Saturday, March 11, 2017

The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation Saturday March 11th, 2017 at 8:34 AM

The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation

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It's a case that's been the subject of endless speculation in Washington and beyond.
But to those tasked with getting to the bottom of the allegations and innuendo, it's just another "standard counterintelligence investigation," as one highly placed US official put it. Add to that the freshly assigned task of determining how a huge cache of what appear to be authentic CIA documents ended up on the WikiLeaks website.
Welcome to the super-secret world of the Counterintelligence Division, home to the spy catchers of the FBI.
It's a shadowy world that's closed off even to those typically in the know in bureau headquarters, a silo of secrecy in which agents are valued as much for their ability to keep quiet as they are for their investigative skills.
"They keep that (stuff) locked down tight," one veteran FBI agent said.
One source familiar with the Russia investigation resorted to a mathematical equation to divulge -- sort of -- the number of agents assigned to the matter.
It's five to 10 fewer than were assigned to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, said the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly and did so on the condition of anonymity. There were about two dozen dedicated to that case, so that makes 15 to 20 on the Russia investigation.
The resources assigned to the Clinton investigation were in response to agents having to sort through a vast amount of electronic data in a finite period of time before the then-looming presidential election, the source said. With the Russia probe, there is no such time pressure and efforts are more focused on interviews with human sources.
The smaller number of agents assigned to the case should not be interpreted as a lack of interest, the source said. Developments in the case are sent up the chain to the highest levels on a regular basis.
Known simply as CD within the bureau, the Counterintelligence Division is responsible for protecting the secrets of the US intelligence community, the advanced technologies of American institutions both public and private, keeping weapons of mass destruction away from US enemies and countering the activities of foreign spies, including cyberintrusions.
Their cases sometimes go on for years amid careful, tedious, behind-the-scenes work aimed at recruiting or neutralizing foreign spies.
One reason for the long, drawn-out investigations is that their cases rarely are as cut and dried as bank robbery or kidnapping.
In the Russia investigation, for instance, there's been abundant speculation about the significance of meetings between people connected to President Donald Trump and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
A meeting in itself means nothing, said Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and Republican congressman from Michigan.
"First of all, they have to find a crime," Rogers, a CNN national security commentator, said of the agents.
"I have met with Kislyak twice, as a congressman," Rogers said. "That's not a crime."
Rarely do they result in criminal prosecutions. Rarer still are headlines.
There was an exception in 2015, when the Counterintelligence Division was publicly credited with the disruption of a Russian spy ring operating in New York City. It was lead by a man working in a Russian bank in Manhattan, according to federal authorities. The man, Evgeny Buryakov, also happened to be an agent of Russia's SVR, their equivalent of the CIA. It was a spy-novel-worthy case involving electronic intercepts, surveillance and coded messages. Buryakov pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to two and half years in prison.
Ironically, the division's most enduring publicity came in the wake of the massive betrayal of one of its longtime agents: Robert Philip Hanssen.
Hanssen was arrested in 2001 and charged with selling secrets to the former Soviet Union and Russia over the course of two decades. He was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and diamonds in exchange for secrets that he often left at a "dead drop" location for his handlers to retrieve. He was arrested following what would be his final drop, pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence in prison. He is considered the most damaging spy in FBI history.
But following his arrest, then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh singled out Hanssen's colleagues in the Counterintelligence Division for confronting "the most traitorous actions imaginable."
"Their actions represent counterintelligence at its very best and under the most difficult and sensitive of circumstances," Freeh said. "Hanssen's colleagues and coworkers at the FBI conducted this investigation and did so quietly, securely and without hesitation. Much of what these men and women did remains undisclosed but their success and that of their CIA counterparts represents unparalleled expertise and dedication to both principle and mission."
CD is so secretive that even former agents are reluctant to speak publicly about their tenure there.
One former supervisor said agents need the seemingly disparate skill set of being good talkers who can recruit and maintain sources while also being able to keep their mouths shut -- about everything.
"Ninety-five percent of the cases are classified information or above," the source said.
"You have to be very disciplined about what you share with whom," he said. "My wife knew where I worked. She did not really know what I did."
He said counterintelligence work would not appeal to someone with the stereotypical macho cop persona or someone who wants to be the center of attention.
"It's more subtle. You're working in the shadows. You don't want to be noticed," the source said. "It's very different than kicking down doors or doing drug raids."
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President Trump to meet with Angela Merkel - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
Kellyanne Conway weighs in on the White House and foreign relations on 'The O'Reilly Factor'

Analyzing President Trump's first 50 days - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
Kellyanne Conway weighs in on wiretapping claims and healthcare on 'The O'Reilly Factor'

Is fracking really so bad? - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
Tucker and the co-director of Our Food & Water Justice Program debate the pros and cons of fracking as US intelligence has discovered that Russia 'hacked' the green movement and is pushing anti-fracking propaganda in America

Настоящее время. Итоги. 11 марта 2017 года - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
Вы смотрите телевизор, а он смотрит на вас - инфовброс Викиликс о предполагаемой слежке ЦРУ // Дезинформация как оружие - в Конгрессе США вновь обсудили поведение России // И теория малых дел во всероссийском масштабе. Специальный гость – российский общественный деятель, активист Евгения Чирикова

Iraqis wage intense urban combat against ISIS - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
Iraqi forces engage ISIS fighters in urban combat on the streets of Mosul. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.
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Trump congratulates GOP on health care bill - YouTube

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Published on Mar 10, 2017
President Donald Trump congratulated and thanked the various House committees that worked on the American Health Care Act intended to replace the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act.

The time for German leadership has arrived - Financial Times

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Financial Times

The time for German leadership has arrived
Financial Times
Angela Merkel's visit to Washington next week will be among the most important — and most awkward — of her career. The German chancellor must attempt to strike up a decent relationship with Donald Trump, despite the scorn he has poured on her ...

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The time for German leadership has arrived

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Tim Steller's Political Notebook: CIA's ex-Russia chief offers insights on Kremlin - Arizona Daily Star

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Arizona Daily Star

Tim Steller's Political Notebook: CIA's ex-Russia chief offers insights on Kremlin
Arizona Daily Star
Then it unexpectedly ended, but Russia, where Hall was stationed again from 2010 to 2012, has remained a focus of U.S. intelligence operations. It became clear why last year, when Russia apparently interfered in our presidential election by spreading ...

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'Is the operation that Russia started during the campaign over?': Maddow sounds the alarm on Trump-Russia ties - Raw Story

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Raw Story

'Is the operation that Russia started during the campaign over?': Maddow sounds the alarm on Trump-Russia ties
Raw Story
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has spent several nights on her show walking viewers through the mounting ties between Russia and President Donald Trump, his campaign, his companies, members of his administration and former members of his administration.
New details put the spotlight back on Trump's Russia scandalMSNBC
Rachel Maddow Connects the Dots on Donald Trump's 'Russian Connection'AlterNet

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For spy novelists, Trump-Russia allegations are a potential gold mine, but also a minefield - South China Morning Post

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South China Morning Post

For spy novelists, Trump-Russia allegations are a potential gold mine, but also a minefield
South China Morning Post
“I wake up every morning and I think, 'Thank heavens for Vladimir Putin',” says Matthews, whose next book, The Kremlin's Candidate, will centre on the “tried and true” story of a Russian asset in the CIA. “He's a great character and his national goals ...

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How Trump’s reflationary impact could prove powerful

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FBI agent brings new anti-terrorism measures to New Orleans -

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FBI agent brings new anti-terrorism measures to New Orleans
For the next several years, he worked in the FBI's counter-terrorism, Cosa Nostra organized crime and public corruption units. But combating terrorism became very personal for Sallet on April 15, 2013, as he headed into the home stretch as a runner in ...

Trump, Russian ambassador's meeting reports 'absurd': White House - India TV

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India TV

TrumpRussian ambassador's meeting reports 'absurd': White House
India TV
The White House had downplayed the reports that then-candidate Donald Trump met theRussian ambassador to the US at a 2016 campaign event, just before Trump delivered a speech that called for "an easing of tensions" with Russia. The reports of ...

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Andy Ostroy: Why America, Not Donald Trump, Will Win In The End 

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Ok, so Donald Trump is president. Leader of the Free World. Commander-in-Chief. Occupying the White House and Oval Office. There. I’ve said it. And,...

John Feffer: Trump and Russia: Shortest Reset Ever

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It has all the hallmarks of a compelling thriller.
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Former Advisor's Tenuous Links to Trump Are Adding to the Russia Controversy - TIME

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Former Advisor's Tenuous Links to Trump Are Adding to the Russia Controversy
This week, Page — who is at the center of the swirling controversy over Trump associates' connections to Russia — painted himself as a recurrent visitor to Trump Tower, the New York skyscraper that housed Trump's campaign offices. "I have frequently ...

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Page 4

Nicholas Kristof: Connect the dots to collusion between Trump, Russia - The Columbus Dispatch

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National Review

Nicholas Kristof: Connect the dots to collusion between Trump, Russia
The Columbus Dispatch
Be careful: Democrats should avoid descending into the kind of conspiratorial mindset that led some Republicans to assume Hillary Clinton was a criminal about to be indicted, or to conjure sex slaves belonging to her in a Washington pizza restaurant ...
The Problem with Investigating TrumpNational Review
The Faking News Fakers: 'Wiretaps? What Wiretaps?'Patriot Post
The Rise of the 'Traditionalist International': How the American Right Learned to Love Moscow in the Era of TrumpRight Wing Watch
CNN International -Turner
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The truth about Donald Trump's murky Russia connections will come out - Reaction

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The truth about Donald Trump's murky Russia connections will come out
Several weeks ago I reported here that at the core of US President Donald Trump's perplexing defense of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin might be that most banal of motives – greed and the desire to turn a quick buck. Perhaps hundreds of millions of them.
Congressional investigations into Russian influence are recipe for chaosHawaii Tribune Herald
One Simple Question That Could Break the Trump-Russia Scandal Wide OpenMother Jones
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Canada Oil Dependence on US Loosens in Age of Donald Trump - Bloomberg

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Canada Oil Dependence on US Loosens in Age of Donald Trump
The Trump administration is mulling a border tax that could raise the cost of imported oil, a prospect that's undermining the values of Canadian energy producers versus their U.S. counterparts. At the same time, U.S. oil production is rising again ...

