Category Archive 'Russia'
31 Oct 2017

Unpacking Yesterday’s Charges

, , ,

I was hoping somebody would take the time to read Mr. Mueller’s charges. Andrew C. McCarthy kindly did.

On first glance, Mueller’s case, at least in part, seems shaky and overcharged.

Even though the Ukrainian money goes back to 2006, the counts involving failure to file FBARs (Counts Three through Nine) go back only to 2012. This is likely because the five-year statute of limitations bars prosecution for anything before then. Obviously, one purpose of the conspiracy count (Count One) is to enable prosecutors, under the guise of establishing the full scope of the scheme, to prove law violations that would otherwise be time-barred.

The offense of failing to register as a foreign agent (Count Ten) may be a slam-dunk, but it is a violation that the Justice Department rarely prosecutes criminally. There is often ambiguity about whether the person’s actions trigger the registration requirement, so the Justice Department’s practice is to encourage people to register, not indict them for failing to do so.

It may well be that Manafort and Gates made false statements when they belatedly registered as foreign agents, but it appears that Mueller’s office has turned one offense into two, an abusive prosecutorial tactic that flouts congressional intent.

Specifically, Congress considers false statements in the specific context of foreign-agent registration to be a misdemeanor calling for zero to six months’ imprisonment. (See Section 622(a)(2) of Title 22, U.S. Code.) That is the offense Mueller charges in Count Eleven. But then, for good measure, Mueller adds a second false-statement count (Count Twelve) for the same conduct — charged under the penal-code section (Section 1001 of Title 18, U.S. Code) that makes any falsity or material omission in a statement to government officials a felony punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

Obviously, one cannot make a false statement on the foreign-agent registration form without also making a false statement to the government. Consequently, expect Manafort to argue that Mueller has violated double-jeopardy principles by charging the same exact offense in two separate counts, and that the special counsel is undermining Congress’s intent that the offense of providing false information on a foreign-agent registration form be considered merely a misdemeanor.

Finally, the money-laundering conspiracy allegation (Count Two) seems far from slam-dunk. For someone to be guilty of laundering, the money involved has to be the proceeds of criminal activity before the accused starts concealing it by (a) moving it through accounts or changing its form by buying assets, etc., or (b) dodging a reporting requirement under federal law.

Now, it is surely a terrible thing to take money, under the guise of “political consulting,” from an unsavory Ukranian political faction that is doing the Kremlin’s bidding. But it is not a violation of American law to do so. The violations occur when, as outlined above, there is a lack of compliance with various disclosure requirements. Mueller seems to acknowledge this: The money-laundering count does not allege that it was illegal for Manafort and Gates to be paid by the Ukrainian faction. It is alleged, rather, that they moved the money around to promote a scheme to function as unregistered foreign agents, and specifically to avoid the registration requirement.

That seems like a stretch. To be sure, the relevant money-laundering statute includes in its definition of “specified unlawful activity” “any violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.” (See Section 1956(c)(2)(7)(D) of Title 18, U.S. Code.) But the prosecution still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the money was the proceeds of unlawful activity in the first place. Moreover, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Manafort and Gates (a) knew the money was the proceeds of illegal activity and (b) transported the money the way they did with the specific intent of avoiding having to register as foreign agents. This count will thus fail if there is any doubt that the Ukrainian money was illegal under American law, that Manafort and Gates knew it was illegal, that they knew the work they were doing required them to register as foreign agents, or that it was their intention to promote a failure-to-register violation.

Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective, there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign. From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case.

20 Jul 2017

As Long as You Don’t Let Him Drive…

, ,

The circus arrived in Arkhangelsk with a 250-pound trained bear named Tim. He confidently climbs into the carriage and waves his paw on command. Tatiana, the “Area 29” circus administrator, said local bikers have supported and agreed to ride with Tim.

The motorcycle driver Michael said that it was his first time communicating with the bear, but that he is not afraid. “The main thing is to not let Tim climb behind the wheel!”

HT: Karen L. Myers.

06 Jul 2017

“What Is She Aiming At?”

,

24 Jun 2017

Russian Lit Bingo Board

, ,

02 Jun 2017

Treats For the Locals

,


Russian soldiers feeding condensed milk to polar bears, Chukchi Peninsula, 1950.

17 May 2017

Breaking: FBI Uncovers Evidence That 62 Million Trump Voters are All Russian Agents

, , ,


Russian mind control space beam.

Daily Stormer:

Anonymous sources within the FBI have revealed to The Times that they have new evidence indicating that everyone who voted for Donald Trump is an agent of the FSB (formerly the KGB). An unknown portion of these voters may have had their minds controlled by a Russian space-beam, agents close to the investigation say.

The allegation that 62 million Americans appear to be employed by Russian intelligence services has rocked the Bureau, and it is reported that multiple agents have taken their own lives, given that realizing just how deep this Russian hacking conspiracy runs blew their minds – literally.

This shocking new revelation comes after it was confirmed as a fact that Russia did Wikileaks because Donald Trump personally called Vladimir Putin and asked him to. It was also revealed earlier this week that Alex Jones (real name “Alexi Jonesinov”) is a Russian sleeper agent who was ordered by the FSB (formerly the KGB) to post news articles on the internet saying that Donald Trump would be a good President.

However, the revelation that 62 million Americans are taking orders directly from the Kremlin is a revelation of a whole other order, which FBI agents are struggling with how to deal with.

It was determined by Puerto Rican federal judge Mizu Tomazaki that it is a crime to support Donald Trump or to post positive things about him on the internet. 9th circuit judges Weinberg, Steinman and Goldenstein upheld the ruling. Despite this, the logistics of rounding up 62 million people and locking them in prison present a difficult task to overcome.

It may also be that not every voter is a direct agent of the FSB (formerly the KGB), and some may have been under the control of a mind control beam in space.

RTWT

03 Apr 2017

Dems Playing a Losing Hand in Phony Russiagate Scandal

, , , , ,

Kurt Schlichter (who has been on a roll lately) predicts the outcome of the fabricated Russiagate scandal.

If you’re stressed out about this whole Russian nonsense, relax – Donald Trump didn’t do anything wrong, and he’s not going be impeached, arrested, or ritually disemboweled. When the truth comes out and it explodes in the Democrats’ soft, girlish hands, we’ll all be laughing and toasting their humiliation with Stoli shots.

How do I know this with utter certainty? Because it’s all so glaringly obvious, and it’s the only scenario that fits the facts. As Hugh Hewitt says, this scandal has three silos. The first silo is the question of whether the Russians somehow “hacked our election.” The second silo is whether any Trump people “colluded” with the Russians. The third silo, the one patriots care most about since it’s the one that isn’t a ridiculous fantasy, is whether anyone in Obama’s administration used our intelligence apparatus to spy on his and Hillary’s political opponents. The answers are “No,” “No,” and “Yes.” The end results are going to be a stronger Trump, weaker Democrats, and various Obama minions exploring new career opportunities in the exciting fields of license plate-making, large-to-small rock transformation, and artisanal pruno distilling.

Read the whole thing.

26 Mar 2017

Russian Boy Demos Building With a Brick

,

20 Mar 2017

The Moscow Drift

,

Popular Mechanics:

Russia’s tank force is largely staffed by teenagers drafted to serve their country for 12-month terms. The T-80UD has a manual transmission. Maybe you can see where this is going.

04 Mar 2017

Sessions Scandal Just a Case of Media Partisanship

, , , ,

T.A. Frank, at Vanity Fair, analyses, and sadly dismisses, the Jess Sessions-lied-about-Russian-contacts meme that the MSM has turned into this week’s feeding frenzy. He is actually worried that this kind of crying-Wolf by the establishment media is turning them into laughing-stocks and lowering their credibility to the point of zero.

As things clear up, we may be seeing a collapsing soufflé. And as with so many soufflés served up by the press in recent months, it emerged from the oven to oohs and ahs—this time, with me among the oohers and ahers—only to sink, first slowly, then quickly. Next, it will go into the trash, and we’ll bake another. It’s tiring. It’s boring. And above all it’s supremely damaging to the press. If you want people to believe you, then develop a reputation for believability. Might work better than just blaming your loss of credibility on Trump.

That leaves the question, once more, of whether Russia is a mastermind pulling Trumpian strings. It’s a crazy world, and anything’s possible. But the power of confirmation bias is immense. How many books and articles came out during the Obama years suggesting the president was secretly pushing for Sharia law, violating espionage law, trying to destroy Israel, or surrendering to Russia by whispering about post-election “flexibility” to Dmitri Medvedev (hats off to Breitbart for promoting that last claim)? Lots. If you wanted to believe Obama was a Muslim who was trying to subvert the nation from within, you could find what you needed to find.

So if you’ve determined that Trump is the Siberian candidate, you’ll find what you need to find. And this time high-ranking government officials are trying to help you. As the Post story was breaking, The New York Times reported that Obama White House officials “scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election” and that intelligence officials rushed “to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government.” This ensures the leaks keep coming and that the list of suspects remains infinite.

04 Jan 2017

Europe’s Last Pagans

, ,

Harumph! I always thought the last European pagans were we Lithuanians (converted 1386). How do you like this?

Flashbak:

Photojournalist Ikuru Kuwajima recorded Mari life when he journeyed deep into Russia’s Mari El republic – about 600 miles east of Moscow. Under Soviet rule, the Maris were encouraged to abandon their way of life and join the mainstream. Most joined the Russian Orthodox church during the Soviet era. But many kept their pagan traditions alive in secret, practising witchcraft and animal sacrifice, believing in half-men, half-deities called ‘keremets’ and seeking communion with Nature – a source of absolute good.

Probably distant cousins who lived way out there in the boondocks.

Not Balts though. Wikipedia says they’re Finno-Ugric speakers.

30 Dec 2016

Tweet of the Day

, , ,

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Russia' Category.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark