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Gangster Capitalism:
Financial oligarchy and the Globalization of Organized Crime

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links Financial Looting Financilization of economy as the mechanism of redistributing the wealth up Crony Capitalism as Neoliberalism "new normal" Classification of Corporate Psychopaths Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists  
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" The Danger Imposed by Financial Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers The Deep State Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism
The Great Transformation Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money" The Iron Law of Oligarchy Senator Bob Menendez Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Globalization of Financial Flows Globalization of Corporatism
Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism and the crash on Boeing 737 MAX Techno-fundamentalism Neoliberalism Bookshelf Greenspan humor Etc

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist" 

Thomas Friedman 

Free market is possible only under strict government regulation. Without government regulation free market quickly deteriorates into the law of jungles. Such a paradox ;-)
And if financial oligarchy gets to power as they got via coup d'état in the USA in late 7th, it is only a matter of time before the society collapses. They are very destructive to the society at large. Probably more so then organized crime. But wait. They actually can be viewed as special type of organized prime as is "The best way to rob the bank is to own it".

If you think that Yeltsin privatization (see  Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia) and rise of organized crime in Russia are two distinct phenomenon, think again. Neoliberalism which declare profit as single and only moral value is in reality deeply interconnected with organized crime both in methods and personalities.  This is not very noticed in the USA, but quite so in, say, Ukraine.

It's not accidental that Forbes magazine recently placed two Mexicans, Carlos Slim and Joaquín Guzmán, high on their list of the most powerful people in the world. Carlos Slim is the world’s third-richest man and CEO of a telecommunications company and Joaquín Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

US Big Banks Are A Culture of Crime!

TheTradingReport

Organized crime. This phrase is now a precise synonym for big-banking in the United States. These Big Banks commit big crimes; they commit small crimes. They cheat their own clients; they swindle outsiders. They break virtually every financial law on the books. What do all these crimes have in common? The Big Banks commit all these crimes again and again and again – with utter impunity.

These fraud factories commit their serial mega-crimes, year after year, because the Big Banks know that they will never, ever be punished. On rare occasions, their crimes have been so egregious that U.S. ‘justice’ officials could no longer pretend to be oblivious to them. In such cases, there was a token prosecution, there was a settlement where the law-breaking banks didn’t even have to acknowledge their own criminality, and there was a microscopic fine – which didn’t even force the felonious financial institutions to disgorge all of their profits from these crimes.

Criminal sanctions, by definition, are supposed to deter criminal conduct. The token prosecutions against U.S. Big Banks didn’t deter Big Bank crime, they encouraged it. But even these wrist-slaps were becoming embarrassing for this crime syndicate, so they dealt with this problem. The Big Bank crime syndicate told its lackeys in the U.S. ‘justice’ department that they were not allowed to prosecute one of its tentacles, ever again.

The lackeys, as always, obeyed their Masters, and issued a new proclamation. The U.S. ‘Justice’ Department would never prosecute a U.S. Big Bank ever again – no matter what crimes it committed, no matter how large the crimes, no matter how many times the same Big Banks committed the same crimes. Complete, legal immunity; totally above the law. A literal culture of crime.

What happens when you create a culture of crime in (big) banking? Not only the banks break laws – with impunity – their bank employees do so as well. Case in point: Warren Buffett’s favorite Big Bank – Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo employees came up with a good idea for boosting their salaries: stealing money directly out of the accounts of the bank’s clients.

Consider how large this crime became, in just one of these tentacles of organized crime.

L.A City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a $185 million settlement reached with Wells Fargo, after thousands of bank employees siphoned funds from their customers to open phony checking and savings accounts raking in millions in fraudulent fees.[emphasis mine]

Thousands of bank employees stealing millions of dollars from bank customers, in tiny, little increments, again and again and again. But the story gets much worse. Why was a lowly city attorney involved with the prosecution of this organized crime?

So where is the FBI? Where is the Department of Justice? How about California Attorney General Kamala Harris? Too busy campaigning for the Senate to notice? How about L.A. District Attorney Jackie Larry?

Only City Attorney Mike Feuer took action, and he only has the authority to prosecute misdemeanors…

There are only two ways in which the non-action of the U.S. pseudo-justice system can be explained:

  1. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney, are completely bought-off, and refuse to prosecute one of the corporate fronts of their (real) Masters.
  2. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney considered this systemic crime by Wells Fargo’s employees to be nothing more than a misdemeanour.

Take your pick. The U.S. pseudo-justice system is used to seeing so many multi-billion dollar mega-crimes being committed by these fraud factories that the systemic crime at Wells Fargo (which was ‘only’ in the $millions) didn’t even attract their attention. Or, the entire U.S. pseudo-justice system is completely bought-off and corrupt – and they refuse to prosecute Big Bank organized crime.

A culture of crime.

It gets still worse. Thousands of Wells Fargo employees stole millions of dollars, from countless clients. They were caught. But not even one banker was sent to jail. In a real justice system, systemic crime of this nature would/could only be prosecuted in one of three ways. Either every Wells Fargo criminal would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (given the egregious nature of the crime), or Wells Fargo management would be prosecuted – because they would have/should have known about this crime-wave. Or else both.

Bankers stealing money, directly and brazenly, right out of customer accounts, but no one goes to jail? A culture of crime.

Understand that endemic, cultural changes of this nature don’t originate at the bottom of the corporate ladder. They originate at the top. In the case of the Wall Street crime syndicate; we already know that their management personnel are criminals, because they haveadmitted to being criminals.

Many Wall Street executives says [sic] wrongdoing is necessary: survey

If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest man today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK [New York and London], 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful… [emphasis mine]

One-quarter of Big Bank management admitted that they “need” to commit crimes. A culture of crime. More needs to be said about the rampant, disgusting criminality among upper management in the Big Banks of the U.S. (and UK).

A known whistleblower was conducting a public survey, asking known criminals how many of them were engaging in criminal behavior. What percentage of respondents would lie when answering such a survey? Three-quarters sounds about right. One-quarter of Wall Street executives admitted that committing crimes was a way of life. The other three-quarters lied about their criminal acts.

Monkey see; monkey do. The lower level foot soldiers see their Bosses breaking laws, with impunity, on a daily basis. Their reaction, at Wells Fargo? “Me too.”

Most if not all of the Wall Street fraud factories conduct detailed “personality testing” on their bank personnel. Are they looking to weed-out those with criminal (if not psychopathic) inclinations? Of course not. They conduct this personality testing to find which employees have no reservations about engaging in criminal conduct – so they can be fast-tracked for promotion.

There is no other way in which the systemic criminality of senior banking personnel can be reconciled with the detailed personality-testing in which they participated, in order to reach that level of management. The Wall Street fraud factories look for the most amoral criminals which they can find. And with the exorbitant, ludicrous “compensation” they award to these criminals for their systemic crimes, they end up with (literally) the best criminals that money can buy.

A culture of crime.

As a final note; the U.S. system of pretend-justice already has a powerful weapon in its arsenal to fight organized crime: the “RICO” act. This anti-racketeering statute was created for one, precise purpose: to not merely prosecute/punish organized crime, but to literallydismantle the crime infrastructure which supports the organized crime.

Not only does the statute confer strong (almost limitless) powers in gathering evidence of organized crime, it also permits mass seizures of assets – anything/everything connected to the organized crime of the entity(ies) in question. In the case of the Big Bank crime syndicate, where all of its operations are directly/indirectly tied into criminal operations of one form or another, if RICO was turned loose on these fraud factories, by the time the dust had settled there would be nothing left.

Oh yes. If the U.S. ‘Justice’ Department ever went “RICO” on U.S. Big Banks, lots and lots and lots of bankers would go to prison, for a very, long time.

Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

The first researcher who explored this uncanny relationship between that two and strong links between the neoliberal system of governance and organized crime was Michael Woodiwiss with his influential book Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime (Paperback):

Everyone knows what organized crime is. Each year dozens of feature films, hundreds of books, and thousands of news stories explain to an eager public that organized crime is what gangsters do. Closely knit, ethnically distinct, and ruthlessly efficient, these mafias control the drugs trade, people trafficking and other serious crimes. If only states would take the threat seriously and recognize the global nature of modern organized crime, the FBI's success against the Italian mafia could be replicated throughout the world. The wicked trade in addictive drugs could be brought to a halt.

The trouble is, as Woodiwiss demonstrates in shocking and surprising detail, what everyone knows about organized crime is pretty much completely wrong. In reality the most important figures in organized crime are employees of multinational companies, politicians and bureaucrats. Gangsters are certainly a problem, but much of their strength comes from attempts to prohibit the market for certain drugs.

Even here they are minor players when compared with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that selectively enforce prohibition and profit from it. Woodiwiss shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence...

A very timely book, November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

Wasted opportunity, September 6, 2006

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book "had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...." Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims: "..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit...Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial. For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted. Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted. The next pargagraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA. Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

< are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them. Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.


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[Aug 21, 2019] Epstein Used Network Of Shell Companies And Associates For Sex-Trafficking Ring, Lawsuits Claim

Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Jeffrey Epstein used his tangled web of shell companies as a "brazen and powerful organization" to operate a sex-trafficking ring, according to three new civil lawsuits filed against his $578 million estate.

The new litigation was filed against the estate, its executors and the shell companies themselves, asking for unspecified damages for medical and psychological expenses, trauma, humiliation and other injuries suffered as recently as 2017, according to Bloomberg .

Among the companies named in all three suits are one that owned Epstein's Manhattan mansion until 2011 ; his money-management firm, Financial Trust Co.; and HBRK Associates Inc., which allegedly helped arrange travel for Epstein's accusers between New York and Florida . A Richard Kahn was listed as the registered agent for HBRK in New York state corporate filings in 2008.

Two of the complaints name as a defendant the company that once owned Little St. James , the smaller of Epstein's private islands in the Caribbean. Little St. James was one of the locations from which Epstein ran a " complex commercial sex trafficking and abuse ring , " according to the lawsuits.

...

The defendants include the executors, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn , lawyers who were directors for a nonprofit Epstein had in the U.S. Virgin Islands called Gratitude America. - Bloomberg

Two of the women, "Katlyn Doe" and "Lisa Doe" claim to have met Epstein when they were seventeen. The third, "Priscilla Doe" says she was 20. The three say Epstein used a " vast enterprise " of associates working "in concert and at his direction, for the purpose of harming teenage girls through sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking. Notably, the new suits claim that all of this happened after his deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2007.

Katlyn and Priscilla claim they were flown to Florida so that Epstein could continue to sexually abuse them while he was on work release from jail . Katlyn claims he promised to pay for medical treatment, while he manipulated Lisa and Priscilla by promising to advance their dance careers - which he did not do, according to the lawsuits.

Epstein's complicit associates include "chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members, " according to the suits.

Katlyn also alleges that in 2013 Epstein paid her $10,000 to marry an associate in order for him to become a legal resident of the United States - stiffing her on another $10,000 she says she was promised upon their divorce. She says she agreed to come to Florida after Epstein promised her a job at his office, and that HRBK coordinated her travel . She added that Epstein forced her to "engage in sexual encounters" with him and another young female at the headquarters of his Florida Science Foundation.

According to University of Oregon law professor Susan Gary, Epstein's death shouldn't serve as an impediment to their civil claims.

" They're still in a good position ," said Gary, adding that the challenge "is proving as required by law that he injured them and they should get benefits for their injury."

After Epstein served 13 months in a Palm Beach jail, he settled over two dozen lawsuits with accusers who say he lured them when they were teenagers to his mansion, where they were coerced into sex and paid to recruit others .

Three of those cases, filed by clients of Brad Edwards, settled for a total of $5.5 million . Edwards is the lawyer for the women who filed the complaints Tuesday in federal court in New York. The plaintiffs aren't named because of the "sensitive sexual nature" of the cases , the suits say.

Late Tuesday, Edwards submitted arguments on behalf of VE, another client who last week sued Epstein's estate and three of the same companies targeted by the latest suits, asking the court to allow her to proceed anonymously.

" Epstein's vast wealth and far reaching connections make it clear that retaliation could be employed against individuals pursuing claims against the estate " and could deter witnesses, according to the filing. VE's anonymity will serve society as well, which " has an interest in eradicating the predatory practices of powerful men against vulnerable, susceptible women. " - Bloomberg

According to Katlyn Doe, Epstein would often remind her of his "extraordinary power to reward and punish."

Meanwhile, plaintiff Lisa Doe says she met Epstein in 2002 when she was 17, when he told her he was "close personal friends with some of the most influential names in dance," and would help her with her career if she taught a dance-based exercise class at the home of a wealthy New York man. Instead, Epstein forced her to engage in sexual encounters and derailed her career aspirations .

Lastly, Priscilla Doe says that an Epstein "recruiter" asked her if she wanted to give the financier a massage in his Manhattan mansion in 2006 when she was 20-years-old.

An associate of his taught her the "exact way" he liked to receive oral sex and Epstein "forced himself on her and took her virginity," according to the complaint. While Epstein was receiving massages, the suit says, he took calls from four people, referred to in the suit as "Important Business Person" 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The plaintiff says she was forced to "engage in commercial sex" on each of more than 20 trips to the Virgin Islands between 2006 and 2012 . - Bloomberg

According to the lawsuits, "Each of the employees and associates were paid through companies believed to have been funded by Jeffrey Epstein and, regardless of such funding, were disciples of Jeffrey Epstein, constantly informing plaintiff and other victims of Jeffrey Epstein's power and ability to improve or destroy a victim's life depending on her level of cooperation


Ms No , 14 minutes ago link

The last good FBI agent was Ted Gunderson. That's why Van Decamp gave the documentary that Bush Administration had buried to him. We almost lost this documentary forever, but some heroic individuals and fate kept it alive, hoping people would give a ****. It all ties to somebody controlling our politicians with honeypots. Remember when NWO was a conspiracy theory people laughed about? Not funny any more.

This is Gunderson after the FBI. He KNEW. This is all honeypot. The Satanism is for leverage and not real. People get detoured into that.

"He also investigated a child molestation trial in Manhattan Beach, California. In a 1995 conference in Dallas , Gunderson warned about the supposed proliferation of secret occultist groups, and He also investigated a child molestation trial in Manhattan Beach, California. In a 1995 conference in Dallas , Gunderson warned about the supposed proliferation of secret occultist groups, and the danger posed by the New World Order , an alleged shadow government that would be controlling the United States government. [8] He also claimed that a "slave auction" in which children were sold by Saudi agents to men had been held in Las Vegas , that four thousand ritual human sacrifices are performed in New York City every year, and that the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was carried out by the US government. [8] Gunderson believed that in the United States there is a secret widespread network of groups who kidnap children and infants, and subject them to ritual abuse and subsequent human sacrifice. [9] [10] ) ,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Gunderson

Conspiracy of Silence , a documentary listed for viewing in TV Guide Magazine was to be aired on the Discovery Channel, on May 3 1994. This documentary exposed a network of religious leaders and Washington politicians who flew children to Washington D.C. for sex orgies. Many children suffered the indignity of wearing nothing but their underwear and a number displayed on a piece of cardboard hanging from their necks when being auctioned off to foreigners in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Toronto, Canada.

"At the last minute before airing, unknown congressmen threatened the TV Cable industry with restrictive legislation if this documentary was aired. Almost immediately, the rights to the documentary were purchased by unknown persons who ordered all copies destroyed.

A copy of this videotape was furnished anonymously to former Nebraska state senator and attorney John De Camp who made it available to retired FBI Agent Ted L. Gunderson . While the video quality is not top grade, this tape is a blockbuster in what is revealed by its participants involved."

Can you imagine what these heroic men would think of this exposed Mossad honeypot? Its all exposed now, just needs to be linked together.

MadelynMarie , 5 minutes ago link

Really looks like this is how they control govts--not just in the US but all over the world.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/14-israelis-suspected-of-running-child-sex-trafficking-ring-in-colombia/

from the above article, I found this comment:

So the Jews have another South America pedophile scandal to their discredit. We haven't forgotten the child prostitution business run by Arie Scher and George Schteinberg in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 1990s . It was exposed in the early summer of 2000 by an infuriated teenage girl who found a nude photo of herself online, after Schteinberg had PROMISED her that he'd never show it to anyone.

Schteinberg was arrested and given a slap on the wrist (they went easy on him because he was Jewish) while Arie Scher escaped to Israel, one step ahead of the authorities.

The Israeli government took away Scher's diplomat license for five years (because he got caught being naughty, presumably; properly trained Jews don't get caught, of course).

When the five years were past, Israel proposed to send Scher to Australia to replace Amir Laty, who'd made himself unwelcome by committing espionage and by being very rude to certain Australian women.

Somehow or other, the Australian public found out that the spy was being replaced by a pedophile as Israel's official ambassador to their country, and they got up in arms about it. This persuaded Scher to decline the post, perhaps keeping the cushy administrative job the Israeli government gave him during the previous five years

So, looks like there were running another operation like this in Brazil during the 90s (never heard of that one before)

Ms No , 3 minutes ago link

Thanks. I really appreciate your comments.

ILikeMeat , 14 minutes ago link

Sounds like the set up for a typical Mossad honey pot operation..

June 12 1776 , 15 minutes ago link

Case 1:19-cv-07772 Document 1 Filed 8/20/2019 Page 1 of 52

PRISCILLA DOE, Plaintiff,
vs.

DARREN K. INDYKE AND
RICHARD D. KAHN AS JOINT
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
ESTATE OF JEFFREY E. EPSTEIN,
NINE EAST 71st STREET, CORPORATION,
FINANCIAL TRUST COMPANY, INC.,
NES, LLC, MAPLE,INC., LSJ,LLC,
HBRK ASSOCIATES, INC., JEGE, INC.,
Defendants.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6306617-Priscilla-Doe-v-Indyke.html

64. In 2006, Jeffrey Epstein told Plaintiff she was going on a trip with him to his island in the Unites States Virgin Islands.
65. On that trip was Jeffrey Epstein, Jean Luc Bruenel, Ghislaine Maxwell, Associate 2, Associate 8, and two other victims in addition to Plaintiff.
66. It was there that Ghislaine Maxwell taught Plaintiff the "proper way to give a blow job," describing to her the exact way that Jeffrey Epstein liked to be sexually serviced orally.

Case 1:19-cv-07772 Document 1 Filed 8/20/2019 Page 15 of 52

Give Me Some Truth , 16 minutes ago link

Easy predictions:

1) Authorities will NOT pursue, question or charge any of Epstein's clients or associates (the very people the entire trafficking operation catered to).

2) Authorities will NOT "follow the money."

3) Authorities will not arrest and prosecute any government employee who obstructed justice or participated in this scheme.

thefloridaman , 19 minutes ago link

You can't manage money if you are a felon!!! His licensing would have been revoked. It would have been on his U-4 and U-5.

Meanwhile he does not even show up on brokercheck.

Can anyone explain beyond the babble conspiracy theories. This is factual.

Jumanji1959 , 19 minutes ago link

The elites will have to get rid of people and evidence. The Clintons know too much and are oftened named. Nail gun sale at Home Depot. Those 2 geriatric fcuks must go.

Ms No , 9 minutes ago link

They are a huge liability on countless fronts. That will leave Chelsea to answer for any Clinton foundation questions, and she has been involved. She can play stupid and elicit sympathy. The Clintons are a huge problem.

south40_dreams , 25 minutes ago link

The clinton-soros-rothschild-obama cabal to rule the world is falling apart and the smell of arkancide is blowing heavy in the wind today......

Ms No , 7 minutes ago link

George Bush senior ran the CIA and his retarded offspring was in office for Israel's sept 11 false flag. Red team blue team is a joke.

Trump also has Mossad mob written all over him. His mentor was mob honeypotter, pedophile and hotel Titan Cohn.

They are all neck deep.

VWAndy , 39 minutes ago link

Notice these are civil lawsuits and not criminal cases.

Note the lack of perpwalks of the corrupted office holders.

Talk is cheap. Its in their actions we will know them by.

Ms No , 42 minutes ago link

JPMorgn and Douche bank need to be investigated for laundering the Epstein and Maxwell Mossad honeypot's money.

First JPMorgan was who they dealt with. Then when it started to get exposed they passed it to Douche.

Dont expect the Orange *** to investigate the Jewish Mob, that he is clearly an agent for.

the artist , 46 minutes ago link

Wait! Now there are TWO Islands!!!??? And Pedo Island is the SMALLER ONE???

WTF?

"Two of the complaints name as a defendant the company that once owned Little St. James , the smaller of Epstein's private islands in the Caribbean. "

marcel tjoeng , 53 minutes ago link

The Boss of Epstein is Wexner.

Wexner is related to Mossad and the very beginnings of the teaming up of Mossad with Dulles' CIA, after WWII, the OSS, the Irgun and the Stern gruppe, who did the King David Hotel bombing.

The Boss of Wexner is Henry Kissinger the 'republican free trader in favor of democracy'.

The Bosses of soldiers raping Kissinger in his Vietnam creation are the Rockefellers.

Kissinger ordered the Phoenix program mass murdering Vietnamese nationalist by the tens of thousands, which is a mere one feat in his massive killing career, like Churchill,

Kissinger who ran the Republican president Richard Nixon like fc*king a goat.

By the way, there are pictures in circulation of Republican president Ronald Reagan being deeply ejaculated into the manhole, enjoying that greatly (vehemently denied by his daughter at his funeral, pffffffff),

the same anecdotes exist of Prince Philip, husband of fake Queen Elisabeth, who requested to be manly penetrated by crew, when he was onboard visiting the British fleet.

USA USA USA

Bunch of parasite lunatics.

Burn it to the ground.

J S Bach , 1 hour ago link

" An associate of his taught her the "exact way" he liked to receive oral sex"

Wow... this is really important stuff.

How about a quote like:

"An associate of his taught him the "exact way" he liked to receive the blackmail information and videos in Israel."

MadelynMarie , 46 minutes ago link

"An associate of his taught him the "exact way" he liked to receive the blackmail information and videos in Israel."

Yes, interesting that we are NOT hearing about that aspect of the story.

I'm sure that Israel has operations like this all over the world. No doubt this is how they control governments behind the scenes.

Here's another one: https://www.timesofisrael.com/14-israelis-suspected-of-running-child-sex-trafficking-ring-in-colombia/

White Nat , 36 minutes ago link

And another ...

Homosexual Jewish Diplomat Runs a Child **** and Prostitution Business in Brazil

https://nationalvanguard.org/2016/08/recent-history-homosexual-jewish-diplomat-runs-a-child-****-and-prostitution-business-in-brazil/

NAV , 21 minutes ago link

And it it was no accident that the Monica Lewinsky/ Clinton sex scandal erupted into public view precisely at the moment Clinton had scheduled meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to revive the peace process by pressuring Netanyahu.

bustdriver , 1 hour ago link

Just to be clear on previous post.

"Time to investigate Mark Epstein and Humpty Dumpty."

Mark is Jeffrey's brother. He is a director of believe it or not the Humpty Dumpty Institute.

http://thehdi.org/about_humpty_dumpty.html

It is similar to the Clinton Foundation...

Give Me Some Truth , 15 minutes ago link

Mark Epstein has also gotten a pass. Add him to the long list.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

This likely could be tied to Franklin child sex ring scandal and Mossad will be there too. Watch this free documentary before Jootube takes it down. Men died for you to know this. The show was yanked before it could be played mainstream. Extremely disturbing but VERY important. This was the last time they slipped through your fingers and this type of thing will be what destroys this evil.

https://youtu.be/PScfMeXAQwU

ironmace II , 1 hour ago link

chefs, butlers, receptionists, schedulers, secretaries, flight attendants, pilots, housekeepers, maids, sex recruiters, drivers and other staff members.

All small potatoes. The people really guilty all go free.

LEEPERMAX , 1 hour ago link

With his Death the Case is Closed . . . Mission accomplished.

TheAntiProgressive , 1 hour ago link

Yeah and since Sir Pedo's death was termed a suicide, then one would think his will dealy in US VI was planned, as was his death and me thinks a good lawyer would negate the will, trust, etc by simply terming this transfer of assets a fraudulent conveyance and yank it back where those abused can take a slice.

LEEPERMAX , 1 hour ago link

To Big to Jail

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump's Foreign Policy All Coercion, No Diplomacy

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump's Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy By Daniel Larison August 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton at the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] Matt Lee reports on the Trump administration obsessive use of sanctions:

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.

It is true that the Trump administration is using economic coercion as its default approach to almost everything, but there doesn't appear to be any diplomacy involved. There is such a thing as "coercive diplomacy," but there is no evidence that Trump and his officials understand the first thing about it. An administration that genuinely wanted to secure lasting diplomatic agreements with other states would apply pressure only as a means to a specific, achievable goal, but with this administration they are waging purely destructive economic wars that the targeted states cannot end without capitulating. The "maximum pressure" description implies an unwillingness to relieve pressure short of the other side's surrender.

It is not just that it is a "combination of more sticks and fewer carrots." The Trump administration's policies are all punishment and no reward. In the case of Iran, it could hardly be otherwise when the administration chose to penalize Iran with sanctions for daring to comply with a multilateral nonproliferation agreement. Iran behaved constructively and acceded to the demands of the P5+1 four years ago, and in return for their cooperation they have been subjected to a grueling economic war despite fully complying with their commitments. When our government punishes another state for doing what previous administrations wanted them to do, no amount of punishment could force that state to trust our government a second time.

The administration approaches each case in the same way: they impose penalties, they make threats, they offer no incentives, and they make outrageous, far-fetched demands that no government would ever accept. Trump handles the trade wars in much the same way that he handles the "maximum pressure" campaigns against intransigent governments, and he fails every time because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement and therefore refuses to compromise. Trump's "diplomacy" is no diplomacy at all, but a series of insults, sanctions, tariffs, and threats that achieve nothing except to cause disruption and pain. Unsurprisingly, a pressure campaign that is aimed at toppling a government or forcing it to give up everything it has cannot be successful on its own terms as long as the targeted government chooses to resist, and the stakes for the targeted government will always higher than they are for the administration. In a contest of wills, the party that is fighting to preserve itself has the advantage.

[Aug 19, 2019] Is Big Necessarily Bad The American Conservative

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Is Big Necessarily Bad? Antitrust cannot be used as a cudgel based on size. There are other ways of whacking at corporate excess. By Marshall Auerback August 19, 2019

Teddy Roosevelt with trust-busting stick, circa 1904. (Image: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) When it comes to relations between consenting adults, size may not matter (or so one hears). But it's a different story in regard to companies and the politically fraught area of antitrust law.

Today, a number of policymakers , economists , and legal scholars connect a host of problems -- excessive wealth inequality, wage stagnation, political dysfunction, market distortions -- directly to the corporate "curse of bigness ," which they argue is a product of lax antitrust enforcement. But they may be misdiagnosing the cause of these diseases and, in so doing, offering up the wrong cure.

Instead of moving toward a new antitrust paradigm, we might do better to consider a more robust utility system of regulation that is "function-centric," rather than size-centric. In other words, regulation that restricts the range of corporate activities (e.g., structural separation so as to prevent companies like Amazon and Google from owning both the platform as well as participating as a seller on that platform), or the prices such companies can charge (as regulators often do for utilities or railways). These considerations would be "size neutral": they would apply independently of corporate size per se. Regulation, rather than antitrust, also better addresses other issues like privacy protection (via a national model that could replicate California's Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 ), labor abuses (it shouldn't matter whether workers are employed by Apple or mom-and-pop sweatshops), and controlling "fake news" dissemination (by placing social media companies under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission).

"Break 'em up" has great historical resonance in the United States. Yet one of the nation's earliest trust-busters, President Theodore Roosevelt, argued that "the remedy for [corporate] abuse was not mindlessly breaking up big firms, but preventing specific abuses by means of a strong national regulation of interstate corporations." Likewise, in the early days of the New Deal, his cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, initially embraced the antitrust philosophy of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (who, like many of today's modern trust-busters, prioritized power and business structure over consumer welfare). Ultimately though, frustrated that the incessant focus on corporate concentration was hindering World War II efforts to mobilize greater industrial production, FDR concluded that optimal outcomes were more likely to be achieved via "prudent government oversight and using antitrust laws to police abuses -- not to break up every big company simply because it's big."

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After World War II, historian Richard Hofstadter noted a gradual public acceptance of big business . In large part, this was due "to the emergence of countervailing bigness in government and labor" that ultimately led to the "big three tripartite" model among government, business, and unions exemplified in the Treaty of Detroit agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW).

From the 1950s through the 1970s, "Tripartism" was exceptionally successful at promoting economic growth and high wages (the wage growth was explicitly linked to rising productivity in the Treaty of Detroit). Big unions flourished alongside growing conglomerates that emerged as the new face of corporate consolidation (a prime example being International Telephone and Telegraph -- ITT). Equally significant, as the economist Thomas Piketty observed in his sweeping account of rising inequality, Capital in the Twenty-first Century , a new wave of corporate consolidation did not exacerbate prevailing inequalities. To the contrary, this period coincided with a diminution of wealth inequality , as relative wealth gains for the top tier stabilized for the first time in decades.

That all changed in the 1980s with the rise of Ronald Reagan's market fundamentalist agenda. His presidency was characterized by a sustained attack on unions , cuts in public services, and the ascendancy of the doctrine of "shareholder capitalism," used to legitimize the establishment of SEC Rule 10b-18 . That rule engendered an explosion in share buybacks (until it was introduced, companies buying back their own shares was considered a form of stock manipulation). Rather than focusing on job-creating investment, corporate cash flow was thus directed toward stock repurchases to fatten executive compensation.

The legacy of Reagan's market fundamentalism persists today. It is the most cogent explanation we have for growing wealth inequality, wage stagnation, and reduced emphasis on corporate R&D.

This period also coincided with the rise of the "Bork Doctrine," when, citing Robert Bork, the Supreme Court asserted that the main focus of antitrust law should be on economic efficiency and consumer welfare, as opposed to granting the government broad discretion to shape the economy. That shift in priorities is a major source of the neo-Brandeisians' criticism of Bork's antitrust philosophy. It reflects their Jeffersonian vision of a social-economic order organized along the lines of small-scale businesses, with atomistic competition between a large number of equally advantaged units, in theory producing greater innovation and economic dynamism.

But that's a highly idealized vision that doesn't comport with reality. Our modern economy isn't comprised of village blacksmiths, yeoman farmers, and cobblers. A crucial component of the economy today is big business, including many large multinational corporations that operate globally. And it is questionable whether their size automatically equates to market power (in the sense of having the ability to manipulate prices at will and exclude competitors), especially in the context of a global economy featuring a multiplicity of competing national champions. Seldom do we hear calls to break up Detroit's "Big Three," despite global revenues in the hundreds of billions. Why? Because there is a widespread recognition that these companies face significant challenges in a global market dominated by similarly large competitors.

Contrary to popular myth, big companies, not small businesses, can be engines of growth and innovation, as Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind explore in their book Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business :

On virtually every meaningful indicator, including wages, productivity, environmental protection, exporting, innovation, employment diversity and tax compliance, large firms as a group significantly outperform small firms.

That insight parallels the scholarship of Joseph Schumpeter, the intellectual godfather of the economics of innovation, who showed that R&D spending and productivity increase with scale. Latterly, Schumpeter's insights have been validated by a recent study from Professors Ann Marie Knott and Carl Vieregger, who conclude (emphasis added):

Not only do large firms (using the U.S. Small Business Association definition of greater than 500 employees) conduct 5.75 more R&D in aggregate than small firms, they have 13% higher productivity with that R&D. However this merely captures the private returns to their R&D. A further benefit of large firm R&D is that it generates the spillovers upon which small firm innovation free-rides .

Size-centric antitrust proposals also ignore the increasing prevalence of economic network theory, which suggests that social networks like Facebook or search engines such as Google lend themselves to becoming natural monopolies in order to function optimally. Here again, function-centric regulation -- i.e., separation between the control of content and distribution -- makes more sense to rectify market abuse. And this could be achieved via utility-style regulation, as no less a figure than right-wing populist Steve Bannon has suggested , rather than creating a bunch of new mini-Facebooks or Googles via court-mandated break-ups (especially if the owners of the newly broken-up companies retain full control of algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use, and even what messages get delivered to news consumers, as Mark Zuckerberg does today ).

It is also the case that many businesses characterized by minimal levels of corporate concentration -- construction, education, entertainment, accommodation, food, business services, transportation, warehousing -- generally experience sub-standard productivity levels, sluggish growth, and low real wages, according to an INET-funded study by Professors Lance Taylor and Özlem Ömer. Working conditions are generally worse, and wages and employment benefits lower, as small business owners are often the first to protest increased regulation or "burdensome" mandates, such as health care provisions. The real point is not to beat up on small businesses, but simply to note that the abuses commonly ascribed to big business are just as, if not more, likely to manifest themselves in smaller industries less prone to corporate concentration.

What about the claim that corporate consolidation contributes to a corrosion of American democracy ? It is true that as companies get bigger, it maximizes their abilities to "pay to play," as Professor Thomas Ferguson asserts in his seminal work, Golden Rule . Ferguson says that powerful blocs of business elites, large and small, with durable (largely economic) interests, are a constant feature of American politics. All have an incentive to get bigger in order to maximize political leverage. That includes smaller businesses that scale up via trade associations to maximize the impact of their "political investment." But again, what is needed here is not an antitrust remedy, but a change in the "pay to play" rules so as to ensure that money and corporate scale have less of a polluting impact on the American polity.

So it may be time to reconsider the simplistic notion that "big is bad." Yes, we want a dynamic economy and a thriving democracy. But mindlessly breaking up big businesses may not be the best path to get us there.

Marshall Auerback is a market analyst and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College.

This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

[Aug 19, 2019] After Allegations Of Druggings And Rape, Epstein-Pal And His Modeling Agencies Come Into Focus

Aug 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

After Allegations Of Druggings And Rape, Epstein-Pal And His Modeling Agencies Come Into Focus

by Tyler Durden Mon, 08/19/2019 - 11:15 0 SHARES

Following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, his seedy network of friends and potential co-conspirators alike have come into the spotlight.

One associate, considered to be Epstein's closest pal, is modeling maven Jean-Luc Brunel - who has recently been accused of pimping underage women around the world through his Mc2 and Karin modeling agencies, while former models have accused the 72-year-old of drugging and date-raping girls , according to the Daily Beast .

How close were Brunel and Epstein?

Brunel was one of the financier's most frequent male associates . The agent appears more than 15 times on flight logs from Epstein's private plane , jetting everywhere from Paris to New York, often in the presence of young women. He visited Epstein nearly 70 times in jail , according to visitor logs, and several more times while the financier was on house arrest in Palm Beach. According to one of Epstein's housemen, Brunel was comfortable enough to whip up his own meals in the financier's kitchen , and was one of Epstein's most frequent callers. - Daily Beast

Brunel's name appeared in a cache of court documents unsealed earlier this month, having called and left a message to let Epstein know that he "just did a good one - 18 years" who reportedly told him "I love Jeffrey."

"He has a teacher for you to teach you how to speak Russian," reads another note from September 2005, which adds " She is 2 X 8 [16] years old not blonde . Lessons are free and you can have 1st today if you call."

Epstein also extended a $1 million letter of credit to Brunel which was used to invest in Paris-based Elite Models. According to the Beast, "The venture, E Management, was first registered by Epstein's attorney, who listed its address as 457 Madison Avenue -- the same as Epstein's investment firm, J. Epstein & Co." Brunel says the venture fell apart after Elite Models learned of Epstein's sex-trafficking allegations - with the agent even suing Epstein in 2015 for tarnishing their reputation and causing a "tremendous loss of business."

At least two people say Brunel not only knew about the sex trafficking, he was actively participating in it .

Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) -- one of the first alleged victims to speak out against Epstein after he was granted a sweetheart plea deal -- claimed in legal filings that Brunel was one of many powerful men she was forced to sleep with in her years as Epstein's "sex slave." She also accused Brunel of using his agency to find foreign girls, obtain visas for them, and "farm them out to his friends, including Epstein ."

"A lot of the girls came from poor countries or poor backgrounds, and he lured them in with a promise of making good money," Giuffre said in a 2015 affidavit. " Jeffrey Epstein has told me that he has slept with over 1,000 of Brunel's girls, and everything that I have seen confirms this claim. " - Daily Beast

" My assumption was that Jean-Luc Brunel got the girls from Eastern Europe (as he procured many young foreign girls for Epstein). They were young and European looking and sounding ," said Guiffre while describing an orgy she says she was forced to participate in on Epstein's 'pedo island.'

In a 1988 60 Minutes piece, several American models who worked with Brunel spoke of being plied with drugs and taken to parties with older men .

"My sense, based upon the allegations, is that Jean-Luc was a predator, his group was a predator, and they used their tools of power and leverage to force sex from women who otherwise might not be willing to engage in it," one of the reporters from the 60 Minutes piece told the Daily Beast .

Former model Thysia Huisman was 18-years-old when she says Brunel sexually assaulted her after giving her a spiked drink .

" I recall him lying on top of me, me trying to push him off, " she said in an interview. "I remember trying to move, but not really being able to. Like almost being paralysed. I heard the sound of my blouse – a black blouse – ripping. I had a black skirt, too. I felt him – this is difficult – between my legs. Pushing."

Huisman said the rest was a blur. She woke the next morning in a kimono that wasn't hers, with soreness on her inner thighs. "I felt we had had sex," she said. "I knew. I know."

She gathered her things and fled while Brunel spoke on the telephone in the living room, she said. Her modelling work never recovered and she embarked on a career in television, always behind the camera.

...

"I was really ashamed," she said. Huisman said she began telling her current partner about the incident eight years ago. He confirmed to the Guardian she then told him she was "molested" by someone at her modelling agency, and added more details – including Brunel's name – over time, explaining the full story about two years ago. - The Guardian

Another former model, Courtney Soerensen, says Brunel molested her when she was 19-years-old, and "sabotaged" her career when she rejected him.

Courtney Soerensen, Thysia Huisman

"He would get very handsy, start groping me, try to kiss me, try to get me to lay down on the bed just to 'try it out'" said Soerensen. "He would try to untuck my shirt, wanting to 'see my abs'. He would grab my breasts and put his hand on my bottom. There was one time where he rubbed himself up against me. "

" The guy was a vile pig" says former Brunel photographer and scout Clayton Nelson. "The girls who slept with him worked. The girls who didn't, he would tell bookers: 'I don't want her booked for anything'."

Former MC2 bookkeeper Martina Vasquez has also accused Brunel of similar behavior, claiming that Brunel employed scouts who would recruit teenage models from South America, Europe and the former USSR. " The most desirable of those teens were housed in Epstein's Upper East Side apartments and loaned out to wealthy clients for up to $100,000 a night, Vasquez alleged. If they refused to be "molested," she said, they would not be paid. (Brunel has denied these claims and says Vasquez was fired from his agency for embezzling company funds.)" according to the report.

Bloomberg , meanwhile, reports that MC2 Model Management had a growing list of concerned corporate clients by 2014 after Brunel's ties to Epstein came to light.

By 2014, Brunel's business partner Jeff Fuller was concerned that the relationship with Epstein could be damaging. In a letter reviewed by Bloomberg News, Fuller told Brunel that he was getting a "tremendous amount of worries from our clients" about the ties to Epstein , then went on to list as clients Nordstrom Inc., Macy's Inc., Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney Co., Kohl's Corp., Target Corp., Sears and Belk . - Bloomberg

Brunel has denied all allegations of impropriety.

amadeus39 , 1 minute ago link

Molesting children is an abominable crime, but using that information to blackmail country leaders effects many more people. Using blackmail to gain political control will destroy nations and its citizens. It will destroy civilization. This Epstink plot will destroy trust of government. Once trust is destroyed, our world is destroyed.

nmewn , 13 minutes ago link

Jean-Luc Brunel, sounds Irish to me!

https://nypost.com/2019/08/13/french-officials-call-for-probe-into-epsteins-links-with-france/

Oh, I guess not ;-)

[Aug 18, 2019] Wells Fargo's behaviour as a nice example of immunity of criminals under neoliberalism

That's a racket. Pure and simple. Which means Well Fargo management and Warren Buffet would be prosecuted under RICO rules.
Aug 18, 2019 | slashdot.org
Wells Fargo's Computer Kept Charging 'Overdrawn' Fees On Supposedly Closed Accounts (startribune.com) 43 Posted by EditorDavid on Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:34PM from the continuing-relationships dept. The New York Times explains a new issue by describing what happened when Xavier Einaudi tried to close his Wells Fargo checking account. For weeks after the date the bank said the accounts would be closed, it kept some of them active. Payments to his insurer, to Google for online advertising and to a provider of project management software were paid out of the empty accounts in July. Each time, the bank charged Einaudi a $35 overdraft fee... By the middle of July, he owed the bank nearly $1,500. "I don't even know what happened," he said.

Current and former bank employees said Einaudi was charged because of the way Wells Fargo's computer system handles closed accounts: An account the customer believes to be closed can stay open if it has a balance, even one below zero. And each time a transaction is processed for an overdrawn account, Wells Fargo tacks on a fee. The problem has gone unaddressed by the bank despite complaints from customers and employees , including one in the bank's debt-collection department who grew concerned after taking in an estimated $100,000 in overdraft fees over eight months...

Most banks program their systems to stop honoring transactions on the specified date, but Wells Fargo allows accounts to remain open for two more months, according to current and former employees. Customers usually learn what happened only after their overdrawn accounts are sent to Wells Fargo's collections department. If the customers do not pay the overdraft fees, they are reported to a national database like Early Warning Services, which compiles names of delinquent bank customers. That often means a customer cannot open a new bank account anywhere, and getting removed from the lists can take hours' worth of phone calls.


fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:36PM ( #59099810 ) Journal

Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 3 , Insightful)

Yet, not a single person that counts is being prosecuted.

lgw ( 121541 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:42PM ( #59099822 ) Journal
Re:Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 5 , Interesting)

It's bizarre. I doubt Wells Fargo has a handful of senators in their pocket or something, as that would require a level of competence they've never demonstrated in any aspect of their business, so why are they even still allowed to be a bank?

Wells Fargo's primary business, near as I can tell, is widespread fraud. They may also do some banking on the side, but that seems like an afterthought. The entirety of their senior management should be in prison.

reboot246 ( 623534 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:56PM ( #59099868 ) Homepage
Re:Wells Fargo has to be the crookedest bank ever ( Score: 5 , Informative)

Wells Fargo is worse than crooked. They're incompetent, too. Their online bill pay is straight out of the 19th century.
That's why I closed my account with them about eight years ago . . . . or at least I think I did.

ranton ( 36917 ) writes:
Re: ( Score: 2 )

5th/3rd bank did the same thing to me back in 2009. I closed my bank account when merging accounts with my wife, but when transferring all of my recurring payments I missed two magazine yearly payments. 5th/3rd essentially reopened my accounts and charged them, which were obviously then overdrawn since they had $0 balances. Even after complaining they refused to rescind the fees.

We then closed my wife's account too and moved over to Chase. I always had the feeling that Chase would do the same thing to us to

JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:44PM ( #59099832 )
Most amazing thing about bank "errors" like this ( Score: 5 , Insightful)

Is that they all seem to work out in favor of the bank over the consumer. It's likely survivorship bias - all the errors that hurt the bank's financial interests get fixed, whereas the ones which help the bank don't and hang around forever. Imagine that.

gweihir ( 88907 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @02:54PM ( #59099858 )
Sounds like criminal business practices ( Score: 3 )

At the very least deceptive. In a sane system, the bank has to give a final balance at a certain day and it is legally prohibited from doing any transactions on that account afterwards.

