12/5/19

Russian Nationals, Cyber Scheme Infected Thousands of Computers

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Charges Announced in Malware Conspiracy

Indictment

The case appears to have begun in 2011. The DOJ has connected Yakubets and Turashev to cyberattacks as recently as March of this year, according to the indictment. As a part of its investigation, the U.S. in 2010 transmitted a mutual legal assistance treaty request to Russia, and according to Bowdich, the Russian government was “helpful to a point.” Once the hackers were in possession of the bank credentials, they would use “money mules” to funnel the funds into foreign bank accounts. In one case, an employee of a Pennsylvania school district clicked on a graphic in a phishing email sent by Yakubets and Turashev, and the two later attempted to transfer nearly $1 million from the district’s bank account to a bank in Ukraine. The malware was deployed by Yakubets and Turashev infected tens of thousands of computers across North America and Europe, including two banks, a school district, four Pennsylvania companies, and a North Carolina firearms manufacturer.

Two Russian Nationals Engaged in Cybercrime Scheme That Infected Tens of Thousands of Computers

The U.S. Department of Justice today joined with the U.S. Department of State and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency in charging two Russian nationals with a vast and long-running cybercrime spree that stole from thousands of individuals and organizations in the United States and abroad.

Along with several co-conspirators, Maksim V. Yakubets and Igor Turashev are charged with an effort that infected tens of thousands of computers with a malicious code called Bugat. Once installed, the computer code, also known as Dridex or Cridex, allowed the criminals to steal banking credentials and funnel money directly out of victims’ accounts. The long-running scheme involved a number of different code variants, and later version also installed ransomware on victim computers. The criminals then demanded payment in cryptocurrency for returning vital data or restoring access to critical systems.

Dridex is typically spread through phishing emails. In its early phases, these messages were sent in massive, widespread campaigns. More recent attacks have been more strategic—specifically targeting businesses and organizations that have valuable computer systems and access to significant financial resources.  The malware is usually delivered through a link or attachment that appears to come from a trusted source.

“Although their realm is a digital one, this is one of the world’s largest organized crime groups,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Adam Lawson of the Major Cyber Crimes Unit. “They are personally getting rich, and new organizations and individuals are being victimized every day.”

Turashev and Yakubets were both indicted in the Western District of Pennsylvania on conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, among other charges. Yakubets was also tied to charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud issued in the District of Nebraska after investigators were able to connect him to the indicted moniker “aqua” from that case, which involved another malware variant known as Zeus.

Assisted in some cases by money mules who funneled the stolen funds through U.S. bank accounts before shipping the money overseas, the group stole or extorted tens of millions of dollars from victims. Among those affected was a Pennsylvania school district that saw $999,000 wired out of its accounts and an oil company that lost more than $2 million.

The FBI, in partnership with the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, also announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Yakubets, who is alleged to be the leader of the scheme. The reward is the largest ever offered for a cyber criminal.

“The actions highlighted today, which represent a continuing trend of cyber-criminal activity emanating from Russian actors, were particularly damaging as they targeted U.S. entities across all sectors and walks of life,” said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich. “The FBI, with the assistance of private industry and our international and U.S. government partners, is sending a strong message that we will work together to investigate and hold all criminals accountable.”

According to the charges, the co-conspirators distributed the malware through email phishing campaigns. In the early years, these messages were sent in massive, widespread campaigns. More recent attacks have been more strategic—specifically targeting businesses and organizations that have valuable computer systems and access to significant financial resources.

Victims were tricked into opening a document or clicking on a graphic or link that appeared to be from a legitimate source. The link or attachment downloaded the malicious code onto the user’s machine, where it could also spread to any networked computers.

According to FBI Supervisory Special Agent Steven Lampo, this campaign deployed a stealth type of malware designed to avoid detection by antivirus software. “The full program does too much and is too big to avoid detection,” Lampo said. The smaller piece of code, however, can inject itself into the running processes of the machine—beginning a process that allows the full suite of malware to load onto the machine or network. The malware’s creators were constantly creating new variants of the code to avoid antivirus tools.

12/5/19

GOP War Room v. Pelosi’s Impeachment?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Do the Republicans in both Houses of Congress need to collaborate with the Department of Justice to create a war room to counter the Democrat’s impeachment operation? Yes, and there are several legal and factual avenues to explore. But one, in particular, is already in play. In fact, it has been in play since at least 2016, long before former Vice President Joe Biden announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

The Democrats for months have been alleging that President Trump invited a foreign power into our 2020 election process by asking a favor of the Ukraine President. They additionally charge President Trump for publicly asking China for the same thing. Remember, President Trump said in the phone call: can you do US a favor, OUR COUNTRY has been through a lot. That is not a personal favor for President Trump but rather a service to our nation as a whole. Given the decades of rampant corruption in Ukraine and frankly in our own country, you would think the Democrats would want the same favor when it comes to money-laundering and interference in our election(s).

So, let us go back to that one avenue already in play since 2016 and that is Rosemont Seneca and Bohai Capital.

For example, one of the companies involved in the Henniges transaction was a billion dollar private investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). BHR was formed in November of 2013 by a merger between the Chinese-government linked firm, Bohai Capital, and a company named Rosemont Seneca Partners. Rosemont Seneca was reportedly formed in 2009 by Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, Chris Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, and others.3The direct involvement of Mr. Hunter Biden and Mr. Heinz in the acquisition of Henniges by the Chinese government creates a potential conflict of interest. Both are directly related to high-ranking Obama administration officials. The Department of State, then under Mr. Kerry’s leadership, is also a CFIUS member and played a direct role in the decision to approve the Henniges transaction. The appearance of potential conflicts in this case is particularly troubling given Mr. Biden’s and Mr. Heinz’s history of investing in and collaborating with Chinese companies, including at least one posing significant national security concerns. This history with China pre and post-dates the 2015 Henniges transaction. For example, in December of 2013, one month after Rosemont Seneca’s merger with Bohai Capital to form BHR, Hunter Biden reportedly flew aboard Air Force Two with his father, then-Vice President Biden to China.4 While in China, he helped arrange for Jonathan Li, CEO of Bohai Capital, to “shake hands” with Vice-President Biden.5 Afterward, Hunter Biden met with Li for reportedly a “social meeting.”6 After the China trip, BHR’s business license was approved.7 In December of 2014, BHR also reportedly became an investor in China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN), a state-owned energy company involved in building nuclear reactors.8 In April of 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged CGN with conspiracy to unlawfully engage and participate in the production and development of special nuclear material outside the United States which could cause “significant damage to our national security.”9 Then, in August of 2015, Gemini Investments Limited, another Chinese-government linked entity, purchased 75 percent of Rosemont Reality, a sister company of Rosemont 3 Seneca.10 Rosemont Realty became Gemini Rosemont and it reportedly focused on purchasing American real estate.11In September 2015, BHR joined with a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to acquire Henniges for $600 million. AVIC acquired 51 percent of the company, and BHR acquired 49 percent.12 According to reports, the acquisition of Henniges by BHR and AVIC was the “biggest Chinese investment into US automotive manufacturing assets to date.”13 Because the acquisition gave Chinese companies direct control of Henniges’ anti-vibration technologies, the transaction was reviewed by CFIUS. CFIUS approved the transaction despite reports that in 2007, years before BHR teamed up with AVIC’s subsidiary, AVIC was reportedly involved in stealing sensitive data regarding the Joint Strike Fighter program. AVIClater reportedly incorporated the stolen data into China’s J-20 and J-31 aircraft.14

You will notice numbered footnotes in the text above. That text is part of a letter sent by Senator Grassley (Senate Finance Committee) to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin this past August. It is uncertain if Treasury responded to the letter. But hold on there is more.

In May of 2016, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece regarding the sale of fake Indian tribal bonds. 7 people were charged with this fraud. Among them was a former campaign adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry and a second man once dubbed by the media “porn’s new king” along with five others. Devon Archer, an advisor to Mr. Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 and Jason Galanis a former investor in the adult entertainment business allegedly duped clients into investing more than $43 million in sham bonds in 2014 and 2015.

Image result for Rosemont Seneca Bohai, LLC

Now Devon Archer and Hunter Biden were best of buddies. In 2014, there was a lot of money flowing into a Morgan Stanley account under the name of Rosemont Seneca Bohai, LLC c/o Devon Archer.

12/5/19

Nadler Hearing was a Dress Rehearsal for Impeachment

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Let us begin with the resistance lawyers Chairman Nadler had as witnesses. A short summary of all the witnesses is here.

One particular witness, Pamela Karlan is especially combative and you can see why in the video below.

This is a presentation she made in 2006.

She gave away a big clue in her response to a question stating that she spent her Thanksgiving holiday reviewing documents and testimonies. That translates to collaboration between either the Intelligence Committee or the Judiciary Committee prior to the hearing. The minority on both committees did not receive that same benefit.

Now as part of this continued resistance coup against the President there is also another scandal getting very little to no attention and that is Chairman Schiff essentially spying on other members of Congress.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff spied on the top Republican on his panel by obtaining his phone records and publishing them in an impeachment report, Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Wednesday.

“It raises a lot of serious questions,” the Louisiana Republican said.

“I want to know all the people Adam Schiff is spying on,” Scalise told the Washington Examiner. “Are there other members of Congress that he is spying on, and what justification does he have? He needs to be held accountable and explain what he’s doing, going after journalists, going after members of Congress, instead of doing his job.”

Schiff released a 300-page report Tuesday on the Democrats’ impeachment investigation that included call records obtained from AT&T.

Schiff also did the same to investigative journalist John Solomon in obtaining his call records. Neither Nunes or Solomon received a subpoena.

Adam Schiff has 2 aides who worked with whistleblower at ...

But how about more nastiness including having a planted mole in the Trump White House? One name is Sean Misko and there could be yet another, Abigail Grace.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff hired a former National Security Council aide who worked with alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations the day after the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It was previously reported by the Washington Examiner that public records indicated Sean Misko, 37, started work on Schiff’s committee in August as a professional staff member. A specific start date was not available until this week when the latest congressional quarterly disbursements were released.

The new records show that Misko’s official hire date was July 26.

Misko was the director for the Gulf States at the NSC between 2015 until the first half of 2018. The Washington Examiner has established that the whistleblower is a CIA officer who was on the NSC during the Obama administration and worked on Ukrainian issues with Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic candidate, when he was vice president.

Ciaramella, 33, is a career CIA analyst and was the Ukraine director on the NSC from 2016 until the summer of 2017. In October 2016, he was Biden’s guest at a State Department banquet.

Before joining the NSC, Misko worked in the Obama administration at the State Department for deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, who went on to become Hillary Clinton’s senior foreign policy adviser during her 2016 presidential campaign.

Both Ciaramella and Misko started their tenures during the Obama administration and left during the first year of the Trump administration. The Washington Examiner was told by a former senior White House official that both had a close, “bro-like” relationship while working at the NSC together.

A career CIA analyst with Ukraine expertise, the alleged whistleblower filed an Aug. 12 complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general about the July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky.

The suspected whistleblower did this after meeting with a House Intelligence Committee aide on Schiff’s staff about the call, which is now the focus of impeachment proceedings. Before going to the Schiff aide, the whistleblower informed the CIA legal counsel’s office.

Schiff initially denied he knew about the complaint before it was filed in mid-August.

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff said on Sept. 17. However, the statement was false, and an aide from his staff had spoken to the whistleblower before the whistleblower complaint was submitted.

The identity of the Schiff aide who spoke to the whistleblower has not been made public, and it has not been confirmed until now that Misko was on Schiff’s staff at the time.

By Oct. 5, it was reported the whistleblower had never indicated to the inspector general he contacted Schiff’s office before filing the complaint against the president. Three days later, the whistleblower met with the inspector general to clarify why he did not mention his meeting with Schiff’s staff, saying he did not think that anything of “substance” was discussed. Details here.

Both Adam Schiff and Gerry Nadler do not make a move without the knowledge and approval of Pelosi, so she has a hand in this. Taking a wide view for the last 3+ years, the orchestration against President Trump and those in his administration has been well choreographed and when added up the sum is terrifying. Just imagine what we don’t know.

12/3/19

Did Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler Read Federalist No. 65?

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

While Nancy Pelosi has been ‘prayerful’ during this impeachment inquiry process, Congressman Adam Schiff, HPSCI Chairman has been touting the Constitution and poor old Congressman Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary remains lost as he was forced to give up control of the impeachment process after the stupid hearing with Corey Lewandowski. Meanwhile…

Whitaker will testify before House panel after tense back ...

Nadler, a lawyer himself, has previously railed against impeachment during the Clinton scandal, has invited 3 Constitutional lawyers as witnesses for his first impeachment hearing and the Republicans were only granted 1 witness. Seems Nadler needs several law classes and he and the others meaning Pelosi and Schiff should actually read Federalist No. 66. More on that later.

Nadler has called: Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law professor. His position on impeachment and argument is that President Trump can be impeached even without evidence of a crime. He published an article in The New Yorker in May of 2017 stating his argument which is all the actions of the president are a pattern and can be collectively used in sum as impeachable. Feldman has also called for a Special Counsel to be assigned to investigate Rudy Giuliani and AG William Barr.

Another Nadler witness is Pamela Karlan, a law professor at Stanford. Her concentration including being on the faculty at Stanford is voting rights and political processes. Karlan was on the Obama shortlist to be a Supreme Court Justice while her resume includes being an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was a commissioner on the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Outside of being known as snarky, she often quotes poetry in her classes. Karlan was one of the 42 legal scholars that signed a letter before Trump took office urging him to change his views on several issues and was very critical of his rhetoric.

The last Nadler witness is Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. Gerhardt penned an article in the Atlantic stating that impeachment proceedings are fully legitimate. Gerhardt is also a CNN legal analyst and was once the deputy media director for Al Gore’s senate campaign. Further, Gerhardt counseled Clinton on judicial selections and was Special Counsel to Senator Patrick Leahy on the nominations to the Supreme Court of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The only witness the Republicans were allowed to invite was Democrat and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. Turley appears to be an okay feller when it comes to Constitutional law. He has provided testimony often on The Hill. He is often the ‘go-to’ person for being a Constitutional originalist and protector of separation of powers within government. Turley has called out the Democrats several times including over the Russia investigation. In a recent interview, Turley had this summary on the impeachment:

The fact is I think that this is the – well certainly the shortest investigation, it’s certainly the thinnest evidentiary record, and it’s the narrowest impeachment ever to go to the Senate, if they were to go on this record….did they prove something was contemptible or impeachable? Contemptible is not synonymous with impeachable. The President does set policy. They have three conversations, two of them directly, one with Senator Johnson, one with Ambassador Sondland, where Trump denies a quid pro quo….so you have a conflicted record. And the question is what do you need to remove a sitting president?…

Whether this is intentional or not, it seems designed to fail in the Senate.

Meanwhile back to Federalist No. 65:

Hamilton argued that the Senate was the body to hold the impeachment trial and not the Supreme Court where evidence of misconduct of public men was a violation of public trust, meaning that society is a victim of that violation. That misconduct would contain injuries to society itself. In Federalist No. 66, Hamilton went on to further argue that the impeachment proceedings would seldom fail to agitate the passion of the whole community and divide parties into less friendly factions stating it would become a condition and test of political strengths between warring political tribes.

It is no wonder that President Trump reminds the nation often of his accomplishments as they are hardly injurious to society, in fact just the opposite.

12/3/19

Gov. Newsom Takes Control of California Pension Fund

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

$700 billion… the California governor wants full control of that for climate change programs, for road/transportation programs and to reduce vehicle miles traveled. Remember, the largest California boondoggle is the high-speed rail system that is likely the worst and most corrupt program across America.

