7:29 AM 9/30/2017 – Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – Washington Post

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“The third worrying trend seen in the election was the rise of the AfD. The party’s 13 percent of the vote may seem relatively meager in comparison to what National Front received in France or Donald Trump’s victory in the United States. However, in Germany — with its history of right-wing extremism under Adolf Hitler, and its postwar repudiation of the Nazi era — this is a seismic shock. A far-right party will be represented in the German Parliament for the first time in 50 years (it is already represented in 13 state governments). 

The AfD is also now Germany’s third-largest party — behind the CDU/CSU and the SPD. In Eastern Germany, it is larger than the SPD and thus the main opposition party in the region. Entering Parliament will not only provide the AfD with a larger platform and more publicity; it will also receive the funding and other resources all parliamentary parties are entitled to. And make no mistake: The AfD is a far-right party, whose leaders regularly make openly racist and Islamophobic statements and minimize Nazi crimes and who continually claim they will “take their country back” from its purported enemies.”

Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – Washington Post

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Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends
Washington Post
The consensus throughout the German election campaign was that this vote was boring — in the best possible way. In a Europe roiled by a high unemployment rate, stagnating growth and unpredictable politics, Germany was viewed as a bastion of stability.
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What We Know—and Don’t Know—About Facebook, Trump, and Russia – WIRED

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WIRED
What We Know—and Don’t Know—About Facebook, Trump, and Russia
WIRED
The Trump team, led by digital director Brad Parscale, worked with Cambridge, as well as the Republican National Committee, to analyze data about the American electorate to guide decisions about where and how to advertise on television and online.and more »

Is Any Part Of The Russia Election Hacking Story True? – Investor’s Business Daily

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Investor’s Business Daily
Is Any Part Of The Russia Election Hacking Story True?
Investor’s Business Daily
Here’s how Bloomberg reported the story in June: “Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoralsystem before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems 
Feds Walk Back Claims of Russian Hack on Wisconsin’s Election SystemsGovernment Technologyall 84 news articles »

6:21 AM 9/30/2017 – Selected Stories: 3800 Gang Suspects Charged in US-Central American Six-month Roundup – Voice of America | Google Is Said to Investigate Russia Meddling in US Election – Bloomberg | Robert Mueller reportedly starts interviewing White House staff for Russia probe – Washington Examiner 

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Saved Stories – 1. Trump3800 Gang Suspects Charged in US-Central American Six-month Roundup – Voice of America | Google Is Said to Investigate Russia Meddling in US Election – Bloomberg | Robert Mueller reportedly starts interviewing White House staff for Russia probe – Washington Examiner Trump Investigations Report | Latest Posts Trump Investigations Report from mikenova (5 sites) Trump Investigations Report: … Continue reading “6:21 AM 9/30/2017 – Selected Stories: 3800 Gang Suspects Charged in US-Central American Six-month Roundup – Voice of America | Google Is Said to Investigate Russia Meddling in US Election – Bloomberg | Robert Mueller reportedly starts interviewing White House staff for Russia probe – Washington Examiner”

6:47 AM 9/30/2017 – Trump Supporters Share Fake Snap Of NFL Player Burning The Flag 

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Trump Supporters Share Fake Snap Of NFL Player Burning The Flag Saturday September 30th, 2017 at 6:44 AM Donald Trump 1 Share The picture went viral, but it’s totally bogus. 5:30 AM 9/30/2017 – Who is Tevfik Arif? Part I – by Seth Hettena, and other stories from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinksby mikenova Saturday September 30th, 2017 at 6:44 … Continue reading “6:47 AM 9/30/2017 – Trump Supporters Share Fake Snap Of NFL Player Burning The Flag”

30/09/17 06:45 – 28/09/17 12:11 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Review In Brief 

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» Did President Trump add $33 million to Puerto Rico’s debt by bankrupting a golf course there? – Washington Post 30/09/17 06:45 from Saved Stories – None Washington Post Did President Trump add $33 million to Puerto Rico’s debt by bankrupting a golf course there? Washington Post President Trump tweeted that the island already had a lot … Continue reading “30/09/17 06:45 – 28/09/17 12:11 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Review In Brief”
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Trump Supporters Share Fake Snap Of NFL Player Burning The Flag

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The picture went viral, but it’s totally bogus.

5:30 AM 9/30/2017 – Who is Tevfik Arif? Part I – by Seth Hettena, and other stories from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Who is Tevfik Arif? Part I The Strange Impotence of the Republican Party – New York Times Google Prepares to Brief Congress on Its Role in Election – New York Times New Report Sheds Light On Why Mueller Is Investigating Michael Flynn – The Daily Caller Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao, … Continue reading “5:30 AM 9/30/2017 – Who is Tevfik Arif? Part I – by Seth Hettena, and other stories from Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks”

Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US? – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?
The Guardian
Experts in Russian history and US civil rights said the while the Blacktivist accounts may not have been directly linked to the US election, they are consistent with what would be expected from an propaganda campaign directed from Moscow intended to …and more »

Trump Said His Administration Runs Like A ‘Fine-Tuned Machine.’ The Track Record Suggests Otherwise.

