Wednesday 31 January 2018

MUST-WATCH video from Sane Progressive

If you do nothing else WATCH THIS VIDEO!!

Debbie Lusignan, Sane Progressive is absolutely spot-on in her assessment.

Do NOT pin your hopes on any political candidate or individual for salvation.

Memo Incriminating Deep State to Be Released, How Will It Be Met?

Sane Progressive 

Consortium News Ray McGovern Story: 

Washington Post CIA Rag: 

Pied Piper Email

Extreme weather update - 01/29/2018

Climate & Extreme Weather News #91 (January 25th-29th 2018)

00:12 France: French floods update 
02:36 Mexico: Pichucalco flood 
04:54 Cyclone Cebile 
05:26 South Africa: Cape Town drought 
08:13 Global temperature extremes special report 
17:50 January global temp anomalies 
19:22 The stupidity of Donald Trump

Trump says #ReleaseTheMemo

Trump on hot mic says he will '100 percent' release Devin Nunes memo

31 January, 2018

President Trump told a Republican lawmaker he will “100 percent" release a classified intelligence memo written by GOP members on the House Intelligence Committee, as he left his first State of the Union address.

[Inaudible] release the memo,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., can be heard saying on the C-SPAN hot mic.

Trump responded: “Don’t worry, 100 percent.”

Duncan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

By invoking an obscure congressional rule Monday night, the GOP lawmakers on the panel were able to vote along party lines to release the GOP-gathered memo despite objections from the Democratic minority. Now, the decision is in President Trump’s hands, who now has a maximum of five days to explicitly object to the memo’s release.

Despite signals from the White House that they are for “full transparency” on the memo, the Justice Department and FBI still have time to lobby the president against its release.

Should Trump object to its release, the full House can override his decision and make the memo public. Trump can also release the memo on his own between now and the five-day deadline, which began Monday night after the committee's vote.

The four-page memo, spearheaded by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., reportedly details alleged surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and FBI, and also names Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and former FBI Director James Comey.

The memo reportedly alleges that senior Justice Department and FBI officials abused the process of obtaining a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the classified surveillance program, specifically that of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in early 2017.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday there are "no current plans" within the Trump administration to release a contentious memo that allegedly accuses the Justice Department and FBI officials of abusing power.

"Contrary to a published report, there are no current plans to release the House Intelligence Committee's memo," Sanders said in a statement. "The president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its content."

A Republican strategist named Michael Morrison erroneously reported Tuesday afternoon that Trump had "ordered the release of the memo after his ... speech."

Climate chaos in NZ

Fires and flooding as storm hits parched South Island
Parts of Westland are expected to be hit with up to 400mm of rain in 36 hours, as fires are being put out in parts of Otago and Southland.

31 January, 2018

Dunedin was forecast to have New Zealand's hottest temperatures today with 34°C, but wet weather is expected to hit shortly bringing heavy rain and potential flash flooding.

NIWA said earlier that although the storm Fehi was no longer a tropical cyclone, it would hit and engage with a separate cold front turning it into a "pretty beefy storm".

The heaviest rain is expected in Westland and Fiordland, with up to 400mm falling in Westland over the 36 hours from tonight.

It was expected to start hitting the South Island's western coastline about 4pm.

Civil Defence in Otago is preparing for the heavy rain forecast.

"Everything is so dry that we do know there is going to be a lot of runoff. Instead of soaking into the ground the rain will run straight off and people can expect surface flooding. This will affect drivers, but we'll know more this afternoon," Emergency Management Otago public information manager Michelle Poole said.

The region's district health board said surgery and outpatient clinics in Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport would continue dependent on clinicians and patients being able to attend.

MetService also warned of heavy rain in Otago, Southland and the Canterbury High Country. Most of the South Island - Buller, Nelson and Westland - would bear the worst of the winds, but the lower North Island would also be affected.

A severe weather warning is also in place for Nelson Tasman with heavy rain and northerly gales up to 130km/h expected tomorrow morning.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said much of the South Island, and the lower North Island will also be affected by strong winds, with Buller, Nelson and Westland bearing the worst of the winds.

The Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence agency also warned campers to move away from river mouths and camp sites near the sea.
A front moves over Nelson, pushing tropical heat ahead of it.A front moves over Nelson, pushing tropical heat ahead of it. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Group Controller Roger Ball said waves of 3m to 5m were predicted around the Nelson City area, plus king tides around midday Thursday and again at midnight tomorrow.

He said low lying areas including Rocks Road around the Nelson waterfront, Monaco, Rabbit Island, Ruby Bay, and Takaka to Tarakohe would be at particular risk of storm surge and erosion.

Campers in these areas should make plans to move, and drivers should avoid low lying coastal routes and watch for windborne debris.

Wanaka Mt Roy warning

Meanwhile Wanaka residents were warned about muddy run-off from the ground near last month's fire at Mt Roy.

Otago Regional Council said the fire that burned 200ha of the mountain had created a large de-stabilised area of ash debris and loose soil, which could wash down onto the properties below.

It said 40 to 50 houses below Mount Roy down to the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road could be affected, and they were being warned this afternoon.

Fires break out

A number of fires have broken out in Southland and Otago, as temperatures soar to 33°.

Fire crews and helicopters have been on standby and three Incident Management Centres have been set up in the region due to concerns about the hot temperatures.

Fire and Emergency said a hay baler fire near Lumsden was under control, and fire crews were dampening down hot spots after a fire near Riverton. A fire near the forestry blocks in the Catlins was also put out.

Crews were still at a fire in Tahakopa in Otago, near several forestry blocks.
Fire and Emergency said the fire was not threatening any buildings or forests at this stage.

There are four fire trucks and two helicopters at the blaze.

Incident controller Phil Marsh said with the tinder-dry conditions and incredibly hot weather, it did not take much to start a fire.

"We're urging the public to be vigilant. They must be fire-safe with the conditions being as extreme as they are," he said.

"If we have a major fire, it will stretch our reĐĆources."

He urged farmers, contractors and tradespeople to put off any activities which could cause a spark or generate heat.

There has been months of hot, dry weather in the South Island, with a state of drought announced yesterday for Southland and parts of Otago.

Droughts had already been declared in the lower North Island and the South Island's West Coast.

Thanks to #ReleaseTheMemo Russiagate is imploding

Russiagate scandal approaches its implosion point
Publication of GOP memorandum on surveillance abuses by Obama’s Justice Department threatens to blow lid off the scandal

by Alexander Mercouris

30 January, 2018

It is becoming increasingly clear that the point of crisis in the Russiagate scandal has now been reached, and that it centres on the four page memorandum prepared by Republican Congressional investigators after their examination of the Justice Department’s documents on the evidence provided during the 2016 election by Obama’s Justice Department to the FBI to undertake surveillance of members of Donald Trump’s campaign.

Publication of this memorandum has just been agreed by the House Intelligence Committee.

The final decision whether or not to publish the memorandum lies with President Trump.

I think it is a foregone conclusion that he will decide to publish it, though I expect heavy lobbying from the Justice Department and the US intelligence community to persuade him not to.

All I would say about that is that if President Trump allows himself to be persuaded by whatever threats or promises the Justice Department and the US intelligence community make to him, then he is a fool.

I do not know what is in the memorandum, though FBI Director Christopher Wray, who read it on Sunday, was apparently profoundly shocked by its contents, leading him to demand the immediate resignation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

What is known about the memorandum is that it concerns the Trump Dossier, and it is almost certainly not a coincidence that it has appeared at roughly the same time that demands have been coming from Senator Lindsey Graham for a second Special Counsel to be appointed to investigate the Justice Department’s and the FBI’s actions during the 2016 election, and when a request has been made by Senators Grassley and Lindsey Graham for the Justice Department to look into the possibility of whether Christopher Steele – the Trump Dossier’s compiler – may have committed criminal offences because of contradictory things which he is supposed to have said to the media.

There are of course plenty of rumours about what the memorandum says.
The most plausible rumours that I have seen say that the memorandum says that a FISA warrant was obtained to institute surveillance of Carter Page without the FISA court been told that the evidence cited in support of the application for the warrant was based wholly on information provided by the Trump Dossier, and that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Allegedly the US attorney who represented the Justice Department when the application for this FISA warrant was presented to the FISA court, and who did not provide the FISA court with the  information that it came from the Trump Dossier which the Democrats had paid for, was none other than Rod Rosenstein, who is now the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and who was the Justice Department official who appointed Robert Mueller Special Counsel to investigate the Russiagate collusion allegations which are based on the Trump Dossier.
If this is true then I must say that Rosenstein’s position looks to me untenable, and I think he will have to resign.

Though I do not know whether legally speaking Rosenstein is caught in a conflict of interest of interest – my guess is that he is – I cannot imagine that the Republicans in Congress will tolerate his remaining in overall charge of the Russiagate inquiry after such a revelation, and I cannot see Rosenstein remaining Deputy Attorney General if he is stripped of his power to supervise Mueller’s inquiry.

Needless to say if Rosenstein is forced to resign, then it seems to me that Mueller’s days will also be numbered.  My guess is he will in that case resign immediately, though he might try to cling on.  If he does so he will only be there for a few days.

At that point Russiagate – or to be more precisely the legal investigation into the collusion allegations – will be finally over.

On the subject of whether or not the Justice Department and the FBI knew that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and by the Hillary Clinton campaign when it applied for the surveillance warrants to the FISA court, I must say that I agree with Representative Devin Nunes: it is all but inconceivable that they did not.

The very first question the FBI investigators would have asked Christopher Steele when he presented them with the first entry of the Trump Dossier back in early July 2016 was who was paying him, and he would have had to answer.

Even if all of Steele’s contacts were with Fusion GPS, and even if Steele only named Fusion GPS, that would have been enough for the FBI to trace the funding of the Trump Dossier back to the Democrats.  After all it was enough to set the Republicans in Congress on the right lead, and it beggars belief that the same would not have been the case for the FBI.

As it happens I suspect that there were many more contacts between the Democrats, the Justice Department and the FBI in the summer and autumn of 2016 than we know about, and I would not be surprised if the memorandum touches on them.

Perhaps the best evidence for the explosive contents of the memorandum is that the Democrats have felt obliged to produce their own memorandum in response to it.

Contrary to what Representative Adam Schiff is saying, the Republicans apparently agree that it should be published also.

The best discussion of all this – both about the contents of the Democrats’ memorandum and about the Republicans’ plan for eventual publication of the Democrats’ memorandum – has been provided by Byron York
…….there was also a rare moment of bipartisanship for the bitterly divided panel. At the same meeting, Republicans and Democrats voted unanimously to make the Democratic memo — the counter-memo to the Republican document — available to all members of the House.
That is the same process Republicans, under chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., followed with their memo. First, make it available to House members. (That happened on Jan. 18.) Later, after members of both parties have had a chance to read the memo, decide whether to release it to the public.
More than one Republican told me Monday that they plan to support releasing the Democratic memo to the public after a period of time comparable to the Republican example. (Republicans voted down a Democratic motion to make the Democratic memo public immediately, arguing that House members should have a chance to read it first.)
Obviously we have gone through the process of letting our colleagues read our memo over the last several days, and I think that when the Democratic memo has gone through the same process, then it should have the same day in court, so to speak,” Republican committee member Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., told reporters after the session.
To no one’s surprise, ranking Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was the first to make it to the cameras after the meeting Monday. He noted that the committee had voted to make the Democratic memo available to “members of the House that have been misled by the majority’s memorandum.” But he also spoke in a way that might have led a casual listener to conclude Republicans had voted to keep the memo completely under wraps. At one point he referred to “if and when the majority allows the minority memorandum to see the light of day.”
Now that the Democratic memo is available to everyone in the House, it remains to be seen whether Democrats will flock to read the memo as Republicans — about 200 of them — flocked to read the GOP memo. But what is clear is that some Republicans have already taken a look at the Democratic document, and it is, as expected, all about the GOP memo.
The Democratic memo, which like the Republican memo is classified and can only be viewed in a secure room, is an attempt to discredit the GOP document without making any larger point about the Trump-Russia investigation, said Republicans who have seen it.
It was written by attorneys as a rebuttal to our memo, but it’s not going to move their argument forward,” noted one Republican member who has read the Democratic paper. “It’s too detailed, too confusing, and far more personal — they go after [Nunes] again and again.
The member noted that that Democratic memo contains far more classified information — names and sources — than the GOP paper. “It is much more revealing [of classified information],” he said. “It’s going to have to be heavily redacted before it can be released. We wrote our memo with the hope that it would be released to the American people. Their memo will have to be heavily redacted.”
Two other GOP members familiar with the memo echoed those points.

From this it is clear that the Republicans do not fear that the Democrats’ memorandum seriously challenges their own.

Rather it appears to have been concocted by the Democrats in order to muddle the issue and so as to give themselves counter arguments when the Republican memorandum is published.

Already that looks defensive, and the Republicans apparently feel that its verbose and legalistic style means that it fails to challenge their memorandum effectively.
One other fact in my opinion points strongly to the likely importance of the Republicans’ memorandum.

This is that though it has been the focus of all-absorbing discussion within the Washington political bubble for weeks, the liberal media in the US has barely spoken about it, and the media in Britain has ignored it entirely.

I have not come across a single reference to the memorandum in any British newspaper or on the BBC, which given the relentless way the British media has covered even the most insignificant and implausible of the Russiangate collusion claims made against Donald Trump is both significant and remarkable.

What it points to is deep concern and embarrassment within the British elite, which given Britain’s central role in triggering the Russiagate scandal is not surprising.

All I would say about that is that if the memorandum is as explosive a document as appears likely then the British media is once again failing the British people, who may struggle to understand when it is published and when Russiagate finally collapses how that has happened.

Putting that aside, the supporters of the Russiagate conspiracy theory have not been inactive over the last few weeks, and as the prospect of the publication of the memorandum looms they have been working overtime to keep the scandal alive and to prepare their defences.

One approach has been play up ‘non news’ stories such as the fact that Mueller’s investigators have questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions and may one day question Donald Trump.  Needless to say that is neither new nor important nor even interesting.

The second has been to speak ominously of ‘threats to Mueller’ supposedly coming from within the administration.

The most recent example of this is a strange story that President Trump supposedly planned to sack Mueller in June – very soon after Mueller was in fact appointed – only to be talked out of doing so following a row with White House Counsel Don McGahn.

President Trump has categorically denied this story – which has no independent corroboration – calling it ‘fake news’, but as now invariably happens his liberal opponents refuse to take his denial seriously, and despite his denial act as if the story has been proved true.

Personally speaking, I doubt that President Trump seriously intended to sack Mueller in June.  The political risks involved in doing so so soon after the botched sacking of former FBI Director James Comey, would have been too obvious and far too great for Trump to have seriously intended it.

Possibly Trump – who is an emotional man, and who is known to have deeply resented Mueller’s appointment – spoke wildly of sacking Mueller, only for this to provoke an angry rejoinder from McGahn, a tough and hardbitten who is apparently known to give as good as it gets.  However I doubt that Trump ever seriously planned to sack Muller.

Most probably the whole story – like so many others which have appeared over the course of the Russiagate scandal – is as Trump says an invention.

Whether it is or not, of one thing there is no doubt, which is that it is a red herring.
Whatever Trump’s intentions towards Mueller might have been back in June, he has repeatedly denied that he has any plan to sack Mueller now, making what didn’t happen back in June entirely beside the point.

The third approach has been to try to distance the scandal from the Trump Dossier by pretending that it did not have the central role in creating the scandal that it obviously did.

Thus we have seen the attempt to play up the role of George Papadopoulos (discussed at length by me here).

Now we have a new story ultimately sourced from the Dutch media that Dutch intelligence supposedly hacked a Russian hacking group based in a university building in Moscow back in 2014.

Supposedly CCTV inside the building was also hacked, enabling pictures to be taken of the members of the hacking group.

As with so many Russiagate related stories this one turns out to be a great deal less impressive than it looks at first glance.

Firstly, that a hacking group might be operating in 2014 out a university building in Moscow should surprise no one.

The fact that the building in question is said to have been situated close to Red Square points to the building in question being one of the old buildings of Moscow State University.

The staff and students of Moscow State University undoubtedly include many people with both the skill and the inclination to become hackers, and that some of them might actually have become hackers should surprise no one.

That fact alone makes it overwhelmingly likely that what the Dutch came across was a private hacking group made up of staff and students from Moscow State University, and the fact that the group used hacking tools known as Cozy Bear which are widely available to hackers who know how to access the dark web all but confirms this.

That Russian intelligence operation was involved in an ultra sensitive hacking operation carried out from an inherently insecure location like a university building in the centre of Moscow is all but inconceivable, and that whole idea should be abandoned.

Moreover it seems from the reports that the Dutch did not in fact catch the hackers in the act of stealing the emails from the computers of the Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta.  I say this because if they did the Dutch media stories would certainly have confirmed it.

The Dutch media reports say that the Dutch were able to monitor the group for roughly a year, from mid 2014 to mid 2015.  The alleged cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee are supposed to have begun in the summer of 2015 and to have continued until 2016.  That strongly suggests that the Dutch ceased monitoring the hacking group just before the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee are supposed to have taken place.

Perhaps the cyber attacks (if they happened) really were the work of the group the Dutch came across, but it is clear that the Dutch do not know this.
In summary, the Dutch appear to have come across what was almost certainly a private hacking group consisting of staff and students from Moscow State University and operating from one of its buildings, but Russian intelligence was almost certainly not involved, and the Dutch have no proof that the group was involved in the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee or of John Podesta.  Nor obviously do they have any proof that the group was involved in providing the emails which were stolen from those computers to Wikileaks.

Possibly intelligence reports from the Dutch of the Dutch discovery in 2014 of this Russian hacking group hardened belief within the US intelligence community in 2016 of Russian involvement in the theft and publication of the Democratic National Committee and Podesta emails.  If so then it was an exercise in deduction based on too few facts.

Regardless, what the hackers in Moscow were up to in 2014 and 2015 can have no bearing on the collusion allegations between the Trump campaign and Russia which are the heart of the Russiagate scandal.

A careful analysis of the story therefore reveals it to be – like the ‘revelations’ about Papadopoulos – simply another red herring.  Frankly publication of this story at this time looks like another attempt to bolster the Russiagate conspiracy narrative just at the moment when with the imminent publication of the Republicans’ memorandum it looks to be collapsing.

Publication of the Republicans’ memorandum, even it is as devastating as all the indications suggest it is, and even if it does trigger the resignations of Rosenstein and Mueller, will not spell the immediate end of the Russiagate conspiracy theory.

The Democrats and the media are heavily invested in it, and they will try to spin any resignations by Rosenstein and Mueller – or any pressure from the Republicans arising from the contents of the memorandum to get Rosenstein and Mueller to resign – as a Republican plot to suppress the truth.

That presumably is why the story of Trump planning to sack Mueller back in June is being brought up now.

The Democrats’ memorandum points to their chief line of attack: a legalistic defence of the actions of the Justice Department and the FBI and of the US intelligence community as a whole during the 2016 election in order to deny any wrongdoing and so as to keep the story focused on the collusion allegations.

With the media in the US and in Britain lending this line of attack its full support, and doubtless churning out more ‘non stories’ and red herrings of the sort I have discussed in the article, it is likely that for a time many people will continue to be confused and will be unsure where the truth lies.

Ultimately nothing can however disguise the fact that the surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the election on the basis of unverified ‘evidence’ paid for by the Democrats and the systematic and illegal leaking of classified information in order to undermine Donald Trump both before and after he was inaugurated President actually took place.

By contrast the allegations of Russian leaking of the emails stolen from the computers of the Democratic National Committee and of John Podesta have never been conclusively proved, whilst the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians which Mueller is supposed to be investigating never took place.

It may take a little time, but once all the facts are out in the open it is only a matter of time before most people finally see the truth.