Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks…

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened… While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions. 

_____________

“Many are skeptical that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of being the “architect” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will ever stand trial as he prepares for his 25th pre-trial hearing next month. Joanna Walters explains at the Guardian.”

___________________

See also: 

9/11 – GS

Search Results for: 9/11

The darkness of the lowly truths: 9/11 and Russia – connecting the dots – by Michael Novakhov

Michael Novakhov on 9/11 – Google Search

News Reviews and Opinions: Uncovering the Hidden Truths of 9/11 …

____________________________________

Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?

1 Share

Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get into the United States to begin with? Who supported them while they were here? Why didn’t law enforcement – which had plenty of clues as to what they were up to – stop them? Prior to the attacks, our government spent billions on “anti-terrorist” programs designed to prevent precisely what occurred on September 11, 2001 – yet Mohammed Atta and his accomplices managed to slip through the cracks. How?

While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions.

What we do know, however, is that our lives were changed forever: propelled into a war without end, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere that are still ongoing. Thousands of Americans and an untold number of Afghans, Iraqis, and others – hundreds of thousands– have so far perished in what our generals tell us will be a “generational” conflict with no discernible end in sight.

We also know, thanks to public agitation around this question, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had substantial involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The campaign to reveal the redacted portions of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11 was partially successful, although there is still much the government is keeping from the American people. What we learned from the pages that were revealed is that Saudi government employees aided and directed at least two of the hijackers – and that Prince Bandar al Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, was at the center of the spider web that ensnared the nation on 9/11.

Now a lawsuit brought by some of the 9/11 families reveals that, a full two years before 9/11, the Saudi government funded a “dry run” designed to test airline security. As Paul Sperry reports in the New York Post:

“Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington ‘in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.”

The lawsuit accuses the Saudis of providing “both financial and operational support” to the operation, which was clearly a covert action by Saudi intelligence. Lawyers for the complainants allege that the two “students” — Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi – were part of “the Kingdom’s network of agents in the US.”

The evidence marshaled by the lawsuit is pretty impressive. It shows that:

  • These “students” trained at an al-Qaeda camp at the same time as some of the hijackers.
  • They had regular contact with a highly-placed Saudi leader of al-Qaeda who is now imprisoned at Gitmo.
  • Both were Saudi government employees and were in regular contact with the Saudi embassy.

It was November, 1999, when Qudhaeein and Hamdan boarded an Air West flight to Washington, D.C., and started acting in a highly suspicious manner. A summary of the FBI files on them states:

“After they boarded the plane in Phoenix, they began asking the flight attendants technical questions about the flight that the flight attendants found suspicious. When the plane was in flight, al-Qudhaeein asked where the bathroom was; one of the flight attendants pointed him to the back of the plane. Nevertheless, al-Qudhaeein went to the front of the plane and attempted on two occasions to enter the cockpit.”

The reaction of the pilots was clearly “Islamophobic” – they carried out an emergency landing in Ohio, where the duo was arrested, handcuffed, and taken in for questioning. Luckily for the Saudi conspirators, the FBI decided their behavior was no big deal and let them go. It was only later that our Keystone Kops discovered that “a suspect in a counterterrorism investigation in Phoenix was driving Shalawi’s car” and this “student” had “trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and had received explosives training to perform attacks on American targets.” As for Qudhaeein, the FBI concluded he “was a Saudi intelligence agent, based on his frequent contact with Saudi officials.”

Move along, folks — nothing to see here!

wrote about the connection between the Saudi government and the activities of some of the hijackers in San Diego, which was revealed when the 28 pages of the redacted Joint Inquiry report were partially unredacted. We wouldn’t know anything about this part of the 9/11 plot if Robert Mueller – then FBI director, now the “special counsel” heading up the “Russia-gate” probe – had had his way. When the Joint Inquiry sent former FBI lawyer and counterterrorism expert Michael Jacobson to San Diego to investigate Saudi links to 9/11, Mueller was furious, as Andrew Cockburn reports in Harper’s:

“Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told me recently that Robert Mueller, then the FBI director (and now the special counsel investigating connections between Russia and the Trump campaign) made “the strongest objections” to Jacobson and his colleagues visiting San Diego.

“Graham and his team defied Mueller’s efforts, and Jacobson flew west. There he discovered that his hunch was correct. The FBI files in California were replete with extraordinary and damning details …”

Jacobsons’s San Diego sojourn unearthed much evidence of FBI incompetence, including the fact that two of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar,who had arrived in California from Malaysia and been taken under the wing of Saudi agents, “had been close with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh,” as Cockburn informs us:

“Hazmi had actually lived in his house after Mihdhar left town. Shaikh failed to mention his young Saudi friends’ last names in regular reports to his FBI case officer, or that they were taking flying lessons. Understandably, the investigators had a lot of questions for this man. Nevertheless, Mueller adamantly refused their demands to interview him, even when backed by a congressional subpoena, and removed Shaikh to an undisclosed location ‘for his own safety.’ Today, Graham believes that Mueller was acting under orders from the White House.”

Think about this for a moment: the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for “collusion” with Russia and possible “obstruction of justice” himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Was Mueller, possibly on orders from President George W. Bush, colluding with the Saudis to cover up their role?

The Bush administration, with its familial ties to the Saudis, had every interest in covering up Riyadh’s active complicity. Aside from that, they were pushing the fable of Saddam Hussein’s ‘links” to the 9/11 attacks.

So many lies! So much official obstruction! Now, however, the truth is finally coming out. With the passage of legislation stripping the Saudis of their “sovereign immunity” – over President Obama’s veto – the class action suit against the Saudis is moving forward. Armed with thousands of pages of documents showing how Riyadh and its global network of Islamic extremists have succored, aided, and directed al-Qaeda and allied organizations in terrorist attacks against US citizens and interests, the families of those killed, wounded, and traumatized on September 11, 2001, are about to get their day in court.

And what is bound to come out is the complicity of US officials in the cover-up. It looks to me like Robert Mueller’s time in the spotlight is about to get a lot more interesting.

A NOTE TO MY READERS: Our fundraising campaign is over, and I’m happy to report that we reached our goal. Many thanks to all of you who contributed. Without your support, we just could not continue our work.

Independent journalism in the foreign policy field is more important than ever, and we’re grateful for your support. It’s a good thing that we can confront the future, however problematic it may be, with the full confidence of our readers and supporters. Again, many thanks.

And a very special thank you to the heroic Daniel Ellsberg, who helped us with such a kind letter of endorsement.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of <a href=”http://Antiwar.com” rel=”nofollow”>Antiwar.com</a>, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000]. View all posts by Justin Raimondo

Read the whole story
· · · · · ·

Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe? – Antiwar.com

1 Share
Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?
Antiwar.com
Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get and more »

Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’ – Washington Post

1 Share

Washington Post
Bannon: Trump firing of Comey was the ‘biggest mistake in modern political history’
Washington Post
Former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon believes the firing of FBI director James B.Comey by President Trump was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.” Bannon made the extraordinary statement during an online segment of his …
Bannon Calls Comey Firing the Biggest Mistake in ‘Modern Political History’New York Timesall 109 news articles »

Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

1 Share

Felix Sater speaks at the Chabad of Port Washington in Port Washington, New York, in 2014. (YouTube: Felix Sater)

Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a blank. Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, and despite his recent headline-making appearance as an exuberant negotiator on behalf of Trump’s hardnosed attorney, Michael Cohen, in seeking to build a “massive Trump Tower in Moscow” last year, Trump ducks.

“I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him,” Trump said, in a deposition in a court case involving Sater in 2013. And The New York Times reported him as saying, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” As late as 2015, when asked about Sater, Trump hemmed and hawed. “Boy, I have to even think about it.”

It’s no wonder that Trump, especially now that he’s under investigation over his ties to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election, would respond to questions about Sater by saying: Who’s he?

Of all the characters caught up in Russiagate, none come close to Sater for having a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel. His past record includes a conviction for lacerating a man’s face with a broken margarita glass in a bar brawl and his involvement in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud and money-laundering scheme. Despite that record, which came before he worked with Trump, Sater spent nearly a decade working with the Trump Organization in search of deals in Russia and other former Soviet republics. But on August 28, Sater made the front pages of the Times and The Washington Post, thanks to leaked copies of e-mails that he sent in late 2015 and early 2016 to Cohen, concerning Sater’s efforts to work with a group of Russian investors to set up a flagship Trump property in the Russian capital.

In language that Cohen himself described to the Times as “colorful,” Sater seemed nearly beside himself as he reported on his work in Moscow on behalf of Trump:

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

Sater couldn’t resist adding, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.” According to the Times, Sater was “eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia.” Which, of course, Trump has done repeatedly over the years. And, though Trump has denied that he has any business interests in Russia, even as he was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary race, Cohen and Sater were deep into previously undisclosed talks with Russian partners about constructing a Trump-branded hotel, according to The Washington Post. In a statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week, Cohen did admit writing to Dmitry Peskov in connection with Sater’s work. Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, confirmed the contact.

So who, exactly, is Felix Sater? Tim O’Brien, author of a biography of Trump, wrote about Sater in an article titled “Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine.” He was born in 1966 in the Soviet Union, and he and his family moved to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, when he was just 8. According to a recent Guardian profile, Sater’s relationship with Cohen—and to organized crime—goes way back:

Sater’s links to Trump’s circle can be traced back to not long after he came to the US as a child. His father, Mikhail Sheferovsky (who changed the family name after arriving in New York) became a local crime boss in Brighton Beach and Sater grew up on that side of Brooklyn, where he got to know another teenager in the neighbourhood, Michael Cohen, a Long Island boy who would go on to become Trump’s personal lawyer and vice-president of the Trump Organization.

Sorting out Sater’s checkered past leads into a convoluted labyrinth of crime, legal entanglements, shady deals, alleged ties to US and foreign intelligence agencies and, of course, intimate connections to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The best comprehensive account of Sater’s long and complicated path was written by Andrew Rice and published in August in New York magazine under the headline “The Original Russia Connection.” Rice’s account, which includes parts of a lengthy interview with Sater, draws heavily on a 2007 breakthrough piece by Charles Bagli in The New York Times. Bagli was the first to uncover and report in depth on Sater’s criminal past. This past February the Times published a blockbuster story by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane recounting an effort by Sater, Cohen, Gen. Mike Flynn, and a Ukrainian politician to put forward a half-cocked Ukrainian “peace plan” and deliver it, freelance fashion, to the White House. In addition, various lawsuits, testimony, and depositions by the characters in Sater’s erratic orbit, including by Trump himself, provide valuable material in figuring out who Sater is and what role he plays in the Trump-Russia story. In this piece, I draw on all of these sources and more.

Sater’s first run-in with the law came in 1991—according to the indictment, as reported by Bagli in the Times—when Sater, then an upstart stockbroker in his mid-20s, “grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] broker’s face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.”

Sater, who served time in prison for that assault, was barred from financial trading by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Yet in 1993, Sater and several partners took over a securities firm called White Rock Partners, later called State Street Capital Markets, which portrayed itself as a legitimate brokerage firm but, in fact, ran a criminal enterprise involving stock fraud, money laundering, and a so-called “pump and dump” scheme that involved conspiring to inflate the apparent value of near-worthless stocks, sell them off to unsuspecting investors, and cash in. In so doing, for protection Sater drew on the assistance of his father’s friends in the Genovese crime family. According to Rice’s New York piece, Sater “laundered fraud proceeds through a labyrinthine network of Caribbean shell companies, Israeli and Swiss bank accounts, and contacts in New York’s Diamond District.” In the mid-1990s, New York reports, Sater spent a great deal of time in Moscow, where, according to a friend and business partner, Sal Lauria—who later wrote a book about all of this—“We were dealing with ex-KGB generals and with the elite of Russian society.”

It all came crashing down in 1998, when New York City police uncovered a stash of guns and documents in a mini-storage locker in SoHo implicating Sater and his partners in the fraud and money-laundering schemes. According to the Times, citing other defendants in the case, Sater pled guilty to racketeering charges for bilking at least $40 million from his investors. Using Sater’s testimony, the feds eventually convicted 19 of Sater’s cronies, including half a dozen who had mob connections. Significantly, the prosecutor who oversaw Sater’s cooperation agreement in the 1998 indictment, now sealed, was Andrew Weissmann—who is currently one of 16 prosecutors and criminal justice officials on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the Russiagate inquiry.

Enter the spies. During his time in Moscow and traveling around eastern Europe, Sater began cultivating ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, and—according to his interview in New York—even meeting with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. In order to get some bargaining power after he was indicted in 1998, according to Sater himself, he told the FBI that he had obtained valuable information about Osama bin Laden, a cache of Stinger missiles, and more. His information, it seems didn’t pan out—but after 9/11, Sater did cooperate in some fashion with the US government. Overseeing the Sater case back then was none other than Loretta Lynch, then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In her confirmation hearing to serve as US Attorney General under President Obama, Lynch confirmed that Sater did in fact work with the FBI “and other agencies”—presumably the CIA—in “providing information crucial to national security.” Where and how Sater gathered the information that he provided, whether or not it involved contacts with the Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU, and whether those agencies themselves established a covert connection with Sater is something that both Mueller and the US intelligence community ought to be looking at today, of course.

Sater’s connection with Trump starts in the mid-2000s, when Sater joined a real estate firm called the Bayrock Group, which had been founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Arif hired Sater in 2003, making him the firm’s chief operating officer. The firm later set up its headquarters on the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, just below Trump’s own suite of offices. (Sater’s first office suite, with his criminal enterprise called State Street Capital, had its offices in a Trump-owned building, 40 Wall Street, in the mid-1990s.)

Over the next several years Arif and Sater, via Bayrock, started or collaborated with Trump on a series of hotel and resort projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, and elsewhere. Their most important collaboration was the development in 2005 of the Trump SoHo project, which, according to the Times’s 2007 exposé of Sater, was a “sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel [then] under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street.” New York magazine adds that, oddly enough, the Trump SoHo tower “happened to be directly across the street from the storage facility that had been Sater’s previous undoing.”

When told by the Times about Sater’s criminal past, Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, which was involved in the SoHo project, said, “This is all news to me.” At the time, though, Trump didn’t separate himself from Sater, mingling with him at the SoHo opening, hanging out in Colorado while working on another project, and—according to Sater, at least—regularly interacting.

“How did I get to Donald?” Sater asked New York magazine, with typical braggadocio. “I walked in his door and told him, ‘I’m gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner.’” After that, Sater said, he’d frequently pop into Trump’s own office to talk about this or that deal. “Donald wanted me to bring deals to him,” Sater told New York. “Because he saw how many I put on the table at Bayrock.”

Sater and Bayrock sought to extend the Trump brand to Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere—including Moscow. Around 2005, Sater identified a location for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, and he says that he personally escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow back then—an assertion that neither of the Trumps have denied. Last January The New York Times reported, “During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.”

After the financial crisis of 2008, Bayrock ran into difficulty, and Sater went out on his own. According to New York, following his separation from Bayrock he went to work for the Trump Organization, even carrying a business card listing his title as “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.” Despite that, Trump denies ever employing Sater directly.

Sater’s links to Trump in recent years are obscure. According to recent reporting by the Times and the Post, however, as recently as 2015-16, Sater and Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, were working together on a Trump Tower Moscow arrangement, though that too didn’t pan out.

But Sater and Cohen would cooperate on another venture. Following Trump’s election, the two men worked together to develop a curious peace plan for Ukraine. In it, Sater and Cohen worked with Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian opposition politician who himself had a questionable past, having spent time in prison in Ukraine for an embezzlement scheme, according to the New York Times story last February that first broke the news of his collaboration with Sater and Cohen (the charges against Artemenko were eventually dropped). According to the Times, Sater met Cohen and Artemenko at a New York hotel just two blocks from Cohen’s current residence in Trump Park Avenue. Cohen, who’s married to a Ukrainian woman, has business ties there himself, having once tried to get a Ukrainian ethanol business off the ground.

In 2014, a popular revolt toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was replaced by another oligarch, the pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. Paul Manafort, the GOP operative who would later sign on as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was on Yanukovych’s payroll for years, and when Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, Manafort contracted with opposition politicians in Kiev to help build an anti-Poroshenko bloc—and Artemenko joined in. (Manafort, of course, is under intense scrutiny in the Russiagate investigation from Mueller and two committees of Congress over his possible role as a go-between in collusion between Russia’s spy network and the Trump campaign. In July, Mueller ordered a pre-dawn raid at Manafort’s Virginia home seeking evidence in the case, amid speculation that Manafort might “flip” and turn against Trump.)

According to the Times, the Artemenko plan—delivered to Sater and Cohen, and then to Michael Flynn, the short-lived White House national security adviser who was forced to resign in February—involved using unflattering or compromising information (kompromat) to help oust Poroshenko and then winning the support of a new Ukrainian government for a 50- to 100-year lease of Crimea to Russia—which in 2014 occupied and annexed Crimea, which for many decades had been part of Ukraine. Because the vast majority of Ukrainian political forces would never agree to surrender their claim to Crimea, the plan was considered a hopeless nonstarter by most experts familiar with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the role of Sater and Cohen, both Trump associates, contributed to the growing belief in Washington that Trump, who has steadily refused to criticize Putin for his authoritarian excesses, extrajudicial killings, and suppression of free expression in Russia, has questionable ties to Russia.

The plan went nowhere, however. According to the Times, Sater gave Cohen the proposal in a sealed envelope, who reportedly said he left it in Flynn’s office. But in an interview with HuffPost, Cohen said he never delivered the envelope. But that doesn’t quite jibe with the Times’s original report, which noted that when Flynn resigned (because of his own still unexplained conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition), Cohen was still waiting for a response, “hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause.” So far, as far as we know, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hasn’t responded to the idea, which is probably long dead.

Even allowing for Sater’s long-established record as a liar and self-promoter, there’s plenty here for Mueller and other investigators to dig into. And Sater, too, seems to believe that something big is coming. In his interview with New York magazine, he hinted ominously about the near future. “In about the next 30 to 35 days,” he told reporter Rice, “I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.”

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · ·

Felix Sater – Google Search

1 Share

Story image for Felix Sater from The Nation.

Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

The Nation.Sep 8, 2017
Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a …
Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front
St. Louis AmericanSep 8, 2017

felix sater – Google News: Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

1 Share

Page Six
Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

 felix sater – Google News

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 2

Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories – Page Six

1 Share

Page Six
Trump’s pal plotted to hire journalist for negative stories
Page Six
Felix Sater — the Russian-born, real estate mogul who helped build Trump Soho — once looked to hire a journalist for $1,000 a month to post and blog negative stories about an enemy. Randi Newton, currently a dating columnist for the New York Observer 

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York – https://en.crimerussia.com/

1 Share

https://en.crimerussia.com/
‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York
https://en.crimerussia.com/
In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach …

‘Russian mafia’ from Brighton Beach charged with arson of illegal poker club in New York

1 Share

Four out of six suspects in the arson of a three-story building in May last year were arrested in November 2016 as part of a large-scale operation of the FBI and the New York police against the organized crime groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union countries.

The US Prosecutor’s Office in the Eastern District of New York has unveiled an indictment on charges of arson of the 3-story residential building in the Brighton Beach/Coney Island district of New York, in which an illegal poker club was located.

The major fire occurred on the night of May 2, 2016, but its reasons have not been officially announced until now. Residents of the building were evacuated, but firemen had to rescue two people blocked by flame in an apartment on the third floor. As a result of the fire-fighting operations, several New York fire fighters suffered injuries and burns.

According to the document, six members of the so-called Russian mafia have been convicted of arson; five of them were arrested almost a year ago on suspicion of other crimes, whereas the sixth person, Viktor Zelinger, is still at large.

270_1505017998.jpg

Members of a transnational OCG Aleksey Tsvetkov, Leonid Gershman (Lenchik), Vyacheslav Malkeev (Steve Bart), and Librado Riviera (Macho), arrested on charges of racketeering, drug trafficking, illegal possession of firearms, illegal usury, and the organization of an underground gambling business in November 2016, are currently in custody. As reported by the CrimeRussia, the investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the assistance of other law enforcement agencies.

цветков3.png

Detention of members of the criminal syndicate, November 2016

It is known that exerting pressure on their victims through their relatives in the US, the crime group would extort money abroad, namely in Israel and Eastern Europe. It was reported that the majority of those detained during the police operation had previous criminal experience. In particular, Aleksey Tsvetkov aka Pelmen, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine in 1992, used to be an expert in debt collecting. In 2003, he was arrested by the FBI as a member of another Russian organized crime group, the Brighton Beach Crew, headed by Zinovy Bari.

цветков2.jpg

Aleksey Tsvetkov

According to the prosecutor’s office, Gershman and Malkeev were the Brighton Beach gang’s ‘power hitters’ along with Tsvetkov.

As reported by the press service of the Prosecutor’s Office of New York, all of them face various prison terms in accordance with the charges (from 17 years to life imprisonment).

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

The Myth of Deep Throat

1 Share

Columnists, talking heads and op-ed writers are holding open auditions for a role that presumably needs to be filled if we are ever going to get to the bottom of what seems fated to be dubbed, for better or worse, Russiagate: a new Deep Throat.

I get it. In the years since Watergate, the Washington Post’s famous golden source—later revealed to be former FBI No. 2 executive W. Mark Felt—has become practically synonymous with the ideal of the noble leaker. The original Deep Throat “was instrumental in thwarting the conspiracy and bringing [President Richard] Nixon down,” Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, approvingly wrote in the Los Angeles Times in May“Was it wrong for Deep Throat, as FBI official Mark Felt was then known, to guide the investigation?” Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan asked in June, in the midst of a column praising leaks and anonymous sources, and inviting more. New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat.

Story Continued Below

The unarticulated presumption, which Sullivan, Litman and Rich are not alone in making, is that Felt—the FBI’s deputy director in June 1972, and subsequently the parking-garage interlocutor who steered Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to reportorial heights—was an honorable, selfless whistleblower intent on exposing the lawlessness rampant in the Nixon White House. Or, as David Remnick spelled out in the New Yorker—echoing Deep Throat’s original hagiographers, Woodward and Bernstein—Felt “believed that the Nixon administration was corrupt, paranoid and trying to infringe on the independence of the bureau.” The president and his top aides ran, Felt believed, “a criminal operation out of the White House, and [Felt] risked everything to guide” the Post reporters. A new biopic about Felt, starring Liam Neeson, is due out on September 29th and shows every sign of continuing to portray Deep Throat as a profound patriot and dedicated FBI lifer.

But here’s a heretical thought: Mark Felt was no hero. Getting rid of Nixon was the last thing Felt ever wanted to accomplish; indeed, he was banking on Nixon’s continuation in office to achieve his one and only aim: to reach the top of the FBI pyramid and become director. Felt didn’t help the media for the good of the country, he used the media in service of his own ambition. Things just didn’t turn out anywhere close to the way he wanted.

Only recently, more than four decades after Nixon’s downfall, has it become possible to reconstruct Felt’s design and what really happened during those fateful six months following the Watergate break-in. Doing so requires burrowing through a great number of primary documents and government records against the backdrop of a vast secondary literature. Nixon’s surreptitious tape recordings rank first in importance, but only mark the starting point. One has to also research documents from the FBI’s vast Watergate investigation; the bureau’s subsequent internal leak investigation; records from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force; documents from Felt’s own FBI file; and lastly, two unintentionally rewarding books: Mark Felt’s original 1979 memoir, The FBI Pyramid, and the slightly reworked version published in 2006, A G-Man’s Life.

What you’ll end up with is the real story of Deep Throat. And you might be left with this realization: No matter what happens to Donald Trump—whether he’s absolved, exposed or neither—you should hope there’s nobody as duplicitous as Mark Felt manipulating out understanding of Russiagate.

***

On May 1, 1972, John Edgar Hoover was days away from marking his 48th year as FBI director, or as one of his arch-critics labeled him, the “No. 1 Sacred Cow of American Politics.” The wily, 77-year-old bureaucrat was the closest thing to a cult of personality in the federal government that has ever existed; not even an unprecedented, year-long spate of bad publicity beginning in late 1970 had loosened his grip on the directorship. Sycophancy within the FBI was rife. Presidents and underlings came and went, but Hoover seemed invincible if not immortal, as inseparable from the law-enforcement empire he had built as the empire was unimaginable without him.

Yet behind the scenes, Hoover’s selfish refusal to step down when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1964, and two presidents’ lack of gumption to force him out, had put into motion a fierce, no-holds-barred struggle within the FBI to succeed him. It bore a striking resemblance to what used to happen inside the Kremlin, once a doddering Soviet leader neared the end of his term. More than a few top FBI executives saw a potential director when they looked in the mirror during their morning shave. And Hoover’s unwillingness to let go had unleashed what the dean of Watergate historians, the late Stanley Kutler, noted as the “war of the FBI succession.”

The executive with the inside track during Nixon’s first years was William C. Sullivan, who carried the title assistant to the director. A mercurial, intense, secretive personality, Sullivan was regarded by Hoover for a time almost like a son. The standard measure for where subordinates stood with the stern and formal Hoover was his method of addressing them. If someone was “Miller” instead of “Mr. Miller,” that person had achieved a high level of familiarity. Hoover called Sullivan, who oversaw the bureau’s all-important counterintelligence and domestic security responsibilities, simply “Bill.”

Yet Sullivan had a character flaw that became fatal the closer he got to the top of the pyramid: He was impatient. When the Nixon administration soured on the aging Hoover—chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman acidly described the director as a “real character out of days of yore”—Sullivan saw an opening, encouraged by like-minded Justice Department officials. He began leaking derogatory information about Hoover to journalists considered sympathetic, including, most notably, Robert Novak, the reporting half of the Rowland Evans and Robert Novak syndicated column.

Hoover’s FBI leaked all the time, of course, to favored reporters. The bureau may not have invented the practice, but it had perfected the art. No federal agency rivaled the FBI in terms of the well-placed, exquisitely timed disclosure designed with an end in mind. Information is the currency of power in Washington, and leaking to the press was instrumental to the bureau’s unofficial clout, the reason the FBI engendered fear in many quarters beyond its actual brief. But until Sullivan came along, leaking had largely been controlled, sanctioned and institutional—that is, directed against the bureau’s perceived adversaries or to burnish the FBI’s image and reputation. Never had leaks been employed for personal gain at Hoover’s expense.

Hoover soon figured it out. He fired Sullivan for disloyalty, insolence and insubordination, but not before a confrontation that instantly became part of FBI lore. In October 1971, Sullivan returned from a leave to find the locks in his office changed. Sullivan exchanged harsh words with the FBI executive who had thought up that particular touch. When the executive called him a “Judas,” the perpetually rumpled, bantam-sized Sullivan promptly challenged his dapper, six-foot tall adversary, William Mark Felt, to a fist fight.

Following Sullivan’s hasty exit, Felt became the front-runner to replace Hoover, despite being widely disliked internally. His nickname inside the bureau was the “White Rat.” He had acquired that sobriquet during the six years he headed up the Inspection Division, Hoover’s instrument for enforcing discipline and meting out punishment. Felt’s martinet-like inspection tours, where he out-Hoovered Hoover to curry the director’s favor, had earned him the enmity of agents and agents-in-charge throughout the country. Felt’s inspection report after the infamous break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI office in March 1971 by anti-war activists was typical. Felt’s report absolved the “Seat of Government” (as FBI headquarters was immodestly called during Hoover’s reign) of all culpability, and made the Media agent-in-charge the scapegoat, as former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger wrote in her 2014 book, The Burglary. “We would probably not have pissed on [Felt] if he was on fire,” retired agent Robert P. Campbell recalled in a 2011 interview, reflecting the rank-and-file’s disdain.

Felt never enjoyed strong support within the Nixon administration either, unlike Sullivan. While “Crazy Billy” had worn his ambition to succeed Hoover on his sleeve, Felt was self-serving in an unattractive way. Though consumed with what he believed was his rightful inheritance, Felt often exhibited a false humility, perhaps out of fear that his ambition would become too obvious to Hoover. “If you wanted to ruin somebody’s career in the FBI,” a former agent later recalled, “all you had to do [was] leak it to somebody in the press that so-and-so [was] being groomed as Hoover’s successor.” The result was that Felt “did not interact with credibility” with his peers, recalled Donald Santarelli, then an associate attorney general at the Justice Department, in a 2011 interview.

On the morning of May 2, 1972, Hoover’s lifeless body was discovered on the floor of his bedroom one hour after the ever-punctual director failed to come downstairs for his 7:30 a.m. breakfast. Later, mourners at the funeral home were stunned by what they saw in the casket. There in the coffin lay a small, gray-haired, frail-looking man. The mortician had washed Hoover’s hair and all the dye had come out—from his eyebrows too.

Felt was not surprised by the portrait of infirmity. For all intents and purposes he had been running the bureau for more than a year, confident that if he bided his time (unlike Sullivan), Nixon would inevitably turn to Hoover’s natural legatee.

Felt was wrong.

Nixon’s surprise appointment of a dark horse outsider, assistant attorney general L. Patrick Gray, to be acting director within hours stands as one of the most far-reaching personnel decisions ever taken by a president inadvertently. His attention consumed by the upcoming election, geopolitical strategy and the effort to withdraw U.S. ground troops from Vietnam, Nixon was anxious to avoid having Hoover’s FBI become an issue in 1972. For the first time, a director was going to have to win Senate confirmation, and Nixon was leery of giving Democrats on the Judiciary Committee the opportunity to work over a nominee in an election year, possibly even block his confirmation. The president considered the appointment equal to nominating a chief justice to the Supreme Court. Nixon wanted a vigorous man who would occupy the post long after his second term ended. Gray’s acting appointment was roundly criticized on the grounds that he was a Nixon crony. But he otherwise aroused little opposition because he was as colorless as his name.

Gray wasn’t promised the permanent appointment, only that he would be considered for the post if he did a creditable job. Yet the message behind Gray’s interim status—that Nixon was intent on bringing in someone from outside the bureau—was an unmistakable signal to several executives angling for the job, and they decided to retire. The ambitious Felt saw the acting designation, however, as a small opening. It still left six months in which to persuade Nixon to “see the light” by nominating an insider, as Felt wrote in his 1979 memoir.

Felt was acting the part of Gray’s indispensable top deputy, while simultaneously belittling the interim director behind his back, according to interviews I conducted with contemporary FBI officials, when the Watergate break-in serendipitously occurred on June 17, 1972. The burglary of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex by Nixon campaign operatives presented Gray with a dilemma that Felt could easily exploit to his advantage. If Gray could not manage the FBI’s politically sensitive Watergate investigation to the White House’s satisfaction, he risked alienating the president and losing out on the nomination. Yet if Gray didn’t allow an unbridled investigation to run its full course, he might fail to win confirmation before what was sure to remain a Democrat-controlled Senate. Gray essentially resolved the dilemma by absenting himself as much as possible, while leaving supervision of the investigation in the hands of professional subordinates, most prominently, Felt.

Gray’s decision facilitated Felt’s recourse to that bureau specialty, the artful leak. As John Dean has confirmed in numerous interviews beginning in 2011, Felt knew that nothing was more likely to incite the White House against Gray, and prove he was Hoover’s unworthy successor, than stories in the press about the politically sensitive probe. As White House counsel and desk officer for the cover-up, Dean was person most frequently tasked with conveying the president’s ire to Gray. Similarly, Democrats’ hackles would be raised by any stories suggesting that the FBI was conducting a lax or superficial investigation.

Felt acted quickly. On June 20, three days after the break-in, the Washington Post published a story headlined, “White House Consultant Tied to Bugging Figure.” The article, citing “Federal sources close to the investigation,” revealed that a one-time White House consultant named E. Howard Hunt, who was also a former CIA officer, had an as-yet undetermined connection to the five burglars nabbed red-handed at the Watergate office complex. Hunt, of course, would turn out to be the co-ringleader of the break-in, along with G. Gordon Liddy, the Nixon campaign’s finance counsel.

In his 2005 book about Felt, The Secret Man, Woodward described in detail how Felt provided the “critical and substantial buttress” for the scoop about Hunt. Although this investigative development would have become public inevitably, the fact that it happened so swiftly stunned a White House still grappling with how to respond to the break-in. The White House’s initial pose was to appear nonchalant and above the story, as captured in Ron Ziegler’s infamous, contemptuous observation that he would not be commenting on “a third-rate burglary attempt.” But the morning the article appeared special counsel Charles Colson roared to the president, as captured on an Oval Office recording, “Pick up that God-damn Washington Post and see that guilt by association!” Colson had been responsible for hiring Hunt, and instantly, the administration became obsessed with how information known only to the police, Justice Department prosecutors and the FBI had come out. “Where the hell are all these leaks from our side coming from?” Nixon wondered aloud. The impulse to circle the wagons, rather than make a clean breast of the campaign’s culpability, took root.

Yet that kind of Watergate story was only half of Felt’s influence operation. Four days later, Felt managed to get fabled Time magazine reporter Sandy Smith interested in allegations that Gray had conferred with John Mitchell, the head of the president’s campaign, right after the break-in, and that Gray had been overheard boasting that the FBI’s investigation would be wrapped up in “24 to 48 hours”—the clear inference being that the probe would be a whitewash. Smith presented the allegations for comment to Gray, who vehemently denied both. Merely being asked such questions left him furious. He knew that a journalist of Smith’s caliber, who had access to the highest echelons in the bureau, would not be posing such questions unless the allegations came from someone Smith firmly believed was in a position to know. When the Time story actually appeared in print on June 26, the piece was thankfully “trimmed of its falsehoods,” Gray noted in a memo. Apparently, Sandy Smith had been unable to corroborate the allegations to his or his editors’ satisfaction—which was hardly surprising, since neither of them was true. The leak to Time came from Felt himself, as Deep Throat’s revised autobiography, published in 2006, acknowledged. Subsequent leaks to Smith would prove more successful.

In the four months that remained before the election, Felt continued to feed the Washington Post and Time tidbits—ranging from the connection between Watergate and the White House operatives known as “plumbers” to how campaign funds had been laundered through Mexico—although the weekly magazine never received the public acclaim the daily newspaper later did. Felt could leak with relative impunity because Watergate was not, and never became, a significant issue during the campaign, and therefore, presented no threat to the only presidential candidate who might appoint Felt director—Richard Nixon. George McGovern, the Democrats’ nominee, was a “jackal” in Hoover’s parlance, anathema to every Hoover disciple and vice versa. The South Dakota senator had spent much of 1971 publicly lambasting the late director for various deficiencies, including alleged senility. Nixon, on the other hand, did discuss potentially appointing Felt to the position at one point, according to Oval Office tapes.

As Nixon’s confidence in Gray waned over the leaks, William Sullivan re-emerged as a potential rival after securing a top job in the Justice Department. That complicated Felt’s scheme greatly, for now he had to figure out how to damage Sullivan’s reputation too. He did so in leaks to Time’s Smith, whose discretion in such matters was legendary, in contrast to the untested Woodward. As in June, Felt was not above misleading Smith on occasion; we also know from Woodward’s handwritten notes that Deep Throat told the cub reporter an enormous number of falsehoods (as John Dean was the first to point out), including during their famous clandestine rendezvous in an Arlington, Virginia parking garage. But then Felt’s relationship to the truth was always casual at best. His goal was incitement, rather than protecting the presidency, the bureau, democracy, or the rule of law from Nixon’s predations. Even the Post’s most celebrated Watergate story of October 10, 1972—the seminal or “centerpiece” story that alleged a “massive campaign of political spying and espionage”—prominently featured a lie uttered by Felt. Deep Throat falsely asserted to Woodward that a letter damaging to the campaign of Senator Edmund Muskie—considered the Democrats’ strongest candidate until he finished poorly in the New Hampshire primary—was “a White House operation,” concocted “inside the gates surrounding the White House.” What Woodstein represented in the Post as “hard evidence” of a political dirty trick was a fabrication, as an internal FBI inquiry and later, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, determined.

Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute interregnum that occurred between Gray’s sudden resignation in May (for having destroyed embarrassing documents unrelated to Watergate found in E. Howard Hunt’s White House safe) and the appointment of a new acting director—another outsider named William Ruckelshaus. Unbeknownst to Felt, Nixon had learned in October 1972 that Felt was leaking to Time’s Sandy Smith. The president’s impulse was to fire Felt immediately, but cooler heads at the White House explained that Felt knew too much to make such a move just before the election. His removal would have to wait until after November, when a new director could be ordered to clean out the pestilence in the FBI’s upper ranks.

As it turned out, Felt abruptly resigned from the bureau in May 1973 to avoid being investigated right then and there for leaking. It was a fate he didn’t entirely escape, because a year-long internal investigation was launched a few months later anyway. Subsequently, the Inspection Division learned from Carol Tschudy, a bureau secretary for 17 years, that she was unable to recall how many calls transpired between a Washington Post reporter and her former boss, Felt. However, she said, “the frequency of Woodward’s calls seemed to depend upon various developments in the Watergate case.” Felt tried to make a go of consulting and the lecture circuit, and worked on his memoir after he retired from government service. In 1980, Felt made news when he was tried and convicted of ordering illegal FBI break-ins targeting the left-wing Weather Underground, a violent faction of domestic anti-war radicals. Nixon contributed to Felt’s defense fund and testified at his trial, and Reagan later pardoned him.

Meanwhile, Deep Throat went down in history as a do-gooder who saved the rule of law and American democracy from a criminal president. This was largely thanks to the large dose of buncombe in Woodward and Bernstein’s initial 1974 description of their source in All the President’s Men, and greatly magnified by the depiction in the eponymous Hollywood movie. Deep Throat, they wrote, was “trying to protect the office [of the presidency].” It wasn’t until 2005 that Woodward admitted in his book about Felt, The Secret Man, that Felt “never really voiced pure, raw outrage to me about Watergate or what it represented” (which is not surprising, given Felt’s contemporaneous role in sanctioning illegal FBI break-ins).

It remains true that Felt’s information, regardless of his motive, helped keep Watergate in the news at a time when few Americans cared, and that was important. Stories in the PostTime and elsewhere helped shield the three original federal prosecutors from political interference. And after they won convictions of all five burglars, plus Hunt and Liddy, in January 1973, the prospect of serious prison time finally broke the back of the cover-up. One of the burglars, James McCord, alleged that perjury had been committed during the trial, precipitating a foot-race to the prosecutors by John Dean and deputy campaign director Jeb Magruder, which, in turn, unleashed a flood of revelations that eventually put the president himself at risk.

Primarily because the Post (most prominently) reported increments of the break-in story (but never the cover-up, remember) before the burglars were actually tried, the fable took hold that the press “exposed” Watergate. This was a legend propagated by a media eager to bask in the Post’s reflected glory. The press was the decidedly junior partner to the legal machinery. For an authority on the subject, one need look no further than Sandy Smith, who broke as many significant stories about Watergate as anyone in the media. “There’s a myth that the press did all this, uncovered all the crimes,” he was quoted as saying in an official history of Time, Inc., published in 1986. “It’s bunk. The press didn’t do it. People forget that the government was investigating all the time. In my material there was less than two percent that was truly original investigation. There was [a federal] investigation being carried out here.”

This fact, in all likelihood, is the reason why Felt never came forward to claim the riches and acclaim that supposedly awaited Deep Throat. Indeed, he perpetually lied about being Deep Throat after theWashingtonian fingered him in June 1974 as the first prime suspect, just as All the President’s Menwas being published. Felt had to fear his actions could not withstand close scrutiny. His motive would be exposed as base and self-serving, and he would be roundly condemned in the only fraternity that he knew and cared about, the society of current and former FBI executives and agents. When finally outed in Vanity Fair in 2005 by his family, who had understandably imbibed the fable, Felt was dehabilitated by dementia and the few remaining peers able to recognize Felt for who he was and what he did were drowned out by the wave of nostalgia for the legacy media.

Felt’s admission left Pat Gray reeling; he likened it to being hit with a sledgehammer. Suffering from pancreatic cancer with only a few weeks to live, Gray summoned the strength to denounce publicly the man he considered, until that moment, his loyal and trustworthy executive officer. He had never grasped Felt’s treachery despite ample contemporaneous warnings. Now Gray belatedly realized that Felt had been a “formidable foe” primarily because he was such “a skilled liar.” The Vanity Fair story also stunned John J. McDermott, the special agent-in-charge of the Washington Field Office when it conducted the Watergate investigation. McDermott had long thought that the mysterious Deep Throat was actually a reporter’s invention and composite, meant to fuzz up the identities of several discrete White House sources. But once Felt claimed the mantle and Woodward confirmed it, McDermott immediately recognized that Felt had engaged in the same underhanded tactics as Sullivan. McDermott expressed “shock, dismay, and disgust” at Felt’s perfidy, and the bogus media-driven theory that Felt had a need “to expose information which otherwise would have been suppressed.” He defied anyone to prove that the FBI had failed to follow a single Watergate lead, concealed information from the Justice Department or did anything to warrant Felt’s behavior. “It’s embarrassing … for the bureau to be exposed as having had such people as Felt and Sullivan,” McDermott said in November 2010.

When the biopic comes out later this month, don’t be fooled. Felt betrayed the bureau, and more importantly, the investigative and legal machinery that is, more manifestly than ever, the last barrier between a government of laws and not of men or women.

There should be no pining for another Deep Throat. Leaks from bona fide whistle-blowers are one thing. Leaks from a self-aggrandizing FBI executive in the know, even if good for a few headlines, are bad for the rule of law. Nor would it be helpful to have an FBI executive plying reporters with false stories, indifferent to what gets printed or broadcast so long as it harms his bureaucratic enemies. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is far too important for that.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

The Myth of Deep Throat – POLITICO Magazine

1 Share

POLITICO Magazine
The Myth of Deep Throat
POLITICO Magazine
New York magazine columnist Frank Rich has gone a step further and already announced his casting choice: James Comey is today’s Deep Throat. ….. Felt never achieved his goal of becoming director, of course, except for the two hour and fifty minute 

Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes

1 Share
By Morgan Chalfant – 09/10/17 07:30 AM EDT

25

TheHill.com

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

The contents of this site are ©2017 Capitol Hill Publishing Corp., a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.

Scroll down for next story

x

×

Sign up for our daily emails and alerts

Signed in as mikenova

Share this story on NewsBlur

Shared stories are on their way…

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 3

Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes – The Hill

1 Share

The Hill
Five major revelations from Congress’s Russia probes
The Hill
Nearly six months ago, it was a House Intelligence Committee hearing that brought to light the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Comey, then still the FBI director, disclosed in dramatic … on and more »

Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along – Palmer Report 

1 Share

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?!

Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Here’s the deep dirt on the Russian businessman who promised “Our boy can become president of the USA” – by BILL SCHEFT – SATURDAY, SEP 9, 2017 02:00 PM EDT 

Saved Stories – 1. Trump
Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along

This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election.

Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before?

Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is and why he’s so crucial to all of this for a very long time.Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there.

Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. 

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin,

and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election.

Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office.

Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater,

his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump – New York Times

Washington Post
‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump
New York Times
Even when I was on vacation with my family in August, I started looking, said Mr. Schumer, the New Yorker who leads Senate Democrats, as he recounted the buildup to the stunning debt limit deal that Democrats struck with President Trump this past 
Trump betrays everyone’: The president has a long record as an unpredictable allyWashington Post
Trump’s deal with Democrats could come back to bite himMarkets Insider
Dems ready to deal with Trump but it’s complicatedThe Hill
New York Post –NPR –NBCNews.com
all 2,345 news articles »
Inside Donald Trumps plan to destroy the Republican Party

Trump News Review

1. Trump from mikenova (194 sites)
calls for Comey’s resignation – Google News: The Myth of Deep Throat – POLITICO Magazine
former FBI agents power influence – Google News: The Myth of Deep Throat – POLITICO Magazine
Just Security: The D.C. Circuits 9/11 Recusal Ruling and . . . Academic Freedom(?)
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: George Will – Trump is threatening war with North Korea. But what kind? – Defiance Crescent News (subscription)
trump as gambler – Google News: TV tonight: ‘Outlander,’ ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ return – The Mercury News
Trump – Google News: Right worries about Trump move on immigration – The Hill
donald trump racketeering – Google News: The nation in brief – NWAOnline
Putin and the Mob – Google News: Putin has TERRIFYING new weapon against football hooligans at Russia World Cup 2018 – Daily Star
crime and terror – Google News: Is Ending DACA the Worst Decision Trump Has Made? – The New Yorker
Trump – Google News: Is Ending DACA the Worst Decision Trump Has Made? – The New Yorker
crime and terror link – Google News: Is Ending DACA the Worst Decision Trump Has Made? – The New Yorker
Donald Trump | The Guardian: Kim Jong-uns happiness is just a great holiday away | Stewart Lee
Do mass shootings increase trump election chances? – Google News: David Simon: ‘If you’re not consuming porn, you’re still consuming its logic’ – The Guardian
Do police officers shootings increase trump election chances? – Google News: David Simon: ‘If you’re not consuming porn, you’re still consuming its logic’ – The Guardian
Donald Trump – Google News: He’s implementing a conservative platform. – National Review
Donald Trump – Google News: He’s implementing a conservative platform. – National Review
1. Trump Circles: Elections from mikenova (16 sites): Donald Trump – Google News: He’s implementing a conservative platform. – National Review
Elections 2016 Investigation videos – Google News: ‘Master of hate speech’, Moses Kuria, says he has no apologies – Nairobi News (satire) (press release) (blog)
trump as danger to National Security – Google News: How California’s Trust Act shaped the debate on the new ‘sanctuary state’ proposal – Los Angeles Times
Abedin has to resign – Google News: Oscar de la Renta’s New Designers Have a Hillary Clinton Story to Share – New York Times
crime and terror – Google News: Why Do Almost All Terror Probes Reach Nowhere In India? The Clue Lies In Communal Divide – Outlook India
Saved Stories – 1. Trump
‘The New Washington’: How Schumer’s Power Play Led to a Deal With Trump – New York Times
Inside Donald Trumps plan to destroy the Republican Party
The US’ biggest electronics giant just cut ties with an elite Russian company believed to be linked to the Kremlin – Business Insider
Hillary Clintons new book is forcing a moment of reckoning
The media jumps on Donald Trumps bullshit train (again)
A 9/11 symbol grows up: The journey of Long Island’s Patricia Smith – Newsday
No Justice, No Police: Flawed reforms alienate good cops and prolong a crisis – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Will: Trump is threatening war with North Korea. But what kind? – Roanoke Times (blog)
Donald Trump, Russian Ambassador caught lying about Friday meeting
Russia in the meddle: Interference in the West intensifies – StopFake.org
Donald Trumps strange late night Hurricane Irma tweet doesnt go over well
Trump demonizing getting to overdose stage – Mankato Free Press
The Wall Street Journal’s Trump problem
Donald Trump responds to Hurricane Irma by asking people to donate money to him
He’s implementing a conservative platform. – National Review
David Simon: ‘If you’re not consuming porn, you’re still consuming its logic’ – The Guardian
Russian Cyber-criminal Pleads Guilty to Online Identity Theft – Kansas City infoZine
Plea to keep politics out of mental health – Otago Daily Times
It’s finally dawned on Trump how much people ‘f—ing hate’ him and he’s pivoting to a new strategy – Business Insider
US, Russia diplomats look to calm tensions in talks – PBS NewsHour
Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · ·

Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along 

1 Share

This week cable news began breathlessly practicing saying the name “Felix Sater” over and over again, after it leaked that he had conspired with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen to try to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election. Who is this Sater guy? Where did he come from? Why haven’t you heard his name before? Well, if you’ve been reading a site like Palmer Report, you’ve known full well who Felix Sater is – and why he’s so crucial to all of this – for a very long time.

Palmer Report first began trying to connect the dots between Felix Sater, Russia and Donald Trump back in February. We weren’t the first. To be frank, it was rather easy to see that something was there. Sater and Cohen had been exposed as part of the truly weird Kremlin plot to convince Trump to use blackmail material to oust the president of Ukraine, so Putin could install a puppet. That plot was only derailed because Michael Flynn got himself fired for unrelated Russia reasons before he could put it on Trump’s desk. Sater had previously been convicted for Russian mafia money laundering. He’d also become an FBI informant at some point. It wasn’t difficult to see where this was all going.

It was abundantly clear back then that Sater was the linchpin to unraveling Donald Trump’s connections to the Kremlin, and that Sater and Cohen were in close cahoots when it came to those connections. The trouble: at the time, no one could piece together specifically what those connections were. Sater was confirmed to have been involved in some of Trump’s sketchiest real estate deals, such as Trump SoHo. Cohen was Trump’s attorney at the Trump Organization. But what were they doing together, and what did it have to do with the Kremlin?

This week the answer finally arrived: Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were trying to help Donald Trump get his Trump Tower Moscow built during the election. Cohen even went so far as to contact the Kremlin for help. Sater bragged in an email that the project would get Trump installed in the Oval Office. Now that the crucial missing piece is in place, everyone from Congress to the Special Counsel is using it to zero in on Sater to get him to flip on Trump. Things are finally in motion.

But if you’ve been playing close attention, you’ve known for the past eight months that it was going to come down to Sater, his relationship to the Putin-controlled Russian underworld, and his relationship to Trump through Cohen. Palmer Report is often among the first to highlight a Trump-Russia storyline that we know is going to important, even if we don’t yet know how it all fits together. Skeptics invariably question why some of our reporting still hasn’t yet been vindicated, weeks or months later. It’s because these things take time to unravel in full detail. But this was always going to come down to Sater. We told you that back in February.

The post Felix Sater has been the key to unraveling the Trump-Russia scandal all along appeared first on Palmer Report.

Read the whole story
· ·

Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person – Salon

1 Share

Salon
Who in the hell is Felix Sater?! Everything you were afraid to ask about this suddenly important person
Salon
WHY WE CARE: Sater was the intermediary who brought Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and representatives of Vladimir Putin a plan in late 2015 to discuss building a Trump Tower in Moscow in exchange for sanctions against Russia eventually being lifted if …

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means. – PBS NewsHour

1 Share

PBS NewsHour
A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.
PBS NewsHour
In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial 
Russia’s Fake AmericansNew York Times
How We Can Fix Facebook Before the 2020 ElectionFortune
Facebook’s widening role in electing TrumpEngadgetall 50 news articles »

A Russian propaganda group purchased ads on Facebook during the 2016 election. Here’s what that means.

1 Share

A giant Facebook “like” seen at the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Photo by Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Facebook announced Wednesday that a Russian propaganda organization used the social media platform to purchase $100,000 of political advertising.

Here’s what you need to know about this news:

What was found?

Facebook found 470 inauthentic accounts associated with approximately 3,000 political ads from June 2015 to May 2017. The ad purchases and accounts are affiliated with a Russian “troll farm,” dubbed the Internet Research Agency, which spreads pro-Russian propaganda and false information across the World Wide Web.

Most of the ads did not contain references to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, voting or the candidates. “Rather, the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights,” Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a blog post on the company’s website.

Facebook also conducted a wider search for political ads that potentially originated from Russia. The company found $50,000 worth of spending on 2,200 ads. A Facebook spokesperson, however, cautioned that this group of ads carried a low amount of certainty because the company’s search included sources with weak connections to Russia.

How does the Russian propaganda machine work? Special correspondent Nick Schifrin talked to someone who used to work as a “troll” inside the Internet Research Agency. Watch his July 2017 report from “Inside Putin’s Russia.”

What is the Internet Research Agency?

“The agency had become known for employing hundreds of Russians to post pro-Kremlin propaganda online under fake identities, including on Twitter, in order to create the illusion of a massive army of supporters,” journalist Adrian Chen wrote in 2015 in the New York Times Magazine.

Chen reported that the agency was responsible for false reports of toxic fumes in Louisiana and an outbreak of Ebola in Atlanta, both in 2014.

Learn more about the Internet Research Agency from this 2015 conversation between PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown and journalist Adrian Chen.

Why it’s important

In January, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paid trolls — social media users who were compensated to deliberately post controversial content — and the social media accounts of the pro-Kremlin television network RT were part of this effort, according to their report.

What Facebook found is “one small piece of this larger, consistent, Russian effort,” John Sipher, a former CIA agent who ran the agency’s Russia program for three years, told the NewsHour.

“This is a big deal because I think it’s more evidence of a coordinated Russian attack against our system,” Sipher said.

And for those who suggest that $100,000 in ads is not much: “This is just one troll farm that Facebook has proven” was Russian, Sipher said. “I’m sure there’s all kinds of other stuff that hasn’t been picked up on yet.”

In addition to the ad buying, an investigation published late Thursday by The New York Times, with research from the cybersecurity company FireEye, detailed other ways that suspected Russian trolls disseminated false and hacked information.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Post that Facebook’s disclosure is a “profound warning to us and others about future elections.” A question left to answer, he said, is whether any of the pro-Russian trolls coordinated with President Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

What’s next?

Stamos, the chief security officer, said Facebook has since shut down the 470 suspicious accounts and pages.

“We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary,” Stamos said.

But Facebook has not shared copies of the ads with the public, and does not plan to, a Facebook spokesperson told the NewsHour. A Facebook official told the Washington Post that “our data policy and federal law limit our ability to share user data and content, so we won’t be releasing any ads.”

Facebook’s refusal to share the ads has drawn criticism from eBay founder, philanthropist and First Look Media founder Pierre Omidyar and former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter.

Stamos noted that Facebook has made improvements to weed out fake accounts based on their activity on the platform and end the spread of fake news in the past year, with more improvements planned.

“We are looking at how we can apply the techniques we developed for detecting fake accounts to better detect inauthentic pages and the ads they may run,” Stamos said. “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Special Report: Russia: The Insiders – YouTube

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Sky News Published on Sep 7, 2017 SUBSCRIBED 640K SUBSCRIBE SUBSCRIBED UNSUBSCRIBE Sky’s Cordelia Lynch investigates the expanding scope of investigations into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, and asks whether the scandal could bring about the downfall of the US President.

See also:

daniel hoffman cia

Daniel Hoffman Archives – The Cipher Brief

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/expert/daniel-hoffman

Daniel Hoffman is a former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. … only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. military, U.S. Department of State, …

Cover Lifted, A CIA Spy Offers His Take On Trump And Russia : NPR

www.npr.org/2017/08/08/…/cover-lifted-a-cia-spy-offers-his-take-on-trump-and-russia

Aug 8, 2017 – Retired CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman says Russia intended for Donald Trump Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Russians to be discovered.

Book Daniel Hoffman for Public Speaking | Harry Walker Agency

www.harrywalker.com/speakers/daniel-hoffman

Contact the Harry Walker Agency to schedule Daniel Hoffman as your next … service included high-level positions not only within the CIA, but also with the U.S. …

Former CIA Station Chief Daniel Hoffman Speaks Out About Russia …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71JZek2IeFY
Aug 10, 2017 – Uploaded by Almutaz Bur News Network

Thanks for Watching! Please Share and Subscribe! Live Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v …

Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion. – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/opinion/donald-trump-russia-collusion-cia.html?…

Aug 2, 2017 – John Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., recently testified, … Our friend and former colleague Daniel Hoffman argued in this paper that …

The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion. – The New …

https://www.nytimes.com/…/the-russians-were-involved-but-it-wasnt-about-collusion.ht…

Jul 28, 2017 – By DANIEL HOFFMAN JULY 28, 2017 … career, including with the C.I.A., observing Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence operations. I came to …


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

Read the whole story
· · ·

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America – Insider Monkey (blog)

1 Share

Insider Monkey (blog)
12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America
Insider Monkey (blog)
The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the  

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

There are various types of organized crimes committed by the top crime groups that include the typical crimes you would expect from a street criminal such as rape, murder, and stealing. However, the bigger crime groups who wield enormous influence and power go beyond such crimes and enter (or in some cases create) criminal industries such as human trafficking, kidnapping for ransom and drug trafficking, all of which are enormously profitable.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaMark <a href=”http://Agnor/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Agnor/Shutterstock.com</a>

We have been facing the issue of organized crime for a long time now and instead of seeing it reduced, we have seen it grow exponentially, resulting in deaths, violence, anarchy and loss of billions. In fact, organized crime history can be traced several hundred years back, when pirates and bandits organized to attack villages, pillaging loot while killing those who tried to defend their property. Later on, in the nineteenth century, organized crime started to develop in the United States, with the Wild Bunch being considered as one of the first and hence one of the biggest organized crime groups in America.

The above is not to suggest that only the US is prone to organized crime; in fact, some of the biggest organized crime groups are located in other countries, such as the Solntsevskaya Bratva, considered to be perhaps the biggest crime group in the world, whose headquarters are anchored in Russia. The most powerful arm of the Russian mafia consisting of well over 9,000 members, the Solntsevskaya Bratva, has operated since 1980 and had a hand in the murders of many influential men as well as other illegal activities.

It is a well known fact that every group needs a leader to operate efficiently, hence every gang has a leader as well. We couldn’t help but wonder who is the biggest gangster in the world today. We’ve researched a bit and found out that, while many sources differ, perhaps the person most deserving of this title is Joaquin Guzman, or El Chapo (also known as drug lord), who was the head of the Sinaloa Cartel, and who has escaped the police despite being captured many times.

We decided to limit our focus on groups which maintain a large, ominous presence in the United States. To this end, we researched the various crime groups operating freely in America, and ranked them according to their involvement in cross border crimes, which are generally considered to be of a serious nature, as mentioned in the National Gang Report 2015 created by the FBI. We further tried to rank them according to their revenue, but since their operations aren’t legal, the figures we obtained could not be accurately verified and ascertained, hence we decided this criterion would weaken our rankings instead of strengthening it. The list was not an easy one to construct. Most of the articles on the web focus on a global level with respect to criminal organizations rather than the US alone. Let’s kick off our list with:

12. Artistas Asensios

The gang is involved in numerous illegal activities and is famed for its involvement with the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. While the gang may not be as active as it once was, it has been to engage in a few murders here and there.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaSeb c’est <a href=”http://bien/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>bien/Shutterstock.com</a>

11. Norteño

The Norteños gang was formed in Northern California, and was specifically created to counter the growing influence of Surenos, a gang which had ties to the Mexican Mafia.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAndrey <a href=”http://Burmakin/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Burmakin/Shutterstock.com</a>

10. Crips

One of the largest organized crime groups in America, Crips, boasted a membership of more than 30,000 criminals, back in 1999. The gang is notorious for its violent crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com</a>

9. Bloods

Bloods is ironically the bitter rival of aforementioned gang Crips, whose primary members are African Americans.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Rachaphak/Shutterstock.com</a>

8. Texas Syndicate

The Texas Syndicate was established as a prison gang in order to counter other gangs preying on native Texans, and are still largely a prison gang though some of their members engage in other forms of criminal activity as well.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>igorstevanovic/Shutterstock.com</a>

7. MS-13

MS-13 is one of the biggest threats to the fight against organized crime in the country, according to the US Attorney’s office. This group consists of over 6,000 members and is considered to be the first street crime group in the US to be described as a transnational criminal enterprise.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com</a>

6. Latin Kings

The oldest Hispanic crime group in the world, the Latin Kings are involved in various illegal activities including drug trafficking and weapons trafficking, which explains its appearance among the biggest organized crime groups in America.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaPer <a href=”http://Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Bengtsson/Shutterstock.com</a>

5. Paisa

Established in Colombia, Paisa consisted of paramilitary members who established themselves as drug traffickers. However, the group’s influence has waned in recent years and its power has been called into question as well. However, as evident from this report, the group still holds some sway, especially in cross border crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaAfrica <a href=”http://Studio/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Studio/Shutterstock.com</a>

4. Mexican Mafia

Despite its name, the organization was established in the US and despite only a few hundred members, has managed to successfully carry out criminal activities on a large scale.

3. Tango Blast

An even bigger threat than MS-13, Tango Blast, established in Houston, has over 19,000 members and earns most of its profits through criminal activities such as human trafficking.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America<a href=”http://GongTo/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>GongTo/Shutterstock.com</a>

2. Barrio Azteca

Another gang established in Texas, the Barrio Azteca has engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering and contract killing, to name a few of their crimes.

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in AmericaArtem <a href=”http://Furman/Shutterstock.com” rel=”nofollow”>Furman/Shutterstock.com</a>

1. Sureños

Topping the list of the biggest organized crime groups in America is Sureños, a rival of the earlier mentioned Norteños. Sureños pay homage and respects to the Mexican Mafia, and carry out most of the dirty work of the Mafia, such as human trafficking, hence allowing them to claim the top slot.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

12 Biggest Organized Crime Groups in America

1 Share

In the land of dreams, crime runs rampant as evidenced by the 12 biggest organized crime groups in America. So what exactly is the definition of organized crime? Well, organized crime refers to a crime that is committed out on a coordinated basis by groups of criminals, and is carried out on a large scale as well. In fact, this is the reason why it is hard to crack down organized crime. There are so many people involved on different levels, arresting one person or even a dozen barely makes a dent in this billion dollar industry. However, this is just a basic definition. To truly distinguish between ordinary crimes and organized crimes, you should consider the characteristics of organized crime, some of which include a hierarchical structure which is controlled by a few people and a reserve fund which comes in handy on a rainy day. Truly, you could be forgiven for confusing an organized crime group with a legal business, as both operate on similar structures. To learn more about crime, you might want to consult any of the 25 best crime documentaries on YouTube.

 ____________________

The Early Edition: September 7, 2017 


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters | McClatchy Washington Bureau

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Felix Sater is a growing problem for Donald Trump, who once said he wouldn’t know what Sater looked like. The Russia-born Sater recently said he sought deals for Trump in Moscow during the campaign, and today is surrounded by several men with checkered financial pasts.

Source: Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters | McClatchy Washington Bureau

Trump saga character still surrounded by financial fraudsters

1 Share
 6:05 PM 9/27/2017
Editors’ note:
See the full text of this article at McClatchy site. 
This post was reducted to bring this link in accordance with the edited original, at the request of Mr. Wolf, Mr. Sater’s attorney. 
_____________________________________

Facebook Says Russia-Based Operation Bought Ads Targeting U.S. Voters

1 Share

Facebook officials told a congressional panel that the social network discovered it had sold advertisements to a Russia-based operation during the presidential election targeting U.S. voters.

Facebook: Likely Russia-based Operation Bought Ads During 2016 US Election 

1 Share

Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday it had found that an influence operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May. Facebook, the dominant social media network, said that many of the ads promoted 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages that it has now suspended. The ads spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights, instead of backing a particular political candidate,…

Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election – Washington Post

1 Share
Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election
Washington Post
Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that it has discovered it sold ads during the U.S. presidential election to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company and more »

Facebook says it sold political ads to Russian company during 2016 election

1 Share

Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president – USA TODAY

1 Share

USA TODAY
Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president
USA TODAY
Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY 
Lobbyists’ memberships at Trump golf clubs raise red flags: reportThe Hill (blog)
Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to PresidentNewsweek
Lobbyists Sure Love Trump’s Expensive Golf Courses for Some ReasonGizmodo
Salon –MarketWatch –The Independent
all 11 news articles »
Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 2

Syrian government dropped sarin on Khan Sheikoun: U.N.

1 Share

GENEVA (Reuters) – Syrian forces have used chemical weapons more than two dozen times during the country’s civil war, including in the deadly attack that led to U.S. air strikes on government planes, U.N. war crimes investigators said on Wednesday.

  

Tiger on the loose in Henry Co. has been killed – WXIA-TV

1 Share

WXIA-TV
Tiger on the loose in Henry Co. has been killed
WXIA-TV
Henry County police said the Tiger who was on the loose is now dead after being shot after jumping a home’s fence to go after a dog. Crash Clark and Catherine Park, WXIA 7:46 AM. EDT September 06, 2017. CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN GOOGLE+ …
Tiger killed after running loose in Georgia neighborhoodWSB Atlanta
Escaped TIGER spotted on main road as American cops follow big cat and warn motorists to avoid areaMirror.co.ukall 15 news articles »

Munich memorial marks 1972 Olympic Games attack on Israeli team

1 Share

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – Victims of the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympic Games were remembered by Germany and Israel on Wednesday with a memorial, following a long campaign by their relatives.

  

Said Gabriel yesterday, welcoming Russia’s proposal: “Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away” 

1 Share

RUSSIA

“I am not his bride, nor his groom,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of President Trump yesterday, stating that each leader defends their national interests, also disparaging the U.S. for its treatment of Russian diplomatic facilities on U.S. soil. Andrew Roth reports at the Washington Post.

Putin’s offer of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine “shows that Russia has effected a change in its policies that we should not gamble away,” 

Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said yesterday,

welcoming Russia’s proposal for the U.N. mission to patrol the front line. Nataliya Vasilyeva reports at the AP.

“The delivery of weapons to a conflict zone doesn’t help peacekeeping efforts, but only worsens the situation,” Putin said yesterday, hitting back at Defense Secretary James Mattis for considering

supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons,

arguing that pro-Russian separatist “republics” in Ukraine could possibly “deploy weapons to other conflict zones.” John Bowden reports at the Hill.

Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to President – Newsweek

1 Share

Newsweek
Is Trump Corrupt? Golf Club Members Include Lobbyists and Contractors Who Gain Access to President
Newsweek
President Donald Trump has faced heavy criticism for the time he has spent on golf during his first eight months in office, both for chastising his predecessor, Barack Obama, about his golf outings and for his campaign promises that he would be too and more »

There’s A Potential Crack In Trump’s Base: Supporters Who Once Voted For Obama

1 Share

They’re more likely than any other group to regret their votes, a survey finds.

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 3

M.N.: This article below, by John Sipher, is one of the important, clear, logical, and professionally written pieces of information on “Steele Dossier” and the related matters – Knowing What We Know Now by John Sipher 

1 Share

M.N.: This article below, by John Sipher, is one of the important, clear, logical, and professionally written pieces of information on “Steele Dossier” and the related matters. It is regrettable, however, that the author did not mention the mysterious death of Oleg Erovinkin who is assumed to be and is referred to as the main source of information, and even the ultimate author of this document. This omission can be addressed in the future reports by Mr. Sipher. The overall issue of veracity and the ultimate sources of the “dossier” presently appear to be unresolved. 

One of the practical points of this article which might be of some value to the investigators, despite its seeming triviality, is that the true understanding of the events in general, and this issue in particular, develops in its dynamics, in the process, in time, and very often becomes available, clears up, and matures in hindsight, with passing of time and the accumulation of the relevant information which was hidden and comes to light only now. We live, we learn, and we try to comprehend and to understand. 

If we only knew then, what we know now…


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US – NBC Montana

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

When Russia sent its bombers flying over the Korean Peninsula last week, it was more than a signal to its allies in Beijing.

Source: Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US – NBC Montana

Russia’s power play in North Korea aimed at China, US

1 Share

(CNN) – When Russia sent its bombers flying over the Korean Peninsula last week, it was as much a signal to its allies in Beijing as it was a telegraph to Washington that Moscow too, was pivoting to Asia.

The Kremlin may not become Pyongyang’s most steadfast and critical defender in this newest conflagration, but its cameo in the region is another attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to insert himself into a geo-political stalemate involving the U.S.

Experts say it may also help deflect attention from upcoming military exercises in Belarus and western Russia next month, which have upset NATO members concerned about what amounts to a mass buildup of Russian troops on the edges of eastern Europe.

China, which sent bombers into the air itself shortly after, declined to comment about the show of force from Moscow. In its regular press briefing on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it would not “quantify how close China and Russia are cooperating on the North Korean nuclear issue,” said Hua Chunying, a ministry spokeswoman.

“Just like China, Russia plays a pivotal role in maintaining global peace and stability as well as promoting peaceful solutions to hotspot issues in the region,” Hua said. “China is willing to strengthen its cooperation and coordination with Russia to jointly preserve peace and stability in the region and around the world.”

Both countries were quick to condemn North Korea’s latest boast Sunday, the successful testing of its most powerful hydrogen bomb yet.

In a statement, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for all parties to “immediately return to dialogue,” reaffirming its “readiness for joint efforts in this direction, including in the context of the implementation of the Russian-Chinese road map.”

The real trouble maker

If China is perturbed by its once-dominant Communist partner seeking to commandeer more influence in the region, it’s not outwardly displaying those concerns.

“I think China is confident that its economic development, its military development, takes place at a faster pace than Russia, so in the long run Russia is in no position to seriously challenge Chinese core interests,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. “There are certain elements of competition between the two countries, but their shared concerns about the U.S. very much outweigh that right now.”

Both Moscow and Beijing “share the basic perception of who is the real trouble maker and who is the biggest common threat in the Korean Peninsula,” Tong told CNN.

That trouble maker, he said, is the United States, and more specifically, the occupant in the White House.

“Secretary (Rex) Tillerson says he wants to do diplomacy before considering other options but the rhetoric from other people in the White House — (U.S. President Donald) Trump tweeting that talking is not the answer, I think from the Chinese perspective the U.S. is still considering a military option so that doesn’t reassure leaders in North Korea or China,” Tong said.

Every action Pyongyang takes, said Tong, could be construed by Beijing and Moscow as a reaction to Trump’s escalated posture.

Putin appeared to reiterate this on Thursday when he called attempts to get the regime of Kim Jong Un to cease its nuclear program “a dead-end road.”

“Russia believes that the policy of putting pressure on Pyongyang to stop its nuclear missile program is misguided and futile,” Putin said in an article released by the Kremlin. “Provocations, pressure and militarist and insulting rhetoric are a dead-end road.”

Russia has recently been making inroads to counter China’s perceived clout with North Korea. Overtures include Russia’s forgiveness of Soviet-era debt, of which $10 billion due from Pyongyang was written off by the Kremlin. Moscow is one of the largest donors of food aid to North Korea, and alongside Beijing, was recently hit with U.S. Treasury sanctions for selling oil to the North Korean regime.

This is all intentional, says Samuel Ramani, a Russian foreign policy specialist.

“As Russia takes an increasingly assertive approach to world affairs, it reminds its citizens of the Soviet Union’s status as a superpower that could influence conflicts worldwide,” Ramani wrote in the Washington Post in late July. “In this respect, Russia’s increased attention to North Korea is much like its military intervention in Syria and its expanded diplomatic presence in Libya and Afghanistan. Moscow is trying once again to project itself as a global power.”

Old rivalry reignites

The jostling between the two powers over North Korea has decades-long historical roots.

“To an extent it began when China and Russia became competitors for influence in the Communist world, they fought border battles in the late 1960s,” said Carl Schuster, retired Navy captain and now adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University.

Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder, was a guerilla leader who became a major in the Soviet Red Army and served in it until the end of World War II. Upon his return to Korea after 26 years in exile, the Soviets installed him as head of the Korean Communist Party. With their help he built up an army and air force, then declared the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948.

“Russia had the greater advantage, they had much more influence in the region,” Schuster recalled. “When the Berlin Wall came down, Russia became very poor and China came to dominate.”

Over the last 25 years Russia had virtually no ability to sway Pyongyang; it wasn’t able to provide technological support or invest significantly in North Korean industry. Now, Schuster says, “Putin sees an opportunity to increase his influence, probably not by much, but it would be better than what he has, and it distracts America.”

Whatever little sway he may obtain, that, coupled with China’s own shaky standing with North Korea, highlights the possibility that neither power enjoys particularly friendly relations with the isolated regime.

“There is a profound sense of mistrust at the basis of the relationship North Korea has with China and even with Russia,” said James Person, an expert on Korea at the Wilson Center. “There’s a perception particularly with China that Beijing has been overly interventionist over the years and not respectful of Korean sovereignty.”

China and Russia both share a border with North Korea, a demarcation that has shifted over time as territorial disputes were resolved, and one that each of them jealously guards.

Person said that China’s determination to establish regional hegemony, or a “zone of deference” which takes in North Korea has created confusion among Western observers about China’s capacity to rein Pyongyang in. “People in Washington, including President Trump, believe China can just pick up the phone and solve the problem but because of this tortured history of relations they don’t have the ability to exercise at will political influence over North Korea.”

Moreover, there is risk in China’s chastising North Korea any further, something that has been compounded by statements as far back as May in which the North Korean state-run news agency publicly rebuked China for banning coal imports from North Korea after a February missile test.

The North Korean statements warned China of “grave consequences,” and said Beijing should “no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience.”

“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is,” the commentary declared.

Yet China chooses to endure this apparent belligerence. Beijing will always prefer the current leadership in Pyongyang to any that might follow should the Kim dynasty fall, says Person.

“I think they would rather deal with the current North Korean regime with nuclear weapons than they would with a basically reunified Korea that places a U.S. treaty ally at the Chinese doorstep,” he said.

Moscow’s own relationship with Washington becomes more fraught each day. On Thursday, Trump’s administration announced it would shut down Russian diplomatic missions in U.S. cities, seemingly in response to an order from the Russian Foreign Ministry in July for Washington to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by nearly half.

Both Moscow and Beijing seek to keep the U.S. at bay to protect their own interests in the area, something Person says the U.S. could use to its advantage if it can quell North Korea’s panic and pursue diplomacy again. Even now, he said, there are “talks about talks” that could lead to a de-escalation. But that choice belongs with Trump.

“The important thing is, the U.S. has to recognize that only it has the ability to give Pyongyang what it wants,” Person said. “Yes, China is important in the region, but let’s not outsource to China anymore, especially given the fact that China is trying to reassert this hegemony in the region. By outsourcing our North Korea policy to China, we’re only abetting them in doing this.”

The U.S. must also contend with the notion that Moscow too will embrace a larger role.

“Russia wants to be, and be seen as, a great power. It wants to lead the nations that resist Western power and influence. In defying the United Nations and supporting North Korea, Russia bolsters that status at home and abroad,” Ramani says. “And so Moscow’s alignment with North Korea will likely get stronger in the near future.”

Read the whole story
· · · · · ·

Any North Korea threat will bring ‘massive military response,’ Mattis says – Chicago Tribune

1 Share

TWC News
Any North Korea threat will bring ‘massive military response,’ Mattis says
Chicago Tribune
In briefs remarks after a White House meeting with Trump and other national security officials, Mattis told reporters that America does not seek the “total annihilation” of the North, but then added somberly, “We have many options to do so.” The 
Trump convenes national security team over North Korea nuclear testTWC News
A North Korea nuclear nightmare: Trump has strong options he can use against Kim but he’s got to act quicklyFox News
North Korean Nuclear Test Draws US Warning of ‘Massive Military Response’New York Times
Washington Post –Miami Herald
all 2,889 news articles »

Russia probes kick into high gear – Politico

1 Share

Washington Examiner
Russia probes kick into high gear
Politico
The congressional Russia investigations are entering a new and more serious phase as lawmakers return from the August recess amid fresh revelations about contacts between theTrump campaign and Russia. In the coming weeks, both intelligence …
The Trump campaign and the Russians’ ‘active measures’Washington Examiner

all 39 news articles »

Top House Intelligence Committee member: Trump is being ‘dishonest’ about Russia ties – Business Insider

1 Share

Business Insider
Top House Intelligence Committee member: Trump is being ‘dishonest’ about Russia ties
Business Insider
Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that President Donald Trump is misleading investigators and the public about his ties to Russia. Schiff made the remarks when CNN’s Dana Bash asked him about …
Rep. Adam Schiff: Proposed Trump Tower in Moscow shows Trump was ‘dishonest’CNN
Russia probes kick into high gearPolitico
Adam Schiff: President Trump “dishonest” when he said he had no business in Russia The live stream went offline …Salon
Washington Examiner –POLITICO Magazine –Washington Times –Department of State
all 184 news articles »

Trump Lawyer Asks Journalist If She’s On Drugs After James Comey Question

1 Share
Ty Cobb made the remarks in a late night email exchange with Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand.

Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election? – Philly.com

1 Share

Philly.com
Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election?
Philly.com
Then, something remarkable — unprecedented, really — took place. The nation’s highest court decided to launch a thorough investigation of what really happened on Election Day. What the justices eventually uncovered was shocking — a scheme to change …

and more »

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 2

recent Kenyan elections – Google Search

1 Share
Story image for recent Kenyan elections from Quartz

What happens now that Kenya has annulled its presidential election

Quartz1 hour ago
Kenya’s supreme court stunned the nation last week by declaring the country’s Aug. 8 presidential election invalid and ordering a new vote.
The crisis that may force another coalition in Kenya
InternationalDaily Nation4 hours ago
Kenya’s Giant Step for Fair Elections
OpinionNew York Times12 hours ago

cyberwar definition – Google Search

1 Share
cy·ber·war
ˈsībərˌwôr/
noun
noun: cyberwar; noun: cyber-war
  1. the use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization, especially the deliberate attacking of information systems for strategic or military purposes.
    “cyberwar is asymmetric, which means it benefits lesser military powers as much as military goliaths”

cyberwars – Google Search

1 Share
Story image for cyberwars from TIME

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen: We Must Prepare Ourselves for the …

TIMEDec 20, 2016
All future wars will begin as cyberwars. Cyberattacks and online disinformation campaigns will define the next generation of conflict, and they …
Story image for cyberwars from Forbes

AI Cyber Wars: Coming Soon To A Bank Near You

ForbesJul 21, 2017
The battle between cyber criminals and banks is an intensifying arms race. Cyber criminals are racing to develop new offensive weapons while …
Story image for cyberwars from The Week Magazine

What will the cyberwars of the future look like?

The Week MagazineFeb 25, 2017
When experts talk about the often murky concept of “cyberwar,” they’re often tempering understandable paranoia with realism. Like William …
Story image for cyberwars from U.S. News & World Report

America Is Losing the Cyber War

U.S. News & World ReportSep 29, 2016
In Georgia and now in Ukraine, Russia has demonstrated its ability to integrate full-scale cyberwar into its military maneuvers, further …
Story image for cyberwars from The Independent

Britain must be prepared to fight cyber-wars against Russian …

The IndependentJul 10, 2017
Britain must be ready to fight cyber-wars against the “mayhem” coming from Russia, the former head of GCHQ has warned ministers.
Story image for cyberwars from The Guardian

Anne McElvoy

The GuardianMay 13, 2017
Cyberwars are a new battlefield, but they respect some old rules. One is that being defensive is not enough. The other is that we, the public, …
Read the whole story
· ·

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny

1 Share

But months later, for Ms. Greenhalgh, other election security experts and some state officials, questions still linger about what happened that day in Durham as well as other counties in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Arizona.

After a presidential campaign scarred by Russian meddling, local, state and federal agencies have conducted little of the type of digital forensic investigation required to assess the impact, if any, on voting in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

The assaults on the vast back-end election apparatus — voter-registration operations, state and local election databases, e-poll books and other equipment — have received far less attention than other aspects of the Russian interference, such as the hacking of Democratic emails and spreading of false or damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Yet the hacking of electoral systems was more extensive than previously disclosed, The New York Times found.

Beyond VR Systems, hackers breached at least two other providers of critical election services well ahead of the 2016 voting, said current and former intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is classified. The officials would not disclose the names of the companies.

Intelligence officials in January reassured Americans that there was no indication that Russian hackers had altered the vote count on Election Day, the bottom-line outcome. But the assurances stopped there.

Government officials said that they intentionally did not address the security of the back-end election systems, whose disruption could prevent voters from even casting ballots.

That’s partly because states control elections; they have fewer resources than the federal government but have long been loath to allow even cursory federal intrusions into the voting process.

That, along with legal constraints on intelligence agencies’ involvement in domestic issues, has hobbled any broad examination of Russian efforts to compromise American election systems. Those attempts include combing through voter databases, scanning for vulnerabilities or seeking to alter data, which have been identified in multiple states. Current congressional inquiries and the special counsel’s Russia investigation have not focused on the matter.

“We don’t know if any of the problems were an accident, or the random problems you get with computer systems, or whether it was a local hacker, or actual malfeasance by a sovereign nation-state,” said Michael Daniel, who served as the cybersecurity coordinator in the Obama White House. “If you really want to know what happened, you’d have to do a lot of forensics, a lot of research and investigation, and you may not find out even then.”

In interviews, academic and private election security experts acknowledged the challenges of such diagnostics but argued that the effort is necessary. They warned about what could come, perhaps as soon as next year’s midterm elections, if the existing mix of outdated voting equipment, haphazard election-verification procedures and array of outside vendors is not improved to build an effective defense against Russian or other hackers.

In Durham, a local firm with limited digital forensics or software engineering expertise produced a confidential report, much of it involving interviews with poll workers, on the county’s election problems. The report was obtained by The Times, and election technology specialists who reviewed it at the Times’ request said the firm had not conducted any malware analysis or checked to see if any of the e-poll book software was altered, adding that the report produced more questions than answers.

Neither VR Systems — which operates in seven states beyond North Carolina — nor local officials were warned before Election Day that Russian hackers could have compromised their software. After problems arose, Durham County rebuffed help from the Department of Homeland Security and Free & Fair, a team of digital election-forensics experts who volunteered to conduct a free autopsy. The same was true elsewhere across the country.

“I always got stonewalled,” said Joe Kiniry, the chief executive and chief scientist at Free & Fair.

Still, some of the incidents reported in North Carolina occur in every election, said Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert on election administration.

“Election officials and advocates and reporters who were watching most closely came away saying this was an amazingly quiet election,” he said, playing down the notion of tampering. He added, though, that the problems in Durham and elsewhere raise questions about the auditing of e-poll books and security of small election vendors.

Ms. Greenhalgh shares those concerns. “We still don’t know if Russian hackers did this,” she said about what happened in North Carolina. “But we still don’t know that they didn’t.”

Disorder at the Polls

North Carolina went for Donald J. Trump in a close election. But in Durham County, Hillary Clinton won 78 percent of the 156,000 votes, winning by a larger margin than President Barack Obama had against Mitt Romney four years earlier.

While only a fraction of voters were turned away because of the e-poll book difficulties — more than half of the county cast their ballots days earlier — plenty of others were affected when the state mandated that the entire county revert to paper rolls on Election Day. People steamed as everything slowed. Voters gave up and left polling places in droves — there’s no way of knowing the numbers, but they include more than a hundred North Carolina Central University students facing four-hour delays.

At a call center operated by the monitoring group Election Protection, Ms. Greenhalgh was fielding technical complaints from voters in Mississippi, Texas and North Carolina. Only a handful came from the first two states.

Her account of the troubles matches complaints logged in the Election Incident Reporting System, a tracking tool created by nonprofit groups. As the problems mounted, The Charlotte Observer reported that Durham’s e-poll book vendor was Florida-based VR Systems, which Ms. Greenhalgh knew from a CNN report had been hacked earlier by Russians. “Chills went through my spine,” she recalled.

The vendor does not make the touch-screen equipment used to cast or tally votes and does not manage county data. But without the information needed to verify voters’ identities and eligibility, which county officials load onto VR’s poll books, voters cannot cast ballots at all.

Details of the breach did not emerge until June, in a classified National Security Agency report leaked to The Intercept, a national security news site. That report found that hackers from Russia’s military intelligence agency, the G.R.U., had penetrated the company’s computer systems as early as August 2016, then sent “spear-phishing” emails from a fake VR Systems account to 122 state and local election jurisdictions. The emails sought to trick election officials into downloading malicious software to take over their computers.

The N.S.A. analysis did not say whether the hackers had sabotaged voter data. “It is unknown,” the agency concluded, whether Russian phishing “successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed.”

VR Systems’ chief operating officer, Ben Martin, said he did not believe Russian hackers were successful. He acknowledged that the vendor was a “juicy target,” given that its systems are used in battleground states including North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. But he said that the company blocked access from its systems to local databases, and employs security protocols to bar intruders and digital triggers that sound alerts if its software is manipulated.

On Election Day, as the e-poll book problems continued, Ms. Greenhalgh urged an Election Protection colleague in North Carolina to warn the state Board of Elections of a cyberattack and suggest that it call in the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security. In an email, she also warned a Homeland Security election specialist of the problems. Later, the specialist told her Durham County had rejected the agency’s help.

When Ms. Greenhalgh, who works at Verified Voting, a nonprofit dedicated to election integrity, followed up with the North Carolina colleague, he reported that state officials said they would not require federal help.

“He said: ‘The state does not view this as a problem. There’s nothing we can do, so we’ve moved on to other things,’” Ms. Greenhalgh recalled. “Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘What could be more important to move on to?’”

An Interference Campaign

The idea of subverting the American vote by hacking election systems is not new. In an assessment of Russian cyberattacks released in January, intelligence agencies said Kremlin spy services had been collecting information on election processes, technology and equipment in the United States since early 2014.

The Russians shied away from measures that might alter the “tallying” of votes, the report added, a conclusion drawn from American spying and intercepts of Russian officials’ communications and an analysis by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the current and former government officials.

The most obvious way to rig an election — controlling hundreds or thousands of decentralized voting machines — is also the most difficult. During a conference of computer hackers last month in Las Vegas, participants had direct access and quickly took over more than 30 voting machines. But remotely infiltrating machines of different makes and models and then covertly changing the vote count is far more challenging.

The New York Times would like to hear from readers who want to share messages and materials with our journalists.

Beginning in 2015, the American officials said, Russian hackers focused instead on other internet-accessible targets: computers at the Democratic National Committee, state and local voter databases, election websites, e-poll book vendors and other back-end election services.

Apart from the Russian influence campaign intended to undermine Mrs. Clinton and other Democratic officials, the impact of the quieter Russian hacking efforts at the state and county level has not been widely studied. Federal officials have been so tight-lipped that not even many election officials in the 21 states the hackers assaulted know whether their systems were compromised, in part because they have not been granted security clearances to examine the classified evidence.

The January intelligence assessment implied that the Russian hackers had achieved broader access than has been assumed. Without elaborating, the report said the Russians had “obtained and maintained access to multiple U.S. state and local election boards.”

Two previously acknowledged strikes in June 2016 hint at Russian ambitions. In Arizona, Russian hackers successfully stole a username and password for an election official in Gila County. And in Illinois, Russian hackers inserted a malicious program into the Illinois State Board of Elections’ database. According to Ken Menzel, the board’s general counsel, the program tried unsuccessfully “to alter things other than voter data” — he declined to be more specific — and managed to illegally download registration files for 90,000 voters before being detected.

On Election Day last year, a number of counties reported problems similar to those in Durham. In North Carolina, e-poll book incidents occurred in the counties that are home to the state’s largest cities, including Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Charlotte. Three of Virginia’s most populous counties — Prince William, Loudoun, and Henrico — as well as Fulton County, Georgia, which includes Atlanta, and Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, also reported difficulties. All were attributed to software glitches.

Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, argued for more scrutiny of suspicious incidents. “We must harden our cyber defenses, and thoroughly educate the American public about the danger posed” by attacks,” he said in an email. “In other words: we are not making our elections any safer by withholding information about the scope and scale of the threat.

In Durham County, officials have rejected any notion that an intruder sought to alter the election outcome. “We do not believe, and evidence does not suggest, that hacking occurred on Election Day,” Derek Bowens, the election director, said in a recent email.

