TBR News January 27, 2016

Jan 27 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. January 27, 2016: ” The occupation of a Federal facility in Oregon by members of the Bundy family appears to be disintegrating. What is not commonly known, though no secret, is that the Bundy family are members of the

sovereign citizen movement. This is a collection of both American and Canadian individuals who believe that they do not have to answer to any laws other than their own interpretations. They do not accept American currency, do not pay taxes and are not obligated to obey any Federal law they object to. They issue their own passports and most firmly believe that the American government is illegitimate.In the current situation, they have drawn the wrath of local citizens, ranchers and members of an American Indian tribe whose tribal lands they currently occupy. Because they are heavily armed, the government has approached this occupation with great caution and care but the end of the issue is very clear. No governmant can permit any entity to openly defy their laws. The movement was successful in Nevada and this success, which ought to have been prosecuted in the courts and was not, had led the sovereign citizens to believe they could repeat their defiance with success. It does not appear that this will be the case but the members can meet in the prison’s exercise yard and discuss their views for a number of years.”

FBI sets up checkpoints around Oregon refuge after confrontation turns deadly

January 27, 2016

by Peter Henderson and Edward Tobin


U.S. and state officials in Oregon on Wednesday set up checkpoints around Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where an armed group pledged to prolong its standoff with the government a day after one protester was killed and eight others were arrested.

Authorities said the new security involves a series of checkpoints along key routes into and out of the refuge, and was made out of an “abundance of caution” to protect the public and law enforcement. Only ranchers who own property in the area will be allowed in and anyone coming out of the refuge will have to show identity and have their vehicle searched.

The month-long occupation of the wildlife reserve over federal control of large tracts of the country turned violent on Tuesday after officers stopped a car carrying protest leader Ammon Bundy and others near the refuge. Activists said Robert LaVoy Finicum, a rancher who acted as a spokesman for the occupiers, was killed.

There were no details on what set off the shooting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said authorities would hold a news conference on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. PST (1730 GMT) in Burns, a town near the refuge.

Amid concerns that Finicum’s killing could escalate violence, the militia groups Pacific Patriots Network, Oathkeepers and the Idaho III% said in a joint statement they were issuing an immediate “stand by” order.

“During this time, cooler heads must prevail,” the statement said. “We do not wish to inflame the current situation and will engage in open dialogue until all of the facts have been gathered.”

Anti-militia sentiment also lit up social media, making #OregonStandoff among the top trending hashtags.

One of the remaining occupiers at the reserve, Jason Patrick, told Reuters by phone they would stay until the “redress of grievances.”

I’ve heard ‘peaceful resolution’ for weeks now and now there’s a cowboy who is my friend who is dead – so prepare for the peaceful resolution,” Patrick said.

The Malheur takeover, which started Jan. 2, was a flare-up in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres in the West. Protesters say they are defending the Constitution. Bundy’s father, Cliven, was a key figure in a 2014 armed standoff over unpaid grazing fees in Nevada.

Federal officials said Tuesday they had probable cause to arrest Finicum, who told NBC News earlier this month that he would rather die than be detained.

In an interview on Monday with the Oregonian newspaper, Finicum said federal authorities had increased manpower around the refuge and stepped up their airplane and drone surveillance. There also was a change of attitude, he said.

“We used to could walk up to them and talk with the FBI agents in a friendly manner … but the tenor has changed,” Finicum said. “They have become more hardened. When they step out of their vehicles now they’re stepping out with their rifles and they’re not willing to engage in just friendly dialogue …

“Whether this is just saber rattling to intimidate or whether they actually mean it, we don’t know … They do not want to let go of this. They do not intend on losing here. And we do not intend on giving it back to them.”

Patrick, who is still in the refuge, likened Finicum’s death to that of Tamir Rice, an unarmed 12-year-old black youth fatally shot by Cleveland police outside a recreation center in 2014. The officers were not charged.

“The government can kill who they want for whatever reason they want with impunity,” Patrick said.

He was asked how the occupiers would respond to authorities entering the refuge but did not indicate a clear plan.

“I don’t know what to tell you but if somebody saying ‘peaceful resolution’ comes in and points guns at me …,” Patrick said before trailing off.

Many Twitter users expressed satisfaction about the arrests. David Plotnik (@davidkippy) tweeted: “Finally, the #Bundy militia get what they deserve. They cannot set a good example for all the radical #republicans out there. #democrats.”

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Jonathan Allen and Melissa Fares; Writing by Edward Tobin in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)

Oregon militia could face more than 10 years in prison, legal experts say

Ammon Bundy and his followers, who have refused to leave the Malheur national wildlife refuge, appear to have violated several laws

January 14, 2016

by Sam Levin

The Guardian

Leaders of the armed militia occupying federal lands in eastern Oregon could face hefty fines and more than 10 years behind bars if government officials decide to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, legal experts say.

Ammon Bundy and his crew of rightwing anti-government followers – who have refused to leave the Malheur national wildlife refuge since they took over its headquarters on 2 January – appear to have violated a number of laws that prohibit the unauthorized use and destruction of public property.

With the militiamen’s recent announcement that they plan to soon reveal how they intend to end the occupation in rural Harney County, many in the local town of Burns and across the country are wondering whether the militia will ultimately face consequences for the armed siege of a federal wildlife sanctuary.

