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          Libya not a threat to Nigeria — Rufai      Cache   Translate Page      
Libya not a threat to Nigeria  — Rufai

Ex-international, Peter Rufai says he doesn’t take Libya as a threat that could stop Super Eagles quest of picking the maximum six points in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier double-header clash.

Nigeria will face Libya on October 13 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo before squaring up again three days later, in an encounter that could determine the fate of both teams.

It will be recalled that the Super Eagles sit third on the table on three points after losing their opening encounter 2-0 to South Africa while Libya sits top on the table after defeating Seychelles 5-1 in their opening game before holding South Africa 0-0 in their second group fixture.

Continue reading Libya not a threat to Nigeria — Rufai at Vanguard News.


          Everyone Hopes Mueller Has All Of It-- Including How Russian Knew Where, What And Who To Target In 2016      Cache   Translate Page      
Russian Players by Nancy Ohanian: Trumpanzee, Michael Cohen, Sessions, Manafort, Flynn, J.D. Gordon, Carter Page, Wilbur Ross, Kushner-in-law, Fuck-Up Jr.

I wasn't in the country when I first read about the relationship between Alpha Bank computers and Trump campaign computers. I can't remember where I was-- maybe even Moscow-- but I do remember thinking that that was the end of the road for the Trump campaign. Was I ever wrong. But the Alpha Bank connection has gnawed at me ever since. It's complicated and Franklin Foer tried explaining it days before the election but the story never took hold. I've been hoping Mueller would put it in the proper context eventually. But this week Dexter Filkins gave it a shot at the New Yorker with a piece sure to be ignored, Was There A Connection Between A Russian Bank And The Trump Campaign. This could have been the targeting connection between Team Putin and Team Kushner-in-Law that stole the election from Hillary. Filkins knows no more than anyone else who's followed the story. Much of it is boring tech-talk. Like this: "Max’s group began combing the Domain Name System, a worldwide network that acts as a sort of phone book for the Internet, translating easy-to-remember domain names into I.P. addresses, the strings of numbers that computers use to identify one another. Whenever someone goes online-- to send an e-mail, to visit a Web site-- her device contacts the Domain Name System to locate the computer that it is trying to connect with. Each query, known as a D.N.S. lookup, can be logged, leaving records in a constellation of servers that extends through private companies, public institutions, and universities. Max and his group are part of a community that has unusual access to these records, which are especially useful to cybersecurity experts who work to protect clients from attacks."
Examining records for the Trump domain, Max’s group discovered D.N.S. lookups from a pair of servers owned by Alfa Bank, one of the largest banks in Russia. Alfa Bank’s computers were looking up the address of the Trump server nearly every day. There were dozens of lookups on some days and far fewer on others, but the total number was notable: between May and September, Alfa Bank looked up the Trump Organization’s domain more than two thousand times. “We were watching this happen in real time-- it was like watching an airplane fly by,” Max said. “And we thought, Why the hell is a Russian bank communicating with a server that belongs to the Trump Organization, and at such a rate?”

Only one other entity seemed to be reaching out to the Trump Organization’s domain with any frequency: Spectrum Health, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Spectrum Health is closely linked to the DeVos family; Richard DeVos, Jr., is the chairman of the board, and one of its hospitals is named after his mother. His wife, Betsy DeVos, was appointed Secretary of Education by Donald Trump. Her brother, Erik Prince, is a Trump associate who has attracted the scrutiny of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. Mueller has been looking into Prince’s meeting, following the election, with a Russian official in the Seychelles, at which he reportedly discussed setting up a back channel between Trump and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. (Prince maintains that the meeting was “incidental.”) In the summer of 2016, Max and the others weren’t aware of any of this. “We didn’t know who DeVos was,” Max said.

The D.N.S. records raised vexing questions. Why was the Trump Organization’s domain, set up to send mass-marketing e-mails, conducting such meagre activity? And why were computers at Alfa Bank and Spectrum Health trying to reach a server that didn’t seem to be doing anything? After analyzing the data, Max said, “We decided this was a covert communication channel.”

...At the meeting, in late September, 2016, a roomful of officials told Eric Lichtblau [the NY Times reporter looking into the connection] that they were looking into potential Russian interference in the election. According to a source who was briefed on the investigation, the Bureau had intelligence from informants suggesting a possible connection between the Trump Organization and Russian banks, but no data. The information from Max’s group could be a significant advance. “The F.B.I. was looking for people in the United States who were helping Russia to influence the election,” the source said. “It was very important to the Bureau. It was urgent.”

The F.B.I. officials asked Lichtblau to delay publishing his story, saying that releasing the news could jeopardize their investigation. As the story sat, Dean Baquet, the Times’ executive editor, decided that it would not suffice to report the existence of computer contacts without knowing their purpose. Lichtblau disagreed, arguing that his story contained important news: that the F.B.I. had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. “It was a really tense debate,” Baquet told me. “If I were the reporter, I would have wanted to run it, too. It felt like there was something there.” But, with the election looming, Baquet thought that he could not publish the story without being more confident in its conclusions.

Over time, the F.B.I.’s interest in the possibility of an Alfa Bank connection seemed to wane. An agency official told Lichtblau that there could be an innocuous explanation for the computer traffic. Then, on October 30th, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote a letter to James Comey, the director of the F.B.I., charging that the Bureau was withholding information about “close ties and coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia. “We had a window,” Lichtblau said. His story about Alfa Bank ran the next day. But it bore only a modest resemblance to what he had filed. The headline-- “investigating donald trump, f.b.i. sees no clear link to russia”-- seemed to exonerate the Trump campaign. And, though the article mentioned the server, it omitted any reference to the computer scientists who had told Lichtblau that the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank might have been communicating. “We were saying that the investigation was basically over-- and it was just beginning,” Lichtblau told me.

That same day, Slate ran a story, by Franklin Foer, that made a detailed case for the possibility of a covert link between Alfa Bank and Trump. Foer’s report was based largely on information from a colleague of Max’s who called himself Tea Leaves. Foer quoted several outside experts; most said that there appeared to be no other plausible explanation for the data.

One remarkable aspect of Foer’s story involved the way that the Trump domain had stopped working. On September 21st, he wrote, the Times had delivered potential evidence of communications to B.G.R., a Washington lobbying firm that worked for Alfa Bank. Two days later, the Trump domain vanished from the Internet. (Technically, its “A record,” which translates the domain name to an I.P. address, was deleted. If the D.N.S. is a phone book, the domain name was effectively decoupled from its number.) For four days, the servers at Alfa Bank kept trying to look up the Trump domain. Then, ten minutes after the last attempt, one of them looked up another domain, which had been configured to lead to the same Trump Organization server.

Max’s group was surprised. The Trump domain had been shut down after the Times contacted Alfa Bank’s representatives-- but before the newspaper contacted Trump. “That shows a human interaction,” Max concluded. “Certain actions leave fingerprints.” He reasoned that someone representing Alfa Bank had alerted the Trump Organization, which shut down the domain, set up another one, and then informed Alfa Bank of the new address.

...Alfa is still closely tied to the Russian system, but Fridman and Aven [the founders and principles] live much of the time in the United Kingdom. If there was a communications link with the Trump Organization, it might have been created without their knowledge. According to experts I spoke to, large Russian companies typically have a member of the intelligence services, either active or retired, working at a senior level. If a company’s services are required in some way, the officer-- called a kurator-- coördinates them. “A company couldn’t say no,” a Washington-based Russia expert told me. (When asked about this, an Alfa Bank spokesperson said, “To our knowledge there are no senior intelligence officials at senior levels at Alfa Bank.”)

...Don McGahn, the White House counsel, came from Jones Day, one of the law firms that represent Alfa Bank in the United States. McGahn brought five Jones Day lawyers with him into the White House; six more were appointed to senior posts in the Administration. Jones Day has done work for businesses belonging to a long list of Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, Viktor Vekselberg, and Alexander Mashkevich. The firm has also represented the Trump campaign in its dealings with Robert Mueller. For this reason, McGahn secured an ethics waiver that allows him to talk to his old firm when its clients have business before the U.S. government.

