*president trump is seriously dangerous*

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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:47 pm

The Sater Sanction
Posted on March 26, 2013 by djb
Yesterday the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of criminals’ rights and safety vs the American public’s rights and safety when they refused to review the gag order on an attorney who attempted to force open the government’s handling and protection of Felix Sater.

The government’s use and protection of informants and co-operating individuals have spiralled out of control in the post 9/11 era. The case of Felix Sater and other high-profile cases, such as the Mumbai terrorist, David Coleman Headley, and the USCIS Rogue IT Program should start raising the question: Is the federal government, all three branches, covering up bureaucratic incompetence, which includes a failure to properly monitor confidential informants, especially those with criminal and terrorist backgrounds?

It also raises the question: Are organized crime, terrorist organizations, and foreign intelligence services now gaming the confidential informant system to conduct their activities here and abroad?

Sater’s relations with the recent tanking of Trump International Hotel & Tower in Florida made the headlines last year and helped raise the question concerning the government’s judgement and ’employment’ of individual’s with Sater’s background. And whether government lawyers and managers like it or not there comes a tipping point – when does the government’s use and collaboration with criminals, terrorists and foreign businesses and governments start to threaten and undermine the very nation they are sworn to protect?
https://escapekappertisle.wordpress.com ... -sanction/

Sater Gets Divine Intervention? Or Federal Intervention?
Posted on April 2, 2013 by djb


Felix Sater has a new partner at the 8:46 mark. If only Holocaust survivors the Gottdieners were so lucky?

From yesterday’s New York Post:

“In a Manhattan federal court suit filed March 18, the estate of Holocaust survivors Ernest and Judit Gottdiener alleges that convicted scammers Felix Sater and Salvatore Lauria — who pleaded guilty to racketeering in a $40 million, 1998 pump-and-dump stock-fraud scheme — bilked the Gottdieners out of $7 million.”
https://escapekappertisle.wordpress.com ... omment-210

Inside Donald Trump's Empire: Why He Didn't Run for President in 2012
With lawsuits pending and shady partners, Trump’s business empire could not withstand the scrutiny of a presidential campaign, and even his kids might have been muddied.
Wayne Barrett

05.26.11 2:29 PM ET
Editor's Note, 8/10/15: Four years ago, Wayne Barett reported shady business deals ahead of Trump's flirtation with a White House run. After first exposing Trump’s ties to organized crime in his 1992 book, Barrett looked into his most recent business dealings and discovered the following:
• One associate who was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in a massive 2000 stock swindle—and escaped prison only by helping to convict 19 others, including six members of New York crime families
• Two associates who served prison time on cocaine charges
• Another partner prosecuted for trafficking underage girls after a dramatic helicopter raid on a yacht off the Turkish coast
• A pending lawsuit against Trump Soho that alleges daughter Ivanka, among others, made fraudulent misrepresentations
“I had no idea I would get hammered in the way I’ve been hammered,” Donald Trump declared in New Hampshire on May 11, five days before he dropped out of a presidential race he never formally entered.
Trump knew when he went to New Hampshire that he was about to be hammered again, this time on the front page of The New York Times, which, two days later, reported that hundreds of buyers at condo projects that bear his name were suing him. Trump then went on CNBC—in what turned out to be his last presidential TV interview—and blasted the author of the Times piece, Michael Barbaro, as well as NBC’s investigative chief, Michael Isikoff, and even one of the show’s hosts, Simon Hobbs. Two weeks earlier, Trump had been roasted by the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and now, anyone with a question to ask looked at him as if he had barbecue fork in hand.
As late as this May 13 CNBC appearance, Trump was talking about two possible deadlines for his decision to run— May 22 and before June. Instead, he quit abruptly on May 16, reneging on his promise to attend the Tea Party’s South Carolina event on May 19. He has hinted that NBC forced his hand with its deadline for a $120 million, two-year, Celebrity Apprentice renewal offer. But, as inevitable as it may always have been that he would pull the plug on his presidential show, Trump appeared to depart in a hurried attempt to stanch the flow of bad press, no matter how hard he now wants to disguise it. His refusal to rule out a return to the campaign trail when he called in to Fox TV last Monday was surely just more bravado tease.
Trump quit at least in part because he finally realized what a harsh light this ego explosion was shining on every corner of his business empire, potentially exposing not only him and his many partners, but also his children Donald Jr. and Ivanka to intense scrutiny. An ongoing media investigation of Trump’s financial deals—beset by charges of fraudulent misrepresentation—would also have made it harder for NBC to continue touting him as a model American businessman.
Among these purportedly “reckless” claims “to induce sales” were Ivanka Trump’s assertions to Reuters and to the London Times in June 2008 that 60 percent of the units were sold.
In the days before Trump dropped out, he could certainly not have been too happy to hear from me again. We met in the late '70s for hours of taped interviews, and The Village Voice stories I wrote then resulted in a federal grand jury probe of his early deals, though, in the end, no indictment. When I published the first biography of the Donald in 1992, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which oversees casino licensing in Atlantic City, put Trump under oath and issued a 34-page report, confirming some of the ties to organized crime I described in the book and stating that they could not verify others. I was later visited repeatedly by gaming officials from Missouri when Trump applied for a riverboat casino license there; he wound up withdrawing the application.
While I was reporting that book in 1990, I was muscled out of Trump Castle and handcuffed overnight to a wall at the Atlantic City jail. I haven’t done much reporting about him since the book, but when his numbers shot to the top in recent presidential polls, I took another look and asked his office for an interview. His response was a letter threatening a libel suit.
Trump did sue Tim O’Brien, who was a research assistant on my Trump book, when Tim wrote a sequel in 2005. Now the national editor of the Huffington Post, O’Brien finally prevailed after years of litigation. I obtained—and not from O’Brien—a copy of the two-day deposition Trump gave in that lawsuit. The December 2007 transcript is a road map of the dark paths Trump’s business career has taken in recent years.
In addition to being a television personality, Trump makes a lot of his money these days licensing his name for various hotel and condo projects, not to mention mattress and vodka brands. His most frequent partner in the condo/hotel deals—some of which have become actual projects and some of which haven’t—has been a small development firm called the Bayrock Group, which was headquartered in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in 2005 when the partnership began. Trump and Bayrock joined forces on Trump Soho in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, announced and then canceled another Florida project called Trump Las Olas, and together pushed unsuccessful ventures in Colorado and Arizona. Two days before Trump’s 2007 deposition in the O’Brien case, however, The New York Times broke a story about a top Bayrock executive, Felix Sater (aka Satter). Sater had gone to prison for plunging the stem of a wine glass into a commodity broker’s face in a bar fight. He’d also narrowly averted jail a second time, when he was named an “ unindicted co-conspirator” in a massive federal fraud case in 2000. Sater cooperated in this probe of a $40 million stock swindle, which resulted in 19 guilty pleas and the conviction of six mobsters— including the nephew of Carmine “the Snake” Persico and the brother-in-law of Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. The wise guys were part of a “pump and dump” stock scam at the Wall Street firm, White Rock Partners, that Sater ran with Sal Lauria.
Sater, the son of a reputed Russian mob boss, whose mini–storage locker contained two unlicensed pistols and a shotgun, actually worked out of a penthouse office in Trump’s new building at 40 Wall Street. Lauria, who pled guilty to a racketeering charge in the pump-and-dump case, later claimed in a memoir he published that he’d been on talking terms with Trump.
“What kind of interaction did you have with Mr. Sater,” Trump was asked in the O’Brien deposition back in 2007.
“Not that much,” he replied. “I dealt mostly with Tevfik.”
Trump was referring to Tevfik Arif, the founder and chairman of Bayrock, who’d told the Real Estate News shortly before Trump’s deposition that Donald " has been very helpful to us from the beginning and he's been very helpful in opening some doors." In his deposition, Trump praised Arif’s “international connections,” and detailed half a dozen “phenomenal” prospective tower deals with Arif, including ones in Moscow, Yalta, Warsaw, Istanbul, and Kiev. He boasted that Arif was prepared to give Trump a 20 to 25 percent interest in his overseas projects, plus management fees and a possible percentage of gross, without Trump investing a nickel—just for the use of his name. “It was almost like mass production of a car,” Trump testified. His suit claimed that Arif canceled these lucrative projects because of O’Brien’s book, and he urged O’Brien’s lawyers to question Arif, confident that his friend would verify these damages.
By the next year, however, Arif began to look as much like a liability as Sater. (Trump testified that Arif had assured him Sater was not a partner, though court records indicate that he had a 50 percent “executive membership interest” in the Bayrock affiliates doing the Trump developments). In a 2009 civil complaint Jody Kriss, who served for five years as the finance director at Bayrock, alleged that the firm was a “racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization” that Arif and Sater “operated through a pattern of criminal activity.” In addition to charging them with embezzlement and various forms of fraud, Kriss alleged they had engaged in “extortion by means of threats of torture and death.” The complaint also claims that Bayrock steered a $1.5 million placement fee in 2007 to Sater’s convicted partner Lauria for a financing deal involving Bayrock’s projects with Trump in Soho, Fort Lauderdale, and Phoenix.
In a separate lawsuit against a former tech executive, Bayrock lawyers contend that the techie downloaded thousands of documents in the company’s system and gave some to Kriss, including emails “related to a sealed criminal matter” that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are pursuing. The judge who sealed many papers in the ongoing Kriss civil suit, making reference to a criminal probe related to Bayrock, also sealed the ongoing criminal case of Sal Lauria, who has a cooperation agreement with the government. These orders make it impossible to determine what the criminal matter, or even some of the civil court issues (including Bayrock’s defense), might be.
Arif is such a fabulist, according to the Kriss complaint, that he even “pretends to be Turkish to avoid connection to his questionable past in Russia.” He spends a lot of time in Istanbul and, last October, was arrested aboard the largest for-charter luxury yacht in the world and charged with "encouraging" and "facilitating" prostitution. Turkish military police conducted a helicopter raid on the Savarona, a 16-suite, steam-powered, white vessel once used by Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Ataturk, and rented out for $40,000 a day. Nine Russian and Ukrainian women were detained and then deported; two were reportedly only 16 years old and had come to Turkey at Arif’s behest. Media reports indicated that naked men, some of whom were top government officials as well as Russian, Israeli, Kazakhstan, and Turkish executives, were busted in suites strewn with used and unused condoms.
Arif insisted that he was just “entertaining friends” and that the girls brought on board were there for “dancing and singing.” Gondoz Akerniz, who worked for Arif and rented the yacht, told the same reporters that if Arif “comes here to meet friends and talk about investments, and I order models for them. I don’t know if they’re underage or not.” When the incident, which allegedly involved a prominent Israeli billionaire and a senior Kazakhstan official, blew up in the international media, the case was quickly concluded. At an April hearing, a judge dismissed the charges against Arif, though four lesser-known businessmen directly implicated in bringing the girls aboard were convicted. A final report on the reasons for the dismissal has yet to be issued, though the fact that the women refused to testify, denied they were prostitutes, and immediately left Turkey did weaken the prosecution.
At the time of the boat bust, reporters called Trump’s office and were told that he hadn’t spoken to Arif “in years,” even though Arif remains a partner in Trump Soho, a $450-million hotel/condo project where Trump actually has both an ownership and management role, unlike his licensing deals. Five days after Arif’s arrest, Trump launched what has turned out to be his presidential tease.
Another partner in Trump Soho is the Russian émigré developer Tamir Sapir, who lives in a $5 million Trump Tower condo. Though his net worth was first pegged at $2 billion by Forbes in 2006, Sapir’s company claimed to have “ only $4,000 in cash and cash equivalents” in 2009. And Sapir’s lawyers recently claimed in a court case that Sapir’s “ deteriorating mental condition” has prevented him from writing anything but his signature “for 10 years,” meaning he was out of it when he consummated the Soho deal with Donald in 2005. A year earlier, Fred Contini, Sapir’s onetime executive vice president and top aide, pled guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy with the Gambino crime family for 13 years—both prior to and after his hiring by Sapir in 1996.
Sapir, whom Trump calls a “ great friend,” introduced Donald to Bayrock and is best known for his $500,000 payment to lobbyist and former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato for a single call to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to help him retain a lucrative lease with the agency. He was also fined $150,000 for decorating his yacht with 29 animal carcasses in violation of endangered species laws, including a stuffed lion and python-covered bar stools.
Trump Soho finally opened a year ago. Nineteen unit buyers are now suing, accusing Bayrock, Sapir, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Jr., among others, of “an ongoing pattern of fraudulent misrepresentations and deceptive sales practices.” Among these purportedly “reckless” claims “to induce sales” were Ivanka Trump’s assertions to Reuters and to the London Times in June 2008 that 60 percent of the 391-unit Tower were sold, at a time when documents later submitted to the New York attorney general indicated that only 14.5 percent had been sold. ( The Soho’s response papers quibble with these numbers, suggesting they may have sold a handful more units than they reported to the New York attorney general.) The project was announced during the grand finale of the 2006 Apprentice, and Ivanka did a cleavage-baring ad for it, tagged “ Possess Your Own Soho.”
Trump is now trying to put some distance between himself and the Soho project, which is discounting units by 25 percent and is at best a third sold. But the suit says he is listed in official documents as “actively involved” in the condo offering. In addition, he manages the hotel, which happens to be the entire building. That’s because an unprecedented city zoning agreement limits condo owners to living in the 46-story tower 120 days a year, allowing Trump, acting as a fee-collecting agent for the unit owners, to rent them out as hotel suites the rest of the time. He, Ivanka and Donald Jr. also own an 18 percent interest in the project. Ivanka and Donald Jr. did not respond to requests for comment.
What may prove particularly damaging to Trump Soho is the contention in the lawsuit that the project was marketed as an investment because of the hotel arrangement, with sales agents touting prospective nightly charges of up to $1,000 and annual returns of 153 percent. That may make securities fraud part of this case—as vigorously as the Trump Soho lawyers deny it—and courts typically take securities fraud more seriously than consumer deception.
The Soho’s lawyers have petitioned to dismiss the case, but if it survives that motion, it could have been in the headlines while candidate Donald was in Iowa, as might the ongoing criminal case involving Bayrock and Lauria. Either of these, or the probe of Trump’s for-profit university just launched by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, would have put a crimp in the campaign.
A similar case has been filed by buyers at Trump International in Fort Lauderdale, the other Bayrock/Sapir project. Rejecting parts of a dismissal motion in December 2010, Judge Adalberto Jordan’s 24-page ruling noted that “sales literature ballyhooed the building as a profitable investment allowing a favorable income share.” The 298-unit project, which was a focus of the recent New York Times story, has been such a disaster that it was halted shortly before it was completed and is empty and locked now. Trump, who had limited his exposure in this Bayrock/Sapir deal to licensing his name and possibly managing the hotel, abruptly pulled out in 2009, when they stopped paying him a monthly promotional fee for the use of his name. But the Jordan decision cites Trump’s smiling announcement about the project—“It’s with great pleasure that I present my latest development”—as evidence of why buyers thought they were buying Trump when they made their deposits.
Jordan dismissed many claims against Trump precisely because he was merely renting his name, but he did find that “these allegations seem to suffice to define” Trump and his company as persons who “advertise for sale or lease” and thus, under the terms of federal law, might be potentially liable for the apparent default. Trump and his partners insist that both this and the suit against Trump Soho are cases of buyers’ remorse in a sagging real-estate market from folks too busy to read the fine print of a contract, which tells purchasers to disregard other marketing promises.
The Trump family has also gone into business with two convicted cocaine traffickers, one in Turkey and another in Philadelphia. Engin Yesil, whose development company was said to “ own the Turkey rights” for a $500 million project called Trump Towers Istanbul, was sentenced to a six-year prison term on cocaine charges in the U.S. 20 years ago. He says now that he “delegated” his Trump “royalties” to Dogan Holdings, a giant Turkish developer and media company that was just fined an extraordinary $2.5 billion for dodging corporate taxes in Turkey for years. When asked in the O’Brien deposition about the Istanbul project, Donald deferred to his son, who he said was handling the deal. In 2009, Ivanka did a huge press event in Istanbul, announcing that 45 percent of the units were already committed.
Trump Tower Philadelphia also involves a former cocaine dealer, Raoul Goldberg, aka Goldberger. Sentenced to 46 months in prison in 2000 on the coke conviction, he was technically on probation when he brought the site for the 45-story tower to Trump in 2005. And even though it’s only a license and management deal for Trump, Ivanka and Donald Jr. were so involved that they worked on spa and restaurant deals for the complex. Goldberg, who has suddenly “disappeared” from the project just as Felix Sater did, told Philadelphia Magazine in 2006 that he talked to Ivanka or Donald Jr. “every day.”
At a climactic moment in his 2007 deposition, Trump was asked to “put aside Bayrock.” Other than “this situation,” his interrogator wondered, “have you ever before associated with individuals you knew were associated with organized crime?”
“Not that I know of,” he testified.
In fact, Trump’s recent history with this catalog of criminals and cads is but an update on my earlier book, which listed dozens of mob relationships from concrete to casinos.
In one instance in the 1980s, Trump paid $8 million to buy out two mob-tied business associates when he feared his gaming license wouldn’t be approved. He wrote a letter to a federal judge on behalf of a mob-connected cocaine dealer whose helicopter company serviced his casinos and whose girlfriend had two Trump Tower apartments. He structured the purchase of a plot of land from a top leader of the murderous Scarfo crime family in Atlantic City so that his name would not appear in the transaction. He put a winsome but ostensibly penniless woman closely associated with the Gambino-connected head of the concrete drivers union in a triplex with Trump Tower’s only swimming pool right beneath his own apartment.
Trump threatened to sue over the book but never did. The gaming officials who questioned Trump under oath about 14 of the many charges in my book didn’t contradict any of these facts; they just viewed them more benignly.
Trump also claimed during this questioning by gaming authorities that he didn’t know that his lawyer, mentor, and close friend, Roy Cohn, represented Genovese godfather Fat Tony Salerno—though their two names appeared in the same paragraph about former clients in Cohn’s 1986 Times obituary. Trump’s answer was an effort to disassociate himself from Cohn because my book alleged that Cohn had brokered a Trump meeting with Salerno—which Trump denied—and he was aware that Barron Hilton had been denied a casino license for a lesser relationship with a lesser mob lawyer.
These kinds of associations once caused Trump worry about retaining his gaming licenses (he is still the largest shareholder in a public company that owns three of Atlantic City’s struggling casinos, but license renewal is no longer required). Perhaps he finally realized that in a presidential campaign, which requires filing detailed financial disclosures, the vetting of all sorts would be much tougher. Then a gang of questionable associations like this would’ve converted a candidacy into a scandal, damaging his star status, business prospects, and even his family.
Valerie Bogard, Bryan Finlayson, Nichole Sobecki, Barry Shifrin, and Katie Thompson contributed reporting to this article.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... ident.html
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Nordic » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:00 pm

