Saturday, August 6, 2022

UN Had Viktor Bout Fly Belgians To Somalia To Urinate on Corpses Now Silent on Trade


By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
Books - Guardian - NY Mag - Brutal Kangaroo

SDNY, August 5 – The United Nations used for now imprisoned arms trafficker Viktor Bout to move Pakistani "peacekeeper" to East Timor, and Belgians to Somalia where they urinated on corpses, is now silent on the impending trade of Bout for Brittney Griner.

On the morning of August 5, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, in writing, "What are the comments and action if any of the offered and impending trade of arms trafficker Viktor Bout, given his role in West Africa, Colombia and elsewhere for which he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in SDNY court?"  

Twelve hours later, nothing, despite an on-camera promise to answer Inner City Press' written questions after having it thrown out of and banned from the UN, by Melissa Fleming, the censorship chief of SG Antonio Guterres.   The UN is totally corrupt, as are some others - watch this site.

One thing about the Wikileaks data-dumps was that they often resurfaced, made relevant again by current events.

  As Kurt Wheelock began digging through the more than 300 references to Wikileaks in US Federal court cases, he came across the State Department memo about bribes paid to witnesses against Viktor Bout in Thailand.  

  Now in 2022 there was talk of Bout being traded by the Administration for WNBA player Brittney Griner.  

The leaked memo: "Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).    1. (S) Summary: The Ambassador on March 4 pressed Thai Deputy  Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban to ensure retraction or  rebuttal of false court testimony in the extradition  proceedings of Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, which  resume March 6.  Suthep said Prime Minister Abhisit had  previously discussed the matter with him, and he would  investigate and take appropriate action."

   Bout was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, before then-Judge Shira A. Scheindlin.

  She shot down Bout's argument as being "based on two 'secret United States State Department cables which [were] leaked to Wikileaks' that reveal 'a multi-pronged effort to seek a successful reversal [of the Thai lower court’s denial of extradition] during the appeals process.' However, far from any impropriety, the cables merely demonstrate the State Department’s view that Bout was “a high priority for the United States," etc.

   Now, with the SDNY prosecutors raring to ask for a lengthy sentence for Joshua Schulte, those above them were said to mull freeing the merchant of death.

  They'd made a movie about Bout, with Nicholas Cage. But no movie, barely a podcast, about Joshua Schulte.

  There was, however, as of July 16 a blues, here. And as of July 13, a booklet - now with eight typos fixed (better late than never). 

   One thing not corrected but amplified: while some set a strangely high standard for "who is a whistleblower," not unlike "who is a journalist," Kurt with experience as both thought: having covered the United Nations, showing abuses of power and immunity with the help of staff whistleblowers who can not only be fired but also deported from NY if they are found out, conclude a person doesn't need to confess in order to be whistleblower.

  Some were comfortably setting a requirment of voluntary martyrdom. But some martyrdom's are unintentional, ineffable. The search continued.

 This might be a new project, a follow-up to Brutal Kangaroo.

Brutal Bangaroo book
Order here. Watch this site.


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Man Abused While Fishing Sued NYPD Officer After Letter Jury Won't Be Told of Condition


By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC Honduras - CIA Trial Book - NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 5 – Boisey Caldwell sued NYPD Officer Geronimo German for abusing him while he was fishing in Morningside Park.  

 On August 1, 2022 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York  Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave held a near final pre-trial conference. Inner City Press covered it.  

The NYC Corporation Counsel lawyers did not want to be referred to as such as trial, or as representing the City, only German.

Judge Cave said she'd have to inquire about Corporate Counsel during jury voir dire, but that during the trial the lawyers should be referred to by name, or as plaintiff's counsel and defense counsel.   A final final pre-trial conference was set for August 5 at 5 pm.

And it took place at 5 pm, after a letter mailed in by Caldwell (photo here); it was said that won't happen again. The defense does not want the plaintiff's condition(s) described to the jury. Both sides agreed it will be a two to three day trial.

The case is Caldwell v. Officer German Geronimo, 19-cv-8253 (Cave) 


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On Community Reinvestment Act Reg Timely Comments In But Mergers Get Rubber Stamped


By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Story
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, August 5 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will actually be enforced under thus Administration and its regulators remains an open question. Mergers continue to be rubber stamped. But the agencies requested comments by August 5, and Fair Finance Watch and Inner City Press and others in NCRC have met the deadline:

" On behalf of Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch, this is a timely comment on the Community Reinvestment Act.    While below we address points from the joint proposal, since CRA is only enforcement on merger and expansion applications, the credibility and transparency of the agencies' enforcement of CRA on merger must be more fulsomely include review of fair lending laws, as well as CRA and negative impacts of recent mergers, from branch closings to raised prices to, yes, layoffs.

      The agencies currently do not sufficient consider "the probable effect of the transaction in meeting the convenience and needs of the community to be served." When the effect of a transaction includes further denuding lower income communities of branches, that is NOT meeting the convenience or needs of these communities.  

  The regulators are far too narrow. One recent example: Fair Finance Watch raised to the FRB and OCC that merger partner MUFG still does business in Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine. This is clearly risky (as well as immoral) and yet the Fed and OCC have not even asked MUFG or its proposed partner about it.  

 Also, employees are clearly "stakeholders" - yet the Federal Reserve had a footnote implying that no level of job loss is relevant to it in reviewing a merger. The CFPB should be consulted, as should legal data bases of discrimination cases. It must be made easier for the impacted public to comment, and to get copies of the regulators questions to the banks, and the banks answers.   The HHI understates the anticompetitive effects of recent mergers, with small banks being considered competitors to the Top Ten. More public comments, and more public hearings, are needed.   

  The agencies rubber stamp nearly all mergers. The bottom line is, some transactions should be denied. For example, when Investors Bank with its weak fair lending record got a conditional approval from the FDIC, it should have been a denial. The Federal Reserve absurdly allows Reserve Banks, which have no power to deny, to approve applications even by banks with rare Needs to Improve CRA ratings (Berkshire Bank).    As NCRC members, we join in NCRC's comments, including that CRA must explicitly consider bank activity by race and ethnicity... The agencies must improve their FOIA responsiveness and compliance, too.   Matthew R. Lee, Esq., Executive Director Fair Finance Watch / Inner City Press

No live questions were taken by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York when it talked, one-way, about the CRA this month.

"This virtual event is intended for banks, consumer and community organizations, CRA stakeholders, and the general public. Selected questions submitted upon registration will be addressed during the event. There will not be live questions."

  Inner City Press asked them, "Why was it decided by the FRBNY that "there will be no live questions"? Who decided it?"

  On July 12, after the event, a "Corporate Communication Associate" at the FRBNY who demanded to not be named emailed back an answer labeled "off the record." Is this any way for a public institution to respond? Except, the Federal Reserve Banks are NOT public institution. Then why do they have a role in setting policy (like CRA) and approving bank mergers? We'll have more on this.



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After Guilty Verdicts in Wikileaks Trial Schulte Faces CP Trial With CJA Lawyer on Duty


By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Thread Song
Decrypt - Q&A - Pod - Brutal Kangaroo Book

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 5 – When jury selection was completed for the retrial of accused CIA Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jesse M. Furman told the jurors, Do not read or say anything about the case. Inner City Press was there, and live tweeted here.

[July 20 denial of access hereBrutal Kangaroo]

On July 25 after conviction Schulte sent his own letter to Judge Furman that "we intend to seek immediate sentencing on the counts of conviction" and that he wants "once-weekly SCIF days as the CP case has classified forensic evidence - home computers and servers that were 'classified.'"

  Co-stand by counsel Colson, meanwhile, asking Judge Furman "to be relieved as counsel in connection with Mr. Schulte's child pornography case," and offering to filing a supplemental letter under seal.

Inner City Press live tweeted Schulte's July 26 proceeding, here and below.

On Auguset 5 Judge Furman relieved Colson, but declined her suggestion that David Stern be her replacement: "ORDER as to Joshua Adam Schulte. On July 25, 2022, the Court received a motion from Deborah Colson to be relieved as defense counsel. See Doc. No. 886. The Court granted the application but reserved judgment on whether or whom to appoint in Ms. Colson's place. The Court concludes that new Criminal Justice Act counsel is appropriate and hereby appoints Caesar De Castro the CJA lawyer on duty today (who has the appropriate security clearance as well). (Signed by Judge Jesse M. Furman on 8/5/22)." It's for the CP case.

From July 26: OK - now at Josh Schulte post-conviction conference. Two US Marshals, two stand-by counsel (for now)

All rise! Judge Furman: Mr. Denton can't join us? Let's take up Mr Schulte's representation. AUSA: He needs to be pro se or not pro se.

Judge: Rule 29 pro se, then not. Judge Furman: I'm sure there's a standard reverse-Faretta allocution, but have you discussed all this with stand by counsel?

Schulte: I have. Judge: Any alcohol or drugs in the last 48 hours? Schulte: None.

Judge: Ms Colson wants out, come to the [sealed] sidebar. [Whisper, whisper.]

Judge: I grant the request to withdraw. Is it necessary to have 2 CJA counsel?  [Budget discussion]

 Judge Furman: Usually it would be the CJA on duty...

Judge Furman: I will speak with the powers that be about this. What about moving directly to sentencing? I'm not granting it. What about the severed ["CP"] counts?

Stand-by counsel: Need an expert on that.

Judge: So let's set a date: September 11, 2023. Judge Furman: Sept 11, 2023 is a firm trial date. Do you understand, Mr Schulte?

[His calendar is open.]

Schulte: Yes.  Judge: Weekly SCIF is too much. AUSA: He doesn't need any.

and Vlog (shot in Brooklyn by EDNY) here.

Back at the beginning of the re-trial: Judge Furman: I'm going to announce the selected jurors. [He reads out 16 names. Inner City Press took fast notes - on on Patreon here]

Inner City Press filed opposing the sealing of the courtroom for CIA witnesses, and once the witnesses begin anticipates making other filings.

The June 14, 2022 opening arguments, as live tweeted by Inner City Press, are here.

On June 15, Schulte in his own defense engaged in his first cross examination, of FBI Agent Evanchec. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On June 16, Schulte completed his cross of Evanchec - then the US put on CIA supervisor Anthony Leonis in a (mostly) sealed courtroom, Inner City Press which seeks to unseal was there then live tweeted here.

On June 17, Leonis finished his direct and was cross examined by Schulte, with a deadline to finish before the end of the trial day. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On June 21, MITRE's (and now Microsoft's) Patrick Leedom did direct and then some cross examination by Schulte. Inner City Press live tweeted here.

On June 24 the trial resumed and Inner City Press live tweeted here.

On June 27, FBI agent Michael Berger was cross examined, thread here.

On June 28, Day 8, the courtroom went sealed again, and without at least one of the feeds that was supposed to exist. Inside, "Jeremy Weber" was being cross-examined by Schulte. At day's end Schulte told Judge Furman he has ten more pages of questions for Weber, after finishing with 50 pages.  The next witness, too, is sealed. But Inner City Press is staying on the case, and the background (see a launch of sorts, here).

On June 29, Schulte cross examined Weber at the opening, and waited for cooperator Carlos, about use of cell phone(s) in MCC, at the end. Inner City Press live tweeted, here.

On June 30, Schulte cross examined Betances, then FBI Special Agent Schlessinger, thread here

On July 6, both sides rested after questions, which Inner City Press live tweeted here and below. Inner City Press is covering the trial(s) and writing a book(let) about it 

On July 7, the closing arguments, which Inner City Press live tweeted here.

Filed July 7, but docketed on July 8, this:  Josh Schulte's pro se filing to Judge Furman about National Defense Information, asking, If the government maintained recipes for hot chocolate under lock and key, could they charge an individual for leaking that recipe under the Espionage Act?

On July 8, Judge Furman read his legal instructions to the jury and they began deliberating, first asking for a market then the testimony of US expert witness Leedom. Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On Monday, July 11, the jury came in from 9 to 5 but did not ask a single question. Tale told from the inside here, Patreon here.

On Tuesday, July 12, the jury asked for the transcript of witness Berger - and a question about "substantial step(s)." Inner City Press live tweeted here.

On Wednesday, July 13, after a question about the grand jury subpoena, the jury returned with a verdict, nine of them - all guilty. Inner City Press was there, and live tweeted it, here:

#breaking: In CIA #Wikileaks re-trial of Joshua Schulte, there is a verdict. But it hasn't been announced yet. Inner City Press has covered the case, heading to courtroom for verdict now...


There are 2 extra US Marshals behind Schulte, for a total of four. Jury exiting

Judge Furman: No sentencing date, given the other charges pending. Status conference set for July 26 at 3 pm. Adjourned. Brutal Kangaroo book here.

On July 15, Judge Furman mentioned but did not docket and apparently will not release a submission to him about the case: "On July 15, 2022, the Court received an email from a member of the public purporting to have information about this case. The Court will provide the email to both parties. Absent an application from either party, the Court does not intend to take any other action in connection with the email. In light of that, there is no right of public access to the email and it will remain under seal unless and until the Court orders otherwise." The argument, as in US v. Edwards, was and is "non-judicial document."

  An interested media would have to be pretty lame to see a docket entry like that and not make at least a request to unseal the e-mail.

  Inner City Press on July 20 made a request that the email be unsealed, arguing that "access to the [document might] materially assist the public in understanding the issues beofre the ... court, and in evaluating the fairness and integrity of the court's proceedings." Bernstein v. Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Crossman LLP, 814 F.3d 132, 139-40 (2d Cir. 2016) (quoting Newsday LLC v. Cnty. of Nassau, 730 F.3d 156, 166-67 (2d Cir. 2013) (alterations in original)."

Judge Furman denied it: "ENDORSED LETTER as to Joshua Adam Schulte addressed to Judge Jesse M. Furman from Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press dated 7/20/22 re: Press request to docket and unseal the email received by the Court on July 15, 2022 "purporting to have information about" US v. Schulte, 17-cr-548 (JMF)... ENDORSEMENT: Application DENIED. It is well established that the mere filing of a paper or document with the court is insufficient to render that paper a judicial document subject to the right of public access. United States v. Amodeo, 44 F.3d 141, 145 (2d Cir. 1995). Instead, an item filed must be relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process in order for it to be designated a judicial document. Id. In light of that standard, there is no basis to conclude that the unsolicited email -- which, for all the Court knows, is from a random member of the public with no connection to this case -- is a judicial document. That is, absent some basis to believe that the email is legitimate and that the author of the email actually does have information pertinent to this case, the email has no relevance to the judicial function or use in the judicial process. Accordingly, the application is DENIED. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Jesse M. Furman on 7/20/22)." One might ask, if it was enough to mention in the docket, what is the benefit of keeping it sealed, in terms of court transparency? It had to be asked.

(By comparison, SDNY Judge John G. Koletl on July 25 in another case docketed an over the transom submission, behind an order stating "The Court received the attached letter, which it forwards to the parties" - publicly. We are inquiring into the difference.)

Judge Furman in response to Inner City Press request to unseal all of Schulte's civil case ordered in part that ".On July 5, 2022, Matthew Russell Lee, representing Inner City Press, submitted the  attached request to unseal certain documents filed in this case. The case was sealed before being  reassigned to the undersigned. The Court concludes that there is no reason for the majority of  the docket to remain under seal, and it will now be unsealed. The sole exception is Plaintiff’s submission at ECF No. 2-1, which is undergoing review. If, after review, the Court concludes  that it need not be sealed, the Court will promptly enter an order unsealing it."

A week later, and no order, no further unsealing.

Coverage will continue.

 Here's from Judge Furman June 13 Order: "as discussed on the record at the classified hearing held  on June 8, 2022, the Court concludes that the particular statement Defendant seeks to admit is  admissible. The Court further concludes that the information should likely be admitted as a  stipulation, which would give Defendant “substantially the same ability to make his defense as  would disclosure of ” a portion of the document itself, pursuant to CIPA Section 6(c). See 18.  U.S.C. app. 3 § 6(c). Accordingly, the parties shall propose an agreed upon stipulation or  competing stipulations for the Court’s approval no later than June 17, 2022."

Previously, in the conclusion of the month long trial of accused CIA leaker Joshua Schulte, on the morning of March 9, 2020 the jury returned guilty verdicts on Counts 8 and 10, with mistrial granted on all other counts. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Paul A. Crotty set March 26 for the next date. 

Then it was moved to April 22 (then May 18). March 9 thread here. Song here.

  On November 9, 2021, a status conference was held before Judge Jesse M. Furman to whom the case was reassigned. Inner City Press live tweeted it here - the upshot was a May 23, 2022 trial date was set. Vlog here.

 That has since been moved to June, with the admonition that it will not be further moved. Schulte has raised issues of how his right to represent himself is possible with law library, turned off computers and printer paper issues in the MDC.

  This was was one of the issues at a May 18 pre-trial conference held on Courtroom 15A of 500 Pearl Street, where Judge Furman has been overseeing a drug trial Inner City Press is also covering, along with other criminal and civil trials. It stepped out - then found that a window had been opened to oppose courtroom sealing. It wrote in to Judge Furman, see below and The New Yorker of June 16: "Matthew Russell Lee, an independent journalist who covered the first trial, recently filed an objection to the government’s motion to seal the courtroom during testimony from C.I.A. officers, but it appears that that condition will again apply."

On June 8 there was a final pre-trial conference, also in courtroom 15A; Inner City Press live tweeted:

OK- at #CIA #Vault7 leak case of US v. Schulte, Inner City Press which has opposed sealing is here, with half dozen gov't reps.

Now US wants to quash subpoena on a witness.

Judge: I would like to avoid sidebars... esp due to Mr Schulte's US Marshals issue. [He has 2 Marshals sitting behind him]

 AUSA: When we move to sealed witnesses... Judge: We'll have the jury leave too, to make no one is in the courtroom who shouldn't be. Openings at earliest Tuesday [and probably later]. Four alternates.

 Judge: 10 peremptories for the defense.  6 for the US. I'll tell jurors Mr Schulte is charged with 9 crimes [incl with] Wikileaks. 

Schulte: Stress that I am presumed innocent.

 Judge: I intend to ask jurors if they are vaccinated and boosted.

AUSA: We want our experts and former case agent in the court during other witnesses' testimony. Judge: Experts yes, case agent no.

Judge: Witnesses cannot read transcripts or media. A/V dry run, you can do it when in the courtroom, Mr Schulte.

Schulte: I'll be here til 4 on my Friday SCIF day.

 Judge: We'll take up the rest in our classified setting. Adjourned.

 Then the prosecutors and Marshals stood around Schulte as he tried to charge his laptop. The continued session would be elsewhere in the courthouse, sealed.

 Back on April 13, 2022, Judge Furman held a conference with Schulte present. Inner City Press live tweeted it here....

Previously, Judge Crotty held another proceeding with Schulte and his stand-by counsel. Schulte was moved to the MDC: "JOSHUA ADAM SCHULTE Register Number: 79471-054 Age:     33 Race:     White Sex:     Male Located at: Brooklyn MDC Release Date: UNKNOWN." [And see its Oct 15 MCC video here]

  On March 2, 2021 were the closing arguments [in the first trial], which Inner City Press tweeted, thread here

 More on Patreon here.

See Inner City Press filing into the docket on Big Cases Bot, here. Watch this site. The case is US v. Schulte, 17-cr-548 (Furman).


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