Uranium One Story – Other Opinions/ Links

Salon.com: How Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity ginned up the Hillary Clinton uranium story

Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer’s Long History Of Errors, Retractions, And Questionable Sourcing

(Media Matters was reporting just prior to the release of the Clinton Cash book)

The Clinton-Uranium “Scandal” Is Right-Wing Nonsense. Here’s Everything You Need to Know.

Reporters React To Trump’s Clinton Cash Citations By Noting “Widely Discredited” Book’s Factual Problems

(Reacti0n of book about 2 months after publication)

Factcheck.org: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/10/facts-uranium-one/

New York Times: What Is the Uranium One Deal and Why Does the Trump Administration Care So Much?

Politifact.com: What you need to know about Hillary Clinton, Russia, and uranium

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Does-Russia-Really-Own-20-Of-The-US-Uranium-Reserves.html

Wikipedia: Clinton Cash

Their should be a book entitled “Breitbart Cash”  and the connections between the Breitbart organization

Wikipedia:  General Accountability Institute 

Sounds like the General Accountability Office, but of course it’s not!

Wynton Hall (very interesting resume)

Any negative campaign really depends on knowledgeable experts in social media

Breitbart staff list reveals additional ties to Bannon and Mercer

Steve Bannon

Rebekah Mercer

There are more links of Uranium One executives in my prior blog.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

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Uranium One – It takes two

The Uranium One accusations are meant to be a distraction by conservative Republicans in Congress.  Fox News through many commentators are attempting to make this into a scandal, when the facts argue otherwise-  no wrongdoing on the part of the Clinton Foundation,  Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.  It is as if Fox News has taken up the book “Clinton Cash” as their bible with all of its false accusations.

The origins of the Uranium One story are an April 23, 2015 report in the New York Times,  and details from the Clinton Cash book.      As I have stated previously,  the problem with the accusation against Bill Clinton’s speaking fee at an investor’s conference, is the timing is all wrong.  Clinton was paid in June 2010 and approval occurred in October 2010.

What really puts the Uranium One controversy over the top, is it is  recycled trash, first leveled against Bill Clinton in 2008 involving a merger to buy Russian uranium mining rights for Uranium One,  then the facts are all re-arranged to make Hillary the target, for her approval of a sale of uranium to Russians.   The real  truth is not hard to find, as all my sources are out there on the internet.

It wouldn’t seem such a bad thing if uranium rights were bought from the Russian (allegation against Bill)  instead of sold to the Russians (allegation against Clinton).   But, the accusation that Bill Clinton fell apart as quickly as it was made.  The allegation against Hillary lasted longer because she was running for President.

Buy uranium mining rights in Russia, would be for export to other countries.  Buying uranium mining rights in the US, is completely different, as export would be prohibited without an export permit approved by the federal government.

A kickback scheme, as Fox News is alleging takes two:  One that has political influence or can do a political favor,  and another one that has money.    Two names you will never hear on Fox News is Frank Giustra or Ian Telfer.   Nor will you every hear on Fox News about the Clinton Giustra  Enterprise Foundation or the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa.  These are the two Canadians and  former CEO’s of Uranium One.

The more I researched Frank Giustra and Ian Telfer, the more I realized that they were  very involved in philanthropic activities – namely donating much of their wealth  for good non-political causes, such as health and education.

Frank Giustra, CEO of Uranium One in 2007 made the donation of 130 million dollars  to the Clinton Foundation, but in the fall of 2007,  he sold his stock in Uranium One.    Mr. Giustra had made a fortune in mining acquisitions, many of them in Brazil.    What both Giustra and Telfer do these days, is exactly what Bill Gates, and other rich people do – give away their money to charitable organization.     The  Clinton Giustra Enterprise Foundation is a great example of a long term strategy to help the poor of South America through developing their own industries.  I note that Carlos Slims, the Mexican billionaire,  is also a contributor to this foundation.

Please take a look at the link to theClinton Giustra  Enterprise Foundation at the end of this blog.

Following a New York Times article, Frank Giustra responded to this article and other unfounded attacks  as follows:

A book that has not yet been published has caused the New York Times to publish a wildly speculative, innuendo-laced article about the Clinton Foundation and my role in contributing money to it. There is not one shred of evidence to back up the Times‘ conclusions. This is not about me, but rather an attempt to tear down Secretary Clinton and her presidential campaign. If this is what passes for investigative journalism in the United States, it is very sad.

The facts do not comport with the story in the New York Times. The reporter, Jo Becker, wrote a similar piece in 2008, which was eventually debunked by Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/12/giustra-clinton-kazakhstan-pf-ii-in_rl_0912croesus_inl.html

I began working on financing the purchase of mining stakes from a private Kazakh company in early 2005. The purchase was concluded in late 2005.  In late 2005, I went to Kazakhstan to finish the negotiations of the sale. Bill Clinton flew to Almaty a few days after I arrived in the country on another person’s plane, not on my plane, as the Times reported. Bill Clinton had nothing to do with the purchase of private mining stakes by a Canadian company.

I sold all of my stakes in the uranium company – Uranium One – in the fall of 2007, after it merged with another company. I would note that those were sold at least 18 months before Hillary Clinton became the Secretary of State. No one was speculating at that time that she would become the Secretary of State.

Other media outlets have insinuated that I influenced the decision by the U.S. to sign a free trade agreement with Colombia. At one point, I was an investor in Pacific Rubiales, a Colombian energy company. I sold my shares in Pacific Rubiales several years before the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which, I will note, was approved by several U.S. agencies and the White House. To theorize that I had anything to do with that is sheer conjecture.

I hope that the U.S. media can start to focus on the real challenges of the world and U.S. society. Focus on poverty, homelessness, infrastructure, health care, education, or fractious world politics. You are a great country. Don’t ruin it by letting those with political agendas take over your newspapers and your airwaves.

I am extremely proud of the work that we have done at the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. Thousands of people, all over the world, have been helped by this initiative. I plan to continue that work long after the harsh glare of this week’s media stories has faded.

Of course, once the charitable donation of 130 million dollars is seen as a proper donation,  there’s only 15 million dollars left, and most of these donations occurred long before the Uranium One deal.

However,  there is only one donor, who contributed at the time of the Uranium One deal, and that was Ian Telfer,  former CEO of Uranium One and currently Chairman of the Board of Goldcorp.  He donated 2.35 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation in 2010.  Like Giustra, he was impressed with Clinton’s world initiatives in the areas of health and poverty.

Ian Telfer  is one person that you really have to like.   His occupation as listed on Wikipedia is mining executive and entrepreneur.   But, it should include philanthropist,  as like Frank Giustra, he has made large donations, including a 25 million dollar contribution to the University of Ottawa, School of Management.

Ian Telfer had difficulty getting into any business school because of his low grades.  University of Ottawa accepted him.   Ian set up a scholarship program for the student admitted to the school,  with the lowest grades.   I couldn’t believe this when I first read it!

In conclusion,  from all research I’ve done,  large donations were made to the Clinton Foundation,  because what they were doing.  It is out of character for Bill Clinton to be bragging about what he has done,  but to publicize what has been accomplished by the Foundation.  Part of his job, is getting people with money,  be it Carlos Slim or Frank Giustra to believe and trust in the good work of the Clinton Foundation.

You are not going to know about any of this listening to Fox News, which seems to have nothing better to do than rerun the 2016 smear campaign against her.   Maria Bartiroma, Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs take turns suggesting a special prosecutor assigned to an investigation,  where there is no real evidence of wrong doing.

It is what Trump wants,  a diversion.   Fox News will never interview  Giustra and Telfer  because their contribution are so consistent with their other philanthropic activities, and they will have high praise for the good work of the Clinton Foundation.

Frank Giustra, recognize was a Canadian and this was US politics, but he gave good advice, which Trump and  Fox News should listen to:

I hope that the U.S. media can start to focus on the real challenges of the world and U.S. society. Focus on poverty, homelessness, infrastructure, health care, education, or fractious world politics. You are a great country. Don’t ruin it by letting those with political agendas take over your newspapers and your airwaves.

There will be no coverage of the good work of  the  Clinton Giustra Enterprise  Foundation on  Fox News.   It doesn’t fit with their official political  narrative directed at their base.

