01/18/20

The Not so Pure Comey Being Investigated AGAIN

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Voters would all be rich if we had a dollar for every leak, lie and scandal coming out of Washington, DC.

So, Comey is back in the news… he did a no, no.

Department of Justice prosecutors are reportedly investigating the possibility that former FBI director James Comey leaked a classified Russian intelligence document to the media during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, according to a Thursday report from the New York Times.

Per the Times, the investigation is centered around two 2017 articles from the Times and the Washington Post describing the Russian document, which played a key role in Comey’s unilateral decision to announce the FBI would not pursue charges against Clinton for using a private email server to conduct official business during her time as secretary of state.

The document, which was shared with the U.S. by Dutch intelligence, includes an analysis of an email exchange between Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D., Fla.), who was then chairing the Democratic National Committee, and Leonard Bernardo, an official with the Soros-backed non-profit Open Society Foundations. Wasserman-Schultz assures Bernardo in the email that then-attorney general Loretta Lynch will make sure Clinton wasn’t charged in the email probe.

Comey has long taken criticism for his handling of the Clinton investigation from Republicans and President Trump, who suggested in December that Comey could get jail time.

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Image result for comey leaks

Well now, the plot thickens with new names in the equation:

We cannot forget this little item either. Former FBI Director James Comey violated official policy in the way he handled his memos describing his exchanges with President Trump, an investigation concluded — but Comey won’t be charged. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz conducted the investigation into Comey’s actions and then referred his results to prosecutors.

“After reviewing the matter, the DOJ declined prosecution.”

Investigators concluded that Comey broke several rules.

One involved the former director’s decision to arrange for a friend to disclose the contents of a memo to a New York Times reporter. Another involved Comey’s decision to keep memos at home and discuss them with his lawyers but not reveal to the FBI their contents or what he was doing.

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In part from RedState: Now this new investigation involves leaks relating to two articles including one in the Washington Post and another in the NY Times (now we see why the spinning) about a Russian intelligence document, which the Times says was highly classified.

Now, this part is fascinating:

The document played a key role in Mr. Comey’s decision to sideline the Justice Department and announce in July 2016 that the F.B.I. would not recommend that Hillary Clinton face charges in her use of a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.

Wait, what? What would a Russian intelligence document have to do with Comey stepping in and taking the power away from the DOJ, which he could not properly do anyway? At the time, Comey implied in his reasoning that there was classified information with regard to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The document is mentioned in a book published last fall, “Deep State: Trump, the F.B.I., and the Rule of Law” by James B. Stewart, a Times reporter.

Here’s the money paragraph, hidden down in the story.

The latest investigation involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who was also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.

In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.

That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.

Whoa, so strip everything away and what the document says is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was guaranteeing that Lynch would get Hillary Clinton off.

So where is the investigation of this?

The Times does the best it can, suggesting it’s disinformation. They literally accuse Trump of trying to pressure the DOJ to investigate his enemies despite no such thing ever occurring.

But American officials at the time did not believe that Ms. Lynch would hinder the Clinton email investigation, and neither Ms. Wasserman Schultz nor Mr. Benardo had any inside information about it. Still, if the Russians had released the information after the inquiry was closed, it could have tainted the outcome, hurt public confidence in the Justice Department and sowed discord.

Prosecutors are also looking at whether Mr. Richman might have played a role in providing the information to reporters about the Russia document and how it figured into Mr. Comey’s rationale about the news conference, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Mr. Comey hired Mr. Richman at one point to consult for the F.B.I. about encryption and other complex legal issues, and investigators have expressed interest in how he operated.

Mr. Richman was quoted in the April 2017 article in The Times that revealed the document’s existence. A month later, The Post named Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo as subjects of the document in a detailed article. A lawyer for Mr. Richman declined to comment.

This is going to be interesting to see it when the information ultimately comes out without the New York Times spin on it. But this is pretty huge.

01/16/20

Daily Gas Pump Prices are Based on the Strait of Hormuz

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Experts said Iranian officials are trying to demonstrate to the U.S. and its allies that the Islamic Republic is able to push back and gain leverage against the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, which intensified after President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions, making it difficult for Iran to export oil, the foundation of the country’s economy.

China, Russia and leading Western European countries have sought ways around the U.S. sanctions, but it has been difficult to bypass them.

“The message that Iran is sending is that it is capable of making international waters unsafe not just for the U.S., but for international trade,” said Reza H. Akbari, a program manager and Iran expert at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

These are the reasons for oil tanker seizures and attacks by Iranian limpet mines.

Tensions between the West and Iran bubbled to a historic height in recent days after the assassination of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Tehran bombed two Iraqi bases that housed US troops.

They have sparked fears of wider US-Iran attacks in the greater region, which could take place in and around the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow body of water linking the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, which feeds into the Arabian Sea and the rest of the world.

strait of hormuz jan 2020

A satellite image of marine traffic passing through the Strait of Hormuz as on January 9, 2020. MarineTraffic.com

While Iran’s leaders claim to have “concluded” their revenge for Soleimani’s death — and President Donald Trump appears to believe them — many regional experts and diplomatic sources say Iran could unleash other modes of attack, which include unleashing allied militias to disrupt the Middle East.

One strategy could include Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz, which would stop oil tanker traffic, disrupt global oil supply, and send prices shooting up.

Here’s what you need to know about this valuable strait.

Some 21 million barrels of crude and refined oil pass through the strait every day, the EIA said, citing 2018 statistics.

That’s about one-third of the world’s sea-traded oil, or $1.2 billion worth of oil a day, at current oil prices. The majority of Saudi Arabia’s crude exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz, meaning much of the oil-dependent economy’s wealth is situated there. Saudi state-backed oil tanker Bahri temporarily suspended its shipments through the strait after Iran’s missile strikes in Iran, the Financial Times reported.

Last June Iran shot down a US drone flying near the strait, and a month later a US warship — USS Boxer — also shot down an Iranian drone in the same area.

Shortly after Iran’s drone attack, President Donald Trump questioned the US’ presence in the region, and called on China, Japan, and other countries to protect their own ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Trump noted that much of China and Japan’s oil flow through the strait, and added: “So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation.”

While a large proportion — 76% — of oil flowing through the chokepoint does end up in Asian countries, the US still imports more than 30 million barrels of oil a month from countries in the Middle East, Business Insider has reported, citing the EIA.

That’s about $1.7 billion worth of oil, and 10% of the US’s total oil imports per month.

Iranian leaders, who have also vowed retaliation for the death of Soleimani, have threatened to close down the strait multiple times in the past.

If Iran followed through with these threats, it would likely cause a huge disruption to the global oil trade. As the strait is so narrow, any sort of interference in tanker traffic could decrease the world’s oil supply, and send prices shooting up.

Global oil prices have proven vulnerable to tensions between Iran and the West before. After the Trump administration said in April 2019 it would stop providing sanctions waivers to countries who purchase Iranian oil, prices rose to their highest level since November the year before, Axios reported.

How likely is Iran to shut down the strait?

Iran is more likely to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz than to engage in an all-out conventional war with the US, which is much stronger militarily.

But doing so comes with high costs to Iran.

To close down the entire strait, Iran would have to place at least 1,000 mines with submarines and surface craft along the chokepoint, security researcher Caitlin Talmadge posited in a 2009 MIT study. Such an effort could take weeks, the study added. (taken in part from here)

01/16/20

U.S. Killed AQ Leader in a Taliban Stronghold

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Asim Umar (1974/1976 – 23 September 2019) was an Indian militant and the leader of alQaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. AlQaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the creation of AQIS and introduced Asim Umar as its leader in a video posted online in September 2014.

Though the Taliban or al-Qaeda has not given an official confirmation of their own, the Afghan government has released pictures and confirmed his death alongside six other AQIS operatives in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation (Al Jazeera, October 8).

Umar was killed in an Afghan Taliban hideout in Musa Qila district, a known Taliban stronghold in Helmand province. The circumstances are indicative of long-running Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda ties and their collaboration in the Afghan insurgency. The idea that the Taliban would deny a safe haven to foreign fighters in Afghanistan after reaching a peace deal with the United States, as was suggested during negotiations, has been proven unlikely following Umar’s discovery in Taliban-held territory. More details here.

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The U.S. Department of Defense suppressed a press release that would have announced the death of Asim Umar, the emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, because it “would complicate future negotiations with the Taliban,” military officials have told FDD’s Long War Journal.

The U.S. military killed Umar in the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qala in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Sept. 23, 2019. Umar was killed just two weeks after President Donald Trump canceled a possible deal between the U.S. and the Taliban. As part of that accord, the U.S. was willing to accept the Taliban’s supposed counterterrorism assurances.

The Sept. 23 raid exposed the ongoing ties between the Taliban and al Qaeda’s branch in South Asia. Among the 17 people killed was Haji Mahmood, the Taliban’s military commander for the neighboring district of Naw Zad, which is also controlled by the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, has claimed throughout “peace” negotiations that the Taliban would sever ties with al Qaeda. But Umar’s presence with the Taliban cast further doubt Khalilzad’s claim that the Taliban is truly willing to split with its longtime battlefield allies.

Umar was not the only al Qaeda operative killed in the raid. Raihan, Umar’s courier to Zawahiri; Faizani, the AQIS chief for Helmand and an ‘explosives expert;’ and Madani, Faizani’s deputy, also perished during the raid, which including intense airstrikes that killed more than a dozen civilians.

Umar’s wife was identified as one of six Pakistani women detained during the operation. Fourteen other “terrorists” were also captured, according to Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security.

The NDS confirmed Umar’s death on Oct. 8, 2019, and released photographs of Umar, both dead and alive. AQIS itself had previously obscured images of Umar, likely due to its concerns over operational security.

Al Qaeda and AQIS have not released a martyrdom statement confirming his death, but have not denied that he was killed. The Taliban, which has a vested interest in hiding its ties with al Qaeda (although it occasionally slips up) called the reports of his death “a part of enemy fabricated propaganda.”

Umar’s presence with the Taliban was “inconvenient”

The U.S. military was aware of Umar’s death and the Department of Defense was prepared to announce it a week after the statement by the NDS, military officials and officers who are familiar with the events told FDD’s Long War Journal on condition of anonymity.

A press release announcing Umar’s death was drafted and currently resides at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, military officials have confirmed. Yet, three months after OSD drafted the press release, it remains hidden from the public.

FDD’s Long War Journal has contacted the OSD several times over the past three months requesting comment on the press release, but has not received a response.

The U.S. military has suppressed the report of Umar’s death as “his presence with the Taliban during the late stage of talks would complicate future negotiations with the Taliban,” one defense official said.

“Asim Umar, his staff, his courier to [Al Qaeda emir Ayman] Zawahiri, and even his wife, were embedded with the Taliban, in the Taliban’s heartland,” a military officer said. “When you want to sell a split between the Taliban and Al Qaeda, these facts become inconvenient.”

01/16/20

Putin to Lead Russia for Life?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia shook up the country and its political class by calling for constitutional changes that would give him a new path to holding onto power after his current — and, in theory, last — term ends in 2024.

With that, the entire cabinet, led by a long-serving Putin ally, Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev, abruptly resigned. The head of the Federal Tax Service, Mikhail V. Mishustin — a little-known but skilled technocrat — will become the next prime minister.

The spate of moves offers some clues about Mr. Putin’s plans and priorities, but also raises questions about what may lie ahead for the Russian president. Here are the answers to some of them.

Mr. Putin with Prime Minister Dmitry A. Medvedev last year.

Mr. Putin with Prime Minister Dmitry A. Medvedev last year. Credit…Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock.

What is Putin doing?

Mr. Putin’s hold on power in Russia is unrivaled, built up over the last 20 years in his posts as president and prime minister.

But Russia’s Constitution bars a president from serving more than two consecutive terms. To maintain his grip on power, as he has hinted he intends to do, Mr. Putin needs to find a way to engineer a leadership transition that will allow that to happen.

To that end, it appears, he has proposed changes to the Constitution that would weaken the presidency while increasing the sway of the Parliament and the prime minister.

He said, for example, that the president should in the future be required to accept the prime minister’s cabinet appointments. This and other changes could give Mr. Putin more leeway to find a position in which he can maintain power without violating the Constitution.

What position will he hold?

That’s not entirely clear.

Mr. Putin could become prime minister again, taking advantage of the position’s expanded influence. Alternatively, some analysts have pointed to a leadership maneuver engineered by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longtime president of Kazakhstan, another former Soviet republic.

In 2018, Mr. Nazarbayev increased the power of Kazakhstan’s Security Council and made himself its chairman for life. When he resigned from the presidency last year in favor of a handpicked successor, his position at the helm of the Security Council allowed him to hold on to key levers of power.

On Wednesday, offering few details, Mr. Putin dangled the possibility of a similar move in Russia. The State Council — currently an advisory body made up of the governors of Russia’s regions — should have its “status and role” fixed in the Constitution, he said.

That quickly raised speculation among Russian political analysts that a revamped State Council could become a vehicle for Mr. Putin to maintain power if he relinquishes the presidency, particularly over the military and foreign policy.

Why doesn’t he just seize power?

Despite Mr. Putin’s immense sway, he’d be taking a risk if he simply declared himself president for life.

Mr. Putin served two consecutive presidential terms from 2000 to 2008 and then became prime minister. His announcement in 2011 that he would seek the presidency again, followed by parliamentary elections widely seen as rigged, helped trigger Russia’s biggest street protests since the 1990s.

This time around, Mr. Putin looks determined to orchestrate his next move in a slow-motion fashion that’s less likely to produce a backlash. The changes to the Constitution he called for give him several options to hold on to power — while affording him as much as four years’ time to set his course.

Is he really worried about public opinion?

“Our society is clearly calling for change,” Mr. Putin said at the beginning of his speech on Wednesday.

Indeed, over the last year, Russia has seen its most vigorous street protests since the anti-Putin rallies of 2011 and 2012.

Polls show that Russians increasingly distrust pro-Kremlin TV channels and are getting their news on the Internet, which remains largely uncensored.

And the Kremlin’s appeal to patriotism — so effective after Mr. Putin’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 — has lost its visceral power, overshadowed by Russia’s economic problems.

All of this means that the Kremlin is likely to portray the resignation on Wednesday of Mr. Medvedev and every cabinet minister as a sign that Mr. Putin has heard Russians’ demand for change.

While Russians do increasingly blame Mr. Putin for their ills, many more blame the bureaucrats below him. Mr. Putin’s approval rating has fallen to 68 percent from 82 percent in April 2018, an independent pollster, Levada, says. But Mr. Medvedev is in far worse shape, with an approval rating of 38 percent.

What about his new prime minister?

Mr. Putin’s choice of Mr. Mishustin seems to reflect his concerns about Russia’s declining standard of living, which has contributed to the spasms of unrest over the last year.

Mr. Mishustin is widely seen as one of Russia’s most effective technocrats. He has headed Russia’s Federal Tax Service since 2010, modernizing a notoriously ineffective and corrupt tax-collecting system. The Financial Times dubbed the computerized, real-time approach to taxation he developed as “the taxman of the future.”

In his early years as president, Mr. Putin built his popularity on soaring living standards, which coincided with a period of rising oil prices. But with lower oil prices and Western sanctions, those steady improvements are now a thing of the past. Disposable incomes are still effectively below what they were in 2013.

Mr. Putin also used his state-of-the-nation speech to make a raft of pledges to improve Russians’ daily lives. For example: free hot meals for all elementary school students from grades one through four.

Unlike Russia’s more prominent economic reformers, the 53-year-old Mr. Mishustin has no political base of his own, reducing the likelihood that he might use the powers of his new office to chip away at Mr. Putin’s authority.

