FBI’s 37 secret pages of memos about Russia, Clintons and Uranium One | The Hill

By John Soloman

Eight years after its informant uncovered criminal wrongdoing inside Russia’s nuclear industry, the FBI has identified 37 pages of documents that might reveal what agents told the Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others about the controversial Uranium One deal.

There’s just one problem: The FBI claims it must keep the memos secret from the public.

Their excuses for the veil of nondisclosure range from protecting national security and law enforcement techniques to guarding the privacy of individual Americans and the ability of agencies to communicate with each other.

Sound familiar?

It’s a lot like the initial reasons the bureau was reluctant to turn over documents in the Russia collusion investigation, such as former FBI agent Peter Strzok’s “stop Trump” texts or the revelation that Clinton and the Democrats funded the Steele dossier.

The FBI’s declaration and list of withheld documents — entitled simply “Uranium One Transaction” — were posted recently inside its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) online vault.

The bureau actually released a handful of documents, but it wasn’t a big stretch of either freedom or information. It actually just released already public letters from members of Congress demanding answers in the Uranium One case.

I was the reporter who first disclosed last fall that a globetrotting American businessman, William Douglas Campbell, managed to burrow his way inside Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear giant, Rosatom, in 2009 posing as a consultant while working as an FBI informant.

Campbell gathered extensive evidence for his FBI counterintelligence handlers by early 2010 that Rosatom’s main executive in the United States, Vadim Mikerin, orchestrated a racketeering plot involving kickbacks, bribes and extortion that corrupted the main uranium trucking company in the United States. That is a serious national security compromise by any measure.

The evidence was compiled as Secretary Clinton courted Russia for better relations, as her husband former President Clinton collected a $500,000 speech payday in Moscow, and as the Obama administration approved the sale of a U.S. mining company, Uranium One, to Rosatom.

The sale — made famous years later by author Peter Schweizer and an epic New York Times exposé in 2015 — turned over a large swath of America’s untapped uranium deposits to Russia.

Mikerin was charged and convicted, along with some American officials, but not until many years later. Ironically, the case was brought by none other than current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a magnet for controversy, it turns out.

But the years-long delay in prosecution mean that no one in the public, or in Congress, was aware that the FBI knew through Campbell about the Russian bribery plot as early as 2009 — well before the Obama-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved Uranium One in fall 2010.

Since the emergence of Campbell’s undercover work, there has been one unanswered question of national importance.

Did the FBI notify then-President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leaders on the CFIUS board about Rosatom’s dark deeds before the Uranium One sale was approved, or did the bureau drop the ball and fail to alert policymakers?

Neither outcome is particularly comforting. Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision.

Campbell tells me his FBI handlers assured him they had briefed Obama and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, now the Russia special prosecutor, on Rosatom’s criminal activities as part of the president’s daily briefing and that agents suggested to him that “politics” was the reason the sale was allowed to go through.

After I broke the Campbell story, a predictable pattern occurred. President Trump and the Republicans took note. On the flip side, Democrats attacked the credibility of the informer — despite evidence the FBI had given him a hefty $50,000 award of thanks after the case was finished.

And the Jeff Sessions-Rod Rosenstein Justice Department, likely feeling the heat of President Trump’s watchful eye, announced that a prosecutor from Utah was named to look into the matter.

Campbell was interviewed by the FBI, but that was 10 months ago. Since then, nothing has been made public to address the overriding public interest issue.

Perhaps the FBI’s unexpected “release” — and I use that word loosely, since they gave up no public information of importance — in the FOIA vault was a warning flare designed to remind America there might be evidence worth looking at.

One former U.S. official, who had access to the evidence shared with CFIUS during the Uranium One deal, said this to me: “There is definitely material that would be illuminating to the issues that have been raised. Somebody should fight to make it public.”

That somebody could be President Trump, who could add these 37 pages of now-secret documents to his declassification order he is considering in the Russia case.

Or, those Republicans leading the charge on exposing failures in the Russia probe could use their bully pulpits to pressure for the release.

From what we now know, either the CFIUS process was corrupted or broken, or the FBI dropped the ball.

Either outcome is a matter of national interest.

Source: The Hill

Author: John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

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Reflections on 9/11 | Liberty International

FlagButterfly-288By Johnny Liberty

Author’s Note: This article was written a few days after 9/11/01. I re-post it here for your reflection on the seventeenth anniversary.

Another Crossroads

Here we sit at another crossroads. Life offers so many opportunities for reflection. Where are we? What have we done? How is our way of life changed forever, for better or worse? What is the state of our nation? Are we a “kinder and gentler America” as Senior Bush once promised during his campaign for the presidency? Or are we set on a course towards oblivion?

During the fall of the Roman Empire most people couldn’t imagine life being any different. Ask anyone who was there. Most people believed, I imagine, that the Roman Empire would continue forever. That it was too big, too large, too entrenched, too much the status quo for change to ever happen. Yes, they believed then as we believe now, that the American Empire will go on forever.

Now that America is the world’s only superpower, we can arrogantly do whatever we want. We can invade Afghanistan. We can attack Iraq because we don’t like their leader. We can topple governments and establish dictatorships more akin to our way of thinking. We are America after all. America is good. America is God. America can do no wrong.

So then why do so many people hate America around the world. Why is America seen as a threat? Why would anybody want to blow up the World Trade Center buildings and kills innocent civilians as an act of terror, an act of war? Have we stopped shopping long enough to really consider this question?

Hmm. I don’t think we’ve learned the lessons from 9/11. And until the American people learn the lesson, the teacher is going to continue to pursue terrorist attacks against America at home and abroad. And all our efforts towards establishing “homeland security” will be ineffective and absurd.

The only ones more secure are the terrorists themselves, secure in knowing that if the conditions around the world and in many poor countries don’t change, that if American foreign policies don’t change, that if the rich continue to plunder the poor, that more terrorist attacks will be justified, in fact necessary to tame the beast.

But American’s will have to stop shopping and watching television long enough to reflect upon these conditions, to inform and educate themselves about global issues and concerns. And if we fail to do so, our way of life is destroyed. Our so-called democracy has failed and tyranny and absolute dictatorship will replace it.

Furthermore the American Empire will fall just like the Roman Empire did. Bush fiddled while America and the World Trade Center towers burned. We have a lot to learn. What does 9/11 mean to you and what have you learned?

GroundZeroMural-288The USA Patriot Act

What I’ve learned since 9/11 is that the USA Patriot Act has amended fundamental law unconstitutionally to provide additional powers to the goverment, to the Executive Branch, the FBI and the Attorney General’s office in the Department of Justice, and especially to the banker’s. This is a banker’s bill to protect the Federal Reserve Banking cartel and punish those who might compete with them, foreign or domestic.

This bill was passed by the U.S. Congress without reading it after 9/11. It was prepared for the U.S. Congress by the attorneys for Morgan-Chase, the largest bank in America. All of these actions are unconstitutional as they contradict our unalienable rights as a sovereign people. So you have to ask yourself under this law, are there any possible situations where you might be considered a terrorist by your own government? So who and where are the real terrorists? I think you know by now.

Highlights of the USA Patriot Act
© 2002 Associated Press

1. Freedom of Association:
Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror
investigation.

2. Freedom of Information:
Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.

3. Freedom of Speech:
Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

4. Right to Legal Representation:
Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

5. Freedom from Unreasonable Searches:
Government may search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

6. Right to a Speedy and Public Trial:
Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

7. Right to Liberty:
Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them related to a terror investigation.

Resources:

Intelligent news for the rest of us.

17th Year Anniversary of 9/11

Ground Zero Memorial

By John David Van Hove

Seventeen years ago on this day I was soaking at Stewart Hot Springs in Northern California enjoying a one-day retreat and massage. I heard musings about the attack on the World Trade Center there, but didn’t take it seriously until the next day when I returned to my offices at the Ashland Resource Center on Oak Street across from the Historic Ashland Armory and saw live news coverage for the first time. The news anchors were babbling incoherently as the events were unfolding before our eyes.

I knew then and understood clearly that my life, all our lives would change forever in America. For those who survived, for those who died and for those who bravely gave their lives in service to others may you be forever blessed and remembered.

Six years ago I went to Ground Zero and took this picture looking out from an adjacent building.

Resources:

  • Self-Evident by Ani DiFranco (audio)

MS-13 gang used California farm town as a base for crime | Yahoo News

More than two dozen MS-13 gang members and affiliates were arrested and charged following a monthslong murder and drug trafficking investigation centered on a rural California farm city that the gang turned into a base for its operations, U.S. and state prosecutors said Friday.

MS-13 took advantage of limited resources in the city of Mendota and used it and other areas of Fresno County to “conduct their crimes, to hide out from crimes that they committed in other jurisdictions and to prepare to commit crimes in states as far away as New York,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp said at a news conference in Fresno with state and federal officials.

Mendota has a population of roughly 11,000 people and lies 35 miles (60 kilometers) west of Fresno in California’s agriculturally rich Central Valley. Nearly the entire population is Hispanic, with many immigrants from El Salvador.

MS-13 is linked to more than 12 murders in Mendota and western Fresno County over the past two years, said McGregor Scott, the U.S. attorney in Sacramento. The federal charges announced Friday include allegations that two MS-13 gang members kidnapped and murdered a Fresno County man in December.

Scott said the investigation — dubbed “Blue Inferno” — uncovered evidence tying the gang to at least 30 murders and assaults in Mendota, Los Angles, Las Vegas, New York City and Houston. The evidence has prompted additional prosecutions in other cities, he said.

“This is a good day,” he said. “An extremely violent street gang which has terrorized western Fresno County has been completely dismantled and several murders and violent crimes across the nation have been resolved in a resounding way,” he said.

MS-13, or La Mara Salvatrucha, was formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s by refugees from El Salvador and is linked to many slayings in certain parts of the U.S. In California, the gang has clashed with rival Nortenos gang members. It also targets its own members for violating gang rules.

Nortenos are a street gang connected to the Nuestra Familia, a prison gang that originally formed in the California state prison system in the 1960s, according to federal prosecutors.

President Donald Trump has singled out the MS-13 gang as a threat to the U.S. and blames weak border enforcement for the group’s crimes. But many gang members were born in the U.S.

Source: Yahoo News