Huawei’s phones will finally officially enter the U.S. market
President Trump has been defeated by the military/security complex and forced into continuing the orchestrated and dangerous tensions with Russia. Trump’s defeat has taught the Russians the lesson I have been trying to teach them for years, and that is that Russia is much more valuable to Washington as an enemy than as a friend.
Do we now conclude with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that Trump is washed up and “utterly powerless?”
I think not.
Trump is by nature a leader. He wants to be out front, and that is where his personality will compel him to be. Having been prevented by the military/security complex, both US political parties, the presstitute media, the liberal-progressive-left, and Washington’s European vassals from being out front as a leader for peace, Trump will now be the leader for war.
This is the only permissible role that the CIA and armaments industry will permit him to have.
Losing the chance for peace might cost all of us our lives. Now that Russia and China see that Washington is unwilling to share the world stage with them, Russia and China will have to become more confrontational with Washington in order to prevent Washington from marginalizing them. Preparations for war will become central in order to protect the interests of the two countries. The situation is far more dangerous than at any time of the Cold War.
The foolish American liberal-progressive-left, wrapped up as they are in Identity Politics and hatred of “the Trump deplorables,” joined the military/security complex’s attack on Trump. So did the whores, who pretend to be a Western media, and Washington’s European vassals, not one of whom had enough intelligence to see that the outcome of the attack on Trump would be an escalation of conflict with Russia, conflict that is not in Europe’s business and security interests.
Washington is already raising the violence threshold. The same lies that Washington told about Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi, Assad, Iran, Serbia and Russia are now being told about Venezuela. The American presstitutes duly report the lies handed to them by the CIA just as Udo Ulfkotte and Seymour Hersh report. These lies comprise the propaganda that conditions Western peoples to accept the coming US coup against the democratic government in Venezuela and its replacement with a Washington-compliant government that will permit the renewal of US corporate exploitation of Venezuela.
As the productive elements of American capitalism fall away, the exploitative elements become its essence. After Venezuela, there will be more South American victims. As reduced tensions with Russia are no longer in prospect, there is no reason for the US to abandon its and Israel’s determination to overthrow the Syrian government and then the Iranian government.
The easy wars against Iraq, Libya, and Somalia are to be followed by far more perilous conflicts with Iran, Russia, and China
This is the outcome of John Brennan’s defeat of President Trump.
* * *
UPDATE: The escalation of the conflict with Russia has begun. US vice president Mike Pence made false allegations against Russia yesterday (Aug. 2) in Montenegro designed to panic Montenegrins into joining NATO. The two-decade march of NATO eastward despite Washington’s promise to the contrary, surely has taught Russia that no agreement with Washington can ever be trusted. So why does Russia continue to seek agreements with Washington?
More than a year after a mysterious group of hackers infiltrated the SWIFT system for interbank payments and stole $100 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh’s custody account at the New York Fed, Filipino authorities have been unable to recover $81 million that seemingly disappeared into the Manila air.
After being transferred to four accounts set up with fake credentials at the Jupiter Street Makati City, branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) in the Philippines, the money eventually found its way to an FX broker called Philrem, which split $50 million between two casinos and the remaining $31 million was delivered to a “Weikang Xu” in cash.
Not much is known about what happened to the $31 million after it was moved to Manila. But after receiving unreleased documents from the Philippines Senate investigation, Bloomberg has published the most comprehensive account to date explaining how two casino junket operators helped launder $50 million in the VIP rooms of Manila’s casinos by betting on games of Baccarat.
According to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources, North Korea and its “elite” hacking squad “the Lazarus Group” are believed to be behind what was the largest cyberheist in history.
The two men were Chinese nationals Ding Shizue and Gao Shuhua, who ran a business bringing high-roller clients to casino VIP rooms in Manila and Macau. Once the money was transferred into accounts at the two casinos, the two men led a group of “gamblers” whose only job was to make bets, declare their winnings, and take the newly laundered money away in a briefcase. According to the Filipino Senate report cited by Bloomberg, the men were allowed to play on for weeks even after Bangladeshi authorities had asked their counterparts in Manila for help. All the money was withdrawn before authorities could make a single arrest.
“Just a few days after the theft, Bangladesh Bank officials asked their Philippine counterparts for help. Yet the gamblers were allowed to play on for weeks, according to reports by the casino’s parent company, Bloomberry Resorts Corp., and the Philippine Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations.
Even after the remaining funds were frozen, no charges were filed against Ding, Gao, or the players with them, so Philippine police didn’t make any arrests, says Sergio Osmeña III, a former senator who last year was a member of the inquiry panel. “They waited until it was too late,” he says.”
What happened next is a mystery. The Senate investigators were unable to trace the cash; and Ding and Gao reportedly left the Philippines without a trace, though Gao was later arrested by Chinese authorities.
“What Ding and Gao did with the loot remains unknown. That’s the point, of course: You want to conceal the money’s criminal origins and then stir it into the rivers of legitimate cash that course around the world every day: $60-odd million here, a few million there. It adds up. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP says money laundering may total $2 trillion a year worldwide—an amount roughly equivalent to the market for online shopping.
Like the money, Ding and Gao left the Philippines without a trace. (Osmeña says customs authorities have no record of the duo’s departure.) Gone too, it seemed, was any chance that Bangladesh, the Philippines, or the U.S. would find the funds.”
Authorities believe the money is probably sitting in the North Korean central bank. Because the North conducts 90% of its trade with China, it frequently suffers from shortages of hard currency. US intelligence agencies believe it occasionally dabbles in cybercrime to help pad its reserves.
“Some or all of it may have found its way to North Korea. The FBI is examining the totalitarian state’s link to the hack, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the investigation.”
One plausible scenario is that Ding and Gao somehow traveled undetected to Macau and deposited the cash in accounts secretly controlled by the North Korean government.
“Ding and Gao’s familiarity with Macau would have been useful to North Korean hackers, says Steve Vickers, a former head of the Hong Kong Police Force’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau who now runs an eponymous risk consulting company. That, he says, is because Macau was traditionally one of the few locations where the Pyongyang government has managed to maintain covert bank accounts and interact with the global financial system. (Priscilla Fong, a spokeswoman for Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office, declined to comment on this case or to respond to questions about the region’s links to North Korea.)”
The documents reviewed by Bloomberg revealed that the perpetrators began planning for the cyberheist months in advance.
“Months before Ding, Gao, and their baccarat players showed up in Manila, several bank accounts that would later receive the Bangladeshi funds appeared on the books at the Jupiter Street branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. in MetroManila, according to testimony at the Senate hearings. At the hearings, Kim Wong, president of Eastern Hawaii Leisure, which operates a number of VIP rooms in Manila-area casinos, including the Solaire, testified that he’d set up the RCBC accounts along with Ding’s business partner, Gao, and the Jupiter branch manager at the time, Maia Deguito.”
"According to the Senate committee report, Ding, Gao, and Deguito ginned up the accounts using fake names, fake addresses, and fake declarations that Deguito had met the account holders in person and confirmed their identities. Assuming the Senate report got the facts right – there was contradictory testimony – the stage was set for laundering what the hackers hoped would be almost $1 billion. “If you have a bank employee who is in connivance with creating these nonexistent people in the first place, it’s easy to launder,” says Vencent Salido, head of investigations at the Philippine government’s Anti-Money Laundering Council, which is leading the local investigation into the theft.”
Maia Deguito, the branch manager responsible for opening the accounts, says she was instructed to do so by her superiors. Her superiors, in turn, have sued her for defamation and accused her of willfully opening fraudulent accounts.
“For her part, Deguito said she’d been acting on instructions from RCBC bosses. That assertion netted her a libel claim by Lorenzo Tan, the former chief executive officer of RCBC, who also sued Deguito’s lawyer. “Based on our investigation, Ms. Deguito acted alone with the help of some of her co-workers and subordinates at the Jupiter Branch which she headed,” RCBC said in an emailed statement. “Her actions were inimical to her job and against RCBC’s policies, which resulted in her termination and the filing of cases against her.” The bank said it’s confident the Philippine Department of Justice investigation will find that senior executives had no knowledge of Deguito’s actions.”
