Identity of Secret Informant In FBI’s Clinton Probe Unveiled

More information about the Congressional probes into the Obama-era Uranium One deal leaked out Thursday when Reuters reported that Senate Republicans say their investigation into the Clinton’s role in approving the deal largely hinges on the testimony of a secret informant who was until recently the subject of a federal gag order.
But a month after Trump asked the DOJ to lift the gag order – a command that the DOJ promptly obeyed – the man has decided to speak out publicly for the first time in an interview with Reuters.
His name is Christopher Campbell, and was formerly a lobbyist for Tenex, the US-based arm of Rosatom, the Russian government’s nuclear agency.
At the time the Uranium One deal was approved, Campbell was a confidential source for the FBI in a Maryland bribery and kickback investigation that eventually led to the conviction of the head of the US unit of Rosatom, the Russian state-owned nuclear power company that received permission to buy Uranium One from a US strategic-resources panel, on bribery and corruption charges. Campbell was identified as an FBI informant by prosecutors in open court and by himself in a publicly available lawsuit he filed last year, but his identity as the informant was somehow not widely known, Reuters noted.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Podesta Group CEO Unexpectedly Quits Just Days After Tony’s Departure

Less than two weeks after John Podesta’s brother, Tony, quit as head of the prominent Democratic lobbying group, the Podesta Group just days after it was revealed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was investigating Podesta for potentially violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work involving Ukraine clients, Politico reported overnight that Podesta Group longtime CEO, Kimberley Fritts, is leaving the firm to start her own lobbying shop, according to three Podesta Group staffers.
Tony Podesta tapped Fritts as his successor when he announced he’d step down as chairman last week, hours after an indictment charging Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, with violating foreign lobbying law, was unsealed. As a reminder, the widely leaked indictment accused Manafort of hiring the Podesta Group to lobby for an ostensibly independent nonprofit that ‘was under the ultimate direction’ of the Ukrainian president, his party and the Ukrainian government.
And while Fritts had been expected to relaunch the Podesta Group – under a new name of course – in the days after Podesta stepped down, after just a week of trying to hammer out the details of what the new firm would look like, Fritts announced at a staff meeting late on Thursday that she would resign and start a new firm, “exacerbating questions about the future of the Podesta Group and its dozens of employees” as Politico politely puts it. Which, of course, is a less polite way of saying that the Podesta group is almost certain to be formally charged for the same violations that dragged down Manafort.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 10, 2017.

Power Brokers: Saudi Crown Prince Clears a Path to the Throne

Just two weeks ago, the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh took place to international acclaim. Now, investor interest has turned to intense uncertainty, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spearheads an anti-corruption crackdown, and power shifts unfold in the Gulf. But despite the short-term risks, Alex Damianou argues that the long-term impact should be positive.
The 4th of November was an historic day in Saudi Arabia. King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), demonstrated their continued, almost Machiavellian determination to execute social and economic reforms under Vision 2030. Their goals – to usher in a new area of transformation, consolidate power, and re-assert themselves on the regional battleground towards Iran.
A Strategic Move
The day began with the seemingly Saudi-influenced resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Riyadh, citing Iranian influence and fears of an attempt on his own life. This was followed by a royal decree issued by King Salman, establishing the National Anti-Corruption Committee. Chaired by Crown Prince Salman, the committee has a mandate to identify offenses, persons, crimes, and entities involved in public corruption. The extensive powers of the committee include the ability to issue arrest warrants, restrict travel and freeze accounts. As the King put it in a televised address, ‘Laws will be applied firmly on everyone who touched public money and didn’t protect it or embezzled it, or abuse their power and influence’.
In another example of the autocratic liberalization we have come to see over the past year from the King and Crown Prince, the crackdown strategically targeted power players in business and government. This included 11 princes, dozens of businessmen and senior officials, and former and sitting ministers. Notable among them are:

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/09/2017.

TWITTER ‘COLLUDED’ WITH HILLARY CLINTON’S CAMPAIGN TO CENSOR #PODESTAEMAILS AND #DNCLEAKS IN FAILED EFFORT TO HELP HER WIN THE ELECTION

During a recent hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, a lawyer for the social media giant Twitter openly admitted that the company had deployed ‘election algorithms’ that specifically censored hashtags that exposed the corruption of both candidate Hillary Clinton and the DNC as a whole.
The testimony, given by Sean Edgett, Acting General Counsel for Twitter, seemingly proves that the tech giant used the discredited idea of ‘Russian manipulation’ to actually censor legitimate content that exposed their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton.
‘Before the election, we also detected and took action on activity relating to hashtags that have since been reported as manifestations of efforts to interfere with the 2016 election’ Edgett said, in a clear indication that the company is justifying censoring content that reflected badly on Clinton by using the reporting of the very establishment news outlets that have openly worked against Donald Trump from the beginning.
‘For example, our automated spam detection systems helped mitigate the impact of automated Tweets promoting the #PodestaEmails hashtag, which originated with Wikileaks’ publication of thousands of emails from the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account.”

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on NOVEMBER 3, 2017.

Team Bernie Chimes In: “DNC Corruption Is Bigger Than One Primary”

Former interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile confirmed what many widely suspected in an essay published in Politico today where she called out former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for unfairly rigging the 2016 primary against Bernie Sanders.
In her expose, Brazile described how the Clinton campaign siphoned money from state party chapters, and asserted her control over the DNC by making it financially reliant on her fundraising abilities, even describing the campaign’s actions as ‘essentially money laundering.’
The agreement – signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias – specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
Brazile’s revelations have revived conversations about whether the party has an obligation to ensure a fair primary (one judge who dismissed a lawsuit against the DNC suggested the organization is actually under no obligation to do so, even confirming that it showed a ‘palpable bias’ toward Clinton).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2017.

Trick Or Treat: One Year Later, Is Trump A Blessing Or A Curse To The Deep State?

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,
Has Donald Trump been a blessing or a curse to the architects of the American police state?
One thing is for sure: a year into his presidency, Trump hasn’t done much to improve the lot of the American people.
The predators of the police state are still wreaking havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.
The government still doesn’t listen to the citizenry, it still refuses to abide by the Constitution, which is our rule of law, and it still treats the citizenry as a source of funding and little else. Police officers are still shooting unarmed citizens and their household pets. Government agents – including local police – are still being armed to the teeth and encouraged to act like soldiers on a battlefield. Bloated government agencies are still fleecing taxpayers. Government technicians are still spying on our emails and phone calls. Government contractors are still making a killing by waging endless wars abroad.
In other words, the American police state is still alive and well and flourishing.
Nothing has changed.
Rather than draining the corrupt swamps of Washington, as he repeatedly promised, Trump and his brand of reality TV politics have merely redirected our attention.
Trust me, the swamps are still stagnant with corruption.
Indeed, we are still the unwitting victims of a system so corrupt that it spans all branches of government.
We are still ruled by an elite class of individuals who are completely out of touch with the travails of the average American.
We are still viewed as relatively expendable in the eyes of government: faceless numbers of individuals who serve one purpose, which is to keep the government machine running through our labor and our tax dollars.
We are still being made to suffer countless abuses at the government’s hands.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 31, 2017.

Mainstream Media Now Claiming That It Is A CRIME To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Ties To Russia

As the public has finally began to realize the extent of the corruption surrounding Hillary Clinton, including the now infamous Russia Uranium One deal, the mainstream media has gone into hyper-drive to discredit and distract from documented facts and are now going as far as to float the idea that Trump may be committing a crime for simply investigation Clinton at all.
That’s right, in the sick world of the establishment media, Trump is committing a criminal act by even considering an investigation into shady Clinton dealings with the Russians. After all, she is above the law right?
Even more disgusting, the so-called reporters spewing this nonsense are using the fact that Mueller is conducting a deep state operation (now discredited) against the president that accuses him of working with Russia to win the election when in reality it is the exact opposite. In other words, Trump is being accused of something he didn’t do but because of this, he can’t investigate real crimes committed by Clinton.
Absolutely unbelievable.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘AM Joy’ legal analyst Paul Butler laughably claimed that it ‘absolutely is’ obstruction of justice for the government to investigate Hillary Clinton because….. Russia.

This post was published at shtfplan on October 28th, 2017.

An Army Of Lobbyists Is Coming To Kill Tax Reform

Having sworn themselves to secrecy, Republicans on the House Ways and Means committee are scrambling to put together a tax bill by next week. But not knowing anything about the details of the plan, as it stands right now, hasn’t stopped an army of lobbyists from mobbing Capitol Hill with one overweening mission: To threaten, cajole or otherwise coax lawmakers into preserving loopholes that benefit their clients.
Here’s Bloomberg:
The stage was set with the House’s adoption Thursday of a budget resolution designed to speed the course of tax legislation and kick off a three-week sprint toward a House bill. Now, lobbyists representing every corner of the economy are poised to first devour, then attack what may be hundreds of pages of legislation that Brady says he’ll release Nov. 1. Special interests from realtors to dairy farmers will be trying to save their industry-specific tax breaks, said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. His group, which is backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, supports ending such breaks.
‘It’s pretty fierce,’ Phillips said. ‘We met with Brady on Tuesday and he was saying their offices are swamped with all the special interest groups swarming in asking to be protected.’
The immense pressure to find a source of revenue to compensate for the sweeping cuts to corporate and individual rates has already nearly derailed the tax reform process. Yesterday, House Republicans narrowly approved the Senate version of a $4 trillion federal budget over the objections of 20 blue-state Republicans who oppose the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, which they say would disproportionately raise taxes on middle-class taxpayers in blue states, which tend to have higher taxes. Yet, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady has said the elimination of the SALT deduction will stay in the bill – for now, at least.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.

A Case of Judicial Murder?

I have been asked many times why I have intervened in the federal prosecution of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the young man who was convicted and sentenced to death in the Boston Marathon bombing case where two brothers, on April 15, 2013, allegedly detonated pressure cooker bombs on Boylston Street in front of the Forum Restaurant that killed or maimed many people.
As I wrap up my career of fifty years as a member of the bar, including service as a public defender in state and federal courts, co-founder of an accredited law school, and chief public prosecutor in Minnesota state courts, I am apprehensive that my country might be entering into an era of judicial murder.
Judicial murder is the practice of designing a trial to get a guilty verdict, regardless of the facts, and a death sentence carried out. It has happened in many countries in all ages. It has been recognized as a threat of public justice by the United States Supreme Court in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U. S. 45 at 72-72 (1932). Judicial murder is followed by corruption and destruction of society. The judicial murder of Socrates was followed by loss of the classical civilization of ancient Greece. The judicial murder of Jesus of Nazareth, whether son of God or venerable philosopher, was followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple. The judicial murder of Joan of Arc was followed by loss of most English lands in France. The judicial murder of Charles the First was followed by loss of the free constitution of England. The judicial murder of Louis XVI was followed by 150 years of defeat, ruin, suffering, and chaos in France. Judicial murder in the Third Reich was followed by humiliating defeat of Germany. Judicial murder in the Soviet Union was followed by collapse of the Soviet empire. If the justice system cannot be trusted, evil consequences follow.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 26, 2017.

We Either See Justice Now Or Never

The corruption displayed here is literally breathtaking.
There is nothing new about political candidates intentionally lying about their opponents. There’s nothing illegal about it either, generally. The bar for actionable conduct when it comes to political candidates and the speech directed at them is extraordinarily high, and for good reason — the voters are the ones expected to sort it all out.
On the other hand there is an absolute bar (under the Hatch Act) for federal employees engaging in any sort of partisan political activity while on the clock or using the resources of the Federal Government. Higher-level employees, including all political appointees, are prohibited from engaging in any partisan political activity, whether on the clock or not.
It is now clear that a large number of FBI employees, including those with direct ties to Mueller who is now serving as a “special counsel”, violated that law. Further, the FBI itself paid for part of the work used to attack the President-elect, an outrageously-illegal and partisan political activity. Finally, out of the dozens or hundreds of FBI employees who had to be aware of this none blew the whistle publicly.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-10-26.

Torturer-in-Chief Turned Savior of Freedom?

