Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Intelligence sharing brouhaha has more to do with protecting Israel By The Wayne Madsen Report

Intelligence sharing brouhaha has more to do with protecting Israel
By The Wayne Madsen Report
Official Washington was all aflutter in the late afternoon of May 15 with news that President Trump shared "highly-sensitive" intelligence from a "close Middle East ally" with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak.

The National Security Council and other White House staff requested The Washington PostNew York Times, and other press outlets not to provide details of the intelligence Trump is said to have shared with his Russian visitors.

However, in a tweet sent on May 16, Trump wrote: ""As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism."

What was learned was that Israel provided the United States with intelligence on a planned terrorist attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The U.S. Intelligence Community then slapped the intelligence with a sensitive compartmented intelligence code word, restricting it from wide access within the intelligence community.

Details of the ISIL terror plan had already leaked out and it was pretty much in plain sight. Apparently, the Israelis had a mole inside an ISIL bomb making unit located in a Syrian town still occupied by the terrorist group. The Israeli agent reported that he had witnessed ISIL constructing bombs in laptop computers. That intelligence was used as justification by the Trump administration to order the Transportation Security Administration to ban laptop computers from passenger cabins on flight to the United States originating from specific Middle Eastern airports. That ban has now been extended to U.S.-bound flights from Europe. Passengers with laptops are required to check them with their baggage.

The top secret intelligence Trump shared with Russians was about bombs in laptops.

In 2015, ISIL placed an online advertisement looking for bomb makers to travel to Syria and join the group. The advert was run by British ISIL operative Abu Sa’eed Al-Britani, whose actual name is Omar Hussain. It is ISIL-related online items like these that are "discovered" by the Israeli intelligence-linked Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE), which is run from Washington, DC, and run as "news" by the major media.

Israel and its supporters in the United States are livid about Trump sharing the intelligence with the Russians. National security adviser H. R. McMaster and his deputy Dina Powell are insisting the report about Trump blabbing to the Russians is not true. Yet, they also asked the media not to publish details about the story.

The reason for Israel's and its supporters' angst about the intelligence disclosure is that this is yet another example of Israel's rather close relationship with ISIL, a group that has murdered Americans; Middle East Christians, Shi'as, Alawites, moderate Sunnis, and Yazidis; and nationals of American allies. The fact that Israeli intelligence could place an informant so close to an ISIL bomb making operation is testimony to the Israel-ISIL relationship.

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that last November, ISIL "apologized" to the Israeli Defense Force after an ISIL unit exchanged fire with the IDF "by mistake." The Israelis are reticent about reporting cases of "friendly fire" between its military and ISIL.

Although it is not known in what Syrian town the laptop bomb making factory is located, it is reasonable to believe that it is close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in southwestern Syria. Wounded ISIL fighters have been transported to Israel over the 1974 Syria-Israel cease fire "Disengagement Line" in the Golan region for medical treatment and the Golan-Syria "border" has served as a practical meeting point between the Israelis and the Islamic State. Israeli logistics aid, including ISIL flags, has also been supplied to ISIL by the Israelis across the Golan armistice line. The Israeli-ISIL cooperation in Golan makes it a much easier location from which to slip Mossad agents into ISIL ranks.

As for Russia learning about the Israeli intelligence on ISIL, they likely already knew about it. The relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin is much closer than that between Putin and Trump. Since Russian airlines fly numerous routes to the Middle East, including Israel, it is inconceivable that Israel had not already informed Moscow about the laptop bomb plot. 

Trump's "Russian" ties are with the "Red Kosher Nostra," not the Kremlin By The Wayne Madsen Report

Trump's "Russian" ties are with the "Red Kosher Nostra," not the Kremlin
By The Wayne Madsen Report
Donald Trump has solid criminal links. Donald Trump also used foreign money to help finance his almost-broke presidential campaign in the mid-summer of 2016. Foreign hackers did penetrate the computers of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. However, none of these events were connected to the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin. Any suggestion to the contrary is an attempt to whitewash the roles of what can be called the "Red Kosher Nostra" -- billionaire oligarchs from the collapsed Soviet Union, all Jewish or claiming to be Jewish, who are linked to the business activities of both the Trump Organization and the Kushner Companies.

The Western corporate media has been misrepresenting this important fact by coming up with diversionary throw-away phrases like "Russian hackers," "Putin's agents," "Russian cyber warfare," and other terms meant to be pejorative toward Russia. Nowhere in the din of corporate propaganda about Trump's criminal connections is heard "Russian-Israeli," "Ukrainian-Israel," "Uzbek-Israeli," "Bashkir-Israeli," "Kazakh-Israeli," or "Kyrgyz-Israeli," yet billionaire gangsters and tycoons hailing from the republics of the former Soviet Union dominate Donald Trump's and his son-in-law Jared Kushner's business empires. For the media to fail to mention the nature of the Trump/Kushner-connected eastern European  mafia as being Jewish is as disingenuous as the media failing to recognize the Sinaloa and Los Zetas drug cartels as Mexican; the Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and 'Ndrangheta as Italian, the Yakuza as Japanese, and the Crips and the Bloods gangs as primarily African-American.
Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey primarily because Comey asked for additional resources from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to beef up the FBI's "follow-the-money" investigation of the Trump campaign. The FBI's receipt of data from the Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) regarding the money laundering involving Trump and Kushner businesses, accounts maintained by the Bank of Cyprus, HSBC, Bank Hapoalim of Israel, and other banks, and the Trump presidential campaign are what lie at the heart of the FBI's investigation of Trump. The FBI is reportedly focused on Trump's associates' financial dealings with banks in Cyprus. As with previous political scandals, including Watergate and Iran-contra, most of the perpetrators were caught when federal investigators began to "follow-the-money."

WMR has counted at least eight past and current separate FBI investigations involving those close to Trump, including members of his own family, as well as that of Trump's close adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Among the criminal investigations involving Trump associates were those prosecuted by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was fired by Trump after the sacking of acting Attorney General Sally Yates. While Yates was the Deputy Attorney General from 2015 to her sacking by Trump on January 30, 2017, she was also involved in criminal cases targeting Trump business associates in the shady underworld of the Red Kosher Nostra.

Among the federal and a few state crimes for which Trump/Kushner associates have either been convicted or investigated are wire fraud, extortion, money laundering, bribery and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, first degree assault, homicide, obstruction of justice, smuggling, racketeering, tax evasion, prostitution, and illegal gambling.

The complex nature of the network and sub-networks of criminal syndicates doing business with the Trump family and/or the Kushners would have necessitated Comey to ask for more resources for the FBI to pursue the Trump/Kushner connection to the money laundering operations that helped finance the Trump campaign. These criminal syndicates involve secret bank accounts, offshore tax havens, and dummy corporations.

Felix the Trump consigliere

Although there are a multitude of gateways from the Trump Organization to the world of organized crime, one of the major links is that of Trump Organization figure and Bayrock Group LLC senior adviser Felix Sater, aka Felix Sheferovsky. Imprisoned for a year in 1991 for breaking a margarita glass in a midtown Manhattan bar and stabbing another bar patron, a crime of first degree assault, seven years later Sater pleaded guilty to a penny stock pump and dump scheme. Sater's 1998 trial involved his White Rock Partners LLC. In a deal in which Sater pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud charges, U.S. Attorney for Brooklyn Loretta Lynch sealed for ten years the court records on case in return for Sater becoming a federal informant. Sater has close ties to Donald Trump's top attorney, Michael Cohen.

Bayrock Group's owner is Tevfik Arik, a national of Kazakhstan and a former Soviet official. In 2010, Arik was arrested in Turkey for running a prostitution ring.

The Trump-Kushner global criminal syndicate
Although Arik claims not to be Jewish, he has donated handsomely to the Chabad House of Port Washington, New York. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have affiliated with a Chabad synagogue in Washington, DC. Jared's father and mother, Charles and Seryl Kushner, have donated $342,500 to Chabad institutions over the years. In 2005, Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering and spent a year in prison in Montgomery, Alabama. In 2016, Charles Kushner donated $100,000 to Trump's Make America Great Again PAC. Chabad Houses around the world have been identified by law enforcement agencies of providing fronts for organized crime and Israeli espionage.

