The Final Days of the Bitcoin Foundation? - Bloomberg

Meet Brock Pierce, the Presidential Candidate With Ties to Pedophiles Who Wants to End Human Trafficking

thedailybeast.com | Sep. 20, 2020.
The “Mighty Ducks” actor is running for president. He clears the air (sort of) to Tarpley Hitt about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and more.
In the trailer for First Kid, the forgettable 1996 comedy about a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the president’s son, the title character, played by a teenage Brock Pierce, describes himself as “definitely the most powerful kid in the universe.” Now, the former child star is running to be the most powerful man in the world, as an Independent candidate for President of the United States.
Before First Kid, the Minnesota-born actor secured roles in a series of PG-rated comedies, playing a young Emilio Estevez in The Mighty Ducks, before graduating to smaller parts in movies like Problem Child 3: Junior in Love. When his screen time shrunk, Pierce retired from acting for a real executive role: co-founding the video production start-up Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) alongside businessman Marc Collins-Rector. At age 17, Pierce served as its vice president, taking in a base salary of $250,000.
DEN became “the poster child for dot-com excesses,” raising more than $60 million in seed investments and plotting a $75 million IPO. But it turned into a shorthand for something else when, in October of 1999, the three co-founders suddenly resigned. That month, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit alleging Collins-Rector had molested him for three years beginning when he was 13 years old. The following summer, three teens filed a sexual-abuse lawsuit against Pierce, Collins-Rector, and their third co-founder, Chad Shackley. The plaintiffs later dropped their case against Pierce (he made a payment of $21,600 to one of their lawyers) and Shackley. But after a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges in 2000, the DEN founders left the country. When Interpol arrested them in 2002, they said they had confiscated “guns, machetes, and child pornography” from the trio’s beach villa in Spain.
While abroad, Pierce had pivoted to a new venture: Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold virtual accessories in multiplayer online role-playing games to those desperate to pay, as one Wired reporter put it, “as much as $1,800 for an eight-piece suit of Skyshatter chain mail” rather than earn it in the games themselves. In 2005, a 25-year-old Pierce hired then-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Bannon—just before he would co-found Breitbart News. Two years later, after a World of Warcraft player sued the company for “diminishing” the fun of the game, Steve Bannon replaced Pierce as CEO.
Collins-Rector eventually pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In the years that followed, Pierce waded into the gonzo economy of cryptocurrencies, where he overlapped more than once with Jeffrey Epstein, and counseled him on crypto. In that world, he founded Tether, a cryptocurrency that bills itself as a “stablecoin,” because its value is allegedly tied to the U.S. dollar, and the blockchain software company Block.one. Like his earlier businesses, Pierce’s crypto projects see-sawed between massive investments and curious deals. When Block.one announced a smart contract software called EOS.IO, the company raised $4 billion almost overnight, setting an all-time record before the product even launched. The Securities and Exchange Commission later fined the company $24 million for violating federal securities law. After John Oliver mocked the ordeal, calling Pierce a “sleepy, creepy cowboy,” Block.one fired him. Tether, meanwhile, is currently under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible fraud.
On July 4, Pierce announced his candidacy for president. His campaign surrogates include a former Cambridge Analytica director and the singer Akon, who recently doubled down on developing an anonymously funded, $6 billion “Wakanda-like” metropolis in Senegal called Akon City. Pierce claims to be bipartisan, and from the 11 paragraphs on the “Policy” section of his website it can be hard to determine where he falls on the political spectrum. He supports legalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons, but avoids the phrase “climate change.” He wants to end “human trafficking.” His proposal to end police brutality: body cams.
His political contributions tell a more one-sided story. Pierce’s sole Democratic contribution went to the short-lived congressional run of crypto candidate Brian Forde. The rest went to Republican campaigns like Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, John McCain, and the National Right to Life Political Action Committee. Last year alone, Pierce gave over $44,000 to the Republican National Committee and more than $55,000 to Trump’s re-election fund.
Pierce spoke to The Daily Beast from his tour bus and again over email. Those conversations have been combined and edited for clarity.
You’re announcing your presidential candidacy somewhat late, and historically, third-party candidates haven’t had the best luck with the executive office. If you don’t have a strong path to the White House, what do you want out of the race?
I announced on July 4, which I think is quite an auspicious date for an Independent candidate, hoping to bring independence to this country. There’s a lot of things that I can do. One is: I’m 39 years old. I turn 40 in November. So I’ve got time on my side. Whatever happens in this election cycle, I’m laying the groundwork for the future. The overall mission is to create a third major party—not another third party—a third major party in this country. I think that is what America needs most. George Washington in his closing address warned us about the threat of political parties. John Adams and the other founding fathers—their fear for our future was two political parties becoming dominant. And look at where we are. We were warned.
I believe, having studied systems, any time you have a system of two, what happens is those two things come together, like magnets. They come into collision, or they become polarized and become completely divided. I think we need to rise above partisan politics and find a path forward together. As Albert Einstein is quoted—I’m not sure the line came from him, but he’s quoted in many places—he said that the definition of insanity is making the same mistake or doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting a different result. [Ed. note: Einstein never said this.] It feels like that’s what our election cycle is like. Half the country feels like they won, half the country feels like they lost, at least if they voted or participated.
Obviously, there’s another late-comer to the presidential race, and that’s Kanye West. He’s received a lot of flak for his candidacy, as he’s openly admitted to trying to siphon votes away from Joe Biden to ensure a Trump victory. Is that something you’re hoping to avoid or is that what you’re going for as well?
Oh no. This is a very serious campaign. Our campaign is very serious. You’ll notice I don’t say anything negative about either of the two major political candidates, because I think that’s one of the problems with our political system, instead of people getting on stage, talking about their visionary ideas, inspiring people, informing and educating, talking about problems, mentioning problems, talking about solutions, constructive criticism. That’s why I refuse to run a negative campaign. I am definitely not a spoiler. I’m into data, right? I’m a technologist. I’ve got digital DNA. So does most of our campaign team. We’ve got our finger on the pulse.
Most of my major Democratic contacts are really happy to see that we’re running in a red state like Wyoming. Kanye West’s home state is Wyoming. He’s not on the ballot in Wyoming I could say, in part, because he didn’t have Akon on his team. But I could also say that he probably didn’t want to be on the ballot in Wyoming because it’s a red state. He doesn’t want to take additional points in a state where he’s only running against Trump. But we’re on the ballot in Wyoming, and since we’re on the ballot in Wyoming I think it’s safe—more than safe, I think it’s evident—that we are not here to run as a spoiler for the benefit of Donald Trump.
In running for president, you’ve opened yourself up to be scrutinized from every angle going back to the beginning of your career. I wanted to ask you about your time at the Digital Entertainment Network. Can you tell me a little bit about how you started there? You became a vice president as a teenager. What were your qualifications and what was your job exactly?
Well, I was the co-founder. A lot of it was my idea. I had an idea that people would use the internet to watch videos, and we create content for the internet. The idea was basically YouTube and Hulu and Netflix. Anyone that was around in the ‘90s and has been around digital media since then, they all credit us as the creators of basically those ideas. I was just getting a message from the creator of The Vandals, the punk rock band, right before you called. He’s like, “Brock, looks like we’re going to get the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the first streaming television show.”
We did a lot of that stuff. We had 30 television shows. We had the top most prestigious institutions in the world as investors. The biggest names. High-net-worth investors like Terry Semel, who’s chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers, and became the CEO of Yahoo. I did all sorts of things. I helped sell $150,000 worth of advertising contracts to the CEOs of Pepsi and everything else. I was the face of the company, meeting all the major banks and everything else, selling the vision of what the future was.
You moved in with Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley at a mansion in Encino. Was that the headquarters of the business?
All start-ups, they normally start out in your home. Because it’s just you. The company was first started out of Marc’s house, and it was probably there for the first two or three months, before the company got an office. That’s, like, how it is for all start-ups.
were later a co-defendant in the L.A. County case filed against Marc Collins-Rector for plying minors with alcohol and drugs, in order to facilitate sexual abuse. You were dropped from the case, but you settled with one of the men for $21,600. Can you explain that?
Okay, well, first of all, that’s not accurate. Two of the plaintiffs in that case asked me if I would be a plaintiff. Because I refused to be a part of the lawsuit, they chose to include me to discredit me, to make their case stronger. They also went and offered 50 percent of what they got to the house management—they went around and offered money to anyone to participate in this. They needed people to corroborate their story. Eventually, because I refused to participate in the lawsuit, they named me. Subsequently, all three of the plaintiffs apologized to me, in front of audiences, in front of many people, saying Brock never did anything. They dismissed their cases.
Remember, this is a civil thing. I’ve never been charged with a crime in my life. And the last plaintiff to have his case dismissed, he contacted his lawyer and said, “Dismiss this case against Brock. Brock never did anything. I just apologized. Dismiss his case.” And the lawyer said, “No. I won’t dismiss this case, I have all these out-of-pocket expenses, I refuse to file the paperwork unless you give me my out-of-pocket expenses.” And so the lawyer, I guess, had $21,000 in bills. So I paid his lawyer $21,000—not him, it was not a settlement. That was a payment to his lawyer for his out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses so that he would file the paperwork to dismiss the case.
You’ve said the cases were unfounded, and the plaintiffs eventually apologized. But your boss, Marc Collins-Rector later pleaded guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. Were you aware of his behavior? How do you square the fact that later allegations proved to be true, but these ones were not?
Well, remember: I was 16 and 17 years old at the time? So, no. I don’t think Marc is the man they made him out to be. But Marc is not a person I would associate with today, and someone I haven’t associated with in a very long time. I was 16 and 17. I chose the wrong business partner. You live and you learn.
You’ve pointed out that you were underage when most of these allegations were said to take place. Did you ever feel like you were coerced or in over your head while working at DEN?
I mean, I was working 18 hours a day, doing things I’d never done before. It was business school. But I definitely learned a lot in building that company. We raised $88 million. We filed our [form] S-1 to go public. We were the hottest start-up in Los Angeles.
In 2000, you left the country with Marc Collins-Rector. Why did you leave? How did you spend those two years abroad?
I moved to Spain in 1999 for personal reasons. I spent those two years in Europe working on developing my businesses.
Interpol found you in 2002. The house where you were staying reportedly contained guns, machetes, and child pornography. Whose guns and child porn were those? Were you aware they were in the house, and how did those get there?
My lawyers have addressed this in 32 pages of documentation showing a complete absence of wrongdoing. Please refer to my webpage for more information.
[Ed. Note: The webpage does not mention guns, machetes, or child pornography. It does state:“It is true that when the local police arrested Collins-Rector in Spain in 2002 on an international warrant, Mr. Pierce was also taken into custody, but so was everyone at Collins-Rector’s house in Spain; and it is equally clear that Brock was promptly released, and no charges of any kind were ever filed against Brock concerning this matter.”]
What do you make of the allegations against Bryan Singer? [Ed. Note: Bryan Singer, a close friend of Collins-Rector, invested at least $50,000 in DEN. In an Atlantic article outlining Singer’s history of alleged sexual assault and statutory rape, one source claimed that at age 15, Collins-Rector abused him and introduced him to Singer, who then assaulted him in the DEN headquarters.]
I am aware of them and I support of all victims of sexual assault. I will let America’s justice system decide on Singer’s outcome.
In 2011, you spoke at the Mindshift conference supported by Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he had already been convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor. Why did you agree to speak?
I had never heard of Jeffrey Epstein. His name was not on the website. I was asked to speak at a conference alongside Nobel Prize winners. It was not a cryptocurrency conference, it was filled with Nobel Prize winners. I was asked to speak alongside Nobel Prize winners on the future of money. I speak at conferences historically, two to three times a week. I was like, “Nobel Prize winners? Sounds great. I’ll happily talk about the future of money with them.” I had no idea who Jeffrey Epstein was. His name was not listed anywhere on the website. Had I known what I know now? I clearly would have never spoken there. But I spoke at a conference that he cosponsored.
What’s your connection to the Clinton Global Initiative? Did you hear about it through Jeffrey Epstein?
I joined the Clinton Global Initiative as a philanthropist in 2006 and was a member for one year. My involvement with the Initiative had no connection to Jeffrey Epstein whatsoever.
You’ve launched your campaign in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed by a police officer. How do you feel about the civil uprising against police brutality?
I’m from Minnesota. Born and raised. We just had a press conference there, announcing that we’re on the ballot. Former U.S. Senator Dean Barkley was there. So that tells you, when former U.S. Senators are endorsing the candidate, right?
[Ed. note: Barkley was never elected to the United States Senate. In November of 2002, he was appointed by then Minnesota Governor Jesse Venture to fill the seat after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Barkley’s term ended on Jan. 3, 2003—two months later.]
Yes, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. My vice-presidential running mate Karla Ballard and I, on our last trip to Minnesota together, went to visit the George Floyd Memorial. I believe in law and order. I believe that law and order is foundational to any functioning society. But there is no doubt in my mind that we need reform. These types of events—this is not an isolated incident. This has happened many times before. It’s time for change. We have a lot of detail around policy on this issue that we will be publishing next week. Not just high-level what we think, not just a summary, but detailed policy.
You said that you support “law and order.” What does that mean?
“Law and order” means creating a fair and just legal system where our number one priority is protecting the inalienable rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” for all people. This means reforming how our police intervene in emergency situations, abolishing private prisons that incentivize mass incarceration, and creating new educational and economic opportunities for our most vulnerable communities. I am dedicated to preventing crime by eliminating the socioeconomic conditions that encourage it.
I support accountability and transparency in government and law enforcement. Some of the key policies I support are requiring body-cams on all law enforcement officers who engage with the public, curtailing the 1033 program that provides local law enforcement agencies with access to military equipment, and abolishing private prisons. Rather than simply defund the police, my administration will take a holistic approach to heal and unite America by ending mass incarceration, police brutality, and racial injustice.
Did you attend any Black Lives Matter protests?
I support all movements aimed at ending racial injustice and inequality. I​ have not attended any Black Lives Matter protests.​ My running-mate, Karla Ballard, attended the March on Washington in support of racial justice and equality.
Your platform doesn’t mention the words “climate change.” Is there a reason for that?
I’m not sure what you mean. Our policy platform specifically references human-caused climate change and we have a plan to restabilize the climate, address environmental degradation, and ensure environmental sustainability.
[Ed. Note: As of writing the Pierce campaign’s policy platform does not specifically reference human-caused climate change.]
You’ve recently brought on Akon as a campaign surrogate. How did that happen? Tell me about that.
Akon and I have been friends for quite some time. I was one of the guys that taught him about Bitcoin. I helped make some videogames for him, I think in 2012. We were talking about Bitcoin, teaching him the ropes, back in 2013. And in 2014, we were both speaking at the Milken Global Conference, and I encouraged him to talk about how Bitcoin, Africa, changed the world. He became the biggest celebrity in the world, talking about Bitcoin at the time. I’m an adviser to his Akoin project, very interested in the work that he’s doing to build a city in Africa.
I think we need a government that’s of, for, and by the people. Akon has huge political aspirations. He obviously was a hugely successful artist. But he also discovered artists like Lady Gaga. So not only is he, himself, a great artist, but he’s also a great identifier and builder of other artists. And he’s been a great businessman, philanthropist. He’s pushing the limits of what can be done. We’re like-minded individuals in that regard. I think he’ll be running for political office one day, because he sees what I see: that we need real change, and we need a government that is of, for, and by the people.
You mentioned that you’re an adviser on Akoin. Do you have any financial investments in Akoin or Akon City?
I don’t believe so. I’d have to check. I have so much stuff. But I don’t believe that I have any economic interests in his stuff. I’d have to verify that. We’ll get back to you. I don’t believe that I have any economic interests. My interest is in helping him. He’s a visionary with big ideas that wants to help things in the world. If I can be of assistance in helping him make the world a better place, I’m all for it. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not running for office because I’m motivated by power. I’m running for office because I’m deeply, deeply concerned about our collective future.
You’ve said you’re running on a pro-technology platform. One week into your campaign last month, a New York appeals court approved the state Attorney General’s attempt to investigate the stablecoin Tether for potentially fraudulent activity. Do you think this will impact your ability to sell people on your tech entrepreneurship?
No, I think my role in Tether is as awesome as it gets. It was my idea. I put it together. But I’ve had no involvement in the company since 2015. I gave all of my equity to the other shareholders. I’ve had zero involvement in the company for almost six years. It was just my idea. I put the initial team together. But I think Tether is one of the most important innovations in the world, certainly. The idea is, I digitized the U.S. dollar. I used technology to digitize currency—existing currency. The U.S. dollar in particular. It’s doing $10 trillion a year. Ten trillion dollars a year of transactional volume. It’s probably the most important innovation in currency since the advent of fiat money. The people that took on the business and ran the business in years to come, they’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m not sure they’ve done anything criminal. But they certainly did things differently than I would do. But it’s like, you have kids, they turn 18, they go out into the world, and sometimes you’re proud of the things they do, and sometimes you shake your head and go, “Ugh, why did you do that?” I have zero concerns as it relates to me personally. I wish they made better decisions.
What do you think the investigation will find?
I have no idea. The problem that was raised is that there was a $5 million loan between two entities and whether or not they had the right to do that, did they disclose it correctly. There’s been no accusations of, like, embezzlement or anything that bad.
[Ed. Note: The Attorney General’s press release on the investigation reads: “Our investigation has determined that the operators of the ‘Bitfinex’ trading platform, who also control the ‘tether’ virtual currency, have engaged in a cover-up to hide the apparent loss of $850 million dollars of co-mingled client and corporate funds.”]
But there’s been some disclosure things, that is the issue. No one is making any outrageous claims that these are people that have done a bunch of bad—well, on the internet, the media has said that the people behind the business may have been manipulating the price of Bitcoin, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the New York investigation. Again, I’m so not involved, and so not at risk, that I’m not even up to speed on the details.
[Ed note: A representative of the New York State Attorney General told Forbes that he “cannot confirm or deny that the investigation” includes Pierce.]
We’ve recently witnessed the rise of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Hollywood is an evil cabal of Satanic pedophiles and Trump is the person waging war on them. You mentioned human trafficking, which has become a cause for them. What are your thoughts on that?
I’ve watched some of the content. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon. I’m an internet person, so Anonymous is obviously an organization that has been doing interesting stuff. It’s interesting. I don’t have a big—conspiracy theory stuff is—I guess I have a question for you: What do you think of all of it, since you’re the expert?
You know, I think it’s not true, but I’m not running for president. I do wonder what this politician [Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene], who’s just won her primary, is going to do on day one, once she finds out there’s no satanic cabal room.
Wait, someone was running for office and won on a QAnon platform, saying that Hollywood did—say what? You’re the expert here.
She won a primary. But I want to push on if we only have a few minutes. In 2006, your gaming company IGE brought on Steve Bannon as an investor. Goldman later bought out most of your stock. Bannon eventually replaced you as CEO of Affinity. You’ve described him as your “right-hand man for, like, seven years.” How well did you know Bannon during that time?
Yes, so this is in my mid-twenties. He wasn’t an investor. He worked for me. He was my banker. He worked for me for three years as my yield guide. And then he was my CEO running the company for another four years. So I haven’t worked with Steve for a decade or so. We worked in videogame stuff and banking. He was at Goldman Sachs. He was not in the political area at the time. But he was a pretty successful banker. He set up Goldman Sachs Los Angeles. So for me, I’d say he did a pretty good job.
During your business relationship, Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News, which has pretty consistently published racist material. How do you feel about Breitbart?
I had no involvement with Breitbart News. As for how I feel about such material, I’m not pleased by any form of hate-mongering. I strongly support the equality of all Americans.
Did you have qualms about Bannon’s role in the 2016 election?
Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign got me to pay closer attention to what he was doing but that’s about it. Whenever you find out that one of your former employees has taken on a role like that, you pay attention.
Bannon served on the board of Cambridge Analytica. A staffer on your campaign, Brittany Kaiser, also served as a business director for them. What are your thoughts on their use of illicitly-obtained Facebook data for campaign promotional material?
Yes, so this will be the last question I can answer because I’ve got to be off for this 5:00 pm. But Brittany Kaiser is a friend of mine. She was the whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. She came to me and said, “What do I do?” And I said, “Tell the truth. The truth will set you free.”
[Ed. Note: Investigations in Cambridge Analytica took place as early as Nov. 2017, when a U.K. reporter at Channel 4 News recorded their CEO boasting about using “beautiful Ukranian girls” and offers of bribes to discredit political officials. The first whistleblower was Christopher Wylie, who disclosed a cache of documents to The Guardian, published on Mar. 17, 2018. Kaiser’s confession ran five days later, after the scandal made national news. Her association with Cambridge Analytica is not mentioned anywhere on Pierce’s campaign website.]
So I’m glad that people—I’m a supporter of whistleblowers, people that see injustice in the world and something not right happening, and who put themselves in harm’s way to stand up for what they believe in. So I stand up for Brittany Kaiser.
Who do you think [anonymous inventor of Bitcoin] Satoshi Nakamoto is?
We all are Satoshi Nakamoto.
You got married at Burning Man. Have you been attending virtual Burning Man?
I’m running a presidential campaign. So, while I was there in spirit, unfortunately my schedule did not permit me to attend.
OP note: please refer to the original article for reference links within text (as I've not added them here!)
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Complete Guide to All r/neoliberal Flair Personalities [J-L]

Please see the first post [A-I] for more info about this post. Unfortunately, post character limit is 40k, so I will have to break this into multiple posts linked here:

[A-I]

[J-L]

[M-P]

[Q-Z]


James Heckman
1944 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD). Co-Director of Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group. Heckman is also a Professor of Law at ‘the Law School’, a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
· In 2000, Heckman shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Daniel McFadden, for his pioneering work in econometrics and microeconomics.
· As of February 2019 (according to RePEc), he is the next most influential economist in the world behind Daniel McFadden.
· Heckman has received numerous awards for his work, including the John Bates Clark Medal of the American Economic Association in 1983, the 2005 and 2007 Dennis Aigner Award for Applied Econometrics from the Journal of Econometrics, the 2005 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Labor Economics, the 2005 Ulysses Medal from the University College Dublin, the 2007 Theodore W. Schultz Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic awarded by the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzú Centre in 2008, the Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children Award from the Society for Research in Child Development in 2009, the 2014 Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society, the 2014 Spirit of Erikson Award from the Erikson Institute, and the 2016 Dan David Prize for Combating Poverty from Tel Aviv University.
“The best way to improve the American workforce in the 21st century is to invest in early childhood education, to ensure that even the most disadvantaged children have the opportunity to succeed alongside their more advantaged peers”

Janet Yellen
1945 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Successor to Ben Bernanke, serving as the Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, and as Vice Chair from 2010 to 2014, following her position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Yellen was also Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton.
· Yellen is a Keynesian economist and advocates the use of monetary policy in stabilizing economic activity over the business cycle. She believes in the modern version of the Phillips curve, which originally was an observation about an inverse relationship between unemployment and inflation. In her 2010 nomination hearing for Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Yellen said, “The modern version of the Phillips curve model—relating movements in inflation to the degree of slack in the economy—has solid theoretical and empirical support.”
· Yellen is married to George Akerlof, another notable economist, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, professor at Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley..
· In 2014, Yellen was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world. She was the highest ranking American on the list. In October 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked her first in their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers. In October 2015, Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranked Yellen #1 in the Public Investor 100 list. In October 2010, she received the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).
“In the long run, outsourcing is another form of trade that benefits the U.S. economy by giving us cheaper ways to do things.”
“I'm just opposed to a pure inflation-only mandate in which the only thing a central bank cares about is inflation and not unemployment.”

Jared Polis
1975 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· 43rd governor of Colorado since January 2019. Polis served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 to 2007 and was the United States Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district from 2009 to 2019.
· Polis is the first openly gay person and second openly LGBT person (after Kate Brown of Oregon) to be elected governor in the United States.
· In 2000 Polis founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission is to “create opportunities for success by supporting educators, increasing access to technology, and strengthening our community.” Polis has also founded two charter schools.
· Polis was named Outstanding Philanthropist for the 2006 National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. He has received many awards, including the Boulder Daily Camera's 2007 Pacesetter Award in Education; the Kauffman Foundation Community Award; the Denver consul general of Mexico “Ohtli”; the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Humanitarian Award; and the Anti-Defamation League's inaugural Boulder Community Builder Award.
“Having alternative currencies is great, right, because, historically, government's had a monopoly on currency. At the end of the day, why should only politicians—either directly or indirectly—control the currency? We can reduce transaction cost, provide an alternative, and—look, I don't know whether it'll be Bitcoin or not—but I think the concept of digital currencies is here to stay, and the fact that a politician would write to try to ban them in their infancy is just the wrong way to go about it. Let the market determine whether there's any value there or not.”

