‘Imperialist scum’: Protesters vandalize Churchill mural at WW2-themed cafe

By ethan / January 23, 2018

Protesters defaced a Winston Churchill-themed cafe in London amid claims the establishment “celebrates British imperialism,” ruthlessly perpetuated by one of the most revered prime ministers in British history.

The Blighty cafe in Finsbury Park – where customers can drink out of Churchill-adorned mugs and pose beside a replica of the wartime leader – has been repeatedly vandalized by anti-imperialist protesters.

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© Wikipedia

A street mural picturing Churchill’s iconic two-finger victory salute, complete with a massive slogan reading “double shot,” has been covered with graffiti slamming the former PM as “scum,” a “warmonger” and an “imperialist.”

The cafe in north London nonetheless claims it is merely trying to celebrate a “true British hero.” Blighty UK is the founding cafe of the Blighty Commonwealth of Cafes. It boasts on its website of sourcing its coffee beans from Commonwealth countries Rwanda, Kenya, India, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and Malawi, as well as other ingredients “wherever possible.”

Co-owner Chris Evans, whose other cafe, a Gandhi-themed bar near Tottenham, has also attracted protests, told the Evening Standard he “never thought” the leader of India’s independence movement, or one of the most popular leaders in history, could attract such criticism.

While a more widely respected figure than Churchill, Gandhi has been denounced as a racist, due to statements he made during his time in South Africa as a young man.

“The Churchill mural was just a bit of fun with the idea that he had two fingers up ordering a double espresso. It is simply silly to say we are celebrating British imperialism,” Evans said.

“We are just an independent cafe chain put together by people who work hard to make it happen and people seem to want to bring politics into it to try and drag us down. All we are doing is celebrating a true British hero in Churchill and the ties between Britain and Commonwealth countries.”

Three Haringey residents have gone all the way to ask Tottenham MP David Lammy to intervene. They started a petition calling for the brand change so that it adopts a more modern view of the Commonwealth, stating it is “using history in a light-hearted fancy-dress manner.”

“While Blighty does make a point of sourcing its coffee from countries in the Commonwealth, we feel its framing of the Commonwealth is an outdated concept using its history in a light-hearted ‘fancy-dress’ manner,” the petition claims. “We would like to step in now and ask them to adjust their brand whilst there’s still only two branches.”

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi © Adnan Abidi

While Churchill has passed into history as a fearless prime minister who vehemently opposed Nazi Germany, he is also accountable for a litany of imperialist policies that led to the deaths of millions and the continued colonial repression of millions more.

Most notably, Churchill is blamed for allowing up to 4 million Indians to starve in Bengal when they were struck by famine back in 1943. According to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, among others, the famine was triggered by Churchill’s decision to transport Bengal-produced grain to British soldiers fighting in Greece, rather to feed the local population.

Churchill rejected calls to supply the starving people, who lived in under British rule, saying the population bred “like rabbits” anyway. Churchill also refused any offer of aid to the beleaguered Indians from the US and Canada, leading the then British secretary of state in India to compare him to Hitler.

When Churchill was colonial secretary in the 1920s, he responded to an Iraqi Kurdish rebellion against British rule by saying: “I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes… [It] would spread a lively terror.”

Historians are divided over whether or not gas was actually used to put down the rebellion.

During World War II, Churchill ordered the repression of Greek anti-fascist partisans who had helped kick out Nazi forces. In 1944 British troops massacred some 28 people after turning their guns on those protesting against their occupation.

Later Churchill would say “the [Nazi] collaborators in Greece in many cases did the best they could to shelter the Greek population from German oppression.”

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Montana signs executive order forcing net neutrality

By ethan / January 23, 2018

Following the repeal of net neutrality by Federal Communications Commission, Montana Governor Steve Bullock brought it back to the state through an executive order.

The order said that any internet service provider with a government contract cannot block or charge more for faster delivery of websites to any customer in the state.  

“If you want to do business in Montana,” the Democratic Governor told the New York Times on Monday, when he signed the executive order, “there are standards on net neutrality you will have to follow.”

The new rule would affect any new or newly renewed contract inked after July 1 of this year. The list of providers that would likely be affected includes some of the industry’s biggest names. AT&T, Charter, CenturyLink and Verizon all currently have contracts with the state.

The action could face legal challenges from providers. If successful, however, it could be a method adopted by other states and become a national standard like auto emission rules, cybersecurity notification laws, or GMO food labels.

Bills are also being worked up in New York and Rhode Island using government contracts to regulate the practice of internet service providers.

The move is the latest effort by state lawmakers to push back against the Federal Communication Commission’s decision on December 15 to repeal net neutrality rules in a 3-2 vote. Net neutrality means internet service providers must treat all data on the web equally, regardless of the content, website, platform, application or method of communication. The FCC says states cannot create net neutrality laws.

Bullock told NYT the executive order was the fastest way to bring back net neutrality rules and to head off any decisions by internet service providers to begin throttling or charging websites more to reach customers.

The FCC argued net neutrality was preventing websites from investing trillions of dollars in network services. However, critics claim with net-neutrality regulations gone internet service providers will charge extra to prioritize traffic, effectively creating a ‘slow lane’ for smaller websites.

The executive order overrides the lengthy processes facing other recently filed opposition, including a lawsuit filed last week by 22 state attorneys general. Mozilla has also filed a similar suit, and 49 Democratic senators outlined their own plan for helping restore the net neutrality rules, originally established under the Obama administration.

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Bon appetit! Man fined for eating foie gras & watching film while driving in France

By ethan / January 23, 2018

A man in France was fined by police after making his ride a little too comfortable. The motorist was eating a plate of foie gras while watching a film on his laptop, which was perched on his dashboard.

His elaborate set-up landed him a fine of €750 (US$ 919), with police in the town of Laval determining he was “driving in a dangerous position,”  according to Ouest France newspaper. 

READ MORE: Au revoir foie gras? 600k ducks to be slaughtered in France due to bird flu

While the thought of a man loving foie gras so much that he has to eat it while driving could play up to certain French stereotypes (they do love the delicacy, after all), it turns out the man was reportedly not French at all but a Russian who apparently thought foie gras was a better driving snack than caviar.

The incident comes after France announced a crackdown on drivers caught using mobile phones behind the wheel earlier this month. The government probably thought a clause on watching movies while driving was unnecessary.

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Russian Football’s Ethics Committee fine Spartak press officer for 'chocolate' tweets

By ethan / January 23, 2018

The Russian Football Union (RFU) Ethics Committee has reprimanded Spartak Moscow defender Georgi Dzhikiya and press officer Leonid Trachtenberg after an allegedly racist tweet was posted on the club’s official Twitter account.

A committee meeting on Tuesday ruled to punish the player and fine Trachtenberg 20,000 rubles ($ 354) for a tweet showing a video of Dzhikiya filming Brazilian teammates Fernando, Luiz Adriano and Pedro Rocha at Spartak’s training base in Abu Dhabi and commenting “see how chocolates melt in the sun” on January 13.

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Quincy Promes © Sputnik

Speaking to journalists after the hearing, committee head Semen Andreev admitted that the incident was an “extremely unusual issue” and the first of its kind faced by the committee.

“The committee discussed all arguments and took the decision to reprimand Georgi Dzhikiya, and to fine Trachtenberg 20,000 rubles. Spartak have three days in which to appeal the decision,” Andreev said, R-Sport reported

“In our work, we have never dealt with such matters. Spartak’s lawyer and press officer Leonid Trachtenberg spoke at the meeting. They admitted their mistake that such material was posted on Spartak’s Twitter.

“Naturally, he is responsible for this material. They [the press office] let this material slip through and didn’t attach any significance. They have admitted that,” he added.

Trachtenberg refused to comment on the matter, and instead directed attention towards Spartak. “Can I not comment on that? Better I comment on Spartak’s football match in their training camp,” the 70-year-old said.

The comment from Dzhikiya’s video was captioned in the tweet along with chocolate bar emojis, screened by the club’s press office, and published before being deleted.

Spartak then posted a series of follow-up tweets with Dzhikiya and the Brazilian trio Fernando, Luiz Adriano and Pedro Rocha, in which Dzhikiya tells the camera: “We don’t have any racism in the team. We are all brothers and one big family.”

During Spartak’s 1-0 defeat to Chinese side Shanghai SIPG, Dzhikiya injured his anterior cruciate ligament. The 24-year-old underwent an operation in Italy on Monday, from which he has made a recovery, but will face a race against time to be fit for the Russia 2018 World Cup in just under five months.

READ MORE: Russia international Dzhikiya suffers serious knee injury, could miss World Cup (VIDEO)

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BBC backs Ed Balls revealing the secret behind his partying with ‘Trumpettes’ at Mar-a-Lago

By ethan / January 23, 2018

Ed Balls has caused a social media stir after pictures of him partying with busty blondes at US President Donald Trump’s “winter White House” emerged.

The former Labour politician and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star was spotted flanked by female supporters of Trump – dubbed “Trumpettes.”

The celebration was marking one year since the Trump inauguration. The 45th president did not actually turn up to the event at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago, however.

Balls was partying with clairvoyant Tina Hillstrom, one of the four core members of “Real Women 4 Trump” and socialite and founder of the “Trumpettes” Toni Holt Kramer.

Confusion spread about his presence there.

Others joked at his expense.

However, the BBC backed Balls, confirming he is currently making a documentary on world politics. The series is entitled “Ed Balls: My Deep South Road Trip,” according to the Beeb.

During the show, Balls interviews Trump fanatics to try to understand the historic election of the billionaire businessman to power.

Balls said of the show: “It’s one thing to swap being a politician for reality TV and embarrass your family in the process.

“It’s quite another thing to swap reality TV for the US presidency and turn the world upside down. I’ve always loved visiting the American south – the food and the music are fabulous and there’s so much to learn from its history.

“But I was as shocked as anyone else by the way the south helped sweep Trump to victory. So I’m looking forward to visiting the communities at the heart of the Trump revolution, getting to know the voters who elected him and finding out what they think of him one year on.”

However, the truth did not set Balls free from the angry public.

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FBI agent sent ‘jaw-dropping’ text about no Russia collusion – senator

By ethan / January 23, 2018

The FBI agent who investigated the Trump-Russia collusion claim sent a “jaw-dropping” text message suggesting that there was nothing to it, according to a Wisconsin senator who chairs the Homeland Security Committee.

Peter Strzok, formerly the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, sent a text to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, on May 19, 2017 – just two days after the special counsel was appointed to investigate claims of President Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Strzok had led the investigation into Trump since July 2016, and had previously been involved in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern that there’s no big there there,” Strzok texted Page, according to Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), who read out the message on Tuesday during an interview with WISN-Milwaukee radio host Jay Weber.

“I think that’s kind of jaw-dropping,” said Johnson. “In other words, Peter Strzok, who was the FBI deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division, the man who had a plan to do something because he just couldn’t abide Donald Trump being president, is saying that his gut sense is that there’s no big there there when it comes to the Mueller special counsel investigation.”

Johnson chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has been looking into the “completely unguarded” texts between Strzok and Page. The two were quietly removed from Mueller’s staff at some point last year after their texts to each other revealed a major conflict of interest.

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FILE PHOTO © Jonathan Ernst

Among other things, Strzok and Page discussed an “insurance policy” in case Trump won the election. On Tuesday, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) said that one of the texts he had seen even referenced a “secret society” at the FBI.

Hundreds of text messages between Strzok and Page surfaced during a Justice Department inspector general investigation into the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton. Strzok was one of the lead investigators in that probe. The existence of the texts was first reported in December, though Strzok had been reassigned from Mueller’s team to the FBI’s human resources department in August.

On Monday, the FBI admitted it had “failed to preserve” the messages between Strzok and Page from December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017 –  the day Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. The FBI blamed the loss on “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades.”

