A Freedom of Information request to the FBI which did not mention Seth Rich, but asked for all email correspondence between FBI Head of Counterterrorism Peter Strzok, who headed the investigation into the DNC leaks and Wikileaks, and FBI attorney Lisa Page, has revealed two pages of emails which do not merely mention Seth Rich but have “Seth Rich” as their heading.
A persistent American lawyer has uncovered the undeniable fact that the FBI has been continuously lying, including giving false testimony in court, in response to Freedom of Information requests for its records on Seth Rich. The FBI has previously given affidavits that it has no records regarding Seth Rich.
A Freedom of Information request to the FBI which did not mention Seth Rich, but asked for all email correspondence between FBI Head of Counterterrorism Peter Strzok, who headed the investigation into the DNC leaks and Wikileaks, and FBI attorney Lisa Page, has revealed two pages of emails which do not merely mention Seth Rich but have “Seth Rich” as their heading. The emails were provided in, to say the least, heavily redacted form.
Before I analyse these particular emails, I should make plain that they are not the major point. The major point is that the FBI claimed it had no records mentioning Seth Rich, and these have come to light in response to a different FOIA request that was not about him. What other falsely denied documents does the FBI hold about Rich, that were not fortuitously picked up by a search for correspondence between two named individuals?
To look at the documents themselves, they have to be read from the bottom up, and they consist of a series of emails between members of the Washington Field Office of the FBI (WF in the telegrams) into which Strzok was copied in, and which he ultimately forwarded on to the lawyer Lisa Page.
The opening email, at the bottom, dated 10 August 2016 at 10.32am, precisely just one month after the murder of Seth Rich, is from the media handling department of the Washington Field Office. It references Wikileaks’ offer of a reward for information on the murder of Seth Rich, and that Assange seemed to imply Rich was the source of the DNC leaks. The media handlers are asking the operations side of the FBI field office for any information on the case. The unredacted part of the reply fits with the official narrative. The redacted individual officer is “not aware of any specific involvement” by the FBI in the Seth Rich case. But his next sentence is completely redacted. Why?
It appears that “adding” references a new person added in to the list. This appears to have not worked, and probably the same person (precisely same length of deleted name) then tries again, with “adding … for real” and blames the technology – “stupid Samsung”. The interesting point here is that the person added appears not to be in the FBI – a new redacted addressee does indeed appear, and unlike all the others does not have an FBI suffix after their deleted email address. So who are they?
(This section on “adding” was updated after commenters offered a better explanation than my original one. See first comments below).
The fourth email, at 1pm on Wednesday August 10, 2016, is much the most interesting. It is ostensibly also from the Washington Field Office, but it is from somebody using a different classified email system with a very different time and date format than the others. It is apparently from somebody more senior, as the reply to it is “will do”. And every single word of this instruction has been blanked. The final email, saying that “I squashed this with …..”, is from a new person again, with the shortest name. That phrase may only have meant I denied this to a journalist, or it may have been reporting an operational command given.
As the final act in this drama, Strzok then sent the whole thread on to the lawyer, which is why we now have it. Why?
It is perfectly possible to fill in the blanks with a conversation that completely fits the official narrative. The deletions could say this was a waste of time and the FBI was not looking at the Rich case. But in that case, the FBI would have been delighted to publish it unredacted. (The small numbers in the right hand margins supposedly detail the exception to the FOIA under which deletion was made. In almost every case they are one or other category of invasion of privacy).
EXCLUSIVE: Ex-British ambassador who Is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails – they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for ‘disgusted’ Democratic insiders
And if it just all said “Assange is talking nonsense. Seth Rich is nothing to do with the FBI” then why would that have to be sent on by Strzok to the FBI lawyer?
It is of course fortunate that Strzok did forward this one email thread on to the lawyer, because that is the only reason we have seen it, as a result of an FOI(A) request for the correspondence between those two.