Earlier this year, President Trump pulled nearly $1 billion of federal money for the high-speed rail project in California that was to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco and be completed by 2033. This rail system was to only cost $77 billion and now the project construction has been reduced substantially in size where the estimated costs are in the $20 billion range. The estimated costs have jumped from $77 billion to as much as $98.1 billion.

High-speed rail taking shape even as opponents seek to ...

The California Governor is still on the hook and he wants to have financial management over the state’s pension fund.

California Pension Fund Urged to Divest from Gun Sellers ...

In part: Newsom’s order directs the state’s Transportation Agency, pension funds and the department that manages government contracts to reconsider how they spend the public’s money with an eye toward investing in projects that could help Californians prepare for climate change.

The executive order “is the governor saying ‘I am prioritizing this in a mainstream way across the government. The state as a major investor and asset owner needs to take climate change really seriously,’” said Kate Gordon, director of the governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

The order references funds that taxpayers typically think of as restricted, such as money earmarked for road improvements and for pension systems that have a financial obligation to earn as much cash as possible to provide retirement security for millions of government employees.

Newsom’s order happened to follow Caltrans’ release of a report describing decisions to adjust funding for highway projects that had been pledged to the Central Valley. The timing created an impression that the Newsom administration was tinkering with taxpayer-approved transportation plans.

Newsom’s executive order won’t change the restrictions lawmakers placed in the 2017 law that levied new taxes and fees on fuel and vehicle registrations to pay for road repairs, according to the state transportation agency. That law is projected to raise about $5 billion a year for roadwork.

But, the executive order could lead the California agency to adjust its plans for other funds, steering money to public transportation and other projects in dense communities near jobs to “reduce vehicle miles traveled.”

Newsom’s administration estimates the state has about $5 billion a year in transportation funds that could be redirected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More details here.

Meanwhile, The Institute for Energy Research this past August took a hard look at the Green New Deal. After a careful study of the GND, there would be a required $10 tax increase on a single gallon of gas. Additionally, in order to eliminate gas-powered vehicles in favor of electric vehicles, gasoline prices would have to increase to $13 per gallon.

Consider the financial consequences to the nation’s economy and the cost of moving goods in the transportation sector…

The Green New Deal would cripple the U.S. economy by requiring carbon taxes ranging from $200 to $1000 per metric ton to spur replacement of current technologies in the transportation and electric generating sectors. If the United States were to implement carbon taxes of this nature, Americans would be devastated financially. And, given that the United States emits about 15 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions compared to China which emits 28 percent of the world total, U.S. reductions would have little impact on global atmospheric concentrations. According to China’s commitment to the Paris Climate agreement, the country will not begin to reduce carbon dioxide emissions until after the year 2030.

Most Americans would find $13 per gallon gasoline unacceptable. The impacts on households and businesses of all kinds would be enormous. A quadrupling of gasoline prices would plunge the U.S. economy into a deep recession. Policymakers should understand the consequences of their proposals.

While the impeachment process is going on in the House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi was attending a UN climate change summit in Madrid. While there she declared that the United States was still in the Paris Agreement, in spite of President Trump exiting the United States from the non-binding agreement.

Gotta wonder where this is all going and where the collaboration is in the Pelosi orbit or that of Governor Newsom. Better ask some harder questions of those Democrat presidential candidates in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.

12/3/19

HPSCI Minority Report, No Evidence of Impeachment Grounds

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In part:

House Republicans delivered a point-by-point rebuttal Monday to Democrats’ impeachment efforts, claiming in their own report that the evidence collected in the inquiry to date does not support the accusations leveled against President Trump — or rise to the level of removal from office.

“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” Republicans said in a 123-page report, timed to be made public ahead of the majority Democrats’ impeachment report.

The dueling narratives are emerging following two weeks of House Intelligence Committee hearings, where witnesses detailed their own knowledge of efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch political probes as U.S. aid was withheld over the summer. The committee is set to vote on Democrats’ final report Tuesday – likely to be another party-line moment – before transmitting that document to the Judiciary Committee, which holds its first public hearing Wednesday.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, penned the minority report, which has been reviewed by Fox News. In it, they broadly defend the president’s actions in the face of accusations he withheld military aid and a White House meeting as leverage to pressure Ukraine to launch a probe involving the Bidens. More here.

***

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act must pass both Houses of Congress and then have the president’s signature. For the last few years, military aid for Ukraine has been included as Ukraine has been fighting a hot war with Russia. Most recently, President Obama did fulfill the aid to Ukraine but it was all non-lethal aid as his reasons were to not further inflame tensions between the United States and Russia. The 2018 NDAA for Ukraine amounted to $350 million of lethal and non-lethal aid including training, technical assistance among other requests.

It should be noted that Ukraine maintains a military attache at the Pentagon that coordinates planning, war-gaming, training, aid and cyber warfare with our own military experts assigned to Ukraine.

EXPLAINED: How Ukraine Uses U.S. Military Aid (Think ...

The 2019 NDAA has $250 million for Ukraine under what is titled the USAI ( Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative). Two other key details of this aid include the assignment of an executive agent responsible for overseeing the aid process. Additionally, the Department of Defense must sign off on the fact that a small segment of corruption passes a standard test by the United States and those details are made clear before aid can be released. The DoD and the State Department certified twice that Ukraine had made sufficient reforms to decrease corruption and increase accountability.

Sufficient reforms?

By the way, the 2020 NDAA has $300 million in security assistance for Ukraine.

Yet… that does not settle any other parts of corruption in Ukraine. This is where the major disputes come from between the Democrats and Republicans. Corruption includes sham elections, money-laundering, banking financial fraud and theft and most recently the concerns of Ukraine naval ships seized by Russia in the Kerch Strait. (Sidebar: Russia did return those 3 naval ships after almost a year and they were stripped of all weapons, equipment, and even toilets. They were in such bad shape they had to be towed.)

President Trump has long been demanding other nations step up to fulfill their NATO obligations and further he has had major concerns that other countries are not making any substantial contributions to Ukraine. This was the reason for the Office of Management and Budget to hold for a few weeks the full release of military aid to Ukraine as told in testimony by Mark Sandy who is the national security associate deputy at the OMB. Sandy included in the closed-door testimony that there were several requests for additional information on what other countries were contributing to Ukraine and that information was provided to the Trump White House in early September. Trump officially released the aid on September 11. Aid had to be fully released by September 30 according to the law.

With a new president taking office in Ukraine it does stand to reason that the United States take a second look at conditions and the relationship between the United States and Ukraine given that the new president Zelensky was elected on combating corruption in Ukraine.

With all the new conditions and the slow-moving parts of our own government, the Minority report of the HPSCI on the impeachment inquiries having no basis does have legitimate points.

12/3/19

Time to Place a Terror Status on Drug Cartels

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

President Trump has long pledged to sign off on declaring drug cartels as terror organizations going back to at least March of 2019.

Mexican security forces on Sunday killed seven more members of a presumed cartel assault force that rolled into a town near the Texas border and staged an hour-long attack, officials said, putting the overall death toll at 20.

The Coahuila state government said in a statement that lawmen aided by helicopters were still chasing remnants of the force that arrived in a convoy of pickup trucks and attacked the city hall of Villa Union on Saturday.

The reason for the military-style attack remained unclear. Cartels have been contending for control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico, but there was no immediate evidence that a rival cartel had been targeted in Villa Union.

Earlier Sunday, the state government had issued a statement saying seven attackers were killed Sunday in addition to seven who died Saturday. It had said three other bodies had not been identified, but its later statement lowered the total deaths to 20.

Death toll put at 20 for Mexico cartel attack near US ...

The governor said the armed group — at least some in military style garb — stormed the town of 3,000 residents in a convoy of trucks, attacking local government offices and prompting state and federal forces to intervene. Bullet-riddled trucks left abandoned in the streets were marked C.D.N. — Spanish initials of the Cartel of the Northeast gang.

Given the recent deaths in two attacks, momentum is building and what is taking so long? Frankly, it comes down to the trade deal(s) between the United States and Mexico which has been approved by Mexico, Canada, and the United States but not ratified yet by our own Congress.

For some context on how easy it is to apply sanctions regarding ‘countering narcotics trafficking,’ there is a law titled the King Pin Act. Recently updated this past June, The Foreign Narcotics King Pin Designation Act has 32 pages, two columns of named individuals or organizations.

Part of this law for reference includes:

THE KINGPIN ACT

On December 3, 1999, the President signed into law the Kingpin Act (21 U.S.C. §§ 1901-1908 and 8 U.S.C § 1182), providing authority for the application of sanctions to significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations operating worldwide. Section 805(b) of the Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any U.S. person, which are owned or controlled by significant foreign narcotics traffickers, as identified by the President, or foreign persons designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State, as meeting the criteria as identified in the Kingpin Act.

On July 5, 2000, OFAC issued the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 598, which implement the Kingpin Act and block all property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any U.S. person, which are owned or controlled by specially designated narcotics traffickers, as identified by the President, or foreign persons designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, as meeting the following criteria:

• Materially assists in, or provides financial or technological support for or to, or provides goods or services in support of, the international narcotics trafficking activities of a specially designated narcotics trafficker;

• Owned, controlled, or directed by, or acts for or on behalf of, a specially designated narcotics trafficker; or

• Plays a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.

III. PROHIBITED TRANSACTIONS

E.O. 12978

E.O. 12978 blocks the property and interests in property in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, of the persons listed in the Annex to E.O. 12978, as well as of any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to be a specially designated narcotics trafficker.

The names of persons and entities listed in the Annex to E.O. 12978 or designated pursuant to E.O. 12978, whose property and interests in property are therefore blocked, are published in the Federal Register and incorporated into OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) with the OFAC program tag “[SDNT].” The SDN List is available through OFAC’s web site: http://www.treasury.gov/sdn.

THE KINGPIN ACT

The Kingpin Act blocks all property and interests in property within the United States, or within the possession or control of any U.S. person, of the persons, identified by the President, or foreign persons designated by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the previously identified federal agencies.

So, what is the problem? Actually it is likely the top government officials of Mexico would be sanctioned and the government itself would fall. The other suggestion is U.S. domestic banks would be implicated as well as some city officials in the United States including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Newark, and Miami.

The consequences are huge but it is time.

12/2/19

London Terror Attack Outrage

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

In part: Usman Khan, 28, was jailed in 2012 for his role in an al Qaeda-inspired terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange and the US Embassy and kill Boris Johnson.