Jeff Bezos
1964 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Best known as the founder, CEO, and president of Amazon, Bezos is an American internet and aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as “far richer than anyone else on the planet” as he added $1.8 billion to his net worth when Amazon became the second company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion.
· Bezos supported the electoral campaigns of U.S. senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, two Democratic U.S. senators from Washington. He has also supported U.S. representative John Conyers, as well as Patrick Leahy and Spencer Abraham, U.S. senators serving on committees dealing with Internet-related issues.
· Bezos has supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, and in 2012 contributed $2.5 million to a group supporting a yes vote on Washington Referendum 74, which affirmed same-sex marriage.
· After the 2016 presidential election, Bezos was invited to join Donald Trump's Defense Innovation Advisory Board, an advisory council to improve the technology used by the Defense Department. Bezos declined the offer without further comment.
· In September 2018, Business Insider reported that Bezos was the only one of the top five billionaires in the world who had not signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative created by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that encourage wealthy people to give away their wealth.
“Percentage margins don't matter. What matters always is dollar margins: the actual dollar amount. Companies are valued not on their percentage margins, but on how many dollars they actually make, and a multiple of that.”
“We have the resources to build room for a trillion humans in this solar system, and when we have a trillion humans, we'll have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts. It will be a way more interesting place to live.”

Jens Weidmann
1968 – Present Born: Germany Resides: Germany
· German economist and president of the Deutsche Bundesbank. Chairman of the Board of the Bank for International Settlements. From 1997 to 1999, Weidmann worked at the International Monetary Fund. In 2006, he began serving as Head of Division IV (Economic and Financial Policy) in the Federal Chancellery. He was the chief negotiator of the Federal Republic of Germany for both the summits of the G8 and the G20. He was given the 2016 Medal for Extraordinary Merits for Bavaria in a United Europe.
· Weidmann was involved in a series of major decisions in response to the financial crisis in Germany and Europe: preventing the meltdown of the bank Hypo Real Estate, guaranteeing German deposits and implementing a rescue programme for the banking system, piecing together two fiscal-stimulus programmes, and setting up the Greek bail-out package and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).
· In a 2011 speech, Weidmann criticized the errors and “many years of wrong developments” of the European Monetary Union (EMU) peripheral states, particularly the wasted opportunity represented by their “disproportionate investment in private home-building, high government spending or private consumption”. In May, 2012, Weidmann's stance was characterized by US economist and columnist Paul Krugman as amounting to wanting to destroy the Euro. In 2016, Weidmann dismissed deflation in light of the European Central Bank's current stimulus program, pointing out the healthy condition of the German economy and that the euro area is not that bad off.
“I share the concerns regarding monetary policy that is too loose for too long. … As you know I have concerns about granting emergency liquidity on account of the fact that the banks are not doing everything to improve their liquidity situation.”

Jerome Powell
1953 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Current Chair of the Federal Reserve, nominated by Trump. Powell has faced substantial and repeated criticism from Trump after his confirmation. The Senate Banking Committee approved Powell's nomination in a 22–1 vote, with Senator Elizabeth Warren casting the lone dissenting vote.
· Powell briefly served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance under George H. W. Bush in 1992. He has served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2012. He is the first Chair of the Federal Reserve since 1987 not to hold a Ph.D. degree in Economics.
· Powell has described the Fed's role as nonpartisan and apolitical. Trump has criticized Powell for not massively lowering federal interest rates and instituting quantitative easing.
· The Bloomberg Intelligence Fed Spectrometer rated Powell as neutral (not dove nor hawk). Powell has been a skeptic of round 3 of quantitative easing, initiated in 2012, although he did vote in favor of implementation.
· Powell stated that higher capital and liquidity requirements and stress tests have made the financial system safer and must be preserved. However, he also stated that the Volcker Rule should be re-written to exclude smaller banks. Powell supports ample amounts of private capital to support housing finance activities.
“The Fed's organization reflects a long-standing desire in American history to ensure that power over our nation's monetary policy and financial system is not concentrated in a few hands, whether in Washington or in high finance or in any single group or constituency.”

John Cochrane
1957 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and economist, specializing in financial economics and macroeconomics.
· The central idea of Cochrane's research is that macroeconomics and finance should be linked, and a comprehensive theory needs to explain both 1.) how, given the observed prices and financial returns, households and firms decide on consumption, investment, and financing; and 2.) how, in equilibrium, prices and financial returns are determined by households and firms decisions.
· Cochrane is the author of ‘Asset Pricing,’ a widely used textbook in graduate courses on asset pricing. According to his own words, the organizing principle of the book is that everything can be traced back to specializations of a single equation: the basic pricing equation. Cochrane received the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award for this book.
“Regulators and politicians aren’t nitwits. The libertarian argument that regulation is so dumb — which it surely is — misses the point that it is enacted by really smart people. The fact that the regulatory state is an ideal tool for the entrenchment of political power was surely not missed by its architects.”

John Keynes (John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes)
1883 – 1946 Born: England Died: England
· British economist, whose ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. Originally trained in mathematics, he built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and was one of the most influential economists of the 20th century. Widely considered the founder of modern macroeconomics, his ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, and its various offshoots. Keynes was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party, which until the 1920s had been one of the two main political parties in the United Kingdom.
· During the 1930s Great Depression, Keynes challenged the ideas of neoclassical economics that held that free markets would, in the short to medium term, automatically provide full employment, as long as workers were flexible in their wage demands. He argued that aggregate demand (total spending in the economy) determined the overall level of economic activity, and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions.
· Keynes's influence started to wane in the 1970s, his ideas challenged by those who disputed the ability of government to favorably regulate the business cycle with fiscal policy. However, the advent of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 sparked a resurgence in Keynesian thought. Keynesian economics provided the theoretical underpinning for economic policies undertaken in response to the crisis by President Barack Obama of the United States, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom, and other heads of governments.
· Keynes was vice-chairman of the Marie Stopes Society which provided birth control education and campaigned against job discrimination against women and unequal pay. He was an outspoken critic of laws against homosexuality. Keynes thought that the pursuit of money for its own sake was a pathological condition, and that the proper aim of work is to provide leisure. He wanted shorter working hours and longer holidays for all. Keynes was ultimately a successful investor, building up a private fortune.
“How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values.”

John Locke
1632 – 1704 Born: England Died: England
· Known as the “Father of Liberalism,” Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
· Locke's political theory was founded on social contract theory. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights or maintenance of the social order.
· Locke advocated for governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. Locke was vehemently opposed to slavery, calling it “vile and miserable … directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation.”
· Locke uses the word “property” in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labour aand that the individual ownership of goods and property is justified by the labour exerted to produce those goods
· According to Locke, unused property is wasteful and an offence against nature, but, with the introduction of “durable” goods, men could exchange their excessive perishable goods for goods that would last longer and thus not offend the natural law. In his view, the introduction of money marks the culmination of this process, making possible the unlimited accumulation of property without causing waste through spoilage.
“The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.”
“No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”

John Mill (John Stuart Mill a.k.a. J. S. Mill)
1806 – 1873 Born: England Died: France
· John Stuart Mill was arguably the most influential English speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy. His most important works include System of Logic (1843), On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861) and An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy (1865).
· Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. A member of the Liberal Party and author of the early feminist work The Subjection of Women (in which he also condemned slavery), he was also the second Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage after Henry Hunt in 1832.
· Mill, an employee for the British East India Company from 1823 to 1858, argued in support of what he called a “benevolent despotism” with regard to the colonies. Mill argued that “To suppose that the same international customs, and the same rules of international morality, can obtain between one civilized nation and another, and between civilized nations and barbarians, is a grave error. ... To characterize any conduct whatever towards a barbarous people as a violation of the law of nations, only shows that he who so speaks has never considered the subject.”
· John Stuart Mill believed in the philosophy of Utilitarianism, which he described as the principle that holds “that actions are right in the proportion as they tend to promote happiness [intended pleasure, and the absence of pain], wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness [pain, and the privation of pleasure].” Mill asserts that even when we value virtues for selfish reasons we are in fact cherishing them as a part of our happiness.
· Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets. However, he accepted interventions in the economy, such as a tax on alcohol, if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds. Mill originally believed that “equality of taxation” meant “equality of sacrifice” and that progressive taxation penalized those who worked harder and saved more. Given an equal tax rate regardless of income, Mill agreed that inheritance should be taxed.
· His main objection of socialism was on that of what he saw its destruction of competition. According to Mill, a socialist society would only be attainable through the provision of basic education for all, promoting economic democracy instead of capitalism, in the manner of substituting capitalist businesses with worker cooperatives.
· Mill's major work on political democracy defends two fundamental principles at slight odds with each other: extensive participation by citizens and enlightened competence of rulers. He believed that the incompetence of the masses could eventually be overcome if they were given a chance to take part in politics, especially at the local level.
· Mill is one of the few political philosophers ever to serve in government as an elected official. In his three years in Parliament, he was more willing to compromise than the “radical” principles expressed in his writing would lead one to expect.
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”

John Rawls
1921 – 2002 Born: United States Died: United States
· Liberal American moral and political philosopher who received both the Schock Prize for Logic and Philosophy and the National Humanities Medal in 1999, the latter presented by President Bill Clinton, who acclaimed Rawls for having “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy itself.” He is frequently cited by the courts of law in the United States and Canada.
· Rawls's most discussed work is his theory of a just liberal society, called justice as fairness. Rawls first wrote about this theory in his book A Theory of Justice. Rawls spoke much about the desire for a well-ordered society; a society of free and equal persons cooperating on fair terms of social cooperation.
· Rawls’s most important principle (the Liberty Principal) states that every individual has an equal right to basic liberties. Rawls believes that “personal property” constitutes a basic liberty, but an absolute right to unlimited private property is not.
· Rawls's argument for his principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the “original position”, in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy.
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”

Joseph Nye
1937 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American political scientist and co-founder of the international relations theory of neoliberalism (a theory concerned first and foremost with absolute gains rather than relative gains to other states), developed in the 1977 book Power and Interdependence. He is noted for his notion of “smart power” (“the ability to combine hard and soft power into a successful strategy”), which became a popular phrase with the Clinton and Obama Administrations.
· Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Nye to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board in 2014. In 2014, Nye was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in recognition of his “contribution to the development of studies on Japan-U.S. security and to the promotion of the mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.”
· From 1977 to 1979, Nye was Deputy to the Undersecretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology and chaired the National Security Council Group on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award in 1979. In 1993 and 1994, he was Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which coordinates intelligence estimates for the President, and was awarded the Intelligence Community's Distinguished Service Medal. In the Clinton Administration from 1994 to 1995, Nye served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and was awarded the Department's Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Nye was considered by many to be the preferred choice for National Security Advisor in the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry.
· Nye has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1964. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a foreign fellow of The British Academy. Nye is also a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. The 2011 TRIP survey of over 1700 international relations scholars ranks Joe Nye as the sixth most influential scholar in the field of international relations in the past twenty years. He was also ranked as most influential in American foreign policy. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine named him to its list of top global thinkers. In September 2014, Foreign Policy reported that the international relations scholars and policymakers both ranked Nye as one of the most influential scholars.
“When you can get others to admire your ideals and to want what you want, you do not have to spend as much on sticks and carrots to move them in your direction. Seduction is always more effective than coercion, and many values like democracy, human rights, and individual opportunities are deeply seductive.”

Karl Popper
1902 – 1994 Born: Austria-Hungary Died: England
· Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was a self-professed critical-rationalist, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally and a committed advocate and staunch defender of the ‘Open Society’.
· In ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ and ‘The Poverty of Historicism’, Popper developed a critique of historicism and a defense of the “Open Society”. Popper considered historicism to be the theory that history develops inexorably and necessarily according to knowable general laws towards a determinate end. He argued that this view is the principal theoretical presupposition underpinning most forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism. He argued that historicism is founded upon mistaken assumptions regarding the nature of scientific law and prediction. Since the growth of human knowledge is a causal factor in the evolution of human history, and since “no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge”, it follows, he argued, that there can be no predictive science of human history. For Popper, metaphysical and historical indeterminism go hand in hand.
· Popper is known for his vigorous defense of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he believed made a flourishing open society possible. His political philosophy embraced ideas from major democratic political ideologies, including socialism/social democracy, libertarianism/classical liberalism and conservatism, and attempted to reconcile them.
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

Lawrence Summers
1954 – Present Born: United States Resides: United States
· American economist, former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank, senior U.S. Treasury Department official throughout President Clinton's administration, Treasury Secretary 1999–2001, and former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010). Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Current professor and director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
· As a researcher, Summers has made important contributions in many areas of economics, primarily public finance, labor economics, financial economics, and macroeconomics. Summers has also worked in international economics, economic demography, economic history and development economics.[ He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1993 from the American Economic Association. In 1987, he was the first social scientist to win the Alan T. Waterman Award from the National Science Foundation. Summers is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
· In 1983, at age 28, Summers became one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. In 2006, Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty. Summers viewed his beliefs on why science and engineering had an under-representation of women to be a large part in the vote, saying, “There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.”
· As the World Bank's Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist, Summers played a role in designing strategies to aid developing countries, worked on the bank's loan committee, guided the bank's research and statistics operations, and guided external training programs. The World Bank's official site reports that Summer's research included an “influential” report that demonstrated a very high return from investments in educating girls in developing nations. According to The Economist, Summers was “often at the centre of heated debates” about economic policy, to an extent exceptional for the history of the World Bank in recent decades.
· In 1999 Summers endorsed the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act which removed the separation between investment and commercial banks. In February 2009, Summers quoted John Maynard Keynes, saying “When circumstances change, I change my opinion”, reflecting both on the failures of Wall Street deregulation and his new leadership role in the government bailout.
submitted by learnactreform to neoliberal [link] [comments]

Mitch McConnell's Brother-in-Law One of the Masterminds of Trump-Russia

Jim Breyer, Mitch McConnell's brother-in-law, Facilitates Russia’s Takeover of Facebook through Yuri Milner
In 2005 Jim Breyer, a partner at Accel Partners, invested $1 million of his own money into Facebook and gained a seat on the board (1).
In Feb 2009 Jim Breyer visited Russia with a number of other Silicone Valley investors. While there, Yuri Milner, a Russian tech entrepreneur who founded DST with close ties to the Kremlin, hosted a dinner to cap the entire event (2). As one Moscow source put it:
DST has the backing of the big boys at the top in the Kremlin, which is why it will go from strength to strength (5)
Milner found out Breyer liked Impressionist art and took him to Russian’s Hermitage Museum to view Matisse paintings otherwise closed off to the public. Three months later Yuri Milner’s DST invested into Facebook at a bloated value. (2)
Mr Milner dismissed suggestions that at a valuation of $10bn he overpaid for his stake in Facebook, especially given that the social networking site has yet to prove it has turned to profit. (3)
it’s seen as a desperate and rather vulgar deal on the one hand—Milner buying a small stake in Facebook, valuing the entire company at $10 billion—and, on the other, Facebook debasing itself by taking Russian money. Russian money! In fact, it seems rather like a desperate deal for both parties (in the midst of the banking crisis, Facebook has only two other bidders for this round—and none from the top VC tier) (4)
By the end of 2009, DST would own 10% of Facebook. Later revealed by the Paradise Papers, DST’s investments into Facebook were financed by the Russian government through state-owned Gazprom. That’s right, in 2009 Russia owned 10% of Facebook. (6)
Soon after, the two continued to work together on other investments. Breyer introduced Milner to Groupon, and Milner helped Breyer’s Accel invest into Spotify (7). In 2010 an Accel representative joined a gaggle of Silicon Valley investors to Russia and signed a letter promising to invest into the country (8).
  1. http://fortune.com/2011/01/11/timeline-where-facebook-got-its-funding/
  2. http://fortune.com/2010/10/04/facebooks-friend-in-russia/
  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/7753692/Facebook-is-just-the-first-step-say-Russians.html
  4. https://www.wired.com/2011/10/mf_milne
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jan/04/facebook-dst-goldman-sachs
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/05/russia-funded-facebook-twitter-investments-kushner-investor
  7. https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/dst-global-hoping-to-grow-across-asia-puts-down-roots/
  8. http://www.ambarclub.org/executive-education/
Jim Breyer and Rupert Murdoch
Then in Nov 2010 Jim Breyer invested into Artsy.net, run by Rupert Murdoch’s then-wife, Wendi Deng, and Russia oligarch Roman Abramovich’s then-wife, Dasha Zhukova. Jared Kushner’s brother, Josh, also invested in the fledgling company (1).
At the time Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation had a joint venture with the Russian mob-linked oligarch Boris Berezovsky, called LogoVaz News Corporation, that invested in Russian media (4). It was Berezovsky’s protege close to Putin, Roman Abramovich, who tied Berezovsky to the mob.
According to the Mirror Online, Abramovich paid Berezovsky tens, and even hundreds, of millions every year for "krysha", or mafia protection. (5)
In June 2011, Rupert Murdoch ended his foray into social media by selling Myspace to Justin Timberlake (2) and elected Jim Breyer to the board of News Corp (3).
  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-cadre-and-how-to-invest-in-its-real-estate-deals-2016-6
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myspace
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/19990428071733/http://www.newscorp.com:80/
  4. https://www.bloomberg.com/profiles/companies/156126Z:RU-logovaz-news-corp
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Abramovich
Jim Breyer invests in Wickr with Erik Prince
In 2012 Breyer invested in a encrypted messenger app, Wickr. Other investors include Gilman Louie and Erik Prince. To understand the connection, we need to go back to 1987. Breyer, newly hired to Accel Partners, made his first investment with Louie’s video game company that owned the rights to the Soviet Union’s first video game export, Tetris (1).
Louie went off to become the founding CEO of the CIA-backed In-Q-Tel which invested in Palantir. Palantir’s founder, Peter Thiel, sat on the board of Facebook with Breyer (2)(3). On the board of In-Q-Tel is Buzzy Krongard (7), the man who helped Erik Prince’s Blackwater receive their first CIA contract, who also joined the board of Blackwater in 2007 (6).
Around that same time, 2012-2013, Prince met Vincent Tchenguiz, founder of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL (8), and was introduced to Cyrus Behbehani of Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (9). Cyrus Behbehani sat on the board of RusAl with Christophe Charlier, who is also Chairman of the board at Renaissance Capital (10), an early investor of DST (11).
  1. https://wickr.com/wickr-raises-30m-series-b-led-by-jim-breye
  2. https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/CIA-Asks-Silicon-Valley-s-Help-Executive-to-2904775.php
  3. https://www.iqt.org/palantir-technologies/
  4. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/palantir-defense-contracts-lobbyists-226969
  5. https://feraljundi.com/tag/reflex-responses-management-consultancy-llc/
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/17/us/17brothers.html
  7. https://www.marketscreener.com/business-leaders/A-Krongard-006WHL-E/biography/
  8. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/revealed-erik-prince-had-business-ties-with-netanyahus-disgraced-chief-of-staff-1.5627887
  9. https://medium.com/@wsiegelman/a-fresh-look-at-erik-princes-house-intelligence-committee-testimony-and-emails-with-christophe-6603f06c6568
  10. https://medium.com/@wsiegelman/a-fresh-look-at-erik-princes-house-intelligence-committee-testimony-and-emails-with-christophe-6603f06c6568
  11. https://www.vccircle.com/all-you-wanted-know-about-digital-sky-technologies/
Jim Breyer and Yuri Milner invest in Prismatic
That same year, 2012, Jim Breyer invested in Prismatic, a news aggregate app, with Yuri Milner.
Prismatic’s technology works by crawling Facebook, Twitter and the web (“anything with a URL”) to find news stories. It then uses machine learning to categorize them by Topic and Publication. Prismatic users follow these Topics and Publications, as well as Individuals and the algorithm then uses these preferences and user-activity signals to present a relevant Newsfeed. (1)
Sounds like the beginning of what could be a propaganda dissemination tool. That goes in-line with Yuri Milner’s vision of Social Media. Milner’s theory:
“Zuckerberg’s Law”: Every 12 to 18 months the amount of information being shared between people on the web doubles... Over time people will bypass more general websites such as Google in favor of sites built atop social networks where they can rely on friends’ opinions to figure out where to get the best fall handbag, how to change a smoke detector, or whether to vacation in Istanbul or Rome. “You will pick your network, and the network will filter everything for you,” Milner explained. (2)
So how does Milner intend to utilize the data gathered through social media? Let’s see what Milner did to Russia’s top social media site, VK:
In January 2014, Durov sold his 12 percent stake to Ivan Tavrin, the CEO of major Russian mobile operator Megafon, whose second-largest shareholder is Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs, a man who has long been lobbying to take over VK.
Then, in April 2014, Durov stated he had sold his stake in the company and became a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis back in February after "coming under increasing pressure" from the Russian Federal Security Service to hand over personal details of users who were members of a VK group dedicated to the Euromaidan protest movement in Ukraine. (3)
The Euromaidan protest ousted the Russian-backed president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Paul Manafort had worked to install. (4)
  1. https://techcrunch.com/2012/12/05/prismatic/
  2. http://fortune.com/2010/10/04/facebooks-friend-in-russia/
  3. https://cointelegraph.com/news/what-ban-russias-vkcom-is-mining-bitcoin
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych
Facebook talks US Elections with Russia
In Oct 2012 Zuckerberg traveled to Moscow and met Dmitry Medvedev where they had a very interesting conversation:
Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Medvedev talked about Facebook’s role in politics, though only jokingly in reference to its importance in the American presidential campaign, according to Mr. Medvedev’s press office. (1)
While there he also visited Victor Vekselberg's Skolkovo, who’s currently under investigation by Mueller for donations to Trump (2).
As Obama’s effort to reboot diplomatic relations [with Russia] sputtered, federal officials began raising alarms about the Skolkovo Foundation’s ties to Putin.
“The foundation may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies” (3)
And took time to teach Russian's how to hack Facebook friend data, the same hack used by Cambridge Analytica, Donald Trump’s campaign data firm.
In a 2012 video, Facebook's Simon Cross shows the Moscow crowd how they can "get a ton of other information" on Facebook users and their friends. "We now have an access token, so now let's make the same request again and see what happens," Cross explains (YouTube). "We've got a little bit more data, but now we can start doing really interesting stuff. We can get my friends. We can get some more information about one of my friends. Here's Connor, who you'll meet later. Say 'hello,' Connor. He's waving. And we can also get a ton of other information as well." (4)
Facebook later hired the individual who hacked Facebook and sold the data to Cambridge Analytica (5).
A month after that visit, Putin propaganda mouth-piece Konstantin Rykov, claims he began helping with Trump’s presidential aspirations (6). Days later, Trump registered “Make America Great Again” (7). The following year, Russia's Troll Factory, the Internet Research Agency, was created as was Cambridge Analytica.
  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/technology/zuckerberg-meets-with-medvedev-in-key-market.html
  2. https://www.adweek.com/digital/zuckerberg-russia-skolkovo/
  3. https://apnews.com/5e533f93afae4a4fa5c2f7fe80ad72ac/Sanctioned-Russian-oligarch-linked-to-Cohen-has-vast-US-ties
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heTPmGb6jdc&feature=youtu.be&t=11m54s
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/ma18/facebook-cambridge-analytica-joseph-chancellor-gsr
  6. https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/11/24/a-trumprussia-confession-in-plain-sight/
  7. https://trademarks.justia.com/857/83/make-america-great-85783371.html
Andrei Shleifer and Len Blavatnik
Len Blavatnik, a US-Russian oligarch currently under investigation by Mueller, graduated from Harvard in 1989 and quickly formed Renova-Invest with Viktor Vekselberg, another oligarch under Mueller’s investigation (7)(8). Since then Blavatnik has maintained close ties to the university.
In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Andrei Shleifer led a consortium of Harvard professors to assist Russia’s vice-president, Antaoly Chubais, with the privatization of Russia’s state-run assets. Scandal broke when it was revealed Shleifer, through Blavatnik’s company and with Blavatnik’s guidance, invested in the very companies he worked to privatize. (6)
Years later, Shleifer continued to fund loans to Blavatnik for Russian ventures through his hedge fund, managed by his wife, Nancy Zimmerman (9), and created the Russian Recovery Fund which bought $230 million of Russian debt from Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management (10), who’s seed fun, Tiger Global, later invested in Milner’s DST.
Len Blavatnik and Viktor Vekselberg are major investors in Rusal (11).
Schleifer is still a professor at Harvard.
  1. http://harry-lewis.blogspot.com/2014/01/some-russian-money-flows-back-to-harvard.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Blavatnik#cite_note-Yenikeyeff-7
  3. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/investigators-follow-flow-money-trump-wealthy-donors-russian/story?id=50100024
  4. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/01/20/the-billionaires-playlist
  5. https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/cafc/16-1718/16-1718-2017-03-14.html
  6. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-25/tangled-rusal-ownership-thwarts-easy-end-to-sanctions-quicktake
Breyer and Harvard
On April 2013, two months after Breyer was elected to the board of Harvard (1), Len Blavatnik, donated $50 million to the school (2) and joined the Board of Dean’s Advisors (3)(4) and Harvard’s Global Advisory Council (6) alongside Breyer. The next month Breyer announced plans to step down from the board of Facebook with an intention of focusing on his latest Harvard appointment (5).
In 2016 Len Blavatnik donated over $7 million to GOP candidates, including $2.5 million to Mitch McConnell himself (7).
  1. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/02/breyer_elected/
  2. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/04/blavatnik_accelerator_donation/
  3. https://www.accessindustries.com/about/academic-boards-committees/
  4. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/21/delivering-alpha-2017-jim-breyer.html
  5. https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2013/04/27/facebook-board-member-jim-breyer-stepping-down/
  6. http://docplayer.net/54127503-Harvard-global-advisory-council.html
  7. https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/08/03/tangled-web-connects-russian-oligarch-money-gop-campaigns
Breyer invests in Russian Companies
In 2014 Breyer’s Accel Partners invested in Russian hotel booking site, Ostrovok, along with Yuri Milner, Esther Dyson (1), Mark Pincus, and Peter Thiel (2).
Accel Partners also invested in Avito.ru in 2012 (3) and KupiVIP.ru in 2011 (4).
  1. https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/18/ostrovok-raises-new-12m-series-c-round-to-expand-outside-russia/
  2. http://idcee.org/participants/companies/ostrovok/
  3. http://www.ewdn.com/2012/05/02/avito-ru-secures-75-million-investment-from-accel-partners-and-baring-vostok/
  4. http://www.ewdn.com/2011/04/14/leading-private-shopping-club-kupivip-ru-completes-55-m-funding/
Jim Breyer, Blackstone Group, and Saudi Arabia
In 2011 Schwarzman was named to the board of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (2), headed by Kirill Dimitriev.
In June 2016, during Trump’s presidential campaign, Jim Breyer met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, or MBS (8). The next month Breyer joined the board of Blackstone Group (1) alongside Stephen Schwarzman and Jacob Rothschild (3). In the past Blackstone Group had loaned Kushner Companies a combined $400 million over multiple projects (7). In the 2018 election cycle, Schwzarman donated $5 million to the pro-McConnell superPAC, Senate Majority PAC (13).
Jacob’s brother, Nat, is business partners with both Oleg Deripaska (4), Rupert Murdoch, and Dick Cheney (5). Nat is also a major investor in Glencore, one of the purchasers of Rosneft stock detailed in the Steele Dossier (6), and RusAl.
In January 2017, Breyer’s business partner at Wickr, Erik Prince, was introduced to Dimitriev by MBS’s emissary, George Nader, and the Crown Prince of the UAE (10).
On October 22, 2018, three weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, when most American investors were spooked away from Saudi Arabia, Jim Breyer showed up at an MBS-hosted Saudi business summit alongside Kirill Dimitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (9). That same day, MBS pledged $20 billion for Blackstone Group's new infrastructure fund (11) to fund Elaine Chao's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan (12). Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnells wife and Jim Breyer's sister-in-law, is Trump's Secretary of Transportation.
  1. https://www.blackstone.com/media/press-releases/article/jim-breyer-to-join-blackstone-s-board-of-directors
  2. https://rdif.ru/Eng_fullNews/53/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rothschild,_4th_Baron_Rothschild
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/3236166/Muddy-waters-over-Oleg-Deripaska-Nat-Rothschild-and-George-Osborne.html
  5. https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/01/15/cheney-rothschild-fox-news-murdoch-drill-oil-syria-violating-international-law/
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_Philip_Rothschild
  7. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-26/the-kushners-the-saudis-and-blackstone-behind-the-recent-deals
  8. https://www.thetrustedinsight.com/investment-news/saudi-prince-mohammed-met-with-20-silicon-valley-innovators-in-tech-summit-20160628142/
  9. https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-moelis-saudi-arabia-20181023-story.html
  10. https://www.vox.com/2018/3/7/17088908/erik-prince-trump-russia-seychelles-mueller
  11. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-22/how-blackstone-landed-20-billion-from-saudis-for-infrastructure
  12. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-22/how-blackstone-landed-20-billion-from-saudis-for-infrastructure
  13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/07/20/big-money-is-flowing-into-the-2018-fight-for-the-senate/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f59ac6f2ebe5
submitted by Puffin_Fitness to RussiaLago [link] [comments]

04-03 12:33 - 'Paul Le Roux' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/financeoptimum removed from /r/Bitcoin within 191-201min

'''
Paul Le Roux is a fascinating character, whose story entails drugs, gold, arms dealing, North Koreans, Iranians, elite-level encryption, Somali pirates, women...and more women.
Let's get into it...
Part 1/5 - The Early Years
Paul Le Roux was born on Christmas Eve, 1972, in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in what was then called—by the white minority that governed it, at least— Rhodesia.
In 1980, Robert Mugabe became prime minister of what would now be called Zimbabwe, ending minority white rule in the country.
Four years later, when Le Roux was 12, the family relocated to South Africa.
Not long after the move, in exchange for washing his father’s car, Le Roux was given his first computer. After that, a relation of Le Roux states that he became "completely anti-social.”
When Le Roux was 15 or 16, in the late 1980s, the local police raided the family home and arrested Paul for selling pornography. After that, Le Roux turned even more inward.
Although he was an excellent student, he despised the idea of learning Afrikaans, which was compulsory in South African schools, describing it as "a dead language" that he "didn't want to learn."
At 16, he dropped out of high school and decided to follow his interest in computers, taking a local programming course.
Family lore has it that after he spent one class explaining some technical fact to the teacher, he got a letter saying he no longer needed to attend. He then completed a year’s worth of material in eight weeks!
Accounts of Le Roux do indicate that he was exceptionally gifted, and people who worked with him described him as a genius.
After returning from a family holiday to Disneyland in the US, 17-year-old Le Roux decided to leave South Africa, and departed for the UK eight months later to work as a programmer.
He then moved from the UK to the US, where he lived in Virginia Beach.
After six months in the US, he followed his then-girlfriend Michelle to Australia in 1995. The couple married and Le Roux acquired Australian citizenship.
Le Roux frequented message boards and enjoyed trolling Australians. A typical post read:
"All of Australia could disappear into the Pacific and the only difference it would make to the World is the Americans would have one less pussy country to protect."
His posts caused outrage on the board - someone even changed their handle to fuck @ you.paul
Le Roux would later declare that his correspondents had fallen for his ploy:
"Australians are east to provoke and your postings (including 2 death threats, numerous flames, and one guy who swears he has my address & phone number) have provided me with hours of amusement."
Of course, Le Roux did more than just troll Australian message boards in this period...
Le Roux had started building E4M - Encryption for the Masses - in 1997, releasing it at the end of 1998.
Part 2/5 - The Turning Point
E4M allowed users to encrypt entire hard drives, and to conceal the existence of encrypted files (such that prying eyes wouldn't even know they were there).
According to Le Roux, the software was written from scratch, with thousands of hours going into its development and testing.
As well as this, in the [Politics section of the E4M website]1 , Le Roux published a sort of Manifesto, describing how "governments are increasingly relying on electronic data gathering" and how "Strong Encryption is the mechanism with which to combat these intrusions, preserve your rights, and guarantee your freedoms into the information age and beyond."
In the spirit of the open-source software movement in the late 90s, Le Roux released E4M for free and made the code available for other people to improve.
Therefore, with no income from his two years of labor, he was struggling financially. His marriage fell apart violently and the couple got divorced in 1999.
Le Roux first relocated to Hong Kong, then to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He married a Dutch citizen named Lilian, and they had a child shortly after.
In 2000, in order to monetize E4M, Le Roux launched [SW Professionals]2 in 2000.
Based in South Africa, the company offered offshore programming, including E4M customization.
One of Le Roux's clients was an Italian telecoms engineer called Wilfried Hafner, who had corresponded with Le Roux for several years about E4M.
Hafner had founded a company to create a commercial encryption product that would combine some of the elements of E4M with another piece of software, Scramdisk. The new company would be called SecurStar, and its product would be called DriveCrypt.
Hafner hired Le Roux to build DriveCrypt's underlying engine.
At the time, Le Roux was desperate for money - he drove a beat up car and worked out of a Rotterdam apartment small enough that, on the phone, Hafner could often hear a baby crying in the background.
Hafner on the other hand was living in the South of France, and Le Roux openly coveted the kind of success that he imagined led to such a home. He told Hafner: "I am ambitious, I want to have all this."
However, in the middle of the development work for DriveCrypt, Hafner discovered that Le Roux was still working on E4M and had incorporated some of his work for SecurStar into his personal project. As a result, Hafner terminated Le Roux's contract.
By October 2002, SW Professionals was now defunct and Le Roux was openly soliciting for work on the alt.security.scramdisk forum.
It was around this time that Le Roux received some news that "shattered his whole world."
In 2002, he travelled to Zimbabwe to retrieve a copy of his birth certificate.
On the trip, his aunt and uncle pulled him aside to tell him the truth, and it was then that Le Roux found out he was adopted.
Although many family members had known for years, Le Roux’s parents had elected to keep him in the dark about it.
It was the "unknown" part that hurt him the most.
Shortly after, Le Roux appeared on an another set of message boards - he seemed to be launching some kind of moneymaking scheme that required opening a company based in the U.S.
In 2004, a group of anonymous developers did exactly what Hafner had feared: they released a new and powerful, free file-encryption program, called TrueCrypt, built on the code for E4M.
TrueCrypt combined security and convenience, giving users the ability to strongly encrypt files or entire disk drives while continuing to work with those files as they would a regular file on their computer.
Hafner and his SecurStar colleagues suspected that Le Roux was part of the TrueCrypt collective but couldn't prove it.
As we'll explore in Part 5, TrueCrypt is an interesting part of this story...
Part 3/5 - Money and Power
After Le Roux's departure from the encryption world, at least under his own name, he entered the Internet-pharmacy business.
What Le Roux did next was combine two of America's favourite past times, popping pills and online shopping, and the results were sensational. He turned over around $300MM in 4 years.
In 2007, Le Roux moved his family to Manila, where he would base his operations. He also had call centres in Israel. This was a brilliant move by Le Roux, as the authorities were not looking at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as hot-spots for a large-scale organised crime operation...
Le Roux was moving serious volume during this time - his operation was once one of FedEx's largest customers.
A relative of Le Roux pointed to 2008 or 2009 as the point at which Le Roux snapped.
"I think the money got to him. I personally saw $100 million in his office in Makati. Cash, bud. It was fucking ridiculous. It was in wicker baskets lined up on the side of the wall in his office."
Le Roux's appetite only grew, and not just in the literal sense (he was known as the "Fat Man" in the Philippines): he wanted to be a different kind of businessman, a lord of the real underworld, not just the virtual one.
An Israeli associate of Le Roux tells how "Le Roux wanted to make more money, fast. Le Roux wanted to diversify, to be bigger. The only way to do that was illegal. He was living inside a movie, you could almost say."
As well as this, Le Roux was notorious for his sexual exploits - he once wrote to his cousin, "15-20 a week, sometimes 3 per night."
A former call centre employee tells how Le Roux approached him with an assignment, which at first he thought was collecting women for Le Roux to open a bar. However, that was not the reason, as Le Roux explained:
"I'm going to impregnate them, and build an army of kids."
Le Roux asked him to make a spreadsheet to track the women: their names, dress size, age, medical checkups. The operation was given top priority by Le Roux, who even sent his emissary to China to try to find women there.
It is rumoured that Le Roux has at least 11 children to 7 different women!
Le Roux's businesses expanded into logging, precious metals mining, gold smuggling, land deals, cocaine shipping, and arms dealing. These activities were spread across dozens of shell companies registered all over the world.
Of course, he needed to launder the money. Le Roux used paid muscle in Hong Kong to swap cash for gold bars, and then proceeded to stash the gold in warehouses in Hong Kong (this totalled around $50MM).
Speaking of paid muscle, Le Roux had plenty: ex-soldiers and mercenaries made sure any problems were dealt with force if necessary.
Le Roux was closest to ex-British soldier Dave Smith, who would act as the leader of the mercenaries and allow Le Roux to insulate himself and not have to deal with people. In fact, Le Roux once told Smith "I live vicariously through you."
However, things took a turn for the worse, at least from Dave Smith's perspective, as Smith stole $5MM worth of Gold from Le Roux.
Le Roux was furious. He then summoned Smith to his place in the country, and asked him to dig a hole as they needed to stash some gold. However, when he arrived, he was greeted by a South African hit-man. After the hit-man had finished shooting Smith, Le Roux then grabbed the gun and fired into Smith's corpse.
Le Roux then set about building an arms base in Somalia.
To achieve this, Le Roux called upon an ex-soldier from Europe, code-named 'Jack' to work for him on the ground in Somalia.
At sea, Jack had to bribe Somali pirates.
It was actually this activity in Somalia that landed Le Roux on the radar of the DEA, as he popped up in a UN Report on security in Somalia.
The DEA were now on his tail. Of course, his encryption skills came in handy - Le Roux's thick layers of encryption meant that the DEA needed someone on the inside...
Part 4/5 - "Well played gentlemen, well played"
Le Roux was getting more and more paranoid about people in his organisation stealing from him. Without justification, he suspected that his self proclaimed 'Golden Boy' Jack was stealing from him - so he ordered a hit on Jack.
This was a huge mistake on Le Roux's part, as Jack then called a CIA hotline and went on the run. It was 18 months later that a DEA investigating Le Roux found Jack's message to the CIA. The DEA agent then called Jack. Scared for his life, Jack agreed to turn informant.
In the meantime, Le Roux then had a change of heart and apologised to Jack for ordering the hit on him. The DEA then asked Le Roux to go back to work for Le Roux - they now had someone on the inside.
To tempt Le Roux, the DEA devised a sting operation. They knew that Le Roux wanted novelty and excitement. So they fabricated the scenario that Jack had made contact with a high profile Colombian trafficker, and the Colombians wanted to bypass the Mexicans for their meth supply in the US.
Le Roux was hooked. However, the DEA needed to lure Le Roux out of Manila, as his network of corrupt officials would ensure he will never be arrested.
Jack needed to get Le Roux to Liberia (where the DEA had a trusted ally in Fombah Sirleaf, Head of Liberia's National Security Agency).
Jack achieved this by saying that they needed to meet a cartel representative to finalise the deal.
It worked, and Le Roux was arrested. Initially, Le Roux went into passive resistance - he was a big unit (hence the nickname "Fat Man") - and it took around 10 agents to get him on the plane to fly back to the US.
Well he settled on the plane, the first thing Le Roux said to the DEA agents was: "Well played gentlemen, well played."
He then said: "If you're looking at me, then clearly you're looking at bigger things..."
The DEA agents were intrigued: "No Paul, you're the prize - what could possibly be bigger than you?"
Le Roux responded: "Nation states gentlemen, nation states."
He then started to spew out extremely valuable information on North Korea and Iran.
Of course, this wasn't the only leverage Le Roux had...
The enforcers who were once on Le Roux's payroll needed to be held accountable for their numerous murders, and the DEA were desperate to get them behind bars. Le Roux was key in their eventual capture. But that's not all: a crucial piece to this story is Part 5...
Part 5/5 - TrueCrypt
As we discussed previously, Le Roux was rumoured to be a member of the TrueCrypt collective.
In November 2012, a man with the online handle Cincinnatus decided to throw a party in Hawaii. The idea arose out of an email exchange with Runa Sandvik, a developer and expert on the online software Tor, which allows its users to mask the physical location of their computers on the Internet.
After she gave a Tor tutorial on Reddit, Cincinnatus sent Sandvik an encrypted message. Cincinnatus told Sandvik that he lived in Hawaii. Sandvik mentioned that she would be there on vacation the following month and could give a talk on Tor.
Cincinnatus suggested they host a “cryptoparty,” a phenomenon that had arisen around that time among technology- and privacy-conscious activists. The date was set for December 11.
Unbeknownst to Sandvik, her fellow party planner was hatching a much more elaborate education scheme. Four days after he contacted Sandvik, Cincinnatus sent an email to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” he wrote. In a series of emails, he suggested that Greenwald set up an encrypted means by which sources could contact him.
Cincinnatus organized the cryptoparty at a hacker space called HiCapacity, located in the back of a furniture store in Honolulu.
When Sandvik arrived around 6 p.m., Cincinnatus introduced himself as Ed and told her that he worked at the computer-hardware company Dell.
Ed kicked off the evening by welcoming the attendees, then invited Sandvik to give her presentation on Tor. When she was finished, Ed pulled out his laptop, plugged it into the projector, and began his own instructional talk about TrueCrypt. In Ed’s presentation, Sandvik later wrote, he “pointed out that while the only known name associated with TrueCrypt is someone in the Czech Republic, TrueCrypt is one of the best open-source solutions available.”
Six months later, in June 2013, Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras published the first of a series of articles that grew out of their contact with Cincinnatus.
In time they revealed that his full name was Edward Snowden, that he had worked in various capacities at the National Security Agency, and that he had downloaded and handed over a trove of documents from the NSA in an effort to blow the whistle on what he believed were egregious privacy encroachments by the U.S. government.
Among them was a document revealing that TrueCrypt was one of a small number of encryption programs that had withstood the NSA’s efforts to crack it.
What Snowden and the rest of the world wouldn’t know for another two years was that Paul Le Roux, the man whose code formed the foundation of True Crypt, was at that very moment in the custody of the U.S. government. Le Roux was in a bind, facing the full force of a U.S. federal prosecution for any number of his extraordinary array of crimes. The only way out was to spill his secrets...
[[link]4
'''
Paul Le Roux
Go1dfish undelete link
unreddit undelete link
Author: financeoptimum
1: e4m.net/**l*ht*l 2: e4m*net* 3: www.yout*be.co*/watc**v=z**aMoJ**k* 4: www.youtube.com/watc*?v*z*Za*o***kc**^*
Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]

NYT article/The Weekly Episode on Epstein Hotlist

Just finished watching The Weekly (it’s kind of a Vice rip-off by the NYT) on Hulu where they went into detail about their story published this week about a « hacker » named Patrick Kessler who claimed to have tens of thousands of hours of Epstein’s private videos.
Turns out, Patrick did not released the videos and there is a lot of questions with his credibility, nonetheless, he clearly exposed two lawyers (Bois and Pottinger) for attempting to profit by offering to reach large settlements in which they would take 40%.
The article is here: Jeffrey Epstein, Blackmail, and a Lucrative Hotlist
Even though it sounds like this guy Kessler is full of shit, I REALLY wish that he wasn’t and at some point these troves of photos and videos get released and a bunch of rich and powerful people get what they deserve for abusing these women.
For those who need access to NYT- it is a long article, but here’s the full text:
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Emily Steel, Jacob Bernstein and David Enrich Nov. 30, 2019 Soon after the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.
Towering, barrel-chested and wild-bearded, he was a prodigious drinker and often wore flip-flops. He went by a pseudonym, Patrick Kessler — a necessity, he said, given the shadowy, dangerous world that he inhabited.
He told the lawyers he had something incendiary: a vast archive of Mr. Epstein’s data, stored on encrypted servers overseas. He said he had years of the financier’s communications and financial records — as well as thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras in the bedrooms of Mr. Epstein’s properties. The videos, Kessler said, captured some of the world’s richest, most powerful men in compromising sexual situations — even in the act of rape.
Kessler said he wanted to expose these men. If he was telling the truth, his trove could answer one of the Epstein saga’s most baffling questions: How did a college dropout and high school math teacher amass a purported nine-figure fortune? One persistent but unproven theory was that he ran a sprawling blackmail operation. That would explain why moguls, scientists, political leaders and a royal stayed loyal to him, in some cases even after he first went to jail.
Kessler’s tale was enough to hook the two lawyers, the famed litigator David Boies and his friend John Stanley Pottinger. If Kessler was authentic, his videos would arm them with immense leverage over some very important people.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger discussed a plan. They could use the supposed footage in litigation or to try to reach deals with men who appeared in it, with money flowing into a charitable foundation. In encrypted chats with Kessler, Mr. Pottinger referred to a roster of potential targets as the “hot list.” He described hypothetical plans in which the lawyers would pocket up to 40 percent of the settlements and could extract money from wealthy men by flipping from representing victims to representing their alleged abusers.
The possibilities were tantalizing — and extended beyond vindicating victims. Mr. Pottinger saw a chance to supercharge his law practice. For Mr. Boies, there was a shot at redemption, after years of criticism for his work on behalf of Theranos and Harvey Weinstein.
In the end, there would be no damning videos, no funds pouring into a new foundation. Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger would go from toasting Kessler as their “whistle-blower” and “informant” to torching him as a “fraudster” and a “spy.”
Kessler was a liar, and he wouldn’t expose any sexual abuse. But he would reveal something else: The extraordinary, at times deceitful measures elite lawyers deployed in an effort to get evidence that could be used to win lucrative settlements — and keep misconduct hidden, allowing perpetrators to abuse again.
Mr. Boies has publicly decried such secret deals as “rich man’s justice,” a way that powerful men buy their way out of legal and reputational jeopardy. This is how it works.
7 men and a headless parrot
The man who called himself Kessler first contacted a Florida lawyer, Bradley J. Edwards, who was in the news for representing women with claims against Mr. Epstein. It was late August, about two weeks after the financier killed himself in a jail cell while awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges.
Mr. Edwards, who did not respond to interview requests, had a law firm called Edwards Pottinger, and he soon referred Kessler to his New York partner. Silver-haired and 79, Mr. Pottinger had been a senior civil-rights official in the Nixon and Ford administrations, but he also dabbled in investment banking and wrote best-selling medical thrillers. He was perhaps best known for having dated Gloria Steinem and Kathie Lee Gifford.
Mr. Pottinger recalled that Mr. Edwards warned him about Kessler, saying that he was “endearing,” “spooky” and “loves to drink like a fish.”
After an initial discussion with Kessler in Washington, Mr. Pottinger briefed Mr. Boies — whose firm was also active in representing accusers in the Epstein case — about the sensational claims. He then invited Kessler to his Manhattan apartment. Kessler admired a wall-mounted frame containing a headless stuffed parrot; on TV, the Philadelphia Eagles were mounting a comeback against the Washington Redskins. Mr. Pottinger poured Kessler a glass of WhistlePig whiskey, and the informant began to talk.
In his conversations with Mr. Pottinger and, later, Mr. Boies, Kessler said his videos featured numerous powerful men who were already linked to Mr. Epstein: Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister; Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer; Prince Andrew; three billionaires; and a prominent chief executive.
All seven men, or their representatives, told The New York Times they never engaged in sexual activity on Mr. Epstein’s properties. The Times has no reason to believe Kessler’s supposed video footage is real.
In his apartment, Mr. Pottinger presented Kessler with a signed copy of “The Boss,” his 2005 novel. “One minute you’re bending the rules,” blares the cover of the paperback version. “The next minute you’re breaking the law.” On the title page, Mr. Pottinger wrote: “Here’s to the great work you are to do. Happy to be part of it.”
Mr. Pottinger also gave Kessler a draft contract to bring him on as a client, allowing him to use a fake name. “For reasons revealed to you, I prefer to proceed with this engagement under the name Patrick Kessler,” the agreement said.
Despite the enormities of the Epstein scandal, few of his accusers have gotten a sense of justice or resolution. Mr. Pottinger thought Kessler’s files could change everything. This strange man was theatrical and liked his alcohol, but if there was even a chance his claims were true, they were worth pursuing.
“Our clients are said to be liars and prostitutes,” Mr. Pottinger later said in an interview with The Times, “and we now have someone who says, ‘I can give you secret photographic proof of abuse that will completely change the entire fabric of your practice and get justice for these girls.’ And you think that we wouldn’t try to get that?”
A victim becomes a hacker
Mr. Pottinger and Mr. Boies have known each other for years, a friendship forged on bike trips in France and Italy. In legal circles, Mr. Boies was royalty: He was the one who fought for presidential candidate Al Gore before the Supreme Court, took on Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case, and helped obtain the right for gays and lesbians to get married in California.
But then Mr. Boies got involved with the blood-testing start-up Theranos. As the company was being revealed as a fraud, he tried to bully whistle-blowers into not speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter, and he was criticized for possible conflicts of interest when he joined the company’s board in 2015.
Two years later, Mr. Boies helped his longtime client Harvey Weinstein hire private investigators who intimidated sources and trailed reporters for The Times and The New Yorker — even though Mr. Boies’s firm had worked for The Times on other matters. (The Times fired his firm.)
By 2019, Mr. Boies, 78, was representing a number of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims. They got his services pro bono, and he got the chance to burnish his legacy. When Mr. Pottinger contacted him about Kessler, he was intrigued.
On Sept. 9, Mr. Boies greeted Kessler at the offices of his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, in a gleaming new skyscraper at Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. Kessler unfurled a fantastic story, one he would embroider and alter in later weeks, that began with him growing up somewhere within a three-hour radius of Washington. Kessler said he had been molested as a boy by a Bible school teacher and sought solace on the internet, where he fell in with a group of victims turned hackers, who used their skills to combat pedophilia.
Kessler claimed that a technology executive had introduced him to Mr. Epstein, who in 2012 hired Kessler to set up encrypted servers to preserve his extensive digital archives. With Mr. Epstein dead, Kessler boasted to the lawyers, he had unfettered access to the material. He said the volume of videos was overwhelming: more than a decade of round-the-clock footage from dozens of cameras.
Kessler displayed some pixelated video stills on his phone. In one, a bearded man with his mouth open appears to be having sex with a naked woman. Kessler said the man was Mr. Barak. In another, a man with black-framed glasses is seen shirtless with a woman on his lap, her breasts exposed. Kessler said it was Mr. Dershowitz. He also said that some of the supposed videos appeared to have been edited and cataloged for the purpose of blackmail.
“This was explosive information if true, for lots and lots of people,” Mr. Boies said in an interview.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger had decades of legal experience and considered themselves experts at assessing witnesses’ credibility. While they couldn’t be sure, they thought Kessler was probably legit.
A chance to sway the Israeli election
Within hours of the Hudson Yards meeting, Mr. Pottinger sent Kessler a series of texts over the encrypted messaging app Signal.
According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. (“Total lie with no basis in reality,” Mr. Barak said when asked about the existence of such videos.)
“Can you review your visual evidence to be sure some or all is indisputably him? If so, we can make it work,” Mr. Pottinger wrote.
Kessler said he would do so. Mr. Pottinger sent a yellow smiley-face emoji with its tongue sticking out.
“Can you share your contact that would be purchasing,” Kessler asked.
“Sheldon Adelson,” Mr. Pottinger answered.
Mr. Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate in Las Vegas, had founded one of Israel’s largest newspapers, and it was an enthusiastic booster of Mr. Netanyahu. Mr. Pottinger wrote that he and Mr. Boies hoped to fly to Nevada to meet with Mr. Adelson to discuss the images.
“Do you believe that adelson has the pull to insure this will hurt his bid for election?” Kessler asked the next morning.
Mr. Pottinger reassured him. “There is no question that Adelson has the capacity to air the truth about EB if he wants to,” he said, using Mr. Barak’s initials. He said he planned to discuss the matter with Mr. Boies that evening.
Mr. Boies confirmed that they discussed sharing the photo with Mr. Adelson but said the plan was never executed. Boaz Bismuth, the editor in chief of the newspaper, Israel Hayom, said its journalists were approached by an Israeli source who pitched them supposed images of Mr. Barak, but that “we were not interested.”
‘These are wealthy wrongdoers’
The men whom Kessler claimed to have on tape were together worth many billions. Some of their public relations teams had spent months trying to tamp down media coverage of their connections to Mr. Epstein. Imagine how much they might pay to make incriminating videos vanish.
You might think that lawyers representing abuse victims would want to publicly expose such information to bolster their clients’ claims. But that is not how the legal industry always works. Often, keeping things quiet is good business.
One of the revelations of the #MeToo era has been that victims’ lawyers often brokered secret deals in which alleged abusers paid to keep their accusers quiet and the allegations out of the public sphere. Lawyers can pocket at least a third of such settlements, profiting off a system that masks misconduct and allows men to abuse again.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger said in interviews that they were looking into creating a charity to help victims of sexual abuse. It would be bankrolled by private legal settlements with the men on the videos.
Mr. Boies acknowledged that Kessler might get paid. “If we were able to use this to help our victims recover money, we would treat him generously,” he said in September. He said that his firm would not get a cut of any settlements.
Such agreements would have made it less likely that videos involving the men became public. “Generally what settlements are about is getting peace,” Mr. Boies said.
Mr. Pottinger told Kessler that the charity he was setting up would be called the Astria Foundation — a name he later said his girlfriend came up with, in a nod to Astraea, the Greek goddess of innocence and justice. “We need to get it funded by abusers,” Mr. Pottinger texted, noting in another message that “these are wealthy wrongdoers.”
Mr. Pottinger asked Kessler to start compiling incriminating materials on a specific group of men.
“I’m way ahead of you,” Kessler responded. He said he had asked his team of fellow hackers to search the files for the three billionaires, the C.E.O. and Prince Andrew.
“Yes, that’s exactly how to do this,” Mr. Pottinger said. “Videos for sure, but email traffic, too.”
“I call it our hot list,” he added.
Image The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan. The Grand Sichuan restaurant in Manhattan.Credit...Stephanie Diani for The New York Times A quiet table at the back of Grand Sichuan
In mid-September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger invited reporters from The Times to the Boies Schiller offices to meet Kessler. The threat of a major news organization writing about the videos — and confirming the existence of an extensive surveillance apparatus — could greatly enhance the lawyers’ leverage over the wealthy men.
Before the session, Mr. Pottinger encouraged Kessler to focus on certain men, like Mr. Barak, while avoiding others. Referring to the reporters, he added, “Let them drink from a fountain instead of a water hose. They and the readers will follow that better.”
The meeting took place on a cloudy Saturday morning. After agreeing to leave their phones and laptops outside, the reporters entered a 20th-floor conference room. Kessler was huge: more than 6 feet tall, pushing 300 pounds, balding, his temples speckled with gray. He told his story and presented images that he said were of Mr. Epstein, Mr. Barak and Mr. Dershowitz having sex with women.
Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.” That afternoon, they met at Grand Sichuan, an iconic Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The lunch rush was over, and the trio sat at a quiet table in the back. A small group of women huddled nearby, speaking Mandarin and snipping the ends off string beans.
Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.
Soup dumplings and Gui Zhou chicken arrived, and Kessler kept talking. He said he had found financial ledgers on Mr. Epstein’s servers that showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver and diamonds. He presented no proof. But it is common for whistle-blowers to be erratic and slow to produce their evidence, and The Times thought it was worth investigating Kessler’s claims.
The conversation continued in a conference room at a Washington hotel five days later, after a text exchange in which Kessler noted his enthusiasm for Japanese whiskey. Both parties brought bottles to the hotel, and Kessler spent nearly eight hours downing glass after glass. He veered from telling tales about the dark web to professing love for “Little House on the Prairie.” He asserted that he had evidence Mr. Epstein had derived his wealth through illicit means. At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents.
Kessler said he had no idea who the women in the videos were or how the lawyers might go about identifying them to act on their behalf. From his perspective, he said, it seemed like Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were plotting to use his footage to demand huge sums from billionaires. He said it looked like blackmail — and that he could prove it.
‘We keep it. We keep everything’
Was Kessler’s story plausible? Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?
Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.
“I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”
During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.
Kessler claimed to have been an early investor in a North Carolina coffee company, whose sticker was affixed to his laptop. But its founder said no one matching Kessler’s description had ever been affiliated with the company. Kessler insisted that he invested in 2009, but the company wasn’t founded until 2011.
The contents of Kessler’s supposed C.I.A. documents turned out to be easily findable using Google. At one point, Kessler said that one of his associates had been missing and was found dead; later, Kessler said the man was alive and in the southern United States. He said that his mother had died when he was young — and that he had recently given her a hug. A photo he sent from what he said was a Washington-area hospital featured a distinctive blanket, but when The Times called local hospitals, they didn’t recognize the pattern.
After months of effort, The Times could not learn Kessler’s identity or confirm any element of his back story.
“I am very often being purposefully inconsistent,” Kessler said, when pressed.
A Weinstein cameo
On the last Friday in September, Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger sat on a blue leather couch in the corner of a members-only dining room at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. Antlered animal heads and oil paintings hung from the dark wooden walls.
The lawyers were there to make a deal with The Times. Tired of waiting for Kessler’s motherlode, Mr. Pottinger said they planned to send a team overseas to download the material from his servers. He said he had alerted the F.B.I. and a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Mr. Boies told an editor for The Times that they would be willing to share everything, on one condition: They would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when. He explained that if compromising videos about particular men became public, that could torpedo litigation or attempts to negotiate settlements. The Times editor didn’t commit.
Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger later said those plans had hinged on verifying the videos’ authenticity and on having clients with legitimate legal claims against the men. Otherwise, legal experts said, it might have crossed the line into extortion.
The meeting was briefly interrupted when Bob Weinstein, the brother of Harvey Weinstein, bounded up to the table and plopped onto the couch next to Mr. Boies. The two men spent several minutes talking, laughing and slapping each other on the back.
While Mr. Boies and Mr. Weinstein chatted, Mr. Pottinger furtively displayed the black-and-white shot of a man in glasses having sex. Both lawyers said it looked like Mr. Dershowitz.
‘You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that’
One day in late September, Mr. Dershowitz’s secretary relayed a message: Someone named Patrick Kessler wanted to speak to him about Mr. Boies.
“The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally,” Kessler said. “They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut.”
“Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked.
“There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.”
“Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?”
“Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.”
“And you don’t have anything on me, right?”
“I do not, no,” Kessler said.
“Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.”
What was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?
Mr. Dershowitz said that he didn’t know why Kessler contacted him, and that the phone call was the only time the two men ever spoke. When The Times showed him one of Kessler’s photos, in which a bespectacled man resembling Mr. Dershowitz appears to be having sex, Mr. Dershowitz laughed and said the man wasn’t him. His wife, Carolyn Cohen, peeked at the photo, too.
“You don’t keep your glasses on when you’re doing that,” she said.
Data set (supposedly) to self-destruct
In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.
Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.
On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.
Two hours later, Kessler was in touch with Mr. Pottinger and didn’t mention any emergency. Kessler said he hoped that the footage would help pry $1 billion in settlements out of their targets, and asked him to detail how the lawyers could extract the money. “Could you put together a hypothetical situation,” Kessler wrote, not something “set in stone but close to what your thinking.”
In one, which he called a “standard model” for legal settlements, Mr. Pottinger said the money would be split among his clients, the Astria Foundation, Kessler and the lawyers, who would get up to 40 percent.
In the second hypothetical, Mr. Pottinger wrote, the lawyers would approach the videotaped men. The men would then hire the lawyers, ensuring that they would not get sued, and “make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of the retainer.”
“No client is actually involved in this structure,” Mr. Pottinger said, noting that the arrangement would have to be “consistent with and subject to rules of ethics.”
“Thank you very much,” Kessler responded.
Mr. Pottinger later said that the scenario would have involved him representing a victim, settling a case and then representing the victim’s alleged abuser. He said it was within legal boundaries. (He also said he had meant to type “No client lawsuit is actually involved.”)
Such legal arrangements are not unheard-of. Lawyers representing a former Fox News producer who had accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment reached a settlement in which her lawyers agreed to work for Mr. O’Reilly after the dispute. But legal experts generally consider such setups to be unethical because they can create conflicts between the interests of the lawyers and their original clients.
‘I just pulled it out of my behind’
The lawyers held out hope of getting Kessler’s materials. But weeks passed, and nothing arrived. At one point, Mr. Pottinger volunteered to meet Kessler anywhere — including Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
“I still believe he is what he purported to be,” Mr. Boies wrote in an email on Nov. 7. “I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real.” He added, “I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much.”
Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.
Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?
Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”
Then The Times showed Mr. Boies some of the text exchanges between Mr. Pottinger and Kessler. Mr. Boies showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time he was seeing them.
By the end of the nearly four-hour interview, Mr. Boies had concluded that Kessler was probably a con man: “I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up.” And he argued that Kessler had baited Mr. Pottinger into writing things that looked more nefarious than they really were. He acknowledged that Mr. Pottinger had used “loose language” in some of his messages that risked creating the impression that the lawyers were plotting to monetize evidence of abuse.
Several days later, Mr. Boies returned for another interview and was more critical of Mr. Pottinger, especially the hypothetical plans that he had described to Kessler. “Having looked at all that stuff in context, I would not have said that,” he said. How did Mr. Boies feel about Mr. Pottinger invoking his name in messages to Kessler? “I don’t like it,” he said.
But Mr. Boies stopped short of blaming Mr. Pottinger for the whole mess. “I’m being cautious not to throw him under the bus more than I believe is accurate,” he said. His longtime P.R. adviser, Dawn Schneider, who had been pushing for a more forceful denunciation, dropped her pen, threw up her arms and buried her head in her hands.
In a separate interview, The Times asked Mr. Pottinger about his correspondence with Kessler. The lawyer said that his messages shouldn’t be taken at face value because, in reality, he had been deceiving Kessler all along — “misleading him deliberately in order to get the servers.”
The draft retention agreement that Mr. Pottinger had given to Kessler in September was unsigned and never meant to be honored, Mr. Pottinger said. And he never intended to sell photos of Mr. Barak to Mr. Adelson. “I just pulled it out of my behind,” he said, describing it as an act to impress Kessler.
As for the two hypotheticals about how to get money out of the men on the list, Mr. Pottinger said, he never planned to do what he carefully articulated. “I didn’t owe Patrick honesty about this,” he said.
Mr. Pottinger said that he had only one regret — that “we did not get the information that this liar said he had.”
He added, “I’m building legal cases here. I’m trying not to engage too much in shenanigans. I wish I didn’t, but this guy was very unusual.”
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Some news you may have missed out on part 33.

-‘Project is ready’: Minister says govt going to build ‘Pakistan University of Media Sciences’
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced the government plan to build a varsity titled ‘Pakistan University of Media Sciences’. He underlined that the project of the university was ready in first 100 days of the incumbent government.
In a twitter message this morning, Mr. Chaudhry said: “Alhamdolillah Pak University of media sciences project is ready in first 100 days of PTI Govt, this ll be our biggest contribution to Pak media industry.”
-GB govt approves weather allowance for employees
The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) government has approved the provision of weather allowance to the government employees from November-February. The GB Finance department in a letter to the AG Office directed payment of weather allowance to the employees in November salary, an official press release said here on Monday. The department has released Rs471 million budget under the head of the weather allowance to the employees. It is pertinent to mention here that the last government had abolished the said weather allowance.
-Pakistan Railways comes up with a major project
The government is embarking upon a major project of laying a new double rail track from Karachi to Peshawar. Sheikh Rashid said that two new freight trains and Rehman Baba Express train will be launched on the 25th of next month.
-Pakistan and Malaysia agree to enhance cooperation in defence sector
Pakistan and Malaysia have agreed to promote mutual cooperation and defense ties to further strengthen their relations.
-Finding home in a foreign land: German photographer falls in love with the streets of Pakistan
Your daily "please love us whites" article. This one is a good read.
-Digital Currencies in Pakistan: State Bank of Pakistan issues important instructions
The State Bank of Pakistan has declared the digital currencies, tokens and coins as illegal, advising all concerned and general public to report those making transactions in digital currencies or coins to the Financial Monitoring Unit of the bank. The central bank issued a circular declaring that all digital currencies and coins including Bitcoin, Litcoin, Pakcoin and other are not legal tender thus are illegal.
HEALTH - Islamabad to get 200-bedded hospital with Saudi support: minister
A delegation from Saudi Arabia led by Abdullah Al Shoebi called on Federal Minister for National Health Services Aamer Mehmood Kiani today to discuss construction of 200 bedded hospital in Islamabad with support of the Saudi Government. The minister informed that the premises has been secured and is ready for construction to start. Federal Minister National Health Services was briefed that the 200 bedded Islamabad General Hospital at Tarlai will be established at a total cost of Rs.2499.993 (million) on land measuring 13.07 Acres.
-Federal Information Commission launched by PTI government
Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain says the Right to Information act will help bring transparency in the country to curb corruption. He was addressing a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday in connection with launch of Federal Information Commission for implementation of Federal Right to Information Law. He said the law will help journalists to seek information on various issues from the government departments. Each government department will be obliged to give information in ten days. If it does not comply, the case will be sent to the relevant Commission.
-Import of gold down by 12.8pc in four months
The import of gold in the country during the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year witnessed a decrease of 12.86 per cent as compared to the same period of the previous year. During the period under review, 165kg gold, worth $6.443 million, was imported against the import of 186kg gold, worth $7.394 million, in July-October 2017-18, according to the latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
-PM Imran Khan announces huge development and welfare package for erstwhile FATA
Prime Minister announced various welfare packages in the fields of health, education, employment and administration for the newly established districts of erstwhile FATA . PM announced 3 % of NFC share by all provinces for merged districts, early conduct of Local Bodies and Provincial Elections to ensure transfer of power to grass root level. He also announced Police Reforms and resolved to address all concerns of Levies and Khasadars by ensuring their jobs security. The Prime Minister announced system of Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) to ensure speedy justice and resolution of all issues through consultation. Imran Khan announced Medical College along with Hospital for North Waziristan District and South Waziristan District, University for North Waziristan District, Army Cadet College for North Waziristan District, health Insurance Cards to residents of merged districts, tele-medics system to fulfill deficiencies of specialist doctors. He also announced mega share from jobs for merged districts as offered by Qatar.
-Pakistan provides free heart treatment to visiting Sikh pilgrim
Pakistan on Monday provided free of cost heart treatment to a visiting Sikh pilgrim on humanitarian ground. 63-year-old Ratan Singh from India was rushed to Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology Hospital when he suffered a cardiac arrest at Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal. The doctors successfully conducted angioplasty on the ailing pilgrim, who is now recovering.
-President Dr. Arif Alvi has invited UAE businessmen to take benefit from vast opportunities of investment in Pakistan in various sectors, especially tourism.
The President stressed that that efforts must be made to further enhance bilateral trade to commensurate with its actual potential.
-For the first time in history Islamabad Police issued driving licence to transgender person
Following in the footstep of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government, the Islamabad Police has issued a driving license to a transgender person. On Monday, Alia Layla became the first certified transwoman driver in the capital territory Islamabad after passing all practical driving tests.
-IDEAS 2018: Largest ever Defence Expo in Pakistan with 262 delegations from 51 countries
The four day 10th edition of International Defence Exhibition and seminar, IDEAS '18 have commenced. Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to inaugurate it. Five hundred twenty exhibitors from fifty countries including Pakistan will showcase their defence products in the exhibition. He said besides trade visitors, more than 262 high-level delegations from fifty-one countries including China, Russia, USA, France, Germany, Turkey, Poland, South Korea and host Pakistan are also all establishing their exclusive country pavilions at the EXPO center.
-PM Imran says Pakistan has unlimited potential for developing eco-friendly tourism
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan has unlimited potential for developing eco-friendly tourism.
Imran Khan took to Twitter sharing pictures of Karachi beach and snow covered mountains in the north saying, "From our beaches in the south to Fairy Meadows in the north, and the rich history of our Land, Pakistan has unlimited potential for developing eco-friendly tourism." The Prime Minister asserted that this is a commitment we are determined to fulfill God Willing.
-‘Pakistan provides conducive business environment to foreigners’
President Dr Arif Alvi said on Monday that Pakistan provided foreigners with a conducive environment for investment and hoped that investors from different countries would avail from the abundant opportunities that the country offers.
The president made these remarks while talking to envoys-designate of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Austria, Canada, Spain and Jordan, who presented their credentials to him in an impressive ceremony at the President House. The president said Pakistan wanted to further strengthen its relations with all friendly countries. He emphasised that regular exchange of bilateral delegations was essential in order to strengthen people-to-people contacts and to forge strong political and economic linkages.
HUGE - ExxonMobil set for comeback in Pakistan after nearly three decades: Report
After a gap of nearly three decades, ExxonMobil is gearing to re-enter the Pakistani market, as the world’s largest oil and gas company eyes it as an emerging economy with immense potential.
According to a report in Business Recorder, well-informed sources in the Board of Investment (BoI) said the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Irtiza Sayyed considers the Pakistani market as very significant considering its existing and rising quench for energy as it continues its economic growth trajectory. Mr Sayyed in a letter sent to the BoI stated ExxonMobil has been assessing its re-entrance into Pakistan since quite a while and has been assiduously hunting energy-related opportunities for past few years. ExxonMobil has made major strides to re-enter the Pakistani market which included acquiring a 25% stake in offshore drilling in May this year.
-Chinese delegation grants Rs3 million each to families of martyred policemen
Chinese delegation held a meeting with the families of martyred policemen at Chinese Consulate Karachi and granted Rs3 million cheque each to the heirs. The meeting was arranged on the request of Consul General China. The Chinese delegation offered condolences and expressed deep grief with the families over the loss of their loved ones. They also thanked to both the families for saving Chinese.
LOL - PTI government refuse to pay Rs 8 lakh bill for Senator Attaur Rehman cosmetic surgery
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has refused to pay a medical bill for the weight loss surgery of Senator Attaur Rehman. The brother of Jamat-e-Islami Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman underwent a liposuction surgery to remove excess fat from his body around ten months ago at a private hospital in Islamabad, local media reported.
When Senate Secretariat sent the medical bill amounting Rs800,000 to the ministry concerned for approval, federal Secretary Captain (retd) Zahid Saeed rejected the bill citing objections on it. The objections on the bill were raised by Deputy Director General Dr. Minhadul Siraj, stating that the liposuction is a cosmetic surgery. He further added why the surgery was held at a private hospital when the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has the same facility.
-Russian climbers to arrive in Pakistan for scaling K2, only 8000 metre peak in the World not been scaled in winters
Russian climbers are set to arrive in Pakistan in order to scale Nanga Parbat and K2. Three expeditions are expected to attempt to conquer the two peaks. K2 is the only 8000 metre peak in the world that has not been scaled in winters.
-India's vice-president lays foundation for Kartarpur corridor
Indian Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Kartarpur corridor which will link Dera Baba Nanak in India to Pakistan’s Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
-Punjab holds potential to become South Asia’s Silicon Valley: Minister
Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said on Monday that Punjab has the potential to become the Silicon Valley of South Asia.
He was addressing a ceremony held to celebrate the first Rs100 billion revenue collection through e-stamping by Punjab IT Board (PITB) and Board of Revenue (BOR). He said with the support of private sector and the formulation of systems like e-procurement and e-payment, the government is committed to placing Punjab at the heart of digital economy. “Despite enormous economic challenges that the government inherited, it is striving hard to achieve maximum economic growth with a low inflation environment. IT interventions are essential and much-needed in all sectors, especially to improve the overall efficiency of the government machinery,” he added.
-Asad Umar to chair ECC meeting tomorrow
A meeting of the Economic Corridor Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet would be held tomorrow (Tuesday) under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Asad Umar. According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Monday, the finance division would be seeking directions from the government regarding an approval of a GoP guarantee to the National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL).
-Pak Suzuki mulling to set up second auto plant, manufacture additional 100,000 vehicles a year: report
Pak Suzuki Motors is said to have procured 80 acres of land for establishing its second plant and manufacture an additional 100,000 vehicles a year.
According to a report in Business Recorder, the total investment as per plan by Pak Suzuki Motors would amount to $460 million and the land has been procured right next to its existing site. The Auto Industry Development Committee (AIDC) is set to meet on Wednesday to deliberate upon the enactment status of the auto development policy. This meeting is focused on reports that Prime Minister’s Adviser on Industries and Production is contemplating to grant Greenfield status to Suzuki’s new plant, as per well-informed sources.
Adviser to PM on Industries and Production, Razzaq Dawood is set to inaugurate Suzuki’s 2,000,000 car in Karachi on Monday.
Pak Suzuki Motors is planning to introduce four new cars and Suzuki Alto 660CC is expected to replace Mehran 800CC in April 2019.
-Pakistan EAC approved loan from World Bank
Economic advisory council (EAC) on Sunday gave approval to seek a loan of $42 million from World Bank for the poverty eradication programme announced earlier by Prime Minister Imran Khan, sources said.
-5 crore people across 36 districts in Punjab to get Health Cards
Provincial Minister for Health Dr. Yasmeen Rashid said on Monday that 50 million people across the 36 districts of the province would be facilitated under Health Card Scheme.
-First ever digital city in the history of Pakistan near Islamabad
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board (KPITB) is inviting investors for Pakistan’s first Digital City , to be based out of Haripur, on the outskirts of capital’s Margalla Hills. The plans of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa establishing Pakistan Digital City were announced in October by Special Assistant to Chief Minister KPK, Kamran Khan Bangash. The Haripur site has been selected for its close proximity to the capital city of Islamabad and its newly built airport. The scenic location will provide land with a rich infrastructure to a diverse range of businesses and technology firms on the leasing module.
In order to build the Pakistan Digital City in accordance with industry requirements, KPITB has launched a preliminary demand form for investors to gain feedback and requirements from potential investors.
-Foreign diplomats shows interest in escalating trade activities with Pakistan
akistan can benefit in many ways due to its most exceptional geographical locations, which makes Pakistan a major entrance to the power & energy affluent Central Asian Republics while sharing borders with economic giants such as China, stated the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder.
LCCI president, Hyder also emphasized on the fact while addressing a 27-member delegation, including foreign diplomats from West Africa, Azerbaijan, Iraq and many other countries, that Pakistan offers an express link to the Central Asian Republics and China. Also, Pakistan is expected to turn into the trade and energy corridor to these countries in near future.
He also expressed that the Belt and Road proposal has already initiated the basis for a better trade, and CPEC is the leading stone towards the transformation of this dream into veracity. He also highlighted, that “Pakistan is a country with prosperous and miscellaneous economic base. Its economic actions range from agriculture-based raw material to aircraft manufacturing.”
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Part 31
Part 32
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