The Switchover Lands, and Mayhem Ensues
Happy Australia Day from the team at Agora Financial Australia!
There’s no need to get into the debate about what today’s celebrations are really all about.
Whether you’re wallowing in misery over our nation’s colonial abuses, or celebrating the creation of the best place in the world to live, or just drinking, we’d like to add to your emotional state.
I’m told form my publisher that the response to Callum’s Blockchain Switchover stock report, released just yesterday, has been phenomenal.
When I first saw it, I expected as much.
Whether you agree with the future of ‘crypto tech’ or not, the momentum gathering behind this burgeoning stock trend is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
And stocks at the centre of this collision point are going supernova.
100% in four weeks…300% in six days…and 124% in 24 hours.
One stock that Callum identifies here soared up 394% in ONE MORNING.
But you should check out Callum’s report. He knows his stuff. And he’s an amazing stock picker, as you’ll see.
At the very least, you’ll appreciate his abated optimism, because the story you’re about to read will make you more miserable.
Well, that, or it’ll make you more pleased to be Australian, or drink more.
Why? Because it’s about the US political system. Which is especially depressingly funny at the moment.
But there is a serious side too…
A breakdown of the global superpower
A scandal is being kept from you. It exposes the true nature of government. And who really runs it. Given it’s the global superpower we’re talking about, a breakdown of trust in the US political system would have implications for everyone around the world.
So far, mentions of the scandal in the Australian and international media are few and far between. That’s despite social media running hot with the issue. The question is whether there’s anything to the story.
If it’s true, the depth of manipulation behind democracy in the US is so extraordinary, it makes you question everything. Who is elected, how they’re elected, who controls them, and what motivates those truly in power. If Americans realise what’s going on in their government, they will lose all faith in it.
The context of the scandal, which makes it plausible, is equally scandalous.
Joe diGenova is a former special prosecutor who investigated New York’s Eliot Spitzer and the Teamsters Union. In a 30-minute interview, he explained why so many arms of the US government are trying to prove President Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the election campaign.
The idea is that the US intelligence community and Department of Justice deliberately fudged an investigation of Hillary Clinton, their favoured candidate, during the 2016 election campaign. She had kept secret data on her private computer servers during her time as secretary of state, which can be a crime. This wasn’t investigated properly by the assigned FBI agents, to put it mildly.
The investigators banked on Clinton winning the election and covering for them. ‘The problem was, she didn’t win,’ diGenova explained to The Daily Caller. That means their fudged investigation came under scrutiny when they weren’t expecting it to.
For example, the FBI agent who investigated Clinton has since been fired for his bias against Trump, revealed in text messages. It’s also emerged he downgraded the FBI’s assessment of Clinton’s potential crimes in such a way that she could avoid prosecution, contrary to the initial assessment by which she could’ve been prosecuted.
The investigation’s result was a hot topic during the election campaign, so his actions influenced the result significantly, even if not decisively…
If this narrative is correct, it means the panic over Trump’s Russian collusion is really a distraction from a failed attempt by the US intelligence agencies to manipulate the election. Because it failed, it has been uncovered. The perpetrators are on the counterattack against Trump to hide their tracks. But their attempts are only making the scandal worse.
The story has been slowly boiling away since 2016. Neither side has come up with proof. Consistently, attempts to prove Trump’s collusion with Russia have come up short. Steadily, more and more details about Clinton’s servers and the botched investigation of her have emerged. Other questionable practices of Clinton were also exposed. Ironically, some involve collusion with Russians. The FBI reinvestigated, but didn’t change its conclusion.
But recently, the drama took a potentially decisive turn. If the Republicans and Trump supporters have it right, the real powers behind the US’s political institutions are about to be exposed.
The real drama started when House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes created a four-page memo based on intelligence information. He circulated it to lawmakers, but not the media. What’s in the memo depends on who you ask. Fox News host Sean Hannity and one Republican lawmaker said it’s worse than Watergate.
The memo supposedly details how senior members of the FBI used the FISA surveillance method to spy on Trump during the election at the behest of President Barack Obama and Clinton. At least that’s what those who have read the memo imply.
Now, first of all, Nunes is far from reliable. He’s triggered similar dramas over Edward Snowden, for example, which proved disappointing. But this time he may be on to something.
FISA was part of a few scandals in the past. The basic idea is that spy agencies can’t spy on their own citizens without some sort of approval in most Western countries. But they can fairly easily spy on other countries’ citizens. Any data captured about their own citizens in the process is, of course, just a coincidence.
The two loopholes are obvious. By monitoring any foreign interaction of a person of interest, spy agencies can effectively monitor their own citizens. Alternatively, they can just ask allied nations’ spy agencies to spy on their citizens for them and share the data. This second option featured in the UK media a few years ago.
FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) is the law which governs all this in the US. The Republicans are claiming they have evidence of FISA abuse by Obama and Clinton to target Trump during the election. The memo dishes the details.
The abuse likely involves a now famous dossier about Trump’s dirty laundry, compiled by a UK citizen via a Russian firm as intermediary. That Russian firm was paid for by a lawyer who represented Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democrats’ organisational body.
Using government intelligence powers against your opponent in an election is an extraordinary abuse of power. It’s likely, by the way, that the abuse uncovered some actual collusion between Trump and Russia. This would explain why the Democrats are so sure of their accusations without any released evidence. They can’t release the evidence without exposing their abuse of power in how they got their hands on it.
Given the remarkable claims about the memo, a campaign to get the Republicans to release the memo went viral. There are various ways they can do so. And they say they’re ‘exploring them’. But the biggest indication that the memo is a dud comes from the fact that it still hasn’t been released or leaked.
The Democrats on the various committees say the memo is rubbish. They’ve reviewed the intelligence that the memo was based on and say the memo is a distortion.
The problem is, other events are confirming the general gist. And they suggest this scandal has a far wider reach than even the Republicans suggest.
The right government records go missing
Much of the memo is likely based on records of investigators’ text messages. The communication between investigators at the FBI and elsewhere exposes their true views, intentions and actions. This has already been confirmed in one case. An agent with anti-Trump views was fired. Back to that in a moment.
More recently, further text messages involving FBI agents supposedly revealed a discussion about an anti-Trump ‘secret society’ inside the FBI and the Department of Justice. It was formed after the election to undermine the new president in office. Once again, these claims come from Republican lawmakers who claim to have seen the text message records.
Another text message discovered by lawmakers is from the FBI’s investigator of the Trump/Russia collusion. It was sent to the Department of Justice’s special investigator of the same topic, six days after he’d been appointed:
‘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.’
In other words, investigators knew Trump had not colluded with the Russians. The FBI investigator nevertheless joined the Department of Justice’s investigation of Trump. But he was removed from the team when his anti-Trump text messages to his FBI lawyer mistress were revealed by the Department of Justice’s own internal investigators.
This is the same man who investigated Clinton’s server scandal, discussed above. And changed the wording of the outcome to avoid Clinton being prosecuted.
His text messages to his mistress at the FBI revealed a reference to an ‘insurance policy’ in case Trump becomes president. That insurance policy was probably the anti-Trump dossier mentioned above, or the Russian collusion investigation to impeach Trump.
More recently revealed text messages also mention ensuring all these text messages are not kept. In other words, they planned to destroy the records.
On cue, the FBI now claims it lost a trove of text message records due to technical issues. It blames Samsung’s Galaxy phones and an IT upgrade at the FBI.
Conveniently, the five-month period which the FBI claims to have lost its data for specifically includes the appointment of the special council to investigate Trump, the period it worked on its ‘insurance policy’ in case Trump was elected, and the period during which the anti-Trump ‘secret society’ would’ve been formed.
There are several problems with having lost these text messages. The Department of Justice’s internal investigator confirmed he previously received from the FBI some of the very text message data the FBI claims to have lost.
But then the attorney general got involved and claimed this was incorrect, as the internal investigator at the Department of Justice was in fact the person who discovered the text messages were missing, so he could not have received them. His office then confirmed he does not have any text message records for that period after all. Which begs the question: What are all these text messages that everyone has been quoting?
The Department of Justice now promises it will leave ‘no stone unturned’ to try and find the missing messages.
The lost text messages are particularly suspicious in context. In recent years, the American tax department, the NSA intelligence agency, the Clinton campaign and now the FBI have escaped scandals using the excuse of losing data. Each time, there have been rumours of deliberate destruction.
The FBI has a rich history of losing data that would get it into trouble. And the other three mentions of lost data are relevant to the story of the memo and Trump’s collusion with Russia.
The NSA recently apologised to a judge for its failure to keep records of George W. Bush’s use of FISA-type surveillance, including the backup tapes of the content it amassed.
The Clinton servers were destroyed by an IT specialist who got legal immunity from the Department of Justice.
And last but not least, the Internal Revenue Service admitted to targeting anti-Democrat political organisations with tax audits, but deleted the data associated with this and only got into limited trouble.
In the last two examples, the data destruction occurred specifically against orders from Congress and courts respectively.
To be clear, the memo that has escalated all this may reveal nothing new or of value. But even then, the intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice and the political establishment reek of scandal.
Ironically, the Democrats demand the Republicans release the memo to the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate — precisely the organisations which the Republicans accuse of bias.
Politicians, intelligence agencies and…
If there’s truth to the scandal, it may engulf even more organisations than the Republicans realise. The media has a bias against Trump, confirmed by academic studies. That’s why social media is such a powerful platform for him and his supporters.
But the crackdown on them has begun. Unsuccessfully.
Both Facebook and Google have abandoned their efforts to flag or hide news items they consider fake. The reason is fascinating. Facebook discovered that flagging something as fake news actually increased interest in it. Google found itself discovering that the fact checkers get things wrong. The story that triggered the complaints which forced Google to abandon its policy was about Trump’s collusion with Russia. A fact-check on an article about the team investigating Trump’s collusion with Russia was proven wrong, so the article was incorrectly sidelined.
Just days ago, Twitter sent half a million of its users a message that they may have been influenced by Russian-pushed propaganda during the election. The message was only sent to those who actually saw or interacted with the Russian-influenced articles or information. The problem is, Twitter sent one such warning to an account which was created after the election…
The bias isn’t just obvious on social media. The mainstream media is complicit too. Trump recently announced his awards ceremony for fake news, in which he highlighted the media’s steady stream of ‘mistakes’ that target him. The academic world has also confirmed the overwhelmingly negative bias in reporting of Trump.
Many of the media’s mistakes are about the Russian collusion story. Such as accusing the Trump campaign of collusion with Russia to get its hands on Democrat campaign emails during the election. Unfortunately, the sources CNN relied on got their dates wrong, and so the whole story amounted to nothing. It still caused ruckus in the stock market though.
All this tells you the level of manipulation in and of the US political system may be so absurdly high that voters will completely lose faith in it, and the media that portrays it.
A political breakdown in the US is very possible. And that could trigger mayhem in financial markets.
Until next time,
For The Daily Reckoning Australia