There are a panoply of federal statutes that focus on trespassing on federal lands and misuse of federal property,” said David Hayes, a visiting lecturer at Stanford Law School and former deputy secretary of the US Department of the Interior. “I’m confident that they will be prosecuted.”

The militia argues that they are reclaiming public land to protest government regulations and that the occupation is defending the constitutional rights of local ranchers to use federally controlled lands in their back yard. But experts say the occupiers lack any legal arguments that would shield them in court and that if charges were brought, the Bundy bunch could face substantial punishments.

Because the militia are armed and occupying a number of government buildings in a protected wildlife sanctuary, federal prosecutors would have jurisdiction to bring charges under multiple laws.

For starters, one federal statute regarding public property holds that if a person “knowingly converts to his use” property of the federal government, that person could face a fine and a prison sentence of up to 10 years if the value of the property is greater than $1,000.

Another federal law specifically governing wildlife refuges says that willful property destruction at protected sanctuaries could yield a six-month prison sentence. A separate statute says that if someone “willfully and maliciously” destroys property on certain federal lands, then he or she could face a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

On Monday, Bundy and a group of prominent members of the militia removed part of a government fence dividing private and public lands – in front of news cameras – using a US Fish and Wildlife Service excavator.

Over the past two weeks, the militia have made themselves at home in a number of federal buildings, using the site’s kitchens, beds, offices, museum and other buildings. The Guardian has repeatedly witnessed occupiers driving federal vehicles around the compound. Other reporters have also observed members of the militia accessing government computers and possibly using employee ID badges left on site.

What’s more, another federal statute prohibits the possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in federal facilities, with only limited exceptions for law enforcement. Violation of that statute could lead to a fine and a one-year prison sentence. If someone intended to use the weapon in the commission of a crime, then the sentence could be five years.

The occupiers, and the numerous outside “patriot” militia groups , have walked around the compound openly carrying a range of firearms.

Debra Donahue, law professor at the University of Wyoming, said that there are also Oregon anti-trespassing laws that local prosecutors could review when considering charges.

Whether prosecutors ultimately decide to charge the occupiers with the most serious offenses remains to be seen. “There’s always prosecutorial discretion,” said Donahue. “It strikes me as more likely that some sort of compromise agreement will be reached.”

Tim Colahan, Harney County district attorney, said in an email that he is working with county, state and federal law enforcement agencies and is discussing the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Harney County judge Steve Grasty, one of the most vocal local opponents of the militia, said the occupiers should be held accountable, but that his biggest priority was finding a way to get them to leave as soon as possible. “They’ve destroyed public property, federal property,” said Grasty, whose local judicial position is an administrative one. “Surely there are crimes there and I think for anyone committing crimes, there ought to be punishment.”

Hayes said it was likely that prosecutors would go after the high-profile leaders of the militia, as opposed to charging all participants who have trespassed and camped out in the federal buildings.

Hayes argued that there have to be serious charges in this case otherwise anti-government activists will continue to form militia and launch these kinds of aggressive protests. The Oregon militia was emboldened to take over federal lands, in part because Cliven Bundy, Ammon’s father, has evaded consequences for a similar standoff with the government in 2014, he said.

If you let again and again activities go forward that are clearly against the law with no legal consequences, you lose all respect for the law,” Hayes said. “That would be a huge problem for the foundation of our democracy.”

Conversations with the Crow

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal , Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment. Three months before, July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. After Corson’s death, Trento and his Washington lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever

After Crowley’s death and Trento’s raid on the Crowley files, huge gaps were subsequently discovered by horrified CIA officials and when Crowley’s friends mentioned Gregory Douglas, it was discovered that Crowley’s son had shipped two large boxes to Douglas. No one knew their contents but because Douglas was viewed as an uncontrollable loose cannon who had done considerable damage to the CIA’s reputation by his on-going publication of the history of Gestapo-Mueller, they bent every effort both to identify the missing files and make some effort to retrieve them before Douglas made any use of them.

Douglas had been in close contact with Crowley and had long phone conversatins with him. He found this so interesting and informative that he taped  and later transcribed them.

These conversations have been published in a book: ‘Conversations with the Crow” and this is an excerpt.



Conversation No. 102

Date: Saturday, September 6, 1997 Commenced:   8:05 AM CST

Concluded: 8:22 AM CST


RTC: Gregory, I’m glad you called because I mislaid your number. I need to ask you a question about some documents you are supposed to have snatched away from the people at Justice. Do you know what I’m talking about? I have had a visitor here…yesterday afternoon…who told me that their OSI people were hot on the trail of some very important papers for whatever purpose and you somehow got involved and got them instead. Is there anything to this? By the way, I told my visitor I knew nothing about it but would ask you the next time you called. Naturally, having told him this, I got the standard bottled lecture about how truly evil you are and so on. We don’t need to worry about that silly shit but as to the documents…?

GD: Oh yes, the Hudal papers. Bishop Hudal was an Austrian Catholic bishop and a good friend of the Pope. Pius XII. After the war, the Bishop was very active in getting certain Germans out of the country and to safe havens in South America. Of course these were not the Gestapo and SD men your people hired in car load lots. Anyway, yes, the story is true. A military document collector rang me up and said he had some Nazi documents that the government people demanded he give them or face severe penalties. Boiling in oil was not mentioned but hinted at. Anyway, he paid money for these and wanted at the least to get his money back. Oh no, not to happen. He had to give them free of charge  to their people pronto.

RTC: The OSI is…

GD: Office of Special Investigations. Under Justice. A bunch of rabid Jews looking for ninety year old SS men so they can send them back to Germany to be tried for some non-existent crime like throwing fat old Jewesses into raging fires or whatever. Anyway, it’s a sort of make-work project for the viper brigade. I’ve encountered them before. So he was in a state . He can’t read a word of German which is why he collects German language documents. Typical. The long and short of this is that I had him fax me several pages. They were all dated after the war and I could see at once what the OSI was after. That drooling twit Bronfman has been trying to blackmail the Vatican and these papers, showing chapter and verse of their earlier travel service, would do wonders to make him richer. I asked the collector what he wanted for the collection of about fifty pages or so and he said fifteen hundred so I sent him a check and warned him that if he made any copies, I would personally remove him from the face of the earth. He thought I was joking. So off went the check and the papers came right away. Pure dynamite from the OSI’s  point of view.

RTC: And might I ask if you still have them? My visitor was on the verge of a stroke.

GD: No, I do not have them. What I did was to read them through and then I took them, put them into an envelope, sealed it, got into my car and drove to the office of the Arch Diocese. You see, I worked for the Church at that time, Robert.

RTC: You’re Catholic?

GD: No but I worked for Catholic Charities and I had met the Bishop twice when he was making his occasional inspection tours. I had to put up with his office manager who was very nosy and wanted to see the papers. I couldn’t tell him to fuck off but I made it very clear that what I had was very important and that I could only give them to the Bishop in person. It took about an hour but eventually I got in and that was that. I was pleasant to him and gave him the papers, suggesting he send them to the Nunciate in Washington and let them decide what to do with them. I also suggested, as firmly as I thought polite, that he not read them. It took all of about five minutes, not to mention the hour drive.

RTC: They vanished? GD: Oh they did. About three months later, I got a very nice letter from the Vatican, from some official, thanking me in very general terms for sending on my interesting historical documents and assuring me that they were now reposing in the security of the Vatican archives. He was most polite and considerate. Of course nothing was specific.

RTC: It never is.

GD: As sort of as an afterthought, when the collector called me about the OSI people again, he was having a lot of worry with them. I told him to tell their agents that he had sold these documents to me. I said he should give them my name and phone number plus my address.

RTC: (Laughter) Futile. I’ll bet you no one ever contacted you.

GD: You’d win the bet.

RTC: Did the Church ever give you back the fifteen hundred? GD: I never mentioned it and would have never taken it. I had my satisfaction in another way.

RTC: I can see why they really hate you, Gregory.

GD: Well, the Pope doesn’t.

RTC: No, but the rabbis do.

GD: I have all the luck. And that’s where the press hysteria about pedophilic priests got started. The Vatican refused to let the filthy Bronfman creeps paw through their archives so the obedient American press started yapping about the priests. The Baltimore Sun started it and it went from there.

RTC: The Sun is owned by the New York Times.

GD: And who owns the New York Times? RTC: Yes, Gregory. The same people who own our Washington Post and the Jerusalem Post.

GD: Well at least they offed that fat pig Maxwell.

RTC: Yes. Knocked him in the head and into the ocean off his yacht.

GD: Jimmy Atwood said I knocked two of his Brit friends ditto and tossed them into the Caribbean. But Jimmy was such a liar.

RTC: Look where it got him.

GD: Face down in his soup. Of course it could have been the main course but you get the drift. Another tragic embolism before dessert. Well, does that answer your question about the documents? RTC: Oh yes. You did the right thing, of course, Gregory. Always pick the winning side.

GD: Edgar makes such putrid booze.


(Concluded at 8:22 AM CST)


U.S. boosts study of Zika, birth defect link, as virus seen spreading

January 26, 2016

by Julie Steenhuysen


U.S. health officials are stepping up efforts to study the link between Zika virus infections and birth defects in infants amid predictions for widespread circulation of the mosquito-borne virus within the United States during warmer months.

The Director of the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday called for intensified efforts to study the impact of Zika infections, citing a recent study estimating the virus could reach regions where 60 percent of the U.S. population lives.

The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil. There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, a close cousin of dengue and chikungunya, which causes mild fever and rash. An estimated 80 percent of people infected have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

On Monday, the World Health Organization predicted the virus would spread to all countries across the Americas except for Canada and Chile.

In a blog post, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins cited a Lancet study published Jan. 14 in which researchers predicted the Zika virus could be spread in areas along the East and West Coasts of the United States and much of the Midwest during warmer months, where about 200 million people live.

The study also showed that 22.7 million more people live in humid parts of the country where mosquitoes carrying the virus could live year round.

Given the threat, Collins said “it is now critically important to confirm, through careful epidemiological and animal studies, whether or not a causal link exists between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and microcephaly in their newborn babies.” Microcephaly results in babies being born with abnormally small heads.

There is still much to learn about Zika infections, experts said. For example, it is not clear how common Zika infections are in pregnant women, or when during a pregnancy a woman is most at risk of transmitting the virus to her fetus.

Collins said the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease is conducting studies to more fully understand the effects of Zika in humans, and to develop better diagnostic tests to quickly determine if someone has been infected. The NIAID is also working on testing new drugs that might be effective against the virus.

