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TBR News August 6, 2018

Aug 06 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. August 6, 2018:”General Douglas MacArthur, a relative by marriage to President Franklin Roosevelt, once said of him””Franklin never tells the truth when a lie would suffice.” Roosevelt is not the only President afflicted with such a failure of character; we have another such sitting in the same Oval Office Roosevelt once used. Donald Trump never tells the truth when a lie would suffice as witness his constant stream of creative, and often vicious, fictions. Although Karma is a complex concept, it is true that what goes around, comes around, and when Trump’s created world starts to collapse around him, great will be the fall thereof. And there are growing rumors inside the Beltway that Trump’s latest wife is planning to divorce him and take their son away from his negative influence and move back to Europe. If this happens, and if the Mueller (and other agency) investigations reveal to the public that which the Beltway is fully aware of, Trump will be a huge question mark for future writers. His avid far-right supporters will scream with rage and then return to milking their cows and beating their children with leather belts. And one notes that the President has a supporter who pubishes supermarket trash tabloids. The man’s last name is Pecker and someone commented to me last night that it is well-known in Washington that Trump does love a Pecker.”

The Table of Contents

  • Trump says his son sought information on Clinton from Russians in 2016
  • Rudy Giuliani has turned out to be a dangerous liability for Trump
  • Corporate crime: Five biggest financial scams of all time
  • Meet Trump’s friend and fixer: David Pecker, the tabloid king
  • Far-Right and Neo-Nazi Trump rabid supporters
  • The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind
  • Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States
  • Friendship no more: how Russian gas is a problem for Germany
  • Iran nuclear deal: EU shields firms from US sanctions law
  • The CIA and the Assassination of a President

Trump says his son sought information on Clinton from Russians in 2016

August 5, 2018

by Doina Chiacu

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged on Sunday that his son met with Russians in 2016 at Trump Tower to get information on his election opponent Hillary Clinton, saying it was “totally legal” and “done all the time in politics.”

The Republican president had previously said the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Trump’s morning Twitter post was his most direct statement on the purpose of the meeting, though his son and others have said it was to gather damaging information on the Democratic candidate.

In a post on Twitter here, Trump also denied reports in the Washington Post and CNN that he was concerned his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., could be in legal trouble because of the meeting with the Russians, including a lawyer with Kremlin ties.

He repeated that he had not known about the meeting in advance.

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” Trump said.

Political campaigns routinely pursue opposition research on their opponents, but not with foreign representatives from a country viewed as an adversary. Russian officials were under U.S. sanctions at the time.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether Trump campaign members coordinated with Russia to sway the White House race in his favor. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied his government interfered.

One part of the inquiry has focused on a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in New York between Donald Jr., other campaign aides and a group of Russians.

Email released by Donald Jr. himself showed he had been keen on the meeting because his father’s campaign was being offered potentially damaging information on Clinton.

Donald Jr. said later he realized the meeting was primarily aimed at lobbying against the 2012 Magnitsky sanctions law, which led to Moscow denying Americans the right to adopt Russian orphans.

President Trump has repeatedly denied that his campaign worked with Moscow, saying “No Collusion!” Last week, however, he adopted his lawyers’ tactics and insisted “collusion is not a crime.”

While collusion is not a technical legal charge, Mueller could bring conspiracy charges if he finds that any campaign member worked with Russia to break U.S. law. Working with a foreign national with the intent of influencing a U.S. election could violate multiple laws, according to legal experts.

CNN reported last month that Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer, was willing to tell Mueller that Trump did know about the Trump Tower meeting in advance.

Trump’s lawyers and the White House have given conflicting accounts about whether Trump was involved in crafting Donald Jr.’s response to a New York Times article last summer revealing the Trump Tower meeting with the adoptions rationale. Trump’s lawyers acknowledged in a letter to Mueller’s team in January 2018 that Trump dictated the response, according to the Times.

Trump has stepped up his public attacks on the Mueller probe since the first trial to arise from it began last week in Alexandria, Virginia, involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The federal tax and bank fraud charges Manafort faces are not related to the Trump campaign but Manafort’s close relations with Russians and a Kremlin-backed Ukrainian politician are under scrutiny in the trial.

Trump’s attacks on the special counsel’s investigation have been rebuffed by Republican leaders in Congress who have expressed support for Mueller.

“The president should be straightforward with the American people about the threat to our election process that Russia, Putin in particular, is engaged in is ongoing,” Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

One of the president’s personal lawyers said on Sunday that if Trump is subpoenaed by the special counsel, his lawyers will attempt to quash it in court. Any legal battle over whether the president can be compelled to testify could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election with a campaign of hacking into Democratic Party computer networks and spreading disinformation on social media. American intelligence officials say Russia is targeting the November congressional elections, which will determine whether or not Republicans keep control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Damon Darlin, Lucia Mutikani, Lesley Wroughton; editing by Grant McCool

 

Rudy Giuliani has turned out to be a dangerous liability for Trump

The former New York City mayor was a 9/11 hero. But his last big job, defending the president, is a role too far

August 5, 2018

by Jill Abramson

The Guardian

When Donald Trump famously descended the escalator of Trump Tower to announce he was running for president in June 2015, I found my thoughts immediately turning to Rudy Giuliani. Here was another son of New York City making a wildly unrealistic bid for the White House, just as Giuliani had done eight years previously. The former mayor reluctantly quit the field after months of trudging around Iowa and New Hampshire without winning a single delegate.