But last month, after inquiries from reporters and the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, Durham county officials voted to turn over laptops and other devices to the board for further analysis. It was not clear which government agency or private forensics firm, would conduct the investigation.

Ms. Greenhalgh will be watching closely. “What people focus on is, ‘Did someone mess with the vote totals?’” she said. “What they don’t realize is that messing with the e-poll books to keep people from voting is just as effective.’”

Continue reading the main story

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · ·

cyberwars – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for cyberwars

Can America handle the truth of the tarnished 2016 election?

1 Share

Something smelled wrong about the election from the very start. In the weeks before the presidential balloting took place, millions of voters were bombarded with “fake news” about the candidates on Facebook and other social media sites. And when the vote tallies were announced, the nation was shocked by the results. There was scattered unrest, even violence — and loud whispers that the election had somehow been stolen. Some wondered about the role of Cambridge Analytica, the firm founded by a billionaire backer of Donald Trump.

Then, something remarkable — unprecedented, really — took place. The nation’s highest court decided to launch a thorough investigation of what really happened on Election Day. What the justices eventually uncovered was shocking — a scheme to change results from the actual polling places when they were tallied electronically. What happened next was perhaps more surprising: The Supreme Court justices ordered a new national election.

Yes, this scenario actually just played out.

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

0:00

undefined

In Kenya.

In America, there is a stubborn, almost inexplicable blindness about the myriad problems with our own 2016 election — including the alarming possibility that at least some of those problems were the result of a now-pretty-well-documented effort by a foreign power, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, to meddle in the selection of this nation’s 45th president. It’s getting harder and harder not to think our nation’s top officials — not just President Trump and his aides who were the alleged beneficiaries of Russian meddling, but our intelligence agencies and even state and local officials — don’t really want to know whether Moscow’s interference was so great that it actually decided the race.

It’s as if they are terrified by what they might discover.

First, let’s review what we do know about Russia’s 2016 tampering, because that’s disturbing enough. We know that Trump officials eagerly met in June 2016 in Trump Tower with a cast of characters tied to Putin insiders and Russian intelligence who promised inside dirt on Hillary Clinton. A short time later, hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton aide went public on Wikileaks, at the same time Trump aides were keeping an anti-Putin plank out of the GOP convention platform and as Trump bizarrely made a public plea for Russia to find Clinton’s deleted emails (a cause also adopted by a GOP insider who claimed he was working for Trump, right before he committed suicide). Then came an avalanche of fake news — much of it grown in Russian content farms — to convince blacks or young people in  key states such as Wisconsin to stay home or vote third party.

That’s bad, but it’s not as bad as what we don’t know: Whether Russia was able to hack into any state and local election systems in a way that might have changed the result — and thus throw the entire Nov. 8, 2016, result, with Trump’s narrow Electoral College win, into doubt. Although officials have slowly confirmed over the last 10 months that there’s evidence of Russian hackers trying to breach government election websites in nearly 40 states and actually gaining some access, at least in Illinois and Arizona, they’ve also assured us that a beefed-up effort by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence found zero evidence of Election Day hacking.

Now comes the New York Times to say: Don’t be so certain about that. In a blockbuster report that was inexplicably dropped on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, the newspaper revealed a) in one of the key states that gave Trump the election — North Carolina — voters in heavily Democratic urban precincts faced unexplained computer glitches that in some cases prevented people from casting ballots, using an electronic system known to have been targeted by Russian hackers and b) no federal, state or local agency has really aggressively probed this possibility of Election Day hacking — despite mounting evidence that the attempted tampering was more widespread than first acknowledged.

The key takeaway:

After a presidential campaign scarred by Russian meddling, local, state and federal agencies have conducted little of the type of digital forensic investigation required to assess the impact, if any, on voting in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russian hackers, according to interviews with nearly two dozen national security and state officials and election technology specialists.

The Times article also raises the important possibility that Russian bad guys — or some other corrupt element — could have tampered with the U.S. presidential election in ways that no one has really focused on. A key point of the article involves problems on Election Day in 2016 with electronic poll books, the online system that officials at polling places use to determine who is eligible to vote and in what precinct.

Last Nov. 8, polling officials in Durham, N.C. — a town with a large college and non-white population that skews Democratic — found widespread problems with these records as voters showed up to cast their ballots. The problems were repeated in other localities in North Carolina and across the Sun Belt that had used electronic poll books run by software from VR Systems — a company that had been breached by Russian hackers months earlier.

The Times scoop makes the point that, while election watchers have looked for evidence that hackers stole the election by changing the actual votes that have been cast — and no hard evidence of that has been found — it was also possible to mess with the outcome by making sure that some votes in heavily Democratic wards were never cast at all. A recount is meaningless for votes that were prevented from happening in the first place. The even bigger problem, as noted by the Times, is that no one is looking too hard to see how often this happened, or why.

Something else here is important to note: American elections are easy to mess with because America’s election system is terrible — Russian hacking or no Russian hacking. Voters went to the polls in 2016 after years of efforts by mostly GOP-led state governments to make it hard for citizens — but especially non-white citizens, college students or the elderly — to cast ballots. Consider Wisconsin, the state where Trump pulled arguably his biggest upset, winning by only 22,748 votes. Critics have said Wisconsin’s turnout fell sharply because of its voter ID law (although maybe not by 200,000, as one study claimed.) Voters in the Badger State were also badgered with “fake news” — some of it undoubtedly from Russia. It’s hard to tell an array of innocent computer glitches and malfunctions from criminal hacking.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or political scientist to figure out what needs to be done. In the long run, we need massive election reform — including a new and improved Voting Rights Act that would pinpoint the most pernicious voter ID laws, an Election Day federal holiday, and same-day voter registration. We need a voting system that leaves a real paper trail that can be routinely audited and easily investigated when there are allegations of vote tampering. And, as the Times article makes clear, we need a more thorough investigation of computer hacking and other problems that occurred in 2016 — regardless of the possibility that we might learn the unthinkable.

This isn’t the first time America was afraid of asking hard questions. Does anyone remember the Warren Commission? There’s no precedent for undoing an election result if an investigation uncovered proof of direct interference with the balloting, and so perhaps it’s not shocking that the political establishment isn’t eager to contemplate this. Personally, I think that Americans can handle the truth — and that a serious investigation is called for. But for right now, if you want a government that takes election tampering seriously, you may have to move to Kenya.

Published: | Updated:

Thanks for your continued support…

We recently asked you to support our journalism. The response, in a word, is heartening. You have encouraged us in our mission — to provide quality news and watchdog journalism. Some of you have even followed through with subscriptions, which is especially gratifying. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer. And our promise to you is that we will always strive to provide indispensable journalism to our community. Subscriptions are available for home delivery of the print edition and for a digital replica viewable on your mobile device or computer. Subscriptions start as low as 25¢ per day.
We’re thankful for your support in every way.

Read the whole story
· · · · · ·
Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 3

Donald Trump is officially under investigation for Russian financial scheme during election 

1 Share

If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve known all along that this would end up being inevitable. It was always a matter of time before the investigation into Donald Trump’s Russian election collusion and the investigation into Donald Trump’s corrupt finances would become one and the same. Now that day has arrived: Trump is officially under investigation for financial dealings with Russia during the election.

That’s the word according to House Intelligence Committee Ranking member Adam Schiff, who appeared on CNN on Sunday. He officially confirmed that the committee is now investigating Donald Trump’s attempt at building a Trump Tower in Moscow during the election. He also confirmed that Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen and Trump’s longtime business associate Felix Sater, who conspired to try to get the Kremlin itself to assist in the real estate deal, are targets in the investigation. But there’s more to this.

By now it’s become clear that the ongoing House and Senate committee investigations are working in lock step with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s own investigation. One of the committees brought in Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort for questioning, and after his testimony must have given something away, Mueller had the FBI bust down his door before the sun came up the next morning. There is no doubt that Mueller is now investigating the Trump Tower Moscow plot as well, and that he’ll proceed with the same level of aggression he’s displayed up to this point.

Furthermore, the upshot of the Trump Tower Moscow scandal is that Donald Trump has absolutely no deniability. Cohen has already confirmed that he discussed the deal with Trump three times during the election. It’s also been confirmed that Trump signed a letter of intent during the election to build it. Trump can’t pretend he somehow didn’t know what his aides were doing when they conspired with the Kremlin during the election.

The post Donald Trump is officially under investigation for Russian financial scheme during electionappeared first on Palmer Report.

In Defense of the Truth – New York Times

1 Share

New York Times
In Defense of the Truth
New York Times
Of the statements by Trump that the fact-checking site PolitiFact has checked, just 5 percent were deemed absolutely true. Another 26 percent were just “mostly true” or “half true.” But a whopping 69 percent were found to be “mostly false,” “false” or 

U.S. Sets Plan for Regular Patrols in South China Sea

1 Share
The Pentagon for the first time has set a schedule of naval patrols in the South China Sea in an attempt to create a more consistent posture to counter China’s maritime claims there, injecting a new complication into increasingly uneasy relations between the two powers.


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Russia is at a dead end. It is vital that it not drag the rest of the world down the path it has taken – by Andrei A.Kovalev

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Putin’s Hand Can Clearly Be Seen In the Chaos of a Destabilized West

1 Share

What role is Russia playing in the difficulties the United States, Europe, and other countries are experiencing?

Does the Kremlin reject the existing world order and aspire to a new division of the world?

Did Moscow’s political kitchen deliberately help to concoct the loathsome dish of domestic and international terrorism, the tsunami of refugees, and political destabilization in many countries?

Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now

There can be no simple and straightforward answers, but serious consideration of recent Russian history leads to distressing conclusions.

When the totalitarian USSR collapsed there was cause for hope. The germs of a multi-party, parliamentary system and free enterprise appeared, political and religious freedoms were guaranteed, censorship vanished, and the mass media were liberated. Soviet citizens were free to travel, and punitive psychiatry ended.

And then–recoil. In 1993 President Yeltsin dealt a crushing blow to the parliamentary system, killing several hundred people in the process. Russia practiced genocide against its own people in Chechnya. Political assassinations and the murder of journalists commenced.

Vladimir Putin at the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Department (GRU) in Moscow, 08 November 2006. DMITRI ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty

The economic situation was no better. Even prior to the attempted coup by communist hardliners against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the KGB began transferring huge amounts of “party funds” to “trusted persons.,” thereby founding the fortunes of the first of Russia’s nouveaux riches. The most infamous cases followed in the mid-1990s.

The coup is said to have failed miserably. Not so. By then the USSR was falling apart. Key positions in the executive and legislative branches had already been seized by officials and agents of the special services, often working “under cover.” The same thing happened in the world of business.

Gorbachev in power ended the Cold War. Yet after the dissolution of the USSR, Russia began a gradual return to Cold War policies. Under the pretext of defending Russian compatriots abroad, the Kremlin interfered in the domestic politics of neighboring Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Moldova. It was suspected of involvement in the attempted assassination of Georgia’s president Eduard Shevardnadze.

Meanwhile, Russia pursued an anti-Western policy of supporting the murderous Slobodan Milosevic in former Yugoslavia. Among the later results of these trends, under Putin, were a dismembered Georgia, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and prolonged Russian aggression in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Why were a number of terrorist acts in the West, such as the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, performed by visitors or emigrants from the former Soviet Union?

Did the emigrants, the brothers Tsarnaev, of Chechen nationality, responsible for the Boston attack, act on their own initiative? It seems most unlikely.

Russia must accept a share of responsibility for the Syrian civil war, the flood of refugees into Europe, the rightward drift of several European countries, the rising influence of ultra-right politicians, attempts to weaken the EU, and the U.K.’s Brexit decision.

What is going on between Russia and Donald Trump?

Is the president of the United States linked more closely to the Kremlin than any Western political figure should be?

That these questions command serious and prolonged attention in the United States puts Russia in a very poor light.

Why didn’t democracy take root in Russia? Why under Putin has the overwhelming majority of the population joyously welcomed the rebirth of authoritarianism, in a different flavor, of extreme corruption and misappropriation of state funds and natural resources?

The ultimate answer is that it is extremely dangerous when the secret police, with their nationalistic mentality, seize power in an enormous nuclear state, and when a former hunter of dissidents becomes president. Dangerous not only for Russia, but for the whole world.

When it became clear that Russia interfered in the internal affairs of the United States, in the presidential election, increasing numbers of Americans were persuaded of this truth.

Unfortunately, Russia has entered a path that leads nowhere. Power is unlimited; legislation is repressive; there has long been no real opposition. There is no coherent opposition program. The slogans “Russia without Putin,” and “Russia will be free,” are just words.

Putin cynically and regularly proclaims a struggle against the corruption that he himself sponsors.

What would Russia be without Putin? Putin himself is nothing. He is merely a facade concealing the special services and the oligarchs. They can easily replace him with another representative of the secret services.

Was Russia free under Dmitri Medvedev, president in 2008-2012? Of course not. He was a puppet of these very same forces.

Sometimes I am reproached for attributing to the Kremlin too much influence in the world. My response is that the Putin regime is so convinced of its own impunity that it indulges in actions that even communist leaders during the Cold War refrained from attempting.

Russia is at a dead end. It is vital that it not drag the rest of the world down the path it has taken.

It is our responsibility to make sure that does not happen.

Andrei A.Kovalev served as a diplomat and official in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-91) and then in similar capacities under presidents Yeltsin and Putin (1991-2007). He is author ofRussia’s Dead End: An Insider’s Testimony from Gorbachev to Putin (Potomac Books, University of Nebraska Press, 2017).

Read the whole story
· · · ·

Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe – Business Insider

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

White House policy adviser Stephen Miller may now be in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Source: Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe – Business Insider

Stephen Miller may be in the crosshairs of Mueller’s Russia probe

1 Share

Robert MuellerRobert Mueller. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

  • President Trump’s drafted letter laying out his reasons for firing FBI director James Comey could give the special counsel a direct window into the president’s intent when he later dismissed Comey.
  • The letter could also implicate top Trump aide, Stephen Miller, in Robert Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice investigation. 
  • The advice that White House counsel Don McGahn gave Trump to dissuade him from sending the letter could also prove to be a critical piece of the puzzle.

News on Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a letter drafted by President Donald Trump that details his reasons for firing then-FBI director James Comey has likely bolstered the progress of the Russia investigation, and may have landed another close Trump confidant in its crosshairs.

Mueller was put in charge of the investigation — which is examining whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during last year’s presidential election — after Trump dismissed Comey in May. As part of his investigation, Mueller is also examining whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired the FBI director four months ago.

The letter Mueller is reviewing was drafted by Trump along with policy adviser Stephen Miller, and legal experts say it is possibly the most critical piece of evidence in Mueller’s obstruction-of-justice case since Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June, because it can give prosecutors a direct window into Trump’s thinking shortly before he fired Comey.

The biggest challenge a prosecutor faces in an obstruction-of-justice case is proving corrupt intent, which is almost always difficult to establish. But Trump’s letter could change the ballgame.

“The best way to prove someone’s intent is through their own words and actions,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told Business Insider in an interview Saturday. “Here, you have a letter that was written by Miller, at the direction of the president, that contains what the president’s thoughts were at that time.”

Though the letter’s full contents remain unclear, The Washington Post reported that it focused on what was perhaps Trump’s greatest frustration with Comey: that the FBI director did not publicly announce, when he was leading the bureau’s investigation, that Trump was not personally under investigation.

James ComeyFormer FBI Director James Comey Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“It’s problematic for Trump if he fired Comey because he did not take actions in the investigation that would benefit Trump personally,” Mariotti said. “That makes Mueller’s case stronger.”

Cornell Law School associate dean and criminal law expert Jens David Ohlin echoed that assessment.

“The draft letter is extremely relevant to Mueller’s investigation because it may yield evidence about the true reason that Trump fired Comey,” Ohlin said. “If Trump fired Comey to impede an investigation that might implicate his own campaign or administration, that is obstruction of justice.”

Trump put the letter together shortly after Comey’s May 3 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he defended his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The president was reportedly incensed after Comey acknowledged that his October announcement that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton, days before the election, could have impacted its results.

Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, told Business Insider in an email Saturday that the letter has long been in Mueller’s possession and its existence was known both to the special counsel’s team, as well as to the Department of Justice, “which has had a copy since the day it was first discussed within the White House.” He added there was “little, IF ANY, objection within the White House” to the letter, and that it focused primarily on Comey’s “usurpation of powers and other erratic and inexplicable conduct.”

The long weekend during which Trump drafted the letter at his Bedminster golf club began on Thursday, May 4, The New York Times reported on Friday. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein was given a copy of Trump’s draft letter on Monday, May 8, and then proceeded to write a separate memo as to why Comey should be fired.

stephen millerStephen Miller tapes Sunday show interviews from the White House. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The letter also implicates Miller, who The Post said acted as a “stenographer” for Trump in writing the letter.

Miller, an ally of the recently ousted chief strategist Steve Bannon, has emerged in recent months as a Trump loyalist within the administration.

Given his role in the matter, Miller will likely be, at the very least, a witness in Mueller’s investigation. Other possible witnesses include Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who were both with Trump at his Bedminster golf club when he drafted the letter during a weekend in early May.

If Miller acted primarily as a transcriber, he could have a smaller part in the investigation. However, “if he was actively working with the president to plan how they could derail or kill the Russia investigation,” Mariotti said, “that could present legal problems for Miller.”

Ohlin added that Miller and anyone else involved in Comey’s firing — or drafting the letter — may be accessories or co-conspirators to that crime as well.

The question then becomes, Mariotti added, “whether there was an agreement between Miller and the president to obstruct justice.” If that were the case, it could amount to conspiracy, he said.

Another way the adviser could be implicated in the investigation is if, for example, the president was acting in a way to obstruct justice, and Miller knew about that and tried to do what he could to help Trump succeed. If that were the case, Miller could have been aiding and abetting a crime. 

Mariotti said those two possibilities are likely the biggest potential sources of criminal liability for Miller.

The letter, as a whole, is a crucial part of the Russia controversy because it “goes directly to the biggest issue at question — what Trump’s intent was as to the Russia investigation,” Mariotti said.

Trump’s best defense would likely be that the draft letter did not reflect his true thinking on the subject, and that’s why never sent it, Ohlin said.

He added, however, that he didn’t believe the argument would hold much water because “it seems more likely that the draft letter reflected his true thinking, but then was edited down for other reasons.”

Though the White House initially said that Trump fired Comey based entirely on Rosenstein’s and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recommendations, Trump later said he had already decided to fire Comey, and that Rosenstein’s recommendation sealed the deal.

His explanation changed again later on, when he admitted to NBC News’ Lester Holt that he had fired Comey because of “this Russia thing,” and that he was going to dismiss the FBI director regardless of Rosenstein’s input.

Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump looks at Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

And as far as that goes, White House counsel Don McGahn’s conversation with Trump when he advised him against sending the letter could be another key piece of the puzzle.

“We don’t know exactly what McGahn said, but the mere fact that he put a stop to that letter is another piece of evidence that Mueller could use to say, ‘Donald Trump was warned by the White House counsel that this was a problematic step and decided to do it anyway,'” Mariotti told Business Insider on Saturday morning, and later spoke about on Twitter.

The substance of what McGahn told Trump is important — and there’s no guarantee that it could be withheld as privileged information.

The reason is that a federal court of appeals ruled in 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey had to submit to the special prosecutor’s questions about President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky. In that case, the court held that there is no attorney-client privilege between a government lawyer and a government employee in response to a grand jury inquiry.

If that ruling holds as it relates to the obstruction-of-justice investigation, it’s possible the public will eventually hear what McGahn told the president. “If he said anything along the lines of, ‘There’s potential criminal liability if you shut down this investigation,’ that would be extraordinarily powerful evidence against Trump,” Mariotti said.

In that case, McGahn’s advice to Trump could possibly become as important as Trump’s state of mind when he crafted the letter.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · ·

Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Byron York: Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

A standoff could be developing.

Source: Byron York: Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier

1 Share

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation — the Trump dossier, the firing of James Comey, and more. But the FBI doesn’t want those officials to talk — even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor James Mueller.

A standoff could be developing.

It began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote letters to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey’s chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau’s national security branch. “The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” the chairman and ranking member wrote. “Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017.”

It didn’t happen. On July 27, Samuel Ramer, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote to say that Rybicki and Ghattas would not be talking. Noting the Mueller investigation, Ramer said, “Under these circumstances and consistent with the department’s long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters, the department cannot make Mr. Ghattas or Mr. Rybicki available for transcribed interviews at this time.”

Grassley and Feinstein did not agree. They knew that committee staff, Republican and Democrat, had had so-called “de-confliction” discussions with Mueller’s office on how the Senate investigation might proceed without interfering with Mueller’s criminal probe. And they didn’t see a conflict. So on August 25, Grassley and Feinstein wrote another letter, this time to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“The department declined to make Mr. Ghattas and Mr. Rybicki available for interviews because of pending matters and their current work on those matters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote. “However, in our de-confliction discussions with the Special Counsel’s office, we have clarified that the committee intends to limit the scope of the interviews to avoid that concern. There is no intent to seek information about these witnesses’ current work with the Special Counsel’s office. Rather, we seek their independent recollections, as fact witnesses, of events that occurred before and including Director Comey’s removal.”

The two lawmakers asked the Justice Department to get in touch by September 1 to schedule the interviews. “We appreciate and expect the department’s voluntary cooperation with this important request,” they wrote.

Including the words “expect” and “voluntary” was notable, because it essentially meant, “Don’t make us force you.” If they are united, the chair and the ranking minority of a Senate committee can make a lot of trouble for an agency under their oversight. Grassley and Feinstein, veterans of many years in the Senate, know that very well.

The Justice Department does, too. But September 1 came and went with no department effort to set up the interviews.

Now, it is not clear what is next. Grassley and Feinstein appear to be determined to talk to Rybicki and Ghattas. It is obvious that both men know a lot about what went on in the FBI in the last couple of years. As far as the Trump dossier specifically is concerned, they could be able to shed light on the FBI’s reported decision in October 2016 to support work on the dossier, which at the time was an anti-Trump opposition research project funded by Clinton donors. Grassley has said that decision “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.” There’s no doubt he wants to learn more about it.

Finally, sharp-eyed readers may have noticed the name of James Rybicki in the news in the last few days. He was one of the FBI officials cited in a letter from Grassley and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggesting that Comey may have decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the email investigation before Clinton and more than a dozen other witnesses were even interviewed. The senators based the charge on Rybicki’s interview with the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel. (They took care to note that, despite the name, the Office of Special Counsel is completely separate from and not related to the Robert Mueller investigation.) Rybicki, as Comey’s chief of staff, obviously knew a lot about the email investigation.

Now Grassley and Feinstein want to know what Rybicki, as well as Ghattas, knows about the dossier, the Comey firing, and other events that make up the broadest definition of the Trump-Russia affair. But first, they’ll have to get past the Justice Department’s determination to keep things secret.


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

3:57 PM 9/2/2017 – FBI – Current News and Selected Articles Review: Special Counsel Mueller has Trump’s draft letter on reasons for firing FBI Director James Comey: Source – CNBC

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Image result for fbi

Saved Stories – 1. FBI
A Long-Pursued ISIS Preacher Is Finally Charged in New York
Harvey is a 1,000-year flood event unprecedented in scale The Washington Post
House Financial Services panel leaders spar over Trump, Russia – The Hill
Netanyahu Seeks Russian-American Guarantees To Counter Iran | HuffPost
Selected Articles: 28/08/17 12:52 24/08/17 09:36: Erdogan And Putin Expand Military, Economic And Energy Relations OilPrice.com Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule? The New Yorker | Hundreds of pages of new details on Trump-Russia dossier and Pee Pee Tape are on verge of being released
1. FBI from mikenova (10 sites)
fbi aclu report – Google News: The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington – Chicago Tribune
fbi – Google News: The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington – Chicago Tribune
mueller – Google News: Matthew T. Mangino: Mueller sends Trump administration message on pardons – Apalachicola Times
fbi – Google News: Couple who overdosed previously under FBI investigation – WTAJ
james b. comey – Google News: Here are the questions that Sarah Sanders actually answered at today’s news briefing – Washington Post
fbi – Google News: FBI says woman who reported being kidnapped killed herself – CBS … – CBS News

 

1. FBI from mikenova (10 sites)
Andrew McCabe – Google News: Mueller may have just gotten ‘the most important evidence’ so far in his obstruction of justice case – Business Insider


Business Insider
Mueller may have just gotten ‘the most important evidence’ so far in his obstruction of justice case
Business Insider
The acting director at the time, Andrew McCabe, later denied that the bureau had lost faith in Comey before his firing. Trump’s legal team has already mounted a defense against a potential obstruction case, asserting that the president has the 
Mueller Has Early Draft of Trump Letter Giving Reasons for Firing ComeyNew York Times
Trump Attorneys Lay Out Arguments Against Obstruction-of-Justice Probe to MuellerWall Street Journal
Mueller examining Trump’s draft letter firing FBI Director ComeyWashington Post

all 151 news articles »

Andrew McCabe – Google News

mueller – Google News: Matthew T. Mangino: Mueller sends Trump administration message on pardons – Wicked Local Holbrook


Wicked Local Holbrook
Matthew T. Mangino: Mueller sends Trump administration message on pardons
Wicked Local Holbrook
In 2013, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow found Arpaio’s office engaged in systemic racial profiling of Latinos in its anti-illegal-immigration efforts. Snow ordered the agency to stop detaining people solely because they were suspected of being …
Arpaio Pardon Shows the Futility of Mueller’s Obstruction InvestigationNational Review
Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio shows he could undermine one of Mueller’s key tools in the Russia probeBusiness Insider

all 344 news articles »

mueller – Google News

The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Trumps summer of discontent bleeds into high-stakes fall ABC News

Source: Trump’s summer of discontent bleeds into high-stakes fall – ABC News

The World Web Times wwtimes.com

fbi aclu report – Google News: The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington – Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune
The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington
Chicago Tribune
A look at the crowd during set by the Insane Clown Posse at a festival organized by the band. The event is nearly two decades old and was held this year in Oklahoma City in late July. Often derided as “white trash” the band and its base have a penchant

and more »

fbi aclu report – Google News

fbi – Google News: The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington – Chicago Tribune


Chicago Tribune
The FBI targeted Insane Clown Posse fans; now the Juggalos are marching on Washington
Chicago Tribune
If the FBI is to be believed, every one of the hundreds of Juggalos under this tent were potentially part of a criminal syndicate. That’s because in 2011, the FBI took the extraordinary and unprecedented step of labeling the entire fan base of ICP a 

and more »

fbi – Google News

mueller – Google News: Mueller’s Russia probe team reportedly has Trump’s draft letter on Comey firing – Fox News


Fox News
Mueller’s Russia probe team reportedly has Trump’s draft letter on Comey firing
Fox News
The Justice Department has reportedly given special counsel Robert Mueller the original letter that President Trump wanted to use as grounds for firing FBI Director James Comey, as part of Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign 
Special Counsel Mueller has Trump’s draft letter on reasons for firing FBI Director James Comey: SourceCNBC
Mueller team has draft letter on Comey firingPBS NewsHour
Mueller examining Trump’s draft letter firing FBI Director ComeyWashington Post
Salon –CBS News –New York Times –Wall Street Journal
all 155 news articles »

mueller – Google News

The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

Image result for trump

Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it, Sater emailed Trump Organization executive vice president Michael Cohen, detailed by The New York Times… 

We have become inured to Trumpian self-dealing, from doubling membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to profiting off his government-owned D.C. hotel. This one goes beyond pure greed. It edges into serious questions about whether Trumps positions on Putin and Russia have been and remain tainted by considerations not of what is best for the nation but what benefits Trumps bottom line.”

Image result for How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

    Obstruction of justice case against Trump

 

 

How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump – GS

Story image for Obstruction of justice case against Trump from The Guardian

How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

The Guardian2 hours ago
He reportedly possesses a draft letter explaining Trump’s rationale for … In any obstruction of justice case against Trump, Mueller might also …
3 Things to Know About the Trump Lawyers’ Memos to Mueller
The National Law Journal (registration)17 hours ago
_________________________________

Source: How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump | US news | The Guardian

“Certain additional documents whose existence was revealed for the first time meeting notes taken by the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and a letter of intent reportedly signed by Trump to build a tower in Moscow seemed to undercut previous statements by the president, his son and others about relationships now under the scrutiny of Muellers team…

Draft letter

The documents were still flowing on Friday afternoon, with a New York Times report that Mueller was in possession of a draft letter explaining Trumps rationale for firing Comey. The draft was reportedly written by Trump and an aide, Stephen Miller, but rejected by the White House counsel, on unknown grounds…

Other documents

revealed a changing narrative in Trump campaign contacts with Russian agents. The Washington Post reported Monday that during the campaign, Trumps lawyer Michael Cohen wrote an email to an aide to Russias president, Vladimir Putin, asking for help with a real estate deal.

