Category Archives: State Department

Why did U.S. State Department purchase frozen penguin pineal glands from Argentina?

It’s Sunday night. Not much is happening beyond the usual, never-ending political bickering.

Are you in the mood for a mystery?

Among the treasure trove of documents obtained by WikiLeaks is a very curious telegram on August 1, 1973, sent from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the U.S. State Department, concerning the shipment of frozen penguin pineal glands. The telegram says the shipment would arrive in Boston on August 4, 1973.

Below is a screenshot of the telegram:

In August 1973, William P. Rogers was Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration.

Penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere. A common misconception is that penguins are only found in Antarctica. In fact, major populations of penguins are found in Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Several penguin species are found in the temperate zone: one species, the Galapagos penguin, lives near the equator!

Two interesting and really cool things about penguins:

  1. Their flippers have at least three branches of the axillary artery. They limit heat loss from flippers by enabling cold blood to be heated by blood that has already been warmed. This system allows penguins to efficiently use their body heat and explains why such small animals can survive in the extreme cold of Antarctica.
  2. Penguins can drink salt water because their supraorbital gland filters excess salt from the bloodstream. The salt is then excreted in a concentrated fluid from the nasal passages.

But why was the U.S. State Department so interested in penguin pineal glands? Searching around the net, this is what I found:

  • The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the brains of nearly all vertebrates. The shape of the gland resembles a pine cone, hence the name “pineal gland”. Located in the epithalamus, near the center of the brain between the two hemispheres, the gland is tucked in a groove where the two halves of the thalamus join.
  • From the point of view of evolution, the pineal gland is a kind of atrophied photoreceptor. In the epithalamus of some species of amphibians and reptiles, the gland is linked to a light-sensing organ — the parietal eye, aka pineal or third eye.
  • French philosopher René Descartes believed the pineal gland to be the “principal seat of the soul“.
  • Function: The primary function of the pineal gland is to produce the hormone melatonin, which helps modulate sleep patterns. Since melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light, the long Antarctica winter would mean the pineal glands of Antarctica penguins produce a lot of melatonin. Studies on rodents suggest that melatonin can protect against neurodegeneration.
  • According to a 1975 article in the International Journal of Biometeorology, polar mammals, such as walruses and some seals, possess unusually large pineal glands. The article does not say if polar penguins also have unusually large pineal glands.
  • Pineal glands become calcified — the accumulation of calcium salts. Calcification has been observed in children as young as two years of age, and increases with age. Some studies show that the degree of pineal gland calcification is significantly higher in patients with Alzheimer’s disease vs. other types of dementia.
  • Pineal glands of mammals like rodents contain Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) — a tryptamine molecule that some call “the spirit molecule”. DMT can be consumed as a powerful psychedelic drug and has historically been used by various cultures for ritual and healing purposes. Illegal in most countries, DMT can be inhaled, injected, or orally ingested. A 2014 study found that DMT has immunomodulatory potential that may have significant anti-inflammatory and tissue regeneration effects.

See also this interesting 8chan thread on pineal glands.

~Eowyn

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Waah! Man now regrets renouncing US citizenship because Trump won

They are not only mentally disordered, liberals are also stupid.

In a snit because Donald John Trump won the 2016 presidential election, a man renounced his U.S. citizenship and went to Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Now he regrets having renounced his citizenship because he needs to be a citizen to work in the United States.

His wife posted this online:

The man is doubly an idiot for believing what he read on a message board, The Straight Dope — that “sometimes the U.S. will quietly give back citizenship to people who renounced it”.

Not true.

According to the State Department, renunciation of U.S. citizenship is irrevocable, i.e., impossible to change.

The following is from the U.S. Department of State website:

G. IRREVOCABILITY OF RENUNCIATION

Finally, those contemplating a renunciation of U.S. citizenship should understand that the act is irrevocable, except as provided in section 351 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1483), and cannot be canceled or set aside absent a successful administrative review or judicial appeal. Section 351(b) of the INA provides that an applicant who renounced his or her U.S. citizenship before the age of eighteen (or lost citizenship related to certain foreign military service under the age of 18) can have that citizenship reinstated if he or she makes that desire known to the Department of State within six months after attaining the age of eighteen. See also Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations, section 50.20.  See also Section 50.51 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations regarding the administrative review of previous determinations of loss of U.S. citizenship.

Renunciation is the most unequivocal way by which a person can manifest an intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship. Please consider the effects of renouncing U.S. citizenship, described above, before taking this serious and irrevocable action. […]

Former U.S. citizens would be required to obtain a visa to travel to the United States or show that they are eligible for admission pursuant to the terms of the Visa Waiver Program. If unable to qualify for a visa, the person could be permanently barred from entering the United States. If the Department of Homeland Security determines that the renunciation is motivated by tax avoidance purposes, the individual will be found inadmissible to the United States under Section 212(a)(10)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(10)(E)), as amended.

H/t Reddit

See also:

~Eowyn

Higher education: Chelsea Manning named visiting “fellow” at Harvard

bradley manning

Harvard: Enabling a convicted traitor

I’m sure students will look forward to the lecture on turning a penis into a vagina!

From Yahoo: Chelsea Manning will be joining Harvard University as a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, according to the school’s website.

Manning will speak on issues of LGBTQ identity in the military, Institute of Politics Fellows co-chairs Emily Hall and Jason Ge wrote in an announcement posted Wednesday.

“We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media,” Bill Delahunt, IOP acting director, said in the announcement.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was convicted in 2013 for leaking a huge cache of classified and sensitive documents. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military judge found her guilty of six Espionage Act violations and multiple other charges relating to the dissemination of more than 700,000 classified military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

Manning was acquitted on the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

After President Barack Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office, Manning has worked to re-brand herself as an activist for queer and transgender rights. She also speaks on topics related to artificial intelligence through op-ed columns for The New York Times and The Guardian, according to Harvard’s website.

Harvard’s IOP also announced three other visiting fellows: former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, CNN political commentator Robby Mook and Kansas City Mayor Sylvester “Sly” James Jr.

DCG

Obama administration’s DHS/FBI identified Antifa as domestic terrorists in April 2016

And yet, this important and correct identification was not communicated to the American people, while the MSM and Democrats continue to champion Antifa as brave opponents of “white supremacists,” and police of cities like Berkeley where Antifa clashed with the Right in public rallies treated Trump supporters as the perpetrators of violence.

Josh Meyer reports for Politico, Sept. 1, 2017, that as early as April 2016, well before the election and subsequent presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by the Obama administration’s DHS and the FBI had classified radical Left anarchists who call themselves Antifa as “domestic terrorists”.

The April 2016 DHS/FBI joint report, Baseline Comparison of US and Foreign Anarchist Extremist Movements, identified Antifa as perpetrators of attacks on police, government, symbols of capitalism, racism, “social injustice and fascism”. After Donald Trump was elected President last November, Antifa activists locked onto another target — Trump supporters, especially white nationalists (labeled “white supremacists” by Antifa and the complicit MSM), and Confederate symbols and monuments.

An unnamed “senior state law enforcement official” said, “A whole bunch of them [Antifa]” have been deemed dangerous enough to be placed on U.S. terrorism watch lists.

By the spring of 2016, Antifa groups had become so aggressive, including making armed attacks on individuals and small groups of perceived enemies, that federal officials launched a global investigation with the help of the U.S. intelligence community so as to determine whether Antifa might start committing terrorist bombings at the Republican and Democratic conventions that summer, like their foreign counterparts in Greece, Italy and Mexico.

Some Antifa terrorists have gone overseas to train and fight with fellow anarchist organizations, including two Turkey-based groups fighting the Islamic State.

Based on their classification of Antifa as “domestic terrorists,” DHS/FBI have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous.

In fact, a DHS assessment in August 2017 precisely warned of a potential for unprecedented violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, where Democrat mayor Mike Signer is alleged to have ordered the police to stand down.

See “Signs of Charlottesville white supremacist rally being a false flag” and “Remarkable resemblance of mothers of Charlottesville and Sandy Hook victims

In interviews with Politico, law enforcement authorities blamed Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and policies — first as a candidate and then as president — for helping to to create a situation that has escalated so quickly and extensively that they do not have a handle on it.

