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Monday, December 11, 2017

Pentagon To Undergo First Ever Audit After Decades Of Sloppy Accounting, "Missing" Trillions

Time to hold the "accountants" accountable, all the way to the top starting with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld et al.  

ZERO HEDGE
By Tyler Durdin
12/10/2017

After decades of waste, overpayments, trillions of missing or improperly accounted for dollars, and most recently losing track of 44,000 US soldiers, the Pentagon is about to undergo its first audit in history conducted by 2,400 auditors from independent public accounting firms to conduct reviews across the Army, Navy, Air Force and more - followed by annual audits going forward. 


Pentagon spent over $500,000 on Viagra last year
The announcement follows a May commitment by Pentagon comptroller David Norquist, who previously served as the CFO at the Department of Homeland Security when the agency performed its audit. "Starting an audit is a matter of driving change inside a bureaucracy that may resist it," Norquist told members of the Armed Services Committee at the time when pressed over whether or not he could get the job 
done at the DHS. 


According to the DoD release

The audit is massive. It will examine every aspect of the department from personnel to real property to weapons to supplies to bases. Some 2,400 auditors will fan out across the department to conduct it, Pentagon officials said.

"It is important that the Congress and the American people have confidence in DoD's management of every taxpayer dollar," Norquist said. -defense.gov.




The Pentagon is no stranger to criticism over serious waste and purposefully sloppy accounting. A DoD Inspector General's report from 2016 - which appears to be unavailable on the DoD website (but fortunately WAS archived)- found that in 2015 alone a staggering $6.5 trillion in funds was unaccounted for out of the Army's budget, with $2.8 trillion in "wrongful adjustments" occurring in just one quarter.

In 2015, the Pentagon denied trying to shelve a study detailing $125 billion in waste created by a bloated employee counts for noncombat related work such as human resources, finance, health care management and property management. The report concluded that $125 billion could be saved by making those operations more efficient. 

On September 10th, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that "According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," after a Pentagon whistleblower set off a probe. A day later, the September 11th attacks happened and the accounting scandal was quickly forgotten.


Rumsfeld reports trillions "missing" from the Pentagon

And twenty years before that, DoD analyst Franklin C. Spinney exposed what he called "accounting games," saying "Those numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year." In a 2002 testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform, Spinney laid out the DoD's accounting quagmire of un-auditable books and budget projections which don't match reality. 

Finally, those of us old enough to remember the 80's, let's not forget the bombshell report on overpayments the Pentagon made for simple items, such as $37 screws, $7,622 coffee makers, and $640 toilet seats which Sen. William Roth Jr (R-DE) was able to whittle down to $200

The announcement of the audit comes amid a looming government shutdown battle which was given a two-week extension last week until December 22. If this occurs, military personnel would report to work as usual, but the DoD would not pay them until the shutdown ends. 




"I cannot emphasize too much how destructive a shutdown is," Norquist said. "We've talked before about the importance of maintenance on weapons systems and others, but if it's not an excepted activity, there'll be work stoppage on many of those maintenance functions."

With both parties standing to lose more than gain from a shutdown, that is unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, with decades of lost confidence in the Pentagon's accounting practices, we eagerly await the results of this "massive" audit to see exactly how much dirt - and where -previous administrations have swept under the rug.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Russiagate Reaches Into Journalism

CNN, MSM fake news outlets deliberately poisoned Trump administration efforts to normalise relations with Russia  

STRATEGIC CULTURE FOUNDATION
By Dennis J. Bernstein
12/8/2017

The Russiagate investigation has reached into the ranks of journalism with the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena of Randy Credico, who produced a series about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for Pacifica Radio and apparently is suspected of having passed on early word about leaked Democratic emails to Donald Trump’s supporter Roger Stone.


The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a “voluntary” interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of “guilt by association” and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview.

Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. 


A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, “as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage,” according to the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In 2011, the government’s case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize.




I interviewed Drake about the significance of Credico’s subpoena, which Credico believes resulted from his journalism about the persecution of Julian Assange for releasing information that powerful people would prefer kept hidden from the public. (I had a small role in Credico’s 14-part radio series, Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom. It was broadcast first as part of his Live on the Fly Series, over WBAI and later on KPFA and across the country on community radio.)

Credico got his start as a satirist and became a political candidate for mayor of New York City and later governor of New York, making mainstream politicians deal with issues they would rather not deal with.




I spoke to Thomas Drake by telephone on Nov. 30, 2017:

Bernstein: How do you look at Russiagate, based on what you know about what has already transpired in terms of the movement of information? How do you see Credico’s role in this?

Drake: Information is the coin of the realm. It is the currency of power. Anyone who questions authority or is perceived as mocking authority–as hanging out with “State enemies”–had better be careful. But this latest development is quite troubling, I must say. This is the normalization of everything that has been going on since 9/11. Randy is a sort of 21st century Diogenes who is confronting authority and pointing out corruption. This subpoena sends a chilling message. It’s a double whammy for Randy because, in the eyes of the US government, he is a media figure hanging out with the wrong media figure [Julian Assange].




Bernstein: Could you say a little bit about what your work was and what you tried to do with your expose?

Drake: My experience was quite telling, in terms of how far the government will go to try to destroy someone’s life. The attempt by the government to silence me was extraordinary. They threw everything they had at me, all because I spoke the truth. I spoke up about abuse of power, I spoke up about the mass surveillance regime. My crime was that I made the choice to go to the media. And the government was not just coming after me, they were sending a really chilling message to the media: If you print this, you are also under the gun.

Bernstein: We have heard the charges again and again, that this was a Russian hack. What was the source? Let’s trace it back as best we can.




Drake: In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring.

From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn’t done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians “hacked” the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult.




The advantage that intelligence has is that they can hide behind what they are doing. They don’t actually have to tell the truth, they can shade it, they can influence it and shape it. This is where information can be politicized and used as a weapon. Randy has found himself caught up in these investigations by virtue of being a media figure and hanging out with “the wrong people.”

Bernstein: It looks like the Russiagaters in Congress are trying to corner Randy. All his life he has spoken truth to power. But what do you think the role of the press should be?

Drake: The press amplifies just about everything they focus on, especially with today’s 24-hour, in-your-face social media. Even the mainstream media is publishing directly to their webpages. You have to get behind the cacophony of all that noise and ask, “Why?” What are the intentions here?

I believe there are still enough independent journalists who are looking further and deeper. But clearly there are those who are hell-bent on making life as difficult as possible for the current president and those who are going to defend him to the hilt. I was not surprised at all that Trump won. A significant percentage of the American electorate were looking for something different.


CNN fake news attempts, fails to label legitimate journalists "conspiracy theorists"

Bernstein: Well, if you consider the content of those emails….Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders.

Drake: That would have been an interesting race, to have Bernie vs. Trump. Sanders was appealing, especially to young audiences. He was raising legitimate issues.

Bernstein: In Clinton, they had a known quantity who supported the national security state.

Drake: The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as “raw executive authority.”

Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater.



What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves?

Saturday, December 09, 2017

CNN Botches "Bombshell" Report "Proving" Collusion Between Trump Jr. And Wikileaks

CNN: All fake news, all the time  

ZERO HEDGE
By Tyler Durdin
12/08/2017

Cable news networks just can’t seem to get their facts straight when it comes to publishing purportedly damning reports about the Trump campaign’s efforts to “collude” with the Russians. Last week, ABC News suspended reporter Brian Ross after Ross reported that Mike Flynn had agreed to testify that Trump ordered him to reach out to the Russian government during the campaign – something that, if true, would’ve validated the mainstream media’s collusion narrative and potentially placed the president in serious legal jeopardy. 


Shortly after publishing its initial report, ABC was forced to issue a crucial correction: Flynn actually planned to testify that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner ordered him to reach out to representatives of the Russian government during the transition. 

This changed the whole context from something that would’ve been overtly illegal to something much more mundane. The correction was issued – but not before the Dow shed 350 points.


Today, it was CNN’s turn to bungle a “bombshell” concerning the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.

