The Center for Intelligence Studies
NEW TRADE ROUTES & BATTLEGROUNDS
There are some things climate change activists don’t like to talk about. One of them is the fact that the Earth runs through a freeze-thaw cycle of roughly 1000 years. A sudden onset of cold appears to have contributed to the collapse of Mycenaean Era, while a gradual warming led to the Glory of Greece and the rise of Rome five centuries later. The return of cold around 200 AD seems to have caused or contributed to the economic stagnation that afflicted the late Empire, and the onset of the Mediaeval Warm Period contributed to the revival of European civilization. That was followed approximately 500 years later by the Little Ice Age, and then the gradual warming that began – roughly – at the close of the 19th Century.
That thaw and modern GPS navigation systems are slowly opening Arctic seaways that were almost impossible for cargo ships before. The Northwest Passage – the route through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the Pacific Ocean – is especially important because that route reduces transit times from the Europe to Asia by approximately 20 days. Bloomberg reports the Northern Sea Route – which follows Russia’s Arctic coastline between the Bering Strait and the Barents Sea – is also being eyed as a way to cut transit times by 10 to 20 days compared to shipping through the Suez Canal. Long utilized in inter-coastal trade, Russia has been busy opening military bases along the Northern Sea Route and building a new fleet of icebreakers in the hope of making sea-to-sea passage possible year-round. If the Arctic continues to warm those icebreakers may not be needed for more than a decade or so, but the Russians want to establish control of the trade route now in anticipation of a four-fold increase in shipping traffic over the next five years. That trade route could also help Russia bring China into closer partnership against the US, as China is eager to add a Polar Silk Road to its One Belt One Road trade initiative.
In contrast Europe, Canada, and the US are bickering over climate change agreements and territorial claims instead of building Arctic infrastructure. Europe still maintains the pretense that global climate change is driven by human activity and can therefore be reversed if everyone accepts the lower standard of living offered by their socialist but environmentally friendly New World Order. But building Arctic infrastructure to take advantage of the diminishing ice to improve trade would get in the way of their lofty goals.
Canada’s National Post reports that while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against Russian and Chinese activity at the May meeting of the Arctic Council,* he also re-opened a rift by calling Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage “illegitimate.” Canada has long claimed the Northwest Passage as internal waters because the passages run through Canadian islands, whereas the US regards it as an international waterway with Canadian territory nearby. Pompeo did try to walk it back somewhat by saying the US was more concerned about Russia and China than Canada, but his comments are still being interpreted as an attack on a 1988 agreement that allowed the US and Canada to agree to disagree on the sovereignty issue, while cooperating on navigation and research projects. Also offended was the Canadian branch of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, which interpreted Pompeo’s remarks as an effort to internationalize their ancestral homeland.
Sending US ships into the Passage without first notifying Canada could prove both foolish and expensive: Arctic Today reports that the US Coast Guard doesn’t have the budget or the ships to handle its new Arctic Strategic Outlook. Not only is its single operational heavy icebreaker used in both the Arctic and Antarctic, that ship is barely being kept afloat by the crew’s ingenuity. A contract was awarded in April for a new heavy icebreaker – the first in 4 decades – but it will take 4 years to build, and there are serious questions if the old one will last that long. Even though the ice is slowly diminishing, specially constructed ships are still needed to withstand Arctic conditions, and the Guard’s medium icebreakers are not up to the job. More heavy icebreakers are planned, but the Coast Guard’s budget is being hit both by inflation and by the Administration’s effort to reprogram interdiction funds to support the border wall with Mexico. The reality is that Arctic cooperation with Canada is a practical necessity: An Arctic Today photo of a Canadian icebreaker clearing a path for an American ship speaks volumes.
To further complicate matters, Maritime Executive reports a possible third route across the North Pole that only China seems to be planning for. The Transpolar or Central Passage could save even more time and might eventually make both the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage obsolete. Apparently the West remains locked in a mental image of a permanent polar ice cap. A Soviet nuclear icebreaker named the Arktika reached the North Pole in 1977 – when only 0.2% of the area was ice-free – and by 2009 it had become clear that Arctic routes might open for more than a couple months each year. Current projections expect the polar ice cap to be gone in summer by 2050, and some experts predict it might even happen by 2030. Once the permanent ice cap is gone, any water that refreezes in winter would form a much thinner and more navigable ice. It may become possible for ordinary cargo ships to get through year round, rather than the specially built ice-resistant ships currently needed in the Arctic winter.
China released an Arctic Policy in January 2018 that nonchalantly describes all three of these possible trade routes and plans a Polar Silk Road to unite them. It’s worth noting that China also signed a free trade agreement with Iceland in 2013 and last year opened the China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory outside Akureyri. Iceland has also signed a contract with a German company to construct a deepwater port in northeast Iceland that could be used for the Transpolar Passage, yet neither Iceland nor any other member of the Arctic Council mention that route in their Arctic policies.
Unless there’s secret planning underway for a major Western initiative, it now seems likely that China will control the most profitable trade route of the future.
*Established in 1996. Member states include the US, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
CHINA’S PAY TO PLAY
Last month Nightwatch discussed how then-Vice President Joe Biden and other members of the Obama Administration pressured Ukraine into dropping an investigation of possible improper money transfers by a company of which Biden’s son, Hunter, is reportedly a paid member of the board. New York Post reports that Hunter Biden has also had amazing business success in China – in 2010 the younger Biden and his partners in a private equity firm received a “warm welcome” from top Chinese officials to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity” within hours of the elder Biden meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington during the Nuclear Security Summit. Then in 2013 Hunter tagged along with his father on Air Force Two to China; less than two weeks later his company signed a $1 billion deal with the Bank of China to create an investment fund named Bohai Harvest RST (or BHR).
Here it’s worth noting that foreigners are not normally allowed to do this – much larger and better known financial institutions have been denied permission to start Chinese investment funds, yet the Vice President’s son was given unprecedented access. Small wonder that Joe Biden on the 2019 campaign trail insists that China is no threat to the US.
People not on China’s payroll disagree. In 2014 BHR invested in the IPO of China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN), a state-owned energy company – and two years later, the US Justice Department charged CGN with stealing nuclear secrets from the US, including a component used by US nuclear submarines. In 2015 BHR partnered with a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned military contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American parts manufacturer Henniges. AVIC is said to have a long history of stealing Western technology to include in the military aircraft, transports, and drones it sells in direct competition with the US. Henniges is a leader in anti-vibration technology that happens to be on the restricted export control list because of military applications. The BHR and AVIC purchase of Henniges thus required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which included representatives from several government agencies and John Kerry’s State Department. The deal was approved – and the fact that one of Hunter Biden’s business partners was Chris Heinz, John Kerry’s stepson, probably didn’t hurt matters.
NEW ZEALAND: A CHINESE TAKEOVER
New Zealand Herald reports that Chinese government backed organizations have become big political donors in New Zealand – and generous in offering high ranking business positions, such as bank directorships, to former NZ government officials and their relatives. China has been busy cultivating influence all over the world, but New Zealand is of special interest because of its membership in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, its stake in Antarctica, its agricultural land, and its usefulness for near-space research. Sometimes these interests overlap: Dairy farms owned by Chinese companies have been used for near-space balloon launches, testing technology that might be used in advanced missiles. There is even a member of parliament who reportedly spent fifteen years studying and working with Chinese military intelligence before he became a New Zealand citizen. But oddly enough, top government leaders insist China isn’t a problem.
SPYGATE: THE ITALIAN CONNECTION
Nightwatch has previously discussed how US intelligence agencies illegally wiretapped Trump campaign insiders both before and after the 2016 election, using British GCHQ personnel to sidestep laws that prohibit them from spying on American citizens. The coup plotters also tried to entrap campaign aide George Papadopoulos with Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud, both academics linked to British intelligence who disappeared when their roles became public knowledge. The plotters later reached out to Ukrainian contacts to bolster the phony Steele dossier, which was used to fraudulently obtain a FISA warrant to surveil Trump and his inner circle – and now it appears the putschists also had help from their Italian counterparts.
La Repubblica reported in May that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fired six directors and deputy directors from the three Italian intelligence agencies. Conte’s opponents tried to paint it as the new regime playing political games, but the cat was soon out of the bag. Brad Johnson, retired CIA Station Chief and counterintelligence expert, explained that the firings happened after President Trump called Conte to inquire about Mifsud, who had been discovered in April living in a Rome apartment owned by Link International – the company that controls Link Campus, a Rome university known to work closely with Western intelligence agencies. The six fired directors have since been arrested and are under investigation by Italian authorities. The story being pieced together is that Mifsud – now known as an informant for several intelligence agencies, not just the Brits – wore a wire when he met with Papadopoulos, and the Italians provided transcripts to the American FBI. The FBI was unable to frame Papadopoulos for Russian collusion, but they did succeed in pressuring him to plead guilty in October 2017 of making false statements to FBI agents – the same legal trap the FBI used to ensnare Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s initial national security adviser. Recently declassified documents will provide more information on his targeting, and hopefully the full story will come to light. But even more importantly, the growing number of international connections has made it all but certain that former CIA Director John Brennan and former President Obama were both deeply involved in the coup attempt.
Daily Caller reports that Barr has appointed US Attorney John Durham to take over the surveillance investigation from John Huber. Huber has been so quiet since former AG Jeff Sessions appointed him in March 2018 that many have questioned what he was actually doing. Barr explained that Huber is wrapping up an investigation pertaining to Hillary Clinton and has not been involved with Russiagate/Spygate for several months.
DID GOOGLE INFLUENCE 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS?
After two years of media hysterics claiming Russia hacked, meddled with, or somehow influenced the 2016 US presidential election, Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology says Google’s biased search algorithm flipped three 2018 California House races from Republican to Democrat and is even influencing elections globally. Epstein explained to RT that field agents in a study searched about 500 terms related to issues in those House districts. Google’s search results showed a “significant liberal bias” that likely influenced undecided voters. After six years of studying the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, Epstein says between 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters can be swayed, depending on the issue and demographic group, which can make it a deciding factor in close races. Having examined elections around the world, Epstein also says that at least 25 percent of national elections are being decided by Google. There are other search engines available that yield more neutral results, but Google has the lion’s share of the market – in the US, 90 percent. Since most users falsely assume that search results generated by a computer are objective, they’re more trusting and more open to changing their minds. Google insists they have never re-ranked search results “to manipulate political sentiment” and that they do not tweak rankings specific to elections or political candidates. Epstein says he’s not accusing them of re-ranking or tweaking, only that their search results consistently favor liberals and liberal news sources. Bing and Yahoo search results did not, but their market share is tiny in comparison.
FRANCE: A LOW GRADE INSURGENCY
French President Emmanuel Macron has spent years denying the existence of French culture in order to promote Multiculturalism and Globalism. But in what amounts to a public admission that the former has proven to be a disastrous failure, Breitbart reports that Macron now wants France to rediscover “the art of being French.” Macron is careful about his wording, asserting the problem is political Islam – not Islam in general, but only political Islam – which has encouraged the rise of pocket communities that want to secede from the French Republic. This problematic “communitarianism” is a direct result of Turkey and Saudi Arabia funding French mosques and clerics to spread more radical strains of Islam. Even bookshops and online information forums are now so dominated by Salafist literature that it’s difficult to find information on more moderate versions of that faith. A study conducted last year advised blocking foreign funding and setting up a neutral Muslim organization to take over the training of French clerics.
One might ask why such measures weren’t taken sooner. Islamist terrorism did not end with the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Bataclan theater massacres in 2015; since then there have been multiple attacks on policemen and soldiers as well as more than 2,000 “anti-Christian” acts in 2017 and 2018. Anti-Christian incidents have continued climbing this year – and then there was the devastating fire at Notre Dame.
The reality is that France is facing a low-grade Islamic insurgency that the government is presently unwilling to admit. For that reason French authorities immediately declared the Notre Dame fire accidental, even though all evidence points to the contrary: To acknowledge the obvious would be to risk turning a low grade Muslim insurgency into bloody, nation-wide insurrection.
But Muslim insurgents aren’t Macron’s only problem: Six months on, the Gilets Jaunes – or Yellow Vests – are still protesting despite an astonishing degree of police violence and the use of non-lethal chemical weapons against them. At the same press conference where Macron decried political Islam, he also outlined a series of proposals intended to mollify the Yellow Vests. But the vapid measures he proposed only inflamed the situation – two days later, the Yellow Vests tried to storm the European Parliament building in Strasbourg but were repulsed by barricades, tear gas, and more police brutality.
Macron is owned and operated by the European Financial Elite and for that reason has little interest in protecting France or the French people. But since the Islamist insurgency and the Yellow Vest movement both stem from the same cause – that is, the Elite’s single minded pursuit of its own interests at the expense of France and its people – it’s remotely possible that Macron’s call to recall “the art of being French” may be the first, hesitant step toward addressing the disaster the Ruling Elite has inflicted upon France with Political Correctness, Multiculturalism and Globalism.
CHRISTIANITY UNDER ATTACK
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was badly damaged by fire in April at the beginning of Holy Week. The French government ruled out arson before an investigation was even conducted. Daily Caller reports that such conduct is typical of the French Ministry of the Interior, which deliberately muddles the sort of “anti-Christian” crimes mentioned above because the Ministry does not want to provide details lest they be “manipulated.” The crimes include violent acts against individuals as well as vandalism of Christian churches, cemeteries, and other religious sites. National Catholic Reporter attempted a more in-depth look and found the attacks appear to come from numerous directions. Thieves steal valuable art and objects but don’t touch anything else. Some fires might have been started accidentally by homeless people trying to keep warm. But vandalism specifically directed at sacred symbols such as statues and crucifixes are indisputably anti-Christian acts. Gatestone Institute describes hundreds of such attacks on churches in Germany and across Europe and notes they are now everyday occurrences. Not surprisingly, those areas with the highest populations of Muslim migrants tend to have the most trouble.
But Muslims aren’t the only problem: It’s important to understand that anti-Christian violence is rising throughout the world. The magnitude is difficult to determine because the Mainstream Media downplays it, preferring to focus instead on attacks against Muslims and – more rarely – Jews. The terrorist bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka that killed more than 300 Catholics were barely reported by the MSM and murders of Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Eritrea, The Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and other countries are studiously ignored. Daily Caller reports that British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt blames “political correctness” for governments – and, presumably the MSM – ignoring the persecution of Christians. A report commissioned by Hunt last December is still in progress, but the released interim report shows that about one-third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in varying forms, with Christians being the most persecuted group. Christianity is even in serious danger of being wiped out in its birthplace of the Middle East. In Palestine Christians are now less than 1.5% of the population.
The US is not immune either. Fox News reports that two days after the Notre Dame fire a man with gas cans and lighter fluid was arrested at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; that man had also been arrested a few days earlier at a cathedral in Newark, New Jersey. A Catholic church on Maui, Hawaii was reported by a local news station as having been vandalized on Easter, and its Our Lady of Lourdes statue was destroyed along with some pictures. Patient work with a search engine reveals many other incidents across the country; some vandalized churches have graffiti praising Satan or Allah and Mohammed. As in France, the attacks are coming from many directions, which makes it easier for authorities to downplay or dismiss the attacks as being the work of just a few mentally disturbed individuals. Christians of all denominations are urged to be on their guard, to help secure their places of worship and fellowship, and to hold local authorities and local media accountable for their handling of any attacks in their area.
UKRAINE COLLUSION: OBAMA & BIDEN
Nightwatch has previously discussed how Fusion GPS used Ukrainian politicians as sources for the phony Steele dossier that was fraudulently used to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump. Now The Hill reports the Ukrainian collusion went far deeper. In January 2016 the Obama White House brought Ukrainian corruption investigators to DC for meetings with members of Obama’s National Security Council, FBI, State Department, and Department of Justice. The meetings were ostensibly for training and coordination, but the Americans were interested in only two cases: an old investigation regarding payments made by the party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to a lobbying firm owned by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, and an open investigation of a Ukrainian energy company for improper foreign money transfers. By strange coincidence, Manafort and Stone were staunch Trump supporters and Hunter Biden – the Vice President’s son – was both a paid board member of, and consultant to, the energy company under scrutiny. FBI agents had interviewed Manafort in 2014 about whether he had engaged in improper foreign lobbying and received undeclared payments, but the FBI shut down the case without charging Manafort. Ukraine had evidence that other Westerners, including former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig, had also received payments from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, but the Obama Administration wasn’t interested. They only wanted information on Manafort – which by another strange coincidence magically appeared in the form of a secret ledger showing undeclared payments to Manafort ten days after he was appointed Trump’s campaign manager in May of 2016. Forced to resign from the campaign in August 2016, Manafort was convicted last year on eight counts of filing false tax returns, bank fraud, and failing to disclose a foreign bank account. Even though President Trump was not involved in these dealings, Democrats and the Establishment media used the case to smear Trump with guilt by association. Last December a Ukrainian court called the ledger’s release an illegal attempt to influence the US election.
In stark contrast, the Obama Administration wanted the case involving Hunter Biden dropped and pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating it. Then-Vice President Joe Biden even bragged about threatening to pull $1 billion in US loan guarantees, which could have pushed Ukraine into insolvency. Bank records show that Hunter Biden’s company, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular money transfers from the energy company in question during 2014-2015 when Joe Biden was the main US official dealing with Ukraine and its difficult relations with Russia. Ukrainian files identify Hunter Biden, his business partner Devon Archer, and their company Rosemont Seneca Partners as potential recipients of the money. Clearly, the Obama Administration was only interested in fighting corruption when they could weaponize it against their opponents. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News, “From their point of view the rule of law is a tool to get an outcome.”
SAUDIS EVADING US JUSTICE
Democrats aren’t the only ones with a Get Out of Jail Free card. The Oregonian reports that for decades Saudi consular officials have been helping Saudi nationals facing charges in the US escape back to their own country while US federal officials turn a blind eye. The Oregonian first noticed the phenomenon when five young Saudi men studying at Oregon universities disappeared after being released on bail. Two of the suspects were accused of rape, two were accused of hit and run driving offenses – including one that was fatal – and one was accused of possessing child pornography on his computer. All five were recipients of scholarships and stipends from the Saudi government and in at least four of the five cases the Saudi government hired a lawyer for the defendants and provided bail money. Some of the disappeared students later resurfaced in Saudi Arabia despite having surrendered their passports after their arrests, raising suspicions that consular officials had either provided new passports or arranged for private jet trips home. Upon investigation The Oregonian found similar cases in seven other states and Canada – which turned out to be the tip of an iceberg.
The Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in DC keeps tabs on students – and other Saudis visiting the US – with help from student associations on college campuses. Those who criticize the Kingdom, engage in other frowned upon political activities or run into trouble with the law are whisked home by Saudi operatives. The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies have long known this but Republican and Democratic administrations alike have avoided confronting the Saudi’s for fear of jeopardizing Saudi cooperation in counterterrorism and other issues – even when the vanished Saudi subjects were being investigated for connections to extremists and terrorists. The State Department has repeatedly declined to intervene in these cases, citing the lack of an extradition treaty with the Kingdom. A reasonable person might expect that a true ally would cooperate in matters of criminal activity and public safety, but that has not been the case. On the plus side, the accused offender has been removed from the community; the downside is they may or may not be held accountable once they’re back in the Kingdom, so in at least some instances the offender is free to travel and commit crimes elsewhere. In fact one of the students first noticed by The Oregonian was spotted posting social media comments about the weather and food – in France.
DEMOCRATS: NEW VOTERS
2020 presidential election has become the Mainstream Media’s new grand obsession. Those who would carry the Democrat standard are swarming out of the woodwork to offer the usual promises of government controlled healthcare and ever greater handouts for the public. But this year they’re also offering new proposals designed to swell the ranks of registered voters. One proposal is to lower the voting age to 16: The Federalist reports that Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has actually introduced a bill in the House for this and that 236 Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors. No one has suggested lowering the age for other adult responsibilities, e.g. full time work, military service, signing contracts, and aside from Nancy Pelosi’s claim that high school students are politically “engaged” no one has offered a plausible argument for why 16 year-olds are qualified to assume the serious responsibility of voting.
The real reason for the Democrat’s interest in lowering the voting age is support for expanding government is highest with the younger generation, whereas older generations favor limiting it. In various guises, the wry observation, incorrectly attributed to Churchill, that “If you aren’t a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you aren’t a conservative at 40, you have no head” has been bandied about since at least 1875.
Another proposal is to restore the right to vote to all felons. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website, 48 states currently restrict voting by felons. Maine and Vermont are the only two that do not. In 14 states and the District of Columbia, felons lose their voting rights while incarcerated, but their rights are automatically restored upon their release. In 22 states felons lose their voting rights while incarcerated and for a set period after their release. In 12 states, felons can lose their voting rights indefinitely for some crimes or require a governor’s pardon for their rights to be restored.
Leading Democrats are proposing to federally mandate that all felons retain the right to vote even while incarcerated. The only explanation offered for why people who have been deemed a menace to society should be allowed to vote is a vague platitude about voting being a basic universal human right – which would have amazed the Founding Fathers, who did set eligibility requirements. The exception is Pete Buttigieg,* who says that felons should not vote while incarcerated but should still have the right restored upon release. As with teen voting, the real reason once again is the presumption that felons with restored voting rights would vote Democrat.
A STEELE DOSSIER REDUX
The notorious Steele dossier, used by the FBI to fraudulently obtain a FISA warrant first to surveil the Trump campaign, and then in a seditious attempt to force a duly elected president from office, has been the subject of so many media reports that one might wonder what could possibly be left to say about it. But new sources for the phony dossier have been uncovered: It was originally reported that Christopher Steele’s informants were Russian insiders who claimed their government had compromising material on Trump, but One America News (OAN) reports that the dossier was actually a jumble of at least sixteen reports collected by Fusion GPS from multiple sources, including Ukrainian politicians and political consultants. Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, was revealed as a source last year and in March OAN revealed another name: Vasyl Filipchuk, a Ukrainian diplomat and a board member of the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS). It should be noted that neither man appears to be pro-Russian, but they are – or were – pro-Clinton, so when Fusion GPS reached out to them, they agreed to provide anti-Trump material to help Hillary. Fusion GPS made no attempt to verify any of the material and reportedly even encouraged sources to “just make up something.” Mr. Filipchuk’s involvement is particularly interesting because of his position with the ICPS, a Ukrainian think tank founded “upon the initiative” of the Open Society Institute – which was created by Leftist billionaire George Soros.
And there is yet another link to Soros as well: Daily Caller reports The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) is partially funded by Soros. TDIP was founded in January 2017 by Daniel Jones, a former staffer for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and has been described by Jones as a “shadow media organization helping the government” by working with a “network of experienced organizations and individuals to gather information on foreign actors’ efforts to interfere in democratic elections around the world” – or more specifically, the 2016 US presidential election. Jones claims to have received $50 million from an as yet unidentified “group of Silicon Valley billionaires” and George Soros. TDIP paid $3.3 million to Bean LLC, the holding company that controls Fusion GPS, and $250,000 to Walsingham Partners Ltd., a London-based firm owned by Christopher Steele and a partner named Christopher Burrows. TDIP also paid nearly $130,000 to Edward Austin Ltd., a London-based consultancy run by a Fusion GPS contractor named Edward Baumgartner, and $148,000 to Zuckerman Spaeder, a law firm that has represented Fusion GPS in some legal matters pertaining to the dossier.
In short: TDIP funneled money from Leftist billionaires to Fusion GPS, and Fusion contractors, for them to provide anti-Trump material to US government agencies and to the media – and it was far more money than the Perkins Coie law firm paid Fusion on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. What began as opposition research for a candidate morphed into a sustained, well-funded operation by the Establishment Left to overturn the 2016 election.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally concluded his investigation with a statement that there was no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. It’s now time for Attorney General Barr to investigate the very real attempted coup d’état by the Left and to hold the conspirators accountable to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA
An eerie feature of the attempted Russiagate coup was the way the Mainstream Media (MSM) ignored objective reality and endlessly repeated the Left’s fantasy that President Trump was a Russian agent who would soon be arrested. It was almost as though they were all reading from the same script. Blogger Caitlin Johnstone published an insightful article on her website last December that cuts to the heart of the matter: The West claims to have a free press, yet the MSM acts as agents of the Establishment by viciously attacking those who dare to disagree with the Establishment’s line. Indeed, the MSM’s attempts to impose opinion is often indistinguishable from the behavior of state-run propaganda outlets. The most important reason for this is media outlets are no longer independent – they’re either owned by corporations or, like The Washington Post, by the billionaire owners of corporations. Even the smaller, locally owned suburban news outlets are a thing of the past; almost all are now owned by nationwide conglomerates. Wealthy media owners invest a great deal of money and effort in influencing government policy in order to ensure the growth of their financial interests – so naturally they’re not going to encourage reporting that would undercut their efforts. Noam Chomsky’s 1996 rejoinder to a BBC reporter who insisted that he [the reporter] did not self-censor is telling: “I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”
This is, of course, why so many reporters for state-run outlets abroad insist that they are not pressured by their bosses and claim they’re reporting honestly: If they held opposing beliefs, they would not have those jobs. In the West, the selection process is done through peer pressure and withholding or granting access. Reporters who want well-paid jobs and successful careers quickly learn how to get ahead by publishing carefully crafted “insider” reports that support the Establishment Line. Those who don’t learn – or who refuse to follow the herd – are left behind in obscurity. The growing trend of former government officials joining media payrolls as analysts brings the partnership between government and plutocrats into the open. The framers of the US Constitution expected, or at least hoped, the press would help check the power of government by remaining independent and informing the American people. Today the MSM tell the public a mix of truths, half-truths, and outright lies to manipulate the public into cooperating with the shared government-plutocrat agenda – just as the state-run propaganda outlets do overseas.
During the Cold War, CFIS Chairman Charles S. Viar read the “Moscow Funnies” every morning – that is, Pravda and Izvestia – before turning to the American press. In his words, “Aside from The New York Times – an unreformed Stalinist Disinformation rag – the American press tilted to the left during that era, but was generally factual. But these days their style, content and factual accuracy has become eerily similar to the old Soviet press – but without the wickedly funny humor that occasionally crept into its pages.”
The silver lining in all this is the Mainstream media’s manipulation and deceit have become too blatant to ignore. At long last, large numbers of the public have tuned out the MSM and turned instead to alternative media sources that provide more objective reporting.
ASSIMILATION IN DOUBT
This is not just opinion. Sputnik reports that professor of sociology Ruud Koopmans has concluded after twenty years of studying assimilation at the Berlin Social Science Center that Muslims are far more resistant to integration than other migrant groups. Koopmans blames a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that is prevalent among Muslim migrants. This fundamentalism encourages Muslims to remain separate from other groups and avoid broader interaction with them. In fact around 65% of Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in six European countries consider religious laws more important than the laws of the country they live in. Almost 60% rejected the idea of friendships with homosexuals, and 45% rejected the idea of friendships with Jews. Other migrant groups progress in assimilation from one generation to the next, but in Muslims this change is far slower. There are certainly individual Muslims who have integrated into their new countries, but Koopmans stresses that these individuals are exceptions and that the overall trend suggests no Western country has yet managed to truly integrate Muslims.
Koopmans also paints a gloomy picture of the Muslim world in general. He concluded that the 47 Muslim-majority countries studied lag behind the rest of the world in democracy, human rights, political development, and economic development – and the lag is getting worse, not better, due to growing fundamentalism and sectarian conflict.
In Germany Koopmans is seen as a controversial figure for criticizing Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policies even though his arguments are solidly based on evidence. His critics frequently make personal attacks but refuse to discuss his studies on the dubious grounds that discussion plays into the hands of right wing populists who want to stop immigration altogether. Refusing to discuss the facts, however, will not make them go away. Those who insist Europe must continue accepting Muslim migrants – and who even insist Europeans must adapt to the Muslims instead of vice versa – are willfully hastening Europe’s cultural suicide. What’s happening there should be a warning to Americans of what will happen here if the Left’s political correctness is not checked.
ISLAMIST TAKEOVER SETBACK
Clarion Project reports a major win in turning back the Islamist effort to subvert American education: A federal court has ordered the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) out of the San Diego Unified School District. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) brought a lawsuit on the grounds that the school district allowed CAIR to run a discriminatory, unconstitutional propaganda program in the schools. The program began in April 2017 and was based on false claims that Muslim students were being bullied by Islamophobes after President Trump’s election; state records do not show any evidence of such bullying. The program gave Muslim students special privileges and allowed CAIR officials to teach about Islam, changing the curriculum and using biased videos to persuade students and teachers to look more favorably upon that faith. The court found the program violated the First Amendment by favoring one religious group over another and mixing government with religion. The San Diego school district was ordered to end the program, to stop the pro-Muslim student bias, to keep educational materials on religious subjects neutral instead of promoting one religion over another, and to treat each religion with equal respect “with the time and attention spent discussing each religion being proportionate to its impact on history.” It also ordered the district not to allow guest speakers from religious organizations to give students presentations on religious topics. FCDF spokesmen say other school districts should take the settlement as a warning against similar partnerships with CAIR and identified four other districts that are running such programs.
This victory is even more important when one realizes that CAIR has been credibly accused of helping finance Hamas and other terrorist groups – the FBI and the Justice Department have both banned CAIR as a community outreach partner for this reason. That school districts would allow such influence on their students underscores the need for parents to remain vigilant over their children’s education and not let alleged experts have free rein. CAIR had hoped this program would lead to a nationwide rollout and will probably continue the battle despite this setback. Parents are accordingly urged to become more involved with their local school boards and pressure them to take the First Amendment Establishment Clause seriously.
NORTH KOREAN EMBASSY RAID
On February 22nd, North Korea’s embassy in Madrid, Spain was briefly seized by ten intruders. Reuters and the BBC report that it was carried out by the Cheollima Civil Defense, also known as Free Joseon, a group dedicated to overthrowing Kim Jong-un. Spanish authorities described the attack as well planned as if by a “military cell” and identified three suspects: Adrian Hong Chang, a Mexican citizen and US resident; Sam Ryu, an American citizen; and Woo Ran Lee, a South Korean citizen.
Mr. Hong Chang gained access to the embassy by asking to see the commercial attaché about some business matters; once he was inside, his accomplices burst in. The group reportedly interrogated the attaché and tried to persuade him to defect. Embassy staff were held prisoner for several hours. One woman managed to escape through a window, and local police were called. When the police arrived, they were greeted by Mr. Hong Chang, who pretended to be a diplomat and assured them nothing was wrong. It is not clear in the reports if the police took his word for it and left. The intruders then split into four groups and left the embassy in stolen diplomatic vehicles, taking computers and – presumably – other exceptionally valuable items such as code books and encryption machines. The group reportedly contacted the FBI at some point to pass on information about the raid, and Spanish authorities suspect US intelligence agencies could have been involved in planning the attack. They believe the three named suspects all travelled to the US after the raid and plan to seek their extradition.
Spokesmen for the US State Department and the FBI have denied any involvement in the raid, but other elements of the US Intelligence Community have not. Given that the raid occurred shortly before President Trump’s summit in Hanoi with Kim Jong-un, some have speculated the raiders may have been looking for information on Kim Hyok-chol, North Korea’s former ambassador to Spain who is described by the BBC as now “a key envoy” in North Korean talks with the US. But more experienced observers have dismissed that as a likely diversion – the computers would have almost certainly contained diplomatic communications which, when combined code books and encryption machines, would have made it possible to read North Korean diplomatic cables up to that date with certainty. Assuming American code breakers hadn’t already cracked North Korea’s diplomatic ciphers, the data gleaned from North Korean cables would have been of great value to President Trump.
That said, it’s entirely plausible that US intelligence was shutting down a code breaking operation that had long since cracked North Korean communications, and were laying down a false trail intended to confuse their North Korean adversaries as to when and how the US had penetrated their ciphers.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: SOUTHERN BORDER UPDATE
Washington Times reports members of the Aryan Brotherhood are now working with Mexican cartels to smuggle illegal aliens into the US. The Aryan Brotherhood, also known as the AB, began as a white-only prison gang and has since become a full-fledged organized crime syndicate. The name suggests white supremacist ideology, but their main motivation now appears to be money – hence the partnership with Mexican cartels. But the smuggling isn’t confined to people, and the traffic runs both ways: Guns are taken south to Mexico, and Mexican meth is brought north to the US.
As Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies pointed out, “Alien smuggling is not a humanitarian enterprise. It is a criminal enterprise run by dangerous people. As long as the border is not well-secured, it will continue to be a crime zone that attracts the worst elements of society and degrades the quality of life for the law-abiding people who live there. As long as illegal immigration is tolerated…people will keep trying to come illegally, and criminals will keep profiting from it.”
Organized human trafficking is lucrative: Illegal immigrants typically pay between $10,000 and $20,000 apiece to be smuggled across the border. But it isn’t confined to paying adults: The Washington Times reported in a separate story that some children smuggled over the border had been kidnapped by sex traffickers. A five-year-old boy kidnapped in Mexicali was rescued when his kidnapper was forced to bring him through a port of entry due to the border wall in that sector. Authorities discovered the kidnapper ran a child porn ring in San Bernardino, California, which led to the rescue of 12 other children. These activities are downplayed by Liberals, who ignore the fact that human trafficking is an organized criminal activity and continue to insist that the trafficked individuals are harmless refugees in search of asylum.
Although a small percent of those smuggled into the country may have a valid claim for asylum, most are simply looking for better jobs and some are criminals. Los Angeles Times reported that a Mexican who fired at a Napa County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop last month had previously been deported three times and was back in the US illegally. Since his last deportation, he had been arrested several times on charges that include battery on a peace officer, selling liquor to a minor, driving under the influence, and probation violations. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had issued four detainer requests to local authorities, but each one was denied. Fortunately the Napa County deputy was not injured and returned fire; the man died at the scene. Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh was not as fortunate. Last December he stopped a driver on suspicion of DUI and was shot to death by that driver, a Mexican national in the US illegally. As Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said in a news conference after the shooter’s arraignment, “Border security goes hand in hand with national security, goes hand in hand with public safety, goes hand in hand with the safety of our community.” But Liberals and Globalists have no interest in public safety. Their only concern is to dissolve the nation’s borders.
PERIODIC HACKING REMINDER
The latest security fail is Nest, a home security system owned by Google. Daily Mail reports that users have discovered strangers talking to their infant children through their baby monitors, and hackers have also used Nest security cameras to spy on residents and hurl insults or threats at them. One user even found that Nest had raised his thermostat to a level potentially hazardous for babies, the elderly and anyone else susceptible to heat stroke. Users who own both Nest and Amazon’s Alexa have found Nest hackers instructing Alexa to play music and perform other Alexa tasks. Google insists the problems are due to customers using weak or repeated passwords and not to any security breach by Google. While the reported hacks mostly sound like harmless pranks, it takes little wit to recognize that thieves, stalkers, or kidnappers might use one’s security system against them. Or the FBI…
It’s worth reiterating that any connected or wireless device can be hacked and used to spy on its owner. An example frequently given in the media is the new generation of sex robots enhanced with artificial intelligence to hold conversations and learn from its user, but The Mind Unleashed reports that much simpler ordinary sex toys designed to be operated with Bluetooth can also be hacked and controlled remotely. People who wish to keep their intimate life private would be well advised to avoid devices that are programmable or remote controlled. They might also want to consider what they’re really gaining by using Google Assistant, Alexa, smart tvs, or other electronic devices, and compare that to the loss of privacy and security.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING – REALLY
It’s also important to understand that much of the spying today is done by businesses. By now most people have heard about Facebook giving users’ data to companies. Anyone congratulating themselves on having never signed up for Facebook, however, need to take a close look at their phones. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook routinely collects personal data from some smartphone apps, even if the user has never had a Facebook account. The apps often do not tell the users about the data sharing, much less how to stop it. The data transfer mechanism is an analytics tool developed by Facebook called App Events, and one of the events that can be programmed is to target the user with relevant advertising. However, there is nothing to stop these companies from using the personal data in any way they choose – and any collected data is potentially available to the government.
Many users shrug off such surveillance, rationalizing that’s the price they pay for the convenience of the apps’ services or the special discounts offered by store loyalty program cards. Little thought is given to how digital systems can be turned against them. Project Veritas reports that Facebook has been policing political speech on its platform despite Mark Zuckerberg’s denials in testimony to the Senate. The Sigma AI system originally developed to block potentially suicidal posts has been broadened to suppress posts by disruptive users known as trolls. The list of keywords searched by Sigma include terms used predominantly by Independents and Conservatives, e.g., SJW (Social Justice Warrior) and MSM (Mainstream Media). In other words, Conservative lingo is considered hate speech. The AI does not notify the users that their content is being suppressed, so there is no route to appeal the action. Facebook internal documents obtained by Project Veritas discuss other possible ways to interfere with trolls: failure to upload posts, auto-logouts, and auto-direct to home page every few minutes – things that might be passed off as software glitches or problems with the users’ devices. A particularly disturbing suggestion is that such measures be employed before important elections. Whether or not Facebook intends to manipulate elections is not clear at this time, but suppressing Conservative content would have that effect even if unintended. Another suggestion is to notify a user’s Friend Network when his account is suspended or terminated in the hopes of intimidating others into changing their own behavior. It should be noted that accounts known to have been suppressed include the Daily Caller news outlet and independent filmmaker Mike Cernovich.
Such attempts to influence the public’s behavior are reminiscent of the Chinese social credit system discussed in the November/December 2018 issue of Nightwatch. The Chinese are at least open about it, so their people know what to expect. But American corporate monitoring is hidden or downplayed; anyone expressing misgivings is either given false assurances or mocked. Even when the monitoring is acknowledged, the standard response is that monitoring by private companies is acceptable because they are not the government and because the monitoring facilitates delivering their services to the consumer. Anyone who doesn’t like being monitored should simply not do business with that company – but the reality is that unplugged options are rapidly being left behind in today’s world.
Another reality is that these private companies do receive funding and/or subsidies from the government. Good Jobs First reported in 2015 that Facebook had received over $330 million in federal, state, and local subsidies. It’s also been widely reported that one of the organizations advising Facebook’s efforts to combat hate speech is none other than the Atlantic Council – a Globalist think tank whose donors include the US State Department, US Army, US Air Force, US Marines, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Facebook is indeed part of the Establishment even though it pretends to be just another private company.
Outsourcing surveillance to the private sector does not make it acceptable, but it does make it easier for the public to pretend it doesn’t exist – and therein lies the rub. It has often been said over the years that the Devil’s best trick is to convince people he doesn’t exist. Readers familiar with C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters might recall Screwtape advising the inexperienced tempter Wormwood to keep his charge distracted from such concerns with the minutiae of daily life. If his charge did start wondering about the Devil, Wormwood was to remind him of the comical figure in red tights: Since his target wouldn’t believe such a ludicrous image was real, he’d be inclined to believe Satan’s helpers weren’t real either. Similarly the Establishment works hard to persuade the public that government surveillance – or surveillance by its private sector proxies – is the stuff of nutjob conspiracy theories or paranoids with something to hide. Mockery keeps the nightmarish reality at bay.
AT LONG LAST:
AN APP TO KEEP ’EM BAREFOOT AND PREGNANT – AND IN THE COUNTRY!
There appears to be a phone app for everything. This is Insider reports that Saudi Arabia even has a phone app called Absher that allows a man to handle online government functions such as paying parking fines, renewing a driver’s license – and granting or revoking travel permission for the women in his family. The app even gives notifications when the woman uses her passport at a border crossing or airport.
There’s nothing hidden about this. Before Absher women seeking to escape an abusive husband or father had to find a forger to dummy a written authorization from their guardians that would convince Saudi border authorities to let them pass. But Absher has changed all that – a Saudi woman planning to make a run for it now has to steal her guardian’s phone, reset the app password, grant themselves travel permission in his name, and then hope he doesn’t check her status in time to stop her. Insider estimates that roughly a thousand women try to flee the Kingdom each year – and not all of them make it.
Those that are caught are often never seen again, and according to rumor at least some have been killed because the Saudis consider it shameful for a woman to run away from her family. Interestingly, Absher is available in both the Apple and Google app stores – the same stores that refused to carry the Gab social network app because of Gab’s commitment to free speech.
The harsh reality is that Big Tech has no problem helping governments monitor and oppress their citizens, and it’s foolish to pretend otherwise. Anyone remembering Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto should be aware Google officially dropped it in 2015 when it reorganized itself as a subsidiary of Alphabet. Per Fortune, the replacement credo is “Do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.” To some the shift in tone might sound more mature, but as cynics have been quick to note, that formulation is reassuring to the Chinese Communist regime – which, by strange coincidence, is a huge market – and to other brutal dictatorships.
CHINA’S GREEN TECH SCAM
China has never been a democracy. Throughout its long history, it has been ruled by dictatorships of one sort or another. But lately, the Communist Party state has been trying to burnish its image with propaganda and the exercise of soft power in an effort to assert global leadership. One approach has been to tout initiatives to address their horrible pollution, another to become a green technology innovator.
But ADVChina reports that it’s all lies. China is actually building more dirty coal power plants, not fewer, and a new hole in the ozone layer has been traced back to unlicensed factories using illegal chemicals to manufacture home insulation deep in the Chinese interior. Rural villagers suffer from cancer because factory pollutants are allowed to escape into the groundwater and air. The city of Shenzhen once installed phony solar panels and wind turbines on street light posts to give the appearance of self-sustaining lights – but tore them down after word got out they actually used power to make the wind turbines turn. China has also overfished its own territorial waters and now encroaches on the waters of other countries. The list of environmental degradation issues goes on and on. Money allocated by the government to clean up problems either disappears or is squandered on less important projects. The deception is a bit puzzling because China does have great technical capabilities. Evidently the real problem is how China sets its priorities: Its social credit system that rewards or punishes citizens for their behavior requires massive surveillance of said citizens. Chinese surveillance technology works fine, but measures that would actually improve the environment and the lives of its citizens do not.
The public isn’t trying to hold business and the government accountable as they generate huge amounts of needless waste themselves. For example electric bikes are popular, but most people don’t bother to maintain them; they simply ride the bikes until they break and then throw them away instead of repairing them.
And why not? If the government doesn’t care, why should the people?
US IMMIGRATION APPROVES CHILD MARRIAGES
Human civilization can be defined and dated in different ways. Archeological finds in southern Africa suggest that a civilization of sorts emerged around 20,000 BC, but the first city-states and written records date only to around 3000 BC. Neither appear to have done much for longevity: During the Roman Empire, historians estimate the lifespan of an average Roman citizen to have been no more than 28 years. Due to dramatic but largely unheralded technological advances during the early Middle Ages, historians believe that life expectancy in Europe crept up to perhaps 35. The horse collar, the horse saddle, radically redesigned water mills, windmills, and crop rotation all contributed to that.
But infant mortality remained phenomenally high. During the Medieval Era an estimated one third of all children died before their fifth birthday, and only one in five made it to twenty. The death toll among infants, children and what we now call young adults had an enormous impact on marriage, families and population. Prior to 1900, there was no such thing as a teenager: Girls became women when they began menstruating, and boys became men when their facial hair began to grow. As a result, child marriages were common, especially for females: In an era when turning 15 marked Middle Age, women who wanted to see a child live to adulthood had to become sexually active as early as possible.
Child marriages have all but vanished in the developed countries – though still permitted in some American states – but the practice remains routine in many areas of the world. The Daily Caller and Chicago Tribune both report that between 2007 and 2017 US immigration authorities approved 5,556 requests by men to bring child or adolescent wives to the US and 2,926 requests by underage girls to bring their older husbands to the US. The majority of requests came from Mexico, followed by Pakistan, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, and Yemen; the largest percentage of requests by ethnic group came from Middle Eastern nationals, and in 149 of these cases the adult was over the age of 40. The approvals are legal because the Immigration and Nationality Act does not limit the ages of spouses and because immigration authorities base their approval on whether or not the marriage is 1) legal in the immigrants’ home countries and 2) lawful in the state where the petitioner resides.
That may make sense from a legal perspective, but ignores the fact that many of the girls were coerced into marriage and are often physically, sexually, and mentally abused by their older spouses. In the cases of young girls filing to bring their husbands to the US, those marriages were sometimes contracted specifically to gain immigration and citizenship for the husband. One such case that has gotten national attention is that of Naila Amin, a girl with dual Pakistani and US citizenship, whose parents flew her to Pakistan at the age of 15 to be married to her 28-year-old cousin. She endured months of rapes and beatings before running away and being placed in foster care in the US.
The data cited above was compiled in a report for the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and senators have expressed concern both for closing immigration loopholes and for immigration law shielding the abuse of women and children. It must be noted, however, these marriages are often legal in the US: Most states allow minors aged 16 and 17 to marry with parental consent, and many states allow children under 16 to marry with court permission. Nightwatch readers may remember a time when pregnant teen girls were expected to marry their boyfriends and raise their children with help from one or both families – but this is by no means the only scenario: Many child molesters have avoided jail by marrying their victims; some parents have allowed these marriages to avoid the stigma attached to out of wedlock rape and pregnancy or to avoid the police and court system.
There have also been cases of parents selling their young daughters to abusive older men: The activist organization Unchained at Last told Reuters that about three-fourths of the American child marriage licenses they examined between 2007 and 2017 were for underage girls – some as young as 10 years old – marrying adult men. These girls are effectively trapped because minors cannot file for divorce, and many women’s shelters will not take minors. Girls have even been returned to their abusive husbands by the police after they were reported as runaways. This is happening all across the country and across all ethnic groups although underage marriage does tend to be higher in southern, rural states with prevalent poverty and religious conservatism, as well as among Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hmongs.
It is ironic, to say the least, that Americans continue to allow child marriage in the US while criticizing it in other countries. Legislators have expressed reluctance to bar minors from marrying because shotgun marriages are a preferable alternative to out of wedlock births or abortion, or because of a deep reluctance to restrict religious practices. But it’s difficult to see how marrying a rapist could be in an 11-year-old girl’s best interest – which is exactly what happened to Sherry Johnson in Tampa, Florida. As a result Johnson had six children with her pedophile husband by the time she was 17 and was forced to drop out of school after ninth grade to care for them. After becoming a legal adult, she obtained a divorce with help from her local Legal Aid office and now campaigns against child marriage.
Laws and customs have not kept pace with extended human lifespans. It’s very hard to understand how someone who is prohibited from driving, drinking, voting, or entering into legal contracts can yet be deemed old enough to enter into a marriage, but perhaps that’s deliberate: Given the numbers of sexual predators in high places, the reluctance to ban child marriage may be an effort to preserve and protect what has in modern times become a form of institutionalized pedophilia.
DEMS STILL CLING TO RUSSIAGATE
Democrats are still accusing President Trump of collusion with Russia even though Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation has yet to turn up any evidence of it; if anything, the investigation keeps proving the accusations to be false. Daily Caller reports the Senate Intelligence Committee has obtained phone records showing that calls placed by Donald Trump Jr. before the June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower were in fact to business associates and not to his father as alleged. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other Democrats have repeatedly theorized the calls were between father and son to discuss the meeting. President Trump maintains he was unaware of the meeting, and those who were there have called it a waste of time because it produced no useful information. Schiff is now calling for Mueller to examine Trump Jr.’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee for possible perjury prosecution. Now that Schiff is the head of the House Intelligence Committee, he is determined to use his position against Trump instead of actually guarding national security. He has publicly stated his intention to investigate Trump’s business operations, lenders, and business partners in the hopes of finding evidence of Russia-related money laundering.