The members of Usman Khan’s Al Qaeda-inspired gang who plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Boris Johnson. From left to right: Mohammed Moksudur Chowdhury, Mohammed Shahjahan, Shah Mohammed Rahman. Middle row: Mohibur Rahman, Gurukanth Desai, Abdul Malik Miah. Bottom row: Nazam Hussain, Usman Khan, Omar Sharif Latif

The members of Usman Khan’s Al Qaeda-inspired gang who plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange and kill Boris Johnson. From left to right: Mohammed Moksudur Chowdhury, Mohammed Shahjahan, Shah Mohammed Rahman. Middle row: Mohibur Rahman, Gurukanth Desai, Abdul Malik Miah. Bottom row: Nazam Hussain, Usman Khan, Omar Sharif Latif

Giving a statement outside Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said Usman Khan was subject to an ‘extensive list of license conditions’ on his release from prison and that ‘to the best of my knowledge he was complying with those conditions’.

A furious political row began today after it was revealed that Khan was released automatically from prison last year – though he was still tagged and monitored.

Khan, born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, originally received an indeterminate sentence for public protection with a minimum of eight years behind bars after his 2012 arrest, meaning he would remain locked up for as long as necessary, to protect the public.

Passing judgment at the time, Mr. Justice Wilkie said: ‘In my judgment, these offenders would remain, even after a lengthy term of imprisonment, of such a significant risk that the public could not be adequately protected by their being managed on license in the community, subject to conditions, by reference to a preordained release date.’

But this sentence was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a determinate 16-year jail term instead, meaning he would be automatically released after eight years.

It has been speculated that the attack may have been revenge for the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

It has also emerged today that he was a student and ‘personal friend’ of hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Khan spent years preaching on stalls that were linked to al-Muhajiroun, the banned terror group once led by Choudary.

As part of the plotting which led to his 2012 arrest, Khan’s group planned to set up a training camp in Kashmir, where his family had land.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that it was a ‘mistake’ to release Khan from prison and has vowed to crack down on early releases for inmates. The PM visited the scene of the attack today with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, and Home Secretary Priti Patel.

When first sentenced, yesterday’s attacker Khan was handed an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) with a minimum term of eight years by Mr. Justice Wilkie in February 2012.

This was overturned by the Court of Appeal in April 2013, when the indeterminate sentence was quashed. Instead, he was handed 16 years in jail with an extended license period of five years.

At the time he was jailed, Khan had spent 408 days on remand and this was taken into account when considering his release date.

He was eligible for release after serving half of his 16-year jail term, less the time he had already spent on remand.

Khan was obliged to adhere to the notification provisions of the 2008 Counter-Terrorism Act for a total of 30 years.

He was released from prison after agreeing to wear an electronic tag and be monitored by authorities.

Speaking before chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra on Friday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had ‘long argued’ that it is a ‘mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists, that I think the public will want to see’.

Chris Phillips, a former head of the UK National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said today: ‘The criminal justice system needs to look at itself.

‘We’re letting people out of prison, we’re convicting people for very, very serious offenses and then they are releasing them back into society when they are still radicalized. Much more here.

*** Just for consideration, there are an estimated 74 more cases of those just like Khan walking the streets of Britain. With the numbers of returning ISIS fighters to Europe….well it is easy to predict more attacks. ISIS may no longer have caliphate territory but the Internet is for sure the headquarters for continued and successful militant Islamic fighters. Europe… hear the clarion call.

11/28/19

250 Arrested Due to Fake University

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

The University of Farmington in Michigan is fake. The sting operation was called Paper-Chase. We have all kinds of channels on this one. Recruiters from India, visa fraud and lots of money and no classes to attend. The school had an estimated 600 students, where are the rest of them? All the enrolled students were foreign. The federal government concocted the school.

Federal agents used a fake university in Farmington Hills to lure alleged phony foreign students who were trying to stay in the United States illegally.

The University of Farmington had no staff, no instructors, no curriculum and no classes but was utilized by undercover Homeland Security agents to identify people involved in immigration fraud, according to federal grand jury indictments unsealed Wednesday.

The University of Farmington's headquarters was in this office building on Northwestern Highway north of Inkster Road in Farmington Hills.

The University of Farmington’s headquarters was in this office building on Northwestern Highway north of Inkster Road in Farmington Hills. (Photo: Google Maps)

Eight student recruiters were charged with participating in a conspiracy to help at least 600 foreign citizens stay in the U.S. illegally, according to the indictments, which describe a novel investigation that dates to 2015 but intensified one month into President Donald Trump’s tenure as part of a broader crackdown on illegal immigration.

Most of the recruiters and students involved are originally from India, according to prosecutors.

“It’s creative and it’s not entrapment,” said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor. “The government can put out the bait but it’s up to the defendants to fall for it.”

Those charged include:

• Bharath Kakireddy, 29, of Lake Mary, Florida.
• Aswanth Nune, 26, of Atlanta.
• Suresh Reddy Kandala, 31, of Culpeper, Virginia.
• Phanideep Karnati, 35, of Louisville, Kentucky.
• Prem Kumar Rampeesa, 26, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
• Santosh Reddy Sama, 28, of Fremont, California.
• Avinash Thakkallapally, 28, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
• Naveen Prathipati, 29, of Dallas.

