03/28/17

Russia is a Threat, China Aggression is Under-Reported

By: Denise Simon | Founder’s Code

President Jimmy Carter gave away the Panama Canal which was officially transferred in 2000. Few know about the other canal project in Nicaragua, which is designed to be bigger and better. It was launched by a Chinese billionaire however, it appears the Chinese government is actually behind it.

Image result for china nicaragua canal

The whole matter is shrouded in secrecy while the Panama Canal is going through a huge expansion.

Image result for china militarize islands PBS

China has been creating islands in the South China Sea while other islands are a source of major dispute. China has been seen as militarizing the manufactured islands giving rise to concerns of major cargo and global shipping lanes. Could China be making a worldwide play to control commerce and sea transportation?

Chinese state firms have expressed an interest to develop land around the Panama Canal, the chief executive of the vital trade thoroughfare said, underlining China’s outward push into infrastructure via railways and ports around the world. China’s state firms have in recent years already chalked up investments in key logistics nodes, including Piraeus in Greece and Bandar Malaysia, a major development project that is set to be the terminal for a proposed high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. More here from Reuters.

So is there more to this under reported threat by China? Yes. For instance:

HONG KONG — When the United States Air Force wanted help making military robots more perceptive, it turned to a Boston-based artificial intelligence start-up called Neurala. But when Neurala needed money, it got little response from the American military.

So Neurala turned to China, landing an undisclosed sum from an investment firm backed by a state-run Chinese company.

Chinese firms have become significant investors in American start-ups working on cutting-edge technologies with potential military applications. The start-ups include companies that make rocket engines for spacecraft, sensors for autonomous navy ships, and printers that make flexible screens that could be used in fighter-plane cockpits. Many of the Chinese firms are owned by state-owned companies or have connections to Chinese leaders.

The deals are ringing alarm bells in Washington. According to a new white paper commissioned by the Department of Defense, Beijing is encouraging Chinese companies with close government ties to invest in American start-ups specializing in critical technologies like artificial intelligence and robots to advance China’s military capacity as well as its economy. More here from the New York Times.

Humm, need more? Both China and North Korea are known for hacking. China may have some obscure agreement with North Korea to hack selected global sites. As we know, North Korea is a threat as they are continuing to advance their missile program and super thrust rocket engines which are tied to their nuclear weapons program. China provides that communications, telecom and internet platform and servers for North Korea.

Image result for china hacking BBC

North Korea relies on China for Internet connectivity, partially due to longstanding ties between the two nations and partly because it has few options. North Korea borders just three countries: South Korea, with which it is still technically at war, Russia and China. The Chinese Internet is well developed and the Russian border is far from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, making China a good choice. Going back to 2014, the U.S. State Department was well aware of all these conditions between China and North Korea, still no solution by the Obama administration.

***

Hackers associated with the Chinese government have repeatedly infiltrated the computer systems of U.S. airlines, technology companies and other contractors involved in the movement of U.S. troops and military equipment, a U.S. Senate panel has found.

Cybersecurity expert Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer with the security firm Crowdstrike, said China had for years shown a keen interest in th the logistical patterns of the U.S. military.

The investigation focused on the U.S. military’s ability to seamlessly tap civilian air, shipping and other transportation assets for tasks including troop deployments and the timely arrival of supplies from food to ammunition to fuel. U.S. authorities charged five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking into American nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets.

Last month, Community Health Systems (CYH.N), one of the largest U.S. hospital groups, said Chinese hackers had stolen Social Security numbers and other personal data from some 4.5 million patients.

*** North Korea has an elite and secret hacking unit as well known as Bureau 121. The Department of Defense submitted a report to Congress on Bureau 121 using asymmetric warfare. North Korea also has an additional cyber unit known as Office 91.

Office 91 is thought to be the headquarters of North Korea’s hacking operation although the bulk of the hackers and hacking and infiltration into networks is done from Unit 121, which operates out of North Korea and has satellite offices overseas, particularly in Chinese cities that are near the North Korean border. One such outpost is reportedly the Chilbosan Hotel in Shenyang, a major city about 150 miles from the border. A third operation, called Lab 110, participates in much the same work.

There are also several cyberunits under North Korea’s other arm of government, the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Unit 35 is responsible for training cyberagents and is understood to handle domestic cyberinvestigations and operations. Unit 204 takes part in online espionage and psychological warfare and Office 225 trains agents for missions in South Korea that can sometimes have a cyber component. More here from PCWorld.

*** China is well aware of North Korea activities, while China has and is becoming more aggressive globally. There is clearly collusion, yet what is the West and in particular the United States prepared to do in response remains unclear. However, China did approve 38 Trump trademarks. President Trump meets with Xi Jinping, maybe we will know more in April.

03/26/17

Free Judge Napolitano!

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed, described by Wikipedia as “a liberal American internet media company based in New York City,” is in the “donor spotlight” at the national news museum in Washington, D.C., known as the Newseum. The “honor” demonstrates how the media have changed and how low they have sunk.

