Wednesday, May 24, 2017
therealnews | KIM BROWN: Bill Black, that has been the buzzword pretty much for the past couple of weeks, but this week in particular regarding the investigations. We're talking about an investigation into former FBI Director Jim Comey's email investigation into Hilary Clinton and now an investigation into former Director Comey's firing, an investigation happening surrounding Mike Flynn and his potential role there. So what are we to take away from these numerous investigations not only swirling around D.C. but swirling around this White House in particular?
BILL BLACK: I wanted to provide some background and some perspective. As you said, I'm a former financial regulator that worked very closely with the FBI and Department of Justice investigations and prosecutions of elite white collar criminals and also, on a pro bono basis, was an outside consultant, an expert to the investigation of a portion of the Bill Clinton stuff. That was a special counsel relationship as well. I can tell you a little bit about these things that are now famous, these Comey notes about the meeting that he had with the president in which, at least according to the leaks, the notes show that the president asked Comey to not pursue General Flynn.
So to begin at the beginning, also with this claim that you're hearing repeated time after time, that nothing can interfere with an FBI investigation and such. In fact, enumerable things can and do interfere with FBI investigations and anybody that's lived through the financial crisis that we just had knows that because they know that the same person, Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, not an evil person at all, understandably reorganized the FBI in response to the 9/11 attacks to make it almost exclusively, in its priorities, a counter-terrorist and intelligence organization. That meant that the absolute best people that investigate white collar crime, and the way they do that is by following the money, in other words, the ones with real financial expertise, were transferred out of the white collar section and they were never replaced. That's one of the stories of why there have been zero successful prosecutions because they easily defeated investigations of all the top bankers by never assigning remotely enough agents to the work and assigning them to minor cases.
Historically, J. Edgar Hoover of course was the first director of the FBI and served almost forever and notoriously would not allow the FBI to investigate attacks on, for example, blacks and civil rights workers. The movie, Mississippi Burning, is a fictionalized account of when the attorney general of the United States finally pushed back and forced the FBI to investigate. There were hundreds of occasions in which Hoover intervened to start investigations or stop investigations. Of course, John Dean came up with a bright idea of stopping an FBI investigation by having the CIA, who was only too happy to agree to help President Nixon, falsely claim that the FBI shouldn't look because it was really a CIA operation.
Let's do away with this myth that there's nothing that can interfere with an FBI investigation. The FBI investigations were very much at risk. Let's talk a bit about the key players. Rod Rosenstein is the Deputy Attorney General and because Sessions is recused from dealing with matters involving Russia, Rosenstein actually serves as the acting attorney general when he appointed Mueller, former head of the FBI, before Comey as the special counsel to look at these matters. A little bit about the notes. FBI agents are, in fact, taught, like most people with senior positions in Washington D.C. that involve important matters, to, immediately after a key meeting, to take detailed notes in writing while you're doing the meeting and then turn those notes into a description of the meeting.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Counterpunch | There’s more about Mueller that people should know, too, like the fact that he was the architect of an FBI entrapment program that lured simple-minded gangbangers into terrorist scams and then threw them in the slammer for the rest of their lives. Check out this blurb from an article at Electronic Intifada titled “The FBI’s penchant for “manufacturing terrorists”:
“What the FBI was doing before, during and after the financial crisis is the subject under examination in Trevor Aaronson’s new book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. The book unveils the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism program that began after the 11 September attacks and has continued well into Barack Obama’s second term in office. The program, vividly portrayed by Aaronson, is defined by a wanton use of informants and sting operations in order to produce a high rate of convictions…
Since the 11 September attacks, the FBI has employed more than 15,000 confidential informants nationwide. And, according to Aaronson, for each official informant there are as many as three unofficial informants — known within the FBI as “hip pockets.” By 2011, the Justice Department had prosecuted more than 500 individuals on terrorist charges, a handful of whom Aaronson categorizes as “actual terrorists.” The rest were hatched within the context of FBI sting operations, informants and agents provocateur…..
