Sunday, July 16, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT. There's a suspicious body trail -- and it's on Trump's watch By The Wayne Madsen Report




SPECIAL REPORT. There's a suspicious body trail -- and it's on Trump's watch By The Wayne Madsen Report
Conspiracy-minded supporters of Donald Trump, egged on by right-wing fanatics like Alex Jones, Sean Hannity, and others, have been trying to assign blame for the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich on nefarious forces loyal to Hillary Clinton. However, a clear pattern is emerging of suspicious deaths of those involved, in one way or another, with the 2016 presidential campaign.

WMR has discovered a link between the Russian Moscow-based lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya and Trump's and his son-in-law Jared Kushner's first favored choice to replace fired FBI director James Comey to lead the bureau: former Senator Joe Lieberman. Now that it is known that it was Kushner who was pressing Trump to fire Comey, the choice of Lieberman to take his place is all the more germane. Veselnitskaya represented the interests of a Russian holding company, Prevezon Ltd. of Cyprus, which had a number of U.S. subsidiaries, including Prevezon Soho USA LLC, Prevezon Pine USA LLC (fronting for a luxury condo complex at 
20 Pine Street in Manhattan), and Prevezon Alexander USA (an 88-unit complex at 250 East 49th Street at Turtle Bay, near the United Nations). Prevezon's international law firm is Debevoise & Plimpton, whose partners include former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith. It certainly helps the "Kosher Nostra" that surrounds Trump's White House to have a former British Attorney General on their team, since many of their offshore businesses are based in the British Virgin Islands.

Denis Katsyv is also a close business partner of Uzbek-Israeli diamond oligarch Lev Leviev, whose business empire happens to include ownership of The Times Square Building in Manhattan, the former headquarters of The New York Times. In 2015, Kushner Companies bought a 51 percent stake in the Times Square building from Leviev's 
Africa Israel (AFI) Investments Ltd. Leviev, the president of the World Congress of Bukharian Jews, is a major financial backer of the Chabad Lubavitch movement, with which Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump are also close. Leviev is a partner of the Hong Kong-based 88 Queensway Group, which is linked to Chinese para-statal corporations, one of which, Sonangol China, has a branch in Pyongyang, North Korea. Trump is threatening to impose further sanctions on Chinese companies doing business in North Korea. Does that include the Hong Kong-based joint ventures of his Israeli friend Lev Leviev?


Israeli-Uzbek oligarch Lev Leviev with Donald Trump. Leviev's business empire is not only connected to Kosher Nostra activities, including Jared Kushner's operations, but also business with Chinese intelligence-connected firms and North Korea through the mysterious 88 Queensway Group of Hong Kong.
One of Mukasey's closest friends is Lieberman, the man Trump and Kushner wanted to have preside over the investigation of Russian -- that is Russian-Eurasian-Jewish mob -- influence in the 2016 presidential election. It also just happens that Lieberman is a partner in the law firm 
Kasowitz Benson Torres Friedman, headed up by Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.  Prevezon is primarily owned by Russian-Israeli businessman Denis Katsyv, whose father Pyotr Katsyv is the former vice governor of the Moscow region. Denis Katsyv's wife Maria is also an Israeli citizen.

In May of this year, 
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, in a surprise move, settled a federal money laundering case involving Manhattan condominiums that was brought against Katsyv and Prevezon by Kim's predecessor, Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump after Trump signaled that he would retain him as U.S. Attorney for Manhattan. Named in the federal case against Prevezon and Katsyv, was Prevezon shareholder and Katsyv business partner Alexander Litvak, an Israeli national. The case saw Prevezon and Katsyv forfeit $6 million to the U.S. government, under half of what the government originally sought. Had the case gone to trial, information pointing to Prevezon's links to Trump's and Kushner's real estate operations in Manhattan may have been divulged. Some observers believe that Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, someone who has his own links to the Kosher Nostra in Baltimore, where he served as U.S. Attorney, and beyond, influenced the decision to go easy on Prevezon and Katsyv, especially with Bharara out of the way.


Russian Jewish businessman Denis Katsyv who received a sweetheart settlement from Trump's Justice Department after Trump fired U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara

The June 9, 2016 meeting at the Trump Tower between Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump, Jr., Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, in which Veselnitskaya offered damaging information on Hillary Clinton, was also attended by a naturalized U.S. citizen who once worked for Soviet counter-intelligence, Rinat Akhmetshin. Looming over this meeting was the Russian-Jewish mafia -- called the "Eurasian" mafia by the FBI because of political correctness sensitivities. The meeting had been arranged between the Trump officials and Veselnitskaya by Rob Goldstone, a British music promoter and son of a London rabbi. Goldstone represents Russian singer Emin Agalarov, whose billionaire father Aras Agalarov has been dubbed the "Russian Trump." Aras Agalarov was a partner of Donald Trump for a planned Trump Tower and Hotel in Moscow.

Many U.S. media outlets use the term "Russian Financial Mafia" to hide the Russian mob's predominantly Jewish and Israeli connections. Among those at the meeting with ties to the mafia were Veselnitskaya, the lawyer for mobbed-up Russian Jewish businessman Katsyv, and Kushner, whose New York real estate operations closely rubs shoulders with the Kosher Nostra mob in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Jersey City. Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, served a federal prison sentence for illegal campaign contributions, criminal conspiracy, and witness tampering.


Fired U.S. Attorney for Manhattan Preet Bharara laying out the government's case against Prevezon and Denis Katsys. The Kosher Nostra enterprise is represented by Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner Russian lawyer interlocutor Natalya Veselnitskaya and the law firm of former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
The Katsyv-Leviev connection to Trump is noteworthy. Prevezon's bank of choice for its dodgy financial transfers was 
Bank Krainy Sever, a Russian bank that later declared bankruptcy. While it was in operation, Krainy Sever's Prevezon-linked accounts were handled by Russia's Alfa Bank. The FBI, under director Comey, was investigating several pings between Alfa Bank and a computer server of the Trump Organization during the presidential campaign.

Now to Trump's dead body count. In the early Sunday morning hours of July 10, 2016, DNC Staffer
 Seth Rich was gunned down in the Bloomingdale section of Washington, DC, without any clear evidence of a robbery intent. Trump campaign officials had been briefed a month earlier at the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower that Russian intermediaries could provide damaging information on Clinton and her campaign. Rich, far from being the source of the DNC emails sent between January 2015 through May 2016 -- revealed by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2017 -- may have been a witness to hacking activities of the DNC servers. His death should now be considered along with other recent suspicious deaths of those with a knowledge of the inner workings of Trump's campaign and its connection to unsavory criminal elements.


Just a small window on the mob ties of Donald Trump and his business associates. The entire Trump Syndicate Road Map, which has taken a good deal of time and money to prepare, is available at a nominal cost to members here.

On May 14, 2017, Peter Smith, a longtime GOP political operative who worked for a firm called 
DigaComm LLC from 1997 to 2014, reportedly died with no cause of death appearing in his obituary. Smith also ran a business called Corporate Venture Alliances out of the Hancock Building in Chicago. The obit notice merely stated: "Peter W. Smith, 81, of Lake Forest, Ill, passed away on May 14, 2017." In fact, just ten days after Smith spoke to The Wall Street Journal about attempting to work during the campaign with fired Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn to obtain 30,000 deleted Hillary Clinton emails, Smith was found at 1:17 pm lying with a plastic bag over his head next to a helium-filled tank at theAspen Suites in Rochester, Minnesota. Rochester is the home of the famed Mayo Clinic, where Smith is said to have gone for treatment for a heart condition. Instead, Smith is said to have asphyxiated himself  "due to displacement of oxygen in confined space with helium."

Smith left a suspicious "suicide" note that proclaimed "
NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER" as far as his death was concerned. The note said he was taking his own life because of a "RECENT BAD TURN IN HEALTH SINCE JANUARY, 2017" his suicide was related "TO LIFE INSURANCE OF $5 MILLION EXPIRING." However, life insurance policies normally do not cover suicides. And why would someone reportedly receiving top-quality medical care at the costly Mayo Clinic, suddenly decide to kill himself? The Mayo clinic will not confirm whether Smith was their patient, due to "privacy concerns."

Smith told the Journal that he and his "team" discovered five hacker groups, among them two in Russia, who claimed to have Clinton's deleted emails in their possession. Were these groups actually tied to the Russian government, something that President Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian government officials have denied, or were they groups associated with Trump's friends and colleagues in the worldwide Kosher Nostra?
The same day Smith died, May 14, longtime Albany, New York journalist Scott Christianson, 66, died from "massive head trauma" after falling down the stairs of his home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The reason for the fall was given as the stair's banister giving way. Of particular note is that Christianson had recently joined the investigation unit McClatchy news service and he had just completed a major story probing the links between Donald Trump, his presidential campaign, and hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. Christianson's investigation of Trump's campaign was ongoing when he died. He was a seasoned investigative journalist who formerly worked for the Bethlehem Star (PA), Knickerbocker News, and the Albany Times Union.
These deaths can now be viewed in light of a blast of email threats made by Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz, whose law firm also employs Joe Lieberman, Trump's first choice to head the FBI, as noted previously. After receiving an email from a person unknown to him that urged him to "Resign Now," Kasowitz replied with a series of threatening emails. The emails stated: "I’m on you now. You are fucking with me now. Let’s see who you are. Watch your back, bitch . . . Call me. Don’t be afraid, you piece of shit. Stand up. If you don’t call, you’re just afraid." Kasowitz's last email referred to being Jewish: "I'm Jewish. I presume you are too. Stop being afraid. Call me. Or give me your number and I will call you. I already know where you live, I'm on you. You might as well call me. You will see me. I promise.  Bro." Kasowitz appears to have implied that Jews should not be criticizing other Jews like Kasowitz. The entire email exchange resembles a scene out of "The Sopranos," with Tony Soprano's Italian mobsters being replaced by Jewish gangsters. The threats also document the lengths to which Trump's team will go to silence critics, damaging witnesses, or leakers.

There is one unusual postscript to this story. On July 12, just a few days ago, WMR reported on the cold case beating death of 
Stars & Stripes assistant managing editor David Butler on July 15, 2000. WMR followed up on the case in a report in 2009. Although in 2000, this editor's beat was the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon for a French publication, I did inquire about the details of Butler's death, especially since he was practically a neighbor of mine in Arlington, Virginia and worked, as did I, out of the National Press Building in downtown DC. The recent July 12 story on Butler arose from questions posed in a series of emails sent by someone who said he was a good friend of Butler while he lived in Texas. After a series of emails with Butler's purported "friend," he admitted that he really did not know Butler that well at all and inquired as to whether Butler ever worked, like Seth Rich, as a volunteer for the Democratic National Committee. From what I have gathered, Butler was a professional journalist who did not involve himself in partisan politics. However, bringing up the case of Butler, who was murdered 17 years ago, in relation to Seth Rich and the DNC was odd, to say the least.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Grand theft of ancient Middle Eastern artifacts proven to involve Israel - By The Wayne Madsen Report



Grand theft of ancient Middle Eastern artifacts proven to involve Israel - By The Wayne Madsen Report
The right-wing Christian-owned store chain Hobby Lobby has settled a federal case that saw the Oklahoma City-based crafts retailer fined $3 million for illegally importing stolen artifacts from Iraq for "the Museum of the Bible" the store's owner, Steve Green, is building near the National Mall in Washington, DC. Oddly, the title of the civil asset forfeiture case, brought in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of New York, does not mention the 600-store Hobby Lobby chain or Green as the major culprits.Had the case been criminal, as it should have been since Hobby Lobby violated a 1990 law on trafficking of Iraq, the case would have been United States of America v. Hobby Lobby, Inc.

In 2016, Hobby Lobby donated to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina, and the Senate campaigns of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. In 2012, presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain received Hobby Lobby campaign cash. Another major recipient has been Oklahoma Senator Jim Lankford.

Democrats in Congress suspect that the Justice Department, under pressure from Green's fellow right-wing Christian fundamentalist, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, gave Green a pass in allowing him to avoid criminal charges in return for accepting a fine and civilly forfeiting the stolen artifacts. Somehow, Green and Hobby Lobby managed to evade criminal prosecutions. The formal civil forfeiture case title is "United States of America, plaintiff, against Approximately Four Hundred Fifty (450) Ancient Cuneiform Tablets and Approximately Three Thousand (3,000) Ancient Clay Bullae." None of the Israeli or UAE agents are identified in the federal court filing. They are given the designations as “Israeli Dealer #1,” “Israeli Dealer #2,” "Israeli Dealer #3," and “UAE Dealer."


How many of the artifacts displayed in Hobby Lobby's $800 million Bible (or "Buy Bull") Museum, three blocks south of the U.S. Capitol, were stolen from Iraq in the neo-con occupation of that country? The museum is scheduled to open in November.

Green first inspected the artifacts in 2010 when he visited the United Arab Emirates. The artifacts were in the custody of two Israeli dealers who claimed they were the property of a third Israeli dealer. Another dealer from the UAE was present at Green's meeting with the Israelis. Hobby Lobby agreed to wire $1.6 million to seven bank accounts identified with five different individuals in return for the artifacts. Green used three different corporate entities to receive the shipments: Hobby Lobby, Mardel, Inc. and Crafts, Etc! One shipment of antiquities was falsely undervalued, with the invoice stating the contents were "57 'hand made [sic] miniature clay tiles (sample)' valued at $5.00 each for a total value of $285.00."

In any other similar case, Hobby Lobby would have been charged with criminal "construction of payments" to avoid detection of paying for stolen goods, that is, "money laundering." In January 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized five shipments containing Green's stolen artifacts at the FedEx facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Additional shipments, via express mail from Israel and the UAE, were seized by U.S. Customs at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Some of the shipments' points of origin were falsely identified as Turkey and Israel. Justice Department investigators discovered that Green's Israeli agents used fake invoices, shipping labels, and other documentation to mask the actual origin and nature of the stolen artifacts and antiquities.

An antiquities expert hired by Hobby Lobby before the purchase of the stolen goods was arranged warned the corporation that the items they planned to purchase may have been stolen. The following statement from the expert is excerpted from the federal case filing:

"I would regard the acquisition of any artifact likely from Iraq (which could be described as Mesopotamian, Assyrian, Akkadian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Parthian, Sassanian and
possibly other historic or cultural terms) as carrying considerable risk. An estimated 200-500,000 objects have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq since the early 1990s; particularly popular on the market and likely to have been looted are cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets . . . . Any object brought into the US and with Iraq declared as country of origin has a high chance of being detained by US Customs. If such an object has been brought into the US in the past few years and was not stopped by US Customs, then you need to examine the import documents to see if the country of origin was properly
declared; an improper declaration of country of origin can also lead to seizure and forfeiture of the object."

Disregarding the expert's warning, Hobby Lobby negotiated the final sale and shipment of the items.

Cuneiform tablets that were falsely labeled as product samples and shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores. (US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York) 
One of the priceless cuneiform tablets [left] from Iraq discovered in Hobby Lobby's stolen cache of artifacts destined for its Bible Museum in Washington. Cuneifrom tablets like the one above were falsely identified as "ceramic tiles" from Israel or Turkey. A clay bullae, or seal, also found in Hobby Lobby's stolen cache [right].

The Green family, which prides itself on Christian evangelism and conservative values, including opposition to gay marriage and abortion, conveniently ignored the sixth of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal."

This editor first reported on the surgical theft of artifacts from Iraq on April 14, 2003: "U.S. troops stood by while Iraqi mobs looted and destroyed artifacts at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. They also reportedly joined looters who pillaged other lucrative targets like office buildings, stores, and private homes. The Bush regime ignored calls from Koichiro Matsura, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who appealed to the United States to provide protection for Iraqi museums . . . One could feel the pain experienced by the museum's deputy director when she tearfully told Western journalists that 170,000 priceless artifacts dating back thousands of years to the very cradle of human civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley, the fabled home of the biblical Garden of Eden, were looted or destroyed. She said one tank and one or two American soldiers would have been sufficient to protect the museum from the vandals. But instead, American troops stood idly by while 7000 years of Iraqi history was cleansed. Even irreplaceable archaeological files and computer disks were destroyed. Museum employees blamed U.S. troops for the carnage."

On August 17, 2007, WMR reported: ". . . the looting of Iraqi treasures has been surgical and accomplished by outsiders who know in advance what they wish to obtain. Arab interlocutors based in Beirut, Geneva, London, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai are laundering money made from the looting of Iraqi artifacts. Much of the money is being used to fund various right-wing and neocon causes in the United States, Europe, and other regions." That report was followed a few days later, on August 21, by the following: "[Israeli] Chief Superintendent Asher Ben-Artzi, the chief of Israel's INTERPOL branch . . . is under investigation for receiving stolen 'relics.'" Our report added, "Israel has been one of the destinations for a number of stolen artifacts and relics from Iraq, especially relics that have historical significance dating from the 'Babylonian Captivity' of the Biblical-era Jewish people."

On February 27, 2015, WMR reported: "Although ISIL [Islamic State] videos show jihadists destroying an Assyrian winged lion and a relief of a face, priceless archaeological finds from the Assyrian palace of King Sennacherib are believed to have been sold to black marketers, just as other artifacts looted from museums and ruins in Egypt, Babylon, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen have been sold to unscrupulous dealers of stolen antiquities, many of whom are based in Israel." Four years earlier, on February 14, 2011, WMR reported: "Artifacts from the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, including those from the Umayyad, Abbasid, Tulunid, Fatimid, Ayubid, Mameluk and Ottoman eras . . . ended up in the hands of black marketers, with many ending up in private hands in Israel or among Jewish fences in Europe."

U.S. Customs managed to identify one Israeli conduit for Hobby Lobby's artifact collection at its Bible Museum in Washington. Congress should demand that all the museum's additional holdings of 40,000 be audited by independent experts because there is a distinct probability that the thieving "Christian" fundies at Hobby Lobby managed to purloin other stolen artifacts from ancient sites in carnage-ravaged Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Libya, and Iraq with the help of their Israeli friends.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Possibility of war between Asian superpowers looms as Jared Kushner puts Rex Tillerson in his place By Wayne Madsen Report

 Possibility of war between Asian superpowers looms as Jared Kushner puts Rex Tillerson in his place By Wayne Madsen Report
U.S. strongman Donald Trump in a nepotistic fashion has granted his son-in-law Jared Kushner special diplomatic envoy portfolios to deal with the Middle East, China, Canada, and Mexico. Kushner, who is 36 and has no international experience, except for acting as a virtual embedded agent for Israel and Binyamin Netanyahu in the United States, recently warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to understand his place after the normally soft-spoken Tillerson blew up at a White House meeting with chief of staff Reince Priebus, Kushner, and their aides. Tillerson complained that the White House was vetoing his selections to fill important State Department posts, including ambassadorships and secondary and tertiary positions in the department. Kushner has applied a political litmus test to State Department appointments, rejecting anyone who has ever criticized Trump or those who have contributed to Democratic candidates.

The arrogance and brashness of Kushner is about to explode in his face as the world's most populous nation, China, and the world's most populous democracy, India, face off in the Himalayas over a border dispute that threatens to become a wider regional conflict. If war breaks out between India and China, both nuclear powers, Kushner should be pushed aside by the adults in the Trump administration.

Borders in the Himalayan region have names like "lines of control," "lines of actual control," "un-demarcated boundaries," and "historical sovereign territory." The reason is because many of the borders have been contested since British colonial times. In the rugged and sparsely-populated mountainous range extending from Kashmir in the west to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the east, it has been nearly impossible to establish recognizable borders and the countries of the region -- India, China, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Nepal -- have been contesting borders since the British withdrew from the subcontinent after World War II. Mapping has been all but impossible and even Google Maps cannot pinpoint some contested areas in the Himalayas.

In 1962, a border war broke out between China and India, a conflict that threatened to blossom into a wider war pitting the United States against China and a Soviet Union that supported India. It was one of the few occasions where the United States and USSR found themselves on the same side. But that was at a time when level-headed decisions by President John F. Kennedy, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai prevailed. Today, with the likes of Trump, Kushner, and Steve Bannon at the helm of the American ship of state, small border conflicts could explode into wider regional warfare.

It is not known whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up the border dispute with China during his recent White House visit, but the United States foreign policy apparatus is asleep at the wheel as Chinese and Indian troops face off on the border of Indian-occupied Sikkim and Chinese-controlled Tibet. Ominously, China reminded India that it had defeated the Indian army in the 1962 border war. China was also suspicious about Modi's trip to Israel, the first by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state. China is keenly aware of the influence Israel maintains through the Kushner cell within the White House. China suspects that India may be using Kushner and Israel to its advantage in the border confrontation.

The latest border skirmish between the two Asian powers began when Indian troops blocked the construction by Chinese workers of a road in the tri-border Doka La region of Sikkim, where the borders of India, China, and Bhutan meet. The blocking of the road by the Indian Army resulted in a statement by Beijing that the area, which is claimed by India and Bhutan, was "indisputable sovereign" Chinese territory. China demanded that India withdraw its troops from the Doka La area. Bhutan charged that Beijing violated past agreements between the two countries by building a road that headed toward the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri.

The Royal Bhutanese Army has been involved in a project demarcating the border between Bhutan and China. It was a Bhutanese Army patrol that first discovered the Chinese construction crew, whereupon the Bhutanese told the Chinese they were violating Bhutanese territory and instructed them to withdraw. When the Chinese refused, the Bhutanese government lodged a formal diplomatic protest with the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, citing Beijing for violating the 1998 "
Agreement for the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility in the Bhutan-China Border Area" to maintain the status quo regarding their common border. Bhutan and China do not maintain diplomatic relations. China rejected Bhutan's complaint.


Trump's foreign policy envoy to just about everywhere, the insolent and snotty Jared Kushner, is ill-prepared to deal with emerging trouble spots like Doka La. Recently, MSNBC host Chris Matthews likened Kushner to Benito Mussolini's foreign minister and son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano. Mussolini later had Ciano executed for treason. Matthews said he was not suggesting the same fate for Kushner. Why the hell not?

China is believed to be illegally occupying 154 square miles of Bhutanese territory in west Bhutan. In return for ceding its claim to western Bhutan, China has offered to exchange with the tiny kingdom, where the economy is based on "gross national happiness," 347 square miles of territory in northern Bhutan. However, the northern Bhutan territory is already Bhutanese, so the Chinese are trying to exchange illegally occupied territory for illegally claimed territory.


Military skirmishes along the Sikkim-Tibet border threaten cross-border commerce, as well as a wider war

Indian military personnel later joined Bhutanese army units at the Chinese highway oconstruction site and reiterated Bhutan's request to withdraw from the region. 
After the border incidents, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited Indian garrisons along the Sikkim-Tibet border and warned that India could fight a two-front war against China and Pakistan, while ensuring the stability of restive Indian states in the region. India created the 17 Mountain Strike Corps composed of two mountain divisions in Sikkim to specifically strike at Chinese military units in Tibet in the event of an all-out war. Aiding the Mountain Corps are two battalions of Sikkim Scouts, comprised of native Sikkimese troops, who would launch sabotage missions against Chinese targets in Sikkim and Tibet. Similar units, the Ladakh Scouts and Arunachal Scouts, also made up of local troops, would conduct similar missions against Chinese forces in Tibet.

China, in retaliation for the Indian Army's moves against its road construction crew, blocked access for pilgrims seeking to cross the strategic and heavily-militarized Nathu La pass between Sikkim into Tibet and visit Mount 
Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, which are sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, and even a few Christians who believe a young Jesus once walked in the shadow of Mount Kailash. The blocking of the religious pilgrims on the annual "yatra" excursion sent a message not only to New Delhi, but also to the exiled Tibetan Dalai Lama's government in Dharamsala, India, and the governments of Sikkim and Bhutan that China would exercise its power in the region. India responded to China's road project by stating it represents a "significant change of status quo with security implications for India." In 2006, Nathu La pass has gained even more importance. That year saw the pass being opened to not only commercial traffic but also tourists.

It is believed that the military standoff in Doka La resulted from the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Arunchal Pradesh, which China claims as South Tibet. The Chinese were also unhappy with the Dalai Lama's planned visit to Leh, the capital of Ladakh in Kashmir, where sovereignty over some of the territory is disputed by India, Pakistan, and China. Ladakh has also been the scene of military border incidents between Chinese and Indian troops.

China has indicated that the road construction in Doka La has nothing to do with the Dalai Lama and that it is part of China's "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure project of establishing modern highway and rail links throughout Asia and beyond.

There were special interests in both Tibet and India that never approved of the 2003 Sino-Indian agreement that saw India recognize Tibet as the "Tibet Autonomous Region" of China in return for Beijing recognizing Sikkim as a state of India. Before the 2003 agreement, Chinese maps showed Sikkim as an independent state. The state had been an independent kingdom until 1975, when Indian troops invaded the country and deposed its monarch and his government. In November 2008, Chinese troops demolished Indian bunkers built in the disputed Doka La region. Preceding the standoff over the Chinese road crew incident this month was the bulldozing of at least one fortified Indian bunker in the Doka La region by Chinese forces in early June.

Note: This editor was one of the few Western journalists who managed to gain entry to Sikkim in 2008. Posing as a "cook book" author, I was able to see the massive Indian military presence in the country and also establish personal contact with members of the deposed Sikkimese royal family.

WMR has reported on the situation in Sikkim from its capital of Gangtok. On October 27, 2008, WMR reported the following:

"
Ever since the Indian invasion and annexation of Sikkim in 1975, the now-Indian state of Sikkim has restricted access to pre-screened tourists who must obtain an inland border permit from the Sikkim government and the approval of the Indian Home Office in New Delhi. Journalists, especially Western journalists, are not welcome in modern Sikkim, a state that is the most heavily subsidized of any Indian state and guarded by tens of thousands of Indian troops prepared to repel a Chinese invasion from Tibet through the Nathu La Pass, one of the world's most heavily-fortified borders. Westerners are not permitted to visit the Sikkim side of the Nathu La Pass.
This editor's Sikkim entry document states unequivocally that Sikkim is a "Foreigners Restricted Area" and that access to Sikkim is only permitted via Rangpo on the Sikkim-West Bengal border and that only certain places are authorized to visit for "purposes of tourism" including Gangtok, the capital; Rumtek, the Buddhist monastery where the 17th Karmapa normally resides (the Karmapa is the third highest Tibetan Buddhist leader after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama); Gyalshing in west Sikkim; Namchi in south Sikkim; and Mangan in north Sikkim. Foreigners are strictly prohibited from areas close to the Chinese border. The maximum period of stay for a tourist is 15 days.
Rather than being a Shangri La, Sikkim is now more like a "Singapore of the Himalayas," a highly-regimented state that is governed by an autocratic Chief Minister of Nepali descent, Pawan Chamling, whose party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), maintains an iron-clad control of 31 of 32 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The blue, yellow, and red SDF flag is seen everywhere -- draped across roads and flying from shops and homes.
In April of this year, Chamling tossed out a CNN-IBN reporter from Sikkim and threatened the broadcaster with a law suit after a CNN-IBN report that accused Chamling of corruption. Chamling demanded an apology from CNN and its Indian partner, IBN, or threatened a defamation suit.
However, WMR succeeded in peering into Sikkim where the multi-billion dollar CNN network failed. I successfully traveled without incident to Sikkim not brandishing journalist credentials but traveling as a simple tourist.
As in Singapore, Sikkimese are cautioned by ubiquitous signs that tell them not to pluck flowers from public gardens, to avoid over-confidence in driving, and alternately to honk or not to honk their horns on narrow mountain roads that resemble a roller coaster ride.
Sikkim's people, who still view themselves as living in a distinct entity from India, are kept satisfied through massive subsidies from New Delhi. That means that prices and services in Sikkim are much better than those found in neighboring West Bengal, one of India's poorest states. Sikkim's higher standard of living has also prompted an autonomy movement in the Gorkhaland area of north Bengal, where the Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalis, as are 75 percent of Sikkim's population, see their standard of living suppressed by what they view as a corrupt Communist-led government in Kolkata, West Bengal's capital.
There is much sympathy for Gorkhaland in Sikkim. Sikkimese and Gorkhas, especially those in the Gorkhaland capital of Darjeeling, which was once part of the old Kingdom of Sikkim, are linked through family and business ties.
One thing that is not tolerated in Sikkim is any public support for the old Kingdom which was abolished after India's annexation of the country in 1975. That act by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was carried out with the approval of then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who also cut off aid to Tibetan guerrillas who were operating from Nepal with the support of a Tibetan Buddhist network in Sikkim.
There still appears to be a U.S. intelligence interest in Sikkim. On September 5, 2008, WMR reported: "On July 15, the government of Sikkim announced it would sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Star Universal Resource Company of New York to build a highway and tunnel expressway from Sevoke through Gangtok to the Chinese border at Nathu La Pass. Although the firm claims to a 'leading international engineering, financing, construction and service company,' not much is actually known about the company, other than that it claims to operate in seventeen countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea, all locations of U.S. military bases. In fact, a search of the Nexis database turns up Star Universal Resource Company's only project being the Sikkim highway/tunnel project. The American firm's involvement in the project has led a number of Sikkimese to wonder if the firm is not a front for something else. From Nathu La, a highway links Sikkim to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital."
When I spoke to some Sikkimese about the highway project and "Star Universal," no one seemed quite sure about the company or the highway project. However, the letters "CIA" were uttered by some well-positioned Sikkimese in relation to the project. Any such links would make Chamling more than a minor player in international politics in comparison to any other Indian state chief minister.
From Rumtek Monastery can be seen the snow-capped Nathu La Pass on the Sikkim border with Chinese-ruled Tibet. Gangtok, the Sikkim capital, lies below the pass.
The old Royal Palace of Sikkim, where Hope Cooke was married to Chogyal (King) Palden Thondup Namgyal in 1963, is now a mere shell of its past grandeur. The palace itself is closed to the public. However, I arranged to have a tour of the palace grounds. Gone is the old Sikkim flag from the pole in front of the palace. It has been replaced with Buddhist prayer flags. In fact, the only place a Sikkim flag can be found in Sikkim today is in the home of one of the sons of Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, still referred to as "Prince" by official Indian documents. The public display of the flag could earn a Sikkimese a day in court and a fine or prison sentence.
The former Royal Palace of Sikkim. The Sikkim government has allowed the palace and grounds to go to seed. Some loyal former royal groundskeepers do their best to keep the palace and garden in shape but it is a tough task with no actual funding.
WMR did learn from a well-informed source that a Sikkim flag still exists in storage at the United Nations headquarters in New York since it was anticipated that the country would one day achieve full independence and UN membership.
Cooke, who lived in New York for a number of years, now lives in London.
While monarchies in many nations are irrelevant anachronisms, the relatively benevolent Sikkim monarchy was the only thing that kept the small nation from being absorbed by India for many years. Today, in Sikkim, not only do older Sikkimese cherish their old monarchy but younger people, who never knew what is was like to live under the Chogyal, also express a fondness for the old Kingdom. This nostalgia even extends to the ethnic Nepalis. It was the Nepali majority that agitated for political reforms and whose demonstrations in the early 1970s gave India the pretext it needed to invade and occupy the country. However, the few remaining references to the Namgyal monarchy may also end with proposals afoot to strip the Namgyal name from a hospital and a school. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok is the only museum where one can view photos and the history of the old royal family.
The Namgyals are related by marriage to the royal families of Bhutan and the recently-disestablished Kingdom of Mustang in Nepal. Mustang was another nexus of CIA intrigue during the Cold War, a place where the CIA deployed Khampa guerrillas from Tibet who were trained in Colorado and Wyoming and fought the Chinese army in Tibet. Some Khampa veterans still wear the non-traditional cowboy hats they learned to wear while being trained at the CIA's camps in Colorado and Wyoming.
The Namyal Institute of Tibetology is one of the few places in Sikkim where the name of the old royal family can still be found.
Although Sikkim is a destination for only the heartiest of travelers, a new posh resort still under construction and a helicopter connection from Bagdogra in West Bengal may see more Western tourists opting for a Sikkim holiday. That, in addition to possible U.S. intelligence interest in a fast highway via Sikkim to Lhasa, Tibet, may, once again, place Sikkim back into the geopolitical lexicon.

 
One of the few royal portraits in Sikkim today. The center top portrait is Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, the father of the last Chogyal of Sikkim. Tashi died in 1963. According to an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) source, Tashi Namgyal provided the OSS with valuable support in the U.S. efforts against Japan in South Asia during World War II. His son was thanked when the "mother of all neocons" Henry Kissinger gave Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi a wink and a nod to invade and annex Sikkim.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Possibility of war between Asian superpowers looms as Jared Kushner puts Rex Tillerson in his place By The Wayne Madsen Report



 Possibility of war between Asian superpowers looms as Jared Kushner puts Rex Tillerson in his place By The Wayne Madsen Report
U.S. strongman Donald Trump in a nepotistic fashion has granted his son-in-law Jared Kushner special diplomatic envoy portfolios to deal with the Middle East, China, Canada, and Mexico. Kushner, who is 36 and has no international experience, except for acting as a virtual embedded agent for Israel and Binyamin Netanyahu in the United States, recently warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to understand his place after the normally soft-spoken Tillerson blew up at a White House meeting with chief of staff Reince Priebus, Kushner, and their aides. Tillerson complained that the White House was vetoing his selections to fill important State Department posts, including ambassadorships and secondary and tertiary positions in the department. Kushner has applied a political litmus test to State Department appointments, rejecting anyone who has ever criticized Trump or those who have contributed to Democratic candidates.

The arrogance and brashness of Kushner is about to explode in his face as the world's most populous nation, China, and the world's most populous democracy, India, face off in the Himalayas over a border dispute that threatens to become a wider regional conflict. If war breaks out between India and China, both nuclear powers, Kushner should be pushed aside by the adults in the Trump administration.

Borders in the Himalayan region have names like "lines of control," "lines of actual control," "un-demarcated boundaries," and "historical sovereign territory." The reason is because many of the borders have been contested since British colonial times. In the rugged and sparsely-populated mountainous range extending from Kashmir in the west to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the east, it has been nearly impossible to establish recognizable borders and the countries of the region -- India, China, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Nepal -- have been contesting borders since the British withdrew from the subcontinent after World War II. Mapping has been all but impossible and even Google Maps cannot pinpoint some contested areas in the Himalayas.

In 1962, a border war broke out between China and India, a conflict that threatened to blossom into a wider war pitting the United States against China and a Soviet Union that supported India. It was one of the few occasions where the United States and USSR found themselves on the same side. But that was at a time when level-headed decisions by President John F. Kennedy, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai prevailed. Today, with the likes of Trump, Kushner, and Steve Bannon at the helm of the American ship of state, small border conflicts could explode into wider regional warfare.

It is not known whether Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought up the border dispute with China during his recent White House visit, but the United States foreign policy apparatus is asleep at the wheel as Chinese and Indian troops face off on the border of Indian-occupied Sikkim and Chinese-controlled Tibet. Ominously, China reminded India that it had defeated the Indian army in the 1962 border war. China was also suspicious about Modi's trip to Israel, the first by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state. China is keenly aware of the influence Israel maintains through the Kushner cell within the White House. China suspects that India may be using Kushner and Israel to its advantage in the border confrontation.

The latest border skirmish between the two Asian powers began when Indian troops blocked the construction by Chinese workers of a road in the tri-border Doka La region of Sikkim, where the borders of India, China, and Bhutan meet. The blocking of the road by the Indian Army resulted in a statement by Beijing that the area, which is claimed by India and Bhutan, was "indisputable sovereign" Chinese territory. China demanded that India withdraw its troops from the Doka La area. Bhutan charged that Beijing violated past agreements between the two countries by building a road that headed toward the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri.

The Royal Bhutanese Army has been involved in a project demarcating the border between Bhutan and China. It was a Bhutanese Army patrol that first discovered the Chinese construction crew, whereupon the Bhutanese told the Chinese they were violating Bhutanese territory and instructed them to withdraw. When the Chinese refused, the Bhutanese government lodged a formal diplomatic protest with the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, citing Beijing for violating the 1998 "
Agreement for the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility in the Bhutan-China Border Area" to maintain the status quo regarding their common border. Bhutan and China do not maintain diplomatic relations. China rejected Bhutan's complaint.


Trump's foreign policy envoy to just about everywhere, the insolent and snotty Jared Kushner, is ill-prepared to deal with emerging trouble spots like Doka La. Recently, MSNBC host Chris Matthews likened Kushner to Benito Mussolini's foreign minister and son-in-law Count Galeazzo Ciano. Mussolini later had Ciano executed for treason. Matthews said he was not suggesting the same fate for Kushner. Why the hell not?

China is believed to be illegally occupying 154 square miles of Bhutanese territory in west Bhutan. In return for ceding its claim to western Bhutan, China has offered to exchange with the tiny kingdom, where the economy is based on "gross national happiness," 347 square miles of territory in northern Bhutan. However, the northern Bhutan territory is already Bhutanese, so the Chinese are trying to exchange illegally occupied territory for illegally claimed territory.


Military skirmishes along the Sikkim-Tibet border threaten cross-border commerce, as well as a wider war

Indian military personnel later joined Bhutanese army units at the Chinese highway oconstruction site and reiterated Bhutan's request to withdraw from the region. 
After the border incidents, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited Indian garrisons along the Sikkim-Tibet border and warned that India could fight a two-front war against China and Pakistan, while ensuring the stability of restive Indian states in the region. India created the 17 Mountain Strike Corps composed of two mountain divisions in Sikkim to specifically strike at Chinese military units in Tibet in the event of an all-out war. Aiding the Mountain Corps are two battalions of Sikkim Scouts, comprised of native Sikkimese troops, who would launch sabotage missions against Chinese targets in Sikkim and Tibet. Similar units, the Ladakh Scouts and Arunachal Scouts, also made up of local troops, would conduct similar missions against Chinese forces in Tibet.

China, in retaliation for the Indian Army's moves against its road construction crew, blocked access for pilgrims seeking to cross the strategic and heavily-militarized Nathu La pass between Sikkim into Tibet and visit Mount 
Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, which are sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, and even a few Christians who believe a young Jesus once walked in the shadow of Mount Kailash. The blocking of the religious pilgrims on the annual "yatra" excursion sent a message not only to New Delhi, but also to the exiled Tibetan Dalai Lama's government in Dharamsala, India, and the governments of Sikkim and Bhutan that China would exercise its power in the region. India responded to China's road project by stating it represents a "significant change of status quo with security implications for India." In 2006, Nathu La pass has gained even more importance. That year saw the pass being opened to not only commercial traffic but also tourists.

It is believed that the military standoff in Doka La resulted from the Dalai Lama's recent visit to Arunchal Pradesh, which China claims as South Tibet. The Chinese were also unhappy with the Dalai Lama's planned visit to Leh, the capital of Ladakh in Kashmir, where sovereignty over some of the territory is disputed by India, Pakistan, and China. Ladakh has also been the scene of military border incidents between Chinese and Indian troops.

China has indicated that the road construction in Doka La has nothing to do with the Dalai Lama and that it is part of China's "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure project of establishing modern highway and rail links throughout Asia and beyond.

There were special interests in both Tibet and India that never approved of the 2003 Sino-Indian agreement that saw India recognize Tibet as the "Tibet Autonomous Region" of China in return for Beijing recognizing Sikkim as a state of India. Before the 2003 agreement, Chinese maps showed Sikkim as an independent state. The state had been an independent kingdom until 1975, when Indian troops invaded the country and deposed its monarch and his government. In November 2008, Chinese troops demolished Indian bunkers built in the disputed Doka La region. Preceding the standoff over the Chinese road crew incident this month was the bulldozing of at least one fortified Indian bunker in the Doka La region by Chinese forces in early June.

Note: This editor was one of the few Western journalists who managed to gain entry to Sikkim in 2008. Posing as a "cook book" author, I was able to see the massive Indian military presence in the country and also establish personal contact with members of the deposed Sikkimese royal family.

WMR has reported on the situation in Sikkim from its capital of Gangtok. On October 27, 2008, WMR reported the following:

"
Ever since the Indian invasion and annexation of Sikkim in 1975, the now-Indian state of Sikkim has restricted access to pre-screened tourists who must obtain an inland border permit from the Sikkim government and the approval of the Indian Home Office in New Delhi. Journalists, especially Western journalists, are not welcome in modern Sikkim, a state that is the most heavily subsidized of any Indian state and guarded by tens of thousands of Indian troops prepared to repel a Chinese invasion from Tibet through the Nathu La Pass, one of the world's most heavily-fortified borders. Westerners are not permitted to visit the Sikkim side of the Nathu La Pass.
This editor's Sikkim entry document states unequivocally that Sikkim is a "Foreigners Restricted Area" and that access to Sikkim is only permitted via Rangpo on the Sikkim-West Bengal border and that only certain places are authorized to visit for "purposes of tourism" including Gangtok, the capital; Rumtek, the Buddhist monastery where the 17th Karmapa normally resides (the Karmapa is the third highest Tibetan Buddhist leader after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama); Gyalshing in west Sikkim; Namchi in south Sikkim; and Mangan in north Sikkim. Foreigners are strictly prohibited from areas close to the Chinese border. The maximum period of stay for a tourist is 15 days.
Rather than being a Shangri La, Sikkim is now more like a "Singapore of the Himalayas," a highly-regimented state that is governed by an autocratic Chief Minister of Nepali descent, Pawan Chamling, whose party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), maintains an iron-clad control of 31 of 32 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The blue, yellow, and red SDF flag is seen everywhere -- draped across roads and flying from shops and homes.
In April of this year, Chamling tossed out a CNN-IBN reporter from Sikkim and threatened the broadcaster with a law suit after a CNN-IBN report that accused Chamling of corruption. Chamling demanded an apology from CNN and its Indian partner, IBN, or threatened a defamation suit.
However, WMR succeeded in peering into Sikkim where the multi-billion dollar CNN network failed. I successfully traveled without incident to Sikkim not brandishing journalist credentials but traveling as a simple tourist.
As in Singapore, Sikkimese are cautioned by ubiquitous signs that tell them not to pluck flowers from public gardens, to avoid over-confidence in driving, and alternately to honk or not to honk their horns on narrow mountain roads that resemble a roller coaster ride.
Sikkim's people, who still view themselves as living in a distinct entity from India, are kept satisfied through massive subsidies from New Delhi. That means that prices and services in Sikkim are much better than those found in neighboring West Bengal, one of India's poorest states. Sikkim's higher standard of living has also prompted an autonomy movement in the Gorkhaland area of north Bengal, where the Gorkhas, who are ethnic Nepalis, as are 75 percent of Sikkim's population, see their standard of living suppressed by what they view as a corrupt Communist-led government in Kolkata, West Bengal's capital.
There is much sympathy for Gorkhaland in Sikkim. Sikkimese and Gorkhas, especially those in the Gorkhaland capital of Darjeeling, which was once part of the old Kingdom of Sikkim, are linked through family and business ties.
One thing that is not tolerated in Sikkim is any public support for the old Kingdom which was abolished after India's annexation of the country in 1975. That act by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was carried out with the approval of then-U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who also cut off aid to Tibetan guerrillas who were operating from Nepal with the support of a Tibetan Buddhist network in Sikkim.
There still appears to be a U.S. intelligence interest in Sikkim. On September 5, 2008, WMR reported: "On July 15, the government of Sikkim announced it would sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Star Universal Resource Company of New York to build a highway and tunnel expressway from Sevoke through Gangtok to the Chinese border at Nathu La Pass. Although the firm claims to a 'leading international engineering, financing, construction and service company,' not much is actually known about the company, other than that it claims to operate in seventeen countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, and South Korea, all locations of U.S. military bases. In fact, a search of the Nexis database turns up Star Universal Resource Company's only project being the Sikkim highway/tunnel project. The American firm's involvement in the project has led a number of Sikkimese to wonder if the firm is not a front for something else. From Nathu La, a highway links Sikkim to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital."
When I spoke to some Sikkimese about the highway project and "Star Universal," no one seemed quite sure about the company or the highway project. However, the letters "CIA" were uttered by some well-positioned Sikkimese in relation to the project. Any such links would make Chamling more than a minor player in international politics in comparison to any other Indian state chief minister.
From Rumtek Monastery can be seen the snow-capped Nathu La Pass on the Sikkim border with Chinese-ruled Tibet. Gangtok, the Sikkim capital, lies below the pass.
The old Royal Palace of Sikkim, where Hope Cooke was married to Chogyal (King) Palden Thondup Namgyal in 1963, is now a mere shell of its past grandeur. The palace itself is closed to the public. However, I arranged to have a tour of the palace grounds. Gone is the old Sikkim flag from the pole in front of the palace. It has been replaced with Buddhist prayer flags. In fact, the only place a Sikkim flag can be found in Sikkim today is in the home of one of the sons of Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, still referred to as "Prince" by official Indian documents. The public display of the flag could earn a Sikkimese a day in court and a fine or prison sentence.
The former Royal Palace of Sikkim. The Sikkim government has allowed the palace and grounds to go to seed. Some loyal former royal groundskeepers do their best to keep the palace and garden in shape but it is a tough task with no actual funding.
WMR did learn from a well-informed source that a Sikkim flag still exists in storage at the United Nations headquarters in New York since it was anticipated that the country would one day achieve full independence and UN membership.
Cooke, who lived in New York for a number of years, now lives in London.
While monarchies in many nations are irrelevant anachronisms, the relatively benevolent Sikkim monarchy was the only thing that kept the small nation from being absorbed by India for many years. Today, in Sikkim, not only do older Sikkimese cherish their old monarchy but younger people, who never knew what is was like to live under the Chogyal, also express a fondness for the old Kingdom. This nostalgia even extends to the ethnic Nepalis. It was the Nepali majority that agitated for political reforms and whose demonstrations in the early 1970s gave India the pretext it needed to invade and occupy the country. However, the few remaining references to the Namgyal monarchy may also end with proposals afoot to strip the Namgyal name from a hospital and a school. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok is the only museum where one can view photos and the history of the old royal family.
The Namgyals are related by marriage to the royal families of Bhutan and the recently-disestablished Kingdom of Mustang in Nepal. Mustang was another nexus of CIA intrigue during the Cold War, a place where the CIA deployed Khampa guerrillas from Tibet who were trained in Colorado and Wyoming and fought the Chinese army in Tibet. Some Khampa veterans still wear the non-traditional cowboy hats they learned to wear while being trained at the CIA's camps in Colorado and Wyoming.
The Namyal Institute of Tibetology is one of the few places in Sikkim where the name of the old royal family can still be found.
Although Sikkim is a destination for only the heartiest of travelers, a new posh resort still under construction and a helicopter connection from Bagdogra in West Bengal may see more Western tourists opting for a Sikkim holiday. That, in addition to possible U.S. intelligence interest in a fast highway via Sikkim to Lhasa, Tibet, may, once again, place Sikkim back into the geopolitical lexicon.

 
One of the few royal portraits in Sikkim today. The center top portrait is Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, the father of the last Chogyal of Sikkim. Tashi died in 1963. According to an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) source, Tashi Namgyal provided the OSS with valuable support in the U.S. efforts against Japan in South Asia during World War II. His son was thanked when the "mother of all neocons" Henry Kissinger gave Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi a wink and a nod to invade and annex Sikkim.

Journalists investigating Trump financial links face threats By The Wayne Madsen Report




Journalists investigating Trump financial links face threats By The Wayne Madsen Report
It is now obvious that the political "Achilles Heel" of the Donald Trump administration is not his and his team's kibitzing with Russian government and other envoys but his financial links to various business entities, some linked to criminal syndicates, that have been under investigation by the FBI for quite some time. The Trump White House believes it has scored a major victory in CNN's retraction of a story linking Trump and Trump White House aide Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, to Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund established by the Russian government.

Three CNN journalists -- Thomas Frank, a 32-year veteran of USA TodayNewsdayDenver PostProvidence Journal, and Easton, Pennsylvania Express-Times; Eric Lichtblau, a former New York Times reporter who, along with Jim Risen, helped expose the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program; and Lex Haris, formerly a newsman with television stations in Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, Sacramento, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and Fort Myers -- resigned after the network retracted their story on links and a reported quid pro quo between Scaramucci and Dmitriev. Scaramucci does not deny that he knows the Russian investor. In fact, they met at this year's Davos conclave in Switzerland and have known one another for several years, according to an interview Scaramucci gave to Bloomberg Television in Davos in January.

The story CNN retracted concerns an anonymous source, likely within the Senate Intelligence Committee, who told the CNN investigative journalists that two Democratic committee members wanted to investigate a pre-inaugural meeting between Scaramucci and Dmitriev that touched on the Trump administration dropping sanctions against Russia imposed after the retrocession of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia.

Scaramucci reportedly threatened to sue CNN if they did not retract the story. CNN caved and retracted, a decision that was followed by the resignation of Frank, Lichtblau, and Haris. CNN appears to have fallen victim to political pressure from the Trump White House, which has done everything possible to marginalize the Fourth Estate. If there was nothing to the story, why have several meetings between senior Trump White House and Trump campaign officials and Russian interlocutors been under investigation by Justice Department special prosecutor Robert Mueller and his team of career prosecutors and FBI agents? Among those questioned at length by the FBI about ties between Trump and Russians are Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and retired General Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Adviser.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a 24-year Rothschild banker in New York, may have used his position as vice president of the Bank of Cyprus to launder foreign funds into the Trump campaign coffers, which is illegal under federal statutes. Federal Election Commission Democratic member Ellen Weintraub said Republican FEC commissioners have long opposed new rules to counter foreign money entering the U.S. electoral system. One of the former Republican commissioners who opposed new regulations against foreign funding of U.S. campaigns is Don McGahn, Trump's current White House counsel.

Where the former CNN journalists stepped on thin ice was in their investigation of the financial links of Trump's closest advisers, many of whom are veterans of Goldman Sachs and have dubious ties to what the FBI has dubbed "Eurasian" syndicates. In fact, Dmitriev is a former investment banker for Goldman Sachs in New York and was recognized as a future "global leader" by the Davos World Economic Forum. Gary Cohn, Trump's director of the National Economic Council, is a former president of Goldman Sachs. Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell was both a director of Goldman Sachs and an executive with its non-profit arm, the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he was chief information officer before entering the world of hedge funds.

The Trump administration resembles a criminal syndicate in both make-up and vindictiveness. Journalists are on the receiving end of a hostility not seen since the Watergate scandal.

Very recently, this editor was accused of heinous criminality in a private Twitter message. The sender of the message implied that when far-right conspiracy king Alex Jones discovered the criminality, he "fired" me. The sender was obviously not aware that I was never an employee of Alex Jones or Infowars, now sources of the most egregious "fake news" propaganda on behalf of the Trump administration. When I asked the Twitter message sender whether he would like to be served with a subpoena for defamation, he replied "loser!" and blocked any further responses.



Trump's close ties to the AIPAC Real Estate Division, a death blow to the Palestinians

Now, it would be one thing if the sender was some low-IQ malcontent tweeting from his mother's basement. However, the sender identified himself by name and, lo and behold, it turns out he is employed by a multi-billion dollar New York-New Jersey real estate firm that has been involved in business with both the Kushner Companies and Trump Organization. The firm, along with Kushner Companies and the Trump Organization, are top-tier members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Real Estate Division. The Real Estate Division membership includes such worthies as Jared and his father Charles Kushner, one-time Trump Organization officer Jason Greenblatt, and Larry Silverstein of 9/11 infamy. Jared Kushner and Greenblatt are now Trump's "special envoys" to the Middle East, which would be laughable if it were not so devastating to the cause of the beleaguered Palestinians.

So, the Twitter-transmitted accusation in question was not merely some "drive by" attack, but one that appears to have originated within the upper hierarchy of the New York/New Jersey "Kosher Nostra" that has infiltrated almost every nook and cranny of the Trump administration.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Sheldon Adelson, Israel behind Gulf Arab split By the Wayne Madsen Report



Sheldon Adelson, Israel behind Gulf Arab split By the Wayne Madsen Report
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Israeli interests he funds are behind a series of computer hacking incidents that have resulted in a serious split between Qatar, the home of the U.S. Central Command's massive Al-Udeid airbase, and a bloc of Qatar's erstwhile Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies that include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

WMR has learned from unimpeachable intelligence sources who monitor Adelson's worldwide activities that the casino tycoon has used the neo-conservative and Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and like-minded groups, all with close propaganda links to the Israeli government, to spread falsehoods attributed to the Emir of Qatar and the UAE government. The reason for the propaganda operation is to drive a wedge between Arab states that take a strong stand against Iran and those who maintain cordial ties to Iran.

