11:57 AM 9/12/2019 - The Chinese Threat That’s Hiding in Plain Sight

11:57 AM 9/12/2019 - 
Story image for Oleg Smolenkov from The Guardian

The Chinese Threat That’s Hiding in Plain Sight

Saved Stories - FBI
Saved Stories - FBI 
Michael Novakhov on Trump and big Taliban fiasco - Google Search
Michael Novakhov on Trump and big Taliban fiasco - Google Search
Quiet defection of Russian spy in sharp contrast to Soviet scandal in 1978
Sean Hannity: 'Glaring errors' in CNN's 'BS reporting' on US spy add up to 'an outright lie'
Oleg Smolenkov - Google Search
Oleg Smolenkov - Google Search
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The U.S. Attorney Got The Numbers Wrong. Here's A Look At D.C.'s Actual Incarceration Rate
Religious Leader Jerry Falwell Jr. Won't Stop Talking About His Penis, Claim Employees!
News Orgs Push Court To Reveal Full Deutsche Bank Letter About Trump Tax Returns
6:49 AM 9/12/2019 - "Trump Investigations" - Google News: Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House - POLITICO
7:07 AM 9/12/2019 The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'
7:41 AM 9/12/2019 - Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'
The Chinese Threat That’s Hiding in Plain Sight
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Michael Novakhov on Trump and big Taliban fiasco - Google Search

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Quiet defection of Russian spy in sharp contrast to Soviet scandal in 1978

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

He was the highest-ranking Soviet ever to have been exposed as an intelligence asset of a foreign power.
And his sensational bolt to the other side was in considerable contrast to the long silence in the latest spy intrigue: an agent spirited off to the United States by the CIA in 2017 but never acknowledged by either side until this week.
That exfiltration — as the spy-saving operation is known — took place sometime after an Oval Office meeting in May 2017, when President Trump revealed highly classified counterterrorism information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, said current and former U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.
Today, just as in 1978, Russia, China and the United States still rely on flesh-and-blood spies, despite the huge advances in digital technology.
Did Trump help trigger a spy extraction? Media outlets disagree.
In 2010, for example, the FBI rounded up 10 Russian sleeper agents, including a couple whose children had no idea what they were up to. In 2016, Christopher Steele, whose dossier on Trump was privately commissioned, relied on intelligence from his sources in Moscow.
Turning informants against their own governments can have powerful results, experts say. They have insight that an algorithm may not be able to match and a sense of where the best available information might be — as opposed to the indiscriminate vacuum cleaner approach of a digital intelligence operation.
“Espionage is as old as governments and societies itself,” said Calder Walton, a historian who studies intelligence-gathering and is assistant director of the Applied History Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “A good spy in the right place and the right time can give you intelligence no other source can.”
As news spread of the 2017 CIA exfiltration — first reported by CNN — the Russian media cast suspicion on Oleg Smolenkov, a former diplomat who more recently worked in the administration of President Vladimir Putin.
This mid-level bureaucrat disappeared with his wife and three children while on vacation in Montenegro. Russia at first opened a murder investigation, but dropped it when information came to light that the family was alive and living in Virginia — under their own names.
So, for quite some time, the Russians have known that this former Kremlin insider was living in the United States, and there has been no fuss up to now.
“He was fired a couple of years ago and this is the only thing I can tell you now,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told reporters Tuesday. “He was never a high-ranking official.”
U.S. got key asset out of Russia following election hacking
Some Russian commentators have suggested that the identification of this bureaucrat by the Kommersant newspaper, quickly followed by other news sites, has more to do with Kremlin infighting than anything else.
Smolenkov had worked as a diplomat in Washington for the then-Russian ambassador, Yuri Ushakov, then worked for him as an aide when Ushakov joined the Russian cabinet. From there, he went with Ushakov to the Kremlin, where Ushakov today is a foreign policy adviser to Putin.
“Of course Ushakov is a target,” said Chervonnaya, the former U.S. and Canada analyst in Moscow. “But why after so many years? It looks a little bit crazy.”
How, she asked, could a top adviser to a top adviser disappear and hardly make any waves?
“Something is missing in this story,” she said. “It’s been more than two years.”
That, too, might have something to do with the Kremlin in its current incarnation under Putin, suggested Andrei Soldatov, who has made a career studying Russia’s secret services.
It may not be “unthinkable” that someone could vanish from the halls of power unremarked — even if he was in a position to gather critical intelligence, as the Americans have described their agent.
“The Kremlin bureaucracy became so secretive that unthinkable could be possible,” he tweeted.
Alexei Venediktov, editor in chief at the Ekho Moskvy radio station, asked on the air why the suspected agent would buy a house in the United States under his own name if he were such a high-ranking spy.
“Do you think,” he said, “we are all idiots here?”
And yet that’s exactly what Shevchenko did, after he emerged from six months in hiding after his defection in 1978.
He had snuck out of his New York apartment while his wife was asleep, he later acknowledged, but left her a note telling her how she could join him. He had feared she would alert the KGB if she knew of his plan or learned of his espionage.
She did call the KGB when she woke up in the morning. They took her back to Moscow where she died less than two months later, officially a victim of suicide.
Shevchenko bought a house in Georgetown with money provided by the U.S. government. The FBI, he later said, fixed him up with dates from an escort service.
In 1985, he went on “The Phil Donahue Show,” where he said that even though the KGB knew where to find him, he didn’t expect an immediate assassination attempt. It wouldn’t be good, he said, for the Soviet image to kill the former No. 2 diplomat at the United Nations.
“It doesn’t mean that eventually they will not get me,” he said. “You know that the KGB has a long hand and a long memory.”
And its successor agencies apparently still do. Russia’s state intelligence agencies are considered prime suspects in the gruesome murder by radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 and the attempted killing with a nerve agent of Sergei Skripal last year — both men reviled in the Russian services as turncoats.
Shevchenko had said it took him “years and years” to decide to defect. He approached the CIA in 1975, but they asked him to stay on at the United Nations and pass on intelligence about Soviet policies. He hadn’t expected that — but agreed.
In 1978, he got a message recalling him to Moscow. He went to Washington instead.
The KGB never did get him. He died in Washington in 1998, of cirrhosis of the liver.
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Sean Hannity: 'Glaring errors' in CNN's 'BS reporting' on US spy add up to 'an outright lie'

