M.N.: And I would add: not only “by a systematic” but also “by a systemic” failure which might be even more troubling.  “The FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged not by the President’s criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau’s leadership… The bureau’s leadership has forfeited the reputation of a cherished American institution.” – 11:38 AM 12/30/2017 – Trump is right about the FBI – CNN

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M.N.: And I would add: not only “by a systematic” but also “by a systemic” failure which might be even more troubling. 

“The FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged not by the President’s criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau’s leadership… The bureau’s leadership has forfeited the reputation of a cherished American institution.”

_________________________

Today, December 30th 11:36am

Trump is right about the FBI

By Paul Callan
Trump lashes out at top leaders of his own FBI

(CNN)The ferocity of President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the integrity of the FBI has sent shock waves through an agency accustomed to public adulation in recent years. Sadly, much of the presidential criticism of the bureau may be entirely legitimate.

The FBI has traditionally enjoyed a highly favorable reputation among a majority of the nation’s citizens. Despite controversial programs that sometimes employed illegal forms of surveillance and enforcement methods — such as those used on black citizens lawfully protesting racial segregation, individuals in the “red scare” of the 1950s and long-haired students and others protesting the war in Vietnam during the 1960s and ’70s — this reputation endured.

And American presidents continued to steadfastly defend the bureau — that is, until now.

The tradition of presidential support was unquestionably grounded at least partially in the fear of J. Edgar Hoover’s rumored 50-year political skeleton “dossier,” which would undoubtedly make the controversial “Steele dossier” look like child’s play.

But Hoover is gone now, and President Trump’s persistent attacks have the potential to inflict long-lasting reputational damage to the nation’s preeminent law enforcement agency. These criticisms focus largely on FBI fumbles and missteps in the Hillary Clinton and Trump/Russia investigations, which the President suggests were deliberate attempts to sabotage his election and administration. Trump supporters and possibly the President himself say they see the workings of a conspiratorial “deep state” liberal-embedded bureaucracy fiercely resisting any conservative change.

Some of Trump’s recent criticisms of the agency relate to the alleged activities of FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. An investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that the two exchanged text messages strongly indicative of anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias while Strzok played a critical role in the Clinton investigation and a subsequent lesser role in Mueller’s Trump/Russia probe. (A CNN reporter, in a news article after the text message controversy erupted, wrote that an attorney for Strzok did not respond to a request for comment, and Page could not be reached for comment.)

In addition, the President continues to call the Russia investigation a “witch hunt” and to castigate the agency’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, for alleged “bias” and incompetence.

Last Saturday, the President tweeted that former FBI Director James Comey, whom he fired, is a “liar” and called him “leakin’ James Comey.”

Trump also issued a clearly derogatory “Wow” comment regarding the unexplained reassignment of the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, reportedly a close friend of Comey’s.

The President may have been angered by reports that McCabe was backing Comey’s claim that the President made a loyalty demand and requested leniency for his former national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, who is now a convicted felon awaiting sentencing under federal indictment.

When news of the text messages between Strzok and Page came to light against the backdrop of claimed McCabe improprieties, it became harder to just dismiss all of Trump’s FBI conspiracy claims as delusional — though many of his critics do.

Strzok was one of the FBI’s top counterintelligence agents supervising the investigation of Clinton’s controversial email problems. He subsequently joined Robert Mueller’s Trump/Russia investigation, and the question lingers as to why his obvious anti-Trump prejudice was not uncovered in his job interview for the position with Mueller.

Why didn’t McCabe warn Mueller of Strzok’s likely bias, which he should have known from his own day-to-day conversations with Page and Strzok at FBI headquarters? Page reportedly worked for McCabe, who certainly also had frequent contact with Strzok — again, the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence agent.

This assessment is admittedly speculative, but it is speculation grounded in common sense.

Strzok was abruptly removed from the Mueller investigation in mid-summer of 2017. It seems that he had exchanged a series of 375 text messages with Page, clearly documenting their joint revulsion at all things Trump. The President is variously described as a “loathsome human,” an “idiot” and a “d*uche,” while they describe the prospects of the President’s election as “terrifying.”

The shocking aspect of the Strzok/Page discussions about the “terrifying” possibility of Trump’s election is that some of those discussions may have taken place, according to one of Strzok’s texts in “Andy’s Office.”

CNN has reported that the text was presumably referring to the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in August of 2016. Page had previously opined, according to the texts: “There’s no way he gets elected.” Strzok, however, texted that even if Trump’s election is a long shot, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office …that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

The most benevolent interpretation of this Strzok statement, as suggested by The Wall Street Journal, is that Strzok was advocating a fast and aggressive pursuit of the Russia investigation “because some of Mr. Trump’s associates could land administration jobs and it was important to know if they had colluded with Russia,” according to the Journal’s story.

But there is more. Strzok was the FBI agent who changed the language used by former Director Comey in his controversial July 5, 2016, public statement clearing Clinton of criminal charges regarding her handling of classified materials. Strzok changed the final draft wording of Comey’s statement from “grossly negligent” (which is commonly used in criminal cases) to the softer, non-criminal “extremely careless” wording.

Trump supporters would point to this as evidence that Strzok, the FBI’s No. 2 counterintelligence agent, appears to be executing a plan within the FBI to clear Clinton and then destroy Trump’s candidacy with the Russia investigation.

Causing further headaches for FBI brass, we now know that Deputy Director McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, an unsuccessful Democratic 2015 candidate for the state senate in Virginia, had received approximately $700,000 in campaign contributions from then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee and the state’s Democratic Party. While this didn’t violate any laws or FBI protocols, the association looks unseemly for an agency conducting an investigation with potentially historic implications.

McAuliffe had been the campaign chairman of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and has been described by onlookers as being “as close as family” to the Clintons.

While McCabe’s wife certainly has a right to run for office, her acceptance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from sources with clear links to the Clintons was a red-flag warning that should have caused McCabe to recuse himself from any involvement in any Trump/Hillary related investigations. He had no business calling any of the shots in these sensitive probes that would likely influence the outcome of the presidential election. The FBI has stated that that McCabe acted in accordance with stated agency protocols while his wife was running for office.

McCabe remains a very important figure in the unfolding Mueller investigation; the latest reports are that McCabe may be a key witness backing Comey’s claim that the President had improperly asked him to terminate the Flynn investigation. McCabe’s credibility, however, may now be compromised by the facts and circumstances regarding Strzok’s text messages, the meetings in “Andy’s Office” and the political contributions given to McCabe’s wife.

While I rarely agree with much of what the President does or says regarding legal issues, this time he’s got it right. The FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged not by the President’s criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau’s leadership.

The field agents of the FBI should still retain the trust of the American people. Their honor and dignity has not been compromised; but the bureau’s leadership ranks require a prompt and thorough house cleaning by the new director, Christopher Wray. The bureau’s leadership has forfeited the reputation of a cherished American institution.

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Trump is right about the FBI – CNN
 


CNN
Trump is right about the FBI
CNN
Some of Trump’s recent criticisms of the agency relate to the alleged activities of FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. An investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that the two exchanged text messages 
Trump and His Allies Spent Christmas Waging War on Our RepublicEsquire.com
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Business Insider
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Business Insider
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seattlepi.com (blog)
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Is this Robert Muellers holiday surprise? FBI raids home in Northern Virginia

Its been famously said that Special Counsel Robert Mueller loves surprises. He likes to catch his suspects and subjects off guard by taking actions they never saw coming. Thats led many to ask if Mueller might be planning a holiday surprise in the Trump-Russia scandal, while everyone involved is distracted. So its notable that the FBI just raided a home in Northern Virginia this evening.Thus far we only know a handful of details: the FBI raid definitely happened, and it took place in Sterling, Virginia. Donald Trump does own a golf course in that town, but the local TV affiliate is reporting that it took place in a residential area, which rules out the golf course (link). The FBI has previously raided Paul Manaforts home in Northern Virginia, but thats in Alexandria, not in Sterling. Michael Flynn also has a home in Northern Virginia, but its also in Alexandria, and its unlikely his home would be raided after he cut a plea deal. So whats going on?To be clear, this could be entirely coincidental, and it may have nothing to do with the Trump-Russia scandal. The FBI certainly has plenty of other business to conduct beyond exposing the crimes of Donald Trump and his associates. But it is worth noting that Mueller has run a portion of his investigation out of the federal court district in Virginia which has jurisdiction over this area. In addition, a number of political figures in Washington DC have homes in northern Virginia.So will this turn out to be something or nothing? We may not know for some time. In addition to loving surprises, Robert Mueller also loves secrecy. So if this is about Trump-Russia, its entirely possible the FBI could leak a cover story to try to distract from it. After all, we didnt learn about the raid of Manaforts house, or the arrest of George Papadopoulos, until long after they took place.

The post Is this Robert Muellers holiday surprise? FBI raids home in Northern Virginia appeared first on Palmer Report.

The fruits of crisis: Alabama’s top political stories of 2017 – Gadsden Times
 

The fruits of crisis: Alabama’s top political stories of 2017
Gadsden Times
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TASS
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For weeks, prominent Republicans in Congress have begun trying to smear Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Now we know why. Earlier this week we learned that Mueller has been investigating the Republican Party’s role in the Trump-Russia scandal. Now we’re learning that Mueller is specifically investigating Trump, the Republican Party, and Russia for their roles in conspiring to rig multiple key swing states in the 2016 election.Russian trolls micro-targeted voters in Wisconsin and Michigan, feeding them fake political news in order to trick them into voting under false pretenses, thus rigging the outcome of the election in those two states. The trolls in question had the kind of sophisticated knowledge and profiling of specific voters in these states that they almost certainly couldn’t have come up with on their own. Now, according to New York Magazine (link), Mueller is seeking to prove that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee provided this voter data to the Russians.This is the most specific confirmation to date that Mueller is indeed seeking to prove that Trump and his Republican allies did in fact rig the outcome of the election by illegally conspiring with Russia to alter the outcome. This will prove that Donald Trump was not legitimately elected President of the United States, and that Hillary Clinton was the rightful winner. It will also be enough to send a swath of people involved, including anyone at the RNC who signed off on this, to prison.By his own admission, Jared Kushner was deeply involved in the Trump campaign’s voter data analysis effort, which was largely handled by a company called Cambridge Analytica. Steve Bannon ran that company just before he took over the Trump campaign. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort called Trump just before election day and told him to go to Michigan. Any of these people can provide evidence that Donald Trump was in on the treasonous plot, which is why Robert Mueller is targeting them all.

The post Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump and Russia for rigging Michigan and Wisconsinappeared first on Palmer Report.

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Telegraph.co.uk
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Patriot Post
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Salisbury Post
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PRI
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The Jerusalem Post
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders caught using Donald Trumps Twitter account

Weeks ago, after Donald Trump accidentally confessed to felony obstruction of justice with a particularly stupid tweet, he claimed that his attorney had somehow written the tweet. While he was probably lying about this, it did help to confirm what Palmer Report has been documenting for several months: Trump handlers have been periodically tweeting from his account, trying to impersonate him, and failing to various degrees. Now they’ve become rather brazenly sloppy about it.On Friday evening, Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted this to the @PressSec account on Twitter: “Reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with the regimes corruption and its squandering of the nations wealth to fund terrorism abroad. The Iranian government should respect their peoples rights including their right to express themselves. The world is watching.” Roughly two hours later, this tweet appeared on the @RealDonaldTrump account: “”Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regimes corruption & its squandering of the nations wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their peoples rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests”To be clear, this was not a retweet or quoted tweet. This was an instance of Huckabee Sanders tweeting something to the Press Secretary account, and then later copy-pasting it to Donald Trump’s account, making only a handful of minor changes while leaving nearly all of the verbiage intact. How do we know Trump didn’t merely copycat Huckabee Sanders’ tweet? Some will claim that there’s some other theoretically possible explanation for how this happened, but those explanations will be nonsense. It’s clear what happened here.This comes just two days after Donald Trump inexplicably retweeted a tweet from his social media director, Dan Scavino, which congratulated an Iowa football team for winning a college bowl game. Trump never does this with any team. This occurred within moments of Trump’s account retweeting tweets from Eric and Ivanka Trump. It’s fairly clear what happened here: Scavino used Trump’s account to retweet two of Trump’s children, and in the process, accidentally retweeted his own tweet about football. Why are Trump’s handlers resorting to impersonating him on Twitter? Has his senility become just that severe?

The post Sarah Huckabee Sanders caught using Donald Trump’s Twitter account appeared first on Palmer Report.

TV preview: McMafia – Yorkshire Evening Post
 


Yorkshire Evening Post
TV preview: McMafia
Yorkshire Evening Post
James Norton stars in a new eight-part series set in the international world of organised crime. Created by Hossein Amini and James Watkins, McMafia is inspired by the bestselling non-fiction book by Misha Glenny. Featuring a distinguished  
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Irish Times
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US and European Union sanctions to punish the Kremlin for destabilising Ukraine have prompted Putin finally to abandon plans for Russian-European integration and instead to pivot east and bolster a strategic alliance with China, which shares his
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Marietta Times
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The Real News Network
Did Russiagate Just Escalate Ukraine’s War?
The Real News Network
And Trump has been giving these hawks, who are feeding off Russiagate, bits of what they want. The last bit are these weapons to Ukraine. It’s the only reason for it. It makes no sense. It’s detrimental to our national interests in every other regard

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8:26 AM 12/30/2017 – Mr. Wray: These are the high times for the FBI to understand what deep shit they are in. They should also appreciate the outside attempts and efforts to help them. M.N. 

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8:26 AM 12/30/2017

Mr. Wray

These are the high times for the FBI to understand what deep shit they are in. They should also appreciate the outside attempts and efforts to help them.

And, by the way: for those who do not choose their words, I do not choose mine. 

M.N. 

 


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7:44 AM 12/30/2017 – M.N.: Interpretation: Reference to the FBI: “Those, behaving ace-like, Johnny-guns are just donkeys!” 

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HOUSTON… Aracely Jernigan… etc. 

M.N.: Interpretation: Reference to the FBI:

“Those, behaving ace-like, Johnny-guns are just donkeys!” 

“Who stoned? A’ra (hey, guy – Armenian), “acely” – (“osly'” – donkeys), “trump – ace – like”), – “Jernigan” – Johnny-guns – reference to the FBI”:

“Those, behaving ace-like, Johnny-guns are just donkeys!” 


Fox News
Police: Man nearly decapitated girlfriend with samurai sword
Fox News
HOUSTON – A 45-year-old Houston man is accused of nearly decapitating his girlfriend with a samurai sword. Police investigating a “cutting in progress” Wednesday evening found 36-year-old Aracely Jernigan dead in the living room of a Houston home 
Man charged with murder, accused of nearly beheading girlfriend with swordKTRK-TV

all 17 news articles »

A 45-year-old Houston man is accused of nearly decapitating his girlfriend with a samurai sword.

Police investigating a “cutting in progress” Wednesday evening found 36-year-old Aracely Jernigan dead in the living room of a Houston home.

Court records show Kenneth Wayne Lockings Jr.’s relatives convinced him Thursday to surrender to police. He has been charged with murder and is being held without bond in the Harris County jail.

He has a lengthy criminal history including multiple drug arrests and at least one conviction.

Lockings’ grandmother, Marie Carrier told The Houston Chronicle that he received the sword as a gift at Thanksgiving.

She says Jernigan had been living in Mexico and only recently returned to Houston.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Lockings. He’s due in court Wednesday.

___

Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com


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The Bixby Knolls Blues: “FBI got Bixby’d in the butt.” Any other interpretations? | Updates | 6:35 AM 12/30/2017 – M.N.: My Interpretation of the Bixby Knolls Long Beach CA “accident”: The KGB and the people from the “Long Beach” – Israel, teach the American FBI by “bixby-ing” it: hitting them with the ruler on their buttocks (knolls) as the lazy and stupid students. Learn, the stupid FBI! Bix by! Any other interpretations?  M.N.

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Pamela Anderson | Pamela Anderson, Assange, Cambridge Analytica 

Pamela Anderson and Sergei Ivanov | Pamela Anderson and Trump 

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__________________________

“Law firm partner and family man, 58, who shot dead Pamela Anderson’s attorney… Langer has practiced law for 51 years and represented Anderson in a breach of contract lawsuit, according to the Orange County Register.” 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5223831/Pictured-Law-firm-partner-shot-dead-colleague.html#ixzz52qbGGen4
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Pictured: Law firm partner and family man, 58, who shot dead …

Daily Mail6 hours ago
The man who shot dead a fellow attorney and wounded another before turning the gun on himself Friday at a Southern California holiday party has been identified. A coroner named 58-year-old family man John Mendoza responsible in the murder-suicide at Bixby Knolls Law office in Long Beach around …

_______________________________

The Bixby Knolls Blues from the “Signal Hill” 

7:38 AM 12/31/2017

Parker shooting

Another “writing on the wall”: “Parker… etc.”

BKshooting

Looks like some type of the “message” on a letterhead of wall signs. From whom to whom and what about: “the breach of contract“? What contract and with whom? – M.N. 

_________________________________________

7:17 AM 12/31/2017

Pictured: Law firm partner and family man, 58, who shot dead Pamela Anderson’s attorney and injured another lawyer at their office holiday party moments after he was fired

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5223831/Pictured-Law-firm-partner-shot-dead-colleague.html#ixzz52qZD8so6
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Story image for bixby knolls long beach ca from Daily Mail

Pictured: Law firm partner and family man, 58, who shot dead …

Daily Mail5 hours ago
The man who shot dead a fellow attorney and wounded another before turning the gun on himself Friday at a Southern California holiday party has been identified. A coroner named 58-year-old family man John Mendoza responsible in the murder-suicide at Bixby Knolls Law office in Long Beach around …

Updates: 10:26 AM 12/30/2017

Bixby Knolls – GS

 A new “writing on the wall” transpired (RL pic), apparently as the anonymous side comment of some of my readers. 

“Welcome to Jongewaard’s Bike-n-Broil” (in response to, and as the little memory of my earlier slogan in my earlier blogs: “Bike with Mike!”

_____________________________

THE TROJANS – KGB plan to destroy America from within by sending Russian immigrants

And also as the follow-up to the “Toast of the Hudson”

Image result for Jongewaard’s Bake-n-Broil

Actually, it is “Bake-n-Broil”, but the difference is just the subtlety of the semantics. 

“Thank you” for your lively (or deadly?) comments, my dear readers. It is hard to keep up with your inventions, especially when you bike-n-bake-n-broil it so well. The “Juniors – Maloys – Jonges” are definitely quite impressed. Just do not overcook zis. 

M.N. 

____________________________________________

“LEARNING ENGLISH”: 

Bixby –  Urban Dictionary

My Interpretation of the Bixby Knolls Long Beach CA “accident”: 

“The KGB and the people from the “Long Beach” – Israel, teach the American FBI by “bixby-ing” it: hitting them with the ruler on their buttocks (knolls) as the lazy and stupid students.

Or as you did it in your article.

Learn, the stupid FBI! Behave and do your job!” 

The act of physically and emotionally assaulting a student with disturbing phrases and pictures followed up by the beating by a ruler.”

Example: FBI got Bixby’d in the butt.

Any other interpretations? 

M.N.

6:35 AM 12/30/2017

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

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Two people die, including shooter, in workplace gunfire in Long Beach
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Two dead, including shooter, in “workplace shooting” outside Long Beach law firm, police say
russia helping trump – Google News: SHOCK North Korea WARNING: Russia helping Kim weaponise ANTHRAX amid WW3 threat – Express.co.uk
How Russia is Helping North Korea Build the Bombs That Could Start World War III – Newsweek
Excerpts From Trump’s Interview With The Times – New York Times
Troy, New York – Wikipedia
The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents
The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents – Daily Beast
6:50 PM 12/28/2017 The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? Mother Jones
6:58 AM 12/27/2017 Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other Accidents
The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones
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Crime in New York City Plunges to a Level Not Seen Since the 1950s
How the Interrogation of Reality Winner Reveals the Deceptive Tactics of Exceedingly Friendly FBI Agents
The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East
Column: History of using FBI for political purposes – Opinion – ThisWeek Community News
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Two people die, including shooter, in workplace gunfire in Long Beach

Los Angeles Times6 hours ago
A workplace shooting just before 2:30 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood of Long Beach on Friday left two men dead, including the shooter, officials said. Long Beach police said they went to a law office in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood amid reports of an active shooter at large. They said they found multiple …
Two Dead, Including Gunman, in Law Firm Shooting
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UPDATE: Gunman, Victims Were Employees at Bixby Knolls Law …

Long Beach Post9 hours ago
A third man was shot but is expected to survive, said Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) spokesman Sgt. Brad Johnson. … According to police, the shooting occurred at the law offices of Larry H. Parker in the 300 block of East San Antonio Drive in the Bixby Knolls area, where police responded to the …
Urban Dictionary: Bixby
 

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Top definition
The act of physically and emotionally assaulting a student with disturbing phrases and pictures followed up by the beating by a ruler.
by Nigga you uber uber gay June 07, 2010
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1 lawyer killed, another wounded at Bixby Knolls law office …

The Daily Breeze5 hours ago
1 lawyer killed, another wounded at Bixby Knolls law office; reportedly fired partner takes own life … 29’s shooting in Bixby Knolls. …. An attorney reportedly fired from a prominent Long Beach law firm shot two of his senior partners Friday at their Bixby Knolls office, killing one and wounding the other, before …
UPDATE: Gunman, Victims Were Employees at Bixby Knolls Law …
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1 lawyer killed, another wounded at Bixby Knolls law office …

The Daily Breeze5 hours ago
1 lawyer killed, another wounded at Bixby Knolls law office; reportedly fired partner takes own life … 29’s shooting in Bixby Knolls. …. An attorney reportedly fired from a prominent Long Beach law firm shot two of his senior partners Friday at their Bixby Knolls office, killing one and wounding the other, before …
UPDATE: Gunman, Victims Were Employees at Bixby Knolls Law …
Local SourceLong Beach Post9 hours ago
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Bixby School District Superintendent Resigns Amid High School …

DeadspinDec 28, 2017
Three months after a 16-year-old boy in Oklahoma was allegedly raped with a pool cue by his Bixby High School football teammates at the superintendent’s home during a team function, the school board’s only “disciplinary action” so far has been to accept the resignation of the superintendent, Kyle Wood.
Urban Dictionary: Bix
 

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Jazzy,

Cool

, Smooth Talker,

cool

 musician, Cool Guy. The height of

Jazz

 Coolness.

Named after Bix Beiderbecke, (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American

jazz

 cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. With Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke was one of the two most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s.

Term

 returned to popularity during the late 50’s, 60’s with the Beatniks, and the Beat Generation, due to

many

 1920’s (

hip

 to jazz) Parents naming their

children

 after Beiderbecke.

The usage of the

term

 “Bix” as a complementary adjective , remains till today, mostly with musicians, although less known outside the usual Jazz Capitals like New Orleans, and NYC.

Search Engine “Bix Beiderbecke” for more info.

Two people die, including shooter, in workplace gunfire in Long Beach
 

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A workplace shooting just before 2:30 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood of Long Beach on Friday left two men dead, including the shooter, officials said.

Long Beach police said they went to a law office in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood amid reports of an active shooter at large. They said they found multiple casualties but it was no longer considered an active shooting scene.

Authorities said the gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and did not engage with police. Police found a weapon at the scene.

Two men died inside the law office, in the 300 block of San Antonio Drive, said Long Beach Police Department Sgt. Brad Johnson.

A third victim took himself to a hospital; he was listed as stable and is expected to survive. Johnson said all three men were employees of the law firm.

Long Beach City Councilman Al Austin, who was briefed by police, said the shooter — a former employee at the law offices of Larry H. Parker — killed one person and then himself. Austin represents the Bixby Knolls area.

Johnson, however, would not say whether the shooter was a former employee and would not specify which law office the man worked for.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said police reacted with a large force because of the uncertainty of the incident.

“The police are doing an active investigation. They are talking to folks that were obviously there and folks affiliated with both the victims and the shooter,” he said. “All of us are sad and thinking about the victims and families involved.”

The area was blocked off by police and fire crews. Several ambulances were on the scene.

The building’s windows were decorated with Christmas displays featuring candy canes and Santa Claus.

A satellite office of the law firm, at 3925 Atlantic Ave., was cordoned off with police tape and being guarded by a squad car with emergency lights on.

Joy Wilson said she had heard police sirens outside her home, about a block away from the shootings, and walked outside. There she saw about two dozen people running down San Antonio Drive, “looking like they were trying to get away.”

“They were definitely panicking,” Wilson said, standing near the police tape, helicopters buzzing overhead.

Police were there with assault rifles and technical gear.

“Something bad was happening,” she said. “They were moving.”

Residents said they were stunned by the violence.

“This is a very safe area,” said Agnes, 40, who lives in a nearby apartment and did not want to give her last name. She had strolled to Trader Joe’s when she came upon the crush of police cars and helicopters flying overhead.

“Everything was always fine. We have good neighbors — that is why I am in shock.”

Kelly Bray, 61, who lives in an apartment around the corner from where the shooting occurred, said he was on his way home when he saw the police helicopters.

“When you see helicopters over your home, and they’re police helicopters, that’s a bad sign,” he said.

He called his two sons, who were at the apartment, and told them not to leave. Then he walked up to the scene, where he saw dozens of police officers, some wearing body armor and helmets and carrying shotguns and M16s.

He saw paramedics staging at the nearby 7-Eleven and two police teams form on either side of San Antonio and approach the law office in a “conga line.” Other officers were crouched behind police cars on San Antonio, guns drawn.

Police then made him and others vacate the area.

“Nothing like this happens here,” he said.


UPDATES:

9:10 p.m.: This article was updated with a quote from the mayor and other details.

6:25 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information about the shooting, including from witness accounts.

5:10 p.m.: This article was updated with a quote from a city councilman.

4 p.m.: This article was updated with the death of a gunman.

This article was originally published at 3:22 p.m.

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Two people die, including shooter, in workplace gunfire in Long Beach

Los Angeles Times5 hours ago
A workplace shooting just before 2:30 p.m. in a quiet neighborhood of Long Beach on Friday left two men dead, including the shooter, officials said. Long Beach police said they went to a law office in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood amid reports of an active shooter at large. They said they found multiple …

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Fired California attorney opens fire on his office’s holiday party …

Daily Mail3 hours ago
An attorney opened fire at a prominent law firm’s holiday party in Southern California Friday afternoon, killing one and injuring another before turning the gun on himself. The gunman, who hasn’t yet been identified, shot dead Major A Langer, 75, at Bixby Knolls Law office in Long Beach around 2.25pm, …

Story image for long beach ca shooting from WSYM-TV

Gunman dead after shooting multiple people at business in Long …

WSYM-TV9 hours ago
LONG BEACHCalifornia — The person responsible for shooting a number of people inside a Long Beachbusiness on Friday afternoon is dead. There are multiple … Shooting in the building across the street from my workplace….. not sure how many were killed or injured yet pic.twitter.com/K9zR9Smbhd.
Two dead, including shooter, in “workplace shooting” outside Long Beach law firm, police say
 

mikenova shared this story .

Last Updated Dec 29, 2017 9:01 PM EST

A shooting in Long Beach, California Friday afternoon left one victim and the gunman dead, the mayor said. Another person was injured.

Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted that the third person who was shot in a law office Friday is hospitalized in stable condition. He says the shooter and a victim are dead in what appears to be a workplace killing.

All three people involved are male adults and employees of a law firm at the location, police said in a press conference.

Video showed people running from an unmarked building shouting about a shooting inside. Police say they received reports of a shooter at 2:25 p.m.

One shooting victim apparently drove himself to the hospital, according to CBS Los Angeles.

Video showed people running from an unmarked building shouting that there was a shooting inside.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates. 

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

russia helping trump – Google News: SHOCK North Korea WARNING: Russia helping Kim weaponise ANTHRAX amid WW3 threat – Express.co.uk
 

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SHOCK North Korea WARNING: Russia helping Kim weaponise ANTHRAX amid WW3 threat
Express.co.uk
SHOCK North Korea WARNING: Russia helping Kim weaponise ANTHRAX amid WW3 threat. NORTH KOREA is being assisted by Russia in its effort to create a deadly biological weapon using Anthrax, according to retired Lt Col Ralph Peters. By Joe Barnes 

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Newsweek
How Russia is Helping North Korea Build the Bombs That Could Start World War III
Newsweek
Some of the more advanced missile technology recently put on display for the wider world by North Korea was acquired by the rogue state with the help of Russia, according to new documents acquired by The Washington Post from one of the top Soviet-era and more »
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Excerpts From Trump’s Interview With The Times
New York Times
TRUMP: [Inaudible.] There was tremendous collusion on behalf of the Russians and the Democrats. There was no collusion with respect to my campaign. I think I’ll be treated fairly. Timingwise, I can’t tell you. I just don’t know. But I think we’ll be and more »
Troy, New York – Wikipedia
 

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Troy is a city in the U.S. State of New York and the seat of Rensselaer County. The city is located on the western edge of Rensselaer County and on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. Troy has close ties to the nearby cities of Albany and Schenectady, forming a region popularly called the Capital District. The city is one of the three major centers for the Albany Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which has a population of 1,170,483. At the 2010 census, the population of Troy was 50,129. Troy’s motto is Ilium fuit. Troja est, which means “Ilium was, Troy is”.[3]

The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents
 

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This is the third and last article in a series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world. (Part 1 can be found here; and Part 2 here.)

Reacting to the first installment in the series, John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of Central Intelligence, drew a direct line between what’s contained in these manuals and the cases being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller: “This is classic spycraft from Sun Tzu (6th century BC) till today. A shadowy mosaic of cut-outs, access agents, plausible denial, gossamer webs. Whether or not Mueller proves collusion, Russia clearly took its best shot.”

This article looks at the way KGB operatives were taught to use Soviet citizens abroad, whether they were willing or not, for the organization’s own purposes.

IT WAS THE TRANSPOSITION of two letters that furnished the easy excuse for dismissing the entirety of the accusation as “fake news.”

Russian diplomat Mikhail Kulagin, the story went, had been yanked from the Russian Embassy on Wisconsin Avenue owing to fears in Moscow that the American press was onto him as something other than a mere diplomat. Kulagin was about to be unmasked for his “heavy involvement in the U.S. presidential election operation,” according to a secret document about to be made public, to much fanfare and controversy. Namely, he’d been part of a complex scheme funneling cash to Russian émigrés in America as compensation for a “two-way flow of intelligence and information concerning the activities of prominent Russian oligarchs and their families.”

This fee-for-service arrangement allegedly relied on “Russian diplomatic staff in key cities such as New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami,” the document stated, who “were using the emigre pension distribution system as cover. The operation therefore depended on key people in the US Russian emigre community for its success. Tens of thousands of dollars were involved.”

Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, could laugh this one off easily. For one thing, there was no Mikhail Kulagin at the Russian Embassy. There was a Mikhail Kalugin and while it was true that he had concluded a six-year posting in August 2016 and returned to Moscow, it wasn’t because he was any kind of spy about to be found out. Rather, his tenure was up and he had simply gone home, as he’d planned to do for about six months beforehand.

Another wrinkle in the story was that Miami hasn’t got any diplomatic staff because it hasn’t got a consulate. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking it should, given its sizable Russian émigré community and its borderline-cliché popularity as a dolce vita vacation spot for Russian billionaires, many of whom own pied-à-terres in South Beach, occasionally even in their own names.

So, did the typo and misapprehension about Russian mission cities in America mean that Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, got everything wrong about Kalugin? Not exactly.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Kalugin arrived in Washington in 2010 and served for two years in the political section at the Russian Embassy, after which he spent the next four years as head of the economic section. His previous overseas posting, before the United States, had been in Lithuania where he served as the Russian Embassy’s press secretary on bilateral issues. Sources who did meet and know him a little in Washington say that he would often sit in on meetings with Baltic counterparts and present himself as more superior than his nominally higher-grade colleagues from the embassy.

“He rarely spoke on economic matters,” one European diplomat recalls. “I cannot imagine he’d be well prepared to do that kind of work. Probably he was doing something else.” Also, the diplomat adds, it was “very impressive” for someone to go from being a lowly media flack in Vilnius to the head of the economic section at the embassy in Washington, the most important Russian mission on the planet, even with pit-stop postings in the Russian Finance and Foreign Affairs ministries, where Kalugin served in between his Lithuanian and American deployments.

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Mark Galeotti, a Prague-based specialist on Russia’s security services, agrees that Kalugin’s true role in the states extended well beyond trade deals and GDP comparisons. “My sources in Russia have told me that Kalugin’s apparent lack of interest in economic matters was because he was otherwise employed at the embassy,” Galeotti says, “and that typically means being an intelligence officer.”

The McClatchy news service reported in February that Kalugin had in fact been “under scrutiny” by U.S. intelligence as part of a multi-agency investigation into Russian interference in the last presidential election. Kalugin was suspected of helping to finance the email hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Kalugin flat-out denied any involvement in the cyber-espionage or in running a complicated slush fund for hackers via Russian pensioners in America. “I had nothing to do with the distribution of retirement payments to the Russian citizens in the United States,” he told McClatchy. Any mention of him in the Steele dossier or subsequent inquiries into his work constituted a “continuous stream of lies and fake news about my person.”

IT DOESN’T TAKE an opposition research dossier, much less a Senate subcommittee, to see that Russian spies have long taken a keen interest in the views and behavior of Russians in the diaspora, especially those with outspoken hostile attitudes toward the Kremlin and its long-entrenched masters. Two of the most astounding crimes of the last and current centuries attest to the intensity of that interest.

When Ramon Mercader plunged an ice-axe into the skull of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940, just as the Old Man of the Soviet opposition perused an article written by a supposed acolyte who was really an undercover assassin, it was the culmination of a plot personally put into motion by Josef Stalin himself and carefully organized by Pavel Sudoplatov, the head of the Administration for Special Tasks, then one of two arms of Stalin’s foreign intelligence apparatus.

Not long after the founder of the Red Army was killed in Mexico, and the same year as World War II ended, one of Stalin’s military intelligence officers turned over a freshet of documentary evidence showing just how extensive the Soviet penetration of the West had been, even during the anti-Nazi alliance.

“When Igor Gouzenko, a GRU cipher clerk, defected to Canada in 1945 with a cache of top secret documents, the West suddenly realized the extent of the Soviet effort to recruit sympathizers to its cause,” says Amy Knight, the author of How the Cold War Began: The Igor Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies. “Soviet spies, disguised as diplomats, had infiltrated western governments and their atomic bomb enterprizes on an impressive scale. The West went on high alert and the Cold War was officially started.”

It arguably began anew in 2006, when Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the FSB, the successor organ of the KGB, quaffed a cup of green tea at the Pine Bar at the Millennium Hotel in London, the city to which he and his family defected a few years before. He unwittingly swallowed an exponentially lethal dose of polonium-210, a radiological poison slipped to him by two men who worked for his former service, which he had since denounced for its corruption, its ties to organized crime, and its acts of state terrorism. Polonium-210 is manufactured in exactly one place on earth: in the Russian city of Sarov, at a plant closely guarded by the FSB.

“Virtual mafia state”—that unforgettable phrase from the U.S. State Department cables published by WikiLeaks—was actually a reference to Litvinenko’s own appraisal of the Russian government’s close integration with the Russian mob, as relayed to Spanish intelligence, to which Litvinenko was subcontracted by his new employer, Britain’s MI6.

Gangsters had long operated in the USSR, usually in opposition to it, which is why the uppermost echelon of non-political criminal prisoners in the gulag were known as vory v zakone, or “thieves in law.” But organized crime proliferated with the demise of communism, and its functionaries spread across Europe like spoors, from Latvia to London.

“Litvinenko had come to believe that mobsters were functioning as quasi-state institutions unto themselves.”

By the 2000s, Litvinenko had come to believe that mobsters were functioning as quasi-state institutions unto themselves. They could murder and steal with impunity because they were also tasked with doing so by the FSB and SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence operation, which sought to outsource such undertakings to unsavory characters more accustomed to claim credit for them. (To this day, hitmen are contracted by the siloviki to dispose of insurgent veterans from the Caucasus now domiciled in Turkey.)

Litvinenko’s thesis became his end. After having been a marked man for at least three years before he ingested the polonium, he was murdered not for ideological subversion, as in the bad old days, or even as the result of some hysterical purge of the security organs. His “modern assassination was about money,” as the British journalist Luke Harding has written in A Very Expensive Poison, his definitive book on the snuffing of the Russian spy and the attendant British wrangle to get to the bottom of it. “He threatened the revenue streams of some very powerful people. So they killed him.”

Just how powerful these people were had long been known to Westminster, which, out of fear of what the case might do to relations with the Kremlin (not to mention the steady stream of rubles pouring each year into the London real estate and commercial markets) never quite laid blame for this extrajudicial murder on the men who sanctioned it. Then last year came a much-publicized public inquiry headed by High Court Judge Sir Robert Owen. Litvinenko’s assassination, Owen concluded, was likely ordered by the then-head of the FSB, Nikolai Patrushev, himself acting at the instruction of his more famous predecessor, Vladimir Putin.

The man who was and still is Russia’s president had his own commercial ties to the underworld, according to Karen Darwisha, author of Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?, a recent work of scholarship that ably synthesizes the encyclopedic history post-Soviet graft and racketeering. One of the syndicates Litvinenko had been tracking in Spain was the Tambov Gang, which notoriously monopolized gasoline sales in St. Petersburg for a time in the 1990s. Putin, who worked in the city’s mayoral office, “granted” the mob that monopoly, Darwisha writes.

FOR SOMEONE WHO fetishizes the concept of “sovereignty” when it suits him—usually when he doesn’t want the United States interfering in foreign countries he prefers to interfere in—national borders ceased to exist for Putin when they attempt to circumscribe the metaphysical orphans of a fallen empire or the traitors to its glorious resurrection.

It is often forgotten that he cited as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century the collapse of the Soviet Union. “For the Russian people, it became a real drama,” Putin said. “Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and compatriots found themselves outside Russian territory.”

Russia is thus honor-bound to come to the fraternal assistance of its “compatriots” whenever necessary, and even if they haven’t asked for it. According to John Sipher, the former CIA station chief in Moscow and the former head of the agency’s Russia operations, “Putin’s policy has always been: where there are Russians, that is where Russia is.” For Sipher, the notion that the Kremlin might thus turn to a handful of Russian émigrés in to facilitate a clandestine financial pipeline from the motherland to vested U.S. political interests tracks with stated Kremlin policy.

The term encompassing this is Russkiy mir, the “Russian world,” which denotes a global sodality defined by the shared inheritances of culture, language, and the Orthodox Christian religion. Putin cynically couched his invasion and annexation of Crimea as a prophylactic measure to rescue peninsular Russians from certain annihilation at the hands of a “fascist junta” in Kiev, which supposedly swept to power in wake of the Maidan Revolution in 2014.

Elsewhere his non-military interventions have seized upon similar pretexts in other former Soviet satellite countries.

For instance, the cultural organization Rossotrudnichestvo, run by Sergei Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry, has financed any number of European governmental nongovernmental organizations—“GONGOs”—dealing with this mythical double-headed beast of resurgent Nazism and Russian persecution, from Tallinn to Tbilisi. In some inspired cases, Russian neo-Nazis have stolen across the border to appear as Estonian neo-Nazis, for the purpose of furnishing fresh “evidence” for these GONGOs where little or none may naturally exist.

If Christopher Steele is to be believed, Rossotrudnichestvo also served another underhanded function in the 2016 election: Its facilities in Prague were used to host a secret liaison between Trump attorney Michael Cohen and Kremlin officials in August 2016, a dossier allegation that Cohen has vehemently denied and has never been proven.

PUTIN WILL NO DOUBT have been taught at the Andropov Red Banner Institute in Moscow, where he was trained as a KGB case officer in the ’70s, the service’s primary interest in the diaspora was twofold: either recruit them as agents or informants, or ferret them out as agents or informants of the West. Sometimes it was difficult to tell which was which.

The third and final set of intercepted KGB documents given to The Daily Beast by a European intelligence service shows just how paranoid Moscow Center was about Russian exiles. “The Use of the Soviet Committee for Cultural Ties with Fellow Countrymen Abroad in the Interests of State Security Agencies,” as it’s called, resembles the previous two documents in its thoroughgoing obsession with counterintelligence threats and botched operations. Where this document deviates from the other two is that it delves into greater anecdotal detail about some of those screw-ups and even names names—or codenames, anyway.

Such added color may owe to the fact that unlike the other two, which were produced in the late ’80s, this file was published for internal KGB use in 1968, an annus horribilis for the Soviet spy services, which failed to predict and preempt the Prague Spring. Surely an excellent time to fret about what “compatriots” were getting up to everywhere inside and outside of the Warsaw Pact’s jurisdiction.

In a sense, this relic of Cold War tradecraft is as much a monument to the West’s nimble manipulation of émigré circles as it is a manual on how to recruit them for Moscow.

We learn, for instance, that in 1965, a “small patriotic group”—a euphemism for a Soviet front—was established in Hanover, West Germany, by a man called Simeonov, described in the document as a “traitor to the Motherland, sentenced in his day by a Soviet court to severe punishment,” but in absentia.

Despite Simeonov’s ideological black record at home, the KGB allowed his group to establish contact with the Representative Office of the Soviet Committee for Cultural Ties in East Berlin. Trips were then arranged for members of this group to travel into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) to meet with committee officials.

In “talks with these emissaries, the impression was formed that the Simeonov group was well-organized, regularly conducted patriotic meetings with fellow countrymen, and had launched work to attract other émigrés to the organization who lived in Hanover [Germany] and its suburbs.”

Suspicions were duly allayed. Eventually, Simeonov himself went to East Berlin and, although still supposedly subject to immediate detention because of the outstanding verdict against him, was allowed to move freely through the city, then return home and continue expanding his fifth column.

The committee and by extension the KGB, which supervised its work, believed the information that Simeonov and his cohort passed along about the activities of their fellow émigrés in Hanover was genuine. It wasn’t.

The entire group was rife with West German moles. The KGB only became aware of the deception when it discovered that the “patron” of the group was a Catholic priest who generously loaned space in his church to host gatherings, which he often attended. “A check of the priest through operational lists indicated that we were dealing with a former Hitlerite officer… who maintained a connection to the local police agencies.” (Whether the priest was in fact a former Nazi officer or simply described as one is unclear; the Soviets had a propensity for labeling anti-Communist clerics, even those who had stood up to Hitler, as stooges of National Socialism.)

Simeonov, too, wasn’t quite the rehabilitated “patriot” he appeared to be even under surveillance in East Berlin. He was found to be a “provocateur” working for his adoptive fatherland, West Germany. But rather than cut ties, the KGB shifted the operation from trying to run the group to using it to try to reverse-engineer the network of West German agents who had penetrated it. The Russians even went so far as to gauge the possibility of poaching some of these German assets. The takeaway in the instruction manual, however, was to emphasize the need not only to influence émigrés through the dissemination of ideology but of owning and controlling them outright, lest they fall prey to hostile intelligence forces.

“Counterintelligence planted a man known as ‘Khameleon’ among this community in the role of middleman filing petitions for travel to the USSR.”

The Ukrainian diaspora in Canada apparently merited special attention during the late ’60s as a hotbed of anti-Soviet skulduggery. According to this text, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police counterintelligence planted a man known as “Khameleon” among this community in the role of middleman filing petitions for travel to the USSR. Khameleon told Ukrainians in Canada that the petitions had to be filled out in Russian, giving him a pretext to meet with scores looking to travel to Kiev or Odessa as tourists or businessmen.

Khameleon was doing for Ottawa what Moscow would have liked him to do for them: studying these expatriates for recruitment or surveillance, sketching personality profiles of them, gauging their dispositions toward the USSR, and determining what if any affiliations they might have to “progressive” (read: pro-Soviet) organizations in Canada. All this information was then sent back to Khameleon’s Mountie handlers.

“Bekker” was part of the Belgian-based Union of Soviet Citizens (SSG), an émigré association, whose members regularly visited the USSR and even met with officials in the Soviet Committee on Cultural Ties. Belgian counterintelligence learned that Bekker was planning such a trip back to the USSR and had him called into a local police station. He was interrogated about the “state of affairs in the SSG, his intentions regarding the trip,” and then he was made an offer of recruitment—one the Belgians thought he couldn’t refuse.

They blackmailed him using undisclosed material in the form of a “bulging dossier,” as the KGB manual puts it. Bekker refused to collaborate. He was let go, with the phone number of the officer who tried to blackmail him and instructions to be in touch in case “any difficulties arose” with regard to his trip. Bekker instead walked straight into the Soviet Embassy in Brussels and sang about what had just happened to him.

In America, where Russian émigrés had generally thrived and didn’t look back to what they’d left behind because they’d left it behind for good reason, they and their children could work their ways up into sensitive positions in business, government, and the military, making them of course prime targets for the Soviet Committee’s very special “outreach.”

The document recounts the case of “Kapitan,” who was involved in “secret work in the U.S. Army.” Kapitan’s uncle, codenamed “Stary,” had written a letter to the Soviet Committee on Cultural Ties explaining what he, his family and friends were up to in the States. Presumably out of carelessness, he mentioned his nephew’s job.

The Soviet organs seized upon this enticing morsel as a reason to obtain more information on Kapitan through continued correspondence with Stary. Several letters were changed, the ones from Moscow “carefully encoded” with indirect questions. Through this method, Kapitan’s address and other “basic data” about him were obtained. Soon, the rezidentura confirmed that Kapitan was actually an officer in Air Force intelligence, the KGB stopped writing to Stary and began trying to develop his nephew. But the plan failed, this time owing to the KGB’s own carelessness:

“When our agent visited Stary, through whom access to Kapitan was intended, introduced himself as a Soviet citizen, Stary immediately warned that his correspondence with the Soviet Committee was known to the FBI which was in the process of holding all these letters. He said that he had the assignment to immediately inform the FBI about people who came to him and would be interested in Kapitan. Stary advised our person not to visit him any more to avoid unpleasantness.”