Trump's criminal sub-syndicates: "K-Trio, Sapir Organization & Chodiev Group

Arik's and Sater's Bayrock Group saw their Icelandic affiliate FL Group amid charges of fraud. Bayrock was a significant investor in the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium complex in Manhattan, a project that was also financed by the "K-Trio" -- the "Kazakhstan Trio" -- of Kazakh-Israeli Alexander Mashkevich, Uzbek-Belgian Patokh Chodiev and Alisan Ibragimov. The K-Trio are principals in the Eurasian National Resources Corporation (ENRC); Alferon Management, which is involved in mining in Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Russia, and other countries; ACCP, a chromium mining company once headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and now owned by the Chinese; and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress (EAJC), a branch of the World Jewish Congress. The K-Trio have been under investigation by the FBI for forgery and money laundering. Mashkevich had a project to develop a "Jewish version" of Al Jazeera, the Arab-owned satellite news network broadcasting from Qatar.

Bayrock was linked as a partner to another business syndicate, the Sapir Organization, headed by Donald and Ivanka Trump's and Jared Kushner's good friends Rotem Rosen and Israeli citizen Alex Sapir.  The Sapir Organization is involved in major hotel projects in New York and around the world, including the Trump Tower in Toronto. Others involved with the Toronto Trump Tower include Uzbek-Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev, accused of trafficking in African "blood diamonds" and Canadian-Russian-Israeli businessman Alexander Shnaider, owner of Talon International Development Inc, and co-owner of Midland Resources Holding Inc. with his partner Ukrainian-Russian billionaire , who is also vice-president of the World Jewish Congress Shnaider's father-in-law is Boris Birshtein, a citizen of Canada, Switzerland, and Israel, who is strongly believed to be a top Mossad operative. Birshstein's firm, Seabeco Group, has been charged with money laundering in Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova. The firm has been at the center of Red Kosher Nostra activities, including the fixing of elections in countries around the world. Birshtein is accused of fraud and money-laundering in Russia, Canada, Belgium and Switzerland and of the theft of gold from the Soviet reserves after the collapse of the USSR. FBI has maintained an investigation of Birshstein's activities for many years.

Chodiev's "Chodiev Group," a member of the K-Trio, was linked to the Uzbek-Israeli billionaire Michael Cherney, aka Chernoy, a billionaire who lives in Israel and is wanted on an Interpol arrest warrant for money laundering and criminal racketeering. Cherney made his fortune in the post-Soviet collapse Russian aluminum market. Together with his brother Lev Cherney and the publicity-shy British metals market billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben, Michael Cherney established the Trans World Group (TWG), Russia's largest company that produced aluminum for customers around the world. The Reuben brothers are investors in Manhattan's famed Plaza Hotel.

TWG was also linked to the businesses of Russian-Jewish aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska owns United Company RUSAL, a major aluminum producer. Major investors in RUSAL include Nathaniel Rothschild and Glencore. In a disclosure from classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents released by Edward Snowden, it was revealed that NSA's Australian partner, the Australian Signals Directorate, was monitoring the communications of the Reuben brothers' large international law firm, Mayer Brown. When it comes upon intercepts of communications involving non-U.S. nationals that is of a criminal nature, the NSA can share that information with the FBI.

Glencore was once owned by the late expatriate U.S. felon Marc Rich, who was pardoned in 2001 by the outgoing President Bill Clinton for his criminal convictions in an eleventh hour deal. Rich's attorney was Scooter Libby, vice president Dick Cheney's adviser who was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to FBI agents in the public exposure of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent.

Among TWG's partners was Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, a former partner of the late Boris Berezovsky. Abramovich, who spends much of his time in Britain and owns the Chelsea Football Club, has been the subject of Russian government investigations for theft, anti-trust, bribery, fraud, and stock manipulation. Berezovsky, who became a bitter opponent of Putin and subsequently offered assistance to him, was found hanging in his English estate in 2013. Berezovsky had previously broken with Abramovich. British police ruled that Berezovsky's suspicious death was a suicide. Berezovsky also owned a condo in the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

TWG owns Global Switch, one of the world's largest carrier-neutral data centers that provided digital telecommunications services to Europe and the Asia-Pacific. What could provide the connectivity for a global group of hackers to penetrate the computer systems of the Democrats and the Clinton campaign and then blame it on the Russian government? You are looking at it with Global Switch.

