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Member since: 2002
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CIA chief 'behind Soleimani's assassination' killed in downed plane in Afghanistan

Source: Middle East Monitor

Russian intelligence sources have claimed that Michael D’Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran and who orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US spy plane downed yesterday in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

The plane with US Air Force markings reportedly served as the CIA’s mobile command for D’Andrea, who earnt several nicknames including: Ayatollah Mike, the Dark Prince, and the Undertaker. He is one of the most prominent CIA figures in the region, appointed head of the agency’s Iran Mission Centre in 2017. Under his leadership, the agency was perceived to take a more “aggressive stance toward Iran”.

The Taliban claimed to have shot down the plane but have yet to provide evidence, whilst the US has denied the claim but has acknowledged the loss of a Bombardier E-11A plane in central Afghanistan. Graphic images online have already circulated purportedly showing some of the charred remains of those on board.

Afghan authorities initially claimed the plane was a state-owned airline, but this was denied by the company, Ariana. Helicopters have been brought down before by the Taliban, but they are not believed to have the capabilities required to bring down a high-flying aircraft.

Read more: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200128-cia-chief-behind-soleimanis-assassination-killed-in-downed-plane-in-afghanistan/

Thousands flee as volcano erupts in the Philippines, Manila airport closed

Source: NBC News

TAGAYTAY, Philippines — A small volcano south of the Philippine capital that draws many tourists for its picturesque setting in a lake erupted with a massive plume of ash and steam Sunday, prompting thousands of people to flee and officials to shut Manila’s international airport.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said Taal Volcano in Batangas province south of Manila blasted steam, ash and pebbles up to 6 to 9 miles into the sky in a dramatic escalation of its growing restiveness, which began last year.

The volcanology institute raised the danger level around Taal three notches on Sunday to level 4, indicating “a hazardous eruption may happen within hours or days,” said Renato Solidum, who heads the volcanology institute. Level 5, the highest, means a hazardous eruption is underway and could affect a larger area.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but authorities scrambled to evacuate more than 6,000 villagers from an island in the middle of a lake, where the volcano lies, and tens of thousands more from nearby coastal towns, officials said.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/thousands-flee-volcano-erupts-philippines-manilla-airport-closed-n1114171?cid=ed_npd_bn_fb_bn

Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security

'The network’s furthering of lies from foreign adversaries and flagrant disregard for the truth have gotten downright dangerous.'

Monday’s split-screen drama, as the House Judiciary Committee weighed impeachment charges against President Trump and as the Justice Department’s inspector general released a 476-page report on the FBI’s handling of its 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign, made one truth of the modern world inescapable: The lies and obfuscations forwarded ad infinitum on Fox News pose a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States.

The facts of both dramas were clear to objective viewers: In the one instance, there’s conclusive and surprisingly consistent evidence that President Trump pushed Ukraine to concoct dirt on a domestic political rival to affect the 2020 presidential election, and in the other, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI was proper to investigate Trump’s dealings with Russia in the 2016 presidential campaign.

But that set of facts is not what anyone who was watching Fox News heard. Instead, Fox spent the night describing an upside-down world where the president’s enemies had spun a web of lies about Trump and Ukraine, even as Horowitz blew open the base corruption that has driven every attack on the president since 2016.

Sean Hannity, who had long trumpeted the forthcoming inspector general report and expected a thorough indictment of the behavior of former FBI director James Comey and other members of the “deep state,” had a simple message for his viewers during Fox’s Monday night prime time: “Everything we said, everything we reported, everything we told you was dead-on-center accurate,” he said. “It is all there in black and white, it’s all there.”

Navy SEALs call Eddie Gallagher 'toxic' and 'evil' in newly released video interviews

Source: ABC News

The Navy SEALs who served alongside Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher described their platoon leader as "freaking evil" and "toxic," according to new video recordings conducted by criminal investigators obtained by the New York Times.

The recordings were part of the Navy's investigation into Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Iraq, including the murder of an Islamic State teenager. While Gallagher was acquitted of the most serious charges earlier this year, his case has repeatedly garnered the attention of President Donald Trump who in November intervened in the Navy's own disciplinary process, allowing Gallagher to retain his Trident pin which identifies him as a member of the SEAL community.

The video recordings, as well as text messages sent between the SEALs, are part of a New York Times' documentary airing on Hulu that the Times says reveals the anguish and anger the members of SEAL Team 7 experienced when speaking about Gallagher's actions during their deployment.

"You could tell he was perfectly OK with killing anybody that was moving," Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a medic in the platoon, told the investigators.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/navy-seals-call-eddie-gallagher-toxic-evil-newly/story?id=67945069&cid=social_twitter_abcn

A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel

Love this article!

My favorite part....
"Over a sweater, he wore a navy-blue suit, the fly of the pants unzipped. He accessorized with an American-flag lapel pin, American-flag woven wallet, a diamond-encrusted pinky ring, and a diamond-encrusted Yankees World Series ring (about which an innocent question resulted in a 15-minute rant about “fucking Wayne Barrett,” a journalist who manages to enrage Giuliani even in death).

In addition to being the president’s free personal attorney, Giuliani, who is 75, is an informal White House cybersecurity adviser and a high-priced cyber-security contractor. In one hand, he clutched three phones of varying sizes. Two of the devices were unlocked, their screens revealing open tabs and a barrage of banner notifications as they knocked into each other and reacted to Giuliani’s grip. He accidentally activated Siri, who said she didn’t understand his command. “She never understands me,” he said. He sighed and poked at the device, attempting to quiet her.

Giuliani is quick to announce that he knows “every block of this city,” but he lives on the Upper East Side and doesn’t linger much across or below the park. When I asked him to bring me somewhere he likes to hang out, he quickly directed his bodyguard to the Mark, a five-star hotel on East 77th Street. Always a creature of habit, Giuliani is extra-aware of where he’s welcome these days. He says that “because of what’s happened” his circle is tightening, that he doesn’t trust anyone anymore.

I asked him how he ever trusted Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Russian associates with a business called Fraud Guarantee who were arrested by the FBI in October. “They look like Miami people. I know a lot of Miami people that look like that that are perfectly legitimate and act like them,” Giuliani said. “Neither one of them have ever been convicted of a crime. Neither one. And generally that’s my cutoff point, because if you do it based on allegations and claims and — you’re not gonna work with anybody,” he said, laughing. “Particularly in business.”

Russian spy ship operating 'in unsafe manner' off Southeast coast, officials say

Source: Miami Herald

A Russian spy ship is “operating in an unsafe manner” off the Southeast coast between Florida and South Carolina, according to the United States Coast Guard.

A maritime safety information bulletin warns boaters that they should “use extreme caution when navigating in proximity” to RFN Viktor Leonov.

The bulletin came from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, which is responsible for ports that include Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia, an area that has a number of military installations along the coast.

Read more: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article238458288.html

QAnon Conspiracy-Believing Mob Boss Killer's Confession to Police Ruled Admissible

Source: Rolling Stone

Anthony Comello, 25, the conspiracy theory believer accused of killing alleged Gambino family boss Francesco “Frank” Cali was in court on Thursday where a judge ruled his statements to police after the murder were admissible. Comello’s attorney had argued the statements should be thrown out because of Comello’s mental and physical state at the time of his confession.

Comello has given varying reasons for Cali’s murder, but eventually told his lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, that he was motivated to kill Cali because he believed the mob boss was part of “the deep state” and he wanted to eliminate him to help President Donald Trump. Comello says he is a believer in QAnon, a conspiracy theory that claims agents within the government are trying to oust Trump from office.

“He ardently believed that Francesco Cali, a boss in the Gambino crime family, was a prominent member of the deep state, and, accordingly, an appropriate target for a citizen’s arrest,” Gottleib wrote in court documents.

Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/anthony-comello-confession-qanon-conspiracy-confession-admissible-923460/

Our tax dollars hard at work on "the official WH acct"

Surely this can't be legal!

Trump's aides eye moving impeachment witnesses out of White House jobs

Source: CNN

Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump's aides have explored moving some impeachment witnesses on loan to the White House from other agencies, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, back to their home departments ahead of schedule, according to people familiar with the conversations.

As public hearings bring the officials' allegations to his television screen, Trump is asking anew how witnesses such as Vindman and Ambassador Bill Taylor came to work for him, people familiar with the matter said. He has suggested again they be dismissed, even as advisers warn him firing them could be viewed as retaliation.

The possible move of officials out of the White House could still be viewed by some as evidence of retribution for their testimony. Trump's frustration at his own officials comes as he attacks witnesses on Twitter, including during Friday's public hearing with the ousted ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Trump appears to have adopted a strategy of maligning the officials, despite some allies encouraging him not to.

The uncertain fate and public thrashing of these officials has created a thorny situation for a White House wading through the impeachment process. Trump's impulse to dismiss them hasn't been realized, but he's made clear nevertheless he views them as unwelcome.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/18/politics/donald-trump-never-trump-white-house-staff/index.html

Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona, Cook Political Report projects

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona, is projected to defeat Republican opponent Rep. Martha McSally, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

As of Sunday, Sinema had 49.57 percent of the vote, or 1,071,280 ballots cast, the Arizona Secretary of State's office reported. McSally, meanwhile, had 48.08 percent support or 1,038,988 votes.
Projection: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has defeated Rep. Martha McSally (R) in #AZSEN. This thing has been over for a while.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 12, 2018

Sinema's campaign manager Andrew Piatt declared his boss's lead over McSally as "insurmountable."
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