Even so, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the FBI investigators have found “over 50,000 texts” between Strzok and Page. According to Senator Johnson, the pair were “completely unguarded” in their communications.

“So we’re getting insight into exactly what is happening inside the FBI at the highest levels. And who knows who else they might implicate in terms of corruption,” he said on Tuesday.

Johnson has asked the Department Of Justice to produce messages from Strzok’s and Page’s personal iPhones and their Gmail accounts as well, as both were referenced in the text exchanges.

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US blames Russia for latest chemical incident in Syria, regardless of who carried it out

By ethan / January 23, 2018

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pointed the finger at Syrian President Bashar Assad for the reported chemical incident in East Ghouta, while ultimately blaming Russia for it, regardless of who actually committed the attack.

Tillerson produced his accusations against Moscow while speaking at a conference in Paris, designed to a create the ‘International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.’ Just ahead of the event, reports emerged of a new chemical incident in Syria, in which it is alleged that over 20 civilians were killed in a possible chlorine gas attack in East Ghouta on Monday. 

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The Russian Foreign Ministry building © Natalia Seliverstova

The reports have been produced by controversial pro-militant sources, namely the White Helmets and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), and have not yet been independently verified. The toxic substance was allegedly delivered through unguided rockets.

Only yesterday more than 20 civilians, mostly children, were victims of an apparent chlorine gas attack,” Tillerson said, adding that the attacks “raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad may be continuing to use chemical weapons against his own people.

Moreover, the top US diplomat directly accused Russia of any chemical weapons-related incidents, regardless of who is actually responsible.

Whoever conducted the attacks Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in eastern Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russia became involved in Syria,” he stated.

Russia’s responsibility for every incident of this sort, according to Tillerson, originates from the fact that Russia participated in brokering the landmark “Framework for elimination of Syrian chemical weapons” agreement, which ensured destruction of Syrian chemical stockpile under international supervision.

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© Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

“Russia’s failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria calls into question its relevance to the resolution of the overall crisis,” Tillerson said, claiming that since the destruction of the stockpile there’s been “mounting evidence” that Syria “continues to illicitly possess chemical weapons and use them against its own people.”

The official then accused Russia of covering up the chemical incidents, commonly attributed despite inconclusive evidence to the Syrian government, by vetoing a couple of UNSC resolutions.

“There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the United States as a framework guarantor,” he added.

Moscow indeed vetoed last year a UNSC resolution drafted by the US, which sought to extend the mandate of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) mission beyond November 17, 2017. It did so after repeatedly criticizing the mission’s methods for “gross deviations from the high CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] standards,” its reluctance to actually perform investigation on the ground, and other flaws.

Russia has warned against blindly pinning all the blame for everything chemical weaponry-related in Syria on the country’s government, advocating the presumption of innocence principle, and urging proper international investigations.

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Nassar victim Raisman blasts US Olympic Committee for mishandling sexual abuse scandal

By ethan / January 23, 2018

US gymnast Aly Raisman, one of the alleged sexual abuse victims of team doctor Larry Nassar, slammed the US Olympic Committee (USOC) for not acknowledging their role in the scandal.

Raisman, who represented the US squad in two Olympic tournaments – in 2012 and 2016 – in which she earned three gold medals, has posted a lengthy statement on Twitter, condemning the USOC for not addressing the issue, which affected hundreds of gymnasts treated by Nassar.

“For the past week, survivors came forward to courageously face a perpetrator of evil and to share their painful stories,” Raisman wrote, regarding the victims’ statements at Nassar’s sentencing hearing, in which the gymnasts detailed the abuse they suffered at the hands of the former team doctor – a position he held for more than 20 years.

“Many of them, myself included, claim the USOC is also at fault. Was the USOC there to ‘focus on supporting the brave survivors’? No. Did they issue any statement then? Crickets,” she said.

Raisman also criticized USOC members for “shamelessly taking credit for a few USA Gymnastics resignations,” which were announced earlier this week.

“Over the weekend, the USOC released a statement shamelessly taking credit for a few USA Gymnastics resignations (note: not fired), as though they are addressing this problem. But they are still not acknowledging its own role in this mess. Zero accountability! It’s like none of us were ever abused.”

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Kyle Stephens delivers a victim impact testimony during a sentencing hearing for Dr. Larry Nassar in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., January 16, 2018 © Brendan McDermid

USA Gymnastics Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder, and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley stepped down on Monday in the wake of the scandal involving Nassar, who faces lawsuits from 140 women accusing him of sexual abuse.

Victim testimony in Nassar’s sentencing hearing in Michigan has stretched into the second week, with more details of the former doctor’s behavior surfacing.

Jordyn Wieber, a member of the 2012 squad, testified in court last Friday, in her first public acknowledgement that she was abused by Nassar.

“I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do,” she said. “But, in fact, the hardest thing I ever had to do is process that I am a victim of Larry Nassar.”

Wieber became the fourth member of the ‘Fierce Five’ to accuse the former team physician of sexual abuse. Earlier, her teammates – Mackayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, and Gabby Douglas – who competed at the 2012 Games in London, revealed they were systematically abused by Nassar.

Fifteen-year-old Emma Ann Miller, who delivered an emotional speech during the sentencing hearing on Monday, said that her mother is still getting billed for the appointments where she was sexually assaulted.

The most decorated US gymnast, Simone Biles, also claimed to have been sexually abused by Nassar.

In December, Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possessing child pornography. He also faces a minimum prison sentence of 25 to 40 years in a separate case after pleading guilty to molesting underage children.

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Act to tackle ‘inequality crisis’ as a billionaire is created every two days- Oxfam

By ethan / January 23, 2018

Urgent action must be taken to tackle the widening gap between the world’s super rich and its poorest, leading development charity Oxfam told RT.

Just as the global elite gathers for this year’s World Economic Forum (WEC) in Davos, Switzerland, Oxfam has released a damning report claiming a new billionaire is created every two days, when the bottom 50 percent has seen no wealth increase whatsoever.

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The ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ report claimed the richest one percent saw 82 percent of the world’s overall wealth. Put into perspective, 42 of the world’s richest men hold the same amount of the poorest 3.7 billion.

The charity’s head of campaigns, Nick Briar, told RT that poverty will never be eradicated unless wealth is appropriately redistributed.

“If you’re one of the world’s billionaires the economic system is working spectacularly well, and they’re making more money than ever before,” Briar said. He said the poorest remain stuck in their “trap.”

Briar claimed that redistribution could come about through effective taxation. The money retrieved could then be invested on health care, education and social protection.

He also called for a clampdown on tax evasion and on companies to cut down on bonuses and dividends, “choosing to spend that money instead on higher wages for low-paid workers.”

“That is the kind of choice companies could make if they wanted to,” Briar said.

But not everyone backed Oxfam’s report. The pro-free market Institute of Economic Affairs claimed reducing the wealth of the rich will not facilitate redistribution.

Mark Littlewood, the think-tank’s director general, said: “Oxfam is promoting a race to the bottom. Richer people are already highly taxed people – reducing their wealth beyond a certain point won’t lead to redistribution, it will destroy it to the benefit of no one.

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 © Peter Marshall / Global Look Press

“Higher minimum wages would also likely lead to disappearing jobs, harming the very people Oxfam intend to help,” Littlewood said, according to the Guardian.

Briar retorted saying that “capitalism without checks” can ultimately lead to an “inequality crisis.”

The Oxfam representative called for companies and governments to take action “to ensure that the economic growth we have is shared out more equitably.”

Warning about a failure to tackle the widening gap between rich and poor, Briar said: “What we see is for all of us around now and for future generations, as more and more wealth is passed on from the rich to their heirs, on the other end of the scale poorer people are passing on poverty to theirs, so it is a trap that in society we are caught in at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has opened himself to accusations of hypocrisy as he announced his own participation at the WEF.

A spokesman said McDonnell, who has previously praised striking workers for spitting in their bosses’ tea, would attend to spell out “Labour’s vision for an alternative economic approach to replace the current model of capitalism that has failed the many and led to an unsustainable concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few.”

‘Ordinary people,’ critics argue, are likely to be the last thing on the minds of Davos attendees.

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‘The loss of critical anti-Trump FBI text messages is too coincidental’

By ethan / January 23, 2018

The disappearance of five months’ worth text messages between two FBI staffers tied to the Clinton probe shows the agency has a few rotten apples that spoil the trust of the American people, talk show host Bryan Crabtree says.

The FBI lost crucial text messages sent by its employees which could have shed light on some of the anti-Donald Trump bias within the agency, particularly over the so-called Trump-Russia investigation.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already said the Justice Department is looking into why the FBI’s technical system failed to preserve texts that were exchanged between former top FBI counterintelligence expert Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, an agency attorney, from mid-December 2016 to mid-May 2017.

“The FBI has informed us that many FBI-provided Samsung 5 mobile devices did not capture or store text messages due to misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd explained.

The explanation coming from the FBI that somehow they had problems with Samsung 5 phones isn’t believable, Bryan Crabtree told RT.

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The FBI Washington Field Office is seen in Washington, U.S., on November 6, 2017. © Yuri Gripas

“In fact I think it is criminal to respond that way. I can’t imagine how these messages from December until the inauguration of Trump – especially in that range, just predating the Special Counsel Mueller investigation – I find that laughable they want us to believe that, and then, when specifically asked if other FBI agents has a similar problem with losing data on their phones, text messages specifically, the FBI responded ‘No comment.’ Which is loosely translated to ‘No, it is isolated to these two people,’” he said.

“I don’t believe the FBI has proven in the last year that it is unbiased. I think it is something very political. Political weapon, if you will. You could call it politically weaponized FBI from eight years of President Obama and the people ultimately he surrounds himself with,” he added.

Crabtree says he does not trust the FBI at the top level “as it exists over the last twelve months.”

“I think they are making a solid effort to clean it up. I certainly think the vast majority of FBI agents are honorable, patriotic Americans. But it only takes, in the old phrase, a rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch. And I think we have a few rotten apples that spoil the trust of the American people with the FBI: if you look at disappearing messages and missed and mixed messaging between [former FBI director] James Comey and Loretta Lynch. We just learned that the attorney general under Obama said she didn’t know anything about the investigation and she would take Comey’s recommendation and now we’ve learned that they were communicating about it, so it wasn’t taking the recommendation, it seems as if she was making the recommendation and forcing the FBI to do something that maybe didn’t make sense,” he told RT. 

Mr. Strzok said in one of his texts that “that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

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© Dado Ruvic

Crabtree said that this “insurance policy” leads him to believe that they were conspiring inside the FBI to figure out how to catch Trump up on “some sort of criminal activity, having a Russian connection, Russian money laundering, being involved with Putin in a Russian-Trump collusion of which they provided zero evidence.”  

“But yet it seems that they were trying to plant the evidence somehow as an insurance policy thinking that Trump had no way of getting elected and then when he did – scrambling in order to try to stop the election or to create the necessity of an impeachment of Trump.”

In Crabtree’s views, “this is a deep state of deep states, even on the surface of this, let alone what we might uncover if the proper investigation whenever conducted.”

According to him, disappearing text messages which were supposed to be preserved on FBI cellphones is a big deal. “It is obstruction of justice if I’ve ever seen it – first and foremost, that they are gone.”

Crabtree said he thinks it is possible to retrieve the messages by going to the carrier that provided the service on that phone, though “that is a complicated process, but I think it could be reconstructed.”

“It is conjecture for me to say that, but the timing is just too coincidental for anyone with a sane mind to believe anything other than there was something on the level of conspiracy happening between Strzok, his girlfriend and a few others at the FBI, especially given the sudden disappearance of very critical timeframe text messages,” he concluded.  

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