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

Sean Hannity called out CNNTuesday over the network's disputed report regarding President Trump and an American spy in Russia.
"Does anyone on Fake News CNN or, let's see, [MSNBC], the conspiracy channel, do they actually care about the truth or anyone anymore?" the "Hannity" host asked during his opening monologue.
"Despite all these glaring errors in this reporting -- this B.S. reporting -- the two networks ... dedicated hours and hours of breathless hysterical coverage once again to what was an outright lie," Hannity said.
"Despite all these glaring errors in this reporting -- this B.S. reporting -- the two networks ... dedicated hours and hours of breathless hysterical coverage once again to what was an outright lie."
— Sean Hannity
GRAHAM HITS CNN FOR HIRING FMR FBI HEAD ANDREW MCCABE, WHO WAS FIRED FOR LYING UNDER OATH
The White House and the CIA rebuked CNN Tuesday for its widely challenged report claiming the CIA had pulled a high-level spy out of Russia after President Trump “mishandled” classified material – saying the report was wrong and could put lives at risk.
"CNN's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Hannity accused CNN and NBC of putting the spy's life and family "in danger."
The Fox News host said the network's motivation for covering the story was its dislike of President Trump.
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"Seems like the predicate is what it always is. Hate Trump every second, every minute, every hour of any 24 hour day, every week, every month, every year," Hannity said.
Fox News' Gregg Re and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Oleg Smolenkov - Google Search

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Story image for Oleg Smolenkov from Washington Post

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As Trump Slams ‘Corrupt’ Puerto Rico, FBI Arrests FEMA Officials For Hurricane Maria Relief Fraud

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Daily Wire.

President Trump has repeatedly slammed Puerto Rican officials for their handling of the Hurricane Maria relief effort, decrying the unincorporated U.S. territory as "one of the most corrupt places on earth." On Tuesday, the FBI took action to crack down on corruption involving Maria relief, though rather than targeting Puerto Rican leaders, the bureau arrested two former FEMA officials — one of whom held a key position in the Obama administration — and a contractor.
"Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt," Trump tweeted as Hurricane Dorian picked up steam two weeks ago. "Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!"
Trump's criticism of Puerto Rican officials has been one of his steady themes since the devastating hurricane wreaked havoc on the island in 2017. Amid criticism for his supposedly "tepid response" to the disaster, Trump has repeatedly pointed the finger at Puerto Rico's leadership, accusing them of botching the relief effort and wasting resources.
On Tuesday, Trump's "corruption" claims about Hurricane Maria relief efforts were partly affirmed, but the alleged culprits were two former federal officials and a contractor, not Puerto Rican officials.
"A former top administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was arrested on Tuesday in a major federal corruption investigation that found that the official took bribes from the president of a company that secured $1.8 billion in federal contracts to repair Puerto Rico’s shredded electrical grid after Hurricane Maria," The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The most high-profile of the arrests was Ahsha Tribble, FEMA’s former deputy administrator for the region including Puerto Rico who also once served as Homeland Security adviser for the Obama administration. A second former FEMA employee, Jovanda Patterson, who served as deputy chief of staff in Puerto Rico, was also arrested. The third suspect is Donald Keith Ellison, former president of Cobra Acquisitions.
Puerto Rico's U.S Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez revealed Tuesday that Tribble had a "close personal relationship" with Ellison, the Times notes. Cobra Acquisitions went on to hire Patterson, according to Vélez.
Prosecutors say Tribble, Patterson and Ellison defrauded the federal government. Ellison allegedly offered Tribble a "stream of benefits," including helping her get an apartment in New York, first-class airplane tickets, hotel stays, and the use of one of his credit cards in exchange for Tribble helping secure a major contract for Ellison's company. The indictment alleges that Tribble and Ellison attempted to conceal their special relationship and gifts through various means, including using a disposable cellphone.
"In return for the gifts, Ms. Tribble is accused of performing official acts to advance Cobra’s interests," the Times details. "For example, according to the indictment, in February 2018, after the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority reported an explosion at a substation in Monacillo, P.R., that left several municipalities without power, Ms. Tribble insisted that the public utility hire Cobra to make repairs or risk not getting reimbursed by FEMA — even though leaders of the utility insisted they could do the same work at a far lower cost."
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The U.S. Attorney Got The Numbers Wrong. Here's A Look At D.C.'s Actual Incarceration Rate

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

For a brief moment last week, D.C. was at opposite ends of a debate.
One on side, criminal-justice reform advocates were saying that D.C. imprisons more people per capita than any of the 50 states. But the U.S. Attorney for D.C., which prosecutes all violent crime in the city, said just the opposite, pointing to data allegedly showing that the city actually sends fewer people to prison than any of the states.