Finally, and perhaps this is the most important point, the FBI was at this time supposed to be in the early stages of an investigation into how the DNC emails were leaked to Wikileaks. The FBI here believed Wikileaks to be indicating the material had been leaked by Seth Rich who had then been murdered. Surely in any legitimate investigation, the investigators would have been absolutely compelled to check out the truth of this possibility, rather than treat it as a media issue?
We are asked to believe that not one of these emails says “well if the publisher of the emails says Seth Rich was the source, we had better check that out, especially as he was murdered with no sign of a suspect”. If the FBI really did not look at that, why on earth not? If the FBI genuinely, as they claim, did not even look at the murder of Seth Rich, that would surely be the most damning fact of all and reveal their “investigation” was entirely agenda driven from the start.
In June 2016 a vast cache of the DNC emails were leaked to Wikileaks. On 10 July 2016 an employee from the location of the leak was murdered without obvious motive, in an alleged street robbery in which nothing at all was stolen. Not to investigate the possibility of a link between the two incidents would be grossly negligent. It is worth adding that, contrary to a propaganda barrage, Bloomingdale where Rich was murdered is a very pleasant area of Washington DC and by no means a murder hotspot. It is also worth noting that not only is there no suspect in Seth Rich’s murder, there has never been any semblance of a serious effort to find the killer. Washington police appear perfectly happy simply to write this case off.
I anticipate two responses to this article in terms of irrelevant and illogical whataboutery:
Firstly, it is very often the case that family members are extremely resistant to the notion that the murder of a relative may have wider political implications. This is perfectly natural. The appalling grief of losing a loved one to murder is extraordinary; to reject the cognitive dissonance of having your political worldview shattered at the same time is very natural. In the case of David Kelly, of Seth Rich, and of Wille Macrae, we see families reacting with emotional hostility to the notion that the death raises wider questions. Occasionally the motive may be still more mixed, with the prior relationship between the family and the deceased subject to other strains (I am not referencing the Rich case here).
You do occasionally get particularly stout hearted family who take the opposite tack and are prepared to take on the authorities in the search for justice, of which Commander Robert Green, son of Hilda Murrell, is a worthy example.
(As an interesting aside, I just checked his name in the Wikipedia article on Hilda, which I discovered describes Tam Dalyell “hounding” Margaret Thatcher over the Belgrano and the fact that ship was steaming away from the Falklands when destroyed with massive loss of life as a “second conspiracy theory”, the first of course being the murder of Hilda Murrell. Wikipedia really has become a cesspool.)
We have powerful cultural taboos that reinforce the notion that if the family do not want the question of the death of their loved one disturbed, nobody else should bring it up. Seth Rich’s parents, David Kelly’s wife, Willie Macrae’s brother have all been deployed by the media and the powers behind them to this effect, among many other examples. This is an emotionally powerful but logically weak method of restricting enquiry.
Secondly, I do not know and I deliberately have not inquired what are the views on other subjects of either Mr Ty Clevenger, who brought his evidence and blog to my attention, or Judicial Watch, who made the FOIA request that revealed these documents. I am interested in the evidence presented both that the FBI lied, and in the documents themselves. Those who obtained the documents may, for all I know, be dedicated otter baiters or believe in stealing ice cream from children. I am referencing the evidence they have obtained in this particular case, not endorsing – or condemning – anything else in their lives or work. I really have had enough of illogical detraction by association as a way of avoiding logical argument by an absurd extension of ad hominem argument to third parties.
- Mark Zuckerberg hit out at ‘excessive censorship’ during a tech summit appearance on Friday, vowing that Facebook would stand up for free speech
- The social media CEO said his company had previously tried to avoid being ‘too offensive’ but would no longer curtail to those against freedom of expression
- Zuckerberg predicted the move would undoubtedly ‘p**s off a lot of people’ but would lead to the creation of a more authentic product
- The company has been under fire for failing to ban or fact-check political ads on its pages
- Facebook stocks dropped by 7.2 per cent Wednesday and the firm reported its slowest-ever revenue growth for the fourth quarter
Mark Zuckerberg has declared that Facebook is ‘going to stand up for free expression’ in spite of the fact it will ‘piss off a lot of people’.
