Humint Events Online: April 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

So Much Winning

So the GDP for the 1st quarter of 2020 was -4.8% and the lock-downs didn't even START until the last two weeks of the quarter.

We're probably going to have an 18-month depression until there's a COVID-19 vaccine, and then even after that, a long recession as we climb out of it.

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Trump's Incredible Corruption Has Killed Tens of Thousands of Americans

So how exactly does a President who claims to be "tough on China" let a pandemic that originated in China get to the US and absolutely ravage us-- kill over 50,000 Americans and drive us into a depression? How is he not responsible for that? How is he not the most failed president ever?

But even THAT is putting aside what most people don't even know about-- his absolutely corrupt treachery with China:
15/... Trump's business dealings in *China* significantly *supersede* in size and scope his many failed dealings in Russia, his many failed dealings in Ukraine in the 2000s, or his Middle Eastern golf courses. 
16/ You can read all about Trump's conflicts of interest in China here—mind you, just a *few* of the ones we know about, as most are hidden within Trump's tax returns. The most obvious piece is scores of valuable trademarks timed to Trump policy decisions. 
17/ That's right: Trump—and Ivanka—get valuable Chinese trademarks in a way that appears timed to coincide with Trump's decisions on issues in which the Chinese government is invested. In this we see the *same trend* as with his pro-Kremlin foreign policy. 
18/ But it's more than just trademarks: Trump *owes the Chinese government hundreds of millions of dollars*. And the Trump-China scandal coincides with some of those debts coming due and some of Trump's income *from* China entering a period of uncertainty. 
19/ It was in this context—in the middle of a trade war with China *Trump started*—that Trump spoke with Chinese president Xi Jinping in June 2019 and did something a U.S. president never does: discussed *both* U.S. policy and his political rival (Biden). 
20/ Two notes about this CNN report: 1⃣ Trump's call with Xi came not long after his hand-picked AG "exculpated" him of wrongdoing in Russia—meaning he felt free to exchange in such conduct again. 2⃣ Trump's team *hid the transcript of the Trump-Xi call*. 
21/ If you track the calls we know Trump improperly used the NSC ("NICE") archive to hide from even his own administration—calls with Putin, MBS and Xi, plus the call with Zelensky that got him impeached—you can see that Trump *knows* when he's done wrong. 
22/ So in June 2019, Trump had a call with Chinese president Xi Jinping in which he talked about a trade war he (Trump) had started—a war which gave him leverage over China—and Biden's political prospects. And then Trump's team worked feverishly to hide what Trump had said to Xi. 
23/ We don't have to *wonder* what the connection is between Trump's trade war and Biden—Trump told us in October 2019. In that month, he discussed—in the same 30 seconds—his *leverage* with China and his request for Biden dirt from China. 
24/ So the question is not whether Trump commingled the trade war and Biden; or whether he wanted to hide that fact; or whether what he wanted from his "leverage" with China was dirt on Biden. All that is clear—and public. The question is: did Trump get the deal that he demanded? 
25/ The answer is *yes*. One of Trump's top men on trade negotiations in China, Michael Pillsbury, said he received *dirt on Biden* from *the Chinese government* the *very same week* Trump tied his "leverage" with the Chinese to his demand for Biden dirt. 
26/ Pillsbury: "I got quite a bit of background on Hunter Biden from the Chinese." The FINANCIAL TIMES reports "[it] relate[ed] to a $1.5bn payment from the Bank of China"—which "matches the amount Trump last week claimed Hunter Biden received from China."
27/ In Trump's public statements, he has said that the money Hunter Biden received in China somehow implicates Joe Biden in corruption involving the Chinese government—an accusation that follows Trump's career-long pattern of accusing others of whatever he himself has been doing. 
28/ As the summary of Trump's conflicts of interest by the Center for American Progress details, when Trump made his demand of the Chinese not only did he have "leverage" from the trade war he started to consider—a war which has hurt Americans—but also his rent at NYC properties. 
29/ Trump makes tens of millions of dollars renting to the Chinese—and one of his biggest payments was up for renegotiation in October '19, the month he talked about leverage over the Chinese and demanded dirt on his top political rival. But there's some context to consider here. 
30/ Remember that Trump and his family had long ago learned from major-media reporting that the Chinese were actively looking for clandestine ways to shift Trump's China policy using the business/personal interests of him and his family. All D.C. knew it. 
31/ Consider, then, that the $200+ million Trump owes the Chinese government is due "soon," per POLITICO, meaning Trump knows he has China's support for his re-election—as it has leverage over him it wants to keep—*and* that now is his time to cut a deal. 
32/ It is in this context—(1) Trump owing the Chinese $200+ million; (2) having them as a major renter bringing him tens of millions; (3) he and his family knowing they want to cut a clandestine deal; (4) him having coupled personal and U.S. policy and tried to hide it... {cont.} 
33/ ...(5) Pillsbury getting Biden dirt from the Chinese during the same 7-day period Trump demands it; and (6) Trump warning the Chinese that he has "leverage" to get what he wants because of the trade war *he* started—at the moment coronavirus appears in China in November 2019. 
34/ In November 2019, just a few weeks after Trump gets the Biden dirt he demanded from China, U.S. intelligence tells Trump that there is a virus emerging in China that could be dangerous. The intelligence is urgent and comes from multiple U.S. agencies. 
35/ Trump inexplicably rejects the intelligence. Indeed, his administration has so little interest in hearing the intelligence that *U.S. intelligence agencies* must focus on sharing the intelligence with NATO and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), instead. 
36/ But here's the rub: Trump receives intelligence on the novel coronavirus *as he's in the middle of trade negotiations* with the Chinese. And weeks after Trump learns of the virus, he makes the most stunning decision imaginable with respect to those negotiations—and the virus. 
37/ At a time Trump knew of the virus, per the senior White House correspondent at HUFFPOST China inserted in its trade negotiation with him an exceedingly rare trade-deal clause that excused China from compliance in the event of—for instance—a pandemic. 
38/ So at a time the Trump administration had received *and rejected* urgent U.S. intelligence on the coronavirus, it received from *China* a request for an exceptional, entirely unexplained "out" clause that would cover a pandemic. And what did Trump do? Nothing—he permitted it. 
39/ But he didn't just permit it—though he knew from the DHHS Crimson Contagion simulation, the NSC pandemic playbook, and papers submitted by White House economists that the virus he'd learned of in November could devastate the US, he sent China our PPEs. 
40/ WP: "US manufacturers shipped millions of dollars of face masks and other PPEs to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government—a move that underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat." 
41/ It was *after* that WASHINGTON POST report, of course, that we learned from ABC and THE TIMES OF ISRAEL that in fact Trump's team *did* recognize the growing pandemic threat—in November 2019—it's just that it did nothing about it (nor China's pandemic-oriented trade demands). 
42/ But it's more than this: Trump was being told by a cadre of Americans at the World Health Organization in December that there was a virus in China that could come to the U.S. and be devastating—further confirming the intel reports from 2 U.S. agencies. 
43/ It's with all of this in mind that we must consider the *80-day lapse* from Trump receiving intelligence about the virus in November 2019 from multiple agencies and the February 2 execution of Trump's China travel "ban"—which 40,000 got through no problem after it was issued. 
44/ Why did Trump reject—for *80 days*—bad news involving a nation he was involved in clandestine dealings with, despite having been told that the toll for his decision could be millions of US lives? What could've been worth so much to him? The same thing as ever—money and power. 
45/ There are so many details I've not included here. For instance, Pillsbury knew his revelation to FT that he secretly received Biden dirt from China was such a screwup, he *lied publicly* and said he'd never told FT *any* such thing. Then FT revealed they'd kept his emails. 
46/ The pattern of conduct here is of course *identical* to every *other* Trump bribery scandal: secret communications; destruction/hiding of evidence; public lies about meetings or exchanges; inexplicable official acts; public and private demands for illegal election assistance. 
47/ But there's a difference this time: 52,000 Americans (and counting) are *dead*. Many of them because Trump's response to the COVID-19 threat began in earnest in *mid-March 2020* rather than *mid-November 2019*. A fact that appears attributable to his deals with the Chinese.
The thread by Seth Abramson has the links for each of the statements.

In any case, the degree to which Trump is an utterly corrupt psychopathic scumbucket is just completely stunning.

Importantly, Trump's completely derelict pandemic response works for him being a Russian asset controlled by Putin, as of course Putin is trying to destroy the US.

Trump himself is a complete sociopath and a psychological horror show. Trump loves to create chaos and confusion because he thrives in that environment and can grab the story-line and attention more easily. So even though what he does is self-destructive and hurts the economy and country, it all feeds his NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). Which is why he's such a great asset for Russia.
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33 of the Day: Coronavirus Infection Edition

In the Santa Clara County study, researchers tested 3,330 volunteers for antibodies indicating exposure to the virus. Roughly 1.5 percent were positive.

Also, check this news item-- it's got the extra special double 33:

The overall infection fatality rate for the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 appears around 0.8%.

This is 8x higher than the flu but lower than the current case fatality rate we see in the US because we aren't testing enough people and only testing the sickest people.

The virus is much more lethal for the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions, while it's very rare that young people get sick and die from the virus. It IS a very deadly virus and the rightwing is downplaying to a dangerous degree. They are killing people. But the left is exaggerating it's severity too. The thing is though for public health, it's generally better to be safe than sorry.

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Trump Is the FBI's Frankenstein Monster

And they need to come clean about his past.

Really interesting interview here with "Lincoln's Bible".

Basically, imagine if mobster and FBI informant Whitey Bulger became president, and then increase his mob network to a global scale.

Also related to this recent post on Trump being an FBI confidential informant.
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Monday, April 13, 2020

Is Trump Protected as an FBI Confidential Informant?

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Roundup of News on the New Worst President Ever and Assorted Republican Perfidy

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"The End of the Nation-State"

Interesting piece by Hamid Dabashi:
The brutal naked violence states increasingly unleash on their nations signals their irreversible loss of legitimacy. 
As the world fretted earlier this month over the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by United States drones in Iraq and the possibility of World War III breaking out, an important anniversary passed almost unnoticed. A hundred years ago, this month, the League of Nations was created - the first supranational organisation made up of nation-states tasked with maintaining peace. 
It is perhaps quite ironic that this anniversary was marked by the extrajudicial killing of an Iranian man by US forces in a third sovereign country - Iraq. What were Soleimani, an Iranian general, and US forces doing in Iraq? 
The US is an empire with military bases around the world; its main ally, Israel is a European settler colony planted in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world by the British and now protected by the US. Iran is a regional power which commands proxy forces in countries including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen. Both the US and Iran reach beyond their borders, disregarding the sovereignty of nation-states and doing as they please, without regard to the will of these nations or their best interests. 
No major power is staying where the postcolonial fictive frontiers tell them to be. Saudi Arabia is in Yemen, France is in Mali, Russia is in Syria, Kenya is in Somalia, Iran is in Iraq and the US is all over the world. 
What is the point of all these borders that President Donald Trump wants to turn into formidable walls? How come global corporations and US fighter jets cross any border they want, but people must risk their lives to reach a place where they would like to live?   
One hundred years after the creation of the League of Nations, we should look back and wonder what happened to nation-states, sovereignty and the world of post-colonial borders that various colonial agreements drew back then. 
The monopoly of violence The weakness of the nation-state and lack of respect for sovereignty is not a recent phenomenon. 
In fact, I would argue that by the time Scottish economist Adam Smith wrote his Wealth of Nations in 1776, wealth was already not national and the condition of coloniality had made the very idea of a nation-state a mere bookkeeping necessity upon which national languages, national cultures, and national polities were superimposed. 
The idea of "the West" then became a civilisational category to separate the presumed centres of capitalist modernity from its colonial peripheries, which came to be seen as "the Rest". 
The ideological manufacturing of Islamic, Chinese, or Indian civilisations were all Orientalist projects to corroborate the centrality of "the Western civilisation" as an ideological cornerstone of the Eurocentric world order. 
But what we are experiencing today is no longer predicated on the grand narratives of European linear modernity or the global triumph of the condition of coloniality, terms and conditions through which we had understood much of our current history. The habitual Weberian conceptualisation of the "state" as an entity with a monopoly over violence which requires a certain degree of moral legitimacy is no longer operative. Nations have little to no trust in their states - states use, abuse and brutalise their own and other nations on their way to chitchat at the country club called "the United Nations", the successor of the League of Nations. 
In other words, we see illegitimate states wielding absolute and brutal power over their own nations and nations abroad without regard to the old imaginary boundaries that the Eurocentric order drew around nation-states. 
What are the consequences of the collapse of the very idea of the "nation-state", when states have no or little claim to a national basis for their sovereignty? From the works of Georges Sorel to Max Weber to Walter Benjamin to Frantz Fanon to Giorgio Agamben we have understood violence in politically or philosophically placated terms. From cutthroat ISIL fighters to the US military's categorical disregard for civilian casualties under Trump's presidency, the nature of violence has now drastically altered in physically more pure and naked forms. 
As ruling states become killing machines targeting nations, this pure violence is unleashed onto a bare life, a life shorn of its biographical dignity, stripped of civic protections and dispossessed of its rights. Whether at airports or refugee camps, at malls or sweatshops or lately at consulates, the vicious state, its surveillance arm and capitalist drive are mercilessly robbing life of its sanctity and liberty. The vicious, brutal butchering of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security officers at the Istanbul consulate is the most vivid case of the naked body of citizens at the disposal of their ruling states. 
Both naked violence and bare life are subjects of the total state, its epitome I see in the outfit that calls itself the Islamic State (IS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIL is an entirely modern state - that it is crossing the colonial boundaries does not mean it is a caliphate. Instead, it is a perfect picture of a total state predicated on pure violence targeting naked lives. 
ISIL as both historical genealogy and theoretical prototype exposes the pure violence and naked life and total and totalising nature at the root of all states. It is emblematic of our political truth today - a nation-less state in and of itself dismantling the very idea of the nation-state. Whether it is the militarised police in Brazil killing protesters with impunity, the militia-like army of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad massacring hundreds of thousands of civilians, the merciless security forces in the Philippines who are judge, jury and executioner of all suspected drug offenders, or the mass surveillance regime of the United Kingdom that reaches far into the most intimate details of private and family life, the intelligence agencies in the US, Israel and Iran running foreign assassination programmes, ISIL appears as the doppelganger of all states, and their true nature. ISIL was born under specific historical circumstances, by the combined forces of the US invasion and occupation and subsequent de-Baathification of the Iraqi state, and al-Assad's brutal crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations against his bloody rule in Syria. ISIL was and remains the bete noire of all the states around the globe that wish to defeat it (the US in particular), and yet ISIL is their alter ego. With its rise, ISIL declared the formal end of the nation-state by demonstrating how all states were in their essence a hidden ISIL, a total state without legitimate claim to any national sovereignty. 
Today the fate of nations is completely decoupled from the vagaries of the states that lay false claims on them. The case of Palestine, in which a European garrison state with no native nation rules over a native nation lacking a state is the most vivid example of the total and final severance between nations and states. All other ruling states from one end of the Arab and Muslim world to the other are similar to Israel, ruling over nations that are as violated as the Palestinians. 
The brutal struggle for existence has now totally preoccupied states and left nations to navigate the contours of their sovereignty for themselves. Throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America, revolutions have never been for and have never resulted in any meaningful, legitimate, and enduring postcolonial states. All these revolutions have done is produce one calamitous state after another. 
But at the same time, these revolutions have also sharpened the democratic impulses of the nations that have launched them. The accumulated historical memories of these nations have taught them never to trust or even to expect anything remotely resembling a representative democratic state. All these states stage a ludicrous spectacle they call elections, then agitate the basest populist, nativist, or xenophobic fears and fantasies of the mobs they control and call the result democracy. The final and complete abandoning of the delusion of state representation will liberate nations from any false presumptions and help them reclaim their sovereignty for themselves.

Not sure what he's getting at, in the end, but overall his points are interesting.
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Dylan's New JFK Assassination Song

Write up here.
"Murder Most Foul" begins at the literal and figurative scene of the crime. Its opening lines communicate exactly where Dylan believes the country's "soul was torn away." It was not due to an accident, or even the unfortunate luck of Lee Harvey Oswald's aim, that JFK died, taking something essential in the American spirit with him in his last breath. According to Dylan, it was a planned execution by an unnamed "they." 
The plural pronoun makes it clear that Dylan rejects the "lone gunman" theory of the Dallas assassination. The first verse has JFK, like Christ in Gethsemane, protesting his own fate, "He said, 'Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?'/ 'Of course we do, we know who you are'/ Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car." The "they" turns into a "we" with the boast, "We already got someone here to take your place." 
Within seconds of history — or a handful of lyrical lines — it is all over: "It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise/ Right there in front of everyone's eyes/ Greatest magic trick ever under the sun/ Perfectly executed, skillfully done." 
David Talbot, the founder of Salon and author of "Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years" and "The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government," provides more specific identification of "they" than Dylan. I asked him, over an exchange of emails, for his interpretation, based on his years of research, including countless interviews with journalists and former government officials. 
He wrote:  I believe the 'they' Dylan is referring to is the high-level national security operation led by deposed CIA Director Allen Dulles that targeted Kennedy, who was trying to prematurely end the Cold War, and then engineered the cover-up of the crime. Dulles conveniently got himself appointed to the Warren Commission, which pinned the assassination solely on the conveniently dead Oswald, and then played such a dominant role in the official investigation that it should have been called the Dulles Report.
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9/11 in the News

Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned his US counterpart George W. Bush about an imminent terrorist threat two days before the 9/11 attacks took place, a former CIA analyst has reportedly revealed. The warning is mentioned by George Beebee, a senior Bush-era CIA analyst, in his book titled “The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe,” which was released earlier this week, according to RT. 
“Putin had telephoned President Bush two days before the attacks to warn that Russian intelligence has detected signs of an incipient terrorist campaign, ‘something long in preparation,’ coming out of Afghanistan,” reads part of the book. 
Although Moscow’s warning to Washington has been public knowledge for years as top Russian intelligence officials talked about them shortly after the incident, Beebee suggested Bush had been warned by Putin personally meaning that it was not just limited to exchange between the intelligence agencies. 
The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage. US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account. They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda. 
In addition to Russia, Britain’s intelligence service and that of the United States itself had also warned of such an incident, however, it remains a mystery whether the White House heeded those warnings and did anything to prevent it. 
Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser and later secretary of state, also hinted at the mindset of the White House officials at the time in her memoirs. In ‘No Higher Honor,’ Rice did say that she had ignored an earlier warning from Putin about Saudi-funded extremists in Pakistan that the Russian president then said would cause a “major catastrophe.” Rice wrote, after dismissing the warning, she “chalked it up to Russian bitterness toward Pakistan for supporting the Afghan mujahideen” fighters during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan. 
A special review commission on 9/11 has found that disagreements still persist within the FBI over whether there was a broader conspiracy in the US to carry out the 2001 attacks. Former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden eluded US authorities for years in the wake of the attacks, but US Special Forces finally got a hold of him and killed him in 2011, during a raid in Pakistan.
Long piece on the 9/11 conspiracy and political power structures--
9/11 Truth: Under Lockdown for Nearly Two Decades
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Scenes from a Pandemic

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