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This mystery is dark and deep, as it is demanding for the fast and the efficient answers. – M.N. – 10:51 AM 11/8/2018

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This mystery is dark and deep, as it is demanding for the fast and the efficient answers. 

The question is: Are the mass shootings a spontaneous social phenomenon, as a reflection of the various social and psychological pressures or is it the man-made phenomenon, produced and performed by design, as for example, in the hypothetical hostile Intelligence or the Organised Crime type of the operations which they do very much look like, in their common features? The approaches to study of these completely different phenomena will also be very different: you can try to discern some patterns in the natural phenomena but the man-made phenomena cannot be studied statistically, since there no natural correlations. They require completely different, not the quantitative but the qualitative types of the analysis and research, which makes it the subject of the Hermeneutic (Interpretative) Criminological enterprise. 

These mass shootings do have quite significant demoralizing effect on the Society (and that exactly what their purpose is, to induce fear and uncertainty), and they have to be taken seriously. They have to be studied from the correct methodological perspectives. 

If it is a man-made phenomenon, it becomes the area of concern for the Counterintelligence Services, to put it briefly and up to the point. Of course, everything is easier said than done, and the opponent is quite sophisticated despite the “exhibitionistic ham-handedness”. I wish I could give some specific advice but I cannot, this mystery is dark and deep, as it is demanding for the fast and the efficient answers. 

M.N. 

11.8.18


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7:52 AM 6/21/2018 – FBI report on mass shootings: Most shooters don’t have mental illness, get guns legally

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks 

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fbi report on mass shootings – Google Search

Most shooters don’t have mental illness, get guns legally

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Most shooters got their guns legally, didn’t have diagnosed mental …

USA TODAY9 hours ago
mass shooting researcher discusses how a shooter’s history can push people … A FBI truck sits in front of the church while investigators worked at the scene … In a new report released Wednesday, the bureau shed light on …
Most shooters didn’t have diagnosed mental illness, new FBI report says
<a href=”http://WFMYNews2.com” rel=”nofollow”>WFMYNews2.com</a>7 hours ago
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New FBI Study Shows Mass Shooters Aren’t Loners Who Suddenly …

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But the reality of mass shootings in America is starkly different from … Here, the FBI report underscores a crucial distinction—that this is not the …
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New FBI Data on Active Shooters Shows the Importance of Armed …

National ReviewMay 25, 2018
In many ways, it’s a better metric for our nation’s massshooting problem …. In the conclusion of the latest report, it declares that the “selfless” …
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US judge dismisses Charleston shooting lawsuits, criticizes FBI

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… has dismissed 16 lawsuits filed by survivors of a 2015 mass shooting at … a police report in which Roof admitted to unlawful drug possession, …
Most shooters don’t have mental illness, get guns legally

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A mass shooting researcher discusses how a shooter’s history can push people to commit mass killings. USA TODAY

A FBI truck sits in front of the church while investigators worked at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. The FBI had access to the shooter’s cell phone but couldn’t access its contents.(Photo: EPA-EFE/LARRY W. SMITH)

As mass shootings filter in and out of the news cycle at an almost dizzying pace with each new tragedy, the FBI has continued to probe why these atrocities continue and what can be done to stop them.

In a new report released Wednesday, the bureau shed light on behaviors of shooters before they acted out, finding most obtained a gun legally and did not have diagnosed mental health issues, points that run contrary to some popular beliefs.

Active shooting incidents have continued to plague the nation but last year, there were 30 incidents across the U.S. — the highest number since the FBI began tracking the phenomenon. Last year also broke a record for the highest death toll in any single year.

“Faced with so many tragedies, society routinely wrestles with a fundamental question: can anything be done to prevent attacks on our loved ones, our children, our schools, our churches, concerts and communities?” the study says. “There is cause for hope because there is something that can be done.”

More: FBI: More active shooting incidents in 2017 than any other year recorded

The 30-page report examines active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2013 and suspects in 63 cases, finding suspects showed signs before they attacked but law enforcement wasn’t notified in more than half the cases until it was too late.

Forty percent of suspects purchased a firearm or multiple guns legally for the sole purpose of an attack. Another 35 percent already legally owned a gun before planning an attack, meaning 75 percent of active shooter incidents reviewed by the FBI legally owned the gun they used in the attack.

The remaining suspects stole, borrowed or purchased a weapon illegally.

The FBI could only verify that 25 percent of the gunmen examined in the study had any type of mental illness diagnoses, including disorders affecting mood, anxiety and personality.

The study noted, although, that a large portion of shooters, about 62 percent, were dealing with stressors in their lives such as depression, anxiety and paranoia before their attack.

Those symptoms don’t mean the suspect was necessarily dealing with a mental illness and the conclusion that all active shooters are mentally ill is both “misleading and unhelpful,” the bureau said.

“In light of the very high lifetime prevalence of the symptoms of mental illness among the U.S. population, formally diagnosed mental illness is not a very specific predictor of violence of any type, let alone targeted violence,” the study says. “Careful consideration should be given to social and contextual factors that might interact with any mental health issue before concluding that an active shooting was ’caused’ by mental illness.”

Follow Christal Hayes on Twitter: Journo_Christal

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Australia hasn’t had a fatal mass shooting since 1996. Here’s what changed about the country’s gun laws.

Read or Share this story: <a href=”https://usat.ly/2K1KFuM” rel=”nofollow”>https://usat.ly/2K1KFuM</a>

https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-incidents-us-2016-2017.pdf

active-shooter-incidents-us-2016-2017


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9:50 AM 2/20/2018 – Not doing enough to stop mass shootings…

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Latest 10 – Saved Stories 9:50 AM 2/20/2018

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More than three-quarters of respondents to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll said Congress is not doing enough to stop mass shootings, while just over 60 percent said the same of President Donald Trump.

The poll was conducted last week and over the weekend in the wake of a shooting at a Florida high school, where a former student opened fire and killed 17 people.

Of those polled, 62 percent said Trump is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings in the U.S. and 77 percent said the same of Congress.

Fifty percent said they would support a nationwide ban on assault weapons, which are often the firearm used in mass shootings, while 46 percent said they would oppose such a ban. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to the poll said they believed stricter gun control laws could have prevented last weeks shooting, compared to 37 percent who said tighter laws would not have prevented it.

Fifty-one percent said the shooting could not have been prevented if teachers were allowed to carry guns, while 42 percent said such rules could have stopped it. More effective mental health screening and treatment could have stopped the shootings, 77 percent of respondents said.

Last weeks high school shooting, among the deadliest in U.S. history, has prompted renewed calls for tougher gun control laws. On Monday, the White House indicated that Trump supports strengthening background checks for gun purchases. The president also singled out the gunmans reported mental health issues as the underlying problem behind the attack.

Respondents to the Washington Post/ABC News poll seemed to agree with the president on that point: 57 percent said mass shootings in the U.S. are a reflection of problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems while just 28 percent said such shootings are the product of inadequate gun control laws.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted from Feb. 15-18, reaching 808 adults nationwide on cell phones and landlines. The polls margin of error was plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

 

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Majority polled says Trump, Congress not doing enough to stop mass shootings
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Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress aredoing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment… 

9:13 AM 2/20/2018

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ABC News
Most see inaction on mass shootings; mental health screening is a priority (POLL)
ABC News
Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading 
Poll: Stricter gun laws could have prevented Parkland school massacreKTRK-TVall 8 news articles »

 

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12:12 PM 2/17/2018 – WSJ.com Video – News: 20 Years of School Shootings

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WSJ.com Video – News: 20 Years of School Shootings

Since 1998, there have been more than a dozen shootings at kindergarten, elementary, middle and high schools that resulted in multiple deaths. These are some of the victims. Photo composite: Heather Seidel for The Wall Street JournalWSJ.com Video – News
Image result for Head bowed, Florida shooting suspect returns to court for hearing

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11:13 AM 2/16/2018 – There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year

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There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year: Everytown – ABC News


ABC News
There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year: Everytown
ABC News
There have been 18 school shootings in the first 45 days of 2018, according to a nonprofit group. Interested in Florida School Shooting? Add Florida School Shooting as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Florida School Shooting news, video 
Eighteen years of gun violence in US schools, mappedWashington Post
12 school shootings in KS and MO in last 5 yearsKSHB
Mass shootings in the US: When, where they have occurred in 2018ABC15 Arizona
WCVB Boston
all 21 news articles »

 

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8:54 AM 2/15/2018 | School shootings Review – 2.15.18

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School shootings Review – 2.15.18

Parkland, Florida


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Was expelled from HS for “always having guns on him”: 6:40 AM 2/15/2018 – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Nikolas Cruz – 2.14.18 – A “Valentine postcard”…

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Was expelled from HS for “always having guns on him” 

2.15.18

Image result for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Google Search

Image result for Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz – Google Search 

6:40 AM 2/15/2018
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – 2.14.18 (Valentine Day) | School Shootings | Mass Shootings | Mass Killings

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Nikolas Cruz – Google Search
 

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Story image for Nikolas Cruz from Business Insider

Here’s what we know about Nikolas Cruz, the suspected 19-year-old …

Business Insider1 hour ago
Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has been identified as the suspect in the shooting that killed at least 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. Cruz was reportedly armed with an AR-15-styled semiautomatic rifle and “countless magazines,” the Broward …
Nikolas Cruz: Suspected Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School …
Local SourceSun Sentinel12 hours ago
Is the Florida High School Shooter a ‘Dreamer’?
Fact Check<a href=”http://Snopes.com” rel=”nofollow”>Snopes.com</a>8 hours ago
Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect, Was Expelled From School
InternationalNew York Times7 hours ago

Media image for Nikolas Cruz from TIME

TIME

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Telegraph.co.uk

Media image for Nikolas Cruz from New York Times

New York Times

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The Independent

Media image for Nikolas Cruz from Daily Star

Daily Star

Media image for Nikolas Cruz from thejournal.ie

thejournal.ie

Story image for Nikolas Cruz from Daily Star

‘He was a problem’ Florida shooter’s family BREAKS SILENCE …

Daily Star2 hours ago
The lawyer told journalist Amy Viteri his family “had no idea” what Cruz was planning and are “stunned” by his abhorrent shooting spree. “Just spoke with attorney representing family who took in Nikolas Cruz after his mother’s death. He says family had no idea of what Cruz was planning. And is stunned by …
Nikolas Cruz’s Parents, Roger & Lynda Cruz: 5 Fast Facts You Need …
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<a href=”http://PopCulture.com” rel=”nofollow”>PopCulture.com</a>6 hours ago

Nikolas Cruz – Google Search
 

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After Sandy Hook, More Than 430 People Have Been Shot in 273 School Shootings – New York Times
 

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New York Times
After Sandy Hook, More Than 430 People Have Been Shot in 273 School Shootings
New York Times
When a gunman killed 20 first graders and six adults with an assault rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it rattled Newtown, Conn., and reverberated across the world. Since then, there have been at least 273 school shootings nationwide. In
CNN’s Don Lemon asks, after the Florida school shooting: ‘Do you feel safe tonight?’The Week Magazine
Don’t look to Trump for leadership after the Florida school shootingThe Guardian
Democratic senator slams Congress for not doing enough to prevent mass shootingsBusiness Insider
The Atlantic
all 4 news articles »
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Google Search
 

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Story image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from TIME

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Was Targeted by a Shooter …

TIME14 hours ago
Police are responding Wednesday to reports of an active shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where officials say at least 14 people have been injured. “Today, close to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s dismissal, students and staff heard what sounded like …
BSO: active shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Highly CitedWSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale15 hours ago

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from Express.co.uk

Express.co.uk

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from VICE News

VICE News

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from Metro

Metro

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from The Sun

The Sun

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from Business Insider

Business Insider

Media image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from Vox

Vox

Story image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from Washington Times

17 dead in Florida high school shooting

Washington Times6 hours ago
… fire Wednesday on students at his former high school in ParklandFlorida, killing at least 17 people, leaving 14 others wounded, and sparking anew debates over troubled teens, firearms and school safety. Police said Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, …

Story image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from The Times of Israel

Jewish students among dead, injured in Florida school shooting

The Times of Israel7 hours ago
Parents wait for news after reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida., on February 14, 2018. … Jewish students were among the killed and wounded in a mass shooting on Wednesday at a Florida high school, according to local rabbis and news reports. A former …

Story image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from CNN

Deadly Florida school shooting

CNN10 hours ago
At least 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, February 14. More from US. Teacher hid 19 students in a closet when a gunman opened fire · Ex-detective: Washington inaction infuriating · Florida suspect’s digital profile ‘very, very disturbing’.

Story image for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida from TCPalm

School shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in …

TCPalm13 hours ago
Dalila Ladero, 16, of Coral Springs, stands near friends after being reunited with her mother Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018, at University Drive and Holmberg Road in Parkland. “When all that happened, I wasn’t in my class, I just started following people…I was just seeing everyone screaming and crying and I …
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story .

Image result for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida

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PUERTO RICO WATER INVESTIGATIONS – Google Search

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Nikolas Cruz – Google Search
Nikolas Cruz – Google Search
After Sandy Hook, More Than 430 People Have Been Shot in 273 School Shootings – New York Times
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Google Search
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – Google Search
PUERTO RICO WATER INVESTIGATIONS – Google Search
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Donald Trumps handpicked CIA Director is looking guiltier than ever in the Trump-Russia scandal
US forces reportedly killed more than 100 Russian mercenaries inside Syria – Vox
The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Wray We Were – The Atlantic
The FBI just made the Rob Porter scandal even worse for Donald Trump
Intel chiefs warn Congress Russia intent on interfering with 2018 midterms – ABC News

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10:06 AM 1/6/2018 – michael birnkrant santa clarita

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michael birnkrant santa clarita – Google Search 

Interpretation: Michael, birn (burn) [your] krant (newspaper or blog publishing, and, in Russian – water faucet, “krant”), and/or: “bir-n-krant”. [You], “Santa Clarita” (the saintly clarity, the innocent simplicity, “svytaya prostota” – святая простота – ironically, etc.). Clarity and simplicity or “simple-tonicity” are two different things. 

Image result for кран водопроводный на английском

krant meaning | кран водопроводный на английском 

святая простота – O sancta simplicitas! 

Definition of sancta simplicitas: holy innocence often used ironically in reference to another’s naïveté. 

сжечь кранты феня: “Кранты – задержан или арестован; конец надеждам… Сжечь – неосмотрительными действиями выдать соучастников.”

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Santa Clarita Father Shot 2 Children, His Wife in Suspected Murder-Suicide: Sheriffs Officials
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Family of 4 Killed in Suspected ‘Murder-Suicide’ at Santa Clarita Home: Sheriff’s Department – KTLA
Santa Clarita Father Shot 2 Children, His Wife in Suspected Murder-Suicide: Sheriffs Officials
 

Santa Clarita Family Killed in Suspected Murder-Suicide

A family of four, including an 11-year-old boy, were killed in a suspected murder-suicide that appears to have been committed by a father in Santa Clarita Friday morning, authorities said.

Those killed were identified by friends as 51-year-old Michael Birnkrant, his 47-year-old wife, Amy, and their two children — daughter Drew who is in her early 20s and an 11-year-old son.

The Birnkrant family, from left: Michael, Amy, Drew and an 11-year-old son, are seen in photos shared by friends and on social media.The Birnkrant family, from left: Michael, Amy, Drew and an 11-year-old son, are seen in photos shared by friends and on social media.

Photos posted on daughter Drew Birnkrant’s social media accounts showed her with her younger brother, the friends confirmed.

The shooting “appears to be a murder-suicide in which the husband shot and killed three individuals and then turned the gun on himself,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Rodney Moore said.

All were found shot in the chest in their Pacific Hills home, and a gun was located near Michael’s body, according to investigators.

The bodies were not all in one room, but rather across different locations throughout the house, Moore said.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of the killings in the 28800 block of Startree Lane at about 7 a.m. after friends of Amy’s requested a welfare check at the home on Friday after not seeing her for a few days, officials said.

