Thursday, January 18, 2018

Did Glen Simpson (Fusion GPS) lie to Congress...why not? Clapper did. Brennen did, Hillary did, Comey did...see a pattern here. Not Russia but the Administrative State worked to steal the election.


Earlier this week Sen. Dianne Feinstein released a partially redacted transcript of Glenn Simpson’s Aug. 22, 2017 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that just last week Simpson himself, co-founder of the Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications firm Fusion GPS that assembled and distributed the now notorious anti-Trump dossier, wrote a New York Times op-ed calling for Republican members of the committee to release his testimony.
Feinstein said at first that she was pressured to release the document. Now she says she wasn’t, and her statement was misunderstood. The mix-up adds further confusion as to who thought it advisable to subject the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative to more light. It discloses no further information to verify the research of Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose byline was used to promote the dossier as an “intelligence” product, rather than as opposition research for hire. Rather, the transcript raises some serious questions about the former MI6 officer who Feinstein’s committee colleagues Senators Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham referred to the Justice Department for a criminal probe last week.
The release of the Simpson transcript is the latest salvo in a campaign of bare-knuckled political warfare that began when reports of Donald Trump’s sub rosa ties to Vladimir Putin first surfaced before the 2016 election. At that time, most of the press refrained from publishing articles sourced to a dossier that former FBI director James Comey called “salacious and unverified” and which the reliably liberal New York Times refused to touch. Those opinions changed abruptly after Trump won, as the result of what looks increasingly like a coordinated campaign involving outgoing Obama administration officials who leaked carefully chosen bits of classified information to a credulous press corps that had become used to printing handouts from the good guys and was especially eager to #Resist Trump.
With Russia-related “news reports” dominating the headlines, ending the career of Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn and setting the cash registers of media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post on tilt for the first time since America learned to use Google, it appeared that the Trump collusion narrative was a wild success. The Democrats were running the table on the GOP, with an eye to using the dossier as an instrument to impeach Trump should they retake the House in 2018.
But the last few weeks, Congressional and Senate Republicans, few of whom seem particularly enamored of Trump himself, are starting to push back, signaling their willingness to enforce established laws that prohibit activities like leaking intelligence intercepts for domestic partisan political purposes and lying to Congress. The back and forth has left partisans on both sides loathe to turn away lest they miss the latest update from CNN, MSNBC, or FOX, at the same time as outlets that basked for the past year in the non-stop attention of viewers—and the open checkbooks of advertisers—are suddenly worried about what happens if the biggest story since O.J. turns out to be a big lie.
Consider, for instance, New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti. In April 2017, his byline appeared on a story reporting that the starting point for the FBI probe into Donald Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia was a trip that a fringe Trump adviser named Carter Page made to Moscow in July 2016. Yet a few weeks ago, Mazzetti was bylined on another story that effectively retracts the earlier one. The FBI investigation didn’t begin with this Trump campaign hanger-on—oh, no. Rather, it started with a different Trump campaign hanger-on.
Yes, after a year of wall-to-wall reporting inspired by or based on charges in the Steele dossier, the New York Times broke a story right before New Year’s Eve—a traditional dumping ground for bad news—stating that the FBI’s Russia investigation into the Trump campaign in fact had nothing to do with “a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by [the Clinton] campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies” that kicked off the probe. According to the Times’ switcheroo, the origin point of the Trump-Russia investigation was a boozy May 2016 evening in a London bar where a 28-year-old Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos boasted to an Australian diplomat that “Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.”
Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch’s op-ed in the Times supported the new revised version of Russiagate holding that it’s not about the work that originated with their firm. “We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling,” they wrote.
It’s not hard to see why the Times, which rejected the dossier before embracing it, is now backing off the dossier again. For all of the newsprint and air-time used to push the dossier for 14 months, nothing that hadn’t already been publicly reported prior to the 2016 campaign has panned out, nor have any of the accusations regarding Trump. There is also the fact dossier may have been used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s associates, and therefore on the candidate himself, which would be a political scandal of a magnitude likely to transcend partisan divides.
For if the FBI and Department of Justice used a piece of opposition research paid for by a political campaign as evidence for a warrant to intercept the communications of a rival campaign—and the questions asked by congressional investigators suggest they did—then we are now living in a very different America than the one that generations of civil libertarians and small-government conservatives alike desired to maintain, and which large majorities in Congress have repeatedly voted for. The DOJ, the FBI and perhaps the CIA would be embroiled in a scandal likely to have long-lasting and sweeping consequences for intelligence collection, national security, and the safety and privacy of American citizens, to say nothing of how it will demoralize federal law enforcement, which will appear to be mired in partisanship and political corruption.
Even more disconcerting is the increasing likelihood that the Steele dossier was used as a platform for a Russian information operation, which successfully managed to leverage nearly the entire American press corps and sections of the security bureaucracy toward the goal of encouraging Americans to rip their own country apart.
