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Westlake Legal Group > North Korea

Manure Mania: North Koreans are Fighting Over Feces as the Government Demands Every Citizen Produce 200 Pounds of Human Waste

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Think people in America wanna give the government sh**? In North Korea, they’re required to.

Kim Jong-un’s chosen to oppress the crap out of people by burdening them with a poop production mandated minimum.

The poverty-stricken country depends on human waste to nourish its crops, and every household has to cough up the goods. Or, bads.

And it’s a sh**load: Just after the Supreme Leader’s New Year’s address, Radio Free Asia reported that homes were struggling to meet the required 220 pounds per able-bodied citizen.

It’s putting a real strain on everybody.

According to one source, the quota’s intentionally impossible in order to drum up fines and bribes.

Next year’s unreasonably high dung demand has already been set, and in urban areas, people are stealing excrement from each other in the effort to meet the caca collection quotas. Some are even mixing in dirt to enhance their volume.

On October 8th, a resident of Ryanggang province explained the mayhem to RFA:

“The agricultural authorities are forcing residents to produce eight tons of manure for each household to help the local farms. … People in the city are fighting to take over public restrooms. It’s ridiculous.”

There’s a new market for malarkey, but it smells:

“As the absolute amount of manure is nowhere near the quota, there are even now merchants who are selling dried feces. People put all their human feces outside to dry so it’s all over the city. It’s really hard to breathe when you go out on the streets.”

And all those holes left from digging up dirt for doubling the deuce is bad for the environment:

“When it rains, the holes in the dirt become puddles of filth and are the main culprits of environmental destruction.”

The country folk have an even more difficult time in the push for perfection:

“In order to fulfill their quota, people in the countryside have taken all the humus [dark, nutrient-rich soil], to mix with manure, and even rocks from coal mines are being put into the mixture. Since there is not enough soil to mix with the manure, people of all ages are rushing to the coal mines to get the rocks.”

Whether in the city or out, there doesn’t seem to be any commercial assistance — unlike neighboring South Korea, in the DPRK, there’s no Taco Bell.

As relayed by another source, life is hard enough without having to constantly squat in order to pay the Turd Tax:

“The people have no time to take care of themselves. It’s so hard to make a living already but there are so many things they want them to dedicate to the state. People are getting resentful.”

Getting??

So goes existence within a Stalinist totalitarian dictatorship.

Working for the government has its perks, like the freedom to lay off the fiber; but for normal people, life in North Korea really stinks:

“Residents complain that this year, the authorities have been forcing them to do so many of these missions that people can’t even remember everything. Government officials are exempt from these tasks under their authority, but the powerless people are required to carry them out. These powerless people are the only ones made to suffer.”

-ALEX

 

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. 

The post Manure Mania: North Koreans are Fighting Over Feces as the Government Demands Every Citizen Produce 200 Pounds of Human Waste appeared first on RedState.

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Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe

Westlake Legal Group ap-korean-missile-620x378 Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe War Terrorism Technology Science Russia republicans Politics Policy Nuclear Weapons north korea nuclear deal North Korea News missiles missile defense military Islamist terrorism islamist ISIS iran nuclear deal Government Front Page Stories Front Page Foreign Policy donald trump democrats Congress China Barack Obama

Let’s Play Some Defense, Shall We?

 

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem.

Many of the Good Guys have them.

The US Nuclear Arsenal

The Story of How Britain Got Nuclear Weapons

France Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

India’s Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger

Included herein is a Good Guy – who may or may not have them.

Does Israel Really Have Nuclear Weapons?

And more and more of the Bad Guys have them.

The Big China Nuclear Threat No One Is Talking About

Russia’s Putin Unveils ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan Has Lots of Nuclear Weapons

How Did North Korea Get Nuclear Weapons?

Excellent question.  Often, because the alleged Good Guys – are very, VERY stupid.

You Can Thank Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton for North Korea’s Nukes

If a Bad Guy wants to get there – they can often count on an alleged Good Guy being very, VERY stupid.

Fact-Check: Yes, the (Barack Obama) Nuclear Deal Hands ‘$150 Billion’ Over to Iran

The planet has a bit of a nuclear weapon proliferation problem….

Since They All Have Nukes And Missiles – We Absolutely Should Have Missile Defense

Right now, the only missile defense system we have doing any missile defensing – is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD):

“The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System provides Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the United States….

“Ground-Based Interceptors are emplaced at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A total of 44 interceptors are currently emplaced.”

A key component of the GMD – is the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV):

“The RKV is meant as an upgrade and supplement to the current Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV.

“Both systems are ground-based interceptors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency designed to defend the U.S. mainland against long-range ballistic missile attacks.

“The RKV offers improved maneuverability and targeting performance compared to the EKV, which has a poor test record.”

Except – the Defense Department (DoD) just killed the RKV.

Pentagon Terminates Program for Redesigned Kill Vehicle, Preps for New Competition

Have there been tech issues?  There have:

“The EKV, designed to destroy targets in high-speed collisions after separating from a booster rocket, has struggled in testing….”

There were problems.  As there always are at some point with almost all things – especially things this high-tech and uber-sophisticated.

But we can take solace:

In the history of each and every thing that has worked – there was a time when each and every one of them didn’t work.

And the problems we were having – were being fixed:

“(It) has performed reliably in major test events in recent years including a complex salvo test earlier this year.”

Instead of the current, intact, in-place, improving system – what does the DoD have planned?:

“Now that the RKV is dead in the water, the Pentagon plans to move forward with a new, next-generation interceptor competition, the statement said.”

Except – are we anywhere near a “new, next-generation interceptor?”  We’re not even close:

“The defense official said the Pentagon is still working through the details of a new, next-generation interceptor competition, including when it will be initiated and the pace at which the technology will be developed and fielded.”

The Defense Department hasn’t even yet decided what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.  Because the DoD doesn’t even yet know what a “new, next-generation interceptor” is.

This is like killing the automobile – and then beginning the process of identifying the next mode of transportation.  Which hasn’t even yet been conceived.

Well, in the meantime – we need to get around.  So don’t preemptively kill the car.

And in the meantime – we need a missile defense system.  So don’t preemptively kill the RKV.

Since the current missile defense system is the only missile defense system even conceived – let’s keep it around.

At the very least – until you can actually define what “new, next-generation interceptor” means.

Our national security is far too important – to go fishing all over again…without any safety net whatsoever.

The post Missile Defense Now – Beats Missile Defense in a Decade…Maybe appeared first on RedState.

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For Trump the Dealmaker, Troop Pullouts Without Much in Return

Westlake Legal Group merlin_161567295_14c45ea0-0b76-4e8f-bb7b-1a6b2bc86d93-facebookJumbo For Trump the Dealmaker, Troop Pullouts Without Much in Return United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria South Korea North Korea Kurds Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The Taliban have wanted the United States to pull troops out of Afghanistan, Turkey has wanted the Americans out of northern Syria and North Korea has wanted them to at least stop military exercises with South Korea.

President Trump has now to some extent at least obliged all three — but without getting much of anything in return. The self-styled dealmaker has given up the leverage of the United States’ military presence in multiple places around the world without negotiating concessions from those cheering for American forces to leave.

For a president who has repeatedly promised to end the “endless wars,” the decisions reflect a broader conviction that bringing troops home — or at least moving them out of hot spots — is more important than haggling for advantage. In his view, decades of overseas military adventurism has only cost the country enormous blood and treasure, and waiting for deals would prolong a national disaster.

But veteran diplomats, foreign policy experts and key lawmakers fear that Mr. Trump is squandering American power and influence in the world with little to show for it. By pulling troops out unilaterally, they argue, Mr. Trump has emboldened America’s enemies and distressed its allies. Friends like Israel, they note, worry about American staying power. Foes like North Korea and the Taliban learn that they can achieve their goals without having to pay a price.

“It’s hard for me to divine any real strategic logic to the president’s moves,” said John P. Hannah, a senior counselor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. “The only real connective tissue I see is the almost preternatural isolationist impulse that he invariably seems to revert to when left to his own devices internationally — even to the point that it overrides his supposed deal making instincts.”

Reuben E. Brigety II, a former Navy officer and ambassador to the African Union under President Barack Obama who now serves as dean of the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University, said just as worrisome as the decisions themselves was the seemingly capricious way they were made.

Mr. Trump, he said, often seems more interested in pleasing autocrats like Kim Jong-un of North Korea and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey than in organizing any kind of coherent policymaking process to consider the pros and cons.

“When he canceled the South Korea military exercises, the only person he consulted was Kim Jong-un,” Mr. Brigety said. “The decision to abandon the Kurds came after a brief phone call with Erdogan. So they weren’t taken because he had personally reflected on the strategic disposition of American forces around the world. They were taken after he took the counsel of strongmen over that of his own advisers.”

All the complaints from the career national security establishment, however, carry little weight with Mr. Trump, who dismisses his critics as the same ones who got the country into a catastrophic war in Iraq. While that may not be true in all cases, Mr. Trump makes the case that 18 years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it is time to pull out even without extracting trade-offs in return.

“When I watch these pundits that always are trying to take a shot, I say — they say, ‘What are we getting out of it?’” Mr. Trump told reporters on Monday as he hosted a cabinet meeting. “You know what we’re getting out of it? We’re bringing our soldiers back home. That’s a big thing. And it’s going to probably work. But if it doesn’t work, you’re going to have people fighting like they’ve been fighting for 300 years. It’s very simple. It’s really very simple.”

The United States has about 200,000 troops stationed around the world, roughly half of them in relatively less dangerous posts in Europe or Asia where American forces have maintained a presence since the end of World War II. Tens of thousands of others are deployed in the Middle East, although only a fraction of them are in the active war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

It took only a few dozen Special Forces operators near the border in northern Syria to deter Turkey from assaulting America’s Kurdish allies there, but soon after Mr. Trump talked with Mr. Erdogan on Oct. 6, the president announced on a Sunday night that they would be pulled back. Turkey then launched a ferocious attack on the Kurds, and by the time a convoy of American troops moved away over the weekend, they were shown in a widely circulated video being pelted by angry Kurds throwing potatoes to express their sense of betrayal.

Mr. Trump did not ask Mr. Erdogan for anything in exchange. Instead, the diplomacy came only after the Turkish incursion began when he sent Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara to broker a cease-fire to give the Kurds time to evacuate a new safe zone to be controlled by Turkey along the Syrian border. Mr. Erdogan essentially got what he wanted.

In Afghanistan, Mr. Trump’s special envoy spent months negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban militia that would provide guarantees that the country would not be used as a base for terrorist attacks against the United States if it reduced its troop presence to around 8,600. The talks fell apart, but Mr. Trump is drawing down American forces anyway, pulling out 2,000 troops in the last year, leaving 12,000 to 13,000. Plans are to keep shrinking the force to around 8,600 anyway.

In Asia, Mr. Trump voluntarily canceled traditional large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea at the behest of Mr. Kim even though the two have yet to reach any kind of concrete agreement in which North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons. The decision frustrated not only allies like South Korea and Japan but senior American diplomats and military officers, who privately questioned why North Korea should be given one of its key demands without having to surrender anything itself.

“Trump is a win-lose negotiator,” said Wendy R. Sherman, a former under secretary of state under Mr. Obama who helped broker the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran that Mr. Trump abandoned last year. “That’s what he did as a real estate developer. He doesn’t see the larger landscape, the interconnections, the larger costs, the loss of greater benefits.”

When he has sat down at the negotiating table, Mr. Trump’s record on the world stage has been mixed or incomplete. He has sealed an accord to update to the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, revised a free-trade agreement with South Korea and reached a limited trade pact with Japan.

But in addition to the collapse of the Afghan talks, he has gotten nowhere in nuclear negotiations with North Korea, made no progress in a long, drawn-out Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, has yet to even reach the table with Iran despite his stated desire and remains locked in a high-stakes, big-dollar negotiation with China over tariffs.

For Mr. Trump, though, the desire to “end the endless wars,” as he puts it, may override his instinct for deal-making. He talks repeatedly about the misery of families whose loved ones have been killed in the Middle East or elsewhere, and he seems to put decisions about deployments in a different category than trade deals or other negotiations. Getting them out of harm’s way is an end to itself.

“We’re going to bring our soldiers back home,” Mr. Trump said on Monday. “So far, there hasn’t been one drop of blood shed during this whole period by an American soldier. Nobody was killed. Nobody cut their finger. There’s been nothing. And they’re leaving rather, I think, not expeditiously — rather intelligently.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Game on, again: US, North Korea to restart nuke talks

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Donald Trump wanted another summit with Kim Jong-un. John Bolton wanted to crack down on Pyongyang, while North Korea wanted Bolton out. Looks like two of the three got what they wanted:

North Korea and the United States will resume negotiations Saturday, marking the first official talks between the two sides since President Trump met Kim Jong in June, the North Korean government announced Tuesday.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said the two countries “agreed to hold a working-level discussion on October 5th, following a preliminary contact on the 4th,” according to a statement carried by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

“I expect the working-level talks to accelerate positive developments in DPRK-U.S. relations,” Choe said, using the initials of her country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “Our representatives are ready to attend the working-level talks with the United States.”

Is it a coincidence that this sudden warmth follows just three weeks after Bolton got ousted as national security adviser? Couldn’t possibly be a coincidence. Pyongyang complained loud and long about Bolton’s presence in the mix of the diplomatic and security discussions, even more than they have complained about Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Trump won’t part with his closest Cabinet official, but Bolton was expendable — a relatively cheap price to get North Korea back to the table.

Ten days ago, North Korea made its pleasure at the change known, hinting that the change would facilitate a restart:

North Korea’s new envoy to nuclear talks with the United States on Friday welcomed the ouster of President Trump’s former National Security Adviser, John R. Bolton, and the president’s suggestion that Washington would use a “new method” in negotiating with the North.

The envoy, Kim Myong-gil, hailed Mr. Trump’s “wise political decision” to approach North Korea-United States relations “from a more practical point of view” now that “a nasty troublemaker” — an apparent reference to Mr. Bolton — was out.

The decision to seek a new method was “the manifestation of the political perception and disposition peculiar to President Trump, which no preceding U.S. chief executives even wanted to think of nor were able to do,” Mr. Kim said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday.

One could call Bolton’s dismissal a quid pro quo in that sense, certainly diplomatically legitimate but still not necessarily wise. North Korea had apparently decided it wouldn’t negotiate with Bolton still around, in part because of the “Libya option” favored by Bolton, in which Pyongyang would have to totally surrender all its nuclear-weapons components before seeing any sanctions relief. That’s not much of a deal from their perspective, especially seeing how Moammar Qaddafi ended up in relation to US and Western forces. It’s not a coincidence either that Trump publicly belittled Bolton’s “Libya option” after firing him. If quid pro quo is too politically loaded a term these days, call it a prerequisite instead, or perhaps a password for entrée to a new round of talks.

Basically, the range for a deal has improved for North Korea, although not necessarily to any great effect. Yesterday, Bolton made his feelings publicly known about Trump’s diplomatic pas de deux with Kim and the likelihood they will honor any result without a boot on their neck. Bolton insisted that the US had not seen any benefit from Trump’s engagement, and that only a credible military threat would part Kim from his nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, Bolton hinted that Trump had lost the thread of what the talks were supposed to accomplish, although he never directly referenced his former boss:

Without mentioning Mr. Trump by name, Mr. Bolton said he wanted to “speak in unvarnished terms about the threat posed by North Korea,” and made it clear that he thought the president’s outreach to Mr. Kim had benefited only one side. And while Mr. Trump has made a deal with Mr. Kim one of his signature foreign policy goals, Mr. Bolton asserted that there had been no gains with his approach.

“The strategic decision Kim Jong-un is operating through is that he will do whatever he can to keep a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and to develop and enhance it further,” Mr. Bolton said during an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Under current circumstances, he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily.” …

Stopping nuclear proliferation in the Korean Peninsula is where the United States needs “to focus our attention,” Mr. Bolton said, “not can we get another summit with Kim Jong-un or what the state of staff-level negotiations are to achieve a commitment from North Korea it will never honor.”

Ouch. It’s not easy to dismiss Bolton on this point, too. So far Trump has gotten some photo ops and an end to nuclear tests out of Kim, the latter of which might have been necessitated by the collapse of their testing field at Punggye-Ri early last year anyway. They also have halted their longer range ballistic missile tests, although they have restarted short-range tests and are proceeding to work on ballistic-launch capability from submarines, a frightening game-changer. None of those concessions are significant enough to have increased the safety margins for the US and our allies, and all of them can be nearly instantly reversed, even if North Korea was inclined to honor agreements, which they aren’t.

The gladhanding might be worthwhile as a change in tone, but that’s not the necessity. At some point, all of the cheeriness between Kim and Trump has to pay off in rolling back their nuclear program significantly and permanently. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time. This time around Trump needs results, and now he has a chance to prove Bolton wrong by getting them — or right by failing to do so.

The post Game on, again: US, North Korea to restart nuke talks appeared first on Hot Air.

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Me and My Whistle-Blower

One sunny Wednesday in February, a gangly man in a sports jacket and a partly unbuttoned paisley shirt walked into the Los Angeles field office of the F.B.I. At the reception desk, he gave his name — Val Broeksmit — and began to pace anxiously in the lobby.

Mr. Broeksmit couldn’t believe he was voluntarily meeting with the F.B.I. An unemployed rock musician with a history of opioid abuse and credit card theft, not to mention a dalliance with North Korea-linked hackers, he was accustomed to shunning if not fearing law enforcement. But two investigators had flown from the bureau’s New York office specifically to speak with him, and Mr. Broeksmit had found their invitation too seductive to resist. Now the agents arrived in the lobby and escorted him upstairs.

They wanted to talk about Deutsche Bank — one of the world’s largest and most troubled financial institutions, and the bank of choice to the president of the United States. Mr. Broeksmit’s late father, Bill, had been a senior executive there, and his son possessed a cache of confidential bank documents that provided a tantalizing glimpse of its internal workings. Some of the documents were password-protected, and there was no telling what secrets they held or how explosive they could be.

Federal and state authorities were swarming around Deutsche Bank. Some of the scrutiny centered on the lender’s two-decade relationship with President Trump and his family. Other areas of focus grew out of Deutsche Bank’s long history of criminal misconduct: manipulating markets, evading taxes, bribing foreign officials, violating international sanctions, defrauding customers, laundering money for Russian billionaires.

In a windowless conference room, one of the agents pressed Mr. Broeksmit, 43, to hand over his files. “You’re holding documents that only people within the inner circle of Deutsche would ever see,” he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157663062_41bacd08-1113-4095-ba88-47b844b59e00-articleLarge Me and My Whistle-Blower Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Sony Pictures Entertainment Sony Corporation Simpson, Glenn R Schiff, Adam B Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Politics and Government North Korea News and News Media New York Times Money Laundering Justice Department Guardians of Peace Fusion GPS Federal Bureau of Investigation Deutsche Bank AG Cyberattacks and Hackers Boies, David Banking and Financial Institutions

The United States headquarters of Deutsche Bank in New York.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

“Clearly, things went on in Deutsche Bank which weren’t kosher,” added the second agent. “What we’re up against is, all those bad acts are being pushed down on the little people on the bottom.”

“The low-hanging fruit,” said the first agent.

“And the larger bank in its entirety is claiming ignorance and that it’s one bad player,” said his partner. “But we know what we’ve seen. It’s a culture of just — ”

“Fraud and dirt,” Mr. Broeksmit interjected. Already, he was warming to the idea of having a cameo in a high-stakes F.B.I. investigation. He spent the next three hours vaping, munching on raspberry-flavored fig bars and telling his story, entranced by the idea of helping the investigators go after executives high up the Deutsche Bank food chain. (Deutsche Bank has said it is cooperating with authorities in a number of investigations.)

When he finally emerged from the Los Angeles field office, Mr. Broeksmit got into a Lyft and called me. His adrenaline, I could tell, was still pumping; he was talking so fast he had to stop to catch his breath.

“I am more emotionally invested in this than anyone in the world,” he said. “I would love to be their special informer.”

Here’s the thing about whistle-blowers: They tend to be flawed messengers. Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden — each of them was dismissed as selfish, damaged, reckless and crazy. Yet all of them, regardless of motivation, used secret documents to change the course of history.

For more than five years, Val Broeksmit has been dangling his Deutsche Bank files in front of journalists and government investigators, dreaming of becoming the next great American whistle-blower. He wants to expose what he sees as corporate wrongdoing, give some meaning to his father’s death — and maybe get famous along the way. Inside newsrooms and investigative bodies around the world, Mr. Broeksmit’s documents have become something of an open secret, and so are the psychological strings that come attached. I pulled them more than anyone, as part of my reporting on Deutsche Bank for The New York Times and for a book, “Dark Towers,” to be published next year. It has been the most intense source relationship of my career.

An endless procession of bank executives and friends of the Broeksmit family have warned me that Mr. Broeksmit is not to be trusted, and, well, they might have a point. His drug use has sent him reeling between manias and stupors. He has a maddening habit of leaping to outrageous conclusions and then bending facts to fit far-fetched theories. He fantasizes about seeing his story told by Hollywood, and I sometimes wonder whether he’s manipulating me to achieve that ambition. He can be impatient, erratic and abusive. A few days ago, irate that he was not named in a blurb for my book on Amazon, among other perceived slights, he sent me a string of texts claiming that he’d taken out a brokerage account in my name and traded on secret information I’d supposedly fed him. (This is not true.) A little later, he left me a voice mail message saying it was all a joke.

Why do I put up with this? Because his trove of corporate emails, financial materials, boardroom presentations and legal reports is credible — even if he is not. (In this article, every detail not directly attributed to Mr. Broeksmit has been corroborated by documents, recordings or an independent source.) Besides, there’s something uncanny about how Mr. Broeksmit’s fearlessness and addiction to drama have led him, again and again, to the center of the news. In addition to Deutsche Bank’s troubles, he has figured into North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures, the collapse of the world’s oldest bank and the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Mr. Trump.

We might wish our whistle-blowers were stoic, unimpeachable do-gooders. In reality, to let you in on a journalistic secret, they’re often more like Val Broeksmit.

Val Broeksmit with his father at Wimbledon in 2013.CreditVal Broeksmit

On a drizzly Sunday in London in January 2014, Bill Broeksmit cinched his dog’s red leash around his neck, slung it over a door and lunged forward. He was 58.

The elder Broeksmit was widely known as the unofficial conscience of Deutsche Bank and a longtime confidant of the company’s chief executive, and his death shocked the financial world. I was a reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s London bureau, and there were rumors that Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide was connected to his work — that he regretted what he’d seen and done. My colleagues and I divvied up the unpleasant task of contacting his family, and I got Val. He was easy to track down: His band, Bikini Robot Army, had a website with his email address.

When I reached him, he was in New York for his father’s funeral, and at first he asked me to leave his family alone. “Everyone is very sad and grieving right now,” he wrote. But before long he was on the phone — angry, slurring his speech, insisting without evidence that he knew why his father had killed himself and that it had nothing to do with Deutsche Bank. Over the next several months, we kept in sporadic touch as Mr. Broeksmit bounced between rehab facilities in Florida and California, trying to beat an opioid addiction and teasing me with provocative messages. (He is open about his struggles with substance abuse.) He would say things like “I think I know what happened” and then never follow up; once, apropos of nothing, he sent a picture of a San Francisco building on fire.

Finally, on a Tuesday in July 2014, he emailed me a single line: “Are you still looking into deutsche?”

The evening after his father died, Mr. Broeksmit had found the passwords to his email accounts. Now, he told me that he had discovered hundreds of messages related to Deutsche Bank. Mr. Broeksmit asked if I could help him sift through and decipher them, and I suggested a list of search terms: things like “subpoena” and “DOJ,” for the Department of Justice.

He soon forwarded an item with a number of those keywords. “Don’t know what it means,” he said. I started skimming: It was a detailed letter to Deutsche Bank from a senior official at the New York arm of the Federal Reserve, who was furious with the bank for its slipshod accounting. Trying to contain my excitement, I asked if I could write about the document. I braced for a negotiation, but all Mr. Broeksmit said was, “That’s cool. Please don’t tell anyone where you’re getting this info.” (He has since released me from that promise.)

Four days later, I published an article describing the Fed’s concerns. The bank’s shares fell 3 percent. Mr. Broeksmit told me he felt empowered by having dented Deutsche’s market value by more than $1 billion.

What makes a person crave the attention of journalists? Consider where Val Broeksmit comes from.

He was born in Ukraine in 1976, and his parents, Alla and Alexander, emigrated to Chicago three years later. Their marriage collapsed; Val and his father landed in a homeless shelter; and in 1982, Cook County took custody of the boy, placing the frightened 6-year-old in a foster home.

Meanwhile, Alla met and married Bill Broeksmit, who was then an up-and-coming banker. They moved to New Jersey and eventually extracted Val, then 9, from the foster care system. Bill adopted him — an angry, impulsive child with a strong anti-authority streak. A caseworker who visited the family noted that he insisted on calling his parents by their first names.

Val’s friends told me that he acted out through his boarding school and college years, compensating for what he described as his parents’ icy detachment. He was the guy trying to keep the party going with a little coke at 3 a.m., cajoling girls to make out with each other, stealing expensive gear from his college’s music department. (Mr. Broeksmit acknowledges all of this.) He wanted to be the center of attention, to prove that he mattered. That’s part of the reason he became a rocker — “It’s less lonely with an audience,” he once told me — but Bikini Robot Army never hit it big. When his father died and Mr. Broeksmit came into possession of his documents, he finally had an opportunity to make the world pay attention.

After his initial leak to me in the summer of 2014, Mr. Broeksmit started seeking out other big stories. Late that year, a group of North Korea-linked hackers, calling themselves the Guardians of Peace, penetrated the computer systems of Sony Pictures. When the hack became public, Mr. Broeksmit followed a bread crumb trail of links until he eventually came across an email address for the hackers.

“I’m interesting in joining your GOP, but I’m afraid my computer skills are sophomoric at best,” Mr. Broeksmit emailed the Guardians of Peace. (Typo his.) “If I can help in any other facility please let me know.” He doubted the hackers would reply, but an email soon arrived with a primer on how to access Sony’s stolen materials. As he waited for the hundreds of gigabytes to download, he sent another email. “Hey, you guys ever thought about going after Deutsche Bank?” he wrote. “Tons of evidence on their servers of worldwide fraud.” The hackers didn’t respond.

Mr. Broeksmit, leaning into his new persona as an exposer of corporate secrets, took to Twitter to post embarrassing Sony files: deliberations over who might direct a remake of “Cleopatra”; Brad Pitt freaking out about the edit of “Fury.” He wasn’t the only one airing Sony’s laundry, but his prolific postings set him apart.

David Boies in New York in July. Mr. Boies was representing Sony when it demanded that Twitter shut down Val Broeksmit’s account.CreditCarlo Allegri/Reuters

David Boies — Sony’s attorney and arguably the most famous lawyer in America — sent Twitter a letter demanding that it shut down Mr. Broeksmit’s account. Another letter, from a Sony executive, warned Mr. Broeksmit that Sony would “hold you responsible for any damage or loss” stemming from the materials he had published. A few days before Christmas, a colleague and I published an article about the huge corporation and its powerful lawyer threatening this random musician.

For the first time, Mr. Broeksmit was in the public spotlight. Soon he was on the Fox Business channel. “It seems like somebody’s trying to make you the fall guy, doesn’t it, Mr. Broeksmit?” an anchor asked. The lesson was clear: The media had ravenous appetites for documents that exposed the guts of giant corporations. It even seemed virtuous to share juicy material. And Mr. Broeksmit had plenty of that.

Spelunking through his Deutsche files, Mr. Broeksmit encountered detailed information about what was going on deep inside the bank. There were minutes of board meetings. Financial plans. Indecipherable spreadsheets. Password-protected presentations. And evidence of his father’s misery.

Here was the elder Broeksmit scolding his colleagues for not taking the Fed’s annual “stress tests” seriously. Here he was, in the months before his suicide, pushing executives to deal with the American division’s alarming staff shortages. Here he was talking to a criminal defense lawyer.

Mr. Broeksmit concluded that all this might help explain why his father had hanged himself. He told his therapist, an addiction specialist named Larry Meltzer, that he was on a quest to understand the suicide. Mr. Meltzer told me that he encouraged the inquiry. He also persuaded Alla Broeksmit to increase her son’s monthly stipend from $300 to $2,500.

Figuring that more information about his father’s death might be lodged in Alla’s email accounts, Mr. Broeksmit consulted some online tutorials and broke into her Gmail. Inside, he found an extraordinary demonstration of corporations’ power to control what the public knows.

In his mother’s inbox was a scan of the elder Broeksmit’s suicide note to Anshu Jain, at the time the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank. It was four sentences, handwritten in black ink on white printer paper.

Anshu,

You were so good to me and I have repaid you with carelessness. I betrayed your trust and hid my horrible nature from you. I can’t even begin to fathom the damage I have done.

I am eternally sorry and condemned.

Bill

Mr. Broeksmit could feel his father’s anguish. It left him in tears — and baffled. Why had his father been sorry? When had he ever been careless? How had he damaged the bank?

Mr. Broeksmit read on. He learned that his father had once looked into the conduct of some Deutsche Bank traders and concluded — mistakenly — that nothing was amiss. It turned out the traders were manipulating a benchmark known as Libor. The elder Broeksmit feared he could become a target of government investigators because he had failed to detect the fraud; spiraling, he consulted his physician and a psychologist.

Those doctors wrote to the coroner investigating Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide. One described the banker as having been “extremely anxious” over the Libor affair. The other added: “He was catastrophising, imagining worst case outcomes including prosecution, loss of his wealth and reputation.”

The coroner, Fiona Wilcox, scheduled a public hearing to discuss her findings. She intended to read aloud from the doctors’ letters. But on the morning of the inquest, at the courthouse, lawyers that Deutsche Bank had hired for the Broeksmit family took her aside and urged her not to do so in order to protect the family’s privacy.

Ms. Wilcox, who declined to comment, acquiesced. Nearly everything about Mr. Broeksmit’s specific anxieties was expunged. Where the psychologist had written that his patient imagined prosecution, the words were crossed out and replaced with “He imagined various issues.” The physician had originally described Mr. Broeksmit’s worry “about going to prison or going bankrupt even though he knew he was innocent. He kept on thinking back over all the thousands of emails he had sent over the years. He knew how lawyers can twist things round.” It was replaced with: “He told me he had been extremely anxious.” All of this — the originals, and the whitewashed version — had been emailed to Alla Broeksmit. Now they were in her son’s hands.

Val Broeksmit in Los Angeles, where he moved to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story.CreditOriana Koren for The New York Times

Mr. Broeksmit’s antics escalated. He fished his mother’s American Express details out of her email and bought laptops, a plane ticket to Paris, rooms in luxury hotels. He told friends he was investigating his father’s death, but I wondered if he just wanted to tell people (and himself) that he was on a noble mission. At one point, Mr. Broeksmit filled out a form on the Justice Department’s website: “I’m writing in hopes of speaking to someone at the DOJ in reference to the evidence I have showing major fraud at one of the world’s largest banks.” He got a note that his message had been passed to the F.B.I.’s New York field office, but no other acknowledgment.

Ms. Broeksmit eventually wised up to her son’s credit card theft, and by the end of 2016, he was running low on cash. (In a brief phone call last year, she told me that Mr. Broeksmit “is completely ostracized from the family.”) Word spread in journalism circles that the son of a dead Deutsche Bank executive had access to revelatory materials. In Rome on New Year’s Eve of 2016, Mr. Broeksmit shared the files with a reporter for the Financial Times, periodically excusing himself to snort 80-milligram hits of OxyContin, and the journalist later connected him with someone willing to pay for the documents. On the third anniversary of his father’s death — Jan. 26, 2017 — $1,000 arrived in his PayPal account.

The money was from Glenn R. Simpson, a former journalist who ran a research company called Fusion GPS. Weeks earlier, it had rocketed to notoriety as the source of the so-called Steele Dossier — a report by a former intelligence agent containing salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. Mr. Simpson was searching for more dirt and, Mr. Broeksmit told me, he agreed to pay $10,000 for the Deutsche materials. (Mr. Simpson declined to be interviewed.)

Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to start searching for specific topics. “Any Russia stuff at all,” he wrote on an encrypted chat program. “Let’s get you here asap.”

They met two days later in the U.S. Virgin Islands and began combing for material on Mr. Trump, Russia and Robert Mercer, a top Trump donor. They didn’t discover bombshells — more like nuggets. One spreadsheet, for example, contained a list of all of the banks that owed money to one of Deutsche Bank’s American subsidiaries on a certain date — a list that included multiple Russian banks that would soon be under United States sanctions.

Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to travel with him to Washington and meet some of his contacts. Mr. Broeksmit shared some of his files with a Senate investigator and — after snorting some heroin — a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The documents found their way to a team of anti-money-laundering agents at the New York Fed. Coincidence or not, a few months later, the Fed fined Deutsche Bank $41 million for violations inside the American unit that Bill Broeksmit had overseen. (A Fed spokesman declined to comment.)

Mr. Broeksmit moved to Los Angeles to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story. Early this year, a producer invited him to a dinner party. Among the guests was Moby, the electronic music legend, who told me he was impressed by Mr. Broeksmit’s exploits and existential sadness. Moby arranged an introduction to his friend Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which had recently opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Schiff’s investigators badly wanted the secret Deutsche files. Mr. Broeksmit tried to extract money from them — he pushed to be hired as a consultant to the committee — but that was a nonstarter. An investigator, Daniel Goldman, appealed to his sense of patriotism and pride. “Imagine a scenario where some of the material that you have can actually provide the seed that we can then use to blow open everything that [Trump] has been hiding,” Mr. Goldman told Mr. Broeksmit in a recorded phone call. “In some respects, you — and your father vicariously through you — will go down in American history as a hero and as the person who really broke open an incredibly corrupt president and administration.” (Mr. Broeksmit wouldn’t budge; eventually, Mr. Schiff subpoenaed him.)

It was around this time that Mr. Broeksmit had his meeting at the F.B.I.’s Los Angeles field office. Someone at the bureau had finally noticed his submission to the Justice Department’s website. After the three-hour session, Mr. Broeksmit still needed some stroking, and the F.B.I. agents obliged. They told Mr. Broeksmit he could have a special advisory title. They promised to keep him in the loop as their investigation proceeded. They let him tell the world — via this article — that he was a cooperating witness in a federal criminal investigation. They even helped procure a visa for his French girlfriend.

I had to tip my hat to Mr. Broeksmit. The man whom everyone had discounted and demeaned had managed to get his information into the hands of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the F.B.I. Even if the documents ultimately prove underwhelming to these powerful investigators, Mr. Broeksmit had accomplished one of his life’s goals: He mattered.

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Me and My Whistle-Blower

One sunny Wednesday in February, a gangly man in a sports jacket and a partly unbuttoned paisley shirt walked into the Los Angeles field office of the F.B.I. At the reception desk, he gave his name — Val Broeksmit — and began to pace anxiously in the lobby.

Mr. Broeksmit couldn’t believe he was voluntarily meeting with the F.B.I. An unemployed rock musician with a history of opioid abuse and credit card theft, not to mention a dalliance with North Korea-linked hackers, he was accustomed to shunning if not fearing law enforcement. But two investigators had flown from the bureau’s New York office specifically to speak with him, and Mr. Broeksmit had found their invitation too seductive to resist. Now the agents arrived in the lobby and escorted him upstairs.

They wanted to talk about Deutsche Bank — one of the world’s largest and most troubled financial institutions, and the bank of choice to the president of the United States. Mr. Broeksmit’s late father, Bill, had been a senior executive there, and his son possessed a cache of confidential bank documents that provided a tantalizing glimpse of its internal workings. Some of the documents were password-protected, and there was no telling what secrets they held or how explosive they could be.

Federal and state authorities were swarming around Deutsche Bank. Some of the scrutiny centered on the lender’s two-decade relationship with President Trump and his family. Other areas of focus grew out of Deutsche Bank’s long history of criminal misconduct: manipulating markets, evading taxes, bribing foreign officials, violating international sanctions, defrauding customers, laundering money for Russian billionaires.

In a windowless conference room, one of the agents pressed Mr. Broeksmit, 43, to hand over his files. “You’re holding documents that only people within the inner circle of Deutsche would ever see,” he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157663062_41bacd08-1113-4095-ba88-47b844b59e00-articleLarge Me and My Whistle-Blower Whistle-Blowers Trump, Donald J Sony Pictures Entertainment Sony Corporation Simpson, Glenn R Schiff, Adam B Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Politics and Government North Korea News and News Media New York Times Money Laundering Justice Department Guardians of Peace Fusion GPS Federal Bureau of Investigation Deutsche Bank AG Cyberattacks and Hackers Boies, David Banking and Financial Institutions

The United States headquarters of Deutsche Bank in New York.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times

“Clearly, things went on in Deutsche Bank which weren’t kosher,” added the second agent. “What we’re up against is, all those bad acts are being pushed down on the little people on the bottom.”

“The low-hanging fruit,” said the first agent.

“And the larger bank in its entirety is claiming ignorance and that it’s one bad player,” said his partner. “But we know what we’ve seen. It’s a culture of just — ”

“Fraud and dirt,” Mr. Broeksmit interjected. Already, he was warming to the idea of having a cameo in a high-stakes F.B.I. investigation. He spent the next three hours vaping, munching on raspberry-flavored fig bars and telling his story, entranced by the idea of helping the investigators go after executives high up the Deutsche Bank food chain. (Deutsche Bank has said it is cooperating with authorities in a number of investigations.)

When he finally emerged from the Los Angeles field office, Mr. Broeksmit got into a Lyft and called me. His adrenaline, I could tell, was still pumping; he was talking so fast he had to stop to catch his breath.

“I am more emotionally invested in this than anyone in the world,” he said. “I would love to be their special informer.”

Here’s the thing about whistle-blowers: They tend to be flawed messengers. Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden — each of them was dismissed as selfish, damaged, reckless and crazy. Yet all of them, regardless of motivation, used secret documents to change the course of history.

For more than five years, Val Broeksmit has been dangling his Deutsche Bank files in front of journalists and government investigators, dreaming of becoming the next great American whistle-blower. He wants to expose what he sees as corporate wrongdoing, give some meaning to his father’s death — and maybe get famous along the way. Inside newsrooms and investigative bodies around the world, Mr. Broeksmit’s documents have become something of an open secret, and so are the psychological strings that come attached. I pulled them more than anyone, as part of my reporting on Deutsche Bank for The New York Times and for a book, “Dark Towers,” to be published next year. It has been the most intense source relationship of my career.

An endless procession of bank executives and friends of the Broeksmit family have warned me that Mr. Broeksmit is not to be trusted, and, well, they might have a point. His drug use has sent him reeling between manias and stupors. He has a maddening habit of leaping to outrageous conclusions and then bending facts to fit far-fetched theories. He fantasizes about seeing his story told by Hollywood, and I sometimes wonder whether he’s manipulating me to achieve that ambition. He can be impatient, erratic and abusive. A few days ago, irate that he was not named in a blurb for my book on Amazon, among other perceived slights, he sent me a string of texts claiming that he’d taken out a brokerage account in my name and traded on secret information I’d supposedly fed him. (This is not true.) A little later, he left me a voice mail message saying it was all a joke.

Why do I put up with this? Because his trove of corporate emails, financial materials, boardroom presentations and legal reports is credible — even if he is not. (In this article, every detail not directly attributed to Mr. Broeksmit has been corroborated by documents, recordings or an independent source.) Besides, there’s something uncanny about how Mr. Broeksmit’s fearlessness and addiction to drama have led him, again and again, to the center of the news. In addition to Deutsche Bank’s troubles, he has figured into North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures, the collapse of the world’s oldest bank and the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Mr. Trump.

We might wish our whistle-blowers were stoic, unimpeachable do-gooders. In reality, to let you in on a journalistic secret, they’re often more like Val Broeksmit.

Val Broeksmit with his father at Wimbledon in 2013.CreditVal Broeksmit

On a drizzly Sunday in London in January 2014, Bill Broeksmit cinched his dog’s red leash around his neck, slung it over a door and lunged forward. He was 58.

The elder Broeksmit was widely known as the unofficial conscience of Deutsche Bank and a longtime confidant of the company’s chief executive, and his death shocked the financial world. I was a reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s London bureau, and there were rumors that Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide was connected to his work — that he regretted what he’d seen and done. My colleagues and I divvied up the unpleasant task of contacting his family, and I got Val. He was easy to track down: His band, Bikini Robot Army, had a website with his email address.

When I reached him, he was in New York for his father’s funeral, and at first he asked me to leave his family alone. “Everyone is very sad and grieving right now,” he wrote. But before long he was on the phone — angry, slurring his speech, insisting without evidence that he knew why his father had killed himself and that it had nothing to do with Deutsche Bank. Over the next several months, we kept in sporadic touch as Mr. Broeksmit bounced between rehab facilities in Florida and California, trying to beat an opioid addiction and teasing me with provocative messages. (He is open about his struggles with substance abuse.) He would say things like “I think I know what happened” and then never follow up; once, apropos of nothing, he sent a picture of a San Francisco building on fire.

Finally, on a Tuesday in July 2014, he emailed me a single line: “Are you still looking into deutsche?”

The evening after his father died, Mr. Broeksmit had found the passwords to his email accounts. Now, he told me that he had discovered hundreds of messages related to Deutsche Bank. Mr. Broeksmit asked if I could help him sift through and decipher them, and I suggested a list of search terms: things like “subpoena” and “DOJ,” for the Department of Justice.

He soon forwarded an item with a number of those keywords. “Don’t know what it means,” he said. I started skimming: It was a detailed letter to Deutsche Bank from a senior official at the New York arm of the Federal Reserve, who was furious with the bank for its slipshod accounting. Trying to contain my excitement, I asked if I could write about the document. I braced for a negotiation, but all Mr. Broeksmit said was, “That’s cool. Please don’t tell anyone where you’re getting this info.” (He has since released me from that promise.)

Four days later, I published an article describing the Fed’s concerns. The bank’s shares fell 3 percent. Mr. Broeksmit told me he felt empowered by having dented Deutsche’s market value by more than $1 billion.

What makes a person crave the attention of journalists? Consider where Val Broeksmit comes from.

He was born in Ukraine in 1976, and his parents, Alla and Alexander, emigrated to Chicago three years later. Their marriage collapsed; Val and his father landed in a homeless shelter; and in 1982, Cook County took custody of the boy, placing the frightened 6-year-old in a foster home.

Meanwhile, Alla met and married Bill Broeksmit, who was then an up-and-coming banker. They moved to New Jersey and eventually extracted Val, then 9, from the foster care system. Bill adopted him — an angry, impulsive child with a strong anti-authority streak. A caseworker who visited the family noted that he insisted on calling his parents by their first names.

Val’s friends told me that he acted out through his boarding school and college years, compensating for what he described as his parents’ icy detachment. He was the guy trying to keep the party going with a little coke at 3 a.m., cajoling girls to make out with each other, stealing expensive gear from his college’s music department. (Mr. Broeksmit acknowledges all of this.) He wanted to be the center of attention, to prove that he mattered. That’s part of the reason he became a rocker — “It’s less lonely with an audience,” he once told me — but Bikini Robot Army never hit it big. When his father died and Mr. Broeksmit came into possession of his documents, he finally had an opportunity to make the world pay attention.

After his initial leak to me in the summer of 2014, Mr. Broeksmit started seeking out other big stories. Late that year, a group of North Korea-linked hackers, calling themselves the Guardians of Peace, penetrated the computer systems of Sony Pictures. When the hack became public, Mr. Broeksmit followed a bread crumb trail of links until he eventually came across an email address for the hackers.

“I’m interesting in joining your GOP, but I’m afraid my computer skills are sophomoric at best,” Mr. Broeksmit emailed the Guardians of Peace. (Typo his.) “If I can help in any other facility please let me know.” He doubted the hackers would reply, but an email soon arrived with a primer on how to access Sony’s stolen materials. As he waited for the hundreds of gigabytes to download, he sent another email. “Hey, you guys ever thought about going after Deutsche Bank?” he wrote. “Tons of evidence on their servers of worldwide fraud.” The hackers didn’t respond.

Mr. Broeksmit, leaning into his new persona as an exposer of corporate secrets, took to Twitter to post embarrassing Sony files: deliberations over who might direct a remake of “Cleopatra”; Brad Pitt freaking out about the edit of “Fury.” He wasn’t the only one airing Sony’s laundry, but his prolific postings set him apart.

David Boies in New York in July. Mr. Boies was representing Sony when it demanded that Twitter shut down Val Broeksmit’s account.CreditCarlo Allegri/Reuters

David Boies — Sony’s attorney and arguably the most famous lawyer in America — sent Twitter a letter demanding that it shut down Mr. Broeksmit’s account. Another letter, from a Sony executive, warned Mr. Broeksmit that Sony would “hold you responsible for any damage or loss” stemming from the materials he had published. A few days before Christmas, a colleague and I published an article about the huge corporation and its powerful lawyer threatening this random musician.

For the first time, Mr. Broeksmit was in the public spotlight. Soon he was on the Fox Business channel. “It seems like somebody’s trying to make you the fall guy, doesn’t it, Mr. Broeksmit?” an anchor asked. The lesson was clear: The media had ravenous appetites for documents that exposed the guts of giant corporations. It even seemed virtuous to share juicy material. And Mr. Broeksmit had plenty of that.

Spelunking through his Deutsche files, Mr. Broeksmit encountered detailed information about what was going on deep inside the bank. There were minutes of board meetings. Financial plans. Indecipherable spreadsheets. Password-protected presentations. And evidence of his father’s misery.

Here was the elder Broeksmit scolding his colleagues for not taking the Fed’s annual “stress tests” seriously. Here he was, in the months before his suicide, pushing executives to deal with the American division’s alarming staff shortages. Here he was talking to a criminal defense lawyer.

Mr. Broeksmit concluded that all this might help explain why his father had hanged himself. He told his therapist, an addiction specialist named Larry Meltzer, that he was on a quest to understand the suicide. Mr. Meltzer told me that he encouraged the inquiry. He also persuaded Alla Broeksmit to increase her son’s monthly stipend from $300 to $2,500.

Figuring that more information about his father’s death might be lodged in Alla’s email accounts, Mr. Broeksmit consulted some online tutorials and broke into her Gmail. Inside, he found an extraordinary demonstration of corporations’ power to control what the public knows.

In his mother’s inbox was a scan of the elder Broeksmit’s suicide note to Anshu Jain, at the time the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank. It was four sentences, handwritten in black ink on white printer paper.

Anshu,

You were so good to me and I have repaid you with carelessness. I betrayed your trust and hid my horrible nature from you. I can’t even begin to fathom the damage I have done.

I am eternally sorry and condemned.

Bill

Mr. Broeksmit could feel his father’s anguish. It left him in tears — and baffled. Why had his father been sorry? When had he ever been careless? How had he damaged the bank?

Mr. Broeksmit read on. He learned that his father had once looked into the conduct of some Deutsche Bank traders and concluded — mistakenly — that nothing was amiss. It turned out the traders were manipulating a benchmark known as Libor. The elder Broeksmit feared he could become a target of government investigators because he had failed to detect the fraud; spiraling, he consulted his physician and a psychologist.

Those doctors wrote to the coroner investigating Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide. One described the banker as having been “extremely anxious” over the Libor affair. The other added: “He was catastrophising, imagining worst case outcomes including prosecution, loss of his wealth and reputation.”

The coroner, Fiona Wilcox, scheduled a public hearing to discuss her findings. She intended to read aloud from the doctors’ letters. But on the morning of the inquest, at the courthouse, lawyers that Deutsche Bank had hired for the Broeksmit family took her aside and urged her not to do so in order to protect the family’s privacy.

Ms. Wilcox, who declined to comment, acquiesced. Nearly everything about Mr. Broeksmit’s specific anxieties was expunged. Where the psychologist had written that his patient imagined prosecution, the words were crossed out and replaced with “He imagined various issues.” The physician had originally described Mr. Broeksmit’s worry “about going to prison or going bankrupt even though he knew he was innocent. He kept on thinking back over all the thousands of emails he had sent over the years. He knew how lawyers can twist things round.” It was replaced with: “He told me he had been extremely anxious.” All of this — the originals, and the whitewashed version — had been emailed to Alla Broeksmit. Now they were in her son’s hands.

Val Broeksmit in Los Angeles, where he moved to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story.CreditOriana Koren for The New York Times

Mr. Broeksmit’s antics escalated. He fished his mother’s American Express details out of her email and bought laptops, a plane ticket to Paris, rooms in luxury hotels. He told friends he was investigating his father’s death, but I wondered if he just wanted to tell people (and himself) that he was on a noble mission. At one point, Mr. Broeksmit filled out a form on the Justice Department’s website: “I’m writing in hopes of speaking to someone at the DOJ in reference to the evidence I have showing major fraud at one of the world’s largest banks.” He got a note that his message had been passed to the F.B.I.’s New York field office, but no other acknowledgment.

Ms. Broeksmit eventually wised up to her son’s credit card theft, and by the end of 2016, he was running low on cash. (In a brief phone call last year, she told me that Mr. Broeksmit “is completely ostracized from the family.”) Word spread in journalism circles that the son of a dead Deutsche Bank executive had access to revelatory materials. In Rome on New Year’s Eve of 2016, Mr. Broeksmit shared the files with a reporter for the Financial Times, periodically excusing himself to snort 80-milligram hits of OxyContin, and the journalist later connected him with someone willing to pay for the documents. On the third anniversary of his father’s death — Jan. 26, 2017 — $1,000 arrived in his PayPal account.

The money was from Glenn R. Simpson, a former journalist who ran a research company called Fusion GPS. Weeks earlier, it had rocketed to notoriety as the source of the so-called Steele Dossier — a report by a former intelligence agent containing salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. Mr. Simpson was searching for more dirt and, Mr. Broeksmit told me, he agreed to pay $10,000 for the Deutsche materials. (Mr. Simpson declined to be interviewed.)

Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to start searching for specific topics. “Any Russia stuff at all,” he wrote on an encrypted chat program. “Let’s get you here asap.”

They met two days later in the U.S. Virgin Islands and began combing for material on Mr. Trump, Russia and Robert Mercer, a top Trump donor. They didn’t discover bombshells — more like nuggets. One spreadsheet, for example, contained a list of all of the banks that owed money to one of Deutsche Bank’s American subsidiaries on a certain date — a list that included multiple Russian banks that would soon be under United States sanctions.

Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to travel with him to Washington and meet some of his contacts. Mr. Broeksmit shared some of his files with a Senate investigator and — after snorting some heroin — a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The documents found their way to a team of anti-money-laundering agents at the New York Fed. Coincidence or not, a few months later, the Fed fined Deutsche Bank $41 million for violations inside the American unit that Bill Broeksmit had overseen. (A Fed spokesman declined to comment.)

Mr. Broeksmit moved to Los Angeles to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story. Early this year, a producer invited him to a dinner party. Among the guests was Moby, the electronic music legend, who told me he was impressed by Mr. Broeksmit’s exploits and existential sadness. Moby arranged an introduction to his friend Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which had recently opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Schiff’s investigators badly wanted the secret Deutsche files. Mr. Broeksmit tried to extract money from them — he pushed to be hired as a consultant to the committee — but that was a nonstarter. An investigator, Daniel Goldman, appealed to his sense of patriotism and pride. “Imagine a scenario where some of the material that you have can actually provide the seed that we can then use to blow open everything that [Trump] has been hiding,” Mr. Goldman told Mr. Broeksmit in a recorded phone call. “In some respects, you — and your father vicariously through you — will go down in American history as a hero and as the person who really broke open an incredibly corrupt president and administration.” (Mr. Broeksmit wouldn’t budge; eventually, Mr. Schiff subpoenaed him.)

It was around this time that Mr. Broeksmit had his meeting at the F.B.I.’s Los Angeles field office. Someone at the bureau had finally noticed his submission to the Justice Department’s website. After the three-hour session, Mr. Broeksmit still needed some stroking, and the F.B.I. agents obliged. They told Mr. Broeksmit he could have a special advisory title. They promised to keep him in the loop as their investigation proceeded. They let him tell the world — via this article — that he was a cooperating witness in a federal criminal investigation. They even helped procure a visa for his French girlfriend.

I had to tip my hat to Mr. Broeksmit. The man whom everyone had discounted and demeaned had managed to get his information into the hands of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the F.B.I. Even if the documents ultimately prove underwhelming to these powerful investigators, Mr. Broeksmit had accomplished one of his life’s goals: He mattered.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

War and peace – with Iran, Trump-style

For Donald Trump, politics is personal.  Hence his G7 invitation to Vladimir Putin; his meeting with Kim Jong Un; even his take on Boris Johnson, which was as follows: “They’re saying Britain Trump. They call him Britain Trump. People are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there, that’s what they wanted. That’s what they need.”

Which is not to say that he has no consistent policies at all.  He does: or rather, perhaps, he has attitudes, prejudices, reflexes.  One of these is to keep the United States out of wars abroad, or at least conflicts in which ground troops are committed: America First has succeeded neo-conservatism.

This isn’t to say that Trump won’t take military action abroad – he will.  But it tends to be undertaken either through proxies, as against ISIS, or via ordnance: consider his deployment of a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb in Afghanistan two years ago.  Theodore Roosevelt summed up his foreign policy as: “Speak softly but carry a big stick”.  Trump’s is: “Do diplomacy via Twitter, and carry the mother of all bombs”.

Iran is being hit hard by sanctions, and will be watching Trump closely.  On the one hand, it has seen him tear up Barack Obama’s nuclear deal and turn the sanctions screw.  On the other, it will have watched him declare that he has “good feelings” about a possible successor deal of his own, and there has been talk of a Jong-On type summit with Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President.  After all, Trump sees himself as master of the Art of the Deal.

Furthermore, he has recently sacked John Bolton, a veteran of the neo-con years, who the President brought back as his National Security Adviser.  Trump came to distrust Bolton’s martial approach to Iran (and elsewhere).  In June, he backed off an airstrike against Iran as “not proportionate”, having been told that it would leave 150 dead, after declaring that America was “cocked and loaded for action”.

Iran’s asymetric drone attack against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia should be viewed against the context of this background.  Power in the country is peculiarly distributed: it is very for outsiders to work out exactly how much power is held by Rouhani; by Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader; by the Majlis, military, clergy or the Revolutionary Guard at any one time.

The consensus at present is that the last is in the driving seat.  The attack may have been intended to help head off an American-Iranian rapprochment, complete with Trump-Rouhani summit; or it may actually have been crafted to help achieve the opposite, by reminding America of the consequences of war in the Gulf – including a destabilising rise in the oil price.  Or the truth may lie in between; there is no way of knowing.

All we can be sure of is that those sanctions are indeed hurting, that America has been turning the screw, and that Iran is striking out – whether through detaining western citizens or seizing British ships.  Trump is stepping back and letting the Saudis decide the scale of response to this latest Iranian ploy, or so it seems.

The President will be damned for whatever he does.  If America intervenes directly, he will be denounced as a warmonger; if he makes diplomatic overtures to Tehran, he will be condemned as an appeaser.  If he pursues his present course, he will be damned as a hands-off President who is prepared to let the region burn.

You may be alarmed by Trump conducting foreign policy by Twitter, deplore the frequency of his Apprentice-style firings, and worry about the intertwining of personal and political.  But there has been a queer core of prudence, even restraint, in the President’s foreign policy to date.  When it comes to his next steps on Iran, almost anything could happen.

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Trump Wants Big Diplomatic Wins. Here Are the Odds.

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton has left the Situation Room, and President Trump is left at the table with a giant set of chips set on hot spots around the world.

In Mr. Trump’s view, the clock is ticking: He needs some big victories between now and the election in November 2020. But he also wants to prove that his idiosyncratic approach to foreign policy — as a series of deals rather than a philosophy of how American hard and soft power is deployed — can produce results that have eluded Washington’s foreign policy establishment for a decade or more.

Here’s a look at six issues on the table.

Ask Mr. Trump about his negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and he will tell you he is already winning: He was the first American president to meet a North Korean leader — three times now — and the first to step, briefly, into North Korean territory. He has gotten back the remains of American soldiers and won a pause, which has lasted nearly two years, in nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It all led Mr. Trump to declare on Twitter, after his first meeting with Mr. Kim in Singapore, that North Korea was “no longer a Nuclear Threat.”

The only problem is that the North’s nuclear ability has increased since that meeting, by some estimates significantly. Intelligence estimates indicate that the North’s stockpile of fuel has swelled, and so has its missile arsenal. Short-range missile tests have improved Mr. Kim’s ability to strike American bases in South Korea and Japan with a new generation of weapons intended to avoid missile defenses. And the North hasn’t turned over a list of its weapons, missiles and facilities, which was supposed to be the first step.

Mr. Trump remains convinced that Mr. Kim will be impressed by the prospect of new hotels on the (heavily mined) beaches of North Korea’s east coast. The whole country, he notes, is a great property, with easy access to China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. The only issue is whether he can persuade his new friend to give up the weapons that, in the North Korean leader’s view, have kept him in office. That may mean settling with partial steps — starting with a nuclear freeze — on the way to a bigger deal that may or may not happen.

Prospects for a win: Next to none, unless Mr. Trump changes the goals. It is more likely he will agree to incremental reductions and call it a victory.


ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160210131_b9fd2d00-0986-4f9a-b012-dc2a82d262e3-articleLarge Trump Wants Big Diplomatic Wins. Here Are the Odds. Xi Jinping United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Putin, Vladimir V Nuclear Weapons North Korea Middle East Kim Jong-un Iran General Assembly (UN) Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R Afghanistan

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear technology organization, in April.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

To the Trump administration, there is no more existential threat than Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sees it as the source of virtually all trouble in the Middle East, and Mr. Trump kept insisting to a series of aides that the only way to get a good deal with Iran was to destroy the 2015 nuclear agreement, which he dismissed as “terrible” and a giveaway because it did not forever ban Iran from making nuclear fuel.

Mr. Bolton, who before joining the administration was an advocate of American-led regime change in Iran, was an enthusiast of the “maximum pressure” campaign. And indeed it has been more successful than most experts expected. Iran’s oil revenues have plunged, its economy is shrinking and some of its elites are beginning to wonder whether it’s time to acknowledge the inevitable, which is to negotiate with a president they can’t stand.

All eyes are on the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in 10 days. Mr. Trump and even Mr. Pompeo have said they are ready to negotiate without preconditions, and could meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran.

“I do believe they would like to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “If they do, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s great, too.”

He insisted the goal remained the same. “They never will have a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If they are thinking about enrichment, they can forget about it.”

The wild card here is Mr. Rouhani because he is unwilling to meet until sanctions are lifted, or so he says.

Prospects for a win: Not bad. The Iranians have a long history of changing their minds and negotiating when there are no other options. And unlike North Korea, they have no nuclear weapons, so they have less to give up.


Every time Mr. Trump goes to Camp David, he sees pictures of Jimmy Carter, whose cabin-to-cabin diplomacy in 1978 brought peace between Israel and Egypt. Some aides think that inspired Mr. Trump to invite the Taliban — who gave haven to Al Qaeda to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — to the presidential retreat. Mr. Bolton’s argument that this was a crazy idea precipitated this week’s rupture.

But it’s hardly over. The “peace deal” Mr. Trump is touting isn’t the Camp David accords. It would call for a “reduction in violence” and the beginning of a dialogue about power sharing between the Taliban and the American-backed Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani. Few think it will lead to true peace. But it may be enough to give Mr. Trump the chance to significantly reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

Prospects for a win: Fairly high. The only people who want American troops out more than Mr. Trump are the Taliban.


President Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 summit this year in Osaka, Japan.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Trump miscalculated when it came to challenging President Xi Jinping of China: He thought Mr. Xi would fold as tariffs took their toll. So far, Mr. Xi has not folded, and market jitters are a reflection of the fear that the world’s two largest economies could tank simultaneously.

The bigger problem facing the Trump administration is that after nearly 32 months in office, it has no integrated China strategy.

Mr. Pompeo and many in the military establishment view Mr. Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, as determined to spread the country’s influence through Africa, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe — and to use its technology, led by Huawei-produced networks, to exercise control. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other members of the economics team are convinced that Mr. Xi, in the end, will take the best economic deal he can.

And Mr. Trump, forever seeking flexibility, gyrates between these two posts, sometimes declaring China’s progress on 5G networks, artificial intelligence and quantum computing a national security threat, and at other times suggesting that supplying those efforts is up for negotiation.

Prospects for a win: Poor. Mr. Xi is playing a long game, and Mr. Trump is playing for November 2020.


The president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have taken two years to study Middle East peace — “the deal of the century,” Mr. Trump called it — and when they revealed the first part of the plan, it was all about getting wealthy Arab states, among others, to invest tens of billions of dollars in the Palestinian territories, as well as in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

But key decision makers avoided the conference, and with Israel in the midst of its own campaign season, the political side of the plan won’t be released until after the election — if then. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pre-empted the whole proposal this week with his pre-election promise to annex nearly a third of the occupied West Bank — reducing any future Palestinian state to an enclave encircled by Israel.

Prospects for a win: On life support. No evidence supports the idea that Mr. Kushner will succeed where others have failed.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this month. Mr. Trump pushed for Russia to be allowed back into the Group of 7, despite the country’s annexation of Crimea.CreditMikhail Klimentyev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Alone among his foreign policy advisers, Mr. Trump believes the key to dealing with Russia is reintegration, letting the country back into the Group of 7, forgiving (or ignoring) its annexation of Crimea and never mentioning its effort to influence the 2016 election, a charge he has dismissed as a “hoax.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is gearing up for a fundamental shift in policy in which Russia and China are regarded as “revisionist” states that must be challenged. And the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency say they are constantly creating plans to counter Russian malign influence in the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump argues “there is no reason for this,” and says that with a little help to the Russian economy, President Vladimir V. Putin would be a lot easier to deal with. With Mr. Bolton gone, Mr. Trump may well try to negotiate an extension to the New START treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement between the United States and Russia.

But when it comes to lifting sanctions, Mr. Trump has run into a brick wall with his own party, whose leaders say they have no intention of reversing decades of hawkish views on containment.

Prospects for a win: Mr. Trump is not playing poker here — he’s playing solitaire. The only possible victory is an arms control treaty extension.

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Trump Tells Reporters Bolton Was A ‘Disaster’ On North Korea And ‘Out Of Line’ On Venezuela

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President Donald Trump told reporters gathered at the White House Wednesday that now-ousted National Security Adviser John Bolton was a ‘disaster’ on policy related to North Korea, stepped out of line when it came to Venezuela, and had trouble getting along with other administration officials Trump considered invaluable.

Trump was particularly annoyed with Bolton for offending Kim Jong Un with a suggestion that the North Korean leader follow a “Libyan model” of negotiation by turning over his nukes.

“We were set back very badly when John Bolton talked about the Libyan model … what a disaster,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“He’s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that.”

Trump also expressed frustration with the fact that Nicolas Maduro continues to hold on in Venezuela and wasn’t responding to the sanctions and pressure strategy the U.S. was employing. Bolton was said to be a major purveyor of that strategy.

Bolton was also said to be a hard liner when it came to Iran and some reports are indicating Trump is “flirting” with lifting sanctions on Iran or backing a French plan to pay them to come back into compliance with the Obama-era nuclear deal.

The post Trump Tells Reporters Bolton Was A ‘Disaster’ On North Korea And ‘Out Of Line’ On Venezuela appeared first on RedState.

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Ben Roback: A lesson from Bolton’s departure. With this President, it’s personality, not policy, that counts – his own.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-09-11-at-11.15.35 Ben Roback: A lesson from Bolton’s departure. With this President, it’s personality, not policy, that counts – his own. Tracking Trump North Korea john bolton Iran International Dr Richard Haass donald trump America Afghanistan

As the yellow Sky News ticker flashed up yesterday announcing John Bolton’s departure from the White House, a colleague said something that seemed remarkable: “Donald Trump hasn’t made news in ages”.

t wasn’t a reflection of a period of relative calm in the United States – far from it – but more of a recognition that our own parliamentary shenanigans have overtaken the political theatre usually dominated by Trump. Not that we’re keeping scores, but at least the political chicanery in Westminster has been driven by politics and technical process. In Washington, President Trump caused controversy when he changed the forecast of a hurricane’s impact with a black sharpie (see above)

Bolton’s firing should not have come as a surprise. Trump was reportedly furious with him after he disapproved of the White House’s plans to host the Taliban for peace talks at Camp David. So Trump took to Twitter – naturally – to announce that he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration”.

It has not even been 24 hours since the Bolton departure was announced, but already plenty of ink has been spilled analysing ‘what this means for X’. In truth, it is difficult to assess the implications of Bolton’s departure on US foreign policy. The Times of Israel’s analysis of what the departure means for the country, whilst excellent, begins by saying: ‘while a major change in US policy doesn’t appear to be in the offing’ – reflecting the fact that a change in personnel in this White House does not always result in a significant swing in policy.

Instead, Bolton’s leaving is yet another chapter in the never-ending book of who’s up and who’s down in Trump’s inner circle. It further proves that, when faced with honest disagreement, the President relies on his own self-belief and opinions at the expense of any notion of loyalty or challenge.

From a policy perspective, Bolton was a hawkish foreign policy adviser whose appointment came as a surprise, given his divergence with Trump on the role of the USA on the global stage. It was never clear how Bolton’s gung-ho interventionist approach would play during this ‘America First’ presidency. Bolton pursued a deeply hard-line agenda on Venezuela, North Korea and – most notably – Iran.

In the past he had called for the bombing of the country, hence Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President, responding to the news by saying the US should put “warmongers aside”. But having pulled out of the Iran deal last year and significantly ratcheted up pressure on Iran with Bolton by his side, there is no suggestion Trump will now preside over a cooling of tensions in the region, even without the advice of Bolton.

Instead, we are more likely to see the president double down on his deeply personal approach to foreign policy. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former adviser to Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, described how “the president has unlimited and totally misplaced confidence in summitry and in the power of his personality”.

On high stakes relations with the likes of North Korea, Iran, China and Afghanistan, there will be one less dissenting voice urging the President to put his faith in his negotiating teams as opposed to his own personal relationships with presidents, prime ministers and dictators.

Foreign and defence policy have been the areas with the most churn when it comes to personnel during Trump’s tenure. There is no sign of this stopping any time soon. Trump will announce a new National Security Adviser in the next week, becoming the first president to have four such advisers in his first term. With the presidential election not taking place until November 2020, your columnist bets he will become the first president to have a fifth and sixth too.

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