The FBI had intercepted the committee’s correspondence and deciphered the “encoded” messages to Stary, after all. This operation could have turned out much worse, however. Kapitan’s uncle refused to give up the Soviet agent who had come to call on him seeking an introduction to his more important nephew.

“ORIGINALLY YOU HAD the diaspora, which involved a lot of Russian Jews who were escaping and routinely receiving American visas because of the repression of Soviet Jewry,” Steven Hall says. “By the same token, the Russian intelligence services took a strategic view of other waves in the diaspora. A lot of them realized what was going to happen and in some cases did happen: Those who had difficulties resettling in the West began to long for home.

“Give it a few years, and a KGB officer under cultural attaché cover knocks on your door and brings a bottle of vodka or has a cup of tea talking about how great life was. The Soviets always saw these exiles as a target for operational use even though they’d fled.”

Contrast that with the present-day. There are hardly any travel restrictions into and out of Russia, providing you haven’t fled because of political pressure. There is a greater and faster accumulation of wealth by Russians, much of it kept (or stashed) abroad by a generation of billionaire oligarchs reared on the domestic oil and gas industry who have lately moved into international finance, real estate, sports team ownership, and much more.

Such fabulously wealthy Russians may not be émigrés in the traditional sense—plenty still live, at least part of the time, in Moscow—but they are seen as public exponents of Putin’s regime, cultural diplomats intended to put a nice face on a deeply corrupt kleptocracy. Are they being monitored? In today’s world the KGB’s heirs needn’t bank on fond memories from childhood; they can bank on something far more persuasive: money.

The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents – Daily Beast
 

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Daily Beast
The KGB Playbook for Turning Russians Worldwide Into Agents
Daily Beast
This is the third and last article in a series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world. (Part 1 can be found and more »
6:50 PM 12/28/2017 The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? Mother Jones
 

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Christopher Wray – Google News The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones 06:05 Christopher Wray – Google News The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones Today, December 28th 06:05 Today, … Continue reading“6:50 PM 12/28/2017 – The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones”

6:58 AM 12/27/2017 Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other Accidents
 

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Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Yesterday, December 26th 16:56 · top stories Shared by 1 person Houston Chronicle 4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious Houston Chronicle Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have … Continue reading“6:58 AM 12/27/2017 – Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious… Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. – 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. – By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other “Accidents””

The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones
 

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Mother Jones
The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data?
Mother Jones
The decision to remove the data hampers the ability of criminologists and journalists to analyze crime trends at the same time that the administration is transforming the justice system to respond to rising violent crime rates. There’s little clarity 
TASS: Society & Culture – Thirteen injured in St. Petersburg blast
 

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© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. A total of 13 people have been injured in an explosion in a supermarket in St. Petersburg, according to the latest data, eight of them remain in hospitals, the city’s Vice-Governor in charge of social issues Anna Mityanina reported on Thursday.

Earlier reports said the blast had left ten people injured.

“As of 08:00 (on December 28, 2017), the total number of people injured in the blast in a supermarket in Kondratyevsky Avenue is 13. Of these, five refused to be taken to hospital. Five of those remaining in hospitals are in a moderately grave condition, while three are in a satisfactory condition” she wrote on Twitter.

There are no children among those injured, the press service of the city’s healthcare committee said.

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An explosion at a supermarket in St. Petersburg’s Kondratyevsky Avenue was reported at about 18.30 Moscow Time on Wednesday. According to preliminary reports, an unidentified explosive device was detonated in the Gigant-Hall entertainment center on the first floor near self-storage lockers of the Perekrestok supermarket.

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st petersburg – Google Search
 

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Story image for st petersburg from NPR

Putin Says StPetersburg Blast Was Terrorism

NPR3 hours ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin says an explosion at a StPetersburg supermarket on Wednesday was a terrorist act, and that another attack in the city had been foiled by the country’s security service. A bomb went off in a branch of the Perekrestok supermarket, wounding at least 13 shoppers in Putin’s …
After Supermarket Blast, Putin Says Terror Suspects Should Be …
In-DepthRadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty7 hours ago
Thirteen injured in StPetersburg blast
InternationalTASS12 hours ago
Crime in New York City Plunges to a Level Not Seen Since the 1950s
 

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And while rapes were down from last year by one, to 1,417, misdemeanor sex crimes — a catchall for various types of misconduct that includes groping — ticked up 9.3 percent to 3,585 so far.

The lower homicide numbers are still preliminary — and include one announced on Wednesday night — but they jibe with large drops in killings in major cities like Chicago and Detroit, while contrasting with sizable increases in killings in smaller cities like Charlotte and Baltimore.

The city today is a far cry from what it was when Mr. Bratton arrived in 1990 to become the head of the then-separate Transit Police. Not only were there 2,245 killings that year, but there were more than 527,000 major felony crimes and more than 5,000 people shot. Shootings have plunged to 774 so far this year, well below last year’s record low of 998. And for the first time, fewer than 1,000 people have been hurt by gunfire: 917 as of Sunday.

The continued declines are a boon to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat elected on promises of police reform — promises that prompted warnings of mayhem to come by his opponents in 2013. But the opposite has happened, putting him on stronger footing as he pivots to a second term with a Police Department transformed to exercise greater restraint as it focuses on building trust in the city’s neighborhoods.

Franklin E. Zimring, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, said the downturn was an “astounding achievement,” but it raised another question: How long and low will crime fall?

“We don’t know when we’ve exhausted the possibilities of urban crime decline, and we won’t know unless and until New York scrapes bottom,” said Mr. Zimring, who analyzed the first 20 years of New York’s historic crime reduction and expounded on it in a book.

Mr. de Blasio and the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, credit recent drops in crime to the Police Department’s emphasis on going after the relatively small groups of people — mostly gangs and repeat offenders — believed to be responsible for most crime, while also building relationships in communities where trust has been strained.

Mr. Bratton applauded political support for the police from the mayor, who provided funding for investments in officer hiring, training, equipment and overdose-reversal drugs.

One of the results is that police officers are using deadly force less often. As of Dec. 20, police officers intentionally fired their service guns in 23 encounters, a record low, down from 37 in 2016. The Police Department said officers were relying more on stun guns, which were used 491 times through November, compared with 474 times during the same period in 2016. More than 15,000 officers have been trained how to use them.

But criminologists differ about the cause of the continued declines. Mr. Zimring said that while better policing accounted for much of the decline in crime since 1990, it was no longer a primary driver. New York is “tiptoeing” toward a 90 percent crime decline for reasons that remain “utterly mysterious,” he said.

More broadly, research suggests that crime trends are closely tied to economic conditions. Interest ratesinflation and unemployment are among the macro-level factors influencing crime, according to James Austin, the president of the JFA Institute, a criminal justice policy nonprofit.

“What the Fed does will have more of an impact than any sentencing or police reforms,” Mr. Austin said.

The reductions in New York are a part of what the Brennan Center for Justice expects will be a 2.7-percent decline in crime rates and 5.6-percent drop in murder rates across the country’s largest cities. After record-high bloodshed last year, killings in Chicago have declined 15 percent.

Through August, rape was down in New York City 7 percent compared with last year, but a small increase in September was followed by spikes in October and November. The New York Times first published accusations against Mr. Weinstein on Oct. 5.

Reports of rapes that had occurred in a previous year, meanwhile, were up almost 12 percent through November. In response, the Police Department is adding investigators to its Special Victims Unit and hasmodernized the techniques detectives use to investigate claims.

“We can’t answer definitively” what is driving the rise, Commissioner O’Neill told reporters at a crime briefing this month. “At least I can’t. But we’re seeing people coming forward and having faith in the N.Y.P.D. And that’s what we want to happen.”

Whatever the reason for New York’s crime reductions, the statistics do not capture the complete picture of public safety. Some crimes are not represented fully or at all: acts of domestic violence, sexual assaults, identity thefts, hate crimes, and shootings that don’t result in injuries or damage.

In some cases, the data annotates horrible crimes: an ISIS-inspired truck rampage on a Manhattan bike lane on Halloween that left eight people dead; the ambush killing of a police officer, Miosotis Familia, 48, who was shot in the head on July 4 while sitting in her R.V.-style command post in the Bronx; the death of Timothy Caughman, 66, a black man, at the hands of a sword-wielding white supremacist on March 20.

Increasingly, officers are receiving calls to help people in emotional crises. The police responded to 157,000 such calls in 2016. But only 7,000 officers have received crisis intervention training for handling those situations.

While most police encounters are resolved without officers resorting to deadly force, fatal police shootings of people in emotional distress — including Dwayne Jeune on July 31 in Brooklyn and Miguel Richards on Sept. 6 in the Bronx — have drawn scrutiny. A police sergeant, Hugh Barry, was indicted on murder charges in May for the fatal on-duty shooting of a mentally ill woman, Deborah Danner, in October 2016. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Continue reading the main story

How the Interrogation of Reality Winner Reveals the Deceptive Tactics of Exceedingly Friendly FBI Agents
 

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In late January, George Papadopoulos did what a lot of Americans do when FBI agents ask for a few minutes of their time — he agreed to talk. It’s a decision he likely regrets, because in October the former adviser to President Donald Trump’s election campaign pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. He is now a key figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The court files in the Papadopoulos case say little about the conditions of his chat with the two FBI agents. We don’t know how long it lasted, where in Chicago it took place, what its tenor was, or whether Papadopoulos was aware the agents probably knew the answers to most questions they asked. One thing, though, is clear: Papadopoulos engaged in a form of self-harming behavior that defense lawyers always advise against — saying “yes” when a pair of friendly FBI agents knock on your door and ask to chat.

His interrogation was recorded but the transcript has not been released, so it’s impossible to know precisely what the FBI agents might have said that gave Papadopoulos the impression it would be in his interests to talk and to lie. But in another high-profile case, involving former NSA contractor Reality Winner, the government released a transcript of the interrogation. It provides a verbatim example – and a rare example – of how FBI agents ingratiate themselves with unsuspecting suspects and intimidate them into saying things that bring doom upon them.

The interrogations of Winner and Papadopoulos were what the FBI likes to call “non-custodial,” so they were not read their Miranda rights — because, the FBI claims, they were not arrested or detained at the time of the interrogation. (Winner’s lawyers have argued in court filings that she was effectively detained and should have been Mirandized.) By avoiding the obligation to inform suspects of their right to a lawyer and the right to stay silent, the FBI makes it easier to get Americans to say things – whether truths or lies — that will be used against them. The Fifth Amendment protects people from testifying against themselves, of course, and the Sixth Amendment provides the right to legal counsel, but law enforcement authorities get around these constitutional protections by contending that some interrogations are “non-custodial.” The result is that suspects are enticed into talking before they realize the jeopardy they face and the rights they possess.

“Because warnings are only required prior to custodial interrogation, one way to minimize the impact of Miranda on investigations is to try to conduct interrogations whenever possible in non-custodial settings (such as the suspects home or on the street, without arrest-like restraints),” notes an article in Police Magazine, which caters to the law enforcement community. The article bore the headline, “How to talk to suspects without Mirandizing.”

There’s a problem with that kind of advice — the presence of law-enforcement officers can turn homes and sidewalks into coercive environments, making the distinction between “custodial” and “non-custodial” a murky if not artificial one. The Winner transcript, which was released in September, offers an unusual look inside one of these home interrogations. In its early we’re-on-your-side phase, the interrogation pivoted on Winner’s love of dogs and her Crossfit workouts.

Accused leaker Reality Winner leaves the U.S. District Courthouse in Augusta, Ga., following a bond hearing Thursday afternoon June 8, 2017. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps denied bond Thursday for 25-year-old Reality Winner. Prosecutor Jennifer Solari says investigators seized a notebook from Winner's house in Augusta, Georgia, and in it, Winner made references about traveling to the Middle East (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)Accused leaker Reality Winner leaves the U.S. District Courthouse in Augusta, Ga., following a bond hearing on June 8, 2017.

Photo: Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle/AP

About a dozen FBI agents arrived at Winner’s rented house in Augusta, Georgia, on the afternoon of June 3, as she returned from grocery shopping.

“The reason we’re here today is that we have a search warrant for your house,” one of the agents told her, according to the transcript.

“Okay,” she replied.

“All right,” Special Agent Justin Garrick said. “Do you know what this might be about?”

“I have no idea,” Winner replied.

“Okay, this is about possible mishandling of classified information.”

“Oh my goodness,” Winner responded.

The agents soft-pedalled the reason for their visit. It can be relatively innocuous, in the eyes of the law, to mishandle classified information – it might not even be a crime, if the information is not too serious and the reasons for mishandling it not too nefarious. But this wasn’t, in the eyes of the FBI, an innocuous case. Garrick, who asked most of the questions, is a specialist in espionage and counter-intelligence, according to court documents. The government’s charging documents make clear that at the time of her interrogation, Winner was suspected of what the government was treating (probably cynically) as a very serious offense that jeopardized national security. The interrogation ended with her being arrested and charged under the draconian 1917 Espionage Act.

The agents did not mention the Espionage Act while they talked with her. And they did not hint at the possible prison-for-a-decade consequences of what they suspected she had done: mailing a classified NSA document to a media outlet. On June 5, the day Winner’s arrest was belatedly announced, The Intercept published a story based on a leaked NSA document detailing Russian attempts at cyberattacks against the U.S. election infrastructure. Though The Intercept has no knowledge of who sent the document, several publications reported that Winner mailed it to The Intercept, which has published a statement about its role in the case.

Her interrogation on June 3 began innocently enough. The first few minutes revolved around making her house safe for agents who would search it, which meant making sure her dog wouldn’t bite anyone, and making sure her guns (she had three) were secured. The conversation then took a decidedly casual turn.

“How long have you had your dog?” Garrick asked.

“She’s actually a foster,” Winner replied. “I’m rehabilitating her so hopefully she can get adopted later on.”

“How old is she?”

“Oh, we don’t really know. She’s one of those.”

“Yeah,” Garrick said. “One of my dogs was a rescue and when I got him … I was the only guy who could touch him.” He later added, “If you can tell, we’re all dog people.”

Garrick mentioned that his dog urinated “all over the place” at the outset, but eventually got used to its new home and started licking all visitors. Winner replied that her dog had been kept in a kennel and neglected her whole life. As they chatted, the other FBI agent, Wallace Taylor, offered to put her groceries into her refrigerator.

The conversation turned to her service in the Air Force. Once more, the agents employed convivial banter. When Winner mentioned that she was stuck for four years in a Maryland posting, one of the FBI agents said, “I can beat you. You know where my first Air Force assignment was?”

“What?” Winner asked.

“Minot, North Dakota.”

They made jokes about the cold weather – the transcript is interspersed with parenthetical descriptions of laughter — and then Garrick spoke about one of his FBI postings.

“I was seven years in D.C., and that was about six and a half too long,” he cracked.

“Oh yeah, D.C.,” Winner said.

“They keep asking if I want to go up there,” Garrick said. “I’m like, ‘Uh, no. No. No thank you.’ I’m done with that.”

Garrick inquired about her Crossfit workout routine.

“I did it for like six months, and I hurt myself,” Garrick offered. “Just every single day was pain.”

The transcript of their Crossfit conversation went on for more than two pages, with idle chat about box jumps and stress fractures and bench pressing (“So power lifting … what’s your favorite stuff?”). It’s a classic tactic of softening up a target, creating a false sense that the agents are your friends rather than, as often turns out to be the case, soon-to-be witnesses against you in court.

“You’re trying to get information from somebody, so being confrontational, bellicose, threatening — for the most part is counter-productive,” notes Jeffrey Danik, a retired FBI agent who spent nearly three decades investigating white collar crimes, violent crimes, and terrorism. “You can’t let them start thinking that this is some kind of confrontational, confinement-ending interview.” That goes for all types of suspects, he said, whether a bank teller who purloined $100, or a serial rapist with a dozen victims. “It’s how 99 percent of them go,” Danik told me. In an email, he added, “When they are friendly, which they usually are, it really defuses people’s anxiety.”

The feigned friendliness of FBI agents is not just a matter of getting people to loosen up. One of the government’s briefs in the Winner case argues that by being “exceedingly friendly” and always keeping their voices at a “conversational level” and carrying “no visible weapons,” the agents acted in a way that created a non-custodial environment. It’s a law-enforcement twofer: by acting polite, law enforcement agents persuade people to talk and lift from themselves the obligation to inform people of their right not to talk. In a way, FBI interrogations are akin to con games, with the mark played by ordinary citizens whose interests are not actually served by chatting with law enforcement agents pretending they’d just like to clear up a minor misunderstanding.

“Good interviewers have an instinct to find some connection with the person you are interviewing and try to make them comfortable,” said Mike German, a retired FBI agent who is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. “You want to have the person you’re interviewing in a cooperative mood. People tend to cooperate with people they have some positive feeling for. The ability to make a personal connection in a short period of time is a valuable talent.”

Much of the time, it’s a strategy devised in advance by agents who know what topics will appeal to the suspect they are trying to loosen up.

“The advantage for an FBI investigator is that you have a tremendous amount of information available to you, much more than the person you’re talking to,” German said. “I’m sure they knew a tremendous amount about her and what those areas of commonality were.” He added, “A good interviewer is an interviewer who has done his homework.”

Stephen Kim, a former State Department expert on North Korea, leaves federal court in Washington, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, after a federal judge sentenced him to 13 months in prison for passing classified information to a journalist. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Stephen Kim, a former State Department expert on North Korea, leaves federal court in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 2014, after a judge sentenced him to 13 months in prison for passing classified information to a journalist.

Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

The tactic of disarming a suspect during a “non-custodial” interrogation was used in another prominent leak case a few years ago. In 2015, I wrote about the interrogation and imprisonment of Stephen Kim, a State Department official who was accused of talking about a classified report on North Korea with a journalist from Fox News. Kim told me that the FBI agents were friendly when they arrived at his State Department office. In his job as a North Korean analyst, he had lots of contact with intelligence and law enforcement officials, so the visit wasn’t unusual. “It wasn’t like suddenly they came in and, boom, laid it on me,” Kim explained. “They did not say, ‘We are investigating a leak.’ They did not say, ‘We are investigating you.’ … I didn’t know why they were there.”

Kim had met and talked with James Rosen, the Fox reporter, but he lied to the FBI agents when they finally got around to asking about it. The agents did not indicate they knew of the contacts, so Kim thought he could get away with a fib – why draw attention to what he thought was an everyday infraction that the agents didn’t appear to be aware of? It was a mistake. Kim would later be charged not only with a violation of the Espionage Act, but also with lying to the FBI. The lawyer Kim hired once he realized he was in trouble, Abbe Lowell, was distressingly familiar with the FBI’s tactics of using non-custodial interrogations to get people to say things that no lawyer would let them say.

“He was asked questions that were, for all intents and purposes, a setup,” Lowell told me for the 2015 story. “The government already knew that Stephen had had a conversation with the media. They already knew that he had had access to the information that they believed to have been classified. They were basically setting him up.”

Lowell, a high-profile attorney in Washington who now represents Jared Kushner, mentioned an old adage about criminal defense attorneys. “Many of them have a fish that they mount on the wall,” he said. “These lawyers put a plaque under the fish, and in words or effect that plaque will say, ‘If I hadn’t opened my mouth, I wouldn’t be hanging here today.’”

When I mentioned this to German, the former FBI agent, he told me about the “five words” motto he learned when he worked cases against neo-Nazis. Members of the neo-Nazi movement were instructed by their leaders to only say five words to law-enforcement: “I have nothing to say.” They rarely followed the instruction, however.

“They all had plenty to say,” German said. “I think it’s just human nature to feel like you can talk your way out of it or minimize your conduct in a way that can help you. What any lawyer will tell you is, ‘No you can’t. There’s nothing positive you can do for yourself in that interaction, and in fact that’s why you need to get legal representation before talking with law enforcement.’”

It might seem there is no harm done when FBI agents persuade or cajole people to confess to crimes. But there is a long record of law enforcement officers coaxing false confessions out of people. A study of exonerations in the United States between 1989 and 2004 found that 15 percent of the people who were exonerated had confessed to crimes they did not actually commit. And there is an equally long and disreputable record of the government incarcerating people for a far longer time than their confessions would justify.

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 7: Seats are reserved for FBI staff in the House Judiciary Committee before the hearing on oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Seats are reserved for FBI staff in the House Judiciary Committee before a hearing on oversight of the FBI on Dec. 7, 2017.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The exact methods of the FBI’s preliminary interrogations are somewhat mysterious, because the bureau’s agents are not required to record them. In the Obama era, the Department of Justice issued a  new policy that required agents to record “custodial” interrogations, and transcripts of them have been introduced as evidence, but the guidelines do not cover “non-custodial” questioning. The combination of recording one and releasing the transcript, as was done in the Winner case, is extremely unusual, according to the FBI agents I talked with.

The transcript of Winner’s interrogation reveals the hot-cold nature of these conversations. After the relationship-enhancing questions about her workout routine, the agents got around to her job as an NSA contractor in Augusta. They asked whether she would access a document she didn’t need to access for her job. She said she wouldn’t.

“Okay,” Agent Garrick said. “Reality, what if I said that I have the information to suggest that you did print out stuff that was outside of that scope?”

“Okay,” Winner replied. “I would have to try to remember.”

“Reality,” the other FBI agent said, “you know, we obviously know a lot more than what we’re telling you at this point. And I think you know a lot more than what you’re telling us at this point. I don’t want you to go down the wrong road. I think you need to stop and think about what you’re saying and what you’re doing. You know, I think it’s an opportunity to maybe tell the truth. Because telling a lie to an FBI agent is not going to be the right thing.”

Winner then said she had printed a document, but put it in her office’s “burn bag,” where classified material is placed to be securely destroyed.

“Okay,” Garrick replied. “What if I tell you that that document, folded in half, made its way outside of NSA? It made its way out in an envelope, post-marked, Augusta, Georgia. See, things are starting to get a little specific.”

Winner was cornered, literally. The agents were interrogating her in a small room at the back of her house and were blocking the exit, according to a statement Winner made to the court in late August (the government claims the exit was not blocked). She did not feel free to leave the room or stop the interrogation. The scenario — of being apparently trapped — is familiar to Kim, who eventually pleaded guilty and served 11 months in prison. Kim told me that he was disoriented during his interrogations. He had never been the target of an investigation and didn’t know what to do – he didn’t realize, for instance, that he should stop the questioning and ask for a lawyer. His experience, and Winner’s, demonstrate how a coercive environment can be created without handcuffs or prison bars.

