11:13 AM 12/6/2017 – Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated
Collusion | IRRUSSIANALITY
Yes, the Kremlin is worried about Russias own presidential elections – The Washington Post
This explains how social media can both weaken and strengthen democracy.
White House casts decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem as a recognition of reality http://cnn.it/2BA3xwf pic.twitter.com/W1pHSO9kYR
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Poland’s former military intelligence head detained

mikenova shared this story .

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish military police say they have detained a former head of Poland’s military counterintelligence services for further questioning over alleged illegal cooperation with Russian security services in 2010.

Gen. Piotr Pytel denies the cooperation was illegal. The case relates to Poland’s and NATO’s agreement with Russia’s military intelligence that allowed for the passage of Polish troops back home from Afghanistan. Poland’s prime minister of the time, Donald Tusk, now European Union leader was questioned in the case last year.

On Wednesday, opposition politicians accused Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz of ordering the detention in revenge against Pytel, who has criticized him.

The opposition has called for the dismissal of Macierewicz.

God’s Plan for Mike Pence – The Atlantic

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


The Atlantic
God’s Plan for Mike Pence
The Atlantic
Subscribe to The Atlantic’s Politics & Policy Daily, a roundup of ideas and events in American politics. No man can serve two masters, the Bible teaches, but Mike Pence is giving it his all. It’s a sweltering September afternoon in Anderson, Indiana 
Mike Pence and Reince Priebus reportedly planned a coup to replace Trump after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapeBusiness Insider
Mike Pence’s Wife Thinks Donald Trump Is ‘Reprehensible’ and ‘Totally Vile’Newsweek
Report: Mike Pence Offered to Replace Trump on GOP Ticket After the Access Hollywood TapeSlate Magazine
Daily Beast –Bustle –TPM –The New Yorker
all 46 news articles »
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing – New York Times

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


New York Times
Mueller Said to Have Subpoenaed Deutsche Bank: DealBook Briefing
New York Times
Good Tuesday. Here’s what’s happening: Robert Mueller is said to have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on its business dealings with President Trump. Steve Case has introduced very big backers for his new Rise of the Rest investment fund 
Subpoena For Deutsche Bank May Put Mueller On Collision Course With TrumpNPR
Mueller’s probe cost $3.2 million in opening 4.5 monthsPolitico
Mueller probe’s expenses totaled $6.7M in early monthsThe Hill
ABC News –HuffPost –Mother Jones –USA TODAY
all 133 news articles »
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag – Sports Illustrated

mikenova shared this story from Top Stories – Google News.


Sports Illustrated
Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics, Some Athletes to Compete Under Neutral Flag
Sports Illustrated
The Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended from the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after the International Olympic Committee examined the findings of a 16-month investigation into Russia’s doping and cheating at the 2014 Winter Games 
Russia banned from 2018 Olympics for widespread doping programWashington Post
Russia banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChangYahoo Sports
Russia’s Olympic team barred from 2018 Winter GamesLos Angeles Times
NBCNews.com –Bloomberg –Business Insider –TMZ.com
all 203 news articles »
Collusion | IRRUSSIANALITY

mikenova shared this story from IRRUSSIANALITY.

The investigation into suspected collusion between US President Donald Trump and the Russian government has claimed its first three victims: one (Paul Manafort) for completely unconnected money laundering charges, and two (George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn) for lying to investigators about things which were not themselves criminal, and which are therefore crimes which would never have happened had there never been an investigation. To date, the evidence of direct collusion between Trump and the Russians is looking a little thin, to say the least. Now, into this maelstrom steps Guardian reporter Luke Harding with his book Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russian Helped Donald Trump Win.

Collusion spends over 300 pages insinuating that Trump is a long-standing agent of the Russian secret services, and hinting, without ever providing any firm evidence, that Trump and his team acted on orders from the Kremlin to subvert American democracy. I’ll be honest, and admit that I picked this book up expecting it to be a series of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, and to be utterly unbalanced in its analysis, and in that sense I’m not an unbiased reader. At the same time, I was interested to see if Harding had come up with anything that everybody else had not, and was willing to give him a chance. I needn’t have bothered. For alas, my worst suspicions proved to be true, and then some.

collusion

The first thing to note about Collusion is that most of it is padding. That is to say, that it consists mainly of a lot of digressions in which Harding describes people and events not directly related to the main story of collusion. Whenever a new character is introduced, you tend to get pages of background information, along with descriptions of various places they’ve been to, things they’ve done in the past, and so on. At the start of the book, for instance, Harding introduces Christopher Steele, who prepared an infamous dossier purportedly based on secret sources within the Kremlin, which made all sort of extreme accusations against Trump. We learn about Steele’s parents, his childhood, his education, his career, and so on. Harding recounts how he met Steele. We learn about how they tried one café, then another, who drank what, etc, etc. This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book. There’s a lot of padding. This padding makes Collusion an easy read, and gives it colour, and the flavour of a spy novel. But none of it adds anything to our knowledge of Donald Trump and his relationship with Russia. It’s just filler, designed to cover up the fact that, when it comes to the matter of collusion, Harding doesn’t have a whole lot new to say and certainly doesn’t have enough to fill up an entire book.

The second thing to note is that Harding’s modes of argumentation and standards of evidence are not  – how can I be polite about this? – what I’m used to as an academic. Let’s take the example of Trump’s former convention manager, Paul Manafort, to whom Harding devotes an entire chapter, obviously on the basis that the Trump-Manafort connection somehow proves a Trump-Kremlin connection. The problem Harding has is that, despite pages of fluff about Manafort, he hasn’t got any evidence that Manafort is a Kremlin agent. In fact, he quotes one source – a former Ukrainian official, Oleg Voloshin – as telling him that when Manafort worked as a political advisor to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich:

Manafort was an advocate for US interests. So much so that the joke inside the Party of Regions [in Ukraine] was that he actually worked for the USA. … He supported Ukraine’s association with NATO and with the EU. He warned Yanukovich not to lock up [former Prime Minister Iuliia] Tymoshenko. “If it weren’t for Paul, Ukraine would have gone under Russia much earlier,” Voloshin told me.

This is pretty funny behaviour for a Kremlin agent, and Harding has to admit that, “It’s unclear to what extent, if any, Manafort was involved in supplying intelligence to Russia.” This doesn’t fit with the conclusion that Harding obviously wants readers to draw – that Manafort was a Kremlin agent, and so Trump must be too. So, he comes up with something else: some of Manafort’s associates in Ukraine “were rumoured to have links with Russian intelligence.” Note the use of the word “rumoured”. It’s not exactly convincing, but it’s good enough for Luke, who uses it to tell a story about one such associate, Konstantin Kilimnik. Harding recounts that he contacted Kilimnik by email to ask him about his relationship with Manafort. Kilimnik responds by telling him that the collusion accusations are  “insane” and “gibberish”, and signs off his email with a bit of self-mockery: “Off to collect my paycheck at KGB. :))”

And here’s where it gets interesting. For Harding thinks there’s something suspicious about Kilimnik’s answer. He writes:

The thing which gave me pause was Kilimnik’s use of smiley faces. True, Russians are big emoticon fans. But I’d seen something similar before. In 2013 the Russian diplomat in charge of political influence operations in London was named Sergey Nalobin. Nalobin had close links with Russian intelligence. He was the son of a KGB general; his brother had worked for the FSB; Nalobin looked like a career foreign intelligence officer. Maybe even a deputy resident, the KGB term for station chief. On his Twitter feed Nalobin described himself thus:

A brutal agent of the Putin dictatorship : )

And that’s it. That’s Harding’s evidence. Just to make sure readers get the point, he follows the last line up with a double paragraph space. Stop and think what this means, he seems to be saying. Someone who “looked like a career foreign intelligence officer” uses smiley faces. Kilimnik uses smiley faces!!! Say no more.

This is the level at which Harding’s logic works. Harding recounts a meeting of Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House, a meeting which was photographed by someone from the Russian news agency TASS. As Harding tells us:

The Times put the photo of Trump and Lavrov on its front page. At the bottom of the photo taken inside the White House was a credit. It said: “Russian Foreign Ministry.”

Yet another double paragraph break follows,  just to make sure that readers take in the implication of what this means.

Take another example. We learn (which in fact we knew already if we’d been following this story) that Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor, and former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Michael Flynn, attended a conference on the subject of intelligence at Cambridge University, where he met a Russian woman, Svetlana Lokhova. Harding admits that, “There is no suggestion she is linked to Russian intelligence.” Nevertheless, he feels it necessary to tell us that Flynn later corresponded with her by email. He writes:

In his emails, Flynn signed off in an unusual way for a US spy. He called himself “General Misha.”

Misha is the Russian equivalent of Michael.

Again, Harding then introduces a section break, leaving this ominous fact hanging in the air. Think of what it means, he is saying!

This is typical of how Harding argues. He puts in some suspicious sounding fact, or asks some question, and then just leaves it hanging. The implication is that the question doesn’t need answering, that the most damaging and extreme answer is obviously true. There’s an awful lot of this technique in Collusion. Harding spends pages on a digression about Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybovlev before telling us that Rybovlev’s private jet sometimes parks next to that of Donald Trump. Seems suspicious, huh? Except that Harding tells us that, ‘The White House … said that Trump and Rybovlev had never met. This appears to be true.” But Harding isn’t satisfied, and asks, “Had he [Rybovlev] perhaps met someone else from Trump’s entourage during his travels? Like, for example, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen?” Later, Harding tells us that Rybovlev’s yacht was once at Dubrovnik at the same time as Ivanka Trump’s yacht. “Was this perhaps planned” he asks.

Harding’s method is to ask these questions, as if asking was itself proof of guilt. Trump borrowed money from Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank was bailed out at one point by the Russian bank VTB. “Was there a connection?” Harding asks. But Harding doesn’t answer these questions. In fact, one of the interesting things about this book is that again and again the author has to confess that the facts don’t really fit what he’s trying to say. For instance, when discussing Trump and Deutsche Bank, and trying to make it sound as if Trump was in some way connected to the Kremlin because he was borrowing from the Germans, Harding writes, “The sources insist that the answer was negative. No trail to Moscow was ever discovered, they told us.”

This isn’t a lone example. Harding spends quite a few pages discussing Carter Page, a businessman who appeared on RT and gave a talk at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and who at one point had a marginal role in the Trump election campaign. It’s clear that he wants it all to sound really damaging. And yet, he writes that Page’s “attempts to meet Trump individually failed.” So, it turns out that there’s not much of a connection there after all. Likewise, when discussing Russian computer hackers, Harding writes: “By the second decade of the twenty-first century the cyber world looked like the high seas of long ago. The hackers who sailed on it might be likened to privateers. Sometimes they acted for the ‘state’, sometimes against it.” This rather undermines his claim that the Russian state was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

In another example, Harding discusses the sudden death of Oleg Erovinkin, who worked for the oil company Rosneft. He speculates that “Erovinkin was Steele’s source deep inside Rosneft,” and was murdered because word of Steele’s document had leaked out. The murder, he implies, is proof of the dossier’s validity. Except that Harding admits that, “there was nothing suspicious about Erovinkin’s sudden death” and “Steele was adamant that Erovinkin wasn’t his source.” Yet this doesn’t stop Harding from writing that, “in the wake of the dossier the Kremlin did appear to be wiping out some kind of American or Western espionage network. … It certainly looked that way.”

I could give other examples, but I can’t make this review too long. The point is that Harding ignores his own evidence. He argues by innuendo, and on occasion he just lets his imagine run away with itself. Steele’s dossier alleged that Trump had hired prostitutes while on a trip to Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s response was to crack a joke about Russian prostitutes being the best in the world. But to Harding it wasn’t a joke. As he writes:

Putin may have been sending a second message, darkly visible beneath the choppy, translucent waters of the first. It said: we’ve got the tape, Donald!

I wish I could say that this book was a joke. If you were going to write a parody of the collusion story, this is perhaps what it would look like. Unfortunately, Harding is deadly serious and I suspect that a lot of uncritical readers will soak it all up, not stopping to reflect on the awful methodology. So, I end on a word of warning. By all means read this book. But don’t do so in order to find out the truth about Donald Trump and Russia; do so in order to understand the methods currently being used to enflame Russian-Western relations. In that respect, Collusion is really quite revealing.

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Yes, the Kremlin is worried about Russias own presidential elections – The Washington Post

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Monkey Cage

December 6 at 6:00 AM

It’s a foregone conclusion that Vladimir Putin will win Russia’s March 2018 presidential elections, so why is the Kremlin fretting about turnout? And how is Russia’s big business supposed to help get people to vote? Here’s what’s going on.

Russia’s Central Election Commission is expected to formally kick off the campaign season sometime in mid-December, and Putin will likely declare his candidacy shortly afterwards. But Russia under Vladimir Putin is not a democracy. The Constitutional Court has deemed the country’s best-known opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, ineligible to register for the upcoming March 2018 election, citing two controversial financial-crimes convictions. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that both decisions were arbitrary and unreasonable.

In Navalny’s place, the election will feature Ksenia Sobchak, a television personality. Sobchak polls nationally at less than 1 percent — and her supposedly oppositional campaign has refused to criticize Putin.

Why do unfair elections even matter?

Putin’s regime represents what Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way term “competitive authoritarianism.” Elections in hybrid systems like Russia are not designed to determine who rules, but rather to signal the regime’s power and resilience to potential challengers.

Elections in these polities are often marred by abuses of state power, but they are nonetheless held and can be bitterly fought. It is tempting to disregard the results of such elections because of the extent to which they are manipulated by elites in power. Yet counterintuitively, the level of state control over the electoral process is itself a reason to pay close attention.

In his book “Patronal Politics,” Henry Hale points out that authoritarian regimes deploy every available resource to dominate elections, even when opposition candidates would not win a free and fair contest. Competitive, if unfair, elections send a potent message about the power of incumbent regimes.

A crushing electoral victory signals to potential opponents that they can expect the regime to remain in power, and that open opposition will be futile. But low turnout can communicate the regime’s potential weakness. Challengers may become empowered, while erstwhile allies consider defection to avoid falling on the wrong side of a revolutionary wave.

The Kremlin has high turnout goals for 2018

The “great power of expectations,” as Hale labels this phenomenon, drives Russian politics — and the Putin regime has set a high bar for itself. Last year, the Kremlin’s top political technologists established a “70 at 70” objective for Putin’s reelection in March 2018 — 70 percent of the vote with 70 percent turnout. In a recent interview, Russian political expert Tatyana Stanovaya remarked, “Putin just needs to be elected quietly and quickly, without fuss, with good turnout, and a good result.”

…but may struggle to meet them

September’s regional and municipal elections, though, showed Russians aren’t particularly excited about voting. The low turnout has left the Kremlin scrambling to boost voter enthusiasm for next March. Putin remains popular, but protest activity is rising, particularly in the provinces.

According to the Russian government’s own polling, public support for government policies is at the lowest level in nearly a decade. Russia’s regional governments remain under the Kremlin’s tight control, but they are increasingly at odds with federal policies.

In three regions, fiscal problems have become so dire that their governors circumvented official channels and appealed publicly to Moscow for bailouts. Foreign policy adventures — first in Ukraine, then in Syria — may have temporarily distracted Russians from problems at home, but public interest in both conflicts is waning.

The Kremlin has enlisted help from big business

Putin has publicly downplayed Russia’s low turnout but Kremlin policy tells a different story. Russian authorities have long included state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in their voter mobilization efforts, but “corporate mobilization” has taken on new significance this election cycle. Following record low turnout in Russia’s 2016 parliamentary elections, reports emerged that SOEs, rather than the ruling party United Russia, would drive get-out-the-vote efforts and socioeconomic monitoring in future elections.

Here’s how this played out in September’s regional and municipal elections. State-run energy giants Rosatom and RosHydro funded initiatives to monitor pre-election risks in the regions, and report the findings to the Kremlin. With the presidential contest approaching, Rosatom recently hired a contractor to file reports on socioeconomic conditions in the remote “closed cities” in which the company operates power plants. Rosatom’s former chief executive, Sergei Kiriyenko, is first deputy head of the Presidential Administration tasked with managing domestic politics.

The Kremlin increasingly expects SOEs to deliver investment and social services that struggling regional governments cannot provide. For instance, state-run Gazprom ratcheted up its spending on development projects this year, according to Bloomberg reporting. Despite initial plans to slash “non-core expenditures,” outlays on charity were up 60 percent 2017, reaching 26.3 billion rubles ($438 million).

The company built a patriotic theme park and a sports complex in the Siberian city of Irkutsk — projects that may provide temporary jobs and boost support at the polls for Putin next March. SOEs routinely subsidize economically impractical investments across Russia, especially in the country’s single-industry towns. Economists Clifford Gaddy and Barry Ickes have referred to a political imperative to “keep the lights on” in the Russian provinces.

Reuters report, meanwhile, suggests the Kremlin ordered major energy and utility companies to supply the Presidential Administration with news items that cast Russia’s leadership in a positive light. A memo to industry leaders requested stories “where it’s possible to say that state support helped lift the economy out of crisis” and benefited local residents. State-run media outlets are supposed to disseminate the stories to the public.

Prioritizing short-term political goals hinders Russia’s growth

Over the past decade, the Kremlin has allowed SOEs to monopolize and dominate the Russian economy. The regime is asking SOEs to leverage their weight and reach to ensure Putin wins a convincing mandate in the March 2018 election.

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But the tacit trade of market share for political help comes at the cost of competitiveness in Russia’s economy. Relying on corporations, rather than regional and municipal governments, to fulfill the state’s development goals also risks further atrophying of the country’s federal structure. Under Putin, the Kremlin has increasingly sought to circumvent lower levels of government, preferring instead to dictate policy from Moscow.

Choosing political goals over economic efficiency harms minority investors and will limit Russia’s potential to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” report, once a key goal of Putin’s third term.

According to a Levada Center poll from late November, 67 percent of likely voters would vote for Putin, with anticipated turnout between 53 and 55 percent — not the 70 percent figure the Kremlin hopes to see. Trailing far behind are the nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky and the Russian Communist Party’s Gennady Zyuganov, each with just four percent.

Nonetheless, the logic of patronal politics demands that the authorities pull out all the stops to encourage a high turnout in an election Putin will surely win, even if their methods hinder Russia’s future development.

Christopher Jarmas is a master’s candidate in Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian area studies at Harvard University. Follow him on Twitter @jarmascm.

This explains how social media can both weaken and strengthen democracy.

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White House casts decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem as a recognition of reality http://cnn.it/2BA3xwf pic.twitter.com/W1pHSO9kYR

mikenova shared this story from Twitter Search / CNNPolitics.

White House casts decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem as a “recognition of reality”http://cnn.it/2BA3xwf  

Rick Gates’ lawyer believes superseding indictments could be coming against client

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In a court appearance Monday in Manhattan, Gates’ attorney Walter Mack said that federal prosecutors have told him that more charges, called superseding indictments, may be coming.

“We don’t know what the government is going to do,” Mack said in court, referring to both Gates’ case and a white-collar case in New York involving one of Gates’ business partners. “I mean, in both cases we’ve been told that there may be a superseder. We don’t know what’s happening.”

Mueller charged President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Gates, on October 30 with 12 alleged crimes related to money laundering and foreign lobbying violations. Both have pleaded not guilty. The charges against Manafort and Gates are unrelated to the Trump campaign, though it’s possible Mueller could add additional federal charges.

Mack represents both Gates in DC and his business partner in New York. Neither is a witness or co-defendant in the other’s case, federal prosecutors say, but attorneys from Mueller’s special counsel investigation have raised the possibility that a conflict of interest could arise between the two men and their attorney.

close dialog

The indictments came almost six months after Mueller assumed the federal investigation into Russian collusion, yet so far the charges have not directly related to Manafort and Gates’ work for the Trump campaign or to Russian foreign policy.

This week, lawyers working for Mueller revealed that Manafort was ghostwriting an op-ed about Ukraine with a Russian as recently as last Thursday. It’s unclear how the investigators found this new information, as the op-ed was never published. The prosecutors have submitted it to the court under seal.

The ghostwriting revelation puts a proposed bail deal for Manafort in question. He and Gates are both currently under house arrest and GPS monitoring and subject to $10 million and $5 million unsecured bond, respectively. The federal prosecutors argue they’re both flight risks.

Manafort’s lawyers are expected to respond to the op-ed accusation by Thursday, and both Manafort and Gates are scheduled to appear in court December 11.

It’s not unusual for federal prosecutors to charge defendants in white-collar cases once part of their investigation is complete, then bring additional charges later on. Typically, a second round of charges can come if the prosecutors had more work to do in certain aspects of the investigation or if they’re attempting to persuade a defendant toward a plea agreement or cooperation in a broader investigation.

Two targets in Mueller’s investigation, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, have already pleaded guilty to charges of lying to investigators.

The other case that Gates’ lawyer is working on involves three defendants who allegedly took part in a scheme to defraud feature film and documentary movie investors. Mack’s client, Steven Brown, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a trial in March.

Gates was a partner in one of the companies caught up in those charges. Gates is not accused of wrongdoing in the New York case.

The New York judge verified in a hearing Monday that Brown understood the possibility of a conflict of interest and chose to keep Mack as his attorney.

Mack declined to comment, as did a spokesperson with the special counsel’s office.

The judge in Gates’ case in DC has ordered the lawyers involved not to make comments that could influence public perception of Gates and Manafort, and not to share documents outside of the official court proceedings. Mack mentioned those restrictions in his court appearance in New York Monday, calling them and the prosecutors’ ability to bring up new information about Gates, such as his connection to Brown, “unfair.”

Republicans are betting the future won’t happen. Who wants to tell them? – USA TODAY

mikenova shared this story from trump and republican party – Google News.


USA TODAY
Republicans are betting the future won’t happen. Who wants to tell them?
USA TODAY
So how is Trump’s GOP handling a hemorrhaging of young voters who are establishing voting patterns that could last the rest of their adult lives? By trolling them out of the middle class. How does the GOP tax plan, which has now passed the House and

and more »

More charges could be coming against former Trump aide in Russia probe – CNN

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CNN
More charges could be coming against former Trump aide in Russia probe
CNN
The indictments came almost six months after Mueller assumed the federal investigation into Russian collusion, yet so far the charges have not directly related to Manafort and Gates’ work for the Trump campaign or to Russian foreign policy. This week

and more »

Robert Mueller reveals hes taking down Mike Pence along with Donald Trump

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

For quite some time, it’s been clear that Mike Pence willfully lied to the American public in an attempt at protecting Michael Flynn and covering up Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. That means Pence is guilty of obstruction of justice and maybe a lot more. The big question has been whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller would try to take Pence down along with Trump, or wait to tackle Pence until after Trump has been ousted. Now we’re getting our answer.

Mike Pence’s people are preparing him for what they believe is an inevitable interview with Mueller, according to details buried pretty far down the page in a lengthy new CNN online report (link). Mueller now has Michael Flynn on his side, and Flynn’s testimony and evidence are enough to incriminate Pence. Make no mistake: if Mueller is sitting down with Pence while he’s still investigating Trump, it’s to try to nail Pence. So where does this go?

Flynn is admitting that he was notifying the Trump transition team in real time about his efforts to get the Russian Ambassador to delay the Russian government’s sanctions response. Mike Pence was the head of the transition team. So unless the entire team conspired to keep this information from Pence, which is not a believable scenario, Pence knew that Flynn was committing crimes. That means Pence lied a month later when he claimed he had no knowledge of Flynn doing anything wrong.

Someone on the transition team will cut a deal and confirm that Mike Pence knew what Michael Flynn was up to. Throw in the fact that Congress notified Pence about some of Flynn’s crimes back in November of 2016, and Pence is hosed. Is Robert Mueller seeking to force Pence to cut a deal against Trump and resign the vice presidency? Only Mueller knows but it’s clear Pence knows he’s in jeopardy.

The post Robert Mueller reveals he’s taking down Mike Pence along with Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration, US official says

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“This idea is going nowhere,” the official said and stressed neither the agency nor the director of the CIA is or was ever considering the proposal.

National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told CNN that “the White House does not and would not support such a proposal” and that, “I can find no evidence that this ever came to the attention of anyone at the NSC or (White House) at all.”

The Intercept

 was first to report the proposal. A CIA spokesperson told The Intercept, “You have been provided wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda.”

A spokesperson for Prince denied the claims in a statement to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

close dialog

“The allegations made in Intercept’s latest article about Erik are completely false and this was made clear to them before the article was published. Any meetings Erik did have with members of the intelligence community, current or former, focused on his well-publicized plan for saving the US taxpayer $42 billion in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

“The Intercept has, once again, targeted Erik using his high profile as a click-bait to promote its own website and indulge the fantasies of its reporters with no care or regard for the facts.”

Prince founded Blackwater, a private defense contractor that provoked international outrage after a deadly 2007 shooting in Iraq.

Blackwater lost a $1 billion contract with the State Department to protect American diplomatic personnel in 2009, after the Iraqi government refused to renew the company’s operating license. The company was later renamed and sold, and now operates as Academi.

Prince was also

questioned by House lawmakers last month

 over reports that he met the head of a Russian investment fund in an apparent effort to set up a backchannel for Russian communication with the Trump administration, and that senior Trump officials had authorized the meeting.

While Prince testified to House lawmakers that he met the head of a Russian investment fund earlier this year — he insisted it was not part of an effort to set up a Russian backchannel with the Trump administration, multiple sources told CNN.

Prince informed the House Intelligence Committee during private testimony that he met in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, who is the chief executive of the state-run Russian Direct Investment Fund, at the request of the United Arab Emirates to discuss business opportunities. The meeting on the island in the Indian Ocean, he said, lasted roughly 20 minutes after dinner over a beer.

Prince insisted he did not have the meeting at the request of the Trump administration, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

He also downplayed his ties to the Trump’s team, merely saying he was a Trump donor and had met the President on only one occasion, the sources said. CNN has previously reported that Prince met with members of Trump’s incoming national security team during the presidential transition, and that he boasted about his influence in the Trump orbit around that same time.

CNN’s Erin Burnett, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report

Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration … – CNN

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CNN
Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administration …
CNN
The founder of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, Erik Prince, and his allies lobbied contacts inside the administration to provide the CIA with a private network of intelligence contractors, according to a US official with 
US official: Erik Prince proposed private spy network to Trump administrationWENY-TV

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How Robert Mueller is using Deutsche Bank to prove Russia bought off Donald Trump

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Many Americans were surprised to learn today that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is working with a bank in Germany to try to connect the dots between Donald Trump and the Russian government. If you’ve been reading Palmer Report since January, you’re not surprised to see this story at all. All year long it’s been inevitable that Mueller would target Deutsche Bank in the Trump-Russia scandal. We know exactly what he’s looking for, because the biggest clues have long been hiding in plain sight.

For years, Deutsche Bank has been loaning unreasonably large sums of money to Donald Trump. Even after most banks worldwide concluded that Trump had become too unlikely to repay his loans and had thus stopped lending to him, Deutsche Bank continued floating Trump almost single handedly. Even after Deutsche Bank hit hard times of its own and should’t have been making risky loans of any kind, it continued to keep Trump afloat for no apparent reason. Then in January of 2017, we learned what appeared to be the reason.

Regulators in the United States and Europe busted Deutsche Bank for having laundered billions of dollars in Russian money into the hands of clients in places like New York City. The story was widely reported in the British press at the time, but it barely got a mention in the American press. Nonetheless it wasn’t difficult to put the pieces together: the Russian government appeared to be sending money to Deutsche Bank, which the bank then turned around and “loaned” to Donald Trump, as a way of funneling money to him.

We’ve never been able to definitively prove this, but Robert Mueller can. It’s why he sent a subpoena to Deutsche Bank months ago in order to get his hands on financial records in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal. We don’t yet know why Deutsche Bank has chosen now to finally cooperate. But we do know what Mueller is looking for: the money trail that proves Russia bought Trump with cold hard cash before installing him as a puppet in the White House.

The post How Robert Mueller is using Deutsche Bank to prove Russia bought off Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI – FrontPage Magazine

mikenova shared this story from Abedin – Google News.


FrontPage Magazine
Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI
FrontPage Magazine
Hillary Clinton, Mills and Huma Abedin made what appear to be false statements to the FBI. Had Mills been working for Trump, the same number would have been run on Mills as on Flynn and Papadopoulos. But the men interviewing Mills didn’t want her to 

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Mike Pompeo just proved why America needs him at the CIA

mikenova shared this story .

Mike Pompeo is being lined up to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, but I believe he should remain in his present position as CIA director.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Pompeo could serve effectively as America’s chief diplomat. He has the knowledge and intellectual curiosity to manage the team at Foggy Bottom and the temperament to negotiate with championship BSers like the Russian and Iranian foreign ministers. It’s also clear that Tillerson’s tenure needs to come to an end.

The problem, however, is that assuming Jeff Bezos can’t be persuaded to take on the CIA job, Pompeo is not easily replaceable.

After all, it’s increasingly clear that Pompeo is thriving in his current position.

We gained proof of this last week, when Pompeo and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, were interviewed by Bret Baier in California.

Put simply, Pompeo evidenced an abundance of the two qualities that the CIA most depends on for its success: comfort with risk taking and intellectual rigor.

On Iran, Pompeo (rightly) confirmed that he recently warned the head of the Islamic Republic’s covert action force not to threaten U.S. interests in Iraq. But if he was aggressive in this regard, Pompeo also showed cognizance of the complexity of Iranian politics. Describing various power blocks in Tehran, Pompeo referenced Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, President Hassan Rouhani, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and explained that “one not ought to think of Iran as a unitary actor here.”

This distinction is important in that it suggests Pompeo is focused on countering Iranian aggression while also mitigating actions that would destabilize more-moderate elements in the regime. This is necessary for any long-term U.S. policy success against Iran.

The California event also showed that Pompeo has the trust of President Trump. That’s a big deal.

Earning Trump’s trust, as we know, is a rare quality and one that Panetta rightly praised Pompeo for his success in establishing. Consider that if Trump doesn’t trust his CIA director, American policymaking will suffer in a vacuum of ignorance.

Instead, it is based on Trump’s appreciation for Pompeo’s product. Some criticize the director for being “too political” in this regard, but I believe the opposite is true. By engaging with Trump at a personal level, Pompeo ensures the weighted influence of his agency in Trump’s deliberations.

For one example as to why this is important, consider how Pompeo responded when Baier asked him whether the U.S. would continue supporting the Kurds of northern Syria. This is relevant in light of the apparent pledge by President Trump to Turkey to cease U.S. support for Kurdish groups. While Pompeo wouldn’t be drawn to an exact answer, he noted that “throwing allies under the bus is bad form.”

I smiled at those words. As I’ve explained, the U.S. has a keen strategic interest in ensuring that Iran is not able to displace Kurdish influence along the Iraq-Syrian border.

Pompeo also evidenced success at the broader strategic level. He argued that “in each and every case” he has asked Trump for more authority to take risks, the president has assented. Again, as I‘ve outlined, while Pompeo’s pro-risk approach to leading the CIA is important (albeit complex), it requires political support from the top. That he has won that support means Pompeo can lead his agency to deliver more security for America and better understandings to our policymakers.

Still, the event also showed why Trump trusts Pompeo: The CIA director has a penchant for rising to the fight!

For a few minutes during the discussion, Pompeo and Panetta were at each other’s necks as they disagreed over the merits (or otherwise) of President Trump’s tweets. With Panetta criticizing Trump, Pompeo pointed out that many of the foreign policy issues Trump is now addressing were left to metastasize under President Obama’s watch.

Yet, Pompeo also exemplified an intellectual independence that is an absolute necessity for any effective CIA director.

Praising Panetta for his work on counterterrorism operations while at the CIA, Pompeo stated that he frequently asks the Obama-era director “how to think about things.” This might seem simple, but it shows a bipartisan intellectual introspection — something that defines the CIA at its best.

Finally, Pompeo also showed that he’s willing to listen and learn from his foreign counterparts. He specifically referenced ongoing U.S. efforts to support European counterintelligence operations against Russian intelligence services. Intelligence relations are instrumental in the U.S.-European alliance.

Ultimately, the work of the CIA is too important to be left to just anybody. Pompeo is clearly exceeding expectations, both in his relationship with Trump and in his leadership of a complex but crucially important agency. For the sake of the nation, he should remain in Langley, Va.

Obstruction of Justice was Coming from Inside the FBI

mikenova shared this story from Frontpage Mag.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

“There’s always conflicting recollections of facts,” FBI Director Comey said.

It was a year ago and Comey was explaining why Hillary’s close aide, Cheryl Mills, not only received an immunity agreement in exchange for turning over her laptop, but a pass on lying to the FBI.

The FBI Director claimed that Mills had to receive immunity because the laptop might be protected by attorney-client privilege. Mills, like Hillary Clinton, had worked as a lawyer. But they were both government officials working for the State Department. Hillary wasn’t Mills’ client. The government was.

Comey and his people knew the law. They chose to ignore it to protect a key Hillary aide from rolling over. Mills was the woman Hillary would send in to clean up her dirty laundry. Mills had taken point on the email server cover-up. If anyone knew where the bodies were buried, she did. Instead not only did she get an immunity agreement, but the FBI also agreed to destroy the computers after the search.

Mills had told the FBI that she didn’t know about Hillary’s email server. But the FBI had notes and emails proving that Mills was lying. And when Comey was asked about it, he came out with, “There’s always conflicting recollections of facts.”

No doubt.

That is what the lawyer of the woman who had been caught lying to the FBI might have been expected to argue. But there were no charges, instead the FBI Director was presenting her defense.

George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn were charged with lying to investigators. But lying to investigators isn’t a crime when you’re Hillary Clinton.

Or one of her associates.

Hillary Clinton had told the FBI that she had no idea that the “C” stood for confidential. Instead of laughing in her face or arresting her, the FBI boss testified personally to her truthfulness.

Hillary Clinton, Mills and Huma Abedin made what appear to be false statements to the FBI.

Had Mills been working for Trump, the same number would have been run on Mills as on Flynn and Papadopoulos. But the men interviewing Mills didn’t want her to sing. They wanted her to keep quiet.

Mills and Abedin were interviewed by the FBI’s Peter Strzok and the DOJ’s David Laufman. Strzok was exchanging pro-Hillary and anti-Trump messages in an extramarital affair with a woman working for FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. McCabe’s wife had received a sizable amount of money from a Clinton ally. Laufman, whose counterintelligence section was heading the investigation, is an Obama donor.

Mills’ lie made it more urgent to hand her an immunity agreement on any pretext. The immunity agreement wasn’t leverage for her testimony. It was leverage to keep her from testifying. The obstruction of justice was coming from the inside.

Strzok received input on the Comey letter exonerating Clinton. The Mills interview killed two birds with one stone. A key Hillary aide got immunity and the evidence would be destroyed.

This wasn’t an interview. It was a cover-up.

It’s why Comey sounded like Mills’ lawyer. And why so many Clinton associates got immunity agreements. Why the FBI agreed to destroy evidence. Why there were no recordings of Hillary’s testimony. And why lying to the FBI wasn’t a crime when it came to Hillary and her aides.

But the double standard kicked in when the Clinton cover-up crew went after Trump.

While Mills received an immunity agreement based on an imaginary attorney-client privilege that didn’t exist, Manafort was denied attorney-client privilege with his actual attorney.

The double standard isn’t surprising when you look at who was doing the interviewing.

Strzok and Laufman had also interviewed Hillary. No recordings were made of the session. But Comey testified that it’s a “crime to lie to us”.

Not for the Clintons and their associates.

Hillary had told her interviewers that she hadn’t received training on handling classified information, but she signed a document testifying that she had. Hillary claimed that she hadn’t carried a second phone, but an aide, Justin Cooper, who made the server possible, testified that indeed she did.

Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills told the same lie.

These are the kinds of misstep that Team Mueller would have used to hang a Trump associate. But Comey testified that Hillary Clinton did not lie.

And that meant he was lying.

Not only did Clinton’s people lie to the FBI. But the head of the FBI had lied for them.

The fix had been in all along.

Comey had drafted his letter exonerating Clinton before the interviews even took place. Strzok had been copied on the next email. His contribution had included changing the description of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”  Strzok is now in the spotlight because Team Mueller’s stonewalling of the reasons for his removal have been exposed.

Strzok, a Hillary partisan, had given his favorite politician a pass and signed the document opening the Russia investigation. The Steele dossier, provided by a Russian intelligence operative and paid for by the Clinton campaign, was funneled through to Strzok’s team. And Strzok had interviewed Flynn.

Team Mueller resisted discussing Strzok. Alongside the constant leaks to favored media outlets like the Washington Post, Mueller’s people have worked to maintain a monopoly on information.

Judge Beryl Howell, an Obama appointee, a friend of Loretta Lynch, Obama’s DOJ boss, and of Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s deputy, decided to seal the Papadopolous case. Howell also decided that Manafort isn’t entitled to attorney-client privilege. These actions took place at the behest of Weissmann. The latter had sent an email praising Sally Yates, the disgraced former acting Attorney General, for refusing to stand by the law on the Trump travel ban.

Weissmann, like the rest of Team Mueller, wasn’t there to get at the truth, but to stop President Trump. The Mueller deputy is one of two Obama donors on the team. There are also five Clinton donors. One of whom had represented the Clinton Foundation. Another had represented Justin Cooper, the Clinton adviser, who helped run Hillary’s email server and claimed to have destroyed some of Hillary’s devices.

It’s hard to imagine how this investigation could have been any more partisan or tainted.

The endgame for this is to go after President Trump on obstruction of justice. But you can’t obstruct a justice that was already obstructed. Both the Clinton and Trump investigations were tainted by blatant partisanship. While the Clinton investigation did everything possible to protect her and her aides, regardless of the evidence, the Trump investigation did everything possible to destroy him and his associates without producing a single charge relevant to the actual investigation.

The Clintons and their allies have obstructed justice. And it’s time for a real investigation.

US to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders – New York Times

mikenova shared this story from Trump – Google News.


Washington Post
US to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders
New York Times
President Trump told Israeli and Arab leaders on Tuesday that he plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a symbolically fraught move that would upend decades of American policy and upset efforts to broker peace between Israel and the 
Trump tells Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians he intends to move the US Embassy in Israel to JerusalemWashington Post
Turkey joins US allies in warning Trump not to recognize JerusalemCNN
Trump tells Abbas he will move US embassy to JerusalemAljazeera.com
NBCNews.com –Wall Street Journal –The Intercept
all 1,797 news articles »
Deportations Of Noncriminals Rise As ICE Casts Wider Net

mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump.

The number of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions deported from the U.S. interior rose dramatically in Trump’s first year in office.

Donald Trumps attorneys go off the deep end after Robert Mueller seizes Trumps bank records

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Earlier today several major news outlets reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has seized Donald Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank, which should uncover the money pipeline from Russia to Trump. This prompted Trump’s attorneys to frantically insist that the story is fake news. Various news outlets have responded by re-confirming the story. It appears Trump’s attorneys are trying to snow their own client, in the desperate hope of keeping him from lashing out.

Unless Reuters and several other respected news outlets have all simultaneously published the same fake story, which is nearly inconceivable, the story is true. This means Mueller really is going after Trump’s finances. Moreover, he’s boldly doing it at a time when the media is pushing the notion that Trump is about to fire Mueller. This means Mueller knows something we don’t about his job security, and he’s concluded he can’t be fired, so he’s going for the jugular. But what are Trump’s attorneys up to?

It appears Trump’s legal team is publicly shooting down this story in the hope of getting a message across to Trump himself that there’s nothing to worry about. Trump’s attorneys don’t want him hitting the panic button and firing Mueller, which would probably lead to his swift ouster. You can debate whether you think Trump’s attorneys are simply trying to protect him by keeping him from firing Mueller, or they just don’t want their paychecks to stop coming in yet.

But regardless of their motivation, Donald Trump’s lawyers are publicly going off the deep end by yelling “fake news” at a story that they cannot possibly know is fake news. They’re reacting just like Trump typically does. It all seems to be nothing more than a show in order to keep their client calm. After all, they’ve been trying to convince him all along that Robert Mueller isn’t targeting him, and that the Russia probe will be over soon. If he’s buying that nonsense, he’ll buy anything his attorneys tell him.

The post Donald Trump’s attorneys go off the deep end after Robert Mueller seizes Trump’s bank records appeared first on Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Investigation Has Cost at Least $6.7 million

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The Trump Team Definitely Colluded With a Foreign PowerJust Not the One You Think

mikenova shared this story from The Nation.

Former US national-security adviser Michael Flynn departs US District Court in Washington on December 1, 2017. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Friday’s indictment of former national-security adviser Michael Flynn has confirmed that Donald Trump’s inner circle colluded with a foreign power before entering the White House—just not the foreign power that has been the subject of our national fixation for the past year. To be sure, the jury is still out on Russia, though there are new grounds for questioning the case for a plot tying the Kremlin to Trump Tower. But with Flynn’s plea, we can now say for certain that the Trump team did collude—with Israel.

To recap, Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with then–Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the period after Trump’s November 2016 victory. As Foreign Policy previously reported, Flynn reached out to Kislyak as part of “a vigorous diplomatic bid,” to undermine President Obama’s decision to allow a December 2016 Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlement building in the Occupied Territories. The indictment fills in some details.

According to the charge sheet, Flynn first made contact with Kislyak to discuss the Israel vote. We found out this weekend his reason for doing so. “[Special counsel Robert] Mueller’s investigators have learned through witnesses and documents that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel,” The New York Times reported after Flynn’s court appearance on Friday. “Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and [Trump son-in-law Jared] Kushner took the lead in those efforts”—efforts which failed to change a single vote, including Russia’s, which backed the measure in defiance of the Trump-Netanyahu subversion attempt.

In short, the first known contact between the Trump campaign and Russia after the election occurred in the service of a different foreign power, Israel, and was ultimately fruitless.

The next contact between Flynn and Kislyak was more productive. In late December, Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 election. A day later, Flynn called the Russian ambassador to request that the Kremlin, according to the plea document, “only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner.” Flynn’s overture came after a Trump transition colleague told him that the incoming administration “did not want Russia to escalate the situation.” By all accounts, Russia complied.

Whatever one thinks about this covert attempt to reduce tensions with a nuclear-armed power, it demonstrates an effort by the Trump transition, as with the Israel vote, to undermine the outgoing administration’s policy. Trump critics have seized on that as a violation of the Logan Act, which bars citizens from having unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments in a dispute with the United States. But the Logan Act has seldom been used except as a partisan talking point, not a prosecutable offense. More importantly, there’s the question as to whether Flynn’s overture on sanctions prove a quid pro quo.

Notwithstanding the post-election contact with Flynn, not only has Russia failed to gain a reduction in sanctions, but its relations with Washington have deteriorated. In early August, Trump signed new sanctions on Russia overwhelmingly approved by Congress. The administration recently presented lawmakers with a list of targets that “reads like a who’s who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors,” The New York Times noted. In September, Trump shut down the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two annexes in New York City and Washington, DC. Just last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denounced Russia’s “malicious tactics” against the West and vowed that sanctions imposed over Russian’s role in Ukraine “will remain in place until Russia reverses the actions that triggered them.” Meanwhile, Trump has enlarged NATO over Russia’s objections, carried out the “biggest military exercise in Eastern Europe since the Cold War” on Russia’s border, appointed several anti-Russia hawks to key posts, and continues to deliberate over whether to supply Ukraine with a weapons package that Obama himself rejected out of fear it would worsen the country’s civil war. In the latest flare-up, Russia has ordered international media outlets to register as foreign agents in retaliation for the Justice Department first doing so to Washington-based RT America.

It is, of course, possible that all of this is an elaborate ruse to mask the secret, as yet unproven, conspiracy that many insist will lead to Trump’s downfall. The fact that Flynn is now a cooperating witness has refueled hopes that this day is finally approaching. After all, why would Flynn lie about his contacts with Russia if he did not have something to hide? And why would Mueller offer him a plea deal if Flynn wasn’t offering him a bigger fish to fry? (One plausible motive, as Buzzfeed notes, is that Flynn may have lied to hide his potential Logan Act violation.)

Only time will tell whether Flynn has something to offer Mueller, or whether Mueller has gotten from him what he can. In the meantime, more than a year after the election, we still have exactly zero evidence of any cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government—nor, it must be repeated, any evidence to back up US intelligence officials’ claims that the Russian government meddled in the election. We do have instances of Trump campaign figures’—namely, Donald Trump Jr. and low-level adviser George Papadopoulos—making contact with people that they thought were Russian government intermediaries. But whatever they were told or believed, there is still no proof that their contacts led to an actual Kremlin connection.

What we do have is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Israel to subvert the US government’s official position at the United Nations Security Council. Yet reaction to that news has been quite a departure from the standards of Russiagate when it comes to foreign meddling.

The contrast was put on stark display on Sunday, when Jared Kushner appeared with billionaire Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban at the latter’s annual forum on US-Israel relations. Saban took a moment to thank Kushner for his role in the subversion effort that Flynn admitted to have undertaken on Israel’s behalf. “To be honest with you, as far as I know there’s nothing illegal there,” Saban told his stage companion. “But I think that this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort, so thank you very much.”

For all of the fears of Russian oligarchs’ having influence over Trump, the comment from this American oligarch reveals a great deal about who really influences practically everyone in Washington, Republican or Democrat. Saban was not a Trump donor. He is, in fact, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s top all-time financial supporter, to the tune of more than $25 million; a benefactor whose generosity has helped build not just the Clinton Library but also the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.

But there has been no outrage from democracy-defending #Resistance stalwarts over Saban’s comments (and the Israeli subversion effort he endorsed). The same for news of Kushner’s failure to disclose his leadership of a group that funded the illegal Israeli settlements that he tried to protect at the United Nations. And now we await to see how those who agonize over foreign influence on Trump will respond to his reported plans to move the American embassy to Jerusalem—”a decision that would break with decades of U.S. policy and could fuel violence in the Middle East,” as Haaretz notes.

It is unlikely that Trump will be challenged on Israel, because his approach is harmonic with a bipartisan consensus cemented in large part by the financial contributions of billionaires like Saban and his Republican pro-Israeli government counterpart, Sheldon Adelson. Hence, there are no editorials or opinion pieces denouncing Israel’s “Plot Against America,” or “War on America,” or warnings that “Odds Are, Israel Owns Trump,” or explorations of “What Israel Did to Control the American Mind.” Likewise, there will be no new groups forming dubbed the “Committee to Investigate Israel” or the “Tel Aviv Project.” In fact it is more than likely that, going forward, the media will give Israelgate the same treatment as cable’s top Russiagate sleuth, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, gave during her exhaustive Flynn coverage so far, which is to not even mention it.

This weekend furnished us with another important contrast. Flynn’s indictment was followed hours later by the passage of the Senate Republican tax bill, which stands to be one of the largest upward transfers of wealth in US history. If protecting democracy is our goal, we may want to tune out the Russia-obsessed pundits and look closer to home.

UK terror attacks: Review reveals what MI5 knew about Manchester, London Bridge and Westminster attackers

mikenova shared this story .

Security services missed opportunities to intercept the Manchester and London Bridge attackers, a report has found.

David Anderson QC, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, made a total of 126 recommendations to MI5, police and the Government following the deaths of 36 victims this year.

His report provided new detail on the run-up to the atrocities in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge. The following information has been declassified from internal reviews by MI5 and police.

Westminster

Date: 22 March 2017

Victims: Five killed, 49 injured

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PerpetratorKhalid Masood, British, 52 (died at scene)

Masood was known to police after seven convictions for violent crime leading up to 2003, and to MI5 for associating with extremists, in particular between 2010 and 2012.

Summary“No intelligence was being gathered on him and neither MI5 nor the police had any reason the anticipate the attack … you’re looking at someone who is such a long way from the top of anyone’s grid that frankly, it’s a bit difficult to see how they would have been easily stopped, whatever agencies had done.”

Met Police announce that terror perpetrator Khalid Masood was born Adrian Russell

Timeline:

  • 2004: Masood appears for the first time on MI5 records after his number appeared on the contacts list of a member of a terrorist network, that was aiming to launch bomb attacks in the UK.
  • 2009: Masood appears on the edge of investigation into jihadis attempting to join an al-Qaeda training camp in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Investigators wrongly believe Masood is an individual in Saudi Arabia facilitating travel.
  • 2010: He is discovered not to be the same person, but an active investigation is launched identifying Masood as a subject of interest (SOI) assessed to be a national security threat. Weeks later, he was downgraded to a potential security threat.
  • 2012: Masood formally closed as an SOI following recommendation in internal review, joining 20,000 other former subjects.
  • 2012-2016: Masood appears intermittently as a contact of a number of SOIs, including some linked to Anjem Choudary’s banned al-Muhajiroun network in Luton and Crawley.
  • 2013: Masood “expresses contentment that violent actions such as the World Trade Centre attacks attracted people to Islam”. Neither his contacts nor those comments were considered to reach the threshold for re-opening an investigation.
  • April 2016: (Discovered after his attack) Masood researches violent attacks, knives, Isis and vehicle types.
  • December 2016 – March 2017: Masood informs family he is considering working overseas, but his job and visa applications fail. He sells his car and makes efforts to say goodbye to relatives.
  • 9 March 2017: Masood buys two carving knives from Tesco in Birmingham, and on the same day sends himself an email with the subject line “Retaliation”.
  • 15 March: He had created a document entitled “Jihad in the Quran and Sunnah”, with his photograph on the front page and multiple extracts from the Quran that could be seen as supportive of jihad and martyrdom.
  • 16 March: He collects the Hyundai Tucson used in the attack.
  • 19 March: Masood conducts reconnaissance of Westminster Bridge in person and online, and browses YouTube for videos relating to terrorism and suicide attacks.
  • 22 March: Minutes before launching the attack, Masood shares his document with numerous WhatsApp contacts, which was soon sent onwards via iMessage and SMS.

In pictures: Westminster attack

In pictures: Westminster attack

  • 1/9

    An air ambulance lands after gunfire sounds were heard close to the Palace of Westminster in London

    PA wire

  • 2/9

    MPs wait until the situation is under control in Westminster. ‘The alleged assailant was shot by armed police,’ David Lidington, leader of the House of Commons, told the house.

    BBC News

  • 3/9

    Crowds gather in Westminster after shooting incident, which police are treating as terror attack

    BBC News

  • 4/9

    Police were also called to an incident on Westminster Bridge nearby

    AP

  • 5/9

    Early reports indicate the car, which mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge and mowed into around a dozen people, was the same vehicle which then rammed into the railings of the Palace of Westminster, just around the corner

    Reuters

  • 6/9

    Security sources described the suspected assailant as a middle-aged Asian man, who is understood to have left the car before attacking a police officer with a seven-to-eight inch knife

    PA wire

  • 7/9

    Police have asked people to avoid the immediate area to allow emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident

    AP

  • 8/9

    One woman has died and a number of others, including the police officer, have been hurt, according to a junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital

    Reuters

  • 9/9

    At least three gun shots were heard by those inside Westminster, and proceedings in the House of Commons have been suspended

    AP

Manchester

Date: 22 May 2017

Victims: 22 killed, 500 injured

PerpetratorSalman Abedi, British, 23 (died at scene)

Abedi was known to police for links with the Rusholme Crips gang, but his criminal record was limited to reprimands for theft and receiving stolen goods in 2012, and an assault on a girl at college which was dealt with by “restorative justice”. He was known to MI5 from 2014, but the investigation was closed and he was deemed low-risk.

Summary“Although Abedi had not given police or MI5 any reason to be highly suspicious of him, they still got very close … information came their way which was assessed from which – with the benefit of hindsight – the wrong conclusions were drawn. Had people understood it in a different way, I think an investigation would have been opened into Abedi, and who knows what it would have found.”

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi’s cousins speak out

Timeline:

  • 2011 onwards: Abedi makes numerous trips to Libya with his family, after his parents returned to live there during the civil war that saw Muammar Gaddafi toppled and killed.
  • 2014: MI5 starts active investigation in the belief Abedi could be individual seen acting suspiciously with another SOI. Although he knew the SOI in question, he turned out not to have been the individual seen with him, and his record was closed in July 2014. Abedi was classed as low residual risk.
  • 2015: Another investigation opened over supposed contact with an Isis figure in Libya, “but he was closed as an SOI on the same day when it transpired that any contact was not direct”.
  • 2015-2017: Although he remained a closed SOI until the day of the attack, Abedi continued to be referenced from time to time in intelligence gathered for other purposes. On two separate occasions in the months prior to the attack, intelligence was received and assessed not to relate to terrorism, but “to possible non-nefarious activity or to criminality”. In retrospect, the intelligence can be seen to have been highly relevant to the planned attack.
  • April 2017: Abedi and his brother Hashem leave Manchester for Libya. Abedi returns to the UK four days before his attack, with subsequent investigations showing he made the “core purchases” for his suicide bomb and manufactured it at various properties around Manchester during the period.
  • May 2017: Abedi was among a small number of the 20,000 SOIs that data analysis showed merited further examination. A meeting assessing him was due to take place on 31 May, but he attacked nine days before.

Manchester explosion in pictures

Manchester explosion in pictures

  • 1/37

    People running down stairs as they attempt to exit the Manchester Arena after a blast, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

    Twitter/@ZACH_BRUCE/ via REUTERS

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    Helpers attend to people inside the Manchester Arena after a suspected suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people

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    Armed officers guard outside a hotel near the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester, Britain

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    Police officers are seen outside the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester, northern England

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    Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena, after reports of an explosion

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    There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed

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    Police deploy at scene of explosion in Manchester, England, at a concert in Manchester Arena

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    Police stand by a cordoned off street close to the Manchester Arena

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    Police deploy at scene of explosion in Manchester, England

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    Police deploy at scene of a reported explosion during a concert in Manchester, England, on May 23, 2017. British police said early May 23 there were “a number of confirmed fatalities” after reports of at least one explosion during a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande. Ambulances were seen rushing to the Manchester Arena venue and police added in a statement that people should avoid the area

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    An ambulance drives away from the Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

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    Police escort members of the public from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

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    A woman sits in the street in a blanket near the Manchester Arena as police guard the area following reports of an explosion, in Manchester, Britain

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    Two women wrapped in thermal blankets stand near the Manchester Arena, where US singer Ariana Grande had been performing, in Manchester

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    A Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) bomb disposal robot is unloaded outside the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester. At least 19 people have been confirmed dead and others 50 were injured, authorities said. It is being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise

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    A Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) bomb disposal robot is unloaded outside the Manchester Arena following reports of an explosion, in Manchester

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    Members of the public receive treatment from emergency service staff at Victoria Railway Station close to the Manchester Arena on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England. There have been reports of explosions at Manchester Arena where Ariana Grande had performed this evening. Greater Manchester Police have have confirmed there are fatalities and warned people to stay away from the area

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    Armed police after a suspected terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande left 19 dead

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    Emergency services arrive close to the Manchester Arena in Manchester

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    An amoured police vehicle patrols near Manchester Arena in Manchester

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    A man carries a young girl on his shoulders near Victoria station in Manchester

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    Police officers stand at the Miller Street and Corporation Street Crossroads, in front of the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England

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    Police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England

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    Armed police patrol near Victoria station in Manchester, northwest England. Twenty two people have been killed and dozens injured after a suspected suicide bomber targeted fans leaving a concert of US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester

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    Police forensic officers leave the Manchester Arena as they investigate the scene of an explosion in Manchester

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    A forensic officer collects evidence on a walkway between Victoria station and Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester,

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    A woman and a young girl wearing a t-shirt of US singer Ariana Grande talks to police near Manchester Arena following a deadly terror attack in Manchester,

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    Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese speak to the media outside Manchester Town Hall after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester

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    The media gather behind a police cordon in Manchester

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    Flowers left close to the Manchester Arena, the morning after a suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through fans leaving a pop concert in Manchester

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    Ariana Grande concert attendees Karen Moore and her daughter Molly Steed, aged 14, from Derby, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last night’s explosion at Manchester Arena

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    Signs saying ‘We love Manchester’ are displayed in a window in Manchester, England

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London Bridge

Date: 3 June 2017

Victims: Eight killed, 48 injured

PerpetratorsKhuram Butt, British, 27; Youssef Zaghba, Moroccan-Italian, 22; Rachid Redouane, Moroccan, 30 (all died at scene)

Butt was under live investigation as the principal subject of an MI5 operation opened in mid-2015, following information suggesting he wanted to commit a terror attack in the UK. Redouane was known for immigration offences but had no police or terror record. Zaghba had no criminal record but was known to European authorities after telling Italian police he wanted to be a terrorist. He was not investigated by MI5.

Summary“With Butt what you had was a man who was under active investigation from MI5, who did probably around the end of 2016 team up with his two co-conspirators, and yet MI5 and the police between them were not able to identify what they were actually planning.

“Butt displayed strong operational security and much remains unknown, even today, about the mindset of the three conspirators and the planning of the attack.”

London Bridge attack ringleader ‘tried to hire 7.5 tonne lorry’

Timeline:

  • 2005: Butt is granted British citizenship after moving to the UK from Pakistan as a child with his parents, who were granted asylum.
  • 2008-2010: Butt receives cautions for criminal offences.
  • 2009: Redouane seeks asylum in the UK under the false identity of a Libyan national and is refused, which sees him reported to immigration officials.
  • June 2012: Redouane is stopped and arrested in Scotland under his false Libyan name while trying to travel to Northern Ireland by boat. Because removals to Libya had been suspended on humanitarian grounds, he was released from detention in Larne with conditions to reside in Dagenham and report to immigration authorities. He absconded and was not traced.
  • 2012-2015: After going to school and college in London, he works as an office manager with a subsidiary of KFC, marrying a friend’s sister in 2013. The couple had a son in October 2014 and a daughter in May 2017, born less than a month before the London Bridge attack.
  • 2015: Butt makes a pilgrimage to Mecca and “expresses frequent aspirations to travel from late in the year, including to Syria, but never again left England”. MI5’s Operation Hawthorn starts, seeing Butt put under surveillance over suspected attack planning.
  • 2015: Redouane moves in with his Irish wife in Dublin and successfully applies for an EEA Family Permit and EEA residence card, sponsored by his wife. At the time of the attack, Redouane was living legally in the UK under his Moroccan identity.
  • June 2015: Zaghba starts working legally in the UK.
  • September 2015: A potential lone actor triage assessment concluded that Butt represented a medium risk “due to his strong intent but weak capability”. Over the coming months, there was no further indication of attack planning, and Butt appeared to be disengaging from al-Muhajiroun. MI5 believed his focus was moving towards overseas travel, including potentially to Syria to fight with Isis or to another Arabic-speaking country to learn the language.
  • January 2016: Butt is shown among a group of Islamists linked to al-Muhajiroun praying towards an Isis flag in Channel 4 television documentary The Jihadis Next Door. The police and prosecutors deemed that no criminal offences had been committed.
  • February-April 2016: Operation Hawthorn is suspended “because of resourcing constraints” following Isis’s Paris attacks.
  • March 2016: During a stop at Bologna Airport in Italy, Zaghba tells officials he is travelling to Turkey as a “terrorist”, but quickly changes the word to “tourist”. Further investigation in Italy reveals he had expressed an interest in travelling to Syria to join Isis and practice the “Real Islam”. On 23 March 2016, Italian authorities place Zaghba on the EU-wide SIS II warning list, potentially bringing him to the attention of the UK at the border – but under a marker identifying him as subject to checks for serious crime, not a national security risk.
  • Spring 2016: Butt shows further aspirations travel to the Middle East and / or Africa and raises money for it, but there was “no longer any indication that travel would be for extremist purposes”. MI5 decides not to prevent him leaving the country.
  • July 2016: Butt assaults a moderate imam and member of the counter-extremism group Quilliam, but the victim did not press charges in time for the case to be taken forward. Butt re-engages with al-Muhajiroun and increases operational security to evade security forces.
  • September 2016: Operation Hawthorn downgraded to a lower threat category.
  • October 2016: Butt arrested for fraud and granted bail. He was never told the decision was taken not to prosecute.
  • December 2016: Relationships between between Redouane, Butt and Zaghba and Butt start at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford.
  • January 2017: Zaghba enters the UK for the final time.
  • Early 2017: Butt works at the Ummah Fitness Centre and develops links with extremist associates, including Redouane. He teachers Quran class to young members alongside Zaghba.
  • MI5 and police attempt to disrupt the teaching over radicalisation concerns.
  • 7 March 2017: Butt and Redouane meet at the Ummah Fitness Centre, possibly as part of an attempt by Butt to acquire a firearm.
  • MI5 receives strands of intelligence regarding a Moroccan male named “Rashid”, believed to be a peripheral and social associate of Butt, but the figure was not identified as Redouane until after the attack.
  • 21 March 2017: A day before the Westminster attack, the investigation into Butt is suspended for a second time “due to resourcing constraints brought on by a large number of higher-priority investigations”.
  • April 2017: With Operation Hawthorn still suspended, MI5 downgrades Butt’s holding code from one that indicated he was likely to pose a threat to national security, to one that indicated it was merely “likely”. “MI5 noted his continued extremist rhetoric but also uncertainty about whether he posed a threat to national security.”
  • May 2017: Operation Hawthorn is re-opened to consider whether the threat needed continued investigation, or could be closed to put resources elsewhere. A second lone actor triage assessment concluded that the risk posed by Butt had moved from “medium to unresolved” and further investigation was needed. It remained an active investigation until the attack.
  • MI5 surveillance never identified Zaghba as Butt or threats, or revealed their attack planning.
  • 3 June 2017: CCTV footage from Butt’s home address on the evening of the attack shows him getting into a white van hired earlier in the day with a large red holdall. Two males accompanied him, with one carrying chairs – perhaps to support a cover story that they were moving furniture.

London Bridge Terror Attack

London Bridge Terror Attack

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    Armed police on Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    Armed Police talk to members of the public outside London Bridge Hospital as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    Police Officers outside the Barrowboy and Banker Public House on Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    Armed police on Borough High Street as police deal with a ‘major incident’ at London Bridge

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    Emergency services near the scene of the incident

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    People run down Borough High Street as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    Emergency services arrive at the scene near Borough market at London Bridge

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    Emergency personnel on London Bridge as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    Police sniffer dogs on London Bridge as police are dealing with a “major incident” at London Bridge

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    A second helicopter lands on London Bridge as police are responding to three incidents in the capital, amid reports that a vehicle collided with pedestrians on London Bridge, Scotland Yard said. Officers are dealing with reports of stabbings in Borough Market, where armed officers attended and shots were fired. They are also at an incident in the Vauxhall area

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London, Britain

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    A police officer escorts members of the public to safety at London Bridge

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    Police attend to an incident on London Bridge in London, Britain

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    Police attend to an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain

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Finsbury Park

Date: 19 June 2017

Victims: One killed, 10 injured

Alleged perpetratorDarren Osborne, British, 47

Osborne has been arrested and charged with murder. His trial is due to start in January, meaning no indepth findings could be released in the Anderson report because they could prejudice the case.

He is alleged to have acted alone and he was not known to MI5. Police had no intelligence to suggest that he was going to commit the alleged attack.

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