A virtual property of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed has been a cog in the anti-Trump media machine.

The “donor spotlight” designation is strangely appropriate, since BuzzFeed disclosed the so-called “Trump Dossier” used by the intelligence community to smear President Trump. “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” the social media site acknowledged while spreading the dubious claims.

By contrast, the John Peter Zenger exhibit located in the Newseum highlights a printer whose publication used the weapon of truth. The Newseum tells us, “German immigrant John Peter Zenger became a free-press hero before there was a First Amendment. On Nov. 17, 1734, the newspaper publisher was jailed for printing truthful articles in his New-York Weekly Journal accusing British Colonial governor William Cosby of being corrupt.”

The “Trump Dossier” released by BuzzFeed was concocted by a former British intelligence agent, and turned over to James Comey’s FBI. Around that time, in July of 2016, notes columnist Lawrence Sellin, the FBI launched its investigation of the unproven connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Comey told Congress that the Bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” of 2016.

“What a coincidence,” writes Sellin, a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that “the FBI investigation was based on highly questionable evidence” for which former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele reportedly “paid intermediaries who in turn paid sources for the information he used in the report.” In other words, he says, they were third-hand rumors from unidentified individuals. Sellin adds, “Remarkably, along with Trump’s political opponents, the Obama-Comey FBI planned to pay Steele to continue his work.”

The British link is significant. While Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano has been suspended for suggesting that the British NSA, known as GCHQ, had access to the surveillance information used against Trump, the two organizations do in fact have a history of working closely together.

This is shaping up as an example of how the Deep State operates, writes Sellin. In this case, intelligence arrangements are made “that open the possibility for government officials to skirt inconvenient national laws in order to surveil citizens and then use the products of that surveillance for political purposes.”

For raising necessary questions about this arrangement, Napolitano was reportedly banned from Fox News. He is the modern-day John Peter Zenger. However, his March 16 column, “Did Obama Spy on Trump?” is still on his website and looks increasingly relevant every day that passes.

This has been a major black mark for Fox News. Still, Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity are trying to cover the deepening scandal involving Obama administration surveillance of Trump and his associates.

The role that has been played by Comcast and its properties in the anti-Trump campaign is a teachable moment that allows us to reflect on the meaning of the First Amendment and how modern media have left behind the legacy of John Peter Zenger.

In contrast to Zenger, who used the weapon of truth against public officials, BuzzFeed used lies that were apparently devised for partisan political purposes by a foreign operative.

Referring to Comcast and others, Trump adviser Peter Navarro said during the campaign, “Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

BuzzFeed has been forced to apologize to one of those named in the Trump Dossier, in preparation for a suit filed against them.

By contrast, Zenger was found not guilty of seditious libel after his attorney, Alexander Hamilton, said, “It is not the cause of one poor printer, but the cause of liberty.”

Rather than being given a distinction as a valued donor, perhaps an exhibit in the Newseum should highlight BuzzFeed as an example of the politically-correct corporate media that today makes a mockery of First Amendment values.

At the same time, the Newseum should consider embracing the cause of freeing Judge Napolitano.

There’s no money in doing so. It would just be the right thing to do. It would be a reaffirmation of First Amendment values.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/22/17

Can Trump Save His Presidency and the Nation?

By: Cliff Kincaid | America’s Survival

Geopolitical expert Jeff Nyquist talks with Cliff Kincaid about whether Trump can “drain the swamp” before the swamp swallows and takes him down. Nyqust analyses how the communists in the Democratic Party and Russia are working together, not in opposition. Will FBI Director James Comey charge Trump or his associates with being Russian agents? Why is Trump pouring more U.S. troops into Syria and Afghanistan? Can Europe survive with a Russian agent (Angela Merkel) running Germany?

03/8/17

Investigate This: Russia, Obama, Trump and Hillary

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Once again the dominant media narrative has shifted overnight. Last week the media exploded with stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ admitted contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., the latest attempt to somehow derail and delegitimize the Donald Trump presidency. It is part of the narrative concocted by the Democrats and their allies in the media to claim that Trump won the election thanks in part to help from Russia. Collusion has been the word of choice, though no evidence has surfaced to support it.

The narrative changed over the weekend when President Trump sent out a series of tweets asserting that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him “during the very sacred election process,” and that it was “Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

It turns out that the Obama administration, according to reports, did go to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court to gain permission to spy, or electronically eavesdrop, or wiretap some members or elements of Trump’s campaign. They apparently were turned down back in June, and approved in October, after taking Trump’s name out of the request.

Former federal prosecutor and journalist for National Review Andy McCarthy examined how disingenuous the denial coming from an Obama spokesman was. In essence, it comes down to, “It depends on what the definition of ‘surveillance’ is,” and who is a “White House official.”

The media called foul after Trump’s tweets, and the word of the day became “baseless,” as in baseless accusations by Trump. They said he had “no evidence” to support these very serious charges against his predecessor, Barack Obama.

But the allegations of Russian influence were largely orchestrated by the Obama administration, and were ramped up when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November. That is when he decided to impose new sanctions and expel Russian diplomats, which never would have happened if Hillary had won.

Now, using his group Organizing for Action (OFA), Obama intends to continue influencing the political scene with a shadow government apparatus. OFA has been coordinating with groups such as the Soros-linked Indivisible. “Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account,” writes Paul Sperry for the New York Post. “Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show ‘nonpartisan’ OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide.” It has also raised over $40 million, according to Sperry.

The New York Times recently reported that Obama’s intelligence agencies kept documents related to the alleged Russian influence operation “at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government—and, in some cases, among European allies.’”

In other words, President Obama wanted information potentially damaging to his successor kept at the forefront of the national discussion whenever possible. It could be even better for Obama if there were Congressional investigations; that might distract Trump from rolling back Obamacare or the unsigned Iran deal. The Times also reports that the administration “sent a cache of documents marked ‘secret’ to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration.” These documents were shared with Congressional Republicans, as well.

It should come as no surprise that the Obama administration would be aggressive, since the Obama administration waged a war on leakers, prosecuting more cases than all previous administrations combined, while harassing numerous media figures.

But while Trump appears to have stumbled by not producing evidence to support his claim, in fact his move may result in changing the narrative once again. Now the investigation could include Obama’s and Hillary’s ties to the Russians. After all, the same Russian ambassador who met twice with then-Senator Sessions visited the Obama White House at least 22 times during Obama’s presidency, including four times in 2016. Were any of those meetings about presidential politics? Hillary’s ties to the Russians have been well documented, including the Uranium One deal and Skolkovo, the Silicon Valley of Russia that provided them with dual-use technology and handed millions of dollars to Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) argued on Fox News Sunday this past weekend that based on statements from Trump’s Cabinet appointments, they will be much tougher on the Russians than the Obama administration, including Hillary. Cotton said:

“If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here’s some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear arms control agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.”

He might have added that you empower Russia’s ally Iran with more than $100 billion dollars, and a pathway to becoming a nation with nuclear weapons, to go along with its current status as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

We at Accuracy in Media find the allegations of Russian interference in the election to be flimsy at best.

And as Andy McCarthy points out in another piece, the new Obama/media narrative that his administration was never surveilling the Trump campaign for ties to Russia, cuts against what they have been arguing for months now:

“Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia…which makes sense, since Russia did not actually hack the election, so the purported objective of the collusion never existed.”

Monday night’s Nightline on ABC picked up on this theme, with reporter David Wright stating that “It’s important to note that there’s an equally outlandish narrative on the other side [besides Trump’s claim about Obama]. The other narrative, also in the mix, is that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election. Again, allegedly. No proof of that either. No smoking gun of collusion.”

Brian Ross then added that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had seen no evidence of collusion when he left the government in January. With the Republicans controlling every committee in Congress, as well as the executive branch, they should be able to shape the scope of the investigations. We hope they are just and honest, as well as tough and fearless.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

03/7/17

Media Collusion with the “Espionage Establishment”

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Host Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” spent most of his Sunday show on the subject of whether there is any evidence of Trump officials colluding with Russia to affect the 2016 presidential election. “On the Russian collusion, there’s a lot of smoke, no evidence,” said panelist Bob Woodward of Washington Post Watergate fame.

But we do have substantial evidence of media collusion with the U.S. intelligence community.

“Few understand the CIA and espionage culture as well as [David] Ignatius,” Woodward once said of his colleague, a foreign affairs columnist for the paper. These comments are significant. Ignatius is the Post journalist who received an illegal leak of classified information regarding Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. The disclosure led to Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s national security adviser.

The leak and its publication on January 12 were both illegal actions under the law.

Attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch tells Accuracy in Media that Ignatius is not alone. “What you see in these leaks—David Ignatius of The Washington Post and others—are the intelligence agencies being manipulated by the left to destroy the Trump presidency and everybody around him.” Ignatius openly boasts of his contacts in the intelligence community, especially the CIA.

Woodward was a guest on the Sunday edition of “Fox News Sunday,” but was never asked about his colleague receiving illegal leaks of communications intelligence information.

Instead, the major issue on the show was whether President Trump has made charges about wire-tapping his administration without proof. “NO EVIDENCE CITED FOR ‘WATERGATE’ PLOT” was one of the front-page headlines in the Post over President Trump’s charges that former President Obama was behind the wiretapping.

The media were unanimous. “Trump’s baseless wiretap claim” was the headline over a CNN story.

While Trump’s tweet alleging Obama’s personal role seemed like a stretch, some reported “facts” already in the media put some substance behind what the President was trying to convey in a few words and phrases. For example, the British Guardian reported on January 11:

“The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The FISA court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.”

