Thursday, November 10, 2016

870 WSJ: FBI in Internal Feud over Hillary Clinton Probe

WSJ: FBI in Internal Feud over Hillary Clinton Probe

Newsletter published on 1 November 2016


(1) The FBI's Clinton Investigation Is Wider Than Assumed
(2) WSJ: FBI in Internal Feud over Hillary Clinton Probe
(3) Soros' Avaazers texting American millennial voters in swing states
(4) Ranked-Choice Voting (Instant Runoff) proposed for US
(5) Dakota pipeline protesters' 'last stand' on banks of Missouri river
(6) Libya plagued by  civil war and economic ruin; economy 'nears collapse'
(7) The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance - Robert Parry

(1) The FBI's Clinton Investigation Is Wider Than Assumed

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/10/the-fbis-clinton-investigation-is-wider-than-assumed.html

October 31, 2016

The Washington Post editors today added to their hypocrisy with three
additional anti-Comey op-eds:

     Eric Holder: James Comey is a good man, but he made a serious mistake
     The costs of Comey’s appeasement
     Comey’s mistaken quest for transparency

I interpret that as naked fear that their candidate Hillary Clinton may
now loose. That fear is justified.

The Wall Street Journal today added to its so far excellent reporting on
the Clinton issues by revealing the much bigger story behind it: FBI in
Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe - Laptop may contain thousands
of messages sent to or from Mrs. Clinton’s private server (open copy here).

According to the reporting, based on FBI sources, FBI agents in New York
and elsewhere have been looking into the Clinton Foundation for several
months. They suspect that this "charity" was selling political favors by
then Secretary of State Clinton in exchange for donations that
personally benefited the Clinton family.

The Justice Department blocked further aggressive investigations into
the issue, allegedly because of the ongoing election. A high FBI
official, Andrew McCabe, also showed disinterest in a further pursuit of
the issue. McCabe's wife had just tried to get elected as state senator
and had receive a campaign donation of nearly $500,000 from Virginia
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton friend and at times board member of the
Clinton Foundation. The FBI agents pursuing the investigation into the
Clinton Foundation were not amused.

The separate investigation into former Congressman Weiner for sexual
contacts with minors was looking for pedophile stuff on Weiner's
electronic devices. It didn't find any as far as we can tell, but found
some 650,000 emails archived on a laptop.

Several thousand of these emails were sent or received by Weiner's
spouse, the intimate Clinton aide Huma Abedin. They came through
Clinton's private email server. At least some of these thousands of
emails are likely copies of those that were deleted from Clinton's
server when the (separate) investigation into it started. They may be
evidence that Clinton sent and received classified documents through her
unsecured system. Some of these emails may also contain serious dirt
related to the Clinton Foundation. (It is highly likely that at least
some FBI agents know "unofficially" what these emails contain. Legally
they could not look at them without a warrant which they only got today.)

Thus we have three ongoing FBI investigations:

     into Clinton's private email-server used illegally for official
State Department business;
     into the Clinton Foundation and its role in peddling political
influence in exchange for donations;
     into the personal conduct of Anthony Weiner.

Additional investigations that may come up are on:

     the mixing of donations to the Clinton Foundation and personal
compensation for Bill Clinton for holding highly paid speeches;
     for profit activities by the group of people running Bill Clinton's
businesses as well as the Clinton Foundation financing;
     inappropriate hindering of the FBI investigations by the Justice
Department and/or by McCabe.

With such a list of potentially very serious scandals pending it is
highly understandable that FBI director Comey went public and did not
follow the advice from the Justice Department to pursue these issues
only on a reduced level. It would have been political suicide to try to
keep this silent. Way too many FBI agents eager to pursue these case
were in the known and would have talked, as they do now, to the media.

If Clinton gets elected she will be hampered by these scandals for the
next two years. The Republicans in Congress will jump on these issues as
soon as possible. There will be endless hearings with large media
coverage. The only question is when the first attempts at an impeachment
process will be made - before or after she moves back into the White
House. She and her family may be better off with her losing the campaign.

Posted by b on October 31, 2016 at 03:19 PM

(2) WSJ: FBI in Internal Feud over Hillary Clinton Probe
https://archive.fo/4Fpnk
http://www.wsj.com/articles/laptop-may-include-thousands-of-emails-linked-to-hillary-clintons-private-server-1477854957

FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe

Laptop may contain thousands of messages sent to or from private server

By Devlin Barrett

Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 30, 2016 3:34 p.m. ET

Federal agents are preparing to scour roughly 650,000 emails contained
on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner to see how many relate to a
prior probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use, as metadata on the device
suggests there may be thousands sent to or from the private server that
the Democratic nominee used while she was secretary of state, according
to people familiar with the matter.

The review will take weeks at a minimum to determine whether those
messages are work-related emails between Huma Abedin, a close Clinton
aide and the estranged wife of Mr. Weiner, and State Department
officials; how many are duplicates of emails already reviewed by the
Federal Bureau of Investigation; and whether they include either
classified information or important new evidence in the Clinton email
probe, which FBI officials call "Midyear."

The FBI has had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails,
because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner, and
that order was delayed for reasons that remain unclear.

Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey’s surprise disclosure Friday, less
than two weeks before the election, that investigators were pursuing the
potential new evidence lays bare tensions that have built for months
inside the bureau and the Justice Department over how to investigate
someone who could soon be elected president.

The continuing work means that if Mrs. Clinton wins the White House, she
will likely do so amid at least one ongoing investigation into her inner
circle being handled by law-enforcement officials who are deeply divided
over how to manage such cases.

The latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI
officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that
while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged
messages to a minor, they had recovered a laptop with 650,000 emails.
Many, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. Abedin, according to
people familiar with the matter.

Those emails stretched back years, these people said, and were on a
laptop that both Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin used and that hadn’t
previously come up in the Clinton email probe. Ms. Abedin said in late
August that the couple were separating.

The FBI had searched the computer while looking for child pornography,
people familiar with the matter said, but the warrant they used didn’t
give them authority to search for matters related to Mrs. Clinton’s
email arrangement at the State Department. Mr. Weiner has denied sending
explicit or indecent messages to the teenager.

In their initial review of the laptop, the metadata showed many
messages, apparently in the thousands, that were either sent to or from
the private email server at Mrs. Clinton’s home that had been the focus
of so much investigative effort for the FBI. Senior FBI officials
decided to let the Weiner investigators proceed with a closer
examination of the metadata on the computer, and report back to them.

At a meeting early last week of senior Justice Department and FBI
officials, a member of the department’s senior national-security staff
asked for an update on the Weiner laptop, the people familiar with the
matter said. At that point, officials realized that no one had acted to
obtain a warrant, these people said.

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin
attended a news conference in New York in 2013. Mr. Weiner had attempted
to revive his career with a bid for New York City mayor, but that effort
was doomed after a website published photos that he had evidently sent
to another woman. Photo: eric thayer/Reuters Mr. McCabe then instructed
the email investigators to talk to the Weiner investigators and see
whether the laptop’s contents could be relevant to the Clinton email
probe, these people said. After the investigators spoke, the agents
agreed it was potentially relevant.

Mr. Comey was given an update, decided to go forward with the case and
notified Congress on Friday, with explosive results. Senior Justice
Department officials had warned Mr. Comey that telling Congress would
violate well-established policies against overt actions that could
affect an election, and some within the FBI have been unhappy at Mr.
Comey’s repeated public statements on the probe, going back to his first
press conference on the subject in July.

The back-and-forth reflects how the bureau is probing several matters
related, directly or indirectly, to Mrs. Clinton and her inner circle.
The split within the Justice Department and FBI over Clinton-related
matters has been particularly apparent in the bureau’s investigation of
the Clinton Foundation, the Clintons’ family philanthropy. As the email
investigation wound down in July, the internal disagreements surrounding
the foundation probe heated up, according to people familiar with the
matter.

New details show that senior law-enforcement officials repeatedly voiced
skepticism of the strength of the evidence in that probe, sought to
condense what was at times a sprawling cross-country effort, and,
according to some people familiar with the matter, told agents to limit
their pursuit of the case.

That led to frustrations among some investigators, who viewed FBI
leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said.
Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr.
McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious
fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing
the Clinton Foundation case.

Such internal tensions are common, and it isn’t unusual for field agents
to favor a more aggressive approach than supervisors and prosecutors
think is merited. But the internal debates about the Clinton Foundation
show the high stakes when such disagreements occur surrounding someone
who is running for president.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill
McCabe, received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 from the
political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime
ally of the Clintons and, until he was elected governor in November
2013, a Clinton Foundation board member.

Mr. McAuliffe had supported Dr. McCabe in the hopes she and a handful of
other Democrats might help win a majority in the state Senate, giving
Mr. McAuliffe more sway in the state capitol. Dr. McCabe lost her race
last November, and Democrats failed to win their majority. A spokesman
for the governor has said that "any insinuation that his support was
tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would
help pass his agenda is ridiculous."

Dr. McCabe told the Journal, "Once I decided to run, my husband had no
formal role in my campaign other than to be a supportive husband to me
and our children."

In February of this year, Mr. McCabe ascended from the No. 3 position at
the FBI to the deputy director post, making him second only to Mr.
Comey. When he assumed that role, officials say, he started overseeing
the probe into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server for
government work when she was secretary of state.

FBI officials have said Mr. McCabe had no role in the Clinton email
probe until he became deputy director, and there was no conflict of
interest because by then his wife’s campaign was over. But other
Clinton-related investigations were under way within the FBI, and they
have been the subject of internal debate for months, according to people
familiar with the matter.

Early this year, four FBI field offices—New York, Los Angeles,
Washington and Little Rock, Ark.—were collecting information about the
Clinton Foundation to see if there was evidence of financial crimes or
influence-peddling, according to people familiar with the matter. Los
Angeles agents had picked up information about the Clinton Foundation
from an unrelated public corruption case and had issued some subpoenas
for bank records related to the foundation, these people said.

The Washington field office was probing financial relationships
involving Mr. McAuliffe before he became a Clinton Foundation board
member, these people said. Mr. McAuliffe has denied any wrongdoing, and
his lawyer has said the probe is focused on whether he failed to
register as an agent of a foreign entity.

Clinton Foundation officials have long denied any wrongdoing, saying it
is a well-run charity that has done immense good around the world. The
FBI field office in New York had done the most work on the Clinton
Foundation case and received help from the FBI field office in Little
Rock, the people familiar with the matter said.

In February, FBI officials made a presentation to the Justice
Department, according to these people. By all accounts, the meeting
didn’t go well.

Some said that is because the FBI didn’t present compelling evidence to
justify more aggressive pursuit of the Clinton Foundation, and that the
career public integrity prosecutors in the room simply believed it
wasn’t a very strong case. Others said that from the start, the Justice
Department officials were stern, icy and dismissive of the case.

"That was one of the weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to," one
participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the
matter.

Justice Department officials told the FBI at the meeting they wouldn’t
authorize more aggressive investigative techniques, such as subpoenas,
formal witness interviews, or grand-jury activity. But the FBI officials
believed they were still well within their authority to pursue the leads
and methods already under way, these people said. In July, Mr. Comey
announced he was recommending against any prosecution in the Clinton
email case. About a week later, the FBI sought to refocus the Clinton
Foundation probe, with Mr. McCabe deciding the FBI’s New York office
would take the lead with assistance from Little Rock.

The Washington field office, FBI officials decided, would focus on a
separate matter involving Mr. McAuliffe. Mr. McCabe had decided earlier
in the spring that he would continue to recuse himself from that probe,
given the governor’s contributions to his wife’s former political campaign.

Within the FBI, the decision was viewed with skepticism by some, who
felt the probe would be stronger if the foundation and McAuliffe matters
were combined. Others, particularly senior officials at the Justice
Department, felt that both probes were weak, based largely on publicly
available information, and had found little that would merit expanded
investigative authority.

According to a person familiar with the probes, on Aug. 12, a senior
Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure
at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the
Clinton Foundation probe, despite the department’s refusal to allow more
aggressive investigative methods in the case. Mr. McCabe said agents
still had the authority to pursue the issue as long as they didn’t use
those methods.

The Justice Department official was "very pissed off," according to one
person close to Mr. McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was
still chasing a matter the department considered dead. Others said the
point of the call was simply the Justice Department trying to make sure
that FBI agents were following longstanding policy not to make overt
investigative moves that could be seen as trying to influence the
outcome of an election. Those rules discourage investigators from making
any such moves before a primary or general election, and, at a minimum,
checking with public integrity prosecutors before doing so. "Are you
telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?"
Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation.
After a pause, the official replied, "Of course not," these people said.

For Mr. McCabe’s defenders, the exchange showed how he was stuck between
an FBI office eager to pour more resources into a case and Justice
Department leaders who didn’t think much of the case, one person said.
Those people said that following the call, Mr. McCabe reiterated past
instructions to FBI agents that they were to keep pursuing the work
within the authority they had.

Mr. McCabe’s defenders in the agency said that following the call, he
repeated the instruction that he had given earlier in the Clinton
Foundation investigation: Agents were to keep pursuing the work within
the authority they had.

Others further down the FBI chain of command, however, said agents were
given a much starker instruction on the case: "Stand down." When agents
questioned why they weren’t allowed to take more aggressive steps, they
said they were told the order had come from the deputy director—Mr. McCabe.

Others familiar with the matter deny Mr. McCabe or any other senior FBI
official gave such a stand-down instruction.

For agents who already felt uneasy about FBI leadership’s handling of
the Clinton Foundation case, the moment only deepened their concerns,
these people said. For those who felt the probe hadn’t yet found
significant evidence of criminal conduct, the leadership’s approach was
the right response to the facts on the ground.

In September, agents on the foundation case asked to see the emails
contained on nongovernment laptops that had been searched as part of the
Clinton email case, but that request was rejected by prosecutors at the
Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. Those emails were given to
the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements,
meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating
possible mishandling of classified information.

Some FBI agents were dissatisfied with that answer, and asked for
permission to make a similar request to federal prosecutors in
Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. McCabe,
these people said, told them no and added that they could not "go
prosecutor-shopping."

Not long after that discussion, FBI agents informed the bureau’s leaders
about the Weiner laptop, prompting Mr. Comey’s disclosure to Congress
and setting of the furor that promises to consume the final days of a
tumultuous campaign.

Write to Devlin Barrett at devlin.barrett@wsj.com

(3) Soros' Avaazers texting American millennial voters in swing states
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2016 05:29:02 -0400 From: "Avaaz.org"
<avaaz@avaaz.org> Subject: Next steps - Helping voters in the US

Thanks for volunteering to help turn out US voters in swing states!

Here's more information to help guide you.

Overview: Avaazers around the world are texting American millennial
voters in swing states encouraging them to go vote. We are partnering
with the progressive group NextGen Climate who have an effective program
in place already.

Volunteer "shifts" are for US timezones as that is when we want to
message voters. The staff members who assign shifts are in US hours, so
if you are getting started when US folks are asleep, come back online
during US working hours.

Remember you don’t need a phone and data plan - just a computer and
internet access.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

1) Sign-up - We are partnering with NextGen Climate - please sign-up
here: https://nextgenclimate.org/volunteer/avaaz/

2) Training - Watch the <https://nextgenclimate.org/text/> instructional
video on how to use the peer-to-peer texting with the Relay tool.

3) Create an Account - Create a Relay account here as you will need it
for your first shift.

4) First Shift - Once your account is created, you're ready to start
texting! <https://nextgenclimate.org/text/> Ping the "Live Help" chat at
the bottom right of the NextGen screen, and let them know you are ready
for an assignment.

Remember, texting has to happen in US hours, so if you contact "Live
Help" and no one is there to respond, try again later.

5) Getting started - The <https://nextgenclimate.org/text/> "Live Help"
staff will assign contacts to you as soon as they can (this is usually
within minutes during US working hours) and when they do, reload the
Relay page to see your assignment.

6) Resources and scripts - Follow the script here, and make sure to mark
the responses on the right side of the Relay interface so NextGen can
keep track of voters responses.

7) Next Shift - Once you're ready for another shift - if it is off US
hours, <https://nextgenclimate.org/schedule-a-shift/#vol-text> you can
sign-up here.

8) Talking to other volunteers - Most volunteers like the help and
support of others. Plus it can be fun to chat about your experience.
Come join other volunteers using the messenger program called "Slack" -
no download is necessary: https://nextgenorganizing.herokuapp.com/

If you have more specific questions about this or want to reach out to
Avaaz before you get started, email text@avaaz.org

Good luck, and have fun! Together we are making a massive difference to
ensure young voters turn out this election and keep Trump far away from
the White House.

Let's do this!!

Avaaz is a 44-million-person global campaign network that works to
ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global
decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.)
Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread
across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn
about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns
<https://www.avaaz.org/en/highlights.php/?footer> here, or follow us on
<https://www.facebook.com/Avaaz> Facebook or <https://twitter.com/Avaaz>
Twitter.

(4) Ranked-Choice Voting (Instant Runoff) proposed for US

{This is like the Preferential Voting we have in Australia - ed.}

http://www.jill2016.com/ranked_choice_voting

Ranked-Choice Voting

The Problem with the U.S. Voting System

[...] There is a solution to what some call the 'spoiler' problem, which
is really a much deeper problem of widespread voter anger at and
alienation from our electoral system.

That solution is called Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), also known as
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

Ranked Choice Voting eliminates the perceived "spoiler" problem and
ensures that the winner of an election has the support of a majority of
voters. RCV is easy as 1, 2, 3.

How Ranked Choice Voting Prevents Spoilers

How It Works

1. Voters rank candidates in their order of preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd
and so on). If a candidate has more than 50% of the first choice votes,
s/he wins.

2. If no candidate gets a majority of the #1 votes, then the candidate
with the fewest first choices is eliminated.

3. The voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first
choice will then have their votes added to the totals of their second
choice.

4. This process continues until a candidate has more than half of the
active votes or only two candidates remain.

Under this system, potential voters are empowered and encouraged to come
to the polls because there will be more choices of candidates and the
individual voter's ballot will have more impact.

The Two Major Parties Have Chosen Not to Act

Leading Democrats and Republicans have known about (and supported) these
reforms for years. Fourteen years ago, as an Illinois State Senator,
Barack Obama introduced SB 1789 during the 2002 session. SB 1789 would
have adopted instant runoff voting (IRV) for congressional and state
primary elections in Illinois and authorized IRV for local elections.
U.S. Senator John McCain endorsed instant runoff voting back in 2002 as
well. Howard Dean also supports Ranked Choice Voting. In fact, he
recently published an OpEd in the New York Times in support of Question
Five in Maine (statewide referendum on ranked choice voting -- see next
section for more details).

RCV has been adopted and proved successful in several local
jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Oakland, Portland (Maine),
Minneapolis and many more. We know the solution -- what we lack is the
political will from elected leadership to act. But perhaps the major
parties refuse to change a system they know how to work to their advantage?

YES on Maine's Question Five

This year, Maine has a statewide referendum on ranked choice voting
(RCV). Portland, Maine has successfully used RCV for Mayor over the last
two election cycles. Our opinion:

Voters across America are frustrated by our broken voting system. The
problem is that our current voting system is forcing some people to feel
they must vote against the candidate they dislike the most rather than
for the one they like the most. Ranked choice voting is a solution to
this problem, and Maine is leading the charge to give voters more
choices in our elections.

Question 5 gives Mainers the power to rank candidates in the order you
prefer. It’s as simple as 1-2-3. Counting the votes is equally easy. If
any candidate receives a majority of the most votes, they win. Majority
rule. But if there is no majority winner, then the candidate with the
least number of first preference votes is eliminated. But those voters
did not "waste" their votes, because they already indicated their second
choice. That’s why it is sometimes called "Instant Runoff Voting."

This empowers the voter with the freedom to vote for the candidate you
like best without worrying that it could help the candidate you like
least win the election. Ranked choice voting takes the fear out of voting.

Question 5 has broad support from Independents, Democrats, Republicans,
Libertarians and Greens who agree that we need to fix our voting system
and allow for real competition and real choice. Ranked choice voting
would be used in elections for US Senate, Congress, Governor, State
Senate, and State Representative.This system has been successfully used
in cities across America including San Francisco, Minneapolis and St.
Paul, as well as Portland, Maine.

It’s also used by the Academy Awards, to select the Heisman winner in
college football, and Most Valuable Player in baseball, and Robert’s
Rules of Order. The Utah Republican Party uses it for internal An added
bonus-- this new system has been proven to encourage more civil debate
and less mud-slinging during campaigns. Why? Because candidates are
eager to earn second-preference votes. Maine is poised to become the
first state to implement this improved voting system.

Ranked choice voting is a simple, common sense reform to improve
elections. The old "first past the post, winner take all" system is
obsolete and falling out of use across the democratic world. It’s time
to implement this new and improved system to encourage more
participation and more voices. Maine, it’s in your hands.

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics and Engineering Physics)"

<sadanand@ccsu.edu Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:40:08 +0000

(5) Dakota pipeline protesters' 'last stand' on banks of Missouri river

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/31/north-dakota-access-pipeline-protest-last-stand

Dakota pipeline protesters set for 'last stand' on banks of Missouri river

Completion of controversial oil pipeline near as work moves quickly, but
one Standing Rock protester says: ‘There is no time for waiting any more’

Sam Levin in Cannon Ball, North Dakota   @SamTLevin

Monday 31 October 2016 22.47 AEDT Last modified on Tuesday 1 November
2016 09.00 AEDT

Native American protesters are preparing to take a "last stand" against
the Dakota Access pipeline after police raided their camps and arrested
hundreds, paving the way for construction of the final stretch of the
controversial oil project.

The Standing Rock protesters in North Dakota have been fighting the
$3.8bn pipeline since April but were dealt a blow last week when police
successfully pushed them off the property where construction is rapidly
advancing.

While claims of excessive use of force by police and inhumane treatment
in jail have sparked national outrage, native leaders camped out in the
cold in Cannon Ball said they have also grown increasingly concerned
that time is running out to stop the project on the ground. Pipeline
workers, they say, are getting frighteningly close to the sacred water
of the Missouri river.

"There isn’t much land left between the water and the equipment," said
Cheryl Angel, a member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe who in the spring
helped form the first Sacred Stone camp for protesters who call
themselves "water protectors".

"They’re right there. They have breached our sacred ground. There is no
time for waiting any more," the 56-year-old said, tears streaming as she
gestured toward the water and encroaching pipeline. "It is almost
complete. All they need to do is go under that river."

Cheryl Angel: ‘There isn’t much land left between the water and the
equipment.’ Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

It is unclear when the final phase of construction could finish, but
native activists on Sunday said it appeared the project was within a few
miles of the water and that the construction crew seemed to be working
at a fast pace. The North Dakota portion of the 1,172-mile pipeline was
originally scheduled for completion by November.

A judge has denied a request from tribal leadership to block
construction but last month, as protests heated up, a number of federal
agencies said the government would hold off on issuing permits to dig on
federal land near or under the Missouri river.

The government has not provided an update since. Silence from President
Barack Obama and the continuing expansion of the pipeline have increased
anxiety for activists.Membership ask

Protesters have long argued that the pipeline – which would transport
470,000 barrels of crude oil from the Bakken oil field to a refinery
near Chicago – poses a major threat to the water supply and is
destroying sacred native lands.

The demonstrations, which have grown into a national symbol of
indigenous rights and climate change activism, have resulted in more
than 400 arrests, with local law enforcement officials accusing Native
American activists, journalists and film-makers of rioting, trespassing,
resisting arrest and a number of other serious felony charges.

Over the weekend, many of the Native American protesters were recovering
from the recent mass arrests, reuniting with loved ones and hugging each
other as they braced for what could be the final showdowns.

"I’m tired, an exhaustion I can’t sleep away," said Prairie McLaughlin,
a 33-year-old protester, sitting inside the teepee in which she has been
camping. She said that despite the brutality she and others have faced
from local police, "I feel like failure is not an option." [...]

(6) Libya plagued by  civil war and economic ruin; economy 'nears collapse'

{Hillary authorized the intervention, including the murder of Gaddafi - ed.}

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics and Engineering Physics)
<sadanand@ccsu.edu Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/31/libya-crisis-talks-london-economy-near-collapse

Libya crisis talks held in London as economy 'nears collapse'

Prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj meets John Kerry and Boris Johnson
against background of civil war and economic ruin

Chris Stephen in Tunis

Monday 31 October 2016 19.39 AEDT Last modified on Monday 31 October
2016 22.30 AEDT

John Kerry and Boris Johnson are hosting crisis talks with Libya’s
leaders in London in an attempt to ward off the collapse of the
country’s war-torn economy.

The World Bank has said Libya’s economy is near collapse as the civil
war worsens and bank reserves plummet.

In a US-led initiative, the US secretary of state and UK foreign
secretary, joined by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank,
planned to urge Libya’s embattled prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, to
enact drastic reforms.

Libya’s economy has atrophied and with oil exports down, the bulk of the
6 million-strong population depends on fast-depleting foreign reserves.

One western official said Sarraj would be urged to mend fences with the
Central Bank of Libya governor, Saddek al-Kabir, who has accused the
prime minister of failing to formulate an economic policy. "It is making
clear the severity of the situation and the need to act," the official said.

But some fear the window for remedial action may be closing. Six months
after arriving in Tripoli, Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA),
appointed by a UN-chaired commission, has failed to win over the
population.

Sarraj’s administration is one of three vying for power. In Tripoli, he
is facing off against the self-declared National Salvation government,
which captured the Rixos government complex in an attempted coup two
weeks ago.

A third government operates through the elected parliament in the
eastern city of Tobruk. Forces there, led by the controversial general
Khalifa Haftar, last month seized the country’s key oil ports, and while
oil exports have since doubled, it has left Tobruk controlling the bulk
of the industry.

Last week, London defence analyst Jane’s reported that Tobruk’s hand had
been strengthened after its key ally, the United Arab Emirates, opened
an airbase to support ground troops in eastern Libya.

With the GNA unable to form a security force of its own, Tripoli is at
the mercy of warring militias, with murders, kidnappings and firefights
a daily occurrence.

The GNA’s single success has been an ongoing offensive by allied
militias, backed by US airstrikes, which has destroyed the bulk of
Islamic State forces at their main base in Sirte.

But the government’s lack of authority has resulted in a surge in
migrant smuggling, while the capital is facing power cuts and inflation,
with cash shortages provoking riots at the few banks still open.

Nadia Ramadan, a Tripoli resident, said: "Life is getting harder all the
time. We are literally hearing loud shootings almost every night, there
is no money and food inflation."

US officials are conscious of the effect Libya’s chaos may have on the
closely contested presidential election, with Hillary Clinton, as the
former secretary of state, having overseen America’s 2011 Libya bombing
intervention that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Barack Obama said in April that failure to follow up intervention with
support for Libya’s fledgling democracy was the worst mistake of his
presidency, and the administration hopes to show that some progress is
being made.

America’s Libya envoy, Jonathan Winer, summoned the spirit of Benjamin
Franklin by urging Libyans to unite, tweeting:

But some fear that with power contested by three rival governments, and
a fast-disintegrating administration, economic reform may prove impossible.

"Several measures must be taken simultaneously, a high level of
coordination is required, but confidence in the banking system has
evaporated," said Jalel Harchaoui, a Libya analyst at the University of
Paris.

US allied with Al Qaeda in Syria To: Peter Mailstar <peter@mailstar.net>

(7) The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance - Robert Parry

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/10/29/the-de-facto-usal-qaeda-alliance/

The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance

October 29, 2016

Exclusive: Buried deep inside Saturday’s New York Times was a grudging
acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed "moderate" rebels in Syria are using
their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A curious aspect of the Syrian conflict – a rebellion sponsored largely
by the United States and its Gulf state allies – is the disappearance in
much of the American mainstream news media of references to the
prominent role played by Al Qaeda in seeking to overthrow the secular
Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

There’s much said in the U.S. press about ISIS, the former "Al Qaeda in
Iraq" which splintered off several years ago, but Al Qaeda’s central
role in commanding Syria’s "moderate" rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere is
the almost unspoken reality of the Syrian war. Even in the U.S.
presidential debates, the arguing between Republican Donald Trump and
Democrat Hillary Clinton has been almost exclusively about ISIS, not Al
Qaeda.

Though Al Qaeda got the ball rolling on America’s revenge wars in the
Middle East 15 years ago by killing several thousand Americans and
others in the 9/11 attacks, the terrorist group has faded into the
background of U.S. attention, most likely because it messes up the
preferred "good guy/bad guy" narrative regarding the Syrian war.

For instance, the conflict in Aleppo between Syrian government forces
and rebels operating primarily under Al Qaeda’s command is treated in
the Western media as simply a case of the barbaric Assad and his evil
Russian ally Vladimir Putin mercilessly bombing what is portrayed as the
east Aleppo equivalent of Disney World, a place where innocent children
and their families peacefully congregate until they are targeted for
death by the Assad-Putin war-crime family.

The photos sent out to the world by skillful rebel propagandists are
almost always of wounded children being cared for by the "White Helmet"
rebel civil defense corps, which has come under growing criticism for
serving as a public-relations arm of Al Qaeda and other insurgents.
(There also are allegations that some of the most notable images have
been staged, like a fake war scene from the 1997 dark comedy, "Wag the
Dog.")

Rare Glimpse of Truth

Yet, occasionally, the reality of Al Qaeda’s importance in the rebellion
breaks through, even in the mainstream U.S. media, although usually
downplayed and deep inside the news pages, such as the A9 article in
Saturday’s New York Times by Hwaida Saad and Anne Barnard describing a
rebel offensive in Aleppo. It acknowledges: A fake war scene in the dark
1997 comedy "Wag the Dog," which showed a girl and her cat fleeing a
bombardment in Albania.

A fake war scene in the dark 1997 comedy "Wag the Dog," which showed a
girl and her cat fleeing a bombardment in Albania.

"The new offensive was a strong sign that rebel groups vetted by the
United States were continuing their tactical alliances with groups
linked to Al Qaeda, rather than distancing themselves as Russia has
demanded and the Americans have urged. … The rebels argue that they
cannot afford to shun any potential allies while they are under fire,
including well-armed and motivated jihadists, without more robust aid
from their international backers." (You might note how the article
subtly blames the rebel dependence on Al Qaeda on the lack of "robust
aid" from the Obama administration and other outside countries – even
though such arms shipments violate international law.)

What the article also makes clear in a hazy kind of way is that Al
Qaeda’s affiliate, the recently renamed Nusra Front, and its jihadist
allies, such as Ahrar al-Sham, are waging the brunt of the fighting
while the CIA-vetted "moderates" are serving in mostly support roles.
The Times reported:

"The insurgents have a diverse range of objectives and backers, but they
issued statements of unity on Friday. Those taking part in the offensive
include the Levant Conquest Front, a militant group formerly known as
the Nusra Front that grew out of Al Qaeda; another hard-line Islamist
faction, Ahrar al-Sham; and other rebel factions fighting Mr. Assad that
have been vetted by the United States and its allies."

The article cites Charles Lister, a senior fellow and Syria specialist
at the Middle East Institute in Washington, and other analysts noting
that "the vast majority of the American-vetted rebel factions in Aleppo
were fighting inside the city itself and conducting significant
bombardments against Syrian government troops in support of the
Qaeda-affiliated fighters carrying out the brunt of front-line fighting."

Lister noted that 11 of the 20 or so rebel groups conducting the Aleppo
"offensive have been vetted by the C.I.A. and have received arms from
the agency, including anti-tank missiles. …

"In addition to arms provided by the United States, much of the rebels’
weaponry comes from regional states, like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi
Arabia, Mr. Lister said, including truck-borne multiple-rocket launcher
systems and Czech-made Grad rockets with extended ranges."

The U.S./Al Qaeda Alliance

In other words, the U.S. government and its allies have smuggled
sophisticated weapons into Syria to arm rebels who are operating in
support of Al Qaeda’s new military offensive against Syrian government
forces in Aleppo. By any logical analysis, that makes the United States
an ally of Al Qaeda. A heart-rending propaganda image designed to
justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian
military.

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S.
military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

The Times article also includes a quote from Genevieve Casagrande, a
Syria research analyst from the Institute for the Study of War, a
neoconservative "think tank" that has supported more aggressive U.S.
military involvement in Syria and the Middle East.

"The unfortunate truth, however, is that these U.S.-backed groups remain
somewhat dependent upon the Al Qaeda linked groups for organization and
firepower in these operations," Casagrande said.

The other unfortunate truth is that the U.S.-supplied rebels have
served, either directly or indirectly, as conduits to funnel U.S.
military equipment and ordnance to Al Qaeda.

One might think that the editors of The New York Times – if they were
operating with old-fashioned news judgment rather than with
propagandistic blinders on – would have recast the article to highlight
the tacit U.S. alliance with Al Qaeda and put that at the top of the
front page.

Still, the admissions are significant, confirming what we have reported
at Consortiumnews.com for many months, including Gareth Porter’s article
last February saying: "Information from a wide range of sources,
including some of those the United States has been explicitly
supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit
in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military
structure controlled by [Al Qaeda’s] Nusra militants. All of these rebel
groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military
activities with it. …

"At least since 2014 the Obama administration has armed a number of
Syrian rebel groups even though it knew the groups were coordinating
closely with the Nusra Front, which was simultaneously getting arms from
Turkey and Qatar."

Double Standards

The Times article on page A9 also deviated from the normal propaganda
themes by allowing a statement by Syrian officials and the Russians
regarding their suspension of airstrikes over the past week to permit
the evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo and the rebels’ refusal to
let people leave, even to the point of firing on the humanitarian
corridors: An Israeli strike caused a huge explosion in a residential
area in Gaza during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. (Photo
credit: Al Jazeera)

An Israeli strike caused a huge explosion in a residential area in Gaza
during the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-2009. (Photo credit: Al Jazeera)

"The [Syrian] government and its [Russian] allies accused the rebels of
forcing Aleppo residents to stay, and of using them as human shields."

The "human shields" argument is one that is common when the United
States or its allies are pummeling some city controlled by "enemy"
forces whether Israel’s bombardment of Gaza or the U.S. Marines’
leveling of Fallujah in Iraq or the current campaign against ISIS in the
Iraqi city of Mosul. In those cases, the horrific civilian bloodshed,
including the killing of children by U.S. or allied forces, is blamed on
Hamas or Sunni insurgents or ISIS but never on the people dropping the
bombs.

An entirely opposite narrative is applied when U.S. adversaries, such as
Syria or Russia, are trying to drive terrorists and insurgents out of an
urban area. Then, there is usually no reference to "human shields" and
all the carnage is blamed on "war crimes" by the U.S. adversaries. That
propaganda imperative helps explain why Al Qaeda and its jihadist
comrades have been largely whited out of the conflict in Aleppo.

Over the past few years, U.S. regional allies, such as Israel and Saudi
Arabia, also have shifted their public attitudes toward Al Qaeda, seeing
it as a blunt instrument to smash the so-called "Shiite crescent"
reaching from Iran through Syria to Lebanon. For instance, in September
2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a
close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the
Jerusalem Post that Israel favored Syria’s Sunni extremists over
President Assad.

"The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from
Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the
keystone in that arc," Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. "We
always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who
weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran." He said
this was the case even if the "bad guys" were with Al Qaeda.

And, in June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute
conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even
prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the
Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. "From Israel’s perspective, if there’s
got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,"
Oren said.

Warming to Al Qaeda

As Israeli officials shifted toward viewing Al Qaeda and even ISIS as
the lesser evils and built a behind-the-scenes alliance with Saudi
Arabia and the Sunni states, American neoconservatives also began
softening their tone regarding the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Across the U.S. foreign policy establishment, pressure built for "regime
change" in Damascus even if that risked handing Syria to Sunni
jihadists. That strategy hit a road bump in 2014 when ISIS began
chopping off the heads of Western hostages in Syria and capturing
swathes of territory in Iraq, including Mosul.

That bloody development forced President Barack Obama to begin targeting
ISIS militants in both Iraq and Syria, but the neocon-dominated
Washington establishment still favored the Israeli-Saudi objective of
"regime change" in Syria regardless of how that might help Al Qaeda.

Thus, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its jihadist ally, Ahrar al-Sham, faded
into the background under the fiction that the anti-Assad forces were
primarily noble "moderates" trying to save the children from the
bloodthirsty fiends, Assad and Putin.

Grudgingly, The New York Times, deep inside Saturday’s newspaper,
acknowledged at least part of the troubling reality, that the U.S.
government has, in effect, allied itself with Al Qaeda terrorists.



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