Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Media's Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations

ORIGINAL LINK

Authored by Gareth Porter via The American Conservative,

Press irresponsibly relies on single-source report to accuse Kim of breaking an agreement he never made...

In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.

In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.

The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”

But in their determination to push hardline opposition to the negotiations, these stories either ignored or sought to discredit the careful caveat accompanying the original source on which they were based - the analysis of satellite images published on the website 38 North on June 21.

The three analysts who had written that the satellite images “indicated that improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace” also cautioned that this work “should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize.”

If the authors’ point was not clear enough, Joel Wit, the founder of 38 North, who helped negotiate the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea and then worked on its implementation for several years, explained to NBC News: 

“What you have is a commitment to denuclearize—we don’t have the deal yet, we just have a general commitment.”

Wit added that he didn’t “find it surprising at all” that work at Yongbyon was continuing.

In a briefing for journalists by telephone on Monday, Wit was even more vigorous in denouncing the stories that had hyped the article on 38 North.

“I really disagree with the media narrative,” Wit said.

“The Singapore summit declaration didn’t mean North Korea would stop its activities in the nuclear and missile area right away.”

He recalled the fact that, during negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviets over arms control, “both sides continued to build weapons until the agreement was completed.”

Determined to salvage its political line on the Trump-Kim talks, NBC News turned to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who has insisted all along that North Korea won’t give up its nuclear weapons.

“We have never had a deal,” Lewis said. “The North Koreans never offered to give up their nuclear weapons. Never. Not once.”

Lewis had apparently forgotten that the October 2005 Six Party joint statement included language that the DPRK had “committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons….”

Another witness NBC found to support its view was James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who declared, “If [the North Koreans] were serious about unilaterally disarming, of course they would have stopped work at Yongbyon.” That was true but misleading, because North Korea has always been unambiguously clear that its offer of denuclearization is conditional on reciprocal steps by the United States.

On July 1, a few days after those stories appeared, the Wall Street Journal headlined, “New satellite imagery indicates Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as it pursues dialogue with Washington.” The lead paragraph called it a “major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant.”

But the shock effect of the story itself was hardly seismic. It turns out that the images of a North Korean solid-fuel missile manufacturing facility at Hamhung showed that new buildings had been added beginning in the early spring, after Kim Jong-un had called for more production of solid-fuel rocket engines and warhead tips last August. The construction of the exterior of some buildings was completed “around the time” of the Trump-Kim summit meeting, according to the analysts at the James Martin Center of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

So the most Pyongyang could be accused of was going ahead with a previously planned expansion while it was just beginning to hold talks with the United States.

The satellite images were analyzed by Jeffrey Lewis, the director whom had just been quoted by NBC in support of its viewpoint that North Korea had no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons. So it is no surprise that the Martin Center’s David Schmerler, who also participated in the analysis of the images, told the Journal, “The expansion of production infrastructure for North Korea’s solid missile infrastructure probably suggests that Kim Jong Un does not intend to abandon his nuclear and missile programs.”

But when this writer spoke with Schmerler last week, he admitted that the evidence of Kim’s intentions regarding nuclear and missile programs is much less clear. I asked him if he was sure that North Korea would refuse to give up its ICBM program as part of a broader agreement with the Trump administration. “I’m not sure,” Schmerler responded, adding, “They haven’t really said they’re willing to give up ICBM program.” That is true, but they haven’t rejected that possibility either—presumably because the answer will depend on what commitments Trump is willing to make to the DPRK.

These stories of supposed North Korean betrayal by NBC, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal are egregious cases of distorting news by pushing a predetermined policy line. But those news outlets, far from being outliers, are merely reflecting the norms of the entire corporate news system.

The stories of how North Korea is now violating an imaginary pledge by Kim to Trump in Singapore are even more outrageous, because big media had previously peddled the opposite line: that Kim at the Singapore Summit made no firm commitment to give up his nuclear weapons and that the “agreement” in Singapore was the weakest of any thus far.

That claim, which blithely ignored the fundamental distinction between a brief summit meeting statement and past formal agreements with North Korea that took months to reach, was a media maneuver of unparalleled brazenness. And big media have since topped that feat of journalistic legerdemain by claiming that North Korea has demonstrated bad faith by failing to halt all nuclear and missile-related activities.

A media complex so determined to discredit negotiations with North Korea and so unfettered by political-diplomatic reality seriously threatens the ability of the United States to deliver on any agreement with Pyongyang. That means alternative media must make more aggressive efforts to challenge the corporate press’s coverage.



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Trump Responds To Russia Indictment: "Where Is The DNC Server? Why Didn't Obama Do Something?"

ORIGINAL LINK

President Trump issued his first public comment about the indictment of 12 Russian military officers "for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election" by blaming former President Obama and the "deep state" and asking, as many others have, where the DNC server, the so-called "Exhibit A" in the case against the Russian hackers - is currently.

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted from Scotland that "The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration" and asked “why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?"

The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration. Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018

On Friday afternoon, the DOJ announced the indictment of 12 Russian intel officials who are charged with hacking Democratic National Committee officials and dispersing the stolen documents online. However, as explicitly stated in the indictment, there was "no indication that any American was a knowing participant in this activity, and no indication that these efforts altered the vote count in any way", something Trump has repeatedly noted.

Trump then went on to question "where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it?” He suggested that the server could have been kept hidden by the “Deep State.”

....Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it? Deep State?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018

Trump has suggested in the past a conspiracy around the computer servers at the DNC that Russians hacked during the election. The FBI had not directly assessed the hacked server during the agency investigation, instead relying on information from a private security firm, with deep Ukrainian ties.

Separately, as part of his Saturday tweetstorm, Trump again attacked "the Fake News CNN" saying that he checked it "first time in a long time (they are dying in the ratings), to see if they covered my takedown yesterday of Jim Acosta (actually a nice guy). They didn’t! But they did say I already lost in my meeting with Putin. Fake News...."

So funny! I just checked out Fake News CNN, for the first time in a long time (they are dying in the ratings), to see if they covered my takedown yesterday of Jim Acosta (actually a nice guy). They didn’t! But they did say I already lost in my meeting with Putin. Fake News......

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018

He then unveiled his latest nickname, that of CNN president Jeff Zucker, saying "Remember, it was Little Jeff Z and his people, who are told exactly what to say, who said I could not win the election in that “there was no way to 270” (over & over again) in the Electoral College. I got 306! They were sooooo wrong in their election coverage. Still hurting!"

....Remember, it was Little Jeff Z and his people, who are told exactly what to say, who said I could not win the election in that “there was no way to 270” (over & over again) in the Electoral College. I got 306! They were sooooo wrong in their election coverage. Still hurting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018

Finally, in his first tweet about about the market in a long time, Trump once again took credit for the Dow hitting 25,000, as well as the current state of the fiscal-stimulus fueled economy, saying "Jobs are at an all time record - and that is before we fix some of the worst trade deals and conditions ever seen by any government. It is all happening!"

The Stock Market hit 25,000 yesterday. Jobs are at an all time record - and that is before we fix some of the worst trade deals and conditions ever seen by any government. It is all happening!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2018

As discussed previously, Trump's market assessment remain a concern to some, because the higher the stock market goes, the more likely the president is to equate this with investor perceptions of his trade policy. As a result, it affords Trump leeway to unleash even harsher tariffs on China, something he has kept silent about in the past 4 days, enabling the latest market surge.



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Meet the Man Responsible for Marijuana Prohibition

https://www.massroots.com/learn/the-man-responsible-for-marijuana-prohibition/

Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich Shared 44,053 Democrat Emails With WikiLeaks: Report

ORIGINAL LINK

2017.05.15%20-%20Seth%20Rich_0.JPG

For the past several months, Democrats have based their "Resist 45" movement on unsubstantiated assertions that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian intelligence officials to undermine the 2016 Presidential Election thereby 'stealing' the White House from Hillary Clinton. Day after day we've all suffered through one anonymously sourced, "shock" story after another from the New York Times and/or The Washington Post with new allegations of the 'wrongdoing'.



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Two Big “Russia! Russia!” Stories Released Days Before Trump-Putin Summit

ORIGINAL LINK

I have said it before, and I will say it again, and I will keep saying it and saying it until it becomes mainstream conventional wisdom: it is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you.

In an article for The Nation dated July 11, the internationally renowned US-Russia relations expert Stephen F. Cohen warned of possible attempts by peace-hating beltway stalwarts to sabotage the Helsinki peace talks between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin that is scheduled for this coming Monday.

“There is a long history of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage summits and other d├ętente-like initiatives,” wrote Cohen. “Indeed, a few such attempts have been evident in recent months and more may lie ahead.”

And, lo and behold, right before the summit we are seeing two major news stories loudly promoting Russia hysteria blasted onto the front pages on the very same day.

An indictment of 12 Russians has finally been issued by the Robert Mueller Special Counsel on various charges of conspiracy against the United States, an action the counsel has been sitting on for months. The indictment contains no evidence and will likely never be defended in any court of law, the correct response to which, in a post-Iraq invasion world, is always to dismiss the story and file it under “Noises US government officials sometimes make with their face holes.”

New on MoA: No Evidence In Mueller's Indictment Of 12 Russians - Release Now May Sabotage Upcoming Summit https://t.co/dmPiAqw9OP

 — @MoonofA

The complete absence of evidence has of course failed to deter establishment propagandists and Capitol Hill war whores from loudly and aggressively advancing the galaxy-brained narrative that these new claims ought to either cancel peace talks between two nuclear superpowers, or at least make them much more hostile and contentious.

“President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world,” said Senator John McCain in a statement, more determined than ever to start World War Three before he finally fucking dies. “If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.”

“POTUS should either publicly demand extradition of these 12 Russian officials to stand trial or call off his summit,” tweeted Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “@realDonaldTrump should not lend legitimacy to an adversary that attacks our democracy.”

“There are now criminal indictments confirming #RussianHacking and efforts to disrupt the ballot box,” tweeted virulent Russiagater and California Representative Eric Swalwell. “If @realDonaldTrump is unwilling to confront Putin over this on Monday, he should cancel his trip.”

These and many other pleas against peace have been emanating at maximum volume from both sides of the political aisle in DC, and by both sides of the political divide in the mass media as well. Fox News has been just as busy promoting the hawkish demands of neoconservative Republicans like McCain and Lindsey Graham as outlets like MSNBC and the Washington Post have been promoting the same demands from Democrats. As we learned in the lead up to the Iraq invasion, whenever you see all mass media outlets converge upon a single narrative, it’s time to crank your skepticism levels up to eleven.

Whenever you see Fox News joining in with Dem-aligned media to promote the same foreign policy narrative, it's time to to kick your skepticism levels into high gear.

 — @caitoz

On the same day as all this drama erupted, Dan Coats (who replaced the lying, Russophobic Russiagate architect James Clapper as America’s top intelligence officer at the beginning of this administration) has declared that the warning signs of future Russian cyberattacks are akin to the warnings received prior to the September 11 attacks. Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about when US government officials start invoking 9/11 to warn us about a nation that had nothing to do with it.

The always sleazy New York Times reports the following:

The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
That note of alarm sounded by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, came on the same day that 12 Russian agents were indicted on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Mr. Coats said those indictments illustrated Moscow’s continuing strategy to undermine the United States’ democracy and erode its institutions.
“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”
Coming just days ahead of President Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Coats’s comments demonstrate the persistent divisions within the administration on Russia — and on how hard a line senior administration officials should take with Moscow on its cyberspace activities.

Ken Dilanian is an actual, literal CIA asset who maintains a prestigious career in mainstream news media despite this known fact. These are the types who are pushing "Russia! Russia!" narratives. https://t.co/9e7B7rstSz https://t.co/ZV7te6wqhV

 — @caitoz

So once again Trump is being pressured by all his political enemies, and even his ostensible allies in conservative media, to escalate tensions with Russia in a way that just so happens to advance intelligence community agendas against that nation which have been in place since the fall of the Soviet Union. And all of the evidence being used to substantiate the claims used to create that pressure? Why, they just so happen to come from that same intelligence community.

Stephen Cohen isn’t psychic, he’s just been watching trends and behavioral patterns in US-Russia relations for decades, and noticing the headlines in plutocrat-owned media about the approaching peace talks. These headlines include this one from London’s The Times, which I swear I am not making up: “Fears grow over prospect of Trump ‘peace deal’ with Putin”. That header gets better every time you read it; eventually you’re just flipping back and forth between the words “fear” and “peace” and marveling at your skull’s remarkable ability to keep your head from exploding. Other brilliant headlines include “In Meeting With Putin, Experts Fear Trump Will Give More Than He Gets” by the New York Times, “Trump hopes he and Putin will get along. Russia experts worry they will” by the Washington Post, and “Trump Will Finally Meet With Putin Next Month. That Should Terrify You” by Mother Jones.

Just serious people pushing for NATO war against Russia. Nothing to see here. https://t.co/EBy6d1O6ZV

 — @yashalevine

This notion that we should all be worried, terrified and literally shaking that two nuclear superpowers might ease tensions between one another is so Rick and Morty alternate dimension bass ackwards it’s amazing that it’s been able to stick to the extent that it has, but that just shows you the power of mass media propaganda. The social engineers are so adept that self-identified progressives can be made to cheer for the FBI, self-identified nationalists can be made to cheer for neoconservative regime change agendas against Iran, and self-identified liberals can literally be made to fear a movement away from the possibility of nuclear holocaust.

Since cold wars per definition depend on non-military maneuverings, a much greater emphasis is necessarily placed on psyops and mass media propaganda than in a conventional hot war. Remain skeptical of everything you hear about Russia at all times, because I will say it again: it is the US intelligence community’s job to lie to you.

_______________________

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing the stuff I publish is to get on the mailing list for my website, so you’ll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying my book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Whole Foods Withdraws Promise to Label GMOs

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Media Roots retweeted: A new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has found no traces of a chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma. That's right - we were brought to the brink of WW3 on lies. Can't wait for the mainstream media apology! https://t.co/7cqh9wkys5

ORIGINAL LINK
Op8zYfmV_normal.jpg Lee Camp [Redacted]
@LeeCamp
Media Roots retweeted:
A new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has found no traces of a chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma. That's right - we were brought to the brink of WW3 on lies. Can't wait for the mainstream media apology!
https://t.co/7cqh9wkys5


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Media Roots retweeted: Our national media database search finds no mentions in any UK national newspaper (apart from Morning Star). Which is truly outrageous given the massively high-profile, front-page coverage the Douma claims received in April. https://t.co/WydhuikjHF

ORIGINAL LINK
medialens_twitter_logo_cherry_normal.jpg Media Lens
@medialens
Media Roots retweeted:
Our national media database search finds no mentions in any UK national newspaper (apart from Morning Star). Which is truly outrageous given the massively high-profile, front-page coverage the Douma claims received in April. https://t.co/WydhuikjHF


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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

German police have seized the names and banking details of donors to the privacy browser Tor.

ORIGINAL LINK

Zwiebelfreunde%20also%20handle%20Europea

The names and bank details of European donors to the anonymous browser Tor and its associated operating system Tails are now with the German Federal police after coordinated raids on four homes and a lawyers office in Dresden. German police produced a warrant to investigate the privacy activist group RiseUp after a left-wing blog called “Krawalltouristen” (ruckus tourists) used their anonymous email and VPN services to organise a protest of the far-right AfD party. Police were supposedly concerned that the protest could become violent.



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Ex-Sailor Pardoned By Trump, Sues Obama And Comey For Not Prosecuting Hillary

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Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

The former Navy sailor pardoned by President Donald Trump after serving a year in federal prison for taking photos of classified sections of his submarine filed a lawsuit on Monday against Obama administration officials. The ex-sailor is alleging that he was subject to unequal protection of the law and cites Comey and Obama’s willingness to not prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama and former FBI director James Comey let Hillary off the hook before the election, while Kristian Saucier served hard time.  Saucier says that that action was “unfair” and “unequal” compared to the corruption and criminal activity of Hillary Clinton.  Saucier told Fox News he was scapegoated by Obama officials who found themselves under fire for not aggressively responding to Clinton’s handling of classified information through her private email servers.

According to Fox News, Saucier’s federal lawsuit alleges that the United States government was “overzealous” in prosecuting him for “mishandling classified information” while going easy on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for more serious violations of the same law. Saucier’s lawsuit names as defendants former President Barack Obama, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who led the inquiry into Clinton’s email account.

“I could have just taken the pardon by President Trump and gone on with my life,”Saucier said to Fox News, adding that he feels an obligation to get to the truth of what he sees as a double standard that let Clinton get off scot-free. “The U.S. Constitution clearly states that all citizens are born with inalienable rights to be free from persecution by the government,” Saucier said. “My conviction and subsequent sentence for a minor military infraction compared to the treatment of politically connected individuals is a glaring example of a violation of the rights of all Americans to have equal protection under the law.”

The former Navy sailor is acting as his own attorney after the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court New York barred his lawyer, Ronald Daigle, from practicing for one year. The court’s move came just as Daigle was helping Saucier prepare to file the lawsuit, prompting the navy sailor to accuse New York officials of trying to hinder his court fight against Obama, Comey, and others. –Fox News

Saucier said that he realizes he had erred in taking the photos of the submarine, which he said he wanted to show only to his family so that they could see where he worked. He has also lashed out at Obama officials, saying that his prosecution was politically motivated, prompted by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton’s emails.



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Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Whose Imprisonment Sparked Deadly 41-Day Standoff

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President Trump pardoned a father and son from Oregon on Tuesday who were imprisoned after setting fire to federal land during what were intended to be controlled burns. The imprisonment - which followed a multi-decade feud with the federal government, resulted in approximately 100-150 armed militia members taking control of a closed wildlife park headquarters in a 41-day standoff led by three brothers from the Cliven Bundy family. Read more about the case here.

76-year-old Dwight Hammond and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted of arson in 2012 for fires burned on federal land in 2001 and 2006 and originally sentenced to three months and one year respectively. 

In October 2015, however, an appellate judge ruled that the sentences were too short based on federal minimum sentencing laws of five years, and re-sentenced to serve out the longer terms.

The Hammond Family

The resentencing sparked protests led by the cattle ranching Bundy family and others, who took up arms and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Southeastern Oregon ranch owned by the Hammonds from Jan 2 to Febn 11, 2016. 

During the standoff, FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita reportedly began firing off shots during the arrest of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. The agent was later accused of falsely denying he fired the shots at Finicum or his truck, and pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and three counts of making a false statement. 

Finicum was killed in the incident. 

“The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land,” the White House said in a statement. “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.”

"Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency," the statement also reads. 

Dwight has so far served about three years in prison and Steven has served about four years. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit. -Fox News

This marks Trump's 7th and 8th pardon or commutation since taking office - the first being Arizona sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Other recipients of a pardon or commutation include; "Scooter" Libby, Dinesh D'Souza, and Kristian Mark Saucier - a former US Navy sailor who was convicted of unauthorized retention of national defense information and sentenced to one year in prison for taking photographs of classified engineering areas of nuclear attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN-757). 



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MSNBC Attack on Glenn Greenwald as ‘Kremlin Spy’ Prove Him Right About MSNBC

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Glenn Greenwald MSNBC(SP) — Journalist Glenn Greenwald traveled to Moscow for a panel discussion on “fake news.” A clip of comments he made to an RT crew afterward was shared widely. He also visited NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and for all of the above, he was viciously attacked by MSNBC intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance, who has a massive following […]

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