U.S. Attorney Durham Seized 2 Interesting Blackberries

AG Barr assigned John Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI’s counter-intelligence operation known as Crossfire Hurricane. Durham is working the globe on the investigation and two key people are Joseph Mifsud and Stephan Halper. There may be others that include Alexander Downer, Azra Turk, Seems that Peter Strzok issued two Blackberries to Joseph Mifsud. Durham has those two phones in his possession. You can bet that Durham is working the channels to see who else has FBI issued phones. The FBI loves those phones.

US News on Flipboard by The Epoch Times

Mr. Mifsud, a university professor and well-traveled lecturer, told George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, in London in April 2016 that Moscow owned thousands of Hillary Clinton emails. When the news reached the FBI in July, agent Peter Strzok initiated the probe.

Ms. Sidney Power is representing General Michael Flynn as she has added to the Mifsud intrigue with her motion before District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan asking him to order the government to turn over the BlackBerrys’ data. The filing lists the two phones’ model number, PIN and SIM card information. She filed a court motion on Monday disclosing the phones’ existence while tying them to Western intelligence.

She told the judge that on Oct. 11 she asked the prosecution for phone data. She was ignored until she sent notification days later that she planned to file the discovery motion.

The motion says: “Michael T. Flynn requests the government be ordered to produce evidence that has only recently come into its possession……… This information is material, exculpatory, and relevant to the defense of Mr. Flynn, and specifically to the “OCONUS LURES” and agents that western intelligence tasked against him likely as early as 2014 to arrange—unbeknownst to him—‘connections’ with certain Russians that they would then use against him in their false claims. The phones were used by Mr. Joseph Mifsud.”

“OCONUS LURES” is an FBI acronym for an operation to lure a person back to the U.S.

Ms. Powell has been filing motions demanding the government turn over exculpatory evidence. She wants to show it was withheld early on, violating Judge Sullivan’s order.

Reacting to the BlackBerry disclosure, Mr. Papadopoulos tweeted: “I lived this spy story. The government’s of the UK, Australia, Italy sent their agents: Mifsud, Downer, Halper, Azra Turk and many more. With the new info on Mifsud’s phones with the DOJ, my story was the one that exposed the greatest spying scandal in history. Downer is next!”

Alexander Downer was the Australian ambassador in London to whom Mr. Papadopoulos relayed the Mifsud gossip. Mr. Downer denies he was a spy. Stephan Halper and Azar Turk were FBI/western intelligence spies assigned to Mr. Papadopoulos in London.

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec declined to comment on the Flynn motion.

When news broke that Mr. Durham was in Rome, she released a statement:

“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.” More here for full story and context.

*** One other detail from the Daily Beast due to AG Barr’s travels to Rome with John Durham was to listen to a taped deposition of Joseph Mifsud. Meanwhile:

The Italian intelligence community had Mifsud on its radar for some years before he got involved in the Trump campaign’s troubles. His affiliations with both the Link University of Rome and London Center of International Law Practice—both often affiliated with Western diplomacy and foreign intelligence agencies—made him an easy target. So did the slew of apartments he owned in Malta that are allegedly tied to a racket involving Russians buying Maltese passports for cheap.

QAnon Among Others in the FBI Report

The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News. (Read the document below.)

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

The FBI said another factor driving the intensity of this threat is “the uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures.” The FBI does not specify which political leaders or which cover-ups it was referring to.

President Trump is mentioned by name briefly in the latest FBI document, which notes that the origins of QAnon is the conspiratorial belief that “Q,” allegedly a government official, “posts classified information online to reveal a covert effort, led by President Trump, to dismantle a conspiracy involving ‘deep state’ actors and global elites allegedly engaged in an international child sex trafficking ring.”

This recent intelligence bulletin comes as the FBI is facing pressure to explain who it considers an extremist, and how the government prosecutes domestic terrorists. In recent weeks the FBI director has addressed domestic terrorism multiple times but did not publicly mention this new conspiracy theorist threat.