It was further revealed that early on in the presidential campaign, Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent to build a tower in Moscow, Cohen confirmed in a statement to ABC News. Trump claimed during the campaign that he knows nothing about Russia and had no loans and no deals there…

The details of any Trump deal or debt with a Russian connection, if any exist, are not publicly known but yet another headline this week indicated that Mueller may have gained insight on the subject. According to a Daily Beast report on Thursday, the special counsel has enlisted the help of agents from the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service.”

Trump has disingenuously downplayed his financial interests in Russia

1 Share

WASHINGTON There comes a point in the unspooling of every complex political-financial-legal scandal when the story becomes so complicated that its easy to lose the thread of what matters. The facts dribble out, in ever more confusing increments. The lengthy cast of characters resembles a Russian novel. Competing news demands our attention.

That is where we are now when it comes to the investigation of President Trump and Russia. Harvey deluged the Gulf Coast, drowning out the news about Trumps involvement with Russia. Still, that news is, or should be, huge. The latest revelations feel, at least for now, like more of a political bombshell than a legal problem, but the two are closely related; consider how many public officials have landed themselves in legal jeopardy trying to save their political hides.

Still, that news is, or should be, huge. The latest revelations feel, at least for now, like more of a political bombshell than a legal problem, but the two are closely related; consider how many public officials have landed themselves in legal jeopardy trying to save their political hides.

To recap, what we know now that we did not know a week ago:

While he ran for president, Trump was simultaneously and secretly pursuing financial opportunities with a foreign adversary. Not just any adversary, but Russia, a country described by his partys previous presidential nominee as the United States No. 1 geopolitical foe. And not just pursuing financial opportunities in Russia, but actively seeking the help of at least one senior Russian official to gain government approval for the project.

Once again: This is not OK. When you run for president, you cannot you should not put yourself in the position of using that candidacy as a door-opening business opportunity. You cannot even if the prospect of winning seems remote put yourself in a position of being financially beholden to a hostile foreign power.

Trump Tower Moscow was not another instance of Trump as unabashed cross-promoter-in-chief, like using the campaign press corps to help tout the reopening of his Scottish golf course. It represented something much more disturbing, even unpatriotic.

It was possible, when The Washington Post first broke the news of the failed deal, to discount the proposal as braggadocio from Felix Sater, the Russian-born real estate developer pushing the deal.

Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it, Sater emailed Trump Organization executive vice president Michael Cohen, detailed by The New York Times.

But as it turned out, this was more than Sater freelancing in Trumps name. The Post next reported that Cohen emailed Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 in a bid to save the languishing deal; that Cohen discussed the project with Trump on three occasions; and that the effort was dropped when Russian government permission was unforthcoming.

The Trump Organization not only pursued this opportunity in secret, it indeed, Trump himself actively misled the public. Imagine how much more sharply people would have responded to Trumps already repulsive praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin during that time Hes running his country, and at least hes a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country if they knew that Trump had just signed a letter of intent with a Russian firm to develop a Trump-branded tower in Moscow.

And as the question of Trumps Russian connections became increasingly controversial, he somehow omitted the just-abandoned deal. For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia, he tweeted in July 2016. This past January, as Trump prepared to take office, he reiterated, I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING! Shades of Bill Clinton it depends on what the meaning of have is.

As recently as his interview this summer with The New York Times, Trump disingenuously downplayed his financial interests in Russia. I mean, its possible theres a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? They said I own buildings in Russia. I dont. They said I made money from Russia. I dont. Its not my thing. I dont, I dont do that. Over the years, Ive looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one. Including the one he was pursuing while running for president, but failed to mention.

We have become inured to Trumpian self-dealing, from doubling membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to profiting off his government-owned D.C. hotel. This one goes beyond pure greed. It edges into serious questions about whether Trumps positions on Putin and Russia have been and remain tainted by considerations not of what is best for the nation but what benefits Trumps bottom line.

Ruth Marcus email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.

The World Web Times wwtimes.com

The World Web Times wwtimes.com: Plane Crashes During Demonstration Flight Near Moscow, 2 Killed Reports Sputnik International

Source: Plane Crashes During Demonstration Flight Near Moscow, 2 Killed – Reports – Sputnik International

Аргументы и Факты: В Балашихе при крушении самолета на авиашоу погибли два человека

Крушение потерпел самолет Ан-2

The World Web Times wwtimes.com

mueller – Google News: Arpaio Pardon Shows the Futility of Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation – National Review

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Image result for trump

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater emailed Trump Organization executive vice president Michael Cohen, detailed by The New York Times… 

We have become inured to Trumpian self-dealing, from doubling membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to profiting off his government-owned D.C. hotel. This one goes beyond pure greed. It edges into serious questions about whether Trump’s positions on Putin and Russia have been and remain tainted by considerations not of what is best for the nation but what benefits Trump’s bottom line.”

Image result for How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

    Obstruction of justice case against Trump

 

 

How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump – GS

Story image for Obstruction of justice case against Trump from The Guardian

How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump

The Guardian2 hours ago
He reportedly possesses a draft letter explaining Trump’s rationale for … In any obstruction of justice case against Trump, Mueller might also …
3 Things to Know About the Trump Lawyers’ Memos to Mueller
The National Law Journal (registration)17 hours ago
_________________________________

Source: How an obstruction of justice case may be shaping up against Trump | US news | The Guardian

“Certain additional documents whose existence was revealed for the first time – meeting notes taken by the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and a letter of intent reportedly signed by Trump to build a tower in Moscow – seemed to undercut previous statements by the president, his son and others about relationships now under the scrutiny of Mueller’s team…

Draft letter

The documents were still flowing on Friday afternoon, with a New York Times report that Mueller was in possession of a draft letter explaining Trump’s rationale for firing Comey. The draft was reportedly written by Trump and an aide, Stephen Miller, but rejected by the White House counsel, on unknown grounds…

Other documents

revealed a changing narrative in Trump campaign contacts with Russian agents. The Washington Post reported Monday that during the campaign, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen wrote an email to an aide to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, asking for help with a real estate deal.

It was further revealed that early on in the presidential campaign, Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent to build a tower in Moscow, Cohen confirmed in a statement to ABC News. Trump claimed during the campaign that he “knows nothing about Russia” and had “no loans” and “no deals” there…

The details of any Trump deal or debt with a Russian connection, if any exist, are not publicly known – but yet another headline this week indicated that Mueller may have gained insight on the subject. According to a Daily Beast report on Thursday, the special counsel has enlisted the help of agents from the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service.”

Trump has disingenuously downplayed his financial interests in Russia

1 Share

WASHINGTON — There comes a point in the unspooling of every complex political-financial-legal scandal when the story becomes so complicated that it’s easy to lose the thread of what matters. The facts dribble out, in ever more confusing increments. The lengthy cast of characters resembles a Russian novel. Competing news demands our attention.

That is where we are now when it comes to the investigation of President Trump and Russia. Harvey deluged the Gulf Coast, drowning out the news about Trump’s involvement with Russia. Still, that news is, or should be, huge. The latest revelations feel, at least for now, like more of a political bombshell than a legal problem, but the two are closely related; consider how many public officials have landed themselves in legal jeopardy trying to save their political hides.

Still, that news is, or should be, huge. The latest revelations feel, at least for now, like more of a political bombshell than a legal problem, but the two are closely related; consider how many public officials have landed themselves in legal jeopardy trying to save their political hides.

To recap, what we know now that we did not know a week ago:

While he ran for president, Trump was simultaneously — and secretly — pursuing financial opportunities with a foreign adversary. Not just any adversary, but Russia, a country described by his party’s previous presidential nominee as the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” And not just pursuing financial opportunities in Russia, but actively seeking the help of at least one senior Russian official to gain government approval for the project.

Once again: This is not OK. When you run for president, you cannot — you should not — put yourself in the position of using that candidacy as a door-opening business opportunity. You cannot — even if the prospect of winning seems remote — put yourself in a position of being financially beholden to a hostile foreign power.

Trump Tower Moscow was not another instance of Trump as unabashed cross-promoter-in-chief, like using the campaign press corps to help tout the reopening of his Scottish golf course. It represented something much more disturbing, even unpatriotic.

It was possible, when The Washington Post first broke the news of the failed deal, to discount the proposal as braggadocio from Felix Sater, the Russian-born real estate developer pushing the deal.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater emailed Trump Organization executive vice president Michael Cohen, detailed by The New York Times.

But as it turned out, this was more than Sater freelancing in Trump’s name. The Post next reported that Cohen emailed Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 in a bid to save the languishing deal; that Cohen discussed the project with Trump on three occasions; and that the effort was dropped when Russian government permission was unforthcoming.

The Trump Organization not only pursued this opportunity in secret, it — indeed, Trump himself — actively misled the public. Imagine how much more sharply people would have responded to Trump’s already repulsive praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin during that time — “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country” — if they knew that Trump had just signed a letter of intent with a Russian firm to develop a Trump-branded tower in Moscow.

And as the question of Trump’s Russian connections became increasingly controversial, he somehow omitted the just-abandoned deal. “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia,” he tweeted in July 2016. This past January, as Trump prepared to take office, he reiterated, “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” Shades of Bill Clinton — it depends on what the meaning of “have” is.

As recently as his interview this summer with The New York Times, Trump disingenuously downplayed his financial interests in Russia. “I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows? …They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that. Over the years, I’ve looked at maybe doing a deal in Russia, but I never did one.” Including the one he was pursuing while running for president, but failed to mention.

We have become inured to Trumpian self-dealing, from doubling membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to profiting off his government-owned D.C. hotel. This one goes beyond pure greed. It edges into serious questions about whether Trump’s positions on Putin and Russia have been and remain tainted by considerations not of what is best for the nation but what benefits Trump’s bottom line.

Ruth Marcus’ email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.


Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

8:22 PM 8/30/2017 – RUSSIAN LOBBYIST TESTIFIES TO MUELLER GRAND JURY – FINANCIAL TIMES

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, during Flight Test Standard Missile-27, Event 2. The target was successfully intercepted by SM-6 missiles fired from the guided-missile destroyer destroyer USS John Paul Jones.

1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)
Day in Photos – Voice of America: August 30, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.
Day in Photos – Voice of America

 

Saved Stories – None
Russian lobbyist gave evidence to grand jury on Trump Jr meeting
Trump’s Foreign Policy Outlines Come into Focus – Voice of America
Mayor Of Hell, Inspired By Trump, Declares Heterosexuality Illegal
US Deputy Attorney General Warns About the Right-Wing Terror Threat Trump Ignores – Mother Jones
Federal investigation launched into Donald Trumps Washington DC hotel
Lousy tank driver swerves into car on public road – Boing Boing
Senate Intel Committee targets Russian puppet Congressman Dana Rohrabacher
The World News and Times theworldnewsandtimes.com Information Management Serv…
Sebastian Gorka, the West Wing’s Phony Foreign-Policy Guru – RollingStone.com
Sebastian Gorka’s PhD adviser: “I would not call him an expert in … – CNN
Civil and Human Rights Coalition Welcomes Departure of Sebastian … – Civilrights.org
Tillerson: Sebastian Gorka Is “Completely Wrong” About Radical Islam, Afghanistan, “Globalism vs. America First” – RealClearPolitics
Sebastian Gorka Is Forced Out as White House Adviser, Officials Say – New York Times
Sebastian Gorka and Another Broken Trump Promise – PJ Media
Melania wears her heels to Harvey hell zone – New York Post
Sebastian Gorka, former Trump adviser, placed on White House ‘Do Not Admit’ list: Report – Washington Times
House Financial Services panel leaders spar over Trump, Russia – The Hill
The Web World News webwn.com Links: 1:11 PM 8/29/2017 Selected Articles Review
LINKS Reviewed on 10:37 AM 8/29/2017
Trump: All options are on the table following North Korea missile launch over Japan
Torrential rains for Texas continue into…
Mika: Is Arpaio pardon just first of many…
Harvey Live Updates: Trump Heads to a Rain-Battered Texas
Have the ‘full-on crazy’ WH aides finally…

 

Saved Stories – None
Russian lobbyist testifies to Mueller grand jury – Financial Times
 


Financial Times
Russian lobbyist testifies to Mueller grand jury
Financial Times
Mr Akhmetshin gave testimony under oath for several hours on Friday August 11, in a sign that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at the 2016 meeting as part of his investigation into links between Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia. The 
Republican congressman floats amendment to end Mueller probeWashington Postall 109 news articles »

Russian lobbyist gave evidence to grand jury on Trump Jr meeting

Rinat Akhmetshin testified as part of special counsel Robert Muellers investigation
Trump’s Foreign Policy Outlines Come into Focus – Voice of America
 

Trump’s Foreign Policy Outlines Come into Focus
Voice of America
But many experts say that on key issues, such as Afghanistan, Syria and North Korea, Trump is continuing along a traditional U.S. foreign policy path similar to his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. … Previous U.S. presidents also embraced  

Mayor Of Hell, Inspired By Trump, Declares Heterosexuality Illegal

Elijah Daniel was impeached shortly after the anti-straight people decree.
US Deputy Attorney General Warns About the Right-Wing Terror Threat Trump Ignores – Mother Jones
 


Mother Jones
US Deputy Attorney General Warns About the Right-Wing Terror Threat Trump Ignores
Mother Jones
Trump also has a long history of downplaying, if not downright ignoring right-wing terror attacks, as I’ve also documented. But in a speech at a national security conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went …and more »

Federal investigation launched into Donald Trumps Washington DC hotel

Since his broadly offensive and divisive foray into politics began, Donald Trump has seen many of his hotels and properties lose business. The key exception has been his recently opened Trump International Hotel, which is located near the White House in Washington, DC. Trump has routinely used his office to steer business to the hotel, which is booming. But now a federal investigation has been launched into the property.

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

3:09 PM 8/28/2017 – Putin, the price of oil, and the Weather Weapons – News Review

Share this article
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Putin, the price of oil, and the Weather Weapons – GS

8.28.17 – Hurricane Harvey And The Price Of Oil

Tornado

 

8.28.17 – Hurricane Harvey And The Price Of Oil

______________________________

Shared Articles: 
putin, price of oil, and weather weapons – Google Search

putin, price of oil, and weather weapons – Google Search
Why Russian Sanctions Haven’t Worked
How oil’s become the world’s most potent weapon
weather weapons – Google Search
Weather Warfare HAARP – YouTube
Weather warfare – Wikipedia
putin and price of oil – Google Search
putin and price of oil – Google Search
putin and price of oil – Google Search
Putin Wants Higher Oil Prices – Oil Markets Daily – The United States Oil ETF, LP (NYSEARCA:USO)
Will Putin and Trump Bond Over Oil?
Weak Oil Prices In Future Mean A Weak Russia And Putin | HuffPost
An Oil Crisis Is Looming; Welcome to Trump-Putin World
Vladimir Putin pushes up oil prices as Russia signals it will cap production
price of oil – Google Search
price of oil – Google Search
is tropical storm harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price? – Google Search
is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price? – Google Search
is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon? – Google Search
Climate researcher says CIA fears hostile nations are triggering floods and droughts
Is Hurricane Harvey weather warfare?, page 1
Hurricane Harvey – Google Search
Hurricane Harvey – Google Search
Hurricane Harvey: What Happened and Whats Next
Hurricane Harvey and Price of oil – Google Search
1 Share
Image result for putin, price of oil, and weather weapons

Why Russian Sanctions Haven’t Worked

1 Share

Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017 –  The main building of the Russian Foreign Ministry.President Vladimir Putin on July 30 said the United States would have to cut 755 diplomatic staff in Russia and warned of a prolonged gridlock in its ties after the US Congress backed new sanctions against the Kremlin. (Photo credit:  ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

On the streets of Moscow things look pretty much the same as they did before the first round of sanctions were levied to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine and the Crimea: no shortages in the shops, prices in restaurants actually lower than before sanctions went into effect. Head to the outskirts of the big cites into the countryside, and aside from the occasional oligarch’s outrageously lavish dacha, you see poverty. Just as you would have seen ten, 20, 50 years ago. These are the people who never benefitted from the hey days of high oil prices and whose lives, under sanctions, also haven’t changed.

That’s because there’s been no trickle-down in post-Soviet Russian economy: those in leadership positions when Communism collapsed took what they could with permission; others took what was in front of them and sold it where they could find a market. That includes objectionable good such as weapons and uranium to objectionable clients.

As economist Andrey Movchan, director of the Economic Policy Program at Carnegie Moscow Center writes in his report, Decline, Not Collapse: The Bleak Prospects for Russia’s Economy, “By the time Russian President Vladimir Putin took power in 2000, the majority of key assets were owned either by the state or by a small group of private individuals who had obtained these assets from the state in return for political obedience and loyalty.” Movchan and I met in Moscow recently to discuss the impact of sanctions and the future of the Russian economy for this blog.

Operating Without Money

It helps to remember that not only is Russia a country that can endure hardships like no other, but it is also accustomed to operating without money. Favors and personal privilege are equally valuable, if not more desirable, commodities with which to barter. And even under Communism everyone, including the government, depended on the black market for goods and services. It was the closet things Soviet Russia had to Capitalism, during a time when private enterprise could get you sent to a gulag if you were lucky, or to a firing squad if you were not. So it should come as no shock that those best able to handle the overnight shift in economic ideology were the black marketeers who had the experience of private enterprise and lacked the average Russian’s inbred fear of acting on his or her own.

Moscow, Russia, July 31, 2017 – A view overlooking Red Square and  beyond, showing the Kremlin, the History Museum and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (gold dome). (Photo credit:  MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

There followed in the 1990s a transition period consisting of a liberal economy but no governance. Russia was a real wild east. Then-President Boris Yeltsin’s inability to manage the government led to stalemate in the state Duma (Parliament) and wanton disorder in the business world, involving not just corruption but sometimes murder. Putin’s ascent to power brought much of the mayhem to a halt and regained state control of the country’s oil production and trading business, which had been lost during the 1990s, under what then passed for “privatization.” Putin, writes Movchan, “arrested the rebellious oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2003, nationalized his Yukos oil company, and ensured all other oligarchs got the message and would obey.”

By 2008, Movchan says, up to 70% of the Russian budget either directly or indirectly consisted of hydrocarbon export revenues. By 2013, no more than 10% of the country’s GDP came from the independent private sector or non-mineral-resource production. Meanwhile, Movchan writes, though inflation had been running at 6.5% in 2013 and GDP growth did not exceed 1.3%, real wages – thanks to Russia’s social policy which Movchan calls “reckless” – exceeded 11.4%.

“This was also the period when many people sold their businesses to the state. Took their money and went abroad,” Movchan claims. “That meant that the state controlled more than 70% of businesses – more than under (the last Communist leader) Mikhail Gorbachev, when the state control was 60%,” he says. “Today maybe 25% of GDP is in the hands of the private sector.”

State Secrets

Movchan says he’s loathe to accept state-generated statistics on the economy at face value because, he writes, “more than 30% of it is classified as ‘secret’. It is generally believed that the classified items in the budget are used to finance the military-industrial complex and security agencies, but there is indirect evidence suggesting that these funds may have many other uses as well. They may range from financing ‘friends of Russia’ abroad, to closing gaps in the balance of state-controlled companies and allowing top officials to make personal purchases.” Opacity, it seems, is a national characteristic rather than a fabricated Soviet-era construction.

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

How oil’s become the world’s most potent weapon

1 Share

From Russia to America, and from Scotland to the Middle East, the dramatic fall in the price of oil — down by nearly half in six months — has sparked an economic crisis that threatens to shift the global balance of power in dramatic fashion.

As Russia teeters on the edge of crisis, America and Saudi Arabia are using the depressed oil market to wreak havoc on enemies such as Iran. The repercussions are being felt closer to home, too, with the North Sea oil industry described as being close to collapse.

The good news is that it’s cheaper to fill up your car at the pumps, but what does it mean for Britain’s national security?

Here, the Economist magazine’s Energy Editor EDWARD LUCAS offers a simple guide to these deeply turbulent times.

Scroll down for video

The dramatic fall in the price of oil - down by nearly half in six months - means that is that it’s cheaper to fill up your car at the pumps, but what does it mean for Britain’s national security?
  • Copy link to paste in your message

The dramatic fall in the price of oil – down by nearly half in six months – means that is that it’s cheaper to fill up your car at the pumps, but what does it mean for Britain’s national security?

RUSSIA IN MELTDOWN

The world has become used to Vladimir Putin giving tub-thumping speeches about the glory of modern Russia. His three-hour press conference last Thursday — by turns bombastic and duplicitous as he deflected questions about his country’s teetering economy — was no exception.

Railing against the sanctions enforced by the EU and America in response to the annexing of Crimea, he warned darkly against shackling the Russian bear and tearing out its ‘fangs and claws’.

During a recent visit to Turkey, however, he was forced to adopt a very different tone, announcing in clipped and petulant terms that his country’s prized new South Stream gas pipeline to Europe would not be going ahead.

Share this article

Share

1.6k shares

The £25 billion pipeline across the Black Sea and the Balkans would have given the Kremlin a stranglehold on the energy supplies of a slew of European countries — Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria.

It would also have contemptuously demonstrated Russia’s superiority over the European Union, which had ruled the pipeline plans illegal. (The rules of the European energy market — strongly backed by Britain — say that the same company cannot own both a pipeline and the gas that runs through it because it gives them too much control over supply and pricing.)

But Putin has had to eat humble pie and cancel the whole project.

Putin, pictured, has had to eat humble pie and cancel the planned £25 billion pipeline across the Black Sea and the Balkans
  • Copy link to paste in your message

Putin, pictured, has had to eat humble pie and cancel the planned £25 billion pipeline across the Black Sea and the Balkans

Why? The collapse in the oil price across the world — down by nearly half since June — is emptying the Kremlin’s coffers.

As the third-biggest oil producer in the world, Russia is heavily dependent on a buoyant price, deriving more than half of its budget revenues from oil and gas extraction.

The kleptocrats in the Kremlin rely on oil and gas exports to sustain Russia’s bloated and bribe-ridden bureaucracy, as well as its ruthless aggression against other countries.

But the price per barrel of oil hit a five-year low of $58.50 last week, and though it has recovered slightly, it is still far too low to keep Mr Putin’s regime running at full blast, especially given the economic sanctions the West has imposed.

No wonder the value of the rouble has plummeted, causing panic buying in Russia, the movement of money out of the country and even the jacking-up of interest rates to an eye-watering 17 per cent in a bid to stop the currency sliding further. So these are very bad times for Russia, where no one has forgotten that low oil prices brought down the Soviet Union in 1991 by eviscerating its economy. Today, they could spell doom for Putin’s attempt to recreate that Soviet empire.

He has naively set out his spending plans for the next three years based on an oil price of around $100 a barrel — which now looks wildly optimistic.

But though the Kremlin is weakened, we should not count our blessings yet. For there is a danger that the Russian autocrat will lash out militarily, distracting his hard-pressed people with another foreign policy gambit aimed directly at humiliating Nato in Europe.

With that in mind, some feel that now is the time to go easy on Mr Putin. He has learned a hard lesson from this collision with reality; we should not push him too hard, the argument goes. Instead, we should offer him a face-saving deal on the situation in Ukraine, offer to lift sanctions and prevent the Russian economy from staggering over a cliff.

I disagree. Putin does not want a deal with the West. He wants to rewrite the rules of European security. Only if we accept that countries such as Ukraine are to be consigned to Russia’s control will the hard men of the Kremlin be satisfied.

That is a concession we cannot and should not make. If we concede Ukraine, we signal that might is right. What happens when Mr Putin tries his tricks on another country — perhaps our Nato allies in the Baltic states?

Oil prices fall to lowest in five years due to slow EU [Related]

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

0:00

LIVE

MinimizeExpandClose

As the third-biggest oil producer in the world, Russia is heavily dependent on a buoyant price, deriving more than half of its budget revenues from oil and gas extraction. Above, a board in Moscow shows a slump in the country's currency - a knock-on effect from the slide in oil prices
  • Copy link to paste in your message

As the third-biggest oil producer in the world, Russia is heavily dependent on a buoyant price, deriving more than half of its budget revenues from oil and gas extraction. Above, a board in Moscow shows a slump in the country’s currency – a knock-on effect from the slide in oil prices

THE HUMBLING OF OPEC

For all our worries over Russia, however, we in Britain should not lose sight of the humiliation of another swaggering and once-mighty force in world politics, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). When it burst on the world scene 40 years ago, OPEC terrified the wasteful West.

Over the previous decades, we had grown used to abundant oil, bought mostly from Middle Eastern producers — with little global muscle — at rock- bottom prices.

However, OPEC changed that. By restricting supply, the cartel quadrupled the oil price, from $3 to $12.

Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there. Above, the country's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ibrahim Naimi 
  • Copy link to paste in your message

Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there. Above, the country’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Ibrahim Naimi

That is only a fraction of today’s price — but the oil crisis sparked by the rocketing cost in 1974 was enough to lead to queues at filling stations and national panics in the pitifully unprepared industrialised world.

Four decades later, Saudi Arabia has become one of the richest countries in the world, with reserves totalling nearly $900 billion.

But the rest of the world is less at its mercy than it once was. Here in Britain, our energy consumption is dropping remorselessly — the result of increased energy efficiency.

Moreover, many other nations now produce oil. And oil can be replaced by other fuels, such as natural gas, which OPEC does not control.

Also, OPEC no longer has the discipline or the clout to dominate the market, and we in Britain are among the big winners from all this, reaping the benefits of lower costs to fill up our cars and power our industries.

At its meeting in Vienna last month, the OPEC oil cartel — which controls nearly 40 per cent of global production — faced a fateful choice.

Would it curb production and thus, by reducing supplies, try to ratchet the oil price back to something near $100 a barrel — the level most of its members need to balance their books? Or would it let the glut continue?

The organisation’s 12 member countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Venezuela and Nigeria, chose to do nothing, proving that its once-mighty power has withered. Oil prices subsequently fell even further.

One central problem is that several of OPEC’s members detest each other for a variety of reasons.

Above all, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies see Iran — a bitter religious and political opponent — as their main regional adversary.

They know that Iran, dominated by the Shia Muslim sect, supports a resentful underclass of more than a million under-privileged and angry Shia people living in the gulf peninsula — a potential uprising waiting to happen against the Saudi regime.

The Saudis, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, also loathe the way Iran supports President Assad’s regime in Syria — with which the Iranians have a religious affiliation. They also know that Iran, its economy plagued by corruption and crippled by Western sanctions, desperately needs the oil price to rise. And they have no intention of helping out.

 The fact is that the Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there, and the country has such vast reserves. It can withstand a year — or three — of low oil prices

The fact is that the Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there, and the country has such vast reserves. It can withstand a year — or three — of low oil prices.

In Moscow, Vladimir Putin does not have that luxury — and the Saudis know it.

They revile Russia, too, for its military support of President Assad, and for its sale of advanced weapons to Iran.

HOW FRACKING CHANGED THE WORLD

But if geopolitics and ancient enmities are playing a big role in the price of oil, so is modern technology.

Astonishingly, America has now overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of crude oil.

That comes not from the traditional American oil industry, exemplified by J.R. Ewing in the TV series Dallas, but from fracking — pumping water and sand at high pressure into oil-and-gas-bearing shale rock.

America is a world leader in this technology. Costs are low and the geology is favourable: the regions in America where drilling is done for shale gas and oil are thinly populated — such as Oklahoma and North Dakota.

Not surprisingly, the Saudis are worried by America’s fracking revolution. And the more Westerners switch from oil to other fuels — such as gas or even solar energy — the worse it is for the nations which survive on oil exports.

The truth is that the shale juggernaut will only be slowed, not halted. In time, it will reach other countries, too, including Britain if David Cameron has his way. Above, Mr Cameron tours a shale drilling plant oil depot
  • Copy link to paste in your message

The truth is that the shale juggernaut will only be slowed, not halted. In time, it will reach other countries, too, including Britain if David Cameron has his way. Above, Mr Cameron tours a shale drilling plant oil depot

Saudis note with alarm the growth in energy efficiency. Every barrel of oil not consumed in the West is profit lost.

So they hope that a low oil price will at least slow the development of fracking in America — and it is true that a low oil price is bringing bankruptcy for the riskiest drillers in the new American exploration fields.

The truth is, however, that the shale juggernaut will only be slowed, not halted. In time, it will reach other countries, too, including Britain if David Cameron has his way .

The truth is, however, that the shale juggernaut will only be slowed, not halted. In time, it will reach other countries, too, including Britain if David Cameron has his way

Indeed, one really big question is how we use the cash windfall that comes with a dramatically lower oil price. Will we take the opportunity to improve Britain’s energy efficiency and diversify our supplies to protect against an eventual rise in the cost per barrel?

WILL THE NORTH SEA CRISIS RUIN SCOTLAND?

The most pressing issue for Britain is the fate of the North Sea basin, where costs are rising as oil and gas fields are depleting and exploration becomes more difficult.

‘It’s almost impossible to make money at these prices — it’s a huge crisis,’ the chairman of the independent oil explorers’ association said last week.

That is bleak news for the tens of thousands of workers employed in our offshore industry and their families.

But it is even worse news for the Scottish Nationalists. Their dreams of an independent Scotland were balanced precariously — ludicrously, some said — on the idea that oil and gas revenues would pay for the lavish socialist spending and bloated bureaucracy they hold dear. Now, their sums simply no longer add up.

If the oil price stays down, Scotland’s only hope is to cling tightly to the security — and subsidies — which the Union with England brings. Above, the Cleeton North Sea oil platform
  • Copy link to paste in your message

If the oil price stays down, Scotland’s only hope is to cling tightly to the security — and subsidies — which the Union with England brings. Above, the Cleeton North Sea oil platform

This week, an Office of Budget Responsibility simulation concluded that Scotland’s North Sea oil revenues would have slumped to just one-fifth of Holyrood’s forecasts within a year of independence if there had been a Yes vote in the recent referendum.

In 2012, The Economist magazine — for whom I am the energy editor — mocked the SNP’s optimistic economics with a cover story which dubbed Scotland ‘Skintland’, renaming the capital city ‘Edinborrow’.

The then SNP leader Alex Salmond said we would ‘rue the day’ that we published this ‘sneering’ piece. His party pals said we were ‘patronising and eccentric’. But we were right.

If the oil price stays down, Scotland’s only hope is to cling tightly to the security — and subsidies — which the Union with England brings.

The SNP's dreams of an independent Scotland were balanced on the idea that oil and gas revenues would pay for the lavish socialist spending and bloated bureaucracy they hold dear. Above, party leader Nicola Sturgeon
  • Copy link to paste in your message

The SNP’s dreams of an independent Scotland were balanced on the idea that oil and gas revenues would pay for the lavish socialist spending and bloated bureaucracy they hold dear. Above, party leader Nicola Sturgeon

SO WHAT OF THE FUTURE?

The good news is that, even as high-cost oil producers are being squeezed by falling prices, it is a different story for consumers.

A $40 fall in the oil price shifts some $1.3 trillion from producers to consumers each year, largely through tumbling prices at the petrol pumps.

The RAC believes that petrol could fall to below £1 per litre — a price not seen since May 2009. That will keep millions of pounds in motorists’ pockets.

But they should not spend it on champagne — at least, not yet.

Oil production still rests on some of the most ill-run and fragile states in the world. Iraq produces 3.4 million barrels a day, and Libya another million.

That is half of the total produced by America. But both countries are precariously balanced on the edge of collapse. Libya is no longer a functioning state, riven by a bloody struggle between parliamentary forces and Islamist militias.

Iraq has already come perilously close to succumbing to the fanatical fighters of the so-called Islamic State.

The big picture is that the world is changing for the better: a number of despotic regimes —notably Russia’s — that depend on looting their country’s natural resources are facing a well-deserved comeuppance.

The question is whether they accept their fate, or whether the power of black gold to spark violent upheaval will see us all sucked into conflicts that could shake the world.

  • Edward Lucas is energy editor of The Economist.
Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

weather weapons – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for weather weapons

Weather Warfare HAARP – YouTube

1 Share

Published on Aug 13, 2016

Weather War HAARP, Ekim Rrac WTF Report

“HAARP is a weather warfare weapon of mass destruction, capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems globally.”
“‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.”

50 Miles Above Earth, Seemingly Embedded In Earth’s Ionosphere, These Massive Digital Disk Electronically Stimulate and Heat Millions of Square Miles of Earth’s Ionosphere Condensing Every Drop of Moisture From This Tainted Atmosphere.

This is happening all over the world https://www.google.com/search?q=stran…

Read the whole story
· ·

Weather warfare – Wikipedia

1 Share

Weather warfare is the use of weather modification techniques such as cloud seeding for military purposes.

Prior to the Geneva Convention, the United States used weather warfare in the Vietnam War. Under the auspices of the Air Weather Service, the United States’ Operation Popeye used cloud seeding over the Ho Chi Minh trail, increasing rainfall by an estimated thirty percent during 1967 and 1968. It was hoped that the increased rainfall would reduce the rate of infiltration down the trail.[1]

With much less success, the United States also dropped salt on the airbase during the siege of Khe Sanh in an attempt to reduce the fog that hindered air operations.[citation needed]

A research paper produced for the United States Air Force written in 1996 speculates about the future use of nanotechnology to produce “artificial weather”, clouds of microscopic computer particles all communicating with each other to form an intelligent fog that could be used for various purposes. “Artificial weather technologies do not currently exist. But as they are developed, the importance of their potential applications rises rapidly.” Weather modification technologies are described in an unclassified academic paper written by airforce officer-cadet students as “a force multiplier with tremendous power that could be exploited across the full spectrum of war-fighting environments.” [2]

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 2

putin and price of oil – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for putin and price of oil

putin and price of oil – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for putin and price of oil

putin and price of oil – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for putin and price of oil

Putin Wants Higher Oil Prices – Oil Markets Daily – The United States Oil ETF, LP (NYSEARCA:USO)

1 Share

Despite what his lieutenant, oil minister Alexander Novak, said yesterday about how an oil production freeze cap is not needed, Russian President Vladimir Putin came out today saying: “It would be right to find a compromise … We think it is the right decision for global energy markets.”

As we said in our article yesterday, Russia secretly craves higher oil prices. In the game of oil politics, Novak is just a pawn in the grand scheme of things. The person really calling the shots in Russia is Putin, and his intentions have been revealed. We highly doubt that, despite what his lieutenant said yesterday, these words would slip out of his mouth accidentally. Russia’s economy is in “suffering territory.” Putin has done a remarkable job keeping his political prowess high while keeping his people content. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on commodity prices, and with the U.S. sanctions, the one-two punch definitely delivered a blow.

Now, one could speculate whether the fall in oil prices immediately following the Russian sanctions was some type of attack on Russia. But what we know now is that Russia won’t fall like it did in 1998. Its foreign reserve is enough to survive the “lower for longer” scenario, and its oil production has actually climbed during the downturn.

Going forward, we think the recent tone shifts from the likes of Russia and Saudi Arabia point to higher oil prices. Despite our belief that a production freeze deal is slim to none, recent news coverage hints at a slight possibility of something happening this month. Looking at every single sell-side report, there isn’t a single firm that’s forecasting a potential agreement. Given that the consensus is overwhelmingly on one side, it could result in a potential price spike if some agreement does come through.

Thank you for reading our Oil Markets Daily. If you would like to read more dailies from us, please be sure to hit the follow button. For those interested on the outlook of oil prices, HFI Research publishes a weekly outlook for premium subscribers. If you are interested, please direct message us for more information.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Read the whole story
· · ·

Will Putin and Trump Bond Over Oil?

1 Share

In the early 2000s, the Russian and U.S. presidents, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, decided it was time their two countries had a closer relationship. The obvious place to start was the oil industry. The U.S. was importing almost twice as much crude as it produced and wanted to diversify away from Middle Eastern suppliers. Russia’s vast, untapped reserves of oil needed two things U.S. companies had plenty of: money and technology.

In October 2002 the inaugural U.S.-Russia Commercial Energy Summit convened in Houston. Over two days, members of both governments and executives from 70 oil and gas companies mingled and talked business. Eleven months later, a second summit was held in St. Petersburg, where the focus was on improving the climate for energy investment in Russia. A closer relationship seemed to be developing, but there would be no third summit.

By 2004 the Kremlin had begun nationalizing portions of Russia’s private energy sector, most notably seizing the assets of Yukos, the largest oil company. At home, U.S. drilling companies were developing fracking technology to unlock oil and gas from shale formations, and they were reluctant to share their knowledge with the Russians. “The U.S. became quite cautious, and so the basis for establishing this harmonized relationship was destabilized,” says Igor Yusufov, Russia’s energy minister from 2001 to 2004 and a key participant in the energy summits.

Yusufov, who now runs an energy investment fund, is hoping that incoming U.S. President Donald Trump will restart the high-level meetings. Trump has vowed to improve relations with Russia and has tapped former ExxonMobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state. Tillerson arguably has more Russia experience than any other U.S. executive, having negotiated a $500 billion joint venture with Kremlin-controlled Rosneft in 2011.

The potential for a new era of constructive relations between the U.S. and Russia will likely be a topic of discussion in the hallways of Davos, where the attendee list reads like a who’s who of the oil industry. A lot has changed since Yusufov was clinking glasses with then-Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. The U.S. is poised to become a net energy exporter in the next decade, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In time, American oil and gas could compete with Russian supplies, exerting pressure on global prices. Cheap energy isn’t exactly good for the Kremlin, which has been starved of revenue since the crash in oil prices.

A first step in any rapprochement would be to lift the sanctions that the Obama administration put in place in retaliation for Russia’s incursions into Crimea and Ukraine. “If he wants a better relationship with Russia, Trump can start by dropping the sanctions,” says Steven Pifer, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine from 2001 to 2004. The question is what does the U.S. get in return. “If you take the sanctions off, you have no leverage,” Pifer says. Speaking at his Jan. 11 confirmation hearing, Tillerson called sanctions a “powerful tool” but said that poorly designed sanctions can be worse than having none at all.

Carlos Pascual, who led the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources from 2011 to 2014, says any reevaluation of the relationship with Russia will have to include the issue of cyber attacks, the situation in Syria, and Russia’s role in the Mideast. There’s also the question of whether a Tillerson-led State Department would work in concert with U.S. companies trying to exploit opportunities in Russia. Richard Morningstar says that when he was U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan from 2012 to 2014, “the State Department people and the Exxon people were like two ships passing in the night,” even though both camps were deepening their engagement on energy issues in Russia and the surrounding area.

Morningstar, who now runs the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, wonders if a Trump administration will prioritize closer ties with Russia over geopolitical issues. “Will he care what role Russia plays as a primary supplier of gas to Europe?” he asks. “There is also the question of how a potential reset with Russia flies in the face of a desire in the U.S. to sell more to Europe.”

Yusufov brushes aside talk of competition and instead emphasizes how the two countries could cooperate to stabilize a volatile oil market. “We could combine our efforts to establish prices that would be of benefit to both countries,” he says. A range of $60 to $80 a barrel would be high enough for the Kremlin to plug its budget hole and for U.S. frackers to start investing in new projects—though not so high that drivers in the U.S. would feel too much pain. “This could be the essence of the discussion of a Russian-American energy summit as it was 15 years ago,” Yusufov says.

The bottom line: U.S. and Russia may struggle to carve out room for energy cooperation now that America is also a big oil and gas producer.

Read the whole story
· · ·

Weak Oil Prices In Future Mean A Weak Russia And Putin | HuffPost

1 Share

Public Radio International
Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 3

An Oil Crisis Is Looming; Welcome to Trump-Putin World

1 Share

In a world inundated with cheap crude oil, and with storage spots filled almost to the brim, it might seem that long lines at the gas pump and high prices per gallon are history. But long lines and high prices may come back, in the new world of Trump-Putin geopolitics.

Trump the candidate vowed to “bomb the hell” out of oilfields controlled by ISIL. He called for stealing oil from other countries, later saying he meant to reimburse America for costs of its invasion of Iraq and other Middle East military actions. During the campaign he declared “I’m good at war in a certain way”and “I love war… including with nukes, yes, including with nukes.”

Whether that was Trump’s actual intent or just red meat for his base remains to be seen, but bellicose talk can lead to war—and war is very bad for continuity of oil supply.

Cheap hydrocarbons are not a pure good. They dampen demand for renewables like solar and wind that help slow climate change.

And, of course, oil is just one form of stored sunlight. Earth holds layer upon layer of natural gas, frozen methane, and the carbon rocks we call coal as well as the liquid gold we call oil.

Economist Ross McCracken, managing editor at Platts Energy Economist, says that even with large amounts of North American shale oil the world remains dependent for oil “on an unstable Middle East. There is enough oil in the world, but supply chains will remain dominated by the geology of the Middle East and the geography of demand.”

Adding to the global glut is Iran, which—with the lifting of sanctions—resumed legally exporting oil, something it did despite United Nations sanctions with help from offshore subsidiaries of ExxonMobil, whose CEO at the time, Rex Tillerson, is about to become Secretary of State.

In addition, the shrinking territory controlled by ISIL, which has been slowly but steadily degraded through both aerial bombing and unconventional warfare to assassinate its leaders, should mean more oil flowing from Iraqi wells even as civil war continues in neighboring Syria.

Such supplies, however, are inherently unstable, contributing to the global stability problem in the Trump-Putin era and kicking off a dangerous cycle in which unstable supplies contribute to unstable politics, which in turn, further destablize supply. “Geopolitical events have figured very large in questions about oil supply and I think that will continue,” says James Hamilton, professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego who studies the industry.

Some worry about a new American war in the Middle East, a development that could serve the political aims of both Trump and Putin, with collateral damage to your pocketbook.

Trump wants to show he is a tough guy who can quickly end “radical Islamic terrorism” as well as undo the global deal to let Iran openly return to world markets. Greater U.S. military activity in the Middle East, especially in light of Trump’s attacks on the Muslim faithful, would surely foster more hatred of America and its Western allies, encouraging more young people to turn to violence. The risk for Trump is that higher oil prices could turn off his voters unless they are persuaded that sacrificing more of their money for costly fuel is patriotic.

Putin would benefit from America getting into a Middle East war that disrupts oil supplies. Petroleum firms earn almost all of the profits of large Russian companies and higher oil prices should mean bigger profits for Russian oil, which would become a more important source of power, especially for Europe.

Thank You!

You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

Putin needs higher oil prices because his weak and underperforming economy relies for hard currency almost exclusively on two exports: hydrocarbons and weapons. Hydrocarbons give him a lever over Germany and other industrial countries that need natural gas in winter. And war is, of course, beneficial to munitions makers. Many of the guns used to kill American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were Russian made.

And the Middle East isn’t the only place where conflict creates oil issues. Civil wars and terrorist attacks on oilfields in Nigeria and North Africa also could disrupt oil supplies, says Herman T. Franssen, president of International Energy Associates, a consulting firm with deep ties in the Middle East and a former International Energy Agency chief economist.

What’s more, the drop in oil prices since 2014, as Saudi Arabia sought to maintain its share of the global oil market, is causing economic disruption in that country, a generous welfare state.

Many Americans may not realize it, but the United States was actually the world’s top crude oil producer last year and in 2015. One reason is the developing shale-oil industry, born of the last spike in oil prices. Shale oil is extracted with a technology known as fracking, in which solvents and sand are forced into soft underground rocks to unlock relatively small carbon deposits. Fracked wells account for more than 5 million barrels a day of American oil, about a third of U.S. production.

Owners of some existing shale oil wells in the Permian Basin of Texas can probably make a profit at $25 a barrel, Franssen says. Most other areas, however, need prices at or above $54 a barrel. The Saudi oil-price cuts were intended to make American shale oil uncompetitive. Instead they spurred advances in shale-oil drilling efficiency. Even though the number of working American oil rigs has fallen from about 2,000 to under 500 in the last two years, drilling didn’t decline by three-fourths. A modern rig can drill multiple wells by cutting through rock horizontally. Unused rigs are being cannibalized for parts, reducing costs.

Trump has said he wants to keep the U.S on top and shale oil will be part of that goal. Slashing regulations is a key part of his promises to voters and that likely will include issues around the environmental cost of fracking. Trump may run into opposition, though, as earthquakes like those bedeviling Oklahoma homeowners and other damage from fracking sours some voters. Other environmental problems, such as aging, leaky oil pipelines, could also come into play.

The U.S. extracted domestic crude at the rate of 15 million barrels per day in 2015, the federal Energy Information Administration estimated. Saudi Arabia was second at nearly 12 million barrels; Russia was next at 11 million barrels; and China, fourth, at just under 5 million barrels per day.

Proven oil reserves—meaning the amount of crude in the ground that companies count as assets because it can be pulled from beneath the surface—will provide enough carbon fuel to meet the expected world demand through 2040, the federal Energy Information Administration estimated in its most recent annual energy outlook report.

That does not mean the world will run dry in 24 years. Proven reserves is an accounting measure, not a geological measure. It does not include oil yet to be discovered, oil that cannot be profitably extracted with current technology or at current prices, and other factors. That measure tells us, however, that at current world prices oil will be cheap for a very long time assuming relative peace continues.

Cheap oil is decidedly not in the interests of Russia or of those Middle East and African countries run by autocrats, dictators and kings who need oil profits to mollify their subjects and stay in power.

A major disruption of Middle East oil supplies still might not raise oil prices enough to help Russia deal with its limp economy. Trump has vowed to ease regulations so that America extracts more oil than it needs and remains the top producerSo Americans might enjoy cheap gasoline even as Europeans struggle to find enough Middle East oil to fill the tanks of their fuel-efficient cars and are forced to pay higher prices for Russian oil.

An unstable Saudi Arabia—and instability among its oil-rich neighbors—may also foster more hatred or American and the West. That, too, could lead to wars and revolutions, adding to uncertainty about oil supplies and who will control them.

So, while today oil is abundant both under the surface and in storage, that can change fast. And both Donald Trump and the leader for whom he keeps expressing his admiration, Vladimir Putin, have interests that just may come together in ways that may mean more war together with an end to cheap and reliable oil.

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Vladimir Putin pushes up oil prices as Russia signals it will cap production

1 Share

price of oil – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for price of oil

price of oil – Google Search

1 Share

Why oil prices are sinking as gasoline soars after Harvey

MarketWatch4 hours ago
And while the storm is also expected to curtail offshore crude oil … to come back on line,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures …

is tropical storm harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price? – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for is tropical storm harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price?

is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price? – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon as tool to raise oil price?
Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 4

is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon? – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for is hurricane harvey a russian weather weapon?

Climate researcher says CIA fears hostile nations are triggering floods and droughts

1 Share
  • CIA chiefs fear hostile nations are trying to manipulate the world’s weather
  • Academic has told of mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding
  • CIA is believed to have helped fund a major report into geoengineering

By Fiona Macrae, Science Correspondent In San Jose

Published: 19:10 EDT, 15 February 2015 | Updated: 04:11 EDT, 16 February 2015

5.9k shares

If it seems like it never stops raining, blame the Russians. Or even the North Koreans.

CIA chiefs fear hostile nations are trying to manipulate the world’s weather, a conference heard.

A leading academic has told how he got a mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding.

Professor Alan Robock, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: ‘Consultants working for the CIA rang and said we’d like to know if someone is controlling the world’s climate would we know about it?

Scroll down for video

A leading academic revealed how he got a mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding. File photo
  • Copy link to paste in your message

A leading academic revealed how he got a mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding. File photo

‘Of course they were also asking – if we control someone else’s climate would they then know about it.’

The professor is one of many scientists from around the world are actively looking at manipulating the weather as a way of combating climate change.

Geoengineering techniques range from cloud seeding, in which chemicals are sprayed by planes trigger rainfall, to shooting mirrors into space to reflect sunlight and cool the Earth.

Professor Robock told the callers that any attempts to meddle with the weather on a large scale would be detectable.

Share this article

Share

5.9k shares

However, he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in San Jose, that the weather has been weaponised in the past.

During the Vietnam War, US scientists tried to increase rainfall to hamper the enemy’s progress by spraying particles into the clouds.

And the CIA seeded clouds over Cuba ‘to make it rain and ruin the sugar harvest’.

Professor Alan Robock, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, got a mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding
  • Copy link to paste in your message

Professor Alan Robock, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, got a mysterious phone call asking whether foreign countries could be triggering droughts or flooding

Asked how he felt when he got the call, the professor said: ‘Scared.

‘I’d learned of lots of other things the CIA had done that haven’t followed the rules and that wasn’t how I wanted my tax money spent.

‘I think this research has to be open and international, so there isn’t any question of using it for hostile purposes.’

To add to the intrigue, the CIA is believed to have helped fund a major report into geoengineering.

Published last week by the prestigious US National Academy of Sciences, the report mentions the ‘US intelligence community’ in its list of sponsors, alongside organisations such as Nasa.

Professor Robock said the CIA had told one of his colleagues it wanted to fund the report, but apparently did not want this fact to be too obvious.

He said: ‘The CIA is a major funder of the National Academies report so that makes me really worried who is going to be in control.’

He added that the tension created by any large-scale meddling in the climate could escalate to such an extent that it would end in all-out war.

The professor said: ‘If one country wants to control the climate in one way, and another doesn’t want it or if they try to shoot down the planes…if there is no agreement it could result in terrible consequences.’

Robock explains geoengineering outdoor research methods

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

0:00

LIVE

MinimizeExpandClose

Share or comment on this article

Read the whole story
· · · ·

Is Hurricane Harvey weather warfare?, page 1

1 Share

posted on Aug, 27 2017 @ 10:39 PM

If this hurricane were artificial (and by the way, no-one has ever demonstrated that it is possible to create one) the meteorologists would be able to trace its history back to a location somewhere out at sea and spot it developing in an unnatural way. It’s not like hurricanes sneak up on you with no warning.
The natural processes creating hurricanes are well-understood, and those would be very hard to simulate. If it were at all possible. Which at present it is not.
Also, it would be a bit of a rubbish weapon, because you could only use it in the tropics, during certain weather, at certain times of the year, and once you had created it you would have to sit back and watch as it did its own thing: the best you could hope for would be that it survived at hurricane force long enough to hit some coastal development, in some nation, more or less at random.

Hurricane Harvey – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey – Google Search

1 Share

Hurricane Harvey: What Happened and What’s Next

New York Times5 hours ago
Overwhelmed by the news from Texas since Hurricane Harvey made landfall? Here is an overview of coverage by The New York Times so far.
Hurricane Harvey: Why Is It So Extreme?
In-DepthScientific American4 hours ago

Hurricane Harvey: What Happened and What’s Next

1 Share
<a href=”http://NYTimes.com” rel=”nofollow”>NYTimes.com</a> no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Please upgrade your browser. LEARN MORE »

Signed in as mikenova

Share this story on NewsBlur

Shared stories are on their way…

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 5

Hurricane Harvey and Price of oil – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for Hurricane Harvey and Price of oil

Hurricane Harvey and Price of oil – Google Search

1 Share

Oil falls but gasoline jumps as Harvey hits US refiners

Reuters1 hour ago
Oil falls but gasoline jumps as Harvey hits U.S. refiners … Monday but gasoline prices surged to two-year highs as Tropical Storm Harvey kept …

Trumpistan Today – Google Search

1 Share
Image result for Trumpistan Today

Netanyahu Seeks Russian-American Guarantees To Counter Iran

1 Share

Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you.

The Huffington PostNetanyahu Seeks Russian-American Guarantees To Counter Iran

Read the whole story
· · ·

Netanyahu seeks Russian-US guarantees to counter Iran

1 Share

While Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu carried to Russian President Vladimir Putin in their meeting in Sochi his opposition to Iran’s continued consolidation in Syria, to shore up its sphere of influence from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, the Associated Press revealed that thousands of pro-Iranian fighters continue to advance in the Syrian desert, establishing for Tehran for the first time the precursors of its coveted corridor to the Mediterranean via Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

 Netanyahu is not ignorant of the silent US-Russian consent to Tehran reaping the fruits of its investments in Syria since it intervened there six years ago, by consolidating its geographical control of the corridor dubbed the “grand prize.” Netanyahu has vowed that Israel is ready to act unilaterally to prevent Iran from making permanent its expanded military presence in Syria. But realistically, he is aligning his country to engage in future deals on Syria, especially in the context of the grand bargain between the US and Russia, and the Iranian dimension in the Arab geography and the regional balance of power.

 The benefits reaped by those who invested in the Syrian war, such as Iran, will include profits from lucrative reconstruction. However, Tehran has more extensive investments in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, with the primary aim of guaranteeing a major role for it in the future of the Middle East and in the emerging regional equations and alliances. Israel for its part is fully confident that US-Russian accords will always take into account Israeli interests, including guaranteeing its military edge and its security. But what prompted Netanyahu to meet Putin for the second time this year was his understanding that the Russian leader now holds the keys of the Middle East, with Washington’s consent.

 The Iranian expansion concerns Israel, but there is no panic. Netanyahu is reconfiguring his country’s position to be present in the deals, bargains and settlements being made in the Arab geography, from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. Turkey and Iran are doing the same, but the difference is that they are operating on the ground to ensure they are part of the triangle of guarantors sponsoring de-escalation alongside the key Russian player, all with an American green light. Meanwhile, the majority of Arab countries are all but absent from these arrangements, albeit they are moving to have a presence in Iraq after a long absence. The Gulf countries are preoccupied with the Yemen war and the Qatar crisis. Jordan has no standalone role in Syria at this stage, after the Gulf roles in Syria receded. Egypt is playing a Russian-ordained role in Syria, through its influence with some opposition figures.

 It is Russia that is leading on the ground, politically and strategically, with signs of American consent to its role. Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is well versed in matching diplomatic tone to developments on the ground. He is a pragmatist who using his personal “charm” to influence the psychology of both friends and foes in negotiations and deal making. Today, Lavrov finds himself dealing with an issue he is loath to, that of the Syrian opposition. He is holding contacts with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to push forward efforts to form a unified opposition delegation from the so-called Cairo and Moscow opposition platforms, and the Higher Negotiations Council. The failure of the meeting of the Syrian opposition platforms in Riyadh this week is mainly due to their differences over the fate of Bashar Assad in the political process that follows the conclusion of the war. In fact, this causes more resentment by Lavrov toward the Syrian opposition, for which he has little respect save for the Moscow-based factions. Indeed, for Russia, Assad’s fate is not now a priority, but rather, the facts on the ground.

 At this juncture of the Syrian war, Russia is focusing its efforts on reaching an agreement with Turkey to establish a fourth de-escalation zone in Idlib. Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov held consultations recently with his Turkish counterpart Sedat Onal to reach an agreement. Lavrov has said talks continue with Turkey and Iran regarding the situation in Idlib, but said there were “complications.” In truth, these complications are related to Iranian-Turkish knots, which vacillate between sectarian and ideological hostility, and a compulsory partnership as part of the Russian-Turkish-Iranian triangle guaranteeing cease-fires as well as efforts to contain Kurdish ambitions.

Israeli threats of unilateral action in response to Iranian expansionism are meant for public consumption only. In fact, Israel’s aims are much more strategic.

Raghida Dergham

On the ground, Russia has trained its eyes on Deir Ezzor, which it believes is a crucial battle in the war on Daesh. For its part, Iran is focused on the Syrian desert, carving out a corridor to consolidate its arc or crescent. Turkey’s priority is to prevent the Kurds from making permanent their gains in Syria close to the Turkish border.

 The Kurdish element is common to both Turkey and Iran, despite denials by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, following remarks by Erdogan suggesting a Turkish-Iranian agreement on a possible military move against the PKK and its allies inside Iran. Erdogan reportedly wants to establish a regional alliance that would include Turkey, Iran, and Iraq to contain the Kurdish ambitions.

Currently, these ambitions are represented by the insistence of Kurdish leaders in Iraq on holding a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Region, the timing of which has been opposed by the US. But Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region, has insisted he would not postpone the vote for “a single minute,” even as US defense secretary James Mattis was affirming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, and US envoy to Baghdad Brett McGurk was suggesting the referendum would be catastrophic.

 Many friends of the Kurds who understand their aspirations have warned against taking the initiative to partition Iraq if they insist on holding the referendum on September 25. Others have expressed fears of the impact of Kurdish secession on the anti-Daesh strategy in Iraq. Following Mattis’s visit to Iraq, a statement issued by Barzani’s office hinted at some flexibility. A spokesman for Barzani said the referendum would not be postponed without an alternative, which could be international guarantees signed by all sides, especially the Iraqi government and the US, and even Turkey and Iran, setting another date for the referendum and pledging to respect its results.

 The positions of the Trump administration and the US superpower no doubt have an important effect. However, regional confidence in Washington is steadily declining, after it reneged on promises and pledges for the sake of immediate US interests. No one feels safe in the American wagon, be they the Kurds, Turks, Iranians or Arabs. Even Israel, the US’s spoilt child and permanent ally, finds itself compelled to engage with Russia because the climate in the US is ravaged by divisions, contradictions and inconsistency.

 Washington is the ally of the Kurds in the fight against Daesh in Syria. But as soon as Daesh and similar groups are defeated in Syria and Iraq, the Americans, Russians and international envoys claim foreign forces and militias will have no logical basis to stay behind. Thus, voila, the Syrian war and Iraqi war, they claim, will end, the land will be liberated from terrorism, and the two countries will be ready for a political process, a new constitution and power sharing. That is what they claim, but as to the reality of what they are doing, the answer is on the ground, in the Arab geography.

 Reining in or curbing Iran’s project in the Arab geography all the way to Israel’s borders was the main headline of Netanyahu’s visit to Russia, while an Israeli intelligence delegation took the same message to Washington. They both returned with reassurances based on the “logic” that the military pretext for Iranian intervention will end once Daesh is defeated, to be followed by some form of Iranian-Israeli accords guaranteed by US-Russian partnership.

 Part of these accords is currently taking shape in the Golan Heights, where Iran and its militias have been pushed back several kilometers away from the border. Israel wants to perpetuate the facts on the ground, to swallow the entire Golan and end any Syrian demand for its return, whether through negotiations or bargains. Recently, Israel’s ambassador in Moscow mocked those who still talk about returning the occupied Golan to Syria, suggesting any talk about the issue is little more than a joke to Israel.

 However, Israel wants strategic American and Russian guarantees beyond pacifying the Syrian front and the Lebanese front through expanded international peacekeeping forces that would preclude any war scenario. Israel wants guarantees based on the new Israeli notion that Iran now has borders with Israel, but not vice versa.

 Such international strategic guarantees require bilateral accords between the two strong players in the regional balance of power, Iran and Israel. And this is exactly what Netanyahu was seeking in practice when he visited Putin in Sochi, regardless of the remarks meant for media consumption about moving unilaterally to prevent Iranian expansion in the Arab geography.

• Raghida Dergham is a columnist, senior diplomatic correspondent, and New York bureau chief for the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper since 1989. She is the founder and executive chairman of Beirut Institute. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an honorary fellow at the Foreign Policy Association and has served on the International Media Council of the World Economic Forum. Twitter: @RaghidaDergham

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Chinese National Arrested in Connection with U.S. Cyberattacks

1 Share
<a href=”http://NYTimes.com” rel=”nofollow”>NYTimes.com</a> no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Please upgrade your browser. LEARN MORE »
campaign: anchoredAd_subs_sponsorship_student0817, creative: AnchoredAd, source: optimizely

Signed in as mikenova

Share this story on NewsBlur

Shared stories are on their way…

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 6

At CIA, a watchful eye on Mike Pompeo, the president’s ardent ally

1 Share

As CIA director, Mike Pompeo has taken a special interest in an agency unit that is closely tied to the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, requiring the Counterintelligence Mission Center to report directly to him.

Officials at the center have, in turn, kept a watchful eye on Pompeo, who has repeatedly played down Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and demonstrated a willingness to engage in political skirmishes for President Trump.

Current and former officials said that the arrangement has been a source of apprehension among the CIA’s upper ranks and that they could not recall a time in the agency’s history when a director faced a comparable conflict.

“Pompeo is in a delicate situation unlike any other director has faced, certainly in my memory,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a CIA official for 23 years who served in Russia and held high-level positions at headquarters, “because of his duty to protect and provide the truth to an independent investigation while maintaining his role with the president.”

[Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault]

Trump, Russia and the opposition research firm run by ex-journalists

 Skip

What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump?What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump?(Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

What is Fusion GPS and did it receive Russian government funds as it investigated Donald Trump? (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

The Russia issue has complicated Pompeo’s effort to manage a badly strained relationship between the agency and a president who has disparaged its work and compared U.S. intelligence officials to Nazis. Amid that tension, Pompeo’s interactions with the counterintelligence center have come under particular scrutiny.

The unit helped trigger the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia by serving as a conduit to the FBI last year for information the CIA developed on contacts between Russian individuals and Trump campaign associates, officials said.

The center works more closely with the FBI than almost any other CIA department does, officials said, and continues to pursue leads on Moscow’s election interference operation that could factor in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director.

Pompeo has not impeded that work, officials said. But several officials said there is concern about what he might do if the CIA uncovered new information potentially damaging to Trump and Pompeo were forced to choose between protecting the agency or the president.

“People have to watch him,” said a U.S. official who, like others, requested anonymity to speak frankly. “It’s almost as if he can’t resist the impulse to be political.”

A second former CIA official cited a “real concern for interference and politicization,” saying that the worry among some at the agency is “that if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.”

Pompeo has attributed his direct supervision of the counterintelligence center to a desire to place a greater emphasis on preventing leaks and protecting classified secrets — core missions of the center that are also top priorities for Trump.

Trump on Russia investigation: ‘They’re trying to cheat you out of the future and the future that you want’

President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. (The Washington Post)

President Trump dismissed allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia at a rally in Huntington, W. Va., on Aug. 3. (The Washington Post)

Having the center report to him was designed “to send a signal to the workforce that this was important and we weren’t going to tolerate misbehavior,” he said at a security conference in Aspen, Colo., last month.

CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani described the suggestion that Pompeo might abuse his position as “ridiculous.”

Executive-order guidelines prohibit the CIA from passing information to the White House “for the purpose of affecting the political process in the United States,” Trapani said. “The FBI and special counsel’s office are leading the law enforcement investigation into this matter — not CIA. CIA is providing relevant information in support of that investigation, and neither the director nor CIA will interfere with it.”

Pompeo, 53, arrived as director at the CIA just days after Trump delivered a self-aggrandizing post-inaugural speech at agency headquarters. Appearing before a wall of carved granite stars that commemorate CIA officers killed in the line of duty, Trump used the occasion to browbeat the media and make false claims about the size of his inauguration crowds.

Pompeo has worked to overcome that inauspicious start, winning over many in the CIA workforce with his vocal support for aggressive intelligence gathering, his command of complex global issues and his influence at the White House. Pompeo spends several hours there almost every day, according to officials who said he has developed a strong rapport with the president.

But Pompeo is also known for berating subordinates, aggressively challenging agency analysts and displaying the fierce partisanship that became his signature while serving as a GOP member of Congress.

When asked about Russian election interference, Pompeo often becomes testy and recites talking points that seem designed to appease a president who rejects the allegations as “fake news” conjured by Democrats to delegitimize his election win.

“It is true” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Pompeo said at Aspen, “and the one before that, and the one before that . . . ”

The phrasing, which Pompeo has repeated in other settings, casts last year’s events as an unremarkable continuation of a long-standing pattern, rather than the unprecedented Kremlin operation described in a consensus report that the CIA and other agencies released in January.

Russia’s intervention in 2016 represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort,” the report concluded. Its goal went beyond seeking to discredit U.S. democratic processes, the report said, and in the end was aimed at trying “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”

Pompeo has taken more hawkish positions on other areas of tension with Russia, saying that Moscow intervened in Syria, for example, in part because “they love to stick it to America.”

Almost all CIA directors have had to find ways to manage a supposedly apolitical spy agency while meeting the demands of a president. But Trump, who has fired his FBI chief and lashed out at his attorney general over the Russia probe, appears to expect a particularly personal brand of loyalty.

“It is always a balancing act between a director’s access to the president and the need to protect CIA’s sensitive equities,” said John Sipher, a former senior CIA official who also served in Russia. “Pompeo clearly has a more difficult challenge in maintaining that balance than his predecessors given the obvious concerns with this president’s unique personality, obsession with charges against him, lack of knowledge and tendency to take impulsive action.”

Pompeo has shown a willingness to handle political assignments for the White House. Earlier this year, he and other officials were enlisted to make calls to news organizations — speaking on the condition of anonymity — to dispute a New York Times article about contacts between Russians and individuals tied to the Trump campaign. Pompeo has never publicly acknowledged his involvement in that effort.

He has also declined to address whether he was approached by Trump earlier this year — as other top intelligence officials were — to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion with Russia or to intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to urge the FBI to back off its investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Pompeo has, by all accounts, a closer relationship with Trump than others who did field such requests, including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.

Pompeo was exposed to Trump’s wrath over the Russia investigation on at least one occasion, officials said. He was among those present for a meeting at the White House earlier this year when Trump began complaining about the probe and, in front of Pompeo and others, asked what could be done about it.

Trapani, the CIA spokesman, declined to address the matter or say whether Pompeo has been questioned about it by Mueller. Pompeo’s conversations with Trump “are entitled to confidentiality,” Trapani said, adding that “the director has never been asked by the president to do anything inappropriate.”

Pompeo spends more time at the White House than his recent CIA predecessors and is seen as more willing to engage in policy battles. In interviews and public appearances, Pompeo has advocated ousting the totalitarian regime in North Korea, accused the Obama administration of “inviting” Russia into Syria and criticized the nuclear accord with Iran.

Pompeo has also come under scrutiny on social issues. As part of an effort to expand chaplain services to CIA employees — which Trapani said was in response to requests from the agency workforce — Pompeo has consulted with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-gay hate group. Perkins has described that characterization as “reckless.”

When Trump came under criticism for failing to specifically condemn Nazi sympathizers taking part in protests in Charlottesville — instead lamenting violence by “many sides” — Pompeo defended the president in a CBS interview, saying that Trump’s condemnation of bigotry was “frankly pretty unambiguous.”

Pompeo inherited an agency that had undergone a major reorganization under his predecessor, combing analysts and operators in a constellation of “centers” responsible for geographic regions, as well as transnational issues such as terrorism.

Pompeo’s alterations have been minimal. He added two centers — one devoted to North Korea and the other to Iran. All but the counterintelligence unit fall under Pompeo’s deputy on the CIA organizational chart.

Pompeo, who met with Russian intelligence officials in Moscow in May, would have been entitled to full briefings from the counterintelligence center even without making that bureaucratic tweak. But asserting more control of the unit responsible for preventing leaks probably pleased Trump, who has accused U.S. spy agencies of engaging in a smear campaign to undermine his presidency.

U.S. intelligence officials have disputed that spy agencies are behind such leaks but acknowledge broader concerns about security issues, pointing to episodes including the CIA’s loss of a vast portion of its hacking arsenal, which was obtained this year by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

A descendant of the unit led by legendary CIA mole-hunter James Jesus Angleton, the counterintelligence center is run by a veteran female CIA officer who has served extensively overseas in Europe, East Asia and Russia. She was also one of the main authors of the CIA’s internal review of a deadly suicide bombing that killed seven agency employees in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009.

world

national-security

Dallas shooting updates

News and analysis on the deadliest day for police since 9/11.

post_newsletter353

follow-dallas

true

endOfArticle

false

Checkpoint newsletter

Military, defense and security at home and abroad.

false

subscribe

The story must be told.

Your subscription supports journalism that matters.

“I think she’s wary about the administration,” said a former colleague who also described her as “someone who would not fall in line” if she suspected interference in the center’s role. Preventing the center from sharing information with the bureau would be difficult — an FBI official serves as head of the center’s counterespionage unit.

Last year, the center played an important part in detecting Russian efforts to cultivate associates of the Trump campaign. Former CIA director John Brennan testified in May that he became “worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons” and alerted the FBI.

The center has since been enlisted to help answer questions about key moments in the timeline of Trump-Russia contacts, officials said, possibly including the meeting that Donald Trump Jr. held in June with a Russian lawyer.

“Who sent her on the mission — was it Russian intelligence or on her own initiative?” a former official said, referring to the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. “Mueller can’t do anything on that without the agency.”

Julie Tate, Adam Entous and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · ·

CIA Staff Reportedly Worried About Pompeo As FBI Pursues Russia Probe – Talking Points Memo

1 Share

Subscribe to TPM Prime for a better reading experience, exclusive features and to support our reporters’ award-winning journalism.

As the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election moves forward under special counsel Robert Mueller, some staff members at the CIA are concerned about Director Mike Pompeo’s role overseeing the CIA subdivision working most closely with the FBI, according to a Thursday evening report in the Washington Post.

Upon becoming CIA director, Pompeo required that the CIA’s Counterintelligence Mission Center, which has passed on information to the FBI about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and continues to aide the FBI in its probe, report directly to him.

This move has made some staffers particularly wary of Pompeo’s leadership, per the Post, as he must balance his role leading the FBI with his loyalty to Trump. The CIA director has  downplayed the Russia probe and Russia’s election interference, telling attendees at a conference in Aspen, Colorado that Russia has interfered in several U.S. elections.

Per the Washington Post:

Pompeo has not impeded that work, officials said. But several officials said there is concern about what he might do if the CIA uncovered new information potentially damaging to Trump and Pompeo were forced to choose between protecting the agency or the president.

One unnamed CIA official told the Post that there is a “real concern for interference and politicization” with Pompeo and that some staff at the CIA worry “that if you were passing on something too dicey [to Pompeo] he would go to the White House with it.”

Asked about this, CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told the newspaper that such concerns are “ridiculous.”

“The FBI and special counsel’s office are leading the law enforcement investigation into this matter — not CIA. CIA is providing relevant information in support of that investigation, and neither the director nor CIA will interfere with it,” he told the Post.

Read the full report here.

Read the whole story
· ·

What Does the Special Counsel Need to Prove?

1 Share

Despite intense debate about the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, there is broad agreement that “collusion” with the Russian government is at the heart of it. Yet that term, which is used on a daily basis on cable news, has no legal meaning. Mueller’s recent moves—from subpoenaing Paul Manafort’s financial records to working with a Ukrainian hacker—make more sense if you understand how working with the Russians can be a crime.

As a legal matter, what’s significant is whether an American “conspired” with a representative of the Russian government. Conspiracy is just a legal term that means an agreement to commit a crime. An American can also commit a crime by “aiding and abetting” a criminal act committed by someone else. That means that the American knew of the criminal activity and helped make it succeed. It is also a federal crime to actively conceal a felony, even after the crime has already been committed.

The common thread underlying all of these things is that the American has to know that a crime has been committed and somehow assist in committing or concealing it. Merely working with the Russians, receiving aid from the Russians or meeting with the Russians is not enough.

Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now

So what underlying crime could Mueller be investigating? One obvious possibility is hacking the Democratic National Committee and subsequently releasing emails from it via WikiLeaks. Hacking U.S. servers is a crime that is frequently investigated and prosecuted—I handled some of those cases myself. Anyone who agreed to take part in an effort to hack the DNC’s servers committed a crime.

Related: Will Mueller’s probe spiral into disaster?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller (center) departs the Capitol after a closed-door meeting in Washington, D.C., with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connection to the Trump campaign, on June 21. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

An American could join a Russian conspiracy to hack U.S. servers without ever speaking to the hackers, as long as they knew about the criminal activity and agreed to play a role in it. Conspirators don’t have to know everyone or everything involved a plot—once you join a conspiracy, you’re “all in” and are liable for all foreseeable acts of the other conspirators.

For example, an American who knew about a hacking operation and agreed to distribute or use stolen material could join a conspiracy without knowing the hackers or how the hacking took place. That person could also be charged with abetting the hacking if distributing the stolen material aided in the crime.

That explains why a recent New York Times report that a Ukrainian hacker is helping the FBI with the Russia probe could be important. In order to charge anyone with a crime connected with the Russian hacking, Mueller will first need to prove that the hacking occurred. The testimony of the hacker could establish that the crime occurred, who was responsible for it and how it happened.

The more difficult thing for Mueller to prove is whether an American knowingly joined a Russian criminal conspiracy or aided in one. That’s why recent reports that Mueller is focused on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer is unsurprising, given the emails Trump Jr. released establish that he knew Moscow wanted to help his father’s campaign and he welcomed the assistance.

As I told The New York Times, that email string is not sufficient to prove that Trump Jr. joined a conspiracy. Again, Mueller needs to prove that Trump Jr. helped commit a crime or agreed to do so.

There are other unrelated criminal acts that Mueller could seek to prove in relation to that meeting. For example, it is a federal crime to receive material that you know is stolen, as long as it is worth more than $5,000 and it crosses state or international boundaries before you receive it. It is also a crime to offer to trade an official act, like reducing sanctions, in exchange for something of value.

Another crime is receiving a “contribution” from a foreign national. But as I told The Daily Beast, violating federal campaign law is not a crime unless it is done “knowingly” and “willfully.” That could be difficult to prove in the case of Trump Jr., although perhaps not for Manafort, who has a lot of campaign experience. Indeed, Mueller could establish Manafort’s state of mind regarding meetings with the Russians. As The Washington Post reported, the GOP operative rejected potential meetings with Moscow in emails that he sent before the Trump Jr. incident. In those emails, retired Admiral Charles Kubic raised concerns that a meeting could expose attendees to legal liability. A juror could conclude that such a correspondence show that Manafort was aware of the legal risks associated with the Trump Jr. meeting before he attended it.

Expect Mueller to interview everyone who attended the meeting and review all communications surrounding it. His primary purpose would be to understand what, if anything, came from it and whether there were subsequent and related talks between the Trump campaign and people who claim to represent the Russian government.

One thing we can be sure about is that Mueller’s inquiry will last many months. The recent suggestion by White House special counsel Ty Cobb that it should wrap up by Thanksgiving is disingenuous. Any lawyer with extensive experience with federal criminal investigations—and Cobb does—knows that a complex probe like this one could take years to complete.

Renato Mariotti was a federal prosecutor in Chicago for more than nine years, prosecuting many complex financial crimes and obstruction of justice cases.

Read the whole story
· · · ·

The 20 Key Questions Mueller’s Russia Investigation of Trump Must Answer

1 Share

This article first appeared on the Just Security site.

As speculation continues to swirl about President Donald Trump’s plans to put an end to the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the ongoing congressional inquiries take on even more significance.

Several committees are investigating overlapping issues related to Russian interference in the 2016 election and any potential involvement of the Trump campaign. Here are 20 questions they must answer as they carry out their investigations.

Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now

Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Election

Congress must provide the American people with a full accounting of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, including through cyber operations, leaking stolen private communications, and spreading of demonstrably false facts.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. MIKHAIL KLIMENTIEV/AFP/Getty

1. What was the extent of Russian cyber operations focused on voter information held by states?

Publicly available information suggests that Russian agents attempted to penetrate “election systems” in up to 39 states and attempted to alter or delete records in the statewide voter registration database of at least one state, Illinois.

2. What was the extent of Russian cyber operations focused on infiltrating state election systems via a third party? Press reports indicate that the Russians successfully infiltrated the network of a company that sells voter registration software which would allow it to manipulate this data.

3. What was the extent of Russian cyber operations focused on obtaining the confidential communications of private parties and releasing damaging information? The theft of the emails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, has been publicly reported.

4. What was the extent of Russian propaganda efforts to influence the election and what methods were used? Publicly reported efforts include the release of emails stolen from the DNC and the Clinton campaign supplemented by the use of human agent and robot computer programs to spread disinformation about these emails and the use of Twitter bots to spread fake news stories about Clinton (e.g., that she had Parkinson’s disease and had murdered a DNC staffer, and that her aides ran a pedophile ring in the basement of a D.C. pizza parlor).

5. Which elements of the Russian government and intermediaries or proxies were involved in these efforts?

6. What was the purpose of their efforts? The intelligence community has concluded the Russian government intended to promote Trump’s candidacy and undermine Clinton’s campaign, an assertion that the president contests – Congress should come to a conclusion on this point.

Is it possible to gauge the impact of Russian interference in the 2016 election and could measures be put in place to do so in the future?

7. What measures should the United States take to prevent such interference in future elections? Is legislation needed to clarify that cooperation with foreign actors in elections is a criminal offense?

Trump Ties to Russia

It is critical that Congress scrutinize connections between Trump and his associates and the Russian government and associated individuals and entities, both to determine whether the Trump campaign cooperated with the Russian attempt to influence the election and whether business dealings between Trump or his associates with Russian entities create vulnerabilities or financial incentives that could be exploited to the detriment of U.S. national interests.

8. Starting from the time of the party primaries in 2015, what contacts did Trump and individuals and entities associated with the Trump campaign have with Russian individuals or entities?

Have these individuals and entities followed legal requirements with respect to such contacts (e.g., registration as foreign agent, reporting of income, and disclosure on security clearance forms) and if not, why not?

The campaign’s denials of contacts with Russians have dissolved in the face of repeated instances where close Trump associates – including Michael Flynn, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Jeff Sessions  – were found to have met or communicated privately with individuals who are reportedly connected to the Russian government.

9. What was the purpose of these contacts? Donald Trump Jr. released emails showing that he had enthusiastically accepted an invitation to obtain information being proffered on behalf of the Russian government that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign.

Did other contacts similarly involve either offers of assistance to the Trump campaign by Russia or offers of assistance to Russia (or Russian interests) by the Trump campaign?

10. What was the extent of the Russian government’s effort to instigate the repeal of the Magnitsky Actand were Trump’s associates involved in these efforts?

11. Is there any evidence – direct or circumstantial – to suggest that Trump was aware of, sanctioned or approved, or directed contacts between his associates and Russian government proxies?

12. What is the full extent of past or existing business dealings between the president and his associates in Russia or with Russian nationals or entities?

Do any of these deals or relationships give Russia leverage over Trump or his associates – for example, if they were illegal or inappropriate, if they are continuing to provide a benefit to Trump’s businesses or associates, or if they resulted in significant debts being owed by Trump or his associates to Russia or Russian nationals?

13. What efforts did the Trump campaign or administration make that would benefit Russia and is there any indication of influence from Russia for these moves? Were moves such as removing the plank of the Republican Party platform that supported sending arms to Ukraine, attempts to try to roll back sanctions against Russia, or a reported deal to give back Russian intelligence-collecting compounds seized by the Obama administration attempts to appease Russia?

14. Is our system of checks and balances sufficiently robust to detect and prevent conflicts of interest on the part of the president or are additional measures, such as legislation requiring greater disclosure of financial information and business interests, needed?

Obstruction of Justice

Regardless of whether the president can be criminally indicted for obstruction of justice, Congress has a duty to ascertain whether he attempted to hinder or influence the FBI’s investigation of issues relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Presidential interference with law enforcement investigations is incompatible with the rule of law.

15. Did President Trump ask former FBI Director James Comey to end his investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, as indicated by Comey’s sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence committee and his contemporaneous record of the meeting?

Did he ask other government officials – such as Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo – to intervene with Comey on his behalf?

16. Did the president ask Comey to pledge loyalty, as indicated by Comey’s sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence committee and his contemporaneous record of the meeting?

17. Did Comey request additional resources for the Russia investigation the week before he was dismissed; if so, was this information communicated to the White House?

18. Under what circumstances did Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Attorney General Sessions undertake to prepare their May 9, 2017 recommendation to dismiss Comey?

What was the nature and extent of their communications with the White House and the Justice Department about the recommendation, both before and after it was made?

19. Why did Trump dismiss Comey?

Was he motivated solely by Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, as administration spokespersons originally claimed, or was he at least partially motivated by Comey’s handling of the Russia investigation, as publicly stated by the president?

20. Are further measures needed to insulate the FBI or the Department of Justice from political interference?

Faiza Patel is Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. She was a senior policy officer at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Read the whole story
· · · · · ·

Inside Robert Mueller’s Army

1 Share

In a secure location in southwest Washington, D.C., with access to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility for classified material, 16 of the country’s top lawyers have passed the last several months working on an investigation that will likely be as consequential as it is secretive.

The following details—gleaned from conversations with people familiar with President Donald Trump’s legal team, as well as intelligence experts and friends of the people working for special counsel Robert Mueller—help explain the broad range of legal and counterintelligence experts he’s assembled. Mueller has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department.

Andrew Weissmann

Weissmann has spent most of his career in the Justice Department—first in the Eastern District of New York, and now at Main Justice. He’s on detail from his position overseeing fraud prosecutions to work with Mueller.

It isn’t their first tour of duty together. Weissmann was Mueller’s general counsel at the FBI for years.

A former FBI official who worked with him there told The Daily Beast that unlike many government attorneys, Weissmann rarely equivocated or dilly-dallied about decisions.

“He was not a paper tiger,” the former official said.

The former official said Weissmann argued doggedly for the FBI’s positions when officials there disagreed with the legal views of attorneys at DOJ headquarters—and was sometimes willing to raise his voice and use obscenities.

“This isn’t gonna fuckin’ stand!” Weissmann yelled at one meeting where FBI officials discussed their differences with the Justice Department, according to that source.

It’s a trait that won him fans at the FBI, and countless foes among criminal defense lawyers. Weissmann generated enormous anger for the hardball tactics he used when he ran the Enron probe—especially his prosecution of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which resulted in more than 20,000 people losing their jobs and zero convictions. One prominent white collar defense attorney vowed that Weissmann would never work in private practice because he was so despised over the Andersen case. Despite that, Weissmann made a pit stop at the private firm Jenner & Block for a few years before returning to the FBI.

James Quarles

Quarles is part of the old guard of Washington lawyers and worked on the Watergate prosecution. Besides Mueller himself, Quarles seems to deal with Trump’s legal team more than just about anybody else on the probe.

Thank You!

You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

“Ty [Cobb, one of the president’s lawyers] and I have had excellent relations with [Quarles] and Bob [Mueller], and we are very much appreciative,” said John Dowd, one of the president’s attorneys.

Along with Weissmann, Quarles is one of the most senior people on Mueller’s team. A person familiar with Mueller’s management style said it’s safe to assume Weissmann and Quarles have managerial roles on the probe.

Quarles was a partner at WilmerHale—the predominantly Democratic law firm where Mueller worked before becoming the special counsel—along with a host of other attorneys involved in the probe.

Those include Jamie Gorelick, who was second in command at the Justice Department under Janet Reno and who has represented Jared Kushner on issues related to his security clearance; and Reg Brown, also a partner at the firm, who represented Paul Manafort until about two weeks ago. (Multiple sources told The Daily Beast that Manafort is facing financial strain because of legal costs.)

Aaron Zebley

Zebley is a Mueller whisperer. He was Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI, often acting as a go-between for Mueller and the bureau’s senior officials, according to Ron Hosko, formerly an assistant FBI director. Mueller mentored Zebley and guided him through the bureau, according to a former DOJ official.

Zebley seems to have a pretty good poker face.

“You could you be giving him your view and he could be thinking, ‘This guy’s a complete idiot’ or ‘This information is completely misshaped!’ and you’d never know,” said a former FBI official who worked with him.

Zebley accompanied Mueller when he briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee on his investigation, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Jeannie Rhee

Besides Weissmann, Rhee is the attorney whose presence on Mueller’s team has most irked the president’s allies. She previously represented the Clinton Foundation and was an official in the Justice Department’s prestigious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Obama administration.

A person familiar with the president’s legal team said its representatives have tried to communicate to the special counsel that they worry Rhee’s presence on the team could result in it moving in a partisan direction.

People who know Rhee say that’s laughable. John Bies, who worked alongside her in OLC, said Rhee felt deep personal responsibility for the work of the office.

“She was anxious and had a real sense of responsibility about getting it right,” he told The Daily Beast.

Rhee was also a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., where she worked on the prosecution of teachers’ union officials who embezzled millions of dollars to buy tickets to Wizards games and fur coats, according to The Washington Post. And though conservative media figures have criticized Rhee for past contributions to Democrats, she supported the confirmation of Republican Rachel Brand as associate attorney general.

Michael Dreeben

A longtime Washington attorney told The Daily Beast it’s unthinkable that Mueller would have executed the search warrant to raid Manafort’s house without the sign-off of Michael Dreeben.

On the team investigating Russian interference, Dreeben’s legend is second only to that of Mueller’s. Dreeben has spent years in the solicitor general’s office of the Justice Department and has argued before the Supreme Court more than 100 times.

Numerous Washington lawyers said he knows more about U.S. criminal law than anyone else on the planet. One attorney described him as “a demigod of the legal world, respected and feared by everyone in the realm of criminal law.”

Peter Vincent, a former senior DHS official, said Dreeben is an “absolute superstar.” Harold Koh, the top lawyer at the State Department under President Barack Obama, called Dreeben a “brilliant, brilliant lawyer.”

“He’s extremely rational, like Mr. Spock,” Koh added. “He’s not a joker.”

Bies, who has also worked with Dreeben, said the Star Trek comparison was apt “only if you recognize that Dr. Spock was half human, and has emotions in addition to rationality.”

Andrew Goldstein

Goldstein is one of a handful of New Yorkers who headed to D.C. to work on the probe. He’s on detail from his post as head of the Southern District of New York’s public corruption unit. Before taking that job—where he prosecuted New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and helped dismantle the Liberty Reserve criminal enterprise, which laundered hundreds of millions of dollars using online currency—he was a staff writer for Time magazine, where he covered the Columbine shooting.

Goldstein is the son of Jonathan Goldstein, who was the United States attorney for the District of New Jersey. President Richard Nixon nominated him for that post in 1974.

Elkan Abramowitz, a criminal defense attorney who has practiced in New York for years and has dealt with Andrew Goldstein on legal matters, said he’s widely respected.

“What really is important about him is his judgment,” Abramowitz told The Daily Beast. “He’s very temperate and solid. I would trust his judgment. For example, if he were to conclude that there was insufficient evidence, his judgment could be relied on. If he were to conclude otherwise, his judgment also could be relied on.”

Elizabeth Prelogar

Before heading to the firm Hogan and Lovells and then to the solicitor general’s office, Elizabeth Prelogar was a Fulbright scholar in Russia (and speaks Russian). Neal Katyal, who worked with Prelogar and Dreeben as acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, said she was “perhaps the best young lawyer with whom I have ever worked.”

“If I were hand-picking a team of the very best lawyers in the nation, regardless of whatever the issues in a case may be, both of them would be at the top of the list,” he added, “and I know that sentiment is shared by both Republican and Democratic lawyers alike.”

Prelogar is widely viewed as a rising star in the Justice Department.

Brandon Van Grack

Brandon Van Grack is referred to by friends as “BVG.” Josh Geltzer, who heads Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, worked down the hall from Van Grack when they were both in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

“It would absolutely make sense that a small team like this would want him at their core because of how impossible it is not to get along with him,” Geltzer said.

Van Grack prosecuted counter-espionage cases and is on loan to the probe from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he is on the national security and international crime unit.

Van Grack has prosecuted a host of crimes that seem to provide extremely relevant experience for his work with Mueller. He’s gone after a member of the Assad-aligned Syrian Electronic Army, helped lock up an Iranian national who tried to smuggle sophisticated technology out of the U.S., and helped successfully prosecute a Michigander who tried to spy for China.

His biggest claim to fame, though—and “fame” may be too strong a word here—is his work prosecuting Ardit Ferizi, a hacker who shared a kill list with ISIS. That was the first time the Justice Department convicted a hacker for providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Rush Atkinson

Like Van Grack, Atkinson has worked in the Eastern District of Virginia on espionage cases and in the DOJ’s National Security Division. He’s on detail to the special counsel from the fraud section of the DOJ’s criminal division, where he worked under Weissmann.

Zainab Ahmad

Of the younger lawyers on Mueller’s team, Ahmad has by far the highest profile. The New Yorker profiled her earlier this year because she has successfully prosecuted 13 terrorism suspects, according to the magazine, and has yet to lose in court.

Aaron Zelinsky

Zelinsky, who went to Yale for undergrad and law school, clerked for Judge Thomas Griffith, a George W. Bush appointee. He also worked under Rod Rosenstein when he was U.S. attorney for Maryland—two GOP-friendly résumé lines that critics of the Mueller probe never mention.

Zelinsky also worked under Koh at the State Department during the Obama administration, where he helped handle hostage negotiations. When American journalist Clare Gillis was held hostage in Libya, Koh said Zelinsky spoke with her family every night.

“The guy was mid- to late-20s, talking to a family that doesn’t know whether their daughter is alive or dead, and are eager for scraps of info,” Koh said. “And he showed tremendous discretion. He never over-promised.”

Koh said Zelinsky also had impressive foresight. At one point, the State Department determined Gillis’s captors were moving her toward Tripoli.

“Aaron comes to me and says, ‘I think we need to call NATO HQ and tell them not to bomb that road,’” Koh said.

Gillis was ultimately freed, along with fellow hostage James Foley. Foley was later taken captive in Syria and beheaded in 2014 by ISIS fighters.

Adam Jed

Jed is one of the only people on Mueller’s team who has never worked as a prosecutor. The Harvard Law graduate has held several posts in the Justice Department, most recently handling appellate litigation in the Civil Division.

“He’s a very smart careful appellate lawyer,” said Bies. “The fact that him and the other solicitor general’s office people were brought in shows Mueller’s playing the long game and thinking carefully about where things will go—not just in the investigation, but down the road when they have to litigate issues in the courts.”

One attorney who practices federal criminal defense noted that Jed has experience handling asset forfeiture, which could be useful if the probe deals with property purchased using criminal proceeds.

Greg Andres

Like Weissmann and Ahmad, Andres worked in the Eastern District of New York U.S. attorney’s office—where Judge Beryl Howell, who is overseeing Mueller’s D.C. grand jury, and former attorney general Loretta Lynch were also prosecutors. During Andres’ time in Brooklyn, he worked on organized crime cases, just like Weissmann.

Andres’ wife, Judge Ronnie Abrams, recused herself from two cases involving the Trump family because of her husband’s work.

Andres is one of the most celebrated trial lawyers currently practicing law. He prosecuted mafia figures and white collar criminals before going into private practice.

In an interview with Law360 published in May 2016, Andres said trial lawyers should always project confidence.

“Be confident, straightforward and well prepared,” he said. “Judges, juries and adversaries can sense a lack of conviction and are unforgiving with respect to overstatement or misrepresentations. Emphasize the strengths of your case but acknowledge and concede the weak facts or legal precedent. Failing to cite adverse authority or hiding bad facts can be devastating.”

In conclusion

To be sure, the most interesting parts of Mueller’s investigation are likely happening far from public view. Most of the coverage of the probe has focused on its criminal component. But Mueller’s top priority is likely a counterespionage operation, which James Comey confirmed was underway when he testified before Congress (and before his firing).

Naveed Jamali, a former double agent for the FBI who dealt with Russian espionage in the U.S., said this part of the effort won’t necessarily have to do with criminal charges or court proceedings.

“The goal with a counterintelligence operation is to detect and neutralize threats,” said Jamali, author of How to Catch a Russian Spy. “That’s it. If you apply that to the Mueller probe, anything that was used by the Russians against us during the election is a threat that has to be neutralized. That doesn’t mean that it has to be brought to court.”

Simply proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, who interfered with the 2016 election on behalf of Russia and how they did it would be a significant success for the probe, he added.

“The legal part of this is so fucking boring,” he added. “This is a counterintelligence operation first and foremost.”

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · · · · ·

CNN: Probe Investigators Find Another Email From A Trump Top Aide About A Russia Meeting

1 Share

Rick Dearborn sent an email to campaign officials with information about a person trying to connect them with Putin, CNN said.

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 7

Thursday’s Morning Email: Government Shutdown Threat Looms Over Border Wall Faceoff

1 Share

Neither side looks ready to compromise.

Will Trump Be the Death of the Goldwater Rule?

1 Share

At his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, Donald Trump remarked, of his decision to take on the Presidency, “Most people think I’m crazy to have done this. And I think they’re right.”

A strange consensus does appear to be forming around Trump’s mental state. Following Trump’s unhinged Phoenix speech, James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said on CNN, “I really question his … fitness to be in this office,” describing the address as “scary and disturbing” and characterizing Trump as a “complete intellectual, moral, and ethical void.” Last week, following Trump’s doubling-down on blaming “many sides” for white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Senator Bob Corker, a Republican of Tennessee, said that the President “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs” to lead the country. Last Friday, Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat of California, introduced a resolution urging a medical and psychiatric evaluation of the President, pointing to an “alarming pattern of behavior and speech causing concern that a mental disorder may have rendered him unfit and unable to fulfill his Constitutional duties.” Lofgren asked, in a press release, “Does the President suffer from early stage dementia? Has the stress of office aggravated a mental illness crippling impulse control? Has emotional disorder so impaired the President that he is unable to discharge his duties? Is the President mentally and emotionally stable?”

The class of professionals best equipped to answer these questions has largely abstained from speaking publicly about the President’s mental health. The principle known as the “Goldwater rule” prohibits psychiatrists from giving professional opinions about public figures without personally conducting an examination, as Jane Mayer wrote in this magazine in May. After losing the 1964 Presidential election, Senator Barry Goldwater successfully sued Fact magazine for defamation after it published a special issue in which psychiatrists declared him “severely paranoid” and “unfit” for the Presidency. For a public figure to prevail in a defamation suit, he must demonstrate that the defendant acted with “actual malice”; a key piece of evidence in the Goldwater case was Fact’s disregard of a letter from the American Psychiatric Association warning that any survey of psychiatrists who hadn’t clinically examined Goldwater was invalid.

The Supreme Court denied Fact’s cert petition, which hoped to vindicate First Amendment rights to free speech and a free press. But Justice Hugo Black, joined by William O. Douglas, dissented, writing, “The public has an unqualified right to have the character and fitness of anyone who aspires to the Presidency held up for the closest scrutiny. Extravagant, reckless statements and even claims which may not be true seem to me an inevitable and perhaps essential part of the process by which the voting public informs itself of the qualities of a man who would be President.”

These statements, of course, resonate today. President Trump has unsuccessfully pursued many defamation lawsuits over the years, leading him to vow during the 2016 campaign to “open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” (One of his most recent suits, dismissed in 2016, concerned a Univision executive’s social-media posting of side-by-side photos of Trump and Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015; Trump alleged that the posting falsely accused him of inciting similar acts.)

The left-leaning psychiatric community was shamed by the Fact episode for having confused political objection and medical judgment, and came under pressure from the American Medical Association, whose members had largely supported Goldwater over Lyndon Johnson. The A.P.A. adopted the Goldwater rule in 1973; Dr. Alan Stone, my colleague at Harvard Law School, was at the time the only member of the A.P.A.’s board to oppose the rule, as a denial of free speech “and of every psychiatrist’s God-given right to make a fool of himself or herself.” Stone, who has served on the A.P.A.’s appeals board, told me that a few members over the years have been sanctioned or warned for Goldwater-rule violations, but that the A.P.A. eventually gave up enforcing it, because of the difficulty of providing due process to the accused.

The psychoanalyst Justin Frank, a clinical professor at George Washington University, simply resigned from the A.P.A. in 2003 before publishing his book “Bush on the Couch.” He went on to write “Obama on the Couch,” and is now at work on “Trump on the Couch.” Frank says that the Goldwater rule forces psychiatrists to neglect a duty to share their knowledge with fellow-citizens. “I think it’s fear of being shunned by colleagues,” he told me. “It’s not about ethics.” Had he examined Trump, of course, he would be bound by confidentiality not to speak about him. But Frank believes that restraining psychiatrists from speaking about a President based on publicly available information is like telling economists not to speak about the economy, or keeping lawyers from commenting on legal cases in the public eye.

The A.P.A. reaffirmed and arguably expanded the Goldwater rule in March, stating that it applies not only to a “diagnosis” but also to “an opinion about the affect, behavior, speech, or other presentation of an individual that draws on the skills, training, expertise, and/or knowledge inherent in the practice of psychiatry.” The upshot is the attempted removal of more than thirty-seven thousand A.P.A. members from a key public conversation, during a moment when their knowledge and authority might aid the public in responsibly assessing the President. The other major mental-health professional organization, the American Psychological Association, with double the membership, also reconfirmed its version of the Goldwater rule. The much smaller American Psychoanalytic Association told its more than three thousand members last month to feel free to comment about political figures—a reprieve more symbolic than practical, since many members concurrently belong to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some assume that simply opting out of voluntary membership in a professional organization frees a person to speak. But versions of the Goldwater rule exist in state licensing-board standards for psychologists and physicians. Some states adopt wholesale the American Psychological Association’s ethical principles as their standard of conduct for licensed psychologists, or have provisions warning that physicians can face disciplinary action for violating a professional medical association’s code of ethics. Dr. Leonard Glass, who practices in one such state, Massachusetts, observed last month, in the Boston Globe, that even if nobody has actually lost his or her license for violating the Goldwater rule, “it is not trivial to be reported to your licensing board for an ethics violation.” This restraint on speech may violate the First Amendment, because, by speaking, practitioners stand to attract state censure, not just disapproval by private organizations. (Disclosure: As a lawyer, I have considered a potential lawsuit based on this First Amendment claim.) It is especially odd to see a muzzling of speech about political figures and elected officials when it is routine for mental-health experts in legal cases to offer opinions based on information from files, without an in-person examination—for example, to help assess how dangerous a person is.

A congressional bill introduced in April proposes establishing a commission to oversee “Presidential capacity,” laying down a path that the Twenty-fifth Amendment allows for involuntary removal of a President. Section 4 of that Amendment provides that a congressionally appointed body can determine that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Psychiatrists’ participation in this constitutional process will depend on their appetite for professional opprobrium.

After Trump’s “fire and fury” remarks about North Korea, earlier this month, Dr. Bandy Lee, a professor of psychiatry at Yale Medical School, sent her second letter about Trump to all members of Congress, warning that his “severe emotional impediments” pose “a grave threat to international security.” Four colleagues joined her this time, but, she told me, “In the beginning, I was trying to write letters to Congress members and I couldn’t get anyone to sign on, even though nobody disagreed.” Her book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” forthcoming in October, collects essays by more than a dozen mental-health experts and makes the case that the Trump Presidency is an emergency that not only allows but may even require psychiatrists to depart from the Goldwater rule. Seeking contributors, Dr. Lee was mindful that most colleagues would be nervous walking the tightrope, so she approached prominent writers who might have enough stature to withstand criticism, including Philip Zimbardo, Judith Herman, Robert Jay Lifton, and Gail Sheehy. (Next month, Dr. Lee will have a closed meeting with several as-yet-unnamed lawmakers to advise them on how Congress might convene mental-health professionals to review the President’s state of mind.)

Many Presidents in our history appear to have served while managing various forms of mental illness, including depression, anxiety, social phobia, and bipolar disorder. President Ronald Reagan’s staff, for example, worried about signs of dementia. Concerned about Richard Nixon’s paranoia and heavy drinking in his last days in office, his Defense Secretary is claimed to have told the Joint Chiefs to disregard any White House military orders. But Trump is the only President to be the subject of sustained public discussion about his mental competence and fitness for office.

The Constitution contemplates, by virtue of the First Amendment, that we may freely raise concerns about elected officials, and also that in the extreme circumstance envisioned in the Twenty-fifth Amendment, medical professionals would be free to help us understand whether the President can fulfill his duties. If those who know most are the least free to speak, neither Amendment can function properly. The Goldwater rule was an overreaction to psychiatrists wielding their professional badge to do politics. Today, the profession risks protecting itself from the taint of politics by withholding expertise from a vital public debate—a situation that seems no less irresponsible.

Read the whole story
· · · · · ·

Hundreds of pages of new details on Trump-Russia dossier and Pee Pee Tape are on verge of being released

1 Share

Over the past year, large chunks of the infamous Trump-Russia dossier have been proven, and not one word of it has been disproven, yet the mainstream media has still continued to refer to it as “unverified” for no good reason. Now it turns out we’re on the verge of getting hundreds of pages of additional details and supporting evidence in relation to that dossier.

The Trump-Russia dossier was assembled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele at the behest of an opposition research company named Fusion GPS. It alleged that the Russian government spent years cultivating Donald Trump while also building up blackmail material on him (including the mythical “Pee Pee Tape”), and that the Trump campaign and Russia actively colluded to rig the election in Trump’s favor. Partly because the dossier was so widely and baselessly antagonized by the mainstream media, thus creating the false perception that it had been “debunked” or discredited, it’s taken until now for Congress to get around to formally addressing it. But that changed in a big way this week.

Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in what ended up being ten hours of closed hearings on Monday. The upshot is that the company firmly stands behind the research in the Trump-Russia dossier. Now the public has begun calling for transcripts of the testimony to be released. Simpson has said he has no problem with his testimony being released. Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican Chair of that committee, was asked about it during a town hall tonight.

Rachel Maddow ended up airing the relevant portion of that town hall during her MSNBC show. Grassley affirmed that he’ll have the committee vote on whether to release the transcripts, and he stated that barring any hang-ups, he doesn’t see any reason why he won’t vote “yes” himself. The committee has eleven Republicans and nine Democrats, so it would only take Grassley and one other Republican voting “yes” (along with all of the Democrats) for the transcripts to be released.

This means we’re on the verge of getting our hands on ten hours of testimony about the Trump-Russia dossier, the Pee Pee tape, and everything else alleged in it. Ten hours of testimony roughly translates to around five hundred pages of transcripts. And so unless Chuck Grassley goes back on his word, we’re about to learn what the real story is behind everything that the dossier says.


Help fund Palmer Report:

Bill Palmer is the founder and editor in chief of the political news outlet Palmer Report

Read the whole story
· ·

James Clapper: Concerned by ‘Jekyll Hyde’ Trump pattern

1 Share

Story highlights

  • Clapper emphasized he was speaking as a private citizen
  • Clapper questions Trump’s “fitness” to hold the presidency following Trump’s divisive campaign rally in Arizona

Washington (CNN)Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reiterated his concern about President Donald Trump’s ability to effectively lead the country on Wednesday night.

“What caused concern is this … Jekyll-Hyde business where he’ll make a scripted teleprompter speech, which is good, and then turn around and negate it by sort of, unbridled, unleashed, unchaperoned Trump. And that to me — that pattern — is very disturbing,” Clapper told Jim Sciutto in an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Clapper emphasized he was speaking as a private citizen and not as a member of the intelligence community.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

Clapper — a CNN national security analyst — had

questioned Trump’s “fitness”

 to hold the office of the President less than 24 hours earlier. That came during a “CNN Tonight” appearance early Wednesday, following Trump’s divisive campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday night.

“I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it,” Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday morning after the rally had ended.

On Monday

, Trump portrayed a more polished version of himself as he announced the United States’ new strategy for Afghanistan. But his tone shifted when he spoke to a crowd of supporters Tuesday night at

 the Phoenix campaign rally, 

where he accused the media of misrepresenting him in its coverage, among other things.

Clapper said, “I cannot make any comment about his mental health, his sanity or any of that sort of thing. All that I can comment on really is the behavior I’ve observed, and I find that worrisome.”

As Syria war tightens, U.S. and Russia military hotlines humming

1 Share

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (Reuters) – Even as tensions between the United States and Russia fester, there is one surprising place where their military-to-military contacts are quietly weathering the storm: Syria.

It has been four months since U.S. President Donald Trump ordered cruise missile strikes against a Syrian airfield after an alleged chemical weapons attack.

In June, the U.S. military shot down a Syrian fighter aircraft, the first U.S. downing of a manned jet since 1999, and also shot down two Iranian-made drones that threatened U.S.-led coalition forces.

All the while, U.S. and Russian military officials have been regularly communicating, U.S. officials told Reuters. Some of the contacts are helping draw a line on the map that separates U.S.- and Russian-backed forces waging parallel campaigns on Syria’s shrinking battlefields.

There is also a telephone hotline linking the former Cold War foes’ air operations centers. U.S. officials told Reuters that there now are about 10 to 12 calls a day on the hotline, helping keep U.S. and Russian warplanes apart as they support different fighters on the ground.

That is no small task, given the complexities of Syria’s civil war. Moscow backs the Syrian government, which also is aided by Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah as it claws back territory from Syrian rebels and Islamic State fighters.

The U.S. military is backing a collection of Kurdish and Arab forces focusing their firepower against Islamic State, part of a strategy to collapse the group’s self-declared “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq.

Reuters was given rare access to the U.S. Air Force’s hotline station, inside the Qatar-based Combined Air Operations Area, last week, including meeting two Russian linguists, both native speakers, who serve as the U.S. interface for conversations with Russian commanders.

While the conversations are not easy, contacts between the two sides have remained resilient, senior U.S. commanders said.

“The reality is we’ve worked through some very hard problems and, in general, we have found a way to maintain the deconfliction line (that separates U.S. and Russian areas of operation) and found a way to continue our mission,” Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Middle East, said in an interview.

As both sides scramble to capture what is left of Islamic State’s caliphate, the risk of accidental contacts is growing.

“We have to negotiate, and sometimes the phone calls are tense. Because for us, this is about protecting ourselves, our coalition partners and destroying the enemy,” Harrigian said, without commenting on the volume of calls.

The risks of miscalculation came into full view in June, when the United States shot down a Syrian Su-22 jet that was preparing to fire on U.S.-backed forces on the ground.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said those were not the only aircraft in the area. As the incident unfolded, two Russian fighter jets looked on from above and a American F-22 stealth aircraft kept watch from an even higher altitude, they told Reuters.

After the incident, Moscow publicly warned it would consider any planes flying west of the Euphrates River to be targets. But the U.S. military kept flying in the area, and kept talking with Russia.

“The Russians have been nothing but professional, cordial and disciplined,” Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the Iraq-based commander of the U.S.-led coalition, told Reuters.

DIVIDING LINE DOWN THE EUPHRATES

In Syria, U.S.-backed forces are now consumed with the battle to capture Islamic State’s former capital of Raqqa. More than half the city has been retaken from Islamic State.

Officials said talks were underway to extend a demarcation line that has been separating U.S.- and Russian-backed fighters on the ground as fighting pushes toward Islamic State’s last major Syrian stronghold, the Deir al-Zor region.

The line runs in an irregular arc from a point southwest of Tabqa east to a point on the Euphrates River and then down along the Euphrates River in the direction of Deir al-Zor, they said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, during a visit to Jordan this week, said the line was important as U.S.- and Russian-backed forces come in closer proximity of each other.

“We do not do that (communication) with the (Syrian) regime. It is with the Russians, is who we’re dealing with,” Mattis said.

“We continue those procedures right on down the Euphrates River Valley.”

Bisected by the Euphrates River, Deir al-Zor and its oil resources are critical to the Syrian state.

The province is largely in the hands of Islamic State, but has become a priority for pro-Syrian forces. It also is in the crosshairs of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters last week that there would be an SDF campaign toward Deir al-Zor “in the near future,” though the SDF was still deciding whether it would be delayed until Raqqa was fully taken from Islamic State.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by John Walcott, Toni Reinhold

Read the whole story
· · · ·

FBI probe of Clinton’s emails prompted by espionage fears, secret letters say

1 Share

Signed in as mikenova

Share this story on NewsBlur

Shared stories are on their way…

Next Page of Stories
Loading…
Page 8

peter strzok – Google Search

1 Share

Story image for peter strzok from Business Insider

A top FBI investigator has unexpectedly stepped away from special …

Business InsiderAug 16, 2017
Peter Strzok, a veteran counterintelligence investigator, is now working for the FBI’s human resources division, according to ABC. It is unclear …

Trump, Putin, and Reopening of Emails Investigation – Google Search

1 Share

Story image for Trump, Putin, and Reopening of Emails Investigation from Newsweek

Lovers’ Quarrel: TrumpPutin and the World’s Most Dangerous …

NewsweekAug 10, 2017
President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake … A subsequent investigationdiscovered that around 4,000 targeted emails were …. attempts to get the Russian Embassy’s dachas reopened in May, but …

Story image for Trump, Putin, and Reopening of Emails Investigation from Tablet Magazine

October 3, 2016: Netanyahu tasks deep cover Mossad agent …

Tablet MagazineAug 7, 2017
… to Congress reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email … November 9, 2016: Netanyahu congratulates Trump on his election …

Story image for Trump, Putin, and Reopening of Emails Investigation from The Week Magazine

What happened? What happened?! You blew it, Hillary.

The Week MagazineJul 29, 2017
The point isn’t that Comey and Putin and unsavory political views played no role. … that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email server, … Trump campaign collusion) hadn’t broken into John Podesta’s email …

Story image for Trump, Putin, and Reopening of Emails Investigation from IVN News

From Russia Meddling to DNC Incompetence: Where We Are and …

IVN NewsAug 11, 2017
I just finished reading “TrumpPutin, and The New Cold War” that … saying the bureau was reopeningits investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails, …
Read the whole story
· ·

4 reasons why many Northeast Philly Russians still support Trump

1 Share

Across from Independence Hall, a street artist recently was drawing a poster with two men she clearly did not admire, President Trump and Vladimir Putin. They were depicted as trampling on the U.S. flag, and on the Liberty Bell between them was a sign reading, “Sold.” Above the picture the artist had written, “Stop selling us to the Russians, Trump.”

Her message reflects what many people in Philadelphia think about the accusations of collusion in last year’s U.S. election, Many, but not everyone.

The city’s Northeast section is home to a large number of Russian Americans. Along Bustleton Avenue, caviar and pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings) are sold in the supermarkets. Signs in Cyrillic letters advertise shoe stores, pharmacies, and hairdressers. Many here do not share the concerns of the street artist downtown. “Everything will be OK” is the common refrain among saleswomen in local stores when asked about Trump. “He can change the country for the benefit of the people.”

Signs on Russian-owned businesses in Northeast Philadelphia.

The word Russian for this community is not entirely correct. Many immigrants and their families came from Russia, but even more from Ukraine, or Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics. Some began arriving in the 1970s, when Moscow lifted the Iron Curtain a little bit and allowed Jews to emigrate. What connects the immigrants from all the former Soviet republics is their common history and language.

Many of them voted for Trump and continue to support him despite his low approval ratings and the turmoil of his first six months in office. As for the allegations of collusion, many Russian Americans dismiss them as part of a conspiracy, disruptive actions by Democrats and the media.

“Trump was presumed guilty and now they are trying to find proof,” says Diane Glikman, 45, host of a Russian-language program on the internet. She represents a view among many along Bustleton that Trump could succeed politically if only given a chance.

I lived in Moscow for a few years and I also know the views of many immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Germany, my home country. There, conservative views predominate among the immigrants, especially among older citizens. More than a few praise Putin as a strong leader and a counterweight to the West, a person who represents their conservative views.

None of the people I spoke to in Philadelphia praised Putin. Gary Vulakh, 57, who came from Ukraine almost 40 years ago and runs a small jewelry repair shop, calls the Russian leader a “terrorist.” Others said the ongoing Russia hacking investigation makes Putin seem stronger than he is. “He is not so powerful,” says Malvina Yakobi, 57, the editorial director of the Russian-English newspaper Philadelphia News. Few believe the Kremlin could meddle in a U.S. election. “Could they do anything like that?” Vulakh wonders. “Everything is done by the Democrats to impeach Trump.”

The Russians in Philadelphia may not fully support Trump’s friendliness toward Putin, but they still back the U.S. president overall, roughly for four reasons.

First, they wish for good relations between the United States and Russia, which they believe will promote peaceful cohabitation and bring more stability to the world.

Second, many separate Trump’s admiration for Putin from his promises on domestic issues. Russian Americans, Yakobi explains, are “the biggest American patriots.” Having escaped the repressive Soviet Union, U.S. values such as freedom and justice are of the utmost importance. So, naturally, they want their new country to succeed.

Third, they like having a successful businessman in the White House instead of just another politician.They want to see a break from politics as usual and an establishment — what Yakobi calls the “corrupted” administration of President Barack Obama — that they see as ignoring the needs of too many in the country.

Fourth, though many themselves were newcomers to the United States, they like a president who promises to stop uncontrolled and illegal immigration. “We waited five or six years to get citizenship,” says Glikman. They earned their blue passports by learning the language and working hard, even in jobs that were far below their education level. They believe, as Glikman says, that Trump “is not against immigrants when they work hard.”

Though the community often leans Republican at election time — Democrats are seen as too “socialist,” like the government many Russian Americans fled — it is not monolithic in its support for the current president. In some cases, a vote for Trump was more a vote against Hillary Clinton. As Yakobi, who came to the United States from Georgia, says, last November’s election did not leave “a great choice.” And even though the president may be a role model for achieving the American dream, not all are on board. “Even within families, there are very different opinions,” Glikman notes. “The Russian community is split up … like the rest of the country.”

Oliver Bilger is a writer for Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper who is working with the Inquirer as part of the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Programobilger@philly.com

Published: | Updated:

Thanks for your continued support…

We recently asked you to support our journalism. The response, in a word, is heartening. You have encouraged us in our mission — to provide quality news and watchdog journalism. Some of you have even followed through with subscriptions, which is especially gratifying. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer. And our promise to you is that we will always strive to provide indispensable journalism to our community. Subscriptions are available for home delivery of the print edition and for a digital replica viewable on your mobile device or computer. Subscriptions start as low as 25¢ per day.
We’re thankful for your support in every way.

Read the whole story
· · · ·

Sentencing of Disgraced Former  Congressman Anthony Weiner Postponed

1 Share

The sentencing of Anthony Weiner, the 52-year-old former NYC Congressman who fell from grace after a much-publicized sexting scandal, was postponed last Friday by a Manhattan judge.

According to a NY Post report, Weiner’s sentencing was delayed at the request of his lawyers, who asked that federal Judge Denise Cole postpone their client’s sentencing until Oct. 6. Cole partially complied, holding the sentencing (initially scheduled for September 8) off until September 25.

On May 19, Weiner confessed to sending obscene material to a teenage girl, a scandal which ruined his career, reputation, and marriage to his wife Huma Abedin, who filed for divorce following Weiner’s admission of guilt.

In a report, News 12 Westchester said Weiner’s legal team have stated they need additional time to prepare a sentencing recommendation that suits Weiner’s ongoing treatment.

In addition to his legal woes, Weiner is currently paying a heavy price for his actions in other ways.

“Nobody speaks to him. He is truly ostracized,” a source cited by Page <a href=”http://Six.com” rel=”nofollow”>Six.com</a> said. “People won’t even get on the elevator with him.”

In his confession earlier this year, Weiner expressed contrition for his actions, saying he had no excuse for his behavior.

“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” he said during a May appearance in Federal Court. “I apologize to everyone I have hurt. I apologize to the teenage girl, whom I mistreated so badly.”

In an emotional plea statement in May, Weiner acknowledged that his “destructive impulses brought great devastation to family and friends, and destroyed my life’s dream of public service. And yet I remained in denial even as the world around me fell apart.”

According to a Washington Post report at the time, Weiner’s attorney, Arlo Devlin-Brown, said his client had “apologized, offered no excuses, and made a commitment to make amends.”

Devlin-Brown also said he believed Weiner had accepted “full responsibility for the inappropriate, sexually explicit communications he engaged in early last year.”

Weiner resigned in 2011 after sending an explicit photo to a minor via Twitter (usingh his Twitter account accidentally). Weiner also confessed to engaging in similar behavior with at least six other women, a fact he confessed to in 2011.

By: Yosef Delatitsky

Read the whole story
· ·

Mueller Uses Classic Prosecution Playbook Despite Trump Warnings

1 Share

The former FBI director leading the probe into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia is taking a page from the playbook federal prosecutors have used for decades in criminal investigations, from white-collar fraud to mob racketeering:

Follow the money. Start small and work up. See who will “flip” and testify against higher-ups by pursuing charges such as tax evasion, m