Along with Interpol, the FBI has investigated the Cherney brothers, along with the "K-Trio." Cherney set up the Intelligence Summit in New York in 2006 and named two former Central Intelligence Agency directors -- James Woolsey and John Deutch -- to the Intelligence Summit's board of advisers. They made their decision after federal law enforcement informed them that Cherney was under investigation as a member of the "Russian mafia." Again, it is the "Red Kosher Nostra," not the Russian mafia, which has been the target of the FBI. The Russian government has more arrest warrants out for the members of the Red Kosher Nostra than does the FBI or Interpol.

The Trump Tower in Manhattan has been a virtual criminal lair for the Red Kosher Nostra. If the tower and its dodgy residents had been wiretapped by the FBI, there was a good reason for it. Owning five condos in the Manhattan tower was ex-con David Bogatin, who the FBI considered to be one of the primary lieutenants of Ukrainian-Jewish crime boss Semion Mogilevich. Bogatin was the founder of the First Commercial Bank of Lublin, Poland, which was involved in major money laundering and other fraudulent operations, including tax evasion and gasoline smuggling.

Owners of Trump Tower condos in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida include Russian gangsters previously investigated by the FBI, including Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall and Ukrainian businessman Peter Kiritchenko, who was involved in money laundering through his Bainfield Company, Ltd. shell corporation in the British Virgin Islands with former Ukrainian Prime Ministers Peter Lazarenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

The "boss of bosses"

It was through Ukrainian intermediaries linked to organized crime that Trump's short-lived presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort could be connected to Ukrainian crime "boss of bosses" Mogilevich. These criminal networks also relied heavily upon money laundering through the Bank of Cyprus, whose vice chairman was Wilbur Ross, Trumps' current Commerce Secretary.

Not only did the FBI have taps on Trump Tower Sunny Isles Beach but, from 2011 to 2013, the FBI was intercepting phone calls and text messages from the Manhattan Trump Tower triplex condo owned by U.S.-Israeli gangster Vadim Trincher, who ran illegal gambling operations with his sons Illya and Eugene Trincher.

One of the key members of the Trincher crime syndicate was Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, aka “Vor,” translated as “Thief-in-Law,” indicted in 2002 for bribing officials of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and remaining a fugitive from U.S. justice.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, none other than Preet Bharara, who Trump fired, the Trincher criminal syndicate, known as the "Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization, ran a major illegal sports betting operation in the United States. Bharara's indictment specified the "Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization (the "Organization") was a criminal enterprise with strong ties to Russia and Ukraine. The enterprise operated a high-stakes, illegal sports gambling business out of New York City that catered primarily to Russian oligarchs living in Ukraine and Russia." In other words, the same tower that Donald Trump called home was the center of a major illegal sports betting operation. Given Trump's own ties to gambling casinos and professional sports, there is little wonder why Trump viewed Bharara and Comey as threats.

Bharara netted a major Red Kosher Nostra criminal gang with his nailing of the Trincher Organization. Among those indicted, in addition to the Trinchers, Sall, and Tokhtakhounov,  were Alexander Zaverukha, Molly Bloom, Noah Siegel, Nicholas Hirsch, Anatoly Shteyngrob, John Jarecki, Arthur Azen, Stan Greenberg, Alexander Katchaloff, Abraham Mosseri, Hillel Nahmad, William Edler, Bryan Zuriff, William Barbalat, Kirill Rapoport, Dmitry Duzhinsky, David Aaron, Moshe Oratz, Peter Feldman, and Ronald Uy. It does not take the FBI to ascertain what these individuals have in common, aside from being involved in illegal bookie operations run partly out of the Trump Tower.

Trump's Manhattan condo owner David Bogatin has other suspicious criminal ties. His crime partner in New York's Howard Beach community in the 1980s was Michael Markovitz, a Romanian Jew who ended up being shot to death in Brooklyn in 1989 after agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, the one from which Loretta Lynch gave a pass to Trump associate Felix Sater, likely maintains a record on the investigation of Markovitz's death after he agreed to help prosecutors nail Bogatin.

