‘Clinton Cash’ book alleges foreign donations to family foundation linked to political favors

A new book accuses the Clinton Foundation — run by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea — of accepting quid pro quo donations from foreign sources while Mrs Clinton was secretary of state.

The book — “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” — will no doubt ignite a new level of scrutiny over the political ambitions of Hillary Clinton, currently the lone candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Clinton’s campaign has asserted that the 186-page investigation by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, is yet another right-wing hatchet job that leans on bias and innuendo.

Under the microscope are cash infusions to the charitable Clinton Foundation, as well as speaking fees incurred by former US president Bill Clinton, during Hillary Clinton’s four years as secretary of the US State Department under President Barack Obama’s administration.

“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Schweizer wrote in the book, according to the New York Times, which gained access to an advanced copy.

The Clintons’ income was at least $136.5 million between 2001 and 2012, Schweizer wrote in the book, echoing a figure reported by the Washington Post. The Post, New York Times, and Fox News all have agreements with Schweizer to expand further on the storylines he pursued in the book, the Times reported.

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“During Hillary’s years of public service, the Clintons have conducted or facilitated hundreds of large transactions” with foreign governments and wealthy individuals, he added.

“Some of these transactions have put millions in their own pockets.”

While Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, payments to Bill Clinton for speeches went up: “Of the 13 Clinton speeches that fetched $500,000 or more, only two occurred during the years his wife was not secretary of state,” Schweizer wrote.

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In 2011, for example, Bill Clinton made $13.3 million for 54 speeches, most of them made overseas, the book reported.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s young presidential campaign, said Schweizer’s book is part of the conservative attack machine that will certainly continue to target Clinton with unrelenting fervor.

The book, he said, consists of “twisting previously known facts into absurd conspiracy theories,” and that “it will not be the first work of partisan-fueled fiction about the Clintons’ record, and we know it will not be the last.”

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Recent books on the Clintons’ political dealings — including “Blood Feud” and “Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine” — have been accused of being thinly-veiled attack efforts that are low on credibility. “Clinton Cash,” however, relied on extensive investigative reporting with detailed source citations to tax records, government documents, and the like, the Times reported. Though Schweizer also makes clear in the book he is no fan of the Clintons.

This is not the first time the Clinton Foundation donors and their relationship to the most powerful family in US politics have been questioned.

As RT has reported, from 2009 up to 2013, the year the Ukrainian crisis erupted, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, which is headquartered in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, calling into question whether the donations were an attempt to curry favor from the US State Dept. Several alumni of oligarch Pinchuk’s program have already graduated into the ranks of Ukraine’s parliament, while a former Clinton pollster went to work as a lobbyist for Pinchuk at the same time Clinton was working in government.

According to the International Business Times, the Clinton Foundation accepted million of dollars from a Colombian oil company before then-Secretary of State Clinton changed her previous position and supported a US-Colombia trade deal, controversial for its links to human rights violations. In addition, after the deal was finalized, Clinton’s State Department “never criticized or took action against the Colombian government for alleged violations of labor rights at Pacific Rubiales,” the oil company “at the center of Colombia’s labor strife,” IBT reported.

In early April, McClatchy News Service reported that, since 2001, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — governments that have been maligned for their dismal human rights records and for ties to terror funding throughout the Middle East — gave as much as $40 million to the Clinton Foundation.

In March, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that the Clinton Foundation had accepted as much as $68 million from elite donors with close ties to foreign governments and state-run companies while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The conflict-of-interest allegations were denied by the Clintons, who said the donations were part and parcel of building coalitions to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.

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Amid mounting criticism, the Clinton Foundation announced last week that it would revise its policy of accepting donations from Germany, Britain, Canada, and other nations, while curbing money from Middle Eastern countries.

US military instructors deployed to Ukraine to train local forces

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Paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy, have arrived in western Ukraine to provide training for Ukrainian government troops.

The announcement came on US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt’s twitter account. The diplomat posted pictures of the US paratroopers marching through the airport in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov.

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Pyatt has not given the exact number of the servicemen deployed in Ukraine, but according to a Facebook post by Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, there should be some 290 US paratroopers. Avakov said that, under an agreement with the US State Department, long-term joint drills of US paratroopers and combat units of the Ukrainian National Guard, as well as training will take place at Yavorivky.

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The joint drills were agreed by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice-President Joe Biden early in spring. The US paratroopers’ training will last for 24 weeks and involve some 900 servicemen, from several Ukrainian National Guard units.

In March, the UK started its training mission in Ukraine. It was planned that up to 75 troops at a time would be engaged in a six-month-long mission, training Kiev’s military “to strengthen the defensive capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and build the resilience that they need.”

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UK troops start training Ukraine’s army, US confirms own mission

Russia has expressed its concerns over the military training of Ukrainian forces, saying such actions do not support conflict settlement in the east of the country.

“The presence of foreign instructors in Ukraine, where an internal conflict remains unresolved in southeast and where problems arise with the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement, does not help in settling the conflict and producing an environment beneficial for it. On the contrary, it destabilizes the situations,” said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman.

Kiev and rebel forces signed a ceasefire deal in February, which involves the pullout of heavy weapons and a profound reform, which would address the grievances of the dissenting regions and reintegrate them into Ukraine. The deal has more or less held so far, with the level of violence in eastern Ukraine dropping significantly, OSCE monitors on the ground have reported.

READ MORE: US govt issues logistics support tender for 300 military personnel in Ukraine

But there is a high level of mistrust remaining among the rebels toward Kiev. The Ukrainian authorities don’t appear to be willing to resume social payments in the areas they don’t control, a measure specified in the ceasefire agreement.

Instead, they are investing heavily into rearming and training of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard. Combined with belligerent rhetoric dominating the political discourse in Ukraine, there is rising fear that Kiev plans a new offensive, instead of sticking to the peace plan.

‘Reuters lied’: MH17 witness says reporter falsified testimony

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A Lugansk Region resident, whom Reuters cites as saying he saw evidence of a surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory on the day MH17 was downed, told RT the news agency gave a false report of his interview.

As a part of a March report on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragedy Reuters talked to Pyotr Fedotov, a 58-year-old resident of the village Chervonniy Zhovten in the Lugansk Region of eastern Ukraine.

When interviewed by Reuters, Fedotov, the witness who described the ‘wiggling’ rocket, at first said on camera that it was fired from territory held by the Ukrainian army. Later, off camera, he said it was launched from a nearby rebel area. Asked why he had originally said the opposite, he said it was because he was afraid of the rebels,” the news agency said.

RT contacted Fedotov and he said that Reuters correspondent Anton Zverev was “less than accurate” with his testimony.

When we talked about the Boeing on camera, I explained everything as it was. The things that I allegedly said off-camera were just made up by the journalist. It’s all lies. Off-camera, we never discussed the Boeing, Fedotov told RT.

He added that the Reuters journalist contacted him after taking the interview, but never showed him a draft of the article. Instead he was asking whether Fedotov had got into trouble for speaking to him.

“The journalist called me and asked if I was in trouble. I was really surprised. Why would I be in trouble if I told the truth? And then my friends told me in the article I was saying different things when the cameras were on and off. That’s when I understood why he was asking if I was in trouble,” the witness explained.

So it’s mere fantasy from the journalist or maybe he was doing it for his own benefit, he added.

RT’s request to Reuters for comments on the controversy and raw footage of Fedotov’s interview was not replied to as of publication of this article.

Read more

Lavrov condemns Reuters report on MH17 crash, calls for ‘unbiased, professional’ investigation

Reuters’ reporting was not based solely on Fedotov’s testimony. The agency cited three other eyewitnesses from the village, but only Fedotov was cited as pointing to either side of the conflict as firing the missile. The report emphasized that the eyewitness accounts didn’t conclusively prove that the rocket they saw was the one that downed Flight MH17.

Earlier in March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the Reuters report of witnesses’ statements, saying it “looked like a stovepiping.” The top diplomat also then said that questions posed by Russia’s officials remained unanswered, saying there have been no promised images from American satellites or recordings of Ukrainian air traffic controllers’ communications with the plane.

The Malaysian Boeing 777 airliner was downed over eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing 298 people on board. The incident became an instant controversy, with Ukraine and its Western backers accused rebel forces and Russia of being behind the downing.

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Ukraine media falsely claim Dutch prosecutors accused Russia of MH17 downing

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Netherlands, but the preliminary report released last year didn’t point even to a kind of weapon used in the downing of the aircraft, only that an outside force destroyed it mid-air.

Russia called not to jump to conclusions and made military radar data public which indicated the presence of Ukrainian surface-to-air batteries and warplanes in the area on the day of the Boeing shooting.

Earlier Ukrainian media falsely claimed that Dutch investigators concluded that MH17 had been shot down by the rebels with a Buk missile, citing a report in the Dutch media that outlined the popular theory, but didn’t claim it to be proven. Dutch prosecutors told RT at the time that the investigation had not been concluded.

(THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT OBAMA IS HELPING.) ‘It’s his personal ideology': USA Today finds Nazis among Kiev’s volunteer brigade

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An Azov Battalion sergeant has confessed to USA Today of praising Nazi ideology. He also pledged a march on the Ukrainian capital after the war. A spokesman for the pro-Kiev brigade insists this is a ‘personal choice’ of no more than a fifth of the unit.

USA Today visited the Azov Battalion stationed in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol and spoke to a number of servicemen of the unit, which is sponsored by Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoysky.

READ MORE: Wolfsangel in E. Ukraine: Foreign Policy talks to deputy leader of ‘pro-govt’ Azov Battalion

A drill sergeant who identified himself as Alex told the newspaper that he supports Nazi-style strong leadership for Ukraine but does not share Nazis’ genocide agenda against Jews, as long as minorities “don’t demand special privileges.”

Alex insisted that once the war is over, he and others from the Azov Battalion will go back to Kiev to oust the corrupt government and nationalize the property of wealthy oligarchs.

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Officers of higher ranks in the battalion denied the presence of a large number of neo-Nazis among servicemen.

READ MORE: Right Sector refuses to obey Ukraine’s Defense Ministry – presidential aid

I know Alex is a Nazi, but it’s his personal ideology. It has nothing to do with the official ideology of the Azov,” said Andrey Dyachenko, a spokesman for the Azov Battalion. However, he did state that “only 10 percent to 20 percent of the group’s members are Nazis.”

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The Azov Battalion’s deputy commander, Oleg Odnorozhenko, insisted that the drill sergeant does not speak for the group. “If he has his own sympathies, it’s his own matter,” Odnorozhenko said, adding that Alex “will be dealt with severely for his lack of discipline.”

Ideas like going to Kiev to change the government in an illegal way should be nipped in the bud,” Odnorozhenko said, adding that Alex is a “good drill sergeant and a good instructor for tactics and weapons skills,” so his future in the unit is probably as bright as it gets.

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A member of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Kiev, Col. Oleksy Nozdrachov, defended the Azov fighters as patriots. “They are volunteers who decided to sacrifice their lives to the country,” he said.

They are tough and fierce in battle who stand and fight and won’t give up soil.”

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Kiev-controlled volunteer battalions and the Ukrainian Security Service are involved in an increasing number of human rights violations, including torture and forced disappearances of those suspected of “separatism,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a December 2014 report.

READ MORE: UN rights watchdog accuses Kiev forces of torture, inhumane treatment of civilians

The report – which covered a period of just one month, from November 1-30 – said the Office of the Military Prosecutor had not taken any actions to investigate the “considerable” number of allegations of human rights violations, “including looting, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by members of certain voluntary battalions such as Aidar, Azov, Slobozhanshchina and Shakhtarsk.”

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In September last year, another international report confirmed that war crimes – including abductions, executions, and extortion – were committed by the Ukrainian Aidar volunteer battalion in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine.

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The recent interview is not the first time that Ukraine battalion volunteers have openly supported Nazi ideology. Last year, troops from the Ukrainian Azov and Donbass battalions were reportedly noticed wearing swastikas and SS badges.

According to a video on German TV station ZDF, Ukrainian soldiers were shown wearing swastikas and the “SS runes” of Adolph Hitler’s elite corps. The footage was shot by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

https://youtu.be/5SBo0akeDMY

A year ago, BBC Newsnight journalist Gabriel Gatehouse visited Kiev to investigate the links between the new Ukrainian government and Neo-nazis. Having reported “groups of armed men strut through the [Maidan] square with dubious iconography” – including German symbols used by SS divisions during WWII – the British journalistic investigation found that “the most organized and perhaps the most effective were a small number of far right groups,” adding that “when it came to confrontation with the police, it was often the nationalists who were the loudest and the most violent.”

READ MORE: Ukraine ultranationalist leader rejects Minsk peace deal, vows ‘to continue war’

National Socialist themes are popular amongst some of us…I like the idea of one nation. A clean nation…Not like under Hitler, but in our own way, a little bit like that,” a member of Ukraine’s Right Sector told the BBC reporter, who concluded that “the influence of the far right in Ukraine is growing.”

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In February, Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh said the party’s paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue “active fighting” despite the ceasefire, as the radical movement did not recognize the Minsk peace deal agreed upon by Ukraine, France, Germany, and Russia after 16 hours of talks.

US to send more drones, Humvees to Ukraine

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Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed US was to send Ukraine more non-lethal military aid, including drones and armored Humvees.

“We are today providing immediately some 75 million dollars of additional non-lethal assistance, immediately, to Ukraine in order to help them in non-lethal assistance,” Kerry told the Senate on Wednesday afternoon during a hearing concerning a proposed war powers act offered by the White House. “And, as you know, other things are currently under consideration.”

The aid has been discussed on the phone by Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a phone call, according to US officials, AP reported.

The aid package includes the small Raven drone system, which can be launched by hand, radios, counter mortar radars, 30 heavily armored Humvees and 200 regular ones.

READ MORE: ‘We should absolutely consider lethal aid’ to Ukraine – US Gen. Martin Dempsey

Washington and other NATO allies have spent in excess of $100 million in security aid to Ukraine, although until now this has been primarily of a non-lethal nature.

“We have over the last 14 months provided $118 million in security assistance” to the Ukrainian authorities, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs earlier this month.

The US also announced earlier in March that they were planning to send about 300 military advisors to train the Ukrainian army from March through October.

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US boosting ‘anti-propaganda’ budget, mulling ‘increase of lethality’ for Ukraine support – Nuland

The UK also announced that it will send 75 British military personnel in March who will offer medical, intelligence and infantry training to the Ukrainian army. Poland has also said it is sending military advisors to Ukraine.

Sergey Ryabkov, a deputy Russian foreign minister, said in February that supplying weapons to Ukraine would “escalate the whole situation” and “would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements.”

Russia believes the best chance for peace in Ukraine lies in the Minsk ceasefire agreement, which largely appears to be holding.

“It’s extremely important that the authorities in Kiev have agreed to carry out a deep constitutional reform, to satisfy a desire for self-rule in certain regions – whether that reform is called decentralization, autonomization or federalization. This is the deeper meaning of the Minsk accords,” said President Putin.

NATO is using Ukraine crisis to advance towards Russian borders – Defense Ministry

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NATO is using the situation in Ukraine to push closer to Russia’s border, according to the Russian deputy defense minister. He says the Alliance’s activities have expanded considerably over the past years.

In their push, Anatoly Antonov says Allied forces are ignoring diplomacy.

“We’ve noticed that NATO member states are using the situation in southeastern Ukraine as a pretext to discard all diplomatic conventions, tricks and slogans and push forward, closer to the Russian border.”

According to the minister, what NATO is doing is completely out of proportion with what NATO commanders call the build-up of Russian forces on its side of the border in Ukraine. “NATO’s activities are many times greater than Russia’s.”

However, he added they aren’t a threat to Russia’s security.

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All of this is being done to restrain Russia and punish it for refusing to play along with rules set by the West, according to the official.

“Instead of uniting forces to fight evil, the worst of which is terrorism, Western nations are drawing new divisive lines, trying to realize containment schemes against unwelcome states. Today, Russia has been chosen as the target.”

He added that NATO currently can’t be considered the pillar of world freedom and security it is cracked up to be.

All this doesn’t bode well for relations between the US and Russia, Antonov said.

“Throughout my military and diplomatic career, I haven’t seen another period when Russian-American relations have been so difficult.”

The activities he was referring to include massive wargames in Eastern Europe and naval exercises in the Black Sea. On Wednesday, warships from the US, Turkey, Italy, Canada and Romania started drills there.

Another example is the NATO military parade on February 24, held just 300 meters from the Russian border, in the Estonian town of Narva. About 140 pieces of armor and 10 times as many troops, including US soldiers, took part in that event.

Moscow saw it as a stab in its direction, but Estonia defended its right to host a parade, saying it can move military whichever way it likes on its territory – the same argument used by Russia when accused of military build-up along its borders.

US armor paraded 300m from Russian border (VIDEO)

The US is sending 600 paratroopers to Ukraine by the end of this week. US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Colonel Michael Foster announced this at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Monday.

The forces will stay there for six months, with the stated goal of training the Ukrainian National Guard. However, the operation could grow bigger.

“Initially, the plan is to go for six months,” said Colonel Foster. “There have been discussions on how to increase both the duration of that event and the scope, the other things the US can assist with from a military perspective.”

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich, said on Thursday that 300 American troops are already in Ukraine, training local servicemen near the city of Lvov.

The Ukrainian Defense ministry has denied Russia’s claims of US military instructors already being in the country.

“We don’t confirm this. It is the news from 12 years ago. Today it’s a fake,” the ministry’s spokeswoman,Viktoria Kushnir, told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

The spokesman for a region Defense Ministry media-center in Lvov, Aleksandr Poronyuk, also said the information “doesn’t correspond with reality.”

When asked if the training program will be used to send lethal aid to Ukraine should the US decide to do so, Colonel Foster said a “secondary method” will be used for that.

The Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the US push to give lethal aid to Kiev especially “in light of the rather successful implementation of ceasefire agreements reached on February 12.”

“Weapon supplies may cause not only the failure of the ceasefire and a new escalation of violence in the south east (of Ukraine), but also pose a threat to Russia’s security,” Lukashevich stressed.

RUSSIAN FIGHTER JETS PRACTICE ATTACKING NATO SHIPS

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Tensions over Ukraine continue to build despite ceasefire

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | MARCH 4, 2015

Russian fighter jets are practicing attacking NATO ships in the Black Sea in another dramatic sign that tensions over Ukraine continue to build despite a fragile ceasefire agreed last month.

“Russia’s newest Su-30 fighter jets and Su-24 attack bombers are using two NATO ships in the Black Sea to practice penetrating anti-air systems,” reports Sputnik, citing a source at the Sevastopol naval base.

Asserting that the NATO ships are conducting drills based around “repelling air attacks,” Moscow is taking the opportunity to practice “maneuvering and conducting aerial reconnaissance” outside the range of the ships in order to “practice attack scenarios”.

The report also states that Russia is closely monitoring the movements of the ships, namely the USS Vicksburg missile cruiser and the Turkish TCG Turgutreis frigate, and the assignments they are performing.

Three Su-30 jets and four Su-24 bombers carried out reconnaissance on the ships yesterday.

The exercises coincide with an unannounced test of nuclear weapons near the central Russian city Yoshkar-Ola. Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) said the exercise was based around an assessment of the “condition and security provisions” of nuclear weapons in the Yoshkar-Ola Missile Unit, which is armed with the Topol intercontinental nuclear-capable ballistic missile complex.

Russia has also sought to demonstrate its military might with a series of maneuvers over sovereign European airspace. The latest incident involved two Tu-95 ‘Bear’ long-range strategic bombers which flew 40 kilometers off the Irish coast with their transponders turned off, forcing air traffic control to re-route commercial flights to avoid a collision.

Sporadic fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Kiev forces continues to be reported despite an agreement from both sides to withdraw heavy weapons from the region. At least 6,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted last year.