Link:

Giustra Clinton Enterprise Foundation

Frank Giustra Bio (Wikipedia)

Ian Telfer (Wikipedia)

Washington Post: The facts behind Trump’s repeated claim about Hillary Clinton’s role in the Russian uranium deal

Forbes: Clinton Commits No Foul In Kazakhstan Uranium Deal

Trump Dossier

This document is a series of memos prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence  agent,  on the Trump campaign involvement with Russians.   The author has described it as “raw intelligence” with all the  information from unnamed sources.   Christopher Steele disclosed the information to the FBI in October 2016.

The mainstream media including CNN,  Washington Post, BBC and the New York Times and many other conservative focused news  services, like Fox News and OAN, have demonstrated incredible restraint in their reporting of certain details of the dossier, and have not provided any links to the dossier itself.   I believe this restraint is proper as the certain salacious details are baseless.    Publication of the document would unjustly defame President Trump and in doing,  confirm his long held accusation that the mainstream new media publishes fake news.  Buzzfeed uploaded the document to the internet and is being sued as follows:

 Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.

So, despite the restraint from the media,  bits and pieces of the dossier are coming out.  Steele and Orbis Intelligence Service are being sued in British High Court, for publication of these accusations against XBT.    Their lawyers have responded in court, that none of Steele’s research was meant for public dissemination.   However, it is likely Orbis was responsible for sending the dossier to many organizations, making its eventual disclosure inevitable.  It will be an interesting case of who is ultimately responsible for unverified information,  the originator or the news service that posts the dossier.

Of course,  Donald Trump has made many references to this dossier in this tweets, linking it to a smear campaign by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.   What is being kept out of the public eye, certainly adds to internet searchers’  curiosity.  A Google search of “Trump Dossier” came up with  345,000 results.   It also has helped  Stephen  Colbert’s Late Show and Saturday Night Live skits.  As a result of the Trump tweets,   lot of Americans, including myself, became curious,  did a Google search to locate the source  document.

Establishing the Linkage:

April/ May 2016 to November 2016: From Clinton campaign’s  to Perkin Coie (Marc Elias) to Fusion GPS  (Glenn Simpson) to Orbis Intelligence Service (Christopher Steele)

January 2016 to  May 2016: From Free Beacon (Paul Singer)  to Perkin Coie (Marc Elias) to Fusion GPS  (Glenn Simpson) to Orbis Intelligence Service (Christopher Steele)

The DNC and Hillary Clinton campaigns were represented by Marc Elias, of Perkins Coie law firm.   Mr. Elias contacted the company Fusion GPS, to conduct “opposition research.”  Fusion GPS contracted  Orbis Intelligence Service, of whom Christopher Steele is a co-founder.   Christopher Steele is reportedly not cooperating with the House Intelligence Committee, and as a British citizen, can not be forced to testify.    He did his best to remain anonymous, but his name was revealed in January 2017 as the author of the dossier by CNN.  It has been reported John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager,  testified to the House Committee that he knew nothing about payments to Mr. Steele.  Mr. Elias was pretty much operating on his own, without much oversight.

Fusion GPS has stated that Mr. Steele was paid $168,000 for his work.  At least, this is what has been reported from leaked news from closed door sessions of House Intelligence Committee.    There is an effort underway in court to obtain Fusion GPS bank records.   The “wow number” of 9.2 million dollars is the total fees charge to the DNC (3.6 million)  and Hillary Clinton’s campaign (5.6 million)  to Fusion GPS for all work including legal and compliance services from  July 2015 to December 2016.   The contract between Fusion GPS and Orbis for the Clinton campaign did not begin until May 2016.   Trump’s tweets came up with a 12 million dollar figure for the dossier which I really don’t know where this came from.     Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS stated that none of Mr. Steele’s sources were compensated for their information,  so the money trail to original sources, at least for now, has gone cold.

It has also been recently revealed that before that before the Republican  primary,  Fusion GPS “opposition research”  was funded by a Republican right wing organization, the Washington Free Beacon,  had funded Fusion GPS.   The Free Beacon website is funded in large part by New York hedge fund billionaire, Paul Singer.     Free Beacon stopped funding research around May 2016 when it was clear that Trump had the nomination secured and this is around the time the Clinton’s started funding.  Wow, could Fusion GPS been doing the same intelligence for both Republicans and Democrats for a brief period of time?   How much of the $168,000 came from Republicans?  After the election, the research continued, but no funds came from Clinton’s campaign.   Glenn Simpson has stated he paid from for the rest of the research himself.

