yYAXssKCQaUWZcXZ79RJTBLvo-c;SfREtjZ9NYeQnnVMC-CsZ9qN6L0 Finance, Economics, Globus, Brokers, Banks, Collateral-Oriano Mattei

venerdì 3 dicembre 2021

Global stock markets faltered on Friday, while benchmark bond yields gave up earlier gains after data showed United States job growth slowed considerably in November and markets stayed volatile as investors assess implications from the new Omicron coronavirus variant.......

 


After opening higher, Wall Street's main indexes quickly turned negative in morning trading [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Global stock markets faltered on Friday, while benchmark bond yields gave up earlier gains after data showed United States job growth slowed considerably in November and markets stayed volatile as investors assess implications from the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

After opening higher, Wall Street’s main indexes quickly turned negative in morning trading. European markets also lost gains. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.52 percent.

Omicron has gained a foothold in Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Europe and has reached seven of the nine provinces of South Africa, where it was first identified. Many governments have tightened travel rules to keep the variant out.

“The top issue is still this whole Omicron variant. There are enormous amounts of uncertainty there,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas in the US. “Volatility means big moves in both directions and we have had a lot of up days and a lot of down days that are both very sizable here just in the last week … The market is a bit treacherous.”

The US Department of Labor said US nonfarm payrolls increased by 210,000 jobs last month, well below the 550,000 jobs economists polled by Reuters had forecast, but the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2 percent, suggesting the labour market was rapidly tightening.

“On the surface, the numbers came in disappointing because they did not match expectations, but it was not a weak report,” said Kevin Flanagan, head of fixed income strategy at WisdomTree.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 121.78 points, or 0.35 percent, to 34,518.01, the S&P 500 lost 33.34 points, or 0.73 percent, to 4,543.76 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 244.47 points, or 1.59 percent, to 15,136.85.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.43 percent.

The data caps a turbulent week as investors assess the implications of the Omicron variant and what that means for growth, inflation and ultimately central bank policy.

Markets were also digesting comments earlier in the week from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said US central bankers in December will discuss whether to end their bond purchases a few months earlier than had been anticipated.

US Treasury yields were mixed in choppy trading after initially falling on the closely watched jobs data.

Oil prices climbed after the producer group OPEC+ (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies) said it could review its policy to hike output at short notice if oil demand collapsed due to a rising number of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.

US crude recently rose 3.11 percent to $68.57 per barrel and Brent was at $72.03, up 3.39 percent on the day.


da "aljazeera.com"

The parents of the teenager accused of killing four students at a high school in the US state of Michigan this week have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, after officials accused the pair of allowing their son access to the gun used in the shooting..........

 


Students hug at a memorial at Oxford High School, where a gunman opened fire this week, killing four students and injuring seven other people [Paul Sancya/AP Photo]


The parents of the teenager accused of killing four students at a high school in the US state of Michigan this week have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, after officials accused the pair of allowing their son access to the gun used in the shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter on Friday.

Under Michigan law, an involuntary manslaughter charge can be pursued if prosecutors believe someone contributed to a situation where harm or death was high. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

“These charges are intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald told reporters on Friday.

“When they fail to uphold that responsibility, there are serious and criminal consequences.”

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is facing multiple charges, including terrorism and murder, after authorities say he opened fire at a high school in Oxford – north of Detroit – on Tuesday, killing four and injuring seven others.

A prayer vigil is held at Lake Point Community Church in Oxford, Michigan [Seth Herald/Reuters]

Prosecutors say the gunman had planned the attack, according to evidence recovered from his cell phone and social media accounts.

When announcing the charges against Crumbley on Wednesday, McDonald said her office was also considering charges against the parents.

“To prevent further tragedies like the one we witnessed yesterday and at large, we have got to address responsible gun ownership in this country and in Oakland County,” McDonald said at that time.

The gun used in the attack was purchased by the suspect’s father on November 26, days before the attack, investigators also said earlier this week.

The shooting has sent shockwaves across Michigan, as well as spurred calls for stricter gun control laws in the United States.

da "aljazeera.com"

The Taliban has issued a decree barring forced marriage in Afghanistan, saying women should not be considered “property” and must consent to marriage, but questions remain about whether the group that returned to power in mid-August would extend women’s rights around work and education..........

