World and Politics News Review – The World Web News – world-webnews.com – News and Information Service: Review of media reports, editor selected news reading lists and articles, news digests and summaries
THE WEB WORLD TIMES
World and Politics News Review
|Saved Stories – 1. World and Politics|
|November 23, 2017|
A look at the best news photos from around the world.
|Requiem for a Hit Man|
Bodies are piling up on the streets of Kiev, as the military stalemate between Russia and Ukraine devolves into a murky contest of spies and hired guns. The Wall Street Journal caught up with one of them, a Chechen militant with two passports and a string of missions from Georgia to Turkey to Syria. His jailhouse interview sheds new light on the emerging battle.
|U.S. Navy Ends Search for Three Sailors Missing in Plane Crash|
The U.S. Navy said it has ended search-and-rescue operations for three missing sailors, after one of its cargo planes crashed near Japan on Wednesday.
|james b. comey – Google News: The multiplicity of Russian contacts can’t be a coincidence – Washington Post|
james b. comey – Google News
|The multiplicity of Russian contacts cant be a coincidence – The Washington Post|
Opinion A column or article in the Opinions section (in print, this is known as the Editorial Pages).
There has never been a presidential campaign with as many connections to a hostile foreign power as the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Each day brings new revelations of foreign connections — with Russia, Russian cut-outs and/or Russian surrogates.
In addition, Kushner’s New York Observer had a friendly relationship with Julian Assange, as Foreign Policy documented:
|The Past and Present of Trump’s Russia Ties – U.S. News & World Report|
|Author Luke Harding Says Russia-Trump Ties Are ‘Credible’ | Thomas Jefferson Street | US News|
|Арест Керимова удар по Путину|
Ницца, проклятое место место российского сенатора Сулеймана Керимова. Одни несчастья. Сначала авария с Тиной Канделаки. Теперь арест. Наблюдатели полагают, что это прямой удар по Владимиру Путину. Разбираемся с Дмитрием Гудковым, Иваном Стариковым, Сергеем Ежовым и Сергеем Пугачевым.
|Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times|
Felix Sater – Google News
|3:54 PM 11/22/2017 Felix Sater Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York New York Times|
Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times GOP rep: We need a ‘counter’ to Russian disinformation – The Hill Why did Russian social media swarm the digital conversation about Catalan independence? – Washington Post … Continue reading“3:54 PM 11/22/2017 – Felix Sater – Google News: Trump Organization Will Walk Away From Its Struggling SoHo Hotel in New York – New York Times”
|Exclusive: What Trump Really Told Kislyak After Comey Was Canned|
On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting ribbon of shadows that was the Euphrates River. On board, waiting with a professional stillness as they headed into the hostile heart of Syria, were Sayeret Matkal commandos, the Jewish state’s elite counterterrorism force, along with members of the technological unit of the Mossad, its foreign-espionage agency. Their target: an ISIS cell that was racing to get a deadly new weapon thought to have been devised by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi national who was al-Qaeda’s master bombmaker in Yemen.
It was a covert mission whose details were reconstructed for Vanity Fair by two experts on Israeli intelligence operations. It would lead to the unnerving discovery that ISIS terrorists were working on transforming laptop computers into bombs that could pass undetected through airport security. U.S. Homeland Security officials—quickly followed by British authorities—banned passengers traveling from an accusatory list of Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptops and other portable electronic devices larger than a cell phone on arriving planes. It would not be until four tense months later, as foreign airports began to comply with new, stringent American security directives, that the ban would be lifted on an airport-by-airport basis.
In the secretive corridors of the American espionage community, the Israeli mission was praised by knowledgeable officials as a casebook example of a valued ally’s hard-won field intelligence being put to good, arguably even lifesaving, use.
Yet this triumph would be overshadowed by an astonishing conversation in the Oval Office in May, when an intemperate President Trump revealed details about the classified mission to Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, and Sergey I. Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Along with the tempest of far-reaching geopolitical consequences that raged as a result of the president’s disclosure, fresh blood was spilled in his long-running combative relationship with the nation’s clandestine services. Israel—as well as America’s other allies—would rethink its willingness to share raw intelligence, and pretty much the entire Free World was left shaking its collective head in bewilderment as it wondered, not for the first time, what was going on with Trump and Russia. (In fact, Trump’s disturbing choice to hand over highly sensitive intelligence to the Russians is now a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, both before and after the election.) In the hand-wringing aftermath, the entire event became, as is so often the case with spy stories, a tale about trust and betrayal.
And yet, the Israelis cannot say they weren’t warned.
In the American-Israeli intelligence relationship, it is customary for the Mossad station chief and his operatives working under diplomatic cover out of the embassy in Washington to go to the C.I.A.’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters when a meeting is scheduled. This deferential protocol is based on a realistic appraisal of the situation: America is a superpower, and Israel, as one of the country’s senior intelligence officials recently conceded with self-effacing candor, is “a speck of dust in the wind.”
Nevertheless, over the years the Israeli dust has been sprinkled with flecks of pure intel gold. It was back in 1956, when the Cold War was running hot, that Israeli diplomats in Warsaw managed to get their hands on the text of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s top-secret speech to the Twentieth Party Congress in Moscow. Khrushchev’s startling words were a scathing indictment of Stalin’s three decades of oppressive rule, and signalled a huge shift in Soviet dogma—just the sort of invaluable intelligence the C.I.A. was eager to get its hands on. Recognizing the value of what they had, the Israelis quickly delivered the text to U.S. officials. And with this unexpected gift, a mutually beneficial relationship between the resourceful Jewish spies and the American intelligence Leviathan began to take root.
Over the ensuing decades it has expanded into a true working partnership. The two countries have gone as far as to institutionalize their joint spying. The purloined documents released to the press by Edward Snowden, for example, revealed that the N.S.A., the American electronic-intelligence agency that eavesdrops on the world, and Unit 8200, its Israeli counterpart, have an agreement to share the holiest of intelligence holies: raw electronic intercepts. And the two countries inventively worked in tandem, during the administration of George W. Bush and continuing with President Obama, on Operation Olympic Games, creating and disseminating the pernicious computer viruses that succeeded in damaging Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges. American and Israeli spooks have even killed together. In 2008, after President George W. Bush signed off on the operation, the C.I.A. cooperated with agents from the Mossad’s Kidon—the Hebrew word for “bayonet,” an appropriate name for a sharp-edged unit that specializes in what Israeli officials euphemistically call “targeted prevention.” The shared target was Imad Mughniyah, the Hezbollah international operations chief, and any further terrorist acts he’d been planning were quite effectively prevented: Mughniyah was blown to pieces, body parts flying across a Damascus parking lot, as he passed an S.U.V. containing a specially-designed C.I.A. bomb. But like any marriage, the cozy—yet inherently unequal—partnership between the American and Israeli intelligence agencies has had its share of stormy weather. In fact, an irreparable divorce seemed likely in 1985 after it was discovered that Israel was running a very productive agent, Jonathan Pollard, inside U.S. Naval Intelligence. For a difficult period—measured out in years, not months—the American spymasters fumed, and the relationship was more tentative than collaborative.
But spies are by instinct and profession a pragmatic breed, and so by the 1990s the existence of shared enemies, as well as shared threats, worked to foster a reconciliation. Besides, each had something the other needed: Israel had agents buried deep in neighboring Arab countries, producing “HUMINT,” as the jargon of the trade refers to information obtained by human assets. While the U.S. possessed the best technological toys its vast wealth could buy; its “SIGINT,” or signals intelligence, could pick up the chatter in most any souk in the Arab world.
And so by the time of Trump’s election, despite the snarky, rather personal feud between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, the two countries’ spies were back playing their old tricks. Together they were taking on a rogues’ gallery of common villains: al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State. “We are the front line,” a high-ranking Israeli military official bragged to me, “in America’s war on terror.” Over recent months, the U.S. intelligence windfall has been particularly bountiful. Israel, according to sources with access to the activities of the Mossad and Unit 8200, has delivered information about Russia’s interaction with the Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces taking the field in the Syrian civil war. And there is little that gets American military strategists more excited than learning what sort of tactics Russia is employing.
It was against this reassuring backdrop of recent successes and shared history, an Israeli source told Vanity Fair, that a small group of Mossad officers and other Israeli intelligence officials took their seats in a Langley conference room on a January morning just weeks before the inauguration of Donald Trump. The meeting proceeded uneventfully; updates on a variety of ongoing classified operations were dutifully shared. It was only as the meeting was about to break up that an American spymaster solemnly announced there was one more thing: American intelligence agencies had come to believe that Russian president Vladimir Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, he declared without offering further specifics, according to a report in the Israeli press. Israel, the American officials continued, should “be careful” after January 20—the date of Trump’s inauguration. It was possible that sensitive information shared with the White House and the National Security Council could be leaked to the Russians. A moment later the officials added what many of the Israelis had already deduced: it was reasonable to presume that the Kremlin would share some of what they learned with their ally Iran, Israel’s most dangerous adversary.
Currents of alarm and anger raced through those present at the meeting, says the Israeli source, but their superiors in Israel remained unconvinced—no supporting evidence, after all, had been provided—and chose to ignore the prognostication.
The covert mission into the forbidden plains of northern Syria was a “blue and white” undertaking, as Israel, referring to the colors of its flag, calls ops that are carried out solely by agents of the Jewish state.
Yet—and this is an ironclad operational rule—getting agents in and then swiftly out of enemy territory under the protection of the nighttime darkness can be accomplished only if there is sufficient reconnaissance: the units need to know exactly where to strike, what to expect, what might be out there waiting for them in the shadows. For the mission last winter that targeted a cell of terrorist bombers, according to ABC News, citing American officials, the dangerous groundwork was done by an Israeli spy planted deep inside ISIS territory. Whether he was a double agent Israel had either turned or infiltrated into the ISIS cell, or whether he was simply a local who’d happened to stumble upon some provocative information he realized he could sell—those details remain locked in the secret history of the mission.
What is apparent after interviews with intelligence sources both in Israel and the U.S. is that on the night of the infiltration the helicopters carrying the blue-and-white units came down several miles from their target. Two jeeps bearing Syrian Army markings were unloaded, the men hopped in, and, hearts racing, they drove as if it had been the most natural of patrols into the pre-dawn stillness of an enemy city.
“A shadow unit of ghosts” is what the generals of Aman, Israel’s military-intelligence organization, envisioned when they set up Sayeret Matkal. And on this night the soldiers fanned out like ghosts in the shadows, armed and on protective alert, as the Mossad tech agents did their work.
Again, the operational details are sparse, and even contradictory. One source said the actual room where the ISIS cell would meet was spiked, a tiny marvel of a microphone placed where it would never be noticed. Another maintained that an adjacent telephone junction box had been ingeniously manipulated so that every word spoken in a specific location would be overheard.
The sources agree, however, that the teams got in and out that night, and, even before the returning choppers landed back in Israel, it was confirmed to the jubilant operatives that the audio intercept was already up and running.
Now the waiting began. From an antenna-strewn base near the summit of the Golan Heights, on Israel’s border with Syria, listeners from Unit 8200 monitored the transmissions traveling across the ether from the target in northern Syria. Surveillance is a game played long, but after several wasted days 8200’s analysts were starting to suspect that their colleagues had been misinformed, possibly deliberately, by the source in the field. They were beginning to fear that all the risk had been taken without any genuine prospect of reward.
Then what they’d been waiting for was suddenly coming in loud and clear, according to Israeli sources familiar with the operation: it was, as a sullen spy official described it, “a primer in constructing a terror weapon.” With an unemotional precision, an ISIS soldier detailed how to turn a laptop computer into a terror weapon that could pass through airport security and be carried on board a passenger plane. ISIS had obtained a new way to cause airliners to explode suddenly, free-falling from the sky in flames. When the news of this frightening ISIS lecture arrived at Mossad’s headquarters outside Tel Aviv, officials quickly decided to share the field intelligence with their American counterparts. The urgency of the highly classified information trumped any security misgivings. Still, as one senior Israeli military official suggested, the Israeli decision was also egged on by a professional vanity: they wanted their partners in Washington to marvel at the sort of impossible missions they could pull off.
They did. It was a much-admired, as well as appreciated, gift—and it scared the living hell out of the American spymasters who received it.
On the cloudy spring morning of May 10, just an uneasy day after the president’s sudden firing of F.B.I. director James B. Comey, who had been leading the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, a beaming President Trump huddled in the Oval Office with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak.
And, no less improbably, Trump seemed not to notice, or feel restrained by, the unfortunate timing of his conversation with Russian officials who were quite possibly co-conspirators in a plot to undermine the U.S. electoral process. Instead, full of a chummy candor, the president turned to his Russian guests and blithely acknowledged the elephant lurking in the room. “I just fired the head of the F.B.I.,” he said, according to a record of the meeting shared with The New York Times. “He was crazy, a real nut job.” With the sort of gruff pragmatism a Mafia don would use to justify the necessity of a hit, he further explained, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Yet that was only the morning’s perplexing prelude. What had been an unseemly conversation between the president and two high-ranking Russian officials soon turned into something more dangerous.
“I get great intel,” the president suddenly boasted, as prideful as if he were bragging about the amenities at one of his company’s hotels. “I have people brief me on great intel every day.”
He quickly went on to share with representatives of a foreign adversary not only the broad outlines of the plot to turn laptop computers into airborne bombs but also at least one highly classified operational detail—the sort of sensitive, locked-in-the-vault intel that was not shared with even Congress or friendly governments. The president did not name the U.S. partner who had spearheaded the operation. (Journalists, immediately all over the astonishing story, would soon out Israel). But, more problematic, President Trump cavalierly identified the specific city in ISIS-held territory where the threat had been detected.
As for the two Russians, there’s no record of their response. Their silence would be understandable: why interrupt the flow of information? But in their minds, no doubt they were already drafting the cable they’d send to the Kremlin detailing their great espionage coup.
So why? Why did a president who has time after volatile time railed against leakers, who has attacked Hillary Clinton for playing fast and loose with classified information, cozy up to a couple of Russian bigwigs in the Oval Office and breezily offer government secrets?
Any answer is at best conjecture. Yet in the search for an important truth, consider these hypotheses, each of which has its own supporters among past and current members of the U.S. intelligence community.
The first is a bit of armchair psychology. In Trump’s irrepressible way of living in the world, wealth is real only if other people believe you’re rich. If you don’t flaunt it, then you might as well not have it.
So there is the new president, shaky as any bounder might be in the complicated world of international politics, sitting down to a head-to-head with a pair of experienced Russians. How can he impress them? Get them to appreciate that he’s not some lightweight, but rather a genuine player on the world stage?
There’s also the school of thought that the episode is another unfortunate example of Trump’s impressionable worldview being routinely shaped by the last thing he’s heard, be it that morning’s broadcast of Fox & Friends or an intelligence briefing in the Oval Office. As advocates of this theory point out, the president was likely told that one of the issues still on his guests’ minds would be the terrorist explosion back in October 2015 that brought down a Russian passenger plane flying above Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. With that seed planted in the president’s undisciplined mind, it’s a short leap for him to be off and running to the Russians about what he knew about an ISIS scheme to target passenger aircraft.
Yet there is also a more sinister way to connect all the dots. There are some petulant voices in official Washington who insist that the president’s treachery was deliberate, part of his longtime collaboration with the Russians. It is a true believer’s orthodoxy, one which predicts that the meeting will wind up being one more damning count in an indictment that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, will ultimately nail to the White House door.
But, for now, to bolster their still very circumstantial case, they point to a curiosity surrounding the meeting in the Oval Office—U.S. journalists were kept out. And, no less an oddity, the Russian press was allowed in. It was the photographer from TASS, the state-run Russian news agency, who snapped the only shots that documented the occasion for posterity. Or, for that matter, for the grand jury.
But ultimately it is the actions of men, not their motives, that propel history forward. And the president’s reckless disclosure continues to wreak havoc. On one level, the greatest casualty was trust. The president was already waging a perilous verbal war with the U.S. intelligence agencies. His sharing secrets with the Russians has very likely ground whatever remnants of a working relationship had survived into irreparable pieces. “How can the agency continue to provide the White House with intel,” challenged one former operative, “without wondering where it will wind up?” And he added ominously, “Those leaks to The New York Times and The Washington Post about the investigations into Trump and his cohorts is no accident. Trust me: you don’t want to get into a pissing match with a bunch of spooks. This is war.”
And what about America’s vital intelligence relationships with its allies? Former C.I.A. deputy director Michael Morell publicly worried, “Third countries who provide the United States with intelligence information will now have pause.”
In Israel, though, the mood is more than merely wary. “Mr. Netanyahu’s intelligence chiefs . . . are up in arms,” a prominent Israeli journalist insisted in The New York Times. In recent interviews with Israeli intelligence sources the frequently used operative verb was “whiten”—as in “certain units from now on will whiten their reports before passing them on to agencies in America.”
What further exacerbates Israel’s concerns—“keeps me up at night” was how a government spymaster put it—is that if Trump is handing over Israel’s secrets to the Russians, then he just might as well be delivering them to Iran, Russia’s current regional ally. And it is an expansionist Iran, one Israeli after another was determined to point out in the course of discussions, that is arming Hezbollah with sophisticated rockets and weaponry while at the same time becoming an increasingly visible economic and military presence in Syria.
“Trump betrayed us,” said a senior Israeli military official bluntly, his voice stern with reproach. “And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.” Yet while appalled governments are now forced to rethink their tactics in future dealings with a wayward president, there is also the dismaying possibility that a more tangible, and more lethal, consequence has already occurred. “The Russians will undoubtedly try to figure out the source or the method of this information to make sure that it is not also collecting on their activities in Syria—and in trying to do that they could well disrupt the source,” said Michael Morell.
What, then, was the fate of Israel’s agent in Syria? Was the operative exfiltrated to safety? Has he gone to ground in enemy territory? Or was he hunted down and killed? One former Mossad officer with knowledge of the operation and its aftermath will not say. Except to add pointedly, “Whatever happened to him, it’s a hell of price to pay for a president’s mistake.”
CAN WE HELP?
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend a press conference in the White House Rose Garden.
Photo: By Zach Gibson/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, Kushner, President Donald Trump, and Ivanka Trump at the White House.
Photo: By Shealah Craighead/White House/Polaris.
Kushner, Trump, and their children disembark from Air Force One in West Palm Beach.
Photo: From A.P. Images/REX/Shutterstock.
Lebanese delegates and journalists pose for selfies with Trump and Kushner in the Rose Garden.
Photo: By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Trump and Kushner dance at Donald Trump’s “Liberty” Inaugural Ball.
Photo: By Brian Snyder/Reuters.
Kushner whispers to Trump during a welcoming ceremony for her father at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Photo: By Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.
The couple seen arriving with their three children at JFK International Airport, where they boarded Marine One.
Photo: From Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo.
|Stunning Report Shows The CIA Warned Israel That Trump Was A Putin Puppet Who Can’t Be Trusted|
|Trump Investigations – Google Search|
Washington Post–Nov 21, 2017
The military is scrutinizing three Army noncommissioned officers who allegedly broke curfew during Trump’s trip to Vietnam this month, officials …
Army members investigated for misbehavior during Trump trip
New York Daily News–Nov 21, 2017
Newsweek–16 hours ago
Trump’s Son-in-Law ‘Natural’ Target For Russia Probe, Legal … of the National Background Investigations Bureau, Charles Phalen, told a …
Washington Post–Nov 17, 2017
Trump told voters that his opponent in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton, … the Justice Department when it comes to criminal investigations?
Jeff Sessions Should Investigate Hillary Clinton and Trump Dossier …
Newsweek–Nov 13, 2017
Sessions says he knew of ex-Trump aide’s Russia ties, despite …
In-Depth–The Guardian–Nov 14, 2017
The calls for a new Clinton investigation show how Republicans fuel …
In-Depth–Vox–Nov 15, 2017
|Mike Flynn business partner Bijan Kian now subject of Mueller probe|
WASHINGTON — A former business associate of Michael Flynn has become a subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for his role in the failure of Flynn’s former lobbying firm to disclose its work on behalf of foreign governments, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
Federal investigators are zeroing in on Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who was a partner at the now-dissolved Flynn Intel Group, and have questioned multiple witnesses in recent weeks about his lobbying work on behalf of Turkey. The grand jury convened for the investigation will soon have a chance to question some of those witnesses, the sources say.
Mueller’s strategy becoming more clear 1:31
Mueller recently indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates simultaneously. Manafort and Gates have pleaded not guilty. Both Flynn’s and Manafort’s lobbying firms have come under investigation for failing to disclose lobbying work on behalf of foreign governments.
Mueller is leading the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign, which led him to probe the work of Flynn and Manafort, who both served on the Trump campaign and lobbied on behalf of foreign governments without initially disclosing it.