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White House says Trump was unaware of Michael Flynn's foreign agent work - CBS News

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CBS News

White House says Trump was unaware of Michael Flynn's foreign agent work
CBS News
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House says. The comments came two days after ...
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Calls for Comey to testify on leaks and cyber attacks - Fox News

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Fox News

Calls for Comey to testify on leaks and cyber attacks
Fox News
O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight, as we reported last night, so members of the House Judiciary Committee have asked the FBI Director James Comey to testify about classified information leaks and cyber-attacks. Joining us from Washington, two members ...

The Russia frenzy gripping Washington - Spiked

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The Russia frenzy gripping Washington
Indeed, Trump's critics are espousing a double standard: when Trump makes an unsubstantiated claim, it's an outrage; when they do it – as they have done with their panics about Russia influencing the election – they are defending American democracy ...
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Page 5

Jay Ambrose - Trump collusion with Russia? No evidence - Defiance Crescent News (subscription)

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Defiance Crescent News (subscription)

Jay Ambrose - Trump collusion with Russia? No evidence
Defiance Crescent News (subscription)
It is worth mentioning in connection with all this Russian business that the Clintons made a provable deal that hurt the United States and helped Russia and the Clintons' financial status. The couple's foundation got millions of dollars in donations ...
While You Weren't Looking, the Democrat–Media Election-Hacking Narrative Just CollapsedNational Review
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World News, Economics and Analysis Based on Bible Prophecy

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The results of European parliamentary elections held June 4 to 7 show a marked shift to the right across the Continent. Both center-right and far-right parties made substantial gains. Europe has witnessed an economic crisis combined with the electorate swinging to the political right before—80 years ago (article, page 22).
May 23 was the 60th anniversary of Germany’s constitution. The flag-waving and patriotism shown that day reflects a marked change in Germany. “Sixty-four years after the end of the Nazi era and its atrocious crimes against humanity, Germans are no longer ashamed to wave their flag or sing their national anthem,” wrote United Press International May 21. A survey released earlier in May, titled “Being German: A newfound national pride in harmony with the heart,” corroborated upi’s report. The three-year study polled 2,000 Germans from age 14 up. Nearly 60 percent said they endorsed the statement, “I’m proud to be German.” Sixty-nine percent said Germany is more important than Europe or the international community. Past surges in German patriotism have produced deadly results—a fact worth remembering in light of biblical prophecies of Germany launching yet another world war.
Unemployment reached 9.2 percent in April within the 16-nation eurozone; 14 million people in the eurozone are unemployed. Spain’s unemployment rate is 18.1 percent, Austria’s 17.4 percent and Lithuania’s 16.8 percent. Italy, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands are suffering the worst slump since World War ii. Germany is in the deepest recession of any major economy. During the first three months of this year, Germany’s economy shrank by 3.8 percent, the largest drop since Germany began keeping gdp data in 1970. Austria and the Netherlands shrank by 2.8 percent, Italy by 2.4 percent, Spain by 1.8 percent and France by 1.2 percent. This is putting pressure on governments to cut spending. A total of 350,000 people marched in the streets of Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Prague and other cities one weekend in May, calling for greater job protection. If Europe’s national governments cut spending, far more are sure to protest. As economic conditions worsen, watch for European dissatisfaction to grow.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier traveled to Moscow June 10 to 11 to visit with Russia’s top leaders. He said, “Russia is an indispensable partner for Germany and the European Union,” and commented on “German-Russian cooperation as a model of interaction, so that both sides will benefit if our potential is united.” Stratfor noted, “The last time Germany and Russia ‘united their potential,’ the result was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which carved up Eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and the Third Reich in 1939′ (June 11). Watch this alliance closely.
The European Commission announced May 27 that it wants to empower two new EU institutions to impose binding decisions on member states. Driven by Germany, the plans would create the European Systemic Risk Council and the European System of Financial Supervisors. Germany is leading a drive to move financial power from London to Brussels as part of a plan for the EU to become the world’s major financial powerhouse.


In Lebanese parliamentary elections on June 7, the governing majority—an alliance of pro-Western and anti-Iran, anti-Syria forces—beat the Hezbollah-led opposition. Hezbollah’s alliance dropped one legislative seat, winning 57 of the 128 seats. Though the election results were widely reported as a major defeat for Hezbollah, the real story is more complex and far less reassuring. Hezbollah in fact had no intention of taking over the government of Lebanon. It only stood 11 candidates, all of whom won. The Iran-sponsored terrorist group is perfectly satisfied with its current position in Lebanon: as the political opposition with veto power—which it will fight to hold on to. And Iran only wants to preserve it as a weapon for future use against Israel.
Pakistan’s military launched an offensive against the Taliban in the North-West Frontier Province’s Swat Valley in late April. On May 31, the Pakistani Army announced it had secured Mingora, the Taliban’s district headquarters. While the army has made progress, the battle is far from over. The Taliban is adept at melting into the populace only to regroup later, which is made easy by the fact that some 3 million people have been displaced by the counterinsurgency. In addition, the Taliban still largely holds the rural areas as well as the sympathy of much of the populace—who anticipate they will be under the rule of the Taliban once more when the military leaves. It will be a mammoth task for the Pakistani authorities to not only hold the captured areas, but also to rebuild and establish governance and security. Meanwhile, the Taliban has other safe havens in Pakistan, and time is on its side.
Terrorist attacks against civilians are another ongoing part of the Taliban’s strategy in Pakistan. On June 9, a suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 18 people and injured about 50 at a luxury hotel, with several foreigners being among the dead and wounded. Immediately after the attack, some Pakistani media started to question the value of the Swat offensive, as was the Taliban’s intention. Such attacks are likely to continue as the Islamist terror group seeks to convince the Pakistani public and government that the fight isn’t worth it.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, weapons and ammunition given to the Afghan security forces by the U.S. are falling into the hands of the Taliban, the New York Times reported May 19. Military officials and arms analysts say that poor Afghan oversight of arms inventories, together with corruption in the Afghan forces, may have helped keep the Taliban supplied with weapons and ammunition during the past eight years.
The leaders of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, gathering in Tehran to discuss the Taliban insurgency in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, issued a joint declaration May 24 in which they promised to find regional solutions. The fact that Iran hosted this summit gives it automatic significance. With doubts increasing in the region over whether the U.S. will stick it out in Afghanistan, Islamabad and Kabul are looking to Tehran—despite the fact that Iran has supported the Taliban. As Global Politician reported May 28, “in a very complicated dual policy, Iran has been able to extend its influence in both countries while supporting the enemies of both governments.” By establishing itself as a key player in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tehran is gaining leverage over Washington.
On May 26, Pakistan’s Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling banning former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from running for public office. Currently the most popular politician in Pakistan, the Islamist-leaning Sharif is now in a position to become prime minister once again, whenever elections are held.
In Israel, a May 17 survey pointed to an increase in anti-Jewish sentiment among Arab residents. About 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs believe the Holocaust never occurred, according to the University of Haifa poll—significantly more than the 28 percent who denied the Holocaust in 2006. Only 53.7 percent of Israeli Arabs polled said Israel has a right to exist; in 2003, that figure was 81.1 percent.
Pope Benedict XVI toured the Middle East in May, spending five days in Israel where he called for the creation of a Palestinian state. As the Trumpet has explained for years, however, the Vatican is not interested in the rights of Palestinians; it is exploiting them as a means of pursuing its own goals in Jerusalem.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told China June 1 that its money was safe. His Chinese audience broke out in laughter. Geithner was visiting China to allay fears that Washington’s bulging budget deficit and ultra-loose monetary policy are a veiled attempt to repudiate its debts by fueling inflation. Brazil, Russia, India and China have announced that they plan to invest in the new International Monetary Fund (imf) bond as they look for alternatives to the U.S. treasury bond. Russia announced June 10 that it plans to sell some of its $140 billion in treasury bonds in order to invest $10 billion in the imf bond. “Given the amounts involved—for instance, China has committed to buying about $50 billion of imf bonds—in a pool of $2 trillion of reserves, this is not going to make a big difference,” said Cornell economics professor Eswar Prasad. “But symbolically it’s still very important that these emerging markets are looking for an alternative to the dollar in the short term, and this might be a viable option” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 9).
On May 25, North Korea tested a nuclear bomb for the second time in 2½ years (article, page 16). One of the most significant aftershocks was how it motivated Japan to step up its talk of becoming a major military power. Tokyo is also using the pirate threat in waters off Africa to justify increasing its military capability. Japan announced May 28 that it has deployed two P-3 surveillance aircraft to Djibouti. This is yet another step in Japan shedding its post-World War ii military restraints.
Iran and North Korea have been working together to develop their ballistic missiles, the head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said June 11. Lieut. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly stated that Tehran and Pyongyang are sharing knowledge on avionics, propulsion and materials, among other things. Considering that North Korea is a nuclear power, collusion between these two rogue states should be of tremendous concern to nations around the world.
The Kremlin has created a special commission designed to counter perceived anti-Russian propaganda within the former Soviet Union. In a decree made public on May 19, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the commission to investigate and counter “falsified” versions of history that could damage Russia’s international prestige. Critics are saying this commission represents a return to Soviet-era controls. The ruling United Russia party has also proposed new legislation that would mandate a jail term of three to five years for anyone in the former Soviet Union accused of rehabilitating Nazism. Russia is returning to authoritarianism and Soviet-era propaganda techniques. Biblical prophecy clearly describes the inevitable return of Russia as a great power. Under Vladimir Putin, this transformation is taking place before our eyes.