What Aaronson discovered was that, far from preventing terrorism, the FBI uses its funds to “manufacture” terrorists out of marginalized, desperate, mentally ill or immature men (many of the convicted individuals profiled are in their early twenties). In Aaronson’s words, “The FBI has been effective at creating the very enemy it is hunting.”….
Taking his readers through several FBI sting operations, Aaronson reveals a sordid practice in which the FBI often employs criminals to infiltrate Muslim communities to turn otherwise powerless malcontents into “terrorists.” According to Aaronson’s accounts, these so-called terrorists would have no more than the capability to mouth off in a chat room if it weren’t for the inert weapons and cash that informants would literally place in their hapless hands, thus creating “bogeymen from buffoons.”…
Aaronson’s book is a powerful portrait of the FBI’s insidious and destructive counterterrorism program that enables the contortion of the innocuous into the threatening, ruining hundreds of lives in its wake.”
(“FBI’s penchant for “manufacturing terrorists” probed in new book” by Trevor Aaronson, Charlotte Silver, Electronic Intifada)
So this is what Mueller and his FBI pals were up to before Comey arrived on the scene?
Apparently so. They were devoting a considerable amount of time and resources to operations that framed hapless dupes and patsies as dangerous terrorists threatening our precious national security.
And the man who oversaw these operations, Robert Mueller, is the same guy the media has been praising as the embodiment of integrity and moral rectitude. Give me a break. Mueller knew these operations were a hoax, he had to know. The FBI was working a sting to lure hard-luck dimwits into doing things they’d never normally dream of doing. It’s called entrapment, which is exactly what it is. What the FBI was doing is no different than coaxing a hungry dog into a steelcage with a T-Bone steak. The Bureau calls the practice “counter-terrorism”. Anyone in their right mind would call it “Baloney”.
This is why the bigshots chose Mueller to spearhead their Russia hacking witchhunt. They figure his experience with entrapment will help him to bag his biggest trophy yet, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. That’s the plan at least.
strategic-culture | Once in a while, think tanks such as the Brookings Institute are able to deal with highly strategic and current issues. Often, the conferences held by such organizations are based on false pretences and copious banality, the sole intention being to undermine and downplay the efforts of strategic opponents of the US. Recently, the Brookings Institute's International Strategy and Strategy Project held a lecture on May 9, 2017 where it invited Bobo Lo, an analyst at Lowy Institute for International Policy, to speak. The topic of the subject, extremely interesting to the author and mentioned in the past, is the strategic partnership between China and Russia.
The main assumption Bobo Lo starts with to define relations between Moscow and Beijing is that the two countries base their collaboration on convenience and a convergence of interests rather than on an alliance. He goes on to say that the major frictions in the relationship concern the fate that Putin and Xi hold for Europe, in particular for the European Union, in addition to differences of opinions surrounding the Chinese role in the Pacific. In the first case, Lo states that Russia wants to end the European project while China hopes for a strong and prosperous Europe. With regard to the situation in the Pacific, according to this report, Moscow wants a balance of power between powers without hegemonic domination being transferred from Washington to Beijing.
asiatimes | Western critics continue to pour cold water on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an ambitious and well-planned architecture connecting the massive Eurasian landmass through a system of roads, railways and ports. They complain that it lacks transparency, erodes trade standards set up by the West, is financially too huge for China to handle, is self-serving, and is a deceptive vehicle for China to dominate the world, just to name a few.
They insist that the fact India and most countries in the West are snubbing the BRI is proof that the Chinese initiative is going nowhere or will likely fail. However, judging from the response of a large number of prominent economists and world business and political leaders, the critics may be exaggerating their claims.
In 2016, two-way trade between China and the more than 60 countries along the BRI corridor approached US$1 trillion, and China invested more than $2 billion in these countries in addition to infrastructure investment funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund. At the recent Belt and Road Forum, China pledged to invest about $120 billion over the next few years in the countries participating in the initiative.
The consensus among analysts, participating nations and multinational institutions is that the BRI in fact fits into the United Nations Development Agenda of promoting economic growth, eradicating poverty and enhancing all facets of globalization.
Monday, May 22, 2017
strategic-culture | So, what is India’s real problem with the BRI? Quintessentially, India’s problem is geo-strategic – its inability to come to terms with China’s rise. The pundits in Delhi used to fancy that India would eventually catch up with China’s development and even overtake it. But that turned out to be a pipedream. The real challenge today is to come to terms with the yawning asymmetry in development.
Indeed, India’s China watchers are a rather pedestrian lot. Some assessed that China was about to implode out of internal contradictions, and even if it survived, its high growth would be simply unsustainable. Others insisted that the medium term advantage would accrue to India because of the so-called «demographic curve» – India’s young population. All this turns out to be wishful thinking.
Today, India sees in the BRI the objective co-relative of China’s growing capacity and economic influence in the emerging global economic and strategic architecture. The policymaker agonises that the BRI holds the potential to be a conduit of strategic access for China. No doubt, the BRI event in Beijing showcases China as a responsible great power.
The Indian elites counted on the US’ containment strategy to rein in China’s march to superpower stature. Weaned on the neoconservative foreign-policy ideology dominating successive US administrations through the past decade and a half, they blithely assumed that Washington would mentor India’s rise as a global power, as a counterweight to China.
Admittedly, the United Progressive Alliance government (2004-2014) led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also subscribed to the Washington Consensus but retained some degree of strategic autonomy by keeping an independent line open to China while not averse to selectively tapping into the US’ pivot to Asia to create synergy. That policy worked to India’s advantage and when UPA relinquished power in 2014, India-China relations had reached an appreciable level of stability and predictability. Even the negotiations on the border dispute began tiptoeing toward a breakthrough point.
However, the foreign policy directions under the present government have undone those gains. The policy shift to bandwagon with the Obama administration’s pivot strategy aimed at containing China altogether changed the matrix. Of course, there was a domestic dimension, too, since the Modi government’s strident nationalistic agenda dovetailed nicely with the optics of a «muscular diplomacy» towards China. In turn, if the India-China relations began losing direction, the «animated suspense» only provided justification for the drive to align India’s foreign policy with the US’ regional and global strategies.
Enter Donald Trump. The incipient signs of a reshaping of the US’ ties with China under Trump threaten to derail Modi government’s China policies. Going back to Beijing in sackcloth and ashes is neither an option nor is it acceptable to the Hindu nationalist groups mentoring the government and/or the Sinophobes entrenched amongst the security and foreign policy elites. Therefore, Delhi is watching anxiously the outcome of the power struggle in the Washington Beltway and is hoping against hope that the Obama-era US policies would eventually revive.
Acting-Man | Over the three years in which Narendra Modi has been in power, his support base has continued to increase. Indian institutions — including the courts and the media — now toe his line.
The President, otherwise a ceremonial rubber-stamp post, but the last obstacle keeping Modi from implementing a police state, comes up for re-election by a vote of the legislative houses in July 2017. No one should be surprised if a Hindu fanatic is made the next President. India is rapidly entering a new phase.
During his reign in Gujarat, a civil-war like situation erupted, which seriously segregated the province’s society. It brought Hindus into a state of trance and excitement and provided them with the fake-security of the collective. Alas, wealth and civilization are created by an intense focus on value-addition, not from the short-term escapist excitement of mobs expressed through riots and rape. Destructive endeavors are a major vulnerability of poor societies, given their irrationality and lack of foresight and planning, and their short-sighted focus on high time-preference, pleasure-centered activities.
Modi, a major world-traveler, who has run around quite a bit to please foreign governments and win the support of identity-lacking non-resident Indians, is no longer going abroad with the same abandon. Historically and even today, whatever gained approval in the West is what Indians have looked up to.
But Modi has matured. Modi has directed the attention of Indians to nationalism, Hindutava (fanatic Hinduism), the army, the flag, the anthem, and other superficial collective “causes” not underpinned any values or wealth-creating, civilization-producing objectives. Behind this is an empty arrogance pumped up by having grown relatively richer (still with GDP at a mere $1,718 per capita) over the last several decades due of the free gift of western technology.
If all this reminds you of the early days of the Arab Spring, you are right on track with respect to understanding what is happening in India. India is an extremely irrational, superstitious and tribal society, which I have discussed in great detail in earlier articles, the last one of which is linked here.
War of Attrition
Modi has infused so-called educated Indians with a sense of confidence and identity. It does not matter that this is all fake. To a man with a tribal, irrational mind incapable of thinking about tomorrow, throwing furniture onto the bonfire is not a problem, for today’s excitement is all that matters. Lacking empathy and compassion — another tribal “quality” — he pays no heed to the suffering of his fellow man.
trtworld | As Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrates three years in power, one story has persisted in making headlines: the project to create “tall and fair customised children” with high IQs.
It’s a decade-old project and is operated by the health wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the mother organization from which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) draws its inspiration, and the project is spreading its wings around the country.
As the country exploded in rage over similarities with the Nazi “Ubermenschen” ideal, which attempted to create a super Aryan race through eugenics funded by Hitler’s regime, many suggested that the RSS’ covert admiration for strong leaders – like US president Donald Trump and Modi – is directly related to this attempt to create perfect babies.
An abiding theme of Hindu extreme right-wing literature has been the self-loathing associated with the inability to fight off invading armies, mostly Muslim, over the last thousand years. In fact, RSS leaders routinely collaborated with British authorities before independence so that they didn’t have to join hands with who they perceived to be the greater enemy: India’s Muslims.
No wonder RSS leaders are obsessed with the “weak Hindu” and how to overcome his weaknesses. Enter the customised baby project.
The RSS’ ‘Garbh Vigyan Sanskar’ project, loosely translated as ‘Science & Culture of the Womb,’ properly prescribes the norms which go into the making of a custom-perfect baby. The Indian Express, which broke the story last week, outlined the process that involves three months of “purification” of the intended parents which prevents “genetic defects” from being passed on, intercourse at a time decided by planetary configurations, complete abstinence after the baby is conceived as well as procedural and dietary regulations. Fist tap Big Don.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Counterpunch | We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here. But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect?
And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?
According to Fox News:
“The Democratic National Committee staffer who was gunned down on July 10 on a Washington, D.C., street just steps from his home had leaked thousands of internal emails to WikiLeaks, law enforcement sources told Fox News.
A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time….
Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective and Fox News contributor investigating the case on behalf of the Rich family, made the WikiLeaks claim, which was corroborated by a federal investigator who spoke to Fox News….
“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department.” (“Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link”, Fox News)
Okay, so where’s the computer? Who’s got Rich’s computer? Let’s do the forensic work and get on with it.
But the Washington Post and the other bogus news organizations aren’t interested in such matters because it doesn’t fit with their political agenda. They’d rather take pot-shots at Fox for running an article that doesn’t square with their goofy Russia hacking story. This is a statement on the abysmal condition of journalism today. Headline news has become the province of perception mandarins who use the venue to shape information to their own malign specifications, and any facts that conflict with their dubious storyline, are savagely attacked and discredited. Journalists are no longer investigators that keep the public informed, but paid assassins who liquidate views that veer from the party-line.
WikiLeaks never divulges the names of the people who provide them with information. Even so, Assange has not only shown an active interest in the Seth Rich case, but also offered a $20,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of Rich’s murder. Why? And why did he post a link to the Fox News article on his Twitter account on Tuesday?
I don’t know, but if I worked for the FBI or the Washington Post, I’d sure as hell be beating the bushes to find out. And not just because it might help in Rich’s murder investigation, but also, because it could shed light on the Russia fiasco which is being used to lay the groundwork for impeachment proceedings. So any information that challenges the government version of events, could actually change the course of history.
Have you ever heard of Craig Murray?
nakedcapitalism | Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.
One reason it’s been difficult to organize workers in the tech industry is that people have a hard time separating good intentions from results. But we have to be cold-blooded about this.
Tech companies are run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one, creating a toolkit for authoritarianism while hypnotized by science-fiction fantasy.
There are two things we have to do immediately. The first is to stop the accelerating process of tracking and surveillance before it can do any more harm to our institutions.
