Escape from Paradise, – A Best Selling Book!

The book’s sensational reviews!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it.” C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

Buy the Book!

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Mary Bancroft – Master Spy

“I can’t understand what the f–k you are saying.” The voice came from an elderly lady in the back row of my computer class. It was from Mary Bancroft, a part owner of The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of Autobiography of a Spy and was the woman behind the plot to kill Hitler, the lover of CIA chief, Allen Dulles, the lady who invited me to dinner to meet Woody Allen and, yes, Mary Bancroft was my computer student.

Click to buy: https://amzn.to/2V6MOwC

Copyright

Copyright © 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 John Harding

Virginia Thomas, and Husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on Side of Jan 6 Rioters

Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, moderates a pannel discussion titled "When did World War III Begin? Part A: Threats at Home" during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Shortly after the 2020 election, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent an email to an aide to a prominent House conservative saying she would have nothing to do with his group until his members go “out in the streets,” a congressional source familiar with the exchange revealed.

Thomas told an aide to incoming Republican Study Committee Chairman (RSC) Jim Banks, R-Ind., that she was more aligned with the far-right House Freedom Caucus, whose leaders just two months later would lead the fight in Congress to overturn the results of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Thomas wrote to the aide that Freedom Caucus members were tougher than RSC members, were in the fight and had then-President Donald Trump’s back, fully supporting him, according to the source familiar with the email contents.

Until she saw RSC members “out in the streets” and in the fight, she said, she would not help the RSC.

Her November 2020 email came in response to a request from the RSC to offer policy recommendations as Banks was set to take the helm of the group in early 2021. But when Thomas portrayed the RSC as soft in its support for Trump and told its members to take to the streets, the aide thanked her for her suggestions and moved on.

January 6th RSC committee members are now debating whether to summon Thomas to speak to the panel or to issue a subpoena for her records. But until now, the committee has been reluctant to go down the path of investigating the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas even though he was deeply involved.

On March 29, U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from any cases about the January 6th, 2021, attack on the Capitol by Donald Trump’s followers.

Schumer became the highest-ranking Democrat to make that request of conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after the Washington Post and CBS News reported on text messages showing that Thomas’s wife Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist, urged Mark Meadows, Trump’s then-chief of staff, to work to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s November 2020 election win and declare Donald Trump the winner of the presidential election.

“I do think he should recuse himself,” Schumer said of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “The information we have right now raises serious questions about how close Justice Thomas and his wife were to the planning and execution of the insurrection.”

“We have a list of people that we’re looking at who helped finance or organize” the January 6th rally, one RSC committee member stated “My understanding is on the broader list, she is there. But we have not made a determination whether or not that information makes her a target of the committee.”

The email exchange suggests Thomas was pressuring Republicans in Congress to get more aggressive in fighting for Trump at a key moment when the lame-duck president and his inner circle were devising a strategy to overturn the results of the 2020 election and keep him in power.

On November 10th, three days after networks had projected that Biden was the winner, Ginni Thomas railed at congressional Republicans, saying she wished more of them were lining up behind Trump and “out in street rallies” with his grassroots supporters who were furious about the election, the two news outlets reported.

“House and Senate guys are pathetic too… only 4 GOP House members seen out in street rallies with grassroots… Gohmert, Jordan, Gosar, and Roy,” Thomas texted, apparently referencing a quartet of Freedom Caucus members: Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; and Chip Roy, R-Texas.

Just days later, Representative Louie Gohmert appeared at a “Million MAGA March” near the White House and told Trump supporters, “This was a cheated election, and we can’t let it stand.” He talked about “revolution.”

Ginni Thomas said she attended the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. And her involvement in pressuring and advising leaders in both the executive branch and legislative branch on efforts to overturn the presidential election are raising significant questions that her political activism created a conflict of interest for her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas, who may have to decide additional cases relating to the special House investigation into the January 6th attack.

In January, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that executive privilege prevented the January 6th panel from accessing a trove of records from the Trump White House. Clarence Thomas was the only justice who indicated the court should grant Trump’s motion to block the National Archives from handing over the material.

“Justice Clarence Thomas was the sole member of the Supreme Court who voted to withhold have records from Trump, Meadows, et al to be withheld from House January 6th Committee.”

Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., tweeted Friday. “He did not explain his reasoning. We need answers.”

“At the bare minimum, Justice Thomas needs to recuse himself from any case related to the January 6th investigation,” Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said, “and should Donald Trump run again, any case related to the 2024 election.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign from the nation’s highest court as a growing number of Democrats demand he recuse himself from some cases following revelations that his wife urged then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to help overturn the 2020 election results. She even called on Democrats to explore impeachment if Justice Clarence Thomas doesn’t step down — pointing out that Thomas was the lone dissenting vote on the court earlier this year to block the January 6th committee from obtaining Trump White House records.

In a recent interview with the Washington Free Beacon, Ginni Thomas said she and her husband “share many of the same ideals, principles, and aspirations for America” but have “our own separate careers, and our own ideas and opinions too.”

“Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work,” she said (if you can believe that).

Just hours after the January 6th attack, Banks, who is in his second and final year as RSC chairman, objected to the certification of Electoral College votes from both Arizona and Pennsylvania, arguing that some governors and local officials changed the rules of the election due to the pandemic. He has said Biden is the president and has not echoed Trump in talking about unsubstantiated allegations of widespread voter fraud in the election.

If the RSC investigation leads to the knowledge that Donald Trump and others committed treason, the penalty, according to the Constitution the penalty can be severe.

Only one person has ever been executed for treason against the federal government: William Bruce Mumford, who was convicted of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag during the American Civil War.

 

Crooked Congressmen and Senators Losing Lots of Cash from Lobbyists as Votes Don’t Count

Blum & Feinstein

In the days after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, dozens of companies said they would suspend political donations to crooked lawmakers who had backed then-President Donald Trump’s baseless and allegedly illegal claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

Crooked Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to challenge the election results have so far collected about half as much corporate cash as they did at this point in the previous election cycle. And, yes, the voters votes count for from very little to nothing.

By contrast, corporate donations are up about 10% to House Republicans who voted to certify President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump!

The results indicate that the corporate boycott is not just limited to the dozens of companies that announced a halt to donations after the attack. Hundreds more have also scaled back their support.

The shift illustrates the growing gulf between business interests and the right wing of the Republican Party, which under Trump’s presidency grew more anti-establishment and more open to curbs on global trade and technology that would have been anathema in previous years.

“You’ve got members that are increasingly distanced from commercial corporate interests and are more responsive to either a small number of very wealthy, deep-pocketed donors, or a large number of culture war-activated base voters,” according to a former staffer for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

The drop in corporate donations is unlikely to affect Republican prospects in the upcoming November congressional elections. The party is favored to win control of the House and possibly the Senate, in part due to Biden’s sagging popularity, and because few Republican incumbents face competitive races of their own.

Fundraising by the House Republicans remains robust – about $200 million in 2021. Both objectors and non-objectors to Biden’s win brought in more money than in 2019.

Corporate dollars – which don’t come directly from company coffers but are contributed by employees to fundraising groups controlled by the corporations including lobbyists – made up about a tenth of that 2021 amount. Their role in campaign finance has diminished over the last decade as the advent of online fundraising has made it easy to solicit donations from rank-and-file voters.

Lawmakers who objected to Biden’s 2020 victory raised around $9 million from corporate groups in 2021, less than half of the roughly $19 million raised in 2019. Corporate money raised by those who did not object rose to about $14 million last year from nearly $13 million in 2019.

Even before the January 6 attack, many companies steered clear of some of the most confrontational partisans.

Representative Matt Gaetz, who frequently appeared on cable television to praise Trump, raised only about $30,000 from corporate sources in 2019, out of the $1 million he netted in total.

He took in no money from corporate political action committees (PACs) in 2021 after voting to challenge the election results – but he raised about $4 million overall. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

Others have taken a steeper hit.

Representative Mike Kelly, a senior member of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, collected about $460,000 in corporate donations in 2019.

But after the Pennsylvania Republican launched an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn Biden’s victory in his state and voted against certifying the election result on Jan. 6, he took in just over $110,000 in corporate donations last year – about 75% less.

The chamber’s top two Republicans, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, also saw steep drops in their corporate donations after voting against the Jan. 6 results.

However, companies continue to give to Republican election accounts that will help the wider party, helping these accounts keep up with fundraising by Democrats.

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $140 million overall in 2021, on par with the $146 million raised by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Both groups raised more in 2021 than in 2019.

Unfortunately for the crooked congressmen, Tech and Finance firms cut of their support.

The drop in corporate support for those who challenged the election masks significant differences among industries.

Eight of the largest corporate donors ahead of the 2020 election have cut off donations entirely to those who challenged the election results, records show.

Those companies are all in technology, finance or consumer goods – Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, Lowe’s Companies Inc, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp, Prudential Financial Inc, Citigroup Inc and General Electric Co.

All either did not respond to a request for comment or declined to comment. Most of them announced in early 2021 they were suspending contributions to those who challenged the election results.

Walmart Inc, which did not make any contributions in 2021 to the objectors, gave them $10,000 in January, split between McCarthy, Scalise and two others who voted against accepting the results.

A Walmart spokesman said the company changed its stance because it felt it could better advocate for its interests “by engaging with policymakers from both parties.”

By contrast, many defense contractors, whose profits depend on spending decisions made in Congress, have continued their support of all Republicans, whether or not they challenged the election results.

Boeing Co and BAE Systems PLC – actually increased their donations to those who voted to challenge the election.

Rock Holdings Inc, the parent company of mortgage lender Rocket Mortgage, roughly doubled its contribution to objectors in 2021, to at least $97,000. The company would not respond to a request for comment.

Boeing, BAE and Rock also increased donations to those who did not object to the election result.

Some Republican lawmakers reacted angrily last year when corporate representatives told them they would not get their support, according to a Republican strategist who directs business donations to lawmakers.

But those tensions have eased in recent months as Republicans have grown more confident of victory and less interested in picking fights with possible allies, the strategist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 

THE CURE FOR COVID-19!

Dr. George Fareed has sent a letter to President Trump explaining you the COVID-19 pandemic can be handled successfully. Since he is in contact with COVID-19 patients he use hydroxychloroquine and zinc as prophylaxis (as did Trump), and stated “None of us have contracted the disease despite our high exposure to COVID patients nor have we experienced any side-effects.”

Dr. Fareed, in his letter to President Trump states, “As an example of the faulty science, one study (University of Minnesota) was cited in the mainstream media as disproving the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as “prophylaxis,” yet the patients received the drug one to four days AFTER exposure. That is not prophylaxis at all — the drug must be taken PRIOR to exposure. This is just one example of the non-scientific way the drug has been evaluated and the subsequent mainstream media mischaracterizations.”

Dr. Fareed gets to the point by writing, “…that there is a solution, but watching as our country flounders in dealing with COVID-19. In my opinion, tens of thousands are dying unnecessarily” and that “The answer is early diagnosis of the high-risk individuals, and then treating them as outpatients with the HCQ cocktail to prevent hospitalization.”

Where is the celebrated Dr. Fauci on this? He appears to be on the side of a more expensive, non-solution which does not work, but makes more money, remdesivir.

BRAWLEY – A front-line local doctor treating COVID-19 patients claims to have figured out what works to keep his patients alive. He claims to have answers on better controlling, and curbing, a pandemic that knows no boundaries.

Dr. George Fareed is a physician who can be spotted during football season as local high school’s field doctor working with athletes from Holtville, El Centro, Imperial, and lately, with Brawley Union High School.

Fareed graduated with honors in 1970 at Harvard and pursued medical studies, research, and teaching at Harvard and UCLA in the first 20 years of his career. Fareed returned to clinical medicine in 1991 when he came to the Imperial Valley to establish a general practice.

No one who knows him well was surprised to see him jump into the COVID-19 pandemic full force. As hot spots jumped from city to city, cases and deaths rose, businesses and schools closed down, Fareed began testing for the virus, followed by caring for patients at home, in the hospitals, and in the local COVID-tents set up by the hospitals and the National Guard.

“I became so frustrated.” Fareed said as he listened to national news and the Task Force. What he was hearing and what he witnessed first-hand did not correlate. He began zoom meetings with other front-line doctors on the east coast and found they had the same experiences he did, finding what worked and what didn’t, finding preventatives before exposures, and keeping his patients alive.

The frustration levels rose between Fareed and other doctors that action had to be taken, he said. Fareed has written letters to President Trump, Representative Juan Vargas, and the Presidential Task Force. He continues Zoom meetings with other doctors, and hope to get to Washington D.C. to share their knowledge and results.

Here is the letter Fareed sent to President Trump:

Dear President Trump and Task Force,

My name is Dr. George Fareed. I am a physician in Imperial County, California, that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. I take care of patients on both an outpatient and inpatient basis, as well as nursing home patients, the most vulnerable among us.

In this letter, I am proposing a medical strategy that can help us not only through this current crisis, but also that will enable us to approach outbreaks of COVID-19 that may occur in the future.

In my attempts to keep people alive, I have had an opportunity to use many different types of treatments — remdesivir, dexamethasone, convalescent plasma replacement, etc. Yet, by far the best tool beyond supportive care with oxygen has been the combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), with either azithromycin or doxycycline, and zinc. This “HCQ cocktail” (that costs less than $100) has enabled me to prevent patients from being admitted to the hospital, as well as help those patients that are hospitalized. The key is giving the HCQ cocktail early, within the first five days of the disease.

Not only have I seen outstanding results with this approach, I have not seen any patient exhibit serious side-effects. To be clear — this drug has been used as an anti-malarial and to treat systemic lupus erythematosus as well as rheumatoid arthritis, and has over a 50-year track record for safety. It is shocking that it only now is being characterized as a dangerous drug.

Moreover, I am in my seventies, and I (as well as some other older physicians in the hospital) use hydroxychloroquine and zinc as prophylaxis. None of us have contracted the disease despite our high exposure to COVID patients nor have we experienced any side-effects.

Despite the characterization in the mainstream media as the drug being “ineffective” and “dangerous,” the evidence in the literature tells a different story. I am not only an “MD,” but a former Harvard Medical School assistant professor and UCLA School of Medicine associate professor as well and am very competent at evaluating studies. There is ample evidence now that the HCQ cocktail is effective and there is no good evidence that there are significant side effects.

Yet, like many of my colleagues in the trenches treating COVID, I find myself being obstructed on different levels from treating my patients with hydroxychloroquine. The next option is remdesivir, which in my opinion is inferior and very expensive. Moreover, that drug is not readily available and is rationed by hospitals. Despite the representations by Dr. Fauci and others, there is less evidence supporting the use of remdesivir than hydroxychloroquine.

To be clear — hydroxychloroquine is normally not helpful when given to very ill patients. Unfortunately, most of the studies have evaluated this drug only in that context. The HCQ cocktail is best used to prevent patients from getting to that dire stage.

This is all so tragic because the use of HCQ cocktail would solve some of the very basic problems we are now facing:

  1. The HCQ cocktail can be used for outpatients to prevent hospitalizations and thus keep our hospitals and ICUs from being overrun with COVID patients.
  2. The HCQ cocktail can be used early on in hospitalization to prevent patients from requiring mechanical ventilation and reducing the length of hospital stay.
  3. HCQ/zinc can be used for prophylaxis for high risk individuals including front line health providers, first responders, and even teachers who are at high risk for COVID.

As a physician, I am committed to my patients as well as doing my part to solve the COVID crisis. It has been deflating to see how the “science” has been corrupted and manipulated in an effort to disparage hydroxychloroquine. The fact that both Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine had to retract articles relevant to hydroxychloroquine due to gross manipulation and mischaracterization of data goes to the heart of what is best characterized as a smear campaign.

As an example of the faulty science, one study (University of Minnesota) was cited in the mainstream media as disproving the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as “prophylaxis,” yet the patients received the drug one to four days AFTER exposure. That is not prophylaxis at all — the drug must be taken PRIOR to exposure. This is just one example of the non-scientific way the drug has been evaluated and the subsequent mainstream media mischaracterizations.

I am writing to you out of the frustration of knowing that there is a solution, but watching as our country flounders in dealing with COVID-19. In my opinion, tens of thousands are dying unnecessarily. Our current approach of waiting for these high-risk patients to become ill and then hospitalizing them is failing. The answer is early diagnosis of the high-risk individuals, and then treating them as outpatients with the HCQ cocktail to prevent hospitalization.

So, what I am proposing is a drastic shift from our current approach: we need to ramp up our outpatient efforts of treating COVID-19 to decrease the burden on hospitals and save lives. Such an approach requires an effective outpatient treatment — we have that in the HCQ cocktail.

How do we get there? I propose that the Task Force allow myself and a few other clinicians/researchers who have used and/or studied the HCQ cocktail present our plan that focuses on outpatient treatment and prevention as opposed to a hospital-based approach only treating patients when they become ill. The FDA and CDC should be there as well given that they are the agencies that formulate the drug policies.

We need a medical strategy, not only for now while we are in a crisis, but for the future. There is no guarantee that a vaccine will rid us of COVID-19. If we had a strategy, we would not have to shut down American life, especially schools, every time there is an outbreak.

We should be seeking a solution that will save as many lives as possible, and the outpatient-based approach that I and some other doctors have been advocating will best accomplish that goal.

I hope you consider my proposal, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

George C. Fareed, M.D.

CMA Rural Physician of the Year 2015

Brawley, CA 92227

COVID-19 Forever?

Coronavirus tests that can reveal who has already recovered will become available in “a week or so,” Fauci says, so those people could go back to work first.

Wrong, because immunity.after recovering from the virus may not last very long.

According to recent research from Spain suggests  that antibodies disappear in some patients in a matter of weeks.

Among the many lingering questions about the coronavirus, one of the most crucial is: How long do antibodies last?

With some diseases, like measles and hepatitis A, infection is a one-and-done deal. Once you get sick and recover, you’re immune for life.

“For human coronaviruses, that’s not the case,” Florian Krammer, a vaccinologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told Business Insider. “You can get repeatedly infected once your immunity goes down.”

Increasingly, research is starting to coalesce around an unfortunate picture of COVID-19 immunity: People who develop antibodies might not keep them for very long.

Last month, a study showed that antibodies may last only two to three months. Then research published Monday suggested that antibodies could last only three to five weeks in some patients.

Such findings have implications for vaccine development, since the efficacy of a vaccine hinges on the idea that a dose of weakened or dead virus can prompt your body to generate antibodies that protect you from future infection. If those antibodies are fleeting, a vaccine’s protection would be fleeting too.

Short-lived antibodies also diminish hopes of achieving widespread or permanent herd immunity. Coronavirus herd immunity may be ‘unachievable’ after studies in Spain show antibodies disappear after weeks in some people.

A new study has found that Coronavirus antibodies may disappear 2 to 3 months after people recover.

People who develop coronavirus-fighting antibodies might not keep them very long, especially those who didn’t have symptoms.

After only a few months, recovered coronavirus patients may rapidly lose antibodies, the key blood proteins that fight off the virus and can prevent reinfection, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine. The finding raises new questions about the idea of immunity passports and could be cause for concern about the development of an effective vaccine, especially since, so far, no vaccine for any of the corona virus has been able to be developed.