"He who wounds the ecosphere literally wounds God" -- Philip K. Dick
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Grizzly » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:58 pm

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby SonicG » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:10 pm

Talk about binary thinking... :yay
"a poiminint tidal wave in a notion of dynamite"
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:27 pm

The World’s Most Powerful Mobster That You Probably Never Heard Of
BY PALASH GHOSH @GOOCH700 ON 12/30/12 AT 10:54 AM

Imagine a mobster that comprised the cunning of Lucky Luciano, the brilliance of Meyer Lansky, the ferocity of Vito Genovese, the duplicity of Carmine Galante and the massive wealth of Pablo Escobar. Such a person is not the fantasy creation of some novelist or screenwriter, but rather a real-life flesh-and-blood monster that lives among us.

Semion Mogilevich looks nothing like Marlon Brando nor Al Pacino. The short, bald, pockmarked, grossly obese, 66-year-old Ukrainian is believed by international law enforcement agencies to be one of the most powerful criminals on earth.

The Moscow resident reportedly holds Russian, Ukrainian, Greek and Israeli passports.

Among a litany of crimes, Mogilevich allegedly defrauded thousands of investors in the US and Canada in the 1990s, netting him at least $150 million. He also served as the chief of Inkombank, a Russian financial institution, which was accused of money laundering.

Indicted in 2003, Mogilevich is currently one of the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives, wanted for wire fraud, RICO conspiracy, mail fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, among other offenses.

With a $100,000 bounty on his head, Mogilevich is also suspected of involvement in murder-for-hire, arms dealing and drug trafficking. The FBI noted that he holds a degree in economics (quite unlike most mobsters) and smokes heavily (quite common for Russians and Ukrainians).

He was arrested in Moscow in 2008 for tax evasion, but released the following year. Russia subsequently rejected a request by U.S. authorities to extradite Mogilevich to answer charges related to the aforementioned massive stock swindle.

A website called Gangstersinc. reported that Semion Mogilevich’s criminal career began slowly and with little initial success. As a young man in the early 1970s, he belonged to the Lyubertskaya group, a band of small-time crooks in Moscow. He apparently served two separate jail terms during this period for a plethora of petty crimes.

His fortunes improved dramatically during the 1980s when the Russian government allowed thousands of Jews to depart for Israel, Europe and the U.S. Seeing a grand business opportunity, Mogilevich defrauded his fellow Jews by buying their possessions at discount prices (exploiting their eagerness to leave) and promising to sell them on the market and send the profits fron such nonexistent sales overseas at a later date. Mogilevich scored millions of dollars on this scheme and used these funds to invest in the highly lucrative areas of weapons and drugs smuggling, prostitution and gambling.

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union empire in the early 1990s, scores of organized crime gangs took advantage of the chaos, but Mogilevich fled to Israel.

However, he did not relinquish his criminal activities. Indeed, Mogilevich made contacts with other mobsters while still running various illegal enterprises and investing his ill-gotten cash in myriad businesses. After marrying his Hungarian girlfriend Katalin Papp, Mogilevich relocated to Budapest, where he formed a criminal empire based on the structural model of the Sicilian Mafia.

Eventually, the tentacles of Mogilevich's criminal empire expanded across Europe, into North and South America and even Pakistan and Japan.

Former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (now in jail herself) accused Mogilevich of illegally profiting from the Russia-Ukraine gas deals.

"He has access to so much, including funding, including other criminal organizations, that he can, with a telephone call and order, affect the global economy," FBI Supervisory Special Agent Peter Kowenhoven told CNN.

FBI Special Agent Mike Dixon declared: "[Mogilevich]'s a big man. He's a very powerful man. I think more powerful than a John Gotti would be, because he has the ability to influence nations. Gotti never reached that stature."

The FBI has labeled Mogilevich as the “most dangerous mobster in the world.”

Like virtually all powerful organized criminals, Mogilevich is closely linked with top politicians. According to reports, he has been allied with Yury Luzhkov, a former Mayor of Moscow, Dmytro Firtash and Leonid Derkach, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine, and Oleksandr Turchynov, former Prime Minister of Ukraine.

"Semion Mogilevich is as serious an organized criminal as I have ever encountered and I am confident that he is responsible for contract killings,” said Jon Winer, a former anti-crime official with the Clinton Administration, in 2006.

At least one analyst has linked Semion Mogilevich to the most powerful man in Russia, Vladimir Putin.

Roman Kupchinsky wrote in the Eurasia Daily Monitor that Leonid Derkach, the former chief of the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, characterized Mogilevich as a close friend of Putin while conversing with former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma.

"[Mogilevich]'s on good terms with Putin,” Derkach allegedly said. “He and Putin have been in contact since Putin was still in Leningrad… They have their own affairs."

Mogilevich remains a free man.
http://www.ibtimes.com/worlds-most-powe ... ard-980488

The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World
In two posh villas outside the small town of Ricany, near Prague, one of the most dreaded mob families in the world savagely murders its terrified victims. The mob's young enforcers, trained by veterans of the Afghanistan war, are infamous for their extreme brutality. Their quarry, usually businessmen who have balked at extortion demands, are repeatedly stabbed and tortured, then mutilated before they are butchered. The carnage is so hideous that it has scared the daylights out of competing crime groups in the area.

The torture chambers are run by what international police officials call the Red Mafia, a notorious Russian mob family that in only six years has become a nefarious global crime cartel. Based in Budapest, it has key centers in New York, Pennsylvania, Southern California, and as far away as New Zealand.

The enigmatic leader of the Red Mafia is a 52-year-old Ukrainian-born Jew named Semion Mogilevich. He is a shadowy figure known as the ''Brainy Don''--he holds an economics degree from the University of Lvov--and until now, he has never been exposed by the media. But the Voice has obtained hundreds of pages of classified FBI and Israeli intelligence documents from August 1996, and these documents--as well as recent interviews with a key criminal associate and with dozens of law enforcement sources here and abroad--describe him as someone who has become a grave threat to the stability of Israel and Eastern Europe.

''He's the most powerful mobster in the world,'' crows Monya Elson, who is listed in classified documents as one of Mogilevich's closest associates and partners in prostitution and money laundering rings. The Brighton Beach­based Elson, who once led a pack of thugs and killers known as Monya's Brigada, is currently in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan awaiting trial for three murders and numerous extortions.

Sun., Feb. 26, 5:00pm
In July 1993, after Elson was grievously wounded by rival mobsters in a bloody shoot-out outside his Brooklyn apartment building, Mogilevich spirited him out of the country. Mogilevich then set up his Russian Jewish refugee friend in an alleged massive money-laundering scheme in Fano, Italy, where he was eventually arrested and extradited back to America. Elson, an integral part of the Red Mafia, had been one of the most feared mobsters in Brighton Beach, ground zero for Russian organized crime in America, which has exploded here following perestroika.

''If I tell on Mogilevich, Interpol will give me $20 million,'' boasted Elson. ''I lived with him. I'm his partner, don't forget. We are very, very close friends. I don't mean close, I mean very, very close. He's my best friend.'' Nevertheless, after extensive interviews over the course of the last six months, Elson ultimately confirmed some of the details about Mogilevich contained in the classified FBI and Israeli documents.

Allegations of Mogilevich's devilish array of criminal activities are extensively detailed in the reports:The FBI and Israeli intelligence assert that he traffics in nuclear materials, drugs, prostitutes, precious gems, and stolen art. His contract hit squads operate in the U.S. and Europe. He controls everything that goes in and out of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport, a ''smugglers' paradise,'' says Elson. Mogilevich bought a bankrupt airline in a former Central Asian Soviet republic for millions of dollars in cash so he could haul heroin out of the Golden Triangle. Most worrisome to U.S. authorities is Mogilevich's apparently legal purchase of virtually the entire Hungarian armaments industry, jeopardizing regional security, NATO, and the war against terrorism.

In one typical criminal deal, Mogilevich and two Moscow-based gangsters sold $20 million worth of pilfered Warsaw Pact weapons from East Germany, including ground-to-air missiles and 12 armored troop carriers, according to the classified Israeli and FBI documents. The buyer was Iran, says a top-level U.S. Customs official who requested anonymity.

In another deal, an FBI informant told the bureau that one of Mogilevich's chief lieutenants in Los Angeles met two Russians from New York City with Genovese crime family ties to broker a scheme to dump American toxic waste in Russia. Mogilevich's man from L.A. said the Red Mafia would dispose of the toxic waste in the Chernobyl region, ''probably through payoffs to the decontamination authorities there,'' says a classified FBI report.

Mogilevich is particularly intrigued by art fraud. In early 1993, he reached an agreement with the leaders of the powerful Solntsevskaya crime family in Moscow to invest huge sums of money in a joint venture: acquiring a jewelry business in Moscow and Budapest. The business, according to classified FBI documents, was to serve as a front for the acquisition of jewelry, antiques, and art, which the Solntsevskaya mob had stolen from churches and museums in Russia, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The gangsters also robbed the homes of art collectors and even broke into synagogues in Germany and Eastern Europe to steal rare religious books and Torahs.

Mogilevich's operation, again in collusion with the Solntsevskaya mob, also purchased a large jewelry factory in Budapest. Russian antiques, such as Faberge eggs, are sent to Budapest for ''restoration.'' Mogilevich's men ship the genuine Faberge eggs to an unwitting Sotheby's auction house in London for sale, then send fake Faberge eggs as well as other ''restored'' objects back to Moscow.

Mogilevich's early years are murky. Soviet authorities first learned of his criminal activities in the 1970s, when he was a member of the Liubertskaya crime group that operated in the Moscow suburb of the same name. He was involved in petty thefts and counterfeiting.

But Mogilevich made his first millions fleecing fellow Jews. In the mid 1980s, when tens of thousands of Jewish refugees were hurriedly immigrating to Israel and America, Mogilevich made deals to buy their assets--rubles, furniture, and art--cheaply, promising to exchange the goods for fair market value and send refugees the proceeds in ''hard'' currency. Instead, he sold their valuables and pocketed the considerable profits.

In the 1980s, he established a petroleum import-export company, Arbat International, and registered it in Alderney, one of the Channel Islands, which is known to be a tax haven. One of his partners--with a quarter share of the company--was Vyacheslav Ivankov, the legendary Russian criminal who in March 1992 became Godfather of the Russian mob in America. Ivankov was convicted in 1996 of extorting two Russian-born Wall Street stockbrokers. He now resides in Raybrook, a Federal prison in upstate New York.

In early 1990, Mogilevich fled Moscow, as did many other dons, to avoid the gangland wars that were then roiling the capital. Mogilevich and his top henchmen settled in Israel, where they received Israeli citizenship. He ''succeeded in building a bridgehead in Israel'' and ''developing significant and influential [political] ties,'' says an Israeli intelligence report.

Mogilevich is married to a Hungarian national, Katalin Papp. That marriage allowed him to legally emigrate to Budapest, Hungary, in 1991, where he began to build the foundations of his global criminal empire. He bought a string of nightclubs in Prague, Riga, and Kiev--called the ''Black and White Clubs''--that has become one of the world's foremost centers of prostitution. Monya Elson is a partner in the clubs, according to his own admission and classified FBI documents. The Black and White Club in Budapest became the hub of Mogilevich's operations. He quickly built a highly structured criminal organization, in the mode of a traditional American mafia family. Indeed, many of the organization's 250 members are his relatives.

To the consternation of international law enforcement officials, Mogilevich began to legally purchase much of Hungary's arms industry. The legitimate companies he bought include:

Magnex 2000: a giant magnet manufacturer.
Digep General Machine Works: an artillery shell, mortar, and fire equipment manufacturer, which was financed by a $3.8 million loan from the London branch of Banque Francaise De L'orean.
Army Co-op: a mortar and anti-aircraft gun factory. Army Co-op was established in 1991 by two Hungarian nationals, both in the local arms industry, who were looking for a partner. Mogilevich has bought 95 per cent of Army Co-op through another Channel Island holding company, Arigon, Ltd., and also deals extensively with the Ukraine, selling oil products to the Ukrainian railway administration.
These transactions enabled the Mogilevich organization to become a direct owner of the Hungarian armaments industry. In 1994, he purchased a license enabling him to buy and sell weapons. Now a legitimate armaments manufacturer, one of his companies participated in at least one arms exhibition in the U.S., where it displayed mortars modified by Israel.

Like mob bosses everywhere, Mogilevich couldn't sustain his empire without the help of corrupt police and politicians. There is one documented example of a criminal associate of Mogilevich mingling with American politicians. In March 1994, Vahtang Ubiriya, one of Mogilevich's top lieutenants, was photographed by the FBI at a tony Republican Party fundraiser in Dallas, says an FBI report. Ubiriya, a high-ranking official in the Ukrainian railway administration, has a prior conviction for bribery in the Ukraine.

In Europe and Russia, the ''corruption of police and public officials has been part of the Semion Mogilevich Organization's modus operandi,'' says a classified FBI document. ''The corruptive influence of the Mogilevich organization apparently extends to the Russian security system. During 1995, two colonels from Department of the Russian Presidential Security Service . . . traveled to Hungary under commercial cover to meet with Mogilevich . . . seeking information for use in the Russian political campaign.'' An Israeli associate of Mogilevich met with the two colonels and provided intelligence. Mogilevich also paid off a Russian judge to secure Vyacheslav Ivankov's early release from a Siberian prison, where he was doing hard time for robbery and torture, according to U.S. court records and classified FBI documents.

On April 28, the German national television network ZDF reported that the BND (the German intelligence agency) had entered into a secret contract with Mogilevich to provide information on the Russian mob. The charges were made by several sources, including Pierre Delilez, a highly regarded Belgium police investigator who specializes in Russian Organized Crime. Because of this deal with the BND, police in Belgium, Germany, and Austria have complained that it is now impossible to investigate the ''Brainy Don.'' If the television report is accurate, one possible motive for BND's deal, says a U.S. law enforcement expert on the Russian mob, is that the Germans recently ''pulled their people out of Moscow because they didn't like the level of cooperation they were getting from the Russian authorities on the Russian mob.'' Gangsters, said this source, often talk to intelligence agencies about their rivals.

Mogilevich's main activity in the U.S. appears to be money laundering, says a classified FBI report. He has set up companies in Los Angeles--FNJ Trade Management--and Newton, Pennsylvania--YBM Magnex International--as well as dozens of shell companies, which have received more than $30 million from Arigon, Ltd., the center of Mogilevich's financial operations.

Last Friday, U.S. Attorney Robert Courtney, head of the organized-crime strike force, led a a joint FBI, IRS, INS, and Customs raid of YBM's offices in Newton. Cartons of documents were seized, with Canadian and U.S. police citing the company's alleged ties to Russian organized crime. YBM is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and two days before Friday's raid, trading in its stock was suspended by Canadian authorities.

The president and CEO of YBM is Jacob Bogatin, a professor of physical metallurgy. In May 1996, he contacted the FBI in Philadelphia to find out why the INS had denied visas to YBM employees arriving from Hungary and the Ukraine. When he was rebuffed, he had intermediaries step forward and pester the FBI. The State Department has banned Mogilevich himself from obtaining a U.S. visa because he's on the department's watch list of international organized-crime figures. Nevertheless, he has surreptitiously entered America under aliases and on visitor visas issued in Tel Aviv to visit Elson and Ivankov.

Bogatin admitted during a telephone interview that Mogilevich owns his company. When asked if he knew that numerous law enforcement agencies here and abroad considered Mogilevich to be a leader of one of the most ruthless organized-crime families in recent times, Bogatin replied, ''We have an investors relations guy. You want to talk with him about this stuff.'' He added that he had read allegations in the Eastern European press that his boss was a Mafia don, but didn't believe them. YBM vehemently denies that it is connected to Russian organized crime or has engaged in any criminal activities.

Bogatin is no stranger to the mob, however. His brother, David, a top Russian crime figure who once served in North Vietnam for the Soviets in an anti-aircraft unit, is now serving an eight-year term in a New York State prison for a multimillion-dollar gasoline tax fraud scheme. Just prior to trial, he had jumped bail, fleeing to Poland. There he set up the first commercial banks, which moved vast sums of money controlled by Russian wiseguys. (This after handing over his mortgages for five pricey Trump Tower apartments to a Genovese associate. The mortgages were liquidated and the funds were moved through a mafia-controlled bank in Chelsea.) Eventually he was caught and returned to the U.S. In the meantime, he lived like royalty in a five-star Viennese hotel, surrounded by a praetorian guard of 125 Polish parachutists, some of them bedecked in shiny gold uniforms.

Mogilevich has not refrained from associating with known killers in America, prime among them Elson and Ivankov. A confidential informant told the FBI that Vladimir Berkovich, an L.A. resident, is a chief lieutenant in Mogilevich's organization and has arranged contract killings here, supplying the weapons and spiriting the killers out of the country. The visas, says the report, were obtained through the Palm Terrace restaurant, a watering hole for Russian gangsters, which Berkovich owns. Berkovich told the Voice that he is aware of the government's charges, and that they are ''total bullshit.'' Although he has no criminal record in the U.S., Berkovich's son, Oleg, was convicted in Los Angeles of solicitation to commit murder on October 11, 1989. He was sentenced to four years. Oleg's business card identified his employer as Magnex, Ltd., a company owned by Mogilevich in Budapest. Oleg was recently arrested in Hungary on unspecified charges but was released.

Oleg's uncle, the colorful Lazar Berkovich, whose last known address was New York City, arrived in the Big Apple after having survived a shootout with Italian gangsters, says his brother Vladimir. The FBI report claims that Lazar was head of Russian criminal activities in Italy prior to his coming to America to recuperate from his wounds, though Vladimir Bercovich denies that Lazar was ever connected to the Russian mob.

Israeli and U.S. law enforcement sources agree that the Red Mafia, though in existence for a mere six years, has become one of the most formidable Russian organized-crime families in the world. Strongest in the Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the U.S., Mogilevich has increased his strength by forging ties with other powerful Russian mob groups as well as with the Italian Camorra. His reported ties to the German BND and ex­police officers in Hungary keep him informed of police efforts to penetrate his organization. ''He also ingratiates himself with the police by providing information on other [Russian crime] groups' activities, thus appearing to be a cooperative good citizen,'' says a classfied FBI report. This, along with his strong leadership qualities, his acute financial skills, his talented and highly educated associates, and his use of cutting-edge technology, has so far made the ''Brainy Don'' impervious to prosecution.

The Quiet American

Paul Manafort made a career out of stealthily reinventing the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom. Getting Donald Trump elected will be a cinch.

By Franklin Foer
Donald Trump’s political strategist Paul Manafort, left, with former presidential candidate Ben Carson at a campaign reception on April 21 in Hollywood, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s palace, is impressive by the standards of Palm Beach—less so when judged against the abodes of the world’s autocrats. It doesn’t, for instance, quite compare with Mezhyhirya, the gilded estate of deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Trump may have 33 bathrooms and three bomb shelters, but his mansion lacks a herd of ostrich, a galleon parked in a pond, and a set of golden golf clubs. Yet the two properties are linked, not just in ostentatious spirit, but by the presence of one man. Trump and Yanukovych have shared the same political brain, an operative named Paul Manafort.

Ukrainians use the term “political technologist” as a favored synonym for electoral consultant. Trump turned to Manafort for what seemed at first a technical task: Manafort knows how to bullwhip and wheedle delegates at a contested convention. He’s done it before, assisting Gerald Ford in stifling Ronald Reagan’s insurgency at the GOP’s summer classic of 1976. In the conventions that followed, the Republican Party often handed Manafort control of the program and instructed him to stage-manage the show. He produced the morning-in-America convention of 1984 and the Bob Dole nostalgia-thon of 1996.

Given Manafort’s experience and skill set, it never made sense that he would be limited to such a narrow albeit crucial task as delegate accumulation. Indeed, it didn’t take long before he attempted to seize control of the Trump operation—managing the budget, buying advertising, steering Trump toward a teleprompter and away from flaming his opponents, appearing on air as a primary surrogate.

Some saw the hiring of Manafort as desperate, as Trump reaching for a relic from the distant past in the belated hope of compensating for a haphazard campaign infrastructure. In fact, securing Manafort was a coup. He is among the most significant political operatives of the past 40 years, and one of the most effective. He has revolutionized lobbying several times over, though he self-consciously refrains from broadcasting his influence. Unlike his old business partners, Roger Stone and Lee Atwater, you would never describe Manafort as flamboyant. He stays in luxury hotels, but orders room service and churns out memos. When he does venture from his suite for dinner with a group, he’ll sit at the end of the table and say next to nothing, giving the impression that he reserves his expensive opinions for private conversations with his clients. “Manafort is a person who doesn’t necessarily show himself. There’s nothing egotistical about him,” says the economist Anders Aslund, who advised the Ukrainian government. The late Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory described him as having a “smooth, noncommittal manner, ” though she also noted his “aggrieved brown eyes.” Despite his decades of amassing influence in Washington and other global capitals, he’s never been the subject of a full magazine profile. He distributes quotes to the press at the time and place of his choosing, which prior to his arrival on the Trump campaign, was almost never. (Indeed, he did not respond to requests to comment for this story.)

His work necessarily entails secrecy. Although his client list has included chunks of the Fortune 500, he has also built a booming business working with dictators. As Roger Stone has boasted about their now-disbanded firm: “Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, lined up most of the dictators of the world we could find. … Dictators are in the eye of the beholder.” Manafort had a special gift for changing how dictators are beheld by American eyes. He would recast them as noble heroes—venerated by Washington think tanks, deluged with money from Congress.

Playing tennis with Yanukovych at Mezhyhirya might have been the culmination of Manafort’s long career. He spent nearly seven years commuting to Kiev. Over that stretch, he remade Ukrainian politics and helped shift the country into Vladimir Putin’s sphere of influence. It was an impressive achievement, at least according to the ethical calculus that governs Manafort’s world. But then along came Donald Trump—another oligarch in desperate need of his services.

* * *

The genesis of Donald Trump’s relationship with Paul Manafort begins with Roy Cohn. That Roy Cohn: Joe McCarthy’s heavy-lidded henchman, lawyer to the Genovese family. During the ’70s, Trump and his father hired Cohn as their lawyer to defend the family against a housing discrimination suit. (Cohn accused the Feds of using “Gestapo-like tactics.”) But Cohn and Trump became genuine pals, lunching at the Four Seasons and clubbing together at Studio 54. It was Roy Cohn who introduced Stone and Manafort to Trump.

During those disco years, Stone and Manafort were tethered together. They were both kids from Connecticut, attending colleges in Washington, though they couldn’t have been more different. Stone loved attention and garnered it with theatrical flair. He was a bad boy, soi-disant. As a student at George Washington University, Stone moonlighted for the Nixon campaign and gravitated to Jeb Magruder, deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Dirty tricks came naturally to Stone. He assumed a pseudonym and made contributions on behalf of the Young Socialist Alliance to one of Nixon’s potential challengers. He hired spies to infiltrate the McGovern campaign. Stone wasn’t shy about his handiwork. In fact, he wasn’t shy about anything. He loved to sit for interviews and vamp. Stone is a bodybuilding fanatic who posed shirtless in the New Yorker. The photo captured his implanted hair, but not the tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.

Manafort had a very different mentor. He studied under the future secretary of state, James A. Baker III, who wielded his knife with the discipline of a Marine and the polish of a Princetonian. It was a good fit for Manafort, who shared his mentor’s pragmatic conservatism and his thirst for politics. (His father spent six years as the mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, a Republican who flourished in Democratic terrain.) Baker, an avid collector of young talent, had managed Gerald Ford’s re-election campaign. That’s where he spotted Manafort and anointed him aide de camp. When Baker needed his own manager for his 1978 campaign to become attorney general of Texas, he tapped Manafort. The experience of whispering in Baker’s ear left a lasting impression. “Paul modeled himself after Baker,” one of his friends told me.

Despite his Yankee stock, Manafort ran Reagan’s Southern operation, the racially tinged appeal that infamously began in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the hamlet where civil rights activists were murdered in 1964. The success of the 1980 campaign gave Stone and Manafort cachet. More important, they helped run Reagan’s transition to power. They stocked the administration, distributing jobs across the agencies and accumulating owed favors that would provide the basis for their new lobbying business. They opened their doors in 1981.

Manafort and Stone pioneered a new style of firm, what K Street would come to call a double-breasted operation. One wing of the shop managed campaigns, electing a generation of Republicans, from Phil Gramm to Arlen Spector. The other wing lobbied the officials they helped to victory on behalf of its corporate clients. Over the course of their early years, they amassed a raft of blue-chip benefactors, including Salomon Brothers and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Another early client was Donald J. Trump. What Trump wanted was help fending off potential rivals to his Atlantic City casino business. He especially feared the rise of Indian gaming. As the 2016 campaign has graphically illustrated, Trump doesn’t treat rivals gently. Testifying before a congressional committee in 1993, he began with his rote protestations of friendship. “Nobody likes Indians as much as Donald Trump.” He then proceeded to worry that the tribes would prove unable to fend off gangsters. “There is no way Indians are going to protect themselves from the mob ... It will be the biggest scandal ever, the biggest since Al Capone … An Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to please get off his reservation? It’s unbelievable to me.”

Trump poured money into a shell group called the New York Institute for Law and Society. The group existed solely to publish ads smearing his potential Indian competition. Under dark photos of needles and other junkie paraphernalia, the group asserted, “The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented.” (It wasn’t.) “Are these the new neighbors we want?” We know that Trump and Stone were behind the New York Institute because Gov. George Pataki investigated its doings. He slapped Trump and Stone with a $250,000 fine and required them to publicly apologize for running the ads.

Manafort didn’t own the Trump account at the firm. But one of his former partners told me that he would dispense advice and pitch in, winning Trump’s trust. When Manafort took an apartment in Trump Towers in 2006, he would kibitz with his old client when they’d run into one another on the elevator. “Trump knew this guy was top drawer,” says one Republican operative.

* * *

Manafort and Stone built a glamour firm. The Black in its name belonged to Charles Black, who as a 25-year-old launched the Senate career of Jesse Helms. Later, they lured Lee Atwater, the evil genius who would devise the Willie Horton gambit for George H.W. Bush. The firm had swagger. In the early ’80s, the partners spoke openly to the Washington Post of their annual $450,000 salaries. According to the consultant Ed Rollins, Black would later boast that the firm had schemed to gain cartel-like control of the 1988 Republican presidential primary. They managed all of the major campaigns. Atwater took Bush; Black ran Dole; Stone handled Jack Kemp. A congressional staffer joked to a reporter from Time, “Why have primaries for the nomination? Why not have the candidates go over to Black, Manafort and Stone and argue it out?”

Manafort actively avoided the spotlight, though he had a knack for garnering unwanted attention. He took on clients and causes that even most of his colleagues on K Street considered outside the usual bounds. Black, Manafort, and Stone hired alumni of the Department of Housing and Urban Development then used those connections to win $43 million in “moderate rehabilitation funds” for a renovation project in Upper Deerfield, New Jersey. Local officials had no interest in the grants, as they considered the shamble of cinder blocks long past the point of repair. The money flowed from HUD regardless, and developers paid Manafort’s firm a $326,000 fee for its handiwork. He later bought a 20 percent share in the project. Two years later, rents doubled without any sign of improvement. Conditions remained, in Mary McGrory’s words, “strictly Third World.” It was such an outrageous scam that congressmen flocked to make a spectacle of it. Manafort calmly took his flaying. “You might call it influence-peddling. I call it lobbying,” he explained in one hearing. “That’s a definitional debate.”

Strangely, the HUD scandal proved a marketing boon for the firm. An aide to Mobutu Sese Seko told the journalist Art Levine, “That only shows how important they are!” Indeed, Manafort enticed the African dictator to hire the firm. Many of the world’s dictators eventually became his clients. “Name a dictator and Black, Manafort will name the account,” Levine wrote. (Levine’s piece, published in Spy, featured a sidebar ranking the ethical behavior of Washington lobbyists: It found Black, Manafort the worst of the bunch.) The client list included Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos (with a $900,000 yearly contract) and the despots of the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, and Somalia. When the Center for Public Integrity detailed the firm’s work, it titled the report “The Torturers’ Lobby.”

Indeed, the firm was an all-purpose image-buffing operation. As the Washington Post has reported, Manafort could book his clients on 60 Minutes or Nightline—and coach them to make their best pitch. He lobbied Congress for foreign aid that flowed to his clients’ coffers. He might even provide a few choice pieces of advice about tamping down domestic critics. Manafort understood the mindset of the dictator wasn’t so different from his corporate clients. According to one proposal unearthed by congressional investigators, the firm boasted of “personal relationships” with administration officials and promised “to upgrade backchannels” to the U.S. government.

This wasn’t empty rhetoric. On a Friday in 1985, Christopher Lehman left his job at the National Security Council. The following Monday, he was flying with Manafort, his new boss, to the bush of Angola to pitch the Chinese-trained guerilla Jonas Savimbi, who wanted covert assistance from the U.S. to bolster his rebellion against Angola’s Marxist government. Savimbi briefly left a battle against Cuban assault forces and signed a $600,000 contract.

The money bought Savimbi a revised reputation. Despite his client’s Maoist background, Manafort reinvented him as a freedom fighter. He knew all the tricks for manipulating right-wing opinion. Savimbi was sent to a seminar at the American Enterprise Institute, hosted by the anticommunist stalwart Jeanne Kirkpatrick, a reception thrown by the Heritage Foundation, and another confab at Freedom House. (Kirkpatrick introduced Savimbi, who conscripted soldiers, burned enemies, and indiscriminately laid land mines, as a “linguist, philosopher, poet, politician, warrior ... one of the few authentic heroes of our time.”)

Manafort’s campaign worked wonders. His lobbying helped convince Congress to send Savimbi hundreds of millions in covert aid. Indeed, every time Angola stood on the precipice of peace talks, Manafort, Black worked to generate a fresh round of arms—shipments that many experts believe extended the conflict. Sen. Bill Bradley was blunt in assigning blame. “When Gorbachev pulled the plug on Soviet aid to the Angolan government, we had absolutely no reason to persist in aiding Savimbi. But by then he had hired an effective Washington lobbying firm, which successfully obtained further funding.” Or as Art Levine concluded, “So the war lasted another two more years and claimed a few thousand more lives! So what? What counts to a Washington lobbyist is the ability to deliver a tangible victory and spruce up his client’s image.”

* * *
Who pays Paul Manafort? The question can be devilishly difficult to answer. He doesn’t always file the forms demanded by the Foreign Agents Registration Act. And he may not even need to disclose who cuts his checks. The law is porous, and over time revisions in the act have created various ways for lobbyists to hide their deeds. Like Henry Kissinger, Manafort can claim that he merely “consults” with foreign governments, relieving him of the legal burden of announcing his benefactors.

Money arrives to Manafort circuitously, sometimes through the dodgiest of routes. We know this because he admitted one instance to investigators. If there’s one place on the planet inhospitable to American political consultants, it is France. So when Manafort wrote a campaign strategy for Eduoard Balladur’s presidential campaign in 1995, his role was kept from the public. Payments traveled beneath the table. In fact, the French investigation revealed, the money came from a good friend and old client of Manafort’s, a Lebanese arms dealer called Abdul Rahman al-Assir. (Manafort took Assir to George H.W Bush’s inauguration in 1989; Assir once loaned Manafort $250,000, as the Washington Post reported this week).

Manafort’s fee was a small piece of a larger kickback scheme. At least $200,000 came to Manafort, some of it via accounts in Madrid. It was part of a deal brokered by Assir. He arranged for France to sell Pakistan three Agosta submarines—with tens of millions of euros in “commissions” returning to the coffers of the Balladur campaign. The scandal, known in France as the “Karachi Affair,” has hovered over the country’s politics ever since it broke in 2010. (The English ex-wife of another Franco-Lebanese arms dealer involved in l’affair revealed the Manafort payments to a French judge.)

It wasn’t the only time that Manafort received money from the Pakistanis. Michael Isikoff has reported that Manafort was paid $700,000 by the Kashmiri American Council—ostensibly a grassroots organization advocating against Indian control of the contested borderland. Funding for the group, however, came from Pakistani intelligence. The assistant U.S. attorney who investigated the Kashmiri American Council has called it a “false flag operation.” Manafort flew his own false flags in the name of his stealth client. In 1993, he traveled to Kashmir to obtain footage for a video his firm was producing on behalf of the Pakistanis. The work entailed interviewing Indian officials, who would have never granted access if Manafort announced his true purpose. To get in the door, he lied about his identity, telling the Indians that he worked for CNN. Manafort has denied that he ever misrepresented himself, but he so offended the Indian government that a spokesman for its foreign ministry issued a public rebuke: “The whole thing was obviously a blatant operation of producing television software with a deliberate and particularly anti-Indian slant by lobbyists hired by Pakistan for this very purpose.”

* * *

Among the Republican establishment, there’s hope that Manafort will prove the turnaround artist who fixes the mess of the Trump campaign, giving it a professionalism that nobody could have expected. Indeed, he has a track record of successfully making over candidates, though his greatest success came in an entirely different political ecosystem.

In 2005, the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Ahmetov summoned Manafort to Kiev. Ahmetov hailed from Donetsk, the Russian-oriented heavy-industry east of the country. Ahmetov had cause for panic. The best political hope for his region, and, more to the point, his own business interests, was a gruff politician called Victor Yanukovych. As a teen, Yanukovych spent three years in prison for robbery and assault. After his release, he was again arrested for assault. None of this past history—these “youthful mistakes,” which he once instructed the KGB to expunge from his record—slowed his rise through the political ranks. In 2002, he served a brief stint as prime minister in a sclerotic pro-Russian government, mired in corruption scandals.

When Ahmetov summoned Manafort, in 2005, his candidate had suffered a crushing defeat. Yanukovych had just run for president of Ukraine, a campaign that involved rampant fraud and the possible poisoning of his opponent with dioxin. His bid ended in massive protests against him and his crude attempts to overturn the will of the people. The protests, the Orange Revolution, were a burst of optimism that Ukraine might transcend its past and take its seat as a European-style democracy. They should have destroyed Yanukovych’s career.

Viktor Yanukovich
Former prime minister of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich, on April 2, 2004.
Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Yanukovych seemed a hopeless case. “A kleptocratic goon, a pig who wouldn’t take lipstick” is how one American consultant who worked in Ukraine described him. Yet Manafort saw hope, as well as a handsome paycheck. Despite Yanukovych’s Soviet style, Manafort considered him political clay that could be molded. “He saw raw talent where others didn’t and he shaped it brilliantly,” one former State Department official told me. Manafort set about giving Yanukovych a new look: well-tailored suits, shirts and ties that matched, a haircut that tamed his raging bouffant. Manafort taught the pol a few simple lessons that helped sand down his edges. He showed him how to wave to a crowd, rather than keep his arms locked to his sides. He instructed him to refrain from speaking off the cuff. He taught him how to display a modicum of empathy when listening to the stories of voters. “I feel your pain,” Yanukovych would now exclaim at his rallies. One Ukrainian columnist cheekily asked his readers to identify the 10 elements of Yanukovych rallies that Manafort had imported from the Republican conventions he’d run.

The buffed image was born from opinion surveys, conducted by a team of pollsters Manafort brought to Kiev. He found that the hope of the Orange Revolution had curdled into frustration with the government’s incompetence. So Manafort crafted a new image of Yanukovych—businesslike, not likable but persistent—that stood as a pragmatic antidote to the hapless Orange Revolutionaries. People believed that when Yanukovych was prime minister, “there had been an order to things,” Brian Mefford, a Ukraine-based consultant told me. “That’s the sentiment they tried to run on.”

At the same time, Manafort understood how to accentuate divisions in the Ukrainian electorate. He had overseen Reagan’s Southern strategy; he understood the power of cultural polarization. His polling showed that Yanukovych could consolidate his base by stoking submerged grievances. Even though there was little evidence of the mistreatment of Russian language speakers by the Ukrainian state, he encouraged his candidate to make an issue of imagined abuses to rally their base. To the same end, he instructed Yanukovych to rage against NATO, which he did by condemning joint operations the alliance was conducting in Crimea.

When American Ambassador William Taylor arrived in Kiev in 2006, he summoned Manafort to a meeting in his office. Manafort would become a fixture in the offices of American ambassadors to Ukraine, the U.S. government’s primary conduit to Yanukovych and the pro-Russian camp. As Taylor told a group of American democracy activists just after the meeting, he had asked Manafort to tamp down Yanukovych’s criticisms of the joint operations NATO was conducting with the Ukrainians. The implications of his ask were clear: The interests of American security were hurt by such rhetoric. “American to American, I’m asking you to talk to him.” Manafort scoffed at the notion. He bluntly announced that he wouldn’t ask Yanukovych to dial back the rhetoric. It polled too well.

To be fair, Manafort was hardly the only American in Yanukovych’s orbit. Bernie Sanders’ consultant Tad Devine went to work for him in 2009. Ukrainians spent heavily in Washington, hiring a small army of top-drawer Republican lobbyists, including former congressmen Vin Weber and Billy Tauzin, to bolster Yanukovych’s image in Washington and ultimately stave off American support for Ukrainian democracy. But Manafort set up the largest shop in Kiev, housed in a well-guarded office just off Independence Square. During elections, his operation swelled to six American consultants, in addition to Ukrainian translators and drivers. He procured a special role in the Yanukovych camp. Anders Aslund told me, “Manafort became Yanukovych’s closest political advisor.”

* * *

In 2005, John McCain received a call from a staffer on the National Security Council. There was a problem, the staffer told the senator. The man orchestrating McCain’s presidential campaign was Paul Manafort’s partner, a lobbyist named Rick Davis. The administration wanted the senator’s help dialing back the duo’s work in Ukraine, two top McCain aides told me. By promoting enemies of the Orange Revolution, they were undermining American policy.

The call came after Manafort and Davis had already drawn McCain into their eastern escapades. It wasn’t just Ukraine. That year, the pair had consulted on behalf of pro-independence forces in the tiny principality of Montenegro, which wanted to exit Serbia and become its own sovereign republic. On the surface, this sounded noble enough, so noble that McCain called Montenegro’s independence the “greatest European democracy project since the end of the Cold War.”

A report in the Nation, however, showed that the Montenegrin campaign wasn’t remotely what McCain described. The independence initiative was championed by a fantastically wealthy Russian mogul called Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska had parochial reasons for promoting independence. He had just purchased Montenegro’s aluminum industry and intended to buy broader swaths of its economy. But he was also doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, on whose good graces the fate of all Russian business ultimately hangs. The Nation quoted Deripaska boasting that “the Kremlin wanted an area of influence in the Mediterranean.”

Manafort and Davis didn’t just snooker McCain into trumpeting their client’s cause; they endangered him politically, by arranging a series of meetings with Deripaska, who the U.S. had barred from entering the country because of his ties to organized crime. In 2006, they steered McCain to attend a dinner with the oligarch at a chalet near Davos, where Deripaska speechified for the 40 or so guests. (The Washington Post reported that the oligarch sent Davis and Manafort a thank-you note for arranging to see the senator in “such an intimate setting.”) Seven months later, Manafort and Davis took McCain to celebrate his 70th birthday with Deripaska on a yacht moored in the Adriatic.

Not everyone within the McCain camp felt comfortable with this relationship. One group of aides pushed hard for McCain to fire Rick Davis for sullying the senator with the firm’s muck. McCain intended to do just that. The senator had backed the cause of Ukrainian democracy and he couldn’t stomach his top aide’s firm working to undermine it. What’s more, aides had come to McCain with the rumor that Deripaska had purchased an apartment in Trump Tower for Davis and Manafort. But in the moment, McCain lost his nerve, as his aides have recounted the episode. Davis supplied a tear-filled soliloquy that saved his job. “Rick’s plea somehow worked—and that was the root of the divisions that tore apart the campaign,” one of McCain’s top advisers told me.

It was just unsubstantiated hearsay that Deripaska had paid for Manafort’s flat. Yet McCain aides were right to suspect the relationship. Manafort and Davis were hungry for the oligarch’s cash. As the Washington Post reported, they even convinced Deripaska to invest in a $200 million private equity fund they created. For their efforts, Deripaska paid Davis, Manafort, and another one of their partners a $7.5 million management fee. But apparently they didn’t do very much managing, or investing either. When Deripaska asked for an audit of the fund in 2008, Manafort and Davis never delivered one. In fact, according to a complaint that Deripaska filed in court, Davis and Manafort “provided no additional updates.” Deripaska was desperate to get his money back—which, the Post noted, coincided with Manafort’s strange disappearance from public view. At the time, Roger Stone wrote friends a cryptic email titled, “Where’s Paul Manafort?” He supplied a multiple-choice set of answers including “Was seen chauffeuring Yanukovych around Moscow” and “Was seen loading gold bullion on an Army Transport plane from a remote airstrip outside Kiev and taking off seconds before a mob arrived at the site.”

Deripaska wasn’t the only dubious oligarch to invest with Manafort. He orchestrated a major deal with a Ukrainian called Dmitry Firtash. A fireman and soldier, Firtash found ways to flourish in the post-Soviet economy as a middleman, selling natural gas—by his own admission, he did so thanks to his connections with Seymon Mogilevich, the Russian Mafia’s “boss of bosses.”

But his crucial connection was to Vladimir Putin. Firtash’s grand scheme was detailed in a thorough investigation published by Reuters. Gazprom, the Russian state-owned natural gas conglomerate, would sell to Firtash at a deep discount. Firtash, in turn, resold the gas to the Ukrainian government, investing the profit in funding for pro-Putin politicians, including Victor Yanukovych.

Reuters was blunt in describing the pernicious effect of Firtash’s dealings:

It demonstrates how Putin uses Russian state assets to create streams of cash for political allies, and how he exported this model to Ukraine in an attempt to dominate his neighbour, which he sees as vital to Russia’s strategic interests. With the help of Firtash, Yanukovich won power and went on to rule Ukraine for four years. The relationship had great geopolitical value for Putin: Yanukovich ended up steering the nation of more than 44 million away from the West’s orbit and towards Moscow’s until he was overthrown in February.
After Firtash made billions off the scheme, he and Manafort partnered to buy the site of the old Drake Hotel on Park Avenue. With a longtime Trump family aide and the developer Arthur Cohen, Manafort and Firtash hatched a grand plan. They called their project the Bulgari Tower, and it would feature a mall, private club, and spa. Or at least that’s what they described in their plans. In 2008, Firtash wired $25 million to New York to bankroll the project. According to court documents, he also set up a $100 million investment fund, paying Manafort and his partners a $1.5 million fee for managing the money.

It was a good moment for Firtash to park his cash in Manhattan. His arch-enemy Yulia Tymoshenko, an old natural gas broker herself, had come to power a year earlier. She moved aggressively against Firtash, whose company she described as “a wart on the body.” She cut her own deal with Putin for the supply of energy, eliminating Firtash from the business. And she seized his massive stockpile of gas, effectively nationalizing the source of his fortune.

Defeating Tymoshenko thus became Firtash’s primary goal in life. He spent heavily on Yanukovych’s campaign against her in 2010. Fortunately for Firtash, Manafort was on the job. When the consultant first arrived in Kiev, Yanukovych was the subject of near universal derision. But his years of grooming Yanukovych, and perfecting his political machinery, carried him to victory—a narrow win rooted in the missteps of his opponents, but one that would have never happened without skilled reinvention. Marveling at this accomplishment, the Ukranian journalist Mustafa Nayeem wrote that Manafort was “the only person who really adapted to Ukrainian political reality.”

As soon as Yanukovych came to power, he restored Firtash’s business. Most important, the new government settled a lawsuit that Firtash had filed objecting to Tymoshenko’s seizure of his gas. As part of the settlement, the government handed $3 billion worth of natural gas to Firtash: his old stash plus an extra billion cubic meters of gas thrown into the deal as compensation for his troubles. Der Spiegel, which reviewed the text of the settlement, concluded, “Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, served the commercial interests of an oligarch with whom he has close ties—at the expense of his own country. And, in doing so, he also did Moscow a favor.”

As for Bulgari Tower, the project sputtered and shuttered in January 2009. Yulia Tymosehnko didn’t like the smell of things. She sued Manafort and Firtash for racketeering in the Southern District of New York. “The money kept going in and out,” her lawyer Kenneth McCallion told me. “Real estate was the ostensible reason for sending money to New York. But they never wanted to close on the project, they wanted to keep the cash liquid, so it could keep going back to Ukraine.” The suit never had much of a chance, because it didn’t offer enough supporting evidence to justify its grandiose claim: that Manafort and Firtash were laundering money to finance human rights abuses on a grand scale. But her case raised all manner of troubling questions, and reinforced an old one: Why would Paul Manafort so consistently do the bidding of oligarchs loyal to Vladimir Putin?

* * *

That’s hardly a question to bother Donald Trump, who has professed his own admiration for Putin’s bare-chested leadership. Over months of tweets and taunts, Donald Trump has terrified most of the Republican establishment, who view him as a brand-shattering electoral debacle in the making. But that’s precisely why Paul Manafort has gravitated toward him, and what makes the client such a perfect match for the consultant.

Top Comment

My fencing contractor told me today he's voting for Trump. A bit ironic since he's Hispanic and his father came from Mexico. Also ironic that he's building me a fence. Now if I can only make him pay for it. More...

Manafort has spent a career working on behalf of clients that the rest of his fellow lobbyists and strategists have deemed just below their not-so-high moral threshold. Manafort has consistently given his clients a patina of respectability that has allowed them to migrate into the mainstream of opinion, or close enough to the mainstream. He has a particular knack for taking autocrats and presenting them as defenders of democracy. If he could convince the respectable world that thugs like Savimbi and Marcos are friends of America, then why not do the same for Trump? One of his friends told me, “He wanted to do his thing on home turf. He wanted one last shot at the big prize.”
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... ctive.html
"This is formal impeachment proceedings," Nader told CNN's Erin Burnett Thursday on "OutFront."
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Iamwhomiam » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:28 pm

I know somewhere someone posted about Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth questioning Trump's mental health and tried searching for the thread it was posted in, but I could not find it.

So, I'm placing this here:

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth questions Trump's mental health

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

Updated 2:02 PM ET, Wed February 22, 2017


(CNN)Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said Monday that he is unsure of Donald Trump's mental state -- but added that the President doesn't appear to be in control of himself.

"He is demonstrating on a daily basis that he [is] totally unfit for the office he serves in," Yarmuth, from Kentucky, said in a speech to a local chapter of the NAACP posted on YouTube this week. "He is, in my opinion, a dangerous president. I'm not sure of his mental state, but I know that he doesn't portray someone who is in control of his facilities."

Yarmuth said he found it "really disturbing" from his perspective that Trump didn't think of the consequences of his actions and that the people around him that he listens to don't have any sense of what's going on.

"He doesn't seem to care what happens once the applause stops, he seems to be in it totally for the applause, and that's what somebody with his ego and narcissism would be," Yarmuth said, adding that "leaders from around the world are totally freaked out."

However, Yarmuth added that Trump has yet to commit an impeachable offense.

"I have no idea, I don't think he's committed an impeachable offense yet -- at least that we know about yet," but said bookmakers had the odds at 50/50.

If Mike Pence were to take over as president, "from a policy perspective it would be worse, from a sanity prospective it would be better," Yarmuth said.

"And right now I would vote for sanity over policy."

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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:58 pm

thanks ...these guys feel the same way
To The Editors of the New York Times
To the Editor:

Charles M. Blow (column, nytimes.com, Feb. 9) describes Donald Trump’s constant need “to grind the opposition underfoot.” As mental health professionals, we share Mr. Blow’s concern.

Silence from the country’s mental health organizations has been due to a self-imposed dictum about evaluating public figures (the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule). But this silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer.

Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president.

Lance Dodes, M.D.

Joseph Schachter, M.D., Ph.D.

Susan Radant, Ph.D.

Judith Schachter, M.D.

Jules Kerman, M.D., Ph.D

Jeffrey Seitelman, M.D., Ph.D.

Henry Friedman, M.D.

Babak Roshanaei-Moghaddam, MD

David Cooper, Ph.D.

Dena Sorbo, LCSW, BCD

Joseph Reppen, Ph.D.

Ernest Wallwork, Ph.D.

Judith E. Vida, M.D.

Richard Reichbart, J.D., Ph.D.

Joseph Abrahams, M.D.

Leslie Schweitzer-Miller, M.D.

Cheryl Y. Goodrich, Ph.D.

Lourdes Henares-Levy, M.D.

Alexandra Rolde, M.D.

Dr. med. Helen Schoenhals Hart

Eva D. Papiasvili, Ph.D.

Mali Mann, M.D.

Phyllis Tyson, Ph.D.

Era A. Loewenstein, Ph.D.

Marianna Adler, Ph.D.

Henry Nunberg, M.D.

Marc R. Hirsch, Ph.D.

Lora Heims Tessman, Ph.D.

Monisha Nayar-Akhtar, Ph.D.

Victoria Schreiber, M.A., L.M.S.W.

Penny M Freedman, Ph.D.

Merton A. Shill, JD. LLM., PhD.

Helen K. Gediman, Ph.D.

Michael P. Kowitt, Ph.D.

Leonard Glass, M.D.
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 pm

seemslikeadream » Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:09 pm wrote:
Trump Has Surrounded Himself With a Phalanx of White Nationalists

There is a gallery of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Michael “Decius” Anton. Who is next?
By Chauncey DeVega / Salon February 14, 2017

Donald Trump’s administration is built around a brain trust of white nationalists. To deny that fact is to ignore a crucial element of this national crisis: America’s “greatest generation” defeated Nazism during World War II, and 70 or so years later one of the country’s two leading political parties has injected a more polite version of that poison into its veins and rode to power in Washington on a wave of bigotry and racism.

Among the men who have President Trump’s ear, we find White House strategist Steve Bannon, senior adviser Stephen Miller, deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka and newly installed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Until recently Bannon ran the right-wing website Breitbart News, which has a well-known white nationalist tilt and loves to publish stories about “black crime” and “Muslim hordes” beating down the gates of “Western civilization.” As Bannon has said, Breitbart functions as a mouthpiece for the “alt-right,” which largely serves as a rebranding label for various white nationalists and white supremacists.

Miller, who made headlines over the weekend defending Trump’s false claims of “voter fraud,” is a fierce advocate of “ethno-nationalism,” meaning the racist belief that Europe and America must protect their culture and civilization (which are white by default) from outsiders who do not share their “Judeo-Christian values.” Miller echoed those talking points on Sunday talk shows, claiming that “millions” of “illegal aliens” voted against Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

As a college student, Miller worked on political projects, according to news reports, alongside his classmate Richard Spencer, one of America’s most prominent white supremacists.

Sessions has been viewed as a racist in his home state of Alabama for decades. He has said that the NAACP is an “un-American” organization, is said to have insulted a black attorney calling him “boy,” has backed laws that make it more difficult for African-Americans to vote, and once joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “all right” until he learned that some of its members smoked pot. Sessions’ racial views are so extreme that he was earlier denied a federal judgeship by his fellow Republicans in 1986.

