Legislature cements Diosdado Cabello's position as third most powerful figure in government
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Many donors to #ClintonFoundation met with #HillaryClinton at State - AP - Big Story - 23.08.2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president. At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million. Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton's help with a visa problem and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm's corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa. The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors. The AP's findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs. The 154 did not include U.S. federal employees or foreign government representatives. Clinton met with representatives of at least 16 foreign governments that donated as much as $170 million to the Clinton charity, but they were not included in AP's calculations because such meetings would presumably have been part of her diplomatic duties. Last week, the Clinton Foundation moved to head off ethics concerns about future donations by announcing changes planned if Clinton is elected. On Monday, Bill Clinton said in a statement that if his wife were to win, he would step down from the foundation's board and stop all fundraising for it. The foundation would also accept donations only from U.S. citizens and what it described as independent philanthropies, while no longer taking gifts from foreign groups, U.S. companies or corporate charities. Clinton said the foundation would no longer hold annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative, and it would spin off its foreign-based programs to other charities. Those planned changes would not affect more than 6,000 donors who have already provided the Clinton charity with more than $2 billion in funding since its creation in 2000. "There's a lot of potential conflicts and a lot of potential problems," said Douglas White, an expert on nonprofits who previously directed Columbia University's graduate fundraising management program. "The point is, she can't just walk away from these 6,000 donors." Former senior White House ethics officials said a Clinton administration would have to take careful steps to ensure that past foundation donors would not have the same access as she allowed at the State Department. "If Secretary Clinton puts the right people in and she's tough about it and has the right procedures in place and sends a message consistent with a strong commitment to ethics, it can be done," said Norman L. Eisen, who was President Barack Obama's top ethics counsel and later worked for Clinton as ambassador to the Czech Republic. Eisen, now a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that at a minimum, Clinton should retain the Obama administration's current ethics commitments and oversight, which include lobbying restrictions and other rules. Richard Painter, a former ethics adviser to President George W. Bush and currently a University of Minnesota law school professor, said Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton should remove themselves completely from foundation leadership roles, but he added that potential conflicts would shadow any policy decision affecting past donors. Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon did not respond to the AP's questions about Clinton transition plans regarding ethics, but said in a statement Tuesday the standard set by the Clinton Foundation's ethics restrictions was "unprecedented, even if it may never satisfy some critics." GOP Vice Presidential candidate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said the AP analysis was evidence of "pay-to-play" politics at Clinton's State Department. He called for the foundation to be shut down and for an independent prosecutor to be appointed to investigate. Some of Clinton's most influential visitors donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and to her and her husband's political coffers. They are among scores of Clinton visitors and phone contacts in her official calendar turned over by the State Department to AP last year and in more-detailed planning schedules that so far have covered about half her four-year tenure. The AP sought Clinton's calendar and schedules three years ago, but delays led the AP to sue the State Department last year in federal court for those materials and other records. S. Daniel Abraham, whose name also was included in emails released by the State Department as part of another lawsuit, is a Clinton fundraising bundler who was listed in Clinton's planners for eight meetings with her at various times. A billionaire behind the Slim-Fast diet and founder of the Center for Middle East Peace, Abraham told the AP last year his talks with Clinton concerned Mideast issues. Big Clinton Foundation donors with no history of political giving to the Clintons also met or talked by phone with Hillary Clinton and top aides, AP's review showed. Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest "microcredit" for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank's board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him. American affiliates of his nonprofit Grameen Bank had been working with the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative programs as early as 2005, pledging millions of dollars in microloans for the poor. Grameen America, the bank's nonprofit U.S. flagship, which Yunus chairs, has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation — a figure that bank spokeswoman Becky Asch said reflects the institution's annual fees to attend CGI meetings. Another Grameen arm chaired by Yunus, Grameen Research, has donated between $25,000 and $50,000. As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton, as well as then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and two other senators in 2007 sponsored a bill to award a congressional gold medal to Yunus. He got one but not until 2010, a year after Obama awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yunus first met with Clinton in Washington in April 2009. That was followed six months later by an announcement by USAID, the State Department's foreign aid arm, that it was partnering with the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit charity run by Yunus, in a $162 million commitment to extend its microfinance concept abroad. USAID also began providing loans and grants to the Grameen Foundation, totaling $2.2 million over Clinton's tenure. By September 2009, Yunus began complaining to Clinton's top aides about what he perceived as poor treatment by Bangladesh's government. His bank was accused of financial mismanagement of Norwegian government aid money — a charge that Norway later dismissed as baseless. But Yunus told Melanne Verveer, a long-time Clinton aide who was an ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, that Bangladesh officials refused to meet with him and asked the State Department for help in pressing his case. "Please see if the issues of Grameen Bank can be raised in a friendly way," he asked Verveer. Yunus sent "regards to H" and cited an upcoming Clinton Global Initiative event he planned to attend. Clinton ordered an aide: "Give to EAP rep," referring the problem to the agency's top east Asia expert. Yunus continued writing to Verveer as pressure mounted on his bank. In December 2010, responding to a news report that Bangladesh's prime minister was urging an investigation of Grameen Bank, Clinton told Verveer that she wanted to discuss the matter with her East Asia expert "ASAP." Clinton called Yunus in March 2011 after the Bangladesh government opened an inquiry into his oversight of Grameen Bank. Yunus had told Verveer by email that "the situation does not allow me to leave the country." By mid-May, the Bangladesh government had forced Yunus to step down from the bank's board. Yunus sent Clinton a copy of his resignation letter. In a separate note to Verveer, Clinton wrote: "Sad indeed." Clinton met with Yunus a second time in Washington in August 2011 and again in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka in May 2012. Clinton's arrival in Bangladesh came after Bangladesh authorities moved to seize control of Grameen Bank's effort to find new leaders. Speaking to a town hall audience, Clinton warned the Bangladesh government that "we do not want to see any action taken that would in any way undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank." Grameen America's Asch referred other questions about Yunus to his office, but he had not responded by Tuesday. Earlier this month, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau acknowledged that agency officials are "regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations, including nonprofits, NGOs, think tanks and others." But Trudeau said the State Department was not aware of any actions that were influenced by the Clinton Foundation. In another case, Clinton was host at a September 2009 breakfast meeting at the New York Stock Exchange that listed Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman as one of the attendees. Schwarzman's firm is a major Clinton Foundation donor, but he personally donates heavily to GOP candidates and causes. One day after the breakfast, according to Clinton emails, the State Department was working on a visa issue at Schwarzman's request. In December that same year, Schwarzman's wife, Christine, sat at Clinton's table during the Kennedy Center Honors. Clinton also introduced Schwarzman, then chairman of the Kennedy Center, before he spoke. Blackstone donated between $250,000 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Eight Blackstone executives also gave between $375,000 and $800,000 to the foundation. And Blackstone's charitable arm has pledged millions of dollars in commitments to three Clinton Global aid projects ranging from the U.S. to the Mideast. Blackstone officials did not make Schwarzman available for comment. Clinton also met in June 2011 with Nancy Mahon of the MAC AIDS, the charitable arm of MAC Cosmetics, which is owned by Estee Lauder. The meeting occurred before an announcement about a State Department partnership to raise money to finance AIDS education and prevention. The public-private partnership was formed to fight gender-based violence in South Africa, the State Department said at the time. The MAC AIDS fund donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. In 2008, Mahon and the MAC AIDS fund made a three-year unspecified commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. That same year, the fund partnered with two other organizations to beef up a USAID program in Malawi and Ghana. And in 2011, the fund was one of eight organizations to pledge a total of $2 million over a three-year period to help girls in southern Africa. The fund has not made a commitment to CGI since 2011. Estee Lauder executive Fabrizio Freda also met with Clinton at the same Wall Street event attended by Schwarzman. Later that month, Freda was on a list of attendees for a meeting between Clinton and a U.S.-China trade group. Estee Lauder has given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. The company made a commitment to CGI in 2013 with four other organizations to help survivors of sexual slavery in Cambodia. MAC AIDs officials did not make Mahon available to AP for comment. When Clinton appeared before the U.S. Senate in early 2009 for her confirmation hearing as secretary of state, then- Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, questioned her at length about the foundation and potential conflicts of interest. His concerns were focused on foreign government donations, mostly to CGI. Lugar wanted more transparency than was ultimately agreed upon between the foundation and Obama's transition team. Now, Lugar hopes Hillary and Bill Clinton make a clean break from the foundation. "The Clintons, as they approach the presidency, if they are successful, will have to work with their attorneys to make certain that rules of the road are drawn up to give confidence to them and the American public that there will not be favoritism," Lugar said.
L' entourage de #HillaryClinton ne vaut pas mieux que celui de #DonaldTrump , c'est le problème
Ex- #CIA Director Who Endorsed #Clinton Calls for Killing Iranians and Russians in #Syria - The Intercept
Former acting CIA head Michael Morell is widely seen as auditioning for a post in a Hillary Clinton administration.
Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell said in an interview Monday that U.S. policy in Syria should be to make Iran and Russia “pay a price” by arming local groups and instructing them to kill Iranian and Russian personnel in the country.
Morell was appearing on the Charlie Rose show on PBS in the wake of his publicly endorsing Hillary Clinton on the New York Times opinion pages.
Clinton has expressed support for increased military intervention in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government. Iran and Russia are backing Assad.
“What they need is to have the Russians and Iranians pay a little price,” Morell said. “When we were in Iraq, the Iranians were giving weapons to the Shia militia, who were killing American soldiers, right? The Iranians were making us pay a price. We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price.”
Morell said the killing of Russians and Iranians should be undertaken “covertly, so you don’t tell the world about it, you don’t stand up at the Pentagon and say ‘we did this.’ But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”
Morell also proposed that U.S. forces begin bombing Syrian government installations, including government offices, aircraft and presidential guard positions. The former acting CIA director said that he wanted to “scare Assad.” Morell clarified that he wasn’t actually calling for Assad’s assassination.
He compared his proposal to American support for groups that targeted Russian forces in Afghanistan during the 1980’s — efforts that later helped incubate al Qaeda. He seemed unconcerned about how other parties might respond to such actions, beyond speculating that they might provide leverage for future negotiations.
If put into effect, Morell’s plans would entail a massive escalation of American covert military involvement in Syria that would bring the United States much closer to direct confrontation with Russia and Iran.
Morell’s endorsement of Clinton was quickly seen as a sign that he was interested in a role in a possible Clinton administration. He wrote that Clinton would be a “highly qualified commander in chief” and a “strong proponent of a more aggressive approach” to the conflict in Syria.
Morell told Rose that he had not discussed his proposal to kill Russian and Iranian personnel in Syria with Clinton, though he believed she was supportive of efforts to gain “diplomatic leverage.”
After leaving the CIA in 2013, Morell authored a memoir entitled “The Great War of Our Time.” The book was widely criticized for defending detainee torture in the(..)
Et dire que qu'ils s apprêtent à élire la responsable des racines du terrorisme qui nous touche tous actuellement : #HillaryClinton
As #ISIS Brewed in #Iraq, #Clinton ’s State Department Cut Eyes and Ears on the Ground #investigation #WaPost
by Jeff Gerth and Joby Warrick, Aug. 15, 2016, 12 p.m.
An investigation by ProPublica and The Washington Post finds that Secretary of State Clinton initially pressed to keep civilian programs and listening posts after the U.S. troop pullout in 2011, but then her State Department scrapped or slashed them at the behest of the White House and Congress.
#US military 'manipulated intelligence to downplay threat of #IS ' - AFP #IslamicState #Terrorism #Syria #Iraq
Interim congressional report states military was 'significantly more positive' about US efforts against IS, which could have put troops at risk...
#ChrisHedgesOn Contact : #Capitalism in #Crisis with #RichardWolff . prof of #economics - itw 26 mn #economy
Ajoutée le 23 juil. 2016
In this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges explores capitalism in crisis with Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. From Brexit, to labor protests in France, to Italy’s financial woes, they discuss the effects of austerity on the working class. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the fallout of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Chris Hedges (ex New York Times et Prix Pulitzer, démissionnaire du NY Times car ils le réprimendaient pour sa volonté de dire la vérité sur l'intervention US en Irak 2003 ) interviewe la candidate alternative aux élections US #JillStein
Alors que cette très intéressante candidate pour devenir présidente de l'Empire est ignorée par nos médias dominants en Occident, il faut aller sur RT, la "chaîne du Kremlin" pour pouvoir l'entendre s'exprimer pendant 28 mn
Bref, la candidate la plus intéressante (et de loin) interviewée par, non pas un chien de garde style Pujadas, mais par un vrai journaliste .. A NE PAS MANQUER
interview 28 mn - Into the Political Wilderness with #JillStein - #VoteJillStein #ChrisHedges #OnContact - RT
Ajoutée le 30 juil. 2016
Now that the two major political parties have officially selected their nominees for president, Chris Hedges sits down with Green Party candidate for president, Dr. Jill Stein, to discuss an alternative way forward. Bernie Sanders might be out of the race, but Stein says the Green Party is leading the revolutionary charge. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at third parties that have renewed the political vibrancy of American society.
Anonymous - #BillClinton & #HillaryClinton: The Untold Story " #ClintonCash " Full #Documentary 64 mn #corruption
Ajoutée le 30 juil. 2016
Anonymous - Bill & Hillary Clinton: The Untold Story "Clinton Cash" Full Documentary Movie
#MustWatch #CLINTON CASH - #DOCUMENTARY MOVIE 64 mn ) #Factual #Corruption #ClintonFoundation #HillaryClinton
Clinton Cash, is a feature documentary based on the Peter Schweizer book that the New York Times hailed as “The most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle.”
#Fact : #RobertKagan and Other #Neocons Are Backing #HillaryClinton -The Intercept #WarMongers#NeitherClintonNorTrump
“I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary,“ leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told people at a Clinton fundraiser.
As Hillary Clinton puts together what she hopes will be a winning coalition in November, many progressives remain wary — but she has the war-hawks firmly behind her.
“I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told a group gathered around him, groupie-style, at a “foreign policy professionals for Hillary” fundraiser I attended last week. “I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary.”
As the co-founder of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, Kagan played a leading role in pushing for America’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, and insisted for years afterwards that it had turned out great.
Despite the catastrophic effects of that war, Kagan insisted at last week’s fundraiser that U.S. foreign policy over the last 25 years has been “an extraordinary success.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s know-nothing isolationism has led many neocons to flee the Republican ticket. And some, like Kagan, are actively helping Clinton, whose hawkishness in many ways resembles their own.
The event raised $25,000 for Clinton. Two rising stars in the Democratic foreign policy establishment, Amanda Sloat and Julianne Smith, also spoke.
The way they described Clinton’s foreign policy vision suggested that if elected president in November, she will escalate tensions with Russia, double down on military belligerence in the Middle East and generally ignore the American public’s growing hostility to intervention.
Sloat, the former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, boasted that Clinton will be “more interventionist and(..(
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk by #RobertFisk (For The Independent ) #terrorism #attacks #media #MediaBias
July 25, 2016
The frightful and bloody hours of Friday night and Saturday morning in Munich and Kabul – despite the 3,000 miles that separate the two cities – provided a highly instructive lesson in the semantics of horror and hypocrisy. I despair of that generic old hate-word, “terror”. It long ago became the punctuation mark and signature tune of every facile politician, policeman, journalist and think tank crank in the world.
Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Or terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist.
But from time to time, we trip up on this killer cliché, just as we did at the weekend. Here’s how it went. When first we heard that three armed men had gone on a “shooting spree” in Munich, the German cops and the lads and lassies of the BBC, CNN and Fox News fingered the “terror” lever. The Munich constabulary, we were informed, feared this was a “terrorist act”. The local police, the BBC told us, were engaged in an “anti-terror manhunt”.
And we knew what that meant: the three men were believed to be Muslims and therefore “terrorists”, and thus suspected of being members of (or at least inspired by) Isis.
Then it turned out that the three men were in fact only one man – a man who was obsessed with mass killing. He was born in Germany (albeit partly Iranian in origin). And all of a sudden, in every British media and on CNN, the “anti-terror manhunt” became a hunt for a lone “shooter”.
One UK newspaper used the word “shooter” 14 times in a few paragraphs. Somehow, “shooter” doesn’t sound as dangerous as “terrorist”, though the effect of his actions was most assuredly the same. “Shooter” is a code word. It meant: this particular mass killer is not a Muslim.
Now to Kabul, where Isis – yes, the real horrific Sunni Muslim Isis of fearful legend – sent suicide bombers into thousands of Shia Muslims who were protesting on Saturday morning at what appears to have been a pretty routine bit of official discrimination.
The Afghan government had declined to route a new power line through the minority Hazara (Shia) district of the country – a smaller electric cable connection had failed to satisfy the crowds – and had warned the Shia men and women to cancel their protest. The crowds, many of them middle-class young men and women from the capital, ignored this ominous warning and turned up near the presidential palace to pitch tents upon which they had written in Dari “justice and light” and “death to discrimination”.
But death came to them instead, in the form of two Isis men – one of them apparently pushing an ice-cream cart – whose explosives literally blew apart 80 of the Shia Muslims and wounded at another 260.
In a city in which elements of the Afghan government are sometimes called the Taliban government, and in which an Afghan version of the Sunni Muslim Islamic State is popularly supposed to reside like a bacillus within those same factions, it wasn’t long before the activists who organised the demonstration began to suspect that the authorities themselves were behind the massacre. Of course, we in the West did not hear this version of events. Reports from Kabul concentrated instead on those who denied or claimed the atrocity. The horrid Islamist Taliban denied it. The horrid Islamist Isis said they did it. And thus all reports centred on the Isis claim of responsibility.
But wait. Not a single report, not one newscast, referred to the Kabul slaughter as an act of “terror”. The Afghan government did. But we did not. We referred to the “suicide bombers” and the “attackers” in much the same way that we referred to the “shooter” in Munich.
Now this is very odd. How come a Muslim can be a terrorist in Europe but a mere “attacker” in south-west Asia? Because in Kabul the killers were not attacking Westerners? Or because they were attacking their fellow Muslims, albeit of the Shia Muslim variety?
I suspect both answers are correct. I can find no other reason for this weird semantic game. For just as the terrorist identity faded away in Munich the moment Ali Sonboly turned out to have more interest in the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik than the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Mosul, so the real Isis murderers in Kabul completely avoided the stigma of being called terrorists in any shape or form.
This nonsensical nomenclature is going to be further warped – be sure of this – as more and more of the European victims of the attacks in EU nations turn out to be Muslims themselves. The large number of Muslims killed by Isis in Nice was noticed, but scarcely headlined. The four young Turks shot down by Ali Sonboly were subsumed into the story as an almost routine part of what is now, alas, the routine of mass killing in Europe as well as in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
The identity of Muslims in Europe is therefore fudged if they are victims but of vital political importance if they are killers. But in Kabul, where both victims and murderers were Muslim, their mutual crisis of religious identity is of no interest in the West; the bloodbath is described in anaemic terms. The two attackers “attacked” and the “attacked” were left with 80 dead – more like a football match than a war of terror.
It all comes down to the same thing in the end. If Muslims attack us, they are terrorists. If non-Muslims attack us, they are shooters. If Muslims attack other Muslims, they are attackers.
Scissor out this paragraph and keep it beside you when the killers next let loose – and you’ll be able to work out who the bad guys are before the cops tell you.
Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared.