried out early Wednesday when a heavily armed group of men stormed the presidential mansion and shot Moïse multiple times, injuring his wife in the process. Prior to the storming, a man with an American accent could be heard on a megaphone announcing that it was a "DEA Operation."

Last months, Solages filed for divorce from his wife of three years, according to court records. On June 15, he signed a financial affidavit claiming that he was unemployed, had zero cash on hand, and zero assets, according to the Sun-Sentinel. His uncle by marriage, Schubert Dorisme, said he had not seen Solages for a few months - while the Post reported that he had been in Haiti for about a month, while the other Florida suspect, Vincent, had been there about six months.

Solages and Vincent were among several suspects captured and detained on Thursday evening, while three suspects have been killed and eight are on the run.

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise sit on the floor handcuffed after being detained, at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021.  (AP)

Of course, now that FBI and Homeland Security officials are on their way, we're sure the situation will be fully investigated and an honest accounting will be made public (perhaps after a few Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits).

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/11/2021 - 15:58
Published:7/11/2021 3:21:48 PM
[Markets] Meet Jigsaw: Google's Intelligence Agency Meet Jigsaw: Google's Intelligence Agency

Via PrivacyToGo.co,

It’s no secret that Google regularly collaborates with intelligence agencies.

They are a known NSA subcontractor. They launched Google Earth using a CIA spy satellite network. Their executive suite’s revolving door with DARPA is well known.

In the wake of the January 6th Capitol event, the FBI used Google location data to pwn attendants with nothing more than a valid Gmail address and smartphone login:

A stark reminder that carrying a tracking device with a Google login, even with the SIM card removed, can mean the difference between freedom and an orange jump suit in the Great Reset era.

But Google also operates its own internal intelligence agency – complete with foreign regime change operations that are now being applied domestically.

And they’ve been doing so without repercussion for over a decade.

From Google Ideas to Google Regime Change

In 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt created Google Ideas. In typical Silicon Valley newspeak, Ideas was marketed as a “think/do tank to research issues at the intersection of technology and geopolitics.

Astute readers know this “think/do” formula well – entities like the Council on Foreign Relations or World Economic Forum draft policy papers (think) and three-letter agencies carry them out (do).

And again, in typical Silicon Valley fashion, Google wanted to streamline this process – bring everything in-house and remake the world in their own image.

To head up Google Ideas, Schmidt tapped a man named Jared Cohen.

He couldn’t have selected a better goon for the job – as a card-carrying member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Rhodes Scholar, Cohen is a textbook Globalist spook. The State Department doubtlessly approved of his sordid credentials, as both Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton enrolled Cohen to knock over foreign governments they disapproved of.

Google Ideas’ role in the 2014 Ukraine regime change operation is well-documented. And before that, their part in overthrowing Mubarak in Egypt was unveiled by way of the Stratfor leaks.

More recently, the role of Google Ideas in the attempted overthrow of Assad in Syria went public thanks to the oft-cited Hillary Clinton email leaks:

Please keep close hold, but my team is planning to launch a tool on Sunday that will publicly track and map the defections in Syria and which parts of the government they are coming from.

Our logic behind this is that while many people are tracking the atrocities, nobody is visually representing and mapping the defections, which we believe are important in encouraging more to defect and giving confidence to the opposition.

Given how hard it is to get information into Syria right now, we are partnering with Al-Jazeera who will take primary ownership over the tool we have built, track the data, verify it, and broadcast it back into Syria. I’ve attached a few visuals that show what the tool will look like. Please keep this very close hold and let me know if there is anything eke you think we need to account for or think about before we launch. We believe this can have an important impact.

-Jared Cohen to State Dept. Officials, July 25, 2012

With all this mounting evidence, surely Google Ideas was decommissioned. Surely Jared Cohen was swiftly ousted from his position at one of America’s premier Big Tech darlings for crimes against humanity, right?

Of course not!

Why scrap all that hard work when you can just rebrand and shift your regime change operations to domestic targets?

Google Jigsaw – USA Psyop Edition

Google Ideas was renamed Google Jigsaw in 2015 after years of bad press and controversy – this time with an eye on performing psychological operations in the United States.

But all that experience data mining and overthrowing Middle Eastern nations wasn’t just thrown out. Rather, Jigsaw repurposed its internal psychological operations program (code-named Operation Abdullah) to instead target “right-wing conspiracy theorists,” as revealed by privacy researcher Rob Braxman.

Using a technique known as the redirect method, Jigsaw attempts to populate outbound links to dissuade potential thought-criminals from looking at wrongthink.

Make no mistake – the redirect method is about more than manipulation of search engine results. It’s one thing to manipulate the content of searches based on query strings, but to target the psychology of the searcher themselves requires an accurate psychological profile of the person doing the searching.

And Google has psych profiles in spades thanks to centralized Google logins: To Android phones, to Gmail accounts, to adjunct services like YouTube, even to children via Google Classroom.

You don’t even need to use Google’s search engine to populate them with weaponized data. In fact, search alone provides far fewer avenues for offensive metadata usage than a cell phone.

We would implore readers to take a look at Jigsaw’s site. It’s a study in how to use front-end design to creep out your visitor, as a snippet of JavaScript code ensures your cursor is tracked in a spotlight throughout your visit:

Jigsaw’s front-end design team has a clear message for you: There’s nowhere to hide.

The site also uses another bit of intelligence tradecraft known as “transferrence” – it’s a simple psychological tactic of shifting blame from yourself to your target.

The four subheaders on Jigsaw’s homepage, Disinformation, Censorship, Toxicity, and Violent Extremism demonstrate this tactic at work.

  • There is no greater source of media disinformation than MSM and the information served up by Google search engines.

  • Big Tech are at the forefront of destroying free speech through heavy-handed censorship, Google among them.

  • Psychological manipulation tactics used by the social justice crowd doubtlessly instill toxicity in those subjected to them.

  • And Google’s well-documented history of participating in bloody regime change as described in this article are textbook cases of violent extremism.

Yet Jigsaw markets itself as combating these societal ails. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, just as Google’s former company tag-line of “Don’t Be Evil” was a similar reversal of reality.

And yes, regime change aficionado Jared Cohen is still the CEO of Google Jigsaw. In fact, Jigsaw, LLC was overtly brought back in-house as of October 2020.

In Closing

As we’ve described in previous articles, vast swaths of the State-controlled Panopticon are currently being outsourced to Big Tech companies.

Call this phenomenon a public-private partnership. Call it the Great Reset. Call it Agenda 2030, or Agenda 21, or “stakeholder capitalism,” or any of the other euphemisms dreamt up by these hapless would-be oligarchs to sell neofeudal Technocracy to the public.

Making intelligence services pseudo-independent from the State is simply a mandatory prerequisite for fully globalizing them.

Furthermore, as the Biden administration seeks to reclassify half of the country as domestic extremists, it’s no secret that companies like Google, with their vast data weaponization programs, will play a key role in identifying Public Enemy #1:

You.

There is no “silver bullet” solution to this problem. Nearly all consumer electronics can be exploited at very low levels. Even the Internet itself is a longstanding military intelligence operation.

But this doesn’t mean any action short of becoming a Luddite is meaningless!

If data is the new oil, it’s time to shut off your well:

  • Abstain from using Google Mail, Docs, or Search where possible.

  • Seek out alternative social media and content creation platforms.

  • If your smartphone requires heavy dependence on Apple or Google for logins or closed-source apps, consider privacy-respecting alternatives.

  • Familiarize yourself with common data harvesting tactics and take action where you can.

While a full list of meaningful action is beyond the purview of this post (or any single blog entry for that matter), the important takeaway here is this:

We cannot opt out of mass government surveillance. But we knowingly consent to most forms of “privatized” intelligence gathering.

Take the first step and revoke your consent.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/10/2021 - 22:30
Published:7/10/2021 9:47:16 PM
[Markets] Federal Government Paying $6.1 Million To Create Database For Capitol Riot Prosecutions Federal Government Paying $6.1 Million To Create Database For Capitol Riot Prosecutions

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The Department of Justice has committed to paying over $6 million to a multinational firm to create a database to host the reams of data prosecutors are gathering in cases against accused participants of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, LLP was contracted in late May to help develop the database and the government has started transferring a large volume of materials, including tens of thousands of records from the U.S. Capitol Police, prosecutors said in a court filing this week.

“Following the Capitol Breach, the United States recognized that due to the nature and volume of materials being collected, the government would require the use of an outside contractor who could provide litigation technology support services to include highly technical and specialized data and document processing and review capabilities,” prosecutors wrote in the filing, which was submitted in a case against several accused Capitol rioters.

The government will work with Deloitte to process, review, and produce material related to the breach, using various tools to redact certain personal information.

Prosecutors expect the database to be available for use in the near future.

“Once it is, the government will begin systematically reviewing materials for potentially discoverable information, tagging when possible (e.g., video by a location or type of conduct, tips by a type of allegation), and redacting when necessary,” prosecutors wrote.

Deloitte did not return a request for comment.

The firm, which was listed as having a Virginia address, was awarded $6.1 million by the Department of Justice for “automated litigation support services,” according to a database holding government contracts.

That figure could swell to $25.9 million, according to the database listing, which was reviewed by The Epoch Times.

The start date of the contract was June 1. The current end date is May 31, 2022. A potential end date was listed as May 31, 2027.

The existence of the database was first reported by Politico.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Friday said the development signaled that U.S. prosecutors are focused only on prosecuting cases related to the breach.

“The DOJ is going to spend $6.1 million on a January 6 database. Where is the ANTIFA database? Where is the BLM database? It’s as if the DOJ has given up on all investigations other than January 6,” she wrote on Twitter.

Antifa is a far-left, anarcho-communist network that has perpetrated violence across the United States, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. BLM refers to Black Lives Matter, a movement that alleges minorities are systematically treated unjustly by law enforcement, among other claims. DOJ stands for the Department of Justice, which did not return a request for comment.

Protesters are seen inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

More than 535 people have been charged as of July 6 with crimes related to the breach, including 165 for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, according to the DOJ.

FBI agents are still seeking assistance identifying another 300 or so persons accused of participating in the tumult on Jan. 6.

The Federal Public Defender’s Office (FPD), meanwhile, is also mulling putting in place multiple databases to help with the defense of accused riot participants, prosecutors also said.

“Given the volume of information that may be discoverable, FPD is carefully examining options for accepting materials. We understand that FPD is considering contracting with a vendor to establish databases that can be used to receive and perform technical searches upon discoverable materials. The government’s discovery team is in the process of identifying the scope and size of materials that may be turned over to FPD with as much detail as possible, so that FPD can obtain accurate quotes from potential database vendors,” they wrote in the new filing.

“It is hoped that this database will be used by FPD offices nationwide that are working on Capitol Breach cases and counsel that are appointed under the Criminal Justice Act. We believe that a database will be the most organized and economical way of ensuring that all counsel can obtain access to, and conduct meaningful searches upon, relevant voluminous materials, e.g., thousands of hours of body worn camera and Capitol CCTV footage, and tens of thousands of documents, including the results of thousands of searches of Stored Communications Act accounts and devices,” they added.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/10/2021 - 14:30
Published:7/10/2021 1:43:51 PM
[Markets] Darryl Cooper: Why Trump Supporters Are Pissed Off And Don't Trust Anything Darryl Cooper: Why Trump Supporters Are Pissed Off And Don't Trust Anything

As the ruling class went to absurd lengths to try and dismantle Donald Trump, pissed off supporters watched in horror as a captured media peddled lie after lie - typically based on anonymous leaks from deep state bureaucrats, and as  powerful agents within America's intelligence apparatus falsified evidence and collaborated with foreign operatives paid by Trump's political opponents.

In doing so, they exposed themselves to anyone not already paying attention.

Darryl Cooper, aka @MartyrMade, has assembled what might be the most accurate summation of why Trump supporters - the vast majority of conservatives - are livid after the past five years. Cooper, a researcher and writer, is the co-host of The Unraveling Podcast with retired US Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink, and has hosted several deep-dive podcasts on a number of topics.

Read below:

(continued via Threadreader, emphasis ours)

Here are the facts - actual, confirmed facts - that shape their perspective: 1) The FBI/etc spied on the 2016 Trump campaign using evidence manufactured by the Clinton campaign. We now know that all involved knew it was fake from Day 1 (see: Brennan's July 2016 memo, etc). These are Tea Party people. The types who give their kids a pocket Constitution for their birthday and have Founding Fathers memes in their bios. The intel community spying on a presidential campaign using fake evidence (incl forged documents) is a big deal to them.
 
Everyone involved lied about their involvement as long as they could. We only learned the DNC paid for the manufactured evidence because of a court order. Comey denied on TV knowing the DNC paid for it, when we have emails from a year earlier proving that he knew. This was true with everyone, from CIA Dir Brennan & Adam Schiff - who were on TV saying they'd seen clear evidence of collusion w/Russia, while admitting under oath behind closed doors that they hadn't - all the way down the line. In the end we learned that it was ALL fake.
 
At first, many Trump ppl were worried there must be some collusion, because every media & intel agency wouldn't make it up out of nothing. When it was clear that they had made it up, people expected a reckoning, and shed many illusions about their gov't when it didn't happen. We know as fact: a) The Steele dossier was the sole evidence used to justify spying on the Trump campaign, b) The FBI knew the Steele dossier was a DNC op, c) Steele's source told the FBI the info was unserious, d) they did not inform the court of any of this and kept spying. 
 
 
Trump supporters know the collusion case front and back. They went from worrying the collusion must be real, to suspecting it might be fake, to realizing it was a scam, then watched as every institution - agencies, the press, Congress, academia - gaslit them for another year. Worse, collusion was used to scare people away from working in the administration. They knew their entire lives would be investigated. Many quit because they were being bankrupted by legal fees. The DoJ, press, & gov't destroyed lives and actively subverted an elected admin. 
 
This is where people whose political identity was largely defined by a naive belief in what they learned in Civics class began to see the outline of a Regime that crossed all institutional boundaries. Because it had stepped out of the shadows to unite against an interloper. GOP propaganda still has many of them thinking in terms of partisan binaries, but A LOT of Trump supporters see that the Regime is not partisan. They all know that the same institutions would have taken opposite sides if it was a Tulsi Gabbard vs Jeb Bush election. 
 
It's hard to describe to people on the left (who are used to thinking of gov't as a conspiracy... Watergate, COINTELPRO, WMD, etc) how shocking & disillusioning this was for people who encourage their sons to enlist in the Army, and hate ppl who don't stand for the Anthem. They could have managed the shock if it only involved the government. But the behavior of the corporate press is really what radicalized them. They hate journalists more than they hate any politician or gov't official, because they feel most betrayed by them. The idea that the press is driven by ratings/sensationalism became untenable. If that were true, they'd be all over the Epstein story. The corporate press is the propaganda arm of the Regime they now see in outline. Nothing anyone says will ever make them unsee that, period.
 
This is profoundly disorienting. Many of them don't know for certain whether ballots were faked in November 2020, but they know for absolute certain that the press, the FBI, etc would lie to them if there was. They have every reason to believe that, and it's probably true. They watched the press behave like animals for four years. Tens of millions of people will always see Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, based on nothing, because of CNN. And CNN seems proud of that. They led a lynch mob against a high school kid. They cheered on a summer of riots. 
 
 
They always claimed the media had liberal bias, fine, whatever. They still thought the press would admit truth if they were cornered. Now they don't. It's a different thing to watch them invent stories whole cloth in order to destroy regular lives and spark mass violence. Time Mag told us that during the 2020 riots, there were weekly conference calls involving, among others, leaders of the protests, the local officials who refused to stop them, and media people who framed them for political effect. In Ukraine we call that a color revolution. 
 
Throughout the summer, Democrat governors took advantage of COVID to change voting procedures. It wasn't just the mail-ins (they lowered signature matching standards, etc). After the collusion scam, the fake impeachment, Trump ppl expected shenanigans by now. Re: "fake impeachment", we now know that Trump's request for Ukraine to cooperate w/the DOJ regarding Biden's $ activities in Ukraine was in support of an active investigation being pursued by the FBI and Ukraine AG at the time, and so a completely legitimate request. 
 
Then you get the Hunter laptop scandal. Big Tech ran a full-on censorship campaign against a major newspaper to protect a political candidate. Period. Everyone knows it, all of the Tech companies now admit it was a "mistake" - but, ya know, the election's over, so who cares? Goes w/o saying, but: If the NY Times had Don Jr's laptop, full of pics of him smoking crack and engaging in group sex, lots of lurid family drama, emails describing direct corruption and backed up by the CEO of the company they were using, the NYT wouldn't have been banned.
Think back: Stories about Trump being pissed on by Russian prostitutes and blackmailed by Putin were promoted as fact, and the only evidence was a document paid for by his opposition and disavowed by its source. The NY Post was banned for reporting on true information. The reaction of Trump ppl to all this was not, "no fair!" That's how they felt about Romney's "binders of women" in 2012. This is different. Now they see, correctly, that every institution is captured by ppl who will use any means to exclude them from the political process. And yet they showed up in record numbers to vote. He got 13m more votes than in 2016, 10m more than Clinton got! As election night dragged on, they allowed themselves some hope. But when the four critical swing states (and only those states) went dark at midnight, they knew.
 
Over the ensuing weeks, they got shuffled around by grifters and media scam artists selling them conspiracy theories. They latched onto one, then another increasingly absurd theory as they tried to put a concrete name on something very real  Media & Tech did everything to make things worse. Everything about the election was strange - the changes to procedure, unprecedented mail-in voting, the delays, etc - but rather than admit that and make everything transparent, they banned discussion of it (even in DMs!). 
 
Everyone knows that, just as Don Jr's laptop would've been the story of the century, if everything about the election dispute was the same, except the parties were reversed, suspicions about the outcome would've been Taken Very Seriously. See 2016 for proof. 
 
Even the courts' refusal of the case gets nowhere w/them, because of how the opposition embraced mass political violence. They'll say, w/good reason: What judge will stick his neck out for Trump knowing he'll be destroyed in the media as a violent mob burns down his house? It's a fact, according to Time Magazine, that mass riots were planned in cities across the country if Trump won. Sure, they were "protests", but they were planned by the same people as during the summer, and everyone knows what it would have meant. Judges have families, too.
 
Forget the ballot conspiracies. It's a fact that governors used COVID to unconstitutionally alter election procedures (the Constitution states that only legislatures can do so) to help Biden to make up for a massive enthusiasm gap by gaming the mail-in ballot system. They knew it was unconstitutional, it's right there in plain English. But they knew the cases wouldn't see court until after the election. And what judge will toss millions of ballots because a governor broke the rules? The threat of mass riots wasn't implied, it was direct.
 
a) The entrenched bureaucracy & security state subverted Trump from Day 1, b) The press is part of the operation, c) Election rules were changed, d) Big Tech censors opposition, e) Political violence is legitimized & encouraged, f) Trump is banned from social media.
 
They were led down some rabbit holes, but they are absolutely right that their gov't is monopolized by a Regime that believes they are beneath representation, and will observe no limits to keep them getting it. Trump fans should be happy he lost; it might've kept him alive.
 
/end
Tyler Durden Sat, 07/10/2021 - 10:58
Published:7/10/2021 10:13:06 AM
[Markets] The Weaponization Of January 6 The Weaponization Of January 6

Authored by Jeff Crouere via AmericanThinker.com,

After the disputed 2020 election with questionable results in numerous states, millions of President Trump supporters were enraged. There were election challenges and protests across the country. 

The major protest on January 6 in Washington D.C. was the culmination of weeks of rallies across the country. Although estimates vary widely, the January 6 rally featuring President Trump, attracted at least 500,000 supporters. 

The overwhelming majority of the participants heeded President Trump’s plea to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” Some participants marched to the U.S. Capitol and about 900 people entered the building. 

Research from the staff of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) shows that approximately 40% of those who entered the U.S. Capitol were allowed into the building by the police. Among the rest, those who committed vandalism or assault should be prosecuted. The others may have entered the building illegally, but their actions do not rise to the level of terrorism. 

It has not stopped some far-left activists masquerading as analysts from claiming that the events of January 6 were worse than 9/11, the day that the country was attacked by Islamic terrorists, which resulted in the deaths of 2,977 innocent people. According to Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the disgraced Lincoln Project, “The 1/6 attack for the future of the country is a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks, and in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks.”

This claim is beyond ludicrous for the 9/11 attack prompted a U.S. military response and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that claimed the lives of over 7,000 brave members of the United States military, 8,000 contractors and an untold number of innocent citizens in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In contrast, five people died on January 6, including four of natural causes. The only person to be killed on that fateful day was Ashlii Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and Trump supporter, who was unarmed. She was killed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer who has been allowed to remain anonymous. 

To compare January 6 to a day that led to so many thousands of deaths and serious injuries is an insult to the victims of 9/11. It is minimizing that horrific day and comparing it to an intrusion in the U.S. Capitol that was improper and unwise, but not anywhere close to a jihadist attack.  

Another hyperbolic “analysis” was spewed by MSNBC commentator Matthew Dowd, who claimed that January 6 was “worse” than 9/11. He said, “To me, though there was less loss of life….  Jan.6 was worse than 9/11 because it’s continued to rip our country apart and give permission for people to pursue autocratic means.”

The insanity of these comparisons is truly astounding, but it is happening with regularity in the leftwing media.

Here is what the analysts refuse to acknowledge:

Trump supporters are not terrorists or threats to America. Almost all of them have a deep and abiding love for America and are extremely patriotic. 

They hate what happened to President Trump and the injustices that he suffered from the Deep State and the media and his many political enemies. They also have legitimate questions about how the 2020 elections were handled in numerous states. 

Democrats are claiming that this political passion is a threat against the country.

It is why Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has kept National Guard troops and barriers around the U.S. Capitol for so many months. The impression of these actions is that Trump supporters are dangerous. 

Democrats will continue to use the events of January 6 as a political weapon to distract from the horrible record of the Biden administration. After the first six months of the Biden administration, the country is in total disarray. 

The breakdown at the border has been both shocking and predictable as President Joe Biden discarded every successful policy of the Trump administration. With a staggering total of 180,000 border apprehensions per month and untold numbers of illegal immigrants evading capture, this crisis shows no signs of ending any time soon. 

Under Biden, inflation has returned with a vengeance as prices for back-to-school items, lumber, gasoline, and certain groceries are skyrocketing. Schools are beset with toxic teachers espousing critical race theory. Crime is becoming much worse in the major urban areas of the country, all run by Democrats. 

The foreign policy of President Biden is no better. While President Trump negotiated historic peace deals, Biden has been unable to stop violent conflicts in the Middle East from erupting. His administration has shown incredible weakness in dealings with China, Russia, and Iran. While tensions exacerbate, our military is sadly going woke and being purged of conservatives.

There is no area that the Biden administration can point to as a success. While the President likes to brag about job gains, the employment numbers were predicted by economists as the nation continues to recover from last year’s COVID-19 shutdown. 

While President Biden constantly pushes vaccinations for Americans, he failed to reach his targets for July 4th.  Now the administration is proposing a ludicrous and dangerous policy of going door to door to push vaccines on Americans who have refused the shot. 

With so many problems, the Democrats need to divert the attention of Americans with more hysteria about Donald Trump and the protests of January 6. The media helped the Democrats by continuing to keep the story alive; however, it is almost never reported that some of the protesters were Antifa infiltrators and FBI informants. 

Although the exact number of imposters is not known, the FBI is keeping close tabs on all the Trump supporters who entered the U.S. Capitol. The FBI has been on a crusade to arrest every protester who entered the U.S. Capitol on that day. While a few protesters destroyed property or attacked police officers, the vast majority were non-violent. At this point, approximately 500 people have been arrested. Some of them remain in prison in horrific conditions. 

Interestingly, the same level of prosecutorial zeal is not being displayed toward the rioters who rampaged across the country in the summer of 2020. Why are Trump rally goers being treated more harshly than rioters who burned down buildings? 

On the day of the protests, Americans were distracted from the congressional debate on the 2020 election. Today, the events of January 6 are being used by Democrats to avoid discussion of the Biden record. 

As a result of the January 6 protests, President Trump was impeached again and removed from social media. Clearly, the January 6 narrative is serving a useful purpose for Democrats, and they are not likely to abandon it any time soon. 

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/09/2021 - 23:40
Published:7/9/2021 11:11:36 PM
[Markets] Pentagon Offered National Guard Troops 2 Days Before Jan. 6, Former Chief Of Staff Confirms Pentagon Offered National Guard Troops 2 Days Before Jan. 6, Former Chief Of Staff Confirms

Authored by Isabel Van Brugen via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 13, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

The Pentagon offered National Guard troops two days before the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building, but that proposal was rejected, former chief of staff Kash Patel has confirmed.

In an episode of EpochTV’s “Kash’s Corner,” Patel, who served as chief of staff to the Acting United States Secretary of Defense under former President Donald Trump, explained why the Capitol breach could have been prevented. 

Patel, who also served as a government official in the United States National Security Council and the United States House of Representatives, said that he believes that the offer from the Trump administration was blocked for “political reasons.”

You have to ask yourself, what happened on Jan. 6? I was chief of staff on the Department of Defense on Jan. 6,” said Patel. “We had offered the Capitol Police and Mayor Bowser of Washington D.C. thousands of National Guardsmen and women two days before Jan. 6, and they turned us down. So it could have been prevented.”

The breach took place during a joint session of Congress when lawmakers met to certify electoral votes submitted by states. The Capitol grounds and building were breached by protestors and some rioters, some of whom wanted to voice their stance against then-Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to intervene in the certification process. Thousands of peaceful protesters remained outside.

Police and protesters outside the US Capitol’s Rotunda, in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Protesters have said they believe widespread fraud occurred in the election and did not like how officials in some states dramatically altered voting rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were many “mistakes” that led to the events that unfolded on that day, Patel said.

Why on Jan. 6—when it has now been publicly admitted by the FBI that they had information that there could possibly be a situation like that at the United States Capitol—why weren’t the cabinet secretaries under [then] President Trump briefed? Why didn’t the FBI put a thousand uniformed agents around the U.S. Capitol? Where was the fence?” asked Patel.

“These are the mistakes, intentional or otherwise, that led to Jan. 6,” Patel continued. “If you look at the videos from Jan. 6, an entire side of the Capitol—and I believe it’s outside—was totally unmanned. No police officers whatsoever, and that’s where the crowd first came in through.

He charged that the Pentagon’s offer was rejected for political reasons.

“I think people now are starting to realize that the protecting of the U.S. Capitol on a day like Jan. 6 is a law enforcement function,” Patel explained. “You cannot have the United States military descend and occupy the area around the U.S. Capitol, it’s literally illegal. But they can assist their law enforcement partners through a request from the mayor or the governor or the Capitol Police.”

That’s what should’ve happened, and that’s what we told them they might want to consider, but they flat out rejected it for political reasons I believe.”

The U.S. Capitol Police, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, and the Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

More than 535 defendants across nearly 50 states have been charged in the six months since the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol Building, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said this week. The majority of the cases are related to entering a restricted building, obstruction of an official proceeding, and civil disorder.

People who breached the U.S. Capitol gather in the building’s Rotunda in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

FBI Director Christopher Wray told an oversight hearing held by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee last month that the law enforcement agency considered the events that unfolded on Jan. 6 to be an act of “domestic terrorism.” When asked by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) whether the events could be considered an “insurrection,” Wray said it would be inappropriate to describe the breach as such.

In my role as FBI director, because that’s a term that has legal meaning, I really have to be careful about using words like that,” Wray said, noting that what he says could affect ongoing criminal cases.

Democratic lawmakers have pushed the narrative that the Jan. 6 breach was an “insurrection,” largely during the January impeachment effort against Trump. No one who participated in the breach has been charged with insurrection.

On June 23, Indiana woman Anna Morgan-Lloyd, 49, was put on probation in the first sentencing stemming from the Jan. 6 breach.

Separately, reports of harsh conditions for pre-trial defendants have emerged in recent days. Two attorneys told NTD’s “The Nation Speaks” that more than 50 such defendants are being held pretrial in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, in conditions that are “unconstitutional” and violate “every single basic human right.”

The FBI on Jan. 6 appealed to the public for additional information to assist in identifying 300 people who allegedly committed violent acts at the U.S. Capitol, including more than 200 who assaulted law enforcement officers.

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/09/2021 - 16:20
Published:7/9/2021 3:38:29 PM
[Markets] U.S. wholesale inventories surged in May U.S. wholesale inventories surged in May Published:7/9/2021 9:35:50 AM
[Markets] Thousands Of Convicts Freed During Pandemic Will Soon Be Sent Back To Prison Thousands Of Convicts Freed During Pandemic Will Soon Be Sent Back To Prison

Across the US, thousands of formerly incarcerated prisoners were released from prison (albeit with the understanding that their limited freedom would likely be temporary) as COVID swept through America's prisons, sparking riots and unrest in some penitentiaries.

Carr

Now, there's probably no other group in America that is more anxious to see the Delta variant spark another wave of official paranoia. Since they were freed by a provision of the Cares Act, the second stimulus package passed by President Trump and Congress last spring, the DoJ's official interpretation of the law will eventually determine when (or if) they're returned to prison to finish out their sentences.

According to the guidance left in place by the Trump Administration - guidance that still stands - many of the inmates will return to prison when the pandemic is declared officially over.

In a story about the dilemma facing the freed prisoners, Bloomberg cited as an example a former FBI agent serving a 15-year sentence after being convicted on bribery charges.

The cafeteria at the federal prison camp in Fairton, N.J., is rarely the site of much celebration. But one afternoon in spring 2020, the room was buzzing. A provision of the pandemic-relief package passed by Congress had given some of the inmates the chance to leave prison early and serve time under home confinement.

With dozens of prisoners gathered in the cafeteria, a Bureau of Prisons official read aloud a list of inmates who’d qualified for the new program. The names were greeted with high-fives and cheering. Among them was Robert Lustyik, an ex-F.B.I. agent who was about halfway through a 15-year sentence for bribery. “It was a feeling as if I had won the Heisman Trophy,” Lustyik says.

A few weeks later, Lustyik, 59, moved back in with his wife and two children in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., next door to the cemetery where Washington Irving is buried. Over the past year, he’s started a personal-training business out of his garage and complied with all the rules of home confinement, wearing an ankle bracelet and checking in with prison officials every day.

But as the pandemic approaches an end, the clock is ticking for Lustyik and thousands of other federal prisoners released under the Cares Act.

The former agent, who is currently living at home with his wife and children, was "heartbroken" by the DoJ memo, and the prospect of returning to prison, potentially for years. When he left his last camp at Fairton, a prison counselor told him he was leaving for good. And despite Democrats' reputation for being anti-police and soft on crime, the Biden Administration has so far refused to change the policy, despite lobbying from major prison advocacy groups.

And he's not alone: there are thousands of inmates convicted on non-violent crimes who will likely be returned to prison by the end of the year.

"The waiting is horrible,” says Kevin Ring, the president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group that has fought the Justice Department policy. "Some got home and immediately got a job and started going to school. Others really have focused on reconnecting with their families and, in a lot of cases, helping take care of families."

Over the past few months, the DoJ has been tight-lipped: "This will be an issue only after the pandemic is over," a department spokeswoman said in a statement.

Among many concerns, these former prisoners fear being sent back will trash the good will they have built up with friends and family.

That stance has left people like Brian Carr wondering how long their freedom will last. Carr, 31, was given a seven-year sentence in late 2015 after he pleaded guilty to drug dealing. His whole life had felt like a series of accumulating setbacks, he says—until he found out last year that he could leave prison. When he called his mother to share the news, his hands were shaking with excitement. “I couldn’t even remember her number by heart, and I know her number by heart,” he says.

Now living in Baltimore, Carr plans to enroll in technical school and eventually start a logistics company that transports cars to dealerships across the country. A return to prison would put all that on hold. He’d also have to figure out a way to break the news to his young children. “That’s going to be hard to explain,” Carr says. “They’re gonna feel like I did something wrong again, and I actually didn’t.”

One potential issue is that many of these freed prisoners have found jobs. And with the labor shortage currently afflicting the American economy, they're incarceration could leave employers in the lurch.

For some of the prisoners released last year, it’s taken months to acclimate to living at home. Last December, Jackie Broussard welcomed back her daughter, Stephanie White, after she was released under the Cares Act. “She wouldn’t open a door, she wouldn’t open a refrigerator, she wouldn’t ask for anything; she wouldn’t really talk,” Broussard says.

Since then, White, 32, has slowly adjusted to her new life, getting a job operating the forklift at a warehouse near her mother’s home in Fort Worth, Texas. But two and a half years remain on her sentence for a drug conviction. “I’m going to be terrified the day the federal government says the pandemic is over,” Broussard says.

Still, most experts agree the Biden Administration likely won't reverse the guidance. A lucky few may receive clemency from the president or governors since they've already been officially deemed "low risk."

"They’ve been vetted by the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons as being low-risk, and most have already served a significant amount of time in prison," says Shon Hopwood, a criminal justice expert at Georgetown University. "I don’t think anyone—DOJ included, and even the Bureau of Prisons—thinks that, as a matter of policy, it’s wise to send those people back."

Many prisoners have found an interesting loophole that they believe might help them stay out longer: they're refusing to get vaccinated for COVID. The former FBI agent is one such prisoner: "I'm willing to sacrifice my own health" to stay out of prison, he said.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/08/2021 - 23:20
Published:7/8/2021 10:33:36 PM
[Markets] "Basta" - Tearful Avenatti Sentenced To 2.5 Years In Prison Over Nike Extortion Plot "Basta" - Tearful Avenatti Sentenced To 2.5 Years In Prison Over Nike Extortion Plot

Michael Avenatti, the sleazy LA lawyer who shot to fame (with more than a little help from his pals at CNN) after representing Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who claimed to have had a brief affair with President Trump, has just been sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted on charges of extortion.

The sentencing was the result of a hamfisted scheme to try and extort Nike after he uncovered "evidence" that the athletic apparel giant was inappropriately paying bribes to high school coaches and players, part of the ruthless relationship battle to strike sponsorship deals with the next generation of athletes. The corporate lawyers that Avenatti tried to extort immediately contacted the FBI, who asked them to wear a wire to a second meeting, where Avenatti was caught on tape demanding that Nike essentially pay him $25MM (via consulting contracts and other perks) or risk him going public with the damaging information, which he claimed would wipe billions of dollars' of Nike's market cap.

Prosecutors collected plenty of evidence on Avenatti, and even found that Avenatti screwed over the whistleblower coach who first came to him with the information on Nike.

According to reporters who were in the court room during Avenatti's sentencing, the disgraced lawyer wept as he read a statement to the court, then cried some more after the sentence was handed down.

Federal Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York - the same judge who presided over Avenatti's early 2020 trial - sentenced the outspoken lawyer to 30 months (2.5 years). After handing down the sentence, the judge told the court that "Mr. Avenatti’s conduct was outrageous. He hijacked his client’s claims and he used those claims to further his own agenda — which was to extort millions of dollars from Nike to enrich himself.” The Bush-appointee added: "Mr. Avenatti had become drunk on the power of his platform, or what he perceived the power of his platform to be. He had become someone who operated as if the laws and rules that apply to everyone else didn’t apply to him."

Geoffrey Berman, the former US attorney for the Southern District who prosecuted Avenatti, said in February 2020 that "while the defendant may have tried to hide behind legal terms and a suit and tie, the jury clearly saw the defendant’s scheme for what it was — an old fashioned shakedown."

Avenatti has been out of the spotlight since his arrest, which occurred back in 2019, just minutes after he bizarrely tweeted his plans to call a press conference to go public with his "dirt" on Nike.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge read some of the most infamous quotes from the evidence tape made by the Nike lawyers who surreptitiously recorded Avenatti: "I’m not f*cking around with this, and I’m not continuing to play games...You guys know enough now to know you’ve got a serious problem. And it’s worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn’t move the needle for me… I’ll proceed with my press conference tomorrow and I’ll hang up with you now and I’ll call the New York Times… I’ll go take and I’ll go take ten billion dollars off your client’s market cap."

In another memorable clip, Avenatti said, "have you ever held the balls of the client in your hand where you can take five, six billion dollars in market cap off of ‘em? This is gonna be a major f*cking scandal…I’m gonna be asking, why Nike hasn’t been indicted. I’m gonna break, I’m gonna bring the power of my platform to bear – to expose what the f*ck is goin’ on here… This is gonna be the biggest scandal in sports in a long time."

The DoJ revealed during his trial that Avenatti was approximately $11MM in debt when he tried to extort Nike, debts that we had previously reported on. Avenatti enjoyed a luxe lifestyle that included living in luxury condominiums and traveling via private jet.

As we mentioned above, Avenatti had plenty of help from CNN and other networks which frequently booked him for interviews. He even once teased a presidential run.

Glenn Greenwald couldn't help but poke fun at Avenatti on the occasion, reminding the world how much faith the mainstream media placed in Avenatti, even praising him as a Democratic savior who might one day defeat President Trump.

Avenatti's lawyers had asked for a six-month prison term, noting his crimes weren't violent in nature. However, the judge ultimately sided with prosecutors. Avenatti is also facing criminal charges tied to allegations that he embezzled settlement money that was supposed to be paid out to a former client.

Avenatti's public profile will likely make for a hard time in the pen (he'll very likely spend a good chunk of his stay in 'protective custody'. With that in mind, before he surrenders, we'd like to share some critical advice about how to stay positive in some of the most difficult situations on the inside.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/08/2021 - 15:40
Published:7/8/2021 2:57:23 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Seizes “Fully Constructed” Lego Model of U.S. Capitol at Home of Alleged January 6th Rioter

The very serious media reports: "It’s unclear why Morss had the Lego set."

The post FBI Seizes “Fully Constructed” Lego Model of U.S. Capitol at Home of Alleged January 6th Rioter first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:7/8/2021 12:30:54 PM
[Markets] FBI Ridiculed For Seizing Man's Lego Set Of U.S. Capitol FBI Ridiculed For Seizing Man's Lego Set Of U.S. Capitol

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

File this under “what the hell?”

The FBI seized a man’s lego set of the U.S. Capitol building after declaring him to be a leading ‘rioter’ during the January 6th incident.

Court records note that federal prosecutors are accusing 27-year-old Robert Morss of directing other ‘rioters’ in “one of the most intense and prolonged clashes” with Capitol Police around the building that day.

Former Army Ranger Morss, like many others arrested since January 6th, has been languishing in prison, and faces 9 counts of inciting violence.

The documents note “During his arrest, law enforcement recovered some clothing and other items that appear to match those he carried with him on the 6th – including a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a neck gaiter, a military utility bag, a black tourniquet, and military fatigues. (Law enforcement also recoverd a fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set.)”

The horror.

The Hill notes that “It’s unclear why Morss had the Lego set.”

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Thu, 07/08/2021 - 09:25
Published:7/8/2021 8:29:42 AM
[Markets] FBI Confiscates Lego Capitol Set; Agents Confirmed Among Jan 6th "Rioters" FBI Confiscates Lego Capitol Set; Agents Confirmed Among Jan 6th "Rioters"

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

An accused U.S. Capitol protester spoke with an undercover Washington police officer on Jan. 6 who later connected the man to an undercover FBI worker, according to a new court filing.

Fi Duong is facing charges for allegedly entering the Capitol during a joint session of Congress in January, for disrupting the session, and for impeding the session. He faces decades in prison.

In an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, FBI special agent Jason Jankovitz said that Duong and an associate introduced themselves to an undercover Metropolitan Police Department officer on the morning of Jan. 6. Duong allegedly described himself as an “operator” and asked if the officer was a “patriot,” to which the employee responded in the affirmative.

Officers later ascertained Duong was inside the Capitol several hours later.

A week later, the undercover Washington officer linked Duong with an FBI undercover employee. The FBI worker learned that Duong belonged to an unnamed group comprised of “loosely affiliated” and “like-minded individuals,” that Duong is said to have compared to a known militia group located in northern Virginia.

Duong said, according to the court filing, that the mission was to “build resistances and what not, in terms of planning for what will inevitably come as a worst, right? Worst case scenario for any people that, freedom loving, liberty minded, pro 2A type of folks.”

Duong related that his family spent two generations “running from communists,” first in China and then in Vietnam, and his belief that at some point, “you just gotta make a stand.”

During the same meeting, Duong allegedly said he was in Washington on Jan. 6 and that he was dressed that day in all-black to try to look like a member of Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist network that has carried out violence in the United States.

Duong added the FBI undercover agent to an encrypted messaging platform chat room and on Jan. 18, the agent asked if he was “masked up in the Capitol.” Duong answered yes, and said he was aware that people were being arrested for being inside the Capitol. He later described himself as “documenting” what took place in the building.

The agent in February met with Duong and other members of the group for a Bible study and on other occasions participated in other meetings, including one on June 9. The group soon started to surveil the Capitol, according to the undercover worker. At one point, the FBI agent and Duong met with another undercover FBI agent at the site of a former jail, where Duong allegedly wanted to test Molotov cocktails he’d constructed.

Duong was arrested on July 2, according to court records. He was ordered released later that day.

A public defender representing Duong declined to comment.

More than 535 defendants have been charged in the six months following the Capitol breach, officials said this week.

In this image from video, a security video shows Vice President Mike Pence being evacuated as rioters breach the Capitol, as House impeachment manager Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

FBI Seizes Lego Set

In another case linked to the breach, the FBI said it seized a Lego set from an accused rioter.

While arresting Robert Morss on June 11, law enforcement recovered a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a black tourniquet, and a notebook with writings that included “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia,” according to a memorandum that asks a judge to keep Morss in jail until a trial.

“Law enforcement also recover[e]d a fully constructed U.S. Capitol Lego set,” the filing states.

[ZH: The same Lego set that anyone over 12 is legally able to buy and build]

Morss is in custody on charges including civil disorder and violent entry of a building on Capitol grounds.

Authorities allege Morss stormed the Capitol while wearing tan camouflage clothing with a tactical-style vest. They say he was part of a group of rioters who pushed past police guarding the Capitol, that he later violently attacked officers inside a tunnel leading to the building, and ultimately gained entrance to the building through a broken window.

“In this case, the Defendant was part of a violent mob that engaged in one of the most intense and prolonged clashes between the rioters attempting to overrun Capitol on January 6 and the law enforcement officers charged with protecting it,” prosecutors said.

If Morss is released, they added, he poses a danger to the community and a flight risk.

A public defender representing Morss did not return a request for comment. The attorney asked, and was granted, more time to compile a defense for the man, according to the court docket. A bail hearing is set for July 13.

[ZH: Seriously...]

Tyler Durden Wed, 07/07/2021 - 21:25
Published:7/7/2021 8:42:47 PM
[Politics] Yep, this is real. Boebert reports the ‘FBI is seizing Lego toy sets while Democrat cities are in the middle of massive crime waves’ It has come to this: the FBI has seized a freaking LEGO set in their zealous pursuit of anyone who was associated with the events in D.C. on January 6th. They are . . . Published:7/7/2021 3:13:50 PM
[Markets] Texas AG: Biden Administration 'On The Side Of Cartels' When It Comes To Southern Border Texas AG: Biden Administration 'On The Side Of Cartels' When It Comes To Southern Border

President Biden's southern border crisis is growing increasingly grave by the week. A flood of migrants continues to pour into the country as the president, earlier this year, reversed many of his predecessor's immigration policies, including having asylum seekers remain in Mexico instead of in the U.S. and ending border wall construction.

Speaking first hand about the border crisis, because frankly, the mainstream media continues to ignore the issue, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently appeared on the Sara Carter Show podcast to discuss immigration. 

"Not only are we fighting illegal immigration and the cartels," Paxton said, "but we're fighting the Biden administration." Instead of lending a hand to the Lone Star state, "They're on the side of the cartels literally helping them to transport human beings into our state."

As a result, the attorney general admits he's afraid of his own federal government. "Look, I've never been more afraid of our own government than I am right now. I've never been more afraid of law enforcement," Paxton told Carter. "These are people that we expect to hold to a very high standard, whether it's whether it's you know, the FBI or the CIA, these national federal organizations have become very political."

Every passing day, the Biden administration continues to mishandle the border crisis. The reversal in former President Trump's policies has resulted in a massive surge in migrants, including unaccompanied minors, which has overwhelmed capacity at immigration facilities. 

Paxton's only solution to combat the administration is through a barrage of lawsuits:

"We are definitely in the fight with the Biden administration. We have 11 lawsuits right now, that's in the first six months of his administration," he said. "They matter because we have to fight, we have to hold them accountable for violating federal law, for not following the President's constitutional duty."

With the administration's unwillingness to secure the border, South Dakota is sending their National Guard members to defend Texans from border chaos. 

On Tuesday,  Fox News' Bill Melugin snaped images of at least 100 migrants in La Joya, Texas, who just crossed the border. 

He said this is the "largest single group of migrants I've ever seen is currently being apprehended here in La Joya, TX. At least 100+ and more still coming down the road. Many children coughing, some moms breastfeeding. Some I talked to are from Nicaragua, Honduras, & Guatemala." 

One of Melugin's images shows the +100 group of migrants lined up alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection trucks. Agents appeared to be interviewing the migrants. There was no word on what agents were discussing. 

Here are other images of the large group. 

On Monday, former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Ron Vitiello told "Fox & Friends First" that the "root cause of the chaos" at the southern border is Biden's quick reversal of former President Trump's immigration policies. 

Listen to the entire interview or skip to the 32-minute mark where Carter and Paxton talk about the border crisis. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/06/2021 - 22:00
Published:7/6/2021 9:06:44 PM
[Markets] Their Endgame For The Flag, The National Anthem, The Declaration Of Independence, & The Constitution Their Endgame For The Flag, The National Anthem, The Declaration Of Independence, & The Constitution

Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com,

A huge national debate about our most important national symbols has erupted, and it is rapidly becoming one of our hottest political issues.  But what most people don’t realize is that this isn’t really a debate about our past.  Rather, it is a debate about what our future is going to look like.  Those that are demonizing the American flag, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not doing so for the purpose of winning a historical debate. 

Their true goal is to “cancel” those symbols and replace them with new ones, because our existing national symbols represent values and principles that are diametrically opposed to the values and principles that they wish to impose upon society.

If they ultimately get their way, the United States will eventually become an extremely repressive high tech dystopian society where absolutely no dissent is tolerated. 

In other words, we would look a whole lot like communist China does today.

When I was growing up, the “godless communists” on the other side of the globe were the “bad guys”, and I was raised to greatly love the flag and the freedoms that it represented.  But now our flag is regularly demonized by the corporate media.  For example, the New York Times just published an article in which the flag was described as “alienating”

What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.

And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray.

At one time, it would have been unthinkable for a major newspaper to publish such a statement, but times have changed.

And calls for our existing flag to be replaced with a new one are starting to grow louder.  The following comes from a widely circulated opinion piece that singer Macy Gray authored last month

President Biden, Madame Harris and members of Congress: the American flag has been hijacked as code for a specific belief. God bless those believers, they can have it. Like the Confederate, it is tattered, dated, divisive, and incorrect. It no longer represents democracy and freedom. It no longer represents ALL of us. It’s not fair to be forced to honor it. It’s time for a new flag.

Of course it isn’t just the flag that they want to replace.

Right now, there is a Change.org petition that is calling for a new national anthem

The petition, started by Lawrence Johnson, cites three reasons why the national anthem should be changed:

The “Star Spangled Banner” contains “racism,” elitism and even sexism embedded in its third and fourth stanzas, which have no place in the national anthem of a democracy that claims that all men (and women) are created equal, the petition says.

That particular petition is suggesting that “American The Beautiful” should be the new anthem, but a lot of people are also now referring to “Lift Every Voice And Sing” as a “national anthem”

PBS has sparked tense backlash with its decision to have Vanessa Williams perform the “black national anthem” during its July 4 coverage — with critics blasting the move as divisive and un-American.

Williams’ performance on the station’s annual Capitol Fourth program Sunday evening is intended to celebrate the recognition of Juneteenth’s establishment as a federal holiday.

In the end, they aren’t going to be satisfied with changing just one or two things.

The goal is for all of the symbols of our founding era to be “canceled”, and this even includes our most important founding documents.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that NPR is now publicly claiming that the Declaration of Independence is filled with “flaws and hypocrisies”

In an online article, NPR stated: ‘Over the past 32 years, Morning Edition has broadcast a reading of the Declaration of Independence by NPR staff as a way of marking Independence Day.

‘But after last summer’s protests and our national reckoning on race, the words in the document land differently.’

In reference to the ‘flaws and hypocrisies’ within the historic document, NPR wrote: ‘It famously declares “that all men are created equal” even though women, enslaved people and Indigenous Americans were not held as equal at the time.’

And Congresswoman Maxine Waters is publicly attacking it as well

July 4th… & so, the Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal. Equal to what? What men? Only white men?

“All men are created equal” is a phrase that has been a beacon of hope for men and women all over the globe for more than two centuries, but now Maxine Waters would like us to believe that it is actually an insult.

Sadly, I am certain that it won’t be too long before someone out there comes up with a “new Declaration of Independence” to replace the old one.

Of course the U.S. Constitution is under relentless assault as well.  When I was in law school, my liberal professors taught me that it was a “living, breathing document” that could be changed to make it say anything that we wanted it to say.

But these days that is not enough for many on the left.  A lot of them now want to get rid of that “flawed” document entirely and start over.

The endgame is to create an entirely different country from the one that our founders originally established, and every year they make a little bit more progress toward that goal.

Of course there are still millions of patriotic Americans that are absolutely determined to keep them from winning, but the other side has far more money and far more power at this stage.

This is a point that Victor Davis Hanson made very well in one of his recent articles

Name one mainline institution that the woke left does not now control — and warp. The media? The campus? Silicon Valley? Professional sports? The corporate boardroom? Foundations? The K-12 educational establishment? The military hierarchy? The government deep state? The FBI top echelon?

The left absorbed them all. But this time around, members of the left really believe that “by any means necessary” is no mere slogan. Instead, it is a model of how to disrupt or destroy American customs, traditions and values.

All throughout our history, Americans have sacrificed so much so that future generations could live free.

But now all of our precious freedoms are on the line, and the other side is absolutely determined to permanently destroy everything that our founders worked so hard to build.

We have reached such a critical moment in our history, and America’s future hangs in the balance.

*  *  *

Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/06/2021 - 16:20
Published:7/6/2021 3:34:49 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: The Genesis Of Our American Collective Meltdown Victor Davis Hanson: The Genesis Of Our American Collective Meltdown

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com,

This Fourth of July holiday we might pause for a moment from our festivities to ask how we collectively lost our minds over the last 15 months—and are we yet regaining any semblance of our sanity? 

A pandemic caused by the leak of a Chinese-engineered virus and its coverup was cause enough for nationwide madness. But the spread of COVID–19 was followed by a nationalized and often politicized “flatten-the-curve” quarantine that soon ensured a stir-crazy nation. Tens of millions saw no people, and heard nothing human other than what was fed to them through television and computers. No wonder they grew paranoid, conspiratorial, and angry, and soon forgot the therapeutic nature of personal interaction and the shared humanity of being in the physical presence of others.

Our first self-induced recession came next and lasted over a year, destroying all the hard work of the prior three years. Next ensued the death of George Floyd and a subsequent 120 days of rioting, looting, and arson. The immediate costs were $2 billion in damage, over 25 deaths, 14,000 arrests, and a Lord of the Flies anarchy with no-go zones in our major cities. A McCarthyite frenzy followed, as remote-controlled America hunted down the supposed “racists” among us—while career agendas, personal grudges, and ideological hatred fueled the cancel culture.

All this was antecedent to our first election in which Election Day voting was incidental, not essential, to the outcome. This was also our first presidential campaign in which the incumbent was stricken by a pandemic virus. And his opponent, due to his age and infirmity, simply reverted to the 19th century style of staying home and outsourcing the electioneering to the Democratic-media complex. Biden’s basement became the equivalent of the “front-porch” of homebound candidates of a century and more ago. 

The derangement was then capped off, first, by a buffoonish riot at the Capitol followed by a Reichstag-fire style militarization of Washington, D.C., in a “never let a crisis go to waste” psychodrama. Then came a novel second and unprecedented presidential impeachment, without a special prosecutor, witnesses, or cross examinations. It was based on the myth of a deadly “armed insurrection” fueled by President Trump, which purportedly led to the murder of a police officer. Later most of the writs of the House impeachment were proven fantasies, from the idea of “armed” and “well-organized” to “murderous” revolutionaries. The only mysteries were the identity of the unnamed officer who fatally shot an unarmed female protester and military veteran, and why the government has still not released thousands of hours of video detailing the riot. 

That impeachment charade was followed by a trial in the Senate—without the chief justice presiding—of a president, who was no longer in office. 

The finale was the promise of a “moderate” good ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton—the supposed correction to Trump. In reality, Biden’s first 150 days proved, as the cynics predicted, that he was mere cover and conveyance for the implementation of the most radical agenda since the 1930s.

So we can cut America some slack when we ponder why the entire country is now descending into a collective madness, given the amount of propaganda and media distortion pumped out during the quarantine, and since. 

The Chaos of Daily Living

Within the space of about 6 months in 2021, the costs of the essentials of life have skyrocketed—food, gasoline, housing, appliances, cars and trucks, and building materials. Non-ending streams of stimulus money, huge deficits, and pent-up demand so far have ensured that Americans would pay such spiking prices. And soon radical inflation may trigger 1970s stagflation and then recession, as the “why-go-to-work?” checks and consumer zeal finally cease, but the government printing machine keeps going. What good is free government money if spiraling prices eat away the entitlement? 

California is the worst run of our states. But it is also always a helpful bellwether of where we are descending. The state has plenty of oil and natural gas. There are still remnants of a once thriving nuclear and hydroelectric industry. But power outages are now commonplace—to the point that, like Third-Worlders, we merely shrug when the lights go out as if it were a green way of reducing carbon emissions.  

Forty million people driving on roads and highways intended for 20 million people—27 percent of them not born in America—becomes a “Road-Warrior”-like wildness intended to discourage the kind of driving to which we became accustomed in the 20th century. Any trip over 200 miles cannot be calibrated by traditional “arrival times.” Ad hoc repairs on ancient roads paralyzes traffic not already slowed by accidents. Speeding and traffic violations are commonplace. Either the population ignores or does not know the law, or a paranoid law enforcement is reluctant to enforce the laws, or there are simply too few patrol cars responsible for too many drivers.  

Gas can range from $4.00 to over $5.00 a gallon; $100 fill-ups are common. To go to a California Home Depot or Lowes store is to be amazed at grades of plywood priced at nearly $90 a sheet. 

Californians are leaving in droves, but housing costs are still soaring. Californians love nice houses. But those who have them don’t like to allow anyone to build new ones for others. 

A horrendous drought has dried up reservoirs and dropped the water tables of most aquifers. Privately, Californians know that it was madness not to build reservoirs, all cancelled over 30 years ago, or to allow the California Water Project’s infrastructure to decay, or to continue to allow scarce fresh water to flow into the sea, or not to invest in new technologies of underground water savings and storage.  

But they also know that as long as the Bay Area’s activists have sufficient supplies of water (from their own early 20th century, far-seeing politicians who created the huge Hetch Hetchy transference and won first-dibs allotments from the subsequent California Water Project), they will continue to push green agendas, the disastrous consequences of which the elite avoid, given their own wealth and power.  

High-speed rail is a tragic joke. It is inert and unfinished. The ostentatious half-built overpasses stand like modern graffiti-stained versions of Stonehenge. Its only ostensible purpose seems to have been a green plan to siphon money from road repair and expansion. 

Mention San Francisco to a Californian, and the same, monotonous warnings arise: don’t go there! And if you must, don’t park there—since smashing into a car and stealing its contents are viewed as understandable redistribution rather than criminal acts. Others advise to check constantly the soles of your shoes: human and animal excrement is ubiquitous as the city’s sanitation regresses to something resembling Old Cairo or medieval London.  

I drive often to the central Sierra. For the last 4 years the talk there was “Why don’t they do something about the millions of trees that have died from drought and bug infestation?” The locals now say of the incinerated forests “Why don’t they do something about the millions of those charred black trees?” Such sincere questions assume people matter more than ideology. They don’t.  

In a state where defecation on the sidewalks apparently hurts no one, drought and fires consuming a forest are also OK—as long as it is likewise deemed a function of nature. In California, logging an acre of timber is insurrectionary; 400,000 acres going up in smoke is “stuff happens.”

Policies and Politicians 

The truth is that the necessities of life—safety, affordability of the essentials, transportation, power, and fuel—are now iffy. If 15 years ago, Americans more or less saw each other as fellow citizens rather than as members of rival tribes, now they are resegregating into Dark Age bands. In place of oral bards and mythic sagas, we have dry and racist “critical race theory.” 

There is no media credibility left after assuring us for years that the Steele dossier was the gold standard, that Robert Mueller’s dream team would prove “collusion,” that Donald Trump sicced the federal police on demonstrators for a cheap photo-op stunt, that Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, and that only conspiracists could make a looney connection between COVID-19’s ground zero origins in Wuhan and a nearby level 4 virology lab, with ties to the Chinese military. 

The current chaos of everyday life of course follows from national policy and politics. The streets are on a reverse trajectory into the 1970s, since crime is redefined as either tolerable collateral damage, “equity,” or a collective indictment of society rather than one of individual culpability. When mayors claim that burning a police precinct is a mere loss of “brick and mortar,” or taking over downtown Seattle is just part of a “summer of love,” or when the architect of the “1619 Project” claims looting is not violence, then crime is no longer crime. 

The Left says it has not defunded the police because there are still police to be seen. But progressives have done something far more insidious: America has destroyed police deterrence by a year of anti-police venom, by prosecutors selectively and asymmetrically exempting the arrested, and by prompting police retirements, resignations or simple slowdowns. There is now in the minds of all big-city cops a constant cost-to-benefit calculation: going into the inner city has become a lose/lose/lose/lose/lose proposition in which a 911 call from the danger zone can get an officer killed, injured, fired, suspended, imprisoned, or rendered a fool, as the successfully arrested are summarily let go.  

The country has gone mad with debt. Both parties are responsible for the massive spending. The Republican defense is that Democrats would spend even more—and, if they are lavishing entitlements to buy votes, why shouldn’t we

The Left’s excuse is not just the old idea of redistribution, but a new revolutionary myth that money and debt are really irrelevant constructs. A novel economic pseudoscience has revised or discarded the oppressive idea of having to pay back what was borrowed.  

Traditionalists and conservatives always assumed that the military, the intelligence and investigatory agencies, and the prosecutorial industry were at least above politics, defenders of traditional and constitutional norms, and completely professional in their service.  

No longer. There is now a new military-industrial-intelligence-legal complex. Its hierarchy is politically weaponized, and amply renumerated. The careers of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, General Mark Milley and a score of retired 4-stars officers, Robert Mueller and his dream team, and the Department of Justice are characteristically determined and calibrated by politics rather than competence.  

The usual consequences follow: half the country no longer trusts its once esteemed FBI, CIA, or military. And when these agencies veer from their assigned tasks, it is no wonder that they miss impending signs of terrorism in Boston, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino, had little clue that the “JVs” of ISIS were expanding in Iraq, and never really informed the American people about the costs, the benefits, the stakes and the likely future of the two-decade Afghan war. In the 1960s the Left sought to tarnish the reputation of what they saw as hated government institutions and failed; in the 2020s, the Left diminished the reputation of what they now saw as useful and malleable institutions and succeeded. 

America does not quite know what will follow from the first months of the Biden Administration. Already, it has managed to destroy the idea of a border, with an anticipated 2 million entering the country illegally over a 12 month period. It demolished the idea of the police and prosecutorial deterrence curbing crime. It is ending the trajectory of America’s natural gas and oil renaissance that enriched the country, and freed it from Middle East entanglements. And it killed off the notion that government should seek to ensure that race is not how we collectively define the content of our individual characters.  

Abroad 

Meanwhile, our enemies and rivals—China, Iran, and Russia especially—are giddy at what America has become. The American Left, they believe, has done a much better job of denying Chinese culpability for a Chinese-engineered virus than had the Chinese communist media. 

When billionaires, such as Michael Bloomberg, see China as essentially democratic (“The communist party wants to stay in power in China, and they listen to the public . . . Xi Jinping is not a dictator.”), when Charles Munger applauds their clampdown on outspoken capitalists like Jack Ma (“I don’t want the, all of the Chinese system, but I certainly would like to have the financial part of it in my own country, . .  . Communists did the right thing. They just called in Jack Ma and say, ‘You aren’t gonna do it, sonny.’””), and when Bill Gates believes that in the midst of the pandemic, a lying China had done “a lot of things right in the beginning,” we can conclude America’s richest are placing their bets on a Chinese-Communist controlled 21st century, and will adjust accordingly.

Our adversaries can’t quite believe their good fortune. Had they thought up ways to divide and impoverish America, to see its cities burned, and looted, to weaken its economy and currency, to erode the unity of its once feared military, and to entrench the most effective critics of America in America—not in Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang, or Tehran, but in corporate boardrooms, campuses, newsrooms, Hollywood, Wall Street and the Pentagon—they could not have improved on what has happened in 2020-21, the era of our collective meltdown.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/06/2021 - 00:00
Published:7/5/2021 11:29:56 PM
[Markets] 'Wikipedia Is More One-Sided Than Ever' Writes Disaffected Co-Founder Larry Sanger 'Wikipedia Is More One-Sided Than Ever' Writes Disaffected Co-Founder Larry Sanger

Authored by WikiPedia co-founder Larry Sanger via larrysanger.org,

“All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia,” declares a policy page, “must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV).” This is essential policy, believe it or not. Maybe that will be hard to believe, if you have read many Wikipedia articles on controversial topics lately. But it is true: neutrality is the second of the “Five Pillars” policies that define Wikipedia’s approach to the craft of encyclopedia-writing. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales made a statement that Wikipedia now regards as definitive. “Doing The Right Thing takes many forms,” he wrote, “but perhaps most central is the preservation of our shared vision for the NPOV and for a culture of thoughtful diplomatic honesty.”

Some animals are more equal than others.

Yes, Wikipedia is very earnest about its neutrality.

But what does “neutral” mean? This is easy to misunderstand; many people think it means the same as “objective.” But neutrality is not the same as objectivity. If an encyclopedia is neutral about political, scientific, and religious controversies—the issues that define the ongoing culture war—then you will find competing sides represented carefully and respectfully, even if one side is “objectively” wrong. From a truly neutral article, you would learn why, on a whole variety of issues, conservatives believe one thing, while progressives believe another thing. And then you would be able to make up your own mind.

Is that what Wikipedia offers? As we will see, the answer is No.

Like Switzerland. Sort of.

What Is “Neutrality,” Anyway?

“Now wait a second,” I can already hear some people saying. “I reject this distinction between objectivity and neutrality. Neutrality does not mean giving equal weight to all opinions. Neutrality means approaching issues without emotion, following standards of logic and science. The neutral approach seeks hard facts and assembles hard-won truths for a critical audience.”

That might be a fine thing, but I am afraid that is not what “neutrality” means, certainly not according to Wikipedia. Logic, science, and factuality are admirable, but the words summing up those ideals are “objectivity” and “rationality.” Neutrality is something else. Wikipedia is supposed to be like Switzerland, proverbially speaking: not casting any side as the enemy, and certainly not taking pot-shots at one side. And this is roughly how Wikipedia still officially characterizes neutrality: “Wikipedia aims to describe disputes, but not engage in them.”

Jimmy Wales is right. We did originally adopt the neutrality policy to foster “a culture of thoughtful diplomatic honesty.” In other words, the way to keep the peace among a radically diverse set of contributors is not to declare winners and losers. But that is only one reason we adopted the policy. There was another key reason: as I have explained, no one has a right to make up your mind for you, especially in an open, global project. That does violence to our basic autonomy and, if the project ever became very large and important, it would place an enormous amount of power in the hands of a ideological cabal. And on Wikipedia, There is no cabal (ask them; they’ll tell you). Such ideological control would turn Wikipedia into an engine of propaganda. The neutrality policy was supposed to prevent that.

There is a crucial difference between propaganda and information that supports individual deliberation. The difference is neutrality.

So does Wikipedia meet its own ideals of neutrality? Let’s find out. I already explored this question by looking for (and easily finding) bias in articles on important topics. In the present article, I take another approach: we can list a few big political issues, briefly summarize the warring views on them, and then look and see whether these views are presented neutrally, in a way that allows the reader to make up his own mind. Does that sound fair? I think it does. And does Wikipedia take such an approach?

I propose to look and see. Which issues in the last year or so have caused the most acrimonious dispute? We can look at the main battlefronts of the culture war: politics, science, and religion. I will spend most of my time on politics.

In U.S. politics, four of the biggest political issues would include:

  • Trump’s impeachments
  • Biden’s scandals
  • The Antifa and BLM riots
  • Alleged election irregularities
The impeachment managers.

Trump’s Impeachments

Democrats and (most) Republicans were sharply divided on the question of whether Trump’s impeachments had any merit. The Democratic view was that Trump abused his office by encouraging the president of Ukraine to investigate his opponent, Biden. Later, he egged on the January 6 invasion of the Capitol building. The Republican view was that Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president was wholly innocent, that he had committed no “high crime or misdemeanor,” and that Biden was in fact guilty of dirty shenanigans in Ukraine. As to the January 6 invasion, his remarks did not cause it. Of course, there is much, much more to be said on all sides. Now, a neutral Wikipedia would not come down clearly on either side, and would fully lay out the Democratic and the Republican cases fairly and fully. Is that what we see on Wikipedia?

No. As of this writing (and this caveat goes for all of the following), there was a section of the Donald Trump article about the first impeachment (2019-20). That section had absolutely no information about the Republican side in the House impeachment proceedings; only the Democratic side is presented. As to the Senate trial, here is the total extent of Wikipedia’s remarks about the Trump (i.e., majority Republican) position: “Trump’s lawyers did not deny the facts as presented in the charges but said Trump had not broken any laws or obstructed Congress. They argued that the impeachment was ‘constitutionally and legally invalid’ because Trump was not charged with a crime and that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.” That is all; two transparently biased sentences. Among other things, the article omits the essential point that Trump’s lawyers also denied that there was any abuse of power in the first place.

There is, of course, much more information to be found about the Republican case in the (very long) article, “First impeachment trial of Donald Trump“; but, and I suppose you will just have to take my word for this, the relevant section is extremely biased, for example, dismissing various what it calls “conspiracy theories.”

As to the second impeachment trial (that of January, 2021), in the Donald Trump article, no information is offered on either side about the arguments for impeachment, either in the House or the Senate proceedings. Certainly there is nothing remotely representing the perspective of Trump and his defenders. Again, there is a much longer article, “Second impeachment of Donald Trump,” with a “Background” section that essentially lays out the Democratic case against Trump. No Trump rebuttal is given at all. The rest of the article is also extremely biased; there is a long section of opinions whether Trump should have been impeached. The “Opposition” section (i.e., listing people opposed to impeachment) skips entirely over all House Republican opposition, and presents only Senate opposition.

This is hardly fair, neutral treatment on events that deeply divided the American people. Wikipedia took the Democrats’ side against Trump, period. The articles are so biased, in fact, that it is fair to call them “propaganda.”

Hunter looks on as Joe speaks.

The Biden Family Ukraine Scandal

President Biden faced, and has so far easily escaped, two potentially devastating scandals that were unleashed in the 2020 election. One concerned Ukraine and the other concerned the shady business dealings Hunter and his father allegedly had with a company controlled by the Chinese government. The issue dividing Republicans and Democrats here, obviously, was: Was there any evidence of wrongdoing? Not all national-level Republicans thought the scandals were worth talking about, but some certainly did; and a lot of the rank-and-file did. The Democrats, meanwhile, essentially circled the wagons and refused to report on or discuss the issues involved. When they did, they typically issued blanket denials and dismissals.

A neutral handling of the many confusing accusations would not imply that Biden was guilty of anything. But it also would not clear him of all charges. Rather, it would present enough detail about the accusations and the purported evidence for them, leaving nothing important out; then it would explain in some detail how Biden was defended by Democrats and his allies. That much is the least that one would expect to find in a neutral treatment of the scandals. Is that what we see in Wikipedia?

Not at all. We can look at some relevant articles, first about the Ukraine scandal. In the “Campaign” section of the Wikipedia article on Biden, there are two paragraphs explaining the allegations (footnotes and links have been removed from this quotation):

In September 2019, it was reported that Trump had pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate alleged wrongdoing by Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Despite the allegations, as of September 2019, no evidence has been produced of any wrongdoing by the Bidens. The media widely interpreted this pressure to investigate the Bidens as trying to hurt Biden’s chances of winning the presidency, resulting in a political scandal and Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Beginning in 2019, Trump and his allies falsely accused Biden of getting the Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin fired because he was supposedly pursuing an investigation into Burisma Holdings, which employed Hunter Biden. Biden was accused of withholding $1 billion in aid from Ukraine in this effort. In 2015, Biden pressured the Ukrainian parliament to remove Shokin because the United States, the European Union and other international organizations considered Shokin corrupt and ineffective, and in particular because Shokin was not assertively investigating Burisma. The withholding of the $1 billion in aid was part of this official policy.

This is, of course, an obviously one-sided whitewash which takes Biden’s side throughout. In these dismissive paragraphs, one cannot fully make sense of what the case against Biden was even supposed to be; Biden’s withholding of aid is mentioned, but the context and explanation essential to the case are omitted.

Anyone passingly familiar with the story knows there is much more to it. There is nothing here about the fact that Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma paid Joe Biden’s son Hunter approximately $600,000 per annum from 2014 to 2019 to serve on the Board of Directors, never mind that he had no industry experience but only a connection to his father, the Vice President of the United States. Wikipedia even has the temerity to make the claim that “Trump and his allies falsely accused Biden of getting the Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin fired, because he was supposedly pursuing an investigation into Burisma Holdings, which employed Hunter Biden.” While it was in dispute why Biden sought Shokin’s ouster, it is perfectly true that he did so. The statement, in fact, was one Joe Biden specifically made himself—with braggadocio and to laughter—in an infamous video of an interview before the Council on Foreign Relations. The video, of course, is not so much as mentioned by Wikipedia. Nor is there any discussion of Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop and the damning evidence it contained.

Wikipedia does have a whole article titled—indeed, its bias showing right in the title—”Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory.” It begins, “The Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory [bold in original] is a series of unevidenced claims centered on the false allegation that while Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, he engaged in corrupt activities relating to the employment of his son Hunter Biden by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.” There are, of course, a great many people who believe the claims are not “false” and no mere “conspiracy theory.” Their point of view is not presented but dismissed out of hand. The article goes downhill from there, serving essentially as a hit piece on Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and the New York Post, with very few actual details about what the allegations even were. More details can be found in a section of the Hunter Biden article—which is something—but even this reads as a blatantly biased brief written by the Biden family’s own lawyers.

The family in China.

The Biden Family Chinese Deals

At this point, Wikipedia’s defenders might well fall back on their notion that only “reliable sources” are permitted, and, gee, no reliable sources thought much of the above-mentioned video or laptop. “But,” you might well observe, “it was big news for a time. And Wikipedia thought there were no reliable sources at all? Why not?” The reason is that the sources that provide mainstream coverage of conservative points of view, including Fox News, The New York Post, and the (U.K.) Daily Mail—as well as pretty much all of newer conservative news media sources, which are the only outlets doing any reporting on many important stories—have all been added to a list of sources “deprecated” for their coverage of political news. This is not a joke and not an exaggeration. Republican-favoring sources, even quite mainstream ones, simply may not be used on Wikipedia, not even to explain a Republican viewpoint. (I will discuss this more in the last section below.)

The Biden China scandal is similar and is treated similarly in Wikipedia. Here, Hunter was a director of a joint venture between an American company, Rosemont Seneca, where Hunter was a partner, and Bohai Capital, a Chinese government-controlled investment firm. The joint venture was called BHR. According to the explosive testimony of Tony Bobulinski, the Bidens’ top executive for handling certain deals in China, Hunter arranged for Jonathan Li, CEO of Bohai Capital, to “shake hands” with his father, and Joe Biden was, according to Bobulinski, directly involved in the deals.

In addition to the Bobulinksi interview, a great deal of supporting evidence comes from the same Hunter Biden laptop mentioned above, such as an email indicating that brothers Hunter and Jim Biden, along with “the big guy”—Bobulinski identified him as Joe Biden—would each be assigned equity shares in a business venture with Chinese energy giant CEFC.

Can any of this information on the China Biden scandal be found—even in a twisted, biased form—in the Wikipedia article on Joe Biden? Nope. As of this writing, that article contains not a single word about the China deals, Rosemont Seneca, Tony Bobulinksi, the laptop, or the CEFC. But surely information can be found elsewhere on Wikipedia about these matters? Well, yes, there is a little. Most of it is again in the article on Hunter Biden, written in a way to make Hunter look as good as possible, the hapless victim of Trump’s “false charges” (those precise, dismissive words are actually used).

Again, there is much more to the story, but the point is that the Biden scandals deeply divide the American people. An ideologically neutral resource would explain both sides fully and fairly, leaving the reader to make up his own mind. Is that what Wikipedia does? No. Wikipedia is clearly aligned with one side. You might maintain that it is the only legitimate side; but then, that is what many ideologues say of their own side. What you cannot seriously maintain is that Wikipedia’s treatment of the Biden scandals is neutral. It is grossly biased.

Not one of the peaceful 93%.

The Antifa/BLM riots

Next I propose to look at some articles on the 2020 Antifa and BLM riots. There could not be a starker cultural divide in the American body politic than in the reaction to these riots. The rioting was sparked particularly following the May 26, 2020 death (or, as most people think, killing) of George Floyd. National Democrats generally supported the rioters; portrayed them as “mostly peaceful” activists against fascism and racism, even contributing money to their defense; took seriously the notion that we should “defund the police” or backed similar police “reform” proposals; and stubbornly minimized the months of bloodshed, danger, and destruction the riots caused. Republicans made no secret of their hatred of the riots, if they had no objection to peaceful protests; their contempt for the violent rioters; their sympathy for the afflicted neighborhoods; and their wonder and disbelief at the very suggestion that we should “defund the police.” They also pushed back, somewhat, against the notion that the United States was so woefully racist that the country must make dramatic changes to, e.g., policing practices or anti-white indoctrination at schools. Both sides generally agreed that real examples of police brutality needed to be dealt with more severely and that society, more than ever, had no place for real racism.

A neutral treatment would, of course, give broad factual coverage of such things as where the rioting took place, how many people were arrested, and numbers of injuries and deaths attributable to the rioting. The main Wikipedia article actually seems to do a good job there, as far as I can tell. But in addition, the reaction to the riots on both sides would be fully and fairly canvassed. Varying theories of the causes of the riots would be offered; Democratic theories would dwell, of course, on police brutality and racist attitudes and groups, while Republican theories, acknowledging that to some degree, would also discuss deliberate left-wing organization and dispute the extent of the problems exemplified by the George Floyd case.

Wikipedia’s coverage is, unsurprisingly, very extensive. There is a long summary article, “George Floyd protests,” as well as a “List of George Floyd protests in the United States,” and a long article titled, “2020-2021 United States racial unrest.” The concern that conservatives have is not with any protest, but with political violence in the form of rioting. So let us focus on the last article. The article does helpfully have useful statistics. While labeled “unrest,” there is a “Casualties” section in the article’s infobox, saying there were “At least 25” deaths, injuries to 2000+ law enforcement offers and to “an unknown number of civilians,” and $1–2 billion in property damage. Indeed, after pointing out that 93% of the protests were “peaceful and nondestructive,” the bottom line was that, owing to that pesky remaining 7%, the riots were “the civil disorder event with the highest recorded damage in United States history.” So far, so good: the article in those respects states facts that all sides would want presented.

As one gets farther into the article, however, the bias becomes much more pronounced. “A wave of monument removals”—an odd way to describe the deliberate, illegal destruction of public sculpture—”and name changes has taken place throughout the world, especially in the United States.” But what about the reaction to the riots? It was a “cultural reckoning,” we are told. “Public opinion of racism and discrimination quickly shifted in the wake of the protests, with significantly increased support of the Black Lives Matter movement and acknowledgement of institutional racism.” It is true that there was an increased of support for BLM early on. But support quickly dropped as the organization became associated with destructive violence in black neighborhoods, agitation against police funding, and radical communist views. Even by September of 2020, support had dropped 12% from 67% to 55%, in a Pew poll. The latter point can be found further down in the article, but is not mentioned in the more important article introduction, which says simply that BLM enjoyed “significantly increased support.” Also, BLM support later continued to drop to pre-riot levels. Even the New York Times, hardly a conservative mouthpiece, puzzlingly observes, “The data…contradicts the idea that the country underwent a racial reckoning.”

The rest of the article—which, I confess, I did not read entirely, as it is very long—looks like a lovingly detailed Establishment brief about the causes and events of the 2020 riots. As to the causes, one key claim is: “Black people, who account for less than 13% of the American population, are killed by police at a disproportionate rate, being killed at more than twice the rate of white people.” While this is no doubt true, a relevant fact, often cited by Republicans, is omitted: black men are much more likely to commit crimes that might bring a call to the police. Hence, as one study put it, “We find no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers.” Such information, which appears inconsistent with Democratic viewpoints on racial injustice of police, does not seem to be found in the article.

Finally, there is a “Social impact” section. This is focused entirely on broader social and political changes that were supposedly caused by a reaction to the riots (and protests). In this section, and indeed all throughout the article, there is complete silence about the Republican criticism of the riots and of Democratic politicians who supported the violence or pretended that it was not happening; of the conservative backlash against Antifa and BLM; and of resistance to the social fallout such as the “Defund the Police” campaigns and some police “reform” proposals that would make policing much more difficult. There is absolutely no mention of conservative and Republican claims that the riots were deliberately and even centrally organized by left-wing organizations. Criticism of Black Lives Matter cannot be found in the article in any form, despite looming large in the Republican reaction to the riots.

Their opinions are worthless and need no mention, says Wikipedia.

The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

Then of course there is the disputed 2020 U.S. presidential election. This was controversial not only across party lines, it was a wrenching fight within the Republican Party, with Establishment Republicans and centrists—who never liked Trump much in the first place—facing down Trump and his noisy rank-and-file supporters. Irregularities with massive amounts of mail-in ballots, failure to permit observers, and much more, caused massive uproar from Republicans. It came down to January 6, when Congress was going to vote on whether to accept the Electoral College vote count. As the Wikipedia article on the “Attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election” has it, some 140 House Republicans and 11 Senate Republicans were prepared to lodge objections. Then, of course, the infamous invasion of the Capitol building happened—just in time to make such objections even more politically costly for representatives holding shaky seats.

The above-linked article was bound to be another propaganda piece. And so it is—shot through and through with egregious bias. Here is how it begins:

After the 2020 United States presidential election in which Joe Biden prevailed, then-incumbent Donald Trump, as well as his campaign and his proxies, pursued an aggressive and unprecedented effort to deny and overturn the election. The attempts to overturn the election were described as an attempted coup d’état and an implementation of “the big lie.” Trump and his allies promoted numerous false claims that the election was stolen from Trump through an international communist conspiracy, rigged voting machines, and electoral fraud.

Further down, we have another gem:

Stop the Steal [bold in original] is a far-right and conservative campaign and protest movement in the United States promoting the conspiracy theory that falsely posits that widespread electoral fraud occurred during the 2020 presidential election to deny incumbent President Donald Trump victory over former vice president Joe Biden.

I will not go into more details; you can imagine. There are actually several articles related to irregularities in the 2020 election and its aftermath. In addition to the one discussed above, there is also Republican reactions to Donald Trump’s claims of 2020 election fraud, which states, “Trump falsely claimed to have won the election, and made many false and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.” Of course, the very title here is a good example of Saul Alinsky’s Rule 11: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it.” In other words, the backlash against the 2020 election was not a broad Republican movement, but only one hated and discredited man’s outrageous and illegal attempt to overturn the election.

Obviously, I could go on and talk about the January 6 Capitol invasion: what really happened? In “2021 United States Capitol Attack,” you will learn that the Capitol “was stormed during a riot and violent attack against the U.S. Congress,” by “a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump” who “attempted to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.” Never mind that several details here are in dispute. Many Republicans believe a number of leftists and FBI agents were among those who invaded the Capitol building. In any event, precisely what happened is not clear to those of us who have watched hours of video footage of the invasion. I watched with increasing horror and had questions even as it happened.

Republicans are naturally of differing views on Trump’s speech on the day of January 6—some think it was justified, others concede it was irresponsible—but they generally agree that he cannot be blamed for the attack. Such nuanced points of view so unpopular with Wikipedia are, unsurprisingly, not presented in the article at all. Instead, it tells a story that, by omitting key details, makes it sound as if the invasion was a spontaneous uprising of crazy MAGA people that Trump deliberately whipped up into a treasonous rage. Perhaps that is precisely what happened; but a neutral article on the topic would sketch alternate narratives as well, present all the relevant information from which various people build their cases, and leave the reader to make up his own mind about what actually happened.

I hardly need add that Wikipedia is firmly aligned with one political party, and its articles on the 2020 election read like party propaganda.

Rumble

Other Recent Issues in the Culture War

This article is already long enough and I have made my point, but it will be interesting to dip briefly into other culture war topics, drawn from science and religion, that were in the news in the last year.

In science, even more than global warming (or climate change), there has been significant controversy over Covid-19 and the official measures to combat it. You will not be surprised to learn that Wikipedia debunks everything the Establishment debunks, all conveniently collected into a single article on “COVID-19 misinformation.” Alongside silly things almost no one would take seriously, you can learn that it is “misinformation” to suggest a “Wuhan lab origin” of the virus. You will also be relieved to know that “masks do actually work.”

Another article assures us, “Several researchers, from modelling and demonstrated examples, have concluded that lockdowns are effective at reducing the spread of, and deaths caused by, COVID-19.” Of course, there is no mention of any other research. What about the Covid-19 vaccines: are they effective? Safe? In the COVID-19 vaccine article, the introductory section mentions “demonstrated efficacy as high as 95%,” but nothing about side effects; further down in the article, a very short paragraph in a “Misinformation” section informs us that claims about such side effects are “overblown.” And that is it. You read that right: in an article about the experimental Covid-19 vaccines, the only thing Wikipedia has to say about their side-effects is that concern about them is overblown. Needless to say, you will not find anything in the way of information from the many skeptical physicians and medical researchers, who must not exist.

Let us be clear on something here. You might support Wikipedia’s approach to Covid-19; but you cannot maintain that it is neutral. A neutral approach would acknowledge and fairly represent alternative views on the origin of the virus, the efficacy of masks, the effectiveness and defensibility of lockdowns, and the effectiveness and safety of the Covid-19 vaccines. You might maintain that the articles are better without such an approach; but then what you are saying is that you prefer the articles’ Establishment bias to a neutral approach that would let the reader decide.

In religion, recently, a few different issues have divided conservatives from the more liberal Establishment, represented by mainline denominations and most (but not all) seminaries. One is this: Is Christianity in decline in the West—or just liberal denominations and churches? Wikipedia’s “Decline of Christianity in the Western world” article begins, “The decline of Christianity in the Western world is an ongoing trend. Developed countries with modern, secular educational facilities in the post-World War II era have shifted towards post-Christian, secular, globalized, multicultural and multifaith societies.” But, the article correctly notes, a similar decline is not happening in Latin America and Africa, and even recently, “71% of Western Europeans identified themselves as Christian, according to a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center.”

In the section about the United States, the focus is (unsurprisingly) on mainline denominations, despite the fact that they are now among the smaller denominations; even as of ten years ago, taken together, the mainline Protestant denominations had fewer than half the adherents of evangelical and conservative Protestant denominations.” Only at the very end of the article do we learn that “‘intense religion’ including evangelicalism has persisted.” You will not learn, in this article, the name of the single largest Protestant denomination: the Southern Baptist Convention, with 16.2 million members. (The information can be found in the “Southern Baptist Convention” article.) You will also not learn that in an important segment, conservative church membership is actually growing: among others, nondenominational churches were booming as of 2014, and actually outnumbered even the Southern Baptists.

Basically, to hear Wikipedia tell it, Christianity is in decline, because mainline denominations are in decline, and the conservative denominations and churches are barely worth caring about. And I can just hear the response: “Well, yeah. Sounds about right.” But if you agree with the Wikipedia article’s approach, that does not mean it is neutral; the point is that it is clearly biased.

Among the hot-button topics in church politics is one that appears to be causing a schism in the United Methodist Church: same-sex marriage. The relevant article is “Blessing of same-sex unions in Christian churches.” The article has a section with five bullet points offering “Theological views of those who support same-sex unions and/or marriages,” but there is no parallel section—or any information at all, believe it or not—about the theology of those who believe same-sex marriage is unbiblical. Some major denominations that strictly forbid same-sex marriage, like the Southern Baptists, are simply not mentioned in the article.

Banning Fox News as a source is just good sense, says Wikipedia.

Conclusion

These contentious issues are exactly where we should expect to see fair treatment of “alternative” views on Wikipedia. But we do not.

This is hardly news, but it bears repeating. Wikipedia openly repudiates neutrality, and therefore it is shamelessly hypocritical in how it continues to pay lip service to its “neutral point of view” policy. Wikipedia’s editors embrace their biases sometimes so fervently that their articles emerge more as propaganda than as reference material.

“But wait,” you say. “Come on. Fine, they’re hypocritical, but dodgy claims to neutrality are just marketing. Why should we care about actual neutrality? For journalists, it is totally passé. Sure, most of them don’t actually want you to make up your own mind on important issues. So? Of course they want experts to declare what is known, and then you should learn that—a lot of times that’s the whole point of ‘journalism.’ And here’s another thing. Wikipedia strongly prefers mainstream secondary sources. When it comes to the culture war, the educated classes, the readers of those mainstream sources, naturally skew liberal. Wikipedia just represents that mainstream view. And that’s reasonable; it is not a fault with Wikipedia. Live with it. It’s the new reality. How do you respond?”

First, I refuse to accept such excuses for the bully tactics of propagandists. Second, it’s also false that Wikipedia just represents the mainstream. Wikipedia does not just mirror the biases found in the mainstream news media, because some of it is conservative or contrarian. A lot of mainstream news stories are broken only in Fox News, the Daily Mail, and the New York Post—all of which are banned from use as sources by Wikipedia. Beyond that, many mainstream sources of conservative, libertarian, or contrarian opinion are banned from Wikipedia as well, including Quillette, The Federalist, and the Daily Caller. Those might be contrarian or conservative, but they are hardly “radical”; they are still mainstream. So, how on earth can such viewpoints ever be given an airing on Wikipedia? Answer: often, they cannot, not if there are no “reliable sources” available to report about them.

In short, and with few exceptions, only globalist, progressive mainstream sources—and sources friendly to globalist progressivism—are permitted.

It is true that Wikipedia permits a few sources, such as Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, and Weekly Standard, which are more often tolerant of conservative viewpoints, but these are (or have become) as often centrist as conservative, and they are generally careful never to leave the current Overton Window of progressive thought. They are the “loyal opposition” of the progressive media hegemony.

Why has Wikipedia systematically purged conservative mainstream media sources? Is it because such sources have become intolerably irresponsible and partisan? That’s what Wikipedians will tell you. As they put it, it is because they do not want what they dismiss as “misinformation,” “conspiracy theories,” etc., to get any hearing. In saying so, they (and similarly biased institutions) are plainly claiming exclusive control over what is thinkable. They want to set the boundaries of the debate, and they want to tell you how to think about it. A good illustration of just how radical Wikipedia’s source-banning policies have become can be seen in their treatment of Newsweek magazine, which is now marked as “no consensus” (i.e., avoid and use with caution), because ownership passed in 2013 to IBT Media, the publisher of the centrist, sometimes conservative-leaning, International Business Times, which is itself deemed “unreliable.”

For these reasons, it is not too far to say that Wikipedia, like many other deeply biased institutions of our brave new digital world, has made itself into a kind of thought police that has de facto shackled conservative viewpoints with which they disagree. Democracy cannot thrive under such conditions: I maintain that Wikipedia has become an opponent of vigorous democracy. Democracy requires that voters be given the full range of views on controversial issues, so that they can make up their minds for themselves. If society’s main information sources march in ideological lockstep, they make a mockery of democracy. Then the wealthy and powerful need only gain control of the few approved organs of acceptable thought; then they will be able to manipulate and ultimately control all important political dialogue.

Wrecking intellectual autonomy, to make the world safe for the socialist utopia.
Tyler Durden Mon, 07/05/2021 - 18:00
Published:7/5/2021 5:33:33 PM
[Markets] Biden Insists "We're Not Sure" Russians Behind Ransomware Attack On 200 US Companies Biden Insists "We're Not Sure" Russians Behind Ransomware Attack On 200 US Companies

"We’re not sure if it’s the Russians," President Biden said Friday in response to the latest allegations that a 'Russian-linked hacker group' targeted some 200 US companies in a massive ransomware attack. But he's vaguely promising a "response" if Kremlin links can be found.

This latest major incident unveiled at the end of this past week is being described as akin to "SolarWinds with ransomware," which paralyzed the networks of the US companies. Wired explains the inevitability that the "the two dominant cybersecurity threats of the day— supply chain attacks and ransomware—would combine to wreak havoc." It's also being called "colossal" in scope and appears to involve blackmail payment demands just as in prior major breaches.

Wired writes further of the aftermath as details continue to fall into place, "That’s precisely what happened Friday afternoon, as the notorious REvil criminal group successfully encrypted the files of hundreds of businesses in one swoop, apparently thanks to compromised IT management software. And that’s only the very beginning."

Via Reuters: Joe Biden departs Air Force One as he arrives in Traverse City, Michigan, on Saturday.

The hack targeted the Florida-based software management firm Kaseya, which said Friday afternoon it was the "victim of a sophisticated cyberattack" which caused it to immediately alert all of its clients to shut down their impacted servers. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) quickly said it's launching an investigation the same day, "taking action to understand and address the supply-chain ransomware attack against Kaseya," according to its statement.

Soon after disembarking Air Force One, Biden appeared a bit confused but also bluntly insisted there's no certainty it was the Russians: "First of all, we’re not sure who it is for certain, number one," he said while being peppered with reporters' questions over the then developing incident:

"I’ll be in better shape to talk to you about it—hang on a second," the president said as he reached into his pocket to pull out a note card.

"I’ll tell you what they sent me, OK?" the president continued. "First of all, we’re not sure who it is for certain, number one."

"And the fact is that I directed the intelligence community to give me a deep dive on what’s happened, and I’ll know better tomorrow. And if it is, either with the knowledge of and/or a consequence of Russia, then I told Putin we will respond," Biden said.

Here's his awkward interaction with reporters inside a store during a Michigan stop...

Based on his quickly referencing the initial intelligence he was sent, the president seemed to clearly confirm that US agencies have reached no conclusions on Russian involvement as yet, despite a slew of media reports hastily pointing in that direction, as is usual.

Biden reiterated this position when asked about phoning President Putin over the new breach:

Asked if has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the hack, Biden said he has not.

"I haven’t called because we’re not certain. And the initial thinking was it was not the Russian government, but we’re not sure yet," Biden said.

He had said he "got a brief as I was on the plane and that’s why I was late". The FBI is also said to be involved in probing the large-scale cyberattack which is being called by cyber security specialists a "colossal and devastating supply chain attack." 

According to multiple reports that emerged over the weekend, the hacking collective REvil is demanding that victim companies pay $45,000 in the cryptocurrency Monero to gain back access to their systems, warning that the payment will double each week they fail to pay up.

Despite Biden denying anything conclusive pointing to Russia being behind it, US mainstream media will undoubtedly hype a "Kremlin attack" through Sunday into Monday, which will in turn likely put more pressure on the administration to more aggressively put blame on Russian intelligence and in turn "take action" - evidence or not - likely in the form of more sanctions. The president has so far ordered a top level investigation into the ransomware attack.

Tyler Durden Sun, 07/04/2021 - 15:05
Published:7/4/2021 2:22:12 PM
[2021 News] FBI Data Show the Media Overstate the Number of Mass Shootings By a Factor of 10

FBI Data Show the Media Overstate the Number of Mass Shootings By a Factor of 10. Yes, back to the old liar’s figure but figures don’t lie. The rabid anti-gunners will do anything to take your 2nd Amendment rights away from you. Here’s a breakdown of the FBI’s data for “active” shootings over the past […]

The post FBI Data Show the Media Overstate the Number of Mass Shootings By a Factor of 10 appeared first on IHTM.

Published:7/3/2021 5:15:37 PM
[Markets] Canadian Asset Manager Charged With $3.6 Million Scheme Frontrunning His Firm's Trades Canadian Asset Manager Charged With $3.6 Million Scheme Frontrunning His Firm's Trades

A Canadian trader named Sean Wygovsky was charged with insider trading by a federal court in New York on Friday. Wygovsky is alleged to have reaped $3.6 million by stealing confidential information to front-run his firm's trades. 

The firm wasn't identified by the government or by Bloomberg, who reported the charges on Friday.

Using the accounts of close relatives and family, he attempted to conceal his activity. The relatives and family then kicked back "at least hundreds of thousands of dollars" in illegal trading profits, the government alleges.

In an official DOJ release, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Sean Wygovsky illegally exploited his access to his employer firm’s yet-to-be-executed trade orders to make numerous trades in anticipation of the bump or dip the firm’s buying or selling would cause.  To conceal the scheme, Wygovsky allegedly made his front running trades through brokerage accounts of certain of his relatives.  As alleged, Wygovsky made or directed over 700 timely transactions that netted him more than $3.6 million in illegal profits.  Now Sean Wygovsky is in custody and facing serious criminal charges."

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Over the course of several years, as alleged, Wygovsky made hundreds of short-term trades based on inside information that ultimately reaped more than $3 million in profits. Schemes like the one alleged here grossly affect the integrity of our financial markets and remain a top priority for our financial fraud investigative teams.”

Wygovsky was arrested in Austin, Texas and is expected to appear in federal court in Texas later on Friday. 

In addition to facing criminal charges, he is also facing a civil suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission based on similar allegations. 

He was employed by his firm since 2013 and has been charged with securities fraud and wire fraud, both of which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison, if a conviction is reached. The Employer Firm is an asset management firm based in Toronto, Canada, with at least approximately $19 billion in assets under management, the DOJ said in its press release. 

Traders on FinTwit pointed out that his LinkedIn appears to show he was employed at Polar Asset Management Partners:

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/02/2021 - 22:00
Published:7/2/2021 9:10:12 PM
[Markets] "Offensive Content" Next? Comcast Suspends User's Internet Service For Downloading Copyrighted Material "Offensive Content" Next? Comcast Suspends User's Internet Service For Downloading Copyrighted Material

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

After Comcast suspended a user’s Internet access for downloading copyrighted material, some people are asking whether in the near future similar punishments could be inflicted for accessing ‘offensive content’.

A Comcast Xfinity subscriber was informed that his Internet service had been suspended for 8 hours due to downloading torrents and that it wouldn’t be restored until he contacted the company.

“This alert is to let you know that this month, we again received notifications of alleged copyright infringement associated with your Xfinity account. That means your Internet service may have been used repeatedly to copy or share a movie, show, song, game, or other content without any required permission,” said the email to the customer.

The user was told that further violations would result in another 12 hour suspension and that, “Further notifications may result in your Xfinity Internet account being suspended again or terminated.”

ISP Cox also previously handed out a 6 month suspension against a user after receiving multiple complaints.

“Such terminations have the potential to disrupt everything from distance learning to telework and telemedicine,” reports Torrent Freak.

Indeed, now that things like grocery shopping, banking, housing, government services and other basic life necessities are mainly conducted online (exclusively in some cases), cutting off someone’s Internet access isn’t far removed from cutting off their power or water supply.

And if major ISPs are willing to bow to the entertainment industry by metering out such draconian punishments, what’s to say they won’t do the same when pressured by governments or woke mobs?

“If Comcast is cutting people’s internet off for civil copyright infractions, whose to say they won’t start cutting people off for “hate speech” next?” asks Chris Menahan.

“The same measures the US government used to seize the domains of torrent sites a decade ago are now being used to seize Middle East news websites the Biden regime doesn’t fancy.”

He is referring to the Iranian news website Press TV and similar sites, which Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last month had been seized by the FBI.

This all underscores the fact that Internet access should be treated as a utility and protected by law.

*  *  *

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In the age of mass Silicon Valley censorship It is crucial that we stay in touch. I need you to sign up for my free newsletter here. Support my sponsor – Turbo Force – a supercharged boost of clean energy without the comedown. Also, I urgently need your financial support here.

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/01/2021 - 21:40
Published:7/1/2021 9:01:32 PM
[Markets] Nigerian Influencer "Hushpuppi" Funded Life Of Luxury With Complex Email Schemes, FBI Alleges Nigerian Influencer "Hushpuppi" Funded Life Of Luxury With Complex Email Schemes, FBI Alleges

For Instagram "influencer" Hushpuppi, also referred to as the "Billionaire Gucci Master" Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, living a life of private jet setting and luxury on Instagram in front of his 2 million followers turned out to not only be his claim to fame, but also the straw that broke the camel's back for his empire. While many looked on at his life of luxury in awe, questions started to arise about how he obtained, and maintained his wealth. The answer lied in the evolution of the often mocked "Nigerian email scam" that we have all become used to. 

Hushpuppi always maintained the questions about his wealth were "the jealousy of so many haters", a lengthy new Bloomberg profile notes. “As I turn a year older into my 30s today, I want to celebrate all of you out there,” the influencer said to his fans on his 37th birthday. “Those of you who mostly I have never met, spoken to or anything but have been a strong supporter of me through every situation until this point and still riding for me, I want you to know wherever you are that I celebrate and appreciate you today, today is OUR DAY!”

It was one of many posts he made flaunting his wealth and engaging with his followers who supported him while he jet-setted, beefed with celebrities online, and did his best to side-step questions about where, exactly, his success came from. 

His captions to his photos would make his life of luxury look like the honest success of the son of a taxi driver and bread salesman from Nigeria. But of those who he likely didn't celebrate or appreciate was the FBI, who is the driving force behind United States of America v. Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, which alleged in a California federal court that Abbas engaged in "conspiracy to launder money obtained from business email compromise frauds and other scams". 

For example, a small sliver of the cash he received as part of these schemes was $922,857.76 sent by a New York law firm that was supposed to be sending it to one of its clients. A paralegal at the firm received a fax from "someone in Abbas' orbit" directing her to send the payment to a Chase bank account and initiated the transfer without even thinking twice. The firm didn't even notice the cash had been misallocated until later in the month.

The transfer was part of a relatively sophisticated “business email compromise" scheme that Abbas and his co-conspirators implemented around the world, the FBI alleged. 

Bloomberg, in their profile, described how the BEC scam works:

BEC attacks started appearing roughly a half-dozen years ago, escalating each year until they surpassed all other forms of internet fraud. The FBI reports there were almost 20,000 such scams against American businesses in 2020 alone, accounting for $1.8 billion in losses, though the variety of BEC crimes can make totals hard to pin down. Crane Hassold, the senior director of threat research at the cyberdefense company Agari Data Inc. and a former FBI analyst, likes to define a BEC as “a response-based impersonation attack that’s requesting something of value”—basically, posing as a legitimate business to trick people into giving away their money.

No matter the flavor, a BEC scam generally begins with someone hacking into a corporate email account often using social engineering tactics like phishing. Once inside, the perpetrators don’t steal anything, not at first. Instead they quietly begin forwarding copies of incoming and outgoing email to themselves. Then they wait. “They watch it for a number of weeks or months, looking for details of certain payments that are going out, understanding who their customers are, looking at communication patterns,” Hassold says. When they spot an invoice coming in or out, they “use that intelligence to insert themselves into an actual payment that is supposed to be due.”

Those who participate in the scheme are loosely networked and work together. There's different roles for the scheme too: your hackers, your money mules, and even people tasked with controlling international bank accounts that can accept millions of dollars in transfers.

Crane Hassold, the senior director of threat research at the cyberdefense company Agari Data Inc. and a former FBI analyst, told Bloomberg: “These attacks are so realistic-looking, most people don’t give it a second thought. Because when you’re involved in payments like these, you see a lot of these emails every single day. And when it doesn’t raise any red flags, you are not going to go up the chain and do any confirmation. One would expect that when you get into larger and larger and larger amounts of money that are exchanging hands, that there would be some process that requires secondary authorization or something like that. But in many cases, that’s not what actually happens.”

He continued:  “I think that most people think of BEC attacks as just basic, boring attacks, and most people don’t think it’s as big a problem as it actually is. When you look at the amount of money that is actually lost to ransomware, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what’s lost in BEC attacks.”

“A lot of the same concepts that go into these BEC attacks, criminals and scammers in West Africa have been doing for decades at this point. Those were all individually targeted social engineering attacks. And essentially what happened was, around 2015, cybercriminals started seeing that they could make more money targeting businesses than they could targeting individuals,” he continued. 

People from the neighborhood where Abbas grew up in Nigeria "began to drift into online scamming in the early 2000s", the report notes. But since no one would associate with them once they revealed themselves as Nigerian, the schemes evolved. "Scams evolved over a decade from money-order fraud to check-cashing scams to romance scams to BECs," the report notes. 

In terms of motivation, aside from the obvious, Abbas appeared to take exception with the system where he grew up, saying in one Snapchat video: “My mother is from the Niger Delta part of Nigeria, where Nigeria’s oil comes from. She has never benefited one dollar. One dollar! And she is over 60 years old.”

Olayinka Akanle, a sociology professor at the University of Ibadan who’s studied youth and cybercrime said: “Cybercrime is a metaphor for a more deep-seated and deep-rooted problem in Nigeria. When people face survival challenges, they innovate. And when they innovate, if there is no system to address their innovation in a very decisive way, it becomes the norm.”

He started to show off the money he was making on Instagram as far back as 2012. Several years later, one of his close associates, Samson Oyekunle, after moving to Houston in 2017, was arrested and charged with "participating in multiple BEC frauds" and was sentenced to 5 years in jail. Abbas had moved to Dubai by then and the walls were closing in him, too. With evidence mounting about how he was making his income, his time ran out in 2020. 

When Dubai police raided his hotel room and arrested him in 2020, they were so proud of the takedown, they took a page out of Abbas' book: they posted the raid on social media. 

You can read the entire Bloomberg feature on Hushpuppi here

Tyler Durden Thu, 07/01/2021 - 05:45
Published:7/1/2021 4:57:34 AM
[Markets] George Orwell's 1984 Has Become A Blueprint For Our Dystopian Reality George Orwell's 1984 Has Become A Blueprint For Our Dystopian Reality

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever.”

- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell (Jun. 25, 1903-Jan. 21, 1950) has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.

It’s been more than 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.

Who could have predicted that so many years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would come to love Big Brother.

“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell

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

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”?George Orwell

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—we are now trapped in 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.

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, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.

Our world is 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.

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”?George Orwell

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. And bodily privacy and integrity have 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.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”?George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the “security/industrial complex”—a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance—has come to dominate the government and our lives.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans 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 over the citizenry at all costs.

“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” ? George Orwell

Even our ability to speak and think freely is being regulated.

In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons.

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

In my debut novel The Erik Blair Diaries, the dystopian future that George Orwell predicted for 1984 has finally arrived, 100 years late and ten times as brutal. In this post-apocalyptic world where everyone marches to the beat of the same drummer and words like “freedom” are taboo, Erik Blair—Orwell’s descendant and unwitting heir to his legacy—isn’t volunteering to be anyone’s hero. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to plan. To save all that he loves, Orwell will have to travel between his future self and the past.

And in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” Orwell’s Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government.

“Big Brother is Watching You.”?George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity. 

“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” ? George Orwell

Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter. 

Say hello to the new Thought Police.

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA has been working on an artificial intelligence system designed to anticipate your every move. Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence) has been designed to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS.

What we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won’t be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw. Just look at what happened to Julian Assange.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We’re running out of options.

Whether you’re dealing with fact or fiction, as I make clear in Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in my new novel The Erik Blair Diaries, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/30/2021 - 20:20
Published:6/30/2021 7:23:45 PM
[] Judge Sentences 'Smallville' Actress Allison Mack for NXIVM Sex Slave Cult Charges Published:6/30/2021 3:53:32 PM
[Markets] Indicted Israeli Traders Had Ties To Muddy Waters In 2014, Before Severing Ties Indicted Israeli Traders Had Ties To Muddy Waters In 2014, Before Severing Ties

Two Israeli traders facing insider trading charges were once "close associates" of short seller Muddy Waters, before splitting due to a dispute in 2014, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The traders split from Block in 2014 after Block said he suspected that they were selling information from Muddy Waters reports prior to the firm publishing them. 

Tomer Feingold and Dov Malnik were both said to have approached Muddy Waters founder Carson Block in 2010 after Block's firm published a report on Orient Paper Inc. 

Block said that even though Feingold and Malnik were "close friends", they told him that they only had "passing familiarity" with each other at the time. Block told Bloomberg that the pair played "significant roles" in both field research and trading for some of Muddy Waters' earliest reports. They contributed to the firm's blockbuster report on Sino-Forest, which Muddy Waters exposed as "one of the biggest frauds in Canadian stock market history". 

When he discovered the pair was selling the firm's reports, Block said it was a “massive betrayal of my trust.”

“Through significant deceit, they integrated themselves into my business and personal life,” Block told Bloomberg. 

But the Israelis claim in a lawsuit against Block that they were denied a "rightful share of the Muddy Waters’ brand," which they helped build. Their 2014 lawsuit alleged Block “wrongfully alleged that plaintiffs ‘have misappropriated information from [Mr. Block personally] and Muddy Waters LLC to engage in unauthorized trading on behalf of themselves and others.’”

Feingold and Malnik said they had agreed to publish under the Muddy Waters name, but Block then “wrongfully asserted control over the jointly-developed brand and have excluded plaintiffs” from working together.”

Block tells a different story, claiming he stopped professional contact with the duo and "halted any shared trading activities" with them after he began to have suspicions. 

The case was settled in 2015. 

The duo then set up their own shop in Geneva, where it is alleged they received confidential information about acquisitions and deals from an unnamed trader which allowed them to reap "millions" in illegal profits, a U.S. federal indictment revealed. Prosecutors alleged that "in or around 2011, Malnik and Feingold each set up a shell company in the British Virgin Islands and used those entities to trade in stocks on which they’d received inside information," according to Bloomberg.

Block said he was approached by FBI and Department of Justice investigators after he severed relations with the pair. They inquired as to whether "large trades" made from offshore accounts ahead of Muddy Waters reports were authorized. Block said he had no knowledge of the trades. 

Malnik pleaded guilty to securities fraud for trading in stock of Omnicare based on confidential information he received in 2015. He is forfeiting $1.5 million and faces 37 to 46 months in prison. 

“I will forever regret my conduct and the impact it has had on my family and friends,” he said in front of a judge. 

“While I have no window into their outside activities, the fact that they have been charged with crimes does not surprise me,” Block concluded. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/29/2021 - 14:59
Published:6/29/2021 2:16:06 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: What is Behind Gen. Mark Milley's Righteous Race Sermon? Look To The New Domestic War On Terror Greenwald: What is Behind Gen. Mark Milley's Righteous Race Sermon? Look To The New Domestic War On Terror

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,

For two hundred forty years, American generals have not exactly been defined by adamant public advocacy for left-wing cultural dogma. Yet there appeared to be a great awakening at the Pentagon on Wednesday when Gen. Mark Milley, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified at a House hearing. The Chairman vehemently defended the teaching of critical race theory at West Point and, referencing the January 6 Capitol riot, said, “it is important that we train and we understand ... and I want to understand white rage. And I'm white."

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley testifies during a hearing before the House Committee on Armed Services at Rayburn House Office Building June 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

In response to conservative criticisms that top military officials should not be weighing in on inflammatory and polarizing cultural debates, liberals were ecstatic to have found such an empathetic, racially aware, and humanitarian general sitting atop the U.S. imperial war machine. Overnight, Gen. Milley became a new hero for U.S. liberalism, a noble military leader which — like former FBI Director Robert Mueller before him — no patriotic, decent American would question let alone mock. Some prominent liberal commentators warned that conservatives are now anti-military and even seek to defund the Pentagon.

It is, of course, possible that the top brass of the U.S. military has suddenly become supremely enlightened on questions of racial strife and racial identity in the U.S., and thus genuinely embraced theories that, until very recently, were the exclusive province of left-wing scholars at elite academic institutions. Given that all U.S. wars in the post-World War II era have been directed at predominantly non-white countries, which — like all wars — required a sustained demonization campaign of those enemy populations, having top Pentagon officials become leading anti-racism warriors would be quite a remarkable transformation indeed. But stranger things have happened, I suppose.

But perhaps there is another explanation other than righteous, earnest transformation as to why the top U.S. General has suddenly expressed such keen interest in studying and exploring "white rage”. Note that Gen. Milley's justification for the military's sudden immersion in the study of modern race theories is the January 6 Capitol riot — which, in the lexicon of the U.S. security state and American liberalism, is called The Insurrection. When explaining why it is so vital to study "white rage,” Gen. Milley argued:

What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here, and I do want to analyze it.

The post-WW2 military posture of the U.S. has been endless war. To enable that, there must always be an existential threat, a new and fresh enemy that can scare a large enough portion of the population with sufficient intensity to make them accept, even plead for, greater military spending, surveillance powers, and continuation of permanent war footing. Starring in that war-justifying role of villain have been the Communists, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Russia, and an assortment of other fleeting foreign threats.

According to the Pentagon, the U.S. intelligence community, and President Joe Biden, none of those is the greatest national security threat to the United States any longer. Instead, they all say explicitly and in unison, the gravest menace to American national security is now domestic in nature. Specifically, it is "domestic extremists” in general — and far-right white supremacist groups in particular — that now pose the greatest threat to the safety of the homeland and to the people who reside in it.

In other words, to justify the current domestic War on Terror that has already provoked billions more in military spending and intensified domestic surveillance, the Pentagon must ratify the narrative that those they are fighting, those against whom they are fighting to defend the homeland, are white supremacist domestic terrorists. That will not work if white supremacists are small in number or weak and isolated in their organizing capabilities. To serve the war machine's agenda, they must pose a grave, pervasive and systemic threat.

Viewed through that lens, it makes perfect sense that Gen. Milley is spouting the theories and viewpoints that underlie this war framework and which depicts white supremacy and "white rage” as a foundational threat to the American homeland. A new domestic War on Terror against white supremacists and right-wing extremists is far more justifiable if, as Gen. Milley strongly suggested, it was "white rage” that fueled an armed insurrection that, in the words of President Biden, is the greatest assault on American democracy since the Civil War.

New York Times, May 12, 2021

Within that domestic War on Terror framework, Gen. Milley, by pontificating on race, is not providing cultural commentary but military dogma. Just as it was central to the job of a top Cold War general to embrace theories depicting Communism as a grave threat, and an equally central part of the job of a top general during the first War on Terror to do the same for Muslim extremists, embracing theories of systemic racism and the perils posed to domestic order by “white rage” is absolutely necessary to justify the U.S. Government's current posture about what war it is fighting and why that war is so imperative.

None of this means that Gen. Milley's defense of critical race theory and woke ideology is purely cynical and disingenuous. The U.S. military is a racially diverse institution and — just as is true for the CIA and FBI — endorsing modern-day theories of racial and gender diversity can be important for workplace cohesion and inspiring confidence in leadership. And many people in various sectors of American life have undergone radical changes in their speech if not their belief system over the last year — that is, after all, the purpose of the sustained nationwide protest movement that erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd — due either to conviction, fear of loss of position, or both. One cannot reflexively discount the possibility that Gen. Milley is among those whose views have changed as the cultural climate shifted around him.

But it is preposterously naive and deceitful to divorce Gen. Milley's steadfast advocacy of racial theories from the current war strategy of the U.S. military that he leads. The Pentagon's prime targets, by their own statements, are sectors of the U.S. population that they regard as major threats to the national security of the United States. Embracing theories that depict “white rage” and white supremacy as the source of domestic instability and violence is not just consistent with but necessary for the advancement of that mission. Put another way, the doctrine of the U.S. intelligence and military community is based on race and ideology, and it should therefore be unsurprising that the worldview promoted by top generals is racialist in nature as well.

Whatever else is true, it is creepy and tyrannical to try to place military leaders and their pronouncements about war off-limits from critique, dissent and mockery. No healthy democracy allows military officials to be venerated to the point of residing above critique. That is especially true when their public decrees are central to the dangerous attempt to turn the war posture of the U.S. military inward to its own citizens.


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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/25/2021 - 17:00
Published:6/25/2021 4:18:17 PM
[Markets] The "Conspiracy Theory" Charade The "Conspiracy Theory" Charade

Authored by James Bovard via JimBovard.com,

How government and media use the phrase to suppress opposition...

Biden’s “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism” report last week declared that “enhancing faith in American democracy” requires “finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories.” In recent decades, conspiracy theories have multiplied almost as fast as government lies and cover-ups. While many allegations have been ludicrously far-fetched, the political establishment and media routinely attach the “conspiracy theory” label to any challenge to their dominance.

According to Cass Sunstein, Harvard Law professor and Obama’s regulatory czar, a conspiracy theory is “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Reasonable citizens are supposed to presume that government creates trillions of pages of new secrets each year for their own good, not to hide anything from the public.  

In the early 1960s, conspiracy theories were practically a non-issue because 75 percent of Americans trusted the federal government. Such credulity did not survive the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Seven days after Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson created a commission (later known as the Warren Commission) to suppress controversy about the killing. Johnson and FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover browbeat the commission members into speedily issuing a report rubberstamping the “crazed lone gunman” version of the assassination. House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, a member of the commission, revised the final staff report to change the location of where the bullet entered Kennedy’s body, thereby salvaging Hoover’s so-called “magic bullet” theory. After the Warren Commission findings were ridiculed as a whitewash, Johnson ordered the FBI to conduct wiretaps on the report’s critics. To protect the official story, the commission sealed key records for 75 years. Truth would out only after all the people involved in any coverup had gotten their pensions and died.

The controversy surrounding the Warren Commission spurred the CIA to formally attack the notion of conspiracy theories. In a 1967 alert to its overseas stations and bases, the CIA declared that the fact that almost half of Americans did not believe Oswald acted alone “is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization” and endangers “the whole reputation of the American government.” The memo instructed recipients to “employ propaganda assets” and exploit “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors), pointing out… parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists.” The ultimate proof of the government’s innocence: “Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States.”

However, the CIA did conceal a wide range of assassinations and foreign coups it conducted until congressional investigations in the mid-1970s blew the whistle. The New York Times, which exposed the CIA memo in 1977, noted that the CIA “mustered its propaganda machinery to support an issue of far more concern to Americans, and to the C.I.A. itself, than to citizens of other countries.” According to historian Lance deHaven-Smith, author of Conspiracy Theory in America, “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited…with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.” (In 2014, the CIA released a heavily-redacted report admitting that it had been “complicit” in a JFK “cover-up” by withholding “incendiary” information from the Warren Commission.)

The Johnson administration also sought to portray critics of its Vietnam War policies as conspiracy nuts, at least when they were not portraying them as communist stooges. During 1968 Senate hearings on the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara denounced the “monstrous insinuations” that the U.S. had sought to provoke a North Vietnamese attack and declared that it is “inconceivable that anyone even remotely familiar with our society and system of government could suspect the existence of a conspiracy” to take the nation to war on false pretenses. Three years later, the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers demolished the credibility of McNamara and other top Johnson administration officials who indeed dragged America into the Vietnam War on false pretenses.

Condemnations of conspiracy theories became a hallmark of the Clinton administration. In 1995, President Bill Clinton claimed that people who believed government threatened their constitutional right were deranged ingrates: “If you say that Government is in a conspiracy to take your freedom away, you are just plain wrong…. How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes!” The same year, the White House compiled a fevered 331-page report entitled “Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce,” attacking magazines, think tanks, and others that had criticized President Clinton. In the following years, many of the organizations condemned in the White House report were targeted for IRS audits, including the Heritage Foundation and the American Spectator magazine and almost a dozen individual high-profile Clinton accusers, including Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. Despite Clinton’s protestations that he posed no threat to freedom, even the ACLU admitted in 1998 that the Clinton administration had “engaged in surreptitious surveillance, such as wiretapping, on a far greater scale than ever before… The Administration is using scare tactics to acquire vast new powers to spy on all Americans.”

Some “conspiracy theory” allegations comically expose the naivete of official scorekeepers. In April 2016, Chapman University surveyed Americans and announced that “the most prevalent conspiracy theory in the United States is that the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks with slightly over half of Americans holding that belief.”  That survey did not ask whether people believed the World Trade Centers were blown up by an inside job or whether President George W. Bush secretly masterminded the attacks. Instead, folks were simply asked whether “government is concealing information” about the attacks. Only a village idiot, college professor, or editorial writer would presume the government had come clean. Three months after the Chapman University survey was conducted, the Obama administration finally released 28 pages of a 2003 congressional report that revealed that Saudi government officials had directly financed some of the 9/11 hijackers in America. That disclosure shattered the storyline carefully constructed by the Bush administration, the 9/11 Commission, and legions of media accomplices. (Lawsuits continue in federal court seeking to force the U.S. government to disclose more information regarding the Saudi government role in the attacks.)

“Conspiracy theory” is often a flag of convenience for the media. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.” However, after allegations by anonymous government officials spurred Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, New York Times columnist James Stewart cheered, “There is a Deep State, there is a bureaucracy in our country who has pledged to respect the Constitution, respect the rule of law… They work for the American people.” New York Times editorial writer Michelle Cottle proclaimed, “The deep state is alive and well” and hailed it as “a collection of patriotic public servants.” Almost immediately after its existence was no longer denied, the Deep State became the incarnation of virtue in Washington.

The media elite can fabricate “conspiracy theory” designations almost with the flip of a headline. A week after Election Day 2020, the New York Times ran a banner headline across the top of the front page: “Election Officials Nationwide Find No Fraud.” How did the Times know? Their reporters effectively called each state and asked, “Did y’all see any fraud?” Election officials answered “no,” thus proving that anyone who subsequently questioned Biden’s victory was promoting a groundless conspiracy. While top liberal politicians denounced electronic voting companies as unaccountable and dishonest in 2019, any doubts about such companies became “conspiracies” after that headline in the Times. The Times helped spur a media cacophony drowning out anyone complaining about ballot harvesting, illegal mass mailing of absentee ballots, or widespread failures to verify voter identification.

Actually, “conspiracy theory” accusations helped Biden win the 2020 presidential election. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently noted, if Americans believed that the COVID-19 virus was created in a Chinese government lab, Trump would have likely won the election because voters would have sought a leader who could be tough on China. But the lab origin explanation was quickly labeled a pro-Trump heresy. The Washington Post denounced Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR,) for suggesting the virus originated in the lab, which supposedly was a “conspiracy theory that was already debunked.” Twenty-seven prominent scientists signed a letter in the Lancet: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin… Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours, and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus.” The Lancet did not reveal until last week that one of the signers and the person who organized the letter signing campaign ran an organization that received U.S. government subsidies for its work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab. President Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to take another look to seek to determine the origin of COVID-19.

Will “conspiracy theory” charges provide a “get out of jail free” card for the FBI and other federal agencies regarding the January 6 clash at the Capitol? After Fox News’s Tucker Carlson featured allegations that FBI informants or agents may have instigated the ruckus, the Washington Post speedily denounced his “wild, baseless theory” while Huffington Post denounced his “laughable conspiracy theory.” It doesn’t matter how often the FBI instigated terrorist plots or political violence in the past 60 years (including the plot to kidnap the Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer last November). Instead, decent people must do nothing to endanger the official narrative of Jan. 6 as a horrific private terrorist event on par with the War of 1812, Pearl Harbor, and the 9/11 attacks.

“Conspiracy theory” is a magic phrase that expunges all previous federal abuses. Many liberals who invoke the phrase also ritually quote a 1965 book by former communist Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Hofstadter portrayed distrust of government as a proxy for mental illness, a paradigm that makes the character of critics more important than the conduct of government agencies. For Hofstadter, it was a self-evident truth that government was trustworthy because American politics had “a kind of professional code… embodying the practical wisdom of generations of politicians.”

 Much of the establishment rage at “conspiracy theories” has been driven by the notion that rulers are entitled intellectual passive obedience. The same lese-majeste mindset has been widely adopted to make a muddle of American history. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the court historian for President John F. Kennedy and a revered liberal intellectual, declared in a 2004 article in Playboy, “Historians today conclude that the colonists were driven to revolt in 1776 because of a false conviction that they faced a British conspiracy to destroy their freedom.” Was the British imposition of martial law, confiscation of firearms, military blockades, suspension of habeas corpus, and censorship simply a deranged fantasy of Thomas Jefferson? The notion that the British would never conspire to destroy freedom would play poorly in Dublin. Why would anyone trust academics who were blind to British threats in the 1770s to accurately judge contemporary perils to liberty?

How does the Biden administration intend to fight “conspiracy theories”? The Biden terrorism report called for “enhancing faith in government” by “accelerating work to contend with an information environment that challenges healthy democratic discourse.” Will Biden’s team rely on the “solution” suggested by Cass Sunstein: “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups” by government agents and informants to “undermine” them from within? A 1976 Senate report on the FBI COINTELPRO program demanded assurances that a federal agency would never again “be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers threats to the established order.” Actually, the FBI and other agencies have continued secretly warring against “threats” and legions of informants are likely busy “cognitively infiltrating” at this moment.

“Conspiracy theory” will remain a favorite sneer of the political-media elite. There is no substitute for Americans developing better B.S radars for government claims as well as wild-eyed private balderdash. In the meantime, there’s always the remedy a Washington Post health article touted late last year: “Try guided imagery. Visualizing positive outcomes can help clamp down on the intense emotions that might make you more vulnerable to harmful conspiracy theories.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/25/2021 - 00:05
Published:6/24/2021 11:13:49 PM
[Markets] "Defund The Police" Movement 'Coincided' With Biggest Surge In US Violence Since The '60s, FBI Data Confirms "Defund The Police" Movement 'Coincided' With Biggest Surge In US Violence Since The '60s, FBI Data Confirms

Based on preliminary FBI data, America experienced one of its most murderous years in decades. Of course, let's not forget this all happened during a socio-economic collapse thanks to the virus pandemic and resulting public officials who closed the economy, leaving tens of millions of people struggling to put food on the table. At the same time, millions of others raced to their local gun store to purchase guns and ammo as liberal-run cities were transformed into a violent mess. 

Vox reports US' murder rate likely increased by 25% or more in 2020, but official FBI data won't be published until later this year. The numbers are likely to be historic. "That amounts to more than 20,000 murders in a year for the first time since 1995, up from about 16,000 in 2019," according to crime analyst Jeff Asher. 

John Roman, a criminal justice expert at NORC at the University of Chicago, told Vox that the 2020 murder surge "is the largest increase in violence we've seen since the 1960s when we started collecting formal crime statistics." 

Many experts, or at least the ones Vox sourced or interviewed, "still don't know why murders surged last year." 

For starters, perhaps liberal-run cities defunding the police and deciding not to prosecute petty crime could be some of the triggers for the increased violent crime. 

After all, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison this week blamed the surge in violent crime on a "number of issues," including a shortage in staff. This comes after Baltimore City Council defunded the police last year. The new mayor, Brandon Scott, reversed the policy and increased the city's policing budget this year to get a handle on crime. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has also spoken up and blamed "defund the police" and progressive policies for the spike in crime across Los Angeles County. 

Oregon's largest newspaper, The Oregonian, admitted not too long ago that their previous endorsement of defunding was the wrong decision as crime surged across Portland. 

We could go on and on about linking defunding the police to surging violent crime, but we'll stop it at that. 

Until law and order are restored, something former President Trump used to say daily, chaos will continue across major metro areas, and 2021 could become an even more violent year than last. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/24/2021 - 22:25
Published:6/24/2021 9:44:12 PM
[Markets] Biden's Widely Mocked 'F-15s And Nukes' Speech Is Latest In String Of Gun Control Blunders Biden's Widely Mocked 'F-15s And Nukes' Speech Is Latest In String Of Gun Control Blunders

President Biden made headlines on Wednesday, after suggesting in a rambling gun control speech that gun owners who want to take on the government would need "F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons."

Biden then said that there have always been limits on what kinds of weapons people can legally own - incorrectly including cannons, which have been legal to own for centuries.

Biden's gun control push was widely mocked:

All jokes aside, as Emily Miller of Emily Post News wrote in March, Biden has been tripping over his own feet on gun control for quite some time.

*  *  *

Joe Biden has not yet been president for 100 days, and he is already trying to get more gun control. Biden is exploiting the tragic mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder to placate his base and try to prove his old “assault weapon” ban would work after all.  He will fail. Again.

Biden has tried to get gun control measures for decades and with Democratic control over the House and Senate, this is his last ditch effort. But looking at his past mistakes, this effort will be full of missteps. 

On Tuesday [March 23], he called for the Senate to “immediately pass” two House bills -- one that address the supposed loophole in background checks and a return of the old  “assault weapons ban.”

Biden has been pushing for these and other pointless measures to address gun crime for years. I went back to my own book “Emily Gets Her Gun” to recall Biden’s past gun control agenda and the multiple mistakes he’s made on basic facts in order to promote his agenda. These sections are indented with the page numbers for those of you who have the book and want to follow along. 

1994- “Assault Weapon” Ban Goes Into Law

Biden was one of the authors of the 1994 Crime Bill that included a 10-year “assault weapon ban.”  The gun control law was so unpopular that Democrats lost the House that year. As a result of that shift in seats, Congress has not been able to get the votes for anything that violates the Second Amendment since then. 

2004- “Assault Weapon” Ban Expires

The ban expired in 2004 after the FBI told Congress the law was not needed for gun crime. Crime overall decreased in the 90s and 00s and rifle crime is rare in the country. FBI statistics show that most years, about 300 people are killed by rifles of any kind. Dianne Feinstein who is the biggest proponent of an assault weapon ban, estimates about 50 people are killed each year in America by guns with the characteristics that make them banned. 

2008- Obama elected president, Biden Vice President

Obama ran against guns but once in office, he didn’t pursue the agenda with any real effort because he wanted to get reelected. Note the landmark Supreme Court Heller decision was in June 2008 and affirmed an individual’s right to keep arms and struck down DC’s total ban on gun ownership. This applied only to federal lands since the District is not a state (so far.)

In 2010, the high court ruled in the McDonald case that Chicago’s laws requiring guns be registered and effectively refusing any handguns be possessed was also unconstitutional. This ruling made the Heller decision on the individual’s right to have a gun (not the common mistaken reading of the militia) the law for the states.   

So with all this pro-Second Amendment movement in the courts, it wasn’t until after Obama had been reelected in 2012 that he started coming after guns. 

2012- Obama re-elected president

In the eight years since the “assault weapon ban” expired, annual gun crime had continued to decrease or stay the same. But the media attention on mass shootings had dramatically increased. So right after the horrific shooting of young children in Newtown, CT by a psychopath in Dec. 2012, Obama launched a real push for gun control in Congress. He tapped Vice President Biden to lead a task force that would come up with “concrete proposals” by January (the next month.) 

(p.26) Just five days after Sandy Hook, he announced that Vice President Joe Biden would lead a task force to come up with “concrete proposals no later than January—proposals that I then intend to push without delay.” The president made it clear that the recommendations of the task force were predetermined, saying he had picked Biden to lead the effort because “he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill,” which included the “assault weapon ban.” 

While it was developing the agenda, the Biden task force invited pro-Second Amendment groups to just one White House meeting, on January 10.

2013- Biden Pushes for Background Checks He Doesn’t Understand

The Brady Law mandates an instant background check before buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer. These “NICS” checks can check for data in the FBI system such as felonies, mental illness, drug convictions and instantly tell the dealer if the gun purchases can legally buy the gun. Since the person didn’t actually buy a gun, these NICS checks can be used to prosecute the criminals trying to buy guns again by their signature on the application which is a felony for perjury. Biden didn’t understand this as late as 2013. 

P. 92- NRA’s Chief Lobbyist James Baker to Biden- “I told him that it didn’t make sense to have federal penalties for lying on the form you have to fill out to purchase a firearm if no one is ever prosecuted for it,” he recalled in an interview. Baker told me that Biden turned to him and said, “Jim, we’re not interested in chasing paperwork violations.” Baker said, “Well Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, if you’re not prosecuting when they lie on the forms, you’re not stopping them.”

“Universal” Background Checks

Biden today is calling for what the left calls the “Charleston Loophole.” This is just another term for what they used to call “universal background checks” that failed to pass the Senate in 2013. 

The Senate did not pass any gun-control measures after the pro Second Amendment Democrats joined with the REpublicans to stop the bills that Mike Bloomberg spent millions promoting. 

P. 109- At 5:30 p.m. on the day of the vote, President Obama held a drama-filled press conference in the Rose Garden with families of victims of gun violence. A father of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School spoke. Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the victim of a gun attack by someone with apparent mental health issues, stood to Obama’s right side.

Vice President Biden stood to his left side with his arms crossed, first scowling and then crying.

P-110- Obama, who once served in the Senate, bizarrely blamed the normal procedural rules of the upper body of our legislature for the failed vote. “A majority of senators voted ‘yes’ to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks, but by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.” 

There was no “distortion.” The Senate was created to be a deliberative body. To avoid filibusters, while still moving business along, the Senate normally agrees to require 60 votes for bills to pass. 

Biden’s Misguided Advice on Shotguns vs AR-15 Rifles

Pres. Biden has said in the past that he owns shotguns for self defense. At the same time, he helped write legislation to outlaw AR-15 style rifles, which were - at that point- less often used in homicides than shotguns. Anyway, he clearly is not a responsible gun owner. 

P. 48 - Biden said "a shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15" and "people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and their ability to deter people coming." 

Biden told Field & Stream magazine in 2013 that a shotgun is better than an AR-15 “because if you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” [Never do this at home, kids!]

At a town hall meeting at the White House, a female reader of Parents magazine asked him whether the administration’s ban on certain firearms and magazines would make law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to criminals.

“If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barrel shotgun,” he answered: “As I told my wife — we live in an area that’s wooded and somewhat secluded — I said, ‘Jill, if there’s ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house. I promise you, whoever’s coming in is not going to.’”

[Note to gun owners: never shoot in the air unless you’re hunting and never walk outside when a criminal is trying to enter your house.]

Biden Doesn’t Understand Supreme Court Rulings

P. 253 - Vice President Biden used the White House bully pulpit to help reinforce the gun grabbers’ misinterpretations of Scalia’s remarks. “Justice Scalia, who is a brilliant conservative mind on the court, pointed out the government has the right to prohibit the sale of certain types of weapons. It’s constitutionally permitted. Senator Feinstein has an amendment to keep those weapons of war off the streets and not aimed at you,” he said.

This is not at all what Justice Scalia wrote. The court never ruled on the type of guns that could be carried, which is why it’s still up for interpretation and why many states and cities have “assault weapon bans” in effect still in 2021. That AWB has been in effect in Boulder, CO since 2018. 

We will soon learn what drove the mass murderers in Atlanta and Boulder to commit evil crimes, but it is not access to guns. From the federal to city government, every gun-control law that has been conceived has been tested. None reduced gun crime nor stopped criminals from killing innocent people.

You would think after 30 years of leading the charge to ban guns, Biden would have learned by now that getting a new gun-control law is as effective as Jill Biden shooting into the air. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/24/2021 - 10:06
Published:6/24/2021 9:11:12 AM
[Markets] One Nation Under Greed: The Profit Incentives Driving The American Police State One Nation Under Greed: The Profit Incentives Driving The American Police State

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

- Frédéric Bastiat, French economist

If there is an absolute maxim by which the American government seems to operate, it is that the taxpayer always gets ripped off.

Not only are Americans forced to “spend more on state, municipal, and federal taxes than the annual financial burdens of food, clothing, and housing combined,” but we’re also being played as easy marks by hustlers bearing the imprimatur of the government.

With every new tax, fine, fee and law adopted by our so-called representatives, the yoke around the neck of the average American seems to tighten just a little bit more.

Everywhere you go, everything you do, and every which way you look, we’re getting swindled, cheated, conned, robbed, raided, pickpocketed, mugged, deceived, defrauded, double-crossed and fleeced by governmental and corporate shareholders of the American police state out to make a profit at taxpayer expense.

The overt and costly signs of the despotism exercised by the increasingly authoritarian regime that passes itself off as the United States government are all around us: warrantless surveillance of Americans’ private phone and email conversations by the FBI, NSA, etc.; SWAT team raids of Americans’ homes; shootings of unarmed citizens by police; harsh punishments meted out to schoolchildren in the name of zero tolerance; drones taking to the skies domestically; endless wars; out-of-control spending; militarized police; roadside strip searches; privatized prisons with a profit incentive for jailing Americans; fusion centers that collect and disseminate data on Americans’ private transactions; and militarized agencies with stockpiles of ammunition, to name some of the most appalling.

Meanwhile, the three branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) and the agencies under their command—Defense, Commerce, Education, Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury, etc.—have switched their allegiance to the Corporate State with its unassailable pursuit of profit at all costs and by any means possible.

By the time you factor in the financial blowback from the COVID-19 pandemic with its politicized mandates, lockdowns, and payouts, it becomes quickly apparent that we are now ruled by a government consumed with squeezing every last penny out of the population and seemingly unconcerned if essential freedoms are trampled in the process.

As with most things, if you want to know the real motives behind any government program, follow the money trail.

When you dig down far enough, you quickly find that those who profit from Americans being surveilled, fined, scanned, searched, probed, tasered, arrested and imprisoned are none other than the police who arrest them, the courts which try them, the prisons which incarcerate them, and the corporations, which manufacture the weapons, equipment and prisons used by the American police state.

Examples of this legalized, profits-over-people, government-sanctioned extortion abound.

On the roads: Not satisfied with merely padding their budgets by issuing speeding tickets, police departments have turned to asset forfeiture and red light camera schemes as a means of growing their profits. Despite revelations of corruption, collusion and fraud, these money-making scams have been being inflicted on unsuspecting drivers by revenue-hungry municipalities. Now legislators are hoping to get in on the profit sharing by imposing a vehicle miles-traveled tax, which would charge drivers for each mile behind the wheel.

In the prisons: States now have quotas to meet for how many Americans go to jail. Increasing numbers of states have contracted to keep their prisons at 90% to 100% capacity. This profit-driven form of mass punishment has, in turn, given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep the money flowing and their privately run prisons full, “regardless of whether crime was rising or falling.” As Mother Jones reports, “private prison companies have supported and helped write … laws that drive up prison populations. Their livelihoods depend on towns, cities, and states sending more people to prison and keeping them there.” Private prisons are also doling out harsher punishments for infractions by inmates in order to keep them locked up longer in order to “boost profits” at taxpayer expense. All the while, prisoners are being forced to provide cheap labor for private corporations. No wonder the United States has the largest prison population in the world.

In the schools: The security industrial complex with its tracking, spying, and identification devices has set its sights on the schools as “a vast, rich market”—a $20 billion market, no less—just waiting to be conquered. In fact, the public schools have become a microcosm of the total surveillance state which currently dominates America, adopting a host of surveillance technologies, including video cameras, finger and palm scanners, iris scanners, as well as RFID and GPS tracking devices, to keep constant watch over their student bodies. Likewise, the military industrial complex with its military weapons, metal detectors, and weapons of compliance such as tasers has succeeded in transforming the schools—at great taxpayer expense and personal profit—into quasi-prisons. Rounding things out are school truancy laws, which come disguised as well-meaning attempts to resolve attendance issues in the schools but in truth are nothing less than stealth maneuvers aimed at enriching school districts and court systems alike through excessive fines and jail sentences for “unauthorized” absences. Curiously, none of these efforts seem to have succeeded in making the schools any safer.

In the endless wars abroad: Fueled by the profit-driven military industrial complex, the government’s endless wars are wreaking havoc on our communities, our budget and our police forces. Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour. Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.  Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford. War spending is bankrupting America.

In the form of militarized police: The Department of Homeland Security routinely hands out six-figure grants to enable local municipalities to purchase military-style vehicles, as well as a veritable war chest of weaponry, ranging from tactical vests, bomb-disarming robots, assault weapons and combat uniforms. This rise in military equipment purchases funded by the DHS has, according to analysts Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, “paralleled an apparent increase in local SWAT teams.” The end result? An explosive growth in the use of SWAT teams for otherwise routine police matters, an increased tendency on the part of police to shoot first and ask questions later, and an overall mindset within police forces that they are at war—and the citizenry are the enemy combatants. Over 80,000 SWAT team raids are conducted on American homes and businesses each year. Moreover, government-funded military-style training drills continue to take place in cities across the country.

In profit-driven schemes such as asset forfeiture: Under the guise of fighting the war on drugs, government agents (usually the police) have been given broad leeway to seize billions of dollars’ worth of private property (money, cars, TVs, etc.) they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then—and here’s the kicker—whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the government keeps the citizen’s property, often divvying it up with the local police who did the initial seizure. The police are actually being trained in seminars on how to seize the “goodies” that are on police departments’ wish lists. According to the New York Times, seized monies have been used by police to “pay for sports tickets, office parties, a home security system and a $90,000 sports car.”

Among government contractors: We have been saddled with a government that is outsourcing much of its work to high-paid contractors at great expense to the taxpayer and with no competition, little transparency and dubious savings. According to the Washington Post, “By some estimates, there are twice as many people doing government work under contract than there are government workers.” These open-ended contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, “now account for anywhere between one quarter and one half of all federal service contracting.” Moreover, any attempt to reform the system is “bitterly opposed by federal employee unions, who take it as their mission to prevent good employees from being rewarded and bad employees from being fired.”

By the security industrial complex: We’re being spied on by a domestic army of government snitches, spies and techno-warriors. In the so-called name of “precrime,” this government of Peeping Toms is watching everything we do, reading everything we write, listening to everything we say, and monitoring everything we spend. Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it is all being recorded, stored, and catalogued, and will be used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. This far-reaching surveillance, carried out with the complicity of the Corporate State, has paved the way for an omnipresent, militarized fourth branch of government—the Surveillance State—that came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum. That doesn’t even touch on the government’s bold forays into biometric surveillance as a means of identifying and tracking the American people from birth to death.

By a government addicted to power: It’s a given that you can always count on the government to take advantage of a crisis, legitimate or manufactured. Emboldened by the citizenry’s inattention and willingness to tolerate its abuses, the government has weaponized one national crisis after another in order to expand its powers. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigration, asset forfeiture schemes, road safety schemes, school safety schemes, eminent domain: all of these programs started out as legitimate responses to pressing concerns and have since become weapons of compliance and control in the police state’s hands. Now that the government has gotten a taste for flexing its police state powers by way of a bevy of COVID-19 lockdowns, mandates, restrictions, contact tracing programs, heightened surveillance, censorship, overcriminalization, etc., “we the people” may well find ourselves burdened with a Nanny State inclined to use its draconian pandemic powers to protect us from ourselves.

These injustices, petty tyrannies and overt acts of hostility are being carried out in the name of the national good—against the interests of individuals, society and ultimately our freedoms—by an elite class of government officials working in partnership with megacorporations that are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions.

This perverse mixture of government authoritarianism and corporate profits has increased the reach of the state into our private lives while also adding a profit motive into the mix. And, as always, it’s we the people, we the taxpayers, we the gullible voters who keep getting taken for a ride by politicians eager to promise us the world on a plate.

This is a far cry from how a representative government is supposed to operate.

Indeed, it has been a long time since we could claim to be the masters of our own lives. Rather, we are now the subjects of a militarized, corporate empire in which the vast majority of the citizenry work their hands to the bone for the benefit of a privileged few

Adding injury to the ongoing insult of having our tax dollars misused and our so-called representatives bought and paid for by the moneyed elite, the government then turns around and uses the money we earn with our blood, sweat and tears to target, imprison and entrap us, in the form of militarized police, surveillance cameras, private prisons, license plate readers, drones, and cell phone tracking technology.

All of those nefarious deeds by government officials that you hear about every day: those are your tax dollars at work.

It’s your money that allows for government agents to spy on your emails, your phone calls, your text messages, and your movements. It’s your money that allows out-of-control police officers to burst into innocent people’s homes, or probe and strip search motorists on the side of the road. And it’s your money that leads to Americans across the country being prosecuted for innocuous activities such as growing vegetable gardens in their front yards or daring to speak their truth to their elected officials.

Just remember the next time you see a news story that makes your blood boil, whether it’s a police officer arresting someone for filming them in public, or a child being kicked out of school for attending a virtual class while playing with a toy gun, remember that it is your tax dollars that are paying for these injustices.

There was a time in our history when our forebears said “enough is enough” and stopped paying their taxes to what they considered an illegitimate government. They stood their ground and refused to support a system that was slowly choking out any attempts at self-governance, and which refused to be held accountable for its crimes against the people.

Their resistance sowed the seeds for the revolution that would follow.

Unfortunately, in the 200-plus years since we established our own government, we’ve let bankers, turncoats and number-crunching bureaucrats muddy the waters and pilfer the accounts to such an extent that we’re back where we started.

Once again, we’ve got a despotic regime with an imperial ruler doing as they please.

Once again, we’ve got a judicial system insisting we have no rights under a government which demands that the people march in lockstep with its dictates.

And once again, we’ve got to decide whether we’ll keep marching or break stride and make a turn toward freedom.

But what if we didn’t just pull out our pocketbooks and pony up to the federal government’s outrageous demands for more money?

What if we didn’t just dutifully line up to drop our hard-earned dollars into the collection bucket, no questions asked about how it will be spent?

What if, instead of quietly sending in our checks, hoping vainly for some meager return, we did a little calculating of our own and started deducting from our taxes those programs that we refuse to support?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, if the government and its emissaries can just take from you what they want, when they want, and then use it however they want, you can’t claim to be anything more than a serf in a land they think of as theirs.

This is not freedom, America.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/24/2021 - 00:00
Published:6/23/2021 11:06:28 PM
[Markets] When the FBI Framed Four Innocent Men When the FBI Framed Four Innocent Men

Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary,

This is the story of how the FBI framed four innocent men for murder, destroyed families, and tried to cover it up. It’s also the story of the convergence of John Durham and Robert Mueller: how Durham uncovered the FBI’s crimes and how Robert Mueller’s FBI disputed the innocence of the men the FBI framed.

The FBI knocked and Mike Albano opened the door. It was 1983. As a member of the Massachusetts State Parole Board, Albano thought he had been doing his job when he looked into voting to commute the sentence of Peter Limone, who along with Joseph Salvati, Henry Tameleo, and Louis Greco, had been convicted for the murder of Teddy Deegan in 1965.

Those convictions never sat right with Albano – he was savvy to Massachusetts and the convergence of the Mob and law enforcement. His suspicions of the convictions, and sympathy to the four men, only grew when he met with Greco, who proclaimed his innocence and said “he wanted to live one day as a free man, just one day.”1

FBI special agents John Morris and John Connolly weren’t there just say hello or to discuss the details of the case (a state case, not a federal case). There was a darker purpose: straight-up intimidation. Threats that it wouldn’t be good for Albano’s career if he voted for commutation.

To Albano’s credit, he voted to commute the sentence of Limone. This particular petition for commutation (Limone filed six in total that were all rejected) was denied by Governor Michael Dukakis after the FBI and then-U.S. Attorney Bill Weld put on the pressure, alleging that Limone was guilty of the Deegan murder, had been involved in commissioning the murder of Joseph “The Animal” Barboza, and would return with seniority to Boston’s organized crime structure if he was freed.

The Parole Board also voted in favor of two commutation petitions by Greco. The first was denied by Governor Michael Dukakis, the second denied by Governor Bill Weld. There was no ruling on the third commutation petition filed by Greco in 1995. He died soon after it was filed. Greco’s plea to Albano, that he live “just one day” as a free man, was never granted.

To understand this case and the FBI’s efforts to intimidate Albano, you have to go back to the 1960s. J. Edgar Hoover was the FBI Director and made it a focus of his to take down La Cosa Nostra – the Italian Mob – by any means necessary. To achieve this goal the FBI used criminal informants.

The Teddy Deegan Murder

Teddy Deegan was murdered on the night of March 12, 1965 in Chelsea, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. His body was found in an alley behind the Lincoln National Bank. He had on gloves and a screwdriver was found near his left hand. A tool of his trade. The lieutenant who arrived at the scene described a fresh pool of blood near his left knee and blood “still oozing from the rear of his head.” In all, Deegan was shot 6 times with three different guns.

The officers who recognized Deegan there lying in the alley wouldn’t have been surprised. Deegan didn’t hang around the best people and didn’t exactly behave himself. They didn’t expect Deegan’s murder, but they wouldn’t have been surprised.

Arrests are made.

Four men – Limone, Greco, Salvati, and Tameleo – were accused of Deegan’s murder.

Peter Limone was arrested on October 27, 1967. It was his tenth wedding anniversary and it was spent in jail away from his wife, Olympia, with whom he had four young children. He was supposed to meet Olymia that evening for a meeting at their sons’ school. He never showed up.

Louis Greco surrendered to the FBI in Miami, having been in Florida at the time of the murder, and was extradited to Massachusetts in 1968. He too was married and had a couple young children. He was a war hero, having served in the South Pacific in the Army during World War II. For his service he had been awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. He returned from the war “disabled for life with a shattered ankle.”

Joseph Salvati was 34 when he was arrested. Like Limone, he also had four young children. Henry Tameleo was the oldest of the four men. He was born in 1901 and had been married to his wife since 1919.

The Trial and Convictions

The state murder trial started on May 27, 1968. Joseph Barboza, an FBI informant, testified that Limone and Tameleo approved the “hit” on Deegan, that Salvati was there with them, and that Greco helped plan the killing.

Not that Barboza was innocent – he was indicted for a misdemeanor relating to the murder and was serving time for possessing an illegal firearm. This was supposedly part of a deal the FBI gave Barboza: testify for the Massachusetts government in the murder trial and they’d let the judge know the extent and materiality of his assistance.

Anthony Stathopoulos, Jr. had also been at the scene and testified Greco – or a man who looked like Greco – wanted to get him as well. Other witnesses testified to guilt-indicating conduct by the defendants. For example, it was alleged that Tameleo and Greco tried to bribe Barboza and Stathopoulos to change their testimony.

The defense had an uphill battle. Their lawyers suspected that the FBI might have information or documents relating to the witnesses or Deegan’s murder. But the FBI produced nothing.

The jury reached its verdict on July 31, 1968. The four men were found guilty: Greco for murder in the first degree, Limone and Tameleo for accessories before the fact, Salvati for being an accessory after the fact, and all them for conspiracy to murder Deegan and Stathopoulos.

Limone, Tameleo, and Greco received the death penalty. Salvati was sentenced to life.2 The convictions were brought to the attention of Director Hoover, with the Boston office sending memos citing the Suffolk County District Attorney’s comments that the prosecution was a “direct result of FBI investigation” and witness development.

The FBI agents involved in the case (and who testified in support of their witness) were recommended awards and letters of commendation. They later received large bonuses and were praised by Director Hoover.

The Families

The families of the four men were devastated by the news. They had been distraught since the arrests – but at least with a trial they had hope things would work out in their favor. Now hope was gone and their husbands, their fathers, were facing execution.

It was hard for the wives but the children had it worse. The taunts at school that their father was a murderer. Going through cold prison gates and being frisked just to spend their birthdays with their father. An empty seat at sporting events and recitals. A boy’s nightmares of his father’s electrocution. A girl’s anxiety of missing her dad.

Henry Tameleo was the oldest of the four (aged 66 at the time of imprisonment) and his health was rapidly failing. The prison board and his doctors recommended he be transferred due to his health – these requests were ignored for years. He remained in prison a “sick, lonely old man” struggling with depression. His wife died in 1979. They had been married approximately 60 years; the last 10 years spent apart. He wasn’t there to hold her hand as she passed.

As bad as all of that is – and it is bad – the Greco family took it the worst. I’m not sure there are words to describe the trauma they endured. Greco and his wife Roberta had two sons (Eddie and Louis Jr.) who were 10 and 12, respectively, when their father was taken away. After Greco’s conviction, his son Eddie – at just 10 years old – contemplated suicide. In his own words, he wanted to “take a plastic bag and kill myself. . . I was putting plastic bags around my head.”

The boys’ mother Roberta stopped cooking and cleaning, and took up drinking and beating the kids. Eddie would go to school hungry. One day in 1970 Eddie came home to find their mother had abandoned them. They lived with family until they were thrown out of that home. Eddie was 13 and Louis Jr. was 15 when they were put out on their own.

Greco’s health suffered the same fate as his family on the outside: deterioration. While Greco (and the other two defendants put on death row) was spared execution due to the termination of the death penalty in Massachusetts, he had always been sentenced to death – it was just a matter of time. His health began failing and he was ultimately unable to do most anything without assistance. He lost control of his bowels and Salvati helped clean up after him. Greco’s right leg was amputated below the knee in 1995 de to gangrene. He died in prison on December 30, 1995.

Approximately two years later his son and namesake, Louis Jr., committed suicide by drinking a can of Drano. His other son Eddie struggled with cocaine and heroin addiction. He would eventually die from a likely overdose.

What the FBI knew.

There were FBI secrets about these convictions for 30+ years. These secrets went all the way up to FBI Director Hoover, and were uncovered in late 2000 by then-Assistant US Attorney John Durham: that the FBI had framed four innocent men for murder. This set-up was “known to, supported by, encouraged, and facilitated by the FBI hierarchy all the way up to the FBI Director.”3

To understand the FBI conspiracy, we have to go back to the 1960s and FBI Director Hoover’s efforts to take down La Cosa Nostra- the Italian Mob – by any means necessary.

Part of that task involved focusing on Raymond Patriarca, a powerful New England organized crime boss. In 1962, the FBI installed a wire in Patriarca’s Providence, New England office without a warrant. The conversations were monitored and forwarded to agents in the FBI’s Boston office. This was kept secret even within the FBI. Per Judge Gertner, “FBI reports describing conversations on the wire referred to it as if it were a human source, an informant just like any other.”

The FBI also made use of informants, with whom their agents were have a secret and long-term relationship. Enter Jimmy Flemmi, a career criminal and top FBI informant. The FBI had known of Flemmi’s criminal history – and knew that Flemmi had been involved in a number of murders. Condon, one of the agents handling Flemmi, had been informed in 1964 and early 1965 that Flemmi had committed several murders. This didn’t matter to FBI Agent Dennis Condon, his Boston FBI supervisor, or even to Director Hoover. He could get close to Patriarca and other mob figures and, therefore, had potential.

Jimmy Flemmi was eventually closed as an informant in the fall of 1965. His brother, Stephen Flemmi, began informing for the FBI not long after. Like Jimmy, Stephen was a career criminal, gangster, and killer.

The FBI’s Knowledge of the Plot to Kill Deegan

The wires and informants against Patricia were well underway by 1965. In October 1964, the FBI learned on two occasions that Jimmy Flemmi wanted to kill Deegan. Director Hoover had been updated on these developments.4

Five months later, in early March 1965, Jimmy Flemmi met with Patriarca and asked for permission to execute Deegan. A couple days later Flemmi returned with Joseph Barboza and asked for the “OK” to kill him. Flemmi thought Deegan was “an arrogant, nasty sneak and should be killed.”5

Two days prior to Deegan’s murder, on March 10, 1965, an informant advised the FBI that Raymond Patriarca, a powerful New England organized crime boss, had ordered a “hit” on Deegan. They had already completed a dry run and “a close associate of Deegan’s has agreed to set him up.” The FBI knew it was coming.

Deegan was executed on March 12, 1965. This was the same day that one of his killers, Jimmy Flemmi, was assigned to be developed as an informant.6

The FBI’s Knowledge

The FBI never doubted who killed Teddy Deegan. The day after the murder, an FBI informant reported that Jimmy Flemmi confessed to the killing along with Roy French, Joseph Romeo Martin, Ronnie Cassesso, and Joseph Barboza. Approximately three months later, Director Hoover was informed that Flemmi had participated in the murder. 

The FBI was able to put together exactly how the murder was supposed to go down. After the hit was approved by Patriarca, the men planned to kill Deegan when he and an associate (who was also to be killed) were robbing a place in Chelsea. French was to tip the killers off to the time and location.

Deegan’s death had the criminal world talking. On March 13, 1965 (the day after the murder), a top FBI informant reported that Jimmy Flemmi confessed to murder along with French, Romeo, Martin, Cassesso, and Barboza.

“That account would be repeated over and over with minor variations in every single document the FBI had” before Barboza started cooperating.7 Other accounts supported that theory of the Deegan murder. For example, the Chelsea police had information that the men had been seen leaving a restaurant together at approximately 9 p.m. and returning 45 minutes later.  Other informants came forward. Eleven days after Deegan’s murder, on March 23, 1965, it was reported to the FBI that Barboza admitted to the killing. The memo below shows that Director Hoover was informed that the FBI’s own informants had murdered Deegan.

This information wasn’t shared with state authorities or the defense counsel of the accused. As a result, this really became a criminal conspiracy by the FBI hierarchy – all the way up to Director Hoover.

Durham Starts the Bulger Review

In 1995, information of Whitey Bulger’s relationship with corrupt FBI agents became public, leading to an investigation of the FBI’s Boston field office. This included a review of documents relating to Limone’s case.

In late 2000, then-Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham uncovered FBI memos from the 1960s detailing FBI misconduct in this case, providing them to the DOJ, US Attorney’s Office, the defendants and state prosecutors, and the FBI. As a result, “the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office immediately filed a motion to vacate Limone’s conviction, to grant Limone a new trial, and admit him to bail.

Judge Margaret Hinkle of Suffolk Superior Court ruled that the Durham documents were material, exculpatory, and cast ‘real doubt’ on the justice of Limone’s convictions.”8 The state cases against Salvati and Limone – the only two still alive – were dropped. (Greco and Tameleo had died in prison; their cases were posthumously dropped.)

Mueller

Once Durham uncovered these documents, the Massachusetts Pardon Board reached out to FBI Director Mueller, asking about the FBI’s official response to the exculpatory evidence. The Boston Field Office provided a shameful response that the new evidence of an FBI set-up did not mean that the men were “innocent – it merely means that they are entitled to a new trial.”

The Lawsuit and Aftermath

Eventually, the surviving men and their families, along with the families of the deceased Greco and Tameleo, filed suit against the FBI. Not only did the FBI refuse to admit the truth – that these men were innocent – but the FBI also obstructed their civil rights trial. It turned out that the FBI had been hiding evidence from their own lawyers. This caused Judge Gertner to order that “this matter be brought to the personal attention of the Director of the FBI [Robert Mueller].”

After a bench trial, Judge Gertner concluded this case was “about intentional misconduct, subornation of perjury, conspiracy, the framing of four innocent men.” She awarded the men and their families over $100 million in damages.

For the wrongly convicted and their families, this would never be enough.

Meanwhile, the FBI headquarters is still called the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building. Mueller enjoys, at least with some, a good reputation despite his small but significant part in this saga. And Durham - now Special Counsel - still quietly looks for the truth.

*  *  *

1. In this essay, the Author relies in large part on Judge Nancy Gertner’s July 26, 2007 Memorandum and Order in civil action no. 02cv10890, Peter J. Limone, et al., v. United States of America, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

2. Barboza pled guilty to conspiracy and had his unrelated charges dismissed. He was sentenced to a year and a day to be served concurrently with the other time he was doing.

3. Gertner Memo.

4. https://fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fbi2.pdf

5. https://fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fbi2.pdf

6. https://fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fbi2.pdf

7. Gertner Memo at 49.

8. Gertner Memo at 12.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/21/2021 - 23:40
Published:6/21/2021 11:05:20 PM
[Markets] The FBI's Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, The FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes A Day The FBI's Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, The FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes A Day

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Almost every tyranny being perpetrated by the U.S. government against the citizenry - purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure - has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by our own government.

Think about it.

Cyberwarfare. Terrorism. Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race. Surveillance. The drug wars. Domestic extremism. The COVID-19 pandemic.

In almost every instance, the U.S. government (often spearheaded by the FBI) has in its typical Machiavellian fashion sown the seeds of terror domestically and internationally in order to expand its own totalitarian powers.

Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government.

Which country has a history of secretly testing out dangerous weapons and technologies on its own citizens? The U.S. government.

Which country has conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins? The U.S. government.

What country has a pattern and practice of entrapment that involves targeting vulnerable individuals, feeding them with the propaganda, know-how and weapons intended to turn them into terrorists, and then arresting them as part of an elaborately orchestrated counterterrorism sting? The U.S. government.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from terrorism.

The U.S. government is creating the terror. It is, in fact, the source of the terror.

Consider that this very same government has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, control and trap us.

So why is the government doing this? Money, power and total domination.

We’re not dealing with a government that exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness. Rather, these are the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

Case in point: the FBI.

The government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused. Indeed, far from being tough on crime, FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers.

Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues and mosques; issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records; using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work.

For example, this is the agency that used an undercover agent/informant to seek out and groom an impressionable young man, cultivating his friendship, gaining his sympathy, stoking his outrage over the injustices perpetrated by the U.S. government, then enlisting his help to blow up the Herald Square subway station. Despite the fact that Shahawar Matin Siraj ultimately refused to plant a bomb at the train station, he was arrested for conspiring to do so at the urging of his FBI informant and used to bolster the government’s track record in foiling terrorist plots. Of course, no mention was made of the part the government played in fabricating the plot, recruiting a would-be bomber, and setting him up to take the fall.

This is the government’s answer to precrime: first, foster activism by stoking feelings of outrage and injustice by way of secret agents and informants; second, recruit activists to carry out a plot (secretly concocted by the government) to challenge what they see as government corruption; and finally, arrest those activists for conspiring against the government before they can actually commit a crime.

It’s a diabolical plot with far-reaching consequences for every segment of the population, no matter what one’s political leanings.

As Rozina Ali writes for The New York Times Magazine, “The government’s approach to counterterrorism erodes constitutional protections for everyone, by blurring the lines between speech and action and by broadening the scope of who is classified as a threat.”

This is not an agency that appears to understand, let alone respect, the limits of the Constitution.

Just recently, it was revealed that the FBI has been secretly carrying out an entrapment scheme in which it used a front company, ANOM, to sell purportedly hack-proof phones to organized crime syndicates and then used those phones to spy on them as they planned illegal drug shipments, plotted robberies and put out contracts for killings using those boobytrapped phones.

All told, the FBI intercepted 27 million messages over the course of 18 months.

What this means is that the FBI was also illegally spying on individuals using those encrypted phones who may not have been involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

Even reading a newspaper article is now enough to get you flagged for surveillance by the FBI. The agency served a subpoena on USA Today / Gannett to provide the internet addresses and mobile phone information for everyone who read a news story online on a particular day and time about the deadly shooting of FBI agents.

This is the danger of allowing the government to carry out widespread surveillance, sting and entrapment operations using dubious tactics that sidestep the rule of law: “we the people” become suspects and potential criminals, while government agents, empowered to fight crime using all means at their disposal, become indistinguishable from the corrupt forces they seek to vanquish.  

To go after terrorists, they become terrorists. To go after drug smugglers, they become drug smugglers. To go after thieves, they become thieves.

For instance, when the FBI raided a California business that was suspected of letting drug dealers anonymously stash guns, drugs and cash in its private vaults, agents seized the contents of all the  safety deposit boxes and filed forfeiture motions to keep the contents, which include millions of dollars’ worth of valuables owned by individuals not accused of any crime whatsoever.

It’s hard to say whether we’re dealing with a kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves), a kakistocracy (a government run by unprincipled career politicians, corporations and thieves that panders to the worst vices in our nature and has little regard for the rights of American citizens), or if we’ve gone straight to an idiocracy.  

This certainly isn’t a constitutional democracy, however.

Some days, it feels like the FBI is running its own crime syndicate complete with mob rule and mafia-style justice.

In addition to creating certain crimes in order to then “solve” them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law, “including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies,” in exchange for their cooperation on other fronts.

USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day (5600 crimes a year). Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums: one particularly unsavory fellow, later arrested for attempting to run over a police officer, was actually paid $85,000 for his help laying the trap for an entrapment scheme.

In a stunning development reported by The Washington Post, a probe into misconduct by an FBI agent resulted in the release of at least a dozen convicted drug dealers from prison.

In addition to procedural misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, the FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, and harassment.

For example, the Associated Press lodged a complaint with the Dept. of Justice after learning that FBI agents created a fake AP news story and emailed it, along with a clickable link, to a bomb threat suspect in order to implant tracking technology onto his computer and identify his location. Lambasting the agency, AP attorney Karen Kaiser railed, “The FBI may have intended this false story as a trap for only one person. However, the individual could easily have reposted this story to social networks, distributing to thousands of people, under our name, what was essentially a piece of government disinformation.”

Then again, to those familiar with COINTELPRO, an FBI program created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government considers politically objectionable, it should come as no surprise that the agency has mastered the art of government disinformation.

The FBI has been particularly criticized in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks for targeting vulnerable individuals and not only luring them into fake terror plots but actually equipping them with the organization, money, weapons and motivation to carry out the plots—entrapment—and then jailing them for their so-called terrorist plotting. This is what the FBI characterizes as “forward leaning—preventative—prosecutions.”

Another fallout from 9/11, National Security Letters, one of the many illicit powers authorized by the USA Patriot Act, allows the FBI to secretly demand that banks, phone companies, and other businesses provide them with customer information and not disclose the demands. An internal audit of the agency found that the FBI practice of issuing tens of thousands of NSLs every year for sensitive information such as phone and financial records, often in non-emergency cases, is riddled with widespread violations.

The FBI’s surveillance capabilities, on a par with the National Security Agency, boast a nasty collection of spy tools ranging from Stingray devices that can track the location of cell phones to Triggerfish devices which allow agents to eavesdrop on phone calls. 

In one case, the FBI actually managed to remotely reprogram a “suspect’s” wireless internet card so that it would send “real-time cell-site location data to Verizon, which forwarded the data to the FBI.”

The FBI has also repeatedly sought to expand its invasive hacking powers to allow agents to hack into any computer, anywhere in the world.

Indeed, for years now, the U.S. government has been creating what one intelligence insider referred to as a cyber-army capable of offensive attacks. As Reuters reported back in 2013:

Even as the U.S. government confronts rival powers over widespread Internet espionage, it has become the biggest buyer in a burgeoning gray market where hackers and security firms sell tools for breaking into computers. The strategy is spurring concern in the technology industry and intelligence community that Washington is in effect encouraging hacking and failing to disclose to software companies and customers the vulnerabilities exploited by the purchased hacks. That's because U.S. intelligence and military agencies aren't buying the tools primarily to fend off attacks. Rather, they are using the tools to infiltrate computer networks overseas, leaving behind spy programs and cyber-weapons that can disrupt data or damage systems.

As part of this cyberweapons programs, government agencies such as the NSA have been stockpiling all kinds of nasty malware, viruses and hacking tools that can “steal financial account passwords, turn an iPhone into a listening device, or, in the case of Stuxnet, sabotage a nuclear facility.”

In fact, the NSA was responsible for the threat posed by the “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor” malware worm which—as a result of hackers accessing the government’s arsenal—hijacked more than 57,000 computers and crippled health care, communications infrastructure, logistics, and government entities in more than 70 countries.

Mind you, the government was repeatedly warned about the dangers of using criminal tactics to wage its own cyberwars. It was warned about the consequences of blowback should its cyberweapons get into the wrong hands.

The government chose to ignore the warnings.

That’s exactly how the 9/11 attacks unfolded.

First, the government helped to create the menace that was al-Qaida and then, when bin Laden had left the nation reeling in shock (despite countless warnings that fell on tone-deaf ears), it demanded—and was given—immense new powers in the form of the USA Patriot Act in order to fight the very danger it had created.

This has become the shadow government’s modus operandi regardless of which party controls the White House: the government creates a menace—knowing full well the ramifications such a danger might pose to the public—then without ever owning up to the part it played in unleashing that particular menace on an unsuspecting populace, it demands additional powers in order to protect “we the people” from the threat.

Yet the powers-that-be don’t really want us to feel safe.

They want us cowering and afraid and willing to relinquish every last one of our freedoms in exchange for their phantom promises of security.

As a result, it’s the American people who pay the price for the government’s insatiable greed and quest for power.

We’re the ones to suffer the blowback.

Blowback is a term originating from within the American Intelligence community, denoting the unintended consequences, unwanted side-effects, or suffered repercussions of a covert operation that fall back on those responsible for the aforementioned operations.

As historian Chalmers Johnson explains, “blowback is another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows.”

Unfortunately, “we the people” are the ones who keep reaping what the government sows.

We’re the ones who suffer every time, directly and indirectly, from the blowback.

Suffice it to say that when and if a true history of the FBI is ever written, it will not only track the rise of the American police state but it will also chart the decline of freedom in America: how a nation that once abided by the rule of law and held the government accountable for its actions has steadily devolved into a police state where justice is one-sided, a corporate elite runs the show, representative government is a mockery, police are extensions of the military, surveillance is rampant, privacy is extinct, and the law is little more than a tool for the government to browbeat the people into compliance.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

We can persuade ourselves that life is still good, that America is still beautiful, and that “we the people” are still free. However, as science fiction writer Philip K. Dick warned, “Don’t believe what you see; it’s an enthralling—[and] destructive, evil snare. Under it is a totally different world, even placed differently along the linear axis.”

In other words, as I point out Battlefield America: The War on the American People, all is not as it seems.

The powers-that-be are not acting in our best interests.

“We the people” are not free.

The government is not our friend.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/20/2021 - 23:30
Published:6/20/2021 10:59:35 PM
[Markets] Bovard Blasts Biden's Buffoonish War On Extremism Bovard Blasts Biden's Buffoonish War On Extremism

Authored by James Bovard via JimBovard.com,

The Biden administration revealed on Tuesday that guys who can’t get laid may be terrorist threats due to “involuntary celibate–violent extremism.” That revelation is part of a new crackdown that identifies legions of potential “domestic terrorists” that the feds can castigate and investigate. But there is no reason to expect Biden administration anti-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts to be less of a farce and menace than similar post-9/11 campaigns.

Since the French Revolution, politicians have defined terrorism to stigmatize their opponents, a precedent followed by the Biden administration’s National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. The report labels the January 6 clash at the Capitol as a “domestic terrorism” incident but fails to mention it spurred a mushroom cloud of increasingly far-fetched official accusations. Capitol Police acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told Congress that January 6 was “a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists.” Less than a thousand protestors entered the Capitol that day but apparently any Trump supporter who hustled down the Mall towards the Capitol became the legal equivalent of Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, this “seen walking in the same zip code” standard for guilt could be the prototype for Biden era domestic terrorist prosecutions.

The Biden report did not bestow the same “terrorist” label on the mobs who burned U.S. post offices in Minneapolis or assailed a federal courthouse in Portland last year. In its litany of terrorist incidents, the report cites “the vehicular killing of a peaceful protestor in Charlottesville” at the 2017 Unite the Right ruckus but omits the 49 people killed in 2016 by a Muslim enraged by U.S. foreign policy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Maybe that case was excluded because the murderer was the protected son of a long-term FBI informant and FBI falsehoods derailed the subsequent trial of his widow. Nor did the report mention the worst terrorist incident since 9/11—the Las Vegas bloodbath where a single shooter killed 58 people and injured 900 others. The FBI claimed it could never find a motive for that slaughter and its “final report” on the incident was only three pages long. Never mind.

The White House claims its new war on terrorism and extremism is “carefully tailored to address violence and reduce the factors that… infringe on the free expression of ideas.” But the prerogative to define extremism includes the power to attempt to banish certain ideas from acceptable discourse. The report warns that “narratives of fraud in the recent general election… will almost certainly spur some [Domestic Violent Extremists] to try to engage in violence this year.” If accusations of 2020 electoral shenanigans are formally labeled as extremist threats, that could result in far more repression (aided by Facebook and Twitter) of dissenting voices. How will this work out any better than the concerted campaign by the media and Big Tech last fall to suppress all information about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the election?

The Biden administration is revving up for a war against an enemy which the feds have chosen to never explicitly define. According to a March report by Biden’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “domestic violent extremists” include individuals who “take overt steps to violently resist or facilitate the overthrow of the U.S. government in support of their belief that the U.S. government is purposely exceeding its Constitutional authority.” But that was the same belief that many Biden voters had regarding the Trump administration. Does the definition of extremism depend solely on which party captured the White House?

The report notes that the “Department of Defense is reviewing and updating its definition of prohibited extremist activities among uniformed military personnel.” Bishop Garrison, the chief of the Pentagon’s new Countering Extremism Working Group, is Exhibit A for the follies of extremist crackdowns on extremism. In a series of 2019 tweets, Garrison, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, denounced all Trump supporters as “racists.” Garrison’s working group will “specifically define what constitutes extremist behavior” for American soldiers. If Garrison purges Trump supporters from the military, the Pentagon would be unable to conquer the island of Grenada. Biden policymakers also intend to create an “anti-radicalization” program for individuals departing the military service. This initiative will likely produce plenty of leaks and embarrassing disclosures in the coming months and years.

The Biden report is spooked by the existence of militia groups and flirts with the fantasy of outlawing them across the land. The report promises to explore “how to make better use of laws that already exist in all fifty states prohibiting certain private ‘militia’ activity, including…state statutes prohibiting groups of people from organizing as private military units without the authorization of the state government, and state statutes that criminalize certain paramilitary activity.” Most of the private militia groups are guilty of nothing more than bluster and braggadocio. Besides, many of them are already overstocked with government informants who are counting on Uncle Sam for regular paychecks.

As part of its anti-extremism arsenal, DHS is financing programs for “enhancing media literacy and critical thinking skills” and helping internet users avoid “vulnerability to…harmful content deliberately disseminated by malicious actors online.” Do the feds have inside information about another Hunter Biden laptop turning up, or what? The Biden administration intends to bolster Americans’ defenses against extremism by developing “interactive online resources such as skills-enhancing online games.” If the games are as stupefying as this report, nobody will play them.

The Biden report stresses that federal law enforcement agencies “play a critical role in responding to reports of criminal and otherwise concerning activity.” “Otherwise concerning activity”? This is the same standard that turned prior anti-terrorist efforts into laughingstocks.

Fusion Centers are not mentioned in the Biden report but they are a federal-state-local law enforcement partnership launched after 9/11 to vacuum up reports of suspicious activity. Seventy Fusion Centers rely on the same standard—“If you see something, say something”—that a senior administration official invoked in a background call on Monday for the new Biden initiative. The Los Angeles Police Department encouraged citizens to snitch on “individuals who stay at bus or train stops for extended periods while buses and trains come and go,” “individuals who carry on long conversations on pay or cellular telephones,” and “joggers who stand and stretch for an inordinate amount of time.” The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security recommended the reporting of “people avoiding eye contact,” “people in places they don’t belong,” or homes or apartments that have numerous visitors “arriving and leaving at unusual hours,” PBS’s Frontline reported. Colorado’s Fusion Center “produced a fear-mongering public service announcement asking the public to report innocuous behaviors such as photography, note-taking, drawing and collecting money for charity as ‘warning signs’ of terrorism,” the ACLU complained.

Various other Fusion Centers have attached warning labels to gun-rights activists, anti-immigration zealots, and individuals and groups “rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority.” A 2012 Homeland Security report stated that being “reverent of individual liberty” is one of the traits of potential right-wing terrorists. The Constitution Project concluded in a 2012 report that DHS Fusion Centers “pose serious risks to civil liberties, including rights of free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, racial and religious equality, privacy, and the right to be free from unnecessary government intrusion.” Fusion Centers continue to be bankrolled by DHS despite their dismal record.

The Biden report promises that the FBI and DHS will soon be releasing “a new edition of the Federal Government’s Mobilization Indicators booklet that will include for the first time potential indicators of domestic terrorism–related mobilization.” Will this latest publication be as boneheaded as the similar 2014 report by the National Counterterrorism Center entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts”?

As the Intercept summarized, that report “suggests that police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as ‘Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,’ … and ‘Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity)’ … to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies.” The report recommended judging families by their level of “Parent-Child Bonding” and rating localities on the basis in part of the “presence of ideologues or recruiters.” Former FBI agent Mike German commented, “The idea that the federal government would encourage local police, teachers, medical, and social-service employees to rate the communities, individuals, and families they serve for their potential to become terrorists is abhorrent on its face.”

The Biden administration presumes that bloating the definition of extremists is the surest way to achieve domestic tranquility. In this area, as in so many others, Biden’s team learned nothing from the follies of the Obama administration. No one in D.C. apparently recalls that President Obama perennially denounced extremism and summoned the United Nations in 2014 to join his “campaign against extremism.” Under Obama, the National Security Agency presumed that “someone searching the Web for suspicious stuff” was a suspected extremist who forfeited all constitutional rights to privacy. Obama’s Transportation Security Administration relied on ludicrous terrorist profiles that targeted American travelers who were yawning, hand wringing, gazing down, swallowing suspiciously, sweating, or making “excessive complaints about the [TSA] screening process.”

Will the Biden crackdown on extremists end as ignominiously as Nixon’s crackdown almost 50 years earlier? Nixon White House aide Tom Charles Huston explained that the FBI’s COINTELPRO program continually stretched its target list “from the kid with a bomb to the kid with a picket sign, and from the kid with the picket sign to the kid with the bumper sticker of the opposing candidate. And you just keep going down the line.” At some point, surveillance became more intent on spurring fear than on gathering information. FBI agents were encouraged to conduct interviews with anti-war protesters to “enhance the paranoia endemic in these circles and further serve to get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox,” as a 1970 FBI memo noted. Is the Biden castigation campaign an attempt to make its opponents fear that the feds are tracking their every email and website click?

Biden’s new terrorism policy has evoked plenty of cheers from his Fourth Estate lapdogs. But a Washington Post article fretted that the administration’s report did not endorse enacting “new legal authority to successfully hunt down, prosecute, and imprison homegrown extremists.” Does the D.C. media elite want to see every anti-Biden scoffer in the land put behind bars? This is typical of the switcheroo that politicians and the media play with the terms “terrorists” and “extremists.” Regardless of paranoia inside the Beltway, MAGA hats are not as dangerous as pipe bombs.

The Biden report concludes that “enhancing faith in American democracy” requires “finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories.” But permitting politicians to blacklist any ideas they disapprove won’t “restore faith in democracy.” Extremism has always been a flag of political convenience, and the Biden team, the FBI, and their media allies will fan fears to sanctify any and every government crackdown. But what if government is the most dangerous extremist of them all?

*  *  *

James Bovard is the author of Lost RightsAttention Deficit Democracy, and Public Policy Hooligan. He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 23:30
Published:6/19/2021 10:47:28 PM
[Markets] Meet The Censored: Bret Weinstein Meet The Censored: Bret Weinstein

Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News,

On May 23, 2017, not so long ago in real time but seemingly an eternity given the extraordinary history we’ve lived through since, a group of 50-odd students at Evergreen State College arrived at the classroom of a biology professor named Bret Weinstein, demanding his resignation. He stepped into the hall to talk, believing he could work things out.

He was wrong. Weinstein’s offense had been to come to work during an event called the “Days of Absence,” in which white students, staff, and faculty were asked to stay home. This was an inverted version of a longstanding Evergreen event of the same name that, based on a Douglas Turner Ward play, invited students of color to stay home voluntarily, to underscore their value to the community. As he would later explain in the Wall Street Journal, Weinstein thought this was a different and more negative message, and refused to comply. When that group of 50 students he’d never met arrived at his door and accused him of being a racist, he assumed he could find common ground, especially when his own students (including students of color) spoke on his behalf.

“I was one of Evergreen’s most popular professors,” he later testified to the House of Representatives. “I had Evergreen’s version of tenure. Did they really think they could force my resignation based on a meritless accusation? They did think that, and they were right.”

Weinstein was a Bernie Sanders supporter who described his politics as unabashedly liberal, even leftist. Like many, he’d grown up steeped in the imagery of sixties protest culture, probably imagined himself on its side, and therefore thought he could find solidarity with protesters. He didn’t realize was that he was the canary in a coal mine for a new movement that understood free speech as a stalking horse for the exercise of institutional power. When Weinstein opened his mouth to defend himself, what the crowd heard was him attempting to exercise authority, and they exercised theirs back.

They’d won over Evergreen’s new president, George Bridges, who refused to intercede in Weinstein’s behalf and later even asked college police to stand down, when protesters began stopping traffic and searching cars for someone, presumably Weinstein. The police told Weinstein they couldn’t guarantee his safety, and ultimately he was, in fact, forced to resign.

Frequently portrayed as the involuntary protagonist of the first of a series of campus free speech crises, in fact Weinstein was one of the first to understand that a rollback of “free speech” in cases like his was incidental to the larger aims of the movement.

“What is occurring on college campuses is about power and control. Speech is impeded as a last resort,” he told the House Oversight Committee.

He described the new movement as like a cult, in which members sincerely believed they were acting to stop oppression, but leaders understood they were simply “turning the tables” on oppression. They were exercising authority to achieve what may be presented as social justice goals, while the actual end is the authority itself, with the teardown of due process and other protections a critical part of the picture. “This committee,” he said, “should take my tale as cautionary.”

Fast forward three years. Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying have become prominent figures in independent media, co-hosting a popular podcast called DarkHorse. Identified in the New York Times as one of the main dramatis personae of the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web,” a group of heterodox intellectuals not aligned with the traditional right or left, he appeared for a time to find a home on YouTube. Maybe he would never go back to academia, but this seemed a more secure replacement. After all it’s one thing to be dependent on the whims of a college president or even a faculty board, but surely there’s safety in subscriber numbers?

Not so fast. As detailed in “Why Has ‘Ivermectin’ Become a Dirty Word?”, Weinstein is on the verge of becoming one of the more prominent casualties to a censorship movement that it’s hard not to see as part of a wider Evergreening of America. He and Heying’s two YouTube channels have been hit with multiple warnings for two brands of speech offenses, and are on the verge of having their business shut down entirely as a result (YouTube has a “three strikes and you’re out” policy). One offense involves interviews with the likes of Dr. Pierre Kory about the potential benefits of the repurposed drug ivermectin, and the other involves interviews with guests like Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA vaccine technology used in the Covid-19 vaccines. One video with Malone this week had 587,331 views before it was shut down.

In the years since Weinstein left Evergreen, the American cultural and political establishment has undergone a change in thinking, tracking with the warning Weinstein delivered to congress. The Trump election inspired a loss of faith in democracy, Charlottesville defamed speech rights, and Russiagate was an ongoing argument against due process, with many of the same people who opposed Dick Cheney’s spy state suddenly seeing themselves as aligned with the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA in the war on Trump.

Weinstein in his testimony talked about a movement that targeted the liberal concepts that traditionally bound us together, one being the “marketplace of ideas.” By 2021, the “marketplace of ideas” was regularly being portrayed as a trick, a tool for repression designed to conceal the fact that, as the New York Times put it last year, “good ideas do not always triumph in a marketplace of ideas.”

Thus instead of argument and debate, many now believe we should use force and influence to achieve objectives. This is just what Weinstein described at Evergreen: eschewing argument, accumulating power for its own sake instead. It’s in light of this cultural shift that we’ve seen a movement in favor of censorship, with erstwhile opponents of corporations posturing as libertarians, filling social media with arguments about how private companies should be free to do what they want.

When Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify teamed up to kick Alex Jones off the Internet in the summer of 2018, most of the left cheered. The obvious fear, however, was that moderators would develop mission creep. The DarkHorse incidents show we’re there. Whether or not one agrees with Weinstein about the efficacy of ivermectin, or the idea that the Covid-19 vaccines carry unreported dangers, anyone who follows his show recognizes that his is nearly the opposite of an Alex Jones act. He and Heying’s shows are neither frivolous nor abusive, and they clearly make an effort to be evidence-based, interviewing credentialed authorities, typically about subjects ignored by the corporate press.

This is exactly what independent/alternative media is for: tackling third rail subjects that, for one reason or another, can’t find a home in traditional media. Often, it takes scoops initially dismissed as silly conspiracies by what ABC reporter Jon Karl recently described as “serious people,” a classic example being Gary Webb’s famous CIA cocaine trafficking story.

A Time magazine editor in rejecting that one told reporters on that “if this story were about the Sandinistas and drugs, you’d have no trouble getting it in the magazine,” while Newsweek years later called a U.S. Senator, John Kerry, a “randy conspiracy buff” for saying the Contras in Nicaragua were engaged in drug trafficking. Only years later, in the small San Jose Mercury-News, did the story come out, and even then it took years before the coke-for-guns tale truly broke through in popular media.

With the Covid-19 story, Weinstein and Heying were among the first to openly consider the so-called “lab leak hypothesis” of how the pandemic began. In fact, in the days before people like Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to change their minds about the theory’s feasibility, and before beloved mainstream figures like Jon Stewart declared that if there was “an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania” you’d know “it’s the fucking chocolate factory,” Weinstein and Heyer were roundly denounced as Covid-19 misinformation peddlers.

In January, after they went on Real Time With Bill Maher, they were blasted for pushing a “Steve Bannon Wuhan Lab Covid Conspiracy” by a Daily Beast writer who mostly seemed upset that Weinstein and Heying had soiled Maher with the ick of unconventional thinking. However, since conventional wisdom on the lab leak theory changed, criticism on that front has died down, especially now that platforms like Facebook have announced they “will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps.” Still, the shift in consensus thinking about lab origin has only seemed to accelerate the vigilance about ivermectin and other issues.

This is a significant moment in the history of American media. If a show with the audience that Weinstein and Heying have can be put out of business this easily, it means that independent media going forward will either have to operate outside the major Internet platforms, or give up its traditional role as a challenger of mainstream narratives. There are plenty of people out there who take a sarcastic view of the “Intellectual Dark Web,” just as they roll their eyes at lots of YouTubers or Instagram stars or even the “Substackerati,” but even those critics should realize the seriousness of this moment, not just for this show, but for all media.

I reached out to Weinstein about his fight with YouTube:

TK: Can you sketch out the structure of your media business?

Weinstein: Heather and I have been doing livestreams since March, 2020. They began as bi-weekly and were originally focused on COVID. The topic quickly broadened, and streams were reduced to once a week in September, 2020. We have done 83 livestreams as of June 5th. Livestreams consist of 1-2 hours of presentation and discussion between Heather and Bret, followed by 1-2 hours of audience Q and A.

The remainder of the podcasts are discussions between me, Bret, and one or more guests. Some have been done in studio, others over zoom. The maximum number of guests was The Black Intellectual Round Table with seven guests. All guest discussions have been taped, with two recent exceptions (with Pierre Kory, and Steve Kirsch/Robert Malone), and generally the content is not edited with respect to substance. The main channel has 329,000 subscribers. Revenue on the main channel is generated by YouTube ads at the beginning of the podcast, by Superchat questions, and recently we have done spoken ads for carefully chosen sponsors. Podcasts also drive subscribership on each of our Patreon pages, and channel/podcast merchandise is also available from Teespring linked through YouTube. 

The clips channel was created in July 2020, and consists of clips made by a video editor/producer who watches our podcasts and selects highlights. Subscribership on the clips channel is rapidly growing and stands at 182,000. All revenue on the clips channel is from YouTube ads.

The main livestreams (but not the Q&As), and the podcasts that I have with other guests, are also uploaded to audio-only podcast platforms. Combining YouTube and podcast downloads, episodes tend to get above 200,000 views/listens each. The audio-only podcast has reliably been in the top 10 in Apple’s “Science podcasts” category, and goes in and out of top 100 in “overall” podcasts. Currently it is #77.

TK: Tech company executives have consistently said they intervene on this subject only for safety reasons, to prevent misleading information that might cause someone to avoid a lifesaving treatment. What is your answer to that? Are you an anti-vaxxer? Could a reasonable person infer from your broadcasts that you're recommending that adults not get vaccinated?

Weinstein: We are biologists engaging material that is inherently evolutionary. Our upcoming book is on the problem caused by the interface of people with novel technology for which we are not evolutionarily prepared. No one is trained in even a majority of the disciplines relevant to the COVID Pandemic. Virologists aren’t clinicians, aren’t epidemiologists, aren’t evolutionary biologists, aren’t pharmacologists, aren’t data scientists. We state repeatedly that we are not medical doctors and are not making recommendations, but we are sharing our view of scientific material that we are qualified to analyze.

It is true that some may become hesitant about the Covid vaccines from our discussions. That may cost lives, as we have taken pains to point out repeatedly. We also surely save lives. For example, it is especially likely that DarkHorse viewers who have had COVID would skip being vaccinated, greatly reducing their risk of adverse reactions without increasing their risk of future COVID.

The question is one of net effect. We have been way ahead of official guidance throughout the pandemic, and we have been very sharp in our criticism of those who have treated SARS-CoV2 casually. We have clearly sobered many up about the issue. Our refrain has been that although the case fatality rate from COVID is moderate, the damage to the body from a case of COVID—even if mild—is often substantial and likely implies reduced longevity. And we have given prescient advice on prevention. We were extremely early in recognizing that conducting business outside, opening windows (especially in cars), keeping conversation with strangers brief, wearing masks, removing masks outside, spending time in the sun, supplementing with vitamin-D, all have protective effects.

The best defense of what we have done on DarkHorse is simply to compare our prevention model with the official guidance. It is the low quality and slow improvement in the official model that constitutes the greatest danger. It takes far too long for official guidance to catch up to the evidence.

As to the questions of whether we are vaccinated and/or would get vaccinated again: we (and our children) are more fully vaccinated than most people, in part due to the exposures that our (former) jobs as tropical biologists gave us. We are, for instance, vaccinated against yellow fever, typhoid, and rabies. We are not vaccinated against Covid, and do not intend to get vaccinated against Covid (unless, perhaps, a traditional vaccine were to be produced).

TK: Jon Stewart made the lab-leak hypothesis mainstream last week. You were one of the first media figures to try to bring attention in that direction. What was the response when you raised your own concerns, and what's your reaction now, given the way that discussion has suddenly become permissible?

Weinstein: The lessons of the lab leak are many. Of course, those of us who could see that the official narrative was wildly inconsistent with the evidence were aggressively stigmatized. Many were driven to self silence. And the official narrative could easily have held, causing dissenters to be recorded in history as cranks. This is standard for such a situation. Unfortunately, there is no appetite for extrapolating from the lab leak to other COVID questions. Today Tony Fauci announced a multi-billion dollar initiative to search for new drugs to treat COVID, and Carl Zimmer dutifully reported the story with excitement in the NYT, even as the revelations about Fauci’s apparent corruption and responsibility continue to surface. There was no mention of the danger implied in new drugs and EUAs. The idea of repurposed drugs doing the job safely and cheaply is elided with the baseless assertion that a search for useful existing drugs was essentially fruitless. There is simply no update to the public’s trust in authority based on the lessons of the lab leak, no recognition that officials are often mistaken, or lying or both.

And that’s the core of the problem with YouTube’s policy. Official consensus has been frequently laughable in the context of Covid, often with deadly consequences. If ever there was a moment for scientific generalists to help their audience understand the evidence, this is it.

Consider this bizarre fact. In Sept. 2020, Politifact “fact checked” the lab leak hypothesis and declared it a “pants on fire lie.” Politifact was forced to walk that conclusion back in May 2021. My flow chart had a lab leak at almost 90% as of April 2020. In June of 2021 Politifact “fact checked” the assertion (made on the DarkHorse Podcast by Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA vaccine technology) that “spike protein is cytotoxic.” They declared it false. How did they end up the arbiter of factual authority in this case? Shouldn’t the presumption be with Dr. Malone, and with DarkHorse?

TK: Don't tech companies and health officials have a responsibility to try to prevent dangerous speech during an emergency like a pandemic? Do you feel that any discussion on a topic like this should be allowed, or do you believe there should be a minimal factual standard? What's the proper way to regulate this dilemma in your opinion?

Weinstein: I don’t think it works this way. Once you create the right to shut down speech for the good of the public, that tool becomes a target of capture and true speech is silenced. Furthermore, humans are stuck with the fact that heterodoxy exists at the fringe with the cranks. No one has a way to sort one from the other, except in retrospect. So if you regulate the cranks out of existence, you also shut down meaningful progress. The price of that is incalculable. Heather had a great piece on this published recently (What If We’re Wrong? In the on-line magazine Areo).

TK: Even if there are serious risks to your business, do you intend to stop talking about the subject? 

Of course not. Lives are on the line. Too many have been lost already. This is an absolute moral obligation. That doesn’t mean we won’t pick battles strategically, but even loss of our channels is acceptable if the madness surrounding COVID treatment and prevention can be stopped. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 21:30
Published:6/19/2021 8:49:51 PM
[Markets] NSA Agrees To Release Records On FBI's Improper Spying On 16,000 Americans NSA Agrees To Release Records On FBI's Improper Spying On 16,000 Americans

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

The National Security Agency (NSA) has agreed to release records on the FBI’s improper spying on thousands of Americans, the secretive agency disclosed in a recent letter.

The agreement may signal a rift between the NSA and the FBI, according to attorney Ty Clevenger.

Clevenger last year filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of The Transparency Project, a Texas nonprofit, seeking information on the FBI’s improper searches of intelligence databases for information on 16,000 Americans.

The searches violated rules governing how to use the U.S. government’s foreign intelligence information trove, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama nominee who currently presides over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, wrote in a 2019 memorandum and order that was declassified last year.

The FBI insisted that the queries for all 16,000 people “were reasonably likely to return foreign-intelligence information or evidence of a crime because [redacted],” Boasberg wrote. But the judge found that position “unsupportable,” apart from searches on just seven of the people.

Still, Boasberg allowed the data collection to continue, prompting Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, to lament that court’s decision on the data collection program, authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), “is even more inexplicable given that the opinion was issued shortly after the government reported submitting FISA applications riddled with errors and omissions in the Carter Page investigation.”

Page was a campaign associate of then-candidate Donald Trump who was illegally surveilled by the FBI.

After the judge’s order was made public, Clevenger filed FOIA requests for information on the improper searches with both the FBI and the NSA.

The FBI rejected the request.

In a February letter (pdf), an official told Clevenger that the letter he wrote “does not contain enough descriptive information to permit a search of our records.”

The NSA initially declined the request as well, but later granted an appeal of the decision, Linda Kiyosaki, an NSA official, said in a letter (pdf) this month.

“You had requested all documents, records, and other tangible evidence reflecting the improper surveillance of 16,000 individuals described in a 6 December, 2019, FISC Opinion,” Kiyosaki wrote.

Clevenger believes the NSA’s new position signals a rift between the two agencies, potentially because the FBI has repeatedly abused rules governing searches of the intelligence databases while the NSA has largely not.

“There’s been a battle between them, for example, Mike Rogers tried to shut off FBI access to the NSA database back in 2016,” Clevenger told The Epoch Times, referring to how Adm. Mike Rogers, the former NSA director, cut out FBI agents from using the databases in 2016.

“And so there’s been some history of the NSA trying to limit the FBI’s access because they know that the FBI is misusing the data intercepts,” he added.

The NSA and FBI did not respond to requests for comment.

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/19/2021 - 15:30
Published:6/19/2021 2:46:32 PM
[5cc5b8fa-777a-50ab-af15-6ae3947edbd7] Tucker Carlson: FBI has a history of creating crimes Tucker Carlson analyzes past involvement the FBI has had in creating crimes and asks whether they could have been involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot Published:6/18/2021 10:40:31 PM
[Markets] "Real Geopolitical Risks": K Street Sets Sights On New Semiconductor Policy Amid Global Shortage "Real Geopolitical Risks": K Street Sets Sights On New Semiconductor Policy Amid Global Shortage

Authored by Alyce McFadden via OpenSecrets.org,

A sweeping bill to encourage companies to manufacture semiconductors in the US passed the Senate on June 8 with bipartisan support. The tiny computer chips are used in practically all modern technology and the current global supply chain shortage of these semiconductors could spell disaster for American manufacturing. 

Demand for semiconductors spiked 6.5% in 2020 as tech companies raced to produce products aimed at facilitating remote learning, work and healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic. Industry experts have warned that further disruptions of the global supply chain could have dramatic consequences in the U.S. such as limiting American companies’ ability to produce everything from iPhones to high-tech weaponry and even medical equipment. On Monday, NPR reported the global shortage forced an Alabama Hyundai plant to pause production.

Source: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 would allocate $92 billion to subsidize domestic production of semiconductors, and $195 billion in subsidies for technological research and development. And American businesses and research groups are lobbying hard to direct that money to their organizations.  

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is the original sponsor of the measure and seven Republican senators signed on as co-sponsors, making the bill a rare glimmer of bipartisanship in the highly-polarized Congress. The legislation combines two pre-existing bills: one aimed at bolstering scientific and technological research, and the other designed to encourage domestic semiconductor manufacturing. The bill was introduced in the House in February but hasn’t received a floor vote.

Top lobbying groups like the US Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and the National Association of Manufacturers support the legislation. Earlier this year, these groups released statements urging Congress to provide economic incentives for increased domestic production of semiconductors.

Only 12% of the world’s semiconductors are produced in the US. That’s a decrease of approximately 25% from the U.S.’s share of global production in 1990, according to a 2020 report by the Semiconductor Industry Association, the sector’s largest trade group. 

During a Wednesday webinar on semiconductor policy, SIA President John Neuffer said potential supply chain issues could cause "real geopolitical risks" for the US if the government doesn’t create economic incentives for domestic manufacturers. "We have some blind spots that need to be addressed. The great thing is the U.S. government is focused like a laser on helping facilitate good outcomes," Neuffer said. 

Neuffer added that the biggest barrier to U.S. manufacturing is a lack of federal investment. "By far the biggest barriers to manufacturing in the U.S. are incentives offered overseas. What happened is that competing countries took the decision to incentivize manufacturing in their countries, massive incentives," Neuffer said. "We absolutely need to have our government step in and offer similar incentives."

There are 21 lobbyists registered for the SIA in 2021, and the trade association spent $300,000 on lobbying expenses in the first financial quarter. In 2020, the group spent a total of $1.2 million to lobby the federal government. 

While disclosures for the second financial quarter aren’t available yet, lobbyists working on behalf of 64 separate clients reported lobbying activity related to the Endless Frontier Act, a 2020 bill to boost scientific research and development of technology like semiconductors. Defense contractors, software companies, hospitals, trade associations and research universities were among the diverse group of clients who lobbied on the bill. 

Lobbyists for Microsoft filed six individual lobbying reports that mentioned the Endless Frontier Act by name. Booz Allen Hamilton, an information consulting company that works closely with the US military, reported $210,000 in lobbying expenses on the the Endless Frontier Act in one lobbying report alone.  

"Washington is increasingly focused on issues impacting the semiconductor sector, so our industry has bulked up its presence to ensure policymakers understand that US leadership in semiconductors is essential to America’s global technology leadership, national security, economic strength and job creation," Neuffer told The Hill last summer. 

According to CNBC, Taiwanese factories that produce semiconductors — called foundries — made up 63% of the global revenue from sales of semiconductors. In 2020, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council spent $1.8 million to lobby the US government. 

Although the Senate-passed bill aims to boost domestic production, foreign-owned manufacturers could benefit from federal subsidies if they elect to build foundries in the US. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2020 that the leading Taiwanese production company planned to spend $12 billion over nearly a decade to build a new foundry in Arizona.

Some experts warn a Chinese initiative to dramatically increase the country’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity could threaten U.S. national security interests. In 2014, Chinese hackers breached computer hardware company Intel Corp.'s internal network by hacking into one microchip producer’s software, according to a Bloomberg investigation. One former FBI official told Bloomberg the hack demonstrated "an example of the worst-case scenario if you don’t have complete supervision over where your devices are manufactured."

Chinese manufacturers controlled about 6% of the market share of semiconductor production in 2020

"There’s a big part of the performance of the actual chip that is tied to the manufacturing process," Favre said. "The fact that these latest generations of technologies are 100% off shore, that does create a vulnerability." During his first two months in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the Department of Commerce to identify "risks in the semiconductor manufacturing and advanced packaging supply chains and policy recommendations to address these risks."  

Biden reiterated his commitment to bolstering domestic manufacturing in a news conference at the G7 summit Sunday, emphasizing the importance of keeping pace with China’s technological output. 
"We’re in a contest, not with China per se," Biden said, but "with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world, as to whether or not democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing 21st century."

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/18/2021 - 23:00
Published:6/18/2021 10:10:27 PM
[Markets] Philadelphia Man Charged With Fraud After Using PPP Loan To Buy Real Estate, Motorcycle, Diamond Jewelry Philadelphia Man Charged With Fraud After Using PPP Loan To Buy Real Estate, Motorcycle, Diamond Jewelry

There's no doubt that the PPP program was one of the worst allocations of taxpayer capital (read: inflation) by the U.S. government in history. While many were helped during Covid by the program, the "free money" of PPP loans attracted all types of fraud and abuse, only a small sliver of which will be investigated. 

But occasionally, the government does turn over a rock and get their man, which was the bad news for 50 year old Devron Brown of Philadelphia, who had decided to play the odds on the fraudulent PPP loan roulette wheel - and lost. Brown was charged with stealing nearly $1 million in PPP funds during the pandemic and, instead of using the funds for business needs, turning around and using them to buy a house in Florida, cars and jewelry, according to The Philly Voice

Brown fraudulently obtained roughly $937,500 in PPP funds and was charged with two counts of bank fraud and nine counts of money laundering. the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said this week. 

The complaint against Brown alleges "a PPP loan application that contained false representations regarding his alleged construction business, Just Us Construction Inc." It alleges he misrepresented "the number of employees, the wages paid to them, the payroll taxes paid on those wages, and the intended use of the PPP loan proceeds."

He used the loan for a new residential property in Florida, a motorcycle, an all-terrain vehicle, a luxury automobile, and diamond jewelry, the complaint says. 

Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said: “Paycheck Protection Program funds are intended to help American small-businesses continue paying their employees, even if revenues have dropped dramatically due to the pandemic. Thieves who attempt to take these funds are taking advantage of others’ misfortune – ripping them off while also ripping off all taxpayers who fund the program. As alleged, Brown fraudulently obtained nearly $1 million in funds that could have helped struggling businesses and individuals.”

Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division concluded: “The Paycheck Protection Program was created to provide emergency financial assistance to businesses and employees battered by the pandemic. Unfortunately, criminal opportunists with dollar signs in their eyes promptly got to work trying to defraud the federal government by seeking a cut of the funds. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue those using the money from the PPP to bankroll their own lavish lifestyles at taxpayers’ expense.”

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/18/2021 - 22:40
Published:6/18/2021 9:46:17 PM
[2021 News] HUGE DEVELOPMENT: NSA Reveals in FOIA Response that the FBI Involved in “Improper Surveillance” of 16,000 Americans

HUGE DEVELOPMENT: NSA Reveals in FOIA Response that the FBI Involved in “Improper Surveillance” of 16,000 Americans. Long story short, the FBI is playing a game and won’t cough up what they ask for under FOIA. The NSA will produce records about the FBI’s illegal snooping on 16,000 Americans. It lends the appearance that the […]

The post HUGE DEVELOPMENT: NSA Reveals in FOIA Response that the FBI Involved in “Improper Surveillance” of 16,000 Americans appeared first on IHTM.

Published:6/17/2021 9:32:32 PM
[Markets] Lois Lerner Of 2021: IRS Political Corruption Unchanged With Billionaires' Tax Returns Lois Lerner Of 2021: IRS Political Corruption Unchanged With Billionaires' Tax Returns

Authored by Emily Miller via Emily Post News

When the private tax returns of billionaires were leaked to a left-wing group, liberals and conservatives reacted very differently. Liberals fell for the political trick and immediately said that the tax code was unfair and the rich should get a tax hike. Conservatives saw through the conspiracy and wanted answers on how the Deep State at the IRS could, once again, have so much unchecked power for political purposes. When it comes to outrage, liberals always protest louder, so conservatives have to respond better.

ProPublica juicy headline

The billionaires' actual tax returns were “provided”  to the leftist activist group called ProPublica. It says it has “a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years.” It alleges that:

The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.

ProPublica never explains that whoever gave them these documents broke multiple federal laws. The end justifies the means in their worldview. 

The FBI is investigating the leak. House Republicans have demanded IRS Commissioner Charles Retting keep Congress informed on the investigation and have hearings into any “evidence of political influence or motivations.”

Partisan politics at the IRS

The stunning revelation that the IRS released private tax returns was overshadowed by the juicy details, like Jeff Bezos didn't pay any income taxes in 2007 and 2011 and neither did Elon Musk in 2018. (We aren’t told if they lost money those years to explain this.)

The billionaires picked to use for this political hit job were chosen because they are so extremely wealthy and household names. There are many more millionaires who no one would recognize that likely have more income, rather than wealth, so they wouldn’t fit the narrative.

The Left has been jumping all over the billionaires' low tax rates but never considered that every American will see the horrible breach of privacy by Uncle Sam as a threat to themselves too. That’s why when I saw the leak, my first thought was, this is Lois Lerner all over again.

Lois Lerner, former director of Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights for a second time in 2013 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

To remind you, Lerner was the head of the tax exempt division of the IRS that targeted conservative groups from 2010 to 2012, the height of the “Tea Party” movement. Lener admitted what they did — delaying tax-exempt status applications and harassing the groups that sounded right of center — and took the FIfth when she was called before Congress. Everyone at the IRS who had a hand in the political scandal got off without charges.  

I looked around to find what Lerner is doing now. It’s pretty easy to find her and her lawyer husband, Michael Miles. They are both 70-years-old and have lived in the same Bethesda house since 1998 that is now worth about $2 million. She most likely is still receiving her $100,000 a year government pension. There were no consequences for the horrendous abuse of power.

Biden tax hikes

Ostensibly, ProPublica is using the stolen returns to show the public that the super rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.  It is supposed to be a revelation that the richer you are, the more you can hire the fanciest and most clever accountants to take advantage of every tax break.

Anyway, the real reason for this stunning power move to drop IRS forms to the public is clear: promote Pres. Joe Biden’s budget agenda.  The timing of this leak and the exact perfect messaging is not a coincidence.  ProPublica writes: 

The revelations provided by the IRS data come at a crucial moment. Wealth inequality has become one of the defining issues of our age. The president and Congress are considering the most ambitious tax increases in decades on those with high incomes. 

The Left wants the public to hate the rich enough to support demands to raise taxes and increase the budget and power of the IRS.  Biden’s budget, called the “American Families Plan”, was released on April 28 and calls for lots of government freebies that are funded by taxing the rich. He wants to increase  the top tax rate from 37 to 39.6 percent and increase the capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent.

Biden also wants to increases the power of the IRS by spending $80 billion on “enforcement against those with the highest incomes.” By the way, Biden’s term is “increase investment in the IRS.” That means he will invest and get bigger returns by having more agents rifling through tax returns to get more money. Do you really think the IRS where Lois Lerner went for years without getting stopped will only target the billionaires?

Tax facts

Even if you want to just debate the information that ProPublica posted on the billionaires’ taxes, it doesn’t fit the facts. CATO did a great analysis - link at bottom, chart summary below —to show how the clickbait headline “You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire” is just factually wrong. 

CATO compares ProPublica analysis of tax rates with other major sources

The tax code is already heavily progressive. Americans for Tax Reform’s analysis of a new report from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows:

Taxpayers making $1 million and up pay an average federal tax rate of 31.5% while the bottom half of income earners ($63,179 or less) pay an average federal tax rate of 6.3%. That’s nearly five times as much in taxes as a percentage of income. 

The rich already fund most of the government. The Heritage Foundation, which made the cool graphic below to illustrate the concept, reports that the top 1% of income earners paid 40% of all the federal income taxes. The top 10% earners paid 71% of the federal income taxes.

This number has always struck me because -- you can do the math too-- 90% of us are only paying for one third of the total government spending. This is why I’ve always supported the flat tax. Everyone should be participating in funding the government — even the lowers income owners — and stop all the tax breaks and schemes. I spend days every year on TurboTax and still come out with using the standard deduction. It’s a waste of time.

ProPublica has a graphic (below) that is supposed to make it easy for people to get angry at the billionaires for reducing their tax bill. But look at it this way: Jeff Bezos paid almost $1 billion in taxes. Elon Musk paid almost half that. These successful businessmen are funding entire government agencies. A busload of the rest of us couldn’t come up with that kind of cash.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also thought of Lerner’s get out of jail free card this week in a floor speech (below.)

Referring to both the Lerner-led Obama administration targeting conservative groups and the release of the National Organization for Marriage returns, McConnell said:

These situations all have two things in common. First, a blatant political agenda aimed at advancing the cause of the political left. And second, the utter absence of criminal charges against the leakers.

The federal government has proven far too often that it is, at best incapable, and at worst unwilling, to protect taxpayers’ data from misuse by the political left.

The left vs right on billionaire taxes

Conservatives took this news so differently because we are inherently suspicious of the government. And, unlike liberals, we admire success and want the rich to do well because it means better jobs and economy. We want to be rich too. That is the American dream.

I hosted a YouTube show on Monday, and we discussed the FBI investigation into the leak of IRS forms to the left-wing ProPublica. I read some of the 1,200 comment on the video from the angry liberal, socialist audience. They mostly hate me for saying there is more to the issue than showing how the rich are paying taxes at a lower rate. The audience fell hook, line and sinker for the IRS/ProPublica tactic and did not want me to tell them that the people who broke federal laws were not the billionaires.

I expected their attacks on me personally because that is how they fight politics- dehumanize the messenger. The comment that surprised me is the one that said that the former hosts — who they miss — would never have told them that there was anything more the story other than billionaires don’t pay enough in taxes. They did not want more facts, they actually prefer to be scammed by the political powers. And that is always the split in how liberals and conservatives consider policies — feelings or facts. When you make a policy decision on your emotions, you are not capable of debating with a rational idea or substantive position, so you attack like a wild animal.

LINKS TO SOURCES:

ProPublica The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax &  You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire

Americans for Tax Reform: JCT Confirms: Tax Code is Already Steeply Progressive

The Joint Committee on Taxation: Tax Gap: Overview Of Federal Tax Provisions And Analysis Of Selected Issues 

The Heritage Foundation In 1 Chart, How Much the Rich Pay in Taxes

CATO ProPublica Analysis of Taxes on Wealthy

The Hill "Rising" -- Colin and Emily: What Billionaire Tax Story REVEALS About Our Tax System

House Ways and Means Committee Brady Briefed by IRS Commissioner Rettig on Leak of Sensitive Taxpayer Information & Letter to IRS

House Oversight Committee- Republicans Demand Hearing on Massive IRS Leak of Americans’ Sensitive Information

White House Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan

C-SPAN Lois Lerner testimony

*  *  *

Subscribers - Will the FBI catch who leaked the tax returns and will people be charged this time? What do you think of Biden's tax increase proposals?
Also, do you think conservatives and liberals view the same news differently?

Readers- Did you notice there are no ads or sponsors on this free post? That's because I am funded only from subscriptions. Please consider supporting me to continue this work and to get access to all my material by becoming a paid subscriber. It’s just $6 for a month and cancel anytime.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/17/2021 - 22:00
Published:6/17/2021 9:05:14 PM
[Anti-Americanism] A police state is forming right before your eyes

As questions about the January 6 Capitol protests mount, something very bad is afoot. A police state is taking shape. It is being suggested (and I agree) that the FBI had paid informants among the Capitol protesters who actually helped plan the protests and encouraged violence. It is unsettling to entertain the possibility that the […]

The post A police state is forming right before your eyes appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:6/16/2021 10:26:27 PM
[Politics] Disgraced clown working at CNN has most TELLING take in the history of the FBI and CNN This super genius analysis by Andrew McCabe, who was put out to pasture for incompetence and worked for the former FBI director who became an emo Twitter kid, shows just how perfectly . . . Published:6/16/2021 9:26:59 PM
[Politics] Disgraced clown working at CNN has most TELLING take in the history of the FBI and CNN This super genius analysis by Andrew McCabe, who was put out to pasture for incompetence and worked for the former FBI director who became an emo Twitter kid, shows just how perfectly . . . Published:6/16/2021 9:26:59 PM
[Markets] Trump Wanted Supreme Court To Order New Election In Key Swing States, Emails Show Trump Wanted Supreme Court To Order New Election In Key Swing States, Emails Show

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

Former President Donald Trump through a lawyer and White House officials placed pressure on Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to probe the 2020 election results and wanted the Supreme Court to authorize a new election in key swing states, according to newly released emails.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Kurt Olsen, a Trump lawyer, was shown in one of the emails asking DOJ officials to connect him to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. He said that he represented Texas in the Supreme Court lawsuit against Pennsylvania and other states and that Trump “directed” him to meet with Rosen “to discuss a similar action to be brought by the United States.”

A draft document attached to Olsen’s December 2020 message alleges elections in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada violated the U.S. Constitution. It asks the Supreme Court to stop the states from using their election results to appoint presidential electors to the Electoral College and to authorize them “to conduct a special election” to appoint electors.

The document was never filed.

The Texas lawsuit noted that non-legislative officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin put into place election measures without the approval of their legislatures. Texas asked the Supreme Court to declare the election in the states unconstitutional. At least one judge said the arguments had merit, blocking certification of the election results in Pennsylvania in a separate case until her order was overturned and the case was dismissed.

The Supreme Court ultimately rejected Texas’s lawsuit.

Molly Michael, an assistant to Trump, also directly sent Rosen and other DOJ officials the draft complaint Trump wanted the United States to file.

In another set of emails, Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time, asked Rosen to have the DOJ investigate fraud allegations.

In one message to Rosen, Meadows sent a petition contesting the election that was submitted to Fulton County Superior Court by Trump and David Shafer, the Georgia Republican Party chairman.

Can you have your team look into these allegations of wrongdoing. Only the alleged fraudulent activity. Thanks Mark,” the email stated.

The petitioners on Jan. 7 voluntarily withdrew the petition.

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on Sept. 14, 2020. (Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

In another email, Meadows told Rosen that there had been allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton County, Georgia.

He asked Rosen to get a DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, “to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there is any truth to this allegation.”

Rosen sent the email to Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, commenting: “Can you believe this? I am not going to respond.”

Rosen did ask Clark to followup on allegations of fraud in Atlanta and Clark said he was doing so.

A group of Georgia voters is engaged in an ongoing petition regarding fraud claims in Fulton County. A judge is set to hear motions to dismiss on Monday. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, meanwhile, is probing how a county official recently said some forms documenting chain of custody for mail-in ballots are “missing.”

Meadows also requested a review of allegations of fraud in New Mexico and sent Rosen documents and a video that claimed American electoral data was changed in facilities in Italy, with assistance from U.S. intelligence officials.

Donoghue, who again forwarded one of the emails, called the claims “pure insanity.”

Rosen said he learned that Brad Johnson, who created the video, was working with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and refused a request to have the FBI meet with Johnson.

The emails were released by House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who said they “show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost.”

“Those who aided or witnessed President Trump’s unlawful actions must answer the Committee’s questions about this attempted subversion of democracy,” she added.

Maloney’s panel wants Meadows, Donoghue, Clark, and several others to sit for transcribed interviews.

The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump did not return requests for comment sent to his campaign and political action committee.

Trump has made no secret of his view that the 2020 election was rife with fraud. Last week, after the DOJ announced it would focus on protecting voter access and probe election audits for possible legal violations, Trump said the agency would seem to have “no choice but to look at the massive voter fraud which took place in certain Swing States, and I assume elsewhere, during the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.”

Whether it be voting machines, underaged people, dead people, illegal aliens, ballot drops, ballot cheating, absentee ballots, post office delivery (or lack thereof!), lock boxes, people being paid to vote, or other things, the 2020 Presidential Election is, in my mind, the Crime of the Century,” he added.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
Follow Zachary on Parler: @zackstieber
Tyler Durden Wed, 06/16/2021 - 19:40
Published:6/16/2021 6:56:55 PM
[Markets] FBI Operatives Likely 'Unindicted Co-Conspirators', Organizers Of Capitol Riot: Report FBI Operatives Likely 'Unindicted Co-Conspirators', Organizers Of Capitol Riot: Report

Tucker Carlson dropped several bombshells on his show Tuesday night, chief among them was from a Revolver News report that the FBI was likely involved in organizing the Jan. 6 Capitol 'insurrection,' and were similarly involved in the kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchin Whitmer.

"Why are there so many factual matters that we don't understand about that day?" asked Carlson.

"Why is the Biden administration preventing us from knowing? Why is the administration still hiding more than 10,000 hours of surveillance tape from the US capitol on January 6th? What could possibly be the reason for that - even as they call for more openness... they could release those tapes today, but they're not. Why?"

Carlson notes that Revolver News has dissected court filings surrounding the Capitol riot, suggests that unindicted co-conspirators in the case are likely to have been federal operatives.

We at Revolver News have noticed a pattern from our now months-long investigation into 1/6 — and in particular from our meticulous study of the charging documents related to those indicted. In many cases the unindicted co-conspirators appear to be much more aggressive and egregious participants in the very so-called “conspiracy” serving as the basis for charging those indicted.

The question immediately arises as to why this is the case, and forces us to consider whether certain individuals are being protected from indictment because they were involved in 1/6 as undercover operatives or confidential informants for a federal agency.

Key segment from Tucker:

"We know that the government is hiding the identity of many law enforcement officers that were present at the Capitol on January 6th, not just the one that killed Ashli Babbitt. According to the government's own court filing, those law enforcement officers participated in the riot - sometimes in violent ways. We know that because without fail, the government has thrown the book at most people who were present at the Capitol on Jan. 6. There was a nationwide dragnet to find them - and many are still in solitary confinement tonight. But strangely, some of the key people who participated on Jan. 6 have not been charged."

Look at the documents, the government calls those people 'unindicted co-conspirators.' What does that mean? Well it means that in potentially every case they were FBI operatives... in the Capitol, on January 6th."

"For example, one of those unindicted co-conspirators is someone government documents identify only as "person two." According to those documents, person two stayed in the same hotel room as a man called Thomas Caldwell - an 'insurrectionist.' A man alleged to be a member of the group "The Oathkeepers." Person two also "stormed the barricades" at the Capitol on January 6th alongside Thomas Caldwell. The government's indictments further indicate that Caldwell - who by the way is a 65-year-old man... was led to believe there would be a "quick reaction force" also participating on January 6th. That quick reaction force Caldwell was told, would be led by someone called "Person 3," who had a hotel room and an accomplice with them. But wait. Here's the interesting thing. Person 2 and person 3 were organizers of the riot. The government knows who they are, but the government has not charged them. Why is that? You know why. They were almost certainly working for the FBI. So FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol on January 6th according to government documents. And those two are not alone. In all, Revolver news reported there are "upwards of 20 unindicted co-conspirators in the Oath Keeper indictments, all playing various roles in the conspiracy, who have not been charged for virtually the exact same activities and in some cases much, much more severe activities - as those named alongside them in the indictments."

Watch:

Revolver, meanwhile, has important questions about January 6th

  • In the year leading up to 1/6 and during 1/6 itself, to what extent were the three primary militia groups (the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and the Three Percenters) that the FBI, DOJ, Pentagon and network news have labeled most responsible for planning and executing a Capitol attack on 1/6 infiltrated by agencies of the federal government, or informants of said agencies?
  • Exactly how many federal undercover agents or confidential informants were present at the Capitol or in the Capitol during the infamous “siege” and what roles did they play (merely passive informants or active instigators)?
  • Finally, of all of the unindicted co-conspirators referenced in the charging documents of those indicted for crimes on 1/6, how many worked as a confidential informant or as an undercover operative for the federal government (FBI, Army Counterintelligence, etc.)?

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has demanded an explanation from FBI Director Christopher Wray:

More:

We recommend you read the entire Revolver piece, which includes the fact that at least five individuals involved int he "Whitmer Kidnapping Plot" were undercover agents and federal informants.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:13
Published:6/16/2021 11:23:09 AM
[993ae47a-8663-50c4-b0a3-e4fdd6508623] Tucker Carlson: Government agents may have helped organize the Jan. 6 Capitol riot Tucker Carlson investigates a new report suggesting the FBI may have been involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot. Published:6/16/2021 12:19:56 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Tucker Carlson suggests FBI helped plan and participate in Capitol riot Tucker Carlson tonight suggested that the FBI may have helped plan and participate in the Capitol riot on January 6th of this year. This was his opening segment tonight. Watch: I’ll say . . . Published:6/15/2021 9:20:41 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Tucker Carlson suggests FBI helped plan and participate in Capitol riot Tucker Carlson tonight suggested that the FBI may have helped plan and participate in the Capitol riot on January 6th of this year via their infiltration into certain groups. This was his . . . Published:6/15/2021 9:20:41 PM
[In The News] Top Senate Republicans Demand Justice Department Probe Into Tax Disclosures

By Ailan Evans -

A number of high-profile Republican senators have requested the Justice Department and FBI investigate the unauthorized disclosure of confidential tax records published last week by ProPublica. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Senators Chuck Grassley and Mike Crapo, asked Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray to …

Top Senate Republicans Demand Justice Department Probe Into Tax Disclosures is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:6/14/2021 5:32:20 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: The Enduring False Narrative About The PULSE Massacre Shows The Power Of Media Propaganda Greenwald: The Enduring False Narrative About The PULSE Massacre Shows The Power Of Media Propaganda

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com

Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits the site of Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando where 49 people were killed on June 12th shooting by a single gunman, July 22, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/Getty Images)

On the fifth anniversary of the PULSE nightclub massacre in Orlando, numerous senators, politicians and activist groups commemorated that tragic event by propagating an absolute falsehood: namely, that the shooter, Omar Mateen, was motivated by anti-LGBT animus. The evidence is definitive and conclusive that this is false — Mateen, like so many others who committed similar acts of violence, was motivated by rage over President Obama's bombing campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and chose PULSE at random without even knowing it was a gay club — yet this media-consecrated lie continues to fester.

On Saturday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) falsely described the massacre as an "unspeakable act of hate toward the LGBTQ+ community.” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) went even further, claiming “the LGBTQ+ community was targeted and killed—all because they dared to live their lives.” Her fellow Illinois Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, claimed forty-nine lives were lost due to “anti-LGBTQ hate” (he forgot the +). These false claims were compiled by the gay socialist activist Matt Thomas, who correctly objected: “the shooter literally picked PULSE at random from Google after security was too tight at the mall he went to first,” adding that while LGBT groups “are hopeless of course,” too much money and power is at stake for them to give up this self-serving fiction. But he asked, “Shouldn’t the bar be a little higher for senators?”

In the immediate aftermath of that horrific crime, it may have been reasonable for the public to speculate that Mateen, given his professed support for ISIS, chose PULSE because it was a gay club. That belief also neatly played into a liberal political agenda of highlighting anti-LGBT hate crimes, and also comported with the dual stereotypes of the gay-hating Muslim and the closeted gay man who harbors self-hatred that ends up directed at other gay people. This storyline was instantly consecrated when politicians and LGBT groups quickly seized on this claim and ratified it as unquestionably true.

Rather than acknowledging that it was anger over his relentless bombing raids in the Muslim world, President Obama immediately declared that anti-LGBT hatred was the real cause. “This was an attack on the LGBT community,” the president said, adding: "And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.” Chad Griffin, then-head of the largest LGBT advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, claimed: “the maniac who did this was somehow conditioned to believe that LGBT people deserve to be massacred, that they are ‘less than’ in this society.”

Then-candidate Hillary Clinton, as part of her campaign, made a pilgrimage to Orlando and seized on the attack. In addition to its constituting anti-American terrorism, the Democratic nominee proclaimed the massacre “was also an act of hate,” adding that “the gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month.” She vowed: “We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.” Speaking with Clinton in Orlando, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that it is “a cruel irony that a community defined almost exclusively by whom they love [LGBT people] is so often a target of hate.” Then-candidate Donald Trump also endorsed this view: “A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub, not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens, because of their sexual orientation.”

Liberal propagandists who pose as journalists treated this storyline as definitively proven. The massacre was “undeniably a homophobic hate crime,” Jeet Heer wrote in The New Republic. “Let’s say it plainly: This was a mass slaying aimed at LGBT people,” Tim Teeman wrote in The Daily Beast. In USA Today, James S. Robbins speculated that Mateen was likely “trying to reconcile his inner feelings with his strongly homophobic Muslim culture.” In the days following the killing spree, one writer in USA Today, Steph Solis, even accused those of questioning this narrative of propagating bigotry and exhibiting cruel indifference to gay suffering: “Those who insist the shooting was solely an Islamic terror attack try to erase the LGBT community from the narrative, causing only more pain by invalidating their experiences in this ordeal.”

US President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden place flowers for the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub Sunday at a memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida, June 16, 2016. (Photo SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

But journalism is supposed to function on evidence, not speculation, and there never was any evidence that supported the storyline that he was driven by hatred for LGBTs. The evidence that was available suggested the opposite.

On June 12, 2016, Mateen spent just over three hours in PULSE from the time he began slaughtering innocent people at roughly 2:00 a.m. until he was killed by a SWAT team at roughly 5:00 a.m. During that time, he repeatedly spoke to his captives about his motive, did the same with the police with whom he was negotiating, and discussed his cause with local media which he had called from inside the club. Mateen was remarkably consistent in what he said about his motivation. Over and over, he emphasized that his attack at PULSE was in retaliation for U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. In his first call with 911 while inside PULSE, this is what he said about why he was killing people:

Because you have to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq. They are killing a lot of innocent people. What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. … You need to stop the U.S. airstrikes. They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes, OK? . … This went down, a lot of innocent women and children are getting killed in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, OK? … The airstrikes need to stop and stop collaborating with Russia. OK?

In the hours he spent surrounded by the gay people he was murdering, he never once uttered a homophobic syllable, instead always emphasizing his geo-political motive. Not a single survivor reported him saying anything derogatory about LGBTs or even anything that suggested he knew he was in a gay club. All said he spoke extensively about his vengeance on behalf of ISIS against U.S. bombing of innocent Muslims.

Mateen's postings on Facebook leading up to his attack all reflected the same motive. They were filled with rage about and vows of retaliation against U.S. bombing. Not a single post contained any references to LGBTs let alone anger or violence toward them. “You kill innocent women and children by doing U.S. airstrikes,” Mateen wrote on Facebook in one of his last posts before attacking PULSE, adding: “Now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

It was of course nonetheless possible that he secretly harbored hatred for LGBTs and hid his real motive, but that never made sense: the whole point of terrorism is to publicize, not conceal, the grievances driving the violence. And again, good journalism requires evidence before ratifying claims. There never was any to support the story that Mateen's attack was driven by anti-LGBT hatred, and all the available evidence early on negated that suspicion and pointed to a radically different motive. But the media frenzy ended up, by design or otherwise, obscuring Mateen's anger over Obama's bombing campaigns as his motive in favor of promoting this as an anti-LGBT hate crime.

As the FBI investigation into Mateen proceeded, all the early media gossip — that Mateen was a closeted gay man who had searched for male sexual partners and had even previously visited PULSE — was debunked. The month after the attack, The Washington Post reported that “The FBI has found no evidence so far that Omar Mateen chose the popular establishment because of its gay clientele,” and quoted a federal investigator as saying: “While there can be no denying the significant impact on the gay community, the investigation hasn’t revealed that he targeted PULSE because it was a gay club.” The New York Times quickly noted that no evidence could be found to support the speculation that Mateen was gay:

F.B.I. investigators, who have conducted more than 500 interviews in the case, are continuing to contact men who claim to have had sexual relations with Mr. Mateen or think they saw him at gay bars. But so far, they have not found any independent corroboration — through his web searches, emails or other electronic data — to establish that he was, in fact, gay, officials said.

The following year, the local paper that most extensively covered the PULSE massacre, The Orlando Sentinel, acknowledged that “there’s still no evidence that the PULSE killer intended to target gay people.”

As the investigation proceeded, this anti-LGBT hate crime narrative became more and more unlikely. But the question of Mateen's motives was settled once and for all — or at least it should have been — during the unsuccessful attempt by the Justice Department to prosecute Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, on numerous felony charges alleging her complicity in her husband's attack. That trial — quite justifiably — ended in a full acquittal for Salman, but evidence emerged during it that conclusively disproved the widely held view that Mateen chose PULSE because he wanted to kill gay people.

Along with my then-colleague Murtaza Hussain, I extensively reported on the Salman trial and compiled all the evidence that emerged during it that proved anti-LGBT hatred was not part of Mateen's motive. But it was not just us: virtually every journalist who covered that trial, including several who began believing or at least suspecting that this was an anti-gay hate crime, definitively concluded that this was false. Reporter Melissa Jeltsen covered that trial for The Huffington Post and — writing under the headline “Everyone Got The Pulse Massacre Story Completely Wrong” — explained:

Almost overnight, a narrative emerged that until now has been impossible to dislodge: Mateen planned and executed an attack on PULSE because he hated gay people. . . . Salman’s trial cast doubt on everything we thought we knew about Mateen. There was no evidence he was a closeted gay man, no evidence that he was ever on Grindr. He looked at porn involving older women, but investigators who scoured Mateen’s electronic devices couldn’t find any internet history related to homosexuality. (There were daily, obsessive searches about ISIS, however.) Mateen had extramarital affairs with women, two of whom testified during the trial about his duplicitous ways.

Mateen may very well have been homophobic. He supported ISIS, after all, and his father, an FBI informant currently under criminal investigation, told NBC that his son once got angry after seeing two men kissing. But whatever his personal feelings, the overwhelming evidence suggests his attack was not motivated by it.

Even the gay reporter for NBC News who covers the LGBT community, Tim Fitzsimons, tried to make clear that the commonly held view of the PULSE attack as an anti-LGBT hate crime was false. “The attack on the nightclub has long been seen as a hate crime directed at the LGBTQ community,” explained the headline under which he wrote, "but all evidence says the gunman chose it at random.”

NBC News, June 12, 2018

 

What that conclusive evidence proved is that Mateen had spent days scoping out Disney locations but concluded they were too secured to attack. Search records from Mateen's phone and computers showed him looking for “Orlando clubs,” but never “gay Orlando clubs.” That night, after cell tower records and security cameras showed him scoping out several Disney venues, he used his phone to Google the search term “Orlando nightclubs” — not "gay clubs” — and chose PULSE because the popular nightclub was the first search term that appeared. Witnesses said that when he entered, he asked security guards: "where are the women?” As Jeltsen wrote: “As far as investigators could tell, Mateen had never been to PULSE before, whether as a patron or to case the nightclub.” None of Mateen's phones or computers had any evidence he sought sex with men but contained ample evidence of his affairs with numerous women.

Whatever Mateen's motives were, the horror and tragedy of the extinguishing of forty-nine innocent lives at PULSE on June 12, 2016, remains the same. But this enduring falsehood — which continues to deceive many well-meaning people through this very day, long past the point that it has been definitively debunked — is damaging for so many reasons.

Lying about what happened dishonors Mateen's victims. It harms the cause of LGBT equality, which does not need lies and fabrications to be a just movement. It obscures how often U.S. violence in the Muslim world causes "blowback” — to use the CIA's term — by motivating others to bring violence to the U.S. as retaliation and deterrence for violence against innocent Muslims. And a major reason for the completely unjust prosecution of Noor Salman was to appease understandable demands within the Orlando LGBT community for someone to be punished, but mob justice rarely produces anything benevolent.

No matter how noble the intent, journalism — and activism — becomes corrupted if it knowingly supports falsehoods. That the PULSE massacre was an act of anti-LGBT hatred is a fiction. Unless you are a neocon, there is no such thing as a "noble lie.” It is way past time for politicians and activist groups to stop disseminating this one.


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Tyler Durden Mon, 06/14/2021 - 18:20
Published:6/14/2021 5:32:20 PM
[Markets] "No Question" Cartel Activity Is Spilling Across US-Mexico Border: FBI Director "No Question" Cartel Activity Is Spilling Across US-Mexico Border: FBI Director

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times,

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers at a hearing Friday that the agency has noted “quite a number” of instances of individuals deeply indebted to Mexican criminal organizations entering the United States, adding that there’s “no question” cartel activity is spilling over the border.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 10, 2021. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Wray made the remarks at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, in response to a question by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who asked about the link between cartel activity and the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border.

“Is it true that many of the foreign nationals who are being trafficked across our border often arrive here deeply indebted to the Mexican crime cartels?” McClintock asked.

“Certainly, we have seen quite a number of such instances, absolutely,” Wray replied.

McClintock asked if those debts were collected on this side of the border through “indentured servitude.”

“In some cases, definitely,” Wray responded. “We have a number of human trafficking task forces, as well as working on certain taskforces with [the Department of Homeland Security] to try to address that issue.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on March 2, 2021. (Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)

In May, DHS officials warned that Mexico’s fastest-rising drug cartel, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, or CJNG, was trying to gain a foothold in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest.

Wray added that, “there’s no question that the cartel activity on the other side of the border is spilling over in all sorts of ways and you just put your finger directly on one that is extremely concerning to us all,” referring to people indebted to cartels being forced into what amounts to modern-day slavery.

McClintock concluded that “basically, 170-plus years after the Thirteenth Amendment have slavery burgeoning in this country as a result of these policies,” presumably referring to the Biden administration’s policies on immigration.

It’s a “modern form of slavery,” Wray said, adding, “it’s almost Medieval.”

Republicans have blamed the border surge on the Biden administration’s rolling back of some Trump-era policies and on messaging that they say is being interpreted by would-be migrants and human traffickers as encouraging illegal crossings.

Kinney County Constable Steve Gallegos and Kinney County Sheriff’s deputies arrest a smuggler and seven illegal aliens from Guatemala near Brackettville, Texas, on May 25, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

McClintock asked whether the cartels have gang affiliates who extract debts on this side of the border.

“It varies from case to case,” Wray said. “Different cartels have affiliations with different sorts of gangs here in the United States,” adding that the problem is not confined to labor-related indentured servitude but also takes the form of sex trafficking.

A Texas Democrat who has been critical of the White House’s handling of the border crisis on Thursday said in an interview on MSNBC that, “the incentives are there for smugglers to keep trying to get people over here.”

“We’ve got to enforce the law,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said. “Deport people that don’t have a right to be here.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) gives an interview in Laredo, Texas, on Oct. 9, 2019. (Veronica Cardenas/Reuters)

Cuellar made the remarks in response to a request to comment on a recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) report that the agency had apprehended 180,034 individuals illegally entering the United States in May, the highest monthly tally in 21 years.

The lawmaker also reiterated a point he made in earlier interviews that both “push” and “pull” factors need to be addressed to resolve the problem.

The pull factors refer to border and immigration policies, which if they are lax, tend to encourage illegal immigration. The push factors refer to conditions such as crime, corruption, and lack of economic opportunity, that drive people in Central America from their homes.

Cuellar has said in previous interviews that Democrats tend to focus on the push factors, often talking about addressing the “root causes” of migration, while Republicans typically concentrate on the pull factors, such as tightening border security and tougher messaging on illegal immigration.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/13/2021 - 12:32
Published:6/13/2021 12:00:53 PM
[] Ilhan Omar Retweeted Video by Anti-Israel Group Investigated for Terror Ties Published:6/13/2021 11:30:28 AM
[Markets] Reporter Who Broke Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Story And Received 'Significant' Death Threats Found Dead Reporter Who Broke Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Story And Received 'Significant' Death Threats Found Dead

The body of a Birmingham, Alabama journalist who broke the story about the controversial 2016 tarmac meeting in Phoenix between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch was found on Saturday morning of an 'apparent suicide,' according to AL.com.

45-year-old Christopher Sign - a news anchor at ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, was discovered at around 8 a.m. by Hoover police and fire personnel, according to the report.

"Our deepest sympathy is shared with Christopher’s loving family and close friends. We have lost a revered colleague who’s indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity. We can only hope to carry on his legacy. May his memory be for blessing," said ABC 33/40 Vice President and General Manager Eric Land in a statement.

The tarmac bombshell, which gave the appearance that Bill Clinton was privately pleading his wife's email case after then-FBI James Comey launched a new investigation, is thought to have contributed to Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.

Sign, meanwhile, had complained last year of receiving 'significant' death threats, having his credit cards hacked, and creating code-words to use with his children.

Sign, an Emmy-award winning reporter, made national headlines over the June 27, 2016 tarmac meeting at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport amid the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of an unauthorized server. The meeting between Clinton and Lynch occurred days before Comey announced that the bureau would not press charges against Hillary - after the agency changed internal language describing Clinton's conduct from "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard," and "Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights. "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

In addition to the "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit (performed by disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok), the FBI removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the "sheer volume" of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information."

Also removed from Comey's statement were all references to the Intelligence Community's involvement in investigating Clinton's private email server, as well as changing the language to downgrade the probability that Clinton's server was hacked by hostile actors, changing their language from "reasonably likely" to "possible" - an edit which eliminated yet another justification for the phrase "Gross negligence." To put it another way, "reasonably likely" means the probability of a hack due to Clinton's negligence is above 50 percent, whereas the hack simply being "possible" is any probability above zero. 

In short, Bill Clinton's tarmac meeting appears to have had quite the effect on his wife's investigation, despite the fact that she still lost. And now the guy who broke the story is dead.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/13/2021 - 11:00
Published:6/13/2021 10:30:21 AM
[] BOMBSHELL: Defector Claims to Have Evidence That Chinese Military Coordinated Creation and Release of COVID-19 Published:6/12/2021 3:55:19 PM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: This Isn't Your Father's Left-Wing Revolution Victor Davis Hanson: This Isn't Your Father's Left-Wing Revolution

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,

Starry-eyed radicals in the 1960s and 1970s dreamed that they either were going to take over America or destroy it.

One of their favorite mottos was "Change it or lose it," even as protests focused on drugs, music, race, class, sex, fashion -- almost anything and everything.

Sixties radicals tutored America on long hair; wire-rim eyeglasses; who was a drag, a square, a bummer; and who was hip, cool, groovy, mellow and far out. Most of these silly revolutionaries were not unhinged Weathermen killers or SDS would-be communists, but just adolescents along for the good-time ride.

With the end of the draft in 1972, the winding down of the Vietnam War, the oil embargoes and a worsening economy, the '60s revolution withered away. Cynics claimed the revolution was mostly about middle-class students with long hair kicking back during the peak of the postwar boom, indulging their appetites and ensuring they would not end up in Vietnam.

It is not even true that the '60s at least ensured needed reform. The civil rights movement and equal rights for women and gays were already birthed before the hippies, as were folk songs and early rock music.

Instead, what the '60s revolution did was accelerate these trends -- but also radicalize, manipulate and coarsen them.

The grasping "yuppies" of the 1980s were the natural successors to let-it-all-hang-out "hippies." The '60s were at heart a narcissistic free-for-all, when "freedom" often entailed self-indulgence and avoiding responsibility.

By 1981, the Reagan revolution finished off the dead-enders of the Woodstock generation. Most eventually grew up. They rebooted their self-centered drug, sex and party impulses to fixations on money, status and material things.

Sixties protestors mainlined divorce, abortion on demand, promiscuity, drug use and one-parent homes. But by the late 1970s and the 1980s, most veteran cultural revolutionaries had gotten married, were raising a family, bought a house, got a job and made money.

This time around, their offspring's left-wing assault is different -- and far more ominous.

The woke grandchildren of the former outsiders are now more ruthless systematic insiders. The woke and wired new establishment knows how to use money and power to rebirth America as something the founders and most current Americans never envisioned.

Name one mainline institution that the woke left does not now control -- and warp. The media? The campus? Silicon Valley? Professional sports? The corporate boardroom? Foundations? The K-12 educational establishment? The military hierarchy? The government deep state? The FBI top echelon?

The left absorbed them all. But this time around, members of the left really believe that "by any means necessary" is no mere slogan. Instead, it is a model of how to disrupt or destroy American customs, traditions and values.

Woke revolutionaries are not panhandlers, street people or Grateful Dead groupies. They are not even a few nutty and murderous Symbionese Liberation Army terrorists fighting against "the Man."

They are "the Man."

Our 21st century revolutionaries are multibillionaires with flip-flops, tie-dye T-shirts and nose rings, but with the absolute power and desire to censor how half the country communicates -- or cancel them entirely.

They don't flock to campus free-speech areas; they are the campus administrators who ban free speech.

They don't picket outside the Pentagon; they are inside the Pentagon.

They don't chant "eat the rich"; they are the rich who eat at Napa Valley's French Laundry.

They don't protest "uptight" values, because they are more intolerant and puritanical than any Victorian.

They don't believe in racial quotas based on "proportional representation," because they are racists who demand underrepresentation of "bad" racial groups and overrepresentation of "good" groups. The color of our skin is their gospel, not the content of our character.

They are top-down revolutionaries. None of their agendas, from open borders and changing the Constitution to critical race theory and banning clean-burning fossil fuels, are ever favored among a majority of the population.

Their guiding principle is "never let a crisis go to waste." Only in times of a pandemic, a national quarantine or volatile racial relations can the new upscale leftist revolutionaries use fear to push through policies that no one in calm times could stomach.

Our revolutionaries hate dissent. They destroy any who question their media-spun hoaxes.

Truth is their enemy, and fear is their weapon.

Sixties paranoid revolutionaries warned about George Orwell's "1984," but our revolutionaries are "1984."

While this elitist leftist revolution is more dangerous than its sloppy '60s predecessor, it is also more vulnerable, given its obnoxious, top-heavy apparatus -- but only if the proverbial "people" finally say to their madness, "Enough is enough."

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/11/2021 - 23:40
Published:6/11/2021 10:49:28 PM
[Markets] The War Over Genetic Privacy Is Just Beginning The War Over Genetic Privacy Is Just Beginning

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

When you upload your DNA, you’re potentially becoming a genetic informant on the rest of your family.”

- Law professor Elizabeth Joh

“Guilt by association” has taken on new connotations in the technological age.

All of those fascinating, genealogical searches that allow you to trace your family tree by way of a DNA sample can now be used against you and those you love.

As of 2019, more than 26 million people had added their DNA to ancestry databases. It’s estimated those databases could top 100 million profiles within the year, thanks to the aggressive marketing of companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe.

It’s a tempting proposition: provide some mega-corporation with a spit sample or a cheek swab, and in return, you get to learn everything about who you are, where you came from, and who is part of your extended your family.

The possibilities are endless.

You could be the fourth cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II of England. Or the illegitimate grandchild of an oil tycoon. Or the sibling of a serial killer.

Without even realizing it, by submitting your DNA to an ancestry database, you’re giving the police access to the genetic makeup, relationships and health profiles of every relative—past, present and future—in your family, whether or not they ever agreed to be part of such a database.

After all, a DNA print reveals everything about “who we are, where we come from, and who we will be.”

It’s what police like to refer to a “modern fingerprint.”

Whereas fingerprint technology created a watershed moment for police in their ability to “crack” a case, DNA technology is now being hailed by law enforcement agencies as the magic bullet in crime solving.

Indeed, police have begun using ancestry databases to solve cold cases that have remained unsolved for decades.

For instance, in 2018, former police officer Joseph DeAngelo was flagged as the notorious “Golden State Killer” through the use of genetic genealogy, which allows police to match up an unknown suspect’s crime scene DNA with that of any family members in a genealogy database. Police were able to identify DeAngelo using the DNA of a distant cousin found in a public DNA database. Once police narrowed the suspect list to DeAngelo, they tracked him—snatched up a tissue he had tossed in a trash can—and used his DNA on the tissue to connect him to a rash of rapes and murders from the 1970s and ‘80s.

Although DeAngelo was the first public arrest made using forensic genealogy, police have identified more than 150 suspects since then. Most recently, police relied on genetic genealogy to nab the killer of a 15-year-old girl who was stabbed to death nearly 50 years ago.

Who wouldn’t want to get psychopaths and serial rapists off the streets and safely behind bars, right? At least, that’s the argument being used by law enforcement to support their unrestricted access to these genealogy databases.

“In the interest of public safety, don’t you want to make it easy for people to be caught? Police really want to do their job. They’re not after you. They just want to make you safe,” insists Colleen Fitzpatrick, a co-founder of the DNA Doe Project, which identifies unknown bodies and helps find suspects in old crimes.

Except it’s not just psychopaths and serial rapists who get caught up in the investigative dragnet.

Anyone who comes up as a possible DNA match—including distant family members—suddenly becomes part of a circle of suspects that must be tracked, investigated and ruled out.

Although a number of states had forbidden police from using government databases to track family members of suspects, the genealogy websites provided a loophole that proved irresistible to law enforcement.

Hoping to close that loophole, a few states have started introducing legislation to restrict when and how police use these genealogical databases, with Maryland requiring that they can only be used for serious violent crimes such as murder and rape, only after they exhaust other investigatory methods, and only under the supervision of a judge.

Yet the debate over genetic privacy—and when one’s DNA becomes a public commodity outside the protection of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures—is really only beginning.

Certainly, it’s just a matter of time before the government gets hold of our DNA, either through mandatory programs carried out in connection with law enforcement and corporate America, by warrantlessly accessing our familial DNA shared with genealogical services such as Ancestry and 23andMe, or through the collection of our “shed” or “touch” DNA.

According to research published in the journal Science, more than 60 percent of Americans who have some European ancestry can be identified using DNA databases, even if they have not submitted their own DNA. According to law professor Natalie Ram, one genealogy profile can lead to as many as 300 other people.

That’s just on the commercial side.

All 50 states now maintain their own DNA databases, although the protocols for collection differ from state to state. Increasingly, many of the data from local databanks are being uploaded to CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), the FBI’s massive DNA database, which has become a de facto way to identify and track the American people from birth to death.

Even hospitals have gotten in on the game by taking and storing newborn babies’ DNA, often without their parents’ knowledge or consent. It’s part of the government’s mandatory genetic screening of newborns. In many states, the DNA is stored indefinitely.

What this means for those being born today is inclusion in a government database that contains intimate information about who they are, their ancestry, and what awaits them in the future, including their inclinations to be followers, leaders or troublemakers.

Get ready, folks, because the government— helped along by Congress (which adopted legislation allowing police to collect and test DNA immediately following arrests), President Trump (who signed the Rapid DNA Act into law), the courts (which have ruled that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested but not yet convicted of a crime), and local police agencies (which are chomping at the bit to acquire this new crime-fighting gadget)—has embarked on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database.

Referred to as “magic boxes,” Rapid DNA machines—portable, about the size of a desktop printer, highly unregulated, far from fool-proof, and so fast that they can produce DNA profiles in less than two hours—allow police to go on fishing expeditions for any hint of possible misconduct using DNA samples.

Journalist Heather Murphy explains: “As police agencies build out their local DNA databases, they are collecting DNA not only from people who have been charged with major crimes but also, increasingly, from people who are merely deemed suspicious, permanently linking their genetic identities to criminal databases.”

The ramifications of these DNA databases are far-reaching.

At a minimum, they will do away with any semblance of privacy or anonymity. The lucrative possibilities for hackers and commercial entities looking to profit off one’s biological record are endless.

Moreover, while much of the public debate, legislative efforts and legal challenges in recent years have focused on the protocols surrounding when police can legally collect a suspect’s DNA (with or without a search warrant and whether upon arrest or conviction), the question of how to handle “shed” or “touch” DNA has largely slipped through without much debate or opposition.

As scientist Leslie A. Pray notes:

We all shed DNA, leaving traces of our identity practically everywhere we go. Forensic scientists use DNA left behind on cigarette butts, phones, handles, keyboards, cups, and numerous other objects, not to mention the genetic content found in drops of bodily fluid, like blood and semen. In fact, the garbage you leave for curbside pickup is a potential gold mine of this sort of material. All of this shed or so-called abandoned DNA is free for the taking by local police investigators hoping to crack unsolvable cases. Or, if the future scenario depicted at the beginning of this article is any indication, shed DNA is also free for inclusion in a secret universal DNA databank.

What this means is that if you have the misfortune to leave your DNA traces anywhere a crime has been committed, you’ve already got a file somewhere in some state or federal database—albeit it may be a file without a name. As Heather Murphy warns in the New York Times: “The science-fiction future, in which police can swiftly identify robbers and murderers from discarded soda cans and cigarette butts, has arrived…  Genetic fingerprinting is set to become as routine as the old-fashioned kind.

Even old samples taken from crime scenes and “cold” cases are being unearthed and mined for their DNA profiles.

Today, helped along by robotics and automation, DNA processing, analysis and reporting takes far less time and can bring forth all manner of information, right down to a person’s eye color and relatives. Incredibly, one company specializes in creating “mug shots” for police based on DNA samples from unknown “suspects” which are then compared to individuals with similar genetic profiles.

If you haven’t yet connected the dots, let me point the way.

Having already used surveillance technology to render the entire American populace potential suspects, DNA technology in the hands of government will complete our transition to a suspect society in which we are all merely waiting to be matched up with a crime.

No longer can we consider ourselves innocent until proven guilty.

Now we are all suspects in a DNA lineup until circumstances and science say otherwise.

Suspect Society, meet the American police state.

Every dystopian sci-fi film we’ve ever seen is suddenly converging into this present moment in a dangerous trifecta between science, technology and a government that wants to be all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful.

By tapping into your phone lines and cell phone communications, the government knows what you say. By uploading all of your emails, opening your mail, and reading your Facebook posts and text messages, the government knows what you write. By monitoring your movements with the use of license plate readers, surveillance cameras and other tracking devices, the government knows where you go.

By churning through all of the detritus of your life—what you read, where you go, what you say—the government can predict what you will do. By mapping the synapses in your brain, scientists—and in turn, the government—will soon know what you remember.

And by accessing your DNA, the government will soon know everything else about you that they don’t already know: your family chart, your ancestry, what you look like, your health history, your inclination to follow orders or chart your own course, etc.

Of course, none of these technologies are foolproof.

Nor are they immune from tampering, hacking or user bias.

Nevertheless, they have become a convenient tool in the hands of government agents to render null and void the Constitution’s requirements of privacy and its prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

What this amounts to is a scenario in which we have little to no defense of against charges of wrongdoing, especially when “convicted” by technology, and even less protection against the government sweeping up our DNA in much the same way it sweeps up our phone calls, emails and text messages.

With the entire governmental system shifting into a pre-crime mode aimed at detecting and pursuing those who “might” commit a crime before they have an inkling, let alone an opportunity, to do so, it’s not so far-fetched to imagine a scenario in which government agents (FBI, local police, etc.) target potential criminals based on their genetic disposition to be a “troublemaker” or their relationship to past dissenters.

Equally disconcerting: if scientists can, using DNA, track salmon across hundreds of square miles of streams and rivers, how easy will it be for government agents to not only know everywhere we’ve been and how long we were at each place but collect our easily shed DNA and add it to the government’s already burgeoning database?

Not to be overlooked, DNA evidence is not infallible: it can be wrong, either through human error, tampering, or even outright fabrication, and it happens more often than we are told. The danger, warns scientist Dan Frumkin, is that crime scenes can be engineered with fabricated DNA.

Now if you happen to be the kind of person who trusts the government implicitly and refuses to believe it would ever do anything illegal or immoral, then the prospect of government officials—police, especially—using fake DNA samples to influence the outcome of a case might seem outlandish.

Yet as history shows, the probability of our government acting in a way that is not only illegal but immoral becomes less a question of “if” and more a question of “when.”

With technology, the courts, the corporations and Congress conspiring to invade our privacy on a cellular level, suddenly the landscape becomes that much more dystopian.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is the slippery slope toward a dystopian world in which there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/11/2021 - 23:00
Published:6/11/2021 10:19:16 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI Director: ‘No Question That the Cartel Activity From’ Mexico ‘Spilling Over’ the Border

Wray to Congress: "But there’s no question that the cartel activity on the other side of the border is spilling over in all sorts of ways"

The post FBI Director: ‘No Question That the Cartel Activity From’ Mexico ‘Spilling Over’ the Border first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:6/11/2021 6:17:52 PM
[] Obama-Era FBI Head of Counterterrorism: Our Fascist Action Against the January 6 Terrorists Will Require We Go After Their "Cult" Leaders in Congress, as Well as Trump and His Staffers and Secretaries This is the former FBI head of counterterrorism, telling us that the FBI will now proceed to jailing the opposition.... Published:6/10/2021 12:41:37 PM
[Markets] Bitcoin Climbs As Global Banking Regulators Give Crypto Mixed Blessing Bitcoin Climbs As Global Banking Regulators Give Crypto Mixed Blessing

With bitcoin finally breaking back above $38K for the first time in the better part of a week (maybe the FBI has finally finished dumping that crypto "ransom" from the Colonial Pipeline hack?) the FT has just revealed that the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the world's most powerful regulator of banking standards and rules, has decided how banks hoping to hold cryptocurrency on their balance sheets will need to treat it in what is being interpreted as the market as a major 'win' for digital-currency adoption.

The new proposal from the Basel Committee is being interpreted as a global regulators giving eager megabanks a green light to finally hold "volatile" cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and "pawgcoin" on their balance sheet. This is hardly surprising, since banks like JPM, Goldman and Citi have already launched their own crypto-focused businesses. However, the proposal also shows that these banks will need to treat crypto as among the riskiest assets they can own.

The reason? According to the Committee, crypto assets carry risks including market and credit risk (which they share with other types of assets), but also "fraud, hacking, money laundering and terrorist financing risk."

Banks with exposure to volatile cryptocurrencies should face stricter capital requirements to reflect the higher risks, said the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the world’s most powerful banking standards-setter.

Its intervention came in a report released on Thursday as policymakers around the world step up plans to regulate the fast-emerging market.

The Basel committee acknowledged that while banks’ exposure to the nascent crypto industry was limited, "the growth of crypto assets and related services has the potential to raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks."

Among the risks it cited included market and credit risk, fraud, hacking, money laundering and terrorist financing risk.

Basel is willing to make some exceptions for certain crypto-assets, like stock tokens and stablecoins, so long as they are "fully reserved at all times" (which would, it's worth noting, disqualify tether, the world's most popular stablecoin). NFTs would also face the toughest standards, while central bank currencies (a group that presently consists only of the digital RMB) were left outside the scope.

Some assets, such as stock tokens, would fit into modified existing rules on minimum capital standards for banks. Others, such as bitcoin, would face a new “conservative” prudential regime, it recommended. Stablecoins — cryptocurrencies pegged to traditional assets such as currencies — would also qualify for existing rules if they were fully reserved at all times, the committee said. Banks would have to monitor that this was “effective at all times”, it added.

But for bitcoin and ethereum, however, the new "conservative" risk weighting that Basel is pushing is 1,250%, which is in line with the minimum requirement for the riskiest stocks and junk bonds. This would require banks to hold $1 dollar for every $1 in "exposure" to those assets.

All other crypto assets, including bitcoin and ethereum, would go into the new more strenuous regime. The Basel committee proposed a risk weight of 1,250 per cent, in line with the toughest standards for banks’ exposures on riskier assets. That would mean banks would in effect have to hold capital equal to the exposure they face. A $100 exposure in bitcoin would result in a minimum capital requirement of $100, Basel said.

Banks have been waiting on baited breath for a whiff of the Basel Commmittee's thinking, and it seems that what was reported in the FT is in line with what most probably expected. Notably, the big exceptions are for "cryptoassets" that have the same legal standing as traditional assets, like the right to a dividend or other company cash flows.

The market took the news in stride, sending bitcoin higher as traders apparently interpreted it as a good sign especially after recent signs of growing regulatory wariness with digital currencies, particularly after the Colonial Pipeline "hack".

At this point, the big banks are getting into cryptocurrency because their customers and shareholders are demanding it. So American and banking authorities also need to take a more active role in supervising what has become a $1.5 trillion market.

And as more companies start getting involved with bitcoin, pretty soon banks will find that "exposure" to crypto is popping up in unexpected or unanticipated places, like this Bloomberg headline that hit last night which we couldn't help but notice:

  • FED OWNS SMALL PIECE OF MICROSTRATEGY'S BITCOIN -LINKED JUNK BONDS: BBG
Tyler Durden Thu, 06/10/2021 - 07:34
Published:6/10/2021 6:39:22 AM
[Markets] Here We Go Again: JBS "Paid" "Russian" "Hackers" $11 Million In Bitcoin To Resolve "Ransomware" Attack Here We Go Again: JBS "Paid" "Russian" "Hackers" $11 Million In Bitcoin To Resolve "Ransomware" Attack

There was a moment of sheer hilarity earlier today when during a Congressional Hearing, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline Joseph Blount took the merely farcical episode of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack - when, as a reminder, a ragtag band of elite "Russian" hackers somehow managed to penetrate the company's cyberdefenses but was so stupid it left most if not all of the $4.4 million bitcoins it demanded in ransom in an easily traceable address for the FBI to track down and magically confiscate (it is still unclear how the Feds got the private key to access the "hackers" digital wallet) in days if not hours - and elevated it to a level of sheer ridiculous absurdity when he told Congress that he didn't consult the FBI before paying the ransom.

This, pardon the parlance of our times, is complete bullshit: either the CEO is lying or, worse, he is telling the truth and as some have speculated, he, the FBI and the "hackers" are all in on this so-called ransomware breach...

... a scenario which for now is yet another "conspiracy theory" and which we expect will become proven fact in the usual 6-9 months.

Yet just a few hours later, the exact same ridiculous narrative meant to achieve just one thing - tarnish the reputation of bitcoin further to the point where the US has to ban it - has struck again, and according to the WSJ last week's big hack, that of giant steel producer JBS, was also resolved when the company paid $11 million - in bitcoin of course, because in this day and age one can't simply dump a suitcase full of cash or send a wire transfer to an incognito account - as ransom to the criminals (who will naturally soon be unveiled as Russians because of course) responsible for the cyberattack that halted the company's operations.

Yes, if this story seems identical to that of Colonial Pipeline, up to and almost matching the demanded ransom amount, it's because it is: so barren is the imagination of the administration's narrative writers that they can only regurgitate the same old story over and over.

Naturally, and just like in the Colonial "hack", the ransom payment, in bitcoin, was made to shield JBS meat plants from further disruption and to limit the potential impact on restaurants, grocery stores and farmers that rely on JBS, said Andre Nogueira, chief executive of Brazilian meat company JBS SA’s U.S. division.

“It was very painful to pay the criminals, but we did the right thing for our customers,“ Nogueira said Wednesday. It remains to be seen if the JDS CEO, like his Colonial colleague, promptly transferred the bitcoin to the FBI's hackers' digital wallet without advising the FBI (first for the simple reason that the FBI already knew the crypto was inbound?)

The latest "shocking" attack on JBS has been part of a wave of bizarre incursions using ransomware, in which companies are hit with demands for multimillion-dollar payments to regain control of their operating systems. Some questions that remain unanswered is how the hell do these multi-billion dollar companies not have the most basic virus/malware protection to prevent some outsider, be it a 13 year old kid living in his mom's basement, some Ukrainian hacker, or the FBI, from getting access to the company's entire infrastructure and locking out the company itself.  And then, this genius mastermind(s) is so stupid, they have no idea how to cover up their traces and promptly hand over the cash to the Feds.

Even more grotesque is that, as the WSJ notes, the attacks show how hackers have shifted from targeting data-rich companies such as retailers, banks and insurers to essential-service providers such as hospitals, transport operators and food companies. Because apparently instead of spending $29.95 on an anti-virus program, these various companies used the cash to buyback stonk.

According to the WSJ, the FBI last week attributed the JBS attack to REvil, a criminal ransomware gang, which of course comes from Russia, because - again - of course. Nogueira said that JBS and outside firms are conducting forensic analyses of its information-technology systems, and that it isn’t yet clear how the attackers accessed JBS’s systems.

What is clear is that in just a few days these crack Russian cybercommandos will have a few dozen bitcoins less when the FBI which organized the entire farcical affair confiscates it all.

And speaking of farcical, it gets even worse, because unlike the Colonial "hack" where the company lost all control over its infrastructure, in the case of the JBS hack, Nogueira said that the company maintains secondary backups of all its data, which are encrypted. Here things get downright surreal: according to the official narrative, the company brought back operations at its plants using those backup systems, but "JBS’s technology experts cautioned the company that there was no guarantee that the hackers wouldn’t find another way to strike, and JBS’s consultants continued negotiating with the attackers."

So even though the company had regained control, it decided to... pay the hackers?

“We didn’t think we could take this type of risk that something could go wrong in our recovery process,” Nogueira said of the decision to pay the attackers. “It was insurance to protect our customers.”

Ah, yes. All for the customers.

Meanwhile here comes yet another hearing led by that crusader for governmental uber-regulation of everything, Liz Warren, who will demand even more crackdown on bitcoin because - you see - none of this would have happened if bitcoin did not exist.

Though maybe this idiotic narrative, which is so transparent those who conceived it shoudl be ashamed, is no longer working because unlike in the case of the Colonial pipeline when news of the ransomware hack spread hammered bitcoin over fears of reprisals, this time the crytpo sector has barely budged as even the weakest hands can't believe just how stupid the official government narrative has become.

To this the only possible conclusion is that yes, they really do think you are that stupid.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:26
Published:6/9/2021 8:33:42 PM
[Markets] G7 Calls For Fresh Probe Into Covid Origin, Targets China's Use Of Forced Labor G7 Calls For Fresh Probe Into Covid Origin, Targets China's Use Of Forced Labor

The Group of Seven leaders, whose UK conclave will shortly be joined by Joe Biden, appears set to infuriate China, and in its draft communique seen by Bloomberg News, the world's most developed nations not only call for a fresh, "transparent" (which suggests the previous study was anything but), WHO-convened study into the origins of the coronavirus (although since the China-controlled WHO, which is run by the "prevaricating" Tedros, is in charge it naturally won't find anything new) but also pledge to tackle "forced labor in global supply chains", including in the solar and garment sectors and involving state-sponsored forced labor of minorities. While that section does not mention China by name, it clearly targets China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Separately, the G7 vowed to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines - courtesy of taxpayer funding of course - over the next year to help cover 80% of the world’s adult population. This is core part of the of the G-7 agenda that outlines a plan to end the pandemic by December 2022. The document has yet to be finalized but will form the basis of final-stage talks at the summit of leaders in Cornwall, southwestern England, starting Friday.

Here are the other highlights, as per Bloomberg:

  • G-7 pledge to better tackle forced labor in global supply chains, including in the solar and garment sectors and involving state-sponsored forced labor of minorities. While that section does not mention China by name, it follows global criticism of its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
  • Calls for a fresh, transparent, WHO-convened study into the origins of the coronavirus.
  • There is a call for Russia to hold to account groups within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, use virtual currencies to launder ransoms, and carry out other cybercrimes.
  • The group welcomes the recent talks toward a full resumption of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, while condemning its use of proxy forces and non-state armed actors.

On fiscal policy, trade and travel:

  • A commitment to end unnecessary trade restrictions on vaccine exports
  • G-7 stress need to ensure long-term sustainability of public finances once the recovery is firmly established.
  • G-7 support common standards for international travel, including recognizing vaccine status certificates across countries.

On climate change, the draft agreement includes:

  • There is a commitment to accelerating the shift to zero-emission vehicles
  • Leaders haggling over climate funding but vow to step up and to try and meet a $100 billion target, without giving details of how to get there. They will pledge new funding to support green transitions in developing countries.
  • G-7 recognizes the potential of carbon markets and carbon pricing to drive emission reductions.

Late on Wedensday, Joe Biden arrived in the UK as part of his first trip abroad since taking office, where he will take place in the G7 summit in St Ives in Cornwall. Biden is expected to underscore America's unwavering commitment to NATO and warn Russia it faced "robust and meaningful" consequences if it engaged in harmful activities, by which of course he means the CIA, the FBI and various other deep state tentacles.

Biden, speaking to about 1,000 troops and their families at a British air base, said he would deliver a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet next week after separate summits with NATO, G7 and European leaders.

"This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I'm heading to the G7, then the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know," Biden said, drawing cheers from the troops, who will be amazed if Biden remembers what it is he wants Putin to know.

"We're not seeking conflict with Russia," the Democrat said at the start of his eight-day visit to Europe. "We want a stable and predictable relationship ... but I've been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities."

Biden told reporters as he left for Europe that his goals were "strengthening the alliance, making it clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight."

His summit with Putin on June 16 in Geneva is the capstone of the trip. President-in-waiting Harris is surely hoping for some "unexpected" twist in the narrative to take place, so she can finally get her promotion.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/09/2021 - 17:50
Published:6/9/2021 5:03:00 PM
[Markets] Emails Reveal How Influential Articles That Established COVID-19 Natural Origins Theory Were Formed Emails Reveal How Influential Articles That Established COVID-19 Natural Origins Theory Were Formed

Authored by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times,

The two most significant articles promoting the “natural origins” theory for the COVID-19 outbreak originated from scientists who were part of a response team of “experts” brought in by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (NASEM), in response to a request from a White House official.

(L-R) Thea Fischer, Marion Koopmans, Peter Daszak and other members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, leave the Hilton Wuhan Optics Valley Hotel in Wuhan, on Jan. 29, 2021. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

These influential articles were used extensively by media organizations to push the natural origins theory, while simultaneously deriding alternative theories—including that of a possible lab leak—as conspiracy theories.

The articles appear to have been part of a coordinated effort originating from a Feb. 1, 2020, teleconference organized by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the British Wellcome Trust, which took place after a group of health offi