When Trump won, it seemed like a big reward was on its way to Giuliani. Would he be the next secretary of state, the pundit class speculated, after concluding that the role of attorney general wasn’t good enough for the former lawyer? Instead, word came from the White House that Giuliani had taken himself out of consideration, a statement no one believed. Giuliani turned out to be the next cyber-security tsar.

So it was rather shocking when in April the announcement came that Giuliani was joining the Trump legal team and becoming its chief spokesman. Giuliani had been given perhaps the most important job of all: fighting Trump’s corner as Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election homed in relentlessly on the White House. During just over one and a half years in office, the president has lost or fired a succession of key administration figures, from Steve Bannon to Michael Flynn. Trust Trump to pick a top legal gun who creates more problems for him than he solves, which is what Giuliani seems to be doing.

In television interviews last week, Giuliani first revealed and then tried to kill a story that reporters were working on at the New York Times, involving allegations by the president’s former fixer Michael Cohen, whom he described as “an instinctual liar”. The story, according to Giuliani, alleged there was a strategic “pre-meeting” between senior Trump aides, before the now infamous Trump Tower encounter in 2016 between members of the then-candidate’s team and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton. In rapid-fire sentences, some of which were barely comprehensible, Giuliani maintained that this pre-meeting never happened. So why did he bring up the allegation, which had apparently been put to White House officials, at all, deepening the intrigue surrounding the Trump Tower meeting? The same goes for another piece of hot information Giuliani dropped in May – that Trump had reimbursed Cohen for money used to pay off the stripper, Stormy Daniels, to stop her going public over an alleged affair with Trump. That placed his client more squarely in the frame of another matter under investigation by Mueller.

These blunders are surprising because Giuliani is no rookie. He is a former US prosecutor known for jailing Wall Street titans and New York politicos, some of whom were pals of Trump. But watching his incoherent bumbling as Trump’s new lawyer, no one would suspect his distinguished legal past. His off-the-cuff delivery made it look like he was answering questions before even thinking them through, nor the possible ramifications of his answers. It was distinctly un-lawyerly. I’ve talked to influential business people in New York who know both men and did business with them in the 1990s, when Giuliani was New York mayor and Trump was rising as the city’s most egotistical developer. They say they no longer recognise the two men as the sharp, savvy acts they were back then.

It’s sad to witness this final, inglorious phase of Giuliani’s career, given the admirable parts of the first act. As mayor, he won the hearts of the world after 9/11, walking alongside the hero firefighters and those charged with rebuilding downtown. He used his legal chops to crack down on crime and to enforce order in a city that had spun out of control, although his sanctioning of police violence brought justified condemnation. Voters liked the fact that they could go outside without seeing or smelling piles of uncollected garbage. He became popular for making the city work again.

But it increasingly seems like Trump has hired a liability. The wild, aggressive language should not be a surprise. Some of Giuliani’s campaigning for Trump bordered on the unhinged. Remember the first night of the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ohio, a speech notable for its “lock her up” histrionics? Then came Giuliani’s crazed-sounding defence of Trump’s outrageous comments about Muslims and cheap attacks on the press. The tone, especially for the convention’s opening, was angry and dark. But it is the apparent lack of legal smarts that should be alarming Trump. Giuliani seems totally outmatched by Mueller. Charges involving obstruction of justice and collusion with an enemy state, Russia, may be looming. The special prosecutor’s office is now trying its first case against Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, who is on trial in Virginia for tax offences related to his lobbying in Ukraine.

Other former Trump advisers, such as Flynn and George Papadopoulos, have taken pleas, as has Manafort’s aide-de-camp, Rick Gates. More than a dozen Russians have been indicted for the 2016 election high jinks. There’s no telling what Mueller has.

Trump’s strategy has been to attack Mueller relentlessly. He wanted an attack dog to bite back at Mueller and there was no one more snarling than Giuliani. But he keeps messing up. On other talk shows last week, Giuliani denied Trump was guilty of any collusion. The next day he was arguing that collusion was not a crime, anyway. Which is it?

F Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote: “There are no second acts in American lives.” It might have been a blessing for Rudy Giuliani if that were really true.

 

Corporate crime: Five biggest financial scams of all time

August 5, 2018

RT

When it comes to big money there’s a whole lot of room for screw-ups, cover-ups and everything in between. The business world is no stranger to scandal with many wheeler dealers ready to gain at other people’s expense.

Money managers, chief executives, lawyers… some are dead or in jail, others doing just fine, after masterminding white collar crimes amounting to billions of dollars. Let’s have a look at the biggest financial scandals of all time.

Charles Ponzi

The name Ponzi became generic “trademark” for the specific type of scam that involves luring newer investors to pay profits to existing backers. Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant, who used to ask people to invest in his business, promising them a 50 percent profit in 45 days as early as in 1919, became the father of a classic pyramid scheme. Ponzi purchased international postal reply coupons for a low price abroad and then sold them for profit in the US. Befuddled by Ponzi, investors even reinvested the returns shortly after they received them.