Could he be loosening his grip?

Not at all.

In theory, at least, Russia’s system of governance echoes that of France — a powerful presidency checked by an independent judiciary, by parliament and by a cabinet of ministers headed by a prime minister with his own locus of authority.

But Mr. Putin has steadily subsumed the authority of all those institutions, often justifying crackdowns on political pluralism as necessary in the face of external threats. He reprised that language in his speech on Wednesday, signaling that no political thaw is in the offing.

“Russia can be and can remain Russia only as a sovereign state,” he said.

That was an allusion to Mr. Putin’s frequent charge the West is fomenting political opposition to undermine Russian sovereignty.

To drive home the point, Mr. Putin proposed a constitutional amendment that offered the day’s clearest statement of how he views his successor: Russia’s future president, Mr. Putin said, may not ever have had citizenship or permanent residency in another country.

01/16/20

Trump Signs the Caesar Act into Law

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

America has a short memory yet war atrocities continue in Syria. For those that were very skeptical about the use of chemical weapons used in Syria by the Assad regime, here is the truth. Meanwhile. the Assad regime remains in power due to assistance from Russia and Qassim Soleimani was the wartime, military advisor to Assad.

Image result for caesar's photos of syria

He was once a military photographer in Syria. For two years, he took pictures of the emaciated and mangled corpses left behind by Bashar al Assad’s interrogators. Then he fled to Europe with 55,000 digital images on flash drives hidden in his shoes.

Even members of Congress know him only as Caesar. When he spoke to them for the first time in 2014, he wore sunglasses and a bright blue windbreaker with the hood pulled over his head. No one recorded his voice or took pictures of his face. The Assad regime would assassinate him if it could.

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Two days after Christmas, President Trump signed into law the Caesar Act, a tribute to the man whose photographs have proven the war crimes of the Assad regime beyond the shadow of a doubt. When the FBI’s Digital Evidence Laboratory examined Caesar’s work, it found no signs of manipulation.

The bodies in Caesar’s images bear a striking resemblance to the ones in photographs of concentration camps liberated from the Nazis. Fittingly, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has had a selection of Caesar’s images on display since 2015.

The purpose of the Caesar Act is to put unprecedented economic pressure on the Assad regime. The United States and European Union put some tough sanctions on Mr. Assad and his henchmen in the early days of the war in Syria, but enforcement has been partial.

Whereas existing U.S. sanctions prohibit Americans from doing business with the Assad regime, the Caesar Act authorizes sanctions on the citizens of any country who work with Mr. Assad. The act specifically targets the Iranian militias and Russian mercenaries that have kept the Syrian dictator in power.

Although Moscow and Tehran have secured Mr. Assad’s grip on Damascus and other major cities, the war in Syria is far from over. An estimated 3 million Syrians are now crowded into the northwestern province of Idlib, which remains under the control of a variety of rebel forces, including extremists with ties to al Qaeda. As usual, Mr. Assad and his allies are targeting civilians, not terrorists. Hospitals are especially popular targets.

Thus, the Caesar Act still serves a pressing need. Economic pressure is one of the few means of holding war criminals to account for their actions. Sanctions alone will not bring down the Assad regime, but in concert with diplomatic and military pressure they should be part of any sound strategy.

On Twitter, Mr. Trump has made very clear that his administration is on the side of the Iranian people against their tyrannical regime. He should be equally clear in his support for the people of Syria. One can certainly object that Mr. Trump’s concern for human rights is selective, yet when the president of the United States speaks, the world pays attention. When the world is watching, war criminals hesitate.

The United States is not at war with Mr. Assad, but a U.S.-led coalition now controls about a fourth of Syria, which was formerly part of the ISIS caliphate. Twice now, Mr. Trump has ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops only to reverse himself under intense pressure from Republicans in Congress. This wavering only emboldens Mr. Assad, who wants to take back the resource-rich areas under the coalition’s control.

In terms of economic pressure, aggressive enforcement of the Caesar Act should be the first priority. Syria remains dependent on illicit shipments of Iranian oil. The Treasury Department has become more aggressive in its pursuit of sanctions evaders, but tankers of Iranian oil are still getting through.

With Russian help, Syria is also trying to revive its phosphate industry, which generated more than $100 million per year of export revenue before the war. Reportedly, Lebanese companies are buying the phosphates before reselling them abroad, likely after processing the raw material into crop fertilizer.

One entity beyond the reach of the Caesar Act is the United Nations, whose humanitarian agencies have been so deferential to the Assad regime that their aid has effectively become a subsidy for Mr. Assad’s war effort. Independent human rights organizations have produced lengthy reports on this travesty year after year, but donor states have not demanded accountability.

This is one area where further congressional action could make a difference. If there is a second Caesar Act, it should condition U.S. funding for U.N. humanitarian work on verifiable reforms. European governments should impose similar conditions.

Caesar demonstrated extraordinary courage by patiently collecting evidence of Mr. Assad’s war crimes. He saw his friends and neighbors among the dead, but he could say nothing. Had his superiors discovered his plans, his corpse would have been the next one in a photograph.

What Caesar deserves is not just a law, but a sustained American commitment to human rights in Syria.

*** From Human Rights Watch: The 86-page report, “If the Dead Could Speak: Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria’s Detention Facilities,” lays out new evidence regarding the authenticity of what is known as the Caesar photographs, which identify a number of the victims and highlights some of the key causes of death.

01/14/20

Hey Trump, Declassify the Secret Letters Obama Sent to Iran

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Now is the time Mr. President to blow the system, deep state right out of the water… in fact, time it with the post impeachment operation.

Remember ladies and gentlemen there were these side deals that Barack Obama and John Kerry negotiated with Iran which are hardly fully known today. How about the side deal that Obama gave terror amnesty to Qassim Soleimani and in fact to all terror operations in Iran?

Imagine the articles of impeachment on Obama had we known… well, it is time to know it now.

Iran FM Javad Zaif: I Admit that I Made a Mistake to Put ...

Not only were there secret letters to General Soleimani, but there were secret letters to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Back in 2014: The contents of the letter to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weren’t disclosed, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to discuss it Thursday. The Wall Street Journal, which first reported its existence, quoted people it said had been briefed on the letter as saying the letter was sent last month and that it outlined a shared interest in fighting ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

Kerry will travel to Muscat, Oman, for trilateral meetings Sunday and Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the E.U.’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. That’s two weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline for Iran to reach a comprehensive deal with U.N. negotiators on an agreement to dismantle most of its nuclear centrifuges. Psaki said there was no link between the nuclear agreement and possible future coordination on the fight against ISIS.

Really lil’ miss Psaki? C’mon. Imagine what others do know about details back then…

Try this:

Reported in part by Bizpacreview: “I must become a whistleblower,” Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute specializing in Middle East security issues, tweeted Friday in response to a self-serving opinion piece by Kerry published by The New York Times. Doran called out Kerry for his op-ed and the “ludicrous and reckless contention” that “diplomacy” with Iran and the nuclear deal negotiated under former President Obama’s watch was working until Trump ruined everything.

“He put his disdain for anything done by the last administration ahead of his duty to keep the country safe,” Kerry wrote, arguing that Trump’s actions empowered Soleimani while the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action actually restrained Iran while protecting America.

“There were no missile attacks on United States facilities. No ships were being detained or sabotaged in the Persian Gulf,” Kerry claimed.

“There were no protesters breaching our embassy in Baghdad. Iraq welcomed our presence fighting ISIS,” he wrote, touting the “foundation of diplomacy” laid by the Obama administration.

Doran called for the media and Congress to “excavate” the Soleimani messages and get on the task of declassifying them as well as “presidential correspondence” to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and its president Hassan Rouhani.

“Our diplomacy should not be defined by bluster, threats and brinkmanship, tweets or temper tantrums, but by a vision for peace and security addressing multiple interests of the region,” Kerry wrote in his op-ed, accusing Trump of acting “recklessly” without a strategy while alienating American allies in the Middle East.

Trump contends that Iran’s missile attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq was made possible by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. The president, in his briefing Wednesday, leveled stinging criticism of the Obama administration which he said laid the groundwork for Iran to fund its actions.

“Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013 and they were given $150 billion, not to mention $1.8 billion in cash,” he said.

Doran added another tongue-in-cheek tweet about his “patriotic duty to be a whistleblower” while maintaining that he “must remain anonymous.” Keep reading here.

Now we cannot forget that the JCPOA was in fact a treaty that required Senate ratification, yet in a political coup, the Obama administration finessed the whole Constitutional system and went directly to the United Nations… where was the sanctimonious Nancy Pelosi then? Is CNN or the Washington Post reporting any of this? Wonder if NetFlix will release a documentary on this while the Obama’s are so heavily invested over there… nah.

01/14/20

Russia Hacked Burisma Per Area 1

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Someone alert Tucker Carlson that Russia is still inside our political system.

Just reported by a California based company called Area 1 it began when the whole Burisma scandal broke last Fall during the impeachment hearings.

Image result for burisma

WSJ/Volz:

Hackers believed to be affiliated with Russia’s military breached the Ukrainian gas company where former Vice President Joe Biden’s son had served on the board as it became a focus of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, according to a U.S. cybersecurity firm.

Attempts to hack into Burisma Holdings began last November, as Congress was holding hearings into whether Mr. Trump abused his office by pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter according to research published Monday by Area 1, a California based company.

The hacking attempts are ongoing and are linked to the Russian military intelligence unit previously known as the GRU, which hacked and leaked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election, Area 1 said.

The Russia Embassy in Washington didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. They have historically denied hacking into U.S. elections.

It wasn’t known what information the hackers were seeking or what they obtained, the firm said. In at least one instance, the hackers tricked the recipient of a phishing email into sharing login credentials that allowed them access into on the Burisma’s servers, the company said. Area 1’s findings were earlier reported by the New York Times.

Messrs. Trump and Giuliani have argued without evidence, that Mr. Biden’s anti-corruption push in Ukraine was designed to head off any investigation of Burisma. Both Bidens have denied wrongdoing and said they never discussed business in Ukraine.

Area 1’s documentation is found here.

In part from the preface of the report:

Like all phishing campaigns, we observe the GRU was successful because they found ways to appear authentic to their targets, rather than using any technical sophistication. Everything about their approach is technically unremarkable, yet highly effective. In this campaign the GRU combines several different authenticity techniques to achieve success: Domain-based authenticityBusiness process and application authenticityPartner and supply chain authenticityA key aspect of cyberattack preemption is having a deep understanding of cyber actor patterns and continually discovering and deconstructing campaigns to anticipate future ones. Our report is not noteworthy because we identify the GRU launching a phishing campaign, nor is the targeting of a Ukrainian company particularly novel. It is significant because Burisma Holdings is publically entangled in U.S. foreign and domestic politics. The timing of the GRU’s campaign in relation to the 2020 U.S. elections raises the spectre that this is an early warning of what we have anticipated since the successful cyberattacks undertaken during the 2016 U.S. elections.

Area 1 Security has correlated this campaign against Burisma Holdings with specific tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) used exclusively by the GRU in phishing for credentials. Repeatedly, the GRU uses Ititch, NameSilo, and NameCheap for domain registration; MivoCloud and M247 as Internet Service Providers; Yandex for MX record assignment; and a consistent pattern of lookalike domains.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted seven officers with the G.R.U. in 2018.

01/13/20

Pelosi Says ‘No War’ But What About The Gerasimov Doctrine?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The 800 lb. gorilla in the room, meaning in Congress, is the 2002 AUMF, Authorization for Military Force. That was 18+ years ago and since that time warfare has changed. No longer will we see conventional forces take the battlefield that looks that of Ramadi, North Korea or driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.

Modern warfare is best described today by the doctrine developed by Russian General Valery Gerasimov. This site has published several items on Gerasimov in recent years where in summary his military paper lays out theories of modern warfare and the new rules. The strategies include politics, cyber, media, leaks, space, fake news, conventional, and asymmetrical tactics of extortion and influence.

The United States does not want war but bad guys do and they often get it.

As long as the United States responds and remains defensive on all fronts, we are in a forever war and the bad guys multiply.

The adversaries of our nation watch us more than we watch ourselves, there are divisions, departments, teams, units and various skill sets that are assigned and dedicated to all things United States all to pinpoint our weaknesses and fractures in our systems. They DO find them.

When third in the line of succession to the presidency, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calls President Trump and ‘insecure imposter’ and an ‘assassin’, it becomes one of many jumping-off points for our adversaries to exploit. When the media calls Trump a liar, members of Congress use racist, unfit and unstable, the enemy takes delight.

So, taking out General Soleimani was long overdue and as for bad guys multiplying?

Source IISS report

Enter the cyber trolls, the deep fakes, the false news stories, hacks, ransomware, espionage, theft, plants, drones, terrorists embedded with migrants, illicit transfer of goods including weapons, money, and people generated by rogue nations.

So, while there is little debate about the AUMF, there is a past due need to update and define all lanes of modern warfare and for a full new unanimous vote on military force which does now include cyber and space.

When Speaker Pelosi announced last week ‘NO WAR’ and the House passed a non-binding resolution to limit President Trump’s war powers against Iran, you can bet Russia was listening as were North Korea, Syria, China, and even Iran.

This is a pre-911 mentality regarding foreign policy, United States doctrine and national security. Such was the case several days ago when Iran launched its cyber operation to begin brute force attacks against several targets inside the United States. The Department of Homeland Security’s CISA division (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) sent out several advanced warnings nationally for state and local governments as well as private business and corporations to be on the ready and harden systems with robust firewalls. They are asked for information regarding intrusions and attacks, Well, Texas Governor Abbot did respond. A few Texas state systems were the victims of brute force cyber hits. The extent of that action appears to be rather minimal but no computer system network ever wants to reveal the damage such that it would or could invite more resulting in more ransomware.

Noted in the Gerasimov Doctrine, hard and soft power across many domains, past and over any boundaries, Russia collaborating with China, Iran, and North Korea counter-balance conventional warfare with hybrid tactics and it is cheaper and often missed by experts and media until the real damage is noted.

Congress has held many hearings on what is an act of war against the United States and yet, here we are stuck with a tired and outdated AUMF that does not address gray zone operations. Just ask Ukraine, East Europe, and Crimea how Russia was successful in applying hybrid warfare tactics. Maybe we should just rename the Gerasimov Doctrine civilian-military operations, perhaps the Democrats and Pelosi would better understand the burdens of the Commander in Chief and that of the Secretary of Defense along with the intelligence agencies. It is an ugly world.

01/9/20

About That Ukraine Airline Crash In Iran

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

So an engine overheated? Planes can still fly.

So, there was no radio communication with the tower declaring trouble?

Allegedly the plane was turning around?

The black box has been recovered but Iran won’t turn over to authorities.

Perhaps other clues may be in the passenger manifest as noted below:

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has published a list of 167 passengers who were on board the Boeing-737 flight PS752 Tehran-Kyiv that crashed early on Wednesday shortly after takeoff. The relevant information has been posted on the UIA website.

The list contains the names in English, as well as dates of birth.

