What's Important


Hillary Clinton’s secret personal email system continued last week to prompt heavy news coverage but with scant scrutiny of the most sinister implications for the public from national security intrigues.

Hillary Clinton

Today, we examine four such issues almost entirely overlooked, except occasionally in the alternative media that includes the Justice Integrity Project.

Some names like Benghazi, David Petraeus (shown below), and the Clinton Foundation are familiar to the public even if the hidden angles are not. Other topics have not yet reached their deserved prominence.

  • Arms Smuggling: The Obama-Clinton-Petraeus 'Iran-Contra' Scandal
  • Duplicity and Disloyalty by Gen. David Petraeus
  • Conflict of Interest In Clinton Foundation/Hillary Clinton 2016 Funding

Before examining those findings, first let’s summarize recent general developments that have been covered. 

Clinton's attorney David Kendall told the House Select Committee on Benghazi March 27 that Clinton's server for the personal email account she used as secretary of state no longer contains any emails. The New York Times reported the story here.

Clinton had devised a private email system to communicate with government and personal contacts in apparent violation of federal policy that officials must use for work-related emails government systems.

David PetraeusClinton has said her emails to fellow government employees have always been available via their “.gov” addresses for appropriate purposes. Furthermore, she said her staff has examined all of her messages, and delivered to authorities the 55,000 relevant to government work before deleting the rest. At a press conference at the United Nation's headquarters in New York City this month to defuse the issue, she said, as reported by the Huffington Post, 'I Thought It Would Be Easier' To Use One Email Address."

Critics have charged that her process was legally improper, violated Obama’s promise of transparency, and probably hid embarrassing information, including regarding fund-raising from foreign sources representing an at least implied conflict with her government duties. Republicans such as Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC), chair of the House Benghazi committee, have been in the forefront of demanding records and accusing her of scandal.

Her critics claim she used her personal system to hide:

1) State Department’s laxity in the 2012 deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three support personnel in Benghazi; 2) Steps she and her team have taken to leverage her State Department post into support for the Clinton Foundation and her prospective 2016 presidential run; and 3) Suppression of other emails that might prove embarrassing to her or former President Bill Clinton.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, shown in a file photo, has taken a lead in attacking the Obama administration via litigation and press releases. Fitton, whose watchdog group focuses on conservative themes, said earlier this month:

Tom Fitton"The latest news that Hillary Clinton, while serving as secretary of state, conducted all of her official business on a private account may impact nearly a dozen of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits now active in federal courts as well as dozens of pending FOIA requests. As with what happened when Judicial Watch forced the disclosure of the 'missing' IRS emails, I am convinced that these emails would never have been disclosed but for our FOIA lawsuits that broke open the Benghazi scandal and first exposed the scandal of her and Bill Clinton raising money illicitly while she was Secretary of State."
Clinton and her defenders have noted that previous Republican secretaries of state are among those officials who used private email systems.
Similarly, former Bush White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove (shown below) failed to comply with a congressional subpoena in 2009 demanding his White House emails. He explained that millions of his emails had been deleted by his private service. He suffered no reprisal from either the Democrat-controlled Congress or Justice Department. Furthermore, Clinton's defenders argue that State Department and a previous GOP-controlled congressional committee have found no scandal on her part regarding Benghazi.
Karl RoveThese accusations from Judicial Watch and Clinton defenders, such as the liberal advocacy group Media Matters, will surely percolate throughout the 2016 presidential campaign if Clinton is a candidate, much like accusations regarding Benghazi have continued after Republicans first raised allegations against the Obama administration during the 2012 election campaign.
Gowdy's committee has obtained some 33,000 of the emails from Clinton and government sources. The committee and others are searching for other emails, which Clinton estimates at some 22,000 other communications her staff deleted on the grounds they were personal communications.
So far, relatively little is publicly known about the emails except for those disclosed by a Romanian hacker, Marcel-Lehel Lazar. He seized and publicized under the name "Guccifer" 19 political intelligence memos totaling 66 pages from former 1990s Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal to Clinton between August 2012 and early February 2013. Lazar is now serving a seven-year prison term in Romania for his crimes in violating the privacy of Blumenthal's email system. Lazar also illegally hacked emails from or about other U.S. officials, including former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Stolen Blumenthal correspondence with Clinton is available on Cryptome, a website for sensitive and often hacked documents. The Blumenthal-Clinton material there offers a revealing look into high-level intrigue that mainstream reporters avoid for the most part, excerpt to emphasize familiar themes, such as Republican vs. Democrat bickering.
We connect the dots below on several of these important matters thanks in significant part to Wayne Madsen, an author, commentator and former Navy intelligence officer shown in a file photo at left. He broke several major  story angles referenced below in his 2012 book, L’Affaire Petraeus, and Wayne Madsenon his subscription-blog WMR, which is short for “The Wayne Madsen Report.”
Madsen has published oped columns on conventional political topics that have appeared well over two hundred times in mainstream newspapers the past three years by his count. But, as demonstrated below, he is also a controversial writer on cutting-edge investigative topics. His allegations have at times infuriated the Bush and Obama White Houses, Democrats and Republicans, and many important U.S. and foreign interest groups, as reported here.
Nonetheless, the purloined Blumenthal-Clinton emails, particularly one from Blumenthal to Clinton on Nov. 12, 2012, have helped vindicate in significant part his explosive report earlier that week in 2012 on a Petraeus role involving Benghazi. Beginning in 2013, the Justice Integrity Project Project independently re-reported, confirmed and amplified the gist of Madsen's report on Petraeus, as indicated below and by such links as Critics Condemn Petraeus Chronology, Drone Killing, Detention Tactics.

Arms Smuggling: The Obama-Clinton-Petraeus 'Iran-Contra' Scandal

Republicans have relentlessly investigated Benghazi, a scandal that encompasses the terrorist killing of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, portrayed below, along with staffer Sean Smith, and two contractors and would-be rescuers, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty. Both of the latter were ex-Navy SEALs who were working as security contractors and were part of an eight-man rescue team arriving from Benghazi from Tripoli.

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher StevensThe killings began with a rocket attack by Islamist radicals on Sept. 11 on a small, thinly protected consulate in Benghazi that Stevens had visited. The attack and rescue effort spread in the early morning hours the next day to a supposedly secret "safe house" for U.S. personnel, where the two contractors died.

The attack shortly before the 2012 federal elections energized Republicans, who used the tragedy it to portray the Obama administration's foreign policy as weak and otherwise failing. Republicans this year created in the new Congress, for example, the Select Committee on Benghazi.

The Republicans' continued congressional investigation feeds the ongoing media attacks Clinton and other Democrats, in part by fostering suspicions that authorities could have done more to prevent the attacks, rescue the victims, or admit responsibility more decisively before the 2012 elections.

But the critics have failed to provide conclusive evidence of misconduct by Clinton in particular, especially regarding the deaths. Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates, a Republican who has also served in the Democratic Obama and Carter administrations, is among those who have said it was impossible for the United States to have mounted a successful rescue operation in the time that was available.

Furthermore, the CIA had a far heavier presence in the locale than the State Department. The agency, and its director Petraeus, also had a large role in reporting the factual background afterward to the administration and ultimately to the public via Presidential advisor Susan Rice. During the then-close presidential election race between Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Rice and others in the administration initially minimized terror-related themes adverse to Obama's re-election. For their remarks, they drew on multiple sources, including CIA inputs from Petraeus and his CIA colleagues.

