More to ignore, Book 91......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The party of treason

Hunter

Top Republican Party lawmakers and officials screamed to see the search warrant. They screamed again to see the "affidavit." When both of those made Donald J. Trump look guilty not just of making off with government documents but making off with classified government secrets, they screamed that the documents themselves should be made public so that they and the rest of Trump's supporters could determine whether these were "real" classified secrets or imagined ones.

Now that a photo of what was actually found at Mar-a-Lago was publicly released, not even that turns out to be good enough. House Republicans like Jim Jordan will follow Trump through whatever crimes against our nation Trump wants to commit.
........
The Republican Party is the party of willing treason. There's no cutting around that, any more than Jim Jordan can let his eyes wander across a dozen all-caps secret and top secret document cover sheets to decide that the real story here was a TIME magazine cover in the corner of the picture.

If you ever begin to doubt that Jim Jordan's whole political existence derives from witnessing crimes and helping to cover them up, keep this one in your sock drawer. The man is a mob lawyer for a mob party willing to endanger national security in literally any way you can name.

As the photograph shows, this is not a "documents" case. This is an espionage case, one that is going to result in a detailed damage assessment for every document seen in that photo and for all of the others as well. There's no way to tell who Donald Trump showed the documents to, in a Mar-a-Lago that in the past week saw Trump host yet another petty con artist posing as an "Anna de Rothschild." There's no way to tell whether photographs of any of these documents made their way to Trump's other golf resort as means of currying favor with specific Saudi guests.

But the Republican Party does not care. They have been given every opportunity to care, and instead remain single-mindedly devoted to presenting it is the government who is overstepping their bounds by not letting the leader of a failed insurrection ignore any and every law he wants to. They were fine with international extortion. They were fine with Trump whipping a known-armed crowd into a fury and directing them to the U.S. Capitol to block his own removal of power.


It may yet come out that government has evidence that Trump indeed exchanged some of these documents for foreign favors; there is no credible voice in the country who can claim Trump had no such intent. And even then, the party will back him and demand that he be allowed to sell whatever national secrets he desires. They will make it a slogan and put it on hats.

Sure enough, Republican partisans immediately stepped forward to say that the evidence of Trump's guilt, the evidence they all wanted to see, was biased against him. It was "staged!" Showing photos of the evidence is unfair to the man who squirreled it away!



I think we all understand at this point that Donald Trump likely did not personally put the documents on the floor alongside an evidence ruler and identifying tag. The government identified the photo as being of documents taken from "a container in the '45 office'" at Mar-a-Lago.

As for why the secret and top secret documents (behind their identifying cover letters) were on the floor, we can speculate from the long evidence list provided by the government that there were simply too many secret and top secret documents found to fit on a table so they had to make do. (We can also speculate, but with less certainty, that the reason the documents were photographed next to a box containing a framed magazine cover featuring Trump is either because they were found together or because, again, the room was just so damn crammed with evidence they didn't have enough room to really feature each tagged set as lavishly as non-government art critics may have desired.

Not every team of federal investigators is able to hire Annie Leibovitz for their document shoots, but if Republicans would like to propose that at least
espionage-level crimes be documented by her or a contemporary, Democrats would probably agree to such a law.

Are Republicans backing treason? Yeah. They don't care. Whatever hurts their enemies and helps Trump is what they're going with. They'll bring the whole government down if that's what it takes to protect Trump from the consequences of unambiguous, intentional, and nation-harming crimes. This is nothing to them. This is no different from any other day of any other week.

Jim Jordan's personal treason caucus is especially devoted to the notion that it is the government, not Dear Leader, in the wrong. There is no introspection here. They're on Trump's team no matter what crimes he commits.



Well, the documents weren't "dumped", because all the actual classified contents are still carefully hidden behind their designating sheets.

And the TIME Magazine covers were, again, in the picture Because They Are Evidence.

Did Trump try to hide classified documents with designations indicating a danger to human intelligence sources if disclosed by mingling them with other, nonclassified errata? Yes, we already know that's what he did from multiple previous reports.

And we know Trump was trying to hide the classified documents from the government. As a fact. Because his legal team asserted to the government that all such papers had been handed over, but:




The photo is the proof that the government was right. Papers were being concealed. The government had to go in by force to obtain them. Trump has acted criminally. Again.

What the Jim Jordan treason brigade would like to deflect with next is the tacit admission that Trump did indeed take classified national security secrets, did indeed hide them with other papers and take him to his for-profit golf club, did indeed attempt to conceal their presence from government investigators and did indeed block government efforts to re-secure the papers until government seized those documents directly, but the Department of Justice "knew the documents were missing for 18 months" and "did nothing."

We don't have a good timeline on just when the government knew these documents were missing—if government security protocols were being followed, they would have been branded as "missing" the minute Trump took them out of the deliverer's hands and ordered them taken to the White House residence, and we've yet to hear an explanation on how the Trump White House could have managed to lose hundreds of pages of documents in such a fashion without anyone giving a damn. But Republicans are right to note that the Department of Justice seems to have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the scandal under wraps, perhaps even at the expense of national security.


Anyone who was not named Donald Trump would be in ankle bracelets after the discovery of just one such document. To have successfully carted off hundreds of pages and have the Department of Justice and our entire national security apparatus be stymied on what to do about it is yet another crime so outlandish that our systems can barely comprehend it, much less respond to it.

So why did the government finally decide that the situation had escalated beyond the point where "negotiating" with Trump's team was an answer? It is likely because of the above-mentioned government evidence that Trump's team had responded to their prior requests to return documents by returning some, but hiding others.

But it also may be because, as Trump reemerged into his pre-presidential life of courting foreign wealth and hosting foreign notables, the federal government learned something that convinced them the security of those documents was now more threatened than it was before. It would be foolish to discount that possibility.

Every time we learn more about the Mar-a-Lago documents, we learn that the case is worse than we were previously told. This is not a spat about personal papers with a federal archivist: This is about classified national security secrets. This is not a case where Trump's team might have been "confused" over whether or not the documents were classified; here we see them still with government classification markings, screaming their presence. This is not a case of Trump wanting mementos or knickknacks; these were papers dealing with, at minimum, government satellite imagery and information useful in identifying foreign intelligence agents.

There's nothing to suggest that Trump did
not take and hide those documents with the express intent of using them for monetary gain. To sell them, or bargain them away. They are not magazine covers that flatter him. They are not tokens of cherished events. They are national security documents, and he took them from government after a coup attempt failed to keep him in power, and all but perhaps two Republicans in the entire party are not just defending those acts but are furiously looking to discredit the government that, once again, caught the treasonous ratbastard doing it.

It is a party that will gleefully harm America in whatever way is necessary to "win" the news cycle of the day. Extortion, sedition, and treason; there is literally nothing the Republican Party will not embrace if the alternative is admitting Dear Crooked Leader did wrong.



Jail him. There are no mitigating circumstances, and there is no excuse. Put him in prison.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The next scary matter for Trump’s lawyers: The crime-fraud exception

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter found in a case concerning the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena of attorney John Eastman’s emails that while some materials might be protected, “the crime-fraud exception applies when (1) a ‘client consults an attorney for advice that will serve [them] in the commission of a fraud or crime,’ and (2) the communications are ‘sufficiently related to’ and were made ‘in furtherance of’ the crime.”

Carter added: “It is irrelevant whether the attorney was aware of the illegal purpose or whether the scheme was ultimately successful. The exception extinguishes both the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine.”.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FbcCt7VWYAII5on
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Tens of thousands of Russians cut off in Kherson, their artillery dwindling

kos

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Woah, looks like they're loading HIMARS/MLRS pods on planes. Given how quickly they're fired, and how few fit on these planes, this shows the urgency of getting these to Ukraine. This is at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (NJ).

A best-case scenario for Ukraine’s Kherson counteroffensive:



Taking Kherson city would likely be a bloody affair, decimating large parts of the city. Russia would then bombard the liberated city in retaliatory fury, giving it the Kharkiv treatment. What if, instead, Ukraine pushes hard to Nova Kakhhovka, which feeds Crimea’s water supply and is in the path of supply lines from both Crimea in the south and Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine? On the way down they could liberate Beryslav, the location of one of those concentration camp “filtration centers.”

Indeed, there’s a reason Ukraine keeps hitting supply depots in Nova Kakhovka—because its major railway is a critical supply hub for Russia’s entire operation in the region. That’s why we get these sorts of attacks every day and night:

(Wait for it.)



That explosion shattered windows at least a kilometer away. Do you know how much ammunition you need to make that happen? That’s a lot of explosive power that will no longer kill Ukrainians.

But that’s just the latest strike. Ukraine has been systematically degrading Russia ammunition stockpiles in the region, while simultaneously hitting the three bridges connecting the region on a daily basis. Yesterday and last night, the Antonovsky bridge got hit four times. Here are two of them:



Satellite imagery should prove interesting. Two pontoon bridges in the area were also destroyed.

So what does this mean? Think artillery shells and fuel—the two highest consumption items in Russia’s arsenal. Take away artillery and Ukraine can better move over Kherson’s flat, wide-open fields. That wastes fuel, and Russia won’t be able to maneuver its defenses, or retreat when the time comes. If all goes well, we could soon be seeing the return of Ukraine’s Tractor Brigade.

Look at how much space a single artillery 122mm shell takes in its packing:



Now multiply that unpacking by 10,000 a day, or more. Ukraine claimed that one point, Russia was firing upwards of 50,000 such shells a day. Even if it was half that in reality, it’s important to understand just how thirsty Russian artillery is. They can’t operate without it. Yet how are they going to transfer thousands of those shells to their troops in their field without bridges, without barges, and with limited fuel?

We're only two days into this counteroffensive, and Russians already report artillery shortages. This is from the Telegram channel Grey Zone, catering to Wagner mercenaries. It mocks official Russian claims of massive Ukrainian casualties as believable only to those who “[do] not think.” And then it describes one Kherson battle:

We will talk about those who held back this offensive. About the guys who went to the task without a question, and were on one of the main directions of the breakthrough. A handful of commandos and paratroopers were jumped by 9 tanks, 7 infantry fighting vehicles and a horde of infantry. They held on ask best they could, even after the issues began with the requested artillery (there are more and more questions regarding the request—strike sequences, sending regards to aviation too). Yes, they did not all stay there, dying heroically and “destroying 500 enemy men and 50 tanks.”

That last line is meant sarcastically, again poking fun at the ridiculous casualty claims from the Russian side. But what’s salient is that Russian aviation is nonexistent, and they did not get any artillery support.

