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[World] Judge Jeanine Pirro: Michael Flynn Was 'Treated Differently' by FBI, Robert Mueller

Judge Jeanine Pirro said in her Opening Statement on "Justice" that retired Gen. Michael Flynn was "treated differently" by FBI investigators, culminating in his guilty plea for lying to agents.

Published:12/17/2018 9:52:13 AM
[World] Alan Dershowitz: FBI 'Absolutely' Tried to Trap Flynn, But Nobody Understands Why He Lied

Alan Dershowitz said there's no doubt that FBI agents deliberately tried to trap Michael Flynn making false statements, but there is still no explanation for why the former National Security Adviser lied to federal agents about a non-crime.

Published:12/17/2018 9:22:23 AM
[Markets] Key Events In The Coming Week: All Eyes On The Fed (And China)

This week is full of central bank meetings including the Fed, BOE and BOJ, and while most of them will deliver no change, all eyes will be on the Fed which will (almost certainly) hike again while making a technical adjustment to the IOER, but the far bigger question is whether the Fed will signal just two hikes in 2019, one fewer than previously.

As it's also a press conference meeting (the last before every FOMC has one) we will receive fresh economic projections. According to DB economists other than the recent volatility in risk assets, the current-quarter data should not provide a compelling reason for the Fed to completely rethink its growth and core inflation projections at this meeting. Even so, Deutsche Bank economists joined Goldman in revising down their call for the number of hikes next year from 4 to 3, and now have one last hike in the forecast for 2020. Elsewhere the BoJ and BoE should be quiet affairs which is possibly tempting fate.

Meanwhile, China will hold its 3-day economic policy-setting meeting where Chinese policymakers will have occasion to reaffirm their commitment to reform and the measured easing approach while potentially unveiling more fiscal stimulus. Investors will be looking to a speech by China's President Xi Jinping on Tuesday marking the 40th anniversary of China’s reforms and opening up. China - where the economy has been rapidly losing momentum - is also expected to hold its annual Central Economic Work Conference later this week, where key growth targets and policy goals for 2019 will be discussed. The top decision-making body of the Communist Party, the Politburo, said last week China will keep its economic growth within a reasonable range next year, striving to support jobs, trade and investment while pushing reforms and curbing risks. “It’s generally assumed that you will need to expand fiscal and monetary support to achieve those goals,” said Tokai Tokyo Research strategist Wang Shenshen.

In Europe, besides Brexit, the focus may well be the budget bills of France and Italy, whereas the various surveys are likely to show sliding confidence amid elevated political uncertainties. Today, the main data was euro area's final HICP inflation, which disappointed, printing at 1.9%, below the flash estimate of 2.0% even as core inflation printed in line at 1.0%.

As for the data highlights this week, DB's Jim Reid writes that in the US expect much of the focus to be on the November PCE report on Friday where the consensus is for a 0.0% mom and +0.2% mom headline and core reading respectively. A reminder that the healthcare component of the PPI report was strong last week, up +0.27% mom which points to upside risk for the core PCE print: "It would be ironic if inflation started to reignite after a softer quarter just as markets start to price out the Fed for 2019." Given how strong the US economy currently is it wouldn’t be a surprise to see such a scenario. Other notable data due in the US next week includes November housing starts and building permits tomorrow, November existing home sales on Wednesday and the final Q3 GDP revisions (no change from +3.5 qoq saar expected), and preliminary November durable and capital goods orders on Friday. Also in the US, today sees former FBI Director James Comey appearing for more closed-door questioning by House lawmakers. Staying with the US administration, the threat of a partial US government shutdown on Friday looms should President Trump fail to resolve funding for the wall along the Mexican border.

Key US data releases courtesy of Morgan Stanley:

  • Housing Starts (Tuesday, 8:30am): Housing starts and building permits should be weaker in November, driven in part by poor weather. Following a 1.5% gain in October, housing starts are set to decline over 4.2%, which would bring the annual rate to 1.18 million units. Building permits are also expected to come in softer.
  • Existing Home Sales (Wednesday, 10am): Existing home sales are expected to resume their decline in November after a brief respite in October, where sales rose 1.4% following six consecutive month-over-month declines. MS sees sales falling 1.3% to an annual rate of 5.15 million units.
  • Durable Goods (Friday, 8:30am): Durable goods manufacturing production rose by moderate 0.2% in the industrial production report for November, implying a similarly moderate gain in core durable goods orders. MS looks for durables goods orders excluding transportation to rise 0.3% in November,a decent gain after growth of 0.2% in October. The bank also expects overall durable goods measure rising 1.0% on the back of a stronger month of aircraft orders.
  • Personal Income and Spending (Friday, 10am): Income growth is expected to moderate slightly in November to a still robust pace of 0.4% after a 0.5% gain in October. Nominal personal spending, meanwhile, should slow in November to a pace of 0.3% after posting a large 0.6% gain in October. For the price indices, this month's CPI and PPI inputs point to November core PCE inflation of 0.18%M, raising the year-over-year rate to 1.9% from 1.8% (1.86% vs. 1.78%). Headline PCE inflation should rise 0.08%, lowering the year-overyear rate to 1.8% from 2.0% (1.83% vs. 1.98%)

And visually:

Meanwhile, in Europe we'll also get Germany's December IFO survey tomorrow, the UK's November inflation data dump on Wednesday, November retail sales on Thursday, and the final Q3 GDP revisions on Friday. Finally it's quiet in Asia with only Japan's November CPI report late on Thursday worth flagging.

Below is a daily summary of the key events in the week ahead from Deutsche Bank:

Summary of key events in the week ahead:

  • Monday: It's a quiet start to the week for data on Monday with the only releases of note in Europe being the UK’s CBI trends total orders along with the Euro Area October trade balance and final November CPI revisions. In the US, we get the December Empire manufacturing index and NAHB housing market index. Away from that, former FBI Director James Comey appears for a second day of closeddoor questioning from lawmakers.
  • Tuesday: It stays quiet into Tuesday with Germany's December IFO survey and November housing starts and building permits data in the US the only releases due. Late in the evening we'll get Japan's November trade balance. Elsewhere, ECB Vice President Guindos will participate in a panel discussion.
  • Wednesday: The main highlight on Wednesday is the outcome of the FOMC policy meeting and Fed Chair Powell's press conference. Prior to that, we get Germany's November PPI and the UK's November inflation data docket. In the US, we get the latest weekly MBA mortgage applications, Q3 current account balance and November existing home sales. Away from that the ECB's Hansson is also due to speak. Also worth flagging is the European Commission meeting to discuss Italy's budget and Chinese leaders beginning their three-day annual economic policy-setting meeting.
  • Thursday: The BoJ and the BoE monetary policy meetings are the two big highlights on Thursday. Data wise we get the Euro Area's October current account balance and the UK's November retail sales report. In the US we get the latest weekly initial jobless and continuing claims prints along with the December Philadelphia Fed PMI and November leading index. In Asia, we get Japan's November CPI in the evening.
  • Friday: It's a busy end to the week for data on Friday with the November PCE report and final Q3 GDP revisions in the US the highlights. Prior to that, we'll also get Euro Area December consumer confidence, the UK's final Q3 GDP revisions, Germany January consumer confidence and France's final Q3 GDP. In the US, we get preliminary November durable goods and capital goods orders, November personal income and real personal spending data, the final December University of Michigan survey results and the December Kansas City Fed manufacturing activity index. It's worth noting that Friday is also the day that a partial US government shutdown could kick in.

Finally, here is Goldman's preview of the week ahead together with consensus expectations: the key economic data releases this week are the durable goods and core PCE reports on Friday. In addition, the December FOMC statement will be released on Wednesday at 2:00 PM EST, followed by Chairman Powell’s press conference at 2:30 PM.

Monday, December 17

  • 08:30 AM Empire State manufacturing index, December (consensus +20.0, last +23.3)
  • 10:00 AM NAHB housing market index, December (consensus 60, last 60)

Tuesday, December 18

  • 08:30 AM Housing starts, November (GS -1.5%, consensus +0.2%, last +1.5%): Building permits, November (consensus +0.4%, last -0.4%): We estimate housing starts declined 1.5% in November after a small increase in October. We expect a moderate drag from winter weather that also appears to have weighed on November construction employment. Over the next few quarters, we expect higher interest rates and tax reform to continue to weigh on homebuilding.

Wednesday, December 19

  • 10:00 Existing Home Sales, November (GS +0.3%, consensus -0.4%, last +1.4%); We estimate existing home sales increased 0.3% in November after its first increase in six months in October, noting modest improvement in regional sales data. Existing home sales are an input into the brokers' commissions component of residential investment in the GDP report.
  • 02:00 PM FOMC statement, December 18-19 meeting: As discussed in our FOMC preview, we expect the FOMC to raise the target range for the funds rate by 25 basis points in the December meeting. In the post-meeting statement, we expect a dovish tilt to the language, reflecting a substantial tightening in financial conditions. We expect the growth characterization to be downgraded (to “solid” from strong”) and the funds rate guidance (“further gradual increases”) to be replaced with something less committal (“some further increases”). In the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) we look for: (1) a downgrade to the median GDP growth projections; (2) a slight downgrade to the median NAIRU estimate; and (3) a new median policy path of 2 hikes in 2019, 1 hike in 2020, and no hikes in 2021 (down from 3-1-0 in the September SEP).

Thursday, December 20

  • 08:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, December (GS +14.0, consensus +15.0, last +12.9); We estimate the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index increased 1.1pt to +14.0 in December. Other indicators of manufacturing activity such as the ISM manufacturing index have been fairly firm in recent weeks.
  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended December 15 (GS 220k, consensus 219k, last 206k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended December 8 (consensus 1,650k, last 1,661k): We estimate jobless claims increased by 14k to 220k in the week ended December 15, with some scope for mean reversion following a sharp 27k decline in the prior week.

Friday, December 21

  • 08:30 AM GDP (third), Q3 (GS +3.5%, consensus +3.5%, last +3.5%); Personal consumption, Q3 (GS +3.6%, consensus +3.6%, last +3.6%): We do not expect a revision in the third vintage of the Q3 GDP report (previously reported at +3.5% qoq saar), although we note some scope for upward revisions to business investment or inventories. We also forecast an unchanged reading for personal consumption (+3.6% qoq ar).
  • 08:30 AM Durable goods orders, November preliminary (GS flat, consensus +1.7%, last -4.3%); Durable goods orders ex-transportation, November preliminary (GS flat, consensus +0.3%, last +0.2%); Core capital goods orders, November preliminary (GS flat, consensus +0.2%, last flat); Core capital goods shipments, November preliminary (GS +0.1%, consensus +0.2%, last +0.3%): We expect durable goods orders to remain flat in the November report, given another month of soft commercial aircraft orders. Manufacturing production growth was below expectations in November, and we expect a drag on mining equipment orders from lower oil prices to weigh on core capital goods orders.
  • 08:30 AM Personal income, November (GS +0.3%, consensus +0.3%, last +0.5%); Personal spending, November (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.3%, last +0.6%); PCE price index, November (GS +0.05%, consensus flat, last +0.18%); Core PCE price index, November (GS +0.13%, consensus +0.2%, last +0.10%); PCE price index (yoy), November (GS +1.80%, consensus +1.8%, last +1.98%); Core PCE price index (yoy), November (GS +1.82%, consensus +1.9%, last +1.78%): Based on details in the PPI, CPI, and import price reports, we forecast that the core PCE price index rose 0.13% month-over-month in November, or 1.82% from a year ago. Additionally, we expect that the headline PCE price index increased 0.05% in November, or 1.80% from a year earlier. We expect a 0.3% increase in November personal income and a 0.4% gain in personal spending.
  • 10:00 AM University of Michigan consumer sentiment, December final (GS 97.4, consensus 97.5, last 97.5); We expect the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index to edge down 0.1pt from the preliminary estimate for December due to renewed stock market declines. The report’s measure of 5- to 10-year inflation expectations stood at 2.4% in the preliminary report for December.
  • 11:00AM Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, December (last +15)

Source: DB, MS, SocGen, Goldman

Published:12/17/2018 7:52:24 AM
[2016 Election] Flynn’s fate (7) (Scott Johnson) In “Flynn’s fate (6)” I posted the Special Counsel’s reply memorandum in the matter of Michael Flynn’s sentencing. Judge Sullivan had ordered the parties to file the FBI 302 and underlying notes of the the FBI’s interview with General Flynn. The attachments to the reply memorandum include neither. Where are they? Those documents are not included, but McCabe’s memo of his conversation scheduling the meeting with Flynn is included as Published:12/17/2018 7:23:29 AM
[Markets] "Over My Dead Body" Will Trump Meet With Mueller, Giuliani Says

Just days after former Trump attorney and notorious turncoat Michael Cohen launched his unofficial PR campaign to lighten his three-year prison sentence ahead of his self-surrender deadline, the Trump legal team's unofficial spokesman Rudy Giuliani made his triumphant return to the Sunday talk shows to defend the president against Cohen's claims that Trump directed him to organize payoffs to two women who had been threatening to go public with stories of affairs with the president.

During an appearance on Fox News, Chris Wallace didn't mince words. In his opening salvo, he asked Giuliani: "Did Mr. Trup direct Michael Cohen to pay off these two women or not?" Giuliani replied: "No...the president didn't know about this until some time into it, and he did find out about it an eventually reimburse him."

Furthermore "even if it were true, it's not a crime. The payment of money...has been covered in the Edward's case...even the FEC looked at those Edwards violations and determined they weren't violations."

And as for Cohen's claims that he committed the campaign finance violations out of "blind loyalty" to the president, Giuliani pointed out that Cohen's actions - including surreptitiously taping his conversations with the president - would seem to undercut these claims.

"Nonsense he was fiercely loyal to him. He lied to him...taped him...that's something I've never heard any lawyer ever do," Giuliani said.

Later in the interview, Wallace asked whether Trump would finally sit down with Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors for an in-person interview after turning in written responses to questions about allegations of Russian collusion. Though Giuliani had previously left open the possibility of an in-person interview, for the first time, Giuliani said he would never allow such a sit down to proceed.

"Over my dead body," Giuliani said.

During another Sunday show interview, Giuliani sounded less adamant about prohibiting Trump from sitting down with Mueller, citing an agreement with Mueller that left open the possibility of an in-person interview after written answers had been submitted. The questions answered by Trump only covered events during the campaign, and didn't address allegations of obstruction that arose after Trump took office.

"All I can tell you is the agreement contemplates our having discussions if there are any further follow-ups or questions, and there’s been no change in that agreement," Giuliani said. "And when it’s concluded, we’ll tell you."

Rebuffing Cohen's claim, made in an ABC interview last week, that prosecutors possess "substantial" evidence to back up Cohen's characterization of events, Giuliani described Cohen as a "serial liar" before joking that Mueller is currently investigating "several unpaid parking tickets form 1986."

"The only things left are parking tickets and jaywalking," Giuliani said.

Over the weekend, Trump stoked criticism of using "mobster-like" language in a tweet accusing the FBI of breaking into Cohen's office (when, in fact, agents had warrants to search Cohen's possessions).

If the pattern from the past few weeks holds, President Trump will issue some more scathing tweets about Cohen and Mueller this morning.

Published:12/17/2018 6:51:44 AM
[In The News] FBI And CIA Sources Say They Doubt Major Dossier Allegation

By Chuck Ross -

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A Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter recently claimed CIA and FBI sources told the newspaper they do not believe the Steele dossier’s allegations about Michael Cohen are accurate. “We’ve talked to sources at the FBI and the CIA and elsewhere — they don’t believe that ever happened,” said Greg Miller, ...

FBI And CIA Sources Say They Doubt Major Dossier Allegation is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/16/2018 7:49:04 PM
[Politics] Andrew McCarthy Slams Trump For Claims About FBI Probe into Cohen Ex-federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy slammed President Donald Trump on Sunday for his claims about the FBI investigation into his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen."Sir, in mobster lingo, a 'rat' is a witness who tells prosecutors real incriminating info. Perhaps a... Published:12/16/2018 7:18:57 PM
[Uncategorized] IG Report: Strzok, Page iPhones Wiped Clean, Thousands of Texts Destroyed Before IG Could Review Them An FBI officer on Mueller's team had reviewed Strzok's iPhone and reported "No substantive texts, notes or reminders” Published:12/16/2018 7:18:57 PM
[World] Alan Dershowitz: FBI Knew Truth Before Questioning Michael Flynn, Was 'Giving Him the Opportunity to Lie'

Alan Dershowitz said Saturday on "Justice With Judge Jeanine" that the FBI knew the truth before questioning former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Published:12/16/2018 1:48:15 PM
[Politics] James Comey Rips Trump for 'Lying' About Cohen Raid Continuing his campaign to sow discord against President Donald Trump, fired FBI Director James Comey called on Republicans to "speak up" against the president "for the FBI, the rule of law, and the truth."Comey's latest salvo against his presidential nemesis came via... Published:12/16/2018 12:52:05 PM
[Politics] Trump: Michael Cohen Only Became a ‘Rat’ After FBI Did Something ‘Absolutely Unthinkable’

President Donald Trump said over Twitter on Sunday that his former personal attorney Michael Cohen only became a "rat" after the FBI did something "absolutely unthinkable." 

The post Trump: Michael Cohen Only Became a ‘Rat’ After FBI Did Something ‘Absolutely Unthinkable’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/16/2018 11:46:50 AM
[Robert Mueller] Will the Mueller Switch Project Collapse? (John Hinderaker) The sentencing of General Michael Flynn could turn out to be the Waterloo of the Mueller Switch Project. The feds never could have convicted Flynn of perjury or lying to government officials–they don’t even have a transcript of what he said to the FBI! As a criminal case, it was always a non-starter. The Justice Department initially had no intention of prosecuting. But then, after Robert Mueller took over the Published:12/16/2018 9:53:16 AM
[2016 Presidential Election] Redact this (Scott Johnson) On Friday night the FBI released a heavily redacted two-page summary that former FBI Director James Comey used to brief then President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017 regarding the so-called Steele Dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia. I have embedded the document below via Scribd. Politico procured the document released Friday night in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney report on the document here. Published:12/16/2018 8:17:48 AM
[Markets] Former FBI SSA Exposes McCabe & Mueller's "Unethtical, Target & Destroy Coercion" Tactics, Defends Flynn

Via SaraCarter.com,

Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz has asked SaraACarter.com to post her letter to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in support of her friend and colleague retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who will be sentenced on Dec. 18. The Special Counsel’s Office has requested that Flynn not serve any jail time due to his cooperation with Robert Mueller’s office. Based on new information contained in a memorandum submitted to the court this week by Flynn’s attorney, Sullivan has ordered Mueller’s office to turn over all exculpatory evidence and government documents on Flynn’s case by mid-day Friday. Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.

Read Gritz’s letter below... (emphasis added)

The Honorable  Emmet G. Sullivan. December 5, 2018   U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington D.C. 20001

Re: Sentencing of Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.)

Dear Judge Sullivan:

I am submitting my letter directly since Mike Flynn’s attorney has refused to submit it as well as letters submitted by other individuals. I feel you need to hear from someone who was an FBI Special Agent who not only worked with Mike, but also has personally witnessed and reported unethical & sometimes illegal tactics used to coerce targets of investigations externally and internally.

About Myself and FBI Career

For 16 years, I proudly served the American people as a Special Agent working diligently on significant terrorism cases which earned noteworthy results and fostered substantial interagency cooperation.  Prior to serving in the FBI I was a Juvenile Probation Officer in Camden, NJ.  Currently, I am a Senior Information Security Metrics and Reporting Analyst with Discover Financial Services in the Chicago Metro area.  I have recently been named as a Senior Fellow to the London Center for Policy Research.

While in the FBI, I served as a Special Agent, Supervisory Special Agent, Assistant Inspector, Unit Chief, and a Senior Liaison Officer to the CIA. I served on the NSC’s Hostage and Personnel Working Group and brought numerous Americans out of captivity and was part of the interagency team to codify policies outlining the whole of government approach to hostage cases.

In November 2007, I was selected over 26 other candidates to become the Supervisory Special Agent, CT Extraterritorial Squad; Washington Field Office (WFO) in Washington, DC.  At WFO, I led a squad of experts in extraterritorial evidence collection, overseas investigations, operational security during terrorist attacks/events, and overseas criminal investigations. I coordinated and managed numerous high profile investigations (Blackwater, Chuckie Taylor, Robert Levinson, and other pivotal cases) comprised of teams from US and foreign intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies. I was commended for displaying comprehensive leadership performance under pressure, extensive teamwork skills, while conducting critical investigative analysis within and outside the FBI.

In December 2009, I was promoted to GS-15 Unit Chief (UC) of the Executive Strategy Unit, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD).  While the UC, I codified the WMDD five-year strategic plan, formulated goals and objectives throughout the division, while translating the material into a directorate scorecard with cascading measurements reflecting functional and operational unit areas. This was the only time in Washington, DC when I did not work with of for McCabe.

From September to December 2010, I was selected as the FBI’s top candidate to represent the FBI, and the USG in a rigorous, intellectually stimulating; 12 week course for civilian government officials, military officers, and government academics at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, Executive Program in Advanced Security Studies. The class was comprised of 141 participants from 43 countries.

I have received numerous recommendations and commendations for my professionalism, liaison and interpersonal ability and experienceAdditionally, I have been rated Excellent or Outstanding for my entire career, to include by Andrew McCabe when I was stationed at the Washington Field Office.  Further, other awards of note are: West Chester University 2005 Legacy of Leadership recipient, Honored with House of Representatives Citation for Exemplary record of Service, Leadership, and Achievements: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Awarded with a framed Horn of Africa blood chit from the Department of Defense and Office of the DASD (POW/MPA/MIA) for my work in bringing Americans Out of captivity, “Patriot, Law Enforcement Warrior, and Friend.”

Length of Association with Flynn, McCabe, and Mueller

I met Michael Flynn in 2005, while working in the Counterterrorism Division (CTD) at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ).

I met then Supervisory Special Agent Andrew McCabe, when he reported to CTD at FBIHQ, around the same time.  McCabe subsequently was the Assistant Section Chief over my unit, my Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Field Office, and the Assistant Director (AD) over CTD when I encountered the discrimination and McCabe spearheaded the retaliation personally (according to documentation) against me.

I have known both men for 12-13 years and worked directly with both throughout my career.  They are on the opposite spectrum of each other with regard to truthfulness, temperament, and ethics, both professionally and personally.

I regularly briefed former FBI Director and Special Prosecutor Mueller on controversial and complex cases and attended Deputies meetings at the White house with then Deputy Director Pistole. I got along with both and trusted both.  Watching what has been done to Mike and knowing someone on the 7th floor had to have notified Mueller of my situation (Pistole had retired), has been significantly distressing to me.

Lt.G. Michael T. Flynn:

Mike and I were counterparts on a DOJ-termed ground-breaking initiative which served as a model for future investigations, policies, legislation and FBI programs in the Terrorist Use of the Internet. For this multi-faceted and leading-edge joint operation, I was commended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen. Keith Alexander (NSA Director), and LtG. Michael Flynn as well as others for leading the FBI’s pivotal participation in this dynamic and innovative interagency operation. I received two The National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation (NIMUC) I for my role in this operation.  The NIMUC is an award of the National Intelligence Awards Program, for contributions to the United States Intelligence Community.

Mick Flynn has consistently and candidly been honest and straightforward with me since the day I met him in 2005. He has been a mentor and someone I trust to give me frank advice when I ask for his opinion.  His caring nature has shown through especially when he saw me being torn apart by the FBI and he felt compelled to write a letter in support of me.  He further took the extra step to comment on my character in an NPR article and interview exposing the wrongdoings in my case and others who have stood up for truth and against discrimination/retaliation.  Senator Grassley also commented on my behalf.  NPR characterized this action against me as a “warning shot” to individuals who stood up to individuals such as McCabe.

The day after I resigned from the FBI, while I was crying, Mike reached out and congratulated me on my early retirement. I really needed to hear that from someone I respected so much.  His support for the last 13 years has been unparalleled and extremely valuable in helping me get through the trauma of betrayal, unethical behavior, illegal activity executed against me and to rebuild my life. Additionally, his support has helped my family in dealing with their painful emotions regarding my situation. My parents wanted me to pass on to you that they are blessed that I have had a compassionate and supportive individual on my side throughout this trying time.

Mike has been a respected leader by his peers and by FBI Agents and Analysts who have interacted with him. I personally feel he is the finest leader I have ever worked with or for in my career. Our continued friendship and subsequent friendship with his family has helped all of us cope with the stress a situation like this puts on individuals and families.

It is so very painful to watch an American hero, and my friend, torn apart like this.  His family has had to endure what no family should have to. I know this because of the damaging effect my case had on my parent’s health, finances, and emotional well-being. Mike and I both had to sell our houses due to legal fees, endured smear campaigns (mostly by the same individual, McCabe). I ended up being deemed homeless by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was on public assistance and endured extensive health and emotional damage due to the retaliation. Mike kept in touch and kept me motivated.  He has always reached out to help me with whatever he could.

The Process is the Punishment

Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch commented to me that the “Process is the punishment.”  This is the most accurate description I have heard regarding the time Mike has gone through with this process and the year and a half I was ostracized and idled before I resigned.  This process is one which many FBI employees, current, retired and former, feel was brought to the FBI by Mueller and he subsequently brought this to the Special Prosecutor investigation. It also fostered the behavior among FBI “leadership” which we find ourselves shocked at when revealed on a daily basis. Is this the proper way to seek justice? I say no.  I swore to uphold the Constitution while protecting the civil rights of the American people. I believe many individuals involved in Mike’s case have lost their way and could care less about protection of due process, civil and legal rights of who they are targeting. Mike has had extensive punishment throughout this process. This process has punished him harder than anyone else could.

Andrew McCabe

I believe I have a unique inside view of the mannerisms surrounding Andrew McCabe, other FBI Executive Management and Former Director Mueller, as well as the unethical and coercive tactics they use, not to seek the truth, but to coerce pleas or admissions to end the pain, as I call it. They destroy lives for their own agendas instead of seeking the truth for the American people. Candor is something that should be encouraged and used by leadership to have necessary and continued improvement.  Under Mueller, it was seen as a threat and viciously opposed by those he pulled up in the chain of command.

I am explaining this because numerous Agents have expressed the need for you to know McCabe’s and Mueller’s pattern of “target and destroy” has been utilized on many others, without regard for policies and laws. I, myself, am a casualty of this reprehensible behavior and I have spoken to well over 150 other FBI individuals who are casualties as well.

I am the individual who filed the Hatch Act complaint against McCabe and provided significant evidentiary documents obtained via FOIA, open source, and information from current, former, and retired Special Agents. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) asked why my filing of the complaint was delayed from the actual acts. I said I personally thought I was providing additional information to what should have been an automatic referral to OSC by FBI OPR. I was notified I was the only complainant. This illustrates not only a fatal flaw in OPR AD Candice Will not making the appropriate and crucial referral, but also shows the fear of those within the FBI to report individuals like McCabe for fear of retaliation.

While serving at the CIA, detailed by the FBI in January 2012, I was responsible for overseas investigations, as opposed to Continental United States-based (CONUS) cases. Unfortunately, during my assignment at the CIA, I encountered extensive discrimination by two FBI Special Agents and subsequently, in 2012, I filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint.  Instead of addressing the issues, then CTD Assistant Director Andrew McCabe chose to authorize a retaliatory Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigation against me, five days after my EEO contact. The OPR referral he signed was authored by the two individuals I had filed the EEO complaint against.  In his signed sworn statement, McCabe admitted he knew I had filed or was going to file the EEO.

Numerous members of my department at the CIA requested to be spoken with by CTD executive management, regarding my work ethic and accomplishments.  However, CTD, Inspection Division, and OPR disregarded the list of names and contact numbers I submitted.  This is an example of knowing you are being targeted and the truth is not being sought.

Although my time at this position was short, I was commended by my CIA direct supervisor for: “having already contributed more than your predecessor in the short time you have been here.” My predecessor had been assigned to the post for 18 months; I had been there four months.

In contrast and showing lack of candor, McCabe wrote on official documents the following statement, contradicting the actual direct supervisor I worked with daily:

“SA Gritz had to be removed from a prior position in an interagency environment, due to inappropriate communications and general performance issues”

This is one of many comments McCabe used to discredit my reputation and to ostracize me.  McCabe knew me as someone who told the truth, worked hard, got results, and   was always willing to be flexible when needed. He was also acutely aware of the excellent relationships I had formed in the USG interagency due to comments made by individuals from numerous agencies. Yet, he continued to make false statements on official documents. He has done this to numerous other very valuable FBI employees, destroying their careers and lives. He used similar tactics of lies against Flynn. It should be noted, McCabe was very aware of my professional association with Mike Flynn.

In July 5, 2012, I was involuntarily pulled back to CTD from the CIA. I was told McCabe made the decision. A year and a month later, I resigned from the job I absolutely loved and was good at.  All because of the lack of candor of numerous individuals within the FBI.

Unethical and dishonest investigative tactics

Throughout the last year, I have kept abreast of the revelations surrounding anything related to Mike’s case. I believe, from my years at the FBI and in exposing corruption and discrimination, the circumstances surrounding the targeting, investigation, leaking, and coercion of him to plea are all consistent with the unethical process I and many others have witnessed at the FBI. The charge which Mike Flynn plead to was the result of deception, intimidation, and bias/agenda. Simply, Mike is being branded a convicted felon due to an unethical and dishonest investigation by people who were malicious, vindictive, and corrupt. They wished to silence Mike, like they had once silenced me.

The American people have read the Strzok/Page text messages, the conflicting testimony and lack of candor statements of former Director Comey, the perceived overstepping of the reasonable scope of the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, the extensive unethical, untruthful, and outright illegal behavior of Andrew McCabe, to include slanderous statements against Flynn, and the facts found within FOIA released documents and Congressional testimony. As a former/retired Agent, I have combed through every piece of information regarding Mike’s case, as if I was combing through evidence in the hundreds of cases I have successfully handled while in the FBI.

The publicly reported Brady material alone, in this case, outweighs any statement given by any FBI Agent (we now know at least one FD-302 was changed), Special Prosecutor investigator report, and any other party still aggressively seeking that this case remain and be sentenced as a felony. Quite simply, I cannot see justice being served by branding LtG. Michael Flynn a convicted felon, when the truth is still being revealed while policies, ethics, and laws have been violated by those pursuing this case.

We now know all FBI employees involved in Mike Flynn’s case have either been fired, forced to resign or forced to retire because of their excessive lack of candor, punitive biases, leaking of information, and extensive cover-up of their deeds.

Summation

Michael Flynn has always displayed overwhelming candor and forthrightness.  One of the main individuals involved in his case is Andrew McCabe, who used similar tactics against me in my case, of which Mike Flynn defended me by penning a letter of character reference and is a witness.  Seeing McCabe was named as a Responding Management Official in my case, he should have recused himself with anything having to do with a character witness on my behalf against him and DOJ.

I’m told by numerous people, but have been unable to confirm, that McCabe was asked why he was so viciously going after Flynn; my name was mentioned. I do know, from experience with McCabe, he is a vindictive individual and I have no doubt Mike’s support of me fueled McCabe’s disdain and personally vindictive aggressive unethical activities in this case. It matches his behavior in my case.

Reliable fact-finding is essential to procedural due process and to the accuracy and uniformity of sentencing.  I’m unsure if the fact-finding in this case is reliable, nor do I think we currently have all the facts.

The punishment which LtG. Flynn has already endured this past year, due to the nature of the case, legal fees and reputation damage, is punishment enough.  He is a true patriot, a loving husband and father, a devoted grandfather, a trusted friend, and has a close knit family made up of compassionate and honest individuals. To be branded a felon, is a major hit to a hero who protected the American people for 33 years. I do not think society would benefit from Mike Flynn going to jail nor being branded as a convicted felon. Not knowing the sentencing guidelines for this charge but if there is any chance that the case can be downgraded to a misdemeanor, this would be an act of justice that numerous Americans need to see to stay hopeful for further justice.

Respectfully yours,

Robyn L. Gritz

Published:12/15/2018 8:42:59 PM
[Markets] Mueller Scrubbed Messages From Peter Strzok's iPhone; OIG Recovers 19,000 New "FBI Lovebird" Texts

The Justice Department's internal watchdog revealed on Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller's office scrubbed all of the data from FBI agent Peter Strzok's iPhone, while his FBI mistress Lisa Page's phone had been scrubbed by a different department, according to a comprehensive report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released on Thursday. 

After Strzok was kicked off the special counsel investigation following the discovery of anti-Trump text messages between he and Page, his Mueller's Records Officer scrubbed Strzok's iPhone after determining "it contained no substantive text messages," reports the Conservative Review's Jordan Schachtel. 

Mueller's team was unable to locate Page's iPhone, however the DOJ's Justice Management Division (JMD) similarly scrubbed her phone - resetting it to factory settings. 

Meanwhile, the OIG recovered approximately newly found 19,000 Strzok-Page texts from their Galaxy S5 phones. The messages span a "gap" in text messages between December 15, 2016 and May 17, 2017. 

OIG digital forensic examiners used forensic tools to recover thousands of text messages from these devices, including many outside the period of collection tool failure (December 15, 20 I 6 to May 17, 2017) and many that Strzok and Page had with persons other than each other. Approximately 9,311 text messages that were sent or received during the period of collection tool failure were recovered from Strzok's S5 phone, of which approximately 8,358 were sent to or received from Page. Approximately 10,760 text messages that were sent or received during the period of collection tool failure were recovered from Page's S5 phone, of which approximately 9,717 were sent to or received from Strzok. Thus, many of the text messages recovered from Strzok's S5 were also recovered from Page's S5. However, some of the Strzok-Page text messages were only recovered from Strzok's phone while others were only recovered from Page's phone. -OIG Report 

Thousands of text messages between Strzok and Page were recovered by the OIG, many indicating that both agents in charge of investigating Donald Trump absolutely hate him. 

In August 2016, Strzok and Page discussed an "insurance policy" in the event that Trump won the election which many believe to be in reference to operation Crossfire Hurricane - the DOJ's counterintelligence investigation into Trump and his campaign. 

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office - that there's no way he [Trump] gets elected - but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." wrote Strzok, adding "It's like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40." 

In the home stretch of the 2016 US election, Strzok is fuming at Trump - texting Page: " I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer." He then texts "I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?!," to which Page replies "I don't know. But we'll get it back."

More than two years later, the anti-Trump FBI agents may not have gotten their country back - but the special counsel's office continues to cast a shadow of doubt Trump's legitimacy.

Published:12/15/2018 1:40:48 PM
[World] Jonathan Turley Rips James Comey for 92 Street Y Speech About Trump

Law Professor Jonathan Turley said ex-FBI Director Jim Comey's remarks about the Trump White House and the FBI interview of Gen. Michael Flynn is "the epitaph of his entire time" as director.

Published:12/14/2018 7:07:05 PM
[Politics] REVEALED: FBI 302s show agents didn’t believe Flynn was lying! The FBI 302 of Flynn’s interview has been released as the judge ordered, and it does validate the reporting we heard many months ago that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did . . . Published:12/14/2018 4:05:42 PM
[Politics] REVEALED: FBI 302s show agents didn’t believe Flynn was lying! The FBI 302 of Flynn’s interview has been released as the judge ordered, and it does validate the reporting we heard many months ago that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did . . . Published:12/14/2018 4:05:42 PM
[Markets] "Wokesterism" - Will The Donald 'Devil-Hunters' Be In The Dock In 2019?

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Sleepwalkers Awoke!

Andrew Sullivan called it “the Great Awokening” in a shrewd New York Magazine column this week. He refers, off course, to earlier episodes of American religious hysteria, namely the Great Awakening of the 1730s that featured the Rev. Jonathan Edwards raining sulfur and brimstone down on guilt-wracked New Englanders, and then the Second Awakening of the the early 1800s that spun off innumerable Protestant sects, cults, and utopian experiments. I like the term “Wokesterism” because the “ism” part acknowledges that the current hysteria makes a religion out of politics.

Sullivan’s theory is that Wokesterism is an improvised replacement for sclerotic American Christianity, to fill the vacuum of entropic meaninglessness that pervades life in the republic these days. He says:

And so we’re mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults. Like almost all new cultish impulses, they see no boundary between politics and their religion.

Wokesterism eerily mirrors many of the harsher practices of the most severe American Protestantism. It offers its own original sin, “white privilege,” from which there is neither redemption nor hope of redemption - like the old Presbyterian hell for babies who have come into this world drenched in sin. No amount of abject apology will avail for heretics to Wokesterism.

The principal aims of Wokesterism are coercion of others, persecution, and punishment of the guilty (the un-Woke). Most importantly, it requires the suspension of individual conscience in order to promote unthinking, robotic obedience and mob justice. That helps explain the disgraceful blindness of the Wokester Left, especially the educated elites who work in the news media, the computer tech sector, and other “creative class” vocations.

One thing that Sullivan leaves out is the necessity for the Devil. That role is filled by Mr. Trump. His sinister cargo of belief, countering the Wokefullness of unicorns and rainbows, is the dark theology of MAGA, and Mr. Trump’s followers are the imps, demons, incubi and succubi of deplorable fly-over land. Wokesters will spare no effort to vanquish all this wickedness, and even lying and cheating in the service of that end is considered fair play. Hence the arrant and epic dishonesty of The New York Times.

Interesting case in point: Yesterday’s developments in the General Flynn court case are not even present in this morning’s Times. I speak of the action on the bench of Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan. It’s been brought to his attention that the scurrilous entrapment of Gen. Flynn by Woke FBI managers entailed departures from normal, lawful procedure. Gen. Flynn was interrogated in January of 2017, and the FBI account of the interview was not written (supposedly) until August off that year. The reason that reports and memoranda must be written ASAP after an interview is for the obvious reason that much important fact may be forgotten or misremembered if not documented right away.

There is actually reason to believe that earlier versions of the report exist (or did exist), and they were trashed or buried when the main interrogator-of-Flynn, Peter Strzok, was cashiered from Robert Mueller’s team in July 2017. Judge Sullivan has demanded that the FBI produce those earlier docs by today (Friday) at 3:00 pm. It will be interesting to see if the FBI complies… or not. There is also a fair chance that Judge Sullivan will throw out Gen. Flynn’s conviction based on prosecutorial misconduct.

In the event, we could see the awesome downfall of the Archangel Mueller, and the unravelling of Wokester dreams of defeating the Devil via the Mueller inquisition. It will certainly be an embarrassment to the ardent Wokesters of the news media, who have shilled for this campaign for over two years. The General Flynn business is not the only thread unwinding in the giant tapestry of Wokester narrative. As in other epic persecutions, like the Jacobin Reign of Terror in 1790s France, and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, the tables are turning. The inquisitors, prosecutors, and executioners are going too face charges themselves, and harsh punishment is not out of the question.

The defeat of Wokesterism would be a very salutary outcome for a nation that has so badly lost its bearings to the worst of human instincts: religious persecution. It could be a fatal blow to the Democratic Party, which will have to find an alternative reason for its existence than Devil-and-Demon hunting. The Devil hunters themselves could be in the dock in 2019, answering for their actual crimes against American citizens and the public interest. Even the sainted Holy Mother of Wokesterism, the Archangel Hillary, may find herself wingless in a witness chair, answering how all that schwag from Russian banksters happened to end up in her foundation’s cookie jar.

Published:12/14/2018 2:05:35 PM
[FBI] Flynn’s fate (5) (Scott Johnson) In an interview with at the 92nd Street Y this past Sunday, Nicole Wallace asked former FBI Director James Comey how two FBI agents ended up meeting with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in the Situation Room during the first week of the Trump administration — the meeting that resulted in Flynn’s plea to one count of false statements in the case that is pending before Judge Emmet Sullivan. Comey Published:12/14/2018 9:03:15 AM
[Markets] Clinton Foundation Whistleblowers Testify: "It Operated As An Unregistered Foreign Agent"

Via Sara Carter At saracarter.com

The Clinton Foundation operated as a foreign agent ‘early in its life’ and ‘throughout it’s existence’ and did not operate as a 501c3 charitable foundation as required, and is not entitled to its status as a nonprofit, alleged two highly qualified forensic investigators, accompanied by three other investigators, said in explosive testimony Thursday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

John Moynihan and Lawerence W. Doyle, both graduates of the Catholic Jesuit College of the Holy Cross and former expert forensic government investigators, gave their shocking testimony before congress based on a nearly two year investigation into the foundation’s work both nationally and internationally. They were assisted by three other highly trained experts in taxation law and financial forensic investigations. The forensic investigators stressed that they obtained all the documentation on the foundation legally and through Freedom of Information Request Acts from the IRS and other agencies.

Former Utah U.S. Attorney General John Huber, who resigned when he was appointed by former Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the issues surrounding the approval to sell 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets to Russia, declined to attend the hearing. Chairman Mark Meadows, R-NC, who oversaw the hearing stated that it was disappointment that Huber declined, leaving Congress in the dark regarding the DOJ’s investigation.

Investigations into the Clinton Foundation have always been plagued by politics but Moynihan wanted to make clear in his opening statement that this investigation was one of many his firm has conducted on nonprofits and had nothing to do with politics. 

Doyle and Moynihan have amassed 6,000 documents in their nearly two-year investigation through their private firm MDA Analytics LLC. The documents were turned over more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill.  

The investigation clearly demonstrates that the foundation was not a charitable organization per se, but in point of fact was a closely held family partnership,” said Doyle, who formerly worked on Wall Street and has been involved with finance for the last ten years conducting investigations. 

“As such it was governed in a fashion in which it sought in large measure to advance the personal interests of its principles as detailed within the financial analysis of this submission and further confirmed within the supporting documentation and evidence section.”

At the onset of the hearing, Moynihan wanted to make perfectly clear that the intention to look into the Clinton Foundation was not political but based on their work with the firm.

“At this point I’d like to answer two questions, who are we? We are apolitical,” Moynihan told the committee. “We have no party affiliation to this whatsoever, No one has financed us… we are forensic investigators that approached this effort in a nonpartisan profession, objective, and independent way…we follow facts, that’s all.”

“We have never been partisan,” he added, speaking on behalf of all five members of his group testifying to Congress. “We come from law enforcement and wall street where each of us has dedicated our entire lives and praised the rule of law doing the right thing pursuing facts. we follow facts. that’s all.”

“None of this is our opinion,” he went on state.

“I emphasize none of this is our opinion. These are not our facts. They are not your facts. They are the facts of the Clinton Foundation.”

He disclosed the reason his firm decided to take on the Clinton Foundation and the fact that they paid for the investigation out of their “own pockets.”

“Are you doing this for money,” said Moynihan to the committee. “Yes, this is how we make a living.”

Moynihan and Doyle swapped back and forth between there testimony and opening statement, making it clear they were working as a team. But the most shocking statements came from Moynihan’s statement as he read the laundry list of violations by the Clinton Foundation.

Moynihan stated “Foreign agent,” as he began to read from a long list of violations discovered during the course of their investigation.

The Clinton Foundation “began acting as an agent of foreign governments ‘early in its life’ and throughout its existence. As such, the foundation should’ve registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act),” he said. “Ultimately, the Foundation and its auditors conceded in formal submissions that it did operate as a (foreign) agent, therefore the foundation is not entitled to its 501c3 tax exempt privileges as outlined in IRS 170 (c)2.

Doyle, who was also outlining a litany of violations by the foundation, noted that currently there are approximately 1.75 million nonprofits in the United states that annually generate nearly 2 trillion dollars, which is 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

Whose minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law,” said Doyle.

“On that note, we followed the money so we made extensive spreadsheets of their revenues and expenses, we analyzed their income statements and we did a macro-review of all the donors, which its a very (jumbled) sort of foundation,” said Doyle. “Less than 1/10th of one-percent of the donors gave 80 percent of the money. So we follow the money.” 

Moynihan added that the foundation “did pursue programs and activities for which it had neither sought nor achieved permission to undertake.” 

Particularly, he noted the case of the Clinton Presidential Library in 2004. He noted that the foundation’s role before and after library was built was a misrepresentation to donors “of the approval organizational tax status to raise funds for the presidential library programs therein. In these pursuits the foundation failed the organizational and operational task 501c3 internal revenue code 7.25.3.” 

Additionally Doyle stated that the foundation’s intentional “misuse of donated public funds.” He stated that the foundation “falsely attested that it received funds and used them for charitable purposes which was in fact not the case. Rather the foundation pursued in an array of activities both domestically and abroad.” 

“Some may be deemed philanthropic, albeit unimproved, while other much larger in scope are properly characterized as profit oriented and taxable undertakings of private enterprise again failing the operational tests philanthropy referenced above,” Doyle said. 

Philip Hackney, a tax law professor at Louisiana State University, who is a former Exempt Organizations lawyer at the IRS, and Tom Fitton, president of the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch also testified at the hearing. Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of fighting the Clinton Foundation in court to access documents requested by FOIA. Hackney and Fitton testified during the first panel of the hearing.

Published:12/14/2018 8:04:39 AM
[2016 Presidential Election] Texts found (& lost) in a bottle (Scott Johnson) The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General conducted an investigation of the gap in text messages during the period December 15, 2016, through May 17, 2017, from the cell phones assigned to famous FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The Office of Inspector General Cyber Investigations Office was asked to attempt recovery of these missing text messages for the period in issue. The Inspector General has just Published:12/14/2018 7:32:47 AM
[Uncategorized] Judge Demands Interviews With Flynn After Sentencing Memo Raises Questions About the FBI’s Conduct The memo alleges FBI agents, including McCabe and Strzok, intentionally mislead Flynn during initial questioning Published:12/13/2018 7:31:12 PM
[Markets] New Jersey Declares War On Its Residents: Plans Door-To-Door Gun Confiscation Campaign

Authored by Mike Adams via NaturalNews.com,

A New Jersey law that makes it a felony to possess a gun magazine capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition is now active.

This wildly unconstitutional law instantly criminalizes hundreds of thousands of New Jersey citizens who legally acquired normal capacity firearms magazines - which include 17-round pistol magazines and 30-round rifle magazines - as tools of self-defense against the very same violent criminals that are protected by the Democrats who passed the gun magazine ban.

Now, the New Jersey State Police have told Breitbart News they won’t rule out “house-to-house enforcement” of the new magazine ban, meaning they plan to conduct house-to-house arrests and gun magazine confiscations. These Nazi-style anti-gun operations will, of course, be carried out at gunpoint, further underscoring the entire purpose of the Second Amendment and the need for citizens to arm themselves with 30-round magazines to defend against government tyranny.

Breitbart News contacted New Jersey State Police on Monday to ask how they planned to enforce the newly enacted ban, reports Breitbart.com.

“The NJ State Police refused to rule out house-to-house checks. Rather, they responded: ‘We do not discuss enforcement strategies.'”

The very reason citizens need 30-round magazines is because the government wants to use coercion and the threat of violence to take away their legally-acquired firearms and magazines. If citizens surrender 30-round magazines, the next step will be New Jersey banning all magazines, followed by the banning of all semi-automatic firearms. Almost overnight, citizens of New Jersey will find themselves living under an authoritarian regime of pure tyranny and lawlessness… with no means to defend themselves against the state, which will then have a monopoly on effective firearms.

This is a repeat of Nazi Germany, which disarmed the Jews before mass murdering six million of them. It’s so much easier to murder people, after all, when the government disarms them first. And anyone going along with the disarmament is signing their own death warrant.

The purpose of the magazine ban is to make sure citizens can’t shoot back when the authoritarian government comes to take ALL their guns

The entire purpose of the gun magazine ban, of course, is to make sure that innocent citizens are unable to shoot back when the government sends gun confiscation teamson door-to-door raids, gunning down citizens and taking their firearms by force. Anyone who knows history will immediately realize that New Jersey is walking down the path of Stalinist Russia or Hitler’s Germany, weaponizing the power of corrupt government to disarm the very people that government will later target for mass arrests and mass murder.

Have no illusions: The aim of all Leftists in government is the establish an authoritarian government regime that holds a monopoly over all firepower, ruling over disarmed citizens who are taxed to death, silenced by the tech giants and criminalized for seeking to defend their own nation against tyranny. This will be combined with open borders policies that flood the nation with violent criminal illegal aliens who will all be granted absolute legal immunity from their crimes, even while American citizens are arrested and imprisoned for merely exercising their Second Amendment rights.

As the Founding Fathers repeatedly noted, all citizens of America have a constitutional duty to resist unconstitutional, illegal “laws” that deprive them of their constitutional rights. Just because New Jersey passes a magazine ban doesn’t mean the New Jersey government has the rightful authority to assert such a restriction. The right to keep and bear arms implies the right to keep and bear the ammunition and magazines required for those arms to function. In passing the gun magazine ban, New Jersey lawmakers prove that they are lawless tyrants who have zero regard for the Bill of Rights, the right of self-defense or the safety of citizens in their own homes. It also underscores why such tyrants must be removed from power by the voters and prevented from destroying the civil rights of the people.

How much blood are New Jersey State Police willing to shed to establish their dictatorial regime of absolute power?

All this raises an important question: How much blood are New Jersey State Police officers willing to shed in order to establish absolute power over the (disarmed) citizens? And who, exactly, is suicidal enough to run these door-to-door confiscation raids, demanding citizens turn over the very hardware they need to defend themselves against New Jersey government tyrants?

It now appears that New Jersey State Police are gearing up to wage mass shootings of gun owners who resist the magazine ban. This will all be carried out, of course, in the name of “public safety.” Thus, the government will engage in mass shootings while claiming to be stopping mass shootings. Such is the new tyranny of the deranged, lawless Left which believes no citizen should have the right to defend themselves against the wave of violent illegal alien criminals those very same Leftists want to see flood across the open border and invade U.S. cities.

This is the new reality is living under the tyrannical rule of Democrats who despise America and are doing everything in their power to destroy the nation and criminalize its patriots. If you dare attempt to defend yourself with a 30-round magazine against a group of illegal alien human traffickers who all have their own 30-round magazines, suddenly you are the criminal while the illegal aliens receive “sanctuary” status. Yes, it’s beyond insane, but this is precisely what left-wing lunacy has delivered in America. Now in New Jersey, no citizen is allowed to defend herself against violence, even as the state becomes a tool of violence against the citizens. Don’t forget, either, that under Barack Obama, the entire deep state apparatus, including the FBI and DOJ, was weaponized to spy on the Trump campaign, frame campaign officials for “crimes” and violate the civil rights of Trump associates via FISA warrants which were achieved using astonishing levels of deception and abuse of government power.

The government is a weapon against the people of America, and right now it’s only President Trump holding back the full force of tyranny that seeks to eviscerate any last shred of both the First and Second Amendments.

We must all now realize that the New Jersey government is waging war against its own citizens while protecting illegal aliens from prosecution. Thus, the government of New Jersey has, without question, become the enemy of the People. It won’t be long, I’d imagine, before we see New Jersey resistance groups designating New Jersey lawmakers as “enemy combatants” who have declared war on the people of New Jersey.

No good can come of this

A state government that believes it can assert the power to criminally arrest its own citizens for possessing legally-acquired “normal capacity” magazines must also believe it has the power to confiscate all guns, too. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before New Jersey lawmakers decide that no citizen should be allowed to own any gun at all. When that day comes — and it isn’t far off — will the law-abiding citizens of New Jersey do what they’re told and turn in all their guns, too?

Every government will take more and more power until it is forced to stop. There is no such thing as a government that has “enough” power. Its bureaucrats are forever hungry for more power, and they will continue to strip power from the citizens for as long as they can get away with it. The rise of tyranny is an inescapable human vector — a concentration of power that only snowballs into increasingly dangerous levels of tyranny and authoritarianism. Only when citizens stand up and say “Enough!” will bureaucrats ever back down and be humbled.

New Jersey is marching down the path of Stalinist authoritarianism. Have no illusions that New Jersey State Police will carry 30-round magazines, not 10-round magazines. The entire point of this magazine confiscation program is to incrementally disarm the citizenry and make sure that when the NJ government launches its all-out war on pro-2A citizens, those citizens are at a severe disadvantage in terms of magazine capacity. It’s so much easier to win a war, after all, if you force your enemy to carry 10-round magazines. And from the point of view of New Jersey lawmakers, the people are their enemy. YOU are already an “enemy combatant” in the eyes of NJ Democrats.

Giving up your 30-round magazines, in other words, is tantamount to surrendering to tyranny. No lawful government would ever attempt to take away your rifle mags. The very fact that New Jersey is going down this path proves that NJ bureaucrats plan to do much more in the near future. Ultimately, they don’t want the citizens to have any means to defend themselves whatsoever.

First they came for the magazines, and we turned those in to comply with the law.

Then they came for the guns, and we turned those in, too, to comply with the law.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me (and no means to defend myself against lawless tyranny).

Published:12/13/2018 7:31:12 PM
[Markets] Watch Live: Clinton And Uranium One Whistleblower's "Explosive" Testimony On Capitol Hill

Several whistleblowers along with Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton - all of whom have compiled a trove of information on the Clinton Foundation and/or Uranium One, are testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today. 

In addition to Fitton, the panel will hear testimony from Philip Hackney, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh who spent five years at the Office of the Chief Counsel of the IRS in Washington D.C. 

Also testifying will be DM Income Advisors managing partner Lawrence W. Doyle, and JFM and Associates prinncipal John F. Moynihan. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told Fox News's Martha MacCallum on Monday night that the whistleblowers have "explosive" allegations to share.

Watch live at 2pm EST: 

As we noted on Tuesday based on reporting by The Hill's John Solomon, the whistleblowers - who are former federal criminal investigators, have allegged that the Clinton Foundation was "engaged in illegal activities and may be liable for millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties." 

We may also hear about revalations of pay-for-play at Thursday's hearing - as the Obama State Department, headed at the time by Hillary Clinton, authorized $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals to 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation - a 145% increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration, according to IBTimes

Meanwhile, Solomon reported on Tuesday that one whistleblower who submitted 6,000 pages of evidence through a firm composed of former federal law enforcement investigators, MDA Analytics LLC., has provided evidence of potential tax crimes as well as a "culture of noncompliance."  

That submission made with the IRS, and eventually provided to the Justice Department in Washington and to the FBI in Little Rock, Arkansas, alleges there is "probable cause" to believe the Clinton Foundation broke federal tax law and possibly owes millions of dollars in tax penalties. That submission and its supporting evidence will be one focus of a GOP-led congressional hearing Thursday in the House.

The foundation strongly denies any wrongdoing. But it acknowledges its own internal legal reviews in 2008 and 2011 cited employee concerns ranging from quid pro quo promises to donors, to improper commingling of personal and charity business. -The Hill

We will update this article with highlights from Thursday's Congressional testimony. 

Published:12/13/2018 1:01:40 PM
[World] Judge Napolitano on Michael Flynn Alleging He Was Pressured by FBI Agents Not to Have Lawyer Present

Judge Andrew Napolitano said Michael Flynn's legal team's allegation that the FBI pushed Flynn not to bring a lawyer to his fateful Jan. 24, 2017 interview with agents at the White House is "not a defense to lying."

Published:12/13/2018 9:59:38 AM
[Media] TICK TOCK! Kimberley Strassel tweets new info about judge in Flynn’s case that could spell TROUBLE for FBI (Brit Hume assist)

Kimberley Strassel shared a tweet with breaking news about General Flynn’s case, breaking news that could spell big trouble for the FBI: BREAKING: The judge in the Flynn case–the no-nonsense Judge Emmet Sullivan–is now demanding referenced docs (McCabe memo, FBI 302) related to that infamous Jan 24, 2017 interview w/Flynn. Also has ordered gov to […]

The post TICK TOCK! Kimberley Strassel tweets new info about judge in Flynn’s case that could spell TROUBLE for FBI (Brit Hume assist) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:12/13/2018 9:59:37 AM
[2016 Presidential Election] A Comey contradiction (Scott Johnson) Reading the transcript of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees last week, I formed the strong impression that Comey falls somewhat short of the straight shooter image by which he presents himself. He has learned how to play a G-man on television. The reality, however, departs from the image. I posted the transcript of Comey’s testimony last week in “Comey doesn’t know and Published:12/13/2018 9:27:49 AM
[Politics] GOOD NEWS? Federal judge wants to see notes on infamous FBI meeting with Flynn before sentencing It was reported late last night that the federal judge overseeing the sentencing for Michael Flynn now wants to see the FBI notes on Flynn before he sentences him: Strassel says this . . . Published:12/13/2018 8:59:27 AM
[Politics] GOOD NEWS? Federal judge wants to see notes on infamous FBI meeting with Flynn before sentencing It was reported late last night that the federal judge overseeing the sentencing for Michael Flynn now wants to see the FBI notes on Flynn before he sentences him: Strassel says this . . . Published:12/13/2018 8:59:27 AM
[Columnists] Comey Continues to Display His Lack of Credibility

Fired former FBI Director James Comey is at it again. Last week, Comey testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight... Read More

The post Comey Continues to Display His Lack of Credibility appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/12/2018 11:25:46 PM
[In The News] Michael Flynn Judge Seeks Review Of Key FBI Notes Before Sentencing Decision |

By Chuck Ross -

Michael Flynn

The judge presiding over the Michael Flynn case is ordering a review of key FBI documents before deciding on a sentence for the former national security adviser. Judge Emmet Sullivan wants to review a memo put together on Jan. 24, 2017 by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. He also ...

Michael Flynn Judge Seeks Review Of Key FBI Notes Before Sentencing Decision | is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:12/12/2018 9:53:39 PM
[World] Manafort, Cohen were prosecuted for tax matters that could have been resolved by civil settlement

Paul Manafort thought he was in the clear in the summer of 2014 after meeting with federal prosecutors and FBI agents about his Ukrainian income, bank records and income tax returns.

Michael Cohen was charged so quickly he never got a chance to meet with the Justice Department's Tax Division ... Published:12/12/2018 1:21:13 PM

[Politics] FBI Corruption Probe Indicts a Top Tallahassee Democrat

A federal investigation into top circles of Tallahassee politics has led to the indictment and arrest of one of Florida's most prominent Democrats.

The post FBI Corruption Probe Indicts a Top Tallahassee Democrat appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/12/2018 12:51:41 PM
[The Blog] Andrew McCabe told Michael Flynn the ‘quickest way’ to resolve FBI interview was not to involve the White House Counsel

"The agents did not provide General Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement..."

The post Andrew McCabe told Michael Flynn the ‘quickest way’ to resolve FBI interview was not to involve the White House Counsel appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:12/12/2018 12:21:18 PM
[Markets] Michael Cohen To Be Sentenced At 11AM In New York Court

Michael Cohen, former longtime personal lawyer for President Trump, has shown up to a New York courthouse where he will be sentenced on Wednesday for a laundry list of crimes - some of which implicate Trump in possible wrongdoing, but most of which have nothing to do with the president. 

Cohen, who went from claiming he would "take a bullet" for President Trump to stabbing his former boss in the back, faces sentencing on nine federal charges, including campaign finance violations based on a hush-money scheme to pay off two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, as well as making false statements to special counsel Robert Mueller. 

New York prosecutors have recommended that Judge William Pauley impose "a substantial term of imprisonment" on Cohen - which may be around five years. Cohen's attorneys, meanwhile, have asked Pauley for a sentence which avoids prison time - citing his cooperation with the Mueller probe and other investigations which began prior to his guilty plea last summer. Mueller said that Cohen had "gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation," having met with Mueller's team seven times where he reportedly provided information useful to the Russia investigation. The special counsel's office has recommended that any sentence Cohen receives for lying to Congress should run concurrently with the charges brought by the Manhattan federal prosecutors. 

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to tax evasion, lying to banks and violating campaign finance laws - charges filed by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. 

The campaign finance charges relate to his facilitation of two hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Both women say they had sex with Trump in the prior decade. The White House has denied Trump had sex with either woman.

Prosecutors say the payments were made "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump, who is called "Individual-1" in a sentencing recommendation filed last week.

Cohen's crimes were intended "to influence the election from the shadows," prosecutors wrote. -CNBC

In November Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Organization's ill-fated plans to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow - a project floated by Cohen and longtime FBI asset who had been in Trump's orbit for years, Felix Sater. Cohen claims he understated Trump's knowledge of the project. He also lied to Congress when he said that the Moscow project talks ended in early 2016, when in fact he and the Trump Organization had continued to pursue it as late as June 2016. 

On Wednesday, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti - who is in attendance at Cohen's sentencing, said in a Wednesday tweet that Cohen "thought we would just go away and he/Trump would get away with it. He thought he was smart and tough. He was neither. Today will prove that in spades."

We wonder how much Avenatti will pick up of the $293,000 in legal fees Stormy Daniels was ordered to pay Trump?

Published:12/12/2018 9:50:18 AM
[Markets] Total Setup? FBI Told Michael Flynn To Ditch Lawyer During Interview With Strzok

Andrew McCabe - the FBI's former Deputy Director, advised then-national security adviser Michael Flynn that he wouldn't need a lawyer present during a January 24, 2017 White House interview with two FBI agents, according to the Washington Examiner, citing a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn's attorneys. During a phone call with Flynn, McCabe suggested that if anyone else was in the meeting, the FBI would have to escalate things to involve the Justice Department. 

Citing McCabe's account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn's West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he "felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down" with Flynn to discuss Flynn's talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. "I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only," McCabe wrote. "I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants." -Washington Examiner

One of the agents conducting the interview was disgraced counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, whose text messages to his FBI mistress revealed that he harbored extreme animus towards President Trump - and ostensibly those in his orbit, which would include Flynn.  

According to the so-called "302 report" - a document FBI agents use to summarize interviews, the two agents were in Flynn's office within two hours of the phone call with McCabe, and said he was "relaxed and jocular," offering the agents "a little tour" of his section of the White House. 

"The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview," reads Flynn's memo. 

Also contained within the 302 report is an admission that McCabe and other FBI officials "decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport."

As Byron York of the Examiner notes - the FBI agents had already seen transcripts of Flynn's wiretapped conversations with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. "Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if 'Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used ... to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said ... they would not confront him or talk him through it," reads the 302 filing. 

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn's lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn's lawyers say that he made a "serious error in judgment" in the interview. Citing Flynn's distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller's recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison. -Washington Examiner

Following a recommendation from the special counsel that Flynn face no jail time due to the "substantial" assistance he reportedly provided to Mueller's team, the former national security adviser asked the court to do 200 hours of community service, according to the memo. "As the Government has made clear, his cooperation was not grudging or delayed," Flynn's attorneys Stephen Anthony and Robert Kelner wrote in the sentencing memo. "Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel’s Office."

Federal sentencing guidelines call for Flynn to serve a sentence of up to six months in prison and pay up to a $9,500 fine. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Kislyak. 

"Even when circumstances later came to light that prompted extensive public debate about the investigation of General Flynn, including revelations that certain FBI officials involved in the January 24 interview of General Flynn were themselves being investigated for misconduct, General Flynn did not back away from accepting responsibility for his actions," states the memo.

Published:12/12/2018 8:50:12 AM
[US News] AMBUSHED? Sentencing memo sheds new light on what Andrew McCabe told Michael Flynn before FBI interview

Byron York has a new piece over at the Washington Examiner on the just-released sentencing memo for Michael Flynn that sheds new light on just what former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the former national security adviser before his interview with two FBI agents: New: FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during […]

The post AMBUSHED? Sentencing memo sheds new light on what Andrew McCabe told Michael Flynn before FBI interview appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:12/12/2018 8:24:18 AM
[Robert Mueller] Flynn’s fate (3) (Scott Johnson) The lawyers representing General Michael Flynn have filed a 13-page sentencing memorandum with the court. The memorandum is followed by 165 pages of exhibits testifying to Flynn’s merits, record and accomplishments. The document is accessible online in its entirety here. Byron York extracts the new information that is made public in the memorandum in “Memo: FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false Published:12/12/2018 5:50:35 AM
[Markets] Hack Of 500 Million Marriott Guests Traced To Chinese Intelligence Services

First it was the North Korean hackers that were accused of somehow hacking into Sony's unbreakable firewall. Then, for a period of almost three years, not a single computer, voting booth, or nuclear power plant appeared to be safe from the Russian hacking scourge, which according to much of the US press, singlehandedly won the election for Trump.

Well, step aside Russians and make room for the Chinese hacker army, because according to the NYT citing two sources, the recent cyberattack on the Marriott hotel chain that collected passport information or other personal details of roughly 500 million guests was part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering effort that hacked health insurers, other hotels and the security clearance files of millions more Americans.

And just like in the Russian narrative, these were no ordinary hackers, but the kind that worked on behalf of the Ministry of State Security.

The latest discovery comes at a very opportunistic time: just as the Trump administration plans a series of actions targeting China’s trade, cyber and economic policies. As reported earlier, even as the trade war between the US and China is supposedly in a tenuous ceasefire, the DOJ is preparing to announce new indictments against Chinese hackers working for the intelligence and military services. The Trump administration also plans to declassify intelligence to reveal concerted efforts by Chinese agents, dating to 2014 or earlier, to build a database containing names of executives and American government officials with security clearances.

Finally, as we discussed yesterday when we commented that the real reason for the US-China trade war is the US desire to halt or at least delay China from manufacturing its own high-tech semiconductors, the NYT also adds that the Trump administration is considering an executive order intended to make it harder for Chinese companies to obtain critical telecommunications equipment.

The coordinated moves against Chinese hackers are expected to be announced within days, and stem from the growing concern within the administration that "the 90-day trade truce negotiated between President Trump and President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires two weeks ago may do little to change China’s behavior — including coercing American companies to hand over valuable technology if they seek to enter the Chinese market, as well as the theft of industrial secrets on behalf of state-owned companies."

Meanwhile, the actual hack of Marriott’s Starwood chain, which was only revealed late last month after being discovered in September, is not expected to be part of the coming indictments.

But two of the government officials said it has added urgency to the administration’s crackdown, given that Marriott is the top hotel provider for United States government and military personnel.

The crackdown is in response to what has vexed the Trump administration as Russia China appears to have reverted over the past 18 months to the kind of cyber intrusions into American companies and government agencies that former President Barack Obama thought he had ended with a 2015 agreement with Mr. Xi.

And just like Russia, China has denied any knowledge.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied any knowledge of the Marriott hack. “China firmly opposes all forms of cyberattack and cracks down on it in accordance with the law,” he said. “If offered evidence, the relevant Chinese departments will carry out investigations according to the law.”

“China is one of the major victims of threats to cyber security including cyberhacking,” he said.

Logically, the risk with the coming sweeping accusations, is that while top administration officials insist that the trade talks are proceeding on a separate track, the broader crackdown on China could undermine Trump’s ability to reach an agreement with Xi as American charges against senior members of China’s intelligence services — in tandem with the targeting of high-profile technology executives, like Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the communications giant Huawei and daughter of its founder — risk hardening opposition in Beijing to negotiating with Mr. Trump.

Over the weekend, China was infuriated by the arrest of Meng, who was detained in Canada on suspicion of fraud involving violations of United States sanctions in Iran. She was granted bail of 10 million Canadian dollars, or $7.5 million, while awaiting extradition to the United States, a Canadian judge ruled on Tuesday.

In response, American business leaders have been bracing for retaliation from China, which has demanded the immediate release of Meng and accused both the United States and Canada of violating her human rights. On Tuesday, the International Crisis Group said that one of its employees, a former Canadian diplomat, had been detained in China. The disappearance of the former diplomat, Michael Kovrig, could further inflame tensions between China and Canada. “We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” the group said in a statement on its website.

Late on Tuesday, in an interview with Reuters, Trump said that he would consider intervening in the Huawei case if it would help serve national security and help get a trade deal done with China. Such a move would essentially pit Trump against his own Justice Department, which coordinated with Canada to arrest Meng as she changed planes in Vancouver.

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Mr. Trump said.

Of course, now that cyberwarfare is the strawman to escalate any diplomatic feud, from the first revelation that the Marriott chain’s computer systems had been breached, there was widespread suspicion in both Washington and among cybersecurity firms that the hack was not a matter of commercial espionage, but part of a much broader spy campaign to amass Americans’ personal data; one in which Chinese crack hacker inexplicably left "fingerprints" confirming they were behind the attack.

Meanwhile, since the Marriott database contained not only credit card information but passport data, that particular intrusion would allegedly have given China access to confidential data belonging to hundreds of millions of Americans.  Specifically, according to the NYT, Chinese spies stole passport numbers for up to 327 million people — many of whom stayed at Sheraton Hotels, Westin and W Hotels and other Starwood brands. But Marriott has not said if it would pay to replace those passports, an undertaking that would cost tens of billions of dollars.

Lisa Monaco, the former White House homeland security adviser, noted at a conference last week that passport information would be particularly valuable in tracking who is crossing borders, what they look like, and other key data.

Why would China need this data?

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, said the Chinese have collected “huge pots of data” to feed a Ministry of State Security database seeking to identify American spies — and the Chinese people talking to them. “Big data is the new wave for counterintelligence,” Mr. Lewis said.

“It’s Big Data hoovering,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, the chief technology officer at CrowdStrike, who first highlighted Chinese hacking as a threat researcher in 2011 and who was also instrumental in launching the witch hunt targeting Russians in the summer of 2016, accusing them of hacking the DNC server which has yet to be investigated by the FBI. “This data is all going back to a data lake that can be used for counterintelligence, recruiting new assets, anti-corruption campaigns or future targeting of individuals or organizations.”

The effort to amass Americans’ personal information so alarmed government officials that in 2016 the Obama administration threatened to block a $14 billion bid by China’s Anbang Insurance Group to acquire Starwood Hotel & Resorts Worldwide, according to one former official familiar with the work of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, a secretive government body that reviews foreign acquisitions. Eventually, the failed bid cleared the way for Marriott Hotels to acquire Starwood for $13.6 billion later that year, becoming the world’s largest hotel chain.

As it turned out, it was too late: Starwood’s data had already been stolen by Chinese state hackers, though the breach was not discovered until this past summer, and disclosed by Marriott on Nov. 30.

Ironically, while it is unclear that any kind of trade agreement reached with China by the Trump administration can address this kind of theft, the Chinese regard intrusions into hotel chain databases as a standard kind of espionage. So does the United States, which has often seized guest data from foreign hotels.

Separately, since 2012, analysts at the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the G.C.H.Q., have watched with growing alarm as sophisticated Chinese hackers, based in the Chinese city of Tianjin, began switching targets from companies and government agencies in the defense, energy and aerospace sectors, to organizations that housed troves of Americans’ personal information.

At the time, one classified National Security Agency report noted that the hackers’ “exact affiliation with Chinese government entities is not known, but their activities indicate a probable intelligence requirement feed” from China’s Ministry of State Security, the country’s Communist-controlled civilian spy agency.

Of course, this is the same NSA which as Edward Snowden revealed several years ago, was just as busy spying on foreign targets as it was on America's own citizens.

Published:12/11/2018 10:17:49 PM
[Markets] Three Clinton Foundation Whistleblowers To Testify About Tax Fraud, Pay-For-Play

Following allegations of sloppy accounting, potential tax fraud and pay-to-play, the Clinton Foundation will be under a Congressional microscope this week after three whistleblowers have come forward and agreed to testify - one of whom secretly submitted 6,000 pages of documents to the IRS and FBI in August of 2017, and all three of whom have submitted various documents to Congressional investigators. 

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told Fox News's Martha MacCallum on Monday night that there are three whistleblowers who have spent the past two years investigating the Clinton Foundation, and have "explosive" allegations which they will share during Thursday testimony on Capitol Hill. 

MACCALLUM: OK. With regard to the investigation, which doesn’t get a lot of attention, into the Clinton foundation, the DOJ designated John Huber to look into this. They have 6,000 pages of evidence that they’ve gone through. The foundation raised $2.5 billion, and they’re looking into potential improprieties.

What’s next on this investigation?

MEADOWS: Well, I think for the American people, they want to bring some closure, not just a few sound bites, here or there, so we’re going to be having a hearing this week, not only covering over some of those 6,000 pages that you’re talking about, but hearing directly from three whistleblowers that have actually spent the majority of the last two years investigating this.

Some of the allegations they make are quite explosive, Martha. And as – we just look at the contributions. Now everybody’s focused on the contributions for the Clinton Foundation and what has happened just in the last year. But if you look at it, it had a very strong rise, the minute she was selected as secretary of state. It dipped down when she was no longer there.

And then rose again, when she decided to run for president. So there’s all kinds of allegations of pay-to-play and that kind of thing.

As we noted in late November, the Clinton Foundation has seen donations plummet approximately 90% over a three-year period between 2014 and 2017

While Hillary Clinton was Obama's Secretary of State, however, the State Department authorized $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals to 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation - a 145% increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration, according to IBTimes

Meanwhile, John Solomon of The Hill reported on Tuesday that one whistleblower who submitted 6,000 pages of evidence through a firm composed of former federal law enforcement investigators, MDA Analytics LLC., has provided evidence of potential tax crimes as well as a "culture of noncompliance."  

That submission made with the IRS, and eventually provided to the Justice Department in Washington and to the FBI in Little Rock, Arkansas, alleges there is "probable cause" to believe the Clinton Foundation broke federal tax law and possibly owes millions of dollars in tax penalties. That submission and its supporting evidence will be one focus of a GOP-led congressional hearing Thursday in the House.

The foundation strongly denies any wrongdoing. But it acknowledges its own internal legal reviews in 2008 and 2011 cited employee concerns ranging from quid pro quo promises to donors, to improper commingling of personal and charity business. -The Hill

In some instances the Clinton Foundation appears to have misled the IRS, or lied when filling out forms. For example, the Foundation retracted a bid to conduct fundraising in Utah after they refused to correct a filing error which state officials would not allow. 

When contacted for comments, the Clinton Foundation admitted their errors, but told Solomon they were akin to "minor traffic violations." 

Published:12/11/2018 9:17:48 PM
[World] Former FBI Official: Agents 'Infuriated' With Comey's Partisanship, Trump Attacks

A former top FBI official blasted former FBI Director James Comey for his new "partisan" attacks on President Trump, revealing that many rank-and-file agents are "infuriated" by his statements.

Published:12/11/2018 11:56:01 AM
[Media] He definitely KNEW: Mollie Hemingway DROPS Comey and his ‘forgetful’ testimony in a one-two FACT PUNCH

As Twitchy reported (thanks to Sharyl Attkisson), Comey seemed more than a tad bit forgetful during his testimony about a plethora of details, especially when it came to the FISA court and various investigations that were supposedly done while he was in charge of the FBI. Seems an odd thing to forget, doncha think? Comey […]

The post He definitely KNEW: Mollie Hemingway DROPS Comey and his ‘forgetful’ testimony in a one-two FACT PUNCH appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:12/11/2018 8:44:58 AM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (6) (Scott Johnson) The Daily Caller News Foundation has asked the court to unseal the search warrant and related materials that authorized the November 19 FBI raid on the home of Clinton crime family whistleblower Nate Cain. As we noted in part 1 of this series, Richard Pollock originally reported the story for the Daily Caller. Now Pollock reports that the Office of Maryland United States Attorney Robert Hur has filed a formal Published:12/11/2018 6:45:34 AM
[Politics] Trump's Hope Lies in Reform At Justice The disclosures of the last few days are, though disguised, the crash in ignominy of the Robert Mueller putsch. But they are far from the end of the story. While the sire of the Mueller hit-squad assault, former FBI director James Comey, declared 245 times at last Friday's House Judiciary Committee hearing that he did not recall events that occurred in the last several years, the president's official enemies confessed that the best they could do to show collusion between Russia and the Tru... Published:12/10/2018 11:11:26 PM
[World] Newt Gingrich Blasts James Comey After Testimony Before House Judiciary, Oversight Committees

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich reacted on Monday to former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees.

Published:12/10/2018 10:44:04 PM
[Markets] Whitey Bulger's Lawyer Sues Federal Government For Wrongful Death, Negligence In Gangster's Killing

Since the former Boston mafia kingpin was brutally murdered inside his cell less than 48 hours after arriving at a new maximum security prison in West Virginia, Whitey Bulger and the circumstances that left him vulnerable to such a brutal assault have led to suspicions that his murder might have been unofficially sanctioned by the bureau of prisons and - maybe - the FBI itself.

Bulger

Bulger, as we noted at the time, was rumored to be cooperating with a new task force created by a Massachusetts Congressman to investigate corruption in the FBI's witness protection program. While the BOP and FBI have so far released few details about the circumstances that led to Bulger's transfer, more information could soon be forthcoming. Because Bulger's former attorney, Hank Brennan, is suing the federal government for wrongful death and negligence to try and learn more about why the frail gangster in failing health was sent to a new prison and mixed in with the general population.

Mr. Brennan says he is preparing to sue the government on behalf of Bulger’s estate for wrongful death and negligence to find out why authorities sent the frail, notorious gangster to the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia, and put him in with the general population.

"It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous prisons in the country," said Mr. Brennan, who hasn’t publicly disclosed his final conversations with Bulger previously.

Mr. Brennan represented Bulger starting in 2011, when he was captured after evading arrest for 16 years. He helped defend the gangster at the 2013 trial in which Bulger was found guilty of presiding over a sprawling and lucrative web of murder, extortion, money-laundering and drug-dealing from the 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Brennan said it's important for the public to learn the truth about Bulger's death. Brennan pointed out several suspicious developments in the days before Bulger's death. For example, during his last conversation with Bulger, the aging gangster said he was being transferred for medical reasons. But the BOP told WSJ that Bulger was being transferred for making threats against prison staff.

"It’s important for the family and the public to know why the prisons decided to wheel an 89-year-old man with a history of heart attacks into one of the most dangerous prisons in the country," said Mr. Brennan, who hasn’t publicly disclosed his final conversations with Bulger previously.

[...]

A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson said that Bulger was transferred from the Florida prison because of a threat he made against a staff member, an allegation Mr. Brennan disputes, and that the transfer to Hazelton was made in accordance with the bureau’s policy. The spokesperson declined to comment on any medical issues or the threat of a lawsuit. The Bureau previously said that it had sent a team of experts to the Hazelton complex “to assess operational activities and correctional security practices and measures to determine any relevant facts that may have contributed to the incident."

And what's even more suspicious, Bulger's medical classification was changed to indicate that he needed less care - not more - before he was moved to Hazelton Prison in West Virginia, a facility with several violent murders in its recent history.

Prison records obtained by several media outlets show that Bulger’s medical classification was lowered to indicate that he needed less medical care before he was sent to the prison in West Virginia.

Whatever the truth behind Bulger's death is, Brennan might soon find out.

Published:12/10/2018 2:09:17 PM
[Politics] Rep. Gaetz: Comey's 'Amnesia Is Very Selective' in Hearing Rep. Matt Gaetz says former FBI Director James Comey has a selective memory when it comes President Donald Trump is concerned. Published:12/10/2018 11:08:26 AM
[World] Tom Fitton on James Comey Testimony, 'Professed Ignorance' on Russia Probe

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called out former FBI Director James Comey for responding “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” to dozens of questions concerning key details in the Russia probe.

Published:12/10/2018 9:07:25 AM
[Markets] Nick Ayers Won't Be Next White House Chief Of Staff; Trump Considers Mark Meadows

In a surprising twist, veteran Republican operative Nick Ayers, currently the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, won't be tapped to replace John Kelly as White House chief of staff when Kelly leaves the West Wing, a transition that President Trump confirmed by the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ said Ayers and Trump were unable to agree on a time frame for the job; Trump reportedly wanted a two-year commitment from Ayers, which he was unwilling to make due to "family concerns". The 36-year-old Ayers is the father of 6-year-old triplets. He is reportedly planning on leaving the Trump Administration at the end of this year, which means the chief of staff positions for the president and vice president could soon be vacant.

Mr. Ayers is currently chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. White House officials had recently described him as the front-runner for the position.

It was unclear on Sunday who would succeed John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s current chief of staff, who is leaving the job this month. White House officials familiar with the planning said it was unclear whether the next staff chief would come from inside or outside the administration.

Mr. Ayers has long planned to leave the administration at the end of the year.

Ayers is reportedly leaving the administration on good terms. He will join a Republican Political Action Committee where he can help the administration "from the outside," according to a source quoted by Axios.

 "Nick couldn't give POTUS a two-year commitment so he's going to help him on the outside instead," one of these sources told me. (This news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.)

Ayers confirmed that he had taken himself out of the running in a tweet, adding that he would be leaving the White House at hte end of the year.

Ayers has long been said to be the leading candidate to replace Kelly; his deep connections with Republican legislators and other Republican operatives have been cited as a crucial advantage over Kelly, who reportedly struggled to make inroads on Capitol Hill after taking the chief of staff job during the summer of 2017.

Ayers is expected to run the pro-Trump outside group America First.

Ayers

Nick Ayers

In place of Ayers, Trump is considering tapping Freedom Caucus leader and North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows, Axios reported.

Trump has asked confidants what they think about the idea of installing Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, as John Kelly's permanent replacement, according to these three sources.

Meadows has also long been rumored as a contender for the chief of staff job, though Ayers has typically been cited as Trump's preferred candidate.

Like Ayers, Meadows also has deep connections on Capitol Hill, which should aid his ability to carry out the chief of staff's responsibility of serving as a liaison with Congressional leaders. But still, as Axios cautions, nothing is set in stone. And Trump has yet to make a final decision.

Published:12/9/2018 4:04:12 PM
[World] Corey Lewandowski Blasts James Comey and Claim He Doesn't Know Mueller

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski dismissed a recorded claim by ex-FBI Director Jim Comey that he is not personally close with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Published:12/9/2018 3:32:59 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Rubio warns pardoning Manafort would be ‘a mistake’ Sen. Marco Rubio warns President Trump that it would be “a mistake” to pardon Paul Manafort, who prosecutors say violated his plea deal by repeatedly lying to the FBI.
Published:12/9/2018 2:32:57 PM
[World] James Comey Came Across As Consistent, Compelling, Careful, Dem Krishnamoorthi Says

House Oversight Committee member Raja Krishnamoorthi said on "Sunday Morning Futures" that ex-FBI Director James Comey "came across as consistent, compelling and careful in his answers" to a joint committee's closed-door session with him this week.

Published:12/9/2018 1:02:47 PM
[39815361-2faf-5600-91db-1645657421d5] 'SNL' sketch asks what would happen if Donald Trump was black “Saturday Night Live” took a jab at the Trump administration as well as the FBI in a sketch from its Dec. 8 episode that simply posited the question: What if Donald Trump was black? Published:12/9/2018 12:32:39 PM
[World] James Comey Testimony: Truly Stunning He Said I Dont Know, Goodlatte Said

Outgoing House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Sunday it was "truly stunning" to hear the former FBI director claim he doesn't know or "can't recall" answers to nearly 250 questions about the Trump-Russia probe and the Clinton email investigation.

Published:12/9/2018 12:05:05 PM
[Markets] Despite Comey's Struggle With Amnesia, Ex-FBI Director Confirms Dossier Totally Unverified

Former FBI Director James Comey didn't know a lot during Friday's congressional testimony - claiming hundreds of times (245 according to Trump) that he simply couldn't remember various things.

What Comey did remember, however, confirms that the FBI could not verify the dossier submitted by former UK spy Christopher Steele - which the agency used as the foundation of a spy warrant application to surveil the Trump campaign.

While Comey said the dossier came from "a reliable source with a track record, and it’s an important thing when you’re seeking a PC warrant," he also admitted that the FBI was unable to corroborate the document's claims

"But what I understand by verified is we then try to replicate the source information so that it becomes FBI investigation and our conclusions rather than a reliable source's," Comey said, adding "That’s what I understand it, the difference to be. And that work wasn’t completed by the time I left in May of 2017, to my knowledge."

The FBI is required to fully vet information they submit to FISA courts, which they of course did not do in their haste to deploy a counterintelligence dragnet on the Trump campaign during the final months of the 2016 US election. 

Steele, meanwhile, was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the press while the agency was using him as a source. To get around this, the FBI went through former #4 DOJ official Bruce Ohr - who was demoted twice for lying about his contacts with Steele. 

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for the embattled research firm Fusion GPS on the Trump dossier. Fusion GPS hired Steele as part of their ongoing effort to investigate the Trump campaign and any ties with Russia. It was discovered in 2017 that Fusion GPS was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the campaign’s law firm Perkins Coie to investigate any alleged ties between Trump and Russia.

More importantly, the FBI used information from Steele, a foreign source who was openly antagonistic about Trump. In fact, Ohr told FBI officials that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” as stated in the House Intelligence Committee investigation memo. -Sara Carter

Comey's confirmation echoes comments made in a string of emails quietly requested by House Republicans for declassification - as reported last week by The Hill's John Solomon. The emails - kept from Congressional investigators for over two years, "included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division," according to the report - and took place in early to mid-October of 2016, prior to the FBI successfully securing a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. 

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured. -The Hill

And while Comey's sudden amnesia has gotten a wholesale pass from the MSM, he did tell Congressional investigators that he has no idea what the crime of "collusion" is.

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy asked Comey Friday afternoon during a closed-door hearing, “Some of our friends in the media use the word ‘collusion’ from time to time. What is the crime of collusion?”

Comey responded, “What is the crime of collusion? I do not know. I’ve never heard the term ‘collusion’ used in the way it’s been used in our world over the last couple [sic] years before that.” He continued, “I don’t know of a crime that involves collusion. I think in terms of conspiracy or aiding and abetting.”

Gowdy later asked Comey what he thought the difference was between “collusion” and “conspiracy.”

I don’t know because I don’t know what collusion means. It’s a term I haven’t heard in my career in the Justice Department, so I don’t know,” said Comey. -Daily Caller

 What exactly is special counsel Robert Mueller investigating again?

Published:12/9/2018 11:01:30 AM
[Politics] Rubio: 'Terrible Mistake' If Trump Pardons Manafort Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., warned Sunday it'd be "a terrible mistake" if President Donald Trump would pardon his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in the wake of prosecutors' charges that he lied to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller. Published:12/9/2018 10:08:23 AM
[Politics] Trump Slams 'Leakin' James Comey on Twitter President Donald Trump blasted former FBI Director James Comey on Twitter Sunday, accusing him of lying to House lawmakers about the investigation into Russian interference."Leakin' James Comey must have set a record for who lied the most to Congress in one day. His Friday... Published:12/9/2018 8:30:54 AM
[eacf64d6-bf6f-5fc5-b0a5-31df3cbc8b8b] Jimmy Hoffa FBI files should be released now The U.S. government should order the immediate release –un-redacted and in full – of the FBI's secret files that the bureau has compiled on the Hoffa's case, and also order the re-testing of the blood evidence that Fox News found on the floorboards of the Detroit house where a major suspect told me that he murdered Hoffa. Published:12/9/2018 7:01:24 AM
[Politics] Comey: FBI Probe of Russia Initially Looked at 4 Americans The FBI's counterintelligence investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia initially focused on four Americans and whether they were connected to Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, former FBI Director James Comey told... Published:12/9/2018 5:29:41 AM
[f347f6e7-a9a3-5e37-abe5-5135ad41fccb] Rep. Andy Biggs: I heard from Comey on Friday -- Here are the three most important takeaways As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I was among those who interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey on Friday about Hillary’s Clinton’s email scandal and about the initial stages of the FBI investigation of allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Published:12/8/2018 10:58:29 PM
[f347f6e7-a9a3-5e37-abe5-5135ad41fccb] Rep. Andy Biggs: I interviewed Comey on Friday -- Here are the three most important takeaways As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I was among those who interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey on Friday about Hillary’s Clinton’s email scandal and about the initial stages of the FBI investigation of allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election. Published:12/8/2018 9:58:31 PM
[Politics] Here it is! Comey closed-door testimony RELEASED!! Some details are coming out about the testimony that Comey gave to Congress, and it’s very very interesting.  Like for instance, the fact that the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation began with looking into . . . Published:12/8/2018 8:30:40 PM
[Politics] Here it is! Comey closed-door testimony RELEASED!! Some details are coming out about the testimony that Comey gave to Congress, and it’s very very interesting.  Like for instance, the fact that the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation began with looking into . . . Published:12/8/2018 8:30:40 PM
[Markets] Incoming House Judiciary Chair Planning To End Probe Into FBI, DOJ

During a break during former FBI Director James Comey's heated closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill on Friday, incoming House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler confirmed to reporters what many had already suspected: That Nadler (and probably his fellow Democratic leaders) would put the kibosh on the House's investigation into alleged political bias at the highest levels of the FBI and DOJ as they launched an investigation into the Trump campaign - an investigation that eventually morphed into the Mueller probe.

While Democrats prepare to ramp up investigations into everything from Trump's "war on the media" to his involvement in his family business, Nadler told a group of reporters that he intends to end the House Judiciary Committee's involvement in the Congressional probe as soon as he takes the reins next year.

Nadler

Asked why he intends to end the committee's involvement in the probe, Nadler responded that "it was a waste of time to begin with" and a "distraction" from the real-wrong doing here - that is, lawbreaking committed by Republicans, according to the Hill.

"Yes, because it is a waste of time to start with," Nadler said in response to a question about whether he would end the probe. Nadler characterized the Republican investigation as a political sideshow that aims to distract from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"The entire purpose of this investigation is to be a diversion of the real investigation, which is Mueller. There is no evidence of bias at the FBI and this other nonsense they are talking about," he continued.

If the House investigation into suspected FBI malfeasance is just a "sideshow", as Nadler claims, how would he explain the fact that the FBI knew the allegations contained in the Steele dossier - the linchpin of the FBI's FISA warrant application that kicked off the Russia probe in earnest - were bogus before applying for surveillance? Or the many conflicts of interest between senior FBI officials involved with the probe (Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok, and, yes, Comey himself) - or the fact that McCabe was fired following after the DOJ's inspector general confirmed that McCabe had lied under oath to try and conceal the fact that he told an FBI spokesman to leak a story about the FBI's investigation into the Clinton Foundation just days before the election. McCabe could still face criminal charges from his lies. But Congress's attempt to hold the FBI accountable is just a "distraction?"

But Nadler doesn't have the power to end the investigation - which also involves the House Intelligence Committee - just yet. And before he takes control, Republicans are hoping to interview a few more people, including former attorney general Loretta Lynch.

Nadler then practiced some deflection himself by changing the subject to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

"The real question now is Whitaker, [who] is still the acting attorney general," Nadler said.

Nadler also said he has "lots of questions" for Whitaker, whom Democrats have branded as an illegitimate usurper who is conspiring to end the Mueller probe (despite taking zero steps to actually impede Mueller's investigation).

But what's wrong with a little deflection (so long as it serves your political purposes, that is)?

Published:12/8/2018 8:30:40 PM
[fa4a5cc3-41b8-53e1-9a5e-4f67a3481c60] Ex-FBI Assistant Director: Comey is a disgrace to the FBI, won't answer key questions on Clinton email scandal Unfortunately, the actions of James Comey and his inner circle has caused too many Americans to question the core values of the FBI as an institution. Published:12/8/2018 8:30:40 PM
[In The News] Lindsey Graham Says He Will ‘Get To The Bottom’ Of FISA Abuse As Senate Judiciary Chairman

By Chuck Ross -

Lindsey Graham slams democrats for unethical behavior -4

Lindsey Graham pledged Saturday to continue an investigation into the FBI’s alleged abuse of the federal surveillance court Graham is poised to take over as Senate Judiciary Committee, where he will have oversight of the FBI, Justice Department and federal court system Republicans have accused the FBI of mishandling the ...

Lindsey Graham Says He Will ‘Get To The Bottom’ Of FISA Abuse As Senate Judiciary Chairman is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:12/8/2018 6:57:30 PM
[2016 Presidential Election] Comey doesn’t know and can’t recall (Scott Johnson) Former FBI Director James Comey lies at the heart of the biggest scandal in American political history. He appeared before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees yesterday to testify about it. FOX News reports on his testimony here. The committees released the partially redacted transcript this afternoon; I have posted it below. Comey seems to have picked up a trick or two from the kind of people he used to Published:12/8/2018 6:27:10 PM
[Crime] FBI Bucks Liberals and Refuses to Consider ‘Proud Boys’ an Extremist Group

The FBI has pulled against liberal orthodoxy and has officially ruled that the "Proud Boys" is not an "extremist" organization.

The post FBI Bucks Liberals and Refuses to Consider ‘Proud Boys’ an Extremist Group appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:12/8/2018 4:28:39 PM
[Crime] FBI Bucks Liberals and Refuses to Consider ‘Proud Boys’ an Extremist Group

The FBI has pulled against liberal orthodoxy and has officially ruled that the "Proud Boys" is not an "extremist" organization.

The post FBI Bucks Liberals and Refuses to Consider ‘Proud Boys’ an Extremist Group appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:12/8/2018 4:28:39 PM
[Markets] Scaramucci Talks QAnon, Stone Rails Against Uranium One "Russian Collusion" At MAGA Conference

MAGA conservatives assembled on Thursday for an interesting, yet thus far poorly attended new political conference, where political figures (both long and short lived) offered their opinions to a mostly empty room, according to Politico

Held at the Marriott Wardman Park in Woodley Park - home to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for several years, the first-ever American Priority Conference featuring the likes of Roger Stone, Anthony Scaramucci, Stefan Molyneux and George Papadopoulos. 

Also there were social media commentators Mike Cernovich and Laura Loomer - who was recently banned from Twitter. 

Stone took the stage, condemning the "Russia collusion delusion," along with the Obama administration for spying on the Trump campaign - accusing the FBI of "planting faux-Russian collusion." 

Stone also defended himself against claims that he had advance knowledge of damaging emails released by WikiLeaks, while calling the Uranium One deal the "real Russian collusion." 

He also called the Obama-era Uranium One deal "the largest treasonous financial scandal in American history," adding "if people are looking for Russian collusion they merely need to look at Bill and Hillary Clinton and their acceptance of $145 million from the Russian energy company while the transfer of 20% of America's enriched uranium was on Hillary's desk for transfer to the Russians." 

(We would note that the deal was for 20% of uranium in the groundas opposed to enriched, and that the $145 million was donated to the Clinton Foundation by parties linked to the Uranium One deal - not from a Russian energy company). 

The Mooch talks Qanon

Also notable were comments from Anthony Scaramucci - the man who served such a brief stint as Trump's White House communications director that his last name is now a unit of measure for a very short period of time.

Scaramucci told a married couple from Virginia that the infamous internet conspiracy prognosticator known as "Qanon" has "been dead accurate about so many things," adding "When you find out who he is, you're not going to believe it." 

Despite being pushed off the official agenda, QAnon remained a fixation of many conference attendees. Even Trump’s former White House communications director praised the preposterous theory, which holds that special counsel Robert Mueller and Trump, working together in secret, have drawn up 50,000 sealed indictments of powerful pedophiles in order to thwart a deep state coup by Soros, the Clintons and former President Barack Obama.

At “coffee with Mooch” on Friday morning, the former White House communications director, seemingly unaware of the presence of a nearby reporter, spoke glowingly of the theory as a couple from Stafford, Va., showed him their “Q” paraphernalia. (Q is the otherwise anonymous author of the QAnon theory.) -Politico

Other speakers hailed from across the conservative spectrum:

On Monday, intellectual dark web philosopher Stefan Molyneux, who often sounds off on race and IQ, tweeted a sort of white identity origin myth, writing, “My ancestors were driven out of Africa and struggled to survive winter and hunger. ... Now the Africans say we are ‘privileged’ & thieves.”

This weekend, Molyneux shares a spot on the conference agenda with Scaramucci as well as former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former deputy campaign manager David Bossie and Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign.

...

“You have conservatives who are acting like leftists,” said Laura Loomer, an American Priority speaker and social media provocateur, of CPAC’s organizers. “They care more about optics.”

Such banishments, Loomer, said, highlighted a need for “a less elitist form of CPAC.”

...

Just days after Loomer attracted worldwide attention by handcuffing herself to Twitter’s headquarters in protest of her banishment from the platform — a setback she has compared to the Holocaust — she spoke to a nearly empty room.  -Politico

Organizer Alex Philips addressed the low attendance, acknowledging that the event could have been better organized, and said that he plans to hold the conference for many years to come in Washington and other cities around the country. 

Published:12/8/2018 4:28:39 PM
[World] Democrat Jerry Nadler Says He Will End GOP-Led Probe Into FBI, DOJ

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he will shut down Republican-led probes into the FBI and Justice Department's decision-making during the 2016 election.

Published:12/8/2018 11:30:29 AM
[2016 Election] Manafort’s noncooperation (Scott Johnson) The Special Counsel filed a 10-page memo yesterday supporting its determination that Paul Manafort has breached his cooperation agreement with the office. The heavily redacted document is posted below. The memo notes that the Special Counsel has separately filed supporting factual under seal. Manafort met with the prosecutors as well as the FBI on twelve occasions and testified twice to the grand jury. The Special Counsel asserts that Manafort has Published:12/8/2018 7:56:33 AM
[Politics] Comey DEFLECTS when asked directly about the Trump dossier – watch his answer Former FBI director James Comey addressed the media after speaking to Congress again, and when he was asked directly if he believed the Trump Dossier was trustworthy, he completely deflected.  Watch below: . . . Published:12/7/2018 7:52:04 PM
[Politics] Comey DEFLECTS when asked directly about the Trump dossier – watch his answer Former FBI director James Comey addressed the media after speaking to Congress again, and when he was asked directly if he believed the Trump Dossier was trustworthy, he completely deflected.  Watch below: . . . Published:12/7/2018 7:52:04 PM
[World] James Comey Closed Door Hearing: Former Assistant Director Blasts Him for Bias

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker said former Director James Comey "thoroughly discredited" himself and "broke every rule in the book."

Published:12/7/2018 4:51:39 PM
[Markets] Cohen To Get "Substantial Prison Time" For "Serious" Crimes Despite Cooperation With Mueller

It turns out that being a rat may not pay off after all.

Just a few days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended as little as no prison time for Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI and had agreed to cooperate with the FBI, moments ago US prosecutors issued a statement in which they announced that Michael Cohen, who infamously flipped on the president (for whom Cohen once said he "would take a bullet") deserves "substantial prison time", despite his cooperation.

While Flynn pled guilty to just one count, whereas Cohen had pled guilty to 8 federal crimes, what is remarkable is that despite his allegedly extensive cooperation with the Special Counsel culminating in over 70 hours of testimony, prosecutors said that they do "not ask for special leniency for Cohen", calling his lies to Congress and the people "serious", and instead "respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment" one that reflects "a modest downward variance from the applicable Guidelines range" which is in the range of 51-63 months, and thus the Probation Department recommends "a sentence of 42 months' imprisonment."

Here are the key sections from the Preliminary Statement:

Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends. Now he seeks extraordinary leniency – a sentence of no jail time – based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement. But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf).

While prosecutors concede that Cohen did provide information to law enforcement, "including information that assisted the Special Counsel’s Office in ongoing matters" -which they agree is a factor to be considered by the Court, they add that "Cohen’s description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others."

And while the document notes that Cohen "should receive credit for his assistance in the SCO investigation," what is even more surprising is that "the credit given to Cohen should not approximate the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive, "given Cohen’s affirmative decision not to become one."

"For these reasons, the Office respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment, one that reflects a modest downward variance from the applicable Guidelines range" which was defined as a range of 51 to 63 months’ imprisonment.

Still, prosecutors did say Cohen has taken "significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct", although whether Cohen will be happy with the consequences - namely one very pissed off president - remains to be seen.

What is also notable from the late day filing, is that Federal Prosecutors for the first time also said that Cohen committed campaign finance crimes "in coordination with and at the direction of [Donald Trump, aka Individual-1]", to wit:

During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories – each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 – so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election

Meanwhile, in a separate sentencing filing released Friday, Mueller and his team refused to take a position on what amount of prison time Cohen should serve, but stated that "any sentence of incarceration" the court in New York recommends would be "appropriate."

Read the full pdf filing here.

Published:12/7/2018 4:20:02 PM
[Markets] Comey Frustrates House GOP During Closed Door Testimony

Former FBI Director James Comey frustrated GOP lawmakers on Friday, during his last testimony before the House Intelligence Committee before Democrats take over control of the panel in January, according to AP

Speaking to the press outside of the proceedings, House Republicans indicated to reporters that they were unhappy with Comey's answers and may attempt to bring him back another day. 

