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Thread: The Outrage Thread

  1. #1061
    Senior Member jsmith6919's Avatar
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  2. #1062
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    MIT expert claims latest chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged

    A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged, raising questions about who was responsible.

    Theodore Postol, a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), issued a series of three reports in response to the White House's finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April.

    He concluded that the US government's report does not provide any "concrete" evidence that Assad was responsible, adding it was more likely that the attack was perpetrated by players on the ground.

    Postol said: "I have reviewed the [White House's] document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria at roughly 6am to 7am on 4 April, 2017.

    "In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document point to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of 4 April.

    "This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House."

    The image Postol refers to is that of a crater containing a shell inside, which is said to have contained the sarin gas.

    His analysis of the shell suggests that it could not have been dropped from an airplane as the damage of the casing is inconsistent from an aerial explosion. Instead, Postol said it was more likely that an explosive charge was laid upon the shell containing sarin, before being detonated.

    "The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet," Postol said. "It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater.

    "Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened, the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end."

    The implication of Postol's analysis is that it was carried out by anti-government insurgents as Khan Sheikhoun is in militant-controlled territory of Syria.

    Postol, formerly a scientific advisor at the Department of Defense (DoD), has previously outlined similar inconsistencies with US intelligence reports. Following the 2013 chemical weapons attack in eastern Ghouta, Postol again said the evidence did not suggest Assad was responsible – a finding that was later corroborated by the United Nations.

    In his latest reports, Postol hit out at what he says is a "politicisation" of intelligence findings.

    Postol said: "No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it.

    "All of these highly amateurish mistakes indicate that this White House report, like the earlier Obama White House Report [from Ghouta in 2013], was not properly vetted by the intelligence community as claimed.

    "I have worked with the intelligence community in the past, and I have grave concerns about the politicisation of intelligence that seems to be occurring with more frequency in recent times – but I know that the intelligence community has highly capable analysts in it.

    "And if those analysts were properly consulted about the claims in the White House document they would have not approved the document going forward."

  3. #1063
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    You guys sure send some good ones to serve from Texas

    Former Texas congressman Steve Stockman found guilty of 23 felonies

    Steve Stockman, a Republican former congressman from Texas, has been convicted of defrauding two conservative mega-donors and funneling their $1.25 million into personal and campaign expenses as part of what prosecutors have described as a “white collar crime spree.”

    A jury in federal court in Houston ruled Thursday afternoon that Stockman is guilty of all but one of the 24 felonies he was charged with last March. After about 16 hours of deliberations over three days, the 12-person panel only declined to convict on one of four counts of wire fraud.

    That verdict puts Stockman — a firebrand conservative who served two nonconsecutive terms in the U.S. House before losing a 2014 challenge to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas — at risk of decades in federal prison. And in the immediate future, it sends him into federal custody, where he will remain pending sentencing in August. U.S. Marshals took him into custody shortly after the verdict was read.

    Stockman has been on trial in federal court in Houston for nearly a month on corruption charges that include mail and wire fraud, money laundering and violations of federal election law. As he heard the jury’s verdict Thursday, he sat expressionless, according to the Houston Chronicle.

    Ryan Patrick, the new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas and the son of Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, was in the courtroom for the verdict.

    Stockman was accused of improperly using charitable donations for unrelated efforts, including campaign and personal expenses ranging from a new dishwasher to undercover surveillance of a perceived political rival.

    The Houston-area former lawmaker's attorneys have claimed that the pair of conservative mega-donors who gave him that money intended for it to serve as campaign contributions and gave the former lawmaker broad leeway for using it. Prosecutors argued that Stockman promised that money would go to specific purposes — including “educating” voters and renovating a conservative “Freedom House” for interns — and that the former lawmaker used his credibility to mislead donors.

    If upheld on appeal, the felony conviction would make Stockman ineligible to seek Texas office. But the U.S. Constitution, which lays out eligibility requirements for federal office, does not exclude convicted felons from seeking election to the U.S. Congress.

    Stockman was charged with two former aides, Thomas Dodd and Jason Posey, who both entered guilty pleas and testified against their former boss. The three faced 28 felony charges in total.

  6. #1066
    Senior Member BipolarFan's Avatar
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    So maybe, just maybe Obama knew what the fuck he was doing when he didn't respond to someone crossing his "red line" about using chemical weapons.

  7. #1067
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    Former aide tells Congress of extravagant spending by EPA's Scott Pruitt

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt routinely directed staffers to book expensive hotels, help him earn frequent flier miles and schedule meetings to align with his personal travel desires, a former top staffer told congressional investigators.

    Former EPA deputy chief of staff, Kevin Chmielewski also said Pruitt was aware of major raises given to other aides, rebutting Pruitt's account that he was unaware of the salary bumps.

    The allegations are laid out in a letter several Democratic members of Congress sent Pruitt and President Donald Trump on Thursday. The letter says the new information about how Pruitt has run the agency reveal actions that are "unethical and potentially illegal."

    Chmielewski is currently on unpaid leave from the agency after raising concerns about Pruitt's travel practices and uses of resources and funds.

    Among the allegations:
    • Pruitt declined to use State Department-approved overseas hotels that already had security in place, preferring more expensive hotels with higher security costs.

    • Pruitt requested aides to schedule official business in cities he wanted to visit.

    • Pruitt directed staffers booking his travel on Delta to maximize his personal frequent flyer miles.

    • Pruitt used the agency's scheduling director as a "personal real estate representative."

    • Pruitt wanted staff to find reasons for him to visit his home state of Oklahoma.

    • Pruitt spent more than the $5,000 allowed by law to decorate his office, including refinishing an antique desk, buying a standing desk and paying leases for art on loan from the Smithsonian.

    "We will respond to Members of Congress through the proper channel," the agency's spokesman, Jahan Wilcox, told CNN in a statement.

    The EPA has previously defended Pruitt's travel and security practices, and Pruitt argued in recent interviews his lease was ethically sound. EPA has also said Chmielewski is among "a group of disgruntled employees who have either been dismissed or reassigned."

    Hotel choices

    The letter reveals that when Pruitt was planning a business trip last year to Australia, he ignored State Department recommendations.

    "Mr. Chmielewski claimed that you refused to stay at hotels recommended by the U.S. Embassy, although the recommended hotel had law enforcement and other U.S. resources on-site," the letter reads. "He alleged you chose to stay instead at more expensive hotels with fewer standard security resources, and to bring your security team with you, at taxpayer expense."

    Pruitt's hotel choices have also required his security detail to pay for rooms out of their own pockets.

    "According to Mr. Chmielewski, you frequently stayed in hotels that exceeded the allowable U.S. government per diem," the letter said. "He added that while you were reimbursed for these expenses, on some occasions members of you security detail were not reimbursed for the portion of their expenses that exceeded allowable maximums."

    First class travel and pay raises

    Chmielewski told investigators he was sidelined at Pruitt's direction after refusing to retroactively approve a first-class plane ticket for another EPA political appointee, Samantha Dravis. Dravis announced last week that she is leaving the agency later this month.
    "He told our staffs that following his refusal, chief of staff Ryan Jackson called Mr. Chmielewski into his office and informed him that you wished to fire or reassign him," the Democratic members of Congress wrote to Pruitt.

    Chmielewski told congressional investigators that he had personal knowledge -- through a conversation with Jackson -- that Pruitt was involved in the raises given to his agency attorney and the scheduling director.

    Pruitt denied in a Fox News interview that he knew of the raises prior to a report by The Atlantic that uncovered the raises -- one for $57,000 and another for $28,000.

    But Chmielewski said the administrator was in the know.

    "Mr. Chmielewski explained that he was called into your Chief of Staff's office and told that you wanted to move him out of his position in order to give Ms. Hupp his title and a pay increase," the letter to Pruitt reads.

    The raises were "100% Pruitt himself," Chmielewski told the investigators. The letter did not specify if Chmielewski has personally discussed the raises with Pruitt.

  8. #1068
    Senior Member fortsbest's Avatar
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    Can we please just open a thread titled Bipo's BS rant thread so we can ignore his tripe if we want to?

  9. #1069
    Senior Member jsmith6919's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BipolarFan View Post
    So maybe, just maybe Obama knew what the fuck he was doing when he didn't respond to someone crossing his "red line" about using chemical weapons.
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  11. #1070
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