By Robert Rich
By Robert Rich
FBI Director James Comey has admitted the agency is investigating suspected collusion between President Trump and Russia, something which had not been publicly confirmed until now.
Comey and other intelligence chiefs testified before Congress on Monday about claims Russia meddled in last year’s US presidential election.
Asked whether alleged Russian influence changed vote tallies in key states, both the FBI and NSA chiefs said ‘no.’
McAdams said it seems like Washington has been gripped by “a collective hysteria” and most noticeably among “Democrats and their new best buddies – the neocons.”
The executive director of the Ron Paul Institute posed the rhetorical question: “What are the Russians accused of doing?”
We know now that they didn’t hack, they didn’t change any votes, they didn’t hack the voting machines, they didn’t go and switch the votes,” he continued.
“What did they do?”
McAdams provided the answer to his own question: “They exposed the fact that Hillary Clinton cheated Bernie Sanders out of a bunch of votes. Supposedly, that is what Russian hacks revealed, but of course we found out from WikiLeaks subsequently that the US intelligence agencies have the ability to put false flags in hackings. So, was it a CIA false flag? Who knows.”
McAdams said, “We are perfectly willing to accept this possibility” that Russia somehow helped Trump win the elections, but said providing evidence of such serious allegations is essential.
Then, with a thinly veiled swipe at the US intelligence agency’s well-known spying capabilities, McAdams requested some evidence: “Coming from the world champion-meddler in other people’s elections, I think we deserve to have at least a little bit more proof than has been given.”
“Hopefully the Democrats and the neocons in Washington will take some anti-psychotic medication and come back down to earth. Look at Adam Schiff (US Representative for California’s 28th congressional district). His performance in this hearing was unbelievable. He cited over and over again the fake news dossier that some strange, murky British intelligent agent put together about all of these ties between Trump. So much of it has already been proven false.
“[Schiff] puts all of these things out there in a crazed Rachel Maddow style, and then he says: ‘Are these coincidences? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. That’s why we need more investigations.’ And that’s what it’s all about. Continuing to investigate. Don’t criticize Trump for the things that he is doing wrong, but try to undermine the presidency by having a perpetual investigation of the presidency, and it’s unbelievably irresponsible,” said McAdams.
A lot of the answers during the hearing were ‘no comment’.
“The comments from Comey and his colleague from NSA were sort of vapid,” commented Ray McGovern, former CIA officer. “The questions themselves were kind of circus-type questions,” he added.
“It is very clear that, as the chairman said, there is no evidence of this Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. The former director of the National Intelligence setup, James Clapper, has said specifically, and so this was a whole kind of a witch-hunt. Did you see the New York Times report from February 14 this year.”
McGovern said that it reminded him of “when they wanted to make war on Iraq.”
“They would give a leaked report to the New York Times, there are aluminum tubes that could only be used for nuclear weapons,” and they put that in the Times on Sunday. And then Condoleezza Rice would be asked: “Did you see that report in the New York Times?”
“That brought back memories today. It was a circus. There is no evidence. But they have to play this game. And the game is two-fold,” he said.
“Number one, the Democrats have never made peace with the fact that Hillary lost. She wasn’t supposed to lose. It couldn’t be that Hillary was a deeply flawed candidate. No, it has got to be Russians. Number two, they don’t want Trump to be able to work out a decent relationship with Russia,” McGovern told RT.
“Why? Well, a lot of reasons why, but mostly peace is really bad for business. Peace is really bad for what Pope Francis called the ‘blood-drench arms traders,’” McGovern continued.
“Before the invasion of Iraq, 69 percent of American people believed weapons of mass destruction were there and that Saddam Hussein was in some measure responsible for 9/11 – ties with Al-Qaeda. Both of them completely wrong which we know now,” said McGovern. “Now Americans, more than 69 percent believe that Russia was behind attempts to get Trump into the White House.”
Independent journalist Martin Summers argued that “James Comey is a political person, who heads a political organization. He was put in power by the Clinton administration. The FBI itself is a political police force…”
Summers argued that the domestic intelligence agency itself is not above scrutiny, reminding that it carried out the prosecutions of supposed terrorists inside the United States, “95 percent of which were entrapped.”
“In other words, they created the incidents which they then claimed the terrorists were involved in. So… whatever Comey says has to be taken with a massive grain of salt. He’s also on the record as saying they didn’t carry out any bugging or tapping.”
“We’ve got to recognize that this is a very politicized man. There is one faction in the ruling class in the US that wants to remove Trump. There are others who are behind him. And the FBI are very much players in that game.”
“The main evidence that has been presented so far is emails which went to WikiLeaks showing that the Democratic nomination has been fiddled. In other words, that Bernie Sanders was deprived of the Democratic nomination… No one is denying that this is real. The emails are definitely real. The question is how did they get them? WikiLeaks themselves are saying they didn’t receive them from the Russians, and the Russians have nothing to do with it,” Summers told RT.
“And of course, all sorts of politicians in the US have routine dealings with Russian officials on all sides of the political spectrum. So, there is an element of make-believe involved in all of this,” he added.
A group nine Iraqi nationals, between 22 and 48 years, were arrested last summer in Vienna and two other Austrian provinces and charged with “abuse of a defenseless person and rape in a very humiliating and agonizing way for the victim.”
Charges against one suspect were dropped, as investigators found that he was asleep during the assault.
All members of the same family, the men came to Austria as migrants between May and December 2015. Five of them already had refugee status at the time of the assault, while the other four had their applications pending.
The brutal assault took place on 2015/2016 New Year’s Eve, as the victim from the northern German state of Lower Saxony came to Vienna to celebrate with her female friend. The victim got “separated” from her friend during the festivities and met four reportedly drunk Iraqis at some point after midnight. They took advantage of her heavily intoxicated state and brought her to a flat, where five other men were waiting.
The perpetrators assaulted the victim for several hours, and the savage attack left the woman in need of medical and psychological treatment. “Nothing makes me happy anymore,” her lawyer quoted her as saying.
Only one of the perpetrators has reportedly acknowledged the rape and showed some remorse, while others either claimed the sex to have been “consensual” or have denied it altogether.
The investigating team, however, managed to prove their horrific assault with DNA and video evidence.
The quite harsh sentences imposed on the eight Iraqis might serve as a “warning” for all the migrants coming to Austria, Defense lawyer Andreas Reichenbach believes.
“As we all know, asylum-seekers don’t have the best image here in Austria,” AP quoted him as saying. “I think that this surely played a certain role, to make it clear to these people that when they come to Austria that such behavior won’t be tolerated.”
The victim was awarded damages of €25,000 ($26,265). Both prosecution and defense teams said they might appeal the court ruling, Reuters reported, citing the court spokesperson.
Migrants from other countries expressed fear that such outrageous cases might incite hostility against them to a whole new level and condemned the attack.
“Eight people raping a woman – that’s honor-less! Such a thing doesn’t exist in our religion,” a migrant from Turkey, Burhan Akbas told AP.
Sexual related attacks and incidents have been on the rise amid EU’s migrant crisis. Last year, mass sexual abuse transpired in the German city of Cologne, perpetrated by a group of men allegedly of North African and Arab descent, although police failed to identify all the attackers.
Ahead of New Year celebrations this year, police in Austria’s capital Vienna took precautions and distributed 6,000 special “anti-rape” pocket alarms among women. The devices emit a shrill sound to deter potential perpetrators and alert police.
Despite the measures, at least 18 sexual assaults occurred during this year’s revelry in the Austrian city of Innsbruck, where women were reportedly groped by a gang of “individuals.”
By Pamela Geller
“‘He jumped out of the train and started to strike at people with an AXE’: Horror in Dusseldorf as Kosovan attacker injures seven before he is caught after leaping from a bridge – but police say it’s NOT terrorism,” by Alex Matthews and Kelly Mclaughlin, Mailonline, March 10, 2017:
Seven people including two police officers were injured when a man wielding an axe went on the rampage at a train station in Dusseldorf.
The suspected culprit, identified as Fatmir H, from Kosovo, has been arrested and German anti-terror police confirmed they are not hunting anyone else.
The 36-year-old ran towards a nearby underground station and jumped from a bridge as he attempted to flee.
But he was arrested after seriously injuring himself in his unsuccessful escape attempt and is now being treated in hospital.
Police said he was in an ‘exceptional mental state’ at the time.
Pictures from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main station, showed one of the victims lying helplessly on the floor as paramedics rushed to their aid.
His victims included three men, a woman and a 13-year-old girl, with the teenager suffering lacerations to her upper arm. Three were seriously injured.
A motive for the attack has not yet been determined but the suspect, believed to be from Kosovo, suffers from mental health problems. Police said this morning that they had ruled out an Islamic fundamentalist motive for the attack.
‘A person, probably armed with an axe, attacked people at random,’ police said in a statement. Seven people were injured, three of them seriously, they said.
The suspect, who was earlier described as being from ‘the former Yugoslavia’ and living in the nearby city of Wuppertal, suffered serious injuries and was being treated in a hospital.
‘The suspect appears to have had psychological problems,’ police said….
The deployment of 2,500 personnel will include units of the Fort Bragg-based 82nd Airborne Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team (2nd BCT), Army Times reported on Friday, adding that 1,700 troops from the 2nd BCT have already been deployed to the region, spreading between Iraq and Kuwait.
On Thursday, an unnamed military official told Reuters the Pentagon wants to have a rapidly deployable Kuwait-based force as part of the ongoing change in the US strategy to defeat IS.
Army Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, the US Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations, told House members on Wednesday that the additional troops will be “postured there to do all things Mosul, Raqqa, all in between,” as cited by the Army Times, referring to the Islamic State’s two main bastions in Iraq and Syria respectively.
“So the whole brigade will now be forward,” General Anderson reportedly added. However, the Army command refrained from providing details on the exact timeline of the new deployment.
According to the open sources, the 82nd Airborne’s 2nd BCT comprises over 4,000 soldiers forming several infantry, artillery, cavalry, and combat support battalions.
The Army announcement regarding the deployment of the 2nd BCT comes on the heels of a Thursday statement by the US Central Command (CENTCOM) that more conventional troops would be sent to the Middle East to carry out so-called “stability operations.”
Army General Joseph Votel, the CENTCOM commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “as we move more towards the latter part of these operations into more of the stability and other aspects of the operations we will see more conventional forces requirements perhaps,” as quoted by Stars and Stripes.
“We have become very comfortable and capable of operating together,” he added.
“So, what I have pledged to our commanders and what I expect from them is for them to ask for the capabilities that they need and then for us to ensure we have the right command and control, the right force protection, the right resources in place to ensure that we can function properly together.”
At the moment, roughly 6,000 US troops are operating in both Iraq and Syria, according to the Army Times. In the latest deployment, around 400 Marines and a Stryker infantry unit set up a fire support base outside the Syrian city of Raqqa.
Additionally, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment appeared in the Syrian city of Manbij over the weekend in Stryker armored vehicles “to discourage Syrian or Turkish troops from making any moves that could shift the focus away from an assault on Islamic State militants.”
The report examined hundreds of individuals who left to join extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) between 2013 and 2016. Commissioned at the request of the Financial Supervisory Authority, it has found that the majority was still receiving living allowance, child benefit, maintenance support and parental benefits while abroad, having other people handle their mail to make it look like they were still at home.
In some cases, the individuals also applied for overseas study loans.
“This is of course totally unacceptable. No state funds should be used for anything even close to terrorism,” Anna Ekstrom, the Minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education, told the public television channel SVT.
“We need to get a hold of this issue immediately. We are preparing now to go to parliament and ensure that the government gets the opportunity to stop the payout of such large sums at once.”
The money collected is usually transferred to foreign accounts, making it harder to trace.
The tax authorities also noted that payday loans have been taken out to finance trips to Syria and Iraq, but since 2015 have become less common, probably because their recipients intended to return to Sweden. In 5-10 suspected cases, cars have also been rented and driven out of the country, either to be used in the conflict zone or sold.
According to a group’s instruction manual, IS has encouraged its members abroad to seek benefits if they’re able to do so.
One example of this is Abdul Samad al Swedi aka Michael Skramo, who fled from Gothenburg with his wife and four children to Syria in 2014.
Over the course of eight months, Skramo was paid $5,000 in benefits while appearing in IS propaganda videos.
Sweden is not the only country with the issue. In February, Danish officials said that 29 citizens were paid $100,000 in public pension benefits as they were considered too ill or disabled to work, before fleeing to Syria to fight for IS.
Belgian authorities also believe some of the terrorists involved in the Brussels and Paris attacks that killed scores of people between 2015 and 2016 might also have been partially funded by the country’s welfare system.
According to the 2016 annual report by the Swedish Security Service, or Sapo, around 300 people have left to fight in Iraq and Syria from Sweden, mainly joining IS or the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front. Most are young men between 18 and 30 years old who have been born in Sweden but with at least one parent born abroad. They typically have little to no income, and over half have criminal records. The report states that 44 have been killed while 135 have returned to Sweden as of 2016.