9:16 AM 5/26/2018 – The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia – Haaretz

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The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia Haaretz – Google Search
Trump, Russia, Mueller: The countless Israeli connections
The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia – Haaretz
The FBI’s Gigantic Math Error – ACLU (blog)
The Latest on the Fight Inside the Capitol to Protect Robert Mueller – RollingStone.com
Trump Is Winning PR War With Mueller – O’Dwyer’s PR News
FBI tells router users to reboot now to kill malware infecting 500k devices – Ars Technica
Did the FBI ‘spy’ on Trump’s campaign? – The Washington Post – Washington Post
Trump, Clinton, Comey: No Success Like Failure – The Chief-Leader
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Trump signs orders targeting federal workers, union activities – NBCNews.com
What to expect in Year Two of the Mueller investigation – Washington Post
Israeli Intelligence Firm’s Election-Meddling Analysis Comes Under … – Wall Street Journal
Why even Trump critics should want a probe of the FBI – New York Post
FBI launches “Think Before You Post” campaign – WSAW
Judicial Watch Battles FBI for Anti-Trumper Text Messages – Artvoice – Artvoice
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Hillary Clinton says she wants to be the CEO of Facebook – CNET
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Trump calls for FBI lover Peter Strzok to go after his mistress Lisa Page quit as he mocks the vast number of … – Daily Mail

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Trump, Russia, Mueller: The countless Israeli connections
 

The Israeli media usually takes scant interest in Robert Mueller’s investigations. It prefers to dwell on Donald Trump’s supposedly pro-Israeli policies. Last week’s report in the New York Times about the participation of Joel Zamel, the Australian-born “Israeli specialist in social media manipulation,” in an August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York was an exception to the rule. The FBI, the Times reported, had even come to Israel to search the offices of Zamel’s company. Here was a direct Israeli link to the scandal that has bewitched much of America since Trump was first elected.

To really understand Trump, Israel and the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz

The moment of fleeting interest was followed up by a report, published by Walla! News, that another Israeli-based company called Inspiration, run by former IDF intelligence officers, had been employed by a super PAC that supported Trump’s election. The report alleged that after retiring from the race, Housing Secretary and then-candidate Ben Carson personally presented Trump with Inspiration’s plan for voter manipulation in swing states. A source in the company told Walla! that Inspiration had received “enormous amounts” of information from the Super PAC, which it then used to compose strategies and slogans that would elevate Trump and “float all kinds of things” about Hillary Clinton.

The two separate cases of Israeli involvement fed into sometimes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that seek to place Israel on the same level as Russia in its intervention in the 2016 presidential elections. In Israel’s case, however, there is no indication or allegation of direct government involvement or of Mueller’s interest. Nonetheless, beyond Zamel and Inspiration, a disturbing number of the main players implicated so far in Mueller’s investigation, many of them of Russian origin, have a direct link to Israel in their past or present.

>> Who is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe?

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There could be myriad reasons for the preponderance of actors with ties to Israel. In recent years, Israeli political strategists have developed an international reputation for election campaigns; many are employed by foreign political parties. Israeli intelligence services have certainly developed an expertise in psychological warfare; both Zamel and Inspiration are said to have employed former intelligence officers. And an estimated 10-15 percent of the million or so Russian immigrants who came to Israel from the 1970s onwards are known to have used the country as a way station to immigrate to the United States and other Western countries – but not before picking up Israeli citizenship, which remains with them for life. These included so-called Russian oligarchs, some of whom made their fortunes on the wrong side of the law.

Nonetheless, there is no denying that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was overjoyed at Trump’s election – if not before the fact, then certainly after. According to reports published in November and December of last year, Mueller is investigating lobbying efforts made in December 2016, before Trump’s inauguration, by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and presidential adviser Jared Kushner against the Obama administration’s intention to refrain from vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Flynn’s indictment included an admission that he had lied to the FBI about his approach to Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to delay the Security Council vote.

And while no direct link has been established, there was certainly a confluence of views and interests in the recently uncovered efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia to assist Trump’s campaign. According to the New York Times, in the August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, the UAE representative, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. and other participants that Obama had left a “power vacuum” in the Middle East. The report also states that Nader had concocted a secret plan to destabilize the Iranian regime, an objective now being pursued, despite their denials, by both Israel and the United States.

>> Explained: What Michael Flynn’s guilty plea means for Jared Kushner and Israel ■ Ronan Farrow: Israelis, like Russia, are interfering in American politics ■ Analysis: Netanyahu puts Israel’s fate in hands of U.S president dubbed ‘serious threat to national security’

The question of whether the Israeli involvement was merely coincidental or an indication of something more sinister could become clearer if and when Mueller presents his findings. In the meantime, here is a necessarily incomplete catalog of the numerous Israeli connections to some of the people named so far in Mueller’s probe:

* George Nader, the convicted pedophile who worked on behalf of UAE, is a Lebanese businessman who has worked for decades in the shadows of Middle East diplomacy. He has often been accused in the Arab press of being an agent for the Mossad.  In the 1980s, Nader reportedly mediated between Israel and Lebanon. At the same time, he established the journal Middle East Insight, which often arranged meetings in Washington between Israelis and Arabs. In July, 1996, Nader hosted Netanyahu shortly after his first election as prime minister. This video shows both on the same stage.

Two years later, Nader forged even closer ties with Netanyahu and his bureau: he served as Ronald Lauder’s assistant in the cosmetic tycoon’s failed efforts to secure a peace deal between Netanyahu and Syria’s president at the time, Hafez Assad. Netanyahu’s advisers have acknowledged their contacts with Nader, who is said to have been especially close to Dore Gold, the prime minister’s aide and former UN ambassador.

* Nader’s partner in representing the UAE – and in pressing Trump to take a hard line on Qatar – was Elliott Broidy, the Los Angeles venture capitalist and GOP fundraiser.  Broidy made headlines in recent weeks for his lucrative lobbying efforts on behalf of the UAE, which included two personal meetings with Trump, as well as for his alleged role in Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment of $1.6 million to former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard. Many commentators assume that it was Trump who actually had an affair with Bechard and got her pregnant, with Broidy volunteering to serve as his cover.

Broidy also has a long history with Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular. Together with Sheldon Adelson, he is a prominent member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has taken hawkish positions on the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fifteen years ago, Broidy set up Markstone Capital Group which operated in Israel, investing in Israeli companies and attracting Israeli investors. In 2003, then-Finance Minister Netanyahu took credit for convincing the New York State pension fund to invest $250 million in Markstone. It later emerged that Broidy’s bribes to former New York State Comptroller and now-convicted felon Alan Hevesi also played a role in the pension fund’s largesse. By the time Broidy pled guilty to a misdemeanor after cooperating with Hevesi’s investigators in 2012, Markstone’s Israeli branch had essentially collapsed, taking with it the many Israelis’ investments.

* In January 2017, Nader took part in a meeting in Seychelles, which is also being probed by Mueller. In attendance were Erik Prince, Trump confidante, brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos and founder of the security company Blackwater, as well as Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian government’s sovereign wealth fund Russia Direct Investment Fund. Dmitriev’s fund has in recent months been negotiating with Israeli government ministers on a $100 million project to open Israeli-run dairies in Russia.

* Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who features in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, in which she is alleged to have offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd. in the money laundering case brought forth by former New York Southern District Attorney Preet Bharara. After Bharara was dismissed by Trump, Prevezon was allowed to pay a $6 million fine in May 2017 to avoid criminal prosecution. The owner of Prevezon is Denis Katsyv, another Israeli citizen, whose father Pyotr was a high municipal official in Moscow. In 2005, the same Katsyv reached a similar settlement with Israeli authorities, paying a fine of 35 million shekels after being indicted for money laundering at a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim. The Cyprus-registered Prevezon was managed for a while by a Tel Aviv lawyer, who also represented the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

* Katsyv partnered with the Dutch branch of Africa-Israel Ltd., which belongs to Russian-Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev. Leviev’s apartments in New York were alleged to have served as a conduit for Prevezon’s money laundering. In 2015, Leviev sold four stories of the old New York Times building in Manhattan to Jared Kushner for $295 million, secured through a loan from Deutsche Bank, which is also being probed by Mueller.

