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South Korea calls for dialogue not war

All Koreans would be in danger irrespective of who fires the first shot.

The Duran

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MOSCOW, (Sputnik) – North Korea should stop demonstrating threats of exerting force immediately and respond to Seoul’s repeated calls for dialogue aimed at easing tensions in the region, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to take decisive steps against the United States, including “physical action,” after the UN Security Council passed new economic sanctions against his country. Rhetoric in the conflict heated up this week after US President Donald Trump warned North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it did not stop making threats against Washington. Pyongyang responded by threatening to launch four ballistic missiles toward the US Pacific territory of Guam, which hosts several military bases.

“The North’s recent threatening words have gone too much and run squarely against with the consensus contained in the statement issued after the ARF [ASEAN Regional Forum]. It should stop them immediately,” ministerial spokesman Cho June-hyuck said during a regular press briefing, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

The spokesman added that Pyongyang should make the right choice and come on the path toward denuclearization.

Earlier in the day, South Korean authorities said Seoul would act against the North if the latter continued its provocations.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated in recent months due to a series of missile launches and nuclear tests conducted by Pyongyang, all of which are claimed to be in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Most recently, Pyongyang conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July. On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution tightening the sanctions against North Korea.

In a statement following Monday’s ARF meeting in Manila, attended by foreign ministers of Asia-Pacific countries and major powers, the ministers expressed their “grave concern” over the recent ballistic missiles tests, which have only resulted in the escalation of tensions. The ministers also urged North Korea to comply fully with UN Security Council resolutions.

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Mueller report contains claim Russia taped Bill Clinton having phone sex with Monica Lewinsky

Bill Clinton allegedly was recorded by Russia in the 1990s, allowing Russia to learn of the affair before American officials.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report mentions a claim that Russians recorded President Bill Clinton having phone sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — but the reference was redacted from the version released to the public.

The redaction is likely to anger Republicans, because the allegation has been known since at least 2001 and the Mueller report’s reference to a claim that President Trump watched prostitutes urinating in a Moscow hotel room was not struck out.

Clinton allegedly was recorded by Russia in the 1990s, allowing Russia to learn of the affair before American officials. A reference to the Clinton intercept was redacted from the Mueller report to protect “personal privacy,” but sources told the Washington Examiner that the context makes clear what was blacked out.

According to the report, Center for the National Interest President Dimitri Simes sent Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner a 2016 email with recommended talking points to counter Hillary Clinton’s Russia attacks. The email referenced “a well-documented story of highly questionable connections” between Bill Clinton and Russia.

At a meeting in New York, Simes told Kushner the details: Russia allegedly recorded President Clinton on the phone with Lewinsky, opening questions of foreign leverage over the ex-president-turned-potential first spouse.

“During the August 17 meeting, Simes provided Kushner the Clinton-related information that he had promised. Simes told Kushner that, [redacted],” the Mueller report says. “Simes claimed that he had received this information from former CIA and Reagan White House official Fritz Ermarth, who claimed to have learned it from U.S. intelligence sources, not from Russians.”

Ermarth, 78, a 25-year CIA veteran and chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1988 to 1993, said he was concerned with the wording in the report. He said the report inaccurately suggests he mishandled classified information, when in fact he used public sourcing.

“The line in the Mueller report that says any of this was based on intelligence information is the product either of faulty remembering by Dimitri or a flawed inference … or a hostile fabrication by the Mueller people,” Ermarth said. “[The report wording] implies my misuse of intelligence or use of intelligence that is classified in this context. And that is completely false.”

Independent counsel Ken Starr’s 1998 report on Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky identified 17 phone sex calls in 1996 and 1997. The report says Clinton told Lewinsky “that he suspected that a foreign embassy (he did not specify which one) was tapping his telephones, and he proposed cover stories. If ever questioned, she should say that the two of them were just friends. If anyone ever asked about their phone sex, she should say that they knew their calls were being monitored all along, and the phone sex was just a put-on.”