The danger facing us is not Orwell, but Huxley. The combo of data collection and machine learning is too good at catering to human nature, seducing us and appealing to our worst instincts. We have to put controls on it. The algorithms are amoral; to make them behave morally will require active intervention.
The second thing we need is accountability. I don’t mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg’s head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn’t throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.
I’m here today because I believe the best chance to do this is in Europe. The American government is not functional right now, and the process of regulatory capture is too far gone to expect any regulations limiting the tech giants from either party. American tech workers have the power to change things, but not the desire.
Only Europe has the clout and the independence to regulate these companies. You can already point to regulatory successes, like forcing Facebook to implement hard delete on user accounts. That feature was added with a lot of grumbling, but because of the way Facebook organizes its data, they had to make it work the same for all users. So a European regulation led to a victory for privacy worldwide.
We can do this again.
Here are some specific regulations I would like to see the EU impose:
- A strict 30 day time limit on storing behavioral data.
- The right to opt out of data collection while continuing to use services.
- A ban on the sale or transfer of behavioral data, including to third-party ad networks.
- A requirement that advertising be targeted strictly to content, not users.
With these rules in place, we would still have Google and Facebook, and they would still make a little bit of money. But we would gain some breathing room. These reforms would knock the legs out from underground political ad campaigns like we saw in Brexit, and in voter suppression efforts in the US election. They would give publishers relief in an advertising market that is currently siphoning all their earnings to Facebook and Google. And they would remove some of the incentive for consumer surveillance.
The other thing I hope to see in Europe is a unionized workforce at every major tech company. Unionized workers could demand features like ephemeral group messaging at Facebook, a travel mode for social media, a truly secure Android phone, or the re-imposition of the wall between Gmail and DoubleClick data. They could demand human oversight over machine learning algorithms. They could demand non-cooperation with Trump.
And I will say selfishly, if you can unionize here, it will help us unionize over there.
If nothing else, we need your help and we need you to keep the pressure on the tech companies, the Trump Administration, and your own politicians and journalists, so that the disaster that happened in the United States doesn’t repeat itself in Germany.
You have elections coming soon. Please learn from what happened to us. Please stay safe.
And please regulate, regulate, regulate this industry, while you can.
Independent | Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.
Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.
"Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet," it states. "We disagree."
Senior Tories confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the phrasing indicates that the government intends to introduce huge restrictions on what people can post, share and publish online.
The plans will allow Britain to become "the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet", the manifesto claims.
It comes just soon after the Investigatory Powers Act came into law. That legislation allowed the government to force internet companies to keep records on their customers' browsing histories, as well as giving ministers the power to break apps like WhatsApp so that messages can be read.
The manifesto makes reference to those increased powers, saying that the government will work even harder to ensure there is no "safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online". That is apparently a reference in part to its work to encourage technology companies to build backdoors into their encrypted messaging services – which gives the government the ability to read terrorists' messages, but also weakens the security of everyone else's messages, technology companies have warned.
The government now appears to be launching a similarly radical change in the way that social networks and internet companies work. While much of the internet is currently controlled by private businesses like Google and Facebook, Theresa May intends to allow government to decide what is and isn't published, the manifesto suggests.
The new rules would include laws that make it harder than ever to access pornographic and other websites. The government will be able to place restrictions on seeing adult content and any exceptions would have to be justified to ministers, the manifesto suggests.
The manifesto even suggests that the government might stop search engines like Google from directing people to pornographic websites. "We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm," the Conservatives write.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
iBankCoin | Reddit and 4chan have been hard at work trying to connect the dots surrounding Rich’s murder.
To that end, a user in Reddit’s ‘the_donald’ forum has found Seth Rich’s Reddit account – ‘MeGrimlock4’ (a Transformers reference) revealing much about the slain DNC staffer. For the most part, Rich seemed like a regular kinda guy – into football, dogs, patriotism, riding his bike, fun clothes, and volunteering at the Washington Humane Society.
