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  1. #8446

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Malcolm Nance
    ‏Verified account

    TANKER ATTACKS: This imagery fm UAE news shows a small IED was placed underwater on stern of this anchored vessel & way above rudder/Screws & far fm oil & Fuel tanks. Not enough bang to do real damage to steerage, just the hull. It’s all wrong. Just big enough for TV.

    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  2. #8447

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Pompeo crashes Brussels meeting of E.U. diplomats but changes few minds on Iran

    By Michael Birnbaum and Liz Sly May 13 at 3:56 PM

    BRUSSELS — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo crashed a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday to push for a united transatlantic front against Tehran and its nuclear program. But he failed to bend attitudes among leaders who fear the United States and Iran are inching toward war.

    Pompeo’s last-minute decision to visit the E.U. capital, announced as he boarded a plane from the United States, set up a confrontation between the top U.S. diplomat and his European counterparts, who have been scrambling to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal last year. At least one, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he feared that unintentional escalation from the United States and Iran could spark a conflict — an unusually bold statement that appeared to assign equal culpability to Washington and Tehran.

    The visit came on a day that the Saudi Foreign Ministry said two of its oil tankers and a Norwegian ship were damaged near the Persian Gulf, in what it claimed was an “act of sabotage.” There was no immediate indication as to who may have been responsible or why the damage was inflicted, but the incidents occurred at the same time and in the same place off the coast of the United Arab Emirates only days after the United States dispatched warships and bombers to the area to deter alleged threats from Iran.

    Pompeo was rebuffed on even some basic requests in Brussels. European diplomats haggled over how much to accommodate him while his plane sped across the Atlantic. The European Union’s chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, coolly announced that she had a busy day and that the pair would talk “if we manage to arrange a meeting.” (She found the time.) The top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany agreed to meet one-on-one with Pompeo but would not allow the Americans the symbolic victory of a group meeting. (The Europeans — they’re diplomats, after all — publicly blamed scheduling difficulties.)

    The Trump administration has called for “maximum pressure” on Iran. Mogherini reached for a different extreme after meeting with Pompeo.

    “The most responsible attitude to take,” she said, “should be that of maximum restraint and avoiding any escalation on the military side.”

    U.S. diplomats downplayed talk of a split.

    “No, no, this was great,” Pompeo told Mogherini after she appeared to apologize for not meeting collectively while they posed for pictures together.

    “You had a busy day,” he said.

    “We agree on much more than we disagree. That continues to be the case,” said Pompeo’s top Iran adviser, Brian Hook. “We share the same threat assessment. We are very concerned about Iran’s — a lot of the multiple threat streams that have been reported over the last three or four days.”

    But the Europeans said they are fearful about the behavior of both Iran and the Trump administration.

    “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side,” said Hunt, the British foreign secretary. “What we need is a period of calm to make sure that everyone understands what the other side is thinking. Most of all, we need to make sure we don’t end up putting Iran back on the path to renuclearization.”


    Pompeo scrapped a day of mostly ceremonial events in Moscow on Monday in favor of the Brussels stopover. He plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday.

    Diplomats familiar with Pompeo’s conversations in Brussels said little new ground was covered, with each side repeating standard talking points about whether the nuclear deal is worth preserving

    “I once again made it clear that we are concerned about developments and tensions in the region,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after meeting with Pompeo.


    Pompeo scrapped a day of mostly ceremonial events in Moscow on Monday in favor of the Brussels stopover. He plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday.

    Diplomats familiar with Pompeo’s conversations in Brussels said little new ground was covered, with each side repeating standard talking points about whether the nuclear deal is worth preserving

    “I once again made it clear that we are concerned about developments and tensions in the region,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after meeting with Pompeo.


    Abbas Mousavi, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, suggested that the apparent sabotage might have been carried out as part of a conspiracy to ignite conflict in the region. He cautioned against “plots by ill-wishers to disrupt regional security” and called for an inquiry.

    The spike in tensions comes after the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions waivers given to eight countries that import Iranian oil, in a bid to bring Iran’s exports down to “zero,” according to U.S. officials. Iranian imports had already plunged after the United States reimposed sanctions in November, after the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord. The expiration of the waivers is expected to inflict further pain on Iran’s already reeling economy.

    Sly reported from Beirut. Quentin Ariès in Brussels and Anton Troianovski in Sochi contributed to this report.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  3. #8448

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Malcolm Nance
    ‏Verified account

    TANKER ATTACKS: This imagery fm UAE news shows a small IED was placed underwater on stern of this anchored vessel & way above rudder/Screws & far fm oil & Fuel tanks. Not enough bang to do real damage to steerage, just the hull. It’s all wrong. Just big enough for TV.

