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Tue, 19 Jun 2018
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'Bad photos!' Trump slams media for 'fake' G7 summit reporting - tweets 'good photos'

Macron Trump trudeau
© realDonaldTrump / Twitter
Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau
Donald Trump has slammed the "fake news media" for showing his encounters with the G7 leaders in a "bad" light and unleashed a series of tweets depicting his friendly relationship with the world elite, full of coziness and smiles.

Last week Trump made an early exit from the gathering, departing the Group of Seven talks in Quebec, Canada, hours before the leaders of advanced economies gathered to discuss climate change. The US president's departure was widely seen as the last straw, following two days of severed discussions, after which he called the host, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, "weak" and "dishonest," and refused to sign the final joint G7 communiqué.


'Thank God for Russia!' Remembering when London and Moscow were allies

1941 British newspaper
© Neil Clark
In the present geopolitical climate, the idea of a pact between the UK and Russia seems far-fetched to say the least. But in the summer of 1941 the two did come together against a common foe.

What lessons can be learned from the 'Anglo-Russian agreement' which played a key part in the defeat of Nazi Germany?

The date: Monday, July 14, 1941. The headline of the News Chronicle (price, one penny), states: 'Britain and Soviet Sign Pact.' Such a headline would have been unthinkable a few years previously. The British Conservative Party, the dominant member of the 'National' government which ruled Britain from 1931-1940, had been fiercely opposed on ideological grounds to the Bolshevik government in Moscow.

It was Tory leader and Prime Minister Winston Churchill who, 13 years earlier, had supported giving aid to the Russian armies who were fighting what he called "the foul baboonery of Bolshevism."


The real takeaway: The FBI influenced the election of a President

James Comey
© Brookings Institution/Flickr
The good news is the Deep State seems less competent than we originally feared.

It will be easy to miss the most important point amid the partisan bleating over what the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report on the FBI's Clinton email investigation really means.

While each side will find the evidence they want to find proving the FBI, with James Comey as director, helped/hurt Hillary Clinton and/or maybe Donald Trump, the real takeaway is this: the FBI influenced the election of a president.

In January 2017 the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz (who previously worked on the 2012 study of "Fast and Furious"), opened his probe into the FBI's Clinton email investigation, including public statements Comey made at critical moments in the presidential campaign. Horowitz's focus was always to be on how the FBI did its work, not to re-litigate the case against Clinton. Nor did the IG plan to look into anything regarding Russiagate.

Comment: For more: Ben Shapiro: 12 need to know things about the Inspector General's DAMNING report on the FBI's Hillary/Trump conduct


Strategic partnership between Russia and Indonesia in the Asia Pacific

Russian jets
For some time now, Russia has been strengthening its position in Southeast Asia by developing partnerships with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, including Indonesia.

The Republic of Indonesia is a country with a number of unique characteristics. It is the largest island nation surrounded by both the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. Indonesia is located on a strategically important part of the shipping route between Europe and Asia: between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula lies the Strait of Malacca, used to transport up to a quarter of all the goods shipped by sea in the world. Besides, Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, which facilitates ties in the Islamic world. Hence, Russia benefits from a partnership with Indonesia in a number of ways, even outside the scope of its cooperation with ASEAN as a whole.

Russia and Indonesia have had friendly relations since the times of the USSR. Soviet - Indonesian diplomatic relations were established in 1950 when the Soviet Union provided development aid to the newly established Republic of Indonesia. In the 1950s and 1960s, the USSR supplied the Indonesian army with weapons and military equipment, including dozens of war ships, submarines, airplanes, helicopters, tanks, missiles and ammunition exceeding $1 billion in value. Aside from this, at the end of the 1950s, thousands of Soviet military servicemen visited Indonesia with the aim of training their Indonesian counterparts on the use of the delivered military supplies. In the 1960s, the USSR helped Indonesia win its territorial dispute with its former colonial power, Holland. Despite help from other Western nations, the Netherlands had to cede part of the New Guinea island to Indonesia.

Comment: New power structures rising to challenge Western dominance: How Singapore, Astana and St. Petersburg view a new world order


US senators request Pentagon to fully disclose its role in Saudi-led war in Yemen

Saudi-led coalition forces
© Nabil Hassan / AFP
Three US senators have called on the Pentagon to immediately reveal the extent of US military support to the Saudi-led Arab coalition that launched an attack on Hodeidah, a key port city and last humanitarian lifeline in Yemen.

"We call on you to immediately disclose the full extent of the US military role in the Saudi-led war against Yemen's Houthis, including the use of special operations forces; disclose any role that the Pentagon is currently performing, has been asked to perform, or is considering performing regarding an attack on the port of Hodeida," says the letter sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday, and signed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut)

Sanders, Lee and Murphy also asked Mattis to "issue a public declaration opposing this impending assault," and restate the Trump administration's position that Saudi Arabia and other participants in the conflict "should accept an immediate ceasefire and move toward a political settlement."

Comment: It is good to see some senators doing their job. Hopefully this request will be taken seriously.


Federal judge sends Paul Manafort to jail to await criminal trial

Paul Manafort
© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
A federal judge has revoked bail conditions for Trump's ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The decision means he will await his criminal trial for allegedly tampering with witnesses in the Russian investigation while in jail.

US District Judge Amy Berman made the decision after prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russia probe, alleged that Manafort and one of his associates had tried to tamper with witnesses in the case, US media reports.

Mueller filed a third amended indictment against Manafort last week, alleging that he and Russian-Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik attempted to persuade potential witnesses not to testify against them.

Comment: Looks like Mueller's twisting the screws in order to make Manafort more 'cooperative'. Reuters reports:
Hours after Manafort's bail was revoked on Friday, Mueller's office told the court it would introduce evidence at trial that Manafort sought to circumvent Ukrainian public procurement law by masking the size of payments to a U.S. law firm that wrote a report aimed at discrediting Yanukovych's chief political rival.

A June 8 indictment accused Manafort and a longtime aide, Konstantin Kilimnik, with tampering with witnesses about their past lobbying for Ukraine. Kilimnik, whom Mueller's office says has ties to Russian intelligence, could not be reached for comment.

The indictment accused them of attempting to call, text and send encrypted messages starting in February to two people from a political discussion group - the so-called Hapsburg Group - that worked with Manafort to promote Ukraine's interests in a bid to sway their testimony.

Manafort's lawyers have argued that the evidence suggesting he tampered with witnesses is thin.

Mueller's filing said he may also introduce evidence showing that Manafort falsely represented business expenses on his tax returns and that Manafort, his business partner Richard Gates and Kilimnik structured loans between Cypriot companies they controlled to avoid recognizing those funds as taxable income.

Legal experts say Mueller wants to keep applying pressure on Manafort to plead guilty and assist prosecutors as Gates did and is cooperating with the probe after cutting a plea deal.

"Either he can double down in his resolve to fight it or it's the last straw and it breaks his will and he decides to work out a plea bargain," Michael Zeldin, a former federal prosecutor, told Reuters.
Further reading: In lieu of collusion, Mueller adds obstruction to Manafort indictment, charges Kiev businessman

Snakes in Suits

DOJ report accuses Comey of 'usurping authority' in order to protect Clinton

Clinton Comey
Former FBI Director James Comey "usurped authority" and made a "serious error of judgment" in handling the Hillary Clinton email probe in 2016, says the newly published report by the Department of Justice inspector general.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz's document contains criticism of Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and several FBI employees involved in the Clinton email probe, known as "Midyear Exam."

Comey's announcement that no charges will be filed against Clinton in July 2016 usurped Lynch's authority and went against FBI policy, while his October 2016 announcement the FBI had found additional emails and reopened the investigation likewise violated policy and represented a "serious error of judgment." Comey is also accused of using personal email to conduct FBI business.

Comment: Trump called Comey the ringleader of a 'den of thieves' when being interviewed about the DOJ report:

Snakes in Suits

How two shameless UK Conservative MPs blocked a law to ban upskirting - By 'out talking' the bill

Christopher Chope and Philip Davies Parliament
© Parliament
Christopher Chope and Philip Davies
A cross-party bill to make the taking of photos up women's skirts a criminal offence has been blocked by two Conservative MPs.

The bill, which is backed by both the government and opposition parties, seeks to make upskirting a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

However, two Tory MPs, Philip Davies and Christopher Chope, spent several hours on Friday speaking in the House of Commons in a successful attempt to talk out the bill.

Under archaic parliamentary rules, MPs are able to block bills brought forward by backbench MPs on Friday sessions if the debate extends beyond 2.30pm

Comment: For more on how UK parliament really works:

Stock Down

Russia strikes back against US in global trade war: Dumps half its US Treasury bonds in one month

US Treasury Department in Washington DC
© Alexey Agarishev / Sputnik
US Treasury Department in Washington DC
Russia has held a major selloff of US Treasury bonds, dumping some $47bn-worth of papers and momentarily dropping six places on a list of major foreign holders of US securities, recently released statistics for April have shown.

In just one month, Russia proceeded to sell $47.4 billion out of the $96.1 billion the country had in US treasury bonds in March. The latest statistics released by the US Treasury Department on Friday showed that, in April, Russia had only $48.7bn in American assets, occupying 22nd place on the list of "major foreign holders of Treasury securities."

Comment: Frank Sellers in the The Duran writes:
Maybe they've decided that US debt is a bad investment, and therefore decided to invest that capital elsewhere, or perhaps they intend to help it along in a slight inflation. Meanwhile, China and Japan hold the largest amount of US debt, and they are both presently on the receiving end of US trade tariffs, as Trump initiates his global trade war. China, however, gets the special status of an international villain, along with Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.
With the ditching of the petrodollar, trade wars, US sanctions and epic debt levels, one wonders how much more the US economy can take: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Trump Ditches Europe, Europe Bluffs, Russia and China Carry on With Eurasian Integration

Better Earth

Possible meeting between Putin and Trump at NATO summit in Brussels

US President Donald Trump
© AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
US President Donald Trump
Earlier, Trump told reporters that 'it's possible' he would meet with Putin this summer

US President Donald Trump is expected to hold a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Europe in July, The Washington Post said, citing "a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule."

"President Trump is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month while he is in Europe for a NATO summit," the newspaper wrote. "In a nod to those plans, Trump told reporters on Friday that 'it's possible' he would meet with Putin this summer," The Washington Post added. NATO is expected to hold a summit in Brussels on July 11-12.

Comment: See also: