Category Archives: Corruption

UCLA Professor Caught Stealing Secrets for China | Jul 11 2019

UCLA prof guilty of conspiring to steal missile secrets for China, could face more than 200 years in prison

|| Campus Reform

“A jury found an electrical engineer and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China.

UCLA adjunct professor Yi-Chi Shih was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges, Newsweek reported, and could now lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, while also facing up to 219 years behind bars for numerous violations of the law. These include conspiracy to break  the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), committing mail and wire fraud, lying to a government agency, subscribing to a false tax return, and conspiring to gain unauthorized access to information on a protected computer, according to a Department of Justice news release.

“Schemed to export to China semiconductors with military and civilian uses, then he lied about it    

Shih and co-defendant Kiet Ahn Mai tried to access illegally a protected computer owned by a U.S. company that manufactured semiconductor chips called monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). MMICs are used by the Air Force and Navy in fighter jets, missiles and missile guidance technology, and electronic military defense systems.

The chips were exported to Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC), a Chinese company, without a required Department of Commerce license. Shih previously served as the president of CGTC, which made the Commerce Department’s Entity List in 2014 “due to its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States – specifically, that it had been involved in the illicit procurement of commodities and items for unauthorized military end use in China,” according to court documents cited by the DOJ.

Shih “schemed to export to China semiconductors with military and civilian uses, then he lied about it to federal authorities and failed to report income generated by the scheme on his tax returns,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said, according to the DOJ release. “My office will enforce laws that protect our nation’s intellectual property from being used to benefit foreign adversaries who may compromise our national security.”

See more at: Campus Reform

 

Ex-State Department Worker Gets 40 Months In Prison For Secret Dealings With China

|| DelawarePublic.org

 

 

“A former State Department employee was sentenced to 40 months in prison for concealing her interactions with two Chinese intelligence agents, along with the extravagant gifts they gave her in exchange for government information.

Candace Claiborne began to work as an office management specialist at the State Department in 1999, according to court documents. She had a top secret security clearance and served overseas in such cities as Baghdad, Beijing and Shanghai.

But she ignored her responsibility to report foreign contacts, prosecutors said as they announced her sentence on Tuesday.

“Claiborne was entrusted with privileged information as a U.S. government employee, and she abused that trust at the expense of our nation’s security,” Acting Assistant Director John Selleck of the FBI’s Washington Field Office said in a statement. “The targeting of U.S. security clearance holders by Chinese intelligence services is a constant threat we face,” he added.

Over the course of five years, Chinese agents allegedly gave Claiborne and her family “tens of thousands of dollars” in gifts and perks – including wired cash, a monthly stipend, overseas trips, tuition at a Chinese fashion school and an apartment that was fully furnished. In exchange for the gifts, Claiborne gave them a window into the State Department’s inner workings through copies of internal documents about dignitary visits and other topics.

Prosecutors said she told a co-conspirator that the agents were “spies” and wrote in her journal that she could “Generate 20k in 1 year” by working with one of the agents.

Federal public defender David Walker Bos, Claiborne’s attorney, did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

Her arrest came in March 2017 after a sting operation in January of that year. An FBI agent, posing as a Chinese agent, approached Claiborne on a street in Washington, D.C. She welcomed him to her home and their lengthy discussion ended with the undercover agent thanking her for helping the “Ministry,” NPR previously reported.

After the arrest, she pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction and making false statements to the FBI. In April 2019, she pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. In the plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges.

A judge ordered Claiborne detained pending sentencing, but she requested to self-surrender on June 5, the document stated.

In addition to a 40-month prison sentence, Claiborne received three years of supervised release and a fine of $40,000.

Her sentence comes after former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee pleaded guilty this spring to spying for China – and as U.S. officials have warned that Chinese espionage is the country’s most serious security threat.”

See more at: DelawarePublic.Org

Chao and McConnell Ties to China Says NYT – June 04 2019

NYT Confirms Schweizer ‘Secret Empires’ Bombshell on Elaine Chao and Mitch McConnell’s China Ties

|| Breitbart

 

“Trump Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao “repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile of [her family’s shipping] company, which benefits handsomely from the expansive industrial policies in Beijing that are at the heart of diplomatic tensions with the United States,” according to a New York Times exposé on Monday that builds off research from Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book Secret Empires.

Chao, who is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has been the subject of intense criticism over the years due to the deep financial ties between her family’s shipping business and China’s communist regime.

The nearly 6,000-word Times article begins by recounting an urgent email sent to the State Department in 2017 by an official at the American embassy in Beijing. The subject line read “Secretary Chao – Ethics Question.” According to the Times, the email concerned “a series of unorthodox requests” Chao’s office made in the run-up to her first official trip to China as Trump’s transportation secretary. Her requests included “asking federal officials to help coordinate travel arrangements for at least one family member and include relatives in meetings with government officials.”

….read more at: Breitbart

 

AMAZON OFFERED JOB TO PENTAGON OFFICIAL INVOLVED WITH $10 BILLION CONTRACT IT SOUGHT

|| Intercept

IN A FEDERAL lawsuit, the tech giant Oracle has provided new details to support its accusation that Amazon secretly negotiated a job offer with a then-Department of Defense official who helped shape the procurement process for a massive federal contract for which Amazon was a key bidder.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are now the two finalists to win the highly contested $10 billion contract for what is known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. The deal, one of the largest federal contracts in U.S. history, would pay one company to provide cloud computing services in support of Defense Department operations around the world.

But the contract has been hotly contested since the department began soliciting proposals last year. Two of Amazon’s competitors, IBM and Oracle, filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office saying that the winner-take-all process unfairly favored Amazon, which is seen as an industry leader in cloud computing. When its claim was rejected, Oracle sued the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Since the court battle began in 2018, Oracle has aggressively lodged conflict-of-interest accusations involving a former DOD official named Deap Ubhi, who left the department in 2017 to take a job at Amazon. In a court motion filed on Friday, Oracle alleged that while Ubhi worked on the preliminary research for the JEDI program in the late summer and fall of 2017, he was also engaged in a secret job negotiation with Amazon for months, complete with salary discussions, offers of signing bonuses, and lucrative stock options.

The motion further alleges that Ubhi did not recuse himself from the JEDI program until weeks after verbally accepting a job offer from Amazon and that he continued to receive information about Amazon’s competitors and participate in meetings about technical requirements, despite a government regulation that forbids such conflicts of interest.

“Neither Ubhi nor [Amazon Web Services] disclosed the employment discussions or job offer to DOD — not when the employment discussions started, not when the informal job offer occurred, not when the formal offer occurred, and not even when Ubhi accepted the offer,” Oracle’s motion reads.

As America’s technology companies have continued to outpace the Pentagon, the Defense Department has looked to recruit talent from Silicon Valley to help enhance its information technology.

Ubhi is a venture capitalist and technology entrepreneur who worked for Amazon before his time in government. He took a job working on a Defense Department initiative aimed at collaborating with Silicon Valley to modernize the Pentagon’s information technology systems. After working as part of a four-person team to help shape the Pentagon JEDI procurement process, he left the department and returned to Amazon in November 2017.”

….read more at: The Intercept

 

Back to the Future: U.S. Senate Debate 2016 Kamala Harris | Apr 09 2019

The Complete Debate:

|| KPBS

“Our California Counts collaborative will host a U.S. Senate debate with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Duf Sundheim, Tom Del Beccaro and Ron Unz 7 p.m. at KPBS in San Diego Tuesday, May 10. The debate will air live on 88.5FM and stream on KQED.org.”

 

Amidst Record Profits Amazon and Netflix Paid No Fed Taxes | Feb 18 2019

Amazon puts the smile in federal income taxes — by not paying any

|| Seattle Times

“”Last week I suggested that Amazon isn’t so much a Seattle company as “sovereign, borderless nation-state.” It turns out I left a key descriptor out of that phrase.

That would be “taxless.”

The nation’s third-largest company booked record profits last year. But paid nothing in U.S. federal taxes.

“Zero, as in not a cent,” says Matthew Gardner, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

Amazon did pay taxes to state and foreign governments (more on that in a minute). But the financial statements mean that one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world paid fewer dollars to the upkeep of the national government than tens of millions of individuals — such as, say, your average lowly newspaper columnist.

That’s right – I’m paying more to the U.S. government for 2018 than Amazon (I’m talking about the corporate entity, not its mass of employees). So, probably, are you.

Gardner says the internet giant was able to zero out its bill — actually go below zero, as it qualified for a rebate of $129 million — in large part due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s year-old tax-cut law.

“That law didn’t reform much of anything; it was simply to slash taxes,” Gardner said. “So it isn’t surprising this is happening. Cutting corporate taxes was the whole point.”

All the way to nothing?

The company also got a series of tax credits (for equipment purchases, for example) and booked allowable business deductions (the largest of which was writing off stock options).

Businesses often pay little or no tax when they make low profits. But Amazon’s total U.S.-booked profit for 2018 nearly doubled to more than $11 billion.

Gardner isn’t saying Amazon did anything wrong, and of course its hundreds of thousands of employees pay income taxes. But last year total corporate taxes paid to the U.S. government plummeted 31 percent, a drop described by a debt watchdog group as unprecedented during a time of economic growth.”

The freight paid by U.S. businesses is already down another 18 percent in the first quarter of the 2019 year (the fiscal year for the government started last October). It’s part of the reason why the federal deficit soared 42 percent in that same quarter, despite a booming economy and no major war straining the budget.

The latest head-shaking factoid about our red ink is that the federal government next year will spend more on interest on the debt than it will on children. As one critic put it: more on the past than on the future.

Amazon’s financial statements also show it’s only the U.S. that’s letting the company contribute nothing of late.

Amazon’s total taxes paid to the U.S. and all U.S. states the past two years amounted to just $267 million (counting rebates, on more than $16 billion in profit). While its taxes paid to foreign governments totaled $1.3 billion. So a company we call “ours” contributed nearly five times as much into the kitties of countries abroad as it did here at home.

Gardner says he calls out when rich, successful companies pay nothing not because he thinks they’re evil. But because it’s “spurring a crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

It isn’t just that vital public services might go wanting (though they may). It’s that everyone else may eventually say: If even Amazon doesn’t have to pay, then why the bleep should I?

“It’s an extremely potent reinforcement of distrust,” Gardner said. “It signals strongly that we have a system that’s tilted to benefit the big and powerful, not the rest of us.”

Gardner said the obvious answer is to actually reform the tax system, so that those with an ability to pay at least contribute something.

We’re so distant right now from that more democratic ideal — the notion of asking not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. Unless you’re a sovereign, borderless, taxless nation-state. Then what’s going on makes perfect sense.”

….read more from Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times

 

Netflix paid NOTHING in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845million – and even got a $22million rebate

|| DailyMail UK

 

“Netflix didn’t pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845million, according to a new report.

In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still ‘exploiting loopholes’ and called the figures ‘troubling’.

Netflix says they paid $131 million in taxes in 2018 and this is declared in financial documents. But Gardner says this figure relates to taxes paid abroad, according to a separate part of their statements.

Gardner added: ‘Fortunately, however, there is another, more complete geographic disclosure of income tax payments.

‘The notes to the financial statements have a detailed section on income taxes. And what this tells us is that all of the income taxes Netflix paid in 2018 were foreign taxes. Zero federal income taxes, zero state income taxes in the US.’

Gardner said the public is now ‘getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations’.

He said: ‘With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.’

….read more at: Daily Mail UK

Senate Committee Finds No Trump Russia Collusion | Feb 14 2019

NBC Ignores Own Exclusive: Senate Probe Found No Evidence of Collusion

|| NewsBusters.com

 

“According to an NBC News exclusive that first aired during the 10 o’clock hour of Tuesday morning’s MSNBC Live, both Republican and Democratic sources on the Senate Intelligence Committee admitted they had not found any direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Despite the fact the exclusive was filed by NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian, NBC Nightly News hid it from viewers. Meanwhile, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News also turned a blind eye.

Instead of reporting on their massive breaking news story that drove a flood of reporting by other outlets, NBC Nightly News and anchor Lester Holt chose to hype DNA tests for dogs. [UPDATE: NBC skipped its own reporting again on Today.]

When the story first broke, a seemingly shocked Hallie Jackson came back from a commercial break to announce their discovery. “NBC News exclusive reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Their investigation into Russian election interference and what they have and have not uncovered,” she said as she introduced Dilanian.

Wasting no time in getting to the heart of what his reporting discovered, Dilanian declared: “Hallie, after two years and after interviewing more than 200 witnesses, the Senate Intelligence Committee has not uncovered any direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Dilanian noted that committee chairman, Senate Richard Burr (R-NC), confirmed that finding to another network the other day, but he wanted to see what Democrats on the committee had to say. “[W]hat I’ve been doing since then is checking with my sources on the Democratic side to understand the full context of his remarks because that was essentially a partisan comment from one side, but this is a bipartisan investigation and what I found is that the Democrats don’t dispute that characterization.

….read more @ NewsBusters

 

Trump Demands Gavin Newsom Return $3.5 Billion for Canceled Bullet Train; Newsom: It’s ‘California’s Money’ Now

|| Breitbart

“President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday evening that the State of California return $3.5 billion in federal funds after Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled most of the state’s high-speed rail project, saying it was too expensive.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” the president tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”

Newsom devoted the opening portion of his first “State of the State” address Tuesday to attacking Trump and his policies on the border. Yet he then bowed to conservative criticism — and, arguably, to fiscal reality — by canceling the high-speed rail project championed by his predecessors.

The governor added that while the bullet train would no longer connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, as first envisioned, the state would still continue “phase one” of the project between the rural towns of Bakersfield and Merced. “I know that some critics will say this is a ‘train to nowhere,’” he said. “But that’s wrong and offensive.”

Newsom added that the state had to continue the project if it wanted to keep the federal funds it had taken: “I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”

The money was granted to California as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus, which set aside “$8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors,” the New York Times reported at the time.

Obama pressured states to take the cash — which Democrat-governed states eagerly did. But the Republican wave of 2010 brought new governors to office, and several rejected their state’s high-speed rail plans as costly and unnecessary.

California has already spent over $5 billion on the high-speed rail project — roughly the same amount that Trump had requested for the border wall.”

….read more @ Breitbart

 

Russia Investigation

Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia

|| NBC News

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.

Senate has found no direct evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia

|| NBC News

 

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contactswith Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.”

….read more @ NBC News

 

The ‘View’ Obscured? | Feb 08 2019

Whoopi Goldberg Absent From ‘The View’ Since Joy Behar’s Blackface Photo Resurfaced

|| BigLeaguePolitics.com

 

Where is Whoopi?

“Whoopi Goldberg, a regular co-host of ABC’s show “The View,” has been absent from the show since Wednesday morning, just after the resurfacing of co-host Joy Behar’s blackface photos Tuesday.

“Whoopi has a day off,” Behar said at the opening of Wednesday’s show. “I think she has – she’s under the weather a little bit, I think.”

Thursday, she did not appear on the show either.

“So, Whoopi is still under the weather,” Behar said Thursday. “She doesn’t feel well, sorry to say. She’ll be back maybe Monday – maybe, I don’t know.”

Tuesday Big League Politics reported that in 2016, Behar openly copped to wearing blackface to a Halloween party at age 29:”

…read more @ BLP

Deep State FBI and DOJ Operatives Briefed that Steele Dossier Was Questionable | Jan 20 2019

Bruce Ohr: FBI, DOJ Knew Dossier Was Dirty from the Beginning

|| PJ Media

“Virtually everyone at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department involved in the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of candidate Donald Trump knew from the beginning that the investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” was based on shaky opposition research compiled by a Trump-hating former British spy and funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Bruce Ohr, the demoted associate attorney general, testified to Congress last August that he repeatedly warned top officials at the FBI and DOJ about Steele’s bias and Fusion GPS’s conflicts of interest, yet this information was kept hidden from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And to add insult to injury, instead of investigating the officials who actively participated in the dossier hoax, Special Counsel Robert Mueller hired several of them to be on his team to investigate President Trump.

Steele, a former MI6 operative, was hired by Fusion GPS to find dirt on Trump after he clinched the Republican nomination.

The FBI fired him in the Fall of 2016 for lying, but the FBI and Justice Department officials nevertheless wrote in the FISA application that he was a reliable source.

Ohr kept top officials at both the FBI and Department of Justice apprised of his conversations with Steele both before and after the former British spy was fired as an informant.

On July 5, the very day of then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Steele flew to Rome to meet an old FBI contact, according to reports.

Later that month, he met with Ohr, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel reported, based on leaked transcripts confirmed by congressional sources.

Mr. Ohr testified that he sat down with dossier author Christopher Steele on July 30, 2016, and received salacious information the opposition researcher had compiled on Mr. Trump. Mr. Ohr immediately took that to the FBI’s then-Deputy Director Andy McCabe and lawyer Lisa Page. In August he took it to Peter Strzok, the bureau’s lead investigator. In the same month, Mr. Ohr believes, he briefed senior personnel in the Justice Department’s criminal division: Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, lawyer Zainab Ahmad and fraud unit head Andrew Weissman. The last two now work for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were also hired to work on Mueller’s team after being involved with Crossfire Hurricane, but had to be removed after the DOJ inspector general discovered their extreme anti-Trump bias in text messages.

Ohr testified that he stressed that the information he was sharing came from Trump’s political opponents in the Clinton camp and warned that it was unverified and likely biased.

“When I provided [the Steele information] to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” he testified. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to—who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware.”

He also told the team that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected” and that his own wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that compiled the dossier.

According to a leaked transcript of Ohr’s closed-door testimony to the joint House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees last Aug. 28, he waved all these red flags well before the FBI filed its October application for a surveillance warrant against Carter Page.”

….read more @ PJ Media