Monday, September 26, 2022

Judicial Watch is investigating whether the Secret Service intervened for Hunter Biden


 And here is Judicial Watch's press release on the lawsuit:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for Secret Service records related to the investigation of Hunter Biden’s gun, reportedly disposed of in a dumpster in Delaware (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:22-cv-02841)).

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after United States Secret Service (a component of DHS) failed to respond adequately to a March 25, 2021, FOIA request for records or communications about the reported purchase, possession, and disposal of a firearm owned by Hunter Biden found in a Delaware dumpster circa October 2018.

Judicial Watch is investigating whether and how the Secret Service intervened for Hunter Biden in an incident involving a gun owned by him.

In October 2020, The Blaze reported that in October 2018, Hunter Biden’s handgun was taken by Hallie Biden, the widow of then-presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Beau. In 2021, Politico reported:

Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone.

Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO.

But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.

“The Secret Service and the Biden administration apparently are in cover-up mode for Hunter Biden. Whether its Hunter Biden’s laptop, his business practices and travel, or these documents related to the careless disposal of a gun in a dumpster near a high school, this administration continues to put up unlawful roadblocks to any effort to investigate the activities of the Biden family, particularly Hunter,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Through FOIA, Judicial Watch has uncovered significant information about Hunter Biden’s Ukraine connections. He served on the board of directors for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings despite having no previous experience in the energy industry.

In December 2020, Judicial Watch received records from the State Department tying Hunter Biden’s Burisma Holdings’ lobbying operation to an influence-peddling operation involving the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. Also uncovered were State Department records showing that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch had specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings.

In October 2020, State Department records that included a briefing checklist of a February 22, 2019, meeting in Kyiv between then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic lobbying firm which was hired by Burisma Holdings to combat corruption allegations. The briefing checklist notes that Painter also planned to meet with Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) Officer Martin Claessens “regarding the Burisma Group energy company.” (Painter was implicated in the Clinton-era fundraising scandal exposed by Judicial Watch that involved the alleged sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions to Democratic National Committee donors.)

In September 2020, State Department records  include a January 17, 2017, email from George Kent, the Obama administration’s deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of Ukraine policy, which was copied to then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, highlighting Russia-linked media “trolling” Joe Biden over “his son’s business.” An email was sent four days prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump to a redacted recipient and CCd to Yovanovitch with the subject line “medvedchuk-linked vesti trolls Biden.” Kent writes: “Burisma – gift that keeps on giving. (With medvedchuk affiliated Vesti pushing the troll like storyline on visit day)”

In June 2020, U.S. Secret Service records showed that, for the first five and a half years of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden traveled extensively while receiving a Secret Service protective detail. During the time period of the records provided, Hunter Biden took 411 separate domestic and international flights, including to 29 different foreign countries. He visited China five times.

Judicial Watch is also suing the DHS for Secret Service records on Hunter Biden’s travel and security costs, and suing the State Department for messages sent through the SMART (State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolkit) system that mention Hunter Biden.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:


Monday, September 26, 2022.  The western media gloms on one death while ignoring another and Iraq may be close to ending the ongoing political stalemate.

Over at COMMON DREAMS, Julia Conley wants you to know that US 'progressives' like AOC are up in arms and expressing 'solidarity' with some protesting in Iran over the death of 21-year-old Mahsa Amini.  It's great Julia Conley that you've finally discovered a Kurd -- it's not as though you've written of any Kurds in Iraq despite the fact that they are being terrorized by the government of Turkey.  In fact, here's RUDAW reporting yesterday on the latest Turkish attack:

Akre’s acting mayor Shaaban Barwari told Rudaw that alleged Turkish warplanes had struck villages in Dinarte district at 11:30pm on Saturday.

A local villager from Amedi, Ramzi Sargali, told Rudaw’s Nasser Ali that Turkish aircraft has been bombing the area for almost three months and while no casualties have been inflicted, it is causing fear among the local population. 

Turkey launched its latest operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, on April 18 targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the mountainous areas of Metina, Zap, Avashin, and Basyan in Duhok province. The operation is the fourth stage of Ankara’s Claw operations against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region, with the first stage starting in 2019. 

If you were a sentient human being, you might ask why this death, of all deaths, is getting so much play but that would require a brain -- wouldn't it, Julia?

And a brain might mean you'd ask why members of the US Congress are so up in arms over a death in Iran that has nothing to do with the US while they ignore -- as does Julia Conley -- the death of a 15-year-old girl in Iraq last week, a death that said to be the fault of the US military.  You'd think members of the US Congress would be asking what happened in Iraq.

At INSURGENTE.ORG, Hafsa Kara-Mustapha notes that the Iranian death is beloved by western media because it takes place in a country that doesn't "toe the Western line" and that an investigation was launched in Iran and that Iranian officials offered condolences to the family.  The coverage, Hafsa notes, seems created to "inspire riots in resource-rich countreis" and that we've seen that before.  Meanwhile, 15-year-old Zainab Essam al-Jaszli was shot last week near Camp Bucca in Baghdad by US forces without any Western media reporting on the murder "demonstrating once again that it is not about human rights."

 Zainab Essam al-Khazali, as we noted Friday, "That's a name the US media can't seem to find.  But others are noting her name."  Including Haid Nasrallah:

Is anyone talking about Zainab Essam Al-Khazali? the 15 year old Iraqi girl who was shot and killed by US forces in Iraq yesterday. She wasn’t killed by Iran so her story does not matter to western media.

All these days later, the US media tries to maintain a silence.  The excessively -- yes, that is the term -- cover the death of an Iranian female, Mahsa Amini, while ignoring the death of an Iraqi girl.  When I saw the interview on that with Amy Goodman, it just gave me an uneasy feeling.  A little too pat, a little to planted, a little too hypocritical.  It was Thursday afternoon when I saw that segment and I already knew about Zainab.  A death in Iran was breaking all over the media but this Iraqi death, which is the US is said to be responsible for, no one was talking about it.

As we noted Saturday, "hypocrisy" is the term foreign outlets were using to describe the US media silence. Sunday, the hypocrisy continues.  

With one exception, at WSWS, Dominic Gustavao reports on Zainab:

A teenage girl was shot dead by American soldiers as they conducted live-fire drills at the Victoria military base near Baghdad International Airport on September 20. 

Fifteen year-old Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali, a student, was working with her father on their family farm when a bullet struck her in the head. Her funeral procession was held the next day. 

The Iraqi Security Media Cell promised an investigation into the murder, which it initially described as a “random shooting.” However a statement given by Iraq’s security forces, quoted by The Cradle, confirmed the culpability of the US military: “The killing of Zainab Essam Majed coincided with the presence of training operations for the American forces … the bullet that was taken out of the girl’s head confirms that it is from one of the weapons used by the American forces in the embassy and airport.” 

The shooting has provoked widespread outrage, with locals demanding to know why American soldiers were holding live-fire exercises near residential areas. On September 22, Iraqi legislator Ahmed Taha al-Rubaie, from the Basra province, called upon the Baghdad government to summon the American ambassador and present her with a formal note of protest, along with taking legal measures to hold those responsible for the murder accountable. 

In a post on Twitter, Rubaie wrote, “Even though two days have passed since the teenage girl was killed by a bullet fired during US military exercises near the Victoria base northwest of Baghdad, the US Embassy has not bothered to issue any official apology for the unjust incident.”

He went on, “The death, which occurred as a result of the use of live rounds during military drills near residential neighborhoods, exhibits an outrageous disregard for the Iraqi blood and a blatant disrespect for the country's sovereignty.”

Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, a Shi’ite militia group that is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, demanded on Twitter that the government “present a detailed report to the Iraqi people, explaining … this cowardly incident, and how a military base can exist on Iraqi soil in clear violation of the Iraqi constitution … and sovereignty.”

It remains unclear whether the shooting was intentional, or the result of US troops recklessly firing off live ammunition near populated urban areas. In either case, it demonstrates the criminal indifference of the US occupiers towards the lives of the people whom they “liberated.” It also exposes the cynicism and hypocrisy of the leaders of the US and the other imperialist powers as they invoke concern for “human rights” to justify the use of militarism. 

As Dominic notes, both THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE WASHINGTON POST have used the same person (Karim Sadjadpour) to weigh in on the death of the female in Iran while ignoring the murder of the Iraqi girl.  And, for the record, Karim is not the same person Amy Goodman brought on to cover the Iranian death.  Amy went with former VOICE OF AMERICA correspondent Negar Mortazavi.

This morning, Kumail Abbas Tweets:

A 15-year-old Iraqi girl was killed by US on Tuesday 20th September, identified as Zainab Essam Majed al-Khazali. The murder of the teen by US forces has gained little to no coverage in Western media. #zainabessamalkhazali #iraq #USA #fullajah

Ijaz Shigri Tweets:

Why #ZainabEssam, who was killed by the firing of American soldiers in Iraq, could not get the attention that #MahsaAmini's death got? Because Mahsa's death is in the interest of America and the West, and the case of Zainab Essam is directly related to American brutality.

Meanwhile, in an article noting government protests may resume October 1st -- this would be The October Revolution, not Moqtada's cult -- THE NATIONAL's Sinan Mahmoud reports:

Meanwhile, the Iran-backed Co-ordination Framework is close to announce a coalition with Kurds and Sunnis that could not only expedite the government formation process, but also provoke the powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who has boycotted the political process.

The announcement was planned for Sunday, but was postponed.

Fadi Al Shimmari, a politician affiliated to CF, said the agreement was finalised late on Sunday with two main Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Sunni Azam and Sovereignty coalition as well as the Christian Babylonian party.

The following sites updated: