Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How a Secretive Branch of ISIS Built a Global Network of Killers

A jailhouse interview with a German man who joined the Islamic State reveals the
workings of a unit whose lieutenants are empowered to plan attacks around the world.

DC transit cop charged with trying to support ISIS

Nicholas Young, 36, of Fairfax, was arrested Wednesday morning at Metro’s headquarters in Washington. He is charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group, and is scheduled for an initial appearance Wednesday afternoon at US District Court in Alexandria.
According to an FBI affidavit, Young bought nearly $250 in gift cards last month that he intended for the Islamic State to use to purchase mobile apps that would facilitate communication. But Young actually gave the gift cards to an undercover FBI source.
Judge blocks release of Trump videos in Trump University fraud case

Greg Moran

A federal judge here has decided that he will not allow the release of videotaped depositions of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump in connection with a class-action lawsuit against the defunct Trump University real estate program.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel — a target of Trump's repeated scorn — also rejected a bid by Trump’s lawyers to get the lawsuit dismissed, a ruling that clears the way for a trial that could be costly for the candidate.
Several media organizations had sought release of Trump’s two videotaped depositions, taken in December and January. Transcripts of the testimony have been released, but Trump’s lawyers fought the effort to make the videos themselves public

How to use trusts to save big-time on state income taxes

  Most tax strategies center on minimizing federal income taxes, since they account for the lion's share of taxes a person might owe. But in some states, income-tax rates are themselves in the double digits and can add mightily to tax bills.
Over the last decade or so, one strategy has been gaining in popularity among wealthy individuals and families and their tax advisors. They use trusts to limit their exposure to state income-tax rates. ING trusts, which stands for incomplete gift non-grantor trusts, can shift the tax exposure out of a high-tax state, such as California, to a state with no state income tax, such as Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming.

Glass-Steagall's return threatens Wall Street

That's the big takeaway from a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods report issued over the weekend, which looks at the prospects and ramifications of bringing back Glass-Steagall, legislation that put a wall between commercial and investment banking but was done away with in the late 1990s.
Glass-Steagall unexpectedly jumped back into the political conversation when Republicans referred to their desire to bring back elements of the legislation in July as part of their campaign platform. Democrats doubled down, and said they want to restrict Wall Street banks more. Not everyone is happy about the shift, and KBW analysts say it's not a good deal for most on Wall Street, including stockholders.

"Investors should not view the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall as a potential way to unleash value in large banks," they wrote. "A Congressional approach to breaking up the banks would not be based on economic value creation, but be based on the politics of applying penalties to the largest banks."
Bitcoin Price Drops 20% After $72 Million in Bitcoin Stolen from Bitfinex Exchange

Yet another blow to Bitcoin: One of the world's most popular exchanges of the cryptocurrency has suffered a major hack, leading to a loss of around $72 Million worth of Bitcoins.

Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange 'Bitfinex' has posted a note on their website announcing the shutdown of its operation after discovering a security breach that allowed an attacker to steal some user funds.

While the company did not mention a total amount lost in the breach, one of their employees — Bitfinex community director Zane Tackett — confirmed on Reddit that the total amount stolen was 119,756 bitcoins — worth up to $72 Million in cash.

The cause of the security breach and the hacker behind the incident is still unclear, but the attackers appear to have mysteriously bypassed Bitfinex’s mandated limits on withdrawals.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed

Obama administration insists there was no quid pro quo, but critics charge payment amounted to ransom 


WASHINGTON—The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.
Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland, they said.
The money represented the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration reached with Iran to resolve a decades-old dispute over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 fall of Iran’s last monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Putin Speech St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 17,2016

Putin: "I am not your friend, I am the President of Russia"
Published on Jul 23, 2016
When German journalists asked the very simplistic question on whether Putin considered himself a friend or a foe to the West- he answered neither. There is the simple concept of national interests, which may or may not be at odds with other countries. Diplomacy is the art of being able to reconcile your national interests, alongside those of other States, compromising on certain aspects along the way. However, the Atlanticist world view (EU/US/NATO) has shown not to allow for mutual respect, nor for cooperation. Through a number of covert means, they ask for nothing less than for Russia to no longer ascertain its national interests, which makes President Putin #1 Boogeyman in the world today.