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Ryan Lochte photos go viral, as he enters Olympic Village all smiles (wallet in hand) after ‘robbery’ at gun point

The Daily Mail has published the photos take from the Olympic village camera and it does not look good for Lochte and his teammate.

Alex Christoforou

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The Daily Mail has published photos that clearly show Lochte and Jimmy Feigen returning to the Olympic village all smiles, and with all possessions in hand…the exact opposite disposition expected after being robbed at gunpoint in a foreign country.

As we reported yesterday, news broke that US swimmers Lochte and Feigen may have faked the entire robbery story after a Brazil judge asked that their passports be seized upon further questioning.

The judge and police got a look at the CCTV footage and noticed lots of inconsistencies in the swimmers’ robbery story.

The Daily Mail has published the photos take from the Olympic village camera.

Questions: Ryan Lochte (with blond hair) is seen entering the Olympic Village as his teammate Jimmy Feigen (in blue) is seen holding what appears to be a phone or wallet in one hand as he pulls out something else from his other pocket. Gunnar Bentz (being searched) also appeared to have two things in his hand.

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Drop off: Feigen (in blue) then drops two items into the bin which could be both a phone and a wallet.  Bentz meanwhile atill seems to be holding both a phone and a wallet in his hand while being searched (center).

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More questions: Bentz (on right in foreground) is seen holding what appears to be a phone in one hand and a wallet in another as he walks out of frame.

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On the one hand: As Feigen (in blue shirt) is searched he can be seen on one side holding his credentials and what looks to be a phone or wallet.

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On the other hand: Feigen looks to be holding either a phone or wallet on the flip side of his credentials.

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Answers needed: A look at Lochte’s alleged actions in the early hours of Sunday.

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The olympic athletes are now accused of lying about the robbery after the publication of the photos and an accompanying CCTV video. Brazilian investigators want answers.

The Daily Mail further reports…

A formal request for their passports to be seized reveals that the two men will now be investigated for the false communication of a crime, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail in Brazil.

Records retrieved by investigators from the X-ray machine through which the athletes passed in the Village also showed that the men were carrying all the belongings which they had claimed in sworn statements to police had been stolen.

Lochte, 32, had already flown out of the country and is home in the US while Feigen’s whereabouts are still not known. Feigen, 26, had been in Rio all day Tuesday but it is unclear if he took a flight home before the judge’s order.

In the statement a public prosecutor said that the images from the surveillance video, along with ‘contradictory’ statements made by the athletes to police, further reinforced investigators’ doubt about the veracity of the athletes’ claims they had been robbed.

It read: ‘One sees that the supposed victims arrived with their physical and psychological integrity intact, even playing with each other, showing that there wasn’t any psychological shock inherent to such alleged violence.

‘The more than calm behavior of the athletes straight after the supposed violence, together with other details present in the inquiry, makes me believe that more investigations should be undertaken into the possible false communication of a crime.’

Police also revealed that the surveillance footage, showing the swimmers arriving around 7am, was recorded more than three hours after the supposed robbery.

Lochte and Feigen, the only two of the group who have so far given statements to police, claimed they were so drunk they did not know exactly where they were robbed, nor what type of taxi they took to return to the athletes village.

Further confusion has been caused by Lochte and his team mate’s insistence that they left Club France at 4am – a claim that emerged in court papers released today.

According to a statement made to police and cited by Judge Kayla Blank, the men said they picked up a cab from a nearby gas station.

Unfortunately for the US swimmers in question, the The Daily Mail decided to also follow up with the manager of the gas station, Lucas Alves. Alves said…

— he did not see Lochte or any of the other swimmers in surveillance footage when he reviewed it the following morning.

‘The police came and took all the video from that night,’ said Alves. ‘But I looked at it before they came and you could not see any of the swimmers on it.’

Ipiranga gas station sits on Avenida Borges de Medeiros, approximately 100 yards from the entrance to the Club France compound.

Club France is part of the French hospitality house – an effort to promote the country during the Olympics paid for by the country’s national delegation.

The US Olympic Committee refused to comment, but confirmed that Brazilian police were looking for the swimmers.

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This all started when Fox Sports broke the story after speaking to Ryan Lochte’s mother.

Lochte’s mother, told Fox Sports, it was ‘terrifying’ and she had rushed from her hotel to meet her son.

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Team USA’s Jenn Suhr told Fox Sports ‘it definitely would have been terrifying’ for Lochte and his teammates.

‘I’m just glad they’re safe… when you’re in another country you don’t know of, it’s not the smartest idea to go places you’re unsure of,’ she said.

Lochte popped up on Snapchat just before the robbery at around 2am to post a video of heavily graffitied Rio sidewalk, possibly taken from a taxi.

He followed up with an obscure photo of four sets of feet, presumably one set of his own, with the message ‘6kdeep’.

The caption, perhaps a reference to how much their smart footwear was collectively worth, could been seen by anyone following his movements on Snapchat.

The black shoes that two of the people in the shot were wearing appeared to be Adidas Yeezy Boost 350s, which are listed online as costing about $1,500.

None of those items were stolen either in the robbery.

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At 2:25am Ryab Lochte posted a video of himself and Brazilian swimmer Thiago Pereira, inside a nightclub.

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Via: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3745412/Day-late-swimmer-short-Judge-orders-Ryan-Lochte-remain-Rio-questioning-robbery-case-no-evidence-crime-US.html

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

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Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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One more step toward COMPLETE de-dollarization

Over the past several months, sitting here in Moscow, it has become increasingly obvious that while the US Dollar is unquestionably the world’s leading and liquid reserve currency, it comes with an ever increasing high price (of sovereignty and FX) if you are not the USA.

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I have opined and written about the trend towards de-dollarization before, but with the latest US –Turkish spat it has hit the wallets, mattresses and markets of a number of countries, be they aligned with Washington or not. One thing they all have in common was that in this recent era of low cost available money, many happily fed at the US dollar trough.

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This serves as a further albeit loud example to many nations for the need to diversify to an extent away from the greenback, or risk being caught up in its volatile, sudden and unpredictably risky increasingly politicized directions.

The Dollar and the geopolitical winds from Washington are today as never before openly being used as policy, which can be called the “carrot and stick”, a distinctly Pavlovian approach. Sadly, few if any can make out where or what the carrot is in this recent US worldview branding.

Tariffs, sanctions, pressured exchange rates, the Federal Reserve loosening or tightening, trade agreements and laws ignored or simply trashed… there is a lot going on which seems to democratically affect America’s allies as well as those on Washington’s politically popular and dramatic “poo-poo” list.

Just now from a press conference in Turkey, I watched Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov say that through the actions shown by the US, the role of the US dollar as a secure global reserve currency for free trade will diminish as more countries switch to national currencies for international trade.

He clearly spoke for many nations when he said; “It will make more and more countries that are not even affected by US sanctions go away from the dollar and rely on more reliable, contractual partners in terms of currency use.” Putting the situation in a nutshell he went on to say “I have already said this about sanctions: they are illegal, they undermine all principles of global trade and principles approved by UN decisions, under which unilateral measures of economic duress are unlawful.”

Turkey, a long-standing NATO ally and a key line of western defense during the long cold war years fully agreed with his Russian counterpart. The Turkish foreign minister Mr. Cavosoglu openly warned that US sanctions or trade embargoes can and are being unilaterally imposed against any country at any time if they do not toe DC’s political line.

He said at the same press conference; “Today, sanctions are imposed on Turkey, and tomorrow they can be used against any other European state. If the United States wants to maintain respect in the international arena, then it is necessary for it to be respectful of the interests of other countries.”

What is happening in Turkey is symptomatic of the developed and emerging markets globally. When trillions of dollars of newly issued lucre was up for grabs, thanks to several developed country central banks, it was comparatively easy for governments and companies just like Turkey’s to borrow funds denominated in dollars and not their national currencies.

Turkey has relied on foreign-currency debt more than most EM’s. Corporate, financial and other debt denominated mostly in dollars, approximates close to 70% of it’s economy. Therefore as the Turkish lira plunges, it is very costly for those companies to repay their dollar-denominated loans, and even now it is patently clear many will not.

The concern rattling around the underbelly of the global markets is what can be reasonably expected for assets and economies that were inflated by cheap debt, the United States included. All this points not so much to a banking crisis as has happened eight years ago, but a systemic financial market crisis.

This is a new one, and I doubt if any QE, QT, NIRPs, or ZIRPs will make much of a difference, despite the rocket-high equity markets the US has been displaying.

One financial trader I spoke to, whom I have known since the early 1980’s (and I thought him ancient then) muttered to me “we’re gettin’ into the ecstasy stage, nothing but the high matters, everything else including the VIX is seen as boring denial, and not the warning tool it is. Better start loading up on gold.”

Meanwhile, de-dollarization is ongoing in Russia and is carefully studied by a host of countries, especially as the Russian government has not yet finished selling off US debt; it still has just a few billion to go. The Russian Finance Minister A. Siluanov said this past Sunday that Russia would continue decreasing holdings of Treasuries in response to sanctions.

The finance minister went on to say that, Russia is also considering distancing itself from using the US dollar for international trade, calling it an unreliable, conditional and hence risky tool for payments.

Between March and May this year, Russia’s US debt holdings were sold down by $81 billion, which is 84% of its total US debt holdings, and while I don’t know the current figure it is certain to be even less.

The latest round of tightening sanctions screws against Russia were imposed by the State Department under a chemical and biological warfare law and should be going into effect on August 22. This in spite of the fact that no proof was ever shown, not under any established national or international law, or with any of several global biochemical conventions, not even in the ever entertaining court of public opinion.

Whatever Russia may continue to do in its relationship with US debt or the dollar, the fact of the matter is that Russia is not a heavyweight in this particular financial arena, and the direct effects of Russia’s responses are negligible. However, the indirect effects are huge as they reflect what many countries (allied or unallied with the US) see as Washington’s overbearing and more than slightly unipolar trade and geopolitical advantage quests, be they Mexico, Canada, the EU, or anyone else on any hemisphere of this globe.

Some of the potential indirect effects over time may be a similar sell-off or even gradual reduction of US debt exposure from China or any one of several dozens of countries deciding to reduce their exposure to US debt by reducing their purchases and waiting for existing Treasuries to mature. In either case, the trend is there and is not going away anytime soon.

When Russia clears its books of US dollarized debt, then who will be next in actively diversifying their US debt risk? Then what might be the fate of the US Dollar, and what value then will be the international infusions to finance America’s continually growing debt, or fuel the funds needed for further market growth? Value and the energy of money has no politics, it ultimately trends towards areas where there is a secure business dynamic. That being said, looks like we are now and will be living through the most interesting of disruptive times.

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