Solandri ( 704621 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @03:02PM ( #59099878 )
Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 3 )

When you close an account, you are terminating your contract with the bank. You walk into the bank, the bank rep looks at the account, sees how much money is in it at that instant and cuts you a check for that remaining balance. That zeros out the account, and the contract you made with the bank when you opened the account expires - it is as if you never had an account with the bank. If the bank then decides to take "money" out of the now-closed account, it's their own damn fault. They cannot claw back money from the customer - there is no longer a contract between them. The customer correctly zeroed out the account and closed it. Any error is the bank's own fault.

I can see it being a problem if you hold multiple accounts with the bank and you close just one of them. Then the bank might be able to come up with a legal argument when you're still liable. But that's why I hold accounts with multiple banks, and I generally close all my accounts with one bank at once.

localroger ( 258128 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @03:18PM ( #59099898 ) Homepage
Re:Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 3 )

You're right legally, but the threat is that they will ruin your credit rating by reporting you as delinquent to the credit agencies. And your recourse for getting that undone is difficult at best.

sjames ( 1099 ) , Sunday August 18, 2019 @04:33PM ( #59100062 ) Homepage Journal
Re:Don't see how the customer could be liable ( Score: 2 )

In other words, extortion on the banks part and libel and slander from the reporting agencies (wanton disregard for the truth).

[Aug 16, 2019] This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

Aug 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

This Is How Epstein Manipulated Vulnerable Young Girls (And How You Can Protect Your Children From Predators)

by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/16/2019 - 18:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

This article contains content that some may find distressing.

Jeffrey Epstein "was" apparently a serial molester of children. He had manipulation down to an art form, as many molesters do. He seemed to be an expert at figuring out a girl's weak point, whether it was poverty, a deceased family member, or feeling alienated from her peers.

This is a common ploy. Many molesters seek out children or teens who have lost a parent and use this as a way to build a friendship. Then, because children don't think like adults, they are manipulated, coerced, or threatened into sexual activity.

The story below could be told a hundred thousand times with only tiny changes. The names and the faces would be different. The settings might not be a mansion in Manhattan or in Palm Beach but rather a quiet part of a church, a school, or some kind of activity for teens. The setting could be in the house next door to you, where someone with evil intent befriends a vulnerable young person with the stated goal of helping them, but an end result that couldn't be further from reality.

How 14-year-old Jennifer Araoz met Jeffrey Epstein

Jennifer Araoz was 14 years old when she first met her future rapist, Jeffrey Epstein. She wrote about how she was manipulated, first by his recruiter, then by Epstein himself. There are many powerful lessons that we as parents can learn from her story.

During my freshman year, one of Epstein's recruiters, a stranger, approached me on the sidewalk outside my high school. Epstein never operated alone. He had a ring of enablers and surrounded himself with influential people. I was attending a performing arts school on the Upper East Side, studying musical theater. I wanted to be an actress and a singer. ( source )

Another report based on court documents says that the recruiter befriended Jennifer, took her out to eat after school a few times, and learned more about her, such as the fact that Jennifer's father had died from an AIDs-related illness and her family could barely scrape by financially.

The recruiter told me about a wealthy man she knew named Jeffrey Epstein. Meeting him would be beneficial, and he could introduce me to the right people for my career, she said. When I confided that I had recently lost my father and that my family was living on food stamps, she told me he was very caring and wanted to help us financially. ( source )

The recruiter finally got Jennifer to go with her to meet Epstein. Court documents say that they all three met together for the first month or so.

The visits during the first month felt benign, at least at the time. On my second visit, Epstein also gave me a digital camera as a gift. The visits were about one to two hours long and we would spend the time talking. After each visit, he or his secretary would hand me $300 in cash, supposedly to help my family. ( source )

Epstein claimed he was 'a big AIDS activist' which you can imagine would mean a lot to a 14-year-old whose father died of the disease.

Soon the visits would take a dark turn.

By the second month of Jennifer's visits to the mansion, the recruiter no longer attended the visits., the manipulation began in earnest.

But within about a month, he started asking me for massages and instructed me to take my top off. He said he would need to see my body if he was going to help me break into modeling. I felt uncomfortable and intimidated, but I did as he said. The assault escalated when, during these massages, he would flip over and sexually gratify himself and touch me inappropriately. For a little over a year, I went to Epstein's home once or twice a week.

After that day, I never went back. I also quit the performing arts school -- the one I had auditioned for and had wanted so badly to attend. It was too close to his house, the scene of so many crimes. I was too scared I would see him or his recruiter. So I transferred to another school in Queens close to my home. Since I was no longer able to pursue my dream of performing arts I eventually lost interest and dropped out. ( source )

Sure, we can say that she knew things weren't right when he asked her to take her top off. By this point, she was 15 years old. Old enough to know right from wrong. But if she was getting $300 twice a week and helping her family with it, it's pretty easy to see how she would want to continue helping her family despite her discomfort. Epstein knew exactly what he was doing.

Epstein's wealth, power, and connections would have made going against him seem like an insurmountable feat for a vulnerable 15-year-old girl who had recently lost her father. Who would have believed her word against that of this presumed philanthropist?

A few days ago, Jennifer, now 32, filed a massive lawsuit against Epstein's estate, Ghislaine Maxwell, and 3 members of Epstein's household staff. The complaint alleges that Maxwell and the staff "conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff."

Some of Epstein's victims recruited new girls for him.

Epstein's indictment explains how he manipulated some of the girls he sexually abused to bring other girls to him.

Prosecutors say he lured underage girls, some as young as 14, to his residences, promising them a cash payment in exchange for giving him a massage. Instead, he would sexually abuse them -- groping them, making them touch him while he masturbated, and using sex toys on the minors. Then, he would allegedly ask them to recruit other girls. ( source )

A detailed report in the Miami Herald referred to it as a "sexual pyramid scheme." One of Epstein's accusers, Courtney Wild, reiterates the theme of the story told by Jennifer Boaz.

"Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right,'' said Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein. ( source )

Courtney's time spent with Epstein nearly destroyed her.

Before she met Epstein, Courtney Wild was captain of the cheerleading squad, first trumpet in the band and an A-student at Lake Worth Middle School.

After she met Epstein, she was a stripper, a drug addict and an inmate at Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida's Panhandle.

Wild still had braces on her teeth when she was introduced to him in 2002 at the age of 14.

She was fair, petite and slender, blonde and blue-eyed. ( source )

She began to recruit other girls for him in Palm Beach.

Wild said Epstein preferred girls who were white, appeared prepubescent and those who were easy to manipulate into going further each time

"By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years," said Wild, who was released from prison in October after serving three years on drug charges.

The girls -- mostly 13 to 16 -- were lured to his pink waterfront mansion by Wild and other girls, who went to malls, house parties and other places where girls congregated, and told recruits that they could earn $200 to $300 to give a man -- Epstein -- a massage, according to an unredacted copy of the Palm Beach police investigation obtained by the Herald. ( source )

Epstein had it down to an art form.

Palm Beach police detective Joseph Recarey explains how Epstein insinuated himself into the girls' lives.

"The common interview with a girl went like this: 'I was brought there by so and so. I didn't feel comfortable with what happened, but I got paid well, so I was told if I didn't feel comfortable, I could bring someone else and still get paid,' '' Recarey said.

During the massage sessions, Recarey said Epstein would molest the girls, paying them premiums for engaging in oral sex and intercourse, and offering them a further bounty to find him more girls

Epstein could be a generous benefactor, Recarey said, buying his favored girls gifts. He might rent a car for a young girl to make it more convenient for her to stop by and cater to him. Once, he sent a bucket of roses to the local high school after one of his girls starred in a stage production. The floral-delivery instructions and a report card for one of the girls were discovered in a search of his mansion and trash. Police also obtained receipts for the rental cars and gifts, Recarey said.

Epstein counseled the girls about their schooling, and told them he would help them get into college, modeling school, fashion design or acting. At least two of Epstein's victims told police that they were in love with him, according to the police report. ( source )

You may look at these stories and scorn the victims. After all, they kept going back, didn't they? They liked the money, didn't they?

But they were children. Many of them were isolated, vulnerable, and without support systems. Many of them felt ashamed but didn't know how to extricate themselves. They were confused and scared, and Epstein was a pro at taking advantage of these emotions and doubts.

The girls are not to blame here. The adults are.

Epstein is not the only predator out there.

While this article focuses on how Epstein was able to lure so many victims, as Dagny Taggert recently wrote , there are many more people in power out there preying on children. Clergy, priests, teachers, neighbors, musicians, and random people on the internet are out there preying on and trafficking children.

Dagny wrote:

According to The National Center for Victims of Crime , the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.

Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (page 24).

Studies by David Finkelhor , Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center , show that:

According to Darkness to Light , a non-profit committed to empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse, only about one-third of child sexual abuse incidents are identified, and even fewer are reported .

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operates the CyberTipline , a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.

In 2018 the CyberTipline received more than 18.4 million reports, most of which related to:

Since its inception, the CyberTipline has received more than 48 million reports.

Those statistics are grim. ( source )

How do you keep your children safe?

When my children's father passed away, it wasn't too long afterward that I left my corporate job. I volunteered when the company began layoffs and took a small payment and my retirement fund to start a new life writing freelance. It wasn't long after that when I started this website.

I wanted to be home when they got back from school every day. I didn't want them to seem like prey to those looking for children with weak support systems. My own daughters could so easily have had a story like the one Jennifer has told.

I know that what I did is not possible for every family that suffers a loss. I was pretty fortunate to be able to find work from home that paid enough to allow me to be there.

What you, as a parent, must understand are the things that make your child seem vulnerable.

Some signs that your child could be getting abused or groomed.

Obviously, these lists are not comprehensive, nor are they sure signs of abuse. What teenager doesn't seem angry and withdrawn from time to time? But it's vital, no matter how hard they push you away, to stay involved, particularly after a traumatic event.

Here are some resources you may find helpful.

Teach your kids that some secrets should not be kept.

Predators manipulate children in all sorts of ways. One of the biggest ways is warning them to keep their "relationship" a secret or else.

Or else what?

Predators often put a burden on a child where they feel as though they must stay silent to protect the people they love.

Kids need to know that if anyone threatens them if they tell a secret, then they absolutely must tell that secret. Mom and Dad will be safe and will protect them. People who ask children to keep their presence in their lives a secret are never to be trusted.

And finally, make sure your children know that whatever they tell you, you will believe them and you know it's not their fault.

[Aug 16, 2019] When the law is on the side of "extraordinary" risk takers, it's more tempting to go for it

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Daniel Rich , says: August 14, 2019 at 3:09 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski Quote: "When the law is on the side of "extraordinary" risk takers, it's more tempting to go for it."

Reply: Brilliant!

[Aug 13, 2019] Epstein's business was to facilitate one spcific form of corruption of politicians and other powerfule players

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 12 2019 5:55 utc | 74

Craig Murray's sober, reflective note on Epstein begins and ends with corruption as its main theme. I hope people find the time to read it. He doesn't delve deeply, but at base it what is known as seigniory rights--the right of the lord to take and rape whomever he wants with impunity, which is one of the most brutal forms of corruption imaginable. Epstein's business was to facilitate that form of corruption. Yes, it's illegal and immoral, but the primary fact is that its corrupt--it has no sanction whatsoever. And it's exactly that sort of primal corruption that is visited upon the vast majority daily. Passing legislation that will knowingly result in the poisoning of millions--stunting the brains of the young--which was just done and signed into law by Trump is what I'm writing about. It's a different form of rape, but it's rape nonetheless. But it seems that only bothers me, and Craig Murray.

Jay , Aug 12 2019 13:35 utc | 91

Tonymike:


So "it's all the fault of the Jews and the Israelis, no one else is ever involved in sex trafficking of young "white" girls", sarcasm from me.

Why don't you drop your BS auto-anti-Semitism and look at everyone else documented to have been involved.

/div>

For those who claim public view of Epsteins corpse,very understandably and necessary ,I would say,that even then there's possibility of being misled.The film industry manages to produce props that look very real,human face included.I stood once before a prop representing the corpse of a shot down horse,even at fifty cm from it I thought it was real.There was no smell of course,but even that can be staged.The people allowed to view Epsteins cadaver really would need to put a knife in it,to assure its being real,and then try to pull off the mask that could be his face.

Posted by: willie , Aug 12 2019 14:02 utc | 94

For those who claim public view of Epsteins corpse,very understandably and necessary ,I would say,that even then there's possibility of being misled.The film industry manages to produce props that look very real,human face included.I stood once before a prop representing the corpse of a shot down horse,even at fifty cm from it I thought it was real.There was no smell of course,but even that can be staged.The people allowed to view Epsteins cadaver really would need to put a knife in it,to assure its being real,and then try to pull off the mask that could be his face.

Posted by: willie | Aug 12 2019 14:02 utc | 94

willie , Aug 12 2019 11:11 utc | 84 Taffyboy , Aug 12 2019 11:25 utc | 85
Interesting list, sorry about the length of copy and paste, from Zerohedge then.

In 2016 CBS Las Vegas posted a list of Bill and Hillary Clinton associates alleged to have died under mysterious circumstances.

Here is that list.

1- James McDougal – Clintons convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2 – Mary Mahoney – A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown .. The murder happened just after she was to go public w:th her story of sexual harassment in the White House.

3 – Vince Foster – Former White House counselor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock's Rose Law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.

4 – Ron Brown – Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people on the plane also died. A few days later the Air Traffic controller commited suicide.

5 – C. Victor Raiser, II – Raiser, a major player in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

6 – Paul Tulley – Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock , September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "dear friend and trusted advisor".

7 – Ed Willey – Clinton fundraiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8 – Jerry Parks – Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock .. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

9 – James Bunch – Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which contained names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas

10 – James Wilson – Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater..

11 – Kathy Ferguson – Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12 – Bill Shelton – Arkansas State Trooper and fiancee of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancee, he was found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the grave site of his fiancee.

13 – Gandy Baugh – Attorney for Clinton's friend Dan Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall building January, 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

14 – Florence Martin – Accountant & sub-contractor for the CIA, was related to the Barry Seal, Mena, Arkansas, airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot wounds.

15 – Suzanne Coleman – Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16 – Paula Grober – Clinton's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one car accident.
17 – Danny Casolaro – Investigative reporter, investigating Mena Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in the middle of his investigation.

18 – Paul Wilcher – Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993, in his Washington DC apartment had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

19 – Jon Parnell Walker – Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his Arlington ,Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993. He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

20 – Barbara Wise – Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death: Unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, naked body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

21 – Charles Meissner – Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22 – Dr. Stanley Heard – Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton 's advisory council personally treated Clinton's mother, stepfather and brother.

23 – Barry Seal – Drug running TWA pilot out of Mena Arkansas, death was no accident.

24 – Johnny Lawhorn, Jr. – Mechanic, found a check made out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit a utility pole.

25 – Stanley Huggins – Investigated Madison Guaranty. His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26 – Hershell Friday – Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994, when his plane exploded.

27 – Kevin Ives & Don Henry – Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A controversial case, the initial report of death said, due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.

THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE IVES/HENRY CASE:
28 – Keith Coney – Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck, 7/88.

29 – Keith McMaskle – Died, stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988

30 – Gregory Collins – Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.

31 – Jeff Rhodes – He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.

32 – James Milan – Found decapitated. However, the Coroner ruled his death was due to natural causes".

34 – Richard Winters – A suspect in the Ives/Henry deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE ALSO DEAD
35 – Major William S. Barkley, Jr.

36 – Captain Scott J . Reynolds

37 – Sgt. Brian Hanley

38 – Sgt. Tim Sabel

39 – Major General William Robertson

40 – Col. William Densberger

41 – Col. Robert Kelly

42 – Spec. Gary Rhodes

43 – Steve Willis

44 – Robert Williams

45 – Conway LeBleu

46 – Todd McKeehan

And the most recent, Seth Rich, the DC staffer murdered and "robbed" (of nothing) on July 10. Wikileaks founder Assange claims he had info on the DNC email scandal.

Not Included in this list are the 4 heroes killed in Benghazi.

And now you can add multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein to the list...

[Aug 13, 2019] Our Overly Militarized Foreign Policy Gets Even Worse

Aug 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Daniel Benaim and Michael Walid Hanna explain that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East hasn't changed much at all under Trump, but there has been a reduction in diplomatic engagement:

For all the headlines, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is fairly consistent. Despite the administration's intention, laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, to refocus the U.S. military on great-power competition, the U.S. footprint in the Middle East remains relatively constant, and seemingly permanent. Instead, what has changed is the scale of civilian effort that, in most previous administrations, would have accompanied such a military presence. The Trump administration has left numerous vacancies for key civilian positions unfilled for long stretches, slashed aid programs, and focused on high-level personal relations at the expense of broader ties. Altogether, its approach has not been typified by either retrenchment or interventionism but by what Barry Posen, writing in Foreign Affairs, has called "illiberal hegemony" -- military superiority shorn of diplomatic stewardship.

Benaim and Hanna are right about this, and their article is a welcome corrective to the many false claims that Trump is "retreating" from the region. The administration's disdain for diplomacy and aid has been impossible to miss over the last two and a half years, and they have combined that with more or less continuing the military deployments and missions that they inherited. What that means in practice is that the U.S. remains entangled in the affairs of the region, but our government's involvement leans even more heavily towards the military. That leaves every other kind of engagement underfunded, understaffed, and neglected. Since our foreign policy is already excessively militarized, this makes a bad problem worse. Benaim and Hanna note this later in the article:

This approach also exacerbates the long-standing problem of overreliance on the military as the central tool of U.S. Middle East policy. Even on a diplomat's best days, regional leaders are well aware of the "consul effect" -- the contrast between well-resourced American military commanders and their relatively impoverished diplomatic colleagues. Further marginalizing diplomats costs them influence, access, and bargaining power, while positioning the military and intelligence communities as the only effective U.S. institutional actors in the region.

Given the reality that the U.S. military presence hasn't been reduced, and has actually increased in some places over the last two years, how is it that we keep hearing about U.S. "retreat" and "withdrawal" as if these were happening? Client states have an incentive to whine about possible "abandonment" no matter what the U.S. does. Either they complain about an "abandonment" that has supposedly already happened, or they warn against a possible "abandonment" that might take place in the future. The whining serves the purpose of putting pressure on every administration to maintain existing commitments and then to add more. Then there are pundits and analysts at home that constantly fret about U.S. "withdrawal" as a way of agitating for increased involvement. Then there are the supporters of the president that want to pretend that the "withdrawal" is really happening in order to credit the president for doing something he hasn't done. Add them all up, and you get an unfounded consensus that the U.S. is "retreating" when virtually nothing has changed. In the case of Trump, there is an additional factor of taking the president's rhetoric at face value while ignoring what his administration is doing. Trump boasts about some things that never happened and never will happen, and for some reason he is blamed/credited for things he never does while his real policies often escape close scrutiny.

Put simply, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East is largely unchanged and has even escalated to some degree under Trump, but all other kinds of engagement get short shrift. Far from disentangling the U.S. from its excessive commitments in the region, Trump has embraced our worst clients and deepened our government's involvement in the worst way for the sake of arms sales and whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and it is antithetical to a foreign policy that extricates U.S. forces from the region.

[Aug 12, 2019] Russiagate is Dead, but for the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42 by Craig Murray

"Mueller's Inquiry was never a serious search for truth is that at no stage was any independent forensic independence taken from the DNC's servers, instead the word of the DNC's own security consultants was simply accepted as true. Finally no progress has been made – or is intended to be made – on the question of who killed Seth Rich, while the pretend police investigation has "lost" his laptop. "
See also Robert Muller: Establishment Sweethard helped Bush to see the Iraqq war https://youtu.be/mK5T_rZmVyg
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
... ... ...

So, there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardian front page lie published by Kath Viner and Luke Harding fabricating the "secret meetings" between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant, and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.


michael , August 12, 2019 at 19:53

So far there is as much evidence presented that Martians interfered in the 2016 Election as RUSSIANS!!!
Just a much needed excuse to blow on the dying embers of the Cold War and get the nuclear weapons ready.
I'm still waiting for Robert Mueller to be tried for lying to Congress (when asked who hired him, instead of saying "I have no idea", he said "Bush!" It is a matter of public record that Reagan hired him, a blatant lie! Is Michael Flynn out of jail yet?)

Drew Hunkins , August 12, 2019 at 14:49

" and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power "

They are also extremely useful as a scapegoat for the corporate warmongering DNC to camouflage the genuine reasons they lost to Trump of all people.

Mark Thomason , August 12, 2019 at 10:34

Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters.

jessika , August 12, 2019 at 09:38

"Those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad".

Larry Mofield , August 12, 2019 at 08:41

If Russia actually wanted to help someone win I think it would be Hilary because Trump is a plain shooter from the hip and takes nothing off of nobody.
If anything Sanders should had sued the DNC and Hilary for rigging the DNC
Go figure why he has kept his mouth shut.

Bif Webster , August 12, 2019 at 11:13

Putin preferred Obama to his running mates as well. But you won't ever hear that on the corporate "news" media.

Others sued on behalf of Bernie. That case died in south Florida, near Wasserman-Schultz's district yeah, and the excuse was, "The DNC is a 'private organization" and do what they like, apparently. However, the "judge" did not find it odd that a private entity can run a public election? And how there's an obvious conflict of interest involved?

Bernie kept his mouth shut because he's inside the Belly of the Beast.

Martin , August 12, 2019 at 11:54

i think there was something of a lawsuit, but the judge decided that the rigging was an inside thing to which no external laws applied. if you got a non-profit or a company and there's no internal rules that forbid the rigging of votes, rigging is not illegal. the superdelegates still exist.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 12:04

He kept his mouth shut because advancing "My Revolution" was more important. And, because he's NOT a Democrat: he's only "allowed" to run as one: he is therefore a little more constrained. Had he lashed out he'd have NOT been allowed to run again as a Democrat -- bank on that!

Tulsi Gabbard, on the other hand, is a Democrat, in which case she really couldn't be kicked out: it was she who acted as Bernie's mouth on this matter.

Trump is a piece of crap. There's nothing straight about him at all. He's a con-man of the highest order. Other than give money to the rich he's done nothing: and "nothing," is probably the best that could have been hoped for given that he could have started some wars (he hasn't found one that he feels safe would not undermine his presidency, otherwise he'd be lighting it up). The reason the guy is so good at firing people is because he's so crappy about firing them.

Oh yeah, I have not cast a single vote for anyone I have mentioned here.

evelync , August 12, 2019 at 13:20

Interesting question, Larry Mofield!

Bernie's not a stupid guy and I believe (as does Cornel West and Noam Chomsky) he's dedicated to policies that serve working people and sustainability.(as I see it – reversing the NeoLiberal agenda in order to restore a level playing field for working people and also to shift to a democratic, non imperial foreign policy.)

So why didn't he, let's call him "David", not aim his slingshot at the DNC, let's call it "Goliath"?

Probably because a single stone in a slingshot was hopeless. He was up against a massive corrupt network of hangers on, IMO, who rabidly shouted down the person who dared to question Clinton's policies.

For an even more recent example of a delusional grandiose, imperial mind set, let's take the 200+ people affiliated with the JFK School of Government at Harvard. The ones who accepted the School's shameful withdrawal of Chelsea Manning's honorary fellowship because Pompeo and Morrell attacked it with Cold War rhetoric. Manning's crime? Telling people the truth about horrific wrongdoing she witnessed in Iraq. When I emailed 200 people at the JFK School a shame-on-you letter I heard back from only one who chastised (threatened) me for not understanding "National Security" .say what????) Others chimed in to agree with her. (I shared that email with Robert Parry at the time and he emailed back that he didn't blame me for being outraged. He was such a wonderful person.)

So Bernie had the whole MSNBC related propaganda machine at his throat.
– think Mimi Rocah's recent "he makes my skin crawl" comment, knowing surely, that her words would be applauded over there.
and think all the people who have accepted since 2016 that the Russians cost Hillary Clinton the election in denial over the truth – a flawed candidate who seemed to consider her constituency the big banks and the polluters and the war machine.

I know lifelong conservative Republicans who liked Bernie in 2016 and like him now because they find him truthful but didn't trust Clinton and some voted for Trump in order to beat her.

This country is filled with a patronage network of well off established people including Democrats who believe everything's fine as it is and are willing to shut their eyes to what's not working – the financial crisis of the working class, the racism underlying the for profit prison system and immigration system, the horrific endless regime change wars and the massive deregulation of banks on Bill Clinton's watch and much more, including the Climate Crisis.

It's taken almost 3 years to discredit what apparently was a faux "excuse" why Hillary Clinton lost. Too many voters in key states didn't trust her to serve their interests because she clearly was an apparatchik for the MICIMATT.

Enough of Trump's voters were willing to gamble on this "unknown" character who piggy backed off what Bernie was saying at the time – too bad he was lying ..

rosemerry , August 12, 2019 at 15:39

The whole suggestion has ignored any words and actions of Pres. Putin, who is careful to keep to the truth. He often stated that he would accept whoever the US population chose (ie did not even want to lean towards the one claiming to desire better relations, let alone interfere) because the difference between US administrations was small and policies unlikely to change in 2016. Because the US constantly causes "régime change" does not mean that Russia does. The quick decision to "blame Russia" immediately after Trump's win, activated by Obama expelling diplomats and stealing their US property, set the ball rolling and it has not stopped.

phillip sawicki , August 12, 2019 at 08:37

T he AP and no doubt other media are setting the stage for claiming that if Trump is reelected in 2020, the Russians again were responsible. As HItler learned, repeat a lie often enough and it will assume the appearance of truth. It's not surprising that the Democrats led by Hillary are behind this maneuver. The Dems have been blaming Russia ever since Truman did so in 1945.

Sally Snyder , August 12, 2019 at 08:05

As shown in this article, key Western countries including the United States have put in place a mechanism that is supposed to protect us from election meddling:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-g7-rapid-response-mechanism.html

Given the anti-Russia bias that took root and has become pervasive in the West since 2014 and, in particular, since the Hillary Clinton loss in 2016 which is blamed on Russian-sourced disinformation, it is interesting to see that the G7 has been driven to take extreme moves to battle what they see as an "evil Russia".

jdd , August 12, 2019 at 07:05

Devastating. A cogent and insightful analysis of Judge Koeltl's decision. Thank you Ambassador Murray.

Michaelevan Hammond , August 12, 2019 at 02:16

What's hilarious is that Binney was able to discern that the download was later split in two and then transmitted state side. Think of when you download a movie or a file .. it doesn't come in 2 parts, you either download the whole thing or it is an error/fail. Binney is able to show that the whole thing is one download at 49mbps impossible speed for transatlantic transmission .he absolute fastest you can achieve over the cable is 29mbps ..plus there are 6-12 NSA monitoring junctions added to the cable to capture such things and not one had any Russians attempting to "hack"(2001 term). It was all just deflection for Hillary and she may we'll have selfishly killed the Dems party.

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 00:37

Russiagate is not "dead." It has more lives than a cat bitten by a vampire. It is permanently undead. The antithesis of a dead parrot.

Check out some of its latest incarnations:

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-11/moscow-mitch-secret-russian-subs-and-russophobia-derangement

How many times does Rachel Maddow have to tell you? Anyone who did not vote for Hillary Clinton and refuses to back her never-ending, constantly metamorphosing coup against Trump has got to be a Putin agent even Mitch McConnell. Check back tomorrow for the latest Maddowsplaining on this and other bad crazyness.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 12:07

I agree. The FACT that the US has been sanctioning Russia for the better part of 100 years pretty much tells it all. It's about the West's ruling elite keeping Their game going: but, nothing lasts forever, and this game is about to run out on them (the perpetual growth model, which has given them their power, is ending).

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 00:18

Unless he was being sarcastic, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough tweeted that the Russians were probably behind Jeff Epstein's "suiciding" in the high security NYC federal lockup!

Anyone who truly believes that Epstein actually took his own life probably does still have a severe case of Putin Derangement Syndrome, aka Russophrenia, Russiagate-itis, -osis or whatever ya wanna call it. Their minds cannot co-exist within both the Deep State Matrix and objective reality at the same time. Blaming all evil in the world on Russia gives them license to act outside conventional morality with impunity.

Mark Stanley , August 12, 2019 at 11:32

Yes, they are endeavoring to tip-toe around this one. If Epstein had started squealing, the excrement would really have hit the fan. After his purported suicide, the smokescreen "conspiracy" word popped up immediately in every mainstream mention of Epstein.
If the populace found out about the deranged sexual practices of too many of the world's elites it would certainly upset the apple cart–to use an American expression.

Seer , August 12, 2019 at 15:51

This IS VERY DEEP! First three parts of this most excellent four part series is available, starting with this one (Mint Press also needs supporting).

https://www.mintpressnews.com/shocking-origins-jeffrey-epstein-blackmail-roy-cohn/260621/

After reading this I now understand why Trump won't release his tax returns.

Realist , August 12, 2019 at 18:12

Seer,

Probably, because like Romney, he didn't pay any.

Dershowitz's client Leonna Helmsley explained the principle decades ago: "Only the little people pay taxes." Probably as truthful a description of the American system as you will ever hear. Sadly, it went down the memory hole because the media will never mention it again. Investigative reporters like David Cay Johnston have to write individually researched books on the subject and hope that the swamp creatures don't seek retribution against him some dark night.

The most the public is ever going to get in this world is perhaps a brief glimmer of the truth through the hard work and suffering of individuals like Assange, Manning and a few other brave altruistic souls, but never justice. The system is set up to sacrifice the lives of millions for the benefit of dozens.

[Aug 12, 2019] Under neoliberalism buying politicians is the most lucrative investment of all

Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Aug 12 2019 20:50 utc | 133

Hoarsewhisperer@ 73 said;"Buying politicians is the most lucrative investment of all..."

Yep, invest a million here and there, get a Billion back.

snake, thanks for the link. What a sordid mess of cretins.

@128: Interesting theory, but, IMO, DJT is just the latest, in a long line, that do the bidding of the malignant oligarchs, who's vast wealth buys compliance to their needs.


The military is just the enforcement arm of their system..

[Aug 11, 2019] https://www.mintpressnews.com/mega-group-maxwells-mossad-spy-story-jeffrey-epstein-scandal/261172/ by By Whitney Webb

Highly recommended!
Images removed. For full text the original source... test
Notable quotes:
"... Maxwell, who was a business partner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman, aided the successful Mossad plot to plant a trapdoor in U.S.-created software that was then sold to governments and companies throughout the world. That plot’s success was largely due to the role of a close associate of then-President Ronald Reagan and an American politician close to Maxwell, who later helped aid Reagan in the cover-up of the Iran Contra scandal. ..."
"... Years later, Maxwell’s daughter — Ghislaine Maxwell — would join Jeffrey Epstein’s “inner circle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a similar software program now being marketed for critical electronic infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad ..."
"... Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intelligence and has well-documented ties to influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. Yet, those entities are not isolated in and of themselves, as many also connect to the organized crime network and powerful alleged pedophiles discussed in previous installments of this series. ..."
"... Associated Press ..."
"... Lauder, then-ambassador to Austria for the Reagan administration, would have been well-positioned to acquire such a passport, particularly for the reason cited by Epstein’s attorneys that Jewish-Americans could be targeted during travel, and in light of Lauder’s very public concerns over threats Jews face from certain terror groups. Furthermore, the passport had been issued in 1987, when Lauder was still serving as an ambassador. ..."
"... Though Epstein’s defense attorney declined to reveal the identity of the “friend” who provided him with the fake Austrian passport, Lauder was both well-positioned to acquire it in Austria and also deeply connected to the Mega Group, which was co-founded by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexner and to which Epstein has many connections. These connections to both the Austrian government and to Epstein’s mentor make Lauder the most likely person to have acquired the document on Epstein’s behalf. ..."
"... Furthermore, Lauder co-founded the Eastern European broadcasting network CETV with Mark Palmer, a former U.S. diplomat, Kissinger aide and Reagan speechwriter. Palmer is better known for co-founding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization often described as an accessory to U.S. intelligence, and one whose first president confessed to the Washington Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Standard noted that Epstein once claimed that during the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein later backed away from that assertion. ..."
"... The Mega Group — a secretive group of billionaires to which Lauder belongs — was formed in 1991 by Charles Bronfman and Leslie Wexner, the latter of whom has received considerable media scrutiny following the July arrest of his former protege Jeffrey Epstein. Media profiles of the group paint it as “a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen” focused on “philanthropy and Jewishness,” with membership dues upwards of $30,000 per year. Yet several of its most prominent members have ties to organized crime. ..."
"... When Edgar Bronfman died in 2013, long-time ADL Director Abe Foxman said , “Edgar was for many years Chair of our Liquor Industry Division, Chair of our New York Appeal, and one of our most significant benefactors.” Other Mega Group members that are donors and major supporters of the ADL include Ronald Lauder , Michael Steinhardt and the late Max Fisher . As previously mentioned, Roy Cohn’s father was a long-time leader of B’nai B’rith’s influential New England-New York chapter and Cohn was later a celebrated member of its banking and finance lodge. ..."
"... In addition, Mega Group members have also been key players in the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. For instance, Max Fisher of the Mega Group founded the National Jewish Coalition, now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition — the main pro-Israel neoconservative political lobbying group , known for its support of hawkish policies, and whose current chief patrons, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, are among Donald Trump’s top donors. ..."
"... Sam Bronfman, as was detailed in Part I of this series, had long-standing deep ties to organized crime, specifically Meyer Lanksy’s organized crime syndicate. Yet, Bronfman’s private ambition, according to those close to him, was to become a respected member of high society. As a consequence, Bronfman worked hard to remove the stain that his mob associations had left on his public reputation in Canada and abroad. He accomplished this by becoming a leader in Canada’s Zionist movement and, by the end of the 1930s, he was head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had begun to make a name for himself as a philanthropist for Jewish causes. ..."
"... Yet even some of Bronfman’s activism and philanthropy had hints of the mobster-like reputation he tried so hard to shake. For instance, Bronfman was actively involved in the illegal shipping of arms to Zionist paramilitaries in Palestine prior to 1948, specifically as a co-founder of the National Conference for Israeli and Jewish Rehabilitation that smuggled weapons to the paramilitary group Haganah. ..."
"... However, Edgar and Charles Bronfman were hardly the only members of the Mega Group with deep and long-standing ties to the Lansky-led National Crime Syndicate. Indeed, one of the group’s prominent members, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, opened up about his own family ties to Lansky in his autobiography No Bull: My Life in and out the Markets , where he noted that his father, Sol “Red McGee” Steinhardt, was Lansky’s jewel fence of choice and a major player in New York’s criminal underworld. Sol Steinhardt was also his son’s first client on Wall Street and helped him jumpstart his career in finance. ..."
"... One surprise connection to Cohn involves Mega Group member, and former president of U.S. weapons firm General Dynamics, Lester Crown, whose brother-in-law is David Schine, Cohn’s confidant and alleged lover during the McCarthy hearings, whose relationship with Cohn helped bring about the downfall of McCarthyism. ..."
"... Leslie “Les” Wexner, the other Mega Group co-founder, also has ties to organized crime. Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny following the latter’s recent arrest, as Wexner was the only publicly acknowledged client of Epstein’s suspicious hedge fund, the source of much of this wealth, and the previous owner of Epstein’s $56 million Manhattan townhouse, which Wexner transferred to an Epstein-controlled entity for free. ..."
"... The 1996 Times article also noted that, after Wexner bought the residence for $13.2 million in 1989, he spent millions more decorating and furnishing the home, including the addition of the electronic equipment in the “James Bond” bathroom, only to apparently never live in it. ..."
"... Farmer’s account strongly suggests that, given the behavior of his personal security staff at his mansion following Epstein’s alleged assault on Farmer, Wexner was well aware of Epstein’s predatory behavior towards young women. This is compounded by claims made by Alan Dershowitz — a former lawyer for and friend of Epstein’s, who has also been accused of raping underage girls — that Wexner has also been accused of raping underage girls exploited by Epstein on at least seven occasions. ..."
"... The report, titled “ Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis ,” names Leslie Wexner as linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures” and also lists the names of businessman Jack Kessler, former Columbus City Council President and Wexner associate Jerry Hammond, and former Columbus City Council member Les Wright as also being involved in Shapiro’s murder. ..."
"... As to Wexner’s alleged links to organized crime, the report focuses on the close business relationship between Wexner’s The Limited and Francis Walsh, whose trucking company “[had] done an excess of 90 percent of the Limited’s trucking business around the time of Shapiro’s murder,” according to the report. Walsh was named in a 1988 indictment as a “co-conspirator” of Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, whose long-time lawyer was Roy Cohn; and the Shapiro murder report stated that Walsh was “still considered associates of the Genovese/LaRocca crime family, and Walsh was still providing truck transportation for The Limited.” ..."
"... According to a source who viewed a copy of the NSA transcript of the conversation, the intelligence officer, speaking in Hebrew, said, ‘The ambassador wants me to go to Mega to get a copy of this letter.’ The source said the supervisor in Tel Aviv rejected the request, saying, ‘This is not something we use Mega for.’” ..."
"... Almost one year to the day after the “Mega” spy scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the existence of a little-known organization of billionaires that was “informally” called the Mega Group and had been founded years prior in 1991. The report made no mention of the spy scandal that had spread concerns of Israeli espionage in the U.S. only a year prior. However, the group’s distinctive “informal” name and the connections of its members to the Mossad and to high-ranking Israeli politicians, including prime ministers, raise the possibility that “Mega” was not an individual, as the FBI and NSA had believed, but a group. ..."
"... Netanyahu was close enough to Lauder that he personally enlisted Lauder and George Nader to serve as his peace envoys to Syria. ..."
"... Nader, who was connected to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was recently hit with federal child sex trafficking charges last month, soon after Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested on similar charges. At the time Nader was picked to work with Lauder on Netanyahu’s behalf, he had already been caught possessing large amounts of child pornography on two separate occasions, first in 1984 and later in 1990. ..."
"... Maxwell was also a close associate and friend of Israeli “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who, as previously mentioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s handler and who had previously worked directly with Meyer Lansky. ..."
"... With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the software all over the world. Eitan later recruited Robert Maxwell to become another Promis salesman, which he did remarkably well, even succeeding in selling the software to Soviet intelligence and conspiring with Republican Texas Senator John Tower to have the software adopted by the U.S. government laboratory at Los Alamos. Dozens of countries used the software on their most carefully guarded computer systems, unaware that Mossad now had access to everything Promis touched. ..."
"... According to journalist Robert Fisk , Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduction of Israeli nuclear weapons whistleblower Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempted to provide the media with information on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which was eventually published by the Sunday Times of London . Yet, Mordechai had also contacted the Daily Mirror with the information, the Mirror being an outlet that was owned by Maxwell and whose foreign editor was a close Maxwell associate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals. ..."
"... Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who contacted the Israeli Embassy in London and told them of Mordechai’s activities. This led to Mordechai’s entrapment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “honey trap” operation that led to his kidnapping and later imprisonment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sentence, 12 years of which were in solitary confinement. ..."
"... According to authors Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempted to threaten top Mossad officials with the exposure of certain operations if they did not help him rescue his media empire from crippling debt and financial difficulties. Many of Maxwell’s creditors , who had grown increasingly displeased with the media mogul, were Israeli and several of them were alleged to be Mossad-connected themselves. ..."
"... Another attendee of the Maxwell yacht party was former Secretary of the Navy and former Henry Kissinger staffer Jon Lehman, who would go on to associate with the controversial neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century. Prior to being secretary of the Navy, Lehman had been president of the Abington Corporation, which hired arch-neocon Richard Perle to manage the portfolio of Israeli arms dealers Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son Chaim, who paid Ablington $10,000 month. A scandal arose when those payments continued after both Lehman and Perle joined the Reagan Department of Defense and while Perle was working to persuade the Pentagon to buy arms from companies linked to Zabludowicz. Perle had been part of the Reagan transition team along with Roy Cohn’s long-time friend and law partner Tom Bolan (another Maxwell yacht guest). ..."
"... Even though Jeffrey Epstein appears to have had ties to the Mossad, this series has revealed that the networks to which Epstein was connected were not Mossad-exclusive, as many of the individuals close to Epstein — Lesie Wexner, for instance — were part of a mob-connected class of oligarchs with deep ties to both the U.S. and Israel. ..."
"... Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

52 Comments

A s billionaire pedophile and alleged sex-trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein sits in prison, reports have continued to surface about his reported links to intelligence, his financial ties to several companies and “charitable” foundations, and his friendships with the rich and powerful as well as top politicians.

While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the widespread nature of sexual blackmail operations in recent American history and their ties to the heights of American political power and the U.S. intelligence community, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-trafficking and blackmail operation that warrants examination is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intelligence and his ties to the “informal” pro-Israel philanthropist faction known as “the Mega Group.”

The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has garnered some attention, as Epstein’s main financial patron for decades, billionaire Leslie Wexner, was a co-founder of the group that unites several well-known businessmen with a penchant for pro-Israel and ethno-philanthropy (i.e., philanthropy benefiting a single ethnic or ethno-religious group). However, as this report will show, another uniting factor among Mega Group members is deep ties to organized crime, specifically the organized crime network discussed in Part I of this series, which was largely led by notorious American mobster Meyer Lansky.

By virtue of the role of many Mega Group members as major political donors in both the U.S. and Israel, several of its most notable members have close ties to the governments of both countries as well as their intelligence communities. As this report and a subsequent report will show, the Mega Group also had close ties to two businessmen who worked for Israel’s Mossad — Robert Maxwell and Marc Rich — as well as to top Israeli politicians, including past and present prime ministers with deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community.

One of those businessmen working for the Mossad, Robert Maxwell, will be discussed at length in this report. Maxwell, who was a business partner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman, aided the successful Mossad plot to plant a trapdoor in U.S.-created software that was then sold to governments and companies throughout the world. That plot’s success was largely due to the role of a close associate of then-President Ronald Reagan and an American politician close to Maxwell, who later helped aid Reagan in the cover-up of the Iran Contra scandal.

Years later, Maxwell’s daughter — Ghislaine Maxwell — would join Jeffrey Epstein’s “inner circle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a similar software program now being marketed for critical electronic infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad. That company has deep and troubling connections to Israeli military intelligence, associates of the Trump administration, and the Mega Group.

Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intelligence and has well-documented ties to influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. Yet, those entities are not isolated in and of themselves, as many also connect to the organized crime network and powerful alleged pedophiles discussed in previous installments of this series.

Perhaps the best illustration of how the connections between many of these players often meld together can be seen in Ronald Lauder: a Mega Group member, former member of the Reagan administration, long-time donor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Likud Party, as well as a long-time friend of Donald Trump and Roy Cohn.

From cosmetics heir to political player

One often overlooked yet famous client and friend of Roy Cohn is the billionaire heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, Ronald Lauder. Lauder is often described in the press as a “leading Jewish philanthropist” and is the president of the World Jewish Congress, yet his many media profiles tend to leave out his highly political past.

In a statement given by Lauder to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman in 2018, the cosmetics heir noted that he has known Trump for over 50 years, going back at least to the early 1970s. According to Lauder, his relationship with Trump began when Trump was a student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which Lauder also attended.

Image deleted: President-elect Trump walks with Ronald Lauder after meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. Evan Vucci | AP

Though the exact nature of their early friendship is unclear, it is evident that they shared many of the same connections, including to the man who would later count them both as his clients, Roy Cohn. While much has been said of the ties between Cohn and Trump, Cohn was particularly close to Lauder’s mother, Estee Lauder (born Josephine Mentzer). Estee was even counted among Cohn’s most high-profile friends in his New York Times obituary .

A small window into the Lauder-Cohn relationship surfaced briefly in a 2016 article in Politico about a 1981 dinner party held at Cohn’s weekend home in Greenwich, Connecticut. The party was attended by Ronald Lauder’s parents, Estee and Joe, as well as Trump and his then-wife Ivana, who had a weekend home just two miles away. That party was held soon after Cohn had helped Reagan secure the presidency and had reached the height of his political influence. At the party, Cohn offered toasts to Reagan and to then-Senator for New York Alfonse D’Amato, who would later urge Ronald Lauder to run for political office.

Two years later, in 1983, Ronald Lauder — whose only professional experience at that point was working for his parent’s cosmetics company — was appointed to serve as United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs. Soon after his appointment, he served on the Dinner Tribute Committee for a dinner hosted by the Jewish fraternal and strongly pro-Israel organization B’nai B’rith, the parent organization of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in Roy Cohn’s honor. Cohn’s influential father, Albert Cohn, was the long-time president of B’nai B’rith’s powerful New England-New York chapter and Roy Cohn himself was a member of B’nai B’rith’s Banking and Finance Lodge.

The dinner specifically sought to honor Cohn for his pro-Israel advocacy and his efforts to “fortify” Israel’s economy, and its honorary chairmen included media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump and then-head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, all of whom are connected to Jeffrey Epstein.

During his time as deputy assistant secretary of defense, Lauder was also very active in Israeli politics and had already become an ally of the then-Israeli representative to the United Nations and future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Lauder would go on to be one of the most important individuals in Netanyahu’s rise to power, particularly during his upset victory in 1996, and a major financier of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party.

In 1986, the year that Roy Cohn died, Lauder left his post at the Pentagon and became the U.S. ambassador to Austria, where his tenure was shaped by his confrontations with the then-Austrian president and former Nazi collaborator, Kurt Waldheim. Lauder’s interest in Austrian politics has continued well into recent years, culminating in accusations that he sought to manipulate Austrian elections in 2012.

After leaving his ambassadorship, Lauder founded the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 1987 and later went on to run for Mayor of New York against Rudy Giuliani in 1989. Lauder was encouraged to run by then-Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who had close ties to Roy Cohn and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan, who was D’Amato’s adviser . At the aforementioned 1983 B’nai B’rith dinner honoring Cohn, D’Amato was the featured speaker.

The likely reason was that Giuliani, though once an ally of the “Roy Cohn machine,” was at the time deeply disliked by the late Cohn’s associates for prosecuting Cohn’s former law partner, Stanley Friedman, for racketeering, conspiracy and other charges. Giuliani also had a history of bitter disagreements with D’Amato. Lauder’s primary campaign, though unsuccessful, was noted for its viciousness and its cost, as it burned through more than $13 million.

A few years later, in the early 1990s, Lauder would join a newly formed group that has long evaded scrutiny from the media but has recently become of interest in connection with the Jeffrey Epstein scandal: the Mega Group.

Lauder, Epstein and the mysterious Austrian passport

Before getting to the Mega Group, it is worth noting one particular act apparently undertaken by Lauder while he was U.S. ambassador to Austria that has recently come to light in relation to the arrest in early July of Jeffrey Epstein, a finding first reported by journalist Edward Szall. When police recently discovered an Austrian passport with Epstein’s picture and a fake name after raiding his Manhattan residence, the source and purpose of the passport came under media scrutiny.

According to the Associated Press , Epstein’s defense lawyers specifically argued that “a friend gave it to him [Epstein] in the 1980s after some Jewish-Americans were informally advised to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally during a period when hijackings were more common.” This claim appears to be related to concerns that followed the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 in 1976 when Israeli and Jewish hostages were separated from other hostages based largely on the passports in their possession.

Given that Epstein was unable to meet the conventional qualifications for an Austrian passport — including long-term residency in Austria (the passport lists him as a resident of Saudi Arabia) and fluency in German — it appears that the only way to have acquired an Austrian passport was by unconventional means, meaning assistance from a well-connected Austrian official or foreign diplomat with clout in Austria.

Image deleted: Ronald Lauder, right, and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima pose with students from the Lauder Chabad School in Vienna, Austria in 1999. Martin Gnedt | AP

Lauder, then-ambassador to Austria for the Reagan administration, would have been well-positioned to acquire such a passport, particularly for the reason cited by Epstein’s attorneys that Jewish-Americans could be targeted during travel, and in light of Lauder’s very public concerns over threats Jews face from certain terror groups. Furthermore, the passport had been issued in 1987, when Lauder was still serving as an ambassador.

In addition, Lauder was well-connected to Epstein’s former patron — former head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, who had hired Epstein in the late 1970s immediately after the latter was fired from the Dalton School — and Donald Trump, another friend of Lauder and Greenberg who began his friendship with Epstein in 1987, the same year the fake Austrian passport was issued. In 1987, Epstein also began his relationship with his principal financier, Leslie Wexner, who is also closely associated with Lauder (though some sources claim that Epstein and Wexner first met in 1985 but that their strong business relationship was not established until 1987).

Though Epstein’s defense attorney declined to reveal the identity of the “friend” who provided him with the fake Austrian passport, Lauder was both well-positioned to acquire it in Austria and also deeply connected to the Mega Group, which was co-founded by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexner and to which Epstein has many connections. These connections to both the Austrian government and to Epstein’s mentor make Lauder the most likely person to have acquired the document on Epstein’s behalf.

Furthermore, Epstein and the Mega Group’s ties to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, also suggest Lauder was involved in procuring the passport, in light of his close ties to the Israeli government and the fact that Mossad has a history of using ambassadors abroad to procure false, foreign passports for its operatives.

Lauder himself has been alleged to have ties to Mossad, as he is a long-time funder of IDC Herzliya, an Israeli university closely associated with Mossad and their recruiters as well as Israeli military intelligence. Lauder even founded IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.

Furthermore, Lauder co-founded the Eastern European broadcasting network CETV with Mark Palmer, a former U.S. diplomat, Kissinger aide and Reagan speechwriter. Palmer is better known for co-founding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization often described as an accessory to U.S. intelligence, and one whose first president confessed to the Washington Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Standard noted that Epstein once claimed that during the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein later backed away from that assertion.

The origins of the Mega Group Mafia

The Mega Group — a secretive group of billionaires to which Lauder belongs — was formed in 1991 by Charles Bronfman and Leslie Wexner, the latter of whom has received considerable media scrutiny following the July arrest of his former protege Jeffrey Epstein. Media profiles of the group paint it as “a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen” focused on “philanthropy and Jewishness,” with membership dues upwards of $30,000 per year. Yet several of its most prominent members have ties to organized crime.

Mega Group members founded and/or are closely associated with some of the most well-known pro-Israel organizations. For instance, members Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt formed Birthright Taglit with the backing of then- and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Steinhardt, an atheist, has stated that his motivation in helping to found the group was to advance his own belief that devotion to and faith in the state of Israel should serve as “a substitute for [Jewish] theology.”

Other well-known groups associated with the Mega Group include the World Jewish Congress — whose past president, Edgar Bronfman, and current president, Ronald Lauder, are both Mega Group members — and B’nai B’rith, particularly its spin-off known as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Bronfman brothers were major donors to the ADL, with Edgar Bronfman serving as the ADL’s honorary national vice-chair for several years.

Image deleted: Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, second from left, listens to Edgar Bronfman during a 1995 lunch thrown in Peres’ honor. From left are: Laurence Tisch, Chairman, President and Chief executive officer of CBS; Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Itamar Rabinowitz and Bronfman. David Karp | AP

When Edgar Bronfman died in 2013, long-time ADL Director Abe Foxman said , “Edgar was for many years Chair of our Liquor Industry Division, Chair of our New York Appeal, and one of our most significant benefactors.” Other Mega Group members that are donors and major supporters of the ADL include Ronald Lauder , Michael Steinhardt and the late Max Fisher . As previously mentioned, Roy Cohn’s father was a long-time leader of B’nai B’rith’s influential New England-New York chapter and Cohn was later a celebrated member of its banking and finance lodge.

In addition, Mega Group members have also been key players in the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. For instance, Max Fisher of the Mega Group founded the National Jewish Coalition, now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition — the main pro-Israel neoconservative political lobbying group , known for its support of hawkish policies, and whose current chief patrons, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, are among Donald Trump’s top donors.

Though the Mega Group has officially existed only since 1991, the use of “philanthropy” to provide cover for more unscrupulous lobbying or business activities was pioneered decades earlier by Sam Bronfman, the father of Mega Group members Edgar and Charles Bronfman. While other North American elites like J.D. Rockefeller had previously used philanthropic giving as a means of laundering their reputations, Bronfman’s approach to philanthropy was unique because it was focused on giving specifically to other members of his own ethno-religious background.

Sam Bronfman, as was detailed in Part I of this series, had long-standing deep ties to organized crime, specifically Meyer Lanksy’s organized crime syndicate. Yet, Bronfman’s private ambition, according to those close to him, was to become a respected member of high society. As a consequence, Bronfman worked hard to remove the stain that his mob associations had left on his public reputation in Canada and abroad. He accomplished this by becoming a leader in Canada’s Zionist movement and, by the end of the 1930s, he was head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had begun to make a name for himself as a philanthropist for Jewish causes.

Yet even some of Bronfman’s activism and philanthropy had hints of the mobster-like reputation he tried so hard to shake. For instance, Bronfman was actively involved in the illegal shipping of arms to Zionist paramilitaries in Palestine prior to 1948, specifically as a co-founder of the National Conference for Israeli and Jewish Rehabilitation that smuggled weapons to the paramilitary group Haganah.

At the same time Bronfman was abetting the illegal smuggling of weapons to the Haganah, his associates in the criminal underworld were doing the same. After World War II, close aides of David Ben-Gurion, who would later become the first prime minister of Israel and was instrumental in the founding of Mossad, forged tight-knit relationships with Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Mickey Cohen and other Jewish gangsters of the period. They used their clandestine networks to establish a vast arms smuggling network between the United States and Zionist settlements in Palestine, arming both the Haganah and the Irgun paramilitary groups. As noted in Part I of this report, at the same time these gangsters were aiding the illegal arming of ZIonsit paramilitaries, they were strengthening their ties to U.S. intelligence that had first been formally (though covertly) established in World War II.

After Israel was founded, Sam Bronfman worked with future Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to negotiate the sale of Canadian armaments at half-price to Israel and the bargain weapons purchase was paid for entirely by a fundraising dinner hosted by Bronfman and his wife. Many years later, Peres would go on to introduce another future prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, to Jeffrey Epstein.

The rest of the Bronfman family’s march on “the road to respectability” was undertaken by Bronfman’s children, who married into aristocratic families such as the European Rothschilds and the Wall Street “royalty” of the Lehmans and the Loebs .

The Bronfmans’ newfound respectability did not mean that their association with the Lansky-led criminal empire had dissolved. Indeed, prominent members of the Seagrams dynasty came under fire in the 1960s and 1970s for their close association with Willie “Obie” Obront, a major figure in Canadian organized crime, whom Canadian professor Stephen Schneider has referred to as the Meyer Lansky of Canada.

However, Edgar and Charles Bronfman were hardly the only members of the Mega Group with deep and long-standing ties to the Lansky-led National Crime Syndicate. Indeed, one of the group’s prominent members, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, opened up about his own family ties to Lansky in his autobiography No Bull: My Life in and out the Markets , where he noted that his father, Sol “Red McGee” Steinhardt, was Lansky’s jewel fence of choice and a major player in New York’s criminal underworld. Sol Steinhardt was also his son’s first client on Wall Street and helped him jumpstart his career in finance.

The ties between the Mega Group and the National Crime Syndicate don’t stop there. Another prominent member of the Mega Group with ties to this same criminal network is Max Fisher, who has been described as Wexner’s mentor and is also alleged to have worked with Detroit’s “Purple Gang” during Prohibition and beyond. The Purple Gang were part of the network that smuggled Bronfman liquor from Canada into the United State during Prohibition, and one of its founders, Abe Bernstein, was a close associate of both Meyer Lansky and Moe Dalitz. Fisher was a key adviser to several U.S. presidents, beginning with Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as to Henry Kissinger.

Image removed: Max Fisher, center, and Henry Kissinger, right, meet with leaders of Jewish organizations prior to Kissinger’s 1975 Middle East trip. Henry Burroughs | AP

In addition to Fisher, Mega Group member Ronald Lauder was connected to Roy Cohn and Tom Bolan, both of whom were closely associated with this same Lansky-led crime network (see Part I and Part II ) and who regularly represented top Mafia figures in court. Furthermore, another member of the Mega Group, director Steven Spielberg, is a well-known protege of Lew Wasserman, the mob-connected media mogul and long-time backer of Ronald Reagan’s film and later political career, discussed in Part II of this series.

One surprise connection to Cohn involves Mega Group member, and former president of U.S. weapons firm General Dynamics, Lester Crown, whose brother-in-law is David Schine, Cohn’s confidant and alleged lover during the McCarthy hearings, whose relationship with Cohn helped bring about the downfall of McCarthyism.

Another member of the Mega Group worth noting is Laurence Tisch, who owned CBS News for several years and founded Loews Corporation. Tisch is notable for his work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, where Donald Barr, who hired Epstein at the Dalton School, also served and which forged ties with Lansky’s criminal empire during World War II.

Wexner’s mansions and the Shapiro murder

Leslie “Les” Wexner, the other Mega Group co-founder, also has ties to organized crime. Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny following the latter’s recent arrest, as Wexner was the only publicly acknowledged client of Epstein’s suspicious hedge fund, the source of much of this wealth, and the previous owner of Epstein’s $56 million Manhattan townhouse, which Wexner transferred to an Epstein-controlled entity for free.

Before Epstein received the townhouse, Wexner appears to have used the residence for some unconventional purposes, noted in a 1996 New York Times article on the then-Wexner-owned residence, which included “a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.” The Times article does not speculate as to the purpose of this equipment, though the allusion to famous fictional superspy James Bond suggests that it may have been used to snoop on guests or conduct electronic surveillance.

The 1996 Times article also noted that, after Wexner bought the residence for $13.2 million in 1989, he spent millions more decorating and furnishing the home, including the addition of the electronic equipment in the “James Bond” bathroom, only to apparently never live in it. The Times , which interviewed Epstein for the piece, quoted him as saying that “Les never spent more than two months there.” Epstein told the Times , which identified Epstein as Wexner’s “protege and one of his financial advisers,” that the house, by that time, already belonged to him.

That same year, Epstein was commissioning artwork for Wexner’s Ohio mansion. A recent article from the Times noted that:

In the summer of 1996, Maria Farmer was working on an art project for Mr. Epstein in Mr. Wexner’s Ohio mansion. While she was there, Mr. Epstein sexually assaulted her, according to an affidavit Ms. Farmer filed earlier this year in federal court in Manhattan. She said that she fled the room and called the police, but that Mr. Wexner’s security staff refused to let her leave for 12 hours.”

Farmer’s account strongly suggests that, given the behavior of his personal security staff at his mansion following Epstein’s alleged assault on Farmer, Wexner was well aware of Epstein’s predatory behavior towards young women. This is compounded by claims made by Alan Dershowitz — a former lawyer for and friend of Epstein’s, who has also been accused of raping underage girls — that Wexner has also been accused of raping underage girls exploited by Epstein on at least seven occasions.

The presence of the electronic equipment in his home’s bathroom, other oddities related to the townhouse, and aspects of the links between Epstein and Wexner suggest there is more to Wexner, who has rather successfully developed a public image of a respectable businessman and philanthropist, much like other prominent members of the Mega Group.

Image removed: Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail tour the “Transfigurations” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Jay LaPrete | AP

However, bits and pieces of Wexner’s private secrets have occasionally bubbled up, only to be subjected to rapid cover-ups amidst concerns of “libeling” the powerful and well-connected billionaire “philanthropist.”

In 1985, Columbus (Ohio) lawyer Arthur Shapiro was murdered in broad daylight at point-blank range in what was largely referred to as a “mob style murder.” The homicide still remains unsolved, likely due to the fact that then-Columbus Police Chief James Jackson ordered the destruction of key documents of his department’s investigation into the murder.

Jackson’s ordering of the documents’ destruction came to light years later in 1996, when he was under investigation for corruption. According to the Columbus Dispatch , Jackson justified the destruction of one “ viable and valuable ” report because he felt that it “was so filled with wild speculation about prominent business leaders that it was potentially libelous.” The nature of this “wild speculation” was that “millionaire businessmen in Columbus and Youngstown were linked to the ‘mob-style murder.’”

Though Jackson’s efforts were meant to keep this “libelous” report far from public view, it was eventually obtained by Bob Fitrakis — attorney, journalist, and executive director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism — after he was “accidentally” sent a copy of the report in 1998 as part of a public records request.

The report, titled “ Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis ,” names Leslie Wexner as linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures” and also lists the names of businessman Jack Kessler, former Columbus City Council President and Wexner associate Jerry Hammond, and former Columbus City Council member Les Wright as also being involved in Shapiro’s murder.

The report also noted that Arthur Shapiro’s law firm — Schwartz, Shapiro, Kelm & Warren — represented Wexner’s company, The Limited, and states that “prior to his death, Arthur Shapiro managed this account [The Limited] for the law firm.” It also noted that, at the time of his death, Shapiro “was the subject of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service because he had failed to file income tax returns for some seven years prior to his death, and he had invested in some questionable tax shelters.” It also stated that his death prevented Shapiro from his planned testimony at a grand jury hearing about these “questionable tax shelters.”

As to Wexner’s alleged links to organized crime, the report focuses on the close business relationship between Wexner’s The Limited and Francis Walsh, whose trucking company “[had] done an excess of 90 percent of the Limited’s trucking business around the time of Shapiro’s murder,” according to the report. Walsh was named in a 1988 indictment as a “co-conspirator” of Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, whose long-time lawyer was Roy Cohn; and the Shapiro murder report stated that Walsh was “still considered associates of the Genovese/LaRocca crime family, and Walsh was still providing truck transportation for The Limited.”

Notably, the Genovese crime family has long formed a key part of the National Crime Syndicate, as its former head, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, co-created the criminal organization with his close friend Meyer Lansky. Upon Luciano’s imprisonment and subsequent deportation from the United States, Lansky took over the syndicate’s U.S. operations and his association with Luciano’s successors continued until Lansky’s death in 1983.

The “Mega” Mystery and the Mossad

In May 1997, the Washington Post broke an explosive story — long since forgotten — based on an intercepted phone call made between a Mossad official in the U.S. and his superior in Tel Aviv that discussed the Mossad’s efforts to obtain a secret U.S. government document. According to the Post, the Mossad official stated during the phone call that “Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben Elissar had asked him whether he could obtain a copy of the letter given to [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat by [then-Secretary of State Warren] Christopher on Jan. 16, the day after the Hebron accord was signed by Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

The Post article continued:

According to a source who viewed a copy of the NSA transcript of the conversation, the intelligence officer, speaking in Hebrew, said, ‘The ambassador wants me to go to Mega to get a copy of this letter.’ The source said the supervisor in Tel Aviv rejected the request, saying, ‘This is not something we use Mega for.’”

The leaked communication led to an investigation that sought to identify an individual code-named “Mega” that the Post said “may be someone in the U.S. government who has provided information to the Israelis in the past,” a concern that subsequently spawned a fruitless FBI investigation. The Mossad later claimed that “Mega” was merely a codeword for the U.S.’ CIA, but the FBI and NSA were unconvinced by that claim and believed that it was a senior U.S. government official that had potentially once been involved in working with Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. naval intelligence analyst later convicted of spying for the Mossad.

Almost one year to the day after the “Mega” spy scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the existence of a little-known organization of billionaires that was “informally” called the Mega Group and had been founded years prior in 1991. The report made no mention of the spy scandal that had spread concerns of Israeli espionage in the U.S. only a year prior. However, the group’s distinctive “informal” name and the connections of its members to the Mossad and to high-ranking Israeli politicians, including prime ministers, raise the possibility that “Mega” was not an individual, as the FBI and NSA had believed, but a group.

In 1997, when the “Mega” spy scandal broke, Netanyahu had recently become prime minister of Israel after an upset victory, a victory that was largely credited to one well-connected Netanyahu backer in particular, Ronald Lauder. Beyond being a major donor, Lauder had brought Arthur Finklestein on to work for Netanyahu’s 1996 campaign, whose strategies were credited for Netanyahu’s surprise win. Netanyahu was close enough to Lauder that he personally enlisted Lauder and George Nader to serve as his peace envoys to Syria.

Image removed: Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara with Ronald Lauder in 1997. Photo | Reuters

Nader, who was connected to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince, was recently hit with federal child sex trafficking charges last month, soon after Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested on similar charges. At the time Nader was picked to work with Lauder on Netanyahu’s behalf, he had already been caught possessing large amounts of child pornography on two separate occasions, first in 1984 and later in 1990.

This strong connection between Netanyahu and Lauder during the time of the 1997 “Mega” spy scandal is important considering Mossad answers directly to Israel’s prime minister.

Another possible connection between the Mega Group and the Mossad owes to the Mega Group’s ties to Meyer Lansky’s criminal network. As was detailed in Part I, Lansky had established deep ties to U.S. intelligence after World War II and was also connected to the Mossad through Mossad official Tibor Rosenbaum, whose bank was frequently used by Lansky to launder money. In addition, Lansky collaborated on at least one occasion with notorious Mossad “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who he helped acquire sensitive electronic equipment possessed only by the CIA but coveted by Israeli intelligence. Eitan is best known in the U.S. for being the Mossad handler of Jonathan Pollard.

Notably, Eitan was the main source of claims that the code-word “Mega” used by the Mossad officials in 1997 referred to the CIA and not to a potential source in the U.S. government once linked to Pollard’s spying activities, making his claims as to the true meaning of the term somewhat dubious.

Given that the organized crime network tied to the Mega Group had ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence, the “Mega” codeword could plausibly have referred to this secretive group of billionaires. More supporting evidence for this theory comes from the fact that prominent members of the Mega Group were business partners of Mossad agents, including media mogul Robert Maxwell and commodities trader Marc Rich.

The mysterious Maxwells

The Maxwell family has become a source of renewed media interest following Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, as Ghislaine Maxwell, long described in the media as a British “socialite,” was publicly cited as Epstein’s long-time “on and off” girlfriend, and Epstein’s victims, as well as former wives of Epstein’s friends, have claimed that she was Epstein’s “pimp” and procured underage girls for his sexual blackmail operation. Ghislaine Maxwell is also alleged to have engaged in the rape of the girls she procured for Epstein and to have used them to produce child pornography.

Ghislaine was the favorite and youngest daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell, born Jan Ludvick Hoch, had joined the British Army in World War II. Afterwards, according to authors John Loftus and Mark Aarons , he greatly influenced the Czechoslovakian government’s decision to arm Zionist paramilitaries during the 1948 war that resulted in Israel’s creation as a state, and Maxwell himself was also involved in the smuggling of aircraft parts to Israel.

Around this time, Maxwell was approached by British intelligence outfit MI6 and offered a position that Maxwell ultimately declined. MI6 then classified him as “Zionist — loyal only to Israel” and made him a person of interest. He later became an agent of the Mossad, according to several books including Seymour Hersh’s The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, and Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Superspy by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon.

According to Victor Ostrovsky , a former Mossad case officer:

Mossad was financing many of its operations in Europe from money stolen from Maxwell’s newspaper pension fund. They got their hands on the funds almost as soon as Maxwell made the purchase of the Mirror Newspaper Group with money lent to him by Mossad.”

In exchange for his services, the Mossad helped Maxwell satisfy his sexual appetite during his visits to Israel, providing him with prostitutes, “the service maintained for blackmail purposes.” It was later revealed that the hotel in which he stayed in Israel was bugged with cameras, allowing the Mossad to acquire “a small library of video footage of Maxwell in sexually compromising positions.” As with the CIA, the Mossad’s use of blackmail against both friend and foe is well-documented and known to be extensive .

Maxwell was also a close associate and friend of Israeli “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who, as previously mentioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s handler and who had previously worked directly with Meyer Lansky. Eitan had learned of a revolutionary new software being used by the U.S. government known as “Promis” from Earl Brian, a long-time associate and aide to Ronald Reagan. Promis is often considered the forerunner to the “Prism” software used by spy agencies today and was developed by William Hamilton, who leased the software to the U.S. government through his company, Inslaw, in 1982.

Image removed: Ariel Sharon (right)meets with Robert Maxwell in Jerusalem on Feb. 20, 1990. Photo | AP

According to author and former BBC investigative journalist Gordon Thomas, Brian was angry that the U.S. Department of Justice was successfully using Promis to go after organized crime and money-laundering activities and Eitan felt that the program could aid Israel. At the time, Eitan was the director of the now defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem, which gathered scientific and technical intelligence abroad from both public and covert sources, especially in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

A plan was hatched to install a “trapdoor” into the software and then market Promis throughout the world, providing the Mossad with invaluable intelligence on the operations of its enemies and allies while also providing Eitan and Brian with copious amounts of cash. According to the testimony of ex-Mossad official Ari Ben-Menashe, Brian provided a copy of Promis to Israel’s military intelligence, which contacted an Israeli American programmer living in California who then planted the “trapdoor” in the software. The CIA was later said to have installed its own trapdoor in the software but it is unknown if they did so with a version of the already bugged software and how widely it was adopted relative to the version bugged by Israeli intelligence.

After the trapdoor was inserted, the problem became selling the bugged version of the software to governments as well as private companies around the world, particularly in areas of interest. Brian first attempted to buy out Inslaw and Promis and then use that same company to sell the bugged version.

Unsuccessful, Brian turned to his close friend, then-Attorney General Ed Meese whose Justice Department then abruptly refused to make the payments to Inslaw that were stipulated by the contract, essentially using the software for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft. Some have speculated that Meese’s role in that decision was shaped, not only by his friendship with Brian, but the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s business ventures. Meese would later become an adviser to Donald Trump when he was president-elect.

Inslaw was forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of Meese’s actions and sued the Justice Department. The court later found that the Meese-led department “took, converted, stole” the software through “trickery, fraud and deceit.”

With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the software all over the world. Eitan later recruited Robert Maxwell to become another Promis salesman, which he did remarkably well, even succeeding in selling the software to Soviet intelligence and conspiring with Republican Texas Senator John Tower to have the software adopted by the U.S. government laboratory at Los Alamos. Dozens of countries used the software on their most carefully guarded computer systems, unaware that Mossad now had access to everything Promis touched.

Whereas the Mossad’s past reliance on gathering intelligence had relied on the same tactics used by its equivalents in the U.S. and elsewhere, the widespread adoption of the Promis software, largely through the actions of Earl Brian and Robert Maxwell, gave the Mossad a way to gather not just troves of counterintelligence data, but also blackmail on other intelligence agencies and powerful figures.

Indeed, Promis’ backdoor and adoption by intelligence agencies all over the world essentially provided the Mossad with access to troves of blackmail that the CIA and FBI had acquired on their friends and foes for over half a century. Strangely, in recent years, the FBI has sought to hide information related to Robert Maxwell’s connection to the Promis scandal.

According to journalist Robert Fisk , Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduction of Israeli nuclear weapons whistleblower Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempted to provide the media with information on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which was eventually published by the Sunday Times of London . Yet, Mordechai had also contacted the Daily Mirror with the information, the Mirror being an outlet that was owned by Maxwell and whose foreign editor was a close Maxwell associate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals.

Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who contacted the Israeli Embassy in London and told them of Mordechai’s activities. This led to Mordechai’s entrapment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “honey trap” operation that led to his kidnapping and later imprisonment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sentence, 12 years of which were in solitary confinement.

Then, there is the issue of Maxwell’s death, widely cited by mainstream and independent media alike as suspicious and a potential homicide . According to authors Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempted to threaten top Mossad officials with the exposure of certain operations if they did not help him rescue his media empire from crippling debt and financial difficulties. Many of Maxwell’s creditors , who had grown increasingly displeased with the media mogul, were Israeli and several of them were alleged to be Mossad-connected themselves.

Thomas and Dillon argue in their biography of Maxwell’s life that the Mossad felt that Maxwell had become more of a liability than an asset and killed him on his yacht three months after he demanded the bailout. On the other extreme are theories that suggest Maxwell committed suicide because of the financial difficulties his empire faced.

Image removed: Ghislaine Maxwell, far right, Robert Maxwell’s daughter, looks on his casket is unloaded from a plane in Jerusalem, Nov. 8, 1991. Heribert Proepper | AP

Some have taken Maxwell’s funeral held in Israel as the country’s “official” confirmation of Maxwell’s service to the Mossad, as it was likened to a state funeral and attended by no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence. During his funeral service in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized him and stated : “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Other eulogies were given by future Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert (then Health Minister) and Shimon Peres, with the latter also praising Maxwell’s “services” on behalf of Israel.

Swimming in the same swamp

As he built his business empire — and even became a member of Parliament, Maxwell was also doing work for Israeli intelligence, as several of the Israeli companies in which he invested became fronts for the Mossad. In addition, as he became a media mogul, he developed a bitter rivalry with Rupert Murdoch, a close friend of Roy Cohn and an influential figure in American and British media.

Maxwell also partnered with the Bronfman brothers, Edgar and Charles — key figures in the Mega Group. In 1989 Maxwell and Charles Bronfman partnered up to bid on the Jerusalem Post newspaper and the Post described the two men as “two of the world’s leading Jewish financiers” and their interest in the venture as “developing The Jerusalem Post and expanding its influence among world Jewry.” A year prior, Maxwell and Bronfman had become top shareholders in the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva.

Maxwell also worked with Charles Bronfman’s brother Edgar in the late 1980s to convince the Soviet Union to allow Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Edgar’s efforts in this regard have received more attention , as it was a defining moment of his decades-long presidency of the World Jewish Congress, of which Ronald Lauder is currently president. Yet, Maxwell had also made considerable use of his contacts in the Soviet government in this effort.

Maxwell also moved in the circles of the network previously described in Parts I and II in this series. A key example of this is the May 1989 party Maxwell hosted on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine — named for his youngest daughter and Epstein’s future “girlfriend.” Attendees of the party included Roy Cohn’s protege Donald Trump and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan. A close friend of Nancy Reagan was also present, journalist Mike Wallace, as was literary agent Mort Janklow, who represented Ronald Reagan and two of Cohn’s closest friends: journalists William Safire and Barbara Walters.

The CEO of what would soon become Time Warner, Steve Ross, was also invited to the exclusive event. Ross’ presence is notable, as he had built his business empire largely through his association with New York crime lords Manny Kimmel and Abner “Longy” Zwillman. Zwillman was a close friend of Meyer Lansky, Michael Steinhardt’s father, and Sam Bronfman, father of Edgar and Charles Bronfman.

Another attendee of the Maxwell yacht party was former Secretary of the Navy and former Henry Kissinger staffer Jon Lehman, who would go on to associate with the controversial neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century. Prior to being secretary of the Navy, Lehman had been president of the Abington Corporation, which hired arch-neocon Richard Perle to manage the portfolio of Israeli arms dealers Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son Chaim, who paid Ablington $10,000 month. A scandal arose when those payments continued after both Lehman and Perle joined the Reagan Department of Defense and while Perle was working to persuade the Pentagon to buy arms from companies linked to Zabludowicz. Perle had been part of the Reagan transition team along with Roy Cohn’s long-time friend and law partner Tom Bolan (another Maxwell yacht guest).

In addition to Lehman, another former Kissinger staffer, Thomas Pickering was present at Maxwell’s yacht part. Pickering played a minor role in the Iran-Contra affair and, at the time of the Maxwell yacht party, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel. Senator John Tower (R-TX), who allegedly conspired with Maxwell in the Mossad-bugged Promis software at the Los Alamos laboratories, was also present. Tower died just months before Maxwell in a suspicious plane crash .

Ghislaine Maxwell was also at this rather notable event. After her father’s mysterious death and alleged murder on the same yacht that bears her name in 1991, she quickly packed her bags and moved to New York City. There, she soon made the acquaintance of Jeffrey Epstein and, a few years later, developed close ties to the Clinton family, which will be discussed in the next installment of this series.

Jeffrey Epstein and the new “Promis”

After it was revealed that Epstein had evaded stricter sentencing in 2008 due to his links to “intelligence,” it was the Mossad ties of Ghislaine Maxwell’s father that have led many to speculate that Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation was sharing incriminating information with the Mossad. Former CBS executive producer and current journalist for the media outlet Narativ , Zev Shalev, has since claimed that he independently confirmed that Epstein was tied directly to the Mossad.

Image removed: Donald and Melania Trump with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida in 2000. Photo | Davidoff Studios

Epstein was a long-time friend of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who has long-standing and deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community. Their decades-long friendship has been the source of recent political attacks targeting Barak, who is running in the Israeli elections against current Prime Minister Netanyahu later this year.

Barak is also close to Epstein’s chief patron and Mega Group member Leslie Wexner, whose Wexner Foundation gave Barak $2 million in 2004 for a still unspecified research program. According to Barak, he was first introduced to Epstein by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who eulogized Robert Maxwell at his funeral and had decades-long ties with the Bronfman family going back to the early 1950s. Peres was also a frequent participant in programs funded by Leslie Wexner in Israel and worked closely with the Mossad for decades.

In 2015, a few years after Epstein’s release from prison following his conviction for soliciting sex from a minor in 2008, Barak formed a company with Epstein with the chief purpose of investing in an Israeli start-up then known as Reporty. That company, now called Carbyne, sells its signature software to 911 call centers and emergency service providers and is also available to consumers as an app that provides emergency services with access to a caller’s camera and location and also runs any caller’s identity through any linked government database. It has specifically been marketed by the company itself and the Israeli press as a solution to mass shootings in the United States and is already being used by at least two U.S. counties.

Israeli media reported that Epstein and Barak were among the company’s largest investors. Barak poured millions into the company and it was recently revealed by Haaretz that a significant amount of Barak’s total investments in Carbyne was funded by Epstein, making him a “ de facto partner” in the company. Barak is now Carbyne’s chairman .

The company’s executive team are all former members of different branches of Israeli intelligence, including the elite military intelligence unit, Unit 8200, that is often likened to Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Carbyne’s current CEO, Amir Elichai, served in Unit 8200 and tapped former Unit 8200 commander Pinchas Buchris to serve as the company’s director and on its board. In addition to Elichai, another Carbyne co-founder, Lital Leshem , also served in Unit 8200 and later worked for Israeli private spy company Black Cube. Leshem now works for a subsidiary of Erik Prince’s company Frontier Services Group, according to the independent media outlet Narativ .

The company also includes several tie-ins to the Trump administration, including Palantir founder and Trump ally Peter Thiel — an investor in Carbyne. In addition, Carbyne’s board of advisers includes former Palantir employee Trae Stephens, who was a member of the Trump transition team, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Trump donor and New York real-estate developer Eliot Tawill is also on Carbyne’s board , alongside Ehud Barak and Pinchas Buchris.

Narativ , which wrote the first expose on Carbyne after Epstein’s arrest, noted that the Chinese government uses a smartphone app very similar to Carbyne as part of its mass surveillance apparatus, even though the original purpose of the app was for improved emergency reporting. According to Narativ , the Chinese Carbyne-equivalent “monitors every aspect of a user’s life, including personal conversations, power usage, and tracks a user’s movement.”

Given the history of Robert Maxwell — the father of Epstein’s long-time “girlfriend” and young-girl-procuring madam, Ghislaine Maxwell — in promoting the sale of Carbyne’s modified Promis software, which was also marketed as a tool to improve government efficacy but was actually a tool of mass surveillance for the benefit of Israeli intelligence, the overlap between Carbyne and Promis is troubling and warrants further investigation.

It is also worth noting that Unit 8200-connected tech start-ups are being widely integrated into U.S. companies and have developed close ties to the U.S. military-industrial complex, with Carbyne being just one example of that trend.

As MintPress previously reported , Unit 8200-linked outfits like Team8 have recently hired former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers as a senior advisor and gained prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as key investors. Many American technology companies, from Intel to Google to Microsoft, have merged with several Unit 8200-connected start-ups in recent years and have been moving many key jobs and operations to Israel with backing from key Republican donors like Paul Singer . Many of those same companies, particularly Google and Microsoft, are also major U.S. government contractors.

Who was Epstein really working for?

Even though Jeffrey Epstein appears to have had ties to the Mossad, this series has revealed that the networks to which Epstein was connected were not Mossad-exclusive, as many of the individuals close to Epstein — Lesie Wexner, for instance — were part of a mob-connected class of oligarchs with deep ties to both the U.S. and Israel. As was discussed in Part I of this series, the sharing of “intelligence” (i.e., blackmail) between intelligence agencies and the same organized crime network connected to the Mega Group goes back decades. With Leslie Wexner of the Mega Group as Epstein’s chief patron, as opposed to a financier with direct ties to the Mossad, a similar relationship is more than likely in the case of the sexual blackmail operation that Epstein ran.

Given that intelligence agencies in both the U.S. and elsewhere often conduct covert operations for the benefit of oligarchs and large corporations as opposed to “national security interest,” Epstein’s ties to the Mega Group suggest that this group holds a unique status and influence in both the governments of the U.S. and of Israel, as well as in other countries (e.g., Russia) that were not explored in this report. This is by virtue of their role as key political donors in both countries, as well as the fact that several of them own powerful companies or financial institutions in both countries. Indeed, many members of the Mega Group have deep ties to Israel’s political class, including to Netanyahu and Ehud Barak as well as to now-deceased figures like Shimon Peres, and to members of the American political class.

Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

Though this series has so far focused on the ties of this network to main Republican Party affiliates, the next and final installment will reveal the ties developed between this web and the Clintons. As will be revealed, despite the Clintons’ willingness to embrace corrupt dealings during the span of their political careers, their mostly friendly relationship with this network still saw them use the power of sexual blackmail to obtain certain policy decisions that were favorable to their personal and financial interests but not to the Clintons’ political reputation or agendas.

Editor’s note | The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Rafi Eitan was interested in repurposing the American-made Promise software to restore his standing in Israel’s intelligence community caused by the fall-out from the Pollard Affair. The Pollard Affair occurred three years after Eitan had succeeded in repurposing the software and MintPress has removed that incorrect information from the article and regrets the error.

This article also originally neglected to mention that Eitan, at the time of his collaboration with Earl Brian to repurpose the Promis software, was the director of the now-defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem at the time of those events and that information has been added to the story.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

[Aug 11, 2019] The likelihood of Epstein committing suicide reminds me of two other "suicide" stories

Notable quotes:
"... A black man's body is found wrapped in chains at the bottom of the Detroit River. The police were saying it was an accidental death caused by him stealing more chains than he could swim with. ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Curmudgeon , says: August 10, 2019 at 9:58 pm GMT

The likelihood of Epstein committing suicide reminds me of two other "suicide" stories.

... ... ...

Finally, there is a greatly modified joke from my long ago misspent youth. A black man's body is found wrapped in chains at the bottom of the Detroit River. The police were saying it was an accidental death caused by him stealing more chains than he could swim with.

Looks like Jeffrey had too many chains.

[Aug 08, 2019] Global market power and its macroeconomic implications

Aug 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 06, 2019 at 05:45 AM

https://voxeu.org/article/global-market-power-and-its-macroeconomic-implications

June 28, 2018

Global market power and its macroeconomic implications
By Federico Diez, Daniel Leigh and Suchanan Tambunlertchai

The rise in the market power of large firms is assumed to affect economic activity, but measuring either market power or its effects is challenging. Based on firm-level data for 74 countries, this column shows that market power has increased around the world, driven mostly by 'superstar' firms. Higher markups are initially associated with increasing investment and innovation, but the reverse is true when market power becomes too strong. The share of income paid to workers also declines with rising market power.

[Aug 07, 2019] Neoliberals are promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! Which will huge help to Venezuela. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Notable quotes:
"... Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela? ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Mega corrupt economic cockroach/ghoul/scavenger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross
.
Pontificates on Venezuela's future

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:18 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-01/u-s-commerce-secretary-lays-out-sweeping-plan-to-help-venezuela
yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm
"In a post-Maduro Venezuela, the U.S. will remove sanctions, foster pro-market and pro-business reforms and help rebuild confidence, Ross said. An immediate priority will be providing humanitarian aid, while a medium-term focus will be rolling back socialism, Ross said."

They are even promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! In the medium-term focus, of course. Immediate focus on reign of terror, while handing out tins of spam to the swarming masses. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela?

I hope somebody else will help them out. I'd dearly love to see Venezuela get on its feet without American assistance, and then tell the entire Yoo Ess of Aye to kiss its ass. No more heavy crude for your refineries, maybe you can turn them into basket shops, what say? No thanks; we'll buy our food elsewhere, if it's all the same to you. Oh, and Bolsonaro? Eat a bag of shit. Invite your Colombian buddy over for dinner

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:19 pm
IMF loan for Venezuela will make things 'all better' ? Really?
https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/imf-loans-can-be-debt-trap
Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:32 pm
What would more than likely be the outcome of the IMF solution for Venezuela according to the clown referenced in the link I posted (supra)
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/greece-bailout-imf-europe/567892/
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:29 am
Pertinent, bitter and frightening – thanks for posting it. A useful reference.
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:21 am
Yes, I meant to remark on that as well. It's funny that the western regime-change model relies on countries loaned huge amounts of money to be enslaved by their honesty, and actually pay it back.

[Aug 06, 2019] Trump Imposes Economic Embargo on Venezuela by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. ..."
Aug 05, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US will freeze all Venezuelan assets

President Trump signed an executive order late Monday imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela , freezing all government assets in the US and forbidding all transactions of any Venezuelan officials.

This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The order cites human rights abuses, and the fact that President Maduro is still in power in Venezuela, even though the US recognized opposition leader Guaido as the rightful ruler of the country.

This is the latest US effort to try to impose regime change in Venezuela, after a failed military coup earlier this year. It's not clear how broadly the US intends to enforce the sanctions, for example if they intend to use military force to prohibit naval trade from the Venezuelan coast

[Aug 03, 2019] Officials Say US Headed Toward Blockade of Venezuela

Aug 03, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US sees 'quarantine' as another path to imposing regime change

Jason Ditz Posted on August 2, 2019 August 2, 2019 Categories News Tags Trump , Venezuela An unnamed senior administration official says that the Trump Administration is seriously considering imposing a naval blockade on Venezuela , saying President Maduro has a "short window" to voluntarily resign before the US makes such a move.

Trump had recently told reporters he was considering a naval blockade or full "quarantine" of Venezuela as the latest effort to try to impose regime change, something the US announced it had recognized month ago but which so far hasn't happened.

President Maduro denounced the comments , and called on his ambassador to complain to the UN Security Council about the "illegal" US threat to blockade the Venezuelan coastline. Maduro added it was "clearly illegal."

Clearly illegal as a practical matter is likely to be very much beside the point for US policy. Previous indications were that Trump had become bored with Venezuela because of the lack of progress, and it's likely he'll only try to impose a regime change in this manner if he believes it will work.

[Aug 02, 2019] The girls were prostitutes paid for sex. Epstein, Maxwell, the pilot Nadia and others were procurers and arrangers of the prostitution

Notable quotes:
"... Except in a few Nevada counties, being a prostitute of any age, being a customer of a prostitute, procuring and arranging contacts between prostitutes and customer, running a prostitution business and soliciting sex for money are crimes no matter what the age of the prostitute in every state and territory of the United States including Little St James Island and the states of New York and Florida. ..."
Aug 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

Alden , says: July 31, 2019 at 4:49 am GMT

@Fran Taubman Except in a few Nevada counties, being a prostitute of any age, being a customer of a prostitute, procuring and arranging contacts between prostitutes and customer, running a prostitution business and soliciting sex for money are crimes no matter what the age of the prostitute in every state and territory of the United States including Little St James Island and the states of New York and Florida.

The girls were prostitutes paid for sex. Epstein, Maxwell, the pilot Nadia and others were procurers and arrangers of the prostitution.

... ... ...

[Jul 31, 2019] Epstein, charged in July with sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14, was a prolific liar and manipulator

This story might get more interesting when the names of his powerful protectors and clients are released.
Jul 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As the Times goes on to note, even after his 2008 conviction on charges of soliciting prostitution from a minor, Epstein was able to ingratiate himself with the scientific community , attracting a "glittering array of prominent scientists."

They included the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who discovered the quark; the theoretical physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking ; the paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould; Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and best-selling author; George M. Church, a molecular engineer who has worked to identify genes that could be altered to create superior humans; and the M.I.T. theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, a Nobel laureate. - New York Times

Scientists had regular parties at Epstein's Manhattan mansion, drinking Dom Pérignon and other expensive libations. The wealthy financier also hosted buffet lunchest at Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics - to which he contributed $6.5 million in order to get it off the ground.

Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker says he was invited to "salons and coffee klatsches" at which Epstein would 'hold court.'

While some of Mr. Pinker's peers hailed Mr. Epstein as brilliant, Mr. Pinker described him as an "intellectual impostor."

"He would abruptly change the subject, A.D.D.-style, dismiss an observation with an adolescent wisecrack," Mr. Pinker said.

Another scientist cultivated by Mr. Epstein, Jaron Lanier, a prolific author who is a founding father of virtual reality, said that Mr. Epstein's ideas did not amount to science, in that they did not lend themselves to rigorous proof. Mr. Lanier said Mr. Epstein had once hypothesized that atoms behaved like investors in a marketplace.

Mr. Lanier said he had declined any funding from Mr. Epstein and that he had met with him only once after Mr. Epstein's 2008 guilty plea. - New York Times

bloofer , 8 minutes ago link

So.... Epstein lied " in an effort to worm his way into the 'upper echelons of society.' "

So the "upper echelons of society" include Lanier, "the virtual-reality creator and author," two unnamed "award winning" scientists, and one unnamed "advisor" to large companies and wealthy individuals.

So, what "awards" did these unnamed scientists win? Employee of the Month, entitling them to a reserved parking space for a week? As for "advisor," ****, I can claim to be an advisor to wealthy individuals. ("Trust me. Go with the pink toenail polish.") I have also from time to time offered my advice to large companies. ("Go **** yourself.")

Further, Epstein didn't "worm his way" into anything. His mode of operation was apparently to entice/entrap his "victims" and keep them on a short leash forever after.

This whole piece is one of the most transparently disingenuous things I've ever read. They make the guy sound like he was waiting tables in SoHo and social climbing (apparently among people of little or no importance) to try to get a part in an off-Broadway production--by telling funny stories.

[Jul 29, 2019] Evidence has emerged that the US State Department is tied to a child trafficking operation involving billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Notable quotes:
"... Evidence has emerged that the U.S. State Department is tied to a child trafficking operation involving Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. shared the tail number of his Bell Long Ranger 206L3 helicopter (tail number N474AW) with a U.S. State Department OV-10D Bronco ..."
"... . Descriptions of sex between adult males and underage females by XXX company employees in Bosnia in the 2000-2002 time frame coincides with descriptions of sex . on .. aircraft and [at] residences in Palm Beach, Florida; New Mexico; and on the island of Little Saint James in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the "Jane Does" filing suit against the U.S. government for concluding can anyone get the details of these suits? ..."
"... So so disgusting. First there was the catholic church pedophile scandal. Then there is the Epstein scandal ..."
Jul 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

sally , says: July 23, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT

https://friendsforsyria.com/2019/07/21/u-s-state-department-tied-to-child-trafficking-operation-with-epstein/

according to this article ..the following

Evidence has emerged that the U.S. State Department is tied to a child trafficking operation involving Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. shared the tail number of his Bell Long Ranger 206L3 helicopter (tail number N474AW) with a U.S. State Department OV-10D Bronco. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration database. Descriptions of sex between adult males and underage females by XXX company employees in Bosnia in the 2000-2002 time frame coincides with descriptions of sex . on .. aircraft and [at] residences in Palm Beach, Florida; New Mexico; and on the island of Little Saint James in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Among the "Jane Does" filing suit against the U.S. government for concluding can anyone get the details of these suits?

mcohen , says: July 23, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT

So so disgusting. First there was the catholic church pedophile scandal. Then there is the Epstein scandal

... ... ...

Everything is broken.Time to call in the plumbers

[Jul 29, 2019] Looks like E>pstein turned informant for Mueller s FBI in 2008. Likely earlier

Highly recommended!
Did Mueller done this at the request of Clintons?
Notable quotes:
"... That was while Robert Mueller ran the Bureau, which means everything about Epstein's blackmail and kompromat operation has been tucked safely away out of sight in FBI files for at least a decade. Much longer, new evidence shows. ..."
"... *CIA Acknowledged in 2003, It Knew that Ghislaine Maxwell's Late Father was a Major Foreign Intelligence Agent Operating Inside the U.S. ..."
"... That Robert Maxwell was a ruthless, corrupt, tax-dodging international businessman who served as an Israeli agent is highly probable. ..."
"... For the first time, Maxwell had failed to get his own way. He started to threaten and bluster. He then demanded that, for past services, he should receive immediately a quick fix of £400million to bale him out of his financial difficulties. ..."
"... Instead of providing the money, a small group of Mossad officers set about planning his murder. They feared that he was going to publicly expose all Mossad had done in the time he worked for them. They knew that he was gradually becoming mentally unstable and paranoid. He was taking a cocktail of drugs - Halcion and Zanax - which had serious side effects. ..."
"... Then Maxwell was contacted. He was told to fly to Gibraltar, go aboard the Lady Ghislaine and sail to the Canary Islands. There at sea he would receive his £400million quick fix in the form of a banker's draft. Maxwell did as he was told. ..."
"... As Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent told us: "On that cold night Mossad's problems with Robert Maxwell were over." ..."
"... The incontrovertible facts about his murder are contained in a previously-unseen autopsy report by Britain's then-leading forensic pathologist Dr Iain West and Israel State Pathologist Dr Yehuda Hiss. Of all the documents in our possession, these reports confirm the truth about Maxwell's death. ..."
"... Boy that Mueller has had a busy career hasn't he? Didn't he start out in Chicago where he gave Whitey Bulgar cover for being a mob boss? Then there's his cover up before and after 9/11. The weapons of mass destruction that he said Saddam had. The anthrax prosecution, Epstein's pedophilia cover up, HSBC and now he is trying to cover Hillary's buttocks. And maybe Obama's? I'm sure I've missed a few things that he did or didn't do. ..."
"... Acosta was told to stand down by someone at the top of the food chain. Mueller. Ugh what a slimy piece of work he is. But not to the Russia Gaters. Oh no. "He is a highly decorated marine who takes no guff from anyone. ..."
"... In that time, he had free access to Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street, to Ronald Reagan's White House, to the Kremlin and to the corridors of power throughout Europe. ..."
"... Inquiring minds want to know did Maxwell have access to Margaret and Ron because they liked him or because he had something on them? ..."
"... Epstein is the destruction of the Deep State. ..."
"... That pedophelia and politics scandal, better known as the Franklin Coverup, made the papers for a few months, too, before it was made to go away. Similarly, a couple of the operators served some time on reduced charges after that one. ..."
"... The two main suspects in the Bush, Sr. White House child ring were Craig Spence and Lawrence E. King Jr. King sang the National anthem at two GOP national conventions. He served time in jail for bank fraud. Spence was a Republican lobbyist before he committed suicide. Several of his partners went to jail for being involved in the adult part of the homosexual prostitution ring. ..."
"... Mueller's scrupulous avoidance of the CIA link in his prosecution of Manuel Noriega and his diversion of the PanAm 103 bombing and framing of two Libyans. Bobby Mueller has been a real go to guy when the security establishment needs a phony investigation. ..."
"... Bobby Mueller has been a real go to guy when the security establishment needs a phony investigation. ..."
"... The anthrax investigation is the most serious of his crimes. Mueller is being sued by his lead investigator in that case. ..."
"... Every now and then, here and there the curtain lifts for a moment and the political elite of a country, the business elite, the spy services, the military, and organized crime are revealed to be all working together, indeed practically joined at the hip ..."
"... partnership started during the early Cold War with US intelligence officers facilitating the drug trade out of Turkey and Burma through Europe. That soon spread to the Americas and globally. Covert operations such as Gladio, Condor, and the Safari Club, and associated banks (Franklin National Bank, BCCI, Riggs Bank, HSBC, etc.) produced massive human rights violations, transnational terrorism and governmental corruption. The CIA's secret wars provided funds and official cover for private-public sector alliance of criminals, bankers and spooks around the world. ..."
"... The CIA, MI6 and Mossad ran overlapping coordinated operations using privateers, paramilitaries and organized crime networks that consumed vast amounts of cash generated by money laundering mechanisms. Enriched by the looting of the former Soviet Union, along with the infusion of Arab oil money (the Saudi Yamamah slush fund), the "Octopus" became the instrument of Oligarchs that have thoroughly corrupted western governments and secret services. ..."
"... The Snowden release included a number of documents that illustrate the on-line entrapment and political disruption activities run by the two main communications intelligence agencies. ..."
"... Epstein recruits young girls, throws parties where he invites potential hedge fund clients, lets nature take its course and films the proceedings, extracts blackmail in the form of investments to his (largely fake) hedge fund, which actually just buys an index fund (no actual fund management required). He takes a percentage from the coerced investments. Nobody talks because they have too much to lose. No suspicious payments to raise eyebrows at the IRS. ..."
"... Epstein brought in the clients. The CIA/MI-6/Mossad provided necessary cover from the FBI and local cops - then, three or four agencies shared the intelligence take, as they had for decades from Robert Maxwell's operations. ..."
"... For Ghislaine, it was simply carrying on the family business for fun and profit. For the spooks, it was business as usual going back to the Green House, the Berlin bordello founded in the the 1870s by Wilhelm Steiber, a Prussian Police section chief, to provide useful intelligence to Bismarck's Military Intelligence, which he reorganized. ..."
"... Epstein is also well acquainted with University President Lawrence H. Summers. The two serve together on the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, two elite international relations organizations. ..."
"... Epstein's relationships within the academy are remarkable since the tycoon, who has amassed his fortune by managing the wealth of billionaires from his private Caribbean island, does not hold a bachelor's degree. ..."
"... There's a rocky road ahead for Larry Summers. Summers introduces Epstein into the Harvard fold, but becomes reckless with his newly-refined Neoliberalism and his opinions concerning "lady scholars." ..."
Jul 11, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

leveymg on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:30am

That was while Robert Mueller ran the Bureau, which means everything about Epstein's blackmail and kompromat operation has been tucked safely away out of sight in FBI files for at least a decade. Much longer, new evidence shows.

For those who may have wondered why Epstein was given such an incredible deal in sentencing, that explains it. Epstein was an extraordinary value informant, and he leveraged it. https://truepundit.com/fbi-pedophile-jeffrey-epstein-was-informant-for-m...

A figure who often gets overlooked in this is Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's chief procurer of underage girls. Ghislaine, the daughter of publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was granted immunity and never charged in exchange for her own cooperation in the 2008 pseudo-prosecution. https://heavy.com/news/2019/03/ghislaine-maxwell/ ; https://pagesix.com/2016/03/17/alleged-epstein-madam-forced-to-hand-over...

The real question is, why did the FBI wait for more than a decade to bust Epstein and Maxwell?

Epstein and Maxwell came to the attention of the FBI in 1996, when, curiously, the Bureau never acted on an accusation that they had together sexually abused a 15 year old girl in a bedroom inside Epstein's Manhattan townhouse. Documents in a recent law suit filed by an alleged victim, Maria Farmer, show that the FBI had been aware of Epstein and Maxwell's child abuse activities in New York for at least a dozen years before Epstein was finally charged in 2008 with much-reduced Florida state offenses. https://www.yourtango.com/2019323698/who-maria-farmer-latest-woman-accus...

Farmer claims she reported her sexual assault to New York police and the FBI in 1996. "To my knowledge, I was the first person to report Maxwell and Epstein to the FBI," she wrote in her affidavit."

*CIA Acknowledged in 2003, It Knew that Ghislaine Maxwell's Late Father was a Major Foreign Intelligence Agent Operating Inside the U.S.

Previously, Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine's father, had for many years been known to have been involved in high-level espionage in the United States, as detailed in a 2003 publication of the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf . Therein, the CIA reviewer of a biography by British author Gordon Thomas acknowledged about Maxwell: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-pub...

That Robert Maxwell was a ruthless, corrupt, tax-dodging international businessman who served as an Israeli agent is highly probable.

For the deeper background to the Epstein-Maxwell multinational blackmail, coverup and kompromat operation, we have to look at the events that led up to the 1991 death of Robert Maxwell. A summary of the Maxwell bio by its authors recounts:

British Publisher Robert Maxwell
Was Mossad Spy
By Gordon Thomas And Martin Dillon
The Mirror - UK
12-6-2002
[ . . .]
Eleven years after former Daily Mirror owner Robert Maxwell plunged from his luxury yacht to a watery grave, his death still arouses intense interest.

Many different theories have circulated about what really happened on board the Lady Ghislaine that night in May 1991.

[ . . . ]

The Jewish millionaire and former Labour MP [born Ludvik Hoch
in Czechoslovakia] died the way he had lived - threatening.

He had threatened his wife. Threatened his children. Threatened the staff of this newspaper.

But finally he issued one threat too many - he threatened Mossad.

He told them that unless they gave him £400million to save his crumbling empire, he would expose all he had done for them.

In that time, he had free access to Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street, to Ronald Reagan's White House, to the Kremlin and to the corridors of power throughout Europe.

On top of that he had built himself a position of power within the crime families of eastern Europe, teaching them how to funnel their vast wealth from drugs, arms smuggling and prostitution to banks in safe havens around the globe.

Maxwell passed on all the secrets he learned to Mossad in Tel Aviv. In turn, they tolerated his excesses, vanities and insatiable appetite for a luxurious lifestyle and women.

He told his controllers who they should target and how they should do it. He appointed himself as Israel's unofficial ambassador to the Soviet Bloc. Mossad saw the advantage in that.

[ . . . ]

The more successful Maxwell became the more risks he took and the more dangerous he was to Mossad. At the same time, the very public side of Maxwell, who then owned 400 companies, began to unwind.

He spent lavishly and lost money on deals. The more he lost, the more he tried to claw money from the banks. Then he saw a way out of his problems.

He was approached by Vladimir Kryuchkov, head of the KGB. Spymaster and tycoon met in the utmost secrecy in the Kremlin.

Kryuchkov had an extraordinary proposal. He wanted Maxwell to help orchestrate the overthrow of Mikhail Gorbachev, the reformist Soviet leader. That would bring to an end a fledgling democracy and a return to the Cold War days.

In return, Maxwell's massive debts would be wiped out by a grateful Kryuchkov, who planned to replace Gorbachev. The KGB chief wanted Maxwell to use the Lady Ghislaine, named after Maxwell's daughter, as a meeting place between the Russian plotters, Mossad chiefs and Israel's top politicians.

The plan was for the Israelis to go to Washington and say that democracy could not work in Russia and that it was better to allow the country to return to a modified form of communism, which America could help to control. In return, Kryuchkov would guarantee to free hundreds of thousands of Jews and dissidents in the Soviet republics.

Kryuchkov told Maxwell that he would be seen as a saviour of all those Jews. It was a proposal he could not refuse. But when he put it to his Mossad controllers they were horrified. They said Israel would have no part in such a madcap plan.

For the first time, Maxwell had failed to get his own way. He started to threaten and bluster. He then demanded that, for past services, he should receive immediately a quick fix of £400million to bale him out of his financial difficulties.

Instead of providing the money, a small group of Mossad officers set about planning his murder. They feared that he was going to publicly expose all Mossad had done in the time he worked for them. They knew that he was gradually becoming mentally unstable and paranoid. He was taking a cocktail of drugs - Halcion and Zanax - which had serious side effects.

The group of Mossad plotters sensed, like Solomon, he could bring their temple tumbling down and cause incalculable harm to Israel. The plan to kill him was prepared in the utmost secrecy. A four-man squad was briefed.

Then Maxwell was contacted. He was told to fly to Gibraltar, go aboard the Lady Ghislaine and sail to the Canary Islands. There at sea he would receive his £400million quick fix in the form of a banker's draft. Maxwell did as he was told.

On the night of November 4, 1991, the Lady Ghislaine, one of the world's biggest yachts, was at sea.

[ . . . ]

As Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent told us: "On that cold night Mossad's problems with Robert Maxwell were over."

The incontrovertible facts about his murder are contained in a previously-unseen autopsy report by Britain's then-leading forensic pathologist Dr Iain West and Israel State Pathologist Dr Yehuda Hiss. Of all the documents in our possession, these reports confirm the truth about Maxwell's death.

Gordon Thomas & Martin Dillon are authors of The Assassination of Robert Maxwell: Israel's Super Spy, published by Robson Books.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12419168&method=f...

The obvious question, why did the U.S. government let these intelligence crimes continue for decades, isn't being asked. The answer is almost self-evident. Information and leverage obtained by Maxwell-Epstein and Co. was far too valuable to its several operators to let it all end too soon.

###

Linda Wood on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 12:45pm
Two parts of your reporting

leap out at me as suggesting how Epstein connects to much bigger subjects. First is the assertion that Maxwell was

... teaching them how to funnel their vast wealth from drugs, arms smuggling and prostitution to banks in safe havens around the globe.

This area of trafficking and money laundering directly connects to Mueller and his essential exoneration of HSBC .

The other quotation that suggests the importance of money laundering is here:

The plan was for the Israelis to go to Washington and say that democracy could not work in Russia and that it was better to allow the country to return to a modified form of communism, which America could help to control.

The life's work of Antony Sutton at Stanford's Hoover Institution shows that American industry was ALWAYS controlling communism as well as Soviet industrial development, and that a trend toward social democracy, represented by Gorbachev, would have put an end to that control.

leveymg on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 4:29pm
Curiously, the CIA review of the Maxwell bio doesn't touch on

@Linda Wood his money laundering and blackmailing activities. While the review confirms that Robert Maxwell was for decades a major Mossad agent actively setting up operations and cover in the United States and the UK, I can only surmise that the spreading political influence of Eastern European organized crime networks and child honey traps are things that the Agency didn't want to discuss publicly in 2003.

As for Mueller, let's not forget that he was FBI Director and before that the head of the Criminal Division at Main Justice at the time that global "black finance" grew along with the catastrophic spread of multinational crime and terrorism. BCCI, Iran-Contra, 9/11, and the rise of transnational Oligarchs happened on his watch. As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the United States at the time, it is hard to imagine anyone more responsibility for the ultimate consequences than Robert Mueller. There is perhaps someone who bears ultimate responsibility, the President who appointed Mueller: George Herbert Walker Bush and his lesser son, Shrub, who promoted him.

Pluto's Republic on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 5:21pm
From your own research

@leveymg

... wouldn't you assume that this entire affair is an ongoing Mossad operation, which may or may not have concluded? The US IC is just another operative inside the envelope, but Mossad owns the assets and the intellectual property. I think we could assume that some of this is automated and Mossad has ongoing leverage still in play.

The obvious question, why did the U.S. government let these intelligence crimes continue for decades, isn't being asked. The answer is almost self-evident. Information and leverage obtained by Maxwell-Epstein and Co. was far too valuable to its several operators to let it all end too soon.

.

Mossad's legendary blackmail traps ensnared even high-level deep state authorities and made them pliable. The recent history of United States foreign policy is an enigma that can only be solved when that assumption is inserted. Once the assumption is in place, it opens like a Pandora's box. Don't you find that to be the case?

Thanks for compiling this revealing argument.

Deja on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 11:03pm
HSBC?

@Linda Wood
From your link:

In a recent investigation I presented the case that British banking and financial giant HSBC conspired with banking institutions with documented links to terrorist financing, including those responsible for helping bankroll the 9/11 attacks.

Thank you for the link!

Linda Wood on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 1:11pm
HSBC article

linked here does not mention Mueller but does outline the crimes Mueller worked so hard not to solve:

http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/2012/07/black-dossier-hsbc-terro...

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012
Black Dossier: HSBC & Terrorist Finance

Moral equivalencies abound. After all, when American secret state agencies manage drug flows or direct terrorist proxies to attack official enemies it's not quite the same as battling terror or crime.

Pounding home that point, a new report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations accused HSBC of exposing "the U.S. financial system to a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing risks due to poor anti-money laundering (AML) controls."

That 335-page report, "U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History," (large pdf file available here ) was issued after a year-long Senate investigation zeroed-in on the bank's U.S. affiliate, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., better known as HBUS.

Drilling down, we learned that amongst the "services" offered by HSBC subsidiaries and correspondent banks were sweet deals with financial entities with terrorist ties; the transportation of billions of dollars in cash by plane and armored car through their London Banknotes division; the clearing of sequentially-numbered travelers checks through dodgy Cayman Islands accounts for Mexican drug lords and Russian mafiosi.

From richly-appointed suites at Canary Wharf, London, the bank's "smartest guys in the room" handed some of the most violent gangsters on earth the financial wherewithal to organize their respective industries: global crime.

A case in point. In 2008 alone the Senate revealed that the bank's Cayman Islands branch handled some 50,000 client accounts (all without benefit of offices or staff on Grand Cayman, mind you), yet still managed to ship some $7 billion (£10.9bn) in cash from Mexico into the U.S. Now that's creative accounting!...

Alligator Ed on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:49pm
Thank you, Linda

@Linda Wood HSBC, huh--there must be some clever name for it, which deserves no research.
what an eloquent article you presented. Brief but right on target. It isn't just sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now it is drugs - money -sexual perversion--and perhaps worse? Rumors are flying about what video on the Weiner laptop showed. It is strictly heresay, but a core of folks seem to believe the suspicions are possible.

snoopydawg on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 8:48pm
Boy that Mueller has had a busy career hasn't he? Didn't he start out in Chicago where he gave Whitey Bulgar cover for being a mob boss? Then there's his cover up before and after 9/11. The weapons of mass destruction that he said Saddam had. The anthrax prosecution, Epstein's pedophilia cover up, HSBC and now he is trying to cover Hillary's buttocks. And maybe Obama's? I'm sure I've missed a few things that he did or didn't do.

Acosta is saying that if he hadn't made the plea deal then Epstein would never have served any time in prison. Well he actually only slept there since he got to leave every day for work and then there's the massages he got after his busy day at work. But there were more than 80 pages that the Feds wrote on his escapades so I think that story he told congress is true. Acosta was told to stand down by someone at the top of the food chain. Mueller. Ugh what a slimy piece of work he is. But not to the Russia Gaters. Oh no. "He is a highly decorated marine who takes no guff from anyone.

In that time, he had free access to Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street, to Ronald Reagan's White House, to the Kremlin and to the corridors of power throughout Europe.

Inquiring minds want to know did Maxwell have access to Margaret and Ron because they liked him or because he had something on them?

Great information! The more I learn the more I need a shower.

Linda Wood on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 9:11pm
That needing a shower thing

@snoopydawg

is how I've been feeling all week from reading about this, just more and more demoralized when I think about the depravation of our so-called "leadership." What is it that we're supposed to think of as the new normal after this behavior?

Alligator Ed on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:53pm
Linda, you could shower in my extra long tub

@Linda Wood No problem--but, seriously, yecch! Epstein is the destruction of the Deep State.

leveymg on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 1:02pm
Remember Craig Spence and the 1989 Whitehouse Call Boy Ring?

@snoopydawg

That pedophelia and politics scandal, better known as the Franklin Coverup, made the papers for a few months, too, before it was made to go away. Similarly, a couple of the operators served some time on reduced charges after that one.

The two main suspects in the Bush, Sr. White House child ring were Craig Spence and Lawrence E. King Jr. King sang the National anthem at two GOP national conventions. He served time in jail for bank fraud. Spence was a Republican lobbyist before he committed suicide. Several of his partners went to jail for being involved in the adult part of the homosexual prostitution ring.

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/Franklin/FranklinCoverup/l...

Roy Blakeley on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 12:29pm
And let's not forget

@snoopydawg

Mueller's scrupulous avoidance of the CIA link in his prosecution of Manuel Noriega and his diversion of the PanAm 103 bombing and framing of two Libyans. Bobby Mueller has been a real go to guy when the security establishment needs a phony investigation.

Linda Wood on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 1:09pm
Absolutely.

@Roy Blakeley

You sum it up perfectly:

Bobby Mueller has been a real go to guy when the security establishment needs a phony investigation.

The anthrax investigation is the most serious of his crimes. Mueller is being sued by his lead investigator in that case.

Because researchers in our biological weapons labs went public with what they were doing, and where such research was being done in the U.S., we learned the CIA was one of several outfits doing biological weapons research.

But Mueller exonerated all of them, including the CIA, with no explanation and only focused on a lone vaccine researcher at the Army lab when journalists began to ask why no one had been indicted after seven years of investigation, at which point the FBI attempted to harass the suspect into committing suicide.

lotlizard on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 1:44am
Comparable to "Deep State" scandals in Turkey?

Every now and then, here and there the curtain lifts for a moment and the political elite of a country, the business elite, the spy services, the military, and organized crime are revealed to be all working together, indeed practically joined at the hip.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susurluk_scandal

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/ergenekon-plot-massive-trial-...

leveymg on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 11:08am
Read "Politics of Heroin in SE Asia". The CIA-Mafia-warlord

@lotlizard @lotlizard

partnership started during the early Cold War with US intelligence officers facilitating the drug trade out of Turkey and Burma through Europe. That soon spread to the Americas and globally. Covert operations such as Gladio, Condor, and the Safari Club, and associated banks (Franklin National Bank, BCCI, Riggs Bank, HSBC, etc.) produced massive human rights violations, transnational terrorism and governmental corruption. The CIA's secret wars provided funds and official cover for private-public sector alliance of criminals, bankers and spooks around the world.

This "dark alliance" assumed a political and economic life of its own beyond its original intent to counter communist movements. By the Vietnam War, Agency operators were running most of the heroin trade in the world through proprietary airlines, banks and logistics companies. In the mid-1970s, CIA Director Bush expanded privatization with Saudi funding in his Safari Club deal that eventually morphed into Al Qaeda and ISIS.

The CIA, MI6 and Mossad ran overlapping coordinated operations using privateers, paramilitaries and organized crime networks that consumed vast amounts of cash generated by money laundering mechanisms. Enriched by the looting of the former Soviet Union, along with the infusion of Arab oil money (the Saudi Yamamah slush fund), the "Octopus" became the instrument of Oligarchs that have thoroughly corrupted western governments and secret services.

Multinational honey trap operations such as Maxwell-Epstein & Co. are an inevitable and continuing part of this privatization and criminalization of intelligence that stretches back to the days of Tom Braden and Cord Meyer handing out stacks of greenbacks to Mafiosi on the Corsican Docks.

leveymg on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 11:31am
NSA and GCHQ have gotten into the honeytrap and influence game

@leveymg

The Snowden release included a number of documents that illustrate the on-line entrapment and political disruption activities run by the two main communications intelligence agencies.

"Honey-trap; a great option. Very successful, when it works" (GCHQ, UK training program slide)

https://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2014/05/lots-of-secret-nsa-documents-plu...

The "Information Ops" category is of particular interest to me...

Does this really seem like the sort of thing that would be done only to a jihadist...?

WoodsDweller on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 1:48pm
Here's an interesting take

https://www.alternet.org/2019/07/epstein-was-running-a-blackmail-scheme-...

Without quoting the whole thing (which is worth a read):

Epstein recruits young girls, throws parties where he invites potential hedge fund clients, lets nature take its course and films the proceedings, extracts blackmail in the form of investments to his (largely fake) hedge fund, which actually just buys an index fund (no actual fund management required). He takes a percentage from the coerced investments. Nobody talks because they have too much to lose. No suspicious payments to raise eyebrows at the IRS.

There's no need to invoke the Mafia/Russia/Mossad/CIA/etc, that's just needlessly overfitting.

Except such an operation would be quite attractive to intelligence services. Maybe they were in on the ground floor, maybe they made Epstein an offer he couldn't refuse once they heard about it.

leveymg on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 10:28am
My gut tells me that G. Maxwell provided the Know-how, and

@WoodsDweller

Epstein brought in the clients. The CIA/MI-6/Mossad provided necessary cover from the FBI and local cops - then, three or four agencies shared the intelligence take, as they had for decades from Robert Maxwell's operations.

For Ghislaine, it was simply carrying on the family business for fun and profit. For the spooks, it was business as usual going back to the Green House, the Berlin bordello founded in the the 1870s by Wilhelm Steiber, a Prussian Police section chief, to provide useful intelligence to Bismarck's Military Intelligence, which he reorganized.

Steiber is considered the father of modern espionage. His methods were vastly influential, and he attracted students from London, St. Petersburg to Tokyo. Each put their own national spin on the science of sexual blackmail. As for the Japanese, they are among the most interesting and innovative in their use of a parallel network of privatized intelligence services incorporating underworld Yakuzi groups alongside conventional military intelligence units. Using compromise, they gained and maintained control over Imperial Japan and its Colonies: https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2019/03/15/eastern-peril/

To realize these divinely inspired ambitions, Japan needed a modern espionage system. Adopting the German model, Japanese officials were sent to study under Wilhelm Stieber in the mid-1870s. Over the next decade Japan built up separate army and naval intelligence services, each with an accompanying branch of secret military police (Kempeitai for the army and Tokeitai for the navy). These latter organizations also provided an excellent counter-espionage service. However, where the Japanese were unique was in the use of spies belonging to unofficial secret societies working alongside or independently of the official intelligence agencies. These shadowy institutions were ultra-nationalist by nature, drawing their membership from a cross-section of Japanese society, including the military, politics, industry and Yakuza underworld. Under ruthless leadership, their henchmen would spy on, subvert and corrupt Japan's Far East neighbours.

For more on Steiber and his superior, von Hinckeldey, methods of international counter-insurgency, espionage, and political policing included deception and a forerunner of today's internet surveillance: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2006/11/29/275653/-

While armies are essential to the maintenance of autocracy, the preservation of dynastic rule and the prevention of democracy requires an effective secret police. The suppression of its middle-class constitutionalists [during the 1840s] was followed by the expansion of the Prussian political police under Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Hinckeldey.

Appointed police president of Berlin in late 1848, Hinckeldey was an innovator of many of the features of modern systematic political policing. Among the tactics that he introduced with his new police system in Berlin was the "Litfass columns". Named for Ernst Litfass, Frederick William's court printer, he had dozens of these large poles erected in strategic spots around Berlin. The public posting of political notices was then banned. By application to a state office for a waiver, however, the columns could be used to display messages. The police dutifully recorded the names of all who had applied. A. Richie, Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1998 at p.134.

LEGACY OF THE LITFASS COLUMNS: A similar ploy was later adopted by the People's Republic of China. In the mid-1980s, the Communist authorities at first appear to tolerate the operation of a so-called Democracy Wall, where "dissidents" in Beijing could post political writings, initially, without being arrested. Similar walls then sprung up under the noses of the authorities in other Chinese cities. For this apparent opening to democracy, the Deng regime much applauded, particularly by some in the Reagan-Bush Administration, eager to legitimize the regime and its growing commercial ties with U.S. corporations. Eventually, many of those who had availed themselves of the wall to post political messages were, of course, arrested in the roundup of hundreds of thousands of democracy supporters that followed the Tienamen Square massacre. The impression of anonymity and "freedom" conveyed by the Internet, of course, presents a similar opportunity for police to cast a wide net for identifying persons and organizations who may not hold favor for the regime in power, or may not in the future.

Hinckeldey also founded the Police Union, the first recorded international network of counterrevolutionary police spies in modern times. Primarily made up of police officers from Prussia and the German states, the Union operated throughout Europe, Britain and in the United States. The Union was run by his deputy, the notorious police provocateur, Wilhelm Steiber, who would later reorganize the Okhrana along similar lines. Internationally active from 1851-1866, the Police Union, according to Mathieu Deflem, was "one of the first formal initiatives in industrial society to establish an organized police system across national borders."13

I disagree with the Alternet view on this. See, this is the norm. A purely private sexual blackmail ring of any scale would be the historical exception. It certainly wouldn't survive very long.

Pluto's Republic on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 5:45pm
This is a chilling thought I try to avoid.

@leveymg

...authorities at first appear to tolerate the operation of a so-called Democracy Wall, where "dissidents" in Beijing could post political writings.... Similar walls then sprung up under the noses of the authorities in other Chinese cities. Eventually, many of those who had availed themselves of the wall to post political messages were, of course, arrested in the roundup of hundreds of thousands of democracy supporters....

The impression of anonymity and "freedom" conveyed by the Internet, of course, presents a similar opportunity for police to cast a wide net for identifying persons and organizations who may not hold favor for the regime in power, or may not in the future.

But why should one avoid the thought? If the situation looks like the people are going to lose the war for their minds, and are unwilling to back a publisher like Assange who has given his all to try to empower them, why should anyone put themselves at risk by expressing their opinions? It's a honeypot of our own making, just as Facebook is where people go to write their own dossiers for the Authorities.

leveymg on Sat, 07/13/2019 - 10:36am
Every time you entrap yourself as

@Pluto's Republic an enemy of the status quo, you raise the calculated costs of the eventual crackdown, pushing back the day of reckoning. Keep it up! Visible rebellion is the only defense of the people.

Pluto's Republic on Fri, 07/12/2019 - 5:54pm
Background: If someone were to choose the ideal node

...from which to leverage access to the elite, Harvard University would be a top choice.

Jeffery Epstein actually entered the social salons of the elite through many doors. He was, of course, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. One would have to be to rub shoulders with the political elite. From there he matriculated to the Trilateral Commission becoming friendly with Harvard President, Larry Summers. **

Becoming a surprise mystery philanthropist at Harvard, with Summers help, was a booster rocket for Epstein. In the Havard Crimson , in June 2003, Epstein's involvement with Harvard was celebrated.

People in the News: Jeffrey E. Epstein

Elusive financier Jeffrey E. Epstein donated $30 million this year to Harvard for the founding of a mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program.

While the mathematics teacher turned magnate remained unknown to most people until he flew President Clinton, Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa to explore the problems of AIDS and economic development facing the region, Epstein has been a familiar face to many at Harvard for years.

Networking with the University's leading intellectuals, Epstein has spurred research through both discussions with and dollars contributed to various faculty members.

Lindsley Professor of Psychology Stephen M. Kosslyn, former Dean of the Faculty Henry A. Rosovsky and Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz are among Epstein's bevy of eminent friends that includes princes, presidents and Nobel Prize winners.

Epstein is also well acquainted with University President Lawrence H. Summers. The two serve together on the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, two elite international relations organizations.

Epstein's collection of high-profile friends also includes newly-recruited professor Martin A. Nowak, who will run Harvard's mathematical biology and evolutionary dynamics program.

Like Kosslyn, Rosovsky and Dershowitz, Nowak praises Epstein's numerous relationships within the scientific community.

"I am amazed by the connections he has in the scientific world," Nowak says. "He knows an amazing number of scientists. He knows everyone you can imagine."

Epstein's relationships within the academy are remarkable since the tycoon, who has amassed his fortune by managing the wealth of billionaires from his private Caribbean island, does not hold a bachelor's degree.

Yet, friends and beneficiaries say they do not see Epstein merely as a man with deep pockets, but as an intellectual equal.

Dershowitz says Epstein is "brilliant" and Kosslyn calls Epstein "one of the brightest people I've ever known."

Epstein's beneficiaries say they are particularly appreciative of the no-strings-attached approach Epstein takes with his donations.

"He is one of the most pleasant philanthropists," Nowak says. "Unlike many people who support science, he supports science without any conditions. There are not any disadvantages to associating with him."

Friends and associates say Harvard stands to benefit from its evolving relationship with Epstein.

"I hope that he will, over time, become one of the leading supporters of science at Harvard," Rosovsky writes in an e-mail.

__________________________________________
** A footnote on Larry Summers seems important here: Harvard-trained economists have been running the US economy for a very long time, and continue to do so. Summers began his ascent as a professor of economics at Harvard University, leaving shortly before Bill Clinton won the Presidency. He was clearly the Neoliberal seed planted for the New American Century.

In 1993, Summers was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin. In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury.

While working for the Clinton administration Summers played a leading role in the American response to the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the Russian financial crisis. He was also influential in the Harvard Institute for International Development and American-advised privatization of the economies of the post-Soviet states, and in the deregulation of the U.S financial system, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

At This Point the Ball is Passed to the Bush Team Republicans, while the Democrats Sit Back and Wait for 2008.

There's now a Treasury surplus to transfer to the wealthy, and the necessary deregulation for Wall Street empowerment is in place. The Soviet era had ended and Russia is ended forever. The world is finally primed to be seized by the One Exceptional Power. It's 2001, and we are standing on the threshold of the New American Century . Time to throw a flash-bang of chaos onto the world stage and trigger the booming War Economy that will carry us directly to global control.

There's a rocky road ahead for Larry Summers. Summers introduces Epstein into the Harvard fold, but becomes reckless with his newly-refined Neoliberalism and his opinions concerning "lady scholars."

Following the end of Clinton's term, Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty, which resulted in large part from Summers's conflict with Cornel West, financial conflict of interest questions regarding his relationship with Andrei Shleifer, and a 2005 speech in which he suggested that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end", and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization. Remarking upon political correctness in institutions of higher education, Summers said in 2016:

Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty, which resulted in large part from Summers's conflict with Cornel West, financial conflict of interest questions regarding his relationship with Andrei Shleifer, and a 2005 speech in which he suggested that the under-representation of women in science and engineering

There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.

After his departure from Harvard, Summers cooled his jets on Wall Street, positioning himself to be called back into the game when it was Team Democrat's turn in 2008.

Summers worked as a managing partner at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co., and as a freelance speaker at other financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Summers rejoined public service during the Obama administration, serving as the Director of the White House United States National Economic Council for President Barack Obama from January 2009 until November 2010, where he emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration's response to the Great Recession.

Jeffery Epstein continued to weave himself into the fabric of government like a good psychopath would. He was by no means the only one.

[Jul 29, 2019] Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... A secret plea bargain and non-prosecution agreement with the federal government is what happened. It shifted the public face to the Florida state court system with Epstein pleading to two state prostitution crimes, which implied, of course, that the complainants were prostitutes. The public is now aware that the result was Epstein sleeping at the county jail and then going to his office during the day, for 13 months. Registering as a sex offender has not curtailed his travel or daily activity. ..."
"... The whole nasty business disappeared from view and would have stayed hidden in its nicely wrapped package except that two civil lawsuits have pulled some of it into the light. ..."
"... With that background, we come to the recent fascinating events, in which Epstein was arrested, and the role of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in this whole rotten mess was revealed to some extent. He had been the U.S. Attorney for that part of Florida at that time ..."
"... There you have it: "... this case ... had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice." The cat was out of the bag. It was a sad sight: Alex Acosta, after achieving two significant positions in the federal government, took a dive to be the fall guy. ..."
"... The non-prosecution agreement has signature dates from 24 September to 7 December 2007, and page 3 of Robert Josefsberg's lawsuit against Epstein confirms this. The Department of Justice is a bureaucracy, and even though a U.S. Attorney has significant authority and some independence, the Justice Department in Washington D.C. -- sometimes called "Main Justice" -- ultimately controls things. In the organizational chart, the U.S. Attorneys are under the Deputy Attorney General, the number two person [6] ..."
"... The U.S. Attorney General from 3 February 2005 to 17 September 2007 was Alberto Gonzales. Michael Mukasey was nominated on 17 September and became Attorney General on 8 November 2007 until Eric Holder was sworn in on 3 February 2009. ..."
"... The FBI Director from 4 September 2001 to 4 September 2013 was Robert Mueller. ..."
"... And from July 2008 into this year, the Justice Department has resisted the CVRA lawsuit in Florida. ..."
"... This material is presented here for viewing or downloading so that you can think for yourself. Mass media has reported next to nothing about the 11-year course of the Crime Victims' Rights Act lawsuit and the detail in the first 22 pages of the trial court's opinion, other than that the court found the government violated the CVRA. I am not aware of one word reported about the 2010 lawsuit brought by Robert Josefsberg against Epstein for breaching the non-prosecution agreement. ..."
"... Jeffrey Epstein was being protected. The process and communications that accomplished it, and who did it, are not yet known. ..."
"... Why nobody is above the law! Not even a President! Oh! Wait! 23 flights! And a scion of the house of Windsor allegedly involved as well? ..."
"... "The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida immunized all named and unnamed "potential co-conspirators" in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and also any powerbrokers who may have molested them." ..."
"... Who gets a plea deal in which "all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators" get immunity? https://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971 ..."
"... Epstein's NPA was limited to the Florida district of federal courts, hence another branch of the federal courts, the Southern District of New York, was free to re-open the issue..and did. ..."
"... Acosta says he acted in accordance with his superior's wishes at the DOJ. Plausible, but lets see some corroborating evidence. If he agreed to negotiate this NPA without getting his boss's orders in writing he is a remarkable fool. ..."
"... Arkancide? Epstein is linked with E Barak, and Nicole Junkermann, per flight logs. Presumably that is the intelligence link Acosta was babbling about. https://carbyne911.com/team/ ..."
"... Doubt if Bubba Bill was involved in any of Epstein's sexual shenanigans after being burnt by Lewinsky. Clinton always had the proverbial ability to "talk a dog off a gut wagon" and could most likely find an agreeable partner elsewhere. Might be wrong but doubt it. ..."
"... If I understand correctly, Epstein broke the agreement. Would it follow that the WTF!? immunity deal is now nixed? ..."
"... Crossing the Clinton cabal in any manner is seriously dangerous. The list of those who have and died mysteriously is very long. ..."
"... The sweetheart deal that Epstein received from Acosta and the DOJ seems rather unusual for the felony that is such a social taboo as you note. Not only did he get off extremely lightly but his co-conspirators were completely let off the hook. The way the children who were raped were also treated by the courts was also shameful. ..."
"... This case epitomizes the travesty of the current state of the rule of law. Sexual predators of children are typically thrown the book and quickly taken off the streets to serve a long sentence. Not only did that not happen but even worse he was allowed to continue his despicable behavior out in the open even when he was supposed to be serving his sentence. Clearly he had some powerful friends in the Bush administration, but even with these connections when such execrable behavior is shown repeatedly there were none with a conscience. A sad testament to the state of our justice system. ..."
"... The usual plea agreement requires the defendant to plead guilty to some federal criminal offense. The Epstein agreement did not require him to plead to a federal crime. It also did not require him to debrief or provide them with information. To the contrary, it required that the federal government do nothing to him or to other people who helped him or conspired with him to commit federal crimes! ..."
Jul 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

16 July 2019 Alex Acosta let the cat out of the bag: the Justice Department knew all about the Jeffrey Epstein Florida plea deal

A taboo in our culture that is also a crime is sexual contact with a child or young person -- usually less than 17 or 18 years old -- by an adult or older person. An exception is sexual experimentation during the struggle of adolescence, when the persons are no more than around two or three years apart in age, as long as there is consent. A greater age difference creates the crime often called "statutory rape", in which a statute (a law passed by a legislature) says that legal consent for sexual contact cannot be given by the underage person.

This taboo is a strong one, even more so than homicide, about which there are various levels and justifications, such as self-defense. All over the country on a regular basis, underage sex crime cases are tried to a jury, even without medical or forensic evidence. And with just one complainant and victim.

But then Jeffrey Epstein is named as a suspect in underage sex crimes in Palm Beach County, Florida, with not one complainant, but with at least 20.

What was the local State Attorney, Barry Krischer, going to do? Apparently, not very much. Attention shifted to the federal U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alexander Acosta, and the FBI. Was a federal prosecution pursued? No. Nothing.

A secret plea bargain and non-prosecution agreement with the federal government is what happened. It shifted the public face to the Florida state court system with Epstein pleading to two state prostitution crimes, which implied, of course, that the complainants were prostitutes. The public is now aware that the result was Epstein sleeping at the county jail and then going to his office during the day, for 13 months. Registering as a sex offender has not curtailed his travel or daily activity.

The whole nasty business disappeared from view and would have stayed hidden in its nicely wrapped package except that two civil lawsuits have pulled some of it into the light.

On 7 July 2008, a case under the federal Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA) was filed in the Southern District of Florida by lawyers Paul Cassell, Bradley Edwards, and two others against the federal government, with case number 08-cv-80736 [1]. Around ten and a half years later, on 21 February 2019, the trial court judge issued a 33-page opinion and order granting a request for partial summary judgment by two victims, ruling that there was no genuine issue of material fact about the assertion that the government violated the CVRA by failing properly to confer with the victims, and that therefore a contested trial on that issue is not necessary. The opinion is worth reading, and the first 22 pages are a detailed statement of facts about the non-prosecution agreement and the activity surrounding it by lawyers for the government and Epstein, giving an insight into what was going on. The beginning of the opinion references four startling factual assertions made by the complainants in their request for summary judgment and which the federal government admitted without qualification in its response [2]:

"1. Between about 1999 and 2007, Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused more than 30 minor girls, including Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, located in the Southern District of Florida, and elsewhere in the United States and overseas.

"2. Because Epstein and his co-conspirators knowingly traveled in interstate and international commerce to sexually abuse Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, and other similarly situated victims, they committed violations of not only Florida law (see, e,g., Fla. Stat. sections 794.05, 796.04, 796.045, 39.201 and 777.04), but also federal law, including repeated violations of 18 U.S.C. sections 1591, 2421, 2422, 2423, and 371).

"3. In addition to personally abusing his victims, Epstein also directed other persons to sexually abuse the girls. For example, Nadia Marcinkova sexually abused Jane Doe 1 and other victims at the direction of Epstein.

"8. More generally, the FBI established that Epstein used paid employees to repeatedly find and bring minor girls to him. Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minor girls not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others."

The opinion in the CVRA case is here https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/jeffreyepstein_cvra__court_opinion_20190221.pdf

The present court activity is to figure out a procedure to determine a remedy for the government's violation of the CVRA and to establish a remedy.

On 17 May 2010, a lawsuit revealing more of Epstein's degenerate attitude and mentality was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, with case number 10-cv-21586. It was based on parts 7 and 8 of the plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement, that--

"7. The United Sates shall provide Epstein's attorneys with a list of individuals whom it has identified as victims, as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 2255, after Epstein has signed this agreement and been sentenced. Upon the execution of this agreement, the United States, in consultation with and subject to the good faith approval of Epstein's counsel, shall select an attorney representative for these persons, who shall be paid for by Epstein. Epstein's counsel may contact the indentified individuals through that representative.

"8. [In part] If any of the individuals referred to in paragraph (7), supra , elects to file suit pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 2255, Epstein will not contest the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida over his person and/or the subject matter, and Epstein waives his right to contest liability and also waives his right to contest damages up to an amount as agreed to between the identified individual and Epstein, so long as the identified individual elects to proceed exclusively under 18 U.S.C. section 2255, and agrees to waive any other claim for damages, whether pursuant to state, federal, or common law."

Title 18, U.S. Code, section 2255, creates the right for an underage person (a minor) to bring a civil lawsuit in federal court for money for personal injury suffered as a victim of certain federal crimes. The victim can seek money for the actual harm suffered, or the fixed amount of $150,000, plus attorney fees and litigation costs. [3].

The attorney representative selected to help the females who wanted to seek compensation by that route under the non-prosecution agreement (NPA) was Robert Josefsberg, of the Podhurst & Orseck law firm in Miami, Florida, known to have experience in litigation. Some number over 12 of the 34 females named by the U.S. Attorney's Office as complainants against Epstein sought compensation through the representative.

However, although Epstein agreed in the NPA to pay the attorney representative and to not contest liability in the claims the females made under 18 U.S.C. 2255, he not only breached the agreement by contesting liability in the cases, but also he paid only a small part of what was owed to Josefsberg, and tried to stiff the representative by not paying over $2 million dollars due for attorney fees and costs!

For over 20 months, Josefsberg tried unsuccessfully to get Epstein to pay him under the NPA, and finally sued Epstein for breach of contract and breach of the implied doctrine of good faith and fair dealing. Attached to the lawsuit document was a copy of the NPA. Here are the scandalous plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement and addendum, and the informative original petition brought by the representative for some of the victimized females:

This produced an amusing turn of events, shown by the court clerk's docket sheet. Epstein quickly settled with the attorney representative by 8 June 2010, only 22 days after the lawsuit was filed [4]. After all, he had breached the NPA and it could have been cancelled (and should have been) and a prosecution started in Florida.

Picking apart the NPA is in itself an interesting exercise, but looking at the agreement as a whole, you can see that it is designed to keep his sexually abusive conduct from being disclosed, both as to criminal charges -- he pled only to state prostitution offenses -- and as to civil cases involving females who decided to seek compensation through the NPA's representative and 18 U.S.C. section 2255. In those civil cases, Epstein agreed to not challenge his liability, so no stories would be told in court; the only issue would be the amount of money to be paid.

With that background, we come to the recent fascinating events, in which Epstein was arrested, and the role of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in this whole rotten mess was revealed to some extent. He had been the U.S. Attorney for that part of Florida at that time. The NPA on page 2 asserted that: "On the authority of R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, prosecution in this District for these offenses shall be deferred in favor of prosecution by the State of Florida, provided that Epstein abides by the following conditions and the requirements of this Agreement set forth below".

Well, not exactly. When publicity heated up, fingers were pointed at Acosta with the usual hollering by some that he should resign. This produced a pathetic press conference on Wednesday, 10 July, in which Acosta tried to justify what the materials presented above reveal [5]. On Friday, 12 July, when president Trump went outside the White House to talk to the press before leaving on a trip, Acosta went with him. At around 1 minute, 40 seconds into this short video excerpt, Acosta says:

"I have seen coverage of this case, that is over 12 years old, that had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice. And as I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration's labor department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy that we have today. And so I called the president this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside...."

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4806893/labor-secretary-acosta-resigns-jeffrey-epstein-plea-deal-controversy

There you have it: "... this case ... had input and vetting at multiple levels of the Department of Justice." The cat was out of the bag. It was a sad sight: Alex Acosta, after achieving two significant positions in the federal government, took a dive to be the fall guy.

"Multiple levels" of "input" and "vetting" at the DOJ, you say? Who might that be?

The non-prosecution agreement has signature dates from 24 September to 7 December 2007, and page 3 of Robert Josefsberg's lawsuit against Epstein confirms this. The Department of Justice is a bureaucracy, and even though a U.S. Attorney has significant authority and some independence, the Justice Department in Washington D.C. -- sometimes called "Main Justice" -- ultimately controls things. In the organizational chart, the U.S. Attorneys are under the Deputy Attorney General, the number two person [6]

https://www.justice.gov/agencies/chart

The U.S. Attorney General from 3 February 2005 to 17 September 2007 was Alberto Gonzales. Michael Mukasey was nominated on 17 September and became Attorney General on 8 November 2007 until Eric Holder was sworn in on 3 February 2009.

The FBI Director from 4 September 2001 to 4 September 2013 was Robert Mueller.

More research is needed to identify persons in various positions in the Department of Justice from 2005 through at least 2010, when Epstein breached the NPA by contesting liability and failing to pay attorney fees and costs, and had to be sued by Robert Josefsberg and the Podhurst & Orseck law firm.

And from July 2008 into this year, the Justice Department has resisted the CVRA lawsuit in Florida.

The CVRA opinion on page 3 confirmed that by May 2007, the U.S. Attorney's Office had drafted a 53-page indictment and an 82-page prosecution memorandum about federal sex crimes committed by Epstein. The opinion on pages 5-6 quotes a letter to Epstein's counsel that the U.S. Attorney's office did not have the power to bind the Immigration service, but that they did not plan on bringing immigration charges against two of Epstein's female co-conspirators.

The CVRA opinion on page 7 tells us that--

"On September 21, 2007, Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer wrote the line prosecutor [Assistant U.S. Attorney] about the proposed agreement and added: 'Glad we could get this worked out for reasons I won't put in writing. After this is resolved I would love to buy you a cup at Starbucks and have a conversation'."

This material is presented here for viewing or downloading so that you can think for yourself. Mass media has reported next to nothing about the 11-year course of the Crime Victims' Rights Act lawsuit and the detail in the first 22 pages of the trial court's opinion, other than that the court found the government violated the CVRA. I am not aware of one word reported about the 2010 lawsuit brought by Robert Josefsberg against Epstein for breaching the non-prosecution agreement.

From this information, you can see the brazen lack of a basis for the extra protection put in the plea bargain / NPA on page 5, that--

"In consideration of Epstein's agreement to plead guilty and to provide compensation in the manner described above, if Epstein successfully fulfills all of the terms and conditions of this agreement, the United States also agrees that it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein, including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."

Jeffrey Epstein was being protected. The process and communications that accomplished it, and who did it, are not yet known.

[1] The Crime Victims' Rights Act, Title 18, United States Code, section 3771

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title18/part2/chapter237&edition=prelim

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3771

[2] The request (motion) for partial summary judgment by the victims (Jane Doe 1 and 2) contained a list of what they claimed were 157 undisputed material facts. The federal government filed a response which either admitted, or admitted with a qualification, or denied the asserted facts. The numbered facts 1, 2, 3, and 8 were admitted.

[3] Title 18, U.S. Code, section 2255

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title18-section2255&num=0&edition=prelim

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2255

[4] The court clerk's docket sheet for the Robert Josefsberg and Podhurst & Orseck lawsuit against Epstein

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/files/jeffreyepstein_docket_sheet_did_not_pay_lawsuit.pdf

[5] https://www.c-span.org/video/?462479-1/labor-secretary-defends-handling-epstein-plea-deal-amid-calls-resignation

[6] A text version of the Department of Justice organizational chart

https://www.justice.gov/agencies/organizational-chart-text-version

Posted at 08:30 PM in Administration , Current Affairs , government , Justice | Permalink


GeneO , 16 July 2019 at 11:50 PM

I had hoped we would learn from today's hearings more regarding Epstein's source of wealth - and exactly how much it was. Plus more info on his doctored passport. More about the money trail between him and various Florida officials.

Anyone new calling the tip line - especially from during his time as a teacher at that prep school in NY? And more about the Dershowitz and Starr involvement back 12 years ago.

Unfortunately the food fight between Trump and the four frosh sucked all the air out of the media.

Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 01:58 AM
Why nobody is above the law! Not even a President! Oh! Wait! 23 flights! And a scion of the house of Windsor allegedly involved as well?

Is it going to be possible to clean the stable? If it isn't, you have lost your Republic.

anon , 17 July 2019 at 07:58 AM
Came across this site with the court documents .The FBI travelled to Australia in 2011 and interviewed ms Roberts at the american consulate in Sydney.9 years ago then in 2015 she sued Epstein and maxwell. Only now in 2019 did Epstein fly back from Paris knowing he was going to be arrested.

Some of those girls were collecting info for him and getting paid. The whole thing stinks time to call in the plumbers.

John Minehan , 17 July 2019 at 10:33 AM
I saw this in a couple of places ( https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/i-was-told-epstein-belonged-to-intelligence-and-to-leave-it-alone; https://www.dailywire.com/news/49355/acosta-was-told-epstein-belonged-intelligence-ryan-saavedra; https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2019/07/10/alex-acosta-mean-allegedly-said-epstein-belonged-intelligence/) and I'm not sure if it the report is accurate. (It's not showing up in the NY Times or The economist. But it doesn't seem impossible.

Many things are disposed of by plea Bargaining. With high profile crimes, it is always difficult to know if you did the right thing. Here, it is fairly obvious it wasn't. Acosta is a Harvard College/HLS, a very able and connected guy and his error here has damaged his life.

JamesT , 17 July 2019 at 11:17 AM
The part that I haven't seen being reported or discussed:

"The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida immunized all named and unnamed "potential co-conspirators" in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and also any powerbrokers who may have molested them."

Who gets a plea deal in which "all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators" get immunity? https://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971

Barbara Ann , 17 July 2019 at 12:38 PM
Department of what now?

Thanks for the link to the NPA I didn't realize it was in the public domain, it is an astonishing read. I'm not familiar with NPA's (having never been party to one!) so forgive me if the following questions are uninformed:

To what extent are NPA's legally binding upon the USG, are there circumstances where a court can set one aside for reasons other than breach of contract?

The NPA appears to try and indemnify Epstein and both known and unknown co-conspirators (Ghislaine Maxwell?) in both the offenses prosecuted and any other offenses subject to the joint USAO/FBI investigation . In fact on page 5 the indemnity given uses the wording "the [US] also agrees it will not institute any criminal charges against any potential co-conspirators of Epstein included but not limited to.." (my emphasis) i.e. scope here appears to be unlimited. This cannot be legally enforceable surely?

I thought NPA's were used to go after people further up the food chain. This one seems to have given carte blanche immunity to all involved at every level. I'm astonished Acosta had the authority, merely with "consultation" within DOJ to do this. This is a travesty and is starting to make FISA abuse look like chicken feed.

Mark Logan said in reply to Barbara Ann... , 17 July 2019 at 08:57 PM
Barbara,

Epstein's NPA was limited to the Florida district of federal courts, hence another branch of the federal courts, the Southern District of New York, was free to re-open the issue..and did.

Acosta says he acted in accordance with his superior's wishes at the DOJ. Plausible, but lets see some corroborating evidence. If he agreed to negotiate this NPA without getting his boss's orders in writing he is a remarkable fool.

Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 12:56 PM

Was Acosta making an "error"? Looks to me he was a fully paid up member of the Swamp, doing what swampians do and he will no doubt settle back into a Swamp law firm or Professorship somewhere. Weep not for him.
Harry , 17 July 2019 at 01:24 PM
What a fantastic piece! Excellent work and I cannot poke a hole in the reasoning.
Walrus , 17 July 2019 at 03:24 PM
As previously observed, Epstein is going to be killed. Arkancide. The poor schmuck that does it won't realize that he is next.
Marc b. said in reply to Walrus ... , 17 July 2019 at 08:50 PM
Arkancide? Epstein is linked with E Barak, and Nicole Junkermann, per flight logs. Presumably that is the intelligence link Acosta was babbling about. https://carbyne911.com/team/
turcopolier , 17 July 2019 at 03:36 PM
walrus

yes. I con't see him living much longer. On Morning joe today, Joe and his imbecile consort went on at length about a party in 1992 at Mar A Lago for a bunch of NFL cheerleaders. Trump, Epstein and other me stood around ogling the ladies. So what! Not a word was said about the absent Bill Clinton.

srw said in reply to turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 04:10 PM
Doubt if Bubba Bill was involved in any of Epstein's sexual shenanigans after being burnt by Lewinsky. Clinton always had the proverbial ability to "talk a dog off a gut wagon" and could most likely find an agreeable partner elsewhere. Might be wrong but doubt it.
The Twisted Genius -> turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 07:56 PM
Ogling NFL cheerleaders, big deal. That seemed pretty normal to me. I'm waiting for more to come out about the 1992 private party at Mar a Lago with Trump, Epstein and 28 calendar girls. I get the feeling Trump is going tweet crazy right now primarily to change the subject. With Trump, Clinton, the DOJ enablers who protected Epstein and probably a host of others, Epstein is bound to be whacked as you and walrus said.
akaPatience -> turcopolier ... , 17 July 2019 at 09:04 PM
Yes, the MSM are predictably silent about Bill Clinton and other leftists who are/were buddies with Epstein. I guess with all of his money, he could murder someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and...

"imbecile consort". THANK you, you made my day!

Rhondda , 17 July 2019 at 04:17 PM
If I understand correctly, Epstein broke the agreement. Would it follow that the WTF!? immunity deal is now nixed?

What a rotten underbelly oozes out. This foul beast needs to be wrestled into the light. Where is the people's champion? There must be some good people in there somewhere.

John Minnerath , 17 July 2019 at 05:47 PM
Crossing the Clinton cabal in any manner is seriously dangerous. The list of those who have and died mysteriously is very long.
Jack , 17 July 2019 at 07:30 PM
Robert

Thanks for your excellent write-up.

The sweetheart deal that Epstein received from Acosta and the DOJ seems rather unusual for the felony that is such a social taboo as you note. Not only did he get off extremely lightly but his co-conspirators were completely let off the hook. The way the children who were raped were also treated by the courts was also shameful.

This case epitomizes the travesty of the current state of the rule of law. Sexual predators of children are typically thrown the book and quickly taken off the streets to serve a long sentence. Not only did that not happen but even worse he was allowed to continue his despicable behavior out in the open even when he was supposed to be serving his sentence. Clearly he had some powerful friends in the Bush administration, but even with these connections when such execrable behavior is shown repeatedly there were none with a conscience. A sad testament to the state of our justice system.

Do you think the current case will also just be another white wash or do you think the DOJ will pursue the investigation with vigor to get to the bottom of his finances and all the other sexual predators of children in his orbit?

robt willmann , 17 July 2019 at 09:38 PM
Barbara Ann,

You are perceptive about the Epstein plea bargain / non-prosecution agreement (NPA). The one for Epstein is the complete opposite of what happens in federal criminal cases. Yes, agreements between the Justice Department and defendants are often used "to go after people further up the food chain". There will be a plea bargain with a cooperation section in it. If cooperation is not part of the arrangement, that section is left out.

They have a standard form they use for plea bargains, and some sections may be in or out of it depending on the situation. Classic examples are those that were used by "special counsel" Robert Mueller when he went around putting the squeeze on people. Here is the agreement between the Mueller group and Richard Gates, who was around Paul Manafort during the Trump campaign--

https://www.justice.gov/file/1038801/download

The usual plea agreement requires the defendant to plead guilty to some federal criminal offense. The Epstein agreement did not require him to plead to a federal crime. It also did not require him to debrief or provide them with information. To the contrary, it required that the federal government do nothing to him or to other people who helped him or conspired with him to commit federal crimes!

John Minehan , 17 July 2019 at 09:38 PM
I'm not a Trump supporter, but you have to say this for Trump: he banned Jeffery Epstein from his properties and made him PNG when Trump had complaints about the man's conduct on site.

[Jul 29, 2019] Michael Hudson Trump s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember US Dollar Hegemony by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like the world order established after WWIII crumbed with the USSR and now it is again the law if jungles with the US as the biggest predator.
Notable quotes:
"... The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet. ..."
"... Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy ..."
"... A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest. ..."
"... For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness. ..."
"... Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II. ..."
"... Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards. ..."
"... Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." ..."
"... This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer. ..."
"... England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank." ..."
"... But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium. ..."
"... On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe ..."
"... The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945. ..."
"... By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands. ..."
"... It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either. ..."
"... But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid. ..."
"... It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. ..."
"... Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe. ..."
"... It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence. ..."
"... Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority. ..."
"... Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change. ..."
"... Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times. ..."
"... Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. ..."
"... To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles. ..."
"... Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually. ..."
"... So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change. ..."
"... Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. ..."
"... I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. ..."
"... If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing. ..."
"... In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3. ..."
"... Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble." ..."
"... He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas. ..."
"... The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run. ..."
"... Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners. ..."
"... Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap. ..."
"... On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect. ..."
"... Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o ..."
"... Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT. ..."
"... The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy. ..."
Feb 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected, thanks to the very same Neocons who gave the world the Iraq, Syria and the dirty wars in Latin America. Just as the Vietnam War drove the United States off gold by 1971, its sponsorship and funding of violent regime change wars against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is now driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.

This break has been building for quite some time, and was bound to occur. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would become the catalytic agent? No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire. The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together – the great nightmare of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They also are driving Germany and other European countries into the Eurasian orbit, the "Heartland" nightmare of Halford Mackinder a century ago.

The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil's Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their "Elements of Style" guidelines for Doublethink, a "democratic" country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America's enemies are theirs too.

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.

This trajectory could be seen 50 years ago (I described it in Super Imperialism [1972] and Global Fracture [1978].) It had to happen. But nobody thought that the end would come in quite the way that is happening. History has turned into comedy, or at least irony as its dialectical path unfolds.

For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness.

The reality is that right-wing parties want to get elected, and a populist nationalism is today's road to election victory in Europe and other countries just as it was for Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump's agenda may really be to break up the American Empire, using the old Uncle Sucker isolationist rhetoric of half a century ago. He certainly is going for the Empire's most vital organs. But it he a witting anti-American agent? He might as well be – but it would be a false mental leap to use "quo bono" to assume that he is a witting agent.

After all, if no U.S. contractor, supplier, labor union or bank will deal with him, would Vladimir Putin, China or Iran be any more naïve? Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II.

Dismantling International Law and Its Courts

Any international system of control requires the rule of law. It may be a morally lawless exercise of ruthless power imposing predatory exploitation, but it is still The Law. And it needs courts to apply it (backed by police power to enforce it and punish violators).

Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." [1]

Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: "The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate "Israel or other U.S. allies."

That prompted a senior judge, Christoph Flügge from Germany, to resign in protest. Indeed, Bolton told the court to keep out of any affairs involving the United States, promising to ban the Court's "judges and prosecutors from entering the United States." As Bolton spelled out the U.S. threat: "We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."

What this meant, the German judge spelled out was that: "If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted."

The original inspiration of the Court – to use the Nuremburg laws that were applied against German Nazis to bring similar prosecution against any country or officials found guilty of committing war crimes – had already fallen into disuse with the failure to indict the authors of the Chilean coup, Iran-Contra or the U.S. invasion of Iraq for war crimes.

Dismantling Dollar Hegemony from the IMF to SWIFT

Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.

Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar "as good as gold" at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally name as paying agents.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on "socialism," not on U.S. political attempts to "make the economy scream" (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.

England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank."

Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: "Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them."

This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine. [4] Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1. [5] The U.S. Senate's Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being "theft," as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran. President Trump's breaking of the 2015 nuclear agreements negotiated by European and Obama Administration diplomats has escalated to the point of threatening Germany and other European countries with punitive sanctions if they do not also break the agreements they have signed. Coming on top of U.S. opposition to German and other European importing of Russian gas, the U.S. threat finally prompted Europe to find a way to defend itself.

Imperial threats are no longer military. No country (including Russia or China) can mount a military invasion of another major country. Since the Vietnam Era, the only kind of war a democratically elected country can wage is atomic, or at least heavy bombing such as the United States has inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium.

Russia and China have already moved to create a shadow bank-transfer system in case the United States unplugs them from SWIFT. But now, European countries have come to realize that threats by Bolton and Pompeo may lead to heavy fines and asset grabs if they seek to continue trading with Iran as called for in the treaties they have negotiated.

On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.

I have just returned from Germany and seen a remarkable split between that nation's industrialists and their political leadership. For years, major companies have seen Russia as a natural market, a complementary economy needing to modernize its manufacturing and able to supply Europe with natural gas and other raw materials. America's New Cold War stance is trying to block this commercial complementarity. Warning Europe against "dependence" on low-price Russian gas, it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required). President Trump also is insisting that NATO members spend a full 2 percent of their GDP on arms – preferably bought from the United States, not from German or French merchants of death.

The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945.

The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its steady policy since its inception is to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves. That is why its loans are only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive. By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands.

It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either.

Likewise, the IMF has been forced to admit that its basic guidelines were fictitious from the beginning. A central core has been to enforce payment of official inter-government debt by withholding IMF credit from countries under default. This rule was instituted at a time when most official inter-government debt was owed to the United States. But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid.

It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. Europe has taken notice that its own international monetary trade and financial linkages are in danger of attracting U.S. anger. This became clear last autumn at the funeral for George H. W. Bush, when the EU's diplomat found himself downgraded to the end of the list to be called to his seat. He was told that the U.S. no longer considers the EU an entity in good standing. In December, "Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Europe in Brussels -- his first, and eagerly awaited -- in which he extolled the virtues of nationalism, criticised multilateralism and the EU, and said that "international bodies" which constrain national sovereignty "must be reformed or eliminated." [5]

Most of the above events have made the news in just one day, January 31, 2019. The conjunction of U.S. moves on so many fronts, against Venezuela, Iran and Europe (not to mention China and the trade threats and moves against Huawei also erupting today) looks like this will be a year of global fracture.

It is not all President Trump's doing, of course. We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Instead of applauding democracy when foreign countries do not elect a leader approved by U.S. diplomats (whether it is Allende or Maduro), they've let the mask fall and shown themselves to be the leading New Cold War imperialists. It's now out in the open. They would make Venezuela the new Pinochet-era Chile. Trump is not alone in supporting Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi terrorists acting, as Lyndon Johnson put it, "Bastards, but they're our bastards."

Where is the left in all this? That is the question with which I opened this article. How remarkable it is that it is only right-wing parties, Alternative for Deutschland (AFD), or Marine le Pen's French nationalists and those of other countries that are opposing NATO militarization and seeking to revive trade and economic links with the rest of Eurasia.

The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline -- something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.

Footnotes

[1] "It Can't be Fixed: Senior ICC Judge Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling," January 31, 2019.

[2] Patricia Laya, Ethan Bronner and Tim Ross, "Maduro Stymied in Bid to Pull $1.2 Billion of Gold From U.K.," Bloomberg, January 25, 2019. Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe.

[3] ibid

[4] Corina Pons, Mayela Armas, "Exclusive: Venezuela plans to fly central bank gold reserves to UAE – source," Reuters, January 31, 2019.

[5] Constanze Stelzenmüller, "America's policy on Europe takes a nationalist turn," Financial Times, January 31, 2019.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year< Jointly posted with Hudson's website


doug , February 1, 2019 at 8:03 am

We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Yes we do. no escape? that I see

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 9:43 am

Well, if the StormTrumpers can tear down all the levers and institutions of international US dollar strength, perhaps they can also tear down all the institutions of Corporate Globalonial Forced Free Trade. That itself may BE our escape . . . if there are enough millions of Americans who have turned their regionalocal zones of habitation into economically and politically armor-plated Transition Towns, Power-Down Zones, etc. People and places like that may be able to crawl up out of the rubble and grow and defend little zones of semi-subsistence survival-economics.

If enough millions of Americans have created enough such zones, they might be able to link up with eachother to offer hope of a movement to make America in general a semi-autarchik, semi-secluded and isolated National Survival Economy . . . . much smaller than today, perhaps likelier to survive the various coming ecosystemic crash-cramdowns, and no longer interested in leading or dominating a world that we would no longer have the power to lead or dominate.

We could put an end to American Exceptionalism. We could lay this burden down. We could become American Okayness Ordinarians. Make America an okay place for ordinary Americans to live in.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I read somewhere that the Czarist Imperial Army had a saying . . . "Quantity has a Quality all its own".

... ... ...

Cal2 , February 1, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Drumlin,

If Populists, I assume that's what you mean by "Storm Troopers", offer me M4A and revitalized local economies, and deliver them, they have my support and more power to them.

That's why Trump was elected, his promises, not yet delivered, were closer to that then the Democrats' promises. If the Democrats promised those things and delivered, then they would have my support.

If the Democrats run a candidate, who has a no track record of delivering such things, we stay home on election day. Trump can have it, because it won't be any worse.

I don't give a damn about "social issues." Economics, health care and avoiding WWIII are what motivates my votes, and I think more and more people are going to vote the same way.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 8:56 pm

Good point about Populist versus StormTrumper. ( And by the way, I said StormTRUMper, not StormTROOper). I wasn't thinking of the Populists. I was thinking of the neo-etc. vandals and arsonists who want us to invade Venezuela, leave the JCPOA with Iran, etc. Those are the people who will finally drive the other-country governments into creating their own parallel payment systems, etc.

And the midpoint of those efforts will leave wreckage and rubble for us to crawl up out of. But we will have a chance to crawl up out of it.

My reason for voting for Trump was mainly to stop the Evil Clinton from getting elected and to reduce the chance of near immediate thermonuclear war with Russia and to save the Assad regime in Syria from Clintonian overthrow and replacement with an Islamic Emirate of Jihadistan.

Much of what will be attempted " in Trump's name" will be de-regulationism of all kinds delivered by the sorts of basic Republicans selected for the various agencies and departments by Pence and Moore and the Koch Brothers. I doubt the Populist Voters wanted the Koch-Pence agenda. But that was a risky tradeoff in return for keeping Clinton out of office.

The only Dems who would seek what you want are Sanders or maybe Gabbard or just barely Warren. The others would all be Clinton or Obama all over again.

Quanka , February 1, 2019 at 8:29 am

I couldn't really find any details about the new INSTEX system – have you got any good links to brush up on? I know they made an announcement yesterday but how long until the new payment system is operational?

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Here is a bit more info on it but Trump is already threatening Europe if they use it. That should cause them to respect him more:

https://www.dw.com/en/instex-europe-sets-up-transactions-channel-with-iran/a-47303580

LP , February 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

The NYT and other have coverage.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/europe/europe-trade-iran-nuclear-deal.amp.html

Louis Fyne , February 1, 2019 at 8:37 am

arguably wouldn't it be better if for USD hegemony to be dismantled? A strong USD hurts US exports, subsidizes American consumption (by making commodities cheaper in relative terms), makes international trade (aka a 8,000-mile+ supply chain) easier.

For the sake of the environment, you want less of all three. Though obviously I don't like the idea of expensive gasoline, natural gas or tube socks either.

Mel , February 1, 2019 at 9:18 am

It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence.

Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change.

What this change would consist of, and how it would manifest, remained an open question. Would he pursue rapprochement with Russia and pull troops out of the Middle East as he claimed to want to do during his 2016 campaign, would he doggedly pursue corruption charges against Clinton and attempt to reform the FBI and CIA, or would he do both, neither, or something else entirely?

Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times.

James , February 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. Whether or not he ever had or has a coherent plan for the havoc he has wrought, he has certainly been the agent for change many of us hoped he would be, in stark contrast to the criminal duopoly parties who continue to oppose him, where the daily no news is always bad news all the same. To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Look on some bright sides. Here is just one bright side to look on. President Trump has delayed and denied the Clinton Plan to topple Assad just long enough that Russia has been able to help Assad preserve legitimate government in most of Syria and defeat the Clinton's-choice jihadis.

That is a positive good. Unless you are pro-jihadi.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Clinton wasn't going to "benefit the greater good" either, and a very strong argument, based on her past behavior, can be made that she represented the greater threat. Given that the choice was between her and Trump, I think voters made the right decision.

Stephen Gardner , February 1, 2019 at 9:02 am

Excellent article but I believe the expression is "cui bono": who benefits.

hemeantwell , February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

Hudson's done us a service in pulling these threads together. I'd missed the threats against the ICC judges. One question: is it possible for INSTEX-like arrangements to function secretly? What is to be gained by announcing them publicly and drawing the expected attacks? Does that help sharpen conflicts, and to what end?

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Maybe they're done in secret already – who knows? The point of doing it publicly is to make a foreign-policy impact, in this case withdrawing power from the US. It's a Declaration of Independence.

whine country , February 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

It certainly seems as though the 90 percent (plus) are an afterthought in this journey to who knows where? Like George C.Scott said while playing Patton, "The whole world at economic war and I'm not part of it. God will not let this happen." Looks like we're on the Brexit track (without the vote). The elite argue with themselves and we just sit and watch. It appears to me that the elite just do not have the ability to contemplate things beyond their own narrow self interest. We are all deplorables now.

a different chris , February 1, 2019 at 9:30 am

Unfortunately this

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected

Is not supported by this (or really the rest of the article). The past tense here, for example, is unwarranted:

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy.

And this

So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

Doesn't show Germany as breaking free at all, and worse it is followed by the pregnant

But then came Venezuela.

Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually.

So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 11:22 am

"So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change."

I'm surprised more people aren't recognizing this. I read the article waiting in vain for some evidence of "the end of our monetary imperialism" besides some 'grumbling and foot dragging' as you aptly put it. There was some glimmer of a buried lede with INTEX, created to get around U.S. sanctions against Iran ─ hardly a 'dam-breaking'. Washington is on record as being annoyed.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 1, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. World bond market flows are 10X the size of world stock market flows even though the price of the Dow and Facebook shares etc get all of the headlines.

And foreign exchange flows are 10-50X the flows of bond markets, they're currently on the order of $5 *trillion* per day. And since forex is almost completely unregulated it's quite difficult to get the data and spot reserve currency trends. Oh, and buy gold. It's the only currency that requires no counterparty and is no one's debt obligation.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm

That's not what Hudson claims in his swaggering final sentence:

"The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me."

Which is risible as not only did he fail to show anything of the kind, his opening sentence stated a completely different reality: "The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected" So if we hold him to his first declaration, his evidence is feeble, as I mentioned. As a scholar, his hyperbole is untrustworthy.

No, gold is pretty enough lying on the bosom of a lady-friend but that's about its only usefulness in the real world.

skippy , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Always bemusing that gold bugs never talk about gold being in a bubble . yet when it goes south of its purchase price speak in tongues about ev'bal forces.

timbers , February 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

I don't agree, and do agree. The distinction is this:

If you fix a few of Hudson's errors, and take him as making the point that USD is losing it's hegemony, IMO he is basically correct.

Brian (another one they call) , February 1, 2019 at 9:56 am

thanks Mr. Hudson. One has to wonder what has happened when the government (for decades) has been shown to be morally and otherwise corrupt and self serving. It doesn't seem to bother anyone but the people, and precious few of them. Was it our financial and legal bankruptcy that sent us over the cliff?

Steven , February 1, 2019 at 10:23 am

Great stuff!

Indeed! It is to say the least encouraging to see Dr. Hudson return so forcefully to the theme of 'monetary imperialism'. I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. You can find any number of articles on his web site that return periodically to the theme of monetary imperialism. I remember one in particular that described how the rest of the world was brought on board to help pay for its good old-fashioned military imperialism.

If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing.

Until the US returns to the path of genuine wealth creation, it is past time for the rest of the world to go its own way with its banking and financial institutions.

Oh , February 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

The use of the stick will only go so far. What's the USG going to do if they refuse?

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 10:46 am

In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3.

Yikes , February 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm

UK withholding Gold may start another Brexit? IE: funds/gold held by BOE for other countries in Africa, Asian, South America, and the "stans" with start to depart, slowly at first, perhaps for Switzerland?

Ian Perkins , February 1, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Where is the left in all this? Pretty much the same place as Michael Hudson, I'd say. Where is the US Democratic Party in all this? Quite a different question, and quite a different answer. So far as I can see, the Democrats for years have bombed, invaded and plundered other countries 'for their own good'. Republicans do it 'for the good of America', by which the ignoramuses mean the USA. If you're on the receiving end, it doesn't make much difference.

Michael A Gualario , February 1, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Agreed! South America intervention and regime change, Syria ( Trump is pulling out), Iraq, Middle East meddling, all predate Trump. Bush, Clinton and Obama have nothing to do with any of this.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm

" So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. "

What proof is there that the gold is still there? Chances are it's notional. All Germany, Venezuela, or the others have is an IOU – and gold cannot be printed. Incidentally, this whole discussion means that gold is still money and the gold standard still exists.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Wukchumni beat me to the suspicion that the gold isn't there.

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 7:40 pm

What makes you think that the gold in Fort Knox is still there? If I remember right, there was a Potemkin visit back in the 70s to assure everyone that the gold was still there but not since then. Wait, I tell a lie. There was another visit about two years ago but look who was involved in that visit-

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/after-40-years-fort-knox-opens-vault-to-civilians/466441331

And I should mention that it was in the 90s that between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were manufactured in the US under Clinton. Since then gold-coated tungsten bars have turned up in places like Germany, China, Ethiopia, the UK, etc so who is to say if those gold bars in Fort Knox are gold all the way through either. More on this at -- http://viewzone2.com/fakegoldx.html

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

A non-accountable standard. It's more obvious BS than what is going on now.

jochen , February 2, 2019 at 6:46 am

It wasn't last year that Germany brought back its Gold. It has been ongoing since 2013, after some political and popular pressure build up. They finished the transaction in 2017. According to an article in Handelblatt (but it was widely reported back then) they brought back pretty much everything they had in Paris (347t), left what they had in London (perhaps they should have done it in reverse) and took home another 300t from the NY Fed. That still leaves 1236t in NY. But half of their Gold (1710t) is now in Frankfurt. That is 50% of the Bundesbanks holdings.

They made a point in saying that every bar was checked and weighed and presented some bars in Frankfurt. I guess they didn't melt them for assaying, but I'd expect them to be smart enough to check the density.

Their reason to keep Gold in NY and London is to quickly buy USD in case of a crisis. That's pretty much a cold war plan, but that's what they do right now.

Regarding Michal Hudsons piece, I enjoyed reading through this one. He tends to write ridiculously long articles and in the last few years with less time and motivation at hand I've skipped most of his texts on NC as they just drag on.

When I'm truly fascinated I like well written, long articles but somehow he lost me at some point. But I noticed that some long original articles in US magazines, probably research for a long time by the journalist, can just drag on for ever as well I just tune out.

Susan the Other , February 1, 2019 at 2:19 pm

This is making sense. I would guess that tearing up the old system is totally deliberate. It wasn't working so well for us because we had to practice too much social austerity, which we have tried to impose on the EU as well, just to stabilize "king dollar" – otherwise spread so thin it was a pending catastrophe.

Now we can get out from under being the reserve currency – the currency that maintains its value by financial manipulation and military bullying domestic deprivation. To replace this old power trip we are now going to mainline oil. The dollar will become a true petro dollar because we are going to commandeer every oil resource not already nailed down.

When we partnered with SA in Aramco and the then petro dollar the dollar was only backed by our military. If we start monopolizing oil, the actual commodity, the dollar will be an apex competitor currency without all the foreign military obligations which will allow greater competitive advantages.

No? I'm looking at PdVSA, PEMEX and the new "Energy Hub for the Eastern Mediterranean" and other places not yet made public. It looks like a power play to me, not a hapless goofball president at all.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 2:44 am

So sand people with sociological attachment to the OT is a compelling argument based on antiquarian preferences with authoritarian patriarchal tendencies for their non renewable resource . after I might add it was deemed a strategic concern after WWII .

Considering the broader geopolitical realities I would drain all the gold reserves to zero if it was on offer . here natives have some shiny beads for allowing us to resource extract we call this a good trade you maximize your utility as I do mine .

Hay its like not having to run C-corp compounds with western 60s – 70s esthetics and letting the locals play serf, blow back pay back, and now the installed local chiefs can own the risk and refocus the attention away from the real antagonists.

ChrisAtRU , February 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Indeed. Thanks so much for this. Maybe the RICS will get serious now – can no longer include Brazil with Bolsonaro. There needs to be an alternate system or systems in place, and to see US Imperialism so so blatantly and bluntly by Trump admin – "US gives Juan Guaido control over some Venezuelan assets" – should sound sirens on every continent and especially in the developing world. I too hope there will be fracture to the point of breakage. Countries of the world outside the US/EU/UK/Canada/Australia confraternity must now unite to provide a permanent framework outside the control of imperial interests. The be clear, this must not default to alternative forms of imperialism germinating by the likes of China.

mikef , February 1, 2019 at 6:07 pm

" such criticism can't begin to take in the full scope of the damage the Trump White House is inflicting on the system of global power Washington built and carefully maintained over those 70 years. Indeed, American leaders have been on top of the world for so long that they no longer remember how they got there.

Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176373/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_tweeting_while_rome_burns

Rajesh K , February 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

I read something like this and I am like, some of these statements need to be qualified. Like: "Driving China and Russia together". Like where's the proof? Is Xi playing telephone games more often now with Putin? I look at those two and all I see are two egocentric people who might sometimes say the right things but in general do not like the share the spotlight. Let's say they get together to face America and for some reason the later gets "defeated", it's not as if they'll kumbaya together into the night.

This website often points out the difficulties in implementing new banking IT initiatives. Ok, so Europe has a new "payment system". Has it been tested thoroughly? I would expect a couple of weeks or even months of chaos if it's not been tested, and if it's thorough that probably just means that it's in use right i.e. all the kinks have been worked out. In that case the transition is already happening anyway. But then the next crisis arrives and then everyone would need their dollar swap lines again which probably needs to cleared through SWIFT or something.

Anyway, does this all mean that one day we'll wake up and a slice of bacon is 50 bucks as opposed to the usual 1 dollar?

Keith Newman , February 2, 2019 at 1:12 am

Driving Russia and China together is correct. I recall them signing a variety of economic and military agreement a few years ago. It was covered in the media. You should at least google an issue before making silly comments. You might start with the report of Russia and China signing 30 cooperation agreements three years ago. See https://www.rbth.com/international/2016/06/27/russia-china-sign-30-cooperation-agreements_606505 . There are lots and lots of others.

RBHoughton , February 1, 2019 at 9:16 pm

He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 1:11 am

The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run.

Whilst the far right factions fight over the rudder the only new game in town is AOC, Sanders, Warren, et al which Trumps supporters hate with Ideological purity.

/lasse , February 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners.

On a household level it fits, but there no "loser" household that in infinity can print money that the "winners" can accumulate in exchange for their resources and fruits of labor.

One wonder what are Trumps idea of US being a winner in trade (surplus)? I.e. sending away their resources and fruits of labor overseas in exchange for what? A pile of USD? That US in the first place created out of thin air. Or Chinese Yuan, Euros, Turkish liras? Also fiat-money. Or does he think US trade surplus should be paid in gold?

When the US political and economic hegemony will unravel it will come "unexpected". Trump for sure are undermining it with his megalomaniac ignorance. But not sure it's imminent.

Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap.

On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:26 am

Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

When the delusion takes hold, it is the beginning of the end.

The British Empire will last forever
The thousand year Reich
American exceptionalism

As soon as the bankers thought they thought they were "Master of the Universe" you knew 2008 was coming. The delusion had taken hold.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT.

This is the US (46.30 mins.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba8XdDqZ-Jg

The trade deficit required a large Government deficit to cover it and the US government could just create the money to cover it.

Then ideological neoliberals came in wanting balanced budgets and not realising the Government deficit covered the trade deficit.

The US has been destabilising its own economy by reducing the Government deficit. Bill Clinton didn't realize a Government surplus is an indicator a financial crisis is about to hit. The last US Government surplus occurred in 1927 – 1930, they go hand-in-hand with financial crises.

Richard Koo shows the graph central bankers use and it's the flow of funds within the economy, which sums to zero (32-34 mins.).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm

It should be remembered Bill Clinton's early meeting with Rubin, where in he was informed that wages and productivity had diverged – Rubin did not blink an eye.

