Category Archives: Just strange

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims – The New York Times

In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia. The role of the informant is at the heart of the newest battle between top law enforcement officials and Mr. Trump’s congressional allies over the F.B.I.’s most politically charged investigations in decades. The lawmakers, who say they are concerned that federal investigators are abusing their authority, have demanded documents from the Justice Department about the informant.

‘Open up or we’ll tase you’: Police arrest activists protesting Gaza violence | +972 Magazine

“The fact that the protests took place in downtown Haifa is no coincidence. This is the same place where Arab residents were kicked out of so it could be turned into a recreational area with bars. Since 2013, there has been an increase in the mistreatment of political activists – in terms of numbers arrested, release conditions, preventative arrests, etc.” “Ultimately, this is foolish behavior. They do not have the tools to influence us. They still believe that arresting three or four organizers will stop people from going into the streets, as if they are puppets. They are unable to understand that we have a political demand. They won’t be able to stop that.”

Source: ‘Open up or we’ll tase you’: Police arrest activists protesting Gaza violence | +972 Magazine

The nightmare of proving that you live in East Jerusalem | +972 Magazine – Palestinian Irony: Living Kafka but not written by Kafka

The employee who hands out our number tells me that I don’t have an appointment. I show him a message from the Interior Ministry asking me to confirm my appointment, which I have done. The employee hands me another number and orders me to wait for my turn to be called. An hour later, at 2:30 p.m., the information desk calls my name and informs me that my appointment was at 11:45. I tell the man at the desk that I was unable to get through due to the overcrowding outside. He hands me another number and asks me to wait, again, for my name to be called.

Source: The nightmare of proving that you live in East Jerusalem | +972 Magazine

Pruitt’s Dinner With Cardinal Accused of Abuse Was Kept Off Public Schedule – The New York Times

emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that as early as May 12, Mr. Pruitt’s scheduler, Millan Hupp, was working on plans for Mr. Pruitt to meet with Cardinal Pell. “Dinner with Cardinal Pell and others,” an email says, proposing the dinner for June 7 and adding, “Note: His 76th birthday is tomorrow.” The dinner Cardinal Pell attended ultimately took place June 9 at La Terrazza, a restaurant in the five-star Hotel Eden overlooking Rome. Mr. Pruitt’s trip was an official E.P.A. visit tied to the G-7 summit in Bologna. Mr. Pruitt’s frequent first-class travel, including to Italy, is under investigation by the E.P.A.’s inspector general and the House Oversight Committee. An internal debate over whether to proceed with any meeting with Cardinal Pell had begun well before Mr. Pruitt left for Italy, according to three current and former agency officials. Mark Kasman, a career E.P.A. official who helps supervise international affairs at the agency, found media reports describing the allegations against Cardinal Pell and approached Mr. Chmielewski with them, Mr. Chmielewski said, urging the agency to cancel any such meetings.

Kremlingate Is Really Just Watergate for Morons—With Russians

The scandal surrounding President Donald Trump and his reputed secret ties to the Kremlin has swirled around him since before his inauguration 15 months ago. For his entire presidency, just what th…

Source: Kremlingate Is Really Just Watergate for Morons—With Russians

Whether the KGB got anywhere with Trump in 1987 remains unknown, but it seems a remarkable coincidence that, barely a month after his return from the USSR, he made a splash by taking out newspaper ads in three major outlets, at a cost of almost $95,000, lambasting America’s allegedly free-loading allies. The plus-sized ads demanded that the United States disband the Western security system altogether, which of course was precisely what Moscow wanted. Trump’s public attacks on America’s allies thus began—and have continued to the present day.

Unfortunately for Trump and whatever deal he may have reached with Moscow, the Soviet Union fell apart four years later, and the KGB disbanded, at least for a while. In the 1990s, when his real estate/casino empire went bust and he desperately needed cash to stay afloat—which no American bank would lend him, knowing his creditworthiness—Trump apparently went to less conventional lenders to make good on his enormous losses. By the end of the 1990s, the Trump Organization was again in the black, though nobody officially can explain how, based on public records. Here Trump’s associations with less-than-upstanding biznismen from the former Soviet Union seem to have played a dubious role.

Suspicion lingers that in the 1990s the Trump Organization, which failed as a legitimate business, reinvented itself as a money-washing machine for Eastern organized crime. There’s evidence that this is precisely what happened, and it’s been hiding in plain sight for nearly two decades. The Treasury Department’s $10 million fine levied in 2015 on the now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City for pervasive violations of the Bank Secrecy Act gives hints that there’s a lot of unraveling being done by Team Mueller as it gets to the bottom of what the Trump Organization really is.

North Korea: Mike Pompeo′s ′surprising′ empty-handed return from his secret trip | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 18.04.2018

Source: North Korea: Mike Pompeo′s ′surprising′ empty-handed return from his secret trip | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 18.04.2018

Pompeo did not come back with any of the three Americans that are still held captive in North Korean prisons. To me that raises the question of whether the status of these three prisoners was discussed. Did Pompeo try to bring any of them back? And will President Trump insist on their return before he meets with Kim Jong Un?

You think it should be a precondition for the US that the three American prisoners held in North Korea be returned before any talks take place between Trump and Kim?

I believe that it is impossible to negotiate with North Korea while there are American prisoners in the country. I believe releasing them in relatively good condition should be a precondition for talks. It is unclear how the administration is approaching this.

Trump Scraps New Sanctions Against Russia, Overruling Advisers – The New York Times

“Trump seems to think that if he accepts what his advisers recommend on even days of the month and rejects their recommendations on odd days, the result will be a strategy,” said Stephen Sestanovich, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University who served as ambassador to former Soviet states in the 1990s.

“By and large, other governments don’t know whether to laugh or cry at all this,” Mr. Sestanovich said. “But in Russia, laughter is getting the upper hand.”

Mr. Trump was annoyed with Ms. Haley for getting out in front of the policy, the administration official said, and the president’s decision to reject sanctions left her hanging in public with her credibility on the line.