Author Archives: niqnaq

no end in sight

China Responds To Trump’s “Barbaric” Tariffs: Vows To Fight “Until The End” And Have “The Last Laugh”
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Aug 24 2019

After Friday’s blitz of reciprocal trade war escalations, which saw a furious Trump slam the two “enemies of the state,” Fed Chair Powell and China president Xi, following China’s widely expected tariff hike retaliation and Powell’s uneventful Jackson Hole speech, and further raise tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports after stocks suffered another major selloff, we said that the next steps were clear.

Sure enough, in response China said it would continue fighting the trade war with Pindostan “until the end” as tit-for-tat escalation is now virtually assured with no end in sight. On Saturday, China’s commerce ministry issued a statement calling on Faschingstein not to “misjudge the situation and underestimate the determination of Chinese people” after Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese imports. the statement said:

Pindostan should immediately stop its wrong action, or it will have to bear all consequences.

At the same time, a sharply worded commentary in the official party mouthpiece, People’s Daily, said China had the strength to continue the dispute and accused Washington of sacrificing the interests of its own people. Published under the pseudonym Wuyuehe, the piece described the latest tariff measures by Pindostan as “barbaric”. The op-ed said China’s own tariffs on $75b worth of Pindo products, announced late on Friday, were a response to Pindostan’s unilateral escalation of the trade conflict, and vowed that China was determined to fight back “until the end.” The author wrote:

China’s will to defend the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people is indestructible, and will not fear any challenge, and history will prove that the side on the path of fairness and justice will have the last laugh.

Predictably, China also took offense by Trump’s characterization of President Xi Jinping as an “enemy” and his “order” to Pindo companies “to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” Already a sad, toothless sideshow which will culminate without an official communique due to disagreements among the participants, this weekend’s G7 summit in Biarritz will be upstaged by the intensifying trade war between the two nations, with analysts warning Trump may pressure other Western leaders to toughen their stance against Beijing. (Lack of) diplomacy aside, the hit to China will be profound: according to China’s Customs Tariff Commission, a total of 5,078 Pindo products would be subject to additional tariffs of 10% or 5%, as the duties are implemented in two batches, the first from Sep 1 and the second from Dec 15. As the SCMP notes, an earlier commentary from Taoran Notes, a social media account affiliated with official newspaper Economic Daily, said China’s counter-measures were akin to a “precision instrument”, targeting industries such as Pindo soybeans, crude oil and cars. Meamwhile, Brian Dodge, chief operating officer of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said:

Mr President, we implore you to end this trade war before the damage is irreversible. If uncertainty spreads from Wall Street to Main Street, the record expansion we’re enjoying will undoubtedly come to an end and it will be the American consumer, not China, who will suffer.

However, as Bill Reinsch of CSIS correctly assesed, a deescalation in the trade hostilities was unlikely because neither side saw any political upside to offering concessions. Reinsch said:

Trump wants to keep bullying China, and China wants to keep telling the rest of the world that they are the good guy here.

At the same time, picking up on what we said in “Mr President, This Is How To Get The Fed To Launch Quantitative Easing“, Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer said:

Trump really doesn’t want the economy to tank… but if he’s headed for confrontation with China anyway (and he is), he’d rather take the hit way before elections. Implies escalation from Pindostan soon.

More importantly, it also means that the Fed will be under increased pressure to not only cut rates, but launch “some quantitative easing” as Trump demanded on Aug 19. At the end of the day, Trump sees the Fed’s actions or lack thereof as far more important to the Pindo economy than the outcome of the trade war, which explains hiw question :

Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?

To answer, and provoke Powell into conceding, Trump is now willing to take the global economy to the edge of recession. It’s a big gamble, although Trump’s position got an unexpected supporter late on Friday, when none other than BoE head Mark Carney effectively endorsed Trump’s destabilizing policies by saying that the time of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is now over.

whitney webb part 4

From “Spook Air” to the “Lolita Express”: The Genesis and Evolution of the Jeffrey Epstein-Bill Clinton Relationship
Whitney Webb, Mint Press News, Aug 23 2019

On Aug 10 and for several days after, speculation swirled after it was announced that Jeffrey Epstein had been found dead in his cell. His cause of death has officially been ruled suicide by hanging. Epstein, the billionaire pedophile and sex trafficker with a myriad of connections to the rich and powerful in Pindostan and several other countries, had told those close to him that he had feared for his life prior to his sudden “suicide,” the WaPo reported, while his defense lawyers claimed that he had planned to cooperate with federal authorities. Following the controversial conclusion by the New York Medical Examiner that Epstein’s death was a suicide, a conclusion contested by Epstein’s attornies as well as by independent forensic pathologists, given the apparent evidence pointing towards strangulation, corporate media coverage of the Epstein case has slowed to a trickle, save for sensationalist stories about his alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell and new salacious details of his past. Gone from corporate media are any hints of the larger scandal, revolving around the admission that Epstein had “belonged to intelligence.” In this four-part series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” Mint Press News has revealed that Epstein’s activities, a sexual blackmail operation involving minors and connected to intelligence agencies, was one of many such operations that have taken place for decades, developing from the nexus forged between the CIA, organized crime and Israeli intelligence shortly after WW2.

As Part II of this series revealed, these sexual blackmail operations proliferated during the Iran-Contra affair, which involved this same dark alliance between Pindo/Israeli intelligence and organized crime. Though this series has thus far largely focused on the ties of Republican officials to those operations and associated crimes, the final installment of this series will focus on Democratic politicians, namely the Clinton family, and their ties to this same network as well as Jeffrey Epstein. The Clintons’ own involvement in Iran-Contra revolved around the covert activities at Arkansas’ Mena Airport, which involved the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and occurred while Clinton was governor. Just a few years into the Clinton presidential administration, Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein played a major role in Southern Air Transport’s relocation to Columbus, Ohio, leading to concerns among top Ohio officials that both men were not only working with the CIA, but that Wexner’s company, The Limited, sought to use the CIA-linked airline for smuggling. During that same period of time, Epstein had already forged close ties to important Clinton White House officials and prominent Clinton donors like Lynn Forester de Rothschild, and made several personal visits to the official presidential residence. Some of these ties appear related to Epstein’s shady financial activities, particularly involving currency markets and offshore tax havens, activities he began to perfect while working for prominent Iran-Contra figures in the early 1980s, several of whom were tied to the CIA-linked bank Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and had known relationships with the Mossad. The nature of Epstein’s work for these individuals and other evidence strongly suggests that Epstein himself had a relationship with BCCI after leaving Bear Stearns and prior to the bank’s collapse in 1991.

Of particular importance are Epstein’s relationship to the Clinton Foundation and the alleged role of Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based hedge fund and the Clinton Foundation in money laundering activity, a relationship still under investigation by Mint Press News. It is this tale of intrigue that fully reveals the extent to which this decades-old alliance between organized crime, the CIA, and Israeli intelligence has corrupted and influenced politicians of both political parties, both through the use of sexual blackmail and through other means of coercion. Far from being the work of a single intelligence agency or a single country, the power structure revealed by this network connected to Epstein is nothing less than a criminal enterprise that transcends nationality and is willing to use and abuse children in the pursuit of ever more power, wealth and control. Existing for decades and willing to use any means necessary to cover its tracks, this criminal racket has become so integrated into the levers of power, in the United States and well beyond, that it is truly too big to fail.

Iran Contra, Mena Airport and the Clintons
When one thinks back to the now-famous Iran-Contra scandal, names like Ronald Reagan, Oliver North and Barry Seal comes to mind, but Bill Clinton also played an outsized role in the scandal, using his home state of Arkansas, where he was then serving as governor, as a sort of rallying point for the CIA’s Pindo side of the Central American operation. In fact, during Clinton’s reign as governor a small town called Mena, nestled in the Ozark Mountains west of Arkansas’ capital Little Rock, would be propelled into the national spotlight as a hub for drug and arms smuggling and the training of CIA-backed far-right militias. Under the close watch of the CIA, then led by William Casey, the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport was used to stockpile and deliver arms and ammunition to the Nicaraguan Contras. The arms were sometimes exchanged for cocaine from South American cartels, which would then be sent back to Mena and used to fund the covert CIA operation. Though efforts have been made to dismiss Clinton’s role in the scandal, his direct intervention in the Contras’ attempts to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua suggests Clinton had some sort of personal stake in the efforts and was unlikely aloof to the major smuggling operation taking place in his state while he had been governor. In fact, while governor, Clinton split with many other state governments in sending a contingency of the Arkansas National Guard to Honduras to train the Nicaraguan Contras on how to overthrow their Sandinista government. Clinton would also discuss his first-hand knowledge of the operation with now-Trump administration Attorney General William Barr. Much of this channeling of both weapons and drugs was carried out by notorious drug smuggler and alleged CIA/DEA operative Barry Seal. According to the book Whiteout: the CIA, Drugs and the Press by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair:

A federal investigation aided by the Arkansas State Police established that Barry Seal, a drug dealer working for the Medellin cartel as well as with the CIA and the DEA, had his planes retrofitted at Mena for drug drops, trained pilots there and laundered his profits partly through financial institutions in Arkansas. Seal, at this time was in close contact with North, who acknowledged the relationship in his memoir. These were the years in which North was constructing his covert supply lines for the contras.

Seal was known to use aircraft that belonged to the company Southern Air Transport and he also employed flight crews that worked for that same company. Southern Air Transport, formerly Air America, was once directly owned by the CIA and today is remembered for being a CIA front during Iran-Contra. Less known is the relationship between the CIA-linked airline and Leslie Wexner and his then-close associate Jeffrey Epstein, which will be discussed in detail later in this report. Seal seemed to always operate with much less than six degrees of separation from Clinton while the latter served as governor. In his 1999 confessional expose, Cross-fire: Witness in the Clinton Investigation, former Arkansas policeman turned personal driver and security guard for Bill Clinton, L D Brown, recounts how Clinton encouraged him to seek out a post at the CIA. Clinton allegedly went so far as to edit the essay Brown wrote for this employment application. The essay topic was drug smuggling in Central America. Upon receiving his application, the CIA put Brown in touch with none other than Barry Seal. Seal would later be gunned down in 1986 while serving six-months probation for drug-smuggling charges. Seal was not the only affiliate of Oliver North running a Contra-connected operation in Arkansas. Terry Reed, who had worked for North since 1983, claimed to have been put in touch with Seal by North and established a base just 10 miles north of Mena in Nella, Arkansas, where “Nicaraguan Contras and other recruits from Latin American were trained in resupply missions, night landings, precision paradrops and similar maneuvers,“ according to Cockburn and St Clair. Reed further asserted that drug money was being laundered through Arkansas financial institutions. After Clinton’s half-brother Roger was busted for cocaine smuggling (Clinton would later pardon him while president) the CIA sought to move Contra operations out of Arkansas, hoping to put a damper on the increasingly public and sloppy Arkansas-based operation. According to Terry Reed in his book Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA, co-written with John Cummings, a hushed meeting was held in a bunker at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas. During the meeting, William Barr, who represented himself as the emissary of then-DCI Bill Casey, told Clinton:

The deal we made was to launder our money through your bond business but what we didn’t plan on was you and your nigger here start taking yourselves seriously and purposely shrinking our laundry.

Bar chastised Clinton for his sloppy handling of the delicate operation and his half-brother’s very public fall from grace. He would later tell Clinton, according to Reed,

Bill, you are Mr Casey’s fair-haired boy … You and your state have been our greatest asset. Mr Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you’re #1 on the short list for a shot at the job that you’ve always wanted. You and guys like you are the fathers of the new government. We are the new covenant.

Attempts to investigate Clinton’s role in the Mena operations and more broadly in the Iran-Contra affair were allegedly axed by Clinton’s own confidantes, who consistently denied he played a role in the scandal. According to the WSJ, former IRS investigator William Duncan teamed with Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch in what became a decade-long battle to bring the matter to light. In fact, of the nine separate state and federal probes into the affair, all failed. Duncan would later say of the investigations:

They were interfered with and covered up, and the justice system was subverted.

A 1992 memo from Duncan to high-ranking members of the attorney general’s staff notes that Duncan was instructed “to remove all files concerning the Mena investigation from the attorney general’s office.” The attorney general serving under Bush 41 at that time was William Barr, who is currently attorney general under Trump.