Ponzi’s scheme began to unravel in August 1920, when The Boston Post launched investigation into his returns. The probe set off a run on Ponzi’s company with investors trying to pull their cash out of the enterprise. Ponzi was arrested in August, 1920. He was charged with 86 counts of mail fraud. Owing millions of dollars, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to five years in jail. In 1949, the scam artist died penniless in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Enron

Texas-based energy company Enron became a classic example of a dizzying fall after having stratospheric success. The firm was ranked by Fortune magazine as the most innovative in corporate America for six straight years in the 1990s. However, by November 2001 the company’s stock crashed to less than $1 shortly after its CEO Kenneth Lay was busted for hiding Enron’s multi-billion dollar debt. The next year, Enron filed for bankruptcy, becoming the biggest company ever to do so at that time. Lay was found guilty in 2006 on six counts of fraud and conspiracy and four counts of bank fraud. He died of a heart attack that same year while awaiting sentencing.

WorldCom

Just a year after the Enron scandal, America’s second-largest telecommunications company WorldCom followed suit. The corporation had been growing quickly, but it turned out that WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers and other top managers used accounting fraud to trick investors. Cooking the books inflated the company’s assets by some $11 billion, with $3.8 billion in fraudulent accounts. The former CEO was jailed for 25 years. Ebbers began serving his sentence in 2006 as inmate #56022-0584 at Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale in Louisiana.

Bernard Madoff

The former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market became the confessed operator of the largest Ponzi scheme ever. Bernard “Bernie” Madoff defrauded investors of an estimated $64.8 billion through paying high monthly returns to clients with new investment in his firm using money of other unwitting clients. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years, the maximum allowed, and is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Complex, Butner in North Carolina.

Lehman Brothers

The crash of the 150-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers became the enduring symbol of the financial crisis of 2008. Lehman was heavily involved in subprime mortgage–backed securities, and became the largest victim of the notorious mortgage credit crunch. In 2008, the bank filed for bankruptcy, citing $639 billion in assets and $619 billion in debt. The bank’s failure had severe ramifications for the global economy still recovering from the financial crisis a decade ago.

 

Meet Trump’s friend and fixer: David Pecker, the tabloid king

The National Enquirer owner, whose name has emerged in Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry, has had a symbiotic relationship with the president for decades

Augut 6, 2018

by Lucia Graves

The Guardian

David Pecker’s reach into US society is unescapable: he owns nearly every supermarket tabloid and gossip sheet in the United States, including the flagship publication National Enquirer.

But before he surfaced as part of a federal investigation into the former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, relatively little was known about Pecker, the longtime chief executive of American Media, Inc (AMI) and close Trump confidant.

He took centre stage two months ago when it was reported that he had been drawn into the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

And the media mogul appears in the tape recently released by Cohen’s attorney to CNN in which Trump’s former lawyer appears to be discussing how best to pay off Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model with whom Trump had had an affair. That, along with his recent subpoena in the criminal investigation of Cohen, have thrust him into the national spotlight. Pecker and the National Enquirer are under investigation for an alleged “catch and kill” in relation to the McDougal story – the practice of buying up a story and then burying it. Investigators are looking into whether this would constitute an unlawful contribution to the Trump campaign.

The Enquirer editor, Dylan Howard, says the tabloid’s approach to covering Trump is strictly business and that any stories it has killed were killed for innocent reasons.

“If AMI was ‘helpful’ to the president during the campaign it was because the audience of the National Enquirer was one of the most supportive of his candidacy,” Howard said in an April statement. “We covered him for a business reason.”

The Enquirer no longer holds the power, or has the reach, that it had during its heyday, when it reportedly sold 6m copies a week. It now sells fewer than 400,000.

Tabloids have been central to Trump’s myth-building since he emerged on the New York real estate scene. But none have been more helpful to his political ambitions than the Enquirer, which under Pecker has served to make Trump’s political attacks and storylines more digestible.

“The National Enquirer is even more valuable than a campaign mailer,” says the former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg. “Why? Because whether people buy it or not, if they’re standing in a line, they’re standing in Walmart, they’re standing in a Costco, they’re waiting in line, they’re bored, they pull out the Enquirer and they look at it. And a lot of those people are primary voters, Republican voters, and election voters.”

AMI’s mission creep

Pecker’s ambitions for a tabloid empire have been apparent since he took over AMI almost 20 years ago – among his first moves as the new chairman was to ditch a group of prestigious publications to focus on growing ad money and media acquisitions.

And more recently Pecker, who, in addition to the Enquirer, owns Globe, OK!, Star, and Radar Online, all under the AMI umbrella, has found remarkable success in empire expansion.

David Pecker’s reach into US society is unescapable: he owns nearly every supermarket tabloid and gossip sheet in the United States, including the flagship publication National Enquirer.

But before he surfaced as part of a federal investigation into the former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, relatively little was known about Pecker, the longtime chief executive of American Media, Inc (AMI) and close Trump confidant.

He took centre stage two months ago when it was reported that he had been drawn into the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

And the media mogul appears in the tape recently released by Cohen’s attorney to CNN in which Trump’s former lawyer appears to be discussing how best to pay off Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model with whom Trump had had an affair. That, along with his recent subpoena in the criminal investigation of Cohen, have thrust him into the national spotlight. Pecker and the National Enquirer are under investigation for an alleged “catch and kill” in relation to the McDougal story – the practice of buying up a story and then burying it. Investigators are looking into whether this would constitute an unlawful contribution to the Trump campaign.

The Enquirer editor, Dylan Howard, says the tabloid’s approach to covering Trump is strictly business and that any stories it has killed were killed for innocent reasons.

“If AMI was ‘helpful’ to the president during the campaign it was because the audience of the National Enquirer was one of the most supportive of his candidacy,” Howard said in an April statement. “We covered him for a business reason.”

The Enquirer no longer holds the power, or has the reach, that it had during its heyday, when it reportedly sold 6m copies a week. It now sells fewer than 400,000.

Tabloids have been central to Trump’s myth-building since he emerged on the New York real estate scene. But none have been more helpful to his political ambitions than the Enquirer, which under Pecker has served to make Trump’s political attacks and storylines more digestible.

“The National Enquirer is even more valuable than a campaign mailer,” says the former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg. “Why? Because whether people buy it or not, if they’re standing in a line, they’re standing in Walmart, they’re standing in a Costco, they’re waiting in line, they’re bored, they pull out the Enquirer and they look at it. And a lot of those people are primary voters, Republican voters, and election voters.”

AMI’s mission creep

Pecker’s ambitions for a tabloid empire have been apparent since he took over AMI almost 20 years ago – among his first moves as the new chairman was to ditch a group of prestigious publications to focus on growing ad money and media acquisitions.

And more recently Pecker, who, in addition to the Enquirer, owns Globe, OK!, Star, and Radar Online, all under the AMI umbrella, has found remarkable success in empire expansion.

In 2003, Pecker purchased Wieder Publications, publisher of Men’s Fitness and Shape, for $350m. In 2017, he extended AMI’s celebrity news portfolio further with the purchase of Us Weekly, a jewel in the celebrity gossip crown. Then in June, Pecker went from being the country’s biggest tabloid publisher to controlling nearly all the grocery checkout rack with the acquisition of 13 new titles from Bauer Media, including In Touch, Life & Style, and several teen magazines.

It’s a bold move for Pecker, given that his company’s facing the most intense legal and public scrutiny in its history – and it’s not just the Enquirer’s Trump coverage raising eyebrows.

After allegations brought by the actors Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd sparked journalistic investigations into the sexual conduct of the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Enquirer’s editor began gathering information to undercut female accusers on Weinstein’s behalf, according to 2017 reports from the New Yorker and New York Times. (Howard has acknowledged gathering information for Weinstein, but he says he only did it when the producer “was denying any harassment”.)

Now Federal Election Commission officials will determine if AMI violated campaign finance laws during the 2016 presidential campaign. At issue is AMI’s purchase of the rights to the McDougal’s Trump affair story, part of a $150,000 deal signing her on as a contributor, but neither the story, nor any of McDougal’s commentary, ever materialized.

The McDougal arrangement is also being examined in a separate investigation out of the southern district of New York. Federal investigators have asked for all communications between Cohen and Pecker and Howard, part of a larger criminal investigation of Cohen. AMI has denied any wrongdoing and Trump has denied any knowledge of payment to McDougal.

Pecker’s love affair with Trump

David Pecker was born the son of a bricklayer in the Bronx and, upon graduating from Pace University, he worked as an accountant at Price Waterhouse.

In 1979, he landed a position in accounting with CBS’s magazine division, and though he chafed against the bureaucracy of the place, he moved deftly up the ranks. When the magazine division was sold to the entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, who eventually sold the portfolio to Hachette Filipacchi, Pecker went with him, and in 1990, Pecker was named president of Hachette.

Later, as head of AMI, he was known for his awareness of how well different celebrities fared in telephone polls conducted by the Enquirer to test out potential covers. It’s an approach to news creation and consumption that’s in keeping with that of Trump, who’s has been described as “an aspirational figure” for Pecker in every way.

Both men keep second estates in Palm Beach, Florida, and their shared sensibilities go well beyond their mutual love of deal-making and obsession with celebrity. “I have never in my entire life seen a more beautiful woman in a bodysuit than Marla Maples,” a New Yorker piece recalls Pecker remarking of an early trip to Mar-a-Lago. “I mean, seriously, out of 10 she was a 15.”

When Pecker started up a new arm of Hachette, creating magazines with client-determined content and distribution, among his earliest glossies was Trump Style. The magazine would help Trump polish his gold-gilded aesthetic and throughout its five-year runtime, the embers of the Trump-Pecker relationship glowed bright. That relationship deepened when, at 47, Pecker became head of AMI.

For Pecker, Trump offered access to power. And for Trump, who came up through tabloid media, Pecker offered a continuation of his mythos. Pecker became a frequent guest at Mar-a-Lago and made use of Trump’s private planes.

He has also enjoyed the occasional affectionate tweetstorm from the president, as in 2013, when Trump tweeted repeatedly about how Pecker should be put in charge of Time magazine.

Trump has fostered many warm, fuzzy relationships with media heavyweights, including at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. But none is quite so affectionate as the one with Pecker.

“Pecker would take care of Trump,” the former National Enquirer executive Stu Zakim said recently on CNN. “You have to understand the basis of the relationship that the two guys have.”

The 2016 presidential election and history’s sweep

That Trump got the sweeter end of the deal became clear by the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, when the Enquirer ran endless reams of sycophantic Trump coverage with headlines like “Don’t mess with Donald Trump” and “Top secret plan inside: how Trump will win debate!”

Meanwhile, the tabloid ran a questionable cover story on Ted Cruz’s supposed philandering, and even sought to link Cruz’s father to the assassination of John F Kennedy – a faux narrative Cruz is still salty about years later.

Timing was crucial: the Enquirer’s vocal promotion of conspiracy theories about Cruz’s father emerged just when Cruz became Trump’s only real competition left standing in the Republican primary.

These were the days when Cruz might have been able to set terms of a national debate. Instead it was Trump who set them, indirectly, with storylines in and beyond AMI.

Enquirer stories about Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, addressed her “failing health and a deadly thirst for power”.

And when he had the opportunity, Trump returned the publication’s favors in kind, sounding off about how the Enquirer ought to be “respected” and asking why it hadn’t won a Pulitzer prize for its 2007 reporting on John Edwards’ affair.

Nunberg, the former Trump campaign adviser, told the Guardian he was aware of Trump’s relationship with Pecker and spelled out the ways in which the Enquirer’s favorable coverage was a boon to the campaign.

”Look at the timeline of specific stories. A story was placed against Jeb Bush when we were worried about Jeb Bush,” Nunberg said. “When Marco Rubio was surging, the National Enquirer put out a story insinuating he was a gigolo in Miami. And then there was the Ted Cruz story that he had slept with five women outside his marriage. Look at their coverage of Hillary during the general about her health, her corruption. That is valuable. Everyone wants to use this term ‘get eyeballs, get eyeballs’. Forget eyeballs – it’s interesting. Not something you’ll fast-forward on your TiVo. You’re going to look at this. It’s a wacky story. It’s a tabloid. It’s valuable.”

He added, reflecting on the election: “You can talk to lots of people, they’d rather lose with dignity than win. I don’t believe that. We would take anything, any advantage we could get.”

 

Far-Right and Neo-Nazi Trump rabid supporters

August 6, 2018

by Christian Jürs

 

The policy of the supporters of the far right groups is to exacerbate latent racism in the United States to the point where public violence erupts and the political polarization of the public becomes manifest. By encouraging and arming the far right and neo nazi groups, the Scavenius group is laying the groundwork for an acceptable and militant government reaction, the institution of draconian control over the entire population and the rationale for national and official government control, all in the name of law and order. It is planned that the far right and neo nazi groups be taken into the law enforcement structure and used to put down any public demonstrations that the government deems to be a potential threat to their policies.

Who are these groups? Here is a listing of only some of them:

  • ACT for America
  • Alliance Defending Freedom
  • America’s Promise Ministries
  • American Border Patrol/American Patrol
  • American Family Association
  • American Freedom Party
  • American Renaissance
  • Aryan Brotherhood
  • Aryan Brotherhood of Texas
  • Aryan Nations
  • Blood & Honor
  • Brotherhood of Klans
  • Center for Security Policy
  • Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • The Creativity Movement
  • The Sovereign Citizen Movement of the US and Canada
  • The Dominonist Movement of America
  • National Alliance
  • National Coalition for Immigration Reform
  • National Socialist Movement
  • National Vanguard
  • Oath Keepers
  • Stormfront
  • The Aryan Terror Brigade.
  • The neo-Confederate League of the South.
  • Traditionalist Worker Party
  • White Revolution

 

 

The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind

La psychologie des foules 1895

by Gustave Le Bon

………

THE SENTIMENTS AND MORALITY OF CROWDS.

  • 1. Impulsiveness, mobility, and irritability of crowds. The crowd is at the mercy of all exterior exciting causes, and reflects their incessant variations — The impulses which the crowd obeys are so imperious as to annihilate the feeling of personal interest — Premeditation is absent from crowds — Racial influence.
  • 2. Crowds are credulous and readily influenced by suggestion. The obedience of crowds to suggestions — The images evoked in the mind of crowds are accepted by them as realities — Why these images are identical for all the individuals composing a crowd — The equality of the educated and the ignorant man in a crowd — Various examples of the illusions to which the individuals in a crowd are subject — The impossibility of according belief to the testimony of crowds — The unanimity of numerous witnesses is one of the worst proofs that can be invoked to establish a fact — The slight value of works of history.
  • 3. The exaggeration and ingenuousness of the sentiments of crowds. Crowds do not admit doubt or uncertainty, and always go to extremes — Their sentiments always excessive.
  • 4. The intolerance, dictatorialness, and conservatism of crowds. The reasons of these sentiments — The servility of crowds in the face of a strong authority — The momentary revolutionary instincts of crowds do not prevent them from being extremely conservative — Crowds instinctively hostile to changes and progress.
  • 5. The morality of crowds. The morality of crowds, according to the suggestions under which they act, may be much lower or much higher than that of the individuals composing them — Explanation and examples — Crowds rarely guided by those considerations of interest which are most often the exclusive motives of the isolated individual — The moralizing rôle of crowds.

Having indicated in a general way the principal characteristics of crowds, it remains to study these characteristics in detail.

………….

It will be remarked that among the special characteristics of crowds there are several — such as impulsiveness, irritability, incapacity to reason, the absence of judgment and of the critical spirit, the exaggeration of the sentiments, and others besides — which are almost always observed in beings belonging to inferior forms of evolution — in women, savages, and children, for instance. However, I merely indicate this analogy in passing; its demonstration is outside the scope of this work. It would, moreover, be useless for persons acquainted with the psychology of primitive beings, and would scarcely carry conviction to those in ignorance of this matter.

……………

I now proceed to the successive consideration of the different characteristics that may be observed in the majority of crowds.

  • 1. IMPULSIVENESS, MOBILITY, AND IRRITABILITY OF CROWDS.

When studying the fundamental characteristics of a crowd we stated that it is guided almost exclusively by unconscious motives. Its acts are far more under the influence of the spinal cord than of the brain. In this respect a crowd is closely akin to quite primitive beings. The acts performed may be perfect so far as their execution is concerned, but as they are not directed by the brain, the individual conducts himself according as the exciting causes to which he is submitted may happen to decide. A crowd is at the mercy of all external exciting causes, and reflects their incessant variations. It is the slave of the impulses which it receives. The isolated individual may be submitted to the same exciting causes as the man in a crowd, but as his brain shows him the inadvisability of yielding to them, he refrains from yielding. This truth may be physiologically expressed by saying that the isolated individual possesses the capacity of dominating his reflex actions, while a crowd is devoid of this capacity.

The varying impulses to which crowds obey may be, according to their exciting causes, generous or cruel, heroic or cowardly, but they will always be so imperious that the interest of the individual, even the interest of self-preservation, will not dominate them. The exciting causes that may act on crowds being so varied, and crowds always obeying them, crowds are in consequence extremely mobile. This explains how it is that we see them pass in a moment from the most bloodthirsty ferocity to the most extreme generosity and heroism. A crowd may easily enact the part of an executioner, but not less easily that of a martyr. It is crowds that have furnished the torrents of blood requisite for the triumph of every belief. It is not necessary to go back to the heroic ages to see what crowds are capable of in this latter direction.

………..

Gustave Le Bon (May 7, 1841 – December 13, 1931) was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist. He was the author of several works in which he expounded theories of national traits, racial superiority, herd behaviour and crowd psychology.

 

Revolving Door: How Security Clearances Perpetuate Top-Level Corruption in the United States

August 2,2018

by

Philip M. Giraldi

Strategic Culture

President Donald Trump is threatening to take away the security clearances of a number of former senior intelligence and security officers who have been extremely critical of him. Most Americans were unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

A security clearance is granted to a person but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know anything about China’s spying on the United States. Or do you? If you transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

At top levels among the beltway bandit companies, where little work is actually done, some make the case that you have to remain “well informed” to function properly. The fact is that many top-level bureaucrats do retain their clearances for those nebulous reasons and also sometimes as a courtesy. Some have even received regular briefings from the CIA and the office of the Director of National intelligence even though they hold no government positions. A few very senior ex-officials have also been recalled by congress or the White House to provide testimony on particular areas of expertise or on past operations, which can legitimately require a clearance, though it such cases one can be granted on a temporary basis to cover a specific issue.

The problem arises when former officials use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion regarding specific candidates for office. Donald Trump was especially assailed by former officials John Brennan, James Clapper, Michael Hayden and Michael Morell before the 2016 election, all of whom continue to attack him currently, most particularly for the recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the 2016 campaign, Morell, who openly supported Hillary Clinton and is the designated intelligence on-air contributor for CBS news, deliberately linked the fact that he was ex-CIA Acting Director to his assertion that Trump was somehow an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation” to establish his credibility. That type of activity should be considered abusive and an exploitation of one’s former office.

Morell left CIA in June 2013 and by November was a senior counselor with Beacon Global Strategies. According to the firm’s website, Beacon Global Strategies is a government and private sector consulting group that specializes in matters of international policy, foreign affairs, national defense, cyber, intelligence, and homeland security. Morell may know little about those issues as they have evolved in the past five years, but citing his clearance gives him credibility for knowledge that he might not really possess and also gives him direct access to former colleagues that he can lobby to obtain government contracts.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, who famously voted for the Communist Party candidate for US president in 1976, has also profited greatly from his government service, becoming rich from his board memberships. He sits on the board of directors of SecureAuth + CORE Security and also on the board of The Analysis Corporation. More important in terms of his public profile, he is the “Intelligence Consultant” for NBC News and MSNBC and appears regularly.

Last week Senator Rand Paul met with President Trump and recommended that Brennan’s security clearance be revoked. He argued that Brennan, Trump’s most aggressive critic, has been using his credentials to provide credibility when he calls meeting with Russia’s president “treasonous” and describes the president as “wholly in the pocket of Putin.” Clearance holders also more generally use their privileged access to “secret information” to leverage speaking and television network pundit fees. In other words, Brennan and the others are using their security clearances to enhance their incomes, monetizing their access to classified information to enhance their value.

It is by no means clear whether Trump will revoke the clearances of Clapper, Brennan, Morell and Hayden. As he is the legal source of all government clearances he has the power to do so. An equitable solution on the clearance issue more generally speaking would be to cancel all security clearances on the day when one leaves government service unless there is a direct and immediate transition to a private sector position that absolutely requires such a qualification. That would be fair to lower level employees seeking a second source of income and it would also eliminate many of those who are merely cashing in on their presumed access. As it is a rational solution it is very unlikely that it will be entertained by either the White House or by Congress.

 

Friendship no more: how Russian gas is a problem for Germany

August 6, 2018

by Thomas Escritt

Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) – For decades, the Friendship pipeline has delivered oil from Russia to Europe, heating German homes even in the darkest days of the Cold War.

But a new pipeline that will carry gas direct from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany is doing rather less for friendship, driving a wedge between Germany and its allies and giving Chancellor Angela Merkel a headache.

For U.S. President Donald Trump, Nord Stream 2 is a “horrific” pipeline that will increase Germany’s dependence on Russian energy. Ukraine, fighting Russian-backed separatists, fears the new pipeline will allow Moscow to cut it out of the lucrative and strategically crucial gas transit business.

It comes at an awkward time for Merkel. With the fraying of the transatlantic alliance and an assertive Russia and China, she has acknowledged that Germany must take more of a political leadership role in Europe.

“The global order is under pressure,” Merkel said last month. “That’s a challenge for us … Germany’s responsibility is growing; Germany has more work to do.”

In April she accepted for the first time that there were “political considerations” to Nord Stream 2, a project she had until then described as a commercial venture.

Most European countries want Germany to do more to project European influence and protect eastern neighbors that are nervous of Russian encroachment.

But letting Russia sell gas to Germany while avoiding Ukraine does the opposite, depriving Kiev of transit revenues and making it, Poland and the Baltic states more vulnerable to cuts in gas supplies.

“The price would be an even greater loss of trust from the Baltics, Poland and Ukraine,” said Roderich Kesewetter, a Merkel ally on the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

“We Germans always say that holding the West together is our ‘center of gravity’, but the Russian approach has succeeded in dragging Germany, at least in terms of energy policy, out of this western solidarity.”

Many analysts say the business case for Nord Stream 2 is thin. Another pipeline already links Russia and Germany under the Baltic. Nord Stream 2 will double capacity but future demand is uncertain.

On the flip side, German industry likes anything that will provide energy more cheaply.

Merkel’s Social Democrat coalition partners, the leading voices in Germany calling for a conciliatory approach towards Russia, are also in favor.

The issue has divided Berlin’s political class. The parties agreed in their coalition talks earlier this year to make a commitment to the pipeline, but did not put it in writing.

According to Margarita Assenova, an analyst at the Centre for European Policy Analysis who is critical of Nord Stream 2, Russia can double gas exports to Europe via existing Ukrainian pipelines without building the new conduit.

But despite opposition from European partners, from Washington and from within Merkel’s party, Nord Stream 2 continues. Germany’s diplomatic ambitions are being thwarted by the project’s brutal business logic.

OSTPOLITIK

On the other hand, it has the strong backing of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant which owns Nord Stream 2 AG, the project company. Its boss Matthias Warnig, once an East German spy tasked with reporting on West German business, is seen as one of Berlin’s most formidable lobbyists.

The pipeline is one of a network of Kremlin-sponsored projects seemingly designed to circumvent Ukraine, the largest and most troublesome of the countries once ruled from Moscow. They include Turk Stream, which crosses the Black Sea to bypass Ukraine to the south.

Lawmakers say Warnig has responded to their skeptical queries about the project by promising to take their concerns direct to Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding to the sense that the pipeline serves the Kremlin’s strategic interests.

But, for Gazprom, it makes sense: transit across a country with which Russia is in an undeclared war is risky and increasingly unreliable as Ukraine’s Soviet-era pipelines grow older.

Germany and the European Union are attempting to broker an agreement between Moscow and Kiev to keep the gas flowing across Ukraine when the current transit contract ends in 2019. Critics say this means European consumers will pay a subsidy to help keep Ukraine afloat.

In the SPD, sympathy for Nord Stream 2 runs deep. Gerhard Schroeder, the party’s last chancellor, was appointed to senior positions at Russian energy companies after leaving office and regards Putin as a close friend.

For many of Schroeder’s generation, cooperation with Russia is in the tradition of the “Ostpolitik” of their hero, 1970s Chancellor Willy Brandt, who defied a skeptical Washington to reach out to the Soviet Bloc, now seen as a prelude towards ending the Cold War.

But a younger generation in the party, often critical of Schroeder’s links to the Kremlin, is more cautious.

Germany is bound to Russia by decades of cooperation on energy supply, but it has to offer something to its western allies too, officials say.

That cooperation goes a long way: last week, Merkel hosted Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Berlin. He was accompanied by Russian general staff chief Valery Gerasimov, who has been banned from the EU since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Keeping lines open to the Kremlin is popular in Germany, where polls show people are better-disposed towards Russia than in almost any country. Increasingly, though, officials wonder if Germany is not paying too high a price in lost face.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Giles Elgood

 

Iran nuclear deal: EU shields firms from US sanctions law

August 6, 2018

BBC News

European foreign affairs chiefs have pledged to protect firms against the impact of US sanctions for doing business with Iran.

An EU “blocking statute” will take effect on Tuesday to nullify US legal action against European firms in connection with Iran.

Some US sanctions on Iran are expected to be reimposed later on Monday.

In May, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from an international 2015 deal to control Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Under that deal, nuclear-related Western sanctions on Iran were lifted.

Mr Trump argues that the deal will not prevent Iran from finding ways to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has always insisted that its nuclear research is strictly for civilian purposes.

A joint statement from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK says the nuclear deal – or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – is “crucial” for global security.

“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231,” the statement says.

“This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”

They say they “expect Iran to fully implement its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA”.

Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment programme in return for the lifting of crippling Western sanctions.

  • Iran nuclear deal: Key details
  • Iran row threatens EU billion-dollar deals

What is the updated blocking statute?