Democrats have conceded little blame at their high levels aside from mismanagement of Rice's comments that drew on joint White House, State Department and CIA preparation. The security cutbacks, poorly managed though they were, were in part to meet overall budget cuts that Congress mandated for State Department security.

However, the full story about Benghazi, as in several other matters described below, involves covert intelligence and other secret deal-making that neither party wants disclosed to the public.
Madsen reported the following in his column during the fall of 2012 and afterwards in his book, L'Affaire Petraeus. Here is a key part of his columns and book:
  • Bashar and Asma AssadContrary to the Obama administration's public statements, the administration was secretly smuggling Libyan arms and fighters to help rebels in Syria overthrow the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.
  • The CIA controlled the operation with the assistance of the Clinton State Department and other agencies. The arms were part of the loot following the U.S.-orchestrated overthrow of Libya's government.
  • The fighters included jihadists drawn from Libya and elsewhere whom the United States and its allies wanted to rebrand falsely as Syrians seeking freedom from the longstanding autocracy of Assad, a British-educated eye doctor who succeeded his father in a dictatorship ratified with controlled elections. Assad is an Alawite from a sect related to the Shia. He is shown in a file photo with his wife Asma, who has a Sunni background and who was educated in part also in the United Kingdom.
  • Benghazi, located in Libya's oil-rich east, was a transit point for arms and fighters headed to Syria for the rebellion fostered secretly by the United States, Turkey and other allies that included the Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The major smuggling route for the arms and fighters was by sea to Turkey and then into northern Syria. Stevens, the U.S. ambassador, seldom visited Benghazi but met a Turkish representative in a flimsily secured U.S. compound the day before a surprise attack by radicals killed him and three staff and would-be rescuers on Sept. 11, 2012. A CIA outpost approximately a mile away could not provide rescue. 
The Justice Integrity Project has independently confirmed key details in the account above, reported them on this site, as here Critics Condemn Petraeus Chronology, Drone Killing, Detention Tactics. Also, they are included in this editor's 2013 book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney, and their Masters. Several others in the alternative media have also reported these matters, but very few in the mainstream media have done so.
Obvious difficulties arise for anyone in the media in confirming highly secret matters whose disclosure might bring imprisonment to sources under the Obama administration's harsh crackdown on whistleblowers and those journalists who report on such matters.
These news angles bring special difficulties for the establishment media, whose reporters depend on access to powerful government officials. Even more important, the reporters must be well regarded by their own top news managers and outlet owners, who sometimes operate with political and ideological agendas hidden from the public on issues of this magnitude. That should not surprise anyone. The mass media, capital intensive and often regulated as it is, has long been a part of the nation's top power structure for more than a century.
The actions reported above show that much of the congressional debate over how much to arm U.S.-backed Syrian rebels has avoided a fundamental fact: The Obama administration has already been arming and training rebels for years. The plan arguably helped cause the Benghazi deaths of U.S. personnel. The initiatives also have amounted to a long-running deception of the public by the Obama administration, including Clinton, Petraeus and their successors.
The scandal is akin to that of the criminal Iran-Contra arms running in the late 1980s under the Reagan Administration whereby covert national security executives smuggling arms to Contra rebels in Central American in violation of public announcements and a clear-cut law passed by Congress.
Several differences exist, however, including today's much more vague legal environment. Bipartisan support in Congress for regime change in Syria is more evident than the clear-cut congressional ban in the 1980s against violating the arms trading in Iran-Contra. Another difference is a news media far more deferential to the military and intelligence agencies.
Robert ParryThat is the view of, among others, Robert Parry, who while working for the Associated Press and Newsweek was the main reporter who broke the Iran-Contra scandal. Parry (shown in a file photo) also covered the criminal prosecutions that President George H.W. Bush, regarded as the main proponent of the program as Reagan's vice president, largely ended with pardons. Parry, who left the mainstream media to found an alternative web-based platform called Consortium News and write books, has said he encountered major resistance on his stories and believes news outlet owners now kowtow excessively to claims of "national security."
In sum, knowledgeable Democrats do not to want reveal the smuggling angle because it would embarrass Obama, Clinton, and others.
John McCainRepublicans similarly in the know -- with a few rare exceptions such as Frank Wolf, the just-retired longtime Congressman from the Northern Virginia district surrounding Langley -- prefer to keep the story out of the news. Focusing on the Democratic scandal would be counterproductive for Republicans and their militaristic backers. Here's why: Exposure would tends to show that Obama, Clinton and their teams were already waging in secret the kinds of aggressive military tactics that Republicans like Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ), shown at right, repeatedly criticizes Democrats for not undertaking.
Additionally, too much scrutiny would bring into sharper focus the role of the CIA and its then-director Petraeus, who was then as now the number one hero of the powerful neo-conservative movement that dominates United State foreign affairs in both parties, with the major exceptions of flare-ups with the White House over policies involving Iran, Syria and Israel.
Serious as the deceptions were in the scenario portrayed above, they were not the only secrets involving Petraeus that the Clinton emails could reveal, as indicated below.
Duplicity and Disloyalty By Gen. David Petraeus
The Obama administration forced the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus Nov. 9 just after the Nov. 6 2012 election results. Ostensibly, the White House forced the married CIA director from his job because of his affair Petraeus and Broadwellwith his biographer Paula Broadwell. Co-author of the glowing tribute All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, Broadwell was a married former student of Petraeus and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves who obtained from Petraeus classified documents.
The circumstances of the ouster showed that some within the Obama administration wanted to trash the renowned former general publicly by leaking or permitting leaks of embarrassing details about his affair to reach the news media to supplement official comments.
Paula Broadwell and book All InNo reprisal has been reported for any leakers of disparaging information about Petraeus and Broadwell. She was reportedly identified because of threats she made against Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, another married woman who was revealed to have had friendships and extensive correspondence, as did Kelley's twin sister, with Petraeus, Gen. John Allen, Gen. John Abizaid, and other high-ranking officers assigned the Central Command (CENTCOM) and Cybersecurity Headquarters in Tampa.
Instead of repeating conventional wisdom about the ouster, Madsen published a source-based column Nov. 9 Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to "October Surprise" plot. He suggested that Petraeus had been forced out because of his participation with others in the intelligence and military sectors in a series of disloyal actions against the administration helping fellow Republicans and not because of the sex scandal, which has many unsanctioned precedents at the CIA and armed forces, as elsewhere.
"October Surprise" is a general term applied to secret surprise tactics by either party just before a November presidential election. "The October Surprise" has also acquired a more specific meaning related to the 1980 contest between incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.
The essence of that "surprise," according to at least two scholars with books including that name, was that Reagan Campaign Manager William Casey and disloyal national security staff under Carter encouraged Iranians to keep holding 52 U.S. hostages seized in late 1979 through the remaining weeks of the Carter presidency in order to make the incumbent look so ineffective that he would lose reelection.
William CaseyThe incoming Reagan administration then announced the hostage release within minutes of taking office. Casey, shown in a file photo, became CIA director until his death in 1987.
No official investigation has confirmed such a plot. But former Carter National Security aide and later Columbia University Professor Dr. Gary Sick wrote a book alleging it (while omitting names of suspects), as did former Army historian Barbara Honneger. Madsen also has cited sources in alleging such a plot, and has named the names of suspects in addition to Casey. These include noneother than former Obama administration official Robert Gates (who, like others, has denied any disloyalty or other irregularities).
Most relevant now, however, is that Madsen drew on his contacts in 2012 to flesh out his initial allegations against Petraeus in an arguably traitorous plot with other officials to embarrass the Obama administration. Madsen followed up with Hollywood psy-op assisted 'October Surprise' plans against Obama arguing that the Hollywood film Argo played a part in the fall's momentous developments and that the White House dismissed a number of high-ranking military officers just after the election in circumstances suggesting Benghazi-related irregularities like those of Petraeus.
from he columnist's work included
Madsen was virtually alone in making such claims (amplified in his book). Petraeus held bipartisan stature in Washington as a military strategist and effective advocate for U.S. military interventions. In 2007, Petraeus had led the way in founding the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a neo-con/neo-lib think tank that has helped populate and inspire the Obama administration's defense and intelligence agencies.
Petraeus had held many other prestigious affiliations.
Although the media obviously had to cover his forced resignation and sex scandal, his backers soon resurrected his career. Henry Kravis, the billionaire financier of the firm KKR and a leader in the exclusive Bilderberg Group,  named Petraeus as chairman of the KKR Global Initiative.
Petraeus has been an attendee at the last two Bilderberg annual meetings, which convene about 130 Western tycoons, media owners and other opinion leaders, and government officials for secret meetings. The retired general, who holds a doctorate from Princeton (where he was once considered a leading candidate to become president) also has received prestigious university appointments and has continued to lead veterans groups. His clout was implied in another way when the Justice Department this year provided him with a misdemeanor charge for revealing classified documents to Broadwell. Critics called it a wrist-slap compared to the hard time in prison the Justice Department forces others to serve.
With this background, it is remarkable and even astounding that one of Sidney Blumenthal's emails to Clinton is dated just after Madsen's first "October Surprise" column and provides her an "October Surprise" interpretation of the Petraeus firing that in effect vindicates Madsen's work that week. The link is repeated here. 
Sidney Blumenthal 2006 WikipediaMonica Crowley, online digital editor of the conservative Washington Times, is another longtime Washington insider in the same sense as the liberal Blumenthal, shown in a 2006 photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Crowley repeated parts of the Madsen Blumenthal "October Surprise" claims (albeit without credit) in Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails. Times print edition featured the column March 18 spread across the entire top half of its commentary section front page.
The important point here is that Blumenthal memo was far more similar to Madsen's analysis than what the public has continued to hear from the corporate-owned media, including prominent web-based media mistakenly regarded as "alternative." The latter are distributed via the web but demonstrably fail on many occasions to provide hard-hitting reporting on truly sensitive stories like this about the power.
Thus, it was no surprise that investigative reporter Jeff Gerth authored an in-depth treatment over the weekend regarding the Blumenthal memos, but managed to skip the implications of the one alleging a Petraeus "October Surprise." Gerth's column, published by Gawker with a coauthor Sam Biddle and in cooperation with the establishment public interest investigative reporting initiative Pro Publica, was entitled, Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide's Secret Spy Network.
Gerth is a familiar name to Clinton historians. As a New York Times reporter in 1992, Gerth broke the first Whitewater story alleging financial misconduct by the couple in a 1970s real estate development in rural Arkansas. Gerth and the Times relentlessly pursued the story, leading to the appointment of former federal judge Kenneth Starr to become a special prosecutor. Its $70 million investigation could not make a criminal case of wrongdoing. But Starr salvaged his reputation among Clinton enemies by transforming the probe near its end into a prosecution and impeachment of the president for denying a sexual relationship with then-former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Newspaper columnist Gene Lyons wrote a 1996 book, Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater and co-authored in 2000 The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton. Both books pilloried Gerth as exemplifying misguided and unapologetic investigative reporting that disregarded inconvenient facts and relied on biased and otherwise dubious sources. As a White House aide, Blumenthal was one of the Clintons' most loyal defenders against what they all regarded as zealotry and partisanship in the long-running investigations of the Clintons, which created enormous legal bills also for many innocent staffers caught up in the brouhaha.