The Philippines investigation into Ding and Gao is ongoing, and authorities in the US and elsewhere are investigating a “China connection” as well. Meanwhile, the Philippines justice department has indicted Deguito and the owners of FX broker Philrem for their involvement, but dropped the case against another individual who says he was tricked into helping Ding and Gao move some of the stolen funds.
But now that more than a year has passed, and the evidence trail has probably gone cold, finding definitive proof to substantiate the claims about North Korea’s involvement is unlikely – even if the operation was supervised by Kim Jong Un himself.
Most are aware by now that North Korea has tested (successfully) another ICBM missile, and its nuclear ambitions are more concrete by the day. The mainstream media and the Obama administration are the creators of the public’s skepticism and denial regarding North Korea’s capabilities. The Obama administration consistently and deliberately downplayed the true strengths and capabilities of North Korea over an eight-year period. Such a downplay was further enabled by key press conferences in which members of the U.S. military’s command structure (specifically those serving in the Pentagon) were made to parrot the administration’s denial.
By “pulling Pentagon officials out” and having them categorically deny North Korea’s capabilities, it set the tempo to create a false narrative that Obama and his minions would champion throughout the eight years. Pentagon officials (Admirals and Four-star Generals) were periodically “rotated” into these press pools to downplay the abilities of North Korea to launch a nuclear missile against the United States.
This obfuscation, orchestrated by Obama and parroted by those general officers who were about to retire in a couple of years was a precise and deliberate weakening of the United States’ defensive stance against a nation that declared its intentions to strike her.
All the experts on the subject were marginalized and labeled either as “crackpots,” or just scoffed at with their opinions relegated to page A-14, just above a coupon for “Captain Crunch” and at the bottom of the page of the newspaper. The public bought it. They swallowed the pill offered by the government-media complex, and in their own narcissistic hubris, discounted the efforts of a “backwards” country such as North Korea to send a nuke to the U.S.
Now the media is grudgingly, painfully admitting what cannot be hidden: North Korea has more than enough capability to hit the United States. All of it. The North Korean ICBM test on Friday, July 29 proves they can strike the U.S. anywhere. Here you go:
“Looks like it pretty much can get to New York, Boston, and probably falls just short of Washington [DC]. If those numbers are correct, the missile flown on a standard trajectory, the missile would have a range of 10,400 km (6,500 miles), not taking into account the Earth’s rotation. However, the rotation of the Earth increases the range of missiles fired eastward, depending on their direction. It is important to keep in mind that we do not know the mass of the payload the missile carried on this test.”
-David Wright, Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists to CNBC
Keep this sentence in mind from the excerpt: “However, the rotation of the Earth increases the range of missiles fired eastward, depending on their direction.”
Such proves they have at least enough “juice” to deliver a warhead containing an EMP weapon dead center over the continental United States, and can strike the U.S. anywhere.
Dr. Peter V. Pry, formerly an analyst with the CIA, and now the head of the Committee to Assess EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Threats against the U.S., is the foremost expert on such threats and briefs Congress on them annually. Dr. Pry has assured Congress countless times that North Korea not only has miniaturization capabilities regarding nuclear warheads, but also has that capability regarding the deployment of an EMP weapon. I strongly urge you to read his writings and articles.
Now-retired Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R, MD) practically hopped up and down during both the Bush Jr. and Obama administrations to try and initiate action by the government to protect the grid and infrastructure from an EMP attack. To no avail, all his pleadings… substantiated by piles of research documents and assessments – pure evidence – fell on deaf ears, and he has since retired and withdrawn from mainstream society. Several general officers over the past years (such as General Curtis Scapparotti, for example) went “against the grain” during the Obama years and declared that North Korea did indeed possess EMP weapons, miniaturization capabilities, and ICBM’s. Their declarations also went unheeded.