Latin America/Africa

Five neo-Nazis were arrested on May 21 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, for plotting to detonate explosive devices in two synagogues. Authorities suspect the neo-Nazi group Neuland had committed 10 murders in the previous two months alone, confirming a new pattern of violence among neo-Nazis in Brazil.
In June, Venezuela’s government approved an additional $6 billion of spending this year, reversing cutbacks established in March and perhaps indicating that the government expects the price of oil to continue rising. About half of Venezuela’s revenue comes from oil profits.
Brazilian and Chinese officials signed 13 strategic accords during a Brazilian delegation’s visit to Beijing in May. Beijing agreed to loan $10 billion to state oil company Petrobras, which will deliver 200,000 barrels of oil per day to China for the coming decade. The two governments are considering conducting trade in their own currencies instead of U.S. dollars. China’s aggressive moves to secure global resources is isolating the United States and is certain to provoke serious competition with Europe—competition that the Bible prophesies will turn violent.
In South Africa, African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma was sworn in as president on May 9. Zuma is a controversial figure who acts in classic African Big Man style. Zuma has listed land redistribution as one of the five priorities of his new administration. The land redistribution program was a primary cause of Zimbabwe’s economic ruin. South Africa is following in the unsuccessful footsteps of its northern neighbor—a travesty in a tremendously blessed nation.
The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has affected about 100,000 people, killing 4,000. The United Nations has appealed for $718 million to provide immediate aid to the country. Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited U.S. President Barack Obama in June to try to raise money for his country; he is asking for $2 billion, a figure that could reach $10 billion total, to spur job creation and infrastructure development. The reality, though, is that his opponents—President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF—yielded little real power to him, and Western governments are unlikely to commit significant funding to the prime minister while the president still holds the steering wheel. This could allow Mugabe to portray the new prime minister as ineffective—although Mugabe himself will have both originated and perpetuated Zimbabwe’s horrific national calamities.


The president of the United States proclaimed June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.” The June 1 proclamation commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, which marked the beginning of the lgbt rights movement in America. President Obama called himself a “partner” of the “lgbt community” and issued the strongest, highest-level endorsement the radical homosexual agenda has ever received in America. Obama pledged to support civil unions and federal rights for lgbt couples, enhance hate crime laws, crack down on workplace discrimination, allow homosexuals more freedom in the military and ensure that lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals can adopt children.
The U.S. government will have to borrow nearly 50 cents for every dollar it spends this year, exploding the record federal deficit past $1.8 trillion, under White House estimates released in May. “Budget Office figures released [May 11] would add $89 billion to the 2009 red ink—increasing it to more than four times last year’s all-time high as the government hands out billions more than expected for people who have lost jobs and takes in less tax revenue from people and companies making less money,” Associated Press reported (May 11).
<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> reported in May that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada could become Europe’s gateway to North American markets thanks to a new EU-Canada free-trade agreement. Ottawa and Brussels want to boost trade an estimated €20 billion (us$27 billion) per year over the first seven years. Harper said the agreement would help Canada decrease its trade reliance on the U.S. while offering foreign investors the lowest tax rates on the continent. Thus, an American neighbor boosts Europe’s bid to become the financial capital of the world.
British youths are contracting sexually transmitted infections (stis) by the thousands. Government figures show that the number of young people under age 16 diagnosed with stis rose 58 percent from 2003 to 2007, to nearly 4,000. The response? Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said, “The number of youngsters contracting stis is very disturbing. Children must be informed about the risks involved in sexual relationships and taught how to be safe”—which somehow never involves encouraging young people to obey God’s clearly wise and sensible law against committing fornication.
An online poll in Britain of 3,000 families, conducted by YoungPoll and OnePoll, found that the British family spends an average of 45 minutes per day together. Most families spend much of that time watching television or eating. The correlation between the nation’s impoverished family life and the rise of problems among the nation’s youth is not difficult to recognize.
Britain is giving up its domestic tank manufacturing capacity. systems, the last heavy-duty combat vehicle manufacturer in Britain, announced in early May that it is closing its tank-building plant at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and shutting down its armor operations elsewhere because it did not anticipate any new government orders. Britain’s shocking decline from being the greatest empire in history continues.
In late May, an icm/Taxpayers’ Alliance poll found that 60 percent of Britons believe Britain should refuse to pay any fines the EU imposes on it. Almost 70 percent want the government to actually start breaking EU rules; only 28 percent disagree. Three out of four say any decision to grant more powers to Brussels should go to referendum. The Daily Mail Online called the majority Euroskeptics “ripe for revolt.” The Trumpet continues to watch for the fulfillment of the Bible’s prophecy that Britain will not remain a part of the European Union.
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Another Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? -

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Another Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact?
This premier intelligence organization sees Russian-German relations through the grim prism of history and recognizes cause for apprehension. Truth is, this ... Stratfor continued: “In almost 65 years of diplomacy following the defeat of the Third ...