To wit, Trump’s favorite fake news network has issued a correction to a Friday morning “exclusive” claiming that Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign staff received a directive from Wikileaks to download a trove of emails stolen from the DNC before those emails were made public. CNN initially claimed the Wikileaks email was dated Sept. 4 – ten days before the watchdog publicly released its filings.




As it turns out, the email was dated Sept. 14. The documents had actually been made publicly available earlier that day. Wikileaks was merely trying to draw the Trump campaign’s attention to the documents.

So, two of CNN’s ace political reporters managed to write a “bombshell” story, which presumably made it through at least one round of edits, and was also probably reviewed by the network’s legal department, without anybody double-checking the date of the email - the crux of the entire. For what it’s worth, CNN said it based its story on the accounts of two sources who had seen the email. But this just highlights the dangers of relying on second-hand information, and should make readers question the next anonymously sourced story they see.


CNN and their fake news war whore Christiane Amanpour sabotaged Trump administration attempts to normalise relations with Russia - then blame the administration and the President

CNN corrected its story after the Washington Post, which managed to obtain a copy of the email, pointed out the error, which transformed the CNN story from a “bombshell” into essentially a nonstory.

Here’s the correction posted on CNN's website.

Washington (CNN)Correction: This story has been corrected to say the date of the email was September 14, 2016, not September 4, 2016. The story also changed the headline and removed a tweet from Donald Trump Jr., who posted a message about WikiLeaks on September 4, 2016.


CNN fake news shill Stelter attempts, fails to throw cold water on clear-cut case of libel

After the correction was appended, the original story was altered to reflect these changes…

Candidate Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump Organization received an email in September 2016 offering a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents, according to an email provided to congressional investigators.

The September 14 email was sent during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential race.




CNN originally reported the email was released September 4 -- 10 days earlier -- based on accounts from two sources who had seen the email. The new details appear to show that the sender was relying on publicly available information. The new information indicates that the communication is less significant than CNN initially reported.

After this story was published, The Washington Post obtained a copy of the email Friday afternoon and reported that the email urged Trump and his campaign to download archives that WikiLeaks had made public a day earlier. The story suggested that the individual may simply have been trying to flag the campaign to already public documents.

CNN has now obtained a copy of the email, which lists September 14 as the date sent and contains a decryption key that matches what WikiLeaks had tweeted out the day before.




The email came two months after the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee were made public and one month before WikiLeaks began leaking the contents of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's hacked emails. It arrived about a week before WikiLeaks itself messaged Trump Jr. and began an exchange of direct messages on Twitter.

In a statement, CNN’s communications department acknowledged that the reporting was incorrect.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Middle East: The Murder Of Abdullah Saleh

Bush/Cheney legacy - endless wars in the Middle East  

NEW EASTERN OUTLOOK
By Alexander Orlov
12/05/2017

At the end of November, a major crisis erupted in Yemen, when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his intentions to start negotiations with the Saudi-led coalition that has been trying to bomb Yemen into submission. 


A Houthi militant reacts as he sits on a tank after the 
death of Saleh
This resulted in the Houthis movement voicing accusations of treason against their former ally who they’ve been supporting in the struggle against the pro-Saudi runaway President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The day before these accusations were made by the Houthis, they would announce that they’ve managed to hit a nuclear power plant being built in the United Arab Emirates with a missile. Previously, a similar missile hit an airfield in Riyadh, which resulted in the latter rushing to spread allegations that the Houthis are using missiles supplied to them by Tehran.


Amid the internal conflict in Yemen, any attempt to use it toward one’s own interests by Saudi Arabia, the Arab League or even Iran may trigger disastrous consequences. After all, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been looking for an excuse to launch strikes against Iranian troops in Syria along with nuclear facilities deep inside the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now one can expect Saudi Arabia to begin forming an anti-Iranian coalition under the guise of uniting the Arab League. It is even possible that the UN is going to be drawn into this process, accusing Tehran of hostile actions against certain Arab states along with attempts to pursue Shia expansion across the Middle East.

