Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Russia declares Atlantic Council think tank an ‘undesirable’ organization – what exactly is it?

RT | July 25, 2019

The controversial pro-NATO Atlantic Council think tank has been added to a list of “undesirable” organizations and forbidden from operating within Russia.

Russia’s Prosecutor General said on Thursday that it had decided to recognize the activities of the Atlantic Council (AC) as those of a “foreign non-governmental organization” and as “undesirable” within the country.

“It has been established that the activities of this organization pose a threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional system and the security of the Russian Federation,” a statement said.

The Russian law forbids “undesirable organizations” from opening offices and disseminating its materials in the country. Being part of such a group may result in an administrative fine of up to 100,000 (around $1,600) rubles or criminal liability with a prison term of between two to six years. The AC is the 17th organization to be slapped with that label.

Founded in 1961, the Atlantic Council is a rabidly anti-Russia think tank based in Washington DC and is handsomely funded by a bevy of US and UK arms manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing. It has been described by other analysts as the“propaganda arm” of the NATO military alliance. Consistent with its military funding, AC experts – or “fellows” as they call themselves – advocate for the engagement of the US military as frequently as possible in conflicts around the world.

US ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman used to be the chairman of the organization until 2018. The founder of Baring Vostok private equity fund, Michael Calvey, who is now on trial for large scale fraud in Russia, was one of its board members and the largest private investor, according to the annual report.

While the Russian prosecutor general’s statement describes the AC as an “NGO,” that seems to be not quite an accurate description, given that the organization also receives funding from the US State Department and the British Foreign Office.

The AC regularly hosts forums attended by political, business and academic figures who compete with each other to see who can suggest the most hostile Western course of action toward Russia.

Speaking at an Atlantic Council event in February, US chief of naval operations Adm. John Richardson called for more American aggression toward Russia and China, saying that when it comes to defending key waterways around the world, the US should become more “muscular,” should “strike first” and force Russia to “respond to our first move.”

Last year, Facebook teamed up with an Atlantic Council offshoot known as the ‘Digital Forensic Lab’ in an effort to combat “fake news” on the social media platform. Shortly after, Facebook went on a censorship spree, suspending pages belonging to left-leaning Venezuelan media outlets which were daring to question historically disastrous US foreign policy in Latin America.

Despite its clear bias and US and UK government funding, AC employees are regularly cited as objective ‘expert’ sources in mainstream media reports.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Iran Delenda Est

By Stephen J. Sniegoski • Unz Review • July 25, 2019

After Carthage had been significantly weakened by Rome in the Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC), Cato the Elder, a leading Roman senator, is said to have ended all his speeches with the words: “Carthago delenda est!” (“Carthage must be destroyed!”). This destruction ultimately took place in the Third Punic War (149–146 BC). A somewhat similar situation exists today in the United States, where war hawks demand that Iran–which in no way could effectively attack the United States, or even conquer America’s Middle East so-called allies—be stripped of its ability to protect itself.

Of course, what makes the American situation different from ancient Rome’s is that Rome sought to eliminate Carthage for its own interests whereas the United States is largely acting to advance the military interests of Israel (and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia) because of the immense power of the Israel lobby in the United States. In short, the destruction of Iranian power would enable Israel to solidify its dominance of the Middle East.

An insightful article by James North notes: “Iran in 2019 is no danger to U.S. interests anywhere. . . . The U.S. is squeezing Iran mainly because Israel wants it to. . . . Iran is the only regional power that is deterring him [Netanyahu] from completely annexing the West Bank. Iran is also a major supporter of Hamas, the resistance movement in Gaza.”

As North points out: “Israel wants the Iranian government destroyed, and Netanyahu has been instigating the United States for years to attack Teheran.” Obviously, Israel does not want any country in the Middle East to be able to contest its hegemonic power, which it maintains by virtue of its influence on the U.S. government and through its possession of top- level military weapons—especially its nuclear arsenal—the threatened use of which would likely cause the United States to intercede on Israel’s behalf to prevent a nuclear holocaust.

Support for Israel does not mean that American presidents have done everything sought by the Israel lobby, especially when it required outright war. Bush the Younger, for example, did not make war on Iran after defeating Saddam’s Iraq in 2003, although that was what Israel and its American supporters sought. And President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)] in 2015 to prevent its development of nuclear weapons was vehemently opposed by Israel and its American myrmidons because they regarded it as far too favorable toward Iran, especially since it would terminate sanctions that had been placed upon it.

While Iran is not allowed to develop nuclear weapons, a 2019 report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) described Israel’s nuclear arsenal as consisting of: “30 gravity bombs capable of delivering nuclear weapons by fighter jets; an additional 50 warheads that can be delivered by land-based ballistic missiles; and an unknown number of nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missiles that would grant Israel a sea-based second-strike capability.” Considering this completely unbalanced nuclear-arms situation, it would be reasonable to assume that Iran is threatened far more by Israel than Israel is by Iran. But that is not how the Alice-in-Wonderland U.S. media and politicians present the situation.

Israel and its American supporters wanted an overall diminution of Iranian military power—not just a restraint on nuclear power—which they contended would be enhanced by the increased wealth accruing to Iran due to the nuclear deal’s elimination of existing sanctions. Obama, however, held that he had maintained Israel’s military superiority over Iran. As Avi Schlaim, an Israeli historian, wrote: “Obama has given Israel considerably more money and arms than any of his predecessors. He has fully lived up to America’s formal commitment to preserve Israel’s ‘qualitative military edge’ by supplying his ally with ever more sophisticated weapons systems. His parting gift to Israel was a staggering military aid package of $38bn for the next 10 years. This represents an increase from the current $3.1 to $3.8bn per annum. It is also the largest military aid package from one country to another in the annals of human history.”

Donald Trump ran in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as something of a non-interventionist, especially promising to stay out of conflicts in the Middle East. Trump stated that “[w]e will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with. Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will. Almost two year later, Trump would continue to repeat his non-interventionist promise when he stated on December 19, 2018, that “[w]e have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” However, from the beginning of Trump’s presidential campaign, his expressed non-interventionist position was negated by his staunch support for the interests of Israel.

Trump made the renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal—a deal he described as disastrous—as one of his main foreign affairs campaign promises. Moreover, hardline supporters of Israel loomed large in his campaign team, such as son-in-law Jared Kushner, David M. Friedman, and Jason D. Greenblatt. And Trump selected Michael Flynn, a strong critic of Iran, who was a senior adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign and also his first national security adviser. Flynn’s pro-Israel credentials loomed large since he had coauthored a book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, with staunch neocon Michael Ledeen.

Trump’s advisers would become even more pro-Israel and anti-Iran with the addition of John Bolton, who played a significant role in bringing about the war on Iraq in 2003, as national security adviser in April 2018, and Mike Pompeo who became Secretary of State in April 2018. Both of these key figures have pushed for an attack on Iran.

Like many evangelical Christians, Pompeo is more supportive of Israel than most Jews. He has said that it is “possible” that Trump is meant to save the Jewish people, like Esther in the Old Testament, who used her wiles to prevent a massacre of Persian Jews.

Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran on May 8, 2018. This carried out his campaign promise and was something he could do unilaterally since the nuclear deal was a non-binding political agreement, not a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate. Trump alleged that Iran was violating the agreement though there was no evidence for this. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was authorized to verify and monitor the nuclear deal, had repeatedly found Iran to be in compliance, and the Trump administration had not officially disputed IAEA’s assessment when the United States was still a member of the JCPOA.

After pulling out of the nuclear agreement, the United States was in the strange position of demanding that Iran still abide by it. Furthermore, the United States levied a series of sanctions which quickly had a devastating impact upon the Iranian economy.

On May 21, 2018 , almost two weeks after the United States exited from the nuclear deal, Secretary of State Pompeo, in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, presented 12 demands (he would shortly add one more, human rights) for inclusion in any new nuclear treaty with Iran, most of which being unrelated to nuclear weapons. These requirements included: terminating support for any alleged terrorist groups—which meant groups hostile to Israel and Saudi Arabia, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis; removal of all forces under Iranian command in Syria, even though Iran played a significant role in defeating the Jihadi rebels there; disarming and demobilizing Shiite militias in Iraq, even though these militias played a major role in defeating ISIS; ending the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ support for alleged terrorists from the perspective of Israel and Saudi Arabia; ceasing Iran’s threatening behavior against its neighbors such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates; and ending threats to international shipping and cyberattacks. The totality of these requirements would have left Iran unable to defend itself against its enemies. In short, Pompeo’s demands could only be accepted by a government of a thoroughly defeated country. His demands emulated Rome’s treatment of Carthage after the Second Punic War before it was obliterated following the Third Punic War.

