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EXPOSED: Democrat Party lawmakers quietly write-off $120,000 linked to Awan family

House Democrat’s Office approved a $120,000 write-off linked to the Awan brothers.

Alex Christoforou

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More suspicious financial activity is surfacing related to former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and her IT consultant Awan brothers…as Democrat party officials have been exposed approving a $120,000 write-off linked to the Awan brothers in 2016.

The Daily Caller is reporting that the chief of staff for Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke quietly agreed in early 2016 to sign away a $120,000 missing electronics problem on behalf of two former IT aides now suspected of stealing equipment from Congress.

The Daily Caller reports

Clarke’s chief of staff at the time effectively dismissed the loss and prevented it from coming up in future audits by signing a form removing the missing equipment from a House-wide tracking system after one of the Awan brothers alerted the office the equipment was gone. The Pakistani-born brothers are now at the center of an FBI investigation over their IT work with dozens of Congressional offices.

A senior House official with knowledge of the situation provided TheDCNF with new details about how exactly the brothers are suspected to have stolen the equipment and possibly data from Congress, raising questions about the members or staffers who were signing the checks on equipment purchases.

The $120,000 figure amounts to about a tenth of the office’s annual budget, or enough to hire four legislative assistants to handle the concerns of constituents in her New York district. Yet when one of the brothers alerted the office to the massive loss, the chief of staff signed a form that quietly reconciled the missing equipment in the office budget, the official told TheDCNF. Abid Awan remained employed by the office for months after the loss of the equipment was flagged.

Separately, the brothers are suspected to have orchestrated a long-running fraud scheme in which the office would purchase equipment in a way that avoided tracking by central House-wide administrators. They’re suspected of working with an employee of CDW Government Inc. — one of the Hill’s largest technology providers — to alter invoices in order to avoid tracking. The result would be that no one outside the office would notice if the equipment disappeared, and investigators think the goal of the scheme was to remove and sell the equipment outside of Congress.

CDW spokeswoman Kelly Caraher told TheDCNF the company is cooperating with investigators, and has assurance from prosecutors its employees are not targets of the investigation. “CDW and its employees have cooperated fully with investigators and will continue to do so,” Caraher said. “The prosecutors directing this investigation have informed CDW and its coworkers that they are not subjects or targets of the investigation.”

Those fraud schemes are two major parts of the criminal case being built against Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, his two brothers Abid and Jamal, and potentially others into their Capitol Hill IT work. Their work as IT aides gave them full access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, and the law enforcement probe also includes a cybersecurity component.

Clarke’s chief of staff did not alert authorities to the huge sum of missing money in February of 2016., and as The Daily Caller notes, a request to sign away that much lost equipment would have been “way outside any realm of normalcy.”

Clarke’s office did not bring the missing funds to the attention of authorities until months later when House administrators told the office they were reviewing finances connected to the Awans.

The administrators informed the office that September they were independently looking into discrepancies surrounding the Awans, including a review of finances connected to the brothers in all the congressional offices that employed them. The House administrators asked Clarke’s then-chief of staff, Wendy Anderson, whether she had noticed any anomalies, and at that time she alerted them to the $120,000 write-off, the official told TheDCNF.

Anderson took over for Shelley Davis as Clarke’s chief of staff in February, the same month one of the Awan brothers requested the massive write-off for the lost equipment. It’s not clear whether it was Davis or Anderson who signed off on the form, but Anderson knew it occurred since she notified House authorities of the write-off when they asked.

LaDavia Drane replaced Anderson as Clarke’s chief of staff in January of 2017, when Anderson left to work for Florida Rep. Val Demings.

Salary records show Abid’s employment with Clarke ended in September, some six months after the discrepancy was acknowledged in the write-off and the same month Clarke’s office learned of the impending financial review. Since assuming office in 2007, the New York Democrat’s IT has been handled by, at various times, Imran, Hina, and most recently Abid.

Imran and his wife Hina were indicted for crimes related to gathering money to wire to Pakistan and attempting to leave the country, after learning that investigators were looking at other illegal transactions.

The family began liquidating assets not long after that September call to their employers, real estate records show.

The current charges serve to keep Imran in the country by taking his passport, while the main case is built in earnest. Hina is already in Pakistan with some of the proceeds and could become a fugitive if she misses her arraignment.

The missing equipment tied to Clarke’s office included many iPhones and iPads, the official told TheDCNF. At $800 each, the written-off sum would be enough for 150 items in an office that, according to payroll records, only has 16 employees.

The equipment would have been billed under former chief of staff Davis, who led Clarke’s office from 2010 to February 11, 2016, at which point Anderson took over. The request for the write-off came from the Awans around the time of that staffing change. Drane and Clarke spokeswoman Christine L. Bennett refused to tell TheDCNF which chief signed the form, and why they did not fire Abid at the time or alert authorities.

Members can be personally liable for money or equipment that is lost from their taxpayer-funded office. But the write-off process exists through the House Chief Administrative Officer to square the books in cases of minor, unintentional discrepancies, such as a years-old Blackberry being misplaced.

Clarke’s chief called a House help desk to inquire about the write-off process and was told the forms are submitted routinely, but did not convey the highly unusual scale of the dollar figure, the official said.

The missing $120,000 covers only Clarke’s office. Imran and his relatives worked for more than 40 current House members when they were banned from the House network in February, and have together worked for dozens more in past years. Not all of the offices’ books have been audited for similar patterns.

According toThe Daily Caller, in addition to the apparent write-off scheme, the Imran family is suspected of funneling money from other congressional offices using the invoicing scheme that authorities believe involved cooperation from within CDW Government Inc.

Equipment purchased by members’ offices is normally tracked closely by central House-wide administrators, but House rules allow micropurchases under $500 to be treated more informally. In offices where the Awans worked, CDW invoices routinely showed high-priced items falsely billed at just under that cutoff point, the official told TheDCNF. The low figure on the high-priced equipment would keep it off the tracking radar of central House authorities. The difference in the actual price was then made up by inflating the cost of a service plan, and the equipment was shipped to Imran’s house, the source said.

A member or high-level staffer with financial responsibility in the office would still have to sign a voucher for each such purchase, however, raising the question of how the office wouldn’t have noticed equipment was being purchased that never actually materialized at the office, and in quantities an office might not plausibly need.

Missing money involving write-offs, like the $120,000 written off by Clarke’s office, would be a concern for authorities in addition to equipment that disappeared following the service-plan maneuvering. The suspected write-off scheme aimed at removing items from tracking inventories, while the suspected service-plan maneuvering aimed at keeping the items from being added to the inventories in the first place.

Davis, Clarke’s prior longtime chief of staff, avoided calls from TheDCNF after learning of the story. Davis previously worked for Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s nonprofit. Public records indicate Davis had money problems. He faced eviction from a Northeast Washington, D.C., apartment in 2011, according to D.C. court records.

Despite earning $160,000 a year on Capitol Hill, Abid simultaneously ran a car dealership in Virginia and filed for bankruptcy in 2010 to discharge hundreds of thousands in debts. Court records show the dealership took $100,000 from an Iranian who also served as a politician in Iraq and who is wanted by the Department of Justice. Abid’s business partner testified that the dealership’s financial books were inscrutable.

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Punisher 1
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Punisher 1

There is a huge scandal “lurking” in this case. But we may never hear the truth. They are trying as hard as they can to hide it. And not do a full investigation. Since the anti-Trump Republicans don’t seem to care either. They very well may hide it from the public.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Just hope the public and alternative media keep pushing for the truth to come out.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

I seriously hope the alternative media keeps pushing this story, till it becomes too big to ignore. Not just the brothers from Pakistan that had full access to the Democrats computers. Remember Crowd Strike, who were given the contract, that the Dems refused the FBI? Now who was Dmitry Alperovic close to and it was not Vladimir Putin?

Born Free
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Born Free

Dirty, lying rat bag politicians … doing what they do best…..

whatwaysup
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whatwaysup

Just imagining – on the other slight of hand – what this AWAN crew were doing with all that ‘classified’ material identified (but not prosecuted) by COMEY, found floating around in cyberspace.
Pay to play anyone?
Leverage ?
Maybe it’s time for JUSTICE to have another chat with CROWDSTRIKE. Suggest that truth might be better served if the hard drives they protect for DNC, were handed over for a bit of ‘due diligence.’

Taras77
Guest
Taras77

This is stating the obvious but this “could” go a lot farther down the rabbit hole-the us really needs some competent investigators without shackles or restraints. Some time ago the us conducted a raid into yeman-it was a disaster with the seals on the raid convinced that the terrorists (al quada) had been tipped off and were waiting. One seal was killed and his father raised hell that the raid was poorly planned for unimportant goals-simply a pr stunt decided by trump at a dinner table. I do not want to reach too far on this but with these pak… Read more »

beverly
Guest
beverly

Interesting how the Charlottesville, VA false flag pushed the Awan/DNC story off the radar. Coincidence? I think not.

Gerry Wright
Guest
Gerry Wright

MS. Wasserman is very slimy and slithers through the Political Arena with ease. The Awans were slimy and sleazy so naturally Politicians loved them and trusted them.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

The Duran

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

The Duran

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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