Regarding the alleged personal involvement of former President Obama, the left-wing publication The Intercept reported on January 13:

“With only days until Donald Trump takes office, the Obama administration on Thursday announced new rules that will let the NSA share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorization with 16 other agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security.”

The conservative Wall Street Journal reported:

“Only days before the inauguration, President Obama also signed an executive order that allows the National Security Agency to share raw intercepts and data with the 16 other agencies in the intelligence community. NSA analysts used to filter out irrelevant information and minimize references to Americans. Now such material is being leaked anonymously.”

The new rules and procedures, which were promulgated pursuant to a presidential executive order, were signed by Obama Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on January 3 and reported under the innocuous New York Times headline, “N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications.”

As the Journal suggests, what Obama’s administration did was to set the stage for the leaks through David Ignatius of the Post and others. You don’t have to be Bob Woodward to suspect something is going on here.

“The people that report on national intelligence at all the networks, including Fox—and I love Fox News—are scared of taking on the intelligence agencies because their sources will be cut off and they won’t have a profession anymore,” Larry Klayman tells Accuracy in Media.

Interestingly, the personal website of David Ignatius features a laudatory review of one of his books, The Director, about a fictional director of the CIA. This is the context in which Bob Woodward said of Ignatius, “Few understand the CIA and espionage culture as well as Ignatius.” Another reviewer, Philip Kerr, also of The Washington Post, says “I strongly suggest you read The Director. It makes Tom Clancy look like an episode of Get Smart.”

“Get Smart” was the comedy show about a bumbling secret agent who had a phone in his shoe. Ignatius clearly understands the nature of the intelligence business and doesn’t joke around.

But most of the media won’t raise the obvious question: who is Ignatius collaborating with and why? The answers suggest actual collusion and even criminal conduct.

Woodward said on “Fox News Sunday” that “you’ve got to understand that as President Trump has this vast espionage establishment as his disposal, $50 billion a year plus, even in the CIA they call him the First Customer. So he can get the information he wants. He’s the only one in the government.”

But is he really a customer? Or is he in this case a victim?

If the intelligence community is trying to bring down a duly elected government of the United States, it is a story that must be told. Will the media tell this side of the story, or will they protect their anonymous sources and a $50 billion espionage establishment they collude with to make a living?


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/5/17

SPYGATE: Mark Levin Provides The Timeline And Proof Of The Obama Administration Using Police Tactics Against Trump [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Mark Levin is on a tear and it is a wonder to behold. I just watched him provide solid proof on Fox News on how all these police tactics against President Trump did indeed occur. The media provided most of the proof themselves that the two FISA requests were sought by Obama… the first one in June of last year, which mentioned Trump directly and was denied, and a second that occurred in October last year and was narrowed in scope, then was approved. It looks like it may have been targeting a server in the White House that was emailing Russian banks supposedly. No wrongdoing was found, unless of course you count what Obama did.

Levin has laid out exactly how this should be investigated and he has the full attention of the White House. His findings and recommendations have been circulated to several White House staffers, according to Washington Post reporter Robert Costa. The FISA orders and transcripts should now be made public and hearings should begin over all this. The media is still insisting there is no proof, when they provided said proof. This is insane.

From Conservative Review:

Mark Levin, Conservative Review’s editor-in-chief, recommends the Trump administration open an investigation into Barack Obama. Levin states the former president’s team used police-state tactics against then-candidate Trump during the 2016 election.

“The gravity of this is unparalleled. It appears that during the course of a presidential election, the Obama administration used both intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate the Republican nominee’s campaign and certain surrogates,” Levin tells Conservative Review.

Levin – who served as chief of staff for President Reagan’s Attorney General Ed Meese – explained the potential scandal on his Thursday evening radio show:

“We have a prior administration – Barack Obama and his surrogates – who are supporting Hillary Clinton and her party, the Democratic Party. Who were using the … intelligence activities to surveil members of the Trump campaign, and to put that information out in the public.”

“The question is: Was Obama surveilling top Trump campaign officials during the election?” Levin asked on “The Mark Levin Show.”

Mark Levin is calling this a silent coup. And he is correct. I’ve looked right at this evidence for months and I never connected the dots. I’m so glad Levin did. It is obvious to me that Barack Obama did know about all this and had Lynch at the DOJ once again do his dirty work. There was and is an orchestrated plan to sabotage the Trump presidency and not only stop him from getting his appointees approved, but stop him from accomplishing anything of merit or that would hurt the Obama legacy.

A myriad of things now look very connected. The protests and riots, Valerie Jarrett moving into Obama’s mansion, Jarrett’s daughter being hired by CNN to cover the DOJ and Jeff Sessions when she’s not even a journalist, the attack on Jeff Sessions himself, and on and on and on. When do we wake up and realize we are at war within? And that Obama and his activists must be stopped and held accountable. You’ve got Loretta Lynch literally calling for blood and death in our streets: “…They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again…” – Loretta Lynch, February 28 2017 This is who we are fighting and we must now see this through and show the left that we will not stand for police state tactics against Americans like this and especially against an elected President.

Full Interview:

03/4/17

President Trump Accuses Obama Of Watergate-Like Conspiracy – Tapped Trump Tower Phones

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

My sources were whispering this to me even before it broke on Twitter and Fox News this morning. According to President Trump, Obama wiretapped Trump Towers. It is being reported that Obama back in late summer went to the FISA court and requested a wiretap on Trump and he was denied. Then in September, he requested it again and apparently was approved and Trump Tower was bugged. The excuse of collusion with the Russians was supposedly used, but the taps found no evidence whatsoever to support this. This, my friends, does not pass the legal ‘sniff test’.

What I would like to know is if those ‘taps’ are still in place. It would explain a great deal about the leaks in the White House. This is brazen sabotage on the part of Barack Obama. The FISA court should not have granted that request and there is an excellent case here to prosecute Obama on all this. The article was based off a segment by radio host Mark Levin. That whole scandal over Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his reported meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016 was arranged by the Obama administration by the way. It was a trap. Obama’s Watergate may be unfolding right before our eyes here.

From Fox News:

President Trump made a startling claim Saturday that former President Barack Obama had Trump Tower phones tapped in the weeks before the November 2016 election.

In early Saturday morning tweets that began at 6:35 a.m., the president said the alleged wiretapping was “McCarthyism” and “Nixon/Watergate.”

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism,” Trump wrote.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he said in another tweet.

Trump also tweeted that a “good lawyer could make a great case of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

“How low has President Obama gone to tap (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergage. Bad (or sick) guy!” Trump tweeted.

Trump does not specify how he uncovered the Obama administration’s alleged wiretapping.

However, he could be referencing to a Breitbart article posted Friday that claimed the Obama administration made two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) requests in 2016 to monitor Trump communications and a computer server in Trump Tower focusing on possible links with Russian banks. No evidence was found.

The mainstream media is saying that Trump has no evidence of this. I’m willing to bet, coming from this many sources, that there is indeed evidence and a lot of it. Mark Levin does not make baseless accusations. Levin called Obama’s effort “police state” tactics and suggested that Obama’s actions, rather than conspiracy theories about alleged Russian interference in the presidential election to help Trump, should be the target of congressional investigation. I absolutely agree.

Per Breitbart, here is the damning timeline:

1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.

2. July: Russia joke. WikiLeaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.

3. October: Podesta emails. In October, WikiLeaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.

4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

5. January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier. Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.

6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.

7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the existence of “a multi-agency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was  part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them. Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.

9. February: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.

10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Postreports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office. The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions’s testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts. The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.

Obama went after Trump to get dirt on him before he was inaugurated by eavesdropping on him. The taps stayed in place even after no evidence was found and may still be in place. Obama also relaxed NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government just before he left office. This left a gaping hole for leaks. Levin called the effort a “silent coup” by the Obama administration and demanded that it be investigated. In addition, Levin ripped Republicans in Congress a new one for focusing their attention on Trump and Attorney General Sessions rather than Obama. Levin is exactly right here and this is going to blow up on the Democrats big time.

03/3/17

Investigate and Prosecute the Press

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

The House Intelligence Committee has released the “Scope of Investigation” for its inquiry into the alleged Russian active measures campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election. One item on the agenda is, “What possible leaks of classified information took place related to the Intelligence Community Assessment of these matters?” That is an easy one.

One of the answers lies with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who “broke” the story regarding illegal surveillance of Trump national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. Ignatius received illegal leaks of classified communications involving Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States. The claim we see so often in the media that Flynn was too cozy with Russia is a smokescreen. The purpose of the leaks, which likely came from the CIA and perhaps other agencies, was to stop Flynn before he could take action to reform the U.S. intelligence community. That’s obvious when you consider that Ignatius is an admitted mouthpiece for the CIA and has a reputation for doing what the agency demands of him.

The owner of the paper he works for, Jeff Bezos, does business with the CIA.

Since it’s doubtful that Ignatius will volunteer his testimony and reveal his sources, a subpoena will be necessary. He can then be prosecuted if, as expected, he conceals the names of those who used him as a conduit for illegal leaks of classified information. It is clear that he has inside information about the “alternative government,” as attorney Larry Klayman calls this network of secret operatives, or the “Deep State,” as others call it. These are the “anonymous sources” who manipulate the press, reveal national security information, and threaten the foundations of our constitutional republic. They are the real traitors, not the officials who had innocent conversations with Russians.

Does House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) have the guts to get to the bottom of this subversion of our democratic system? Like President Trump, he says he is concerned about illegal leaks. It’s time for him to take action. Otherwise, the illegal leakers will keep picking off our elected officials and those they appoint, using secret information they twist and distort for partisan political purposes.

Gregg Jarrett, a Fox News anchor and former defense attorney, should understand this. But he has weighed in on this topic and seems to conclude that Ignatius is above the law.

He says, “Whoever conveyed the information contained therein to The Washington Post committed a felony. The Post reporter, David Ignatius, who published the classified material may also be prosecuted, but he should not be” (emphasis added).

Here’s where Jarrett makes a mistake that plays into the hands of an irresponsible press.

Jarrett says, “The law draws little distinction between the leakers and the recipient who publishes the classified information. Assuming the leakers will not reveal themselves, the government may feel it has no choice but to prosecute the only person whose name is known. That is, the reporter.” However, he goes on, “This would be a mistake. While the statute itself clearly criminalizes the publishing of classified material, the First Amendment should and must render that portion of the law unconstitutional as it applies to a journalist.”

That’s his opinion. The appropriate statute, 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37, section 798, on the “Disclosure of classified information,” authorizes prosecution of those who leak, and those who publish the leaks. The relevant sections “do not exempt any class of professionals, including reporters, from their reach,” as one Justice Department official has testified.

Jarrett argues for a press exception, saying, “The Framers well knew that a free press is a cherished cornerstone in any democracy. It is the only real way to hold government officials accountable for their actions.”

In this case, however, Ignatius may stand in the way of holding the government accountable because he is protecting the identities of illegal leakers.

Jarrett himself notes the highly classified nature of the information that was disclosed. “The collection of signals transmitted from communications systems as ‘signals intelligence’ is known by the acronym SIGINT,” he points out. “The National Security Agency collects and analyzes the information. But any of the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community may have gained access to the Flynn-Kislyak conversations. Many of them likely did, given Ignatius’s reference to ‘multiple agencies’ as his sources.”

Rather than exercise his First Amendment rights, Ignatius may be protecting a conspiracy of government officials whose motive is to destroy those members of the Trump administration who they oppose. By protecting these people, Ignatius is not holding government accountable; he is protecting a criminal enterprise.

The conservative journalist Kenneth R. Timmerman has it exactly right. He says, “The rogue weasels have struck. Terrified that Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn would tear them out root and branch, they connived and colluded, anonymously of course, to leak highly-sensitive intelligence information to destroy Flynn before he could destroy them.”

He is referring to how Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had plans to reform the U.S. intelligence community and purge traitors from the intelligence community.

Timmerman authored Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender, which documented the existence of a network of current and former government officials, many from the CIA, working to undermine U.S. foreign policy and benefit America’s enemies.

In the Flynn case, he figures the leakers were senior career officials who could be counted on to leak sensitive information that would embarrass or confuse President Trump. His column, published on February 14, concluded, “It’s time for the Attorney General to launch a thorough investigation to unmask the leakers, before the damage gets worse.”

It did get worse, with another leak targeting Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Once again, The Washington Post was the chosen vessel for the leakers.

In his column about the war on the Trump administration from within the intelligence community and the Justice Department, Timmerman wrote, “When domestic enemies rear their head and seek to undermine the president and his lawful orders, that’s called sedition.”

If these “domestic enemies” are free to use members of the media for their own purposes, then democracy has become a terrible joke. Seditious or espionage activities have to be exposed.

As the House Intelligence Committee moves forward, members should consider the relevance of another statute, 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115. It deals with “Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities.”

The First Amendment is not a license to subvert the government elected by the people. Members of the press must be held accountable for their crimes.

The American people are counting on Rep. Nunes to take proper action. The fate of the Trump administration may depend on whether he does his job, and does it quickly.

  • Call his office at 202-225-4121. Tell him we know that Ignatius was the admitted recipient of these illegal leaks and that he should be held accountable. There is no time to waste.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/3/17

The Secret Wealth Of The World’s Richest Oil Billionaires

A policy of nationalizing chunks of an economy inevitably creates oligarchs who skim profits off the country’s natural resources.

As such, you won’t be surprised to learn that the largest energy companies in the world are owned and operated by governments, and they include: Saudi Aramco, Russian Gazprom, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), National Iranian Oil Co., Petroleos de Venezuela, Brazil’s Petrobras and Malaysia’s Petronas. How they’re run varies wildly—as does where their wealth goes.

While we’ve all been inundated with the massive amount of press on the scandals engulfing Brazil’s Petrobras, there are a few that stand out for creating and maintaining some of the world’s most interesting and colorful political leaders, who have grown their wealth through holdings in state-run oil and gas in some cases, and through more direct means in other cases.

Four state-run oil wealth stories stand out in today’s world: Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Angola and Brunei.

Vladimir Putin, Russia

Estimates of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth only comes in ranges because most of his wealth is hidden through offshore companies or under clandestine financial devices.

The lower end of the range sits at US$40 billion – a 2007 figure based on research by mid-level Kremlin advisor Stanislav Belkovsky, which he later said had grown to US$70 billion. At this level, Putin already stands among Forbes’ Top 10 rankings of the world’s richest billionaires, though the magazine commented in 2015 that it could not verify enough of his assets to put him on the list.

Earlier this week, the International Business Times said Putin’s fortune could be as much as $200 billion.