While the neocons and Israel firsters in his administration are pushing for war with the Iran, Trump acts as if he wants to avoid such a conflict. He certainly had the opportunity to launch war with Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone—a massive RQ-4A Global Hawk costing around $130 million–over the Strait of Hormuz, which the United States claimed was in international waters. Whether this was true of not, the U.S. government has had a history of going to war over questionable, or outright false claims, such as the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine that led to the Spanish-American War; the alleged attack on an American ship in Gulf of Tonkin, which caused a much greater involvement in the Vietnam War; and the claim that Iraq had WMD, which ultimately led to the U.S. invasion of that country.

According to reports, Trump’s advisers were divided on how to respond. Bolton, Pompeo, and the CIA director, Gina Haspel, sought a military response, which Pentagon officials opposed. Trump initially called for a military strike on Iran in response but then aborted the mission at the last moment because, he claimed, it would lead to a large number of Iranian casualties, which was disproportionate to what Iran had done.

One interesting explanation for the non-attack put forth by the website Moon of Alabama provides some information that indicates that Trump planned a fake attack and instructed members of his administration to ask the Iranians for permission to bomb an area of their country that would not do any real damage. The Iranians, however, rejected this setup. While Trump’s explanation might seem questionable, given the myriad of leaks that have come out of his administration, it is hard to believe that this aforementioned strategy would be discussed, much less be proposed to Iran.

Trump realizes that war with Iran would not lead to any easy victory for the U.S. and would cause a devastating impact on the world oil market. He not only would want to avoid this situation per se but would grasp the likelihood that a war with Iran would entail a morass that would almost guarantee his defeat in the 2020 election, for it is quite clear that most Americans are opposed to such a war.

But how does this approach affect Israel and its American minions? Philip Weiss, a staunch Jewish critic of Israel, contends: “Trump’s climbdown represents a real defeat for the Israel lobby. Clearly Israel and its rightwing supporters wanted an attack on Iran and they did not get it.” But as I pointed out earlier, the Israel lobby does not get everything it wants especially when its plan might embroil the United States in a large war.

But what about Trump’s need for funds from large pro-Israel donors for the 2020 election? Last-minute funds from multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson were quite likely the key to Trump’s hairbreadth victory in the 2016 election. Would he get support from Adelson and other pro-Zionist billionaires if he does not make war on Iran as they desire?

As pointed out earlier, if the United States were enmeshed in war with Iran, Trump would almost be guaranteed to lose the 2020 election no matter how much money Adelson and his fellow pro-Israel plutocrats contribute to his campaign. Also, this group will not be as crucial for Trump in the 2020 election because he has already amassed a large war chest, which was lacking in 2016. Moreover, Republican funders who provided monetary support to other Republican candidates in the 2016 primary election would have these funds available for Trump in 2020 since almost all would prefer Trump over any Democrat.

Furthermore, even if Trump does not make war on Iran, he has provided benefits to Israel and the Adelsons that the Democrats are not likely to offer. For example, Trump has moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Syria’s Golan Heights as part of Israel, and, of course, placed heavy sanctions on Iran.

Moreover, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Adelson’s wife, Miriam, and she has reciprocated, writing: “Would it be too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a ‘Book of Trump,’ much like it has a ‘Book of Esther’ celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from ancient Persia?”

Given what Trump has already done for Israel and the Adelsons, it would be quite reasonable that the couple would believe that Trump would take a more militant stance toward Iran, even making war, in his second administration when he would not have to worry about re-election. Also, there is no evidence that any Democratic candidate for the presidency would do as much for Israel.

The fact of the matter is that by pulling out of Obama’s nuclear agreement and threatening sanctions on all countries that attempt to deal with Iran, the United States has already seriously weakened Iran, forcing it to greatly reduce its funding of Syrian groups and even its closest ally Hezbollah.

As an article in the Washington Post of May 18, 2019, points out: “Hezbollah, the best funded and most senior of Tehran’s proxies, has seen a sharp fall in its revenue and is being forced to make draconian cuts to its spending, according to Hezbollah officials, members and supporters.

“Fighters are being furloughed or assigned to the reserves, where they receive lower salaries or no pay at all, said a Hezbollah employee with one of the group’s administrative units. Many of them are being withdrawn from Syria, where the militia has played an instrumental role in fighting on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad and ensuring his survival.”

In addition to this diminution of support, Israel has been bombing Iranian targets in Syria. And Syria is of vital importance to Iran. Leading figures in Iran have referred to Syria as “a golden ring of resistance against Israel” and Iran’s “35th province.” Assad’s Syria has provided a conduit for arms from Iran to reach Hezbollah and, to a lesser extent, Hamas. With Iranian arms those groups play a critical role in Iran’s strategy to deter, and if necessary, retaliate against an Israeli attack on it. However, a weakened Hezbollah would not be able to effectively attack Israel, much less provide substantial help to Iran in combat with the United States.

But how long will the Iranian populace be willing to have their government supply its allies as their own standard of living continues to plummet due to the U.S. sanctions? Iran is not a totalitarian state, such as North Korea where the population is virtually under total control. There is considerable evidence that while the great bulk of the Iranian population is willing to undergo great sacrifice in defense of their own country, they are not willing to do the same in support of Iran’s allies. And a significant number of Iranians are already critical of these ties.

If the United States continues to rely on sanctions but does not attack Iran militarily, it could cause Iran to give up supporting its proxies, who themselves would have become weaker as a result of diminished support from Iran.

Although the current Iranian government could support some type of compromise peace, it certainly would not concede to the harsh demands put forth by Pompeo. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NBC News that “room for negotiation is wide open” once the United States removes its stringent sanctions, but another Iranian official, presumably at the behest of Ayatollah Khamenei, who is the actual ruler of Iran, added that negotiations would not include Iran’s missiles.

What has been the result of Trump’s treatment of Iran? There has yet to be a Carthaginian peace that Israel and its American supporters would like. Iran will remain a power that could resist Israel. However, the sanctions have weakened Iran and its allies, which should mean that Iran will not be as aggressive as it has been, and thus Israel’s position in the Middle East has improved for the time being. Nonetheless, it is not apparent how long this will continue. And undoubtedly Israel and its American supporters will continue to believe, or at least pretend to believe, that Israel still faces annihilation unless the United States does more for it.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 16 Comments

Priti Patel, who asked for UK aid for Israel army, now Home Secretary

MEMO | July 25, 2019

The UK’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Priti Patel as Home Secretary despite the fact that she was forced to resign two years ago after holding secret, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers.

The former international development secretary made several unofficial meetings including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was accused of conducting her own foreign policy in the Middle East.

The meetings included a visit to an Israeli army field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights; Patel asked officials within her department to look into whether British aid money could be funneled into the medical centre.

In her resignation letter Patel herself admitted she “fell below the high standards that are expected of a Secretary of State.”

Her appointment has drawn outrage across the board due to her record on key human rights issues.

Despite the fact that her parents migrated to the UK in the sixties, Patel has voted for a stricter asylum system and against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails.

The Essex MP has suggested using the potential of food shortages in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit as leverage against the backstop being introduced.

In 2011 Patel supported the death penalty on the BBC’s Question Time arguing it would “act as a deterrent.”

Before being elected as an MP in 2010, Patel worked for the PR company Weber Shandwick, whose clients included the government of Bahrain, which has been criticised for its high number of torture and forced disappearance cases.

Shortly after being elected the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew Patel  to Bahrain to meet several ministers. She has also been on a UAE-funded trip to the country and attended a conference in Washington paid for by the Henry Jackson society.

Patel will replace former Home Secretary Sajid Javid who is now Chancellor. Earlier this year Javid ordered that Shamima Begum be stripped of her British citizenship and let her two-year-old son die of pneumonia in a refugee camp in Syria.

At the time her family accused him of making the decision based on political gain.

Last week Javid labelled a number of Muslim organisations as extreme, including Cage, the Islamic Human Rights Commission and MEND, saying of Cage that it was “one of the most prominent organisations that rejects our shared values.”

Two years after becoming MP Javid told the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch that as a British born Muslim if he had to go and live in the Middle East, he would not go to a Muslim majority country: “There is only one place I could possibly go. Israel. The only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain. And the only nation in the Middle East where my family would feel the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.”

