Meet The Corrupt Billionaire Who Has Brought About A New Cold War

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One has to ask why there is a crisis in US-Russia relations since Washington and Moscow have much more in common than not, to include confronting international terrorism, stabilizing Syria and other parts of the world that are in turmoil, and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In spite of all that, the US and Russia are currently locked in a tit-for-tat unfriendly relationship somewhat reminiscent of the Cold War.

Apart from search for a scapegoat to explain the Hillary Clinton defeat, how did it happen?

 

Israel Shamir, a keen observer of the American-Russian relationship, and celebrated American journalist Robert Parry both think that one man deserves much of the credit for the new Cold War and that man is William Browder, a hedge fund operator who made his fortune in the corrupt 1990s world of Russian commodities trading.

Browder is also symptomatic of why the United States government is so poorly informed about international developments as he is the source of much of the Congressional “expert testimony” contributing to the current impasse. He has somehow emerged as a trusted source in spite of the fact that he has self-interest in cultivating a certain outcome. Also ignored is his renunciation of American citizenship in 1998, reportedly to avoid taxes. He is now a British citizen.

Browder is notoriously the man behind the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which exploited Congressional willingness to demonize Russia and has done so much to poison relations between Washington and Moscow. The Act sanctioned individual Russian officials, which Moscow has rightly seen as unwarranted interference in the operation of its judicial system.

Browder, a media favorite who self-promotes as “Putin’s enemy #1,” portrays himself as a selfless human rights advocate, but is he? He has used his fortune to threaten lawsuits for anyone who challenges his version of events, effectively silencing many critics. He claims that his accountant Sergei Magnitsky was a crusading “lawyer” who discovered a $230 million tax-fraud scheme that involved the Browder business interest Hermitage Capital but was, in fact, engineered by corrupt Russian police officers who arrested Magnitsky and enabled his death in a Russian jail.

Many have been skeptical of the Browder narrative, suspecting that the fraud was in fact concocted by Browder and his accountant Magnitsky. A Russian court recently supported that alternative narrative, ruling in late December that Browder had deliberately bankrupted his company and engaged in tax evasion. He was sentenced to nine years prison in absentia.

William Browder is again in the news recently in connection with testimony related to Russiagate. On December 16th Senator Diane Feinstein of the Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcript of the testimony provided by Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS. According to James Carden, Browder was mentioned 50 times, but the repeated citations apparently did not merit inclusion in media coverage of the story by the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico.

Fusion GPS, which was involved in the research producing the Steele Dossier used to discredit Donald Trump, was also retained to provide investigative services relating to a lawsuit in New York City involving a Russian company called Prevezon. As information provided by Browder was the basis of the lawsuit, his company and business practices while in Russia became part of the investigation. Simmons maintained that Browder proved to be somewhat evasive and his accounts of his activities were inconsistent. He claimed never to visit the United States and not own property or do business there, all of which were untrue, to include his ownership through a shell company of a $10 million house in Aspen Colorado. He repeatedly ran away, literally, from attempts to subpoena him so he would have to testify under oath.

Per Simmons, in Russia, Browder used shell companies locally and also worldwide to avoid taxes and conceal ownership, suggesting that he was likely one of many corrupt businessmen operating in what was a wild west business environment.

My question is, “Why was such a man granted credibility and allowed a free run to poison the vitally important US-Russia relationship?” The answer might be follow the money. Israel Shamir reports that Browder was a major contributor to Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who was the major force behind the Magnitsky Act.

Newsweek Publisher Caught Defrauding Gov Agency In Ad Revenue Scheme

A scheme by the publisher of Newsweek and the International Business Times to buy fraudulent traffic in order to help secure a major ad contract from a US government agency has come to light in a new report released by independent ad fraud researchers. 

According to the report, IBTimes.com won a major video and display advertising contract from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – a federal oversight agency created six years ago as the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Social Puncher, a consulting firm that investigates online ad fraud, notes in its report that “ads purchased by the CFPB were displayed to an audience that includes a significant amount of “cheap junk traffic with a share of bots – effectively defrauding the agency. 

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socialpuncher.com

When it comes to IBT’s fraudulent traffic practices, Social Puncher’s findings align with reporting from BuzzFeed News on IBT India, and with separate data gathered by Pixalate, an ad fraud detection company, and DoubleVerify, a digital media measurement company. (Social Puncher and BuzzFeed News previously collaborated on ad fraud investigations, but worked separately in this case.)

Based on what it described as a detailed investigation, DoubleVerify this week classified IBT’s US, UK, India, and Singapore sites as “as having fraud or sophisticated invalid traffic,” according COO Matt McLaughlin. DoubleVerify is now blocking all ad impressions on these sites on behalf of customers.

In response to questions from BuzzFeed News, Newsweek Media Group, the parent company of IBT, acknowledged it purchases audiences from ad networks that sell pop-up and pop-under traffic. It said this traffic represents a “small percentage of traffic on our sites” and denied any fraudulent activity. –Buzzfeed

“We use third-party platforms to verify and filter this traffic to ensure it is of the highest quality. This verification process prevents poor-quality traffic being redirected to our sites and we consistently score highly on various third-party ad verification platforms,” the company said. It declined to name the third-party verification partners it works with.

The CFPB, now headed by Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney, told BuzzFeed News that the bureau is looking into the allegations. 

We take allegations of fraud very seriously. Acting Director Mulvaney is actively looking into the work done by GMMB, and these allegations [of ad fraud by IBTimes.com] will be investigated as part of that process,” the spokesperson said.

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Mick Mulvaney
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socialpuncher.com

The CFPB has come under fire in recent months after it was discovered that the agency established a “secret slush fund” to funnel penalties collected from defendants to Democrat causes. 

A consultant who worked with the highly politicized Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) claims the organization funneled a large portion of over $5 billion in collected penalties to “community organizers aligned with Democrats” as part of a giant slush fund, the Post reported in early December. 

[The CFPB] Funneled a large portion of the more than $5 billion in penalties collected from defendants to community organizers aligned with Democrats — “a slush fund by another name,” said a consultant who worked with CFPB on its Civil Penalty Fund and requested anonymity.

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Created six years ago as the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren and slipped into the Dodd Frank bill before it was passed by Congressional Democrats, the CFPB became one of the most powerful agencies in D.C., with the ability to exercise enormous power over the U.S. economy while its budget remained unencumbered by congressional oversight. As one Hill writer put it:

The problem is that this agency and its director were set up to be free from the control of the Congress. Congress’s fundamental obligation to oversee and fund such bureaus or agencies is short-circuited when it comes to the CFPB. In structuring it in the manner written by now-Sen. Warren (D-Mass.), the law abrogated the idea of a government by the people, for the people and of the people.

Instead, it established an autocratic and unaccountable power center for people of Warren’s ideological persuasion — those who view our market economy as an enemy that must be managed by a chosen few. The creation of the CFPB as a rogue agency with a dictatorial leader is one of the most significant acts of malfeasance perpetrated on the American constitutional system since the Sedition Acts of 1798. 

With the reins of the CPFB handed over to Mick Mulvaney in December following the resignation of Obama-era Director Richard Cordray, it appears that IBTimes.com’s government-funed gravy train has just been derailed. 

Walter Williams: “Immigration Lies And Hypocrisy”

Authored by Walter Williams via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

President Donald Trump reportedly asked why the U.S. is “having all these people from shithole countries come here.” I think he could have used better language, but it’s a question that should be asked and answered.

 

I have a few questions for my fellow Americans to consider.

How many Norwegians have illegally entered our nation, committed crimes and burdened our prison and welfare systems? I might ask the same question about Finnish, Swedish, Welsh, Icelanders, Greenlanders and New Zealanders. The bulk of our immigration problem is with people who enter our country criminally from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. It’s illegal immigrants from those countries who have committed crimes and burdened our criminal justice and welfare systems. A large number of immigrants who are here illegally — perhaps the majority are law-abiding in other respects — have fled oppressive, brutal and corrupt regimes to seek a better life in America.

In the debate about illegal immigration, there are questions that are not explicitly asked but can be answered with a straight “yes” or “no”: Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the U.S.? Do Americans have a right to decide who and under what conditions a person may enter our country? Should we permit foreigners landing at our airports to ignore U.S. border control laws just as some ignore our laws at our southern border? The reason those questions are not asked is that one would be deemed an idiot for saying that everyone in the world has a right to live in our country, that Americans don’t have a right to decide who lives in our country and that foreigners landing at our airports have a right to just ignore U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Immigration today, even when legal, is different from the immigration of yesteryear. People who came here in the 19th century and most of the 20th century came here to learn our language, learn our customs and become Americans. Years ago, there was a guarantee that immigrants came here to work, because there was no welfare system; they worked, begged or starved. Today, there is no such assurance. Because of our welfare state, immigrants can come here and live off taxpaying Americans.

There is another difference between today and yesteryear. Today, Americans are taught multiculturalism throughout their primary, secondary and college education. They are taught that one culture is no better or worse than another. To believe otherwise is criticized at best as Eurocentrism and at worst as racism. As a result, some immigrant groups seek to bring to our country the cultural values whose failures have led to the poverty, corruption and human rights violations in their home countries that caused them to flee. As the fallout from President Trump’s indelicate remarks demonstrates, too many Americans are afraid and unwilling to ask which immigrant groups have become a burden to our nation and which have made a contribution to the greatness of America.

Very unfortunate for our nation is that we have political groups that seek to use illegal immigration for their own benefit. They’ve created sanctuary cities and states that openly harbor criminals — people who have broken our laws. The whole concept of sanctuary cities is to give aid, comfort and sympathy to people who have broken our laws. Supporters want to prevent them from having to hide and live in fear of discovery. I’d ask whether, for the sake of equality before the law, we should apply the sanctuary concept to Americans who have broken other laws, such as robbers and tax evaders.

We should not fall prey to people who criticize our efforts to combat illegal immigration and who pompously say, “We’re a nation of immigrants!” The debate is not over immigration. The debate is over illegal immigration.

My sentiments on immigrants who are here legally and who want to become Americans are expressed by the sentiments in Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” which is on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty and in part says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”