“These suspects aided hundreds of foreign nationals to remain in the United States illegally by helping to portray them as students, which they most certainly were not,” said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations office in Detroit.

The eight defendants have all been arrested.

Starting in 2015, the university was part of an undercover operation dubbed “Paper Chase” and designed to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud, according to the indictment. Homeland Security agents started posing as university officials in February 2017.

Immigration crimes alleged in the indictment continued until this month and involved Homeland Security agents posing as owners and employees of the university. The university had a professional website, a red-and-blue coat of arms, a Latin slogan meaning “knowledge and work” and a physical location at a commercial building on Northwestern Highway.

“… the university was being used by foreign citizens as a ‘pay to stay’ scheme which allowed these individuals to stay in the United States as a result of foreign citizens falsely asserting that they were enrolled as full-time students in an approved educational program and that they were making normal progress toward completion of the course of study,” the indictment reads.

The recruiters helped foreign citizens fraudulently obtain immigration documents from the university and helped create phony student records, including transcripts, according to the government.

“We are all aware that international students can be a valuable asset to our country, but as this case shows, the well-intended international student visa program can also be exploited and abused,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement Wednesday.

The recruiters didn’t know the university was fake, however, and operated by federal agents.

The recruiters helped hundreds of foreign citizens fraudulently maintain non-immigrant status as students and stay in the U.S. illegally, prosecutors allege.

In February 2017, Sama called the university and inquired about enrolling as a student “without attending classes in order to fraudulently maintain his immigration status,” according to the indictment. During the phone call with an undercover agent, Sama also requested a tuition reduction for bringing students to the university.

Within weeks, Kandala, Kakireddy and Thakkallapally contacted undercover agents with identical requests, according to the government.

In late 2017, the recruiters started getting paid for recruiting the phony students.

Sama and Kandala met with an undercover agent at the university in January 2018 to collect $20,000 for recruiting students, prosecutors allege.

Sama collected another $20,000 in June 2018, according to the indictment.

The fake university is a new chapter in a long history of federal agents creating phony entities to thwart crime.

In the late 1970s, the FBI ran an investigation code-named ABSCAM that utilized a phony company in Long Island to crack down on public corruption and organized crime. And the 2012 film “Argo” was inspired by the work of a Central Intelligence Agency operative and involved a phony science-fiction movie.

The Farmington case isn’t the first time federal agents have used a phony university.

In 2016, Homeland Security agents used the fake University of Northern New Jersey to charge 21 people with student and work visa fraud.

Federal agents deployed several tactics to make the University of Farmington appear to be a legitimate school.

The main photo of University of Farmington students on the school’s website is nearly identical to a commercially available picture on the stock photograph website Shutterstock.

The University of Farmington has its own Facebook page, too, with a calendar of events, including one scheduled for next week with non-existent university officials.

But after The Detroit News revealed the indictment Wednesday, the university’s Facebook page started featuring memes, including one of Admiral Ackbar from “Return of the Jedi” shouting “It’s a trap.”

As part of the alleged Farmington scheme, recruiters intended to help shield and hide the students from immigration authorities, according to the indictment.

Those charged included recruiters who collectively received $250,000 in cash and kickbacks to find students to attend the university, the government alleges.

The University of Farmington operated out of the basement of the North Valley office complex on Northwestern Highway, north of Inkster Road.

The office is across the hall from a café for people who worked in the complex.

The entrance to the University of Farmington.

The entrance to the University of Farmington. (Photo: Matt Friedman)

Matt Friedman, co-founder of the Tanner Friedman strategic communications firm, works in an adjoining building and was puzzled by the university’s name and office.

There were no classrooms and the university’s name seemed peculiar, he said.

“I was like ‘what is this?’” Friedman said Wednesday. “I’d never heard of it before and never saw anybody there. The whole thing was just odd.”

He posted a joke on Facebook in April 2017 with a snapshot of the entrance to the university’s office suite.

“Just because I’m now in the same office complex, it doesn’t mean I can suddenly get you tickets to the rivalry games against West Bloomfield Tech or Southfield State,” Friedman wrote.

11/27/19

China’s Prison Labor Camps Proven

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer:

The United States gives foreign aid to China. Actually, that is against the law. Hello Pelosi and Schiff. Oh but wait, it is all justified as money to counter those abuses. Anyone trust that actually or has anyone followed that money?

It is packaged this way: U.S. foreign assistance efforts in the PRC aim to promote human rights, democracy, and the rule of law; support sustainable livelihoods, cultural preservation, and environmental protection in Tibetan areas; and further U.S. interests through programs that address environmental problems and pandemic diseases in China. The United States Congress has played a leading role in determining program priorities and funding levels for these objectives. These programs constitute an important component of U.S. human rights policy toward China. Among major bilateral aid donors to China, the United States is the largest provider of nongovernmental and civil society programming, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Based on what abuses Beijing is applying to the freedom fighters in Hong Kong coupled with that of the prison labor camps (500 of them) of the Uighurs, having a trade agreement between the United States and China is an arguable quest at best or is it?

Uyghur Turk exposes torture in Chinese prison

The Uighur internment camps are actually prison labor camps for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative.

classified blueprint leaked to a consortium of news organizations shows the camps are instead precisely what former detainees have described: Forced ideological and behavioral re-education centers run in secret.

The classified documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities even before they commit a crime, to rewire their thoughts and the language they speak.

The papers also show how Beijing is pioneering a new form of social control using data and artificial intelligence. Drawing on data collected by mass surveillance technology, computers issued the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week.

The documents were given to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists by an anonymous source. The ICIJ verified them by examining state media reports and public notices from the time, consulting experts, cross-checking signatures and confirming the contents with former camp employees and detainees.

They consist of a notice with guidelines for the camps, four bulletins on how to use technology to target people, and a court case sentencing a Uighur Communist Party member to 10 years in prison for telling colleagues not to say dirty words, watch porn or eat without praying.

The documents were issued to rank-and-file officials by the powerful Xinjiang Communist Party Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the region’s top authority overseeing police, courts, and state security. Much more detail here from Associated Press.

After bloody race riots rocked China’s far west a decade ago, the ruling Communist Party turned to a rare figure in their ranks to restore order: a Han Chinese official fluent in Uighur, the language of the local Turkic Muslim minority.

Now, newly revealed, confidential documents show that the official, Zhu Hailun, played a key role in planning and executing a campaign that has swept up a million or more Uighurs into detention camps.

Published in 2017, the documents were signed by Zhu, as then-head of the powerful Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party in the Xinjiang region. A Uighur linguist recognized Zhu’s signature scrawled atop some of the documents from his time working as a translator in Kashgar, when Zhu was the city’s top official.

“When I saw them, I knew they were important,” said the linguist, Abduweli Ayup, who now lives in exile. “He’s a guy who wants to control power in his hands. Everything.”

Zhu, 61, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Long before the crackdown and despite his intimate familiarity with local culture, Zhu was more hated than loved among the Uighurs he ruled.

He was born in 1958 in rural Jiangsu on China’s coast. In his teens, during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Zhu was sent to Kargilik county, deep in the Uighur heartland in Xinjiang. He never left.

Zhu joined the Party in 1980 and moved up Xinjiang’s bureaucracy, helming hotspot cities. By the 90s, he was so fluent in Uighur that he corrected his own translators during meetings.

“If you didn’t see him, you’d never imagine he’s Han Chinese. When he spoke Uighur, he really spoke just like a Uighur, since he grew up with them,” said a Uighur businessman living in exile in Turkey, who declined to be named out of fear of retribution.

The businessman first heard of Zhu from a Uighur friend who dealt with the official while doing business. His friend was impressed, describing Zhu as “very capable” — a Han Chinese bureaucrat the Uighurs could work with. But after years of observing Zhu oversee crackdowns and arrests, the businessman soon came to a different conclusion.

“He’s a crafty fox. The really cunning sort, the kind that plays with your brain,” he said. “He was a key character for the Communist Party’s policies to control Southern Xinjiang.”

Ayup, the linguist, met Zhu in 1998, when he came to inspect his township. He was notorious for ordering 3 a.m. raids of Uighur homes, and farmers would sing a popular folk song called ‘Zhu Hailun is coming’ to poke fun at his hard and unyielding nature.

“He gave orders like farmers were soldiers. All of us were his soldiers,” Ayup said. “Han Chinese controlled our homeland. We knew we needed to stay in our place.”

Months after a July 5, 2009 riot left hundreds dead in the region’s capital of Urumqi, Zhu was tapped to replace the city’s chief. Beijing almost always flew in officials from other provinces for the job, in part as training for higher posts. But central officials on a fact-finding mission in Urumqi concluded that Zhu, seen as tougher than his predecessor, needed to take charge.

“They were super unhappy,” said a Uighur former cadre who declined to be named out of fear of retribution. “It had never happened before, but because locals said he was outstanding at maintaining stability, he was snatched up and installed as Urumqi Party Secretary.”

Upon appointment, Zhu spent three days holed up in the city’s police command, vowing to tighten the government’s grip. Police swept through Uighur neighborhoods, brandishing rifles and rounding up hundreds for trial. Tens of thousands of surveillance cameras were installed.

But instead of healing ethnic divisions, the crackdown hardened them. Matters came to a head in April 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Xinjiang on a state visit. Just hours after his departure, bombs tore through an Urumqi train station, killing three and injuring 79.

Xi vowed to clamp down even harder.

In 2016, Beijing appointed a new leader for Xinjiang — Chen Quanguo. Chen, whose first name means “whole country”, had built a reputation as a hard-hitting official who pioneered digital surveillance tactics in Tibet.

Zhu was his right-hand man. Appointed head of the region’s security and legal apparatus, Zhu laid the groundwork for an all-seeing state surveillance system that could automatically identify targets for arrest. He crisscrossed the region to inspect internment centers, police stations, checkpoints and other components of an emerging surveillance and detention apparatus.

After Chen’s arrival, Uighurs began disappearing by the thousands. The leaked documents show that Zhu directed mass arrests, signing off on notices ordering police to use digital surveillance to investigate people for having visited foreign countries, using certain mobile applications, or being related to “suspicious persons”. State television shows that Zhu continued on his relentless tour of Xinjiang’s camps, checkpoints, and police stations, personally guiding the mass detention campaign.

Zhu stepped down last year after turning 60, in line with traditional practice for Communist Party cadres of Zhu’s rank. Chen remains in his post.

“Chen Quanguo came in the name of the Party,” said the Uighur businessman. “Zhu knows how to implement, who to capture, what to do.”