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

Anti-War Democratic Candidate Tulsi Gabbard Sues Google For Campaign “Interference”

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 07/25/2019

Progressive Democrat presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who has long been under fire from mainstream media and establishment voices in her own party for her vehemently anti-war and anti-interventionist stance, is suing Google, The New York Times reports, in what is said to be the first time in history a presidential candidate has sued a major technology firm.

It must be remembered that though considered a “long shot” by party insiders based on her outlier stances (for which she’s been called a popular Ron Paul type unorthodox figure among the Dems), from criticizing the Democrats’ ‘Russiagate’ fixation to calling for an end to “regime change wars” abroad to being willing to meet with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Google searches for her named surged across the US during last month’s first round  of presidential nominee debates. And now, as the Times reports, she says Google infringed on her free speech by suspending her campaign’s ability to get its message out:

Tulsi Now Inc., the campaign committee for Ms. Gabbard, said Google suspended the campaign’s advertising account for six hours on June 27 and June 28, obstructing its ability to raise money and spread her message to potential voters.

Google and other major US tech companies like Facebook have faced an avalanche of scrutiny and criticism of late for censoring and/or manipulating the visibility of those with unorthodox political views.

The new lawsuit claims Google took steps to “interfere” with Gabbard’s chances in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

“Google’s arbitrary and capricious treatment of Gabbard’s campaign should raise concerns for policymakers everywhere about the company’s ability to use its dominance to impact political discourse, in a way that interferes with the upcoming 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit stated.

Specifically the lawsuit suggests Google diverted Gabbard campaign emails to be sent to spam folders on Gmail at “a disproportionately high rate” compared to her Democratic rival candidates.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday an a Los Angeles federal court, the Times reports, and “seeks an injunction against Google from further meddling in the election and damages of at least $50 million.”

Previously the Hawaii congresswoman pointed out there was a “clear bias” against her as she was given the least amount of speaking time during the first 2020 Democratic primary debate.

“Look, it shows that there is a clear bias in place. I made the most of every minute that I had — wish I had the opportunity to have more time to address these important issues,” Gabbard told Tucker Carlson during a June 27th Fox interview.

Google did not initially respond to reports of the lawsuit, which comes after having long been under fire and suspicions from Republican and conservative groups for downgrading their content on the world’s most popular and visible search engine.

Read Gabbard’s legal complaint

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | | Leave a comment

‘Progressives’ Vote AGAINST BDS

If Americans Knew | July 24, 2019

Notable votes against BDS/Pro-Israel: Gabbard, Khanna, Lewis

Notable votes supporting BDS: Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar

Produced by Chris Smiley: https://www.twitter.com/chrissmileyla

More news and headlines: https://israelpalestinenews.org/

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

MSNBC host claims Putin helped BoJo become PM

RT | July 25, 2019

Boris Johnson’s political rise has been analyzed and dissected in plenty of ways since he landed in 10 Downing Street this week, but MSNBC put a particularly odd spin on his premiership, calling it a “big win” for Russia.

Recalling the US’ own debunked Russiagate “collusion” narrative, host of ‘The Last Word’ Lawrence O’Donnell dramatically declared that Russia had a hand in Johnson’s rise to power — but in true MSNBC fashion — offered exactly zero evidence to back up his outlandish claim.

“Like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson made it to the top of British politics with the help of Vladimir Putin and Russians who attacked the British voting system and helped deliver an electoral victory for Brexit.”

O’Donnell went on to remind viewers that 51.9 percent of British voters had chosen Brexit in a 2016 referendum, but added a large dollop of fake news, saying the outcome had been delivered “with Russian support.”

It was a reference to rubbished claims that Moscow had interfered in the Brexit vote by posting pro-Brexit messages and memes online. Both Twitter and Facebbok have dismissed the notion that Russian bots had anything to do with the Brexit outcome. Of course, that didn’t stop the fearless O’Donnell from telling his viewers that Russia had “attacked the British voting system” anyway.

Disinformation seems to be totally fine when it’s about Russia, well, according to MSNBC at least.

O’Donnell continued on his lengthy rant denouncing Johnson and Brexit; naturally, two ‘analysts’ were on hand to back up his baseless conspiracy theory.

Jeremy Bash, MSNBC’s ‘national security analyst’ and former chief of staff at the CIA told O’Donnell that there were “strong allegations that Russia interfered in the British selection of Brexit as their future path,” despite no such “strong allegations” actually existing.

Preferring to rely on the always trustworthy CIA, O’Donnell obviously hadn’t heard former deputy UK PM Nick Clegg say in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview that there is “absolutely no evidence” of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.

Lawrence, like many of his MSNBC colleagues is known for concocting and revelling in extravagant Russia-related conspiracy theories. In 2017, he suggested that Vladimir Putin had orchestrated a chemical weapons attack in Syria to help out Trump by distracting his critics at home. Very reasonable indeed.

It’s not the first time a high-profile American has linked Johnson to Russia. In congressional hearings on Wednesday, Republican Devin Nunes asked former special counsel Robert Mueller if it was possible that the new UK PM had been “compromised” by Russia because of his appearance in a photograph with alleged spy Joseph Mifsud.

A recent Financial Times article also speculated that Johnson may be some kind of Kremlin agent due to his relationship with a Putin-hating Russian oligarch. Go figure.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Failure of Impeachment Regime Change

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | July 25, 2019

With what most everyone is calling a stunningly disjointed and extremely disappointing presentation before Congress by Special Counsel and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, it is becoming increasingly clear that the effort to achieve regime change through impeachment is going to fail. Democrats are going to have to rely on the traditional electoral means to remove President Trump from office in 2020.

This is the way it should be. Achieving regime change through impeachment would have converted the United States into a standard banana republic.

Ever since Trump became the GOP nominee for president, Democrats, the national-security establishment, and the liberal elements of the mainstream press did everything they could to ensure that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, was elected president.

Once Trump became president, however, his opponents refused to accept the electoral outcome and began trying to remove him from office through impeachment. That’s where the anti-Russia brouhaha came into play.

During the campaign, it was increasingly clear that Trump and Clinton were on opposite sides of the Russia controversy. Trump desired to establish friendly relations with Russia, which was exactly what Russia wanted.

But that’s not what the national-security establishment wanted. Ever since the sudden and unexpected end of the Cold War, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA — the three principal components of the national-security state — did everything they could to make Russia, once again, an official enemy of the United States. Clinton was squarely on the side of the national-security establishment.

That’s why the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA kept the Cold War dinosaur NATO in existence instead of dismantling it. It’s also why they had NATO begin absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact, enabling U.S. forces and missiles to be stationed ever closer to the Russian border, violating assurances that U.S. officials had given Russia not to expand toward Russia. That’s what the effort to absorb Ukraine into NATO was all about, knowing full well that Russia would respond by protecting its longtime military base in Crimea.

Everything was oriented toward making certain that the United States and Russia would never be on friendly terms. Everything was instead oriented toward making Russia, once again, another Cold War official enemy of the United States.

Why is that the goal of the national-security establishment? Because it needs a justification for its own existence and its own ever-growing power and influence. That justification comes in the form of official enemies, ones that can keep Americans fearful. In that way, the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA can say, “Keep flooding us with U.S. taxpayer money because we are the ones who are keeping you safe from America’s official enemies. Keep giving us totalitarian-like powers over you so that we can keep you safe.”

Of course, Russia isn’t the only official enemy. There is also China, which increasingly is being presented as a Cold War-like “hegemon” that is supposedly threatening U.S. “national security.”

And then there are the smaller official enemies, like Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, the Taliban, the Muslims, the terrorists, ISIS, the drug dealers, and the illegal immigrants, all of which, we are told, are threats to “national security.”

As a candidate, Trump was threatening to upend this racket, at least with respect to Russia and perhaps also by threatening to bring an end to America’s forever wars and its policy of regime-change wars. That posed a grave threat to the national-security establishment, which had been grafted onto America’s federal governmental system after World War II to fight the Cold War against the Soviet Union, America’s World War II partner and ally whose principal member was Russia.

Trump’s friendly attitude toward Russia could not be permitted to stand, not as a presidential candidate and especially not as a U.S. president. That’s when the anti-Russia brouhaha was launched, which accused Trump of being an agent of the Russians, just as some people accused President Eisenhower of being a communist agent of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

It was a ridiculous accusation from the get-go but its primary purpose was to enable Trump’s opponents to remove him from office long before the next election in 2020. It was designed to be regime change through impeachment.

Once Mueller’s investigative team, despite years of intense investigation, was unable to come up with convincing evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy, however, Trump’s detractors fell back on a secondary plan for regime change though impeachment — “obstruction of justice,” a federal crime that is so nebulous and subjective that it is the federal version of “disorderly conduct,” a “crime” that local officials use to target people they don’t like. The sham nature of this alternative theory for regime change was exposed through its supporters refusal to seek Trump’s impeachment for real crimes, such as killing people overseas through illegal undeclared wars and illegal assassinations. With Mueller’s dismal performance before Congress, this alternative attempt at regime change appears to be dead in the water as well.

While Trump’s enemies have been unsuccessful in removing him from office through impeachment, they have, unfortunately, been successful in having him become an opponent of Russia, China, and all of the other official enemies of the U.S national-security state. Not only has Trump continued the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East, he has kept up hostile relations with Russia, initiated a destructive trade war with China, and ratcheted up the U.S. wars on Muslims, the terrorists, the illegal immigrants, the drug dealers, ISIS, and the Taliban. He has also ensured that ever-increasing taxpayer-funded largess continues flooding into the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, no matter how much more debt this adds onto the backs of American taxpayers.

In other words, Trump, like George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has been absorbed into the national-security state blob. They have won. Trump has become one of them. That’s the real success of the unsuccessful effort to remove Trump from office through impeachment regime change.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Government by Blackmail: Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era

By Whitney Webb | MintPress News | July 25, 2019

NEW YORK – Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who now sits in jail on federal charges for the sex trafficking of minors, has continued to draw media scrutiny in the weeks after his arrest on July 6. Part of the reason for this continued media interest is related to Epstein’s alleged relationship to the intelligence services and new information about the true extent of the sexual blackmail operation Epstein is believed to have run for decades.

As MintPress reported last week, Epstein was able to run this sordid operation for so long precisely because his was only the latest incarnation of a much older, more extensive operation that began in the 1950s and perhaps even earlier.

Starting first with mob-linked liquor baron Lewis Rosenstiel and later with Roy Cohn, Rosenstiel’s protege and future mentor to Donald Trump, Epstein’s is just one of the many sexual blackmail operations involving children that are all tied to the same network, which includes elements of organized crime, powerful Washington politicians, lobbyists and “fixers,” and clear links to intelligence as well as the FBI.

This report, Part II of this series titled “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big To Fail,” will delve into Cohn’s close ties to the Reagan administration, which was also closely tied to the same organized crime network led by the infamous mob figure Meyer Lansky, which was discussed in Part I. Of particular importance is the “Iran Contra” network, a group of Reagan officials and associates who played key roles in the Iran Contra scandal. Though it has remained relatively unknown for years, many key figures in that same network, and several fronts for the CIA that were involved in funneling money to the Central American Contra paramilitaries, were also trafficking minors for their sexual exploitation and use in sexual blackmail rings.

Several of these rings made headlines at one point or another over the years — from the “call boy ring” run by Washington lobbyist Craig Spence, to the Franklin child-sex and murder ring run by Republican operative Larry King, to the scandal that enveloped the Catholic charity Covenant House in the late 1980s.

Yet, as this report will show, all of these rings — and more — were connected to the same network that involved key figures linked to the Reagan White House and linked to Roy Cohn — revealing the true scope of the sordid sexual blackmail operations and sex rings that involved the trafficking of children within the U.S. and even in Central America for their exploitation by dangerous and powerful pedophiles in the United States.

Appalling for both the villainous abuse of children itself and the chilling implications of government by blackmail, this tangled web of unsavory alliances casts a lurid light on the political history of the United States from the Prohibition Era right up to the present day and the Age of Trump, a fact made increasingly clear as more and more information comes to light in relation to the Jeffrey Epstein case.

“Roy could fix anyone in the city”

Since Donald Trump burst onto the political scene in 2015, the legacy of his mentor, Roy Cohn – as well as Cohn’s influence on his most famous protege — have begun to garner renewed media attention. Many of the profiles on Cohn following Trump’s rise have focused solely on certain shadowy aspects of Cohn’s history, particularly his association with major figures in New York organized crime, his corrupt dealings, and his eventual disbarment. Some of these portrayals even went so far as to label Cohn as politically impotent. While Cohn was known to deal with a sizable amount of sleaze in his career, such depictions of the man fail to note that he had created an influence machine of unrivaled power that included some of the most prominent people in media and politics as well as a cadre of celebrities.

Cohn was closely associated with numerous celebrities, famous politicians and political operatives. Many of his birthday parties over the years attracted such famous figures such as artist Andy Warhol, fashion designer Calvin Klein, and comedian Joey Adams, as well as notable political figures including former Mayor of New York Abraham Beame and then-Assemblyman from Brooklyn and future Senator Chuck Schumer, among others. In 1979 Margaret Trudeau, mother of current Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, attended Cohn’s birthday party, where she famously toppled his custom birthday cake; and of course Donald Trump, who became Cohn’s protege in the mid-1970s, was a frequent fixture at social events held in Cohn’s honor.

The politicians, journalists and celebrities invited to Cohn’s exclusive parties were said to be those who “had open accounts in Cohn’s ‘favor bank,’” his nickname for his unofficial balance sheet of political favors and debts that was surely informed and influenced by his extensive involvement in sexual blackmail operations from the 1950s well into the 1980s.

Many of Cohn’s celebrity friendships were cultivated through his relationship with and frequent appearances at the famous and famously debaucherous New York nightclub Studio 54, which was described by Vanity Fair as “the giddy epicenter of 70s hedonism, a disco

Studio 54 co-owner Steve Rubell and his attorney Roy Cohn, left, Nov. 2, 1979, after Rubell and his partner, Ian Schrager, pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges. Photo | AP

Among Cohn’s closest friends were Barbara Walters, to whom Cohn often referred as his “fiancee” in public, and whom he later introduced to the head of the U.S. Information Agency, Chad Wick, and other high rollers in the Reagan White House. Yet, Walters was just one of Cohn’s powerful friends in the media, a group that also included Abe Rosenthal, executive editor of the New York Times; William Safire, long-time New York Times columnist and New York Magazine contributor; and George Sokolsky of The New York Herald Tribune, NBC and ABC. Sokolsky was a particularly close friend of both Cohn and former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, whose involvement in Cohn’s sexual blackmail operation is described in Part I of this investigative series. Sokolsky ran the American Jewish League Against Communism with Cohn for several years and the organization later named its Medal of Honor after Sokolsky.

Cohn was also the attorney and friend of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and, according to New York Magazine, “Whenever Roy wanted a story stopped, item put in, or story exploited, Roy called Murdoch;” and, after Murdoch bought the New York Post, Cohn “wielded the paper as his personal shiv.” According to the late journalist Robert Parry, the friendship between Murdoch and Cohn first began thanks to their mutual support for Israel.

Cohn also leaned on his life-long friend since high school, Si Newhouse Jr., to exert media influence. Newhouse oversaw the media empire that now includes Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, The New Yorker, and numerous local newspapers throughout the United States, as well as major interests in cable television. New York Magazine also noted that “Cohn used his influence in the early ’80s to secure favors for himself and his Mob clients in Newhouse publications.” In addition to Newhouse, Cohn’s other high school pals, Generoso Pope Jr. and Richard Berlin, later became the owners of the National Enquirer and the Hearst Corporation, respectively. Cohn was also a close friend of another media mogul, Mort Zuckerman, who – along with Rupert Murdoch – would go on to befriend Jeffrey Epstein.

Cohn’s media confidants, like journalist William Buckley of The National Review and Firing Line, often attacked Cohn’s political enemies – particularly long-time Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau — in their columns, using Cohn as an anonymous source. Buckley, whom historian George Nash once called “the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure,” received the George Sokolsky medal alongside Cohn’s mob-linked client and “Supreme Commander” Lewis Rosenstiel from the Cohn-run American Jewish League Against Communism in 1966. Buckley later got a heavily discounted $65,000 loan to buy a luxury boat from a bank where Cohn held influence and whose president Cohn had hand picked, according to a 1969 article in LIFE magazine.

Buckley — along with Barbara Walters, Alan Dershowitz and Donald Trump — would later serve as character witnesses for Cohn during his 1986 disbarment hearings and all but Buckley would later draw controversy for their relationships with Jeffrey Epstein.

With connections like this, it’s no wonder that Stanley Friedman — a law partner of Cohn, who was later imprisoned over a kickback and bribery scandal while serving as New York’s deputy mayor — told journalist Marie Brenner in 1980 that “Roy could fix anyone in the city.”

Politically ubiquitous and polygamous

Roy Cohn’s “favor bank” and his unique position as a liaison between the criminal underworld, the rich and famous, and top media influencers made him a force to be reckoned with. Yet, it was his political connections to leadership figures in both the Republican and Democratic parties and his close relationship to long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, among other figures, that made him and his dark secret “untouchable” for much of his life. Though most of his political influence was forged in the 1950s, Cohn became even more powerful with the rise of Ronald Reagan.

Even though he nominally maintained his affiliation with the Democratic Party throughout his life, Cohn was a well-known “fixer” for Republican candidates and this is clearly seen in his outsized roles during the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan. It was during the latter that Cohn would meet another of his proteges, Roger Stone, whom he infamously instructed to leave a hefty bribe tucked in a suitcase at the doorstep of the Liberal Party’s headquarters during the 1980 campaign. During this campaign, Cohn would also meet Paul Manafort — an associate of Stone and later Trump’s 2016 campaign manager — and introduce both to Donald Trump.

Cohn’s law partner, Tom Bolan, was also an influential force in the Reagan campaign and later chaired Reagan’s transition team in 1980. Reagan then named Bolan, whom he considered a friend, a director of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the government’s development finance institution, and he was also the New York finance co-chairman in the Reagan campaign in both 1980 and 1984. Bolan was also close to others in Cohn’s circle, such as William F. Buckley Jr., Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch.

Furthermore, Bolan was instrumental in securing federal judgeships for several individuals who would later become influential, including future FBI Director Louis Freeh. Cohn was also able to get friends of clients appointed as federal judges, including Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry. After Barry was appointed as a federal judge, Trump called Cohn to thank him for pulling strings on his sister’s behalf.

Though Cohn was not given a public position in the Reagan administration, he was not merely a “dirty trickster” who worked in the shadows during the Reagan campaigns. In fact, he worked closely with some of the more visible faces of the campaign, including the then-communications director for Reagan’s 1980 campaign and later CIA director, William Casey. According to Christine Seymour — Cohn’s long-time switchboard operator from the late 1960s up until his death in 1986, who listened in on his calls — Casey and Cohn were close friends and, during the 1980 campaign, Casey “called Roy almost daily.”

Seymour also noted that one of Cohn’s other most frequent phone pals and closest friends was Nancy Reagan and she was also one of his clients. Reagan, whose influence over her husband was well-known, was so close to Cohn that it was largely his death from AIDS that led her to “encourage her husband to seek more funding for AIDS research.”

Prior to Cohn’s death, Nancy and her husband Ronald secured his spot in an exclusive experimental AIDS treatment program, despite the Reagan administration’s well-documented “non-response” to the AIDS crisis of the era. Ronald Reagan was also a friend of Cohn’s and, according to late journalist Robert Parry, “lavished favors on Cohn, including invitations to White House events, personal thank-you notes and friendly birthday wishes” over the course of his presidency.

Given that Reagan heavily courted the evangelical right and promoted “family values” as president, the close ties between not only himself, but his inner circle, with Cohn may seem odd. However, Reagan, like Cohn, had deep ties to the same organized-crime factions that were among Cohn’s clients and affiliates of the same Mafia figures close to Cohn’s own mentor, Lewis Rosenstiel (see Part I).

Not unlike Cohn, Reagan’s own mentor, Lew Wasserman, had close ties to the mob. Wasserman, the long-time president of MCA and the well-known Hollywood mogul, is known for not only making Reagan’s film and television career, but also supporting his successful push to become president of the Screen Actors Guild, which later launched Reagan’s political career. In addition, MCA was a major financier of Reagan’s successful gubernatorial bid in 1966 and, not long after Reagan became president, his administration controversially shut down a massive Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into MCA’s ties to organized crime.

According to Shawn Swords, a documentary filmmaker who explored Reagan’s ties to MCA in Wages of Spin II: Bring Down That Wall:

“Ronald Reagan was an opportunist. His whole career was guided by MCA — by Wasserman and [MCA founder] Jules Stein, who bragged that Reagan was malleable, that they could do what they wanted with him… That thing about Reagan being tough on [organized] crime — that’s a fallacy.”

Swords’ characterization of this relationship is supported by an unnamed Hollywood source cited in a declassified DOJ document, who called Reagan “a complete slave of MCA who would do their bidding on anything.”

What elements of organized crime were connected to Wasserman? As a young man, Lew Wasserman joined the Mayfield Road Gang, which was run by Moe Dalitz, a close friend of Meyer Lansky who, per the FBI, was a powerful figure in Lansky’s criminal enterprise, second only to Lansky himself among members of the Jewish mob.

Lew Wasserman would later marry Edith Beckerman, whose father was Dalitz’s lawyer. Wasserman’s closest friend and lawyer, Sidney Korshak, also had close ties to Dalitz and once partnered with Lansky in the Acapulco Towers Hotel. Notably, the magazine New West stated in 1976 that Korshak was the “logical successor to Meyer Lansky.” Korshak, as a lawyer, fit a niche similar to Roy Cohn and gained a reputation as the bridge between organized crime and respectable society.

In addition, the DOJ probe into MCA that the Reagan administration quashed was reportedly spurred after the Justice Department learned that an influential member of the Gambino crime family, Salvatore Pisello, was doing business with the massive entertainment company. At that time, the boss of the Gambino crime family, Paul Castellano, was a client of Roy Cohn.

Cohn, Murdoch and the Contras

Though Cohn’s influence in the Reagan administration and his friendship with the Reagan family and their inner circle has been acknowledged, less well-known is how Cohn aided the CIA’s covert propaganda efforts that were part of the larger scandal known as Iran-Contra.

Cohn, whose influence over the press has already been detailed, forged close ties with the director of the U.S. Information Agency, Chad Wick, even hosting a luncheon in Wick’s honor that was widely attended by influential figures in the conservative press, as well as senators and representatives. Soon after, then-CIA Director and Cohn friend William Casey was spearheading an extensive PR campaign aimed at shoring up public support for Reagan’s Latin American policies, including support of the Contra paramilitaries.

This domestic propaganda effort was technically illegal and required that the CIA outsource the job to the private sector to minimize the risk of fall-out. As Robert Parry reported in 2015, Wick took the lead in obtaining private funding for the effort and, just a few days after Wick promised to find private support, Cohn brought his close friend, the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, to the White House.

Parry later noted that, after this meeting, “documents released during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and later from the Reagan Library indicate that Murdoch was soon viewed as a source for the private funding” for the propaganda campaign.

After that initial meeting, Murdoch became the top media ally of this Casey-directed propaganda effort, and also became increasingly close to the Reagan White House. Murdoch, as a consequence, benefited greatly from Reagan’s policies and his friendship with the administration, which allowed Murdoch to increase his U.S. media holdings and to create the Fox Broadcasting Corporation in 1987.

“The man in the black tuxedo”

Roy Cohn was not the only one close to the Reagan administration who was simultaneously running sexual blackmail operations that abused and exploited children. In fact, there were several figures, all of whom shared direct connections to CIA Director William Casey and other close friends and confidants of Cohn.

One of these individuals was Robert Keith Gray, the former chairman and CEO of the powerful Washington-based public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton, which 60 Minutes once called “an unelected shadow government” due to its influence in the capitol. According to the Washington Post, Gray himself was “one of the most sought-after lobbyists in Washington” and a Post reporter once called him “a kind of legend in this town, … the man in the black tuxedo with snow-white hair and a smile like a diamond.”

Yet, Gray was much more than a powerful PR executive.

Gray, who had previously been a close adviser to both Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, was a very successful Republican fundraiser who “collects money in six-figure globs,” according to a 1974 report in the Washingtonian. He first came into close contact with what would become Ronald Reagan’s inner circle during Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 presidential campaign and later as deputy director of communications during Reagan’s campaign in 1980. The latter position would see him work directly under William Casey, who later became CIA director.

Gray would go on to co-chair Reagan’s Inauguration Committee and afterwards would return to the PR business, taking on several clients including Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and hedge fund manager Marc Rich. Both Khashoggi and Rich will be discussed more in detail in Part III of this report — particularly Rich, who was an asset of Israeli intelligence outfit Mossad, and whose later criminal pardon by Bill Clinton was largely orchestrated by members of the Mega Group like Michael Steinhardt and Israeli politicians like Ehud Barak.

The connection between Gray and Casey is particularly telling, as it was later revealed by former Nebraska state senator-turned-investigator John DeCamp that Gray was a specialist in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and was reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn in those activities. Cohn and Gray were likely to have known each other well, as during Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign Casey — then Gray’s boss — was calling Roy Cohn “every day,” according to Cohn’s former switchboard operator Christine Seymour.