Ermarth thinks he told Simes that the Clinton-Lewinsky phone call was intercepted while the president was traveling on Air Force One, but that detail is believed to not have been conveyed to Kushner or included in the report.

The former CIA officer, who was not interviewed by Mueller, said he discussed the intercept with Simes during a trip to Washington in either 2014 or 2015. The story’s omission from the Mueller report hints at a double standard for the Clintons, he said.

Mueller spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment, as did Simes. A White House spokesman and Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell did not respond to requests for comment.

The report was redacted by Justice Department leadership in cooperation with Mueller’s team. There were 855 redactions, according to the Smoking Gun. Only 7% of of those redactions were justified by “personal privacy,” according to an analysis by Vox. Most information was withheld because it involved grand jury deliberations or because it could harm an ongoing criminal case.

According to the report, Simes told investigators Kushner appeared to consider the phone-sex story “old news,” as news outlets had long ago reported that Russia had advanced knowledge about Lewinsky. Meanwhile, Kushner told Mueller’s team he did not receive information from Simes that could be “operationalized” and doubted new negative information could be unearthed on the Clintons.

Though the report was redacted to protect the former president’s privacy, it does reference an alleged sex tape featuring Trump watching prostitutes urinate in a Moscow hotel. The Mueller report says Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze texted former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that he “[s]topped flow of tapes from Russia.” Rtskhiladze told Mueller’s team that “he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.”

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FBI Texts Show Agents Discussed Recruiting White House Sources To Spy For Bureau

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock.

Sara Carter

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Via SaraCarter.com:


Senior Republican chairmen submitted a letter Thursday to Department of Justice Attorney General William Barr revealing new texts from former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour FBI Attorney Lisa Page showing the pair had discussed attempts to recruit sources within the White House to allegedly spy on the Trump administration.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson revealed the information in a three page letter. The texts had been obtained by SaraACarter.com Tuesday and information regarding the possible attempt to recruit White House sources had been divulged by several sources to this news site last week.

The texts and sources reveal that Strzok had one significant contact within the White House – Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Joshua Pitcock, whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. A senior White House official told this news site that Pitcock’s wife recused herself from the Clinton investigation as soon as Pence and Trump became the Republican nominees in July 2016. A senior law enforcement official also told SaraACarter.com that Pitcock’s wife no longer worked under Strzok after she recused herself from the Clinton investigation.

However, the text messages uncovered from November, 2016 and have left questions lingering about the relationship between Strzok, Pitcock and his wife among congressional investigators and lawmakers.

“The course of our oversight work we have reviewed certain text messages that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team,” the letter states. “In text messages exchanged between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, the two discussed the possibility of developing “potential relationships” at a November 2016 FBI briefing for presidential transition team staff. Specifically, it appears they discussed sending “the CI guy” to assess an unnamed person ‘demeanor’ but were concerned because it might be unusual for him to attend.”

The Senators are investigating if any “of these communications, and the precise purpose of any attempts to ‘develop relationships’ with Trump or VP Mike Pence transition team staff are not immediately clear.”

Were these efforts done to gain better communication between the respective parties, or were the briefings used as intelligence gathering operations? Further, did any such surveillance activities continue beyond the inauguration, and in the event they did, were those activities subject to proper predication,” the letter states.

“Any improper FBI surveillance activities that were conducted before or after the 2016 election must be brought to light and properly addressed.”

The Texts

A few weeks after the presidential election, Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page discussed the logistics for the briefing. Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page said the following:

Strzok: Talking with Bill. Do we want Joe to go with Evanina instead of Charli for a variety of reasons?

(Strzok is referring to former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence division Bill Priestap. ‘Joe is referencing FBI Special Agent Joe Pientka, who interviewed former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in January, 2017. And Evanina is in reference to William Evanina, National Counterintelligence and Security Center.)

Page: Hmm. Not sure. Would it be unusual to have [sic] show up again? Maybe another agent from the team?

Strzok: Or, he’s “the CI guy.” Same.might [sic] make sense. He can assess if there [sic] are any news [sic] Qs, or different demeanor. If Katie’s husband is there, he can see if there are people we can develop for potential relationships

Page: Should I ask Andy about it? Or Bill (Priestap) want to reach out for Andy (McCabe)?Strzok: I told him I’m sure we could ask you to make the swap if we thought it.

FBI Seeks Sources In White House

There was one major connection in the White House. According to documents, White House sources and the FBI one of FBI’s top counterintelligence analysts who was personally working for former FBI Special Agent Strzok had a spouse working directly for Vice President Mike Pence.

The White House and the FBI told this news site that she had recused herself from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and working for Strzok as soon as Pence and Trump announced they were the candidates for the party.

The FBI asked that her name be kept private as not to reveal her identity. Her identity, however is revealed in the texts below. But this news site is withholding her last name for security reasons.

An FBI Intelligence analyst named Katherine, is married to Joshua Pitcock. Katherine’s name is different from her husbands. Pitcock worked for Pence as his Chief of Staff from January, 2017 until he resigned in August, 2017.

Prior to accepting his then new role at the White House, he had served as a senior Trump campaign official and long time aide to Pence.

Katherine had been detailed to Strzok and according to sources was one of the top analysts in the investigation into Hillary Clinton, according to federal law enforcement sources and U.S. officials.

Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in 2017 and then fired from the FBI in August, 2018. He was fired after an extensive review by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation and was removed from Mueller’s team after the IG discovered his anti-Trump text messages to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page.

A senior White House official told SaraACarter.com that it is “our understanding that as soon as the President and Vice President accepted the nomination, she recused herself for the entire time after they were officially the nominees from anything that would have spill over to the White House.”

FBI officials could not immediately respond for comment.

Trump announced Pence as his pick on July 15, 2016. They officially became nominees on July 21, 2016 at the Republican convention. This means, Katherine was working on the Russia investigation with Strzok prior to that time frame. Strzok’s direct involvement and actions during the investigation will more than likely lead to criminal charges, a source with knowledge told SaraACarter.com.

A former senior intelligence official who spoke to this news-site said “my concern about this is the potential for information to flow from her to her husband to spin any information that the Vice President may or may not have heard during that time frame.” The former intelligence source said the connection raises questions regarding information that may have moved from the FBI into the vice president’s orbit “regarding former (National Security Advisor Michael Flynn),” they added.

The senior White House official responded saying, “she was recused from that investigation before he was ever sworn into office. That didn’t happen.”

However, “the texts leave many questions unanswered and appear to show that Strzok was in communication with Pitcock on some level,” the intelligence official added.

During the time Pitcock served as chief of staff, Flynn became the highest profile target of the now debunked investigation into the campaign.

In the letter Grassley and Johnson refer to Barr’s testimony “during your April 10, 2019, testimony before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, you stated that you are looking into the ‘genesis and conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016.’ You further stated that ‘spying did occur,’ and that you believe it is your obligation to look into the question of whether surveillance activities by the Federal Bureau of lnvestigation (FBI) or other intelligence agencies were adequately predicated.”

“We share your concerns about these activities, and are troubled by the apparent unauthorized disclosures of surveillance efforts and other classified information during the same time period,” the Chairmen state in the letter. “We bring to your attention information that may assist your review.

Page Two of The Letter

Questions for Attorney General Barr April 25, 2019

  1. Please describe the nature and extent o f your review o f FBI surveillance o f the Trump Campaign, President-elect Trump’s transition staff, Vice President- elect Pence’s transition staff, President Trump’s staff, and Vice President Pence’s staff, including your efforts to determine whether that surveillance was adequately predicated.
  2. How many counter-intelligence briefings were provided to the Trump and Pence transition staffs prior to Inauguration Day? Please list the dates, all agencies involved, and each official that represented those agencies at the briefings.
  3. Many of the FBI employees involved in these activities are no longer employed by the federal government. How will your review obtain information needed from these individuals?
  4. Will you commit to providing the results of your review once completed?
  5. What steps have you taken to investigate whether DOJ or FBI officials hadunauthorized contacts with the media during the Russia investigation?

We anticipate that your written reply and most responsive documents will be unclassified. Please send all unclassified material directly to each Committee. In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to each Committee, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security. Although our Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information, they are not bound, absent prior agreement, by any handling restrictions.

 

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Ethics, Morals and Integrity in British Public Life

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Richard Galustian

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The ethics of allowing retiring British government officials to use immediately ‘the revolving door’ seems immoral.

Something that immediately springs to mind is how did former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair amass a fortune of nearly £100m within years of leaving office?

Ponder that fact about Blair when considering the true definition of ethics and integrity in public life worldwide.

War torn Libya is a most recent example in point. Libya, where most reasonable people would think it strange for companies to try and win business while there is war; or maybe it’s as the original Baron Rothschild put it, seek business when there is “blood on the streets”.

Peter Millett, former British Ambassador to Libya, is a merely a case in point, becoming a Board member of the LBBC (https://lbbc.org.uk/).

The Libyan British Business Council do some good networking for companies who seek work in the war torn country that is currently Libya, not, to be frank, earth shatteringly effective, not its fault given the civil war, but it has to be said, only a few of its individual members (of the LBBC) are distinguished and capable and well connected in their own right; most others are less so.

More important for Millett though, no doubt, is his new personal company he recently created in London. It’s called The Peter Millett Consultancy Ltd and describes itself as “Interested in offering consultancy and advice to companies and organisation interested in working overseas.”

Why, many ask, is any former Ambassador continuing to comment/meddle in affairs of their last posting, without making it abundantly clear they work for the private sector actually for themselves and not HMG, a distinction difficult for most locals, on this case Libyans to make. What, if any, are his conflict of interests? The British and Libyan public have a right to know.

Why does the UK Government, the FCO in particular, allow its retired diplomats to be able to go straight into the private sector without any ‘cooling off’ period?

Why is he (or any former government or military personnel) allowed to do this? The problem applies to all countries, not only those who served in Libya.

However Libya serves well to highlight the overall ethical problem.

And of course Millett is no exception but an example and as an individual is a fine capable man. However what worries Libyans is that he (and other like him from not only UK) regularly for example tweet about Libya without declaring their personal financial interests, such as retainers from companies. The rumour amongst Libyans is that Millett is receiving fees through one of the Tripoli based Libyan ‘Prime Minister’ Fayez Serraj’s departments or from one of Serraj’s cronies. Something which is very doubtful one hopes.

(Note: SEE COMPLAINT LETTER FROM EAST LIBYAN AUTHORITIES, THE HoR, COMPLAINING ABOUT PETER MILLETT ADDRESSED TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.)

Some Libyans even have said that he was incompetent as an Ambassador in Libya. The fact is conventional wisdom says that he served no better or worse than his predecessors.

The truth is he probably mistakenly considers himself still important for Libyans and that he can influence Libyans – he and others like him are deluded in that regard. Similarly in America the former US State Department official Jonathan Weener continues his efforts in Libya.

Meanwhile in keeping with the many years tradition of ‘revolving door’ from Diplomatic service to private business, a new former Ambassador will no doubt be swelling the ranks of British private enterprise. Frank Baker OBE has just left the Diplomatic Service.

The new man in Libya being Martin Reynolds CMG, appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador in succession to Frank Baker.

By the way, Mr Reynolds will take up his appointment this month, April 2019.

The movement of individuals between the public and private sectors – known as the revolving door – it is feared by many could lead to ‘conflicts of interests’ situations, increasing the risks of, what some might call, corruption. Given their previous decision-making power, as Government servants with past access to key information and influence, former ministers and members of the government clearly can be an important asset for private companies. But is it ethical?

Governments should thus ensure that appropriate measures are in place to avoid former public officials misusing the information and power they hold to the benefit of their private interests. But do they?

The definition, according to Transparency International, of

“cooling-off periods, is the introduction of a minimum time interval restricting former public officials from accepting employment in the private sector…it is the most common measure to prevent conflicts of interest. Countries in Europe have set different cooling-off periods and requirements for former members of the government wishing to join the private sector. They usually vary from one to two years and are linked to specific types of activities in the private sector.

Overall, enforcement is still very weak and scandals related to post-public employment continue to appear in the media.

In the UK, the cooling-off period used to be measured in years but these days it’s weeks!

It begs the question when will ethics return to public life not only in UK but around the world?


HoR LETTER To HMG:

22 April 2019

Greetings,

Regarding: Former British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett.

We urge you to open an urgent investigation into the suspicions of corruption associated with Libyan institutions and companies that deal with the the former British ambassador, who is still actively supporting and working with the Muslim Brotherhood and is now an ordinary citizen, he is providing political support and encouragement to the terrorists through social media that they are using on their channels as if it’s international political support to encourage young Libyans to fight and lose their life, in the absence of an appointed ambassador from his country.

This former ambassador, who, in a sign of international disregard and negative exploitation of the situation in Libya, had arranged for his country to arrange support for several officials of the Central Bank of Libya and the National Oil and Investment Corporation and support their installation in their positions through the Skhirat agreement and then resigned from the British government Another assignment as ambassador before his retirement, which raises the suspicion of corruption, we also surprised that a country so keen on the principles and transparency, Britain, did not move or notice this, dedicated to the special benefit of those who enabled them to lead these institutions, Corruption is at a time when Libyans are suffering from poor living in a time of corruption.

The list includes the governor of the Central Bank, Sadig Kabir who came to the position of governor by violation and was removed from office four years ago, and the President of the National Oil Corporation, which was charged with violating the law by the government of the member of the organization of the terrorist group Omar al-Hassi of the Libyan Fighting Group during the armed coup of militias in the Libyan capital In 2014 and the heads of departments of investment bodies, which at the lowest cases colluded from this former ambassador and interference in the internal affairs of Libya in order to prepare for private benefit and corruption, not the good of others.

It may be that the British government through these connections received wrong information and evaluation that resulted in the provisions, at that time, to provide political support terrible through this ambassador to the stream of corrupt political Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salvation Front and the Libyan Fighting Group, which carried out a terrorist act in the heart of Manchester, He (millet) when he was ambassador said that he was keen to “neutralize the sovereign institutions from the conflict” and this contradicts law and all Libyan procedures, in order to enable his friends and future partners who met with him on a continuous basis, including oil officials (Mustapha Sanallah), Libyan investments Authority (Ali Mahmoud) and the Central Bank (Saddik Kabir).

After the end of his term in Libya, and the appointment of another ambassador who worked with all respect and professionalism and was very different from Millett, the former British ambassador Peter Milllet established a company called “Peter Millet Consultancy” with one share holder, Peter Millet, in the UK.

The company called “Peter Milliet” has become an adviser to one of the largest global oil marketing companies, “Glencore”, which was contracted for an exclusive monopoly for the marketing of the Messella and Sarror mix oil for three years, and it is now been revealed that he contracted with the Libyan Foreign Investment Corporation as a consultant to help Cases brought against them in the United Kingdom.

Peter Millett’s name also appeared as an intermediary in the deal to print the Libyan 1 dinar’s paper recently with the governor who he defended and ensured his continued position through the political agreement signed in Skhirat.

With the aim of protecting the interests of the Libyan people ,,, We would be grateful to publish the results of your inquiries about the suspicions of political corruption that led to huge financial corruption and the extent to which any person (Millet or others) benefited from what happened in Libya and its impact on the status of these institutions and the assessment of the damage to the taxpayers’ the Libyan citizens from their interventions and the extent of conflict of interests of Peter Millets private work as a public servant as ambassador to his country to the contracts now, and how he exploited this to obtain these gains and enrich and benefit in return for political support and facilitate access to visas and meetings with actors in his government With the aim of Political gain to stay at the expense of the Libyan people, who suffered the scourge of these same adherents in violation of the law and the Constitution of Libya by these swindlers despite them being relieved from posts and removed by the House of Representatives before and after the political agreement.

We wish you success and the Libyan people well…

With a great appreciation and respect,

Talal Al – Mayhoub

Chairman of the Defense and National Security Committee

HOR

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