What has led to the crucial divide between Qatar and its Arab neighbors are two hacking incidents. One was the hacking of the Qatar News Agency website and the alleged insertion of a "fake news" story reporting that Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, told a group of Qataris in a speech that "there is no wisdom in harboring hostility towards Iran." Sheikh Tamim also reportedly had kind words for both Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

Although Qatar insisted the story was fabricated, Saudi Arabia led a group of GCC partners, including Bahrain and the UAE, as well as Egypt, Maldives, Mauritania, and the Saudi-financed puppet regime in eastern Libya and the Yemeni government-in-exile in Saudi Arabia to sever diplomatic, transportation,commercial, and military ties with Qatar. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic ties with Qatar.

Adelson and his FDD and other pro-Israeli information warfare specialists wanted to punish Qatar for not only backing Iran but also hosting in exile in Qatar the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal. The placing of a fake news story in the computer system of the Qatar News Agency and the resulting break down of relations between Qatar and its Arab partners was the first phase of the operation.

The second phase was the release of emails, allegedly hacked from the Hotmail account of the UAE ambassador to the United States, 
Yousef al-Otaiba. An initial tranche of the emails were released by a previously unknown group called GlobalLeaks, which was neither connected to WikiLeaks or an Italian software company called GlobaLeaks.

Oteiba's alleged emails, which span the time period from 2014 to this year, claim that Oteiba participated in a back channel relationship between the UAE and Israel facilitated by the FDD. The emails also purport to show that Oteiba participated in an Adelson/FDD operation to tarnish both Qatar and Kuwait as sponsors of terrorism and that this effort involved not only the UAE but Saudi Arabia.

Owing to the importance of the Al Udeid airbase to US CENTCOM operations in the region, Otaiba is a frequent participant in Pentagon activities, including anti-Islamic State operational planning meetings. One of the emails attributed to Otaiba is part of an exchange between the ambassador and John Hannah, the arch-neocon national security adviser to then-Vice President Dick Cheney and a key cog in the fake intelligence, including altered and re-edited CIA analysis reports, used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Otaiba-Hannah email exchange, which is now believed by intelligence analysts to be fraudulent, claims that Hannah complained to Otaiba that Qatar was sponsoring a meeting of Hamas in Doha at a hotel owned by the UAE. The email states that Otaiba told Hannah that the Al-Udeid airbase was the real problem in the region, adding "How's this, you move the base then we'll move the  hotel :-) ." There are 8000 U.S. military personnel stationed at Al-Udeid, along with aircraft and other war equipment.
Image result for foundation for the defense of democracies
Adelson's FDD has been behind the propaganda campaign against Qatar and it has been assisted by such bailiwicks of pro-Israeli policymaking and propaganda as The Huffington Post and George Washington University.

The emails also contain an alleged agenda for an FDD-UAE meeting to be held from
June 11-14 in which the disruption of Qatar-based Al Jazeera, Qatar's links to the Muslim Brotherhood, and dissuading U.S. companies active in Saudi Arabia and the UAE from extending their business to Iran were to be discussed. The emails claim that former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive officer of FDD were to attend the June meeting. Dubowitz, a South African-born Jew who vigorously opposed the international nuclear deal with Iran and supports increased sanctions on the nation. In addition to heading up the FDD, Dubowitz also leads the FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.

Adelson, who was a multi-million dollar donor to Donald Trump's presidential campaign saw the presence of Trump, his Orthodox Jewish daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner in the White House hierarchy as a rare opportunity to squeeze Qatar over its relations with Iran and disrupt Al Jazeera. Trump did not disappoint Adelson or the Saudis. On the morning of June 6, Trump tweeted: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!” Against the wishes of his own Defense Department and National Security Adviser, Trump decided to weigh into the Gulf Arab split engineered by right-wing Jewish hacking efforts to declare his support for Saudi Arabia and its allies, placing the Al-Udedid airbase in jeopardy.

Furthering the dissemination of the FDD-Israeli hacking "product" were Israel's always-reliable media partners, including Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept, which also burned former U.S. Air Force and inside National Security Agency source Reality Winner by making it easy for NSA to determine the source of a leaked Top Secret Releasable to Five Eyes report on Russian military intelligence computer probes of U.S. election-related computers prior to last Election Day. The Intercept was sloppy with Winner's hard copy document by making an image of it available to NSA, which then drilled down using obscure and unique "printer dots" and paper folds to determine Winner was the leaker. Joining The Intercept in spreading the fake UAE-FDD emails and phony Qatar News Agency report were The Daily Beast and CNN, both hives of Israeli propaganda activity.

CNN and like-minded media outlets reported that GlobalLinks and those who hacked the Qatar News Agency were "Russians," the default bogeymen for all hacking events, as far as the corporate media is now concerned.

Adelson has become the "George Soros of the far right" through his media acquisitions and influence. He owns the Israel Hayom and Makam Rishor newspapers in Israel, both of which support the far-right government of Binyamin Netanyahu. Adelson's sponsorship of the FDD has expanded his reach into American newsrooms with the type of fake news stories that have split the Gulf Arab and other Muslim nations into two camps: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, eastern Libya state, and Maldives on one side and Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Turkey on the other. U.S. strongman Trump claimed he was going to create an "Arab NATO" prior to his recent visit to Saudi Arabia. Instead, Trump left the region in a huge pile of camel dung with himself as the chief shit tosser via his Twitter feed.

Trump's incompetence and his fealty to Adelson and his operatives, including Jared Kushner who has pushed for Adelson's picks to be appointed to senior positions within the National Security Council, State Department, and other departments, may have further repercussions in the Middle East. Two members of the UAE federation, Dubai and Sharjah, both of which have close commercial contacts with Iran, are not happy about Abu Dhabi, which holds the UAE presidency, cooperating with Saudi Arabia in isolating Qatar. In fact, Abu Dhabi and the other six UAE federation members [see above map] have never been further apart on foreign policy. Geographically and culturally, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al Qaiwain, Ras al Khaimah, and Fujairah, in addition to the Sultanate of Oman, have closer links to Iran than do either Abu Dhabi or Saudi Arabia. The only thing that is keeping the UAE together is the fact that Abu Dhabi remains the wealthiest of the seven emirates, largely thanks to Dubai's extravagant spending habits which gave it an amazing skyline of futuristic buildings but little else except for massive debt.

To tamp down independent opinions among the "northern emirates," Abu Dhabi authorities have threatened to imprison for up to 15 years anyone in the UAE expressing sympathy for Qatar, and by default, Iran.

Taking a cue from the inter-Arab squabbling in the Gulf, the Islamic State (ISIL) launched two separate terrorist attacks in Iran. One attack struck the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, killing at least one person, a security guard. The other involved a suicide bomb blast at the Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum between downtown Tehran and the international airport.

Although ISIL claimed responsibility for the Iran attacks, there have been intelligence reports that the group has worked with the U.S., Saudi, and Israeli-supported cult-like Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which has conducted several successful terrorist attacks inside Iran. Although once listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department, congressional pressure saw it de-listed in 2012 by the Obama administration. The MEK's chief supporters are also among those who avidly support Israel. They include Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Corker (R-TN), John McCain (R-AZ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Roy Blint (R-MO) and Representatives Elliot Engel (D-NY), Ed Royce (R-CA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Brad Sherman (D-CA). Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is among those who are also strong supporters of the Iranian terrorist group, along with such neocons as John Bolton; Newt Gingrich; and Fran Townsend, the latter considered for the top FBI job by Trump. Other strong supporters of the MEK include former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Adelson's international activities have been under close scrutiny by two of the world's best intelligence agencies, Britain's MI6 and China's Guojia Anquan Bu (Guoanbu). From Macao and Singapore to Qatar and Abu Dhabi, Adelson has become a thorn in the side of British, Chinese, and other interests. Trump and Kushner have chosen to side with Adelson and his private intelligence operations aimed at disrupting the Gulf states and the wider Middle Eastern and South Asian region and Trump, Kushner, and Adelson will, by infuriating major international players, pay a heavy price for their meddling in dangerous sands of the Middle East.