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The shocking number of high profile departures call into question Trump’s boasts of hiring only the “best people.”

Former US congressman Anthony Weiner sentenced in sexting scandal – Washington Post

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Former US congressman Anthony Weiner sentenced in sexting scandal
Washington Post
Disgraced former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner, whose exchange of illicit messages with a teenager wound up playing a role in the 2016 presidential election, was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison, authorities said. washingtonpost.com/national.
Former Queens Rep. Anthony Weiner Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Sexting with Teen GirlThe Forum Newsgroupall 2 news articles »

Health Secretary Tom Price resigns under fire — but other Cabinet members are still taking costly private flights – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
Health Secretary Tom Price resigns under fire — but other Cabinet members are still taking costly private flights
Los Angeles Times
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday in the midst of an expanding controversy over charging taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for flights on private air charters. His departure was announced in a terse … Until Friday 
You’re fired! Trump axes HHS Secretary Tom Price for spending $1 MILLION of taxpayers’ money on flights aboard …Daily Mailall 855 news articles »

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Trump Said His Administration Runs Like A ‘Fine-Tuned Machine.’ The Track Record Suggests Otherwise. – HuffPost

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Trump Said His Administration Runs Like A ‘Fine-Tuned Machine.’ The Track Record Suggests Otherwise.
HuffPost
But many members of the team Trump assembled have shown few of those qualities, and the president has not been the manager he advertised himself as. In just eight months in office, the president has had to part ways with a shockingly high number of top …
Trump’s breaking point with PricePolitico
Under pressure from Trump, Price resigns as health secretary over private plane uproarReuters
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Officials Expressed Concerns White House Counsel Would Quit Over Donald Trump-Jared Kushner Meetings – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

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Officials Expressed Concerns White House Counsel Would Quit Over Donald Trump-Jared Kushner Meetings
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
WASHINGTON—White House Counsel Don McGahn this summer was so frustrated about the lack of protocols surrounding meetings between President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law whose activities are under scrutiny in the Russia probe, … 

3800 Gang Suspects Charged in US-Central American Six-month Roundup – Voice of America

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Voice of America
3800 Gang Suspects Charged in US-Central American Six-month Roundup
Voice of America
U.S. and Central American law enforcement authorities announced Friday that they have charged more than 3,800 members of the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs in coordinated law enforcement action since March. The charges, announced in Miami by acting …
Top MS-13 Leader Warns Gang Not to Wear Nike Cortez Shoes As …Newsweek
3800 gang members charged in US, Central America in joint operationLocal 10
Officials praise large gang roundups in US, Central AmericaMinneapolis Star Tribune
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Google Is Said to Investigate Russia Meddling in US Election – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Google Is Said to Investigate Russia Meddling in US Election
Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has begun an internal probe on whether Russia-linked actors used its advertising and services to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election, according to a person familiar with the matter. Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc 
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Google reportedly probing possible Russian meddling in electionCNET
Russia’s RT dismisses US election probe Twitter ads revelationRappler
Slate Magazine (blog) –The Straits Times –Al-Arabiya –Twitter Blog
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Who is Tevfik Arif? Part I 

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12da9121ed5094b55d5fcb2f7129e37d

Tefvik Arif was the chairman of Bayrock Group, the murky company that partnered with Donald Trump to build Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan.

Figuring out who he is was not an easy task.

Tevfik Arif (Тевфик Ариф) was born Toifik Arifov (Тофик Арифов) on May 15, 1953 in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Kazakhstan. He was one of four brothers born to a Turkish family in the Jambyl Region in northern Kazakhstan.

That’s about the only thing we know about his early life with any certainty.

What he did for the next 38 years is unclear. The oft-repeated facts of his background come from a short profile on Arif published in Real Estate Weekly in 2007, just as Trump was preparing to kick off sales of Trump SoHo.

Real Estate Weekly reported that Arif had received a degree from Moscow Institute of Trade and Economics and then worked in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade in the former Soviet Union for 17 years, where he served as the chief economist and deputy director of the Ministry’s Department of Hotel Management.

Many journalists have repeated this story. It may be true, but no one seems to have bothered to check.  It’s worth noting that this is the only reference to a Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade that I found on the Internet. There is a Russian ministry that has this name, but I could find nothing from the Soviet era.

There was, however, something called the USSR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which was run by the KGB and spied on the West. A third of the chamber’s staff were KGB, according to a US State Department report that cited CIA information. And the USS Chamber of Commerce and Industry did have a hotel division, V/0 Sovintsentr, which ran a trade center and various Moscow hotels.

Trans World Group

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Arif left the government and made a career leap. A huge leap.

In a court proceeding in Turkey, the former Soviet hotel bureaucrat testified that he “worked in energy sector, chemical sector and metallurgy sector. I was producing coal in Russia and copper in Kazakhstan. Due to lack of coal, it was not possible to make production. I started to organize them.” He started a private company called the Speciality Chemicals Trading Co., trading in “chrome, rare metals and raw materials.”

