Sunday, April 7, 2019

Today's Links

‘An expanded research component could generate better understanding of the drivers (psychological, sociopolitical, cultural and environmental) of those who are susceptible to disinformation. This will allow us to map vulnerable audiences, and build scenario planning models to test the efficiency of different activities to build resilience of those populations over time.’

 

For a full reckoning, America will need an accounting of the evidence used to launch that counterintelligence probe, the unmasking of officials, the leaks, and the likely abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.
The lesson here is this: Be careful what you wish for. Because the questions this special prosecutor has unleashed might yet yield federal criminal indictments. Just not for the people the fantasists of Russian collusion expected." William McGurn

 


 

 

 

1--Fed’s QE Unwind Reaches $535 Billion, Balance Sheet Drops to $3.94 Trillion, Old Autopilot Still Engaged 

 

Then there’s the sinkhole of $1.5 trillion in MBS and $617 billion in Treasuries that mature in over 10 years.

In March, the Fed shed $34 billion in assets, according to the Fed’s balance sheet for the week ended April 3, released this afternoon. This reduced the assets on its balance sheet to $3,936 billion, the lowest since December 2013. Since the beginning of the “balance sheet normalization” process, the Fed has shed $535 billion.

2--Update on the Deepening Housing Bust in Vancouver, Canada 

 

3--“An excessive amount of violence, sexual abuse, and prisoner deaths

Federal report exposes horrific levels of abuse in Alabama prisons

 

While particularly horrific, such conditions are by no means unique. They are repeated in different forms in the prisons of every state, county and city across the United States. More than 2.3 million people are packed like cattle into America’s overflowing system of state and federal prisons, local jails and immigration detention camps. Including those on probation or parole, nearly seven million Americans are caught up in what is absurdly called the “criminal justice system.”

The US accounts for more than one-quarter of the world’s incarcerated population. For every 100,000 residents, there are 698 people in detention. More than 540,000 of those held in jail on any given day have not been convicted of any crime. Many are kept in detention simply because they are too poor pay to pay the median bail of $10,000. Another half a million, one in five inmates, are serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug convictions..

With boundless hypocrisy, Democrats and Republicans proclaim their outrage over alleged human rights violations in whatever country the American ruling class is targeting for regime change or invasion. They proclaim one of the most cruel and unequal societies in the world, where the three richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom half of the population, to be a beacon of democracy to the world.

If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and “humanitarian” military intervention that would resound in the media.

4-- Stefan Halper, spygate?


https://www.foxnews.com/politics/russian-academic-linked-to-flynn-denies-being-spy-says-used-to-smear-him


A veteran of three Republican administrations, Halper joined Cambridge in 2001. From his perch at the stories university, Halper wrote books about American politics and the geopolitical threat that China poses to the West. He also received over $1 million in contracts from the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment to write studies on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

 

5--Halper


On December 17, 2016 Halper grabs the front page of the London Financial Times, announcing that he quit Cambridge Intelligence Seminar ' due to “unacceptable Russian influence on the group”. He described himself as someone REALLY important and influential: 'Stefan Halper, a senior foreign policy adviser at the White House to presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan', but did not mention his connections to the FBI and the CIA. Cambridge Intelligence Seminar is described as 'an academic forum for former practitioners and current researchers of western spycraft' and ' impeccably-credentialed platform' ...' high-level sensitive defence and security topics'.

6--Greetings! We are Anonymous



 Operation ‘Integrity Initiative’, British informational war against all, which the Anonymous exposed last year, has become empiric evidence that the UK secret services intend to use the campaign against the Russians as a cover for fighting any kind of dissent that runs counter to the globalist policy.

Virtually, today it doesn’t really matter whether you are a forward-looking and independent Media outlet or a distinguished professor, since if you don’t stick to the Euro-Atlantic views then you are a part of the propagandist network! Similarly, if your political views stray too far to the right or to the left from neoliberal agenda then you’re an agent of influence!


7--The Primordial Ooze of the Collusion Conspiracy


In Rudy Giuliani’s words “Why did this ever start in the first place?”
 
The primordial ooze for all things Russia began in spring 2016 when the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, through a company called Fusion GPS, hired former MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele to compile a report (“the dossier”) on whatever ties to Russia he could find for Trump.

Steele’s assignment was not to investigate impartially, but to gather dirt aggressively—opposition research, or oppo. He assembled second and third hand stories, then used anonymous sources and Internet chum to purported reveal Trump people roaming about Europe asking various Russians for help, promising sanctions relief, and trading influence for financial deals. Steele also claimed the existence of a “pee tape,” kompromat Putin used to control Trump.

Creating the dossier was only half of Steele’s assignment. The real work was to insert the dossier into American media and intelligence organizations to prevent Trump from winning the election. While only a so-so fiction writer, Steele proved to be a master at running his information operation against America....

But the most productive channel into the FBI was Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, the front company for Steele, having previously done contract work for the CIA. Nellie passed the dossier to her husband, along with her own paid oppo research, so that he could use his credibility at the DOJ to hand-carry the work into the FBI. Bruce Ohr, despite acknowledging it broke all rules of protocol and evidence handling, did just that on July 30, 2016. He stressed to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the material was uncorroborated and had been compiled by Steele, who wanted it used to stop Trump.
The dossier landed in welcoming hands. The FBI immediately opened an unprecedented investigation called Crossfire Hurricane into the Trump campaign....

It sent agents to London to meet Australian ambassador Alexander Downer, who claimed to have evidence George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s junior-level advisers, was talking to Russians about Hillary Clinton’s emails. The FBI’s timing of the new investigation into Trump—only days after they closed their investigation into Clinton’s email server—can be considered a coincidence by those of good heart.
Peter Strzok, the senior FBI agent managing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and Lisa Page, a lawyer on his team (the two were also lovers), purposefully kept investigation details from political appointees at DOJ to the extent that only five people actually knew the full measure of what was going on, ostensibly to prevent leaks...

With a wave of a hand the dossier the FBI warned was partisan bunk was transformed into evidence. Steele himself morphed from paid opposition researcher to paid clandestine source for the FBI, with the fact that he had recently retired from a foreign intelligence service, British or not, ignored. It was all just an excuse to unleash the vast intelligence machine against Trump, the imagined Manchurian Candidate....

Carter Page’s case was more of the same. Page, as a key actor in the Steele dossier, would serve as an early excuse to get FISA surveillance eyes and ears on the Trump campaign. The FBI had a paid CIA asset, University of Cambridge professor and American citizen Stefan A. Halper, contact Page and dangle questions about access to Clinton’s emails.
Halper had earlier been trying separately to entrap Papadopoulos (the professor offered the inexperienced campaign aide $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London to write a white paper about energy), and also met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis in late August, offering his services as an adviser. Clovis declined. Ultimately both Papadopoulos and Page also rebuffed Halper, though both would later encounter a young woman in London claiming to be Halper’s assistant who tried to reinterest the boys....

Though to obtain multiple FISA warrants the FBI characterized him as an “agent of a foreign power,” Carter Page was never charged with anything. Halper dropped off the media’s radar, but is almost certainly a U.S. intelligence asset. He had earlier worked with British intelligence to pay for Michael Flynn to visit the UK. Halper’s main U.S.-based funding source is an internal Pentagon think tank. The Washington Post reported Halper had in the past worked for the CIA directly. Halper was implicated in a 1980s spying scandal in which CIA officials gave inside information on the Carter administration to the Republican Party. Halper also married into a senior CIA official’s family.

It is clear that the FBI was desperately trying to infiltrate Halper into the Trump campaign as part of a full-blown intel operation, recruiting against Trump’s vulnerable junior staff. Even though the recruitment failed, the bits and pieces learned in the process were good enough for government work ...

It is possible to see Russiagate as a political assassination attempt, using law enforcement as the weapon. 

8--Nunes-- criminal referrals


According to Ohr’s congressional testimony, he told top-level FBI officials as early as August or September 2016 that Steele was biased against Trump, that Steele’s work was connected to the Clinton campaign, and that Steele's material was of questionable reliability. Steele himself confirmed that last point in a British court case in which he acknowledged his allegations included unverified information. Yet even after this revelation, intelligence leaders continued to cite the Steele dossier in applications to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page...

It’s now clear that top intelligence officials were perfectly well aware of the dubiousness of the dossier, but they embraced it anyway because it justified actions they wanted to take — turning the full force of our intelligence agencies first against a political candidate and then against a sitting president....

Having extensively investigated this abuse, House Intelligence Committee Republicans will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved in these matters. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future. The men and women of our intelligence community perform an essential service defending American national security, and their ability to carry out their mission cannot be compromised by biased actors who seek to transform the intelligence agencies into weapons of political warfare.
 
 
 



 

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