The Bank of Crooks and Criminals International
Another Clinton connection to the CIA and the Iran-Contra affair runs through the family’s connection to Arkansas financier Jackson Stephens and the CIA-linked Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which critics nicknamed the “Bank of Crooks and Criminals International.” Stephens was among the richest people in Arkansas and was also a major donor and backer of Reagan 40, Bush 41 and Clinton 42. He also played a key role in the rise of Walmart. Jackson Stephens and other members of the Stephens family bankrolled Bill Clinton’s rise to political prominence, contributing large sums of money to both Clinton’s gubernatorial and his later presidential campaigns. In addition, Worthen Bank, which was majority-owned by Stephens, provided Clinton’s first presidential campaign a $3.5m line of credit. In addition, Stephens’ many businesses were frequently represented by the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary Clinton was a partner. A redacted FBI report from 1998 describes Stephens as having “lengthy and continuing ties to the Clinton administration and associates” and also discusses allegations that Stephens has been involved in the “illegal handling of campaign contributions to the Demagog National Party.” BCCI had originally been founded by a group of bankers from Pakistan, though Newsweek later reported that CIA officials appeared to have been involved in the bank’s founding and that BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi had been encouraged by the CIA to found the bank after “the agency realized that an international bank could provide valuable cover for intelligence operations.” CIA documents that later surfaced during congressional hearings on the bank’s activities and related scandals stated that BCCI was directly involved in “money laundering, narco-financing, gunrunning and holding large sums of money for terrorist groups.”

Though BCCI was known for its CIA links, Catherine Austin Fitts, former Asst Sec for Housing & Federal Housing Commissioner at HUD during the Bush 41 administration, and investment banker with the firms Hamilton Securities Group and Dillon, Read & Co, believes that those links went well beyond the CIA. Fitts, who was placed on the board of the BCCI subsidiary First American Bank following BCCI’s collapse, told Mint Press News that after reading through troves of documents regarding the bank’s activities prior to its implosion, it was clear to her that there was “no way” its clandestine activities were carried on without the full knowledge of the Federal Reserve, specifically the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the White House. BCCI also played a key role in the Iran-Contra affair and accounts of the bank were used to send payoffs to individuals linked to the scheme. Adnan Khashoggi, a key figure and intermediary in the scandal, used one BCCI account to move more than $20m related to illegal arms sales and BCCI created fake documentation, including checks signed by Oliver North, allowing the sale to go forward. The bank later, when its activities subsequently came under congressional scrutiny, claimed it had no records of these transactions. In addition, BCCI appears to have been involved in the sex trafficking of underage girls, including girls that had not yet reached puberty. According to the report entitled “The BCCI Affair,” by then-Sens John Kerry and Hank Brown, BCCI boxtops were alleged to have obtained leverage with powerful individuals, including prominent members of the ruling families of the UAE, by providing them with young virgins. The report (page 70) specifically states:

According to one Pindo investigator with substantial knowledge of BCCI’s activities, some BCCI officials have acknowledged that some of the females provided some members of the Nahyans( rulers of the UAE) were young girls who had not yet reached puberty, and in certain cases, were physically injured by the experience. The official said that former BCCI officials had told him that BCCI also provided males to homosexual VIPs.

BCCI was largely brought into the Pindo business community through the efforts of Jackson Stephens and Bert Lance, former budget director for Jimmy Carter, who assisted with BCCI’s acquisition of First American Bank. The law firm involved in this effort was Arkansas’ Rose Law Firm and it involved several of the firm’s lawyers, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Webster Hubbell and C J Giroir. Also involved in the effort was Clark Clifford, former Sec Def under Johnson 36, and Kamal Adham, former director general of Toad intelligence. One of the men added to the BCCI board after the acquisition of First American Bank was Robert Keith Gray, whom Newsweek described thus:

Gray boasted often of his close relationship with the CIA’s William Casey. Gray used to say that before taking on a foreign client, he would clear it with Casey.

As was discussed in Part II of this series, Gray was also an expert in homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA and was reported to have collaborated with Roy Cohn in those activities. Some of Gray’s clients at the powerful PR firm he led, Hill & Knowlton, included BCCI clients and Mossad-linked individuals, such as Adnan Khashoggi and Marc Rich. While the Rose Law Firm was assisting BCCI’s entrance into the Pindo financial system, it also represented the Stephens Inc financial services company and the data-processing company Systematics which Stephens acquired in the late 1960s. According to James Norman in his book The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century:

Systematics was a primary vehicle or front company for the NSA in the 1980s and early 1990s to market and implant bugged software in the world’s major money-center banks and clearinghouses as part of the Reagan/Bush ‘follow the money’ effort to break the Soviets.

The late journalist Michael Ruppert asserted that this “bugged software” was none other than the Promis software, which both Pindo and Israeli intelligence had bugged in order to spy on intelligence and which had been marketed in part by Robert Maxwell, father of Jeffrey Epstein’s madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. Ruppert cited Systematics as “a primary developer of Promis for financial intelligence use.” Promis had originally been leased by Inslaw Inc, a small software company founded by Bill Hamilton, to the DoJ, which later stole it from Inslaw, forcing it to declare bankruptcy. According to a 1995 document sent on behalf of Inslaw’s founders to then-independent Counsel Ken Starr that asked him to review Inslaw’s case, Systematics had “covertly implanted [software] into the computers of its bank customers” that allowed “allied intelligence agencies surreptitiously to track and monitor the flow of money through the banking system” and had done so at “the behest of the NSA and its partner in Israeli intelligence (Unit 8200).” Inslaw also stated that the software was used by these same intelligence agencies in the “laundering of money, especially drug profits.” Systematics also had a subsidiary in Israel that according to a former Israeli intelligence officer, was operated by contractors for the Mossad and sold software to banks and telecoms companies. According to Richardson’s letter, that Israeli subsidiary of Systematics also had a Massachusetts-based front company, which was partially owned by a former Pindo intel boxtop. Two partners in the Rose Law Firm who would later serve in the Clinton administration, Vince Foster and Webster Hubbell, acquired significant financial interests in Systematics through ownership in Alltel, which purchased Systematics in the early 1990s. The Hamiltons also provide considerable evidence that Foster’s distress prior to his death in 1993 appears to have been related to concerns about litigation involving Systematics and the on-going litigation over Promis’ theft.

BCCI itself was known to employ the Promis software after its theft by the DOJ; and one of its subsidiaries, First American Bank, also “filtered PROMIS money,” or laundered the money generated from the sale of the stolen Promis software, according to the late journalist Danny Casolaro, who had been investigating an international crime syndicate he termed “the Octopus” at the time of his death in 1991. Casolaro believed that this “Octopus” involved powerful individuals in the private and public sectors as well as the criminal underworld and that they were collectively responsible for some of the biggest scandals of the 1980s, including Iran-Contra, BCCI and the theft of the Promis software. Casolaro had told friends and family that he was close to concluding his investigation and several people close to him had seen documents involving money transfers involving BCCI and the World Bank to people involved in these scandals, such as Earl Brian and Adnan Khashoggi. Casolaro went to Martinsburg, Virginia to meet with some sources to get the final piece of the puzzle and “bring back the head of the Octopus.” Two days after arriving in Martinsburg, Casolaro was found dead in his hotel room and his briefcase full of his research notes and evidence was missing. His death was ruled a suicide. Many, including Casolaro’s family, do not believe that Casolaro committed suicide. A week before his death, Casolaro told his brother he had been receiving death threats and the manner in which he died, deep slashes in his arms, was not consistent with Casolaro’s well-known squeamishness around even minor amounts of blood. Speculation only grew following the FBI investigation, given that the FBI lied to Congress, pressured its own agents not to question whether it was a suicide and lost 90% of its files related to Casolaro’s death, among other glaring inconsistencies. The person who had arranged Casolaro’s final meeting before his death was a Pindo military intelligence officer named Joseph Cuellar. The same year that Casolaro died, there were several other suspicious deaths involving people directly connected to the Promis scandal or involved in Casolaro’s investigation of “the Octopus,”  including Alan Standorf, one of Casolaro’s sources; Robert Maxwell, father of Ghislaine Maxwell, Mossad operative and salesman of the bugged Promis software; and John Tower, the former Texas senator who assisted Maxwell in selling the bugged Promis software to the Los Alamos laboratories.

Jeffrey Epstein and “The Dirtiest Bank of All”
While the role Arkansas played in Iran-Contra is one aspect of the scandal that is often overlooked, so to is the key role played by Israeli intelligence-linked arms dealers and smugglers who would later be connected to powerful individuals in the Mega Group and Jeffrey Epstein, such as Marc Rich and Adnan Khashoggi. One of the key players in the Iran-Contra affair was Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, uncle of the slain WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi. One lesser known fact about Adnan Khashoggi is that at the time of his Iran-Contra dealing he was working for the Israeli Mossad, according to former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky, in his By Way of Deception,” notes that Khashoggi had been recruited by the Mossad years before and that his private jet had been fitted in Israel. In relation to Iran-Contra, Ostrovsky claims that it was a $5m bridge loan that Khashoggi provided that helped to overcome the lack of trust between Israel and Iran during the initial arms deals in the early 1980s, and thus his participation was critical to the success of the scheme. According to journalist Vicky Ward, Adnan Khashoggi was a client of Jeffrey Epstein’s in the early 1980s, not long after Epstein’s departure from Bear Stearns in 1981. The reason Epstein left the bank remains murky. Though some former Bear Stearns employees claim he was fired, others including Epstein himself claimed that he resigned of his own volition. Ward suggests that Epstein may have left the bank owing to an SEC investigation into insider trading in a case that involved a tender offer placed by the Seagrams corporation for Edgar Bronfman, son of Meyer Lansky associate Samuel Bronfman and member of the Mega Group, had tipped off several investors and bankers of the coming tender offer. Epstein resigned from Bear Stearns the day after the SEC opened the case and later claimed he had left the company as a result of a relatively minor “Reg D” violation and rumors that he had an “illicit affair with a secretary,” but as Ward noted:

The SEC never brought any charges against anyone at Bear Stearns for insider trading in St Joe, but its questioning seems to indicate that it was skeptical of Epstein’s answers. Some sources have wondered why, if he was such a big producer at Bear Stearns, he would have given it up over a mere $2,500 fine.

Regardless of the exact reason for Epstein’s sudden departure, immediately after he left the bank:

The details recede into shadow. A few of the handful of current friends who have known him since the early 1980s recall that he used to tell them he was a “bounty hunter,” recovering lost or stolen money for the government or for very rich people. He has a license to carry a firearm.

Writing in Salon, a former friend of Epstein named Jesse Kornbluth, also stated that Epstein had claimed to be a “bounty hunter” for the rich and powerful:

When we met in 1986, Epstein’s double identity intrigued me. He said he didn’t just manage money for clients with mega-fortunes, he was also a high-level bounty hunter. Sometimes, he told me, he worked for governments to recover money looted by African dictators. Other times those dictators hired him to help them hide their stolen money.

One of Epstein’s clients after leaving Bear Stearns, per Ward’s sources, was the CIA/Mossad-linked Khashoggi at the very time that Khashoggi was involved in Iran-Contra, an operation involving both Pindo and Israeli intelligence. British journalist Nigel Rosser reported in Jan 2001 in the Evening Standard that Epstein had claimed that he was also working for the CIA during this same time period. Since Epstein’s arrest, records of Rosser’s article have been scrubbed from British newspaper archives, including the Evening Standard’s own. However, Mint Press News independently confirmed with Bob Fitrakis, whom Rosser had interviewed for the article in question, that the article did allege that Epstein used to claim he worked for the CIA. In addition, other reports from the time period cited excerpts of Rosser’s article, including the reference to Epstein’s past claims of involvement with the CIA. Specifically, Rosser’s article had included the following passage:

He has a license to carry a concealed weapon, once claimed to have worked for the CIA, although he now denies it, and owns properties all over Pindostan. Once he arrived at the London home of a British arms dealer bringing a gift, a New York police-issue pump-action riot gun. “God knows how he got it into the country,” a friend said.

Though Epstein denied past connections to the CIA at the time Rosser’s article was published, it is worth mentioning that Robert Maxwell also vehemently denied his now well-documented links to Israeli intelligence until his death. Furthermore, as will be shown later in this article, Epstein and his only known billionaire “client,” Leslie Wexner, would later forge a business relationship with the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and play a major role in the airline’s relocation to Columbus, Ohio in the mid-1990s. During that period, two prominent Ohio officials believed that both Epstein and Wexner were working with the CIA, according to Ohio-based journalist Bob Fitrakis. Past claims and evidence of Epstein’s involvement with the CIA, coupled with his time as a “shadowy” financial fixer for double-asset Khashoggi, strongly suggest that whatever Epstein was doing for Khashoggi during this time, it likely involved BCCI. According to “The BCCI Affair” report:

Adnan Khashoggi acted as the middleman for five Iranian arms deals for Pindostan, financing a number of them through BCCI. He served as the ‘banker’ for arms shipments as the undercover scheme developed. Khashoggi and Ghorbanifar performed a central role for the Pindo government in connection with the Iran-Contra affair in operations that involved the direct participation of CIA personnel banked at BCCI’s offices in Monte Carlo, and for both BCCI’s services were essential as a means of providing short-term credit for sales from Pindostan through Israel to Iran.

This connection is even more likely given the fact that Bear Stearns, Epstein’s previous employer right up until he became a financial fixer for Khashoggi and other powerful people, also worked directly with BCCI during this period. Indeed, Bear Stearns served as a broker to BCCI, a fact that remained hidden until a lengthy court battle in the UK. concluded in 2011 and forced the government’s “Sandstorm Report” about BCC’s activities to unredact the names of Bear Stearns and other institutions, individuals and countries that had done business with the CIA-linked bank. Furthermore, there is the additional fact that BCCI trafficked underage girls for sex as a means of obtaining favors from and gaining leverage over powerful individuals, something in which Epstein would later become deeply involved. As was shown in Part II of this series, several individuals who were running either sexual blackmail operations involving minors or child trafficking operations were connected to CIA front companies like BCCI, other organizations connected to the Iran-Contra scandal, and several individuals close to the Reagan White House. The CIA director at the time, Bill Casey, was a close friend of Roy Cohn, who also ran the sexual blackmail operation involving underage boys out of Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, described in Part Iof this series. According to Cohn’s long-time secretary Christine Seymour, Casey was one of Cohn’s most frequent callers.
Another fact that further suggests that Epstein had connections to BCCI is that Epstein was known to have been close to other arms dealers of the period and BCCI was frequently used specifically for covert arms deals. After the bank’s collapse in 1991, an article in Time Magazine entitled “BCCI: The Dirtiest Bank of All” noted the following:

The CIA may have used BCCI as more than an undercover banker: Pindo agents collaborated with the black network in several operations, according to a BCCI black-network “officer” who is now a secret government witness. Sources have told investigators that BCCI worked closely with Israel’s spy agencies and other Western intelligence groups as well, especially in arms deals.

One of the arms dealers that Epstein apparently knew quite well was the British arms dealer Sir Douglas Leese, who was involved in brokering the first of a series of controversial British arms deals that involved Khashoggi, known as the Yamamah Deal and allegedly involving bribery of Toad royals and other boxtops. Several of these had deep ties to BCCI. Later iterations of that arms deal were allegedly brokered with the involvement of Prince Charles, and corruption investigations into Yamamah were later shut down by the efforts of Tony Blair as well as Prince Andrew. Leese is said to have spoken of Epstein’s “genius” and lack of morals when he introduced him to Steve Hoffenberg of Tower Financial, and soon after that introduction Hoffenberg hired Epstein. Two years after BCCI’s fraud-driven collapse, Tower Financial imploded in 1993 in what is still considered to be one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history. Hoffenberg later asserted in court that Epstein had been intimately involved in Tower’s shady financial practices and had called Epstein the “architect of the scam.” However, by the time Tower Financial had collapsed, Epstein was no longer working for the company. Despite Tower’s testimony and abundant evidence regarding Epstein’s role in the scheme, Epstein’s name was mysteriously dropped from the case.Given that Epstein allegedly received his “sweetheart deal” in 2008 as a result of having “belonged to intelligence,” Epstein’s activities in the 1980s and early 1990s suggest that his ability to avoid charges in relation to the Tower Financial Ponzi scheme may have been for similar reasons. Though Hoffenberg claims that he met Epstein through Leese, Epstein himself claimed that he had met the convicted fraudster through John Mitchell, former attorney general under Richard Nixon. As was noted in Part II of this series, Mitchell was a “friend” of disgraced Faschingstein lobbyist Craig Spence, according to Spence before his fall from grace. Spence, for much of the 1980s, ran a sexual blackmail operation in Faschingstein involving underage boys, and had taken some of those “call boys” on midnight tours of the White House that he said had been arranged by then-NSA Donald Gregg. Spence died under mysterious circumstances, after his trafficking and exploitation of minors was exposed. His death was quickly labeled a suicide, not unlike Jeffrey Epstein’s.

With Epstein and Wexner’s Help, “Spook Air” Finds a New Home
While the state of Arkansas became a hub for CIA activity during the Reagan years and the Iran-Contra scandal, another state appeared to take its place in the 1990s: Ohio. Just as Arkansas oligarch Jackson Stephens helped attract the CIA to his home state during Iran-Contra, it was also an Ohio oligarch and his close associate that helped attract the CIA to the Buckeye State. Those men were Leslie Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein, respectively. In Part III of this series, Mint Press News detailed Wexner’s alleged ties to organized crime and his links to the still unsolved homicide of Columbus, Ohio lawyer Arthur Shapiro, who was representing Wexner’s company “The Limited” at the time of his death, and was set to testify before a grand jury about tax evasion and his involvement with “questionable tax shelters.” Columbus police described the Shapiro murder as “a Mafia ‘hit’” and a suppressed police report implicated Wexner and his business associates as being involved in or benefiting from Shapiro’s death, and as having links to prominent New York-based crime syndicates. However, Wexner and The Limited also appear to have had a relationship with the CIA. In 1995, Southern Air Transport (SAT), a well-known front company for the CIA, relocated from Miami to Columbus. First founded in the late 1940s, SAT from 1960 until 1973 was directly owned by the CIA, which sought to use the company as a cover for covert operations. After 1973, the company was placed in private hands, although all of its subsequent owners would have CIA ties, including James Bastian, a former lawyer for the CIA, who owned SAT at the time of its relocation to Ohio. SAT was intimately involved in the Iran-Contra affair, having been used to funnel weapons and drugs to and from the Nicaraguan Contras under the guise of delivering “humanitarian aid” while also sending Pindo weapons to Israel that were then sold to Iran in violation of the Pindo arms embargo. In 1986 alone, SAT transported from Texas to Israel 90 tons of TOW anti-tank missiles, which were then sold to Iran by Israel and intermediaries like Adnan Khashoggi.

Even though the airline’s CIA links were well known, Leslie Wexner’s company, The Limited, sought to coax SAT to relocate its headquarters from Miami to Columbus, a move that was realized in 1995. Edmund James, president of James and Donohew Development Services, told the Columbus Dispatch in Mar 1995 that SAT was relocating to Columbus’ Rickenbacker airfield:

Southern Air’s new presence at Rickenbacker begins in April with two regularly scheduled 747 cargo flights a week from Hong Kong. By fall, that could increase to four a week. Negotiations are underway for flights out of Rickenbacker to the Far East … Much of the Hong Kong-to-Rickenbacker cargo will be for The Limited. This is a big story for central Ohio. It’s huge, actually.

The day following the press conference, Brian Clancy, working as a cargo analyst with Merge Global Inc, told the Journal of Commerce that the reason for SAT’s relocation to Ohio was largely the result of the lucrative Hong Kong-to-Columbus route that SAT would run for Wexner’s company. Clancy specifically stated:

Limited Inc, the nation’s largest retailer, is based in Columbus … undoubtedly contributed in large part to Southern Air’s decision.

According to documents obtained by journalist Bob Fitrakis from the Rickenbacker Port Authority, Ohio’s government also tried to sweeten the deal to bring SAT to Columbus in order to please powerful Ohio businessmen like Wexner. Orchestrated by Governor George Voinovich’s then-Chief of Staff Paul Mifsud, the Rickenbacker Port Authority and the Ohio Dept of Development created a package of several financial incentives, funded by Ohio taxpayers, to lure the airline to relocate to Ohio. The Journal of Commerce described the “generous package of incentives from the state of Ohio” as “including a 75% credit against its corporate tax liability for the next 10 years, a $5m low-interest loan, and a $400k job-training grant.” In 1996, then-SAT spokesman David Sweet had told Fitrakis that the CIA-linked airline had only moved to Columbus because “the deal was too good to turn down.” Though SAT had promised Ohio’s government that it would create 300 jobs in three years, it quickly laid off numerous workers and failed to construct the maintenance facility it had promised, even though it had already accepted $3.5m in taxpayer funds for that and other projects. As the company’s financial problems mounted, Ohio’s government declined to recoup the millions in dollars it loaned the company, even after it was alleged that $32m in the bank account of Mary Bastian, the wife of SAT’s owner and former CIA lawyer James Bastian, were actually company funds. On Oct 1 1998, SAT filed for bankruptcy. It was the very same day that the CIA’s Inspector General had published a comprehensive report on the airline’s illicit involvement in drug trafficking. Furthermore, Fitrakis noted that in addition to Wexner the other main figures who were key in securing SAT’s relocation to Ohio were Alan D Fiers Jr, a former chief of the CIA Central American Task Force, and retired USAF Maj-Gen Richard Secord, head of air logistics for SAT’s covert action in Laos between 1966 and 1968, while the company was still known as Air America. Secord was also the air logistics coordinator in the illegal Contra resupply network for Oliver North during Iran-Contra. Fiers was one of the key individuals involved in Iran-Contra who was later pardoned by Bush 41 with the assistance of then-AG Bill Barr, currently serving as AG in the Trump administration and top of the chain of DOJ command in the investigation of Epstein’s death in prison, has refused to recuse himself from the investigation into Epstein’s network and his recent death. Despite the involvement of these CIA-linked men, as well as the organized crime-linked Leslie Wexner, the then-president of SAT told the Columbus Dispatch that the airline was “no longer connected to the CIA.”

Notably, it was during this same time that Epstein exerted substantial control over Wexner’s finances, and according to Fitrakis and his extensive reporting on Wexner from this period, it was Epstein who orchestrated logistics for Wexner’s business operations, including The Limited. As was revealed in the Arthur Shapiro murder file and in ties between SAT and The Limited, much of The Limited’s logistics involved figures and companies connected to organized crime and Pindo intelligence. It is also important to note that SAT was well-known for being a CIA front company prior to the efforts of Wexner et al to bring the airline to Columbus, and that a few years prior Epstein himself had previously worked for intelligence-linked figures also involved in Iran-Contra such as Adnan Khashoggi. In addition, during this time period, Epstein had already begun to live in the now infamous New York penthouse that had first been purchased by Wexner in 1989. Wexner had apparently installed CCTV and recording equipment in an odd bathroom in the home after his purchase, and never lived in the home, as was noted in Part III of this series. In an exclusive interview, Bob Fitrakis told Mint Press News that Epstein and Wexner’s involvement with SAT’s relocation to Ohio had caused suspicion among some prominent state and local officials that the two were working with Pindo intelligence. Fitrakis specifically stated that then-Ohio Inspector General David Strutz and then-Sheriff of Franklin County Earl Smith had personally told him that they believed that both Epstein and Wexner had ties to the CIA. These claims further corroborate what was first reported by Nigel Rosser in the Evening Standard that Epstein had claimed to have worked for the CIA in the past. Fitrakis also told Mint Press News that Strutz had referred to SAT’s route between Hong Kong and Columbus on behalf of Wexner’s company The Limited as “the Meyer Lansky run,” as he believed that Wexner’s association with SAT was related to his ties to elements of organized crime that were connected to the Lansky-created National Crime Syndicate. In addition, Catherine Austin Fitts, the former investment banker and government official who has extensively investigated the intersection of organized crime, black markets, Wall Street and the government in the Pindo economy, was told by an ex-CIA employee that Wexner was one of five key managers of organized crime cash flows in Pindostan. As this series has noted in previous reports, Meyer Lansky was a pioneer of sexual blackmail operations and was deeply connected to both Pindo intelligence and the Mossad. Furthermore, many members of the so-called Mega Group which Wexner co-founded had direct ties to the Lansky crime syndicate.

Marc Rich’s Pardon and Israel’s “Leverage” over Clinton
Another shadowy figure with connections to the Mega Group, Mossad, Pindo intelligence and organized crime is the “fugitive financier” Marc Rich, whose pardon during the last days of the Clinton White House is both well-known and still mired in controversy years after the fact. Marc Rich was a commodities trader and hedge fund manager best known for founding the commodity trading and mining giant Glencore and for doing business with numerous dictatorships, often in violation of sanctions. He worked particularly closely with Israel and according to Haaretz:

In the years after the 1973 War and the ensuing global Arab oil embargo, a period when nobody wanted to sell oil to Israel, for almost 20 years Rich was the main source of the country’s oil and energy needs.

It was that trading on Israel’s behalf that would ultimately lead to Rich being charged in 1983 for violating the Pindo oil embargo on Iran by selling Iranian oil to Israel. Rich was also charged with tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and several other crimes. Haaretz also noted:

Rich’s businesses were a source of funding for secret financial arrangements … his worldwide offices, according to several reliable sources, frequently served Mossad agents, with his consent.

Rich had more direct ties to the Mossad as well. For instance, the Rich Foundation was run by the former Mossad agent Avner Azulay. Rich was also friendly with prominent Israel politicians including former PMs Begin and Barak, and was a frequent provider of “services” for Israeli intelligence, services he freely volunteered. According to Rich’s biographer Daniel Ammann, Rich also fed information to Pindo intelligence, though he declined to give specifics. Ammann said in an interview with the Daily Beast:

He did not want to tell with whom he cooperated within the Pindo authorities or which branch of the Pindo government he supplied with intelligence.

One clue as to the nature of Rich’s relationship to Pindo intelligence is his apparent ties to BCCI. “The BCCI Affair” report mentions Rich as a person to investigate in relation to the bank and states:

BCCI lending to Rich in the 1980s amounted to tens of millions of dollars. Moreover, Rich’s commodities firms were used by BCCI in connection with BCCI’s involvement in Pindo guarantee programs through the Dept of Agriculture. The nature and extent of Rich’s relationship with BCCI requires further investigation.

Rich was also deeply tied to the Mega Group, as he was one of the main donors to the Birthright Israel charity along with Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman and Mega Group member Michael Steinhardt, who was particularly close to Rich, first meeting the commodities trader in the 1970s and then managing $3m for Rich, Rich’s then-wife Denise and Rich’s father-in-law from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s through his hedge fund. In the late 1990s, Steinhardt would enlist other Mega Group members such as Edgar Bronfman in the effort to settle the criminal charges against Rich, which eventually came to pass with Clinton’s controversial pardon in 2001. Steinhardt claimed to have come up with the idea of a presidential pardon for Rich in late 2000. Rich’s pardon was controversial for several reasons, and many mainstream outlets asserted that it “reeked of payoff.” As the NY Post noted in 2016, in the run-up to the presidential pardon the financier’s ex-wife Denise had donated $450k to the fledgling Clinton Library and “over $1mn to Demagog campaigns in the Clinton era.” In addition, Rich had hired high-powered lawyers with links to powerful individuals in both parties as well as the Clinton White House, including Jack Quinn, who has previously served as general counsel to the Clinton administration and as former chief of staff to Vice Pres Gore. However, per Clinton’s own words and other supporting evidence, the main reason behind the Rich pardon was the heavy lobbying from Israeli intelligence, Israeli politicians and members of the Mega Group like Steinhardt, with the donations from Denise Rich and Quinn’s access to the president likely sweetening the deal.

Among the most ardent lobbyists for Rich’s pardon were then-Israeli PM Barak, former PM Peres, then-Mayor of Jerusalem Olmert, former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and former Director of the Mossad Shabtai Shavit. According to Haaretz, Barak was so adamant that Clinton pardon Marc Rich that he was heard shouting at the president on at least one occasion. Former adviser to Barak, Eldad Yaniv, claimed that Barak had shouted:

This is important … not only from the financial aspect, but also because he helped the Mossad in more than one instance.

The Israel lobbying effort had considerable help from Mega Group member Michael Steinhardt as well as Abe Foxman of the ADL, which was at the time heavily funded by Mega Group members including Ronald Lauder and Edgar Bronfman. There has been speculation for years that Clinton’s decision to pardon Rich may have been the result of “leverage” or blackmail that Israel had acquired on the then-president’s activities. As was noted in Part III of this report, the Mossad-linked “Mega” spy scandal broke in 1997, whereby Israeli intelligence had been targeting Clinton’s effort to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine and had sought to go to “Mega,” likely a reference to the Mega Group, to obtain a sensitive document. In addition, Israel is known to have acquired phone conversations between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky before their affair was made public. Author Daniel Halper, relying on on-the-record interviews with former officials and hundreds of pages of documents compiled in the event that Lewinsky took legal action against Clinton, determined that Netanyahu told Clinton that he had obtained recordings of the sexually-tinged phone conversations during the Wye Plantation talks between Israel and Palestine in 1998. Netanyahu attempted to use this information to get Clinton to pardon Jonathan Pollard. Clinton considered pardoning Pollard, but decided against it after then-DCI George Tenet threatened to resign if the pardon was given. Investigative journalist and author Gordon Thomas had made similar claims years prior and asserted that the Mossad had obtained some 30 hours of phone-sex conversations between Lewinsky and Clinton and used them as leverage. In addition, a report in Insight magazine in May 2000 claimed:

Israeli intelligence penetrated four White House telephone lines and was able to relay real-time conversations on those lines from a remote site outside the White House directly to Israel for listening and recording.

Those phone taps apparently went well beyond the White House, as revealed by a Dec 2001 investigative report by Carl Cameron for FOX News. According to Cameron’s report:

Amdocs helped Bell Atlantic install new telephone lines in the White House in 1997. A senior-level employee of Amdocs had a separate T1 data phone line installed from his base outside of St Louis that was connected directly to Israel … investigators are looking into whether the owner of the T1 line had a ‘real time’ capacity to intercept phone calls from both the White House and other government offices around Washington, and sustained the line for some time, sources said. Sources familiar with the investigation say FBI agents on the case sought an arrest warrant for the St Louis employee but DoJ boxtops quashed it.

According to journalist Chris Ketcham:

Both Amdocs and Verint are based in Israel, having arisen to prominence from that country’s cornering of the information technology market, and are heavily funded by the Israeli government, with connections to the Israeli military and Israeli intelligence … The companies’ operations, sources suggest, have been infiltrated by freelance spies exploiting encrypted trapdoors in Verint/Amdocs technology and gathering data on Pindos for transfer to Israeli intelligence and other willing customers (particularly organized crime).

Given the extent of phone tapping of the Pindo government by Israeli intelligence-linked companies and Netanyahu’s previous use of intercepted phone calls to pressure Clinton to pardon Jonathan Pollard, it is entirely reasonable to speculate that some other trove of intercepted communications could have been used to push Clinton to pardon Rich in the final hours of his presidency. Also notable is the fact that several figures who heavily lobbied Clinton over the Rich pardon had ties to Epstein, who also had ties to Israeli intelligence and Israeli intelligence-linked tech companies, as discussed in Part III of this series. Barak and Peres, who introduced Barak to Epstein, were the major players in convincing Clinton to pardon Marc Rich. Furthermore, as will be shown in a subsequent section of this report, Jeffrey Epstein had developed ties with the Clinton administration beginning in 1993 and those ties expanded, particularly in 1996, when Epstein’s intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation was underway. Clinton would later fly on Epstein’s infamous private jet, nicknamed the “Lolita Express,” and Epstein would later donate to the Clinton Foundation and claim to have played a key role in the creation of the Clinton Global Initiative.

In addition to the role of figures close to Epstein in securing Rich’s pardon, Epstein himself appeared to share some level of connection with Rich’s former business partners. For instance Felix Posen, who ran Rich’s London operations for years and whom Forbes described as “the architect of Rich’s immensely profitable but suddenly very controversial business with the Soviet Union,” appears in Epstein’s book of contacts. In addition, Epstein’s offshore structured investment vehicle Liquid Funding has the same attorney and director as several Glencore entities: Alex Erskine of the law firm Appleby. The significance of that connection is unclear given that Erskine was connected to a total of 274 offshore entities at the time of the “Paradise Papers” leak in 2014. Catherine Austin Fitts told Mint Press News that it could suggest that Epstein’s Liquid Funding, 40% of which had been owned by Bear Stearns, and which may have received a “secret” bail-out from the Federal Reserve, is part of the same shadow economy “syndicate” as Glencore. This possibility merits further investigation, given that Glencore is partially owned by Nathaniel Rothschild, whose father Jacob is on the board of advisers of Genie Energy, which includes Michael Steinhardt as well as several alleged associates of Epstein such as Bill Richardson and Larry Summers. In addition, Nathaniel Rothschild’s cousin by marriage, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, is a long-time associate of Jeffrey Epstein with considerable ties to the NYC “Roy Cohn machine.” Marc Rich had longstanding ties to the Rothschild family, going back to the early 1970s when he began commodity trading at Philipp Brothers.

Lynn Forester de Rothschild’s surprising interest in Epstein
After Epstein’s arrests first in 2007 and then again last month, numerous media reports emerged detailing the links between Epstein and Clinton, with most asserting that they had met not long after Clinton left office in 2001 and, as recently mentioned, issued the controversial pardon of Marc Rich. Those reports claimed that the Epstein-Clinton relationship had been facilitated by Epstein’s long-time girlfriend and alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell. However, documents obtained from the Clinton presidential library have revealed that the ties between Epstein and Clinton date back years earlier and were facilitated by powerful individuals who have largely evaded scrutiny in connection with the Epstein case. One major player who has been largely overlooked in bringing Epstein and the Clintons together is Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Notably, she has long been connected to neoconservative Reagan era officials, the Lewis Rosenstiel/Roy Cohn network described in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, as well as the Mega Group, which was detailed in Part 3 of this series. She became involved in the world of Demagog Party politics in the late 1970s when she worked on the 1976 Senate campaign of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, alongside now-notorious neocons like Elliott Abrams. She was also introduced to her second husband, Evelyn de Rothschild, by Henry Kissinger at a Bilderberg conference. Several of the individuals connected to the Mega Group and the Mossad-linked media mogul Robert Maxwell including Mark Palmer, Max Fisher and John Lehman, were one-time aides or advisers to Henry Kissinger.

Before marrying into the Rothschild family in 2000, Lynn had previously been married to Andrew Stein, a major figure in New York Demagog Party politics with whom she had two sons. Andrew’s brother James Finkelstein married Cathy Frank, the granddaughter of Lewis Rosenstiel, the mob-linked businessman who ran a sexual blackmail operation exploiting underage boys discussed in Part 1 of this series. Rosenstiel’s protege Roy Cohn was the lawyer for Cathy Frank and James Finkelstein, and it was at their behest that Cohn attempted to trick a nearly comatose Rosenstiel to into naming Cohn, Frank and Finkelstein the executors and trustees of his estate then valued at $75m, working out at more than $334m in today’s dollars. According to the New Yorker, she requested “financial help” from none other than Jeffrey Epstein in 1993 during her divorce from Andrew Stein. As far as Rothschild’s ties to the Mega Group go, she is currently on the board of directors of Estee Lauder companies, which was founded and is still owned by the family of Ronald Lauder, a member of the Mega Group, a former Reagan official, a family friend of Roy Cohn and the alleged source of Jeffrey Epstein’s now-infamous Austrian passport. Rothschild also partnered with Matthew Bronfman, son of Mega Group member Edgar Bronfman and grandson of Samuel Bronfman, who had close ties to Meyer Lansky, in creating the investment advisory firm, Bronfman E L Rothschild LP. It is unclear when Lynn Forester de Rothschild first met Jeffrey Epstein, but she was one of his leading advocates and had the ear of Clinton in the early 1990s, speaking to him specifically about Epstein during her “fifteen seconds of access” with the president and also introducing Epstein to Alan Dershowitz in 1996. Rothschild is a long-time associate of the Clintons and has been a major donor to both Clintons since 1992. Their ties were so close that she spent the first night of her honeymoon in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House while Clinton was president. Furthermore, a leaked email between Rothschild and Hillary Clinton saw Clinton request “penance” from her for asking Tony Blair to accompany Hillary Clinton on official business while she was Sec State, preventing Blair from making a planned social visit to her home in Aspen. Humbly requesting forgiveness is not something Hillary is known for; her former bodyguard once said she could “make Richard Nixon look like Mahatma Gandhi.” In 1995 Rothschild, then a member of Clinton’s National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, wrote the following to him:

Dear Mr President: It was a pleasure to see you recently at Senator Kennedy’s house. There was too much to discuss and too little time. Using my fifteen seconds of access to discuss Jeffrey Epstein and currency stabilization, I neglected to talk to you about a topic near and dear to my heart. Namely, affirmative action and the future.

She then states that she had been asked to prepare a memo on behalf of George Stephanopoulos, former Clinton communications director and currently a broadcast journalist with ABC News, who attended a dinner party hosted by Epstein at his now infamous Manhattan townhouse in 2010 after Epstein’s release from prison for soliciting sex from a minor. While it is unknown what Rothschild discussed with Clinton regarding Epstein and currency stabilization, a potential lead may lie in the links of both Rothschild and Epstein to Deutsche Bank. Journalist Vicky Ward reported in 2003 that Epstein boasted of “skill at playing the currency markets ‘with very large sums of money’” and he appears to have done much of this through his long-standing relationship with Deutsche Bank. The NYT reported last month:

He appears to have been doing business and trading currencies through Deutsche Bank until just a few months ago, according to two people familiar with his business activities. But as the possibility of federal charges loomed, the bank ended its client relationship with Mr. Epstein. It is not clear what the value of those accounts was at the time they were closed.

In the case of Forester de Rothschild, she served as an advisor to the Deutsche Bank Microfinance Consortium for several years and is currently a board member of the Alfred Herrhausen Society of International Dialogue of Deutsche Bank. The same year that Rothschild made the above-noted comments to Clinton about him, Epstein attended another Clinton fundraiser hosted by Ron Perelman at his personal home that was very exclusive: the guest list included only 14 people.
The evolution of the Epstein-Clinton relationship
Even before Rothschild’s 1995 meeting with Clinton, Epstein was already an established Clinton donor. Records obtained by the Daily Beast revealed that Epstein had donated $10k to the White House Historical Association and attended a Clinton donor reception alongside Ghislaine Maxwell as early as 1993. The Daily Beast suggests that Bill Clinton’s long-time friend from his college days, Paul Prosperi, was the facilitator of that early relationship, as Prosperi had a decades-long relationship with Epstein and even visited Epstein at least 20 times while he was in jail in 2008. Prosperi was intimately involved with the 1993 fundraiser for the White House Historical Association noted above. The relationship between Epstein and Clinton would continue well after Clinton left office in 2001, a fact well-documented by Bill Clinton’s now-infamous flights on Epstein’s (recently sold) private jet, often referred to as the “Lolita Express.” Clinton flew on the Lolita Express no less than 26 times in the early 2000s according to flight logs. On some of those flights Clinton was accompanied by his Secret Service detail, but he was unaccompanied on other flights. Arguably the most infamous flight taken by Clinton on Epstein’s jet was a lengthy trip to Africa, where actor Kevin Spacey, who has also been accused of raping minors, Ghislaine Maxwell and Ron Burkle, a billionaire friend of Clinton’s who has been accused of soliciting the services of “super-high-end call girls,” were also present. Clinton specifically requested that Epstein make his jet available for the trip well in advance, with Doug Band as the intermediary. Donald Trump, also a friend of Epstein, is said to have flown on the plane but appears only once on flight logs. Both Trump and Clinton were known to have visited Epstein’s private island, nicknamed “Orgy Island” and “Lolita Island.” In addition to flights, an Epstein-run foundation gave $25k to the Clinton Foundation according to the 2006 filing tax return of Epstein’s former charity, the COUQ Foundation. Epstein’s lawyers, Alan Dershowitz among them, claimed in 2007:

Epstein was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative, which is described as a project bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Before the associations between Epstein and the Clinton White House in the early 1990s were made public, Ghislaine Maxwell was thought to have been the bridge between Epstein and the Clinton family because of her close relationship to the family. However, the close relationship between Maxwell and the Clintons appears to have developed in the 2000s, with Politico reporting that it began after Bill Clinton left office. Clinton associate Doug Band was also reportedly friendly to Maxwell, appearing at an exclusive dinner party she hosted at her residence in New York in 2005. Maxwell later became particularly close to Chelsea Clinton, vacationing with Chelsea in 2009 and attending her wedding a year later. Maxwell was also associated with the Clinton Global Initiative at least up until 2013.

Other close Clinton associates and officials in the early 1990s also had notable relationships with Jeffrey Epstein, including Mark Middleton, who was a special assistant to Clinton Chief of Staff Mack McClarty beginning in 1993, and met with Epstein on at least three occasions in the White House during the early Clinton years. In addition, White House social secretary Ann Stock appears in Epstein’s “little black book”, as does Doug Band, once referred to by NY Magazine as “Bill Clinton’s bag carrier, body man, fixer, and all-purpose gatekeeper,” who appears several times in the flight logs of Epstein’s private jet. Epstein was also associated with both Bill Richardson, former ambassador to the UN and former secretary of energy under Clinton, and Larry Summers, secretary of the treasury under Clinton. Both Richardson and Summers sit on the advisory board of Genie Energy alongside erstwhile DCI Woolsey, Roy Cohn associate and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Mega Group member Michael Steinhardt and Lord Jacob Rothschild. Genie Energy is controversial primarily for its exclusive rights to drill in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Bill Richardson also has ties to Lynn Forester de Rothschild, as she was on his Advisory Board while he was secretary of energy. Bill Richardson appears to be among the Clinton era officials closest to Jeffrey Epstein, having personally visited Epstein’s New Mexico ranch and been the recipient of Epstein donations of $50k to his 2002 and 2006 gubernatorial campaigns. Richardson gave Epstein’s donation in 2006 to charity after allegations against Epstein were made public. Richardson was also accused in recently released court documents of engaging in sex with Epstein’s underage victims, an allegation that he has denied.

The Jeffrey Epstein scandal: A post-mortem
In 1990, Danny Casolaro began his fateful one-year investigation of “the Octopus,” an investigation that played no small role in his untimely death. Shortly after he was found lifeless in a hotel bathtub, Casolaro’s friend Lynn Knowles was threatened and told the following:

What Danny Casolaro was investigating is a business … Anyone who asks too many questions will end up dead.

Nearly thirty years later, that same “Octopus” and its “business” remains with us and has become ever more wrapped around the levers of power, particularly in the worlds of government, finance and intelligence. This Mint Press News investigative series has endeavored to show the nature of this network and how the world of “the Octopus” is the same world in which Jeffrey Epstein and his predecessors such as Craig Spence, Edwin Wilson and Roy Cohn operated and profited. It is a world where all that matters is the constant drive to accumulate ever more wealth and ever more power and to keep the racket going at all costs. While this network has long been able to ensure its success through the use of sexual blackmail, often acquired by the unconscionable exploitation of children, it has also been a driving force behind many other ills that plague our world and it goes far beyond human and child trafficking. Indeed, many of the figures in this same sordid web have played a major role in the illicit drug and weapons trades, the expansion of for-profit prisons, and the endless wars that have claimed an untold number of lives across the world, all the while enriching many of these same individuals. There is no denying that such a network is “too big to fail,” yet fail it must, otherwise this decades-long cycle of abuse, murder and fraud will continue unabated, destroying and taking even more lives in the process. Though this report marks the end of Mint Press News’ series on Jeffrey Epstein and the network of which he was part, this is not the end of Mint Press News’ work on the case. Several spin-offs investigating the real reasons why Epstein was arrested in July, his connections to money laundering and the intelligence “black budget” and his network’s connections to child trafficking in other countries, particularly the UK, are already in the works and will appear in Mint Press News over the next few weeks.

Living Amongst Others
Gilad Atzmon, Aug 23 2019

A few days ago Vanity Fair, the same outlet that once attempted to block the exposé of Jeffrey Epstein, published an article by Venessa Grigoriadis that provides some details of Epstein’s friend and alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell. Multiple victims claim that Maxwell often brought girls to Epstein, and that she was an active sexual participant as well. According to Vanity Fair:

A source close to Maxwell says she spoke glibly and confidently about getting girls to sexually service Epstein, saying this was simply what he wanted, and describing the way she’d drive around to spas and trailer parks in Florida to recruit them. She would claim she had a phone job for them, “and you’ll make lots of money, meet everyone and I’ll change your life… ” When I asked what she thought of these underage girls, she looked at me and said: “They’re nothing, these girls, they’re trash.”

This is gossipy information, but it seems consistent with what we have learned about Epstein and his ring. Those familiar with Maxwell family history won’t be shocked that Maxwell is quoted calling the girls “trash.” Daddy Maxwell plundered the lifetime pensions of his workers for his own use. He was alleged to be a Mossad agent. Not many know that Daddy Maxwell was also under police investigation for war crimes just before he drowned. Metropolitan Detectives were preparing to interview Maxwell, once a decorated captain in the British army, about an allegation that he murdered the unarmed mayor of a German city back in 1945. One may say ‘like father like daughter,’ but the total dismissal of otherness and human life is not limited to the Maxwells. Those of us who follow the unfolding Palestinian tragedy are pretty familiar with the institutional disregard to human life that is symptomatic of Israeli policy and is supported by its forceful lobby around the world. The saga of disgraceful conduct on the part of Epstein and others in his orbit suggests that the dismissal of otherness is characteristic of a wide circuit of those affiliated ideologically, politically and spiritually with Zion. During an interview with Miami news station WPLG, Alan Dershowitz not only bashed one of his accusers, calling her an “admitted prostitute and a serial liar,” but claimed that the then-teen was not victimized, and in fact “made her own decisions in life.” I am not in a position to determine whether Dershowitz is guilty of sex crimes (which he denies) but this kind of language is the last thing you would expect from a retired Ivy League law professor. One wouldn’t imagine that a law ‘scholar’ would refer to an alleged victim of sex trafficking as ‘an admitted prostitute.’ Nor would one expect a veteran ‘law scholar’ to suggest that the child victim of sexual abuse by a registered sex offender was actually ‘making her own decisions in life.’ But this is exactly what we hear from Alan Dershowitz. No doubt one of the most vocal Zionist advocates around. Watch the entire interview:

The disregard of others and the dismissal of human life symptomatic of the Epstein Orbit extends beyond ethnicity, religious barriers and class. We read in various outlets that Leslie Wexner, long-standing patron of Epstein, is accused by some of having some connection to the murder of Arthur Shapiro, a Jewish lawyer who was killed in a 1985 ‘mob-style murder.’ Shapiro’s doomed soul was resurrected when the Columbus Police released the controversial (and once thought destroyed) documents from the investigation of his death. Presumably Shapiro knew too much. Author Daniel Halper claims that Israel and its operatives within Pindo politics have not refrained from blackmailing even a president. According to Halper, Israel attempted to use tapes of Clinton’s chats with Lewinsky to leverage the release of Pollard. Halper claims that during the Wye Plantation talks held in Maryland in 1998, Netanyahu pulled Clinton aside to press for Pollard’s release. Halper wrote:

The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations. They’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful Pindo president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail, according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.