The controversial CEO, 35, made the claim during a fiery appearance at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Utah on Friday.
Zuckerberg told the audience that Facebook had previously tried to resist moves that would be branded as ‘too offensive’ – but says he now believes he is being asked to partake in ‘excessive censorship’.
‘Increasingly we’re getting called to censor a lot of different kinds of content that makes me really uncomfortable,’ he claimed.
‘We’re going to take down the content that’s really harmful, but the line needs to be held at some point’.
The Facebook founder went on to bemoan: ‘It kind of feels like the list of things that you’re not allowed to say socially keeps on growing, and I’m not really okay with that’.
He then declared: ‘This is the new approach [free expression], and I think it’s going to p**s off a lot of people. But frankly the old approach was p**sing off a lot of people too, so let’s try something different’.
Zuckerberg has been in the hot seat in recent months for refusing to ban political ads from Facebook – despite the fact fellow social media giant Twitter declared that they would stop sharing political advertisements.
The tech guru has also stated that Facebook will not fact-check political ads, resulting in a highly publicized showdown on Capitol Hill with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s defiant appearance at the Utah tech summit came after Facebook disappointed Wall Street’s expectations of fourth quarter growth earlier this week.
The results, revealed on Wednesday, raised concerns that Facebook’s days of astronomical growth were firmly in the rearview mirror, and shares of the world’s biggest social network dropped 7.2 per cent in extended trading.
Facebook reported its slowest-ever revenue growth for the fourth quarter, at 25 per cent.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, the company pledged better protections for Facebook users after the social media giant agreed to pay a $550 million settlement Wednesday over a lawsuit that claimed it illegally collected millions of users’ biometric data without their consent.
Facebook did not admit wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, which requires court approval.
Zuckerberg has promised Facebook users privacy upgrades in light of the outcome of the suit, as the founder seeks to address the ongoing privacy concerns that have dogged the social media company
Ex-Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti is heard on a wiretapped phone call warning Nike he would ‘blow the lid’ on a college basketball scandal as he allegedly attempted to exhort millions from the company.
Avenatti is currently at trial in New York accused of attempting to exhort up to $25 million from the sportswear brand in return for his silence on claims they were making illegal payments to college basketball stars.
Nike – California – Lawyer – Star – Stormy
Nike claims the California lawyer, famous for representing ex-porn star Stormy Daniels in her case against President Donald Trump, threatened to create a ‘media scandal’ causing billions of dollars worth of damage to stock if the brand didn’t pay up.
The company denies any wrongdoing.
Avenatti – March – Millions – Dollars – Nike
Avenatti, 48, was arrested in March 2019 and charged with trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike and with defrauding the company. He faces two charges of extortion and one of wire fraud.
Evidence includes secret recordings of Avenatti allegedly making threats, which prosecutors said were made after Nike brought his activity to their attention.
Lawyer – Representation – Star – Stormy – Daniels
The lawyer maintains he is innocent and says he’s been unfairly targeted because of his former representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump.
On Friday, a 20-minute phone call was played at the trial in Manhattan Federal Court in which Avenatti can be heard telling Nike’s attorney Scott Wilson he is ‘not f–king around’.
March – Nike – Phone – Call – Avenatti
Recorded on March 20, 2019, Nike claims the wiretapped phone call between Avenatti, celeb attorney Mark Geragos, and Wilson is proof of Avenatti’s attempts to exhort the company.
Avenatti and Gergaros were representing Gary Franklin, a college basketball coach-turned-whistle-blower who claimed sneaker and sportswear brands were illegally funneling money to the families of NBA prospects.
Prosecutors – Avenatti – Press – Conference – Information
Prosecutors said Avenatti threatened to hold a press conference, based on information from his…
Burger King is defending itself against a class-action lawsuit over its Impossible Whopper, arguing that it never advertised the popular meatless item as vegan or promised to cook them any particular way.