It is unclear how long the bodies were there or when exactly the killings happened, Moore said.

The bodies were removed from the scene Friday night by the L.A. County coroner’s office.

Moore said investigators are not looking for a suspect and there was no indication of a break-in. Officials are still investigating if a motive could possibly be behind the slayings.

Neighbors and friends told KTLA Amy and the children were involved in the community and well-liked, but Michael not as much.

Amy was described as an avid runner who operated a day care center, Amy’s Corner, from the home. No children were present at the time of the killings, a law enforcement official confirmed.

Michael drove for movie studios and didn’t speak with neighbors much, they said.

“It’s devastating to know of anybody doing this, let alone a neighbor,” said Sandy Barajas, who lives nearby. “Heartbreaking … those children are gone. they’re gone. That family, a family of four … they’re gone.”

KTLA’s Erika Martin and Meghan McMonigle contributed to this story.

Husband Kills Wife, Children in `Murder-Suicide`

4 Dead in Murder-Suicide in Santa Clarita: LASD

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Santa Clarita Father Shot 2 Children, His Wife in Suspected Murder …

KTLA11 hours ago
A family of four, including an 11-year-old boy, were killed in a suspected murder-suicide that appears to have been committed by a father in Santa Clarita Friday morning, authorities said. Those killed were identified by friends as 51-year-old Michael Birnkrant, his 47-year-old wife, Amy, and their two …
Michael & Amy Birnkrant: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
<a href=”http://Heavy.com” rel=”nofollow”>Heavy.com</a>7 hours ago

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California family dead in apparent murder-suicide

Fox News3 hours ago
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies went to the house in Santa Clarita — about 35 miles north of dpowntown L.A. — early Friday after getting a call from someone … Found fatally shot were Michael Birnkrant, 51, wife, Amy, 47, their college-age daughter, Drew, and 11-year-old son, in what appeared to be a …
Family of 4 Killed in Suspected ‘Murder-Suicide’ at Santa Clarita Home: Sheriff’s Department – KTLA
 


KTLA
Family of 4 Killed in Suspected ‘Murder-Suicide’ at Santa Clarita Home: Sheriff’s Department
KTLA
A family of four, including a boy believed to be just 11 or 12 years old, were killed in a suspected murder-suicide that investigators say appears to have been committed by a father in Santa Clarita, authorities said Friday morning. Those killed 
4 Found Shot Dead in Santa Clarita Home in Apparent Murder-Suicide: AuthoritiesNBC Southern California
4 dead, including boy, in Santa Clarita murder-suicide, sheriff’s officials sayKABC-TV
4 killed, including boy, in shooting inside Santa Clarita homeLos Angeles Times
FOX 11 Los Angeles –CBS Los Angeles
all 32 news articles »

 


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Graffiti in Seattle: Two Sides of the Spray Can | KCTS 9 – Public Television

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Its hard to imagine Seattle, or any other major American city devoid of graffiti. But up until the late 1970s, there simply wasnt any. It took the urban hip-hop movement, which began in the big cities of the mid-Atlantic like New York and Philadelphia, to catalyze Seattles graffiti scene. And when it did, it exploded like a cultural bomb.

It was everywhere, says Specs, a graffiti writer (as most of those who paint graffiti prefer to be called) who began as a kid in Seattles Georgetown neighborhood in the early 1980s. We knew we were starting something, we just didnt know what it was at the time.

Graffiti pioneer Specs first started writing in 1983. He says graffiti should be given a place in the city but that wanton destruction of private property crosses the line. Samples of his work can be seen at MOHAIs The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit: Eric BrandtGraffiti pioneer Specs first started writing in 1983. He says graffiti should be given a place in the city but that wanton destruction of private property crosses the line. Samples of his work can be seen at MOHAIs The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit: Eric Brandt

Graffiti is one of the four main pillars of hip-hop culture, the others being emceeing (or rapping), DJing and break dancing. Specs, who still writes graffiti, puts out albums and is generally regarded as one of the pioneers of Seattles hip-hop scene, broke into all of it at the same time. But graffiti spoke to him loudest. I was annoyed by advertising all over the city, and all these messages that had nothing to do with me, he says. It was this mysterious, physical language that just floored me and I took to it right away. I became addicted.  

Graffiti spread throughout Seattles poorer, more industrial areas and eventually throughout the city itself, even throughout downtown and in the historic neighborhoods.

But even in the 1980s reactions were varied. Some condemned it right away, others wanted it only in certain places, and then there were those who embraced it and advocated for it, mostly because it was kids, says Specs in his Capitol Hill group house apartment. Mostly they condemned it.

The citys policy towards graffiti was largely fluid until 1994, when the Graffiti Nuisance Ordinance was signed into law. This legislation required property owners to remove graffiti from their premises within 10 days of a report or face fines of $100 a day up to $5000. Small business and residential property owners started to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in clean up costs and became partners in the fight against graffiti, which started to get eradicated or buffed from many up-and-coming neighborhoods. Then, in 2001, Seattle started offering $1000 rewards for information leading to a graffiti arrest, leading to a number of large-scale busts that resulted in jail time. But writers continued to voice themselves.


Baso Fibonacci, a Seattle artist, began writing around this time. I loved graffiti from the moment I saw it, he says. The combination of artistic creativity and anti-establishment statement appealed to me. Baso, now in his 30s, wrote all over the city and honed his painting skills, before an accident in the mid 2000s changed his life forever. He was writing a tag on a bridge in the city when he lost his footing and fell. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. But his artistic endeavors and his love for graffiti have continued unabated. Even as the city has moved to crack down on the illegal practice even further.
Well-known artist and muralist Baso Fibonacci honed his skills as a graffiti artist.  He was paralyzed from the waist down after falling from a bridge while painting, but still advocates for graffiti. Eric Brandt

Well-known artist and muralist Baso Fibonacci honed his skills as a graffiti artist. He was paralyzed from the waist down after falling from a bridge while painting, but still advocates for graffiti. Eric Brandt
In 2010 the City Council voted to create a full time graffiti detective position within the Seattle Police Department. In 2011, Detective Christopher Young, a former sexual assault and child abuse detective with the department (and detective of the year in 2007) took the job. Since then hes tracked many of the most notorious graffiti writers in the area and made a number of key arrests and convictions.
The majority of graffiti vandals are not artists, says Young. The vast majority of them arent concerned about art in the least. Theyre online on forums sharing pictures of tags and having a competition with their buddies as to who can get up (get their name up throughout the city) the most. Todays graffiti is done mostly by white males, their average age is about 22, and theyre doing it for a rush, for some excitement, and for their own self aggrandizement. Not for art.
Young says he fields about 800 reports of illegal graffiti a year, a number that has stayed fairly consistent since he first began investigating the practice. I pretty much concentrate on the 10 or 12 most egregious vandals, he says. I catch them in the act or find out who they are and then I convince them to stop or leave the city.

Detective Chris Young of the Seattle Police Department inspects a freshly painted piece of graffiti near government buildings in downtown Seattle.  The City Council created a dedicated graffiti detective position in 2011. Eric BrandtDetective Chris Young of the Seattle Police Department inspects a freshly painted piece of graffiti near government buildings in downtown Seattle. The City Council created a dedicated graffiti detective position in 2011. Eric Brandt

According to many of Seattles graffiti writers, some of the most active are indeed leaving the city, going to places like Detroit where the climate is a bit more tolerant and there is a lot of property to tag that wont be cleaned up right away if at all. Since Detective Young started, Seattle has avoided the major uptick in graffiti being felt in many cities from San Francisco to Albuquerque, and has been able to keep it away from the most economically important parts of the city.

People like to come to these places to work, to go shopping, and if they see graffiti everywhere, theyre going to think its gang warfare on the streets of Seattle, even if its done mostly by harmless kids, says Young. Perception is reality and we have to take these perceptions into account. Its bad for business.

A hard-to-reach graffiti tag over the north end of the Highway 99 viaduct.  The goal for some graffiti writers is to paint their tag name in as many visible spots as possible. Eric BrandtA hard-to-reach graffiti tag over the north end of the Highway 99 viaduct. The goal for some graffiti writers is to paint their tag name in as many visible spots as possible. Eric Brandt

But new writers have continued to tag throughout the city. A local writer whose tag name is Snoman avidly practices his craft at his rental house coffee table in preparation for a nighttime hit. He says graffiti isnt about a rush or fulfilling an addiction as many non-writers claim, but a direct response to societal norms. Its a product of me and my environment, he says. Today in America its all about being famous; its all about me, me, me. So as a tagger its your way of getting your name out there and making people take notice, but still staying secretive and underground. And maybe it shakes people up a bit. So you figure out a quick way of getting your name out there in a simple tag. Thats why people think its ugly … were putting it up as quick as possible a lot of the time.  

Tonight, Snoman paints a large mural on a public wall beneath a railroad. Hes able to take his time, adding three colors and 3D outlines to make the name pop. And then he slips back into the night. Two days later his tag is already buffed. But hes not fazed. Just another canvas for us now, he says.

Some organizations in Seattle are trying to get beyond this antagonism. We want give people second chances, tap into their talents and get them paid, says Kathleen Warren, Director of Urban Artworks, a 20-year-old non-profit based in Seattles International District. Urban Artworks works with youth who have gotten in legal trouble many of them for trespassing and vandalism offenses stemming from graffiti to create public works of art throughout the city. Many of their contributors are small businesses who would rather pay for legal murals and other works of art than for graffiti clean up.

At Urban Artworks International District studios, Kathleen Warren helps one of the instructors plan for an upcoming project.  Urban Artworks works with local small businesses and adjudicated youth to create public art projects and deter vandalism. Eric BrandtAt Urban Artworks International District studios, Kathleen Warren helps one of the instructors plan for an upcoming project. Urban Artworks works with local small businesses and adjudicated youth to create public art projects and deter vandalism. Eric Brandt

Theres a light switch that goes of in many cases, says Warren. We tell them were going to paint this piece of art and get paid for it and its going to stay up. Why? they ask. Well, because we asked permission. The organization has put up more than 100 murals and other projects throughout the city, many of them in places where graffiti removal has been especially costly.  

There are too many negative aspects to Graffiti, Warren says. From being arrested and getting into the court system to costing small businesses money. I dont want to get rid of it in fact I think it adds character and layers to any city but if its ruining kids lives and costing business owners money, its better to channel that energy into something positive.

Some local writers have been able to make the switch from graffiti tagger to paid artist, but Detective Young doesnt see places like Urban Artworks as solutions to the most egregious offenses. That assumes theyre doing it for art. Which they are not, he says. The graffiti vandals who actually have artistic talent are rare. 

Artist Baso Fibonacci passes by his mural outside the Fred Wildlife Refuge in Capitol Hill.  The huge floral designs are done entirely in spray paint. Eric BrandtArtist Baso Fibonacci passes by his mural outside the Fred Wildlife Refuge in Capitol Hill. The huge floral designs are done entirely in spray paint. Eric Brandt

On a rainy January afternoon, Baso Fibonacci leads us to a mural he recently conceived on the west end of Capitol Hill on the side of the Fred Wildlife Refuge building. Its a huge image of three colorful flowers that stands in stark contrast to the grey façade of surrounding buildings. A closer look reveals that its painted entirely in spray paint. See, says Baso. Spray paint can be used for a lot of things. Not just ugly graffiti. A lot of the writers out there have lots of talent, and a lot of them become artists, tattoo artists and sign painters after their career in graffitis done. Through their exposure to graffiti they contribute to society in meaningful ways. Even though its not the way that society wants it to happen.  

He pauses a moment to reflect on the work, which permanently bears his name, and then turns his wheelchair to the next street over and rolls away.

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FOIA Researchers Are Targeting a Shadowy FBI Program Called ‘Gravestone’
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The problem, of course, is that the FBI’s mission and the tools it uses to accomplish it often collide with the privacy protections guaranteed to Americans by the Fourth Amendment. We know, for instance, that the FBI has engaged in questionable, if not 

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‘Anyone can be attacked for partisan gain’: Comey issues rare statement in defense of top FBI lawyer
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“James Baker, who is stepping down as FBI General Counsel, served our country incredibly well for 25 years & deserves better. He is what we should all want our public servants to be.” Since making his Twitter presence publicly known in recent months 

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5:31 AM 12/23/2017 – Engineer of Amtrak train was not on cellphone at time of crash

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Engineer of Amtrak train was not on cellphone at time of crash
Los Angeles Times
The engineer of an Amtrak train that derailed from an overpass onto rush-hour traffic on Interstate 5 in DuPont, Wash., was not on his cellphone at the time of the crash, federal investigators said Friday. “The crew was not observed to use any personal 
Early NTSB review says crew not using electronic devices before Amtrak crashCNN
Train crew not using electronic devices before crash, investigators sayFox News
NTSB: Amtrak engineer appeared to apply brakes in the final seconds before derailingUSA TODAY
Reuters –Seattle Times –New York Post –Wall Street Journal
all 146 news articles »

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“LABRAT KNATS!” and other “Writings on the Walls”: Semantic Interpretations of the recent wave of “Message Crimes”.

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I got a horrible suspicion…

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I got a horrible suspicion: the persons – subjects of the FBI COINTELPRO, who were brought into the psychotic or quasi-psychotic state by these technics, are picked up after that by the hostile intelligence services (the Russians are the prime suspects, of course) and somehow recruited or pushed to commit mass murders. This scenario might imply some degree of cooperation, or “collusion” between the FBI (most likely the moles) and these hostile services. Would the FBI be willing to investigate this hypothesis in honest? I very much doubt it: they are not even willing to acknowledge that the various instances of the mass killings, although without apparent or discernable motivation in the overwhelming majority of cases, might be the product of the hostile intelligence activities. FBI, I think that you should acknowledge this, and you should investigate this hypothesis in honest. It is the well-known fact that FBI tends to minimize or to deny the problems if it cannot understand, explain, or solve them. “In fact, the agency has blundered many terrorism investigations and thus jeopardized the security of Americans.”

Michael Novakhov 

12.13.17


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10:28 AM 11/29/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Tampa police arrest suspect Howell Emanuel Donaldson III in Seminole Heights killings

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'Theres someone with a gun!' said one witness at Costco shooting

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Inside the White House, Michael Flynn pushed proposal from company he said he had advised
The Russian billionaire next door: Putin ally is tied to one of D.C.s swankiest mansions – The Washington Post
The Russian billionaire next door: Putin ally is tied to one of DC’s swankiest mansions – Washington Post
Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition
The latest Trump-Russia investigation news, explained – Vox
Trump-Russia investigation news: the latest developments, explained
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North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump
The Early Edition: November 29, 2017
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Mueller’s Russia Probe May Now Include Flynn’s DIA Tenure
Citing probes, military agency bars access to Flynn records
Mueller may be looking at Flynn’s time as DIA chief: report | TheHill
Mueller may be looking at Flynn’s time as DIA chief: report – The Hill
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Trump Not a Liar, Is Truly Delusional
New Reports Suggest Trump Might Not Be a Liar at All, But Truly Delusional – New York Magazine
Threat From North Korea No Longer Hypothetical, Arms Experts Warn
6 Months In, No End In Sight: Who’s Who In The Vast Russia Imbroglio – NPR
Race and Class and What Happened in 2016 – New York Times
The Odyssey of a Turkish Trader Now Spilling His Secrets in U.S.
Should Trump Cooperate With Putin Over the Future of Syria? – Newsweek

 

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Tampa police arrest suspect Howell Emanuel Donaldson III in Seminole Heights killings
 

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Tampa police seize gun, question person of interest in murder spree case

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Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said officials are investigating a tip about a person with a gun at a McDonald’s. (Tampa Police Department)

Authorities in Florida said Tuesday night that they have arrested the man responsible for a string of mysterious killings that left four people dead and shook frightened Tampa residents to their core.

The suspect, identified by Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan as Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, was picked up for questioning Tuesday after someone reported that he had been at a McDonald’s with a gun. Donaldson, 24, is believed to have worked at the fast food restaurant.

Donaldson was charged Wednesday with four counts of first-degree murder for the four fatal shootings, which began in early October in the Seminole Heights neighborhood and had stymied investigators — and terrified residents — for more than a month and a half.

The first three people were killed in an 11-day period, all within a one-mile radius.

The deaths drew the attention of national media as residents adjusted their daily routines. Foot traffic dried up, while people stopped lounging on their porches. Fear saturated the neighborhood, with talk of a serial killer.

Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Tampa officials gathered reporters at a news conference to announce the arrest.

Earlier in the day, Dugan said he felt optimistic about a tip that had come through and led them to someone they had brought in for questioning.

“It just felt right,” he said. “I kind of had a feeling that we were going to get a break.”

The police chief began his remarks by listing the names of the victims.

Benjamin Mitchell, an aspiring musician and community college student, was shot while standing at a bus stop on Oct. 9.

Monica Hoffa, a 32-year-old waitress, was shot and killed two days later.

On Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, a 20-year-old whose family said he had a mild form of autism, was walking home when he was killed nearby, police said.

Then, a reprieve from the mysterious killings. It lasted 26 days, before police responded to a shooting call and found 60-year-old Ronald Felton dead in the street, blocks from the other slayings.

An undated police handout shows Howell Emanuel Donaldson III’s drivers license photo. (

Another victim, seemingly at random. The fourth one.

[ Fourth slaying stokes fear of a Tampa serial killer — and police say suspect may be an area resident ]

Dugan said police had little other information to release about Donaldson but wanted to publicize the arrest as detectives worked to finish charging paperwork for the sake of the neighborhood.

“We knew by coming out here tonight we’d probably create a lot more questions,” Dugan told reporters. “But the real goal is to let the people of Seminole Heights be able to get a good night sleep. It’s been 51 days that they’ve been terrorized in their neighborhood.”

Dugan said that the police did not yet know about Donaldson’s current connection to the neighborhood or the motives for the killings.

“In the battle between darkness and light, light has won,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “And tonight we’re bringing someone to justice who doesn’t deserve the right to walk among us.”

The victims do not appear to be connected to one another by age, race or other demographic characteristics.

The investigation had taxed the city’s police department as well as its residents. “Bring his head to me, all right?” Buckhorn had exhorted the police at one point.

Dugan said that officers had sifted through more than 5,000 tips as a reward grew to $35,000.

“It’s been a very rough couple of months,” Seminole Heights resident Renee Campbell told The Washington Post earlier this month. “We’ve had to change all of our patterns, if you will. We don’t walk the dog anymore twice a day. We don’t sit outside as much as we used to. We used to sit on the front porch and chat after dinner. Now we do it in the back yard, if we go out at all.”

Jacqueline and Jose Melendez at a candlelight vigil for some of the Tampa shooting victims on Oct. 22. (Octavio Jones/The Tampa Bay Times via AP) (

Jon Silman in Tampa contributed to this report.

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Inside the White House, Michael Flynn pushed proposal from company he said he had advised
 

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Gunman killed in Reno after firing shots from high-rise condo
 

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Lenexa Costco shooting: dispatch recordings reveal terror
 

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The first dispatch alerting police to Costco in Lenexa Sunday asked patrol officers to “investigate a suspicious suspect…”

But then the dispatcher added: The caller “advises he is armed with a gun.”

Radio traffic captured by Broadcastify over the next 10 minutes aired the intensifying terror as multiple calls came in describing what people in and outside the store feared was an active shooter.

In the end, police say, Ronald O. Hunt, 58, an Edwardsville-based trucker living out of the cab of his rig, was gunned down by an off-duty lawman who was among the shoppers inside the store.

The recordings reveal new details of what went on inside the Costco as dispatchers warned responding officers of an active shooter, although police do not yet have any indication Hunt ever fired his gun.

The man who shot Hunt — Kansas City, Kan., Police Capt. Michael Howell — was not injured, nor were any customers or employees.

The investigation into the shooting, and the search for why Hunt walked shouting into the store with a gun, still has much to learn, police said Tuesday.

The first call to 911 came at 11:09 a.m.

Dispatcher: Investigate suspicious suspect at Costco, 9350 Marshall — 9-3-5-0 Marshall … Older male in his 60s. (Reporting party) advises he is armed with a gun. Unknown if he pointed it at anybody at this time, we’re still gathering.

After a pause, the scenario had grown more dire.

Dispatcher: We’re getting several calls. Advise that the suspect is inside the store. Be advised he is an active shooter. They have not shot the weapon though.

Other dispatchers were relaying the information, alerting neighboring jurisdictions. Lenexa called on more units to respond.

Dispatcher: One of the (reporting parties) is advising he was pointing the gun at subjects. Wearing a cammo jacket. Supposedly he has a gun. He’s going to be an active shooter, something like that. But he supposedly hasn’t shot yet.

Then came one of the scant clues behind Hunt’s apparent anger.

Dispatcher: When he entered the store the suspect was screaming something about the U.S. Marshals, pointing the weapon at people.

By 11:13 a.m. Lenexa officers arrived at the store. Dispatch passed on more information on the evacuation that had occurred and where they might encounter Hunt.

Dispatcher: All civilians should be out of the store, however they still have employees inside. The suspect was last seen headed to the back of the store near the meat counter.… They should be clearing the building. The possible suspect is going to be in the back of the store.

By 11:19 a.m., the Lenexa officers had been met by Howell and learned that Hunt had been shot. One of them radioed the news.

Lenexa officer: off-duty KCK officer advises the suspect is down, aisle 321, be advised he shot him. (Call for emergency medical units) for gunshot wounds. We haven’t located him yet.

Dispatchers quickly relayed that information to responding law enforcement.

Dispatcher: Lenexa is advising they have shots fired and the suspect is down in aisle three.

By 11:20 a.m., fire units and paramedics were on their way. A dispatcher advised them where to go in the store and what they would find.

Dispatcher: Lenexa officer (says) he (Hunt) is not moving and the gun is away from him. They think he is deceased.

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  • INSIDE THE COSTCO SHOOTING: WHAT HAPPENED

    Lenexa police say Ronald O. Hunt, 58, of Edwardsville, Kan., was killed by an off-duty KCK police captain inside the Lenexa Costco on Sunday. Here’s what happened. Lenexa Police dispatch call from Broadcastify.

INSIDE THE COSTCO SHOOTING: WHAT HAPPENED

Lenexa police say Ronald O. Hunt, 58, of Edwardsville, Kan., was killed by an off-duty KCK police captain inside the Lenexa Costco on Sunday. Here’s what happened. Lenexa Police dispatch call from Broadcastify.

Neil Nakahodo, Mike Hendricks, Joe RobertsonThe Kansas City Star

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  • ARMED MAN’S TRUCK WAS PARKED IN THE COSTCO PARKING LOT

    Ronald O. Hunt, 58, of Edwardsville was killed by an off-duty KCK police captain inside the Lenexa Costco on Sunday. Police say he was apparently living in his truck, which was parked on the far east side of the Costco parking lot at the time of the shooting. According to reports, Hunt walked into the store screaming and holding a gun.

ARMED MAN’S TRUCK WAS PARKED IN THE COSTCO PARKING LOT

Ronald O. Hunt, 58, of Edwardsville was killed by an off-duty KCK police captain inside the Lenexa Costco on Sunday. Police say he was apparently living in his truck, which was parked on the far east side of the Costco parking lot at the time of the shooting. According to reports, Hunt walked into the store screaming and holding a gun.

Robert A. Cronkleton, Joe Robertson, Neil NakahodoThe Kansas City Star

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  • OFF-DUTY KCK POLICE OFFICER WAS SHOPPING ALONE WHEN HE CONFRONTED MAN WITH GUN

    Kansas City, Kan., off-duty police Capt. Michael Howell was shopping alone at a Lenexa Costco when he shot and killed a man screaming while holding a handgun as shoppers fled. KCK Fraternal Order of Police Lodge President Scott Kirkpatrick has been in contact with Howell since the shooting. Video by John Sleezer and Ian Cummings/The Kansas City Star

OFF-DUTY KCK POLICE OFFICER WAS SHOPPING ALONE WHEN HE CONFRONTED MAN WITH GUN

Kansas City, Kan., off-duty police Capt. Michael Howell was shopping alone at a Lenexa Costco when he shot and killed a man screaming while holding a handgun as shoppers fled. KCK Fraternal Order of Police Lodge President Scott Kirkpatrick has been in contact with Howell since the shooting. Video by John Sleezer and Ian Cummings/The Kansas City Star

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Joe Robertson: 816-234-4789@robertsonkcstar

The Russian billionaire next door: Putin ally is tied to one of D.C.s swankiest mansions – The Washington Post
 

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How a Russian oligarch was behind an LLC that bought a Washington, D.C. mansion 

The Washington Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman explains how Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska was behind an LLC that bought a Washington, D.C. mansion. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

 

November 29 at 8:00 AM

When Washington’s grand Haft mansion near Embassy Row changed hands in 2006, it was one of the most expensive home sales in the history of the city — and one of its most mysterious.

The 23,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom home — featuring Italian marble floors and a chandelier that had once hung in the Paris Opera House — was sold by discount retail magnate Herbert Haft’s widow for $15 million in cash to a company incorporated in Delaware, according to filings. The buyer was never identified.

But interviews and documents reveal for the first time that the mansion is connected to a Russian billionaire who is a key ally of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and a longtime business associate of Paul Manafort, the recently indicted former chairman of President Trump’s campaign.

The Washington Post found that for more than a decade, Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska has secretly held ties to one of Washington’s most prestigious addresses, a property in the heart of the city that is surrounded by powerful political figures and foreign embassies.

In May, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and her family purchased the home next door for $7.7 million. Vernon Jordan, a close adviser to President Bill Clinton, lives across the street.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska walk to attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam, on Nov. 10. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AP)

Several people familiar with the mansion told The Washington Post that Deripaska was known to them as the property’s owner. He directed major renovations and has visited the house several times since 2010, they said. A New York-based company called Gracetown that oversees the property is run by a business associate of Deripaska’s, corporate filings show.

The stone edifice, ringed with security cameras, is located on less than an acre behind a high gate on a winding street near Embassy Row. It is less than half a mile from the Naval Observatory, the home of Vice President Pence, and about a mile from the Russian Embassy.

Some of the city’s most prominent figures live just on the other side of Rock Creek, including former president Barack Obama and Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, White House aides Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Charles Davidson, executive director of the Kleptocracy Initiative at the Hudson Institute, said the mansion is a striking example of how the world’s uber-wealthy can quietly invest in high-end real estate, obscuring their identities through front companies.

“This could be the most spectacular example of it yet — right in our midst,” he said.

Lawyers for Deripaska in New York and London and his spokeswoman in Moscow did not respond to requests for comment.

With a net worth recently estimated by Forbes at $5.2 billion, Deripaska, 49, is one of Russia’s richest men and considered part of Putin’s inner circle. A U.S. diplomatic cable from 2006, published by WikiLeaks, referred to Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis.”

News photographers captured images of Deripaska conferring with Putin earlier this month during trade meetings in Vietnam that were also attended by President Trump.

Deripaska is known to own a luxury yacht, a private plane and has held property in various cities such as Tokyo and London, according to news reports.

But he has fought to keep secret details of his assets in the United States. In a pending lawsuit in New York related to another Russian-born businessman’s claims that Deripaska owes him money, Deripaska has argued that his contact with the United States is too minimal for the state’s courts to assert jurisdiction over him. His lawyers successfully argued that hundreds of pages of documents that detail his business and his footprint in this country should be kept under seal, asserting they contain no “information that is of public interest or concern.”

However, public portions of the filings show that Deripaska said that he established a trust in the British Virgin Islands that purchased two homes in Manhattan — a $4.5 million townhouse in the West Village in 2006 and a different $42.5 million house on the Upper East Side in 2008. Each was purchased by separate companies controlled by the billionaire.

The Haft home was not mentioned in the public court documents. D.C. property records show it was purchased in 2006 by yet another entity: a limited-liability company incorporated that year in Delaware called Hestia International, named for the Greek goddess of home and hearth.

The seller was Myrna Ruben Haft, whose marriage to discount retail magnate Herbert Haft two weeks before his 2004 death had sparked headlines and legal action by his children. She had put the home on the market for $20 million.

In an interview, Haft said she did not know the identity of the buyer and had simply been thankful at the time that the sale was conducted quickly and discreetly. “The whole process was done very confidentially,” she said.

A man who answered the buzzer at the house’s gate last week referred questions about the property to a New York company called Gracetown Inc. A SUV parked in the home’s driveway is registered to Gracetown, public records show.

According to New York corporate records, Gracetown’s chief executive is a Graham Bonham-Carter, a second cousin to the actress Helena Bonham-Carter. He lives in London and, according to his LinkedIn profile, works for a company called Terra Services, which British regulatory filings show is owned by Deripaska. He did not respond to requests for comment sent through Facebook and LinkedIn.

People who have seen the mansion since the 2006 sale said the interior has been largely gutted and refurbished. D.C. construction permits show that the kitchen was remodeled and some of the house’s 11.5 bathrooms were overhauled in the last decade. In addition, the basement was redone, a rear terrace was reconstructed and a new pool and elevator were installed.

The mansion includes a cinema in the basement, a commercial-grade kitchen and a dining room that seats 16.

Deripaska got his start in the aluminum business, thriving in the Wild West days of 1990s post-Soviet capitalism. Since then, he has expanded his business empire into energy, agriculture and aviation.

He has also been a business associate of Manafort’s, paying the U.S. political operative to serve as an investment consultant after Manafort began work as a consultant in Ukraine in 2005.

In 2014, Deripaska filed suit in the Cayman Islands, alleging that Manafort had disappeared after taking nearly $19 million intended for investments and failing to account for the funds.

It is not clear how that dispute was settled, but last year, while serving as Trump’s campaign chairman, Manafort wrote emails to a Russian former employee indicating he would be willing to conduct “private briefings” about the campaign for Deripaska. Manafort’s spokesman has said the emails were an innocuous effort to collect past debts, and Deripaska’s spokeswoman has said he never got the message and received no briefings. Deripaska has denied any involvement with the U.S. presidential election.

Deripaska’s lawyers said in court documents that he has been generally barred from visiting the United States because the U.S. government has refused to extend him visas — meaning he has not been able to visit his Washington home at will.

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that Deripaska’s visa struggles stem from suspicions that he had been involved in organized crime, an allegation he has long denied.

Putin has publicly bemoaned Deripaska’s visa problems and top Russian officials have routinely raised the matter in private meetings with their U.S. counterparts, according to former U.S. officials familiar with the appeals.

Deripaska did enter the United States a handful of times using a diplomatic passport, issued to him by the Russian government so he could help assist at summit meetings and other trade missions, according to documents filed in the New York court case.

People traveling on a diplomatic visa are generally barred from conducting personal business, said David Leopold, a former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Deripaska said in a 2016 court filing that he has had difficulty getting a visa to travel to the United States but used his diplomatic passport to visit New York 10 times since 2009.

People familiar with the D.C. home said that, on some of those trips, he also visited Washington, staying at the house and reviewing renovations.

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It is unclear when Deripaska most recently visited — and whether any of his neighbors know of his tie to the property.

Conway did not respond to requests for comment.

Jordan, a Washington lawyer who was a close friend of Bill Clinton and lives across the street from the mansion, said he did not know who owned the home.

“I get to look at it when I’m turning onto my street,” he said. “Nobody’s ever there. It seems like it’s abandoned. But they do a good job with the trees and the shrubbery.”

Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

The Russian billionaire next door: Putin ally is tied to one of DC’s swankiest mansions – Washington Post
 

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The Russian billionaire next door: Putin ally is tied to one of DC’s swankiest mansions
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In a pending lawsuit in New York related to another Russian-born businessman’s claims that Deripaska owes him money, Deripaska has argued that his contact with the United States is too minimal for the state’s courts to assert jurisdiction over him. His  

Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition
 

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WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining whether former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to carry out directives from Ankara secretly while in the White House, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.

Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election recently questioned witnesses about the alleged December 2016 meeting between Flynn and senior Turkish officials, two people knowledgeable with the interviews said. The questions were part of a line of inquiry regarding Flynn’s lobbying efforts on behalf of Turkey.

Four people familiar with the investigation said Mueller is looking into whether Flynn discussed in the late December meeting orchestrating the return to Turkey of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who lives in the U.S. Additionally, three people familiar with the probe said investigators are examining whether Flynn and other participants discussed a way to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the U.S. Zarrab is facing federal charges that he helped Iran skirt U.S. sanctions.

Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition 1:46

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Mueller is specifically examining whether the deal, if successful, would have led to millions of dollars in secret payments to Flynn, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

Related: Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Bring Charges in Flynn Investigation

The meeting allegedly took place at the upscale 21 Club restaurant in New York, just blocks away from Trump Tower, where Flynn was serving on the presidential transition team. Flynn was offered upwards of $15 million, to be paid directly or indirectly, if he could complete the deal, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

It is unclear how Flynn, as national security adviser, could have successfully carried out either alleged request. But any deal in which a government official would be bribed to secretly act on behalf of a foreign government could potentially constitute multiple federal crimes.

Investigators also are looking into what possible role Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, may have played in any such efforts. The younger Flynn worked closely with his father at his lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group.

Related: Flynn’s Son Is Subject of Federal Probe

In a statement, the elder Flynn’s lawyers, led by Robert Kelner, said that “out of respect for the process of the various investigations” regarding the 2016 campaign, they have avoided responding to every “rumor or allegation” in the media. “But today’s news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn, ranging from kidnapping to bribery, that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule: they are false.”

The younger Flynn’s lawyer, Barry Coburn, declined comment.

Sources: Mueller Investigating Possible Flynn, Turkish Govt. Deal 2:23

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The elder Flynn was fired in February after just 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser when it became public that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

NBC News reported Sunday that federal investigators looking into Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign have gathered enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation into Flynn.

The grand jury is continuing to interview witnesses with knowledge of Flynn’s business activities over the next week, two people familiar with the deliberations said.

Erdoğan has repeatedly pressed U.S. officials to extradite the cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania. Turkey blames Gülen for the attempted coup in that country in July 2016. Erdoğan also has repeatedly raised Zarrab’s case with U.S. officials.

Rudy Giuliani, who was a top Trump campaign surrogate alongside Flynn, is part of Zarrab’s defense team. The New York Times reported that Giuliani met with Erdoğan in late February and discussed an agreement under which Zarrab would be freed in exchange for Turkey’s help furthering U.S. interests in the region.

Image: Erdogan and GulenSpeaking to reporters after the meeting, Erdoğan said he had previously raised Zarrab’s case with then-Vice President Joe Biden and suggested Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, was acting on behalf of supporters of Gülen, according to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet. Trump fired Bharara this past March.

NBC News reported Sunday that federal investigators were looking into whether Flynn tried to push for the return of Gülen to Turkey once in the White House in exchange for millions of dollars, and that Trump administration officials asked the FBI to review the Gülen case anew. Officials said the FBI denied the request because Turkey had not provided any new evidence in the case, which was reviewed by the Obama administration.

Extradition requests are processed through the State Department and U.S. justice system and are not determined by the White House or other agencies.

The possibility of the multimillion-dollar deal involving Flynn and Turkey arose as investigators examined Flynn’s past dealings with foreign governments.

Flynn was paid $530,000 last year during the 2016 campaign for work he did during the campaign that the Justice Department says benefited the Turkish government. Flynn did not register as a foreign agent at the time, as is required in the U.S. for anyone working for a foreign government. His lawyer later said Flynn didn’t need to register because his client was a Turkish businessman not a government official, though he opted to do so retroactively.

According to Flynn’s Justice Department filing, his firm, Flynn Intel Group, was hired to gather information about Gülen, and to produce a short film about its findings.

The contract ended the day after Trump won the election.

As a top foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign at the time, and then as national security adviser, Flynn played a leading role in shaping Trump’s policy decisions on Turkey.

Among Flynn’s decisions as incoming national security adviser was telling the outgoing national security adviser, Susan Rice, not to move forward with a plan President Barack Obama approved to arm Syrian Kurds in the ISIS fight. Turkey opposed the plan.

Obama officials, who had notified Flynn of the plan in early January because it would continue on Trump’s watch, said they were surprised. Flynn said he didn’t trust Obama on the plan, which the Trump administration approved after he was fired as national security adviser.

The decision on arming the Kurds came several weeks after Flynn held that key meeting with Turkish officials where the alleged deal for a “grab fee” for Gülen was discussed.

The latest Trump-Russia investigation news, explained – Vox
 

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The latest Trump-Russia investigation news, explained
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It’s been a relatively quiet period for the TrumpRussia investigation since news of its first indictments dropped in late October but a series of recent reports could give some clues about what special counsel Robert Mueller might do next. First 
Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Could Flynn Flip Topple Trump Over Russia Ruse?Slate Magazine (blog)
A key witness in Mueller’s Russia probe had ‘a lengthy conversation’ with Trump at Mar-a-LagoAOL
Why I Think Trump Is Finished (And My Work Is Done)GQ Magazine
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Trump-Russia investigation news: the latest developments, explained
 

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It’s been a relatively quiet period for the Trump-Russia investigation since news of its first indictments dropped in late October — but a series of recent reports could give some clues about what special counsel Robert Mueller might do next.

First, reports have indicated that President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn may at least be exploring the possibility of making a deal with Mueller’s team. The question of whether Flynn flips and gives Mueller incriminating information about other Trump officials or the president himself could turn out to be tremendously important.

Second, Mueller’s investigators have already interviewed several top current and former White House aides, and they plan to interview several more in the coming weeks, including White House counsel Don McGahn, communications director Hope Hicks, and a communications aide who’s worked closely with Jared Kushner.

Third, we learned this week that Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab, who had been charged with orchestrating a scheme to avoid Iran sanctions, has agreed to become a government witness as part of a plea deal. And while Zarrab’s prosecution is separate from Mueller’s probe, his name has intriguingly come up in recent reports about Flynn’s connections to the Turkish government.

Will Flynn flip?

With charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates filed — their trial is expected to begin in May 2018 — attention has turned to the other Trump associate who’s appeared to be in very serious legal jeopardy: Michael Flynn.

Flynn has reportedly been under investigative scrutiny for a plethora of matters — ranging from whether he made false statements about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the transition to whether he properly disclosed payments he received from Russian and Turkish interests to the broader matter of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

NBC News reported back on November 5 that, per “multiple sources familiar with the investigation,” Mueller had enough evidence to bring charges in the Flynn investigation — and that those charges could implicate Flynn’s son Michael Flynn Jr. of wrongdoing as well.

And over the ensuing days, reports suggested that the Flynns were in even more legal trouble than had previously been known. In particular, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller’s team was investigating whether the pair had agreed to try to remove Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen from the country in exchange for payments of millions of dollars. (Flynn’s lawyer issued a statement denying the story.)

Then last week, the New York Times reported that Flynn’s lawyers had informed President Trump’s legal team that they could no longer share information about Mueller’s case. This was interpreted as a sign that Flynn’s team was exploring making a plea deal, in which he’d provide information in return for leniency in charging or sentencing (either for himself or for his son).

The most recent development is that on Monday morning, Flynn’s attorney Robert Kelner met with Mueller’s team, according to ABC News. It’s still not entirely confirmed that they’re discussing a cooperation deal, but it appears to be a strong possibility. Whether they’ll arrive at such a deal and what it might entail remains unclear.

More White House aides will reportedly be interviewed soon

Don Emmert/AFP/GettyBut Mueller’s team isn’t only investigating what happened during the campaign. They’re also looking into whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice once in office — and they’re asking White House staffers to give sworn statements about what they might know.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller — who is very close to both Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — was recently interviewed by Mueller’s team, CNN reported. Former White House aides Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer were both questioned in October.

At these sessions, aides were reportedly questioned about Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this year, and about the White House’s response to Russia-related news stories.

Now at least three other aides are reportedly next on the docket for questioning: communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, and communications aide Josh Raffel.

Hicks has been part of Trump’s inner circle since he launched his campaign and could have useful information about a host of matters, both from before the election and now. McGahn, meanwhile, will probably be asked about just what he did after he was told that Flynn had been giving false information about his contacts with Russians, as well as other matters.

But Mueller’s interest in interviewing Raffel, an aide with a much lower profile, is particularly interesting. That’s because Raffel is best known for working closely with Jared Kushner — which could suggest that Mueller is closely scrutinizing Kushner’s activities.

The curious case of Reza Zarrab

Ozan Kose/AFP/GettyFinally, there’s been a major new development in a news story that’s a bit far afield from Mueller’s investigation — but that could turn out to be related to it.

This is the separate case of Reza Zarrab, an extremely wealthy 34-year-old gold trader who has dual Turkish-Iranian citizenship and close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle.

Federal prosecutors indicted Zarrab in 2016 for what they alleged was his participation in a massive scheme to evade US sanctions on Iran by shipping gold to the country in exchange for oil and natural gas. Prosecutors also allege that high-ranking Turkish government officials were involved and took millions of dollars worth of bribes. Nine people were eventually indicted, but only two — Zarrab and banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla — were ever in US custody.

It’s long been clear that Erdogan really, really did not want Zarrab’s prosecution to go forward — and he’s waged what the Washington Post’s David Ignatius called an “extraordinary” campaign to try to stop it. This included public denunciations of the charges as a plot against his regime, private lobbying of Presidents Obama and Trump (and other administration officials) to try to get Zarrab released, and an unusual meeting in Turkey with Rudy Giuliani (who’d joined Zarrab’s legal team earlier this year). The obvious explanation, of course, is that Erdogan fears Zarrab could implicate his own close associates or family members.

The Turkish president’s effort to get Zarrab off the hook, it’s now clear, has failed. Zarrab has become a cooperating witness for the US government as part of a plea deal, a prosecutor confirmed in court Tuesday. He is expected to take the stand on Wednesday as the case moves forward.

What could tie this matter to Mueller’s probe, though, is a potential connection to Michael Flynn.

Flynn has already admitted that he was paid by Turkish interests while advising Trump during the presidential campaign. But recent reports have suggested that Mueller’s team is examining whether Flynn continued to act on Turkey’s behalf during the transition, when he was the national security adviser-in-waiting, and during his brief stint in the White House before his firing in February — and whether he may have been promised millions of dollars in return.

A meeting Flynn had with Turkish officials in mid-December 2016 has come under particular investigative scrutiny. That was the meeting where participants may have discussed a potential deal to deliver Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric opposed to the regime who lives in the US, into Turkish custody, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But NBC News’s Carol Lee and Julia Ainsley added the detail that Zarrab’s case may have been discussed as well. They reported that “Mueller is specifically examining whether the deal, if successful, would have led to millions of dollars in secret payments to Flynn, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.”

We don’t yet know whether Flynn did anything untoward here, or whether Zarrab would even know about it if he did. Still, Zarrab’s testimony this week will surely be closely watched — by both Erdogan’s government and the Trump administration.

From North Korea, With Dread
 

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North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump
 

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North Korea said Wednesday that it had successfully tested its Hwasong-15, a newly developed ICBM that it said could deliver heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States.

The country called the new missile its “most powerful” ICBM, saying it “meets the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system” North Korea has been developing for decades. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, watched the launch, a broadcaster said, reading a prepared statement on the North’s Central Television.

Experts said this latest launch — which landed west of the northern end of Honshu, Japan’s largest island — exhibited characteristics that underscored the increasing sophistication of North Korea’s program.

The missile flew higher and for a longer duration than two previous intercontinental ballistic missile launches, which flew for 37 minutes on July 4 and for 47 minutes on July 28.

David Wright, a scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile performed better than the two fired in July, and exhibited a potential range of more than 8,000 miles, able to reach Washington or any other part of the continental United States.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Dr. Wright said of the test flight. “This is building on what they’ve done before. It’s muscle-flexing to show the U.S. that they’re going to continue to make progress.”

However, Dr. Wright noted that in an effort to increase the vehicle’s range, the North Koreans might have fitted it with a mock payload that weighed little or next to nothing. So the distance traveled, while impressive, does not necessarily translate into a working intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a thermonuclear warhead.

For all the evidence of technical advancements, a senior White House official said the significance of the launch should not be overstated, given the number of missile tests North Korea has carried out this year. The White House had expected some form of retaliation after it put the North back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism last week.

Mr. Trump, officials said, will stick to his policy of rallying nations to apply economic pressure on North Korea, backed up by the threat of military action. In a statement, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson condemned the launch. But he added, “Diplomatic options remain viable and open, for now.”

The launch came in the middle of the night on the peninsula, with less advance warning, according to experts. Aerial photographs of North Korean launch sites did not show missiles waiting on launchpads to be fueled, although Japanese officials had reported that radio telemetry pointed to a possible launch.

Some experts theorized that North Korea was now fueling missiles horizontally, before they are placed on the launchpad. In the past, it went through a lengthier process of rolling a missile onto a launchpad, filling it with liquid fuel and then launching it — steps that could take days.

Six systems that North Korea needs to master to achieve a long-sought goal: being able to reliably hit the United States.

OPEN Graphic

“This shortens the time from when they become visible to when they go in the air, and makes it less likely that the U.S. will be able to strike before it launches,” said Rodger Baker, a vice president of strategic analysis with Stratfor, a geopolitical risk analysis company.

American officials offered no proof of the horizontal fueling theory, but they acknowledged that North Korea is searching for ways to get around the United States’ ability to mount a pre-emptive strike.

Mr. Mattis noted that South Korea had fired several “pinpoint missiles” into the water after the launch “to make certain North Korea understands that they could be taken under fire by our ally.”

Although it was the third time that the South had fired missiles in response to a North Korean missile test, this response was more muscular, officials said, with South Korea firing from a land-based missile battery, a Navy destroyer and an F-16 fighter jet. It was meant to show that the South had multiple ways of hitting a North Korean missile on the launchpad in a pre-emptive strike, according to South Korean military officials.

After the launch, the United Nations Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on the issue for Wednesday afternoon.

Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that the launch appeared to be “yet again, a reckless act by a regime which is more intent on building up its ballistic missile nuclear capability than it is on looking after its own people.”

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan each called meetings of their national security councils to discuss the North’s latest provocation. Mr. Trump called both leaders on Tuesday, at their request, according to the White House.

Unlike the launches over the summer, when the missiles flew over Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, the government did not issue cellphone alerts to warn its citizens.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Defense Department, Col. Robert Manning of the Army, said that the launch “did not pose a threat to North America, our territories or our allies,” and added that the American commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remains ironclad.”

Mr. Trump, who has in the past insulted Mr. Kim and threatened “fire and fury” that would “totally destroy” that country, avoided threats of military retaliation against the North on Tuesday. But he did not hesitate to use the specter of a military confrontation in Asia as leverage against the Democrats in the budget wars in Washington.

The missile launch, he predicted, would “have a huge effect on Schumer and Pelosi,” referring to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the chambers’ Democratic leaders, both of whom boycotted his budget meeting.

“If you look at the military, we want strong funding for the military,” Mr. Trump said. “They don’t.”

North Korea has persisted in its nuclear weapons and missile development despite nine rounds of sanctions that the Security Council has imposed since its first nuclear test in 2006.

This year, the North has increased the frequency and daring of its missile tests, sending two missiles over Japan in August and September, while demonstrating technical progress that suggested it had developed the ability to strike the continental United States.