This Russian military reporter is also asking questions about the lack of artillery support:

Questions:
1. How did the Ukrainians manage to secretly concentrate their forces?
2. Occupation of settlements.
After the front has stabilized, we spend weeks learning the name of the village that our troops are storming, but they immediately occupied the settlements.

3. We have figured it out with our aviation, but our artillery … However, I know the answer to this.

Obviously, Ukraine didn’t secretly concentrate their forces. They’ve been announcing this counteroffensive since June. Russia flooded forces into the region as a response to those announcements. So seriously, not sure what that guy is talking about.

The second likely means that it takes Russia weeks to take some small town, yet Ukraine has taken at least half a dozen, likely more, in just a couple of days.

But that last one, that last one is key. It’s always best when you read frustrated sarcasm into such statements. “We have figured it out with our aviation” means that they’ve come to expect nothing from it. It is nonexistent. But, he expected better from their artillery.

Want another sign of Russia’s artillery challenges in this theater? See this guy:



Expand video if you don’t see the subtitles. In it, he talks about the difficulty of crossing a mined field under fire from drone-dropped grenades. It’s not until 30 minutes into their crossing that Russia manages to fire some artillery and tank fire, which he says Ukraine immediately suppresses. Given the delay, I would even guess that they got hit with shorter-range mortars rather than Howitzer artillery. A properly supplied Russia would’ve been hitting the advance the second they set foot on that open field.

Whatever supply issues Russia is having at the moment, they’re only going to get worse as they burn through whatever ammo are currently sitting with line units. Then the question becomes whether to fight with waning supplies, or run. Check this out:



Here is the location of Arkhamhels’ke, at the very tippy top of Russian-held territory in Kherson Oblast.

Fbcl3YyXEAMgzCB.jpeg


If you look at the video, there is no combat. Ukrainian forces (in this case, Chechen foreign fighters on Ukraine’s side) just strolled in. The video is two days old, from the first day of the counteroffensive, and there was simply no one there. Did Russian forces withdraw at the first sign of trouble, or had they already been gone? And at what point are Ukrainians going to hit resistance as they swoop down from the top?

That Russian Telegram post above talks about Russian paratroopers pulling out of somewhere. We don’t know where. All we know is that Ukrainian forces continue to advance, and most pro-Ukrainian OSINT (open-source intelligence) sites are honoring Ukrainian requests to keep a lid on updated progress maps.

One last (major) point before I wrap this up:



Ohhhhhh this is good. It’s exactly what I wrote about here five weeks ago:

There is a highway that runs along that southern coast, but again, trucks aren’t helpful to Russia, not over those hundreds of kilometers. Their main way to move supplies [from the east]—rail lines—all converge at Tokmak (pop. 32,000 pre-war).

Tokmak! Tokmak is the only rail route running east to west in southern Ukraine. It wouldn’t just cut off Kherson area, but Melitopol as well (where Ukrainian underground resistance has been a hornet’s nest lately). Those towns listed above? They are only 20-25 kilometers from Tokmak, heading south.

Remember, Ukraine won’t announce the liberation of such villages. But by announcing Russian shelling of them, they are signaling that Ukrainian forces are occupying them. While all eyes are on Kherson, there is potentially a more important move happening in Zaporizhzhia. Put it all together and this is what's happening, from the article linked above, written on July 21:

So we have a single rail line connecting Crimea to Kherson, and at Kherson, there is a single bridge left standing—the one Mark wrote about yesterday, Antonovsky Bridge. Ukraine has started shelling it, rendering large parts of the bridge unusable. It can be repaired, so Ukraine will need to keep hitting it, but it has shown an ability to do so at will.
If Ukraine takes that bridge out, Russia will be forced to move supplies from that Crimea-to-Kherson railhead 80 kilometers out to Nova Kakhovka, across the bridge there (which is also subject to attack), and back to supply Kherson. Meanwhile, if Ukraine cuts off Tokmak … you see where this is going? All Russian forces between Tokmak and Kherson will be effectively cut off. Trucks can only carry a fraction of rail capacity, and the roads will be swarming with Ukrainian partisans and special forces, exactly like they did early in the war around Sumy:

Yes, I’m feeling a little smug, but really, this wasn’t rocket science. The map is easy to read, there are only so many supply lines to Kherson, and it was easy to see how they would be cut. Ukraine doesn’t even need to liberate Tokmak, it is already close enough that regular artillery can cut the rail line. Maybe that’s what was literally happening last night:



What's amazing is that Russia didn’t see the trap coming.

Ukraine has been announcing this counteroffensive precisely to lure reinforcements into the area, knowing how easy they could be cut off. I wasn’t the only person to see Russia’s predicament; it was well-discussed on OSINT Twitter. It was highly predictable. And yet here we are, with Russia seemingly being the only people unaware of the trap.

That Russian “military reporter” thinks Russia was unaware of secret Ukrainian forces? Heck no, that’s ludicrous. What Russia was unaware of was how easily their forces would be cut off, or they simply didn’t care. As a result, Kherson now hosts the largest concentration of Russian forces in the entire country, tens of thousands of them, thousands of pieces of equipment … and they are effectively cut off.

I did get one thing wrong in that block quote above: I thought Ukraine wouldn’t cut off the bridge at Nova Kakhovka, allowing continued resupply by truck. The bridge runs over a dam, and I feared the danger of busting the dam would prevent Ukraine from hitting it. Turns out Ukraine has been hitting the end points of the bridge, sparing the dam from damage. HIMARS’ accuracy allows for surgical precision. So not even trucks are getting across.
-------------—

I wrote this April 20:

The Ukrainian offensive around Kherson has stalled because it cannot penetrate a wall of Russia artillery. Unmounted, unprotected infantry are too vulnerable to blast shrapnel. As we’ve seen, the terrain is basically Kansas: wide open fields with few places to take cover. This is where armor comes in. Armored personnel carriers can rush troops forward while protecting them from the shrapnel of exploding artillery. M113s won’t stop anti-tank missiles or Russian tank hits, but they are not designed to do that. They’re designed to offer soft protection.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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lanshark
Aug 31, 2022 at 10:23:39 AM

Found a great video yesterday on YouTube of Ukrainian women being trained in Kosovo for demining/EOD, including a captain in the Ukrainian National Guard:




Apparently Kosovo is a good training ground because there is still ordnance being cleared there (mostly from NATO forces when they were trying to stop the Serbs from carrying out another genocide of the Kosovar Albanians).
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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CNN's report on a 'nervous' Trump may be Republican wishful thinking

Hunter

GettyImages-1240497856.jpg

I don't want to be associated with this Oz guy anymore, his crappy campaigning is making my treason and coup attempts look bad.

There's a new CNN report that suggests failed coup planner and ongoing traitor to his country Donald Trump might be wavering on that supposedly-maybe-imminent declaration that he's running for president again, and it needs to be taken with All The Salt because this is the sort of story that gets offered up to the media when somebody in political inner circles wants to make something happen, not suggest something is happening.

The premise is that "sources familiar with [Donald Trump's] thinking," which is already a hell of a thin reed to hang any premise off of, are telling CNN that Trump is "nervous" about declaring his candidacy. "After months of eyeing Labor Day weekend" as his preferred announcement date, says CNN, he "has spent the past few weeks backing away from that timeline following the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate and an increased panic among Republicans that the party may not be in for the red wave it has long anticipated this November."

This has him "feeling nervous" about "prematurely" announcing, say "nine former and current Trump aides." Well, that's a lot of Trump aides, but the whole premise of the bit is that Donald Trump (a traitor) is genuinely listening to advice being given as opposed to throwing ketchup to the wall and seeing what sticks, and that's ... really now? No, this reads like somebody's trying to push Trump in one direction or the other.

"Everyone was operating under the assumption that shortly after Labor Day would be the best possible time to launch, but that has changed and he's being told to deal with the FBI stuff first," one of them tells CNN. Yeah, you mean the Espionage Act stuff? The photograph of reams of classified government documents found in Trump's private club, after reams of classified documents got returned earlier, and then more classified documents got handed over after that, and after Trump's lawyers swore to a court that For Sure they'd handed over all the classified government secret documents this time and there was no need for a warrant? That
stuff? The going to prison-level stuff?

Goodness, I would certainly imagine that being caught with boxes and boxes of stolen government secrets and having pretty much every political observer in the country wondering how the Justice Department can possibly excuse not indicting the already-known-treasonous grifter, not gonna lie, could impact that Labor Day timing a bit. Maybe.

"Otherwise, advisers say, the former President is more likely to be blamed for potential losses in the midterms if he becomes a candidate for president before November and his legal troubles distract from the bread-and-butter issues most Republicans -- but especially those running in competitive races -- would prefer to focus on."

Who the hell wrote this thing, Kevin McCarthy? Yeah, that's the ticket. Republicans are running on bread-and-butter issues like the need to put their hands down the pants of every student athlete in their states, real heartland stuff like launching themselves into a spittle-flecked rage about history classes mentioning Anne Frank, but Donald's newest foray into possibly-straight-up-espionage is a real fly in the ointment here.

Don't get involved with the midterms, say these advisers. If it goes badly Republicans will blame you and your ratbastard treason
stuff.

As if there's more than two (2) Republicans on the entire planet willing to "blame" Trump for anything.

Perhaps the more honest bullshit news is that Trump is "complaining in private" about how much Republican candidates Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker Suck. The guy who was just caught with armfuls of stolen national security secrets is worried that associating with Mehmet Oz will hurt his brand. Hiding top secret documents behind a stack of magazines, that’s the Trump brand—and here’s this jerk over here getting into weeklong fights over veggie trays? There is nothing about the Donald Trump brand that has, at any point, been anywhere adjacent to the words "veggie tray."

Yes, this is a definite case of Somebody's Planting Something. Trump's various advisers seem so desperate to stop him from announcing a new presidential run before the already-shaky midterms that they're going to the press with all the reasons they can think of why he shouldn't. The odds are near-zero that Donald actually listens to any of them, however, so the main thing the leaking advisers are getting out of pushing this news to the press is a report they can point to, later, to show that they tried to talk him out of it. That may be important for those strategists who want to avoid the typical outcome of working for Trump, which is a total decimation of one's further career.

But it also goes strongly against the conventional wisdom of the last few weeks, the rampant speculation that the nation's most deadly modern traitor will announce a new presidential run as an explicit attempt to avoid being indicted for Espionage Act violations and other felonies. The wisdom says that the Department of Justice mustn't interfere with elections by pursuing charges against criminals who have a side gig running for something, and therefore Donald needs to be a candidate for something right quick in order to slow the indictment trolley down. Maybe president. Maybe dogcatcher. Just
something.


It sounds like at least "nine" of the Republican partisans around him would really prefer the party not be further dragged into his possibly-treason-adjacent mess, at least not between now and November, and are putting the pressure on. But it's simply implausible to think that any of them can do a damn thing about it. At all.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The classified documents in that DOJ photo were all found in Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago office

Mark Sumner

A young girl on the dirt road outside the South Vietnamese town of Trảng Bàng. A sailor and a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II. A man in a white shirt standing stock still in front of a line of Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square. There are some photographs that, because they capture a moment so completely, become part of history.

The one the world got on Tuesday was unusual, because it wasn’t taken by a photojournalist or an artist attempting to capture a moment in time. However, it seems destined to become just as iconic as any portrait of a world leader or frozen instant from the past. And that’s because the image of top secret documents spread across the stained and gaudy carpet of Mar-a-Lago seemed to do a better job of capturing the essence of Donald Trump than any image that focuses on his artificially orange face.

That picture has already been reproduced multiple times today, and it doesn’t take an expert to see that the contents are damning for Trump. They should be equally damning for everyone who has tried to defend the theft of national security documents. But a careful analysis from The Washington Post reveals details that make what Trump did in revealing these documents even more sickening.

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Some of what the Post analysis reveals is immediately obvious. Many of the documents we can see are covered with a top sheet that is labeled either SECRET or TOP SECRET. Every single one of these documents is also marked with the letters SCI. This stands for “sensitive compartmented information,” and it means that the information is in effect beyond top secret. It’s restricted to a subset of people who are operating “within a formal access control system” established by the directors of the agencies from which the documents originated. That control system may mandate special handling, or even restrict viewing of the document to secure facilities. That’s because these documents involve “intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes” which are themselves restricted.

The next set of markings on these documents show why they get that SCI marking. Some are labeled with “HCS-P.” These are documents collected using human intelligence, such as a cultivated asset inside a hostile government, or an undercover operative embedded within a group. The reason the “P” marking is added is because these documents are particularly sensitive, and are to be read only by those who have “formal indoctrination” into the protocol for dealing with these sources.

[Side note: No matter what happens to Trump or anyone else at Mar-a-Lago, all of these assets, whether foreign assets or U.S. agents, are now worthless. The cavalier way in which these documents were treated means that agencies have to treat these sources as compromised. Where possible, they will be exfiltrated. Where not, they will be ignored. That’s because further contact will imperil the source, and because nothing they pass along at this point can be trusted. The cost of these losses alone is inestimable.]

Other documents are labeled with “TK,” which is short for “talent keyhole.” If that means nothing, it’s because some history and some jargon is involved. “Keyhole” is a name used for reconnaissance satellites going back more than three decades. “Talent” is another way of saying source. So when documents were originally labeled TK, it was a way of saying they had come from “Agent Keyhole”—America’s eye in the sky. Now TK means more or less any intelligence from a space-based asset, principally high resolution satellite imagery and analysis derived from similar sources.

A third set of documents is labeled with SI, which stands for the very old-school term of “signals intelligence.” It means communications data, and these days it mostly means something having to do with cell phones. Phone logs, texts, transcripts … it’s all SI.

All those documents lying on that tacky carpet appear to come from one of these sources. That means the SCI marking could come because the document involves a satellite technology that no one is supposed to know we have, or because the documents are intercepting phone traffic in some hostile (or friendly) country, or because they involve human sources who would be endangered if they were revealed.

So far, just about all of this was clear the moment the image came out. But the folks at the Post have done something that, while it isn’t quite CSI: Las Vegas-magical levels of “enhance!” is still pretty good. They’ve looked closely at some of the folders and documents in the image. Close enough to pick up a few names and dates.

Two of those documents date from Aug. 26, 2018, a day on which it’s hard to pinpoint some specific event that might have made Trump want to snatch up files. This was during the Mueller investigations, and charges had recently been leveled against Paul Manafort. It’s also a period during which it was declared that $500 million in foreign loans given to Jared Kushner was “no cause for concern” and the NRA admitted that it had collected millions from foreign sources. But nothing really stands out as “oooh, Aug 26th!”

The third dated document is … something else. Even the level of classification on this document has been obscured. It appears to come from May 9, 2018. That’s just when Trump declared that the U.S. was going to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and when he claimed that Iran had violated the agreement, even though all inspectors said otherwise. So maybe that folder contains evidence Trump used in making his decision. Or proof that he lied. Again.

There’s one other thing that the Post analysis of the image turned up, and it may be the most interesting. In its description of the photo, the Justice Department says it shows “certain documents and classified cover sheets recovered from a container in the ‘45 office.’” That container is likely the cardboard box showing the Time magazine cover at the right side of the image, and it means that all of this material came not out of storage, but straight from Donald Trump’s office.

But there’s one other thing about these documents that the Post article mentions in passing but then lets slip: the colors are not right. The official border on a SECRET document is supposed to be a bold red, like the partially covered document in the upper left of the image, not the kind of duller, more orange tone seen on the document centered near the bottom. The border on a TOP SECRET document is supposed to be orange, not yellow.


screencap.jpg


Possibly these documents all came off a printer that didn’t handle those colors well. They may have even been produced under some special protocol. In any case, the difference is pronounced. Here’s a bit of the border on the document at the bottom, compared to the border of the mostly covered document in the upper left hand corner. Next to it is part of the secret stamp from one of the yellow border documents on the right, compared to the partially covered documents on the left. In both cases, the colors on the documents with the non-standard borders seems to have been shifted toward the yellow, so that red borders and red stamps become more brown. What should have been orange borders appear as yellow.

What does this mean? Very likely it means nothing. But it seems unlikely that all these documents, which surely have a range of dates and origins, would have come from the same maladjusted printer. That is … unless the documents were all printed in the last days of Trump’s residency at the White House because these were documents he selected to take with him. Which would be bad. Or because these are duplicates made on a color copier which didn’t quite capture the original tones. Which would be much worse.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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  • A lawyer who pushed to overturn the 2020 election loss of then-President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions during an appearance before a grand jury in Georgia.
  • John Eastman also invoked protections under attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer at least some questions he was asked.
  • The panel is investigating the possibility of illegal interference in Georgia’s presidential election contest.
  • Eastman wrote a series of memos after the 2020 election calling on then-Vice President Mike Pence to effectively undo President Joe Biden’s win by refusing to certify the Electoral College results.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sarah Palin loses Alaska's lone House seat to a Democrat in a special election upset

Jeff Singer

Alaska election officials carried out the instant-runoff process Wednesday for the Aug. 16 special election for the state’s only House seat, and former Democratic state Rep. Mary Peltola has scored a dramatic pickup for her party by defeating Republican Sarah Palin 51-49.

Peltola, who will replace the late GOP Rep. Don Young, will be the first Democrat to represent the Last Frontier in the lower chamber since Young won his own special election all the way back in 1973. The new congresswoman, who is of Yup’ik ancestry, is also set to become the first Alaska Native to ever serve in Congress.

The outcome was in doubt for so long because the state allows all mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be received for another 15 days. Peltola went into Wednesday with 40% of the vote while two Republicans, Palin and businessman Nick Begich, took 31% and 28%, respectively. (Write-in ballots made up the balance.) While the two Republican candidates together outpaced Peltola 59-40, Democrats hoped that Palin wouldn’t pick up quite enough Begich voters to overtake the leader when their second-choice preferences were tabulated.

Everyone was kept guessing through Wednesday, especially the candidates, who appeared together at an Alaska Oil and Gas Association forum just before the results were announced. They learned there that, while the voters who listed Begich or a write-in as their first choice went for Palin 50-29, a crucial 21% didn’t express a preference for either finalist. All of this was just enough for Peltola to keep her edge in the final round of tabulations and give her party a crucial win in a state that Donald Trump had carried 53-43 just two years ago.

Peltola’s victory on such red turf, though, looked improbable before the polls closed two weeks ago. Indeed, national Democrats didn’t even commit serious resources to the contest, a decision the former state representative called “bizarre” just before Election Day. Peltola, however, benefited from voters’ lingering apathy toward Palin, whom the Anchorage Daily News last year described as "nearly invisible within the state" and "almost entirely absent from Alaska politics" since she resigned the governorship in 2009.

While Palin had Donald Trump’s backing for her comeback campaign, the 2008 vice presidential nominee showed little interest in reintroducing herself to her old constituents. Palin made only a few public appearances in the Last Frontier, while she used the weeks before Election Day to hold a Minneapolis fundraiser with far-right pillow salesman Mike Lindell and speak at CPAC's confab in Dallas.

Begich was only too happy to portray Palin as a terrible governor who only cared about being a celebrity, and he ran commercials showing photos of her 2020 appearance on The Masked Singer where she performed "Baby Got Back" disguised as a pink and blue bear. Palin herself hit back in the final days of the race by castigating Begich, who is the rare Republican member of Alaska's prominent Democratic family, for supporting relatives like former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Peltola, by contrast, avoided attacking either of her GOP rivals, and neither Palin nor Begich went after her either: Both Republicans instead smiled in selfies with their Democratic opponent, and Palin even went so far as to call her a “sweetheart.” All of this made it harder for conservative leaders to make the case that Begich's and Palin’s supporters needed to look past their brutal intra-party fight and rank the other Republican in order to keep Peltola out of Congress.

Republicans, though, will have the chance to regain this seat in a few months. Peltola, Palin, and Begich, as well as Libertarian Chris Bye, will be on the ballot again in November for another instant-runoff election, and the dynamics could be very different for this second round.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Pillow Man and his imaginary president are still obsessed with 2020, and it's simply gobsmacking

Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Hey, remember 2020? I sure do. It kind of sucked, if I recall correctly. Except for that bit at the end, of course. So what would you think of two dudes who want to live in 2020 permanently? They’d have to be bonkers, right?

Meet longtime presidential cosplayer Donald Trump and the ululating bratwurst patty formerly known as Mike Lindell. They want to return to 2020 over and over and over again, and likely will for the rest of their lives—until that glorious day when Jesus checks his spam folder, sees 30,000 unopened prayers from Lindell, and finally, mercifully mutes him.

But more on Minnesota Fascist later. Did you know Trump is traveling to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, this weekend to prop up his Senate and gubernatorial candidates, Crudité Bae and Forced-Birth Fredo? Any chance he’ll mention either of them, or will it be a nonstop phony-rigged-election-fest?



That should be fun, huh? Welcome, MAGA, to the most pro-America event this side of Tehran! Everyone who brings a confidential U.S. government document or higher gets a free "Let's Go, Brandon" T-shirt!

Which brings us to Lindell, who at this point is basically just the kid in your sixth-grade class who still believed in Santa Claus.

From
Steve Bannon’s Disintegrating Before Your Very Eyes, but for Now, Anyway, Still Has an Internet Show:



Yeah, I’m not sure what any of that means, either. And, unfortunately, there’s still no “Nigerian Prince” setting on Google Translate. But it sure looks like Lindell is “ordering” every U.S. county not to “delete” the 2020 election, whatever that means. I suppose he imagines these thousands of nefarious county clerks, having conspired with each other to steal the election for Joe Biden on behalf of Communist China, have at long last been checkmated. “Shit! We forgot to delete the 2020 election as Dark Brandon commanded! LINDELLLLLLL!

Can someone please just sit Mike down and explain to him that Georgia recounted every one of its 2020 presidential ballots by hand? Might that convince him? No, of course it won’t. But it would be hella fun to watch.

And now, just for sharts and gargles, a screen grab of a captured Russian spy drowning in 11 centimeters of flop sweat:

ScreenShot2022-08-31at4.43.21PM.png
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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POOR CRYBABY TRUMP is 'Confused' About the Photo of the Classified Documents He Stole

News Corpse




trump's ranting about the picture of top-secret documents is a simple admission of guilt

AKALib

.....Let’s go through this slowly, Mr. TFG —
  1. You are not being accused of scattering documents on the floor of you private office, you are being accused of illegal possession and misuse of these top-secret documents.
  2. It is standard procedure to organize evidence in a clear manner to take a picture of a crime scene; that’s exactly what they did. They made it clear that the documents came from cartons but they were arranged, with markers, to take the picture.
  3. You just admitted to illegal possession of these documents, keeping them in cartons in your insecure office and being aware of their security status and importance.
  4. Stating that you organized the documents neatly in boxes as a defense will cause the court to erupt in laughter.
  5. There are 36 pages of implicating info in the DOJ filing and Lord knows what else was discovered by the FBI.
  6. The jury will get to hear your rantings.
  7. Good luck. Not really.



 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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The energy startup SPARKZ said Tuesday it will locate an electric battery factory in northern West Virginia.

The batteries will be built at a 482,000-square-foot (4.5-hectare) plant in Taylor County off U.S. Route 50 near Bridgeport, the company said in a statement. The plant, which eventually will employ 350 workers, originally was a glass factory that ceased operations in 2009.

The plant will produce cobalt-free batteries, an effort to bring down the cost of U.S. lithium-ion battery production. The Democratic Republic of Congo has historically been the top producer of cobalt worldwide, with most mines controlled by Chinese companies. ......

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump’s lawyers reply to DOJ motion with a textbook definition of 'ridiculous'

Mark Sumner

On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded to Judge Aileen Cannon’s notice that she was leaning toward granting Donald Trump his request for a “special master” to oversee the review of documents found at Mar-a-Lago. To say that motion was devastating to Trump’s claims is underselling the contents. Not only did the DOJ filing feature a detailed timeline of events showing all the ways Trump attempted to stall, ignore, or derail attempts to retrieve classified documents, it also revealed just how vital these documents actually are. The highlight of the motion involved the inclusion of a single image showing a stack of top-secret compartmentalized documents retrieved directly from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office.

Wednesday evening it was the turn of Trump’s crack legal team, who sent Cannon their reply to the DOJ motion. That reply kept up the tone of past Trump filings by reflecting a state of high dudgeon. But beyond the wailing and chest-thumping over how the DOJ got everything wrong, the Trump response is notable in that it had only two real things to say.

The first was that they simply didn’t have time to explain how the Justice Department statements were incorrect. The second was a confession.
.......

Actually, the Trump reply begins with an argument that the right of privacy means that a suspect under investigation can’t have their home searched without permission, even if law enforcement has a search warrant, and even if they inform the homeowner in advance. And that anything the government finds that is evidence of a crime can’t be taken, no matter what. So there.

It is the reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s home that triggers the obvious standing of the homeowner to contest a search on those premises. To suggest that the seizure of allegedly “illegally possessed” items negates standing literally distorts the entire concept of the Wong Sun “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine into the bizarre notion that, if the recovered property is potentially illegal to possess, then the homeowner can never challenge the basis of the intrusion.

This is a bold new expansion of privacy rights that many would applaud (Including other criminals who have had illegal materials removed from their residences after the application of a valid search warrant obtained from a federal judge). The Wong Sun case mentioned in the Trump reply was specifically about a search conducted without a warrant, and its application here is worse than pointless. Maybe Trump’s team thinks Cannon doesn’t know that. Maybe Trump’s team doesn’t know that.

Then comes the argument about Trump having the standing to request a special master. It’s clear that Trump’s attorneys have just looked up the meaning of “standing,” as they include a law school definition. They then go on to cite some examples where special masters were appointed, every single one of which involves complications resulting from the search of an attorney’s office. In fact, the first citation involves the search of Michael Cohen’s office. That could be where Trump got the idea that a special master would save him.

But after all this, and despite going on at some length about the times the court has appointed special masters for searches of law offices, the reply never gets around to mentioning why Trump should be awarded a special master. Just restating that the whole thing violates his Fourth Amendment rights, even though the search was conducted under the terms of a search warrant, is as close as the next two sections of the motion come.

And that’s before the Trump team kind of officially throws up their hands …

Movant does not at this time address every misleading or incomplete statement of purported “fact” made by the Government in its Response at pages 3 to 14.

That “addressing every misleading or incomplete statement” is exactly what this reply is for. Here is Trump’s opportunity to show where the government is wrong. To provide evidence that the government is lying or exaggerating or mischaracterizing what happened. But they can’t be bothered. Maybe that’s because all three of Trump’s attorneys who signed on to this thing are actually litigating other cases at the same time.

However, there is one instance they do address. In a way.

However, Movant will simply highlight that one specific event – the June 3, 2022, meeting – has been significantly mischaracterized in the Government’s Response.

That June 3, 2022 meeting took place after the FBI had filed a subpoena demanding Trump return the documents. At that meeting, the agents and DOJ attorney present were handed an envelope containing 38 classified documents, 17 of which were stamped “top secret.” They were also given a signed statement from Trump attorney Christina Bobb (whose name is notably missing from Wednesday’s reply) stating that after a “diligent search” there were no more classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

How the government “significantly mischaracterized the meeting” isn’t mentioned in this section, but eventually Trump’s team does wind around again to writing about that meeting.

A search warrant has been executed at the home of a President. It was conducted in the midst of the standard give-and-take between former Presidents and NARA regarding Presidential library contents, and with the Movant literally allowing DOJ lawyers and FBI investigators to come to his home and provide security advice.

This has to be the single best section of the entire filing. It’s just so … so. Not only does it leave out the word “former” when describing Trump’s position, it describes a process that has at this point involved over a year of the National Archives begging for the return of classified material, threatening to go to the DOJ, actually going to the DOJ after Trump tried to hide behind executive privilege, the DOJ issuing a subpoena, and the FBI finally moving after seeing evidence that Trump is lying about both the nature and number of classified documents he is holding as “the standard give-and-take between former Presidents and NARA.” What’s missing from this claim is any reason to see this as “standard.”

But that’s not the best part.

The next section says that Trump “allowed” the FBI to come to … “provide security advice.” By which Trump’s attorneys presumably mean that the FBI agents present advised Bobb to secure the storage room holding records from the White House—records she didn’t allow them to see. It completely ignores that the real purpose of the visit was to retrieve both classified documents and that signed statement, both of which did happen.

This is such a twisted view of events that following it is a serious threat to reason. But Trump’s attorneys have to be credited with this much: Dissertations will be written on what is wrong with these two sentences.

But don’t worry. Just because Trump’s team left out the part where that meeting included handing over a hefty stack of highly classified material and a signed statement that was an obvious lie, that doesn’t mean they don’t get around to a full confession.

Despite the clear desperation of the Government in avoiding the broad parameters of the PRA in allowing President Trump to possess documents, Movant declines the invitation to take on all potential future litigation in the narrow context of the Court’s ordered response regarding the appointment of a Special Master.

So Trump admits that he did have documents that fall under the restrictions of the Presidential Records Act. That’s part one.

As an initial matter, Movant is amenable to certain conditions proposed by the
Government. … Movant also agrees that it would be appropriate for the special master to possess a Top Secret/SCI security clearance.

And Trump’s team agrees that any special master would need beyond top-secret clearance … even though Trump is also claiming in public that he declassified all these documents. The reply also notes that “... the Government indicated that there were ‘three classified documents … located in the desks in the ’45 Office’” without any objection other than complaining about the removal of some of Trump’s personal documents (like the multiple passports he was keeping with his classified documents).

What is there to learn from this reply, other than there remains absolutely no precedent for appointing a special master to deal with issues of executive privilege, and that Trump has admitted to having highly classified materials in his possession?

First, this document follows the example of all other Trump legal filings in that it never mentions the idea that any of the documents are declassified. This remains something that Trump says in public, but which absolutely clashes with the filings his attorneys are making in court.

Second, despite devoting two full sections of the reply to the idea of appointing a special master, the reply doesn’t actually provide a single example or justification for why this master should be appointed. It also explicitly fails to mention why the process outlined by the Justice Department is inadequate or how a special master would work now that the FBI filter team has already gone through the documents.

Third, the document completely fails to address the false claim that Trump’s legal team handed to the DOJ on June 3 stating that “after a diligent search,” there were no more classified documents to hand over.

Fourth, not only is Bobb’s name missing off the document, so is that of attorney Christopher Kise, the former solicitor general of Florida and a former member of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ staff, who Trump hired earlier this month specifically to represent him in this case. However, it does feature TV attorney James Trusty and Evan Corcoran, neither of whom is licensed to practice in Florida, and both of whom seem to be devoting more time to other cases than to Trump.

Fifth, and maybe most astounding, the reply doesn’t even try to rebut the government’s claims that documents were removed or hidden for the purposes of obstruction. The word obstruction doesn’t even pop up in the reply.

The reply from Trump’s team is a ridiculous document. Not only is its understanding of Fourth Amendment rights wildly outside any concept of criminal law, it explicitly fails to address the claims of the DOJ motion, hiding behind chest-beating and vague statements about “mischaracterization” that are never filled out by facts.

But then, every document that Trump’s team has filed with Cannon has been ridiculous. Cannon even had to come back to the team twice in the past, once after they filed incorrectly, the second time after they filed a complaint that was critically missing every element of a complaint, and walk them through how to do it correctly. But Cannon did walk them through, and then she did state that she was inclined to grant Trump’s request in spite of everything wrong with his argument.

There’s no guarantee that just because this reply is empty, silly, and logically inconsistent, it won’t be perfectly successful.