Monthly Archives: September 2019
By Petr Svab
The acquittal of a former business partner of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has the potential to hinder some government attempts to abuse its powers to spy on Americans.
Bijan Rafiekian was acquitted on Sept. 24 of acting as an agent of the Turkish government without informing the U.S. government and two related charges.
In vacating Rafiekian’s conviction, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga criticized the prosecutors for broadening the definition of “agent of a foreign government” and sketched a narrower definition.
The case has received some media attention because of Flynn’s short stint as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. But its repercussions may be significant, as labeling a person a “foreign agent” opens the door for the government to spy on them.
Rafiekian was charged under Section 951, which says that a person who acts as a foreign agent—“agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official”—will face up to 10 years in prison unless he or she first informs the Attorney General.
The law has several exceptions, such as for diplomats and people engaged in “a legal commercial transaction”—it’s not supposed to go after people engaged in above-board business with foreign governments.
Yet the government, it appears, found a clever way to make many legal transactions illegal.
The prosecutors argued that violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) can make one liable under Section 951.
Such an interpretation seems open to abuse of power.
FARA deals with foreign lobbying and requires timely, periodical, and detailed disclosures from people whose lobbying is done on behalf of foreign governments or that principally benefits a foreign government.
FARA violations are common, data suggests.
Even among those who register, many seem to flunk the rules.
The Justice Department’s Inspector General found, from a “risk-based” sample of new FARA registrations from 2013 to 2015, that about two-thirds were filed late. The majority of the reviewed filings also had at least one other noncompliance issue (pdf).
Yet only seven FARA violations have been prosecuted in the previous 50+ years. Part of the reason for that is that FARA has a high standard for the co-called “mens rea”—state of mind. The government would have to prove the violators acted “willfully,” knowingly breaking the law. A lobbyist ignorant of the law can’t be held liable.
In the Rafiekian case, the prosecutors argued that any FARA violation, regardless of willfulness, makes one ineligible for the “commercial transaction” exception under Section 951.
They further said, in substance, that “direction or control” under Section 951 means somebody “agrees or is willing to do something the foreign principal requests,” Trenga said in his opinion.
That’s indeed the case under FARA, but such a reading of the law is “unwarranted,” under Section 951, the judge said, because “the word ‘agent’ has a well-established common-law meaning” that includes “the power of the principal to give directions and the duty of the agent to obey those directions.”
“A person must do more than act as a ‘representative’ or ‘on behalf of’ a foreign government,” he said, further noting that, “In sum, the government’s construction of Section 951 would, in effect, import into and conflate the narrow common law notion of agency reflected in Section 951 and the related regulation with the broad definition of an ‘agent’ under FARA, which goes well beyond any common-law understanding of agency and includes conduct not fairly read into the definition of agency under Section 951.”
Trenga’s reining in of who the government can and can’t label an “agent of a foreign government” has a special significance because the label seems to open the door to spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
FISA allows the government to obtain the electronic communications of anybody the secret FISA courts determine to be an “agent of a foreign power.”
Both FISA and FARA are overseen by the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD), which in the past assigned counterintelligence overtones to its interpretation of Section 951.
The NSD called Section 951 “espionage lite,” saying that it “generally involves espionage-like or clandestine behavior or an otherwise provable connection to an intelligence service, or information gathering or procurement-type activity on behalf of a foreign government,” according to a 2016 IG report (pdf).
She said she would “bet money” the government took out a FISA warrant on Flynn in 2016, when he was advising the Trump campaign. That hasn’t been confirmed, though.
It may not be easy or even possible for the government to collapse FARA and FISA together directly. FARA speaks of agents of a “foreign principal”—a term that includes private entities and appears too far removed from the “agent of a foreign power” label needed to pass the muster of FISA judges.
Trenga’s opinion, however, seems to confirm that the government was borrowing the broad FARA interpretation of “agent” to label people foreign government agents under Section 951.
Wilson Miller, a lawyer who has previously identified issues with the NSD, commented that “it would be legally permissible to use allegations of Section 951 violations as grounds for a FISA warrant.”
Trenga’s opinion isn’t a binding precedent in other federal jurisdictions, but it can be raised in the future by defense lawyers to persuade other judges. In that sense, it may make the government think twice before taking out a FISA warrant on somebody based on FARA violations.
Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
by Paul Sperry
If you believe recent media accounts, the former Democratic president has suddenly transcended the political fray. It’s as if a newly “Zen-like” Barack Obama is content to just write his memoir and let Donald Trump and Republicans write the next chapter of history.
In a cover story asking “Where is Barack Obama?,” for example, New York magazine concluded that the 44th president has “virtually disappeared” from the political scene and is sitting idly by as his legacy is dismantled piece by piece. From an exclusive interview, the periodical concluded Obama was “modeling his political engagement out of office after George W. Bush’s” — that is, staying out of the rough-and-tumble of politics, maintaining distance from his former office and resigning himself to be an elder statesman fading into the sunset.
Don’t buy it.
Obama is doing far more to shape the political landscape than is visible. In fact, for an ex-prez, he’s taking an unusually active role in politics, including helping radical protest groups fight Trump and his policies and devising a scheme to flip the GOP majority in the House and permanently turn red seats blue.
From his sprawling DC office not far from the White House, where he oversees a full-time staff of 20, Obama has held regular meetings with Democratic lawmakers, as well as DNC chief Tom Perez, whom he personally helped install to run the Democratic Party. Obama has also met with his attorney general, Eric Holder, to craft a strategy to redraw congressional district maps in Democrats’ favor, according to Politico. Holder now runs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which Obama helped his old friend launch.
Obama, who maintains a home in Chicago, originally said he only planned to stay in Washington temporarily, until his younger daughter, Sasha, now 17, finished high school there. But the family is clearly putting down deeper roots. They recently bought their DC rental home and erected a massive security wall around the property, which includes offices, and are installing a swimming pool.
While it may be true Obama does not want to engage directly in Washington politics, including personally protesting Trump’s policies, he is using a political organizing group he founded to do that for him.
That nonprofit — Organizing for Action — is not exactly a household name. But it is no less than the organizing and training hub of the anti-Trump resistance.
Most recently, OFA helped stage rallies across the country against the administration’s border policies, which it has decried as “cruel and inhumane.” OFA describes itself as a “nonpartisan grass-roots-driven organization,” but it clearly has a pro-Obama agenda. In fact, it’s run almost entirely by alums from Obama’s campaign and White House, including Jon Carson and Jim Messina, who co-chair the group, and Katie Hogan, who serves as its executive director, according to recent tax filings by the nonprofit.
Though Obama has no official or legal role in OFA, he features the group along with his foundation on his post-presidency website and rallies its foot soldiers, who wear blue T-shirts with big white “OFA” letters, in conference calls. After Trump won, for example, he phoned to “fire up” Carson and his team and told them not to worry, that they would “cook up all kinds” of strategies to reclaim the agenda, according to a Nov. 14, 2016, White House transcript of his OFA conference call. More recently, Obama sent an email to “OFA supporters” urging them to “keep going in 2018,” because “there’s simply too much at stake this year.” Obama has tweeted from OFA’s account before and after leaving the White House, and while he was in the White House, he let OFA control his Twitter account, according to The Atlantic.
Earlier this year, moreover, he met with Hogan to discuss how the group can flex its muscles during the midterm campaign to help Democrats recapture the House, according to the New York Times. To that end, OFA plans to train and deploy organizers in 27 Republican-held congressional districts, many with heavy Latino populations, that could be key to a Democratic takeover of the House. With offices in DC and Chicago, OFA has already trained more than 40,000 leftist agitators in person or by webinar, according to tax records.
Behind the scenes, he really may be coordinating the resistance
“We’ve seen grassroots organizing make a big difference this past year, it will again in November,” Hogan recently tweeted.
Meanwhile, OFA has formally partnered with one of the angriest resistance groups, Indivisible Project, which has been criticized for using overly aggressive protest tactics against Republicans at town-hall meetings. Indivisible plans to deploy OFA-trained agitators to storm Republican districts during the Fourth of July recess, starting this weekend, to shout down “Trump’s racist policies,” according to its website.
OFA brings in between $6 million and $14 million in donations a year, and is funded in part by Democracy Alliance, which is connected to the radical group that dispatched agitators to march outside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Virginia town house, blaring an audiotape of crying immigrant children and chanting “No justice, no sleep!” The group, CREDO Action, also held signs calling Nielsen a “child snatcher” and shouted, “You’re a modern-day Nazi!”