And then he went to work for Trans World Group. TWG was a British company headed by two brothers, David and Simon Reuben. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the Reubens moved aggressively into metals production, buying up smelters and refineries.

As foreigners, however, the Reubens needed locals to build their business. Enter Arif. He became an “agent on the ground” — a fixer, in other words — for TWG in Kazakhstan, according to internal company documents reviewed by theblacksea.eu, an online investigative Website.

Arif apparently did his job well. Very well. In a few years, TWG’s holdings of steel, iron, chrome and alumina refineries in Kazakhstan generated one fifth of the entire country’s gross revenues.

Maybe Arif was just a Soviet hotel bureaucrat who seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get into the post-Soviet metals sector. But his hotel background would have been of little use to TWG. What TWG needed was someone with deep connections in the country’s political and business circles. The kind of people who had those connections in the Russia of the 1990s were either ex-KGB, or mobsters.

michael-cherney

Michael Cherney

Consider another pair of fixers the Reubens brought into TWG in 1992. They were the Cherney brothers, Lev and Michael, and they formed a 50-50 partnership with TWG. It was a successful partnership. With the Cherneys help, TWG grew by leaps and bounds. The problem for the Reubens was that Michael Cherney’s name soon became publicly linked to Russian organized crime groups. The Reubens quickly bought out Cherney’s share of TWG for $410 million.

vyacheslav-ivankov

Vyacheslav Ivankov

Swiss authorities in 1996 accused Michael Cherney of “drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud and sponsoring murder” on behalf of  a Russian organized crime group run by “V Ivankov.” This was the infamous Russian mob boss nicknamed “Yaponchik” who had settled in New York, where the FBI found him hiding out in Trump Tower and Trump’s New Jersey casino.

Michael Cherney has repeatedly denied these allegations, which he blames on his archenemy and former partner Oleg Deripaska, one of the wealthiest men in Russia. In 2008, the federal Swiss court exonerated him of the charges, but two years later, Spain issued an international arrest warrant for Michael Cherney’s arrest on money laundering charges.

Did Arif have links to the Russian Mafia? Felix Sater, who worked under Arif at Bayrock, seems to think so.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sater and his attorney threatened to expose Arif’s past unless he paid Sater’s attorney fees. Sater warned of a possible lawsuit that would include details of Arif’s wrongdoing “in the post-Soviet metals business in Kazakhstan.”

In a personal memo, Sater was even more blunt: “The headlines will be, ‘The Kazakh Gangster and President Trump.’”

A High-Net Worth Individual

“The head of the family is my uncle Roustam Arif [sic],” Tevfik’s son Arif writes in 2013 in correspondence obtained by theblacksea.eu. “In our culture, the patriarch is usually the oldest member of the family. Roustam is my father’s oldest brother. Even though my father is a successful entrepreneur in his own right (hotels, construction and real estate), his younger brother Refik Arif is the principal figure in the main family business (commodities).”

In the mid-90s, Refik reportedly acquired control of the Aktyubinsk Chromium Chemicals Plant (ACCP) in Aktobe, in north-western Kazakhstan, near the border with Russia.  How he managed this is unclear. He also established a highly profitable chemicals trading business.  And this is an important piece of the story, because the money for Bayrock, at least part of it, came through Kazakhstan.

Around 1999, Refik Arif’s chemical trading business was generating so much cash that the family retained Hamels, a UK tax consultancy, to help structure their investments. On its website, Hamels describes its typical clients as “high net worth individuals seeking to minimize their respective tax burdens on current income or investment streams…”

In a 2011 memo, Hamels partner Zig Williamowski wrote, “Mr. Refik Arif is one of four brothers who have over many years built up a substantial and profitable international business from the sale of chrome-based chemicals.” Williamowski said he was in a position to verify the “good origin” of the Arif family’s wealth.

With the help of Hamels, the Arifs set up a network of shell companies, many of which were established in the Caribbean tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. These companies included Bennington Trade Assets Ltd., which owns property in the center of London and Merlin Trading Assets Ltd., which owns an executive jet. There are too many companies to name them all. Many are found in the Panama Papers leak of offshore companies founded by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The real moneymaker for the family was Castello Global Ltd., which handled the profits from the chrome trading business. Here is a breakdown of Castello Global’s profits:

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 4.45.00 PM

So much money was pouring out of Kazakhstan that Tevfik Arif decided it was time to try something big. Really big.

He moved to New York and set out to do a real estate deal with the biggest and the best. So he set up offices of his new company Bayrock Group in Trump Tower, one floor below Trump’s own offices.

To be continued…

Filed under: Donald TrumpRussiaRussian mafiaSpooks Tagged: Bayrock GroupTevfik Arif       

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The Strange Impotence of the Republican Party – New York Times

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New York Times
The Strange Impotence of the Republican Party
New York Times
Should it be any wonder, either, that in the intramural fights the Donald Trumps and Roy Moores of the party are winning? As in economics, so too in G.O.P. politics: Gresham’s law applies. Bad money drives out good. Bad Republicans drive out good ones.
Americans as a whole have not lost their minds – but the Republican party clearly hasIndependent.ie
Even Republicans Can’t Stand the Republican CongressTIME
Democrats just keep winning Republican seats they shouldn’t be winningCNNall 44 news articles »

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Google Prepares to Brief Congress on Its Role in Election – New York Times

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Google Prepares to Brief Congress on Its Role in Election
New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — Google has become the latest Silicon Valley giant to become entangled in a widening investigation into how online social networks and technology products may have played a role in Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Friday …
How Facebook, Twitter Are Involved in Investigation Against Russia in 2016 US PresidentialElectionIndia.com
Google reportedly probing possible Russian meddling in electionCNET
Will Russia’s use of Facebook ads in the 2016 campaign lead to San Antonio?San Antonio Express-News (subscription)
Twitter Blog –Wall Street Journal
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New Report Sheds Light On Why Mueller Is Investigating Michael Flynn – The Daily Caller

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New Report Sheds Light On Why Mueller Is Investigating Michael Flynn
The Daily Caller
A business associate of a Turkish client of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testified before a federal grand jury last week, according to a new report which helps shed light on why Flynn is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. According 
Mueller Subpoenas Biz Associate Of Flynn’s Turkish Lobbying ClientTPMall 3 news articles »

Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell, busted for financial corruption scandal 

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Donald Trump’s cabinet is fully awash in scandal this weekend, with HHS Secretary Tom Price having already resigned due to inappropriately taxpayer-funded private charter flights, and four other cabinet members caught up in similar scandals which may cost them their jobs. Now another member of Trump’s cabinet has been busted for financial corruption: Elaine Chao, who just happens to be married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Chao already had a history of scandal before Donald Trump picked her to be his Secretary of Transportation, a move which many have derided as an attempt on Trump’s part at ensuring McConnell’s loyalty. Now it turns out Chao is once again embroiled in scandal. When she took the cabinet position, she decided to hang onto six figures worth of stock in a company called Vulcan Materials (link). She resigned from the company’s board, but that was a meaningless gesture, because she kept her hand in the till. Why does this matter?

As the Secretary of Transportation, part of Elaine Chao’s job is to decide where U.S. taxpayer dollars go for infrastructure projects. She can steer taxpayer money right into the hands of Vulcan Materials, which in turn would serve to further enrich Chao herself. Her refusal to part ways with the stock, and to recuse herself from any decisions that might involve steering government business to the company, suggest corrupt intentions on her part. The bad news for Chao is that this financial corruption scandal is coming even as her fellow cabinet member just resigned in a financial corruption scandal.

It also serves to further underline just how corrupt of a decision Donald Trump made when he appointed Elaine Chao to his cabinet. He’s since inappropriately asked Mitch McConnell to sabotage the investigation into his Russia scandal. It’s clear in hindsight that he hired Chao to try to gain leverage over McConnell.

The post Trump cabinet member Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell, busted for financial corruption scandal appeared first on Palmer Report.

Bill Maher’s Russia Yarn: ‘Real Time’ Host Plays Poirot To Reveal Whodunit – Deadline

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Deadline
Bill Maher’s Russia Yarn: ‘Real Time’ Host Plays Poirot To Reveal Whodunit
Deadline
Updated with video Bill Maher took a CSI approach to the Russia investigation tonight, mocking up one of those bulletin boards with photos and yarn and connect-the-dots explanations, all to unmask the culprit behind a global conspiracy: Donald Trump‘s …and more »

AP sources: Note in church shooting refers to Roof shooting

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A note found in the car of a man charged with spraying deadly gunfire at a Tennessee church made reference to revenge for a white supremacist’s massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, two years earlier, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

The note could offer a glimpse into Emanuel Kidega Samson‘s mindset at the time of Sunday’s shooting and a possible motive for the rampage, which left a woman dead and six other people wounded. The Associated Press has not viewed the note, but it was summarized in an investigative report circulating among law enforcement. Two officials read parts of the note to the AP.

The report said that “in sum and in no way verbatim,” the note referenced revenge or retaliation for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black worshippers at the South Carolina church in 2015 and has since been sentenced to death. It wasn’t clear what precisely Samson is alleged to have written about the Roof shooting, or whether his note contained other important details that might also speak to a motivation or state of mind.

The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to publicly discuss an ongoing investigation. Metro Nashville Police declined to comment, saying it had not released the information.

Samson has been charged with murder, and the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Nashville quickly opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting. His public defender did not immediately return calls for comment. And spokespeople for the FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office and District Attorney General Glenn Funk declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Police have said Samson, masked and wearing a tactical vest, fatally shot a woman who was walking to her vehicle and then entered the rear of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ and shot six other people, walking silently down the aisles with a .40-caliber handgun. The case immediately called to mind the killings at Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. But unlike that church, which is mostly black, Burnette Chapel in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch has a diverse congregation with people of various ethnicities, a detail noted in the report. And church members told investigators that Samson had attended services a year or two ago.