The researchers tested for antibodies in 37 people who had fallen ill and recovered from the virus in the Wanzhou district of China. They also tested 37 others who had tested positive for the virus but never showed symptoms.

For many of the participants in the Wanzhou study, however, antibodies only seemed to last a couple months. About eight weeks after recovery antibodies dropped to undetectable levels in 40% of the asymptomatic people and in 13% of those who had more severe symptoms.

After just eight weeks, IgG levels had declined in all but three of the people who started out with detectable levels. The drop was steep: a median decrease of 71% for the asymptomatic group and 76% for the symptomatic group. Some participants no longer had detectable IgG at all. The symptomatic people started out with “significantly higher” levels, according to the research.

Other coronaviruses — the kind that cause common cold — produce immunity that lasts less than a year, and in some cases just a few months.

“It may be completely different with this coronavirus,” Fauci said. “We don’t know.”

With some diseases, like measles and hepatitis A, infection is a one-and-done deal. Once you get sick and recover, you’re immune for life.

“For human coronaviruses, that’s not the case,” Florian Krammer, a vaccinologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told Business Insider. “You can get repeatedly infected once your immunity goes down.”

Increasingly, research is starting to coalesce around an unfortunate picture of COVID-19 immunity: People who develop antibodies might not keep them for very long.

Such findings have implications for vaccine development, since the efficacy of a vaccine hinges on the idea that a dose of weakened or dead virus can prompt your body to generate antibodies that protect you from future infection. If those antibodies are fleeting, a vaccine’s protection would be fleeting too.

Short-lived antibodies also diminish hopes of achieving widespread or permanent herd immunity.

There is a chance, however slim, that the COVID-19 pandemic may be with us for a long time and, perhaps, forever.

The 43 Students Murdered in Mexico in 2014 – Solved?

Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero has now said that prosecutors have requested 46 warrants for the arrest of municipal officials in Guerrero in connection with the disappearance and presumed murder of 43 teaching students in September 2014.

Gertz said in a that the officials are sought for the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime in relation to the kidnapping of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College students on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero.

“It’s necessary to make it very clear that these crimes weren’t even investigated” let alone prosecuted by the former government’s prosecutors, Gertz said.

He also said the 46 new arrest warrants sought are in addition to warrants obtained in March against former Attorney General’s Office officials, including the ex-head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, Tomás Zerón, who has apparently fled Mexico.

Gertz also explained that José Angel Casarrubias Salgado, the presumed leader of the Guerreros Unidos gang that allegedly abducted and killed the students, was arrested on Monday after nearly six years on the run.

However, a federal judge has ordered the release of Casarrubias, also known as “El Mochomo,” due to insufficient evidence, although Casarrubias could be immediately rearrested after he is set free.

Gertz also said the new investigation into the students’ disappearance is making progress and declared that the former government’s fake “historic truth is over” because “all the elements on which it was based” have been discredited “due to the irregularity and illegality with which the case has been managed.”

Independent experts found numerous flaws in the previous government’s investigation and the United Nations said in a 2018 report that 34 people arrested in connection with the crime were tortured.

Gertz said that the Attorney General’s Office is now “seeking is to restore credibility in the investigations” and that’s what the entire public and the parents of the victims really care about.

Asked whether there was evidence that not all of the students were killed and burned at the dump in the municipality of Cocula, Guerrero – as the “historic truth” claimed.

Gertz answered, “That information will be provided later. For now we’re trying to obtain arrest warrants and we’ve had to travel around the whole country because there are judges that don’t want to accept the files and we’ve had to go to other places,” he said.

Deputy Interior Minister for Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, said in March that the remains of three of six bodies were found in a ravine located on community-owned land in Cocula, while the other remains were found near the city of Iguala in an area known as Jesús de Nazaret.

Gertz said more remains have since been found and that authorities have established a new theory about what happened to the students, saying, “We already know what happened, we know who ordered it, who covered it up, and why they did what they did.”

Gertz said the theory that the students were mistaken for members of a criminal group is “absolutely” supported, adding that the entire region surrounding Iguala was affected by a drug trafficking turf war.

Scores of people arrested in connection with the students’ disappearance have been released from prison including more than 20 municipal police officers.

The Ayotzinapa case is the biggest stain on the record of former president Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration was plagued by scandals, including the escape from prison by El Chapo.

The disappearance of the students triggered some of the biggest protests seen in Mexico in recent years, with demonstrators calling for the resignation of Peña Nieto. However, the ex-president survived the uprising and went on to complete his six-year term in 2018 before vanishing from public life.

Pam Bondi Impeachment Defense Argument Regarding Hunter Biden

Obama

Obama Put Joe Biden in Charge of US Relations with Ukraine

Pam Bondi Defense Argument

Pam Bondi: (00:00)
Senators, members of the Senate. When the house managers gave you their presentation, when their submitted their brief, they repeatedly referenced Hunter Biden and Burisma. They spoke to you for over 21 hours and they referenced Biden or Burisma over 400 times and when they gave these presentations, they said there was nothing, nothing to see. It was a sham. This is fiction. In their trial memorandum the house managers describe this as baseless. Now, why did they say that? Why did they invoke Biden or Burisma over 400 times?

Pam Bondi: (01:02)
The reason they needed to do that is because they are here saying that the president must be impeached and removed from office for raising a concern and that’s why we have to talk about this today. They say sham, they say baseless because they say this because if it’s okay for someone to say, “Hey, you know what? Maybe there’s something here worth raising.” Then their case crumbles because they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no basis to raise this concern, but that’s not what public records show.

Pam Bondi: (01:49)
Here are just a few of the public sources that flagged questions surrounding this very same issue. The United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office, deputy assistant secretary of state, George Kent. Hunter Biden’s former business associate and ABC white house reporter. Good morning America, ABC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Ukrainian Law Enforcement, and the Obama State Department itself. They all raised this issue. We would prefer not to be talking about this. We would prefer not to be discussing this, but the house managers have placed this squarely at issue, so we must address it.

Pam Bondi: (02:47)
Let’s look at the facts. In early 2014 Joe Biden, our vice president of the United States, led the United States foreign policy in Ukraine with the goal of rooting out corruption. According to an annual study published by Transparency International, during this time, Ukraine was one of the most corrupt countries in the entire world. In Ukraine, there’s a natural gas company called Burisma. Burisma has been owned by an oligarch named Mykola Zlochevsky.

Pam Bondi: (03:22)
Here’s what happened very shortly after vice president Biden was made US point man for Ukraine. His son, Hunter Biden ends up on the board of Burisma working for and paid by the oligarch Zlochevsky. In February 2014 in the wake of anti-corruption uprising by the people of Ukraine, Zlochevsky flees the country fleas, Ukraine. Zlochevsky the oligarch is well known. George Kent, the very first witness that the Democrats called during their public hearings testified. So Zlochevsky stood out for his self dealings even among other oligarchs. House managers didn’t tell you that.

Pam Bondi: (04:17)
Ambassador Kurt Volker explained that Burisma had a “very bad reputation as a company for corruption and money laundering.” House managers didn’t tell you that. Burisma was so corrupt that George Kent said he intervened to prevent USAID from cosponsoring an event with Burisma. Do you know what this event was? It was a child contest and the prize was a camera. They were so bad, Burisma that our country wouldn’t even co-sponsor a children’s event with Burisma.

Pam Bondi: (05:07)
In March 2014 the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office opened some money laundering investigation into the oligarch Zlochevsky and his company Burisma. The very next month, April 2014 according to a public report, Hunter Biden quietly joins the board of Burisma. Remember early 2014 was when vice president Biden began leading Ukraine policy. Here’s how Hunter Biden came to join Burisma’s board in April 2014. He was brought on the board by Devon Archer, his business partner, Devon Archer was college roommates with Chris Heinz, stepson of secretary of state, John Kerry.

Pam Bondi: (05:54)
All three men, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and Chris Heinz had all started an investment firm together. Public records show that April 16th, 2014 Devon Archer meets with vice president Biden at the white house. Just two days later, on April 18th, 2014 is when Hunter Biden quietly joins Burisma according to public reporting. Remember, this is just one month after the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office open a money laundering case into Burisma, Hunter Biden joins their board. And not only 10 days after Hunter Biden joins the board, British authorities seizes $23 million in British bank accounts connected to the oligarch Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma.

Pam Bondi: (06:57)
Did Hunter Biden leave the board then? No. The British authorities also announced that it had started a criminal investigation into potential money laundering. Did Hunter Biden leave the board? No. What happened was then only then did the company choose to announce that Hunter Biden had joined the board after the assets of Burisma and its oligarch owners Zlochevsky were frozen and a criminal investigation had begun.

Pam Bondi: (07:38)
Hunter Biden’s decision to join Burisma raised flags almost immediately. One article from May, 2014 stated the appointment of Joe Biden’s son to the board of Ukrainian gas firm Burisma has raised eyebrows the world over. Even an outlet with bias for Democrats pointed out Hunter Biden’s activities created a conflict of interest for Joe Biden. The article stated the move raises questions about a potential conflict of interest for Joe Biden.

Pam Bondi: (08:20)
Now even Chris Heinz, Hunter Biden’s own business partner had grave concerns. He thought that working with Burisma was unacceptable. This is Chris Heinz. He was worried about the corruption, the geopolitical risk and how bad it would look. So he wisely distances himself from Hunter Biden and Devon Archer’s appointments to Burisma. He didn’t simply call his step-father secretary-of-state and say, “I have a problem with this.” He didn’t tell his friends, “Hey guys, I’m not getting on the board. I want nothing to do with this.” He went so far as to send an email to senior state department officials about this issue. This Chris Heinz?