In June, 2017, Trump nominated Brian Benczkowski, a lawyer who had overseen the Stroz Friedberg report for Alfa Bank, to lead the criminal division of the Justice Department. At his confirmation hearing, Benczkowski said emphatically that Stroz Friedberg, like Mandiant, had rejected the possibility of complicity. The investigation, he said, found that “there was no communications link between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.”

Democratic senators expressed concern that Benczkowski had taken on work for Alfa Bank; he had been a senior member of Trump’s transition team and had good reason to expect that he would be appointed to a job in the Administration. “The client was a Russian bank that is under suspicion of having a direct connection with the Trump campaign,” Senator Richard Durbin said, during the hearing.

He and the other Democratic senators were especially troubled that Benczkowski would not commit to recusing himself from dealing with Mueller’s investigation, even though he had worked for two of Russia’s leading oligarchs. “Why did you refuse to recuse yourself?” Senator Dianne Feinstein asked.

Closing In by Nancy Ohanian


“I don’t know what’s in Special Prosecutor Mueller’s investigation,” Benczkowski said. “I’m a lawyer in private practice. I have no idea what he’s up to, other than what I read in the papers.”

Despite these questions, the Republican-led committee approved Benczkowski. This past July, the Senate confirmed him.

...If Trump and Alfa Bank-- as well as Spectrum Health and Heartland Payment Systems-- were communicating, what might they have been talking about? Max and some of the other scientists I spoke to theorized that they may have been using the system to signal one another about events or tasks that had to be performed: money to be transferred, for instance, or data to be copied. “My guess is that, whenever someone wanted to talk, they would do a D.N.S. lookup and then route the traffic somewhere else,” Richard Clayton, of the University of Cambridge, said. Camp also speculated that the system may have been used to coördinate the movement of data. She noted that Cambridge Analytica, which was working for the Trump campaign, took millions of personal records from Facebook. In Camp’s scenario, these could have been transferred to the Russian government, to help guide its targeting of American voters before the election.

The researchers I spoke with were careful to point out that the limits of D.N.S. data prevent them from going beyond speculation. If employees of the companies were talking, the traffic reveals nothing about who they were or what they were saying; it is difficult to rule out something as banal as a protracted game of video poker. “If I’m a cop, I’m not going to take this to the D.A. and say we’re ready to prosecute,” Leto said. “I’m going to say we have enough to ask for a search warrant.” More complete information could be difficult to obtain. This March, after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced that it had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the committee’s Democrats filed a dissent, arguing that there were many matters still to be investigated, including the Trump Organization’s connections to Alfa Bank. The Democrats implored the majority to force Cendyn to turn over computer data that would help determine what had happened. Those records could show who in the Trump Organization used the server. There would probably also be a record of who shut down the Trump domain after the Times contacted Alfa Bank. Cendyn might have records of any outgoing communications sent by the Trump Organization. But the request for further investigation is unlikely to proceed as long as Republicans hold the majority. “We’ve all looked at the data, and it doesn’t look right,” a congressional staffer told me. “But how do you get to the truth?”

The enigma, for now, remains an enigma. The only people likely to finally resolve the question of Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization are federal investigators. Max told me that no one in his group had been contacted. But, he said, it wasn’t necessary for anyone in the F.B.I. to talk to him, if the agents gathered the right information from other sources, like Listrak and Cendyn. “I hope Mueller has all of it,” he said.


          Air Seychelles inks Air India codeshare       Cache   Translate Page      
Air Seychelles has signed a new codeshare agreement with Air India, enabling Air India to place its AI code on Air Seychelles’ 5X-weekly flights from Mumbai to the Seychelles, as well as its Johannesburg service.

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          Pria Italia Juarai Kompetisi Bartender Dunia di Amsterdam      Cache   Translate Page      

Liputan6.com, Amsterdam - Bartender asal Italia Riccardo Giovannelli akhirnya memenangkan kompetisi bartender yang diikuti 16 bartender dari seluruh dunia setelah menyingkirkan bartender asal Malaysia Daimler Kenn Cagas dengan nilai ketat 4:3 pada malam final, Selasa, 9 Oktober 2018, di Gedung Heineken Experience, Amsterdam, Belanda.

Dengan kemenangan ini, Riccardo berhak mendapatkan tropi berbentuk kran draught bir Heineken dan menonton pertandingan Formula 1 di Dubai. Riccardo tampil percaya diri dan konsisten dengan langkah-langkah yang seharusnya dijalankan oleh seorang bartender.

