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25 March 2017


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Old Microbiologist

EO - You have Credit Unions in the UK just as we have in the US. They are nonprofit and not as susceptible to greed and corruption. Their services are more or less equal to what commercial banks have. We had long standing accounts at BofA which were closed by them arbitrarily and we received a letter to that effect 1 day before they were to be closed making it very difficult (living as expats in Hungary) to open new accounts in the US. Luckily, being retired military, I was able to take advantage of the military credit union servicing the US bases in Italy, opened an account online and wired out all the money all the same day. What was interesting is BofA refused to disclose and cited uS law that they don't have to, why they closed our accounts. They were somewhat substantial as we had just sold our houses in the US and all that cash was sitting still in our checking account. We had been 20 year customers with a platinum level of service so it was an interesting problem. Anyway, we now only have foreign accounts and the Credit Union for our social security payments and to maintain a footprint in the US. We have that burden of FATCA to deal with as well so need the ability to move cash around to ensure our foreign accounts never exceed $10K.

It is ironic as I have been recommending to everyone to close out their accounts with banks and move over to Credit Unions. Without money banks cannot operate and they get most of their cash from regular people who they then abuse. We used to have National Banks in the US which were all non-profit but all are defunct now, in part due to the Keating Savings and Loan scandal (of which McCain was a conspirator yet not convicted). However, my point is there are still options available to bypass the big banks and they are terrified that the people might actually do that.


Larry Johnson is one weird dude. I have been following him since Valery Plame was exposed as a CIA agent by Cheney/Libby. Every time he seems to have a following he turns on them with some new revelation. He pissed me off a few times. But I sort of keep on following him since he does on occasion come up with some interesting stuff that is more or less valid. However, I am very skeptical about this latest revelation -- he has in the past backed some really wacky stuff. On the other hand, the fact that PL respects him must be considered a plus.

He reminds me of that old joke, by some comedian, who refused to join any club that was willing to accept him.

Edward Amame

English Outsider

Again, to be clear. These are reasons that IMO, the FBI was likely taking a close look at Donald Trump pre-election, not for spy stuff. And again because he was beginning to look like the GOP nominee for pres.

To answer your question, white collar crime in the U.S. is tough to prosecute. In the case of Trump Soho (one of Trump's deals that also involved Sater) there was a criminal investigation. Buyers of units there claimed that they'd been defrauded by Trump, his children and others. Trump settled that case and paid back the deposits. The settlement agreement said buyers couldn’t cooperate with the Manhattan DA. Interesting, huh?

As noted in the report, there is the Kriss lawsuit which may take a few more years to unwind.

According to Wayne Barrett, Trump could have been jailed based on the fraud financials he used to get loans for Trump Palace in Atlantic City but the amounts involved made him too big to jail.


There are two issues - both used for damaging Trump:

1. Flynn sells out to Israeli(?) interests of gas transport to Turkey (onto Europe). There is evidence for these claims. Part of that is sending (CIA asset) Gülen back to Turkey. CIA (and FBI) "wiretap" Flynn and block that. The wiretaps are circulated to be used against Trump.

2. The DNC "hack" by "the Russians" which is used to explain the failed Democratic program and campaign. There is no evidence for these claims.
It is a different interest that is driving that campaign. Having/keeping Russia as "the enemy" is important to the weapon industry, some oil and gas companies and a general NATO concern. Here the Brits are involved.

Cold War Zoomie

"GCHQ was the first agency to warn the United States government that Russia was hacking Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign."

(/i)This does not prove GCHQ collects on US citizens in the USA.

One plausible explanation is that the hacked DNC server's exfil traffic from the USA was captured in one of GCHQ's collection points overseas while in transit to a mutual Russian target. Then the Brits shared this fact with NSA via normal reporting channels since it was a mutual target. NSA would not have known this because: 1) the DNC exfil traffic originated in the USA so NSA did not specifically look for it; 2) the traffic then flowed through a GCHQ collection point overseas rather than a NSA point.

As for collecting on IRA supporters from the USA, that traffic would have been easily intercepted entering Ireland. Let's not forget that the IRA was a terrorist organization so the Brits had every right to collect on them.

ex-PFC Chuck

Ending italics here?


All Rep. Nunes comments are prefaced with a form of 'may have been....'

-The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know "for sure" whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president’s wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson.

"He said he'll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure," a spokesperson for Nunes said Thursday. Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team executive committee.-





I am curious as to where you think the anti-Trump jihad should end. Should it end in removal of the 45th president of the US? Should it end in removal of both Trump and Pence because they were illegitimately elected as agents of a foreign power? pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Ghostship left an un-closed italic code in his comment, so at the time I looked at everything else below it was in italics as well. I put the closure code between the words "italics" and "here" in my reply to his comment and, sure enough, that switched the text back to non-italic. I'd put the code in this comment but it either wouldn't show up and/or do something unpredictable. So I didn't.


Recall that the Director of GCHQ resigned a couple days after Trump became President. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38723040 For family reasons.



looks like Putin is having his own problems at home


to ensure our foreign accounts never exceed $10K

considering English Outsider's for me smearing-by-association response in a nutshell "we are all implicated this" bit of course is interesting. Basically I agree, we are all involved more or less. The point being some more, necessarily, some less.

But without really wanting to delve to deeply into matters: to what extend did $10 K rule drive software developers creative energy to split money flows up to remain below target splitting it up to flow beneath the legal catch net channels? (kidding) ...

I should return to urgent tasks thus don't have much time.

Credit union? How are they related to Cooperative Banking?


i have to admit that I was quite interested more then a decade ago in a load of documents available freely on the web tracing money flows from Russia to the US. No doubt a multitude of banks close to everywhere seemed to be involved ...

A lot of other things on my mind in this context, some close to home, but I leave it at that.


What's amazing to me is that, of all the things that they could get Trump for, the focus is on Russia! I mean, give me a break. This is Trump we're talking about. When you think choir boy, Trump is the last person who comes to mind. There has to be rotten stuff everywhere. But it's Russia 24/7.

Apparently some types of criminality is more worthy of investigation than others? Is that because associating with Russia is inherently more evil? Or could it be that Trump has the goods on many other highly respected figures...because he dealt with them regularly?

Russia may be the safest way to attack Trump, because this is where he has the least power to counterattack.


I agree. I think the reason that the establishment has so visciously attacked Trump, is because they have fear of exposure about something. What that is, I can only speculate.

Bill H

I'm not sure the left/Borg is capable of thinking that far ahead, or coherently at all for that matter. I think they are reacting viscerally to their loss with no thought to the consequences. They want to discredit Trump and give no thought to the impact of discrediting the election in order to do so. I am rather horrified by the whole affair.


There is no removing Trump. The chance of him colluding or any (other legal term they opt for) are zero to non. The man doesn't do details - he is a figure head that gives cover to underlings to deal with the nitty gritty. When he says ‘I didn’t know’ - he really doesn’t know, his underlings handle it all.

The anti-trump jihad might manage to remove the more extreme political players/advisers around him while the state apparatus removes the corrupt toadies (Flynn etal.)
This effort will refocus on rebuilding and powering the other legal levers of government to oppose the more radical agenda items. Look for empowerment of state rights, independent agencies and public policy campaigns, then grass roots election drives of social populists.

Pres. Trump will veer left to middle ground after the rightwing fantasies have exploded (as AHCA just did). His 'party' is splintering b/c their unifying theme of 'NO' isn't a public policy.

His playbook (the Art of the Deal) is public knowledge and has just been used against him by freedom caucus.
Others have and will use the playbook to pamper or tailor the pitch to his liking and lead him to their desired result. These pitches only need be broad outlines - he doesn’t do details.

Look to Mayor Bloomberg's run in office as an elected Conservative who is actually a middle road liberal democrat. Both men are similar in background, though one is strong on details, the other on persona. Both immersed in judeo-christian liberal values. Trump’s right hand couple (Kushner & Ivanka) have opted to live the social communal life of the orthodox jewish community. These values are extremely social, community good is prioritized over the individual. There is none of the ‘rugged individualism’ of the american west dream.

Trump has the Persona power to drag the centrist-right NO vote (populist emotional) to bargain with centrist left (populist rational/compassionate) on jobs/wall, tax/distribution etc... for the better good, thus returning the extremist to the extreme.
Trump has the golden ability to spin the ‘spinners’ and turn right to left and vice versa. He will get there (eventually) for the ‘win’

ex-PFC Chuck

Off this particular topic, but I just saw the link to this article in a comment thread at Naked Capitalism. Headline: "Islamic State orders evacuation of Raqqa amid dam collapse fears"



Thankyou for fixing that.

Larry Kart

Good question.

IMO removal of Trump and Pence, barring iron-clad evidence of, at this point, more or less unimaginable crimes against the state, etc. on their part, would be a dangerously destabilizing political disaster -- and even if there were such evidence, their removal probably still would be a dangerously destabilizing political disaster. I think the only ways to deal with this, if one is on the "other" side, are through the normal electoral process -- the mid-term elections and the elections of 2020.

Further -- and no one, I believe, knows how any of this is going to turn out down the road -- the current failure to overturn Obamacare more than suggests that the Trump administration and the congressional GOP (not at all one thing in my view) have significant problems when it comes to actually governing. The administration in large part because Trump doesn't do detail and perhaps doesn't care to listen to anyone in his inner circle who does make that attempt; the GOP congress because, in addition to the existence of the seemingly unfazed Freedom Caucus, the Obama years pretty much left the whole congressional GOP, from the leadership on down, with only two basic modes/habits of operation -- opposing the policies of the man who sat in the White House and posing to one's constituents.

After the vote on the American Healthcare Act was pulled, one GOP representative (details if you wish) was asked how the GOP House could have voted almost unanimously against Obamacare as many as nine times under Obama but now couldn't get their act together. The congressman said that, in addition to the Freedom Caucus factor, it was really quite simple -- back then we knew that if we had passed a bill that repealed Obamacare, Obama would vetoed it, but Trump would have signed this one. Does it get any more dysfunctional that that? Of course, do not underestimate the possibility that the anti-Trump forces will prove to be at least as, or even more, dysfunctional in their turn.

Babak Makkinejad

Taking up yet the banner of the Rectification of Names, there is no such thing called "judeo-christian liberal values".

None such exists.

And there is no Jude-Christian Tradition, except perhaps in the minds of a few wishy-washy Protestant Christians.

Richard Armstrong

Answering for CL this nonsense should end with exoneration or removal. Or it could go the way it went with Clinton - years of taxpayer funded independent investigations possibly leading to impeachment for some tangential crime. That worked out pretty well for Clinton. His popularity peaked after being impeached.


Or there's Occam's Razor. Specifically, Shep Smith and Bret Baier both reported that FoxNews had no information to back up Napolitano's claim, so they suspended him to protect their credibility, especially in a situation where Spicer was using Napolitano's unverified assertion in a press conference in order to defend Trump's baseless tweet. Erik Wemple has a decent take on the dissonance between news and commentary on FoxNews.


What's remarkable is how the Russian contretemps--such as it is--serves as a kind of smokescreen for whatever Trump may be up to in the present moment. Talk about busting norms. We know the POTUS has not structured the usual arrangement with respect to his holdings, and, we don't know what is the actual arrangement. ...if there is any.

The ironic aspect of all of this is that the norms which underlies transparency and probity with respect to both the appearance and actuality of corruption is: playing by the rules the law sets, rock solid honesty, and, not surrounding yourself with cronies.

Admittedly, with Trump's well-known track record this is a universe beyond 'too much to ask.' Still, the Russian stuff just obscures the ring of the cash register, somewhere! Oh yeah, Trump was going to drain the swamp of lobbyists and special interests and Wall Street playas.

(As I've mentioned before, tweets that will temporarily sink a stock at open present a double opportunity to hedge at the margin, and, buy at a low. If you have a little warning, you can make a fortune on any Trump tweet aimed to spank a corporation.)

David Habakkuk


As I have said before, neither the ‘Guardian’ nor the BBC can be regarded as reliable sources.

Let me go back through the chronology.

The claims by ‘CrowdStrike’ were first featured in a report in the ‘Washington Post’ on 14 June 2016. This was the day before ‘Guccifer 2.0’ produced the first blog post claiming to have breached the DNC and producing documents.

According to the ‘WP’ story and the ‘CrowdStrike’ release which followed the ‘Guccifer 2.0’ post, DNC leaders were tipped off to the hack in late April, very shortly after, ‘CrowdStrike’ were brought in, and immediately identified ‘Cosy Bear’ and ‘Fancy Bear’.

(See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html ; https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democratic-national-committee/ .)

The ‘WP’ report ended by quoting Dmitri Alperovitch:

‘Russia has always been a formidable foe in cyberspace, but in the past two years, “there’s been a thousand-fold increase in its espionage campaign against the West,” said Alperovitch, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “They feel under siege.”’

On 6 January 2017, reporting on the declassified intelligence report claiming that Putin personally ‘ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election’, the ‘New York Times’ told us:

‘Intelligence officials who prepared the classified report on Russian hacking activity have concluded that British intelligence was among the first to raise an alarm that Moscow had hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, and alerted their American counterparts, according to two people familiar with the conclusions...