Pam Bondi: (09:17)
He wrote, apparently Devon and Hunter have joined the board of Burisma and a press release went out today. I can’t speak to why they decided to, but there is no investment by our firm in their company. What did Hunter Biden do? He stayed on the board. What did Chris Heinz do? He subsequently stopped doing business with his college roommate, Devon Archer and his friend Hunter Biden. Chris Heinz spokesperson said the lack of judgment in this matter was a major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationship with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden. Now the media also noticed the same day and ABC news reporter ask Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney about it. Here’s what happened.

Speaker 1: (10:14)
Hunter Biden has now taken a position with the largest oil and gas holding company in Ukraine. Is there any concern about at least the appearance of a conflict there? The vice president’s son taking-

Jay Carney: (10:28)
I would refer you to the vice president’s office. I saw those reports. Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. But I would refer you to the vice president’s office.

Pam Bondi: (10:52)
The next day the Washington Post ran a story about it. It said, the appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board look…

Pam Bondi: (11:03)
… Of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” Again, “The appointment of the vice president’s son to a Ukrainian oil board looks nepotistic at best, nefarious at worst.” And the media didn’t stop questioning asking questions here. It kept going, here’s ABC.

Joe Biden: (11:27)
You have to fight the cancer of corruption.

Speaker 2: (11:32)
But then something strange happened. Just three weeks later, a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, accused of corruption appoints hunter Biden, seen here in their promotional videos, to their board of directors, paying his firm more than a million dollars a year.

Pam Bondi: (11:52)
Here’s more from ABC. Continued on.

Speaker 2: (11:55)
Ukraine wasn’t the only country where Hunter Biden’s business and his father’s diplomacy as vice president intersected. It also happened in China.

Speaker 2: (12:03)
This video shows Chinese diplomats greeting Vice President Biden as you arrived in Beijing in December of 2013. Right by his side? His son, Hunter. Less than two weeks later, Hunter’s firm had new business, creating an investment fund in China involving the government controlled bank of China with reports they hoped to raise one $1.5 Billion.

Pam Bondi: (12:29)
In fact, every witness who was asked about Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma agreed there was a potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Multiple house Democrat witnesses, including those from the Department of State, the National Security Council, and others unanimously testified there was a potential appearance of a conflict of interest. These were their witnesses.

Pam Bondi: (13:03)
How much money did Hunter Biden get for being on the board? Well, you start looking at this bank records. According to reports, between April, 2014 and October, 2015, Burisma paid more than $3.1 million to Devin Archer and Hunter Biden. That’s over the course of a year and a half. How do we know this? Some of Devin Archer’s bank records were disclosed during an unrelated federal criminal case, having nothing to do with Hunter Biden. These bank records show 17 months that Burisma wired two payments of $83,333, not just for one month, for two months, for three months, but for 17 months. According to Reuters, sources report that of the two payments of $83,333 each, one was for a Hunter Biden and one Devin Archer.

Pam Bondi: (14:09)
Now, Hunter Biden was paid significantly more than board members for major US Fortune 100 companies such as Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Citigroup. The typical board member of these Fortune 100 companies … We know they’re titans of their industry, they’re highly qualified, and as such, they’re well compensated. Even so, Hunter Biden was paid significantly more. This is how well he was compensated. Hunter Biden is paid over $83,000 a month while the average American family of four during that time, each year made less than $54,000, and that’s according to US Census Bureau during that time.

Pam Bondi: (15:06)
And this is what’s been reported about his work on the board. The Washington post said, “What specific duties Hunter Biden carried out for Burisma are not fully known.” The New Yorker reported, “Once or twice a year, he attended Burisma board meetings and energy forums that took place in Europe.” When speaking with ABC News about his qualifications to be on Burisma’s board, Hunter Biden didn’t point to any of the usual qualifications of a board member. Hunter Biden and had no experience in natural gas, no experience in the energy sector, no experience with Ukrainian regulatory affairs. As far as we know, he doesn’t speak Ukrainian. So, naturally, the media has asked questions about his board membership. Why was Hunter Biden on this board?

Pam Bondi: (16:02)
If your last name wasn’t Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?

Hunter Biden: (16:07)
I don’t know. I don’t know, probably not.

Pam Bondi: (16:11)
So, let’s go back and talk about his time on the board. Remember he joined Burisma’s board April, 2014, while the United Kingdom had an open money laundering case against Burisma and its owner, the oligarch Zlochevsky. On August 20th, 2014, four months later, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office initiates a money laundering investigation into the same oligarch, Zlochevsky. This is one of 15 investigations into Burisma and Zlochevsky.

Pam Bondi: (16:48)
According to a recent public statement made by the current prosecutor general, on January 16, 2015, prosecutors put Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, on whose Hunter Biden sat on his board, on the country’s wanted list for fraud, while Hunter Biden’s on the board. Then a British court orders Zlochevsky’s $23 million in assets be unfrozen. Why was the money unfrozen? Deputy Assistant Secretary Kent testified to it.

Jay Carney: (17:29)
Somebody in the general prosecutor’s office of Ukraine shut the case, issued a letter to his lawyer, and that money went poof.

Steve Castor: (17:37)
So, essentially paid a bribe to make the case go away?

Jay Carney: (17:39)
That is our strong assumption. Yes, sir.

Pam Bondi: (17:44)
He also testified that the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office’s actions led to the unfreezing of the assets. After George Kent’s confirmation, that prosecutor was out. Victor Shokin becomes the prosecutor general. This is the prosecutor that you’ll hear about later, the one that Vice President Biden has publicly said he wanted out of office. In addition to flagging questions about previous prosecutor’s actions, George Kent also specifically voiced other concerns, this time to the vice president’s office about Hunter Biden. In February, 2015, he raised concerns about Hunter Biden to Vice President Biden’s office.

Jay Carney: (18:32)
In a briefing call with the national security staff of the office of the vice president in February of 2015, I raised my concern that Hunter Biden’s status as a board member could create the perception of a conflict of interest.

Pam Bondi: (18:46)
But House managers didn’t tell you that. This is all while Hunter Biden’s sat on Burisma’s board. Did Hunter Biden stop working for Burisma? No. Did Vice President Biden stop leading the Obama administration’s foreign policy efforts in Ukraine? No. In the meantime, Vice President Biden is still at the forefront of the US Ukraine policy. He pledges $1 billion loan guarantee to Ukraine contingent on its progress in rooting out corruption. Around the same time with the $1 billion announcement, other people raised the issue of a conflict. As special Obama administration special envoy for energy policy told the New Yorker, it raised Hunter Biden’s participation on the board of Burisma. He raised it directly with the vice president himself. This is a special Envoy to president Obama, and the media had questions too. December 8, 2015, the New York Times publishes an article that Prosecutor General Shokin was investigating Burisma and its owner, Zlochevsky. The Times report, here’s their quote. “The credibility of the vice president’s anti-corruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden,” with Barisma and its owner, Zlochevsky.

Pam Bondi: (20:24)
And it wasn’t just one reporter who asked questions about the line between Burisma and the Obama administration. As we learned recently through reporting on Fox news, on January 19th, 2016, there was a meeting between Obama administration officials and Ukrainian prosecutors. Ken Vogel, journalist for the New York Times, asked the State Department about this meeting. He wanted more information about the meeting, “where US support for prosecutions of Burisma holdings in the United Kingdom in Ukraine were discussed,” but the story never ran.

Pam Bondi: (21:07)
Around the time of the reported story, January, 2016, meeting between the Obama administration and Ukrainian officials took place according to a Ukrainian press report, as translated says. “The US Department of State made it clear to the Ukrainian authorities that it was linking the $1 billion in loan guarantees to the dismissal of prosecutor general Victor Shokin.”

Pam Bondi: (21:39)
Now, we all know from the Obama administration and from the words of Vice President Biden himself, he advocated for the prosecutor general’s dismissal. There was ongoing investigation into the oligarch, Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, at the time. We know this because on February 2nd, 2016, the Ukrainian …

Pam Bondi: (22:03)
… 2, 2016, the Ukrainian prosecutor general obtained a renewal of a court order to seize the Ukrainian oligarch’s assets. A Kiev Post article published on February 4th, 2016 says, the oligarch Zlochevsky is, quote, suspected of committing a criminal offense of elicit enrichment, end quote. Over the next few weeks, the vice president had multiple calls with Ukraine’s President Poroshenko. Days after the last call on February 4th … 24th, 2016, a D.C. consultant reached out to the State Department to request a meeting to discuss Burisma. We know what she said because the email was released under the Freedom Of Information Act. The consultant explicitly invoked Hunter Biden’s name as a board member. In an email summarizing the call, the State Department official says that the consultant quote, noted that two high profile citizens are affiliated with the company, including Hunter Biden as a board member, end quote. She added that the consultant would, quote like to talk with Under Secretary Of State Novelli about getting a better understanding of how the U.S. Came to the determination that the country is corrupt, end quote.

Pam Bondi: (23:28)
To be clear, this email documents that the U.S. government had determined Burisma to be corrupt. And the consultant was seeking a meeting with an extremely senior State Department official to discuss the U.S. government’s position. Her pitch for the meeting specifically used Hunter Biden’s name, and according to the email, the meeting was set for a few days later. And later that month, on March 29th, 2016, the Ukrainian parliament finally votes to fire the prosecutor general. This is the prosecutor general investigating the oligarch, owner of Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden sat. Two days after the prosecutor general is voted out, Vice President Biden announces that the U.S. will provide $335 million in security assistance to Ukraine. He soon announces that the U.S. will provide one billion dollars in loan guarantees to Ukraine. Now let’s talk about one of the Democrat’s central witnesses, Ambassador Yovanovitch. In May 2016, Ambassador Yovanovitch was nominated to be Ambassador in Ukraine. Here’s what happened when she was preparing for her Senate confirmation hearing.