“It was surreal,” Kim told me. “What are you supposed to feel? You don’t feel anything. You’re dumbfounded. Have you ever been hit really hard, like playing sports, or you ran into a pole, or somebody hit you? At first you don’t know what hit you. You’re kind of stunned … I didn’t know what was happening.”

Winner, in her August 29 statement, was even more direct.

“During the entirety of my encounter with law enforcement on June 3, 2017,” she stated, “I was never told I was free to leave and, in fact, given the circumstances, I never felt free to terminate the interrogation or leave my home.”

The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East
 

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This is the second article in a three-part series based on never-before-published training manuals for the KGB, the Soviet intelligence organization that Vladimir Putin served as an operative, and that shaped his view of the world.

As former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN earlier this month, Putin is “a great case officer,” suggesting he “knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president”—that is, the president of the United States.

The first article looked at the secret KGB manual for recruiting spies. This one considers the KGB’s own self-criticism after its failings in the Middle East—a situation that Putin, in recent years, has set out to rectify with a vengeance.

THE PLAN WAS SIMPLE but audacious: On October 3, 1969, the Lebanese Air Force pilot would turn up for his scheduled training flight in a French-made Mirage III-E interceptor jet. “Upon attaining an altitude of 3,000 feet,” he was instructed, “radio the Beirut tower that you are experiencing generator trouble and your controls are malfunctioning. Then declare an emergency. Thereafter, acknowledge no radio transmissions… Four minutes after you cross the Soviet frontier, three interceptors will meet you and guide you to Baku in Azerbaijan… Should rendezvous fail, contact the base there on a frequency of 322 kilocycles…”

The pilot had driven a hard bargain with his Soviet handlers. Lieutenant Mahmoud Mattar’s recruiter was a fellow Lebanese, his former flight instructor, who was cashiered from the air force for smuggling and hawking drugs and now earned an income as a commercial pilot for Middle East Airlines.  It was a modest living, which didn’t quite account for the luxuriant lifestyle Hassan Badawi enjoyed in Beirut or the large cash bundles he was known to tote around the city, especially when returning from overseas.

Badawi was a less-than-inconspicuous asset of Soviet intelligence, the GRU or military branch of it to be exact, and, perhaps hoping to entice his former pupil into betraying their country, he took it upon himself sweeten the pot  for heisting one of the most sophisticated warplanes then in use by NATO countries. Mattar would receive $3 million for the Mirage, Badawi had said. But when Badawi finally introduced Mattar to his new GRU handler, Vladimir Vasileyv, the Russian expressed shock at the asked-for amount. The true price was $1 million. A negotiation ensued before prospective agent and officer compromised on $2 million.

Given the sensitivity of the operation and the risk it entailed, Mattar sought $600,000 up front, in cash. Vasilyev said he’d have to consult with his higher-ups back in Moscow, who wouldn’t only include senior GRU officials but the uppermost echelons of the Soviet Politburo. The Soviet ambassador to Lebanon was briefed about the planned operation and was so nervous that he cancelled a meeting with his American counterpart until after it was carried off.

When Vasilyev returned to Beirut and next met with Mattar, he brought along a colleague, Aleksandr Komiakov, who was technically the first secretary of the Soviet embassy in Beirut In reality he was Vasilyev’s boss in the GRU. Now he’d be the one doing the talking and haggling with the Lebanese recruit.

“We are prepared to meet your request for two million,” Komiakov informed Mattar. “However, our advance will be $200,000. Ten percent seems more businesslike.”

“Komiakov, though hit four times, retreated into an adjoining room, reloaded, and kept firing until a fifth bullet shattered his arm. Bleeding profusely, he staggered across the room and pushed open a window, attempting to jump to his death.”

— John Barron

Mattar accepted, grudgingly. He then introduced two final preconditions for his commission of treason. First, he said, he and his wife didn’t wish to be resettled in the Soviet Union; Switzerland was much more to their liking. Second, he didn’t want the $200,000 in cash because he didn’t trust his new pay- and spymasters and he was a lousy spotter of counterfeit currency. “I want it in the form of a cashier’s check, payable to my father,” he told Komiakov, both astonishing and impressing the Russian, who advanced his new recruit a token $610 in good faith in order for Mattar to start making preparations for his permanent exile in neutral Europe.

On Sep. 30, four days before the operation was to take place, Mattar arrived at Vasilyev’s Beirut apartment, where he found Komiakov bearing a cashier’s check payable to Mattar’s father in the amount $200,000. It had been drawn from the Moscow Narodny Bank Ltd. and dated a day earlier. “You see,” Komiakov assured the Lebanese, “we keep our word.”

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Just as all three men were analyzing the final flight plan and logistics for purloining the Mirage, they were interrupted by a dozen Lebanese soldiers.

Mattar wrestled Vasilyev to the ground. Komiakov and Vasilyev were able to fire a few bullets, wounding two separate Lebanese officers, before they themselves were shot by the overwhelming opposition.

In KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Agents, the extraordinary book from which this vignette of upended Russian espionage in an Arab state is lifted, the American journalist John Barron concludes as follows: “Komiakov, though hit four times, retreated into an adjoining room, reloaded, and kept firing until a fifth bullet shattered his arm. Bleeding profusely, he staggered across the room and pushed open a window, attempting to jump to his death. He realized now that Mattar was a Lebanese agent who had engineered a Soviet disaster from the plot. But as Komiakov struggled to leap from the window, two soldiers grabbed him while another scooped up the $200,000 check and the flight plan.”

Well, Barron almost concludes that way.

He goes on to note that the Soviet operation to suborn a Lebanese military pilot relied on the crudest Orientalist assumptions, of which Lebanese spies were all too aware. Mattar had been ordered to “play the role of a greedy, haggling Arab concerned only with money” in order to deceive his GRU marks, who were evidently so persuaded by his central-casting demeanor that they didn’t even bother to use a non-Russian bank for issuing his cashier’s check. So much for plausible deniability—or so one would think.

As it happened, after the Lebanese government alerted the world to the counterintelligence savvy of its army’s Second Bureau as well as to the arrests of Badawi, Vasilyev and Komiakov (who was, after all, working in Beirut under official diplomatic cover at the Soviet embassy), Moscow launched a hysterical disinformation campaign blaming the United States for inventing the whole incident as a “provocation.”

Caught red-handed, the Soviets resorted to lies and bullying to obfuscate their humiliation. It worked. Beirut submitted not only to Soviet pressure but to representations made by more powerful Arab neighbors and allies of Moscow such as Syria and Egypt to hush up the Mirage affair, tout court. Lebanon imposed a media blackout on any further discussion of the interdicted plot, citing Lebanon’s “higher interests.” Lieutenant Mattar was quietly promoted to captain, and the still-wounded Vasilyev and Komiakov were quietly put on an Aeroflot flight back home to Moscow.

ABSCONDING WITH A FIGHTER JET under the guise of technical difficulties may have been a chancy endeavor in Lebanon in 1969, but from the standpoint of counterintelligence it still should have been easier than infiltrating American institutions in the Middle East toward the end of the Cold War, as the KGB itself acknowledged in an internal “analytical overview” printed in 1988 but never meant for non-KGB eyes.

The cumbrously titled, “Acquisition and Preparation of Agent Recruiters for the Purposes of Intelligence Penetration of USA Institutions (on the Example of a Number of North African Countries)” is the second in a set of historical Soviet intelligence files that have been passed to The Daily Beast by a European security service.

As with the previously discussed training manual for an KGB officers looking to recruit agents on Soviet soil, this document remains classified by the Putin government owing to its utility as a “historical” case study for contemporary foreign intelligence officers, according to a source in that European service who requested anonymity. Whereas the earlier document discussed how Westerners might be snared and turned on Soviet soil, “Acquisition and Preparation” examines the tradecraft necessary for recruiting American officials in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the necessary network of local agents who might help with their recruitment. (Of particular value as targets were retired U.S. or NATO officials.)

Certainly, one can see the continued relevance of such a study considering the Kremlin’s dramatic return to the region in the face of perceived American withdrawal from it, with hyperactive Russian military and diplomatic activity in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Turkey.

A compliment, of sorts, to the vigilance of the main adversary and its allied services, the analysis is an exercise in self-criticism. It acknowledges that by 1988 the United States had learned from prior mistakes of laxity and sloppiness in counterintelligence, forcing Moscow Center to adapt to far less hospitable environments. By the time of perestroika the KGB’s efforts to recruit Americans in Arab countries had clearly seen diminishing returns. U.S. spies, the document states, “inspect and track employees of these institutions and their contacts with Soviets better, they take measures to expose Soviet intelligence agents, they organize stings, they conduct surveillance of agents and their connections.”

“The Soviets failed badly to anticipate Israel’s stunning rout in the Six-Day War.”

According to Paul Goble, a Russia expert who has worked for both the State Department and CIA, the date of this internal KGB review is “critical.” It was published just after Aldrich Ames, the notorious CIA double agent who spied for the Soviets, helped roll up American recruits in Moscow. “Clearly the U.S. responded by becoming much tougher in third world countries,” Goble said, a feat which “was easier because Moscow was cutting back its financial backing of people in those places as perestroika took money away from the KGB and siloviki,” the catchall term for officers in the Russian security services.

Western-friendly states in North Africa—particularly Morocco and Tunisia—had begun to employ “harsh” counterintelligence measures of their own, in cooperation with their U.S., French and West German counterparts. U.S. embassies, consulates and other facilities grew even less porous.  And even where American spooks couldn’t rely on the compliance or trustworthiness of local intelligence because of their “socialist orientation,” such as Algeria, they simply took it upon themselves to fortify their fiefdoms in the desert, where necessary, drumming up “spy mania campaigns” to keep U.S. diplomats, their cohort and families alive to the ever-present threat of being lured or cajoled into working for the enemy.

“ACQUISITION AND PREPARATION” can be read as an epitaph on KGB penetration of Arab nations, published less than a year before the Wall came down and the Cold War receded.

Though much romanticized, the broader history of the Center’s operations in North Africa in the latter half of the twentieth century is actually a piebald tapestry of stunning tactical victories beset by jaw-dropping strategic failures. None, of course, was so great as the loss of Cairo in the 1970s and Egypt’s transformation into an American client-state under Anwar Sadat, a man who oversaw a breakage with the Communist superpower so precipitous and dramatic that when he was assassinated by Islamist radicals in 1981, news of the event was met jubilation in the Kremlin. At the Lubyanka headquarters of the KGB there had long been idle chatter about taking out the treacherous Arab leader, according to historian Christopher Andrew and former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin.

Even during the halcyon days of Soviet-Egyptian amity, Moscow’s record in its most significant beachhead in the third world for political, military and economic investment was actually rather mixed. No doubt an ill omen arrived in 1954, when the future leader of pan-Arab nationalism took power in a military coup and then-KGB Chairman Ivan Serov gave the impression that Egyptians were black Africans, a solecism his resident Arabists in the First Chief Directorate were too embarrassed to correct, as Andrew and Mitrokhin recount in The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World.

The Soviets failed badly to anticipate Israel’s stunning rout in the Six-Day War, during which much of the materiel sold to Nasser was destroyed, although the Egyptians acquitted themselves better in 1973 when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur. Washington was caught blind, deaf and dumb in that instance, but Moscow, thanks to good signals intelligence, was not. (An unintended consequence of that crisis, however, was the rise of Henry Kissinger to the position of U.S. diplomatic power broker in the region and the continued decline of Soviet influence in Egypt.)

True, the KGB’s political intelligence chief in Cairo did manage to recruit one high-value asset inside Nasser’s inner circle, Sami Sharaf, later appointed Egypt’s chief intelligence advisor. But Sharaf’s identity as Moscow’s mole had been known to the CIA, then deftly running its own man in Cairo, the Soviet diplomat and KGB liaison Vladimir Sakharov.  Sadat set about arresting Sharaf and other pro-Soviet plotters within his government, collectively known as the “crocodiles,” and expelled all Soviet military advisers in Egypt, who at their peak numbered 20,000. This was not long before Sadat cast his lot entirely with Jimmy Carter and touched down in Tel Aviv for his famous peace conference with Menachem Begin.

As Soviet-Egyptian bilateral relations deteriorated further into the mid-‘70s, the KGB was essentially paralyzed and ordered to remain so. Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB from 1967 to 1982, banned the running of any Egyptian agents on Egyptian soil for fear that their capture would only incense Sadat and cancel what was left of a flagging alliance. By 1977, Andrew and Mitrokhin recount, the Cairo rezidentura had “no sources in ‘most targets of penetration.’”

ALL OF WHICH SURELY gave the Americans sufficient time to get a leg up in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and implement measures that continued to befuddle and harry Moscow Center unto the demise of the USSR.  “Acquisition and Preparation” highlights a series of anecdotes that testify to the KGB’s anticlimactic end in the region.

Take Citizen “B” who, we’re told, was recruited in a Western embassy in a Soviet-friendly country in the Middle East and then himself recruited an asset in an Arabic consulate from his own country.  His KGB handlers monitored his progress and gave him increasingly difficult assignments to gauge his suitability for clandestine work—in this instance, assignments he was only too well-equipped to pass with distinction. They’d send him parcels designed to be opened carefully so as to avoid any signs of tampering, in one case a package that “had to be opened under suspicion of [its] being a bomb.” He performed admirably for about six years. Then he upped and fled the unnamed North African country after “supposedly” coming to the attention of a local intelligence service. That was a ruse, however, as the KGB later uncovered documents showing that Citizen B had been a double agent, a plant by that same local intelligence service, which helped him open all those suspicious parcels.

The cleanup work for this botched operation was markedly easier than what ensued following the Mirage fiasco in Beirut. That was because Citizen B wasn’t being recruited to spy on the country he lived in; he was being recruited to spy on other countries. Thus, the harm done between the USSR and this Soviet-friendly country, here repurposed as an offshore spy nursery, was minimal.

“What happened to poor Martha in the TV series ‘The Americans’ happened quite a lot, and not just in FBI Headquarters and shabby one-bedroom apartments in D.C.”

A lack of good recruiter agents—those who make the preliminary outreach to a target, as Badawi did to Mattar in Beirut and as Citizen B was intended to be—was cited as a major problem besetting Soviet rezidenturas in the Arab world in the late-‘80s.  In most cases, this was owing to the lack Soviet-controlled agents who could make approaches to Americans on behalf of Western countries or the host Arab country. Finding the right third-country recruiters could take between two and three years. The best crop was already-trained spies and police officers in the host country—those who could turn locals into assets who thought they were working for their own government.

One counterintelligence officer, “M,” was recruited by the Soviet rezidentura; he in turn recruited “K,” a local citizen who was employed as a technician in the U.S. embassy of that same country. K thought he was spying for his own government. And after evidence of his espionage was uncovered by U.S. officials at the embassy, the KGB’s hand was conveniently nowhere in sight.  K refused to betray M’s identity because he justifiably feared being locked up, tortured or killed by the very local intelligence service, which had no idea what he’d got up to because it hadn’t ordered the operation.

Next in line as good recruiter agents were lawyers, teachers and professionals—anyone whose routine encounters with Americans, easily arranged without elaborate pretexts, meant that potential assets could be studied, befriended, then cultivated.

The same applied to journalists, frequently used in the Soviet Union under the cover of TASS or other state media institutions to snag Americans. Even though non-American reporters in foreign countries might not have reason to readily engage with American officials, they could still prey upon yankee biases about the inherently curious or inquisitive nature of the press. Members of the Fourth Estate could also travel abroad for extended periods without arousing suspicion. This was especially true if they were working for a Western news outlet.  Not for nothing was the infamous Kim Philby employed as the Beirut correspondent for the Economist and Observer before his unmasking and defection to Moscow.

The wandering European salesman or industrialist was also an excellent cover story: a Frenchman who “has a fairly high position in the office of a powerful French firm like ALSTOM,” which invests in every African country and competes with U.S. businesses, would have access to USAID, the economic department of U.S. embassies, or virtually any expat community sprung up around American oil and gas companies.

IT ANYTHING, THE CARTOONISH Arab stereotyping by Comrades Vasilyev and Komiakov competes with the often hilarious KGB psych profiles of the avaricious and scheming American—Graham Greene by way of Felix Dzerzhinsky. “Vividly expressed individualism and a constant striving for personal prosperity [and] uncertainty of the future often leads to some Americans getting into conflict with the requirements placed on them by government service.” Foreign service types who hang about too long in exotic climes might do so to get rich by exploiting the underpaid subaltern population, including their “personal servants.”

Pity, too, the neglected but dutiful female assistant of the busy American statesman when that rugged Breton from ALSTOM comes around: “Another important area to target in American facilities are typists, secretaries, office managers, etc.”

What happened to poor Martha in “The Americans” happened quite a lot, not just in FBI Headquarters and shabby one-bedroom apartments in D.C. (as in the TV series), but in the bustling nightclubs and shisha joints of Tunis and Rabat. Except that things didn’t always go to plan.

Consider the tragic case of “K,” a local businessman, who was brought into recruit “L,” a secretary at an American facility. L lived off her parents, and so K made his overtures as someone from a European company seeking privileged information L had access to, in exchange for which she’d be compensated.

Not satisfied with being a mere bagman for Moscow gold, K eventually told his handlers that he and L had also grown romantically involved, the better to butter her up for full recruitment. He hadn’t. And once she found a fiancé, a man from a wealthy family who could pick up where mom and dad left off, the information trickle dried up and the entire operation went kaput. Loyal truth telling to the Center had been subsumed by what K later confessed to his operational officer was “male pride.”

Surely not least among the historical factors leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union—the internal contradictions of a command economy, the arms race, Reagan, Gorby, the rise of a liberal-reformist intelligentsia in Moscow—was the sheer waste of time, money and manpower caused by Soviet agents thinking in clichés.

Tomorrow: The Kremlin’s Egregious Émigrés

Column: History of using FBI for political purposes – Opinion – ThisWeek Community News
 

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WASHINGTON — So what’s new?

Certainly not the late J. Edgar Hoover’s antipathy toward Dr. Martin Luther King as revealed again in the recent discovery of a long-ago letter from the FBI director to his third in command, William Sullivan, who headed domestic intelligence, and shared the concern about King… or if he didn’t, he found it prudent to say he did.

In the letter dated Nov. 18, 1964, Hoover thanks Sullivan for his praise of his boss’s handling of a long press conference with women correspondents to whom he explained how the bureau works. He also talked about King, noting that response in letters had overwhelmingly agreed with him. He then tells Sullivan his own views are the same as Sullivan’s that King’s “exposure is long overdue,” adding that “maybe he is now beginning to get his just desserts. I certainly hope so.”

Whether from inherent racism by one who took over the bureau at the height of Jim Crow in the South and the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and did nothing about it all those years or the fact he thought King to be a tool of the Communists, his feelings about the civil rights giant were well known to the press, to those around him in the bureau, Congress, and Justice Department and to a great deal of the public.

The animosity between the two was palpable and King had accused Southern FBI agents of doing nothing to alleviate the injustices. Hoover denied that his agents had failed to act because of their Southern leanings. In the midst of all this vitriol, King received an anonymous hate letter that clearly threatened violence. The minister and others believed it was a plant from the FBI. Sullivan testified in Congress that he knew of the letter but denied having anything to do with it and was against it although a draft copy was later found in Sullivan’s files.

A year earlier, the FBI was able to get permission from Attorney General Robert Kennedy to begin electronic surveillance of King at all levels, including bugging his hotel rooms, offices, etc. What was discovered was not any affiliation with communism but sexual incidents that were taped by listening agents – one of these was explicit and Hoover played that tape around town to those friendly in the press and others of influence to prove King’s indiscretions.

Why would the Kennedys – Robert and John – agree to permit this intrusion into the life of a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at a time John was facing a tough re-election? Because Hoover had evidence that gave him leverage _ the knowledge that President Kennedy had been having a passionate affair with Judith Campbell who had been introduced to him by Frank Sinatra and was also an intimate of Chicago mobster Sam Giancana. Hoover lost little time making Bobby Kennedy aware he knew about the Mafia “party girl,” warning him at a luncheon of the difficulties of this situation, including the fact she had carried messages between Giancana and the president.

The implications to Kennedy were clear, especially since the administration had pledged to go after organized crime and despite the fact that his own father, Joseph, was alleged to have had dealings with the Mafia including in John’s election campaign. The president’s long relationship with Campbell, later to become Judith Exner, would have been nearly impossible to explain and it prompted one of his best friends, Ben Bradley, executive editor of the Washington Post, after it was revealed a decade later, to say that Kennedy would have been impeached had it been known.

During the Senate Watergate hearings it was revealed that Sullivan, called “the professor” because of his decidedly rumpled, un-FBI look and his intenseness, had written a memo to White House General Counsel John Dean, outlining the political use of the bureau by presidents over the years. It was not released, but interviews with Hoover’s top lieutenants re-created most of its claims such as black bag break-ins at foreign embassies, unauthorized surveillance of a personal nature, and on and on.

I knew Bill Sullivan well but we never discussed the King matter. I talked to him from his home in New Hampshire and we planned lunch when he got to Washington the following week to appear before a Senate committee chaired by Frank Church. He was shot and killed over that weekend by an errant hunter.

— Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: thomassondan@aol.com .

Mark, Maloy: Troy NY – Google Search
 

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4 People Found Dead in Basement in TroyNY

TIMEDec 26, 2017
Police are investigating a possible quadruple homicide in the Upstate New York city of Troy after four bodies were found in the basement of a home there. The four bodies were found inside a home at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Troy Police Sgt. Mark Maloy confirmed to TIME. Maloy said all four deaths …
4 bodies found in Troy home
Newburgh GazetteDec 26, 2017

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Gigant hall St.Petersburg – Google Search
 

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Officials Investigating Blast That Injured At Least 10 In St. Petersburg

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty14 hours ago
Footage on social media shows multiple police vehicles, ambulances, and fire engines outside the Gigant Hall leisure center, where the supermarket is located on the ground floor. “There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene. The evacuation has been completed, and there was no …

Story image for Gigant hall St.Petersburg from TASS

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Bomb rips through St Petersburg supermarket injuring ten Christmas …

Daily Mail18 hours ago
The Perekrestok supermarket is located on the ground floor of the Gigant Hall leisure center, in the northwest part of St Petersburg. ‘There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene. The evacuation has been completed, and there was no fire,’ a local Emergencies Ministry official told news …

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5:56 AM 12/29/2017 – By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER: Maloy said all four deaths…

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Bongino on Mueller Probe: ‘Justice Right Now Is Blind to Democrats … – Fox News Insider
6:50 PM 12/28/2017 The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? Mother Jones
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6:58 AM 12/27/2017 Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other Accidents
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Bongino on Mueller Probe: ‘Justice Right Now Is Blind to Democrats … – Fox News Insider


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Bongino on Mueller Probe: ‘Justice Right Now Is Blind to Democrats …
Fox News Insider
At least two House Republicans, Matt Gaetz and Andy Biggs, are calling for Robert Mueller to be fired, arguing the investigation has been compromised by a bias against President Trump.
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6:50 PM 12/28/2017 The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? Mother Jones

Christopher Wray – Google News The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones 06:05 Christopher Wray – Google News The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones Today, December 28th 06:05 Today, … Continue reading“6:50 PM 12/28/2017 – The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones”
Leave Robert Mueller alone – Washington Post


Washington Post
Leave Robert Mueller alone
Washington Post
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Trump Says Russia Inquiry Makes US ‘Look Very Bad’ – New York Times


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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. President Trump said Thursday that he believes Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, will treat him fairly, contradicting some members of his party who have waged a weekslong campaign to try to 

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Axios
Trump talks Mueller, Sessions, China and Moore
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President Trump told the NY Times’ Michael Schmidt that he expects Robert Mueller to treat him fairly, but that the investigation “makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position.” Trump also claimed 16 times that  
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The Latest: Trump says he thinks Mueller ‘will be fair’ – Sacramento Bee


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Trump rails against North Korea and China, says Mueller will be ‘fair,’ during wide-ranging interview
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Trump made a revealing, off-the-cuff comment that could explain why he hasn’t fired Mueller – Business Insider


Business Insider
Trump made a revealing, off-the-cuff comment that could explain why he hasn’t fired Mueller
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Newsweek
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6:58 AM 12/27/2017 Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other Accidents

Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks Yesterday, December 26th 16:56 · top stories Shared by 1 person Houston Chronicle 4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious Houston Chronicle Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have Mike Novas Shared NewsLinks 4 Dead in Potential Homicide in Troy, N.Y., Basement Weapons sale to Ukraine Google Search House Probe Looks Into Corruption, Criminal Behavior at FBI, DOJ The New American Moscow bus Google Search Andrew McCabe, F.B.I.s Embattled Deputy, Is Expected to Retire Using Billions in Continue reading“6:58 AM 12/27/2017 Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious Its horrible. Terrible. Sad sad especially at this time of year, DeWolf said. Were going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here. 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other Accidents” ET”
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Plenty, according to former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who says President Donald Trump is using his office not to benefit the American people, but to personally enrich himself as part of a “criminal enterprise.” “The promotion 

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Hoping to get a shorter prison sentence, Chuck Rizzo Jr. is subpoenaing his own phone records, saying they can help prove that he aided the FBI years before he was indicted on corruption charges. Rizzo, whose family once ruled the trash hauling 

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6:50 PM 12/28/2017 – The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones

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Christopher Wray – Google News

The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones 

Christopher Wray – Google News

The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones

Today, December 28th 6:47pm

Shared by 1 person

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony in December 2017. Evan Vucci/AP

Ten days before Christmas, Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a rare press conference to discuss one of his top priorities in his first year at the Justice Department. “We’ve seen a deadly increase in violent crime,” he said, announcing that the department was dispatching 40 additional federal prosecutors across the country to combat what Sessions believes is a dawning new era of violent crime. “The overall violent crime rate is up by nearly 7 percent, a reversal of a downward trend. Robberies are up. Assaults are up. Rape is up by nearly 11 percent. And murder is up by more than 20 percent.” (It’s true that the violent crime rate has ticked up over the past two years, but it’s still barely more than half of what it was 15 years ago.)

The administration’s focus on crime made it all the more surprising that the FBI’s annual Crime in the United States report, the gold standard of crime statistics, lacked a significant amount of data that experts have relied upon for years to assess crime trends. Until this year, the report contained 81 main tables that allowed researchers to track everything from the rate of violent crime to the racial breakdown of arrests. But when the 2016 report came out in September, there were only 29 tables. The information needed to understand and verify the crime stats cited by the attorney general, as well as the work of local law enforcement around the country, was suddenly harder to obtain.

The decision to remove the data hampers the ability of criminologists and journalists to analyze crime trends at the same time that the administration is transforming the justice system to respond to rising violent crime rates. There’s little clarity on why and when the decision to withhold the data was made, although the FBI has claimed the move was part of a years-long process to revamp how it collects and disseminates crime data to the public. FBI Director Christopher Wray told a congressional panel earlier this month that the missing tables will be added back into the latest report. But beyond 2016, it remains uncertain whether researchers will have access to all these critical crime data.

One of the main areas drastically cut back in the 2016 report was data on homicides. The report no longer contained information on the relationship between the victim and culprit, making it harder to track intimate partner and family violence. Data that would allow researchers to analyze gang- and drug-related homicides was likewise missing. The report did not include information on victim and offender age, sex, race, or ethnicity, nor did it specify which weapons were used in which circumstances. The FBI removed significant information on arrests, reducing the number of arrest tables from 51 to 7, according to FiveThirtyEight. Also gone is a breakdown of drug arrests by type of narcotic, preventing researchers from observing trends in arrests for opioids, a national health crisis that the Trump administration has made a priority.

In response to the missing data, the Crime & Justice Research Alliance, a group that represents the policy interests of thousands of criminologists, sent a letter to Sessions, Wray, and several members of Congress with oversight responsibilities for the Justice Department, asking for the missing data to be added back into the report. “Given this administration’s public statements about addressing violent crime, victims’ rights, the opioid epidemic and terrorism, it is unfortunate that the 2016 report removes key data about these topic areas,” the letter stated. The data deletions, the letter concluded, “mean that progress on critical Administration priorities, such as reducing gang and drug-related homicides, cannot be evaluated with up-to-date evidence.”

A House Judiciary Committee aide says the committee’s staff have helped “facilitate discussions between the Crime & Justice Research Alliance and the FBI” since the letter’s release. The aide did not specify the outcome of those discussions.

Crime researchers have noted an increase in violent crime in the past two years, but the administration’s diagnosis of the problem often doesn’t line up with experts’ conclusions. Sessions’ claim that sanctuary cities have more violent crime, for example, is not supported by evidence. Claims about violence perpetrated by undocumented immigrants likewise have no proof in crime data. Despite frequent references by President Donald Trump and his attorney general to MS-13, a gang with ties to Central America and known for its grisly murders, experts say the group is responsible for a tiny percentage of homicides. “Immigration has had nothing to do with the homicide rise,” says Richard Rosenfeld, an expert in crime statistics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “That just happens to be one of the obsessions of our current attorney general. Gangs have been around a long time. It’s not Central American gangs, gangs filled with immigrants—they’re not playing an appreciable role in the rise.”

“This is the first administration, the first Justice Department, in which promulgating errors [about gang violence] is so central to their platform and policy positions,” David Kennedy, a gang policy specialist who has worked with Republicans and Democrats, told the Boston Globe in October.

Rosenfeld, who wrote a report for the National Institute of Justice on rising homicide rates, first noticed the missing data when he attempted to update his latest report for the government office. He could find data on neither drug-related homicides nor drug arrests by drug type. “I was stymied,” he says. This area is of particular interest to Rosenfeld, who believes that the uptick in homicides is linked to the country’s opioid crisis.

In October, FiveThirtyEight reported that the data deletions were not made in consultation with the FBI’s Advisory Policy Board, which would normally have been consulted on changes to the crime report. Instead, the bureau’s public affairs office helped determine which tables to remove based on “web analytics to determine how often tables were viewed online,” according to a press release about the latest report. The FBI attributed the table deletions to a years-long process of revamping the annual crime report in order “to streamline the publications…and to reduce the number of data tables in the reports.” A new online tool, the Crime Data Explorer, would supplement the slimmer annual crime report, the FBI stated.

Despite years of planning to rework the crime report, researchers and state-level program officers were not apprised of the deletions. Criminologists like Rosenfeld only discovered the deletions after the report’s release. Rosenfeld says he would welcome the new tool but doesn’t understand why the FBI would make the data harder to come by in the meantime.

Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), one of the lawmakers who received the letter from the Crime & Justice Research Alliance, told Mother Jones in a statement that the data should be returned to the report and that the Justice Department should “investigate who approved this change and why.”

Wray downplayed the issue at an FBI oversight hearing on December 7. He echoed the bureau’s official position that the data was unnecessary because it was “largely just alternative views of data that was still in the report.” But Wray affirmed that the bureau would add the missing data back into the 2016 report. Mother Jones asked the department whether the data will continue to be included going forward but did not receive a response.

The FBI’s own press release from the fall indicates that the future of this data and whether it will remain easily searchable is uncertain. The FBI will track which of the scrapped tables are individually requested “to determine which, if any, of the deleted tables should be included in future publications or made available through” the data explorer it is building out, the bureau said.

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The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data? – Mother Jones


Mother Jones
The Administration Claims Crime Is on the Rise. So Why Did the FBI Delete Key Crime Data?
Mother Jones
The decision to remove the data hampers the ability of criminologists and journalists to analyze crime trends at the same time that the administration is transforming the justice system to respond to rising violent crime rates. There’s little clarity 

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Mother Jones
Here’s the First Guy Computer Hackers Call When They’re in Trouble With the FBI
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Judicial Watch: DOJ, Mueller ‘Wanted to Hide the Truth’ on How … – CNSNews.com

Judicial Watch: DOJ, Mueller ‘Wanted to Hide the Truth’ on How Agent Strzok’s Biases Have Compromised Clinton and …
CNSNews.com
(CNSNews.com) — Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FBI for records about the reassignment of FBI counterintelligence agent PeterStrzok, Strzok, who was 

and more »

Mueller investigation is tainted, he should step down: Rep. Biggs – Fox Business

Mueller investigation is tainted, he should step down: Rep. Biggs
Fox Business
Since it came to light that FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed as special counsel from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia collusion allegations, there have been increasing concerns that the probe is marred by biases. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz

and more »

Mueller Should Be Fired and Is Biased like the Mainstream Media, GOP Congressman Claims – Newsweek


Newsweek
Mueller Should Be Fired and Is Biased like the Mainstream Media, GOP Congressman Claims
Newsweek
I mean, if Bob Mueller were any more biased, we’d have to give him press credentials for the mainstream media, Gaetz said. Asked if Mueller should be fired, Gaetz added, Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been calling on Mueller to be fired for months now 
GOP lawmaker rips Mueller: If he were more biased, we’d have to give him credentials for mainstream mediaThe Hill
Rep. Gaetz Repeats Call for AG Sessions to ‘Step Up and Fire Robert MuellerFox News Insider
GOP Rep. Calls For Mueller’s Firing: If He Were More Biased, He’d Have ‘Credentials For The Mainstream Media’Mediaite
Breitbart NewsRaw Story
all 13 news articles »
DC’s new horror comic pits FBI agents against deadly imaginary friends – Polygon


Polygon
DC’s new horror comic pits FBI agents against deadly imaginary friends
Polygon
Imaginary Fiends is DC Comics’ best new horror comic in a long line of horror comics that came before. In a nutshell, the comic has a simple hook: What if imaginary friends were real? That’s not necessarily a horror story at least, not until writer 

Lyons: It’s now or never if Trump wants to fire Mueller – Northwest Herald


Northwest Herald
Lyons: It’s now or never if Trump wants to fire Mueller
Northwest Herald
If the president thinks he can get away with firing special counsel Robert Mueller and turning the U.S. into an authoritarian Trumpistan, now would be the time to go for it. Right now, I mean: immediately after his triumphal signing of the larcenous 
How Trump May Have Obstructed JusticeWBUR

all 5 news articles »

Police: FBI hate crime report inaccurate due to local errors – Seattle Times

Police: FBI hate crime report inaccurate due to local errors
Seattle Times
OGDEN, Utah (AP) Authorities say seven of the 11 hate crimes counted in an annual FBI report for a northern Utah county were misclassified. The Standard-Examiner reports authorities in Weber County linked the uptick in hate crime last year to 

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Mueller Probing Whether Trump Digital Team Aided Russian Disinformation Campaign – New York Magazine


New York Magazine
Mueller Probing Whether Trump Digital Team Aided Russian Disinformation Campaign
New York Magazine
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election has begun to zero in on the joint digital operation that got Donald Trump elected, Yahoo News reports. Mueller’s team is trying to determine if members of the
Mueller Probe Outgrows Its ‘Witch Hunt’ PhaseHuffPost
Here’s where special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe stands heading into 2018CNBC
Mueller’s team to question former RNC officials on RussiaAxios
NPR –USA TODAY –Yahoo News –Bloomberg
all 161 news articles »
Nunes blasts DOJ, FBI for ‘failure’ to produce records relating to anti-Trump dossier – Fox News


Fox News
Nunes blasts DOJ, FBI for ‘failure’ to produce records relating to anti-Trump dossier
Fox News
A Mueller aide, Peter Strzok, a former FBI official, was also removed from the special counsel investigation after a number of anti-Trump texts were discovered on his phone. Among the information being sought by the committee are reports that summarize 

Russiagate Is Devolving Into an Effort to Stigmatize Dissent – The Nation.


The Nation.
Russiagate Is Devolving Into an Effort to Stigmatize Dissent
The Nation.
According to a report in the New York Times published at the time of the suit’s filing, Mr. Trump and his political advisers, including Mr. Stone, have repeatedly denied colluding with Russia, and the 44-page complaint, filed on Wednesday in the 

American Elections Remain Unprotected – The Atlantic


The Atlantic
American Elections Remain Unprotected
The Atlantic
Two weeks before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. intelligence community released a declassified version of its report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It detailed the activities of a network of hackers who infiltrated

Jailed Russian Hacker Claims He Has Proof Kremlin Ordered DNC Hack – Newsmax


Newsmax
Jailed Russian Hacker Claims He Has Proof Kremlin Ordered DNC Hack
Newsmax
Kozlovsky, who claims to have worked for Russian Major Dmitry Dokuchayev for 7 years, told Russian independent TV station RAIN that he left a data signature with the numbers from his Russian passport and the number of his visa to visit St. Martin saved 

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Tillerson: US has ‘poor relationship’ with Russia – CNN


CNN
Tillerson: US has ‘poor relationship’ with Russia
CNN
“It’s time for American politicians and diplomats to realize that nothing can be achieved from Russia by methods of power, economic influence and pressure, and the illusion that Washington’s policy is built on has long ago discredited itself in the 
US asks Russia to reduce violence in eastern UkraineXinhua
Russia-Mexico ties are warm even without election meddling Lavrov jokes in RT interviewRT
Rex Tillerson: I Am Proud of Our Diplomacy – The New York TimesNew York Times

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After St. Petersburg Explosion, Putin Orders Police to ‘Liquidate’ Terrorists – New York Times


New York Times
After St. Petersburg Explosion, Putin Orders Police to ‘Liquidate’ Terrorists
New York Times
The election is scheduled for March 18, the fourth anniversary of the annexation. But a series of attacks and thwarted plots have recently brought terrorism back into the limelight. Mr. Putin’s comments came a day after a bomb exploded in a grocery
Putin calls St. Petersburg explosion a ‘terror attack’New York Post
Preparing for Putin, round fiveThe Japan Times
Putin Orders Agents to ‘Liquidate Bandits’ After Terror AttackBloomberg
CBS News –Washington Post
all 288 news articles »
Robert Muellers mole within Donald Trumps team

It was a tweet went largely overlooked by the mainstream media due to the holiday timing. It was misunderstood by some at the time. It still hasnt been expanded up on. Yet it was a moment whose implications are still being felt. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who sits on one of the committees investigating the Trump-Russia scandal, tweeted a strong hint that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may have a mole within Donald Trumps ranks.

Heres what Senator Whitehouse specifically tweeted: Here’s a happy holiday thought: imagine if someone in GOP anti-Mueller campaign were actually cooperating with Mueller, and gathering evidence of intent to obstruct justice. Just sayin’. I’d love to see those emails! Some within the Resistance immediately began lecturing Whitehouse for having given away Muellers secret. However, this missed the point entirely.

If Mueller does have a mole on Trumps team, Trump wont be able to identify that person simply because he knows theres a mole. Instead hell go out of his gourd with paranoia. So will everyone else on Trumps side. None of them will trust each other, for fear one of them might be the mole, even though there may not even be a mole. Thats the brilliance of Whitehouses strategy, of course. There doesnt have to be a mole. With one tweet, hes arguably done more damage to Trumps congressional posse than an actual mole could do.

Congress has been on recess since the tweet in question. Well have to wait until its back in session before we can observe the actions of those Congressmen in Trumps posse. How will their behavior toward each other change now that they have to at least consider the possibility that one of them is secretly spying for Robert Mueller? Keep in mind that Sheldon Whitehouse wouldnt have posted such a tweet without Muellers blessing.

The post Robert Muellers mole within Donald Trumps team appeared first on Palmer Report.

The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East – Daily Beast


Daily Beast
The KGB Playbook for Infiltrating the Middle East
Daily Beast
As with the previously discussed training manual for an KGB officers looking to recruit agents on Soviet soil, this document remains classified by the Putin government owing to its utility as a historical case study for contemporary foreign 

and more »

Trump Accomplished A Lot In 2017, But At What Cost? – NPR


NPR
Trump Accomplished A Lot In 2017, But At What Cost?
NPR
A couple of days after signing the bill, Trump was still celebrating how the tax bill “brought it all together as to what an incredible year we had.” “Incredible” may not be the adjective of choice for Democrats, but they do acknowledge Trump’s 
Five obstacles to Trump’s infrastructure ambitionsThe Hill
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Everything Is Awesome! Well, Almost. – Politico


Politico
Everything Is Awesome! Well, Almost.
Politico
The percentage of Americans without health insurance, which plunged to historic lows under Obama, has also begun to creep up as the Trump administration has discouraged Obamacare enrollment, and could rise further if Trump succeeds in slashing Medicaid 

and more »


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8:46 AM 12/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Column: History of using FBI for political purposes – Opinion – ThisWeek Community News | Mark, Maloy: Troy NY – Google Search | Gigant hall St.Petersburg – Google Search | Did Trump, Kushner and RNC Help Russia Use Big Data to Target U.S. Voters?

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Column: History of using FBI for political purposes – Opinion – ThisWeek Community News

Mark, Maloy: Troy NY – Google Search
Gigant hall St.Petersburg – Google Search
Did Trump, Kushner and RNC Help Russia Use Big Data to Target U.S. Voters?
Putin Trump – Google News: Dem: Putin trying to ‘outflank’ US across the globe while Trump tweets – The Hill
A clear message to the thugs of the world – The Bakersfield Californian
Will President Trump be charged with collusion in 2018? Not a chance.
Will President Trump be charged with collusion in 2018? Not a chance. – NBCNews.com
4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious – Houston Chronicle
Four found dead in possible homicide in Troy basement apartment: reports
4 Dead in Potential Homicide in Troy, N.Y., Basement
Weapons sale to Ukraine – Google Search
House Probe Looks Into Corruption, Criminal Behavior at FBI, DOJ – The New American
Moscow bus – Google Search
Andrew McCabe, F.B.I.s Embattled Deputy, Is Expected to Retire
Using Billions in Government Cash, Mexico Controls News Media
FBI searches for evidence of Russia’s meddling in US election in liquidated Cyprian bank
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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Column: History of using FBI for political purposes – Opinion – ThisWeek Community News
 

mikenova shared this story .

WASHINGTON — So what’s new?

Certainly not the late J. Edgar Hoover’s antipathy toward Dr. Martin Luther King as revealed again in the recent discovery of a long-ago letter from the FBI director to his third in command, William Sullivan, who headed domestic intelligence, and shared the concern about King… or if he didn’t, he found it prudent to say he did.

In the letter dated Nov. 18, 1964, Hoover thanks Sullivan for his praise of his boss’s handling of a long press conference with women correspondents to whom he explained how the bureau works. He also talked about King, noting that response in letters had overwhelmingly agreed with him. He then tells Sullivan his own views are the same as Sullivan’s that King’s “exposure is long overdue,” adding that “maybe he is now beginning to get his just desserts. I certainly hope so.”

Whether from inherent racism by one who took over the bureau at the height of Jim Crow in the South and the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and did nothing about it all those years or the fact he thought King to be a tool of the Communists, his feelings about the civil rights giant were well known to the press, to those around him in the bureau, Congress, and Justice Department and to a great deal of the public.

The animosity between the two was palpable and King had accused Southern FBI agents of doing nothing to alleviate the injustices. Hoover denied that his agents had failed to act because of their Southern leanings. In the midst of all this vitriol, King received an anonymous hate letter that clearly threatened violence. The minister and others believed it was a plant from the FBI. Sullivan testified in Congress that he knew of the letter but denied having anything to do with it and was against it although a draft copy was later found in Sullivan’s files.

A year earlier, the FBI was able to get permission from Attorney General Robert Kennedy to begin electronic surveillance of King at all levels, including bugging his hotel rooms, offices, etc. What was discovered was not any affiliation with communism but sexual incidents that were taped by listening agents – one of these was explicit and Hoover played that tape around town to those friendly in the press and others of influence to prove King’s indiscretions.

Why would the Kennedys – Robert and John – agree to permit this intrusion into the life of a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize at a time John was facing a tough re-election? Because Hoover had evidence that gave him leverage _ the knowledge that President Kennedy had been having a passionate affair with Judith Campbell who had been introduced to him by Frank Sinatra and was also an intimate of Chicago mobster Sam Giancana. Hoover lost little time making Bobby Kennedy aware he knew about the Mafia “party girl,” warning him at a luncheon of the difficulties of this situation, including the fact she had carried messages between Giancana and the president.

The implications to Kennedy were clear, especially since the administration had pledged to go after organized crime and despite the fact that his own father, Joseph, was alleged to have had dealings with the Mafia including in John’s election campaign. The president’s long relationship with Campbell, later to become Judith Exner, would have been nearly impossible to explain and it prompted one of his best friends, Ben Bradley, executive editor of the Washington Post, after it was revealed a decade later, to say that Kennedy would have been impeached had it been known.

During the Senate Watergate hearings it was revealed that Sullivan, called “the professor” because of his decidedly rumpled, un-FBI look and his intenseness, had written a memo to White House General Counsel John Dean, outlining the political use of the bureau by presidents over the years. It was not released, but interviews with Hoover’s top lieutenants re-created most of its claims such as black bag break-ins at foreign embassies, unauthorized surveillance of a personal nature, and on and on.

I knew Bill Sullivan well but we never discussed the King matter. I talked to him from his home in New Hampshire and we planned lunch when he got to Washington the following week to appear before a Senate committee chaired by Frank Church. He was shot and killed over that weekend by an errant hunter.

— Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: thomassondan@aol.com .

Mark, Maloy: Troy NY – Google Search
 

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4 People Found Dead in Basement in TroyNY

TIMEDec 26, 2017
Police are investigating a possible quadruple homicide in the Upstate New York city of Troy after four bodies were found in the basement of a home there. The four bodies were found inside a home at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Troy Police Sgt. Mark Maloy confirmed to TIME. Maloy said all four deaths …
4 bodies found in Troy home
Newburgh GazetteDec 26, 2017

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Officials Investigating Blast That Injured At Least 10 In St. Petersburg

RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty14 hours ago
Footage on social media shows multiple police vehicles, ambulances, and fire engines outside the Gigant Hall leisure center, where the supermarket is located on the ground floor. “There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene. The evacuation has been completed, and there was no …

Story image for Gigant hall St.Petersburg from TASS

TASS

Bomb rips through St Petersburg supermarket injuring ten Christmas …

Daily Mail18 hours ago
The Perekrestok supermarket is located on the ground floor of the Gigant Hall leisure center, in the northwest part of St Petersburg. ‘There was a bang. Emergency personnel are already on the scene. The evacuation has been completed, and there was no fire,’ a local Emergencies Ministry official told news …
Did Trump, Kushner and RNC Help Russia Use Big Data to Target U.S. Voters?
 

mikenova shared this story from Newsweek.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is questioning Republican National Committee (RNC) staffers about whether the Trump campaign’s digital operations team worked with Russia to target U.S. voters, Yahoo News reported on Wednesday.

The Mueller team, which is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, is now focusing on whether Trump’s team helped Russia target voters in key swing states through online ads, according to the report.

Russia used social media and political advertising to target voters and foment social discord during the 2016 campaign. Russian online posts masqueraded as American far-right and far-left political entities and even attempted to ignite racial tensions. Russian trolls and bots also targeted social media users across the U.S. in the lead-up to the election.

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Two sources told Yahoo News that Mueller is investigating whether the Russian trolls and bots gained assistance from a joint RNC and Trump campaign data operation, which was managed by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.

Kushner is reportedly cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation (his representatives declined to comment). The FBI already was investigating Kushner’s activities during his time working on the Trump campaign, and Kushner’s legal team is now looking into hiring an emergency public relations company to deal with high-profile clients.

Voter data played a large role in the Trump campaign’s efforts in 2016, and investigators have been looking into whether Trump collaborated with Russia to influence voters. The RNC provided the Trump campaign with useful demographic data about voters, information that was used by the campaign to target voters with political messaging that would appeal to them. Many experts have marveled at the high level of sophistication of Russia’s online campaigns to target voters in swing states, and some have suggested they may have received help from inside the U.S.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee questioned social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google last month about whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to create online ads. The companies said they would provide additional information.

Investigators also have been looking into whether Russia provided the Trump campaign with voter information stolen by Russian hackers.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign paid the data company Cambridge Analytica $5.9 million to buy television ads and help with other campaign efforts. The RNC reportedly worked closely with the company on Trump campaign business.

It was later revealed that the data company’s CEO approached WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to gain access to private emails allegedly stolen from Hillary Clinton, copies of which WikiLeaks had allegedly obtained from Russian hackers.

WikiLeaks, which leaks classified information, is believed to have ties to the Russian government. During the presidential primaries last year, the organization released private emails stolen from members of the Democratic National Committee just in time for the committee’s convention, allegedly in an attempt to hurt Hillary Clinton.

Putin Trump – Google News: Dem: Putin trying to ‘outflank’ US across the globe while Trump tweets – The Hill
 

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The Hill
Dem: Putin trying to ‘outflank’ US across the globe while Trump tweets
The Hill
Y.) on Tuesday said President Trump · Donald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump  

 Putin Trump – Google News

A clear message to the thugs of the world – The Bakersfield Californian
 

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A clear message to the thugs of the world
The Bakersfield Californian
Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax lawyer, died beaten and alone in a Moscow prison cell eight years ago. He was ill and neglected. He had exposed the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars by a corrupt cabal, and he paid for it with his life. Now, in a and more »

Will President Trump be charged with collusion in 2018? Not a chance.
 

mikenova shared this story .

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President Donald Trump is right about one thing — he may never be charged with “collusion.” Despite its current use as a sort of catchall term for the Trump administration’s alleged ties to Russian meddling, “collusion” is only a federal crime in the area of antitrust law. In this legal context, collusion occurs when two or more people or entities decide to gain an unfair market advantage and/or secretly limit open competition.

One of the quintessential examples of collusion is an agreement to engage in price-fixing. Or put another way, collusion has nothing to do with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

So if you’ve been talking about whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, you’ve been saying it wrong. But you’re also in good company. The vast majority of the public and the press routinely, and erroneously, use the word collusion to refer to a host of potential federal crimes. This does not mean the investigation is fake news, but it does mean we have been using the wrong term to describe it.

And while we are discussing inapplicable crimes, it is worth noting that Trump and his campaign staff and administration will almost certainly not be charged with treason, either. Under the U.S. Constitution, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Here the word “enemies” means nations with which we are at war. We are not currently at war with Russia, and therefore one cannot commit treason by aiding Russia, even if the aid meant swaying the 2016 presidential election.

Now that we know which charges we will not see, we must ask which charges we might see as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and administration and the Russian government.

Let us begin at the beginning. Before Donald Trump became President Trump, the FBI was looking into connections between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. In May of 2017, Trump famously fired the director of the FBI, James Comey, who was ultimately in charge of that investigation.

That firing in and of itself may be illegal if it amounts to obstruction of justice. The question boils down to whether Trump fired Comey to try to slow or halt that investigation and/or because Comey wouldn’t pump the brakes on the investigation.

Following Comey’s firing, it became clear to many outside observers that a special counsel needed to be appointed to pick up where Comey left off. Due to Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions recusing himself from matters involving the Russia investigation, the job of picking the counsel fell to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein’s subsequent pick of former FBI director Robert Mueller was —at the time at least — heralded by politicians on both sides of the aisle as proof that there were some adults left in the federal government.

But Mueller’s investigation is much more specific than just seeing if Trump or his affiliates “did something wrong.” He needs evidence that a specific Constitutional provision or statute was violated.

Will President Trump be charged with collusion in 2018? Not a chance. – NBCNews.com
 

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NBCNews.com
Will President Trump be charged with collusion in 2018? Not a chance.
NBCNews.com
Or put another way, collusion has nothing to do with the Trump campaign and the Russian government. So if you’ve been talking about whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election, you’ve been 
Even If The President Does It, It’s Illegal: How Trump May Have Obstructed JusticeWBUR
What’s next for the Russia investigations? No end in sight for Congress, Mueller probesUSA TODAY
Smearing Robert MuellerWBIR-TVall 97 news articles »

4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious – Houston Chronicle
 

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


Houston Chronicle
4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious
Houston Chronicle
Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have been killed in an apartment in New York’s capital … more. Photo: Lori Van Buren, AP. Image 2 and more »

Four found dead in possible homicide in Troy basement apartment: reports
 

mikenova shared this story from Upstate NY Trending News.

TROY, N.Y. — Four people  – possibly all homicide victims – were found dead in a basement apartment in Troy on Tuesday, according to news reports.

The building’s manager found the deceased, Troy police told reporters. Police have not released any details about the victims, including their ages or names.

Troy police were called to 158 Second Ave. in Troy around 12:52 p.m., the Albany Times Union reported. The victims were found in the basement apartment.

Troy Police asked for the assistance of New York State Police, which has released few details as of 3:20 p.m.

Officers have cordoned off the area surrounding 158 Second Ave. and closed the street in both directions from 102nd to 103rd street, the Times Union reported.

4 Dead in Potential Homicide in Troy, N.Y., Basement
 

mikenova shared this story .

Police are investigating a possible quadruple homicide in the Upstate New York city of Troy after four bodies were found in the basement of a home there.

The four bodies were found inside a home at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Troy Police Sgt. Mark Maloy confirmed to TIME. Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious, but declined to offer further details on the investigation.

Troy Police Capt. Daniel DeWolf told the Albany Times Union that the building’s property manager was the first to discover the bodies in the residence, but no other details about the victims have been released.

“It’s horrible. Terrible. Sad — sad especially at this time of year,” DeWolf said. “We’re going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here.”

A block of Second Avenue has reportedly been shut down while police investigate.

Weapons sale to Ukraine – Google Search
 

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Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine

Washington PostDec 20, 2017
Correction: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly reported that the Trump administration had approved the first-ever commercial sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It stated that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had publicly supported arms sales to Ukraine; Mattis did not explicitly do so. This post has …

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ABC News

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Daily Signal

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Washington Examiner

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Fox News

Story image for Weapons sale to Ukraine from Newsweek

Trump Sends Tank-Killing Missile To Fight Russia in Ukraine, But …

Newsweek12 hours ago
The decision to sell the Javelin missiles also comes not long after the Trump administration approved a limited weapons sale between American manufacturers and Ukraine of Model M107A1 sniper systems, ammunition and associated equipment. “The United States has decided to provide Ukraine …
House Probe Looks Into Corruption, Criminal Behavior at FBI, DOJ – The New American
 

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House Probe Looks Into Corruption, Criminal Behavior at FBI, DOJ
The New American
The ongoing witch hunt of Trump/Russia collusion just took an interesting turn. A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives frustrated with the Justice Department’s refusal to explain its use of the now-discredited Trump dossier has and more »

Moscow bus – Google Search
 

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Bus drives into crowded Moscow walkway, killing pedestrians

CNNDec 25, 2017
Investigators are considering two possibilities — that the driver lost control of the bus or that the busmalfunctioned, state media reported. “The driver was detained and the authorities instituted a criminal case citing the services falling short of security requirements and encroachments on the safety …
5 Dead as Bus Plows Into Moscow Pedestrian Underpass
InternationalThe Moscow TimesDec 26, 2017

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Andrew McCabe, F.B.I.s Embattled Deputy, Is Expected to Retire
 

mikenova shared this story .

He dealt with the F.B.I. investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information when she used a private email server. Republicans, including Mr. Trump, have relentlessly criticized the F.B.I. for the way it handled that investigation. Mrs. Clinton was not charged, nor were any of her aides. Mr. McCabe has also been deeply involved in the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the potential involvement of the Trump campaign.

The Russia investigation is being led by a special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who has already charged four people associated with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. One of them, a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russians, while another pleaded guilty to lying about his conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Mueller’s inquiry has infuriated the president, who has called the investigation a witch hunt and has pressed repeatedly for a shake-up at the F.B.I. Mr. McCabe was deputy director when the F.B.I. opened the investigation in July 2016.

The president crowed on Saturday that James A. Baker, the F.B.I. general counsel, who was seen as an ally of Mr. Comey’s, would soon step down from that post, although he will remain at the bureau.

Mr. McCabe became a political piñata after his wife decided to run as a Democrat for a Virginia State Senate seat. As part of her campaign, she accepted nearly $500,000 in contributions from the political organization of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Pressure on Mr. McCabe and Mr. Wray intensified this month after The New York Times reported that a top F.B.I. lawyer and counterintelligence agent traded disparaging text messages about the president. Both the agency and the lawyer had worked closely on the Clinton and Russia investigations. However, Mr. Mueller decided to pull the agent off the Russia investigation. The lawyer, who was close to Mr. McCabe, had already left Mr. Mueller’s team by the time the texts were discovered.

Republicans seized on the texts to claim that the F.B.I.’s leadership was politically slanted. Agents have rejected that assertion, calling it insulting and untrue.

Mr. McCabe, who is seen as highly intelligent, rose quickly through the ranks of the F.B.I., eventually running national security, then the bureau’s second-largest field office, before moving back to headquarters, where he was put on track to be deputy director. He has many supporters in the F.B.I. who consider him beyond reproach.

His defenders say he has done his job admirably in the face of intense partisan attacks while navigating crisis after crisis.

“The political hit job on McCabe — his supposed ideological bias, the fact his wife ran for office as a Democrat, the attacks on his competence — are way out of line,” said Frank Montoya Jr., a former senior F.B.I. official who retired in 2016 and worked closely with Mr. McCabe. “The people who are making these baseless accusations don’t know McCabe. I do. The guy’s a total pro. His only motivation is to support and defend the Constitution.”

His detractors see Mr. McCabe as an ambitious creature of Washington who did not spend enough time as an agent working with informants and making cases. Those critical of Mr. McCabe believe he lacked the operational experience to become director and needed to spend more time in the field.

But even among some of those who dislike Mr. McCabe, he earned their grudging respect when he stood up to Mr. Trump and defended the F.B.I. and Mr. Comey’s tenure during a heated congressional hearing in May while he was acting director.

Mr. McCabe’s plan to retire at some point after he was eligible to retire was first reported by The Washington Post. Mr. McCabe will most likely follow the path of other highly qualified F.B.I. senior officials eligible to retire who leave after securing a lucrative job in the private sector.

Officials say that Mr. Wray is considering David L. Bowdich, currently the third-ranking official in the bureau, to replace Mr. McCabe. Mr. Bowdich ran the F.B.I.’s Los Angeles field office before coming to Washington. He is best known for being the public face of the F.B.I. in California after the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack.

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Using Billions in Government Cash, Mexico Controls News Media
 

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Mr. Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, also known as the PRI, pioneered this system during its 70 years in power. Former President José López Portillo explicitly laid out the government’s expectations decades ago — he was even quoted as saying that he did not pay the media to attack him — and the practice continued when the opposition claimed the presidency in 2000, then again in 2006.

But the government’s influence over the media goes well beyond the advertising spigot, with officials sometimes resorting to outright bribery. In Chihuahua, the former governor spent more than $50 million on publicity, officials say, in a state saddled with huge public debts. Yet that was just the official figure.

Prosecutors have also collected signed receipts for bribes to local journalists — payoffs so common that some reporters were even listed as government contractors, documents show. With so much government money circling around, entire news websites sprang up with a single purpose, prosecutors contend: to support the former governor’s agenda.

“The relation between the media and power is one of the gravest problems in Mexico,” said Javier Corral, the new governor of Chihuahua. “There is collusion, an arrangement, in terms of how the public resources are managed to reward or punish the media. It’s carrot and stick: ‘Behave well, and I’ll give you lots of money and advertising. Act bad and I’ll get rid of it.’”

RELIANCE ON PUBLIC ADVERTISING

Pick up a newspaper, tune into a radio station or flip on the television in Mexico and you are greeted with a barrage of government advertising. In some papers, nearly every other page is claimed by an ad promoting one government agency or another. At times, as much airtime is dedicated to venerating the government’s work as it is to covering the news.

The extraordinary spending comes at a time when the Mexican government is cutting budgets across the board, including for health, education and social services. The federal government spent as much on advertising last year, about $500 million, as it did to support students in its main scholarship program for public universities.

The co-opting of the news media is more fundamental than any one administration’s spending on self-promotion, historians say. It reflects the absence of the basic pact that a free press has with its readers in a democracy, where holding the powerful accountable is part of its mission.

“It’s a common problem in the developing world, but the problem is much, much graver in Mexico,” said David Kaye, the United Nations special representative for freedom of expression. “It’s remarkable what the government spends.”

Most news outlets have relied on public advertising for so long that they would not survive without the government, giving officials tremendous leverage to push for certain stories and prevent others, analysts, reporters and media owners say.

“This is an economic problem,” said Carlos Puig, a columnist at the newspaper Milenio, which receives substantial government funding. “The classic American model does not exist here.”

Last year, a public outcry erupted after a top official in the Peña Nieto administration went to Milenio’s offices to complain about a story. The article, criticizing a national anti-hunger initiative, was taken down from the newspaper’s website right after the visit.

The piece later went back up, with a far less damning headline. The newspaper says the reason was simple: The article was “deplorable,” an inaccurate and “vulgar” attempt to smear an official, requiring an apology to readers. But journalists and democracy advocates, citing the power of government advertising, cried foul and the reporter resigned in protest, claiming to have been censored. Eventually, the original headline was restored.

Overt government interference is often unnecessary. Sixty-eight percent of journalists in Mexico said they censored themselves, not only to avoid being killed, but also because of pressure from advertisers and the impact on the company’s bottom line, according to a three-year study by Mexican and American academics.

Francisco Pazos did. He worked for years at one of the largest papers in Mexico, Excélsior. One of his most frustrating moments came in late 2013, he said, when the government was in the throes of a fight with commuters over a transit fare increase.

Mr. Pazos said he tried to explore the commuters’ anger in detail, until an editor stopped him, telling him the paper was no longer going to cover the controversy.

“I came to understand there were issues I simply couldn’t cover,” Mr. Pazos said. “And eventually, I stopped looking for those kinds of stories. Eventually, you become a part of the censorship yourself.”

Many media owners and directors say they have so few independent sources of income outside the government that they face a stark choice: wither from a lack of resources, or survive as accomplices to their own manipulation.

“Of course, the use of public money limits freedom of expression, but without this public money there would be no media in Mexico at all,” said Marco Levario, the director of the magazine Etcétera. “We are all complicit in this.”

The model means that some media outlets in Mexico can scarcely afford their own principles. Twenty years ago, the newspaper La Jornada was one of the most beloved in the nation, a critical voice and a must-read for intellectuals and activists who carried the tabloid around town, tucked under their arms.

But the years have not been kind to the paper. A few years ago, it was on the cusp of financial ruin. Then the government intervened, rescuing the publication with more than $1 million in official advertising and, critics say, claiming its editorial independence in the process.

“Now they own them,” Mr. Levario said. “The paper has been like a spokesman for the president.”

Other business ties link news outlets to the government. Many media companies are part of larger conglomerates that build roads or other public projects. The same person who owns Grupo Imagen, which includes radio, television and print media, also owns a major construction firm, Prodemex. It has earned more than $200 million in the past five years building government facilities, and will play a role in the construction of the new Mexico City airport.

La Jornada, Excélsior and Excélsior’s parent company, Grupo Imagen, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The nation’s Supreme Court recently took up the issue of official advertising, ruling in November that the government must act on the president’s promise to regulate the flow of public money in an unbiased way.

“The absence of regulation in official publicity allows for the arbitrary use of communications budgets, which restricts indirectly freedom of expression,” said Arturo Zaldívar, a Supreme Court justice.

In a statement, the president’s office referred to its official advertising as a form of constitutionally backed publicity that enables it to inform and educate the public about its work. But it rejects the assertion that such spending skews the media’s coverage of important issues or stifles free speech in any way.

“Every day journalists in Mexico question, with absolute freedom, the government’s actions and those of our representatives, including the president,” it said. “There is a permanent criticism from Mexican journalists toward the government. Just by opening any newspaper, turning on the television and going to social media, you can verify this.”

When he came to office in 2012, the president vowed to more fairly distribute the government’s advertising dollars. Shortly after his election, Mr. Peña Nieto’s team came up with a plan to regulate media spending, according to three people familiar with the proposal.

But Aurelio Nuño, the president’s former chief of staff, said the effort never got far enough to produce a draft of any legislation that could yield action. The effort was subsumed by other campaign promises and left behind, he said.

‘HEATING THEM UP’

As the editor for recruiting at the newspaper Reforma, Diana Alvarez has grown accustomed to the flexible definition of journalism in Mexico.

A few years back, she said, she interviewed one young woman from a large paper in Mexico City. The woman, who had a master’s degree in journalism, said her job at the paper consisted of creating files of negative press clippings on governors across the country.

Those files were turned over to the paper’s sales department, which then approached the governors to sell them “coverage plans” to improve their public image, the young woman explained.

Mrs. Alvarez rattled off more examples. One applicant, an editing candidate, boasted that he knew how to work his relationships with politicians to score more advertising money.

He called it “heating them up,” which involved showing the target a critical story that his newspaper was planning to publish. Then, as he explained to Mrs. Alvarez, an advertising contract with his paper would help “put out the fire.”

Yet another applicant, a former state government employee, said he knew how to “deal with the press,” Mrs. Alvarez recalled. He told her how he had been in charge of distributing envelopes filled with cash for reporters as bribes.

“I wish I could say these are isolated cases, or just a few, but it isn’t the case,” Mrs. Alvarez said. “There have been many like these, where they come and speak about these practices in a way that makes you realize they have normalized them.”

Daniel Moreno, the director of the digital publication Animal Político, says he receives almost nothing from the federal government, and relatively small amounts from state governors.

It’s not because he doesn’t want the money, Mr. Moreno says. It’s just that the kind of critical coverage his news team does is not rewarded with government contracts, he contends.

Recently, Mr. Moreno said he received a call from officials in the state of Morelos, which spends about $3,000 a month with him on advertising. The governor’s wife was going through a rough period over claims that she was politicizing aid for earthquake victims — an accusation she rejected — so a state official suggested that Animal Político do a few positive stories on her.

Mr. Moreno politely declined.

“They were pretty offended,” he said with a shrug. “And I’m pretty sure that money is gone.”

Still, that was better than it is with most states, Mr. Moreno said. As a policy, Animal Político publishes a banner on pieces that are paid advertising, so readers know the work is not independent journalism, he said.

But officials in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Sonora have refused to pay for content unless it is published without the banner, he said. Mr. Moreno refused.

“I’ve lost more money than I’ve earned that way,” he said with a laugh.

This month, news organizations came together to denounce the violence against the press in Mexico, where the murders of journalists hit a record this year. Thirty-nine media groups signed on.

But a few, including Animal Político, were missing — on purpose. They had insisted on some extra lines in the announcement about the damage that official publicity does to free speech.

A small uproar ensued, they said. Some large newspapers that rely heavily on government money objected.

Ultimately, the letter was sent without the lines — and without the signature of Mr. Moreno and his compatriots. The news media, it appeared, would not challenge its livelihood.

AN EXPOSÉ RAISES QUESTIONS

On Aug. 23, Ricardo Anaya, the president of the opposition National Action Party and now a candidate for president in next year’s election, woke up to find his name and family splashed across the front page of El Universal, a major newspaper.

The story went into details about his father-in-law’s real estate empire and, more pointedly, the ways in which Mr. Anaya’s political career had helped propel that fortune.

The narrative was a familiar one in Mexico: A political leader had used his influence to enrich himself and his family. El Universal laid out the addresses and values of the various properties, and even published head shots of his entire extended family, 14 people in all. News outlets across the country carried the story.

The only thing missing, a court ultimately decided, was accuracy. Mr. Anaya managed to show that much of the information was flawed, skewed or simply wrong. While his in-laws clearly owned a number of properties, many had been in their possession before his political career began, public deeds showed.

Even more puzzling, Mr. Anaya said, were the photographs of his family. They had not been public before, as far as the family knew. In fact, they looked an awful lot like passport pictures.

Given that such photos were held by the foreign ministry, which issues passports, Mr. Anaya suspected that his rivals in the government had leaked the pictures to the newspaper.

“They are trying to destroy my political career with this campaign,” he contended. “You can’t compete with a government that pays $500 million a year to the media.”

For the next two months, the newspaper dedicated more than 20 front pages to Mr. Anaya, accusing him of misusing public funds, benefiting financially from his position and fracturing his party.

Mr. Anaya filed suit. In October, the court found that El Universal had misrepresented his in-laws’ wealth and wrongly accused Mr. Anaya of using his office to benefit them.

El Universal claimed that it was entitled to publish the story under the right to freedom of expression, an argument the judge questioned because the paper “had not based its investigation in facts.” The newspaper has appealed the court’s decision.

The case raises national questions of trust in a country where the news media receives so much money in government advertising.

El Universal receives more government advertising than any other newspaper in the nation, about $10 million last year, Fundar found. Critics argue that the newspaper has become something of an attack dog for the government ahead of presidential elections next year.

The suggestion is “false and offensive,” the newspaper says. Government advertising “does not affect in any way the editorial line of the newspaper,” it says, adding that “thinkers of all political parties” are represented in its pages.