Gray was a known associate of CIA agent and Naval Intelligence officer Edwin Wilson, having served in the 1970s on the board of Consultants International, an organization that Wilson had founded and that the CIA used as a front company. Though Gray attempted to distance himself from Wilson after the latter was caught illegally selling weapons to Libya in 1983, a Navy review of Wilson’s intelligence career, unearthed by journalist Peter Maas, stated that Gray described Wilson as a man of “unqualified trust” and that Gray and Wilson had been in professional contact “two or three times a month” as early as 1963.

Though Wilson’s main specialty was front companies used to covertly ship and smuggle goods on behalf of U.S. intelligence, he also ran sexual blackmail operations for the CIA, particularly around the time of the Watergate scandal, according to his former partner and fellow agent at the CIA, Frank Terpil.

Terpil later told author and investigative journalist Jim Hougan:

“Historically, one of Wilson’s Agency jobs was to subvert members of both houses [of Congress] by any means necessary…. Certain people could be easily coerced by living out their sexual fantasy in the flesh…. A remembrance of these occasions [was] permanently recorded via selected cameras…. The technicians in charge of filming … [were] TSD [Technical Services Division of the CIA]. The unwitting porno stars advanced in their political careers, some of [whom] may still be in office.” 

According to Terpil, Wilson ran his operation out of the George Town Club, owned by lobbyist and Korean intelligence asset Tongsun Park. According to the Washington Post, Park set up the club on behalf of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency “as a primary means in an illegal effort to influence U.S. politicians and officials.” The president of the George Town Club at the time of Wilson’s alleged activities at the site was Robert Keith Gray.

DeCamp later reported that Wilson’s activities were a spin-off of the same sexual blackmail operation in which Cohn became involved during the McCarthy era with Lewis Rosenstiel and J. Edgar Hoover.

Father Ritter and his favored youths

The operation allegedly ran by Gray and Wilson was not the only sexual blackmail operation connected to Cohn’s network or to influential American politicians of the era. Another pedophile network that was connected to a close associate of former President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s was run as an affiliate of the Catholic charity Covenant House, which was founded and run by Father Bruce Ritter.

In 1968, Ritter asked his superior — Cardinal Francis Spellman of the Archdiocese of New York — for permission to take homeless teenagers, boys and girls, into his home in Manhattan. As was noted in Part I of this series, Spellman was accused of pedophilia and ordained known pedophiles while serving as the highest-ranking Catholic priest in the United States. Spellman was also a close associate, client and friend of Roy Cohn, as well as of his law partner Tom Bolan, and Spellman was alleged to have been seen at least one of Cohn’s “blackmail parties.” In addition, Spellman’s nephew, Ned Spellman, worked for Roy Cohn, according to LIFE magazine.

Ritter, like Spellman and other priests who served under Spellman, was eventually accused of having sexual relationships with many of the underaged boys he had taken in, and of spending Covenant House funds on lavish gifts and payments to the vulnerable teenagers he exploited.

One of Ritter’s victims, Darryl Bassile, wrote an open letter to him a year after the priest’s preying on teenage boys was exposed by the press: “You were wrong for inflicting your desires on a 14-year-old . . . I know that someday you will stand before the one who judges all of us and at that time there will be no more denial, just the truth.”

Notably, when Ritter’s activities at Covenant House were exposed in 1989 by the New York Post, Charles M. Sennott, the Post reporter who wrote the story, would later state that “the secular powers more than the archdiocese or the Franciscans protected him [Ritter].” Sennott’s report was attacked viciously by columnists in other New York media outlets, powerful politicians including then-Governor of New York Mario Cuomo, as well as by Cardinal Spellman’s successor, Cardinal John O’Connor.

The likely reason these “secular powers” came to the aid of the embattled Ritter, who was never charged for having sexual relationships with minors and was merely forced to resign from his post, is that Covenant House and Ritter himself were deeply tied to Robert Macauley, Bush Sr.’s roommate at Yale and a long-time friend of the Bush family. Macauley was described by the New York Times as “instrumental” to Covenant House fundraising after he joined its board in 1985 and brought on several “other wealthy or well-connected people,” including former government officials and investment bankers.

Macauley’s organization, the AmeriCares Foundation, which was later accused of funneling money to the Contras in Central America, was one of the main sources of funding of Covenant House. One of the members of AmeriCares advisory board was William E. Simon, former U.S. secretary of the treasury under the Nixon and Ford administrations, who also ran the Nicaraguan Freedom Fund, which sent aid to the Contras.

AmeriCares was also known to work directly with U.S. intelligence. As the Hartford Courant noted in 1991: “Knowledgeable former federal officials, many with backgrounds in intelligence work, help AmeriCares maneuver in delicate international political environments.”

Furthermore, Ritter was known to have visited Macauley’s Connecticut estate and served as Vice President of AmeriCares until he was forced to resign from Covenant House. Notably, George H.W. Bush’s brother, Prescott, was also on the AmeriCares advisory board. After George H.W. Bush died last year, AmeriCares stated that he had been “instrumental in founding the health-focused relief and development organization.”

Years before Ritter was outed as a pedophile who preyed on the disadvantaged and vulnerable teenagers who sought refuge at his charity, Covenant House was praised heavily by President Ronald Reagan, even earning a mention in his 1984 State of the Union address, which called Ritter one of the country’s “unsung heroes.” From 1985 to 1989, Covenant House’s operating budget grew from $27 million to $90 million and its board came to include powerful individuals including top executives at IBM, Chase Manhattan Bank and Bear Stearns.

It was during this time that Covenant House grew into an international organization, opening branches in several countries, including Canada, Mexico and elsewhere in Central America. Its first branch in Central America was opened in Guatemala and was headed by Roberto Alejos Arzu, a CIA asset whose plantation was used to train the troops used in the CIA’s failed “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba. Alejos Arzu was also an associate of the former U.S.-backed dictator of Nicaragua, Anastasio Somoza, and a member of the Knights of Malta, a Catholic order to which former CIA Director William Casey and Roy Cohn’s law partner Tom Bolan also belonged. Alejos Arzu also worked for AmeriCares and was tied to several Central American paramilitary groups.

Intelligence community sources cited by DeCamp assert that the Alejos Arzu-led branch of Covenant House procured children for a pedophile ring based in the United States. Years later, Mi Casa, another U.S.-run charity in Guatemala that George H.W. Bush had personally toured with his wife Barbara in 1994, was accused of rampant pedophilia and child abuse.

The downfall of “Washington’s Jay Gatsby”

After having left his job as an ABC News correspondent in the 1980s, Craig Spence found success as a prominent conservative Washington lobbyist. Spence would soon find his fortunes shift dramatically when, in June 1989, it was revealed that he had been pimping out children to the power elite in the nation’s capital throughout the 1980s in apartments that were bugged with video and audio recording equipment. Much like Jeffrey Epstein, who ran a similar operation, Spence was often likened to Jay Gatsby, the mysterious, wealthy figure from the well-known Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby.

A 1982 New York Times article written about Spence said that his “personal phone book and party guest lists constitute a ‘Who’s Who’ in Congress, Government and journalism” and stated that Spence was “hired by his clients as much for whom he knows as what he knows.” Spence was also known to throw lavish parties, which the Times described as “glitter[ed] with notables, from ambassadors to television stars, from senators to senior State Department officials.” Roy Cohn, William Casey and Roy Cohn’s journalist friend William Safire were just some of the other attendees at Spence’s festivities.

“According to Mr. Spence,” the Times article continues,Richard Nixon is a friend. So is [former Attorney General under Nixon] John Mitchell. [CBS journalist] Eric Sevareid is termed ‘an old, dear friend.’ Senator John Glenn is ‘a good friend’ and Peter Ustinov [British actor and journalist] is ‘an old, old friend.’” Notably, Ustinov wrote for The European newspaper soon after it was founded in 1990 by Robert Maxwell, the father of Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell and a known Mossad agent.

It was revealed just seven years after the Times’ published its doting profile of Spence that his “glittery parties for key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, media stars and top military officers” had been bugged in order “to compromise guests.” According to the explosive report published by the Washington Times, Spence was linked to a “homosexual prostuition ring” whose clients included “government officials, locally based U.S. military officers, businessmen, lawyers, bankers, congressional aides, media representatives and other professionals.” Spence also offered cocaine to his guests as another means of acquiring blackmail.