After the questioning was underway, some Republicans signaled they were unhappy with Comey’s level of cooperation. California Rep. Darrell Issa said Comey had two lawyers in the room, his personal lawyer and a lawyer from the Justice Department. He said the department lawyer repeatedly instructed Comey not to answer “a great many questions that are clearly items at the core of our investigation.”

Issa suggested the committee might bring Comey back because he wasn’t answering questions. Two other Republicans, Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, also suggested they might need a second session with Comey if they didn’t finish their interview by a late afternoon deadline. -AP

Democrats disagreed, with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL) stating "He answered the questions he had to answer," though he also admitted "we got nowhere today." 

Other Democrats were upset that the Republicans on the Committee were distracting from the special counsel's Russia probe by asking questions about bias within the FBI when it came to investigating Donald Trump's alleged Russian ties as well as Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. 

Democrats have said the investigations by the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees are merely a way to distract from and undermine the special counsel’s Russia probe. Mueller took over the department’s investigation when he was appointed in May 2017.

...

Florida Rep. Ted Deutsch said the Republican majority “wishes to only ask questions still about Hillary Clinton’s emails, all to distract from the big news today, which is what’s happening in court.” -AP

Mueller is set to reveal more details regarding his Russia investigation in a Friday court deadline. According to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Mueller believes that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied about Trump not knowing of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. 

"This is a waste of time to start with," said Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) regarding Comey's testimony. "The entire purpose of this investigation is to cast aspersions on the real investigation ... there is no evidence whatsoever of bias at the FBI or any of this other nonsense."

(Apparently Nadler missed the entire "F Trump"-themed trove of text messages discovered between lead FBI counterintelligence investigator Peter Strzok and his Trump-hating lover Lisa Page)

 

Published:12/7/2018 3:53:31 PM
[Politics] Legislators: Comey Meeting Waste of Time Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before House legislators turned out to be a “waste of time,” according to lawmakers. Published:12/7/2018 3:19:50 PM
[] COMEY REFUSING TO ANSWER CONGRESS' QUESTIONS Issa just said the same thing on FoxNews. #DEVELOPING: Representative Darrell Issa tells @OANN Former FBI Director James #Comey is not answering all of lawmakers' questions during his closed-door deposition with House Oversight and Judiciary committee members. #OANN— Jennifer Franco... Published:12/7/2018 1:19:46 PM
[Robert Mueller] Flynn’s fate (2) (Scott Johnson) Earlier this week in “Flynn’s fate” I noted the sentencing memo filed by the Mueller team in the case of former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn earlier this year. I have embedded the sentencing memo below. In relevant part the case against Flynn is based on FBI interviews with him about his conversations (intercepted communications) with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak following Trump’s election. This is the entirety of the Published:12/7/2018 8:22:51 AM
[World] Trey Gowdy on Questions at Comey Hearing: Clinton Email & Trump-Russia Probes, FISA Abuse

Rep. Trey Gowdy joined Shannon Bream on "Fox News @ Night" to preview former FBI Director James Comey's Friday testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Published:12/7/2018 7:47:37 AM
[In The News] Nunes: FBI Officials Knew Of ‘Really Bad And Nefarious Activity’ By Christopher Steele And Associates

By Chuck Ross -

larger-15-FBI-Director-JamesComey-1

An FBI and Justice Department email chain shows that top government officials knew that dossier author Christopher Steele and his associates “were up to some really bad and nefarious activity,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Thursday. In an interview on Fox News, Nunes claimed that the email constitutes ...

Nunes: FBI Officials Knew Of ‘Really Bad And Nefarious Activity’ By Christopher Steele And Associates is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:12/7/2018 6:48:44 AM
[Markets] In Furious Tweetstorm, Trump Slams FBI And "Lyin'" Comey Ahead Of Critical Moment In Russia Probe

With only hours to go before Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to file two key sentencing documents related to the Russia probe that would outline the possible punishments facing former Trump Campaign executive Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney (and admitted liar) Michael Cohen, President Trump embarked on what may be his widest-ranging tweet storm in months, criticizing the FBI's questionable handling of the Russia investigation and warned of a massive surge in illegal immigrant crossing at a "NON-WALLED" area in Arizona.

Trump

Trump also touted "smooth communications and good cooperation" with China over trade talks (ignoring Beijing's simmering outrage over the arrest of Huawei CFO).

Following his attempt to reassure stock traders, Trump moved on to one of his favorite topics: attacking the news media and pro-immigration Democrats for leaving the Arizona border vulnerable to infiltration. He also demanded that Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer agree to funding for his border wall (Trump is expected to meet with the two leaders next week).

As BI pointed out, Trump appeared to be referencing the border patrol's training exercise in Tucson, Arizona, where agents prepared "to deal with the potential of large crowds and assaultive behavior by caravan members, should a situation arise."

Moving on from immigration, Trump referenced a report about the FBI's decision to press ahead with its FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign despite knowing that its key piece of evidence - the infamous Steele Dossier - was "bogus". Musing about Mueller, Trump wondered whether the Special Counsel's many 'conflicts of interest', the 'vicious' record of his prosecutors and the "many contributions" made by the 17 Angry Democrats to the Clinton campaign would also be deserving of a mention.

The president also referenced a story  by Fox Business's Trish Reagan that quoted Roger Stone ally Jerome Corsi, who said the FBI and Mueller had demanded he lie to help aid their investigation and implicate the president and Stone.

With President Trump already firing off more tweets - even as the market remains on edge over what Trump will say, potentially unleashing another furious selloff - one imagines the stream-of-consciousness bursts will continue throughout Friday as Mueller releases his sentencing guidelines for Manafort and Cohen, and setting the stage for the final showdown with the president.

Published:12/7/2018 6:17:37 AM
[Markets] "I Know Where All The Bodies Are Buried": Clinton Foundation CFO Spills Beans To Investigators

The CFO of the Clinton Foundation, thinking he was "meeting an old professional acquaintance," admitted to investigators that the charity had widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest, and that Bill Clinton has been commingling business and personal expenses for a long time, reports The Hill's John Solomon. 

Clinton Foundation CFO Andrew Kessel made the admissions to investigators from MDA Analytics LLC - a firm run by "accomplished ex-federal criminal investigators," who have been probing the Clinton Foundation for some time. 

Kessel told MDA "There is no controlling Bill Clinton. He does whatever he wants and runs up incredible expenses with foundation funds, according to MDA's account of the interview. "Bill Clinton mixes and matches his personal business with that of the foundation. Many people within the foundation have tried to caution him about this but he does not listen, and there really is no talking to him." 

MDA compiled Kessel's statements, as well as over 6,000 pages of evidence from a whistleblower they had been working with separately, and which they filed secretly over a year ago with the FBI and IRS. MDA has alleged that the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal activities, and may owe millions in unpaid taxes and penalties.

In addition to the IRS, the firm’s partners have had contact with prosecutors in the main Justice Department in Washington and FBI agents in Little Rock, Ark. And last week, a federal prosecutor suddenly asked for documents from their private investigation.

...

The memo also claims Kessel confirmed to the private investigators that private lawyers reviewed the foundation’s practices — once in 2008 and the other in 2011 — and each found widespread problems with governance, accounting and conflicts of interest.

“I have addressed it before and, let me tell you, I know where all the bodies are buried in this place,” the memo alleges Kessel said.

...

The 48-page submission, dated Aug. 11, 2017, supports its claims with 95 exhibits, including internal legal reviews that the foundation conducted on itself in 2008 and 2011. -The Hill

"There is probable cause that the Clinton Foundation has run afoul of IRS rules regarding tax-exempt charitable organizations and has acted inconsistently with its stated purpose," MDA alleged in its memo, adding "The Foundation should be investigated for all of the above-mentioned improprieties. The tax rules, codes, statutes and the rule of law should and must be applied in this case."

Foundation officials confirmed that Kessel met with MDA investigators, but said that he "strongly denies that he said or suggested hat the Clinton Foundation or President Clinton engaged in inappropriate or illegal activities." 

"Mr. Kessel believed he was meeting an old professional acquaintance who was looking for business from the Foundation," the foundation added in a statement. 

MDA was specifically created to investigate 501c3 charities, and researched the Clinton Foundation at its own expense in the hope that the whistleblower submission they compiled might result in a government reward if the IRS was able to corroborate wrongdoing and recover tax dollars

The IRS sent multiple letters in 2017 and 2018 to MDA Analytics, confirming it had received the submission and it was “still open and under active investigation.” But, shortly before last month’s election, the agency sent a preliminary denial letter indicating it did not pursue the allegations for reasons that ranged from a lack of resources to possible expiration of the statute of limitations on some allegations.

I asked a half-dozen former federal investigators to review the submission and key evidence; all said the firm’s analysis of tax-exempt compliance issues would not be that useful to federal agencies that have their own legal experts for that. But they stressed the evidence of potential criminality was strong and warranted opening an FBI or IRS probe. -The Hill

According to retired FBI supervisory agent Jeffrey Danik, MDA's work is "a very good roadmap for investigation, adding "When you have the organization’s own lawyers using words like ‘quid pro quo,’ ‘conflicts of interest’ and ‘whistleblower protections,’ you have enough to get permission to start interviewing and asking questions." 

While some of the documents MDA submitted were marked as attorney-client privileged, Danik doesn't think that should be an issue for federal investigators - given that since special counsel Robert Mueller "got the OK to investigate Michael Cohen and his attorney-client communications with President Trump, I imagine that hurdle could be overcome under the crime-fraud exception." 

Meanwhile, next week a GOP Congressional subcommittee led by Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) will review the work of John Huber - the US attorney designated a year ago by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate "all things Clinton." The hearing will establish how much money and resources Huber has dedicated, and whether we can expect to see any recommendations regarding Hillary Clinton's transfer of classified information from her insecure private server, along with the foundation's activities. 

To that end, a prosecutor working under Huber called MDA analytics last week and requested copies of their Clinton Foundation evidence, according to Solomon. 

A prosecutor working for Huber called MDA Analytics last week, seeking copies of their evidence, according to sources. The firm told the prosecutor that the FBI has possessed the evidence in its Little Rock office since early 2018, the sources said.

Some evidence that MDA investigators cited is public source, such as internal foundation reviews hacked in 2016 and given to WikiLeaks. Other materials were provided to the investigators by foreign governments that have done business with the charity, or by foundation insiders.

One of the nonpublic documents is an interview memo the MDA Analytics investigators penned after meeting with Kessel in late November 2016 at the Princeton Club in New York City. -The Hill

Kessel's inadvertent admissions, meanwhile, track closely with comments made in 2008 written by a private lawyer named Kumiki Gibson - who the Clinton Foundation hired to study its governance. Gibson flagged concerns over improper commingling of charitable and private business

"The work of the Foundation and the President are intertwined in a way that creates confusion at, and undermines the work of, the Foundation at virtually every level," he wrote, warning that such actions pose "reputational and legal challenges, and with confusion, inefficiencies and waste."

Specifically, the memo warned the foundation had not created policies and procedures “required by law” and that some of its leaders “appear to have interests that do not always align with those of the Foundation.”

It also raised the possibility of illegal activities, saying the foundation and its managers held an “anti-compliance attitude” and that there were lower-level employees who “begged” for whistleblower protections after witnessing “less than fully compliant behavior or even worse are asked to participate in or condone it.” -The Hill

Meanwhile, a 2011 review by the law firm Simpson Thatcher noted "material weaknesses" found by auditors in 2009 and 2010, such as a lack of board meetings and unsigned board minutes - and also found that some foundation employees "abuse expense privileges," while others had conflicts of interest. 

We look forward to hearing anything further from Solomon and The Hill on whatever Huber has been up to. 

Published:12/6/2018 11:17:51 PM
[World] Devin Nunes Says FBI Email Chain May Show FISA Abuse

Outgoing House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) reacted to reports that a recently uncovered FBI email chain may show that the FISA warrant process was abused by officials seeking to collect intelligence on Trump associate Carter Page.

Published:12/6/2018 9:46:02 PM
[] How Did The FBI Get a Warrant for a Raid Against a... Whistleblower Protected by the Whistleblower Law? Did They Tell the Judge He Was a Whistleblower with Whistleblower Protections? Or Did They Forget to Mention That? The FBI forgot to mention that the unverified oppo file they got a FISA with had been paid for and put together by Trump's opponent in an election. The FBI has a lot of Ooopsies lately. Did they have another... Published:12/6/2018 5:44:41 PM
[Markets] The US Achieves Energy Independence, Becomes Net Oil Exporter For First Time

As we previewed last month using estimates from Bank of America, today the Energy Information Administration (EIA) officially confirmed that the United States became a net exporter of crude and refined products for the first time last week. This marks a departure from American dependence on foreign oil which the U.S. has relied upon for more than 75 years. According to U.S. data, crude shipments reached a record 3.2 million barrels last week with net exports turning just positive. 

As a result of the boom in shale production, OPEC has seen its influence decline, putting to bed its decades-long reign as one of the globe's massive geopolitical forces, and a key factor behind the petrodollar. The news comes just as OPEC is meeting in Vienna to agree on potential output cuts in order to support the price of oil.

Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, told Bloomberg that the US is "becoming the dominant energy power in the world. But, because the change is gradual over time, I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting."

Last week the U.S. sold 211,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products, compared to net imports of more than 2 million barrels per day on average so far this year. This number peaked at more than 12 million barrels back in 2005.

Oil analyst Joe McMonigle told Bloomberg: "Trump is making America great again. First president in modern time to get America to be energy independent, if only for one week." We previewed this critical inflection point last month when discussing America's imminent energy independence. We noted then that, helped by higher prices, total oil production had hit a record level in the US, reaching a combined 15.9 million b/d (crude oil and NGLs) in the past month and almost 2mn b/d above last year.

This number was broken down into 11.35mn b/d of crude oil and 4.57 mn b/d of natural gas liquids (NGLs). As a reference, the US will likely consume about 20.7mn b/d of oil and other liquid fuels in 2018. The surge in US and also Canadian output has pushed total North American crude production volumes above 20 mn b/d.

The larger-than-expected surge in North American oil volumes has come primarily from the Permian, Canada's oil sands, and more recently, the Gulf of Mexico.

In contrast to the fast growth experienced by its Northern neighbors, Mexican oil output continues to fall as the effects of the latest energy sector reform have yet to be translated into output.

We had also mentioned that the additional pipelines being built in the Texas Permian Basin were likely going to help solve a bottleneck of crude transportation that could put the United States in the position that it’s now in. From there, we noted that the bottleneck would likely move to the ports of Texas as oil would eventually go from "production hell" to "delivery hell" to "logistics hell".

Like in 2014, the biggest threat to Saudi Arabia remains the Texas oil patch. Producers in America have added significant volume over the last 12 months. In fact, just the added output this year is equivalent to the entire output of OPEC‘s Nigeria.

Undoubtedly the Saudis are acutely aware that the United States is gaining traction on becoming energy independent, especially specific to crude. As MBS continues to further his juggling act between the oil market, OPEC and world leaders, it looks as though the price of crude - as well as the Saudi government - may remain volatile for the new year to come.

 

 

Published:12/6/2018 2:43:41 PM
[Markets] Key Words: Fox News host Sean Hannity’s advice about cooperating with the FBI: Don’t Breathless Trump supporter Sean Hannity clearly has a real problem with how Robert Mueller is running his investigation into Russian collusion, and he’s got a message for those thinking about cooperating with the FBI:
Published:12/6/2018 1:14:04 PM
[World] Andy Biggs Previews James Comey Hearing Before House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Andy Biggs on Thursday previewed James Comey's upcoming testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, saying lawmakers want to get to the bottom of the former FBI director's numerous "inconsistencies."

Published:12/6/2018 12:43:56 PM
[World] [Paul Cassell] The Current Posture of the Crime Victims Rights Challenge to Jeffrey Epstein's Plea Deal

In a case I'm working on, Jeffrey Epstein's victims hope to set aside a non-prosecution agreement based on violations of their rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

Recently the case of Jeffrey Epstein has been in the news, sparked by an impressive set of articles by the Miami Herald. In 2007, Epstein was accused of sexually molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida. In 2008, he reached a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, blocking prosecution of him for any federal sex offenses that he may have committed in exchange for his guilty plea to two low-level Florida crimes. Epstein ultimately spent about 13 months in jail, much of it on work release.

Meanwhile, in July 2008, Florida crime victims' attorney Brad Edwards and I challenged the NPA for two victims, arguing it was reached in violation of the Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA). Because the matter continues to be litigated, I do not want to comment on the merits of the case. But the case has drawn considerable attention. For example, the case has already set an important precedent that victims' rights under the CVRA apply before charges are filed, as explained in this law review article. And as an example of more recent interest, yesterday Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate its treatment of Jeffrey Epstein's victims. In light of this renewed interest in the case, a short blog post simply describing the legal posture of the crime victims' CVRA claims might be useful.

In July 2008, Edwards and I filed the lawsuit on behalf of two women whom the Justice Department has identified as having been sexually assasulted by Epstein when they were underage -- Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. The victims contend that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida executed the NPA while concealing what it was doing from Epstein's victims. The lawsuit has been through a number of twists and turns during the more than a decade it has been pending. But relevant to the current posture is that the victims' motion for summary judgment is pending. In that motion, the victims argue that the court should grant summary judgment on the issue of whether the U.S. Attorney's Office violated their rights under the CVRA by concealing the NPA from the victims. Here are some excerpts from the introduction to our 55-page motion:

In 2004, Congress enacted the CVRA because it found that in case after case "victims, and their families, were ignored, cast aside, and treated as non-participants in a critical event in their lives. They were kept in the dark by prosecutors too busy to care enough . . . and by a court system that simply did not have place for them." 150 CONG. REC. 7296 (2004) (statement ofSen. Feinstein). In passing the CVRA, Congress mandated a series of rights for crime victims. Sadly, several years later, when the Government began handling this case, it did precisely what Congress thought it had forbidden. The Government deliberately kept crime victims "in the dark" so that it could enter into a plea arrangement designed to prevent the victims from raising any objection. In doing so, the Government refused to afford victims the rights they had been promised by Congress—particularly "the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding," "the reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case," and "the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy."

The undisputed evidence begins in 2005, when the Palm Beach Police Department ("PBPD") had identified numerous girls as victims of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual crimes. In 2006, the PBPD turned the case over to federal authorities for further investigation. As early as March 15, 2007 and throughout the rest of the investigation, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida specifically identified several dozen girls whom it classified as "victims" under the CVRA. Once that identification was made, the Government was obligated to afford these victims certain rights under the CVRA—a fact of which the Government itself was well aware. Indeed, the Government provided notification to the girls that they were classified as "victims" under the CVRA.

But what the Government did not tell the victims lies at the heart of the case. It is undisputed that the Government did not tell the victims that, by May 2007, the Office hadprepared an 82-page prosecution memorandum and a 53-page indictment against Epstein and his co-conspirators. At that time, rather than confer with the victims about how to proceed, the Government began conferring about this issue exclusively with Epstein's counsel. Epstein's counsel contended that, despite abundant connection to interstate commerce, Epstein's sex trafficking was purely of local concern. By August 2007, federal prosecutors had disproven or rejected these defense arguments and notified the defense that all of the identified victims retained federal rights.

For example, during August 2007, Jane Doe 1, and other similarly situated victims, provided details to federal agents of the abuse that they endured at the hands of Epstein and his co-conspirators. In September 2007, without conferring with any of the victims, the Government and Epstein shifted gears and began working together to concoct a criminal charge for Epstein to plea to other than his sexual abuse of minors. As alternative charges, they discussed charging Epstein with: (1) various misdemeanors, (2) assaulting his co-conspirators and girlfriend, (3) using private investigators to chase and harass victims' families, (4) obstructions of grand jury subpoenas, or (5) his obstruction of the federal investigation when he instructed another coconspirator to lie to federal agents. Ultimately, however, none of those would work. Assistant U.S. Attorney ("AUSA") Marie Villafaña (the "line prosecutor") informed Epstein's counsel that she was getting pushback for creating a charge using one of the main co-conspirators as thevictim.6 Consequently, the Government and Epstein searched for another crime for Epstein to plead to, which could accompany a federal non-prosecution agreement (NPA). Incredibly, the offense to which Epstein and the Government ultimately agreed, labeled the minor victims "prostitutes."

The undisputed evidence clearly shows that by September 21, 2007, the line prosecutor had informed Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer that a federal resolution had been reached by way of a NPA, yet the victims remained uninformed. On September 24, 2007, the NPA was signed, preventing prosecution of all federal crimes committed by Epstein and his coconspirators against the victims. After the signing of the NPA, the Government and Epstein's attorneys worked together to choose a lawyer to be paid by Epstein to represent Epstein's victims for the purpose of settling civil restitution claims. This too was all being done without the victims having any knowledge whatsoever. The correspondence between the Government and a candidate for that representative position as well as between the Government and Epstein's counsel reflects that the Government still had not yet disclosed the NPA to the victims, and was following the guidance of Epstein's counsel in making decisions with respect to the timing and substance of any communication to the victims.

For the next nine months, from the time the NPA was signed through the date of Epstein's state court plea in June of 2008, the Office—doing Epstein's bidding—assiduously concealed the NPA's existence from the victims. While this indulgent deal was incredible in its own right, even more extraordinary was how the victims were treated during the process. Ratherthan confer with the victims about the fact that resolution by NPA was ever being considered—or even tell them that it was already a signed deal—the Office and Epstein inserted a "confidentiality" provision into the agreement barring its disclosure to anyone, including the victims. There is no dispute that the Government did not inform the victims of the NPA or of the possibility of any such type of resolution. Consequently, there is no dispute that the Government did not afford the victims any rights before the signing of the NPA. . . .

In October 2007, after the NPA was signed, federal agents spoke with three of the more than 30 identified victims, including Jane Doe 1. The Government does not dispute that this contact only occurred after the signing of the NPA. Even more important, it is not disputed that this contact was: (1) made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and not a "prosecutor for the Government," (2) that the FBI did not inform the victims of the NPA and certainly did not confer with the victims about the details of the NPA, and (3) that this contact only occurred with three of the more than 30 victims. Lastly, while the content of that conversation is contested, any stretched argument that the conversation satisfied CVRA requirements for Jane Doe 1 are belied by the timing of the conversation as well as the uncontested documentary evidence of the communications with the victims (including with Jane Doe 1) that followed that conversation.

Subsequent to the FBI's contact with three of Epstein's victims, the Government informed Epstein's attorneys that victim notification letters needed to be sent to all the victims pursuant to the CVRA. Rather than comply with this acknowledged requirement, Epstein's counsel convinced the Government that (contrary to standard Government practice) Epstein should be permitted to provide input into any message being delivered, and ultimately that the victims should not be told anything "until after Epstein pleas."

In January 2008, FBI agents again met with Jane Doe 1 and gathered additional details about Epstein's abuse as well as the direct sexual abuse by one of his co-conspirators, Nadia Marcinkova—who participated in the abuse of other victims as well. The Government then sent a victim notification letter to Jane Doe 1 informing her of her rights under the CVRA, that "this will be a long investigation," and to "be patient." Jane Doe 1 was sent a similar letter on June 7, 2008. Other victims were also sent these letters communicating that the Epstein case was an on-going active criminal investigation—not that the Government had already immunized Epstein for all federal crimes committed against each of the victims, through a NPA. These misleading letters were sent almost up until the date of Epstein's state court plea in late June 2008.

On June 30, 2008, Epstein pled guilty to state court charges. It is uncontested that the victims were not reasonably and accurately informed about that hearing—specifically, they were never told the hearing was part of a process that would extinguish any possibility of Epstein being prosecuted for the crimes he had committed against them in Florida. Even after the plea, the Government once again conferred with Epstein's attorneys to decide what to tell the victims.

As the Court is aware, this CVRA action was filed in July 2008 at a time when the victims mistakenly believed that the federal case remained open, and wanted to ensure that their rights under the CVRA were afforded before any possible federal disposition. At the emergency hearing on the Petition for Enforcement of Crime Victims' Rights Act, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe were in the courtroom to learn for the first time that the federal case had been resolved.

The undisputed facts show that for nine months, the Government and Epstein conspired to conceal the NPA from the victims to prevent them from voicing any objection, and to avoid the firestorm of controversy that would have arisen if it had become known that the Government was immunizing a politically-connected billionaire and all of his co-conspirators from prosecution of hundreds of federal sex crimes against minor girls. Such facts demonstrate clear violations of the CVRA's requirements that the Government afford victims the reasonable right to confer, the right to be treated with fairness, and the right to reasonable and accurate notice about court hearings. No genuine issue of material fact or law can exist on these points. The Court should accordingly grant summary judgment for the victims on the issue of the CVRA violations and then, in subsequent proceedings, turn to the issue of the proper remedy for those violations.

We filed the motion for summary judgment for Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 on February 10, 2016. The Government responded on June 6, 2017. Essentially the Government argued that it had no legal obligation to keep the victims' informed about what was happening. We replied in this reply brief on August 11, 2017. The government has also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, which essentially reprises its arguments in our response to our motion.

Because the matter is pending before the Court, I won't add anything to what we have said in our pleadings. Obviously Edwards and I (recently joined by Florida attorney Jack Scarola) hope that the district court will grant our summary judgment motion, holding that this treatment of crime victims violates federal law.

Published:12/6/2018 12:18:35 PM
[Corruption] The FBI is FINALLY Getting Rid of Obama’s Corrupt Officials

One of the worst things Barack Obama did to our law enforcement community was to put in place a long list of left-wing ideologues in places of leadership.

The post The FBI is FINALLY Getting Rid of Obama’s Corrupt Officials appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:12/6/2018 11:12:30 AM
[Corruption] The FBI is FINALLY Getting Rid of Obama’s Corrupt Officials

One of the worst things Barack Obama did to our law enforcement community was to put in place a long list of left-wing ideologues in places of leadership.

The post The FBI is FINALLY Getting Rid of Obama’s Corrupt Officials appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:12/6/2018 11:12:30 AM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (5) (Scott Johnson) Until we get an answer to the question of what really went down last month when the FBI called on 16 agents to raid the home of Clinton crime family whistleblower Dennis Nathan Cain, I want to follow the story. Richard Pollock’s exclusive and meticulous November 29 Daily Caller story on the raid is posted here. Cain was then scheduled to appear on Sean Hannity’s FOX News show this past Published:12/6/2018 8:13:13 AM
[Politics] Mark Meadows says Mike Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller is GOOD NEWS for TRUMP! OK. So… try to follow on this. Mark Meadows says that having the former national security advisor for Trump admit to lying to the FBI and crack a deal with the evil . . . Published:12/5/2018 6:10:14 PM
[Politics] Mark Meadows says Mike Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller is GOOD NEWS for TRUMP! OK. So… try to follow on this. Mark Meadows says that having the former national security advisor for Trump admit to lying to the FBI and crack a deal with the evil . . . Published:12/5/2018 6:10:14 PM
[Politics] FBI denies listing ‘Proud Boys’ as extremist group Several weeks ago we ran a report that said the FBI had listed Gavin McInnes’ Proud Boys as an extremist group. However that now appears not to the be the case, according . . . Published:12/5/2018 3:07:11 PM
[Politics] FBI denies listing ‘Proud Boys’ as extremist group Several weeks ago we ran a report that said the FBI had listed Gavin McInnes’ Proud Boys as an extremist group. However that now appears not to the be the case, according . . . Published:12/5/2018 3:07:11 PM
[Politics] Sen. Grassley Demands Information About FBI Raid on Whistleblower Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling for more information about the FBI's raid on a former agency contractor who had given a watchdog documents claiming that federal officials failed to investigate possible criminal activity related to Hillary Clinton. Published:12/5/2018 7:08:23 AM
[Uncategorized] Mueller Claims Flynn Gave “First-Hand” Details About Trump Transition Team’s Contact With Russian Officials — But What Part of That is Illegal? Flynn lied to the FBI (a charge to which he pled guilty), but the same question remains -- what part of Mueller's latest "get" is illegal? Published:12/5/2018 6:08:54 AM
[In The News] Mueller Recommends No Jail Time For Michael Flynn, Who Provided ‘Substantial Assistance’ To Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

Special counsel Robert Mueller on Tuesday effectively recommended that Michael Flynn receive no prison time for lying to the FBI, citing the former national security advisor’s “substantial assistance” in the Russia probe and other Department of Justice (DOJ) cases. “Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set forth below, ...

Mueller Recommends No Jail Time For Michael Flynn, Who Provided ‘Substantial Assistance’ To Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:12/4/2018 8:36:11 PM
[Markets] No Jail Time For Flynn; Mueller Says Former Trump Official Provided "Substantial" Assistance

Special counsel Robert Mueller has recommended no jail time for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, writing in a late Tuesday sentencing memorandum that Flynn provided "substantial" assistance to his investigation after taking part in 19 interviews related to Mueller's probe of the 2016 US election and any links between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as Russian meddling. 

While there is no indication that Flynn threw Trump under the bus, Mueller's memorandum certainly suggests that the former Trump administration official provided the special counsel with information that they were pleased with. 

Or, in the alternative, the FBI altered their "302" interview records with Flynn to set him up, and this is how the Department of Justice has chosen to carefully disentangle themselves from the situation. 

To briefly review from a February report; Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had a phone conversation in late December, 2016. On its face, there was absolutely nothing wrong with an incoming National Security Advisor having a conversation with a Russian government official. Following the conversation, which was surveilled by the Obama administration and then leaked to the press

The first thing to remember is that it appears Flynn did nothing wrong in having those talks. As the incoming national security adviser, it was entirely reasonable that he discuss policy with representatives of other governments and Flynn was getting calls from all around the world. -Washington Examiner

What happened next is strange; on January 12, WaPo columnist David Ignatius reported that Flynn and Kislyak had talked - implying some type of malfeasance. Days later, on January 15, Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador. The on January 24, Obama holdover and acting Attorney General Sally Yates sent two FBI agents to interview Flynn without a lawyer present.  

Two days later, on January 26, Yates and a colleague visited the White House to tell White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn may have violated the obscure logan act, and in fact discussed sanctions with Kislyak - possibly subjecting Flynn to blackmail.

Yates then explained to McGahn her theory that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail. The idea was that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak, which of course the Russians knew. And then if Flynn lied to Pence, and Pence made a public statement based on what Flynn had told him, then the Russians might be able to blackmail Flynn because they, the Russians, knew Flynn had not told the vice president the truth. -Washington Examiner

Meanwhile, on January 23, the Washington Post reported that they had "not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government," after having reviewed the leaked conversation

Interestingly, FBI investigators Peter Strzock and his partner who interviewed Flynn thought Flynn was telling the truth about his conversations with Kislyak, and that any inaccuracies in his answers were unintentional - according to accounts of a closed-door March 2017 briefing given to lawmakers by former FBI Director James Comey.

According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional. As a result, some of those in attendance came away with the impression that Flynn would not be charged with a crime pertaining to the January 24 interview. -Washington Examiner

Published:12/4/2018 8:02:28 PM
[Markets] Stockman To Trump - Tear Down That Deep State Wall...Of Secrecy

Authored by David Stockman via TargetLiberty.com,

When the Donald promised to "drain the swamp" during the 2016 election campaign, it did sound vaguely like an attack on Big Government, and at least a directional desire to shrink the state and let free market capitalism breathe.

After 22 months in office, however, the truth is patently obvious: The only Swamp that Donald Trump wants to drain is one filled with his political enemies and policy adversaries at any given moment in time. Even then, you have to consult his tweetstorm ledger to know exactly who the swamp creatures de jure actually are.

Still, the Donald's daily Twitter assaults on the Deep State are a wondrous thing. They surely do undermine public confidence in rogue institutions like the FBI, CIA and NSA, which profoundly threaten America's constitutional liberties and fiscal solvency.

Likewise, his frequently unhinged tweets also lather their congressional sponsors and beltway poo-bahs with well-deserved mud and opprobrium. And the Donald's increasingly acrimonious public feuding with Deep State criminals like James Comey and John Brennan is just what the doctor ordered.

The Deep State thrives and milks the public treasury so successfully in large part because the Imperial City's corps of permanent policy apparatchiks like Comey and Brennan (and thousands more) pretend to be performing god's work. So doing, they preen sanctimoniously to the adoration of their sycophants in the mainstream media, claiming to be above any governance or sanction from the unwashed electorate.

Attacking this rotten perversion of democracy, therefore, is the Donald's real calling. While he lacks both the temperament and ideas to solve the nation's metastasizing economic and social challenges and has no hope whatsoever to make MAGA, he is more than suited for his "Great Disrupter" mission.

That is, the existing order needs to be discredited and brought down first, and on that score his primitive economic populism will more than do its part. As we have previously explained, Trump's deadly combination of Fiscal Debauchery, Protectionism and Easy Money will eventually blow the nation's debt and bubble-ridden economy sky-high.

Likewise, his crude rendition of America First is not a blueprint for rebooting America's national security policy, but it is an existential threat to Empire First and the Deep State's usurpation of constitutional government. And even as the Donald lurches to and fro on Russia, Korea, the Middle East, NATO, globalism and so-called allies, the main job is getting done. That is, the War Party's self-appointed role as global policeman and the Indispensable Nation is getting thoroughly discredited.

In terms of the Donald's great mission of wrecking the Deep State, we would only take issue with him to this extent: Why in the world does he not understand that he is actually President and has a far more powerful weapon at his disposal than his Twitter account----56 million followers to the contrary notwithstanding?

To wit, he has the unquestioned constitutional power to both appoint and fire his own cabinet, sub-cabinet and upwards of 3,000 Schedule C policy jobs; and also to declassify anything lurking behind the Deep State's massive wall of unjustified secrecy if he deems it in the public interest.

Accordingly, Trump could have and should have fired Jeff Sessions long before he did and Rod Rosenstein even before that. After all, it is the spinelessness of the former and the Deep State treachery of the latter, that launched the hideous Mueller witch-hunt in the first place and that keeps it going from one absurdity to the next ridiculous over- reach.

Can there be anything more pitiful after 17 months of nothingburgers on the phony Russian collusion file than Mueller's list of indictments. These include:

  • 13 Russian college kids for essentially practicing English as a third language at a St Petersburg troll farm for $4 per hour;

  • 12 Russian intelligence operatives who might as well have been picked from the GRU phonebook;

  • Baby George Papadopoulos for mis-recalling an irrelevant date by two weeks;

  • Paul Manafort for standard Washington lobbyist crimes committed long before he met Trump;

  • Michael Cohen for shirking taxes and running Trump's bimbo silencing operation;

  • Michael Flynn for doing his job talking to the Russian Ambassador and confusing the confusable Mike Pence on what he said and didn't say about Obama's idiotic 11th hour Russian sanctions;

  • Rick Gates for helping Manafort shakedown the Ukrainian government and other oily Washington supplicants.;

  • Sam Patten, another Manafort operative who forget to register correctly as a foreign agent;

  • Richard Pinedo, a grifter who never met Trump and got caught selling forged bank accounts on-line to Russians for a couple bucks each;

  • Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyers who wrote a report for Manafort in 2012 and misreported to the FBI what he told Gates about it. That's all she wrote and it's about as pathetic as it gets. If nothing else, the fact that Mueller hasn't been guffawed out of town on account of this tommyrot is a measure of the degree to which the Imperial City has fallen prey to the Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The Brennan Report - The Foundational Document of the RussiaGate Witch-Hunt

Still, we have to wonder why Trump doesn't get the joke. Long ago he could have declassified everything related to the foundational RussiaGate document. That is, the January 6, 2017 report entitled, "Assessing Russian Activities And Intentions in Recent US Elections".

The report was nothing of the kind, of course, and is now well-understood to have been written by outgoing CIA director John Brennan and a hand-picked posse of politicized analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA. It was essentially a political screed thinly disguised as the product of the professional intelligence community and was designed to discredit and sabotage the Trump presidency.

As presented to the President-elect and released to the public in declassified form, it is all gussied-up with caveats, implying that the real dirt is in the "highly classified" version of the report. Except that's just the typical Deep State hide-the-ball trick: When it can't prove its "assessments" and "judgments", it claims the evidence is top secret.

In the current case, the Imperial City is so red hot with Trump antipathy that any undisclosed smoking guns in the highly classified version would have leaked long ago. So the truth is, there is nothing more to the allegedly sinister Russian "influencing campaign" than the superficial blarney in the public version of the document.

And the latter boils down to ten pages of sweeping insinuations and airballs---plus a loony 9-page appendix which proves the totally public RT America cable TV network doesn't think much of the Washington's global meddling!

Indeed, we second the motion. In fact, when we first read this ballyhooed report our thought was that someone at the Onion had pilfered the CIA logo and published a side- splitting satire.

The 9-pager on RT America, which is presented as evidence of "Kremlin messaging", is so sophomoric and hackneyed that it could have been written by a summer intern at the CIA. It consists entirely of a sloppy catalogue of leftist and libertarian based dissent from mainstream policy that has been aired on RT America on such subversive topics as Occupy Wall Street, anti-fracking, police brutality, foreign interventionism and civil liberties.

Actually, your author has appeared dozens of times on RT America and advocated nearly every position cited by the CIA as evidence of nefarious Russian propaganda. And we thought it up all by ourselves!

So, yes, we do think US intervention in Syria was wrong; that Georgia was the aggressor when it invaded South Ossetia; that the American people have been disenfranchised and need to "take this government back"; that Washington runs a "surveillance state" where civil liberties are being ridden roughshod upon; that Wall Street is riven with "greed" and the "US national debt" is out of control; that the two-party system is a "sham "and that it doesn't represent the views of "one-third of the population" (at least!); and that most especially after killing millions in unnecessary wars Washington has "no moral right to teach the rest of the world".

So there you have it: Policy views on various topics that are embraced in some instances by both your libertarian editor and the left-wing Nation magazine; and which are held to be examples of Russian messaging---even alarming evidence of nefarious meddling in our electoral process.

Moreover, it turns out that RT America is not even in the top 95 cable channels according to published rankings, and may have an audience of less than 30,000 viewers per day, according to even the rabidly anti-Putin Daily Beast. Still, by the lights of John Brennan and his coterie of CIA hacks, that's apparently 30,000 too many citizens being exposed to anti-establishment opinion.

In that regard, we especially got a yuck from the following example of RT's nefarious attempt to influence American voters. Not only have we uttered these very same thoughts on RT America, but we also conveyed them on the Fox Business network and didn't even get censored!

Some of RT's hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and 'corporate greed' will lead to US financial collapse."

Needless to say, if this is an example of the work being done by the US intelligence community with its $75 billion annual budget, they are giving the idea of pouring money down a rathole an altogether new definition.

In fact, does the juvenille fool who penned this drivel think Washington is purer than Caesar's wife? The report whines and slobbers about RT America's indirect support from the Russian government and an alleged $190 million subsidy from the Russian state.

Yet Washington spends upwards of $800 million per year on the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which is the parent organization of its own international propaganda arms: Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio y Television Marti, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn't count, for example, the $170 million per year spent by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to subvert governments which Washington doesn't like. Indeed, the two sub-agencies of NED (one for the Dems and one for the GOP) were chaired by two of Washington's most blood-thirsty regime changers---Madeleine Albright and the late Senator John McWar of Arizona.

Unlike RT America, of course, these two cats caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who happened to be domiciled in places they deemed in need of that very special kind of "influencing" that is delivered from the business end of a Tomahawk cruise missile.

Beyond that, there is billions more of "agit prop" and NGO funding that is channeled through the CIA, DOD, the State Department, the Agency for International Development and many more----all designed to "influence opinion" in dozens of foreign countries where the people need to be advised of the correct line from Washington.

Yet the report's mendacious attack on the utterly irrelevant RT America is the stronger part of the document!

The main body of the document consists of 10 pages of bloviation which amount to this: The very distinct probability that Vlad Putin strongly dislikes Hillary Clinton, who did liken him to Adolph Hitler; and preferred Donald Trump, who was a wet-behind- the-ears real estate gambler from New York City, thereby still in possession of sufficient common sense to see that Russia is no threat to America and that rapprochement with Putin was in order.

Actually, it gets a lot richer. The US government did spend tens of millions covertly supporting the so-called "color revolutions" on Russia's doorstep, including the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Jeans Revolution in Belarus, the Grape Revolution in Moldova and, most especially, the so-called pro-democracy protests in Russia during 2011-2013 that were aimed at vilifying and discrediting Vladimir Putin.

Yet Imperial Washington wears absolute blinders with respect to this kind of bald-faced meddling in the internal politics of other sovereign nations. There is not an iota of connection between the safety and security of the American people domiciled between their ocean moats and whatever some two-bit dictator is doing in Belarus or the intrigues of the communist party in Moldova.

Soft Power Aggression---How The Imperial City Makes a Living

The explanation for this kind of soft-power aggression, therefore, is not national security: It's what Imperial Washington does for a living. That is, the billions of taxpayer money being pumped through the foreign policy agencies, NGOs, think tanks, advocacy organizations and sleazy lobbying operations like those of the Podesta brothers and Paul Manafort finance there own raison d'etre .

Published:12/4/2018 2:31:12 PM
[Markets] House GOP Suffer "Major" Hack During 2018 Midterms; FBI Alerted

Members of the House GOP suffered a "major" hack during the 2018 midterm election, exposing thousands of sensitive emails to an unknown intruder, according to Politico, which cites three senior party officials. 

The email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months, the party officials said. The intrusion was detected in April by an NRCC vendor, who alerted the committee and its cybersecurity contractor. An internal investigation was initiated and the FBI was alerted to the attack, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss the incident. -Politico

That said, the hack was concealed from senior House Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) - who had no clue about the intrusion until Politico contacted the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) with questions about the hack. 

Committee officials say they decided to withhold the information pending their own investigation, and thought that revealing the hack would compromise their efforts to uncover who did it. 

"We don't want to get into details about what was taken because it's an ongoing investigation," said one senior party official. "Let's say they had access to four active accounts. I think you can draw from that."

As the 2018 midterms unfolded, the hack became a major source of internal turmoil within the NRCC - which brought on D.C. law firm Covington and Burling and Mercury Public Affairs to manage the response to the hack. The two firms were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the GOP Committee, while NRCC chief legal counsel, Chris Winkleman, has spent hours of his time to addressing the issue. 

While party officials would not say when the hack began or who they think did it, they privately think it was a foreign agent due to the nature of the attack

"The NRCC can confirm that it was the victim of a cyber intrusion by an unknown entity. The cybersecurity of the Committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter," said Mercury VP Ian Prior - a former DOJ official and NRCC operative. 

"To protect the integrity of that investigation, the NRCC will offer no further comment on the incident," he added.

Party officials claim that none of the information obtained in the hack - namely thousands of emails from senior NRCC aides, has appeared in public, while there were no attempts to approach the NRCC or its leadership to threaten exposure of the data. That said, Politico notes that the hack and subsequent coverup "is likely to prove embarrassing at a time when Republicans are grappling with an election in which they lost 40 seats and control of the house." 

Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.) will take over as NRCC chairman this cycle, a selection that was directly approved by McCarthy. Emmer is in the process of hiring his own senior aides for the committee, a normal procedure when a new chairman takes over a party committee. Emmer was first briefed on the hack on Monday evening.

Cybersecurity remains a pressing concern for politicians and political committees, heightened by the high-profile Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta during the 2016 election cycle. It’s not clear, however, what the NRCC could have done to avoid this intrusion.

The hack was first detected by an MSSP, a managed security services provider that monitors the NRCC’s network. The MSSP informed NRCC officials and they, in turn, alerted Crowdstrike, a well-known cybersecurity firm that had already been retained by the NRCC.

So now the question becomes - who is Putin rooting for? According to former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile, there may be as many as 30 candidates who run in 2020... 

One name she thinks won't toss their hat in the ring? Hillary Clinton

Published:12/4/2018 11:32:19 AM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (4) (Scott Johnson) We have been following Richard Pollock’s Daily Caller story reporting the FBI raid on the domicile of whistleblower Dennis Nathan Cain. Cain was scheduled to appear last night along with his attorney on Sean Hannity’s FOX News show. I flagged Cain’s tweet announcing the segment in part 2 of this series of posts. Breaking news in the form of President Bush’s death interceded to bump the scheduled segment with Cain Published:12/4/2018 6:00:23 AM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (3) (Scott Johnson) John Lavinksy is the senior counsel to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Following up on Richard Pollock’s Daily Caller report, I sought comment on the November 19 FBI raid conducted on whistleblower Dennis Nathan Cain. Mr. Lavinsky courteously returned my calls this afternoon and responded to my questions, as he did to Pollock’s, with no comment. He also apologized for not getting back to me on Friday, explaining Published:12/3/2018 7:56:08 PM
[Markets] Mueller Withheld "Details That Would Exonerate The President" Of Having Kremlin Backchannel

It appears that special counsel Robert Mueller withheld key information in its plea deal with Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, which would exonerate Trump and undermine the entire purpose of the special counsel, according to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations

Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Senate intelligence committee in 2017 about the Trump Organization's plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow - telling them under oath that negotiations he was conducting ended five months sooner than they actually did. 

Mueller, however, in his nine-page charging document filed with the court seen by Capitol Hill sources, failed to include the fact that Cohen had no direct contacts at the Kremlin - which undercuts any notion that the Trump campaign had a "backchannel" to Putin

On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel's collusion case. -RCI

Page 2 of the same charging document offers further evidence that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; an August 2017 letter from Cohn to the Senate intelligence committee states that Trump "was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me," an assertion which Mueller does not contest as false - which means that "prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources" and found it to be truthful, according to Sperry's sources. Also unchallenged by Mueller is Cohen's statement that he "ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia."

“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it's clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”

“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, "the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.” -RCI

The Trump Tower Moscow meeting - spearheaded by New York real estate developer and longtime FBI and CIA asset, Felix Sater, bears a passing resemblance to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian attorney (who hated Trump), and which was set up by a British concert promotor tied to Fusion GPS - the firm Hillary Clinton's campaign paid to write the salacious and unverified "Trump-Russia Dossier." 

British concert promotor and Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone

“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier" -Washington Post

In both the Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations, it is clear that nobody in the Trump campaign had any sort of special access to the Kremlin, while Cohen's emails and text messages reveal that he failed to establish contact with Putin's spokesman. He did, however, reach a desk secretary in the spokesman's office. 

What's more, it was Sater - a Russian immigrant with a dubious past who was representing the Bayrock Group (and not the Trump Organization), who cooked up the Moscow Trump Tower project in 2015 - suggesting that Trump would license his name to the project and share in the profits, but not actually commit capital or build the project. 

Felix Sater, FBI and CIA asset, real estate developer, ex-con

Sater went from a "Wall Street wunderkind" working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia - where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler "I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head."

The Moscow project, meanwhile, fizzled because Sater didn't have the pull within the Russian government he said he had. At best, Sater had a third-hand connection to Putin which never panned out. 

Sources say Sater, whom Cohen described as a “salesman," testified to the House intelligence panel in late 2017 that his communications with Cohen about putting Trump and Putin on a stage for a "ribbon-cutting" for a Trump Tower in Moscow were “mere puffery” to try to promote the project and get it off the ground.

Also according to his still-undisclosed testimony, Sater swore none of those communications involved taking any action to influence the 2016 presidential election. None of the emails and texts between Sater and Cohen mention Russian plans or efforts to hack Democrats’ campaign emails or influence the election. -RCI

As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch noted of Mueller's strategy: ""Mueller seems desperate to confuse Americans by conflating the cancelled and legitimate Russia business venture with the Russia collusion theory he was actually hired to investigate," said Fitton. "This is a transparent attempt to try to embarrass the president."

The MSM took the ball and ran with it anyway

CNN, meanwhile, said that Cohen's charging documents suggest Trump had a working relationship with Putin, who "had leverage over Trump" due to the project. 

"Well into the 2016 campaign, one of the president’s closest associates was in touch with the Kremlin on this project, as we now know, and Michael Cohen says he was lying about it to protect the president," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 

Jeffrey Toobin - CNN's legal analyst, said the Cohen revelations were so "enormous" that Trump "might not finish his term," while MSNBC pundits said that the court papers prove "Trump secretly interacted with Putin's own office." 

"Now we have evidence that there was direct communication between the Trump Organization and Putin’s office on this. I mean, this is collusion," said Mother Jones's David Corn. 

Adam Schiff, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, said Trump was dealing directly with Putin on real estate ventures, and Democrats will investigate whether Russians laundered money through the Trump Organization. -RCI

As Sperry of RealClearInvestigations points out, however, "former federal prosecutors said Mueller's filing does not remotely incriminate the president in purported Russia collusion. It doesn’t even imply he directed Cohen to lie to Congress."

"It doesn’t implicate President Trump in any way," said former independent counsel Solomon L. Wisenberg. "The reality is, this is a nothing-burger." 

Published:12/3/2018 11:24:17 AM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Comey and Republicans reach agreement on testimony Former FBI director James Comey has reached an agreement with House Republicans, ending a standoff over whether he would appear in front of Congress to discuss his role in law-enforcement decisions during the 2016 election.
Published:12/2/2018 4:52:47 PM
[Politics] James Comey to Testify in Private, Withdraws Challenge A bid to quash a congressional subpoena compelling former FBI Director James Comey to testify in secret about the bureau's decisions on investigations ahead of the 2016 presidential election was withdrawn, according to a Reuters report. Published:12/2/2018 3:17:58 PM
[Politics] Breaking! Comey DROPS lawsuit, makes deal with GOP to TESTIFY… Former FBI Director James Comey has dropped his lawsuit and made an agreement with the GOP to testify before Congress. More from the New York Post: Comey challenged a subpoena issued by . . . Published:12/2/2018 12:47:24 PM
[Politics] Breaking! Comey DROPS lawsuit, makes deal with GOP to TESTIFY… Former FBI Director James Comey has dropped his lawsuit and made an agreement with the GOP to testify before Congress. More from the New York Post: Comey challenged a subpoena issued by . . . Published:12/2/2018 12:20:01 PM
[Markets] Comey Strikes Deal For Congressional Testimony After Being Slapped With Subpoena

Fired FBI director James Comey tweeted on Sunday that he has reached a deal with GOP lawmakers regarding his upcoming testimony before congress regarding allegations of political bias at the FBI and DOJ. 

Comey had previously rejected an October request by the House Judiciary Committee to appear at a closed door hearing - stating instead that he would only testify in public. After a Thanksgiving subpoena, the former FBI director vowed to "resist" unless the testimony was in an open setting - tweeting that he had "seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion," in reference to the Judiciary Committee - and filed a motion to quash the subpoena. 

On Sunday, it appeared that an acceptable arrangement had been reached, as Comey tweeted: "Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony."

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) made the offer last week, tweeting: "I have just offered to Director Comey that the Committees will publicly release the transcript of his testimony following the interview for our investigation. This ensures both transparency and access for the American people to all the facts."

We look forward to reading all about [redacted]. 

Published:12/2/2018 10:47:56 AM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (2) (Scott Johnson) On Friday I wrote about Richard Pollock’s exclusive Daily Caller report on the FBI raid involving some 16 agents who called whistleblower Dennis Nathan Cain. The problem here seems to be that Cain is blowing the whistle on federal law enforcement (or the nonfeasance thereof) in matters pertaining to the Clinton crime family. As if that weren’t enough, Robert Mueller’s past service as FBI Director is implicated as well. On Published:12/2/2018 8:46:02 AM
[Syndicated Posts] Katie Pavlich: Comey negotiating conditions of his subpoena is ‘absurd’

By R. Mitchell -

Disgraced former FBI director James Comey is slammed as ‘privileged’ and ‘out of touch’ by Fox News co-host Katie Pavlich for trying to dictate the terms of his hearing with House lawmakers on the agency’s handling of the Clinton and Russia investigations. “Do you think that any regular civilian, who ...

Katie Pavlich: Comey negotiating conditions of his subpoena is ‘absurd’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust.

Published:12/1/2018 1:43:41 PM
[Markets] Feds ignored reports of sexual assaults of airline passengers, consumer group charges The report comes as the FBI has warned of an ‘alarming’ increase of assaults on flights.
Published:12/1/2018 5:41:35 AM
[News] FBI Raids Home Of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower

The FBI conducted a six-hour raid on the home of a recognized Justice Department whistleblower who had confidentially submitted documents related to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One to a government watchdog, according to TDC, citing the whistleblower’s attorney. Cain told the agents at his doorstep that he was a recognized and protected whistleblower under the Intelligence ...

The post FBI Raids Home Of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:11/30/2018 6:05:11 PM
[News] FBI Raids Home Of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower

The FBI conducted a six-hour raid on the home of a recognized Justice Department whistleblower who had confidentially submitted documents related to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One to a government watchdog, according to TDC, citing the whistleblower’s attorney. Cain told the agents at his doorstep that he was a recognized and protected whistleblower under the Intelligence ...

The post FBI Raids Home Of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:11/30/2018 6:05:11 PM
[FBI] Is it something he said? (Scott Johnson) The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock has an exclusive report on an FBI raid. When I say FBI raid, I mean FBI raid. It involved some 16 agents making a house call on whistleblower Dennis Nathan Cain. The problem here seems to be that Cain is blowing the whistle on federal law enforcement (or the nonfeasance thereof) in matters pertaining to the Clinton crime family. As if that weren’t enough, Robert Published:11/30/2018 4:37:28 PM
[Markets] Kunstler Exposes The Dire Quandaries Of The Deep State

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Watergate had tragic Shakespearean overtones, with Nixon as King Lear, but Russia-Gate - perhaps the last gate America goes through on its giant slalom run to collapse - is but a Chinese Fire Drill writ large.

The reason? In 1973, we were still a serious people. Today, the most lavishly credentialed elite in history believe the most preposterous “stories,” or, surely even worse, pretend to believe them for political advantage.

Now, an epic battle of wills is setting up as Robert Mueller’s investigation concludes its business and its primary target, the Golden Golem of Greatness, girds his loins to push back. Behind the flimsy scrim of Russia collusion accusations stands a bewildering maze of criminal mischief by a matrix of federal agencies that lost control of their own dark operation to meddle in the 2016 election.

The US intel community (CIA, NSA, FBI, etc), with the Department of Justice, all colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign and the intel agencies of the UK and Australia, to derail Mr. Trump as a stooge of Russia and, when he shocked them by getting elected, mounted a desperate campaign to cover their asses knowing he had become their boss.

The Obama White House was involved in all this, attempting to cloak itself in plausible deniability, which may be unwinding now, too. How might all this play out from here?

One big mystery is how long will Mr. Trump wait to declassify any number of secret files, memoranda, and communications that he’s been sitting on for months.

My guess is that this stuff amounts to a potent weapon against his adversaries and he will wait until Mr. Mueller releases a final report before declassifying it. Then, we’ll have a fine constitutional crisis as the two sides vie for some sort of adjudication.

Who, for instance, will adjudicate the monkey business that is already on-the-record involving misdeeds in the Department of Justice itself? Will the DOJ split into two contesting camps, each charging the other? How might that work? Does the Acting Attorney General Mr. Whitaker seek indictments against figures such as Bruce Ohr, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, et al. Will he also rope in intel cowboys John Brennan and James Clapper? Might Hillary find herself in jeopardy — all the while on the other side Mr. Mueller pursues his targets, characters like Mr. Manafort, Michael Cohen, and the hapless Carter Page?

Or might Mr. Mueller, and others, possibly find themselves in trouble, as spearheads of a bad-faith campaign to weaponize government agencies against a sitting president? That might sound outlandish, but the evidence is adding up. In fact the evidence of a Deep State gone rogue is far more compelling than any charges Mr. Mueller has so far produced on Trump-Russia “collusion.” An example of bad faith is former FBI Director James Comey’s current campaign to avoid testifying in closed session before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees — he filed a motion just before Thanksgiving. Mr. Comey is pretending that an open session would be “transparent.” His claim is mendacious. If he were questioned about classified matters in an open session, he would do exactly what he did before in open session: decline to answer about “sensitive” matters on the basis of national security. He could make no such claims in a closed session. The truth is, his attorneys are trying to run out the clock on the current composition of the house committees, which will come under a Democrat majority in January, so that Mr. Comey can avoid testifying altogether.

There are other dicey matters awaiting some kind of adjudication elsewhere.

For instance, who is going to review the chain of decisions among the FISA judges who approved of warrants made in bad faith to spy on US citizens? Perhaps the shrinking violet, Mr. Huber, out in the Utah Prosecutor’s Office of the DOJ, is looking into all that. He’s been at something for most of the year (nobody knows what). He has to answer to Mr. Whitaker now, or the permanent AG who replaces him. And why is Mr. Trump dragging his heels on nominating a permanent AG? I suppose the FISA court matter will fall to the Supreme Court, but how does that process work, and how long might it take?

The potential for a stand-off exists that will confound any effort to untangle these things, and I can see how that might lead to an extraordinary crisis in which Mr. Trump has to declare some form of emergency or perhaps martial law to clean out this suppurating abscess of illegality and sedition.

That can only be the last and worst resort, but what if the US judicial system just can’t manage to clean up the mess it has made?

Published:11/30/2018 1:03:40 PM
[World] Katie Pavlich Rips James Comey Over Demand for Public Hearing Before House Judiciary Committee

On "Outnumbered" Friday, Katie Pavlich went off on James Comey over the former FBI director's demand for a public hearing before Congress.

Published:11/30/2018 12:33:33 PM
[] FBI Raids Home of Clinton Foundation Whistleblower The FBI now exists to protect the Democrats and attack anyone who endangers a Democrat. The FBI raided the home of a whistleblower who was in possession of documents regarding the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One, according to the whistleblower?s... Published:11/30/2018 12:04:14 PM
[World] Bob Goodlatte Rips James Comey: 'Farce' for Him to Demand Public Hearing on Russia Probe

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Friday on "America's Newsroom" that it's a "farce" for former FBI Director James Comey to demand a public hearing on his handling of the Russia probe.

Published:11/30/2018 10:03:18 AM
[Markets] PCR Fumes "There Is No Case Against Assange, So Lies Replace Evidence"

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Julian Assange is not guilty of any crime. But Washington is going to convict him anyway. Documents are being fabricated to show that Assange met inside the Ecuadoran Embassy in London with Paul Manafort and some Russians.

The logs of all visits to the Embassy have been released and show no such meetings.

This latest fabrication was dumped on the public by the Guardian, formerly a leftwing newspaper but today a MI6 asset. Luke Harding who was leaked the fake documents is either extremely gullible or himself a MI6 asset.

The purpose of the leak is to create in the public’s mind that Assange was involved in “Russiagate” along with Trump and Putin. The fact that no evidence has been found that Russiagate exists except as a made-up allegation to justify a special prosecutor to investigate President Trump has not stopped the continued use of this canard.

Washington and London are relying on the public’s insouciance to shield their shamelessness.

Julian Assange’s life has been ruined because he was a professional journalist who told the truth instead of serving as a shill for the ruling elite. Now the intention is to give him a show trial and to convict him without evidence, relying on presstitutes to spread fake evidence that a meeting that did not occur occurred and with no explanation of how such a meeting if it had actuallly occurred would constitute espionage.

Former British ambassador Craig Murry explains the shameful use of government power against an innocent person that has been unfolding under our eyes for the last six years. What is being done to Assange is as bad as any of Stalin’s show trials and is worse because it is happening in full view in front of Western Democracy.

Here is Ambassador Murray:

November 27, 2018

Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies

By Craig Murray

The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian.

Amazingly, more Ecuadorean Government documents have just been discovered for the Guardian, this time spy agency reports detailing visits of Paul Manafort and unspecified “Russians” to the Embassy. By a wonderful coincidence of timing, this is the day after Mueller announced that Manafort’s plea deal was over.

The problem with this latest fabrication is that Moreno had already released the visitor logs to the Mueller inquiry. Neither Manafort nor these “Russians” are in the visitor logs.

This is impossible. The visitor logs were not kept by Wikileaks, but by the very strict Ecuadorean security. Nobody was ever admitted without being entered in the logs. The procedure was very thorough. To go in, you had to submit your passport (no other type of document was accepted). A copy of your passport was taken and the passport details entered into the log. Your passport, along with your mobile phone and any other electronic equipment, was retained until you left, along with your bag and coat. I feature in the logs every time I visited.

There were no exceptions. For an exception to be made for Manafort and the “Russians” would have had to be a decision of the Government of Ecuador, not of Wikileaks, and that would be so exceptional the reason for it would surely have been noted in the now leaked supposed Ecuadorean “intelligence report” of the visits. What possible motive would the Ecuadorean government have for facilitating secret unrecorded visits by Paul Manafort? Furthermore it is impossible that the intelligence agency – who were in charge of the security – would not know the identity of these alleged “Russians”.

Previously Harding and the Guardian have published documents faked by the Moreno government regarding a diplomatic appointment to Russia for Assange of which he had no knowledge. Now they follow this up with more documents aimed to provide fictitious evidence to bolster Mueller’s pathetically failed attempt to substantiate the story that Russia deprived Hillary of the Presidency.

My friend William Binney, probably the world’s greatest expert on electronic surveillance, former Technical Director of the NSA, has stated that it is impossible the DNC servers were hacked, the technical evidence shows it was a download to a directly connected memory stick. I knew the US security services were conducting a fake investigation the moment it became clear that the FBI did not even themselves look at the DNC servers, instead accepting a report from the Clinton linked DNC “security consultants” Crowdstrike.

I would love to believe that the fact Julian has never met Manafort is bound to be established. But I fear that state control of propaganda may be such that this massive “Big Lie” will come to enter public consciousness in the same way as the non-existent Russian hack of the DNC servers.

Assange never met Manafort. The DNC emails were downloaded by an insider. Assange never even considered fleeing to Russia. Those are the facts, and I am in a position to give you a personal assurance of them.

I can also assure you that Luke Harding, the Guardian, Washington Post and New York Times have been publishing a stream of deliberate lies, in collusion with the security services.

I am not a fan of Donald Trump. But to see the partisans of the defeated candidate (and a particularly obnoxious defeated candidate) manipulate the security services and the media to create an entirely false public perception, in order to attempt to overturn the result of the US Presidential election, is the most astonishing thing I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Plainly the government of Ecuador is releasing lies about Assange to curry favour with the security establishment of the USA and UK, and to damage Assange’s support prior to expelling him from the Embassy. He will then be extradited from London to the USA on charges of espionage.

Assange is not a whistleblower or a spy – he is the greatest publisher of his age, and has done more to bring the crimes of governments to light than the mainstream media will ever be motivated to achieve. That supposedly great newspaper titles like the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are involved in the spreading of lies to damage Assange, and are seeking his imprisonment for publishing state secrets, is clear evidence that the idea of the “liberal media” no longer exists in the new plutocratic age. The press are not on the side of the people, they are an instrument of elite control.

*  *  *

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Published:11/30/2018 4:31:25 AM
[Markets] Yes, You Have The Right To Talk Back To The Government, But It Could Get You Killed

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state."- Justice William J. Brennan, City of Houston v. Hill

What the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line.

What the First Amendment protects - and a healthy constitutional republic requires - are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.

It’s not an easy undertaking.

Weaponized by police, prosecutors, courts and legislatures, “disorderly conduct” charges have become a convenient means by which to punish those individuals who refuse to be muzzled.

Cases like these have become all too common, typical of the bipolar nature of life in the American police state today: you may have distinct, protected rights on paper, but dare to exercise those rights and you put yourself at risk for fines, arrests, injuries and even death.

This is the unfortunate price of freedom.

Yet these are not new developments.

We have been circling this particular drain hole for some time now.

Almost 50 years ago, in fact, Lewis Colten was arrested outside Lexington, Kentucky, for questioning police and offering advice to his friend during a traffic stop.

Colten was one of 20 or so college students who had driven to the Blue Grass Airport to demonstrate against then-First Lady Pat Nixon. Upon leaving the airport, police stopped one of the cars in Colten’s motorcade because it bore an expired, out-of-state license plate. Colten and the other drivers also pulled over to the side of the road.

Fearing violence on the part of the police, Colten exited his vehicle and stood nearby while police issued his friend, Mendez, a ticket and arranged to tow his car. Police repeatedly asked Colten to leave. At one point, a state trooper declared, “This is none of your affair . . . get back in your car and please move on and clear the road.”

Insisting that he wanted to make a transportation arrangement for his friend Mendez and the occupants of the Mendez car, Colten failed to move away and was arrested for violating Kentucky’s disorderly conduct statute.

Colten subsequently challenged his arrest as a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech and took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the police.

Although the Court acknowledged that Colten was not trespassing or disobeying any traffic regulation himself, the majority affirmed that Colten “had no constitutional right to observe the issuance of a traffic ticket or to engage the issuing officer in conversation at that time.”

The Supreme Court’s bottom line: protecting police from inconvenience, annoyance or alarm is more important than protecting speech that, in the government’s estimation, has “no social value.”

While the ruling itself was unsurprising for a judiciary that tends to march in lockstep with the police, the dissent by Justice William O. Douglas is a powerful reminder that the government exists to serve the people and not the other way around.

Stressing that Colten’s speech was quiet, not boisterous, devoid of “fighting words,” and involved no overt acts, fisticuffs, or disorderly conduct in the normal meaning of the words, Douglas took issue with the idea that merely by speaking to a government representative, in this case the police—a right enshrined in the First Amendment, by the way—Colten was perceived as inconveniencing and annoying the police.

In a passionate defense of free speech, Douglas declared: 

Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?

The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet. The situation might have indicated that Colten's techniques were ill-suited to the mission he was on, that diplomacy would have been more effective. But at the constitutional level speech need not be a sedative; it can be disruptive.

It's a power-packed paragraph full of important truths that the powers-that-be would prefer we quickly forget: We the people are the sovereigns. We have the final word. We can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy. We need not stay docile and quiet. Our speech can be disruptive. It can invite dispute. It can be provocative and challenging. We do not have to bow submissively to authority or speak with reverence to government officials.

Now in theory, “we the people” have a constitutional right to talk back to the government.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded as much in City of Houston v. Hill when it struck down a city ordinance prohibiting verbal abuse of police officers as unconstitutionally overbroad and a criminalization of protected speech.

In practice, however, talking back—especially when the police are involved—can get you killed.

The danger is real.

We live in an age in which “we the people” are at the mercy of militarized, weaponized, immunized cops who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.”

While violent crime in America remains at an all-time low, the death toll as a result of police-sponsored violence continues to rise. In fact, more than 1,000 people are killed every year by police in America, more than any other country in the world.

What we are dealing with is a nationwide epidemic of court-sanctioned police violence carried out against individuals posing little or no real threat.

I’m not talking about the number of individuals—especially young people—who are being shot and killed by police for having a look-alike gun in their possession, such as a BB gun. I’m not even talking about people who have been shot for brandishing weapons at police, such as scissors.

I’m talking about the growing numbers of unarmed people are who being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or looking a certain way, or moving a certain way, or not moving fast enough, or asking a question, or not answering a question, or holding something—anything—that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer’s mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

This is not what life should be like in a so-called “free” country.

Police encounters have deteriorated so far that anything short of compliance—including behavior the police perceive as disrespectful or “insufficiently deferential to their authority,” “threatening” or resistant—could get you arrested, jailed or killed.  

The problem, of course, is that compliance is rarely enough to guarantee one’s safety.

Case in point: Miami-Dade police slammed a 14-year-old boy to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and handcuffing him after he allegedly gave them “dehumanizing stares” and walked away from them, which the officers found unacceptable.

According to Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, “His body language was that he was stiffening up and pulling away… When you have somebody resistant to them and pulling away and somebody clenching their fists and flailing their arms, that’s a threat. Of course we have to neutralize the threat.

This mindset that any challenge to police authority is a threat that needs to be “neutralized” is a dangerous one that is part of a greater nationwide trend that sets the police beyond the reach of the First and Fourth Amendments.

When police officers are allowed to operate under the assumption that their word is law and that there is no room for any form of disagreement or even question, that serves to destroy the First Amendment’s assurances of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Then again, this is what happens when you take a police recruit, hype him (or her) up on the power of the gun in his holster and the superiority of his uniform, render him woefully ignorant of how to handle a situation without resorting to violence, drill him in military tactics but keep him in the dark about the Constitution, and never stress to him that he is to be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, respectful of and subservient to the taxpayers, who are in fact his masters and employers.

The problem, as one reporter rightly concluded, is “not that life has gotten that much more dangerous, it’s that authorities have chosen to respond to even innocent situations as if they were in a warzone.”

What we’re dealing with today is a skewed shoot-to-kill mindset in which police, trained to view themselves as warriors or soldiers in a war, whether against drugs, or terror, or crime, must “get” the bad guys—i.e., anyone who is a potential target—before the bad guys get them.

Never mind that the fatality rate of on-duty police officers is reportedly far lower than many other professions, including construction, logging, fishing, truck driving, and even trash collection.

The result of this battlefield approach to domestic peacekeeping is a society in which police shoot first and ask questions later.

The message being drummed into our heads with every police shooting of an unarmed citizen is this: if you don’t want to get probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed, don’t say, do or even suggest anything that even hints of noncompliance.

This is the “thin blue line” over which you must not cross in interactions with police if you want to walk away with your life and freedoms intact.

If ever there were a time to scale back on the mindset adopted by cops that they are the law and should be revered, feared and obeyed, it’s now.

It doesn’t matter where you live—big city or small town—it’s the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents, hyped up on their own authority and the power of their uniform, ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

Americans as young as 4 years old are being leg shackledhandcuffedtasered and held at gun point for not being quiet, not being orderly and just being childlike—i.e., not being compliant enough.

Americans as old as 95 are being beaten, shot and killed for questioning an order, hesitating in the face of a directive, and mistaking a policeman crashing through their door for a criminal breaking into their home—i.e., not being submissive enough.

And Americans of every age and skin color are being taught the painful lesson that the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.

As a result, Americans are being brainwashed into believing that anyone who wears a government uniform—soldier, police officer, prison guard—must be obeyed without question.

Of course, the Constitution takes a far different position, but does anyone in the government even read, let alone abide by, the Constitution anymore?

If we just cower before government agents and meekly obey, we may find ourselves following in the footsteps of those nations that eventually fell to tyranny.

The alternative involves standing up and speaking truth to power. Jesus Christ walked that road. So did Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless other freedom fighters whose actions changed the course of history.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the American dream was built on the idea that no one is above the law, that our rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away, and that our government and its appointed agents exist to serve us.

It may be that things are too far gone to save, but still we must try.

Published:11/29/2018 11:37:09 PM
[News] Trump Threatens To Declassify ‘Devastating’ Docs About Democrats

President Donald Trump threatened that if Democrats launch probes into his administration, he will declassify documents exposing that the Obama Justice Department, FBI, and the Hillary Clinton campaign worked together to set him up. President Trump to the NY Post: “If they want to play tough, I will do it. They will see how devastating ...

The post Trump Threatens To Declassify ‘Devastating’ Docs About Democrats appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:11/29/2018 6:30:24 PM
[News] Trump Threatens To Declassify ‘Devastating’ Docs About Democrats

President Donald Trump threatened that if Democrats launch probes into his administration, he will declassify documents exposing that the Obama Justice Department, FBI, and the Hillary Clinton campaign worked together to set him up. President Trump to the NY Post: “If they want to play tough, I will do it. They will see how devastating ...

The post Trump Threatens To Declassify ‘Devastating’ Docs About Democrats appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:11/29/2018 6:30:24 PM
[Politics] Report: Comey Fighting House Subpoena in Court Former FBI Director James Comey is mounting a court challenge to a subpoena from House Republicans who want his closed-door testimony about alleged bias at the Justice Department and FBI, The Hill reported Thursday. Published:11/29/2018 4:58:14 PM
[Markets] Comey Fights Subpoena From House GOP; Asks Judge To Toss

Former FBI Director James Comey has challenged a subpoena from House Republicans demanding he appear for a closed-door testimony in federal court. 

According to court records, Comey filed a motion to quash - following through on his vow to fight the order unless his testimony was in a public forum - where lawmakers would be significantly restricted as to the scope of questions they might ask. 

"Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans," Comey tweeted on Thanksgiving day. "I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a “closed door” thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see."

Comey rejected an October request by the House Judiciary Committee to appear at a closed hearing to testify in the GOP probe into allegations of political bias at the FBI and DOJ, according to Politico.  

"Mr. Comey respectfully declines your request for a private interview," said Comey's attorney, David Kelly, in a response to the request. 

The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) didn't appreciate Comey's response. 

"We have invited Mr. Comey to come in for a transcribed interview and we are prepared to issue a subpoena to compel his appearance," said a committee aide. 

Published:11/29/2018 4:58:14 PM
[Markets] Key Witness Poisoned In "Mysterious" Death Surrounding Colombian Corruption Probe

The mysterious death of a witness in a corruption probe taking place in Colombia has cost the founder of Colombia's biggest banking group $1 billion of his fortune, after already losing another $1 billion earlier this year, Bloomberg reported.

Luis Carlos Sarmiento, founder of bank Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA, has watched the market value of his fortune decline as government investigations into Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA have cast a shadow over Sarmiento's bank and its former partners.

A subsidiary of Aval had partnered with Odebrechtto build a section of the 621-mile Ruta del Sol highway connecting Colombia with the Caribbean coast. The partnership fell through when Odebrecht admitted using a bribe to win the contract.

Shares of Aval are down 27% in dollar terms this year, which makes it easily the worst performance among the 20 biggest banks in Latin America. For comparison, Bancolombia was higher by 2% over the same period.

The vaporizing of value comes after an auditor for one of Sarmiento's companies - Jorge Enrique Pizano - who had previously expressed concern for his own safety and provided evidence to the FBI - died this month from a heart attack. Pizano was outspoken about suspicious payments by Odebrecht dating back to 2013.

His son, who went home from Spain for the funeral, also recently died in a poisoning - the circumstances of which are being called "mysterious".

Since Pizano's death on November 8, Sarmiento has seen his personal fortune fall by about $1 billion, after falling another $1 billion earlier this year. One of the contracts that Pizano was interested in was a $2.7 million payment to a bank in Panama that wound up going through New York. Reportedly, Pizano had taken a four hour meeting with the FBI at the US Embassy in Bogotá to discuss it.

Aval's net income was up 79% in the third-quarter, but the company still finds itself under the cloud of these investigations.

Carlos Rodriguez, head of equities at Ultraserfinco brokerage in Bogota told Bloomberg: “When international authorities get involved, and above all, U.S. authorities, there’s a risk of something additional coming out, something we don’t know about.”

Aval has claimed its innocence and "repeatedly denied that it knew about its partner’s illegal actions" in its U.S. SEC filings.

It’s been found that Odebrecht had bribed politicians and government officials to help it win contracts to build things like highways and power plants in various parts of Latin America. The company has already reached settlements in countries like the United States and the Dominican Republic. The Colombian case and the investigation into the deaths are both still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Pizano reportedly made secret audio recordings of his conversations with Nestor Humberto Martinez, the lawyer who represented Aval, when he brought up his concerns about these irregular payments. Martinez, who is now the Nation's Attorney General, stated on Colombian TV that he passed on Pizano's comments to Sarmiento himself.

Nothing to see here...

Published:11/28/2018 8:24:46 PM
[Media] Omar uses hate crimes report… (Scott Johnson) Minnesota Rep-elect Ilhan Omar seized on the latest FBI report on hate crimes as the ostensible subject of a column for the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune published her column under the headline “Let us stand together as Americans in rejecting hate.” By the third paragraph, with the exception of one sentence portraying herself as a victim, she has moved on from the hate crimes report to her usual leftist Published:11/28/2018 6:19:35 AM
[Markets] "Jerry Is Simply Mistaken": Roger Stone Responds To Corsi "Cover Story" On Podestas

Roger Stone has replied to a Tuesday report that Jerome Corsi's research on the Podesta brothers was designed as a cover story for Stone's apparent foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks publication of John Podesta's emails. 

Responding in a Daily Caller piece suggesting that his friend "Jerry" is "simply mistaken," and maintains that he based his tweets on Corsi's yet-to-be-released work. 

Go back and look at the reporting at the time. It was not until after the Podesta emails were released that my tweet got any attention. If the reports are true, Jerry is simply mistaken that what we discussed was a cover. Ask yourself: a cover for what? In August 2016, there was no investigation, no special counsel, no congressional committees, and no subpoenas. Why would a cover story be necessary?

...

Corsi told One America News that Mueller wanted him to say he was my conduit to Assange, and that I passed allegedly stolen or hacked emails to Donald Trump or the Trump campaign. Corsi said he refused to say it because that statement would have been false.

Despite all this, media reports indicate that Mueller deputy Jeannie Rhee, a former lawyer for the Clinton Foundation, ridiculed and badgered Dr. Corsi — a 72-year-old man — over 40 hours of interrogation. -Roger Stone

According to a report in the Daily Caller, Corsi has claimed in a new book that he has a joint defense agreement with President Trump to provide Stone with a cover story for a tweet which suggested that he had foreknowledge of WikiLeaks' release of emails which would be damaging to Hillary Clinton campaign manager, John Podesta. 

Corsi claims he was also given limited immunity by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross - who has seen an advanced copy of the book. 

The cover story in question revolves around Stone's August 21, 2016 tweet that it would "soon [be] the Podesta's time in the barrel."

Corsi testified that he and Stone hatched a plan in which Corsi would write a memo about the Podestas to allow Stone to cite it as the basis for his tweet. The revelation, if accurate, would undercut Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that opposition research on the Podesta brothers’ business activities was the catalyst for the tweet. -Daily Caller

Stone has denied that he and Corsi concocted the cover story - insisting that his tweet was in reference to forthcoming opposition research on the topic. The longtime Trump adviser also noted that Corsi has not claimed to have email or text message evidence supporting his story about the memo. Stone also sent the Caller a series of tweets he posted before the August 21 twee which showed that he was following reporting on Podesta activities in Ukraine. 

“John Podesta makes Paul Manafort look like St. Thomas Aquinas. Where is The New York Times?” Stone wrote on Aug. 15, 2016, referring to news articles alleging that Manafort, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, had engaged in illegal business dealings in Ukraine. Stone claims that he was researching the Podesta Group’s lobbying activities in Ukraine. -Daily Caller

On Monday, Corsi announced both his book's release and that he had rejected a plea arrangement from Mueller - stating that he would not plead guilty to a crime he did not commit. In his new book, Cosri says that his joint defense agreement with Trump's legal team was designed to conceal the cover story. 

He claims that Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, suggested the agreement could be verbal in nature and did not need to be put in writing.

“This saved creating a document that might appear later in some relevant legal proceeding or newspaper article,” Corsi writes.

Joint defense agreements are common in criminal proceedings, especially when multiple witnesses and investigative targets are dealing with the same prosecutors. Trump has one such agreement with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted of tax and bank fraud in the special counsel’s probe on Aug. 21. Prosecutors often bristle at the agreements because they allow witnesses to exchange information about the investigation that would otherwise be limited by attorney-client privilege. -Daily Caller

Corsi insists that he and Trump's legal team entered into the agreement before his first meeting with Mueller's team on Sept. 6, after his first encounter with the DOJ on August 28 during which FBI agents subpoenaed him to testify before the grand jury. 

Corsi's attorney, David Gray, was leery of the government offer - suggesting that it might make the Stone associate appear less cooperative to Mueller's team. 

"During their phone conversation, Sekulow offered to Gray that the White House was willing to enter into what is known as a mutual defense agreement with us," writes Corsi - adding that under the verbal agreement "we and the White House would be permitted to share information privately about the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, with the goal of the White House and me assisting one another in defending ourselves."

Corsi claims that after a few days of mulling it over, Gray called Seculow back and accepted the offer.

"After debating the pros and cons, we had decided that anytime we could get the attorney for the president of the United States to offer assistance to us, we needed to say to be thankful and accept," Corsi writes in his book. 

Corsi writes of one instance in which Gray, his lawyer, had contact with Sekulow. He says that he wanted Gray to warn Trump that “we had to assume the Special Counselor would have everything.”

All emails, text messages, written notes, and phone records could be obtained by search warrant.”

“I wanted the president warned NOT to give in-person verbal testimony to Mueller under any circumstances,” he adds, expressing concern that prosecutors were moving towards a “perjury trap” against him for misremembering details about a July 25, 2016, email he received from Stone. -Daily Caller

Corsi, meanwhile, accepted "limited use immunity" from Mueller's team to avoid what he says would have been another perjury trap. The immunity discussions began when Mueller attorney Aaron Zelinsky - one of Trump's so-called "13 Angry Democrats" - asked Corsi if he was aware that Stone had testified to the House Intelligence Committee that Corsi's Podesta brothers research was the foundation for his August 21, 2016 tweet. 

After interrupting the interview to confer with prosecutors, Gray informed Corsi that Mueller's team "had agreed to give me a grant of immunity for my testimony here." 

"David explained to me that I could be criminally charged for subornation of perjury for my role in creating a ‘cover story’ about Podesta that Stone used in his testimony under oath to the House Intelligence Committee," writes Corsi. 

Where did Stone really hear about the emails? 

Stone's Podesta tweet indicating that he knew of the upcoming WikiLeaks release has been a central aspect of Mueller's Russia probe - with John Podesta suggesting after Hillary Clinton's 2016 election defeat that various tweets by Stone showed that the Trump adviser had advanced knowledge of the publication. 

Stone has said in other tweets that left-wing activist and radio host Randy Credico was his source, as Credico is close friends with WikiLeaks lawyer Margaret Ratner Kunstler. 

Stone released text messages on Nov. 14 that showed that Credico told him that WikiLeaks would release documents that would roil the Clinton campaign.

“Hillary’s campaign will die this week,” Credico texted Stone on Oct. 1, 2016.

“Julian Assange has kryptonite on Hillary,” Credico told Stone on Aug. 27, 2016.

Though Credico appears to be one source of information for Stone, prosecutors appear unconvinced by Stone’s public denials that he had no other back channels to WikiLeaks. -Daily Caller

Corsi has denied ever speaking with Julian Assange - instead claiming that he had begun researching John Podesta's business ties with Russians, and believed that the research "would make an excellent cover-story for Stone's unfortunate tweet." 

He writes that in a phone call on August 30, 2016 that "I suggested Stone could use me as an excuse, claiming my research on Podesta and Russia was the basis for Stone’s prediction that Podesta would soon be in the pickle barrel."

"I knew this was a cover-story, in effect not true, since I recalled telling Stone earlier in August that Assange had Podesta emails that he planned to drop as the ‘October Surprise,’ calculated by Assange to deliver a knock-out blow to Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations."

Corsi emailed a nine-page research memo to Stone the next day. 

“So you knew this was a lie when you wrote the Podesta email,” Zelinsky asked Corsi during one question-and-answer session, he writes.

“Yes, I did,” Corsi responded. “In politics, it’s not unusual to create alternative explanations to deflect the attacks of your political opponents.”

Corsi maintains that neither he nor Stone committed any crime.

“The evidence I provided against Stone was very weak,” he asserts.

So, what if we had concocted a cover story to explain away Stone’s ‘Podesta’s time in the barrel’ email … So, what if Roger Stone used my cover story to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Roger could amend that testimony and Congress rarely pursues anyone for criminal charges of perjury,” he wrote.  -Daily Caller

Corsi concludes: "Without the link to Assange, there was no ‘Russian Collusion’ that could be pinned on Roger Stone."

Published:11/27/2018 8:48:08 PM
[Media] LOL! Louise Mensch deletes tweet and apologizes after calling Kyle Kashuv a ‘Russian asset’ [screenshot]

LOL. Louise Mensch just deleted a tweet where she called Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv a “Russian asset” and even CC’d the FBI to alert them to the threat posed by the senior in high school: Forget about talking about which colleges I got into, I, a Parkland survivor, just got called a Russian asset by […]

The post LOL! Louise Mensch deletes tweet and apologizes after calling Kyle Kashuv a ‘Russian asset’ [screenshot] appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:11/27/2018 11:14:38 AM
[Markets] Trump Blasts Mueller & "Angry Democrats" - "Go Back To The Clinton Foundation"

In a trio of increasingly angry tweets this morning, President Trump raged at special counsel Robert Mueller as "a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue" lambasting him for "doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System" because of his one-sided investigation.

"The Phony Witch Hunt continues, but Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other. Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue...

...The Fake News Media builds Bob Mueller up as a Saint, when in actuality he is the exact opposite. He is doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System, where he is only looking at one side and not the other. Heroes will come of this, and it won’t be Mueller and his...

...terrible Gang of Angry Democrats. Look at their past, and look where they come from. "

Trump went on to reference the FBI's shuttered investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, which chastised the former Democratic nominee as "extremely careless" for her use of a private email server to do official business at the State Department.

"The now $30,000,000 Witch Hunt continues and they’ve got nothing but ruined lives. Where is the Server? Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!"

Trump has attacked and criticized Mueller's investigation into members of his campaign for months, but this outburst comes a day after Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi refused to sign a plea deal with Mueller.

Published:11/27/2018 7:42:23 AM
[Markets] The Proud Boys And America's Looming "Long Night" Of Political Repression

Authored by James Kirkpatrick via VDare.com,

There is no lie more dangerous than believing America is a free country. Those who act as if it is swiftly learn otherwise, as Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boyscan testify. And it’s increasingly hard to take pundits and journalists’ condemnations of “authoritarianism” seriously when Americans are already living under an authoritarian system - albeit one more Kafkaesque and absurd than anything existing in Russia or China.

Accompanied by the cheers of journalists, McInnes recently declared he is disassociating from the Proud Boys under legal pressure, apparently to help those members currently caught up in legal proceedings for the “crime” of defending themselves from antifa. [Gavin McInnes, Proud Boys founder, claims complete disassociation from far-right groupby Andrew Blake, Washington Times, November 23, 2018] It’s worth noting that despite McInnes’s repeated condemnations of the Alt Right, even the “conservative” Washington Timeslabelsthe Proud Boys a “far right” group, showing the same kind of conformist mentality the paper displayed when it fired columnist Sam Francis back in 1995. Milo Yiannopoulos similarly disassociated from the Proud Boys, citing legal advice and blaming journalists for “defaming the group to death” and promoting “moral panic about a ‘white supremacy’ outbreak that simply doesn’t exist.” Yiannopoulos also slammed politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo for lynching the Proud Boys on behalf of Antifa, “the beloved violent terrorists of the establishment Left”. [I, Too, Must Bid Adieu To The Proud Boys, A Spunky Pro-Western Men’s Club Defamed To Death, Dangerous, November 21, 2018]

To be sure, many VDARE.com readers will find these disassociations far too defensive, particularly the frequent boasts about the numbers of non-whites and homosexuals in the group. The type of journalists who write articles like Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups [by Arun Gupta, The Daily Beast,September 4, 2018] aren’t going to pay attention anyway. As American civic nationalism is magically transformed into “white nationalism” by the Main Stream Media, even a multiracial fraternity that leans right is transformed by journalists into grim-faced monochromatic storm troopers, all protests and photographic evidence notwithstanding.

Of course, given that the Left is now mutating into a loose confederation of tribes united only by their hatred of American whites, it’s unclear why white people protecting their own interest is considered uniquely evil. [The White Nationalist Manifestoby Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, November 15, 2018]

Yet even those who might quibble with the Proud Boys or Milo Yiannopoulos for ideological reasons should be troubled by what is happening. This is from the same playbook as the federal prosecution of the Rise Above Movement, which prosecutors themselves essentially admitted was launched at the behest of Antifa journalists. [FBI arrests white ‘serial rioters,’ by Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, October 8, 2018] The united efforts of the MSM and law enforcement to target dissident groups is a dangerous indication that the “rule of law” so often invoked by the Beltway Right has become as irrelevant to American government as the Constitution.

Contrast the hysteria over the Proud Boys to the latest attacks by Antifa. According to the police, Marine Reservists were attacked by a group in Philadelphia accusing them of being “Nazis” and “white supremacists” . [Marines were attacked, robbed near “We the People” rally in Phillyby Victor Fiorillo, Philadelphia Magazine, November 20, 2018] The attack took place after a conservative “We The People” rally in Philadelphia that was protested by Antifa. The organizer of said rally was also doxed by antifa and reportedly had his home vandalized. [We The People Rally Organizer’s Home Vandalized After Antifa Doxxed Himby Tom Pappert, Big League Politics, November 20, 2018]

Needless to say, if the attackers are indeed part of a local antifa network, there will be no full court press against them by local or national media. After all, many of these journalists serve as propogandists for these attackers and their comrades. And, despite their constant invocations of “our troops,” Conservatism Inc. outlets and Republican politicians are also indifferent. After all, Antifa serve a useful role for the Beltway Right, making sure that the grassroots sticks to the script and never makes the connection between the mostly white conservative base and the policies that would serve its interests.

All this is taking place when the MSM finally seems to be noticing the kind of system that is being created in China. Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis recently condemned the “Social Credit” system emerging there, in which the government links certain privileges (such as travel rights) to behavior, such as violating traffic laws [Beijing to judge every resident based on behavior by end of 2020, Bloomberg, November 21, 2018]

Yet Professor Christakis himself suffered career consequences in 2015 after his wife questioned whether minority students at Yale were overreacting to Halloween costumes. He ultimately had to step down from his role as master of one of Yale’s residential colleges [The Perils of writing a provocative email at Yaleby Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, May 26, 2016]. Even the title “master” was abolished.

Yet Professor Christakis, probably to protect whatever status he had left, quickly conformed to the proper Narrative and began declaring that “the most serious threat to free expression in our society today is coming from the right” and making maudlin tributes to “our free and open society.”

Yet what “free and open society?” We are already well past the point where laws are enforced in anything close to an objective way. America is now witnessing the rise of an ideological system that ruthlessly enforces a certain narrative throughout all of society. Dissenters are punished economically, socially, and sometimes physically. It functions very much like China’s “Social Credit” system, with dissenters denied access to online platforms, fundraising services, and even banking services.

Even worse is climate of never ending media hysteria. Consider how strange it is that MSM publications regularly feature family members denouncing each other for various forms of thoughtcrime. [Nation of Little Swineby Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, August 21, 2018] This includes pieces from self-described libertarians. [Let’s go spelunking through years of my cousin’s crazy right-wing emailsby Bonnie Kristian, The Week, November 22, 2018]

Consider that a flyer or a leaflet placed by a politically incorrect correct group inspires more outrage and fear than an actual crime.

Consider how strange it is that “fake hate crimes” are so prevalent and that entirely new identities are created because people are so desperate to identify as part of an ostensibly oppressed class.

Most importantly, consider how journalists, working in partnership with technology companies and self-appointed “watchdog” groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, regularly police dissident outlets and urge deplatforming and financial sanctions for unapproved opinions. “Democracy” becomes meaningless if media outlets and social networking only allow one narrative to be expressed.

John Robb of Global Guerrillas refers to the emerging world as the “Long Night.”

This danger is an all-encompassing online orthodoxy. A sameness of thought and approach enforced by hundreds of millions of socially internetworked adherents. A global orthodoxy that ruthless narrows public thought down to a single, barren, ideological framework. A ruling network that prevents dissent and locks us into stagnation and inevitable failure as it runs afoul of reality and human nature.

[The Long Night AheadSeptember 22, 2017]

The system in China is not so terribly different from that being created in America, except American-style persecution is largely conducted through quasi-private corporate entities rather than the government. What’s more, it’s countries like China or Russia likely have more free speech than America or Western Europe to discuss issues that actually matter, like human bio-diversity, while the post-West descends into Cultural Marxist hysteria over trivialities like offensive Halloween costumes.

The American Conservative Movement could have stopped much of this, at least when the Republican party controlled both chambers of Congress. Unfortunately, Conservatism Inc. is less a political movement than a glorified corporate lobbying enterprise. (Note that Google was a “Presenting Sponsor” of the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference.”) Regulating tech companies to ensure free speech, enforcing laws objectively (including against antifa), and pushing back against MSM smear campaigns is evidently beyond the capabilities of the Beltway Right—and thus far at least, the Trump Administration.

The Historic American Nation is under occupation. The major question facing patriots in the coming years is not how to “Make America Great Again,” but how to survive, build communities, and reclaim some semblance of free speech and freedom of association under a hostile system.

The patriotic movement needs to adjust to this reality and start defending the rights and interests of its base. Otherwise, the Proud Boys will not be the last victims of Cultural Marxist Totalitarianism - and even the most “respectable” conservative will not be spared when his turn arrives.

Published:11/26/2018 11:16:20 PM
[Markets] Johnstone: Newsweek Says It's Important For Powerful People To Be Able To Lie To Us With Impunity

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

So it turns out it’s really really important for powerful people to be able to lie to us with impunity, you guys. I know this because an actual, literal spy told me that that’s what I’m meant to believe in an article published by Newsweekyesterday.

If you were wondering how long it would take the imperial propagandists to ramp up their efforts to explain to us why it is good for the Trump administration to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after we learned that sealed charges have been brought against him by the United States government, the answer is eight days.

If you were wondering which of those propagandists would step forward and aggressively attempt to do so, the answer is Naveed Jamali.

To be clear, I do not use the word “propagandist” to refer to a mass media employee whose reliable track record of establishment sycophancy has propelled him to the upper echelons of influence within platforms owned by plutocrats who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, as I often mean when I use that word. When I say that Jamali is a propagandist, I mean he is a current member of the United States intelligence community telling Newsweek’s readers that it is to society’s benefit for the US government to pursue a longstanding agenda of the US intelligence community in imprisoning Julian Assange.

Jamali is currently a reserve intelligence officer for the United States Navy, and is a former FBI asset and double agent. He is also like many intelligence community insiders an MSNBC contributor, and is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a think tank which has featured many prominent neoconservative war whores like Donald and Frederick Kagan, Max Boot, and James Woolsey. 

Any think tank with the words “foreign policy” in its title is nothing other than a group of intellectuals who are paid by plutocrats to come up with the best possible arguments for why it would be very good and smart to do things that are very evil and stupid, and Naveed Jamali sits comfortably there.

His Newsweek article, titled “Prosecuting Assange is Essential for Restoring Our National Security”, begins with the sentence “Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Julian Assange or Wikileaks,” and doesn’t get any better from there. The article consists of two arguments, the first being that since Assange is “not a journalist” he is not protected by the First Amendment from prosecution by the US government. This argument is bunk because (A) this is a made-up nonsense talking point since neither the US Constitution nor the Supreme Court have made any distinction between journalists or any other kind of publisher in press freedom protections, and (B) WikiLeaks has won many awards for journalism. The second argument is that it is very important for the US government to be able to hide any kind of secrets it wants from the American people.

And really that’s the only thing these paid manipulators are ever telling you when they smear Assange or argue for his prosecution: powerful people need to be able to lie to you and hide information from you without being inconvenienced or embarrassed by WikiLeaks. If they say it often enough and in a sufficiently confident tone, some trusting, well-intentioned people will overlook the fact that this is an intensely moronic thing for anyone to believe.

Contrary to what US intelligence operatives would have you believe, the prosecution of Julian Assange by the United States government would indeed be disastrous for press freedoms around the world.good recent essay by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone titled “Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case” breaks down exactly why everyone should oppose this administration’s aggressive pursuit of Assange, even if they hate him and everything he stands for. In terms of speech protection there is nothing that legally distinguishes an outlet from WikiLeaks from outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of whom have published secret documents and information which was taken through illegal means. If Assange is successfully prosecuted for doing the same thing other mainstream publications do to hold power to account, there will be little stopping the US government from going after those types of outlets all around the world for publishing its secrets.

After Taibbi published his article, he spent a couple hours on Twitter explaining to Democratic Party loyalists over and over and over and overagain that the charges Assange is facing almost certainly have nothing to do with the 2016 WikiLeaks publications, and rather relate to much earlier publications of a far more classified nature than a few Democrats’ emails. He had to do this because Russiagate conspiracy theorists have been shrieking that it’s #MuellerTime ever since news broke about the sealed charges, and now you’ve got the strange scene of liberals everywhere cheering on a Trump administration agenda which threatens to cripple the free press they claim to be protecting from the very administration that they are cheering for. The concept that the prosecution of someone they’ve been trained to hate has nothing to do with the thing they hate him for is inconceivable from within the walls of the binary narrative matrix that these people have become trapped in by establishment manipulators like Jamali.

Taibbi’s essay wraps up with the words, “Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.”

He’s right. They don’t grasp it. Here’s hoping they do before it’s too late.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalbuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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Published:11/26/2018 7:39:30 PM
[] Mueller: Manafort Violated His Plea Deal By Lying Of course. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office "on a variety of subject matters" since his plea deal earlier this year, thereby violating the agreement, Mueller said in a court... Published:11/26/2018 7:09:41 PM
[Politics] Newt: Public Testimony Won't Help Comey If He Clams Up Newt Gingrich says former FBI Director James Comey may have a point behind demanding to be interviewed in public when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Published:11/26/2018 12:45:30 PM
[Markets] Forget Jim Acosta, Matt Taibbi Explains Why You Should Care About Julian Assange

Authored by Matt Taibbi via RollingStone.com,

Forget Jim Acosta. If you’re worried about Trump’s assault on the press, news of a Wikileaks indictment is the real scare story...

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since the summer of 2012, is back in the news. Last week, word of a sealed federal indictment involving him leaked out.

The news came out in a strange way, via an unrelated case in Virginia. In arguing to seal a federal child endangerment charge (against someone with no connection to Wikileaks), the government, ironically, mentioned Assange as an example of why sealing is the only surefire way to keep an indictment under wraps.

“Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case,” prosecutors wrote, “no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack told Rolling Stone he had “not been informed that Mr. Assange has been charged, or the nature of any charges.”

Pollock and other sources could not be sure, but within the Wikileaks camp it’s believed that this charge, if it exists, is not connected to the last election.

“I would think it is not related to the 2016 election since that would seem to fall within the purview of the Office of Special Counsel,” Pollack said.

If you hate Assange because of his role in the 2016 race, please take a deep breath and consider what a criminal charge that does not involve the 2016 election might mean. An Assange prosecution could give the Trump presidency broad new powers to put Trump’s media “enemies” in jail, instead of just yanking a credential or two. The Jim Acosta business is a minor flap in comparison.

Although Assange may not be a traditional journalist in terms of motive, what he does is essentially indistinguishable from what news agencies do, and what happens to him will profoundly impact journalism.

Reporters regularly publish stolen, hacked and illegally-obtained material. A case that defined such behavior as criminal conspiracy would be devastating. It would have every reporter in the country ripping national security sources out of their rolodexes and tossing them in the trash.

A lot of anti-Trump reporting has involved high-level leaks. Investigation of such leaks has reportedly tripled under Trump even compared to the administration of Barack Obama, who himself prosecuted a record number of leakers. Although this may seem light years from the behavior of Wikileaks, the legal issues are similar.

Although it’s technically true that an Assange indictment could be about anything, we do have some hints about its likely direction. Back in 2014, search warrants were served to Google in connection with Wikileaks that listed causes of criminal action then being considered. Google informed Wikileaks of the warrants. You can see all of this correspondence here.

The government back then - again, this pre-dated 2016, Roger Stone, Guccifer 2.0, etc. - was looking at espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and conspiracy.

The investigation probably goes as far back as 2010, in connection with the release of ex-army private Chelsea Manning’s “Collateral Murder” video. That footage showed American forces in Iraq firing on a Reuters journalist and laughing about civilian casualties.

While much of the progressive media world applauded this exposure of George W. Bush’s Iraq war, the government immediately began looking for ways to prosecute. The Sydney Herald reported that the FBI opened its investigation of Assange “after Private Manning’s arrest in May of 2010.”

Ironically, one of the first public figures to call for Assange to be punished was Donald Trump, who in 2010 suggested the “death penalty” on Fox Radio’s Kilmeade and Friends.

While Trump complained, Wikileaks became an international sensation and a darling of the progressive set. It won a host of journalism prizes, including the Amnesty International New Media Award for 2009.

But a lot of press people seemed to approve of Wikileaks only insofar as its “radical transparency” ideas coincided with traditional standards of newsworthiness.

The “Collateral Murder” video, for instance, was celebrated as a modern take on Sy Hersh’s My Lai Massacre revelations, or the Pentagon Papers.

From there, the relationship between Assange and the press deteriorated quickly. A lot of this clearly had to do with Assange’s personality. Repeat attempts by (ostensibly sympathetic) reporters to work with Assange ended in fiascoes, with the infamous “Unauthorized Autobiography” — in which Assange abandoned the anticipated Canongate books project mid-stream, saying “all memoir is prostitution” — being one of many projects to gain him a reputation for egomania and grandiosity.

Partners like the Committee to Protect Journalists, who had been sifting through Wikileaks material to prevent truly harmful information from getting out, began to be frustrated by what they described as a frantic pace of releases.

In one episode, an Ethiopian journalist was questioned by authorities after a Wikileaks cable revealed he had a source in government; the CPJ wanted to redact the name. “We’ve been struggling to get through” the material, the CPJ wrote.

Eventually, for a variety of reasons, the partnerships with media organizations like the New York Times and The Guardian collapsed. Add to this the strange and ugly affair involving now-dismissed rape inquiry in Sweden, and Assange’s name almost overnight became radioactive with the same people who had feted him initially.

It seemed to me from the start the “reputable” press misunderstood Wikileaks. Newspapers always seemed to want the site’s scoops, without having to deal with the larger implications of its leaks.

It’s easy to forget that Wikileaks arrived in the post-9/11 era, just as vast areas of public policy were being nudged under the umbrella of classification and secrecy, often pointlessly so.

Ronald Reagan’s executive secretary for the National Security Council, Rodney McDaniel, estimated that 90 percent of what was classified didn’t need to be. The head of the 9/11 commission put the number at 75 percent.

This created a huge amount of tension between so-called “real secrets” — things that really should never be made public, like military positions and the designs of mass-destruction weapons — and things that are merely extremely embarrassing to people in power and should come out. The bombing of civilian targets in Iraq was one example. The mistreatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay was another.

A lack of any kind of real oversight system on this score is what led to situations like the Edward Snowden case. In 2013, Americans learned the NSA launched a vast extralegal data-collection program not just targeting its own people, but foreign leaders like Angela Merkel.

Snowden ended up in exile for exposing this program. Meanwhile, the government official who under oath denied its existence to congress, former Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper, remains free and is a regular TV contributor, despite numerous Senators having called for his prosecution. This says a lot about the deep-seated, institutional nature of secrecy in this country.

It always seemed that Assange viewed his primary role as being a pain in the ass to this increasingly illegitimate system of secrets, a pure iconoclast who took satisfaction in sticking it to the very powerful. I didn’t always agree with its decisions, but Wikileaks was an understandable human response to an increasingly arbitrary, intractable, bureaucratic political system.

That it even had to exist spoke to a fundamental flaw in modern Western democracies — i.e. that our world is now so complex and choked with secrets that even releasing hundreds of thousands of documents at a time, we can never be truly informed about the nature of our own societies.

Moreover, as the Snowden episode showed, it isn’t clear that knowing unpleasant secrets is the same as being able to change them.

In any case, the institutions Wikileaks perhaps naively took on once upon a time are getting ready to hit back. Frankly it’s surprising it’s taken this long. I’m surprised Assange is still alive, to be honest.

If Assange ends up on trial, he’ll be villainized by most of the press, which stopped seeing the “lulz” in his behavior for good once Donald Trump was elected. The perception that Assange worked with Vladimir Putin to achieve his ends has further hardened responses among his former media allies.

As to the latter, Assange denies cooperating with the Russians, insisting his source for the DNC leak was not a “state actor.” It doesn’t matter. That PR battle has already been decided.

Frankly, none of that entire story matters, in terms of what an Assange prosecution would mean for journalism in general. Hate him or not, the potential legal consequences are the same.

Courts have held reporters cannot be held liable for illegal behavior of sources. The 2001 Supreme Court case Bartnicki v. Vopper involved an illegal wiretap of Pennsylvania teachers’ union officials, who were having an unsavory conversation about collective bargaining tactics. The tape was passed to a local radio jock, Frederick Vopper, who put it on the air.

The Court ruled Vopper couldn’t be liable for the behavior of the wiretapper.

It’s always been the source’s responsibility to deal with that civil or criminal risk. The press traditionally had to decide whether or not leaked material was newsworthy, and make sure it was true.

The government has been searching for a way to change that equation. The Holy Grail would be a precedent that forces reporters to share risk of jail with sources.

Separate from Assange, prosecutions of leakers have sharply escalated in the last decade. The government has steadily tiptoed toward describing publishers as criminal conspirators.

Through the end of the Obama years, presidents had only prosecuted leakers twelve times. Nine of those came under Obama’s tenure. Many of those cases involved the Espionage Act.

In one case, a Fox reporter was an unindicted co-conspirator in a leak case involving a story about North Korea planning a nuclear test in response to sanctions.

In another incident, then-New York Times reporter James Risen spent seven years fighting an attempt by the Obama government to force him to compel his sources in a story about Iran’s nuke program.

A more recent case, from the Trump years, involved NSA leaker Reality Winner, who was given a draconian five-year prison sentence for leaking to The Intercept.

Despite Trump’s more recent cheery campaign-year comments about Wikileaks, and his son’s now-infamous email correspondence with Assange, Trump’s career-government appointees have not deviated much from the old party line on Wikileaks.

Trump’s security chiefs repeatedly called for a prosecution of Assange, with then-Justice head Jeff Sessions saying it was a “priority.”

Current Secretary of State and then-CIA director Mike Pompeo called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and added, “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms… He is not a U.S. citizen.”

It’s impossible to know exactly what recent news about an indictment means until we see it (the Reporters’ Committee for the Freedom of the Press has already filed a motion to unseal the charges). If there is a case, it could be anything in the federal criminal code, perhaps even unrelated to leaks. Who knows?

But the more likely eventuality is a prosecution that uses the unpopularity of Assange to shut one of the last loopholes in our expanding secrecy bureaucracy. Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.

There’s already a lot we don’t know about our government’s unsavory clandestine activities on fronts like surveillance and assassination, and such a case would guarantee we’d know even less going forward. Long-term questions are hard to focus on in the age of Trump. But we may look back years from now and realize what a crucial moment this was.

Published:11/25/2018 4:32:41 PM
[Politics] Gowdy: Videotape Comey Testimony to House Panel Former FBI director James Comey is right to be worried about leaks of any testimony he might give House investigators - and the "remedy" is to videotape the closed-door sit-down, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Sunday.In an interview on CBS News' "Face The Nation," the... Published:11/25/2018 11:34:42 AM
[Markets] MI6 Scrambling To Stop Trump From Releasing Classified Docs In Russia Probe

The UK's Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, has been scrambling to prevent President Trump from publishing classified materials linked to the Russian election meddling investigation, according to The Telegraph, stating that any disclosure would "undermine intelligence gathering if he releases pages of an FBI application to wiretap one of his former campaign advisers." 

Trump's allies, however, are fighting back - demanding transparency and suggesting that the UK wouldn't want the documents withheld unless it had something to hide. 

The Telegraph has talked to more than a dozen UK and US officials, including in American intelligence, who have revealed details about the row. 

British spy chiefs have “genuine concern” about sources being exposed if classified parts of the wiretap request were made public, according to figures familiar with discussions.

It boils down to the exposure of people”, said one US intelligence official, adding: “We don’t want to reveal sources and methods.” US intelligence shares the concerns of the UK. 

Another said Britain feared setting a dangerous “precedent” which could make people less likely to share information, knowing that it could one day become public. -The Telegraph

The Telegraph adds that the UK's dispute with the Trump administration is so politically sensitive that staff within the British Embassy in D.C. haver been barred from discussing it with journalists. Theresa May has also "been kept at arms-length and is understood to have not raised the issue directly with the US president." 

In September, we reported that the British government "expressed grave concerns" over the material in question after President Trump issued an order to the DOJ to release a wide swath of materials, "immediately" and "without redaction." 

Trump walked that order back days later after the UK begged him not to release them

Mr Trump wants to declassify 21 pages from one of the applications. He announced the move in September, then backtracked, then this month said he was "very seriously" considering it again. Both Britain and Australia are understood to be opposing the move. 

Memos detailing alleged ties between Mr Trump and Russia compiled by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer, were cited in the application, which could explain some of the British concern. -The Telegraph

The New York Times reported at the time that the UK's concern was over material which "includes direct references to conversations between American law enforcement officials and Christopher Steele,the former MI6 agent who compiled the infamous "Steele Dossier." The UK's objection, according to former US and British officials, was over revealing Steele's identity in an official document, "regardless of whether he had been named in press reports." 

We noted in September, however, that Steele's name was contained within the Nunes Memo - the House Intelligence Committee's majority opinion in the Trump-Russia case.

Steele also had extensive contacts with DOJ official Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie, who - along with Steele - was paid by opposition research firm Fusion GPS in the anti-Trump campaign. Trump called for the declassification of FBI notes of interviews with Ohr, which would ostensibly reveal more about his relationship with Steele. Ohr was demoted twice within the Department of Justice for lying about his contacts with Fusion GPS. 

Perhaps the Brits are also concerned since much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soil throughout 2016. Recall that Trump aid George Papadopoulos was lured to London in March, 2016, where Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud fed him the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. It was later at a London bar that Papadopoulos would drunkenly pass the rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer (who Strzok flew to London to meet with). 

Also recall that CIA/FBI "informant" (spy) Stefan Halper met with both Carter Page and Papadopoulos in London. 

Halper, a veteran of four Republican administrations, reached out to Trump aide George Papadopoulos in September 2016 with an offer to fly to London to write an academic paper on energy exploration in the Mediterranean Sea.

Papadopoulos accepted a flight to London and a $3,000 honorarium. He claims that during a meeting in London, Halper asked him whether he knew anything about Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails.

Papadopoulos had other contacts on British soil that he now believes were part of a government-sanctioned surveillance operation. -Daily Caller

In total, Halper received over $1 million from the Obama Pentagon for "research," over $400,000 of which was granted before and during the 2016 election season. 

Papadopoulos, who was sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying about his conversations with a shadowy Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, has publicly claimed he was targeted by UK spies, and told The Telegraph that he demands transparency. Trump's allies in Washington, meanwhile, have suggested that the facts laid out before us mean that the ongoing Russia investigation was invalid from the start

In short, it's understandable that the UK would prefer to hide their involvement in the "witch hunt" of Donald Trump since much of the counterintelligence investigation was conducted on UK soil. And if the Brits had knowledge of the operation, it will bolster claims that they meddled in the 2016 US election by assisting what appears to have been a set-up from the start.

Steele's ham-handed dossier is a mere embarrassment, as virtually none of the claims asserted by the former MI6 agent have been proven true. 

Steele, a former MI6 agent, is the author of the infamous and unverified anti-Trump dossier. He worked as a confidential human source for the FBI for years before the relationship was severed just before the election because of Steele’s unauthorized contacts with the press.

He shared results of his investigation into Trump’s links to Russia with the FBI beginning in early July 2016.

The FBI relied heavily on the unverified Steele dossier to fill out applications for four FISA warrants against Page. Page has denied the dossier’s claims, which include that he was the Trump campaign’s back channel to the Kremlin. -Daily Caller

That said, Steele hasn't worked for the British government since 2009, so for their excuse focusing on the former MI6 agent while ignoring the multitude of events which occurred on UK soil, is curious. 

Published:11/24/2018 7:25:04 AM
[Markets] Anonymous Exposes UK-Led Psyop To Battle "Russian Propaganda" 

The hacking collective known as "Anonymous" published a trove of documents on November 5 which it claims exposes a UK-based psyop to create a "large-scale information secret service" in Europe in order to combat "Russian propaganda" - which has been blamed for everything from Brexit to US President Trump winning the 2016 US election. 

The primary objective of the "Integrity Initiative" - established in 2015 by the Institute for Statecraft - is "to provide a coordinated Western response to Russian disinformation and other elements of hybrid warfare."

And while the notion of Russian disinformation has become the West's favorite new bogeyman to excuse things such as Hillary Clinton's historic loss to Donald Trump, we note that "Anonymous" was called out by WikiLeaks in October 2016 as an FBI cutout, while the report on the Integrity Initiative that Anonymous exposed comes from Russian state-owned network RT - so it's anyone's guess whose 400lb hackers are at work here. 

Operating on a budget of £1.9 million (US$2.4 million), the secretive Integrity Initiative consists of "clusters" of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics. The team is dedicated to searching for and publishing "evidence" of Russian interference in European affairs, while themselves influencing leadership behind the scenes, the documents claim.

The UK establishment appears to be conducting the very activities of which it and its allies have long-accused the Kremlin, with little or no corroborating evidence. The program also aims to "change attitudes in Russia itself" as well as influencing Russian speakers in the EU and North America, one of the leaked documents states. -RT

The Integrity Initiative "clusters" currently operate out of Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Norway, Lithuania and the netherlands. According to the leak by Anonymous, the Integrity Initiative is working to aggressively expand its sphere of influence throughout eastern Europe, as well as the US, Canada and the MENA region

The work done by the Initiative - which claims it is not a government body, is done under "absolute secrecy via concealed contacts embedded throughout British embassies," according to the leak. It does, however, admit to working with unnamed British "government agencies." 

The initiative has received £168,000 in funding from HQ NATO Public Diplomacy and £250,000 from the US State Department, the documents allege.

Some of its purported members include British MPs and high-profile "independent" journalists with a penchant for anti-Russian sentiment in their collective online oeuvre, as showcased by a brief glance at their Twitter feeds. -RT

Noted examples of "inedependent" anti-Russia journalists:  

Spanish "Op" 

In one example of the group's activities, a "Moncloa Campaign" was successfully conducted by the group's Spanish cluster to block the appointment of Colonel Pedro Banos as the director of Spain's Department of Homeland Security. It took just seven-and-a-half hours to accomplish, brags the group in the documents.  

"The [Spanish] government is preparing to appoint Colonel Banos, known for his pro-Russian and pro-Putin positions in the Syrian and Ukrainian conflicts, as Director of the Department of Homeland Security, a key body located at the Moncloa," begins Nacho Torreblanca in a seven-part tweetstorm describing what happened. 

Others joined in. Among them – according to the leaks – academic Miguel Ángel Quintana Paz, who wrote that "Mr. Banos is to geopolitics as a homeopath is to medicine." Appointing such a figure would be "a shame." -RT

The operation was reported in Spanish media, while Banos was labeled "pro-Putin" by UK MP Bob Seely. 

In short, expect anything counter to predominant "open-border" narratives to be the Kremlin's fault - and not a natural populist reflex to the destruction of borders, language and culture.  

Published:11/23/2018 6:20:11 PM
[US News] EMBARRASSING: Georgia Democrats call for FBI investigation of Brian Kemp’s … fashion sense

After losing the 2018 gubernatorial election to Republicans, all the Democratic Party of Georgia has left are the jokes. Really, really, really lame jokes about Governor-elect Brian Kemp’s fashion sense: BREAKING: Georgia Democrats Launch @FBI ?@DHSgov? & GBI Investigation Into ?@BrianKempGA? Wardrobe; Actual Evidence Presented Shows Major Fashion Breach. #gapol pic.twitter.com/fysWOFV50b — Georgia Democrat (@GeorgiaDemocrat) November […]

The post EMBARRASSING: Georgia Democrats call for FBI investigation of Brian Kemp’s … fashion sense appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:11/23/2018 6:20:11 PM
[World] Democratic Rep. Himes: Nunes, Goodlatte Desperate to Focus on Hillary

Rep. Jim Himes on Friday reacted to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte subpoenaing former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Published:11/23/2018 10:18:14 AM
[Markets] Comey Subpoenaed, Demands Public Testimony

Former FBI Director James Comey announced over Twitter on Thursday that he has been subpoeaned by House Republicans. 

He has demanded a public testimony (during which legislators would be unable to ask him questions pertaining to classified or sensitive information), saying that he doesn't trust the committee not to leak and distort what he says. 

"Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans," he tweeted "I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a “closed door” thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.  Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see."

In October Comey rejected a request by the House Judiciary Committee to appear at a closed hearing as part of the GOP probe into allegations of political bias at the FBI and Department of Justice, according to Politico

"Mr. Comey respectfully declines your request for a private interview," said Comey's attorney, David Kelly, in a repsonse to the request. 

The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) didn't appreciate Comey's response. 

"We have invited Mr. Comey to come in for a transcribed interview and we are prepared to issue a subpoena to compel his appearance," said a committee aide. 

Goodlatte invited Comey to testify as part of a last-minute flurry of requests for high-profile Obama administration FBI and Justice Department leaders, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. He threatened to subpoena them if they didn’t come in voluntarily. -Politico

The House committee has been investigating whether overwhelming anti-Trump bias with in the FBI and Department of Justice translated to their investigations of the President during and after the 2016 US election. 

Published:11/22/2018 9:41:33 AM
[Markets] Clinton Foundation Donations Plummet 90%

The Clinton Foundation saw contributions dry up approximately 90% over a three-year period between 2014 and 2017, according to financial statements. 

2014: 

2017: 

The global charity is currently under investigation by the DOJ, FBI and IRS for a variety of allegations - including whether favors were handed out while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, also known as "pay for play." 

The Clinton-led State Department authorized $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals to 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation - a 145% increase in completed sales to those nations ove teh same time frame during the Bush administration, according to IBTimes

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012. -IBTimes

Then there was that $1 million check Qatar reportedly gave Bill Clinton for his birthday in 2012, which the charity confirmed it accepted

Coincidentally, we're sure, Qatar was one of the countries which gained State Department clearance to buy US weapons while Clinton was Secretary of State, "even as the department signaled them out ofr a range of alleged ills," according to IBTimes.

Then there was the surely unrelated $145 million donated to the Foundation from parties linked to the Uranium One deal prior to its approval through a rubber-stamp committee

“The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level,” Richard Perle said. Perle, who has worked for the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations added, “I think it’s a bit of a joke.” –CBS

Meanwhile, according to a November 2016 report by the Dallas Observer,  the Clinton Foundation has been under investigation by the IRS since July, 2016, while the Arkansas FBI field office has been investigating allegations of pay-for-play and tax code violations, according to The Hill

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said. -The Hill

As we reported earlier Wednesday, House Republicans will hear testimony on December 5 from the prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, according to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).

"Mr. [John] Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation – at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th.," Meadows told Hill.TV on Wednesday. 

Meadows also told The Hill that the committee is "just now starting to work with a couple of whistleblowers that would indicate that there is a great probability, of significant improper activity that's happening in and around the Clinton Foundation." 

One has to wonder why, if there was no pay-for-play, donations to this "highly rated" charity dried up 90% over a period in which the wealth gap continued to increase? (h/t @thebradfordfile)

Published:11/21/2018 12:16:06 PM
[Politics] Dershowitz: Probe of Comey, Clinton Wrong, But Not Impeachable Alan Dershowitz says it would not have been an impeachable offense had President Donald Trump pushed for the Department of Justice to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Published:11/21/2018 9:07:38 AM
[Markets] House GOP 'Working With Whistleblowers' In Clinton Foundation Probe

House Republicans will hear testimony on December 5 from the prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, according to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).

Meadows - chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill that it's time to "circle back" to former Utah Attorney General John Huber's probe with the Justice Department into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in improper activities, reports The Hill

"Mr. [John] Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation – at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th.," Meadows told Hill.TV on Wednesday. 

Meadows says the questions will include whether any tax-exempt proceeds were used for personal gain and whether the Foundation adhered to IRS laws. 

Sessions appointed Huber last year to work in tandem with the Justice Department to look into conservative claims of misconduct at the FBI and review several issues surrounding the Clintons. This includes Hillary Clinton’s ties to a Russian nuclear agency and concerns about the Clinton Foundation.

Huber’s work has remained shrouded in mystery. The White House has released little information about Huber’s assignment other than Session’s address to Congress saying his appointed should address concerns raised by Republicans. -The Hill

According to a report by the Dallas Observer last November,  the Clinton Foundation has been under investigation by the IRS since July, 2016.

Meadows says that it's time for Huber to update Congress concerning his findings, and "expects him to be one of the witnesses at the hearing," per The Hill. Additionally Meadows said that his committee is trying to secure testimonies from whistleblowers who can provide more information about potential wrongdoing surrounding the Clinton Foundation

"We’re just now starting to work with a couple of whistleblowers that would indicate that there is a great probability, of significant improper activity that’s happening in and around the Clinton Foundation," he added. 

The Clinton Foundation - also under FBI investigation out of the Arkansas field office, has denied any wrongdoing.

Launched in January, the Arkansas FBI probe, is focused on pay-for-play schemes and tax code violations, according to The Hill at the time, citing law enforcement officials and a witness who wishes to remain anonymous. 

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said. -The Hill

The witness who was interviewed by Little Rock FBI agents said that questions focused on "government decisions and discussions of donations to Clinton entities during the time Hillary Clinton led President Obama's State Department," and that the agents were "extremely professional and unquestionably thorough."

Published:11/21/2018 9:07:38 AM
[Politics] NY Times: Trump Wanted DOJ to Prosecute Clinton, Comey President Donald Trump wanted to order federal prosecutions of Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Published:11/20/2018 5:37:21 PM
[Markets] Conservative 'Proud Boys' Labeled "Extremist Group" By FBI

The "Proud Boys", a self-described "Western chauvinist" group founded by Vice Media co-creator Gavin McInnes, has officially been labeled by the FBI as an "extremist group with ties to White Nationalism". News of the classification (which had previously not been made public) was broken by the Guardian, which reported that disciplinary action taken against a female sheriffs deputy in Clark County, Washington led to the designation.

MC

In a warning issued to police departments in Washington state, the FBI described the Proud Boys as "contributing to the escalation in street violence" at political rallies and noted that they are "actively recruiting" in the area.  The report was first issued two months ago.

"The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west," and: "Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington."

Of course, this isn't the first time that a conservative or "alt-right" group like the Proud Boys has been lumped in with overtly racist, white supremacist or otherwise extremist groups. The Proud Boys have repeatedly insisted that they condemn bigotry in all of its forms (though their embrace of traditional gender roles has led to them also being labeled "misogynist".) However, the involvement of the FBI represents a troubling escalation. In recent years, organizations like the ACLU and SPLC have started lumping in socially and politically conservative groups like the Family Research Council with overtly racist groups, effectively opening the door to the criminalization of conservative groups. Meanwhile, groups like Antifa, which regularly participates in street violence and vandalism, have evaded this classification, despite warnings from the Department of Homeland Security.  

The firing of Erin Willey, a sheriffs' deputy who was photographed in a "Proud Boys Girls" sweatshirt, reportedly precipitated the internal law enforcement inquiry that led to the classification. Willey was fired last July after the photo was published by the Vancouver Columbian.

The document, provided to the Guardian by the government transparency non-profit Property of the People, was part of an internal affairs investigation into a probationary deputy in the Clark county sheriff’s department.

The former clark county deputy, Erin Willey, was fired last July after a photo of her wearing a “Proud Boys Girls” sweatshirt was published by the Vancouver, Washington newspaper the Columbian. The Proud Boys Girls is the female auxiliary of the men-only group founded by McInnes in 2016.

The author of the document, headquarters commander Michael McCabe, is in charge of internal affairs, training, background investigation and courthouse security in the Clark county sheriff’s department.

The internal affairs commander who led that investigation said the classification was first disclosed to him back in August during a meeting between local law enforcement and the FBI.

After confirming the authenticity of the document, he told the Guardian in a telephone interview that the FBI’s classification of the Proud Boys as an extremist group was revealed to him in “a briefing we were given by the FBI” on 2 August, at Clark county’s west precinct.

The briefing included agency heads from local law enforcement, and in it the FBI said that they “have been warning [local law enforcement] for a while” about the Proud Boys, “not just in Washington but around the nation”.

The briefing including the Proud Boys was delivered by an FBI analyst, according to information forwarded to the Guardian by McCabe.

It touched on topics including "How the FBI tracks hate/extremist groups," "Brief history of these groups in the Pacific NW," "A description of currently active groups with a focus on the Portland/Vancouver area," and "Current trends or concerns over law enforcement officers/employees involvement with these groups."

According to the FBI report, Willey was an active member of the organization for roughly a year beginning in late 2016, helping it to distribute merchandise. Her membership, according to the bureau, violated the CCSD's oath to "protect the laws of the US" and also constituted a "Brady violation" - meaning that defense attorneys could potentially cite Willey's membership in the extremist group as evidence to have criminal charges against minorities arrested by Willey thrown out (based on claims of bias).

The document says that Willey was an active Proud Boys Girls member between November 2016 and October 2017, and in February 2017 she "actively participated in the manufacturing, advertising and selling of Proud Boys Girls’ merchandise on a website."

The document concludes that membership in the Proud Boys may constitute a violation of the Clark county sheriff’s department oath to support and protect the laws of the United States, since Proud Boys “members have been documented as having called for the closure of all prisons, the issuing of firearms to everyone, the legalization of all drugs, the deportation of all illegal immigrants and the shutdown of the government”.

Another concern expressed in the document produced by McCabe – which was handed to the sheriff, Chuck E Atkins, so he could make a decision on Willey’s future in the department – was the possibility that the deputy’s membership in the group would constitute a so-called “Brady violation”.

The Brady doctrine requires prosecutors to disclose any potentially exculpatory evidence to defenses in the discovery phase of criminal trials.

Hate crimes in the United States are on the rise generally. The Southern Poverty Law Center has uncovered 953 registered hate groups across the United States.

Hate

You will find more infographics at Statista

But there's no evidence that the Proud Boys have contributed in any way to this increase. In fact, according to a Daily Beast article published earlier this year, several African Americans and other minorities have become heavily involved with the Proud Boys, even rising to lead local chapters of the group.

Perhaps the FBI, while conducting its investigation into the group, neglected to do a simple Google search.

Published:11/20/2018 2:01:39 PM
[Markets] 'Always Listening' - Amazon's Alexa Stores Everything You Say To It; Here's How To Delete

If you're one of the millions of people who own a device with Amazon Alexa, the company's mobile spying device helpful personal assistant, whatever you say may be recorded - especially if someone in the house is named Alexis, Alex, or Lexi.

According to Amazon's Alexa terms of use, the company collects and stores most of what you say to Alexa - including the geolocation of the product along with your voice instructions, reports CNBC's Todd Haselton

Your messages, communication requests (e.g., "Alexa, call Mom"), and related instructions are "Alexa interactions," as described in the Alexa Terms of Use. Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions and related information in the cloud in order to respond to your requests (e.g., "Send a message to Mom"), to provide additional functionality (e.g., speech to text transcription and vice versa), and to improve our services. -Amazon Terms of Use

Does Alexa record everything? Not according to Amazon, which says that devices such as the Echo only begin "listening" when it hears its wake word, "Alexa." Could Alexa be remotely switched on or hacked to surveil a target? Well - we know they've been hacked to eavesdrop, and we know the government has been using personal cell phones as "roving bugs" for years - so it stands to reason that an Amazon listening device could be used against its owner. 

Two weeks ago a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to turn over two days worth of Amazon Echo recordings in a January, 2017 double murder of two women, for example, in the hopes that it may yield useful evidence in the case. The search warrant, obtained by Tech Crunch, says that there is "probable cause to believe" that the Echo picked up "audio recordings capturing the attack." 

And in other spooky news, in May of this year an Amazon Echo recorded a conversation between a husband and wife, then sent it to one of the husband's phone contacts. Amazon claims that during the conversation someone used a word that sounded like "Alexa," which caused the device to begin recording. 

"Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa,’" said Amazon in a statement. "Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely."

The wife, Danielle, told KIRO7, however that the Echo never requested her permission to send the audio. "At first, my husband was like, ‘No, you didn’t,’" Danielle told KIRO7. "And he’s like, ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘Oh gosh, you really did!’"

So how to delete what Amazon has recorded? 

Todd Haselton | CNBC

According to CNBC's Haselton, you can delete Alexa conversations maintained on Amazon servers (which we're sure are totally gone forever); 

You can listen to and delete this information through the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone or Android phone. Here's how:

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  • Tap the menu icon on the top-left corner of the app.
  • Tap "Settings" at the bottom.'
  • Tap "Alexa Account" at the top of the page.
  • Select "History."

You'll see a list of all of your interactions with Alexa, just like the picture above. You can tap each one to listen to the recording, or to delete the recording from Amazon's cloud.

Unfortunately, if you use Alexa as frequently as I do, the list of recordings is prohibitively long to actually move through and delete each voice request one by one. So, if you want to delete everything at once, do this:

  • Visit Amazon's Device page
  • Select the menu button to the left of the Echo device you'd like to manage. (The menu button looks like three little dots stacked on top of one another.
  • Tap "Manage Voice Recordings" You'll see a prompt like this:
  • Tap "Delete."

This lets you delete all of the recordings sent to Amazon by a specific Echo. -CNBC

You may or may not get a visit from a Bezos robot dog if you do this, so proceed at your own risk.  

Published:11/20/2018 10:59:06 AM
[Markets] An Inside Look At How US-Funded Fascists In Ukraine Mentor US White Supremacists

Authored by Max Blumenthal via Mint Press News,

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly, under the nose of a shrugging law enforcement - chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home.

Last month, an unsealed FBI indictment of four American white supremacists from the Rise Above Movement (RAM) declared that the defendants had trained with Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi militia officially incorporated into the country’s national guard. The training took place after the white supremacist gang participated in violent riots in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California and Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

The indictment stated that the Azov Battalion “is believed to have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.”

After a wave of racist violence across America that culminated in the massacre of twelve Jewish worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the revelation that violent white supremacists have been traveling abroad for training and ideological indoctrination with a well-armed neo-Nazi militia should cause extreme alarm.

Not only are white supremacists from across the West flocking to Ukraine to learn from the combat experience of their fascist brothers-in-arms, they are doing so openly — chronicling their experiences on social media before they bring their lessons back home. But U.S. law enforcement has done nothing so far to restrict the flow of right-wing American extremists to Azov’s bases.

There is one likely explanation for the U.S. government’s hands-off approach to Azov recruitment: the extremist militia is fighting pro-Russian separatists as a front-line proxy of Washington. In fact, the United States has directly armed the Azov Battalion, forking over anti-tank rocket launchers and even sending a team of Army officers to meet in the field with Azov commanders in 2017.

Though Congress passed legislation this year forbidding military aid to Azov on the grounds of its white supremacist ideology, the Trump administration’s authorization of $200 million in offensive weaponry and aid to the Ukrainian military makes it likely new stores of weapons will wind up the extremist regiment’s hands. When queried by reporters about evidence of American military training of Azov personnel, multiple U.S. army spokespersons admitted there was no mechanism in place to prevent that from happening.

Today, Azov boasts combat experience, unlimited access to light weapons, and supporters honeycombed throughout the upper echelons of Ukraine’s military and government. No longer just a militia, the organization has developed into a political juggernaut that can overpower Ukraine’s government. Two years ago, the group flexed its muscle on the streets of Kiev, bringing out 10,000 supporters to demand that the government bend to their will or face a coup.

“With its military experience and weapons, Azov has the ability to blackmail the government and defend themselves politically against any opposition. They openly say that if the government will not advance an ideology similar to theirs, they will overthrow it,” Ivan Katchanovski, a professor of political science at the University of Ottawa and leading expert on Ukraine’s far-right, commented to me. He continued, explaining:

Currently the organizations that are fascist are stronger in Ukraine than in any other country in the world. But this fact is not reported by Western media because they see these organizations as supportive of the geopolitical agenda against Russia. So condemnations are limited to violence or human rights abuses.”

The revelations of collaboration between violent American white supremacists and a neo-Nazi militia armed by the Pentagon add another scandalous chapter to a long history of blowback that dates back to the 1950’s, when the CIA rehabilitated several Ukrainian Nazi collaborators as anti-communist assets in the Cold War.

The almost unbelievable story exposes an axis of fascism that stretches across the Atlantic, from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to the sun-washed suburbs of Southern California, where some of the most rabid modern white supremacist gangs were born.

The White Nationalist Fight Club

This October, four members of the RAM gang — Robert Rundo, Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Mirelis, and Aaron Eason — were arrested by FBI agents. They were accused of “using the internet to encourage, promote, participate in, and carry out riots” from Huntington Beach to Berkeley, California. Four other members had been arrested in connection with their participation in the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed in a vehicular homicide by a white supremacist.

RAM first appeared in the national limelight during a celebration of Donald Trump’s election victory in Huntington Beach in March 2017. As about one hundred far-right activists marched along the beach donned in red “Make America Great Again” caps and waving Trump flags, they were confronted by a small group of masked anti-racist counter-demonstrators. When a melee ensued, RAM members assaulted their outnumbered opponents, pummeling them into submission and even attacking a local reporter. Afterwards, Orange County police arrested several anti-racist demonstrators, but the RAM gang walked free.

RAM markets itself as a self-defense organization that protects the free speech of white Americans against an onslaught of “Cultural Marxism,”  a classic anti-Semitic trope. Its founders emphasize a vaguely anti-consumerist Fight Club mentality along with a rigorous dedication to mixed martial arts. Its co-founder, Rundo, operates an online clothing and apparel company, Right Brand Clothing, that hawks slickly designed t-shirts promoting “European Brotherhood,” stickers emphasizing a straight-edge “nationalist lifestyle,” and ethically sourced designer “Demagogue pants” (yes, white supremacists apparently care about sweatshops). RAM members can be seen at the site modeling their gear with a clean-cut “fashy” look that contrasts sharply with the stereotypical image of skinheads in jackboots.

RAM’s careful attention to its public image has not stopped its members from putting their crude neo-Nazi ideology on display at rallies, however. During the Huntington Beach riot, for example, RAM’s Robert Boman was seen waving a sign reading “Da Goyim Know.” This alt-right slogan refers to the white nationalist understanding of the supposed Jewish plot to dominate the world.

Screenshot | YouTube

“I’m a big supporter of the Fourteen, I’ll say that,” RAM’s Rundo proclaimed into a camera in Huntington Beach. The gang leader was referring to the notorious 14-word slogan coined by convicted white supremacist terrorist David Lane, which has become a rallying cry for fascists across the globe: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Two months after the violence in Huntington Beach, two RAM members were photographed in the same spot dousing literature they dubbed as “Cultural Marxist” with lighter fluid and setting it ablaze. Among the volumes they torched were “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The 9/11 Commission Report,” and “Schindler’s List.” Besides evoking memories of the early days of Nazi Germany, the spectacle cast the group’s purported devotion to free speech in an extremely ironic light.

Photo | Northern California Anti-Racist Action

Following RAM’s highly publicized street battles, the group became the subject of intense media scrutiny. In October 2017, the investigative outlet ProPublica produced a video that exposed the identities of RAM’s core membership and wondered why they had not been investigated by law enforcement for their violent actions in Huntington Beach and elsewhere.

But the media coverage of RAM glossed over the group’s attraction to a burgeoning trans-Atlantic conglomeration of white supremacists that centered on U.S.-allied Ukraine as the base for a fascist reconquest of Europe. By the Spring of 2018, RAM leadership was barnstorming through Germany and Italy and heading east to meet fascist cohorts from across the West at a conference in Kiev.

RAM’s Ukrainian hate-cation

Buried in the FBI indictment of RAM members are details of their meetings with one of the key figures in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov Battalion militia.

In August, according to the indictment, RAM members published photos on Instagram showing themselves meeting with Olena Semanyaka, the leader of the international department of the Ukrainian National Corps, which functions as a civilian arm of the Azov Battalion:

The indictment also referenced a video of RAM co-founder Benjamin Drake Daley performing a crossed-forearm salute to the Southern California-based white supremacist Hammerskin gang while in Ukraine:

RAM’s Gab account provides additional details of the group’s foray through Ukraine this May. The trip centered around the Paneuropa conference, an event that brings together fascists from across the West to encourage international collaboration. It is hosted at the Reconquista Club in Kiev, and included an MMA competition.

“One of our guys has hadthe honor to be the first American to compete in the pan european organization Reconquista in Ukraine!” RAM declared on its Gab account. “This was a great experience meeting nationalist[s] that came [sic] as far as Portugal and Switzerland to take part.”

Robert Rundo, left, of the Rise Above Movement competes at Azov’s Reconquista Club in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo | Gab

The visit, which followed on the heels of meetings with white supremacists in Germany and with Italy’s fascist CasaPound party, highlighted the centrality of Ukraine to international fascist organizing. Further, the Paneuropa conference, where fascists build connections across national borders, revealed the Azov Battalion as much more than a militia fighting for control of a sliver of contested territory in eastern Ukraine.

Semanyaka did not respond to an interview request delivered through Facebook messenger; however, she told Radio Free Europe’s Christopher Miller that RAM “came to learn our ways” and showed interest in learning how to create youth forces in the way Azov has.

Today, Azov leaders openly acknowledge that were it not for the U.S.-backed coup that unfolded in Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014, their organization would never have developed into the powerhouse it is. As Semanyaka said this year, according to a summary:

The Ukrainian nationalist movement would have never reached such a level of development unless the war with Russia had begun. For the first time since the Second World War, nationalist formations have managed to create their own military wings, the brightest example being the Azov regime of the National Guard of Ukraine.”

The right-wing revolution on the Maidan

The 2013-14 Maidan revolt was the cataclysmic event that Ukraine’s already potent ultra-nationalist camp had been waiting for. The protests erupted in Kiev’s Maidan Square after the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an economic association agreement with the EU. Celebrated in the West as a pro-Western movement guided by tech-savvy middle-class youth, EuroMaidan depended heavily for its success on phalanxes of black-masked hardmen from Right Sector (see appendix at bottom), an ultra-nationalist party that did battle with the government’s Berkut riot police.

Along with Right Sector, the leadership of the far-right Svoboda Party assumed a prominent role at the Maidan, dubbing the protests a “Revolution of Dignity.” Svoboda co-founder Oleh Tyahnybok — who had once demanded an investigation of the “Jewish-Muscovite mafia” that he saw controlling Ukraine — appeared on stage at the square beside U.S. Senators John McCain and Chris Murphy when they arrived to encourage the protesters.

Another key figure in Ukraine’s neo-Nazi scene was Andriy Biletsky. A university Ph.D. who stressed physical violence as a means to revolutionary change, Biletsky led the Patriot of Ukraine militia, an early forerunner of Azov that attacked migrant camps and menaced foreigners. In a manifesto published during the height of the Maidan clashes, Biletsky outlined his post-revolutionary agenda: “The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival,” he wrote. “A crusade against the Semite-led Untermenschen.”

In May 2014, Right Sector and an assortment of far-right forces banded together to massacre their opponents in Odessa, attacking a pro-separatist protest camp with iron pipes then burning the fleeing protesters alive after they took shelter in a local trade union building. Over 40 pro-separatist Ukrainian citizens were consumed in the flames. The U.S. and EU studiously looked the other way, legitimizing the violence and setting the stage for more.

Behind the scenes, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt were carefully stage managing the opposition, positioning the pliable Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the future leader of a U.S. client-state. Meanwhile, billionaire-backed U.S. soft-power entities like the Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundation plowed money into the opposition, providing it with high-tech organizing capacity and establishing new media outlet Hromadske overnight.

Given the amount of U.S. investment in regime change in Ukraine, it was necessary for American pundits who cheered on the operation to downplay or simply deny the central role neo-Nazi forces played in making it all possible. In perhaps the most absurd attempt at whitewashing the fascist presence, the neoconservative pundit James Kirchick described Right Sector in an article for Foreign Affairs as “Putin’s imaginary Nazis.” Meanwhile, groups like the Anti-Defamation League — which supposedly exist to battle anti-Semitism — refused to support a congressional effort to ban arms to groups affiliated with Right Sector, because “the focus should be on Russia.”

With all the cover he needed from Washington, Biletsky organized the “imaginary Nazis” of Patriot of Ukraine, Right Sector, and assorted football ultras into a real militia called the Azov Battalion. Together, they fought under the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol, which also happens to be incorporated into the logo of the U.S.-based Aryan Nations.

On the frontlines of eastern Ukrainian flashpoints, Azov did battle with Russian-speaking separatists and set up government-sponsored indoctrination camps for children and teens closer to the country’s interior, instructing ten year olds on marksmanship and the evils of foreigners. Azan was subsequently absorbed into Ukraine’s military as a national guard unit, and began appearing in the field with PSRL-1 rocket launchers supplied under the watch of the U.S. Department of Defense. In November 2017, Azov leadership received a team of U.S. Army officers for training and logistical discussions (see photo below and to the right).

Members of the Azov Battalion display the Nazi salute, left. U.S. Army officers visit the Azov Battalion in the field, right.

By the time Congress approved a ban on arms to Azov this year, the Trump administration had already authorized a new shipment of offensive weapons to the Ukrainian military, including advanced Javelin anti-tank missiles. As in Syria — where the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army functioned as a de facto “weapons farm” for jihadist groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS — any new U.S. arms are likely to wind up in the possession of Azov, the congressional ban notwithstanding.

“It’s very corrupt in Ukraine and money can be stolen — the same as in Syria where extremist fighters got guns from U.S.-backed units,” said Katchanovski. “Azov can just establish new political fronts so they can circumvent the U.S. prohibitions.”

Foreign fighters for fascism

The Azov Battalion has received not only U.S. weapons, but also volunteer American military veterans like Brian Boyenger. “It’s not illegal,” Boyenger toldUkraine Today interviewer of his presence in an Azov camp. “From a U.S. perspective, as long as you’re not fighting with a terrorist group or committing war crimes or things like that. It is legal — mostly I’ve been serving as kind of like an advisor.”

Azov has also welcomed Islamist fighters from Chechnya to continue their long war against Russia in a new theater. A sniper from Sweden with “typical neo-Nazi views,” Mikael Skillt, has been assigned to oversee an entire Azov regiment. And neo-Nazis from as far away as Brazil have flocked to Ukraine to join the fascist crusade. One foreign fighter from France, a young anti-Semite named Gregoire Moutaux, returned from a Ukrainian militia camp in 2016 “armed to the teeth and ready to strike” synagogues, mosques and the 2016 soccer championships when he was arrested on the Ukrainian border by national police.

To consolidate its political influence over the country, the Azov Battalion established a National Druzhina, or street patrol unit. A slickly produced recruitment video released in 2017 featured drone footage of National Druzhina members marching in formation into Kiev as Biletsky, their ideological guide, impelled them to “restore Ukrainian order” to a corrupted society. The street patrol was openly backed by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, a powerful patron of Azov who belongs to the ruling party of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

This year, the National Druzhina and state-funded neo-Nazi militias like C14 (the “14” represents the notorious “fourteen words” mantra) staged a series of lethal pogroms against the local Roma population, vandalized the offices of insufficiently pliant politicians, stormed city council meetings, and even suedthe Hromadske station that was established with U.S. funding for describing their members as neo-Nazis.

“Their connection to power is why they can commit any crime and they will never be punished,” Katchanovski said of Azov and its various street-muscle brigades. “Because they have the police and senior police members like [Vadym] Troyan, they can intimidate people and intimidate politicians with impunity.” (Once a member of Azov, Troyan now serves as Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Interior).

The U.S. has not only kept silent about the wave of ultra-nationalist violence sweeping across Ukraine, it has been complicit in legitimizing the perpetrators. This November, America House Kyiv — a U.S. government-funded cultural center — hosted a speech by a uniformed leader of the neo-Nazi C14 gang, Serhiy Bondar. Months earlier, Republican House Majority Leader Paul Ryan and the NATO-funded Atlantic Council hosted Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and co-founder of the fascist Social-National party, for a friendly exchange on Capitol Hill.

Serhiy Bondar, a member of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi C14 militia, is hosted by the U.S.-funded America House in Kiev. Screenshot | YouTube

Given the free rein and open acceptance right-wing extremists enjoy in post-Maidan Ukraine, it is no wonder the country has become a haven for fascists from across the West.

The grand Reconquista strategy

As the international secretary of Azov’s National Corps, Olena Semanyaka has emerged as one of the most prolific publicists of Eastern European fascism. With jet black hair and a faintly gothic look, she brands herself as a “traditionalist,” emulating her hero, Julius Evola, the late Italian occultist philosopher who espoused a “racism of the spirit.” Though she has been photographed bearing a Nazi flag and throwing up a sieg heil salute, Semanyaka has also been a welcome guest on Ukrainian nationalist TV to promote her campaign for the release of Ukrainian nationalist activists held by Russia.

Semanya, upper left corner of Nazi flag, dispalys the Nazi salute. On the right, Semanyaka is shown during an appearance on Ukrainian state TV.

In her role with Azov, Semanyaka organizes conferences aimed at popularizing the concept of “the great European Reconquista” — a pan-European fascist-nationalist takeover that begins in the former Soviet satellite states and ultimately sweeps through Western Europe on the strength of anti-foreigner resentment.

Semanyaka laid out the fascist grand strategy in Kiev at a December 2016 gathering of Black Metal fans from across Europe called the “Pact of Steel:”

For the first time [in] a long period, the success of the Right in Western Europe — the rise of the Right because of refugee influx and terror — gives the chance for the realization of our ‘pact of steel’ between East and West, between Western and Eastern European nationalists.”

She continued:

Our main task today is to show to Western nationalists, to inform them that Putin’s Russia is no alternative to the EU of the West and that the only ally for them is an alternative axis of European integration which is being formed now in Kiev, Central and Eastern Europe, as a springboard for the all-European reconquest, for the new Europe between the EU and neo-Soviet neo-Bolshevik Putin’s Russia.”

Semanyaka and other Ukrainian fascist ideologues refer to the regional springboard for the European reconquest as the “Intermarium.” This is a concept originally envisioned after World War One by Polish military leader Jozef Pilsudski, who imagined a confederation of countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea as a counter-weight to German and Russian aggression. Though his idea never materialized, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the failure of the EU and NATO to prevent it revived interest in the Intermarium. One of the biggest boosters of the alliance, the right-wing Polish President Andrzej Duda, saw it primarily through the prism of regional security. The extreme right in Ukraine, however, understood the Intermarium as an ethnically pure base for exporting their revolution to the rest of Europe.

The first Intermarium conference was held in Kiev in January 2016 under the banner of Azov’s National Corps. Semanyaka headlined the event alongside Biletsky, the Azov founder, welcoming far-right activists from Poland and the Baltic States. Within a year, the concept was promoted at an officially sanctioned event at the Latvian embassy in Kiev. There, the Latvian ambassador welcomed a who’s who of the Ukrainian fascist scene, from Svoboda to National Corps representatives like Semanyaka, for a ceremony honoring Peter Radzins, a Latvian general who advocated for the Intermarium.

Organized by Latvia’s far-right National Alliance party, a member of the country’s governing coalition, the spectacle provided Azov leaders with the sheen of international legitimacy. As Matthew Kott, an academic expert on the European far-right, argued, Latvia’s “membership in the EU and NATO allows it to act as a Trojan horse for increasing the clout of the far-right in the Euro-Atlantic community.”

While historical tensions between the Intermarium nations are still simmering, Semanyaka has pleaded with her international allies to heed the call of the late pro-Hitler British Blackshirt leader Oswald Mosley for a “great act of oblivion…of all our former struggles, conflicts, historical enmity. What we need,” she argued, “is the revival of a sense of the new European aristocracy, a new European unity as a real basis for the union I am talking about.”

There are no historical grievances between American white supremacists and their cohorts in Ukraine. After all, the U.S. government has made itself the main guarantor of Ukraine’s security, going as far as directly arming Azov in its bid to bleed Russia. And decades before the U.S. backed extremists in contemporary Ukraine, the CIA ran a program to rehabilitate former Nazi collaborators from the country as anti-communist intelligence assets. Backing Ukrainian fascists is a grand American tradition, indeed.

This November, during the latest Paneuropa conference organized by Semanyaka as a safe space for fascists from across the West, she played host to one of the most prominent self-styled intellectuals of America’s white nationalist movement, Greg Johnson.

Gregory Johnson promotes his “White Nationalist Manifesto” at Azov’s Reconquista Club in Kiev, Nov. 2018. Screenshot | YouTube

“I think that what’s happening in Ukraine is a model and an inspiration for nationalists of all white nations and I wanted to learn as much as possible about what you’re doing here and see as much as possible,” Johnson told his rapt audience. “And I’m enormously impressed and I’m taking notes.”

Johnson is a highbrow racist who publishes a journal, Counter-Currents, that advances what he calls “white identity politics.” Like the Rise Above Movement leaders before him, he was clearly inspired by his visit to Kiev. “I’m already planning to come back,” Johnson exclaimed during a break-out session. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen here. I want to come back and learn more.”

APPENDIX

Svoboda Party: Originally called the Social-National Party of Ukraine, a Ukrainian political party with long history of anti-Semitism. Led by Oleh Tyahnybok, Svoboda played a prominent role in the 2013-2014 Maidan uprising, where Tyahnybok shared the stage with U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). Andriy Parubiy, who had co-founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine, is now Speaker of Parliament.

Azov Battalion: 3,000-member neo-Nazi formation in Ukraine’s National Guard. Azov began as a paramilitary, originally formed out of the Patriot of Ukraine neo-Nazi gang led by Andriy Biletsky, and is now a Ukrainian National Guard unit. The battalion’s logo incorporates the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel and black sun symbols. Biletsky is now a member of Ukrainian Parliament. Vadim Troyan, another  Azov veteran, is now Deputy Interior Minister.

Ukrainian National Corps: Azov’s civilian arm, responsible, among other things, for coordinating with and recruiting neo-Nazis and white supremacists from around the world. The international outreach is led by Olena Semanyka, who’s been photographed with a swastika flag.

National Druzhina: Azov’s street patrol organization, established in January 2018 with the aim of “restoring Ukrainian order” to the streets. The National Druzhina — whose members pledge personal loyalty to Biletsky — has been involved in pogroms against the Roma, LGBT, and other activists.

Right Sector: Loose formation of neo-Nazis and football ultras, which supplied street muscle to the 2013-2014 Maidan uprising. Later involved in lethal suppression of anti-Maidan movements in places like Odessa.

C14: Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang that receives government funding and has been responsible for some of the lethal Roma pogroms as well as anti-LGBT violence. The 14 is a reference to the Fourteen Word slogan of white supremacy. Led by Serhiy Bondar, who spoke at America House, a cultural center funded by the U.S. government.