Seth Rich’s twitter is @panda4progress, which follows @Reddit, which led us to believe he was in fact a redditor. That seems consistent with this reddit account, in that they’re both in DC and have an interest in bicycles. Edit: not JUST bicycles. A company named “split” which this account is talking about here @Panda4Progress talks to them here. Also /u/MeGrimlock4 is posting about Nebraska football.
Rich was from Omaha. No cornfed midwestern kid from Nebraska isn’t a Huskers fan. THIS IS DEFINITELY SETH RICH’S ACCOUNT
#WikiLeaks informer Seth Rich murdered in US but 🇬🇧 MSM was so busy accusing Russian hackers to take notice. pic.twitter.com/0XVezTyfHM— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) May 19, 2017
Here’s where it gets interesting: /u/pandas4bernie and a tumblr by the same name ALSO stopped posting at the same time as this account. If that’s Rich, then that proves motive. Rich was a BernieBro.
Which may be why Rich gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails – after they false flagged Bernie…
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) uses an outside software partner “NGP VAN,” founded by Nathaniel Pearlman, chief technology officer for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Their ‘VoteBuilder’ software was designed for Democratic candidates (Bernie, Hillary, etc.) to track and analyze highly detailed information on voters for the purposes of ‘microtargeting’ specific demographics.
On December 16th, 2015, NGP VAN updated the Votebuilder with a patch that contained a bug – allowing the Sanders and the Clinton campaigns to temporarily access each other’s proprietary voter information for around 40 minutes. Lo and behold, the Sanders campaign National Data Director, Josh Uretsky, was found to have accessed Clinton’s information and promptly fired.
Uretsky’s excuse was that he was simply grabbing Clinton’s data during the window of vulnerability to prove that the breach was real.
Bernie cried false flag!
Sanders claimed that Uretsky was a DNC plant – “recommended by the DNC’s National Data Director, as well as a former COO of NGP VAN.”
Of note, Seth Rich was not the National Data Director. According to the DNC’s 2016 roster, Seth Rich was the DNC’s “Voter Expansion Data Director” while Andrew Brown was the National Data Director – who Bernie said referred Uretsky.
So Seth Rich, a Bernie supporter, would have known people involved in the ‘hack’ Bernie says was meant to frame him…
It’s easy to speculate how Seth Rich could have become disgruntled after witnessing the DNC attempt to sabotage the Sanders campaign. As such, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Rich – a guy with access to sensitive emails and technical skills, did in fact communicate with Wikileaks in order to expose and root out the DNC’s misdeeds.
Friday, May 19, 2017
straightlinelogic | If Seth Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks’ DNC email disclosures and the FBI knew it, then the Russian hacking story was a fabrication, and James Comey was probably involved in an attempt to drive President Trump from office.
The biggest story of the entire Russiagate controversy was published Tuesday. Not the story about President Trump’s alleged statement to former FBI Director James Comey: “I hope you can let this go.” A witness is only as good as his or her credibility. If the actual big story pans out, Comey has none, which is why the mainstream media is obsessing over Trump’s alleged statement and doing everything it can to ignore and stifle the other story.
Seth Rich was on the staff of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He was gunned down on July 10, 2016. Robbery has been speculated as a motive for the murder, but his wallet and watch were not taken. There is also speculation that Rich was the source of the DNC emails that were released by WikiLeaks twelve days later, to the consternation and embarrassment of the DNC. Fueling that speculation was WikiLeaks’ offer of a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s murderer. WikiLeaks has neither confirmed nor denied that Rich was its source.
The emails appeared to show a concerted DNC effort to stop Senator Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign for the Democratic nomination and led to the resignation of party chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After WikiLeaks’ DNC disclosure, the DNC refused to let the FBI investigate its computer servers. Instead, it allowed a cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate. It’s conclusion, subsequently undercut, was that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s server.
Fox News reported that an unnamed source, almost certainly from the FBI, has seen and read emails between Seth Rich and the late Gavin MacFadyen, a director of WikiLeaks. A FBI forensic report on Seth Rich’s computer was allegedly compiled within 96 hours of his murder. The source said there were 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders transferred from Rich to MacFadyen from January 2015 through May 2016.
