Russia won’t halt titanium supplies to US – trade minister

By ethan / April 20, 2018

Titanium supplies to the United States won’t be restricted as part of any response by Moscow to the sanctions imposed by the White House, according to Trade Minister Denis Manturov.

The minister compared the pointlessness of such a ban with restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on exports of gas turbines used by Russian shipbuilders as part of sanctions against Moscow.

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© Kacper Pempel

“We assume that we will not follow because that would first of all affect shipments of (titanium components producer) VSMPO-Avisma and of its Russian-American joint-venture,” Manturov said in an interview with a local TV channel. “Why take decisions that have an adverse impact on our enterprises, on our producers?”

Last week, Russian Senator Sergey Ryabukhin said that the Federation Council considered adopting the ban on titanium exports to the US as part of a counter-sanction plan. The proposed measure was reportedly in retaliation to the penalties Washington imposed on Russia earlier this month.

VSMPO-Avisma, which holds the country’s monopoly on titanium, met the claim with deep concerns, saying that Russia may lose its hard-won share on the global titanium market if the Kremlin halts exports to the US plane and spacecraft manufacturer Boeing. Avisma exports 70 percent of its titanium to Boeing and operates a joint-venture with the American plane-maker in the Urals.

According to Boeing’s Russian affiliate, the aircraft maker is projected to purchase $ 18 billion in Russian titanium over the next 10 years.

In early April, the US government introduced new penalties against Russia by including 24 individuals and 14 major entities in different sectors of the economy into the sanctions list. Washington accuses Moscow of “a range of malign activity around the globe.”

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Assange has ‘physical proof’ Russia didn’t hack DNC – Congressman

By ethan / April 20, 2018

Russia did not provide WikiLeaks with Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 US presidential campaign and Julian Assange has physical evidence to prove it, says a Republican congressman who met with him.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London in August 2017 and met with Assange. He brought up that meeting on Wednesday evening’s episode of Breitbart Radio.

“By now, everybody knows that this idea that Trump was colluding with the Russians in order to get them to do things like steal the DNC emails and then release them through WikiLeaks, the public knows that’s just total baloney,” Rohrabacher said. “I knew the one man who could prove that it was all baloney was Assange. So I went to see him in London, and he confirmed for me that the Russians did not give him the DNC emails.”

Assange had “physical proof of that” and was going to show it in exchange for an agreement that he would not get arrested upon leaving the embassy, Rohrabacher said. The WikiLeaks co-founder has been virtually imprisoned inside the London building since 2012, after the UK sought to arrest him on a Swedish warrant that has since been lifted. British authorities insist they will arrest Assange the moment he leaves the embassy, for violating the terms of his bail.

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Dana Rohrabacher (L), Julian Assange (R). © Global Look Press

Rohrabacher has not been able to discuss the Assange meeting with President Donald Trump so far, due to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election, he told Breitbart.

“I’ve been waiting because I know that we’re not going to give this special prosecutor any more ammunition than he needs to try to destroy this president,” he said, according to the Washington Times.

Hillary Clinton and the DNC have accused Russia of hacking the party’s emails and releasing them through WikiLeaks in June 2016. They have also accused WikiLeaks of being a “Russian cutout,” for publishing the private emails of Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta in the month leading up to the election.

WikiLeaks has not commented on Rohrabacher’s claims, but generally does not reveal sources.

Assange has been unable to comment, as the government of Ecuador suspended his internet access at the end of March and barred him from receiving visitors, reportedly over a tweet he posted about Spain’s policy towards the separatists in Catalonia.

In his last interview before the communications shutdown, Assange told journalist Stefania Maurizi of the Italian daily La Repubblica he was ready to testify about WikiLeaks’ relationship with the controversial data research firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of improperly accessing information of over 80 million Facebook users worldwide.

An investigation into the alleged hack, by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) last year, showed that the transfer rate simply did not support the claim that the servers were accessed from overseas. VIPS argued that the “data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers.”

NSA whistleblower William Binney presented the group’s findings to CIA Director Mike Pompeo last November.

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Comey’s memos on Trump meetings leaked online (FULL TEXT)

By ethan / April 20, 2018

The redacted copies of notes that former FBI Director James Comey made following his meetings with President Trump, have been leaked online, after the Justice Department released them to Congress.

The documents, obtained by Associated Press, appeared online on Thursday evening, shortly after they were sent to the chairs of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence committees by the DOJ.

READ MORE: DOJ hands over Comey’s Trump memos to Congress

Earlier this week, House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), Oversight chair Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) and Intelligence chair Devin Nunes (R-California) told the justice department there was “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.”

Comey revealed the existence of the memos after he was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017. He leaked the contents of four memos to the press through a friend, and testified in the Senate that his intent was to have a special counsel appointed to investigate Trump.

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DOJ hands over Comey’s Trump memos to Congress

By ethan / April 20, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memos about meetings with President Donald Trump have been handed over to Congress. The public will likely see a version from which classified information is redacted.

The redacted documents were sent over on Thursday evening to the chairs of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence committees. The originals, containing classified information, will be securely transferred on Friday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd informed the three chairs in a letter.

Boyd copied the ranking Democrats on all three committees, as well as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier this week, House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), Oversight chair Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) and Intelligence chair Devin Nunes (R-California) told the Justice Department there was “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.”

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© Reuters

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York), ranking member on the Judiciary committee, had protested the release of the documents on Thursday, saying that it would endanger the special counsel investigation and put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in jeopardy of being placed in contempt of Congress.

Comey himself said he had no issue with Congress receiving the memos, however. “It’s fine by me,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “I don’t care. I don’t have any views on it. I’m totally fine with transparency.”

Comey revealed the existence of the memos after he was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017. He leaked the contents of four memos to the press through a friend, and testified in the Senate that his intent was to have a special counsel appointed to investigate Trump.

The FBI initially said at least three memos contained classified information, later extending that to all seven. All of them were considered government property, and Comey’s possession of them was against FBI rules, the bureau said.

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Russian ambassador meets new US national security adviser Bolton

By ethan / April 19, 2018

The newly-appointed White House national security adviser John Bolton has met with Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov to discuss the US-Russia relationship amid unprecedented tensions between Washington and Moscow.

“Ambassador Bolton reiterated that it is the interest of both the United States and Russia to have better relations, but that this will require addressing concern regarding Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the reckless use of chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, and the situations in Syria and Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.


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David Hogg’s book title angers Holocaust survivors and relatives

By ethan / April 19, 2018

Student-turned-activist David Hogg has written a book about the Parkland, Florida school shooting and his anti-gun movement. However, its title ‘Never Again’ has angered Holocaust survivors and their relatives.

Hogg’s book charts the rapid growth of the movement, including the “March for Our LIves” rally that saw a reported 500,000 anti-second amendment protesters descend on Washington, DC. The book’s title borrows a phrase traditionally used in remembrance of the Holocaust.

Hogg and his sister Lauren announced the book’s launch in a pair of tweets on Wednesday. The announcement comes just two days before the planned nationwide school walkout protest –on April 20– in support of tougher gun control measures.

Some Twitter users saw Hogg’s use of the phrase as cheapening the Holocaust, though.

“Of all the titles you could have chosen,” read one tweet. “Stealing NEVER AGAIN from the Holocaust? Are you kidding? Five million lost souls and their descendants are not pleased.”

Hogg has been relentless in calling for strict gun control since the Parkland tragedy in February. In addition to helping organize the “March for Our Lives” protest, he has publicly called for boycotts against Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and against banks that lend to weapons manufacturers and retailers.

The book describes itself as “a manifesto for the movement begun that day, one that has already changed America–with voices of a new generation that are speaking truth to power, and are determined to succeed where their elders have failed.”

According to Hogg, the proceeds of the book will be used to “help heal the community.” The publisher will make a donation to Everytown for Gun Safety, an anti-gun action fund set up by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

An earlier attempt at promoting gun-control armbands using the hashtag #NeverAgain backfired on the Hoggs, after actor James Woods blasted it on social media as tone-deaf. Lauren deleted the tweet and apologized.

You might have a little trouble getting Jewish Americans to embrace this look,” Woods tweeted. “Do you have some shiny jackboots and brown shirts to go with it? Guessing maybe you skipped history class while you were shilling for the DNC.”

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‘High school kids shut you down’: Fox News host Ingraham mocked on-air over sponsors boycott

By ethan / April 19, 2018

Fox News host Laura Ingraham was left red-faced on Thursday night, after a guest mocked her show’s loss of high-profile sponsors due to derogatory comments she made about a survivor of the Parkland school shooting.

READ MORE: Fox host Laura Ingraham slams ‘bullying left’ after ad scandal

Ingraham was interviewing John Cox, a Republican candidate for governor of California, and Enrique Morones, the founder of the human rights group Border Angels, during a segment to discuss the state’s sanctuary laws. As Cox painted a bleak picture of an immigrant crime wave sweeping unchecked across California, Morones decided he’d heard enough. When Cox declared himself “the next governor of California,” Morones shot back: “Who is this guy? I’ve never even heard of him.”

Clearly miffed, Ingraham chided Morones for what she believed was his hostility during the interview. “Enrique, I just want to tell you, God bless you, I really wish the best for you. But you have been so incredibly rude and nasty since almost the first second of this appearance,” Ingraham said.

Uncowed, Morones hit back, referencing her show’s loss of more than 20 sponsors since the host mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg on Twitter for not being accepted to a number of colleges. “Where’s your sponsors?” Morones said. “David Hogg got rid of half of them. High school kids shut you down.”

Hogg led the boycott of ‘The Ingraham Angle’ after her tweet. Ingraham was later forced to apologize. Fox defended Ingraham, announcing that her show would go on a week’s break. She returned to the air on April 9 with a show during which she attacked the “intolerant” American left for “bullying” conservatives into silence.

READ MORE: Celebrities jump into feud between Laura Ingraham and LeBron James

Ingraham’s popularity remains high despite the controversy, with total viewership of her program averaging 2.7 million people since her return. Ingraham is no stranger to controversy. Previously she became embroiled in a spat with NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, after they made critical remarks about President Donald Trump.

Presenting footage of the comments on her show, Ingraham dismissed the pair, saying: “Must they run their mouths like that?” – a comment which some critics felt was racially charged.

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Former FBI #2 McCabe’s case referred to US attorney for possible criminal prosecution – reports

By ethan / April 19, 2018

The Justice Department’s inspector general has sent a criminal referral to the US attorney’s office in Washington, regarding former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to reports.

The IG found that McCabe “lacked candor” when discussing his leaking of confidential information to The Wall Street Journal. In FBI language, “lacking candor” translates as “[making] false statements, misrepresentations, the failure to be fully forthright, or the concealment or omission of a material fact/information.

READ MORE: Former FBI #2 McCabe press leaks ‘violated DOJ policy’ – Inspector General

In October 2016, McCabe authorized the leaking of information to the Wall Street Journal, including the existence of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. In his testimony to congress several months earlier, FBI director James Comey had refused to answer whether that investigation even existed.

Another WSJ article that month revealed that McCabe’s wife had taken donations from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Democratic Party. McAuliffe was described as “an influential Democrat with long-standing ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton,” raising concerns about McCabe’s impartiality in the Clinton investigation.
After leaking information to the press, McCabe attempted to cover his tracks by blaming agents at the New York and Washington DC field offices. McCabe then claimed that Comey had known that he’d authorized the leak, a statement Comey maintains is false.

The IG’s report provided the basis for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire McCabe last month. Following his firing, McCabe set up a GoFundMe page to cover his legal expenses. The campaign raised over $ 550,000 in a matter of days.

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Russian Sports Ministry plans to open World Cup 2018 Fan Fest in Crimea

By ethan / April 19, 2018

Russian Deputy Sport Minister Natalia Parshikova has announced plans to open FIFA Fan Fest squares on the Crimean peninsula during the 2018 World Cup.

Zones were rumored to be planned for Simferopol and Sevastopol, as well as smaller sites in Yalta, Yevpatoria and several other large cities for the tournament, which kicks off in Moscow on June 14.

“Crimea is a constituent territory of the Russian Federation which has the same rights as any other federal subject of the country,” Parshikova told TASS on Thursday during the Yalta Economic Forum.

“In order to open a fan zone and hold a fan festival, we need to sign an agreement with [world football governing body] FIFA. The Crimean Football Union remains in close contact with the [Russia 2018] Local Organizing Committee in discussing the issue. I think a Fan Fest square will be definitely opened there,” she added.

FIFA Fan Fest squares are public spaces which welcome thousands of fans from around world during the World Cup to watch matches on giant screens and generally enjoy the football atmosphere.

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© wfcenisey

Inspired by the huge success of unofficial public fan festivals during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea, FIFA included the concept into the official program for the 2006 version in Germany.

Russia expects to welcome around one million visitors during the World Cup and a Fan Fest has been planned for each of the 11 World Cup host cities for Russia 2018.

Moscow’s 25,000-capacity version will be located on Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills), by the Moscow Lomonosov State University opposite Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for the tournament’s opening game and final.

Football fans coming to Russia this summer will also have the opportunity to also taste Russian national cuisine and buy souvenirs in specially designated areas.

It had been reported in December that fan zones would not operate in Crimea due to sanctions against the Crimean Football Union, which was not regarded as a member by FIFA.

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US media’s love affair with war: Major outlets showed zero opposition to Syria strikes – survey

By ethan / April 19, 2018

Media cheerleading for foreign conflict is nothing new. Coverage of President Trump’s latest airstrikes on Syria was no different, with no major newspaper’s editorial board opposing the strikes, according to a survey.

“Trump was right to strike Syria,” read the Washington Post. “One night’s good work,” read the New York Post. “We should feel proud as Americans. We did the right thing in Syria,” read the Toledo Blade.

The editorial board at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were rabid in their calls for total armageddon, in an article that read: “The response must not be limited to a single strike like the one a year ago. This time, it should be sustained and punishing, not just to get Assad’s attention but also that of Iran, Hezbollah and, most importantly, Russia.”

Trump, the president who once vowed to “bomb the sh*t out of” Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) but refrain from entering into regime-change adventures around the world, spent over $ 125 million launching Tomahawk missiles at government targets in Syria last weekend, with the cooperation of Britain and France. The attack on Syria was launched without congressional or UN approval.

Out of 26 newspaper editorials on the strikes, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) found no dissenting voices. The New York Times quibbled about the lack of approval, but did not disagree with the strikes. “It was reassuring,” the board wrote, that the airstrikes were carried out in coordination with Britain and France.

The fact that Assad’s government had not yet been internationally proven responsible for the attacks mattered little. Nor did the historic consequences of foreign intervention based on social media evidence, which saw the US spend over a decade and a trillion dollars in Iraq.

READ MORE: Why ‘think tanks’ lobby for war in Syria

Major US newspapers love war. When Trump ordered a Tomahawk missile strike on a Syrian airfield last year, FAIR found that out of 47 editorials, only one opposed the action. The editorial board of the Denver Post was especially giddy at the prospect of conflict, writing: “The US decision to launch cruise missiles at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s airfield felt good.” So too were the editors at the New York Times, who wrote: “It was hard not to feel some sense of emotional satisfaction.”

For the last three decades, the New York Times has not opposed a single US war. From the Gulf, to Bosnia, to Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation’s ‘Paper of Record’ has thrown its weight behind every foreign military adventure.

While the mainstream media may relish another costly foreign war, many of Trump’s supporters do not. Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson slammed war-hawk policymakers on his show last week, and this week flamboyant Infowars host Alex Jones ranted against Trump’s apparent neoconservative turn. Fox News’ Laura Ingraham joined in on the night of the strikes too, asking: “what do we really accomplish here tonight in Syria? This is not why Donald Trump got elected.”

Media coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency has been overwhelmingly negative. A Harvard study found that during the president’s first 100 days in office, 87 percent of articles in the New York Times and 83 percent of articles in the Washington Post about Trump were negative.

The only time the Trump-bashing lets up, however, is when the president decides to launch missiles at a foreign country – a trend that is worryingly indicative of the American media’s priorities.

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