(See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russia-hack-report.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0 .)

According to the ‘NYT’, the British role:

‘is a critical part of the timeline, because it suggests that some of the first tipoffs, in fall 2015, came from voice intercepts, computer traffic or human sources outside the United States, as emails and other data from the D.N.C. flowed out of the country.

‘“The British picked it up, and we may have had it at about the same time,” said one cyberexpert who has been briefed on the findings. British intelligence – especially the signals intelligence unit, GCHQ – has a major role in tracking Russian activity.’

The ‘Guardian’ report, to which you refer, by their Washington correspondent, simply picks up the ‘NYT’ report. There was no attempt by the paper to check out the report with its intelligence sources that I can see.

(See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/07/russia-us-election-hacking-uk-intelligence .)

In his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, was asked when the FBI first notified the DNC of the Hack. He replied ‘I think august of 2015.’

A question from Representative Will Hurd to Comey and Admiral Rogers as to when the DNC provided access to the technicians from the FBI produced the following exchanges:

‘COMEY: Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system.

‘HURD: Director Rogers, did the NSA ever get access to the DNC hardware?

ROGERS: The NSA didn’t ask for access. That’s not in our job...

When Representative Hurd noted that although the FBI – supposedly – notified the DNC early, they were never given access to the machines, this provoked the following exchange:

‘COMEY: That’s correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which – again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this – my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.

‘HURD: The – at what point did the company and the DNC use – share that forensic information to you?

‘COMEY: I don’t remember for sure. I think June. I could be wrong about that.

‘ROGERS: The company went public in June of 16, with their conclusions. I would assume it was around that time.

‘COMEY: I think it was about the time – I think it was a little bit before the announcement, but I'll say approximately June.

‘HURD: So – so that was – how long after the first notification of – that the FBI did of the DNC?

‘COMEY: Ten months.

‘HURD: Ten months? So the FBI notified the DNC of the hack and it was not until 10 months later that you had any details about what was actually going on forensically on their network?

‘COMEY: That’s correct, assuming I have the dates about right. But it was – it was some months later.

In March 2016, an advertisement appeared on the site of the ‘NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence’, which is based in Riga, Latvia, for a ‘Digital Forensics Researcher Assistant’.

(See http://www.stratcomcoe.org/we-are-hiring-digital-forensics-researcher-assistant .)

The job description read:

‘The work of the Digital Forensics Researcher Assistant involves conducting research and monitoring of issues related to the Baltics, Russia, and the wider Eurasia region with a particular focus on misinformation and security questions and translating those findings into engaging and interactive content while also providing overall research and administrative support to the NATO StratCom COE and Atlantic Council’s wider New Information Frontiers Initiative efforts.’

As to the ‘NATO StratCom COE’, I can only recommend another recent post by Professor Paul Robinson, entitled ‘Weaponising Comedy’, which deals with a recent report from that organisation which claims, among other things, that in Russia’, ‘the entire “official humour industry” … is directly Kremlin-controlled.’

(See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/weaponizing-comedy/ .)

What ‘Occam’s Razor’ suggests about all this is quite simple. In early to mid-June 2016, people at the DNC realised that information had been leaked – not hacked – and that it was highly compromising.

They then brought in an organisation ‘CrowdStrike’ which was patently not independent, but part of an ‘information operations’ network. At the same time, ‘Guccifer 2.’ was organised as a rather crude ‘double bluff’ – so he looks as though he is pretending not to be Russian, but leaves obvious clues pointing to Russia, including Dzerzinsky’s initials.

Meanwhile, the first of the memoranda attributed to Christopher Steele is dated 20 June – and if the dating is authentic, which it may be, it again points to panic. But as those involved could not get their stories co-ordinated, it contradicts the claims by ‘CrowdStrike’.

Subsequently, GCHQ were brought in, but again, people could not get their story straight. And then Comey f-cks it up again, suggesting that the evidence came in not in autumn but August.

One really gets rather tired of trying to make some sense of the multiple contradictions in the claims made intelligence people who are patently both corrupt and incompetent. But as ‘Guardian’ and ‘NYT’ journalists are also corrupt and incompetent, someone has to do it.

Time to take a break with a song:

(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L6KGuTr9TI .)

ex-PFC Chuck

Sputnik News is now claiming in a headline that the dam has partially collapsed, although in the copy they write only of damage to the hydroelectric plant's control center. Since the power plant and it's control center are seldom an integral part of the part of the structure that that holds the water back it may be safe to assume that the latter is still sound. For now.

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