Vibration of the muscular tail causes separate segments to bounce against adjoining ones, creating buzzing sound. If it feels cornered, the startling, sizzling buzz of its rattle is an unmistakable warning.
Sacred Earth Protectors Rising: Message from 13 Grandmothers
Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:
"As you move through these changing times... be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being.
Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother's grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle... and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.
Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings."
☆ Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe ☆
I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call "Turtle Island." My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.
We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times.
To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.
I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have strived to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicament that we are in at the global level.
Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children's children.
Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, "Heart of Everything That Is," from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.
The Diné have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver of the earth, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal there and the poisoning processes used in doing so.
The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth's blood purifier.
The indigenous people of the rainforest say that the rainforests are the lungs of the planet and need protection.
The Gwich'in Nation in Alaska has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich'in as "Where life begins."
The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the animal nations. The death of these animal nations will destroy indigenous nations in this territory.
As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness many more extinct animal, plant, and human nations, because of mankind's misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the "balance of life."
The Indigenous people warn that these destructive developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more indigenous teachings and knowledge about Mother Earth's Sacred Sites, her chakras, and connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.
There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all nations upon Mother Earth. We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us.
Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition and spirit. Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it's just empty liquid. Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford.
Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the source of life itself.
Attacking nations and using more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the global nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think.
A "disease of the mind" has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring peace.
In our prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a global nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives' eyes.
We are the only species that is destroying the source of life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land. Using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.
I ask you to join me on this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents, regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace.
As each day passes, I ask all nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the sacred food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits.
This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the great myth of progress and development that ruled the last millennium.
To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide.
You alone – and only you – can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World.
Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger?
Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse is the author of White Buffalo Teachings. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is a member of Big Foot Riders, which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot's band at Wounded Knee.
We dreamed we were far beyond John Wayne & genocide of the "frontier" but the hairy Clown demon of TV Tower has popped out of our screens into the White white house over there next to the Pentagon as stromtroopers blast shotguns & teargas into Indian defenders
Blood mixing with oil over their weeping ancient land our last fresh water being raided with tanks & troops industry's old story of conquest & cruelty to "secure" big money once again blowing its toxic fumes in our faces by force
America, america corporate men shed their waste on thee & hide their crimes with hazard signs from sea to oily sea at war with themselves & the Earth in her infinite magic blasting away with every old bad ammo in their money bags
~ BzB "Pity the busy monster, manunkind." ~ e.e. cummings BuzzWorm ☀ http://buzzworm.blogspot.com/ ☀ "Making necklaces from live ammunition is not a good idea."
Criminal History of the Creepy Tweeter Tyrant of Trump Tower
Donald Trump™'s Web of Conflict: Gold-Plated Recipe for Executive Corruption & Autocracy
Somehow we've been herded while broadcast media has tiptoed around the "Crime Watch" worthy criminal history of the creepy tweeter Tyrant of Trump™ Tower.Do you realize how many hundreds of millions in criminal cash have been laundered through Trump™ casinos in gambling chips alone? And that only scratches gold-plate from the surface of offshore laundering, tax-evasion, false bankruptcy, mortgage & ponzi scams, racketeering & enabling, international trafficking, & let's not leave out election hacking. Right at this moment the self-proclaimed "winning Dealer" is evading us, the American people & Congress with his most-critical tax returns. While being elevated to an un-earned Kingly position of appointing & "Ordering" all of our futures.
All you have to do is actually show the story of this self-promoting showman & his empire of giant nametags. Just grab a few cameras & begin to show us his expansive golf courses & resorts around the world, for a starter, and how he's rammed them into places like rural Scotland by terrorizing the locals. Then move on to his name-sake condos, casinos, towers. Spare no detail please. Make it a nightly obsession, a reality series, hell let's do an entire DVD set. Instead of droning along with your sheepy dribble of normalizing pseudo-news, football games & "commerce as usual."
Do you feel sorry for the "poor little mobster-child" and thus are refraining from showing us the ugliness behind the curtains? Or maybe it's how the tweet-monster points his stubby little fingers at you to show you how "puny" you are & how "huge" he is. Orwellian allegiance is not the big seller folks! Back to the camera media circus! After you get through with our golf, casino, resort & Tower tour, let's dig into to the beauty pageants (that'll be golden), the wineries, the jets, boats, offshore islands. Give it all a great, "bad dude" soundtrack. "Lifestyles of the rotten, spoiled & excessively famous"...
Let's move on to Trump™ stage magic & his mass media viralness, the tweety guy's big TV shows, his serial abuse of entire herds of self-promoting camera hounds. All of that, of course, is already on DVD, from which the Trump™ Organization continues to rake in revenues. Fast forward to the very public presidential election, which we were all force-fed for over a year, hour by hour, wearing us down to frazzle with the "Trump™ effect" & his aggressive bullying idiocy. That's just the way he is, folks, just go along.
Up to the historic, most-controversial event, only days before the actual election which would decide the entire fate of the USA & democracy under an actual Constitution... you know, the FBI Director being shuffled out by the GOP senators to make false claims about "suspicious email" which I bet you cannot even explain right now. Something about a laptop? Anthony Weiner? WTF was that thing that happened which violated the entire democratic process & decided the voter turnout being historically low (26% stayed home).
We also need to emphasize that this oligarch-in-chief is incredibly old, the oldest of them all there at 1600 Penn Street. He's older than your cranky old racist uncle who is always embarrassingly offensive at Thanksgiving. No, wait, actually that's him. So Donald, son & father of Barron von Trump, has been around for a very long time. Hanging around with very bad people, investing in risky, criminal-infested luxury & gambling economies, rubbing himself up against even the Russian KGB oligarch-in-chief, who it turns out helped him to win the big numbers game.
Now you'll be excited to feature an extra-special report, which really deserves it's own series: "America, let us introduce you to the global 'Petro-Mafia'", which coincidentally, are the very same people currently applauding & being appointed by the Trump™ Organization occupation of the White House. Also, all coincidentally tied to Putin's oily oligarchs, the Saudi Arabian kingdom, all of which Donald Trump & his associates are heavily invested in.
We pause now for a Greenpeace PSA to point out the obvious alternative to this Voldemort-slitherin oil-soaked hair-demon future. Which is to say: STOP using OIL you mother-lovers! Just #BoycottOil, & there you've purged half the world's criminal regimes. Again, coincidentally whom are all Trump Organization associates & benefactors.
And while we're all busy being obsessed with this very "special" megalomaniac con artist & his astonishing web of conflict, we'd also appreciate some web-worthy press coverage at the White House. For once can someone ask the most obvious, painful, human questions of the "reality challenged" tweeter tyrant? Like: "Sir, can you tell us what spoiled, butt-hurt childhood made you into such an unsufferable, heartless, offensive bully?" Also sir, what mobster boss taught you to abuse the ritual handshake by yanking people's arm sockets towards you to kiss your stubby fingers? Small-scale abuses in public, more than just creepy, unsportsmanly & sociopathic.
this malicious mafioso jokester illegitimate? Hell fracking FBI coup
d'état yes. "Securing the homeland" our melanin-deprived a$$es. Look at
the "stand-off" of survivable realities at Standing Rock to see the
brutal "white-makes-right" oil-soaked police-state future Trump &
his pirate ship of evil-doers is attempting to ram through, before we
even know WTF is going on with this "very special" tycoon. Welcome
to the planetary apocalypse America. Native peoples have already been
here, behind the barbed wire & toxic reality-theft for generations. ♨ Trudell Tribal Voices ☀ https://youtu.be/VyXdxKFBwzk
Which brings us to an essential episode of the "Trump™ story": Where in the dark realms of Voldemort did these "Trump™ folk" come from? Something about Europe of course & name changes & immigration. Because all of these loud-mouth "white identity" folks all came from somewhere outside the Americas. Likely during the unresolved Native genocide & African slavery. Tragically, in this war-choked 21st century we are imploring once again: "Resist white supremacist agendas." ("Never Again", again)
Come on, mass media, don't hold back now. Take a break from all that monster-terror-gunfight-crash-FX entertainment & "Trump supporter" KKK-country tours to actually tell us exactly who is this mysterious "bad dude" with the bad hairwho has stolen our reality.
Personal Residence Trump® Tower: Top 3 floors of Trump® Tower with approximately 30,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of space; the triplex penthouse is decorated in diamond, 24-carat gold and marble, and features an interior fountain and a massive Italianate-style painting on the ceilings. Worth as much as $50 million, it is one of the most valuable apartments in New York City. Signature Cocktail Trump® Tower "The Billionaire Martini" … $20 ☣ http://www.trumptowerny.com/bar-cocktails
We want to exist, therefore We protest. A Pussy Riot Manifesto
Nadya details the necessary steps U.S. citizens should take in order to cope with the changing political landscape, the nationalist movement, and Trump’s rise to power.
In case of political catastrophe:
1. Don’t panic.
2. Stay focused. Though don’t focus just on yourself. The question “How would I survive under a Trump presidency” is false at its core: Think about those who are the most vulnerable, who’s going to suffer from a Trump presidency the most. Find ways to help them. And then -- oh, miracle! -- you’ll notice that your own political anxiety is fading away.
3. Learn your history. Figure out what you can do; follow your plan and your social justice dream -- day by day, step by step.
4. A is for Activist: a social justice's hustler. Think beyond egocentrism -- stop asking yourself how you’re going to change the world. Hey, you can not change the world alone. But go hustle for justice anyway; make your input, your energy, an idea, an impulse. It will make a difference.
5. Be thankful for any achievement. Even if it seems small to you. Look around: You could either hate all those people and turn your life into a hell, or you could love them, and it’ll bring heaven to the earth.
6. If your government is a pile of trash - build your own guerrilla government. Build and participate and support the network of alternative institutions, organizations, initiatives. We’d better be smart and fast in creating effective alternatives in those areas where government and corporation fails: healthcare, education, media.
7. Fight for your right. Obstacles should not discourage you from action. The opposite is truth: Let obstacles motivate you.
8. Respect your mistakes. Even a total disaster could teach you some important lessons. Like: You got Trump and it royally sucks, but it may be a sign that it’s time for a radical political analysis -- it’s time to analyze systemic political diseases. It’s time to think about 1% and 99% dialectics. It’s time to question -- how it’s possible that many human beings are treated in our society as disposables; basing on class, race, sex, religion. Think about mass incarceration. Imagine for a second what does it mean -- to be released from prison and be rejected everywhere, to feel like a second-class human being.
9. Don’t sit around like the world owes you something. Give yourself to the world, be a human gift to the world -- cherish it, love it, share yourself with it. And be attentive and thankful enough to notice gifts and miracles that the world sends you back.
10. I want to exist, therefore I protest. Proclaim -- loudly -- your presence. Our scream is loud. Sometimes it suffocates us cause we run out of breath. We break our voices when we’re trying too hard. But it’s our price to pay. When you want to put something on fire, you need to burn yourself. A miracle happens just when you wish for it is so real so you could eat it for breakfast instead of eggs.
Mother-Trumping Clown-show: Out of your TV & into your Nightmares
How do you resist an enemy who’s always just kidding (while injecting their poison)?
Since November 9th, we’ve heard a lot of talk about unreality, and how what’s normal bends when you’re in a state of incipient autocracy. There’s been a lot written about gaslighting (lies that make you feel crazy) and the rise of fake news (hoaxes that displace facts), and much analysis of Trump as a reality star (an authentic phony). But what killed me last year were the jokes, because I love jokes —dirty jokes, bad jokes, rude jokes, jokes that cut through bullshit and explode pomposity.
Growing up a Jewish kid in the nineteen-seventies, in a house full of Holocaust books, giggling at Mel Brooks’s “The Producers,” I had the impression that jokes, like Woody Guthrie’s guitar, were a machine that killed fascists. Comedy might be cruel or stupid, yet, in aggregate, it was the rebel’s stance. Nazis were humorless. The fact that it was mostly men who got to tell the jokes didn’t bother me. Jokes were a superior way to tell the truth—that meant freedom for everyone.
But by 2016 the wheel had spun hard the other way: now it was the neo-fascist strongman who held the microphone and an army of anonymous dirty-joke dispensers who helped put him in office. Online, jokes were powerful accelerants for lies—a tweet was the size of a one-liner, a “dank meme” carried farther than any op-ed, and the distinction between a Nazi and someone pretending to be a Nazi for “lulz” had become a blur. Ads looked like news and so did propaganda and so did actual comedy, on both the right and the left—and every combination of the four was labelled “satire.”
In a perverse twist, Trump may even have run for President as payback for a comedy routine: Obama’s lacerating takedown of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. By the campaign’s final days, the race felt driven less by policy disputes than by an ugly war of disinformation, one played for laughs. How do you fight an enemy who’s just kidding?
Obama’s act—his public revenge for Trump’s birtherism—was a sophisticated small-club act. It was dry and urbane, performed in the cerebral persona that made Obama a natural fit when he made visits to, say, Marc Maron’s podcast or Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” In contrast, Trump was a hot comic, a classic Howard Stern guest. He was the insult comic, the stadium act, the ratings-obsessed headliner who shouted down hecklers. His rallies boiled with rage and laughter, which were hard to tell apart. You didn’t have to think that Trump himself was funny to see this effect: I found him repulsive, and yet I could hear those comedy rhythms everywhere, from the Rodney Dangerfield “I don’t get no respect” routine to the gleeful insult-comic slams of Don Rickles (for “hockey puck,” substitute “Pocahontas”) to Andrew Dice Clay, whose lighten-up-it’s-a-joke, it’s-not-him-it’s-a-persona brand of misogyny dominated the late nineteen-eighties.
The eighties were Trump’s era, where he still seemed to live. But he was also reminiscent of the older comics who once roamed the Catskills, those dark and angry men who provided a cathartic outlet for harsh ideas that both broke and reinforced taboos, about the war between men and women, especially. Trump was that hostile-jaunty guy in the big flappy suit, with the vaudeville hair, the pursed lips, and the glare. There’s always been an audience for that guy.
Like that of any stadium comic, Trump’s brand was control. He was superficially loose, the wild man who might say anything, yet his off-the-cuff monologues were always being tweaked as he tested catchphrases (“Lock her up!”; “Build the wall!”) for crowd response. On TV and on Twitter, his jokes let him say the unspeakable and get away with it. “I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening—I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand e-mails that are missing,” he told reporters in July, at the last press conference he gave before he was elected. Then he swept his fat palm back and forth, adding a kicker: “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
It was a classically structured joke. There was a rumor at the time that Russia had hacked the D.N.C. At the same time, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from when she was Secretary of State —which were stored on a private server —were under scrutiny. Take two stories, then combine them: as any late-night writer knows, that’s the go-to algorithm when you’re on deadline. When asked about the remark, on Fox News, Trump said that he was being “sarcastic,” which didn’t make sense. His delivery was deadpan, maybe, but not precisely sarcastic.
But Trump went back and forth this way for months, a joker shrugging off prudes who didn’t get it. He claimed that his imitation of the disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski was a slapstick take on the reporter “grovelling because he wrote a good story.” (“Grovelling,” like “sarcastic,” felt like the wrong word.) He did it when he said that Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” —a joke, he insisted, and he actually meant her nose. “I like people who weren’t captured,” about John McCain: that had the shape of a joke, too.
The Big Lie is a propaganda technique: state false facts so outlandish that they must be true, because who would make up something so crazy? (“I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.”) But a joke can be another kind of Big Lie, shrunk to look like a toy. It’s the thrill of hyperbole, of treating the extreme as normal, the shock (and the joy) of seeing the normal get violated, fast. “Buh-leeve me, buh-leeve me!” Trump said in his act, again and again.
Lying about telling the truth is part of the joke. Saying “This really happened!” creates trust, even if what the audience trusts you to do is to keep on tricking them, like a magician reassuring you that while his other jokes are tricks, this one is magic. It could be surprisingly hard to look at the phenomenon of Trump directly; the words bent, the meaning dissolved. You needed a filter. Television was Trump’s natural medium. And television had stories that reflected Trump, or predicted his rise—warped lenses that made it easier to understand the change as it was happening.
In “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” two writers for Breitbart mapped out the alt-right movement as a patchwork of ideologies: there were “the Intellectuals,” “the Natural Conservatives,” men’s-rights types, earnest white supremacists and anti-Semites (whom the authors shrug off as a humorless minority), and then the many invisible others —the jokers, the virtual writers’ room, punching up one another’s gags. In Breitbart’s take, this was merely payback for the rigidity of identity politics. “If you spend 75 years building a pseudo-religion around anything —an ethnic group, a plaster saint, sexual chastity or the Flying Spaghetti Monster —don’t be surprised when clever 19-year-olds discover that insulting it is now the funniest fucking thing in the world,” the article states. “Because it is.”
Two thousand sixteen was the year that those inside jokes were released in the wild. Despite the breeziness of Breitbart’s description, there was in fact a global army of trolls, not unlike the ones shown on “South Park,” who were eagerly “shit-posting” on Trump’s behalf, their harassment an anonymous version of the “rat-fucking” that used to be the province of paid fixers. Like Trump’s statements, their quasi-comical memeing and name-calling was so destabilizing, flipping between serious and silly, that it warped the boundaries of discourse. “We memed a President into existence,” Chuck Johnson, a troll who had been banned from Twitter, bragged after the election. These days, he’s reportedly consulting on appointments at the White House.
Last September, Donald Trump, Jr., posted on Instagram an image of Trump’s inner circle which included a cartoon frog in a Trump wig. It was Pepe the Frog, a benign stoner-guy cartoon that had been repurposed by 4chan pranksters —they’d Photoshopped him into Nazi and Trump drag, to mess with liberals. Trump trolls put Pepe in their avatars. But then so did literal Nazis and actual white supremacists. Like many Jewish journalists, I was tweeted images in which my face was Photoshopped into a gas chamber —but perhaps those were from free-speech pranksters, eager to spark an overreaction? It had become a distinction without a difference. The joke protected the non-joke. At the event that Tila Tequila attended, the leader shouted “Heil Trump!” —but then claimed, in the Trumpian manner, that he was speaking “in a spirit of irony.” Two weeks ago, the Russian Embassy tweeted out a smirking Pepe.
I thought of that scene the first time I saw the “Access Hollywood” tape, the one that was supposed to wreck Trump’s career, but which transformed, within days, on every side, into more fodder for jokes: a chance to say “pussy” out loud at work; the “Pussy Grabs Back” shirt I wore to the polls. In the tape, Billy Bush and Trump bond like the guys at McCann Erickson, but it’s when they step out of the bus to see the actress Arianne Zucker that the real drama happens. Their voices change, go silky and sly, and suddenly you could see the problem so clearly: when you’re the subject of the joke, you can’t be in on it.
The political journalist Rebecca Traister described this phenomenon to me as “the finger trap.” You are placed loosely within the joke, which is so playful, so light —why protest? It’s only when you pull back —show that you’re hurt, or get angry, or try to argue that the joke is a lie, or, worse, deny that the joke is funny —that the joke tightens. If you object, you’re a censor. If you show pain, you’re a weakling. It’s a dynamic that goes back to the rude, rule-breaking Groucho Marx —destroyer of élites! —and Margaret Dumont, pop culture’s primal pearl-clutcher.
When Hillary described half of Trump’s followers as “deplorables,” she wasn’t wrong. But she’d walked right into the finger trap. Trump was the hot comic; Obama the cool one. Hillary had the skill to be hard-funny, too, when it was called for: she killed at the Al Smith charity dinner, in New York, while Trump bombed. It didn’t matter, though, because that was not the role she fit in the popular imagination. Trump might be thin-skinned and easily offended, a grifter C.E.O. on a literal golden throne. But Hillary matched the look and the feel of Margaret Dumont: the rich bitch, Nurse Ratched, the buzzkill, the no-fun mom, the one who shut the joke down.
When Vladimir Putin was elected President, in 2000, one of his first acts was to kill “Kukly,” a sketch puppet show that portrayed him as Little Tsaches, a sinister baby who uses a “magic TV comb” to bewitch a city. Putin threatened to wreck the channel, NTV, unless it removed the puppet. NTV refused. Within months, it was under state control. According to Newsweek, “Putin jokes quickly vanished from Russia’s television screens.”
Soon after Trump was elected, he, too, began complaining about a sketch show: “Saturday Night Live,” which portrayed him as a preening fool, Putin’s puppet. His tweets lost the shape of jokes, unless you count “not!” as a kicker. He was no longer the blue bear. Instead, he was reportedly meeting with Rupert Murdoch about who should head the FCC Soon, Trump would be able to shape deals like the AT&T and Time Warner merger, to strike back at those who made fun of him or criticized him, which often amounted to the same thing. Fox would likely be Trump TV.
Last week, at his first press conference as President-elect, Trump made no jokes. He was fuming over the BuzzFeed dossier and all those lurid allegations worthy of “South Park,” the pee jokes lighting up Twitter. Only when he reminisced about his rallies did he relax, recalling their size, the thrill of the call and response. He almost smiled.
But when CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask a question about Russia, Trump snapped back, furiously, “Fake news!” —and the incoming White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, told Acosta that if he tried that again he’d be thrown out. Now, it seems, is when Trump gets serious. A President pushes buttons in a different sense. As Putin once remarked to a child, “Russia’s borders don’t end anywhere” —before adding, “That’s a joke.”
2016 Was the Year of the Biggest $cam in American History
When historians look back on 2016, they should study a man with cartoonishly fake yellow hair, a penchant for lying and a ridiculous Twitter account for clues about the country’s mood. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump: I mean Joanne the Scammer, an internet creation in a blond wig and fur coat who seems to sum up the entire absurd free-for-all that is our current moment.
Joanne is a drag character created by Branden Miller, a 25-year-old former amateur porn star from Florida. In scripted videos, tweets and Instagram posts, Joanne is shown shoplifting, falsifying her identity and using other people’s PayPal accounts to buy things — general criminal behavior carried out under a cheaply glamorous facade, a “messy bitch who lives for the drama” (in her own words). Joanne was something of a serialized meme all year as well as a spiritual leader for strange times — an ironic play on the modern self-help guru who, instead of urging us to be a better person, indulged the worst in all of us. “I don’t try to be perfect, I try to be petty,” “Lying has improved my skin complexion,” and “Who needs a man’s dick when you’ve got his bank account” were just a few of the popular mantras she posted on her Twitter, which has around 700,000 followers.
But the real source of the scam’s success in 2016 was its embrace by those at the top. Think of Brexit, which was labeled a “working-class revolt” but was led by right-wing politicians who spent their entire careers “giving more power to employers and less to workers,” according to The Guardian. The Brexit propaganda campaign vowed to redirect EU funding to the hurting National Health Service — a promise that was walked back the very morning after the vote. Mere months after its passing, the Leave vote is now regretted by as least as many voters as made up its margin of victory, as people realize they’ve been scammed.
But no one scammed harder this year than Donald Trump, who will go down as the most consequential scammer of the year and possibly in history — the scammer-in-chief, if you will. “Look at who the president can be! The fact that Donald Trump could win?” Joanne presciently told The Fader in an interview about her fellow scammer this spring. “He doesn’t even want to be president. It’s really just about popularity at this point.” Trump’s entire life has been a scam, resting on a smoke-and-mirrors identity as a capable captain of industry (his suit and tie as much a costume as Joanne’s furs) that was mostly forged through decades of fluffy publicity about how he’d do anything to make a buck. The campaign to get him elected was built on lies and promises that he could never keep but that somehow made a working man’s hero out of a Manhattanite who lives in a gilded penthouse.
Trump’s net worth is likely a scam — we don’t know if he even is a billionaire, as he says he is, because he’s declined to offer proof. Like most “reality” television, his show, The Apprentice, which made him a broadly popular figure in American households, was a scam. He didn’t write the scripts — or even come up with the iconic “You’re fired!” slogan — and the image of him as a steady, smart businessman is a calculated TV fiction, all the more a scam considering many of his actual businesses are glorified scams themselves: the for-profit Trump “University’s” false promises; the Trump casinos, temples to scamming; the Trump properties built by laborers who were scammed out of paychecks.
Like Joanne’s wig, even Trump’s uncanny hair is a scam, some embroidered mess meant to hide what’s underneath. Trump has claimed that climate change is a scam invented by the Chinese, but that ludicrous idea is the real scam, since it’s many of Trump’s supporters in the South who will be affected most by its ravages. Though Trump won the electoral college, he lost the popular vote by a historic margin, sneaking his way into the White House via some 80,000 swing voters in Rust Belt states who may or may not have been persuaded by the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s email server by the spies of another top scammer, Vladimir Putin. Most painfully, Trump built his campaign on the ultimate scam, the scam of whiteness, a fiction of genetic superiority that was originally affirmed by American slave-owners to provide biological justification for their deeds, and which has now been reignited into a sense of white victimhood, scapegoating immigrants for the economic pain of job-displacing globalization and technology.
Equally unsettling was seeing trusted institutions also scamming and being scammed. There were the political media and the polls that lulled us — and likely Hillary Clinton — into a false complacency that Trump would never win. There was the old-guard DNC, plotting behind our backs to anoint Clinton as the candidate of the Democratic Party and undermine the millennial-backed Bernie Sanders. The hacking scam against John Podesta’s email account showed, ironically, that Clinton herself was mostly scam-free — perhaps her biggest deficit in an era when only scams can get you the gold. Still, the constant stream of bad email news contributed to an unearned aura of scamminess around her campaign.
But, as Trump fans will soon discover, the scam always — always — ends in pain and empty pockets. As anyone who has been truly scammed — by Bernie Madoff, by bad mortgages, by Trump University — will tell you, the entire point of the scam is that it feels wonderful until it doesn’t. Trump has already shown his stacked deck by filling his cabinet with the same sorts of people he promised to banish. The real caper all along was that he played the part of the populist but was really just a conventional plutocrat hoping to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The only consolation in all this mess is that the vast majority of the country is now united by the scam, and Trump voters, like all of us, might soon wake up in an America that no longer has remotely affordable health care (which poor Republicans rely on as much as poor Democrats) or even Social Security or Medicare; that still doesn’t have a wall along our Southern border but does have much more expensive consumer goods, thanks to trade wars and tariffs; that has no new manufacturing jobs here but plenty of job openings at Trump hotels in Taiwan.
And so I say this with no scorn toward Trump voters or anyone else: Scamming will only get worse in 2017, and it is probably time to bone up on your own plots and machinations to meet an administration that is incredibly prepared to fleece us for everything we’ve got. After all, there is but one cardinal rule in the art of the scam — which Joanne tweeted, and we all should have heeded, and that we’ll all need to get through the next four years and beyond: Scam today, before today scams you.
Alex Frank is a freelance writer in New York and a former editor at The FADER and Vogue.com.
☠ Boycott Trump ☣ SOS USA ☣ https://youtu.be/8okdzcz7PTM Let's be real-- even HBO wouldn't have gone along with this "billionaire uber alles" storyline. "Creepy misogynist tweeter aligns with white supremacists & Russian spies to hack the election & become President of the USA"...
Suggestion for "Executive Malware" Trump Organization USA challenge: Gather all Attorney Generals of all the States which currently have the Trump family & associates under investigation together for Trump Shadow summit, which will include NY, NJ, FL, and probably many more, to which the FBI & Justice Department are obligated to attend. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/russian-organized-crime.htm
At any point in the past year, the US media could have focused on the Trump Organization's connections & economic entanglements with international organized crime, from Trump Tower to the Kremlin. Instead, the FBI director was compelled to appear before TV cameras to reveal that (gasp) some of Hillary Clinton's emails were found on a campaign aides's laptop. #WTFUSA? Now we have discovered much of the media's email obsession was a coordinated attack involving GOP operatives, Kremlin-directed hackers, Wikileaks & the Trump Organization.
Delusional States of Opposite-land: President-Reject Malware
Election Fraud 2016: Media Manipulation, Hacking & Voter Suppression
"You've Been Trumped" the Reality Show, coming soon to a Concentration Camp Near You
1) Republican secretaries of state across the USA, backed by GOP campaign strategists, acted to "purge" voter rolls, enforce ID laws, shorten voting hours, eliminate poll locations, etc, in the years leading up to the 2016 election, resulting in uncalcuable voter suppression. In addition, Republican legislators & operatives, for political advantage, "gerrymandered" the entire country so that GOP candidates would win even when garnering a minority of the (popular) vote.
2) Fake news generated by Trump's buddies at the National Enquirer, on newstands at every WalMart across the country, displaying photoshopped images of Hillary Clinton, claiming she was dying of various terminal illnesses... this went on for nearly a year. All the folks who "don't do the internet" were subjected to this one-sided political attack.
"Fake news" & attacks perpetuated by Trump's White House advisor Bannon at Breitbart, NewsMax, Alex Jones, RT, FOX commentators, Trump himself, starting with claims of POTUS 44's false birth certificate, "crooked" allegations of charity abuse, pizza trafficking, email gone wild, culminating with current claims of "illegal" minority voters by the millions. All this malicious disinformation stewed in misogyny & white ignorance.
3) After Trump's embarrasing failure at the debates, claiming he "won" despite his obvious creepy bone-headed bullying & derangement on display to the entire world, and Hillary Clinton's bounce back on her way to assumed victory, somehow a group of GOP congressional leaders were able to coerce the Director of the FBI, only days before the most significant presidential election in 200 years, to make false claims about trumped-up "loose emails" on the laptop of a campaign aide, which apparently had not yet been "processed".
Not only was this a criminal violation of the Hatch Act, as "crooked" as Trump's tax returns, it was out-&-out cheating on an epic scale. Corruption of the democratic process by a Justice Dept. director colluding with GOP activists & the Trump campaign. Far more malignant & hurtful is that the FBI (and media) should have been telling Americans the truth about Trump's criminal history (& FBI informant relations), rather than hacking the presidential election. This one unprecedented event, a staged press conference & political attack on behalf of Trump, likely caused more "voter suppression" than any other, given that 23% of registered voters decided not to vote.
Another ridiculous element of the FBI Director Comey-GOP-Trump accusations about SecState Hillary Clinton's "suspicious email" is every SecState has had the same communications issues & most of these email storage spaces were being handled by State Dept. computer techs. Hillary actually didn't use email much, unlike POTUS 44. And the FBI & Kremlin know to "process" the emails on a laptop takes little more than5 minutes. Which implies that Director Comey's testimony was false fabrication, on behalf of Trump. ☣ FBI GOP collusion is criminal https://youtu.be/f_bc12MVvSg
4) "Wikileaks, if you're listening, try to find Donald Trumps missing tax returns". "Russia, if you're listening... try to find Hillary's missing emails" was a reality-cracker. This was more than simple election-cheating & aggressive campaigning, this was treason, and it turned out to be real.
Yet the machinery goes on, the military "might makes right" goes along, the media gives in, after obvious hacking of the entire democratic process of elections in the USA, with the most unprobable, malignant & dangerous outcome one could've imagined. Seriously, folks let's be real-- even HBO wouldn't have gone along with this "billionaire uber alles" storyline. "Creepy misogynist mobster aligns with white supremacists & Russian spies to hack the election & become President of the USA"...
5) Russia played an even greater role in Trump's hostile attack campaign than simply leaking private email of hacked accounts. They also employed an army of trolls, bots, fake news generators, fake twitter accounts. At one time Donald Trump had about 200 versions of the @real-D-Trump account. Anyone who was there, on YouTube, news comment sections, twitter, Facebook... can testify it was traumatic, misogynist, hateful & ugly beyond belief. All exaggerated & enhanced with the Breitbart-FOX News-Alex Jones brand of "Trumpism"...
This is business as usual for Putin's KGB-petro-oligarchs in Russia. "Best defense is a reality-scrambling offense". Always accuse your opponent of your own crimes in order to obfuscate. But that's not how American elections & democracy are suppose to operate.
Pop Quiz: Real or Fake News: In Russia they are selling commemorative Trump coins that say "In Trump We Trust".... Also real: "In God We Trust" was put on US money primarily to separate ourselves from the former Soviet Union, during the "Cold War."
In summary, DO investigate these unprecedented violations of campaign ethics & election laws. And while you're at it, explain why the most 1% of all #flimflam men, with giant gold letters of his name all over the world, can't show his tax returns? Of all the controversial tax returns that ever mattered in the history of US tax returns, Trump's trump them all like a mother-trumper. In addendum, hello there world media!--- We'd also like his criminal history, his birth certificate, and his medical records. Cue: "Everybody Knows " by Leonard Cohen (The Deal is Rotten) #ICantKeepQuiet
"All the lessons of history in four sentences: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~ Charles A. Beard
Trump Organization Expo$ed: Like the Sopranos, but with Nukes
Delusional States of Opposite-land: President-Reject Malware
Enclosed a file regarding Trump's "surface-level" organized crime associations. These are only his crimes of fraud & racketeering... there are also the many other crimes involving sexual assault, property & mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud & tax evasion, not even to mention his own brand of hostile slander, abuse & bullying, which we've all experienced first-hand. We're all now being forced to bow down to the archetypical abuser.
"Just go along" with the pomp, say the talking heads on TV. "Give him a chance" say the TV addicts. OK, fair play pendulum swing... let's give him the same chance Trump & the GOP gave President Obama, which is to say: constant claims of illegitimacy, harassment, refusal to negotiate, blockading. And given the fraudulent, hostile election, by whatever means necessary. And as we do, hold the Republicans responsible for this Orwellian smash-and-grab disaster of historical shame.
#CodePink, SOS, stop this criminal regime. Refuse to accept "Opposite-land" pronouncements. The entire planet & billions of lives are now in the balance. Were in the middle of the largest mass-extinction since the asteroid & dinosaurs. Trump is basically our flaming ridiculous planet-damaging asteroid. Right as we need to radically evolve innovations for survival, we are being forced upon by a greedy old, bullying, malignant demagogue, a villain right out of central casting. Time to call out the superheroes. What would Wonder Woman do? #WWWWD
Trump Organization Expo$ed ☣ Executive Malware U$A: Alert all Agencies
Much about the USA political process is mystifying to the rest of the world, like how a Presidential candidate with the most extensive diplomatic experience can receive 2.8 million more (popular) votes & still lose to a TV character with an extensive criminal past & zero political or diplomatic experience. One explanation is "Teflon Don" Trump's devilish ability to herd & manipulate the broadcast media. More than a mere "Manchurian Candidate", with his uncanny ability to publicly lie about nearly everything & get away with it, Trump himself is the ultimate Malware, already disrupting, weakening & unraveling our entire 250 years of American constitutional government.
At any point in the past year, the US media could have focused on the Trump Organization's connections & economic entanglements with international organized crime, from Trump Tower to the Kremlin. Instead, the FBI director was compelled to appear before TV cameras to reveal that (gasp) some of Hillary Clinton's emails were found on a campaign aides's laptop. #WTFUSA? Now we have discovered much of the media's email obsession was a coordinated attack involving GOP operatives, Kremlin-directed hackers, Wikileaks & the Trump Organization.
The billion-swindling fraudsters all appear to be invincible, jet-setting, bankable, gold-plated & boastful, all the way up to where the Ponzi scheme comes crashing down. Whoops, apparently this whole huge empire required alot of book-cooking, embezzlement, grand theft & of course deception to keep it going. Cra$h bang boom, down the tower of fraud topples. Future "American Greed" episode: Tower of Trump Lies, Fraud, Money-Laundering, Racketeering, Drug-dealing, International Sex Trafficking & Extortion (America Held Hostage $pecial) http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/06/the-greed-report-american-ego--the-common-thread-in-the-biggest-scams.html
Kompromat OperationTrump: Putin & Russian Oligarchs v$ US Intelligence
Countless mafia operations have operated out of Trump facilities and properties, including Trump Tower itself, not limited to the many casino-related schemes and "backdoor deals" dating to Trump's daddy's days.
Donald Trump’s glittering empire of New York skyscrapers and Atlantic City casinos have long had a darker side, allegations that the mob helped build them. Trump’s alleged ties to New York and Philadelphia crime families go back decades and have been recounted in a book, newspapers and government records.
The 1992 unauthorized biography “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” wrote that Trump’s life “intertwines with the underworld.” To be sure, organized crime had ties to the New York and New Jersey construction industry in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, making contact between developers and mafia-controlled companies almost unavoidable at times.
In Manhattan, Trump used the mob-controlled concrete company S&A to build Trump Plaza condos. Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, the don of New York’s Gambino family, controlled S&A, according to federal court records Barrett cited in his book. Barrett noted that he built the Trump Tower out of concrete, instead of steel, at a time when the mafia controlled much the concrete industry.
Trump claimed during this questioning by gaming authorities that he didn’t know that his lawyer, mentor, and close friend, Roy Cohn, represented Genovese godfather Fat Tony Salerno—though their two names appeared in the same paragraph about former clients in Cohn’s 1986 Times obituary. Trump’s answer was an effort to disassociate himself from Cohn because "The Deals and the Downfall" alleged that Cohn had brokered a Trump meeting with Salerno—which Trump denied—and he was aware that Barron Hilton had been denied a casino license for a lesser relationship with a lesser mob lawyer.
These kinds of associations once caused Trump worry about retaining his gaming licenses. Perhaps he finally realized that in a presidential campaign, which requires filing detailed financial disclosures, the vetting of all sorts would be much tougher. Then a gang of questionable associations like this would’ve converted a candidacy into a scandal, damaging his star status, business prospects, and even his family.
"Trump advised that he wanted to build a casino in Atlantic City, but he did not wish to tarnish his family's name inadvertently." according to official FBI report. There were a few reasons why the FBI agents may have found this claim slightly disingenuous.
For starters, at the time Trump's mentor on issues of politics and business was Roy Cohn, a lawyer whose other clients included a passel of mobsters, among them the bosses of the Genovese and Gambino crime families. Cohn, who served as Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief witch hunter before going into private practice, operated out of a townhouse on East 68th Street where clients Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and Paul "Big Paul" Castellano were regular visitors. Besides getting advice on their legal problems, as a former secretary later recalled to Wayne Barrett in his 1992 book, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, the visits by the mob titans to their lawyer's office allowed them to talk shop without having to worry about FBI bugs. Cohn told a reporter that Trump called him "fifteen to twenty times a day, asking what's the status of this, what's the status of that," according to Barrett's book.
Another reason the FBI might not have taken Trump's professed ignorance at face value was that Trump had already brushed up against his share of wise guys in New York's gritty construction business, without apparent concern. To help build his first big Manhattan project, the Grand Hyatt New York on East 42nd Street, Trump had chosen a notorious demolition company secretly owned in part, according to the FBI, by a top Philadelphia mobster who doubled as crime lord of Atlantic City. To pour concrete for the new hotel, Trump picked a firm run by a man named Biff Halloran, who was convicted a few years later for his role in what prosecutors dubbed a mob-run cartel that jacked up construction prices throughout the city. For the carpentry contract, Trump settled on a Genovese family–controlled enterprise that was central to another mob price-fixing racket, as found by a subsequent federal probe.
And then there was the person who had introduced Trump to the FBI agents in the first place. This was a six-foot-five bear of a man named Daniel Sullivan, a former Teamsters leader who was serving as what Trump called his "labor consultant" at the time. Sullivan wore other hats as well: He was partners with a reputed Atlantic City mobster named Kenneth Shapiro, who controlled the local scrap market and who was in the process of selling Trump a large plot of land at top dollar on which to build his casino.
Sullivan, who had once been close to Jimmy Hoffa, was also secretly operating as an FBI informant, filling in the FBI on the various mobsters who crossed his path.
However, more important to this story are Trump’s connections to the international prostitution ring allegedly financed from questionable sources from Russia; sources close to Putin himself.
Trump & The Russian Mafia: A Closer Look At Donald Trump’s Links To The Russian Mob
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said at a conference, of the "Trump Organization": “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Respected international policy journal Global Security has officially named Donald Trump the “Manchurian Candidate”, a shocking label for certain, but one they apply with a great deal of evidence to back it up. The stunning article reveals that Trump’s connections inside Russia go far deeper than what has been discussed in the mainstream media to date, and along a much darker path.
Let’s start with Felix Sater, whose father is a Russian Organized Crime boss, and who is one of the direct links between the Republican party Nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America, and Russian Organized Crime. Sater, the Russian émigré and a felon convicted twice over ties to the Mafia, has appeared in many photos with Trump, and reportedly carried a Trump Organization business card with the title of ‘Senior Advisor to Donald Trump’. Sater also served time in prison for a 1991 assault at El Rio Grande restaurant in New York. He is also an executive of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate development firm that has partnered with Trump in different projects; the founding chairman of Bayrock, Tevfik Arif, is known for its ties with Russian organized crime.
In addition to being a television personality, Trump makes a lot of his money these days licensing his name for various hotel and condo projects, not to mention mattress and vodka brands. His most frequent partner in the condo/hotel deals—some of which have become actual projects and some of which haven’t—has been a small development firm called the Bayrock Group, which was headquartered in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in 2005 when the partnership began. Trump and Bayrock joined forces on Trump Soho in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, announced and then canceled another Florida project called Trump Las Olas, and together pushed unsuccessful ventures in Colorado and Arizona.
It is Trump’s financing from Russian satellite business interests that would seem to explain his pro-Putin sympathies.
The most obvious example is Trump Soho, a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior advisor in the Trump organization.
“Tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock’s business model,” the lawsuit said of the financiers behind Trump Soho. The financing came from Russian-affiliated business interests that engaged in criminal activities, it said. “(But) there is no evidence Trump took any part in, or knew of, their racketeering.”
Journalists who’ve looked at the Bayrock lawsuit, and Trump Soho, wonder why Trump was involved at all. “What was Trump thinking entering into business with partners like these?” Franklin Foer wrote in Slate. “It’s a question he has tried to banish by downplaying his ties to Bayrock.”
But Bayrock wasn’t just involved with Trump Soho. It financed multiple Trump projects around the world, Foer wrote. “(Trump) didn’t just partner with Bayrock; the company embedded with him. Bayrock put together deals for mammoth Trump-named, Trump-managed projects—two in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a resort in Phoenix, the Trump SoHo in New York.”
But, as The New York Times has reported, that was only the beginning of the Trump organization’s entanglement with Russian financiers. Trump was quite taken with Bayrock’s founder, Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet-era commerce official originally from Kazakhstan.
“Bayrock, which was developing commercial properties in Brooklyn, proposed that Mr. Trump license his name to hotel projects in Florida, Arizona and New York, including Trump SoHo,” the Times reported. “The other development partner for Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir, was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.”
Trump was eager to work with both financial groups on Trump projects all over the world. “Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif’s overseas connections,” the Times wrote. “In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed ‘numerous deals all over the world’ and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump’s office to meet him. ‘Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.’”
The Times also reported that federal court records recently released showed yet another link to Russian financial interests in Trump businesses. A Bayrock official “brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians ‘in favor with’ President Vladimir V. Putin,’” the Times reported. “The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a ‘strategic partner,’ along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt.”
Trump Soho was so complicated that Bayrock’s finance chief, Jody Kriss, sued it for fraud. In the lawsuit, Kriss alleged that a primary source of funding for Trump’s big projects with Bayrock arrived “magically” from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan whenever the business interest needed funding.
There are other Russian business ties to the Trump organization as well. Trump’s first real estate venture in Toronto, Canada, was a partnership with two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs, Toronto Life reported in 2013.
“The hotel’s developer, Talon International, is run by Val Levitan and Alex Shnaider, two Russian-Canadian entrepreneurs. Levitan made his fortune manufacturing slot machines and creating bank note validation technology, and Shnaider earned his in the post-glasnost steel trade,” it reported.
Finally, for all of his denials of Russian ties lately, Trump has boasted in the past of his many meetings with Russian oligarchs. During one trip to Moscow, Trump bragged that they all showed up to meet him to discuss projects around the globe. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room” just to meet with him, Trump said at the time.
And when Trump built a tower in Panama, his clients were wealthy Russians, the Washington Post reported. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008, according to a trade publication, eTurboNews.
The only instance that Trump acknowledges any sort of Russian financial connection is a Florida mansion he sold to a wealthy Russian. “What do I have to do with Russia?” Trump said in the wake of the DNC hack. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida… for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions.”
The relationship between Donald Trump and Felix Sater, whose father is a reputed Russian Organized Crime boss, represents a rather direct link between the presidential candidate and Russian Organized Crime. The Russian émigré — a twice-convicted felon with ties to the Mafia — appeared in photos with Trump, and carried a Trump Organization business card with the title “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.” Trump was confused when asked under oath in a 2013 about his relationship to the Russian émigré.
Mr. Sater was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 after a New York bar fight in which he stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass. That was a matter of public record. However, what few people beyond insiders at Bayrock knew was that five years later, Mr. Sater was implicated in a huge stock manipulation scheme involving Mafia figures and Russian criminals — and that he became a confidential F.B.I. informant.
Recently unsealed federal court records show that Mr. Sater helped the government disrupt an organized crime ring on Wall Street and deal with an unexplained national security matter involving his foreign connections. He was not the only F.B.I. informant in Bayrock’s offices. Another was Salvatore Lauria, an associate of Mr. Sater, who sometimes showed up to work wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor.
Mr. Lauria brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians “in favor with” President Vladimir V. Putin himself, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives.
In 2010 the founding chairman of Bayrock, Tevfik Arif, who has reputed Russian organized crime ties was charged in Turkey for smuggling underage girls into the country for prostitution. Another principal in the deal is Russian émigré Tamir Sapir, who also lives in Trump Tower.
As reported by Turkish News, A New York real estate mogul with ties to Donald Trump is at the center of an international sex scandal – suspected of running a high-priced prostitution ring. Tevfik Arif, 57, has been detained in Turkey on suspicion of setting up trysts between wealthy businessmen and Eastern European models – some underage – aboard a $60 million yacht once used by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Ataturk.
Arif, whose Bayrock Group co-developed the Trump SoHo and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, was among 10 people rounded up on suspicion of running an (underage) prostitution ring.
In his deposition, Trump praised Arif’s “international connections,” and detailed half a dozen “phenomenal” prospective tower deals with Arif, including ones in Moscow, Yalta, Warsaw, Istanbul, and Kiev. He boasted that Arif was prepared to give Trump a 20 to 25 percent interest in his overseas projects, plus management fees and a possible percentage of gross, without Trump investing a nickel—just for the use of his name. “It was almost like mass production of a car,” Trump testified.
Another partner in Trump Soho is the Russian émigré developer Tamir Sapir, who lives in a $5 million Trump Tower condo. Though his net worth was first pegged at $2 billion by Forbes in 2006, Sapir’s company claimed to have “ only $4,000 in cash and cash equivalents” in 2009. Fred Contini, Sapir’s onetime executive vice president and top aide, pled guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy with the Gambino crime family for 13 years—both prior to and after his hiring by Sapir in 1996.
Sapir, whom Trump calls a “ great friend,” introduced Donald to Bayrock and is best known for his $500,000 payment to lobbyist and former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato for a single call to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to help him retain a lucrative lease with the agency. He was also fined $150,000 for decorating his yacht with 29 animal carcasses in violation of endangered species laws, including a stuffed lion and python-covered bar stools.
Nineteen Trump Soho unit buyers are now suing, accusing Bayrock, Sapir, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Jr., among others, of “an ongoing pattern of fraudulent misrepresentations and deceptive sales practices.”
Trump’s advisers also have financial ties in Russia. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, got an investment fund for a Russian aluminium magnate who is now suing him saying Manafort disappeared with $19 million. He also tried to establish a multimillion-dollar real estate project with funds from a Ukranian energy tycoon, although this was unsuccessful, and worked as an adviser to Ukraine’s Putin-backed president. And Manafort may still be on the payroll of a pro-Putin Ukranian politician.
Indeed, there is evidence that the Trump campaign even flexed it’s muscles as the nominee’s campaign to alter the Republican Party platform in favor of Russia’s annexation of Crimea – something Trump has even said he would consider. And while the Trump campaign denies strong-arming the platform committee, high ranking Republicans insist it’s true.
Then there’s the matter of Trump directly asking Russia, America’s greatest adversary, to hack the computer systems of his rival politician and political party – and doing so right in front of the press! Which would have been the equivalent of Richard Nixon giving the order for the Watergate break-in from the podium of the White House – but not to the “White House Plumbers” – the covert crew Nixon used for his dirty work – but to the KGB.
Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief from Putin's Pals
KIEV, Ukraine — On a leafy side street off Independence Square in Kiev is an office used for years by Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, when he consulted for Ukraine’s ruling political party. His furniture and personal items were still there as recently as May.
And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies that helped members of Mr. Yanukovych’s inner circle finance their lavish lifestyles, including a palatial presidential residence with a private zoo, golf course and tennis court. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.
In a recent interview, Serhiy V. Gorbatyuk, Ukraine’s special prosecutor for high-level corruption cases, pointed to an open file on his desk containing paperwork for one of the shell companies, Milltown Corporate Services Ltd., which played a central role in the state’s purchase of two oil derricks for $785 million, or about double what they were said to be worth.
“This,” he said, “was an offshore used often by Mr. Yanukovych’s entourage.”
The role of the offshore companies in business dealings involving Mr. Manafort came to light because of court filings in the Cayman Islands and in a federal court in Virginia related to an investment fund, Pericles Emerging Markets. Mr. Manafort and several partners started the fund in 2007, and its major backer was Mr. Deripaska, the Russian mogul, to whom the State Department has refused to issue a visa, apparently because of allegations linking him to Russian organized crime, a charge he has denied.
The network comprised shell companies whose ultimate owners were shielded by the secrecy laws of the offshore jurisdictions where they were registered, including the British Virgin Islands, Belize and the Seychelles.
Fineroad Business LLP also lists Ireland & Overseas Acquisitions and Milltown as its partners, although the duo have moved home from the BVI to Belize. Fineroad owns the Kiev office building known as “Yanukovych’s helipad”. A high rise with a helicopter landing pad on the roof, this was made available by Kiev City Hall for the President’s use to allow him to arrive in the city by helicopter.
Mr. Manafort continued working in Ukraine after the demise of Mr. Yanukovych’s government, helping allies of the ousted president and others form a political bloc that opposed the new pro-Western administration. Some of his aides were in Ukraine as recently as this year, and Ukrainian company records give no indication that Mr. Manafort has formally dissolved the local branch of his company, Davis Manafort International, directed by a longtime assistant, Konstantin V. Kilimnik.
Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.
The developments in Ukraine underscore the risky nature of the international consulting that has been a staple of Mr. Manafort’s business since the 1980s, when he went to work for the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Before joining Mr. Trump’s campaign this spring, Mr. Manafort’s most prominent recent client was Mr. Yanukovych, who — like Mr. Marcos — was deposed in a popular uprising.
Latvia, a country on the coast of the Baltic Sea and a former part of the Soviet Union, has been at the heart of a number of informal networks of companies fronted by proxies that laundered money for criminal groups. Last year, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project looked at some of these companies in its series called the Proxy Platform. The tiny country supplied both the proxies and the banks through which hundreds of millions of dollars travelled through.
And at the heart of many of these deals were two Latvian proxies: Erik Vanagels and Stan Gorin. Some of the hundreds of companies they represent, stretching from Panama to Eastern Europe, were involved in a series questionable or fraudulent businesses ranging from weapon shipments to Africa to Ponzi schemes. It is not clear whether Gorin or Vanagels play any role beyond their proxy status but the likelihood is they do not. However, their names are the calling cards of a deeper network.
Gorin, Vanagels, and Vitman are linked as directors and shareholders for hundreds of companies in the UK, New Zealand, US, Ireland, Cyprus as well as companies in classic offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama. The companies they control in turn serve as the directors or shareholders of hundreds or perhaps even thousands of more companies. Their primary companies are Milltown Corporate Services and Ireland & Overseas Acquisitions, (incorporated in Ireland, British Virgin Islands and Belize), Fynel Ltd, incorporated in Cyprus, Jargon Management, also in Cyprus, and the three Panamanian companies: Systemo AG, Cascado AG and Integri SA.
And their activity is not restricted to corrupt Ukrainian state procurement or export deals. The omnipresent companies are involved in dozens of lower level import-export invoice fraud and sub-invoicing cases in Russia and other CIS countries. Typically these are tax evasion cases that sap state budgets of revenues and leaves public employees – teachers and doctors – impoverished, and infrastructure crumbling.
Loginex Projects, a company established by Gorin and Vanagel’s Ireland and Overseas Acquisitions and Milltown Corporate Services, was named in a British High Court decision October 2011 as one of a number of companies used by Mukhtar Ablyazov, former head of Kazakhstan Bank BTA, to illegally move slightly more than $1 billion to an account in the Latvian based Trasta Kommercbanka.
They are also present in cyberspace – in particular in pyramid investment scams such as High Yield Investment Plans (HYIP). In December 2009, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cracked down on a Latvian Ponzi scheme called Rockford Funding, run by Latvian-born 32 year old Genadi Yagodayev, The SEC alleged it had defrauded investors of over US$11 million in nine months.
The companies listed by the SEC as processing the funds included British companies set up by Vanagels’ Milltown Corporate Services and Gorin's Ireland & Overseas Acquisitions, and a Panamanian company set up by Cascado, Integri and Systemo. Another HYIP pyramid scheme that collapsed in December 2010 – “Cherry Shares” – was traced back to New Zealand companies listing Lativan Inta Bilder and Vanagels as directors. Money from the Ponzi scam was wired to accounts at Latvian banks Rietumu Bank, Regional Investment Bank, Trasta Komercbanka and JSC Multibanka, according to the investigation.
High-Stakes Russian Mafia & Turkish Prostitution Run Out of Trump Tower
How did an alleged and notorious Russian mobster connected to an illegal international gambling ring run out of Trump Tower end up as a special guest at a Donald Trump event in Moscow in 2013? This may be one of the odder questions of the already-odd 2016 presidential campaign.
On April 16, 2013, federal agents burst into a swanky apartment at Trump Tower in New York City as part of a larger raid that rounded up 29 suspected members of two global gambling rings with operations allegedly overseen by a supposed Russian mob boss named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. The Russian was not nabbed by US law enforcement. Since being indicted in the United States a decade earlier for allegedly rigging an ice skating competition at the 2002 Olympics, he had been living in Russia, beyond the reach of Western authorities. And this new gambling indictment did not appear to inconvenience Tokhtakhounov. Seven months after the bust, he was a VIP attendee at Donald Trump's Miss Universe 2013 contest held in Moscow. In fact, Tokhtakhounov hit the red carpet within minutes of Trump. An alleged crime lord who was a fugitive from American justice was apparently a celebrity guest at Trump's event.
During the 2016 race, Trump's associations with Russia have sparked assorted controversies. He has praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin and made a series of contradictory remarks regarding his relationship with the autocrat. (In July, Trump said he had never spoken to Putin, but in a 2014 video, he claimed he had.) Trump has insisted on the campaign trail, "I have nothing to do with Russia." Yet he has a long history of attempting—and generally failing—to forge deals in that country. And Trump has been surrounded by campaign aides—including onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort—with close and lucrative business ties to Russia and Putin allies.
Contrary to his claim of having nothing to do with Russia, Trump did pull off one major deal there: staging the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in the nation's capital. At the time, Trump co-owned the contest with NBC. The event landed him in the company of Tokhtakhounov and other high-profile Russians. And Trump hoped it would also bring him close to Putin. Months before the contest, he tweeted, "Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow - if so, will he become my new best friend?"
Putin didn't show up, but, according to Russian media accounts and photos of the event, Tokhtakhounov did. He was part of a crew of wealthy and powerful Russians who, according to a press report, were treated as VIPs. Also present were Vladimir Kozhin, a top government official and member of Putin's inner circle (who the following year would be hit with US sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine) and Aras Agalarov, a Russian billionaire oligarch close to Putin with whom Trump wanted to develop a high-rise in Moscow. (Agalarov played a role in drawing the beauty contest to Moscow; it was held in a concert hall owned by his family business empire, and his son, a middling pop star, performed at the pageant.) After the event, Trump boasted to the New York Post, "Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room."
Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov's tale is an intriguing story of sports, Hollywood stars, poker, and alleged crime. The indictment filed by Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan, which triggered the 2013 raid, identified Tokhtakhounov as a vory v zakone—or a vor—a Russian term for a select group of the highest-level Russian crime bosses. A vor receives tributes from other criminals, offers protection, and adjudicates conflicts among other crooks. The indictment charged that Tokhtakhounov used his "substantial influence in the criminal underworld" to protect a high-stakes illegal gambling ring operating out of Trump Tower. He sometimes deployed "explicit threats of violence and economic harm" to handle disputes arising from this gambling operation. The indictment noted that in one two-month period he was paid $10 million by this outfit for his services.
The operations of the gambling scheme were handled by two other men: Vadim Trincher and Anatoly Golubchik. The indictment alleged that they and others ran "an international gambling business that catered to oligarchs residing in the former Soviet Union and throughout the world," used "threats of violence to obtain unpaid gambling debts," and "employed a sophisticated money laundering scheme to move tens of millions of dollars…from the former Soviet Union through shell companies in Cyprus into various investments and other shell companies in the United States." According to the US attorney, their enterprise "booked sports bets that reached into the millions of dollars" and laundered approximately $100 million.
Trincher, a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, was a championship professional poker player who had purchased a Trump Tower apartment located directly below an apartment owned by Donald Trump. In 2009, Trincher had paid $5 million for the posh pad. Two years later, he and his wife had reportedly hoped to hold a fundraiser in the apartment for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, but they had to cancel the event because of the presence of mold caused by a water leak. During one court hearing, the US attorney's office said that Trincher, then 52 years old, directed much of the racketeering enterprise from this Trump Tower apartment. "From his apartment, he oversaw what must have been the world's largest sports book," Assistant US Attorney Harris Fischman remarked. "He catered to millionaires and billionaires."
The indictment also targeted an associated gambling ring operated by Trincher's son Illya, Hillel Nahmad, the son of a billionaire art dealer, and others. (Nahmad also reportedly owned the entire 51st floor of Trump Tower.) This crew managed a high-stakes betting operation and money-laundering shop. The indictment charged another Trincher son named Eugene and several others with running illegal high-stakes poker rooms in and around New York City. This group included Molly Bloom, who had previously earned a reputation as an organizer of private poker games for celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Following the raid, the New York Daily News reported that a witness told the paper that "games held by the crew in a Trump Tower apartment…[were] poker 'on steroids,' with cameos by movie and sports stars, including A-Rod."
Shortly after the indictment was issued, Tokhtakhounov told a Russian television channel that the case against him was "yet another fairy tale from the Americans." He claimed the prosecutors had included him in the indictment "to give the situation significance." He acknowledged that he knew two of the defendants and had placed bets with them. "Of course, in conversation," he added, "I might have given them advice on how to do things better."
Tokhtakhounov was trying to depict himself as a victim unfairly targeted by the United States. In 2002, he was indicted for allegedly fixing skating matches at the Salt Lake City Olympics. (The feds believed he had rigged events so that Russians would take home a gold and a French pair would win another gold—and he would pocket a French visa.) He was arrested in Italy, but soon Tokhtakhounov, who denied the charges, was let go and made his way back to Russia.
Something of a celebrity in Russia, Tokhtakhounov has engaged in various enterprises. He once owned casinos in Moscow. He claimed to be an organizer of pop concerts and fashion shows. He represented a modeling association, and he wrote novels. He lived in a high-end apartment building in Moscow and kept a palatial country house outside the city. He is currently wanted by Interpol for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bribery conspiracy, wire fraud, and "bribery in sport contests."
A year following the Trump Tower raid, Trincher and Golubchik, after pleading guilty, were each sentenced to five years in prison. Each man was ordered to forfeit more than $20 million in cash, investments, and property. (Trincher's sons, Nahmad, and Bloom also pled guilty.) Tokhtakhounov, the US attorney's office noted, remained a fugitive.
Trump has cited the 2013 Miss Universe contest as proof he possesses serious foreign policy experience. In May, he told Fox News, "I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, which was a big, big incredible event." And it provided the reality television mogul the opportunity to hobnob with a Putin crony who is now under US sanctions, various oligarchs who are chums with the Russian leader, and an alleged Russian mafioso accused by the US government of protecting a global criminal enterprise that operated directly below one of Trump's own apartments in Trump Tower. What a small world.
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, took time off from the frenetic presidential campaign to go traveling with her close friend, Wendi Deng Murdoch, ex-wife of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch and current girlfriend of guess who? Ivanka Trump met with Putin’s girlfriend in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on a yacht provided by oligarch Roman Abramovich. The Daily Mail wrote in 2014 that the two women were friends long before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president, as Wendi made her way through one power player after another, now Putin's girlfriend.
Gold-plated Empire of Fraud & Mob-Boss "Teflon Don" Trump
In the 1980s, Trump paid $8 million to buy out two mob-tied business associates when he feared his gaming license wouldn’t be approved. He wrote a letter to a federal judge on behalf of a mob-connected cocaine dealer whose helicopter company serviced his casinos and whose girlfriend had two Trump Tower apartments. He structured the purchase of a plot of land from a top leader of the murderous Scarfo crime family in Atlantic City so that his name would not appear in the transaction. He put a winsome but ostensibly penniless woman closely associated with the Gambino-connected head of the concrete drivers union in a triplex with Trump Tower’s only swimming pool right beneath his own apartment.
The Trump family has also gone into business with two convicted cocaine traffickers, one in Turkey and another in Philadelphia. Engin Yesil, whose development company was said to “ own the Turkey rights” for a $500 million project called Trump Towers Istanbul, was sentenced to a six-year prison term on cocaine charges in the U.S. 20 years ago.
When asked in the O’Brien deposition about the Istanbul project, Donald deferred to his son, who he said was handling the deal. In 2009, Ivanka did a huge press event in Istanbul, announcing that 45 percent of the units were already committed.
Trump Tower Philadelphia also involves a former cocaine dealer, Raoul Goldberg, aka Goldberger. Sentenced to 46 months in prison in 2000 on the coke conviction, he was technically on probation when he brought the site for the 45-story tower to Trump in 2005. And even though it’s only a license and management deal for Trump, Ivanka and Donald Jr. were so involved that they worked on spa and restaurant deals for the complex. Goldberg, who has suddenly “disappeared” from the project just as Felix Sater did, told Philadelphia Magazine in 2006 that he talked to Ivanka or Donald Jr. “every day.”
The daughter of a reputed New Jersey mob figure says her late father had a longtime relationship with Donald Trump that included gambling millions of dollars at one of his casinos, flying on his helicopter and partying aboard his private yacht.
In 1991, Trump first faced questions about his dealings with Robert LiButti, a plump, balding and nationally famous horse breeder with an explosive temper who would later be banned from New Jersey casinos for his ties to Mafia boss John Gotti. At the time, New Jersey state regulators had launched an investigation into allegations by nine employees of one of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Plaza, that the hotel had repeatedly removed African-Americans and women from craps tables after LiButti, one of the highest-rolling gamblers in the city’s history, loudly complained about their presence when he was playing.
But Edith Creamer, LiButti’s daughter, told Yahoo News in two recent telephone interviews that Trump’s account was false and that Trump and her father knew each other quite well. “He’s a liar,” said Creamer. “Of course he knew him. I flew in the [Trump] helicopter with [Trump’s then wife] Ivana and the kids. My dad flew it up and down [to Atlantic City]. My 35th birthday party was at the Plaza and Donald was there. After the party, we went on his boat, his big yacht. I like Trump, but it pisses me off that he denies knowing my father. That hurts me.”
In any case, returning to Trump’s relationships through Trump Tower, another odd one involves the 1990s-vintage fraudulent company YBM Magnex International. YBM, ostensibly a world-class manufacturer of industrial magnets, was founded indirectly in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1995 by the “boss of bosses,” Semion Mogilevich, Moscow’s “brainy Don.”
This is a fellow with an incredible history, even if only half of what has been written about him is true.73 Unfortunately, we have to focus here only on the bits that are most relevant. Born in Kiev, and now a citizen of Israel as well as Ukraine and Russia, Semion, now seventy, is a lifelong criminal. But he boasts an undergraduate economics degree from Lviv University, and is reported to take special pride in designing sophisticated, virtually undetectable financial frauds that take years to put in place. To pull them off, he often relies on the human frailties of top bankers, stock brokers, accountants, business magnates, and key politicians.
In YBM’s case, for a mere $2.4 million in bribes, Semion and his henchmen spent years in the 1990s launching a product-free, fictitious company on the still-badly under-regulated Toronto Stock Exchange. Along the way they succeeded in securing the support of several leading Toronto business people and a former Ontario Province Premier to win a seat on YBM’s board. They also paid the “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte Touche very handsomely in exchange for glowing audits. By mid-1998, YBM’s stock price had gone from less than $0.10 to $20, and Semion cashed out at least $18 million—a relatively big fraud for its day—before the FBI raid its YBM’s corporate headquarters. When it did so, it found piles of bogus invoices for magnets, but no magnets.
In 2003, Mogilevich was indicted in Philadelphia on 45 felony counts for this $150 million stock fraud. But there is no extradition treaty between the United States and Russia, and no chance that Russia will ever extradite Semion voluntarily; he is arguably a national treasure, especially now. Acknowledging these realities, or perhaps for other reasons, the FBI quietly removed Mogilevich from its Top Ten Most Wanted list in 2015, where he had resided for the previous six years.
For our purposes, one of the most interesting things to note about this YBM Magnex case is that its CEO was a Russian-American named Jacob Bogatin, who was also indicted in the Philadelphia case. His brother David had served in the Soviet Army in a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft unit, helping to shoot down American pilots like Senator John McCain. Since the early 1990s, David Bogatin was considered by the FBI to be one of the key members of Semion Mogilevich’s Russian organized crime family in the United States, with a long string of convictions for big-ticket Mogilevich-type offenses like financial fraud and tax dodging.
Suggestion for "Executive Malware" Trump Organization USA challenge: Gather all Attorney Generals of all the States which currently have the Trump family & associates under investigation together for Trump Shadow summit, which will include NY, NJ, FL, and probably many more, to which the FBI & Justice Department are obligated to attend. Better invite Scotland Yard too, given "Teflon Don" Trump's unsavory reputation in the UK. Let's make this the most entertainingly great "American Greed" special presentation ever: "America Held Hostage"! http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/russian-organized-crime.htm
DNI: Putin Led Cyber, Propaganda Effort to Elect Trump, Denigrate Clinton
Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a massive propaganda and cyber operation aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton and getting Donald Trump elected, the top U.S. intelligence agencies said in a remarkable yet unshocking report released on Friday.
The 25-page dossier from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stopped short of saying the Russians succeeded at influencing the outcome of the election, noting that the report did not attempt to make an assessment on that front. But it makes the case that “Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.”
“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks,” the DNI report reads.
The report is a quick and fascinating read. One example: It includes a fairly detailed appendix which concludes that the U.S.-based but Kremlin-financed media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) is little more than a propaganda machine controlled by Russian intelligence agencies.
“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls,'” reads the report.
The DNI report is remarkable for several reasons. First, it publicly accuses Russia’s President of trying to meddle with the U.S. election and to hack both political parties. Also, as The New York Times observed, it offers “a virtually unheard-of, real-time revelation by the American intelligence agencies that undermined the legitimacy of the president who is about to direct them.”
However, those who’ve been clamoring for more technical evidence to support a conclusion that Russian intelligence agencies were behind the phishing, malware attacks and email leaks at The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign likely will be unmoved by this report. Those details will remain safely hidden from public view in the classified version of the report.
Last week, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint report (PDF) on some of the malware and Internet resources used in the DNC intrusion. But many experts criticized it as a poorly-written, jumbled collection of threat indicators and digital clues that didn’t all quite lead where they should.
Others were perplexed by the high confidence level the agencies assigned to the findings in their unclassified report, noting that neither the FBI nor DHS examined the DNC hard drives that were compromised in the break-in (that work was done by private security firm Crowdstrike).
"All the lessons of history in four sentences: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~ Charles A. Beard