In the wake of a Sept. 3 underground nuclear test — the sixth by North Korea — the United Nations Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions against the country.

In the nearly three months since that test, as leaders of North Korea and the United States have exchanged insults, the world has braced for another show of force by the North.

Mr. Trump warned that if North Korea threatened the United States or its allies, Washington would have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” and he mockingly referred to Mr. Kim as “rocket man.”

Mr. Kim responded by calling Mr. Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” and his foreign minister later warned that Mr. Kim could order the test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

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The Early Edition: November 29, 2017
 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

NORTH KOREA

North Korea launched an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.) yesterday, according to North Korean state television the new missile was a Hwasong-15 and the test was personally ordered by the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Kim was quoted as saying that the success of the launch signaled the realization of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, Jonathan Cheng reports at the Wall Street Journal.

With this system, we can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States, North Korean state television stated, a claim that falls in line with experts calculations about the latest launch, which achieved a longer flight time than any previous North Korean missile test and could theoretically reach Washington D.C.. Anna Fifield reports at the Washington Post.

The I.C.B.M. reached a height higher than any North Korean missile had done before and was the first test since September 15, undermining hopes that the Pyongyang regime has been heeding the warnings of President Trump. James Griffiths reports at CNN.

It is a situation that we will handle, Trump said in response to the launch, the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was more alarmist in his assessment, noting that the I.C.B.M. reached an unprecedented height and that it constituted a continued effort to build a threat a threat that endangers world peace, regional peace, and certainly, the United States. Mark Landler, Choe Sang-Hun and Helene Cooper report at the New York Times.

South Korea fired pinpoint missiles into the sea in response to Pyongyangs test, Mattis explained yesterday, the South Korean launch was confirmed by an official with South Koreas Joint Chiefs of Staff. Josh Delk reports at the Hill.

North Korea has not yet shown that it can mount a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a long-range missile, however Pyongyangs development of its technology strengthens the countrys hand in any future negotiations. Justin McCurry and Julian Borger report at the Guardian.

China is seriously concerned about and opposed to the latest missile launch, Chinas foreign ministry spokesperson said today, adding that it strongly urges Pyongyang to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions and that all parties should act with caution. The AP reports.

The U.S. and Canada will convene a meeting of the U.N. Command to discuss a non-military solution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced yesterday, saying in a statement that diplomatic options with North Korea remain viable and open, for now. Brett Samuels reports at the Hill.

The U.N. Security Council is due to hold an emergency session following the latest test which contravened international sanctions imposed on North Koreas nuclear weapons and missile programs. The BBC reports.

South Koreas President Moon Jae-in said in a phone call yesterday to President Trump that Pyongyangs missile technology seems to have improved, after the latest launch landed in waters off Japan. Reuters reports.

This is a further breach of multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions, the Secretary General of N.A.T.O., Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement yesterday, condemning Pyongyangs actions. Reuters reports.

Were headed toward a war if things dont change, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned yesterday, saying that every test puts North Korea closer to conflict. Cristiano Lima reports at POLITICO.

Trump tried to connect the latest launch to domestic politics in a tweet yesterday however, in general, the presidents response was relatively muted in comparison to previous comments about the Pyongyang regime. Stephen Collinson provides an analysis at CNN.

The risk of war is greater than the public appreciates, Adam B. Ellick and Jonah M. Kessel warn at the New York Times, writing about the crisis following their recent trip to North Korea.

China should send troops to North Korea to reassure the country about resisting an attack and threats to overthrow the Pyongyang regime, a deployment that would mirror the position of U.S. troops in South Korea, and creating a constructive and symmetrical stance that would reduce the likelihood of war. Alton Frye writes at Foreign Policy.

SYRIA

The Syrian government yesterday agreed to a Russia proposed ceasefire in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area near the capital of Damascus, following two weeks of intense bombardment that has led to dozens of civilian deaths. The BBC reports.

The report of the Eastern Ghouta ceasefire deal came as opposition delegates gathered in Geneva for U.N.-backed talks on the Syrian peace process, representatives of the Syrian government are expected to arrive in Geneva today. Al Jazeera reports.

Turkey said that it would consider expanding its military operations in Syria to Western Aleppo and Afrin provinces, in a statement by Turkeys National Security Council yesterday, this would potentially bring its forces into confrontation with U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters. Reuters reports.

Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (P.Y.D.) forces attacked a Turkish border post in Afrin province in Syria yesterday, according to private broadcaster C.N.N. Turk. The Syrian Kurdish Y.P.G. militia are affiliated to the P.Y.D. and Turkey views the groups as offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.), which is designated as a terrorist group in Turkey, the U.S. and the E.U., Reuters reports.

The previous rounds of U.N.-backed talks have been consistently disrupted, allowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to score key military victories and, in each instance, Russia has provided cover for Assad, an example of how Russia has been dominating in its calculations while the U.S. has been absent if there are any breakthroughs in Geneva this week they would pave the way for Assads success as a result of immense Russian cynicism dressed up as realpolitik. Nic Robertson writes at CNN.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 11 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq between November 24 and November 26. [Central Command]

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

There is no hollowing out, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday in response to criticisms about his reorganization of the State Department, saying that were keeping the organization fully staffed and adding that the reports of the restructuring made it sound like the sky was falling, which was offensive to employees at the department. Carol Morello reports at the Washington Post.

Tillersons defense of the restructuring came after increasingly vocal complaints from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the secretary of state saying that many of the reports about the loss of diplomatic personnel are just false. Nahal Toosi reports at POLITICO.

Russia has been using malicious tactics against the U.S. and European allies, Tillerson said yesterday, saying that Russias actions are not the behaviors of a responsible nation and said any reset of relations would be out of reach while the situation in the Ukraine remains unaddressed. Carol Morello reports at the Washington Post.

President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday at an event commemorating the U.N. vote leading to the creation of the state of Israel, the move was promised by Trump throughout the 2016 campaign however a relocation would represent a break with longstanding U.S. policy. Jordan Fabian reports at the Hill.

Trumps foreign policy is conducted with a view to a domestic audience based on celebrity populism, however this approach does not serve the nations interests, eschews the principles of postwar presidents of both parties, most Americans do not agree with the approach, and patriotic Republican and Democratic leaders must challenge Mr. Trumps foreign-policy destruction. The former World Bank president, U.S. trade representative and deputy secretary of state Robert B. Zoellick writes at the Wall Street Journal.

MICHAEL FLYNN

Trumps former national security adviser Michael Flynn promoted a controversial nuclear-power proposal in the Middle East within the White House, according to interviews with current and former government officials, individuals from the private-sector and documents describing the plan. Christopher S. Stewart and Rob Barry report at the Wall Street Journal.

Flynns advocacy for the proposal shortly after Trumps inauguration was being pushed by a company that Flynn said he had advised during the 2016 campaign and transition, creating a potential conflict of interest. Greg Jaffe, Carol D. Leonnig, Michael Kranish and Tom Hamburger report at the Washington Post.

It appears that special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into Flynn includes his activities as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (D.I.A.) during the Obama administration, he was ousted from the D.I.A. in 2014. Thomas Frank and Jason Leopold report at BuzzFeed News.

The Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab yesterday pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, his testimony may have implications for Flynn due to Flynns dealings with the Turkish government and an alleged agreement with Turkey to kidnap the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of being the mastermind behind last years failed coup in Ankara. Katie Zavadski observes at The Daily Beast.

LIBYA

Ahmed Abu Khatalla, the Libyan man who was accused of being the mastermind behind the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi in 2012, was found guilty of terrorism charges but was not found guilty of murder, Spencer S. Hsu and Ann E. Marimow report at the Washington Post.

The reports of apparent slave auctions in Libya have shone a spotlight on the country, highlighting the instability in the country since the collapse of Muammar Gaddafis regime in 2011Ishaan Tharoor provides an analysis at the Washington Post.

IRAN

Saudi Arabia paints Iran as enemy because it wants to cover up their defeats in Qatar, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said yesterday, making the comments after the Saudi Crown Prince called Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the new Hitler of the Middle East. Reuters reports.

The Saudi minister for Gulf affairs Thamer al-Sabhan has been a key figure in the campaign to counter Iran, it is believed that he was behind the unexpected resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Nov. 4 which Hariri claimed was because of the destructive influence of Iran and its Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah ally and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans hawkish approach towards Iran is largely embodied and amplified in al-Sabhan. Bassem Mroue and Aya Batrawy explain at the AP.

The Trump administration is pushing a false pretext about Irans connections to al-Qaeda in a similar way to the Bush administrations lie about Iraqi President Saddam Husseins links to Osama bin Laden, and Trump is beating the drum for war in the Middle East. Mehdi Hasan writes at the New York Times.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Trump administrations new Afghanistan strategy increases the risks to U.S. troops as they are deployed to accompany Afghan army forces in an advisory role, the commander of the U.S. and N.A.T.O. forces in Afghanistan Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr. said yesterday. Missy Ryan reports at the Washington Post.

The man accused of carrying out last months attack in New York has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and terrorism, Sayfullo Saipov entered his plea deal yesterday, the BBC reports

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi called on his military to secure and stabilize Sinai within the next three months, in a speech today, adding that the forces can use all brute force necessary to combat the Islamist insurgency. Reuters reports.

Any attempts by the U.S. to impose further U.N. sanctions against South Sudan would likely be vetoed by Russia, the U.S. threatened to take further action yesterday however Russia said such a move would be counterproductive. Michelle Nichols reports at Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has been preparing to release Yemenis who were formerly detained in Guantánamo Bay, a move likely to be met by consternation by Trump, Molly OToole explains at Foreign Policy.

China has been quiet but relentless in its pursuit of becoming a global superpower, and its project has been aided by Trumps America First strategy, David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post.

Read on Just Security »

Mike Flynn – Google Search
 

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<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Nov 27, 2017

Mueller’s Russia Probe May Now Include Flynn’s DIA Tenure
 

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WASHINGTON — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn appears to be under investigation for his activities while he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, according to a letter the agency sent to BuzzFeed News.

The disclosure suggests that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking more broadly than previously thought at Flynn, whom President Donald Trump fired in February after 24 days as his top security adviser.

Mueller’s investigation previously has been reported to include a probe of Flynn’s activities after he was ousted from the DIA in 2014 and traveled to Russia, lobbied for the Turkish government, and joined Trump’s presidential campaign. Until now, however, there has been no indication that Mueller was looking into Flynn’s two-year tenure as head of the nation’s leading producer of foreign military intelligence.

The DIA suggested otherwise in a Nov. 15 letter to BuzzFeed News that denied a reporter’s three-year-old request for Flynn’s emails, job evaluations, and other records related to his work as the agency’s director. The letter to reporter Jason Leopold says that releasing Flynn’s records could “interfere with ongoing law enforcement investigative activities.”

The letter does not describe the investigative activities, and a DIA spokesperson declined to elaborate. Federal law allows government agencies to withhold from the public “investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes.”

Legal experts said the letter is the first public indication that Mueller is investigating Flynn’s stormy leadership period at the DIA, which ended when he was forced to retire earlier than planned amidst criticism over his leadership.

“It certainly suggests that Flynn is being investigated not just for conduct that postdated his departure” from the DIA, said University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck.

“I think there has been this suspicion since during the [2016] campaign that for all his plaudits and achievement, General Flynn has been part of some pretty shady dealings,” Vladeck said. “I don’t think it’s shocking if some of those dealings in fact predated his departure from the government.”

Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Mueller declined to comment.

It is unclear what Mueller might be investigating about Flynn when he ran the DIA. Although Flynn was reported to have been forced out after clashing with other Defense Department leaders, there has been no public indication of scandal or criminal activity during his 33-year military career. He retired as an Army lieutenant general.

Mueller might simply be casting a wide net, said Jens David Ohlin, a criminal law professor at Cornell Law School. “You could imagine a scenario where Mueller’s team is doing their due diligence and wants all his emails during this period because they’re investigating his relations with Russia and Turkey,” Ohlin said.

Or Mueller could be looking into any possible conspiracy involving Flynn that may have started years ago, Ohlin said.

“Conspiracies sometimes exist for months, if not years,” Ohlin said. “It’s certainly possible that he could have committed a crime and is being investigated for a crime after his government service, but there is a lot of evidence going back to when he was in government service. That doesn’t necessarily mean a crime occurred while he was a government employee.”

In 2015, more than a year after he left the DIA and shortly before he joined the Trump campaign, Flynn was paid $33,000 to speak at a gala in Moscow where he sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2016, after joining the Trump campaign, Flynn was paid $530,000 by a Turkish businessperson for advocacy work in the US on behalf of the Turkish Republic. Flynn’s initial failure to disclose his work has exposed him to possible criminal charges similar to those Mueller has brought against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

During the transition period after Trump’s election, Flynn spoke several times with Russia’s US ambassador but lied about those exchanges to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence. Trump fired Flynn when Flynn’s misleading of Pence became public.

The DIA sent its denial letter to BuzzFeed News at roughly the same time that Flynn’s lawyers told Trump’s legal team that they would no longer share information about Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible coordination with Trump associates. The notification by Flynn’s lawyers suggests that Flynn is cooperating with Mueller as he investigates whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia’s efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton.

Leopold, the reporter, had requested records pertaining to Flynn on May 1, 2014, while Flynn was still in charge of the DIA but a day after the Washington Post reported that he was being forced to retire because of his management style and resistance within the agency to his plans for change.

In denying Leopold’s request, the DIA said its refusal is not necessarily “long-term” and that it will “reassess future requests” for records pertaining to Flynn “at the conclusion of the present investigative activity.” There was no immediate explanation for the delay in responding Leopold’s request.

DIA spokesperson Navy Cmdr. William Marks said he did not know how long the investigation would take. “Some investigations take years, some only take a few weeks,” he said.

Citing probes, military agency bars access to Flynn records
 

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WASHINGTON –  The Defense Intelligence Agency is refusing to publicly release a wide array of documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, saying that turning them over could interfere with ongoing congressional and federal investigations.

Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former DIA director, is currently under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and congressional committees. They are scrutinizing his private consulting work for a Turkish businessman as well as his activities related to Russia during President Donald Trump’s campaign and the early days of the Trump administration. The Defense Department’s inspector general also is investigating Flynn’s receipt of foreign payments as a retired military officer.

In a series of letters dated Nov. 15, the DIA denied several Freedom of Information Act requests filed over the past year by The Associated Press seeking information about Flynn’s tenure at the DIA from 2012 to 2014. The AP requests sought Flynn’s public and private calendars, his correspondence while at DIA and a specific listing of documents related to his security clearance that the agency provided to Congress earlier this year. Two of the AP’s requests were filed before Mueller’s appointment and one of those was filed the day before Trump took office.

In the letters, Alesia Y. Williams, DIA’s chief FOIA officer, said she would not release any requested records because they “could reasonably be expected to interfere with on-going law enforcement investigative activities.” Williams also indicated this was part of a coordinated effort within the Defense Department to withhold public documents related to Flynn that could be related to ongoing federal and congressional probes.

BuzzFeed News also reported Tuesday that it had received a similar denial for records related to Flynn. The BuzzFeed request was nearly three years old.

Messages left with DIA spokesmen Tuesday afternoon weren’t immediately returned.

The agency’s decisions came about a week before Flynn’s lawyers informed Trump’s legal team that they would no longer share information about Mueller’s investigation — a sign that Flynn is moving to cooperate or possibly negotiate a deal with prosecutors. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, has declined to comment on the status of the investigation or the move to cut off contact with the president’s legal team.

It’s unclear how long the Defense Intelligence Agency will continue to bar public access to Flynn-related documents, according to the letters.

Williams said the agency would continue to withhold records related to Flynn until the “conclusion of the present investigative activity.” But the letters do not indicate how agency officials would determine when the investigation concluded. Instead, Williams put the burden on members of the public who seek records, saying they should submit a new request when they “believe it is likely that the investigation has concluded.”

Flynn faces a number of legal troubles on multiple fronts.

The special counsel and congressional committees have been scrutinizing Flynn’s contacts with Russia during the presidential transition and the campaign. He has also been under federal investigation for nearly a year over lobbying and investigative research work his firm, Flynn Intel Group, performed for a Turkish businessman. Flynn’s firm was paid $530,000 for a lobbying effort that sought to gather information that could support a criminal case against a Turkish cleric living in the U.S. Flynn also wrote an op-ed promoting Turkish government talking points attacking the cleric, Fethullah Gulen.

After his forced resignation from his White House post, Flynn and his firm registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent, acknowledging his work could have benefited the government of Turkey and should have been disclosed to the government. But since that registration, prosecutors and FBI agents working for Mueller have been investigating whether the Turkish government was directing the lobbying work and not the private company that Flynn cited in his filing with the Justice Department. Investigators have also been looking into Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., who worked alongside his father, and Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian.

Flynn has also faced scrutiny over his truthfulness on government forms and in interviews with federal investigators.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified earlier this year that Flynn was the target of a federal investigation into his contacts with Russia and whether he lied to agents about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. In his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee, Comey said it was that investigation into Flynn that Trump pressured him to “let go” in the Oval office. Through his lawyers, the president has denied pressuring Comey.

Separately, congressional Democrats have said they believe Flynn lied about his foreign contacts and travel on his security clearance paperwork related to a proposal to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East.

The former Republican chairman and the top Democrat on a House oversight committee have also said they believe Flynn broke federal law by not getting government permission to receive tens of thousands of dollars in payments from RT, the Russian state-sponsored television network. The receipt of those foreign payments is currently under scrutiny by the Defense Department’s inspector general, though he would likely only face civil penalties if investigators found Flynn had violated the law.

__

Associated Press writer Stephen Braun contributed to this report.

__

Follow Chad Day on Twitter: <a href=”https://twitter.com/ChadSDay” rel=”nofollow”>https://twitter.com/ChadSDay</a>

Mueller may be looking at Flynn’s time as DIA chief: report | TheHill
 

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Mueller may be looking at Flynn's time as DIA chief: report
© Greg Nash

Former White House national security adviser Michael Flynnmay be under investigation for his activities during his tenure at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under former President Obama, according to a letter from the agency sent to BuzzFeed News.

The letter, which came in response to a 2014 Freedom of Information Act request, denied a BuzzFeed reporter’s request for Flynn’s emails, job evaluations and other records from his time heading the DIA, saying that releasing the documents could “interfere with ongoing law enforcement investigative activities.”

“Upon review of your request, I have determined that the release of potentially responsive records concerning LTG Flynn could reasonably be expected to interfere with on-going law enforcement investigative activities,” it reads.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the criminal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, has previously been reported to be looking into Flynn’s activities since leaving the DIA in 2014. In particular, he is probing Flynn’s financial ties to Russia and Turkey.

But according to BuzzFeed, the DIA’s letter denying the records request suggests that Mueller is also looking into Flynn’s activities while he served as the agency’s director from 2012 to 2014.

The letter does not detail any potential investigative activities. But federal agencies are allowed to withhold requested documents from the public if they are compiled for law enforcement purposes.

“It certainly suggests that Flynn is being investigated not just for conduct that postdated his departure [from the DIA],” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, told BuzzFeed.

Flynn has emerged as a central figure in Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. He resigned from his White House post in February – just 24 days into office – after it was revealed that he misled White House officials about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the month before President Trump took office.

Since then, Flynn has faced scrutiny for his failure to previously disclose his financial ties to Russia and Turkey. He registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department in March.

Reports last week suggested that Flynn may be cooperating with Mueller in his investigation, after his lawyers cut ties with attorneys representing Trump in the Russia probe.

Mueller may be looking at Flynn’s time as DIA chief: report – The Hill
 

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The Hill
Mueller may be looking at Flynn’s time as DIA chief: report
The Hill
Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the criminal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, has previously been reported to be looking into Flynn’s activities since leaving the DIA in 2014. In particular, he is probing Flynn’s 
Citing probes, military agency bars access to Flynn recordsFox News
Mueller’s Russia Probe May Now Include Flynn’s DIA TenureBuzzFeed Newsall 29 news articles »

Trump Delusional – Google Search
 

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Trump Not a Liar, Is Truly Delusional
 

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The prevailing interpretation of Donald Trump, shared by all his enemies and many of his allies, is that he is a con man. It is a theory that explains both his career in business and politics, and has carried through his many reversals of position and acts of fraud against customers and contractors. It remains quite plausible. But new reporting has opened up a second possibility: The president has lost all touch with reality.

The Washington Post and New York Times have accounts from insiders suggesting Trump habitually insists upon the impossible in private. He does not merely tell lies in order to gull the public, or to manipulate allies. He tells lies in private that he has no reason to tell. He still questions the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth, despite the birth certificate. He insists voter fraud may have denied him a popular vote triumph. He tells people Robert Mueller will wrap up his investigation, with a total vindication of the president, by the end of the year.

He questions whether the Access Hollywood tape, on which he was recorded boasting of sexual assault, is even him. (Both the Post and the Times describe Trump repeatedly denying the validity of the tape in private, “stunning his advisers,” as the Times puts it.)

It is of course entirely possible that Trump is lying to everybody, including his own staff. But the lies in these articles do not always fit into any pattern of rational self-aggrandizement. Trump tells senators or his aides the Access Hollywood tape is not him, but they don’t believe him. He has no reason to bring up the birther fabrication in private.

His apparent belief that Mueller will complete his sprawling investigation by the end of the year is not only pointless but self-defeating – rather than prepare allies for a long defense, he is preparing them for a fantastical scenario. (It is also further evidence that, when Mueller fails to vindicate him by the new year, Trump will lash out wildly, firing him, Jeff Sessions, or others.)

If Trump actually has the ability to convince himself of his own lies, it would suggest a possibility far more dangerous than even his critics have previously assumed. He might be in the grip of a mental health issue, or at least one more serious than mere sociopathy. And the mutterings that he might need to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment could grow more serious than many of us expected.

New Reports Suggest Trump Might Not Be a Liar at All, But Truly Delusional – New York Magazine
 

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New Reports Suggest Trump Might Not Be a Liar at All, But Truly Delusional
New York Magazine
The prevailing interpretation of Donald Trump, shared by all his enemies and many of his allies, is that he is a con man. It is a theory that explains both his career in business and politics, and has carried through his many reversals of position and 
Will Trump ever have to answer to the women who say he harassed and assaulted them?Los Angeles Times
Does Trump Think The ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Is Fake? Here’s Every Single Thing He’s Said About ItBustle
Donald Trump Reportedly Claims Access Hollywood Tape Wasn’t Authentic411mania.com
New York Times
all 174 news articles »
Threat From North Korea No Longer Hypothetical, Arms Experts Warn
 

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Its the next logical step that we were expecting.”

6 Months In, No End In Sight: Who’s Who In The Vast Russia Imbroglio – NPR
 

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6 Months In, No End In Sight: Who’s Who In The Vast Russia Imbroglio
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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference has passed the six-month mark, and President Trump’s staff is painting a picture of a process nearing its end. “We still expect this to conclude soon,” White Houseand more »

Race and Class and What Happened in 2016 – New York Times
 

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Race and Class and What Happened in 2016
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But we will never escape from purgatory until these points are treated as complements to the role that other forces played inTrump’s success, not as substitutes that somehow make the economic anxiety or anti-establishment analyses of Trumpism into … 

The Odyssey of a Turkish Trader Now Spilling His Secrets in U.S.
 

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Turkish customs agents set off a half decade of intrigue when they boarded a plane that landed unexpectedly at Istanbul’s international airport. They found in the hold, undeclared, a ton and a half of gold.

Authorities subsequently determined that the shipment was part of a giant money-laundering operation to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Iran for oil and gas, skirting international sanctions intended to curb the country’s nuclear work. The scheme, they said, was overseen by a young Iranian-Turk named Reza Zarrab who greased the palms of top Turkish officials with watches, a piano and cash-stuffed boxes.

Photographer: Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It’s been quite a ride since then for Zarrab. Sprung from Turkish prison in early 2014, he was actually hailed by the country’s now president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He and his pop-star wife resumed their perch on Turkey’s society pages. Until, that is, he was arrested last year in Florida on his way to a Disney vacation and charged by federal prosecutors in a sweeping laundering and sanctions violations case. After 18 months in U.S. lockup, the onetime playboy with mansions and James Bond-style accessories — a jet, a personal submarine, a gold-plated pistol — is now cooperating with American prosecutors.

His evolution from a central character in a 2013 Turkish political battle to a key U.S. witness is expected to take center stage later today in a federal court in Manhattan where an executive of a prominent Turkish bank is accused in the scheme. Prosecutors say Zarrab, 34, will provide the inside story of a conspiracy that spanned a decade — all part of his guilty plea agreement.

That has the potential to send shock waves through Turkish politics and international relations. Prosecutors accused Zarrab of making bribes to then-senior ministers under Erdogan as part of his laundering scheme. As they have added more charges against more defendants in a case full of twists and turns, Turkish stock and currency markets have heaved.

Read more: A Q&A on how the trial is wreaking havoc on Turkish markets

Erdogan has demanded Zarrab’s return. The U.S.’s refusal has contributed to deteriorating Turkish-U.S. relations, now the most strained in decades. The case could spill over to U.S. politics, too, given the Trump administration’s efforts in its early days to strengthen its alliance with Turkey.

It could even brush up against a separate probe of Russian influence in the presidential election. The U.S. special counsel has delved into work done on behalf of Turkey by Michael Flynn, who was fired after a brief run as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Trump ally Rudy Giuliani was hired by Zarrab and met earlier this year with Erdogan in hopes of resolving the matter diplomatically, outside the courts.

Zarrab Family Vacation

It was a curious decision, in late March 2016, for Zarrab to gather his family for an American vacation. He no longer faced any charges in Turkey, but prosecutors there had made public a raft of documents marking him as a possible money launderer and a violator of U.S. sanctions.

Zarrab may have had an even bigger worry than U.S. arrest, though. Prosecutors in Iran had accused one of its wealthiest men, Babak Zanjani, of diverting $2.7 billion in oil proceeds from official coffers. An influential Iranian lawmaker said that if anyone knew where Zanjani put the money, it was Zarrab. (U.S. lawyers for Zarrab have denied the men were partners and Zanjani’s lawyers have called the case politically motivated.)

In early March 2016, Iran sentenced Zanjani to death. Two weeks later, Zarrab arrived in Florida, saying he was going to Disney. He was promptly arrested.

Though Zarrab may not have known it at the time, he was also the subject of a counter-intelligence investigation that the U.S. had started three years earlier, prosecutors said in court on Tuesday.

The money-laundering scheme by Zarrab — reconstructed from hundreds of Turkish and U.S. court filings including documents and phone transcripts — was built around complicated cross-border transactions and his personal connections in Turkey and Iran.

His father, a wealthy steel baron from Iran named Hossein Zarrab, moved the family to Turkey when Reza was still a toddler. At least one company used later by the son was founded in his name when he was 12 or 13. When Reza moved to Dubai with his family at the age of 16, he opened a tea-trading business with three employees. Three years later, back in Istanbul on his own, he started a gold brokerage and currency exchange and, later, shipbuilding and construction firms.

Meanwhile, his father kept a hand in Iranian trade. Hossein was among a team of people that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assembled, after he was elected Iran’s president in 2005, to help work around U.S. sanctions, according to the Turkish paper Hurriyet.

Still in his early 20s, Reza began his Turkish ascent. He became a Turkish citizen in 2005, adopting the local variation of his name, Riza Sarraf.

At his older brother’s wedding, he met a Turkish singer, Ebru Gundes. Reza, smitten, wrote two songs for her that were delivered by mutual friends. She agreed to meet him.

The two were married in 2010 and became a fixture on Turkey’s society pages — the glamorous Ebru and the boyish and stocky Reza, with a black beard and a mop of black hair coiffed up from his forehead. Turkish papers featured their mansions on the Bosphorus and Aegean, and showed them on the town, here with a Rolls Royce, there a Range Rover or an Aston Martin.

Chance Discovery

The possible source of Zarrab’s wealth began to emerge after Turkish customs officials made their chance discovery on New Year’s Eve 2012. An Airbus A330, flying from Ghana to United Arab Emirates, had been scheduled to refuel at a nearby regional airport when fog forced it to Ataturk. Customs agents impounded its gold cargo.

Earlier: 2014 article traces Zarrab’s journey from society pages to an Istanbul jail cell

Zarrab pressed into action. He called the country’s economy minister, Zafer Caglayan, among others. Caglayan was paid tens of millions of dollars in bribes to keep the scheme running and conceal transactions from the U.S., according to federal prosecutors. Less than three weeks after the plane was detained, it took back off, resuming its journey to Dubai.

Turkish prosecutors, armed with wiretaps of Zarrab’s conversations, arrested Caglayan’s son in late 2013 on charges of facilitating bribery. As a minister and member of parliament, Caglayan the father had immunity, and he denied taking bribes. Like Zarrab, he was ultimately cleared in Turkey. He’s now charged in the U.S. case but remains outside the country.

The gold shipments to Dubai, the Turkish prosecutors said, were but one link in a chain that turned Iranian oil and gas into hard currency for Tehran. Turkey’s national oil company bought Iranian gas. It then deposited funds into special accounts at Turkey’s Halkbank. Using shell companies, Zarrab took the proceeds to buy gold that was shipped to Dubai, prosecutors say.

The gold was then sold for dollars and euros, running through international banks, which were unwitting participants, according to U.S. prosecutors, and were told the transactions were for food or humanitarian aid, according to Turkish and U.S. court documents. In a 10-month span, Zarrab helped move $900 million in Iranian funds through U.S. banks, U.S. prosecutors say.

Dubai Wheat

Millions of dollars in bribes were used to keep the scheme going. Once, according to U.S. filings, Zarrab discussed moving 150,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Iran on a 5,000-ton vessel, a logistical impossibility. He said another payment was for wheat exports from Dubai, which neither grows nor exports wheat. Surveillance in Turkey showed that Zarrab also tried to head off bad press, allegedly paying about $4 million to two politicians to help squelch negative coverage of him.

His contacts included the country’s ministers of the interior and EU affairs (who are not accused of wrongdoing by the U.S.). At an April 2013 wedding in Ankara, Zarrab cut a deal with Caglayan, then economy minister, to support his scheme, Turkish prosecutors said. U.S. prosecutors more recently hinted of a bigger grab for influence: Zarrab later boasted in a conversation caught on tape that he had also talked to Erdogan at the wedding, seeking support to buy a bank that could be a conduit for Iran transactions.

When Turkish prosecutors laid out their allegations, the three ministers resigned. Zarrab was detained.

But then the tables turned. Erdogan, prime minister at the time, portrayed Zarrab as a philanthropist whose businesses were a service to the country. The Turkish prosecutors’ case against Zarrab, Erdogan said, was part of a plot put into motion by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who runs an influential worldwide movement from his compound in Pennsylvania, to smear his government. Turkey’s parliament cleared all the ministers of wrongdoing. Prosecutors and police involved in the case were reassigned, dismissed or jailed by the thousands.

Zarrab was freed. A pro-government news channel placed him before a Turkish flag and interviewed him. In July 2015, Hurriyet published photographs of a notably slimmer Zarrab yachting on the Aegean. A few yards off the fantail of a large black yacht, he could be seen above the blue sea, held aloft by jets of water on a personal hovercraft.

Erdogan Enraged

Zarrab’s arrest the following year in the U.S. enraged Erdogan, who asked the Obama White House to send him home. Instead, Zarrab transited through a series of U.S. detention centers — in Tallahassee, Atlanta and Oklahoma City — before arriving in New York. Many of the details supporting the charges, brought by then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, were similar to those originally revealed in Turkey.

Even after Zarrab’s testimony, which U.S. prosecutors say will reach the highest levels of Turkey’s government, the mystery may continue about whether he is helping the U.S. government in other ways and how much he knows about Iran, for example. The man who recently bribed a U.S. prison guard for a cell phone may finally be ready to spill his secrets.

— With assistance by Yalman Onaran

Should Trump Cooperate With Putin Over the Future of Syria? – Newsweek
 

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The Jamestown Foundation
Should Trump Cooperate With Putin Over the Future of Syria?
Newsweek
Yet he also senses that the Trump administration, like its predecessor, is, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle: that when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says there is no future for the mass-murdering Bashar al-Assad in Syria, it has the 
Declaring Victory in Syria, Putin Stands to Lose the Elusive PeaceThe Jamestown Foundation
The Guardian view on Syria: Putin tests the westThe Guardian
The United States cannot allow Russia to take the lead in SyriaThe Hill
LobeLog
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6:37 AM 11/29/2017 – Suspect in New York truck attack pleads not guilty to murder and terrorism charges – PBS NewsHour

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Suspect in New York truck attack pleads not guilty to murder and terrorism charges – PBS NewsHour

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5:23 AM 11/29/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov

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The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov

If you admit the hostile special intelligence operations nature of the mass killings as the hypothesis, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant.

Image result for three monkeys see no evil

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion:

If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operations nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as “an”, if not “the” (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant, just as the gun ownership explanatory theory, which is indeed false, in my opinion. This latter factor might be contributing but not the root cause, and not the main causal factor in the modern-day U.S. culture. 

But the good thing is that we started to ask these questions and started to look for the answers. We should not let the conceptual stereotypes to cloud our judgment. One of such stereotypes, regarding “Al Qaeda”, started to crumble before our eyes: “21 Years of War with Al  Qaeda?” 

The so-called “ISIS” probably is the next in line of the abandoned illusions in waiting. 

“I did also call him” “Ishmael”, but we did not want to see this phenomenon, and we still do not want to face it, as most logically it is, which is the current state of de facto hybrid or intelligence war of deep and multi-dimensional deception with Russia and her overt and covert allies. Not an easy situation but not the reason for despair. Now, when the picture becomes clearer, all sorts of the proper questions will be asked, and all sorts of the proper answers will be sought. I think, one of the concerns might be the effects of the excessive liberal or conservative slants or biases, which apparently can be equally harmful and can enhance the security vulnerabilities by rocking the boat too much in either direction. The skillful political balance appears to be the key. 

It looks like the beginning of the end of the current wave of the pre-and-post-9/11  historical denial. So much for the powers of the very plausible self-deception: “I do not see it, because I do not want to see it”, just like the good old three monkeys

“Why are US mass shootings getting more deadly?” – BBC News

I did notice this trend also and mentioned it in one of my previous posts

The answer: because the planners and the organizers of these attacks do everything to approach the military efficiency in these operations. They do view them as the para-military types of operations. The preferred use of the AR-15 (Kalashnikovs or their modifications) also points in this direction, besides serving the (deadly) commercial advertising purposes. 

Michael Novakhov 

11.7.17 

Links: 

“I did also call him” “Ishmael”.

"I will call him" "Ishmael"
The Global and The US Domestic Terrorism Incidents, The Mass Shooting Incidents, and The Incidents of Shooting at the U.S. Police Officers: Comparisons and The Illustrations for The Statistical Analysis – The Brinsley’s Jacket – Last and Current Update: 11.23.16 
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“Some colleagues sent me the New York Times article “What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer” today. My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw the chart that appears at the top of the piece, above everything else except the title and byline…”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453485/nyt-shows-how-not-analyze-mass-shooting-data

“We shouldn’t care about “gun murders” or “mass shootings”; we should care about murders in general and mass killings in general, regardless of how they’re accomplished. (Up to a point it’s essentially tautological to claim that more guns translates to more problems with guns, because a society with no guns by definition cannot have any problems with them.) As I’ve noted numerous times before, there is no simple, consistent correlation between gun ownership and murder or homicide rates in general, either among developed countries or among U.S. states. More sophisticated studies face a variety of serious methodological obstacles — I don’t find any of them that compelling — and have reached varying conclusions. The research on mass shootings in particular is in an even more primitive state.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/453485/nyt-shows-how-not-analyze-mass-shooting-data

________________________________

What Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

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Worldwide, Mr. Lankford found, a country’s rate of gun ownership correlated with the odds it would experience a mass shooting. This relationship held even when he excluded the United States, indicating that it could not be explained by some other factor particular to his home country. And it held when he controlled for homicide rates, suggesting that mass shootings were better explained by a society’s access to guns than by its baseline level of violence.

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas

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There is nothing particularly Lone Star State-ish about a mass killing these days. Ask New York, or Las Vegas.

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Mass Shootings News Review

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6:06 AM 11/10/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov | Mass Shootings News Review

6:06 AM 11/10/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov | Mass Shootings News Review
6:06 AM 11/10/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov | Mass Shootings News Review
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5:19 AM 11/13/2017 – A “freak accident” or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message?

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Stairwell collapse –

A “freak accident” or the premeditated act for the sake of sending the symbolic message?

Interpretation:

San Diego: Son, die e (и – and) go

Barrio Logan community: Barry (? Barrack Obama), I owe, (you,) low gun (? A reference to sanctions against Russia introduced by Pres. Obama)

Etc.

This “accident” should be thoroughly investigated, and it might provide the clues for the understanding of the similar accidents in the past (recall the falls of balconies, for example), and most likely in the future. 

Michael Novakhov

11.13.17

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
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putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Ex-Intel Heads Respond As Trump Muddles Message On Russian Influence In Election – NPR
putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Clapper: Downplaying Russia threat a ‘peril’ to US – CNN
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Trump’s Taxes Have Probably Already Been Hacked – WIRED

 

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children staircase – Google Search
mikenova shared this story from children staircase – Google News.

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Multiple children injured after stairway collapse at Vault PK

CBS 8 San DiegoNov 11, 2017
SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Multiple children were injured Saturday night after a stairwell collapse at Vault PK. Witnesses told News 8 a staircase …
More than 20 children hurt after staircase collapses
KRIS Corpus Christi News14 hours ago
Stairwell Collapse At San Diego Indoor Gym Leaves 21 Kids Hurt
<a href=”http://Patch.com” rel=”nofollow”>Patch.com</a>20 hours ago
Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that …
Highly CitedLos Angeles TimesNov 11, 2017
Dozens of children injured in stairwell collapse in Barrio Logan
Highly CitedThe San Diego Union-TribuneNov 11, 2017

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Media image for children staircase from The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Authorities investigating stairwell collapse at San Diego gym that injured nearly two dozen children
mikenova shared this story .

San Diego building inspectors are still trying to determine how a stairwell at an indoor gym in the Barrio Logan community collapsed Saturday night, injuring more than two dozen people, most of whom were children.

The incident occurred about 7:40 p.m. at Vault PK on Main Street near Sigsbee Street, a large warehouse that shares space with a paintball facility and Crossfit gym, officials said. Vault PK specializes in parkour, a physically demanding sport that requires athletes to navigate military-style obstacle courses.

The accident occurred in the midst of an open gym night for ages 5 to 14, according to the gym’s website.

Twenty-one children and two adults, ages 72 and 46, were taken to various hospitals with moderate to minor injuries. Three or four of the victims suffered spinal injuries when a 10-by-30-foot wooden platform collapsed on them, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Steve Wright.

“It could have been much worse,” he said.

The patients were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Mercy, Sharp and UC San Diego Medical Center, Wright said. There were additional people with minor injuries who left on their own, rather than by ambulance, he said.

Zachary Smith, who was there with his son for a birthday party, said he was standing on the platform, which he described as a viewing area, along with about 30 others, when the staircase below collapsed, causing the platform to topple. He fell onto a young girl but neither was seriously hurt, he said. Smith’s son was also on the platform at the time but suffered only minor scrapes.

“It was a freak accident,” Smith said, adding that he believes it could have been avoided because the structure did not appear to be built to hold such weight.

Smith said the collapse sparked chaos with parents scrambling to find their children amid the debris.

One parent who did not provide his name said the stairwell collapsed after so many children were running up and down to get pizza. Many parents were likely using a Groupon that had been offered for the evening’s open gym, he said.

His 11-year-old son was not injured. He said he thought 40 to 50 people would show up for the evening “but there were probably three times that.”

Joe Saari said that when he and his wife dropped off their two children for a few hours, there were 100 to 150 kids at the warehouse, which includes trampolines and bouncy houses. The couple were heading back home to Chula Vista when one of their children called and said there had been an accident.

His kids suffered minor scrapes, Saari said.

A woman said her 13-year-old son was unhurt but “devastated” by the traumatic scene. She said she went inside to get him out and saw one child with blood all over his face.

At Total Combat Paintball, which shares the facility with the gym, the day began normally before the accident.

“It was business as usual until we heard a loud boom come from the gym, at which point our staff and some customers ran over to the gym to help any way we could,” the company said in a statement.

An hour after the incident, the street around the warehouse was lined with ambulances and fire trucks, some leaving with victims inside and yet still more emergency vehicles arriving. One woman stood on the sidewalk, holding an ice pack over one eye while she talked on her cellphone.

Children huddled nearby in groups, some with parents. San Diego police corralled the children and matched them up with parents as they arrived.

City building inspectors were on the scene Sunday to investigate the cause of the collapse.

pauline.repard@sduniontribune.com

kristina.davis@sduniontribune.com


UPDATES:

3:20 p.m.: This article was updated with more comments from witnesses and fire officials.

9 a.m., Nov. 12: This article was updated with new comments from witnesses and fire officials.

11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.

10:30 p.m.: This article was updated with new information from San Diego fire officials.

This article was originally posted at 9:15 p.m. on Nov. 11

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode Nov. 12, 2017
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On this edition for Sunday, Nov. 12, President Trump arrives in the Philippines, his last stop on a five-nation Asia tour. Also, researchers in Hawaii, already a state leader in renewable energy, are using ocean waves to make electricity. Megan Thompson anchors from New York.

James B. Comey, called a liar and leaker by Trump, tweets a quote about truth and justice – The Washington Post
mikenova shared this story .

Former FBI director James B. Comey has been somewhat active on Twitter over the past month, mostly tweeting nature photos and avoiding anything blatantly political.

In one of his latest tweets, he quoted a sermon from the late English Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon about the difference between a truth and a lie: “If you want truth to go around the world you must hire an express train to pull it; but if you want a lie to go around the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.”

Trump voters were motivated by racism, not economic anxiety : The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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10:09 AM 11/10/2017 – Question: Our American Dilemma: Is it a Gun Control or a Mental Health Problem? – HuffPost | Answer: Neither. These are the hostile “special intelligence operations”, as a part of the overall package of measures to control, destroy, and to finally conquer America.

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Question: Our American Dilemma: Is it a Gun Control or a Mental Health Problem? – HuffPost 

Answer: Neither. These are the hostile “special intelligence operations”, as a part of the overall package of measures to control, destroy, and to finally conquer America.

These operations are most likely conducted by the Russians, in collaboration with the other players, most prominently the Russian Mafia. The roles of the Germans (as the strategic and directing brains behind this affair) and the others should also be considered. – M.N. 

The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S. – by Michael Novakhov

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Our American Dilemma: Is it a Gun Control or a Mental Health Problem? – HuffPost

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Washington Free Beacon
Our American Dilemma: Is it a Gun Control or a Mental Health Problem?
HuffPost
The reason this “either or” debate goes on says something about the mental health of the nation related to guns. Put simply, in general, we the people are schizoid and in a state of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the issue of guns and gun control.
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Papadopoulos lied to FBI out of loyalty to Trump: report | TheHill

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Papadopoulos lied to FBI out of loyalty to Trump: report
© Instagram/realdonaldtrump

George Papadopoulos reportedly lied to FBI agents out of loyalty to President Trump, according to ABC News, citing a source “with direct knowledge” of the special council’s Russia investigation.

Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian nationals during the campaign. According to the court documents, Papadopoulos offered to set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin during the campaign.

Trump: U.S. Will No Longer Tolerate Trade Abuses

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“When the United States enters into a trading relationship with other countries or other peoples, we will from now on expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules.”

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Cleric to Turkey – Wall Street Journal

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Special Counsel Mueller is investigating allegations that Michael Flynn was involved in a plot to kidnap an enemy of … – The Week Magazine

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Special Counsel Mueller is investigating allegations that Michael Flynn was involved in a plot to kidnap an enemy of …
The Week Magazine
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is probing allegations that President Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was involved in a deal to earn $15 million from the successful kidnapping of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from the United 

The Early Edition: November 10, 2017 

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

TRUMP ASIA TRIP

President Trump employed a mix of flattery and tough talk when meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing yesterday during his tour of Asia, the talks focused on the U.S.-China trade relationship and the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that the strong personal rapport between Trump and Xi allowed the two leaders to communicate more effectively, especially when discussing the Pyongyang regime. Jeremy Page, Michael C. Bender and Chun Han Wong report at the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. and China could “probably” solve all of the world’s problems, Trump said yesterday, notably toning down his criticisms of Beijing. Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire report at the AP.

Trump arrived in Vietnam today for the Asian-Pacific Economic Forum (A.P.E.C.), amid improved relations between U.S. and Vietnam, partly due to Vietnam’s desire for the U.S. to counter China’s influence in the region. Hannah Beech explains at the New York Times.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold a formal meeting at the A.P.E.C. summit today, but it is “possible and likely” that the two leaders would “bump into each other,” the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Air Force One today. Ali Vitali reports at NBC News.

Trump was “more conciliatory than confrontational” when meeting with Xi, taking a softer approach on the North Korean threat and China’s role in the crisis, thanking Xi for his efforts but calling on him to put more pressure on the Pyongyang regime. Jonathan Lemire provides an analysis at the AP.

There was “nothing but pleasantries and soothing tones” when Trump and Xi met in Beijing, however the question remains what each leader gained and what was lost. Emily Rauhala and Simon Denyer provide an analysis at the Washington Post.

The relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines has been strained as the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has moved closer to China, on the other hand, the U.S. has been improving relations with Vietnam and this is a relationship that Trump can exploit. Jamie Tarabay provides an analysis at CNN.

SAUDI-LEBANON RELATIONS

There have been growing fears that the recently resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia following his resignation from the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday, the speculation has fueled concerns that Lebanon would be the battleground for the escalating Saudi-Iran tensions as Hariri blamed Iran and its Hezbollah allies for creating a “state within a state” – Hariri’s speech mirroring the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s combative rhetoric. Louisa Loveluck and Kareem Fahim report at the Washington Post.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun told Saudi Arabia’s envoy today that Hariri must return to Lebanon and explain why he tendered his resignation from Riyadh. Tom Perry and Sarah Dadouch report at Reuters.

Lebanese government officials have said that they haven’t heard from Hariri since he left for Saudi Arabia last week, Hariri’s decision to resign left the Lebanese government and the nation stunned and the resignation occurred in the context of Saudi Arabia’s contention that Hezbollah acts as a proxy of Iran and has true control of Lebanon. Zeina Karam and Bassem Mroue report at the AP.

A source close to Hariri claimed that Saudi Arabia ordered Hariri to resign and have put him under house arrest, another source claimed that Saudi Arabia have been controlling and limiting his movement. Laila Bassam and Tom Perry report at Reuters.

Hariri’s resignation shows that “Iran is taking over Lebanon. Hezbollah is taking over Lebanon,” Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said yesterday, saying that the time is now appropriate for a diplomatic offensive against Iran and Hezbollah at the U.N., he also dismissed allegations that Saudi Arabia forced Hariri to resign. Josef Federman reports at the AP.

The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert refused to elaborate on Hariri’s status in Saudi Arabia when asked yesterday to describe the meetings between Hariri and the U.S. charge d’affaires in Riyadh, meanwhile Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon threatened to refer Hariri’s case to the U.N. Security Council if the “ambiguity” continues. Al Jazeera reports.

Saudi Arabia yesterday ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon, raising concerns of further instability and possible war as Lebanon is seemingly caught in the middle of the Saudi-Iran rivalry. Anne Barnard reports at the New York Times.

Kuwait and Bahrain have also ordered their citizens to leave Lebanon, the AP reports.

SAUDI-IRAN RIVALRY

“We would like to see sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and sanctions on Iran for violating the ballistic missile resolutions of the United Nations,” the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said yesterday, referring to Saturday’s firing of a ballistic missile by Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels at the Saudi capital of Riyadh. When asked whether Saudi Arabia were heading for a direct confrontation with Iran, al-Jubeir responded “we hope not.” Hadley Gamble and Sam Meredith report at CNBC.

The French President Emmanuel Macron made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia last night to talk with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Macron blamed Iran for a ballistic missile launch saying that it was “obviously” an Iranian missile, but adding that it was important for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to be maintained in the interests of global and regional stability. Jon Gambrell reports at the AP.

Macron also discussed the status of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned from the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday and cited threats to his life and Iran and Hezbollah’s destructive role in Lebanon as reasons for his decision. Macron said that all Lebanese officials should be able to live freely and without threats. The BBC reports.

There is no end in sight for the war in Yemen as the Saudi-led coalition continue their campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and initiatives to bring about peace remain elusive. Brian Rohan provides an overview of the situation in the context of the Saudi-Iran rivalry at the AP.

The Trump administration has chosen to back Saudi Arabia and has been hostile to Iran, in particular the 2015 nuclear deal and Iran’s support for the militant faction of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, however the latest escalation in tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia has raised concerns about the dynamics of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and its impact on the region and the world. Vivian Salma explains at NBC News.

The U.S. faces a dilemma: how closely should it align with Saudi Arabia in its combative approach to Iran? There has been no consensus within the Trump administration and some have raised concerns that they would not want to antagonize Iran and provoke a reaction from Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria. Dion Nissenbaum explains at the Wall Street Journal.

Bin Salman’s decision to oust Hariri has handed power to Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, however Saudi’s economic influence in Lebanon may force Hezbollah to compromise over its weaponry in order to “salvage the economy,” the Economist writes.

Trump has played a role in Bin Salman’s efforts to consolidate his power in Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince’s zeal for reform reflects a modernization drive that eschews democratic principles and diverges from the Western model – a framework that Trump has consistently undermined through rhetoric and action. Anne Applebaum writes at the Washington Post.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump’s former security chief Keith Schiller testified before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, confirming that a foreign individual offered to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during his visit to Moscow in November 2013, but Schiller refused the man’s offer saying that “we’re not interested in that.” Carol D. Leonnig reports at the Washington Post.

Schiller made the comments about the five women in the context of him strenuously disputing the contents of the salacious dossier compiled by former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Ken Dilanian and Jonathan Allen report at the Hill.

The White House senior adviser Stephen Miller has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, sources familiar with the investigation said yesterday, one source claiming that Miller’s role in the firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey was among the topics discussed. Pamela Brown, Gloria Borger and Evan Perez report at CNN.

The opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S. produced negative information on the Clinton Foundation that the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya offered to Trump Jr. and Trump campaign officials during their meeting in June 2016, according to sources familiar with the matter. Mark Hosenball reports at Reuters.

Schiller’s revelation about the offer of five women demonstrates how things work in Russia and their pursuit of “kompromat” tactics, Chris Cilizza writes at CNN.

RUSSIA

The Russian state-funded R.T. television news network said yesterday that it would register as a foreign agent in compliance with a request from the U.S. Justice Department, but said that it would challenge the decision as the “demand is discriminative.” Focus on the network has intensified in light of the investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and the lobbying efforts of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. Paul Sonne reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The Russian embassy in the U.S. yesterday condemned the Justice Department for demanding R.T. to register as a foreign agent, saying that measures limiting activity “will inevitably trigger an immediate symmetrical response.” Julia Manchester reports at the Hill.

The U.S. is expected to propose the deployment of 20,000 peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine in the coming days in a test of Russia’s willingness to end the conflict in Ukraine, however Western officials remain skeptical that Russia would fulfil its commitments under the 2015 Minsk agreement to withdraw all troops and weapons out of Ukraine and allow Kiev to restore control over the country following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Laurence Norman and Julian E. Barnes report at the Wall Street Journal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday accused the U.S. of attempting to interfere in Russia’s presidential campaign and claimed that the U.S.’s role in trying to disqualify Russian athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics was a means of trying to undermine his presidency. David Filipov and Marissa Payne report at the Washington Post.

SYRIA

The Islamic State group have taken back half of the Syrian town of Albu Kamal despite the Syrian army’s announcement yesterday that it had captured the town, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Reuters reports.

The Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was spotted Albu Kamal, a Hezbollah-run media unit claimed today, but did not offer further information, Reuters reporting.

Syrian opposition activists denied claims that al-Baghdadi has been sighted, saying that the Syrian army was seeking to distract from its losses in Albu Kamal. Bassem Mroue reports at the AP.

Iran- and Russia-backed Syrian government forces now face possible confrontation with U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) following yesterday’s defeat of the Islamic State group in their last significant stronghold in the country, Sarah El Deeb explains at the AP.

Russia’s “deplorable” attempts to discredit the report into chemical weapons attacks in Syria continue to “deny the truth,” the U.S. representative Kenneth D. Ward said yesterday at a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (O.P.C.W.), remarks that were posted on O.P.C.W.’s website. Mike Corder reports at the AP.

IRAQ

The U.S.-led coalition has been setting up outposts in western Iraq near the border of Syria to clear Islamic State group militants from their last redoubt in the Euphrates River valley, Susannah George reports at the AP.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out six airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 3. Separately, partner forces conducted four strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command] The figures have not been updated since November 4.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The U.S. military has killed several al-Shabab Islamist militants in Somalia in airstrikes yesterday, the U.S. military stated. Abi Guled reports at the AP.

The European Union will preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and ensure that it will be “fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said today. Reutersreports.

The self-styled Libyan National Army forced Islamist fighters from the city of Beghazi yesterday, expelling the militants from one of their last strongholds in the country, Reuters reports.

N.A.T.O. announced yesterday that it would deploy around 700 troops to Afghanistan, falling short of U.S. expectations of around 1,500 troops, the N.A.T.O. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that there are still “some gaps” that the alliance would work on. Julian E. Barnes and Craig Nelson report at the Wall Street Journal.

Militants loyal to the Islamic State group killed six soldiers and injured four on a southern Philippine island, according to Philippine military spokesperson, Reuters reporting.

Israel will be holding its largest-ever air drills with pilots from 8 countries and around 1,000 participants, the Israeli military announced yesterday, the exercises coming amid increased tensions in the region. Tia Goldenberg reports at the AP.

An ex-Guantánamo Bay inmate has filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government claiming that it was complicit in his detention and torture, Jillian Kestler-D’Amours reports at Al Jazeera.

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UK House Speaker Doubles Down On Trump Parliament Speech Ban

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The honor was given to former President Barack Obama in 2011.

Trump talks tough on trade in Vietnam, no formal meeting with Putin – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump talks tough on trade in Vietnam, no formal meeting with Putin
Washington Post
DANANG, Vietnam — President Trump revived his tough talk on trade Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here, warning that he will not allow “the United States to be taken advantage of anymore.” Speaking to a gathering of business …
All eyes on Trump and Putin attending Vietnam summitUSA TODAY
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Will Trump Snub Putin? US Less Convinced About Meeting Than MoscowNewsweek
Fox News –Telegraph.co.uk
all 698 news articles »

Former FBI counter-spy on Mueller, Trump and Putin: “Russia is winning”

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These are people who wanted to win at all costs, and believed that this information was something they could get that would help secure the presidency for Trump. Those are the boxes that get ticked for me. Then there is actually the question of opportunity and access. We know Manafort had connections with the Kremlin.

Again, this pattern demonstrates an attempt by the Russians to recruit U.S. persons to support their operational intent to undermine our country.

How does the information gleamed from Mueller’s indictment either complicate or clarify the timeline of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election?

I think the biggest problem we have with Manafort and Gates is that there are alleged criminal activities which predate the campaign, especially the Ukrainian money-laundering operation.

That is something which will be used to parry and deflect. But ultimately it does not matter if these events happened before the presidential campaign. They are still a crime. It also shows that Manafort is a man who has been a campaign manager and likely a money launderer for the Russians. He should never have been in that position [on the Trump campaign] to begin with. At best, Donald Trump could just plead ignorance, that he didn’t do his due diligence. Again, this doesn’t make him look any better.

How do you read the question of Trump’s involvement, given the new information? Like a Mafia don, it seems that Trump will say he had no idea what was going on around him.

That’s a very good point. I think that Donald Trump was not fully aware of a lot of these intricacies. I think he was not aware of them simply because of the Russians. The Russians were very smart about this, in terms of figuring out how to recruit people. We see that with Hillary Clinton emails and the success that they apparently had there.

Former FBI counter-spy on Mueller, Trump and Putin: “Russia is winning” – Salon

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Salon
Former FBI counter-spy on Mueller, Trump and Putin: “Russia is winning”
Salon
… what Putin hoped to gain by interfering in the 2016 American presidential election? Was Papadopoulos “flipped” by the Russians to work against the United States? Do we now have evidence that the Russians infiltrated Trump’s inner circle accomplished?and more »

Legal expert thinks Robert Mueller may indict Vladimir Putin in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal 

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Yes, you read that headline correctly. One legal expert, who has a law degree from Oxford and another law degree from the London School of Economics, is weighing in on Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Based on the available evidence and the direction he thinks things are now headed in, he believes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may end up indicting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That’s the argument from Brent Budowsky, a legal expert who has written a new op-ed about the matter for The Hill (link). He makes a compelling case that Robert Mueller has the legal grounds to convene a grand jury against Putin, and the evidence to bring an indictment against him. Putin has committed various major and quantifiable crimes against the United States as part of an attempt at interfering in the U.S. election on Donald Trump’s behalf. Budowsky is urging Mueller to name Putin as an unindicted co-conspirator instead – but the bottom line is why Mueller would go after Putin at all.

Palmer Report’s own take on the matter is this: short of a regime change, Russia obviously would not be willing to extradite its own president to stand trial in the United States. Mueller could try Putin in absentia, as a way of publicly laying out the case that Putin rigged the election in Trump’s favor and worked with members of the Trump campaign to do it. In so doing, Mueller would be trying Donald Trump by proxy.

There are a number of legal experts who believe Robert Mueller can indict Donald Trump while he’s still a sitting president. There are far fewer who believe Mueller can actually put a sitting U.S. president on trial, because the Constitution grants impeachment trial power to Congress. However, nothing says Mueller can’t put the president of Russia on trial, as a way of convincing the American public that Trump is overwhelmingly guilty and illegitimate thus helping to force Trump’s ouster.

The post Legal expert thinks Robert Mueller may indict Vladimir Putin in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal appeared first on Palmer Report.

AP: Russia Twitter trolls rushed to deflect Trump bad news – CBS News

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CBS News
AP: Russia Twitter trolls rushed to deflect Trump bad news
CBS News
Since early this year, the extent of Russian intrusion to help Mr. Trump and hurt Clinton in the election has been the subject of both congressional scrutiny and a criminal investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. In particular, those 
Trump vs. Clinton: Why are we still obsessed a year later?Los Angeles Times 
Trump Calls Russia Investigation ‘A Disgrace’NPR
Trump’s bogus Clinton allegations assault the rule of lawCNN
TIMEPOLITICO Magazine
all 654 news articles »

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6:58 AM 11/10/2017 – M.N.: This article in “Sputnik” is a good example of the deliberate disinformation

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M.N.: This article in “Sputnik”, the Russian propaganda mouthpiece, is a good example of the deliberate disinformation covered as the “respectable sociological stance”, with the corresponding and not so innocent “recommendations”, with the purpose of disarming America and providing the convincing cover for the Russian Intelligence activities, or their “special operations”. The “sad point” is that this point of view is very popular, if not prevalent in the U.S. mass media, providing the easiest, and the false in my view, explanation to the public, and it probably is heavily influenced by the Russian propaganda. 

If you admit the hostile special intelligence operations nature of the mass killings as the hypothesis, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant.

And the purpose of their “recommendations” becomes obvious, too.

Watchdog: Altering Gun Laws, Background Checks Proper Response to Mass Shootings – Sputnik International
 


Sputnik International
Watchdog: Altering Gun Laws, Background Checks Proper Response to Mass Shootings
Sputnik International
On Tuesday, Democrats were unsuccessful in forcing a vote on legislation that would establish a select committee to study the causes of mass shootings, find ways to regulate the gun background check system and research how people with mental health …

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6:23 AM 11/10/2017 – The anatomy of mass shootings: a legacy of failure – The Guardian

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If you admit the hostile special intelligence operations nature of the mass killings as the hypothesis, then all the sociological and the statistical studies become irrelevant. – M.N. 

Mass Shootings News Review from mikenova (24 sites)
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Mass Shootings News Review from mikenova (24 sites)
mass shootings – Google News: The anatomy of mass shootings: a legacy of failure – The Guardian


The Guardian
The anatomy of mass shootings: a legacy of failure
The Guardian
Gun-love can be akin to non-chemical addictions like gambling or hoarding, either of which can have devastating effects, mainly economic, but murder, suicide, accidental death, and mass shootings result only from guns. The definition of mass shootings 

and more »

mass shootings – Google News

Mandalay Bay shooting from mikenova (7 sites): Las Vegas shooting – Google News: Residents of Texas town feel helpless after church shooting – Las Vegas Sun


KENS 5 TV
Residents of Texas town feel helpless after church shooting
Las Vegas Sun
Barbara Solano, center, places flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A man opened fire inside the church in the small South Texas community on Sunday, …
Las Vegas Shooting Survivor Reacts to Texas Church Mass ShootingNBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Texas church gunman sent hostile text messages before attackLas Vegas Review-Journal
Gun control debate re-ignited after Sutherland Springs shootingKENS 5 TV
KTNV Las Vegas
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 Las Vegas shooting – Google News

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active shooting – Google News: ‘It’s simply a matter of when’: Santa Ana SWAT trains for active-shooter situation – KABC-TV


KABC-TV
‘It’s simply a matter of when’: Santa Ana SWAT trains for active-shooter situation
KABC-TV
“Anytime you have one of these active shooter events, any type of threat, seconds matter and to be able to provide that resource immediately is important,” said OCSD Sgt. William Fitzgerald. The training was inspired by the Pulse nightclub shooting in 

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active shooting – Google News: Cabot Police Teach Citizens How to Survive Active Shooter Scenarios – KARK


KARK
Cabot Police Teach Citizens How to Survive Active Shooter Scenarios
KARK
That’s two of the countless things the Cabot Police Department teaches its students in the free, two-hour Civilian Response toActive Shooter Events (CRASE) class. Since Cabot started offering this course last week, two mass shootings have rocked the …

active shooting – Google News

san antonio church shooting – Google News: Residents of Texas town feel helpless after church shooting – mySanAntonio.com


mySanAntonio.com
Residents of Texas town feel helpless after church shooting
mySanAntonio.com
Jeannie Brown, visiting from Indiana, stopped at the site with her daughter, who used to live in Sutherland Springs but left decades ago for San Antonio. Asked whether the church should be destroyed, Brown said: “Yes. Who would want to go back in there?
Texas church plans to demolish building where massacre happenedABC News
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Texas church gunman escaped mental health facility in 2012 after threatening military superiorsWashington Post
USA TODAY –Los Angeles Times
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san antonio church shooting – Google News

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Sharp-shooting Gators guard Egor Koulechov quickly winning over fans
Orlando Sentinel (blog)
The Florida Gators are, too, bec