[Jul 28, 2019] Jeffrey Epstein purchased assistant Nadia Marcinkova as a child from her family teen victim told cop by Chris Spargo

Jul 28, 2019 | dailymail.co.uk

'He bragged she was his sex slave': Jeffrey Epstein 'purchased Nadia Marcinkova as a girl from her family, shot child porn of her with underage teen and forced her into threesomes'

By Chris Spargo For Dailymail.com

The foreign-born model who many have identified as an accomplice in procuring underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein is just as much a victim of the serial pedophile, according to official reports.

Incident reports from the Palm Beach Police Department's 2005 investigation that were obtained by DailyMail.com claim that Epstein told at least one underage victim that Nada Marcinkova was his 'Yugoslavian sex slave.'

Multiple girls also state that Epstein made them engage in sexual acts with Marcinkova, which eventually turned into threesomes with both himself and the model.

'Epstein had purchased her from her family in Yugoslavia,' wrote Detective Joseph Recarey after his interview with one victim.

'Epstein bragged he brought her into the United States to be his Yugoslavian sex slave.'

Scroll down for video

... ... ...

Scene: An incident report obtained by DailyMail.com reveals she was as young as 15 when she first began having sex with Epstein and other victims at his Palm Beach home (above)

Marcinkova would have been underage during most of the alleged incidents described by the victims to Detective Recarey.

She was no older then 16 when she and another underage victim were allegedly forced to stimulate each other manually, orally and with toys while Epstein watched them and pleasured himself in the bed.

That same unnamed girl broke down in tears while revealing she had been to Epstein's Palm Beach mansion hundreds of times in a two-year period and made thousands of dollars.

RELATED ARTICLES

At first she was paid extra to perform an oral sex act on Marcinkova, then each week 'things continued to escalate', states the incident report.

She said that she was 'adamant... that no vaginal penetration would occur with [Epstein],' but then that too did occur while she was underage, she told Detective Recarey.

On one occasion, the date of which he could not recall, Epstein allegedly raped that victim after she and Marcinkova had engaged in an oral sex act to completion.

'She said her head was being held against the bed forcibly... she screamed no and Epstein stopped,' said the report.

Soon after this, the victim said that Epstein purchased a '2005 Doge [sic] Neon, blue in color for her personal use.'

Epstein Police Report by ChrisSpargo on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/420033190/content

 'Epstein bragged he brought her into the United States to be his Yugoslavian sex slave,' Detective Recarey said after speaking to that same victim (Epstein above in 2008)"

Another woman also detailed a similar progression of events, starting with massages and leading into sexual encounters with Marcinkova.

That victim, who was of age during all visits to the house as she first met Epstein at 18, told Detective Recarey she also performed oral sex acts on Epstein but refused his directive to bring around other young girls.

She also claimed that she was once directed to perform a manual sex act on herself while watching Epstein have sex with Marcinkova.

Another victim, who told police she began having sexual relations with Marcinkova at 16, said that Epstein took pictures of the two and actually displayed them around his home.

These incidents make it clear that Marcinkova was also an alleged victim of Epstein.

She would later move into more of a procurement role, according to court documents, and eventually cut ties with Epstein. Marcinkova was granted immunity as part of Epstein's 2008 deal despite the fact that no charges would likely have been filed against her based on the police investigation.

She was actually born in the former Czechoslovakia just four years before the Velvet Revolution, which precipitated the non-violent transition of power in the country.

At some point she and her family did move to Yugoslavia. In recent years, she has changed her surname and Americanized her first name, going by Nadia.

[Jul 28, 2019] Epstein s Lolita Express Pilots Subpoenaed In Sex-Trafficking Investigation

Jul 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Jeffrey Epstein's longtime personal pilots have been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the Wall Street Journal . The grand jury subpoenaes were served earlier this month following Epstein's July 6 arrest at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on charges of sex-trafficking minors. He has pleaded not guilty to the yearslong scheme in which prosecutors allege the wealthy financier sexually abused dozens of young girls from 2002 to 2005, some of whom recruited other victims.

It is unknown how many of Epstein's pilots were subpoenaed, or whether they are cooperating witnesses. According to court documents from prior cases, Epstein employed David Rodgers, Larry Visoski, Larry Morrison and Bill Hammond as pilots and flight engineers. Rogers, Visoski and Morrison have previously testified in civil depositions.

Testimony from the pilots could be used by federal investigators in their efforts to corroborate accounts from Mr. Epstein's accusers. They could also provide detail on Mr. Epstein's travels and his associates. Some of the pilots were responsible for keeping flight logs of passengers who flew on Mr. Epstein's private jet, according to court filings. - Wall Street Journal

While prosecutors claimed that Epstein owns two private jets, the registered sex offender's attorneys said in a court filing earlier this month that he owns one private jet, and "sold the other jet in June 2019." Considering that he was arrested after returning from Paris in his Gulfstream G550, per Bloomberg , it suggests that Epstein sold his infamous and evidence-rich Boeing 272-200 known as the "Lolita Express" weeks before his arrest .

Women in civil lawsuits have accused Mr. Epstein of conspiring with his pilots and other associates from at least 1998 to 2002 to facilitate sex abuse and avoid law-enforcement detection . One woman has said in court filings that when she was a minor in 2000, Mr. Epstein transported her regularly on his private jet to be sexually exploited by his associates and friends . - Wall Street Journal

According to flight logs, former President Bill Clinton flew on the "Lolita Express" a total of 27 times . "Many of those times Clinton had his Secret Service with him and many times he did not," according to investigative journalist Conchita Sarnoff - who first revealed the former president's extensive flights on Epstein's "lolita express" in a 2010 Daily Beast exposé.

Via Radar Online

Clinton claimed in a statement earlier this month that he only took "a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein's airplane" in 2002 and 2003, and that Secret Service accompanied him at all times - which Sarnoff told Fox News was a total lie .

"I know from the pilot logs and these are pilot logs that you know were written by different pilots and at different times that Clinton went, he was a guest of Epstein's 27 times ," said Sarnoff.

Other famous guests include actor Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker, who flew with Clinton to Africa to tour HIV/AIDS project sites, according to New York Magazine in 2002, which notes how much Epstein revered the former president.

Lawyers for some of Epstein's accusers alleged in a 2015 court filing that flight logs provided by Epstein pilot Rodgers were incomplete, and that they will corroborate their accusations of being trafficked by Epstein and his associates when they were underage .

"It would not be surprising to find that some of these flight logs were likely designed to hide evidence of criminal activity -- or perhaps later cleansed of such evidence," wrote the lawyers.

Investigators may be interested in asking Mr. Epstein's pilots whether they witnessed any efforts by Mr. Epstein to interfere with law enforcement, according to legal experts. In recent court filings, prosecutors have accused Mr. Epstein of tampering with witnesses , an allegation that Mr. Epstein's lawyers denied in court.

Federal prosecutors in Miami and Mr. Epstein's lawyers in 2007 negotiated over the possibility of Mr. Epstein pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, including for an incident involving one of his pilots, according to emails that became public in civil lawsuits. - Wall Street Journal

Interestingly, prosecutors confirmed that there are " uncharged individuals " in Epstein's case. Aside from his close associate and Clinton pal Ghislaine Maxwell - his 'madam,' could the pilots be on that list?"

[Jul 26, 2019] Meet The Former Epstein Sex Slave Who Helped Recruit Underage Girls For The Lolita Express

Notable quotes:
"... A reporter at Wired tried to look into Marcinko's past to parse whether she was a willing, or unwilling, participant in Epstein's crimes, and whether she was also one of his youngest victims. Some of Epstein's other victims told police that Marcinko pressured them to sleep with both her and Epstein. Though her history of flying with Epstein is harder to pin down due to Epstein's record-keeping practices (he only recorded the first names of underage girls in flight logs, if at all), but it's become clear that during her first decade in the country, from roughly 2000 to the beginning of Epstein's prison sentence, she frequently flew between Epstein's properties in New York, Palm Beach, Monterey, Columbus, Ohio and the Azores. A pilot who once worked for Epstein testified that she had flown with him hundreds of times. ..."
"... Marcinko's relationship with Epstein presumably ended when she was given immunity from prosecution in 2008 after being named an accomplice. It's still not entirely clear how she came to live with Epstein. Was she 'sold' to him by family members in Bratislava? Or did she run away with him willingly, hoping for a more glamorous life? ..."
"... Whatever happened, as Wired claims, Marcinko is part of a small group of people who are both victims of Epstein and possible abusers. ..."
Jul 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While anybody even remotely familiar with the Epstein story knows that his actions were irredeemably heinous, there are other characters in Epstein's orbit - characters who may have participated in what appears to be a global sex-trafficking ring - who are more complicated.

One of those characters is a 32-year-old model named Nadia Marcinko. Marcinko, who was once described in court documents as Epstein's "in-house sex slave" was ferried out of Slovakia on Epstein's private jet when she was just 15, and lived with the billionaire for years after, Wired reports.

Now working as a commercial pilot, Marcinko is clearly hoping the media will gloss over her involvement with Epstein. She refuses to talk to reporters, and even uses a slightly modified version of her last name (she was once known as Nadia Marcinkova).

A reporter at Wired tried to look into Marcinko's past to parse whether she was a willing, or unwilling, participant in Epstein's crimes, and whether she was also one of his youngest victims. Some of Epstein's other victims told police that Marcinko pressured them to sleep with both her and Epstein. Though her history of flying with Epstein is harder to pin down due to Epstein's record-keeping practices (he only recorded the first names of underage girls in flight logs, if at all), but it's become clear that during her first decade in the country, from roughly 2000 to the beginning of Epstein's prison sentence, she frequently flew between Epstein's properties in New York, Palm Beach, Monterey, Columbus, Ohio and the Azores. A pilot who once worked for Epstein testified that she had flown with him hundreds of times.

Marcinko's relationship with Epstein presumably ended when she was given immunity from prosecution in 2008 after being named an accomplice. It's still not entirely clear how she came to live with Epstein. Was she 'sold' to him by family members in Bratislava? Or did she run away with him willingly, hoping for a more glamorous life?

Whatever happened, as Wired claims, Marcinko is part of a small group of people who are both victims of Epstein and possible abusers.

Her testimony could again be useful. That is, if she ultimately avoids being implicated as a 'rape facilitator'.


Ms No , 10 hours ago link

This type of adult behavior is really common among prior child sex victims, even younger than what they are stating here.

If children get sex instead of parenting and nurturing they equate sex with love and their only value. They later often turn into over sexualized 'desperate attention whores'. They could easily help abuse others to stay in the game for their desperation for attention validation.

This is probably the closest thing Epstein had to a mate. You can see that he cant bond with people, there is only sex, narcissism and objectifying. Business deal is as close as he gets.

Superlat , 11 hours ago link

WHat? Women can be abusers as well as victims? NO! THAT"S AN ILLEGAL THOUGHT!

CC713Techman , 11 hours ago link

Read the Wired article. She is portrayed as both not necessarily in that order. They theorize she may have been sold to JE or maybe he simply took her before eh engaged in recruitment and abuse herself. They conclude with:

"It's all too sad, and anyone who is said to have entered bondage at 15, and was forced to act as a sex slave, deserves much, much better."

One of the commenters at Wired caught this.

punchasocialist , 13 hours ago link

......................................................................... Hey Assholes!

I see distraction.

I see misdirection.

Cops have been busted running small time prostitution and gambling joints all over Boston and New York the last 10 years.

They have dirt on lots of the local politicians and money makers all across this Illegal Union of 57 States.

To me, this Epstein manufactured drama stage play is not stunning or even that interesting.

Give Me Some Truth , 12 hours ago link

I upvoted you for nailing what we have here, but disagree that this is "not stunning or even that interesting."

It IS stunning and is probably the "most interesting" story citizens could learn about.

Twisted, disturbing, depressing, bigger than most of us can grasp. How could such a story unfold/happen without it being "interesting?"

Ms No , 10 hours ago link

No its Mossad. His partner chick Maxwell's father even had an Mossad Israeli state funeral. Although the CIA is subservient to Mossad, so same thing in the end.

That's why the Israeli Mossad guys caught in Sept 11 were eventually released.

Moneycircus , 14 hours ago link

SJWs help make slavery pay. Feel good about it...

Australia has become the first country in the world to recognise so-called orphanage trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery.

The vast majority of children living in "orphanages" in developing nations are not true orphans. About 80% have a living parent or family .

Such institutions are often run for the profit of their owners. They are sustained by well-meaning western tourists who visit to donate or volunteer their time.

https://theglobepost.com/2018/12/14/australia-orphanage-trafficking-2/
https://bettercarenetwork.org/bcn-in-action/rethink-orphanages/latest-news/orphanage-tourism-slavery-hidden-in-plain-sight

... and then take selfies on their Slave Phones.

How Foxconn Is Making Slaves Out Of Interns
https://www.cultofmac.com/158241/how-foxconn-is-making-slaves-out-of-interns/

africoman , 14 hours ago link

Roy Cohn - The CIA Pedophile Ring Leader - An Evil Mechanism of Political Control

We have a very short summary this time, but the GTRP Diagram is the Value. In this post we look at the information available pertaining to Roy Cohn. We look at his relationships with Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch, Nicaraguan Rebel propaganda. Cohn's leadership role in the Western Goals Foundation, Larry McDonald, and the Council for National Policy. Cohn's admitted role in CIA pedophile ring, referred to by some as Human Compromise operations. Cohn's pedophile network continued by Edwin Wilson's pedophile network uncovered and investigated by Sen. John DeCamp. Cohn law practice ties to Organized Crime and the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Cohn's mentorship of bot...

Sexual Blackmail" "Pedophile Ring" "Roy Cohn and Rupert Murdoch" "Pizzagate" "John Podesta" "Iran-Contra" "Edwin Wilson" "Roger Stone" ( https://gtrpweb.com/featured_content )

Organized Pedophilia and the Criminal Exploitation of Children ...

CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ON ORGANIZED
PEDOPHILIA AND THE CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN

By
JAMES M. ROTHSTEIN
RET. NYCPD DETECTIVE

The Ghost of Roy Cohn – Conspiracy Archive

"Historically, one of Wilson's Agency jobs was to subvert members of both houses [of Congress] by any means necessary . Certain people could be easily coerced by living out their sexual fantasies in the flesh . A remembrance of these occasions [was] permanently recorded via selected cameras . The technicians in charge of filming were TSD [Technical Services Division of the CIA]. The unwitting ***** stars advanced in their political careers, some of [whom] may still be in office." (Qtd. in DeCamp 179)

Homosexuality Roy Cohn

Where's My Roy Cohn? Digs into One of the 20th Century's Most Evil ...

Cohn also had a protégé of his own: a young, up-and-coming real-estate developer named Donald J. Trump. And though Trump and Cohn's relationship spanned from the early 1970s until a few months before Cohn's death, in 1986 (Trump abandoned his mentor as Cohn lay dying), there seemed to be a lot of information of contemporary significance contained within their bizarre partnership

Finally,

Aangirfan

THE CIA THE PEADO RING AND THE WHATS THE POINT!

EPSTEIN, TRUMP, KOSHER NOSTRA

Trump's Pedophiles>>> Trump has been linked to the Jewish Mafia and to Israel.

surf@jm , 14 hours ago link

This girl is all over the internet profiling her piloting of planes.........

Narcissism in a woman is twice as bad as in a man............

The story of Narcissus dates back to ancient Greece. It was said that this young man was the son of a nymph named Liriope, and the river deity and personification of the river, Cephissus. Narcissus was raised in Boeotia (a region in central Greece) and grew into an extremely handsome youth. However, he never found anyone he thought was as attractive as he was; he left a string of broken-hearted girls (and a few young men) everywhere he went.

until one day Narcissus happened to see his own reflection in the water. He had finally found someone he found truly attractive: himself. He tried to kiss the image, but only created a ripple in the water that hid the reflection. Obsessed with his love for his own image, but never able to touch it, he wasted away and eventually died of hunger and thirst.

frankthecrank , 13 hours ago link

The term and the Greek story are not connected. Narcs actually hate themselves deep down and tend to only associate with those who either make them look good or they can dominate.

Pro_sanity , 15 hours ago link

A nitro story, and from what seems already apparent, one of breathtaking dimension. This would be the swamp dam break. The scumbags who would go down ... limited only by one's imagination. True justice in this case would be the correction the U.S. needs to really get back to greatness. It would be the story of our times ... for the ages.

Any networks covering this? Are the masses being informed? Does the guy sitting next to you, standing behind you, mowing your lawn, stocking the shelves .... do they know who Epstein is? Nope, and the story is getting buried.

NOTHING WILL COME OF THIS ... ******* DISGRACE

Old White Guy , 15 hours ago link

If the Clintons have the most to lose over a thorough investigation of Epstein's sexual abuse of minors then Epstein does not have long. People posing a threat to Team Clinton usually have accidents and disappear. This is going to get much uglier for swamp dwellers.

dogismycopilot , 16 hours ago link

the blonde is the perp.

she liked being outfitted with a strap on.

the case file on this reads like a BDM journal.

June 12 1776 , 16 hours ago link

Sure does;

"Epstein also made E.W. perform oral sex on him and was to perform sex acts on Nadia Marcinkova [pictured above, on right] (Epstein's live-in sex slave) in Epstein's presence."

Case 09-34791-RBR Doc 1603-3 Filed 04/08/11 Page 7 of 39

https://archive.org/stream/ECFDOC160310567451/ECF_DOC_1603_10567451_djvu.txt

"made to perform sex acts on Nadia Marcinkova [pictured above, on right] in Epstein's presence".

Case 09-34791-RBR Doc 1603-3 Filed 04/08/11 Page 8 of 39

https://archive.org/stream/ECFDOC160310567451/ECF_DOC_1603_10567451_djvu.txt

the Palm Beach Police Department also began investigating Epstein's sexual abuse of minor girls. They also collected evidence of Epstein's involvement with minor girls and his obsession with training sex slaves, including pulling information from Epstein's trash. Their investigation showed that Epstein ordered from Amazon.com on about September 4, 2005, such books as: SMI 01: A Realistic Introduction, by Jay Wiseman; SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude - Principles, Skills, and Tools, by Guy Baldwin; and Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners, by Christina Abernathy. See Receipt for Sex Slave Books (Exhibit "I")

Case 09-34791 -RBR Doc 1 603-3 Filed 04/08/1 1 Page 1 1 of 39

https://archive.org/stream/ECFDOC160310567451/ECF_DOC_1603_10567451_djvu.txt

further, how "convenient" the synchronicity as the Virgin Islands have just been hit this week with a MOSSAD CIA MI6 FSB bleach bit "ransom ware" "hack" huh huh.

[Jul 23, 2019] New lives of the girls in Prince Andrew sex claim row by Sam Greenhill and Daniel Bates

Jan 05, 2015 | dailymail.co.uk
New lives of the girls in Andrew sex claim row: Epstein's aides who refused to testify are now a pilot and a designer

By Sam Greenhill In Florida and Daniel Bates In New York For The Daily Mail

They were the glamorous Jeffrey Epstein aides who refused to testify about Prince Andrew's visits to the 'House of Sin'.

Sarah Kellen and Nadia Marchinova both pleaded their right to silence under the US Fifth Amendment when asked if the royal had sex with teenage girls – earning themselves the nickname the 'blondes who took the Fifth'.

Today, Epstein's former PA Miss Kellen and Miss Marchinova – his on-off girlfriend – have reinvented themselves as Sarah Kensington and Nadia Marcinko.

Scroll down for video

Sarah Kensington - formerly Sarah Kellen - and her racing driver boyfriend Brian Vickers (left) and Nadia Marchinova, who is now Nadia Marcinko (right)

Miss Kensington, 34, is an interior designer who boasts of renovating corporate apartments in New York, the Caribbean and Paris – and dating a handsome racing car driver.

Miss Marcinko, 29, is a pilot and the chief executive of Aviloop, a company selling discounted flying lessons.

Intriguingly, they both operate from £1.5million addresses in a Manhattan building majority-owned by Mr Epstein's brother Mark. Neither woman seems keen to draw attention to their past work for the billionaire paedophile.

Both women were given immunity from prosecution in a controversial deal fixed by Epstein when he was jailed for soliciting prostitution from underage girls.

Miss Kellen was named as the chief fixer who travelled the world with Epstein and was accused by lawyers in legal filings of 'bringing girls to Epstein's mansion to be abused'.

Quizzed under oath, she had an opportunity to deny Andrew had sex at the £6million Florida mansion, dubbed the 'House of Sin', but chose to remain silent.

Citing the Fifth Amendment, Miss Marchinova also declined to say if she had sex with Andrew.

Since those scandal-engulfed days, both women have led dramatically different lives, a Mail investigation has discovered.

Both women were given immunity from prosecution in a controversial deal fixed by Epstein (left and right). He is said to have gone to huge efforts to cover-up his crimes, promising to 'look after' those who kept quiet +8 <img src="https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/01/08/2461C72500000578-0-image-a-12_1420680664559.jpg" height="910" width="634" alt="When quizzed under oath, Ms Kellen had an opportunity to deny Andrew (pictured left with Epstein) had sex at Epstein's £6million Florida mansion, dubbed the 'House of Sin', but chose to remain silent" />

When quizzed under oath, Ms Kellen had an opportunity to deny Andrew (pictured left with Epstein) had sex at Epstein's £6million Florida mansion, dubbed the 'House of Sin', but chose to remain silent

Buckingham Palace denies Prince Andrew sex case claim

Miss Kellen moved to Hawaii for a number of years where she married and took her husband's surname Bonk, before taking on her current identity. On her interior design website, sarahkensington.net, she describes being 'fortunate to say that I've been able to travel to many locations around the world, which in turn has broadened my designing skills'. She is in a relationship with a successful Nascar driver, stating on her website that 'most of my fans know that I am Brian Vickers' girlfriend'.

Slovakia-born Miss Marcinko's biography on the Aviloop website now states: 'Over the years, she has proven herself to be a distinguished entrepreneur'.

Virginia Roberts (pictured) claims in court she was forced to have sex with the Duke of York three times while underage"

Prince Andrew pictured in 2001 with Virginia Roberts. She is said to be planning a book about her life

She also penned an online blog under the name 'Gulfstream Girl' which more than 77,000 people 'liked', until the company Gulfstream objected and she changed it to 'Global Girl'.

She described how she started her flight training at Palm Beach Airport before accepting 'an offer from a friend' to obtain her Gulfstream II pilot rating.

Epstein, 61, is said to have gone to extraordinary efforts to cover-up his vile crimes, promising to 'look after' people who kept quiet.

His brother Mark told The Guardian newspaper he owned 'the majority of the units in the Manhattan building' and had never heard of the two women's companies.

The Duke (pictured) fiercely denies any sexual contact with underage girls, while Epstein's lawyer has described the claims as lies

He said Jeffrey did not own any of the units in the building, adding: 'They're rentals. The ones I own, I rent all of them out.'

It was also claimed yesterday that Epstein intimidated a pregnant journalist by asking where she was due to give birth.

British-born writer Vicky Ward was so afraid of the US financier that she had security put on the intensive care ward where her premature twins were being treated.

The Cambridge-educated journalist, 45, said he tried to 'control' her when he learned she was writing an in-depth article about him for Vanity Fair magazine in 2002.

Describing how Epstein 'spooked' her, she said he feared he was 'coming for my little ones' when he asked at which hospital she was giving birth.

The Duke fiercely denies any sexual contact with underage girls, while Epstein's lawyer has described the claims as lies.

[Jul 23, 2019] Jeffrey Epstein's Alleged Accomplices Where Are Sarah Kellen, Nadia Marcinkova, Adriana Ross Lesley Groff

Jul 23, 2019 | www.thedailybeast.com

Where Are Jeffrey Epstein's Alleged Accomplices Now?

When prosecutors gave Jeffrey Epstein a sweetheart plea deal in 2007, they agreed not to charge four women allegedly involved in recruiting dozens of underage girls for abuse.

Pilar Melendez

Reporter Updated 07.09.19 1:49PM ET / Published 07.09.19 4:41AM ET

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photos Getty/YouTube
For decades, financier Jeffrey Epstein allegedly abused dozens of underage girls in a sex-trafficking enterprise, according to a new federal indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York.

But in order to successfully "create a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit" and expand his network of possible targets, he relied on the loyalty and organizational skills of his employees, prosecutors claim.

According to the 14-page indictment filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday, the 66-year-old hedge-fund manager/convicted sex offender "worked and conspired with others, including employees and associates" to run a sex-trafficking enterprise between 2002 and 2005, preying on "dozens" of girls as young as 14 at his mansions in New York and Palm Beach, Florida.

During each encounter listed in the indictment -- which charges Epstein with one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex-trafficking conspiracy -- girls were taken to a room to perform "massages" nude or partially nude before Epstein would escalate the encounter to "include one or more sex acts."

"Epstein typically would also masturbate during these sexualized encounters, ask victims to touch him while he masturbated, and touch victims' genitals with his hands or with sex toys," the indictment states, adding the money man knew that the girls were minors.

After the assault, prosecutors allege, Epstein or his associates would pay each girl hundreds of dollars in cash and often would turn the victim into a recruiter of new girls to abuse.

"In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit," the indictment said. The indictment goes on to detail three anonymous victims and refers to three unnamed employees who allegedly assisted Epstein in the enterprise, including by making calls to arrange for "massages" for Epstein.

It's not the first time that Epstein's employees and associates have been accused of helping procure underage girls for his abuse.

In Epstein's controversial 2008 plea deal in Florida -- which was granted by then-prosecutor and now-Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and other DOJ attorneys, without informing the billionaire's alleged victims -- four women are named as possible accomplices. Epstein's non-prosecution agreement, which sentenced him to 18 months in prison, also granted immunity to the four women and any other "potential co-conspirators," identified in the document as "including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."

"While Epstein was at the head of the international sex trafficking organization, that conspiracy could not have functioned without many others playing their part," attorney Paul Cassell, who represents multiple victims of Epstein, told The Daily Beast after Epstein's arrest on Saturday . "Jane Doe 1 and 2 will continue to fight for all of Epstein's co-conspirators to be held accountable in New York, Florida, and anywhere else they committed crimes."

Details of Epstein's alleged trafficking in Monday's indictment mirror the accounts of scores of underage women in Florida, who described several "schedulers" who organized his alleged sex sessions and one young woman, described as Epstein's "sex slave," who would allegedly participate in the abuse while the billionaire watched.

But where are Epstein's alleged accomplices now?

Sarah Kellen

Sarah Kellen, Epstein's former assistant who allegedly kept a Rolodex of young girls to recruit for her employer, is now married to NASCAR driver Brian Vickers. Along with traveling with her husband, the 39-year-old (who also goes by the name Sarah Kensington) is the owner of an interior-design firm, SLK Designs .

"Sarah Kensington makes a living doing what she loves in life, interior design," a Facebook page connected to SLK Designs states . "She is the owner of SLK Designs LLC. and has studies at several schools including the University of Hawaii and New York School of Interior Design." The social-media page also details Sarah's interests, which include "fashion, photography, travel, delicious cuisine, and anything design related."

The page also notes that Sarah "is working with a number of clients on various projects including renovating several corporate apartments in New York, the Caribbean, and Paris. For the houses that Sarah manages, she does a number of duties which can involve organizing staff schedules, looking for and interviewing housekeepers and chefs, purchase and source items that are needed for the household (flatware, dishes, furniture, art, etc.), design floral arrangements, and interior design."

Epstein also owns homes in New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Paris.

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According to public records , SLK Designs once operated from a building in Midtown Manhattan owned by Epstein's property-manager brother, Mark Epstein. The condominium listed to take SLK Designs deliveries, at 301 E. 66th St., is the same address where Epstein allegedly rented units to house models .

Though not directly named in Monday's indictment, Kellen has been accused in court documents related to the Florida case of booking the "massages," often calling girls to ensure they "were available for encounters" when Epstein would travel to Palm Beach. Several alleged victims in Florida told authorities they were led to and from the upstairs room in Epstein's mansion by a woman named Sarah, after she lined up the oils on his massage table. According to one police report , Kellen also warned the girls not to talk to authorities about the encounters.

Monday's indictment contains similar allegations about unnamed Epstein employees. "When a victim initially arrived at the Palm Beach Residence, she would be escorted to a room, sometimes by an employee of Epstein's, including, at times, two assistants who, as described herein, were also responsible for scheduling sexual encounters with minor victims," the Monday indictment states.

Kellen also reportedly traveled on Epstein's private plane with former President Bill Clinton on at least 11 flights between 2002 and 2003, according to flight logs published by Gawker in 2015 .

Kellen, who has properties in North Carolina, New York, and Miami Beach, did not respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment. A NASCAR spokesperson told The Daily Beast the organization does "not have a comment" about Kellen's alleged misconduct.

Nadia Marcinkova

Nadia Marcinkova, Epstein's alleged "sex slave" who was accused of participating in sexual encounters with underage girls, is now an FAA-certified commercial pilot and flight instructor. Marcinkova, 33, who was allegedly brought from the former Yugoslavia to live with Epstein, now goes by the named " Global Girl " on social media, and has changed her last name.

"Global Girl ( Nadia Marcinko ) spent many years in the international marketing and advertising world as an international fashion model and spokesperson, with clients including Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino, Vogue and MTV. After many successful years in the modeling industry, she was ready for longer runways and became a licensed commercial pilot," her Facebook account states , adding that she is an "FAA certified flight instructor and Gulfstream II, III & IV pilot."

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlA3XDbBjDU/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=881&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedailybeast.com&rp=%2Fjeffrey-epsteins-alleged-accomplices-where-are-sarah-kellen-nadia-marcinkova-adriana-ross-and-lesley-groff#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1818.2270856724258%7D

Marcinkova also is the founder and CEO of Aviloop, a website selling discounted flying lessons and other deals related to aviation. Since 2011, Aviloop provides a slew of services, including designing custom pilot team and "organizing team building events." As with Kellen, the aviation company is registered at the building once owned by Mark Epstein and allegedly used as a model clubhouse by his brother.

Though Marcinkova originally started calling herself "Gulfstream Girl," she was sued in 2013 by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. for trademark infringement. On Jan. 6, 2014, the lawsuit filed in a New York Southern District court was settled after Marcinko changed her online name to Global Girl.

According to written testimony by several alleged victims , Marcinkova is described as having "encouraged and engaged in sexual acts" with young girls while Epstein watched. According to police, Epstein told one victim Marcinkova was his "sex slave" and that he'd purchased her from her family in the former Yugoslavia when she was 15. Marcinkova is not directly named in Monday's indictment.

Marcinkova, who lives in New York, did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.

Adriana Ross

Adriana Ross, a former model from Poland who allegedly helped organize Epstein's predatory sessions, moved to Florida in 2002 and was hired to work at the financier's mansion. Ross, who often went by Adriana Mucinska and is not directly named in Monday's indictment, also frequently flew on Epstein's private jet alongside Bill Clinton , according to flight records.

Along with her fellow alleged co-conspirators, Ross was questioned in 2010 about whether Britain's Prince Andrew participated in Epstein's alleged sex enterprise. Refusing to answer questions about the inner workings of the alleged scheme, Ross repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment rights, according to previous reports . As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Ross also lived at the East 66th Street building in Manhattan.

Ross' current profession or address was not immediately clear and she could not be reached for comment.

Lesley Groff

Lesley Groff was another Epstein assistant who allegedly coordinated travel for young girls, often calling to schedule "massages." Though not directly named in Monday's indictment, the 51-year-old has been previously named as one of Epstein's three female assistants. According to a 2005 Chicago Tribune story about executive-assistant pay , Epstein divulged his assistants made about $200,000.

"They are an extension of my brain. Their intuition is something that I don't have," Epstein told the Tribune . According to public records, Groff currently lives in Connecticut and did not respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.

[Jul 23, 2019] Aangirfan JEFFREY EPSTEIN, MOSSAD AND 9 11

Jul 23, 2019 | aanirfan.blogspot.com

Jeffrey Epstein's Nadia, who learnt to fly at the same Mossad-linked airfield as the Hebrew-speaking Mohamed Atta.

What links Jeffrey Epstein to 9 11 and to Mossad?

The mainstream media is so thoroughly controlled by Mossad and its friends that the general public is unlikely to find out.

Virginia Roberts became Jeffrey Epstein's sex slave in 1999.

Epstein's Black Book
lists a number of people whom Mossad and its friends may have wanted to blackmail and control prior to the events of 9 11 .

Jeffrey Epstein's girl Nadia Marcinko/Marcinkova (above) learned to fly at Florida's Lantana Airport at about the same time as the Hebrew-speaking Mohammad Atta, who is thought to have been a Mossad agent.

Mohamed Atta - 911Review.

[Jul 23, 2019] Meet Nadia Marcinkova, Star Girl of the Raunchiest Part of Epstein Scandal by John Carney

Jul 28, 2006 | dealbreaker.com

Without a doubt, the absolutely raunchiest part of the Epstein affadavit stars a mysterious young woman named "Nada Marcinkova." Lesbian strap-on raunchiness, ending in something that sounds to us a little bit like rape. We get all the details but no explanation of who Marcinkova is or what her relationship with Epstein was.

She's not one of his high school victims, and doesn't seem to have talked to the police. But it somehow seems fitting that this mysterious money manager to the billionaires would have an unknown Czech sex puppet lying around somewhere.

Gawker identified her in a NY Social Diary photo where Nadia (far left) is palling around with Epstein's pimp assistant Sarah Kellen (right).
Here she looks very respectable. Not at all like the "large rubber penis" wielding girl we know from the affadavit. Surely there's a more representative photo.

Of course there is. After the jump, check out Nadia looking a little more, uhm, severe, sexy and ready to get it on. And we'll throw in the raunchy portion of the affadavit below for your, uhm, reading pleasure.

[Note: Nadia, of course, couldn't be reached to confirm that this is her. But we're pretty sure it is.] Here's the relevant part of the affidavit.

[Annoying redacting ink blot covering up girl's name] advised that things escalated within the home as Epstein would instruct and pay [ink blot] to have intercourse with his female friend, Nada Marcinkova.

[Ink blot] explained the intercourse included strap on dildos, large rubber penis' [sic] and other devices that Epstein had at his disposal. Epstein would watch them have intercourse and masturbate himself. Occasionally, Epstein would then join in during the female on female intercourse and provide oral sex to both [ink blot] and Marcinkova.

This occured during the time [ink blot] was sixteen years of age.

[Ink blot] advised that this continued to escalate during two years. The routine became familiar to [ink blot]. Epstein's assistant Sarah [Kellen] would telephone her every time Epstein was in the Town of Palm Beach and would place appointments for her to visit and work for Epstein.

[... Ink blot] stated during one visit to Epstein's house in which she provided a massage to Epstein, his female friend, Nada Marcinkova, was also present. [Ink blot] provided the massage in which Marcinkova and her would fondle each others breasts and kiss for Epstein to enjoy. Towards the end of this massage, Epstein grabbed [ink blot] and turned her over onto her stomach on the massage table and forcible insterted his penis into her vagina.

[Ink blot] became upset over this. She said her head was being held against the table forcibly, as he continued to pump inside her. She screamed "No!" and Epstein stopped. She told him that she did not want to have his penis inside of her. Epstein did not ejaculate inside of her and apologized for his actions and subsequently paid her a thousand dollars for that visit.

[Ink blot] stated she knows he still displays her photographs throughout the house.

[Jul 23, 2019] US justice department targets big tech firms in antitrust review by Kari Paul and agencies

Jul 23, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The US justice department is opening a broad antitrust review into major technology firms, as criticism over the companies' growing reach and power heats up.

The investigation will focus on growing complaints that the companies are unlawfully stifling competition.

"The Department's review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

ss="rich-link"> A new antitrust frontier – the issue closing partisan divides in the name of policing big tech Read more

"Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands," added the assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim, of the antitrust division.

The review will investigate practices of online platforms including Facebook , Alphabet's Google, Amazon and Apple.

The investigation comes amid calls from lawmakers, including Democratic presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, that the companies should face more scrutiny.

Lat week, Facebook, Google, and Amazon faced a grilling before the House subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law over their hold on markets including digital advertising, e-commerce and cloud computing.

Lawmakers questioned Amazon over the fees it levies against third-party sellers on the platform and whether this creates a monopoly of power. They also questioned Facebook executives over practices of targeting startups for acquisition and copying features of companies that decline to be acquired.

Lawmakers also grilled Facebook this month over its plans to launch a global cryptocurrency, called Libra. In the hearing, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said Facebook showed "breathtaking arrogance" in attempting to launch a digital financial service after a number of major privacy scandals.

In July, the Federal Trade Commission approved a $5bn fine against Facebook for its handling of user data surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018.

"Facebook is dangerous," Brown said, likening the company to a toddler playing with matches. "It has burned the house down repeatedly and called every attempt a learning experience. Do you really think people should trust you with their bank accounts and their money?"

The Department of Justice investigation is already under way, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The department hosted a private presentation from critics of big technology companies, who walked legislators through concerns and arguments for breaking up the firms.

Facebook, Alphabet , Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

[Jul 22, 2019] I found out that the average dollar that actually was invested abroad by oil companies was recaptured by the US economy within 18 months. The payback period was that fast.

Notable quotes:
"... I thought all these foreign countries were international." He explained that "international" means countries that are not really countries. They're Liberia and Panama, countries that only use the US dollar, not their own currency. So the oil industry doesn't have a currency risk. They are flags of convenience and they don't have any income tax. ..."
"... He explained to me that Standard Oil sold its oil at a very low price from the Near East to Liberia or Panama or Lagos, or wherever they have a flag of convenience and no income tax. Then they would sell it at a very high price to its refineries in Europe and America, at such a high price that these "downstream" affiliates don't make any income. So there's no tax to pay. ..."
"... Standard Oil and other U.S. oil companies – and also mining companies – don't earn an income there, because they sell it so low, all the profits are reported to be taken in Liberia or Panama. These are non-countries. ..."
"... Here is a report. I'm from the State Department (I assumed that this meant CIA). "We want to calculate how much money the US could get if we set up bank branches and became the bank for all the criminal capital in the world." He said, "We figured out we can finance, (and he said this in an elevator), we can finance the Vietnam War with all the drug money coming into America, all of the criminal money. Can you make a calculation of how much that might be?" ..."
"... I found that the entire US balance of payments deficit in the 1960s, since the Vietnam War, the entire balance of payments deficit was military spending abroad. The private sector's trade and investment was exactly in balance; tourism, trade and investment were exactly in balance. All the deficit was military. ..."
"... Mr. Barsanti said that McNamara said that Arthur Andersen would never get another government contract if it published my report. ..."
"... There were three people, known as the Columbia Group, saying the Vietnam War was going to destroy the American monetary system as we know it. The group was composed of Terence McCarthy, my mentor; Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia University's School of Industrial Engineering where Terence also taught; and myself. We would basically go around the New York City giving speeches. ..."
Jul 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

mauisurfer , July 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Re: Michael Hudson, SuperImperialism

Here is a recent interview where MH reviews his book.

https://michael-hudson.com/2019/06/food-blackmail-the-washington-consensus-and-freedom/

And here is a wonderful autobiographical article

https://michael-hudson.com/2018/08/life-thought-an-autobiography/

a quote (hope it is not too long for you)

I worked at Chase Manhattan until 1967, then finally I had to quit to finish the dissertation. I spent a year on that. At Chase I had become the specialist in the oil industry's balance of payments. When the Vietnam War began and escalated, President Johnson in January 1965, right after I joined the bank in December 1964, passed the voluntary – in reality, compulsory – foreign investment rules blocking American companies from investing more than 5% of the growth of the previous year's investment. The oil industry objected to that. They came to David Rockefeller and said we've got to convince the government that we're ripping off other countries so fast, we're able to exploit them so rapidly, that it really helps the US balance of payments to let us continue investing more abroad. Can you help us show this statistically?

So David Rockefeller asked me to do a study of the balance of payments of the oil industry. Rockefeller said, "We don't want to have Chase's oil and gas department do it, because they would be thought of as lobbyists. Nobody knows who you are, so you're neutral. We want to know what the real facts are, and if they're what we think they are, we'll publish what you write; if we don't like it we'll keep it to ourselves, but please just give us the facts." He said, "You can ask the oil companies all the questions you want. They will fill out the forms you design for a statistical accounting format. We'll give you a year to write it all up." To me this was wonderful. Oil was the key sector internationally. It turned out I found out that the average dollar that actually was invested abroad by oil companies was recaptured by the US economy within 18 months. The payback period was that fast.

The report that I wrote was put on the desk of every senator and every representative in the United States and I was celebrated for being the economist of the oil industry. So this taught me everything about the balance of payments which, as I said, is a topic that's not taught in any university. So I finished that, finished the dissertation, and then I developed a methodology for the overall US balance of payments. Most of the balance of payment statistics were changed when they designed the gross national product accounts. The accounts now treat exports and imports as if they were paid for fully for cash. So if you make a million dollars worth of grain exports, you are assumed to bring a million dollars into the economy. And if you export a million dollars of arms, of military, it all comes back.

What I found out is that only a portion actually of exports actually comes back. And imports have an even lower balance-of-payment costs as compared to their nominal valuation. For instance, all of America's oil imports are from American oil companies, so if you pay a hundred dollars for oil, maybe thirty dollars of that is profit, thirty dollars is compensation to American management, thirty dollars is the use of American exports to physical equipment, oil drilling equipment and others to produce the oil.

The closest people that I worked with for the study were at the Standard Oil Company, which was always very close to the Rockefellers, as you know. So I went over the statistics and I said, "In the balance of payments, I can't find where Standard Oil makes the profit. Does it make the profit by producing oil at the production end? Or does it make it selling it at the gas stations, at the retail sales end?" The treasurer of Standard Oil said, "Ah I can tell you where we make them. We make them right here in my office." I asked how. "What countries could I find this in? I don't find it in Europe, I don't find it in Asia, I don't find it in Latin America or Africa." He said, "Ah, do you see at the very end of the geography headings for international earnings, there's something called international?"

I said, "Yes that always confused me. Where is it? I thought all these foreign countries were international." He explained that "international" means countries that are not really countries. They're Liberia and Panama, countries that only use the US dollar, not their own currency. So the oil industry doesn't have a currency risk. They are flags of convenience and they don't have any income tax.

He explained to me that Standard Oil sold its oil at a very low price from the Near East to Liberia or Panama or Lagos, or wherever they have a flag of convenience and no income tax. Then they would sell it at a very high price to its refineries in Europe and America, at such a high price that these "downstream" affiliates don't make any income. So there's no tax to pay. For all US oil investment in Europe, there's no tax to pay because the oil companies' accountants price it so high, and pay so little per barrel to third world countries such as Saudi Arabia, that they only get a royalty. Standard Oil and other U.S. oil companies – and also mining companies – don't earn an income there, because they sell it so low, all the profits are reported to be taken in Liberia or Panama. These are non-countries.

That gave me the clue about what people these days talk about money laundering. In the last few months that I worked for Chase Manhattan in 1967, I was going up to my office on the ninth floor and a man got on the elevator and said, "I was just coming to your office, Michael. Here is a report. I'm from the State Department (I assumed that this meant CIA). "We want to calculate how much money the US could get if we set up bank branches and became the bank for all the criminal capital in the world." He said, "We figured out we can finance, (and he said this in an elevator), we can finance the Vietnam War with all the drug money coming into America, all of the criminal money. Can you make a calculation of how much that might be?"

So I spent three months figuring out how much money goes to Switzerland, from drug dealings, what's the dollar volume of drug dealings. They helped me with all sorts of statistics on that, and said, "We can become the criminal capital of the world and it'll finance the dollar and this will enable us to afford the spending to defeat communism in Vietnam and elsewhere. If we don't do that, the bomb throwers will come to New York."