If this is correct, then within 96 hours of Rich’s murder, or by July 14, 2016, the FBI knew that Rich had communicated with WikiLeaks and it knew what he had communicated. That means that when WikiLeaks subsequently released the DNC emails on July 22, the FBI knew that Rich, not the Russian government, was the source. That would make the entire “Russia hacked the DNC” story nothing more than a concocted fabrication.
Mishtalk | Bending to the will of Democrats and mainstream media, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, cited ‘public interest’ in investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. As a matter of public interest,, Rosenstein named former FBI director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for Russia Probe.
What’s the Real Mission?
- Republicans and Trump want to pacify the media and get this nonsense behind them.
- Democrats want this to drag on forever.
Peter King is correct in his assessment “These guys go on forever.”
As a byproduct of point number two, numerous witch hunts will take place as Democrats will want to investigate every lead, no matter how ridiculous.
The budget is open-ended and there are no time limits. The witch hunt could conceivably last for the duration of Trump’s presidency.
Much of Trump’s agenda will be on indefinite hold as the progress, or lack thereof, as the story unfolds.
The appointment of a special counsel does not change impeachment odds. For discussion, please see Impeachment Odds Approximately Zero
unz | I am somewhat embarrassed to cheer the US President for doing such minor routine things as firing an FBI director or meeting with the Foreign Minister of a major state. Next, I’d have to laud him for eating an apple or washing his hands (“Attaboy!”). But one feels that the guy needs our encouragement for doing something right. As the father of three boys, I know: boys need encouragement. And if there is no great achievement to cheer them for, even washing their hands before the meal will do.
Trump has a huge, Herculean task: to turn the battleship America away from its collision course when all the important people in all the important positions are deadly keen to run it full speed ahead. They think the other ship will turn away first; but the “other ship” is actually a lighthouse. It is the rock of the World-Island and its Heartland. Why would so many smart Americans, Brits and Europeans push their luck by courting war and disaster?
Exactly a hundred years ago, in 1917, Vladimir Lenin discovered that the present system necessarily produces world wars. It is not a question of bad guys or good guys, it’s the system, stupid! He wrote about it a concise book called Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, radically updating Marx. The idea is that capitalism evolves from dynamic competitive production to financial capital takeover, while the financial capital unavoidably leads to wars. If financiers rule, war is inevitable, he said, because they are insatiable.
Industrialists, builders, farmers can and will stop at the limits of their territory, but financiers always want more, and there is no natural limit to their expansion. They want to colonise more lands, subjugate more nations and suck up their substance. The only way to save the world from the horrors of war (remember, Lenin wrote after Verdun and Ypres), is to get rid of financial capital’s dominance (Jesus came to the same conclusion whens He expelled the moneychangers from the temple).
That same year, Lenin made his great experiment to rid his country Russia of bankers and other exploiters, while earning their eternal hatred (and volumes of fake news about his bloodthirsty cruelty, in addition). History has proven him partially right: the countries that followed Lenin’s path never began a war, and they never colonised other states, though they did help some to get rid of their leeches and Western interference. Soviet Russia is an example: it was a donor to all the other socialist states, from Georgia to Afghanistan. (Perhaps the communists had been too good for this world. After Russia was de-communised, Russian income went up, while the incomes of practically all the ex-Soviet states plummeted, unless subsidised by the EU.) And they knew no war.
On the other hand, the states that remained under bankers’ sway went to war more and more frequently. They colonised or were colonised. Probably none as often as the US, the home country for the Federal Reserve, for the dollar and for so many great financial companies.
For America, the next World War is inevitable, unless the Americans can get rid of their financiers – and of their servants in the mass media and other state institutions. My sympathy to President Trump has been based on his antipathy to the moneymen. When he attacked the Federal Reserve and Wall Street, he swayed me, and perhaps you, too.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
medium | Imagine working for a corporation that produces a (so far) hidden harm to the community, in concealing a cancer-causing property which kills the thousands but with an effect that is not (yet) fully visible. You can alert the public, but would automatically lose your job. There is a gamble that the company’s evil scientists would disprove you, causing additional humiliation. Or the news will come and go and you may end-up being ignored. You are familiar with the history of whistleblowers which shows that, even if you end up vindicated, it may take time for the truth to emerge over the noise created by corporate shills. Meanwhile you will pay the price. A smear campaign against you will destroy any hope of getting another job.