Flight PS752 passenger list:

Abaspourqadi Mohamm 1986
Abbasnezhad Mojtaba 1993
Abtahiforoushani Seyedmehran 1982
Aghabali Iman 1991
Agha Miri Maryam 1973
Ahmadi Motahereh 2011
Ahmadi Muh Sen 2014
Ahmadi Rahmtin 2010
Ahmadi Sekinhe 1989
Ahmady Mitra 1973
Amirliravi Mahsa 1989
Arasteh Fareed 1987
Arbabbahrami Arshia 2000
Arsalani Evin 1990
Asadilari Mohammadhossein 1996
Asadilari Zeynab 1998
Ashrafi Habibabadi Amir 1991
Attar Mahmood 1950
Azadian Roja 1977
Azhdari Ghanimat 1983
Badiei Ardestani Mehraban 2001
Bashiri Samira 1990
Beiruti Mohammad Amin 1990
Borghei Negar 1989
Choupannejad Shekoufeh 1963
Dadashnejad Delaram 1993
Daneshmand Mojgan 1976
Dhirani Asgar 1945
Djavadi Asll Hamidreza 1967
Djavadi Asll Kian 2002
Ebnoddin Hamidi Ardalan 1971
Ebnoddin Hamidi Kamyar 2004
Ebrahim Niloufar 1985
Ebrahimi Khoei Behnaz 1974
Eghbali Bazoft Shahrokh 1960
Eghbali Bazoft Shahzad 2011
Eghbalian Parisa 1977
Elyasi Mohammad Mahdi 1991
Emami Sayedmahdi 1959
Emami Sophie 2014
Eshaghian Dorcheh Mehdi 1995
Esmaeilion Reera 2010
Esnaashary Esfahani Mansour 1990
Faghihi Sharieh 1961
Falsafi Faezeh 1973
Falsafi Faraz 1988
Farzaneh Aida 1986
Feghahati Shakiba 1980
Foroutan Marzieh 1982
Ghaderpanah Iman 1985
Ghaderpanah Parinaz 1986
Ghafouri Azar Siavash 1984
Ghandchi Daniel 2011
Ghandchi Dorsa 2003
Ghasemi Ariani Milad 1987
Ghasemi Dastjerdi Fatemeh 1994
Ghasemi Amirhossein 1987
Ghasemi Kiana 2000
Ghavi Mandieh 1999
Ghavi Masoumeh 1989
Gholami Farideh 1981
Ghorbani Bahabadi A 1998
Golbabapour Suzan 1970
Gorji Pouneh 1994
Haghjoo Saharnaz 1982
Hajesfandiari Bahareh 1978
Hajiaghavand Sadaf 1992
Hajighassemi Mandieh 1981
Hamzeei Sara 1986
Hasani/sadi Zahra 1994
Hashemi Shanrzad 1974
Hassannezhad Parsa 2003
Hatefi Mostaghim Sahan 1987
Hayatdavoudi Hadis 1992
Jadidi Elsa 2011
Jadidi Pedran 1991
Jamshidi Shadi 1988
Jebelli Mohammaddam 1990
Kadkhoda Zaden Mohammaddam 1979
Kadkhodazaden Kasha 1990
Karamimoghadam Bahareh 1986
Katebi Rahimen 1999
Kaveh Azaden 1979
Kazerani Fatemeh 1987
Khadem Forough 1981
Kobiuk Olga 1958
Lindberg Emil 2012
Lindberg Erik 2010
Lindberg Raheleh 1982
Lindberg Mikael 1979
Madani Firouzeh 1965
Maghsoudlouestarabadi Siavash 1976
Maghsoudlouesterabadi Paria 2004
Mahmoodi Fatemeh 1989
Malakhova Olena 1981
Malek Maryam 1979
Maleki Dizaje Fereshteh 1972
Mamani Sara 1983
Mianji Mohammadjavad 1992
Moeini Mohammad 1984
Moghaddam Rosstin 2010
Mohammadi Mehdi 1999
Molani Hiva 1981
Molani Kurdia 2018
Moradi Amir 1998
Morattab Arvin 1984
Moshrefrazavimoghaddam Soheila 1964
Mousavi Daria 2005
Mousavi Dorina 2010
Mousavibafrooei Pedram 1972
Nabiyi Elnaz 1989
Naderi Farzahen 1981
Naghibi Zahra 1975
Naghib Lahouti Mehr 1987
Nahavandi Milad 1985
Niazi Arnica 2011
Niazi Arsan 2008
Niknam Farhad 1975
Norouzi Alireza 2008
Nourian Ghazal 1993
Oladi Alma 1992
Omidbakhsh Roja 1996
Ovaysi Amir Hossein 1978
Ovaysi Asal 2013
Pasavand Fatemeh 2002
Pey Alireza 1972
Pourghaderi Ayeshe 1983
Pourjam Mansour 1966
Pourshabanoshibi Naser 1966
Pourzarabi Arash 1993
Raana Shahab 1983
Rahimi Jiwan 2016
Rahimi Razgar 1981
Rahmanifar Nasim 1994
Razzaghi Khamsi Ni 1974
Rezai Mahdi 2000
Rezae Hossain 1999
Saadat Saba 1998
Saadat Sara 1996
Saadat Zeinolabedin 1990
Saati Kasra 1972
Sadeghi Alvand 1990
Sadeghi Anisa 2009
Sadeghi Mirmohammad 1976
Sadeghi Sahand 1980
Sadighi Neda 1969
Sadr Niloufar 1958
Sadr Seyednoojan 2008
Saeedinia Amirhosse 1994
Safarpoorkoloor Pe 1999
Saket Mohammadhosse 1986
Salahi Moh 1988
Saleheh Mohammad 1987
Saraeian Sajedeh 1993
Setareh Kokab Hamid 1988
Shadkhoo Sheyda 1978
Shaterpour Khiaban 1988
Soltani Paniz 1991
Tahmasebi Khademasa 1984
Tajik Mahdi 1999
Tajik Shahram 1998
Tarbhai Afifa 1964
Tarbha Alina 1988
Toghian Darya 1997
Zarei Arad 2002
Zibaie Maya 2004
Zokaei Sam 1977

In part from Daily Signal:

Data from Flightradar24, a website that tracks aircraft, indicates the Ukrainian airliner crashed roughly two minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport bound for Kyiv just after 6 a.m. local time. The plane reached about 8,000 feet in altitude.

About four hours earlier, Iran launched 15 ballistic missiles against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.

According to Iraq’s military, the missiles landed between 1:45 and 2:15 a.m. local time. No Americans have been reported injured or killed in that attack, U.S. officials say.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Tehran initially said in a statement on its website that the crash of the Ukrainian airliner probably was not caused by a terrorist attack or a missile.

However, the embassy subsequently retracted that statement and now says it isn’t clear what caused the crash.

Ukrainian International Airlines announced it was suspending all flights to Tehran “until further notice.” The Ukrainian Aviation Administration banned all flights in Iranian airspace.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft that went down was delivered direct to Ukraine International Airlines from the manufacturer in 2016. The aircraft had no known mechanical faults and had passed an inspection Jan. 6, Ukrainian officials said.

The single-aisle Boeing 737-800 is an earlier model of the 737-MAX aircraft, which was grounded after two fatal crashes last year. The 737-800 does not carry the flawed anti-stall software deemed responsible for the MAX crashes.

Some U.S. aviation experts initially were skeptical about the possibility that Iranian air defenses may have brought down the Ukrainian airliner, mistaking it for an American warplane.

However, the timing of the Ukrainian airliner’s crash just hours after the Iranian missile strike into neighboring Iraq has raised questions about why civilian aircraft were still flying from Tehran’s international airport Wednesday morning, given that Iran’s air defense network was certainly on high alert for U.S. retaliatory airstrikes.

Before Wednesday, some airlines already had canceled flights into both Iranian and Iraqi airspace due to escalated military tensions between Washington and Tehran. According to Ukrainian news reports, though, other airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, AtlasGlobal, and Qatar Airlines all had continued flights into Tehran after Iran launched the missiles.

According to multiple independent investigations, a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile, operated by a Russian military crew, shot down the Boeing 777 airliner, killing all 298 passengers and crew onboard. That incident increased worldwide restrictions on civilian airliners flying near active combat areas.

Iran’s missile attack marked the latest escalation of a monthslong, tit-for-tat military standoff between Iran and the U.S.

On Dec. 27, Iran’s proxy militants in Iraq attacked a U.S. military base in the country, killing an American contractor. Following a retaliatory U.S. airstrike, Iran-backed protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Full summary here.

01/6/20

Hey Hollywood/Democrats, Killing Soleimani Was Legal

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Quds force commander, Qassim Soleimani’s death by drone strike approved by President Trump is legal. That decision was not a decision to go to war or launch additional military conflict(s) with Iran. How about referring to General David Petraeus confirming that killing Soleimani is more significant and consequential than taking out Osama bin Ladin and al Baghdadi?

Image result for Kata'ib Hezbollah

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary and lawyer, Jeh Johnson also confirmed the order/approval to kill Soleimani by President Trump is legal without Congressional knowledge or approval.

Revised in 2016, from the Judge Advocate General, the laws of armed conflict defines the rules.

AFD-160210-019  (2 pages) During a time of conflict, you may only attack lawful targets, which include certain people, places, and things. Combatants are lawful targets. A combatant is anyone engaging in hostilities in an armed conflict on behalf of a party to the conflict. All members of the military are combatants except for medical personnel, chaplains, POWs, wounded and sick, shipwrecked, and parachutists escaping disabled aircraft.

Further: The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds each of the House and Senate, overriding the veto of the bill by President Richard Nixon.

Further to the media, the Democrats and to Hollywood –>

THE PRESIDENT’S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS AND NATIONS SUPPORTING THEM

       The President has broad constitutional power to take military action in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress has acknowledged this inherent executive power in both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 14, 2001.

The President has constitutional power not only to retaliate against any person, organization, or State suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks on the United States, but also against foreign States suspected of harboring or supporting such organizations.

The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.

It cannot be understated that the United States under President Trump and in collaboration with U.S. Treasury and the U.S. State Department which hold the terror list along with the Department of Defense that there are more targets, least of which is al Shabab, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State.

The exact reference listed them as an FTO, Foreign Terror Organization on July 2, 2009. Click here for the FTO list.

***

Meanwhile:

Abu Ali al Askari’s Twitter statement calling for volunteers for suicide operations in Iraq.

Abu Ali al Askari, the security official for Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades (or Kata’ib Hezbollah, KH), purportedly released a statement earlier today calling for volunteers for suicide bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq.

On Askari’s Twitter account, which has been utilized in the past to distribute KH statements, the official says that: “I call for the opening of the door of registration for the lovers of martyrdom, to conduct martyrdom operations [suicide bombings] against the foreign Crusader forces.”

This short statement was then republished by social media channels affiliated with KH on both Twitter and Telegram. In addition, a Lebanese Hezbollah-affiliated Telegram account has also republished the statement.

No official word has been made on KH’s website as of the time of publishing, however.

The US-designated Hezbollah Brigades were led by Abu Mahdi al Muhandis until his death by a US drone strike yesterday alongside Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.