This horrific narrative of how Israel allegedly blackmailed a Pindo president initially surfaced in 1999. In his book Gideon’s Spies, Gordon Thomas claimed that the Mossad had collected some 30 hours’ worth of phone sex conversations between Lewinsky and Clinton and was using them to blackmail Pindostan or to protect a deeply-embedded mole in the White House. The Clintons have often been referred to in relation to the Epstein affair. It is likely that as with the young women Epstein abused, the Clintons and other prominent Pindos were also victims, so to speak. I now believe that Epstein was just a player in a huge crime syndicate that often seems to operate in large parts of Pindo life, its politics, culture, academia and of course finance. In such a vile apparatus, Epstein ran an amusement park. He was never a financier. He specialized in accumulating filth that could be used to extract dollars or other favours. In Pindostan in 2019, just about every politician at any level above that of Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib has been reduced into a Zionist puppet. Every prominent Pindo is subject to direct or indirect Zionist pressure of one kind or another. Igor Ogorodnev wrote yesterday on Russia Today:

The media has wilfully misinterpreted Donald Trump’s words to portray the most pro-Israel president in history as an anti-Semite. It makes more sense to chide him for sacrificing Pindo interests to please Benjamin Netanyahu.

Here is my practical advice for Pindos. Instead of accusing Trump of being an anti-Semite, ask instead why your president is more loyal to Israel than most Israelis, let alone Jews. To follow the path that led to Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal listen to this spectacular Jake Morphonios’s podcast:

babylon is burning

World needs to end risky reliance on dollar: BoE’s Carney
Reuters, Aug 24 2019

Powell and Carney at the conference, Aug 23 2019. Photo: Jonathan Crosby/Reuters

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming – Bank of England Governor Mark Carney took aim at the dollar’s “destabilizing” role in the world economy on Friday and said central banks might need to join together to create their own replacement reserve currency. The dollar’s dominance of the global financial system increased the risks of a liquidity trap of ultra-low interest rates and weak growth, Carney told central bankers from around the world gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Carney said:

While the world economy is being reordered, the dollar remains as important as when Bretton Woods collapsed. Emerging economies have increased their share of global activity to 60% from around 45% before the financial crisis a decade ago, but the dollar is still used for at least half of international trade invoices, five times more than Pindostan’s share of world goods imports, fueling demand for Pindo assets and exposing many countries to damaging spillovers from swings in the Pindo economy. Problems in the financial system are encouraging protectionist and populist policies. Very low equilibrium interest rates have in the past coincided with wars, financial crises and abrupt changes in the banking system. As a first step to reorder the world’s financial system, countries could triple the resources of the IMF to $3T as a better alternative to countries protecting themselves by racking up enormous piles of dollar-denominated debt. While such concerted efforts can improve the functioning of the current system, ultimately a multi-polar global economy requires a new IMFS (international monetary and financial system) to realize its full potential. The best solution would be a diversified multi-polar financial system, something that could be provided by technology. Facebook’s Libra is the most high-profile proposed digital currency to date, but it faces a host of fundamental issues that it had yet to address. As a consequence, it is an open question whether such a new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies. This could dampen the domineering influence of the dollar. Even a passing acquaintance with monetary history suggests that this center won’t hold. We need to recognize the short, medium and long-term challenges this system creates for the institutional frameworks and conduct of monetary policy across the world.

Carney: dollar is too dominant and could be replaced by digital currency
Phillip Inman, Groan, Aug 23 2019

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has challenged the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency, arguing that it could be replaced by a global digital alternative to end a savings glut that resulted in 10 years of low inflation and ultra-low interest rates. Likening the move to the end of sterling’s command of international money markets 100 years ago, Carney said the dollar had reached a level of dominance that meant it was a barrier to a sustainable recovery. He said a new digital currency backed by a large group of nations would unlock dollar funds that governments currently hoard as an insurance policy in uncertain times. Governments stockpile dollars to insure against swings in the Pindo economy, which in recent times have intensified, leading to a significant rise in the cost of borrowing. Carney said in a speech at the gathering of central bankers from around the world in Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

A new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) could dampen the domineering influence of the dollar on global trade. If the share of trade invoiced in it were to rise, shocks in Pindostan would have less potent spillovers through exchange rates, and trade would become less synchronised across countries. The dollar’s influence on global financial conditions could similarly decline if a financial architecture developed around the new SHC and it displaced the dollar’s dominance in credit markets. By reducing the influence of Pindostan on the global financial cycle, this would help reduce the volatility of capital flows to emerging market economies.

The Chinese currency, the renminbi (or yuan), has been cited as an alternative to the dollar along with proposed digital currencies such as Facebook’s Libra. Carney said neither was in a position to take over from the dollar, but new technologies could allow for a global digital currency to challenge the Pindo currency. Digital currencies have attracted the attention of central banks in the past year as the prospect of mobile business and consumer transactions has become more popular. Earlier this year the BoE welcomed Facebook’s Libra initiative, which was seen as a challenge to Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. Bank officials said the initiative, which was backed by several banks, could be a useful addition to trading goods and services. A succession of central banks have criticised Libra, saying it lacks the rules and regulations to be a reliable currency. The European commission opened an anti-trust investigation into Libra earlier this week, saying it feared the private digital currency could could unfairly disadvantage rivals and be open to abuse. In what appeared to be a warmer response to Libra, Carney said:

Retail transactions are taking place increasingly online rather than on the high street, and through electronic payments over cash. The most high-profile of these has been Libra, a new payments infrastructure based on an international stablecoin fully backed by reserve assets in a basket of currencies including the dollar, the euro and the pound sterling. It could be exchanged between users on messaging platforms and with participating retailers. There are a host of fundamental issues that Libra must address, ranging from privacy to operational resilience. In addition, depending on its design, it could have substantial implications for both monetary and financial stability.

adrian darya news

Iranian Oil Tanker Switches Destination to Turkey After US Issues Threats to Greece
Sputnik News, Aug 24 2019

An Iranian supertanker that is passing south of Sicily has changed its destination in its Automatic Identification System (AIS) and now is heading to Mesrin, Turkey. However, any destination could be entered into the AIS, meaning that Turkey may not be the tanker’s true destination. Earlier it was reported that the Iranian tanker Adrian Darya, formerly known as the Grace 1, was heading for the Greek port of Kalamata. The Adrian Darya, which was previously named Grace 1, was detained in Gibraltar in Jul 2019 on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria in violation of the EU sanctions and released Aug 19. It is believed to be carrying 2m barrels of crude oil. Faschingstein declared its intentions to seize the tanker, claiming that it had violated sanctions against Syria. Amid reports that the Iranian tanker was heading towards Greece, a Pindo State Dept boxtop warned the Greek government that any effort to assist the Adrian Darya during its trip to Syria could be viewed as giving material support to a terrorist organisation. Greek PM Kyrikos Mitsotakis said that tanker Adrian Darya has not requested a docking permit from Greek maritime authorities, meaning it was not currently en route to Greece. While Iranian officials have insisted that the tanker hadn’t been heading to Syria in the first place, Gibraltar authorities said that the vessel was released after receiving assurances from Tehran that the tanker was not going to deliver its cargo to Syria.

hilarious ending

Wall Street falls as Pindo-China trade conflict intensifies
Nick Beams, WSWS, Aug 24 2019

Wall Street had its third-biggest fall for the year yesterday after President Trump issued a barrage of tweets indicating a further escalation of the trade war against China. The outburst followed the decision by Beijing to impose tariffs on a range of Pindo goods, worth $75b, in retaliation for Pindo tariff measures. After the markets had closed, Trump then announced a series of increased tariff measures. The 25% levy on $250bn worth of Chinese goods will rise to 30% from Oct 1. The tariff on another $300b worth of goods, due to come into effect from the beginning of next month, will now be set at 15% rather than 10% as previously announced. The reaction in financial markets to the announcement by China earlier in the day that it was imposing retaliatory measures against Pindostan was relatively muted because it had been expected. But markets started to fall sharply after the Trump tweets because they indicated an intensification of the conflict, which took concrete form with the tariff hike announcement a few hours later. Trump’s tweets were his most belligerent to date, taking aim not only against China, but Pindo corporations and the Federal Reserve, calling its chairman Jerome Powell an “enemy.” He tweeted:

Stocks then started to slump. The S&P 500 went down 2.59%, the Dow dropped by 600 points or 2.37%, and the Nasdaq lost 3%. Another factor in the market fall was the lack of any indication by Federal Reserve that it intended to cut interest rates or make other significant changes to its monetary policy. In his widely followed speech to the meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed chair Jerome Powell maintained the line he has used in recent months:

We will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.

Powell said uncertainty over trade was “playing a role in the global slowdown and in weak manufacturing and capital spending in Pindostan,” but he appeared to rule out linking monetary policy and trade. He said setting trade policy was the business of Congress and the administration and that while monetary policy is a “powerful tool that works to support consumer spending, business investment and public confidence, it cannot provide a settled rule book for international trade.” Powell’s speech brought another attack on the central bank from Trump:

As stocks fell in response to Trump’s Twitter comments, there was another flight to safety as money moved into T-bonds. The yield on the two-year T-bond fell by 10 basis points to 1.51%, while yield on the 10-year T-bond dropped to slightly below that level. It was the fourth time this month that the yield curve has “inverted” from the normal situation where the yield on long-term debt is higher than that obtained on short-term debt. Such inversion is widely regarded as indicator of recession. Trump’s “order” to Pindo firms to get out of China brought criticism from business organisations. Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the Pindo Chamber of Commerce, told the WSJ:

The president does not have the authority to tell companies what to do. He can provide guidance, he can provide his own thought, but Pindo companies are going to continue to invest and do business with China, because it’s too important a market.

David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation, said:

It’s unrealistic for Pindo retailers to move out of the world’s second largest economy, as 95% of the world’s consumers live outside our borders.

But even as his policies are being denounced as economically irrational, counter-productive and unrealistic, Trump is preparing to escalate them. His latest measures against China came on the eve of the G7 summit meeting to be held in France over the weekend. Such has been the escalation of tensions that Macron, who is hosting the meeting, said he intended to dispense with a final communiqué because they were only studied to search for differences. If there are major conflicts at the G7, they could erupt in the Sunday morning working session on the global economy, which was added at the last minute at the request of Pindostan. Trump has already clashed with the Macron government over its decision to impose taxes on high-tech firms, threatening to impose tariffs on French wines in retaliation. Another source of tensions is the proposed trade deal between Pindostan & Eurostan, which the Pindo side has insisted must include agriculture, in the face of strenuous opposition from Brussels. The negotiations are being conducted under the threat by Faschingstein it will impose tariffs of up to 25% on EU-manufactured cars and auto products if concessions are not forthcoming. Speaking at a rally on Thursday, Trump said:

The EU is worse than China, just smaller! It treats us horribly: barriers, tariffs, taxes!

In comments to reporters in the lead up to the summit, Macron said:

We’re facing a historic challenge to the world order.

But the conflicts and antagonisms are set to deepen, not only between Pindostan and China but also among the Western vassals. As FT columnist Edward Luce noted, the meeting of the G7 is likely to be one of the most “bizarre” in its history. He wrote:

Summits are supposed to make global problems easier to manage. The G7 and others of its kind, notably the G20, are reaching the point where the result is the opposite: a world less manageable than if the leaders had never met.

le fiasco

Johnson fails to secure Brexit concessions from Germany and France
Robert Stevens, WSWS, Aug 24 2019

Johnson left Paris empty-handed Thursday following talks over Brexit with Macron, after departing Berlin a day earlier having failed to secure concessions from Merkel. Johnson has staked his premiership on the UK leaving the EU on Oct 31 with or without a deal. Johnson pleaded with Merkel and Macron to offer him a deal that he can sell to parliament, including the removal of the Irish border backstop that was agreed with May. The backstop is an integral part of the current withdrawal deal and is the EU’s insurance policy against the return, post-Brexit, to a hard border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Irish Republic, which remains an EU member. While Merkel told Johnson that changes to the deal’s accompanying political declaration could provide a solution at a later stage to the backstop dispute, she applied maximum pressure by stating:

Maybe we can find that solution in the next 30 days.

Her remarks were seized on by the UK’s pro-Brexit media as evidence that Johnson had secured a major concession. But Merkel’s statement was made in full knowledge that Johnson will be unable to square the circle over the Irish border question. He faces bitter opposition to any compromise from Conservatives and from Northern Ireland’s DUP MPs who prop up his minority government. Norbert Röttgen, a leading figure in Merkel’s CDU and chair of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee, immediately shot down in flames any suggestion of a backdown by Merkel:

She did not move one millimetre … At no point did she suggest that Germany is ready to abandon the backstop. The German position is the same as the European position … She is putting the onus on Johnson. But everyone knows that you cannot find a solution for something in 30 days that has not been found in three years.

Macron agreed with Merkel, saying that the “withdrawal agreement can be amended” while insisting that the “Irish backstop is indispensable.” He warned:

We will not find a new Withdrawal Agreement in the next 30 days that is much different from the existing one … We have to respect what has been negotiated.

Macron told reporters after meeting Johnson:

Renegotiation of the terms currently proposed by the British is not an option that exists, and that has always been made clear by Pres Tusk… A hard Brexit … will be the responsibility of the British government.

Clutching at straws, the pro-Brexit Daily Express claimed that Johnson appeared to punch the air with both hands in a “victory salute” after returning to London. His meetings had seen a “stubborn EU crumble.” However, another pro-Brexit newspaper, the Sun, owned by billionaire oligarch Rupert Murdoch, warned that Johnson’s meetings with Merkel and Macron had paved the way for a no-deal outcome. It editorialised:

It’s clear that there is some flexibility on the Continent… We remain sceptical that the EU really has seen the light, and that they’ll finally, after three long years, negotiate in good faith.

It denounced Irish premier Leo Varadkar, who opposes any removal of the Irish backstop, writing:

If Varadkar continues to insist that it’s the only deal possible, what does he think will happen?

On Friday afternoon, Johnson said he would “turbocharge” arrangements to find a solution to the backstop, but he played down chances of a breakthrough. While “progress” had been made, his government had to “prepare to come out without an agreement. We can do that. We are very confident.” Ahead of parliament’s return from summer recess, MP’s opposing a no-deal Brexit are finalising their manoeuvres. Next Tuesday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will meet leaders of other opposition parties: the Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, along with other invited cross-party backbenchers. The meeting will discuss, in Corbyn’s words, “all tactics available to prevent no deal.” Corbyn told reporters:

We’ll discuss the process by which we’ll put forward a motion of no confidence and others will bring up other suggestions, including the legislative proposal. We’ll be having a serious discussion next week in order to prevent this country crashing out on 31 October with all the damage that will do to farming communities, to industry, to jobs.

Labour’s majority Blairite wing represents the dominant sections of big business opposed to leaving the EU. Corbyn’s meeting with Remain-supporting parties and MPs is his latest capitulation to their agenda. Among the proposals being considered by Corbyn is support for legislation aimed at delaying Brexit, with MPs and not the government taking control of parliament’s “order paper” to decide what is debated prior to Oct 31. Corbyn is seeking to win a no-confidence vote against Johnson on the basis that this would enable him to head a temporary cross-party “national unity” government. This would agree an extension with the EU to Article 50 legislation triggering Brexit, on behalf of big business. With this in place, Corbyn supports the calling of a general election.

While Corbyn is able to get the opposition leaders around the table, virtually none of them will countenance him becoming prime minister. Twice elected leader on a mandate opposing austerity and militarism, MPs fear that once in office Corbyn would be unable to hold back a movement of the working class demanding he make good on his rhetoric. Corbyn has refused to commit to personally campaigning for Remain in any autumn election. In this, he is opposed by two prominent nominally “left” members of his shadow cabinet, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, who are both onboard with this central demand of the Blairites. Attending next week’s talks from the Lib Dems and Greens are party leaders Jo Swinson and Caroline Lucas. Swinson has stated she will not back Corbyn as the head of a caretaker government and would attend only to discuss “workable options.” On Friday, Lucas, knowing that Corbyn does not have the backing of the Blairites or parliament as a whole to become prime minister, said:

If he cannot gain the support of a sufficient number of colleagues across parliament, I hope he will be prepared to back another MP from his party, or another, who can.

The Remainers favoured candidates are pro-EU Tory Ken Clarke or Labour’s Harriet Harman. A leading Tory Remainer, Dominic Grieve, said he could not attend, but stated:

It is a matter of public record that I am open to meeting with him at a mutually convenient time.

Other pro-Remain Tories and former Tory MPs have yet to take up Corbyn’s offer. Some have refused outright to deal with Corbyn, including Nick Boles, who left the Conservatives this year after its MPs, bitterly divided over leaving the EU, refused to back May’s deal on three occasions. In a letter to Corbyn this week, Boles wrote:

I, for one, will not support a vote of no confidence while the Johnson government continues to pursue a Brexit deal. Nor would I be able to support any government in which you were prime minister, however temporary its mandate. It is essential that you declare publicly that you will not facilitate an election before an extension of Article 50 has been secured and a no-deal Brexit has been averted.

Boles said an unspecified number of Labour MPs backed his position.

macron is a hypocrite, indeed

Captain who saved refugees refuses award from Paris mayor
Will Morrow, WSWS, Aug 24 2019

Pia Klemp (Photo: Vivian Angrisani)

Pia Klemp, the former captain of the refugee rescue ship Juventa, who together with her crew saved thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, is refusing to accept an honorary prize bestowed by the Socialist Party mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. The 36-year-old from Germany announced her decision in a post on her personal Facebook page on Tuesday. She states:

Under conditions of the systematic promotion of nationalism and anti-immigrant chauvinism by the media and political establishments around the world, Klemp’s statement gives voice to the real sentiments felt by millions of workers and youth, who are outraged and disgusted by the ruling elite’s brutalization, persecution and murder of refugees. Klemp’s post differentiates between the Paris authorities and the population who support refugees. The post also included an image of the Hidalgo government’s installation of boulders under the Porte de la Chapelle bridge in Feb 2017, in order to prevent refugees from erecting tents to sleep there. On Wednesday, Hidalgo’s deputy for international affairs Patrick Klugman tweeted in response to Klemp’s refusal:

In the eyes of the Socialist Party, “welcoming” refugees with “dignity” means throwing them into the street like wild dogs for years on end with no housing, income, food or right to work. Between 1,500 and 2,000 refugees sleep homeless every night in tent encampments in the north-eastern suburbs around La Chapelle alone. Many have been in the country for over two years, dependent upon private citizens and charities to survive and offered no pathway out. This anti-immigrant regime is overseen by the Macron administration and supported by the entire French political establishment. Klemp’s statement is a condemnation of not only the Socialist Party, but the criminal anti-immigrant policies of the Macron administration and the EU. The Italian government arrested Klemp and her crew and seized the Juventa in Aug 2017. They face charges of “aiding and abetting illegal migration” because of their actions in saving up to 14,000 refugees seeking to travel from Africa to Europe via the Mediterranean. Italy’s fascist interior minister Matteo Salvini has not been able to proceed with the charges in over two years, aware of the absence of any legal basis for the case and the widespread support for the rescuers in the working class. More than 393,000 people have signed a petition demanding the dropping of all charges against Klemp and the other crew members. A fundraising campaign for their legal defense has raised over 380,000 euros. Similar numbers donated and signed petitions for the freeing of Carola Rackete, the 32-year-old who took over captaincy of the Sea-Watch 3 from Klemp, and who was arrested by Salvini in May after defying an illegal ban by the Italian government on arrivals of rescue ships carrying refugees. Both Rackete and Klemp were offered the Paris prize in July, as part of the cynical and fraudulent efforts by the Macron administration, as well as the German and other EU governments, to posture as more “humanitarian” than the fascistic Salvini. But the truth, expressed in Klemp’s own statements, is that none of them have any substantial differences with Salvini’s policies at all.

The policy of the EU toward refugees is one of conscious and deliberate mass murder. More than 14,000 refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean since 2014, but the real number is likely far higher. The EU has cancelled all rescue operations in the sea, instead providing funding, boats and arms to extreme-right Libyan militias to intercept asylum seekers and either allow them to drown or return them to EU-funded concentration camps in Libya, where they are forced to labor or directly sold into slavery, robbed, beaten, raped or killed. The rescue ships such as those commanded by Klemp and Rackete have been targeted by the EU precisely because they have refused to return refugees to Libya and insisted upon the transferring them to a European port of entry. They have been systematically stripped of sailing rights and refused flags to sail under. Since March, the EU governments have withdrawn all the ships previously supplied to “Operation Sophia.” This mission, which is supposedly responsible for saving the lives of refugees, now does not possess a single ship of its own, instead relying on aerial drones to observe immigrants drowning from above or direct Libyan forces to catch them. To the extent there are differences, it is that Macron and Merkel believe that the attacks on refugees can be carried out more efficiently and provoke less outrage than via Salvini’s strategy. That is why on Jul 22, Macron announced a new accord, initiated by Paris and Berlin, under the Orwellian title of the European “solidarity mechanism.” Its purpose, Macron explained, would not be to welcome more refugees, as one might naively believe from the title:

Its purpose is to create mechanisms for the return to their countries of origin of those who do not have the right to asylum, in a manner that is much more rapid and much more efficient than that which we have today.

The bipartisan support for the attack on immigrants in France extends to the pseudo-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his Unsubmissive France. Mélenchon has not so much as published a tweet about Klemp or the fate of hundreds of refugees who have been stranded in the Mediterranean for weeks and refused entry.

the china syndrome hots up

The Pindo-China conflict threatens war
Andre Damon, WSWS, Aug 24 2019

On Friday, as world leaders gathered in France for this weekend’s G7 summit, Trump unleashed a barrage of invective, all but declaring economic war on China. Trump called Pres Xi Jinping an “enemy,” announced massive tariff increases on all Pindo imports from China, and “hereby ordered” Pindo companies to stop doing business in the country. Shortly before noon, Trump condemned what he said were insufficient actions by the Federal Reserve to devalue the Pindo currency and make Pindo exports more competitive against China and other countries. In an extraordinary condemnation of both a Pindo government boxctop and the head of a sovereign state, Trump tweeted:

This outburst, along with previous statements, marks a demand that Pindostan weaponize the dollar, the primary reserve currency of the global economy, in a currency war that threatens the foundations of every institution of economic, and political, life all over the world. Trump continued:

The rising trade war comes amid rapidly escalating military threats and provocations against China by Pindostan. Before Trump’s Twitter outburst, Pindostan sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait, following a major new Pindo arms sale to Taiwan. Faschingstein has also vowed to stand by Vietnam in its escalating conflict with Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea. Earlier this month, after Pindostan officially pulled out of the INF treaty that restricted the production of certain nuclear missiles, Sec Def Esper said that he would like to begin deploying medium-range missiles near China within a matter of “months.” This week, Esper said the Pentagon must focus on preparing for “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China,” declaring that Pindo production of weapons banned by the INF treaty is necessary to “deter Chinese bad behavior.” Trump’s “order” for Pindo companies to leave China marks a milestone in the global eruption of economic nationalism, protectionism and preparations for military conflict. This process finds its most direct expression the clash between the two largest economic powers: Pindostan with a GDP of $20t and China with a GDP of $13t. Since the crushing of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, the Pindo corporate oligarchy has used China as a giant sweatshop, extracting profits from its massive working class while using the threat of “offshoring” to drive down wages within Pindostan and internationally. But the entry of China-based companies into high-value-added industries such as semiconductor design and production, cell phones, high-end machine tools, medical devices and optics, has placed them in direct competition with Pindo-based companies, threatening their control of the pool of profits sweated out of the international working class. Trump’s rantings ultimately reflect the desire of Pindo capitalism to secure its flagging dominance through threats, and, when required, by the use of military force. Trump, in his brutal and thuggish worship of power, threats, and violence, represents the essential characteristics of the Pindo ruling elite: its endless greed, its brutality and its belief that “force works.” Earlier this month, Pompeo made an extremely revealing statement. Pompeo said:

I’ll hear folks talk about trade and economic issues as separate from national security. Let’s make no mistake about it, China’s capacity, the People’s Liberation Army’s capacity … is a direct result of trade relationships that they built.

In other words, China’s economic growth is seen by Faschingstein as a military threat to be countered by anything from trade conflict to full-scale war. Pompeo’s words are in keeping with the doctrine of great-power rivalry against Russia and China embraced by the Pentagon last year, which declared:

Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of Pindo national security.