Christopher Wray, Trump’s FBI Director Pick, Is the Anti ...

The FBI is already under fire for its approach to domestic extremism. In a contentious hearing last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced criticism from Democrats who said the bureau was not focusing enough on white supremacist violence. “The term ‘white supremacist,’ ‘white nationalist’ is not included in your statement to the committee when you talk about threats to America,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said. “There is a reference to racism, which I think probably was meant to include that, but nothing more specific.”

FBI Conspiracy Theory Redacted by Kelli R. Grant on Scribd

Wray told lawmakers the FBI had done away with separate categories for black identity extremists and white supremacists, and said the bureau was instead now focusing on “racially motivated” violence. But he added, “I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

The FBI had faced mounting criticism for the term “black identity extremists,” after its use was revealed by Foreign Policy magazine in 2017. Critics pointed out that the term was an FBI invention based solely on race, since no group or even any specific individuals actually identify as black identity extremists.

In May, Michael C. McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, told Congress the bureau now “classifies domestic terrorism threats into four main categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism,” a term the bureau uses to classify both pro-choice and anti-abortion extremists.

The new focus on conspiracy theorists appears to fall under the broader category of anti-government extremism. “This is the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products,” the document states.

The new category is different in that it focuses not on racial motivations, but on violence based specifically on beliefs that, in the words of the FBI document, “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

The FBI acknowledges conspiracy theory-driven violence is not new, but says it’s gotten worse with advances in technology combined with an increasingly partisan political landscape in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. “The advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audiences of consumers can quickly and easily access,” the document says.

The bulletin says it is intended to provide guidance and “inform discussions within law enforcement as they relate to potentially harmful conspiracy theories and domestic extremism.”

The FBI Phoenix field office referred Yahoo News to the bureau’s national press office, which provided a written statement.

“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI routinely shares information with our law enforcement partners in order to assist in protecting the communities they serve,” the FBI said.

In its statement, the FBI also said it can “never initiate an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. As with all of our investigations, the FBI can never monitor a website or a social media platform without probable cause.”

The Department of Homeland Security, which has also been involved in monitoring domestic extremism, did not return or acknowledge emails and phone requests for comment.

While not all conspiracy theories are deadly, those identified in the FBI’s 15-page report led to either attempted or successfully carried-out violent attacks. For example, the Pizzagate conspiracy led a 28-year-old man to invade a Washington, D.C., restaurant to rescue the children he believed were being kept there, and fire an assault-style weapon inside.

The FBI document also cites an unnamed California man who was arrested on Dec. 19, 2018, after being found with what appeared to be bomb-making materials in his car. The man allegedly was planning “blow up a satanic temple monument” in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Ill., to “make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society,” the document says.

Historian David Garrow, the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr. who has worked extensively with FBI archives, raised doubts to Yahoo News about the memo. He says the FBI’s default assumption is that violence is motivated by ideological beliefs rather than mental illness. “The guy who shot up the pizza place in D.C.: Do we think of him as a right-wing activist, or insane?” Garrow asked.

Garrow was similarly critical of the FBI’s use of the term “black identity extremists” and related attempts to ascribe incidents like the 2016 shooting of six police officers in Baton Rouge, La., to black radicalism. He said the shooter, Gavin Long, had a history of mental health problems. “The bureau’s presumption — the mindset — is to see ideological motives where most of the rest of us see individual nuttiness,” he said.

Identifying conspiracy theories as a threat could be a political lightning rod, since President Trump has been accused of promulgating some of them, with his frequent references to a deep state and his praise in 2015 for Alex Jones, who runs the conspiracy site InfoWars. While the FBI intelligence bulletin does not mention Jones or InfoWars by name, it does mention some of the conspiracy theories frequently associated with the far-right radio host, in particular the concept of the New World Order.