 


The Taliban decree did not mention a minimum age for marriage [File: Hector Retamal/AFP]


The Taliban has issued a decree barring forced marriage in Afghanistan, saying women should not be considered “property” and must consent to marriage, but questions remain about whether the group that returned to power in mid-August would extend women’s rights around work and education.

The decree was announced on Friday by the reclusive Taliban chief, Hibatullah Akhunzada – who is believed to be in the southern city of Kandahar. “Both (women and men) should be equal,” said the decree, adding that “no one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure”.

The decree did not mention a minimum age for marriage, which previously was set at 16 years old.

The group also said a widow will now be allowed to re-marry 17 weeks after her husband’s death, choosing her new husband freely.

Widows

Longstanding tribal traditions have held it customary for a widow to marry one of her husband’s brothers or relatives in the event of his death.

The Taliban leadership says it has ordered Afghan courts to treat women fairly, especially widows seeking inheritance as next of kin. The group, which came to power in August, also said it had asked government ministers to spread awareness about women’s rights across the population.

The development was hailed as a significant step forward by two leading Afghan women, but questions remained about whether the group would extend women’s rights around work and education.

“This is big, this is huge … if it is done as it is supposed to be, this is the first time they have come up with a decree like this,” said Mahbouba Seraj, executive director of the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center speaking from Kabul on a Reuters Next conference panel on Friday.

The international community, which has frozen billions of dollars in funds for Afghanistan, has made women’s and human rights a key element of any future engagement with Afghanistan.

Seraj said that even before the Taliban took over the country on August 15, Afghan politicians had struggled to form such a clear policy on women’s rights around marriage.

“Now what we have to do as the women of this country is we should make sure this actually takes place and gets implemented,” said Seraj.

Roya Rahmani, the former ambassador for Afghanistan to the United States, echoed her optimism and added that it was likely partly an attempt to smooth over international fears regarding the group’s track record on women’s rights as the Taliban administration seeks to get funding released.

“An amazing thing if it does get implemented,” Rahmani told the Reuters Next panel, adding details such as who would ensure that girls’ consent was not coerced by family members would be key.

During its previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban banned women from leaving the house without a male relative and full face and head covering and girls from receiving education, coerced men to grow beards and barred the playing of music.

The Taliban says they have changed but many women, advocates and officials remain sceptical.

The group promised freedom of expression, women’s rights and amnesty to officials who worked under the previous government of President Ashraf Ghani. But journalists have faced restrictions and reports have emerged of Taliban fighters involved in revenge killings of former officials. A large number of secondary schools for girls are still not operational, though Taliban has said it is working to open them.

The US has frozen nearly $10bn in Afghan central bank reserves and international financial institutions have suspended development funding for the country, plunging the heavily aid-dependent economy into crisis and leaving economists and aid groups warning of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Seraj said the Taliban now needed to go further, calling for the group to release more rules to clarify women’s rights to access public spaces.

“What I am really waiting to hear next from the same group, from the same person is for him to send the decree regarding the education and right of work for the women of Afghanistan, that would be absolutely phenomenal,” she said.

Freedom of expression

Also speaking on the panel, Ahmad Sarmast, the founder and director of Afghanistan National Institute of Music, cautioned that the Taliban had shown few signs of change when it came to allowing the arts and freedom of expression.

As he facilitated hundreds of students and their families to flee the country and escaped himself to Portugal, the Taliban shuttered his institute and other music and arts faculties in the country.

Though the group had not issued their policy on music, he said he was in contact with many Afghan musicians who had hidden their instruments and were living in fear.

“There’s not an official decree banning music or music education but the practice is here,” he said. “Music has faded out of the air of Afghanistan.”

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’........

 



By Alastair Crooke

A new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect.

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’.

Of course, the Pharma-Establishment know that the vaccines are no panacea. There are ‘higher interests’ at play here. It is driven rather by fear that the window for implementing its series of ‘transitions’ in the U.S. and Europe is closing. Biden still struggles to move his ‘Go-Big’ social spending plan and green agenda transition through Congress by the midterm election in a year’s time. And the inflation spike may well sink Biden’s Build Back Better agenda (BBB) altogether.

Time is short. The midterm elections are but 12 months away, after which the legislative window shuts. The Green ‘transition’ is stuck too (by concerns that moving too fast to renewables is putting power grids at risk and elevating heating costs unduly), and the Pharma establishment will be aware that a new B.1.1.529 variant has made a big jump in evolution with 32 mutations to its spike protein. This makes it “clearly very different” from previous variants, which may drive further waves of infection evading ‘vaccine defences’.