Larger lessons of varying kinds could be drawn from that history. But the one most current and clear is that the Blumenthal email suggests, rightly or wrongly, the possibility of high-level domestic intrigue involving the CIA -- and that was not regarded as newsworthy hardly anywhere except by Madsen, the Washington Times, and perhaps a few others not prominent. The main point is that Sidney Blumenthal thought it was important enough to catalog at length for the Secretary of State.

Clinton used Blumenthal as a private, confidential information after her husband's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who held the same position in the Obama White House at the beginning of the first term, barred Clinton from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department, as reported by the New York Times in Emanuel Wields Power Freely, and Faces the Risks. Clinton thus had to hire Blumenthal privately. Meanwhile, Clinton was required to hire for her State Department staff Obama's friend Samantha Power, who had harshly insulted Clinton during the campaign. This reflects a little known reality outside of insider political circles: Even high level officials do not necessarily get to hire their top staff, who are a mixture of the officials' own selections and those recommended/imposed by the White House and other outside entities.

On March 18 this year, the Washington Times published a column emphasizing these points by its online digital editor Monica Crowley, Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails.

The situation serves as a reminder that it can be lonely at the top. Hence the adage "If you want a friend in Washington buy a dog." Or at least have your own private political intelligence operation and email system?

Conflict of Interest In Clinton Foundation/Hillary Clinton 2016 Funding
Finally, the hidden emails lead to legitimate and largely unanswered questions about the relationship of Clinton's cabinet duties with her other agendas, including by foreign backers of the Clinton Foundation and her prospective 2016 presidential campaign. Republicans can be expected to keep raising questions on selected issues but not the ones where their leaders share the foreign policy goals of Clinton's funders. 
Let's focus primarily on Clinton for now. The Wall Street Journal published an illuminating report this month on contributors to the Clinton Foundation. In President v. oligarch: Building a nation means putting plutocrats in their place, The Economist provided further general background, including the chart at right. Ukraine's Oligarchs Chart by The Economist 
Both the Wall Street Journal and the Economist are strong supporters of the U.S.-backed overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in February 2014. Not surprisingly, it took Tyler Durden at the web-based publication Zero Hedge to publish, via Global Research, Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Revealed.
Durden reported that the foundation's leading international funders in recent years have been oligarchs from the Ukraine, which is now being ravaged by a civil war fostered in significant part by the United States acting through U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Victoria Nuland.
The number one foundation donor in the entire world, Durden reported, was Victor Pinchuck, who is listed at the third spot down on the chart at right. Durden reported him to have given at least $8.6 million to the Clinton Foundation, whose humanitarian works also provide a base for the Clinton dynasty and its followers. On the chart at right, Petro Porochenko is the U.S.-ratified new president of the Ukraine, who forced Ihor Kolomoisky from a governorship last week in a power struggle.
Previously, Nuland was the top spokesperson for Clinton at the State Department. More significantly, she is married to  neo-con war-monger Robert Kagan, a Yale Skull and Bones member who ascended to a prominent position in advocating war via his "think tank" position and Washington Post column.
In a Robert Parry column this month A Family Business of Perpetual War, Parry described them as an effective power couple serving the U.S. banking, foreign policy and media elite:
Here is how Parry reported the latest implementation of their longstanding method:
"She has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia – and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so America can meet these new security threats. This extraordinary husband-and-wife duo makes quite a one-two punch for the Military-Industrial Complex, an inside-outside team that creates the need for more military spending, applies political pressure to ensure higher appropriations, and watches as thankful weapons manufacturers lavish grants on like-minded hawkish Washington think tanks."
Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyattt and Petro Poroschenko 2014The photo portrays Nuland last year in action as she greeted Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, whom she helped install in a coup in February 2014 via covert plotting with, among others, U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, center. U.S. Secretary of State of John Kerry is in the background at right. After the coup Poroshenko received ratification during an election in which large proportions of dissident Russian-speaking Ukrainian residents were not able to vote.

In late 2013, Nuland had bragged that U.S. taxpayers had spent $5 billion to bring democracy to the Ukraine in previous years. Two months later, Nuland was exposed on a pirated tape recording as conspiring with Pyatt in plotting who should lead the Ukraine after its elected government was overthrown. Also, she profanely dismissed on the pirated tape potential concerns by the Europe Union. "Fuck the EU," the ambassador memorably stated. 
Although Clinton had resigned by early 2013 there is little reason to believe she has had serious objection to plans undertaken by Nuland. The specific actions under Secretary of State John Kerry, Clinton's success, parallel Clinton's own interventionist policies and those of other war hawks in the Obama administration who often cite democratic or humanitarian rationales for what can evolve, as in Libya, to violent revolutions and civil wars devastating entire nations. In Libya, Clinton had been a leading advocate within the administration of the U.S.-led overthrow of Libya's government, ostensibly for human rights reasons but besmirched also by unseemly focus on Libya's oil assets, many of which were located in the Benghazi region.
Any Clinton Foundation benefit from Ukrainian billionaire gifts might reasonably resemble the disgraceful but lawful efforts of other Democratic cronies to exploit the new war and the chaos there.
Burisma, the Ukraine's largest private natural gas company, last year named to its board Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and Secretary of State John Kerry's former chief fund-raiser, as reported by Politico in Hunter Biden named to Ukraine gas board. 
Hunter BidenThe younger Biden is shown in a file photo at left. were named by a leading Ukrainian energy company to its board. The web commentary site, Naked Capitalism reported a somewhat similar story, Meet and Greet Natalie Jaresko, U.S. Government Employee, Ukraine Finance Minister, regarding the Ukraine's finance minister, who gave up her U.S. citizenship the same week she was appointed to office. Jaresko, shown at right, was further described as as co-owner of a troubled Delaware-based hedge fund whose major income source had been a $150 million grant from the US Agency for International Development.
The mainstream media rarely reports the inside story behind such appointments (including the harsh claims of financial misconduct made by Jaresko's ex-husband and hedge fund co-founder). The stories are controversial. Therefore, they conflict with Washington's pervasive go-along, get-along mind-set, which is obscured by partisan fights on issues that are more superficial for the most part.
But the pattern of crony capitalism could hardly be clearer, especially when combined with the Ukrainian oligarch donations to the Clinton Foundation. The implied deal is that the clout of the United States, especially taxpayers, will help the oligarchs and also help encourage the new Ukraine government to repay international bankers by imposing austerity measures on the Ukrainian population, especially those in the Russian-speaking Eastern provinces. In return, family and cronies of Democratic political leaders will benefit financially.
That is not the whole story, of course, but it is an angle that will rarely be articulated in the U.S. mainstream media. That's because virtually all of the major outlets, especially those of Republican and other "conservative" inclination, support the same neo-con policies. Furthermore, Republicans have a similar pattern of crony capitalism buried deep within the Military-Intelligence Complex, especially during Republican control of the White House but thriving also now.
Especially via Sen. John McCain, Republicans have been advocating far more U.S. taxpayer aid to the Ukraine than the Obama White House. Thus, Republicans and their affiliated media have only a narrow interest in the topic: alleging laxity by the Obama administration in support of the Ukraine's oligarchs. Less important by far, then, would be any unseemly investigations that might use the Clinton emails to expose the full corruption of the process, the danger of escalating war, the austerity imposed on the U.S. public to help pay for foreign interventions.
What To Expect?
To recap, this column has focused on three under-reported aspects of the Clinton email scandal and not the less sinister themes the mainstream media reports. We can safely predict that Benghazi Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy Officicial portraitTrey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican shown in a file photo, will continue to churn out partisan commentary providing only part of the story.
So will the relentless and equally conservative Judicial Watch, whose seminar on the topic I am scheduled to attend March 31 near the Capitol. It features Judicial Watch's President Tom Fitton moderating a panel that includes a former Bush-era U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The program is at 1 p.m. (EDT) and available on video.
Yet such events are mere building blocks for the alternative media to tell the real story.
We must not shy away from the implications of the material reported above. U.S.-assisted smuggling of arms and jihadist fighters from Libya into Syria as early as 2012 means a vastly greater failure and ongoing deception in our Middle East policies under Obama and Clinton than even Republicans dare to allege.
Evidence of "October Surprise" plotting, whether under the Carter-Reagan or Obama-Romney elections, suggests how deeply our democracy is imperiled. At the minimum, it suggests that much of our standard political commentary avoids the important issues and wastes our time for weeks and months on end watching a charade of pretenders while the real players operate unreported in the background.
Recalling the now-documented CIA involvement in the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy after he fired its top leadership and started de-escalating the Vietnam War (as documented in our "JFK Readers Guide" here), the CIA's current and largely covert role in presidential politics should provide a chilling reminder to the public, as it already does to Obama, that history can repeat itself. 
Sadly, these concerns will resonate into reform only with an aroused public that appreciates that reflexive partisan loyalties in the ongoing Clinton email debate will not protect the country from the bipartisan and rarely reported intrigues, corruption, and democracy-destroying power plays described above. Only if Democrats challenge their own leaders, Republicans do the same, and everyone challenges the media will the truth keep the public free.
Andrew Kreig will speak April 1 about the JFK assassination, its continue relevance to public affairs, and his recommended reforms at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The public is welcome to the lecture and discussion of exciting new developments, which begins at 7 p.m. following a Dutch-treat, optional dinner at 6:30 p.m. The host is the Sarah McClendon Group, named for the late White House correspondent, which has organized such inside-DC talks for the past quarter century on cutting-edge topics. For details, including directions for free parking, contact the author.
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Related News Coverage

Clinton Email Scandal: General

New York Times, No Copies of Clinton Emails on Server, Lawyer Says, Michael S. Schmidt, March 27, 2015. An examination of the server that housed the personal email account that Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used when she was secretary of state showed that there are no copies of any emails she sent during her time in office, her lawyer told a congressional committee on Friday. Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, said in a letter that after her lawyers determined which emails were personal and which were private, a setting was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days.  “Thus, there are no This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. emails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized,” Mr. Kendall said. The House Select Committee on Benghazi had subpoenaed the server last week, asking Mrs. Clinton to hand it over to a third party so it could determine which emails were personal and which were government records. At a news conference this month, Mrs. Clinton said that she did not keep any of the personal emails from the account. She said she had made that decision after her lawyers had examined the account and determined on their own which ones were personal and which ones were State Department records.

Gawker in cooperation with Pro Publica, Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide's Secret Spy Network, Jeff Gerth and Sam Biddle, March 27, 2015. The dispatches from Blumenthal to Clinton's private email address were Sidney Blumenthal 2006 Wikipediaposted online after Blumenthal's account was hacked in 2013 by Romanian hacker Marcel-Lehel Lazar, who went by the name Guccifer. Lazar also broke into accounts belonging to George W. Bush's sister, Colin Powell, and others. He's now serving a seven-year sentence in his home country and was charged in a U.S. indictment last year. Blumenthal, a New Yorker staff writer in the 1990s, became a top aide to President Bill Clinton and worked closely with Hillary Clinton during the fallout from Whitewater investigation into the Clinton family. She tried to hire him when she joined President Obama's cabinet in 2009, but White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly nixed the idea on the grounds Blumenthal was a divisive figure whose attacks on Obama during the Democratic primary had poisoned his relationship with the new administration.

WMR, Was Clinton's personal email system courtesy of Soros's techies? Wayne Madsen, March 5, 2015 (Subscription only, excerpted here with permission). There is no question that Hillary Clinton and George Soros are very close politically and socially. However, did Mrs. Clinton's tight relationship with Soros result in the multi-billionaire mogul instructing his army of tech-savvy social networking gurus to install the private e-mail server at the Clinton home in Chappaqua, New York that the then-Secretary of State used to communicate privately and outside the purview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Federal Records Act (FRA) with her closest advisers, many of whom previously worked for Soros's NGOs?As more details are revealed about the nature of Clinton's email network, these and other questions are being asked about the true nature of Clinton's decision to have her staff, just two months ago, cherry pick through hundreds of thousands of emails and release only 50,000 to 55,000 of those which she and her staffers deemed compliant with the FARA.

Huffington Post, Hillary Clinton: 'I Thought It Would Be Easier' To Use One Email Address, Paige Lavender and Sam Stein, March 10, 2015. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) addressed the controversy over her use of a Hillary Clintonprivate email address while at the State Department, saying she thought it would be easier to use one email address. "I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I'd simply used a second account and carried a second phone," Clinton said at a press conference on Tuesday. "I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn't worked out that way," Clinton added. Clinton also said she didn't see an issue with the private email because she was emailing State Department employees with government email addresses. She said the private server on which she was sending emails was built with security protections and would remain private despite calls for it to be turned over.

Judicial Watch, Obama Lawyers Afraid to Go to Court on Email Scandal, Tom Fitton (shown in file photo), March 27, 2015. The Obama administration's fraud, misconduct and misrepresentation on the Hillary Clinton email scandal Tom Fittoncontinues in federal court. Crafty, corrupt politicians realize that transparency and accountability go hand-in-hand.  So that is why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (with the federal bureaucracies at their beck and call) have a personal and political interest in keeping their records away from the American people - even if it means violating the federal transparency law:  the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  So it will not surprise you to learn that Hillary Clinton's former colleagues at the Obama State Department (with the help of taxpayer-funded lawyers in the Justice Department) continue to mislead the court and oppose Judicial Watch's work to obtain emails and other documents sent by Hillary Clinton and her aides using secret email accounts. Judicial Watch recently filed a strong brief in federal court, a Reply in Support of a Motion for a Status Conference, that argues that the State Department should be required to inform both Judicial Watch and the court itself "about the details surrounding the retention of agency emails within the Office of the Secretary and the extent of the Department's ability to search, request and retrieve those records..." in order to avoid "further undue delays, prejudice and potential spoliation" of those documents. The request is before U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who is the judge assigned to what should have been a simple FOIA lawsuit to find out more about Hillary Clinton's role in the Benghazi cover-up.  In a brief filed last week opposing a court hearing on this issue, the Obama administration argued that there was no need for urgency in resolving the issue, and continued their attempt to stonewall.  They want no hearing until at least late April!  With this contemptuous response to our push for transparency, the Obama administration shows that it wants to protect Mrs. Clinton, not enforce the law. What's more, this administration is willing to mislead more than one federal court in order to do so.  The cover-up continues.  Why else would the Obama team fear telling the court immediately about this important issue?  What possible harm could one court hearing do! Continuing the cover-up, State argued that only recently had they been made aware of the secret email accounts, an argument in direct contradiction with the department's previous statements and as we note, Mrs. Clinton's statement about the issue:
The State Department cannot claim it was unaware of the...failure to records-manage agency emails from the Office of the Secretary. In fact, the "Statement from the Office of Former Secretary Clinton" states that "[h]er usage [of non-"state.gov" email for State Department business] was widely known to the over 100 Department and U.S. government colleagues she emailed."
HotAir.com, Trouble: Liberals that attacked Republicans for their email scandals cannot defend Hillary, Noah Rothman, March 3, 2015.  You just know that the usual suspects are rushing to posit that the Federal Records Act is an outmoded and onerous law that should have been repealed long ago. For now, however, the reaction of the political media to the revelation that Hillary Clinton violated the law and used a private email exclusively while she served as secretary of state has been refreshingly free of excuse making. For now, few Clinton allies in the commentary class are insisting that Hillary “has to get ahead of this” or that she “cannot let the media define this scandal.” No one is suggesting she leave the comfort of her hermetically sealed bubble or the company of the coterie of overprotective devotees she has cultivated. But they probably should. In combination with the Clinton Foundation’s scandalous fundraising practices and ethical violations, the Clinton family’s reputation as scandal-prone and opaque has been well and fully resurrected.

FireDogLake, More on Hillary Clinton’s Use of Personal Email Account at State Department, Peter Van Buren, March 3, 2015. 2016 just got a lot more interesting with the revelation that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton conducted all official business using a personal email account on her own web domain. Here’s what happened, and why it matters. A lot. As Secretary of State, Clinton was required to maintain her emails as official records. She did not. It also matters because Clinton’s email actions were deliberate, and included an effort to hide what she was doing.

Arms Smuggling: The Obama-Clinton-Petraeus Iran-Contra Scandal

Justice Integrity Project, Learn the Truth About Benghazi Before Syria Vote! Andrew Kreig, Sept. 4, 2013. The public deserves to know the facts about the Benghazi massacre in 2012 before approving the bombing of Syria sought by President Obama. persistent reports suggest the CIA was using Benghazi last year as a base to smuggle arms and foreign fighters to overthrow Syria’s government. Was Benghazi President Obama’s version of the Iran-contra scandal?

Justice Integrity Project, Brennan, Hagel, Obama, Petraeus, and Benghazi Back In the Line of Fire, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 10, 2013. A Republican senator threatened Sunday to try to block in an unprecedented manner two of President Obama's top national security opponents over administration secrecy regarding the Benghazi massacre of four Americans in September. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, left, said he would the nominations of John Brennan as CIA director and Chuck Hagel as defense secretary unless the Obama administration gives him more information on the president's reaction to the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. outposts in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Meanwhile, revelations continue regarding key figures in the administration, including Brennan, former CIA Director David Petraeus and their secret activities.

Duplicity and Disloyalty by Gen. David Petraeus

WMR, Hacked HRC e-mail shows that she was made aware of a Romney-Petraeus "October Surprise" the day after it was reported by WMR, Wayne Madsen, March 13, 2015. An e-mail sent by unofficial adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, which was revealed by the computer hacker known as "Guccifer," describes the belief by some higher-ups in the Obama administration that the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency director David Petreaus on November 8, 2012, the day after Barack Obama's re-election, was tied to a plot by Mitt Romney and Petraeus to engineer an "October Surprise" to engineer Obama's electoral defeat. As can be seen in the email, dated November 12, 2012, the idea of the Petreaus resignation being tied to an October Surprise gambit was reported by Blumenthal to Clinton the day after WMR reported: "Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to 'October Surprise' plot."

In his email to Clinton, Blumenthal concluded what WMR concluded the previous day: that the Petraeus scandal represented a failed October Surprise plot by Petraeus who was working in tandem with the Romney campaign. Blumenthal called the conspiracy against Obama a "trifecta" of classified information leaks, the Benghazi diplomatic mission attack, and the Petraeus scandal. Where Blumenthal differs from the WMR report is that he believes that Romney knew about Petraeus's extramarital affair and would have used it to show Obama's national security weakness. WMR reported that Petraeus was working hand-in-hand with the Romney campaign to create a U.S. embassy hostage situation similar to that in Tehran in 1980 which sank President Jimmy Carter's chances for re-election. This scenario was described in greater detail in the WMR's editor's book, "L'Affair Petraeus: The Benghazi Stand-Down and the Plot to 'Carterize' Obama," the first book published on the Petraeus scandal.

Washington Times, Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails, Monica Crowley, March 18, 2015. Conservative pundit Monica Crowley, a longtime Washington insider, is her newspaper's online digital editor. We all know that the only reason you would deliberately and pre-meditatedly set up a private email address and server is to have total control over your communications — to keep people away from those communications and to retain the ability to edit and delete your content. In Hillary Clinton’s case, given her long history of concealment and duplicity, total control was the system’s purpose. What was the Clintons’ hatchet man [Sidney Blumenthal] really doing? How did he cultivate such sensitive intelligence sources, and on whose orders? Why was he apparently hip-deep in intelligence matters while his close friend was secretary of state?

  • Was the real reason Mrs. Clinton created a private communications system because she planned to run her own intelligence operation via Mr. Blumenthal, away from the prying eyes of the president, his White House, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, Congress, the press and the American people?
  • Did she set up this private system because she didn’t trust the Obama team to provide the intelligence that she needed or wanted?
WMR, Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to "October Surprise" plot, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 9, 2012. (Subscription required, with excerpt below used with permission). CIA director General David Petraeus, lauded by neo-cons for David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, NBC_TVhis marshaling of troops in contrived military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, in support of the "global war on terror," throughout the Arab and Muslim world as the chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), resigned suddenly on November 9. Petraeus claimed that he was resigning over an extra-marital affair. The Washington spin machine is claiming that President Obama first heard about Petraeus's affair and his intent to resign on the evening of November 8. There is a belief by many in the intelligence community that Petraeus's affair was already known to the White House weeks ago but that it was decided that his resignation would be tendered after the November 6 election to avoid another scandal on top of the festering Benghazi consulate attack. Moreover, the Petraeus scandal and the siege of the U.S. compound in Benghazi may be linked.
Paula Broadwell, the co-author along with The Washington Post's Vernon Loeb, of Petraeus's biography titled All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, has been under investigation by the FBI for trying to access Petraeus's e-mail, possibly while Petraeus's CIA-issued secure personal digital assistant and/or laptop were left unattended during trysts. The FBI, according to some media reports, has indicated that neither Petraeus nor Broadwell, who also served as an Army officer and is a married West Point graduate with two sons, face criminal charges. WMR has reported in the past that Loeb is a frequent target of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance as a result of his publication of leaks from intelligence sources.Although it is too early to ascertain why the FBI was investigating Broadwell, there is some informed speculation from intelligence professionals that the Mitt Romney campaign had inside help in arranging for a Jimmy Carter-like "October Surprise" to deny Obama a second term. It was the Iran hostage situation in 1980 and a Reagan-Bush mole inside the National Security Council who tipped off the Republicans about last-minute negotiations between Carter's team and Iran to release the U.S. hostages that cost Carter re-election. The name of the mole was Robert Gates, on loan from the CIA to the White House. Gates was a loyalist of former CIA director Bush.
WMR, Hollywood psy-op assisted October Surprise plans against Obama, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 15, 2012. WMR has learned from intelligence sources that former CIA director David Petraeus knew during the summer about the plans to discredit President Obama in what failed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called a "Jimmy Carter Strategy" to bring about an October Surprise embassy or diplomatic mission crisis that like Carter, would result in Obama's defeat at the polls. The Jimmy Carter Strategy included the release of the anti-Muslim "Innocence of Muslims" movie trailer on YouTube that was seen as a catalyst that would trigger an embassy or mission crisis in one or more Arab or Muslim countries. In Benghazi, radical Salafists in the pay of Qatar and Saudi Arabia laid siege to the U.S. Consulate but, instead of overrunning the compound and taking the ambassador and staff hostage, something went terribly wrong with the plan and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and one Foreign Service officer and two State Department contractors were killed by guerrillas affiliated with "Al Qaeda."

It was not merely the anti-Muslim trailer that was designed to create the psychological setting for an October Surprise. On the evening of September 11, when the U.S. Consulate was being overrun, Petraeus was at a private Washington, DC screening of the movie "Argo," which dramatized the CIA's rescue of six American diplomats from Tehran during the hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy. Ironically, "Argo" was co-produced by Obama fundraiser George Clooney. The movie had extraordinary technical assistance from the CIA, including the agency's Hollywood liaison office in Los Angeles. Part of the filming took place in McLean, Virginia near CIA headquarters. The film has been criticized for a number of historical inaccuracies and screenplay errors, a clue that the movie was put together haphazardly and on a rush schedule.

Justice Integrity Project, Mainstream Media Ignore Hersh’s Shocking Reports on Benghazi, Syria Atrocities, Andrew Kreig, April 17, 2014. The major U.S. media have ignored for the most part Seymour Hersh’s blockbuster column April 4 reporting the Obama administration's deceptive accounts of notorious killings in Benghazi and Syria. Several major outlets declined to publish his column The Red Line and the Rat Line and, much worse, have also failed to raise questions about his source-based allegations after Hersh published them in the London Review of Books. News organizations have not sought to obtain answers, much as they would on other public mysteries such as the missing Malaysian airplane.

Justice Integrity Project, Critics Condemn Petraeus Chronology, Drone Killing, Detention Tactics, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 5, 2013. Today's column is a round-up of troubling news regarding government secrecy regarding the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus in November, as well as increased war-making, detention without charges or trial, and other police state powers by the Obama administration as it proceeds on its second term. 

Paula Broadwell bookWashington Post, Petraeus admits giving documents to mistress, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz, March 3, 2015. The former CIA director will plead guilty to a misdemeanor and will likely not face prison time. The deal, if approved by a judge, will spare Petraeus a prison sentence and allow him to avoid a trial that probably would have revealed details of his relationship with his former mistress and biographer, who had been provided the highly sensitive documents. As part of the agreement, Petraeus admitted improperly retaining a number of bound notebooks that contained classified information and giving them to the biographer, Paula Broadwell, according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, N.C.

ExposeFacts.org via OpEdNews, David Petraeus Gets Hand-Slap for Leaking, Two Point Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice, Marcy Wheeler, March 3, 2015. DOJ quietly announced it had reached a plea deal with former CIA Director David Petraeus for leaking Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information materials to his mistress, Paula Broadwell (shown with her biography cover). Among the materials in the eight "Black Books" Petraeus shared with Broadwell were: "classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and .... discussions with the President of the United States of America." Petreaus retained those Black Books after he signed his debriefing agreement upon leaving DOD, in which he attested "I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody, or control at this time." For mishandling some of the most important secrets the nation has, Petraeus will plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He will not, however, be asked to plead guilty at all for lying to FBI investigators. For lying to the FBI -- a crime that others go to prison for for months and years -- Petraeus will just get a two point enhancement on his sentencing guidelines. The Department of Justice basically completely wiped away the crime of covering up his crime of leaking some of the country's most sensitive secrets to his mistress.

For more on the Petraeus story, see also Intercept, Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate Of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus by Glenn Greenwald; Attorney General Eric Holder to Decide Whether to Charge David Petraeus with Violating Espionage Act by Kevin Gosztola; and Prosecutors Said To Recommend Charges Against Former Gen. David Petraeus by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo.

Suspicions About Clinton Foundation Funding

Zero Hedge via Global, Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Revealed, Tyler Durden, Global Research, March 22, 2015. Between 2009 and 2013, including when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation received at least $8.6 million from the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, according to that foundation, which is based in Kiev, Ukraine. It was created by Mr. Pinchuk, whose fortune stems from a pipe-making company. He served two terms as an elected member of the Ukrainian Parliament and is a proponent of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union. In 2008, Mr. Pinchuk made a five-year, $29 million commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative, a wing of the foundation that coordinates charitable projects and funding for them but doesn’t handle the money. The pledge was to fund a program to train future Ukrainian leaders and professionals “to modernize Ukraine,” according to the Clinton Foundation. Several alumni are current members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Actual donations so far amount  to only $1.8 million, a Pinchuk foundation spokesman said, citing the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. The Pinchuk foundation said its donations were intended to help to make Ukraine “a successful, free, modern country based on European values.” It said that if Mr. Pinchuk was lobbying the State Department about Ukraine, “this cannot be seen as anything but a good thing.”  Of all the oligarchs connected to foreign governments who donated to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State, Ukraine was at the very top. I thought this to be strange, but as I read on I just couldn’t believe how connected the main donor was to the current regime in power. Considering this is the main geopolitical hotspot on earth right now, many, many questions need to be asked.

Bloomberg, Ukraine Unity Holds Up as Backers of Ousted Governor Hold Rally, Volodymyr Verbyany and Daryna Krasnolutska, March 28, 2015. Allies of former regional Governor Igor Kolomoisky pledged their support for Ukrainian unity in the face of a pro-Russian rebellion to the east, even as they criticized moves in Kiev this week that led to his departure. Kolomoisky, 52, a billionaire and who has funded volunteer troops fighting insurgents just to the east in Donetsk, was forced out this week in a spat with President Petro Poroshenko. Kiev is trying to win a war against separatists it claims is supported by Russia, overhaul the economy under a $17.5 billion International Monetary Fund deal, crack down on corruption, bring state companies linked to Ukraine’s wealthiest people back under state control and negotiate new terms with international bond holders, including Russia.

Economist, President v. oligarch: Building a nation means putting plutocrats in their place, Staff report, March 28, 2015. For the past year, Ukraine’s government has enlisted the help of the country’s powerful oligarchs in fighting its war against pro-Russian separatists. This week a new war opened up, pitting the government against one of the very oligarchs it had relied upon. On March 25, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, forced Ihor Kolomoisky, a business magnate, to resign from his post as governor of the central region of Dnipropetrovsk. Mr Kolomoisky had financed pro-Kiev battalions and played a vital role in stemming the spread of separatism. Yet after Mr Kolomoisky deployed his personal militia in Kiev to block the government from regulating his business interests, the president had no choice but to sack him.  The clash was the biggest skirmish yet in an unfolding confrontation between the government and the oligarchy. It may be the single most important front in the struggle for Ukraine’s future. (Chart below by The Economist.)

Consortium News, Nuland's Mastery of Ukraine Propaganda, Robert Parry, March 11, 2015. An early skill learned by Official Washington's neoconservatives, when they were cutting their teeth inside the U.S. government in the 1980s, was how to frame their arguments in the most propagandistic way, so anyone who dared to disagree with any aspect of the presentation seemed unpatriotic or crazy. One of those quick learners was Robert Kagan, who Victoria Nuland State Departmentwas then a protege of Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams. Kagan got his first big chance when he became director of the State Department's public diplomacy office for Latin America. At one point, Kagan warned me that I might have to be "controversialized," i.e. targeted for public attack by Reagan's right-wing media allies and anti-journalism attack groups, like Accuracy in Media, a process that did indeed occur. Kagan is perhaps best known these days as the husband of neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, one of Vice President Dick Cheney's former advisers and a key architect of last year's coup in Ukraine, a "regime change" that toppled an elected president and touched off a civil war, which now has become a proxy fight involving nuclear-armed United States and Russia. In an interview last year with the New York Times, Nuland indicated that she shared her husband's criticism of President Obama for his hesitancy to use American power more assertively. But Nuland, shown in a photo, also seems to have mastered her husband's skill with propaganda, presenting an extreme version of the situation in Ukraine, such that no one would dare quibble with the details. In prepared testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, Nuland even slipped in an accusation blaming Russia for the July 17 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 though the U.S. government has not presented any proof. See also, Consortium News, A Family Business of Perpetual War, Robert Parry, March 20, 2015. Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan, and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business.

Naked Capitalism, Meet and Greet Natalie Jaresko, U.S. Government Employee, Ukraine Finance Minister, Yves Smith, Dec. 4, 2014. The new finance minister of Ukraine, Natalie Jaresko, may have replaced her U.S. citizenship with Natalie JareskoUkrainian at the start of this week, but her employer continued to be the U.S. government, long after she claims she left the State Department. U.S. court and other records reveal that Jaresko has been the co-owner of a management company and Ukrainian investment funds registered in the state of Delaware, dependent for her salary and for investment funds on a $150 million grant from the US Agency for International Development. The records reveal that according to Jaresko’s former husband, Ihor Figlus, she is culpable in financial misconduct. Natalie Jaresko was appointed on Monday, and approved by a vote of the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday evening. A presidential tweet and an announcement from the office of President Petro Poroshenko say a decree has been signed granting Jaresko Ukrainian citizenship to qualify her to take office. The legality of the decree was challenged today by the head of Poroshenko’s bloc in parliament, Yury Lutsenko. Jaresko was born into the Ukrainian émigré community of Chicago. Figlus was at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev when Natalie was posted there. They married in 1989. Figlus went on to run the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine. He then took charge of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund. Since Jareshko and Figlus divorced in 2010, he has been airbrushed out of the business history she has portrayed as the basis of her experience and of her prepping to be the new finance minister of Ukraine. It hasn’t been rare for American spouses to go into the asset management business in the former Soviet Union, and make profits underwritten by the U.S. government with information supplied from their government positions or contacts. It is exceptional for them to fall out over the loot.

Hunter BidenPolitico, Hunter Biden named to Ukraine gas board, Lucy McCalmont, May 13, 2014. Hunter Biden, the younger son of Vice President Joe Biden, will be joining Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, the company announced in a statement. “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals,” Alan Apter, Burisma Holdings’ chairman of the board of directors, said in a statement, which was reported by The Moscow Times on Tuesday. Biden, shown in a file photo, said the company will help strengthen Ukraine’s economy. "Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.

UK and US Intelligence Agency Media Manipulation

Justice Integrity Project, DOJ Curtails Spy Charges Against Reporters; But Do Smears Continue? Andrew Kreig, July 16, 2013. (Part one of a three-part series.) The Obama Justice Department has announced that it will not assert spy charges against reporters during leak investigations except in special circumstances. The statement by Attorney Gen. Eric Holder July 12 reduces the tension between prosecutors and the mainstream media. Meanwhile, a smear campaign against freelance investigative reporter Wayne Madsen raises new questions about the longstanding practice of intelligence agencies in the United States and United Kingdom, as elsewhere, of trying to shape public opinion via news organizations, quasi-academic non-profits, and other outlets that influence civic perceptions.

Justice Integrity Project, The Intelligence Community and the DC Media: A Brief Introduction, Andrew Kreig, July 16, 2013. (Part Two of a three-part series.) Reporters face a daunting challenge if they seek to cover the CIA, NSA, and the nation's dozens of other intelligence bodies.  Everyone knows the history of the Washington Post's Watergate reporting. Here is another side to government news coverage during that era. The snapshots below illustrate the tight and largely hidden ties between the Post, news outlets like it, and the powerful United States intelligence community.

Justice Integrity Project, For Security, Beware of Wikipedia, Daily Beast, CNN, Poynter -- and Many More, Andrew Kreig, July 22, 2013. (Part Three of a three-part series.) Media manipulators this month used Wikipedia and CNN to smear investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, a former Navy intelligence officer who often breaks important and/or controversial stories. One example was his exclusive July 22 revealing National Security Agency (NSA) plans to bypass legal restrictions forbidding domestic surveillance. Wikipedia's treatment of Madsen, a former NSA analyst, parallels its treatment eight years ago of First Amendment advocate John Seigenthaler, who suffered from an even worse Wikipedia bio than Madsen. An unidentified person created a false bio of Seigenthaler that described him as a onetime suspect in the assassinations of the Kennedy Brothers.

Epstein Scandals

Jeffrey Epstein Harvard University

Justice Integrity Project, Moralist Ken Starr Explains His Help For Billionaire Pervert Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 8, 2015. Famed educator and legal scholar Ken Starr (shown in a file photo) led a forum last week at the National Ken Starr Baylor UniversityPress Club to inspire faith-based instruction — and then was asked to describe why he had helped billionaire Jeffrey Epstein avoid serious prison time in 2008 on allegations Epstein had molested dozens of underage girls. The president and chancellor of Baylor University, responding to a question after the close of a forum he led Feb. 4 on “The Calling of Faith-based Universities,” told me he was “very happy” to help serve a client of his former law firm, Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis.

New York Observer, The Jeffrey Epstein Affair Imperils Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects, Ken Silverstein, March 25, 2015. The case of the high-flying (alleged) pedophile reveals a broken American political process. Why is no one in the D.C. political class and media bubble talking about the Jeffrey Epstein affair? Well, it’s not true that they’re not talking about it at all; they’re just not (for the most part) talking about it honestly or asking the right questions. This earlier investigation of Mr. Epstein, led by the FBI, was reportedly closed and the evidence sealed after Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two “minor” counts related to charges that he was involved in underage sex. (How crimes involving sex with underage girls can be deemed “minor” is something of a mystery.) Mr. Epstein has reportedly been a significant donor to the Clinton Foundation, before and after he was implicated in sex crimes.And the right questions are:

  • Exactly how tight is the friendship between former President and potential future first gentleman Bill Clinton and Mr. Epstein, who owns a private island in Florida and is now accused of having sex with girls as young as 12 Bill Clinton Twitter photoand procuring young girls for sex with other friends of his? What was Bill Clinton doing on the island with Mr. Epstein on multiple occasions and why did he fly overseas on Mr. Epstein’s plane at least 10 times?
  • What hardball PR and legal tactics will Hillary Clinton’s campaign use to try to make this potential problem — which could potentially derail her planned presidential bid — disappear? Will those tactics work, or is Ms. Clinton’s campaign already dead, even if the exact time of the funeral is not yet known?

Media Self-Censorship

Paul Craig Roberts.org, Manufacturing Dissent, Paul Craig Roberts, March 26, 2015. Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the author of many important books. His latest is The Globalization of War: America’s Long War Against Paul Craig RobertsHumanity. Chossudovsky shows that Washington has globalized war while the U.S. president is presented as a global peace-maker, complete with the Nobel Peace Prize. Washington has military deployed in 150 countries, has the world divided up into six US military commands and has a global strike plan that includes space operations. Nuclear weapons are part of the global strike plan and have been elevated for use in a pre-emptive first strike, a dangerous departure from their Cold War role. America’s militarization includes military armament for local police for use against the domestic population and military coercion of sovereign countries in behalf of US economic imperialism. One consequence is the likelihood of nuclear war. Another consequence is the criminalization of US foreign policy. War crimes are the result. These are not the war crimes of individual rogue actors but war crimes institutionalized in established guidelines and procedures. “What distinguishes the Bush and Obama administrations,” Chossudovsky writes, “is that the concentration camps, targeted assassinations and torture chambers are now openly considered as legitimate forms of intervention, which sustain ‘the global war on terrorism’ and support the spread of ‘Western democracy.’”

Justice Integrity Project, Investigative Reporter Implicates Wikipedia In Smear Campaign, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 28, 2014. Investigative reporter, author and former Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen has reported a major new development in the long-running smear campaign that Wikipedia has undertaken against him. Wikipedia this week rejected a corrected biographical entry for Madsen submitted by a longtime Wikipedia volunteer editor and professional journalist. Instead, Wikipedia reinstalled the smear-biography designed primarily by anonymous editors using a false birthday and, more important, designed to portray Madsen falsely as exceptionally untrustworthy and unworthy of consideration.

White House Power Plays

New York Times, Emanuel Wields Power Freely, and Faces the Risks, Peter Baker and Jeff Zeleny, August 15, 2009. As White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel was the one to bring the hammer down on Sidney Blumenthal. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wanted to hire Mr. Blumenthal, a loyal confidant who had helped her promote the idea of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” more than a decade ago. But President Obama’s campaign veterans still blamed him for spreading harsh attacks against their candidate in the primary showdown with Mrs. Clinton last year. So Mr. Emanuel talked with Mrs. Clinton, said Democrats informed about the situation, and explained that bringing Mr. Blumenthal on board was a no-go. The bad blood among his colleagues was too deep, and the last thing the administration needed, he concluded, was dissension and drama in the ranks. In short, Mr. Blumenthal was out.


Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Reuters, Exclusive: Upset by Warren, U.S. banks debate halting some campaign donations, Emily Flitter, March 27, 2015. Big Wall Street banks are so upset with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren's call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said. Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, Elizabeth Warrenhave met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren (shown in a file photo)and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week. Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said. The amount of money at stake, a maximum of $15,000 per bank, means the gesture is symbolic rather than material

FireDogLake, Wall Street Firms Threatens Democratic Party After Call To Break Them Up, DS Wright, March 27, 2015. The Too Big To Fail banks are none too pleased with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call to break them up so they no longer pose a systemic risk to the financial system and economy. According to a report in Reuters, the banksters are now telling officials in the Democratic Party that they will withhold campaign contributions if the party does not distance itself from progressive positions on financial reform. The banksters did however say that they had no problem with Hillary Clinton and were planning on donating to her campaign.

Yahoo! News Canada, Youth not voting because majority lean far left politically, says study, Dene Moore, March 27, 2015. Estimates vary, but as few as one in three young voters bothers to go down to the polling station on election day. The abysmal turnout among Millennials in the last two federal elections has been singled out to Elections Canada as one of the main culprits in the overall demise in voting numbers. But the problem is not that young voters are any less civically engaged or politically aware than their older compatriots. Veronica Campbell, spokeswoman for the group Youth Vote Canada, says the survey results are not surprising. “Youth don’t feel like politicians speak to the issues they care about, that’s partly why we can sometimes feel like it’s ‘us’ versus ‘them,’” she tells Yahoo Canada News.