Yemen is a state where tribes have been at center stage of internal politics. However, the south of the country has already witnessed a partial disintegration of this rigid tribal system, while in the north this hasn’t been the case. 




No wonder the so-called Arab Spring movement swept Yemen from south to north with the main demands of protesters being concerns over indecisive and insufficient steps taken in the direction of changing the social fabric of the country so that tribal leaders would have less control over people’s lives. Even though those protests were not entirely justified, since Abdullah Saleh had taken many steps against tribalism. The division of the country into north and south has been developing over decades and this division is the single most important reason for the internal conflict the development of which in little to no way is connected to other causes. The Yemeni situation is so unique in the whole of the Arab World that in spite of the catastrophic social conditions most Yemenis are forced to live in, only a marginal part of them actually supports Al-Qaeda and ISIS. ISIS continues its attempts to win popular support through the use of its media capabilities, releasing footage and reports of its terrorist attacks, but the support it is gaining from such activities cannot be compared to any other state of the region.

The alliance between the Houthis and Yemen’s former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh was purely situational, which was no secret to those following developments in Yemen. It’s enough to note that back in the day when Saleh was still in power he would send the Yemeni Air Force to hunt the Houthis down in the north of the country. For sure, external forces do influence the course of the Yemeni conflict, but northerners and southerners can be hardly described as proxy forces of Iran and Saudi Arabia, since they’ve been trying to settle their own differences and contradictions.




It won’t be an exaggeration to state that Ali Abdullah Saleh is one of the most intelligent and cunning Arab dictators of our time. One can just mention that most regional players that used to sit together with Saleh at the same negotiation table are killed, toppled, or turned into puppets of global players, while Saleh continued playing his own game. He would lead Tehran and Riyadh in opposing each other all across Yemen, while carefully eying both parties in anticipation of the best possible deal to be put on the table.

The Ansar Allah group that constitutes the main driving force behind the Houthis resistance was in desperate need to sustain an alliance with Saleh and his forces for a straightforward reason: Yemen used to be a hub of illegal arms trade back in the day when Saleh was in control of the country, and it has largely remained one. To a certain extent, Saleh had been in control of other forms of illegal trade like drug and oil smuggling, which would grant his forces a certain degree of independence. The only reason why Saleh would summon Iran and the Houthis to help him was that he would need to put additional pressure on Saudi Arabia, while he would only rely on the forces he has at his disposal to win the internal struggle. Generally speaking, he was still the Comander in Chief of the Yemeni Armed Forces, since in a country where tribes mean more than ranks a local warlord can ignore the official military chain of command.

The goal Saleh had been after all through these years was to return to power. The war between the North and South should burn out eventually, even though it may take a lot of time with high unemployment rates that are common in Yemen. But sooner or later the idea of the need to unite the country should prevail across all parties, and by that time Saleh’s clan would have been the single most influential force in Yemen. Upon being thrown out the door, Saleh would pit both allies and enemies against each other in order to get back through the window.

The gears are now shifting quickly in Yemen. The runaway President Mansour Hadi who abandoned his position two years ago ordered the forces still loyal to him to assist pro-Saleh militants in hunting the Houthis. The situation plays into the hands of Saudi Arabia, as it can now take advantage of the abrupt consolidation of the Yemeni elites.

Thus, on December 4 the Houthis crossed the red line by murdering Ali Abdullah Saleh – one of the most influential people in Yemen, putting themselves out of bounds of any negotiations. The Houthis are now trying to provide an excuse for this step. Is there an Iranian trace behind the murder of Saleh? There’s no clear traces, but those who want to find them are likely to succeed. The latest reports indicate that the Houthis have wounded and captured the son of Saleh Ahmed, the commander of the Republican Guard, but there’s been no official confirmation yet. However, what is already known can bring the level of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia to an all time high. A strike against nuclear facilities launched by the Houthis can result in a symmetrical response – a nuclear strike by countries possessing such weapons. In a region where everyone is prepared for war, such can lead to instantaneous transition to a direct full-scale engagement between principal regional players.



This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

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We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

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THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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