Jones claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 children were killed, was a hoax, a false flag operation intended as a pretext for the government to seize or outlaw firearms. The families of a number of victims have sued Jones for defamation, saying his conspiracy-mongering contributed to death threats and online abuse they have received.

While Trump has never endorsed Sandy Hook denialism, he was almost up until the 2016 election the most high-profile promoter of the birther conspiracy that claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He later dropped his claim, and deflected criticism by pointing the finger at Hillary Clinton. He said her campaign had given birth to the conspiracy, and Trump “finished it.”

There is no evidence that Clinton started the birther conspiracy.

Joe Uscinski, an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, whose work on conspiracy theories is cited in the intelligence bulletin, said there’s no data suggesting conspiracy theories are any more widespread now than in the past. “There is absolutely no evidence that people are more conspiratorial now,” says Uscinski, after Yahoo News described the bulletin to him. “They may be, but there is not strong evidence showing this.”

It’s not that people are becoming more conspiratorial, says Uscinski, but conspiracies are simply getting more media attention.

“We are looking back at the past with very rosy hindsight to forget our beliefs, pre-internet, in JFK [assassination] conspiracy theories and Red scares. My gosh, we have conspiracy theories about the king [of England] written into the Declaration of Independence,” he said, referencing claims that the king was planning to establish tyranny over the American colonies.

It’s not that conspiracy theorists are growing in number, Uscinski argues, but that media coverage of those conspiracies has grown. “For most of the last 50 years, 60 to 80 percent of the country believe in some form of JFK conspiracy theory,” he said. “They’re obviously not all extremist.”

Conspiracy theories, including Russia’s role in creating and promoting them, attracted widespread attention during the 2016 presidential election when they crossed over from Internet chat groups to mainstream news coverage. Yahoo News’s “Conspiracyland” podcast recently revealed that Russia’s foreign intelligence service was the origin of a hoax report that tied the murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, to Hillary Clinton.

Washington police believe that Rich was killed in a botched robbery, and there is no proof that his murder had any political connections.

Among the violent conspiracy theories cited in the May FBI document is one involving a man who thought Transportation Security Administration agents were part of a New World Order. Another focused on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a government-funded facility in Alaska that has been linked to everything from death beams to mind control. The two men arrested in connection with HAARP were “stockpiling weapons, ammunition and other tactical gear in preparation to attack” the facility, believing it was being used “to control the weather and prevent humans from talking to God.”

Nate Snyder, who served as a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official during the Obama administration, said that the FBI appears to be applying the same radicalization analysis it employs against foreign terrorism, like the Islamic State group, which has recruited followers in the United States.

“The domestic violent extremists cited in the bulletin are using the same playbook that groups like ISIS and al-Qaida have used to inspire, recruit and carry out attacks,” said Snyder, after reviewing a copy of the bulletin provided by Yahoo News. “You put out a bulletin and say this is the content they’re looking at — and it’s some guy saying he’s a religious cleric or philosopher — and then you look at the content, videos on YouTube, etc., that they are pushing and show how people in the U.S. might be radicalized by that content.”

Though the FBI document focuses on ideological motivations, FBI Director Wray, in his testimony last week, asserted that the FBI is concerned only with violence, not people’s beliefs. The FBI doesn’t “investigate ideology, no matter how repugnant,” he told lawmakers. “We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we are all over it. … In the first three quarters of this year, we’ve had more domestic terrorism arrests than the prior year, and it’s about the same number of arrests as we have on the international terrorism side.”

Yet the proliferation of the extremist categories concerns Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security program. “It’s part of the radicalization theory the FBI has promoted despite empirical studies that show it’s bogus,” he said.

German says this new category is a continuing part of FBI overreach. “They like the radicalization theory because it justifies mass surveillance,” he said. “If we know everyone who will do harm is coming from this particular community, mass surveillance is important. We keep broadening the number of communities we include in extremist categories.”

For Garrow, the historian, the FBI’s expansive definition has its roots in bureau paranoia that dates back decades. “I think it’s their starting point,” he said. “This goes all the way back to the Hoover era without question. They see ideology as a central motivating factor in human life, and they don’t see mental health issues as a major factor.”

Yet trying to label a specific belief system as prone to violence is problematic, he said.

“I don’t think most of us would do a good job in predicting what sort of wacky information could lead someone to violence, or not lead anyone to violence,” Garrow said. “Pizzagate would be a great example of that.”


Google Manipulated Votes in 2016 for Hillary, Senate Hearing

Now, who is Dr. Robert Epstein? He is a distinguished research psychologist and the former editor in chief of Psychology Today. He has authored 15 books and published 250 articles. He is a committed Democrat and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So, you MUST watch this video clip from C-Span today before the Senate. More terrifying than even Russia interfering in the American election infrastructure.

Hat tip to Senator Ted Cruz.

Can you guess who was the top campaign contributor? Yes, Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Update: The testimony of Dr. Epstein regarding Google’s collaboration with Hillary is also substantiated by a research paper found here and published in 2016.

WikiLeaks: Google's Eric Schmidt Planning Hillary's ...

Now, he published this piece about Google and it too is a must read.

Recognition is growing worldwide that something big needs to be done about Big Tech, and fast.

More than $8 billion in fines have been levied against Google by the European Union since 2017. Facebook Inc., facing an onslaught of investigations, has dropped in reputation to almost rock bottom among the 100 most visible companies in the U.S. Former employees of Google and Facebook have warned that these companies are “ripping apart the social fabric” and can “hijack the mind.”

Adding substance to the concerns, documents and videos have been leaking from Big Tech companies, supporting fears—most often expressed by conservatives—about political manipulations and even aspirations to engineer human values.

Fixes on the table include forcing the tech titans to divest themselves of some of the companies they’ve bought (more than 250 by Google and Facebook alone) and guaranteeing that user data are transportable.

But these and a dozen other proposals never get to the heart of the problem, and that is that Google’s search engine and Facebook’s social network platform have value only if they are intact. Breaking up Google’s search engine would give us a smattering of search engines that yield inferior results (the larger the search engine, the wider the range of results it can give you), and breaking up Facebook’s platform would be like building an immensely long Berlin Wall that would splinter millions of relationships.

With those basic platforms intact, the three biggest threats that Google and Facebook pose to societies worldwide are barely affected by almost any intervention: the aggressive surveillance, the suppression of content, and the subtle manipulation of the thinking and behavior of more than 2.5 billion people.

Different tech companies pose different kinds of threats. I’m focused here on Google, which I’ve been studying for more than six years through both experimental research and monitoring projects. (Google is well aware of my work and not entirely happy with me. The company did not respond to requests for comment.) Google is especially worrisome because it has maintained an unopposed monopoly on search worldwide for nearly a decade. It controls 92 percent of search, with the next largest competitor, Microsoft’s Bing, drawing only 2.5%.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to end the company’s monopoly without breaking up its search engine, and that is to turn its “index”—the mammoth and ever-growing database it maintains of internet content—into a kind of public commons.

There is precedent for this both in law and in Google’s business practices. When private ownership of essential resources and services—water, electricity, telecommunications, and so on—no longer serves the public interest, governments often step in to control them. One particular government intervention is especially relevant to the Big Tech dilemma: the 1956 consent decree in the U.S. in which AT&T agreed to share all its patents with other companies free of charge. As tech investor Roger McNamee and others have pointed out, that sharing reverberated around the world, leading to a significant increase in technological competition and innovation.

Doesn’t Google already share its index with everyone in the world? Yes, but only for single searches. I’m talking about requiring Google to share its entire index with outside entities—businesses, nonprofit organizations, even individuals—through what programmers call an application programming interface, or API.

Google already allows this kind of sharing with a chosen few, most notably a small but ingenious company called Startpage, which is based in the Netherlands. In 2009, Google granted Startpage access to its index in return for fees generated by ads placed near Startpage search results.

With access to Google’s index—the most extensive in the world, by far—Startpage gives you great search results, but with a difference. Google tracks your searches and also monitors you in other ways, so it gives you personalized results. Startpage doesn’t track you—it respects and guarantees your privacy—so it gives you generic results. Some people like customized results; others treasure their privacy. (You might have heard of another privacy-oriented alternative to Google.com called DuckDuckGo, which aggregates information obtained from 400 other non-Google sources, including its own modest crawler.)

If entities worldwide were given unlimited access to Google’s index, dozens of Startpage variants would turn up within months; within a year or two, thousands of new search platforms might emerge, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Many would target niche audiences—some small, perhaps, like high-end shoppers, and some huge, like all the world’s women, and most of these platforms would do a better job of serving their constituencies than Google ever could.

These aren’t just alternatives to Google, they are competitors—thousands of search platforms, each with its special focus and emphasis, each drawing on different subsets of information from Google’s ever-expanding index, and each using different rules to decide how to organize the search results they display. Different platforms would likely have different business models, too, and business models that have never been tried before would quickly be tested.

This system replicates the competitive ecology we now have of both traditional and online media sources—newspapers, magazines, television channels, and so on—each drawing on roughly the same body of knowledge, serving niche audiences, and prioritizing information as it sees fit.

But what about those nasty filter bubbles that trap people in narrow worlds of information? Making Google’s index public doesn’t solve that problem, but it shrinks it to nonthreatening proportions. At the moment, it’s entirely up to Google to determine which bubble you’re in, which search suggestions you receive, and which search results appear at the top of the list; that’s the stuff of worldwide mind control. But with thousands of search platforms vying for your attention, the power is back in your hands. You pick your platform or platforms and shift to others when they draw your attention, as they will all be trying to do continuously.

If that happens, what becomes of Google? At first, not much. It should be allowed, I believe, to retain ownership and control of its index. That will assure it continues to do a great job maintaining and updating it. And even with competition looming, change will take time. Serious competitors will need months to gather resources and generate traffic. Eventually, though, Google will likely become a smaller, leaner, more diversified company, especially if some of the other proposals out there for taming Big Tech are eventually implemented. If, over time, Google wants to continue to spy on people through its search engine, it will have to work like hell to keep them. It will no longer be able to rest on its laurels, as it has for most of the past 20 years; it’s going to have to hustle, and we will all benefit from its energy.

My kids think Google was the world’s first search engine, but it was actually the 21st. I can remember when search was highly competitive—when Yahoo! was the big kid on the block and engines such as Ask Jeeves and Lycos were hot commodities. Founded in 1998 amid a crowded field of competitors, Google didn’t begin to dominate search until 2003, by which time it still handled only about a third of searches in the U.S. Search can be competitive again—this time with a massive, authoritative, rapidly expanding index available to all parties.

The alternative is frightening. If Google retains its monopoly on search, or even if a government steps in and makes Google a public utility, the obscene power to decide what information humanity can see and how that information should be ordered will remain in the hands of a single authority. Democracy will be an illusion, human autonomy will be compromised, and competition in search—with all the innovation that implies—might never emerge. With internet penetration increasing rapidly worldwide, do we really want a single player, no matter how benign it appears to be, to control the gateway to all information?

For the system I propose to work fairly and efficiently, we’ll need rules. Here are some obvious ones to think about:

Access. There might have to be limits on who can access the API. We might not want every high school hacker to be able to build his or her own search platform. On the other hand, imagine thousands of Mark Zuckerbergs battling each other to find better ways of organizing the world’s information.

Speed. Google must not be allowed to throttle access to its index, especially in ways that give it a performance advantage or that favor one search platform over another.

Content. To prevent Google from engineering humanity by being selective about what content it adds to its index, all parties with API access must be able to add content.

Visibility. For people using Google to seek information about other search platforms, Google must be forbidden from driving people to itself or its affiliated platforms.

Removal. Google must be prohibited from removing content from its index. The only exception will be when a web page no longer exists. An accurate, up-to-date record of such deletions must be accessible through the API.

Logging. Google must log all visits to its index, and that log must be accessible through the API.

Fees. Low-volume external platforms (think: high school hackers) should be able to access the index free of charge. High-volume users (think: Microsoft Corp.’s Bing) should pay Google nominal fees set by regulators. That gives Google another incentive for maintaining a superior index.

Can we really justify bludgeoning one of the world’s biggest and most successful companies? When governments have regulated, dismembered, or, in some cases, taken ownership of private water or electricity companies, they have done so to serve the public interest, even when the company in question has developed new technologies or resources at great expense. The rationale is straightforward: You may have built the pipelines, but water is a “common” resource that belongs to everyone, as David Bollier reminded us in his seminal book, Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth.

In Google’s case, it would be absurd for the company to claim ownership rights over the contents of its index for the simple reason that it copied virtually all those contents. Google scraped the content by roaming the internet, examining webpages, and copying both the address of a page and language used on that page. None of those websites or any external authority ever gave Google permission to do this copying.

Did any external authority give Google permission to demote a website in its search results or to remove a website from its index? No, which is why both individuals and even top business leaders are sometimes traumatized when Google demotes or delists a website.

But when Google’s index becomes public, people won’t care as much about its machinations. If conservatives think Google is messing with them, they’ll soon switch to other search platforms, where they’ll still get potentially excellent results. Given the possibility of a mass migration, Google will likely stop playing God, treating users and constituencies with new respect and humility.

Who will implement this plan? In the U.S., Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice all have the power to make this happen. Because Google is a global company with, at this writing, 16 data centers—eight in the U.S., one in Chile, five in the EU, one in Taiwan, and one in Singapore—countries outside the U.S. could also declare its index to be a public commons. The EU is a prime candidate for taking such action.

But there is another possibility—namely, that Google itself will step up. This isn’t as crazy as you might think. Likely prompted by the EU antitrust investigations, the company has quietly gone through two corporate reorganizations since 2015, and experts I’ve talked to in both the U.S. and the U.K. say the main effect of these reorganizations has been to distance Google’s major shareholders from any calamities that might befall the Google search engine. The company’s lawyers have also undoubtedly been taking a close look at the turbulent years during which Microsoft unsuccessfully fought U.S. antitrust investigators.

Google’s leaders have been preparing for an uncertain future in which the search engine might be made a public utility, fined into bankruptcy, frozen by court orders, or even seized by governments. It might be able to avoid ugly scenarios simply by posting the specs for its new public API and inviting people and companies around the world to compete with its search platform. Google could do this tomorrow—and generate glowing headlines worldwide. Google’s data analysts know how to run numbers better than anyone. If the models predict that the company will make more money, minimize risk, and optimize its brand in coming years by making its index public, Google will make this happen long before the roof caves in.

Several Democrat Presidential Nominees Hire Perkins Coie

You know that law firm, the one that hired Fusion GPS. Swell huh….

Okay let’s review where they are so far shall we?

As a primer: Hillary was on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She defended Marc Elias and hiring Fusion GPS.

Clinton defended the approach that her campaign lawyer, Marc Elias, took to the work of Fusion GPS, a research firm that compiled a dossier about Trump before recruiting former British spy Christopher Steele to conduct more research. (Politico barely reported this and the substance is thin)

Image result for hillary clinton trevor noah

Senator(s) Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren were first to hire Perkins Coie. Campaign disclosures so far show Elizabeth Warren has paid two invoices to date totaling $320,000. Kamala Harris has paid Perkins Coie $90,000 but the top lawyer over there is Marc Elias and he has assumed the role of Harr’s campaign general counsel. Pssst, Elias was general counsel to Hillary’s campaign.

Okay there is more. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and amy Klobuchar have each spent $85,000 for legal services to Perkins Coie. Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper also paid for legal services as has Julian Castro.

