Monday, January 8, 2018

Mandalay Bay Admits Staff Visited Paddock’s Room 10 TIMES Before Shooting—Noticed Nothing

By Rachel Blevins

Three months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, yet another crucial change in the narrative has occurred as MGM Resorts International is now claiming that the hotel staff at Mandalay Bay had at least 10 interactions with suspect Stephen Paddock in the days before the shooting.
At least two of those interactions occurred on Oct. 1, the day that Paddock is alleged to have killed 58 people and injured more than 500 by launching a shooting spree out of his hotel room window on the 32nd floor. A spokesperson for MGM told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that the interactions on that fatal day consisted of a room service delivery and a visit from housekeeping:
Mandalay Bay staff, room service and housekeeping had contact with Paddock or entered his suite more than 10 times over the course of his stay, including the three days leading up to October 1. There were numerous interactions with Stephen Paddock every day at the resort, including a room service delivery and a call with housekeeping on October 1, all of which were normal in nature.
Following the shooting, reports claimed that Paddock’s arsenal consisted of 47 guns—23 of which were found in his hotel room—along with more than 50 pounds of exploding targets and 1,600 rounds of ammunition.
While the hotel’s surveillance footage from the days leading up to the shooting has yet to be released, one of the most pressing questions surrounding the massacre is how Paddock was able to transport all of the weapons and supplies to his hotel room without raising any red flags.
During an interview with Fox News Sunday one week after the shooting, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, suggested that Paddock may have escaped public attention by taking the service elevator, a perk typically given to “high rollers.”
“You’d never stop a man like this (Paddock) from coming in the building,” Wynn said. “Howevernobody in this company’s history, no public person, has ever walked in the service elevator unless they were accompanied by security. Uh, that wouldn’t happen.”
At the time, Wynn was also critical of Mandalay Bay for failing to make contact with Paddock for two or three days, with the assumption being that he put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door of his room during his stay.
“The scenario that we are aware of would have indicated that he didn’t let anyone in the room for two or three days. That would have triggered a whole bunch of alarms here,” Wynn said.
The latest change in the timeline is significant because it implies that hotel staff were in Paddock’s room at least twice on the day of the shooting, and did not notice anything out of the ordinary about his luggage or his behavior.

If she noticed "nothing out of the ordinary", then this scene was staged.
While Wynn claimed that the scenario he was aware of involved Paddock using a “Do Not Disturb” sign for up to three days, the spokesperson for MGM claimed that if Paddock had done this, it would have required the hotel staff to conduct a welfare check.
“All MGM Resorts properties follow a health and welfare check operating procedure that stipulates a welfare check be performed after two consecutive days where a do-not-disturb sign has been displayed on the door and the guest has not interacted in-person or by phone with housekeeping or other hotel staff over the same period,” the spokesperson said.
Craig Eiland, an attorney for a number of victims from the shooting, noted that MGM Grand claims to have a “corporate watch center” that trains its employees to report any suspicious activity. So if a guest arrived at Mandalay Bay Hotel with two dozen rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition stored in 10 bags, why didn’t the employees who helped him, or the cleaning service who visited his room regularly, report suspicious activity? And if they did, why wasn’t it addressed?
I do think that after 30 days, we ought to be having more information than we have right now. For example, we know bits and pieces. We know that he arrived with 10 bags. We know that two bellmen helped him carry those bags up. Then we find out that those 10 bags had guns in them and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. We know that MGM claims to have an ‘If you see something, say something’ policy—and you’re telling us that nobody saw those guns over a 5-day period? No maid, no housekeeping, no food service ever saw any of the guns? Nobody saw him using power drills in the hallway? Nobody saw him setting up security cameras? These are all things that need to be answered.

However, the statement from MGM Resorts International concluded that despite having at least 10 interactions with Paddock in the days leading up to the shooting, the hotel staff believed that “there was no need to conduct a welfare check.”
As The Free Thought Project has reported, the narrative of the shooting has changed multiple times. From the facts surrounding whether an officer discharged his weapon upon entering Paddock’s room, to the presence of police and security guards when the shooting began, the official story has been riddled with inconsistencies.
Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

Trump's Foreign Policy: Not "America First" but "Israel First"

What Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” says about Trump’s collusion with Israel

Russia-obsessed US politicians and pundits remain curiously incurious about evidence of Trump’s collusion with Israel. (via Facebook)
Since Donald Trump excommunicated Steve Bannon over comments he made in Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, American media have spoken of little else.