So I became a specialist in money laundering! Nothing could have better prepared me to understand how the global economy works! I had all the statistics, I had the help of the government people explaining to me how the CIA worked with drug dealing and other criminals and kidnappers to raise the money so it would be off the balance sheet funding and Congress didn't have to approve it when they would kill people and sponsor revolutions. They were completely open with me about this. I realized they'd never done a security check on me.

So I wanted to do a study of the balance of payments of the whole United States. I went to work for Arthur Andersen, which was at that time was one of the Big Five accounting firms in the United States. Later it was convicted of fraud when it got involved in the Enron scandal and was closed down. But I was working before the other people went to jail, before they closed down Arthur Andersen. So I spent a year applying my balance of payments analysis to the US balance of payments. When I finally finished, I found that the entire US balance of payments deficit in the 1960s, since the Vietnam War, the entire balance of payments deficit was military spending abroad. The private sector's trade and investment was exactly in balance; tourism, trade and investment were exactly in balance. All the deficit was military.

So I turned in my statistics. My boss Mr. Barsanti, came in to me three days later and he said, "I'm afraid we have to fire you." I asked, "What happened?" He said, "Well, we sent it to Robert McNamara." (who was the Secretary of Defense and then became an even more dangerous person with the World Bank, which probably is more dangerous to the world than the American military. But that's another story). Mr. Barsanti said that McNamara said that Arthur Andersen would never get another government contract if it published my report.

In all of the Pentagon Papers that later came out of McNamara's regime, there's no discussion at all of the balance-of-payments cost of the Vietnam War. This is what was driving America off gold. At Chase Manhattan from 1964 until I left, every Friday the Federal Reserve would come out with its goal, its weekly statistics. We could trace the gold stock. Everybody was talking about General de Gaulle cashing in the gold, because Vietnam was a French colony and the American soldiers and army would have to use French banks, the dollars would go to France and de Gaulle would cash it in for gold.

Well, Germany actually was cashing in more gold than de Gaulle, but they didn't make speeches about it. So I could see that the war spending was going to drive America off gold. There were three people, known as the Columbia Group, saying the Vietnam War was going to destroy the American monetary system as we know it. The group was composed of Terence McCarthy, my mentor; Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia University's School of Industrial Engineering where Terence also taught; and myself. We would basically go around the New York City giving speeches.

[Jul 20, 2019] America s Economic Blockades and International Law by Jeffrey D. Sachs

US unilitarism is the attempt to leverage the advantages obtained when the USSR collapsed. Those advantages will gradually expire.
Jul 20, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Jeffrey D. Sachs Trump is often called an isolationist, but he is as interventionist as his predecessors. His strategy is simply to rely more heavily on US economic power than military might to coerce adversaries, which creates its own kind of cruelty and destabilization – and embodies its own brand of illegality.

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump has based his foreign policy on a series of harsh economic blockades, each designed to frighten, coerce, and even starve the target country into submitting to American demands. While the practice is less violent than a military attack, and the blockade is through financial means rather than the navy, the consequences are often dire for civilian populations. As such, economic blockades by the United States should be scrutinized by the United Nations Security Council under international law and the UN Charter.

When Trump campaigned for office in 2016, he rejected the frequent US resort to war in the Middle East. During the years 1990-2016, the US launched two major wars with Iraq (1990 and 2003), as well as wars in Afghanistan (2001), Libya (2011), and Syria (2012). It also participated in many smaller military interventions (Mali, Somalia, and Yemen, among others). While the Syrian War is often described as a civil war, it was in a fact a war of regime change led by the US and Saudi Arabia under a US presidential directive called Timber Sycamore .

None of these US-led wars (and others in recent history) achieved their political objectives, and the major conflicts have been followed by chronic violence and instability. The attempt to force Syria's Bashar al-Assad from power led to a proxy war – eventually involving the US, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates – that displaced over ten million Syrians and caused around a half-million violent deaths.

While Trump has so far eschewed a new war, he has continued US regime-change efforts by other means. Trump is often called an isolationist, but he is as interventionist as his predecessors. His strategy, at least so far, has been to rely more heavily on US economic power than military might to coerce adversaries, which creates its own kind of cruelty and destabilization. And it constantly risks flaring into outright war, as occurred with Iran this month.

The Trump administration currently is engaged in three attempts at comprehensive economic blockades, against North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, as well as several lesser blockades against countries such as Cuba and Nicaragua, and an intensifying effort to cut off China's access to technology. The blockade against North Korea is sanctioned, at least in part, by the UN Security Council. The blockade against Iran is in direct opposition to the Security Council. And the blockade against Venezuela is so far without Security Council engagement for or against. The US is attempting to isolate the three countries from almost all international trade, causing shortages of food, medicines, energy, and spare parts for basic infrastructure, including the water supply and power grid.

The North Korean blockade operates mainly through UN-mandated sanctions, and includes a comprehensive list of exports to North Korea, imports from North Korea, and financial relations with North Korean entities. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that ten million North Koreans are at risk of hunger, partly owing to sanctions. "[T]he unintended negative impact sanctions can have on agricultural production, through both direct and indirect impacts, cannot be ignored," the FAO warns. "The most obvious are restrictions on the importation of certain items that are necessary for agricultural production, in particular fuel, machinery and spare parts for equipment."

The draconian US sanctions on Venezuela have come in two phases. The first, beginning in August 2017, was mainly directed at the state oil company PDVSA, the country's main earner of foreign exchange; the second round of sanctions, imposed in January 2019, was more comprehensive, targeting the Venezuelan government. A recent detailed analysis of the first round of sanctions shows their devastating impact. The US sanctions gravely exacerbated previous economic mismanagement, contributing to a catastrophic fall in oil production, hyperinflation, economic collapse (output is down by half since 2016), hunger, and rising mortality.

US sanctions against Iran have been in place more or less continuously since 1979. The most recent and by far most draconian measures, introduced in August 2018 and intensified in the first half of this year, aim to cut Iran off from foreign trade. The US sanctions are in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 , which endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The effects have been devastating. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Iran's economy will shrink by 10% between 2017 and 2019, with inflation reaching 30% this year. Medicines are in short supply .

One might expect that other countries would easily circumvent US sanctions. But the US has threatened to punish foreign companies that violate the sanctions and has used the dollar's global clout as a bludgeon, threatening to sanction foreign banks that finance trade with Iran. European companies have fallen into line, despite the European Union's express desire to engage economically with Iran. Over the longer term, it is likely that more ways will be found to circumvent the sanctions, using renminbi, ruble, or euro financing, yet the erosion of US sanctions will only be gradual.

Despite the intense economic pain – indeed calamity – inflicted on North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, none of them has succumbed to US demands. In this sense, sanctions have proved to be no more successful than military intervention. North Korea has maintained, and most likely is expanding, its nuclear arsenal. The Iranian regime rejects US demands concerning its missile program and foreign policies. And Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro remains in power.

The US blockades have been carried out by presidential decree, with almost no public debate and no systematic oversight by Congress. This has been a one-man show, even more so than in the case of president-led wars, which trigger vastly more public scrutiny. Trump realizes that he can impose crippling sanctions abroad with almost no direct costs to the US public or budget, and with virtually no political accountability.

Military blockades are acts of war, and therefore subject to international law, including UN Security Council oversight. America's economic blockades are similar in function and outcome to military blockades, with devastating consequences for civilian populations, and risk provoking war. It is time for the Security Council to take up the US sanctions regimes and weigh them against the requirements of international law and peacekeeping. Jeffrey D. Sachs , Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia's Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty , Common Wealth , The Age of Sustainable Development , Building the New American Economy , and most recently, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism .

Nico Lau Jul 8, 2019
As long as a country neither conducts a genocide, nor attacks other countries, nobody should interfere in its internal affairs. If a country like Venezuela or Cuba goes broke due to its incompetent leadership, it should get help from the IMF etc. in exchange for reforms as happens with any other country. Other than that it is their business whether they want to be socialist, capitalist or whatever. That whole ideological crusade against leftist countries has to stop, it has cost millions of lives already.

And there is a simple way to stop Iran's activities in the Middle East: let's finally solve the conflict there after decades during which the West simply looked the other way when land, water and oil were stolen from the Palestinians and others.

In my view the US has long turned into a rogue state. The rest of the world has to prune that country by working together and isolating it. For instance, let's create a new global currency for commodities, the Com, in order to drive the dollar out.

Let's move the UN out of the US to a neutral, peaceful country, Switzerland for instance.

vivek iyer Jul 1, 2019
Sanctions are legal and based on national sovereignty and not a proper subject of scrutiny by an international body. Blockades are subject to international law. By calling something which is legal by another term which may involve illegality one is guilty of shedding false light.

Sachs thinks that if sanctions have the same effect as a blockade then sanctions are blockades. This is foolish. It is like saying 'since a woman can get pregnant either through consensual sex or through rape, it follows that all fathers are rapists'.

Trump is carrying on policies previously applied. He has made no great innovation. It appears likely that no 'regime change' will occur. That is why there is no real 'geopolitical' risk here. The effect of sanctions is to create a widening chasm between regime 'insiders' and the great mass of the people. This has a demoralizing effect and reduces the ability of the regime to use its brain-washed subjects for an aggressive purpose. In other words, sanctions reduce, not increase, the threat potential of a bitter adversary.

Petey Bee Jul 1, 2019
Current sanctions attempt to effectively have jurisdiction over third parties, i.e. not the US, who would trade with Iran. ( that, in full compliance with international law and a binding prior agreement to which the US is a party.) I am curious how you square that with "national sovereignty", unless that is something over which the US has a higher priority than third parties.
Robert Wolff Jun 30, 2019
As in all other times that are precursors to War, the laws of disparate nations mean nothing. We all have our own laws, to rule our own geopolitical nations, which disserve the interests of other geopolitical nations.

Most recently, the WTO admits it is insufficient to resolve trade disputes among nations, and must change its hypotheses. This is only another precursor admission that binding international laws are becoming irrelevant, and that we must "Start all over again", i.e. the rule of the strongest, which means one state must conquer another before we can reestablish "Common Rule."

... ... ...

Paul Daley Jun 29, 2019

Economic sanctions are not tantamount to acts of war and should not be treated that way at the UN Security Council or anywhere else. To do that would just leave acts of war as the only alternative in the case of serious disputes. But neither should nations necessarily cooperate with sanctions they see as poorly motivated or poorly designed. In those cases, the best response is usually technical -- new institutional arrangements that raise the costs or limit the effects of poorly justified unilateral sanctions.
Petey Bee Jun 28, 2019
The Trump administration is using sanctions like a resource that will soon expire.
Mirek Fatyga Jun 28, 2019
it is the beginning of the end for the special role of the US$ in the world economy. Dethroning the US$ has now become a matter of national security for 95% of the planet. Not that this would not have happened anyway, nothing lasts forever, but present events accelerate the process.

This can be good for the US in the long run, if painful at first. One sometimes quips about the curse of natural resources. US suffers from the similar curse of the Dollar, which is a natural resource of sorts, as it can be printed out of thin air, seemingly without consequences. The dethroning of the US$ will cause a pretty significant, perhaps shocking, drop in living standards given US social inequalities, but it may be beneficial in the long run by imposing some sobriety and discipline upon the political system. Then, it could also break up the country for good. May you live in interesting times, as the saying goes.

Paul Friesen Jun 28, 2019

Fortunately, the ability of the U.S. to do this is fading fast, as it loses its economic domination to China. So far, China has shown rather less tendency to meddle in the affairs of other countries, with the notable exceptions of certain territories which it regards as part of its territory. The world is slowly becoming fairer.

[Jul 19, 2019] Over a dozen years ago, Russo published a pair of massive volumes on the history of organized crime focused on two particular regions, with The Outfit in 2001 discussing Chicago and Supermob in 2006 dealing with California.

Jul 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

aye, myself & me , Jul 19 2019 8:22 utc | 100

Has anyone else read this article over at Unz, by their editor and chief?
http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-the-power-of-organized-crime/

"Given that organized crime had apparently played a far greater national role in twentieth century American history than I had realized from my readings of mainstream newspapers and magazines, I recently decided to expand my knowledge in that area. Someone brought to my attention the work of investigative journalist Gus Russo, a prominent author on that topic. Russo had worked as a lead reporter for the award-winning PBS Frontline series and filled similar roles at other television networks, while being nominated for a 1998 Pulitzer Prize for his book on the JFK-Mafia alliance against Castro."

"Over a dozen years ago, Russo published a pair of massive volumes on the history of organized crime focused on two particular regions, with The Outfit in 2001 discussing Chicago and Supermob in 2006 dealing with California. Taken together these two works of deep investigative research run more than 1100 pages and over a half million words, apparently dwarfing almost anything else in that subject area. By the 1990s declassification of a vast quantity of government documents, including FBI wiretaps and Congressional files, allowed Russo access to this previously unavailable material. He supplemented this crucial archival research with the secondary source material contained in hundreds of books and articles, as well as more than 200 personal interviews, and his especially extensive second volume references this wealth of source material with more than 1500 footnotes. The numerous laudatory cover-blurbs by prominent prosecutors, former law enforcement agents, and experts on organized crime strongly attest to the credibility of his research, which certainly must have absorbed many years of concentrated effort."

Sure explains a lot to me how we wound up with thugs like Bolton and Pompeo. We have separation of church and state, who knew we needed separation of state and organized crime too?

[Jul 05, 2019] Inside the 21st-century British criminal underworld

Jul 05, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Inside the 21st-century British criminal underworld - World news - The Guardian

There are almost 5,000 criminal gangs in the UK. But the old family firms are gone – today's big players are multinational, diversified and tech-savvy.

By Duncan Campbell Main image: Underworlds old and new: Curtis Warren, John Palmer, the Hellbanianz and others. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

Thu 4 Jul 2019 06.01 BST Last modified on Thu 4 Jul 2019 12.22 BST

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W ho rules the underworld today, and where do they conduct their business? Once there were the familiar mugshots and Runyonesque nicknames, the clubs and pubs where the usual suspects gathered, plotted and schemed. Now organised crime is run like any other business, and its leading figures look like every other broker or tycoon. We have entered into a world of what Sir Rob Wainwright, until recently Europe's most senior police officer, calls "anonymised" crime. The underworld has become the overworld.

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The National Crime Agency has estimated that £90bn of criminal money is being laundered through the UK every year, 4% of the country's GDP. London has become the global capital of money-laundering and the beating heart of European organised crime. English is now the international underworld's lingua franca. Crime is an essential part of the British economy, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs, not just for professional criminals – the NCA reckons there are 4,629 organised crime groups in operation – but for police and prison officers, lawyers and court officials, and a security business that now employs more than half a million people.

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Just as the names of familiar shops have been departing from the high street, the old family firms of criminals are disappearing, whether in London, Glasgow, Newcastle or Manchester. And just as British football fans have had to learn how to pronounce the names of the legions of new foreign players, detectives have had to learn to do the same for the increasing number of new criminals. Britain was once dealing with drugs imports from half a dozen countries; now it is more than 30. A young person who would in the past have sought an apprenticeship in a trade or industry may now find that drug dealing offers better career prospects. And, apart from drugs and guns, British trading channels now facilitate the trafficking of women from eastern Europe and Africa for prostitution and children from Vietnam as low-level drug workers.

The underworld's modus operandi has shifted in the past quarter century. "The international nature of crime and technology are probably the two biggest changes," says Steve Rodhouse, the NCA's head of operations. Speaking at the NCA's unprepossessing headquarters in Vauxhall, south London, Rodhouse explains how the agency's work has mushroomed. "Pretty much all of the NCA's most significant 'high-harm' operations now involve people, commodities or money transferring across international borders. The days of having a drugs gang, a firearms gang or a people-trafficking gang have changed because of the concept of polycriminality. Groups satisfying criminal markets, whatever they may be, is now much more common. These are businesses and people are looking to exploit markets, so why confine yourself to one market?"

Wainwright, who served as Europol chief for nine years, has also noted this internationalisation of crime. Addressing a Police Foundation gathering just after his retirement last year, he said that Europol, the European equivalent of Interpol, having expanded since its foundation in 1998 when "it consisted literally, of two men and a dog – admittedly, a sniffer dog – in Luxembourg," now dealt with 65,000 cases a year. By 2018, he reckoned that 5,000 organised crime groups were operating across Europe and the mafia model had been replaced by a "more nimble" model, with 180 different nationalities operating, mixing legal with illegal business and working with between 400 and 500 major money-launderers. This was multinational business with specialists in recruitment, movement, money-laundering and the forging of documents.

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The internet, of course, is a major factor. Wainwright likened its effect on crime to that of the motorcar in the 1920s and 30s, when suddenly criminals could escape at speed and take advantage of new markets. He cited the dark web, which he said was selling 350,000 different illegal items – 60% of which were drugs – but including everything from guns to pornography and even operating a ratings system for speed of dispatch and quality. The combination of new faces of whom the British police – and often Interpol and Europol – were unaware, along with an increasingly tech-savvy pool of criminals able to disguise their identities, made for a toxic cocktail. Crooks anonymous.


O ne group with little interest in anonymity are the Hellbanianz, a gang of cocky young Albanians based in Barking, east London. They went online in spectacular fashion in 2017 via Instagram and YouTube rap videos to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth and firepower.

Their most prominent member, Tristen Asllani, who lived in Hampstead, was jailed for 25 years in 2016 for drug dealing and firearms offences which included possessing a Škorpion submachine gun. He was caught after a police chase in north London which ended when he crashed his car into a computer repair shop in Crouch End. A photo of Asllani, showing him stripped to the waist after he had apparently spent long hours in the prison gym, appeared on a social media page called My Albanian in Jail, with a caption saying "Even inside the prison we have all conditions, what's missing are only whores".

The flashy cars and bundles of banknotes on display in the Hellbanianz videos were the result of the importation of cocaine and cannabis, but the gang was also involved in the weapons trade. The pictures showed £50 notes wrapped around a cake and their HB logo written in cannabis. After they were arrested and jailed, other gang members have posted pictures of themselves, taken with smuggled mobile phones, from inside prison where they cheerfully inscribe their gang name on the walls.

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Muhamed Veliu, an Albanian investigative journalist, who knows London well, says that the Hellbanianz have been on the crime scene in east London for many years. "They are sending a bad message to young Albanians. By seeing such photos, they think the streets of UK are paved with gold Bizarrely, despite the fact they are in the prison, they show the outside world photos of their life behind the bars." He said that there was a concern that the British media stereotyped all Albanians as criminals but, he added, the 2006 Securitas robbery, in which two Albanians played key roles in the theft of £53m from a depot in Kent, was regarded with some national pride back home. "It was 'the crime of the century', it was seen as very different from making money from prostitution, which is the lowest form of crime. It is wrong, of course, but they did need bravery to get involved, and at least they went for a bank – that was the feeling in the Albanian community." There are currently around 700 Albanians in British jails.

"Albania is Europe's largest producer of cannabis," says Tony Saggers, the former head of drugs threat and intelligence at the NCA. "It is important not to stereotype, but the Kosovan war led to Albanians pretending to be Kosovan in order to get asylum in the UK. Many of the people who came just wanted a better life, but there were criminals among them who were able to set up illicit networks The UK criminal has a get-rich-quick mentality while the Albanians' strategy was get-rich-slow, so they have driven down the price of cocaine in the UK. They knew that if they expanded, they could undercut the market." It helped that their reputation preceded them. "The Albanian criminals may be ruthless and potentially murderous when controlling their organised crime," said Saggers, "but when they come to the UK they try to be more charismatic and they use fear – 'We're here, we need to get on,' that sort of approach. So there is little violence from the older Albanian criminals in the UK, because they know that violence attracts more attention."

The Albanians had already established themselves in a darker fashion when 26-year-old Luan Plackici was jailed in 2003 and said to have made more than £1m from trafficking "poor, naive and gullible" young women who thought they were on their way to jobs as waitresses or barmaids. Some had to service up to 20 men a day to pay for the £8,000 "travel bill" from Romania and Moldova.

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The international nature of people-trafficking was exposed fully in 2014 by a trial of a gang that imported more than 100 women into Britain. The trial ended with the gang leader, Vishal Chaudhary, being jailed for 12 years. Chaudhary, who lived the high life in Canary Wharf in London, contacted young women through social networks in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, offering work as receptionists, nannies or cleaners in England. But when they got to the UK, the women were forced to work in brothels. Chaudhary's team, all of whom were jailed, consisted of his brother, Kunal, who worked for Deloitte in Manchester, a Hungarian heavy called Krisztian Abel and the latter's sister, Szilvia, who helped recruit the women.

A cannabis farm discovered in a house in Oldham in 2013. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

There are numbers of young people involved in what the legal system terms "forced criminality". The lawyer Philippa Southwell has specialised in such cases, which apply in particular to young Vietnamese people brought illegally into the UK by traffickers and forced to work in cannabis farms to pay back debts of up to £30,000 that their parents have undertaken in order for them to have a new life in Europe.

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"The modus operandi of criminal organisations is to target children or young adults, trafficking them across the world in a journey that can take months," Southwell says. "Those being trafficked from Vietnam, often transit via Russia, Germany and France, by boat, lorry and even by foot. Once at their destination, they will be locked in a premises and made to tend the cannabis plants, by watering them and ensuring the lighting is on. These cannabis grows are sophisticated multi-million-pound drug operations, with the electricity often being extracted illegally and high-value equipment used. The windows of the buildings may be nailed shut. The farms normally operate in rural areas where the chance of detection is reduced."

The boys and young men were in a form of debt bondage, but no matter how hard they worked, their debt never seemed to be paid off. "There is a misconception within the criminal justice system that they are free to leave because the doors may not always be locked," says Southwell, "but the reality is that they have nowhere to go – they are controlled through threats of violence, debt bondage, isolation, fear and other complex control methods that are regularly used by traffickers."


F rom the Chinese opium dealers in the 1920s, the Italian gangsters in the 30s, the Maltese pimps in the 50s, the West Indian Yardies in the 60s, the Turkish heroin dealers in the 70s to the east Europeans gangsters and Nigerian fraudsters today, there has long been an unfair tendency to blame foreigners as dominant figures in the underworld. While they may have all had their parts to play, the homegrown British villain – whether artful dodger or ruthless kingpin – has always been the bedrock of the underworld.

"Everyone wants to be a gangster," says BX, a young former gang member from north-west London. "Everyone's seen it on TV and that's what they want to be. They look at music videos and it looks like the people in them are making hundreds of thousands of pounds, although the reality is that they are still living at their mum's house. Most of them come from estates and they see their parents going to work, struggling to pay the bills. They come home, their mum's not there, and all the places where kids could play are closing down. Nine times out of 10, they leave school without qualifications. So if you're broke, if you can't get a job, you're going to take the opportunity. My parents had no clue what I was up to – I didn't come back with any marks on my face."

The recent upsurge in knife attacks has focused attention on gangs. At one stage last year, there were six separate knife murder trials underway at the Old Bailey, all gang-related, all involving more than one defendant, none older than 22. "It's not a black thing, it's not a white thing, everyone's doing it," says BX. "There's no: 'I'm black, he's white, we can't get along' any more." There were still ample opportunities for smaller-time dealers: "You can make a grand a week."

An organised gang carrying out robberies on scooters in London in 2018. Photograph: MET Police

The hierarchy of gangs remained a key factor. "If you're a drug dealer, you have to find people who will do your dirty work for you. The way it works is the elders, who are, say, 24 or 25, they see you doing well, so they might take you under their wing. The young kids acting as look-outs, they're thinking: 'I'm part of that guy's enterprise. That could be me in however many years, I could get promotion.' As they say, loyalty brings forth royalty."

Territory is important commercially. "If you're doing five keys (kilos) a week and then suddenly you're only doing three a week, it doesn't take long to realise that someone's out there taking your customers. So you have to eliminate the opposition. How do you do that? By either taking them out, or tipping off the police. You are never supposed to snitch, but I know one guy, from Southall, who's a millionaire now; he was in competition with a guy from the same area so he informed the police." There's a not-unfounded suspicion that some informers have continued to commit crimes while under police protection. "All the old-school rules – they're gone. I know people who work with the police to get immunity for themselves. I know one who everyone knows works with the police, he's even been shooting people, but you type his name into Google you won't find anything about him and, believe me, his record is way longer than my arm."

The risks are high. "Of the people I grew up with, only three of us haven't been to jail, although I've been arrested many times. My older brother has been in and out of jail – nine months here, six weeks there. But there are less police than ever, so that gives you the incentive, and even if you get arrested, you're not going to do that long."

While the young gangs have largely replaced the old family-based crews, so have young, helmeted, scooter-riding robbers smashing their ways into jewellers and mobile phone shops taken on the role of the old sawn-off shotgun-wielding bank robbers.


W hile those smalltime home-grown villains may still thrive, an increasing number of members of the British underworld have followed old imperial traditions and headed abroad to cut out the middle-man, establishing themselves not only in the traditional bolt-hole of Spain, but in the Netherlands, Thailand and South Africa. The person who was to rewrite the rulebook on drug dealing is the street-smart Liverpudlian Curtis Warren, better known by his nicknames Cocky or the Cocky Watchman. Born in 1963, his criminal career started at the age of 12 with a conviction for car theft. By 16, he was on his way to borstal for assaulting the police. Other offences followed, but it was only when he moved into the drugs business, working out of Amsterdam, that he established his reputation as one of the most prolific traffickers of modern times – Interpol's "Target One" and the subject of a joint British–Dutch investigation codenamed Operation Crayfish.

While Warren's move to Amsterdam, where fellow British dealers also established themselves, seemed like a smart idea in that he was less exposed to the British police, it was also a weakness, because the Dutch authorities were able to tap his phone without restriction and secure the evidence they needed. (Although they also required English help in translating Liverpudlian for them.) In October 1996, police in the Netherlands seized 400kg of cocaine, 60kg of heroin, 1,500kg of cannabis, handguns and false passports. Nine Britons and a Colombian were arrested, and Warren was soon portrayed as the biggest fish in the net. He was jailed for 12 years for a conspiracy to import what was claimed to be £125m of drugs into Britain. The Observer suggested he was "the richest and most successful British criminal who has ever been caught", and he was the only drug dealer to make it on to the Sunday Times rich list. T-shirts with an old mugshot of Warren on them were still for sale in Liverpool 20 years after Operation Crayfish.

Curtis Warren. Photograph: PA

After his release from jail in the Netherlands in June 2007, Warren was only a free man for five weeks. He headed to Jersey, but was under constant surveillance and soon arrested. In 2009, he was convicted of conspiring to import £1m of cannabis into Jersey and jailed for 13 years. Warren was alleged to have invested his wealth in everything from petrol stations to vineyards, football clubs to hotels. A Jersey court ordered him to pay £198m after he failed to prove his business empire was not built on the proceeds of cocaine trafficking. Detectives had secretly recorded him boasting during a 2004 prison visit of funnelling huge amounts of cash via a money launderer. "Fuckin' 'ell, mate, sometimes we'd do about £10m or £15m in a week," he told some of his visitors. "I was bragging like an idiot and just big-talking in front of them," was Warren's explanation later. The Jersey attorney general, Timothy Le Cocq QC, described him as "one of Europe's most notorious organised criminals". His failure to pay the money resulted in a further 10 years' jail time.

He told Guardian journalist Helen Pidd, when she interviewed him in jail in Jersey, that he disapproved of drugs: "I've never had a cigarette in my life or a drink. I've never tasted alcohol or anything. No interest." His ambition after he was freed was to leave England – "and never come back". He added: "I just wish I'd not been such a worry to me mum."

Few people were better qualified to comment on Warren than former NCA man Tony Saggers, who was an expert witness in Warren's trial and proceeds hearing. "Curtis Warren was a forerunner," he said. "You get people like him who come from a tough background, a council-house environment, and he had a sort of bare-faced courage in some respects, to put himself in places like Venezuela and Colombia, which were probably even more dangerous then than they are now. He put himself at the other end of the supply chain, and in a way established that pattern for the elite drug trafficker. But nowadays, high-level, high-profile criminals play less and less of a role, and make use of others below them in a detached way."

Other British criminals have also cast their nets wide during the past two decades. One of the best-known was Brian Wright, once one of Britain's most active cocaine smugglers, who was nicknamed The Milkman – because he always delivered. He operated from both Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus and Spain. In 1998, he was alleged to have imported almost two tonnes of the drug, with the result, according to one customs investigator, that "the cocaine was coming in faster than people could snort it". The Dublin-born Wright owned a villa near Cadiz, which he named El Lechero – the Spanish for milkman – and had a box at Ascot, a flat in Chelsea's King's Quay and used some of his proceeds to fix races on which he then bet, thus laundering his drug profits. Finally arrested in Spain, he was brought back to England and, in 2007, at the age of 60, found guilty at Woolwich crown court of conspiracy to supply drugs and jailed for30 years .

Some very successful scams have been perpetrated on elderly Britons. John Palmer, who had been involved in the Brink's-Mat bullion robbery (from whence he got his nickname "Goldfinger") made his fortune in a crooked timeshare business in Tenerife. A ruthless operator, he took advantage of thousands of gullible souls, many of them elderly holidaymakers, who believed his spiel about the fortunes they could make by investing in timeshare apartments that were never built. Outwardly, he appeared to have it all: the yacht, the cars with the personalised number plates, dozens of properties. He even made it to No 105 in the Sunday Times rich list. "Remember the golden rule," was the motto he loved to quote, "he who has the gold makes the rules." But in 2001, he was convicted of a timeshare fraud in which 16,000 victims lost an estimated £33m and served eight years in prison.

Then, in 2015, Palmer was shot dead by a hitman in his garden in Essex. There were rumours that he was killed because he might have been cooperating with the Spanish police over another fraud case. His co-accused were convicted in Spain in May this year and the police in Britain have duly issued a fresh appeal for help to find his killer – with a reminder that there is a £100,000 reward on offer in case that tempts an elderly underworld grass.

Any notion that Spain might still be a safe haven for expat criminals was dispelled in 2018 when Brian Charrington – a close associate of Curtis Warren and regarded as one of the major international drug dealers of his generation – was jailed for 15 years for trafficking and money-laundering in Alicante in 2018. Described in the Spanish press as " el narco que escribia en Wikipedia ", because of his reputation for updating and correcting his Wikipedia entry, the former car-dealer from Middlesbrough had been arrested in 2013 at his villa in Calpe, on the Costa Blanca, an area where some estate agents offer bulletproof glass as a special feature along with the spa bath and barbecue area. There had been wild rumours of crocodiles in his swimming pool, but disappointingly, the police found none.

Charrington was alleged to have brought vast quantities of drugs into Spain via a yacht docking in Altea, north of Benidorm. He claimed his money came legitimately. "I buy and sell villas and I pay my taxes," he told the court, but was still fined nearly £30m. Following a lengthy investigation involving Spanish, British, Venezuelan, Colombian and French police, his assets, including a dozen houses and his cars and boats, were impounded. After his sentence, his Wikipedia entry was speedily updated.


T he titles of true crime memoirs published in the past decade or so tell their own tale. The Last Real Gangster by Freddie Foreman came out in 2015; The Last Gangster: My Final Confession by Charlie Richardson arrived just after his death in 2012; The Last Godfather, the Life and Crimes of Arthur Thompson, was published in Glasgow in 2007. A requiem for the old British underworld.

In many ways, it was already slipping into a haze of nostalgia. The television series Peaky Blinders has spawned its own fashion accessory industry. You can now buy Peaky Blinders cufflinks shaped like razor-blades, or wear a Peaky Blinders cap and waistcoat from the new David Beckham clothing line , something that might have prompted a dark smile from the ruthless and acquisitive 1920s Birmingham gang on whom the series was based. The website henorstag.com even recommends "the Peaky Blinders look" as perfect for a stag night: "For a theme the ladies will love, you will need to capture the stylish world of the early 20th century with black peak caps, stylish grey or black suits with waistcoat, as well as a dusty black coat and shoes in order to complete the look." (Add a cosh and a cut-throat razor and you'll really slay 'em.)

While the Kray twins brand continues as the underworld's equivalent of Marks & Spencer – a framed letter from Ronnie Kray in Broadmoor is currently on offer on eBay for £650 – changes in the law have made criminals less prepared to boast about past crimes. In the old days, under the "double jeopardy" rule, once you were acquitted of a murder, you could never be tried for it again. That rule was overturned with the 2003 Criminal Justice Act, so the days when a villain could explain in their memoirs how they got away with a crime have gone. The 2009 Coroners and Justice Act made it an offence for criminals to profit from accounts of their crimes, so they could no longer sell their stories, or at least officially. The 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act and its increasing use against career criminals has meant that illicit incomes can be seized.

No wonder the Hatton Garden burglary of 2015 – that " one last job " carried out by the elderly "diamond wheezers" – received such attention. Even one of the "last of the last", Fred Foreman, was hoping he was going to be offered a role in it. "I heard that Terry (Perkins, one of the ringleaders) was looking for me, not long before the burglary took place, so I presume that would have been what it was about," he says.

ss="rich-link tone-feature--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Organised crime in the UK is bigger than ever before. Can the police catch up? Read more

Perkins died in his cell in Belmarsh prison last year. Foreman, who made his name with the Krays in the 1960s, now lives in sheltered accomodation in west London. He doubts that the current generation of gangsters will ever write their memoirs: "I don't think that anyone who has turned to crime these days is going to live long enough to build up a reputation, are they?"

But the recruiting sergeants of the underworld – poverty, greed, boredom, envy, peer pressure, glamour – will never be short of volunteers, whether they live long enough to make a name for themselves or not.

Underworld : the Definitive History of Britain's Organised Crime by Duncan Campbell is published by Ebury Press on 11 July

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[Jun 24, 2019] Foreign policy triumphs of Trump administration

Notable quotes:
"... Real men go to Teheran! ..."
"... Trump treats int'l matters like acrid biz negotiations (see art of the deal) - you pressure your carpet installer for your mega hotels with nasty e-mails, bellowing threats on the phone, rustling up the competition, getting a bunch of staff on your side to shore up da ego, etc. When the carpet-seller makes some bigly concessions on price (all understand the game that is played) you relent and make nicey, and the wives get together for tennis and a ruccola crab lunch and later some mega bash with smiling faces is pictured. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette , Jun 23, 2019 11:16:27 AM | 10

Trump strove for some foreign policy triumphs. The art of the deal!

Real men go to Teheran!

Except Trump and US forces aren't going anywhere at all and most certainly not to Iran. A real war in that theatre cannot be fought and won by the US. Nor can it be instigated and subsequently 'let drop' or 'become unimportant, trivial, with some claims of victory' for ex. Afghanistan. (very costly btw)

Iran has made it clear that economic sanctions are part of hybrid war, rightly so (but not, as I still claim, by making some minor attacks on tankers round about, to provoke a reaction, NO) -- at some point, one engages, if not: backing down is the only option.

Trump treats int'l matters like acrid biz negotiations (see art of the deal) - you pressure your carpet installer for your mega hotels with nasty e-mails, bellowing threats on the phone, rustling up the competition, getting a bunch of staff on your side to shore up da ego, etc. When the carpet-seller makes some bigly concessions on price (all understand the game that is played) you relent and make nicey, and the wives get together for tennis and a ruccola crab lunch and later some mega bash with smiling faces is pictured.

I think he got on super well with Kim (NK) who understood all this.

Leaves begging what-who-why is the projected aim, potential hoped result of the hybrid attack on Iran, and which parties (USA MIC, Fin. Trade Cos., Banking, FF industry, many other industries; Israel, KSA) support it (again, for what precise aim?) Or are against sanctions...

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 20, 2019] Frustrated Donald Trump 'Chewed Out' Staff for Failed Venezuela Coup, Thought His Officials 'Got Played' Report

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

However, when virtually no one in the upper circles of power in Caracas ended up backing Guaidó, Trump thought that his national security adviser John Bolton and his director for Latin American policy, Mauricio Claver-Carone, "got played" by the opposition and key Maduro officials, The Post reported.

Two senior White House officials told The Post that the president "chewed out the staff" after the failure on April 30 to shift Maduro from power and that now Trump's administration has no fixed strategy to remove him.

Trump had "always thought of" Venezuela "as low-hanging fruit" on which he "could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory," the former official said. "Five or six months later . . . it's not coming together," the unnamed official added.

However, this was rejected by National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis who described the official's claims as, "patently false."

[Jun 18, 2019] Gina Haspel What to Know About the New Director of the CIA

May 08, 2019 | fortune.com
Gina Haspel is facing a Congressional grilling as her confirmation hearings for the CIA director's position get underway.

Should she overcome it, she'll be the first woman to hold the director's job. It's a high profile position, but Haspel has been a pretty low profile person up until this point. So who is Trump's nominee to run the government's spy agency?

Haspel, who would replace new secretary of state Mike Pompeo , has been with the agency since 1985, spending much of her career undercover. She has received several awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Presidential Rank Award, the highest award in the federal civil service. She also has overseen the torture of some terror suspects , which is what critics and former ambassadors are worried about.

A 2017 New York Times report says Haspel, in 2002, oversaw the torture of two suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and later was involved in the destruction of videotapes documenting that torture.

One of those prisoners was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls , and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide, says the Times .

As a result of such torture, she was shifted out of her role as head of the CIA's clandestine service.

Haspel was picked to run the CIA's clandestine operations unit in 2013, but Senator Dianne Feinstein , who was the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, blocked the promotion because of Haspel's history of torture.

Within the agency, though, Haspel is reportedly widely respected – and has support from members of both the Bush and Obama administrations. Where she stands personally on issues such as extreme interrogation techniques is an unknown, as she has not offered any public comments on policy, as you would expect for an undercover officer.

And that's what Senators are hoping to learn more about as their questioning gets underway.

[Jun 09, 2019] Trump's Venezuela Hallucination The American Conservative

Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump was eager to boast about Moscow's withdrawal of its troops from Venezuela, but it turned out that he or someone else in the administration just made it up:

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it didn't know where U.S. President Donald Trump had got the idea Moscow had removed most of its military specialists from Venezuela, who it said continued to work there.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Russia had told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained close military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country. It isn't surprising that he would try to spin any development in his favor, but in this case it seems that he just invented something out of thin air so that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless. He has no genuine successes that he can talk about, so he has to have pretend victories instead. The original tweet is still up:

Claiming that "Russia informed" him of this thing that didn't happen makes it even sillier, because it immediately prompted the Russian government to announce that they couldn't have informed Trump about something that hadn't occurred. Now that Russia has corrected the record, the president looks even more ridiculous than usual.

This episode isn't that important by itself, but it shows how easily Trump can be convinced of the reality of things that haven't happened and how readily he will accept any story, no matter how unfounded it may be, if it flatters him and bolsters his agenda. That makes him unusually easy to manipulate and provoke, and it makes him an exceptionally easy mark for misinformation. That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears.


Collin, says: June 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless.

Not a Trump fan, but is Trump's Venezuela policy feckless? Or just Trump somehow understands that it is not our problem and/or military intervention is just a bad investment. For the life of me, I don't understand why Russia desires to part of the Venezuelan mess, but most of their interference is minimal in nature and really has little impact on the situation. I get the Bay Of Bolton was half assed coup that probably did more damage to Guaido chances for new elections. (Guaido is being painted as the Trump Imperialism candidate which is not popular.)

The big question is why this is not China's problem? At this point, Venezuela is completely with them.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears."

Hmmmm . . . hard to challenge that.

rayray , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm
White House staff may have just taken Putin's name off the ship to make Trump feel better.
SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Re: "Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country."

Agree. But the larger subtext is that the U.S. now has zero credibility with anything . The assumption by every country on the planet has to be that the U.S. word is not worth squat.

Fat Pompeo with his big mouth, "We lie, cheat and steal" mind-dump says it all. The Russians are anything but saints, but they knew that the U.S. planned on having Russia ejected from its Crimean Naval Base in Sevastopol after the coup that Nitwit Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys engineered.

Similarly, the Russians know that if/when the U.S. puts sock puppet Guaido in power, they will ensure he stiffs the Russians out of all of their claims and assets in Venezuela.

The Russians don't want to wrestle with the Gorilla, but they have no other choice.

Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
This new normal is frightening. The man has a tenuous grip on reality at best. Those profiting by it maintain that the Emperor has clothes.
Clyde Schechter , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Given the way the dealings with North Korea have gone, I expect that Trump will soon be announcing that Kim Jong-Un has destroyed all his nuclear weapons and pledged not to build any more. Needless to say, it will not have happened.

But, as they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often.

Carnie Barquer , says: June 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears. "

And what a bunch those "advisers" are! Wackjobs, liars, convicted criminals, foreign agents and some are more than one of those things!

Mark Thomason , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
My guess is that Bolton lied to Trump, in order to make himself look better to Trump when pressed on his failures.

By the time that is known, events will have moved on so far even Trump doesn't care.

Kent , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
@Clyde Schechter,

"The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often."

I don't know that they do. I tend to think that they just hate what has happened to the country since Reagan and Clinton so much that they just want Trump to keep bashing Congress over the head, even with stupidity.

Not to mention that humans have an innate exploitable weakness: the desire to transfer someone else's perceived greatness on to themselves. Hence the inclination of sports fans and adoration of the military.

So "Team America" is great, therefore I am great, and Trump represents us, therefore Trump is great.

Bannerman , says: June 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
One should not wish ill on any other human being, even though i have contemplated several slapstick scenarios involving certain politicians, however

Donald Trump is in the process of discovering that one cannot ignore Reality, since it Bites, that live is not a reality TV show (the most unreal thing on television), and that chickens do indeed come home to roost.

Unfortunately, it's been a difficult learning curve, and pathetic boasts to the contrary, he has managed to turn both the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party into a pile of smoking rubble.

It conservatism can be rebuilt in a score of years, it would be a miracle. More like, a generation.

Kevin Zeese , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Trump's Venezuelan policy is a series of hallucination's. This article just describes the most recent. It begins with the hallucination that Maduro is a dictator, when in reality he won an election in May 2018 with 67% of the vote in an election that more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed met all international standards for democratic elections. It follows with the hallucination that the Venezuelan military would join the US in rising up against their elected president rather than support the constitutional government. It continues with the hallucination that the people of Venezuela would join a US-inspired coup against the president they had just re-elected rather than join a 2 million person plus civilian militia to defend against a US attack. And, it continues with the hallucination that Juan Guaido is the interim president when his self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution and the United Nations and Venezuelan law recognize Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

The antidote of these ongoing hallucinatory experiences is for Trump to no longer trust his advisors and end the US coup attempt, which has already failed multiple times in Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliot Abrams have made Trump see hallucinations that are complete falsehoods. They have led the president into an embarrassing trap that he now needs to get out of. They have made Trump look like a fool.

It is time for Trump to take steps to normalize relations with Venezuela. That begins with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement between the US and Venezuela for Switzerland to be a Protecting Power of the US Embassy in Caracas and Turkey to be a Protecting of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Following from that the US and Venezuela should negotiate the sale of Venezuelan resources, primarily oil, in return for the end of the illegal unilateral coercive measures (inaccurately called sanctions) against Venezuela. Negotiating with Venezuela will be less expensive than a war that will become a quagmire that will end in failure after costing more than $1 trillion and causing chaos in the region. Then, Trump and Maduro should meet to chart a course that begins with mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of each nation and then determines where the two nations interests are consistent with each other. It is time to leave the hallucinations behind and come back to reality.

delia ruhe , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
The ease with which Trump is manipulated and provoked can be added to the explanation of why Bibi is now in possession of Jerusalem and war against Iran is a high probability. That should terrify Americans.

[May 13, 2019] Crappy little countries

This was true about Iraq war. This is true about Venezuela and Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. ..."
"... Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. ..."
"... Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 . ..."
"... Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.) ..."
Apr 30, 2003 | www.leftbusinessobserver.com

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small c rappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
- Michael Ledeen , holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Actually, the U.S. had been beating Iraq's head against the wall for a dozen years, with sanctions and bombing. The sanctions alone killed over a million Iraqis, far more than have been done in by weapons of mass destruction throughout history. But Ledeen's indiscreet remark, delivered at an AEI conference and reported by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online , does capture some of what the war on Iraq is about.

And what is this "business" Ledeen says we mean? Oil, of course, of which more in a bit. Ditto construction contracts for Bechtel. But it's more than that - nothing less than the desire, often expressed with little shame nor euphemism, to run the world. Is there anything new about that?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. Anderson, who's edited New Left Review for years, but who has almost no connection to actual politics attributed this strange explosion not to a popular outburst of anti-imperialism, but to a cultural antipathy to the Bush administration.

Presumably that antipathy belongs to the realm of the " merely cultural ," and is of no great political significance to Anderson. But it should be. U.S. culture has long been afflicted with a brutally reactionary and self-righteous version of Christian fundamentalism, but it's never had such influence over the state. The president thinks himself on a mission from God, the Attorney General opens the business day with a prayer meeting, and the Pentagon's idea of a Good Friday service is to invite Franklin Graham , who's pronounced Islam a "wicked and evil religion," to deliver the homily, in which he promised that Jesus was returning soon. For the hard core, the Iraq war is a sign of the end times, and the hard core are in power.

Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. Though the administration has been discreet, many of its private sector intellectuals have been using the words "imperialism" and " empire " openly and with glee. Not everyone of the millions who marched against the war in the months before it started was a conscious anti-imperialist, but they all sensed the intensification, and were further alarmed.

While itself avoiding the difficult word "empire," the Bush administration has been rather clear about its long-term aims. According to their official national security strategy and the documents published by the Project for a New American Century (which served as an administration-in-waiting during the Clinton years) their goal is to assure U.S. dominance and prevent the emergence of any rival powers. First step in that agenda is the remaking of the Middle East - and they're quite open about this as well. We all know the countries that are on the list; the only remaining issues are sequence and strategy. But that's not the whole of the agenda. They're essentially promising a permanent state of war, some overt, some covert, but one that could take decades.

Imperial returns?

Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 .

Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.)

It now looks fairly certain that the U.S. will, in some form, claim some large piece of Iraq's oil. The details need to be worked out; clarifying the legal situation could be very complicated, given the rampantly illegal nature of the regime change. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry will be very expensive and could take years. There could be some nice profits down the line for big oil companies - billions a year - but the broader economic benefits for the U.S. aren't so clear. A U.S.-dominated Iraq could pump heavily and undermine OPEC, but too low an oil price would wreck the domestic U.S. oil industry, something the Bush gang presumably cares about. Mexico would be driven into penury, which could mean another debt crisis and lots of human traffic heading north over the Rio Grande. Lower oil prices would be a boon to most industrial economies, but they'd give the U.S. no special advantage over its principal economic rivals.

It's sometimes said that U.S. dominance of the Middle East gives Washington a chokehold over oil supplies to Europe and Japan. But how might that work? Deep production cutbacks and price spikes would hurt everyone. Targeted sales restrictions would be the equivalent of acts of war, and if the U.S. is willing to take that route, a blockade would be a lot more efficient. The world oil market is gigantic and complex, and it's not clear how a tap could be turned in Kirkuk that would shut down the gas pumps in Kyoto or Milan.

Writers like David Harvey argue that the U.S. is trying to compensate for its eroding economic power by asserting its military dominance. Maybe. It's certainly fascinating that Bush's unilateralism has to be financed by gobs of foreign money - and he gets his tax cuts, he'll have to order up even bigger gobs. But it's hard to see what rival threatens the U.S. economically; neither the EU nor Japan is thriving. Nor is there any evidence that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about economic policy, domestic or international, or even thinking at all. The economic staff is mostly dim and marginal. What really seems to excite this gang of supposed conservatives is the exercise of raw state power.

Jealous rivals

And while the Bushies want to prevent the emergence of imperial rivals , they may only be encouraging that. Sure, the EU is badly divided within itself; it has a hard enough time picking a top central banker , let alone deciding on a common foreign policy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is already semi-apologizing to Bush for his intemperate language in criticizing the war - not that Bush has started taking his calls. But over the longer term, some kind of political unification is Europe's only hope for acting like a remotely credible world power. It's tempting to read French and German objections to the Iraq war as emerging not from principle, but from the wounded narcissism of former imperial powers rendered marginal by American might. Separately, they'll surely hang. But a politically united Europe could, with time, come to challenge U.S. power, just as the euro is beginning to look like a credible rival to the dollar.

(Speaking of the euro, there's a theory circulating on the net that the U.S. went to war because Iraq wanted to price its oil in euros, not dollars. That's grossly overheated speculation. More on this and related issues when LBO begins an investigation of the political economy of oil in the next issue.)

An even more interesting rivalry scenario would involve an alliance of the EU and Russia. Russia is no longer the wreck it was for most of the 1990s. The economy has been growing and the mildly authoritarian Putin has imposed political stability. Russia, which has substantial oil interests in Iraq that are threatened by U.S. control, strongly opposed the war, and at least factions within the Russian intelligence agency were reportedly feeding information unfriendly to the U.S. to the website Iraqwar.ru . There's a lot recommending an EU-Russia alliance; Europe could supply technology and finance, and Russia could supply energy, and together they could constitute at least an embryonic counterweight to U.S. power.

So the U.S. may not get out of Iraq what the Bush administration is hoping for. It certainly can't want democracy in Iraq or the rest of the region, since free votes could well lead to nationalist and Islamist governments who don't view ExxonMobil as the divine agent that Bush seems to. A New York Times piece celebrated the outbreak of democracy in Basra, while conceding that the mayor is a former Iraqi admiral appointed by the British. The lead writers of the new constitution are likely to be American law professors; Iraqis, of course, aren't up to the task themselves.

Certainly the appointment of Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner (Ret.) - one of the few superannuated brass not to have enjoyed a consulting contract with a major TV network - to be the top civilian official guiding the postwar reconstruction of Iraq speaks volumes. A retired general is barely a civilian, and Garner's most recent job was as president of SY Technology , a military contractor that worked with Israeli security in developing the Arrow antimissile system. He loves antimissile systems; after the first Gulf War, he enthused about the Patriot's performance with claims that turned out to be nonsense. He's on record as having praised Israel's handling of the intifada. If that's his model of how to handle restive subject populations, there's lots of trouble ahead.

lightness

In the early days of the war, when things weren't going so well for the "coalition," it was said that the force was too light. But after the sandstorm cleared and the snipers were mowed down, that alleged lightness became a widely praised virtue. But that force was light only by American standards: 300,000 troops; an endless rain of Tomahawks, JDAMs, and MOABs; thousands of vehicles, from Humvees to Abrams tanks; hundreds of aircraft, from Apaches to B-1s; several flotillas of naval support - and enormous quantities of expensive petroleum products. It takes five gallons of fuel just to start an Abrams tank, and after that it gets a mile per gallon. And filling one up is no bargain. Though the military buys fuel at a wholesale price of 84¢ a gallon, after all the expenses of getting it to the front lines are added in, the final cost is about $150 a gallon. That's a steal compared to Afghanistan, where fuel is helicoptered in, pushing the cost to $600/gallon. Rummy's "lightness" is of the sort that only a $10 trillion economy can afford.

The Bush gang doesn't even try to keep up appearances, handing out contracts for Iraq's reconstruction to U.S. firms even before the shooting stopped, and guarding only the oil and interior ministries against looters. If Washington gets its way, Iraq will be rebuilt according to the fondest dreams of the Heritage Foundation staff, with the educational system reworked by an American contractor, the TV programmed by the Pentagon, the ports run by a rabidly antiunion firm, the police run by the Texas-based military contractor Dyncorp , and the oil taken out of state hands and appropriately privatized.

That's the way they'd like it to be. But the sailing may not be so smooth. It looks like Iraqis are viewing the Americans as occupiers, not liberators. It's going to be hard enough to remake Iraq that taking on Syria or Iran may be a bit premature. But that doesn't mean they won't try. It's a cliché of trade negotiations that liberalization is like riding a bicycle - you have to keep riding forward or else you'll fall over. The same could be said of an imperial agenda: if you want to remake the world, or a big chunk of it, there's little time to pause and catch your breath, since doubt or opposition could gain the upper hand. Which makes stoking that opposition more urgent than ever.

Losing it all

There's a feeling around that Bush is now politically invulnerable . Certainly the atmosphere is one of almost coercive patriotism. That mood was nicely illustrated by an incident in Houston in mid-March. A teenager attending a rodeo failed to stand along with the rest of the crowd during a playing of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," a dreadful country song that has become a kind of private-sector national anthem for the yahoo demographic, thanks to its truculent unthinking jingoism. A patriot standing behind the defiantly seated teen started taunting him, tugging on his ear as an additional provocation. The two ended up in a fight, and then under arrest.

There's a lot of that going around, for sure. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins get disinvited from events, websites nominate traitors for trial by military tribunal, and talk radio hosts organize CD-smashings. But things aren't hopeless. A close analysis of Greenwood's text might suggest why. The song's core argument is contained in its two most famous lines: "I'm proud to be an American/where at least I know I'm free." But the oft-overlooked opening reads: "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I'd worked for all my life," the singer would still be a grateful patriot. That's precisely the condition lots of Americans find themselves in. More than two million jobs have disappeared in the last two years. Millions of Americans have seen their retirement savings wiped out by the bear market, and over a million filed for bankruptcy last year. Most states and cities are experiencing their worst fiscal crises since the 1930s, with massive service cuts and layoffs imminent. In the song, such loss doesn't matter, but reality is often less accommodating than a song.

As the nearby graphs show, W's ratings are much lower than his father's at the end of Gulf War I, and his disapproval ratings much higher. Their theocratic and repressive agenda is deeply unpopular with large parts of the U.S. population. Spending scores of billions on destroying and rebuilding Iraq while at home health clinics are closing and teachers working without pay is potentially incendiary. Foreign adventures have never been popular with the American public (much to the distress of the ruling elite). An peace movement that could draw the links among warmongering, austerity, and repression has great political potential. Just a month or two ago, hundreds of thousands were marching in American streets to protest the imminent war. Though that movement now looks a bit dispirited and demobilized, it's unlikely that that kind of energy will just disappear into the ether.

[May 12, 2019] Trump about to dump Bolton caucus99percent

May 12, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Speaking of getting led around by the nose, we come to one Gina Haspel's great deceptions. This deception plays directly into the hands of Russiagaters. This woman, supposedly brought into CIA leadership in order to demolish the agency, is proving quite adept in perpetuating its reign of terror. Again, we have a neocon undermining Trump's prestige and authority.

[May 12, 2019] Gina Haspel Conned Trump with British Lies into Expelling Russian Diplomats over Skripal Case

Apr 17, 2019 | larouchepub.com

(EIRNS) -- The New York Times ran a story yesterday titled, "Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills To Connect with Trump. He Doesn't Always Listen." Based on interviews with former and current CIA agents who worked with CIA Director Haspel (but not interviewing her), the Times praises her skills and attempts to denigrate Trump, but they also retail a story about her and Trump which could cost Haspel deeply.

Following the March 2018 breaking of the Skripal poisoning story in England, the Times writes, Trump had initially "written off the poisoning as part of legitimate spy games, distasteful but within the bounds of espionage." Haspel, on the other hand, was backing London's demand for Trump to blame Russia immediately and expel dozens of Russian diplomats.

Writes the Times:

"During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy CIA director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the President that the 'strong option' was to expel 60 diplomats.

"To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

"Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives."

This appeal reportedly swayed Trump to go along with Haspel's advice.

If it sounds like the British "White Helmet" terrorists in Syria faking pictures of children being hit with chemical weapons to convince Trump to bomb Syrian targets, it is indeed precisely the same.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, an outspoken critic of these British imperial lies and atrocities, posted a response today to the Times garbage on his blog. He states first that yet another truth behind the Skripal lies was revealed recently by police, acknowledging that "the perfume bottle Charlie Rowley found was sealed and could not have been the container used on the Skripals." He goes on: "It took nine months for us to learn that, by a truly wonderful coincidence, the first person to find the Skripals ill on the bench was the Chief Nurse of the British Army."

But on the Haspel story in the Times, Murray is furious. "The problem is," he writes,

"there were no hospitalized children. No children have been reported as becoming ill following their duck feeding with the Skripals. We have heard from one of the parents that they were shown by the police extremely clear [closed-circuit surveillance] CCTV footage of the duck feeding, which has never been made public. Surely if the child had been hospitalized, the parent would have mentioned it?"

He quotes Dr. Stephen Davies of Salisbury Hospital, who wrote to the New York Times on March 14 stating clearly that no children had been hospitalized, and that every person who came to the hospital fearing they had been contaminated had no symptoms and tests turned out negative. Murray states:

"We also know that the duck feeding was the time that Boshirov and Petrov [the alleged Russian culprits] were physically closest to the Skripals. But this is the first time there has ever been any mention of any harm to the ducks. Dead ducks would have been noticed by the public."

It appears that the British Empire is the dead duck in this myth.

[May 11, 2019] From Russiagate to Gunboat Diplomacy by Branko Marcetic

Notable quotes:
"... Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere." ..."
May 11, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Russiagate hysteria is already being used to push Trump into an act of armed aggression against Venezuela. It's a disastrous result of a pointless delusion.

One of the things Russiagate skeptics found unsettling about the frenzy over supposed "collusion" was that it made war more likely. Not only did the now-debunked conspiracy theories and resulting political climate push officials into a more aggressive posture toward Russia, but once the Kremlin was returned to its status as the foreign policy elite's Big Bad, it was easy to imagine a situation where the threat of a Russian bogeyman could be used to justify any number of unrelated foreign adventures. This appears to be exactly what's happening with Venezuela right now.

First there was Fareed Zakaria, who two months ago tried to goad Trump into attacking Venezuela by pointing to Russia's support for Maduro. "Putin's efforts seem designed to taunt the United States," he said (it might also have something to do with the billions of dollars Russia sank into the country), making reference to the Monroe Doctrine. He asked if Washington would "allow Moscow to make a mockery of another American red line," warning that "if Washington does not back its words with deeds" the country could become another Syria. Zakaria concluded: "will Venezuela finally be the moment when Trump finally ends his appeasement?"

More recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Russia had "invaded" Venezuela before claiming the Kremlin had dissuaded Maduro from fleeing the country at the last moment, something Pompeo has provided no evidence for but much of the media has treated as fact since.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that "this is our hemisphere" and "not where the Russians ought to be interfering." Democratic Sen. Doug Jones echoed this sentiment on CNN, praising the Trump administration for saying "all options are on the table" to deal with Venezuela, something he suggested may have to be acted on "if there is some more intervention [by] Russia."

The national press, taking a break from warning about Trump being a dangerous authoritarian, has been demanding to know why he hasn't been more aggressive toward the country over this.

Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere."

He went on to claim that Russia had already placed nuclear missiles in the country, and that it could lead to a Cuban missile crisis-like conflict. There is no evidence this is true, and Díaz-Balart didn't provide any.

Of course, no coverage of the Trump administration's relations with Russia would be complete without a trip into Rachel Maddow's fractured psyche. After Trump repeated Putin's personal assurances that he wasn't interested in getting involved in Venezuela -- contradicting Pompeo and Bolton -- Maddow addressed the two officials :

Hey John Bolton, hey Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now? You each thought your job this week was to name and shame and threaten and counter Russian government involvement in Venezuela while saber-rattling about how everybody else better get out of the way because the US is really mad about it. Guys, turns out your actual job is figuring out how and why you work for a president who says whatever Vladimir Putin tells him.

Maddow went on to express her sympathy for one of the most unhinged warmongers in a city teeming with them ("I mean, John Bolton, God bless you"), and again seemed to suggest that Bolton's "job" of "push[ing] Russia back because of what they're doing in Venezuela" was the correct course of action.

It's now clear there is nothing -- not Trump's years-long belligerence toward Russia's Venezuelan ally, not his near-constant bellicosity toward Russia since taking office, not Robert Mueller's failure to indict a single person for conspiring with Russia, not even his report's explicit and implicit denial that any such conspiracy existed -- that will make these people give up the talking point that Trump is secretly in bed with Putin. If Mueller himself denied it, they would claim he was a Russian in disguise. It's simply too convenient an attack line, and too professionally embarrassing to admit otherwise.

There is also an Orwellian level of doublethink going on here. Russia, a Venezuelan ally, has sent personnel and equipment to the country with the consent of its government at a time when it's being threatened by multiple hostile regional powers. Meanwhile the US, one of those hostile powers, has for years been laying siege to the country and killing its people, trying to destabilize and oust its leadership, and even threatening to invade it.

Yet according to the media and political class, it's Russia's actions that are an unacceptable intrusion into another country's affairs -- an "invasion," even. They are holding up four fingers to your face and telling you you're seeing five.

Meanwhile, these same quarters, after spending close to three years hyperventilating about Russia's meddling in domestic US affairs -- an "act of war," in some minds -- have now seamlessly pivoted to cheering Trump as he attempts to engineer a change of Venezuela's government, even calling for him to possibly attack the country. This is glaringly hypocritical, but the Russiagate frenzy was never about principled outrage or any sort of moral consistency.

Lastly and most significantly, the rhetoric around Venezuela is now taking on an explicitly imperialistic character, in the most literal sense of that word. Zakaria invoked the Monroe Doctrine to urge Trump to intervene in Venezuela; National Security Advisor John Bolton "proudly proclaim[ed]" upon launching a fresh round of sanctions that "the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well," and one MSNBC guest insisted the Trump administration was "right in being completely flabbergasted" at Russia's presence in the country because "this is our hemisphere," echoing Bolton .

When these figures talk about "our hemisphere," they don't mean the hemisphere in which the US happens to be located; they mean this is literally their hemisphere. The US is the imperial power with dominion over this part of the world, and only it has the right to interfere in the countries that populate it.

Their objection is not that an outside power is involving itself in a Latin American country's business, but that this outside power isn't the one in Washington. The fact that the US has been doing this very thing for years in Russia's part of the world -- expanding NATO right up to its border, sending weapons to Ukraine -- goes conveniently unmentioned.

Russiagate skeptics were criticized for being hyperbolic in comparing that scandal to the bogus WMD tale that led to the Iraq War; the latter, after all, killed hundreds of thousands and destabilized an entire region. But the full consequences of Russiagate will not be felt immediately; they will unfold over time. And while floating the specter of Russia might not work this time, expect it to be used over and over in the coming years to justify all manner of military aggression .

[May 11, 2019] Leaked USA s Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela. ..."
"... Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ... ..."
"... intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ... ..."
"... Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ... ..."
"... To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ... ..."
"... Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government." ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Leaked: USA's Feb 2018 Plan For A Coup In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/05/2019 - 11:20 2 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via Off-Guardian.org,

A detailed plan from "UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND" dated "23 FEBRUARY 2018" was issued with the title "PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP 'MASTERSTROKE'" and is here presented complete.

This document was personally signed by Admiral Kurt W. Tidd , who was the Commander (the chief), at SOUTHCOM , and he was thus the top U.S. military official handling Venezuela. But this was far more than just a military plan.

It was comprehensive -- directing military, diplomatic, and propaganda, policies -- regarding the Trump Administration's planned "Overthrow" of Venezuela's Government. His plan has since guided the Administration's entire operation, including "the capacities of the psychological war," regarding Venezuela.

It instructed SOUTHCOM:

Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises." ...

intensifying the undercapitalization of the country, the leaking out of foreign currency and the deterioration of its monetary base, bringing about the application of new inflationary measures." ...

Fully obstruct imports, and at the same time discouraging potential foreign investors in order to make the situation more critical for the population." ... compelling him to fall into mistakes that generate greater distrust and rejection domestically" ...

To besiege him, to ridicule him and to pose him as symbol of awkwardness and incompetence. To expose him as a puppet of Cuba." ...

Appealing to domestic allies as well as other people inserted from abroad in the national scenario in order to generate protests, riots and insecurity, plunders, thefts, assaults and highjacking of vessels as well as other means of transportation, with the intention of deserting this country in crisis through all borderlands and other possible ways, jeopardizing in such a way the National Security of neighboring frontier nations. Causing victims and holding the Government responsible for them. Magnifying, in front of the world, the humanitarian crisis in which the country has been submitted to."

Structuring a plan to get the profuse desertion of the most qualified professionals from the country, in order 'to leave it with no professionals at all', which will aggravate even more the internal situation and along these lines putting the blame on of Government."

the presence of combat units from the United States of America and the other named countries, under the command of a Joint General Staff led by the USA."

It was posted online at the Voltairenet site , and was first copied to a web archive on 14 May 2018 . So, it has been online since at least that date. However, because the photo in it of the document wasn't made available via software which includes the individual symbols, but presented only the full visual image of the paper document, it still hasn't yet gone viral on the Web.

Here, therefore, is the first appearance, on the Web, of the full document, that's manually copied, character-by-character, so that each phrase in this document becomes, for the first time, web-searchable, and thereby conveniently available for journalists and historians to quote from.

This prophetic document -- the source for what has happened afterward in and to Venezuela -- might therefore finally receive the public attention that it so clearly merits.

The document starts with propaganda against Venezuela's existing Government (and it totally ignores the extent to which the pre-existing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela had actually caused these problems ), and it then proceeds to present the U.S. plan to overthrow the 'dictatorship'. (Tidd refers to Maduro only as "the Dictator," except at the very start and very end.

At the end, he commands "the denouncement toward Maduro's regimen" and he also uses the phrase "the enemy" to refer to him -- as if there had been the U.S. Constitutionally required authorization, by the U.S. Congress, of this "war." The close urges "the dispatch of a UNO military force for the imposition of peace, once Nicolas Maduro's corrupt dictatorship is defeated." The U.N. is militarily to "impose" "peace," after the U.S. and its allies have conquered Venezuela.)

Although Tidd placed 100% of the blame for Venezuela's problems upon Maduro, and ignored the crucial extent to which U.S. economic sanctions had caused them, his plan emphasized that the U.S. must actively make things even worse for the Venezuelan public than America's economic sanctions had yet done.

His coup-plan is loaded with such statements, and, in fact, opens with one:

"Encouraging popular dissatisfaction by increasing scarcity and rise in price of the foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods for the inhabitants. Making more harrowing and painful the scarcities of the main basic merchandises."

So: he wasn't naive. America's induced suffering upon Venezuelans was part of his plan for Venezuelans, in order to get them to do what the U.S. regime wants them to do -- overthrow Maduro. Furthermore, the United States Government has had extensive successes in previous such operations. One example is that this was how Chile's Salvador Allende was brought down in 1973 (at a time when the U.S. Government's claims to have done it for 'national security' reasons had much more credibility than its current excuse of helping the Venezuelan people does, because the supposedly ideological Cold War was still on).

The only excuse that the perpetrators can come up with, this time around, is "to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens."

Impoverish the nation, in order to help Venezuelans attain "true peace and tranquility." That's the plan.

Here is the document's entire text:

SOUTHCOM
TOP SECRET
23 FEB 2018

PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE VENEZUELAN DICTATORSHIP "MASTERSTROKE"

UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND 23 FEBRUARY 2018

TOP SECRET/20180223

CURRENT SITUATION

The Venezuelan Chavista dictatorship staggers as a result of its frequent internal problems; there is a great shortage of foodstuffs, an exhaustion of the sources of foreign currency and a rampant corruption. The international support, won with petrodollars, becomes scarcer each time and the purchasing power of its national currency is in a constant downfall.

Such scenario is not supposed to change, but the Venezuelan present-day leaders, as they usually do, in their despair to preserve their power, are capable to appeal to new populist measures that perpetuate their positions of privilege; the only mechanism that sustains them obstinate to the struggle to hold on their positions.

Maduro's corrupt regimen will collapse but regrettably, the divided opposing forces, legitimate defenders of democracy and the well-being of their people, do not have power enough to put an end to the Venezuelan nightmare and the awakening of theirs beloved nation at a luminous dawn, in which the vision of fortune, true peace and tranquility predominate for their fellow citizens.

The internal disputes, the supreme particular likings, the corruption similar to the one of their rivals, as well as the scarcity of rooting, do not grant them the opportunity to make the most of this situation and to give the necessary step to overturn the state of penury and precariousness in which the pressure group, that exercises the leftist dictatorship, has submerged the country. We are at the presence of an unprecedented criminal action in Latin America.

This affects the entire region, there is no respect to international right and local political alternatives are unacceptable.

Democracy spreads out in America, continent in which radical populism was intended to take over. Argentina, Ecuador and Brazil are examples of it. The rebirth of democracy has the support of the most valuable determinations, and the conditions in the regions run in its favour.

It is the time for the United States to prove, with concrete actions, that they are implicated in that process, where overthrowing Venezuelan dictatorship will surely mean a continental turning point.

It is the first opportunity of the Trump Administration to bring forward the vision in reference to security and democracy. Showing its active commitment is crucial, not only for the administration, but also for the continent and for the world.

The time has come to

Step to speed up the definite overthrow of Chavismo and the expulsion of its representative:

Undermining the decadent popular support to Government. Securing he the present-day dictator's irreversible deterioration Increasing the internal instability to a critical level. Using the army officers as an alternative of definite solution. Information Strategie

[signature]

K.W. TIDD

Admiral, USN

COMMANDER


WorkingClassMan , 9 minutes ago link

The US military learned their international terrorism activities from the best, the Mossad. This country is run (since at least Lincoln) by terrorists. Money stolen from us every year in the form of taxes used for ******** that destabilizes nations, destroys heritage and expands greater isn'treal.

All this and **** none of us even heard of yet...while our own borders remain wide open and our infrastructure crumbles.

Good use of money you ******* scum.

frankthecrank , 17 minutes ago link

It's fake. The military doesn't engage in such things, the spooks at the CIA do-along with the NSA. Just looking at that pic is humorous -- as if that's what they would title the document.

Gullible people.

fezline , 13 minutes ago link

Who is Gulible now??

https://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/jfk/northwoods.pdf

PeterLong , 9 minutes ago link

https://www.southcom.mil/Portals/7/Documents/Posture%20Statements/SOUTHCOM_2017_posture_statement_FINAL.pdf?ver=2017-04-06-105819-923

Joiningupthedots , 8 minutes ago link

The golden rule of finding yourself in a hole.......

STOP DIGGING!

gdpetti , 26 minutes ago link

BLah, blah, blah... in other words, the usual.... same as always... CIA's Crowley complained about these idiots after he retired... one example is the difference in Bush 1 and Bush Jr....

This plan is just the usual regime change script written about in many books... the only difference is how 'western' it is in targeting the mind of the masses... which only happens in 'democracies'.... real ones make you do that....

Wait till the puppets in DC really get frustrated... .and then see how frustrated their puppet masters get when their plans go awry as well... time is running out for both puppet and its master... Imagine being Putin and having to deal with these freaks.

mailll , 30 minutes ago link

I have a conspiracy theory. Since one of my theories is this: We want to gain control of Venezuela oil in order to secure oil imports coming into the US for when we attack Iran for the sake of Israel. The 22% of imports we get from the middle east, much of which comes from the Persian Gulf region, will be disrupted due to this war. And we would have a shortage here in the US along with skyrocketing oil prices. And we would surely bitch about it. But Venezuela oil will keep the oil coming into the US uninterrupted. And for those of you who believe we are energy independent, we are not. We use about 19 million barrels of oil per day, we produce about 12 million barrels per day, and we import about 6-7 million barrels of oil per day to help feed our craving for oil.

But to add to this conspiracy theory, I believe the window of opportunity is closing and the Zionists have to act quickly. So they will just say, OK, lets take Venezuela with our military and see how the world responds. We will never know until we try, so let's do it. And if it was a bad idea, don't worry boys, we are untouchable. We got away with it in Iraq, so let's do it again. Venezuela today, Iran tomorrow, and Israel always. They pay very well.

But this is just a conspiracy theory of mine, perhaps even a foolish one.

[May 08, 2019] Reporter INSIDE Venezuelan Embassy Under Siege! w/Anya Parampil

May 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com

The Invisible Man , 18 hours ago

Funny how a comedian is the truth teller here. This is literally clown world

samslog , 17 hours ago

Brave woman. Solidarity from France. Thank you Jimmy!

crownretro , 17 hours ago (edited)

"They want to play government they way I used to play house as a little girl" Brilliant description of these puppets Stay strong Anya!

david august , 18 hours ago

Another day, another coup. Keep up the good work Jimmy.

Steve Warwick , 16 hours ago (edited)

Anya you're doing great journalism work on Venezuela, stay safe!

SFx , 17 hours ago

Uprising? The only uprising is the small one in Marco Rubio's pants.

MexicanosDelMundo , 17 hours ago

This is getting out of hand and increasingly dangerous...

Dave Saenz , 17 hours ago

They are trying to "WMD's" us into another war with their blatant lies.

RP McMurphy , 18 hours ago

50+ years of Allegiance to the Petrodollar...

luke maxwell , 16 hours ago

In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act - George Orwell.

Katalin McCune , 18 hours ago

I think your videos are remarkable.

Otaku Senpai , 17 hours ago

Good job Dore. MSM sucks. Dont expect them to rreport this.

Gail Doyle , 16 hours ago

Not one other news source is reporting this! Thank you, Jimmy and Anya.

Z ZZ , 16 hours ago

Mike Pompeo. The fat and sweaty face of US faux humanitarianism.

vinm300 , 17 hours ago

23:21 look at Jimmy's face, he is 100% sympathetic to the protestors. That face is the definition of empathy.

R. Scott MacLeod , 17 hours ago

There is only one reason the media goes along with the military lap dogs....$$$$

Chris Petryk , 17 hours ago

can you have Anya on once a week, please? thank you

Johnny Espinal , 15 hours ago

its truly disgraceful how evil our government IS

Esen B. , 17 hours ago

US did the same to Russian consulate and embassies since launch of Russiagate.

Frank Cardoza , 17 hours ago

They wrote the book on corporate media lapdog-ism. in Venezuela years ago!

SNAKEPIT359 , 18 hours ago

As usual. When it suits, the rule book goes out the window. But equally when it suits they will quote rule after rule from the very same book when it suits their agenda.

david Urrea , 18 hours ago

Blowhorns can cause seizures the people inside need ear protection asap

[May 07, 2019] Venezuela and Binary Choice - Craig Murray

May 07, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world's largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Juan Guaido has been groomed for 15 years as a long-term CIA project. His coup attempt yesterday, which so far appears to have stalled, was the culmination of these efforts to return Venezuela's oil reserves to US hegemony.

It is strange how the urgent installation of liberal democracy by force correlates so often with oil reserves not aligned to the USA, as in Libya, Iraq or Venezuela, while countries with massive oil reserves which permit US military domination and align with the West and Israel can be as undemocratic as they wish, eg Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is an imperfect democracy but it is far, far more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia and with a much better human rights record. The hypocrisy of Western media and politicians is breathtaking.

Hypocrisy and irony are soulmates, and there are multiple levels of irony in seeing the "liberal" commentators who were cheering on an undisguised military coup, then complaining loudly that people are being injured or killed now their side is losing. Yesterday the MSM had no difficulty in calling the attempted coup what anybody with eyes and ears could see it plainly was, an attempted military coup. Today, miraculously, the MSM line is no coup attempt happened at all, it was just a spontaneous unarmed protest, and it is the evil government of Venezuela which attempts to portray it as a coup. BBC Breakfast this morning had the headline "President Maduro has accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt" Yet there is no doubt at all that, as a matter of plain fact, that is what happened.

The MSM today is full of video of water cannons against "protestors" and a horrible video of a military vehicle ramming a group. But it has all been very carefully edited to exclude hours of footage of the same military vehicles being pelted and set alight with molotov cocktails, and shot at. The presentation has been truly shocking.

In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life, and that is what should now happen to Juan Guaido. The attempt by the West to protect their puppet by pretending the failed military coup never happened, must be resisted, if only in the cause of intellectual honesty.

The resort to violence forces binary choice. I have been and am a critic of Maduro in many respects. I believe the constitutional changes to bypass Parliament were wrong, and the indirectly elected Constituent Assembly is not a good form of democracy. Venezuela does have a rampant corruption problem. US sanctions exacerbate but are not the root cause of economic mismanagement. There are human rights failings. But Chavez made revolutionary changes in educating and empowering the poor, and it is a far better governed country for the mass of its population than it would ever be under a US installed CIA puppet regime. Maduro was legitimately elected. The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.

I know which side I am on. It is not Guaido and the CIA.

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[May 05, 2019] Another Jolly Little War by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. ..."
"... Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. ..."
"... Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy. ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA's latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela's Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn't overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only 'success' to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine's pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. That's a sobering thought given the Pentagon's recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka 'the war on terror') to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

Now, however, the administration's frenzied neocons want to start a war against Venezuela, a large, developed nation of 32.7 million, at the same time we are threatening war against Iran, interfering all around Africa, and confronting Russia, China and perhaps North Korea. Large parts of the Mideast and Afghanistan lie in ruins thanks to our 'liberation' campaigns.

Invading Venezuela would not be much of a problem for the US military: half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans. Venezuela's military has only limited combat value. Right-wing regimes in neighboring Colombia and Brazil might join the invasion.

But what then? Recall Iraq. The US punched through the feeble Iraqi Army whose strength had been wildly exaggerated by the media. Once US and British forces settled in to occupation duties, guerilla forces made their life difficult and bloody. Iraqi resistance continues today, sixteen years later. The same would likely happen in Venezuela.

There is deep anti-American sentiment in Latin America that existed long before Col. Chavez. Recall, for example, the large anti-American riots that greeted Vice President Nixon's visit to Caracas in 1958.

'Yankees Go Home' is a rallying cry for much of Latin America. Blundering into Venezuela, another nation about which the Trump administration knows or understands little, would stir up a hornet's next. Their ham-handed efforts to punish Cuba and whip up the far right Cuban-American vote in Florida would galvanize anti-American anger across Latin America. Beware the ghost of Fidel.

ORDER IT NOW

Talks over Venezuela are underway between Washington and Moscow. Neither country has any major interest in Venezuela. Moscow is stirring the pot there to retaliate for growing US involvement in Russia's backyard and Syria. Both the US and Russia should get the hell out of Venezuela and mind their own business.

Instead, we hear crazy proposals to send 5,000 mercenaries to overthrow the Maduro regime. How well did the wide-scale use of US-financed mercenaries work in Iraq and Afghanistan? A complete flop. The only thing they did competently was wash dishes at our bases, murder civilians, and play junior Rambos.

For those who don't like the American Raj, a US invasion of Venezuela would mark a step forward in the crumbling of the empire. More aimless imperial over-reach, more lack of strategy, more enemies generated.
The big winner would, of course, be the Pentagon and military industrial complex. More billions spent on a nation most Americans could not find on a map if their lives depended on it, more orders for 'counter-insurgency' weapons, more military promotions, and cheers from Fox News and wrestling fans.

Worst of all, the US could end up feeding and caring for wrecked Venezuela. How did we do with storm-ravaged Puerto Rico? It's still in semi-ruin. Few want Venezuela's thick, heavy oil these days.

Venezuela could turn out to be a big, fat Tar Baby.


mijj , says: May 4, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

> "half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans"

.. what? .. like in Lybia and Syria?

Verity , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm GMT
The "crackpot economic policies" of Chavez and Madero increased the health of the people through access to medical care, improved housing, brought the literacy rate to one of the highest in Latin Americs, added years to average lifespan among other things by emphasizing that the country's resources should improve the lives of Venezuela's citizens. This was accomplished by selling resources in the capitalistic market -crackpot I grant you. The American sanctions and the seizure of Venezuelan assets are all illegal under American law and Constitution given the treaties we have signed, but then if you want to know what those laws mean all you have to do is ask any Native American tribe.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
Venezuela is a trillion dollar low-hanging fruit which the neo-cons lust after. It would finance another entire war in the middle east.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm GMT
Who would pay Eric Prince's 5000 Blackwater hired assassins? Would the cash come from the pirate booty war chest or would the citizens of America be stuck with the tab, once again?
The Scalpel , says: Website May 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty Something seems different. With Russian and Chinese intelligence help, the Guaido coup was a laughable joke. It made the US look like bozos. I think Venezuela and allies tipped their hand there, and it is a strong one. I fear the US may be walking into a trap
Galearis , says: May 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT
It is interesting but several Pentagon/military officers are saying the Pentagon is not enthusiastic about invading Venezuela. It is a rugged, jungle cloaked, country that is quite large and an American effort may end up being like the one in Vietnam.

Even Trump is not enthusiastic.
L.

peterAUS , says: May 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty You could be onto something here.

Or controlling Venezuela oil would help in a scenario where Teheran closes Hormuz.

It appears that for the current TPTBs in West Iran is what Carthage was to Rome.

Which points, again, to "them".

Weird times.

Bill Pilgrim , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
I wonder how many are aware that Venezuela owns a majority of the oil company Citgo?
I wonder how many Americans know that for many years during Winter Citgo gave free heating oil to a large number of low income households in the US northeast? while our own government was cutting back on low income heating oil subsidies.
Dwayne Thundergrit , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:37 am GMT
We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy.
peter mcloughlin , says: May 5, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
It may be true that neither the US or Russia 'has any major interest in Venezuela', and that Putin may be 'stirring the pot'. The real danger is, and globally the evidence points to this, an eventual clash between the major nuclear powers (world war). It is ominous if Washington is getting for 'ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.'
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

[May 05, 2019] Viva to another jolly little war by Eric Margolis

May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

... ... ...

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

[May 04, 2019] The art of provocation and Sacral victims of Maidan

Color revolution is a military operation in which protesters are just a tip of the iceberg. the key players are Embassy staff, three letter agencies, NGOs, bought and foreign owned neoliberal press, some oligarchs (who might be pressed into submission with the threat of confiscating their assets), compradors and bought players within the government.
The initial crash with police was organized by one of such players (supposedly Lyovochkin). One of the key instruments were huge cash flows in diplomatic mail that feed the protest ("bombing country with dollars"). In a sense in any neoliberal republic color revolution is designed to be a success, the fact which EuroMaidan proved quite convincingly.
Ukraine actually was a very easy target. Yanukovich was essentially neutralized and paralyzed by threats from Biden. Security services were infiltrated and partially work for Americans. Several bought members of the government (Lyovochkon?) did their dirty job in organizing the necessity clashes with policy to feed the protest.
Notable quotes:
"... The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans. ..."
Feb 21, 2015 | vesti-ukr.com

Former Prime Minister Azarov explained his version of events on the Maidan. The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told the NTV about how coup d'état of February of the last year was organized. According to him, the script of the coup d'état was written at the U.S. Embassy.

"The main puppeteers were not on the Maidan," Azarov said. The protests started because of the decision of Ukrainian authorities to suspend the signing of the Association agreement with the EU.

"There was, of course, the enormous pressure from the leaders of the European Union, from several European countries. The meaning of this pressure was the fact that we must put aside all doubts and to sign this agreement," said the former Prime Minister. "They just needed an excuse, a reason to overthrow our government. Because we were frankly told: "If you do not you sign this agreement, it will sign another government, another President,"

In this regard, according to Azarov, they needed a provocation to start protest and such a provocation became the use of force on Independence square in Kiev, where supporters of European integration were staying for several nights. "The action was slow. The organizers understood that without the sacred victims they will be unable to ignite the crowd. Suddenly around 3 am several TV crews arrive, set lights, camera. What to shoot? This ordinary situation, when people spend the night at the square?" - said Azarov.

Ukrainian people were cynically played. According to Azarov at this moment "prepared by gunmen in masks" arrived to the square. They started beating on duty policemen with metal sticks. When police called reinforcements instigators quickly disappeared. And when riot police began detention, "they detain generally innocent people who spend night at the square as a part of peaceful protest."

Speaking about the negotiations Yanukovich with the opposition, Azarov noted that the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk "every day spend most of his time in the American Embassy and following their instructions to the letter."

In the end, an agreement was signed between the President and opposition leaders on the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the guarantor which were several European countries, but no one except the Yanukovich, fulfilled their obligations. "I still do not understand, how foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, France, which signed an agreement on February 21 feel themselves. In the history of diplomacy this agreement will be included as an example of the utmost degree of cynicism and deceit," said Azarov.

See also

[May 04, 2019] That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Notable quotes:
"... "What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile." ..."
"... They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on. ..."
"... If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos. ..."
"... I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development. ..."
"... Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work... in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer. ..."
"... Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate. ..."
"... One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago. ..."
"... Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck". ..."
"... Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido ..."
"... Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:22:50 PM | link

Maduro needs to man up. He needs to recognize that this is ideological battle, not just a battle for his personal survival.


arby , May 3, 2019 6:31:16 PM | link

Jane @45

Where do you come up with the idea that Maduro is about his personal survival?

IMO, Maduro is quite genuine in taking his position and job very seriously and in no way is this about him.

That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Lochearn , May 3, 2019 6:35:01 PM | link
@ 36 William Gruff
"What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile."

They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on.

If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos.

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:41:36 PM | link
@arby 46

I really do not know Maduro. I do not know how ideologically grounded he is. But I heard stories about corruption and connections with drug syndicates. I hope that is not true. Otherwise, his apparent weakness will be exploited to the hilt by his ideological enemies.

Jen , May 3, 2019 6:50:02 PM | link
William Gruff @ 36, Lochearn @ 47:

I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development.

virgile , May 3, 2019 6:51:23 PM | link
Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work...
in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer.
karlof1 , May 3, 2019 7:26:19 PM | link
Jen @49--

Yes, most certainly wasn't lost on Chavez. The changes he made after 2002 to the military and other security-related areas of government are now serving Maduro well. If there was the sort of 5th Column anti-government feelings required of a coup, they would have manifested themselves when the armed demonstrations first began to beset Maduro in 2014, a year after Chavez's passing, which in essence is when the slow moving coup began. Condor and other operations were certainly used in educating higher level officers about the importance of loyalty to Constitutional methods and that one owes their allegiance to the Constitution not the individual just as it's supposed to be within the USA

Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate.

Piotr Berman , May 3, 2019 8:22:04 PM | link
One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago.

Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck".

Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido . First, the tales that the troubles were due to mismanagement and neglect look not so probable if you look at the timing of incidents: a wave of incidents at the time "convenient" for the "cause of Guaido" preceeded and followed by rather normal situation. Government surely spend effort to explain the incidents with transmission lines and transformer stations as vile sabotage, ruthlessly inflicting severe hardships on the entire population (including the middle class that should be the social base of Guaido).

Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia.

Who supported 12 hours of revolution? Videos showed a motorcycle gang, few hundred of energetic young men who blocked a highway bridge and a smallish crowd of housewives and other non-violent type -- I must stress that I wholly approve non-violent types, but in part because this is not a coup material. Why so little? (a) Guaido was never popular, he was in a most histrionic of several opposition parties, popular mobilization without support of the rest of the opposition was a flop. (b) The first two episodes of his "revolution" did not approve his support, to the contrary. (c) On the gangland front that could provide armed muscle and provoke bloody incidents Maidan style, the government probably did some preparatory homework.