All of the victims in Nashville were white, but it is not clear whether Samson specifically targeted them based on their race.

Samson, who is black, came to the United States from Sudan as a child in 1996 and is a U.S. citizen. His past was recently troubled.

Police records say he had expressed suicidal thoughts in June, struggled to hold a job and had a volatile relationship with a woman that twice involved police this year. Officers in Murfreesboro, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of the church, responded to a call from Samson’s father, who had reported that his son had texted him June 27 to say: “Your phone is off, I have a gun to my head, have a nice f—— life.”

Hours before the shooting, he made bizarre Facebook posts, including one that read: “Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B.”

Metro Nashville Police say investigators recovered four guns after the shooting that were bought legally from in-state retailers: the 40-caliber handgun allegedly used in the shooting; a military-style AR-15 rifle found in a case in Samson’s vehicle; and a 9 mm handgun recovered from the church. Police say a relative gave the guns to Samson for safe keeping.

Police say Samson bought a .22-caliber pistol found in his SUV.

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AP sources: Note in church shooting refers to Roof shooting – Economic Times

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AP sources: Note in church shooting refers to Roof shooting
Economic Times
The note could offer a glimpse into Emanuel Kidega Samson‘s mindset at the time of Sunday’s shooting and a possible motive for the rampage, which left a woman dead and six other people wounded. The Associated Press has not viewed the note, but it was …
Editorial: Guns in church? We might be headed thereThe Ledgerall 39 news articles »

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Bill Maher Goes Full ‘CSI’ To Connect The Dots Between Donald Trump And Russia

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The “Real Time” host broke it down, using a bulletin board and lots of yarn.

The Benghazi Attack Is Finally Being Properly Prosecuted

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On the night of June 15, 2014, eight Americans—six Delta Force operators, an F.B.I. agent, and an Arabic translator—travelled in rubber boats across the Mediterranean and arrived on a beach in Benghazi, Libya. They hustled across the sand and snuck into a nearby safe house. Their plan was to lure and capture Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the alleged ringleader of the most politicized terrorist attack since 9/11.

Twenty-one months earlier, on September 11, 2012, Khatallah had, according to federal prosecutors, coördinated the assault on the American Consulate in Benghazi. Two State Department officials, including the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, died in that attack, and two C.I.A. contractors were killed in a subsequent firefight at a nearby C.I.A. facility.

A day after the eight-man team beached on the coast, one of Khatallah’s associates unwittingly led Khatallah to the safe house. As soon as Khatallah stepped into the dark villa, several soldiers pounced on him. He tried to kick, punch, and bite his way free, without success. The F.B.I. agent present—who has been identified in court by only a surname, “Johnson”—brought Khatallah into a bathroom, where he covered the suspect’s eyes, plugged his ears, and stuffed a bit into his mouth. The team then hustled Khatallah across the beach, boarded its boats, and raced toward the U.S.S. New York, a twenty-five-ton amphibious ship made, in part, with steel recovered from the World Trade Center towers, and waiting offshore.

The Benghazi attack has been thoroughly scrutinized. The Republican-led House of Representatives spent millions of dollars and held hearing after hearing on the matter during President Barack Obama’s second term. But the lawmakers leading the hearings seemed more focussed on Hillary Clinton and her colleagues—trying to find any missteps they made before, during, or after the attack that could be used for political purposes—than on the alleged perpetrators of the violence itself.

Meanwhile, the hunt for Khatallah was being pursued by operators and analysts from the C.I.A., Joint Special Operations Command, and the F.B.I. One of the biggest questions for them was what to do with Khatallah once they found him. Counterterrorism officials considered a drone strike or a lethal raid, a former military official told me, but President Obama and the Justice Department wanted to capture him alive and bring him to the United States to stand trial.

This was not a straightforward task. American officials did not have sufficient confidence in the Libyan police to coördinate with them for Khatallah’s arrest. And the F.B.I. wasn’t in a position to pursue Khatallah on its own. Moreover, the intelligence on Khatallah suggested that he could prove difficult to capture—he supposedly carried around a grenade like an explosive cyanide pill.

Officials hatched a hybrid plan: F.B.I. agents would accompany one of the military’s élite manhunting units on the mission for Khatallah. The agents would be present throughout the operation to preserve evidence, so that they, as law-enforcement officials, could later testify in civilian court.

This was a fairly radical concept. Plenty of terrorists had been indicted and tried in American civilian courts, but Khatallah would be the first known case of someone captured through a military mission, Mirandized by law-enforcement officials, and then tried in open court, before a jury. John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, was captured by military and intelligence officers in Afghanistan and charged in civilian court, but he pleaded guilty before going to trial. More typically, terrorists targeted during military raids have been either killed; detained in U.S.-run military prisons, such as Abu Ghraib; handed over, in the case of Iraq or Afghanistan, to local police or intelligence agencies; or, in the years immediately after 9/11, sent to Guantánamo Bay. Osama bin Laden was indicted by a federal court in 1998, three years before the September 11th attacks. But when American Navy SEALs finally confronted him in Pakistan, in 2011, they shot and killed him.

Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been vocal critics of trying terrorists in civilian courtrooms. Trump described Obama’s stated desire to close Guantánamo as a “terrible decision,” and Sessions has called the military tribunals at Guantánamo the “perfect place” for terrorism trials.

After his capture, Khatallah was interrogated first by military and intelligence officials. Then, after five days, a “clean team” of law-enforcement officials took over. Michael Clarke, an F.B.I. agent, read Khatallah his Miranda rights and told him that he was entitled to an attorney. Khatallah asked if there was a lawyer on board. There was not.

Speaking through a translator, Khatallah gave Clarke a lengthy statement over the course of the thirteen-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean. In D.C. district court, Khatallah’s current attorney, Eric L. Lewis, has argued that his client’s “slow boat” extradition was unnecessarily drawn out. “The capture of Mr. Abu Khatallah was a spectacular logistical operation . . . [but] a legal failure,” Lewis said at a June hearing. He wanted Khatallah’s statement thrown out. The judge, Christopher Cooper, ruled against him.

Yet Cooper has set some limits to the proceedings. In the run-up to Khatallah’s trial, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, the judge decided that prosecutors would be unable to admit evidence purporting that Khatallah once told an associate that he was intending to kill Stevens’s replacement, too. Allowing such evidence, Cooper said, would heighten “prejudicial risk” and “do little to illuminate the formation and contours” of the actual 2012 attack. It seems, at long last, that someone is intent on paying attention to what actually occurred in Benghazi.

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· · ·

Senate Intelligence Committee to provide Russia investigation update

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Capitol Hill’s leading investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election will gather next week to provide a public update on their inquiry, in addition to issuing a warning that foreign entities continue to pose a major threat to America’s political system.

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a press conference featuring committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and vice chairman, Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, according to a statement by the committee.

While the probe has held multiple impromptu media availabilities after congressional hearings, next week’s update will be only its second official press conference, according to the committee.

The probe has thus far conducted more than 100 interviews spanning the Russia election meddling spectrum — from grilling fired FBI Director James Comey over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin to the Department of Homeland Security’s inability to reveal which states Russian hackers targeted during the 2016 polls.

Recent weeks have seen its members increase their scrutiny of social media companies Facebook and Twitter, as evidence continues to surface that Russian operatives appeared to manipulate the digital platforms to spread propaganda during the campaign. Earlier this month Facebook disclosed that roughly 3,000 ads were purchased by entities with apparent connections to the Kremlin.

After a closed-door hearing on Thursday with Twitter executives, Mr. Warner lashed out the firm for failing to properly explain how its 140-character platform had been prey to a massive disinformation campaign. The company’s presentation, he said, “showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions and again begs many more questions than they offered.”

Kazakh clan had deep ties to Trump orbit

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A powerful Kazakh family and a developer linked to Donald Trump enlisted the law firm of a high-profile Trump confidante to create a web of offshore companies designed to minimize taxes.

The firm: Bracewell & Giuliani, which carried the name of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani was a frequent surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign and was considered for a position in his Cabinet.

Bracewell & Giuliani had an office in Kazakhstan, and Giuliani even raised funds from expatriates there for his failed 2008 presidential bid.

An ongoing investigation by McClatchy and its reporting partners has shown that the developer, Bayrock Group, which partnered with the Trump Organization on at least three projects in the mid-2000s, was in business with the Khrapunov family.

Bayrock is believed to be under the microscope of Justice Department and congressional investigators looking at Russian meddling in the 2016 election, in part because of its foreign investors and buyers and in part because Bayrock’s Russian-born then-managing director Felix Sater, who served time in prison in the U.S. in the mid-1990s, became an adviser to Trump’s company.

Sater and Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen were seeking a hotel deal in Moscow even during the election, according to emails that recently surfaced and are now in the hands of investigators. The emails undercut Trump’s post-election claim that he had no business in Russia, showing he was actively trying to develop a luxury tower.

Kazakh connections

Documents obtained by McClatchy, Dutch broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project show that the Khrapunovs — former Kazakh politician Viktor, his anchorwoman wife Leila and Geneva-based son Ilyas — joined forces with Bayrock and Sater during a period that Bayrock was developing the famed Trump Soho project in Manhattan, which Trump touted often on NBC’s hit show The Apprentice.

Together, the Khrapunovs and Bayrock Group created KazBay B.V. in the Netherlands in 2007, with the legal advice of Bracewell & Giuliani.

The Khrapunovs, with the help of a partner of Sater’s, later purchased and quickly flipped three condos in the Trump Soho hotel and condo complex. They are accused in Kazakhstan of embezzlement and money laundering. The Khrapunovs face civil lawsuits in New York and Los Angeles that seek to claw back what the Kazakh government says is stolen money. Some of the cash allegedly washed through U.S. real estate, including the Trump properties.

When Zembla readied to air a documentary this week (Sept. 27) about the relationship between the Khrapunovs and Sater, the Khrapunovs sued in the Netherlands to block it, accusing the Kazakh government of defamation.

Dutch courts rejected the argument and the program, which featured prior reporting by McClatchy, aired as scheduled. An English language version was shared widely on the Internet.

Internal records show KazBay B.V. was 50 percent owned by Bayrock B.V. and its owner Tevfik Arif, and 50 percent owned by Helvetic Capital S.A., a Swiss company whose true owner, according to the documents, was Leila Khrapunova. She’s the former TV anchor and back in 2007 was the wife of Viktor Khrapunov, the former mayor of Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, and an ex-energy minister.

This snippet of a document from September 2007 obtained by McClatchy and reporting partners shows the ownership structure of the joint venture KazBay B.V. between a now-fugitive Kazakh family and Trump-linked developer Bayrock Group.

Wieder, Ben

People familiar with KazBay describe the joint venture as a company operating on multiple tracks. Some documents show the ventures oil-drilling business, but it also planned open-mouth coal mining, where extracted coal would go to a nearby power plant.

How long the venture lasted and why it ended are unclear.

KazBay wasn’t the only project involving the Khrapunovs and Bayrock. They partnered on a luxury condominium project overlooking Lake Geneva, and established a Swiss corporation in early 2008 called Swiss Capital IB SA that listed two addresses on its website: Bayrock’s New York offices in Trump Tower, two floors down from Trump, and a Switzerland address used by Helvetic Capital.

A series of investigative reports by McClatchy earlier this year showed how Sater maintained a business relationship with Khrapunovs, including investing together in a shopping mall debt deal in Ohio that ended in litigation and a sealed settlement. They also worked together in Syracuse, N.Y, to purchase a former state institution, another deal mired in lawsuits.

Multiple people with knowledge of the KazBay deal describe Bracewell & Giuliani’s work as limited to creating a tax structure that worked to reduce tax exposure and benefit investors in Switzerland, the United States and Kazakhstan. It’s why Holland was chosen as the home base, on paper, for KazBay.

Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani was one of the few prominent U.S. firms in 2007 with an office in Kazakhstan, at once both a land of promise because of its rich natural resources and a “kleptocracy” run by President Nursultan Nazerbayev since 1989.

Giuliani joined the law firm as a partner in 2005, staying until 2016. It’s unclear how involved he was in Kazakhstan, but the head of the law firm’s Kazakh office at the time, Gregory Vojack, raised money there for Giuliani’s failed presidential bid in 2008.

Federal records show that Vojack and his wife donated about $4,400 in early 2007 to the campaign. Months later, a Wall Street Journal story spotlighted attempts to raise campaign money from Americans working there.

That was not illegal but raised eyebrows. Giuliani greeted the guests via video conference at a fundraiser held at Vojack’s home in Almaty.

Reached in China, Vojack declined comment, saying that although he no longer works for Bracewell (which last year parted ways with Giuliani), he is bound by rules that prevent him from discussing work for private clients.

Vojack’s bio shows he has worked in Kazakhstan since 1994, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In early 2007, Bracewell & Giuliani issued a news release, in which Vojack touted the law firm’s role as international counsel for the offering of $1 billion in corporate debt for Bank TuranAlem, or BTA.

“We are in the best position now that we’ve ever been,” he said at the time. “This is an exciting time for Kazakhstan, and we are thrilled to be a part of its expansion and wealth consolidation.”

But soon afterwards, the Nazerbayev government sought to claw back ownership of the fast-growing bank. BTA Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov refused, and a power struggle came to a head early in 2009 when Ablyazov fled to London and Kazakhstan seized the bank, alleging widespread embezzlement.

Bracewell & Giuliani was not accused of impropriety. However, the BTA debt issuance intersects with the KazBay venture in a curious way.

Numerous people familiar with the KazBay deal describe it as driven by Sater and Ilyas Khrapunov, who is married to Ablyazov’s daughter Madina.

The Kazakh government has accused Ablyazov of hiding massive theft through a complex web of offshore shell companies. U.S. lawyers representing the city of Almaty in civil lawsuits in Los Angeles and New York against the Khrapunovs allege that they comingled funds stolen by Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Attorneys for the Khrapunovs and Ablyazov have repeatedly countered that they are the targets of political persecution. President Nazerbayev and members of his extended family have also been accused of hiding fortunes in offshore havens.

This portion of a document from September 2007 obtained by McClatchy and reporting partners shows the true owners of Dutch companies created as a joint venture between a now-fugitive Kazakh family and Trump-linked developer Bayrock Group.

Wieder, Ben

Reasons for KazBay’s collapse vary based on who tells the story. Some blame a New York Times story in late 2007 that revealed the Russian-born Sater had a criminal past, forcing him to step down from his public role at Bayrock, later becoming a senior advisor to the Trump Organization. Others involved in KazBay assert the Khrapunovs were to blame.

None of the actors involved have publicly commented since initial reports earlier this year.

Numerous former Bayrock employees, now spread across the globe, declined to comment on the record for the story, wanting nothing to do with a company under scrutiny by investigators probing Trump’s businesses.

Bayrock spokeswoman Angela Pruitt declined to comment Thursday, providing a statement given earlier this month to partner Zembla.

“Bayrock B.V. and KazBay B.V. were entities formed with the advice of outside legal counsel as part of the structuring of an investment by Bayrock,” it read. “The investment was not successful, and the structure subsequently was abandoned.”

There’s no evidence that Trump or Giuliani participated in KazBay, or even knew of it.

Yet because the Khrapunovs worked with Sater over the course of a decade, were buyers in Trump Soho in 2013 and are involved in numerous legal disputes playing out in U.S. courts, investigators probing Russia’s 2016 election meddling may well consider the Khrapunovs and Sater as persons of interest.

This story involved collaboration between McClatchy , Dutch public broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a global journalism network that investigates transnational corruption

SANDER RIETVELD OF ZEMBLA CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE, AS DID OCCRP’S AUBREY BELFORD, CHRIS BENEVENTO, LEJLA SARCEVIC AND BERMET TALANT.

PALUCH IS A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

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Feds Demand Facebook Share Information on Anti-Trump Protesters – NBCNews.com

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NBCNews.com
Feds Demand Facebook Share Information on Anti-Trump Protesters
NBCNews.com
The U.S. Justice Department is demanding that Facebook turn over information from three accounts that could provide access to the personal details of thousands of activists who expressed interest in anti-Trump rallies. The department obtained search …
The Trump Administration Is Targeting Anti-Trump Facebook UsersFortune
Trump administration demands Facebook info on anti-Trump activistsNew York Postall 22 news articles »

Some in the NFL are eager to move on, but politics and football will not so easily be separated now – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Some in the NFL are eager to move on, but politics and football will not so easily be separated now
Washington Post
But do they really believe that their approach — two days after Trump used crass language in a speech at a campaign rally in Alabama to urge owners to fire any NFL player who protests by refusing to stand for the anthem — could be separated from and more »

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8:39 AM 9/29/2017 – Twitter’s briefing to congressional investigators yesterday 

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TRUMP-RUSSIA Twitter’s briefing to congressional investigators yesterday about Russian use of its platform invited plenty of criticism from lawmakers, its limited disclosure failing to reveal the extent of the platform’s use by accounts seeking to spread misinformation. Georgia Wells, Byron Tau and Robert McMillan report at the Wall Street Journal. Twitter has shut down 201 accounts tied … Continue reading “8:39 AM 9/29/2017 – Twitter’s briefing to congressional investigators yesterday”

Blue State Blues: Anthony Weiner’s Fate Is Nothing to Celebrate – Breitbart News

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Breitbart News
Blue State Blues: Anthony Weiner’s Fate Is Nothing to Celebrate
Breitbart News
Former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison on Monday. Some observers claimed that the late Andrew Breitbart would have been happy with Weiner’s sentence. But Andrew did not need more vindication …
Jailed Anthony Weiner brought down Hillary ClintonIrishCentralall 2 news articles »

8:47 AM 9/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier | Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials – Reuters 

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks Trumps Deadly Narcissism – The New York Times Trump’s Deadly Narcissism – New York Times Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials – Reuters The Republican Casualties of Trumpism – The New Yorker … Continue reading “8:47 AM 9/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses 2nd FBI veteran, Lisa Page, after losing Peter Strzok earlier | Justice Department, FBI resist lawmaker demands for ‘Trump dossier’ files: officials – Reuters”

Trump Could Go to War With North Korea So Everyone Forgets About Russia Probe, Report Says – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Trump Could Go to War With North Korea So Everyone Forgets About Russia Probe, Report Says
Newsweek
Anti-war activists hold a banner showing a caricature of President Donald Trump during an anti-Trump rally near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on September 27. A British-based think tank’s report suggests Trump could go to war with North Korea to help with …
North Korean nukes aimed at US may fly OVER Russia – forcing Trump to risk Putin’s wrath if he blows them out the skyThe Sunall 6,118 news articles »

What Russian Meddling In Elections Might Have Looked Like – Forbes

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Forbes
What Russian Meddling In Elections Might Have Looked Like
Forbes
The Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency both say the Russiangovernment hacked into U.S. election officials computers. Mark Zuckerberg turns over to congressional investigators some 3,000 advertising accounts linked to … 

8:58 AM 9/29/2017 

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» mikenov on Twitter: 8:47 AM 9/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses… – Reuters trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/2… 29/09/17 08:49 from 1. My News Blogs from mikenova (2 sites) 8:47 AM 9/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Robert Muellers Russia investigation team loses… – Reuters trumpinvestigations.org/blog/2017/09/2… Posted by mikenov on Friday, September 29th, 2017 12:49pm mikenov on Twitter … Continue reading“8:58 AM 9/29/2017”

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