According to the report, Spence’s home “was bugged and had a secret two-way mirror, and … he attempted to ensnare visitors into compromising sexual encounters that he could then use as leverage.” One man who spoke to the Washington Times said that Spence sent a limousine to his home, which took him to a party where “several young men tried to become friendly with him.” According to DeCamp, Spence was known to offer young children for sex to attendees at his blackmail parties, along with illegal drugs like cocaine.

Several other sources, including a Reagan White House official and an Air Force sergeant who had attended Spence-hosted parties, confirmed that Spence’s house was filled with recording equipment, which he regularly used to spy on and record guests, and his house also included a two-way mirror that he used for eavesdropping.

The report also documented Spence’s connections to U.S. intelligence, particularly the CIA. According to the Washington Times report, Spence “often boasted that he was working for the CIA and on one occasion said he was going to disappear for awhile ‘because he had an important CIA assignment.’” He was also quite paranoid about his alleged work for the agency, as he expressed concern “that the CIA might ‘doublecross him’ and kill him instead and then make it look like a suicide.” Not long after the Washington Times report on his activities was published, Spence was found dead in the Boston Ritz Carlton and his death was quickly ruled a suicide.

The Washington Times report also offers a clue as to what Spence may have done for the CIA, as it cited sources that had claimed that Spence had spoken of smuggling cocaine into the U.S. from El Salvador, an operation that he claimed had involved U.S. military personnel. Given the timing of these comments from Spence, Spence’s powerful connections, and the CIA’s involvement in the exchange of cocaine for weapons in the Iran Contra scandal, his comments may have been much more than just boasts intended to impress his party guests.

One of the most critical parts of the scandal surrounding Spence, however, was the fact that he had been able to enter the White House late at night during the George H.W. Bush administration with young men whom the Washington Times described as “call boys.”

Spence later stated that his contacts within the White House, which allowed him and his “call boys” access, were “top level” officials and he specifically singled out George H.W. Bush’s then-National Security Advisor Donald Gregg. Gregg had worked at the CIA since 1951 before he resigned in 1982 to become National Security Advisor to Bush, who was then vice president. Prior to resigning from his post at the CIA, Gregg had worked directly under William Casey and, in the late 1970s, alongside a young William Barr in stonewalling the congressional Pike Committee and Church Committee, which investigated the CIA beginning in 1975. Among the things that they were tasked with investigating were the CIA’s “love traps,” or sexual blackmail operations used to lure foreign diplomats to bugged apartments, complete with recording equipment and two-way mirrors.

Barr would later become Bush’s Attorney General, rising to that post yet again under Trump. Furthermore, Barr’s father worked for the precursor to the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and recruited a young Jeffrey Epstein, then a high school drop-out, to teach at the elite Dalton School, from which Epstein was later fired. A year prior to hiring Epstein, Donald Barr published a science fiction fantasy novel about sex slavery. Notably, the same year Donald Barr hired Epstein, his son was working for the CIA. Bill Barr has refused calls to recuse himself from the Epstein case, even though he worked at the same law firm that has represented Epstein in the past.

Donald Gregg is also connected to Roy Cohn’s “influence machine” through his daughter’s marriage to Christopher Buckley, the son of conservative journalist William Buckley, close confidant and friend of both Roy Cohn and Cohn’s law partner Tom Bolan.

The Washington Times reports on Spence’s child sex ring also reveal his close ties to none other than the ubiquitous Roy Cohn. One of the Times’ sources for its first story on the scandal alleged that he had attended a birthday party for Roy Cohn that Spence had hosted at his home and that CIA Director William Casey was also in attendance. Spence was also said in the report to often brag about his social companions and regularly mentioned Cohn and claimed to have hosted Cohn at his house on occasions other than the aforementioned birthday party.

“Bodies by God”

The revelation of Craig Spence’s “call boy ring” soon led to the discovery of the infamous Franklin child sex abuse and ritual murder scandal. That sordid operation was run out of Omaha, Nebraska by Larry King, a prominent local Republican activist and lobbyist who ran the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union until it was shut down by federal authorities.

Buried in a May 1989 article in the Omaha World Herald’s probe into King’s Credit Union and sex ring, is a telling revelation: “In the 61/2 months since federal authorities closed Franklin, rumors have persisted that money from the credit union somehow found its way to the Nicaraguan contra rebels.”

The possibility that King’s fraudulent credit union was covertly funding the Contras was supported by subsequent reporting by the Houston Post’s Pete Brewton, who discovered that the CIA, in conjunction with organized crime, had secretly borrowed money from various savings and loans (S&L) institutions to fund covert operations. One of those S&Ls had Neil Bush, George H.W. Bush’s son, on its board and it had done business with King’s organization.

Another link between King and the Iran Contra team is the fact that King had co-founded and subsequently donated over $25,000 to an organization affiliated with the Reagan administration, Citizens for America, which sponsored speaking trips for Lt. Col. Oliver North and Contra leaders. The director of Citizens for America at the time was David Carmen, who simultaneously ran a public relations firm with the former head of covert operations at the Casey-led CIA, his father Gerald, who had also been appointed by Reagan to head the General Services Administration and to a subsequent ambassadorship.

One of the investigative journalists who researched the Craig Spence ring later told DeCamp that Spence’s ring was connected to King:

“The way we discovered Larry King and his Nebraska-based call boy ring, was by looking through the credit card chits of Spence’s ring, where we found King’s name.”

It was later revealed that King and Spence were essentially business partners as their child trafficking rings were operated under a larger group that was nicknamed “Bodies by God.”

Exactly how many groups operated under this umbrella group, “Bodies by God,” is unknown. Yet, what is known is that the rings run by both King and Spence were connected to each other and both were also connected to prominent officials in the Reagan and subsequent George H.W. Bush administrations, including officials with ties to the CIA and Roy Cohn and his network.

Indeed Spence, just months before his alleged suicide in the Boston Ritz Carlton, had hinted to Washington Times reporters Michael Hedges and Jerry Seper, who had originally broken the story, that they had merely scratched the surface of something much darker:

“All this stuff you’ve uncovered [involving call boys, bribery and the White House tours], to be honest with you, is insignificant compared to other things I’ve done. But I’m not going to tell you those things, and somehow the world will carry on.”

It also worth noting the role of the FBI in all of this, particularly in the Franklin child sex abuse scandal. Indeed, Larry King’s child sex abuse ring was quickly and aggressively covered up by the FBI, which used a variety of under-handed tactics to bury the reality of King’s sordid operation. Here, it is important to recall the key role former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover played in similar sexual blackmail operations that abused children (See Part I) and the close relationship between Hoover, Roy Cohn and Lewis Rosenstiel, who later employed Hoover’s former right-hand man at the FBI, Louis Nichols.

Years later, documents released by the FBI would show that Epstein became an FBI informant in 2008, when Robert Mueller was the Bureau’s director, in exchange for immunity from then-pending federal charges, a deal that fell through with Epstein’s recent arrest on new federal charges. In addition, former FBI Director Louis Freeh would be hired by Alan Dershowitz, who is accused of raping girls at Epstein’s homes and was once a character witness for Roy Cohn, to intimidate Epstein’s victims. As previously mentioned, Freeh’s past appointment as a judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York was orchestrated by Cohn’s law partner Tom Bolan.

Thus, the FBI’s cover-up of the Franklin case is just one example of the Bureau’s long-standing practice of protecting these pedophile rings when they involve members of the American political elite and provide the Bureau with a steady supply of blackmail. It also makes it worth questioning the impartiality of one of the main prosecutors in the Jeffrey Epstein case, Maurene Comey, who is the daughter of former FBI Director James Comey.

The rot at the top

While there were several sexual trafficking operations connected to both Roy Cohn and the halls of power under the Reagan administration, in a matter of months after Cohn’s death it appears that another individual became a central figure in the powerful network that Cohn had cultivated.

That individual, Jeffrey Epstein, would be recruited, after his firing from the Dalton School, by Alan “Ace” Greenberg, a close friend of Cohn, to work at Bear Stearns. After leaving Bear Stearns and working as an alleged financial “bounty hunter” for clients that are said to have included the Iran-Contra-linked arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, Epstein would come into contact with Leslie Wexner, a billionaire close to the Meyer Lansky-linked Bronfman family, who himself was tied to members of organized crime syndicates once represented by Cohn.

The same year that Wexner would begin his decades-long association with Epstein, another Cohn friend with ties to the Reagan White House and the Trump family, Ronald Lauder, would provide Epstein with an Austrian passport containing Epstein’s picture but a false name.

Lauder, Wexner and the Bronfmans are members of an elite organization known as the Mega Group, which also includes other Meyer Lansky-connected “philanthropists” like hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt. While Epstein shares considerable overlap with the network described in this report and Part I of this series, he is also deeply connected to the Mega Group as well as its associates, including Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, Robert Maxwell.

Part III of this series will focus on the Mega Group and its ties to the network that has been described in Parts I and II. In addition, the role of the state of Israel, the Mossad, and several global pro-Israel lobby organizations will also be discussed in relation to this network of sexual blackmail operations and Jeffrey Epstein.

It is here that the full breadth of the Epstein scandal comes into view. It is a criminal and unconscionable blackmail operation that has been run by influential figures, hidden in plain sight, for over half a century, exploiting and destroying the lives of untold numbers of children in the process. Over the years, it has grown many branches and spread well beyond the United States, as seen by the activity of Covenant House in Latin America and Epstein’s own international effort to recruit more girls to be abused and exploited.

All of this has taken place with the full knowledge and blessing of top figures in the world of “philanthropy” and in the U.S. government and intelligence communities, with great influence over several presidential administrations, particularly since the rise of Ronald Reagan and continuing through to Donald Trump.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | 11 Comments

Jeffrey Epstein found ‘injured & semiconscious’ with suspicious marks on neck in jail cell

RT | July 25, 2019

Millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been found “injured and in a fetal position” in his New York jail cell with marks around his neck, leading to speculation that he’d been attacked or injured himself to get transferred.

While authorities have questioned another inmate over the situation – a former cop locked up for allegedly killing four men in a drug conspiracy – multiple sources have rushed to the media claiming Epstein tried to hang himself, while another source claims he staged the injury to get transferred to another facility. He is currently on suicide watch, according to two sources.

Former Westchester police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, who was charged with killing four men over a drug deal gone bad and burying them in his backyard, claims he never touched Epstein and didn’t see what happened, according to his lawyer. “They are in the same unit and doing well,” and have even found common ground in complaining about flooding, rodents, and bad food in the jail, he said.

Given the amount of blackmail information Epstein reportedly has on extremely powerful people, speculation that one of them might want to get him out of the picture has been simmering on social media since his arrest, only to erupt in the wake of this latest report. “Organized criminals have long arms,” one user tweeted. “If he dies, I’m going to have to ask, what wealthy individual(s) had him killed or did he really commit suicide?” another wondered. Others took issue with the theory, suggesting that if someone wanted Epstein dead, it would have happened already.

Following Epstein’s arrest on conspiracy and sex trafficking charges earlier this month, additional victims have reportedly come forward. The mysterious magnate all but skated on similar charges over a decade ago, pleading to a lesser charge of soliciting prostitution and serving just 13 months in a sweetheart deal that permitted him to leave prison during the day. Alexander Acosta, the prosecuting attorney on that case, resigned as Secretary of Labor two weeks ago over his handling of the deal, though he claimed in interviews with the Trump transition team he had been told to “back off” because Epstein “belonged to intelligence.”

Epstein faces 45 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Epstein was denied bail last week after authorities learned he had a fake Saudi passport and wads of cash secreted in a safe inside his home. Judge Richard Berman also pointed to danger to the community and Epstein’s alleged history of intimidating witnesses in his decision to keep the financier in jail. Epstein’s lawyers have appealed, seeking to have him released on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | | 8 Comments

No Accountability in Washington. The CIA Wants to Hide All Its Employees

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 25, 2019

Government that actually serves the interests of the people who are governed has two essential characteristics: first, it must be transparent in terms of how it debates and develops policies and second, it has to be accountable when it fails in its mandate and ceases to be responsive to the needs of the electorate. Over the past twenty years one might reasonably argue that Washington has become less a “of the people, by the people and for the people” and increasingly a model of how special interests can use money to corrupt government. The recent story about how serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein avoided any serious punishment by virtue of his wealth and his political connections, including to both ex-president Bill Clinton and to current chief executive Donald Trump, demonstrates how even the most despicable criminals can avoid being brought to justice.

This erosion of what one might describe as republican virtue has been exacerbated by a simultaneous weakening of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which was intended to serve as a guarantee of individual liberties while also serving as a bulwark against government overreach. In recent cases in the United States, a young man had his admission to Harvard revoked over comments posted online when he was fifteen that were considered racist, while a young woman was stripped of a beauty contest title because she refused to don a hijab at a college event and then wrote online about her experience. In both cases, freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment was ruled to be inadmissible by the relevant authorities.

Be that as it may, governmental lack of transparency and accountability is a more serious matter when the government itself becomes a serial manipulator of the truth as it seeks to protect itself from criticism. Reports that the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) is seeking legislation that will expand government ability to declare it a crime to reveal the identities of undercover intelligence agents will inevitably lead to major abuse when some clever bureaucrat realizes that the new rule can also be used to hide people and cover up malfeasance.

A law to protect intelligence officers already exists. It was passed in 1982 and is referred to as the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (I.I.P.A.). It criminalizes the naming of any C.I.A. officer under cover who has served overseas in the past five years. The new legislation would make the ban on exposure perpetual and would also include Agency sources or agents whose work is classified as well as actual C.I.A. staff employees who exclusively or predominantly work in the United States rather than overseas.

The revised legislation is attached to defense and intelligence bills currently being considered by Congress. If it is passed into law, its expanded range of criminal penalties could be employed to silence whistle blowers inside the Agency who become aware of illegal activity and it might also be directed against journalists that the whistleblowers might contact to tell their story.

The Agency has justified the legislation by claiming in a document obtained by The New York Times that “hundreds of covert officers [serving in the United States] have had their identity and covert affiliation disclosed without authorization… C.I.A. officers place themselves in harm’s way in order to carry out C.I.A.’s mission regardless of where they are based. Protecting officers’ identities from foreign adversaries is critical.”

Some Congressmen are disturbed by the perpetual nature of the identification ban while also believing that the proposed legislation is too broad in general. Senator Ron Wyden expressed reservations over how the C.I.A. provision would apply indefinitely. “I am not yet convinced this expansion is necessary and am concerned that it will be employed to avoid accountability,” he wrote.

Agency insiders have suggested that the new law is in part a response to increasing leaks of classified information by government employees. It is also a warning shot fired at journalists in the wake of the impending prosecution of Julian Assange of WikiLeaks under the seldom used Espionage Act of 1918. Covert identities legislation is less broad than the Espionage Act, which is precisely why it is attractive. It permits prosecution and punishment solely because someone either has revealed a “covert” name or is suspected of having done so.

But up until now, government prosecutors have only used the 1982 identities law twice. The first time was a 1985 case involving a C.I.A. clerk in Ghana and the second time was the 2012 case of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who pleaded guilty to providing a reporter with the name of an under-cover case officer who participated in the agency’s illegal overseas interrogations. Kiriakou has always claimed that he had not in fact named anyone, in spite of his plea, which was agreed to as a plea bargain. The covert officer in question had already been identified in the media.

John Kiriakou also observes how the I.I.P.A. has been inevitably applied selectively. He describes how “These two minor prosecutions aside, very few revelations of C.I.A. identities have ever led to court cases. Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage famously leaked Valerie Plame’s name to two syndicated columnists. He was never charged with a crime. Former C.I.A. Director David Petraeus leaked the names of 10 covert C.I.A. operatives to his adulterous girlfriend, apparently in an attempt to impress her, and was never charged. Former C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the covert SEAL Team member who killed Osama bin Laden. He apologized and was not prosecuted.”

Kiriakou also explains how the “… implementation of this law is a joke. The C.I.A. doesn’t care when an operative’s identity is revealed — unless they don’t like the politics of the person making the revelation. If they cared, half of the C.I.A. leadership would be in prison. What they do care about, though, is protecting those employees who commit crimes at the behest of the White House or the C.I.A. leadership.” He goes on to describe how some of those involved in the Agency torture program were placed under cover precisely for that reason, to protect them from prosecution for war crimes.

Even team player Joe Biden, when a Senator, voted against the I.I.P.A., explaining in an op-ed in The Christian Science Monitor in 1982 that, “The language (the I.I.P.A.) employs is so broadly drawn that it would subject to prosecution not only the malicious publicizing of agents’ names, but also the efforts of legitimate journalists to expose any corruption, malfeasance, or ineptitude occurring in American intelligence agencies.” And that was with the much weaker 1982 version of the bill.

The new legislation is an intelligence agency dream, a get out of jail card that has no expiry date. And if one wants to know how dangerous it is, consider for a moment that if it turns out that serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was indeed a C.I.A. covert source, which is quite possible, he would be covered and would be able to walk away free on procedural grounds.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment