consultants are sandburs



Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Do you really believe General Flynn "misled" Mike Pence about anything? [UPDATED]

This websearch. Lotsa links.

Trump has no long-standing ties to Erik Prince. Tune time.

Given that Flynn took the fall for Pence, acting as the cutout figure for if/when the fan might load up, what's the reader consensus guess about Flynn getting immunity? If so, will it be an Ollie North thing, where any later criminal investigation dances upon a taint from "... cannot remember, was it in hearings, or earlier that I heard/learned/did ..."? Or a blunt hammer approach; Trump steps down, Pence issues a slew of pardons, a Gerald Ford redux but on a grander/wider scale?

Of the host of links from that websearch:

Inqisitr - News worth sharing -
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Erik Prince was a key player in a secret meeting with a Russian friend of Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles. The meeting allegedly took place on January 11 after officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) arranged for Prince and Putin’s pal to get together and discuss the possibility of establishing a covert line of communication between Moscow and then President-elect Trump’s White House.

[...]It is alleged that the UAE decided to facilitate the meeting in an attempt to investigate the possibility that Russia would become less involved in its ties with Iran. It is unclear what the full implications of such a deal would be; however, it will almost certainly require a great deal of compromise on the part of the United States.

According to officials, both U.S. and Emirati, Erik Prince asserted himself in the way than an official delegate might have, yet unofficially represented Trump’s wishes. [...]

The Seychelles, on the other hand, seems to be the perfect spot to host secret meetings. There is a large contingent of high-profile billionaires that live in total seclusion on the islands. From British Royalty to Middle Eastern Sheikhs, Presidents, and Princes.

In December last year, former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon met with Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, in New York City. The meeting was kept so secret to the point that not even the Obama White House was notified of Zayed’s arrival.

[Italics emphasis added] And Kushner is presently being sequestered in Iraq with the head of the Joint Chiefs. Figure that one out.

Continuing:
Sheikh Zayed is believed to have been under the impression that Eric Prince served in an official capacity and was authorized to negotiate matter of foreign policy on behalf of Trump.

Officials that are well acquainted with Sheikh Zayed have said that he is an extraordinarily cautious man and would not have gone ahead with a meeting of this nature had he not personally been given the go-ahead by someone in the Trump White House.

Erik Prince has had highly profitable dealings with the government of the UEA, having at one point received earnings in the range of $500 million to protect Emirati officials from terrorism.

[italics added] A screencapture from here - dated Jan 18, 2017:


A KOS mid-item (dated Jan 2, 2017) -
Amongst themselves the evangelicals began to formulate plans to take over the government of the United States, no matter that the constitution clearly prescribes the separation of church and state. Flying in the face of both constitutional prescription and more importantly the tax exempt status enjoyed by churches, the evangelicals took their fat coffers and converted them into a “war chest” for all intents and purposes, so that the economic takeover of the Republican party by the evangelical sect of the right wing could be firmly set in place. Mike Pence found a major source of funding in a man named Erik Prince; and even found possible military support for his evangelical quest (should same ever be needed) in a purported “private security” outfit which was called “Blackwater,” which was founded by devout evangelical-family member and former Navy SEAL, Erik Prince. In point of fact, Blackwater operated as more of a mercenary militia group than as a security agency, as that term is generally understood. The Washington Post said this on January 1, 2015:

[... quote omitted]

Mike Pence and Erik Prince became dear friends, and Prince became Pence’s benefactor. Remember the Morpheus and Neo analogy from Nazi Germany? History repeated itself with Prince Morpheus choosing Mike Pence as Neo. Together they decided that moving Mike Pence as far upwards in the Republican Party as possible was the first step to taking the control that Pat Robertson and Billy Graham spoke of for the Christian Supremacists.

From Jeremy Scahill's article in The Intercept, November 15, 2016:


...his close relationship to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater. In December 2007, three months after Blackwater operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square; Pence and his Republican Study Committee, which served “the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives,” organized a gathering to welcome Prince to Washington. But their relationship is not just forged in wars. Prince and his mother, Elsa, have been among the top funders of scores of anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives across the country and have played a key role in financing efforts to criminalize abortion.

Prince has long given money to Pence’s political campaigns, and toward the end of the presidential election, he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump/Pence Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother kicked in another $50,000. [...] Erik Prince...portrays himself as a mix between Indiana Jones, Rambo, Captain America, and Pope Benedict...

Bear in mind that the $150,000 from mother and son to Mike Pence was a routine gesture; not a one-time contribution. Also bear in mind the number of anti-gay bills and anti-gay legislators and do the arithmetic on what kind of money it takes to be “among the top funders for scores” of those fund raising drives and campaigns across the country. A bit more background on Prince and his family, also from The Intercept article:

The Prince family’s support for Pence, and the Christian supremacist movement he represents, has deep roots. Erik Prince’s father, Edgar, built up a very successful manufacturing business in Holland, Michigan, and became one of the premier bankrollers of what came to be known as the radical religious right. They gave Gary Bauer the seed money to start the Family Research Council and poured money into James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. “Ed Prince was not an empire builder. He was a Kingdom builder,” Bauer recalled soon after the elder Prince’s death. “For him, personal success took a back seat to spreading the Gospel and fighting for the moral restoration of our society.” Erik Prince’s sister Betsy married Dick DeVos, whose father, Richard, founded the multilevel marketing firm Amway and went on to own the Orlando Magic basketball team. The two families merged together like the monarchies of old Europe and swiftly emerged as platinum-level contributors to far-right Christian causes and political figures.

The Prince and DeVos families gave the seed money for what came to be known as the Republican Revolution when Newt Gingrich became House speaker in 1994 on a far-right platform known as the Contract with America. The Prince and DeVos clans also invested heavily in a scheme developed by Dobson to engage in back-door lobbying activities by forming “prayer warrior” networks of people who would call politicians to advocate for Dobson’s religious and political agenda. Instead of lobbying, which the organization would have been prohibited from doing because of its tax and legal status, they would claim they were “praying” for particular policies.

The Princes consistently poured money into criminalizing abortion, privatizing education, blocking gay rights, and other right-wing causes centered around their interpretation of Christianity. The family, especially Erik, was very close to Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Watergate conspirator Charles “Chuck” Colson. [...]

[...] Both the nationalists and the evangelicals see Mike Pence as, literally, their great white hope. And only Erik Prince could tell you the full nature and extent of how he views Mike Pence or the role that Pence and Prince should play together in furthering the Christian Supremacist agenda and fighting for the “moral restoration of society,” as Prince’s father fought for, before him.
________

Mike Pence's political action committee is called "Principles Exalt A Nation." It has been opined that this would be Pence’s slogan in his own run for the presidency. And the principles which exalt the nation of Mike Pence and his followers’ dreams are not the principles of inclusivity, diversity and tolerance, not by a long shot. Mike Pence and his radical religious right wingers seek the establishment of a Christian theocracy in the United States. They are thrilled at having the White House, House and Senate under Republican control and seek only to impose their fanaticism on the Supreme Court, hopefully swerving it to the far right for decades to come.

Jeff Sharlet, the author of “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, said: "The enemy to them, is secularism. They want a God-led government. That's the only legitimate government. So when they speak of business, they’re speaking not of something separate from God, but they’re speaking of what, in Mike Pence’s circles, would be called biblical capitalism, the idea that this economic system is God-ordained.” In Mike Pence's God-ordained economic system the serfs will labor and tithe for the good of the theocrats on top, because that is how a theocracy works. And the warrior class will stand ready to destroy the infidels because that, too, is a fundamental part of a theocracy.

[bolding and links in original omitted; italics added] Jeremy Scahill, writing for the Intercept dated 2017-01-17 -
Blaming leftists and some congressional Democrats for destroying his Blackwater empire, Prince clearly views Trump’s vow to bring back torture, CIA-sponsored kidnapping, and enhanced interrogations, as well as his commitment to fill Guantánamo with prisoners, as a golden opportunity to ascend to his rightful place as a covert private warrior for the U.S. national security state. As we reported last year, “Prince — who portrays himself as a mix between Indiana Jones, Rambo, Captain America, and Pope Benedict — is now working with the Chinese government through his latest ‘private security’ firm.” The Trump presidency could result in Prince working for both Beijing and the White House.

The Blackwater founder has also endorsed some of Trump’s overtures to Russia, saying: “Think about it: If FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, can deal with Stalin to defeat German fascism in World War II, certainly the United States of America could work with Putin to defeat Islamic fascism. We don’t have to agree with the Russians on everything, or even on a lot, but we can at least agree that crushing ISIS in the Middle East is a very good idea.” Prince described Democrats as “anti-Catholic, anti-Evangelical,” saying the DNC hacks and leaks revealed “the disregard, the disdain they have for the average American voter and citizen.”

Prince has a close relationship with Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior counselor and chief strategist. Prince has appeared frequently — and almost exclusively — on Breitbart Radio. In August, Prince offered praise for Trump’s candidacy, telling Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos: “I even like some of his projects that have gone bankrupt, because people that do things, and build things, and try things, sometimes fail at doing it, and that’s the strength of the American capitalist system.” Prince added: “We have kind of turned our back on the fact that hard work, sacrifice, risk-taking, innovation, is what made America great. Washington did not make America great.”

In September, Prince backed Trump’s proposal to commandeer Iraq’s 2 million barrels of daily oil output. “For Mr. Trump to say, ‘We’re going to take their oil — certainly we’re not going to lift it out of there and take it somewhere else, but putting it into production, and putting a tolling arrangement into place, to repay the American taxpayers for their efforts to remove Saddam and to stabilize the area, is doable, and very plausible,” Prince said on Breitbart Radio.

Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and she has all but vowed to embark on a crusade to push a privatization and religious agenda in education that mirrors her brother’s in military and CIA affairs. Prince has long been a contributor to the campaign of fellow Christian warrior Mike Pence, and he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother, Elsa, pitched in another $50,000. That organization, run by Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire hedge funder Robert Mercer, was one of the strongest bankrollers of Trump’s campaign.

According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, in December Prince attended the annual “Villains and Heroes” costume ball hosted by Mercer. [...]

[italics added, Pence-Prince-money] Scahill in that item references back to his Nov. 15, 2016 Intercept item, "Mike Pence Will Be the Most Powerful Christian Supremacist in U.S. History," [quoted earlier as a quote within a quote] which also states-

The incoming vice president, Mike Pence, has not elicited the same reaction, instead often painted as the reasonable adult on the ticket, a “counterbalance” to Trump and a “bridge to the establishment.” However, there is every reason to regard him as, if anything, even more terrifying than the president-elect.

Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend. “This may not be our preferred candidate, but that doesn’t mean it may not be God’s candidate to do something that we don’t see,” said David Barton, a prominent Christian-right activist and president of Wall Builders, an organization dedicated to making the U.S. government enforce “biblical values.” In June, Barton prophesied: “We may look back in a few years and say, ‘Wow, [Trump] really did some things that none of us expected.’”

Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. With Republican control of the House and Senate and the prospect of dramatically and decisively tilting the balance of the Supreme Court to the far right, the incoming administration will have a real shot at bringing the fire and brimstone of the second coming to Washington.

[...] How the GOP foisted Pence on Trump is undoubtedly a fascinating story that hopefully will some day be revealed. Obviously, Pence gave Trump badly needed credibility with evangelical voters and the GOP establishment, but Pence’s selection portends a governing apocalypse. While Trump has flip-flopped on a variety of issues, from abortion to immigration to war and health care, Pence has been a reliable stalwart throughout his public life in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people (unless they go into conversion therapy “to change their sexual behavior,” which Pence has suggested the government pay for).

He supported making the Patriot Act permanent and wants to ban the burning of the U.S. flag. Pence does not believe federal law enforcement agencies should have to get a FISA warrant to conduct domestic surveillance and voted against requiring any warrant for domestic wiretapping. As governor of Indiana, he did quietly sign a bill to limit the use of Stingray devices by local law enforcement, though it was during the early stages of the Snowden revelations and the public concern about government surveillance was intense.

Pence supported giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies implicated in warrantless surveillance. He does not want congressional oversight of CIA interrogations — which Trump believes should include waterboarding and other torture “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Pence has paid lip service to the illegality of torture but said that “enhanced interrogation” has saved lives. He has characterized relationship-building, non-coercive interrogation strategies as “Oprah Winfrey methods.” Pence is against whistleblower protections that would prohibit retaliation for reporting crimes or misdeeds. In 2002, the ACLU gave him a 7 percent rating on civil rights.

He wants the U.S. to resume the practice of holding new prisoners at Guantánamo Bay or, as Trump put it, they plan “to fill it up.” Pence also supports expanded use of the military tribunal system.

Pence has claimed that he wants to “economically isolate” Iran rather than engage in a military attack. But should Israel decide to conduct pre-emptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said in 2010, “if the world knows nothing else, let the world know this: that America will stand with Israel.” He supported a failed legislative effort to make it U.S. policy “to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force.” Both in rhetoric and policy, Pence has compared “radical Islam” to the “evil empire of the Soviet Union” and said that he and Trump will “name the enemy” and “marshal the resources of our nation and our allies to hunt them down and destroy them before they threaten us.”

“We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” Pence promised.

As has been widely reported, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law requiring fetal tissue from abortions to be buried or cremated, making his state one of the most medieval in its approach to reproductive rights. The fetus burial law, which Pence claimed would “ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn,” was suspended at the 11th hour by a federal judge, who said it was likely unconstitutional. Pence has been at the forefront of the movement to defund Planned Parenthood. “We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” Pence promised. He has long sought to have 14th Amendment protections applied to fetuses, arguing that they should be declared persons. In Congress, Pence voted to criminally punish doctors who performed late-term abortions, except in cases where the woman’s life was in danger. A doctor who “kills a human fetus” faces up to two years in prison, according to that law.

Pence opposed efforts to widen hate crimes laws to include attacks on LGBT people. He tried to block federal funding of HIV treatments unless they came with a requirement to advocate against gay relationships. Pence opposes non-straight people serving in the military. “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,” he said.

Pence believes “the only truly safe sex … is no sex” and once (falsely) claimed on CNN that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”

[...] In defending a proposed ban on Syrian refugees entering Indiana, Pence said it was necessary to “ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers.” He has advocated for greater militarization of the so-called war on drugs, including escalated military patrols. Pence denounced activists and others protesting recent police killings of unarmed African-Americans, charging they “seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings.” He said he found it offensive to “use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of implicit bias or institutional racism and that really has got to stop.” He has said that “police officers are the best of us.”

Pence is a strong supporter of stop-and-frisk programs, which in New York were used overwhelmingly against people of color. “It’s on a sound constitutional footing,” said Pence, who added that he wanted the practice expanded nationwide. “Stop-and-frisk literally saved lives in New York City when it was implemented, and it’s been implemented in cities around the country.”

One interesting difference between Pence and Trump centers on the First Amendment. Trump has made clear he believes in waging war against a free press and has encouraged hostility toward journalists covering his campaign. While in Congress, Pence was a major force behind trying to get a federal shield law to protect journalists’ rights to maintain confidential sources. A former radio talk show host, Pence said he was inspired to act by the case of then-New York Times reporter Judy Miller, who was imprisoned for refusing to answer questions about her sources during the scandal over the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. No such law was ever passed and the bill provided wide latitude to nullify the protections of journalists in national security situations.

When he joined the ticket with Trump last summer, Pence claimed they were internally reviewing the campaign policy on the treatment of journalists covering Trump events. If anything, the situation worsened as the campaign moved forward.

On health care, Pence is now on board with repealing the Affordable Care Act, though as governor he did embrace the law in a pretty bold act of hypocrisy. He also supported denying non-emergency care for people who cannot afford a Medicare co-payment and opposed expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Pence is what might be termed “climate change curious,” though earlier in his political career, he wrote an essay in which he asserted, “Global warming is a myth. The global warming treaty is a disaster. There, I said it.” More recently, Pence has kind of acknowledged the fact-based nature of human action contributing to climate change but opposes ending any of the industrial, governmental, or corporate practices responsible. He has consistently advocated withdrawing from climate change agreements and treaties. Pence has an impressively atrocious record on environmental issues and a slavish devotion to big energy and big oil companies.

He opposed government assistance to U.S. workers who lost their jobs because of free trade agreements and has supported every neoliberal trade program since his time in public office. Pence was a loud proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership until he joined Trump on the ticket, and now he claims to be pondering the “wisdom” of the agreement.

Pence opposed imposing restrictions on no-bid contracting, which may help explain his close relationship to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater. In December 2007, three months after Blackwater operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, Pence and his Republican Study Committee, which served “the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives,” organized a gathering to welcome Prince to Washington. But their relationship is not just forged in wars. Prince and his mother, Elsa, have been among the top funders of scores of anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives across the country and have played a key role in financing efforts to criminalize abortion.

The Princes consistently poured money into criminalizing abortion, privatizing education, blocking gay rights, and other right-wing causes centered around their interpretation of Christianity. The family, especially Erik, was very close to Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Watergate conspirator Charles “Chuck” Colson. The author of Nixon’s enemies list, Colson was the first person sentenced in the Watergate scandal, after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the investigation of the dirty tricks campaign against Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Colson became a born-again Christian before going to prison, and after his release, he started the Prison Fellowship, which sought to convert prisoners to Christianity to counter what Colson saw as the Islamic menace in U.S. prisons. Erik Prince funded this as well and went on prison visits with Colson.

“There’s a coalescing idea that somehow, obviously, God is doing something with Trump.”

All of these figures, bankrolled by the Prince family, are the ideological and theological ascendants of Mike Pence, who called Colson “a dear friend and mentor.” Colson and his allies viewed the administration of Bill Clinton as a secular “regime” and openly contemplated a faith-based revolution. In the early ’90s, Colson teamed up with conservative evangelical minister-turned-Catholic priest Richard Neuhaus and others to build a unified movement. That work ultimately led in 1994 to the controversial document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” (Note: I wrote extensively about this in my book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and drew heavily on that for this story.) Pence has described himself as “a born-again, evangelical Catholic.”

The ECT manifesto declared:

The century now drawing to a close has been the greatest century of missionary expansion in Christian history. We pray and we believe that this expansion has prepared the way for yet greater missionary endeavor in the first century of the Third Millennium. The two communities in world Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly growing are Evangelicals and Catholics.

The signatories called for a unification of these religions in a common missionary cause, that “all people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” They asserted that religion is “privileged and foundational in our legal order” and spelled out the need to defend “the moral truths of our constitutional order.”

Again, while the opening websearch link has many interesting return items listed, Bustle [Nov 23, 2016]-
Prince, an avowed Mike Pence supporter, is an enemy to LGBTQ and women's rights, and an architect of paramilitary forces, but how much should his record be taken into account when considering DeVos' appointment to the Trump cabinet? In the wake of the announcement of DeVos' appointment, several have taken to Twitter to point out her relation to Prince, but that shouldn't be the main focus when considering her ability to lead. There are plenty of reasons to oppose DeVos that have nothing to do with her brother.

And Pence, friend of Prince, was the 51 - 50 tie-breaking vote for Prince's sister, despite here egregious Indiana ideas, to become Secretary of Education.

For added perspective, remember Dan Quayle, where he was from. Indiana sucks.

As for the Trump cabinet appointments and Pence's money ties to Prince/DeVos, it was their Jesus that drove the money changers out of the temple. Guess what -

They're back. And some might speculate that it is a complete falsehood that Pence did not know all relevant facts when he falsely told the press that Flynn had not been playing footsie with the Russkies. That Pence knew all relevant footsie facts there were. To think that, one would have to disbelieve much of what had been said back when Pence put himself out on a limb; the cutting and filling afterwards. For some, such a disbelief might come easier than for others.

And then there is Nunes. And that strange minuet, about going to the Trump administration to view records held by the Trump administration and then going to Trump to personally tell Trump what the Trump administration had earlier disclosed to him. Believable? As if that was the first telling of such to Trump? (Pence and others not mentioned)

Truth or a bad effort at pasting on a fig leaf?

You decide.

____________UPDATE____________
Computers talk; experts ponder, what might they have been communicating? Or is coincidence at play, as improbable as it might be with one middle site being accessed little, but by two other sites, only. During the period, events of interest happened in Turkey. Connection? It would be a stretch of a guess. Gulen was in Pennsylvania, (and still is), but at some distance from the Trump server.

__________FURTHER UPDATE___________
Unlikely dots to connect, you decide: That UPDATE link states:

From May 4 until September 23, the Russian bank looked up the address to this Trump corporate server 2,820 times -- more lookups than the Trump server received from any other source.
As noted, Alfa Bank alone represents 80% of the lookups, according to these leaked internet records.
Far back in second place, with 714 such lookups, was a company called Spectrum Health.
Spectrum is a medical facility chain led by Dick DeVos, the husband of Betsy DeVos, who was appointed by Trump as U.S. education secretary.
Together, Alfa and Spectrum accounted for 99% of the lookups.
This server behavior alarmed one computer expert who had privileged access to this technical information last year. That person, who remains anonymous and goes by the moniker "Tea Leaves," obtained this information from internet traffic meant to remain private. It is unclear where Tea Leaves worked or how Tea Leaves obtained access to the information.
Tea Leaves gave that data to a small band of computer scientists who joined forces to examine it, several members of that group told CNN, which has also reviewed the data.
Possible explanations
The corporations involved have different theories to explain the server activity. But they haven't provided proof -- and they don't agree.
Alfa Bank has maintained that the most likely explanation is that the server communication was the result of spam marketing. Bank executives have stayed at Trump hotels, so it's possible they got subsequent spam marketing emails from the Trump Organization.

[...]Upon hearing that Cendyn gave up control of the Trump email domain, Camp, said: "That does not make any sense to me at all. The more confusing this is, the more I think we need an investigation."
Other computer experts said there could be additional lookups that weren't captured by the original leak. That could mean that Alfa's presence isn't as dominant as it seems.

[...] Alfa Bank insists that it has no connections to Trump. In a statement to CNN, Alfa Bank said neither it, bank cofounder Mikhail Fridman and bank president Petr Aven "have had any contact with Mr. Trump or his organizations. Fridman and Aven have never met Mr. Trump nor have they or Alfa Bank had any business dealings with him. Neither Alfa Bank nor its officers have sent Mr. Trump or his organization any emails, information or money. Alfa Bank does not have and has never had any special or exclusive internet connection with Mr. Trump or his entities."

[...] Tea Leaves refused to be interviewed by CNN and is now "hiding under a rock," according to an intermediary contact.
Paul Vixie, who helped design the very DNS system the internet uses today, was quoted in the Slate story saying that Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization "were communicating in a secretive fashion." Vixie declined to go on the record with CNN.
Even the skeptics have unanswered questions.
Robert Graham is a cybersecurity expert who wrote a widely circulated blog post in November that criticized computer scientists for premature conclusions connecting the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.
But he's still wondering why Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health alone dominated links to this Trump server.
"It's indicative of communication between Trump, the health organization and the bank outside these servers," he told CNN. "There is some sort of connection I can't explain, and only they are doing it. It could be completely innocent."

Very near the termination of the strange server-server pattern, Bannon's propaganda outlet ran a story under Prince's byline. During the Arab Spring, video dates unclear, RT and AlJazeera ran stories about merc armies mobilized for the Emirate parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Prince involvement was reported. That perhaps was the man setting down roots to later be a go-between in unusual circumstances. From a NYT page displayed early in the AJ item, May 2011 was the timeframe.

Getting a toe-hold, for mischief, for today's Prince-Pence "Hi ya, Russians" hi-jinks?

______________FURTHER UPDATE______________
If, as a hypothetical, an Islamic State fighting force in Syria was being recruited/planned, as paid mercenaries, payment mechanisms need to be in place, Alfa Bank being a bank, and not like BCCI. i.e, not on our turf. Mercs to train mercs making sense in a worldview different from viewpoints of most citizens within cordial civilian populations, in the EU, the US, Russia, the Ukraine. Prince seems a strange rump-ambassador.

______________FURTHER UPDATE______________
Flynn's having taken money from Turkey reportedly was communicated to Mike Pence last November, despite Pence recently having said it was news to him. This link. It seems a letter entered into House records ought to be verifiable as not fake news. And if Pence misrecollected something like a letter from a Congressman saying such a thing, doubt is cast on his recollection of not having prior knowledge of Flynn having had meetings with Russians in which sanctions were discussed.

What did Flynn communicate to Trump and/or Pence, and when was that communicated. Flynn being an independent in meeting Russian officials is unlikely, given how he was subordinate to Trump and Pence and would not likely have gone behind their backs. As a cutout, one to take the fall and break the chain of responsibility; an "It was me alone" thing, Flynn might have had that "duty" but presumably with a pardon promised if so. Now, seeking immunity, is a chance at a pardon being used to manipulate things which Flynn might not trust enough if he can cut a better deal.

Nunes steps aside. What did he know and when did he know it?

HOT POTATO TIME?

______________FURTHER UPDATE_______________
The letter [online here] giving Pence, as Trump Transition Team head, notice of Flynn conflict of interest likelihoods has to be viewed, being unequivocal 3-page notice given to a seasoned politician, as creating a duty to inquire - and not a dismissive one of okay you say you're fine, I'm fine with that. It is a feet-to-the-fire thing, if for no other reason than CYA. Pence did not cover. The man, hopefully, cannot be that ignorant. A heartbeat away, and that ignorant would be scary. So, if not ignorant then inattentiveness is also a critical fault. A seasoned politician can recognize where attentiveness is needed. The only remaining reason is lying. Sandbagging and then lying.

_____________FURTHER UPDATE_______________
Young Turks did an analysis of Erik Prince meeting a Russian in a quiet out of the way Indian Ocean nation; and the one loose end in the reporting, so far, is WHO WAS THE RUSSIAN THAT PRINCE MET WITH AND HOW DOES HE TIE TO PUTIN AND TO ALFA BANK? And, if the NSA/CIA/spooks central can capture all communication; U.S. soil/citizens with foreigners with powers from Bush II to do so; doesn't the spooks central Utah database contain the full communication set between that Trump server in Pennsylvania and Alfa Bank.

Now, expand that thought experiment - Flynn and Turkish money - a purported coup that makes Erdogan stronger, questions about the CIA sequestering and supporting Gulen and fundamentalist Islam madrassas; are they overlapping the Prince meeting; a part of it; or pushing an alternate agenda where neither side wants to expose too much of the other's agenda since it might also expose their dirty laundry in an ancillary way; or as payback?

Watch that Young Turks video.

Related musing; is the big shoe to drop soon, or a bit later but closer to the Russians voting later this year?

Or not at all?

What does Nunes know and when did he know it? What does Pence know and when did he know it? That Indiana thing. Nunes is an outsider to the DeVos/Prince and Pence in Indiana story; folks thinking alike and learning to trust one another.

Proximity in politics. SO WHO WAS THE RUSSIAN PRINCE MET, AND BESIDES A NAME, HIS PEDIGREE?

______________FURTHER UPDATE_____________
While not mainstream sources, there is online traffic tying or suggesting a tie between Alfa Bank and Cambridge Analytica, with Bannon mentioned; and allegations of a European nation having a recording whereby, after obtaining an October FISA warrant concerning money laundering, the FBI had a chance to listen. Two sources, four posts: here, here, here, and here. There is a lack of any fleshing out Pence or Prince tie-ins to what those items state. Assignment changes have recently involved two mentioned persons; Bannon and Epshteyn [one dropped from security panel duties with the other leaving White House service]. Cambridge Analytica and Alfa Bank have been tied together in reporting.

It would be pleasant to some to see the Mercer pair swept up in any inquiry of wrong-doing; while NYT presents an extended list of "unusual suspects." [LOUISE MENSCH -- MARCH 17, 2017]

Corroboration awaits hearings; and possibly declassifications; and possibly the FBI seeking an indictment from the Sessions Justice Department, which could end up being of spectator interest - is the little guy a contortionist or not? And will he contort or play it differently, after seeing Nunes and having to admit he'd had conversations.

A Sessions Justice Department, with the man recusing himself, making a true good faith effort to prosecute, and the Mercers being party to the thing, would have spectator interest.

Sessions down the line having to say "HOT POTATO" as did Nunes would be particularly good for Bannon skeptics, if the snare goes that way. It is early. Look how long things went from the Watergate break-in to the Ford pardon. A possible Pence pardon looms, which is cause to inquire intensely into any Pence wrong-doing or misleading of the press about what did Pence know, and when did he know it.

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICS? It sounds like a Silicon Valley start-up. ALFA BANK sounds like an acronym. Has Kellyann Conroy a place in any intense story telling; or is she apart from Russia and/or Turkey.

They should give Flynn immunity, but only if much of the story he'd tell could be corroborated. Immunity grants and then flipping the deal has happened from time to time, even outside of the Godfather films which included a theme of hearings having pressures.

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