Bogatin, via Mogilevich, was linked to two other principal members of the Red Kosher Nostra, both of whom did not live very long to talk about their exploits. One was Vladimir Vinogradov, a Bashkir Jew and the owner and president of Russia's failed Inkombank, which was partially financed by Russian Red Kosher Nostra oligarchs Vladimir Gusinsky, vice president of the World Jewish Congress; Leonid Nevzlin, an Israeli billionaire who was tried in absentia in Russia in 2008 and found guilty of several counts of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to life imprisonment; and former Yukos oil magnate and expatriate Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, convicted and imprisoned in Russia for tax evasion and fraud and released in 2013. Vinogradov died in 2008 at the age of 52 from a stroke.

The other Bogatin associate is Vyacheslav Ivankov, who worked with the Mogilevich gang in Brighton Beach, New York and the Tariel Oniani Georgian Kutaisi gang in the 1990s. In 2009, Ivankov was shot to death in Moscow by a sniper. During the 1990s, Ivankov resided in the Trump Tower and his personal phone book contained the private numbers for top Trump Organization officers.

The Kushner clan

The other side of the Trump White House is the business empire of the Kushner family. It was recently reported that Jared Kushner's sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, tried to woo prospective millionaire Chinese buyers of Kushner family real estate in the New York-New Jersey area with guarantees of receiving EB-5 U.S. visas with a further prospect of U.S.  permanent residency. Of course, Ms. Kushner Meyer stressed her "special contacts" within the Trump administration to Chinese guests at a business conference in Beijing.

The Kushner Companies and Kushner Real Estate Group have a close relationship with Israel's Bank Hapoalim and the large Harel insurance company of Israel. Bank Hapoalim is a chief target of the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel
 for its financial activities on the West Bank.

A Kushner project to redevelop Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood involves the family of Israel's diamond magnate billionaire family. The Kushner deal involves Raz Steinmetz, whose uncle is Beny Steinmetz, the owner Steinmetz Diamond Group and BSG Resources, the latter under an FBI investigation for violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribes paid to officials of the West African Republic of Guinea for mining concessions in that nation. Steinmetz companies also conduct business through a British Virgin Islands shell company called "Rebar LLC."

Ras Steinmetz's brother, Daniel Steinmetz, was involved in business with Jared Kushner through Gaia Investments Corporation of Tel Aviv through an affiliate Gaia JC LLC. After Jared Kushner became a chief adviser to Trump, said to be one of only a few in a Trump "inner circle" that also includes daughter Ivanka Trump, communications specialist Hope Hicks, and Trump "body man" Keith Schiller, the Steinmetz-Kushner firm changed its name to "65 Bay LLC."

Steinmetz is represented in the U.S. by Greenberg Traurig, which came to the public's attention as the firm where convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff hung his shingle, and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. Of course, Dershowitz's name has also come up in the civil suits filed by then-underage Mar-a-Lago "towel girl" Virginia Roberts. Ms. Roberts, now Ms. Giuffre, contended that she was forced to engage in sexual activities at the age of 15 with not only Dershowitz, but his client, close Trump friend and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump's pal, the "fertilizer king"

A recent letter, dated March 8, 2017, and addressed to President Trump from his tax attorneys, Morgan and Lewis of Washington, DC, was intended to silence critics of Trump who contend he is hiding something in his, as of yet, not-fully release tax returns. The letter, with the subject line "Transactions with Russian counterparties reported on your U.S. federal income tax returns, states that Trump only received Russian money from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and the $95 million sale of the 18-bedroom Maison de L'Amitié in Palm Beach, Florida to Russian-Jewish potash-fertilizer billionaire magnate and owner of the AS Monaco football team Dmitry Rybolovlev.

It is noteworthy that Rybolovlev is a minority stake owner in the Bank of Cyprus, which was owned by Trump's Commerce Secretary Ross. Rybolovlev is also no stranger to gangster-like violence. In 1996, Evgeny Panteleymonov, Director of Neftekhimik, a firm partly owned by Rybolovlev, was shot and killed in his home. In May 1996, Rybolovlev was indicted and arrested for the contract killing of his partner Panteleymonov. Rybolovlev was later released after the sole prosecution witness recanted his testimony.

According to golf historian and writer James Dobson, President Trump's son Eric Trump, who has, along with his brother Donald Trump, Jr., assumed control of the activities of the Trump Organization from their father, told the writer in 2013 that the Trumps relied on Russians to financially back Trump golf courses. Dobson quoted Eric Trump as saying, "Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia," adding, "Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time."

Of course, the term "Russia" and "Russian" are merely misstatements that actually mean the Red Kosher Nostra. In another widely reported comment, this one from Donald Trump Jr. at a real estate conference in 2008, the president's son allegedly said, "And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." But as discovered by WMR's investigation, "SoHo's major investors included the Red Kosher Nostra figures of the "K-Trio," in addition to the Kushner Companies and the Steinmetz family of Israel. Where are the "Russians" who Donald Trump, Jr. spoke of?

There are reports of possible federal grand juries being empaneled in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington, DC. These grand juries may be on the trail of Trump's true benefactors, but given a recent case in New York, those who believe in the rule of law should not raise their hope.

Bharara was a prime target of the Trump team and their crime syndicate pals

In a case that was vigorously pursued by fired U.S. Attorney Bharara in Manhattan, the U.S. Justice Department, now under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein, has agreed to a settlement with Moscow businessman Denis Katsyv and his hedge fund firm Prevezon Holdings, Ltd. just three days before scheduled jury selection for the trial. Prevezon and its eleven related companies had been charged with money laundering for a criminal network extending from Russia to Moldova and Latvia to New York and Israel. What was at the heart of the money laundering case? You guessed it. the Red Kosher Nostra. Katsyv's partners included his Russian partner Timofey Krit and Israeli businessman Alexander Litvak.

Trump's firing of Yates, Bharara, and Comey had nothing to do with the 2016 election and everything to do with Trump covering for his and the Kushners' friends and business colleagues in the Red Kosher Nostra. Chief presidential strategist Steve Bannon, accused of anti-Semitism, is clever window dressing for an administration that is owned, lock, stock and barrel by the Red Kosher Nostra. As long as Bannon is on the scene, Trump buys off any criticism from his allies in the alt.right movement, including Klan leader David Duke and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. After all, Donald Trump claims he mastered the "art of the deal." Trump's deal has been to blindside the hard right while selling out the United States to the vilest of all crime syndicates.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

UPDATE 1X. There are only a few similarities between Trump scandal and Watergate By The Wayne Madsen Report

UPDATE 1X. There are only a few similarities between Trump scandal and Watergate - By The Wayne Madsen Report
Update 1x. As this story was being published, President Trump created a huge similarity between the scandal surrounding his administration and the Watergate scandal that led to Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. Trump indicated that during a dinner he had with then-FBI director James Comey on January 27, 2016, that Comey's comments to the president may have been "taped" by the Trump White House.

It is not clear where Trump and Comey dined on the evening of January 27. However, whether or not it was in the White House's private dining room in the West Wing, the presence of a clandestine recording system anywhere in the Executive Mansion is very reminiscent of the Oval Office taping system disclosed to the Senate Watergate Committee by White House aide Alexander Butterfield during his testimony on July 16, 1973. It was the contents of the Oval Office tapes about Nixon's obstruction of justice and conspiracy that helped spell the end of his Nixon administration. While it is doubtful that Trump employs an arcane analog taping system in either the Oval Office or the private dining room, there is a possibility that something as common as an iPhone, which is constantly being used by Trump to send out Twitter messages, may have recorded Comey's content. Or, a more sophisticated recording system could have been used by Trump.

Is this Trump's "taping system?"

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, in a mid-day press conference, said Trump's tweet "speaks for itself," adding that had no comment on Trump's tweet about possible "tapes" of the dinner conversation with Comey or two separate phone conversations Trump said he had with the FBI director. In all three conversations, Trump said he asked Comey about any FBI investigations targeting the president and that Comey replied in the negative. Spicer said, "the president has nothing further to add on" Trump's tweet about "tapes." Some legal experts believe that Trump's statement that Comey "better not" leak anything to the press smacks of witness intimidation, since Comey has been formally invited to testify before the Congress.

Trump's tweet indicates that if Comey begins leaking details of his recent firing by Trump, he might face public disclosure of the former FBI director's comments. Comey has indicated through colleagues that he is not worried about Trump's tapes. Comey also indicated that during the dinner conversation, Trump inquired about Comey's willingness to sign a loyalty pledge to the president and whether he was under an FBI investigation over the Trump campaign's Russia links. Comey reportedly said that he told Trump at dinner that while he would not swear to be "loyal," he would be "honest." Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper indicated in an interview with MS-NBC that Comey expressed angst to Clapper prior to Trump's invitation to dinner. In an interview with NBC News, Trump claims it was Comey who requested the dinner with Trump. The only thing consistent so far in the entire emerging constitutional crisis are the repetitive documented lies from Trump.

In another morning tweet on May 12, Trump left open the possibility that he may cancel all future White House press briefings because he feels his own spokespeople are not always perfectly accurate. Nixon's antipathy toward the press is legendary. However, not even Nixon contemplated canceling the White House's daily press briefings as a way to punish the news media.

There are only a few similarities between the current scandal surrounding Donald Trump and the Watergate affair that brought down Richard Nixon. Before highlighting the similarities, it is important to stress one big difference. The corporate media was not full of political hacks, both Democrat and Republican, during Watergate. Today, the three cable news networks constantly feature as commentators and contributors partisan bloviators offering up nothing more than talking points for their own political persuasions. The "reporters" are not digging for scoops but echoing other news reports.

During Watergate, members of the press who reported on the scandal included a number of veterans of war reporting in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. These were unflappable "shoe leather" reporters who plied the halls of main Justice and the favorite DC watering holes for off-duty FBI agents and congressional staffers to get the "back stories" on the Nixon White House. Today, the "talking heads" on the three cable news wastelands are merely repeating "tweets" and each other's viewpoints and opinions.

FBI director Comey first learned of his sacking by Trump while attending a minority recruiting conference being held at the Directors Guild of America building in Hollywood, California. Comey actually discovered he had been fired by reading from a crawl that flashed across a television screen. He first believed it was some sort of prank. Comey huddled with FBI officials before darting off to his FBI jet at Los Angeles International Airport and his flight back to DC. 

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, meanwhile, dispatched FBI agents to seize and seal Comey's office. When Nixon ordered Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox fired on October 20, 1973, his Attorney General, Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelhaus refused to carry out the sacking and resigned. Nixon ordered armed federal agents to seize control of the offices of Cox, Richardson, and Ruckelshaus. However, Richardson and Ruckelshaus were smart enough to remove all Watergate-related files from their offices. 

It is not known whether Comey removed files related to the investigation of Trump and his campaign but it is clear that Trump took advantage of Comey being on the West Coast to make his move in ousting the FBI director. 

A major difference between the Saturday Night Massacre and the Comey sacking is that unlike Sessions and Rosenstein, Richardson and Ruckelshaus were honorable men. The same is not the case for the totally-corrupt Jeff Sessions and the Intelligence Community puppet Rosenstein. Rosenstein is trying to come off as a "good guy" in the emerging scandal surrounding Trump. 

Rosenstein replaced U.S. Attorney for Maryland Thomas DiBiagio, who was among the U.S. Attorneys fired by George W. Bush in January 2005. Bush wanted to clear out any U.S. Attorneys who posed a challenge for his second term. DiBiagio had been pursuing a corruption case against Maryland's GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich, an investigation that linked to the Pamela Martin and Associates sex escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. DiBiagio treated Palfrey as an immunized confidential informant against Ehrlich, members of the Maryland State Police, and Republicans in the Bush administration and Congress. Rosenstein, while he was not pursuing whistleblowers and alleged leakers in the National Security Agency, was burying all the information collected by DiBiagio on Ehrlich, Abramoff, and DiBiagio's assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna, who, in 2003, was found dead in Pennsylvania, stabbed 36 times with his own penknife. Luna's death was ruled a suicide by the Lancaster County coroner.

Rosenstein's job in 2005, as well as today, is to protect certain individuals from wide-ranging investigations of corruption. This political hatchet-man is now attempting to curry favor with members of Congress. Whether or nor Rosenstein helps put a political shiv in Trump's back is too early to ascertain but the combination of Sessions, one of the Senate's most corrupt members, and Rosenstein at Justice will not help move the investigation of Trump and his cronies forward. 

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims that she "heard from a large number of individuals who work at the FBI who said they're very happy with the president's decision"to fire Comey. Given several reports that rank-and-file FBI agents, as well as line attorneys at Main Justice, are fuming over Trump's firing of Comey, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, look for a steady flow of "leaks" coming from "knowledgeable sources" within the Justice Department and the FBI. Leaks from inside the Watergate investigation are what eventually spelled Nixon's doom. Although it was rather "Nixonian" for Trump to fire FBI director Comey, one important difference between then and now is that Nixon never fired FBI director Clarence Kelly. Had he done so, Nixon would have likely left office long before August 1974. Trump's firing of Comey has created an FBI that is hostile to Trump's interests and that could spell disaster for the president.

Another important difference between Trump and Nixon is the underlying criminality of both cases. Nixon was impeached not for the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters by Nixon campaign henchmen, a common burglary, but because of the obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy to cover-up the White House's involvement in the burglary. In essence, it was not the crime but the cover-up that ended the Nixon presidency.

In the case of Trump, the underlying predicate of the cover-up by the White House, is not the investigation of Russian government interference in the 2016 election, but the possibility that illegal foreign money, much of it from private Russian oligarchs acting independently of the Kremlin, flowed into the Trump campaign in mid-2016. Trump, therefore, may be more like Spiro Agnew, Nixon's vice president who was indicted and resigned from office ten days before the Saturday Night Massacre. Agnew pleaded "no contest" to federal charges that he received bundles of cash bribes not only as governor of Maryland but as vice president. 

In Trump's case, his crime may have been to launder money from Russian and other foreign sources through his Trump Organization to his campaign. The word WMR has received from sources in Washington is that the same "follow the money" investigation that helped bring down Nixon and almost brought down Ronald Reagan in the Iran-contra scandal is at play in the Trump campaign scandal. For example, Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, was vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, the nation's largest, that is known to launder large amounts of money for Russian oligarchs who principally reside in Russia and abroad. Some of these oligarchs are dual nationals of Israel, Switzerland, and Britain.

It is of particular interest that after stonewalling for a year on disclosing his federal tax returns, Trump, on the morning of May 12, chose to have his lawyers reveal that for the past ten years Trump's only receipt of funds from Russian sources was income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and $95 million received from the sale of a property to Russian "fertilizer king" magnate and billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2008. The timing of the release of these small tidbits from Trump's last ten years of returns is suspicious.

The revelation about Trump's taxes comes a day after FBI agents -- not from Maryland, but from the FBI's DC field office -- raided the offices of Strategic Campaign Group (SCG) in Annapolis, Maryland. The firm is a Republican campaign consultancy that its president, Kelley Rogers, claims was under investigation for a civil suit filed by a past client, failed 2013 Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. However, that suit was largely settled after SCG's's partner, Conservative Strike Force, agreed to pay the Cuccinelli campaign $85,000. Cuccinelli is now a talking head surrogate for Trump on cable news. The FBI refused to reveal why it raided the Annapolis office. 

The senior adviser for SCG is Dennis Whitfield, a former director of BKSH and Associates. BKSH was formed in 1996 upon the merger of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly with Gold and Liebengood. Paul Manafort and Roger Stone left the newly-formed company. Manafort is reportedly a target of the FBI investigation on foreign money flows into the Trump campaign. Stone is also reportedly a target of the FBI's probe, which apparently includes grand juries now empaneled in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington, DC.

It was Nixon's Commerce Secretary, Maurice Stans, who, as finance chairman for the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) who is believed to have come up with the one million dollars in cash to pay-off the Watergate burglars. Stans was eventually convicted of violating election laws and accepting illegal campaign contributions. If, as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, Ross used the bank to launder Russian oligarch money to the Trump campaign, he could end up being charged as a co-conspirator, as was Stans in Watergate.

Attorney General Sessions appears to have violated his own recusal from the "Russia investigation" by being involved with the firing of Comey. It was the director of Nixon's CREEP, Attorney General John Mitchell, who was one of the chief targets in the Watergate investgation, primarily for obstruction of justice and conspiracy. So far, Sessions's involvement in the Comey firing skirt on the edge of potential obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges.

There is another similarity between Watergate and the Trump scandal. Nixon's political career died as the result of a thousand leaks. Likewise, Trump is looking to be swept away by a deluge of leaks, many from his own White House staff.