The Flynn Intel Group, managed by Flynn, who was briefly President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, was paid $530,000 for lobbying on behalf of a Netherlands-based firm called Inovo BV, owned by Turkish-American businessman Ekim Alptekin. Months later, the firm filed the required paperwork under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), acknowledging that the work “could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey,” according to the filing.
&amp;amp;lt;img class=”img-responsive img_inline” src=”https://media4.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_47/2236821/171122-flynn-bijan-kian-nowruz-commission-se-317p_5f7cf842ede4cda483a0fe6696e52119.nbcnews-fp-360-360.jpg” alt=”Image: Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the NSA, Bijan Kian, center, and Mike Flynn at the fifth annual Nowruz Commission” title=”Image: Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the NSA, Bijan Kian, center, and Mike Flynn at the fifth annual Nowruz Commission” /&amp;amp;gt;Mueller’s team is interested in Kian’s role in the Inovo contract as well as foreign lobbying efforts that the Flynn Intel Group may have yet to disclose, according to the sources familiar with the investigation. Emails subpoenaed by the Special Counsel’s Office revealed a September 20, 2016, meeting between Kian, Flynn and pro-Russia Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
That meeting has been the subject of prosecutors’ recent questions to witnesses in the case, the three sources said. Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials and advocated to overturn the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill that froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors.
The Flynn Intel Group did not disclose this meeting even after the company retroactively filed as a foreign agent under FARA, which has led to scrutiny by Mueller’s team, two people familiar with the investigation told NBC.
Reuters previously reported that Mueller was interested in Kian, but not that he was a subject of the investigation or that witnesses would be testifying about his actions in front of the grand jury.
&amp;amp;lt;img class=”img-responsive img_inline” src=”https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_47/2236641/171122-bijan-kian-se-103p_4724b2927000f525016388421f6d9be4.nbcnews-fp-360-360.jpg” alt=”Kazakhstan Investment Forum” title=”Kazakhstan Investment Forum” /&amp;amp;gt;Kian previously served as a board member of the Export-Import Bank. He is also a co-founder of the Nowruz Commission, a D.C.-based nonprofit that hosts an opulent annual Nowruz, or Iranian New Year, gala, which Flynn and Alptekin both attended in the past.
NBC News has reported that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation into Flynn and his son Michael G. Flynn. The elder Flynn was fired after just 24 days on the job for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Kian’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Flynn and Rohrabacher did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Special Counsel’s office also did not respond.
|Mueller Probing Pre-Election Flynn Meeting With Pro-Russia Congressman|
WASHINGTON — Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller are questioning witnesses about an alleged September 2016 meeting between Mike Flynn, who later briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a staunch advocate of policies that would help Russia, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News.
The meeting allegedly took place in Washington the evening of Sept. 20, while Flynn was working as an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign. It was arranged by his lobbying firm, the Flynn Intel Group. Also in attendance were Flynn’s business partners, Bijan Kian and Brian McCauley, and Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, the sources said.
Mueller is reviewing emails sent from Flynn Intel Group to Rohrabacher’s congressional staff thanking them for the meeting, according to one of the sources, as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
&amp;amp;lt;img class=”img-responsive img_inline” src=”https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_45/2222071/t002134z_1495422371_rc14935d5ff0_rtrmadp_3_california-politics-rohrabacher_1_8a3e109c8b51a1457b17f9e49fe5dab5.nbcnews-fp-360-360.jpg” alt=”Image: Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia on June 2, 2013.” title=”Image: Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher speaks at a news conference in Moscow, Russia on June 2, 2013.” /&amp;amp;gt;Rohrabacher, a California Republican, has pushed for better relations with Russia, traveled to Moscow to meet with officials and advocated to overturn the Magnitsky Act, the 2012 bill that froze assets of Russian investigators and prosecutors. The sources could not confirm whether Rohrabacher and Flynn discussed U.S. policy towards Russia in the alleged meeting.
The Washington Post reported in May that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also a California Republican, was secretly recorded telling other party members, in what seemed to be a joke, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rohrabacher offered Trump a deal that to protect Julian Assange, creator of WikiLeaks, which released emails damaging to Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election, from legal peril. In return for not prosecuting him for his group’s 2010 leak of State Department emails, Assange would allegedly provide proof that Russia was not the source of the hacked Democratic emails. The intelligence community has pointed to Russia as the secret provider of the email trove to WikiLeaks.
Rohrabacher’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mueller’s interest in the nature of Flynn and Rohrabacher’s discussion marks the first known time a member of Congress could be wrapped into the investigation.
Most of what has been reported about Mueller’s questioning of Flynn’s lobbying work has concerned his efforts on behalf of Turkey. Less is known about his lobbying ties to Russia, though he was paid $45,000 plus expenses for attending a gala in Moscow in December 2015 and being interviewed by RT, the Kremlin-financed cable TV news channel.
&amp;amp;lt;img class=”img-responsive img_inline” src=”https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_29/2009191/170523-mike-flynn-ac-136a_730494d4b4f2bf84e3bb6218e0e1b4c9.nbcnews-fp-360-360.jpg” alt=”Image: Mike Flynn” title=”Image: Mike Flynn” /&amp;amp;gt;Flynn was fired after just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser over misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
Multiple sources have told NBC News that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to lead to an indictment in the investigation into Flynn and his son.
Federal investigators have been probing Flynn’s lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey, including an alleged meeting with senior Turkish officials in December 2016 where he was offered millions of dollars to secure the return of the Turkish president’s chief rival to Turkey and see that a U.S. case against a Turkish national was dismissed.
In a statement, Flynn’s lawyers, led by Robert Kelner, said that “out of respect for the process of the various investigations” regarding the 2016 campaign, they have avoided responding to every “rumor or allegation” in the media. “But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.”
A grand jury impaneled by Mueller is continuing to interview witnesses with knowledge of Flynn’s business activities over the next week, the two sources said.
|Will Mueller Indict Kushner? Trump’s Son-in-Law Natural Target For Russia Probe, Legal Experts Say|
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner’s failure to properly list foreign contacts on his national security clearance forms and his vast financial holdings make him a “natural” target for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, legal experts told Newsweek.
Indeed, while there are no official indications that Kushner is a target of Mueller’s probe, he figures prominently in several exchanges that are known to be of interest to the special counsel’s team.
Kushner had contact with foreign officials during last year’s transition to the White House, at the behest of then President-elect Donald Trump. He also directly worked with data company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks to help organize the damaging Democratic emails the site published. Kushner’s also a member of Trump’s family, had glaring omissions on his security clearance forms, and his potential influence in former FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal makes him an integral player in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga that’s cast a shadow over the administration’s first year in office.
“In the broader context here, one of the main lines of inquiry about Jared Kushner is about the omissions from his national security forms,” Savannah Law School associate professor and former White House associate counsel Andrew Wright told Newsweek Wednesday. “To the extent that he had to revise his S-86 forms…to add foreign contacts that he hadn’t done, that’s going to be a natural source of investigative interest.
“That’s going to then lead the special counsel folks to start looking into that, to all the different contacts he’s had,” added Wright, who worked in the Obama administration.
Kushner and his foreign contacts during the transition have reportedly been the focus of questions by Mueller’s team, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Trump and his administration, including Kushner, have resoundingly denied any collusion with Russia to win the election last year. Trump himself has called Mueller’s probe the greatest “political witch hunt” in the country’s history.
The special counsel’s wide-ranging probe is specifically curious about Kushner’s contacts while a United Nations resolution pertaining to Israel’s occupied settlements was before the General Assembly in December 2016, during the heart of the transition. The resolution passed 14-0, as the Obama administration opted not to use its veto power despite lobbying by the incoming Trump administration and Israel.
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner waits for President Donald Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to speak at a joint statement at the White House on October 23. Kushner is now reportedly the focus of questions by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the Trump-Russia probe.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
To Wright’s point, Kushner’s “multiple attempts” to wrap up his security clearance forms was labeled as unprecedented by the head of the government agency charged with reviewing the forms, Newsweekreported last month.
“I have never seen that level of mistakes,” the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, Charles Phalen, told a House subcommittee during a hearing.
Kushner has since submitted the security clearance forms three times and added an addendum with more than 100 interactions or meetings with foreign contacts, including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, The New York Times reported in July. She was the Kremlin-linked attorney whom Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with at Manhattan’s Trump Tower in June 2016 to possibly obtain political opposition research on Hillary Clinton.
Kushner dismissed the meeting, but the possibility of creating a diplomatic back channel between Trump and Moscow in order to evade detection by U.S. intelligence services—as reported by The Washington Post—only brings extra scrutiny to the omissions on his clearance forms.
“I’m not sure the questions themselves signal an imminent indictment or anything, but I think they are a natural progression when you start looking at someone’s foreign contacts in total,” Wright said.
Mueller’s 12-count indictment of Manafort, which included charges of laundering $75 million through offshore accounts, was written in a way that could be applied to others within Trump’s world.
“I think a number of the counts or theories that you see in the Manafort indictment are translatable to other people within the Trump orbit, and Kushner’s one of them,” Pace Law School associate professor David Dorfman told Newsweek. “The use of real estate transactions to hide money, and possible money laundering, I think is definitely a possibility.”
While drawing similarities in how Kushner and Trump each rose in the real estate world and took over their family’s business, Dorfman noted that the potential for Kushner to lose a prized 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York and his $285 million loan with German financial titan Deutsche Bank makes him potentially vulnerable to Mueller and the Russia probe.
“Supposedly the jurisdiction of the Mueller investigation is collusion with Russians,” Dorfman said. “He’s going get there by first finding and proving substantial financial crimes and failures to report…and put the clamps on these people. And then hopefully, in his mind, someone will crack and say, ‘OK, if you give me leniency on this I’ll tell you the real story about what’s going on between people in the Trump Organization, and Trump himself maybe, and the Russians.’”
|Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that Donald Trump gave away to Russia – The Independent|
|Ynetnews News – Classified Israeli intel Trump disclosed to Russia revealed|
New information on the classified Israeli intelligence US President Donald Trump revealed to Russia has been uncovered, detailing a special operations mission by the IDF special commando unit Sayeret Matkal and the Mossad deep inside Syrian territory, it was reported in the US magazine Vanity Fair.
It was revealed in June that Israeli cyber operators were able to penetrate a small cell of extremist bomb makers in Syria who were working to make explosives resembling laptop batteries capable of bypassing X-ray machines unnoticed.
According to Vanity Fair’s report, the operation—which took place in February—aimed to acquire information on new explosive technology being developed by Ibrahim al-Asiri, an al-Qaeda’s chief bombmaker.
Intelligence for the classified mission, according to an ABC report from American sources, was provided by an Israeli spy who was planted deep within ISIS territory. His life was reportedly put in danger due to Trump’s disclosure.
According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, a Sayeret Matkal commando unit and Mossad tech agents flew two Yasur helicopters over Jordanian territory into Syrian territory.
The helicopters landed a few kilometers from the target, unloaded two jeeps bearing Syrian army insignia, which the Mossad and Sayeret Matkal personnel drove into enemy territory. The details of their operation are scarce, and specifics on how they managed to gather the information is contradictory at times. According to one source, the forces installed a microphone in the room where the ISIS terror cell was to meet, but a second source claimed that the forces had retooled a telephone booth in the meeting area to pick up and transmit surrounding sounds to the IDF Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, which is responsible for collecting signal intelligence and deciphering codes.After a few days of Unit 8200 crews listening at their base in the Golan Heights to the terror cell, there was concern that Israel had been misled by their sources in the field.
Eventually, the unit picked up the voice of an ISIS soldier who described how to turn a laptop into a bomb that can be transferred to airport airfields and board a passenger plane.
When the information reached the Mossad headquarters, officials in the organization decided to share the information with their American counterparts. According to an Israeli military source, the decision to share was also due to professional arrogance stemming from a desire to impress their partners in Washington by the tasks they were able to perform.
According to the magazine, the American espionage community considered the Israeli mission to be a “casebook example” of intelligence gathering of valued information being put to good use.As a result of this information, US officials, followed by the United Kingdom, have banned people from bringing laptops and electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on flights from several Muslim-majority countries.
Only four months later, after the airports adopted the new and tougher US safety regulations, the ban was gradually lifted.
The achievement was then overshadowed when, on May 10, Trump boasted to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak in a White House meeting about the his access to classified information.”I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” Trump reportedly bragged in the White House meeting, going on to brief the two on “code-word information” the US received from Israel which compromised Israel’s sources in enemy territory.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters that Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate.” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted that the allies will continue to have a “deep, meaningful and unprecedented” security relationship.
President Trump himself defended his decision by saying he had an “absolute right” to share information with Moscow.
During a press conference at the White House with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said that his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak was “very successful and will contribute to the war on terrorism.”
|Trump, Brexit and the far right – Google Search|
The Guardian–5 hours ago
In Alt-America, journalist David Neiwert argues that Trump won not because of economic stagnation in the northern midwest, but because a far–right racist movement had been growing since the early 90s, which both enabled Trump’s victory and has been legitimised by it. Neiwert’s narrative begins with the …
Quartz–Nov 21, 2017
EU illegally used the services of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm largely owned by American billionaire Robert Mercer, who backed US president Trump, and until recently owned a stake in far–rightnews organization Breitbart. British elections have a hard spending limit, and there are questions …
Quartz–Nov 21, 2017
This could spell bad news not only for Germany, stuck for months with a weakened, caretaker chancellor, but also for the stability of the European Union. Merkel has been a kingpin in all the bloc’s decisions and a bastion of steadiness in a world roiled by Brexit, Donald Trump, and the rise of populist parties …
Merkel battles turmoil as German coalition talks collapse
International–The Local Germany–Nov 20, 2017
HuffPost–Nov 3, 2017
Trump’s victory, along with the Brexit referendum, also gave Le Pen and other far–right figures a narrative that a populist uprising was going to sweep across Europe during a series of high-profile elections this year. But that narrative never came to fruition, and Le Pen suffered a landslide loss to the centrist …
Bloomberg–Nov 11, 2017
For the British people, World War I has now come to be seen as the supreme tragedy, because far more British lives were lost than in World War II. …. Today, with Brexit, Catalan independence, the tussle over immigrants and open borders, rising popularity of right-wing parties in France, Germany and …
Newsweek–Nov 8, 2017
Thousands of miles away in France, Florian Philippot, then vice president of France’s hard-rightNational Front, was smiling, too. “Their world is collapsing. Ours is being built,” he tweeted. Nigel Farage, Britain’s populist Brexit campaigner, went one better, adding a stop at Trump Tower to his perpetual …
|Trump and Israel – Google Search|
Haaretz–3 hours ago
Trump reportedly passed the intelligence to the Russians without first notifying and discussing the decision with Israeli principals. According to Vanity Fair, this violation of U.S.-Israeli trust implicated the larger Middle East, as Israel assumed Russia would pass this intelligence information to their allies: the …
Revealed: The highly sensitive Israeli intelligence on Isis that …
The Independent–4 hours ago
Trump divulged to Russia details of a daring Israeli raid in Syria …
The Times of Israel–7 hours ago
Report: Trump revealed info on covert Israeli mission in Syria
Arutz Sheva–9 hours ago
Trump may have destabilized the whole Middle East by blurting out …
Raw Story–14 hours ago
Report: Trump told Russian officials of Israeli operation in Syria in May
International–The Jerusalem Post–7 hours ago
Vanity Fair–17 hours ago
On a dark night at the tail end of last winter, just a month after the inauguration of the new American president, an evening when only a sickle moon hung in the Levantine sky, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters flew low across Jordan and then, staying under the radar, veered north toward the twisting …
|trump and far right – Google Search|
The Guardian–5 hours ago
In Alt-America, journalist David Neiwert argues that Trump won not because of economic stagnation in the northern midwest, but because a far–right racist movement had been growing since the early 90s, which both enabled Trump’s victory and has been legitimised by it. Neiwert’s narrative begins with the …
Newsweek–Nov 19, 2017
Trump’s Mar-A-Lago is Losing Palm Beach Elite, Can Only Bring in Far–Right Groups … People are ditching Donald Trump’s Palm Beach resort for a competitor he once ridiculed for getting “the leftovers.” … President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen in Palm Beach, Florida, April 15, 2017.
Why White House aides worry about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago holiday
In-Depth–CNN–Nov 19, 2017
HuffPost–Nov 3, 2017
The far–right leader Le Pen, meanwhile, was one of the first foreign politicians to congratulate Trump on his win. Her rhetoric is often similar to Trump’s on issues such as immigration, and she received Trump’stacit endorsement just before the French vote when he called her the “strongest” candidate on …
Washington Post–Nov 9, 2017
Among those celebrating, though, were members of Europe’s far right. President Trump’s unlikely triumph was, for them, a dramatic repudiation of a liberal status quo they had long reviled. Trump’sright-wing populism was a validation of their own anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ultranationalist agendas.
Newsweek–Nov 8, 2017
As Donald Trump toasted his victory following the U.S. presidential election one year ago, he and his team weren’t the only ones celebrating. Thousands of miles away in France, Florian Philippot, then vice president of France’s hard-right National Front, was smiling, too. “Their world is collapsing. Ours is …
|Alt-America and English Uprising review Trump, Brexit and the far right|
Both David Neiwerts book on the US radical right and Paul Stockers on Brexit argue that economic factors take second place in explaining populismDonald Trump is US president because just under 80,000 people in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin flipped those states his way. Many of his extra voters were working-class white men who had voted for Obama in 2012 and switched because of Trumps pledge to bring jobs back to the rust belt. They may not have liked Obamas liberal policies on gay people and guns, but for them the big issue remained the economy.
But Trump would not have won without the support of three other groups: his gains in suburban and rural counties outweighed Hillary Clintons success in the big cities; despite the reservations of the Republican establishment about his candidacy, Trump retained the partys base, particularly among religious voters (the three times married pussy-grabber won more than 80% of white evangelicals); and he energised a movement of supporters that gained him the Republican nomination, without which he wouldnt have got any votes at all.
|harding collusion – Google Search|
NPR–Nov 21, 2017
The new book “Collusion” is about what the author, my guest Luke Harding, says appears to be an emerging pattern of collusion between Russia, Donald Trump and his campaign. Harding also writes about how Russia appears to have started cultivating Trump back in 1987. The book is based on original …
Vanity Fair–Nov 16, 2017
“Check their values against the money Trump secured via loans,” the former spy said, according to a conversation detailed in Harding’s new book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. “The difference is what’s important.” According to his book, Steele did not …
Christopher Steele believes his dossier on Trump-Russia is 70-90 …
Highly Cited–The Guardian–Nov 15, 2017
HuffPost–Nov 9, 2017
Will Luke Harding’s forthcoming book — Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win—deliver the long sought after conclusive confirmation of collusion? We will find out on November 16th when his book, published by Penguin Random House in the U.S., will be …
Business Insider–Nov 18, 2017
Luke Harding, journalist and author of “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win,” explains why he believes Vladimir Putin may secretly be one of the richest people in the world. Following is a transcript of the video. Luke Harding: My name is Luke Harding.
Raw Story–11 hours ago
Gross asked Luke Harding, author of the new book “Collusion” on President Donald Trump, Russia and the dossier compiled by former MI-6 spy Christopher Steele. “Well, the KGB really forever has been interested in cultivating people, actually, who might be useful contacts for them, identifying targets for …
Publishers Weekly–Nov 6, 2017
Just as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion begins issuing its first indictments, Penguin Random House plans to release Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win by Luke Harding, a book that claims to offer new details on the …
Guardian journalist has book coming on Trump and Russia
ABC News–Nov 6, 2017
MSNBC–Nov 16, 2017
Moscow, summer 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev was in power. Official relations with the West may have softened, but the KGB still assumed all Western embassy workers were spooks. The KGB goons assigned to them were easy to spot. They had a method. Sometimes they pursued targets on foot, sometime in …
New York Times–Nov 14, 2017
Luke Harding, a foreign correspondent for The Guardian, will release “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win” this week, and Michael Wolff is working on “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” an up close look at the current administration based on …
Newsweek–Nov 18, 2017
… with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the firm that commissioned the document, telling lawmakers Friday that Steele did not pay sources for information contained in it. According to Collusion, a new book about Trump’s ties to Russia by Guardian journalist Luke Harding, Steele surmises the document as 70 …
POLITICO Magazine–Nov 19, 2017
It was 1984 and General Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov had a problem. The general occupied one of the KGB’s most exalted posts. He was head of the First Chief Directorate, the prestigious KGB arm responsible for gathering foreign intelligence. Kryuchkov had begun his career with five years at the …
|harding collusion – Google Search|
|Exclusive: Manafort flight records show deeper Kremlin ties than previously known – News & Observer|