Donald Trump Poised To Nominate Scott Gottlieb To Head FDA: Reports 

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is expected as early as Friday to nominate Dr. ScottGottlieb, a physician and conservative health policy expert...

Report: The FBI Is Still Probing The Trump Organization's Weird Server Link To A Russian Bank - UPROXX

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Raw Story

Report: The FBI Is Still Probing The Trump Organization's Weird Server Link To A Russian Bank
The ongoing investigation into the Trump administration and the Trump Organization's Russian ties irks the president to no end. He's lashed out at almost everyone — Obama, the FBI, and even Senator Chuck Schumer for eating a donut with Vladimir Putin ...
FBI probing server connection between Trump Organization and Russian bank first reported in OctoberRaw Story
FBI looks at Lititz computer while investigating link between TrumpRussian bank:

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Trump and Pence were warned about Michael Flynn's lobbying, but now claim they never knew - Daily Kos

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Daily Kos

Trump and Pence were warned about Michael Flynn's lobbying, but now claim they never knew
Daily Kos
It's not immigrants who need “extreme vetting,” it's members of the Trump regime. Not only do they have numerous ties to Russian oligarchs, mob figures, and shady investment schemes (and that's just Trump) apparently no one even bothers to check on ...

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Page 6

Jeff Sessions Asks Top Federal Prosecutors To Resign

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WASHINGTON ― Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked 46 top federal prosecutors appointed by former President Barack Obama to tender their resignat...

Trump Invites Palestinian Leader Abbas To White House

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, an Abbas spokesman said, after the two leaders s...

FBI looks at Lititz computer while investigating link between Trump, Russian bank: report -

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FBI looks at Lititz computer while investigating link between Trump, Russian bank: report
FILE - In this March 1, 2017, President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. President Trump's revised travel ban will temporarily halt entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking ...

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Did an Eighth Russian with Ties to President Trump Die Suspiciously?

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An eighth Russian with ties to the Trump-Russia scandal has mysteriously died.




In early March 2017 a number of conspiratorial political blogs, including the Palmer Report and Bipartisan Report, published posts (quoted below) claiming an eighth “Trump-Russia conspirator” had died “suspiciously”:
One day after the announcement of the death of Alex Oronov, who played a key role in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, the picture of Oronov is still coming together. For instance he was an in-law of Trump’s longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen. At the time of his death he was a resident of a Trump branded building in South Florida. And now it turns out Oronov had just bought real estate from Mar-a-Lago members shortly before his participation in the Trump-Russia plot began.
Yet another Russian who was directly identified in the Donald Trump/Russia dossier have died under suspicious circumstances. Alex Oronov, the first of the list to be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Trump Hollywood, died two days ago. No details yet are available surrounding how he died, but it is reported that he was 69 years old and in good health.
Contrary to these claims, we found no credible evidence that Ukrainian-American businessman Alex Oronov was a “conspirator” with President Trump. Oronov was not mentioned in a dossier containing unverified reports on Trump’s alleged Russian ties published by BuzzFeed in January 2017, and he was not the father-in-law of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney. Oronov’s actual son-in-law, Bryan (who is Michael’s brother), told us that he had long been in poor health and was gravely ill when he passed away.
Oronov was drawn into the conspiratorial fray because of misreported family connections, Bryan Cohen told us. A number of web sites took a Facebook post written by an embattled Ukrainian politician at face value and reported his claim that Oronov had introduced him to Michael Cohen as fact.
In that 4 March 2017 Facebook post, Ukrainian politician Andrii Artemenko blamed Oronov’s death on stress to his heart brought on by New York Times reporting that detailed a meeting between Artemenko, Trump’s personal attorney (Michael Cohen), and Felix Sater, a business associate of Trump’s who had assisted him with Russian business deals. During the meeting the three men hashed out a so-called Kremlin-backed peace plan which was then to be presented to President Trump. Artemenko seemed to say that Oronov had orchestrated an introduction between himself and Michael Cohen, writing that (as translated from Ukrainian to English by Facebook):
[Alex Oronov] was an American citizen who for the last 20 years had given his life to Ukraine and had invested in its prosperity, selflessly sacrificing his wealth, nerves, soul, and, finally, body! He created one of Ukraine’s most successful agricultural holdings, BZC — Baryshevskaya Grain Company, which was renamed Grain Alliance after it had attracted Swedish investment. He did not die of old age, nor by accident or from illness, but at the hands of American journalists who had intervened in his life!!! Worse yet, I am guilty as well. After all, I mentioned his name in response to an American journalist who had asked me, “How are you acquainted with Michael Cohen — President Trump’s personal lawyer?” Yes, I named Alex Oronov, my partner, mentor, teacher and friend. Alex was a relative of Michael Cohen and he was one of those who organized my meeting with him. From that moment onward, his life, and my own, became a kind of hell …
I have survived, I am surviving and I will fight!!! Unfortunately, his heart could not endure it.  He died!  Overvoltage, nerves, injustice, resentment and suspicions based on a grave misunderstanding.
In a follow-up post dated 7 March 2017, Artemenko seemed to walk back his previous statement, saying that Oronov was not a political person and wasn’t involved with the “peace plan” meeting (again as translated from Ukrainian by Facebook):
Due to the fact that I cannot physically answer all callers “media sharks” requesting me to comment on Alex Oronov’s death, I shall do it here.
1. Alex Oronov did not and could not have co-authored “Artemenko’s plan” — simply because such a “plan” did not exist, which I publicly stated at my press conference on February 27. There are, however, our peace initiatives, the implementation of which I continue to work on at present.
2. Alex Oronov was a successful businessman and principally did not deal with politics. Anybody who’s met him, primarily in Ukraine and the United States, knows that.
3. And most importantly, if you do not have respect for human life, then at least have a conscience and find the courage to respect human death, and the mourning of the deceased by family and friends …
The New York Times article in question made no mention of Oronov, and Bryan Cohen said there’s a good reason for that: Oronov was not, and couldn’t have been, involved in the referenced meeting due to illness. And Cohen said his father-in-law knew Artemenko only in passing. (Shortly after the Times story was published on 19 February 2017, Artemenko came under scrutiny for treason allegations by Ukrainian prosecutors for “conspiring with Russia to commit ‘subversive acts against Ukraine.'”)
The Times reported the meeting took place in late January 2017, but “by the end of January my father-in-law was not in a position to be speaking or meeting,” Cohen told us, as Oronov was incapacitated by the illness that would soon take his life. Cohen went on to say that claims his father-in-law’s death was “mysterious” or “suspicious” were ridiculous. Oronov passed away at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City on 2 March 2017 after having battled an illness for months:
The reality is that he died because he was sick. For several months, he laid in a hospital bed attached to a forced air flow machine because he was struggling to breathe for the final three months of his life. He died at Sloan Kettering under the care of amazing doctors who were unable to save him.
(Due to medical privacy laws, the hospital was unable to comment on the nature of that illness.)
As to whether his father-in-law had any ties to President Trump, Bryan said “[His only affiliation is that I married his daughter, and my brother works for the President.”
Although some Internet sleuths have tried to claim that Oronov’s residence in a building bearing the Trump brand name is proof of a conspiracy, these claims seem to be little more than feeble attempts at guilt-by-association. (As the New Times reported back in 2011, the Trump Hollywood condo tower in which Oronov lived was a building from which “Donald Trump had distanced himself … saying that he had licensed only his name and was not responsible for what happened there.”)
Conspiracy theories similar to ones long circulating about the Clinton family, asserting they have been responsible for dozens of politically-motivated murders, may be starting to crop up around President Trump — with those trying to promulgate such rumors linking the deaths of seven Russian diplomats with continuing queries into the President and his alleged ties to the Kremlin.
But Oronov was not Russian, and he was not a diplomat. His son-in-law described him as an apolitical man, one who launched his agricultural business in Ukraine in the mid-1990s, growing it from nearly nothing into a business that left hundreds of co-workers and employees mourning his death.
As of 9 March 2017, no credible news reports have placed Oronov in the midst of the so-called Kremlin “peace plan” meeting, and according to his son-in-law and others he would have been physically unable to have been involved. He also did not die under suspicious circumstances.
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A Supplement to Nicholas Kristof’s Ten Dots Connecting Trump to Russia

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Nicholas Kristof has a valuable column this morning, “Connecting Trump’s Dots to Russia,” in which he lists ten “crucial” pieces of information that may indicate that Trump’s inner circle colluded in some way with Moscow’s interference in the US election. I agree with most of what Kristof writes, with some significant exceptions. I also agree with his bottom line to resolve this morass: “What is desperately needed is an independent inquiry modeled on the 9/11 Commission.” (See Andy Wright’s work for some of the finest analysis of that point.) Because I take Kristof’s call for a sober, level-headed analysis to heart, I want to assess carefully some issues on both sides of the ledger.
I. Dots aligned with Trump’s exoneration
1. Kristof writes that President Trump has “appointed officials also friendly to Moscow.” That’s true with respect to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former National Security Adviser retired Lt. General Mike Flynn. It may also be true with respect to Steve Bannon in so far as his interests align with Putin’s (from stoking the alt-right in America to destabilizing the EU). But it is not true for a host of other important Administration positions, many of which I have tracked—including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense  James N. Mattis, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Deputy National Security Advisor KT McFarland, plus nominee for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and possible White House senior director for Russia and Europe, Fiona Hill. Those dots do not neatly align with the others. It requires, at least, a more complicated explanation.
2. Kristof wisely cautions Democrats not to descend into unfounded conspiratorial thinking (though I’m not sure why he focuses just on them since leading Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. John McCain, and Evan McMullin, are also deeply concerned about the Russia ties). It’s important to add a similar caution to news media. For example, David Corn, who has written some of the best pieces on the Russian scandal, also published a story on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s connections to Russians:
That article (plus Rachel Maddow’s coverage) now seems in need of significant qualification in light of more recent extraordinary reporting by the New York Times:
This does not mean that reporters should stop inquiring into what role Wilbur Ross may have played in various aspects of Trump’s finances and connections back through to Russia, but it does mean don’t discard information that does not fit into one’s story.
3. It should be acknowledged that former and current US officials have stated that there is not (at least not yet) evidence of collusion between Trump’s circle and Russia. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Meet the Press that by the time he left office the DNI had “no evidence of such collusion.” The mid-February blockbuster New York Times report of repeated contacts between Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence also had this important caveat: “The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”
II. Dots aligned with Trump’s incrimination
1. With respect, I disagree with Kristof’s view of the overlapping interests between Trump and Putin during the campaign. He underestimates them. Kristof writes that there would be enough of a momentous scandal “if the Trump team engaged in secret contacts and surreptitious messages, and had advance knowledge of Russia’s efforts to attack the American political process.” He and I agree on that.
But Kristof writes that he doesn’t think there was “a clear-cut quid pro quo … partly because Putin intended to wound Clinton and didn’t imagine that Trump could actually win.” That seems very wrong. According to the publicly released intelligence report on Russia, our intelligence community wrote that it has “high confidence” that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and Russia’s goals included defeating Clinton during a significant part of the campaign in which they thought that was possible.
What is more debatable, but I believe also correct is that Trump and Putin coincidentally shared another goal outlined in the intelligence report—undermining confidence in the election process as a whole. As I wrote before:
“Mr. Putin’s second ambition [sowing doubt about the election process as a whole] was fully consistent with Mr. Trump’s repeatedly calling the election ‘rigged,’ and refusing to state that he would accept the election results if Ms. Clinton won. There was a stage in which Mr. Trump thought he might win, and there were long stretches in which he seemed dead set on undermining the public confidence in the election results.”
3. One of the reasons that we may not have more data points–or “crucial dots”–to connect Trump to Russia is that the Justice Department and FBI reportedly decided to slow roll the investigation of Russia and the Trump circle until after the election. One could imagine that many leads were no longer fresh, and other clues were missed by a decision “not to issue subpoenas or take other steps” during those crucial months. For a deep dive on this issue, read Richard Painter and my essay, “Real Questions include FBI Inaction and Action on Russia: Only Independent Investigations Can Resolve.” Here’s one snippet of what we wrote:
“The Justice Department and FBI may have decided to do the opposite of what [Sen. Harry] Reid wanted: wait out the clock. A passage in a Reuters story on Nov 3, 2016 now seems even more significant in retrospect: ‘The FBI has made preliminary inquiries into Clinton Foundation activities and alleged contacts between Trump and associates with parties in Russia, according to law enforcement sources. But these inquiries were shifted into low gear weeks ago because the FBI wanted to avoid any impact on the election.’ That statement by Reuters is also consistent with a New York Times report that the Justice Department and FBI very deliberately decided to put on a ‘low simmer’ both the inquiry into the Clinton Foundation and specifically an investigation into Paul Manafort’s financial dealings with Ukraine.”
One other implication is that people like Clapper may not have seen evidence of collusion before they left office in part because of the controlled pace of the FBI investigation.
4. Finally, other dots should be on the list. Ten is a nice round number, but … First, it is important to recall that despite the Trump team’s denials, Russian officials acknowledged that they had repeated contacts with the Trump campaign. Second, in the annals of quid pro quo, one of the most important and conspicuous pieces of the puzzle was the Trump campaign’s very specific intervention in changing the RNC platform on one issue: the U.S. provision of weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian-backed forces. Kate Brannen tracked Trump’s and his circle’s denials of their involvement–in the face of significant evidence to the contrary. (Also see recent admissions by a former Trump team member about his involvement in the RNC platform change, and, as Politico reported overnight, Paul Manafort’s  protege who had suspected connections to Russian intelligence told his operatives in Kiev that he played a role in changing the platform.)
5. Finally, I agree with others such as Julian Sanchez who suggest we should not be looking for a specific smoking gun, and that the quid pro quo transaction between Trump’s circle and Russia was largely conducted out in the open. Both sides knew what the other wanted and, to some extent, what each side was capable of, and engaged in efforts to help one another. Kristof might not disagree with this point, but we should not lose sight of it as congressional and media inquires continue to focus, in more granular detail, on all the available dots.
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