The waging of such “great-power” conflicts will require a “whole-of-society” approach, the Pentagon declared, referring to what is more conventionally called total war. This starkly poses the significance of Trump’s “order” for Pindo companies to leave China. Under normal circumstances, Pindo presidents have no such power, but presidents have asserted sweeping powers to mobilize the economy in wartime, and Trump’s statements have such dictatorial overtones. In this context, his repeated references to extending his presidency beyond its constitutionally mandated term limits and his “jokes” about cancelling the 2020 election take on an air of plausibility. What makes the situation exceedingly dangerous is that there exists no politically articulated opposition to Trump’s policies, which are bringing Pindostan on a collision course with the world’s most populous country. For three years in a row, the Demagogs have voted for Trump’s record military spending increases, raising defense spending from $619b in 2016 to $738b in 2020. The NYT, the unofficial house organ of the Demagog Party, has demanded that he take a harder line against Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE. An op-ed this year blustered:

We need to untie the Pindo economy from China.

NYT columnist Bret Stephens wrote an op-ed titled “Pindostan Needs More Nukes” that fully backed the White House’s violation of the INF treaty and its nuclear buildup against China. As Steve Bannon commented:

The Demagogs are just as hard on it (China) as the Thugs.

Robert Daly of the Kissinger Institute wrote:

There is a bipartisan consensus that China is America’s greatest long-term strategic challenge.

Virulent nationalism, xenophobia, protectionism, dictatorship, all the filth that characterized fascism in the 20th century, is spewing out of every orifice of Pindo capitalism. No one should have any illusions. It was not hollow rhetoric when Esper asserted that the Pentagon is preparing for “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.” Pindo imperialism, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, is on the warpath. But the Pindo working class, whose sons and daughters would go off to fight abroad, and who would die in the smoldering ruins of Pindostan’s cities in a nuclear holocaust, do not want war. And they, along with workers in China, Russia and internationally, are the only social force that can stop it. As the International Committee of the Fourth International wrote in its 2016 statement, “Socialism and the Fight Against War:”

The struggle against war must be based on the working class, the great revolutionary force in society, uniting behind it all progressive elements in the population. The new anti-war movement must be anti-capitalist and socialist, since there can be no serious struggle against war except in the fight to end the dictatorship of finance capital and put an end to the economic system that is the fundamental cause of militarism and war. The new anti-war movement must therefore, of necessity, be completely and unequivocally independent of, and hostile to, all political parties and organizations of the capitalist class. The new anti-war movement must, above all, be international, mobilizing the vast power of the working class in a unified global struggle against imperialism.

Since the publication of that statement, the working class has entered into struggle all over the world: from China and India, to the “yellow vest” protests in France, to the fight for democratic rights in Hong Kong and Puerto Rico, to the strike of auto parts workers in Mexico, and, in just a matter of weeks, an explosive battle by Pindo autoworkers for decent jobs, wages and conditions.
It is the vast and immensely powerful social force of the international working class that must be mobilized to stop the war plans and dictatorial schemes of the capitalist ruling elites.

pity cadwalladr didn’t write this, she would have brought it up to date

Document reveals how Facebook downplayed early Cambridge Analytica concerns
Julia Carrie Wong, Aug 23 2019

Internal Facebook correspondence from Sep 2015, released as part of a US government lawsuit on Friday, reveals new details about Facebook’s early knowledge of potentially improper data collection by Cambridge Analytica. The existence of the internal discussion was first reported by the Guardian in Mar 2019. That report marked Facebook’s first acknowledgement that some of its employees were aware of concerns about improper data practices by Cambridge Analytica four months before the Guardian’s Dec 11 2015 article exposed them. Facebook’s lack of candor about this earlier knowledge to both investors and the press was one of the subjects of an SEC complaint that Facebook settled by paying a $100m fine in July. Facebook did not admit or deny the SEC’s allegations as part of its settlement. But the correspondence, which the Faschingstein attorney general’s office fought for months to unseal as part of its lawsuit, provides new insight into how Facebook staff reacted, or did not react, to concerns about the use of user data by political campaign consultants.

A request to clarify Facebook’s policies for how political campaigns could legitimately use Facebook data appears to have languished with little attention or “resources”, until after the Guardian reported in 2015 on Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data to create “psychographic profiles” of voters for Ted Cruz’s campaign. At that point, the topic was flagged as “hi pri.” The Observer’s Mar 2018 report on Cambridge Analytica’s continued use of the data and links to Donald Trump’s campaign erupted into an international scandal, inspiring global outrage over the company’s failure to protect users’ personal data and wiping $134b off Facebook’s market value as its stock price plunged. The correspondence was initiated on Sep 22 2015, when a Facebook staff member requested clarification on Facebook’s policies for political consultancies that were scraping data to match Facebook profiles to the lists of voters that campaigns use, known as voter files. (The names of Facebook employees are redacted.)

We suspect many of these companies are doing similar types of scraping, the largest and most aggressive on the conservative side being Cambridge Analytica … a sketchy (to say the least) data modeling company that has penetrated our market deeply.

The employee requested clarity on Facebook’s policies and an investigation into “what Cambridge specifically is actually doing,” as well as further information about the activities of another political consultancy, Nation Builder. No one appears to have responded for a week, and on Sep 29r another message was sent reiterating that political clients were submitting “pointed questions … around what is in bounds versus what is out of bounds.” The staffer wrote:

Many companies seem to be in on the edge, possibly over.

This second message prompted a handful of responses with differing opinions on the legitimacy of the data practices. One respondent said the request was being passed to “DevOps for initial review.” Another respondent said that their “hunch” is that the data-scraping was “likely non-compliant” with a number of Facebook’s Platform Policies, but noted that it was difficult to decide without more information about how Cambridge Analytica was tapping into Facebook’s system. One staffer appeared intent on tamping down on expectations that Facebook would expend “resources” to proactively investigate the apps that were extracting data from its users, however. the employee wrote:

To set expectations, we can’t certify/approve apps for compliance, and it’s very likely these companies are not in violation of any of our terms. If we had more resources we could discuss a call with the companies to get a better understanding, but we should only explore that path if we do see red flags.

Facebook had a headcount of 11,996 employees and $15.8b in cash or cash equivalents as of Sep 30 2015, according to financial filings. Discussion on the thread lagged after that message and focused on other political consultancies until Dec 11 2015, when the Guardian published its expose. An employee wrote on the thread that morning:

Can you expedite the review of Cambridge Analytica or let us know what the next steps are? Unfortunately, this firm is now a PR issue as this story is on the front page of the Guardian website.

Another staffer added:

Hi everyone – this is hi pri at this point. This story just ran in the Guardian and is now prompting other media requests. We need to sort this out ASAP.

Over the course of the rest of the day, discussion focused on understanding the relationship between GSR, a company formed by Aleksandr Kogan, a former Cambridge University academic, which extracted the data of tens of millions of Facebook users, and Cambridge Analytica, which obtained the data from Kogan and GSR for use in political campaigning. The discussion also revealed a number of additional links between Facebook employees and the academics responsible for the research underpinning Cambridge Analytica’s psychometric targeting. One said that they were “good friends” with Michal Kosinski, an erstwhile colleague of Kogan’s at Cambridge. Kosinski had helped pioneer the use of Facebook data to predict personality traits. a second employee wrote:

Alex Kogan was my postdoc supervisor at Cambridge, although I left before he founded GSR. I have a cursory understanding on the basic principles behind GSR’s products and data collection methods, if that helps. Feel free to ask me anything.

Another of Kogan’s Cambridge postdoc students, Joseph Chancellor, had been hired by Facebook in Nov 2015, but he does not appear to be referenced in the thread. Chancellor co-founded GSR with Kogan and, according to Kogan, was an equal partner in the enterprise. A third person pointed out a direct relationship between Facebook and Kogan, writing:

It sounds like Facebook has worked with this ‘Aleksandr Kogan’ on research with the Protect & Care team.

The Guardian reported on Kogan’s research collaborations with Facebook in 2018. On Friday, Facebook published a blog post by Paul Grewal, the company’s vice president and deputy general counsel, entitled “Document holds the potential for confusion.” The post downplays the importance of the document. Grewal wrote:

There is no substantively new information in this document and the issues have been previously reported. In Sep 2015, a Facebook employee shared unsubstantiated rumors from a competitor of Cambridge Analytica, which claimed that the data analytics company was scraping public data … An engineer looked into this concern and was not able to find evidence of data scraping. Even if such a report had been confirmed, such incidents would not naturally indicate the scale of the misconduct that Kogan had engaged in. Cambridge Analytica was a clear lapse for us, which we have worked hard to address. We’ve learned many lessons that will help us become a stronger company going forward.

‘shnerb’ is actually shenrav

50 Palestinians shot as Israeli teen killed in explosion
Tamara Nassar, Electronic Intifada, Aug 23 2019

An Israeli teen was killed and her father and brother were injured in an explosion near the Jewish settlement of Dolev northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday. The same day, IOF injured more than 100 Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip, 50 of them with live bullets. The teen was identified as 17-year-old Rina Shnerb, who was declared dead at the scene, according to Haaretz. Her death brings to nine the number of Israelis killed in conflict-related violence since the start of the year. In the same period, IOF and armed settlers have killed almost 90 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Shnerb’s father, 46, and her brother, 21, were both transferred to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem for emergency treatment. The father’s condition is stable while the brother is on life support. The Israeli army claimed that what they called an IED was either hurled at the family or was already present in the area where the family was hiking, but ruled out the possibility that it was thrown from a moving vehicle. IOF set up checkpoints, blockading the area and deploying Israeli soldiers to search for suspects. Israel typically imposes harsh collective punishment measures on Palestinians following such incidents. Pressure for revenge will likely be even greater than usual as Israel is in the midst of an election campaign. MKs to the right of Netanyahu demanded immediate annexation of the entire occupied West Bank. Avigdor Liberman claimed the attack was a result of Netanyahu’s “policies of surrender.” The identity of the suspect remains unknown, but Israeli officials and Pindo propagandists immediately began blaming Palestinians:

Pro-Israel lobbyist Arsen Ostrovsky used the death of Shnerb to single out US congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, demanding a condemnation:

Former MK Dov Lipman also used the teen’s death to attack progressive Jewish group IfNotNow, co-director of Code Pink Ariel Gold, and congresswomen Tlaib, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez:

Jason Greenblatt called on the PA to condemn the attack.

Yair Netanyahu, son of Bibi, tweeted:

The younger Netanyahu seemed oblivious to the fact that just a day earlier his father’s government had agreed to transfer $560m in withheld tax funds to the PA. Despite the anti-PA rhetoric from Israeli leaders and propagandists, Israel remains dependent on “security coordination” with the Mahmoud Abbas-led Palestinian Authority to help maintain the occupation. As The Times of Israel noted following one Israeli minister’s call Friday to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, “the PA has been working in coordination with the IOF to try to thwart terror attacks.” The teen killed was a religious instructor at Bnei Akiva, a religious Zionist youth movement. Rabbi Noam Perel, the secretary-general of the group, once called for turning the Israeli military into an army of avengers “which will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins.” Palestinian resistance organization Hamas lauded what it perceived as an act of “resistance.” The group stated:

The crimes of the occupation and its arrogance against our people, our land and our holy places will not pass without retaliation.

It did not, however, take credit for the attack. Meanwhile, IOF opened fire on Palestinian protesters and paramedics near the Israel-Gaza boundary fence on Friday. More than 100 Palestinians were injured, some 50 of them by live fire. They included three paramedics shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Friday marked the 71st week of the Great March of Return protests calling for an end to Israel’s siege and demanding that Palestinian refugees be allowed to exercise their right to return. This comes less than a week after an unnamed senior Israeli government official revealed that Israel is actively encouraging and ready to facilitate mass emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. Two million Palestinians live in the tiny territory, two-thirds of them refugees from towns and villages in what is now Israel. Israel does not allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes because they are not Jews. Since the beginning of the month, nine Palestinians Israel claims were armed have been killed in incidents along the Israel-Gaza boundary fence according to UN OCHA. Palestinian resistance factions warned last week that Gaza was “a volcano that is about to erupt” and that “Israel is continuing to play with fire.”