A few other law firms of interest and being paid for legal services include Senator Michael Bennet as well as Inslee and Castro are also using the law firms of Wilmer Cutler Pickering, Hale and Door while Joe Biden has hired Covington & Burling. One of the partners at C & V is Robert Lenhard, a former Federal Election Commission chairman is also advising Biden.

Hey, we cant leave out Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He so far appears to have spent the most ($320,000) of legal services for his campaign. He hired Jenner & Block. What about Bernie Sanders? He has spent $260,000 in legal fees to Garvey Schubert Barer.

The rest of the candidates such as Beto, Tulsi Gabbard, de Blasio have not spent all that much. Why, their respective campaigns have little campaign money in their war chests.

Anyway back to Perkins Coie and Mr. Elais. Campaign officials for the Hillary camp did not do any oversight on the money Elias was allowed to spend and where. As Fusion GPS produced opposition research on Trump via the dossier, it appears that the Hillary operation and Perkins Coie did not hesitate to publish unverified claims. You gotta wonder if the top floor of the FBI collaborated with Perkins Coie on the whole matter. Seems the FBI trusted Christopher Steele not to question his work and perhaps the same can be said of Perkins Coie…maybe due to Hillary herself…

Image result for hillary clinton marc elias

Oh, remember when Facebook terminated thousands of accounts due to they claim they were the product of Russian actors? Facebook was forced to disclose some of this information and guess who provided some of that legal work for Facebook? Yuppers, Marc Elias. Another sidebar to all of this is John Podesta. In September of last year, Podesta provided a closed door interview before the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. Who sat next to Podesta? Right again, Marc Elias. Podesta claimed at the time he had no knowledge of payments to Fusion GPS. Next question is did Perkins Coie offer some office space to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS? That answer appears to be yes. Oh, another item of interest is Marc Elias has as part of his resume voting rights cases. These cases were funded by George Soros where election recounts resulted in highly contested states and districts.

Remember that Senator Robert Menendez case on federal bribery and financial disclosures that the senator paid to a good buddy doctor friend? Who provided the legal services to Senator Menendez? Ding ding ding, you would be right, Marc Elias. Add in the fact that John Kerry hired Elias for his 2004 presidential campaign as did Harry Reid in his 1998 contested senate election.

Imagine the discussions that Marc Elias has with his newest politician, Kamala Harris….just imagine the campaign roadmap Mr. Elias has crafted for Kamala. Consider, she does sound a lot like Hillary on the campaign trail.


Whoa, Meet Eric Kessler and Arabella

Who you ask?

Eric Kessler is founder, principal, and senior managing director of Arabella Advisors, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropic consultancy that caters to left-leaning clients. Arabella Advisors also manages a number of center-left funding and fiscal sponsorship organizations, including 501(c)(4) Sixteen Thirty Fund, 501(c)(3) New Venture Fund, 501(c)(3) Hopewell Fund, and 501(c)(3) Windward Fund. Kessler himself is closely involved with these organizations, often serving as the founder, principal officer, or board member in them.

Kessler is closely involved in Democratic Party and left-wing politics. He is a former Clinton administration White House appointee and previously served as national field director for the League of Conservation Voters. [1] Kessler later served as a member of the now-defunct Clinton Global Initiative. [2]

Kessler chairs a committee on culinary advocacy for the center-left James Beard Foundation and is co-founder of the Chef Action Network. He also serves on the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute. [3]

Image result for eric kessler

Okay so what?

Well, when it came to the paid choreographed operation against Brett Kavanaugh, enter Arabella Advisors. While there were other well funded organizations, Kessler is someone to continue to watch. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse spoke often about the dark money supporting the Kavanaugh confirmation.

The most visible liberal organization was Demand Justice, formed only a few months before Kennedy’s retirement by veteran Democratic operatives with experience in the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Obama administration. If money given to the Judicial Crisis Network is “dark” because JCN’s annual 990 tax filings don’t disclose its donors, Demand Justice’s bank account is a black hole. “Fiscally sponsored” by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, an under-the-radar liberal intermediary group that passes money from donors to dozens of liberal organizations, Demand Justice doesn’t even file the disclosure forms that “dark money” groups do. Senator Whitehouse couldn’t put it on one of his pie charts if he tried. Both the donors to Demand Justice and the amount of money they contribute are completely invisible.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund does file an annual Form 990, but it does not reveal the identities of its donors. Although its budget dwarfs that of the Judicial Crisis Network and the Federalist Society combined, it has failed to pique Senator Whitehouse’s interest. In 2017 it brought in $79 million and ended the year with $43 million in assets, growing by an astonishing 1,547 percent in only eight years. In pursuit of its cryptically worded mission—“promoting social welfare, including, but not limited to, providing public education on and conducting advocacy regarding key policies”—the fund bankrolls liberal groups focused on everything from judicial appointments, organized labor, and abortion to Senator Whitehouse’s own favorite dark-money heavyweight, the League of Conservation Voters. They also fund Majority Forward, a 501(c)(4) group closely tied to Senator Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC. Majority Forward alone accounted for one-third of all the dark-money spending in the 2018 election, giving liberals a comfortable dark-money lead over conservatives.

Eric Kessler, a former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, serves as senior managing director of Arabella and as president of Sixteen Thirty. Both groups have the same Washington, D.C., address.

The approach appears typical of the company’s approach to such initiatives. Kessler told Worth magazine in 2017 that Arabella often assumes core management functions for its client charities.

“First and foremost, we support family philanthropists, family foundations, by providing staffing,” Kessler said. “What that means is, there’s a whole bunch of foundations with assets between about $30 million and $300 million whose address is my office. We are their executive director, their program officer, their grant manager.”

But hold on there is more. Where did all this mass incarceration issue come from? Yup, Arabella.

As part of a report on their website:

  • Supporting research to map the network of companies involved in the prison-industrial complex in greater detail. Such mapping can raise awareness of the prison-industrial complex, identify and expose its harmful practices, and empower advocates to counter the influence of those seeking to advance policies tied to profits rather than to preserve and protect communities.
  • Supporting organizations and initiatives that are working to counter the advocacy efforts of politically active corporations that profit from mass incarceration. Various companies within the prison-industrial complex provide money to lobbying groups that strengthen and perpetuate policies that help drive mass incarceration. Those working for better policies need financial support to overcome potential opposition from groups that benefit from the continuation of “business as usual” in the sector.
  • Divesting from egregious actors and investing in positive solutions. As in other sectors, divestment can help isolate and stigmatize entities that are engaged in harmful practices and can potentially motivate other corporations to cease doing business with them unless and until they reform. Meanwhile, investment in positive solutions can begin to help rebuild damaged communities.
  • Using the power of endowment capital to engage in investor activism and capital market strategies targeting companies in the prison-industrial complex. Donors and investors can use their capital and influence to take equity positions in companies that are associated with the prison industry from which they can raise awareness and push companies toward reform from within.

There is also the matter of climate change and the condition of natural disasters so key cities are being pressured to comply with reforms for urban areas. The matter of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico is of particular note.

One notable project is in San Juan where we are part of the effort, led by The Solar Foundation and the Clinton Foundation, for the installation of solar and energy efficiency upgrades of the Plaza del Mercado de Río Piedras in San Juan, the largest produce market on the island, responsible for the livelihoods of 200 small business owners. Since Hurricane Maria, the energy situation has led to an unstable business environment. A $600,000 grant from The Hispanic Foundation and a $500,000 grant from CDP will cover the cost of the purchase and installation of the first phase of solar panels, battery capacity and LED lighting. Our grant also creates an apprenticeship program for local workers to learn skills related to solar installation, roofing and electrical work which will help promote local workforce development. The project is being done at the request of, and in close coordination with, the Municipality of San Juan.

What about this debate on gender equality and internet access (digital divide) for everyone? Yup, that too.