***
It’s hard not to sympathize with Christopher Steele, a British patriot who rightly recognized post-Soviet Russia as a threat to the West, and who devoted much of his career to understanding the dangers of a Mafia-like leadership with enough energy resources to influence, if not destabilize, his own country and all of Europe. The terrible irony is that Steele’s career is riddled with apparent lapses when it comes to understanding his enemy’s behavior and methods. As reported by Guardian journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s cover was blown in 1999, which made it impossible for him to return to Russia. He was then put in charge of the Russia desk in London, where FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in a restaurant in 2006. A former CIA officer reported that Steele was Litvinenko’s handler.
Now it is likely that Steele’s name will be remembered not for helping to root out high-level Russian assets in the Trump White House, perhaps including the president—but rather as a byline-for-hire on a Russian disinformation campaign.
Simpson explains in his testimony that as a “Russianist” Steele knew how to recognize disinformation. “Disinformation is an issue that Chris wrestles with, has wrestled with his entire life. So if he believed any of this was disinformation, he would have told us.”
Maybe. But Simpson’s assertion is premised on the idea that Steele was responsible for everything that went into the dossier, or that he was indeed the author.
I recently reported that the dossier’s passages regarding former Trump convention campaign manager Paul Manafort were likely sourced to Simpson’s own reporting. In one Wall Street Journal article from 2007 and another from 2008, Simpson, and his wife Mary Jacoby, detail Manafort’s work on behalf of former Ukrainian president, and Putin ally, Viktor Yanukovich. The corrupt nature of the Manafort-Yanukovich relationship is a key theme in the dossier—and the foundation of special counselor Robert Mueller’s October indictment of Manafort.
Simpson, in his recently released testimony, seems to confirm he was at least a co-contributor to the Manafort sections. A congressional investigator asks Simpson if it’s “fair to characterize the research” he was doing “as kind of a separate track of research on the same topic” Steele was researching.
“I wouldn’t say it was completely separate,” says Simpson, “because, for instance, on some subjects I knew more than Chris. So when it comes to Paul Manafort, he’s a long-time U.S. political figure about whom I know a lot. But his reporting—you know, so there may have been some bleed between things I told him about someone like Manafort.”
If there was “bleeding” on the subject of Manafort, it is reasonable to conclude that there was “bleeding” elsewhere, too. Maybe some of the research or information in the dossier was material that Simpson, unlike Steele, wouldn’t have recognized as disinformation targeting the Trump campaign.
It’s useful in that case to look more closely at the central figure in Fusion GPS’s other Russia-related project, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower June 9, 2016. The Trump circle agreed to meet with her because an intermediary explained that she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. “If it’s what you say I love it,” responded the president’s elder son.
And yet as Trump Jr. later explained, Veselnitskaya had nothing to offer regarding his father’s campaign rival—that was just a come-on. Instead, she wanted to talk about the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. law imposing sanctions on Russian officials and others implicated in the detention and death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant who was hired in 2007 by Chicago-born financier William Browder to investigate the misappropriation of $230 million in taxes his company had paid to the Russian government. For his troubles, Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 and was found dead a year later in a Moscow jail cell.
In response, Browder became the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, passed in 2012, which made Putin himself potentially subject to sanctions, and it further showed that the Russian president could no longer promise regime figures impunity for their  crimes. Thus, repealing the Magnitsky Act became one of Russia’s, and Putin’s, key foreign policy goals.
Natalia Veselnitskaya was a key Kremlin instrument for undoing the Magnitsky Act. She represented Prevezon, a Russian holding company, in its defense against Justice Department allegations that it laundered money stolen in the fraud that Magnitsky had uncovered. In Washington she worked with a colleagues in the anti-Magnitsky campaign, including the Russian-American lobbyist, and former Soviet military intelligence officer, Rinat Akmetshin, who was also part of the team that met with Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort in Trump Tower in June 2016. Veselnitskaya also hired an American law firm, Baker Hostetler, which brought on Fusion GPS, say sources, “to get out Russia’s narrative about Browder and Magnitsky.”
Thus, for the Trump Tower meeting, Veselnitskaya had no dirt on Clinton, but plenty on Browder, provided by Fusion GPS in talking points she’d previously rehearsedwith Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika. As Veselnitskaya told NBC, “I was in effect, the primary source of this information for the Russian Prosecutor General’s office.”
In reference to Fusion GPS’s work on the anti-Magnitsky campaign, Simpson said in his August testimony “that the allegation that we were working for the Russian government then or ever is simply not true.” However, their product on behalf of Russian state interests wound up on the desk of a high-level Russian government official who was nominated to his position by Vladimir Putin. Veselnitskaya liaised with Chaika on the anti-Magnitsky campaign while serving as a point of contact with Fusion GPS. And it appears that information may have flowed the other way, too.
The intermediary who set up the Trump Tower meeting was British publicist Rob Goldstone. “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting,” Goldstone wrote Trump Jr. by way of introducing Veselnitskaya.
Emin Agalarov is an Azerbaijani pop star and businessman, who along with his father Aras had facilitated the 2013 Miss Universe contest in Moscow, where then-owner of the Miss Universe pageant Donald Trump was in attendance. According to CNN, a friend of Emin Agalarov’s wanted to send five prostitutes to Trump’s hotel room. In testimony this November, Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller said that he declined the offer and later shared a laugh with his boss when he told him about it. This episode was the premise for the Steele dossier’s infamous golden shower incident, where Trump supposedly hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed once slept in by Barack Obama.