Different Data, Different Conclusions

The contrasting data points were trotted out in the midst of a passionate debate over a D.C. Council bill that would expand opportunities for certain violent offenders to petition for a reduced sentence. Supporters of the bill say it’s necessary in part because advocates say D.C. — like many places — over-incarcerated residents in recent decades. The U.S. attorney’s opposition is founded in the belief that it doesn’t.
After making their claim at a public meeting on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney backtracked over the weekendpublicly admitting that it had used federal data that only counted inmates at the D.C. Jail as opposed to D.C. inmates held by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in federal facilities across the country. And that’s not an insignificant omission; D.C. residents convicted of felonies are sent to federal prisons, since the city has no state-based prison system of its own. (We reported on the impact of this reality in 2017.) As of last week, there were 4,548 D.C. residents in federal prisons, compared to roughly 1,800 in the D.C. Jail.
But there’s also been debate over whether D.C. actually does incarcerate more people per capita than any of the 50 states, a powerful claim that is regularly made during debates over criminal justice reform. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen did so in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post advocating for sentencing reform.
The source of the claim is the Prison Policy Initiative, which in its 2018 report found D.C. outpacing every state in the country in terms of its incarceration rate. It reports that D.C. incarcerates 1,153 per 100,000 D.C. residents, higher than even Oklahoma (1,079), Louisiana (1,052), Mississippi (1,039), Georgia (970) — and the national rate (698).

Comparing The District To States

But there are two caveats to consider: the actual numbers of D.C. residents who are incarcerated, and whether D.C. can be accurately compared to the 50 states.
On the first point, the Prison Policy Initiative has a detailed appendix describing how they counted the number of incarcerated residents for D.C. and the 50 states. For its 2018 report, it determined that 7,654 D.C. residents were in local and federal institutions. When divided by the estimated 2018 population of 689,154, the report landed on the 1,153 per 100,000 residents figure, putting D.C at the top of the list nationally.
But other criminal-justice reform advocates work with lower overall inmate counts, largely because they only include D.C. residents convicted of local offenses, not federal ones, and might not include pre-trial detentions or youth offenders. Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior researcher at The Sentencing Project, crunched her numbers, and she got an incarceration rate of 930 per 100,000 residents, which would put D.C. somewhere in the top five nationally — but not first.
And then there’s the second, and probably more important caveat — the difficulty of comparing D.C. to the 50 states.
“Generally I don’t make a comparison between D.C. and other states. It’s apples to oranges. D.C. is an urban area, it should be compared to other urban areas. We just don’t have that data,” says Ghandnoosh.
Michael Rocque, an assistant professor of sociology at Bates College and expert on criminology, agrees that stacking all-urban D.C. up against states that have mixes of urban, suburban and rural areas can be problematic.
“Are we comparing apples to apples? Not really when talking about rural and urban areas. Things from budgetary concerns to levels of law enforcement per population vary by area. So many things differ, from population density to mode of common transportation. We can try to take them into account when making comparisons (and we often do that), but it’s a problem that should be recognized,” he writes in an email. “And yes, I would caution against comparing D.C. to states, just as I would caution against comparing NYC to Maine.”
Even the FBI warns against these kinds of comparisons in its annual Uniform Crime Report, which collects crime data from jurisdictions across the country.
“Comparisons lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents,” it says. “Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.”
The Prison Policy Initiative itself recognized D.C. isn’t the same as the 50 states in its 2018 report when it put D.C. on a separate list alongside the U.S. territories. But in its 2016 report, D.C. was listed along with states — and led them all in terms of its incarceration rate.

Legacy Of Tough On Crime Policies

Finally, there’s the separate challenge that in D.C., the prosecution of violent crime is handled by federal, not local prosecutors. That can result in criminal justice decisions that are removed from local policymakers.
But aside from how best to measure and compare D.C.’s incarceration rate, Wanda Bertram of the Prison Policy Initiative thinks it’s important to remember the broader contours of the current debate over criminal justice.
“D.C. was as much a participant in tough on crime policies as any of the states,” she says. “When it comes to conversations like this, D.C. absolutely deserves to be compared to states.”
Ghandnoosh of the Sentencing Project agrees, saying that from her point of view, there’s a bigger issue that needs to be tackled: “Too many people sent to prison and people sent there for too long.”
Religious Leader Jerry Falwell Jr. Won't Stop Talking About His Penis, Claim Employees!

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Comments on: Religious Leader Jerry Falwell Jr. Won’t Stop Talking About His Penis, Claim Employees!.

You probably know the name Jerry Falwell Jr. because of the antics of his famous father.
Falwell Sr., co-founder of the Moral Majority, showed moral leadership to evangelical Christians for three decades by:
  • calling one of the Teletubbies gay
  • blaming 9/11 on abortion and feminism
  • losing a landmark legal battle with Larry Flynt
  • saying Brown v Board of Education was against the Bible
Total class.
Well, prepare to meet the apple rotting at the base of the tree.
Falwell Sr. also founded Liberty University back in 1971 (just a year before he was charged with fraud by the SEC); his son is now the president of that institute.
Under the leadership of Falwell Jr., the Christian school has become… well, as one of the senior officials spilling the tea in Politico‘s eight-month investigation put it:
“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund. We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”
Yes, in the blockbuster exposé, several high-ranking advisers with knowledge of the university’s inner workings are calling out the business practices of their president.
According to these whistleblowers, Falwell Jr. has been funneling university funds into real estate deals off which his family profited and awarding lucrative business contracts to friends — all of which is definitely self-dealing, possibly worse.
Related: Corrupt Trump Charity Dissolved By Court
They say he uses fear of revenge to keep everyone in the know silent about his less-than-legal activities.
But his unholy behavior isn’t limited to alleged corruption. Much like Donald Trump, whom he has heavily endorsed, Falwell Jr. is that rare (but not rare enough) triple threat of icky public views, shady business practices, AND private sexual scandals.
Speaking of Trump, it was his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who first mentioned Falwell when spilling his guts earlier this year. Back in May, the fixer confessed to having helped with a cover-up involving some “racy” photographs for the Christian leader.
At the time Falwell responded:
“This report is not accurate. There are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me.”
Well, his advisers know him well enough to know what that meant.
As one told Politico:
“If you read how Jerry is framing his response, you can see he is being very selective.”
Allegedly, yes, there absolutely were photos — of Falwell’s wife, Becki Falwell, “in various states of undress.” The Miami Herald was apparently even able to confirm it. The story involves a shady real estate deal with a 21-year-old “pool boy” who supposedly got the pics…
But how could that happen? How could some guy get photos of his wife?
Oh, probably because Falwell SHOWED THEM TO EVERYONE — or so it’s claimed!
Photos: Kylie Jenner Going Naked For Playboy
Yes, Liberty officials say the conservative Christian would show and/or text photos of his naked wife to all the men in his inner circle, including at least one employee.
One Liberty insider said Falwell is “very, very vocal” about his “sex life.” Per a source, in one car ride, “all he wanted to talk about was how he would nail his wife, how she couldn’t handle [his penis size], and stuff of that sort.”
Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew.
One employee said Falwell once sent a photo of his wife in a sexy “French maid costume” to several employees; supposedly he had intended to send it to just her personal trainer (already ew!) but “accidentally” texted it to multiple others..
Falwell denies all of this, btw, saying in a statement:
“I never had any picture of Becki Falwell dressed in a French maid uniform, and never sent such a non-existent photo to Ben Crosswhite.”
Oh, speaking of that trainer…
Liberty University began renting Crosswhite a space for a fitness center “specifically built into the old Racket Club for Jerry and Becki to train privately” in 2013. Over a couple years, they made tons of upgrades to the facility — which Liberty University paid for. Then in 2015 Falwell had Liberty sell Crosswhite the upgraded facility, “the club and all real estate associated with it,” for $1,216,000 — which Crosswhite would then allow University employees to use for an annual fee of $82k. Oh, and the school would pay him seven of those years in advance, meaning half his cost for the club was covered.
For those not in the real estate game, this is what’s known as a TOTAL FREAKIN’ GIFT.
What is it with these folks and doing real estate deals with hot guys who’ve (allegedly) gotten sent photos of Jerry’s wife with a moral majority of her clothes removed?
If we didn’t know what a family values guy Falwell was, we’d think he was using student money to finance some sort of kinky swinger lifestyle.
[Image via ABC/YouTube.]
News Orgs Push Court To Reveal Full Deutsche Bank Letter About Trump Tax Returns

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Talking Points Memo.

One thread in the sprawling series of mysteries around the President’s tax returns has a new shot at being resolved.
A group of media organizations are seeking to intervene in President Trump’s bid to halt subpoenas for financial records from two of his longtime banks. At the center of the effort is a letter filed under seal by Deutsche Bank last month in which the bank stated that it had records relevant to subpoenas issued by congressional committees investigating the President’s financial history.
The redacted version of that letter filed publicly hid the portion about whether the bank had returns for Trump himself, or those of his immediate family members or related entities.
Now, the news organizations are asking a Manhattan federal appeals court to unseal the unredacted version of the letter where Deutsche said whose tax returns it possesses.
Trump, through a personal attorney, sued to quash subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees for years of his financial records in April. But at oral arguments before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in August, the judges directed their attention away from attorneys for Trump and the House and towards the two banks who received the subpoenas – Deutsche and Capitol One.
Judges asked attorneys for the two banks whether they had copies of Trump’s returns, but neither would say. They eventually agreed to send a letter to the appeals court saying whether they had the records.
Capitol One, which provided deposit banking services to the Trump family, told the court that it did not have the records.
But Deutsche, which is expected to have copies of Trump’s personal returns, cited extensive banking privacy concerns in its reasoning for redacting the names of the people whose returns it possesses.
“There is no genuine privacy concern implicated by Deutsche Bank confirming what is already widely understood—that it has copies of certain of the President’s or his affiliates’ financial records,” the news organizations’ court filing reads. “But it would set a disturbing precedent to allow redactions of such rudimentary facts to go unchallenged, particularly in a case involving a sitting president.”
The case is one avenue by which Congress has sought Trump’s tax returns, which he has withheld in a breach of practice from presidents dating back to Gerald Ford. The House Ways and Means Committee is currently bogged down in a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeing to force it to comply with a request the panel made for six years of the President’s returns.
Read the motion here:
6:49 AM 9/12/2019 - "Trump Investigations" - Google News: Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House - POLITICO

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov - Review Of News And Opinions.

6:49 AM 9/12/2019

"Trump Investigations" - Google News: Israel accused of planting mysterious spy devices near the White House - POLITICO


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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (104 sites)
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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): "Trumpism" - Google News: Liberalism Is at a Crossroads, Not a Dead End - The New Republic

Liberalism Is at a Crossroads, Not a Dead End  The New Republic
Some leftist thinkers are too pessimistic about the fate of liberal values in the age of Trump.




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The discussions, closely held and preliminary, include a range of allegations. But several congressional aides caution that the articles may never be drafted.







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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)
1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Politics: Congress is back in town. Here’s why lawmakers will struggle to get much done.

Over the past 30 years, party leaders have taken power from committee chairs -- making chairs less effective at solving problems.







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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)
"elections 2016 russian ads on social media" - Google News: Why Instagram could be a major site for disinformation in the 2020 election - The Guardian

Why Instagram could be a major site for disinformation in the 2020 election  The Guardian
Whoever is spreading disinformation meant to rile up the American electorate, Instagram will almost certainly come into play.


"elections 2016 russian ads on social media" - Google News
NPR News Now: NPR News: 09-12-2019 6AM ET

NPR News: 09-12-2019 6AM ET



Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/edge1.pod.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2019/09/12/newscast060816.mp3?awCollectionId=500005&awEpisodeId=760088301&orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=760088301&t=podcast&e=760088301&size=4500000&ft=pod&f=500005

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"Conspiracy Against US" - Google News: Why Instagram could be a major site for disinformation in the 2020 election - The Guardian
7:07 AM 9/12/2019 The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The FBI News Review - Blog by Michael Novakhov.

 
7:07 AM 9/12/2019 - The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.



Copy posted on Facebook by Michael Novakhov
9 mins · 
The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.
The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.
The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.
President Trump is reputed to be lax in observing White House security protocols. POLITICO reported in May 2018 that the president often used an insufficiently secured cell phone to communicate with friends and confidants. The New York Times subsequently reported in October 2018 that “Chinese spies are often listening” to Trump’s cell-phone calls, prompting the president to slam the story as “so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it.” (A former official said Trump has had his cell phone hardened against intrusion.)
By then, as part of tests by the federal government, officials at the Department of Homeland Security had already discovered evidence of the surveillance devices around the nation’s capital, but weren’t able to attribute the devices to specific entities. The officials shared their findings with relevant federal agencies, according to a letter a top DHS official, Christopher Krebs, wrote in May 2018 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
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Based on a detailed forensic analysis, the FBI and other agencies working on the case felt confident that Israeli agents had placed the devices, according to the former officials, several of whom served in top intelligence and national security posts.

That analysis, one of the former officials said, is typically led by the FBI’s counterintelligence division and involves examining the devices so that they “tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are.” For these types of investigations, the bureau often leans on the National Security Agency and sometimes the Central Intelligence Agency (DHS and the Secret Service played a supporting role in this specific investigation).
“It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible,” said a former senior intelligence official.
An Israeli Embassy spokesperson, Elad Strohmayer, denied that Israel placed the devices and said: “These allegations are absolute nonsense. Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period.”
A senior Trump administration official said the administration doesn’t “comment on matters related to security or intelligence.” The FBI declined to comment, while DHS and the Secret Service didn’t respond to requests for comment.
But former officials with deep experience dealing with intelligence matters scoff at the Israeli claim — a pro forma denial Israeli officials are also known to make in private to skeptical U.S. counterparts.
One former senior intelligence official noted that after the FBI and other agencies concluded that the Israelis were most likely responsible for the devices, the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government.
“The reaction ... was very different than it would have been in the last administration,” this person said. “With the current administration, there are a different set of calculations in regard to addressing this.”
The former senior intelligence official criticized how the administration handled the matter, remarking on the striking difference from past administrations, which likely would have at a very minimum issued a démarche, or formal diplomatic reprimand, to the foreign government condemning its actions.
“I’m not aware of any accountability at all,” said the former official.
Beyond trying to intercept the private conversations of top officials — prized information for any intelligence service — foreign countries often will try to surveil their close associates as well. With the president, the former senior Trump administration official noted, that could include trying to listen in on the devices of the people he regularly communicates with, such as Steve Wynn, Sean Hannity and Rudy Giuliani.
“The people in that circle are heavily targeted,” said the former Trump official.
Another circle of surveillance targets includes people who regularly talk to Trump’s friends and informal advisers. Information obtained from any of these people “would be so valuable in a town that is like three degrees of separation like Kevin Bacon,” the former official added.
That’s true even for a close U.S. ally like Israel, which often seeks an edge in its diplomatic maneuvering with the United States.
“The Israelis are pretty aggressive” in their intelligence gathering operations, said a former senior intelligence official. “They’re all about protecting the security of the Israeli state and they do whatever they feel they have to to achieve that objective.”
Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Donald Trump. | Michael Reynolds/Getty Images
So even though Trump has formed a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and made numerous policy moves favorable to the Israeli government — such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, ripping up the Iran nuclear deal and heavily targeting Iran with sanctions — Israel became a prime suspect in planting the devices.
While the Chinese, who have been regularly caught doing intelligence operations in the U.S., were also seen as potential suspects, they were determined as unlikely to have placed the devices based on a close analysis of the devices.
“You can often, depending upon the tradecraft of the people who put them in place, figure out who’s been accessing them to pull the data off the devices,” another former senior U.S. intelligence official explained.
Washington is awash in surveillance, and efforts of foreign entities to try to spy on administration officials and other top political figures are fairly common. But not many countries have the capability — or the budget — to plant the devices found in this most recent incident, which is another reason suspicion fell on Israel.
IMSI-catchers, which are often used by local police agencies to surveil criminals, can also be made by sophisticated hobbyists or by the Harris Corporation, the manufacturer of StingRays, which cost more than $150,000 each, according to Vice News.
“The costs involved are really significant,” according to a former senior Trump administration official. “This is not an easy or ubiquitous practice.”
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Among professionals, the Israeli intelligence services have an especially fearsome reputation. But they do sometimes make mistakes and are “not 10 feet tall like you see in the movies,” a former senior intelligence official noted.
In 2010, the secret covers of a Mossad hit team, some of whom had been posing as tennis players, were blown after almost 30 minutes of surveillance video was posted online of them going through a luxury Dubai hotel where they killed a top Hamas terrorist in his room.
Still, U.S. officials sometimes have been taken aback by Israel’s brazen spying. One former U.S. government official recalled his frequent concern that Israel knew about internal U.S. policy deliberations that were meant to be kept private.
“There were suspicions that they were listening in,” the former official said, based on his Israeli counterparts flaunting a level of detailed knowledge “that was hard to explain otherwise.”
“Sometimes it was sort of knowledge of our thinking. Occasionally there were some turns of phrase like language that as far as we knew had only appeared in drafts of speeches and never been actually used publicly, and then some Israeli official would repeat it back to us and say, ‘This would be really problematic if you were to say X,’” said the former official.
Back when the Obama administration was trying to jump-start negotiations with the Palestinians, for example, the Israelis were eager to get advance knowledge of the language being debated that would describe the terms of reference of the talks.
“They would have had interest in what language [President Barack] Obama or [Secretary of State John] Kerry or someone else was going to use and might indeed try to find a way to lobby for language they liked or against language that they didn’t like and so having knowledge of that could be advantageous for them,” the former official said.
“The Israelis are aggressive intelligence collectors, but they have sworn off spying on the U.S. at various points and it’s not surprising that such efforts continue,” said Daniel Benjamin, a former coordinator of counterrorism at the State Department and now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth.
He recalled once meeting with a head of Mossad, the premier Israeli intelligence agency. The first thing the official told Benjamin was that Israel didn’t spy on the U.S.
“I just told him our conversation was over if he had such a low estimate of my intelligence,” Benjamin said.
Israeli officials often note in conversations with their American counterparts — correctly — that the U.S. regularly gathers intelligence on Israeli leaders.
As for Israel’s recent surveillance of the White House, one of the former senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged it raised security concerns but joked, “On the other hand, guess what we do in Tel Aviv?”
Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

Rep. Mark Meadows said he is surprised by the lengths to which U.S. Attorney John Durham is going to conduct his review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
With little public knowledge about the monthslong inquiry, the North Carolina congressman said Wednesday the prosecutor of Connecticut is "doing a lot of work behind the scenes."
"I can tell you, they're reaching people that I thought only I had talked to, and it’s going to be a good day for America and a good day for justice," Meadows told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.
Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr tasked Durham with leading the review of the Justice Department's and FBI's conduct in the early stages of the Russia investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Barr has also said he is working closely with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is wrapping up an investigation into alleged government surveillance abuses.
Meadows, a lead GOP investigator in Congress, said he believes Barr and Horowitz are doing a "good job" and hopes for accountability, naming Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok.
"If people do not go to jail, and this is all about just talking and rhetoric and people are not held accountable. The American people will be disillusioned and say 'enough is enough,'" Meadows said.
7:41 AM 9/12/2019 - Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The FBI News Review - Blog by Michael Novakhov.

 
7:41 AM 9/12/2019



Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠
Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks 

Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠
Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'
7:07 AM 9/12/2019 The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
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Durham team 'reaching people that I thought only I had talked to'

Michael_Novakhov shared this story .

Rep. Mark Meadows said he is surprised by the lengths to which U.S. Attorney John Durham is going to conduct his review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
With little public knowledge about the monthslong inquiry, the North Carolina congressman said Wednesday the prosecutor of Connecticut is "doing a lot of work behind the scenes."
"I can tell you, they're reaching people that I thought only I had talked to, and it’s going to be a good day for America and a good day for justice," Meadows told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs.
Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr tasked Durham with leading the review of the Justice Department's and FBI's conduct in the early stages of the Russia investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Barr has also said he is working closely with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is wrapping up an investigation into alleged government surveillance abuses.
Meadows, a lead GOP investigator in Congress, said he believes Barr and Horowitz are doing a "good job" and hopes for accountability, naming Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and former FBI officials James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok.
"If people do not go to jail, and this is all about just talking and rhetoric and people are not held accountable. The American people will be disillusioned and say 'enough is enough,'" Meadows said.
7:07 AM 9/12/2019 The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The FBI News Review - Blog by Michael Novakhov.

7:07 AM 9/12/2019 - The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.
The Chinese Threat That’s Hiding in Plain Sight

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Bulwark.