Not all its journalists agree. In July, a half-dozen columnists announced their resignations in protest over what they called biased coverage, saying the owners had destroyed the institution’s credibility.

Salvador Frausto, an investigative editor who earned the paper many awards, also left. Colleagues said he was clearly uncomfortable with how close the paper was becoming to the PRI and its new presidential candidate, José Antonio Meade.

The person who replaced Mr. Frausto as the new investigative editor was most recently a press officer at the foreign affairs ministry, according to his LinkedIn profile.

And the news director of El Universal had close ties with the new candidate: His wife was Mr. Meade’s international press chief at the finance ministry.

The paper says that there is no conflict of interest, and that it does not tolerate biased coverage of any kind.

But it isn’t the first time the paper’s journalists have challenged its independence. Writers said that in 2012, when Mr. Peña Nieto was running for office, editors and news directors began changing columns critical of the candidate, sometimes at the last minute, without warning them.

“The reason I resigned is because I no longer felt like I was guaranteed a free space,” Andrés Lajous, now a doctoral student at Princeton University, wrote in an article recounting the events.

‘IT WAS THE FEDS’

Witnesses were calling it an execution.

In January 2015, Laura Castellanos, an award-winning reporter, was sent by editors at El Universal to cover a pair of shootouts involving the federal police.

At the time, self-defense groups had taken up arms to fight against organized crime, and Ms. Castellanos, who had written extensively on the subject, was considered an expert.

She spent 10 days reporting the story, tapping old sources and interviewing witnesses in the state of Michoacán, where 16 had been killed and dozens wounded.

The issue was especially delicate because a close ally of the president, Alfredo Castillo, who had been appointed to oversee the security situation in Michoacán, claimed that the deaths came from a shootout with armed assailants.

Ms. Castellanos said she recorded interviews with 39 people — victims, bystanders, hospital workers — and came to a different conclusion. The federal police had summarily executed unarmed suspects, including some as they surrendered on their knees with their arms in the air, she said her reporting showed.

After days of editing and fact-checking, she said the story was ready to run. Only it didn’t.

Ms. Castellanos and her editors were not surprised. Mr. Peña Nieto was already under heavy public pressure for his handling of the disappearance of 43 college students, as well as his wife’s purchase of a multimillion-dollar home from a major government contractor.

But after two and a half months — during which time one of her sources was tortured and killed, she said — Ms. Castellanos worried her story would never run.

Working with lawyers, she said she discovered a loophole in her contract — one that allowed her to publish the material elsewhere.

One of the few publications willing to take the story was a new website founded by Carmen Aristegui, another award-winning reporter, who had lost her radio station job after breaking the story about the president’s wife.

But the morning the Michoacán story was scheduled to publish, under the headline “It Was the Feds,” Ms. Aristegui’s website went dark.

Eventually, they figured out what happened: The website had been hacked.

The two eventually published the story, but the case again raised questions about independence in a country awash in government advertising.

Neither the killings, nor the hacking, have been fully resolved. El Universal said it had not published Ms. Castellanos’s story because it did not meet the newspaper’s standards.

The next year, Ms. Castellano’s article was awarded Mexico’s most coveted journalistic prize: the national award for investigative reporting.

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FBI searches for evidence of Russia’s meddling in US election in liquidated Cyprian bank
 

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American intelligence has requested information about the bank FBME. According to the documents of the Cyprus Central Bank, about half of its clients were Russians.

The FBI requested data on the previously closed FBME bank, which the US Treasury had previously accused of money laundering, from the Cypriot authorities. Intelligence suspects the bank of servicing influential customers from Russia, according to The Guardian, citing its sources.

The Guardian‘s interlocutors suggest that the inquiry may be related to the investigation into a matter of possible interference of Russia in the election of the US President in 2016. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller subordinates this case. Previously, the US Central Bank requested information on FBME from the Central Bank of Cyprus.

In the documents of the Central Bank of the republic, which were at the disposal of the newspaper, it appears that about half of FBME clients were Russians. In particular, these are member of the Federation Council of Russia Alexander Shishkin and businessman Vladimir Smirnov. It was also reported that the bank housed 23 accounts of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

FBME bank was liquidated in 2017. A year earlier, it was under Washington’s sanctions, and in 2014 the US Treasury had accused the organization of money laundering.

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Couple killed after warning daughter of boyfriend’s suspected neo …

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Buckley Kuhn-Fricker recently discovered private tweets on her daughter’s phone that concerned her. The tweets, which she believed were connected to the boyfriend, included one that responded to a photo of a candy shop featuring a Jewish dreidel with the comment “ima run in there with my swastika …
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Scott Fricker and Buckley Kuhn Fricker grew upset with their daughter’s teenage boyfriend because of his alleged neo-Nazi views and tried to block the budding relationship, and now he’s accused of murdering them both. The 17-year-old suspect in the double slayings of the Reston, Virginia couple has not …

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Homeland Security says chain migration let terrorism-related suspects into U.S.
 

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A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said Saturday that two recent terror suspects made their way into the U.S. via chain migration.  (Reuters)

The Department of Homeland Security said chain migration is the common element in two cases allegedly tied to terrorism activities, according to a statement released Saturday.

In the statement on Twitter, Acting Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said DHS “can confirm the suspect involved in a terror attack in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and another suspect arrested on terror-related money laundering charges were both beneficiaries of extended family chain migration.”

Chain migration is when an immigrant gains legal entry into the U.S. via sponsorship by a family member who’s already a legal resident or citizen. The Trump administration launched a campaign against the immigration system, in favor of a more merit-based structure, favoring education and job potential as factors.

WHITE HOUSE TO PUSH MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION IN NEW CAMPAIGN

The memo referred to Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty, 51, who it said was a naturalized U.S. citizen admitted to the U.S. from Egypt on a family-based visa. El-Mofty went on a shooting spree Friday in Harrisburg and was reportedly targeting police officers.

The gunman, carrying two rifles and a shotgun, fired at officers in multiple locations.

“He fired several shots at a Capitol police officer and at a Pennsylvania state police trooper in marked vehicles,” Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said. The state trooper was injured but is “doing well,” he said.

El-Mofty pursued the trooper to a residential neighborhood and encountered law enforcement officers, who ultimately killed him after he fired “many shots” at them.

The statement also mentioned Zoobia Shahnaz, who DHS said was a naturalized U.S. citizen who entered from Pakistan, also on a family-based visa. Shahnaz was indicted on Dec. 14 after she allegedly laundered more than $85,000 through Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies overseas to the Islamic State.

END CHAIN MIGRATION, AS TRUMP WANTS, AND SWITCH TO MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION

Acquiring the money through fraudulently obtained credit cards and a bank loan, Shahnaz laundered the funds to people in Pakistan, China and Turkey and “planned to travel to Syria and join ISIS,” federal officials said.

Shahnaz was charged in federal court with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In the DHS statement Saturday, Houlton said, “These incidents highlight the Trump administration’s concerns with extended chain migration.”

“Both chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program have been exploited by terrorists to attack our country,” Houlton said. “Not only are the programs less effective at driving economic growth than merit-based immigration systems used by nearly all other countries, the programs make it more difficult to keep dangerous people out of the United States and to protect the safety of every American.”

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11:20 AM 12/31/2017 – This starts to look like the hate – message crime…

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11:20 AM 12/31/2017 – This starts to look like the hate – message crime | 4:54 AM 12/31/2017 – Updates: 2 Men Charged in Quadruple Homicide in Troy; Motive Is a Mystery – New York Times | 6:58 AM 12/27/2017 – Troy and Trojans News: Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious… “It’s horrible. Terrible. Sad — sad especially at this time of year,” DeWolf said. “We’re going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here.” – 4 People Found Dead in Basement in Troy, N.Y. – By JAMIE DUCHARME and ELI MEIXLER Updated: December 26, 2017 9:50 PM ET | And other “Accidents”

11:20 AM 12/31/2017

This starts looking like the hate – message crime, anti-gay-lesbian, with fundamentalist religious overtones and the references to the Biblical verses, possibly executed for hire by the members of the prison gang, long planned, and performed now in accordance with some, of the higher level, plans and designs.

“Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab. All the inhabitants shall bitterly lament the ruin of their country. They shall complain one to another: Every one shall howl in despair, and not one shall either see any cause or have any heart to encourage his friend.”

Isaiah 16 – II. The sorrows with which Moab is threatened (v. 7)

________________________________

Isaiah 16 Commentary – Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)

Chapter 16

This chapter continues and concludes the burden of Moab. In it, I. The prophet gives good counsel to the Moabites, to reform what was amiss among them, and particularly to be kind to God’s people, as the likeliest way to prevent the judgments before threatened (v. 1-5). II. Fearing they would not take this counsel (they were so proud), he goes on to foretel the lamentable devastation of their country, and the confusion they should be brought to, and this within three years (v. 6-14).Verses 1-5 God has made it to appear that he delights not in the ruin of sinners by telling them what they may do to prevent the ruin; so he does here to Moab.I. He advises them to be just to the house of David, and to pay the tribute they had formerly covenanted to pay to the kings of his line (v. 1): Send you the lamb to the ruler of the land. David made the Moabites tributaries to him, 2 Sa. 8:2 . They became his servants, and brought gifts.Afterwards they paid their tribute to the kings of Israel (2 Ki. 3:4 ), and paid it in lambs. Now the prophet requires them to pay it to Hezekiah. Let it be raised and levied from all parts of the country, from Selah, a frontier city of Moab on the one side, to the wilderness, a boundary of the kingdom on the other side: and let it be sent, where it should be sent, to the mount of the daughter of Zion, the city of David. Some take it as an advice to send a lamb for a sacrifice to God, the ruler of the earth (so it may be read), the Lord of the whole earth, ruler of all lands, the land of Moab as well as the land of Israel, “Send it to the temple built on Mount Zion.’’ And some think it is in this sense spoken ironically, upbraiding the Moabites with their folly in delaying to repent and make their peace with God. “Now you would be glad to send a lamb to Mount Zion, to make the God of Israel your friend; but it is too late: the decree has gone forth, the consumption is determined, and thedaughters of Moab shall be cast out as a wandering bird,’’ v. 2. I rather take it as good advice seriously given, like that of Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar when he was reading him his doom, Dan. 4:27 . Break off thy sins byrighteousness, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

And it is applicable to the great gospel duty of submission to Christ, as the ruler of the land, and our ruler: “Send him the lamb, the best you have, yourselves a living sacrifice. When you come to God, the great ruler, come in the name of the Lamb, the Lamb of God. For else it shall be’’ (so we may read it) “that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be.

If you will not pay your quit-rent, your just tribute to the king of Judah, you shall be turned out of your houses: The daughters of Moab (the country villages, or the women of your country) shall flutter about the fords of Arnon, attempting that way to make their escape to some other land, like a wandering bird thrown out of the nest half-fledged.’’ Those that will not submit to Christ, nor be gathered under the shadow of his wings, shall beas a bird that wanders from her nest, that shall either be snatched up by the next bird of prey or shall wander endlessly in continual frights. Those that will not yield to the fear of God shall be made to yield to the fear of every thing else.II. He advises them to be kind to the seed of Israel (v. 3): “Take counsel, call a convention, and consult among yourselves what is fit to be done in the present critical juncture; and you will find it your best way to execute judgment, to reverse all the unrighteous decrees you have made, by which you have put hardships upon the people of God, and, in token of your repentance for them, study now how to oblige them, and this shall be accepted of God more than all burnt-offering and sacrifice.’’1. The prophet foresaw some storm coming upon the people of God, perhaps the good people of the ten tribes, or of the two and a half on the other side Jordan, whose country joined to that of Moab, and who, by the merciful providence of God, escaped the fury of the Assyrian army, had their lives given them for a prey, and were reserved for better times, but were put to the utmost extremity to shift for their own safety. The danger and trouble they were in were like the scorching heat at noon; the face of the spoiler was very fierce upon them and the oppressor and extortioner were ready to swallow them up after stripping them of what they had.2. He bespeaks a shelter for them in the land of Moab, when their own land was made too hot for them. This judgment they must execute; thus wisely must they do for themselves, and thus kindly must they deal with the people of God. If they would themselves continue in their habitations, let them now open their doors to the distressed dispersed members of God’s church, and be to them like a cool shade to those that bear the burden and heat of the day. Let them not discover those that absconded among them, nor deliver them up to the pursuers that made search for them: “Betray not him that wandereth, nor deliver him up’’ (as the Edomites did, Obad. 1:13, Obad. 1:14), “but hide the outcasts.’’ This was that good work by which Rahab’s faith was justified, and proved to be sincere, Heb. 11:31 . “Nay, do not only hide them for a time, but, if there be occasion, let them be naturalized: Let my outcasts dwell with thee, Moab (v. 4); find a lodging for them and be thou a covert to them. Let them be taken under the protection of the government, though they are but poor, and likely to be a charge to thee.’’ Note, (1.) It is often the lot even of those who are Israelites indeed to be outcasts, driven out of house and harbour by persecution or war,Heb. 11:37 . (2.) God owns them when men reject and disown them. They are outcasts, but they are my outcasts. The Lord knows those that are his wherever he finds them, even where no one else knows them. (3.) God will find a rest and shelter for his outcasts; for, though they are persecuted, they are not forsaken. He will himself be their dwelling-place if they have no other, and in him they shall be at home. (4.) God can, when he pleases, raise up friends for his people even among Moabites, when they can find none in all the land of Israel that can and dare shelter them. The earth often helps the woman, Rev. 12:16 . (5.) Those that expect to find favour when they are in trouble themselves must show favour to those that are in trouble; and what service is done to God’s outcasts shall no doubt be recompensed one way or other.3. He assures them of the mercy God had in store for his people. (1.) That they should not long need their kindness, or be troublesome to them: For the extortioner is almost at an end already, and the spoiler ceases. God’s people shall not be long outcasts; they shall have tribulation ten days (Rev. 2:10 ), and that is all. The spoiler would never cease spoiling if he might have his will; but God has him in a chain. Hitherto he shall go, but no further. (2.) That they should, ere long, be in a capacity to return their kindness (v. 5): “Though the throne of the ten tribes be sunk and overturned, yet the throne of David shall be established in mercy, by the mercy they receive from God and the mercy they show to others; and by the same methods may your throne be established if you please.’’ It would engage great men to be kind to the people of God if they would but observe, as they easily might, how often such conduct brings the blessing of God upon kingdoms and families. “Make Hezekiah your friend, for you will find it your interest to do so upon the account both of the grace of God in him and the presence of God with him. He shall sit upon the throne in truth, and then he does indeed sit in honour and sit firmly. Then he shall sit judging, and will then be a protector to those that have been a shelter to the people of God.’’ And see in him the character of a good magistrate. [1.] He shall seek judgment; that is, he shall seek occasions of doing right to those that are wronged, and shall punish the injurious even before they are complained of: or he shall diligently search into every cause brought before him, that he may find where the right lies. [2.] He shall hasten righteousness, and not delay to do justice, nor keep those long waiting that make application to him for the redress of their grievances. Though he seeks judgment, and deliberates upon it, yet he does not, under pretence of deliberation, stay the progress of the streams of justice. Let the Moabites take example by this, and then assure themselves that their state shall be established.

Verses 6-14 

Here we have, I. The sins with which Moab is charged, v. 6. The prophet seems to check himself for going about to give good counsel to the Moabites, concluding they would not take the advice he gave them. He told them their duty (whether they would hear or whether they would forbear), but despairs of working any good upon them; he would have healed them, but they would not be healed. Those that will not be counselled cannot be helped.

Their sins were, 1. Pride.

This is most insisted upon; for perhaps there are more precious souls ruined by pride than by any one lust whatsoever. The Moabites were notorious for this: “We have heardin both ears of the pride of Moab; it is what all their neighbours cry out shame upon them for. He is very proud;the body of the nation is so, forgetting the baseness of their origin and the brand of infamy fastened upon them by that law of God which forbade a Moabite to enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever, Deu. 23:3 . We have heard of his haughtiness and his pride. It is not the rash and rigid censure of one of two concerning them, but it is the character which all that know them will give of them. They are a proud people, and therefore they will not take good counsel when it is given them. They think themselves too wise to be advised; therefore they will not take example by Hezekiah to do justly and love mercy. They scorn to make him their pattern, for they think themselves able to teach him. They are proud, and therefore will not be subject to God himself nor regard the warnings he gives them. 

The wicked, in the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God. They are proud, and therefore will not entertain and protect God’s outcasts; they scorn to have any thing to do with them.’’ But this is not all: 2. “We have heard of his wrath too (for those that are very proud are commonly very passionate), particularly his wrath against the people of God, whom therefore he will rather persecute than protect. 3. It is with his lies that he gains the gratifications of his pride and his passion; but his lies shall not be so; he shall not compass his proud and angry projects as he hoped he should.’’ Some read it, His haughtiness, his pride, and his wrath, are greater than his strength. “We know that, if we lay at his mercy, we should find no mercy with him, but he has not power equal to his malice.

His pride draws down ruin upon him; for it is the preface to destruction, and he has not strength to ward it off.’’

II. The sorrows with which Moab is threatened (v. 7):

Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab. All the inhabitants shall bitterly lament the ruin of their country. They shall complain one to another: Every one shall howl in despair, and not one shall either see any cause or have any heart to encourage his friend.

Observe,1. The causes of this sorrow. (1.) The destruction of their cities: For the foundations of Kir-haraseth shall you mourn. That great and strong city, which had held out against a mighty force (2 Ki. 3:25 ), should now be levelled with the ground, either burnt or broken down, and its foundations stricken, bruised and broken (so the word signifies); they shall howl when they see their splendid cities turned into ruinous heaps. (2.) The desolation of their country. Moab was famous for its fields and vineyards; but those shall all be laid waste by the invading army, v. 8, v. 10. See, [1.] What a fruitful pleasant country they had, as the garden of the Lord, Gen. 13:10 . It was planted with choice and noble vines, with principal plants, which reached even to Jazer, a city in the tribe of Gad. The luxuriant branches of their vines wandered, and wound themselves along the ranges on which they were spread, even through the wilderness of Moab. There were vineyards there. Nay, they were stretched out, and went even to the sea, the Dead Sea: the best grapes grew in their hedge-rows. [2.] How merry and pleasant they had been in it. Many a time they had shouted for their summer fruits, and for their harvest, as the country people sometimes do with us when they have cut down all their corn. They had had joy and gladness in their fields and vineyards, singingand shouting at the treading of their grapes. Nothing is said of their praising God for their abundance, and giving him the glory of it. If they had made it the matter of their thanksgiving, they might still have had it the food and fuel of their lusts; see therefore, [3.] How they should be stripped of all. “The fields shall languish, all the fruits of them being carried away or trodden down; they cannot now enrich their owners as they have done, and therefore they languish. The soldiers, called here the lords of the heathen, shall break down all the plants, though they were principal plants, the choicest that could be got. Now the shouting for the enjoyment of the summer fruits has fallen, and is turned into howling for the loss of them. The joy of harvest has ceased; there is no more singing, no more shouting, for the treading out of wine. They have not what they have had to rejoice in, nor have they a disposition to rejoice; the ruin of their country has marred their mirth.’’ Note, First, God can easily change the note of those that are most addicted to mirth and pleasure, can soon turn their laughter into mourning and their joy into heaviness. Secondly, Joy in God is, upon this account, far better than the joy of harvest, that it is what we cannot be robbed of, Ps. 4:6, Ps. 4:7 . Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease, Hos. 2:11, Hos. 2:12 . But a gracious soul can rejoice in the Lord as the God of its salvation even when the fig-tree does not blossom and there is no fruit in the vine, Hab. 3:17,Hab. 3:18 . In God therefore let us always rejoice with a holy triumph, and in other things let us always rejoice with a holy trembling, rejoice as though we rejoiced not.2. The concurrence of the prophet with them in this sorrow: “I will with weeping bewail Jazer, and the vine of Sibmah, and look with a compassionate concern upon the desolations of such a pleasant country. I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon! and mingle them with thy tears;’’ nay (v. 11), it appears to be an inward grief: My bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab; it should make such an impression upon him that he should feel an inward trembling, like that of the strings of a harp when it is played upon. It well becomes God’s prophets to acquaint themselves with grief; the great prophet did so. The afflictions of the world, as well as those of the church, should be afflictions to us. See ch. 15:5 .III. In the close of the chapter we have, 1. The insufficiency of the gods of Moab, the false gods, to help them, v. 12. “Moab shall be soon weary of the high place. He shall spend his spirits and strength in vain in praying to his idols; they cannot help him, and he shall be convinced that they cannot.’’ It is seen that it is to no purpose to expect any relief from the high places on earth; it must come from above the hills. Men are generally so stupid that they will not believe, till they are made to see, the vanity of idols and of all creature-confidences, nor will come off from them till they are made weary of them. But, when he is weary of his high places, he will not go, as he should, to God’s sanctuary, but to his sanctuary, to the temple of Chemosh, the principal idol of Moab (so it is generally understood); and he shall pray there to as little purpose, and as little to his own case and satisfaction, as he did in his high places; for, whatever honours idolaters give to their idols, they do not thereby make them at all the better able to help them. Whether they are the dii majorum gentium-gods of the higher order, or minorum—of the lower order, they are alike the creatures of men’s fancy and the work of men’s hands. Perhaps it may be meant of their coming to God’s sanctuary. When they found they could have no succours from their own high places some of them would come to the temple of God at Jerusalem, to pray there, but in vain; he will justly send them back to the gods whom they have served, Jdg. 10:14 . The sufficiency of the God of Israel, the only true God, to make good what he had spoken against them. (1.) The thing itself was long since determined (v. 13): This is the word, this is the thing, that the Lord has spoken concerning Moab, since the time that he began to be so proud, and insolent, and abusive to God’s people. The country was long ago doomed to ruin; this was enough to give an assurance of it that it is the word which the Lord has spoken; and, as he will never unsay what he has spoken, so all the power of hell and earth cannot gainsay it, or obstruct the execution of it. (2.) Now it was made known when it should be done. The time was before fixed in the counsel of God, but now it was revealed: The Lord has spoken that it shall be within three years, v. 14. It is not for us to know, or covet to know, the times and the seasons, any further than God has thought fit to make them known, and so far we may and must take notice of them. See how God makes known his mind by degrees; the light of divine revelation shone more and more, and so does the light of divine grace in the heart. Observe, [1.] The sentence passed upon Moab: The glory of Moab shall be contemned, that is, it shall be contemptible, when all those things they have gloried in shall come to nothing. Such is the glory of this world, so fading and uncertain, admired awhile, but soon slighted. Let that therefore which will soon be contemptible in the eyes of others be always contemptible in our eyes in comparison with the far more exceeding weight of glory. It was the glory of Moab that their country was very populous and their forces were courageous; but where is her glory when all that great multitude is in a manner swept away, some by one judgment and some by another, and the little remnant that is left shall be very small and feeble, not able to bear up under their own griefs, much less to make head against their enemies’ insults? Let not therefore the strong glory in their strength nor the many in their numbers. [2.] The time fixed for the execution of this sentence:Within three years, as the years of a hireling, that is, at the three years’ end exactly, for a servant that is hired for a certain term keeps account to a day. Let Moab know that her ruin is very near, and prepare accordingly. Fair warning is given, and with it space to repent, which if they had improved, as Nineveh did, we have reason to think the judgments threatened would have been prevented.
6:00 AM 12/31/2017

Russian icon of the Prophet Isaiah, 18th century (iconostasis of Transfiguration Church, Kizhimonastery, KareliaRussia).

____________________________________

M.N.: One of the children, Jeremiah, age 11, was killed, the older one, Isaiah, age 16, was not in the house at the time. 

These names and ages may be the references to the Bible verses and their meanings as “messages”. I am not able to go into these details at this time, and I have no knowledge or any kind of “expertise” in religious studies. Let the FBI people with the background in the Bible studies look into this and come up with the hypotheses regarding these verses interpretations in this case, and what all of this might mean, if anything. 

These biblical names are present twice, it is very unlikely that this is just the coincidence, and it is more likely that these are the premeditated references to the Biblical verses. 

It is also possible, with such an abundance of the finger pointing in one (Israeli) direction, that this “lead” is false as the deliberate disinformation, false flag, and cover.  

________________________________________

jeremiah 11 | jeremaia 11 |

isaiah 16 | isaiah 16 commentary

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Isaiah 16 – From Wikipedia

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Photographic reproduction of the Great Isaiah Scroll

“TOAST of the HUDSON” – Troy, NY

Updates – 4:54 AM 12/31/2017

Troy, N.Y – Google Search

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Two charged in murder of mother, kids, partner in TroyNew York

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>16 hours ago
Troy police Capt. Daniel DeWolf said investigators were still searching for a motive for the killings, and didn’t specify which of the suspects — James White, 38, and Justin Mann, 24 — knew which victim or their exact relationship. Both men, from nearby Schenectady, were apprehended Friday night and …
Two arrests made in connection with Troy quadruple homicide
Local SourceNEWS10 ABCDec 30, 2017
Victims of Troy quadruple homicide identified
Highly CitedNew York Daily NewsDec 28, 2017
2 in custody, being questioned in connection with Troy murders
Local SourceAlbany Times UnionDec 29, 2017 

New York Times
2 Men Charged in Quadruple Homicide in Troy; Motive Is a Mystery
New York Times
Two suspects have been charged in a quadruple homicide in Troy, N.Y., a crime the police chief described as the worst he had seen in more than 40 years in law enforcement. “I don’t have to tell you how good it feels to have these two defendants in 
Schenectady men charged in Troy killingsAlbany Times Unionall 79 news articles »

Isaiah 16 – Wikipedia

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Isaiah 16 is the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and is a part of the Book of the Prophets.[1][2]

2 Men Charged in Quadruple Homicide in Troy; Motive Is a Mystery

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Isaiah 16 Commentary – Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)

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Chapter 16This chapter continues and concludes the burden of Moab. In it, I. The prophet gives good counsel to the Moabites, to reform what was amiss among them, and particularly to be kind to God’s people, as the likeliest way to prevent the judgments before threatened (v. 1-5). II. Fearing they would not take this counsel (they were so proud), he goes on to foretel the lamentable devastation of their country, and the confusion they should be brought to, and this within three years (v. 6-14).Verses 1-5 God has made it to appear that he delights not in the ruin of sinners by telling them what they may do to prevent the ruin; so he does here to Moab.I. He advises them to be just to the house of David, and to pay the tribute they had formerly covenanted to pay to the kings of his line (v. 1): Send you the lamb to the ruler of the land. David made the Moabites tributaries to him, 2 Sa. 8:2 . They became his servants, and brought gifts.Afterwards they paid their tribute to the kings of Israel (2 Ki. 3:4 ), and paid it in lambs. Now the prophet requires them to pay it to Hezekiah. Let it be raised and levied from all parts of the country, from Selah, a frontier city of Moab on the one side, to the wilderness, a boundary of the kingdom on the other side: and let it be sent, where it should be sent, to the mount of the daughter of Zion, the city of David. Some take it as an advice to send a lamb for a sacrifice to God, the ruler of the earth (so it may be read), the Lord of the whole earth, ruler of all lands, the land of Moab as well as the land of Israel, “Send it to the temple built on Mount Zion.’’ And some think it is in this sense spoken ironically, upbraiding the Moabites with their folly in delaying to repent and make their peace with God. “Now you would be glad to send a lamb to Mount Zion, to make the God of Israel your friend; but it is too late: the decree has gone forth, the consumption is determined, and thedaughters of Moab shall be cast out as a wandering bird,’’ v. 2. I rather take it as good advice seriously given, like that of Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar when he was reading him his doom, Dan. 4:27 . Break off thy sins byrighteousness, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. And it is applicable to the great gospel duty of submission to Christ, as the ruler of the land, and our ruler: “Send him the lamb, the best you have, yourselves a living sacrifice. When you come to God, the great ruler, come in the name of the Lamb, the Lamb of God. For else it shall be’’ (so we may read it) “that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be. If you will not pay your quit-rent, your just tribute to the king of Judah, you shall be turned out of your houses: The daughters of Moab (the country villages, or the women of your country) shall flutter about the fords of Arnon, attempting that way to make their escape to some other land, like a wandering bird thrown out of the nest half-fledged.’’ Those that will not submit to Christ, nor be gathered under the shadow of his wings, shall beas a bird that wanders from her nest, that shall either be snatched up by the next bird of prey or shall wander endlessly in continual frights. Those that will not yield to the fear of God shall be made to yield to the fear of every thing else.II. He advises them to be kind to the seed of Israel (v. 3): “Take counsel, call a convention, and consult among yourselves what is fit to be done in the present critical juncture; and you will find it your best way to execute judgment, to reverse all the unrighteous decrees you have made, by which you have put hardships upon the people of God, and, in token of your repentance for them, study now how to oblige them, and this shall be accepted of God more than all burnt-offering and sacrifice.’’1. The prophet foresaw some storm coming upon the people of God, perhaps the good people of the ten tribes, or of the two and a half on the other side Jordan, whose country joined to that of Moab, and who, by the merciful providence of God, escaped the fury of the Assyrian army, had their lives given them for a prey, and were reserved for better times, but were put to the utmost extremity to shift for their own safety. The danger and trouble they were in were like the scorching heat at noon; the face of the spoiler was very fierce upon them and the oppressor and extortioner were ready to swallow them up after stripping them of what they had.2. He bespeaks a shelter for them in the land of Moab, when their own land was made too hot for them. This judgment they must execute; thus wisely must they do for themselves, and thus kindly must they deal with the people of God. If they would themselves continue in their habitations, let them now open their doors to the distressed dispersed members of God’s church, and be to them like a cool shade to those that bear the burden and heat of the day. Let them not discover those that absconded among them, nor deliver them up to the pursuers that made search for them: “Betray not him that wandereth, nor deliver him up’’ (as the Edomites did, Obad. 1:13Obad. 1:14), “but hide the outcasts.’’ This was that good work by which Rahab’s faith was justified, and proved to be sincere, Heb. 11:31 . “Nay, do not only hide them for a time, but, if there be occasion, let them be naturalized: Let my outcasts dwell with thee, Moab (v. 4); find a lodging for them and be thou a covert to them. Let them be taken under the protection of the government, though they are but poor, and likely to be a charge to thee.’’ Note, (1.) It is often the lot even of those who are Israelites indeed to be outcasts, driven out of house and harbour by persecution or war,Heb. 11:37 . (2.) God owns them when men reject and disown them. They are outcasts, but they are my outcasts. The Lord knows those that are his wherever he finds them, even where no one else knows them. (3.) God will find a rest and shelter for his outcasts; for, though they are persecuted, they are not forsaken. He will himself be their dwelling-place if they have no other, and in him they shall be at home. (4.) God can, when he pleases, raise up friends for his people even among Moabites, when they can find none in all the land of Israel that can and dare shelter them. The earth often helps the woman, Rev. 12:16 . (5.) Those that expect to find favour when they are in trouble themselves must show favour to those that are in trouble; and what service is done to God’s outcasts shall no doubt be recompensed one way or other.3. He assures them of the mercy God had in store for his people. (1.) That they should not long need their kindness, or be troublesome to them: For the extortioner is almost at an end already, and the spoiler ceases. God’s people shall not be long outcasts; they shall have tribulation ten days (Rev. 2:10 ), and that is all. The spoiler would never cease spoiling if he might have his will; but God has him in a chain. Hitherto he shall go, but no further. (2.) That they should, ere long, be in a capacity to return their kindness (v. 5): “Though the throne of the ten tribes be sunk and overturned, yet the throne of David shall be established in mercy, by the mercy they receive from God and the mercy they show to others; and by the same methods may your throne be established if you please.’’ It would engage great men to be kind to the people of God if they would but observe, as they easily might, how often such conduct brings the blessing of God upon kingdoms and families. “Make Hezekiah your friend, for you will find it your interest to do so upon the account both of the grace of God in him and the presence of God with him. He shall sit upon the throne in truth, and then he does indeed sit in honour and sit firmly. Then he shall sitjudging, and will then be a protector to those that have been a shelter to the people of God.’’ And see in him the character of a good magistrate. [1.] He shall seek judgment; that is, he shall seek occasions of doing right to those that are wronged, and shall punish the injurious even before they are complained of: or he shall diligently search into every cause brought before him, that he may find where the right lies. [2.] He shall hasten righteousness, and not delay to do justice, nor keep those long waiting that make application to him for the redress of their grievances. Though he seeks judgment, and deliberates upon it, yet he does not, under pretence of deliberation, stay the progress of the streams of justice. Let the Moabites take example by this, and then assure themselves that their state shall be established.Verses 6-14 Here we have, I. The sins with which Moab is charged, v. 6. The prophet seems to check himself for going about to give good counsel to the Moabites, concluding they would not take the advice he gave them. He told them their duty (whether they would hear or whether they would forbear), but despairs of working any good upon them; he would have healed them, but they would not be healed. Those that will not be counselled cannot be helped. Their sins were, 1. Pride. This is most insisted upon; for perhaps there are more precious souls ruined by pride than by any one lust whatsoever. The Moabites were notorious for this: “We have heardin both ears of the pride of Moab; it is what all their neighbours cry out shame upon them for. He is very proud;the body of the nation is so, forgetting the baseness of their origin and the brand of infamy fastened upon them by that law of God which forbade a Moabite to enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever, Deu. 23:3 . We have heard of his haughtiness and his pride. It is not the rash and rigid censure of one of two concerning them, but it is the character which all that know them will give of them. They are a proud people, and therefore they will not take good counsel when it is given them. They think themselves too wise to be advised; therefore they will not take example by Hezekiah to do justly and love mercy. They scorn to make him their pattern, for they think themselves able to teach him. They are proud, and therefore will not be subject to God himself nor regard the warnings he gives them. The wicked, in the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God. They are proud, and therefore will not entertain and protect God’s outcasts; they scorn to have any thing to do with them.’’ But this is not all: 2. “We have heard of his wrath too (for those that are very proud are commonly very passionate), particularly his wrath against the people of God, whom therefore he will rather persecute than protect. 3. It is with his lies that he gains the gratifications of his pride and his passion; but his lies shall not be so; he shall not compass his proud and angry projects as he hoped he should.’’ Some read it, His haughtiness, his pride, and his wrath, are greater than his strength. “We know that, if we lay at his mercy, we should find no mercy with him, but he has not power equal to his malice. His pride draws down ruin upon him; for it is the preface to destruction, and he has not strength to ward it off.’’II. The sorrows with which Moab is threatened (v. 7): Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab. All the inhabitants shall bitterly lament the ruin of their country. They shall complain one to another: Every one shall howl in despair, and not one shall either see any cause or have any heart to encourage his friend. Observe,1. The causes of this sorrow. (1.) The destruction of their cities: For the foundations of Kir-haraseth shall you mourn. That great and strong city, which had held out against a mighty force (2 Ki. 3:25 ), should now be levelled with the ground, either burnt or broken down, and its foundations stricken, bruised and broken (so the word signifies); they shall howl when they see their splendid cities turned into ruinous heaps. (2.) The desolation of their country. Moab was famous for its fields and vineyards; but those shall all be laid waste by the invading army, v. 8v. 10. See, [1.] What a fruitful pleasant country they had, as the garden of the Lord, Gen. 13:10 . It was planted with choice and noble vines, with principal plants, which reached even to Jazer, a city in the tribe of Gad. The luxuriant branches of their vines wandered, and wound themselves along the ranges on which they were spread, even through the wilderness of Moab. There were vineyards there. Nay, they were stretched out, and went even to the sea, the Dead Sea: the best grapes grew in their hedge-rows. [2.] How merry and pleasant they had been in it. Many a time they had shouted for their summer fruits, and for their harvest, as the country people sometimes do with us when they have cut down all their corn. They had had joy and gladness in their fields and vineyards, singingand shouting at the treading of their grapes. Nothing is said of their praising God for their abundance, and giving him the glory of it. If they had made it the matter of their thanksgiving, they might still have had it the food and fuel of their lusts; see therefore, [3.] How they should be stripped of all. “The fields shall languish, all the fruits of them being carried away or trodden down; they cannot now enrich their owners as they have done, and therefore they languish. The soldiers, called here the lords of the heathen, shall break down all the plants, though they were principal plants, the choicest that could be got. Now the shouting for the enjoyment of the summer fruits has fallen, and is turned into howling for the loss of them. The joy of harvest has ceased; there is no more singing, no more shouting, for the treading out of wine. They have not what they have had to rejoice in, nor have they a disposition to rejoice; the ruin of their country has marred their mirth.’’ Note, First, God can easily change the note of those that are most addicted to mirth and pleasure, can soon turn their laughter into mourning and their joy into heaviness. Secondly, Joy in God is, upon this account, far better than the joy of harvest, that it is what we cannot be robbed of, Ps. 4:6Ps. 4:7 . Destroy the vines and the fig-trees, and you make all the mirth of a carnal heart to cease, Hos. 2:11Hos. 2:12 . But a gracious soul can rejoice in the Lord as the God of its salvation even when the fig-tree does not blossom and there is no fruit in the vine, Hab. 3:17,Hab. 3:18 . In God therefore let us always rejoice with a holy triumph, and in other things let us always rejoice with a holy trembling, rejoice as though we rejoiced not.2. The concurrence of the prophet with them in this sorrow: “I will with weeping bewail Jazer, and the vine of Sibmah, and look with a compassionate concern upon the desolations of such a pleasant country. I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon! and mingle them with thy tears;’’ nay (v. 11), it appears to be an inward grief: My bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab; it should make such an impression upon him that he should feel an inward trembling, like that of the strings of a harp when it is played upon. It well becomes God’s prophets to acquaint themselves with grief; the great prophet did so. The afflictions of the world, as well as those of the church, should be afflictions to us. See ch. 15:5 .III. In the close of the chapter we have, 1. The insufficiency of the gods of Moab, the false gods, to help them, v. 12. “Moab shall be soon weary of the high place. He shall spend his spirits and strength in vain in praying to his idols; they cannot help him, and he shall be convinced that they cannot.’’ It is seen that it is to no purpose to expect any relief from the high places on earth; it must come from above the hills. Men are generally so stupid that they will not believe, till they are made to see, the vanity of idols and of all creature-confidences, nor will come off from them till they are made weary of them. But, when he is weary of his high places, he will not go, as he should, to God’s sanctuary, but to his sanctuary, to the temple of Chemosh, the principal idol of Moab (so it is generally understood); and he shall pray there to as little purpose, and as little to his own case and satisfaction, as he did in his high places; for, whatever honours idolaters give to their idols, they do not thereby make them at all the better able to help them. Whether they are the dii majorum gentium-gods of the higher order, or minorum—of the lower order, they are alike the creatures of men’s fancy and the work of men’s hands. Perhaps it may be meant of their coming to God’s sanctuary. When they found they could have no succours from their own high places some of them would come to the temple of God at Jerusalem, to pray there, but in vain; he will justly send them back to the gods whom they have served, Jdg. 10:14 . The sufficiency of the God of Israel, the only true God, to make good what he had spoken against them. (1.) The thing itself was long since determined (v. 13): This is the word, this is the thing, that the Lord has spoken concerning Moab, since the time that he began to be so proud, and insolent, and abusive to God’s people. The country was long ago doomed to ruin; this was enough to give an assurance of it that it is the word which the Lord has spoken; and, as he will never unsay what he has spoken, so all the power of hell and earth cannot gainsay it, or obstruct the execution of it. (2.) Now it was made known when it should be done. The time was before fixed in the counsel of God, but now it was revealed: The Lord has spoken that it shall be within three years, v. 14It is not for us to know, or covet to know, the times and the seasons, any further than God has thought fit to make them known, and so far we may and must take notice of them. See how God makes known his mind by degrees; the light of divine revelation shone more and more, and so does the light of divine grace in the heart. Observe, [1.] The sentence passed upon Moab: The glory of Moab shall be contemned, that is, it shall be contemptible, when all those things they have gloried in shall come to nothing. Such is the glory of this world, so fading and uncertain, admired awhile, but soon slighted. Let that therefore which will soon be contemptible in the eyes of others be always contemptible in our eyes in comparison with the far more exceeding weight of glory. It was the glory of Moab that their country was very populous and their forces were courageous; but where is her glory when all that great multitude is in a manner swept away, some by one judgment and some by another, and the little remnant that is left shall be very small and feeble, not able to bear up under their own griefs, much less to make head against their enemies’ insults? Let not therefore the strong glory in their strength nor the many in their numbers. [2.] The time fixed for the execution of this sentence:Within three years, as the years of a hireling, that is, at the three years’ end exactly, for a servant that is hired for a certain term keeps account to a day. Let Moab know that her ruin is very near, and prepare accordingly. Fair warning is given, and with it space to repent, which if they had improved, as Nineveh did, we have reason to think the judgments threatened would have been prevented.
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Troy, N.Y – Google Search

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Troy, N.Y – Google Search

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Two charged in murder of mother, kids, partner in TroyNew York

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>16 hours ago
Troy police Capt. Daniel DeWolf said investigators were still searching for a motive for the killings, and didn’t specify which of the suspects — James White, 38, and Justin Mann, 24 — knew which victim or their exact relationship. Both men, from nearby Schenectady, were apprehended Friday night and …
Two arrests made in connection with Troy quadruple homicide
Local SourceNEWS10 ABCDec 30, 2017
Victims of Troy quadruple homicide identified
Highly CitedNew York Daily NewsDec 28, 2017
2 in custody, being questioned in connection with Troy murders
Local SourceAlbany Times UnionDec 29, 2017

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4 people dead in home; police say deaths appear suspicious
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Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have been killed in an apartment in New York’s capital … more. Photo: Lori Van Buren, AP. Image 2 and more »

4 Dead in Potential Homicide in Troy, N.Y., Basement

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Police are investigating a possible quadruple homicide in the Upstate New York city of Troy after four bodies were found in the basement of a home there. The four bodies were found inside a home at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Troy Police Sgt. Mark Maloy confirmed to TIME. Maloy said all four deaths …
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4 Dead in Potential Homicide in Troy, N.Y., Basement
 

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Police are investigating a possible quadruple homicide in the Upstate New York city of Troy after four bodies were found in the basement of a home there.

The four bodies were found inside a home at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Troy Police Sgt. Mark Maloy confirmed to TIME. Maloy said all four deaths are being treated as suspicious, but declined to offer further details on the investigation.

Troy Police Capt. Daniel DeWolf told the Albany Times Union that the building’s property manager was the first to discover the bodies in the residence, but no other details about the victims have been released.

“It’s horrible. Terrible. Sad — sad especially at this time of year,” DeWolf said.

“We’re going to do everything we can to look into this and get to the bottom of what happened here.”

A block of Second Avenue has reportedly been shut down while police investigate.

__________________________

Troy police investigating apparent quadruple homicide

December 27, 2017 05:19 AM

Troy police say they’re investigating what appears to be a quadruple homicide at a home on 158 2nd Avenue.

They say four murder victims were found in a basement apartment by a property manager early Tuesday afternoon.

There is no word on the identities, ages, or genders of the victims — or how they died. There is also no word on how long the bodies had been there.

There’s also no word if any weapons have been recovered.

Detectives, forensic experts and Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove have all been on scene.

Traffic is being re-routed in the area.

NewsChannel 13 is following this story. We will bring you more information as we get on WNYT.com and our later newscasts. 

Four found dead in possible homicide in Troy basement apartment: reports

sy-r-acuse.com

Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have been killed in an apartment
Troy police investigate multiple deaths at 158 Second Ave. on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Troy, N.Y. Police say four people have been found dead and may have been killed in an apartment(Lori Van Buren | The Albany Times Union via AP)
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TROY, N.Y. — Four people  – possibly all homicide victims – were found dead in a basement apartment in Troy on Tuesday, according to news reports.

The building’s manager found the deceased, Troy police told reporters. Police have not released any details about the victims, including their ages or names.

Troy police were called to 158 Second Ave. in Troy around 12:52 p.m., the Albany Times Union reported. The victims were found in the basement apartment.

Police investigate multiple suspicious deaths on 2nd Ave in Troy. They’ve shut down 2nd ave. At 103rd and 102nd.

Troy Police asked for the assistance of New York State Police, which has released few details as of 3:20 p.m.

Officers have cordoned off the area surrounding 158 Second Ave. and closed the street in both directions from 102nd to 103rd street, the Times Union reported.

Weapons sale to Ukraine – Google Search
 

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Trump administration approves lethal arms sales to Ukraine

Washington PostDec 20, 2017
Correction: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly reported that the Trump administration had approved the first-ever commercial sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine. It stated that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had publicly supported arms sales to Ukraine; Mattis did not explicitly do so. This post has …

 

AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: Two Women, Two Children Found Dead in NY Home
 

 
From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 00:47

Troy, New York police are trying to unravel the mystery of who killed a woman, her partner and her two young children. Their bodies were found in a riverfront apartment house the day after Christmas. Police say the killings do not appear random. (Dec. 28)

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3:35 PM 12/26/2017 – FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe…

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Here’s the biggest news you missed this weekend – USA TODAY


USA TODAY
Here’s the biggest news you missed this weekend
USA TODAY
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has become a lightning rod for criticism of the bureau from President Trump and other Republicans, is expected to leave the agency early next year after he is eligible for retirement, an official said Saturday 

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America Is Not Yet Lost

So far, the nation hasnt retreated into cynicism.
Homegrown terrorists ‘No. 1’ threat, FBI says. – Portland Press Herald – Press Herald


Press Herald
Homegrown terrorists ‘No. 1’ threat, FBI says. – Portland Press Herald
Press Herald
WASHINGTON Radicalized individuals, not teams of trained operatives, are the terrorist threats that most worry federal law enforcement agencies in the coming year. Stopping them is difficult, since many