Former President George W. Bush gave a speech yesterday implicitly slamming President Donald Trump for dragging down democracy. Bush told political cronies and other attendees: ‘We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment.’ He assured listeners that freedom ‘should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.’ Bush invoked the ‘high ideals’ of our nation, declaring, ‘We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U. S. Constitution.’
After the speech, much of the media exalted Bush as if he were the second coming of George Washington. Twitter showcased the spiel with an unusual summary in its ‘trending tweets’ lineup – “George W. Bush gve a powerful speech on democracy, freedom, and American values.”
If Bush had never been president, it would be easier to understand the adulation. But Bush was one of the most disastrous, authoritarian presidents in modern American history. Bush committed more abuses of power than could be recounted in anything less than a book. But there was one issue which should forever define Bush in Americans’ memory.
After the 9/11 attacks, Bush’s lawyers quickly assured him that the Constitution and federal law no longer constrained the president’s power. Bush proceeded to authorize the type of torture regime that civilized nations had formally abandoned hundreds of years earlier.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 10/20/2017.

Senate Seeks To Interview FBI Informant Linking Russian Nuclear Bribery Case To Clinton Foundation

Yesterday we wrote about the FBI’s undercover informant in the Russian nuclear bribery scandal who tried to come forward with his story last year but was silenced after being “threatened” by the Obama administration (full summary at the bottom of this post).
Now it seems as though the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley, has finally taken an interest in what “Confidential Source 1” might have to say about Russians, bribes, the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration’s efforts to silence him. According to Circa, Chuck Grassley has sent a formal letter to the informant’s attorney requesting that her client testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley asked the attorney of a former FBI informant Wednesday to allow her client to testify before his committee regarding the FBI’s investigation regarding kickbacks and bribery by the Russian state controlled nuclear company that was approved to purchase twenty percent of United States uranium supply in 2010, Circa has learned.
In a formal letter, Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Victoria Toensing, the lawyer representing the former FBI informant, to allow her client, who says he worked as a voluntary informant for the FBI, to be allowed to testify about the “crucial” eyewitness testimony he provided to the FBI regarding members of the Russian subsidiary and other connected players from 2009 until the FBI’s prosecution of the defendants in 2014.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.

The United States of Weinstein: Complicity, Greed and Corruption Is the Status Quo

If integrity means more than any of these baubles, then prepare to fail.
The theme this week is The Rot Within. The sordid story of Harvey Weinstein is being presented as an aberration. It is not an aberration; it is merely a high-profile example of how the status quo functions in the USA, a.k.a. The United States of Weinstein, in which complicity, greed and corruption reign supreme in every sector and in every nook and cranny of power.
As a gatekeeper in Hollywood, Mr. W. could make or break careers with absurd ease. The dirty secret of America’s status quo is that power and wealth are both extremely concentrated, which means there are gatekeepers who must be bribed, sated or serviced if you want to claw your way up the wealth-power pyramid. Mr. Weinstein’s alleged conduct and payoffs of those he exploited is par for the course in the corridors of power in the USA. Gatekeepers are the key functionaries in a rentier economy in which the few at the top skim the wealth of the many. Want to play in the big leagues of Hollywood, Washington D. C., the Pentagon, or the various HQs of Global Corporate America? You have to pay the Gatekeepers what they demand.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on MONDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2017.

Another Collusion Narrative Dies: New Emails Support Trump Jr.’s Account Of Infamous “Russia Meeting”

Another Trump-Russia collusion narrative has bitten the dust.
In a stunning revelation that goes a long way toward alleviating the cloud of suspicion that has hovered over Donald Trump Jr. since details about a meeting organized by Trump Jr. involving Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort along with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her entourage were first publicized in July, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that newly disclosed emails between Veselnitskaya and Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov largely support Veselnitskaya’s account that the meeting focused on her years long lobbying effort to kill the Magnitsky Act.
***
The emails, which were provided to WSJ by Scott Balber, a lawyer for Agalarov, cover a period of time leading up to the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower. They begin in October 2015, when Veselnitskaya first shared information about her anti-Magnitsky efforts with Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 9, 2017.

NCAA Violations Are Now Federal Crimes?

Recent federal criminal charges of conspiracy and wire fraud brought against four assistant college basketball coaches and executives from Adidas seem to be popular in the mainstream media, judging from the numerous articles I have seen about the story. For that matter, even some libertarians, noting their belief that college sports are ‘corrupt,’ are cheering on federal authorities.
I am not one of the cheerleaders for this latest intrusion of federal criminal law into what essentially is peaceful, private activity, National Collegiate Athletic Association rules aside. While most journalists seem to see this as an example of federal authorities riding in on their white horses to save college basketball from the scourge of ‘corruption,’ I see this as the government destroying lives for no good reason and protecting the sources of the real corruption at the same time. Far from ‘cleaning up’ major college sports, this is a classic bait-and-switch operation in which federal authorities are conspiring to redirect resources from those that should have it (if we actually hold to the belief that individuals should be compensated for their contribution of added wealth to the economy), all the while claiming they are ‘protecting’ the very people being robbed.
As Gary North recently pointed out, the NCAA is a cartel – a multi-billion-dollar cartel, I would add – that claims to be protecting the ‘holy’ principle of ‘amateur athletics.’ All the while, it’s ensuring that the main factor of production for collegiate sports – the labor of individual collegiate athletes – receives minimal or even no compensation at all. The current compensation scheme – athletic ‘scholarships’ for athletes – is tantamount to a rule that states that Kevin Durant, the 2017 Most Valuable Player for the National Basketball Association, can receive compensation only equal to that of the lowest-paid player in the NBA, while NBA coaches and executives run off with the majority of the funds generated by professional basketball.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on October 2, 2017.

Obama Is Funding The Anti-Trump Movement With Sleazy Backdoor Policies And Taxpayer Money

Barack Obama is funding the anti-Trump movement through a series of backdoor deals and policies. Wall Street may be surprised to learn that it is also helping bankroll the anti-Trump ‘resistance’ whether they wanted to or not. Wall Street is fighting policies which would heavily favor it, including corporate tax cuts and the repeal of Obama-era banking and health-care regulations.
We have the Obama administration to thank for the harsh anti-Trump movement by far left groups, according to an article by the New York Post.
The Obama administration’s massive shakedown of Big Banks over the mortgage crisis included unprecedented back-door funding for dozens of Democratic activist groups who were not even victims of the crisis. At least three liberal nonprofit organizations the Justice Department approved to receive funds from multibillion-dollar mortgage settlements were instrumental in killing the ObamaCare repeal bill and are now lobbying against GOP tax reform, as well as efforts to rein in illegal immigration. An estimated $640 million has been diverted into what critics say is an improper, if not unconstitutional, ‘slush fund’ fed from government settlements with JPMorgan Chase and Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., according to congressional sources.
The payola is potentially earmarked for third-party interest groups approved by the Justice Department and HUD without requiring any proof of how the funds will be spent. Many of the recipients so far are radical leftist organizations who solicited the settlement cash from the administration even though they were not parties to the lawsuits, records show.
‘During the Obama administration, groups committed to ‘revolutionary social change’ sent proposals and met with high-level HUD and Justice Department officials to try to get their pieces of the settlement pie,’ Cause of Action Institute vice president Julie Smith told The Post. -New York Post

This post was published at shtfplan on September 25th, 2017.

An Open Letter To The Okaloosa County Commission Pt 2

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
The Okaloosa County Commission is by definition dysfunctional, corrupt or both. Any governmental unit that believes a 47% budget increase over the space of a mere five years is defensible has rocks in their head. That the Commission managed to paint over this by drawing down reserves when the cause was not a one-year hit from an event like a hurricane (which is what reserves are for) ought to be treated as criminal corruption and result in the incarceration of everyone involved.
The “escalating” expenses in the budget this year alone are primarily (1) reserve restoration (that is, paying back what the commission took through gross mismanagement), (2) adding to said reserves (possibly arguably ok), (3) more law enforcement (big shock) and (4) insane health care cost escalations.
If Okaloosa County wishes to improve its economic attractiveness it must address these issues along with the outrageous actions and inactions by the Commission not only over previous years, but on a forward basis.
Like many if not most counties Okaloosa County’s ad-valorem tax revenue almost exclusively goes to the Sheriff’s Office (and related expenditures, such as the county jail.) This is not unusual; there are in fact counties where more than 100% of ad-valorem revenue goes to law enforcement. If you’re wondering why county sheriffs like to write tickets, well, you just figured it out since traffic fines of course offset some of their ad-valorem tax demand.
But in this county, as in other tourist areas, there’s a problem: The majority of services provided by the Sheriff’s Office, most of which are quite-mundane (e.g. traffic accidents, etc) involve and are provided to tourists. The issue is that tourists pay almost zero ad-valorem tax; while if they rent someone’s condo that person does pay the tax they only occupy the building for a tiny part of the year and thus on a pro-rata basis, that is, on a per-capita/year basis, they pay almost nothing.
Yet on a per-capita/year basis tourists form the majority of the Sheriff Department’s load.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-23.

Elvis’s Own Personal Drug War

When Elvis Presley died in 1977 from drug abuse, he was an official, badge-carrying federal agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, an honorary appointment granted by President Richard Nixon.
To say that Elvis Presley had a respect for law enforcement is to drastically understate his enthusiasm. In another life, he would have liked to have been a police officer, and he was obsessed with collecting police badges and uniforms. When he would perform shows around the country, he always made an effort to obtain a badge from the local police force, sometimes by using his celebrity status and other times by donating money to police functions. In some cases, he would offer a $5,000 donation to a police ball in order to procure a badge. He was also known to give expensive cars to local sheriffs, including Sherriff Bill Morris of Memphis who gratefully deputized Presley after receiving a gift of a Mercedes-Benz.
***
His generosity was so lavishly offered to members of the Denver police that it actually brought about suspicions of graft and corruption after the King’s death. Along with Cadillacs and Lincoln luxury cars, he paid for officers to take high-class vacations and gifted them with pricey jewelry. He purchased his own Denver police uniform and was made an honorary captain of the Denver Police Force. He would have been a police officer, Elvis once confided, but ‘God blessed him with a voice.’

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on September 23, 2017.

SYRIA: UN Agencies’Systematic Campaign of Disinformation may Constitute War Crime

Tim Anderson
21st Century Wire
In mid 2012, as foreign jihadists poured into Syria, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon authorised replacement of the Special Mission on Syria (UNSMIS) with a Geneva-based ‘Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria’ (IICOIOS), co-chaired by US diplomat Karen Koning AbuZayd and Brazilian Paolo Pinheiro.
Unlike UNSMIS, led by Norwegian General Robert Mood and based in Syria, the IICOIOS was based in Geneva, never visited Syria and was deeply compromised by its link to US diplomacy and its reliance on jihadist sources. The US Government, by then, was arming anti-government jihadist groups in Syria. Ban had thus embedded a deep conflict of interest in a nominally ‘independent’ UN agency.
The Abuzayd-Pinheiro group, joined by Italian lawyer Carla del Ponte, issued a series of distant reports which echoed western war propaganda against Syria. Notable amongst these were reports on the 2012 Houla massacre, a report on the 2016 liberation of Aleppo, and a recent report which seeks to blame a series of chemical weapons attacks in 2017 on the Syrian Government. Carla del Ponte, in a better moment, revealed in mid 2013 that the first use of sarin gas in Syria was by Jabhat al Nusra. But none of this appeared in the group’s reports.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on SEPTEMBER 11, 2017.

State-Level Corruption And Theft

Ever wonder about property taxes, how they’re set, and what they cover?
Specifically, the largest component of most property-tax assessments are for schools.
Virtually every State Constitution calls forth a State duty to provide a free public education.
Ok. Fair enough. I can argue against that quite-easily but so long as it’s present in State Constitutions the law has to be followed in that regard.
But on whom should the funding costs fall?
Answer: Those closest to the output of the program, who thus have every incentive to do something about it if it sucks.
That’s not you, as a common citizen. If the schools suck in your local area you don’t, for the most part, get the direct costs. If you’re a parent at age 18 your offspring are no longer your responsibility. You can throw them out of the house — literally.
Now it’s certainly true that the indirect costs wind up on the citizens — mostly through crime and social dependence.
The direct costs fall on the local employers.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-09-10.