With the help of 40 full-time staffers, OFA trains volunteers in the hard-core tactics popularized by the late Chicago radical Saul Alinsky, including smearing and intimidating opponents and mobilizing angry mobs to convey the appearance of a mass movement that enjoys a good deal of public support.
Alinsky trainers schooled Obama in these same tactics when he was an organizer in South Side Chicago.
Meanwhile, Hogan and OFA have partnered with Obama and Holder’s gerrymandering project to manufacture future Democrat victories.
Republicans are so alarmed by Obama’s permanent presence and political interference, they are raising money from donors based on these fears, warning in a recent fundraising newsletter about “his scheme to interfere in the 2018 midterms,” according to a June 22 email from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
In public, Obama has skillfully kept his distance from recent anti-Trump protests and politicking. But behind the scenes, he really may be coordinating the resistance — and acting as its organizer in chief.
Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of the bestseller “Infiltration.”
DOH! Did You Know There’s a Treaty Between the USA & Ukraine Regarding Cooperation For Prosecuting Crimes?
My goodness. It was passed when Joe Biden was a member of the U.S. Senate and then signed by then-President Bill Clinton.
A comprehensive treaty agreement that allows cooperation between both the United States and Ukraine in the investigation and prosecution of crimes.
It appears President Trump was following the law to the letter when it comes to unearthing the long-standing corruption that has swirled in Ukraine and allegedly involves powerful Democrats like Joe Biden and others.
“To the Senate of the United States: With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Treaty Between the United States of America and Ukraine on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters with Annex, signed at Kiev on July 22, 1998. I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, an exchange of notes which was signed on September 30, 1999, which provides for its provisional application, as well as the report of the Department of State with respect to the Treaty. The Treaty is one of a series of modern mutual legal assistance treaties being negotiated by the United States in order to counter criminal activities more effectively. The Treaty should be an effective tool to assist in the prosecution of a wide variety of crimes, including drug trafficking offenses. The Treaty is self-executing. It provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual assistance available under the Treaty includes: taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records, and articles of evidence; serving documents; locating or identifying persons; transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes; executing requests for searches and seizures; assisting in proceedings related to restraint, confiscation, forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; and any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state. I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to ratification.”WILLIAM J. CLINTON.
MIGA is a propaganda effort that’s growing in size, at least online, given the escalating situation between the B-Team and Iran. MIGA stands for Make Iran Great Again, and it’s led by an exiled Iranian living in the US – Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, leader of the opposition group called “Restart.” The group describes itself as Iranian nationalists. Nationalists? More like shills in the employ of a belligerent empire that’s waging economic war against the Fatherland.
In this MIGA tweet addressed to the US president, an acolyte of Restart is shown on video, albeit with a blurred face. He claims that before Trump there was darkness on the world stage, but with Trump’s ascension to politics, he brought hope and awakening to humanity. Indeed, ass-kissing levels are off the charts with these guys… Anyway, the Restart goon wants a “4th of July” for Iran, and also wants to forever “dismiss Russia, England, and Radical Islamists.”
Wikipedia states the following:
Seyed Mohammad Hosseini was born in Iran and joined the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting service in 1994 as a TV program host. During his years at the IRIB, Hosseini was active as a producer, director, and hosted a number of game shows until 2010 when he left IRIB. In 2011 Hosseini immigrated to the United States as a political refugee and became a vocal advocate against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the US he has started an opposition group called “Restart” which is currently active against the Islamic Republic. Since the start of his opposition group, Hosseini has attempted to attract young Iranians to his group with the ultimate aim of regime change. Hosseini encourages his followers to attack the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Basij bases and government buildings throughout the country as part of his plan to cause the collapse of the government.
After the State Department’s announcement to send US troops to Saudi Arabia, anti-war Trump supporters grilled the president in the comments sections of various pro-Trump publications, calling him a sellout and oath breaker. But as with any group, there are pro-war MAGA people and they’ve doubled down on mental gymnastics to try and apologize for Trump’s decision and make the case for further escalation with Iran. A ‘brain fart theory’ I’ve seen among these MAGA chicken-hawks is that the attacks on Saudi oil installations is an “attack against us all,” because the US economy is fueled by oil; and if the price of crude goes up it may crash the US into a recession and lead to Trump’s deselection. Alright, then. This is utter nonsense. The US is a net exporter of oil, in fact, it’s one of the world’s biggest exporters of crude and the number one exporter of refined petroleum. Higher oil prices on the international market would cause an economic boom in the US, not a crash. Competitors would eat away into Saudi Arabia’s market share as well, given its chunk of incapacitated output to honor orders. Another idiotic theory is that the attacks on Saudi oil installations were a false flag designed to beef up Aramco’s valuation via the hike in oil prices. This too is nonsense. The attacks depreciate Aramco’s value, they don’t increase it. Who wants to pay a premium for shares in a country that’s extremely vulnerable to attacks on key industry and infrastructure?
During a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the UN General Assembly, Trump failed to convey his view about Pakistan being a “hub of terrorism,” and instead pointed to Iran as the “number one state of terror in the world.” Trump also said that before he took office, Iran was a very big threat, but since he got into office, Iran is doing very badly. Interesting how this weakened state Trump’s projecting, or at least, trying to project, doesn’t square with his previous statement, that Iran continues to be the number one terrorist state in the world. Also, if the Iranians are so weak, how the hell did they manage to cripple half of Saudi Arabia’s effective oil capacity overnight and at a minor cost effort? After all, Washington and Riyadh said Iran “did it.” Worse still, Saudi Arabia has the 3rd largest military budget, and purchases war gear from the West, including from the USA , the “best in the world” as Trump says. All of these mixed signals do not aid the White House, in fact, it makes the president, and inherently the US state machine as totally schizophrenic. Such a dishonorable statement, a repeat of it, given the context and the place, shows us clearly that Trump doesn’t want to meet with Rouhani and doesn’t want a diplomatic solution with Iran, unless the Iranians come crawling on their knees, offering unconditional surrender.
Given the Anon-esque MIGA propaganda campaign, plus the efforts of fake anti-globalist commentators on MAGA platforms or circles, plus Trump’s clear double-dealing, cynicism, broken promises, and overall opportunistic presidency… the chances of Iran being attacked and invaded by the US and its allies, mercenaries, and terrorist cells are dangerously high. I’ve little doubt that Trump won’t do what Bush Jr and Obama did in their 2nd terms in office. When the war operations begin [in the 2nd Trump Administration], the Deep State and the mainstream media [Big Tech too] will start concocting the new lesser evil candidate, while Trump will join the hall of infamous deception alongside Obama and others.
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by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/23/2019 – 10:05
Rudy Giuliani leveled serious new claims at the Bidens in a series of Monday morning tweets. Chief among them is a claim that $3 million was laundered to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, via a “Ukraine-Latvia-Cyprus-US” route – a revelation he claims was “kept from you by Swamp Media.” by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/23/2019 – 10:05
Trump’s personal attorney then mentioned China – where journalist Peter Schweizer reported Joe and Hunter Biden flew in 2013 on Air Force Two. Two weeks later, Hunter’s firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government’s Bank of China, which expanded to $1.5 billion, according to an article by Schweizer’s in the New York Post.
Giuliani then went on to tweet that the Bidens lied about not discussing Hunter’s overseas business.
On Saturday, Joe Biden said he “never” spoke with Hunter about the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter sat on the board of while being paid $50,000 per month. As you’re doubtless aware by now, the elder Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees from Ukraine if they didn’t fire the investigator probing the company, Burisma.
Hunter, however,admitted in July that the two did speak about his Ukraine business “just once,” telling the New Yorker “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do’“
Rudy then lashed out at the Democratic party, which he said would “own” Biden’s scandals if hey don’t “call for investigation of Bidens’ millions from Ukraine and billions from China.”
Here’s what we know about Hunter’s dealings in China based on Schweizer’s reporting via our May report:
- Hunter Biden and his partners created several LLCs involved in multibillion-dollar private equity deals with Chinese government-owned entities.
- The primary operation was Rosemont Seneca Partners – an investment firm founded in 2009 and controlled by Hunter Biden, John Kerry’s stepson Chris Heinz, and Heniz’s longtime associate Devon Archer. The trio began making deals “through a series of overlapping entities” under Rosemont.
- In less than a year, Hunter Biden and Archer met with top Chinese officials in China, and partnered with the Thornton Group – a Massachusetts-based consultancy headed by James Bulger –
sonnephew of famed mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger (h/t @Guerrilla_Magoo for the correction).
- According to the Thornton Group’s Chinese-language website, Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden.”
- Officially, the China meets were to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity,” however details of the meeting were not published to the English-language version of the website.
- “The timing of this meeting was also notable. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit,” according to Schweizer.
- Perhaps most damning in terms of timing and optics, just twelve days after Hunter and Joe Biden flew on Air Force Two to Beijing, Hunter’s company signed a “historic deal with the Bank of China,” described by Schweizer as “the state-owned financial behemoth often used as a tool of the Chinese government.” To accommodate the deal, the Bank of China created a unique type of investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). According to BHR, Rosemont Seneca Partners is a founding partner.
It was an unprecedented arrangement: the government of one of America’s fiercest competitors going into business with the son of one of America’s most powerful decisionmakers.
Chris Heinz claims neither he nor Rosemont Seneca Partners, the firm he had part ownership of, had any role in the deal with Bohai Harvest. Nonetheless, Biden, Archer and the Rosemont name became increasingly involved with China. Archer became the vice chairman of Bohai Harvest, helping oversee some of the fund’s investments. –New York Post
And while Hunter Biden had “no experience in China, and little in private equity,” the Chinese government for some reason thought it would be a great idea to give his firm business opportunities instead of established global banks such as Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs.
Also in December 2014, a Chinese state-backed conglomerate called Gemini Investments Limited was negotiating and sealing deals with Hunter Biden’s Rosemont on several fronts. That month, it made a $34 million investment into a fund managed by Rosemont.
The following August, Rosemont Realty, another sister company of Rosemont Seneca, announced that Gemini Investments was buying a 75 percent stake in the company. The terms of the deal included a $3 billion commitment from the Chinese, who were eager to purchase new US properties. Shortly after the sale, Rosemont Realty was rechristened Gemini Rosemont.
Chinese executives lauded the deal. –New York Post
“Rosemont, with its comprehensive real-estate platform and superior performance history, was precisely the investment opportunity Gemini Investments was looking for in order to invest in the US real estate market,” said Li Ming, chairman of Sino-Ocean Land Holdings Limited and Gemini Investments. “We look forward to a strong and successful partnership.“
Three years later,a crack pipe, two DC driver’s licenses and other paraphenelia would be found in a rental car Hunter Biden returned to an Arizona Hertz location in the middle of the night.
The morning after the car was dropped off, a phone number belonging to a renowned local “Colon Hydrotherapist” called the Hertz. The caller identified himself as “Joseph McGee,” who told the employees that the keys were located in the gas cap as opposed to the drop box.
Amazing how so many countries would scramble to do business with Hunter – a guy with virtually no experience who was discharged from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine – who just happened to be the Vice President’s son.
by SL’s Rant
End time prophecy in our Christian Bible tells us that the number of the anti-christ or, the number of the beast is 666. Before you watch the very last video, watch the video directly below (and the others) all the way to the end to see what that prophecy reveals. Remember, the Bible was written many hundreds of years BEFORE the Quran and the Christian Bible has original manuscripts that date back to 180 years before Jesus.
Revelation warns us about the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Revelation is also the book that told us to watch for the sign in the heavens of the woman clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet, a crown of 12 stars on her head and pregnant, about to give birth with a red dragon at her feet. (Revelation 12)
This sign has never been seen in the heavens in at least 6000 years and does not occur in the heavens again for at least another 1000 years‼️
We know this because the movement of the stars are mathematical and we now have computer programs that allow us to look at the stars from any place on earth at any point in time.
This video shows you exactly what was seen in the heavens concluding September 23, 2017 (and the 9mths prior)
In addition to what is shown on the video above; on September 23, 2017, there was also a strange unexplained ‘group of celestial objects’ visible on infrared telescope at the foot of Virgo that strongly resembled a “red dragon”. This “thing” has never been seen before, but matches the prophecy in Revelation 12.
You can see it in this video:
In the video below the meaning of the Revelation 12 sign is analyzed. There is also a discussion on how hard it is for us to change beliefs that we have held for a long time. It’s important for us to remain flexible and seek the truth, not what someone else is telling us is the truth.
This last video will show you the history of events and how our Hebrew/Christian Bible has foretold all these events.
Now is the time! Draw close to God. Study His Word. Are we in the final seven years of tribulation? No, we are not in the final seven years of tribulation, but it could begin at any time. Before the final 7 years of tribulation can begin, the antichrist has to make the seven year peace agreement with Israel.