An unnamed “senior law enforcement official tracking domestic extremists in a state that has become a front line in clashes between the groups” said:

“It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them. These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people.… They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”

According to the confidential documents and interviews obtained by Politico, almost immediately, the right-wing targets of Antifa began fighting back, bringing weapons and launching unprovoked attacks of their own. The extremists on both sides have been using the confrontations, especially since Charlottesville, to recruit unprecedented numbers of new members, raise money and threaten more confrontations. The unnamed “senior law enforcement official” said:

“Everybody is wondering, ‘What are we gonna do? How are we gonna deal with this?’. Every time they have one of these protests where both sides are bringing guns, there are sphincters tightening in my world. Emotions get high, and fingers get twitchy on the trigger.”

Brian Levin, a former New York City police officer who has been monitoring domestic militants for 31 years, now at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said:

“Both the racists and a segment of violent antifa counter-protestors are amped for battle in an escalating arms race, where police departments are outmaneuvered, resulting in increasingly violent dangerous confrontations. It’s an orchestrated dance. The rallies spill over into social media and then even more people show up at the next rally primed for violent confrontation.”

This is how the April 2016 DHS-FBI joint report as well as other federal documents and interviews, describe Antifa (Anti-Fascist Action Network):

  • Antifa evolved out of leftist anti-government anarchist groups like Black Bloc, who have instigated violence at events like the 1999 Seattle World Trde Organization.
  • They dress in black and conceal their faces with masks and bandanas.

  • They claim to have no leader and no hierarchy, but DHS-FBI believe they are organized via decentralized networks of cells that coordinate with each other. Often, they spend weeks planning for violence at upcoming events.
  • Dozens of armed Antifa groups have emerged, including Redneck Revolt, Red Guards, and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) — a group that claims as a member none other than Berkeley’s mayor Jesse Arreguin.
  • One report from New Jersey authorities said self-described Antifa groups have been established in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.

At the same time, DHS-FBI say there are gaps in their knowledge and understanding of Antifa, admitting that they have only “medium confidence” in their assessments:

  • A “senior New Jersey law enforcement official” following Antifa said: “There’s a lot more we don’t know about these groups than what we do know about them.”
  • Significant “intelligence gaps” include an inability to penetrate Antifa groups’ “diffuse and decentralized organizational structure,” which makes it difficult for law enforcement to identify violent groups and individuals.
  • Authorities also “lack information to identify the travel patterns linking U.S. and foreign anarchist extremists”.
  • A reason for the federal government’s “intelligence gaps” is because many of Antifa’s activities, such as their training camps, meetings and online communications, “are not within the purview of FBI and DHS collection” due to civil liberties and privacy protections.

DHS/FBI should really look into Antifa’s association with international financier terrorist George Soros:

~Eowyn

U.S. diplomats in Cuba have brain injuries from sonic attacks

Here’s another rotten egg Obama left for President Trump.

On July 20, 2015, three months after the Obama administration removed Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, the United States and Cuba normalized their relations by reestablishing diplomatic relations and reopening embassies in their respective capitals, Washington , D.C. and Havana.

Beginning in late 2016, however, the State Department said our diplomats in Havana complained about neurological symptoms, including hearing loss, nausea, headaches and balance disorders.

CBS News reports that on August 11, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S. diplomats in Havana, Cuba, are the victims of “health attacks” that left them with neurological damages, and that the United States “hold the Cuban authorities responsible for finding out who is carrying out these health attacks.”

A source familiar with the incidents told CBS News that as many as nine U.S. government employees had their assignments cut short due to the severity of the symptoms, but other employees who were also affected remain on the island after being “encouraged not to leave.”

As early as February 17, the Cuban government had been informed of the incidents. Havana flatly rejected the allegations, saying that “Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception,” and that it had launched an “exhaustive, high-priority, urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government.”

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. retaliated by expelling two Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington on May 23. She did not say how many U.S. diplomats were affected or what health damage they sustained, saying only that they had “a variety of physical symptoms.” Cuba’s government called the decision to expel the two Cuban diplomats “unjustified and baseless.”

“Sources” said that similar reports of headaches and hearing loss are coming from people within the Canadian embassy in Cuba. In the home of one top Canadian official, everyone in the residence including Cuban employees were taken to CIMEQ hospital where top government leaders are treated– for examination by an ENT specialist. The Cuban employees were then sent home for the day and Canadian security was brought in for a thorough sweep of the house.