The majority of Putin’s wealth comes from his stakes in the oil sector. He is said to own 37 percent of Surgutneftegaz, 4.5 percent of Gazprom.

“At least $40 billion,” Belkovsy told the Guardian in 2007. “Maximum we cannot know. I suspect there are some businesses I know nothing about.”

Putin’s trophies of wealth are far from subtle. His $1 billion palace on the Black Sea features “a magnificent columned façade reminiscent of the country palaces Russian tsars built in the 18th century,” according to the BBC, which also procured evidence that a secret slush fund had been created by a group of oligarchs to build the estate for Putin, personally.

It’s definitely not a lifestyle one can afford on a declared annual salary of around US$140,000.

In a 2012 dossier, Former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov (later murdered) claimed that the Russian president owns a total of 20 palaces, four yachts and 58 aircraft.

“In a country where 20 million people can barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a brazen and cynical challenge to society from a high-handed potentate,” he said, according to the Telegraph.

But according to Putin himself, his wealth is not measured in money. In Steven Lee Myers’ book The New Tsar, Putin is quoted as saying: “I am the wealthiest man not just in Europe but in the whole world: I collect emotions.”

“I am wealthy in that the people of Russia have twice entrusted me with the leadership of a great nation such as Russia. I believe that is my greatest wealth.”

Azerbaijan

In 2003, Ilham Aliyev became the newly elected president of Azerbaijan. Thirteen years later, his name appeared in the Panama Papers – a massive leak of financial documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which revealed the shady financial dealings of some of the world’s most powerful political figures.

Months before the October 2003 presidential elections in Azerbaijan, Fazil Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s tax minister, began paperwork to form AtaHolding – a company that has become one of the nation’s largest conglomerates. It holds interests in telecommunications, construction, mining, and oil and gas for a total value of $490 million, according to the last filings in 2014.

A second entity – this time a foundation – called UF Universe holds more assets, but Panamanian laws regarding the confidentiality of foundations are strict, which makes uncovering dollar amounts difficult.

Aliyev’s two daughters and wife also have links to offshore companies managed by Mossack Fonsenca. Incidentally, Aliyev just named his wife Vice-President of Azerbaijan.

How much is the First Oil Family worth these days? No one really knows, but enough to make it onto this list.

Kazakhstan

Kazakh President-for-life Nursultan Nazarbayev was also named in the Panama Papers as a tax haven owner. He had two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, which he used to operate a bank account with an unknown amount of funds, and a luxury yacht.

The revelations were particularly loaded with hypocrisy because of Nazarbayev’s push to encourage his country’s wealthy to repatriate funds from abroad in order to make them taxable.

“We’ve raised many rich people: billionaires, millionaires,” he said, when oil prices tanked in 2014 and the government began using sovereign wealth funds to fund operations. “They are showing off; (their) pictures in Forbes… They look good, with makeup, well-groomed, well-dressed. But it is Kazakhstan that enabled you to earn all this money… Bring the money here. We’ll forgive you.”

Angola

Things here may be about to change, because President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has said he plans to step down after decades in power, and won’t be running in August’s presidential elections, but still plans to control the ruling party. Here, wealth is all about Sonangol, which has been marred in controversy since the president last year named his daughter as the head of the state-run oil company.

Angola has massive oil wealth, yet the bulk of the country’s 22 million people live in poverty, and critics say he’s mismanaged the country’s oil wealth and created an elite that largely consists of his massively rich family. But this scheme is being hit hard by the fall in oil prices that began in mid-2014, and the people are no longer complacent in their poverty.

The president’s daughter, worth an estimated US$3.4 billion before she took over the state-run oil company, has been described by Forbes as Africa’s richest woman.

Brunei

And here’s one that’s probably not even on your radar, but it will be—sooner rather than later.

Vast reserves of oil and natural gas have made Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei one of the richest leaders in the world. The Sultan is believed to be worth US$40 billion at the low end, and while ‘his’ holdings officially belong to Brunei, in reality they belong to the royal family.

Brunei is the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia, and pumps out, on average, 180,000 barrels per day. The royal family has controlled everything to do with oil and gas since the 1970s, and the line here between royal family assets and national assets is exceedingly blurry.

Vulnerable or Not?

The thing about these political oil leaders is that they’re not really vulnerable—yet. It would take an event such as that which brought down Gaddafi (said to secretly be worth US$200 billion) in Libya to change this.

In Brunei, things may be about to change, and the Sultan may find his wealth considerably downsized. Oil production is down 40 percent since 2006, and what’s left has lost a great deal of value due to low oil prices. Nearly 96 percent of Brunei’s exports are oil, gas and related products—that tops even Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Brunei could run out of oil in just over 20 years, but then again, the Sultan is said to have massive real estate holdings to tide him over.

Angola’s president is stepping down and the oil price crisis has hit him hard, but he’ll still control the ruling party and a new president will defer to him (and his daughter).

In Kazakhstan, Nazarbayev is president for life. In Azerbaijan, the family elite is as strong as ever and will continue to be so through any means necessary. In Russia, sanctions simply haven’t worked because they are designed to target those around Putin, and Putin appears to have designed it so they are always vulnerable to him first and foremost.

As Russian businessman and former Putin friend Sergei Pugachev notes to the Guardian, and as reported by U.S. News and World Report: “Everything that belongs to the territory of the Russian Federation Putin considers to be his. Everything – Gazprom, Rosneft, private companies. Any attempt to calculate it won’t succeed. … He’s the richest person in the world until he leaves power.”

Link to original article: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Secret-Wealth-Of-The-Worlds-Richest-Oil-Billionaires.html

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

02/17/17

The “Permanent State” has a Press Office

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump’s controversial complaint that the intelligence community was using police-state tactics against him has been confirmed in the forced resignation of his national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. When Trump made his complaint, he was referring to leaks of potentially damaging information about him from an unverified dossier. In the Flynn case, several commentators have noted the use of surveillance techniques that are probably illegal.

A Wall Street Journal editorial wonders if “the spooks” who were listening to Flynn obeyed the law, and what legal justification they had for their eavesdropping. The paper added, “If Mr. Flynn was under U.S. intelligence surveillance, then Mr. Trump should know why, and at this point so should the American public. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but the Trump White House needs to know what’s going on with Mr. Flynn and U.S. spies.”

In “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn,” Eli Lake writes about the highly controversial tactic of using “government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens” against Flynn and leaking them to the press. He added, “Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.”

In a column entitled, “Why you should fear the leaks that felled Mike Flynn,” John Podhoretz writes, “No joke, people—if they can do it to Mike Flynn, they can do it to you.” He said that “unelected bureaucrats with access to career-destroying materials clearly made the decision that what Flynn did or who Flynn was merited their intervention—and took their concerns to the press.”

Why was Flynn targeted? Lake writes that Flynn had “cultivated a reputation as a reformer and a fierce critic of the intelligence community leaders he once served with when he was the director the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama. Flynn was working to reform the intelligence-industrial complex, something that threatened the bureaucratic prerogatives of his rivals.” Podhoretz says Flynn “had an antagonistic relationship with America’s intelligence agencies” and was their “potential adversary.”

That Flynn wanted to reform the intelligence community is true. But the more serious concern about Flynn from the perspective of the intelligence community is that he was opposed to the Obama policy, carried out by John Brennan’s CIA, of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. He had been outspoken about this since leaving the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn’s links to Russia and the conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador are minor compared to the disasters in the Middle East that Flynn was exposing. The proxy war the Obama administration waged in the Middle East produced debacles in Egypt, Libya and Syria. In Egypt, the military rescued the country from a Muslim Brotherhood takeover engineered by Obama’s CIA. Libya is still in shambles, and Syria has been lost to the Russians and Iranians. The result in Syria alone is 500,000 dead and millions of refugees.

As documented extensively by AIM’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, the U.S. under Obama switched sides in the war on terror, in favor of the terrorists. There were, of course, terrorists on the other side as well. In Syria, the Russian/Iranian/Syrian axis employed terrorist tactics to drive back the U.S.-supported terrorists. That produced a humanitarian disaster that is still unfolding.

Trump has inherited this disaster, and he and Flynn were trying to do something about it. But Trump’s proposal for vetting refugees from failed states has been struck down by liberal judges, and Trump has unfortunately accepted their jurisdiction in the case.

As we explained in a previous column, in a review of Flynn’s book, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency “thinks that the administration he served, headed by Barack Obama, tried to accommodate our enemies, selling out American interests in the process.” This is the world that President Trump faces and is trying to rectify.

We said at the time that “if Flynn wants to turn things around, he will have to lead a purge of the Clinton and Obama agents in the Pentagon and other agencies who have been deliberately withholding information about the nature of the threats and how our lives are in peril from an ‘enemy alliance’ that Obama has been supporting as President of the United States.”

It now appears that Flynn, or rather Trump, didn’t move fast enough, and that these special interests from the swamp have struck first, nailing Flynn’s scalp to the wall.

The media know that the Obama administration helped to produce the humanitarian disasters in countries like Syria and Libya. They ran stories about CIA arms shipments to terrorists in the region through countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. But when Flynn got into a position of power and was able to do something about exposing these dirty wars, he became the target. He became a target of surveillance and was tripped up about what he said and remembered about discussions with the Russian Ambassador.

On Capitol Hill, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), seems to be one of the few legislators concerned about the illegal leaks that drove Flynn from his job. He is even quoted as saying that the leakers “belong in jail.”

The American people have a right to know whether there is a “permanent state,” as Eli Lake says, and what role it is playing. But since the major media have been complicit in the intelligence community’s assault on Flynn, there is no reason to believe the media will want to get to the bottom of this subversion of our democratic system of government. Their hands are dirty, too.

It looks like the permanent state has a press office.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.