Missing Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Declared Dead By Family

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Missing Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Declared Dead By Family

The family of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent-turned-private-contractor who disappeared in Iran more than a decade ago while purportedly on a mission for the CIA, announced Wednesday that they believe he is dead.


In a statement given to CNN, Levinson's family said it received information from "US officials" that has "led them a

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nd us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody."

Though they don't know when or how it happened, the family claimed that Levinson had passed before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

"We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody. We don't know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic," they said in a statement.

"It is impossible to describe our pain," the family said. "Our family will spend the rest of our lives without the most amazing man we have ever known, a new reality that is inconceivable to us. His grandchildren will never meet him. They will only know him through the stories we tell them."

"Those who are responsible for what happened to Bob Levinson, including those in the U.S. government who for many years repeatedly left him behind, will ultimately receive justice for what they have done. We will spend the rest of our lives making sure of this, and the Iranian regime must know we will not be going away. We expect American officials, as well as officials around the world, to continue to press Iran to seek Bob's return, and to ensure those Iranian officials involved are held accountable," they said.

In their statement, the family thanked President Trump and several members of his administration, including National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, as well as their staff - who have done "all they could to make our family whole again."

"Our family also wishes to thank Congressman Ted Deutch, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bob Menendez, and their staff members, who fought for Bob Levinson in every possible way," they added.

"Bob Levinson was a truly remarkable individual - the best husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend anyone could ever ask for. He was an American hero - a true patriot, and his compassion and kindness knew no bounds," the family said. "We will miss his warmth, humor, and wisdom, but most of all, we will miss the deep and unconditional love he had for each one of us. He will never be forgotten - we will make sure of it."

The statement is signed by "Christine, Susan, Stephanie, Sarah, Daniel, David, Samantha, and Douglas, and the entire extended Levinson family."

During Trump's Wednesday night press conference, President Trump refused to accept that Levinson is dead, but added that "it's not looking good."

Levinson disappeared in March while traveling to Kish Island, in Iran. It's widely believed he was kidnapped by Iranian intelligence to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations, though the Iranian regime never publicly accepted responsibility.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 19:10

What Everyone Is Missing About The Afghanistan Papers

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What Everyone Is Missing About The Afghanistan Papers

Authored by Darius Shahtahmasebi via TheMindUnleashed.com,

If you need more proof that lawmakers in the U.S. couldn’t care less about America’s woeful commitment to human rights abroad - or even care about the public who vote them into office - look no further than the recent Afghanistan papers and the reaction to the publications from Congress.

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According to the Washington Post, the outlet had obtained 2,000 pages of notes from interviews with more than 400 generals, diplomats, and other officials directly involved in the war. The documents showed that U.S. officials were lying about the progress being made in Afghanistan, lacked a basic understanding of Afghanistan, were hiding unmistakable evidence that the war had become unwinnable, and wasted close to $1 trillion in the process.

Barely a few hours following the Post’s publication, Congress rewarded the Pentagon for its stellar efforts with a $22 billion budget increase. How can we as a society justify this?

One stand-out statistic—among the many concerning ones—is the fact that before the U.S. invasion the Taliban had almost completely put to bed Afghanistan’s illicit opium trade. Since the U.S. invasion, combined with $9 billion in U.S. funding for anti-opium programs, the Taliban is not only stronger than it ever was but sits cemented in a country that now supplies 80 percent of the world’s opium.

I can’t help but think this was done on purpose.

Still, it would be worth re-thinking our outrage over the Afghanistan papers and determining what exactly it is we are outraged about. Are we simply angry because top U.S. officials lied to us about the fact they weren’t winning the war, making it a less worthwhile venture? If the U.S. were winning the war, spending $1 trillion in the process, killing record numbers of civilians, ramping up night raids to terrorize local populations, committing war crimes left right and center, would that suddenly make it all okay? As long as the war is being won, right?

The truth is, like most wars the U.S. finds itself prosecuting; this was yet another war based entirely on lies and misconceptions—right from the outset. As Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild famously said:

“The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the United States and thus part of U.S. law. Under the charter, a country can use armed force against another country only in self-defense or when the Security Council approves. Neither of those conditions was met before the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. Nineteen men—15 from Saudi Arabia—did, and there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the U.S. or another UN member country. The council did not authorize the United States or any other country to use military force against Afghanistan. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is illegal.”

If that was the case in 2001, how this war has continued for close to another two decades begins to beggar belief. In that time, the consequences for the Afghan civilian population has been catastrophic.

In February of 2010, a NATO night raid conducted in a village in the Paktia province of Afghanistan left seven civilians dead, including two pregnant women. NATO tried to spin the raid as an attack on a compound festering with “militant activity,” but this quickly fell apart thanks to a British reporter, Jerome Starkey, who had already reported that this was a false narrative.

The compound actually belonged to an anti-Taliban policeman trained by the United States. At the time, the family had gathered to celebrate the naming of a newborn son. In order to cover the tracks of their reckless decision to execute unarmed civilians, the American troops used knives to dig out the bullets from the bodies of the pregnant women killed.

This is the kind of activity that trillions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money has been paying for on a regular basis. More than 775,000 troops have served in Afghanistan, with 2,300 U.S. personnel deaths. Not to mention that the U.S. has not been fighting there alone, and has had assistance not just from NATO, but from so-called peaceful states like New Zealand as well (who have been accused of committing war crimes, too).

Yes, we should be outraged that officials lied about the prospects of success. But we should primarily be disturbed that they first and foremost lie in order to push our countries into these wars in the first place, killing countless innocent civilians over and over again.

We can’t let this recent publication obscure itself into nothingness. The recent reaction from Congress is a giant middle finger designed to tell you that (a) there will never be anything you can do about it and (b) they simply don’t care how you feel.

Democracy at its finest from the world’s leading propagator of democratic values.

Tyler Durden

Mon, 12/16/2019 - 23:50


War Conflict


Chinese Crypto Exchange IDAX Locks Cold Wallet As CEO "Goes Missing"

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Chinese Crypto Exchange IDAX Locks Cold Wallet As CEO "Goes Missing"

Authored by William Suberg via CoinTelegraph.com,

Chinese cryptocurrency exchange IDAX has suspended deposits and withdrawals after its CEO allegedly disappeared.

In a blog post on Nov. 29, IDAX, which earlier this week warned it was seeing a run on withdrawals, said the whereabouts of Lei Guorong

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were currently unknown. 

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

IDAX: cold wallet access “restricted”

“Since we have announced the announcement on November 24, IDAX Global CEO have gone missing with unknown cause and IDAX Global staffs were out of touch with IDAX Global CEO,” it reads.

The blog post continues that as a precaution, the company’s cold wallet was on lockdown to protect user funds:

“For this reason, access to Cold wallet which is stored almost all cryptocurrency balances on IDAX has been restricted so in effect, deposit/withdrawal service cannot be provided.”

IDAX did not directly link Lei with cold wallet access, nor did it suggest that users’ money was specifically at risk. 

Exchanges feel renewed pressure

The debacle follows a contentious period for cryptocurrency in China after authorities doubled down on the country’s 2017 trading ban last week. As Cointelegraph reported, a sweep saw the central bank vowing to “dispose of” any exchanges it found flouting the ban. 

IDAX stopped serving Chinese users at the start of the week. Its predicament nonetheless provides yet another example of the pitfalls involved when trusting a third party to store cryptocurrency.

Earlier this week, South Korean exchange Upbit likewise halted users’ access to funds after a suspicious transaction saw more than $50 million leave its books at once. 

While investors appear to be waking up to the risks, recent data shows that even institutional traders still overwhelmingly prefer trusting others with their funds.

Tyler Durden

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 20:30


Business Finance


Holiday Sales May Be Missing In Action

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Holiday Sales May Be Missing In Action

Authored by Dave Kranzler via Investment Research Dynamics,

I’m sure most of you are  inundated with “Black November,” “70% off” and “clearance” email promotions from the usual cast of brick/mortar/online chain retailers. It started with my inbox in October.   This is because retailers are terrified of what could be one of the worst holiday spending seasons in years.

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The mainstream financial media, planted with soundbites from Wall Street snakeoil salesmen, have already created this year’s “the dog ate my homework” excuse for poor holiday spending with the absurd notion that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shorter this year. 

Quite frankly, I would not be surprised if many households used Amazon’s Prime day and easy Amazon credit lines offered to buy holiday gifts early this year.

Speaking of AMZN, it warned that its expected holiday sales would be lower than previous guidance.  And Home Depot lowered its Q4 revenue estimates for the second time in three months.

Perhaps October retail sales offers a glimpse at what we can expect. The headline retail sales report promoted the idea that retail sales “rebounded” in October (recall September retail sales dropped 3%). October’s retail sales reportedly increased 0.3%. The headline number was rounded up from 0.27%. Compare this to the headline 0.36% CPI. This means that real retail sales in October (i.e. ex-inflation) declined.

Keep in mind that a survey of more than 5,400 Americans by the Financial Health Network revealed that 70% of households are struggling financially in some capacity. 17% said they can’t maintain a majority or all aspects of their finances. Another 54% said they’re struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability (likely credit card/auto debt). About 20% of middle class workers are spending more than they earn. This study confirms and reinforces other studies I’ve seen showing similar results.

Core retail sales, which are ex-automobiles and gasoline, increased 0.1%, which was worse than expected. When you think about it, aside from all of the statistical errors from estimating 16 out of 25 categories, the core retail sales ex-inflation was negative. It looks like gasoline sales drove the headline number as it was up 1.1%, which is the result of higher gasoline prices during the month.

Away from food, “core” discretionary categories suffered rather large declines from September. Clothing was down 1%, sporting goods/hobby/books were down 0.8%, furniture store sales dropped 0.9% and electronics/appliance sales were down 0.4%. Consumers also cut back spending at restaurants and bars, with sales dropping 0.3%.

The retail sales numbers for October, preceded by the big drop in retail sales in September, reflect and confirm my view that the consumer is “running out road” with the ability to assume more credit card debt for discretionary expenditures. The results of the survey above suggest that a not insignificant percentage of households need credit cards to make ends meet. This chart nicely summarizes the U.S. household financial conditions:

I suspect the Census Bureau will do its best to impose “seasonal adjustment” distortions at Trump’s behest in order to put the best possible spin on retail sales. But truth is that a majority of households are struggling with a heavy debt load and with real income after taxes that barely covers non-discretionary expenditures. Do not mistake a rising stock market as an indicator that economy is healthy. Right now the largest component of economic activity at 70% of GDP is terminally ill financially.

Tyler Durden

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 23:00


Business Finance


Large Cargo Ship Capsizes Off Georgia Coast; Crew Members Still Missing

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Large Cargo Ship Capsizes Off Georgia Coast; Crew Members Still Missing

Four crew members of a large international transport vessel went missing Sunday off Georgia after the boat began listing violently and caught fire. The vessel, identified in reports as the 656-foot Golden Ray, had 24 crew members aboard, 20 of which were rescued in a high risk US Coast Guard operation

The Golden Ray on its side in St. Simons Sound on Sunday, vi
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a the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

CNN has reported that four South Korean crew members are still being looked for after rescue efforts were temporarily disrupted when a fire broke out on the ship.

Dramatic coast guard images showed that the boat had capsized early Sunday, tipping on its side in the Port of Brunswick near St. Simons Island.

Given the Golden Ray was reportedly a car carrier, this could have contributed to its destabilizing and severe listing before the accident, though a specific cause has yet to be identified. 

According to CNN, citing Coast Guard commander, Capt. John Reed: 

Officials are working to stabilize the leaning vessel, he said. Once that's done, rescue efforts will continue.

"The other outcome could be that it may be deemed more appropriate to go ahead and right the vessel and de-smoke and de-water before we are able to actually get in there and locate the four individuals," Reed told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield in an interview Sunday.

The tanker tracker site MarineTraffic.com indicated the ship was sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and had been bound for Baltimore.

The Coast Guard published dramatic rescue footage involving stranded crew members being lifted off the large cargo ship via helicopter, as well as some dropping into rescue boats. 

Tyler Durden

Mon, 09/09/2019 - 08:07


Disaster Accident


Watch: Tesla Model X In Puerto Rico Goes Berzerk While Parking, Narrowly Missing Two Pedestrians

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Shocking new video out of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico shows a Tesla Model X going bezerk while attempting to park.

The incident reportedly occurred last Saturday in front of a bakery on Calle de la Candelaria street.

The Model X was attempting to park next to a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, when it suddenly sped up, smashing into the front of the truck. From there, the Model X narrowly avoids a woman that was getting out of the truck on the passenger side before the vehicle shoots across two lanes of traffic, destroying a street sign and

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narrowly missing another pedestrian.

Then the car starts driving wildly, in circles and out of control, before finally coming to a halt in the middle of the street.

Other vehicles passing the car missed it by extremely thin margins and fortunately, the two pedestrians involved were not injured. 

According to Tu Noticia PR, the driver claimed "that the electric Tesla vehicle suddenly accelerated."

A full video of the incident was posted on Twitter.


Founder Of Starbucks' Biggest Indian Rival Goes Missing; Shares Slump

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In a missing person's case, everybody has their theories. But we have to admit, this certainly doesn't sound good.

Siddhartha asked his driver to stop his car near a bridge in the Southern Indian city of Mangaluru, before going for a walk, local police official Jayant Kumar said by phone. The driver informed police when Siddhartha didn’t return after an hour, Kumar said.

Shares of Coffee Day Enterprises, the owner of Indian coffee chain Coffee Day, slumped 20% after its founder and majority sha

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reholder, V.G. Siddhartha, went missing on Monday in the Southern Indian city of Mangaluru, according to a filing with the exchange. The holding company owns several businesses, including Cafe Coffee Day, which operates nearly 1,700 cafes around India.


Siddhartha hasn't been reachable since Monday evening, the company said.

"We are taking the help of concerned authorities. Company is professionally managed and led by competent leadership team, which will ensure continuity of business."

According to Bloomberg, Siddhartha founded the coffee chain and opened cafes around the country more than a decade before Starbucks started expanding into India. The roots of Siddhartha's company can be traced back to the IT hub of Bengaluru in 1996.

The company's leadership team has promised to "ensure continuity of business," Coffee Day said in a recent filing.

Coffee Day went public in 2015, nearly two decades after opening its first cafe in Bengaluru. A unit of KKR owns 6.07% of the company, while Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd., has a 2.69% stake.

"We are deeply saddened by the developments and our thoughts are with his family at this time," KKR spokesperson told Bloomberg via email.

The fund sold 4.25% of its about 10.3% stake last February and haven’t sold any shares before or since, the spokesman said.


Tesla Plummets After Missing On Revenue And Earnings, Slashing CapEx Outlook

zerohedge News tesla plummets after missing revenue earnings slashing capex outlook All https://www.zerohedge.com   Discuss    Share

Last quarter, in a period of growing concerns about its business model and growing fears about flagging end-user demand for its products after the company reported dismal Q1 deliveries with just 12,100 combined model S and X deliveries the lowest total since 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made investors wait, and wait, and then wait some more before releasing Q1 earnings at 5:13pm, roughly 1 hour after the customary release time (so that investors would have only 17 minutes to digest the report before rushing off to the conference call).

This time, with Tesla recently announcin

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g that it delivered a record number of cars, or 95,200, in the second quarter, the odds for such a late report were virtually nil - especially with the stock rising 2% into earnings - but the big question was whether Tesla had aggressively front-loaded auto demand this quarter and whether it would reaffirm its prior guidance for delivering 360,000 to 400,000 cars in 2019, and alongside that, will Tesla maintain a ~20% gross margin. Perhaps even more important, what is the company's cash burn especially after it raised $2.7 billion in stock and debt in May even as it warned that it risked running out of cash without "hardcore" cost cuts.

And so, at 4:47 pm - well later than its usual time between 4:10 and 4:20pm, and a clear hint that not all is well - Tesla did report Q2 earnings, which were as follows:

  • Revenue $6.35 billion, also far worse than the estimate of $6.43 billion

  • Adjusted loss per share pf $1.12, far worse than the estimate 31c

  • Free cash flow $614 million, better than the estimate $235.5 million

  • Adjusted automotive gross margin of 19%, better than the estimate +17.1%

  • Capital expenditure only $250MM, far below the estimate $583.9 million

And visually, revenues...

And EPS:

Speaking of the company's liquidity situation, TSLA's cash flow actually posted a dramatic rebound from the $920 million it burned in Q1, spiking to $614 million...

... but the reason for this is that CapEx came in far below estimates, with Tesla only spending $250 million on capital expenditures, more than 50% below the $583 million expected. As a reminder, last quarter Tesla also surprise by spending far less on CapEx, when it reported Q1 capital expenditure of only $279.9 million, with consensus expecting nearly double that that or $508.2 million, suggesting the company once again mothballed various expansion projects to mitigate the cash burn.

And speaking of future Capex, and the company's growth prospects, perhaps the main reason why the company's stock is tumbling is because of the following item in the outlook: "Our 2019 capex is expected to be about $1.5 to $2.0 billion, a reduction from prior guidance" with the market clearly seeing this as a hint that growth - and more specifically, spending on growth - is about to slow significantly.

The "good" news is that at least Tesla did not cut its production outlook yet, and said it is still on track to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year.

Some more highlights from the company's outlook:

This quarter, we are simplifying our approach to guidance. We are most focused on expanding our manufacturing footprint in new regions, launching new products and continuing to improve the customer experience, while generating and using cash sustainably. Local production and improved utilization of existing factories is essential to be cost competitive in each region.

We remain on track to launch local production of the Model 3 in China by the end of the year and Model Y in Fremont by fall of 2020. We are also accelerating our European Gigafactory efforts and are hoping to finalize a location choice in the coming quarters.

Looking at the all important demand number, Tesla's customer deposits plunged again, dropping to $631 million from $768 million in Q1, the lowest number since Q1 2017, suggesting that the backlog of potential clients is rapidly shrinking.

And so between the major miss on the top and bottom line, and the capex miss and cut, the market's patience with Tesla appears to have run out, and the stock is tumbling in the after hours.








Urgent appeal over young mum missing after her work Christmas party in Manchester - Manchester Evening News

logicfish News Society Crime Regional UK mssing person missing manchester All http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk   Discuss    Share
Louise Maloney was last seen at the Sugar Buddha bar at Deansgate Locks

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