BREAKING: North Korea cancels talks with South, threatens to call off US talks over military drills – reports
The article by John Solomon sparking all the excitement:
Special counsel Robert Mueller has withstood relentless political attacks, many distorting his record of distinguished government service.
But there’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades — and independent ethicists — acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe.
In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.
Yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in Mueller’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration.
The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation, officials told me.
Some aspects of Deripaska’s help were chronicled in a 2016 book by reporter Barry Meier, but sources provide extensive new information about his role.
They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.
“We knew he was paying for his team helping us, and that probably ran into the millions,” a U.S. official involved in the operation confirmed.
Deripaska’s lawyer said the Russian ultimately spent $25 million assembling a private search and rescue team that worked with Iranian contacts under the FBI’s watchful eye. Photos and videos indicating Levinson was alive were uncovered.
Then in fall 2010, the operation secured an offer to free Levinson. The deal was scuttled, however, when the State Department become uncomfortable with Iran’s terms, according to Deripaska’s lawyer and the Levinson family.
FBI officials confirmed State hampered their efforts.
“We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way,” said Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009, when Deripaska first cooperated, but who left for another position in 2010 before the Iranian offer arrived. “I kept Director Mueller and Deputy Director [John] Pistole informed of the various efforts and operations, and they offered to intervene with State, if necessary.”
FBI officials ended the operation in 2011, concerned that Deripaska’s Iranian contacts couldn’t deliver with all the U.S. infighting. Levinson was never found; his whereabouts remain a mystery, 11 years after he disappeared.
“Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”
The State Department declined comment, and a spokesman for Clinton did not offer comment. Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, declined to answer questions. As did McCabe.
The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.
The FBI rewarded Deripaska for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Former FBI officials confirm they arranged the access.
Deripaska said in a statement through Adam Waldman, his American lawyer, that FBI agents told him State’s reasons for blocking his U.S. visa were “merely a pretext.”
“The FBI said they had undertaken a careful background check, and if there was any validity to the State Department smears, they would not have reached out to me for assistance,” the Russian said.
Then, over the past two years, evidence emerged tying him to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the first defendant charged by Mueller’s Russia probe with money laundering and illegal lobbying.
Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money.
Mueller’s indictment of Manafort makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian client for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. There’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.
Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the now-infamous Fusion GPS “Steele Dossier.” Waldman, his American lawyer until the sanctions hit, gave me a detailed account, some of which U.S. officials confirm separately.
Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.
“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.
So why care about some banished Russian oligarch’s account now?
Two reasons. . . . Click the title to continue reading.
* * *
Look at the recent events in light of the Brzezinski Eurasia warning of 1997. Washington stood behind the UK in the bogus Skripal poisioning affair that was blamed, with no proof, on Russia. A fake chemical attack outside Damascus then was used as pretext for the illegal US bombing raid, ignoring all precepts of the UN Charter and international law. That, in retrospect, was more of a test of possible Russian reaction. Whether or not US Tomahawk and other missiles hit or not, the precedent was set for Israel and other US allies to escalate attacks on Iran in Syria.
Then come diabolical new crippling sanctions against “Putin’s oligarchs” such as Deripaski of Rusal, world’s second largest aluminum producer. Washington doesn’t even try to make up excuses for new sanctions. They state as reason that the Russian government is involved in “a range of malign activity around the globe.” [emphasis added]
* * *
Now, here is Fox News early take on the subject:
* * * * * * *
The information below was prepared last evening: ~J
George suggests this summary is a great way to begin to understand his work:
“Is it too obvious to say that our previous efforts at re-engineering the various governments of the region have all ended in failed states?“
Comment from Jean: I think society will continue to collapse, and finally, when people reach a point where they have nothing left they can believe in, can fight for — or against, then they will be open to [positive] change. Typically, this would be the time when the NWO would step in and offer us a new way forward, but I think it will not work out that way. I think for those who are ready to live in a higher vibration, to stop fighting, bickering, acting divisively, then we will have the opportunity presented to move forward in an entirely different, more positive way.
Following the indigenous idea, we are told to stop clinging to the banks of the stream — our political parties, our biases regarding color, money, education, etc., something many/most of us are still doing. We are told to let go of the banks — old ideas that don’t work anymore — and move out into the stream and flow along with the coming changes into a new life. I think that time is coming, perhaps more rapidly than we may realize. 🙂 Hugs, ~Jean
* * *
* * *
. . . and . . .
Turkey accuses Israel of genocide . . . Note: the on-purpose creation of refugees is also defined by international law as genocide. Destroying people’s culture is also genocide, as in Native Americans and the kind of refugees with whom much of the planet is now having to deal. We need to wake up to this fact!
As Gaza sinks into desperation, Norman Finkelstein makes a devastating case against Israeli brutality
* * *
US imposes travel ban on Pakistani officials and family members – Pakistan reciprocates in tit-for-tat ban of their own
* * *
A lifetime civil servant peacefully protested against Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA last week on the floor or the US Senate. US government personnel responded by throwing the 78-year-old man to the ground and forcing his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, dislocating his shoulder in the process.
”When I went in there, I had no intention to do anything specific,” McGovern told Radio Sputnik.
But then Senator Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina who serves as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, provided what McGovern recalls as entrancing opening remarks.
“I was quite entranced with how Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina, how he started his speech: He said, ‘Now this is an open hearing. And that means we’ll go to closed session for secret stuff. But I suppose there will be some people who want to make a statement — if you want to make a statement, make it quick, quick and be gone.'”
“I said to myself, ‘Wow, maybe I’ll take advantage of that later.’ After an hour and a half of Gina Haspel dodging and weaving, Senator Wyden says, ‘Were you in charge there, at that secret base where al-Nasiri was tortured, yes or no?’ ‘Senator, that’s classified information, we have to go to secret session.’ Now, Wyden ran out of time, right,” McGovern laughed.
“His next question would have been: ‘Well Ms. Haspel, who was it that classified that,’ and she would have had to say, ‘Well I did, actually.’ So he had the spectacle of the nominee classifying, putting out of the public hearing, so that Americans don’t get to know that she was in charge, indeed. Everyone knows she was in charge. Every one of those senators knew because they have the documents. She was in charge of that blacksite in Thailand.”
McGovern continued, referring to himself in the third person. “So here’s McGovern. Finally, the cop between McGovern and Haspel goes to the bathroom… So I go up and say as politely as I can,” ‘I think Senator Wyden is entitled to a straight answer to that question. The answer, of course, is yes, she was in charge. The prospect of her classifying it — ‘ and then, all of the sudden, I was set upon by four uniformed policemen and I lost control of my freedom there. And you saw the rest of it,” McGovern said
The government charged McGovern with two counts of resisting arrest and unlawfully disrupting Congress, the Washington Examiner reports.
McGovern also lamented changes he perceives at the agency he gave his professional career to. “After 9/11, everything changed, including these people” working at the CIA involved with the enhanced interrogation program under the color of legal authority, he said. “All the sudden, they lost all sense of a moral code. And there they are, whooping up with Gina Haspel.”