Hurling threats and accusations in the news media – and on social media – is irresponsible, at best, but it does keep Schiff’s name in the news. Last month Nightwatch discussed how Schiff’s anti-Russia hysteria brings in major campaign contributions from companies holding defense contracts. Now even some of Schiff’s supporters are wondering if he’s maintaining high public visibility to enable a 2020 presidential run. Although he told that media outlet he has no presidential plans, his behavior suggests otherwise: He’s scheduled to headline the February Politics and Eggs breakfast at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire which, according to The Daily Beast, is “a rite of passage for would-be presidential contenders.” That publication quoted several people urging Schiff to cancel the New Hampshire trip and focus on Russiagate instead: They practically begged Schiff to be more careful with his optics and get back to work on the coup against Trump. The optics in question, of course, is the appearance of a House committee chair using his position to investigate and threaten a political opponent he’s apparently running against. That’s not how things are supposed to work in the US – but then again, House committee chairmen aren’t supposed to be owned by defense lobbyists, either.
EMP BURSTS NOW MILITARY DOCTRINE
The Russian hysteria propagated by Democrats and Neo Cons has made it all but impossible to discuss actual threats to our national security. The Washington Free Beacon reports that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks have been incorporated into the military doctrines of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Much of the public still thinks of nuclear weapons in terms of blast, firestorms and radiation, but as ghastly as these are the devastation caused by EMPs could be far worse. Compounding an already bad situation, new “specialty nukes” can cause destruction over much larger areas, as they’re designed to produce a super-EMP pulse that can fry all electronics in a radius of 1,500 miles from the detonation point. Since the effectiveness of an EMP attack depends on the warhead’s yield and the altitude at which it’s detonated, it’s now possible for a single high altitude blast to permanently black out all of North America – thrusting the US back into the 1850’s without the horse and steam infrastructure of the day. Experts calculate that 90 percent of the US population would die within a year from starvation and hunger-driven epidemics.
Alternatively, detonating a nuke at lower altitudes restricts the damage to a smaller area: In one scenario China could black out Taiwan and disable American aircraft carrier groups in the area to prevent them from going to Taiwan’s aid. Super-EMP bombs do not require the same accuracy as traditional nukes and can be delivered by a variety of unconventional methods, including civilian cargo aircraft and even meteorological balloons. Such versatility raises the specter of terrorists obtaining and using one – and North Korea has publicly threatened the US with an EMP attack.
The EMP threat is deadly serious. But so far, the US has apparently done nothing to protect against it.
INF TREATY WITHDRAWAL
In addition to super-EMP bombs, The Guardian reports that Russia has also been violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with a new ground-launched cruise missile. After denying for several years that the missile existed, Russia recently acknowledged it while still denying that its range violates the treaty. As a result, President Trump has announced that the US will suspend its own compliance with the treaty and will withdraw altogether in six months unless Russia destroys all its illicit missiles, launchers, and associated equipment within that time frame. Trump also warned, “We will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.” Predictably Europe and anti-Trumpers are in an uproar about a possible new arms race and a return to the tense atmosphere of the 1980s. But as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out, “Russia has jeopardized the United States’ security interests, and we can no longer be restricted by the treaty while Russia shamelessly violates it.”
There is a second treaty in danger as well. The 2010 New Start treaty set a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. Both the US and Russia have abided by the limit, but that treaty expires in 2021, and neither Trump nor Pompeo indicated in their statements whether the Administration would agree to an extension.
It should also be noted, as Washington Free Beacon reports, that China refuses to join the INF treaty to avoid limiting its own arsenal. This has not stopped China from criticizing the US withdrawal. China is at least as big a threat to the US as Russia is, and China doesn’t try to hide it. In fact China publicly announced in January the deployment of nuclear-capable intermediate-range missiles in response to a US Navy ship passing near disputed islands in the South China Sea. China’s arsenal of ground-launched missiles is thought to be the largest in the world – and about 95% of them would violate the INF treaty if China were a signatory. The world has changed radically since the first nuclear arms control agreements were negotiated, and follow-on treaties need to include both China and Russia if they are to contribute to a stable and peaceful world. The US simply cannot afford to hobble its own capabilities while China and Russia do as they please. Those who fear a new arms race need to realize that it’s already happening with or without the US joining.
UPDATE ON SOUTHERN BORDER
Another security threat to the US is the porous border with Mexico. The Mainstream Media (MSM) tries to portray everyone crossing illegally as poor refugees from Latin America searching for better lives, but a closer look by Washington Examiner at the people being caught crossing through Arizona and New Mexico reveals they come from all over the world. Apparently, human trafficking organizations – run by or affiliated with the drug cartels – have expanded their operations worldwide. People classified as Other Than Mexicans have increased over the past two years and especially over the past six months. Nationalities include: Chinese, German, Czech, Philippine, Indian, Russian, and unspecified Middle Easterners.
Government data indicates six known or suspected terrorists were caught between Oct. 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 and these are probably a mere drop in the bucket. Since 9-11, over 1000 known or suspected terrorists have been apprehended attempting to cross the southern border and Administration officials have stated on several occasions that 3,700 people from “countries with terrorism problems” have been caught crossing the Mexican border as well.
No one knows how many have crossed successfully, but in the words of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “To pretend there’s not a danger on an unsecured border, on an open border, is just ridiculous. It belies common sense.” Yet the Democrats continue to refuse funding requested by Trump for a border wall and increased security. Even Democrats who supported increased border security in the past now ridicule it to spite Trump.
REAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS FIGHT BACK
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
Eric Hoffer’s incisive observation is immediately relevant to climate change, which is now being used to shake down oil companies in lawsuits. Local communities in California, Maryland, and Rhode Island want billions of dollars for damages from coastal flooding blamed on carbon dioxide emissions. However, as Dr. Judith Curry explained to The Washington Times, in most of these cases sea-level rise is actually due to the land sinking from problems associated with groundwater withdrawal, landfills on wetlands, and other geologic processes. The flooding scenarios of five to ten feet by the end of this century hawked by the global warming crowd are based on emission forecasts that are so extreme they are – to put it politely – implausible. Dr. Curry’s studies show that mean sea level has risen seven to eight inches since 1900 and that the rise from 1920 to 1950 (before the notorious climb in carbon dioxide emissions) is comparable to the recent rise. She estimates the rise between now and the end of this century will be between six inches and five feet, adding that anything over two feet is “increasingly weakly justified.”
A former Georgia Tech professor, Dr. Curry left academia in 2017, partly because of the “craziness” associated with climate change politics. She now heads the Climate Forecast Applications Network, which provides forecasts for the agricultural and energy sectors, but she is still one of the biggest names calling for sanity and actual evidence in the climate change debates. Unfortunately, the global warming hawks don’t want to listen to real scientists; they want political activism to bring about the (green) New World Order. Some lawsuits filed in state courts have been dismissed on the grounds the cases belong in federal courts, but cases filed in federal courts are still ongoing, and it is expected that more suits will be filed.
VIVE LA FRANCE!
France’s attempt to hasten the (green) New World Order with a tax hike on gasoline and diesel fuel was met with widespread protests dubbed the gilets jaunes or Yellow Vest movement, named after the fluorescent yellow safety vests worn by the protesters. Astonishingly, protesters come from across the political spectrum, unifying anarchists and nationalists with white working class people who don’t normally join riots. As independent journalist Tim Pool points out, protests and riots are common in France, but these three groups fighting together against the Establishment is not. Mainstream media have tried to downplay the story, but Smartphone videos circulating on social media and reports by alternative media show the violence (originally instigated by the police) and the depth of public outrage – an outrage that has not been mollified by the government’s offer to cancel the gas tax hike and to slightly increase the minimum wage.
The Saker connects the Yellow Vests with the first anti-austerity protests in 2010 against the government raising the retirement age. Since then inflation has risen about 14%, basically a silent wage cut because people’s purchasing ability has decreased. A far more apparent wage reduction has been imposed by the government’s ever rising taxes on individuals; in 2018 the average French worker didn’t reach Tax Freedom Day until July 27th. By comparison, the Tax Foundation calculated Americans’ Tax Freedom Day as April 19th. Adding insult to injury, the French government has been cutting social services at the same time, closing schools and clinics outside the larger cities. People interviewed by alternative media outlets say again and again that they cannot make ends meet and that the government is ignoring them. Tellingly, one of the Yellow Vests’ demands is to enact a referendum initiative that would give the public more say in government by allowing them to dismiss laws and politicians viewed as harming the nation. Many protesters also carry signs calling for French President Macron to resign. Macron’s approval rating is down to a mere 19%, and he is increasingly criticized for being an out of touch Elitist technocrat concerned only with helping the rich. The Saker even goes a step further to question how much independent thought Macron is capable of: Besides being a former investment banker at Rothschild & Cie Banque, many believe his wife to be his puppet master. Twenty-four years his senior, the chocolate heiress/failed politician/and now First Lady of France first met Macron while teaching high school drama.
The relationship was questionable from the beginning – she was married with children and he was 15 or 16 at the time. In any event, it’s unusual for men to marry women older than themselves, the age gap is significant and it may be that Madame Macron is in fact pulling her husband’s strings. But in fairness, Benjamin Disraeli – considered one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers – freely admitted that he had married a wealthy widow 12 years his senior to finance his political career. To everyone’s amazement, their marriage of convenience grew into one of history’s great love affairs.
As of this writing, Reuters reports that Macron is still determined to cut thousands of public sector jobs and tighten unemployment benefits. A reasonable person might expect that combination to swell the ranks of protesters, but Macron’s still trying to play the rioters-are-attacking-the-Republic card. Given the fact that the Fifth Republic arose from a military coup d’état in May of 1958, that’s a dangerous game: A recent open letter written by French General Antoine Martinez and signed by ten other general officers, an admiral, a colonel and a former Minister of Defense, accused Macron of treason.
Reuters has also reported that Yellow Vest protests have spread to Belgium, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Although smaller in scale, protesters in these countries voice similar complaints about taxes, the high cost of living, and being ignored by corrupt technocrats. On a related note, merchants in Cairo, Egypt say the authorities there have ordered them not to sell any yellow safety vests until after January 25th – the anniversary of Egypt’s 2011 uprising; a human rights lawyer photographed wearing a yellow vest in solidarity with French protesters has been detained. 2019 will be an interesting year as Globalist Technocrats try to stuff this genie back in its bottle.
POPULISTS VS. THE ELITES
Just as the French Yellow Vests have united protesters without regard to Right or Left, populists elsewhere are coming to regard Right and Left as a sham, seeing the Elites united in an Establishment that is out of touch with – and contemptuous of – the general public. The American Conservative notes this was described by historian Christopher Lasch in his 1995 book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. Progressives initially sought, in their view, to make American society more inclusive and fair, yet they wound up abandoning the common man to pursue diversity, secularism, and cultural revolution.
The common man and his cherished institutions of family and church came to be despised because progressives came to believe they stood in the way of progress. Elites decided they knew best and demanded absolute obedience to their precepts; their embrace of multiculturalism led to their becoming global citizens disdainful of national borders. Lasch argued the new Elites “retained many of the vices of aristocracy without its virtues” because their rootlessness led to them to reject the “obligations of place” felt by most citizens who live in defined physical communities. The Elites are, of course, protected from the consequences of their decisions because they have the money and assets to shelter themselves. The scorned masses are left behind, increasingly unable to support themselves both physically and spiritually. It’s worth noting that Lasch himself was a Leftist from a Leftist family who often identified himself as a neo-Marxist or as a socialist. His criticism stemmed from his conviction that radicals had given up their commitment to economic justice that would minimize class-based differences. One can see this in American politics today: The handouts given to the underclass are structured to keep the recipients dependent on government rather than lifting them out of poverty – which makes it possible to ignore problems associated with class and focus public attention focused on “diversity” instead.
The scorned masses are now demanding to be heard, but it may be too late. Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin warned independent journalist Lauren Southern that Millennials might be the last fully human generation with free will and self-determination, because the Elites have two waves of replacements planned. The first wave is the mass migration currently overwhelming Europe and the US and destroying the local cultures. The second wave is the approaching “Singularity,” when much of the day to day work will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots and the remaining human population will “upgrade” by implanting intelligence-boosting silicon chips in their brains – transforming themselves into cyborgs.
That technology will dramatically augment human capabilities – and give those controlling it the ability to modify human behavior as they see fit. Even if some humans do not become physical cyborgs, their lives will still be governed by the technocrats, supposedly for the greater benefit of all. The technocrats’ track record so far, however, does not inspire confidence.
It’s also worth noting that Dugin isn’t what most Americans would consider a conservative either. He’s best known for his book The Fourth Political Theory in which he argues that because Liberalism, Socialism, and Fascism have all failed, a new ideology is needed – one that will incorporate the best elements of the previous three. He does call for rediscovering Tradition and the soul or Logos of civilization, but he recognizes a pre-Christian spiritual influence as well as the Christian one. He hasn’t actually formulated a Fourth Way, calling upon others instead to develop one as an antidote for the problems caused by Liberalism and Modernity. Dugin’s influence on Putin and other Russian decision-makers remains unclear, but he has called in the past for the destruction of the American empire and for the genocide of Ukrainians. Although both are appalling, he has nonetheless demonstrated an uncanny aptitude for identifying emergent social ills, and American Conservatives would do well to take his criticisms of ideology seriously. If they don’t, the bizarre phenomenon of Liberal-inspired High Tech Totalitarianism will win by default.
ESTABLISHMENT VS. TRUMP
Populists succeeded in electing President Trump, but the Establishment is still fighting back. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been one of the most vocal opponents, disparaging the validity of the 2016 election and demanding endless investigations into imagined Russian collusion. Schiff’s hysterics have been so over the top – he has even claimed that Second Amendment advocacy is a Russian plot to encourage Americans to kill each other – that some have questioned whether he is a recruited Russian agent, an Agent-of-Influence, a Fellow Traveler or merely a useful idiot. Close, but not quite a cigar: The Duran and The Observer make a good case that Schiff’s paranoia is at least partially bought and paid for by Ukrainian, Hollywood and corporate money. In 2013 one of his fundraising events was a dinner hosted by Igor Pasternak at Pasternak’s home with suggested contributions of $2,500 for sponsors and $1,000 for guests; another was a Beyonce concert sponsored by the Raytheon PAC (Political Action Committee) with a suggested contribution of $2,500 for one ticket or $4,000 for two tickets. The PAC is a registered lobbyist for the well-known defense contractor; Beyonce a leftwing entertainer for hire, and Pasternak is a Ukrainian who immigrated to the US and started an airship company that holds Pentagon contracts.
Pasternak personally works to educate Congressional members on Ukraine’s importance to US geostrategic security, and that has led to deals in which the US helped Ukraine buy airships from Pasternak’s company for use in border surveillance. Funding anti-Putin Congressmen is clearly good for business: Schiff not only pushed to arm Ukrainian rebels, he even pressed the Obama administration to take a more aggressive approach with Russia instead of pursuing serious diplomacy. Politicians like Schiff who profit from fueling the New Cold War will continue to do so, despite the knowledge that it could turn hot in the blink of an eye. Incredibly, Schiff and his fellow war hawks believe the United States can fight and win a war against a nuclear superpower.
DEMOCRATS: BLAME IT ON THE BOTS
Another reason for politicians to revive the Cold War is that Russia makes a convenient villain. Fox News reports that Democratic operatives created thousands of fake Russian accounts on Facebook and Twitter to give the impression the Russian government supported Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 special election. Local and national news media noticed the bot activity, but they didn’t realize it was a false flag operation. Moore lost, and Doug Jones became Alabama’s first Democratic senator in over twenty years. The project’s $100,000 budget was reportedly donated by Reid Hoffman, a liberal billionaire and co-founder of the LinkedIn business social network. One alleged participant in the project insisted the project was a cybersecurity experiment to study the tactics of social media disinformation, not an attempt to support the Jones campaign. His statement is ludicrous at best. Targeting a candidate in an actual election couldn’t avoid influencing it, given the circus the Mainstream Media has manufactured over supposed Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.