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Author: TriSec    Date: 06/16/2020 12:06:05

Good Morning.

I'm going to try to leave some Covid-45 behind today. Reading some of today's headlines though - it sure seems like the ol' TARDIS has taken is back to the Cold War.

We can head right for our old nemesis, the Soviet Union Russia. A former Marine has just been sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage...on what sounds like trumped-up charges. (no irony intended.)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court sentenced a Marine veteran to 16 years in prison on spying charges a sentence he rejected as political.

The Moscow City Court on Monday read out the conviction of Paul Whelan on charges of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in a maximum security prison colony.

Whelan has insisted on his innocence, saying he was set up. The U.S. Embassy has denounced Whelan’s trial as unfair, pointing that no evidence has been provided.

Whelan, an American who also holds British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, was arrested Dec. 28, 2018, in a Moscow hotel while visiting for a friend’s wedding. The Russian government charged him with espionage, which carries up to 20 years in prison. He has publicly complained of poor prison conditions and has said his life is in danger.

Whelan's brother David said lawyers will appeal the verdict that he denounced as political, adding in a statement that “the court’s decision merely completes the final piece of this broken judicial process.”

“We had hoped that the court might show some independence but, in the end, Russian judges are political, not legal, entities,” the statement said. “We look to the U.S. government to immediately take steps to bring Paul home.”

Perhaps this is the one time where Mr. Trump and his best buddy Vladimir can work something out? But speaking of best buddies, Mr. Trump's former best friend Kim Jung-Un is reacting badly to the recent break between the two of them. You may hear louder saber-rattling than usual, even for North Korea. They've even blown up a building!

North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building on Tuesday after issuing a series of threats in a major escalation with South Korea as years of diplomatic progress quickly fades away.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said the destruction of the building in the North Korean border town of Kaesong happened at 2:49pm local time (05:49 GMT). South Korean media reported a large explosion was heard and smoke could be seen rising over Kaesong.

Black-and-white surveillance video released by South Korea's defence ministry showed a large blast that appeared to bring down the four-storey structure. The explosion also appeared to cause a partial collapse of a neighbouring 15-storey high-rise that had served as a residential facility for South Korean officials who staffed the liaison office.

The North - which has a long track record of pressuring South Korea when it fails to extract concessions from the United States - has repeatedly bashed the South in recent weeks over declining bilateral relations and its inability to stop leafleting by defectors and activists.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said the North destroyed the office to "force human scum and those who have sheltered the scum to pay dearly for their crimes" - apparently referring to North Korean defectors who for years have floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

I'm sure having no less that three US carrier groups in the Pacific will help calm things down.

Not sure if this is Cold War-ish or not, but former national security advisor John Bolton has penned a tell-all book that's on the verge of being released. While he's a giant dirtbag himself, the fact that he's maybe blowing the whistle on Mr. Trump should be telling. Of course, the president is reacting like all good Americans - he's readying a lawsuit.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that his former national security adviser, John Bolton, could face a “criminal problem” if he doesn’t halt plans to publish a new book that describes scattershot, sometimes dangerous, decision-making by a president focused only on getting re-elected.

Trump said it would be up to Attorney General William Barr to issue any charges, but hinted that the matter would end up in court. “We’ll see what happens. They’re in court — or they’ll soon be in court,” Trump said about the book, set to be released early next week.

The president accused Bolton of not completing a pre-publication review to make sure the book does not contain classified material. That contradicts statements from Bolton’s attorney, Chuck Cooper, who says his client worked painstakingly for months with classification specialists at the White House National Security Council to make changes to avoid releasing classified material.

Barr echoed Trump’s accusation. During an event at the White House, the attorney general said administration officials who have access to sensitive information typically sign non-disclosure agreements that require them to go through a clearance process before they can publish something based on information they accessed in the job.

“We don’t believe that Bolton went through that process — hasn’t completed the process — and, therefore, is in violation of that agreement,” Barr said. The Trump administration is “trying to get them to complete the process — go through the process — and make the necessary deletions of classified information,” Barr said.

Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” was supposed to be released in March. Its release date was twice delayed and it is now set to be released next week by publisher Simon & Schuster.

Finally today - I promised I wouldn't go there, but this story is just too bizarre. The nearest V.A. facility to me is in nearby Bedford, MA. It's not very far from the Battle Road in Lexington and Concord, so it's fairly high-profile. Some weeks ago, a veteran disappeared from the facility. They just found his body in a stairwell, and it's apparently been there the whole time. How does that even happen?

BEDFORD, Mass. —
A body of a 62-year-old was found Friday in a stairwell approximately five weeks after the man went missing, according to the Middlesex County District Attorney's office.

The body was found Friday morning in a stairwell by another patient in the building where he was staying, District Attorney Marian Ryan said. The man was last seen on May 8.

The facility where the man was found, the Bedford Veterans Quarters, is a Caritas Communities residential facility that is leased from the Bedford VA in one portion of one building on the VA campus in Bedford.

In a statement, Caritas Communities said the stairwell where the body was found was outside the company's lease premises and "is alarmed and solely controlled by the VA."

According Ryan, the body was found wearing the same clothing in which he was reported missing.

The cause of death was not yet known and the DA said it was being investigated as an unattended death.

In its statement, Caritas Communities said it was saddened to learn about the death of the resident.

"Caritas Communities is committed to the health and safety of our residents, and follow strict protocols when a resident is discovered missing," the company wrote.

Caritas Communities said it filed a missing persons report on May 13 and was working with the VA and the Bedford Police Department to ascertain the whereabouts of the resident.

According to the company's statement, the Bedford Veterans Quarters is an independent living facility where residents are free to come and go as they please and have no obligation to inform the staff of their whereabouts.

Don't forget TUTN this evening - looks like I may be on for most of the show tonight.


8 comments (Latest Comment: 06/16/2020 19:20:52 by Will in Chicago)
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