After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the American diplomats had been exposed to an advanced device that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other purpose. The U.S. officials weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Intelligence experts told CBS News it could also have been a routine intimidation campaign taken to another level. Vince Houghton, an intelligence historian and curator at the International Spy Museum, said:

“This could be new technology that had a side effect that no one had expected. On the other hand, it could have been designed … to harass, to make people feel uncomfortable.”

On August 23, 2017, CBS News reports that the symptoms are much more serious than headaches or hearing loss.

According to medical records reviewed exclusively by CBS News, a U.S. doctor who evaluated the U.S. and Canadian diplomats working in Havana diagnosed them with conditions as serious as mild traumatic brain injury, and with likely damage to the central nervous system. The doctor, one of several who reviewed their cases, included a warning in the medical records about the health risks of future exposures.

A source familiar with these incidents says officials are investigating whether the diplomats were targets of a type of sonic attack directed at their homes, which were provided by the Cuban government.  American diplomats have also been subjected other types of harassment including vehicle vandalization, constant surveillance, and home break-ins.

Meanwhile, the neurological attacks on U.S. diplomats in Havana continue.

H/t Intellihub

See also:

~Eowyn

State Department issues dire travel warning for Mexico

Yesterday, August 22, the U.S. State Department issued a dire-sounding “Mexico Travel Warning” that includes popular and tourist destinations — Acapulco, Cancun, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, Vera Cruz, and Yucatan (Chichen Itza):

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas.  U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico issued December 8, 2016.

For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, see our state-by-state assessments below. U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which the Department recommends “defer non-essential travel” in this Travel Warning. As a result of security precautions that U.S. government personnel must take while traveling to parts of Mexico, our response time to emergencies involving U.S. citizens may be hampered or delayed. 

Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.

U.S. government personnel are prohibited from patronizing adult clubs and gambling establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit.

Kidnappings in Mexico take the following forms:

  • Traditional:  victim is physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.
  • Express:  victim is abducted for a short time and commonly forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.
  • Virtual:  an extortion-by-deception scheme where a victim is contacted by phone and coerced by threats of violence to provide phone numbers of family and friends, and then isolated until the ransom is paid.  Recently, hotel guests have been targets of such “virtual” kidnapping schemes.

U.S. citizens have been murdered in carjackings and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. Carjackers use a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds. There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, but drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States are also targeted. U.S. government personnel are not permitted to drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel after dark in many areas of Mexico. U.S. citizens should use toll roads (cuotas) whenever possible. In remote areas, cell phone coverage is limited or non-existent.

The Mexican government has deployed federal police and military personnel throughout the country as part of its efforts to combat organized criminal groups.  U.S. citizens traveling on Mexican roads and highways by car or bus may encounter government checkpoints, staffed by military or law enforcement personnel. In some places, criminal organizations have erected their own unauthorized checkpoints, at times wearing police and military uniforms, and have killed or abducted motorists who have failed to stop at them. You should cooperate at all checkpoints.

State-by-State Assessment: Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico. Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, U.S. citizens should exercise caution throughout Mexico as crime and violence can still occur. For general information about travel and other conditions in Mexico, see our Country Specific Information.

Aguascalientes: Intercity travel at night is prohibited for U.S. government personnel.

Baja California (includes Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate, and Mexicali): Exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state. According to the Baja California State Secretariat for Public Security, the state of Baja California experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring innocent bystanders have occurred during daylight hours. Due to poor cellular service and general road conditions, U.S. government personnel are only allowed to travel on “La Rumarosa” between Mexicali-Tijuana on the toll road during daylight hours.

Baja California Sur (includes Los Cabos and La Paz): Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state. Exercise caution as Baja California Sur continues to experience a high rate of homicides. According to Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Estado de Baja California and Secretaría de Gobernación statistics, the state of Baja California Sur experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.

Campeche: No advisory is in effect.

Chiapas (includes Palenque and San Cristobal de las Casas): U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation.

Chihuahua (includes Ciudad Juarez, the city of Chihuahua, Ojinaga, Palomas, Nuevo Casas Grandes and Copper Canyon): Criminal activity and violence remains an issue throughout the state of Chihuahua and its major cities. If you plan to drive in the state of Chihuahua, you should limit travel to daylight hours on major highways and follow the recommendations below.

  • Ciudad Juarez: Exercise caution in all areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling after dark west of Eje Juan Gabriel and south of Boulevard Zaragoza. Defer non-essential travel to the areas southeast of Boulevard Independencia and the Valle de Juarez region.
  • Within the city of Chihuahua: Defer non-essential travel to the Morelos, Villa, and Zapata districts, where the travel of U.S. government personnel is restricted.
  • Ojinaga: Travel via U.S. Highway 67 through the Presidio, Texas port-of-entry.
  • Palomas and the Nuevo Casas Grandes/Paquime region: Use U.S. Highway 11 through the Columbus, New Mexico port-of- entry.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes: U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling outside of city limits after dark.
  • Copper Canyon and other areas of the state of Chihuahua: U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel.

Coahuila: U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to Coahuila, with the exception of Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, and Parras de la Fuente, because of the high incidence of violent crime, particularly along the highways between Piedras Negras and Nuevo Laredo. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited in some parts of Coahuila, particularly in the north. U.S. government personnel are allowed to travel during daylight hours to Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, and Parras de la Fuente, using the most direct routes and maximizing the use of toll highways. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within Saltillo, Bosques de Monterreal, or Parras de la Fuente.

Colima (includes Manzanillo): U.S. government personnel are prohibited from intercity travel at night, from traveling within 12 miles of the Colima-Michoacán border, and from traveling on Route 110 between La Tecomaca and the Jalisco border. U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to this border region, including the city of Tecoman.

Durango: Violence and criminal activity along the highways are a continuing security concern. U.S. government personnel may travel outside of the city of Durango only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of Durango.

Estado de Mexico (includes Toluca and Teotihuacan): U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco, Solidaridad, Chalco, Ixtapaluca, and Tlatlaya due to high rates of crime and insecurity, unless traveling directly through the areas on major thoroughfares. Avoid traveling on any roads between Huitzilac, Morelos, and Santa Martha, Estado de Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.

Guanajuato (includes San Miguel de Allende and Leon): No advisory is in effect.

Guerrero (includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo): Personal travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.

Hidalgo: No advisory is in effect.

Jalisco (includes Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to areas that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas because of continued instability. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel to areas of Jalisco that border Zacatecas, intercity travel after hours, and from using Highway 80 between Cocula and La Huerta. U.S. government personnel are authorized to use Federal toll road 15D for travel to Mexico City; however, they may not stop in the town of La Barca or Ocotlan for any reason.

Mexico City (formerly known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect.

Michoacan (includes Morelia): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacan, except the cities of Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas, and the area north of federal toll road 15D. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling by land in Michoacan except on federal toll road 15D during daylight hours. Flying into Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas is permitted for U.S. government personnel.

Morelos (includes Cuernavaca): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel on any roads between Huitzilac in the northwest corner of the state and Santa Martha, Estado de Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.

Nayarit (includes the Riviera Nayarit coast, including the cities of Tepic, Xalisco, and San Blas): U.S. government personnel may travel to Riviera Nayarit, San Blas, Santa María del Oro, Tepic, and Xalisco using major highways. Intercity travel at night is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. Defer non-essential travel to other areas of the state.

Nuevo Leon (includes Monterrey): U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Monterrey only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the municipal boundaries of San Pedro Garza Garcia or Santa Catarina (south of the Santa Catarina river). Travel to and from Monterrey airport is permitted at any time.

Oaxaca (includes Oaxaca, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido): U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation in Oaxaca City. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling on Highway 200 throughout the state, except to transit between the airport in Huatulco to hotels in Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, and they are not permitted to travel to the El Istmo region. The El Istmo region is defined by Highway 185D to the west, Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca/Chiapas border to the east and includes the towns of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas.

Puebla: No advisory is in effect.

Queretaro: No advisory is in effect.

Quintana Roo (includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum): U.S. citizens should be aware that according to Government of Mexico statistics, the state of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to 2016. While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred.

San Luis Potosi: U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of San Luis Potosi only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of San Luis Potosi.

Sinaloa (includes Mazatlan): One of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations is based in the state of Sinaloa, and violent crime rates remain high in many parts of the state. Defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa, except the cities of Mazatlan, Los Mochis, and the Port of Topolobampo. Travel in Mazatlan should be limited to Zona Dorada, the historic town center, as well as direct routes to and from these locations and the airport. Travel in Los Mochis and Topolobampo is restricted to the city and the port, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.

Sonora (includes Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos): Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades. U.S. citizens traveling throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours and exercise caution on the Highway 15 corridor from Nogales to Empalme. Puerto Peñasco should be visited using the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours.

Due to illegal activity, U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to:

  • The triangular region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and north of Caborca (including the towns of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar).
  • The eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and state Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16).
  • South of Hermosillo, with the exception of the cities of Alamos, Guaymas, and Empalme.  Defer non-essential travel east of Highway 15, within the city of Ciudad Obregon, and south of the city of Navojoa.

Tabasco (includes Villahermosa): No advisory is in effect.

Tamaulipas (includes Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico): U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas due to violent crime, including homicide, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault. The number of reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico. State and municipal law enforcement capacity is limited to nonexistent in many parts of Tamaulipas. Violent criminal activity occurs more frequently along the northern border and organized criminal groups may target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas. These groups sometimes take all passengers hostage and demand ransom payments.  U.S. government personnel are subject to movement restrictions and a curfew between midnight and 6 a.m. Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced numerous gun battles and attacks with explosive devices in the past year.

Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect.

Veracruz: U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas and are not allowed to use public transportation. Road travel should be limited to daylight hours only.

Yucatan (includes Merida and Chichen Itza): No advisory is in effect.

Zacatecas: U.S. government personnel may travel outside the city of Zacatecas only during daylight hours on toll roads. Between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., U.S. government personnel must abide by the Embassy-imposed curfew and remain within the city of Zacatecas.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Mexico.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, at +52-55-5080- 2000 x4440, (5080-2000 for calls in Mexico City, 01-55-5080-2000 for long distance calls in Mexico) 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After- hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +52-55-5080-2000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Also note that Acapulco was the 2nd and Tijuana the 22nd most dangerous cities in the world in 2017.

So if you still choose to go to Mexico for “fun,” you are forewarned!

~Eowyn

House Judiciary Committee asks for second special prosecutor to investigate Clinton-Comey-Lynch

House Republicans are doing their utmost to bring Hillary Clinton to justice.

On July 26, 2017, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee ingeniously turned a Democrat resolution witchhunt (HRes. 446) of President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey inside out into an amended HRes. 446 calling for an investigation into Comey’s mishandling of the FBI’s criminal investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server. (See “House Republicans are going after Hillary Clinton!”)

A day later, on July 27, Rep. Bob Goodlatte and other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee redoubled their effort by sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate matters connected to the 2016 election which are not addressed by HRes. 446 or Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey.

Below is the full text of the letter:

July 27, 2017

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

We are writing to you to request assistance in restoring public confidence in our nation’s justice system and its investigators, specifically the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We need to enable these agencies to perform their necessary and important law enforcement and intelligence functions fully unhindered by politics. While we presume that the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence has been subsumed into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, we are not confident that other matters related to the 2016 election and aftermath are similarly under investigation by Special Counsel Mueller. The unbalanced, uncertain, and seemingly unlimited focus of the special counsel’s investigation has led many of our constituents to see a dual standard of justice that benefits only the powerful and politically well-connected. For this reason, we call on you to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath, including actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Many Democrats and members of the Washington media previously called for a “special prosecutor” to investigate Russian influence on the election and connections with the Trump campaign. Not surprisingly, once you actually made the decision to appoint a special counsel, the calls for further investigations by congressional committees continued, focused on allegations that have heretofore produced no evidence of criminality, despite the fact that over a year has passed since the opening of the original FBI investigation. Political gamesmanship continues to saturate anything and everything associated with reactions to President Trump’s executive decisions, and reveals the hypocrisy of those who refuse to allow the Special Counsel’s investigation to proceed without undue political influence. It is an unfortunate state of affairs.

Your stated rationale for recommending Director Comey’s termination as FBI Director was his mishandling of former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation and associated public disclosures concerning the investigation’s findings. We believe this was the correct decision. It is clear that Director Comey contributed to the politicization of the FBI’s investigations by issuing his public statement, nominating himself as judge and jury, rather than permitting career DOJ prosecutors to make the final decision. But many other questions remain unanswered, due to Mr. Comey’s premature and inappropriate decision, as well as the Obama Justice Department’s refusal to respond to legitimate Congressional oversight. Last week, the Republican Members of this Committee sent a letter to the Justice Department, asking for responses to those unanswered inquiries. These questions cannot, for history’s sake and for the preservation of an impartial system of justice, be allowed to die on the vine.

It is therefore incumbent on this Committee, in our oversight capacity, to ensure that the agencies we oversee are above reproach and that the Justice Department, in particular, remains immune to accusations of politicization. Many Congressional entities have been engaged in oversight of Russian influence on the election, but a comprehensive investigation into the 2016 Presidential campaign and its aftermath must, similarly, be free of even the suggestion of political interference. The very core of our justice system demands as much. A second, newly-appointed special counsel will not be encumbered by these considerations, and will provide real value to the American people in offering an independent perspective on these extremely sensitive matters.

Our call for a special counsel is not made lightly. We have no interest in engendering more bad feelings and less confidence in the process or governmental institutions by the American people. Rather, our call is made on their behalf. It is meant to determine whether the criminal prosecution of any individual is warranted based on the solemn obligation to follow the facts wherever they lead and applying the law to those facts.

As we referenced above, Democrats and the mainstream media called for a special counsel to be appointed to investigate any Russian influence on President Trump’s campaign. Their pleas were answered, but there are many questions that may be outside the scope of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation. This was clear following Mr. Comey’s recent testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, 2017, which ignited renewed scrutiny of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and the actions she took to mislead the public concerning the investigation into the Clinton email investigation. Last year, this Committee inquired repeatedly about the circumstances surrounding that and other matters, but our inquiries were largely ignored.

During his testimony, Mr. Comey referenced a meeting on the Phoenix airport tarmac between Ms. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Comey raised concerns about Ms. Lynch’s conduct, and questioned her independence, stating:

At one point, the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me. That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude, ‘I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.’

In addition, in preparing to testify in front of Congress for a September 2015 hearing, Mr. Comey asked Ms. Lynch at the time whether she was prepared to refer to the Clinton investigation as just that, an “investigation.” Mr. Comey testified that Ms. Lynch said, “Yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter.” Mr. Comey retorted, “Why would I do that?” Ms. Lynch answered, “Just call it a matter.” Mr. Comey stated that he acquiesced, but it gave him “a queasy feeling,” since it gave him the “impression that the attorney general was trying to align how we describe our work” with how the Clinton campaign was talking about it.

Notwithstanding the fact that the FBI is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and not the Federal Bureau of Matters, one is hard-pressed to understand why Ms. Lynch directed then-Director Comey to call the Clinton investigation a “matter” unless she intended to use such deceptive language to help wrongly persuade the American people that former Secretary Clinton was not, in fact, the subject of a full-scale FBI investigation, or to otherwise undermine the integrity of the investigation.

Following Director Comey’s Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, Senator Dianne Feinstein was asked about the testimony while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Senator Feinstein stated, “I would have a queasy feeling too, though, to be candid with you, I think we need to know more about that, and there’s only one way to know about it, and that’s to have the Judiciary Committee take a look at that.”

We share Senator Feinstein’s and Mr. Comey’s concerns – specifically, that during the midst of a contentious Presidential election, which was already rife with scandal arising from Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, that our nation’s chief law enforcement officer would instruct the FBI Director, her subordinate, to mislead the American public about the nature of the investigation. Following Ms. Lynch’s directive to downplay the Clinton investigation as a “matter,” Director Comey infamously terminated the Clinton investigation, stating, “[a]lthough there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Mr. Comey’s testimony has provided new evidence that Ms. Lynch may have used her position of authority to undermine the Clinton investigation. At any other point in history this accusation would entail a shock to the conscience of law abiding Americans who expect a DOJ free of political influence. We only have, however, an investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 election, including any ties to the Trump campaign. To limit our nation’s insight into just this this single component of the 2016 election will only cause the special counsel’s work to be derided as one-sided and incomplete. The special counsel’s work must begin and end unimpeded by political motivations on either side of the aisle. For these reasons, the following points must also be fully investigated – ideally, via a second special counsel. This is imperative to regain the cherished trust and confidence in our undoubtedly distressed law enforcement and political institutions.

We call on a newly appointed special counsel to investigate, consistent with appropriate regulations, the following questions, many of which were previously posed by this Committee and remain unanswered:

  1. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation;
  2. The shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information;
  3. FBI and DOJ’s investigative decisions related to former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation, including the propriety and consequence of immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, John Bentel and possibly others;
  4. The apparent failure of DOJ to empanel a grand jury to investigate allegations of mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her associates;
  5. The Department of State and its employees’ involvement in determining which communications of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates to turn over for public scrutiny;
  6. WikiLeaks disclosures concerning the Clinton Foundation and its potentially unlawful international dealings;
  7. Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine;
  8. Mr. Comey’s knowledge of the purchase of Uranium One¹ by the company Rosatom, whether the approval of the sale was connected to any donations made to the Clinton Foundation, and what role Secretary Clinton played in the approval of that sale that had national security ramifications;
  9. Disclosures arising from unlawful access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer systems, including inappropriate collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign;
  10. Post-election accusations by the President [Trump] that he was wiretapped by the previous Administration, and whether Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch had any knowledge of efforts made by any federal agency to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates;
  11. Selected leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community, including an assessment of whether anyone in the Obama Administration, including Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Ms. Susan Rice, Ms. Samantha Power, or others, had any knowledge about the “unmasking” of individuals on then candidate-Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both;
  12. Admitted leaks by Mr. Comey to Columbia University law professor, Daniel Richman, regarding conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, how the leaked information was purposefully released to lead to the appointment of a special counsel, and whether any classified information was included in the now infamous “Comey memos”;
  13. Mr. Comey’s and the FBI’s apparent reliance on “Fusion GPS”² in its investigation of the Trump campaign, including the company’s creation of a “dossier” of information about Mr. Trump, that dossier’s commission and dissemination in the months before and after the 2016 election, whether the FBI paid anyone connected to the dossier, and the intelligence sources of Fusion GPS or any person or company working for Fusion GPS and its affiliates; and
  14. Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.

You have the ability now to right the ship for the American people so these investigations may proceed independently and impartially. The American public has a right to know the facts – all of them – surrounding the election and its aftermath. We urge you to appoint a second special counsel to ensure these troubling, unanswered questions are not relegated to the dustbin of history.

Sincerely,

Bob Goodlatte, Chair
Jim Jordan
Lamar Smith
Matt Gaetz
Tom Marino
Steve Chabot
Blake Farenthold
Steve King
Louis Gohmert
Ted Poe
Doug Collins
Raul Labrador
Ron DeSantis
Andy Biggs
Mike Johnson
John Rutherford
Martha Roby
John Ratcliffe
Trent Franks
Karen Handel

###

Note¹: Uranium One is a uranium mining company, headquartered in Toronto,  Canada. It has operations in Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the United States. In January 2013, Russian state-owned enterprise Rosatom, through its subsidiary ARMZ Uranium Holding, purchased Uranium One for $1.3 billion. For Bill Clinton and John Podesta’s involvement in Uranium One and Rosatom, click here.

Note²: Fusion GPS is a commercial DC-based intelligence firm that conducts opposition political research on political candidates, such as on Mitt Romney. The company was hired by Planned Parenthood (PP) to investigate pro-life activists who took a series of “sting” videos showing PP selling aborted baby parts to medical researchers. In the 2016 presidential campaign, Fusion GPS was first hired by Republicans to conduct “opposition research” on Donald Trump, which ended when Trump became the GOP’s presidential nominee. Hillary Clinton then became Fusion GPS’s client to dig up dirt on Trump. Fusion GPS hired former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele to compile a dossier on Trump, which became infamous for its entirely-fake allegation that Trump had hired Russian prostitutes to urinate (“golden shower”) on a Russian hotel bed supposedly used by Obama.

Send a “thank you” to Congressman Bob Goodlatte!:

~Eowyn