Now, just as Obama planned it, we are “behind the power curve,” and vulnerable: North Korea has had years to prepare, in the face of mere “sanctions” or other “paper-tiger” rumblings. Through our complacency, they have been enabled to strike the U.S. Along with the mothballing of TARS (Tethered Aerostat Radar System), the string of radar-equipped balloons along the Gulf Coast to add about ten minutes early warning time to our missile tracking capabilities. As SHTF Plan reported, TARS was taken out in 2013, at Obama’s direction. North Korea has two satellites in orbit that each cross over the U.S. several times daily at 300 km, the optimal height for an EMP strike.
Just as Obama planned it.
The United States, South Korea, and Japan all equally assessed the North Korean launch on July 29th with the same capabilities. President Trump said that he would take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies. The nations (the U.S. included) have all declared the intention of more sanctions against North Korea. More nonsense. These two excerpts came from a Dailymail.com article by Cheyenne Roundtree and Gareth Davis for Mailonline that are interesting, if not “amusing” (from a cynical perspective). Here’s the first, with the main point underlined:
“[President] Donald Trump released a statement yesterday after the missile launch, saying: ‘North Korea’s test launch yesterday of another intercontinental ballistic missile – the second such test in less than a month – is only the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime.”
Yes, there you have it from the mouth of the President of the United States, confirming it was indeed and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and was indeed the second one that is confirmed. Here is the second excerpt:
“Washington and its allies have watched with growing concern as Pyongyang has made significant progress toward its goal of having all of the US within range of its missiles to counter what it labels as US aggression. While there are hurdles, including building nuclear warheads to fit on those missiles and ensuring reliability, many analysts have been surprised by how quickly Kim Jong-Un has developed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”
Well, along with interesting and amusing, let’s add infuriating to the list to describe these words from the excerpt:
“Many analysts have been surprised.”
“Significant progress toward its goal”
Do you think those analysts will be surprised when, suddenly, all the lights and air conditioning in their offices go out and they’re in the dark on the 30th floor? Or if not that, perhaps they’ll be surprised when they look out of their windows and see a nice blinding flash of light and a mushroom cloud? Do you think either an EMP and/or a mushroom cloud over what was once an American city will prove that North Korea has made significant progress toward its goal?
Sometimes valuable information comes from sources that might normally never see the light of day. I found this comment on Steve Quayle’s website that may place things into perspective from a “grass roots” level. Obviously, it is written by a mother of someone in the service, probably the U.S. Army. Here it is, along with its citation:
“Angel says: Comment ID: 3722746 August 1, 2017 at 1:22 am
“Wanted to give a heads up that the upcoming fight with North Korea is very real. My child is a Combat Engineer stationed at the DMZ currently and they are readying for a fight. They are doing things in that area that haven’t been done in 50 years. Such as clearing mine fields. They are awaiting orders to attack. Get prepared now if you’re not already. I have someone on the front line and I can tell you it’s getting bad.”
Sometimes information from the average person will give you insights on things you will not hear in the mainstream media. This woman’s comment is both simplistic and unsolicited, and anyone with more information who is in the area? Your comments would be greatly appreciated. Such comments can reveal (at least in part) what is taking place over there and is valuable, because there is no such thing as “grass roots” journalism anymore. There are no more reporters to interview the “man on the street” or to cover things happening in foreign countries. We must rely on what information we bring to one another and our wits to be able to recognize the valuable parts…pieces to the overall puzzle that present the big picture.
Let’s once more examine the “flip” side of things. We have a President who has not been able to accomplish much, and thus far has been railroaded by Congress and members of his own political party every day since being sworn in. His popularity ratings are falling, and the midterm election campaigning is right around the corner. What is the solution? Why, the same as it was for Bush Jr. back in 2003. War. War is the solution, either false flagged/orchestrated by the U.S., or allowed to be initiated by North Korea. War is the vehicle to create a cohesive bond and gain the support of the populace: nothing new here with this method.
The cost, however, will be sustained by the population and not by those who initiated the conflict, whether North Koreans, Americans, or others. The ones who initiate the hostilities will be safe in underground bunkers with food, water, medical supplies, and armed guards…funded by their “host” populations, who will be busily engaged in being vaporized and incinerated on the surface. I close with the point that I have stood by all along, and exhort you to make the best possible choices and take actions for you and your family, while there’s still time to do so, in whatever way you can. Now is the time to act, and not “one second after,” so to speak:
The next world war will be initiated by an EMP weapon detonated over the United States, followed by a nuclear exchange and a war between conventional forces.
What’s your initial reaction when you encounter a set-back? The Pros spend time in negative preparation because they know issues and set-backs will arise, it’s how you handle them that makes all the difference.
A study from airfare app Hopper shows that there can be a price difference of up to 600% on LAX/SFO flights.
US retailers just can’t catch a break.
In a bid to undercut US-based brands, “fast fashion” purveyor Uniqlo announced this week that it will begin selling its clothes in vending machines, a common practice in Japan, where Uniqlo’s owner, Fast Retailing Co., is based. All told, the company plans to open 10 machines in and around New York City, Oakland and Houston, according to MarketWatch’s Ali Malito, who reported that brands are increasingly selling consumer goods like clothing out of vending machines as part of a “growing trend” as they “look for new ways to sell their goods" amid a flood of brick-and-mortar bankruptcies.
“There’s no hassle,” consumer shopping expert Andrea Woroch told Malito. “You get what you want.”
However, this latest wave of innovation in the retail space threatens to leave US firms flat-footed if the fail to quickly adapt, just like many now-dead companies who failed to anticipate the rise of Amazon.com and e-commerce more broadly.
In the US, vending machines are a $7 billion-a-year business, although sales have been flat in recent years, according to industry-research group IBISWorld, as consumers increasingly prefer healthier snacks and beverages than the potato chips and soda that consumers typically associate with vending-machine sales. According to Euromonitor data cited by MarketWatch, the US vending-machine market is closer to $5 billion a year in sales, the third-largest behind No. 2 Spain ($8 billion) and No. 1 Japan ($26 billion).
In recent years, vending machines have been popping up in the US that sell a range of nontraditional items, including guitar accessories, bike parts, Lego toys, caviar, pet food, umbrellas, socks, shoes, envelopes, cosmetics, gold and even – in the states where it has been legalized – marijuana, according to MarketWatch.
“Food and beverages still make up most vending machine sales — each accounting for roughly one-third of sales — while movies and games made up 29% of the industry, followed by 6% for other products including electronics, magazines, toys, condoms, first-aid products and cosmetics, IBISWorld found. Still, food vending machines no longer just offer Pringles and pretzels. Sprinkles, a bakery in New York, has a “Cupcake ATM” for passersby in the mood for a treat, and another bakery, in Cedar Creek, Texas, has a vending machine for its full-sized pecan pies.”
A “vending machine” for luxury cars opened earlier this year in Singapore. The “machine” is a revamped office building that allows wealthy collectors to pay in cash and drive off in their new car with minimal hassle. Luxury goods brands appear to be seizing on the vending-machine model more quickly than their downmarket peers, as MarketWatch explains…
“Champagne company Moët and Chandon also has vending machines, which hold 320 mini-bottles of its champagne. The first such machine launched in London last year and they are now available in Las Vegas and New Orleans. Companies even sell cars through vending machines – there’s already one in Singapore automotive division of Alibaba Group-owned shopping site Tmall hopes to bring one to China — not to be confused with vending machines in cars, which Uber has introduced in partnership with tech startup Cargo.”
As a gathering wave of brick-and-mortar closures and bankruptcies force brands to innovate, low-cost vending machines are looking increasingly attractive. However, Uniqlo must still find a way to surmount customer-service obstacles like allowing customers to try on clothes before buying, and enabling them to easily return their purchases.
“Because it’s cheaper for companies to sell from a machine instead of paying for rent and employees, Woroch said the variety of machines will keep growing. But they aren’t always the best option for shopping. Using them takes away most of the customer service element, since there’s no one to ask for help in sizing and product information, and no easy way to try or return the item back to the vending machine, Woroch said. And even with online shopping becoming more of a go-to option for consumers, shoppers still want that extra help, which is why so many more companies have chat boxes, she added.”
As we recently reported, retail bankruptcies surged 110% during the first half of 2017, accounting for some $6 billion in debt, even as the overall high-yield default rate tumbled to 1.9% in the same period from 2.2% at the end of June as $4.7 billion of defaulted debt, mostly in the energy sector, rolled out of the default universe. Overall high-yield default rate tumbled to 1.9% in the same period from 2.2% at the end of June as $4.7 billion of defaulted debt – mostly in the energy sector – rolled out of the default universe.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, the CIA appeared eager, even desperate, to embrace the version of events being offered by the FBI, the Secret Service and other parts of the government. The official story: that a delusional misfit and self-proclaimed Marxist named Lee Harvey Oswald killed the president in Dallas with his $21 mail-order rifle and there was no evidence of a conspiracy, foreign or domestic. Certainly, the CIA’s leaders told the Warren Commission, the independent panel that investigated the murder, there was no evidence of a conspiracy that the spy agency could have foiled.
But thousands of pages of long-secret, assassination-related documents released by the National Archives last week show that, within a few years of Kennedy’s murder, some in the CIA began to worry internally that the official story was wrong—an alarm the agency never sounded publicly.
Specifically, key CIA officials were concerned by the mid-1970s that the agency, the FBI, the Secret Service and the White House commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren had never followed up on important clues about Oswald’s contact with foreign agents, including diplomats and spies for the Communist governments of Cuba and the Soviet Union, who might have been aware of his plans to kill Kennedy and even encouraged the plot. (There is no credible evidence cited in the documents released so far that Cuban leader Fidel Castro or other foreign leaders had any personal role in ordering Kennedy’s murder.)
The CIA documents also offer tantalizing speculation about the chain of events in late 1963 that explained Oswald’s motives for killing Kennedy, which have previously never been established with certainty—how he may have become enraged after reading a detailed article in his hometown newspaper in New Orleans in September suggesting that his hero Castro had been targeted for assassination by the Kennedy administration. According to that theory, Oswald, who had rifle training in the Marine Corps, then set out to seek vengeance on Castro’s behalf—to kill Kennedy before the American president managed to kill the Cuban leader.
If that proved true, it would have raised a terrible question for the CIA: Was it possible that JFK’s assassination was, directly or indirectly, blowback for the spy agency’s plots to kill Castro? It would eventually be acknowledged the CIA had, in fact, repeatedly tried to assassinate Castro, sometimes in collusion with the Mafia, throughout Kennedy’s presidency. The CIA’s arsenal of weapons against Castro included a fungus-infected scuba suit, a poison-filled hypodermic needle hidden in a pen—and even an exploding cigar. The Warren Commission, never told about the CIA’s Castro plots, mostly ducked the question of Oswald’s motives, other than saying in its final report that he had expressed a “hatred for American society.”
JFK historians and the nation’s large army of private assassination researchers are still scrambling to make sense of the latest batch of tens of thousands of pages of previously secret CIA and FBI documents that were unsealed last week by the National Archives. The documents—441 files that had previously been withheld entirely, along with 3,369 other documents that had been previously released only in part—were made public under terms of a 1992 law that requires the unsealing of all JFK assassination-related documents by October, the law’s 25-year deadline.
Since the release last week, researchers do not appear to have identified any single document that could be labeled a bombshell or that rewrites the history of the assassination in any significant way. Many of the documents, which were made public only online, are duplicates of files that had been released years earlier. Other documents are totally illegible or refer to CIA and FBI code names and pseudonyms that even experienced researchers will take months to decipher. Several documents are written in foreign languages.
Still, the newly released documents may offer an intriguing glimpse of what comes next. The National Archives is required to unseal a final batch of about 3,100 never-before-seen JFK-assassination files by the October deadline, assuming the move is not blocked by President Donald Trump. Under the 1992 Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, the president is the only person empowered to stop the release. (Congressional and other government officials have told us in confidence that at least two federal agencies—likely the CIA and FBI—are expected to appeal to Trump to block the unsealing of at least some of the documents. Even after 54 years, some government officials apparently still want to keep secrets about this seminal event in U.S. history. The CIA and FBI acknowledged earlier this year they are conducting a final review of the documents, but have been unwilling to say if they will ask the president to block some from being released.)
