Habakkuk on ‘longtime’ sources:

Steele, Shvets, Levinson, Litvinenko and the ‘Billion Dollar Don.’

In the light of the suggestion in the Nunes memo that Steele was ‘a longtime FBI source’ it seems worth sketching out some background, which may also make it easier to see some possible reasons why he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.’

There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6,  in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time.  It also seems clear that influential journalists, such as Glenn Simpson was before founding Fusion GPS, along with his wife Mary Jacoby, have been strongly involved in this. 

This agenda has involved hopes for ‘régime change’ in Russia, whether as the result of an oligarchic coup, a popular revolt, or some combination of both.  Also central have been hopes for a further ‘rollback’ of Russia influence in the post-Soviet space, both in areas now independent, such as Ukraine, and also ones still part of the Russian Federation, notably Chechnya.

And, crucially, it involved exploiting the retreat of Russian power from the Middle East for ‘régime change’ projects which it was hoped would provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area.

Important support for these strategies was provided by the ‘StratCom’ network centred around the late Boris Berezovsky, which clearly collaborated closely with MI6.  As was apparent from the witness list at Sir Robert Owen’s Inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which produced a report based essentially on a recycling of claims made by the network’s members, key players were on your side of the Atlantic – notably Alex Goldfarb, Yuri Shvets, and Yuri Felshtinsky. 

The question of what links these had, or did not have, with elements in U.S. intelligence agencies is thus a critical one.

In making some sense of it, the fact that one key figure we know to have been involved in this network was missing at the Inquiry – the former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared on the Iranian island of Kish in March 2007 – is important.

Unfortunately, I only recently came across a book on Levinson published in 2016 by the ‘New York Times’ journalist Barry Meier, which is now hopefully winging its way across the Atlantic.  From the accounts of the book I have seen, such as one by Jeff Stein in ‘Newsweek’, it seems likely that its author did not look at any of the evidence presented at Owen’s Inquiry.

(See http://www.newsweek.com/2016/05/20/what-really-happened-robert-levinson-cia-iran-454803.html .)


Had he done so, Meier might have discovered that his subject had been, as it were, ‘top supporting actor’ in the first fumbling attempt by Christopher Steele et al to produce a plausible-sounding scenario as to the background to Litvinenko’s death.    A Radio 4 programme on 16 December 2006, presented by the veteran BBC presenter Tom Mangold, had been wholly devoted to an account by Shvets, backed up by Levinson.  Both of these were, like Litvinenko, supposed to be impartial ‘due diligence’ operatives. 

The notion that any of them might have connections with Western intelligence agencies was not considered.  The – publicly available – evidence of the involvement of Shvets, whose surname means ‘cobbler’ or ‘shoemaker’ in Ukrainian, in the processing of the tapes of conversations involving the former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma supposedly recorded by Major Melnychenko, which had played a crucial role in the 2004-5 ‘Orange Revolution’ was not mentioned.

Still less was it mentioned that claims that the – very dangerous – late Soviet Kolchuga system, which made it possible the kind of identification of incoming aircraft which radar had traditionally done, without sending out signals which made the destruction of the facilities doing it possible, had been sold by Kuchma to Iraq had proven spurious.

What Shvets had done had been to take – genuine – audio in which Kuchma had discussed a possible sale, and edit it to suggest a sale had been completed.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

As a former television current affairs producer, I can talk to you of the marvels which London audio editors can produce, very happily.  Unfortunately, the days when not all BBC and ‘Guardian’ journalists were corrupt stenographers for corrupt and incompetent spooks, as Mangold and his like have been for Steele and Levinson, are long gone.

All this has become particularly relevant now, given that Simpson has placed the notorious Jewish Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich and the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’ mafia group centre stage in his accounts not simply of Trump and Manafort, but also of William Browder.  For most of the ‘Nineties, Levinson had been a, if not the, lead FBI investigator on Mogilevich.

(On this, see the 1999 BBC ‘Panorama’ programme ‘The Billion Dollar Don’, also presented by Tom Mangold, which has extensive interviews both with Mogilevich and Levinson at

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/panorama/transcripts/transcript_06_12_99.txt )

In the months leading up to Levinson’s disappearance, a key priority for the advocates of the strategy I have described was to prevent it being totally derailed by the patently catastrophic outcome of the Iraqi adventure. 

Compounding the problem was the fact that this had created the ‘Shia Crescent’, which in turn exacerbated the potential ‘existential threat’ to Israel posed by the steadily increasing range, accuracy and numbers of missiles available to Hizbullah in hardened positions north of the Litani. 

These, obviously, provided both a ‘deterrent’ for that organisation and Iran, and also a radical threat to the whole notion that somehow Israel could ever be a ‘safe haven’ for Jews, against the supposedly ineradicable disposition of the ‘goyim’ sooner or later to, as it were, revert to type.  The dreadful thought that Israel might not be necessary had to be resisted at all costs.

What followed from the disaster unleashed by the – Anglo-American – ‘own goal’ in toppling Saddam was, ironically, a need on the part of key players to ‘double down.’  Above all, it was necessary for many of those involved to counter suggestions from the Russian side that going around smashing up ‘régimes’ that one might not like sometimes blew up in one’s face. 

Even more threatening were suggestions from the Russian side that it was foolish to think one could use jihadists without risking ‘blowback’, and that there might be an overwhelming common interest in combating Islamic extremism.

Another priority was to counter the pushback in the American ‘intelligence community’ and military, which was to produce the drastic downgrading of the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear programme in the November 2007 NIE and then the resignation of Admiral William Fallon as head of ‘Centcom’ the following March.

So in 2005 Shvets came to London.  He and his audio editors had another ‘bite at the cherry’ of the Melnychenko tapes, so that material that did in fact establish that both the SBU and FSB had collaborated with Mogilevich could be employed to make it seem that Putin had a close personal relationship with the mobster.

All kinds of supposedly respectable American and British academics, like Professors Karen Dawisha and Robert Service, have fallen for this, hook, line and sinker.  It gives a new meaning to the term ‘useful idiot.’

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

In a letter sent in December that year by Litvinenko to the ‘Mitrokhin Commission’, for which his Italian associate Mario Scaramella was a consultant, this was used in an attempt to demonstrate that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent for the FSB and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’, had attempted to supply a ‘mini atomic bomb’ – aka ‘suitcase nuke’ – to Al Qaeda.  Shortly after the letter was sent Scaramella departed on a trip to Washington, where he appears to have got access to Aldrich Ames.

(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

At precisely this time, as Meier explains, Levinson was in the process of being recruited by a lady called Anne Jablonski who then worked as a CIA analyst.  It appears that she was furious at the failure of the operational side at the Agency to produce evidence which would have established that Iran did indeed have an ongoing nuclear programme, and she may well have hoped would implicate Russia in supplying materials.

There are grounds to suspect that one of the things that Berezovsky and Shvets were doing was fabricating such ‘evidence.’  Whether Levinson was involved in such attempts, or genuinely looking for evidence he was convinced must be there, I cannot say.  It appears that he fell for a rather elementary entrapment operation – which could well have been organised with the collaboration of Russian intelligence.  (People do get fed up with being framed, particular if ‘régime change’ is the goal.)

It also seems likely that, quite possibly in a different but related entrapment operation, related to propaganda wars in which claims and counter claims about a polonium-beryllium ‘initiator’ as the crucial missing part which might make a ‘suitcase nuke’ functional, Litvinenko accidentally ingested fatal quantities of polonium.  A good deal of evidence suggests that this may have been at Berezovsky’s offices on the night before he was supposedly assassinated.

It was, obviously, important for Steele et al to ensure that nobody looked at the ‘StratCom’ wars about ‘suitcase nukes.’  Here, a figure who has played a key role in such wars in relation to Syria plays an interesting minor one in the story.

Some time following the destruction of the case for an immediate war by the November 2007 NIE, a chemical weapons specialist called Dan Kaszeta, who had worked in the White House for twelve years, moved to London. 

In 2011, in addition to founding a consultancy called ‘Strongpoint Security’, he began a writing career with articles in ‘CBRNe World.’  Later, he would become the conduit through which the notorious ‘hexamine hypothesis’, supposedly clinching proof that the Syrian government was responsible for the sarin incidents at Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, Saraqeb, and Khan Al-Asal, was disseminated.

Having been forced by the threat of a case being opened against them under human rights law into resuming the inquest into Litvinenko’s death, in August 2012 the British authorities appointed Sir Robert Owen to conduct it.  (There are many honest judges in Britain, but obviously, if one sets out to find someone who will ‘cover up’ for the incompetence and corruption of people like Steele, as Lord Hutton did before him, you can find them.)

That same month, a piece appeared in ‘CBRNe World’ with the the strapline:  ‘Dan Kaszeta looks into the ultimate press story: Suitcase nukes’, and the main title ‘Carry on or checked bags?’  Among the grounds he gives for playing down the scare:

‘Some components rely on materials with shelf life. Tritium, for example, is used in many nuclear weapon designs and has a twelve year half-life. Polonium, used in neutron initiators in some earlier types of weapon designs, has a very short halflife. US documents state that every nuclear weapon has “limited life components” that require periodic replacement (do an internet search for nuclear limited life components and you can read for weeks).’

(For this and other articles by Kaszeta, as also his bio, see http://strongpointsecurity.co.uk ‘)

What Kaszeta has actually described are the reasons why polonium is a perfect ‘StratCom’ instrument.  In terms of scientific plausibility, in fact there were no ‘suitcase nukes’, and in any case ‘initiators’ using polonium had been abandoned very early on, in favour of ones which lasted longer.

For ‘StratCom’ scenarios, as experience with the ‘hexamine hypothesis’ has proved, scientific plausibility can be irrelevant. 

What polonium provides is a means of suggesting that Al Qaeda have in fact got hold of a nuclear device which they could easily smuggle into, say, Rome or New York, or indeed Moscow, but there is a crucial missing component which the FSB is trying to provide to them.  By the same token, of course, that missing component could be depicted as one that Berezovsky and Litvinenko are conspiring to suppl to the Chechen insurgents. 

In addition, the sole known source of global supply is the Avangard plant at Sarov in Russia, so the substance is naturally suited for ‘StratCom’ directed against that country, which its intelligence services would – rather naturally – try to make ‘boomerang.’

According to Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele is a ‘boy scout.’  This seems to me quite wrong – but, even if it were true, would you want to unleash a ‘boy scout’ into these kinds of intrigue?

As it is not clear why Kaszeta introduced his – accurate but irrelevant – point about polonium into an article which was concerned with scientific plausibility, one is left with an interesting question as to whether he cut his teeth on ‘StratCom’ attempting to ensure that nobody seriously interested in CBRN science followed an obvious lead.

In relation to the question of whether current FBI personnel had been involved in the kind of ‘StratCom’ exercises, I have been describing, a critical issue is the involvement of Shvets and Levinson in the Alexander Khonanykhine affair back in the ‘Nineties, and the latter’s use of claims about the Solntsevskaya to prevent the key figure’s extradition.  But that is a matter for another day.

A corollary of all this is that we cannot – yet at least – be absolutely confident that the account in the Nunes memo, according to which Steele was suspended and then dismissed as an FBI source for what the organisation is reported to define as ‘the most serious of violations’ – the unauthorised disclosure of a relationship with the organisation – is necessarily wholly accurate. 

Who did and did not authorise which disclosures to the media, up to and including the extraordinary decision to have the full dossier, including claims about Aleksej Gubarev and the Alfa oligarchs, in flagrant disregard of the obvious risks of defamation suits, and who may be trying to pass the buck to others, remains I think less than totally clear.

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109 Responses to Habakkuk on ‘longtime’ sources:

  1. JohnB says:

    Thank you very. As ever you have illuminated a few more things for me. Kaszeta’s involvement is interesting. He is someone I am in the middle of researching in relation to Higgins and Bellingcat.

  2. turcopolier says:

    It is the closest of all international intelligence relationships. It started in WW2. Before that the Brits were though of as a potential enemy. pl

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the English are using you, they are unsentimental empirical people that only do these that benefit the Number One.
    The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.

  4. catherine says:

    That Newsweek piece about Levinson is very superficial to me.
    Re: Levinson
    # Who suggested to who ‘first’ the Iran caper…Anne Jablonski to Levinson or Levinson to Jablonski? It was reported earlier by Meier that in December 2005, when Levinson was pitching Jablonski on projects he might take on when his CIA contract was approved he sent her a lengthy memo about Dawud’s potential as an informant.
    # Ira Silverman, the Iran hating NBC guy, pitched a Iraq caper to Levinson with Dawud Salahuddin, as his Iran contact and Levinson went to Jablonski with it.
    # And what was with Boris Birshstein, a Russian organized crime figure who had fled to Israel and Oleg Deripaska, the “aluminum czar” of Russia whose organized crime contacts have kept him from entering the United States jumping in to help find Levinson? The FBI allowed Deripaska in for two visits in 2009 in exchange for his alleged help in locating Levinson but obviously nothing came of it.
    I think there were more little agents/agendas in this than Levinson and Jablonski and US CIA.

  5. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    As usual a wonderful analysis. I admire your insight, integrity and courage. I wish you could write more on why the Borg is so much against Trump, even though they have Kushner, Adelson and Co. running interference for them.
    I and my friends consider it a given that most, if not all, anlo-zionist moves in the ME are to “provide a definitive solution to the – inherently intractable – security problems of a Jewish settler state in the area.” It is an open secret that the izzies are the reason why a few Russians, some Turks, lots of Kurds and countless Arabs are dying in the Syrian battlefields. Another open secret: the takfiris and kurds have been, and are, supported by the West. That the “masters of the universe™” have been conceiving and doubling down on such disastrous policies give lie to their much-vaunted “intelligence”.
    Be safe.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  6. Rd says:

    Babak Makkinejad said in reply to turcopolier…
    The chief beneficiary of the Coup in Iran was England and not US.
    ..and US is the one who has been paying for it since 1979!!!

  7. kooshy says:

    My guess is, that he is unpredictable, instantaneous and therefore can’t be consistent and reliable, useful idiot needs to be predictable.

  8. kooshy says:

    “There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time. “
    David as usual fascinating work connecting the dots. One question that comes to my mind is about the above point you are making. Is it your understanding or believe that these IC individuals on both side of Atlantic, are pursuing/forcing their (on behalf of the Borg) foreign policy agenda outside of their respected seating governments? If not, why is it that incoming administration cannot stop them? So far I can’t see any strategic changes on US foreign policy toward ME or Russia, at tactical level yes but not fundamentally.

  9. different clue says:

    Ishmael Zechariah,
    ( reply to comment 6),
    I am not David Habakkuk, obviously. But I will venture a little opinion anyway.
    It is not enough that the Borgists get their policy preferences. If it were, then Kushner, Adelson and Co. running interference would be enough for them.
    It is the VERy FACT of Trump EVen GETTing eLECted at ALL which outrages and terrifies them so much. They are used to seeing themselves as successful manipulators and engineers of every major event. They were engineering the whole electoral battlespace to get Clinton elected. The mere fact of Trump’s victory in the teeth of their Electoral Engineering for Clinton is an act of defiance which they will not tolerate.
    And if they fail to bring Trump down at all, they will stand revealed as being defeatable. And this is their big fear. That if people see they have defeated the Borg once on keeping Trump in the teeth of Borg’s efforts, that people might try to defeat and smash down the Borg on another issue. And then another. And then another after that.
    So that is why the Borg cares so much. They view the Trump election as an insurgency, and they view themselves as waging a counterinsurgency, which they dare not lose.

  10. Jack says:

    Thanks for your analysis. I always enjoy and learn from your posts. I wish you would post more often.
    In my non-expert opinion, the Borg and the media were all in for Hillary. They were convinced that she was gonna win. To curry favor with the Empress who would be certainly crowned after the election they were eager and convinced that their lawlessness would become a badge for promotion and plum positions in her administration. In their conceit, they believed they could kill two birds with one stroke. They could vilify Putin and create the mass hysteria to checkmate him, while at the same time disparage and frame Trump as The Manchurian Candidate to seal their certain electoral victory.
    Unfortunately for them voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin didn’t buy their sales pitch despite the overwhelming media barrage from all corners. Even news publications who have only endorsed Republican candidates for President for over a century endorsed her.
    Trump’s election win caused panic among the political establishment, the media and the Deep State. They were already all-in. Their only choice was to double down and get Trump impeached. Now their conspiracy is beginning to unravel. They are doing everything possible to forestall their Armageddon. Of course they have many allies. This battle is gonna be interesting to watch. Trump is clearly getting many Congressional Republicans on side as his base of Deplorables remains solidly behind him. That is what’s befuddling the Borg pundits.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Dawud Salahudin is a strange name.
    In Iran, the sound of “W” has become the same a “V” – not so among Persian speakers in Afghanistan and in Central Asia or among speakers of Arabic.
    The word “Salahaldin”, or like constructs such as “Fakhraldin” or “Shahabaldin” are commonly used first names.
    This name seems to have been a fake name created by somonr unfamiliar with Iran.

  12. kooshy says:

    He supposedly is the American who defected to Iran after assassinating Mr. Tabatabai in DC, the story is that Mr. Levinson was meeting him in Kish island, what for? I have never visited Kish, but many people think is like going to paradise once there one wouldn’t want to leave.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup. And they got US to bail them out during WWII; the initiation of which owed so much to their own machinations.

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You mean Kish = America ?
    No way.

  15. SmoothieX12 says:

    So far I can’t see any strategic changes on US foreign policy toward ME or Russia, at tactical level yes but not fundamentally.
    Because it is not possible to do on fundamental level yet, especially with US foreign policy establishment and so called consensus being built almost entirely, in ideological and, most importantly, cadres senses, on the ultimate exceptionalist agenda in which Russia is the ultimate obstacle and enemy. Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. This swamp (Borg, deep state, etc.) still thinks that it can use Cold War 1.0 Playbook and address very real and dangerous American economic issues. They are wrong, since most of them didn’t read the playbook correctly to start with.

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They act and believe that they are Olypians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West’s posture; say 2040.

  17. kooshy says:

    No. Kish = California

  18. kooshy says:

    You are right CWII is very much desired and on agenda, but i am not sure of setup, the setup/board has been changed tremendously and IMO benefits the Asian side of Bosphorus, for one thing technology is no longer exclusive, and financial burden is heavier on atlantic side.

  19. catherine says:

    ”Establishment in saturated with neocons and likes. They are the swamp. ”
    The locust keep trying and trying, destruction is their life’s work.
    ‘1977-1981: Nationalities Working Group Advocates Using Militant Islam Against Soviet Union’
    In 1977 Zbigniew Brzezinski, as President Carter’s National Security Adviser, forms the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to the idea of weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming its ethnic tensions. The Islamic populations are regarded as prime targets. Richard Pipes, the father of Daniel Pipes, takes over the leadership of the NWG in 1981. Pipes predicts that with the right encouragement Soviet Muslims will “explode into genocidal fury” against Moscow. According to Richard Cottam, a former CIA official who advised the Carter administration at the time, after the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1978, Brzezinski favored a “de facto alliance with the forces of Islamic resurgence, and with the Republic of Iran.” [Dreyfuss, 2005, pp. 241, 251 – 256]
    ‘November 1978-February 1979: Some US Officials Want to Support Radical Muslims to Contain Soviet Union’
    State Department official Henry Precht will later recall that Brzezinski had the idea “that Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets.” [Scott, 2007, pp. 67] In November 1978, President Carter appointed George Ball head of a special White House Iran task force under Brzezinski. Ball recommends the US should drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the radical Islamist opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea is based on ideas from British Islamic expert Dr. Bernard Lewis, who advocates the balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. The chaos would spread in what he also calls an “arc of crisis” and ultimately destabilize the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union

  20. aleksandar says:

    About relation Steele-MI6, well, you never leave your IS. Or to put it in another way, you are never out of the scope of your past IS.

  21. Fred says:

    “they got US to bail them out during WWII” And how would things have worked out had we not done so?

  22. Fred says:

    “There is reason to suspect that some former and very likely current employees of the FBI have been colluding with elements in other American and British intelligence agencies, in particular the CIA and MI6, in support of an extremely ambitious foreign policy agenda for a very long time.”
    Yes, that is what appears to be just what is coming to light. I wonder just what position Trey Gowdy is going to have since he won’t be running for re-election. The rage from the left is palpable. I’m sure the next outraged guy on the left will know how to shoot straighter than the ones who shot up Congressman Scalise or the concert goers at Mandalay Bay.

  23. turcopolier says:

    Somehow the Red Army disappeared from this conversation. pl

  24. Anna says:

    “They are wrong, since most of them didn’t read the playbook correctly to start with.”
    — If they have read the important books at all… The ongoing scandal has been revealing a stunning incompetence of the “deciders.” Too often they look comical, ridiculous, undignified. This is dangerous, considering their power.

  25. turcopolier says:

    The powerful are often remarkably ignorant. pl

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    England preferred NAZI Germany to USSR, this is well known. As to what would have happened, the outcome of the war, in my opinion, did not depend on US participation in the European Theatre. All of Europe would have become USSR satellite or joined USSR.

  27. JohnB,
    In response to comment 2.
    If you are interested in Higgins and ‘Bellingcat’, you might want be interested in a ‘Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media’ which has recently been set up by a group of British academics.
    (See http://syriapropagandamedia.org .)
    At the moment, work which has already been done is being prepared for publication on the site. However, some of it has already appeared on the blog of one of the members, Tim Hayward.
    This includes a detailed discussion of the report of the ‘Joint Investigative Mechanism’ on the Khan Sheikhoun attack by Paul McKeigue.
    His professorship, at Edinburgh, is in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics. This means that, unlike most of us interested in these matters, with the obvious exception of Theodore Postol, he has a grasp of a lot of relevant science.
    (See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2017/12/22/khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack-guest-blog-featuring-paul-mckeigues-reassessment/ .)
    A basic tool of his trade is a technique called ‘Bayesian analysis’, one of whose many applications is to separate out genetic factors in disease from others. His use of it in the piece may make bits of it somewhat hard going for those of us whose scientific education stopped at school.
    But if you are interested in a demonstration of the way that the kind of pure charlatanry propagated by Higgins and Kaszeta has come to be accepted uncritically by supposed impartial international bodies, you should read the piece.
    Also on Hayward’s blog is an article which was submitted to the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ page, in response to a piece by Olivia Solon smearing those who have had the temerity to suggest that the ‘White Helmets’ may be something less than a band of disinterested charity workers, and an account of the attempts of the ‘Working Group’ to get a response from the paper.
    (See https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/the-guardian-white-helmets-and-silenced-comment/ .)
    This has links to material on that organisation already published. A lot more work will be appearing on the ‘Working Group’ site.

  28. jonst says:

    “unsentimental empirical people”? Absolutely disagree with you. Now the Iranians, they strike me as a singularity unsentimental people. Just general impressions, mind you.

  29. Kooshy says:

    Yes, US was the first country to proudly deliver Manpads to be used by “rebels” (Mojahadin later Taleban) against USSR in Afghanistan back in 80s. And, as per the architect of support for the rebels (Zbigniew Brzezinski) very proud of it with no regret. With that in mind, I don’t see how western politicians, the western governments and their related proxy war planers, will be regretting, even sadden, once god forbid we see passenger planes with loved ones are shot down taking off or landing at various western airports and other places around the word. Just like how superficialy with crocodile tears in their eyes they acted in aftermath of the terrorist events in various western cities in this past 16 years. Gods knows what will happens to us if the opposite side start to supply his own proxies with lethal anti air weapons. “Proudly”, I don’t think anybody in west cares or will regret of such an escalation.

  30. Phodges says:

    It seems we are being defeated by Cicero’s enemy within. Zion is achieving what no one could hope to achieve by force of arms.

  31. catherine,
    In response to comment 5.
    I think it likely that what Meier produces is only a ‘limited hangout’, and am hoping that when the book arrives it will contain more pointers.
    It is important to be clear that one is often dealing with people playing very complicated double games.
    An interesting document is the ‘Petition for Writ of Habeus Corpus’ made on behalf of Khodorkovsky’s close associate Alexander Konanykhin back in 1997,when the Immigration and Naturalization Service were – apparently at least – cooperating with Russian attempts to get hold of him. An extract:
    ‘During the immigration hearing FBI SA Robert Levinson, an INS witness, confirmed that in 1992 Petitioner was kidnapped and afterwards pursued by assassins of the Solntsevskaya organized criminal group. This organized criminal group is reportedly the largest and the most influential organized criminal group in Russia, and operates internationally.’
    (See http://defiancethebook.com/legal/habeas/petition.htm .)
    Note the similarities between the ‘StratCom’ that Khonanykin and his associates were producing in the ‘Nineties, and that which Simpson and his associates have been producing two decades later.
    Another useful example is provided by a 2004 item in the ‘New American Magazine’, reproduced on Konanykhin’s website:
    ‘One of those who testified on behalf of Konanykhine was KGB defector Yuri Shvets, who declared: “I have a firsthand knowledge on similar operations conducted by the KGB.” Konanykhine had brought trouble on himself, Shvets continued, when he “started bringing charges against people who were involved with him in setting up and running commercial enterprises. They were KGB people … secretly smuggling from Russia hundreds of millions of dollars…. This is [a] serious case, and I know that KGB … desperately wants to win this case, and everybody who won’t step to their side would face problems.”’
    (See http://konanykhin.com/news/the-konanykhine-case.html .)
    So – ‘first hand knowledge’, from a Ukrainian nationalist – look at what the Chalupas have been doing, it seems not much has changed.
    For a rather different perspective on what Konanykhin had actually been up to, from someone in whose honesty – if not always judgement – I have complete confidence, see the testimony of Karon von Gerhke-Thompson to the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services hearings on Russian Money Laundering. In this, she described how she had been approached by him in 1993:
    ‘“Konanykhine alleged that Menatep Bank controlled $1.7bn [£1bn] in assets and investment portfolios of Russia’s most prominent political and social elite,” she recalled. She said he wanted to move the bank’s assets off shore and asked her to help buy foreign passports for its “very, very special clients”.
    ‘In her testimony to the committee Ms Von Gerhke-Thompson said she informed the CIA of the deal, and the agency told her that it believed Mr Konanykhine and Mr Khodorkovsky “were engaged in an elaborate money laundering scheme to launder billions of dollars stolen by members of the KGB and high-level government officials”.
    (For a ‘Guardian report, see https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/sep/23/julianborger ; for the actual testimony, see http://archives-financialservices.house.gov/banking/92299ger.pdf .)
    Coming back to Steele’s ‘StratCom’, in July 2008, an item appeared on the ‘Newnight’ programme of the BBC – which some of us think should by then have been rechristened the ‘Berezovsky Broadcasting Corporation’ – in which the introduction by the presenter, Jeremy Paxman, read as follows:
    ‘Good evening. The New Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, was all smiles and warm words when he met Gordon Brown today. He said he was keen to resolve all outstanding difficulties between the two countries. Yada yada yada. Gordon Brown smiled, but he must know what Newsnight can now reveal: that MI5 believes the Russian state was involved in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko by radioactive poisoning. They also believe that without their intervention another London-based Russian, Boris Berezovsky, would have been murdered. Our diplomatic editor, Mark Urban, has this exclusive report.’
    (For the transcript presented in evidence to Owen’s Inquiry, see http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/ )
    When Urban repeated the claims on his blog, there was a positive eruption from someone using the name ‘timelythoughts’, about the activities of someone she referred to as ‘Berezovsky’s disinformation specialist’ – when I came across this later, it was immediately clear to me that she was Karon von Gerhke, and he was Shvets.
    (For the first part of the exchanges of comments, the second apparently having become unavailable, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/2008/07/litvinenko_killing_had_state_i.html )
    She then described a visit by Scaramella to Washington, details of which had already been unearthed by my Italian collaborator, David Loepp. Her claim to have e-mails from Shvets, from the time immediately prior to Litvinenko’s death, directly contradicting the testimony he had given, fitted with other evidence I had already unearthed.
    Later, we exchanged e-mails over a quite protracted period, and a large amount of material that came into my possession as a result was submitted by me to the Inquest team, with some of it being used in posts on the ‘European Tribune’ site.
    What I never used publicly, because I could only partially corroborate it from the material she provided, was an extraordinary claim about Shvets:
    ‘He was responsible for bringing in a Kremlin initiative that was walked Vice President Cheney’s office on a US government quid pro quo with the Kremlin FSB SVR involving the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – a cease and desist on allegations of a politically motivated arrest of Khodorkovsky, violations of rules of law and calls from Russia’s expulsion from the G 8 in exchange for favorable posturing of U.S. oil companies on Gazprom’s Shtokman project and intelligence on weapon sales during the Yeltsin era to Iraq, Iran and Syria, all documented in reports I submitted to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and MI6.
    ‘Berezovsky’s DS could not be on both sides on that isle. His Kremlin FSB SVR sources had been vetted by the CIA and by the National Security Council. They proved to be as represented. As we would later learn, however, he was on Berezovsky’s payroll at same time. The FSB SVR general he was coordinating the Kremlin initiative through was S. R. Subbotin, the same FSB SVR general who was investigating Berezovsky’s money laundering operations in Switzerland during the same timeframe. His FSB SVR sources surrounding Putin were higher than any Lugovoy could have ever hoped to affiliate with.
    ‘R. James Woolsey (former CIA DCI), Marshall Miller (former law partner of the late CIA DCI William Colby), who I coordinated the Kremlin initiative through that Berezovsky’s DS had brought in were shocked to learn that he was affiliated with Berezovsky and Litvinenko. He was in Berezovsky’s inner circle and engaged in vetting Russian business with Litvinenko. He operated Berezovsky’s Ukraine website, editing and dubbing the now infamous Kuchma tapes throughout the lead up to the elections in the Ukraine. Berezovsky contributed $41 million to Viktor Yushchenko’s campaign, which he used in an attempt to force Yushchenko to reunite with Julia Tymoschenko. It failed but would succeed later after Berezovsky orchestrated a public relations initiative through Alan Goldfarb in the U.S. on behalf of Tymoschenko.’
    Having got to know Karon von Gerhke quite well, and also been able to corroborate a great deal of what she told me about many things, and discussed these matters with her, it is absolutely clear to me that she was neither fabricating nor fantasising. What later became apparent, both to her and to me, was that in the ‘double game’ that Shvets was playing, he had succeeded in fooling her as to the side for which he was working.
    It seems likely however that the reason Shvets could do what he did was that quite precisely that many high-up people in the Kremlin and elsewhere were playing a ‘double game.’ In this, Karon von Gerhke’s propensity for indiscretion – of which I, like others, was both beneficiary and victim – could be useful.
    An exercise in ‘positioning’, which could be used to disguise the fact that Shvets was indeed ‘Berezovsky’s disinformation specialist’, could be used to make it appear that ‘intelligence on weapon sales during the Yeltsin era to Iraq, Iran and Syria’ was actually credible.
    This could have been used to try to rescue Cheney, Bush and their associates from the mess they had got into as a result of the failure of the invasion to provide any evidence whatsoever supporting the case which had been made for it. It could also have been used to provide the kind of materials justifying military action against Iran for which Levinson and Jablonski were looking, and for similar action against Syria.
    Among reasons for bringing this up now is that we need to make sense of the paradox that Simpson – clearly in collusion with Steele – was using Mogilevich and the ‘Solnsetskaya Bratva’ both against Manafort and Trump and against Browder.
    There are various possible explanations for this. I do not want to succumb to my instinctive prejudice that this may have been another piece of ‘positioning’, similar to what I think was being done with Shvets, but the hypothesis needs to be considered.
    A more general point is that people in Washington and London need to ‘wise up’ to the kind of world with which they are dealing. This could be done quite enjoyably: reading some of Dashiell Hammett’s fictions of the United States in the Prohibition era, or indeed buying DVDs of some of the classics of ‘film noir’, like ‘Out of the Past’ (in its British release, ‘Build My Gallows High’) might be a start.
    Very much of the coverage of affairs in the post-Soviet space since 1991 has read rather as though a Dashiell Hammett story had been rewritten by someone specialising in sentimental children’s, or romantic, fiction (although, come to think of it, that is really what Brigid O’Shaughnessy does in ‘The Maltese Falcon.’)
    The testimony of Glenn Simpson seems a case in point. The sickly sentimentality of these people does, rather often, make one feel as though one wanted to throw up.

  32. Thomas says:

    “They act and believe that they are Olympians. You have to wait for them to age and die before any substantive change in Fortress West’s posture; say 2040.}
    No, three years at tops and could be much sooner if dimes starting dropping by exposed people that don’t want to take the fall for their superiors whom they always detested. One possible thing to get the process started sooner is if the recent Russian Intelligence delegation to DC that Smoothie mentions on another thread gave the current administration, as a diplomatic courtesy of course, the audio recordings of Madame Sectary Nuland’s infamous mental meltdown at Kaliningrad. No telling what beans were spilled in her moment of panic, but I am willing to bet key names were dropped. Either way the time is coming.

  33. SmoothieX12 says:

    – If they have read the important books at all… The ongoing scandal has been revealing a stunning incompetence of the “deciders.” Too often they look comical, ridiculous, undignified. This is dangerous, considering their power.
    My coming book is precisely about that. Especially, once American policy-makers who saw and experienced war (Ike, George Marshall’s generation) departed things started to roll down hill with Reagan bringing on board a whole collection of neocons. Unawareness is always dangerous, a complete blackout in relations between two nuclear powers is more than dangerous–it is completely reckless. Again, the way CW 1.0 is perceived in the current US “elites” it becomes extremely tempting to repeat it. Electing Hillary was another step in unleashing CW 2.0 by people who have no understanding of what they were doing. Obama started crushing US-Russian relations before any campaigns were launched and before Trump was even seriously considered a GOP nominee, let alone a real contender. New confrontation hinged on HRC being elected. In fact, she was one of the major driving forces behind a serious of geopolitical anti-Russian moves. Visceral Russo-phobia became a feature in HRC campaign long before any Steele’s Dossier. This was a program.

  34. blowback says:

    You have read one of the articles on what James Mattis said on Friday about sarin? He quite clearly states that the United States has no evidence that the Syrian government has used sarin. Given the way, the French, British, German, etc. intelligence services share information, that suggests that if James Mattis is speaking the truth then no one in NATO, except perhaps for Turkey given Erdogan’s recent behavior, has any evidence either. This means that both incidents, East Ghouta and Khan Shaykhoun, and any other incidents that are alleged by the terrorists to have involved sarin are not what they are claimed to be in western msm and most western politicians. Bellingcat and all the other NGOs who have made similar claims about sarin are all wrong.
    Mattis does claim that Syria has used chlorine.

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Then you would be wrong. If people on the Iraian plateau had absorbed the salient lessons of the Mongol invasion and occupation in an unsentimental and dispassionate way, they would not be where they are today. Since 1066, England has not been conquered, perhaps they absorbed the the hard lessons of the Harrowing better .

  36. turcopolier says:

    Fatima manoubia
    the blog has a large archive and a search engine. I am not interested in tutoring you. pl

  37. kooshy says:

    John McCain is a war veteran and a policy maker, who has seen war closer than Marshal or Ike still he will shy away from any war even with nuclear Russia.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the failure of Deciders is nothing new – Fath Ali Shah attacking Russia, or the abject failure of the Deciders in 1914. Europe is still not where she was in 1890.

  39. Joe100 says:

    While McCain is a war veteran, his career was not in any way distinguished – rather he pretty clearly was given “hall pass” after “hall pass” given his father and grandfather. It also seems pretty clear his time as a POW has probably significantly influenced his view of the world.
    “The Nightingale’s Song” has an excellent treatment of his Naval Academy and service time, along with and in contrast to Ollie North, Jim Webb, admiral Poindexter and Bud MacFarlane. Not a pretty picture..

  40. SmoothieX12 says:

    John McCain is a war veteran and a policy maker, who has seen war closer than Marshal or Ike still he will shy away from any war even with nuclear Russia.
    Seeing generations of your close and remote relatives killed and your property destroyed as a result of war is usually a very sobering collective experience. McCain, apart from being a rather exceptional warmonger, doesn’t know what it is, despite experiencing some serious trials while being a POW. Ike saw, for starters, concentration camps and, unlike, McCain was mostly on the ground. This is a crucial distinction.

  41. kooshy says:

    “It also seems pretty clear his time as a POW has probably significantly influenced his view of the world.”
    I agree, and, that was the point I tried to make, not all veterans are necessary qualified MINDS for deciding future of the coming generations. I have the same suspicion for General Kelly, having lost a son in Afghanistan and having power to influence the war in Afghanistan, I think is this situation, like judges, one has to recuse him/herself to be part of planers.

  42. begob says:

    I read the post and responses early on, so forgive me if this point has been addressed in the meantime. If the memo information on non-disclosure of material evidence to the warrant issuing court is accurate, as soon as that information came to the attention of the authorities (clearly some time ago) there was a duty on them (including the judge(s) who issued the warrants) to have the matter brought back before the court toot sweet. If that had happened it would surely be in the public domain, so on the assumption the prosecutors and maybe even the judge didn’t see the need to review the matter, even purely on a contempt/ethics basis, the memo information only seems convincing if the FISA system is a total sham. I really doubt that.

  43. kooshy says:

    IMO, the bigger problem for American not shying away from wars, or being silent about them , is when your home, your mom and dad’ home, the town you grew up in, are immune and away from the war. The security and safety of the two oceans, encourages or at least ,in an all volunteer military makes it a secondary problem for regular people, to worry about. As I remember that wasn’t the case at the end of VN war when i first landed here. At that time even though the war was on the other side of the planet and away from homeland, still people, especially young ones in colleges were paying more attention to the cost of war.

  44. spy killer says:

    Diana West has uncovered some interesting “Red Threads” (6 part article at dianawest-dot-net) on all the Fusion GPS folks. Seems ole Russian speaking Nellie Ohr got herself a ham radio license recently. Wonder why she would suddenly need one of those? They are all Marxists with potential connections back to Russia.

  45. Been there. I am also a latecomer to SST. You have to read the back numbers. How? My IT expertise dates from the dawn of the internet and was lamentable then but I find Wayback sometimes allows easier searches than the SST search engine. A straight search on google also allows searches with more than one term. This link –
    – gets you to a chronological list and for recent material is sometimes quicker than fiddling around with search engines. “Categories” on the RH side is useful but then you don’t get some very informative comments that cross-refer.
    If those sadly elementary procedures fail resort to the nearest infant. There’s a blur of fingers on the keyboard and what you want then usually appears. Never ask them how they did it. They get so fed up when you ask them to explain it again.
    “Who is David Habakkuk?” That’s a quantum computer sited, from internal evidence you pick up from time to time, somewhere in the Greater London area. Cross references like you wouldn’t believe and over several fields, so maybe he’s two quantum computers.
    The “Borg”?. Try Wittgenstein. Likely a prog but you can’t be choosy these days. Early on in “Philosophical Investigations” (hope I get this right) he discusses the problem of how you can view as an entity something that has ill-defined or overlapping boundaries. The “Borg” is that “you know it when you see it” sort of thing. A great merit of this site is that the owner and many of the contributors know it from inside.
    In general you may regard your new found site as a microcosm of the great battle that is raging in the West. It’s a battle between the (probably apocryphal but adequately stated) Roveian view of reality that regards truth as an adjunct to or as a by-product of ideology and Realpolitik and the objective view of reality as something that is damned difficult to get at, and sometimes impossible, but that has a truth in it somewhere that is independent of the views and convictions of the observer. It’s a battle that’s never going to be won but unless it tilts back closer to common sense it can certainly be lost and the West with it.

  46. jonst says:

    Clearly the Labor Party in the UK preferred the USSR to Nazi Germany. (cepting that short interlude where the Soviets signed the Agreement with Hitler, and the Left Organized Leadership all across Europe, for the most part, lined up with Hitler). But for the most part, Labor was Left.
    Elements (the ones that won out in the end) of the Conservative Party loathed both Hitler and Stalin. An element of the Conservative Party was sympathetic, but only up to a certain point, with the Nazis. This ended in 1939, sept.
    So I don’t think it fair, or accurate, to say ‘England prefered the Nazis….and even if it not those things, it certainly not “well known”, except to the people who have used the false premise to butter their wounds from supporting Stalin in his Pact with Hitler. Or are inclined to bash the British in general.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    All right, perhaps I should have said “The English Government”. Google “Litvinov”, you may discover how the English Government pushed Stalin to make a deal with Hitler to buy USSR time.

  48. Sid Finster says:

    Witness the infamous State Department protest memo calling for more war on Syria.
    The State Department employees that signed that memo were sure that HRC would win and that their diligent work in pushing the Deep State agenda would sure be rewarded.
    Since entering office, Trump appears to have taken the line that if he gives the Deep State everything it demands, he will be allowed to remain in office, even if he is not allowed to remain in power.

  49. Sid Finster says:

    Explain Marshall Miller’s role in this, please.
    He is someone I know quite well. I also know one of the Chalupas.

  50. begob says:

    jonst That’s broadly accurate, but specifically Attlee brought the motion of no confidence in Chamberlain, which the conservative appeasers won but which led to Churchill’s opportunity. Attlee was essential in cabinet to Churchill’s resistance after the retreat of the BEF.

  51. turcopolier says:

    What are you doing here? You said you dislike the military. Are you really in the Spanish Basque country? Bilbao maybe? break – David Habakkuk is a private scholar of the Litvinenko murder and Soviet/Russian politics and intelligence affairs. His surname comes from Wales where in the 18th (?) Century the ancestral village were all “chapel” and changed their surnames to Old Testament names. His father was master of one of the Cambridge colleges and David is himself a graduate of Cambridge. pl

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, I am Iranian.
    All “Babak”s are Iranians – except some obscure ones that are Rus – Babakov.

  53. turcopolier says:

    This is my retirement hobby. Am I also a quantum computer? Cultivated? I see. You don’t like my tone. Adopt a positive attitude and that might change. pl

  54. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Quantum Computer, by the way, is snake oil – and you heard it first from me on this forum.

  55. turcopolier says:

    The only reference I have found to someone with FM’s name is to a dealer in Orientalist art. I am tired of people who arrive on the site in the midst of an extended conversation and immediately take up a position of accusation of our committee’s motives. pl

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    You won’t get any arguments from me in this regard.

  57. Kooshy says:

    Didn’t in recent years there was a Turkish official with a version of Babak last name? IZ must know he was in Erdo.’ Government

  58. Anna says:

    The hard, blinding truth: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/05/will-conspiracy-trump-american-democracy-go-unpunished/
    “In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.” – Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

  59. Thomas says:

    This troll showed up recently at b’s place doing the same accusations. There is group that is running sacred and pulling out all the stops in “info ops” side of the spectrum. The damn fools don’t or, most probably, won’t get thru their thick heads and even thicker hearts that it is a failed strategy that turns bystanders into their opponents.

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    God forbid.

  61. Here for your edification is the definitive analysis of the GOP memo by Alexander Mercouris over at The Duran.
    And it is a masterpriece – and quite long, possibly his longest analysis of anything so far. He buries the counterarguments being passed around by the Democratic opposition and the anti-Trump media.
    Mercouris writes on legal affairs alongside his foreign policy stuff and he writes with a lawyer’s precision. And in this article he points out that the GOP memo is writter as a legal document – probably by Trey Gowdy – with additional political insertions by Nunes. So it should properly be referred to as the “GOP memo” or the “Gowdy memo”, not the Nunes memo.”
    Why this is important is that the GOP memo is basically written as a defense lawyer would in contesting a case – this case being the FISA warrant application. Which means its orientation is proving failure to disclose relevant and material information to the fISA court and in some cases rising to the point of contempt of court.
    Seriously, read this! The whole thing!
    Rampant abuse and possible contempt of Court: what you need to know about the GOP memo

  62. JohnB says:

    David H
    Many thanks for that.
    Funnily enough, I found the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media today just before I read your post.
    I also saw the Olivia Solon piece although I haven’t had a chance to see the response to her rather childish outburst.
    If she is the future of investigative journalism then god help us all.

  63. blue peacock says:

    Sen Grassley releases memo heavily redacted by DOJ/FBI.

    “Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging,” Grassley said in a statement after posting a heavily redacted version of the criminal referral that he and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sent to the Justice Department last month. “The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn’t secret.

    I suppose DOJ/FBI believe that by obstructing, stalling and obfuscating they can buy time and that the Republicans in Congress will get tired of the games and go home. This seems like a pretty straightforward memo, highlighting the discrepancy between Steele’s court filings and the FBI’s version of Steele’s discussions with them. Grassley is pointing out that either Steele or the FBI is lying.
    What is interesting is the difference in process and ability between the House & Senate. The House can release their memos on its own, even if not declassified by the Executive, whereas the Senate requires the Executive to declassify it’s memos that are based on classified documents.

  64. turcopolier says:

    We have not had a self declared communist on SST before although LeaNder in her youth may have come close to that exalted status. You might want to read the wiki on me and the CV I have posted on the blog to avoid tedious accusations of this or that. I am thought by some to have some knowledge of the ME so please do not try to lecture me about how much you love the Arabs. I speak their language and have lived with them for a long time. There are people who write to SST who are pro-Trump and some who are anti-Trump. I seek a mixture of views so long as personal insult and invective are eschewed. Personally, I do not belong to a political party and would describe myself as an original intent, strict constructionist. Trump is the constitutionally and legally elected president of the United States. Your descriptors with regard to him are, in my opinion, only plausible if seen from the point of view of various kinds of leftist including Marxist-Leninists like you. You sound very smug and self-satisfied but we will see if you can have an open mind at all. pl

  65. Kooshy says:

    Found him, Ali Babacan XVPM, XFM and M of finance. Yes god forbid, if he is a decendent of Ardisher Babakan and another claimant to Iranian throne, which CIA and Soros can jump on.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali_Babacan MBA from Northeestern

  66. blue peacock says:

    …would describe myself as an original intent, strict constructionist.

    Aye. Aye. Sir!
    That is why some of us believe the Patriot Act and FISA are both unpatriotic and unconstitutional. SCOTUS disagrees with the few of us.

  67. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the Babacan consist of “Baba” + “can” and is not related to Papakan/Babakan.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not believe Trump is a misogynists – he stated publicly that he likes beautiful women.
    I also do not think he is a racist.
    I think he is the first US leader in many decades who has been willing to publicly talk about US problems.
    For most other US politicians – they largely live in “the best of all possible worlds”.

  69. In regards to computer security, if you are running Windows, stop and run Linux.
    If that is not feasible, while running Windows you should have installed a good antivirus like Kaspersky (Russian, I know, it’s fine), AVG, or Avast. You should also run Malwarebytes Antimalware, and Superantispyware as second opinions. You should use the Chrome or Firefox browsers, and run Ublock or NoScript and AdBlock.
    This is the minimum protection you need on Windows to keep out malware. But the real protection is being careful what Web sites you go to and do not automatically click “Accept” on any popups you see appearing. And only install software from known good Web sites.
    And of course you need good backup software that backs up to an external drive or the cloud. Hard drives always eventually fail (as I know to my sorrow again yesterday as my main drive failed).

  70. Colonel – sincere apologies if my comment above disrupted the discussion on a fascinating article.
    David Habakkuk – I should say that “Quantum Computer” referred solely to the ability to gather and collate great amounts of material. It’s an ability I admire. On Steele, you are among other things setting out something that is unfamiliar to me though not to most others here, I imagine, and that is the milieu in which he is or was working as a UK Intelligence operative. That you have also done in previous articles; it doesn’t seem to be a particularly savoury milieu. As far as Steele’s US activities are concerned, from you I’m not getting the picture of a lone operative, all ties with MI6 neatly severed, working solo in the States on some chance assignment in 2016. I’m getting the picture of someone still very much in the swim and selected because of that.
    The only problem with that second picture is the dossier, or the 30% or so of it – what Comey, I think it was, described as “salacious and unverified”. Surely that’s got to be amateur night. Not something that a practised professional working with other professionals would put his hand to. Does that not support the picture of an ex-operative who’s gone off the rails and is fumbling around unsupervised?
    The Steele affair touched a nerve. One is always I suppose aware that IC professionals are getting up to all sorts and it doesn’t seem improbable that “all sorts” includes political stuff and smear campaigns. But it’s not heaps of corpses in Syria or farm boys being sent to certain death in the Ukraine. And even within the UK Intelligence Community and their contractors or whatever they’re called, compared with what our IC people have done in the ME or compared with what one fears Hamish de Bretton Gordon might have got himself involved in, Christopher Steele’s just a choirboy. Nevertheless there’s something deeply repellent about what he did. Whatever your view of Trump there he was, newly elected, obviously wanting to make a go of it, and already faced with difficulties. Then some chancer throws “Golden Showers” in his face and makes his position, not maybe for the insiders but for the general public, that bit more untenable.
    So from a UK perspective the question of whether Steele was acting in concert with others in the UK becomes important. If he was truly working solo then that from a UK point of view is regrettable but one of those things. In that case MI6 would just have to tighten up its controls on what ex-operatives get up to, put out the appropriate disclaimers, and that’s the end of it as far as the UK is concerned. But if Golden Showers and the rest of it was a “Welcome Mr President” from UK IC professionals as a group then those professionals should be hung drawn and quartered together with whoever set them on.
    I’ve read your article several times now and apart from the fact that much of what you pull together isn’t material I’m up on, it doesn’t seem to me that you’re definitely coming to one conclusion or the other. There are many more facts to come out so perhaps this question is premature, but do you think Steele was acting in concert with others in the UK or was he, at least as far as the UK is concerned, working solo?

  71. kooshy says:

    Most Iranian females Named Fatima/ Fatimah after prophet’ daughter, call themselves Fati, and if they are of aristocrat type, they are called Bibi Fati Khanam, which is honorable lady Fati and if they are westernized they become Fay or Fifi.