    When I heard this story this morning I wondered if at some point in the future it would be known with some title ending in the word "Scandal" or "Affair". Feels real convenient to be happening at a time when the administration is pushing this Iran narrative that is completely unsupported by information from actual intelligence agencies.

  4. #8449

    Re: World News Random, Random

    No increased Iran threat in Syria or Iraq, top British officer says, contradicting US
    Deputy commander of anti-Isis coalition rebuts White House justification for sending troops

    Julian Borger in Washington
    Wed 15 May 2019 00.34 BST

    The top British general in the US-led coalition against Isis has said there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria, directly contradicting US assertions used to justify a military buildup in the region.

    Hours later however, his assessment was disowned by US Central Command in an extraordinary rebuke of an allied senior officer. A spokesman insisted that the troops in Iraq and Syria were on a high level of alert due to the alleged Iranian threat. The conflicting versions of the reality on the ground added to the confusion and mixed signals in a tense part of the Middle East.

    Maj Gen Christopher Ghika, who is a deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition conducting counter-terrorist operations against Isis in Iraq and Syria, was repeatedly questioned by reporters about the threat from Shia militias in Syria and Iraq, cited by US officials over the past week as justification for speeding up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Gulf and for sending B-52 Stratofortress bombers and an anti-aircraft battery to the region.

    “No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Ghika said in a videolink briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon. “We’re aware of that presence, clearly. And we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in. We are monitoring the Shia militia groups. I think you’re referring to carefully and if the threat level seems to go up then we’ll raise our force protection measures accordingly.”

    On Tuesday night, US Central Command – whose area of operations covers the Middle East and Afghanistan – put out a statement refuting Ghika’s comments.

    “Recent comments from OIR’s deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region,” it said.

    “US Central Command, in coordination with OIR, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria. As a result, OIR is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq.”

    The rebuke was particularly striking as it implied that Ghika was unaware of the state of alert of his own troops. The remarkable comments heightened concerns that fabricated or exaggerated intelligence may be being used by administration hawks led by the national security adviser, John Bolton, to further the case for war against Iran, in a manner reminiscent of the buildup to the Iraq invasion.

    The New York Times reported on Monday night that the acting defence secretary, Patrick Shanahan, had presented the White House with a plan that involved sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event of an Iranian attack or departure from the constraints of the 2015 nuclear deal that the US abrogated a year ago.

    The revised plans were ordered by administration hardliners led by Bolton, the report said.

    Donald Trump dismissed the account as “fake news” on Tuesday. “Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that,” the president said. “Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that and if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”

    US officials have said there was clear evidence that Iran was building up its proxy forces’ combat readiness and preparing them to attack US forces in the region. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, went to Brussels on Monday to brief his European counterparts on the alleged threats.

    Speaking in Russia on Tuesday, Pompeo said the United States does not want war with Iran but vowed to keep pressuring Tehran.

    “We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,” he said, adding: “We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.”

    The Shia militias in Iraq are collectively known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), and have ties of varying strengths to Iran.

    In his briefing from Baghdad on Tuesday, Ghika told Pentagon reporters: “We’ve seen no change in the posture or the laydown of the PMF. And of course the PMF is a moniker for a very broad range of groups. So I think it’s important to say that many of them are compliant and we have seen no change in that posture since the recent exchange between the United States and Iran. And we hope and expect that that will continue.”

    The general stressed that the coalition’s mission was exclusively focused on defeating the remains of Isis and not on confronting Iran, but he added that the issue of force protection had been reviewed “in the light of the events of the last week or so”.

    “Am I concerned about the danger? No, not really,” Ghika said.

    Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that armed drones had attacked two of its oil pumping stations, two days after two Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

    The Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said that the alleged drone attacks caused a fire and minor damage to one pumping station, and implied that the drone strikes and the sabotage of the tankers were the work of Iranian proxies.

    “These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran,” Falih said in an English-language statement issued by his ministry.

    Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, denied any involvement by his country or any of its regional allies in the attacks.

    “Definitely not,” Ravanchi told CNN. “Iran is not in the business of doing such a thing. We need to have a thorough investigation as to what has happened and who is responsible for it.”

    Pompeo’s briefing to European foreign ministers in Brussels reportedly failed to convince them of the urgency of the Iranian threat. They repeated their commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal, and warned of the dangers of unintended consequences of a military build-up.

    Spain announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn a frigate from a US-led naval group in the Gulf on the grounds that it had changed its mission from celebrating 500 years of the first circumnavigation of the globe, to focusing on alleged threats from Iran.

    Additional reporting by Patrick Wintour
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  5. #8450

    Re: World News Random, Random

    But by now everybody knows that the USA does not rely on intelligence to decide whether or not to go to war. Quite the opposite.
    What are the chances the USA will attack Iran? I would say directly proportional to the chances Congress gets all the documents they have asked for about Tiny.
    Starry starry night

  6. #8451

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Brett McGurk

    The State Department has no higher responsibility than to protect its people overseas. Thus, it may well make sense to reduce some personnel in Iraq if threat reporting indicates an imminent warning. I would never second guess such a decision given this paramount responsibility.

    Until this morning, however, I am not aware of an "ordered departure" EVER being issued for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad or Consulate in Erbil. Even when ISIS was bearing down on Baghdad in 2014, the U.S. did not trigger ordered departure in light of its serious repercussions.

    The statement issued at that time emphasized full U.S. support for Iraq and its people, ongoing embassy operations, and shifting personnel as it added military and reduced civilian capacity at the embassy. That statement is here:

    This process in 2014 was also fully coordinated with U.S. allies and partners. Most information was shared as appropriate (and with our closest allies like UK nothing was withheld). They knew what we knew in order to inform their own national decisions during a difficult period.

    An "ordered departure" (by definition a "mandatory evacuation procedure") can induces great uncertainty in the host nation and risk a broader panic, thereby make tense situations even worse. There are often other ways to reduce staff and protect personnel as necessary.

    This situation is also peculiar as the closest members of our coalition like UK for whatever reason seem to have a different view of the threat reporting and others like Germany say they have not been briefed at all. That's odd, as these are US allies in Iraq under US leadership.

    In sum: this is the first ordered departure for Baghdad/Erbil and that alone is significant with likely second and third order effects in Iraq and the region. The big question now is where this leads. Trump again said he expects Iran to call him. They won't. So then what?
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  7. #8452

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Lindsay thought he was one of the "cool kids" didn't he?

    Manu Raju
    ‏Verified account

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the appropriations subcommittee overseeing the State Department, just expressed major frustration about the lack of information from the administration about Iran. “I think they should tell us what the hell is going on,” he told me

    ”I’m tired of being asked questions, which is your job - I’m not mad at y’all guys,” Graham added. “I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a major deal to move people out of a consulate in Iraq, they were there during the war. I’m not doubting it’s a real threat.

    ”I’m just frustrated they can’t pick up a phone and tell us - particularly me and Sen. Leahy because we are in charge of embassy and consulate security. This is a mistake,” Graham said to me off the floor
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  8. #8453

    Re: World News Random, Random

    The Washington Post
    Taiwan becomes first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage

  9. #8454

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Is schizophrenia a thing now within the GOP? Graham says he is frustrated that he was not informed of the Iraq issues. But he recommended Trump Jr not to accept the subpoenas from congress.
    Are these people even aware of cognitive dissonance? And how they display it constantly?
    Starry starry night

  10. #8455

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Standoff over venue threatens to derail Trump visit to Ireland
    By Matthew Hoye, CNN

    Updated 9:11 AM ET, Sat May 18, 2019

    (CNN)A standoff is heating up between advance teams from the Irish and US governments over a potential presidential visit next month to the Emerald Isle.

    Donald Trump is expected to travel to Ireland for two nights during his visit to Great Britain and France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

    An Irish government source with knowledge of ongoing discussions told CNN that the White House is insisting the Irish prime minister, or taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, come to the President's golf course in Doonbeg to host a meeting between the two leaders.

    According to the source, "The Irish government feel that protocol dictates that any event they host for Trump should be at a venue of their choosing and certainly not at an hotel owned by Trump."

    "It is a bit unseemly to demand that the taoiseach host President Trump at his hotel," the source said.
    The source, who asked that his name not be used so he could speak freely, says Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has been intimately involved in the discussions and has been insistent that Varadkar come to Doonbeg.

    CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

    The Irish side has offered to host Trump for dinner at a nearby venue, the Dromoland Castle, which is where President George W. Bush met with then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2004, and to have Varadkar come to Trump's Doonbeg property for a breakfast.

    "There was an attempt to compromise where the taoiseach would host a dinner for Mr. Trump at Dromoland and perhaps visit Doonbeg for breakfast as well," the source said.

    Thus far, the source says, the White House has not accepted that offer and has threatened to have the President travel to one of his golf properties in Scotland instead.

    "The standoff is ongoing with attempts to find a compromise," the source said, pointing out that standard diplomatic protocol dictates that "there is no trip officially until the White House make the final announcement."

    Another Irish diplomatic source with knowledge of the planning says, "The visit is already very delicate politically for Varadkar, as Trump is incredibly unpopular in Ireland."

    "Leo is doing his best to minimize his exposure to Trump on this visit, but he is in a tricky position, as practically every American digital company's European headquarters are in Ireland," the source said, noting that corporations such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Apple all have headquarters there.

    When asked about the possibility of a Trump visit, Varadkar told reporters recently, "The President of America is always welcome here. We respect the role no matter what we think of the person themselves."

    The taoiseach also said protesters are more than welcome: Ireland "is a democracy, and peaceful protest is part of democracy and I would certainly never criticize anyone for taking part in a protest if they wish to express their views."

    The two leaders last met in Washington in March, and Trump said then that "I will be coming at some point this year. I missed it last year, and I would have loved to have been there. It's a special place and I have a very warm spot for Doonbeg, I will tell you that. It is just a great place."

    "It is really great to have the prime minister of Ireland with us," Trump said at the time, and the two were becoming "fast friends."

    In other words grifters gonna grift.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

  11. #8456

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Austrian government collapses over Russia scandal
    Kurz calls for snap election after video shows far-right leaders offering contracts for cash.

    By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG 5/18/19, 8:16 PM CET Updated 5/20/19, 3:02 PM CET

    Turns out Russian collusion isn’t a "witch hunt hoax" after all. At least not in Austria.

    The country’s government collapsed on Saturday after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was pulling the plug on his ruling coalition after just 17 months in office.

    The move came barely 24 hours after the release of a bombshell video showing Heinz-Christian Strache, the far-right leader of his junior coalition partner, trying to trade public contracts for party donations from a woman he believed to be the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch.

    “Enough is enough,” Kurz said in a brief statement to the press from his baroque office in Vienna, describing the many challenges he faced in recent months in dealing with Strache’s Freedom Party, which despite its alignment with the chancellor’s center-right People’s Party on policy issues, remained a lightning rod for criticism with its racist comments and other controversies.

    The government crisis was a blow to the youthful chancellor who sees himself as the future of European conservatism and whose international stardom won him a private dinner with Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner in February.

    Kurz said the content of the video “speaks for itself,” insisting that allegations Strache made against him on the tape — Strache claimed he had information that Kurz engaged in “sex orgies” — did not influence his decision to end the coalition.

    “The Freedom Party has damaged the country’s image,” Kurz said, adding that he doesn’t have the impression the party is willing to change.

    Coming just days before next week’s European Parliament election, the episode has rocked the political landscape in both Austria and Europe, where the Alpine nation’s non-traditional coalition was seen as an experiment in the viability of alliances that pair mainstream parties with populists.

    It would appear they don't work so well.

    The incriminating video triggered the resignation of Strache, the government’s No. 2 official, earlier Saturday.

    Given the gravity of the scandal — in the video Strache offered to exchange lucrative government contracts for campaign donations with a supposed Russian millionaire and discussed how to hide the payments from authorities — Kurz appeared to have concluded that pulling the plug was the only way he could shield his own party from the affair.

    A spontaneous protest by thousands of Austrians in front of his office on Saturday may have helped focus his mind.

    “I hope that this government is going to fall and that we can return to being a democracy," said 62-year-old Gerda Brüchner.

    “I’m here because the entire Freedom Party is intolerable,” said Florian Gantner, a Vienna resident who was carrying his six-year-old son on his shoulders, whistles in their mouths. “The entire government should step down. We need a new election.”

    Kurz under pressure

    Officials and commentators in neighboring Germany and other corners of Europe also urged Kurz to ditch the Freedom Party, arguing that his own credibility was at stake.

    The sudden turn of events may even help Kurz in the long run.

    The chancellor is by far Austria’s most popular politician and could well strengthen his party’s position in a new election if he can win over disgruntled Freedom Party voters. The question is how he would form a government without the Freedom Party in Austria’s increasingly Balkanized political landscape.

    Kurz's opponents, however, will likely use the election campaign to question his judgment in choosing to go into government with the Freedom Party in the first place.

    The People’s Party holds a clear lead in national opinion polls, securing 33 to 34 percent support every week for the past year, according to POLITICO's poll of polls.

    Kurz’s Social Democrat rivals likewise poll at exactly the same 26 percent they achieved a year ago, with the Freedom Party trailing in third on 22 percent. All the polls were conducted prior to Strache's resignation.

    President Alexander Van der Bellen joined the widespread condemnation of Strache's behavior and accepted Kurz's call for a new election.

    "The images show a disturbing picture, a picture that does not represent our country. This is not who we are. This isn't what Austria is like," he said. “Austrians have the right to have a government they can trust, a government that is esteemed and respected in Europe and the entire world. We need to rebuild this trust, and this rebuilding is only possible with fresh elections."

    Cross-border impact

    A bigger question is what impact of the scandal could be beyond Austria’s borders. For years, Europe’s far-right parties have faced accusations of cooperating behind the scenes with unsavory Russian actors, a charge the Strache video appears to confirm.

    The Freedom Party has a formal partnership with Vladimir Putin’s political party, but has repeatedly denied working to further Russian interests in Austria.

    Given that far-right leaders in Italy and France have pursued a similarly Russia-friendly strategy, they could themselves facing uncomfortable questions in the coming days.

    The affair could also complicate efforts to unite Europe’s far-right parties into a new political alliance after the European election.

    The parties are set to post strong gains in next week's election: Euroskeptics are on track to win around 250 of the Parliament's 751 seats.

    The Freedom Party was expected to join Italy’s Matteo Salvini, France’s Marine Le Pen (and possibly Hungary's Viktor Orbán) in the biggest Euroskeptic group.

    Strache has played a central role in coordinating contacts between the parties, but in the wake of the scandal, the other leaders are likely to try to distance themselves from the Austrians.

    The death of Austria's coalition also spells an early end of a controversial political experiment.

    After leading the People’s Party to victory in 2017, Kurz decided to join forces with the Freedom Party instead of renewing a grand coalition with Social Democrats.

    Kurz justified the move by arguing that the previous grand coalition was hobbled by deep ideological differences and proved incapable of delivering the kind of reforms he believed Austria needed.

    Not everyone was convinced. Freedom Party officials repeatedly confirmed those fears over the past 17 months with aggressive anti-asylum policies and by poisoning Austria’s political discourse with overtly racist rhetoric.

    The Freedom Party’s provocations included flirtations with the identitarian movement and regular attacks on journalists, whom Strache labeled as "the biggest whores on the planet" in the leaked video.

    Through it all, Kurz insisted he could keep the situation under control. He pointed to the government’s success in implementing central elements of its program, including tax reform, a balanced budget and overhauls of social spending programs.

    Nonetheless, the Freedom Party’s extreme tendencies prompted many observers to speculate the government was destined to collapse.

    Few, however, expected the end might come in such spectacular fashion.

    The incriminating video, filmed in the summer of 2017 a few months before the last election, was published 6 p.m. Friday, by German magazine Der Spiegel and daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. It shows Strache and Johann Gudenus, the leader of the party's parliamentary group, in a house in Ibiza discussing how their hostess, an unnamed female they believed to be the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch, could secretly funnel money to their party.

    “Very few donate to the party directly because that would go to the auditor general and then it would be public, which nobody wants,” Strache said as he sat smoking and sipping cocktails. “There are some very wealthy individuals who pay between 500,000 and 1.5 million to 2 million. I can name a few who pay not to the party but to a non-profit organization.”

    Strache goes on to name his purported donors, including Gaston Glock, the Austrian gunmaker. Glock denied participating in such a scheme, as did the others Strache named.

    Strache and Gudenus, who speaks Russian and acted as his interpreter, also discussed the possibility of the woman purchasing a 50 percent stake in the Kronen Zeitung, an Austrian tabloid and the country’s most influential newspaper.

    Strache said that under the Russian’s control, the paper could “push” Freedom Party candidates. The far-right leader said he envisioned a media landscape like Hungary’s, that is one under the de facto control of the country’s leadership.

    Gudenus, who also resigned Saturday, added in the video: “The Kronen Zeitung would be good for all of us, for you in terms of business and for us politically.”

    In return for the help, the pair also suggested they could help the woman secure government infrastructure projects, including highway contracts. “The only thing we would want in return is that we’re treated fairly, that the newsroom’s coverage is accurate,” Strache said, adding that she may also want to make a donation “here or there.”

    The video raises more questions than it answers.

    Chiefly, who made the video and why did they wait so long to release it? If those who made the video wanted to undermine the Freedom Party, why not release it before the election in 2017?

    Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have declined to say where the video came from.

    As he announced his resignation, Strache hinted darkly of a vast conspiracy to undo him. He described his actions as “dumb” and “irresponsible,” but laid most of the blame on those behind the sting.

    “It was a carefully planned political assassination, a hit job,” he said.

    Strache stressed that in the video he repeatedly said that all dealings with the Russian woman had to be above-board and legal, though the schemes outlined were plainly illegal.

    Denise Hruby in Vienna contributed reporting.
    "Even if you dance for your enemy on the rock, he will accuse you of splashing water on him." ~ African Proverb

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