Last year a Wall Street Journal article claimed that Steele’s source for this information was Sergei Millian, a “Belarus-born head of a Russian-American business group.” According to this account, Millian didn’t tell Steele directly. “Rather,” writes the Journal, “his statements about the Trump-Russia relationship were relayed by at least one third party to the British ex-spy who prepared the dossier.”
Acquaintances call Millian a self-promoter and opportunist—much like the other two-bit players tagged as masterminds of the Trump-Russia relationship, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who Millian was reportedly in contact with during the campaign. Millian said he had nothing to do with Steele’s story, calling it a “blatant lie.”
As even its defenders admit, the Steele dossier is not an official intelligence report, subjected to rigorous questions and cross-examinations before it is submitted to high-level government officials to inform their decisions on matters of life and death. Without a rigid hierarchical process comprising many layers of intelligence professionals that is designed to disprove information, even the most talented spy, as many say Steele is, is simply another reporter out in the field, especially when the information he is gathering is all second and third-hand.
The problem with the Millian story isn’t just the unknown nature of the sourcing. Nor is it the number of people the account had to pass through like a game of telephone before it wound up in the dossier—from Millian to an associate, and then maybe to another third party through whom it finally reached Steele, who without an institutional framework, like an intelligence agency, would likely have trouble vetting information, especially since he hadn’t been in Moscow for nearly a quarter of a century.
There’s a much simpler way to explain how the golden shower incident wound up in the dossier. Emin Agalarov or his father Aras gave the story about the prostitutes to the same emissary they were sending to Trump Tower—Natalia Veselnitskaya. She gave it directly to Simpson. Someone embellished it along the line.
Here’s what Goldstone wrote in setting up the Trump Tower meeting: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with [Emin’s] father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
There is no Crown prosecutor in Russia—the Brit is referring to the prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika. Aras Agalarov is his friend—he bought ads in a Russian paper to defend him and his family when they were accused of corruption. Now Aras Agalarov is hanging out with his pal Chaika, who is supervising the anti-Magnitzky campaign from the Kremlin while Veselnitskaya was out in the field with the American team in her pay, Fusion GPS. Your guys want dirt on Trump and Russia? Ok, Aras has some story about the whores sent to his hotel room in 2013. In other words, the dirt in the Steele Dossier was put there by Russia, for the purpose of ridiculing and undermining Donald Trump, at the same time as Russians sought to embarrass Hillary Clinton by distributing emails stolen from her campaign.
Reportedly, Steele didn’t expect the dossier to be published. Maybe that’s why he went into hiding after he was named as the author. Maybe he hadn’t even read the entire document until Buzzfeed published it last January. Whether Steele is the author or not, the former British spy who spent his professional life unearthing Russian threats to the West now has his name on what seems increasingly likely to have been a platform for Russian disinformation.
Simpson’s testimony shows that the Senate Judiciary Committee is alert to the likelihood that information on Fusion’s two Russia-related jobs may have flowed in both directions. “Was there any overlap,” asked one investigator, “between the employees from Fusion who were working on the Trump investigation and the Prevezon case?” Simpson answers: “I can’t tell you that there was a Chinese wall of separation. Various people specialize in certain things and can contribute ad hoc to something.” In other words, yes.
Simpson goes on to name one subcontractor hired for the Prevezon case on account “of his Russian language skill and his ability to interface with the court system in Russia.” The subcontractor is Edward Baumgartner, says Simpson. One committee investigator asks if he was “also working on opposition research for Candidate Trump?” Simpson answers in the affirmative. “At the end of the Prevezon case,” he tells the committee, “we asked him to help.”
The issue isn’t just that there are two Fusion GPS employees working on both dossiers. It is that one of their employers worked closely with the Russian government who played a prominent role in both the anti-Magnitsky campaign and the Trump-Russia collusion story. Natalia Veselnitskaya, according to the Russiagate legend, is the smoking gun showing that the Trump team is taking information on Clinton. There’s an email exchange that shows Trump’s son was eager for it.
Simpson admits that he saw Veselnitskaya before and after the meeting at Trump Tower, at two dinners and a court hearing, but testified that he didn’t know she met with Trump Jr. until it was reported a year later. Yet wouldn’t they discuss an important meeting expressly about the job for which he is being paid by Veselnitskaya? In the meeting with Trump Jr., Veselnitskaya recited the talking points on the Magnitsky act that Simpson’s firm had contributed to. Yet Simpson still says he knew nothing about the meeting.
It is likely that someone besides Simpson and Veselnitskaya can verify or disprove Simpson’s account. Simpson explains in the transcript that he doesn’t speak Russian, and Veselnitskaya “doesn’t really speak English.” So, someone else has to be there to translate for them at their meetings, especially at the court hearing. Perhaps it’s Baumgartner, or maybe someone else who was in the meeting with Trump’s son, like Rinat Akmetshin. Or it might have been the professional translator who attended the Trump Tower meeting, Anatoli Samochornov, a onetime State Dept. contractor who is named in the transcript as a translator who also worked on the Prevezon case. Whoever translated for the two parties will be able to shed more light on how information from the Kremlin wound up in the dossier.
***
Read Lee Smith’s News of the News column here.

Obama's IRS would Trump's not so much.


Would you try this even if the measure is passed by California legislature? 

For Democrats it's always Party over country!

That fear animates Senate President pro tem Kevin de León’s bill that would allow California residents to write off their state taxes on their federal returns as a charitable deduction, as well as other proposals that Assembly leaders have hinted they’re preparing to offer. De Leon’s bill cleared a second committee this week and is on its way to a vote on the Senate floor. Trump administration officials say it won’t pass muster with the IRS.
Democratic state lawmakers are worried because California relies so heavily on the income taxes it collects from high earners to fund government services. The state’s wealthiest 1 percent, for instance, pay 48 percent of its income tax, and the departure of just a few families could lead to a noticeable hit to state general fund revenue.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article195405279.html#storylink=cpy

Not 800,000 illegal alien drummers but 3.6 million

There are 3.6M 'DREAMers' — a number far greater than commonly known


The political debate over the fate of "DREAMers" — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — has overlooked just how many there are in the country today: about 3.6 million.

The business of global warming is studies like this Microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars

Microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars

Microwaves are as damaging to the environment as cars and users must be taught how to cook more efficiently, scientists say.
The ovens are responsible for 7.7 million tons of the ­carbon dioxide pumped out from the EU each year — the equivalent of 6.8 million cars.
Researchers say they are fueling global warming with consumers overcooking food to blame.
Microwaves account for the largest percentage of sales of all types of oven in the EU, with numbers set to reach 135 million by 2020.
But scientists at the University of Manchester — the first to assess the environmental impact — say efforts to cut energy consumption should focus on manufacturers offering better education on microwave use.
Study leader Dr. Alejandro Gallego-Schmid said: “You can see the fumes being pumped out of the exhaust of your vehicle but the pollution generated by your microwave is more distant.”
His team suggests consumers should be taught how to heat food on the correct power for the ­correct length of time.
Simon Bullock, from Friends of the Earth, added: “This report highlights the urgent need for microwaves and other household appliances to be used as efficiently as possible.”

When only criminals have guns...welcome to the American sh.thole called Chicago.

Dramatic video of gang armed robbery in an expensive Chicago neighborhood


Thomas Lifson

The locally oriented website CWBChicago provides a valuable instructional video for its readers in fashionable, upscale Chicago neighborhoods who (quite realistically) fear the ongoing predation by gangs running rampant elsewhere in the city, making it the murder capital of America.  A compelling security camera video released by the Chicago Police Department depicts a gang driving into Wicker Park – an expensive area with great shopping attracting many pedestrians (and a Hollywood film named after it) – and carrying out an armed robbery on a pedestrian.
The video is provided as a way for residents to minimize their danger:
One of the best ways to train your gut instinct is to learn how street criminals operate.
Around 12:45 p.m. on Friday, a carload of robbers turned onto the 1600 block of North Honore.  The suspects immediately spotted a potential victim walking in their direction.
Their next move is an all-too-common maneuver for criminals: The driver quickly turned into an alley ...
I recommend reading the entire explanation in CWB before viewing the video:
Kudos to the Chicago P.D. for producing this video.  May it help catch the bad guys, though I am not optimistic, since "snitches get stitches."
Readers of CWB already understand that the city's "catch and release" policy toward felons, granting them bail to keep the jails from being overcrowded, keeps on the streets people like this.

Pope Francis Honors Dutch Abortion Activist with Pontifical Medal of Knighthood...Marx next?

Pope Francis Honors Dutch Abortion Activist with Pontifical Medal of Knighthood


Pope Francis has conferred the title of “Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great” on Lilianne Ploumen, a Dutch politician and vocal agitator for abortion rights.

Last year, Ploumen founded a pro-abortion organization called She Decides, which offers funding and support for international NGOs that provide, facilitate or campaign for abortion.
In an email to the Catholic Herald, Ms. Ploumen said that she was “very honoured” by the pontifical medal, which was sent via the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month.
In an interview with Dutch radio, Ploumen said she views the honor as a sign of the pope’s progressivism, as well as acknowledgement for her work in supporting abortion rights.
Ms. Ploumen said that the award came after much personal investment in contacts with the Vatican, which she defined as “lobbying.”
“Yes, because you know, the Vatican, especially under prior popes, had a rather rigid attitude when it came to the rights of girls and women,” she said.
The Order of St Gregory the Great was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831, under the patronage of Pope St Gregory I. It is bestowed on those who have distinguished themselves in public service or given support to the Church.
During the investiture ceremony, the prelate sponsoring the candidate recites a formula noting that membership in the Pontifical Order of St Gregory the Great “is conferred as a reward for services to the Holy See and the Church on gentlemen/ladies of proved loyalty who must maintain unswerving fidelity to God, the Supreme Pontiff, the Holy See and the Church.”
“Becoming a Knight/Dame does not merely mean receiving a title of honour—even though it is well deserved—but fighting evil, promoting good and defending the weak and oppressed against injustice,” the rite continues.
The approval of candidates for this high honor must be given by the pope himself.
The Vatican press office has confirmed that the honor was indeed awarded to Lilianne Ploumen, but insists that it was not meant to signal approval of her pro-abortion activities.
On Monday, Paloma García Ovejero, deputy spokesperson of the Holy See Press Office, said the medal was part of an exchange of honors between delegations after she took part in an official state visit to the Vatican last year of Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
“The honor of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great received by Mrs. Lilianne Ploumen, former Minister of Development, in June 2017 during the visit of the Dutch Royals to the Holy Father, responds to the diplomatic practice of the exchange of honors between delegations on the occasion of official visits by Heads of State or Government in the Vatican,” García said.
“Therefore, it is not in the slightest a placet [a mark of approval] to the politics in favor of abortion and of birth control that Mrs. Ploumen promotes,” she added.
According to the National Catholic Register, abortion is just one area where Ploumen’s public advocacy departs from Catholic moral teaching.
As “a radical supporter of homosexual rights,” Register correspondent Edward Pentin states, Ploumen “urged homosexuals to disrupt Mass in a Dutch cathedral after an openly homosexual man was denied Holy Communion” in 2010.
Last September, Ploumen also gave a prominent address at the LGBT’s Core Group at the United Nations.
For his part, Pope Francis has been an outspoken critic of abortion, calling it a “very grave sin” and a “horrendous crime.”

Breaking the wall of silence in Hollywood.

In TV interview, Farrow describes alleged Allen assault

NEW YORK (AP) — In her first televised interview, Dylan Farrow described in detail Woody Allen’s alleged sexual assault of her, and called actors who work in his films “complicit” in perpetuating a “culture of silence.”
Farrow, the adopted daughter of Allen and Mia Farrow, appeared in a taped interview Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” Farrow recounted the 1992 incident, when she was 7 years old, in which she said Allen molested her in her mother’s Connecticut home.
“With so much silence being broken by so many brave people against so many high-profile people, I felt it was important to add my story to theirs because it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time,” Farrow said. “It was very momentous for me to see this conversation finally carried into a public setting.”
Farrow, now 32, described being taken to a crawl space by Allen.
“He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up,” she said. “And he sat behind me in the doorway, and as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted,” Farrow said.
Allen was investigated but wasn’t charged, and he has long denied inappropriately touching Farrow. In a statement Thursday, Allen reiterated his denial and said “the Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time’s Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation.”
“I never molested my daughter — as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago,” Allen said.
After a seven-month investigation, a team of child-abuse specialists at Yale-New Haven Hospital concluded Dylan was not been molested. The doctor leading the investigation, John M. Leventhal, later said in a sworn statement that he theorized Dylan either invented the story or had it planted in her mind by her mother. But Connecticut state attorney Frank Maco says there was “probable cause” to charge Allen with molesting Dylan and that police had drawn up an arrest warrant, but that he decided not to pursue the case, in part because it would traumatize Dylan.
Allen noted that Dylan’s older brother Moses has said he witnessed their mother coaching Dylan. “It seems to have worked — and, sadly, I’m sure Dylan truly believes what she says,” said Allen. Farrow’s younger brother Ronan Farrow, who has written several exposes for The New Yorker on Harvey Weinstein, has supported Dylan’s claims.
Dylan Farrow first spoke publicly about the incident in a 2013 Vanity Fair article and a 2014 open letter to The New York Times. On CBS, she called Allen’s version of events — that a distraught Mia Farrow coached her story — “crazy.”
“What I don’t understand is how this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached is more believable than what I’m saying about being sexually assaulted by my father,” Farrow said on CBS.
Dylan now lives married with a 16-month-old daughter in Connecticut. When a clip from a 1992 “60 Minutes” interview of Allen denying the allegation was played, Farrow began crying.









NEW YORK (AP) — In her first televised interview, Dylan Farrow described in detail Woody Allen’s alleged sexual assault of her, and called actors who work in his films “complicit” in perpetuating a “culture of silence.”
Farrow, the adopted daughter of Allen and Mia Farrow, appeared in a taped interview Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” Farrow recounted the 1992 incident, when she was 7 years old, in which she said Allen molested her in her mother’s Connecticut home.
“With so much silence being broken by so many brave people against so many high-profile people, I felt it was important to add my story to theirs because it’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time,” Farrow said. “It was very momentous for me to see this conversation finally carried into a public setting.”
Farrow, now 32, described being taken to a crawl space by Allen.
“He instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up,” she said. “And he sat behind me in the doorway, and as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted,” Farrow said.
Allen was investigated but wasn’t charged, and he has long denied inappropriately touching Farrow. In a statement Thursday, Allen reiterated his denial and said “the Farrow family is cynically using the opportunity afforded by the Time’s Up movement to repeat this discredited allegation.”
“I never molested my daughter — as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago,” Allen said.
After a seven-month investigation, a team of child-abuse specialists at Yale-New Haven Hospital concluded Dylan was not been molested. The doctor leading the investigation, John M. Leventhal, later said in a sworn statement that he theorized Dylan either invented the story or had it planted in her mind by her mother. But Connecticut state attorney Frank Maco says there was “probable cause” to charge Allen with molesting Dylan and that police had drawn up an arrest warrant, but that he decided not to pursue the case, in part because it would traumatize Dylan.
Allen noted that Dylan’s older brother Moses has said he witnessed their mother coaching Dylan. “It seems to have worked — and, sadly, I’m sure Dylan truly believes what she says,” said Allen. Farrow’s younger brother Ronan Farrow, who has written several exposes for The New Yorker on Harvey Weinstein, has supported Dylan’s claims.
Dylan Farrow first spoke publicly about the incident in a 2013 Vanity Fair article and a 2014 open letter to The New York Times. On CBS, she called Allen’s version of events — that a distraught Mia Farrow coached her story — “crazy.”
“What I don’t understand is how this crazy story of me being brainwashed and coached is more believable than what I’m saying about being sexually assaulted by my father,” Farrow said on CBS.
Dylan now lives married with a 16-month-old daughter in Connecticut. When a clip from a 1992 “60 Minutes” interview of Allen denying the allegation was played, Farrow began crying.
“He’s lying, and he’s been lying for so long. And it’s difficult for me to see him and hear his voice,” Farrow said.
In recent days, several actors who have worked with Allen have distanced themselves from the 82-year-old filmmaker.
Timothee Chalamet on Tuesday said he will donate his salary for an upcoming Allen film to three charities fighting sexual harassment and abuse: Time’s Up, the LGBT Center in New York and RAINN. The breakout star of “Call Me By Your Name” said he didn’t want to profit from his work on Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York,” which wrapped shooting in the fall.
Rebecca Hall (“A Rainy Day in New York,” ″Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite”), Ellen Page (“To Rome With Love”), David Krumholtz (“Wonder Wheel”) and Griffith Newman (“A Rainy Day in New York”) have all in some way distanced themselves from Allen or vowed they wouldn’t work with him again.

HHS launches office to enforce religious-freedom laws

HHS launches office to enforce religious-freedom laws

Will assist health workers who object to abortion, assisted suicide.
The Trump administration launched a division at the Health and Human Services Department on Thursday to protect doctors and medical providers who object to participating in abortions and assisted suicide on religious or moral grounds.
Officials said the division, part of the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights, will stand ready to assist health care workers who say they’re being coerced into participating in procedures that violate their beliefs.
Democrats strenuously objected, saying it will restrict health care access to women or transgender patients.
They’re already fuming over President Trump’s attacks on Planned Parenthood and his decision to curb Obama-era rules requiring employers to cover contraceptives as part of their health plans.
“This would be yet another attempt to let ideology dictate who is able to get the care they need,” Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, said. “Any approach that would deny or delay health care to someone and jeopardize their well-being for ideological reasons is unacceptable.”
HHS said it will be enforcing protections that already exist.
For instance, Congress passed a series of “Church Amendments” in the 1970s that say medical professional don’t have to perform abortions or sterilization procedures that violate their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
“Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced,” said Roger Severino, who leads HHS’s civil rights division. “No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice.”
The announcement should bolster Mr. Trump’s position with members of the pro-life community who are descending on Washington to protest abortion in the annual March for Life on Friday.
Mr. Trump plans to address the crowd by video feed.

Why the U.S. Considers Parts of Mexico as Dangerous as Syria, Somalia

Why the U.S. Considers Parts of Mexico as Dangerous as Syria, Somalia



The U.S. Department of State (DoS) rolled out a level-based warning system and issued “do not travel” advisories to five Mexican states–all for cartel violence.

A level down, DoS advised travelers “reconsider” (level 3) Central America’s Northern Triangle states, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The State Department point system quantified freedom to travel safely across the board.
​​Four out of five “do not travel” states, homes to 12 million people, rim the Eastern Pacific Ocean on Mexico’s west coast. Across the Colima-Michoacán-Guerrero tri-state area, the U.S. government prohibited employees from travel:
  1. “to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco”; “armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas”
  2. “in Michoacán state, with the exception of Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas cities and the area north of federal toll road 15D”; “by land, except on federal toll road 15D”
  3. “to Tecoman or within 12 miles of the Colima-Michoacán border and on Route 110 between La Tecomaca and the Jalisco border”
Ports in the region are historically strategic. The Spanish Empire’s “Acapulco Galleon” trade fleet first connected them to Manila, Philippines (level 2, “exercise caution”). More recently, Mexico’s President Calderon launched a near-continuous drug war in Michoacán in 2006. The region’s Lazaro Cardenas port is well militarized and one of the busiest on the Pacific Ocean, The Washington Post noted. In 2007, the Lazaro Cardenas and nearby Manzanillo ports produced record-setting drug seizures from inbound Hong Kong-flagged vessels, finding a total of 42 tons of hard narcotics and precursors.
The Lazaro Cardenas case illustrated the ports’ position at the confluence of legal and illegal business. Accused of criminal conspiracy in the July case, well-connected Chinese-Mexican pharmaceutical entrepreneur Zhenli Ye Gon left $206 million cash at his Mexico City mansion and fled to the United States. He was arrested days later at a restaurant outside Washington, D.C., the Houston Chronicle reported at the time. While in custody, Ye Gon proved central to a $43 million Department of Justice-Las Vegas Sands money laundering deal. Ye Gon was never designated a U.S. Treasury kingpin for sanctions, however. DOJ dropped his case in 2009 and extradited him back to Mexico to face a supermax federal prison term in 2016 after a seven-year fight, according to the BBC. Given the significance of Mexico’s Pacific ports at crossroads for legal and illegal drug trafficking, “do not travel” is a high-stakes state advisory to issue. The map below from gCaptainillustrates the modern trade concept of using Mexico’s Pacific ports to land Asian products for U.S. distribution via the Laredo port of entry in Texas. The semi-automated port facility opened in April 2017 with double-digit throughput gains, according to Container Management. The Lazaro Cardenas port city is so pivotal, it was specifically exempted from State’s Level 4 “do not travel” advisory for Michoacán.
Image credit: Mixable Media
Further north, Sinaloa (Level 4, “do not travel”) on the Gulf of California was the same subsistence farming region of lawless mountain canyons where Chinese railroad builders introduced poppy cultivation at the turn of the 20th Century, according to The Washington Post. In 2017, the U.S. government extradited two notorious Sinaloa men. Foremost among them: “the world’s most powerful drug trafficker”, El Chapo Guzman; designated by President Bush in 2001; brought to Brooklyn in 2017. Second, the DOJ apprehended a 2014 U.S. Treasury kingpin, Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, cousin to Rafael Caro Quintero, who is a free man and one of President Clinton’s original June 2000 sanction targets. Treasury designated two new operations still in business: a Sinaloa family-based opium and heroin outfit known as Ruelas Torres, allied with Meza Flores; and a money laundering network of 21 Mexican nationals and 42 business entities known as the Flores Organization that worked for kingpins across the West Coast, like the CJNG and Los Cuinis.
Violent competition fills power vacuums. The Congressional Research Service in October 2017 found Sinaloa power “[broke] into factions, with inter- and intra-organizational tensions spawning increased violence”. SEDENA, Mexico’s version of the Department of Defense, concurred in 2017. Despite targeted Gulf of California carnage, particularly in Baja California South, DoS advised travelers to “exercise caution” (Level 2) there.
Due east from Baja California, DoS also advised “do not travel” (Level 4) to Tamaulipas on Texas’ Gulf Coast border. Federal employees are subject to a curfew. Tamaulipas is home to the Laredo borderplex where Kansas City Rail links Mexico’s Pacific ports to the American Midwest. Violence escalated in the aftermath of Mexico President Pena Nieto’s April 2017 hunt for Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas lieutenants. The months-long campaign featured 900 Mexican soldiers, helicopter-mounted miniguns, and dozens of dead cartel shooters.
In 2018, the State Department wrote that “gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread.” The U.S. DEA administrator from 2008 to 2015 explained to Congress that bloodshed was the cost of doing business:
[T]he violence we are seeing in Mexico is unprecedented, but it is not surprising. It is a symptom of the pressures DEA and the Mexican government are inflicting on the Mexican drug cartels.
By the standard of violence signalling success, 2016 and 2017 were the best years since 2010 and 2011.
Good data and exact accounting remains elusive in Honduras (Level 3, “reconsider”). Last May, two Inspectors General (both State and DOJ) dismantled lies to Congress about lethal counternarcotics events, including innocent death, in Honduras. By August 2017, former Honduran cabinet official, Yankel Rosenthal Coello, from the sanctioned Rosenthalbanking family, pleaded guilty to federal commerce and money crimes. Last month, Honduras held a questionable presidential election that featured clandestine recordings of officials planning fraud, according to the Economist, and a software outage the night of voting. After a month of ballot counting, the incumbent president, and frequent partner to John Kelly at U.S. Southern Command (now White House Chief of Staff), emerged the winner. Days later, Honduras and Guatemala voted with the U.S. at the United Nations to support the American Embassy in Jerusalem. Concurrently, 88,000 Hondurans in the U.S. waited to learn the fate of their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which began January 5, 1999 and is scheduled to end July 5, 2018.
The new travel advisories occurred the same week that Homeland Security decided the termination of TPS for 210,000 Salvadorans residing predominantly in Southern California, Nevada, Texas and the greater D.C. metro area. Those 210,000 are a little more than three percent of El Salvador’s entire population. In State’s advisory to “reconsider” travel to El Salvador (Level 3), it noted “violent crime…is common. Gang activity… is widespread.”