Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 07, 2018

Weekly Review And Open Thread 2018-01

We covered the protests in Iran and the foreign attempts to hijack them for their purpose.

Dec 29 - Iran - Regime Change Agents Hijack Economic Protests

Dec 31 - Iran - Early U.S. Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan

Jan 2 - Iran - Few Protests - Some Riots - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase

Jan 4 - Iran - Europe Rejects U.S. Drive To War

Protests against the fallout of neoliberal policies by the Rouhani government are surely justified. Even Supreme Leader Khamenei supports them. But in late December people chanting "regime change" slogans started to take part. They were obviously pushed from abroad by the MEK, the monarchist and other CIA front groups. The situation changed. Directed through Telegram channels, groups of young rioters tried to take over police stations and to gain access to weapons. The Iranian people saw the dangers therein and did not support such behavior. The original protesters disappeared, their important voice was no longer heard. But for lack of local backing the riots soon died down.

The riots exposed the anti-Iran propagandists and imperial dreamers who believe that there is some significant internal movement in Iran against the Islamic Republic. But a few ten-thousand total protesters are absolutely insignificant when they have no backing from the masses. Still, the U.S. tried to use the riots to expand sanctions against Iran. It was slapped down when it brought the issue up at the UN Security Council.

Jan 1 - NYT Writes Epic Cover For Comey's FBI - Its Sole Source: "Officials Said"

The full Clinton conspiracy against Trump, which was supported by the intelligence services,  has not yet been exposed. But bit by bit more details are coming out. The main stream media are heavily invested in the anti-Trump/anti-Russia narrative and therefore continue to throw smoke bombs.

Jan 6 - Trump Offloads Foreign Policy Problems - Lets EU Grow A Spine

Results of Trump's foreign policy seem to be consistent with his generally isolationist views. Is he playing more clever than it seems?


  • An update on the military situation in Syria. The Syrian army continues to make significant progress despite the efforts by the U.S., Israel and Turkey to each strengthen their particular variant of Jihadist "rebels".
  • The simmering water war between Egypt and Ethiopia. The issue is existential for both sides. They and their respective allies are currently positioning their troops. There is a high chance that the conflict will suddenly explode.

Please use the comments as open thread ...

Posted by b on January 7, 2018 at 15:54 UTC | Permalink

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Equates to 800mm per thousand years. Be interesting to see a more recent record.
Some of the pacific islands, high tides starting wash through them apparently. A few firsts for ships sailing around the top end in recent years. Russia opening up northern sea route. Europe to Asia/ Asia to Europe around the top, much shorter than Suez.
Russia putting big emphasis on protecting borders and resources in the arctic circle. Putin doesn't seem to get carried along or overawed with western propaganda

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2018 5:58 utc | 101

@ all

Originally posted here on yandex browser but the post/preview buttons stopped lighting up. went to firefox and after a few months, same happened. Went to opera, was good for a few months and now same. Only browser I can use to post here or SST now is google chrome.

Anybody know what is going on?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2018 6:09 utc | 102

@102 Peter

Russia is also constructing three, nuclear-class icebreaking vessels in anticipation of continued and troubling ice growth in the arctic.

They are putting an awful lot of time and money into preparing for something that, according to western climate prophecy, isn't going to be there at any moment.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jan 9 2018 6:10 utc | 103

I'm a bit open on the climate change - causes and so forth - though huge amount of dead trees and bugs and stuff have gone into the atmosphere in the last few hundred years.
An experiment I have to try is put carbon dioxide in one container, air in the other and put them in the sun, then measure the temperature. Watched a youtube Video on the experiment at one time. Since I was at school, long before "climate change" I learn't that the gas mix of our atmosphere regulates the temperature.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9 2018 6:49 utc | 104

Today's headline in the Guardian. Means movement?

70,000 Syrians flee as regime forces advance on last rebel-held province

Nice photo of White Helmets in action, who forgot to help out the suffering civilian Syrians in Raqqa.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 9 2018 14:19 utc | 105

Anybody know what is going on?
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9, 2018 1:09:39 AM | 103

Probly not...
However, I often spend too much time in the comment box, resulting in a "Sorry your time has expired" (or similar) message and the need to refresh the current page before I can post my comment.

Anyhow ... when I had copied my draft and deleted it, before refreshing, the Post/Preview boxes didn't light up when I pasted the draft into the (refreshed) comment box.
***If there wasn't a space after the last character of the copied draft.***
The solution was to put the cursor anywhere in the text, then add and delete a space, or just hit a left/right cursor button.
I know it sounds a bit too easy/obvious but I use a browser which has stopped working for you.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 9 2018 16:10 utc | 106

You, first-worlders, must decide if Trump is a political genious or if b's theory about a military junta de facto governing is correct. Both cannot be true at the same time. VT at 28.

Trump is no genius, but he is just as smart as Bush Jr., Obama, Killary who is particularly challenged. They have different semi-skills, life experience, edjication....Trump has more ‘street smarts’ and is more willing to engage (as from a biz/media background, therefore his motives are harder to read) Obama glomed the teleprompter successfully and liked to appear smooth and elegant while being a lackey to finance (pharma and banks, he would have made an excellent Secretary to the Dean), Bush Jr. played the role of ‘tail end of dynasty’ and followed orders, the script handed out. He could have run a pizza parlor and bowling hall as Laura would have done the accounts. The dimensional chess is played behind the scenes, not by the president. (..see also ab initio at 13)

Yet, the Prez. has considerable powers, sneaky EOs for ex: serious threats for another, and removing .. curbing them is bad for USA ‘democracy’ image, and dangerous to the whole structure ‘at home’ (DJT’s base amongst other matters.)

Imho there is no need to choose between DJT and a military junta as supreme in any way, as in a so-called ‘corrupt’ space: informal, and leaving much leeway for personal horrors — the jockeying, bargaining, threats (etc.) follow no rule book. The happenings are obscured, covered up, smoochied over with weird explanations, excuses, etc. because if ppl knew they would be appalled and storm the Bastille so to speak.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 9 2018 16:40 utc | 107

Trump has more ‘street smarts’ and is more willing to engage (as from a biz/media background, therefore his motives are harder to read)
Posted by: Noirette | Jan 9, 2018 11:40:18 AM | 108

You can't conclude a successful deal if you're slamming doors in ppl's faces and/or wasting time on petty ostracising, or retreating to sulk. Trump is an emotional person BUT he is NOT ruled by his emotions.
He is a genius, because a genius is merely a person who knows something of which most ppl are unaware - to oversimplify the definition.
He knows how to provoke other people's emotional responses and thereby manipulate them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 9 2018 17:08 utc | 108

34C3 - Uncovering British spies’ web of sockpuppet social media personas

Posted by: test | Jan 9 2018 20:41 utc | 110

Hoarsewhisperer 109

Thanks. Was aware of the refresh runthrough. Looks like the issue is something to do with my computer and wordpress. Never have an issue posting to sites other than wordpress.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 10 2018 0:05 utc | 111

Feinstein releases redacted Fusion GPS testimony

Fusion GPS was investigating William Browder.

14 A. It's difficult to give a yes or no answer
15 to that. I would have to say I think so, but when
16 you're a subcontractor to a law firm, you know,
17 you're sort of in a lane and, you know, my lane was
18 research, discovery, William Browder's business
19 practices, his activities in Russia, his history of
20 avoiding taxes.
8 And, you know, around the -- similarly, there
9 was a deposition of a customs agent by one of the
10 lawyers who -- you know, in this initial effort to
11 trace the origin of these allegations, where they
12 came from, how they could have ended up with the
13 Justice Department, the first thing we did was
14 interview the client, got their story, and
15 interviewed the agent who worked on the case for
16 the DOJ and that agent said he got all his
17 information from William Browder.
18 So at that point I was asked to help see if
19 we could get an interview with William Browder.
20 They wrote a letter to Browder and asked him to
21 answer questions and he refused. Then the lawyers
22 wanted to know, you know, whether he could be
23 subpoenaed. So a lot of what I did in 2014 was
24 help them figure out whether he could be subpoenaed
25 in the United States to give a deposition, and the
1 first thing that we did was we researched the
2 ownership and registration of his hedge fund, which
3 was registered in Delaware and filed documents with
4 the Securities and Exchange Commission.
5 So we subpoenaed his hedge fund. A lot of
6 the early work I did was just documenting that his
7 hedge fund had presence in the United States. So
8 we subpoenaed his hedge fund. He then changed the
9 hedge fund registration, took his name off, said it
10 was on there by accident, it was a mistake, and
11 said that he had no presence in the United States
12 and that, you know -- as you may know, he
13 surrendered his citizenship in 1998 and moved
14 outside the United States. That was around the
15 time he started making all the money in Russia. So
16 he's never had to pay U.S. taxes on his profits
17 from his time in Russia, which became important in
18 the case later.
19 In any case, he said he never came to the
20 United States, didn't own any property here, didn't
21 do any business here, and therefore he was not
22 required to participate in the U.S. court system
23 even though he admitted that he brought the case to
24 the U.S. Justice Department. So we found this to
25 be a frustrating and somewhat curious situation.
1 He was willing to, you know, hand stuff off to the
2 DOJ anonymously in the beginning and cause them to
3 launch a court case against somebody, but he wasn't
4 interesting in speaking under oath about, you know,
5 why he did that, his own activities in Russia.
6 So looking at the public record we determined
7 that he did come to the United States frequently,
8 and I discovered through public records that he
9 seemed to own a house in Aspen, Colorado, a very
10 expensive mansion, over $10 million, which he had
11 registered in the name of a shell company in a
12 clear attempt to disguise the ownership of the
13 property. We were able to ascertain that he does
14 use that property because he registered cars to
15 that property with the Colorado DMV in the name of
16 William Browder.
17 So we began looking for public information
18 about when he might be in Aspen, Colorado, and I
19 found a listing on the Aspen Institute Website
20 about an appearance he was going to make there in
21 the summer of 2014. So we -- I served him a
22 subpoena in the parking lot of the Aspen Institute
23 in the summer of 2014 using two people -- two
24 subcontractors. Actually, those other
25 subcontractors were -- their names escape me, but I
1 forgot about those. We can get you that. This is
2 all in the Pacer court record, the public court
3 record.
4 In any event, the three of us served -- there
5 was another subcontractor working for the law firm
6 whose name I also forget. I did not retain him,
7 but I was asked to work with him on this. He is a
8 private investigator and we can get you his name.
9 In any event, we served him the subpoena and he ran
10 away. He dropped it on the ground and he ran away.
11 He jumped in his car and went back to his mansion.
12 At that point he tried to suppress -- tried
13 to quash the subpoena on the grounds it hadn't been
14 properly served. We didn't get a video, but there
15 are sworn affidavits from my servers in the court
16 record about the service. But he objected to it on
17 a number of grounds. A, he continued to insist he
18 had nothing to do with the United States and didn't
19 come here very often even, though we caught him
20 here, clearly has cars in Colorado. He also said
21 that you can't serve a subpoena for a case in
22 New York in the state of Colorado, it's outside the
23 primary jurisdiction. He also began to raise
24 questions about whether Baker Hostetler had a
25 conflict of interest because of some previous work
1 he did with one of the Baker lawyers.
2 This led to a long, drawn-out discovery
3 battle that I was in the center of because I served
4 the subpoenas and I helped find the information for
5 the first set of subpoenas that lasted, you know,
6 through 2014. This was, you know, a lot of what I
7 did. This was -- the main focus was on trying to
8 get William Browder to testify under oath about his
9 role in this case and his activities in Russia.
10 All of this -- his determined effort to avoid
11 testifying under oath, including running away from
12 subpoenas and changing -- frequently changing
13 lawyers and making lurid allegations against us,
14 including that, you know, he thought we were KGB
15 assassins in the parking lot of Aspen, Colorado
16 when we served the subpoena, all raised questions
17 in my mind about why he was so determined to not
18 have to answer questions under oath about things
19 that happened in Russia.
20 I'll add that, you know, I've done a lot of
21 Russia reporting over the years. I originally met
22 William Browder back when I was a journalist at the
23 Wall Street Journal when I was doing stories about
24 corruption in Russia. I think the first time I met
25 him he lectured me about -- I was working on a
1 story about Vladimir Putin corruption and he
2 lectured me about how have Vladimir Putin was not
3 corrupt and how he was the best thing that ever
4 happened to Russia. There are numerous documents
5 that he published himself, interviews he gave
6 singing the praises of Vladimir Putin. At that
7 time I was already investigating corruption in
8 Putin's Russia.
9 So this made me more curious about the
10 history of his activities in Russia and what that
11 might tell me about corruption in Russia, and as
12 part of the case we became curious about whether
13 there was something that he was hiding about his
14 activities in Russia. So through this period while
15 we were attempting to get him under oath we were
16 also investigating his business practices in Russia
17 and that research -- and I should add when I say
18 "we," I mean the lawyers were doing a lot of this
19 work and it wasn't -- I can't take responsibility
20 or pride of place on having done all this work. We
21 were doing it all together. It was a -- you know,
22 there were a number of lawyers involved, other
23 people.
24 In the course of doing this research into
25 what he might not want to be asked about from his
1 history in Russia we began to learn about the
2 history of his tax avoidance in Russia and we began
3 to deconstruct the way that his hedge fund
4 structured its investments in Russia and, you know,
5 we gradually accumulated through public records,
6 not all from Russia, that he set up dozens of shell
7 companies in Cyprus and other tax havens around the
8 world to funnel money into Russia and to hold
9 Russian securities.
10 He also set up shell companies inside of
11 Russia in order to avoid paying taxes in Russia and
12 he set up shell companies in a remote republic
13 called Kalmykia, K-A-L-M-Y-K-I-A, which is next to
14 Mongolia. It's the only Buddhist republic in
15 Russia and there's nothing much there, but if you
16 put your companies there you can lower your taxes.
17 They were putting their companies in Kalmykia that
18 were holding investments from western investors and
19 they were staffing these companies -- they were
20 using Afghan war veterans because there's a tax
21 preference for Afghan war veterans, and what we
22 learned is that they got in trouble for this
23 eventually because one of Putin's primary rules for
24 business was you can do a lot of things, but you've
25 got to pay your taxes.
1 In fact, William Browder famously said in
2 2005 at Davos everybody knows under Putin you have
3 to pay your taxes, which is ironic because at the
4 time he was being investigated for not paying
5 taxes. Ultimately they were caught, some of these
6 companies were prosecuted, and he was forced to
7 make an enormous tax payment to the government of
8 Russia in 2006.
9 I will add that Sergei Magnitsky was working
10 for him at this time and all of this happened prior
11 to the events that you are interested in involving
12 the Russian treasury fraud and his jailing. This
13 precedes all that.
14 But returning to the detailed discussion of
15 my work, we investigated William Browder's business
16 practices in Russia, we began to understand maybe
17 what it was he didn't want to talk about, and as we
18 looked at that we then began to look at his
19 decision to surrender his American citizenship in
20 1998. At that point somewhere in there the Panama
21 papers came out and we discovered that he had
22 incorporated shell companies offshore in the mid
23 1990s, in 1995 I believe it was in the British
24 Virgin Islands, and that at some point his hedge
25 fund's shares had been transferred to this offshore
1 company.
2 This offshore company was managed -- several
3 of his offshore companies were managed by the
4 Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca,
5 M-O-S-S-A-C-K, Fonseca, F-O-N-S-E-C-A, which is
6 known now for setting up offshore companies for
7 drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it. They
8 were servicing every bad guy around. And I'm
9 familiar with them from other money laundering and
10 corruption and tax evasion investigations that I've
11 done.
12 I'll note parenthetically that William
13 Browder talks a lot about the Panama papers and the
14 Russians who are in the Panama papers without ever
15 mentioning that he's in the Panama papers. This
16 is, again, a public fact that you can check
17 on-line.
18 So that's an overview of the sort of work I
19 was doing on this case. In the course of that I
20 also began reaching back, I read his book Red
21 Notice to understand his story and the story of his
22 activities in Russia. I'll add also that I was
23 extremely sympathetic for what happened to Sergei
24 Magnitsky and I told him that myself and I tried to
25 help him. It was only later from this other case
1 that I began to be curious and skeptical about
2 William Browder's activities and history in Russia.
3 MR. FOSTER: Can I ask you a follow-up
4 question. I appreciate the narrative answer, but
5 at the very beginning of the narrative you talked
6 about beginning this journey by interviewing --
7 conducting an interview of the case agent who said
8 he'd gotten all of his information -- the case
9 agent or the attorney, the primary person at the
10 DOJ, you said they got all their information from
11 Bill Browder. Can you tell us who that was and who
12 conducted the interview?
13 MR. LEVY: Mr. Simpson should definitely
14 answer that question. I just want to make sure for
15 the record that he hadn't finished his answer. He
16 can talk more extensively about the litigation
17 support that he provided for Baker --
18 MR. FOSTER: We're happy to get into that if
19 he wants to do that. We're just coming up at the
20 end of our hour.
21 MR. LEVY: No problem.
22 MR. FOSTER: and I wanted to get that
23 follow-up in before --
24 MR. LEVY: No problem. No problem at all.
1 A. I'll just finish with one last thing and
2 I'm happy to answer that question.
3 So in the course of this, you know -- I mean,
4 one of my interests or even obsessions over the
5 last decade has been corruption in Russia and
6 Russian kleptocracy and the police state that was
7 there. I was stationed in Europe from 2005 to 2007
8 or '8. So I was there when Putin was consolidating
9 power and all this wave of power was coming. So
10 it's been a subject that I've read very widely on
11 and I'm very interested in the history of Putin's
12 rise.
13 You know, in the course of all this I'll tell
14 you I became personally interested in where Bill
15 Browder came from, how he made so much money under
16 Vladimir Putin without getting involved in anything
17 illicit. So I read his book and I began doing
18 other research and I found filings at the SEC
19 linking him quite directly and his company, Salomon
20 Brothers at the time, to a company in Russia called
21 Peter Star, and I had, as it happens, vetted Peter
22 Star and I knew that Peter Star was, you know, at
23 the center of a corruption case that I covered as a
24 reporter at the Wall Street Journal. When I went
25 back into the history of Peter Star I realized that
1 Bill Browder did business with the mayor's office
2 in Saint Petersburg when Vladimir Putin was the
3 deputy mayor and was responsible for dealing with
4 western businessmen and corporations.
5 I then went and looked in Red Notice, this
6 was a large deal, it was the biggest deal ever for
7 Salomon at that time, they sold $98 million worth
8 of stock on NASDAQ. There's no mention of William
9 Browder's deal with Peter Star in Red Notice. I
10 can't tell you why, but I can tell you that Peter
11 Star later became the subject of a massive
12 corruption investigation, Pan-European, that I
13 exposed a lot of and that led to the resignation of
14 Putin's telecoms minister. So I assume he might
15 not have -- this is kind of a pattern with Browder,
16 which is he tends to omit things that aren't
17 helpful to him, and I think we've seen a good bit
18 of that lately in his allegations against me, which
19 I'm sure you're going to ask me about.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Jan 10 2018 2:33 utc | 112

Anybody know what is going on?
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 9, 2018 1:09:39 AM | 103

@112 peter au.. i think it probably has to do with your computer or something.. all is fine here for me with firefox...

US, Israel step up hybrid war in Syria

Posted by: james | Jan 10 2018 5:33 utc | 113

Can we now assume there will be an urgent renewed effort to discover MH370 as a cover story?

From 'zero' official satellite coverage of the 'remote' Indian ocean c. 2014 (except Diego Garcia / "Paradise Island" -- link) when MH370 'disappeared' with its cargo of Chinese experts (link) one would assume they suddenly know to the 'foot' where this little 'bird' landed.


Posted by: x | Jan 10 2018 5:34 utc | 114

james, yep, must be my computer. I made mention of some research I had done a few years ago, both here and at SST. Not long after that, I began having issues. That subject can no longer be found with any search term on duckduckgo. Lost my laptop over it and scared the crap out of the good wife. Why I got a little annoyed when a gremlin like milomilo pops its head up. Guess I'm getting a bit paranoid.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 10 2018 6:31 utc | 115

@116 -- paranoid or not, best to assume the precautionary principle.

I tend to note an increase in Windows 10 'updates/upgrades' which take considerable time and bandwidth following certain comments/themes. Totally subjective and basically just annoying. However, I consider it part of 21c democracy to pump these alternative narratives through the system.

Perhaps try the 'Yandex' search engine and/or 'Brave' browser. If your prepared to pay a little then maybe look at RegHunter/SpyHunter although I cannot vouch for their authenticity.

Posted by: x | Jan 10 2018 6:58 utc | 116

Thanks x. Yandex went down on me some time ago a for commenting on MoA and SST, then firefox, then opera. Have moved to a new browser, but if this one goes down will try brave.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 10 2018 9:19 utc | 117

Peter AU 1 | Jan 10, 2018 4:19:27 AM | 118

That's interesting; I've been using Yandex for more than 2 years (maybe 3) and never had a glitch.
Saturday, last, my computer got funcky and today (Wednesday) it wouldn't boot up; I had the computer do a search and repair; it re-installed my Windows 10 Pro. Almost 2 hours later everything is back to normal.
I synced Yandex and got back all my bookmarks as well.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jan 10 2018 9:51 utc | 118

Russia hysteria keeps on,
New report by Democrats blast Russia,

"The report recommends a major defense build-up, expansion of NATO, “preemptive sanctions” on new countries, and reinforcement of the war on terror apparatus to wage a new Cold War. Thanks to Russiagate, liberals will blindly support this neocon wish list."

Posted by: Anon | Jan 11 2018 10:29 utc | 119

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