You have nine children, a sick parent, and as a result of the stand, the children’s future would be compromised. College hopes will evaporate –you may even have trouble feeding them properly. You are severely conflicted between your obligation to the collective and to your progeny. You feel part of the crime and unless you do something you are an agent: thousands are dying from the hidden poisoning by the corporation. Being ethical comes at a huge cost to others.
In the James Bond movie Specter, agent Bond found himself fighting –on his own, whistleblower style –a conspiracy of dark forces that took over the British service, including his supervisors. “Q” who built the new fancy car and other gadgets for him, when asked to help against the conspiracy, said “I have a mortgage and two cats” –in jest of course because he ended up risking the lives of his two cats to fight the bad guys.
Society likes saints and moral heroes to be celibate so they do not have family pressures and be forced into dilemmas of needing to compromise their sense of ethics to feed their children. The entire human race, something rather abstract, becomes their family. Some martyrs, such as Socrates, had young children (although he was in his seventies), and overcame the dilemma at their expense. Many can’t.
Heatstreet | No one is buying Marvel’s lineup of social justice-themed comics. It’s no surprise, given that few readers want politics to be forced down their throats. Thus liberal darling Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther & The Crew is getting the axe after poor sales, just two issues after its launch. Its cancellation comes just weeks after a Marvel VP revealed that comics with forced messages of “diversity” were responsible for the publisher’s sales slump.
Joined by Luke Cage, Manifold, Misty Knight, and Storm, the titular superhero who entered the limelight with Captain America: Civil War gathers his all-black crew of superheroes to investigate the death of a civil rights activist who died in police custody. It has echoes of Sandra Bland’s death.
Set in a near-future Harlem-turned-police state patrolled by robotic police officers controlled by a private security contractor, the comic has every element you’d expect from a comic attempting to tell a story inspired by Black Lives Matter. The cops beat people up for no reason, too.
Naturally, the social justice superheroes take justice into their own hands and go to battle against the corrupt system, while learning about the historical figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Univision-owned entertainment vertical Gizmodo enthusiastically describes The Crew as one that “[tells a] timely [story] about real world issues, like how police brutality devastates black communities.”
Counterpunch | You would think, for example, that in the heart of the most powerful military empire that the world has ever seen, that an activist who opposed the savaging of other countries by the U.S. military would receive intersectional support from a broad section of the U.S. left. And particularly since this activist identified as LGBTQ, the LGBTQ left would particularly be in her corner.
But no. Years earlier a top official in what is now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force told me that “we will never” again come out against a U.S. war, following the Task Force’s public opposition to President George H. W. Bush’s first war against Iraq. He said that the Task Force’s coming out against that war had “nearly destroyed” the organization, as wealthy donors pulled their donations and threatened to never support it again. And this was with the Task Force, the group that likes to posture itself as the “hippest” of the big LGBTQ non-profits.
But it was not the first, nor certainly the last time that LGBTQ non-profits – rightly derided as “Gay Inc.” – prioritized donors’ dollars to fund their salaries and offices, over alleged adherence to intersectional principles.
For all their talk of “grassroots organizing” – another phrase that’s become hackneyed thru repeated misuse – Gay Inc. organizations are staff-driven at best, and at worst, controlled by self-selected boards chosen for their ability to tap contributions from wealthy donors. In this way the wealthiest LGBTQs control the political agenda of what passes for our movement, a pink version of the class stratification talked about in straight society, but rarely mentioned in the movement.
Some say that the reason for this conservatism is Gay, Inc.’s affection for “heteronormativity” – the aping straight people. This is said to explain their recent emphasis on winning equal marriage rights, for example. But this interpretation doesn’t adequately explain where “heteronormativity” itself comes from, and it also radically mis-reads the chronology of how the marriage issue became center-space in our movement.