The blog post was followed by the announcement on Tuesday of new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention providing instructions for pediatricians treating infants whose mothers may have been exposed to the virus during pregnancy.

In those guidelines, the CDC made clear that it considers the Zika virus a nationally notifiable condition, and instructs doctors to contact their state or territorial health departments to facilitate testing of potentially infected infants.

Dr. Kathryn Edwards of Vanderbilt University, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on infectious disease, said the guidelines were intended to help establish whether Zika causes microcephaly and to help pregnant women who may have been infected with the virus.

Microcephaly is a lifelong condition with no known cure, the CDC website said. Symptoms range from mild to severe.

In mild cases, infants often have no symptoms other than small head size, but doctors still need to check their development regularly. In severe cases, babies may need speech, occupational and physical therapy. The guidelines for testing infants affected by Zika infections follows CDC guidelines for caring for pregnant women exposed to Zika virus, which were first reported by Reuters. The CDC said last week it is trying to determine how many pregnant women may have traveled to affected regions in the past several months.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic to its list of countries and territories with Zika transmissions, bringing the total to 24.

Travel companies, including United Airlines, have begun offering refunds or allowing pregnant women to postpone trips to regions affected by Zika with no penalty.

There are no global estimates for how many people in the world have been infected by the Zika virus, World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier said on Tuesday.

He said that because Zika has such mild symptoms, the virus has “not really been on the radar.”

Lindmeier said it was not yet clear whether the virus affecting Brazil and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean was a mutated version of the virus that has caused prior outbreaks.

He said the WHO was working with the CDC, the Institut Pasteur in France and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to establish that.

“There is a lot of effort going into this now, on the ground, in the laboratories, everywhere,” Lindmeier said.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Editing by James Dalgleish and Grant McCool)


Chinese stocks tumble over capital outflow concerns

January 26, 2016


Stock markets in China have plunged to their lowest levels in 14 months on Tuesday, with investors worried that increasing capital flight could speed up the cooling in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 6.42 percent, and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange went down 7.12 percent after data showed capital outflow from China reached an estimated $1 trillion last year.

The pressure for capital outflow and yuan devaluation is still quite big. We haven’t seen signs of a pick-up in the economy and the first and second quarters could be challenging,” Dai Ming a fund manager at Hengsheng Asset Management in Shanghai told Bloomberg, adding that he’s cutting equity holdings.

The Shanghai index has tumbled 43 percent since June. Michael Every, head of financial markets research at Rabobank Group in Hong Kong, sees the bottom at 2,500, which is 15 percent lower than the current level.

Thomas Schroeder, the managing director of Chart Partners Group, predicts the Index to collapse to 2,400.

Overall, Chinese stock markets have now slumped about 22 percent so far in 2016 as concerns increase over a slowdown in the economy and confusion over the central bank’s foreign exchange policy.

The selloff in China spread to other Asian markets. Japan’s Nikkei fell 2.35 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 2.48 percent.

The US Federal Reserve meeting this week is likely to show investors whether it acknowledges concerns over the cooling of the Chinese economy and global market turmoil and whether that will mean a postponement in further rate rises this year.


Almost 12 Years After Calling a Reporter, DOJ Whistleblower Slapped With Ethics Charges

January 26, 2016

by Alex Emmons

The Intercept

The D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel — the legal body responsible for overseeing the D.C. Bar’s professional rules — has filed ethics charges against Thomas Tamm, the former Justice Department lawyer who contacted the New York Times about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program in 2004.

The office’s charging papers, which were released Tuesday and first reported by the National Law Journal, cite two counts of professional misconduct. In addition to charging him with referring his client’s secrets to a newspaper, they also allege that Tamm “failed to refer information in his possession that persons within the Department of Justice were violating their legal obligations.”

According to a 2008 interview with Newsweek, Tamm did ask his supervisors about “the program” (as it was referred to by the administration). He was told that it was “probably illegal,” and that he should drop the subject. He even reached out to the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who refused to discuss the program with him on the basis of its secrecy.

The D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel declined to comment.

In 2001, Tamm joined the Department of Justice’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, the agency responsible for filing individualized warrant requests before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. He soon discovered that one category of cases was treated differently: under “the program,” only the attorney general could sign the warrant applications, and only one FISA Court judge was allowed to review them. Tamm inferred that the evidence gathered to prepare the warrants must have been obtained illegally. In the spring of 2004, he walked to a nearby payphone to call New York Times journalist Eric Lichtblau. The Times would go on to win a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

In 2007, 18 armed FBI agents raided Tamm’s house, interrogated his wife, and pressured him to plead guilty to felony charges. He left the Justice Department and had to borrow money to pay his legal fees.

In 2009, Tamm won the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, and was celebrated by civil libertarians and transparency advocates for having “imperiled his own future liberty to preserve the liberties of all of us who live in this nation.”

In 2011, the Department of Justice announced that it would not prosecute Tamm for the disclosures.

The D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, formerly known as the Office of Bar Counsel, opened Tamm’s case in 2009, but did not file charges until December. That delay is exceptional, even for an office that has a huge backlog. Tamm will have to argue his case before a hearing committee, and punishment could range from a professional censure to disbarment. According to his attorneys, Tamm could face another four to six years of protracted legal battles.