It will enable EU-based firms to recover damages resulting from the US sanctions.

It will also ban EU businesses from complying with those US sanctions, unless they get exceptional authorisation from the European Commission.

The existing blocking statute dated from 1996 and applied to the effects of US sanctions on Cuba.

The updated version – relating to US sanctions on Iran – will be published on Tuesday, and will take effect immediately.

The EU statement commits the remaining signatories of the JCPOA to “maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas”.

 

The CIA and the Assassination of a President

by Gregory Douglas

The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, continues to generate an enormous amount of popular controversy, more so than any other historical happening in recorded memory. The killing took place in a major American city in full view of hundreds of people and in broad daylight, yet years after the event, a dispassionate overview of the incident is impossible to achieve. The act and its consequences are as cluttered as the dense Indian jungle that so thoroughly hides the gaudy tiger from the sight of its prey.

The initial stunned confusion in Dallas has continued, with much official connivance, into succeeding decades, with an immense proliferation of books, magazine articles, motion picture productions, and television dramas, which are equally divided between assaults on previous productions and the presentation of even more confusion, theory, and supposition.

One camp consists entirely of what can best be termed the “official version” and in the other camp are the “revisionist versions.” There is only one of the former and a multitude of the others.

There is no question in the minds of anyone that John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas, Texas, in November of 1963. The real issue is who shot him and why.

Is the report of the official Warren Commission correct?  Was the President killed by a disaffected man who acted entirely alone? Was his subsequent murder perpetrated by another disaffected man who also acted entirely alone?

Are the legions of revisionists correct? Was the Kennedy assassination the result of a plot? And if there was a plot, who were the plotters and what were their motives?

The overwhelming majority of the public, who are the final arbiters of whatever may pass for historical truth, has, in the intervening years, come to believe less in the determined certainty of officialdom and more in the questions raised by those who cannot accept official dictums.

In a very strong sense, the Kennedy assassination marked an important watershed in the relationship between the American public and its elected and appointed officials. Before that event, what the government said was almost universally accepted as the truth. There was unquestioning and simplistic belief, and more, there was trust in the pronouncements from the Beltway and its numerous and often very slavish servants in academia and the American media. It is true, people would say, because it is printed in my newspaper and supported by important and knowledgeable savants.

That the media and academia might be influenced by, if not actually commanded by, the government rarely occurred to anyone outside of a small handful of chronic malcontents.

The questions that were raised by the Warren Commission’s lengthy and thoroughly disorganized report were certainly in many cases very important. That there were many errors in this hasty attempt to allay national anxieties is clearly evident, but in retrospect, and in view of recently disclosed evidence, these are more errors of commission than omission.

The Warren Report was prepared and released to the public not to encourage questioning but to silence it as quickly as possible. There are many cogent reasons for this desire for silence and acceptance, not the least of which was the urgent desire for self-preservation and the maintenance of the integrity of the governmental system.

In actuality, the American currency is not backed by gold or silver holdings but by the blind faith of the public. If the concept of unquestioning belief in governmental currency stability is questioned, economic chaos can be the result and this applies equally to government probity.

To quote from the title of the first and very important revisionist work on the Kennedy assassination, there was a great “rush to judgment” and a frantic desire on the part of the official establishment to completely bury not only the murdered President, but also any questions his killing might have engendered with him.

Was the primary reason for this desire for closure merely a desire to placate public opinion or were there other, and far more sinister, reasons for this rush to judgment?

Those who question the official chronicle have been severely hampered by the fact that all the records, documents, interviews, and other evidentiary material are securely under governmental custody and control. It is beyond the belief of any reasonable person to think that an official agency would release to the public any material that would bring the official judgment into question. This is not only institutional maintenance but also, all things in evidence now considered, a frantic effort at self-preservation.

Not all documents, however, lie under government control, and there exist reports that do not only question the Warren Report’s findings but are also of such a nature as to both thoroughly discredit it and, in the final analysis, bring it to ruin.

Such a historical land mine lay for years in the personal files of Robert Trumbull Crowley, once Deputy Director for Operations for the Central Intelligence Agency. Crowley, who had authored books on Soviet intelligence, died in October of 2000 after a long illness.

When Crowley retired from the CIA in the 1980s, he took a significant quantity of important historical documents with him and, prior to his death, gave a number of these to various historians with whom he occasionally cooperated.

Among these documents was a lengthy paper prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1978 as a commentary on Soviet intelligence evaluations of the Kennedy assassination.

The Defense Intelligence Agency, a branch of the Department of Defense, specializes in the analysis of foreign military technical intelligence.

This document was considered highly sensitive, for reasons that shall shortly become very evident, and its distribution was limited to a handful of copies with severely restricted circulation.

Crowley had a copy of this explosive document because he had personal knowledge of the factors and personalities behind the assassination and had, in fact, prior professional knowledge of the information contained in the DIA secret paper.

The second and certainly even more important document is a 98 pages long paper entitled “OPERATION ZIPPER Conference Record.” This document is a long list of decisions and activities of various U.S. authorities in a project with the code name “Operation ZIPPER.”

The distribution of this document was restricted to five persons, one of them being R. T. Crowley, in whose papers a copy of it was found.

The loss of faith is a terrible matter and one can say after reading these papers and with bitter truth: “Who then will guard the guardians?”

 

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