None of the files released last week undermines the Warren Commission’s finding that Oswald killed Kennedy with shots fired from his perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza—a conclusion supported by 21st century forensic analysis—and that there was no credible evidence of a second gunman.
But the new documents do revive the question of why the CIA, so skeptical internally of many of the commission’s other findings by the 1970s, never acknowledged those suspicions to later government investigators—or to the public. Documents released decades ago show that CIA and FBI officials repeatedly misled—and often lied outright—to Chief Justice Warren and his commission, probably to hide evidence of the agencies’ bungling in their surveillance of Oswald before the president’s murder. The CIA appears also to have been determined to block the commission from stumbling on to evidence that might reveal the agency’s assassination plots against Castro and other foreign leaders.
In 2013, the CIA’s in-house historian concluded that the spy agency had conducted a “benign cover-up” during the Warren Commission’s investigation in 1963 and 1964 in hopes of keeping the commission focused on “what the Agency believed was the ‘best truth’ — that Lee Harvey Oswald, for as yet undetermined motives, had acted alone in killing John Kennedy.”
But what if the “best truth” was wrong? According to documents made public last week, the CIA was alarmed by the mid-1970s to realize that no one had properly followed up on clues about an especially mysterious chapter in Oswald’s life—a six-day, apparently self-financed trip to Mexico City beginning in late September 1963, two months before the assassination. The reason for the trip has never been determined with certainty, although he told his wife, Marina, that he went there to obtain a visa that would allow him to defect to Cuba, much as he had once attempted to defect to the Soviet Union.
The CIA acknowledged long ago that the agency’s Mexico City station had Oswald under surveillance during the trip, and that he met there with Cuban and Soviet diplomats and spies. The CIA station chief said later he was convinced that Oswald had a brief sexual relationship with a Mexican woman who worked in the Cuban consulate. Although there is no credible evidence of Soviet involvement in the assassination, Oswald’s other contacts in Mexico included—shockingly enough—a KGB assassinations expert who doubled as an accredited Soviet diplomat. A top-secret June 1964 FBI report, made public in the 1990s but apparently never seen by key investigators for the Warren Commission, suggests that Oswald was overheard threatening to kill Kennedy during his visits to the Cuban diplomatic compound in Mexico.
The files released last week also show that the CIA and other agencies failed to pursue clues that Oswald, who publicly championed Castro’s revolution even while serving in the Marine Corps, had been in contact with Cuban diplomats years before the Mexico trip—possibly as early as 1959, when he was deployed to a military base in Southern California. The information initially came to the FBI and the Warren Commission from a fellow Marine who recalled how Oswald boasted about his contacts with Cuban diplomats in Los Angeles, where Castro’s government then had an office.
The account from the fellow Marine was of “a lot more possible operational significance” than was realized in the months after the assassination but was never “run down or developed by investigation,” according to a 1975 CIA internal memo released last week. “The record of the beginning of OSWALD’s relationship with the Cubans starts with a question mark.”
That 27-page memo, which does not identify its author, is among the most intriguing of the documents in last week’s batch unsealed by the National Archives. Copies of the document were found inside larger CIA files released last week, including thick agency files labeled HELMS HEARING DUPLICATE. That seems to suggest the memo was given to former Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms, who led the agency from 1966 to 1973, when he was later summoned to testify secretly to Congress about his involvement in the CIA assassination plots against Castro and other foreign leaders. Similar documents about the Kennedy assassination and Oswald were written in the 1970s by a senior CIA counterintelligence official, Raymond Rocca, who had served as the agency’s chief liaison to the Warren Commission.
Labeled “SECRET” and stamped “REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED” on each page, the 1975 memo lists several important clues about Oswald that went unexplored in the months and years after Kennedy’s death. (Versions of the same CIA memo were part of the flood of millions of pages of documents released after the 1992 law, although it has never attracted detailed attention outside a small circle of assassination researchers. Brian Latell, a respected former CIA analyst on Cuban intelligence, cited a version of the document in his 2012 book Castro’s Secrets, which suggested much closer links between Oswald and Cuba than had previously been known.)
The 1975 document noted the failure of the CIA, FBI and the Warren Commission to interview a key witness in Mexico City—Silvia Duran, the Mexican woman who worked in the Cuban consulate and was reported to have had the affair with Oswald. She is the “sole live witness on the record regarding Oswald’s activities,” yet her testimony “was taken and presented, solely, by the Mexican governmental authorities,” the CIA memo said. Duran, who is still alive, has repeatedly insisted she had no sexual relationship with Oswald, although she readily acknowledges that she helped him with his unsuccessful visa application for Cuba.
It was that same CIA memo that offered a detailed theory of the chain of events that led Oswald to kill Kennedy—how Oswald, who lived in his hometown of New Orleans for much of 1963, may have been inspired to assassinate the president if, as seemed probable, he read an article on Monday, September 9, in the local newspaper, that suggested Castro was targeted for murder by the United States.
The article, written by a reporter for The Associated Press in Havana and then published prominently in the Times-Picayune, was an account of an AP interview with Castro two days earlier, in which the Cuban strongman angrily warned the Kennedy administration that he was aware of U.S. assassination plots aimed at Cuban leaders, presumably including him, and was prepared to retaliate. The article quoted Castro as saying: “U.S. leaders would be in danger if they helped in any attempt to do away with leaders of Cuba.”
The CIA memo suggested that if Oswald, who was known to be an “avid reader” of the Times-Picayune, saw the article, it might have put the idea in his head to kill Kennedy as retaliation for the threat the United States posed to Castro—an idea that would have been in his mind as he left for his trip to Mexico that month. The possibility that Oswald read the article “must be considered of great significance in light of the pathological evolution of Oswald’s passive/aggressive makeup” and “his identification with Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution,” the CIA memo said.
Immediately after the assassination, the CIA’s Mexico City station warned CIA headquarters that the AP article might contain a vital clue about Oswald’s motives for killing Kennedy—and even about possible Cuban involvement. But according to the 1975 analysis, “There is no evidence in the files on the Kennedy assassination that the Castro interview was considered in following up leads or in dealing with the Warren Commission, although Mexico Station specifically directed headquarters to the AP story very shortly after the Dallas killing.”
Previously released internal documents from the Warren Commission show that one of the commission’s most aggressive staff lawyers believed that Castro’s remarks to the AP—and the possibility that Oswald read the article—might be of great significance in explaining Oswald’s motives. But the internal files show that more senior staff members decided against any reference to the AP article in the commission’s final report for fear of feeding conspiracy theories about a possible Cuban link to Kennedy’s death. It does not reflect well on the legacy of either the CIA or the commission that, half a century after those gunshots rang out in Dealey Plaza, the newly released documents suggest that at least some of those conspiracy theories might be true.
In what would be a surprising achievement, after the US government seized the site's domain, BTC-e announced that it has somehow retained access to customer wallets and deposits nearly two weeks after the site was taken down by a collaboration between US and European authorities.
The announcement was published on a bitcoin forum account long associated with the shadowy exchange, so there’s no guarantee that it represents an official statement from the company, or whatever’s left of it.
Authorities arrested the BTC-e’s alleged founder, Russian-born Alexander Vinnik, in Greece late last month after unveiling a 21-count indictment against Vinnik and BTC-e, which included a $110 million fine for the mysterious digital-currency exchange, as we reported.
The full statement is below, translated from the original Russian by Google.
Vinnik was accused of using the exchange to operate a $4 billion money laundering scheme using cryptocurrency. According to the indictment, Vinnik helped the hackers who stole tens of thousands of customer bitcoins from Mt. Gox in the largest, and probably most infamous, cybertheft in digital-currency history. The Fed’s described BTC-e as the “exchange of choice to convert digital currencies like bitcoin to fiat money for the criminal world, especially by those who committed their crimes online.”
This isn’t the first statement purportedly released by BTC-e since Vinnik’s arrest. A day after the site was seized, the same account published a note assuring customers that they would get their money back.
Of course, that didn’t stop some on twitter from making uncomfortable Mt. Gox comparisons.
— SirMeow UASF BIP148 (@OneSirMeow) July 27, 2017