The burger chain is currently in a legal battle against a vegan customer who sued the company in November for cooking the plant-based patties on the same grills as meat burgers.
In a court filing on Thursday, Burger King said the lawsuit should be thrown out because plaintiff Phillip Williams should have asked how Impossible Whoopers were cooked before ordering, Reuters reports.
In a court filing on Thursday, Burger King said the lawsuit should be thrown out because plaintiff Phillip Williams should have asked how Impossible Whoopers were cooked before ordering. (Photo: iStock)
Williams said his Impossible Whopper was “coated in meat by-products” after purchasing the burger at an Atlanta drive-thru. He and vegans all over the country became outraged at Burger King’s cooking practices.
Williams “assumed that an Impossible Whopper would satisfy his own particularly strict form of veganism … solely because he asked a Burger King restaurant employee to ‘hold the mayo,’” Burger King said. “This claim has no basis.”
What’s more, the company said Williams would have known how the Impossible Whopper was prepared had he done the “smallest amount of investigation” on its website or by reading media reports.
Williams claims in the lawsuit that Burger King’s menu makes no “disclosures on its menu” that the patty-cooking method would “result in meat by-products on the burger.” (Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
In his lawsuit, Williams claims in the lawsuit that Burger King’s menu makes no “disclosures on its menu” that the patty-cooking method would “result in meat by-products on the burger.”
However, the fast-food chain did previously disclose that the (not entirely) vegan burger would be made in an “open kitchen environment” and provided an asterisk on the product’s official launch page warning consumers of its cooking methods.
Burger King also confirmed that vegan or vegetarian guests can request their patties be prepared in an oven instead of in the shared broiler.
In his lawsuit, Williams is seeking damages and requesting Burger King cook the Impossible Whopper on an entirely different grill.
The Impossible Whopper rolled out to restaurants across the country back in August.
Catholic churches torn down or denuded of their crosses and statues. Images of the Madonna and Child replaced with pictures of “People’s Leader” Xi Jinping. Signs posted outside evangelical churches forbidding anyone under the age of 18 from entering. The Ten Commandments painted over with quotes from Xi.
These are just some of the ways that the Chinese Communist Party is persecuting Christians in China.
But it’s not just Christians. In China’s Far West, over a million Muslims languish in concentration camps — Beijing cutely calls them “vocational training centers” — while mosques are being torn down, religious signs removed and ancient cemeteries leveled.
Elsewhere in China, Buddhist temples are being turned into shrines celebrating Xi Jinping, China’s President For Life. His picture adorns the walls, his recorded voice booms out of the loudspeakers, and it is his “Thought” — not Buddha’s — that the monks are now required to meditate upon.
Not even the Taoists, China’s ancient folk religion, have escaped this new Cultural Revolution. Temples that have stood for over 1,000 years have been closed and ancient statues smashed, all on the orders of “Religious Affairs” officials.
Perhaps some of those who are concerned about protecting cultural sites in Iran could spare a thought for the daily demolition derby now going on in China.
A demolition derby that is about to get worse, a lot worse.
On Feb. 1, 2020, new restrictions on all forms of religious activity came into force.
The “Control Measures for Religious Groups,” as the 41 new rules are called, deal with everything from the holding of rites and rituals, to the selection of leaders and annual meetings, to the hiring of staff and the handling of funds. All of these must be reported — in advance, no less — to the comrades at the “Religious Affairs” office for their approval.
In other words, without the permission of the authorities, you can’t organize a Bible study. And if you do get permission, you’d better hold it in a Party-approved religious venue, at a Party-approved time, with a Party-approved leader and using the new Party-approved Bible, which contains quotations from Confucius and, of course, Xi Jinping.
No Communist directive would be complete without a Catch-22 and the “Control Measures” contain a doozy: “Religious groups must also report to the appropriate government authorities any and all other matters that should be reported.”
Translation: We can shut you down at any time for any reason.
The “Control Measures” are part of Xi Jinping’s New Cultural Revolution, one goal of which is to stamp out all religious groups that the Communist Party cannot co-opt and control. “A religious group cannot carry out any activities,” warns the new rules, “without registration with the Civil Affairs office and the approval of the Religious Affairs office of the people’s government.”
Some religious groups will never be allowed to register, no matter how innocent their activities. The Early Rain Covenant Church and the Falun Gong have already been declared to be “heretical cults” and their followers will continue to suffer arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, torture. The Early Rain pastor, for example, has just been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Members of other groups are being forced to join existing Party-controlled organizations. In the case of the bishops, priests and laity of the underground Catholic Church, for instance, this is the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, whose leaders are handpicked Party followers.
But, like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Xi’s copycat version has an even more ambitious goal. It is to extinguish faith in God altogether, replacing it with faith in the Chinese Communist Party and the Party’s own “small-g” god of the moment, who is Xi Jinping himself.
And it perversely intends to enlist China’s churches, mosques, shrines and temples into this effort.
The new rules order all “religious groups” to “propagandize the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, along with national laws and regulations, to all of their religious staff and followers” and to “educate and guide all religious staff and followers to embrace the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, to embrace the socialist system, to uphold the path of ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ . . . and to maintain the overall policy of sinicization of religion.”
If all this sounds like the Party wants to use religious groups and leaders to promote the official ideology and strengthen its own hold on power, that’s because it does. Any group that refuses to be subverted by the Party in this way will be declared heretical, and their churches or temples will be shuttered or torn down. Pastors or priests who refuse to serve the Party in this way — as junior political commissars, as it were — will be sent home or, if they resist, to prison.
As far as the “overall policy of sinicization of religion” is concerned, we know exactly what this portends. It is a policy of replacing the worship of God with the worship of the Communist Party leadership. Hitler and the Nazis attempted something similar in the 1930s with their Nazification program, which was an effort to turn the Catholic and Protestant churches of Germany into ardent supporters of National Socialism and the Nazi leadership.
That is exactly what the Chinese Communist Party is trying to do today in China to every Christian church, Islamic mosque, Taoist shrine and Buddhist temple in China.
The end goal is to one day purge them from the Chinese cultural landscape altogether so that the Communist Party and its now deified leader, Xi Jinping, can reign supreme.
In the summer of 2017, a social-media movement was encouraging Iranian women to tear off their mandatory hijabs and share their moments of “stealthy freedom” online.
Girls were routinely rejecting the rules of “good hijab” by wearing their veils so loosely that strands of hair could escape. Women posted photos of themselves hiking or driving with their locks flowing free, using the hashtag #whitewednesday to show their contempt for Iran’s strict modesty laws.
“The veil was an ideological pillar of the revolution” that overthrew Iran’s shah in 1979, writes Kim Ghattas in “Black Wave” (Henry Holt), a history of that year’s twin regional crises — the Iranian Revolution and the siege of Mecca in Saudi Arabia — and the resulting tsunami of religious zealotry that flooded every corner of the Middle East.
For most of four decades, she writes, Iran’s required head covering has shrouded the entire nation, enforcing “a semblance of homogenous unity” aimed at keeping all its people, women and men alike, in line.
But that homogeneity is merely a façade, Ghattas writes.
In truth, Iranians have led double lives ever since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established his theocracy in 1979.
Publicly, nearly all of Iran’s 82 million citizens abide by strict rules banning music, alcohol and mixed-gender socializing. Women and girls are to keep their hair hidden at all times and are schooled to do so at home as well as in public.
But Iranians routinely break all those decrees in private.
“Life retreated indoors,” Ghattas explains. “There were still private parties where women and men danced together, everyone drank, and music played.”
This divide between the public and private has allowed Iranians to nurse a stubborn rebellious streak that has repeatedly burst free. Frustrations have often boiled over when the regime pushes beyond its borders in pursuit of a “Shia crescent” — an Iran-controlled empire stretching from its home territory, west through Iraq and Syria, all the way to Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea.
Ghattas’ account of Iran’s split personality casts fresh light on the fierce protests that broke out repeatedly in 2019 — and on the continuing demonstrations in the aftermath of the United States’ targeted killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last month.
