Ukrainian Lawmakers Disclose $45 Million In Bitcoin Holdings

As Ukraine’s crackdown on corruption continues, three lawmakers from Ukraine’s ruling party revealed this week that they own a combined $45 million in bitcoin, according to a report by RIA Novosti, a Russian foreign news service.
Their holdings came to light during mandatory financial disclosures by members of the Ukrainian parliament, part of an IMF-approved strategy to tamp down corruption in Ukraine. The country’s democratic institutions, which were never very robust to begin with, have been further destabilized by the civil war that’s seen pro-Russian separatists seize control of two regions in eastern Ukraine. Lawmakers must now disclose their assets and wealth in an online database.

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

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

Written by Patrick Lawrence of The Nation,
It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised – a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.
The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.
All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that ‘hack’ and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

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

House Judiciary Member Calls For Mueller Resignation Over Conflict, “Clear Violation Of Federal Code”

House Judiciary Committee member, Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), is calling on Robert Mueller, special counsel for the Department of Justice’s Russia investigation, to resign over an alleged “conflict of interest” resulting from a personal relationship with James Comey who is a person of interest in the investigation. Per the Washington Examiner:
“Bob Mueller is in clear violation of federal code and must resign to maintain the integrity of the investigation into alleged Russian ties,” Franks said. “Those who worked under them have attested he and Jim Comey possess a close friendship, and they have delivered on-the-record statements effusing praise of one another.”
“No one knows Mr. Mueller’s true intentions, but neither can anyone dispute that he now clearly appears to be a partisan arbiter of justice. Accordingly, the law is also explicitly clear: he must step down based on this conflict of interest,” Franks said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

Berlin Calls For “Countermeasures” To US Sanctions Against Russia, Hints At Trade War

While the Pentagon may be already contemplating its next steps in the escalating conflict with Russia, which as the WSJ reported will likely involve supplying Ukraine with antitank missiles and other weaponry – a red line for the Kremlin not even the Obama administration dared to cross – there is minor matter of what to do with a suddenly furious Europe, which as we discussed previously, has vowed it would retaliate promptly after Trump signed the anti-Russia legislation into law, due to allegations it was just a veiled attempt at favoritism for US-based energy companies.
And, sure enough, on Monday, the Germany economy minister said that tew penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures.
Speaking to Funke Mediengruppe newspaper, Brigitte Zypries said that “we consider this as being against international law, plain and simple.” She added that “of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

MEDIA BLACKOUT: FBI SEIZED SMASHED HARD DRIVES FROM EX-DNC CHAIR

The ongoing scandal deep within the DNC continues. But this has nothing to do with Republicans or the Russians, so the media is completely silent.
The corruption in the Democratic National Committee is bone-deep, and the finger cannot be pointed elsewhere. The FBI just seized smashed hard drives from the former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Wasserman-Schultz and those with high positions in the DNC are accused of rigging the primary election against socialist Bernie Sanders in favor of the overtly corrupt, Hillary Clinton.
Because of the criminal investigation into fraud at the DNC, Capitol police took custody of laptops and other equipment belonging to Imran Awan, a former aide to both Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). Last night, the Daily Caller reported that the FBI has become part of the investigation by taking custody of smashed hard drives found in Awan’s home.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JULY 25, 2017.

Trump Preparing Counteroffensive; Begins Investigating Mueller’s Team For Conflicts

Over the past two days there have been some rather substantial developments in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between President Trump and the Kremlin. First came the news yesterday that Mueller planned to expand his probe to review Trump’s personal business transactions, an announcement which sent stocks tumbling on the day (see: Mueller Expands Probe Into Trump Business Transactions: Dollar Tumbles, Stocks Slammed). Meanwhile, just this morning we learn that the Trump legal team has been shaken up with Kasowitz out (not terribly surprising after his recent email meltdown) and Corrallo resigning (see Trump Legal Shake Up: Kasowitz Out As Personal Attorney, Corrallo Resigns).
Now, as the New York Times points out, Trump may be preparing a counter-offensive aimed at identifying potential conflicts of interest among the people hired by Mueller in order to force recusals.
President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation – or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.
The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging. It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as F. B. I. director is part of the special counsel’s investigation.
The effort to investigate the investigators is another sign of a looming showdown between Mr. Trump and Mr. Mueller, who has assembled a team of high-powered prosecutors and agents to examine whether any of Mr. Trump’s advisers aided Russia’s campaign to disrupt last year’s presidential election.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 21, 2017.

One Way Or Another – Venezuela Will Send Oil Prices Up

In a desperate bid to survive its economic meltdown, Venezuela is lobbying other OPEC members to agree to steeper oil production cuts, a move that would likely lead to higher oil prices.
Venezuelan officials have reached out to their counterparts in Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia to press them on more collective action, according to Argus Media. If there was enough interest, the next step would be an ‘extraordinary meeting,’ which would weigh the option of cutting deeper.
The rumors about deeper OPEC cuts have been floating around since June, when oil prices collapsed into the low-$40s. The markets have grown deeply pessimistic about the health of the oil market, and doubt the OPEC cuts will balance the market by the end of the compliance period in March 2018.
But the behind-the-scenes effort from Venezuelan officials is notable, if only because the South American OPEC members was one of the earliest and most aggressive supporters of the original deal to reduce output. In 2016, for months the more powerful members of the cartel rebuffed Venezuelan pleas, but in the end they agreed to reductions in November after oil prices continued to wallow below $50 per barrel.

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

Dershowitz Blasts Hypocrisy Of “Liberals” Looking To Adapt Corruption Laws To “Get Trump”

Over the past 9 months, as the media has launched an all out offensive on the Trump administration for crimes that have yet to be even identified with any level of specificity much less proven, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has tried to be a voice of reason by appearing on numerous talk shows to discuss facts and legal precedents as opposed to innuendo and baseless accusations.
Just last week Dershowitz blasted the New York Times for suggesting that Trump Jr.’s meeting with the now infamous Russian lawyer was an “act of treason” saying that while such actions may be “reprehensible” they’re not technically illegal. Meanwhile, Dershowitz has argued all along that “not all political actions that smell or look like corruption can be prosecuted criminally without Congress specifically making such conduct criminal by precisely worded legislation.” Per an opinion piece from Dershowitz published by The Hill:
My critics have argued for an extraordinarily broad definition of corruption capable of being expanded to fit nearly everything Trump has done – from firing FBI Director James Comey, to asking him to consider dropping the investigation of General Michael Flynn, to his son’s meeting with Russian surrogates.
This is the way the New York Times put it in its story about the court’s narrowing the meaning of corruption in the context of federal criminal law: ‘There was a time when political corruption might have been described – as a former Supreme Court justice once said of pornography – as something you knew when you saw it.” In other words, it was in the eye of the beholder rather than in a precise statutory definition.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 17, 2017.

Of Russia Baiters And Putin Haters

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,
‘Is Russia an enemy of the United States?’ NBC’s Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, ‘Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.’
To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered ‘treason.’
Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.
Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?
‘Why Russia is a Hostile Power’ is the title of today’s editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city:
‘Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy.’ Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 14, 2017.

Putin and Trump stage-manage a win-win meeting — Pepe Escobar

From the start, the ‘positive chemistry’ in the Mother of All Sit-Downs was a given. The format – with only the four principals, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and two translators – prevented any leaks. What was originally scheduled for 35 minutes went on for 2 hours and 16 minutes, and not even an impromptu appearance by First Lady Melania Trump – they were late for the Elbphilharmonie pomp and circumstance – managed to stop the flow.
They needed to deliver. They needed headlines. They got plenty. Including a possible first step at real cooperation; a ceasefire deal in southwestern Syria. Yet the real headline is that diplomacy beats demonization.
Still, from the toxic, overwhelmingly Russophobic Beltway point of view, that dystopia masquerading as a summit – the actual G-20 – was a mere backdrop; the only thing that mattered in this parallel G-2 was confirmation of an obsessive narrative; Russian interfered in the U.S. elections.
Spin City gave us slightly conflicting views. Tillerson admitted ‘intractable’ differences but stressed Trump was ‘rightly focused on how do we move forward’, while an uncharacteristically irritable Lavrov said Trump had accepted Putin’s denial, adding what is, in fact, the real clincher; Putin wants proof and evidence of Russian interference.
That won’t happen. The ‘Russian hacking’ tsunami ebbs and flows, always following the same pattern; accusations by some proverbial ‘anonymous official’ or ‘expert’, usually debunked. If the acronym jungle of U.S. intel had concrete, definitive evidence, that would have been splashed on every single front page long ago.

This post was published at Asia Times

UK COLUMN NEWS: NATO Weapons Trafficking Hub, UK’s New AUMF, Grenfell Tower Updates

Today we reveal a massive NATO-based international weapons trafficking hub run out of Baku, Azerbaijan supplying conflict zones worldwide including terrorists in Syria, UK Tory MPs now lobbying for a ‘Authorisation of the Use of Military Force in Syria to respond to chemical attacks, and US now asking to share a ‘No Fly Zone’ with Russia in Syria, More revelations with Grenfell Tower in London and much more…


This post was published at 21st Century Wire on JULY 7, 2017.

Our Political Parties Are Obsolete

When the parties do finally implode, the general mood will be: good riddance.
History informs us that once something is obsolete, it can disappear far faster than anyone expected. While we generally think of obsoleted technologies vanishing, social and political systems can become obsolete as well. Should a poor soul who entered a deep coma a year ago awaken today, we must forgive his/her astonishment at the political wreckage left by the 2016 election. The Democratic Party, a mere year ago an absurdly over-funded machine confident in an easy victory in the presidential race, is now a complete shambles: its leadership in free-fall, its Fat-Cat donors disgusted, and its demented intoxication with pinning collaboration with Russia on the Trump camp eroding whatever feeble legacy legitimacy it still holds. What the party stands for is a mystery, as its Elites are clearly beholden to insiders, special interests and Corporate donors while glorifying the worst excesses of globalism and the National Security State’s endless war on civil liberties. The newly awakened citizen would also marvel at the chaotic war zone of the Republican Party, in which the Insider Warlords are battling insurgent Outsiders, while the same Elites that fund the Democratic machine are wondering what they’re buying with their millions of dollars in contributions, for it’s unclear what the Republican Party stands for: it’s for Small Government, except when it’s for Bigger Government, which is 95% of the time; it’s for more law enforcement and the militarization of local police, and more intrusion into the lives of the citizenry; it’s for stricter standards for welfare, except for Corporate Welfare; it’s for tax reform, except the thousands of pages of give-aways, loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations all remain untouched, and so on: a smelly tangle of special interests masked by a few sprays of PR air freshener to the millions left behind by the globalization that has so enriched Corporate America and the class of financier-owners, bankers, insiders and technocrats–the same group that funds and controls both political parties.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, JULY 05, 2017.

Jeff Zucker Should Stand Trial for Conspiring Against the United States For Corporate Profits – Enough is enough!

Project Veritas, which CNN and others try bad mouthing, has caught CNN’s Supervising Producer admitting (1) they are on a witch-hunt against Trump, and (2) they constantly bash Trump with Russia putting the entire world at risk of war simply to make money. They treat their viewers as idiots who lack enough intelligence to distinguish the truth from propaganda violating even the fiduciary duty and public trust they must maintain as directors of a public corporation. CNN has become the source for misrepresenting implicitly that Trump won office only with Putin’s help.
The CEO of CNN, Jeff Zucker, is a very dangerous man who is violating federal law pursuing money and to hell with ethics, God, or the country also violating the security laws that every other director of a public corporation must maintain or face 25 years in prison. Trump has made CNN because he has been their number one story – relentlessly. Zucker has lost all credibility but he loves it and Time Warner is becoming a really dangerous propaganda corporation since Zucker is the true face of just how unethical Time Warner has become. If a drug company made false claims about a product just to make money, they would be in jail. So why not Time Warner?


This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 2, 2017.

Jeff Zucker & Jeff Bewkes Should Stand Trial for Conspiring Against the United States For Corporate Profits – Enough is enough!

Project Veritas, which CNN and others try bad mouthing, has caught CNN’s Supervising Producer admitting (1) they are on a witch-hunt against Trump, and (2) they constantly bash Trump with Russia putting the entire world at risk of war simply to make money. They treat their viewers as idiots who lack enough intelligence to distinguish the truth from propaganda violating even the fiduciary duty and public trust they must maintain as directors of a public corporation. CNN has become the source for misrepresenting implicitly that Trump won office only with Putin’s help.
The CEO of CNN, Jeff Zucker, is a very dangerous man who is violating federal law pursuing money and to hell with ethics, God, or the country also violating the security laws that every other director of a public corporation must maintain or face 25 years in prison. Trump has made CNN because he has been their number one story – relentlessly. Zucker has lost all credibility but he loves it and Time Warner is becoming a really dangerous propaganda corporation since Zucker is the true face of just how unethical Time Warner has become. If a drug company made false claims about a product just to make money, they would be in jail. So why not Time Warner?

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jul 2, 2017.

Flynn Probe Focusing On Former Business Partner

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s interactions with Turkish officials has expanded to include Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, Reuters reported Tuesday. However, the news agency said it’s unclear whether Kian is suspected of criminal activity, or if investigators are just trying to understand the role he played in a transaction involving their old company, Flynn Intel Group, and a Netherlands-based company owned by a Turkish businessman who’s believed to have connections with the Turkish government.
The announcement also has implications for the Trump administration. Kian had a hand in picking intelligence agency personnel and was privy to high-level conversations regarding US intelligence as a member of President Donald Trump’s national security transition team. He also led most of the Flynn Intel Group’s research and lobbying for the Turkish businessman in question, the Associated Press reported.
‘Investigators are also looking at whether payments from foreign clients to Flynn and his company…were lawful, according to two separate sources with knowledge of the broad inquiry into Flynn’s business activities. That includes payments by three Russian companies and a Netherlands-based company, Inovo, controlled by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, they said.
The FBI’s interest in Kian has not been previously reported. Kian played a central role in securing and overseeing the Inovo contract, two people with knowledge of that project said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.

Putin Critic Detained Hours Before Unsanctioned Protest

In a development that will likely grab media attention in the US, Russian police detained Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to his Twitter feed on Monday, hours before he called on supporters to mount an unsanctioned protest against corruption near the Kremlin. Navalny’s wife wrote on his Twitter account that he had been detained near the entrance of his home but that plans for the protest in central Moscow hadn’t changed.
Earlier in the day, the presidential hopeful had announced rallies against official corruption Monday, the Russia Day holiday, and protesters gathered in numerous other cities. Similar protests led by Navalny drew thousands in March in Moscow and several other cities across Russia, in what the WSJ dubbed “a rare challenge to the rule of President Vladimir Putin.” Photos from cities around the country on Monday, an official holiday known as Russia Day, showed thousands of protesters at fresh rallies. Vladimir Putin vowed to punish people who broke the law after the March protests at anti-corruption rallies organized by Navalny that were mostly unsanctioned in 80 cities across Russia, the biggest unrest in five years. Police arrested 1,500 people nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Moscow, and a handful are being prosecuted for attacking police.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.

FBI Nominee Christopher Wray Runs into Conflict Issues

President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Christopher Wray to take over James Comey’s job as Director of the FBI in a Tweet on June 7, the day before Comey’s much anticipated testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In the Tweet, Trump called Wray a ‘man of impeccable credentials,’ which, undoubtedly, he is. He is also a man with a maze of conflicts of interests.
It appears that someone has tried to scrub some of those conflicts from the official web site of the Justice Department. For example, try this Justice Department press release link, which now turns up a dead page.
http://www.justice.gov/criminal/pr/2004/02/2004_3631_FORMER_ENRON_CHIEF_E.htm
Fortunately for our readers, Google has cached the press release which is dated February 19, 2004. The opening sentence includes all three names making headlines today – Comey, Wray and Robert Mueller, the newly appointed Special Counsel who will investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and the firing by President Trump of James Comey as FBI Director. At the time of this press release, the three men were attached at the hip as part of George W. Bush’s Corporate Fraud Taskforce. All three men are quoted in this press release, as follows:
‘This indictment marks an important milestone in the life of the President’s Corporate Fraud Task Force,’ said Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, who heads the Task Force. ‘The indictment alleges that Jeffrey Skilling and other Enron executives concocted a massive, complex scheme to give shareholders and the investing public the false appearance of financial strength and security at a time when Enron was, in fact, failing. Our investigators were able to cut through the maze of paperwork and financial trickery to get to the bottom of the scheme and charge Skilling, once the top executive at Enron, with fraud and other crimes that contributed to Enron’s collapse.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.