PATRICK LAWRENCE: Brighter US-Iran Prospects – Consortiumnews

Iran Sends Diplomatic Signals

Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad Javad Zarif, respectively Iran’s president and foreign minister, both signaled last week that Tehran is open to new talks under certain conditions. On the U.S. side, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did roughly the same. “We are not looking for regime change. We are not looking for that at all,” Trump said Tuesday. “We’ll see what happens. But a lot of progress has been made.”

Two days after those remarks, Politico reported that Trump had accepted Sen. Rand Paul’s proposal, advanced during a round of golf the previous weekend, to represent the White House in talks with Iranian officials. The Kentucky senator is noted for his vigorous opposition to military adventures — a position in keeping with the president’s ostensible views. It is not clear who Paul might meet, or where and when any such encounter could take place. But Trump’s decision to accept Paul as his emissary is a savvy move to circumvent the hawks among his foreign policy advisers, chief among them National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has in the past called for regime change in Iran.

Bolton, often (but not always) with Pompeo’s support, has pressed for a highly confrontational Iran policy since he joined the administration last year. It now emerges that he played a leading role in conjuring the Gibraltar incident out of thin air, effectively using Britain as an unwitting tool to advance his hyper-hawkish Iran agenda.

The marked drift toward diplomacy last week represents an important, potentially decisive setback for Bolton and the White House’s hawkish factions. Washington’s hawks sustained another blow Saturday, when The New York Times published the astonishing remarks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s former fire-breathing, often objectionable president who preceded Hassan Rouhani. “He is a businessman and therefore he is capable of calculating cost-benefits and making a decision,” the hardline Ahmadinejad said of Trump in an hour-long telephone interview with the Times. “We say to him, let’s calculate the long-term cost-benefit of our two nations and not be shortsighted.”

Read more: PATRICK LAWRENCE: Brighter US-Iran Prospects – Consortiumnews

RAY McGOVERN: A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles – Consortiumnews

Three years ago Monday WikiLeaks published a trove of highly embarrassing emails that had been leaked from inside the Democratic National Committee. As has been the case with every leak revealed by WikiLeaks, the emails were authentic. These particular ones, however, could not have come at a worse time for top Democratic Party officials.

The emails made it unmistakably clear that the DNC had tipped the scales sharply against Democratic insurgent Bernie Sanders, giving him a snowball’s chance in hell for the nomination. The posting of the DNC emails is also widely seen as having harmed the the electoral prospects of Hillary Clinton, who could not escape responsibility completely, while a handful of the very top DNC officials were forced to immediately resign.

Relatively few Americans read the actual emails, their attention diverted to the incessant media-fostered question: Why Did the Russians Hack the DNC to Hurt Hillary? For the millions of once enthusiastic Democrats who favored Sanders, however, the disclosure that the nomination process had been fixed came as a bitter pill, leaving a sour taste in their mouths and a passive-aggressive reluctance to promote the candidacy of one they considered a usurper. Having had a huge stake in Bernie’s candidacy, they had little trouble seeing through the diversion of attention from the content of the emails.

Read more: RAY McGOVERN: A Non-Hack That Raised Hillary’s Hackles – Consortiumnews

TWITTER THREAD of the YEAR

Former Mueller Probe Witness Indicted For Child Sex Trafficking | Zero Hedge


Some of the charges stem from a search of Nader’s iPhones that was conducted in April 2018, when he was detained and questioned by agents on behalf of Mueller after arriving at Dulles Airport.

It’s unclear what Nader told Mueller, though it’s believed his testimony pertained to actions by Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder and brother of Betsy Devoes, who Mueller alleged met with an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Seychelles around the time of Trump’s inauguration. It was alleged that Prince was trying to set up a “back channel” to Trump. Nader is allegedly an emissary of the UAE.

Soon after the images were discovered, prosecutors reportedly filed a criminal complaint against Nader over the images, but they kept the charges under seal, and Nader’s lawyers were never informed of his impending arrest all the while that he continued to cooperate with the Mueller probe.

That means that Mueller kept a suspected child abuser and pornographer on the streets while it used him as a witness. And now that Nader is no longer useful, he is finally being charged.

Read More: Former Mueller Probe Witness Indicted For Child Sex Trafficking | Zero Hedge

As the Jeffrey Epstein Case Grows, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact | Vanity Fair

Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel’s ruling. The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. “Nobody who was around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It’s all going to come out,” said Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies. Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”

Read More: As the Jeffrey Epstein Case Grows, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact | Vanity Fair