It was Soleimani who in 2017 tried to shame Iran’s bareheaded women back under their scarves. As commander of the Quds Force, he was in charge of the Iranian troops who fought for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The August 2017 capture and gruesome beheading of Iranian soldier Mohsen Hojaji by members of ISIS became a propaganda weapon in Soleimani’s hands.
At Hojaji’s public funeral, Soleimani ushered out the soldier’s widow, who told the country that her husband had lost his head so that dutiful Iranian women could cover theirs.
“I’m asking people, for the sake of a wife of a martyr, a mother of a martyr, a sister of a martyr, to keep their hijabs,” Zahra Abbasi urged the crowd of mourners.
It echoed a tactic that Khomeini himself deployed in 1979, in his revolution’s earliest months, when he first faced pushback against his new theocracy.
Four days after Khomeini returned to Iran from years of exile, he declared any opposition to be blasphemy.
“I will decide the government, a government for the people,” he intoned. “Revolt against God’s government is revolt against God.”
Music, banned from radio and television, was “no different from opium,” the ayatollah decided. When he outlawed alcohol, troops from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized more than a million dollars’ worth of imported wine and beer from Tehran’s Intercontinental Hotel and poured it into the gutter. It was a methodical, highly organized purging of all Western influence, a return to the medieval roots of Islam.
The campaign met with little public resistance — until Khomeini brought the hammer down on Iran’s women.
On March 6, 1979, he issued a new rule: “naked women” — that is, women who did not hide their hair beneath a veil — were banned from government offices. The rule did not make the hijab mandatory for all, but the nation’s women knew that eventually it would. They had won the right to dress as they wished during the previous rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and they had no intention of losing it.
“In the dawn of freedom, there is an absence of freedom,” they shouted through six days of mass demonstrations that drew crowds of up to 100,000 — some veiled, some bareheaded.
“What Iranian women wanted was the choice: to veil or not to veil,” Ghattas writes.
In response, Khomeini’s state-run media launched a shame campaign. The protesters were cast as monarchists fighting not for their personal freedom, but for the return of Pahlavi.
“The movement was racked with doubt,” Ghattas writes — were they really being used by the shah’s secret supporters to undermine the revolution? “The protests petered out.”
Now, forty years after the revolution, a new generation of Iranians is seizing the old tradition of anti-government protest. By 2017, “many Iranians were tiring of the attention to causes that were not their own,” Ghattas writes. “Their pockets were still empty. But the regime was still spending blood and money in Iraq and Syria.”
Those conditions only worsened in 2019, as US sanctions hammered Iran’s economy, forcing sharp price increases for gas and other essentials. Internet shutdowns were not enough to thwart the nationwide demonstrations. The response from Soleimani’s troops was brutal: At least 1,500 Iranians died.
But, in the face of their violence, the pace of anti-regime protests only quickened. Observers have logged more than 4,000 separate demonstrations in the last two years.
And Iranian women’s continuous acts of defiance against the veil have been the heat beneath that bubbling pot.
“Every day we see new videos of women challenging the morality police,” refusing orders to cover their heads as they walk on the street or ride public transportation — even though hundreds have been arrested and imprisoned for breaking the modesty law. Ghattas said.
The veil protests “are the most difficult thing for the regime to contend with, because they are being done as isolated occurrences.”
In last month’s demonstrations against Iran’s shoot-down of Ukraine Airlines Flight 752, dozens of bareheaded female students could be seen mingling with peers under headscarves.
“The protests against the veil have become interconnected with protests against government corruption, mismanagement, and now the downing of the Ukrainian plane,” Ghattas said. “It’s a war of attrition and it really has the authorities scared.”
Ghattas is reluctant to predict what may happen next as Iran’s regime clings to power. “But I think something is coming undone throughout the Middle East, and it has to do with the legacy of 1979,” she said. “The younger generation does not want to be held hostage to that year anymore.”
FOLLOW >>> @magababe <<<