Published:11/20/2018 1:25:40 AM
[Politics] FBI lists Gavin McInnes’ ‘Proud Boys’ as extremist group with white nationalist ties It was revealed today that the Proud Boys, an all-male group of activists started by Gavin McInnes, is considered by the FBI to be an “extremist” group with ties to white nationalism. . . . Published:11/19/2018 8:55:55 PM
[Politics] FBI lists Gavin McInnes’ ‘Proud Boys’ as extremist group with white nationalist ties It was revealed today that the Proud Boys, an all-male group of activists started by Gavin McInnes, is considered by the FBI to be an “extremist” group with ties to white nationalism. . . . Published:11/19/2018 8:30:26 PM
[World] Trey Gowdy on James Comey Calling for Public Hearing Before Congress, Lack of Transparency From Former FBI Chief

Rep. Trey Gowdy appeared on "Fox & Friends" Monday to react to the news that House Republicans plan to subpoena former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Published:11/19/2018 8:51:22 AM
[2016 Presidential Election] The Ultimate Fake News (John Hinderaker) Fake news is a serious problem in our political life. I’m not referring to a pathetically small number of Facebook ads bought by Russian provocateurs. I’m talking about the fake news that was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee; fabricated by Democratic Party-allied consultants; propagated by the FBI and the CIA; promoted by the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Published:11/18/2018 7:20:47 PM
[Markets] Greenwald: DOJ Prosecution Of Assange Poses "Grave Threats To Press Freedom"

The "accidental" disclosure that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been secretly charged by Department of Justice in the Eastern District of Virginia has ignited a firestorm over the freedom of the press, and protections offered to journalists under the First Amendment. 

Beginning in 2010, the Department of Justice under Obama began to draw a distinction between WikiLeaks and other news organizations. Former Attorney General Eric Holder insisting that Assange's organization does not deserve the same first amendment protections during the Chelsea Manning case, in which the former Army intelligence analyst was found guilty at a court-martial of leaking thousands of classified Afghan War Reports. 

Ultimately, the previous administration concluded that it could not criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks due to First Amendment protections. 

It appears, however, that the Trump Justice Department has now found a way, possibly under the Espionage Act, to indict Assange - a move which would have wide-ranging implications for journalists and news outlets alike. 

Opining on the Assange news is The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald - the journalist and author who published a series of reports while at The Guardian from whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked information on global surveillance programs based on classified documents. 

***

Via The Intercept

Glenn Greenwald | November 16 2018

As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom

THE TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT inadvertently revealedin a court filing that it has charged Julian Assange in a sealed indictment. The disclosure occurred through a remarkably amateurish cutting-and-pasting error in which prosecutors unintentionally used secret language from Assange’s sealed charges in a document filed in an unrelated case. Although the document does not specify which charges have been filed against Assange, the Wall Street Journal reported that “they may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.”

Over the last two years, journalists and others have melodramatically claimed that press freedoms were being assaulted by the Trump administration due to trivial acts such as the President spouting adolescent insults on Twitter at Chuck Todd and Wolf Blitzer or banning Jim Acosta from White House press conferences due to his refusal to stop preening for a few minutes so as to allow other journalists to ask questions. Meanwhile, actual and real threats to press freedoms that began with the Obama DOJ and have escalated with the Trump DOJ – such as aggressive attempts to unearth and prosecute sources – have gone largely ignored if not applauded.

But prosecuting Assange and/or WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents would be in an entirely different universe of press freedom threats. Reporting on the secret acts of government officials or powerful financial actors – including by publishing documents taken without authorization – is at the core of investigative journalism. From the Pentagon Papers to the Panama Papers to the Snowden disclosures to publication of Trump’s tax returns to the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, some of the most important journalism over the last several decades has occurred because it is legal and constitutional to publish secret documents even if the sources of those documents obtained them through illicit or even illegal means.

The Obama DOJ – despite launching notoriously aggressive attacks on press freedoms – recognized this critical principle when it came to WikiLeaks. It spent years exploring whether it could criminally charge Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified information. It ultimately decided it would not do so, and could not do so, consistent with the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment. After all, the Obama DOJ concluded, such a prosecution would pose a severe threat to press freedom because there would be no way to prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents without also prosecuting the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and others for doing exactly the same thing.

As the Washington Post put it in 2013 when it explained the Obama DOJ’s decision not to prosecute Assange:

Justice officials said they looked hard at Assange but realized that they have what they described as a “New York Times problem.” If the Justice Department indicted Assange, it would also have to prosecute the New York Times and other news organizations and writers who published classified material, including The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Last year, the Trump DOJ under Jeff Sessions, and the CIA under Mike Pompeo, began aggressively vowing to do what the Obama DOJ refused to do – namely, prosecute Assange for publishing classified documents. Pompeo, as CIA Director, delivered one of the creepiest and most anti-press-freedom speeches heard in years, vowing that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us,” adding that WikiLeaks has “pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice,” but: “they may have believed that, but they are wrong.”

Remarkably, the speech by Donald Trump’s hand-picked CIA chief and long-time right-wing Congressman sounded like (and still sounds like) the standard Democratic view when they urge the Trump administration to prosecute Assange. But at the time of Pompeo’s speech, Obama DOJ spokesman Matt Miller insisted to me that such promises to prosecute Assange were “hollow,” because the First Amendment would bar such prosecutions:

 

But the grand irony is that many Democrats will side with the Trump DOJ over the Obama DOJ. Their emotional, personal contempt for Assange – due to their belief that he helped defeat Hillary Clinton: the gravest crime – easily outweighs any concerns about the threats posed to press freedoms by the Trump administration’s attempts to criminalize the publication of documents.

This reflects the broader irony of the Trump era for Democrats. While they claim out of one side of their mouth to find the Trump administration’s authoritarianism and press freedom attacks so repellent, they use the other side of their mouth to parrot the authoritarian mentality of Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo that anyone who published documents harmful to Hillary or which have been deemed “classified” by the U.S. Government ought to go to prison.

During the Obama years, the notion that Assange could be prosecuted for publishing documents was regarded as so extreme and dangerous that even centrist media outlets that despised him sounded the alarm for how dangerous such a prosecution would be. The pro-national-security-state Washington Post editorial page in 2010, writing under the headline “Don’t Charge WikiLeaks,” warned:

Such prosecutions are a bad idea. The government has no business indicting someone who is not a spy and who is not legally bound to keep its secrets. Doing so would criminalize the exchange of information and put at risk responsible media organizations that vet and verify material and take seriously the protection of sources and methods when lives or national security are endangered.

In contrast to Democrats, Republicans have been quite consistent about their desire to see WikiLeaks prosecuted. As Newsweek noted in 2011: “Sarah Palin urged that Assange be ‘pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders,’ and The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol wants the U.S. to ‘use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators.’” Some Democratic hawks, such as Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein, joined the likes of Palin and Kristol in urging WikiLeaks prosecution, but the broad consensus in Democratica and liberal circles was that doing so was far too dangerous for press freedoms.

In the wake of the 2010 disclosures of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, Donald Trump himself told Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmade that he believed Assange deserved “the death penalty” for having published those documents (a punishment Trump also advocated for Edward Snowden in 2013):

What has changed since that Obama-era consensus? Only one thing: in 2016, WikiLeaks published documents that reflected poorly on Democrats and the Clinton campaign rather than the Bush-era wars, rendering Democrats perfectly willing, indeed eager, to prioritize their personal contempt for Assange over any precepts of basic press freedoms, civil liberties, or Constitutional principles. It’s really just as simple – and as ignoble – as that.

It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms – can now be legally punished.

Recall that the DNC itself is currently suing WikiLeaks and Assange for publishing the DNC and Podesta emails they received: emails deemed newsworthy by literally every major media outlet, which relentlessly reported on them. Until this current Trump DOJ criminal prosecution of Assange, that DNC lawsuit had been the greatest Trump-era threat to press freedoms – because it seeks to make the publication of documents, which is the core of journalism, legally punishable. The Trump DOJ’s attempts to criminalize those actions is merely the next logical step in this descent into a full-scale attack on basic press rights.

THE ARGUMENTS JUSTIFYING the Trump administration’s prosecution of Assange are grounded in a combination of legal ignorance, factual falsehoods, and dangerous authoritarianism.

The most common misconception is that unlike the New York Times and the Washington Post, WikiLeaks can be legitimately prosecuted for publishing classified information because it’s not a “legitimate news outlet.” Democrats who make this argument don’t seem to care that this is exactly the view rejected as untenable by the Obama DOJ.

To begin with, the press freedom guarantee of the First Amendment isn’t confined to “legitimate news outlets” – whatever that might mean. The First Amendment isn’t available only to a certain class of people licensed as “journalists.” It protects not a privileged group of people called “professional journalists” but rather an activity: namely, using the press (which at the time of the First Amendment’s enactment meant the literal printing press) to inform the public about what the government was doing. Everyone is entitled to that constitutional protection equally: there is no cogent way to justify why the Guardian, ex-DOJ-officials-turned-bloggers, or Marcy Wheeler are free to publish classified information but Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are not.

Beyond that, WikiLeaks has long been recognized around the world as a critical journalistic outlet. They have won prestigious journalism awards including the Martha Gellhorn Prize for excellence in journalism as well as Australia’s top journalism award. Beyond that, it has partnered withthe planet’s leading newspapers, including the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais and others, to publish some of the most consequential stories of the last several decades One does not need to be a “legitimate journalism outlet” to enjoy the press freedom protections of the First Amendment, but even if that were the case, WikiLeaks has long possessed all indicia of a news outlet.

Then there’s the claim that WikiLeaks does more than publish documents: it helps its sources steal them. This was the claim made last night by former CIA agent John Sipher when trying to justify the Trump DOJ’s actions in response to concerns from a journalist about the threats to press freedom this would pose:

What Sipher said there is a complete fabrication. When the Obama DOJ explored the possibility of prosecuting Assange, that was the theory it tested: that perhaps it could prove that WikiLeaks did not merely passively receive the documents from Chelsea Manning but collaborated with her on how to steal them.

But the Obama DOJ concluded that this theory would not justify prosecution because – contrary to the lie told by Sipher – there was absolutely no evidence that Assange worked with Manning to steal the documents. As the Post put it: “officials said that although Assange published classified documents, he did not leak them, something they said significantly affects their legal analysis.”

The same is true of WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC and Podesta emails. Nobody has ever presented evidence of any kind that WikiLeaks worked on the hacking of those emails. There is no evidence that WikiLeaks ever did anything other than passively receive pilfered documents from a source and then publish them – exactly as the New York Times did when it received the stolen Pentagon Papers, and exactly as the Guardian and the Washington Post did when it received the Snowden documents.

Moreover, journalists often do more than passively receive information, but instead frequently work with sources before publication of articles: encouraging, cajoling, and persuading them to provide more information. Accepting the theory that a journalist can be prosecuted for doing more than merely passively receiving information – something that nobody has even proved Assange did – would itself gravely threaten to criminalize core aspects of journalism.

Then there’s the claim that WikiLeaks somehow stopped being a real journalism outlet because it acted to help one of the presidential campaigns at the expense of of the other. This is just another version of the false argument that only “Real Journalists” – whatever that might mean, whoever gets to decide that – enjoy the right to use a free press to disseminate information. That claim is pure legal ignorance.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument that it’s true that WikiLeaks acted to help the Trump campaign and therefore should be disqualified from the protections of the First Amendment. To see how pernicious this argument is, look at how it was recently expressed by former Pentagon official Ryan Goodman and Obama WH Counsel Bob Bauer in justifying the prosecution of WikiLeaks:

It is clear from disclosures by an internal WikiLeaks critic and other materials that Julian Assange targeted Hillary Clinton and sought to work with the Trump campaign and the Russians to secure her defeat. This is not a “legitimate press function.” And the conflation of Wikileaks’ plan of campaign attack with standard journalistic activity undermines important distinctions critical to the protection of the free press.

Just ponder the implications of this incredibly restrictive definition of journalism. It would mean that any outlets that favor one candidate over another, or one political party over another, are not engaged in “legitimate press functions” and therefore have no entitlement to First Amendment protections.

Does anyone on the planet doubt that outlets such as MSNBC and Vox favor the Democratic Party over the Republican Party, and the people they employ as journalists spent the last year doing everything they can to help the Democrats win and the Republicans lose? Does anyone doubt that MSNBC and Vox journalists spent 2016 doing everything in their power to help Hillary Clinton win and Donald Trump lose? No person with even the most minimal amount of intellectual honesty could deny that they did so.

Does this mean that Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein – by virtue of favoring one political party over the other – are not real journalists, that they are not engaged in “legitimate press functions,” and thus do not enjoy the protections of the First Amendment, meaning they can be prosecuted by the Trump DOJ without the ability to claim the rights of a free press? To state that proposition is to illustrate the tyrannical impulses underlying it. As Marcy Wheeler, otherwise sympathetic to the arguments made by the Goodman/Bauer article, put it:

 

As Dan Froomkin wrote in response to that article, he finds some of Assange’s actions “despicable” and “abhorred the heedless, unedited publication of the non-newsworthy and personally hurtful” emails that were released (I have expressed similar highly critical views about WikiLeaks’ publication decisions). But Froomkin nonetheless recognizes that “Assange remains a journalist” and that “In the Trump era, when the president of the United States is using his office to attack journalists and journalism itself, the First Amendment is a key bulwark of liberty.” That’s how people who actually care about press freedom – rather than pretend to care about it when doing so suits their political interests of the moment – will reason.

But that’s exactly the point. Neither the most authoritarian factions of the Trump administration behind this prosecution, nor their bizarre and equally tyrannical allies in the Democratic Party, care the slightest about press freedoms. They only care about one thing: putting Julian Assange behind bars, because (in the case of Trump officials) he revealed U.S. war crimes and because (in the case of Democrats) he revealed corruption at the highest levels of the DNC that forced the resignation of the top 5 officials of the Democratic Party and harmed the Democrats’ political reputation.

They’re willing to create a precedent that will criminalize the core function of investigative journalism because – even as they spent two years shrilly denouncing that most trivial “attacks on press freedom” – they don’t actually care about that value at all. They want to protect only the journalism that advances their political interests, while putting people behind bars who publish information that undermines their political interests. It is this authoritarian, noxious mentality that has united the worst elements of the Trump administration and the Democratic Party that pretends to find tyrannical actions objectionable but is often the leaders in defending them.

 

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Published:11/17/2018 5:09:46 PM
[Markets] The Amazing Story Of Cryptocurrencies Before Bitcoin

Authored by Marcell Nimfuehr, via HackerNoon

What — you exclaim with disbelief. Cryptocurrencies before Bitcoin? Yes, indeed. Don’t get me wrong, Bitcoin was the first blockchain-based currency. But by far not the first purely digital money. That one has a colorful history of dreams, prosecution and failure. The misfits of cryptocurrencies delivered the lessons-learned for Satoshi to pull a John Doe on us.

“One thing we are still lacking and will soon develop is reliable e-cash — a method by which money can be transferred from A to B on the Internet without A knowing B and vice versa”, Milton Friedman, economist in 1999.1

DigiCash: Nobody wanted digital money

David Chaum at age 62

David Chaum is a 28-year-old Ph.D. student in computer science from the University of Berkeley, California when he publishes a scientific paper in 1983. He is the first to describe digital money. Chaum comes from a wealthy US-American family, is a brilliant mathematician and is appointed head of the cryptographic department of the Mathematical Institute in Amsterdam.

In his paper, he describes the key point that his digital money differs from credit card payments through anonymity. Users receive the digital currency from their bank, but then it is made anonymous. This allows the bank to see who has exchanged how much money, but not what it is used for.

How to make a cryptocurrency without Blockchain

Chaum uses cryptography to create a blind, digital signature to make money anonymous. A metaphor best explains what this signature is: We all know the postal vote by means of which we can vote without making our cross in the cabin on election day. In the case of the election card, the electoral authority must confirm that the right person has cast their ballot and, above all, does so only once. At the same time, the authority should not know what the person has voted for.

A postal voting card in Mexico. By Lguweqaakljgh [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

It is, therefore, a question of confirming the process without knowing the content. The voter fills out the ballot paper, puts it in an envelope and seals it. The electoral authority receives the envelope and checks with the electoral roll if the process is correct. The authority then indicates this on the envelope. The voting list says that the person has voted correctly, on the envelope only that it is a correct vote without any link to the person. Thus the envelope is “blind” and the “signature” is written on the envelope by the electoral authority.

In Chaum’s digital money, we replace voting authority with bank and voting card with the amount of money. A user buys digital money from the bank, which the bank confirms. Then every unit of money?—?every coin?—?is put into a metaphorical envelope and thus made anonymous. The user can then carry out transactions. The bank knows from its signature that it is a real digital money unit, but not who uses it. This makes digital money anonymous.

David Chaum founds a company in 1989 and invents the virtual currency DigiCash. It enables the secure and convenient payment of goods and services on the Internet. This distinguishes DigiCash from conventional credit cards, whose use is quite insecure in comparison?—?even today.

It is ahead of its time because it should take another 10 years before DigiCash is accepted by banks and customers. For digital money to work, it needs a demand in the form of e-commerce, i.e. online trade, which only begins in the second half of the 1990s.

But even then DigiCash has a hard time. An article in Forbes sums it up as follows:

“A beautiful idea for a beautiful new world with one problem: nobody wants it. Not the banks, not the dealers and above all, not the customers. E-commerce is flourishing [1999, the author’s note], but as it turns out, the customer’s Mastercard and Visa are his preferred currencies.2

Digital currencies like DigiCash have the same problem as almost every technological development in its infancy: they offer solutions to a problem that users don’t yet have. DigiCash’s advantage is anonymity, but customers just want to shop conveniently online. Of course, they prefer to use credit cards, as they have known them for years.

Chaum has the misfortune of the early bird, but that is added by incompetence. The Dutch magazine Next!3 gives Chaum 1999 a bad rep: All cryptographers are paranoid and David Chaum is an excellent cryptographer. His company is more like a psychiatric institution than a tech company. He negotiates a deal with the Dutch ING Bank for months, only to refuse to sign on the day of the joint signing of the contract.

“He was so paranoid that he always thought something was wrong,” says Raymond Stofberg, CFO of DigiCash until 1996: “There were eight ING people including the CEO and David just didn’t want to sign.”

Bill Gates wants to integrate DigiCash into every Windows 95 installation, but the alleged $100 million in Microsoft’s offer is not enough. Gates withdraws, as did the operators of the then most important Internet browser Netscape.

Bill Gates (right) and a fan on DigiCash. Or not. By Joi Ito [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Chaum’s managers’ mutiny and demand that he resign as CEO. He bends down and appoints two of the mutineers as new managing directors. He’s retiring. Shortly thereafter, the mutineers quarrel and most leave the company.

But despite these paranoid-chaotic conditions, investors continue to believe in the product. However, the end of DigiCash is being heralded by customers. Although e-commerce is growing worldwide, customers are not turning to DigiCash. Some do not believe that credit cards are unsafe and others are not convinced that this new type of money is safer. In 1999, the company goes bankrupt and the digital currency is mothballed.

DigiCash’s failure reveals weaknesses that future projects will eradicate: Chaum is a fan of patents and copyrights. It’s good for Chaum but bad for bringing his technology to the people. Eight years later Bitcoin will be open source. The inventor gives the technology to the whole world. On the one hand, it creates competition in the form of many imitator currencies, but it also increases interest and knowledge about the technology.

DigiCash depends on David Chaum. His errors reflect on the entire digital currency. The sum of all mistakes leads to Chaum’s product being buried and makes room for the next attempt.

e-gold: Pioneers die lonely

The glory! e-gold Office sign. Source Wikipedia By TMatthew22

1996 knows neither PayPal nor Bitcoin and has no relevant online shopping yet. But the times?—?they are a changing. After DigiCash, someone must be the next to try their hand at flourishing e-commerce. The oncologist Douglas Jackson and lawyer Barry Downey assume this role. Their idea: They put gold coins in a safe deposit box in Melbourne, Florida. Then they create a website where digital portions of these gold coins are sold. The shares are denominated in a new currency, which they call e-gold.

In the next four years, e-gold will break ground: the first digital payment system used by at least one million people. First non-credit card payment service that can be integrated into online shops and thus enables pure digital e-commerce.

Precious metal traders use it first, then online traders, auction houses, online casinos, political and non-profit organizations. Since E-Gold is divisible into thousandths of a gram of gold, Jackson and Downey create the first functioning micropayment system. You can use it to send your favorite blogger 10 cents as a thank you for the great article. This is not possible with credit cards and PayPal until this day because the transaction costs are too high.

Then other companies jump on the bandwagon and offer, for example, exchange services from foreign currencies to e-gold. At its peak, e-gold has a market capitalization of $2 billion.4 But its popularity is also increasing among hackers. The central systems of e-gold are not secure enough, they are hacked. Users are also unprotected by the notoriously insecure Windows and Internet Explorer. Many customers lose their deposits.

Operators are getting a grip on these problems. However, they have no chance against the US authorities, even when they act in accordance with the law. First, a competitor requests for a money exchange license. The application is rejected on the grounds that “You do not need a license, as neither gold nor virtual gold is money”. The operators of e-gold are asking the tax authorities to check whether their business model is perhaps a legal transfer of money. Authorities confirm: No money transfer, no license required. Wonderful. Wonderful? Not at all.

The Patriot Act introduced by the USA after 9 September 2001 not only allows the suspension of many civil rights such as that to privacy. The USA?—?land of free trade?—?is retroactively changing the money transfer law and bringing Jackson and Downey to justice because they have no license. Tax authorities freeze gold reserves and most users leave the e-gold platform. Douglas Jackson accepts the prosecution’s offer: he should?—?pro forma?—?plead guilty to money laundering, then apply for a license and everything will be fine.

In 2008 he is sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a fine of 200 US dollars. He seeks a license and?—?what a surprise?—?is rejected. Reason: Sentenced criminals may not possess a money transfer license.

The story of e-gold is over, Jackson is ruined. Those who want to follow in E-Gold’s footsteps have learned a lot:

  • Centralized management makes vulnerable to hackers
  • Central administration is therefore no more secure than a bank or credit card company
  • A monetary system based on gold may lead to state-run blackmail
  • A company domiciled in a country may be at the mercy of changing legislation
  • Founders who can be identified as real persons may be preventively arrested by the FBI

The person or persons around the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto also learned. Their invention Bitcoin has a market capitalization of 120 billion US dollars after nine years. And they have solved the above points. Since Bitcoin is a direct successor of DigiCash and e-gold, I want to close this story with the invention of Bitcoin itself.

The birth of Bitcoin

The public will hear about Bitcoin on 31 October 2008 at 8:10 Central European Time. Although “the public” is a little exaggerated. The metzdown.com website has a mailing list where anyone who enters their e-mail address can exchange information on cryptography. The public here consists of a few thousand computer nerds. A certain Satoshi Nakamoto sends a short mail to the mailing list starting as follows:

“ I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer (i.e. decentralized, translator’s note), with no trusted third party. (bank or government, translator’s note). (…) A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without the burdens of going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network."5

This is followed by further explanations and the download link to a white paper, a technical explanation paper.6 It is a short 9-page document and describes, how

  • digital money transactions are processed,
  • to determine the sequence of transactions using a digital date stamp,
  • the public cash book is reconciled using a so-called proof-of-work concept in such a way that no fraud occurs,
  • a worldwide network performs this reconciliation,
  • the owners of matching computers are remunerated for their work,
  • privacy is maintained and the system is still transparent and which code is used to repel hacker attacks.

All core functions that Bitcoin has today are described in these nine pages.

Who the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Not Satoshi Nakamoto. Source: Wikpedia

The white paper leaves no question unanswered, except this one: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? A search on Google in 2008 does not reveal the person Satoshi Nakamoto. Two months before Nakamoto’s email, the Bitcoin.org domain is registered and the white paper is available for download. Usually, the owner of a domain can be searched in an international registration database (whois.int). But Bitcoin.org was registered through a service that disguises domain owners. Political activists, who must remain anonymous, but, also criminals like to use this service.

The only thing the cryptography community has found out (to date) is that there is no person named Satoshi Nakamoto. The name is a pseudonym. Is Nakamoto a man or a woman? Or is it even more than one person? It’s not even possible to determine the origin. Is Nakamoto from Japan, as the name suggests?

At the same time as Bitcoin is spreading, curious people are looking for the inventor(s). Some check the email data on the cryptography mailing list to find out at what times Nakamoto interacted with the list. For Japan the times are illogical, rather the east coast of the USA would fit, or also Great Britain.7 It is the beginning of a legend that is fueled by Satoshi himself. Nakamoto claims he was born on April 5, 1975. However, on April 5 (1933) US President Roosevelt signed special laws banning the hoarding of gold. 1975 is again the year when the US cut the very last link between the dollar and gold.8 Others analyze his name as a composition of the tech companies Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola.

The language of the white paper is analyzed linguistically. It is partly formatted in British and partly in American English.

Even programmers who have been involved in the development of Bitcoin software at an early stage have little to tell. “He was the oracle we contacted with questions about the system, but he didn’t really follow standardized programming practices,” says Jeff Garzik. Colleague and pizza lover Lazlo Haynecz reports: “I’ve exchanged e-mails with whoever Satoshi is. I always had the impression that he was not a real person. “9

Not Satoshi. But Jeff Garzik. Source: Jeff’s Medium profile.

Whoever Satoshi Nakamoto is, it can be assumed that he became rich through his invention: Cryptofan Sergio Lerner tracks every single transaction down to the very first one and develops a procedure to be able to assign the original account (even if not the name) to every bitcoin. There is still one million bitcoin (6 billion US dollars in August 2018) that have never been transferred. Most likely this heap belongs to Satoshi Nakamoto.10

But we skip a lot of history. Back in 2008, it takes three months to release version 0.1 of Bitcoin after the white paper has been published. Published means that some computers are equipped with the software for the decentralized ledger. Developers conclude from the software11 that Bitcoin was written by an academic who is not a trained programmer but has a lot of theoretical knowledge.

On January 3, 2009, the first 50 Bitcoins are “generated” out of nowhere, three days later the first transaction between Satoshi Nakamoto and developer and cryptography activist Hal Finney is carried out. The world takes no notice of this groundbreaking process. Enthusiasts can research the first transactions years later by tracing the transparent public ledger. You can’t read the names of the participants, but you can read the addresses that were involved.12

In October of the same year, there was an initial exchange rate. For 1 US dollar, you get 1,309 bitcoin. The price is calculated from the cost of powering a Bitcoin computer. In the following years, Bitcoin becomes better known. As more people buy this strange currency, its value increases. After all, you can only buy Bitcoin if someone else is willing to sell it. Therefore, a buyer must always offer a higher price than the last one traded. If more people buy Bitcoin than sell it, the price rises.

The rest is history.

Not that famous Bitcoin Pizza. And not Satoshi Nakamoto. But a Pizza Napoli. By https://pizza.de/ [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sources

  1. https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/why-bitcoin-matters/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/forbes/1999/1101/6411390a.html
  3. https://cryptome.org/jya/digicrash.htm
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-gold
  5. http://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2008-October/014810.html
  6. http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
  7. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/18in3h/metzdowd_cryptography_mailinglist_archive/
  8. https://www.diginomics.com/who-is-satoshi-nakamoto/
  9. https://www.diginomics.com/who-is-satoshi-nakamoto/
  10. https://www.wired.com/2013/12/fbi_wallet/
  11. Compiled with Microsoft Visual Studio Compiled, no Command Line Interface
  12. http://historyofbitcoin.org/
Published:11/17/2018 3:41:11 PM
[Markets] Trump Denies US Will Extradite Gulen To Turkey

Two days after NBC reported that in what would amount to a stunning foreign policy concession by the White House, the Trump Administration was contemplating extraditing Turkish president Erdogan's nemesis, cleric Fethulah Gulen who has been living for decades in rural Pennsylvania, in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Saturday Trump denied the report, rejecting that he is considering handing over Erdogan's foe.

Fethulah Gulen

Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a trip to California that extraditing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen was "not under consideration." Trump also said that "we’re having a very good moment with Turkey,” referring Erdogan’s release of American pastor Andrew Brunson last month, and said the U.S. is always looking for "whatever we can do for Turkey."

On Thursday, NBC reported that the White House had directed the DOJ and FBI to find ways to extradite Gulen and that cooperation over the extradition was an attempt quell tensions between key US allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

Trump's comment echoed that of DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman, who on Friday told Reuters that the DOJ “has not been involved in nor aware of any discussions” regarding Gülen's extradition in an attempt to appease Turkey. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also rejected the NBC News report on Thursday, saying, “The White House has not been involved in any discussions related to the extradition of Fethullah Gulen.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khashoggi, Erdogan

Predictably, US national security and foreign policy experts had been stunned by the original report: “This is the Trump administration seeking to barter away a US resident who has lived here legally for years,” the former National Security Council senior director Ned Price told Business Insider, adding that such a move would be “seeking to skirt the rule of law.”

Then again, even if the NBC report wasn't fake news, any extradition meant to ease tensions would have proven futile, because on Friday Turkey said any US attempt to suppress its investigation into the journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death wouldn’t work.

Ankara, which has provided the news media with a steady drip of leaks from the Turkish investigation implicating Saudi leadership in Khashoggi’s death, has ruled out any sort of cooperation with the US to wind down its investigation.

“At no point did Turkey offer to hold back on the Khashoggi investigation in return for Fethullah Gulen’s extradition,” an unnamed senior Turkish official told Reuters on Friday. “We have no intention to intervene in the Khashoggi investigation in return for any political or legal favour.”

An unnamed Turkish official also told NBC News on Thursday that the government did not link its investigation into Khashoggi’s death with Gulen’s extradition case.

“We definitely see no connection between the two,” the official said. “We want to see action on the end of the United States in terms of the extradition of Gulen. And we’re going to continue our investigation on behalf of the Khashoggi case.”

And perhaps to confirm that there will be no silencing Turkey's "probe" of the dissident journalist's murder, on Friday a Turkish daily reported that the planning of Khashoggi's execution was caught on audio.

The audio tape, allegedly in the possession of Turkish investigators, features a 15-minute conversation, in which “the Saudi team discusses how to execute Khashoggi,” the Turkish Hurriyet Daily wrote on Friday, citing its columnist Abdulkadir Selvi. In a recording that was allegedly made even before the journalist entered the Saudi consulate, “they are reviewing their plan, which was previously prepared, and reminding themselves of the duties of each member,” he said.

The Hurriyet report contradicted the statement made by the Saudi deputy public prosecutor, Shaalan al-Shaalan, who said that the team was actually sent to Istanbul to retrieve the journalist and bring him back to Saudi Arabia. A decision to murder the reporter –and outspoken critic of Riyadh– was allegedly taken by the head of the team after its ‘persuasion’ failed.

Published:11/17/2018 10:40:35 AM
[Markets] American Politics' Unmistakable Odor Of Perfidy

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

I suspect there’s a hidden agenda behind the announcement in The Wall Street Journal op-ed by former Hillary Clinton aide Mark Penn that the Ole Gray Mare is actually eyeing another run for the White House in 2020. No, it’s not just that she would like to be president, as she averred on video last week in a weak moment, or that she has decided late in life to go full Bolshevik policy-wise. It is to establish her in the public mind as a serious candidate so that when she is indicted a hue-and-cry will arise that the move is a purely political act of revenge by the wicked Trump.

Of course, she’s not a serious candidate because too many people recognize her naked corruption, and she’s carrying so much noisome baggage that her entourage looks like one of those garbage truck convoys hauling New York’s trash to flyover country. Prosecutors don’t even have to search very hard for evidence of her misdeeds. It’s smeared all over the swamp-scape in the established facts about the Steele Dossier and its engineered journey through the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice, and the wild machinations that ensued when the cast of characters in those places scrambled to cover their asses following the debacle of Hillary’s election loss.

Little is known about what is going on inside the Mueller commission. But if, as it appears, the Special Counsel is still stalking Russian Facebook trolls and ignoring the slime-trail of  huggermugger left behind by Hillary & Company, then we are seeing one of the most fantastic failures of law enforcement in history. Still, there’s a possibility — low-percentage in my view — that Mr. Mueller might disclose a raft of charges against the Clinton gang and her errand boys.

The trouble is that such charges may lead to the some of the highest former officials in the land, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and perhaps even the sacred former President Obama. Even Mr. Mueller himself is suspect in the 2009 Uranium One deal that conveyed over $150-million dollars from Russian banks into the Clinton Foundation coffers.

If it turns out to be the case that Mr. Mueller’s report completely overlooks all that, then there is going to be a mighty collision between his office and the new management of the Justice Department, Mr. Whitaker, the Acting Attorney General, and whomever is finally confirmed as the new regular AG. Personally, I don’t see how Mr. Mueller can evade the questions over these matters. Too many wheels have been set in motion, and some of these wheels are coming loose — such as the mischief promulgated by the international man-of-mystery Joseph Misfud, who was likely working for US intel via the British MI6 to game George Papadopoulos into a Russian collusion set-up that he demurred from. The set-up failed spectacularly, and now that the facts are becoming known about it, Mr. Mifsud has come out of hiding, and his lawyers are preparing to serve him up to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Won’t that be fun?

Many of the other characters involved in these perfidious schemes — Comey, Strzok, Page, Ohr, McCabe, et al — have been keeping remarkably low profiles lately (except for the reckless and feckless John Brennan, who apparently can’t keep his pie-hole shut on MSNBC). Hillary has been making the rounds, too, on some kind of phony-baloney “listening” tour. But she looks sore-beset and worried on stage, slumped in her easy chair, and I’m persuaded she’s simply going through motions to pretend that she’s still a credible political figure so that when the hammer comes down on her she can issue the war whoops that will start Civil War 2 in earnest.

Meanwhile, a giant archive of documents in these matters is awaiting declassification.

The buzz is that Mr. Trump delayed this before the midterm elections due to threats from our “intel community” that the documents would compromise our relations with foreign intel outfits in friendly lands - namely the aforementioned MI6 of the UK.  The collusion was apparently done to avoid legal questions about using US intel to spy on members of the Trump election campaign.

But Theresa May’s government is imploding now, and that nation will be preoccupied with other problems going forward, so it is more likely that the garbage barge of unredacted emails, texts, and agency transcripts will sail right into public domain in the days ahead, whether Mr. Mueller likes it or not.

Published:11/16/2018 1:26:35 PM
[Markets] Trump Raises The Stakes With CNN

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

Last week, the White House revoked the press pass of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, and denied him access to the building.

CNN responded by filing suit in federal court against the president.

Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, said CNN. The demand: Acosta’s press pass must be returned immediately and his White House press privileges restored.

“If left unchallenged,” CNN warned, “the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”

A dozen news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, are filing amicus briefs on CNN’s behalf.

On Thursday, the Trump administration raised the stakes.

Justice Department lawyer James Burnham declared in court:

“If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he clearly has the authority to do that.”

After all, whose house is it if not the “President’s House,” the home of Donald Trump as long as he serves in the office to which he was elected by the American people?

The West Wing contains the Oval Office and the offices of senior staff. As for the West Wing briefing room, it was built by President Richard Nixon in 1969, when White House passes were regarded as privileges.

When did they become press rights or press entitlements?

Is Trump obligated to provide access to whomever CNN chooses to represent the network in the West Wing, even if the individual assigned routinely baits the press secretary and bashes the president?

Whence comes this obligation on the president?

White House aides can be fired, forced to surrender their passes and be escorted out of the building.

Whence comes the immunity of White House correspondents?

The First Amendment guarantees CNN reporters and anchors the right to say what they wish about Trump. It does not entitle Acosta to a front-row seat in the White House briefing room or the right to grill the president at East Room press conferences.

Why was he expelled from the White House?

Says press secretary Sarah Sanders, “The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor.”

Acosta baits the president, argues, refuses to yield the floor, manifests a hostility to Trump and trashes him regularly on-air.

Such conduct has made him a champion to Trump haters. But to others, it makes him a biased witness to the Trump presidency who has no legal or constitutional claim to a chair in the West Wing briefing room.

When this writer entered the White House in January 1969, a reporter who had traveled in the 1968 campaign came by to explain that I had to understand that he was now part of “the adversary press.”

What we had done to be declared an adversary, I do not know. I had assumed that the opposition party would become the adversaries of a Nixon White House.

But if the press declares itself an adversary of the White House and if it acts as an adversary — as it has a First Amendment right to do — such members of the media are no more entitled to the run of the West Wing than would be a member of Congress who regularly attacks the president.

Theodore White wrote in “The Making of the President 1972” that the real enemies of Nixon’s White House were not Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and House Speaker John McCormack but CBS News, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

This holds true for Trump. If the media are not “the enemy of the people,” the major media are certainly - and proudly - the enemy of Trump.

Trump’s most visible and persistent adversaries are not Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. And it is Trump’s attacks on CNN and “fake news” that bring his loyalists to their feet. With his use of Twitter, Trump has found a way around an overwhelmingly hostile media.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller gets a favorable press, as he is seen by the media as the instrument of their deliverance from Trump.

But should the special counsel bring in a report that says, “Donald Trump did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election, and we could find no obstruction of justice in how he dealt with our investigation,” Mueller’s indulgent press would turn on him overnight.

CNN says that if Trump succeeds in pulling Acosta’s press pass, it could have a “chilling” effect on other White House correspondents.

But if it has a chilling effect on journalists who relish confronting the president and reaping the cheers, publicity and benefits that go with being a leader of the adversary press, why is that a problem?

The White House should set down rules of conduct for reporters in the briefing room, and if reporters repeatedly violate them, that should cost them their chairs and, in cases like Acosta’s, their credentials.

This confrontation is healthy, and the republic will survive if the press loses this fight, which the press itself picked.

Published:11/16/2018 9:29:30 AM
[Mantoloking] NJ Politics Digest: NJ National Epicenter of Hate Crimes Nearly 500 hate crimes were reported in New Jersey in 2017, a 76 percent jump from 2018 and the fourth-highest total in the nation, according to data released Tuesday by the FBI. Published:11/14/2018 5:13:54 AM
[Markets] Hedges: Assange Has Done More To Expose American Crimes Than Any Other News Organization

Authored by Chris Hedges via TruthDig.com,

Julian Assange’s sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been transformed into a little shop of horrors. He has been largely cut off from communicating with the outside world for the last seven months. His Ecuadorian citizenship, granted to him as an asylum seeker, is in the process of being revoked. His health is failing. He is being denied medical care. His efforts for legal redress have been crippled by the gag rules, including Ecuadorian orders that he cannot make public his conditions inside the embassy in fighting revocation of his Ecuadorian citizenship.

Source: Mr.Fish

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to intercede on behalf of Assange, an Australian citizen, even though the new government in Ecuador, led by Lenín Moreno - who calls Assange an “inherited problem” and an impediment to better relations with Washington - is making the WikiLeaks founder’s life in the embassy unbearable. Almost daily, the embassy is imposing harsher conditions for Assange, including making him pay his medical bills, imposing arcane rules about how he must care for his cat and demanding that he perform a variety of demeaning housekeeping chores.

The Ecuadorians, reluctant to expel Assange after granting him political asylum and granting him citizenship, intend to make his existence so unpleasant he will agree to leave the embassy to be arrested by the British and extradited to the United States. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, whose government granted the publisher political asylum, describes Assange’s current living conditions as “torture.”

His mother, Christine Assange, said in a recent video appeal,

“Despite Julian being a multi-award-winning journalist, much loved and respected for courageously exposing serious, high-level crimes and corruption in the public interest, he is right now alone, sick, in pain—silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact and being tortured in the heart of London. The modern-day cage of political prisoners is no longer the Tower of London. It’s the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

“Here are the facts,” she went on. “Julian has been detained nearly eight years without charge. That’s right. Without charge. For the past six years, the U.K. government has refused his request for access to basic health needs, fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper dental and medical care. As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. His examining doctors warned his detention conditions are life-threatening. A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London.”

“In 2016, after an in-depth investigation, the United Nations ruled that Julian’s legal and human rights have been violated on multiple occasions,” she said. “He’d been illegally detained since 2010. And they ordered his immediate release, safe passage and compensation. The U.K. government refused to abide by the U.N.’s decision. The U.S. government has made Julian’s arrest a priority. They want to get around a U.S. journalist’s protection under the First Amendment by charging him with espionage. They will stop at nothing to do it.”

“As a result of the U.S. bearing down on Ecuador, his asylum is now under immediate threat,” she said. “The U.S. pressure on Ecuador’s new president resulted in Julian being placed in a strict and severe solitary confinement for the last seven months, deprived of any contact with his family and friends. Only his lawyers could see him. Two weeks ago, things became substantially worse. The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who rightfully gave Julian political asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty, publicly warned when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He stated that because of the political costs of expelling Julian from their embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally. A new, impossible, inhumane protocol was implemented at the embassy to torture him to such a point that he would break and be forced to leave.”

Assange was once feted and courted by some of the largest media organizations in the world, including The New York Times and The Guardian, for the information he possessed. But once his trove of material documenting U.S. war crimes, much of it provided by Chelsea Manning, was published by these media outlets he was pushed aside and demonized. A leaked Pentagon document prepared by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branchdated March 8, 2008, exposed a black propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks and Assange.

The document said the smear campaign should seek to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “center of gravity” and blacken Assange’s reputation. It largely has worked. Assange is especially vilified for publishing 70,000 hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and senior Democratic officials. The Democrats and former FBI Director James Comey say the emails were copied from the accounts of John Podesta, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, by Russian government hackers. Comey has said the messages were probably delivered to WikiLeaks by an intermediary. Assange has said the emails were not provided by “state actors.”

The Democratic Party - seeking to blame its election defeat on Russian “interference” rather than the grotesque income inequality, the betrayal of the working class, the loss of civil liberties, the deindustrialization and the corporate coup d’état that the party helped orchestrate - attacks Assange as a traitor, although he is not a U.S. citizen. Nor is he a spy. He is not bound by any law I am aware of to keep U.S. government secrets. He has not committed a crime. Now, stories in newspapers that once published material from WikiLeaks focus on his allegedly slovenly behavior—not evident during my visits with him—and how he is, in the words of The Guardian, “an unwelcome guest” in the embassy. The vital issue of the rights of a publisher and a free press is ignored in favor of snarky character assassination.

Assange was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sexual offense charges that were eventually dropped. Assange feared that once he was in Swedish custody he would be extradited to the United States. The British government has said that, although he is no longer wanted for questioning in Sweden, Assange will be arrested and jailed for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy.

WikiLeaks and Assange have done more to expose the dark machinations and crimes of the American Empire than any other news organization. Assange, in addition to exposing atrocities and crimes committed by the United States military in our endless wars and revealing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, made public the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency, their surveillance programs and their interference in foreign elections, including in the French elections. He disclosed the conspiracyagainst British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by Labour members of Parliament. And WikiLeaks worked swiftly to save Edward Snowden, who exposed the wholesale surveillance of the American public by the government, from extradition to the United States by helping him flee from Hong Kong to Moscow. The Snowden leaks also revealed, ominously, that Assange was on a U.S. “manhunt target list.”

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and  sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.

Even if the Russians provided the Podesta emails to Assange, he should have published them. I would have. They exposed practices of the Clinton political machine that she and the Democratic leadership sought to hide. In the two decades I worked overseas as a foreign correspondent I was routinely leaked stolen documents by organizations and governments. My only concern was whether the documents were forged or genuine. If they were genuine, I published them. Those who leaked material to me included the rebels of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN); the Salvadoran army, which once gave me blood-smeared FMLN documents found after an ambush; the Sandinista government of Nicaragua; the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Central Intelligence Agency; the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebel group; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the French intelligence service, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, or DGSE; and the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosovic, who was later tried as a war criminal.

We learned from the emails published by WikiLeaks that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major funders of Islamic State.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton paid her donors back by approving $80 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, enabling the kingdom to carry out a devastating war in Yemen that has triggered a humanitarian crisis, including widespread food shortages and a cholera epidemic, and left close to 60,000 dead. We learned Clinton was paid $675,000 for speaking at Goldman Sachs, a sum so massive it can only be described as a bribe. We learned Clinton told the financial elites in her lucrative talks that she wanted “open trade and open borders” and believed Wall Street executives were best-positioned to manage the economy, a statement that directly contradicted her campaign promises. We learned the Clinton campaign worked to influence the Republican primaries to ensure that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee. We learned Clinton obtained advance information on primary-debate questions. We learned, because 1,700 of the 33,000 emails came from Hillary Clinton, she was the primary architect of the war in Libya. We learned she believed that the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi would burnish her credentials as a presidential candidate. The war she sought has left Libya in chaos, seen the rise to power of radical jihadists in what is now a failed state, triggered a massive exodus of migrants to Europe, seen Libyan weapon stockpiles seized by rogue militias and Islamic radicals throughout the region, and resulted in 40,000 dead. Should this information have remained hidden from the American public? You can argue yes, but you can’t then call yourself a journalist.

“They are setting my son up to give them an excuse to hand him over to the U.S., where he would face a show trial,” Christine Assange warned.

“Over the past eight years, he has had no proper legal process. It has been unfair at every single turn with much perversion of justice. There is no reason to consider that this would change in the future. The U.S. WikiLeaks grand jury, producing the extradition warrant, was held in secret by four prosecutors but no defense and no judge. The U.K.-U.S. extradition treaty allows for the U.K. to extradite Julian to the U.S. without a proper basic case. Once in the U.S., the National Defense Authorization Act allows for indefinite detention without trial. Julian could very well be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum-security prison, or face the death penalty. My son is in critical danger because of a brutal, political persecution by the bullies in power whose crimes and corruption he had courageously exposed when he was editor in chief of WikiLeaks.”

Assange is on his own. Each day is more difficult for him. This is by design. It is up to us to protest. We are his last hope, and the last hope, I fear, for a free press.

“We need to make our protest against this brutality deafening,” his mother said.

“I call on all you journalists to stand up now because he’s your colleague and you are next. I call on all you politicians who say you entered politics to serve the people to stand up now. I call on all you activists who support human rights, refugees, the environment, and are against war, to stand up now because WikiLeaks has served the causes that you spoke for and Julian is now suffering for it alongside of you. I call on all citizens who value freedom, democracy and a fair legal process to put aside your political differences and unite, stand up now. Most of us don’t have the courage of our whistleblowers or journalists like Julian Assange who publish them, so that we may be informed and warned about the abuses of power.”

Published:11/12/2018 5:33:50 PM
[Markets] Johnstone: US Mass Shootings - Gun Issue, Mental Health Issue, Or War Issue?

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

A man, pictured below, killed twelve people with a gun at a California bar last week, then turned the gun on himself bringing the total number of dead to thirteen.

Like a disproportionately high number of mass shooters in the US, he served in the military. He reportedly suffered from PTSD as a result of his experiences in Afghanistan with the US Marines. America’s war in Afghanistan is the longest war in US history.

We all already know the script by heart now. A loud demand for gun control legislation will come from Democrats and progressives, while conservatives will insist that America’s mass shooting epidemic is a mental health issue, not a gun issue. This debate will rage on impotently for a few days to a few weeks, and exactly zero changes will be made in US gun policy or in mental health care. Happens every single time.

That’s really the only debate Americans are allowed to have about these shootings, and it’s already seeing arguments cranked out by both sidesmarching everyone into their respective partisan stables. The spectrum of acceptable debate has been narrowed down to two opposing viewpoints which cancel each other out, neither of which will ever come anywhere remotely close to inconveniencing anyone who has real power.

You should always be skeptical when you see a popular line of debate like this. Noam Chomsky said, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum?—?even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

The propagandists who manipulate your society are constantly trying to narrow that spectrum of debate to the point where it’s just empty bickering which poses no real threat to real power. They want you arguing about whether or not Democrats are better than Republicans, not whether the two-party system is rigged for the elite class that owns it.They want you arguing about Trump’s rude tweets and the hurt feelings of Jim Acosta, not this administration’s persistent advancement of longstanding, world-threatening neoconservative military agendas. They want you arguing about whose speech should be censored on the internet, not whether there should be internet censorship at all. They want you arguing about who is and is not a “terrorist”, a label that is useful only to the government agencies who leverage that word to justify increasing government intrusiveness. They want you fighting to control the position of an on/off switch that isn’t connected to anything.

The plutocrats who use mass media propaganda and alliances with opaque government agencies to manipulate public thought to their advantage do not actually care if civilians are shooting each other, as long as it doesn’t damage their investments. They do not care how many bullets you are allowed to put in your gun, nor do they care if the mentally ill receive adequate treatment. They care very much, however, about their ability to manufacture consent for the endless military campaigns they wage for profit and geopolitical dominance.

It is already well documented that individuals who’ve served in the US military are at least twice as likely to commit mass shootings as the rest of the adult population, and this should surprise no one. Being exposed to meaningless acts of slaughter can break your mind, which is why there is a suicide epidemic among US veterans. Couple that factor with PTSD and the way servicemen are psychologically conditioned and desensitized to the killing of human beings, and you’ve got a recipe for mass murder when those men come home.

Of course, not all mass shootings are committed by veterans; two-thirds are committed by people who’ve never served in the military. And I maintain that those shootings are directly related to US warmongering as well.

The three most overlooked and under-appreciated aspects of the human experience are (1) consciousness itself, (2) the extent to which compulsive thinking habits dominate our lives, and (3) the extent to which we are influenced by domestic propaganda. American society is saturated in war propaganda, and has been for a long time, to the extent that hardly anyone even notices it anymore. It’s like that old joke about the two fish who are asked “How’s the water?” by a passing duck and then turn to each other to ask “What’s water?”; things like ubiquitous flag worship, intelligence and defense agencies influencing Hollywood movie scripts, the way the mass media consistently rallies in support of every new military campaign while ignoring the endless ongoing nature of old ones; these things are all so pervasively normalized that they don’t stand out against the background much.

But they are very abnormal, and they have real consequences. If we lived in a healthy, peaceful world where wars suddenly started happening, every single person would recoil with horror and do everything in their power to stop it. But because it’s something we’re born into and indoctrinated into accepting as normal, it just gets taken on as a natural part of life, and because Americans happen to live where the western empire concentrates most of its military might, they are the most pervasively propagandized people on earth.

So now it just slides right into their minds unchecked when CNN stages a fake interview featuring a little Syrian girl reciting scripted war propaganda, when US media squeals with delight every time Trump bombs Syria, when war criminals like George W Bush are humanized and embraced by his ostensible opposition, the way dangerous new cold war escalations are being continually advanced against Russia while the mass media tells US liberals that Trump is too soft on Putin, to name just a few very recent examples.

If war propaganda didn’t significantly impact the public psyche, nobody would use it. The correlation between mass murder in the US and domestic war propaganda has not been scientifically researched, because the suggestion that domestic war propaganda exists in the US has not gained mainstream acceptance. Anyone who paid attention to western media’s unforgivable facilitation of the invasion of Iraq knows that corporate news media is such a reliable a partner to the US military that it may as well be a part of the military itself, but the first order of propagandizing an ostensibly free country is to hide the fact that that country is being propagandized. If it entered into mainstream awareness that the powerful people who control the mass media are using it to manipulate the way Americans think, perceive, behave, and vote, trust in those outlets would fall away and the ability to propagandize the masses would be lost. Americans not realizing that they are propagandized is itself a product of propaganda.

Lack of scientific inquiry notwithstanding, what else could explain the uniquely American mass shooting epidemic? Surely access to firearms is a factor, but other countries like Switzerland have similarly liberal gun laws without anything like the level of violence seen in the US. Surely mental health is a factor as well, but neither mental health problems nor lack of healthcare is a problem unique to the US. There is nothing like the mass shooting epidemic in the United States anywhere else in the world, nor indeed anywhere else in recorded history. Name me one thing unique to America that could possibly explain its unique mass shooting problem besides the fact that the American psyche is necessarily pummeled with war propaganda day in and day out in order to manufacture consent for US war agendas, and sometimes the mind gets bent so far it breaks.

Again, I am not saying that guns or mental health aren’t factors in this phenomenon, and I am not saying that these aren’t debates that Americans should be having with each other. But the fact that domestic propaganda can undeniably be found throughout the US media and the fact that mainstream psychology is completely ignoring its effects means that there are definitely leviathans moving beneath the surface of social consciousness which have yet to have any light shone on them.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out mypodcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal,buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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Published:11/12/2018 1:33:39 PM
[Markets] All The Democrats' Investigations: House Ready To "Let The Subpoenas Fly" Early Next Year

As Nancy Pelosi made abundantly clear before her party wrested control of the House on Tuesday, the Democrats will waste little time before they "let the subpoenas fly" after taking control of the House in January. So many potential investigation threads have been reported in the media, that it can be difficult to keep track. We already know that Democrats are planning to investigate Trump's ties to his business and whether he profited off foreign dignitaries. Trump's tax returns are expected to be targeted (Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee could invoke an arcane Congressional rule to force the IRS to hand over Trump's returns), and - of course - his mysterious ties with Russia. And who could forget the FBI's handling of the expanded Kavanaugh background check, where Democrats suspect that the White House and/or Senate Republicans interceded to exclude certain key "witnesses" (none of whom are believed to have actually witnessed Kavanaugh sexually assault women). 

Schiff

Well, to this list we can add a couple more possibilities. Because in an interview with Axios' new HBO Sunday politics show, incoming House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff revealed that Dems are planning to extensively investiagate whether Trump's blood feud with the US media drove him to commit potentially illegal acts. For starters, they're planning to investigate Trump's crackdown on the press following his White House briefing room battle with CNN's Jim Acosta (which resulted in Acosta having his credentials revoked), his efforts to browbeat the Postmaster General into raising shipping rates on Amazon packages (in an effort to get back at the Washington Post), and any role he might have played in the DOJ's decision to try and stop the merger of Time Warner and AT&T (Time Warner owns CNN).

Here's Axios:

House Democrats plan to investigate whether President Trump abused White House power by targeting - and trying to punish with "instruments of state power" - The Washington Post and CNN, incoming House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

Continuing with the press freedom theme, Schiff suggested that Trump's blood feud with Amazon is grounded in his hatred of the Washington Post, and that Trump has sought to economically punish Amazon as payback for its founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos's ownership of the Post.

"This appears to be an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post," Schiff said. Jeff Bezos is founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon, and owns the Washington Post.

And then there's CNN:

2) Schiff said Congress also need to examine whether Trump attempted to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as payback to CNN.

"We don't know, for example, whether the effort to hold up the merger of the parent of CNN was a concern over antitrust, or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN," Schiff said.

While wildfires burn through his home state, Schiff has apparently been busy this weekend rushing from one interview to the next. In a Sunday appearance on "Meet the Press," Schiff elaborated on the Democrats' plans for "holding Trump accountable" after offering a token criticism about Trump's "callous" tweet about the California wildfires...

"Trump...is only the president, I think in his view, of those who voted for him. The rest, he could care less."

...Schiff immediately moved on to discussing several of the many threads that the House Intel Committee will be pursuing in its quest to hold Trump accountable for whatever the scandal du jour is...This week, it's possible conflicts involving Trump's acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker.

Whitaker isn't legally required to recuse himself from the Russia probe (though there might be broader constitutional issues surrounding his appointment that Schiff, for whatever reason, didn't want to get into), but the acting attorney general would do well to remember that the Democrats are planning to stick to him like white on rice...and that any slip-up - however minor - will immediately face searing public scrutiny.

"If he doesn't recuse himself if he has any involvement whatsoever in this Russia probe...we are going to find out whether he made commitments to the president about the probe, whether he is serving as a back channel to the president or his lawyers about the probe, whether he's doing anything to interfere with the probe...Mr. Whitaker needs to understand that he will be called to answer and that any role that he plays will be exposed to the public."

Moving away from the Democratic investigations for a second, Chuck Todd pointed out that the popularity of the Mueller probe has waned over the last year (as we've pointed out, opinion polling shows that even Democrats no longer care about Russia), and asked Schiff for his take on what's driving this trend. Schiff's explanation? Because Mueller has been in a blackout period for the last two months (though public confidence in Mueller's probe had been in decline long before the pre-election blackout period began).

"Around the time that he produces indictments and more he produces convictions...support for his probe goes up. When he issues his report or if there are further indictments, you will see public confidence in his work again rise."

All of this contributes to the growing body of evidence that President Trump had a point when he complained about "election fatigue" earlier this week. With that in mind, Todd asked, how are the Democrats planning to prioritize their investigations? Schiff assured him that the Democrats' policy objectives won't be buried by a flurry of investigations.

But while this sounds like a sensible strategy on its face, there are reasons to doubt Schiff's intentions. Because Democrats would like the public to believe that it's to their benefit to leave no stone unturned while investigating Trump and his administration. But in one of his last comments before the end of the interview, Schiff might have inadvertently exposed his party's ulterior motive. Investigations, Schiff said, are "sexy." While health-care policy...not so much.

"Let's face it: the investigations are sexy, they're interesting...the legislative process is less so, but nonetheless important to the American people. We are going to need to ruthlessly prioritize on the Intel Committee...and we are doing that now."

The interview with Schiff begins at the 35-minute mark:

While Schiff, due to his leadership of the House Intel Committee, will likely become Trump's chief anagonist after the new year, he wasn't the only Democrat who was making the rounds on the Sunday shows to discuss the many avenues that Democrats are planning to investigate after they take power.

Jerry Nadler said during an appearance on "This Week" that the Judiciary Committee, which he will lead, intends to pursue suspicions that the White House intervened to tamper with the Kavanaugh probe.

Meanwhile, Rep. Elijah Cummings said the House Oversight Committee plans to investigate Republicans' plans to suppress votes...

...as well as possible violations of the emoluments clause (which prohibits taking gifts from foreign leaders).

While Democrats pursue their investigation into voter suppression, we wonder...will that include efforts to suppress votes cast by non-citizens?

Published:11/11/2018 11:26:11 AM
[PAID] Burying the Other Russia Story Adam Schiff will shut down the probe that found FBI abuses. Published:11/10/2018 5:52:36 PM
[Markets] Democrats Demand "Preservation Of All Materials" Related To Mueller & Sessions

That didn't take long...

Just 24 hours after retaking control of Congress in the Midterms,  ABC News  is reporting that four senior members - House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein - sent letters to top Administration officials demanding the preservation of all documents and materials relevant to the work of the Office of the Special Counsel or the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In their letters, the Members wrote:

"Committees of the United States Congress are conducting investigations parallel to those of the Special Counsel's office, and preservation of records is critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay.

Committees will also be investigating Attorney General Sessions' departure. We therefore ask that you immediately provide us with all orders, notices, and guidance regarding preservation of information related to these matters and investigations."

The letters were sent to numerous Trump administration officials including the White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, FBI Director Chris Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, and Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

Published:11/8/2018 11:38:38 AM
[Markets] Democrat Nadler Vows "Immediate" Legislation In Response To Gun Violence

Confirming the new Democrat-controlled House will press for major changes in US gun laws, following the latest mass shooting which took place overnight in Thousand Oaks, California, which left at least 13 people, including the shooter, dead, the incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democrat Jerry Nadler said on twitter that he will immediately "get to work on legislation that includes universal background checks to respond to the scourge of gun violence."

He also said described the shooting as "senseless and preventable."

The incoming Democratic Judiciary Committee chair will be busy: in addition to taking on the Republicans on gun legislation, Nadler will also be the man in charge of any investigation into Kavanaugh.

According to the Federalist, [Nadler and a friend] discussed two routes for investigating new Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh. The first is to go after the FBI for how they handled the investigation into unsubstantiated claims he sexually assaulted women. “They didn’t even do a half-ass job,” he said. “They didn’t interview 30 witnesses who said ‘Interview me! I’ve got a lot to say!’” he said, while mimicking people waving their hands to be called on.

His other plan is to go after Kavanaugh because “there’s a real indication that Kavanaugh committed perjury.” He claimed that The Atlantic published an article about the allegations of a third woman. Then he claimed that when Kavanaugh was “asked at a committee hearing under oath when he first heard of the subject, he said, ‘When I’d heard of the Atlantic article.’ But there is an email chain apparently dating from well before that from him about ‘How can we deal with this?’” Nadler told the caller…

“The worst-case scenario — or best case depending on your point of view — you prove he committed perjury, about a terrible subject and the Judicial Conference recommends you impeach him. So the president appoints someone just as bad.”

One thing is certain: with Democrats planning all out war against Trump and a tsunami of legal challenges for decisions taken over the past two years, Nadler - whose name may not be known by most - soon will be.

Published:11/8/2018 8:39:46 AM
[Markets] 13 Dead After Mass Shooting At Southern California Bar

At least 13 people, including a sheriff's deputy and the suspected shooter, have been killed, while multiple others were injured, during a shooting at the country western dance hall Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The bar was holding a "College Country" night event when the shooter reportedly stormed the entrance, per NBC News.

Media reports claimed hundreds of people were inside the venue at the time of the shooting, which began at around 11:30 pm local time,

One witnessed interviewed by local TV station ABC7 said that the shooting started when the gunman approached the entrance to the bar, located at 99 Rolling Oaks Drive, and shot a security guard and cashier. He then lobbed a smoke bomb inside the building as he continued to fire into the crowd. According to a local CBS affiliate station, witnesses described the suspected gunman as a man who was wearing a trench coat and had a scarf on his face, or possibly a beard.

Police

Police

Shooting

The shooter, who has been identified as a male, was reportedly shot and killed by police inside the bar; no other details about him have been released. Witnesses described hearing numerous loud gunshots ring out inside the club, which sent patrons scrambling for cover. Many got down on the floor.

"I just started hearing these big pops," said the witness, a man who was not identified. "The gunman was throwing smoke grenades."

Then, panic ensued as people tried to flee.

"He just kept firing," the witness said, adding that "people were trying to get out the window" to run away from the gunman, who was wearing a hat and a black jacket and had "a big handgun."

The shooting unfolded as patrons were in the middle of dancing, hanging out and having a good time.

"There were people in the middle dancing and just hanging out and having a good time and you hear that and you just know something’s up,” Erika Sigman said. "In this community, it’s very hard for me to comprehend it because I’ve been here all my life and to think that – I’ve never experienced it, I’ve just never experienced it."

One couple told the CBS that their daughter had been wounded during the incident.

"She was probably on the [dance] floor when this was going on, because she comes here every Wednesday night," the victim’s father said. "Things are a little sketchy – we don’t have a lot of information right now."

Another witness who had been hanging out on the bar's patio said another patron saved her.

"A guy who I don’t even know who had seen me there was like, ‘Get down.’ He threw me under one of the tables and then you couldn’t see anything because I guess there was smoke. And then one of the guys who was there started throwing tables out the window and they picked us up and they threw me and my girlfriend out the window. They carried us and then I reunited with my friends, and I was lucky to get out. I was only there for a good 10 minutes but I just – there’s like no words. Those are my people and it’s just not fair, it’s not fair," she said.

Videos published to social media showed young people dressed for a fun night out crying and hugging one another outside the bar.

One woman shared her horror during an interview with the press and described how she heard the gunshots and saw the shooter throwing smoke bombs.

One young bar patron who spoke with the Washington Post said she heard four loud bangs then ducked for cover. She fled the bar after spotting an accessible exit.

Rochelle Hammons, 24, told The Post that she heard four shots before she was able to flee.

"All of a sudden we heard four shots, you know, ‘bang, bang, bang, bang.’ Everyone got down on the floor. Everyone ducked and covered each other," she said. “As everyone crouched down on the floor, I figured that my only chance would be to run out to the nearest exit. I saw the nearest exit, and I ran out as fast as I could.”

From inside her car, she saw the first police officer arrive, she said. She rolled down her window and told him there was an active shooter inside.

"You gotta hurry, you gotta get in there," she urged him.

During an early morning press conference, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described how police responded to the shooting after receiving multiple calls, and how California Highway Patrol officer Ron Helus, a 29-year-veteran looking to retire soon, confronted the shooter inside the bar before being shot, per NBC. 

"He went in to save lives," Dean said, his voice cracking. "He went in to save other people."

A bomb squad was combing through the scene after some reported smoke bombs going off during the gunfire.

Mitchel Hunter, 19, from Simi Valley, said he saw the gunman. He described him as having light skin with black hair. He said he had a short-barreled semi automatic pistol with a big magazine.

He said he emptied the magazine and reloaded.

"I saw him walk in," Hunter said. "And he started shooting."

Hunter said his friend, Tim Munson, 19, also from Simi Valley, was hospitalized.

Was there a link to terrorism? At this point, "we have no idea."

"We have no idea if there is a terrorism link or not," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told reporters outside the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Local police from Thousand Oaks and the surrounding towns have responded the incident, as have multiple federal agencies, including the FBI.

Published:11/8/2018 5:36:37 AM
[Markets] Telstra's Robyn Denholm To Replace Musk As Tesla Chair

On the heels of Tesla's "best quarter ever" (a quarter that, according at least one notable hedge funder, could be "as good as it gets" for the electric carmaker)...

Tesla

...the company announced early Thursday that it has finally selected a new chairman of the board. As those who have been closely following Silicon Valley's favorite carmaker will no doubt remember, (former) CEO Elon Musk surrendered his chairman title (and, according to one manic-sounding tweet, all of his other titles as well) earlier this year in accordance with the terms of a conspicuously lenient settlement with the SEC Musk had attracted the attention of the agency after an early-August tweet advising that he had lined up backers to take Tesla private at $420 a share.

The company's pick? Telstra CFO Robyn Denholm, who is a top executive at Australia's largest telecom group.

In a statement to the Financial Times, the company touted Denholm's "extensive experience in both the tech and auto industries" and her "significant contributions to as a Tesla board member over four years." 

But Denholm has another qualification that Tesla neglected to highlight - something that undoubtedly appealed to Musk during the selection process. She has another demanding full-time job.

Tesla

To be sure, Denholm has committed to focusing her energies at Tesla. After a "six-month notice period", she will leave Telstra to focus exclusively on Tesla. But that's two quarters from now. And with an FBI probe into allegations that Tesla knowingly inflated its production forecasts ramping up, it seems that, during the intervening months, a lot could happen.

During that time, the company has assured investors that Musk will make himself available to be a "resource" for Denholm.

Ms Denholm has been an independent director at Tesla since 2014. "I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value," she said.

In a statement, Tesla added: "To ensure a smooth transition during the remainder of Robyn’s time at Telstra, Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests in her role as chair."

Ironically, Denholm's decision to depart Telstra comes after shareholders raised well-publicized concerns about her ability to manage her responsibilities as a Tesla board member alongside her every day duties at Telstra, which is in the midst of a major restructuring.

Ms Denholm, 55, has experience of working in the US and Australia across a range of technology companies, including Telstra, Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems. An Australian, she worked in a finance management role at Toyota, the carmaker.

She has spent just under two years working at Telstra, playing an important role in helping to restructure the former state telecoms operator in the face of tough competition in its domestic market.

Over recent weeks Ms Denholm had fielded questions from Australian media about her ability to juggle her commitments as a Telstra executive and her position on the board of Tesla, which has been in crisis mode for several months.

At least one analyst claimed that Denholm's departure would be a "loss" for Telstra.

"Telstra chief executive Andy Penn has relied on Denholm to help him implement the company’s change programme. She will be a loss," said Ian Martin, analyst at New Street research.

Her appointment also puts to rest rumors that Fox's James Murdoch had been interested in the job - rumors that Musk put to rest by replying in a tweet that "this is incorrect."

If Tesla faces as many difficulties in 2019 as it did in 2018, we imagine that Denholm has her work cut out for her. And if the FBI's decides to pursue criminal charges against the company, we imagine she might, as a board member for four years and chairwoman, be put in the position where she must take responsibility for questionable management decisions that were not of her own making. But that's just one of the hazards of the job.

Published:11/8/2018 5:06:34 AM
[Markets] Trump Threatens Reciprocal Leak Probe If Dems Launch More Witch-Hunts

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted a warning to Democrats who have threatened to investigate him upon reclaiming a majority in the House of Representatives: 

"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level," Trump said, "then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level."

Last December, President Trump's son, Don Jr. called on the House intelligence Committee to investigate information that was leaked from his closed interview the week before. 

"This committee should determine whether any member or staff member violated the rules by leaking information to the media concerning the interview or by purposely providing inaccurate information which led to significant misreporting," said Trump Jr.'s attorney, Alan Futerfas. 

In addition, his letter charges that members of the House committee “began disseminating wildly inaccurate information” to reporters that formed the basis of an erroneous CNN report on an email that Mr. Trump and other members of the Trump campaign received in September 2016.

"These disturbing circumstances warrant examination," concluded Futerfas. 

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who will lead the House Intelligence Committee, told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that he will revive the investigation into so-called "Russian collusion" - vowing to go after Trump's personal business interests. 

"The president has sought to keep that off limits, but if that’s the leverage Russians pose that’s a real threat to our country," said Schiff. 

Schiff insisted in March that there was "more than circumstantial evidence" connecting Trump to Russia, however despite the best efforts of the US-UK-Australian intelligence community and the DOJ/FBI's multi-year counterintelligence "sting" and now probe, no such evidence has emerged. 

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), meanwhile, who has repeatedly called to impeach President Trump, is set to lead the House Financial Services Committee. As chair, she will be able to subpoena officials at financial regulatory agencies for testimony and other information. 

In September, Waters renewed her calls to impeach Trump - and told a crowed of constituents at a rally that she would "get" Vice President Mike Pence once Trump was gone. 

"I had a conversation here today with someone [who] asked, ‘Well, what about Pence? If you are able to impeach, Pence will be worse,’" said Waters. "And I said, ‘Look, one at a time. You knock one down, one at a time. You knock one down, and we’ll be ready for Pence. We’ll get him, too." 

Published:11/7/2018 8:00:49 AM
[Markets] CIA's 'Surveillance State' Is Operating Against Us All

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

Maybe you once thought the CIA wasn’t supposed to spy on Americans here in the United States.

That concept is so yesteryear...

Over time, the CIA upper echelon has secretly developed all kinds of policy statements and legal rationales to justify routine, widespread surveillance on U.S. soil of citizens who aren’t suspected of terrorism or being a spy.

The latest outrage is found in newly declassified documents from 2014. They reveal the CIA not only intercepted emails of U.S. citizens but they were emails of the most sensitive kind — written to Congress and involving whistleblowers reporting alleged wrongdoing within the Intelligence Community.

The disclosures, kept secret until now, are two letters of “congressional notification” from the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. He stated that during “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems,” the CIA collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection.

McCullough added that he was concerned about the CIA’s “potential compromise to whistleblower confidentiality and the consequent ‘chilling effect’ that the present [counterintelligence] monitoring system might have on Intelligence Community whistleblowing.”

“Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints,” McCullough stated in the letters to lead Democrats and Republicans at the time on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

The March 2014 intercepts, conducted under the leadership of CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, happened amid what’s widely referred to as the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and mass surveillance scandals.

Is that legal?

According to the CIA, the spy agency has been limited since the 1970s to collecting intelligence “only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities” and “procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed.”

But here’s where it gets slippery. It turns out the CIA claims it must engage in “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computers” to make sure certain employees aren’t doing bad things. Poof! Now, all kinds of U.S. citizens and their communications can be swept into the dragnet — and it’s deemed perfectly legal. It’s just an accident or “incidental,” after all, if the CIA happens to pick up whistleblower communications with the legislative branch.

Or maybe it’s a lucky break for certain CIA officials.

The only reason we know any of this now is thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley(R-Iowa), whose staffers were among those spied on. Grassley says it took four years for him to get the shocking “congressional notifications” declassified so they could be made public. First, Grassley says, Clapper and Brennan dragged their feet, blocking their release. Their successors in the Trump administration were no more responsive. Only when Grassley recently appealed to current Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who was sworn in on May 17, was the material finally declassified.

“The fact that the CIA under the Obama administration was reading congressional staff’s emails about Intelligence Community whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns, as well as potential constitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly,” wrote Grassley in a statement.

Legal or not, there was a time when this news would have so shocked our sensibilities — and would have been considered so antithetical to our Constitution by so many — that it would have prompted a swift, national outcry.

But today, we’ve grown numb. Outrage has been replaced by a cynical, “Who’s surprised about that?” or the persistent belief that “Nothing’s really going to be done about it,” and, worst of all, “What’s so bad about it, anyway?”

Some see the intel community’s alleged abuses during campaign 2016 as its own major scandal. But I see it as a crucial piece of a puzzle.

The evidence points to bad actors targeting candidate Donald Trump and his associates in part to keep them — and us — from learning about and digging into an even bigger scandal: our Intelligence Community increasingly spying on its own citizens, journalists, members of Congress and political enemies for the better part of two decades, if not longer.

Published:11/6/2018 7:30:21 PM
[Markets] JPMorgan Gold-Spoofer Admits "Manipulating Precious Metals Markets" For Years

There was a time when the merest mention of gold manipulation in "reputable" media was enough to have one branded a perpetual conspiracy theorist with a tinfoil farm out back. That was roughly coincident with a time when Libor, FX, mortgage, and bond market manipulation was also considered unthinkable, when High Frequency Traders were believed to "provide liquidity", or when the stock market was said to not be manipulated by the Fed, and when the ever-confused media, always eager to take "complicated" financial concepts at the face value set by a self-serving establishment, never dared to question anything.

That has now changed...

In what may be the first major bullion-bank trader coming clean, a former JPMorgan precious-metals trader admitted he engaged in a six-year spoofing scheme that defrauded investors in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium futures contracts.

John Edmonds, 36, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty under seal on Oct. 9 in the District of Connecticut to commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, commodities price manipulation, and spoofing. As Justice notes in a statement:

From approximately 2009 through 2015 John Edmonds engaged in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate the market for precious metals futures contracts for his own gain by placing orders that were never intended to be executed,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. 

“The Criminal Division is committed to prosecuting those who undermine the investing public’s trust in the integrity of our commodities markets through spoofing or any other illegal conduct.”

As we noted previously, inquiring minds are not only asking how is the gold market being manipulated, but are actually providing answers.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Sweeney. explained that "with his guilty plea, Edmonds admitted he intended to introduce materially false and misleading information into the commodities markets."

By conspiring with his trading partners to place spoof orders, he blatantly attempted to profit off of an unfair market that he helped create.  The FBI will continue to work with our partners to insure financial markets remain a level playing field for all investors."

Edmonds and his fellow precious metals traders at the Bank routinely placed orders for precious metals futures contracts with the intent to cancel those orders before execution (the Spoof Orders), he admitted. 

This trading strategy was admittedly intended to inject materially false and misleading liquidity and price information into the precious metals futures contracts markets by placing the Spoof Orders in order to deceive other market participants about the existence of supply and demand. 

The Spoof Orders were designed to artificially move the price of precious metals futures contracts in a direction that was favorable to Edmonds and his co-conspirators at the Bank, to the detriment of other market participants. 

In pleading guilty, Edmonds admitted that he learned this deceptive trading strategy from more senior traders at the Bank, and he personally deployed this strategy hundreds of times with the knowledge and consent of his immediate supervisors.

Justice describes one such 'spoof' that occurred on October 12, 2012

"Edmonds knowingly executed the scheme and artifice by transmitting and causing to be transmitted to a CME Group server an offer to sell approximately 402 silver futures contracts ("Spoof Order"), with the intent, at the time the offer was entered, to cancel the offer before it could be executed, which fraudulently represented the state of the market, so that Edmonds could purchase approximately 6 silver futures contracts at a below-market price.

Edmond's 'Spoof Order' caused other market participants to react and trade at prices, quantities, and times at which they otherwise would not have traded, but for EDMONDS's Spoof Order."

 

It's not like 'manipulation' ever stopped however - one glance at the 'odd' price action almost every day around the time of the London Fix makes it clear, it is anything but a 'normal' market...

We'll give  U.S. Attorney Durham the last word (bearing the chart above in mind):

“The investigation of deceptive trading practices by others involved in this scheme is ongoing.”

The DoJ ends its statement with the following: "Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in these cases should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information. "

Published:11/6/2018 5:57:41 PM
[World] Tammy Bruce: 'Crickets' From Democrats Now That Kavanaugh 'Fraud' Has Been Exposed

Tammy Bruce joined Tucker Carlson to react to the Senate Judiciary Committee referring a woman to the FBI for “materially false statements” when she accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of raping her.

Published:11/6/2018 1:56:40 PM
[Issues] Kavanaugh Accuser Recants, Referred to FBI for Investigation

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray on Friday, requesting an investigation into false statements and obstruction allegedly carried out in an attempt to stall Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The post Kavanaugh Accuser Recants, Referred to FBI for Investigation appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:11/5/2018 11:00:13 AM
[Markets] Papadopoulos Details Alleged Entrapment Scheme By Undercover Deep State Agents

George Papadopoulos - a central figure and self-admitted dupe in the Obama administration's targeted spying on the Trump campaign, gave a wide-ranging interview to Dan Bongino on Friday, detailing what he claims to have been a setup by deep state operatives across the world in order to ultimately infiltrate the Trump campaign.

 

Reviewing events

In March 2016, Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud told Papadopoulos - an energy consultant who had recently joined the Trump campaign - that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, a claim which Papadopoulos repeated in May 2016 to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in a London bar. Of note, former FBI Assistant Director of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, reportedly traveled to London directly before Downer met with Papadopoulos, while a few months later former FBI agent Peter Strzok met with Downer in London directly before the DOJ officially launched their investigation into the Trump campaign. 

The alleged admission about Clinton's emails officially sparked the Obama administration's counterintelligence operation on Trump on July 31, 2016 - dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane. In September 2016, the FBI would send spy Stefan Halper to further probe Papadopoulos on the Clinton email allegation, and - according to his interview with Dan Bongino, Papadoplous says Halper angrily accused him of working with Russia before storming out of a meeting. 

Halper essentially began interrogating Papadopoulos, saying that it’s “obviously in your interest to be working with the Russians” and to “hack emails.” “You’re complicit with Russia in this, isn’t that right George” Halper told him. Halper also inquired about Hillary’s hacked emails, insinuating that Papadopoulos possessed them. Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about this and asked to be left alone. -Bongino.com

There are two schools of thought on Papadopoulos and his relationship with Mifsud - the first link in the chain regarding the Clinton email rumor. Notably, Mifsud claimed last November to be a member of the Clinton Foundation, and has donated to the charity.

The first theory is that Mifsud and Papadopoulos are Russian agents, and that Papadopoulos was used to try and establish a backchannel to Putin. Papadopoulos admits he tried to set up a Trump-Putin meeting - which was flatly rejected by the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos, however, claims the Putin connection was a woman Mifsud introduced him to claiming to be Putin's niece, who was present at a March 24, 2016 meeting.

The second theory regarding Mifsud is that he was a deep state plant working with the FBI; convincing Papadopoulos that he could arrange a meeting with members of the Russian government and then seeding Papadopoulos with the Clinton email rumor. From there, as the theory goes, the "deep state" attempted to pump Papadopoulos for information and set up a case against him - beginning with Alexander Downer and the "drunken" confession in London. 

Papadopoulos told Bongino that he wasn't drunk during his meeting with Downer, and that he was being recorded. Papadopoulos noted during the Bongino interview that transcripts of his meetings with Mifsud and Dower reportedly exist - which he says proves that he was set up. According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud's lawyer said that he's not a Russian asset and was instead working for Western intelligence. 

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying the FBI about his interactions with Mifsud, and was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison and a $9,500 fine. 

$10,000 cash

Papadopoulos also told Bongino about $10,000 in cash that he was given in an Israel hotel room in July 2017 - which he claims was another attempt to set him up. He says that he believes the bills were marked, and is looking for a way to bring the cash into the United States for Congressional investigators to analyze. The cash is currently with his attorney in Greece. 

"I’m actually trying to bring that money back somehow so that Congress can investigate it because I am 100 percent sure those are marked bills, and to see who was actually running this operation against me," Papadopoulos gold Bongino.

"I am more than happy to deliver the $10,000 in cash I received, as part of what I believe was a sting operation to frame me in summer 2017, to your committee to examine for marked bills. This is in the interest of me being fully transparent," he wrote last week on Twitter to  North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe. 

The two Republicans are members of a congressional task force investigating the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The task force interviewed Papadopoulos on Oct. 25.

Papadopoulos acknowledged in his interview with Bongino that his claims about his encounters with an Israeli-American businessman named Charles Tawil were “an incredible, insane story.”

“But it’s true,” he asserted.

Papadopoulos told Bongino the he believes that Tawil “was working on behalf of Western intelligence to entrap me.”

Papadopoulos does not have direct evidence that Tawil was working on behalf of a Western government when they met in March and July 2017. Instead, Papadopoulos is speculating based on what he says is the peculiar circumstances of his encounters with Tawil as well as his meetings with at least one known FBI informant. -Daily Caller

Afraid he might be killed if he didn't accept the money, Papadopoulos took the funds and later contacted Tawil - who allegedly told Papadopoulos he didn't want it back. From there, Papadopoulos gave the cash to his attorney in Greece. Upon his return to the United States several days later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 28, 2017 at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., by agents who he believes were looking for the cash. 

And then when Papadopoulos landed back in America, he was arrested at Dulles International Airport on July 27th. Strangely, he wasn’t shown the warrant for his arrest when arrested, and didn’t know the reason why until the next day. The $10,000 that Tawil paid Papadopoulos in cash is interesting in this context, as it would be the exact amount of money one would be required to declare at customs. Papadopoulos didn’t recall if he was arrested before or after he filled out a customs slip (but didn’t have the money on him). -Bongino.com

At minimum, one should set aside an hour for the Bongino-Papadopoulos interview if only to hear his version of events. 

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is how George was able to end up with such a hot Italian (not Russian) wife: 

Published:11/4/2018 7:48:56 PM
[Markets] Georgia Investigating Democrats For Allegedly Hacking Voting System

Two days before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp revealed on Sunday that his office is opening an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party on allegations that it attempted to hack the state's voting system, including allegations of possible cyber crimes. 

Abrams

Kempe, whose office announced the investigation in a Sunday morning news release, didn't reveal any details of the probe, which comes on the heels of a court victory by Democrats, who successfully challenged the state's attempt to de-register 50,000 voters under the state's "exact match" voter ID law, according to the Daily Caller.

"While we cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that the Democratic Party of Georgia is under investigation for possible cyber-crimes," Kempe press secretary Candice Broce said in the release. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have been alerted.

The state Democratic Party has called the allegations "100% false" and "an abuse of power" by Kempe. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a computer scientist and attorney who are currently suing Kempe said that the lawsuit is "an attempt to distract from a report about vulnerabilities in the state's voter registration website."

The "vulnerabilities" could potentially allow anybody to access the voting records of individual voters.

Poll numbers between Kempe and his opponent, Democrat Stacy Abrams, have tightened to within a two percentage point margin as Abrams has benefited from several celebrity endorsements, including the support of Oprah Winfrey, who joined Abrams in knocking on doors last week.

The Daily Caller quoted Abrams as saying the lawsuit was a "desperate attempt" to sway the vote in Kempe's favor ahead of the election.

"I’ve heard nothing about it, and my reaction would be that this is a desperate attempt on the part of my opponent to distract people from the fact that two different federal judges found him derelict in his duties and have forced him to accept absentee ballots to be counted and those who are being held captive by the exact match system to be allowed to vote," Abrams said.

For many Georgia voters, news of the investigation will not be taken lightly. According to a poll conducted by the AJC and a local TV station, many voters in the state are concerned about the integrity of its elections, including fears about tampering and ineligible voters casting ballots.

Published:11/4/2018 1:16:08 PM
[Markets] The Danger In Media Telling Only Half The Story On Political Violence

Authored by Sean Malone via The Foundation for Economic Education,

When mass media displays such a clear bias, then the people who are on the losing end of that bias are not going to be happy...

In the last few months, we've seen numerous acts of politically motivated or targeted violence. Some of these cases have been plastered all over the news for days or weeks. Some others have been met with deafening silence. And which is which hasn't exactly been random.

There is clear bias in the reporting of political violence and I believe this has had some serious consequences for people's ability to trust the media and bridge a divided culture.

To understand why, we need to look at what's actually happened recently, so while what follows is far from a complete list of all the politically-motivated violence, it encompasses many of the most recent and highest-profile examples:

  • October 2018Trump-supporting lunatic Cesar Sayoc, Jr. attempted (but completely failed to) to deliver (non-functional) bombs to over a dozen Democratic leaders including Obama, Clinton, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder among others. As we learn more about this story, it becomes increasingly clear that Sayoc has a long history of threats and violence going back to at least the mid-90s.

  • October 2018: Anti-semite Robert Bowers shot and killed 11 people and injured 6 others at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and although he seems to have been anti-Trump, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has already blamed Trump for creating the environment that encouraged Bowers' actions.

  • October 2018: Another man with a substantial history of mental illness and violence, Gregory Bush, entered a Kroger grocery store in Jefferstown, Kentucky and essentially executed a 67-year old  man named Maurice Stallard with a handgun for no apparent reason, after which he exited the store and shot and killed another woman, Vickie Lee Jones (67) before he was challenged by another shopper who drew a legally concealed weapon and shot back at him. Bush apparently attempted to enter a church nearby before he went to the Kroger, presumably with the intent to kill. Although there is currently no motive known, many people assume Bush was motivated by racism because he is white while his two victims were black and one witness recounts hearing him say "Don't shoot me and I won't shoot you. Whites don't kill whites," to the man who confronted him. 

  • October 2018Envelopes testing positive for Ricin (an incredibly dangerous poison for which 22 micrograms/kilogram of body weight constitutes a lethal dosage) were sent to Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis.

  • April 2018Self-described "Incel" Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd in Toronto and killed 10 people. Incels are considered "right-wing" although "Involuntary Celibacy" is mainly a reaction to feminism and has no inherent connection to right/left politics.

And of course, all this is in the context of the awful Charlottesville Riot from last year, where in...

  • August 2017: Neo-Nazi James Fields killed Heather Heyer and injured 19 others with his car at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally after he drove through a crowd of protesters. What you probably don't know is that his trial is set for November, and he was recently assaulted in prison.

Also, while this isn't actually a known example of political violence, you'll certainly recall:

  • October 2017: Stephen Paddock opens fire on a crowd of country music fans in Las Vegas from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 58 people and causing injury to 851 others either directly or via the resulting panic. This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and yet no motive is known, little information has been released to the public, and the press coverage died out relatively quickly.

I'm including the Las Vegas shooting in this list because it sparked another national gun control debate, this time over whether or not it should be legal to own bump stocks.

You'll probably also have heard about a number of cases of street violence involving the "Proud Boys", and perhaps you might have recently learned that Facebook shut down that group's main page.

And you'll have probably heard of various racist/anti-Semitic threats and acts of vandalism against Jewish community centers, churches, and other political targets, which are often assumed to be a product of Trump's rhetoric.

  • October 2018: Ricin envelopes were not just sent to James Mattis, but also to President Trump, along with Senator Ted Cruz and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. The FBI arrested a suspect in Utah, William Clyde Allen, believed to have sent all the packages in a coordinated effort. Allen confessed to sending all four letters, but we also learned that—similar to the inoperable bombs allegedly sent by Cesar Sayoc, Jr.—none seemed to contain actual Ricin, but rather castor seed from which Ricin is made.

  • October 2018: In Las Vegas, a Democratic activist working for American Bridge 21st Century named Wilfred Michael Stark assaulted Kristin Davidson, campaign manager for Nevada's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Adam Laxalt. Stark had previously been arrested for similar activity at a GOP rally in Virginia.

  • October 2018: In Minnesota, Republican state-representative Sarah Anderson was chased and punched by a man ripping up GOP campaign signs, and two days earlier, Republican candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after being punched in the back of the head while having dinner at a local restaurant.

  • October 2018: The Republican Party Headquarters in Manhattan, New York was vandalized with spray-paint, smashed windows, and a threatening notethat read: "Our attack is merely a beginning. We are not passive, we are not civil, and we will not apologize."

  • October 2018: Jackson Cosko, an intern working for Democratic Senator Sheila Jackson Lee was charged by the United States Capitol Police with "doxxing" Republican Senators Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, and Lindsey Graham. While doxxing itself isn't violence, it has frequently led to serious harassment and violence as people have access to personal information such as the home addresses, phone numbers, and email address of the victims.

  • October 2018: Florida man, Jame Royal Patrick, Jr., was arrested for making death threats to people who supported Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

  • October 2018Shots were fired at the Republican party campaign office in Daytona Florida, breaking the windows. Fortunately, no one was in the office.

  • October 2018: A hairdresser Jordan Hunt starts an argument with a female pro-life demonstrator in Ontario, and after a few minutes of conversation roundhouse-kicks her in the face on camera.

  • September 2018: GOP campaign offices in Laramie, Wyoming, were set on fire by arsonists. The same thing happened in Hillsborough, North Carolina, back in 2016, so this is nothing especially new.

  • September 2018: In San Francisco, a man named Farzad Fazeli attempted to stab Republican campaign worker Rudy Peters with a switchblade while he was working at an election booth at a Castro Valley town festival.

  • July 2018Martin Astrof was arrested for threatening to kill GOP campaign staffers and President Trump.

  • July 2018: Someone vandalized the Lincoln, Nebraska (my hometown) GOP headquarters by smashing its windows with a brick and spray-painting "ABOLISH ICE" on the sidewalk.

  • August 2017: Missouri lawmaker, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, said on social media that she hoped President Trump would be assassinated. She later was formally censured by the Missouri State Senate.

And of course, I'd hope you remember...

  • October 2017: In Alexandria, Virginia, James T. Hodgkinson (a Bernie Sanders fanatic angry with the results of the 2016) died with a list of Republican targets in his pocket in a shootout with police after he shot four people: lobbyist Matt Mika, legislative aid Zack Barth, Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, and Republican Congressman Steve Scalise who nearly died. The shooting took place at a baseball diamond where several Republican Senators and Congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

Another thing you might not realize is that many of the skirmishes involving the Proud Boys group were actually caused by Antifa and Democratic Socialists of America activists—though you'd hardly know it from the way most reporters frame these events—and Antifa social media pages have not been shut down.

Comparing media coverage between Antifa and conservative groups is, I believe, particularly instructive.

Almost a year ago, YouTube commentator Matt Christiansen called attention to the differences in a video he made about Dartmouth professor, Mark Bray (talk at UC Berkeley).

Bray is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. 

Christiansen points out that although most news media routinely and uncritically report the claim that nearly all examples of modern political violence are instigated by groups like the Proud Boys, alt-right ideologues, or actual neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups like the KKK, there have been numerous examples of Antifa violence which have not had anything whatsoever to do with protesting "fascists" or any kind of right-wing activity at all. For example, the recent takeover of multiple streets in downtown Portland, Oregon, or any of numerous examples of Antifa members attacking journalists.

What's more, over the past 4-5 years there have been dozens of examples of left-wing protesters using violence to shut down mainstream conservative (or simply non-progressive) speakers like Charles Murray, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Milo Yiannopoulos and others.

Yet no organized conservative group attempted to prevent Mark Bray from speaking.

His talk—which explicitly defended Antifa's use of violence in the face of right-wing speech on the basis that allowing such speech could lead to fascism—was not silenced anywhere in the United States. Meanwhile, many people who have never called for or defended any kind of violence have been subject to aggressive "no platforming" protests which have included substantial property damage, death threats, and physical assaults.

Somehow the supposed "fascists" are generally allowing other perspectives to be heard while the "anti-fascists" are not only attempting to violently silence the most abhorrent voices but also thoughtful academics, journalists, and non-political commuters.

We rarely hear this discussed in major media, and Antifa is frequently presented as not only well-intended, but actually heroic.

It's fairly clear that this is tremendously one-sided.

I'm mainly talking about this because the way this stuff is reported drives me insane, and it affects us all in really important ways. Mass media essentially determines which of these examples of politically-motivated violence are important and worth talking about, and which are not.

If the news that gets reported doesn't bother to tell readers and viewers about angry left-wing lunatics who assault Republican campaign workers, set fire to GOP offices, or shoot Republican congressmen, and if reporters and pundits don't care to spend much time writing about a series of threatening letters testing positive for ricin poison or threats of and/or the actual attempted murder of Republicans over their political views, then the people who consume news will not know about those kinds of things.

And of course, this would be fine if reporters and pundits did the same thing whenever a right-wing lunatic did something insane. But that's not what happens.

Most of the mainstream media (arguably with the support of all of the major social networks and even Google) devote tremendous attention to every instance of right-wing violence while utterly ignoring comparable cases coming from left-wing perpetrators. As a result, it's difficult for the average person to know what's actually happening in the world, and they end up with a completely one-sided understanding of the current state of political violence.

We can see what people are hearing and talking about illustrated clearly by looking at Google Trends, and as you can see below, vastly more people heard about Cesar Sayoc and the pipe-bomb scare than they did William Clyde Allen's ricin letters - although, again, both were targeted towards major political figures and both should have been treated as deadly assassination attempts until the ineffectiveness was confirmed.

This bias also makes it easy for political partisans to split themselves into bubbles that each have entirely different sets of facts.

Liberals/Progressives will hear of every instance of someone who could even remotely be considered "right-wing" doing anything wrong yet remain entirely isolated from the slightest hint that people who share their ideology have ever done anything wrong at all. Conservatives are in a slightly better position—in that it's nearly impossible to avoid hearing about right-wing political violence—but the more social media dominates people's information streams, the easier it is for them to similarly wall themselves off from information that makes them uncomfortable.

Point is, there are legitimate reasons for everyone to be seriously concerned with the quality of reporting that we normally see with respect to this kind of activity.

Part of being well-informed is being able to put things into context and gain a meaningful perspective, and that can only happen when you have all the information, not just half of it as we so often get.

Only getting half the story makes it easy to blame your political opponents for everything that's going wrong in the world, but it's also a mistake. If Trump—for example—is to blame for people like Cesar Sayoc, Jr.'s failed bombing spree, is Bernie Sanders to blame for James Hodgkinson? Is Maxine Waters responsible for Farzad Fazeli? Is Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, or Eric Holder the cause of arson and vandalism in Wyoming?

If you think that Trump's rhetoric is causing right-wing violence, surely it stands to reason that the similarly heated rhetoric coming from the other side is to blame for the left-wing variants of these kinds of crimes?

Of course, if you only ever saw one side or the other, it would be extremely easy to think that the only people who are out there doing terrible things are your political opponents, and from there you can concoct a grand theory as to why based on how evil the other party is without much challenge when another possibility is simply that it's the individual criminal who is responsible for their own actions.

There's another problem here, as well.

When mass media displays such a clear bias—and please make no mistake, whether fully intentional or not, that's exactly what this is—then the people who are on the losing end of that bias are not going to be happy. And since they're actually justified in their complaints, it's very easy for them to convince people who have less skin in the game that media isn't trustworthy as well.

All this does is push people further to the extremes, which makes it easier for the biggest lunatics to find reasons to believe even crazier conspiracy theories and find reinforcement for their belief that violence is the appropriate response.

I want this to stop, and while there's no magic bullet, I don't think that can happen until the reporting on these kinds of subjects gets a lot better and more people are more fully-informed about everything that is going on in our world—not just the parts that confirm partisan biases.

Published:11/2/2018 10:46:45 PM
[US News] HOLY S*IT: Woman who claimed Brett Kavanaugh raped her now says she made the whole thing up

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has referred another one of Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution after she admitted to Committee investigators that she made up allegations that Kavanaugh had raped her in a car: BREAKING: This is quite a read. Woman who claimed Justice Kavanaugh raped her now admits they’ve never […]

The post HOLY S*IT: Woman who claimed Brett Kavanaugh raped her now says she made the whole thing up appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:11/2/2018 5:35:46 PM
[Markets] Did Jamal Khashoggi Die For Nothing?

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Unz Review,

Let the cover-up begin...

The angst over the Jamal Khashoggi murder in the Saudi Arabian Consulate General building in Istanbul is already somewhat fading as the media has moved on in search of fresh meat, recently focusing on the series of attempted mail bombings, and currently on the mass shooting in Pittsburgh. But the affaire Khashoggi is still important as it potentially brings with it possible political realignments in the Middle East as well as in Europe as countries feel emboldened to redefine their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The Turks know exactly what occurred in the Consulate General building and are now putting the squeeze on the Saudis, requiring them to fess up and no doubt demanding compensation. Some sources in Turkey believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will actually demand recreation of the Caliphate, which the Kemal Ataturk led Turkish Republic’s government abolished in 1924. That would diminish Saudi Arabia’s ability to regard itself as the pre-eminent Islamic state due to its guardianship over the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. It would be a major realignment of the Islamic umma and would be akin to a restoration of some semblance of Ottoman supremacy over the region.

To be sure, the brutally effective Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very active when it comes to monitoring the activities of both friendly and unfriendly foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. It uses electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local Turks as employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to MIT. As a result, it should be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, meaning that the audio of the actual killing that has been reported in the media is no doubt authentic and might even be supplemented with video.

One recent report, on BBC, indicates that CIA Director Gina Haspel has traveled to Turkey and has been allowed to hear the recordings of Khashoggi being tortured and killed. It’s a good thing the Trump White House sent Haspel as she would know exactly what that sort of thing sounds like based on her own personal experience in Thailand. She will presumably be able to explain the operation of a bone saw to the president.

So the Saudis seem to be in a hopeless situation, but they have several cards to play. They have many lobbyists of their own in Washington that have bought their way into think tanks and onto editorial pages. They are also in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran, which means that the Israel Lobby and its many friends in the U.S. Congress will complain about killing Khashoggi but ultimately will not do anything about it. The White House will also discourage America’s close allies from adopting measures that would do serious damage to the Saudis. In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump’s anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart, so Washington will be pressing hard on Ankara in particular to not overdo its bid for compensation.

All of which leads to some consideration of the hypocrisy of the outrage over Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia murdered a citizen in a diplomatic facility located in Turkey, apparently because they believed that individual to be a dissident who was a threat to national security. They then seriously botched the cover-up. In spite of all that, it would seem that the issue involves only two parties directly, the Saudis and the Turks, though there have been calls from a number of countries to punish the Saudis for what was clearly a particularly gruesome murder carried out in contravention of all existing rules for behavior of diplomatic missions in foreign countries.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular missions grants to Diplomats a certain level of immunity in foreign posts, but that does not include murder. In consular posts, like Istanbul, consular immunity only extends to officials who are actually performing consular duties when an alleged infraction occurs. I know from personal experience how subjective that process can be as I was arrested by Turkish police when I was the U.S. Consulate duty officer in Istanbul while looking for a missing American who turned out to be a drug dealer. The Turks weren’t sure what to do with me as I was Consular so I spent 24 hours playing cards with the prison governor before I was released.

The hypocrisy comes in when the U.S. Congress and media become enraged and demand that there be “consequences,” in part because Khashoggi was a U.S. legal resident and therefore under law a “U.S. person.” Saudi Arabia is, to be sure, a country that most would consider to be an undesirable destination if one is seeking to eat, drink and be merry. Or just about anything else having to do with personal liberty. An absolute dictatorship run by one family, it has long both relied on and been the exporter of the most backward looking and unpleasant form of Islam, Wahabbism. But for the fact that the Saudis are the world’s leading exporter of oil, and, for Muslims, guardian of the religion’s holy sites, the country would long ago have been regarded as a pariah.

But that said, Congress and the White House might well consider how the rest of the world views the United States when it comes to killing indiscriminately without fear of consequences. President Barack Obama, who has practically been beatified by the U.S. mainstream media, was the first American head of state to openly target and kill American citizens overseas. He and his intelligence advisor John Brennan would sit down for a Tuesday morning meeting to revise the list of Americans living outside the U.S. who could be assassinated. To cite only one example, the executions of Yemeni dissident Anwar al-Awlaki and his son were carried out by drone after being ordered from the White House without any due process apart from claimed presidential authority. Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also attacked Libya, a nation with which America was not at war, destroyed its government, and reduced the country to its current state of anarchy. When its former ruler Moammar Gaddafi was captured and killed by having a bayonet inserted up his anus, Hillary giggled and said “We came, we saw, he died.”

The United States is also supporting the ongoing war in Syria and also enables the Saudis to continue their brutal attacks on Yemen, which have produced cholera, starvation and the deaths of an estimated 60,000 Yemenis plus millions more threatened by disease and the deliberate cutting off of food supplies. And the White House looks the other way as its other best friend in the Middle East, Israel, shoots thousands of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. Overall one might argue that if there is a smell in the room it is coming from Washington and one death in Istanbul, no matter how heinous, pales in comparison to what the U.S. itself, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been doing without any pushback whatsoever.

And then there is the small matter of actual American interests. If Washington persists in going after the Saudis, which it will not do, it will presumably jeopardize future weapons sales worth tens of billions of dollars. The Saudis also support the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all international purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy U.S. treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. Those are actual American interests. If one pulls them all together it means that the United States will be looking for an outcome to Khashoggi’s slaying that will not do too much damage to Saudi Arabia.

So, what do I think will happen as a result of the Khashoggi killing? Nothing that means anything. There are too many bilateral interests that bind the Saudis to Europe and America’s movers and shakers. Too much money is on the table. In two more weeks mentioning the name Khashoggi in Washington’s political circles will produce a tepid response and a shake of the head. “Khashoggi who?” one might ask.

Published:11/1/2018 11:00:15 PM
[Markets] Feds 'Wanted To Get Rid Of' Whitey Bulger, Ex-Con Claims

Apparently, we're not the only ones who believe the circumstance surrounding Whitey Bulger's jailhouse slaying are suspect in the extreme. First, that federal authorities would abruptly move an 89-year-old inmate in ill health to a new maximum security prison seemingly on a whim seemed odd. But the fact that Bulger was placed in general population instead of protective custody was either an act of staggering incompetence, or, more likely, an intentional 'oversight'. And now, an ex-con-turned-journalist told the New York Post in an interview that he also believes the killing was a set-up probably planned by federal authorities to get rid of a problem witness.

Bulger

As Richard Stratton told the Post, the guards at Hazelton prison almost certainly looked the other way as a trio of inmates purportedly led by New England mafia enforcer Freddy Geas fatally beat Bulger to death in a secluded corner of the prison. His attackers then tried to gouge out his eyes and cut out his tongue - an old-school marking that the victim was a 'rat'. High ranking federal officials probably sent Bulger there "to get rid of him," Stratton said.

"It just seems impossible to me that this could have happened without awareness, not only at the level of the guards on the tier," writer and producer Richard Stratton said.

Stratton said the notion that Bulger wasn't in protective custody is baffling considering that two inmates had recently been killed at the prison.

"He’s going to be exposed in a way where he can easily be killed, and then one day later he’s murdered," Stratton said.

Stratton, who helped produce an HBO documentary about prison murders, pointed out that Bulger had been transferred from an Arizona facility in 2014 after having an "improper relationship" with a prison psychologist.

Though it's worth noting that Stratton might be conflicted in his assessment: Bulger once helped him quash a life-threatening beef when he was running drugs in Massachusetts back in the day.

Stratton, a former drug smuggler who served eight years in federal prison, said he once sought help from Bulger when the Mafia tried to muscle in on a scam in which he was sneaking hashish from Lebanon through Boston’s Logan Airport.

After refusing to cough up $1 million and half of whatever drugs he brought into the US, "I heard they put out a contract on me," said Stratton, who also recounted the episode in his 2016 memoir, "Smuggler’s Blues: A True Story of the Hippie Mafia."

"I went to Whitey and Whitey squashed the whole thing," he said.

"Then I had to move a load of pot for him."

Still, Stratton's not the only one who suspects that federal authorities at least tacitly condoned Bulger's killing. The Daily Mail suggested that Bulger may have been on the verge of cooperating with the staff of a Massachusetts Congressman hoping to expose abuses from inside the FBI.

Published:11/1/2018 4:28:24 PM
[Markets] "Not For Them To Know" - Project Veritas Catches Andrew Gillum Campaign Staffer In Racist Slur

Authored by Mike Brest via The Daily Caller,

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is the latest to be stung by a Project Veritas undercover video. A video released on Thursday shows a campaign staffer they identify as Omar Smith using a racial slur and saying the candidate makes promises he knows he can’t keep.

“It’s a cracker state,” Smith stated.

“Get it? Ask anybody outside of here. You go Port St. Lucie, Orlando … man them crackers ain’t gonna let us do that sh*t dawg. Boy, you crazy?”

He went on, saying, “Gillum is a progressive. He is a part of the crazy, crazy, crazies.”

Then the undercover reporter asked how Gillum plans to pay for many of his campaign promises, Smith said he couldn’t.

“That’s not for them to know … That’s not for [the voters] to know. Remember our saying, modern-day fairy tales start with ‘once I am elected.’”

Gillum is in a very tight race against Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis. According to an Ipsos Public Affairs poll released on Tuesday, Gillum is up six points.

President Donald Trump has waded into this race calling Gillum “a thief,” because the Tallahassee mayor has reportedly been under investigation by the FBI.

Project Veritas has also recently released videos on midterm election candidates Phil Bredesen and Sen. Claire McCaskill. The Daily Caller was unable to independently verify the video.

Published:11/1/2018 10:29:28 AM
[Markets] Stocks Jump After Trump Says He Spoke To President Xi "On Trade", Discussions "Moving Along Nicely"

Moments after stocks stumbled after the latest disappointing, and rather stagflationary Manufacturing ISM print, the S&P spiked higher following a Trump tweet in which the president said he just had a "very good" conversation with Chinese' president Xi, in which the emphasis was on trade and added that "discussions are moving along nicely."

The optimistic tweet reversed much of the early morning pessimism, which had nearly brought the Dow to the unchanged line, and sent the Dow Jones to session highs, up as much as 150 points, as sentiment once again shifts on trade, this time with markets now expecting a favorable outcome from the G-20 meeting between the two presidents.

The Chinese Yuan also spiked to session highs following Trump's tweet:

Ironically, the news comes at the very same time that AG Jeff Sessions is said to announce a new initiative in response to China’s economic espionage, according to a U.S. official. The Initiative will be led by agency’s National Security Division Head John Demers and will increase the use of DOJ tools to counter China’s activities.

According to Bloomberg, Sessions is ordering the FBI and NSD to step up enforcement, and DOJ will select five U.S. attorneys to be part of the initiative. The announcement will be coupled with unsealing today of a criminal case by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California that involves a Chinese co. that stole trade secrets from a U.S. company.

However, as shown above, stocks are ignoring the DOJ news and focusing solely on Trump's tweet as the market's bipolar nature once again emerges to the surface.

 

Published:11/1/2018 9:24:11 AM
[Politics] Gillum: Receipt of ‘Hamilton’ Tickets From Undercover FBI Agent Is ‘Sideshow’

The post Gillum: Receipt of ‘Hamilton’ Tickets From Undercover FBI Agent Is ‘Sideshow’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:11/1/2018 8:54:28 AM
[worldNews] Mao Zedong's Red Flag car gets driverless makeover China's iconic Red Flag, the vehicle of choice of former revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, is going hands-free.
Published:11/1/2018 2:27:02 AM
[Markets] DARPA Seeks FAA Approval For Military Drones Over American Cities

Authored by Nicholas West via ActivistPost.com,

Just a little over 10 years after drone surveillance inside U.S. borders was declared a conspiracy theory, it is now an indisputable fact of life. So, too, are military grade drones along the “border,” which in reality constitutes a 100-mile-wide swath that encircles the continental United States and 2/3 of its population.

According to a new report from Defense One, this level of access is still seen as a restriction by the DARPA-directed military apparatus. As new forms of autonomous aircraft take to the skies such as the latest Blackhawk helicopter drones that could be ready by 2019, DARPA and aircraft developers want permission to fly over large cities as needed. Utilizing a new artificial intelligence system that is literally called MATRIX, developers see an opportunity for more flexibility in potential use. Of course, surveillance isn’t mentioned among those uses:

After that, similar to Predator drone maker General Atomics, they have their eyes on FAA certification to fly large, unmanned aircraft within the continental United States, to help ferry people and supplies from the mainland to offshore oil rigs, among other potential jobs. Today, large drones likes Predators are forbidden to fly over the U.S. except in a handful of largely unpopulated areas along the U.S.Mexico border.

The FAA is now figuring out how to change guidelines to allow unmanned planes and helicopters to fly over big cities. “We are working with the FAA on that. Our stated goal is 2030. It very much depends on rule making. We are certainly hoping for sooner, for the mid-2020s, to field it,” he said.

In that linked article sourced above, the long-range plans of converting military aircraft to dronesand incorporating them anywhere and everywhere inside America is also detailed and expanded upon as a potential replacement for the already controversial use of police drones.

By 2025, enormous military-style drones – close relatives of the sort made famous by counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq – will be visible 2,000 feet above U.S. cities, streaming high-resolution video to police departments below. That is the bet that multiple defense contractors are placing, anyway, as they race to build unmanned aircraft that can pass evolving airworthiness certifications and replace police helicopters. And if that bet pays off, it will radically transform the way cities, citizens, and law enforcement interact.

We are now seeing various trends beginning to dovetail into what could become the ultimate in military presence over the United States. As I recently reported, new A.I. algorithms are being devised that look for emotional indicators in an attempt to predict crime and social unrest. The “Eye in the Sky” system, developed by Cambridge University, seeks to use small Parrot drones to identify “violent poses” in crowds. The system will be powered by biometric recognition and artificial intelligence, as seen in the video below:

Imagine a system like this being applied to the far more sophisticated military systems that already exist, then connecting all of it to the growing federal biometrics database.

I suspect that if the FAA does grant access to larger military aircraft over U.S. cities, it will be with the “strict guidelines” that no forms of surveillance or weaponry will be permitted onboard. Of course, once granted even the slightest access, all it will take is one catastrophic event to remove any restrictions at all.

"Unlike many new industries, which grow unfettered until emerging problems prompt regulation, unmanned flight needs relief from existing restrictions in order to blossom, Scassero said. Once that happens, the market for large unmanned planes could be enormous."

For reference, here is what I wrote in 2013 regarding the long-term plans and eventuality that was also hinted at in the mainstream media at the time in an Associated Press article entitled, “Drones With Facial Recognition Technology Will End Anonymity, Everywhere.”

AP certainly offers a correct summary of how the databases that already exist (where we thought our personal information was protected) will be opened and utilized any time necessary.

“From seeing just the image of a face, computers will find its match in a database of millions of driver’s license portraits and photos on social media sites. From there, the computer will link to the person’s name and details such as their Social Security number, preferences, hobbies, family and friends.

Adding that capability to drones that can fly into spaces where planes cannot — machines that can track a person moving about and can stay aloft for days — means that people will give up privacy as well as the concept of anonymity.”

Naturally, the AP peddles this softly as it recounts these “new” developments in a tale of researchers with Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center attempting to assist in sharpening FBI images of Boston bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers. This is reminiscent of the above-mentioned Chris Dorner manhunt where we heard calls for how nice it would have been to have a drone at the ready for quicker identification and possible assassination.

“In a real-time experiment, the scientists digitally mapped the face of “Suspect 2,” turned it toward the camera and enhanced it so it could be matched against a database. The researchers did not know how well they had done until authorities identified the suspect as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger, surviving brother and a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

‘I was like, ‘Holy shish kabobs!’ ‘ Marios Savvides, director of the CMU Cylab, told the Tribune-Review. ‘It’s not exactly him, but it’s also not a random face. It does fit him.'”

This astonishment is somewhat absurd considering that drones have already been developed that are equipped with camera systems like DARPA’s Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS). This sensor system can instantly see an area roughly the “size of a small city” with an “all-seeing” eye according to retired Lieutenant, David A. Deptula. The next generation of surveillance tech sees the landscape through a 1.8 billion pixels camera, the highest resolution yet created.

Using a touchscreen interface that can produce up to 65 windows for analysis, military observers can see down to the individual object level to track the movements of vehicles and people. Beyond the real-time surveillance, the system can store everything for future review right down to the minutes and seconds.

The only thing truly new about this Associated Press story is the announcement that what most people thought to be limited to overseas theaters of war will now definitely be used across Battlefield USA.

It would be wise to contact the FAA now with concerns about permitting military-grade aircraft flying over the United States for any reason in order to stave off the imminent arrival of “Battlefield USA.”

Published:10/31/2018 10:24:47 PM
[Markets] Mafia Hitman Is Primary Suspect In Jailhouse Murder Of Whitey Bulger

Hours after news of the jailhouse murder of notorious Boston crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger leaked to the new media, rumors began circulating that the slaying of the 89-year-old, wheelchair-confined Bulger may have been carried out with the possible tacit approval of federal authorities, who were worried that Bulger - whose long-rumored status as a government informant was laid bare during his 2013 trial - might expose corruption at the highest levels of the FBI's witness cooperation program.

Authorities initially said a "mafia-linked" suspect was under investigation for his role in the killing. But amid an official information blackout, TMZ and the Daily Mail reported the grisly details of Bulger's death. After being transferred to the USP Hazelton facility in West Virginia on Tuesday, Bulger was released into the general population.

But before he could even be officially booked into the prison, the former Irish mob boss was whacked by three prisoners, who reportedly wheeled him to a secluded area and savagely beat him with combination lock stuffed in a sock, before attempting to gouge out his eyes - an old school organized crime gesture of contempt for 'rats', or criminals who give information about their underworld associates to law enforcement. 

Geas

Freddy Geas

While those reports were based on anonymously sourced accounts, the Boston Globe appeared to confirm these accounts when it reported late Tuesday that a notorious New England mafia hitman is the prime suspect in the slaying of Bulger. Fotios "Freddy" Geas, 51, who is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 2003 assassination of Springfield, Mass. mob boss "Big Al" Bruno, is believed to be behind Bulger's slaying. And according to the Globe's sources, he hasn't disputed his role in the killing to authorities.

Geas' friends weren't surprised to hear that he may have been involved in the killing.

"Freddy hated rats," private investigator and Geas’ friend Ted McDonough told the paper. "Freddy hated guys who abused women. Whitey was a rat who killed women. It’s probably that simple."

Even Geas' former lawyer, who represented Geas in his Mafia murder case, said he wasn't surprised to hear that his former client had refused to dispute his role in the killing and had refused to identify any accomplices.

"He wouldn’t rat on anybody," said attorney David Hoose. "And he had no respect for anyone who did."

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts prosecutor who convicted Bulger offered no words of remorse for a man whom he once described as one of the cruelest killers in the criminal underworld, per CNN.

Bulger

James 'Whitey' Bulger

A statement Tuesday from Andrew Lelling, the US Attorney for Massachusetts, was brief. It made no mention of Bulger other than he had died.

"We received word this morning about the death of James "Whitey" Bulger. Our thoughts are with his victims and their families," the statement said.

As Geas' involvement is looking increasingly likely, nobody in the Bureau of Prisons, or anywhere else in the federal government, has bothered to explain why Bulger was left in such a vulnerable position after a seemingly arbitrary transfer from his previous facility in Florida. 

Published:10/31/2018 8:49:55 AM
[Politics] FBI Corruption Probe of Gillum More Serious Than Expected An FBI corruption probe that Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum insists is not focused on him has taken a turn for the worse. The Florida Ethics Commission has issued new subpoenas, as government watchdogs and the press question the Tallahassee mayor's travel... Published:10/31/2018 6:18:30 AM
[Markets] Whitehead: America Is On The Brink Of A Nervous Breakdown

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Yet another shooting.

Yet another smear of ugliness, hatred and violence.

Yet another ratcheting up of the calls for the government to clamp down on the citizenry by imposing more costly security measures without any real benefit, more militarized police, more surveillance, more widespread mental health screening of the general population, more threat assessments and behavioral sensing warnings, more gun control measures, more surveillance cameras with facial recognition capabilities, more “See Something, Say Something” programs aimed at turning Americans into snitches and spies, more metal detectors and whole-body imaging devices at so-called soft targets, more roaming squads of militarized police empowered to do more stop-and-frisk searches, more fusion centers to centralize and disseminate information to law enforcement agencies, and more government monitoring of what Americans say and do, where they go, what they buy and how they spend their time.

All of these measures play into the government’s hands.

All of these measures add up to more government power, less real security and far less freedom.

As we have learned the hard way, the phantom promise of safety in exchange for restricted or regulated liberty is a false, misguided doctrine that has no basis in the truth.

Things are falling apart.

When things start to fall apart or implode, ask yourself: who stands to benefit?

In most cases, it’s the government that stands to benefit by amassing greater powers at the citizenry’s expense.

Unfortunately, the government’s answer to civil unrest and societal violence, as always, will lead us further down the road we’ve travelled since 9/11 towards totalitarianism and away from freedom.

With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that not only terrorizes the public but also destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

Clearly, America is being pushed to the brink of a national nervous breakdown.

This breakdown - triggered by polarizing circus politics, media-fed mass hysteria, racism, classism, xenophobia, militarization and militainment (the selling of war and violence as entertainment), a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of growing government corruption and brutality, and a growing economic divide that has much of the population struggling to get by—is manifesting itself in madness, mayhem and an utter disregard for the very principles and liberties that have kept us out of the clutches of totalitarianism for so long.

Yet there is a method to this madness.

Remember, authoritarian regimes begin with incremental steps. Overcriminalization, surveillance of innocent citizens, imprisonment for nonviolent—victimless—crimes, etc. Bit by bit, the citizenry finds its freedoms being curtailed and undermined for the sake of national security. And slowly the populace begins to submit.

No one speaks up for those being targeted.

No one resists these minor acts of oppression.

No one recognizes the indoctrination into tyranny for what it is.

Historically this failure to speak truth to power has resulted in whole populations being conditioned to tolerate unspoken cruelty toward their fellow human beings, a bystander syndrome in which people remain silent and disengaged—mere onlookers—in the face of abject horrors and injustice.

Time has insulated us from the violence perpetrated by past regimes in their pursuit of power: the crucifixion and slaughter of innocents by the Romans, the torture of the Inquisition, the atrocities of the Nazis, the butchery of the Fascists, the bloodshed by the Communists, and the cold-blooded war machines run by the military industrial complex.

We can disassociate from such violence.

We can convince ourselves that we are somehow different from the victims of government abuse.

We can continue to spout empty campaign rhetoric about how great America is, despite the evidence to the contrary.

We can avoid responsibility for holding the government accountable.

We can zip our lips and bind our hands and shut our eyes.

In other words, we can continue to exist in a state of denial.

Whatever we do or don’t do, it won’t change the facts: the nation is imploding, and our republic is being pushed ever closer to martial law.

As Vann R. Newkirk II writes for the Atlantic:

Trumpism demands that violence be solved by local militarization: increased security at schools, the arming of teachers, and now, the adoption of guns in places intended quite literally to be sanctuaries from the scourges of the world. Taken altogether, what Trumpism seems to intend is the creation—or perhaps the expansion—of the machinery of a police state

In facing what appears to be a rising tide of violence—a tide that Trump himself elevates and encourages—the prescription of arms merely capitulates to the demands of that bloodshed. The purpose of political violence and terrorism is not necessarily to eliminate or even always to create body counts, but to disempower people, to spread the contagion of fear, to splinter communities into self-preserving bunkers, and to invalidate the very idea that a common destiny is even possible. Mandates to arm people accelerate this process. They inherently promote the idea that society cannot reduce the global level of harm, and promote the authoritarian impulses of people seeking order.

Where Newkirk misses the point is by placing the blame squarely on the Trump Administration.

This shift towards totalitarianism and martial law started long before Trump, set in motion by powers-that-be that see the government as a means to an end: power and profit.

As Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, recognized years ago, “Adolf Hitler is alive and well in the United States, and he is fast rising to power.”

Roberts was not comparing Trump to Hitler, as so many today are wont to do.

Rather, he was comparing the American Police State to the Nazi Third Reich, which is a far more apt comparison.

After all, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA and the military—have fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics and have used them repeatedly against American citizens for years now.

Indeed, with every passing day, the United States government borrows yet another leaf from Nazi Germany’s playbook: Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Censorship. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. Indefinite detention.

These are not tactics used by constitutional republics, where the rule of law and the rights of the citizenry reign supreme. Rather, they are the hallmarks of authoritarian regimes, where the only law that counts comes in the form of heavy-handed, unilateral dictates from a supreme ruler who uses a secret police to control the populace.

The empowerment of the Gestapo, Germany’s secret police, tracked with the rise of the Nazi regime in much the same way that the rise of the American police state corresponds to the decline of freedom in America.

How did the Gestapo become the terror of the Third Reich?

It did so by creating a sophisticated surveillance and law enforcement system that relied for its success on the cooperation of the military, the police, the intelligence community, neighborhood watchdogs, government workers for the post office and railroads, ordinary civil servants, and a nation of snitches inclined to report “rumors, deviant behavior, or even just loose talk.”

In other words, ordinary citizens working with government agents helped create the monster that became Nazi Germany. Writing for the New York Times, Barry Ewen paints a particularly chilling portrait of how an entire nation becomes complicit in its own downfall by looking the other way:

In what may be his most provocative statement, [author Eric A.] Johnson says that ‘‘most Germans may not even have realized until very late in the war, if ever, that they were living in a vile dictatorship.’’ This is not to say that they were unaware of the Holocaust; Johnson demonstrates that millions of Germans must have known at least some of the truth. But, he concludes, ‘‘a tacit Faustian bargain was struck between the regime and the citizenry.’’ The government looked the other way when petty crimes were being committed. Ordinary Germans looked the other way when Jews were being rounded up and murdered; they abetted one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century not through active collaboration but through passivity, denial and indifference.

Much like the German people, “we the people” have become passive, polarized, gullible, easily manipulated, and lacking in critical thinking skills.  Distracted by entertainment spectacles, politics and screen devices, we too are complicit, silent partners in creating a police state similar to the terror practiced by former regimes.

Can the Fourth Reich happen here?

It’s already happening right under our noses. Much like the German people, “we the people” are all too inclined to “look the other way.”

In our state of passivity, denial and indifference, here are some of the looming problems we’re ignoring:

Now these are not problems that you can just throw money at, as most politicians are inclined to do.

These are problems that will continue to plague our nation—and be conveniently ignored by politicians—unless and until Americans wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can change things.

We’re caught in a vicious cycle right now between terror and fear and distraction and hate and partisan politics and an inescapable longing for a time when life was simpler and people were kinder and the government was less of a monster.

Our prolonged exposure to the American police state is not helping.

As always, the solution to most problems must start locally, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our communities.

We’ve got to refrain from the toxic us vs. them rhetoric that is consuming the nation.

We’ve got to work harder to build bridges, instead of burning them to the ground.

We’ve got to learn to stop bottling up dissent and disagreeable ideas and learn how to work through our disagreements without violence.

We’ve got to de-militarize our police and lower the levels of violence here and abroad, whether it’s violence we export to other countries, violence we glorify in entertainment, or violence we revel in when it’s leveled at our so-called enemies, politically or otherwise.

For starters, we’ll need to actually pay attention to what’s going on around us, and I don’t mean by turning on the TV news. That will get you nowhere. It’s a mere distraction from what is really going on. In other words, if you’re watching, that means you’re not doing. It’s time to get active.

  • Pay attention to what your local city councils are enacting.

  • Pay attention to what your school officials are teaching and not teaching.

  • Pay attention to whom your elected officials are giving access and currying favor.

Most of all, stop acting like it really matters whether you vote for a Republican or Democrat, because in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t.

While you’re at it, start acting like citizens who expect the government to work for them, rather than the other way around. While that bloated beast called the federal government may not listen to you without a great deal of activism and effort brought to bear, you can have a great—and more immediate—impact on your local governing bodies.

This will mean gathering together with your friends and neighbors and, for example, forcing your local city council to start opposing state and federal programs that are ripping you off. And if need be, your local city council can refuse to abide by the dictates that continue to flow from Washington, DC. In other words, nullify everything the government does that is illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

Finally, remember that when you strip away all of the things that serve to divide us, we’re no different underneath: we all bleed red, and we all suffer when violence becomes the government’s calling card.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the oppression and injustice—be it in the form of shootings, surveillance, fines, asset forfeiture, prison terms, roadside searches, and so on—will come to all of us eventually unless we do something to stop it now.

Unless we can learn to live together as brothers and sisters and fellow citizens, we will perish as tools and prisoners of the American police state.

Published:10/30/2018 11:17:07 PM
[Markets] Is This The Reason Whitey Bulger Got Whacked In Jail?

Reports that Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger had been murdered hours after being transferred to a federal maximum security prison in West Virginia shocked the public on Tuesday, and immediately raised questions about the circumstances surrounding his death.

How was the inmate, who was reportedly in ill-health, murdered so quickly after arriving in the new prison? And how was it that guards weren't monitoring such a high-profile inmate, particularly since it came out in his 2013 trial that he worked with the FBI for years ratting out rival mobsters to help consolidate his power in the Boston underworld?

While the federal government hasn't released any more details about Bulger's death, the Daily Mail and TMZ have managed to dig up some information that, if accurate, could indicate a motive for what may have been a killing tacitly sanctioned by senior law enforcement officials. According to the Mail, Bulger, who was confined to a wheelchair at the time of his death, had been talking about outing people in the upper echelons of the FBI's informant program.

Bulger

The suspicious circumstances of Bulger's death would suggest that there's more to the story than a routine killing. For one, Bulger was seemingly arbitrarily transferred to the Hazelton facility in West Virginia, which had been the site of three other inmate killings over the past year. Sources also said Bulger hadn't even been processed when he was killed. So, apparently, somebody in the prison population had been tipped off that he was coming. When he arrived, Bulger was mixed in with the general population, leaving him vulnerable.

According to TMZ's sources, the circumstances of Bulger's killing were fittingly brutal for the longtime crime boss, who has bragged about killing no fewer than 40 men, though he was convicted of being involved in 11 killings. Sources told TMZ that Bulger was wheeled into a secluded corner of the prison, where three inmates beat him with a lock in a sock, and then tried to gouge his eyes out - a punishment typically reserved for so-called "rats".

A prison source tells us Bulger -- who is wheelchair bound -- was in general population Tuesday morning. We're told he was approached by 3 other inmates who wheeled him into a corner that could not be seen by surveillance cameras.

Our source says the inmates beat Bulger -- one used a lock in a sock as a weapon -- until he was unconscious. They also attempted to gouge his eyes out with some type of shiv, but were unsuccessful. Bulger fell to the ground covered in bruises and with several dents in his head.

As for the eyes, we've been doing some research -- back in the days of Murder Inc., (the 1940s gangsters, not the rappers) mobsters would gouge out the eyes of witnesses who talked to cops.

According to the Mail, Bulger's death might have something to do with US Rep. Stephen Lynch, who is from Bulger's old neighborhood of Southie, and who recently introduced the Confidential Informant Accountability Act. It's possible, according to the Mail, that Bulger was preparing to open up to a member of Lynch's staff about abuses with the FBI's confidential informant program.

The Massachusetts Democrat last year introduced the Confidential Informant Accountability Act - which calls for congressional oversight into the selection and use of confidential informants. It's possible that Bulger was set to open up to someone on Lynch's team with claims of abuses in the program.

Bulger's lawyer, for one, blasted the Bureau of Prisons in a statement, accusing it of unilaterally converting Bulger's life sentence into the death penalty.

In a statement, Bulger's lawyer J.W. Carney Jr blasted the prison system over the mobster's death.

'He was sentenced to life in prison, but as a result of decisions by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, that sentence has been changed to the death penalty,' the statement read.

If these rumors prove true, they will leave many observers to ponder the possibility that the federal government was somehow involved in Bulger's death.

Published:10/30/2018 7:45:09 PM
[Politics] REPORT: FBI investigating scheme to payoff women to accuse Mueller of sexual harassment This isn’t good at all: AXIOS – Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team have asked the FBI to investigate a scheme that was offering payouts to women who agreed to accuse . . . Published:10/30/2018 2:13:14 PM
[Politics] REPORT: FBI investigating scheme to payoff women to accuse Mueller of sexual harassment This isn’t good at all: AXIOS – Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team have asked the FBI to investigate a scheme that was offering payouts to women who agreed to accuse . . . Published:10/30/2018 2:13:14 PM
[Markets] Notorious Mob Boss Whitey Bulger Killed In Prison

Mere hours after he was moved from a federal transfer facility to a prison in West Virginia, notorious Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who led the city's Irish mob for more than two decades through a potent mix of cunning and ruthless intimidation, has been killed, according to Fox News.

While the circumstances of his death are unclear, the Associated Press confirmed Tuesday that Bulger had been moved to a prison in West Virginia called USP Hazelton, a high-security prison with near a minimum security satellite camp in Bruceton Mills. The 89-year-old prisoner had recently been moved from a prison in Florida to a transfer facility in Oklahoma City. While the Bureau of Prisons refused to confirm why Bulger had been moved, sources said his health had been deteriorating. The DOJ has launched an investigation into his death. Bulger was found unresponsive in his cell around 8:20 am, the prison said. Staff attempted to resuscitate him, but failed, according to CBS News.

Bulger

He was serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2013 of a long list of crimes including participating in 11 murders. For 16 years, he topped the FBI's most wanted list after fleeing a pending indictment in 1994 after being tipped off by former FBI agent John Connolly, with whom he grew up in the notorious housing projects of South Boston, and who federal authorities later convicted on accusations that he protected Bulger and essentially operated as a member of his Winter Hill gang. But he was arrested in 2011 in Santa Monica, along with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Grieg, who was sentenced to 21 months in prison back in 2016. She remains behind bars. 

Bulger's legend grew after the 2006 film 'The Departed' won Martin Scorsese a 'Best Director' Academy Award. It's chief antagonist, an Irish mob boss played by Jack Nicholson, was said to have been based on Bulger. Like the character in the film, Bulger was exposed for feeding information about underworld rivals to Connolly and the FBI.

As several commenters pointed out on Twitter, the timing of Bulger's death is certainly suspicious, particularly the fact that US media organizations are reporting that he was killed - rather than dying from natural causes - and was found dead at the facility.

 

 

Published:10/30/2018 1:43:44 PM
[] Robert Mueller Claims That Someone Is Paying Witnesses to Make Up False Charges Against Him You can't do that. Unless you're Fusion and the FBI, of course. So we'll see if these are false charges or real ones. Special counsel Robert Mueller has referred to the FBI allegations that women were "offered money" to make... Published:10/30/2018 1:15:45 PM
[Markets] Is This Worse Than '68?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

Saturday, in Pittsburgh, a Sabbath celebration at the Tree of Life synagogue became the site of the largest mass murder of Jews in U.S. history. Eleven worshipers were killed by a racist gunman.

Friday, we learned the identity of the crazed criminal who mailed pipe bombs to a dozen leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

From restaurants to Capitol corridors, this campaign season we have seen ugly face-offs between leftist radicals and Republican senators.

Are we more divided than we have ever been? Are our politics more poisoned? Are we living in what Charles Dickens called “the worst of times” in America? Is today worse than 1968?

Certainly, the hatred and hostility, the bile and bitterness of our discourse, seem greater now than 50 years ago. But are the times really worse?

1968 began with one of the greatest humiliations in the history of the American Navy. The U.S. spy ship Pueblo was hijacked in international waters and its crew interned by North Korea.

A week later came the Tet Offensive, where every provincial capital in South Vietnam was attacked. A thousand U.S. troops died in February, 10,000 more through 1968.

On March 14, anti-war Senator Gene McCarthy captured 42 percent of the vote in New Hampshire against President Johnson.

With LBJ wounded, Robert Kennedy leapt into the race, accusing the president who had enacted civil rights of “dividing the country” and removing himself from “the enduring and generous impulses that are the soul of this nation.” Lyndon Johnson, said Kennedy, is “calling upon the darker impulses of the American spirit.”

Today, RFK is remembered as a “uniter.”

With Gov. George Wallace tearing at Johnson from the right and Kennedy and McCarthy attacking from the left — and Nixon having cleared the Republican field with a landslide in New Hampshire — LBJ announced on March 31 he would not run again.

Four days later, Martin Luther King, leading a strike of garbage workers, was assassinated in Memphis. One hundred U.S. cities exploded in looting, arson and riots. The National Guard was called up everywhere and federal troops rushed to protect Washington, D.C., long corridors of which were gutted, not to be rebuilt for a generation.

Before April’s end, Columbia University had exploded in the worst student uprising of the decade. It was put down only after the NYPD was unleashed on the campus.

Nixon called the Columbia takeover by black and white radicals “the first major skirmish in a revolutionary struggle to seize the universities of this country and transform them into sanctuaries for radicals and vehicles for revolutionary political and social goals.” Which many have since become.

In June, Kennedy, after defeating McCarthy in the crucial primary of California, was mortally wounded in the kitchen of the hotel where he had declared victory. He was buried in Arlington beside JFK.

Nixon, who had swept every primary, was nominated on the first ballot in Miami Beach, and the Democratic Convention was set for late August.

Between the conventions, Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev sent his Warsaw Pact armies and hundreds of tanks into Czechoslovakia to crush the peaceful uprising known as “Prague Spring.”

With this bloodiest of military crackdowns since the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Moscow sent a message to the West: There will be no going back in Europe. Once a Communist state, always a Communist state!

At the Democratic convention in Chicago, the thousands of radicals who had come to raise hell congregated nightly in Grant Park, across from the Hilton where the candidates and this writer were staying.

Baited day and night, the Chicago cops defending the hotel, by late in the week, had had enough. Early one evening, platoons of fresh police arrived and charged into the park clubbing and arresting scores of radicals as the TV cameras rolled. It would be called a “police riot.”

When Sen. Abe Ribicoff took the podium that night, he directed his glare at Mayor Richard J. Daley, accusing him of using “Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.” Daley’s reply from the floor was unprintable.

Through September, Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey could not speak at a rally without being cursed and shouted down.

Describing the radicals disrupting his every event, Humphrey said, these people “aren’t just hecklers,” but “highly disciplined, well-organized agitators. … Some are anarchists and some of these groups are dedicated to destroying the Democratic Party and destroying the country.”

After his slim victory, Nixon declared that his government would take as its theme the words on a girl’s placard that he had seen in the Ohio town of Deshler: “Bring us together.”

Nixon tried in his first months, but it was not to be.

According to Bryan Burrough, author of “Days of Rage, America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence,” “During an eighteen month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on U.S. soil, nearly 5 a day.”

No, 2018 is not 1968, at least not yet.

Published:10/30/2018 9:51:48 AM
[Markets] Will The Feds Flip Julie Swetnick Against Michael Avenatti?

Authored by William Jacobson via LegalInsurrection.com,

From what we know about flimflam mam Julie Swetnick, is there a doubt that if offered the right deal, she would flip on Avenatti as to allegedly perjurious sworn statements against Kavanaugh?

Here’s a thought experiment.

If you were a federal prosecutor, and given the choice, would you prioritize prosecuting:

(a) a clearly disturbed woman with a long history of flimflam, but who in herself has no important societal role but for her outlandish and possibly perjurious sworn statements against a Supreme Court nominee, or

(b) the high-profile lawyer who helped her and a second woman submit possibly perjurious sworn statements, who is a fixture on cable TV, and who has presidential ambitions.

If you say, ‘get the lawyer’ — come on down.

But if you wanted go after the lawyer, what would you need to prove criminal culpability? After all, if you can’t prove the lawyer knew of the falsity of the sworn statements, and took no steps to suborn the perjury, you would need more for a prosecution. Whether it’s a perjury or conspiracy prosecution, what you would need, barring some documentary smoking gun, is for the witness accused of perjury to flip on the lawyer.

“He made me do it” might be enough. It would be in the jury’s hands.

Fast forward to the real world.

Julie Swetnick submitted a sworn statement, through Michael Avenatti, that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh participated in arranging gang rape parties in high school.

Swetnick’s story, dropped just before Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford were to testify, fell apart during Swetnick’s interview with NBC News, Julie Swetnick’s rape train claims against Kavanaugh crash and burn in NBC Interview:

Julie Swetnick, Michael Avenatti’s client, has the most incredible of all the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh — that he participated in organizing and running rape train parties in which girls were given spiked drinks then gang raped.

Her original declaration is here.

Both Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, who Swetnick also implicated, denied the accusations:

Previous attempts to corroborate any part of her story proved fruitless. Yet Avenatti has been taunting Senate Republicans that her story would be proven.

NBC News interviewed Swetnick, and her story collapses to such a degree that NBC cautioned viewers that her story was not corroborated and contradicted, in important details, her sworn affidavit submitted by Avenatti.

Swetnick and Avenatti recently were referred by the Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to the DOJ and FBI for criminal investigation with regard to sworn statements submitted by Swetnick. The referral is not limited to perjury, but to any possible crime the evidence might show.

We covered the story previously, Senate Judiciary refers Julie Swetnick and Michael Avenatti for criminal investigation. From the referral announcement:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today referred Julie Swetnick and her attorney Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department for criminal investigation relating to a potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation, three separate crimes, in the course of considering Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States.

While the Committee was in the middle of its extensive investigation of the late-breaking sexual-assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Avenatti publicized his client’s allegations of drug- and alcohol-fueled gang rapes in the 1980s. The obvious, subsequent contradictions along with the suspicious timing of the allegations necessitate a criminal investigation by the Justice Department….

The referral methodically details the issues with Swetnick’s allegations as relayed by Avenatti, the immediate diversion of committee resources to investigate those allegations, the subsequent contradictions by both Swetnick and Avenatti, the lack of substantiating or corroborating evidence, and the overarching and serious credibility problems pervading the presentation of these allegations.

There was a second criminal referral, this time just of Avenatti. The second referral concern a sworn statement from a second woman purporting to back up Swetnick’s claims, and submitted by Avenatti. NBC News just recently disclosed, for the first time, that it knew no later than October 3, 2018, three days before that Senate floor vote, that the second sworn statement had been disavowed by the woman making it.

The second referral read, in part:

Yesterday, I wrote to you referring Mr. Michael Avenatti and Ms. Julie Swetnick for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001, and 1505, for materially false statements they made to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the course of the Committee’s investigation into allegations against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. I write today because of important additional information regarding Mr. Avenatti that has since come to the Committee’s attention. In light of this new information, I am now referring Mr. Avenatti for investigation of additional potential violations of those same laws, stemming from a second declaration he submitted to the Committee that also appears to contain materially false statements. As explained below, according to NBC News, the purported declarant of that sworn statement has disavowed its key allegations and claimed that Mr. Avenatti “twisted [her] words.”

We covered this development, and NBC News’ complicity in concealing important information, in NBC News turns on Michael Avenatti over Julie Swetnick, but it concealed problem.

So let’s get back to our thought experiment, in the Swetnick/Avenatti scenario.

It’s not like Avenatti doesn’t understand the pressures the Feds can put on a witness to flip on a lawyer. Avenatti brags that he was the first to predict that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, would flip on Trump:

Having seen Julie Swetnick in action on TV, is there a doubt in your mind that if offered the right deal, she would turn on Avenatti in a heartbeat?

How would Avenatti defend himself? Would he call his former client a liar about her claim to have lied in her sworn statement? The same client he repeatedly said was not a liar.

I don’t know what the feds will do. Or how much they care. But if they did flip Swetnick against Avenatti, it would be a fitting closing act in this drama.

There’s a word for this, that Avenatti loves to use: #Basta.

Published:10/29/2018 7:39:09 PM
[Markets] Chinese Military Scientists Have Infiltrated "Five Eyes" Western Universities

Approximately 2,500 researchers from Chinese military universities have infiltrated Western universities over the past decade, focusing on the so-called "Five Eyes" group of countries, reports the Financial Times, citing a new report from Australian government-funded think tank, the Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

According to the report, many of the Chinese researchers failed to disclose their military affiliations, while publishing a large volume of joint papers with Western scientists which can help Beijing's technological ambitions. 

Over the past five years, researchers affiliated to the People’s Liberation Army published more joint papers with scientists from the UK and the US than with those of any other country.

The findings will fuel the debate raging in some western capitals over how to control the flow of cutting-edge and especially dual-use technology to Beijing — one of the main fronts in their struggle to adapt to a rapidly rising China.

The PLA’s international research collaboration “focuses on hard sciences, especially emerging and dual-use technologies”, said Alex Joske, author of the report that is being published by ASPI today. Dual-use technology has civilian and military applications. -Financial Times

Joske found that the most dominant areas for collaboration between Chinese and foreign researchers were navigation technology, computer science and artificial intelligence (AI)

In one example, several researchers visited UK universities and are continuing joint research on topics such as combustion in scramjet engines, which could power hypersonic aircraft capable of flying at six times the speed of sound. Wang Zhenguo, deputy chief of the PLA’s scramjet programme and head of the department of postgraduate studies at the NUDT, has co-authored 18 papers with foreign scientists. -Financial Times

Another Scramjet researcher and aircraft design expert for the PLA's General Armaments Department, Huang Wei, worked on his PhD while at the University of Leeds between 2008 and 2010, according to a researcher at the UK university. Another Chinese scramjet expert, Luo Wenlei, wrote his PhD thesis on scramjet engines while at Leeds in 2014. Both Luo and Huang along with Luo's doctoral thesis supervisors have published together with Gen Wang on the scramjet technology. 

Qin Ning, a professor at the University of Sheffield involved in some of the exchanges with Chinese scramjet experts, said their joint research was fundamentally academic in nature. “I have not [been] involved in military related research myself or with the visitors while they [were] at Sheffield. Similarly the visitors [were not] involved in military related research while in Sheffield,” Prof Qin said.

He added that a number of EU-China collaborative projects strongly encouraged by the university — with the participation of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which is administered by the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, China’s weapons industry regulator — had produced “fruitful collaboration”. -Financial Times

One of the most commonly pushed collaborations has come from the PLA's Rocket Force - which includes Beijing's nuclear weapons and missile programs. One of the leading Chinese missile experts, Major General Hu Changhua, spent three months at Germany's University of Duisburg-Essen in 2008, while another RFEU lecturer, Zhou Zhijie, was a visiting scholar at the University of Manchester in 2009. Both Changhua and Zhijie concealed their afficilation with RFEU and instead named the Xi'an Research Institute of High Technology - which doesn't exist. The two continue to publish in English based on this falsified affiliation, according to entries in digital science publication databases. 

The professors in question either did not respond for comment, or denied working directly for the PLA: 

Liu Ling, a professor at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing who works on big data and cloud computing, has co-published papers with scientists from the NUDT according to the digital library of IEEE, a scientists’ association.

She told the FT that her work with NUDT visiting scholars “has been on pure (fundamental) research” and unrelated to military applications, adding: “While I am not familiar with all of Georgia Tech collaborations, I know for sure that I have never worked with PLA directly”. -Financial Times

That, according to defense experts, is splitting hairs. While many of those employed by PLA-affiliated universities are so-called "civilian cadres" who focus on science not intended for combat, they are still members of the PLA, while NUDT is supervised by China's governing military body, the Central Military Commission. In 2015 the US government added NUDT to a list of organizations which require a more thorough vetting before licensing the transfer of any item to them, including technology, under the Export Administration Regulations. 

Meanwhile, in February FBI Director Christopher Wray informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Chinese intelligence operatives have infiltrated American universities, “whether its professors, scientists, students;” the FBI must launch surveillance operations from its fifty-six field offices to monitor the situation. Wray emphasized that China is determined to dethrone the United States as a global superpower through unconventional means. He framed the infiltration as both a governmental and a societal threat to the American empire.

"One of the things we're trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole-of-government threat, but a whole-of-society threat on their end"

Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wray discussed the infiltration of Chinese operatives at America’s most prestigious academic institutions - adding that the vast network of Chinese operatives are very concerning and requires participation from all of the FBI’s field offices across the country. Specifically, Wary stated that the FBI is “watching” programs at dozens of Confucius Institutes, funded by China’s Ministry of Education that are widely embedded within American universities and public schools to teach the Mandarin language.

The Confucius Institute program, which started operations in 2004, has been the subject of vast criticisms, concerns, and controversies during its international expansion. Many such concerns stem from the program’s close relationship to the Communist Party of China.

According to the South China Morning Post, some 350,000 Chinese students are actively enrolled at American universities, which is about thirty-five percent of the one million foreigners, said the Institute of International Education.

Wray describes China’s approach to weaken the U.S. from within. Its “nontraditional collectors” of intelligence and technology, have not just been in the business community of stealing patents but now the disease has infected academia.

“I think the level of naivete on the part of the academic sector about this creates its own issues. They’re exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere. But they’re taking advantage of it,” Wray said.

Over the course of a decade, China’s Ministry of Education through its proxy of Confucius Institutes has embedded itself into more than 100 public and private universities, colleges, and even high schools in the United States. What is even more astonishing is that several hundred more Confucius Classrooms teach Mandarin at elementary, middle and high schools across the country.

So far, the Chinese appear to be in the process of systematically dismantling the American empire without firing a shot.

Published:10/29/2018 6:03:13 PM
[Markets] Incompetent Culprit Or Plausible Patsy: Paul Craig Roberts On The Latest 'Bomb' Scare

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

I appreciate readers’ confidence that I can explain the mail bomb scare that has been blamed on Cesar Sayoc. I have not followed this story and regret that I don’t have an explanation to provide.

Stephen Lendman raises the question whether Sayoc is a real culprit or a patsy for an operation orhestrated for political reasons.

...beginning on October 22, harmless mail bombs began to be delivered to prominent undemocratic Dem Trump critics.

None exploded. No one was hurt, the mailings intended to sow fear, create alarm, and make headlines.

They likely intended to influence the outcome of the November midterm elections, undemocratic Dem dark forces likely behind them, hoping to regain control of the House and/or Senate...

This seems to me to be, at our present state of information, a legitimate question. If the security agencies and the Democratic National Committee were willing to orchestrate a fake 'Russiagate' scheme against Trump for political reasons, why not also a fake bomb attack on Democrats?

Just as the presstitutes went along with “Russiagate” despite the absence of any evidence, RT reports that the US media is blaming “Trump’s ‘hateful rhetoric’ for the packages.”

While driving I listened to a large part of the press conference, and the affair struck me as an orchestration. Every agency involved was present, from the Postal Service to the FBI and Secret Service, the directors of which praised the expert professional performance of their agencies in intercepting the bombs. It seemed to me overdone, especially in view of the FBI’s admission that they could not say that the bombs were functional. Why would a bomber send non-functional bombs?

There are other things to notice and to wonder about. Photos of the packages, if these are the actual mailed packages and not someone’s construction used to cast doubt on the official story, do not show postage sufficient to cover the weight of a bomb. Also, all the anti-Democrat stickers on Sayoc’s van seem very new and unfaded to have spent much time in the Florida sun.

Whether one likes Trump or doesn’t, it is clear that the establishment wants rid of him. He was elected by the “deplorables,” that part of the population that has been left behind by the elite who manage things in their interest alone. The elite are scared that such an electoral outcome could happen again. A defeat of Trump is a defeat of the populist forces that put him in office.

There is no doubt that Americans have been fed a constant stream of lies to justify political agendas, for example, Serbia, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Libya, Russian invasion of Ukraine, and there are so many unanswered questions about mass shootings, such as the one in Las Vegas, that suspicion of official stories is on the rise. How does one justify believing a government that will lie in order to justify aggression abroad and police state measures at home?

It is entirely possible that Sayoc is an incompetent culprit and that suspicion of the official story is a consequence of the government playing fast and loose with the truth in the past.

From an astute reader:

“We know every detail of this guy’s life within hours and it is presented with photos and all in the NYT. And a symbol – the White Van, almost as good as a White Helmet.”

Another question has come in:

“Who mails bombs to people who don’t open their own mail?”

It is also a legitimate question whether the US government, by which I do not mean simply the Trump administration, is worthy of the trust of the American people. Democracy doesn’t work without public confidence in government. The sacrifice of public confidence to political agendas destroys the basis of political life.

Published:10/28/2018 11:06:21 PM
[Markets] Gab Booted By Hosting Company After Synagogue Shooting

Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, social media network Gab was given notice by its hosting provider, Joyent, that they have until Monday to move the website elsewhere before they would disable it. 

In a Sunday tweet, Gab said: "@joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions."

Gab came under fire immediately after the shooting when it was revealed that suspected attacker Robert Bowers was an active user who frequently ranted against Jews and President Trump. His last post on Gab reads in part: "Screw your optics, I'm going in" shortly before killing 11 people at the Tree of Life congregation in Squirrel Hill. 

Hours after the shooting, PayPal severed ties with Gab with no explanation: 

In August, Microsoft threatened to cease hosting services for Gab over two anti-Semitic posts, according to founder Andrew Torba, who deleted the posts and subsequently moved hosts to Joyent.  

Reactions to Gab's "deplatforming" have ranged from shock to applause. 

They've already received at least one offer for a new host: 

As Gab and others noted yesterday following PayPal's decision, Robert Bowers posted to other social media networks, while plenty of bigoted, threatening and "hateful" content exists on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. 

Published:10/28/2018 10:01:23 AM
[National Security] Sessions: ‘Hatred and Violence on the Basis of Religion Can Have No Place in Our Society’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Saturday released a statement thanking the FBI and Pittsburgh police in response to Saturday's shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The post Sessions: ‘Hatred and Violence on the Basis of Religion Can Have No Place in Our Society’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:10/28/2018 8:54:09 AM
[Markets] PayPal Bans Social Network Gab.com After Synagogue Attacker Revealed As User

Hours after it was revealed that the Tree of Life Synagogue suspect was a user of social media network Gab.ai, PayPal severed all ties with the platform, providing no explanation. 

The shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, posted anti-Semitic and anti-Trump rhetoric over Gab, which bills itself as the "home of free speech" due to the minimal censorship employed by the site. Shortly before the shooting, he posted a message to Gab which condemns the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which he wrote "likes to bring invaders in that kill our people," before writing: "Screw your optics, I'm going in.

Following the shooting, Gab quickly removed Bowers' account and sent all information to the FBI and DOJ. Torba then issued a full statement confirming the alleged attacker's presence on the site, and noting that Gab had taken immediate action unlike other social media platforms. 

Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. From live streamed murders on Facebook, to threats of violence by bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. that went unaddressed by Twitter, and more. Criminals and criminal behavior exist on every social media platform.

Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue shooter. The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners. This person also had accounts on other social networks.

That apparently wasn't enough for PayPal (which, we would note, didn't sever ties with Facebook despite Bowers' presence on the site, or Instagram after it was revealed that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz posted pictures of weapons to the network). 

In a letter addressed to Gab CEO Andrew Torba, PayPal wrote: "We are hereby notifying you that we are terminating our relationship with your pursuant to PayPal's User Agreement. Under the PayPal User Agreement, PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to terminate your account for any reason and at any time upon notice to you." 

Torba was ordered to remove "all references to PayPal." 

Perhaps Torba was banned after he spoke ill of Big Tech:  

Gab's blacklisting has not gone unnoticed:  

Others were happy to see Gab get the "Alex Jones" treatment, including "The world's youngest hedge fund manager" Jacob Wohl, who called for a police state with the suggestion that "Law enforcement agencies should embed thousands of undercover accounts on the site and establish watchlists."

Published:10/27/2018 5:20:55 PM
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