Open Thread – 7 July 2020

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30 Responses to Open Thread – 7 July 2020

  1. Leith says:

    1} Hope you are OK.
    2) Multiple Katyusha attacks over the 4th of July weekend against US troops and diplos at Baghdad’s green zone and also at the airport. At least one was shot down by C-RAM.
    3) New York States Dept of Financial Services just released Epstein’s relationship with DeutschBank. In 2013 and 2014 he used an account there to send many cash payments to co-conspirators 1, 2, & 3 plus several others. This is old news as prosecutors had hinted at it publicly last year. But apparently DeutschBank has admitted it now. Perhaps more arrests soon?

  2. JP Billen says:

    Speaking of Civil War spies. Charles Portis, author of True Grit, once wrote that Union Army scout Wild Bill Hickok once ‘wore the gray’ to spy on Confederate positions in and around Camden for Union General Frederick Steele’s Army of Arkansas. Portis (a bit tongue in cheek) says Hickok rode into Camden ahead of the army and put on a Confederate uniform. But because he was already a minor regional celebrity, he was soon recognized and had to make a run for it. Per Portis: “‘a bold dash’ across the battle lines at Prairie d’Ane, on his horse, Black Nell. One account has him shooting two pursuing Confederate officers as Nell made ‘a mighty leap’ over ‘an obstruction’ (log? rail fence? ditch?). That is, Hickok twisted about in the saddle or stood in the stirrups and turned, cocked and fired his single-action revolver at least twice, and picked off two closing riders on the fly, all this while Nell was airborne. Well, maybe. In any case, it was a bold escape, and ‘a shout of triumph from the ten thousand troops in line greeted him, and he was the hero of the day’.”
    Maybe? But Hickok like Portis was an accomplished teller of tales. Portis in my opinion ranks up there with Faulkner, Caldwell, and Penn Warren.

  3. jonst says:

    They’ve risen more times than a Vampire, but what thinks you guys as to whether or not Lebanon can get out of the latest mess they are in?

  4. jerseycityjoan says:

    Like the rest of you, I am not happy with China these days. I have found two disturbing articles about China that are worth sharing.
    The first one is about Operation Fox Hunt:
    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday urged China-born people in the United States to contact the FBI if Chinese officials try to force them to return to China under a program of coercion that he said is led by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
    Wray issued the unusual appeal in an address to the Hudson Institute think tank in which he reiterated U.S. charges that China is using espionage, cyber theft, blackmail and other means as part of a strategy to replace the United States as the world’s dominant economic and technological power.
    He said Xi has “spearheaded” a program called Fox Hunt aimed at strong-arming people born in China living outside of the country who are regarded as threats to return home in order to silence criticism of Beijing’s political and human rights policies.
    The families of those who refuse to return are threatened and some have been arrested in China “for leverage,” he said.
    The second one is about the changes to security laws in China. It seems that the Chinese want to apply the new laws to people around the world so it would be a crime for you or me to criticize China. I certainly have never seen this detail about the security laws before:
    “As well as allowing China’s security apparatus to set up shop openly in Hong Kong for the first time, Beijing’s security law claims universal jurisdiction.
    Article 38 says security crimes can be committed anywhere in the world by people of any nationality.”

  5. jerseycityjoan says:

    Deap said at the end of a prior post:
    “As long as it appears to be the unwritten agenda to never even mention the role of drugs in minority and impoverished communities, let alone drugs being key factors in recent high profile minority member incidents, how can we ever heal “divisiveness” in this country?
    The 800 pound dragon in the living room no one talks about. Why?”
    I would go further and ask why hasn’t the FBI gone after gangs in America today like they went after the Mafia? Why do we accept what gangs do and content ourselves with local law enforcement going after individual criminals? Why do we put up with this? We don’t have to.
    I saw somewhere that law enforcement in New York City attributed the looting there to gangs and that certainly makes sense. The quickness and efficiency those looters exhibited shows that the gangs are well organized and brazen. I don’t want people like that to sweep into any more cities at a moment’s notice, do you?

  6. longarch says:

    jerseycityjoan wrote:
    “why hasn’t the FBI gone after gangs in America today like they went after the Mafia?”

    My theory is that the FBI has been corrupt at its upper levels since the time of J. Edgar Hoover. Unfortunately, when the FBI fought the Mafia, the FBI learned too much about Mafia culture and started imitating it.
    At the same time, the richest and most legally savvy members of organized crime began controlling politicians. Ron Unz has written convincingly about the importance of organized crime to US politics:

  7. Fred says:

    How dare we conset ourselves to “local law enforcement”! How dare we! live under the form of government put into place with ratification of the constitution. I for one don’t want federal police enforcing local laws.
    “You saw somewhere” that “law enforcement” in NYC said it was outside gangs doing the looting. Where o where might you have seen that? Which “law enforcement” was that? It could not possibly be antifa, BLM, BAMN or any similar groups on the left doing th lootin and burning, now could it?

  8. ex PFC Chuck says:

    Scott Ritter demolishes Bountygate in a long, detailed piece at Consortium News:
    “There’s no there there,” to leverage Gertrude Stein’s remark about her home town, Oakland, California.

  9. ex PFC Chuck says:

    re: ” It seems that the Chinese want to apply the new laws to people around the world so it would be a crime . . ”
    They must be taking lessons from a country we all know and love that’s gotten pretty good at that.



  11. Fred says:

    The destruction of Honk Kong’s uniqueness continues, as reported by France24.
    “Officers will be able to conduct a search without a warrant if they deem a threat to national security is “urgent”.”
    I wonder if that includes “covid19” safety measures?
    “Beijing says the law will restore stability after a year of pro-democracy protests.”
    Can’t have that ‘democracy’ thing get in the way of the central government.

  12. TV says:

    Christopher Wray?
    Definition of an empty suit, probably can’t even spell “FBI.”

  13. FakeBot says:

    Charlie Daniels took his shiny gold fiddle to God and I’m afraid he ain’t coming back.

  14. Babak makkinejad says:

    It is their country.

  15. jerseycityjoan says:

    Did you disapprove of the FBI going after the Mafia? Would you be willing to equip thousands of local jurisdictions with the billions of dollars of duplicative resources to go after gangs instead of allowing one central law enforcement agency to do this complex and multifaceted job instead?
    I saw the information about local criminal gangs doing the New York looting on the Twitter feed of a New York Post or News reporter. He wasn’t more specific. Why are you so distressed by the idea that career criminals carried out crimes of opportunity using expensive vehicles? Their line of work pays well after all.

  16. blum says:

    Scott Ritter demolishes Bountygate
    Posted by: ex PFC Chuck | 07 July 2020 at 06:21 PM

    By far the best I read on the topic. Scott Ritter has drawn my attention too again more often lately. … He never disappoints.
    Two very different takes on current affairs:
    Andrew J. Bacevich, The Old Normal Why we can’t beat our addiction to war, Harper’s March 2020 issue.
    (A deeper historical look at the American Mind and the resultant foreign policy)
    Simon Watkins, China Inks Military Deal With Iran Under Secretive 25-Year Plan, July 06, 2020,
    (China, Iran Russian military cooperation? – He has another article looking at Iraq)

  17. Fred says:

    “local criminal gangs doing the New York looting”
    They weren’t crossing state lines to engage in criminal conduct. Antinfa is another matter. The FBI was directed to target the mafia because local prosecutors often wouldn’t, haven been bought or coerced into inaction. Those local agencies already exist. It is not equipment nor centralized policing that is needed.

  18. upstater says:

    An interesting link from this morning.
    “There’s a story which may well be apocryphal: at an art exhibition in the 1880s the Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin took General Helmuth von Moltke (the elder) on a tour of the gallery.”
    Interesting paintings and commentary.

  19. gallidman says:

    I would very much appreciate any comments by the experts here on the current situation in Libya vis-a-vis Egypt, Turkey, France, et al.

  20. Rick Merlotti says:

    If the Russkies are paying bounties for killing US military personnel, they are getting robbed blind. Since 2017, 63 have died. 17 in 2017, 15 in 2018, 22 in 2019, 9 in 2020 (none since March). Is there any doubt that this bounty story is just another Borgist coup attempt against Trump?

  21. J says:

    Vindman of Impeachment infamy is calling it quits, seems he has put in a retirement request to the Army.
    According to Vindman’s lawyer, he endured a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” spearheaded by the President.
    Vindman twittered his retirement request:

  22. Barbara Ann says:

    This business with Epstein and Ghislaine reminded me of something I came across a while ago and have subsequently revisited. I searched SST’s archive for “Ronald Bernard” and as nothing came up I wondered if anyone else has come across this gentleman and his story.
    The interview below was aired in 2017. In it Ronald claims to be an ex-high level shadow banker and money launderer (including a stint laundering sanction-busting Iraqi oil proceeds in the early 90’s) for a clientele which included banks, governments, multinationals and intelligence agencies. He described this, his first ‘life’ as ending around 1994 and after a prolonged period in hiding, re-emerging ‘reborn’ to do social works, now centered in the Netherlands.
    The part pertinent to Epsteingate comes at around the 26 minute mark, where Ronald describes how loyalty in this shady world is ensured:

    “The purpose of the whole thing, eventually, in that world is that they have everybody in their pocket. You need to be susceptible to blackmail.”

    He has immediately previously described the point at which he could not continue, after being invited to participate in a child sacrifice. He goes on to describe how many of the elite he encountered were Luciferians and says his reading of The Protocols describes well how this elite run the world he describes.
    I hesitated to post this, as even after recently watching the other 4 interviews in the series and a couple of others in which Bernard features, I have still not made up my mind: It is easy to dismiss this guy as a fantasist or fraud and of course for his mention of The Protocols he has been dismissed in some quarters as an antisemitic nut. I am not so sure. If so, Ronald is certainty an accomplished actor and his foundation and ‘bank’ are real enough.
    When I first came across Ronald I did dismiss him as a fraudster, but having done some more research into his second ‘life’ and the social works I am no longer convinced. It is notable that the “foreign” (to his native Netherlands) child sacrifice allegation he makes would have taken place around 1994 – contemporaneous with the notorious Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal and cover up that rocked Belgium.

  23. Leith says:

    Upstater –
    I’ve long been an admirer of Vereshchagin’s artwork. Some call it war-porn, but it is definitely anti-war and not pro. His painting ‘The Road of the War Prisoners’ predates the Bataan Death March by more than 60 years.
    That painting and another of his that depicted POWs is in the Brooklyn Museum. He could not sell them in Russia or Europe but finally sold it to an American who reportedly was still appalled by treatment of prisoners by both sides in our Civil War.
    What your link does not say about Vereschchagin is that he was awarded the Cross of St George for valor at the siege of Samarkand while a war correspondent.

  24. jerseycityjoan says:

    Many of the looters were crossing state lines. Don’t forget that with the Holland and Lincoln tunnels you can enter and leave downtown and midtown Manhattan in minutes from New Jersey.

  25. Fred says:

    What local law is deBlasio, mayor of NYC, incapable of enforcing? Why insn’t the Governor of the state of NY, Cuomo, the person who should respond under state authority? Why isn’t the state legislature the next place to seek legal action for failure of those two executives to perform their duties?

  26. CK says:

    @Barbara Ann
    While he is not mentioned in the movie, Backstabbing for Beginners is a fascinating account of the Oil for Food UN scam and eventual scandal. If your indulgences run to cable tv, you can probably find the movie on Pay Per View.

  27. Barbara Ann says:

    Thanks, I’ll look it up. To return to our earlier exchange, in one of his later interviews Ronald mentions putting together a dossier, for self preservation purposes, before he ‘got out’. Presuming his story is true, I expect he’d have an interesting view on the construction of a viable dead man’s switch. He is after all, still alive.

  28. JMH says:

    Do we know what happened to ex-PFC Chuck? Thx, JMH

  29. turcopolier says:

    People come and go here and we are all older every day.

  30. J says:

    Iran and Syria have signed a military security agreement that will enhance Syrian air defense. This will make the Israelis sit up and take notice and whine to Pompeo and crew.

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