The president declared that his former strategist and the boss of far-right Breitbart News had “lost his mind” for saying that a meeting Donald Trump Jr. and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner held with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election campaign was “treasonous.”

The row has given new life to the dubious, unproven and often spectacularly false media-driven claims of “hacking” and “collusion” between Russia and Trump to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

Yet hollow as it has turned out to be, “Russiagate” remains the central narrative of the self-styled Democratic and liberal “resistance.”

Pushing Netanyahu’s agenda

However, the special counsel probe by Robert Mueller has indeed uncovered some collusion between the Trump team and a foreign power: Israel.

In a plea agreement last month for making false statements to the FBI, Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn admitted that he had contacted foreign governments during the final weeks of the Obama administration to try to derail a UN vote condemning Israeli settlements.

This possibly illegal effort to undermine the policy of the sitting administration was done at the direction of Kushner and at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yet mainstream pundits have shown little concern, just as they have shown little interest in any further revelations about what we might well call Israelgate coming out of the Wolff book.

As the book’s publication was brought forward amid the media frenzy, I decided to take a look.

It turns out that Fire and Fury contains evidence that Trump’s policy is not so much America First as it is Israel First.

Wolff recounts an early January 2017 dinner in New York where Bannon and disgraced former Fox News boss Roger Ailes discussed cabinet picks.

Bannon observed that they did not have a “deep bench,” but both men agreed the extremely pro-Israel neocon John Bolton would be a good pick for national security adviser. “He’s a bomb thrower,” Ailes said of Bolton, “and a strange little fucker. But you need him. Who else is good on Israel?”

“Day one we’re moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all in,” Bannon said, adding that anti-Palestinian casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson was on board too.

“Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying,” Bannon proposed. “The Saudis are on the brink, Egyptians are on brink, all scared to death of Persia.”

Asked by Ailes, “Does Donald know” the plan, Bannon reportedly just smiled.

Bannon’s idea reflected “the new Trump thinking” about the Middle East: “There are basically four players,” writes Wolff, “Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The first three can be united against the fourth.” Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be “given what they want” in respect to Iran, and in return would “pressure the Palestinians to make a deal.”

Another key foreign policy relationship for the Trump administration has been with Mohammad bin Salman, the reckless crown prince and real power in Saudi Arabia, who has been willing to go along with the plan, especially by cozying up to Israel.

According to Wolff, the lack of education of both Trump and MBS – as the Saudi prince is commonly known – put them on an “equal footing” and made them “oddly comfortable with each other.”

Trump, ignorant and constantly flattered by regional leaders, appeared to naively believe he could pull off what he called “the biggest breakthrough in Israel-Palestine negotiations ever.”

Bannon: anti-Semitic, virulently pro-Israel

The book claims that one key source of reported tension between Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump on the one hand, and Bannon on the other, is that “Kushner had concluded that Bannon was an anti-Semite.”

Yet that anti-Semitism has not prevented Bannon from pursuing a stridently pro-Israel agenda: ironically one of Bannon’s reported accusations against Kushner – whose family has made donations to support Israeli settlements – was that Kushner “was not nearly tough enough in his defense of Israel.”

Bannon’s key ally outside the White House – and therefore a major influence within it – was Adelson, who invested at least $25 million to get Trump elected. This also explains why Bannon constantly tried to outflank Kushner to the right on Israel.

Adelson even told Trump that Bannon was the only person in the White House he trusted on Israel.

That influence did not go away when Bannon departed, with reports that pressure from Adelson pushed Trump to make his ill-fated decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, blowing up whatever vanishingly slim chances he had of advancing a “peace” plan.

Kushner felt further undermined by how the president “had been gleefully telling multiple people that Jared could solve the Middle East problem because the Kushners knew all the crooks in Israel.”

There’s far more evidence that Adelson, a major bankroller of Netanyahu who has always put Israel’s interests first, has far more influence in the White House than Russia can ever dream of.

Wolff’s book confirms that Trump’s presidency has helped revive the historic alliance between anti-Semites and Zionists to drive a far-right pro-Israel agenda.

Yet American politicians, congressional investigators and pundits remain curiously incurious about that.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website and just wrote the piece "What Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury says about Trump’s collusion with Israel":, @AliAbunimah