Early in my Army career, I served as a foreign area officer in Asia focused on China and have spent the succeeding years in intelligence. Right away in my journey as a career military intelligence officer, I came to have great respect for Chinese discipline. They work hard; they sacrifice. What a large number of Chinese leaders, engineers and academics also do quite well is identify and adopt others’ good ideas. They reverse engineer what they have stolen including copying weapon designs for C-17, F-22, and F-35 planes and the Predator drone. They are masters of “hiding in plain sight.”
In 1999, two Chinese colonels published “Unrestricted Warfare,” a seminal piece that described in precise detail how China could assert dominance in competition with Western powers by using all means of warfare without limitations. America’s problem then was it did not see these other means of warfare for what they could become or how they could be employed.
Chinas intentionally blurs the lines between public and private enterprises, to ensure that the nation’s military, espionage, and commercial interests are intertwined. This takes shape with massive investments in state-owned enterprises, state-sanctioned hacking, and cyberwarfare. Everything in China, from diplomacy, economics, military development, and information, is used in concert to achieve Communist Party objectives.  For example, China’s 2017 National Intelligence law mandates information sharing between “private” businesses and intelligence agencies, even for Chinese businesses operating in other countries.  Additionally, numerous individuals working for or with state-owned enterprises have been indicted for espionage by the U.S. Justice Department, highlighting the close link between Chinese businesses and the government.  There are ongoing concerns about certain Chinese graduate students and academics in U.S. schools, who can act as “non-traditional collectors (of intelligence), especially in the academic setting,” according  to FBI director Christopher Wray.
 The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) serves as a case study for how a state-controlled institution uses its resources to meet the objectives of the Communist government. Established in 1949, the academy operates as a national think tank and consists of dozens of campuses and more than 50,000 researchers. It employs word-class scientists and partners with many American and Western universities on research projects.  However, it is more than a disinterested research organization or academic institution. According to the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, it also has “connections to Chinese military, nuclear, and cyberespionage programs.”
There is no American counterpart to CAS; our National Academy of Sciences does not serve the U.S. military or our intelligence services, instead operating as a non-governmental organization on a smaller scale, with a more specific mission and much smaller budget.
CAS and CAS-owned companies develop AI initiatives, hypersonic spaceplanes, robotic submarines, underwater platforms and missile technology for the Chinese military, enabling it to expand its presence in the Pacific, specifically in the South China Sea.  Chinese companies who partner with CAS are viewed by the Security Review Commission as potential threats to supply chains of American companies, such as Hengdian Group and Goertek, who supply magnetic and acoustic materials to American companies.  The commission notes that the threats extend beyond standard cybersecurity risks, and also include the potential theft of design and product specifications of American companies.
 The Justice Department has provided additional evidence in multiple indictments that individuals affiliated with CAS were responsible for facilitating the transfer of trade secrets and military technology from U.S firms. CAS serves a clearinghouse for technology and information appropriated or stolen from American universities and companies.
Of all of CAS’s ventures, Lenovo remains its greatest success.  CAS founded and is still a parent of Lenovo; CAS owns 35 percent of Legend Holdings (an asset management arm of CAS), which has a 31 percent ownership stake in Lenovo. The Chinese government remains the largest shareholder of Lenovo.  It has successfully pursued a low-cost, high volume model. Today, Lenovo is the worldwide market leader in personal computer sales, with 65 million sold throughout the world over the past year.  In the United States, no manufacturer’s sales have grown more quickly than Lenovo’s.  The company boasts of serving over 900 U.S. state and local government agencies. Lenovo would not have expanded to its current size without support from CAS and the Chinese government.
CAS, and by extension Lenovo, benefited from China’s National High Technology Research and Development Program, also known as the “863” Program, which for more than 30 years has subsidized technology development in IT, aeronautics and automation. Government agencies, research labs, and SOEs receive funding under the program.  According to the Security Review Commission, CAS is the largest recipient of 863 money, making it an engine for initiatives that build up China’s information and communications technology sector and military. For example, CAS is the largest shareholder of Sugon, a developer of AI for the Chinese military.
While not the specific target of any recent Trump administration actions, because of its ties to the Chinese, Lenovo currently has unmitigated access to millions of Americans’ personal information.  This should raise red flags, given the company’s history of security and privacy abuses. Lenovo’s Watch X sent user locations to a server in China without their knowledge; its Superfish adware installed in hundreds of thousands of computers allowed third-parties to spy on browser traffic, resulting in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission; security researchers found that Adups data mining software on Lenovo phones could collect personal data without consent.  There are many other examples that should give potential buyers pause, not just for the chance that sensitive information falls into the hands of third parties, but that the Chinese government obtains it and freely exploits it.
Because of its ties to the Chinese government, and backdoors prevalent in their products, Lenovo has been banned by intelligence agencies in the “Five Eyes” countries – the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.   Last decade, the State Department banned Lenovo from classified networks and the U.S. Navy later banned the company’s servers from its ships. Just last month, the Department of Defense inspector general flagged the “cybersecurity risks” of using Lenovo products. Despite these warnings, consumers, businesses and government agencies purchase Lenovo computers at an alarming rate.  They are often seen as an inexpensive and user-friendly alternative to other products. The facts above are unknown to or ignored by too many consumers and procurement officials across the nation.  So is the reality that the largest PC maker is owned by a Chinese, state-controlled institute connected to espionage activity.
China will likely continue to expand its strategy of combining military, scientific and commercial interests through state-owned enterprises and state-directed action. According to former Rep. Robert Pittenger, “Chinese investment in the United States increased more than 900 percent between 2010 and 2016.  While some were legitimate business investments, many others were part of a strategic, coordinated, Chinese government effort to target critical American national security infrastructure and technology.”  The Pentagon issued a private report two years ago expressing that Chinese “investment into American start-ups was a new cause for concern.” These concerns are well-founded. The bipartisan IP Commission estimated in a 2017 report that Chinese theft of American intellectual property totaled between $225 billion and $600 billion per year.
In recent months, the Trump administration took a number of steps to block certain Chinese companies from entering American markets.  The Federal Communications Commission voted to prevent China Mobile from operating in the United States; President Donald Trump issued an executive order to protect technology supply chains from unwanted foreign intrusions; and the Commerce Department placed Huawei on its “Entity List.” All transactions with an organization, government or commercial, or an individual on the  “Entity List” are flagged by the U.S. government for monitoring for possible national security risks. The executive order and Huawei’s inclusion on the “Entity List” effectively ban Huawei from all telecommunication networks in America. In August, the U.S. government added 46 more Huawei affiliates to the Entity List.
While these steps are welcome, the debate over U.S-China policy should not primarily focus on a cost-benefit analysis of specific companies operating in the U.S. This approach is the diplomatic equivalent of “whack-a-mole,” which only narrowly defines bad actors.  Actions taken by hostile Chinese actors are less about individual Chinese companies closing the gap with their American competitors than they are conforming with the communist party’s “Made in China” 2025 initiative, which aims to make China a technology manufacturing superpower by any means necessary.  Policymakers must communicate the broad scope of threats and intrusions (beyond one company’s actions) so government agencies, private businesses, and consumers remain aware, vigilant and protected.
We will not change China’s cultural behavior of persistence, or its desire to become the single global super power. America must acknowledge China’s aspirations and find very narrowly defined opportunities to collaborate while preventing hostile actions from compromising our networks, platforms, and national security.  The US and the Soviet Union figured that out when they both had more than 6,000 nuclear weapons each 40 years ago. China’s cyber adventurism advanced by governmental fiat and money is no less existential. They are not trying to mask their intentions. America owns the response. 
FBI Con Artist Douglas Leff hacked Rossello for TelegramGate - 8:17 AM 9/12/2019

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The FBI News Review - Blog by Michael Novakhov.

 

FBI Con Artist Douglas Leff hacked Rossello for TelegramGate - 8:17 AM 9/12/2019



Read more: 

Who is Douglas Leff? - Thematic Pages – http://fbireform.org

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Russian billionaire arranges with US about exclusion of his name from ‘Kremlin list’

In December, last year, Gapontsev filed a lawsuit against the US Ministry of Finance, after Washington had put him on the ‘Kremlin list’ of businessmen who are imposed sanctions due to their proximity to authorities.
Chairman of the board of directors of an international corporation IPG Photonics Valentin Gapontsev has signed an agreement with the US Ministry of Finance related to a case into including of him in the so called ‘Kremlin list’. This is being stated in a paper published on the database of the US courts.
In December, last year, Gapontsev filed a lawsuit against the US Ministry of Finance, after Washington had put him on the ‘Kremlin list’ of businessmen who are imposed sanctions due to their proximity to authorities. International. Gapontsev stated he had nothing in common with Kremlin representatives, reminds RNS.
As a result, the US Ministry of Finance and the Russian businessman concluded that if by September 11, 2022, American authorities don’t have new motives for including of Gapontsev in the sanctions list, his last name will be crossed out, reports Interfax.
"political crimes" - Google News: The Real Charles Manson - Truthdig

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Flynn's Legal Offensive Pushes Spygate Disclosure

... that it was necessary to open a counterintelligence investigation on him and thus the FBI had no proper reason to interview Flynn in the first place.
Devin Nunes: UK memo warning about Steele's credibility exists - Washington Examiner

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ICE is paying an Israeli security company $30M to break into phones - The Next Web

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InSight Crime: The US-Mexico Border’s Eastern End: A Forgotten Criminal Enclave?

The US-Mexico Border’s Eastern End: A Forgotten Criminal Enclave?
While Mexico’s drug war has left much of its frontier with the US threatened by cartel violence, a fine-tuned criminal strategy has allowed the border’s eastern extremity to remain both a quiet backwater and a key crossing point for cocaine.
The region is known as Playa Bagdad (Baghdad Beach) – a long, sandy isthmus stretching along the coast of the northeast Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Here, the Gulf Cartel enjoys undisputed control of both a key maritime entry point for illegal drugs, and an easy border crossing with minimal presence of security forces, the AP reported.
This is despite the fact that Tamaulipas has historically been one of the most violent states in Mexico. Cities including Matamoros, only 40 kilometers from Playa Bagdad, have seen open warfare over the last decade between the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcement wing, Los Zetas.
Although these groupings have fragmented in recent years, their splinter groups continue to fiercely contest trafficking routes in the state, producing a homicide rate of 21.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018.

InSight Crime Analysis

Given the bloodshed that cartel competition has inflicted on the Mexican border region, a relatively peaceful and unpoliced criminal enclave such as Playa Bagdad presents a striking anomaly. Below, InSight Crime considers this criminal haven ould have survived.
  1. Permeation of Local Society

Mike Vigil, former operations chief of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), describes Playa Bagdad as a region well-suited to the Gulf Cartel’s modus operandi of permeating local society and institutions.
“The Zetas prefer to bring in cocaine via aircraft,” he told InSight Crime. “The traffickers of the Gulf Cartel are like a little ant army. They go through the area of least resistance.”
Cocaine arrives at Playa Bagdad in go-fast boats directly from Colombia, or is air-dropped into coastal waters, Vigil says. The traffickers then contract local fishermen to bring it into shore.
The same fishermen sometimes carry shipments up the coastline by night, unloading in the settlements of Corpus Christi or Padre Island in Texas. More commonly, the drugs are loaded into trucks at Playa Bagdad, and taken across the border over land.
Vigil confirms that Playa Bagdad’s few police are on the cartel’s payroll. According to the AP, the Mexican government admits that nearby border customs posts are directly controlled by the traffickers.
The Gulf Cartel’s grip on Playa Bagdad is facilitated by its long history in the area, dating from the early 1990s, and the fact that the cartel has not diversified into other drugs, but rather focused on cocaine.
  1. The Zetas’ War on Two Fronts

Vigil emphasized that the Zetas expended huge resources on fighting the Sinaloa Cartel for regional expansion. By contrast, the Gulf Cartel have focused more narrowly on their areas of influence in eastern Mexico.
In this context of war on two fronts, Vigil suggests that it was not in the Zetas’ interest to contest a transhipment point that strongly favored the Gulf Cartel’s trafficking expertise over their own.
More recent developments have compounded this dynamic. The Zetas have been crippled by high-profile arrests and are now fragmented into splinter groups vying for control, while continuing to clash with the more powerful Sinaloa Cartel.
Although the Gulf Cartel has also suffered some fragmentation, their beleaguered rivals in Tamaulipas do not currently have the capacity to challenge them in the heart of their territory.
  1. Federal Forces Are Distracted

Rather than address weaknesses in local law enforcement directly, the current Mexican government has attempted to compensate by deploying troops from the newly-created National Guard. These federal forces, however, are under pressure to prioritize hotspots of violence and illegal migration.
1,215 National Guard members are deployed in Tamaulipas, but none are to be seen around Playa Bagdad.
“The National Guard don’t have the resources or watercraft to patrol a beach area that’s so long,” Vigil explains. “They feel they can get the biggest bang for their buck operating in the cities.”
Although Tamaulipas’ governor has requested more National Guard troops to combat organized crime in the state, he was reportedly told that no elements were available, as the force is concentrated on containing migration over Mexico’s southern border.
The Gulf Cartel’s tight control over Playa Bagdad and use of the dunes as a clandestine cemetery has been an effective deterrent to migrants. In a political climate focused on illegal migration, this ensures that neither Mexican nor US forces have prioritized policing this section of the border.
As Tamaulipas’ rates of violence are currently falling, deploying the National Guard in larger regions of the state may not be a priority.
The post The US-Mexico Border’s Eastern End: A Forgotten Criminal Enclave? appeared first on InSight Crime.


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