* Leviev and Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club who has recently run into visa problems with British authorities, teamed up in 1999 to set up the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia (FOR). They were responding to a request by Vladimir Putin to set up a group that would rival the Russian Jewish Congress, headed by Israeli-Russian oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, who was close to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The head of the FOR is Italian-Russian Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazar. In April 2017, Politico alleged that Chabad and FOR were used by the Kremlin as conduits for their efforts to influence the U.S. elections. The report was denied and even dismissed as anti-Semitic. Interestingly, a BBC story published this week about payments made to Michael Cohen by Ukraine in order to secure a long White House meeting with Trump for Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko notes that the approach to Trump’s lawyer was made via the Chabad branch in Port Washington, New York.

* Mueller is also said to be investigating connections between Russian oligarchs and Trump’s businesses in the years before he became president. One such partner in Trump’s failed Soho tower was the late Israeli-Georgian tycoon Tamir Sapir. In 2007, Trump hosted the wedding of Sapir’s daughter, Zina, with Rotem Rosen, then the director of the North American branch of Leviev’s Africa-Israel. The same year, Netanyahu listed Sapir as one of the potential donors to his Likud primary campaign in a handwritten note uncovered by the Yedioth Aharonoth daily.

>> Delve deeper into the week’s news: Sign up to Chemi Shalev’s weekly roundup

* Another partner in the Soho project, and possibly the architect of Trump’s ties to Russia, was Felix Sater, who worked closely with Cohen. Sater is also an Israeli citizen, having passed through the country on his way to the United States with his father Mikhail, whom the FBI has named as a lieutenant for Russia mafia kingpin Sergei Mogilevich. Mogilevich came to Israel in 1990 and lived there for a few years. According to press reports, Mogilevich participated in a 1995 meeting of Ukrainian master criminals convened in Tel Aviv by another Russian oligarch with a shady reputation, Boris Birshtein. After several years in Israel, Birshtein left the country for Canada, after learning that he had turned into a target of the Israeli police. Subsequently, he partnered with Trump in a building project in Toronto.

* Mueller is also said to be investigating a $150,000 contribution to Trump’s inaugural committee, in which Broidy played an active role, made by another Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk. Cohen, it is alleged, was the middleman. Pinchuk is a significant contributor to religious institutions in Israel, but is also well connected to its politicians. In 2008 he served as co-chairman of the Israeli Presidential Conference convened in Jerusalem by the late Shimon Peres.

* Another purported target of Mueller’s investigation is Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, an Israeli citizen with investments in Israel, for payments allegedly made to Michael Cohen. Vekselberg partnered with Israeli-Russian billionaires Len Blavatnik, who is invested in Israeli media, connected to Netanyahu and is also under Mueller’s spotlight, as well as Russian-Israeli billionaire Mikhail Fridman. One of their joint holdings was Alfa Bank, which, according to the Steele Dossier, owned a mysterious internet server found in Trump Tower. Fridman is also the main contributor to the Genesis Prize, in which Netanyahu regularly plays a prominent role, and which featured recently in the brouhaha surrounding Natalie Portman’s decision to decline the prize after she had earlier accepted it.

The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia – Haaretz
 


Haaretz
The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia
Haaretz
The Israeli media usually takes scant interest in Robert Mueller’s investigations. It prefers to dwell on Donald Trump’s supposedly pro-Israeli policies. Last week’s report in the New York Times about the participation of Joel Zamel, the Australianand more »

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RollingStone.com
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WSJ.com: World News: Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Moon Meet Amid Uncertainty Over U.S. Summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for two hours at the demilitarized zone in a surprise meeting aimed at keeping inter-Korean relations and a U.S. summit on track.

WSJ.com: World News

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mikenov on Twitter: My hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair: The set-up and the frame-up by the pro-Trump faction of the FBI – Front Page | Bloggers Deal The Facts While NYT Spreads The Manure fbinewsreview.org
mikenov on Twitter: Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise via @ricochet ricochet.com/521252/revisit…
mikenov on Twitter: Book excerpt: “Facts and Fears” by James Clapper cbsnews.com/news/book-exce…
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mikenov on Twitter: 7:03 AM 5/25/2018 – Russia ‘turned’ election for Trump, Clapper believes fbinewsreview.org/2018/05/25/703…
FBI News Review: 7:03 AM 5/25/2018 – Russia ‘turned’ election for Trump, Clapper believes
FBI News Review: 5:34 AM 5/25/2018 – Higher Loyalty? – James Comey and the Failure of Leadership – By Stephen Rohde – Book Review
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Weiner-Abedin emails affair revisited – My hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair: The set-up…
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Weiner-Abedin emails affair revisited – My hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair: The set-up…
mikenov on Twitter: Weiner-Abedin emails affair revisited – My hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair: The set-up and the frame-up by the pro-Trump faction of the FBI – Front Page fbinewsreview.org
mikenov on Twitter: Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed theepochtimes.com/search-warrant… via @epochtimes
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mikenov on Twitter: Opinion | James Clapper’s bombshell: Russia swung the election. What if he’s right? wapo.st/2s9aMbo?tid=ss…
FBI News Review: 12:52 PM 5/24/2018 – Did the FBI Save Trump’s Presidency? – New York Times
Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: Higher Loyalty? James Comey and the Failure of Leadership – By Stephen Rohde – Book Review: “Unintentionally…
mikenov on Twitter: Higher Loyalty? James Comey and the Failure of Leadership – By Stephen Rohde – Book Review: “Unintentionally, A Higher Loyalty teaches more about “ethical leadership” by studying not what Comey has done in his career but by what he has failed to do.” fbinewsreview.org/2018/05/24/hig…
FBI News Review: Higher Loyalty? James Comey and the Failure of Leadership – By Stephen Rohde – Book Review: “Unintentionally, A Higher Loyalty teaches more about “ethical leadership” by studying not what Comey has done in his career but by what he has failed to do.”

 

 

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks 

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The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia – Haaretz
Trump, Russia, Mueller: The countless Israeli connections
The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia Haaretz – Google Search
Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left – Wikipedia
GROWING UP IN THE COMMUNIST LEFT – Google Search
GROWING UP IN THE COMMUNIST LEFT: Judy Kaplan, Linn Shapiro: 9780252067259: Amazon.com: Books
Bill Browder red diaper baby – Google Search
Red diaper babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
Red diapers babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
Red diapers babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
Red diaper baby – Wikipedia
Weiner-Abedin emails affair – Google Search
Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise – Ricochet.com
Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise  |  Ricochet
Book excerpt: “Facts and Fears” by James Clapper
james clapper – Google Search
Trump calls for sweeping changes to US immigration legal process – CNNPolitics
US immigration legal process – Google Search
DoJ Cripples VPNFilter Botnet, But Doesn’t Slay It – Tom’s Hardware
The Cybersecurity 202: The FBI is trying to thwart a massive Russia-linked hacking campaign – The Washington Post
Crime and Criminology from mikenova (8 sites): InSight Crime: Dominican Republic and Venezuela: Cocaine Across the Caribbean
FBI Seizes Control of Russian Botnet
The special counsel’s office hopes to deny media attempts to unseal documents in the Russia probe https://cnn.it/2IHB67J pic.twitter.com/8RNnOPhggR
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The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia – Haaretz
 

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Haaretz
The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia
Haaretz
The Israeli media usually takes scant interest in Robert Mueller’s investigations. It prefers to dwell on Donald Trump’s supposedly pro-Israeli policies. Last week’s report in the New York Times about the participation of Joel Zamel, the Australianand more »

Trump, Russia, Mueller: The countless Israeli connections
 

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The Israeli media usually takes scant interest in Robert Mueller’s investigations. It prefers to dwell on Donald Trump’s supposedly pro-Israeli policies. Last week’s report in the New York Times about the participation of Joel Zamel, the Australian-born “Israeli specialist in social media manipulation,” in an August 3, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York was an exception to the rule. The FBI, the Times reported, had even come to Israel to search the offices of Zamel’s company. Here was a direct Israeli link to the scandal that has bewitched much of America since Trump was first elected.