How David Petraeus avoided felony charges and possible prison time

January 25, 2016

by Adam Goldman

The Washington Times

Inside a secure conference room on the sixth floor of the Justice Department in early 2014, top federal law enforcement ­officials gathered to hear what criminal charges prosecutors were contemplating against David H. Petraeus, the ­storied wartime general and former CIA director whose public career had ended about 15 months earlier over an extramarital affair.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and FBI Director James B. Comey listened as prosecutors did a mock run-through of the government’s case, a preview of how they would present their evidence to Petraeus’s lawyers in order, they hoped, to force a guilty plea.

The presentation included felony charges: lying to the FBI and violating a section of the Espionage Act. A conviction on either carried potentially years in prison.

They were also considering bringing the same charges against Petraeus’s biographer and former mistress, Paula Broadwell.

The government would never file those charges. Not everyone at Justice shared the prosecutors’ confidence, and lawyers for Petraeus and Broadwell separately pushed back hard, saying they would fight and beat the charges being considered. Moreover, with its mix of sex and government secrets, a trial promised to be an uncomfortably tawdry affair, one some in the government — as well as defense lawyers — preferred to avoid.

Petraeus, in the end, pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material. No charges were brought against Broadwell.

The Justice Department has never discussed how it reached its decision to accept a plea on the lesser charge. But six current and former U.S. officials, as well as others familiar with the case, provided the first detailed look at the internal debates and wrangling with Petraeus’s lawyers that took place before the retired four-star general entered his guilty plea in federal court in Charlotte. All spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private legal deliberations.

As part of the agreement, Pet­raeus admitted that he improperly removed and retained highly sensitive information in eight personal notebooks that he gave to Broadwell. The Justice Department said the information, if disclosed, could have caused “exceptionally grave damage.” Officials said the notebooks contained code words for secret intelligence programs, the identities of covert officers, and information about war strategy and deliberative discussions with the National Security Council.

The plea agreement left some in the Justice Department angry, particularly at the FBI, and some agents have argued privately that it will hamper future efforts to secure prison terms in leak cases. But others in the government defended the deal as the only viable conclusion to a case in which a successful prosecution on the more serious charges was far from certain.

Nobody was going to be happy with the outcome,” a former Justice Department official said. “There was nothing about this case that was typical.”

The plea agreement, while helping Petraeus avoid the prospect of prison, probably has ended whatever ambition he had to become president. It also does not protect him from further punishment — such as stripping him of a star — by the military. The Army recently recommended that Petraeus not face further punishment, but the final decision rests with Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who is considering how to rule, according to Pentagon officials.

I have turned the page on these matters, I am looking forward, and I will have no further comment. I resigned as CIA Director, publicly apologized for my conduct, and formally accepted responsibility,” Petraeus, 63, said in a statement. “I served my country for over 38 years, including five combat commands during my final decade in uniform. I will leave it to the public and to history to judge that record. Beyond that, I will always regret the mistakes I made, and I will always be grateful to those who have supported me.”

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Following an email trail

In October 2012, Sean Joyce, the deputy director of the FBI, informed Petraeus, then CIA director, that a pair of FBI agents out of Tampa needed to come to agency headquarters to talk to him. They were investigating a cyber-stalking case.

The FBI had discovered that Broadwell had sent anonymous emails to a Tampa socialite named Jill Kelley and her husband months earlier. Kelley, who described the emails as harassing, contacted a friend who was an agent in the FBI’s Tampa field office.

The FBI became interested because the emails contained information about Petraeus’s schedule, raising concerns about a possible threat to the CIA director. As the investigation widened and Broadwell, now 43, was identified, the bureau discovered that she had also sent anonymous emails to military officials — and appeared to be involved in a romantic relationship with Petraeus.

On Oct. 26, the Tampa agents arrived at the CIA and began an interview in the director’s office on the seventh floor. The agents wanted to talk to him about Broadwell and Kelley.

Petraeus admitted the affair with Broadwell and told the agents he had lost his moral compass. He said the relationship began after he left the military.

In the interview at Langley, the FBI agents also asked the CIA director about secret PowerPoint briefings on the Afghan war that were in Broadwell’s possession. They also asked if he had provided classified information to Broadwell or facilitated her obtaining it. He denied ever doing that — a statement that later led some in the Justice Department to argue that he should be charged with lying to the FBI when it emerged that she had more sensitive material. The interview ended after about an hour, with Petraeus realizing that his career was in jeopardy because of the affair.

He spoke with Joyce and asked if there was any way to quietly resolve the issue and avoid a scandal, according to former and current U.S. officials.

The FBI’s position was clear: The agents were going to follow the facts.

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, learned about the investigation. Petraeus offered his resignation but said he hoped there was a way he could remain CIA director.

On Nov. 9, 2012, he stepped down.

An expanding investigation

What had first appeared to be a cyber-stalking case was rapidly expanding into a national security leak investigation as FBI agents copied the hard drive of Broadwell’s computer and found secret documents. On Nov. 12, with her consent, agents searched Broadwell’s house.

In addition, investigators discovered more than 100 photographs she had taken of highly classified information from eight bound notebooks Petraeus had kept while commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

They also found other classified material in her possession linked to a period in 2003 when she served on a Joint Terrorism Task Force in Denver.

It eventually became clear to the FBI that Petraeus had given those journals to Broadwell as part of her research for her book; the FBI seized the journals in April 2013 after searching Petraeus’s house in Virginia.

Broadwell also recorded a conversation in which Petraeus told her that the journals contained classified information, a statement the FBI would attempt to use against him.

But there was disagreement inside the Justice Department and the FBI about whether Broadwell should be charged, with some arguing that she enjoyed protection as a journalist.

In June 2013, following harsh criticism of leak investigations targeting the news media, Holder said he would not indict any journalists for doing their jobs. Broadwell had media credentials while researching in Afghanistan, and she had written stories and op-eds in newspapers and policy journals.

Her lawyers, including Robert F. Muse, met with prosecutors in May 2014.

We established that Paula Broadwell was a fully credentialed member of the media and entitled to all the protections under the First Amendment and DOJ policy,” Muse said. “Ultimately the government’s decision is consistent with what the attorney general told Congress and what President Obama stated: Namely, members of the media would not be prosecuted for doing their job.”

He said he had no further comment on the case.

Former and current Justice Department officials said prosecutors did give her media status.

The cyber-stalking investigation that began in Tampa was closed at the end of 2012, but prosecutors in Charlotte, where Broadwell lived, continued to examine whether Petraeus had leaked classified information and whether he had lied to the FBI.

In July 2013, Petraeus’s lawyers met with prosecutors in North Carolina who told them that there was an issue in the case involving classified information and that they would need security clearances before it could be fully discussed. Also in attendance at that meeting in Charlotte was Richard Scott, a lawyer in the counterespionage section of the Justice Department’s national security division in Washington — and Petraeus’s lawyers regarded his presence as an ominous sign.

Months of silence ensued, however, until February 2014, when the lawyers were invited back to Charlotte for a meeting with prosecutors, who planned to lay out their case — the same presentation Holder and Comey had listened to.

The prosecutors emphasized that they were pursuing felonies, not misdemeanors, including a conspiracy charge. The presentation focused in particular on the contents of the eight notebooks. Lawyers for the general learned for the first time that the Justice Department was threatening to charge Petraeus with three felonies, including “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information” under the Espionage Act.

A conviction could have sent Petraeus to prison and cost him his pension.

Slowly reaching a deal

In late April, at a meeting in Washington with prosecutors, Petraeus himself listened to the same presentation of the government’s case.

His legal team later rejected any possibility of pleading guilty to felony offenses. In July 2014 in Charlotte, Petraeus’s lawyers told prosecutors they couldn’t show that he intended to disclose classified information and pointed to Broadwell’s book, which contained none and had been personally vetted by the general. And they brought up an array of classified material that had appeared in other books and articles, including some written by Cabinet members, and had not led to prosecutions. That showed, they said, that some of the material Broadwell had obtained from Petraeus was already in the public domain.

They also said his statements to the FBI weren’t material to the investigation and didn’t impede it. And the lawyers pointed to Justice Department guidelines, which say it is not policy to charge “in situations in which a suspect, during an investigation, merely denies guilt in response to questioning by the government.”

In early February 2015, lawyers for Petraeus and the government met once again at the Bicentennial Building in the District. James Melendres, a prosecutor with the national security division, offered a deal.

For this to go away, he said, Petraeus would have to plead guilty to lying to the FBI and mishandling classified information, a misdemeanor. In the statement of facts that would accompany the plea agreement, prosecutors also said they would want to reference a message Petraeus sent to the CIA workforce in 2012 after John Kiriakou, a former agency officer, was convicted of leaking classified information.

Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy,” Petraeus had said.

Petraeus’s lawyer, David E. Kendall, declined to comment. But another person familiar with the meeting said he described the lying charge as “a nonstarter.” The Kiriakou reference was also off the table, he said.

Scott, the national security division prosecutor, threatened to call off the talks if Kendall insisted on a no-contest plea. On this, Kendall relented.

The end came about a week later when the sides hammered out the agreement on a misdemeanor guilty plea. Petraeus, in a statement of facts, would admit that his statements to the FBI “were false.” The agreed fine was $40,000, and he accepted probation for two years.

On April 23, 2015, Petraeus pleaded guilty in Charlotte. The judge upped the fine to $100,000.

A former senior Justice Department official said it was the “cleanest” possible outcome for both sides.

Holder, who was planning to step down and didn’t want to leave the case for the next attorney general, approved the settlement. He declined to comment. But he offered this explanation for his decision at a media event last year, when asked if there was a double standard that allowed Petraeus to plead to a misdemeanor when his department had zealously pursued others for similar alleged crimes.

There were factors that made the resolution of the case appropriate,” Holder said. “There were some unique things that existed in that case that would have made the prosecution at the felony level and a conviction at the felony level very, very, very problematic.”

Julie Tate, Craig Whitlock and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

French official calls on Paris to send troops to Calais over migrants

January 25, 2016


Calais-The head of France’s northern region on Monday called on Paris to send troops to Calais to restore order there after migrants stormed the port and boarded a British ferry.

Thousands of migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East have gathered at the northern coastal town in the past year, using it as a stopover on their way to Britain – a ferry trip across the Channel.

Around 200 refugees burst into the port on Saturday after a demonstration of support for migrants living in a slum nearby and some of boarded the front deck of a British ferry.

“Only the army is capable of restoring security to Calais,” Xavier Bertrand, regional head of Nord Pas-de-Calais, told reporters. “We don’t want a tragedy in Calais, but that is exactly what is going to happen if there is not a stronger reaction.”

Many live in squalid conditions particularly in a slum area near Calais called “the jungle” where around 4,000 people are camped.

Bertrand also urged President Francois Hollande to visit Calais to witness the situation there for himself and he also took a swipe at Britain, saying it was in large part responsible for the problems.

“The migrants, they want to travel to England, they know that you can work without papers in England. They are underpaid. As long as the English don’t change the rules, we going to have problems,” Bertrand said. “Either the English budge, genuinely and seriously, or we give them back their border.”

(Reporting by Pierre Savary; writing by John Irish; editing by Richard Balmforth)


Our Dear Friends!

by Harry von Johnston, PhD.

It has been clearly established that during the term of President George H.W. Bush, (once head of the CIA and very friendly towards Israel) the Israeli Mossad, or foreign intelligence agency, had gained permission to send approximately 50 of their agents to the United States in order to “observe possible Arab terrorist groups” that might be operating in the relative safety of that country. These Mossad agents worked through the various Israeli diplomatic establishments as well as the Israeli Trade Commission office in New York and such Jewish organizations as the Anti Defamation League and AIPAC.

These agents, who were known to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were supposed to merely observe possible Arab terrorist groups and were required to pass on any information they discovered on suspect Arab individuals and groups to the FBI. Highly confidential reports indicate that the Mossad agents did not do so and further, were strongly suspected of using their Presidential mandate to carry out very extensive espionage against the United States.

Top secret military hardware was a well-known target and Mossad agents had a very large stable of informants in various sensitive military and governmental agencies, the great bulk of whom were Jewish and who gladly supplied information to the Mossad as what they conceived was their “sacred duty” to the state of Israel.

The document concludes: “Israel possesses the resources and technical capability to achieve its collection objectives.”

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington issued a routine denial saying that any suggestion that Israelis are spying in or on the U.S. is “simply not true.”

Following the September 11 attacks there were approximately 60 Israelis who had been detained in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorism investigation. U.S. investigators now strongly suspect that some of these Israelis had infiltrated and were spying on Arabs in this country, and probably turned up information on the planned terrorist attacks in September of 2001 that was not passed on to American authorities..

It should be not4ed, hnowevr, that the US Army’s Intelligence branch tapped into all the comuinications going into, and coming out  of, the Isreli Embasssy I Washington as well as the ADL and AIPAC

A very important issue concerns an Israeli-based private communications company, for whom a half-dozen of the 60 detained suspects worked. American investigators fear information generated by this firm may have fallen into the wrong hands and had the effect of impeded the Sept. 11 terror inquiry..

American terrorist investigators fear certain suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks may have managed to stay ahead of them, by knowing who and when investigators are calling on the telephone. This is accomplished by obtaining and analyzing data that is generated every time someone in the U.S. makes a telephone call.

Here is how the system works. Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and billing inside the U.S. are done for the telephone companies by Amdocs Ltd., an Israeli-based private telecommunications company.

Amdocs has contracts with the 25 biggest telephone companies in America, and even more worldwide. The White House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is virtually impossible for any American to make a call on any American phone without generating an Amdocs record of it.

In recent years, the FBI and other government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once. The firm has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or wrongdoing. In 1999, the super secret National Security Agency, headquartered in Ft. George Meade in northern Maryland, issued what is called a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands – in Israel, in particular.

Investigators do not believe such calls are being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is extremely valuable in itself. An internal Amdocs memo to senior company executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be used. “Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms…combining both the properties of the customer (e.g., credit rating) and properties of the specific ‘behavior….’” Specific behavior, such as who the targeted customers are calling.

The Amdocs memo says the system should be publically advertised as “helping to prevent telephone fraud.” However, U.S. counterintelligence analysts say it could, and unquestionably was, also be used to spy via the records of the American telephone system. The N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used.    

At one classified NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argonne National Laboratory was used to show that if phone records are not completely secure, major security breaches are more than possible.

Another NSA briefing document said, “It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks are vulnerable…Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or persons who exceed their authorization…citing on exploitable vulnerabilities.”

Those vulnerabilities are growing, because according to another briefing, the U.S. relies too much on foreign companies like Amdocs for high-tech equipment and software. “Many factors have led to increased dependence on code developed overseas…. We buy rather than train or develop solutions.”

U.S. intelligence does not officially believe the Israeli government is involved in a misuse of information, and Amdocs insists that its data is secure. What U.S. government officials are worried about, however, is the possibility that Amdocs data could get into the wrong hands, particularly organized crime. And that would not be the first time that such a thing has happened. 

And in the field of foreign intelligence, Israel had demanded that the US carpet bomb southern Lebanon to destroy the many thousands of Russian-made missiles, some with GPS controls allowing them to be aimed, that had been shipped, via Syria, to Hezbollah.

The Germans, Poles and French were not the only entites to actively dislike and distrust the Zionists.

From Russian intelligence sources, it is known that any secret information the US sends to Tel Aviv is at once forwarded to Moscow and the SVR.

In this case, the defination of a friend is somone you never turn your back on and do not trust to the corner for a pound of butter. You would pay him for butter but get rancid margarine instead.


U.S. Envoy Shapiro ‘Regrets’ Timing of Comments on Israeli Double Standard in West Bank

January 25, 2016


U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro apologized on Monday for the timing of his critical comments against Israeli authorities last week, in which he suggested that Israel has a legal double standard when it comes to investigating crimes in the West Bank.

In his speech at at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv a week ago, Shapiro said that “too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked,” adding that “at times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank – one for Israelis and one for Palestinians.”

His remarks came on the day of the funeral of Dafna Meir, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in the Otniel settlement, and on the day of another stabbing attack in Tekoa, in which Michal Froman was wounded.

Shapiro told Army Radio on Monday that he thinks “the timing [of his comments] wasn’t ideal.”

“I began with a condemnation of the attacks in Otniel and Tekoa…,” he said.  “There was only a sentence or two [in my comments] that caused controversy. But if it has, god forbid, hurt the Meir family or other mourners then I sincerely regret it.”

Shapiro also noted that he had spoken with the husband of the late Dafna Meir after the speech last week and reiterated that the U.S. administration was seeking to promote “peace and security, while keeping the possibility of reaching a two-state solution in the future.”

When asked about his criticism concerning Israeli investigations in cases of violence against Palestinians, Shapiro praised Israel for the arrest of the Duma arsonists, but added: “we encourage Israel to continue investigating all other cases of violence. It is of the utmost importance to show a commitment to the rule of law.”



Hezbollah hiding 100,000 missiles that can hit north, army says


The Lebanese group Hezbollah has built up a massive arsenal of rockets and other advanced weapons in Shi’ite villages of southern Lebanon, a senior Israeli intelligence official said Wednesday, warning civilians would be at risk if war breaks out.

According to the official, Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 short-range rockets capable of striking northern Israel, several thousand missiles that can reach Tel Aviv and central Israel and hundreds more that can strike the entire country. 

Most of the weapons have been transferred to Lebanon through war-torn Syria, coming from Hezbollah’s key allies, the Syrian government and Iran, he said.

The official showed reporters satellite photos of what Israeli intelligence believes are Hezbollah positions in dozens of Shiite villages in southern Lebanon.

The photos were marked with dozens of red icons, signaling what are believed to be missile launchers, arms depots, underground tunnels and command posts.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines, said an estimated 200 villages have been turned into “military strongholds.”

One photo showed the village of Muhaybib, with a population of around 1,000 people and 90 buildings, of which more than a third had been marked as Hezbollah assets. In the larger village of Shaqra, with some 4,000 people, Israeli intelligence identified Hezbollah targets in around 400 out of some 1,200 buildings.

The army refused to allow publication of the images.

If war breaks out and Hezbollah fires missiles at Israel, these buildings will be targeted by Israel’s air force, the official said, adding that Israel would give civilians time to evacuate.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 that killed some 1,200 Lebanese, including hundreds of civilians, and 160 Israelis and caused heavy damage to Lebanon’s infrastructure.

Though another Israel-Hezbollah war is always possible, analysts say the group has no interest in renewing hostilities while it is busy fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels trying to topple him in Syria.


Fearing return to jail, freed spy Pollard aborts first speech in 30 years

Address to US Jewish leaders on ‘draconian’ parole conditions nixed after word leaks to media and lawyers warn of possible repercussions

January 25, 2016

The Times of Israel

Recently released Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was stopped short of addressing a meeting of American Jewish leaders Monday for fear his comments could land him back in jail after word of the meeting leaked.

Instead, Pollard delivered a brief opening statement to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, before letting his wife Esther speak out on his behalf against his “draconian” parole conditions, according to a statement from the Justice for Jonathan Pollard group. 

The speech was slated to be Pollard’s first statement in some three decades, two months after he was released from federal prison after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel.

His last media interviews were with then-Jerusalem Post correspondent Wolf Blitzer in late 1986 and early 1987.

The former US Navy analyst has kept a low profile since being released on November 20, and is forbidden to speak to the media. No rallies or public events were held after he left prison, and he has rarely been seen in public.

The released prisoner’s meeting was a private off-the-record session but was leaked to the Forward newspaper, and as a result Pollard’s lawyers warned him that anything he might say at the event would be leaked and could be used to have him thrown back in jail.

Pollard is subject to a series of parole restrictions that restrict his freedom of movement and track his online activity. A US judge recently ordered a review of the conditions after Pollard’s legal team cried foul.

At the meeting Monday, Esther Pollard revealed a confidential document hand-delivered by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin to US President Barack Obama which details what the Justice for Jonathan Pollard group describes as a “situation in which Pollard is not only prevented from working and from exercising his religious rights, but also effectively prevents him from ever reintegrating into society.”

Esther Pollard also dismissed claims that her husband had been given a GPS device suitable for Shabbat-observant parolees.

Pollard’s continued imprisonment was for years a source of tension between successive US and Israeli administrations. Although Pollard’s reportedly deteriorating health was cited in requests for his early release, the possibility of parole after 30 years was part of the original sentence.

Under the terms of Pollard’s parole, he is likely to be forced to stay in the United States for between two and five years, according to reports, though activists working to allow him to emigrate to Israel say the period is as long as 15 years. President Barack Obama could intervene to allow him to emigrate to Israel, which is what Pollard reportedly hopes to do, but the White House has indicated that Obama will not intervene on his behalf.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 for espionage on Israel’s behalf while he was working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the American Navy. One year later, Pollard pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987.

Pollard’s supporters argued for years that his sentence was excessive and that others convicted for comparable crimes received lighter sentences.




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