John Ratcliffe: (24:49)
Congresswoman Stefanik had asked you how the Obama, Biden State Department had prepared you to answer questions about Burisma and Hunter Biden specifically, you recall that?

Amb Yovanovitch: (25:02)
Yes.

John Ratcliffe: (25:03)
Out of thousands of companies in the Ukraine, the only one that you recall, the Obama, Biden State Department prepared you to answer questions about was the one where the vice president’s son was on the board, is that fair?

Amb Yovanovitch: (25:15)
Yes.

Pam Bondi: (25:20)
So she’s being prepared to come before all of you, all of you, and talk about world issues, I’m going to be in charge of the Ukraine, and what did they feel the only company, the company that it was important to brief her on in case she got a question, Burisma. Ambassador Yovanovitch was confirmed July, 2016 as the Obama administration was coming to a close. In September, 2016, a Ukrainian court cancels the oligarch Zlochevsky arrest warrant for lack of progress in the case. In mid January, 2017, Burisma announces that all legal proceedings against it and Zlochevsky have been closed. Both of these things happened while Hunter Biden sat on the board of Burisma. Around this time, Vice President Biden leaves office. Years later now, former Vice President Biden, publicly details what we know happened. His threat to withhold more than a billion dollars in loan guarantees unless Shokin was fired. Here’s the vice president.

Jay Carney: (26:35)
I said, I’m not going to, or we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, “You have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said …” I said, “Call him.” I said, “I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.” I said, “You’re not getting a billion, I’m going to be leaving here.” And I think it was what, six hours. I looked and I said, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired and they put in place someone who was solid at the time.

Pam Bondi: (27:06)
What he didn’t say on that video, according to the New York Times, this was the prosecutor investigating Burisma, Shokin. What he also didn’t say on the video was that his son was being paid significant amounts by the oligarch, owner of Burisma, to sit on that board. Only then does Hunter Biden leave the board, he stays on the board until April, 2019. Now in November, 2019, Hunter Biden signs an affidavit saying quote, he’s been unemployed and has no other monthly income since May, 2019. This was in November of 2019, so we know from after April, 2019 to May, 2019 through November, 2019, he was unemployed by his own statement.

Pam Bondi: (28:17)
April, 2019 to November, 2019, despite his resignation from the board, the media has continued to raise the issue relating to a potential conflict of interest. On July 22nd, 2019, The Washington Post wrote, the fired prosecutor general Shokin quote, believes his ouster was because of his interest in the company, end quote, referring to Burisma. The Post further wrote that, quote, had he remained in his post, he would have questioned Hunter Biden. On July 25th, 2019, three days later, President Trump speaks with President Zelensky. He says, “The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with this attorney general would be great.” Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution said, “If you can look into it. It looks horrible to me, end quote. The House managers talked about the Bidens or Burisma 400 times, but they never gave you the full picture.

Pam Bondi: (29:39)
But here are those who did. The United Kingdom serious fraud unit, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State, George Kent. Chris Heinz, the ABC White House reporter, ABC, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Ukrainian law enforcement and the Obama State Department itself. They all thought there was cause to raise the issue about the Bidens and Burisma. Now the House managers might say without evidence that everything we just have said has been debunked. That the evidence points entirely and unequivocally in the other direction. That is a distraction. You’ve heard from the House managers, they do not believe that there was any concern to raise here, that all of this was baseless and all we are saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue, and that is enough. I yield my time.

Joe Biden – the Biggest Crook in Washington

This is about how five members of Joe Biden’s family got rich through his connections.

Political figures have long used their families to route power and benefits for their own self-enrichment. Inthe new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largess, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves no less than five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.

When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”

James Biden

Joe Biden’s younger brother, James Biden, has been an integral part of the family political machine from the earliest days when he served as finance chair of Joe’s 1972 Senate campaign, and the two have remained quite close. After Joe joined the U.S. Senate, he would bring his brother James along on congressional delegation trips to places like Ireland, Rome and Africa.

When Joe became vice president, James was a welcomed guest at the White House, securing invitations to such important functions as a state dinner in 2011 and the visit of Pope Francis in 2015. Sometimes, James’ White House visits dovetailed with his overseas business dealings, and his commercial opportunities flourished during his brother’s tenure as vice president.

Consider the case of HillStone International, a subsidiary of the huge construction management firm, Hill International. The president of HillStone International was Kevin Justice, who grew up in Delaware and was a longtime Biden family friend. On November 4, 2010, according to White House visitors’ logs, Justice visited the White House and met with Biden adviser Michele Smith in the Office of the Vice President.

Less than three weeks later, HillStone announced that James Biden would be joining the firm as an executive vice president. James appeared to have little or no background in housing construction, but that did not seem to matter to HillStone. His bio on the company’s website noted his “40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally…” Interesting!

James Biden was joining HillStone just as the firm was starting negotiations to win a massive contract in war-torn Iraq. Six months later, the firm announced a contract to build 100,000 homes. It was part of a $35 billion, 500,000-unit project deal won by TRAC Development, a South Korean company. HillStone also received a $22 million U.S. federal government contract to manage a construction project for the State Department.

David Richter, son of the parent company’s founder, was not shy in explaining HillStone’s success in securing government contracts. It really helps, he told investors at a private meeting, to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner,” according to someone who was there.

The Iraq project was massive, perhaps the single most lucrative project for the firm ever. In 2012, Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that HillStone officials expected the project to “generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years.” That amounted to more than three times the revenue the company produced in 2011.

A group of minority partners, including James Biden, stood to split about $735 million. “There’s plenty of money for everyone if this project goes through,” said one company official.

The deal was all set, but HillStone made a crucial error. In 2013, the firm was forced to back out of the contract because of a series of problems, including a lack of experience by Hill and TRAC Development, its South Korean associate firm. But HillStone continued doing significant contract work in the embattled country, including a six-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

James Biden remained with Hill International, which accumulated contracts from the federal government for dozens of projects, including projects in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mozambique, and elsewhere.

Hunter Biden

With the election of his father as vice president, Hunter Biden launched businesses fused to his father’s power that led him to lucrative deals with a rogue’s gallery of governments and oligarchs around the world. Sometimes he would hitch a prominent ride with his father aboard Air Force Two to visit a country where he was courting business. Other times, the deals would be done more discreetly. Always they involved foreign entities that appeared to be seeking something from his father.

There was, for example, Hunter’s involvement with an entity called Burnham Financial Group, where his business partner Devon Archer — who’d been at Yale with Hunter — sat on the board of directors. Burnham became the vehicle for a number of murky deals abroad, involving connected oligarchs in Kazakhstan and state-owned businesses in China.

But one of the most troubling Burnham ventures was here in the United States, in which Burnham became the center of a federal investigation involving a $60 million fraud scheme against one of the poorest Indian tribes in America, the Oglala Sioux.

Devon Archer was arrested in New York in May 2016 and charged with “orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors and a Native American tribal entity of tens of millions of dollars.” Other victims of the fraud included several public and union pension plans. Although Hunter Biden was not charged in the case, his fingerprints were all over Burnham. The “legitimacy” that his name and political status as the vice president’s son lent to the plan was brought up repeatedly in the trial.

The scheme was explicitly designed to target pension funds that had “socially responsible investing” clauses, including pension funds of labor union organizations that had publicly supported Joe Biden’s political campaigns in the past. Indeed, eight of the eleven pension funds that lost their money were either government employee or labor union pension funds. Joe Biden has “a long-standing alliance with labor.” He closely identifies with organized labor. “I make no apologies,” he has said. “I am a union man, period.” And many public unions have endorsed him over the years.

Transcripts from Devon Archer’s trial offer a clearer picture of Hunter Biden’s role at Burnham Asset Management, in particular, the fact that the firm relied on his father’s name and political status as a means of both recruiting pension money into the scheme and alleviating investors’ concerns.

Tim Anderson, a lawyer who did legal work on the issuance of the tribal bonds, recounts seeing Hunter while visiting the Burnham office in New York City to meet with Bevan Cooney, who was later convicted in the case.

The political ties that Biden and Archer had were considered key to the Burnham brand. As stated in an August 2014 email, Jason Galanis, who was convicted in the bond scheme, agreed with an unidentified associate who also thought the company had “value beyond capital” because of their political connections.

In the closing arguments at the trial, one of Devon Archer’s defense attorneys, Matthew Schwartz, explained to the jury that it was impossible to talk about the bond scheme without mentioning Hunter Biden’s name. This “was perfectly sensible,” according to Schwartz, “because Hunter Biden was part of the Burnham team.”

Many have criticized Joe Biden’s son Hunter for the perception that he profited off of his family name. He made headlines when it was discovered that despite his inexperience, he was earning at least $50,000 a month to serve on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas firm while his father was vice president. Joe Biden has complained that the criticism of his son on the issue is unfounded.

Hunter Biden has said that it was “poor judgment” to take the position.

“In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part,” Biden told ABC News. “I know that there was — did nothing wrong at all. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is a, it’s a swamp in many ways? Yeah. And so, I take full responsibility for that.”

Despite the “poor judgment,” Hunter said he does not regret his decision to work at Burisma.

“I don’t regret being on the board. What I regret is not taking into account that there would be a Rudy Giuliani and a president of the United States that would be listening to this ridiculous conspiracy idea, which has, again, been completely debunked by everyone.”

Ashley Biden – Joe Biden’s daughter

It would be a dream for any new company to announce their launch in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

StartUp Health is an investment consultancy based out of New York City, and in June 2011 the company barely had a website. The firm was the brainchild of three siblings from Philadelphia. Steven Krein is CEO and co-founder, while his brother, Dr. Howard Krein, serves as chief medical officer. Sister Bari serves as the firm’s chief strategy officer. A friend named Unity Stoakes is a co-founder and serves as president.

StartUp Health was barely up and running when, in June 2011, two of the company’s executives were ushered into the Oval Office of the White House. They met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The following day the new company would be featured at a large health care tech conference being run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and StartUp Health executives became regular visitors to the White House, attending events in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

How did StartUp Health gain access to the highest levels of power in Washington? There was nothing particularly unique about the company, but for this:

The chief medical officer of StartUp Health, Howard Krein, is married to Joe Biden’s youngest daughter, Ashley.

“I happened to be talking to my father-in-law that day and I mentioned Steve and Unity were down there [in Washington, D.C.],” recalled Howard Krein. “He knew about StartUp Health and was a big fan of it. He asked for Steve’s number and said, ‘I have to get them up here to talk with Barack.’ The Secret Service came and got Steve and Unity and brought them to the Oval Office.”

StartUp Health offers to provide new companies technical and relationship advice in exchange for a stake in the business. Demonstrating and highlighting the fact that you can score a meeting with the president of the United States certainly helps prove a strategic company asset: high-level contacts.

Vice President Joe Biden continued to help Krein promote his company at several appearances through his last months in the White House, including one in January 2017, where he made a surprise showing at the StartUp Health Festival in San Francisco. The corporate event, open only to StartUp Health members, enabled the 250 people in attendance to chat in a closed session with the vice president.

Frank Biden – Joe Biden’s brother

In late March 2009, Vice President Joe Biden landed in Costa Rica aboard Air Force Two, and went to the Costa Rican presidential palace for a one-on-one with President Oscar Arias. The Biden visit had symbolic significance. The last time a high-ranking American official had visited the country was back in 1997, when Bill Clinton had come.

Joe Biden’s trip to Costa Rica came at a fortuitous time for his brother Frank, who was busy working deals in the country. Just months after Vice President Biden’s visit, in August, Costa Rica News announced a new multilateral partnership “to reform Real Estate in Latin America” between Frank Biden, a developer named Craig Williamson, and the Guanacaste Country Club, a newly planned resort. The partnership, which appears to be ongoing, was wrapped in a beautiful package as a “call on resources available to the companies and individuals to reform the social, economic and environmental practices of real estate developers across the world by example.”

In real terms, Frank’s dream was to build in the jungles of Costa Rica thousands of homes, a world-class golf course, casinos, and an anti-aging center. The Costa Rican government was eager to cooperate with the vice president’s brother.

As it happened, Joe Biden had been asked by President Obama to act as the Administration’s point man in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Frank’s vision for a country club in Costa Rica received support from the highest levels of the Costa Rican government— despite his lack of experience in building such developments. He met with the Costa Rican ministers of education and energy and environment, as well as the president of the country.

On October 4, 2016, the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education signed a letter of intent with Frank’s company, Sun Fund Americas. The project involved allowing a company called GoSolar to operate solar power facilities in Costa Rica. The previous year, the Obama-Biden administration’s OPIC had authorized a $6.5 million taxpayer-backed loan for the project.

In June 2014, Vice President Joe Biden announced the launch of the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI). The program called for increasing access to financing for Caribbean energy projects that he strongly supported. American taxpayer dollars were dedicated to facilitating deals that matched U.S. government financing with local energy projects in Caribbean countries, including Jamaica. In January 2015, USAID announced that it would be spending $10 million to boost renewable energy projects in Jamaica over the next five years.

After Joe Biden brought together leaders for CESI, brother Frank’s firm Sun Fund Americas announced that it was “engaged in projects and is in negotiations with governments of other countries in the [Caribbean] region for both its Solar and Waste to Energy development services.” As if to push the idea along, the Obama administration’s OPIC provided a $47.5 million loan to support the construction of a 20-megawatt solar facility in Clarendon, Jamaica.

Frank Biden’s Sun Fund Americas later announced that it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to build a 20-megawatt solar facility in Jamaica.

Frank Biden has allegedly used his family name to further his career and secure business contracts in Florida.

After Joe Biden became vice president, Frank leveraged D.C. connections to secure contracts from Florida officials benefiting a charter school that he ran, according to ABC News.

The younger Biden was not shy about the perks of his famous last name and even boasted about it during interviews with the media. He once referred to his name as a “tremendous asset” and told people it brought him “automatic acceptance.”

“Joe Biden needs to recognize it’s a problem,” a former chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told Politico last year. “You can’t control your brothers. You can’t control your grown son. But you can put some firewalls in place in your own office.”

Valerie Biden – Joe Biden’s sister

During his years in the Senate, Biden’s family benefited financially in other ways as he leveraged political power. Joe’s sister Valerie ran all of his Senate campaigns, as well as his presidential runs in 1988 and 2008.

But she was also a senior partner in a political messaging firm named Joe Slade White & Company; the only two executives listed at the firm were Joe Slade White and Valerie.

The firm received large fees from the Biden campaigns that Valerie was running. Two and a half million dollars in consulting fees flowed to her firm from Citizens for Biden and Biden For President Inc. during the 2008 presidential bid alone.

Joe Slade White & Company worked for Biden campaigns over eighteen years.

Peter Schweizer, author of the new book ‘Profiles in Corruption,’ offers a deep dive into the private finances and secrets deals of some of America’s top political leaders.

Here is an Amazon link to the book: https://amzn.to/3aMN22m

Hunter Biden is “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to examining corruption within the Biden family during the time that Joe Biden was vice president, investigative reporter and author Peter Schweizer said Tuesday.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends,”  Schweizer said that in his new book, “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite,” the Bidens — who he reports benefitted from having a family member in the White House — are dubbed the “Biden Five.”

“There are five Biden family members that got very, very good deals while Joe Biden was vice president of the United States,” he said. “That’s Hunter, of course. There’s new material in the book about Hunter — about how he actually got taxpayer grants from the Obama administration. We have got his brother James. We have got his other brother Frank. We have got his sister Valerie. And, we’ve actually got his daughter Ashley, as well.

“All of whom cashed in while he was vice president of the United States,” said Schweizer.

Iran Shoots Down Ukraine Boeing 737

The US increasingly believes that Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday, according to multiple US officials. The working theory is based on continuing analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic data collected routinely by US military and intelligence.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he suspected the crash was not due to mechanical issues, indicating that “somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.” Asked during a White House event what he thought happened to the plane, Trump said, “Well, I have my suspicions.”

European security officials believe reports suggesting that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile in error are credible.

The timing of the crash has fueled speculation about its cause, coming just hours after Iran fired missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US troops in retaliation for the killing of its top general, also in Iraq. The exchange of attacks between Tehran and Washington on Iraqi soil was a dramatic escalation of tensions between the adversaries, and is raising fears of another proxy war in the Middle East.

The head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority is questioning the US allegation. Speaking to CNN, Ali Abedzadeh said, “If a rocket or missile hits a plane, it will free fall.”

“I don’t want to say that because other people have their suspicions,” Trump said, but added, “Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side … not our system. It has nothing to do with us.” “It was flying in a pretty rough neighborhood. They could’ve made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical. I personally don’t think that’s even a question.”

Asked if he thought it was downed by accident, Trump said, “I don’t know. I really don’t know … that’s up to them. At some point they’ll release the black box.”

“Ideally they’d give it to Boeing,” he said, but said giving it to France or “some other country” would be fine, too.
“Something very terrible happened, very devastating,” he concluded.

One possibility being considered is that an Iranian missile unit saw something on their radar, thought they were under attack and fired.

The Ukrainian International Airlines (UIA) flight PS752 came down just minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday local time, killing all 176 people on board, including dozens of Iranians and Canadians. The Boeing 737-800 was headed for Kiev, where 138 passengers were expected to take a connecting flight to Canada. Ukrainians, Swedes, Afghans, Germans and British nationals were also aboard.

Investigation underway!

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization head, Ali Abedzadeh, said it would not hand the flight data recorders to Boeing or the United States after they were found on Wednesday.
One of the officials said the US is working closely with the Canadians on the intelligence.

Ukrainian officials on Thursday were considering terrorism, a missile strike and catastrophic engine failure as potential causes for the crash, as aviation authorities in Tehran said the jetliner was on fire before it came down.

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense council chief, Oleksiy Danilov, said a meeting was taking place with Iranian authorities, where various causes behind the crash were “being studied,” including a theory that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, according to a statement on Facebook.

Conflicting claims about potential causes for the disaster began hours after the crash, when Iranian state media blamed technical issues and Ukraine ruled out rocket attacks. Within hours on Wednesday, officials in both countries had walked back those initial statements.

An initial report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization on the crash cites witnesses as saying the airliner was on fire while in the air and changed directions after a problem, turning back toward the airport. People on other aircraft at higher altitudes also saw the flames, Iranian officials say. Images of the wreckage show the plane torn to piece, its parts charred and strewn across a field.

This story is breaking and will be updated on this site.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s acknowledgement that it shot down a Ukrainian airliner, killing 176 people, raises new challenges for the Islamic Republic both externally amid tensions with the U.S. and internally as it deals with growing discontent from its people.

The country demonstrated its incompetence and dishonesty by having its air-crash investigators, government officials and diplomats deny for days that a missile downed the flight, though a commander said Saturday that he had raised that possibility to his superiors as early as Wednesday, the day of the crash.

While its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard took responsibility, the same commander claimed it warned Tehran to close off its airspace amid fears of U.S. retaliation over Iran launching ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces. That retaliation never came, but the worries proved to be enough to allegedly scare a missile battery into opening fire on the Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines.

Wider tensions between Iran and the U.S., inflamed after Iran’s top general was killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike Jan. 3, have for the moment calmed. However, President Donald Trump vowed to impose new sanctions on Tehran and on Friday, his administration targeted Iran’s metals industry, a major employer. Meanwhile, thousands of additional U.S. forces remain in the Mideast atop of the network of American bases surrounding Iran, despite Tehran’s demands the U.S. leave the region.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cast doubt on Iran’s claim that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner on Wednesday.

DUBAI, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Iran’s religious rulers risk a legitimacy crisis as popular anger has boiled up at the way the state handled a passenger plane crash, which the military took three days to admit was caused by an Iranian missile fired in error.

Amid mounting public fury and international criticism, the belated admission of blame by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards has squandered the national unity seen after the killing of the country’s most influential commander in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3.

Huge crowds had turned out on the streets of Iranian cities to mourn Soleimani’s death, chanting “Death to America”.

But since the Ukraine International Airlines plane crashed on Wednesday – an incident Canada and the United States said early on was due to an Iranian missile albeit fired by mistake – social media has been ablaze with criticism of the establishment. All 176 people on board the plane, en route from Tehran to Kiev, were killed.

That mood bodes ill for a parliamentary election in February, when Iran’s primitive religious rulers typically seek a high turnout to show their legitimacy even though the outcome will not change any major policy.

But instead they are now hearing more rumblings of discontent, after anti-government protests in November in which hundreds of people died.

“It is a very sensitive time for the establishment. They face a serious credibility problem. Not only did they conceal the truth, they also mismanaged the situation,” said a senior former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran’s backward clerics have swept aside challenges to their grip on power. But the kind of distrust between the rulers and the ruled that erupted in protests last year may now have deepened.

‘DEATH TO THE DICTATOR’

Video clips on Twitter showed protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanting “Death to the dictator,” a reference to Shia Religious Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Reuters could not independently verify the footage. It followed a welter of criticism in Iran.

Iran’s state news agency confirmed the protests.

The Guards issued an apology for shooting down the plane, saying air defenses were fired in error during a state of high alert. Iran had expected U.S reprisals after it retaliated for Soleimani’s killing by firing missiles at Iraqi bases where U.S. troops were stationed.

Iran’s supreme leader aging Shia Khamenei, may now find Iranians are not so keen to show their support.

BEDROCK SUPPORT

The dated clerical system in Iran has survived challenges in the pasts.

But Khamenei’s  support, the ignorant and religious poor and lower middle classes were among the first on the street in November in protests sparked by a hike in gasoline prices – a particularly sensitive issue where many rely on cheap fuel.

Protesters’ demands swiftly turned more political, including calls for their rulers to go, before authorities cracked down.

Social media was flooded with angry comments from Iranians, many complaining that the authorities had spent more time denying they were to blame for the plane crash than sympathising with victims’ families.

Alongside the parliamentary vote, the elections on Feb. 21 will also choose members of the Assembly of Experts, an out-of-touch Islamic clerical body that in future will be responsible for selecting a successor to 80-year-old doddering Khamenei.

Khamenei, who has no term limit, has been in office since the death in 1989 of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Islamic Shia fanatic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Trump Fights with Sanctions, not with Arms

The Trump administration warned Iraq that it risks losing access to a critical government bank account if Baghdad kicks out American.

The U.S. could shut down Iraq’s access to the country’s central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York!

Iraq, like other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed as an important part of managing the country’s finances, including revenue from oil sales. Loss of access to the accounts could restrict Iraq’s use of that revenue, creating a huge cash problem in Iraq’s financial system. It is surprising that this hasn’t been done already. Why does America allow foreigners to use our banks.

Iraqi Parliament Votes to Expel U.S. Troops

Nevertheless. Abdul-Mahdi moved ahead with those plans this week, requesting the U.S. agree to talks to plan the safe withdrawal of American troops, according to an Iraqi description of a Thursday call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Why don’t we shut down our banks to Iran and pull out the troops.?

The warning regarding the Iraqi central bank account was conveyed to Iraq’s prime minister in a call on Wednesday, according to an official in his office, that also touched on the overall military, political and financial partnership between the two countries.

Spokesmen for the Iraqi prime minister, its central bank and its embassy in Washington didn’t respond to requests for comment. The U.S. State and Treasury Departments and the Federal Reserve Board declined to comment.

The Federal Reserve Bank in New York, which can freeze accounts under U.S. sanctions law or if it has reasonable suspicion the funds could violate U.S. law, said it doesn’t comment on specific account holders.

Mr. Abdul-Mahdi has said the departure of U.S. troops is the only way to avoid conflict in Iraq because the U.S. doesn’t trust the country’s security forces to protect its troops.

But there are questions over his authority to evict them, given his status as a caretaker prime minister. Among other potential obstacles are Kurdish and most Sunni leaders, who boycotted the session at which parliamentarians voted on the troop expulsion. The vote is the result of have the Iran-following Shia’s in the Iraqi government.

During the parliamentary debate, the speaker, a Sunni, urged Shiite lawmakers to be mindful of the potential backlash: “One of the steps the international community could take is to stop financial transactions with Iraq, and we would be unable to fulfill our commitments to our citizens at any moment,” Mohammed al-Halboosi said, based on a video of the proceedings.

The financial threat isn’t theoretical: The country’s financial system was squeezed in 2015 when the U.S. suspended access for several weeks to the central bank’s account at the New York Fed over concerns the cash was filtering through a loosely regulated market into Iranian banks and to the Islamic State extremist group.
Al Asad air base in Iraq, housing U.S. troops, was targeted Tuesday by missiles fired from Iran, the Pentagon said. Photo: Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

“The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy,” said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.

The prospect of sanctions has unsettled ordinary Iraqis, for whom memories of living under a United Nations embargo during the 1990s are still fresh. Pro-Iranian and other Shiite factions leading the charge to oust U.S. forces from Iraq have sought to reassure the public by telling them Iraq could pivot to China.

An adviser to the prime minister, Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, said that while the threat of sanctions was a concern, he did not expect the U.S. to go through with it. “If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever,” he said.

Besides the financial impact, many politicians, including some Shiites, worry that a U.S. withdrawal would allow Islamic State to re-emerge as a major threat. They also view the U.S. as a necessary counterweight to Iran, which has tightened its grip on the Iraqi government during Mr. Abdul-Mahdi’s premiership.

The U.S. is concerned that an exodus of American forces could allow U.S. currency to be redirected to Iranian accounts and to other adversaries, according to people familiar with the matter.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi asked the U.S. to send representatives to put in place a mechanism for the withdrawal of troops from the country. Photo: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

The Trump administration’s sanctions campaign against Iran has squeezed the flow of U.S. dollars to the government in Tehran over the past year. The American dollar, the most traded currency in the world, is used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to pay its foreign proxies fighting against the U.S. and its allies in the region, including in Iraq, U.S. officials say.

Iranian-owned or controlled foreign exchange houses and banks in Iraq have been an important source of funding for Iran and its proxies active in the country, including those fighting against U.S. forces, U.S. officials say.

The New York Fed provides banking and other financial services for around 250 central banks, governments and other foreign official institutions, such as the account owned by Bangladesh from which North Korean agents were able to steal $81 million in 2016, U.S. officials have said.

When Iraq needs hard currency, its central bank can request a shipment of bills that it then distributes into the financial system through banks and currency exchange houses. While the country’s official currency is the dinar, U.S. dollars are commonly used.

The New York Fed doesn’t publicly disclose how much money it currently holds for Iraq’s central bank. But according to the Central Bank of Iraq’s most recent financial statement, at the end of 2018, the Fed held nearly $3 billion in overnight deposits. Shame on us for letting this happen!

Iran’s sole female Olympic medalist says she’s defected

Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, of Iran, celebrates after winning a bronze medal in women’s 57-kg taekwondo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016.

Kimia Alizadeh, has announced that she’s permanently left her country for Europe.

“Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” the 21-year-old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

“They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” she wrote, adding that credit for her success always went to those in charge.

“I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools,” Alizadeh added, explaining that while the regime celebrated her medals, it criticized the sport she had chosen: “The virtue of a woman is not to stretch her legs!”
Reports of her defection first surfaced Thursday, with some Iranians suggesting she had left for the Netherlands. It was unclear from her post to what country Alizadeh had gone.

Iran arrests UK ambassador

Rob Macaire, who has been Britain’s envoy to the Islamic republic since March 2018, was arrested as he stopped at a barber shop for a haircut after attending a vigil for the victims of a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Tehran last week, the BBC reported.

Macaire left the vigil after it became a demonstration but was later accused by Iranian authorities of helping to incite the anti-government protest.

He was released after three hours but the arrest infuriated the British government.

“The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards.”

In a Twitter message, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus called Macaire’s arrest a violation of the Vienna Convention, which she said the Iranian regime “has a notorious history of violating.”

The Crime of the Dossier

In 2016, Hillary Clinton, then presidential candidate, hired an ex-intelligence officer and foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to use Russian sources to find dirt on her then political opponent Donald Trump.

The public would take years to learn about the funding sources of Steele, because Clinton camouflaged her role through three firewalls: the Democratic National Committee; the Perkins-Coie legal firm; and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition-research firm.

Steele had collected rumor and gossip from mostly Russian sources in an effort to tar Trump as a Russian colluder and asset. We know now that his sources were either bogus or deliberately warped by Steele himself.

Almost everything in the Dossier was unverified and later was proved fanciful. Yet with the help of high Obama administration and elected officials, the Dossier’s gossip and rumor were leaked throughout the top echelons of Washington politics and the media. Its lies spread because its chief message — Donald J. Trump was a fool, dangerous, should never be elected, and once elected had no business as president — was exactly what the establishment wished to hear and promote to the American public with the help of the press.

The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, after an exhaustive study, found that the Steele Dossier not just unverifiable but unethically and unprofessionally used successfully to delude federal judges to issue warrants to surveil an American citizen.