In his role as the attorney general and leading law enforcement official of the United States, Sessions will now be tasked with defending the civil rights of racial minorities and other vulnerable populations. History is not always a story of progress. The office of the attorney general was instrumental in fighting the Ku Klux Klan and its threat to African-Americans during Reconstruction, under President Ulysses S. Grant. Under Trump, the attorney general is a man who apparently does not view protecting civil rights as a priority.

When the Trump administration recently refused to acknowledge how Jews were the primary and specific targets of the Holocaust, it was White House deputy assistant Gorka who called the controversy over that decision as “asinine.” Perhaps it is no coincidence then that Gorka — who was born in London to Hungarian émigré parents — has repeatedly been photographed wearing a medal associated with the Order of Vitéz, an overtly anti-Semitic chivalric organization that collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II.

Writing for Policy Mic, Tom McKay offered some additional context on the order’s founder, Miklós Horthy:

Horthy, the Hungarian regent that [the order] supported, held a profound animus for the Jews of Hungary. “Concerning the Jewish question, for all my life, I have been an anti-Semite,” Horthy once wrote. His government allied with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, enacted anti-Semitic laws, brutally cleansed Hungarian Jews, enslaved others in work details and collaborated with German authorities to deport them to death camps.

“Many supporters of the Horthy regime were enamored by the Nazis and Hitler, and the ‘knights’ were especially so,” Balogh told LobeLog. “After 1948, one wouldn’t have bragged about his father being a ‘vitéz.’ Lately, however, especially since 2010, it has become fashionable again to boast about such ‘illustrious’ ancestors.”

In keeping with his white nationalist affinities, Gorka is also hostile to Muslims and served in a senior role at the website Breitbart.

Michael Anton, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, is the newest addition to Trump’s white nationalist brain trust. Now a policy aide at the National Security Council, Anton is best known under his nom de plume, Publius Decius Mus, for writing the pro-Trump manifesto “The Flight 93 Election.”

Before that article went viral, Anton published an earlier essay called “Toward a Sensible, Coherent Trumpism.” In it, he defended the anti-Semitic America First movement of the pre-World War II years, with an obvious eye toward Trump’s repurposing of the phrase. Anton elaborated further on that theme:

[One] source of Trump’s appeal is his willingness — eagerness — gleefulness! — to mock the ridiculous lies we’ve been incessantly force-fed for the past 15 years (at least) and tell the truth. “Diversity” is not “our strength”; it’s a source of weakness, tension and disunion. America is not a “nation of immigrants”; we are originally a nation of settlers, who later chose to admit immigrants, and later still not to, and who may justly open or close our doors solely at our own discretion, without deference to forced pieties. Immigration today is not “good for the economy”; it undercuts American wages, costs Americans jobs, and reduces Americans’ standard of living. Islam is not a “religion of peace”; it’s a militant faith that exalts conversion by the sword and inspires thousands to acts of terror — and millions more to support and sympathize with terror.

This is a crystallization of the political worldview that drives Donald Trump’s fascist and authoritarian movement as well as conservatives more generally.

Of course, Anton’s analysis is factually challenged. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. An extremely small percentage of them have committed acts of terrorism. By contrast, at the Ku Klux Klan’s height of power during the 1920s, about 15 percent of the eligible white male adult population were members. As reported by the Pew Research Center, that figure is higher than the level of support given ISIS by respondents in 11 countries with significant Muslim populations.

Islam is not a “foreign” religion. African slaves brought Islam to the Americas almost 400 years ago. Christian “dominionists,” Christian nationalists and other right-wing evangelicals have a good deal in common with Muslim extremists: They also believe in an “end times” eschatological battle between good and evil and believe that public policy should be directed toward serving that goal. Christian and Muslim extremists also do not believe in a barrier between church and state. Both groups consider homosexuality as sinful, are overtly hostile to LGBT rights and view women’s equality as a threat.

Social scientists have demonstrated that diversity is a net gain for productivity, problem-solving and overall economic growth. Moreover, economists have shown that racial and gender discrimination in the labor market costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

Immigration has also been a net gain for the U.S. economy and allowed the country to grow and remain globally dominant while more homogeneous societies like Japan have stagnated. Labor performed by immigrants (both documented and otherwise) subsidizes the American standard of living by lowering food and other costs.

Anton’s observation about the United States being a “settler society,” however, is accurate and worth a closer look. As pointed out by political scientist Samuel Huntington and others, contrary to popular myth, America is not a nation of immigrants. Rather, the United States is a society where new arrivals (largely meaning white Northern Europeans) exterminated the existing population and then forced their culture on the survivors. These settlers then constructed a hierarchy whereby they were dominant and others — enslaved Africans, Native Americans and successive waves of immigrants, especially those of color — were oppressed. This arrangement is known as “racial settler colonialism.” The United States fits this model, as do other nations like Australia, Brazil and Israel. For Anton, such a history is not problematic but rather ideal.

Anton, Bannon, Gorka, Miller and Sessions find themselves in the upper stratum of decision-makers, shaping public policy for a racially diverse and multicultural society. They view such attributes as weaknesses instead of strengths. This does not bode well for the American people as a whole — especially those of us on the other side of the color line.
http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/trum ... st-cabinet

Jeff Stein

Listen to White House Terrorism Expert Sebastian Gorka's Unhinged Call to a Critic
Much like the president, he used an unsecure phone for his rants.

An embattled White House terrorism advisor whose academic credentials have come under widespread fire telephoned one of his main critics at home Tuesday night and threatened legal action against him, Newsweek has learned.

Sebastian Gorka, whose views on Islam have been widely labeled extremist, called noted terrorism expert Michael E. Smith II in South Carolina and expressed dismay that Smith had been criticizing him on Twitter, according to a recording of the call provided to Newsweek.

“I was like a deer in the headlights,” Smith, a Republican who has advised congressional committees on the use of social media by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, tells Newsweek. “I thought it was a prank. He began by threatening me with a lawsuit.”

Gorka apparently used his personal cell phone, with a northern Virgina area code, rather than making the call from his White House office or government-issued cell phone, where it would be officially logged, Smith says. The terrorism expert says he suspected Gorka “was trying to conceal the call.”

Smith says he did not begin recording the call until after Gorka allegedly threatened to sue Smith. In an email to Newsweek, Smith said that, “Gorka asserted my tweets about him merited examination by the White House legal counsel. In effect, he was threatening to entangle me in a legal battle for voicing my concerns on Twitter that he does not possess expertise sufficient to assist the president of the United States with formulating and guiding national security policies.”

Gorka did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Smith has been a regular contributor to think tank and TV discussions on terrorism, particularly the use of social media by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group. Last year Foreign Policy magazine included him in its list of “100 Leading Global Thinkers.”

Read more: The Islamophobes at the heart of Trump’s White House

Smith has kept up a steady stream of jabs at Gorka since he learned that the Hungarian born, British-educated terrorism specialist had been hired by President Donald Trump’s top adviser Steve Bannon. Both Bannon and Gorka came from the far-right Breitbart News, where Bannon was editor-in-chief and Gorka was national security editor. On his Twitter page, Gorka describes himself as “deputy assistant to the 45th president of America” and an “Irregular Warfare Strategist.”

His views on the “global jihadist movement,” as he calls it, align with a small cadre of right-wing observers who depict Islamist militants and extremists as being driven principally by passages from the Koran, rather than by government repression, or sectarian, tribal, political or economic factors.

On Tuesday, Smith tweeted that Gorka “doesn't know the enemies' ideologies well enough to combat them.” In an earlier tweet directed at Trump, Smith wrote: “You are endangering the lives of Americans by hiring fake ‘terrorism experts.’”

Gorka earned his doctorate from a Hungarian university in 2008 and “a few months later landed a faculty job at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA), a new Pentagon-funded school that was still working toward accreditation,” The Washington Post reported. According to an online biography, he is also an associate fellow at the Joint Special Operations University, at the U.S. Special Operations Command, and holds the Major General Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University Foundation, which was funded by Thomas Saunders III, a major Republican Party donor and chairman of the conservative Heritage Foundation. The program’s current director, James Howcroft, also a retired Marine colonel, told Politico that Gorka only “periodically delivered lectures or served as a seminar leader.”

The White House advisor was clearly wounded by Smith’s taunts. “Why is this vitriol popping out of you, every day now?” Gorka asked Smith in his call. ”I look at your Twitter feed once or twice a day and it’s half a dozen tweets about me, and I’ve never even met you.”

“Wow,” Smith responded. “Are you defeating jihad by monitoring or trolling my Twitter feed?”

Gorka expressed puzzlement several times that he was being attacked “by someone who’s never met me.”

“I’ve never met you and I’ve never attacked you,” he said to Smith, his voice rising in frustration and anger. “And your Twitter feed is an incessant berating of my professional acumen. Put yourself in my shoes, Mr. Smith. Have you done that? How would you like it if someone you’ve never met, daily and professionally attacked you?”

“Happens all the time,” Smith responded. Generally speaking, academics and journalists laboring in the field of public policy expect to be criticized for their views.

"It's not happened to me,” Gorka said, “I can tell you. Maybe you can show me some trick on how you deal with it. This is the first time ever.”

In fact, questions about Gorka’s views and credentials to speak authoritatively on Islam and terrorism were severely criticized in lengthy feature articles in The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in recent days. He also received a wave of unfavorable publicity in January 2016 when he was arrested for trying to pass through a TSA checkpoint at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. carrying a loaded handgun. He was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to six months probation.

One of his most influential critics is Cindy Storer, a leading former CIA expert on the relationship between religious extremism and terrorism.

“He thinks the government and intelligence agencies don’t know anything about radicalization, but the government knows a lot and thinks he’s nuts,” Storer was quoted as saying in the Journal .

Smith asked Gorka why he didn’t telephone Storer, "who called you nuts in the Washington Post,” to complain. Gorka responded that Storer’s remark wasn’t “in a Twitter feed that is being sent to people on Capitol Hill.”

Gorka’s scholarship has also come under scrutiny by Mia Bloom, an expert on “transcultural violence” at Georgia State University. “He doesn’t understand a fraction of what he pretends to know about Islam,” Bloom was quoted as saying by the Journal. Bloom has participated in TV appearances with Gorka and at a panel last year at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Nor has Gorka—who does not speak Arabic and has never lived in a Muslim-majority nation, according to news accounts—submitted any of his articles for review in scholarly journals, says Lawrence P. Rubin, associate editor of Terrorism and Political Violence, the leading journal in that field.

“Gorka has not submitted anything to the journal in the last five or so years, according to my records and we have never used him as a reviewer,” Rubin tells Newsweek. “We would not have used him as a reviewer because he is not considered a terrorism expert by the academic or policy community.”

A government expert on Middle East radical movements, who asked not to be named for fear of being fired, tells Newsweek she was disturbed to hear Gorka suggest at a talk he gave in Israel a few years ago that he knew of a “specific person in the [Obama White House] who was deliberately misleading the government” on terrorism issues. “He said he wouldn’t name the person on stage but would provide the particulars” privately to anyone there who wanted to know, she said. Noting the audience was full of potential adversaries, she called Gorka’s remark “‘beyond the pale.”

Several times during his call with Smith, Gorka invited him to the White House to hash out their differences “face to face, man to man,” as he put it in one exchange. They set a tentative date for March 8.

But Smith warned Gorka that “in absolute fairness to you, what you will hear is that I have very serious concerns about our national security,” and in particular Gorka’s role “as an adviser to the president of the United States.”

“If you make a devastating case, then so be it,” Gorka said.

“So be it?” Smith answered. “Then what, you’ll acknowledge you're out of your league?”

“Yeah, absolutely,” Gorka said. “Bring it on."

Late Wednesday, Gorka withdrew his invitation.

“Given your statements for the latest attack piece and continued disparaging Tweets against not only myself but the administration and the President,” Gorka wrote Smith, “consider your invitation to meet withdrawn.”
"This is formal impeachment proceedings," Nader told CNN's Erin Burnett Thursday on "OutFront."
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:21 pm

Iamwhomiam » Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:28 pm wrote:
Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth questions Trump's mental health

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

Making America great again apparently includes Cold War-era nuclear dominance
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/pol ... 512b326614

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come on jump in the waters fine!
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby 82_28 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:48 pm

I just LOLed when SPICER said the US will have superior superiority. What an idiot. I would have run with "maintain superiority". Not use the same word (conjugation or not) side by side.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby SonicG » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:26 pm

Just putting this out there in case you missed it...

No, Stephen Miller Was Not Recently Photographed Flashing a ‘White Power’ Hand Sign

http://www.mediaite.com/online/no-steph ... hand-sign/
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Elvis » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:55 pm

82_28 wrote:SPICER said the US will have superior superiority

We are all so fucked.

SonicG wrote:Just putting this out there in case you missed it...

No, Stephen Miller Was Not Recently Photographed Flashing a ‘White Power’ Hand Sign

http://www.mediaite.com/online/no-steph ... hand-sign/

So, yeah, I can see why some liberals may want to really, really, really believe there is something there. But there isn’t. At all. So stop sharing the photo.

I'm not convinced.
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:04 pm

So stop sharing the photo :P

Elvis » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:55 pm wrote:
82_28 wrote:SPICER said the US will have superior superiority

We are all so fucked.

SonicG wrote:Just putting this out there in case you missed it...

No, Stephen Miller Was Not Recently Photographed Flashing a ‘White Power’ Hand Sign

http://www.mediaite.com/online/no-steph ... hand-sign/

So, yeah, I can see why some liberals may want to really, really, really believe there is something there. But there isn’t. At all. So stop sharing the photo.

I'm not convinced.

just lovely that he is thought of in that way is enough for me...and yea he was flashing ....he just a fucking pig..his agenda needs those peeps
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:34 pm

According to the rules of the Order, inheritance of the title is not automatic. The eldest son must be approved by the Board of the Order. One cannot just “inherit” the medallion and use it “in memory” of one’s father. If we can believe Kornél Pintér, the “tribe captain,” Sebastian is a full-fledged member of the Order in his own right. That’s why Pintér is so proud that “one of our fellow members is now in the White House.”

Spotlight on Gorka’s Controversial Medal
by Eva S. Balogh

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant of President Donald Trump and member of a new White House team, the Strategic Initiatives Group, has been receiving an increasing amount of attention in the last few weeks. Julianne Smith, a former national security adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, worries about both the existence of this new group and Sebastian Gorka’s presence in it. Counterterrorism experts are particularly concerned about Gorka’s ideas that Islam as a religion cannot be separated from the ideology of terror. Knowledgeable people in the field consider his ideas on Islam dangerous and a radical departure from U.S. policy over the last 17 years.

Several U.S. journalists who have dug into Sebastian Gorka’s past have been puzzled by his proud embrace of his Hungarian roots. Why did he appear at the inaugural ball in a strange braided outfit with an equally strange medallion and decoration? Eli Clifton of LobeLog identified the medallion as one bestowed by the Order of Knights (Vitézi Rend), a group established by Miklós Horthy, governor of Hungary between 1920 and 1944. A day later Allegra Kirkland of Talking Points Memo quoted a Hungarian historian who was less certain about its provenance.

By now we can state with confidence that the medallion is indeed the identifying object of the Order, as Sebastian Gorka himself admitted in a short Breitbart video appearance. He explained that on special occasions he wears the medallion and decoration, which his father received in appreciation of his suffering as a political prisoner between 1950 and 1956. But there is a more complete version of the story that needs telling.

Origins of Vitézi Rend

Miklós Horthy established the Order of Knights to bestow the honor of knighthood on highly decorated World War I veterans. The “captain-general” of the Order was Horthy himself. Although the Order’s leaders today claim that it was always apolitical, they end up describing it as a right-wing, conservative body that promotes Hungary’s military tradition. Unfortunately, this military tradition also includes Hungary’s participation in World War II on the side of Nazi Germany.

Only a few days ago members of the Order marched along with extreme right-wing groups to commemorate the “Day of Honor,” February 11, 1945, when German-Hungarian soldiers in an encircled Budapest tried to break through the Soviet lines. Imre Marosvári, the captain of the Order in Budapest, honored the 72nd anniversary of the event with an unrealistic, pro-German description of the military situation in 1945. The primary concern of these brave soldiers, he said, was to slow down the Soviet advance in order to give the Germans time to develop their “new weaponry.” I assume he is talking about the atomic bomb. He also had harsh words for the Allies. According to him, the American and British air raids were inhumane and cruel and turned the civilian population against the Allies.

The Order still follows its original goals, which among other things aimed “to secure the lordship of the Hungarian race, which could strike down all subversive, anti-national efforts with formidable force.” From its inception the Order was an irredentist organization, whose slogan is still: “I believe in one God, I believe in one country, I believe in the divine everlasting truth, I believe in the resurrection of Hungary,” which means the recreation of Hungary according to its pre-1918 borders. As Hungarian historian Szilárd Tátrai pointed out in a recent article, the ideology and policies of the Order were a faithful reflection of all the key attributes of the Horthy regime. Therefore, nobody should be surprised that the U.S. State Department considered the Order to be an organization under German influence. After all, they argued, Hungary was an ally of Nazi Germany.

The Order was organized along military lines. Under Horthy as captain-general were eight nationwide regional captains. Every county had a captain of its own, and every “járás,” a smaller administrative unit, had a lieutenant. The knight had to observe a strict political and moral code, and unmarried knights had to submit for scrutiny details about their future wives’ families. The male children of knights were required to enroll in the Levente Movement, designed to give military training to Hungarian boys between the ages of 12 and 21. Since the title of knight was inheritable by the oldest male child, the “ideological preparation” of the next generation of knights was considered to be of the utmost importance.

The Order’s Political Associations

Although Hungarians of Jewish extraction were not officially excluded from the Order, in practice they were barred from membership. Here is what Miklós Horthy, the captain-general of the order, had to say on the subject in a letter written in October 1940: “A ‘Vitéz’ may marry with a license only, and persons of alien stock are received only when this person is a 100 per cent Hungarian as to feeling, is reliable and applies himself for the Magyarization of his name. Even the bravest and most decorated Jew is excluded.” Those sentences were followed by Horthy’s infamous claim that “as regards the Jewish problem, I have been an anti-Semite throughout my life. I have never had contact with Jews.”

Although apologists of the Order bring up the couple of high government officials and military men who at the very end turned against the German and Hungarian Nazis, these people were few and far between. Even the official history admits that many knights committed war crimes. For example, “unfortunately the organizers of the bloodbath in Novi Sad (Újvidék) were members of the Order of Knights.” Approximately 3,500 Serbs and Hungarian Jews lost their lives in Novi Sad in 1942. The organizers of this carnage, who thanks to Horthy could await their trial as free men, escaped to Germany only to return with the German troops in 1944. Two men who were instrumental in organizing the transports that carried more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews to their death in 1944 were also knights: László Endre and László Baki.

Horthy died in February 1957 in Estoril, Portugal. But shortly before his death he was still thinking about the future role of the Order, whose “calling is the rebuilding of a new Hungarian future.” With his death, émigré knights began to reorganize the Order, and it soon spread among Hungarians worldwide. The reorganized Order introduced an important change in the admission procedures: heroes of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution could also become knights. Because of this new policy (loosely interpreted), Sebastian Gorka’s father, Pál Gorka, became eligible for admission to the Order of Heroes. His investiture, in 1979, apparently took place in Great Britain, to which he had escaped after the defeat of the uprising by Soviet troops.

Today there is not one Order of Knights but two because the leaders of the organizations are badly split on several issues. One group is called “Vitézi Red” (Order of Knights) while the other is known as “Történelmi Vitézi Rend” (Historical Order of Knights). The split occurred after the center of the Order moved back to Hungary. Pál Gorka and most likely Sebastian Gorka as well were invested in the Historical Order of Knights led by László Hunyadi, its captain-general.

The knights show off the paraphilia to young girls. The officer’s uniform on the right is a copy of those used by the Hungarian Army before 1945.
Gorka’s Connection to the Order

As for Pál Gorka and his knighthood, I have pieced together his story from bits of information that he and his son provided. The stories, I’m afraid, don’t always jibe. The elder Gorka was arrested in 1950, but the duration of his sentence is not at all clear. When Pál Gorka was interviewed by David Irving, the well-known Holocaust denier, for his book on the Hungarian revolution of 1956, he claimed that he had been sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage because “one of his cell’s couriers was shot on the frontier, and papers found on him enabled the AVH [the Hungarian state security] to break the network.” However, in a Hungarian-language article that appeared in August 2002, he said that he had received a ten-year sentence and that Kim Philby, the notorious British spy, had betrayed him and his comrades.

In that same 2002 interview Pál Gorka also talked about his part-time work for the British government. For 30 years he helped the authorities vet newly arrived political refugees from Hungary. He seems to have been active in the local Hungarian community. For example, he represented the British-Hungarian community in the World Federation of Hungarians and in that capacity attended the Third World Congress of the Federation in Budapest in 1992.

Another intriguing aspect of the Gorka family’s life in Great Britain is their relationship to David Irving, a revisionist historian who tried to clean away the “years of grime and discoloration from the façade of a silent and forbidding monument” to reveal the real Hitler. His 1977 book, Hitler’s War, tried to whitewash Hitler while blaming the allies for escalating the war. Irving was prolific, coming out with a new book practically every year. Eventually, he decided to write a book on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, which he published in 1981 under the title Uprising! One Nation’s Nightmare, 1956. The massive 740-page book is available online. Irving’s conclusion is that the revolt was “primarily an anti-Jewish uprising,” a gross misrepresentation of the facts. He interviewed a lot of people both in Hungary and abroad who had a role to play in the events. Although Pál Gorka, who had been freed from jail a few days after the outbreak of the uprising, certainly wasn’t a key player, he got at least a couple of footnotes. More interesting was the introduction where Irving thanked his three interpreters, one of whom was Susan Gorka, Pál’s wife and Sebastian’s mother. Considering that Irving, according to his own admission, spent about six years off and on doing research on this book and knew not a word of Hungarian, Susan Gorka must have worked with the author fairly closely.

Returning to the issue of the medallion, I would like to correct Sebastian Gorka’s somewhat misleading description of how his father acquired the medallion. The medallion is not bestowed by the Order in recognition of some heroic deed. It is tangible proof of membership in the Order. A person must apply for membership and must be approved by the leadership of the Order. Presumably, Pál Gorka was approved because he was a “hero” of 1956 who adhered to the precepts of the Order. Moreover, once a person undergoes the process of investiture he is expected to be an active participant in the organization. Pál Gorka was probably an active member of the organization when the Gorkas lived in Great Britain. He was certainly active after his return to Hungary. He and his wife settled in Sopron, a town close to the Austrian border, where he worked on behalf of the Order under Kornél Pintér, “territorial tribe captain” of the region. In the last ten years of his life he served as “knight lieutenant” on the county level.

According to the rules of the Order, inheritance of the title is not automatic. The eldest son must be approved by the Board of the Order. One cannot just “inherit” the medallion and use it “in memory” of one’s father. If we can believe Kornél Pintér, the “tribe captain,” Sebastian is a full-fledged member of the Order in his own right. That’s why Pintér is so proud that “one of our fellow members is now in the White House.”
http://lobelog.com/spotlight-on-gorkas- ... ial-medal/

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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby 82_28 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:40 pm

Shit I posted this in the wrong thread:

Holy fuck that "speech" is crazy. It is a cult. It's like watching Benny Hinn "heal" people on his stage.

Also, apparently CNN has been barred from The White House. Just broke I guess so I couldn't find a link quite yet.
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