 Steele’s Sources of Information

The research (if I may call it that)  gets really flimsy when there is only mention of Sources A, B, C and D within the dossier.  As I stated at the onset,  the dossier is simply a collection of memos, without the names of any sources.     For those into the fine details of potential dossier sources,  I include the “Grosev Hypothesis” and its subsequent rebuttal by Galetti.  For more information consult the Wikipedia link as given on the first line of the links.

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Igor Sechin, head of state-owned oil company Rosneft, and President Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think-tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[49][50] Mark Galeotti, senior research fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague, who specializes in Russian history and security, rejected Grozev’s hypothesis.[51][49]

Mueller’s investigation will likely be a good reality check on all of this.   I believe Mueller will based his investigation on hard evidence from people within Trump’s campaign rather than the dossier.

Michael Cohen, a former top executive with the Trump Organization, has refuted the allegation that he was a key link in the Trump – Russia collaboration.   The dossier claimed he traveled to Prague in August 2016, but he states that this  is impossible as his passport would have been stamped. Other experts also expressed skepticism on the dossier, because it came from supposedly unpaid sources.

Impact

So what does this have to do with Clinton’s campaign? Nothing.   None of the dossier information was public until well after the election. There are excellent sources of information on the internet.

The more salacious accusations in the dossier in my opinion of Trump’s activities in 2013, have been discredited – see last link.

I predict the various committee investigations will become highly partisan attacks on Clinton’s campaign, in attempt to divert attention from the Mueller investigations.   I doubt if Mueller uses anything within the Trump dossier as primary support for his criminal investigation.

A very positive side to all of this, as the media showed great restraint.  I suspect the lawsuit against Buzzfeed will be dismissed on the grounds of the First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

Finally, the FBI prepared a private briefing for Donald Trump after he won the election, just to make him aware of the dossier, so he wouldn’t be broadsided by a possible leak for information.   He did not take the briefing well, as he blasted the FBI,  Obama administration, Clinton and the DNC of collaborating against him.

 

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Wikipedia,  Donald Trump – Russia Dossier

CNN: Lawyer denies Cohen traveled to Prague

Washington Post, Breaking down the Trump dossier: What you need to know

Washington Post: Clinton lawyer kept Russian dossier project closely held

New York Times: Conservative Website First Funded Anti-Trump Research by Firm That Later Produced Dossier

CNN: Ex-Trump security chief testifies he rejected 2013 Russian offer of women for Trump in Moscow

( Trump has never been accused of being with prostitutes.  I always considered this part of the dossier was fabricated.  I guess the tidbit of information is that someone offer him women and the rest is nonscense.)

 

 

 

Uranium One Controversy

“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?) … the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more,”  President Trump’s tweet.

(a) Lies can not be turned into the truth by a million repetitions. 

When solid facts run up against a statement, the statement is a lie, unless the facts are disproved.    This has not happened in the above allegations by Donald Trump.  There’s been a lot written in recent months how easy it is today, to string together a few facts and with a lot of unrelated events, to show almost anything.

Perhaps the “so much more” in Trump’s tweet is all the other accusations he’s made during the Obama years, including how Obama was never born in the US, how the Trump tower was bugged by the FBI,  how China invented global warming and how the liberal media altered video to make the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration look smaller.   Of course, we need a special prosecutor to investigate all this!

So much more would include how Ivanka Trump shoes were thrown out of the Norstrom’s in February 2017.

My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!

Norstrom shoe gate scandal!  We never knew what evil forces were involved, but likely included Democrats and the liberal media.   White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer  got involved  saying, “There are efforts to undermine her name…because people have a problem with his policies.”  Norstrom responded they pulled her shoes from the store because they just were not selling.   A more reasonable explanation, I would think!

On the subject of the Uranium One Controversy, Wikipedia states in their summary:

The New York Times, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post note that there is no evidence of wrongdoing concerning Clinton. F.B.I. agents and career public corruption officials who conducted preliminary investigations into the Clinton Foundation concluded that there was no evidence to move forward with a case in 2015.

I particularly like the detailed investigation of snopes.com, which labeled the story as False.   See links at the end of this blog.

(b) There are adults in the room!

If there is a scandalous behavior, it is from Donald Trump,  directing his hand-picked FBI Director, Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions,  to investigate controversies regarding the Clintons.  What he’s saying, in effect, is Hillary Clinton was the one breaking the law, not me.  Also, he wants a criminal investigation of James Comey,  who for most of his career with the government was a registered as a republican.

If there has been criminal activity by Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation in the past, it is certainly within the powers of the FBI and the Justice Department to investigate.   AG Jeff Sessions seems cognizant of his position and duties,  to limit the DOJ to impartial investigations of criminal misconduct.

AG Jeff Sessions indicated to a House committee he would make an inquiry, evaluation or assessment of the Uranium One deal and whether this matter needed to be pursued within the Justice Department or with a Special Counsel.  He chose his words carefully, as he did not call it a criminal investigation.

If Congressman Jim Jordan has his way,  the Special Counsel would have an extraordinary broad scope of investigation,  which would include the Clinton Foundations dealings, Hillary Clinton’s use of a outside server including the subsequent FBI investigation,  the creation of the Trump dossier and the involvement of Fusion GPS and of course,  Uranium one controversy.  Jim Jordan actually just stated this on Fox News this morning (11/15/2017).

(c)  Uranium One sound bite and the truth

Just for the record, here’s the Republican sound bite: “In June 2010,   Hillary Clinton allowed the Russians to buy 20% of the US uranium production capacity in return for $500,000 kickback in the form of speaking fees for Bill Clinton from the Russians. In addition, the CEO of Uranium One donated  hundreds of million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”  You can turn on Fox News almost at anytime and hear either Lou Dobbs or Sean Hannity repeating the same line.  Actually, I just heard this on a Fox News show featuring Lisa Kennedy Montgomery or “Kennedy” show about hundreds of millions of dollars going into the Clinton Foundation as a result of the Uranium One deal.   This  is all sound bites, aimed to please their audience.

At the end of this blog,  I have included several excellent summaries of the accusations and the facts which shows Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong.

Let me summarize a couple of facts, that really stand out for me.  It is best to begin with the words “to buy.”  If I buy a car,  I get the keys and drive it off the lot, and I can bring this car to any place in the world, given the proper permits.   Not true with US uranium resources.  Russia has no export permit.   Whatever uranium is produce stays in the US.  Some minor exceptions have been discovered, as noted in the links given below.

Hillary Clinton ultimately was not the one to approve or reject the deal.  This would be up to the president.   However, the State Department is one of 9 federal agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investments in the US (CFIUS)  to review transactions.   Factcheck.com  which labels Trump’s accusation as FALSE,  states:

The committee can’t actually stop a sale from going through — it can only approve a sale. The president is the only one who can stop a sale, if the committee or any one member “recommends suspension or prohibition of the transaction,” according to guidelines issued by the Treasury Department in December 2008 after the department adopted its final rule a month earlier.

For this and other reasons, we have written that Trump is wrong to claim that Clinton “gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States” to Russia. Clinton could have objected — as could the eight other voting members — but that objection alone wouldn’t have stopped the sale of the stake of Uranium One to Rosatom.

“Only the President has the authority to suspend or prohibit a covered transaction,” the federal guidelines say.

We don’t even know if Clinton was involved in the committee’s review and approval of the uranium deal. Jose Fernandez, a former assistant secretary of state, told the New York Times that he represented the department on the committee. “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any C.F.I.U.S. matter,” he told the Times, referring to the committee by its acronym.

The CFIUS is a review board as stated on it’s website.

(d) The Payoff or Quid Pro Quo

The second part of this accusation, that Bill Clinton or the Clinton Foundation benefited financially from this approval,  has a real timing problem.   In a  kickback scheme,  a politician does a favor to someone, and then either simultaneous or soon after its done,  the person who benefited  pays off the politician for the favor.   It’s all backwards in this case.  Bill Clinton received a $500,000 speaking fee in June 2010 and the deal was reviewed by the CFIUS in October 2010.  He was not paid by Uranium One, but by Renaissance Capital, specializing in Russian investments.  Investment banks pay big speaker fees to have world leaders speak at their investment conferences.   Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain also spoke at the conference.

The contribution to the Clinton Foundation by individuals associated with Uranium One was 145 million, and so this would seem at first  to be highly suspicious.  But, the lion’s share of this contribution,  131.5 million was from the CEO of Uranium One,  Frank Giustra, who sold all of his Uranium One stock in 2007,  three years before the deal.  Hillary Clinton wasn’t the Secretary of State at the time.   Only one individual contributed during the same timeframe as the deal was taking place, Ian Telfer, the company’s chairman.  According to snopes.com:

 His donations through the Fernwood Foundation included $1 million reported in 2009, the year his company appealed to the American Embassy to help it keep its mines in Kazakhstan; $250,000 in 2010, the year the Russians sought majority control; as well as $600,000 in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012. Mr. Telfer said that his donations had nothing to do with his business dealings, and that he had never discussed Uranium One with Mr. or Mrs. Clinton. He said he had given the money because he wanted to support Mr. Giustra’s charitable endeavors with Mr. Clinton. “Frank and I have been friends and business partners for almost 20 years,” he said.

(e) How much of Uranium One’s Production in the US is controlled by Russia?

The latest estimates are 5.9% of Uranium One’s production makes up the US supply of Uranium.   Russia could do little harm if they shut down the uranium mines owned by the US, as outside supplies are plentiful (Forbes.com)

(f) Concluding remarks

I’ve included a lot of online fact checking reviews in the links.  I did not go into the same level of detail as they did.

A report published by “The Hill” last month said the FBI was investigating possible Russian attempts to influence the U.S. nuclear sector at the time the CFIUS was considering the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom. The Justice Department receives FBI reports when there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing  and it could have raised objections to the deal through the CFIUS in their review.  It would be up to the president to block the deal.

The accusation of approval of the Uranium One deal for any monetary gain is just as baseless as it was in 2015.  This new information has no effect on this conclusion.  See  Politifact.com link.

Hillary Clinton has recently stated the Trump administration and members of Congress (James Jordan in particular) are using this as a diversion from the Mueller investigation.  See link at the end.

My prediction is there will be no special counsel to investigate the Uranium One controversy.   AG Jeff Sessions may draw out his “assessment”  of a need for a criminal investigation for as long as he  wants.

As for the list of Trump’s tweet, I will end this blog with the very appropriate comment of Senator Bob Corker,  “The President has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.”

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

There are many other good links available.

Forbes article

Wikipedia: James Comey

Factcheck.org   The Facts on Uranium One

Snopes.com:  Hillary Clinton Gave 20 Percent of United States’ Uranium to Russia in Exchange for Clinton Foundation Donations?

Politifact.com: What you need to know about Hillary Clinton, Russia, and uranium

Wikipedia:  Uranium One

Hillary Clinton’s Interview with Mother Jones

Trial of Ahmed Khattala

The trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala is proceeding in Washington, DC.  He is accused of being the mastermind of the attack in Benghazi in September 2012.    Why did it take so long to arrest Khattala and bring him to stand trial in the US?  It is because the FBI  and the Department of Justice wanted to build a  rock solid case against  Khattala and any of his associates involved in the attack on the US diplomatic mission and CIA compound in Benghazi.   They are going after the top dog who planned the attack, and not the many followers.   Excellent!

It really looks like the time was well spent.  The New York Times  reports the prosecution is presenting a strong case against Khattala in federal court.  They must show that Khattala was more than just a leader of a group who hated Americans and Western influence in the country.   They have to show he was part of the attack.

The case relies on the testimony of two  Libyan who provided damaging details about Mr. Khattala before and after the attack.  The really critical details comes from a third Libyan, who befriended Khatttala in 2012, with the objective of collecting damning evidence to be used against Khattala.   It was a very slow process to gain Khattala’s trust.  Any slip up by this informant would have meant certain death for him and likely his family.  He testified on Tuesday, November 7 under the pseudonym of Ali Majrisi.

Khattala slowly opened up to Majrisi on the attack.   Khattala revealed one critical element – he had planned to attack and  kill the American rescue team.  His words, recalled by Majrisi  were, “I intended then to kill everyone there – even those who were at the airport.”    There was no saving the two Americans who died at the diplomatic mission; they died of smoke inhalation approximately 15 minutes after the attack.   The rescue mission would have been directed at saving lives at the CIA mission, in which two Americans died.  The Republicans have been making a case that not enough was done to save lives at Benghazi.  The reality is that the delay at the Benghazi airport was likely a fortuitous event, as many more would have been in harm’s way had a rescue attempt been made.

Majrisi was able to provide the vital evidence to link Khattala to the attack, and also a second leader, Mustafa al-Iman.   Iman appeared on surveillance videotape on the night of the attack.  The attack was well planned.  It was not a spontaneous angry  reaction to a video about the Prophet Mohammed, as originally speculated by National Security Adviser Susan Rice.   The Obama administration quickly backed off from this assertion, but it was later reported that the leaders were able to recruit others for the attack, because of the anger generated by the release of the video.   Hopefully the trial may clarify this issue.

Over the years,  Majrisi was well paid for his services, up to 7 million dollars.   This fact is being used now to discredit Majrisi’s testimony as being financially motivated.  In my opinion, it was  money well worth it, as nothing could be worse than being unable to make a case against Khattala for lack of evidence.  Hopefully both Khattala and Iman will be convicted.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations deserve credit for what appears to be a highly successful investigation.   It is extremely difficult for the FBI or the CIA to conduct an investigation without total cooperation of the Libyan government, or at least the part of the government now controlling Benghazi.  The credit goes to the Department of Justice and the FBI.  During most of this investigation,  Director James Comey was in charge of the FBI, and there was never a single leak to the media.  It would have been devastating to the investigation if Khattala knew he was being spied on.

The Libya witnesses who came forward, provided the real hard evidence and are my heroes.    I am hoping for life sentences for Khattal and Iman.   Up until President Trump took office, the people of Benghazi were extremely grateful for the support of the US, as we helped them in 2011, when Qaddafi was certainly going to bomb their city.   Obama was able to push through UN Resolution 1973, essentially grounding Qaddafi’s air force.  Now,  I think this support is being lost as Trump includes Libya as one of the countries in his travel ban.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Link:

New York Times story

I really hate this headline, as the print version has the headline “Libyan Informant Describes His Role in the Benghazi Suspect’s Capture.”   I believe the trials of Khattala and Iman will provide new details on what was transpiring outside the compounds, for a long time prior to the attacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Change Report Released!

It sure looked like the EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was doing everything in his power to attack the independence of environmental scientists within his Department, when he refuse to allow 3 scientists to make presentations at the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program in Rhode Island.

Then came a breath of fresh air.  In November 3,  the first part of the National Assessment on  Climate Change Effects, was published.   See links at the end of this blog for the report.    They don’t call it Global Warming anymore,  but that still a big part of the overall problems associated with the 5 billion metric tons of carbon emissions the US sends into the atmosphere.   With 5% of the world’s population, we are responsible for nearly 30% of all carbon emissions.  The weather patterns are changing around the planet causing more severe storms and droughts.  The poorer African nations will suffer the most, as there are more famines.

Why didn’t Scott Pruitt block this one?   It was because it did not come directly from the EPA,  but rather a multi-agency scientific group as described in their report below.  Second, the National Assessment had to be done, as a matter of law, and the report provided to Congress and the President.   Trump couldn’t really block it, without creating more publicity for the report.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990. Its mandate is to develop and coordinate “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”

USGCRP comprises 13 Federal agencies that conduct or use research on global change and its impacts on society. It functions under the direction of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability.

USGCRP has three major sets of responsibilities: (a) coordinating global change research across the Federal government, (b) developing and distributing mandated products, and (c) helping to inform decisions.

One of the products mandated by the GCRA is a quadrennial assessment that USGCRP is to prepare and submit to the President and the Congress. This assessment, referred to as the National Climate Assessment (NCA), is directed by the GCRA to:

-Integrate, evaluate, and interpret the findings of the Program and discuss the scientific uncertainties associated with such findings

– Analyze the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity

– Analyze current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and project major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years

Environmental scientists from the EPA participated in the study.  The report is limited to the effects of climate change within the US.  The United Nations studies climate change on a worldwide basis.

This lead agency in preparation of this report is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA),  operating under the Department of Commerce.  Hopefully,  it stays there as if it is moved to the DOE or EPA,   it would be immediately filled with political appointees.  Particularly bad if the EPA someday  takes over NOAA.

The last assessment was done in 2014.  The opening lines from this report were very powerful:

Climate change is happening now. The United States and the world are warming, global sea level is rising, and some types of extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe. These changes have already resulted in a wide range of impacts across every region of the country and many sectors of the economy.

The new assessment is similar to the 2014 report in reporting the consequences of climate change.  It wasn’t blocked by the Trump administration because really they couldn’t block a report that was the result of 13 governmental agencies.   This is where our country excels, in collaborative efforts of experts in the complex area of climate change.  The warming of our seas is a likely contributing factor in causing more intense hurricanes, on the 4 to 5 level scale.  A little bit of information that Scott Pruitt felt was inappropriate to discuss two months ago.  Maybe now is the time.

Links:

Climate Science Special Report – Nov 2017

A Climate Science Report That Changes Minds? Don’t Bet on It 

Washington Post- No alternative explanation

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

EPA Worst Adminstrator Ever: Scott Pruitt

The EPA has existed for 47 years.   It was created by Richard Nixon in 1970, by Executive Order.    Richard Nixon also signed into law, the Clean Air (1970) and Clean Water Acts (as amended 1972).   The first line of the  Clean Water Act states:

The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.

This first sentence is powerful, as the act directs the federal government in conjunction with state agencies to RESTORE  the quality of the  nation’s waters.   Thus, there was an acknowledgement of a problem.   Thus, the creation of the agency was direct the government to take a leadership role in the restoration of  our water and air resources.  Nixon being from California,  likely understood this, as the Colorado watershed encompasses 7 states in the US and 2 states in Mexico.   California is downstream to all pollutants discharged into the Colorado River in the US.

Scott Pruitt may like to see environmental policy run from the state and local level,  mainly for political reasons, but it is the geographical reality which makes so many of our environmental problems, a national problem, requiring federal action.   The pollutants  from the coal burning plants goes to the upper atmosphere,  where there are no signs saying “You are entering Massachusetts” or even, “You are entering Canada.”

Scott Pruitt is an attorney of law.   He has done nothing to restore or improve air or water quality in his home state of Oklahoma, as Attorney General.   Instead, he accepted contributions from Tyson foods, who were being sued for polluting the Illinois River that flows through Oklahoma.

Oklahoma AG and EPA Pick Pruitt Stalled Pollution Lawsuit After Contributions From Poultry Industry

His track record as AG was to attack EPA actions, initiating 13 lawsuits against the EPA.

Now as administrator of the EPA, his actions run counter the core mission of the EPA, to preserve the water, land and air natural resources of the US for future generations to enjoy.   His perspective is one of an advocate for individuals to pollute as much as they want, so long as they don’t endanger the health and safety of general population.   Individual liberties may sound good, but in result can be extremely harmful.

I have posted numerous blogs on the actions of the EPA under the Trump administration, including the most recent one on banning EPA scientists from making presentations at a scientific meeting on the Narraganset Bay estuary.   I was please to see Steven Colbert, the late night show host,   really tearing into Scott Pruitt’s policies, noting that until he pulled the 3 scientists from the meeting, it is likely few people knew about this estuary, or even what an estuary was.

Scott Pruitt latest attack on the agency he runs is to remove as many of the independent and dedicated environmental scientists in the advisory groups in the EPA and replace them with people of his own choosing.   This tactic in this case is to bar anyone who is receiving funding from the EPA from participating in the advisory groups.

Citing The Bible, The EPA Just ChangedAdvisers Its Rules For Science 

In support of his drastic actions,  Scott Pruitt relies on the pretext that scientists receiving funds from the EPA might have a conflict of interest.  However, this was quickly countered by numerous organizations,  noting there was already strict disclosure rules in place, the prevent conflict of interest.    Dr. Tiech from George Washington University stated the following:

” Disqualifying the very people who know the most about a subject from serving as advisors makes no sense.”

More succinctly, he wrote, “Frankly,  this directive is nuts.”   Others voiced similar opinions, as follows:

The change calls into question EPA’s ability to protect the country, according to Rush Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We question whether the EPA can continue to pursue its core mission to protect human health and the environment,” Holt said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Scott Pruitt battled the EPA through lawsuits as Attorney General of Oklahoma.  Now,  he must battle the organization he heads.

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS.  I’ve posted numerous blogs on the EPA and the Trump administration’s indifference to environmental issues.   See the various categories such as Environment, Global Warming. Coal, or Chloropyrisfos.  Also you can search under EPA  or Scott Pruitt.