Translation: a new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect. And what of inflation then, we might ask.

It’s a race for the U.S. and Europe, where the pandemic is back in full force across Europe, to push through their re-set agendas, before variants seize up matters with hospitals crowded with the vaccinated and non-vaccinated; with riots in the streets, and mask mandates at Christmas markets (that’s if they open at all). A big reversal was foreshadowed by this week’s news: vaccine mandates and lockdowns, even in highly vaccinated areas, are returning. And people don’t like it.

The window for the Re-Set may be fast closing. One observer, noting all the frenetic Élite activity, has asked ‘have we finally reached peak Davos?’. Is the turn to authoritarianism in Europe a sign of desperation as fears grow that the various ‘transitions’ planned under the ‘re-set’ umbrella (financial, climate, vaccine and managerial expert technocracy) may never be implemented?

Cut short rather, as spending plans are hobbled by accelerating inflation; as the climate transition fails to find traction amongst poorer states (and at home, too); as technocracy is increasingly discredited by adverse pandemic outcomes; and Modern Monetary Theory hits a wall, because – well, inflation again.

Are you paying attention yet? The great ‘transition’ is conceived as a hugely expensive shift towards renewables, and to a new digitalised, roboticised corporatism. It requires Big (inflationary) funding to be voted through, and a huge parallel (inflationary) expenditure on social support to be approved by Congress as well. The social provision is required to mollify all those who subsequently will find themselves without jobs, because of the climate ‘transition’ and the shift to a digitalised corporate sphere. But – unexpectedly for some ‘experts’ – inflation has struck – the highest statistics in 30 years.

There are powerful oligarchic interests behind the Re-Set. They do not want to see it go down, nor see the West eclipsed by its ‘competitors’. So it seems that rather than back off, they will go full throttle and try to impose compliance on their electorates: tolerate no dissidence.

A 1978 essay “The Power of the Powerless” by then dissident and future Czech President Vaclav Havel begins mockingly that, “A SPECTRE is haunting Eastern Europe: the spectre of what in the West is called ‘dissent’”. “This spectre has not appeared out of thin air. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the present historical phase of the system it is haunting.” Well, today, as Michael Every of Rabobank notes, “the West has polarisation, mass protests, riots, talk of obligatory vaccinations in Europe, and Yanis Varoufakis arguing capitalism is already dead; and that a techno-feudalism looms”. Now, prompting even greater urgency, are the looming U.S. midterms. Trump’s return (even if confined just to Congress), would cut the legs from under BBB, and ice-up Brussels too.

It was however, precisely this tech revolution, to which Varoufakis calls attention, that both re-defined the Democrat constituency, and turned tech oligarchs into billionaires. Through algorithmically creating a magnetism of like-minded content, cascaded out to its customers, it has both smothered intellectual curiosity, and created the ‘un-informed party’, which is the today’s Managerial Class – the party of the credentialed meritocracy; the party, above all, smugly seeing themselves as the coming era’s ‘winners’ – unwilling to risk a look behind the curtain; to put their ‘safe space’ to the test.

Perversely, this cadre of professionally-corralled academics, analysts, and central bankers, all insist that they completely believe in their memes: That their techno-approach is both effective, and of benefit to humanity – oblivious to the dissenting views, swirling around them, down in the interstices of the internet.

The main function then of such memes today, whether issued by the Pharma Vaccine ‘Command’; the MMT ‘transition’ Command; the energy ‘transition’ Command; or the global managerial technocracy ‘transition’, is to draw a ‘Maginot line’ – a defensive ideological boundary, a “Great Narrative” as it were – between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes, and with that of any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. That is to say, it is about compliance.

It was well understood that all these transitions would overturn long-standing human ways of life, that are ancient and deeply rooted and trigger dissidence – which is why new forms of social ‘discipline’ would be required. (Incidentally, the EU leadership already refer to their their official mandates as ‘Commands’). Such disciplines are now being trialled in Europe – with the vaccine mandates (even though scientists are telling them that vaccines cannot be the silver bullet for which they yearn). As one high ‘lodge’ member, favouring a form of global governance notes, to make people accept such reforms, you must frighten them.

Yes, the collective of ‘transitions’ must have their ‘Big, overarching Narrative’ – however hollow, it rings (i.e. the struggle to defend democracy against authoritarianism). But it is the nature of today’s cultural-meme war that ultimately its content becomes little more than a rhetorical shell, lacking all sincerity at its core.

It serves principally, as decoration to a ‘higher order’ project: The preservation of global ‘rules of the road’, framed to reflect U.S. and allied interests, as the base from which the clutch of ‘transitions’ can be raised up into a globally managed order which preserves the Élite’s influence and command of major assets.

This politics of crafted, credentialised meme-politics is here to stay, and now is ‘everywhere’. It has long crossed the partisan divide. The wider point here – is that the mechanics of meme-mobilisation is being projected, not just in the western ‘home’ (at a micro-level), but abroad, into American ‘foreign policy’ too (i.e. at the macro-level).

And, just as in the domestic arena, where the notion of politics by suasion is lost (with vaccine mandates enforced by water-cannon, and riot police), so too, the notion of foreign policy managed through argument, or diplomacy, has been lost too.

Western foreign policy becomes less about geo-strategy, but rather is primordially focussed on the three ‘big iconic issues’ – China, Russia and Iran – that can be given an emotional ‘charge’ in order to profitably mobilise certain identified ‘constituencies’ in the U.S. domestic cultural war. All the various U.S. political strands play this game.

The aim is to ‘nudge’ domestic American psyches (and those of their allies) into mobilisation on some issue (such as more protectionism for business against Chinese competition), or alternatively, imagined darkly, in order to de-legitimise an opposition, or to justify failures. These mobilisations are geared to gaining relative domestic partisan advantage, rather than having strategic purpose.

When this credentialled meme-war took hold in the U.S., millions of people were already living a reality in which facts no longer mattered at all; where things that never happened officially, happened. And other things that obviously happened never happened: not officially, that is. Or, were “far-right extremist conspiracy theories,” “fake news,” or “disinformation,” or whatever, despite the fact that people knew that they weren’t.

Russia and China therefore face a reality in which European and U.S. élites are heading in the opposite direction to epistemological purity and well-founded argument. That is to suggest, the new ‘normal’ is about generating a lot of contradictory realities, not just contradictory ideologies, but actual mutually-exclusive ‘realities’, which could not possibly simultaneously exist … and which are intended to bemuse adversaries – and nudge them off-balance.

This is a highly risky game, for it forces a resistance stance on those targeted states – whether they seek it, or not. It underlines that politics is no more about considered strategy: It is about being willing for the U.S. to lose strategically (even militarily), in order to win politically. Which is to say gaining an ephemeral win of having prompted an favourable unconscious psychic response amongst American voters.

Russia, China, Iran are but ‘images’ prized mainly for their potential for being loaded with ‘nudge’ emotional-charge in this western cultural war, (of which these states are no part). The result is that these states become antagonists to the American presumption to define a global ‘rules of the road’ to which all must adhere.

These countries understand exactly the point of these value and rights-loaded ‘rules’. It is to force compliance on these states to acquiesce to the ‘transitions, or, to suffer isolation, boycott and sanction – in a similar way to the choices being forced on those in the West not wishing to vaccinate (i.e. no jab; no job).

This approach reflects an attempt by Team Biden to have it ‘both ways’ with these three ‘Iconic States’: To welcome compliance on ‘transition issues’, but to be adversarial over any dissidence to mounting a rules framework that can raise the ‘transitions’ from the national, to the supra-national plane.

But do the U.S. practitioners of meme-politics, absorb and comprehend that the stance by Russia-China – in riposte – is not some same-ilk counter-mobilisation done to ‘make a point’? That their vision does stand at variance with ‘the rules’? Do they see that their ‘red lines’ may indeed be ‘red lines’ literally? Is the West now so meme-addicted, it cannot any longer recognise real national interests?

This is key: When the West speaks, it is forever looking over its shoulder, at the domestic, and wider psychic impact when it is ‘making a point’ (such as practicing attacks by nuclear-capable bombers as close to Russia’s borders as they dare). And that when Russia and China say, ‘This is our Red Line’, it is no meme – they really mean it.



da "fort-russ.com"

A random nation-state detects a new coronavirus strain. That information is then introduced to the public by the press through hysterical means, setting offer a chaotic few days in global financial markets, and a frenzied churnalism race to get the most eyes locked in on their respective publications. “Is a new plague on the horizon?” the ruling class sycophants ask. Academics in credentialed organizations will present a baseless statistical model or two that are totally detached from reality, igniting more government and press hysteria over the coming “plague.”..........

 


By Jordan Schachtel

We’ve seen this movie before.

Since early 2020, the “new, dangerous, unprecedented COVID strain” playbook has remained the same. It’s now been almost two years since the first “new strain” came on the scene.

Here’s how the hype cycle works:

A random nation-state detects a new coronavirus strain. That information is then introduced to the public by the press through hysterical means, setting offer a chaotic few days in global financial markets, and a frenzied churnalism race to get the most eyes locked in on their respective publications. “Is a new plague on the horizon?” the ruling class sycophants ask. Academics in credentialed organizations will present a baseless statistical model or two that are totally detached from reality, igniting more government and press hysteria over the coming “plague.”

Next, your local and federal power-drunk politicians comes to the “rescue,” reminding you plebs that they’re here to help! The government first signals that there is nothing major to worry about, at least, for now. They’ll let you know if something changes, and assure you that their best people are monitoring the situation.

Initial government “measures” are restored. This is the first step in the direction of COVID tyranny. It comes in the form of nonsensical edicts like directed travel bans to the region where the new strain surfaced.


The ruling elite will then tell you to start acting like the good cattle that you are. Based on the advice of their “expert” Government Health bureaucrats, if you remain well behaved and extra compliant, COVID won’t come to get you. The Faucists will remind you to “trust the science” of masks and other forms of submissive virtue signaling, and ask you to thank the “public health experts” who are working day and night to protect you. You need government. No one is safe without the CDC and FDA. No one. The bureaucrats are the science and they know best. Questioning them is akin to questioning the concept of science itself.

As the new strain becomes more dominant and envelops more PCR tests, suddenly, the new strain is no longer mild. It’s the plague! Worse than ever! Government must now spring into action with “measures” (lockdowns, business closures, curfews and the like) that will further steal your basic rights and liberties.

The “war on the virus” is now in full bloom, and you better take a side, because you don’t want to be “on the side of the virus.” The new strain is the biggest threat yet. Worse than all the other new strains that caused the “plague of the century.” Academics and Government Health bureaucrats will show you another model or two to hammer home this point.

They insist that all of the things that didn’t work to stop a virus last time must be employed to stop a virus this time. And the more compliance, the better. Four shots, not three. Three masks, not two. Quarantine camps not only for the infected, but for close contacts too. The government will insist on quadrupling down on “the measures” as the only way forward, because this strain is the worst of them all.

The cycle repeats itself every time there is a new variant. And regardless of whether it’s the Alpha variant or any of a possible 100,000 mutations to the coronavirus, every tyrannical measure taken by governments to “slow the spread” or “stop the virus” has only made overall health significantly worse. As evidenced by the last two years, the government can only cause harm in embracing authoritarian coronavirus policies. Omicron is just their latest excuse. Don’t buy into the new variant hype. Don’t take the bait this time.


da "fort-russ.com"

The new government of Norway, a NATO member state, has said that it is planning to phase out the US-led military bloc’s forces stationed near the border with neighboring Russia, instead replacing them with its own soldiers........

 

NATO member says American troops won’t be sent to Russian border
The new government of Norway, a NATO member state, has said that it is planning to phase out the US-led military bloc’s forces stationed near the border with neighboring Russia, instead replacing them with its own soldiers.

“It’s very important for Norway to have a military presence in nearby regions,” Anniken Huitfeldt, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, told local outlet VG on Friday. “But in our opinion, directly next to the Russian border it’s better for us to handle it ourselves – with the help of Norwegian planes and ships.”

Huitfeldt said that she planned to discuss this question with fellow NATO countries the United Kingdom and United States, and emphasized that she was acting in the interests of her country. She also noted that there were no more American forces near the border with Russia than at previous times in the “post-war period.”

In May, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Oslo of militarizing the Arctic after an American atomic submarine stopped at a civilian port in Troms, in northern Norway. Top diplomatic spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted the country for purportedly seeking to exacerbate tensions in the region in order to please the US. She alleged that the port had been “specially modernized for such visits on Washington’s dime” and that it was “another outpost of NATO.”

Norway’s new cabinet, led by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere of the center-left Labor party, took office in October. Labor is the largest party in Norway, having won the election with 26.3% of the vote, and Stoere presented a minority government including the leader of the eurosceptic Center Party, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, who became finance minister.

Relations between Moscow and the West have hit historic lows in recent months, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying “I wouldn’t call the relations between Russia and NATO catastrophic because to be catastrophic you have to have at least something.”

However, he said, the country was working bilaterally with some member states outside of the bloc’s framework. “We have relations with Norway, including in the security sphere. And, in addition to regular security consultations, we would like to start them at a high level between the defense ministries,” he explained.


da "rt.com"

A federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s former attorney Sidney Powell has uncovered evidence that Powell filed false incorporation papers with the state of Texas for a non-profit she heads, Defending the Republic, according to sources close to the investigation..........

 

Sidney Powell spearheaded the former president’s quixotic legal campaign to overturn the result of the 2020 election.
Sidney Powell, who spearheaded the former president’s quixotic legal campaign to overturn the result of the 2020 election, is being investigated by a grand jury. Photograph: Ben Margot/AP

A federal grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s former attorney Sidney Powell has uncovered evidence that Powell filed false incorporation papers with the state of Texas for a non-profit she heads, Defending the Republic, according to sources close to the investigation.

In the incorporation papers, Powell – who filed lawsuits across the US questioning the 2020 election result which Trump lost to Joe Biden – listed two men whom she said served with her on the organization’s board of directors, even though neither one of them gave Powell permission to do so.

As a private attorney, Powell, in the service of Trump, has gained notoriety as she has increasingly embraced implausible conspiracy theories such as that the FBI had attempted to frame Trump to drive him from office, and that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate. Her lawsuits to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election have all failed, often met with scathing criticism from judges who have overseen them, one of whom sanctioned her for alleged ethical misconduct and referred her to the Texas state bar for investigation.

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

The broader federal criminal inquiry into Powell, led by the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, has since last fall been examining allegations of fundraising and financial fraud by Powell in the running of the group, according to documents reviewed by the Guardian.

Incorporation papers Powell filed with the Texas secretary of state on 1 December 2020 for Defending the Republic (DTR), listed only three people as comprising the group’s initial board: Powell herself, the Georgia attorney Linn Wood; and Brannon Castleberry, a Beverly Hills-based businessman and consultant.

The federal grand jury has reviewed extensive documentation that neither Wood nor Castleberry ever consented to serve on DTR’s board. One of the two men has said he wasn’t notified, even after the fact, that Powell had named him as a board member. The grand jury is investigating whether Powell misrepresented the makeup of her board in an effort to attract more donors.

The federal investigators are also trying to determine whether Powell diverted money from DTR for her own personal use.

They are also looking into whether Powell defrauded donors by falsely claiming their donations to DTR were used to finance lawsuits Powell filed to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Powell has said the mission of DTR has been to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”, but to do so required that “millions of dollars must be raised”. But investigators have only found a single instance in which DTR funds were used to finance one of Powell’s numerous high-profile election cases.

In testimony given in a civil defamation lawsuit, Brandon Johnson, an attorney for DTR, confirmed that Wood and Castleberry were listed in the non-profit’s Texas incorporation records as the group’s only other two original board members besides Powell.

During a sworn deposition in the case, Johnson testified: “That’s an important area to clarify. Apparently, the paperwork was corrected. Neither Brannon Castleberry nor Linn Wood served as directors. This was subsequently corrected.” Johnson further testified that neither Wood nor Castleberry had ever served DTR in any other capacity.

Johnson’s testimony was given in a defamation lawsuit brought against Powell by Eric Coomer, a former Dominion Voting Systems employee, against whom Powell made baseless and since throroughly debunked allegations, claiming that Coomer had conspired with antifa, the amorphous and leaderless anti-fascist movement, to steal the 2020 presidential election from Trump.

Ironically, the federal investigation is also looking into whether Powell improperly used funds from DTR to defend herself in defamation cases brought against her by both Coomer and Dominion.

Powell’s misrepresentations regarding her board are strikingly similar to other incidents during that same period.

The Guardian disclosed on Thursday that Powell had also named several individuals as plaintiffs or co-counsel in her election-related cases without their permission. Several said that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same time-span, Powell also named several other lawyers – albeit, with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played little or no role in bringing or litigating those cases.

A former consultant to DTR told the Guardian that Powell’s actions in lying about who was on her board, who were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases, and also exaggerating the nominal role of others assisting her, was to convey the appearance to potential donors that she was at the helm of an “elite strike force” who would overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.


di  per "theguardian.com"