Langkah-langkah itu meliputi rinse (mencuci gelas), pour (menuang bir dari mesin lewat kran), skim (menyapu busa), check (memeriksa ketinggian bir), dan serve (menyajikannya).

Direktur Design Brand Heineken Mark van Iterson yang menjadi salah satu juri  menyebutkan, kebanyakan peserta hanya fokus pada bir. "Padahal, menyajikan bir itu selain fokus pada diri sendiri juga pada konsumen yang dilayani. Jadi, penyajian yang baik itu penting," ujar Mark.

Sementara itu, bartender asal Indonesia Muhammad Fauzi Rahman hanya berhasil masuk sampai tahap perdelapan final. Pada perempat final, pria asal Surabaya itu dikalahkan oleh bartender dari Seychelles, Kailash Taree.

Meski begitu, Uzi, begitu pria 24 tahun ini biasa disapa, berhasil mendapatkan nilai sempurna (5) di dua kali penyisihan sebelumnya. "Akhirnya faktor keberuntunganlah yang menentukan," ujar Uzi.

* Update Terkini Asian Para Games 2018 Mulai dari Jadwal Pertandingan, Perolehan Medali hingga Informasi Terbaru di Sini.

Saksikan video pilihan berikut ini:


          World's Most Powerful Passport Revealed As Countries' Global Rankings Shift      Cache   Translate Page      
Japan passport holders will find it easier than ever to travel the world, as their travel documents have just moved up in the global Henley Passport Index to take the top spot.

The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all of the passports in the world based on the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free.

Until now Japan had been sharing joint first place with Singapore, which gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan earlier this year bringing its total to 189 countries.

However, earlier this month Japan gained visa-free access to Myanmar bringing its total to 190 - once again taking it to the top spot.


It's still a milestone for both Japan and Singapore, as 2018 is the first year in the index's 13-year history that either of them has had the most powerful passport in the world.
Both are way ahead of the UK and US which share fifth place with Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria and Luxembourg - but it's worth noting that the top four spots are shared by 10 countries.

Experts had previously revealed that the UK ranking is unlikely to increase until there is certainty regarding Brexit.
Full Henley Passport Index 2018

    Japan (190 countries)
    Singapore (189 countries)
    Germany, France, South Korea (188 countries)
    Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Spain (187 countries)
    Norway, UK, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, USA (186 countries)
    Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada (185 countries)
    Australia, Greece, Malta (183 countries)
    New Zealand, Czech Republic (182 countries)
    Iceland (181 countries)
    Hungary, Slovenia, Malyasia (180 countries)
    Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania (179 countries)
    Liechtenstein, Estonia (178 countries)
    Poland (175 countries)
    Monaco, Chile (174 countries)
    Cyprus (173 countries)
    Brazil (171 countries)
    Argentina, Hong Kong (170 countries)
    Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania (169 countries)
    Andorra, San Marino (168 countries)
    Brunei (165 countries)
    Israel, Barbados, UAE (161 countries)
    Mexico (158 countries)
    Bahamas (155 countries)
    Uruguay (154 countries)
    Seychelles (152 countries)
    St Kitts & Nevis (151 countries)
    Antigua (150 countries)
    Costa Rica (149 countries)
    Vatican City, Taiwan (148 countries)
    Trinidad and Tobago (147 countries)
    Mauritius, St Lucia (146 countries)
    St Vincent and the Grenadines (145 countries)
    Macao, Grenada (144 countries)
    Paraguay (143 countries)
    Panama (141 countries)
    Venezulea, Honduras (138 countries)
    Dominica, Guatemala, El Savador (137 countries)
    Peru (135 countries)
    Serbia, Solomon Islands (130 countries)
    Samoa, Vanuatu (129 countries)
    Nicaragua, Ukraine (128 countries)
    Colombia, Tuvalu (127 countries)
    Macedonia (125 countries)
    Marshall Islands, Tonga (124 countries)
    Kiribati, Montenegro (123 countries)
    Micronesia, Moldova (122 countries)
    Russia, Palau Islands (119 countries)
    Bosnia and Herzegovina (118 countries)
    Albania (114 countries)
    Georgia (112 countries)
    Turkey (111 countries)
    South Africa (102 countries)
    Belize (101 countries)
    Timor-Leste (98 countries)
    Ecuador, Kuwait (93 countries)
    Fiji (90 countries)
    Guyana (88 countries)
    Maldives (87 countries)
    Nauru (86 countries)
    Qatar (85 countries)
    Jamaica (84 countries)
    Papua New Guinea (83 countries)
    Botswana (82 countries)
    Bahrain (81 countries)
    Suriname (80 countries)
    Bolivia (79 countries)
    Oman (78 countries)
    Belarus, Thailand (77 countries)
    Namibia, Kazakhstan (76 countries)
    Saudi Arabia (75 countries)
    Lesotho, China (74 countries)
    Indonesia (73 countries)
    Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi (71 countries)
    Gambia, Tanzania, Zambia (68 countries)
    Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Dominican Republic (66 countries)
    Cape Verde, Cuba (65 countries)
    Uganda, Zimbabwe (64 countries)
    Ghana, Kyrgyzstan (63 countries)
    Sierra Leone (62 countries)
    Armenia, Benin, Morocco, Mongolia (61 countries)
    India (60 countries)
    Uzbekistan (59 countries)
    Sao Tome, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tajikistan (58 countries)
    Burkina Faso (57 countries)
    Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea (56 countries)
    Mali, Gabon, Bhutan (55 countries)
    Togo, Niger, Cambodia, Rwanda (54 countries)
    Chad, Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Turkmenistan (53 countries)
    Comores Islands, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Laos (52 countries)
    Vietnam (51 countries)
    Algeria, Jordan (50 countries)
    Central African Republic, Angola, Egypt (49 countries)
    Cameroon, Myanmar (48 countries)
    Liberia, Nigeria, Congo (Republic) (47 countries)
    Burundi (46 countries)
    Djibouti (45 countries)
    Kosovo (44 countries)
    Congo (Democratic Republic), Iran (43 countries)
    Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, North Korea (42 countries)
    South Sudan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Libya (41 countries)
    Nepal (40 countries)
    Sudan, Eritrea, Palestinian Territory (39 countries)
    Yemen (37 countries)
    Pakistan (33 countries)
    Somalia, Syria (32 countries)
    Iraq, Afghanistan (30 countries)



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          Air Seychelles Signs MRO Training Deal      Cache   Translate Page      

Air Seychelles has signed a new codeshare with Air India and, separately, agreed to provide internships for engineering students at Sri Lanka’s Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College (CINEC).

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          President of Sri Lanka departs Seychelles      Cache   Translate Page      
President Sirisena bid adieu to Seychelles early this morning after two days of a very productive State visit. At the airport to see him off were, Designated Minister Macsuzy Mondor, Secretary of State Muhamed Affif for Cabinet Affairs, Ambassador Vladimir Belous of the Russian Federation and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, High Commissioner Conrad Mederic […]
          AFCON Qualifier: South Africa vs Seychelles Preview      Cache   Translate Page      
South Africa v Seychelles Preview

Our football writer previews the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier between South Africa and Seychelles which takes place on Saturday 13 October 2018.

This is Bafana Bafana’s golden opportunity to steer clear other teams in Group E as they face the whipping boys in the shape of Seychelles. Stuart Baxter’s men head into FNB Stadium knowing very well that winning these back-to-back fixtures against arguably the weakest opponent in the group will probably seal qualification with a match or two remaining.

On the other hand, Seychelles who have lost both their first two games must start kissing their qualification hopes goodbye if they fail to win either of the two encounters. The Pirates will be looking to participate in their first ever AFCON, having qualified a few times and withdrawing on each occasion.

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AFCON Qualifier
Saturday 13 October
FNB Stadium
15:00

To Win
South Africa 1/11
Draw 17/2
Seychelles 21/1

South Africa
After excelling in the opener where they beat Nigeria 2-0, Bafana Bafana played out to a disappointing goalless draw against Libya in Durban. The hosts are currently tied on four points with Libya at the summit of Group E standings and a win here would see them have one foot in next year’s spectacle.

Cape Town City midfield kingpin, Thabo Nodada, has been called up for the first time and he will be expected to replicate his superb club form at national level. Speaking of call-ups, Dino Ndlovu’s inclusion has raised a few eyebrows as he hasn’t delivered for Bafana Bafana and his performances in the Premier Soccer League were dismal. The injury sustained by Bradley Grobler was a huge blow to the team. Another player who has picked up an injury is Mamelodi Sundowns’ Thapelo Morena who got a knock in his club match against Bidvest Wits with the technical team monitoring the situation.

The late addition of Aubrey Modiba, who is superb at taking set pieces and playing crosses into the box, will give the team another dimension. The return leg takes place in Seychelles three days after this encounter but I don’t foresee the teams opting for a defensive, cagey approach. The home side is the one that needs points the most and I’m expecting them to attack from the get-go.

Andre Arendse will return to his goalkeeper coaching role after Lee Baxter previously stood in for him after he was unable to make the camp against Libya. It was good to see the team joining up on Monday which will give them ample time to work on combinations.



Seychelles
Bottom-placed Seychelles were thrashed 5-1 by Libya and were annihilated 3-0 by Nigeria. After the Nigeria clash, Seychelles goalkeeper Dave Mussard who works fulltime as a pastry chef went viral on the internet due to his weight. Almost the whole squad has fulltime jobs and coach Gavin Jeanne has expressed how difficult it is for him to prepare for games as players need to go to work before they go for training.

The Pirates must have watched Bafana Bafana’s games against Cape Verde and Libya where South Africans were frustrated by lesser opponents and they will be hoping to pull off a shock win. However, Seychelles are winless in their last 14 games across all competitions and it will be tough for them against a team that has skilful players who can pick their way through any defence in the continent.

Verdict: Over 2.5 Goals (5/10)
Bafana Bafana should triumph easily at home against the bottom-placed side that hasn’t won a single game in their last 14 matches. I foresee Stuart Baxter fielding an attacking side that will make easy work of the group’s whipping boys. Put your money on the South Africans to triumph! However, there's little value in that banker's bet, tipped at 1/11 hence I'd rather bet on the match to have more than 2.5 goals at 5/10.



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          President Maithreepala Sirisena who was on a two day official tour of Seychelles arrived in the island, this morning      Cache   Translate Page      
The president expressed these views about the outcome of his visit at an event organized by the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka this evening in Colombo. The president further stated that during discussions with the president of... Read More
          What The Hell With Rick Gates Doing NO COLLUSION With Israeli Spies, Who Why What Now?      Cache   Translate Page      


WHAT UP, ROBERT MUELLER INVESTIGATION? Suddenly there is lots of news about it, which is weird because everybody was saying Mueller would all of a sudden STFU during election season, to protect the sanctity of an election in which Donald Trump the Useful Idiot Of Moscow is not even technically on the ballot.

As the nation turns its attention from the cranky butthole mouth of Brett Kavanaugh, who is now officially boofing with Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court (#NeverEverForget), a handful of stories have come out about what Vox notes are some of the more opaque narratives in the Trump-Russia scandal. There was news about Peter Smith, the weird Clinton hater who was trying to do his own ninja mission to get Hillary's hacked emails from Russia, after which he mysteriously killed himself; and there was news about that weird Trump Organization server that only connected with Alfa Bank in Moscow and the DeVos family's Spectrum Health in Michigan, the one the New York Times pooh-poohed from the outset but now admits was MAYBE KIND OF A STORY, DON'T YOU THINK? Anyway, computer scientists are still pretty sure there's a "there" there, we just don't know what it is yet. But maybe Robert Mueller does!

Taken together with everything else we know, we sure are getting a bigger picture of just how many people associated with the Trump campaign were looking for any skeevy and/or illegal way they could to help Russia manipulate voters to assist Donald Trump in barely stealing an election!


And now there is this thing about Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's guilty-ass apprentice, cavorting with an Israeli intelligence firm to fuckbang the Republican primary (and maybe the general election!) for Donald Trump. WAIT, DID YOU JUST SAY ISRAEL? Yes, we did! There's a whole other weird wang of the Russia investigation that seems to include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and apparently Israel. This particular news is about an Israeli firm made up of former intel officials pitching Rick Gates to use fake Internet robot people to "sway 5,000 delegates" at the Republican convention, because Trump's people were worried Ted Cruz would kill JFK with his dad again try to take the GOP nomination from Trump. There were also proposals for firm to similarly ratfuck the election against Hillary Clinton. Gates and the company, Psy-Ops, say they never ultimately worked together, but let's just assume that's #LIES for now.

The story is long and detailed, but let's start here for the basic gist:

A top Trump campaign official requested proposals in 2016 from an Israeli company to create fake online identities, to use social media manipulation and to gather intelligence to help defeat Republican primary race opponents and Hillary Clinton, according to interviews and copies of the proposals.

The Trump campaign's interest in the work began as Russians were escalating their effort to aid Donald J. Trump. Though the Israeli company's pitches were narrower than Moscow's interference campaign and appear unconnected, the documents show that a senior Trump aide saw the promise of a disruption effort to swing voters in Mr. Trump's favor.

OK. So the company, as we said, is called Psy-Ops, and it is owned by an Australian-Israeli businessdude named Joel Zamel. He is connected to George Nader, who is a cooperating witness with the Mueller investigation, and who is an adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. Nader is also connected to the weird Russian meeting former Blackwater sadist Erik Prince (brother of Betsy DeVos) had in the Seychelles, seemingly to establish a secret "back channel" with Russia just before Trump's inauguration, because that's just a normal thing for incoming American presidential administrations to do. (It's also super normal to lie to Congress about such meetings, like Prince did.) Nader is also tied in with that bizarre Michael Flynn grift to "recolonize" the Middle East, by stealing its resources and dividing the spoils between everybody on Donald Trump's Christmas card list, including all the Russians. So ... CONNECT THE DOTS, MORANS! Just kidding, we don't know WTF all these connections mean.

The New York Times points out that, while we don't know for sure if the Trump campaign ever officially worked with Psy-Ops, there is some evidence of NO COLLUSION, YOU ARE THE COLLUSION, citing a meeting in August 2016 with Donald Trump Jr. that was attended by Zamel and Nader and set up by Erik Prince. Totally normal, right? Just in case the obvious Russian collusion didn't work, it's smart to have a backup NO COLLUSION plan, we guess.

Oh yeah and also George Nader Venmo-ed Joel Zamel two million dollars just after the inauguration, but that could also be totally normal. Maybe Zamel took care of Nader's dogs while he was out of town or something, and the price of that was two million dollars.

Dig into the NYT piece for more sexxxy details, about how Gates hooked up with Psy-Ops because of George Birnbaum, a GOP consultant dude who is connected to the Israelis, and who is described as the "protégé of Arthur J. Finkelstein, the legendary Republican political operative," who is also legendary for his reclusive nature. He was a New York buddy of Roy Cohn's and also of Donald Trump's, so, you know, he's obviously a nice guy. Finkelstein was behind the election success of the creepy authoritarian leader of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, who is notably up Vladimir Putin's ass, which reminds us that there is one independent journalist who has been pretty sure that this entire Trump-Russia road leads back to Finkelstein and Hungary for quite a while now. We've never been sure how much to trust that theory, but we're just letting you know it exists.

Oh yeah, did we mention Finkelstein is also connected to Paul Manafort, in that he seems to have hooked Manafort up with all these Russian oligarchs a long while back? Well, we're mentioning it now!

Wanna read an article from 1996 about how a lot of this very same circle of people tried to dirty trick Bob Dole into office in order to beat a Clinton, including Manafort and Tony Fabrizio, who went on to become the lead pollster for the Trump campaign? You can do that!

Please note as you absorb these facts that both Rick Gates and Paul Manafort are now cooperating witnesses in the Mueller investigation, so the timing of our learning about this whole Psy-Ops rigamarole might be significant, right? Oh, and Psy-Ops, according to NYT, is now "in liquidation" like a common Cambridge Analytica, isn't that so weird?

Well! Now that we've thrown a bunch of facts at your faces and given you some links to rabbit-hole your way through without providing any analysis whatsoever, we're going to slip out of this blog post and leave you to figure it out for yourselves, GOODBYE NOW!

[New York Times]

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