To really understand Trump, Israel and the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz

The moment of fleeting interest was followed up by a report, published by Walla! News, that another Israeli-based company called Inspiration, run by former IDF intelligence officers, had been employed by a super PAC that supported Trump’s election. The report alleged that after retiring from the race, Housing Secretary and then-candidate Ben Carson personally presented Trump with Inspiration’s plan for voter manipulation in swing states. A source in the company told Walla! that Inspiration had received “enormous amounts” of information from the Super PAC, which it then used to compose strategies and slogans that would elevate Trump and “float all kinds of things” about Hillary Clinton.

The two separate cases of Israeli involvement fed into sometimes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that seek to place Israel on the same level as Russia in its intervention in the 2016 presidential elections. In Israel’s case, however, there is no indication or allegation of direct government involvement or of Mueller’s interest. Nonetheless, beyond Zamel and Inspiration, a disturbing number of the main players implicated so far in Mueller’s investigation, many of them of Russian origin, have a direct link to Israel in their past or present.

>> Who is Joel Zamel, the Australian-Israeli linked to Mueller’s Trump Probe?

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There could be myriad reasons for the preponderance of actors with ties to Israel. In recent years, Israeli political strategists have developed an international reputation for election campaigns; many are employed by foreign political parties. Israeli intelligence services have certainly developed an expertise in psychological warfare; both Zamel and Inspiration are said to have employed former intelligence officers. And an estimated 10-15 percent of the million or so Russian immigrants who came to Israel from the 1970s onwards are known to have used the country as a way station to immigrate to the United States and other Western countries – but not before picking up Israeli citizenship, which remains with them for life. These included so-called Russian oligarchs, some of whom made their fortunes on the wrong side of the law.

Nonetheless, there is no denying that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was overjoyed at Trump’s election – if not before the fact, then certainly after. According to reports published in November and December of last year, Mueller is investigating lobbying efforts made in December 2016, before Trump’s inauguration, by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and presidential adviser Jared Kushner against the Obama administration’s intention to refrain from vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Flynn’s indictment included an admission that he had lied to the FBI about his approach to Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to delay the Security Council vote.

And while no direct link has been established, there was certainly a confluence of views and interests in the recently uncovered efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia to assist Trump’s campaign. According to the New York Times, in the August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, the UAE representative, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. and other participants that Obama had left a “power vacuum” in the Middle East. The report also states that Nader had concocted a secret plan to destabilize the Iranian regime, an objective now being pursued, despite their denials, by both Israel and the United States.

>> Explained: What Michael Flynn’s guilty plea means for Jared Kushner and Israel ■ Ronan Farrow: Israelis, like Russia, are interfering in American politics ■ Analysis: Netanyahu puts Israel’s fate in hands of U.S president dubbed ‘serious threat to national security’

The question of whether the Israeli involvement was merely coincidental or an indication of something more sinister could become clearer if and when Mueller presents his findings. In the meantime, here is a necessarily incomplete catalog of the numerous Israeli connections to some of the people named so far in Mueller’s probe:

* George Nader, the convicted pedophile who worked on behalf of UAE, is a Lebanese businessman who has worked for decades in the shadows of Middle East diplomacy. He has often been accused in the Arab press of being an agent for the Mossad.  In the 1980s, Nader reportedly mediated between Israel and Lebanon. At the same time, he established the journal Middle East Insight, which often arranged meetings in Washington between Israelis and Arabs. In July, 1996, Nader hosted Netanyahu shortly after his first election as prime minister. This video shows both on the same stage.

Two years later, Nader forged even closer ties with Netanyahu and his bureau: he served as Ronald Lauder’s assistant in the cosmetic tycoon’s failed efforts to secure a peace deal between Netanyahu and Syria’s president at the time, Hafez Assad. Netanyahu’s advisers have acknowledged their contacts with Nader, who is said to have been especially close to Dore Gold, the prime minister’s aide and former UN ambassador.

* Nader’s partner in representing the UAE – and in pressing Trump to take a hard line on Qatar – was Elliott Broidy, the Los Angeles venture capitalist and GOP fundraiser.  Broidy made headlines in recent weeks for his lucrative lobbying efforts on behalf of the UAE, which included two personal meetings with Trump, as well as for his alleged role in Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment of $1.6 million to former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard. Many commentators assume that it was Trump who actually had an affair with Bechard and got her pregnant, with Broidy volunteering to serve as his cover.

Broidy also has a long history with Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular. Together with Sheldon Adelson, he is a prominent member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has taken hawkish positions on the Iran nuclear deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Fifteen years ago, Broidy set up Markstone Capital Group which operated in Israel, investing in Israeli companies and attracting Israeli investors. In 2003, then-Finance Minister Netanyahu took credit for convincing the New York State pension fund to invest $250 million in Markstone. It later emerged that Broidy’s bribes to former New York State Comptroller and now-convicted felon Alan Hevesi also played a role in the pension fund’s largesse. By the time Broidy pled guilty to a misdemeanor after cooperating with Hevesi’s investigators in 2012, Markstone’s Israeli branch had essentially collapsed, taking with it the many Israelis’ investments.

* In January 2017, Nader took part in a meeting in Seychelles, which is also being probed by Mueller. In attendance were Erik Prince, Trump confidante, brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos and founder of the security company Blackwater, as well as Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian government’s sovereign wealth fund Russia Direct Investment Fund. Dmitriev’s fund has in recent months been negotiating with Israeli government ministers on a $100 million project to open Israeli-run dairies in Russia.

* Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who features in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, in which she is alleged to have offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd. in the money laundering case brought forth by former New York Southern District Attorney Preet Bharara. After Bharara was dismissed by Trump, Prevezon was allowed to pay a $6 million fine in May 2017 to avoid criminal prosecution. The owner of Prevezon is Denis Katsyv, another Israeli citizen, whose father Pyotr was a high municipal official in Moscow. In 2005, the same Katsyv reached a similar settlement with Israeli authorities, paying a fine of 35 million shekels after being indicted for money laundering at a Tel Aviv branch of Bank Hapoalim. The Cyprus-registered Prevezon was managed for a while by a Tel Aviv lawyer, who also represented the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

* Katsyv partnered with the Dutch branch of Africa-Israel Ltd., which belongs to Russian-Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev. Leviev’s apartments in New York were alleged to have served as a conduit for Prevezon’s money laundering. In 2015, Leviev sold four stories of the old New York Times building in Manhattan to Jared Kushner for $295 million, secured through a loan from Deutsche Bank, which is also being probed by Mueller.

* Leviev and Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club who has recently run into visa problems with British authorities, teamed up in 1999 to set up the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia (FOR). They were responding to a request by Vladimir Putin to set up a group that would rival the Russian Jewish Congress, headed by Israeli-Russian oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky, who was close to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The head of the FOR is Italian-Russian Chabad Rabbi Berel Lazar. In April 2017, Politico alleged that Chabad and FOR were used by the Kremlin as conduits for their efforts to influence the U.S. elections. The report was denied and even dismissed as anti-Semitic. Interestingly, a BBC story published this week about payments made to Michael Cohen by Ukraine in order to secure a long White House meeting with Trump for Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko notes that the approach to Trump’s lawyer was made via the Chabad branch in Port Washington, New York.

* Mueller is also said to be investigating connections between Russian oligarchs and Trump’s businesses in the years before he became president. One such partner in Trump’s failed Soho tower was the late Israeli-Georgian tycoon Tamir Sapir. In 2007, Trump hosted the wedding of Sapir’s daughter, Zina, with Rotem Rosen, then the director of the North American branch of Leviev’s Africa-Israel. The same year, Netanyahu listed Sapir as one of the potential donors to his Likud primary campaign in a handwritten note uncovered by the Yedioth Aharonoth daily.

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* Another partner in the Soho project, and possibly the architect of Trump’s ties to Russia, was Felix Sater, who worked closely with Cohen. Sater is also an Israeli citizen, having passed through the country on his way to the United States with his father Mikhail, whom the FBI has named as a lieutenant for Russia mafia kingpin Sergei Mogilevich. Mogilevich came to Israel in 1990 and lived there for a few years. According to press reports, Mogilevich participated in a 1995 meeting of Ukrainian master criminals convened in Tel Aviv by another Russian oligarch with a shady reputation, Boris Birshtein. After several years in Israel, Birshtein left the country for Canada, after learning that he had turned into a target of the Israeli police. Subsequently, he partnered with Trump in a building project in Toronto.

* Mueller is also said to be investigating a $150,000 contribution to Trump’s inaugural committee, in which Broidy played an active role, made by another Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk. Cohen, it is alleged, was the middleman. Pinchuk is a significant contributor to religious institutions in Israel, but is also well connected to its politicians. In 2008 he served as co-chairman of the Israeli Presidential Conference convened in Jerusalem by the late Shimon Peres.

* Another purported target of Mueller’s investigation is Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, an Israeli citizen with investments in Israel, for payments allegedly made to Michael Cohen. Vekselberg partnered with Israeli-Russian billionaires Len Blavatnik, who is invested in Israeli media, connected to Netanyahu and is also under Mueller’s spotlight, as well as Russian-Israeli billionaire Mikhail Fridman. One of their joint holdings was Alfa Bank, which, according to the Steele Dossier, owned a mysterious internet server found in Trump Tower. Fridman is also the main contributor to the Genesis Prize, in which Netanyahu regularly plays a prominent role, and which featured recently in the brouhaha surrounding Natalie Portman’s decision to decline the prize after she had earlier accepted it.

The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia Haaretz – Google Search
 

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The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and …

Haaretz3 hours ago
The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia … To really understand TrumpIsrael and the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz … These included so-called Russian oligarchs, some of whom made …

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Analysis The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of …

Haaretz3 hours ago
… Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia … To really understand TrumpIsrael and the Middle East – subscribe to Haaretz …

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Back-channel Mediator Between Israel and Arab Countries Latest …

HaaretzMar 15, 2018
The questioning of Nader in the Mueller probe suggests possible interest in … Nader’s connections with Trump confidants include Elliott Broidy, …

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Donald Trump Wants Out of Syria. Israel Thinks That’s a Problem

HaaretzApr 4, 2018
Meeting last month with Donald TrumpIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu … Russia, notably, has been Iran’s de facto ally in Syria. … “What I assume is happening is that the connections between the Israeli military and … The Countless Israeli Connections to Mueller’s Probe of Trump and Russia.
Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left – Wikipedia
 

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Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left is the first anthology of autobiographical writings by “Red Diaper Babies” — children of communist or other radical-left parents. Edited by Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro, it consists of memoirs, short stories, and poems. Among the 40 authors are such well known figures as journalist Carl Bernsteinfeminist writer Kim Chernin, scientist Richard Levins, and author/activist Robert Meeropol (son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg).

The book has been widely praised by some of the major figures of 20th century radical politics, reviewed in radical and academic periodicals, and used as a textbook in radical history courses at Pennsylvania State University and East Stroudsberg University, as well as being reviewed by the mainstream media.

GROWING UP IN THE COMMUNIST LEFT – Google Search
 

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GROWING UP IN THE COMMUNIST LEFT: Judy Kaplan, Linn Shapiro: 9780252067259: Amazon.com: Books
 

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Bill Browder, from red diaper baby to Putin’s nemesis

CNNJul 28, 2017
But by odd coincidence, Earl Browder’s grandson Bill, a Red diaper baby turned capitalist, addressed a US congressional committee Thursday …

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Russian firm that promised to pay US millions after money-laundering …

CNNNov 2, 2017
According to a letter from US Attorney Joon H. Kim to Judge William H. … client William Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, …

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The curious rise of Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met …

CNNSep 16, 2017
Parker had received the image of the house, the hacked correspondence shows, from William Browder, the man responsible for convincing …

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Romney was right about Russia

CNNJul 31, 2017
David M. Drucker is a senior political correspondent for the Washington Examiner and a CNN political analyst. The views expressed in this …
Red diaper babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
 

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Red diapers babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
 

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Red diapers babies of Puerto Rico – Google Search
 

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From Rockaway, to Newark, with love | Di Ionno

<a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a>May 23, 2018
Next, she hands a box of diapers to Raymond Ortiz, 56, who has been homeless for two years. He said he was a math teacher in Puerto Rico and a tutor for … left him homeless while his wife and 9-month-old baby stay with her brother. … And on this particular night, she handed out a dozen red “super fan” …

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Sunburn – The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics – 4.30.18

Florida Politics (blog)Apr 30, 2018
… and he of Associated Industries of Florida, welcomed their third child to world, … And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to … @SenBillNelson: Beautiful day at the Puerto RicanParade and Festival in Orlando! ….. At one point, she compared Ivanka Trump to a diaper pail, and said …

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How to Help Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

FortuneSep 26, 2017
Some of the pressing supply needs in Puerto Rico include bottled water, baby wipes, diapersbabyformula, pain relief medication for adults …

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Guide to helping the victims of Puerto Rico

FOX 61Sep 27, 2017
How can you help the people of Puerto Rico and other island … American Red Cross · Save the Children focused on the needs of families and their children. … Diapers; Canned foods; Dry foods; Baby formula; Garbage bags …
Red diaper baby – Wikipedia
 

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Red diaper baby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigationsearch

red diaper baby is a child of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party(CPUSA) or were close to the party or sympathetic to its aims.

History[edit]

In their book Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist Left, Judy Kaplan and Linn Shapiro define red diaper babies as “children of CPUSA members, children of former CPUSA members, and children whose parents never became members of the CPUSA but were involved in political, cultural, or educational activities led or supported by the Party”.[1]

More generally, the phrase is sometimes used to refer to a child of any radical parent, regardless of that parent’s past partisan affiliation (or the affiliation of the child). Red Diaper Baby is also the title of an autobiographical one man show and book by monologist Josh Kornbluth,[2] and a 2004 documentary film by Doug Pray.

References[edit]

  1. Jump up ^ Kaplan, Judy & Shapiro, Linn (1998). Red Diapers: Growing Up in the Communist LeftUniversity of Illinois PressISBN 0-252-06725-8In this anthology, we define red diaper babies as children of CP members, children of former CP members, and children whose parents never became members of …
  2. Jump up ^ Kornbluth, Josh (1996). Red Diaper Baby: Three Comic Monologues (With Mathematics of Change and Haiku Tunnel). Mercury House. ISBN 1-56279-087-0.
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Bloggers Deal The Facts While NYT Spreads The Manure [Updated]

Wizbang (blog)May 17, 2018
2016 October 28 Comey informs Congress that Clinton E-Mail investigation re-opened due to documents on Weiner/Abedin laptop.

Story image for Weiner-Abedin emails affair from Law & Crime

Comey’s FBI Knew About Clinton Emails One Month Before Alerting …

Law & CrimeFeb 7, 2018
Got called up to Andy’s earlier.. hundreds of thousands of emails turned … and Governmental AffairsCommittee contains the Strzok-Page SMS (text) … the timeline regarding the Weiner-Abedin-Clinton tranche of emails and …
Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise – Ricochet.com
 

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Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise
Ricochet.com
Weiner was once again accused of sexting with underage females. Police authorities in NYC had seized Anthony Weiner’slaptop and his wife, Huma Abedin, HRC’s trusted associate, had used that computer many times to print out HRC’s emails. HRC …and more »

Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise  |  Ricochet
 

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So, inquiring minds have asked, if Comey and the FBI were so vested in the candidacy of HRC, how do you square that with the Weiner laptop surprise?

Remember, on October 28, 2016, Comey announced the reopening of the Midterm Exam (“MTE” was the FBI’s clever name for the Clinton email/unauthorized server scandal.) Weiner was once again accused of sexting with underage females. Police authorities in NYC had seized Anthony Weiner’s laptop and his wife, Huma Abedin, HRC’s trusted associate, had used that computer many times to print out HRC’s emails. HRC, it seems, liked only paper correspondence. So this laptop was a possible source for the “missing” emails that had otherwise been permanently removed from the Clinton unauthorized server. Comey was officially appraised of the existence this laptop on October 27 and quickly sought a warrant to search it. The MTE investigation band (the usual FBI suspects McCabe, Strzok, Page, et al.) was reluctantly put back together.

But there is more to the story. Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe had known of this laptop’s existence at the NYPD and its potential evidentiary value for at least a month and he did nothing. FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his colleague and mistress Lisa Page mention the Laptop in their emails. It is very possible that a decision had to be made: either seize the laptop and contain the story (“nothing to see here”) or roll the dice and hope that Trump supporters wouldn’t catch on and demand a last-minute reckoning. McCabe’s attempt to let the clock run past election day had likely become too risky a strategy. Comey may well have once again taken the initiative. So he seized the evidence, iced the story and then announced that it was a nothing-burger.

If the purported sordid details about Trump in the Steele dossier are salacious, the Clinton details leaked presumably by NYPD sources (who searched the laptop for evidence of Weiner’s crimes) are just as scandalous. Quite frankly, I would have expected a much more heated and lively reaction by Bill and Hillary upon the reopening of the MTE investigation, but they were strangely reticent. Perhaps they were relieved that they had diffused the bomb, a true November bombshell surprise, but one not initiated by the opposition but an inadvertent suicide vest of their own making? The press, as I remember, was pushing a story depicting Hillary consoling a distraught Huma Abedin, more concerned with a friend than her own campaign. HRC was either supremely confident (she was still in the lead in all the polls) or she knew that the FBI and Justice Department would provide an appropriate backstop.

So, dear reader, I can see how someone might assume that Comey’s re-enlistment of the MTE band with the discovery of the Weiner laptop was a sign of impartiality. But what if it was really a vain attempt at containment, containment of potentially damaging evidence challenging the original email/server scandal exoneration and containment of other sordid and scandalous details pertaining to Clinton foundation fundraising and the Clinton social circle? If it was damage control, it was too little, too late. I doubt it played very much of a role in HRC’s eventual defeat. National news agencies, even Fox, steered clear of the sordid details being leaked in NYC, though they were played hard and often in the tabloids. Nonetheless, Hillary took NY with ease.

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Book excerpt: “Facts and Fears” by James Clapper
 

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In this excerpt from Chapter 1 of “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence” (Viking), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recounts his family’s history in military intelligence (his father served in the Army Security Agency, among other agencies, in duty stations around the world) and how it pointed him in the direction of a life of public service served in the shadows.

Don’t miss David Martin’s interview with James Clapper on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” May 27!


Viking

When my family left Japan in 1953, en route to Littleton, Massachusetts, my sister and I were parked with my mother’s parents in Philadelphia. This was a good deal for me, because my grandparents let me stay up as late as I wanted to watch TV. Television was a great novelty, since we didn’t have one in Japan. On Friday nights, the old movies would end about 12:30, and one night I did the 1950s equivalent of channel surfing, which required actually walking up to the set and manually turning the selector dial. There were only four channels, and one night I stopped between channels four and five—I’ll never forget this—because I heard voices speaking in a clipped cadence. There was no picture, just voices. I listened for maybe fifteen minutes as they batted words and numbers back and forth in speech patterns bordering on the nonsensical. Finally I figured out that I’d stumbled onto the broadcast frequency of the Philadelphia Police Department dispatcher. I wanted to hear more, but my arm was getting tired, so I went to the kitchen, found some toothpicks, and stuck them in the dial to secure it. That’s right, I “hacked” the Philadelphia Police Department, using my grandparents’ black-and-white TV set and some toothpicks.

The next night I was prepared with a map of the city of Philadelphia and began plotting the addresses where the police cruisers were dispatched. After a few nighttime surveillance sessions, I figured out where the police district boundaries were, based on which cruisers responded to specific locations. I wrote down anything they said that I didn’t understand, and kept listening until I had figured out what all the “10” codes (10-4, 10-5, etc.) were, the system for call signs, and the personal identifiers for lieutenants and above. I got a pack of index cards to keep track of all the facts I was collecting. Soon I was staying up every night to build my “database.” About a month later, when my parents came to Philadelphia to retrieve my sister and me, my dad asked, “So what’ve you been up to this summer?” I showed him my map and my card files, and I gave him a thorough briefing on how police operations worked in the city. I’ll never forget the expression on his face as he exclaimed, “My God, I’ve raised my own replacement!”

One evening in the fall of 2015, when I was the director of national intelligence, I was shooting the breeze with my staff and recounted this story. A few weeks later, my speechwriter put it into the script for a speech I was scheduled to give for a CIA-sponsored event at George Washington University on “The Ethos and the Profession of Intelligence.” I hadn’t seriously considered it before, but this vignette from my childhood illustrates what we do in the intelligence profession in simple terms. Intelligence involves research, determination, persistence, patience, continuity, drawing inferences in the absence of complete information, and taking advantage of vulnerabilities and what you overhear in others’ conversations, no matter how cryptic and jargon-filled they are. Obviously, the Philadelphia Police Department hadn’t foreseen that a twelve-year-old kid would listen in on its radio transmissions, let alone map out its operations. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that little avocation, more than sixty years ago, started me down the path to service in the intelligence business.

Life can sometimes loop back on itself, and in 2013, when I was the DNI, Annandale High [in Falls Church, Virginia] asked me to be its graduation speaker, fifty-nine years after I first enrolled there. The ceremony fell on June 13, and when I accepted the invitation, I had no idea how difficult that week would be for me. It was two and a half months after damaging mandatory budget cuts went into effect for the Intelligence Community, and I was fighting the Defense Department to keep intelligence professionals from being furloughed. It was three weeks after Edward Snowden had fled to Hong Kong, and stolen documents were leaking out through press outlets, cutting into intelligence capabilities on a daily basis. I thought about canceling, but was glad I didn’t. The students were in high spirits, and they also made me laugh when I arrived. Rather than my donning the gown commensurate with my master’s degree, the students asked me to wear the same one they were wearing, to indicate that, like them, I had yet to graduate from Annandale High. I was game, and I did.

I took about two minutes of my commencement speech to vent, before talking about the graduating class, their accomplishments, and what lay ahead for them. I closed my speech that night by telling them:

If you take care of yourself, if you have a vision of what you want for the future, if you’re kind, and attentive, and responsible, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll live an interesting and successful life. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll reach every goal you set out to achieve. Fifty-nine years ago, I set out to graduate from Annandale High, and I didn’t reach that goal. I never got the chance to wear a red Annandale robe and mortarboard until tonight.

And it’s okay to fall short of some of your goals. Even if it feels like a disaster at the time, you’ll most likely do some pretty cool other things, as long as you do your best to stay on the right path. I’m proud of how things have turned out in my life. And I’ve never, ever, been bored. Although these days, I’d like a little boredom. Sometimes, by some circuitous route, you eventually reach those goals you thought had long passed you by. So tonight, I get to wear Annandale red. And you know, it feels pretty sweet.


Excerpted from “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.” Copyright © 2018 by James Clapper and Trey Brown. Reprinted by permission of Viking Press. All Rights Reserved.


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Crime and Criminology from mikenova (8 sites): InSight Crime: Dominican Republic and Venezuela: Cocaine Across the Caribbean
 

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Dominican Republic and Venezuela: Cocaine Across the Caribbean

Drug traffickers have a problem exporting drugs from Venezuela. There are few commercial flights, little container shipping, no tourists and a collapsed fishing sector. But the Dominican Republic, 1,400 kilometers away, has it all. 

As cocaine pours largely unopposed across the border from Colombia, with production in the Andean nation at a record high, so organized crime has developed one of the region’s most prolific drug pipelines into the Dominican Republic. While there are some illegal flights that swing past, the lion’s share of the drug streaks across the Caribbean in go-fast boats. The Dominican Republic offers the drug trade some of the Caribbean’s biggest container ports, a lively tourist sector with commercial flights across the globe, and a booming property and banking sector, ready to wash narco-dollars.

The Caribbean route had rather fallen from favor since the heady days of the Medellín Cartel, when Pablo Escobar and his associates used the island of Norman’s Cay in the Bahamas to refuel the planes laden with cocaine, bound for the United States. In the mid-1980s, over 75 percent of the cocaine seized on its way to the United States was taken in the Caribbean. By 2010, that number was down to 10 percent, and Central America was registering over 80 percent of seizures.

The reason for the resurgence in the Caribbean is explained by two factors: increased US investment in the drug war in Central America and Mexico, and the growing importance of Venezuela as a regional cocaine hub.

The United States has dedicated resources via the Mérida Initiative in Mexico, which began in 2008, and the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), which has been pumping money principally into the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. This has also had an effect on the cocaine air bridge from Venezuela to Honduras, pushing more drug consignments onto the high seas of the Caribbean. (For more information on this, see our investigation “Honduras and Venezuela: Coup and Cocaine Air Bridge.”).

This article is part of a multipart investigation looking at organized crime in Venezuela. See other parts of the series here and the full report here

While the United States set up the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in 2010, this has seen far fewer resources dedicated and attention paid, failing to curb the growing cocaine trade via the Caribbean. The US State Department has identified the Dominican Republic as one of the principal transit nations for cocaine shipments headed to the United States, with maritime trafficking, involving the use of go-fast boats and commercial containers, as the primary method of smuggling drugs to and from the island. It was also the country most frequently identified by European agencies as the transit nation for cocaine shipments destined for Europe.”

Why the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic (DR) sits in the heart of the Caribbean. It is the region’s most populous nation with 10.5 million inhabitants and has its strongest economy. Up to five million tourists enter the country through the international airports and the dozens of cruise liners that pull up to its ports every year. From a trade point of view, the Dominican Republic’s six ports make it a regional hub for container shipping. Some of these ports can handle the “neo-Panamax” ships, the largest size able to negotiate the Panama Canal.

Santo Domingo is one of the oldest, as well as the largest, cities in the Caribbean, with its metropolitan area registering a population of almost three million. It boasts world-class hotels, resorts, restaurants and casinos, everything an aspiring narco needs. The Dominican Republic has far and away the biggest economy and GDP in the Caribbean, along with a booming property market, thus offering plenty of money laundering opportunities.

For departing cocaine shipments, the Dominican Republic has a plethora of different routes to offer. For the US market, there is Puerto Rico, just 381 kilometers away. As a US territory, if smugglers can get cocaine onto this island, it makes for an easier ride to the mainland, being inside the US customs barriers. Similar dynamics apply with the French territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe for shipments into mainland Europe. British overseas territories like Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, as well as former colonies like Jamaica, are springboards into the United Kingdom. Yet thanks to linguistic advantages and a significant Dominican diaspora, Spain is still the principal entry pointinto Europe for drugs leaving the Dominican Republic. Spain has traditionally been the European nation with the highest cocaine seizures.

Another reason the Dominican Republic is a preferred transit nation for cocaine is the increasing sophistication of the native drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Dominican criminal structures used to act principally as transporters for Colombian and Mexican organizations. Those days are gone. Dominican DTOs have moved into the big league. Nowadays, the Dominicans are buying cocaine in Venezuela, contracting Venezuelans to make the hazardous journey across the Caribbean, then taking direct control of loads as they hit the island. Dominican reach does not stop here. Their DTOs can move drugs up to the eastern seaboard of the United States. There, a large Dominican diaspora sells the drugs, even going down to retail level. This means that the Dominicans now control a large number of links in the drug chain, and are able to maximize their profits from each kilogram of drugs. Dominicans, working with Colombian and Mexican cartels, are also acting as intermediaries for international mafias looking to secure large cocaine loads. International intelligence agencies in Santo Domingo have flagged the growing presence of Russian organized crime figures.

US law enforcement sources admitted to the growing importance and reach of Dominican DTOs.

“We have at the moment four to five cases of high-level Dominican crews moving significant quantities of drugs into the mainland United States,” stated one source on condition of anonymity.

The Dominican Republic is immensely attractive to Venezuelans looking to flee their collapsing homeland, or stash their money beyond the reach of hyperinflation and government expropriation. The culture on this Caribbean island is a lot like that in Venezuela, so they feel right at home.

Wealthy Venezuelans have long invested in vacation homes and other properties in the Dominican Republic. As they sought to protect their assets from possible seizure back home, investment increased. Between 2010 and 2015, Venezuelan investment in the Dominican Republic totaled $5 billion, principally in tourism resorts, residential and commercial real estate, as well as in shopping malls. But few Venezuelans actually took up residence on the island. A 2012 census of immigrants in the Dominican Republic found just 3,434 Venezuela-born persons living in the country, 12 years after Hugo Chávez came to power.

However, that dynamic changed after President Nicolás Maduro took office and the country was plunged into an economic crisis in 2013. The first to arrive in the Dominican Republic were upper- and middle-class Venezuelans fleeing the uncertainty. They generally established medium-sized service companies and got jobs as professionals. But lately, the stream has turned into a flood. Many of the later arrivals have entered the informal economy, selling Venezuelan maize cakes known as “arepas” and fast food on street corners, engage in sex work or driving taxis. The arrival of Venezuelans through Dominican airports jumped 40 percent in 2016 compared to the year before, for a total of 142,540 people, although there is no clear data on how many went for tourism purposes and how many stayed.

In an attempt to stem the flow, in December 2016, the Dominican government announced new restrictions on Venezuelans arriving as tourists, such as proof of financial means or paid hotel reservations. A foundation that helps Venezuelan immigrants in the Dominican Republic estimated that there may as many as 200,000 Venezuelans residents now.

Several Dominican sources pointed out that Venezuelans linked to the Maduro government are buying up luxury villas in top-notch resorts such as Casa de Campo in La Romana, possibly purchased with ill-gotten gains from the drug trade or the kleptocratic sacking of state coffers.

US sources stated that Venezuelan criminal structures are now present in the Dominican Republic, working with their Dominican, Mexican and Colombian counterparts.

“They are actually in control of major organizations, orchestrating the money laundering, the movement of the cocaine, transport, even down to distribution,” said a Caribbean-based US law enforcement source.

Add to this high levels of corruption among the political class and the security forces and the Dominican Republic has the potential to be a drug trafficking paradise.

Routes From Venezuela to the Dominican Republic

As the crow flies, the Dominican Republic is about 1,400 kilometers from Venezuela’s northern coast. The drug traffickers are using this direct route, sending go-fast boats laden with up to a ton of cocaine from the Guajira and Paraguaná peninsulas. The Paraguaná peninsula in particular, located just 27 kilometers from the island of Aruba, still has infrastructure capable of building and maintaining boats, used not just to ferry tourists, but to feed a booming contraband trade between Aruba and the Venezuelan mainland.

Another route taken by boats laden with drugs, is island hopping across the Caribbean archipelago. There are 834 kilometers from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago, and from there, islands line up all the way to Cuba, among them Grenada, Martinique and St. Kitts and Nevis. Then you hit the big islands starting with Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic and Haiti share, and finally Jamaica, before hitting the biggest island in the Caribbean, Cuba.

The Venezuela-Dominican Republic Drug Links 

Perhaps the most emblematic recent Venezuelan drug scandal is that of the “narco nephews.” Francisco Flores de Freitas and Efraín Campos were convicted in November 2016 by a court in New York for conspiring to traffic 800 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

They are the nephews of Venezuela’s First Lady, Cilia Flores. They were originally arrested in Haiti, next door to the Dominican Republic, where they had been flown in a plane piloted by a member of the Venezuela National Guard. Once there, they intended to receive a down payment for a drug deal, which was going to involve cocaine allegedly provided by the largely demobilized Colombian rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC). The Dominican connection was proven with a raid on a mansion owned by Francisco Flores at a luxury Dominican resort property, where 127 kilograms of cocaine and 10 kilograms of heroin were pulled from a 135-foot yacht named “The Kingdom,” docked alongside.

At the end 2016, 10 drug traffickers were captured on a Lear jet arriving in the Dominican Republic carrying 450 kilograms of cocaine. The aircraft belonged to Aeroquest, a company owned by José Gregorio Vielma Mora, governor of the Venezuelan state of Táchira on the border with Colombia, and a member of the ruling United Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela).

In mid-2016, a captain in the Venezuelan military, Yazenky Antonio Lamas Rondón, also connected toFirst Lady Cilia Flores, was arrested in Colombia on a US indictment, accused of having conducted more than a hundred narco flights in the past decade, many to the Dominican Republic. Airplanes were sent without cargo from Mexico to the Venezuelan state of Apure, which borders Colombia. The planes were received by Lamas, who then loaded them with cocaine and dispatched them to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Bahamas. Lamas was extradited to the United States in July 2017.

Venezuela’s director of Interpol, Eliecer García Torrealba, was arrested by Venezuelan authorities and charged, in April 2016, with organizing the transport of a shipment of cocaine to the Dominican Republic. García Torrealba allegedly used his post to coordinate the loading and takeoff of a plane from the airport in the city of Barquisimeto, the capital of the state of Lara. Five police agents and three airport security guards were also involved in prepping the Cessna to depart with cocaine aboard. Venezuelan citizens Juan Lanz Díaz and Pablo Cárdenas, were alleged to have financed the operation. Cárdenas was also linked to another shipment of 349 kilograms of cocaine that were seized at the airport in La Romana, in the Dominican Republic, in March 2016.

In April 2015, four members of Venezuela’s National Guard and a prominent businessman were arrested in Venezuela in connection to a 450-kilogram shipment of cocaine flown in a private jet from Venezuela to the Dominican Republic. The drugs were seized by Dominican anti-drug police. The private jet’s five passengers — all Venezuelan nationals — were taken into custody in the Dominican Republic, as were four members of the Dominican military, including a captain and a lieutenant.

Verny Troncoso, the lead prosecutor in charge of narcotic cases for the province of Santo Domingo, said that every week since late October 2016, officials have arrested three to four Venezuelans arriving at the country’s airports with drugs either ingested or hidden in suitcases. They all arrive on a daily Acerca flight direct from Caracas to Santo Domingo’s Las Americas airport.

“It has broken all records,” Troncoso told InSight Crime, noting that authorities had never previously detected mules from Venezuela. Venezuelans now account for 90 percent of the drug mules captured in the Dominican Republic, according to one source in the Dominican Republic’s drug control agency (Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas – DNCD). On average, Venezuelans who have ingested drugs bring in a kilogram of cocaine, or if they are carrying it in a suitcase, an average of five kilograms, said the same source.

During questioning, several of the mules told Troncoso they were taken over the border from Venezuela to Colombia to load up with drugs (either ingested or packed in their luggage). They then flew out of the international airport in Caracas. The drive to Caracas from Catatumbo in Colombia, where coca is booming, is more than 10 hours, and it takes a similar time from the Colombian Guajira — too long for mules to risk having the drugs in their stomachs. This could mean that they are boarding domestic flights in Venezuela’s border states, undetected or unmolested, and making connections to the Dominican Republic through Caracas’ international airport.

The mule operation is largely run by Colombians and Dominicans residing in Venezuela, according to Troncoso. Most of the mules caught at the airport in the Dominican Republic said they were obliged to carry the drugs due to the desperate economic situation at home, Troncoso said. He also said the same dynamic lay behind a spike in Venezuelans crewing go-fast drug launches. Current indications show that between three and four out of every five go-fast boats arriving near the Dominican Republic include Venezuelan crew members.

The scale of the maritime route between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic is hard to estimate, but speaking to law enforcement officials from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Dominican Republic, we built up a picture of around three go-fast boats coming into Dominican waters every week, carrying between 700 kilograms and a ton of cocaine. Using these figures, one could estimate that the maritime route alone from Venezuela is bringing in 9.5 tons of cocaine a month, which is 115 tons a year, to the Caribbean island. On top of this are the “contaminated” containers passing through the Dominican Republic’s ports.

Vice Admiral Félix Pimental, the head of the DNCD, told InSight Crime that at least 120 tons of cocaine were passing through the island every year, a huge percentage of which goes to Europe. This is an extraordinary amount of drugs, equivalent to about 15 percent of annual global cocaine production.

The average amount that Dominican organized crime charged traffickers to transit the island is $1,400 per kilogram. That would mean that Dominican organized crime is making over $200 million a year. The real figure is sure to be much higher, as in many cases the Dominicans are owners of the cocaine shipments and are selling each kilogram for more than $25,000 in the United States or $35,000 in Europe. They are also handling a significant flow of heroin and fentanyl passing across the island.

The Future

Even if President Maduro is defeated in the upcoming elections, the conditions in Venezuela are unlikely to change quickly. This means that the drug pipeline to the Dominican Republic is likely to grow and strengthen, certainly in the short term. While US authorities like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are well aware of the flow of narcotics, there is little they can do, as they are not officially present in Venezuela and receive zero cooperation from Venezuelan authorities.

Interdiction across the Caribbean is tough. The go-fast boats usually depart at dusk, and then as the sun rises, they throw blue-green tarpaulins over the boats, making them all but invisible. When darkness falls again they continue their journey. When they get near the Dominican Republic, they are met by Dominican traffickers at sea, who transfer the loads. The mainly Venezuelan crews then return back to the South American mainland. And the process is repeated.

What is interesting is that the vast majority of cocaine seizures occur on the way into the Dominican Republic. This means that once on the island, organized crime is able to move and export drug shipments with relative ease and security. This suggests high-level corruption in local law enforcement, the national anti-drug agency and the port authorities, perhaps including political top cover. Almost all sources consulted agreed on this, but were reluctant to go on the record.

The longer this cocaine pipeline remains active, the more sophisticated and powerful Dominican and Venezuelan DTOs will become. The Dominican Republic is no longer just a transshipment point, but a venue where international mafias can purchase large drug consignments. This means the Dominican Republic will evolve as a cosmopolitan drug-trafficking hub, with growing Venezuelan criminal presence. There is already evidence that DTOs here are unrestricted by national boundaries, have partners from many different nations, and are able to change their smuggling patterns and modus operandi to avoid law enforcement detection.

This article is part of a multipart investigation looking at organized crime in Venezuela. See other parts of the series here and the full report here

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 Crime and Criminology from mikenova (8 sites)

FBI Seizes Control of Russian Botnet
 

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New legal docs in the NXIVM case appear to shed further light on the cult’s alleged sex-trafficking techniques—and the continued involvement of Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman.

Following the arrests of leader Keith Raniere and his alleged top lieutenant, former Smallville actress Allison Mack, Clare Bronfman is now rumored to be calling the shots. In April, Vice wrote that, “Heiress to Canadian liquor fortune Clare Bronfman is now in charge of an estimated dozen or more ‘slaves’ spread between New York and Toronto,” citing former NXIVM publicist-turned-whistleblower Frank Parlato. Parlato also claimed that Bronfman might be attempting to intimidate ex-NXIVM members, telling Vice, “They bought up a number of domain names to attack some of the witnesses… If Jane Doe 1 or 2 decided not to testify, that would certainly hurt the case against Raniere… I think she would do whatever it takes to see that those witnesses don’t testify.”

Parlato’s theory is in keeping with legal docs filed on the subject of Allison Mack’s bail, in which the government spoke of “evidence” that, “after its investigation was reported in the press, high-ranking members of DOS undertook efforts to undermine potential witness, including by registering domain names such as [Witness <a href=”http://Name%5Dexposed.com” rel=”nofollow”>Name]exposed.com</a>, with the intention of publishing damaging information regarding those witnesses.”

Ex “slaves” would be particularly susceptible to these sorts of threats, since a main instrument of control and retention within DOS, a secret sorority within NXIVM, was demanding “collateral” from victims.

“The DOS slaves continued to provide additional collateral beyond what they had initially understood was expected, in part because they feared that the collateral they had already provided would be released.”

In a Wednesday filing, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue argued that two Halfmoon, New York, properties are liable to condemnation and forfeiture to the government, detailing the sex trafficking that allegedly took place on the NXIVM compound outside of Albany.

As background, the documents claim that, since founding Executive Success Programs (aka NXIVM) in 1998, “Raniere has maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships. These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationships with Raniere.”

The filing goes on to elaborate on the structure and practices of DOS, as well as the collateral system, which included “sexually explicit photographs; videos made to look candid in which the prospective slaves told damning stories (true or untrue) about themselves, close friends and/or family members; and letters making damaging accusations (true or untrue) against friends and family members and assigning the rights to certain assets.”

Victims were allegedly pressed for more and more collateral: “In most cases the DOS slaves continued to provide additional collateral beyond what they had initially understood was expected, in part because they feared that the collateral they had already provided would be released.”

One ex-DOS member, Jane Doe 1, who claims she was personally recruited to DOS by Allison Mack, witnessed the Smallville actress’ role in creating “collateral” specifically for Raniere.

“Throughout Jane Doe 1’s time in DOS, Mack regularly required her slaves to pose for nude photographs, either as assignments or collateral,” the filing states. “These photographs included on one occasion close-up pictures of their vaginas. Jane Doe 1 later learned that Mack was sending these photographs to Raniere, because Jane Doe 1 observed Mack sending these photographs using Mack’s cellphone to someone over a messaging service and then receiving responses which Mack would sometimes relay to her slaves. The responses included that the photographs were not graphic enough or that the slaves were not smiling enough, and that they had to be retaken. On one occasion, Jane Doe 1 saw a text exchange on Mack’s phone between Raniere and Mack, in which Mack sent a nude photo she had just taken of all of the slaves on Jane Doe 1’s level and Raniere wrote back, ‘All mine?’ with a smiling devil emoticon.”

A section titled “Sex Trafficking Within DOS” explains how DOS masters allegedly ordered their slaves to have sex with Raniere, or “groomed” them for this purpose. “By requiring DOS slaves to have sex with Raniere,” the filing continues, “DOS masters also received benefits from Raniere in the form of increased status and financial opportunities within Nxivm more broadly.” Jane Doe 1 relayed how Mack more or less offered her up to Raniere.

According to the court filing, Mack, who had already ordered Jane Doe 1 to be celibate for six months, began assigning contact between her and Raniere. One night, when Doe was staying with Mack at one of the properties in question, the actress woke her up to say that Raniere had arrived to take her on a walk. Mack then told Jane Doe 1 her assignment: “to tell Raniere that Jane Doe 1 would do anything Raniere asked her to do.” The next night the ritual was repeated, with Mack allegedly waking Jane Doe 1 up “to meet Raniere and tell him she would do anything he asked her to do.”

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The legal documents continue, “Jane Doe 1 did as she was assigned, and Raniere led her to a house across the street. Raniere directed her to remove all her clothes and made comments about her naked body. Raniere then blindfolded Jane Doe 1, led her into a car and drove her around in a manner that made Jane Doe 1 believe Raniere was trying to prevent her from knowing where they were going. Raniere led Jane Doe 1, still blindfolded, through some trees, into what she believed was a shack, and tied her to a table. Another person in the room, who Jane Doe 1 did not previously know was present, began performing oral sex on Jane Doe 1 as Raniere circled the table making comments. Jane Doe 1 did not want to participate in this sexual activity, but believed it was part of her commitment to DOS and that if she broke her commitment to DOS her collateral could be released.”

The filing further states that Raniere “had repeated sexual contact with Jane Doe 1, including oral sex and sexual intercourse on a number of occasions” at one of the upstate properties where Raniere allegedly also slept with other DOS “slaves.” Raniere gave Jane Doe 1 money, ostensibly to facilitate her frequent trips from Brooklyn to the compound. When Jane Doe 1 eventually left DOS, Raniere is said to have demanded that she return the money.

The documents also repeatedly mentions an “heiress” who fled to Mexico with Raniere in the wake of The New York Times’ bombshell report on DOS.

The heiress, who is described as “a member of Nxivm’s Executive Board,” is allegedly behind the cease-and-desist letters that “several DOS victims have received” from a Mexican attorney. “Emails exchanged between Raniere and the Heiress, obtained pursuant to a search warrant executed on Raniere’s email account, reveal that the Heiress and Raniere orchestrated the sending of those letters,” the filing claims. “Additionally, the Heiress has made multiple attempts to have criminal charges brought against a former DOS slave who has discussed her experience in the media.”

In 2017, Parlato wrote in a Frank Report post that, according to multiple sources, Clare Bronfman has filed a criminal complaint against high-profile DOS defector Sarah Edmondson.

Earlier legal documents have explicitly named Clare Bronfman as Raniere’s financial backer, stating that Bronfman has “paid for numerous lawyers to bring suits against Nxivm critics.”

In a December 2017 post on her website, Bronfman claimed that she was not a member of DOS, but argued that “the sorority has truly benefited the lives of its members, and does so freely.” She continued, “I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth.”

This letter is currently featured on the Executive Success Programs website as “a note from our executive board member, Clare Bronfman.”

The special counsel’s office hopes to deny media attempts to unseal documents in the Russia probe https://cnn.it/2IHB67J pic.twitter.com/8RNnOPhggR
 

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The special counsel’s office hopes to deny media attempts to unseal documents in the Russia probehttps://cnn.it/2IHB67J  

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (71 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Hillary Clinton: We need leaders like Andrew Cuomo
 

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Hillary Clinton endorses Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York at the NY State Democratic Convention.

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1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (71 sites): CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Dramatic video shows aerial fight between fox and eagle over rabbit
 

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A bald eagle swooped in to take away a young fox’s meal, but the animal refused to give up its dinner without a fight. The result? An 8-second tug-of-war that went airborne.

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