Horowitz simply confirmed that Steele was both a pathological liar and an inveterate hater of Donald Trump who acted to ensure that Trump would not be president. Although the aging and inept special counsel Robert Mueller, in sworn testimony before Congress, seemed to have amnesia about the Steele Dossier and its chief purveyor Fusion GPS, his own investigation was de facto repudiation of the entire Steele Dossier in its conclusion that Donald Trump did not engage in collusion with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

As a result, all who trafficked in the Dossier as if it were factual and disinterested have lost their credibility. Many are now seeing their careers demolished and in ruins. Here is a small sampling of reputations that were marred or destroyed.

Rachel Maddow: Many of her 2016–19 evening cable news commentaries focused on the supposed dangers that candidate and then president Trump posed to the republic. She cited the Steele Dossier chapter and verse as factual in making her arguments that Trump was dishonest and amoral and therefore an illegitimate president who should be removed. It will be difficut for any audience to take Maddow’s on-air assertions seriously in the future. She rose to high ratings promoting the Dossier, and she will likely suffer the consequences in reverse.

James Comey and the FBI. It is no exaggeration that James Comey, the former director of the FBI, knew intimately of the Dossier, approved its use to spy on American citizens and to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s purported Russian connection, and then lied about both the Dossier’s authenticity and his own agency’s use of its author Christopher Steele, who was highly paid informant for the FBI.

More than a dozen top FBI agents, investigators, and lawyers who worked for Comey have now either been fired, disgraced, reassigned, demoted, or have quit or have abruptly retired. The common denominator to all their fates is that in some fashion they either leaked false information to the media (so far unpunishe, knowingly broke the law, lied to federal investigators, altered documents, deluded federal judges, or were afraid that something they had done would surface. Trace the origins of such misbehavior, and at its font will be the sensational Steele Dossier and the nearly religious belief that it either was true or should be true or somehow could be made to be true.

John McCain: The late Senator John McCain. McCain was tipped off about the Dossier by a British intelligence official and Steele’s confidant. McCain, who had engaged in a well-publicized feud with Trump, almost immediately met with federal officials and sent his former associate David Kramer to the UK to talk with Steele. McCain himself then gave the Dossier to FBI Director Comey. In McCain’s final memoir, he and his coauthor were defiant about the senator’s role in spreading the unsubstantiated gossip around Washington: “I would do it again. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell.” It was a misleading and unfortunate comment by McCain.

James Clapper and John Brennan: James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama, and John Brennan, the former CIA director, both previously had lied under oath to Congress. Both then apologized, and their illegal behaviors were excused – unfortunately without legal consequences. But both once again have not told the truth about their own knowledge of the Steele Dossier, its unverified and mostly false information, and the role they both played in circulating and promulgating the Dossier to the media and high government officials. That both directors were deeply involved in spreading the Dossier around Washington, leaking its comments, and then denying their roles while they worked as paid television commentators on CNN and MSNBC only ensured the rapid erosion of their beltway careers and reputations. And both still may have a rendezvous with federal prosecutors in regard to the Dossier.

FISA Court: The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. A number of inept FISA court federal judges approved FBI and DOJ requests to surveille Carter Page both before and after the 2016 presidential election, supposedly as a way to learn of Trump-Russia collusion.

None of the judges seriously probed government lawyers about the Dossier before their court. Although they were told in a footnote that it was a product of opposition research, apparently none asked the nature of such sponsorship.

Yet if a judge is apprised that the evidence before him to support a federal surveillance warrant is based on political opposition research, would it not be prudent to ask attorneys to name who had paid the Dossier’s author? Worse still, in winter and late spring 2018, Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) had twice warned the eleven-justice FISA court that the Steele Dossier was unreliable and had not been a sound basis to authorize surveilling an American citizen. Nunes and his House colleagues were essentially ignored and dismissed by the court.

It was only after the issuance of the Horowitz report that the FISA court’s presiding justice, Rosemary Collyer, blasted the FBI for deluding her court. Fairly or not, the impression remains that FISA judges either were incompetent or simply did not wish to learn evidence that might have discredited their decision to allow the FBI to surveille a former Trump official, as part of a larger effort to discredit Donald Trump. And like it or not, the entire reputation of the FISA court is now in shreds, both for being so easily or willingly fooled, and for so opportunistically and belatedly criticizing those who deluded them.

There is a movement to do away with the FISA court as there is no responder in the case, only an accuser. This is called an ex parte court appearance which means a legal proceeding brought by one party in the absence of and without representation of or notification to the other party. Since other Americans were excluded from pleading their side of the story, the FISA court relied only on their accuser, the FBI. This is totally wrong in such cases and there is a movement to abolish the FISA court.

Hillary Clinton: There are strict federal election laws governing the role of foreign nationals and their U.S. handlers interfering in an American election. The public became more aware of such statutes paradoxically because Hillary Clinton, almost immediately after losing the November 2016 election, claimed that she was defeated only because Donald Trump had colluded with Russians. Ironically, the origins of that claim were the Steele Dossier, which Clinton herself had paid for and then hidden her sponsorship. In other words, while the Dossier swept through the media, helped to prime FISA warrants, played a key part in launching FBI investigations, and ultimately kick-started the Robert Mueller special-counsel investigation, Hillary Clinton remained immune from scrutiny. Think of the paradox: While Clinton pounded president Trump for supposedly using Russians to win an election, she herself had used fraudulent Russian sources to obtain political advantage by smearing her opponent, apparently in the expectation that she would win the election and her modus operandi would never be discovered, or, even if Steele’s work were publicized and thus discredited, her own fingerprints would never appear — or no one would dare to question President Clinton.

Adam Schiff: Adam Schiff’s reputation hit rock bottom in recent years. He lied about his relationship to the so-called whistleblower. His minority-report memo was discredited by Inspector General Horowitz. He read a bogus version of the Trump-Ukraine phone call into the congressional record, and when called out, begged off by claiming it was merely “parody.” And he began the impeachment inquiry in a basement without either transparency or bipartisan rules of cross-examination and disclosure. But Schiff’s two-year insistence that Steele’s research was reliable and that it nonetheless did not provide the chief basis for FISA warrants was demonstrably untrue. (How paradoxical that Steele’s promoters both defended the Dossier and yet denied that it was pivotal.) Schiff may remain a hero to the Never Trump fringe for his any-means-necessary efforts to destroy Trump, but even the media now distrust him. His own party will come to see him as a transiently useful dishonest prevaricator whose utility is already waning.

The Coup Against America

In a rare public order Tuesday, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] strongly criticized the FBI over its surveillance-application process, giving the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions, in the wake of findings from Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The order, from the court’s presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer, came just a week after the release of Horowitz’s withering report about the wiretapping of Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to President Trump.

“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” Collyer wrote in her four-page order. “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”

This was revealed months ago it was revealed that the Justice Department inspector general has determined the three Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant extensions against onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page were illegally obtained, attorney Joe diGenova said.

In an investigation that began last year, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is examining the Justice Department’s and FBI’s compliance with legal requirements as well as policies and procedures in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to Page as part of a larger counterintelligence probe into Trump’s campaign.

“They are doing that as a diversionary tactic away from the inevitable conclusions of the DOJ inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who, by the way, we have learned has concluded that the final three FISA extensions were illegally obtained,” diGenova said on Fox Business. “The only question now is whether or not the first FISA was illegally obtained.”

He pointed to memos, obtained by conservative group Citizens United through open-records litigation, that suggest the FBI might have misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in the first warrant application about an unverified dossier.

Horowitz “apparently, as a result of those disclosures … which he was unaware of — the bureau hid those memos from Horowitz — as a result of that they’re doing additional work on the first FISA. It may be that all four FISAs will have been obtained illegally,” diGenova said.

The dossier, compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, contained salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia. It was used by the FBI illegaly to obtain the authority to wiretap Page, an American who had suspicious connections to the Russians. The first warrant application was submitted in October 2016, after which there were three renewals at three-month intervals, including in January, April, and June 2017.

The memos obtained by Citizens United, and shared with the Washington Examiner, show Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11 and admitted he was encouraged by a client to get his research out before the 2016 election, signaling a possible political motivation. The timing of the meeting is notable, as it was 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain the original warrant to wiretap Page.

Senate and House investigators told The Hill they too were unaware of the documents, which were given to and redacted by the FBI, and one member of Congress referred the memos to the Justice Department inspector general. “They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said.

A memo from the House Intelligence Committee in February 2018 alleged Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the Perkins Coie law firm and opposition research group Fusion GPS to “obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.” The memo also said the FBI never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of the dossier’s Democratic benefactors or Steele’s anti-Trump bias when it applied to spy on Page, who was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller over his interactions with Russians but was never charged.

In a rebuttal to the House Intelligence GOP memo, Democrats falsely argued the Justice Department and FBI “met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA’s probable cause requirement.”

In recent days top former officials at the FBI have defended their handling of the warrant applications. Former FBI Director James Comey said during a CNN town hall on Thursday that “the most important part” of the dossier was on “Russians coming for the American election,” which he asserted was “consistent with our other intelligence” and “true.” Former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who acknowledged he “wanted the burden on me to a significant degree” in preparing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application paperwork, said it would have been “gratuitous” to name the U.S. persons — the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC — in the documents.

Both Comey and Baker said they are confident the bureau did nothing wrong in obtaining the warrants, although Baker admitted the inspector general makes him “nervous.” Now, even Comey admits that he was wrong.

DiGenova appeared on Fox Business with his wife and legal partner Victoria Toensing. She accused FBI Director Christopher Wray of “hiding” Comey’s “sins.” This has now proved to be true.

DiGenova served as an independent counsel in the 1990s for a case on former President Bill Clinton’s passport before he was elected. Last year, it was announced diGenova and Toensing were joining Trump’s legal team for the federal Russia investigation, but that plan was nixed within days.