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[l] at 7/16/19 8:38am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris provide some insight and context as to the history and backstory of Robert Maxwell and his youngest daughter Ghislaine Maxwell, who ended up to be intimately connected to Jeffery Epstein.

Robert Maxwell rose from a World War 2 hero, to UK publishing mogul and possible triple spy. His daughter Ghislaine may have been the glue that connected the London and New York socialite circles where Epstein operated his sex traffic network.

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Via Rolling Stone. Click here to read the full article:

Since hedge fund manager and well-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on Saturday and charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, the names of powerful men in his social circle — including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and, weirdly, former lead investigator of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal Kenneth Starr — have popped up over and over and over again. Notably, only one woman’s name has made a recurring appearance in discussions of Epstein’s crimes: that of Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein’s longtime confidante, who is alleged to have played a pivotal role in procuring young women for him.

Although no charges have been filed against Maxwell — or anyone else in Epstein’s inner circle, for that matter — she has long been dogged by allegations that she played a pivotal role in procuring young women for Epstein, and has been named in numerous civil suits to that effect. As for Epstein himself, he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on Monday. (Rolling Stone reached out to Epstein’s legal team for comment, but has not received a response. Maxwell has denied any involvement in the past, with a representative calling the allegations “obvious lies.”).

Surprisingly, given Maxwell’s relatively high-profile role in both the English and American social scenes, fairly little is known about her or the exact nature of her relationship with Epstein: she’s been alternately referred to as Epstein’s romantic partner, his best friend, his fixer, and a “madam” catering to his sexual desires. Here’s what we do know about the woman who has been a member of Epstein’s inner circle for decades — and whether we can expect to see her playing a larger role in the criminal proceedings against him.

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

Maxwell is the daughter of British media mogul Robert Maxwell, who owned and operated a number of British tabloids and was at one point estimated to have been worth nearly $1.9 billion. She was educated at the prestigious Marlborough boarding school in the U.K., and went on to study at Oxford.

The Maxwells were active in both British and American social circles, and the family apparently had ties to Trump before even Epstein did: a 1989 clipping from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists Trump as a guest on Robert Maxwell’s yacht, the aptly named Lady Ghislaine. In 1991, Maxwell was found dead under mysterious circumstances after reportedly having fallen overboard from the yacht. It was later discovered that he was in a significant amount of debt at the time of his death, and had embezzled from his employees’ pension fund.

Before her father’s death, Maxwell had already started building her credentials as a British socialite and philanthropist; she founded the Kit-Cat Club, a social organization for working women, and also served as director for a football club her father owned. Following her father’s passing, however, she moved to the United States, eager to escape the scrutiny of the U.K. tabloids. While she started out working in real estate and living on the (relatively) modest trust fund sum of $100,000 a year, Maxwell quickly rebounded from her father’s passing and subsequent disgrace, according to a 2000 New York Post profile, relying on the Maxwell family’s powerful network of famous friends to regain her position in the social world.

For the past two decades, Maxwell has held the types of board positions and charitable foundation advisory roles favored by the uber-wealthy, founding the charitable organization the TerraMar Project, which works to preserve the world’s oceans, in 2012. She also continued to cultivate friendships with extremely high-powered individuals such as Trump and Prince Andrew, reportedly introducing Epstein to the latter in 1997 and former President Bill Clinton, even appearing as a guest at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010.

What is Ghislaine Maxwell’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein?

According to the 2000 New York Post profile of Maxwell, Epstein and Maxwell began dating in the late 1990s; the piece not-so-subtly implies that Maxwell largely viewed Epstein, who at that point had become extremely wealthy from his investment firm J. Epstein & Co., as a strategic launch pad for her career as a New York City philanthropist and socialite. Although their romantic relationship later fizzled out, the two developed a close platonic bond, according to a 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein, in which he refers to Maxwell as his “best friend.” The Vanity Fair profile depicts Maxwell as something of a high-end assistant to Epstein, with journalist Vicky Ward writing that Maxwell “seems to organize much of his life,” even making appointments with personal yoga instructors for Epstein.

What is Ghislaine Maxwell’s relationship to Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes?

According to those who have accused Epstein of sexual abuse, Maxwell’s predilection for managing his life extended to his sex life as well. In 2018, Epstein and Maxwell settled a lawsuit brought against them by a woman named Sarah Ransome, who alleged that Maxwell hired her to give Epstein massages at his home. Between 2006 and 2007, Ransome alleged, the two promised to pay her tuition to FIT in exchange for Ransome providing sexual favors to Epstein and his friends, including lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (Dershowitz has repeatedly denied the charges; Ransome’s suit was settled in 2018under undisclosed terms.)

Last April, another woman and former Epstein employee, Maria Farmer, alleged that Maxwell and Epstein had sexually abused her and her 15-year-old sister on two separate occasions in the mid-1990s. She also alleged that she frequently saw a “number of school-age girls” come to Epstein’s New York City home. “When I asked Maxwell why these young girls were coming over to the house so often she said that the girls were interviewing for modeling positions,” Farmer said. “At the time, based on my observations at the home, it did not seem credible to me that these young girls were interviewing for modeling positions.”

Farmer’s allegations surfaced as the result of a defamation lawsuit filed against Dershowitz by Virginia Giuffre, who also named Maxwell in a 2015 civil suit against Epstein. In the suit, Giuffre (then identified as Jane Doe 3) alleged that during the summer of 1999, when she was 16 years old and working as a towel girl at Trump’s Palm Beach resort Mar-a-Lago, Maxwell recruited her to serve as Epstein’s massage therapist. Giuffre alleged that Maxwell and Epstein instructed her to have sex with him and his friends, including Dershowitz. Dershowitz publicly denied her claims and accused Giuffre of making them up, prompting Giuffre to sue him for defamation. Last week, Dershowitz filed a motion for a federal judge to dismiss the defamation suit.

After Giuffre’s original civil suit against Maxwell and Epstein was settled in 2017, a judge ordered that 2,000-odd pages of documents related to the case be sealed; however, earlier this month, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge ruled that some of the documents could be unsealed, though it did not specify when. Although prosecutors said during Epstein’s initial court appearance on Monday that a superseding indictment was not “imminent,” it was “certainly possible” that charges may be filed against additional individuals “down the road.”

Maxwell has yet to issue a public statement following Epstein’s arrest; Rolling Stone reached out to Maxwell and the Terramar Project to request comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

The post Robert & Ghislaine Maxwell, the bridge between London & New York in Epstein case (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, Lolita Express, Jeff Epstein, Ghislaine Maxell, Robert maxwell, London Maxwell]

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[l] at 7/16/19 8:17am

Via Zerohedge

Billionaire and former Jeffrey Epstein associate Les Wexner told his employees Monday that he regrets ever crossing paths with the disgraced pedophile financier, according to Bloomberg.

Wexner, founder of L Brands Inc. which owns Victoria’s Secret, said in an internal email that he “was NEVER aware of the illegal activity” Epstein is accused of committing. “As you can imagine, this past week I have searched my soul … reflected … and regretted that my path ever crossed his.” said the 81-year-old mogul of Epstein.

After launching a business relationship in the 1980s, Wexner and Epstein formed ‘a financial and personal bond that baffled longtime associates,’ according to the New York Times

“I think we both possess the skill of seeing patterns,” Wexner told Vanity Fair in 2003. “But Jeffrey sees patterns in politics and financial markets, and I see patterns in lifestyle and fashion trends.”

Wexner would go on to open doors for Epstein – who managed “many aspects of his financial life.”

By 1995, Epstein was a director of the Wexner Foundation and Wexner Heritage Foundation and president of Wexner’s N.A. Property Inc., which developed the Ohio town of New Albany, where Wexner lives. Epstein also was involved in Wexner’s superyacht, “Limitless,” attending meetings at the London studios of the firm that designed the vessel. –Bloomberg

In the email to employees originally reported by the Columus Dispatch, Wexner says that he severed ties with Epstein nearly 12 years ago – after the financier pleaded guilty to a sex crime involving a teenage girl.

“I would never have guessed that a person I employed more than a decade ago could have caused such pain to so many people,” Wexner said in the email. “I would not have continued to work with any individual capable of such egregious, sickening behavior as has been reported about him.”

Yet, Epstein portrayed himself as a way for young models to perform sexual favors in exchange for a backdoor into Victoria’s Secret. According to a former Manhattan-based modeling agent cited by the New York Post, “Some of those girls got in.” 

“It was still significant cash for a young model doing the catalog,” an agent told the Post. “They weren’t making hundreds of thousands but they could make about $5,000 a week modeling for the campaigns or the catalog. Not all the girls sent to him got jobs, but a lot of them did.”

Italian model Elisabetta Tai who claims Epstein tried to coerce her into performing sex acts in exchange for a Victoria’s Secret gig.

In short, Wexner had an extremely close business relationship with Epstein – who allegedly engaged in sexual favors with girls, some of whom later worked for Wexner, yet the 81-year-old knew nothing of Epstein’s proclivities. 

Others have distanced as well, reports Bloomberg.

Others have also sought to distance themselves from Epstein in recent days, including hedge fund manager Glenn Dubin and his wife Eva Andersson-Dubin.

Andersson-Dubin, a former model who became a physician, previously dated Epstein and continued to socialize with him after his time in jail. Epstein had invested in Dubin’s hedge fund and was also considered a friend. –Bloomberg

The Dubins are horrified by the new allegations against Jeffrey Epstein,” they said in a statement. “Had they been aware of the vile and unspeakable conduct described in these new allegations, they would have cut off all ties and certainly never have allowed their children to be in his presence.”

And despite Epstein being a registered sex offender and pedophile, Andersson-Dubin thought he had rehabilitated himself and deserved a second chance.

“She is mortified that she, like so many others, was deceived by him, and feels terrible for the young women who have been harmed by his actions,” reads their statement.

Former President Bill Clinton similarly ‘disavowed’ Epstein, claiming on Monday that he “knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.”

Clinton also claimed that he’s only been on Epstein’s recently-sold ‘Lolita Express’ a total of four times, despite flight logs and pilot records clearly indicating otherwise.

According to research by investigative journalist Conchita Sarnoff, Clinton “was a guest of Epstein’s 27 times,” adding “many of those times Clinton had his Secret Service with him and many times he did not.”

And as the New York Times points out, despite Epstein’s status as a registered sex offender beginning in 2008, and his 13 month work-release sweetheart prison stay, many people continued to associate with him. 

Powerful female friends served as social guarantors: Peggy Siegal, a gatekeeper for A-list events, included him in movie screenings, and Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a champion of women’s health, maintained a friendship that some felt gave him credibility. Mr. Epstein put up a website showing Stephen Hawking and other luminaries at a science gathering he had organized.

If you looked up Jeffrey Epstein online in 2012, you would see what we all saw,” Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, said in an interview. He seemed “like an ex-con who had done well on Wall Street,” who was close to the Clintons and gave money to academic pursuits, Dr. Botstein said. That was why, he noted, Bard accepted an unsolicited $50,000 in 2011 for its high schools, followed later that year and in 2012 by another $75,000 in donations. –NYT

Now that Epstein is decidedly radioactive, none of his past associates seemingly knew anything – and are horrified at the monster they never saw coming.

The post Victoria’s Secret Boss Wexner Swears He Didn’t Know About Epstein Penchant For Pedophilia appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Bill Clinton, Victoria's Secret, Epstein, Wexner]

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[l] at 7/16/19 7:41am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the final nail in Robert Mueller’s report on Trump-Russia collusion.

The latest ruling by U.S. Judge Dabney Friedrich, ordering Mueller to stop pushing stories about Russian troll farms connected to Putin, interfering in the US election process, explains why Mueller’s testimony to Congress has been pushed back by one week.

It appears that the Democrats, in collusion with Robert Mueller, have to now compose a different script of lies, now that a court order has shut down one of the main pillars of the Russiagate hoax.

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Authored by Daniel Lazare via ConsortiumNews.com:

Don’t look now, but a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has just shut down half of Robert Mueller’s Russian-interference case.

In February 2018, the special prosecutor indicted a St. Petersburg troll farm called the Internet Research Agency along with two other companies, their owner, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, and 12 employees.  The charge: fraud, traveling to the United States under false pretenses, and using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to “sow discord” and “interfere in US political and electoral processes without detection of their Russian affiliation.”

One-time home in St. Petersburg, Russia, of Internet Research Agency, an “online influence” concern. (WikiMedia Commons)

The charge was both legally dubious and heavy-handed, a case of using a sledge hammer to swat a fly.  But Mueller went even further in his report, an expurgated version of which was made public in April.  No longer just a Russian company, the IRA was now an arm of the Russian government. “[T]he Special Counsel’s investigation,” it declared on page one, “established that Russia interfered in the 2016 election principally through two operations.  First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.  Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working in the Clinton campaign and then released stolen documents.”

“Prigozhin,” the report added, referring to the IRA owner, “is widely reported to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”  A few pages later, it said that the IRA’s efforts “constituted ‘active measures’ … a term that typically refers to operations conducted by Russian security services aimed at influencing the course of international affairs.”

Thus, the IRA played a major role in the vast Kremlin conspiracy to alter the outcome of the 2016 election and install Donald Trump in office.  But now Judge Dabney Friedrich has ordered Mueller to stop pushing such stories because they’re unfair to Concord Management and Consulting, another Prigozhin company, which astonished the legal world in May 2018 by hiring an expensive Washington law firm and demanding its day in court.

Silent on IRA-Kremlin Connection

Contrary to internet chatter, Friedrich did not offer an opinion as to whether the IRA-Kremlin connection is true or false.  Rather, she told the special prosecutor to keep quiet because such statements go beyond the scope of the original indictment and are therefore prejudicial to the defendant.  But it may be a distinction without a difference since the only evidence that Mueller puts forth in the public version of his report is a New York Times article from February 2018 entitled “Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian Oligarch Indicted by US, Is Known as ‘Putin’s Cook.’”

It’s a case of trial by press clip that should have been laughed out of court – and now, more or less, it is.  Without the IRA, the only argument left in Mueller’s brief is that Russia stole some 28,000 emails and other electronic documents from Democratic National Committee computers and then passed them along to WikiLeaks, which published them to great fanfare in July 2016.

But as Consortium News pointed out the day the Mueller report came out, that’s dubious as well.  [See “The ‘Guccifer 2.0’ Gaps in Mueller’s Full Report,” April 18.]  The reason: it rests on a timeline that doesn’t make sense:

  • June 12, 2016: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announces that “leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton” were on the way.
  • June 15: Guccifer 2.0, allegedly a stand-in for Russian military intelligence, goes on line to claim credit for the hack.
  • June 22: Guccifer and WikiLeaks establish contact.
  • July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file.
  • July 18: WikiLeaks confirms that it’s opened it up.
  • July 22: The group releases a giant email cache indicating that the DNC rigged the nominating process in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders.

But why would Assange announce the leaked emails on June 12 before hearing from the source on June 22?  Was he clairvoyant?  Why would he release a massive file just eight days after receiving it and as a little as four days after opening it up?  How could that be enough time to review the contents and ensure they were genuine? “If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered,” blogger Mark F. McCarty points out, “WikiLeaks’s reputation would have been in tatters.”  Quite right.  So if Mueller’s chronology doesn’t hold up, then Assange’s original statement that “our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party” still stands – which it plainly does.

Going Up in Smoke

Bottom line: Russiagate is going up in smoke.  The claim that Russian military intelligence fed thousands of emails to WikiLeaks doesn’t stand up to scrutiny while Mueller is not only unable to a prove a connection between the Internet Research Agency and the Kremlin but is barred from even discussing it, according to Friedrich’s ruling, without risking a charge of contempt.  After 22 months of investigating the ins and outs of Russian interference, Mueller seems to have finally come up dry.

Reed Smith’s Pittsburgh office. (Wikimedia Commons)

“Revenge of the oligarchs” might be a good headline for this story.  The IRA indictment initially seemed to be a no-lose proposition for  Mueller. He got to look good in the press, the media got to indulge in yet another round of Russia-bashing, while, best of all, no one had to prove a thing.  “Mueller’s allegations will never be tested in court,” noted Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor turned pundit for the rightwing National Review.  “That makes his indictment more a political statement than a charging instrument.”

Then came the unexpected.  Concord Management hired Reed Smith, a top-flight law firm with offices around the world, and demanded to be heard.  The move was “a real head-scratcher,” one Washington attorney told Buzzfeed, because Concord was beyond the reach of U.S. law and therefore had nothing to fear from an indictment and nothing to gain, apparently, from going to court.  But then the firm demanded to exercise its right of discovery, meaning that it wanted access to Mueller’s immense investigative file.  Blindsided, Mueller’s requested a delay “on the astonishing ground,” according to McCarthy, “that the defendant has not been properly served – notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned.”

Prigozhin: Forced Mueller to show his hand. (YouTube)

Prigozhin was forcing the special prosecutor to show what he’s got, McCarthy went on, at zero risk to himself since he was not on U.S. soil.  What was once a no-lose proposition for Mueller was suddenly a no-lose proposition for Putin’s unexpectedly clever cook.

Now Mueller is in an even worse pickle because he’s barred from mentioning a major chunk of his report.  What will he discuss if Democrats succeed in getting him to testify before the House intelligence and judiciary committees next week – the weather?  If his team goes forward with the Concord prosecution, he’ll risk having to turn over sensitive information while involving himself in a legal tangle that could go on for years, all without any conceivable payoff.  If he drops it, the upshot will be a public-relations disaster of the first order.

As skeptics have pointed out, the IRA’s social-media campaign was both more modest and more ineffectual then the Mueller report’s over-the-top language about a “sweeping and systematic” conspiracy would suggest.  Yet after Facebook Vice President Rob Goldman tweeted that “the majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election,” he was forced to beg for forgiveness like a defendant in a Moscow show trial for daring to play down the magnitude of the crime.

But it wasn’t Goldman who shaved the truth.  Rather, it was Mueller.  Thanks to the unexpected appearance of Concord Management, he’s now paying the price.

The post Checkmate “Putin’s Cook”: U.S. judge DESTROYS Mueller’s ‘Russian troll’ lie (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, 'Russiagate', Robert Mueller, IRA, Prigozhin, Putin's Cook, Concord Management, Judge Friedrich]

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[l] at 7/16/19 7:35am

Via Zerohedge

In a recent Maureen Dowd WSJ Op-Ed, Scaling Wokeback Mountain, former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “snot-nosed punk” chief-of-staff Saikat Chakrabarti are essentially destroying the Democratic party and handing Republicans a win.

Chakrabarti sent shock waves through the Democratic caucus when he posted a tweet about the border bill comparing moderate and Blue Dog Democrats — some of whom are black — to Southern segregationists in the ’40s. –WSJ

“What votes did you get?” said Emanuel, slamming the 33-year-old Chakrabarti. “You should only be so lucky to learn from somebody like Nancy who has shown incredible courage and who has twice returned the Democratic Party to power.”

We fought for years to create the majorities to get a Democratic president elected and re-elected, and they’re going to dither it away. They have not decided what’s more important: Do they want to beat Trump or do they want to clear the moderate and centrists out of the party? You really think weakening the speaker is the right strategy to try to get rid of Donald Trump and everything he stands for?” said Emanuel.

Dowd, in turn, called Chakrabarti a “real instigator,” noting that the Justice Democrats co-founder and “former Silicon Valley Bernie Bro assumed he could apply Facebook’s mantra, “Move fast and break things,” to one of the oldest institutions in the country.”

But Congress is not a place where you achieve radical progress — certainly not in divided government. It’s a place where you work at it and work at it and don’t get everything you want.

The progressives act as though anyone who dares disagree with them is bad. Not wrong, but bad, guilty of some human failing, some impurity that is a moral evil that justifies their venom. –WSJ

Meanwhile, internal Democratic polls reveal that swing voters are absolutely turned off by AOC and other progressive Democrats

If the Democratic party continues to fracture as it slides further to the left, Jeb Bush might even have a chance in 2024.

The post AOC And ‘Snot-Nosed Punk’ Chief-Of-Staff Alienating Moderate Democrats, Helping Trump: Rahm Emanuel appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Democrats, Rahm Emmanuel, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC]

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[l] at 7/16/19 7:28am

Via RT…

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has celebrated the arrival in Turkey of the Russian S-400 air defense system, despite the threat of US sanctions, and stated that he wishes to co-produce weapons with Russia in the future.

Speaking in Ankara on Monday –on the third anniversary of a failed coup attempt against him– Erdogan promised that the newly-acquired S-400 batteries will be fully deployed in less than a year. Russian cargo planes began delivering the system’s components on Friday, with more transport flights arriving over the weekend.

“And as of today, the eighth plane arrived and started being unloaded. Inshallah [God willing], we will be done by April 2020,” Erdogan said. The Turkish leader then said Ankara would “go much further” with a view to setting up “joint production with Russia.”

During the tenure of US President Barack Obama, Turkey had been in negotiations to purchase American-made Patriot missiles, a deal that fell through when Erdogan’s government asked for the sale to include a transfer of technology. Erdogan mentioned the failed Patriot deal in an interview on Sunday, saying that Turkey went with the Russian system because “we need to have alternatives.”

In choosing the Russian alternative, Erdogan risked the ire of Washington. Purchasing the missiles opens Turkey up to sanctions under CAATSA, a 2017 act that, among other things, can be used to penalize US allies for “transactions” with the Russian defense sector. The Turkish leader dismissed the threat of sanctions on Sunday, however, telling reporters that he believed President Donald Trump will “find the middle ground” and waive economic penalties.

The US has also threatened to exclude Turkey from its F-35 jet fighter program, claiming operating it alongside the S-400 would allow Moscow to learn the stealth fighter’s secrets.

Washington has remained tight-lipped about potential retaliation, however government sources reportedly told Bloomberg on Saturday that sanctions will be applied later this week, avoiding the political symbolism of punishing Erdogan on the anniversary of the 2016 coup.

The post Erdogan hails Russian S-400 delivery, wants to ‘go much further’ and make weapons with Russia appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Russia, Turkey, Erdogan, S400]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 7/16/19 7:28am

Authored by Serban V.C. Enache via Hereticus Economicus:

Donald Trump never misses an opportunity to prove his loyalty and commitment to the vested interests [the forces of usury, rent-seeking, and war profiteering]. In the recent past, Trump sold war-gear to Saudi Arabia, and plans to double down this year too. He implemented corporate tax cuts, which pushed stock-buybacks to record highs, not investment. This time, his American Patients First plan, designed to reduce the price of pharmaceuticals, promote biosimilars, redirect rebates from insurers to consumers, and requiring drug ads to reveal the price has been dropped from the Executive’s agenda.

Modern medicine’s been a boon to mankind. Diseases like chicken pox, diphtheria, measles, malaria, HIV, and polio—all but eradicated in the past century by pharmaceuticals. So what went wrong? The USA’s drug industry is the product of the country’s culture. As the cultural outlook changed, so did the industry. Consumers are addicted to quick fixes, and Big Pharma is addicted to major quick profits.

In the past, drug companies were often led by medical scientists. Expected profit margins were around 10 percent, with a singular brand new drug rolled out each year. But then the culture shifted. Businessmen took the place of scientists, and marketing and advertising took the place of actual medical research. Profit became one-dimensional, seen only as money costs vs. money gains. The most important ratio of all, human costs vs. human gains was ignored or, in some cases, intentionally trampled. More to the point, Big Pharma’s products bear heinous negative externalities. An externality is the cost or benefit that affects a party who did not choose to incur that cost or benefit. For examples of negative externalities, think coal, secondhand smoking, opioids etc.

I’ll cite two examples to show just how powerful and callous Big Pharma was decades ago, and why it’s only gotten stronger and worse today. The case of Pfizer, in 2009, comes to mind. The company paid $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the Justice Department’s history. That sounds punitive, but not when you factor in a company profit of over $8 billion for that same year. It’s a slap on the wrist, one that comes with no jail time. Bayer in the early 1980s is another example. When Bayer’s Cutter Laboratories realized some of their blood products were contaminated with HIV, the money investment was considered too great to destroy the inventory. Cutter misrepresented the results of its own research and sold the inventory to overseas markets in Asia and Latin America. Consequently, hemophiliacs who infused the HIV-contaminated Factor VIII and IX tested positive for HIV and developed AIDS.

Unfortunately, the FDA didn’t have an explicit policy regarding direct-to-consumer-advertising (DTCA), because in 1969 there had been no mass media advertisements for prescription drugs. They supported the concept of DTCA, confident the existing regulations for promotion to physicians would prevent any misleading ads aimed at consumers. In 1983, the FDA began to voice serious concerns. Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes asked the pharmaceutical industry to stop advertising drugs to the public. The fears were many: patients will pressure physicians to prescribe unnecessary drugs; ads will confuse patients by leading them to believe some minor difference in products represents a major therapeutic advantage; DTCA will increase the price of drugs—encourage the use of brand name products over cheaper, equivalent generic drugs, and exacerbate the problem of an already narcotized population.

Nowadays, to get a drug approved by the FDA, a company has to submit just two tests, showing that the product works better than a placebo. The legislation is so lax that the government allows drug companies to submit whatever tests they want. For example, a company may commission 20 clinical trials for its drug. Eighteen may prove the drug is harmful or inefficient, but as long as two positive studies are produced, the drug gets FDA approval. The real business magic of the industry no longer lies with the pursuit of science, but in hiding the bad studies.

Research in the effectiveness of drugs is left to the corporate sector. The federal government doesn’t fund this activity, despite it falling under the public purpose and general welfare. Going back to the shrewd practice of hiding bad data, how many negative studies are published in scientific journals? Publication bias doesn’t contain itself solely to the realm of usual politics [democrat vs republican].

What are the results of the so-called war on drugs? A system based on greed, corruption, and addiction. A propitious environment for legal drug pushers. A frightening incarceration rate, the highest of any country in the world. Huge numbers of addicts and addiction-related illnesses. A culture obsessed with quick and temporary fixes, in which normality is deemed insufficient. And a booming drug industry with vast leverage over the political process.

1992 is a testament to Big Pharma’s powers of persuasion. That year Congress passed the Drug User Fee Act, which allows Pharma companies to pay a fast-track fee to the FDA of up to $350,000 per drug in order to speed up the approval process. This is called “pay to win.” It’s not democratic, and has nothing to do with efficient or fair market practices. It’s political rent-seeking.

The legal drug pushers aren’t only at the top, waiting for the end of fiscal years to tally up net profits. Crooked physicians are in on it too. They handle patients directly and keep them coming by prescribing street-legal dope when it’s not really needed, except they don’t call it heroin or meth, but Codeine and Adderall. Take drug A to manage condition 1. Then take drug B to manage condition 2, induced by drug A. Then take drug C to manage drug B. In the words of former Pharma rep. Gwen Olsen, “The pharmaceutical industry is no longer in the business of health and healing, it’s in the business of disease management and symptoms maintenance.”

But this perverse, systemic cancer has a name, it’s called Shareholder Capitalism! The philosophy is completely narrow-minded: maximize shareholder value, everything else be damned. One solution to the Shareholder Capitalist cancer is Stakeholder Capitalism – which means that the shareholder MUST have a stake in the company and the community or communities that company serves. Some call it ‘cooperative capitalism,’ others call it socialism, in the 19th century during the actual progressive economics era, they called it cooperative individualism – the Christian Socialists being the most notable group of proponents back then.

So when you hear the filthy rich and their market analyst mouth pieces and politicians, whether they pretend to be God-fearing people or not, excusing their huge markups [often on products that cost peanuts to manufacture] and their huge profit margins on ‘the rules of the market,’ claiming that ‘we live in a capitalism system, and that’s the way it is,’ they are LYING to you!

The whole concept behind capitalism, indeed its very purpose, is to offer the best price for consumers – in the logic that a cartel or a monopoly will always offer a higher price compared to a free market, in which multiple producers compete for market share. They claim they’re working fully under capitalist rules, yet in foreign markets [where state regulations meant to protect consumers and patients exist] drug prices are dramatically lower than in the USA. There isn’t free market capitalism in the US, there’s rentier market capitalism, and it means a neo-feudal society.

By scrapping the American Patients First plan, Trump has proven once again that he’s a Wall-Street stooge! Those who blame “socialism” for what’s essentially feudal economic policy and who demand full deregulation and defunding of State institutions suffer from mental illness, are incurable, and are part of the problem.

In the late 1800s, Henry George wrote, “The patent […] prohibits any one from doing a similar thing, and involves, usually for a specified time, an interference with the equal liberty on which the right of ownership rests. […] The patent is in defiance of this natural right. It prohibits others from doing what has been already attempted. […] Discovery can give no right of ownership, for whatever is discovered must have been already here to be discovered. If a man make a wheelbarrow, or a book, or a picture, he has a moral right to that particular wheelbarrow, or book, or picture, but no right to ask that others be prevented from making similar things. Such a prohibition, though given for the purpose of stimulating discovery and invention, really in the long run operates as a check upon them [a drag on discovery and invention].”

How prescient George was. A working paper written in 2012, from the St Louis FED, authored by Michele Boldrin and David Levine, professors at Washington University in St Louis, concludes that any patent system, no matter how well conceived, inevitably devolves into a quagmire.

A closer look at the historical and international evidence suggests that while weak patent systems may mildly increase innovation with limited side-effects, strong patent systems retard innovation with many negative side-effects. Both theoretically and empirically, the political economy of government operated patent systems indicates that weak legislation will generally evolve into a strong protection and that the political demand for stronger patent protection comes from old and stagnant industries and firms, not from new and innovative ones. Hence the best solution is to abolish patents entirely through strong constitutional measures and to find other legislative instruments, less open to lobbying and rent-seeking, to foster innovation whenever there is clear evidence that laissez-faire under-supplies it.

If Trump really wanted to drain the swamp, his economic and foreign policies would look dramatically different. Instead, he just wants to change the Democrat swamp with a Republican swamp. Ironically, both [corrupt] parties profit from Trump’s economic agenda. If you hate the rich, smug liberal elites, remember that under Trump’s term, their bank accounts swelled and swelled big.

The post Trump, the Rent-Seeker in Chief appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Trump, big pharma]

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[l] at 7/15/19 8:00am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the Saturday Yellow vest protests, which resulted in violent clashes with French police on Bastille Day.

Police fired tear gas at protesters during a tense standoff in Paris following the annual military parade, where French President Macron was booed and jeered by french citizens as he drove down the Champs-Elysees.

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Via Zerohedge

French riot police squared off once again with protesters after the Paris Bastille Day military parade, according to AFP.

Protesters broke into anti-government chants, knocking down security barriers and setting fire to garbage cans, resulting in the deployment of tear gas and other crowd control measures. Outside of AFP and Russia’s RT / Ruptly, the MSM has largely ignored these protests.

 Of note, many of the protesters were not wearing actual yellow vests, as anyone doing so was blocked from entering the parade area. Instead, they carried yellow balloons.

The clashes disrupted the national celebration of the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris during the French Revolution – for which France holds an annual military parade (imagine if Donald Trump did the same!). Macron was joined by several other EU leaders, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He was also booed while riding down the Champs-Elysées while standing next to France’s chief of staff General Francois Lecointre, according to the report.

14 juillet: Emmanuel Macron hué au début de son passage sur les Champs-Élysées pic.twitter.com/c7N6qorO2Q

— BFMTV (@BFMTV) July 14, 2019

There was a flying soldier at the event which was moderately cool.

As CNN strangely points out, at least 24 Yellow Vest protesters have lost their eyes amid the often-violent protests which began last November and have continued in varying sizes throughout the ensuing months.

Yellow Vest organizer Jerome Rodrigues sustains an eye injury

Breidenstein is one of at least 24 people who have lost an eye since the “gilets jaunes,” or Yellow Vest, protests began in November 2018, according to Desarmons-Les, a support group for those maimed on the streets of French cities.

What began as a campaign against a gas tax hike, morphed into a broader rally against President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Scenes of violent clashes erupted across France. Protesters hurled petrol bombs and bricks while the riot police used water cannons, stun grenades and tear gas as they attempted to contain the anger.

In March France’s interior ministry put the number of Yellow Vests injured at 2,200 and put the number of police officers hurt in the clashes at 1,500. The ministry would not give CNN the number of people who sustained eye injuries. –CNN

French police have received wide condemnation from both the United Nations and the European Parliament for their apparent use of excessive force during the Yellow Vest riots.

The post Yellow Vests gain strength, as Macron booed by massive crowds on Bastille Day (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, yellow vests, le gilet jaune, champs de elysee paris, bastille day 2019, macron bastille day parade, paris bastille day]

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[l] at 7/15/19 7:32am

Via Zerohedge

Britain’s recently resigned ambassador to the US vouched for the credibility of Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who cobbled together a Russian-sourced dossier full of fabrications about Donald Trump.

Sir Kim Darroch, who resigned after confidential memos were leaked in which he slammed President Trump and his administration, told a US official that Steele was “absolutely” legit, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Today The Sunday Telegraph can also disclose that Sir Kim is said to have vouched for the credibility of Christopher Steele, the author of an explosive dossier of claims about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, in conversation with at least one US official. Asked whether Mr Steele, a former MI6 officer, was “legit”, Sir Kim replied: “Absolutely”. His comments later appeared in the New Yorker magazine. –Sunday Telegraph

Of note, the suspected leaker has reportedly been identifiedand a foreign state has been ruled out as the culprit.

Steele was commissioned by Fusion GPS to produce the infamous dossier ultimately paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC during the 2016 US election. It was later used to secure a FISA spy warrant on one-time Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and later used to smear the president in the court of public opinion.

Interestingly, a top official with the US Justice Department warned the FBI that Steele’s research was inaccurate and was likely biased due to its origins as an opposition research document. As we noted in May, ten days before the FBI used the now-discredited dossier to apply for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, who took handwritten notes of the encounter.

Steele told Kavalec that Russia had a “technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election,” which recruited US emigres to “do hacking and recruiting. Steele added that “Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian consulate in Miami.”

Except that’s a lie – as Kavalec debunked the assertion in a bracketed comment: “It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami.

Steele had also been flagged flagged for admitting that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline, as his client was “keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8.”

Notes and testimony from senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr make clear Steele admitted early on that he was “desperate” to get Trump defeated in the election, was working in some capacity for the GOP candidate’s opponent, and considered his intelligence raw and untested. Ohr testified that he alerted FBI and other senior Justice officials to these concerns in August 2016. –The Hill

Steele left his MI6 career to found his own company, Orbis Business Intelligence, with another former spy according to the Daily Mail.

The post Fired UK Ambassador Who Trash-Talked Trump Also Vouched For Christopher Steele appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Trump, Kim Darroch, UK Ambassador, Steele]

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[l] at 7/15/19 7:24am

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

The British government appears to be more and more aping a Monty Python-type farce with each passing day. Soon the absurd ensemble will be complete if either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt becomes the next prime minister.

This week the mandarins at the Ministry of Funny Walks ruled that two internationally respected Russian news media channels were banned from attending a global conference on “press freedom”.

RT and another Russia-based news outlet Sputnik were refused permission by the British government to participate in the Global Conference for Media Freedom, held in London.

A British Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their earlier role in spreading disinformation.”

The irony of it. The British government is peddling unsubstantiated accusations (more accurately, ridiculous slander) against Russian media which is then invoked as “justification” for censorship at a much-vaunted international conference supposedly dedicated to freedom of the press. You could hardly make the farce up. It’s a kind of cross between George Orwell and Monty Python.

What the British government is doing is blatantly ramping up the media war against Russia. London is giving a license for further outrageous repression of Russian news media, as well as piling on demonization of Russia as a state.

In the same week it was reported that fellow NATO member Lithuania has blocked the news website of Sputnik in the Baltic country.

Previously, France had banned RT and Sputnik journalists from attending public press conferences held by President Emmanuel Macron. In the US, Sputnik radio stations have been curbed from reaching their American audiences.

Russia’s foreign ministry slammed the British and Lithuanian moves this week as putting unreasonable obstacles on the professional work of Russian news media.

RT and Sputnik are internationally recognized news outlets with accredited offices and reporters based in countries all around the world. Just because the channels are financially supported by the Russian government is no grounds whatsoever for accusing them of being “Kremlin operations”. Most countries maintain some level of government sponsorship of their respective national news media.

The British Broadcasting Corporation and France 24 are prime examples. The US’s Voice of America and Radio Free Europe are other well-known instances of government-funded broadcasters. Should they be henceforth pejoratively labelled as “London, Paris, or Washington operations” if we use the same criterion?

Moscow warned this week that British media outlets working in Russia can expect reciprocal restrictions after the banning of RT and Sputnik at the London conference.

If we go down that route of bans and counter-bans, then international news media, journalistic integrity and the principle of free speech will be increasingly eroded. Perhaps that baleful outcome is exactly what the British and other NATO governments want to achieve in a desperate, underhand attempt to shut down Russia’s news perspective.

What’s really going on here is the thin-skinned British authorities and others simply cannot abide the fact that Russian news media have provided an alternative perspective on international politics. A perspective that often sheds critical light on British, US and NATO foreign policies and conduct. It is also a perspective which seems to be increasingly appreciated by greater numbers of international audiences and viewers, including those of Britain and America.

In recent years, Western mainstream news media has witnessed a phenomenal collapse in credibility among Western public over numerous issues. From illegal wars in the Middle East to spurious allegations about “Russian meddling” in elections, Western media have been exposed over and over again as peddlers of government-sanctioned propaganda.

Public trust in Western media seems to be at an all-time low which in turn undermines the authority and credibility of their governments. The fault, perhaps one could say “crisis” in credibility, is inherent. It has little to do with Russia or its media, although Russian news channels like RT and Sputnik have certainly contributed in a legitimate way to exposing the malfeasance of Western governments.

On international politics, such as the NATO-backed covert war for regime change in Syria, or the deplorable incitement of tensions by Washington and London towards Iran, Russian news media have provided a critical source of reporting and analysis. Often that alternative perspective has allowed Western public to hold their governments and derelict media to account. The fable of “the emperor with no clothes” comes to mind.

It is bitterly ironic that an independent journalist like Julian Assange of the Wikileaks website is being currently detained in a maximum security British prison on trumped-up extradition charges to the US for spying – when Assange’s real “crime” is that he exposed American and British war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. Arguably, Assange’s credibility and appreciation among ordinary citizens the world over is much higher than either of the US or British governments, or their mainstream media.

The same dichotomy applies to the two above-mentioned Russia-based news channels. Not able to cope with hearing the critical message, the British government has resorted to shooting the messenger. However, the British and international public can see what’s going on here, and so the “emperor” is hastily, clumsily trying to cover up the embarrassment from being exposed.

But, more sinisterly, the British assault on press freedom is ramping up a global media war in which Russia is being targeted by NATO powers. The first casualty of war is the truth. And that suggests a war is dangerously looming. That’s why freedom of press is more urgent than ever. But don’t expect the British government to rescue it. It’s trying to bury it – albeit with its la-de-da pretensions of virtue.

The post Britain Ramps up Media War on Russia appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Russia, UK, NATO, Brexit, Theresa May]

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[l] at 7/15/19 6:53am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the start and stop progression of trade talks ,which appear to be leading towards an amicable separation, both economic and political, between the United States and China.

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“The World Acquires More Gold While China Is Dumping U.S. Treasuries by Rory for”, via The Daily Coin

We are told China’s economy is hurting, the “trade wars” are working and bringing China to it’s knees. From where I sit nothing could be further from the truth.

Currently China holds well north of $1 TRILLION in U.S. Treasuries – debt – that you and I, the tax payers of this country, send to interest payments month after month to China for them to continue holding our debt. It’s like the mortgage on your house, student loan or car note you have but instead of you getting anything for the debt payment you get to know the warmongers are going to purchase more bombs, weapons of all kinds and create more destruction. China, on the other hand, takes the payment and is building out the Belt and Road Initiative around the world. So, while we are working like slaves to pay our taxes, China is using our labor (taxes) paid to them to build a better global economic and financial system that does not include you and I. Pretty cool, aye?

While this is happening on one side of China’s national ledger sheet, on the other side something completely different is happening. China reentered the gold market seven months ago, in December 2018 and has added a little less than 74 tons to their official gold holdings of approximately 1,935+ tons of gold. Please keep in mind this does not count the known 80-100 tons per annum that is flowing in from Russia. While this is not a large volume of gold in the grand scheme, this has been going on since 2016 so we are now talking about upwards of 240 – 300 additional tons. This changes their “official” gold holdings from approximately 1,935 tons to somewhere north of 2,175+. It could be as high as 2,235 or more tons of gold.

With more and more central banks continuing to add to their gold hoards did China see the pipeline tightening? China made their exit from the market in October 2016, the same month the yuan / renminbi was added to the IMF basket of currencies accounting for the SDR global trade note. Then fourteen months later decided to jump back in and have been adding to their horde ever since.

Last year, central banks bought 651.5 tons, 74% up on the previous year, the World Gold Council said in January. Official sector purchases could reach 700 tons this year, assuming the China trend continues and Russia at least matches 2018 volumes of about 275 tons, Citigroup Inc. said in April. Buying from central banks in the first five months of this year is 73% higher than a year earlier, with Turkey and Kazakhstan joining China and Russia as the four biggest buyers, according to data released on Monday by the WGC. Source

If 2018 saw national / central banks acquiring more than they have since 1968 and this they are outpacing last year by 73% will this be the biggest year for gold national / central bank acquisitions in history? If not history it would have to be much earlier than 1968 since that record has already been breached.

With the global economic changes that are occurring we have been calling for some type of gold trade settlement for a number of years. We believe that Russia and China are on the cusp on making this change. We have no proof this going to happen this year or next, but all the signs are pointing in that direction. We believe, especially if China continues acquiring more “official” gold on the open market, there will be a gold trade settlement note announced before 2025. Possibly much sooner if the warmongers in Washington DC continue with the war drums over Iran. If President Trump listens to the war-pigs in the Pentagon this will not faire well for the U.S. economy and gold will be much in demand at all levels – from retail to government and everything in between. We pray this does not happen.

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[Category: Latest, Video, China, Trump, Xi Jinping, Huawei, china trade war, China tariffs, China gold, US treasuries china]

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[l] at 7/14/19 8:52am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the resignation of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Friday, after receiving harsh criticism for his role in brokering a 2008 plea deal with registered sex-offender and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

According to Zerohedge (https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-12/acosta-resigns-over-2008-epstein-plea-deal-controversy) Acosta held a press conference on Wednesday in which he suggested Epstein’s deal was the fault of Florida state prosecutors, or possibly the judge, or anyone else but him – and that Epstein would have walked free without the deal he was behind.

Not true said former Palm Beach County state’s attorney, Barry Krischer – who said that Acosta abandoned a 53-page federal indictment “after secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta.”

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“Get Acosta! But Get the Right Guy Too”, authored by Ann Coulter

Now that the media is finally, at long last, interested in the 2006 Jeffrey Epstein child sex case, perhaps we can get an answer to the most intriguing question: Why does he keep escaping justice on essentially the same child molestation charges?

The only reason for the media’s flood-the-zone coverage of Epstein — 13 years late — is that they think they’ve found a Trump connection. Oh happy day. (Trump was friendly with Epstein 15 years ago — before banning him from Mar-a-Lago for life after he hit on a young girl working there.)

The main hook is: Trump’s Labor secretary, Alex Acosta, accepted a disreputable plea deal with Epstein while serving as a U.S. attorney under President Bush. If fixating on Acosta is what it takes to keep this case from being brushed under the rug (again), then I guess you can have him.

But just between us, Acosta’s not the real villain.

It’s easy to forget, but Epstein’s arrest this week marks the third attempted prosecution of him for sex with underage girls.

It’s certainly been easy for the media to forget! In The New York Times’ version of events — and that of every other news outlet — the Palm Beach police discovered Epstein was paying minor girls from West Palm Beach for sex … and then took the case straight to the FBI!

That seems odd: Why wouldn’t police bring their case to the local prosecutor, who was overseeing the investigation and issuing subpoenas?

Because they did.

Unfortunately, the local prosecutor in this case was a sleazebag, activist Democrat named Barry Krischer.

When Krischer, then Palm Beach state attorney, found out the target was Epstein, a big Democratic donor, he refused to prosecute. It was only because of Krischer’s active obstruction of the case that the Palm Beach chief of police, Michael Reiter, begged the FBI to intervene.

Acosta may have buckled in the end, but at the time, he was a knight in shining armor rushing in after Krischer killed the case.

Pretty much everything we know about Epstein’s (alleged) molestation of minors is known because of the original 11-month investigation by the Palm Beach police, tied up in a bow and handed to Krischer in 2006.

The police had sworn statements from dozens of witnesses, including five underage girls who said they’d been paid to engage in sex acts with Epstein, as well as statements from 17 other witnesses.

One of Epstein’s procurers, 20-year-old Haley Robson, told the police she had first met Epstein when she was 17 years old — 18 is the age of consent in Florida — and he paid her to give him a naked massage, whereupon he sexually assaulted her.

Robson said she’d brought at least six minor girls to Epstein, and they’d been paid $200 to $1,000 apiece for naked massages and sex acts. “The more you do, the more you get paid,” one of Epstein’s assistants told a girl in a phone call tape-recorded by the police.

Combing through Epstein’s garbage, the police found papers with names and phone numbers, sex toys and thong panties. They found phone messages from girls saying they couldn’t come over because of “soccer practice,” and offering to come over “Monday after school.”

The girls cried as they told police of their repulsion at Epstein’s “egg-shaped penis,” how they averted their eyes and kept watching the clock, waiting for it to be over, so they could get paid and leave.

Chief Reiter presented all this to Barry Krischer in early 2006, along with a probable cause affidavit charging Epstein and two of his assistants with multiple counts of unlawful sex acts with a minor.

According to Chief Reiter’s sworn testimony, during the investigation, he routinely updated Krischer, without mentioning Epstein’s name. Krischer was gung-ho about the case, saying: “This is somebody we have to stop.”

But as soon as Krischer found out the perp was Jeffrey Epstein, his “tone and tenor” about the case “changed completely.” Why, the girls’ MySpace pages reference marijuana and alcohol use! I couldn’t possibly take this case to a jury!

So instead of charging Epstein, Krischer took the highly unusual step of presenting the case to a grand jury (a trick Florida prosecutors use when they don’t want an indictment, but want it to look like they tried).

I wasn’t there for his presentation, but I get the feeling Barry just didn’t have his heart in it. The jurors returned an indictment on only a single count, “solicitation of prostitution” — despite what I’m sure was Krischer’s very best effort!

Nothing about molestation of minors. Nothing about lewd and lascivious conduct with minors. And for his co-conspirators — nothing at all.

So what did Epstein get as his sentence? Probation. Sweet feathery Jesus. An actual slap on the wrist would have been harsher.

Three points:

1) The case against Epstein is no stronger today than it was in 2006 — yet when the story broke, there was virtually zero national coverage. According to Nexis, throughout all of 2006, only a few news outlets outside of Palm Beach even mentioned the case. There was an opening segment on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor,” a few items in The New York Post and Florida papers, followed months later by a Page-19 story in the Times.

Instead of getting on their high horses about Acosta, maybe the media should look at themselves.

2) The deal Acosta’s office struck with Epstein required him to plead guilty to state crimes — no federal offenses at all. Why? Because sex with underage girls is a state crime, but the state attorney refused to prosecute. Acosta came in like Elliot Ness trying to get Al Capone on a tax charge. Then he blew it. Fine, I agree.

But how on earth has Krischer emerged smelling like a rose? He’s the one who engineered the main cover-up! According to Chief Reiter, Krischer seemed to be protecting Epstein. Are Epstein’s powerful friends rewarding him with a cloak of invisibility?

3) Without Acosta stepping in to at least try to clean up after Krischer, Epstein never would have served a single day in jail. (Inasmuch as Epstein pleaded to state crimes, the ridiculously lenient terms of his confinement — endlessly cited in the press — were the purview of local authorities and completely out of Acosta’s hands.)

He never would have had to register as a sex offender.

He never would have been required to pay the victims a cent in restitution.

Yet Acosta is treated as the only villain in this case. Where is Krischer?

He’s still a member in good standing of the Florida bar. Last December, Krischer was honored by the Anti-Defamation League for making “an outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community at large, while exemplifying the principles upon which [the ADL] was founded.” (By the way, Barry, a belated mazel tov!)

Based on this history, I have to assume the SDNY will take a dive, too, and will be showered with awards for doing so.

But just so you know, that isn’t the whole story.

The post Acosta vs Krischer: Untangling the Epstein, Palm Beach plea deal (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, Bill Clinton, Jeffery Epstein, Lolita Express, Alex Acosta, Barry Krischer, Palm Beach plea deal]

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[l] at 7/14/19 7:44am

Via Zerohedge

Following the arrest of pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein last Saturday, many outlets have turned their attention to his longtime confiante, socialite heiress Ghislaine Maxwell – who has been accused by three women of procuring and training young girls to perform massage and sexual acts on the 66-year-old registered sex offender and his associates.

Maxwell, 57, comes from money. Her father was publisher Robert Maxwell – who himself faced accusations of being a Mossad double (and possibly triple) agent and a “bad character” who was “almost certainly financed by Russia,” according to the British Foreign Office. Robert Maxwell died in 1991 when he fell from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine – however the circumstances surrounding his demise have been rife with speculation (including that it was a Mossad assassination – a theory which attorney and longtime Epstein associate Alan Dershowitz slammed in a 2003 op-ed).

It is unknown exactly how Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell met – however they reportedly dated around 1992, shortly after her father’s death. After breaking up, they remained good friends. In 1995, Epstein renamed a now-defunct Palm Beach company “Ghislaine Corp,” which was dissolved in 1998 per the Wall Street Journal. In 2003, Epstein described Maxwell as his “best friend,” who was not on his payroll – yet “seems to organize much of his life.”

The Oxford-educated Maxwell, described by many as a man-eater (she flies her own helicopter and was recently seen dining with [Bill]Clinton at Nello’s on Madison Avenue), lives in her own townhouse a few blocks away. Epstein is frequently seen around town with a bevy of comely young women but there has been no boldfaced name to replace Maxwell. “You may read about Jeffrey in the social columns, but there is much more to him than that,” says Jeffrey T. Leeds of the private equity firm Leeds Weld & Co. –New York Magazine (2002)

Maxwell also attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding – and has been linked to other prominent people such as Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Alan Dershowitz.

Here’s Ghislaine Maxwell, by many accounts Jeffrey Epstein’s “pimp” and “groomer of girls” at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. pic.twitter.com/leBUwqoWnT

— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) July 7, 2019

Prince Andrew, Ghislaine Maxwell and Virginia Roberts – who claims to have seen Bill Clinton on Epstein’s infamous island while she was being sex-trafficked. 

Accusations of recruiting underage girls

Maxwell was accused by allgeged Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre of recruiting the then-15-year-old into sexual slavery while she was working at a towel girl at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.

Giuffre asserts in her complaint that Maxwell, the sole defendant in the suit and the daughter of late publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, routinely recruited underaged girls for Epstein and was doing so when she approached the $9-an-hour locker room attendant at Mar-a-Lago in 1999 about giving massages to the wealthy investment banker.

Giuffre alleges that Maxwell ultimately trained her in how to give “massages” to Epstein that involved sex acts and, essentially, prostitution. When Maxwell publicly denied the allegations and called Giuffre a liar in 2015, that gave her the opening to head to federal court and file the defamation suit now headed for trial. –Politico

According to court filings, Maxwell was said to have hired, supervised and fired household staff, while directing the visits of dozens of “massage therapists” to Epstein’s residence, according to the Journal.

In depositions taken in 2009 and 2010 as part of civil lawsuits against Mr. Epstein, household employees said Ms. Maxwell was a central figure in Mr. Epstein’s private life.Several said Ms. Maxwell hired, supervised, and fired household staff, while directing the visits of dozens of “massage therapists”—typically young women.

Juan Alessi, who said in one of the depositions that he served as the Palm Beach house manager from around 1992 through 2002, described a basket of sex toys in Ms. Maxwell’s bathroom closet. He said he would find them around when he cleaned up after visits from the young women. –WSJ

Maxwell was accused in a 2014 court filing of being a “co-conspirator in Epstein’s sexual abuse” and of taking “numerous sexually explicit pictures of underage girls involved in sexual activities,” which included Giuffre. Maxwell has called the claims “obvious lies.”

The accusations were made as early as 2009 in lawsuits covering conduct that allegedly occurred from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. Together with the federal indictment in New York against Mr. Epstein, the civil cases describe an enterprise centered on procuring and sexually exploiting young women, and intimidating them into silence.

One accuser in a 2017 lawsuit called Ms. Maxwell “the highest-ranking employee” of that alleged enterprise, a role in which she was said to have had managed Mr. Epstein’s household and his sex life. –WSJ

While Maxwell hasn’t been charged in connection with any of Epstein’s activities, however more information on their relationship is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. Prior to Epstein’s arrest, a federal appeals court in New York ordered the unsealing of up to 2,000 pages of court documents from a 2017 lawsuit against Maxwell – a decision her attorney says they will challenge.

The post Meet The Madam: Epstein Arrest Casts Spotlight On Clinton-Linked Socialite appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Epstein, Acosta, Ghislaine Maxell]

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[l] at 7/14/19 7:41am

Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

After President Trump decided not to launch an air strike against Iran in response to Iran shooting down a Global Hawk surveillance drone, the big question was, “Okay, now what?”

My initial thoughts on this centered on Russia. And Russia’s affirmation of its relationship with Iran saw Trump begin a pivot towards a different strategy than one of direct confrontation.

He went to North Korea after the G-20 in Osaka, meeting with DPRK Leader Kim Jong-Un to advance his relationship there.

He’s mostly kept his mouth shut on Iran other than a little obvious Twitter-rattling about ‘annihilation’ if Iran attacks any U.S. asset.

So, it seems that Trump himself is ready to alter the trajectory of his foreign policy. The problem is, as has been pointed out repeatedly, these actions have empowered all manner of other actors to commit provocations which Trump will have to respond to at some point.

Case in point the seized oil Iranian oil tanker by British marines at Gibraltar. This is purely outrageous behavior. And the details of the seizure itself are highly suspect. Claims that the tanker was headed for a Syrian port which can’t even berth a tanker of that size are a dead giveaway.

And then there’s the planted story about Iran ‘attack boats’ trying to seize a British tanker in retaliation.

As Bernard at Moon of Alabama points out, the U.S. and the Brits can’t even get their story straight as to how many boats the Iranians used in this operation. Was it three? Five?

Moreover, what was the ship doing turning off its AIS transponder as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz?

Of interest is also that the ship turned off its AIS signal, see the dotted line, during its passage through the Hormuz Strait.

CNN also noted that:

On July 10, the ship turned off its transponders for almost 24 hours, making it undetectable by radars. When it switched on its transponders at around 1pm Eastern Time, it appeared to have sailed through the Persian Gulf escorted by the HMS Montrose.

Turning of the AIS in a high traffic area and especially at night is quite dangerous. The AIS signals a ships type, speed and course and other ships use that data to plan their own course. But even without AIS the ship will still be visible on the Iranian surveillance radars that control the Hormuz Strait. A ship on the radar screen without AIS information would be suspicious.

So why would the British ship do that? Was that an attempt to draw special attention to it from the Iranian coast guard or military?

To me it seems that the empty British crude carrier, which was shadowed by a British frigate, was used as bait. There were probably Royal Marines on board waiting for an Iranian attempt to seize the ship. Iran did not fall for it.

Bernard likely has it right here. And it’s ridiculous. But par for the course if you consider the lengths the U.S. and U.K. ‘security’ infrastructure are willing to go to provoke a war with Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.

Remember it was likely U.K., Israeli and French collaborators which shot down the Russian IL-20 ELINT plane last year. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, had to concoct a fairy tale about Israeli Jets and Syrian Air defense crews to avoid being forced to retaliate and start World War III.

The British, especially under Theresa May, have been a non-stop source of half-baked intelligence and military provocations acting as the U.S. Deep State’s proxy. And one has to wonder if these pokes to Iran are just another set of poison pills Boris Johnson, presumably, will have to deal with while he settles into 10 Downing St.

Johnson will be up to his neck in preparing for confronting the EU over Brexit. These cheap theatrics by the British military and Foreign Office he used to run and his opponent for Prime Minister, Jeremy Hunt, currently does, simply won’t be high on his priority list.

He won’t have the energy, if he was so willing, or time to root out the people behind these decisions and clean them out. Again, that’s assuming Johnson is even opposed to war with Iran in the first place.

Iran’s responses to these clear amateur hour acts of aggression has been to do what Putin does, mostly ignore them. Lodge official complaints and simply let the aggressors look like the bad guys.

How many people in the U.K. are willing to fight and die in John Bolton’s and Bibi Netanyahu’s war on Iran? Not many.

And that’s where this gets interesting. Because Iran’s passivity is part of its means of striking back. The more the U.S. cries wolf over oil tanker aggression the more it highlights why the sanctions are wrong in the first place.

It’s already had the desired effect of raising insurance rates over ten timessince the first tankers were attacked a little over a month ago.

The first attacks at Fujairah were likely Iran. But every incident after that has been one of Iran’s enemies trying to pin the attack on it.

There comes a point where the pressure from the real economy will overshadow the games played by ‘intelligence’ operatives and they are reined in.

The Brits are out over their skies here as a signatory to the JCPOA that is supposedly in favor of Iran staying in the deal. And yet, they are out there enforcing U.S. sanctions policy by proxy which sends the wrong message in the end.

And it gives Iran that much more diplomatic cover to violate the terms of the agreement and ensure its complete failure.

That’s where Iran’s leverage is and why it was right, strategically, not morally, to being enriching Uranium beyond 3.67% as stipulated in the deal.

The continued attempt to strangle Iran from every angle will fail in the end. They will remain passive to direct confrontation while upping the pressure on Trump with each kilogram of Uranium processed.

It’s a dangerous game but it’s the one Iran, I think, has to play. They know the U.S. is not interested in a deal that leaves Iran’s sovereignty intact. And Europe is revealed as less than useless.

This is why U.S. and Iranian officials are meeting behind the scenes while entrenched pro-war interests in both the U.S. and British establishment are activating operations or making statements to counter these early steps by Trump to walk back away from the abyss of global war.

Trump wants the unachievable. He wants a new nuclear deal and not to go to war with Iran. Iran knows this and is using that as the fulcrum to beat him back at every turn. Russia and China aren’t happy with Iran provoking the U.S. by violating the deal but it’s likely the only thing that will bring the U.S. to the table.

On the other side, the hawks are pushing him in back towards the middle of the ring to bomb Iran.

Trump needs to make the grand gesture soon, like firing John Bolton, but it may not be enough.

The post Iran v. Trump Enters the Next Stage appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Trump, Iran]

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[l] at 7/14/19 7:41am

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

America’s top General Joseph Dunford this week announced plans for a US-led naval coalition to patrol the Persian Gulf in order to “protect shipping” from alleged Iranian sabotage.

The move is but the latest in a series of efforts by the Trump administration to mobilize Arab allies into a more aggressive military stance towards Iran. It follows recent visits to the region by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, both of whom have been urging a more organized military front led by the US to confront Iran.

The latest naval coalition proposed by General Dunford will be charged with escorting oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz exiting the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, and also through the Bab al Mandab entrance to the Red Sea on the Western side of the Arabian Peninsula. The former conduit serves oil supply to Asia, while the latter position between Yemen and Eritrea leads shipping to the Suez Canal on the way to the Mediterranean and Europe. Both narrow sea passages are strategic chokepoints in global oil trade, with some 20-30 per cent of all daily shipped crude passing through them.

The apparently chivalrous motives of the US to “guarantee freedom of navigation” sounds suspiciously like a pretext for Washington to assert crucial military control over international oil trade. That is one paramount reason for objecting to this American proposal.

Secondly, the very idea of sending more military vessels to the Persian Gulf under Pentagon command at this time of incendiary tensions between the US and Iran is a reckless provocation too far.

In the same week that the Pentagon called for a naval coalition, the US and Britain were blaming Iranian forces for trying to block a British oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has dismissed the allegations that its naval vessels interfered in any way with the British tanker. Both London and Washington claimed that a British Royal Navy frigate had to intervene to ward off the Iranian vessels. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the accusations as “worthless”.

The latest incident follows a string of sabotage attacks against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf by unidentified assailants. The US has blamed Iran. Iran has vehemently denied any involvement. Tehran has countered by saying that tensions are being inflamed by “malicious conspiracies”.

One can easily foresee in this already supercharged geopolitical context in the Persian Gulf and the wider region how any additional military forces would be potentially disastrous, either from miscalculation, misunderstanding or more malign motive.

Furthermore, media reports indicate a heightened wariness among some Gulf Arab states about being pushed into confrontation with their neighbor Iran. US policy is recklessly fomenting regional tensions against the better judgement of proximate countries.

The Washington Post reported this week: “The escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf have exposed differences between the United States and its regional allies, in part over how aggressively the Trump administration should confront Iran… With these countries likely to find themselves on the front lines of any military conflict with Iran, some of the smaller states are hesitant to support the more combative stance of the United States and regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

The report goes on: “The more-assertive approach championed by Saudi Arabia — and in particular by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — puts the kingdom at odds with some of the smaller US allies in the region, which want to see the crisis settled through negotiations. Kuwait and Oman, which have pursued bilateral relations with Iran, have long resented Saudi attempts to pressure them to adopt a more confrontational foreign policy, analysts say.”

Qatar is another important regional player which is bound to have misgivings about the growing tensions. The gas-rich emirate has been roughed up by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with a two-year blockade on trade and political links. While Qatar is a US ally and a Sunni Arab neighbor traditionally aligned with Saudi Arabia, the country also shares the region’s close historical trading ties with Shia Iran to the North. Centuries of overlapping cultural ties belie the attempt by the US and its Saudi and UAE allies of trying to polarize the region into an anti-Iran axis.

Aware of the danger of a catastrophic war erupting, several regional states are right to be even more alarmed by the latest proposition of a naval coalition led by the US. Washington is arrogantly over-stepping its presumption to control global oil trade, and it is pushing tensions in the region with a provocation too far. Hopefully, reckless US-led antagonism will be rebuffed by wiser regional states who stand to lose much more than Generals and warmongers sitting comfortably in Washington.

Moreover, the correct way to calm and resolve tensions in the region is for the Trump administration to halt its aggression towards Iran and to respect the 2015 international nuclear accord which it unilaterally trashed last year. Remove sanctions and warships from the region and – for a fundamental change – respect international law, diplomacy and peaceful negotiations.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The post US Naval Coalition in Gulf – a Provocation Too Far appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Trump, Iran, Qatar, Gulf War, Persian Gulf]

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[l] at 7/13/19 11:15am

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating oil tanker war that is playing out between the UK and Iran.

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Via Zerohedge

Amid ongoing “tanker wars” following the UK’s unprecedented and aggressive seizure of a super tanker transporting Iranian oil to Syria last week, which led to an alleged thwarted counter-attempt of Iran’s IRGC to block a UK-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, Britain says it plans to send a second warship to the region.

Currently the HMS Montrose is shadowing the BP-owned British Heritage tanker after it was approached by IRGC boats — this as Britain raised its threat level to British shipping in the gulf area to its highest. Per government statements, the HMS Duncan, a type 45 Destroyer, will be deployed alongside the HMS Montrose in the region for a short period.

“We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” a Downing Street spokesman had said Wednesday of the dangerous encounter with Iran’s military in the gulf earlier that day.

HMS Duncan in the foreground, via UK Defence Journal

And on Thursday a separate UK official stated: “As part of our long-standing presence in the Gulf, HMS Duncan is deploying to the region to ensure we maintain a continuous maritime security presence while HMS Montrose comes off task for pre-planned maintenance and crew changeover,” according to the BBC.

“This will ensure that the UK, alongside international partners, can continue to support freedom of navigation for vessels transiting through this vital shipping lane.” At the moment the HMS Duncan is in Mediterranean waters.

The Pentagon also this week described plans to work with allies to provide military escorts to ships traversing waters near Iran, as concerns grow that any major incident would threaten global oil supplies, which would no doubt send prices soaring.

Already other international ships are reportedly waiting for military escorts prior to entering the Strait of Hormuz, as Bloomberg describes in a breaking report:

VLCC Atlantic Pioneer, an Isle of Man-flagged tanker, sailed near Ras Tanura port in Saudi Arabia, turned away without loading any cargo and is now headed toward the Strait of Hormuz, Bloomberg ship-tracking data shows.

The vessel is expected to wait for an escort from British naval ship HMS Montrose before sailing through the waterway, data intelligence firm Kpler SAS says in note released Friday.

Meanwhile Iran has continued to point the finger at Washington for the soaring tensions and growing “tanker war” after accusing the UK of detaining its some 1 million barrels of oil aboard a Panamanian-flagged vessel “at the behest of” the US government “in line with America’s hostile policies”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “This is a dangerous game and we advise them not get involved in this game under America’s influence.”

“We ask them again to release the tanker immediately, which will be in all countries’ interest,” he added.

The post Oil tanker war between UK and Iran reaches dangerous level (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, UK, Iran, Persian Gulf, JCPOA, oil tankers]

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[l] at 7/13/19 3:02am

Authored by Tom Luongo:

Only Donald Trump knows.

From the moment I heard Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested I knew none of us had anything close to the real story. And, by the time this is over, I don’t think we’ll have anything close to the real story either.

That shouldn’t, however, keep us from picking through the bread crumbs and see where they lead us. I wrote previously that I thought this story would lead to Hillary Clinton. The MAGA crowd loved that.

Regardless of whether Hillary winds up being the target is irrelevant. What I wrote the other day I still feel is the most likely situation.

I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn’t fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.

But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.

Epstein’s arrest tells me he’s now out for blood.

That was, frankly, my gut instinct talking when I wrote that. It fit the sequence of events and the changes we’ve seen in D.C. over the past four months since Attorney General William Barr shut down the Mueller investigation.

What was done to Trump went far beyond egregious. It went far beyond even lawlessness. It was an operation that spanned multiple governments, showed complete contempt not only for procedure but the people themselves.

It was, in short, a supremely arrogant attempted coup that expected to get away with it all because they always had in the past. It was also amatuerish as hell.

The reason I’ve never believed any of the arguments that Trump is simply a bait and switch pitch man for the Deep State is because that description defies reality.

It doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor. The people Jeffrey Epstein represents hate Trump holding power because they have nothing of substance on him. Sure he’s bribed building contractors or paid off unions to get his buildings finished. Whatever.

No one other than the squeakiest of wheels would get upset over that. Everyone accepts that to do business in a corrupt world like New York you swim with some of it because that’s simply how things are done, like it or not.

But using fourteen-year-old girls as blackmail agents and prostitutes to run guns, drugs, topple governments and steal weapons research is another level of corruption. It’s orders of magnitude worse. And to Trump’s credit it seems like he’s never dabbled in that particular thing.

Because if he had, he would never have become President and the Deep State would have never organized a coup attempt against him.

Occam’s Razor, folks. They don’t have anything of substance on him. At best they’ve got a few pictures of him at an Epstein party and then he’s gone.

Watch a few minutes of this report by George Webb and tell me this doesn’t sound exactly like what we’ve been presented as evidence that Trump is one of Epstein’s perverts.

We know Trump helped a case against Epstein in 2009. We know that Trump threw Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago for hitting on a young girl. What we don’t know is left to our imagination to reinforce our view of Trump one way or the other.

For the past six days it has been wall to wall, “Epstein is a pervert. Trump went to a few parties. Acosta, Trump’s guy, let Epstein off.”

Now Acosta resigns as Secretary of Labor.

But Epstein is most definitely an asset. The breadcrumbs are everywhere for you to find. The last thing Acosta did before resigning was letting it be known that he thought Epstein was connected to intelligence.

“Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?” Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he’d had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He’d cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)

And now he resigns because of the 2009 plea deal? Something doesn’t pass the sniff test here. This is the biggest revelation of the entire week.

It’s also easily inferred from simply looking at the magnitude of the crimes committed and the final deal that was signed.

The news comes at us so fast, just like in a good action movie, that sometimes we forget to step back and ask basic plot questions, like “If this guy is that connected why are we hearing about this now at all?”

“Why did the FBI kick in the door of his home?”

“Why is this even news?”

“Who ordered the judge to unseal the records from the previous case?”

Because if this is that big a cover-up – implicating everyone from the CIA, to the State Dept. and Dyncorp to the Israeli Mossad — none of this should be in the news.

No way would these people risk exposing Epstein to this level of scrutiny if they were just trying to run a ‘nuts and sluts’ operation on Trump to impeach him.

And all of those questions, again using Occam’s Razor, lead to one answer. Donald Trump.

I think Trump started this thing and is now going to watch it play out to the end. Acosta was chum, sent out to fall on his sword and keep the story moving quickly to make it look like Trump is in cahoots with Epstein.

This first act is to go all out in attacking Trump. The intense focus on the sex-trafficking, the ‘nuts and sluts’ angle, is your key to understanding the stakes here. This is Alinsky 101, accuse your target of that which you are guilty of and make it personal. Guilt by association to put Trump on the defensive.

But to do that they also have to hand over the Clintons. And this is what I was getting at the other day. Hillary is over-extended here. Trump knows the way to take her and the rest of them down is to get to them through Epstein.

And most importantly, notice how no one in D.C. is out in front of the cameras, clutching their pearls about how horrible it all is. That silence you don’t hear is fear. Chuck Schumer, who was all over the news in December/January when it looked like Mueller was going to get Trump impeached is now nowhere to be found.

Pelosi, as I mentioned the other day, is fighting an internal battle within her party and not joining the #MeToo chorus. The outrage is simmering. And the Swamp can’t contain this by hoping to sweep this under the rug.

Notice how Epstein asked for immunity the other day. But have you heard anything about it since? No.

What did they get from Harvey Weinstein? Remember him?

There comes a point where a line is crossed, morality is truly compromised and people look at themselves and ask, “Is this the world I want to live in? Is this what we’ve been reduced to?”

Act I is the outrage and the attempt to keep the focus on the pervie side of things. Keep people focused on their disgust circuit and, hopefully, off the man behind the curtain.

But, as I said on Fault Lines, we live in a post-Dorothy Oz where the curtain was pulled back and reveals the weird little man with the levers and we realize yes, this is what we’ve been reduced to.

And that’s when the anger starts and Act II begins.

Join my Patreon if you can’t stand government corruption. Install Brave if you hate Big Tech censorship.

The post Is this Project Mayhem or Project Epstein? appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Clinton, Trump, Jeff Epstein, Alex Acosta, Depp State]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 7/13/19 3:01am

Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute:

Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross outlined the scope of exemptions to be granted to sales and licenses to Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant.

At the end of last month, President Donald Trump publicly promised to give the Chinese company a reprieve from newly implemented U.S. restrictions.

Trump’s move, announced after his meeting with Chinese ruler Xi Jinping at the conclusion of the Osaka G20 summit, was a strategic mistake. Moreover, it was a humiliation for the United States, almost an acknowledgment of Beijing’s supremacy.

The U.S. Commerce Department, effective May 16, added Huawei, the world’s largest networking equipment manufacturer and second-largest smartphone maker, to its Entity List. The designation means that no American company, without prior approval from the Bureau of Industry and Security, is allowed to sell or license to Huawei products and technology covered by the U.S. Export Administration Regulations.

Beijing then demanded the Trump administration withdraw the designation. On June 27, the Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei’s removal from the Entity List was one of China’s three main preconditions to a comprehensive trade deal.

Trump, incredibly, complied with the demand from Beijing. At his June 29 press conference, the American president said he was granting the reprieve.

Trump was not specific about the reprieve’s scope, and since then administration officials have tried to walk back his comments. Trade advisor Peter Navarro, for instance, this month told CNN that sales to Huawei for its 5G products — 5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication — would be forbidden. Earlier, there were suggestions that waivers for smartphones would be allowed.

Should any waivers be granted? “It is their mechanism for spying,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), referring to Huawei, told Fox News on Sunday.

She is right. Huawei is in no position to resist Beijing’s demands to illicitly gather intelligence. For one thing, Beijing owns Huawei. The Shenzhen-based enterprise maintains it is “employee-owned,” but that is an exaggeration. Founder Ren Zhengfei holds a 1 percent stake, and the remainder is effectively owned by the state. Moreover, in the Communist Party’s top-down system, no one can resist a command from the ruling organization. Furthermore, Articles 7 and 14 of China’s National Intelligence Law, enacted in 2017, requires Chinese nationals and entities to spy if relevant authorities make a demand. Ren has maintained the company would not snoop on others, but that claim, in view of the above, is not credible.

Huawei has, in fact, been implicated in stealing tech almost from the moment it was formed in 1987. The company was built on stolen Cisco Systems technology, and according to recent allegations, Huawei has never stopped stealing. The Justice Department in January unsealed an indictment against the company for the theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile. The FBI, according to a Bloomberg report, is investigating Huawei for pilfering smartphone glass technology from Akhan Semiconductor, an Illinois-based firm.

Huawei’s rampant theft has been effective in injuring its competition. For instance, many consider the company’s campaign to take tech was largely responsible for the 2013 failure of Nortel Networks, the Canadian company.

Additionally, Beijing has used Huawei servers to surreptitiously download datafrom others, most notably the African Union from 2012 to 2017.

Not surprisingly, Huawei is laying the groundwork for grabbing tomorrow’s data.

First, Christopher Balding’s study of résumés of Huawei employees reveals that some of them claim concurrent links with units of the Chinese military, in roles that look as if they involve intelligence collection. As he writes in his study, “there is an undeniable relationship between Huawei and the Chinese state, military, and intelligence gathering services.”

Second, recent analyses show Huawei software to have an unusually high number of security flaws. According to Finite State, a cybersecurity firm, a scan of nearly 10,000 Huawei firmware images showed that “55% had at least one potential backdoor. These backdoor access vulnerabilities allow an attacker with knowledge of the firmware and/or with a corresponding cryptographic key to log into the device.” Huawei, according to the survey, ranked the lowest among its competitors in this regard.

Theft is not the only risk. As Sen. Blackburn pointed out to Fox News, Huawei will also serve as Beijing’s mechanism for controlling the networks operating the devices of tomorrow. The concern is that the Chinese government and military will be able to use Huawei equipment to remotely manipulate devices networked on the Internet of Things (IoT), no matter where those devices are located. So, China may be able to drive your car into oncoming traffic, unlock your front door, or turn off or speed up your pacemaker.

On Tuesday, Secretary Ross echoed earlier administration comments when he promised his department would only issue exemptions “where there is no threat to U.S. national security.”

That sounds reassuring, but it is not possible to divide Huawei into threatening and non-threatening components. Huawei management can take profits from innocuous-looking parts of the business to support the obviously dangerous parts. Money is fungible, so the only safe course would be to prohibit all transactions with the company.

Ross on Tuesday implied that licenses would be granted for items available from other countries, saying “we will try to make sure that we don’t just transfer revenue from the U.S. to foreign firms.” At first glance, sales of those items appear non-objectionable, but, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, U.S. companies seeking exemptions acknowledge that their products are often more advanced than those from Japan, South Korea, and other countries.

Therefore, the better course would be to get all American suppliers to stop all sales and licenses and to rally Tokyo, Seoul, and other capitals to do the same. That would severely disrupt Huawei, perhaps forcing it out of business or at least impeding its progress. In short, Ross is underestimating America’s leverage.

As Eli Lake, writing on the Bloomberg site, points out, American policy on Huawei looks like it had “collapsed” after the bilateral meeting with Xi. Lake is right. Beijing, buoyed by the talk of the American climb-down, is now fast selling Huawei equipment around the world, which means, in the normal course of events, the Chinese will soon control the world’s 5G backbone.

Think of the consequences.

“Imagine a world dominated by China,” Jonathan Bass of PTM Images told Gatestone. “Close your eyes and pretend to wake up in a world controlled by Xi Jinping, militarily, economically, politically, culturally.”

This is the world, thanks to Huawei, that we will soon face.

The post Trump’s Huawei Reprieve Is A National Security Debacle appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, China, Trump, Huawei]

[*] [+] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 7/13/19 2:59am

Via RT…

As Turkey beamed out images of Russian S-400 air defense systems being delivered, US lawmakers demanded immediate sanctions against Ankara, while the Pentagon and the State Department remained strangely silent.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel (D-New York) and ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) reacted to the delivery of the missiles by declaring that Turkey and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “must face stiff consequences.”

“President Erdogan was given a very clear choice. Unfortunately, he has clearly made the wrong one. That a NATO ally would choose to side with Russia and Vladimir Putin over the alliance and closer cooperation with the United States is hard to fathom,” the duo said in a statement on Friday.

They demanded of the Trump administration to “terminate” Turkey’s participation in the F-35 stealth fighter program and “sanction Turkish individuals doing business with the Russian defense sector, as required by law.”

Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), passed in 2017 over President Donald Trump’s objections, the US has to penalize countries that buy weapons systems from Russia.

Their pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears at the Pentagon and the State Department, however. The Department of Defense only confirmed that the subject of the S-400s came up in the 30-minute conversation between Acting Secretary Mark Esper and his Turkish counterpart, but offered no further details.

Turkey's Defense Ministry issues a lengthy 300+ word on the record readout of the Esper-Akar call, saying that the S-400 & the security situation in NE Syria were discussed. The Pentagon issued a one sentence statement on background saying the call happened & it lasted 30 minutes https://t.co/yb3GoSa12w

— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) July 12, 2019

The Pentagon has not done on-camera briefings for a while, and the press corps got excited when they heard one was scheduled for Friday, expecting it would address the issue. To their great disappointment, however, it was “postponed indefinitely.”

A rare on camera Pentagon press briefing on Turkey's purchase of the S-400 has been postponed indefinitely, DOD says. Nothing from State or WH.

So even though the missile system was delivered this morning, it seems no one in the US administration is prepared to comment.

— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) July 12, 2019

Washington is taking Ankara’s “betrayal” especially hard, since their anti-Soviet alliance predates even the founding of NATO. Following an attempted military coup in July 2016 – which Erdogan blamed on the cleric living in the US under CIA protection – he began turning towards Russia, negotiating the purchase of the S-400s and justifying it by the US withdrawal of Patriot missile batteries.

Ankara has responded to US threats to cut it off from the F-35 program by saying that it would go against the terms of the deal to manufacture the fifth-generation fighter. Turkey is part of the multinational consortium developing and producing parts for the troubled Lockheed Martin jet, and was expected to buy 100 of them. Dropping it from the program might negatively impact production and further increase the cost of the already overpriced war machine.

Welcome to #Turkey Russian-made #S400 air defense system: Tough times for #Greece ahead. pic.twitter.com/Jat8kITJr9

— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) July 12, 2019

Washington fears that the S-400 could reveal the ‘secrets’ of the F-35 to Moscow and render the secretive stealth fighter vulnerable to Russian countermeasures.

The post Pentagon silent on Turkey’s S-400 delivery as Congress demands immediate sanctions appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Russia, Turkey, S-300, S-400]

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[l] at 7/13/19 2:59am

Via Zerohedge

Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, is set to launch its HongMeng operating system (OS) as a potential alternative to Google’s Android OS, on August 9 at Huawei’s Developer Conference, industry insiders told the Global Times Wednesday.

According to media reports, the user experience (UX) design features a brand new ringtone and notification panel, a cleaner interface for the camera, more animation and faster speed. Users can also add widgets and personalize the locked screen. Citing industry experts (most likely of Chinese origin), the Global Times reported that “it is possible for Huawei to build a sustainable smartphone ecosystem on the HongMeng OS and reshape the current market dominated by Android and Apple’s iOS”, although the new system is primarily designed for industrial automation and applications in the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Given the design features of the HongMeng OS, it can be a game changer in IoT-related areas, such as driverless cars and smart homes,” Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent industry analyst, told the Global Times.

According to Huawei’s website, the HongMeng OS is built with a processing latency of less than 5 milliseconds, which is especially required in circumstances involving IoT applications that often need to transfer large amount of data simultaneously.

That said, broad consumer adoption is unlikely at first: “It’s not designed for phones as everyone thinks,” Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, said in a recent interview with the French magazine Le Point.

However, the company could still resort to the HongMeng OS as it may be wary of the threats coming from the US, and it still can be very competitive, according to experts. “We haven’t decided whether to develop Hongmeng into a smartphone OS yet,” Liang said. He added, however, this position may change if the US completely bars Huawei from access to Android.

“One key advantage of the HongMeng OS is that the Android apps don’t need to be recoded to run in the system,” Fu said. “As it is reportedly 60 percent faster than Android and iOS, more smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Oppo will be likely to install the OS in their phones.”

On the other hand, as a new OS that’s almost 10 years younger than Android, HongMeng is currently lacking a robust ecosystem that Huawei will need to cultivate and sustain, Fu noted.

That said , should the new OS gain widespread adoption, it could grant Huawei even greater influence than before: according to statistics by statcounters.com, as of June 2019, Android had more than 76 percent of the mobile OS market and iOS had more than 22 percent, leaving less than 2 percent to other systems. But Huawei is encouraging app developers to join its app store, called AppGallery, to build its ecosystem.

To be sure, recreating Apple’s ecosystem will be a monumental task: “All Huawei smartphones are installed with our official app store AppGallery with more than 270 million monthly active users… To guarantee full support for your app, it is an invitation for you to join our developers’ community and portal,” said the email.

“It is hard to estimate if the new OS is put into use, exactly how many customers will switch to HongMeng in the short term,” said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance. “But given time, I see no reason Huawei cannot take up a significant share of the market if it decides to. The millions of users of Huawei are too big to miss out for developers. As more apps operate in the system, more developers will join to build a robust ecosystem.”

And in separate news, overnight Huawei reported a surprising revenue increase for the first half of this year, despite the US government-imposed trade ban and continued scrutiny overseas about the security of its 5G network products.

Surprising industry watchers, company chairman Liang Hua said that “Huawei’s entire businesses ran smoothly [since that ban],” although he declined to provide specific figures at a press conference in Shenzhen on Friday.

Huawei Technologies chairman Liang Hua has called on the US government to remove the company from its trade blacklist

The privately held company – which according to many has extensive connections to the Chinese government – which is expected to announce its financial performance for the first six months of this year on July 30, was put on a trade blacklist – known as the Entity List – in May by the US Department of Commerce, citing national security concerns. That has effectively barred the firm from buying hardware, software and services from its American hi-tech suppliers.

“Adding Huawei to the Entity List was neither justified nor fair,” Liang said. “It is not enough to ease restrictions on some US suppliers. We should be removed from the list entirely.”

Liang’s comments followed the announcement by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday that Washington will allow American companies to sell their products to Huawei so long as these would not pose a threat to national security, a move which many saw as an attempt to mend relations between the US and China, however it was quickly followed by two major escalations, when first the US greenlighted the sale of $2.2 billion in weapons to Taiwan, which prompted Beijing to threaten the companies involved with new sanctions, while overnight Trump lamented that the agricultural purchases promised by China during last month’s G-20 summit have yet to materialize.

The stakes are high for Huawei because the US trade ban was earlier estimated to wipe out US$30 billion of sales growth, according to SCMP. Its total revenue was expected to remain stagnant at around the US$100-billion level this year and in 2020, according to company founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei during a panel discussion in Shenzhen on June 17.
Ren said last week that the US decision to relax the trade ban on Huawei will not have much impact on the company.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Monaco became the first country in Europe to launch a 5G network supplied by Huawei, despite US pressure on its European Union (EU) allies to ban the Chinese company’s equipment from their roll-out of next-generation mobile infrastructure over security concerns.

EU countries are expected to agree on collective measures to deal with potential spying risks from equipment made by Huawei by the end of this year, according to advisory body the European Economic and Social Committee. Many Southeast Asian nations – including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – have been reluctant to bow to US pressure and sever ties with Huawei.

The post Huawei Will Launch Android Alternative OS In August; Reports Surprise Revenue Increase appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, China, Android, Huawei]

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[l] at 7/12/19 6:07am

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the decades long claim that the United States and the United Kingdom had (and continue to have) a special relationship.

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“Are Yanks and Brits Going Their Separate Ways?” authored by Patrick Buchanan…

When Sir Kim Darroch’s secret cable to London was leaked to the Daily Mail, wherein he called the Trump administration “dysfunctional…unpredictable…faction-riven…diplomatically clumsy and inept,” the odds on his survival as UK ambassador plummeted.

When President Donald Trump’s tweeted retort called Darroch “wacky,” a “stupid guy,” and a “pompous fool” who had been “foisted on the US,” the countdown to the end began.

The fatal blow came when, in a debate with his rival for prime minister, Boris Johnson, who will likely replace Theresa May before the end of July, left Darroch twisting in the wind.

It’s a very bad week for the British Foreign Office when one of its principal diplomats is declared virtually persona non grata in a country that is Great Britain’s foremost ally. All the goodwill from Trump’s state visit in June was torched in 72 hours.

Still, Darroch’s departure is far from the most egregious or grave episode of a leaked missive in U.S. diplomatic history.

In December 1897, Spanish ambassador Enrique Dupuy de Lome sent a letter to a friend in Cuba describing President William McKinley as “weak and catering to the rabble…a low politician who desires…to stand well with the jingos of his party.”

The De Lome letter fell into the hands of Cuban rebels who ensured that it was leaked to the U.S. secretary of state. New York Journal owner William Randolph Hearst published the letter on February 9, 1898, under the flaming headline: “Worst Insult to the United States in Its History.”

Americans were outraged, McKinley demanded an apology, and the Spanish ambassador resigned. Coming six days before the battleship USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, the De Lome letter helped to push America into a war with Spain that McKinley had not wanted.

On March 1, 1917, headlines erupted with news of a secret cable from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to his minister in Mexico City. The minister was instructed to offer Mexico a return of “lost territories in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona,” should war break out with the United States and Mexico enter the war on the side of Germany.

British intelligence had intercepted the “Zimmermann telegram” and helpfully made it public. Americans were enraged. Six weeks later, we were at war with the Kaiser’s Germany.

Sir Kim’s cable, which caused his resignation, was not of that caliber. Yet the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain is no longer what it was during the 20th century.

Back in the 19th century, there was no special relationship, but almost a special hostility. The United States declared war on Great Britain in 1812, and the British arrived in 1814 to burn down the Capitol and the White House and all the major public buildings in the city.

General Andrew Jackson settled accounts in New Orleans in 1815.

During the Civil War, the British tilted to the Confederacy and built the legendary raider CSS Alabama that wrought devastation on Union shipping before being sunk off Cherbourg in 1864.

We almost went to war with Britain in 1895, when Grover Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney brashly intruded in a border dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, and Lord Salisbury told us to butt out. “I rather hope that the fight will come soon,” yelped Theodore Roosevelt.

Cooler heads prevailed and Britain’s Arthur Balfour said the time would come when a statesman even greater than Monroe “will lay down the doctrine that between English-speaking peoples, war is impossible.”

So it came to be in the 20th century.

In 1917 and 1941, America came to the rescue of a Britain that had declared war first on the Kaiser’s Germany and then on Hitler’s. During 45 years of the Cold War, America had no stronger or more reliable ally.

But the world has changed in the post-Cold War era, and even more so for Britain than for the United States.

Among London’s elites today, many see their future in the European Union. U.S. trade with Britain is far less than its trade with Canada, Mexico, China, or Japan. Britain’s economy is a diminished share of the world economy. The British Empire upon which the sun never set, holding a fifth of the world’s territory and people, has been history for over half a century. The U.S. population is now five times that of Great Britain. And London is as much a Third World city as it is an English city.

Scores of thousands of Americans and Brits are no longer standing together on the Elbe river across from the Red Army, which no longer exists, as the Soviet Union no longer exist.

Yet in terms of language, culture, ethnicity, history, and geography, America has no more natural ally across the sea. And the unfortunate circumstances of Sir Kim’s departure do not cancel out that American interest.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

The post The US-UK special relationship, is it policy fact of fiction? (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, EU, US, UK, Brexit, Trump, Tony Blair, Theresa May, US UK special relationship]

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[l] at 7/12/19 5:16am

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“Acosta Scrapped 53-Page Epstein Indictment In 2008 “After Secret Negotiations”: Fmr State’s Attorney”, via Zerohedge…

Former Palm Beach County state’s attorney, Barry Krischer, says that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s account of a 2008 plea arrangement his office cut with pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein is “completely wrong,” and that Acosta “should not be allowed to rewrite history,” according to a Wednesday statement by Krischer.

Earlier in the day Acosta held a press conference in which he vehemently defended the deal to serve just 13 months in county jail – saying that Krischer would have let Epstein walk otherwise.

“Simply put, the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office was willing to let Epstein walk free. No jail time. Nothing,” said Acosta. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable, and we became involved.”

Not true says Krischer – who said that Acosta abandoned a 53-page federal indictment “after secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta,” according to The Hill.

READ IT HERE: Former Palm Beach (FL) State Atty Barry Krischer challenges Acosta’s characterization of why Acosta pursued a plea deal for Epstein: “I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong.” pic.twitter.com/0Drs4vetTO

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 10, 2019

The Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office had prepared a federal indictment against Epstein, but it was never filed. Acosta has also faced criticism for failing to disclose the plea deal to Epstein’s victims, something he said would have jeopardized the agreement.

Krischer downplayed his office’s role in the eventual plea deal, and alleged the U.S. Attorney’s Office abandoned its federal indictment after “secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta.”

If Mr. Acosta was truly concerned with the State’s case and felt he had to rescue the matter, he would have moved forward with the 53-page indictment that his own office drafted,” Krischer said. –The Hill

That said, Palm Beach police told the Miami Herald that they felt pressured by Krischer to downgrade Epstein’s case to a misdemeanor or to drop it entirely.

Palm Beach home of registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Pedro Portal via the Miami Herald

While Epstein has allegedly victimized up to 60 girls, many of them underage according to the Miami Herald, his sweetheart deal for just two counts of solocitation of prostitution (one with a minor), and included working from his West Palm Beach office for as much as 12 hours a day for up to six days a week. He was also required to register as a sex offender, and was given immunity from federal prosecution.

Acosta avoided mentioning Krischer by name on Wednesday, referring only to the Palm Beach County state’s attorney.

“Everything that the victims have gone through in these cases is horrific, and their response is entirely justified,” said Acosta. “At the same time, I think it’s important to stand up for the prosecutors of my former office and make clear that what they were trying to do was help these victims. They should not be portrayed as individuals that just didn’t care.”

The post Acosta targeted by Dems. Is Trump behind push to bring down Epstein & his network? (Video) appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, Video, Bill Clinton, Jeffery Epstein, SDNY, Alex Acosta, Barry Krischer, Palm Beach]

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[l] at 7/9/19 3:17am

Authored by Tom Luongo:

“Bernie Birnbaum is a horse of a different color, ethics-wise that is….
… as in he ain’t got none!”

— Johnny Caspar, “Miller’s Crossing”

Serial pederast Jeffrey Epstein is going to be arrested again.

The big questions are why?  And why now?

I never doubted Donald Trump’s sincerity in wanting Hillary in jail.  But the reality is that Trump was not in any position to do so.  Until a few months ago.

When Attorney General William Barr ended the Mueller investigation back in February that was a turning point.  I talked about it back then in a piece called “The Old Political Order is Just Old.”

Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report.

When that didn’t happen, they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world.

But is that really the case anymore? It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently.

I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders.  His foreign policy maneuvers didn’t fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.

But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.

Epstein’s arrest tells me he’s now out for blood.

Because this goes directly to the heart of the matter.  Trump left the Clintons’ social circle in disgust and I’m convinced he ran to stop her corrupt sell out of the U.S.

Never forget that, while corruption is rampant in D.C., it is not all-pervasive.  It’s not a black and white thing.

William Barr may not be a Boy Scout or anything but even he, like Trump, has a disgust circuit.  And that circuit has a threshold.

The level of corruption of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury and the intelligence agencies needed to coordinate the RussiaGate hoax all to serve as Hillary’s revenge porn was too much for enough people.

And there are still plenty of people in all of those departments willing to step up now that the board state has changed.

Remember back when Trump said we should just leave Hillary be, she’s been through enough?  That wasn’t him capitulating to the Deep State, that was him offering her a way out.  He knew then what was going on but thought he was powerless to stop it, politically.

To go after her you go after the person who is her Achilles’ heel, Epstein through his association with Bill.  Because what if this isn’t just about Bill’s antics?

But this is more than just Hillary and Bill.

This is likely far deeper a rabbit hole than anyone in D.C. wants to admit.   Don’t think for a second that Epstein hasn’t been blackmailing very prominent people for years.

Because he has. And they are all now scared to death.

And Robert Mueller is up to his neck in this.  Because it was Mueller who helped Epstein mostly get off the hook the last time and had the court documents sealed.

Now that Mike Cernovich worked to get those documents unsealed, we have an arrest warrant a week later by a Justice Department led by someone, at this point, loyal to Trump.

Even if Barr and Trump have a marriage of convenience here, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that Epstein will no longer be able to hide behind Clinton bag men and will this time have to cut a real deal to stay out of gen pop.

This process will be slow and painful, but it will grind to the kind of conclusion that will only benefit Trump’s re-election bid.  It will be an epic drip feed of leaks, innuendos, implications, indictments and the rest.

Because there comes a point where the Alinsky method of accusing your enemy of the thing you do backfires when it’s raping 14-year-old girls.

Once this thing gets a head of steam, once the #MeToo crowd gets a hold of this, there won’t be anyone left standing.  I always said Hillary would indict herself.  Her insane lust for power and revenge against her obstacles led us here.

And it will lead her to the kind of shame and disgrace that befits her avarice.

When Nancy Pelosi’s daughter is out there signaling for her mother on this immediately, you know this is bad.

Pelosi doesn’t roll over for nothing folks. Think what you want about her but she’s a pitbull. And she rolled over on border wall funding last week.

This Epstein arrest is a testament to what happens when the pendulum swings too far in one direction.  Where despicable people get away with the most heinous acts simply because they are connected in a web of corruption and venality.

Maybe this is the moment of Peak Swamp?  Maybe it’s the moment where we can see things begin, ever so slightly to improve.

Is it too little, too late?  Likely.  But something had to be done to keep our faith in our political and social institutions intact.  Because otherwise that way leads to only chaos and collapse.

Join my Patreon because you also weep for humanity at where these people have led us.

The post Epstein Arrest: Peak Swamp? appeared first on The Duran.

[Category: Latest, News, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Trump, Drain the Swamp, Jeff Epstein]

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[l] at 7/9/19 3:17am

Submitted by Steve Brown…

The inability to accept criticism, especially when constructive, is one indication of weakness; since its debacle in Iraq, the United States has been unable to accept the error of its ways, and has compounded those errors in Afghanistan and Syria to an even greater extent.  Another sign of weakness is being unable to see ourselves as others see us. The United States has no idea that the rest of the world — with the possible exception of Israel — views it as a source of imperial hubris and arrogance, while America considers itself to be the exceptional ‘shining light of democracy on the hill’.

But the only true extension of US influence has been with the adoption of the US dollar as global reserve currency, the USD in conjunction with militarism having formed two of the five pillars of US power, even when US militarism has been ineffectual and misused.  But ‘US power’ relates more to popular perception than to the reality that we see on the ground. On the ground, we see that George W Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war has now lapsed, and been replaced by…. well, by no real US foreign policy at all.

Considering Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016, a certain lack of direction and inconsistency in US foreign policy is not unexpected, and under certain circumstances has been a welcome development. For example, if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, her likely choice for Secretary of State was Victoria Kagan-Nuland; it is likely too that Ms. Clinton would have confronted Russia in Syria, with disastrous results, not just for Syria, but for the entire world.

Unfortunately, while optimistically promising to ‘drain the DC swamp’ and oppose the hitherto corrupt dualist appropriation of power in Washington, Trump instead appointed miscreants like Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, Patrick Shanahan, David Friedman, Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner, and many other Neocon-Neoliberal Statists to positions of power.

The interesting dichotomy is that while Donald Trump’s seemingly noble motivation for promoting such rabid characters to positions of power was to project the image of a mighty US, in fact he achieved precisely the opposite effect.  In all foreign theaters where the US military operates, the continuation of Obama’s Statist foreign policy (by the current regime) has proven ineffectual, damaging, and costly*.

Besides the expected strangeness of Trump’s rise to power — since he is not a professional politician and due to the damaging Neoliberal ‘cause celebre’ of Russiagate — there is an even greater vacuum with regard to US power in the Middle East and Asia, due to changes in cabinet and unfilled – or badly filled – positions at State.

Of course, Donald Trump cannot be wholly blamed for the foreign policy pickle that the United States currently finds itself in, the troubles really began with the Iraq debacle. That ill-use of power (both overt and covert) continued right through the Obama years, with the advent of the ‘Arab Spring’ (or nightmare) to the present.

So let’s look at several theaters individually, see how they have developed, and why the United States is either ineffectual, or maintains a supremely malign influence by its presence there.


The weakness of the United States is most dramatically illustrated here by its failure to negotiate any peace agreement at all in the Middle East (readers may disagree but check Oslo and Camp David results and facts first) where Israel v Palestine represents that signal failure.

The United States has never been an ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East, manifestly underlined today by Palestinian rejection – in advance – of Kushner’s economic plan, a plan devised with no participation by the Palestinian people or by its leaders.

Similar to the Venezuelan attempted coup listed below, the most shocking fact is that Imperial Hubris in US State is so vast, US leaders believe people “assisted” by their plans must have zero involvement in their creation.

Significant too is US ignorance that a political peace plan is needed for Palestine first, before an economic one. By presenting the ‘economic plan’ first, the US leader’s son takes on the persona of Gordon Gecko where only greed is good, and that US-centric greed is especially good.

Instead of being an ‘honest broker’ for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, the US can only act as a treacherous and duplicitous double-dealer, just as it acted with the JCPOA and that is no hallmark of strength.  Can we say that rendering on to Caesar that which is Caesar’s is now the sole foreign policy mandate pushed by US State? Bottom line, the US is as powerless to effect peace in the Middle East as it has ever been.


Next consider Syria, because the conflict there represents the dichotomy as written about above, where the US wishes to appear strong and moral, but has instead proven itself to be weak and amoral.

The Israeli-US coordinated push for regime change in Syria has been in effect since 2011, and the mysterious origin of Trump’s announcement last year about withdrawal from Syria highlights that policy confusion. Whether Trump was attempting to act on his own or on the advice of CentCom (most unlikely) or even the General Accounting Office, the withdrawal announcement illustrates a remarkable lack of policy coordination and control.  That is not to criticize a US withdrawal in Syria, only to highlight the confused state of US foreign policy.

Now against the Syrian government’s will, the US hosts air power (Manbij) to protect the SDF (Kurds) in the north, and in the south to protect the NLF and other takfiri terror forces, a policy of deliberate ambiguity. That’s because the US has vowed to defeat ISIS in Syria while doing nothing at all in that regard. Instead, the US arms and supplies HTS and the NLF terror factions (by proxy) only to pursue a policy of destabilization to effect Syrian regime change.

Meanwhile only Syrian security forces assisted by Russia and Iran control the battle versus HTS and NLF terrorists, while the goal of the United States is to protect takfiri militias in the countryside. Thus, the US operates a duplicitous double standard and hopes to bog down its partner Russia in Syria.  Whether Trump is simply disinterested and leaves Syria policy matters to his National Security Advisor is unknown, but that is not a sign of strength.

Significant too is the US inability and unwillingness to contain Turkey in Syria, where Turkey is a major supporter of the NLF National Liberation Front terror group. Again the reason is that Israel – and thus the US — seek regime change in Syria, and do not seek peace or any humanitarian aim there.

The major point is that the US predilection is for war for profit, with no humanitarian or moral ground for its presence in Syria (or anywhere else) which renders the US weak and amoral, no better than the worst bad actor in the region.


In line with his idea of “Making America Great Again” — instead of making America strong again — and at the urging of his major donors, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA.  But instead of projecting strength that way, Trump’s withdrawal actually places the US in a very precarious position. First, such a move highlights the ultimate power that Israel maintains over the United States, and shifts the appearance of strength to Israel – not to the US. Second, Trump places the power of US sanctions in jeopardy since they may be evaded, and there is no doubt that Iran will evade them. Third, the US drives Iran closer to China and Russia, and challenges US hegemony in that regard, where Iran has multiple opportunities to make the US look weak, foolish, and ineffectual.

It is the US leadership which has taken all major steps toward war and aggression in Iran, whether by supporting the MEK, by making hollow vacuous threats, or by imposing ever greater sanctions. That does not project strength – only duplicity, weakness, and hubris.

In previous articles too we have explored the impossibility of a US attack on Iran, and Donald Trump himself has implicitly admitted to the impossibility of such US aggression.  With three recent false flags reported near the Strait of Hormuz, it is most likely that the Trump regime has approached Israel or Saudi — depending on the perpetrator — and instructed their covert services to stop.  Should either decide to ignore that warning and perpetrate another false flag at their peril, a resultant war will again cast the US in light of being a Warfare State – not a strong and moral state — and embroil the US in another costly and dangerous Middle Eastern war.

It is clear to the rest of the world too that the US is targeting Iran for its gold and oil, and not for any reason pertaining to nuclear ambitions. By withdrawing unilaterally from the JCPOA, the US has given Iran multiple opportunities to taunt the US, and Europe, and to remind the world that it is the US at the behest of Israel who jettisoned the agreement, and that the US is the duplicitous party here – not Iran.

Barring any false flag, all the US can do is sit and wait, and can’t even subsidize a new false flag, since the result for the US would be far more horrific than any conflict it has experienced since Vietnam. In other words, the United States is as hamstrung on Iran as it is anywhere else, regardless of military might or weaponization of the US dollar… the US is overall, powerless to effect events proactively.


The United States initiated the collapse of Libya and engineered its status as a Failed State, and as in Iraq, the US has done little else. Once again, Turkey is literally calling the shots now in western Libya -not the GNA. Via Ukrainian arms suppliers, Turkey just provided a massive load of weaponry to Misrata/GNA forces in the west, certain to prolong the chaos in Libya.

The power vacuum and chaos in Libya makes the US look bad because everyone knows the US did it, and currently because the US has absolutely no influence or control in Libya to undo it. That is, other than to sell weaponry to all sides, supplied via the United Arab Emirates.

Even so, Libya possesses great oil wealth, something that should be considered. But because the US is now a major oil supplier, the US can ignore Libya’s oil wealth, not to mention any humanitarian considerations there. While the United nations has called for a ceasefire in Libya, the US has been silent on the matter, another indication of weakness.

Perhaps that is the greatest lesson of all – that any US intervention in a foreign sovereign nation since World War 2 has always led to failure, to disappointment, and tragedy; not just for that nation, but for the US too. It is by this legacy that the US is as impotent to operate in Libya as it is anywhere else, and is reduced to selling weaponry to the warring factions.


Ruled by a ‘ruthless dictator’ or not (sounds familiar) the recent US attempted coup in Venezuela was about oil and gold – not about “human rights”.  Venezuela produces a type of oil usually refined in the southern United States (until sanctioned) and Venezuela possesses a significant amount of gold.  Gold is extremely important to the international carry trade, and operations of the Primary Dealers and sovereigns, who rely on gold for major trade deals in currency, finance and even weapons. Real gold — not the fake Wall Street stuff — underlines far more in world trade than commonly known or acknowledged, where the golden rule is that he who has the gold rules. So, we return to the point that despite the rhetoric and bluster about Venezuelan “human rights” and “democracy” coming from US State, it’s pretty clear what the real game is.

Furthermore, the United States appointed a CIA hack of a bureaucrat in the form of Kimberly Breier to mind the US-selected candidate, in a coup operation that backfired badly. The true Deep State apparatus proves again that the United States is weak, incompetent, and ineffectual.  Not that it matters.  What really matters is that the US only pursues an agenda of greed and hubris, while imposing sanctions that warp time and space with regard to any idea that the US supports human rights or any humanitarian goal in Venezuela. That’s real weakness on the part of the US.

North Korea

The US leadership’s performance has provided North Korea with a unique opportunity. At the first sign of geopolitical trouble, or for any reason at all, Kim can simply fire off another rocket or two, and the US inability to act will be made apparent. Seriously, the United States has never had a consistent North Korea policy, other than sanctioning the country, while North Korea is quite happy to do business with China anyway.

Taking into account the entire history and existence of North Korea, there is perhaps no better example regarding US weakness. The US is powerless to act in the face of North Korea’s nuclear advantage, because North Korea understands what Saddam did not: that if you really do have nuclear weapons, the United States will shake your hand instead of attacking you.

Briefly, the US regime’s idea is not to do what is right, moral, or just in pursuit of peace, but only the opposite for profit. Even if a push for general disarmament globally were in US State’s best interest long term, short term profit is what drives the department. Essentially the United States is now only about showmanship – not Statesmanship.


China is a great example regarding the US inability to act. The US picked a trade fight with a formidable foe, and in truth this is a trade battle the US cannot “win”. That’s because any mercantilist match between the US and China will go to the top mercantilist and that is China, since the US gave away its trade advantage long ago.  One example is the US license to China with regard to China’s import of Iranian oil.  The US is unable to sanction China for importing Iran’s oil, and to save face issued a special waiver.

By initiating this trade war, the US has presented China with a real opportunity, too. The country can simply bide its time and wait as US tariffs lead to alarming and dangerous enforced inflation within the United States; and as the pain grows, the US will be forced to settle, in yet another sign of weakness. The tariff’s induced price inflation and resultant pain will eventually represent the unintended consequence of “making America great again”.


Despite touting better relations with Russia during his campaign – a Trump mantra that obviously sat well with voters – due to the Russiagate hoax, the US now leverages more sanctions versus Russia than it has at any other time. While the impact is not insignificant and has caused the ruble to fall versus other currencies, the weaker ruble has stimulated domestic manufacturing and increased exports, while the ruble has held steady in market value for several years now.

Of course the US-engineered coup on the Maidan was perhaps the most significant foreign policy achievement for the US in recent years. But the Russian Federation did subsequently realize the return of the Crimea – lost to it since 1954 – and also the Donbass, even if that region is still in dispute. The US has of course objected to what it calls the “annexation of the Crimea” – which is not a true representation – and the conflict in the Donbass, but is absolutely powerless to affect any influence there.

As for US sanctions, they only prompt their targets to discover ways around them, to further erode the influence of the US dollar and to further blunt US foreign influence.


Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and there is no sign that it will end any time soon. Lurching aimlessly from one ghostly or ghastly encounter to the next (and ultimately pointless) the US military has no real direction.  Even the Mother of All Bombs failed to make any impact. Perhaps the US Army believes that a bomb father is now needed?

Again, rumblings by the US leader have expressed an interest in pulling the US military out of Afghanistan, but there is no real sign that the US will ever do so. More indecision, confusion, inability to act. We must draw the inference that external forces are just too deep and too complex for the US leadership to cope with, so let’s leave it for another day. The great example of America’s inability to act effectively and the waning of its former power is exemplified by America’s own acts, not by any others.

One of Trump’s top donors, a hedge fund manager named Paul Singer, once said, “Stability is not the way of the world.” The current regime is now the very incarnation of that statement. And as world instability grows in the face of US-inspired world destabilization, those words will ring true one day, in every ear. And as US power wanes in the face of its own destabilization by its own foreign policy, all that remains is tragic irony.

*Even if the US Central Bank can freely print $85B USD per month as it did during POMO, there are limits to the depth of this financial well!

Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: the Road to War” (Sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (Sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Federal Reserve: Out-sourcing the Monetary System to the Money Trust Oligarchs Since 1913”; Steve is an antiwar activist, and a published scholar on the US monetary system.

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