  72. turcopolier says:

    Much of your commentary seems directed to David Habakkuk and PT rather than I. I don’t think the FBI would have started to pay him until he left UK service. pl

  73. JPB says:

    I’m thinking a certain souk near Tunis, named after a famous 13th century Sufi Saint. But her first name was Aisha and not Fatimah? Her shrine was recently desecrated by salafists.

  74. kooshy says:

    Babak , I think they are the same the C in Turkish is pronounced as K, like Cute https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA/Oghuz_languages also Iranian Media spell his name as Babakan
    incidentally here is an article from 10 years ago when he as Turkey’ FM with ‘all new ideas” was to negotiate peace between Israel and Syrian Government obviously Assad’, good old days when peace was so easy to negotiate like candy.

  75. Cortes says:

    Salacious is perhaps rooted (Matron!) in the Latin for salt, an essential mineral. Salary comes to mind. And where, exactly, do you expect the great public to look beyond the initial scabrously defamatory storytelling about the “golden showers”? When they exercise their common sense and consign the original story to the dustbin it deserves?
    A series of probes tangientally (at best) related to the original enquiry.
    Gossip raised to raison d’etat.

  76. Colonel – Further apologies – I should have submitted comment 79 as two items.
    Yes, the question about Steele was in response to DH’s article. The UK side of the affair is I suppose only a small part of the question you and your Committee are examining but it’s a dubious part however one looks at it. Although it’s early days yet I was hoping DH, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of the UK intelligence scene, might feel able to cast more light on that UK side.

  77. Cortes – ” … where, exactly, do you expect the great public to look beyond the initial scabrously defamatory storytelling about the “golden showers”? ”
    I don’t think one can expect the public, at least in the UK, to look very far beyond the initial scandal. The investigations and enquiries presently under way in the US are complex and are taking place in a different system. This member of the UK public wouldn’t be able to give you a coherent account of those enquiries and I doubt many of my fellows could.
    So we have to take on trust, most of us, what we’re told. As far as I can tell the underlying theme from the BBC and the media is generally that Trump is subverting the American Justice system in order to ensure his own misdemeanours aren’t investigated.
    Some of us take that as gospel. Others of us assume that the politicians and the media are untrustworthy and ignore them. I doubt many of us go into much more detail than that. Therefore the original story will stick in our minds.
    But for some in the UK there are questions in there as well. How come the UK got mixed up in all this? How much did the UK get mixed up in it?

  78. Sid Finster,
    In response to comment 53.
    When I belatedly started looking at the Litvinenko mystery, as a result of a strange email provoked by comments of mine on SST which arrived in my inbox in March 2007 from someone who turned out to be a key protagonist, it was rather obvious that improvised and chaotic ‘StratCom’ operations had been put into place on both the Russian and British sides to cover up what had happened.
    A particular interesting feature of those on the British side – in which we now know Christopher Steele must have played a leading role – were the bizarre gyrations those responsible were going through trying to explain away the extraordinary fact that when he had broken the story of his poisoning, Litvinenko had pointed the finger of suspicion at his Italian associate Mario Scaramella.
    When I started delving, I came across some very interesting pieces on Scaramella and related matters posted on the ‘European Tribune’ website by a Rome-based blogger using the name ‘de Gondi’ in the period after the story broke.
    His actual name is David Loepp, by profession he is an artisan jeweller specialising in ancient and traditional goldsmith techniques, and I already knew and respected his work from his contributions to the transnational internet investigation into the Niger uranium forgeries – an earlier MI6 clusterf**ck.
    So in May 2008 I posted a longish piece on that site, setting out the problems with the evidence about the Litvinenko case as I saw them, in the hope of reactivating his interest. This paid off in spades, when he linked to, and translated a key extract from, the request from Italian prosecutors to use wiretaps of conversations with Senator Paolo Guzzanti in connection with their prosecution of Scaramella for ‘aggravated calumny.’
    The request, which up to not so long ago was freely available on the website of the Italian Senate, was denied, but the extensive summaries of the transcripts provided a lot of material.
    (This initial post by me, and later posts by me on that site, are at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:1857/diary. Three posts David Loepp and I produced jointly in December 2012, which have a lot on Scaramella and Shvets, are on his page there, at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/de%20Gondi/diary .)
    The extract from the wiretap request which David Loepp posted, which like Litvinenko’s letter containing the claims he and Yuri Shvets had concocted about Putin using Mogilevich to attempt to supply Al Qaeda with a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ is dated 1 December 2005, contains key pointers to the conspiracy. It concludes:
    ‘A passage on Simon Moghilevic and an agreement between the camorra to search for nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War to be consigned to Bin Laden, a revelation made by the Israeli. According to Scaramella the circle closes: camorra, Moghilevic- Russian mafia- services- nuclear bombs in Naples.’
    Subsequent conversations make clear that Scaramella left on 6 December 2005 for Washington, on a trip where he was to meet Shvets. The summary of a report on this to Guzzanti reads:
    ‘12) conversation that took place on number [omissis] on December 18, 2005, at 9:41:51 n. 1426, containing explicit references to the authenticity of the declarations of Alexander Litvinenko acquired by Scaramella, to the trustworthiness of the affirmations made by Scaramella in his reports to the commission and to the meetings Scaramella had with Talik after having denounced them [presumably Talik and his alleged accomplices]. (They can talk with HEIMS thanks to the help of MILLER. SHVEZ says that he had been a companion of CARLOS at the academy; SHVEZ has already made declarations and is willing to continue collaboration. Guzzanti warns that a document in Russian arrived in commission in which the name of SCARAMELLA appears several times, these [sic] say that directives to the contrary had been given to Litvinenko. Scaramella says that he went to the meeting with TALIK in the company of two treasury [police] and a cop, Talik spoke of a person from the Ukrainian GRU who would be willing to talk and a strange Chechen ring in Naples. Assassination attempt against the pope, CASAROLI was a Soviet agent.)’
    The summary of a later conversation also refers to ‘MILLER’:
    ‘conversation that took place on number [omissis] on January 13, 2006, at 11:22:11 n. 2287, containing references to Scaramella’s sources in relation to facts referred in the Commission, the means by which they were obtained by Scaramella from declarations made abroad, the role of Litvinenko, also on the occasion of declarations made by third parties and the credibility of the news and theses given by Scaramella to the commission (Scaramella reads a text in English on the relation between the KGB and PRODI. Guzzanti asks if its credibility can be confirmed and if the taped declarations can be backed up; Scaramella answers that there were two testimonies, Lou Palumbo and Alexander (Litvinenko), and that the registration made in London at the beginning of the assignment [Scaramella’s?] had been authenticated by a certain BAKER of the FBI. As he translates the text from English, Scaramella notes that the person testifying does not say he knows Prodi but only that he thinks that Prodi …; all those who worked for the person testifying in Scandinavia said that Prodi was “theirs.” The affair in Rimini, Bielli is preparing the battle in Rimini. Meetings with MILLER for the three things that are needed. Polemic about Pollari over the pressure exerted on Gordievski.)’
    In the exchanges on my May 2008 post, I mentioned and linked to some extraordinary comments on a crucial article by Edward Jay Epstein, in which Karon von Gerhke claimed that his sceptical account fitted with what her contacts in the British investigation had told her. When that July I came across her equally extraordinary claims in response to the BBC’s Mark Urban piece of stenography – which Steele may also have had a hand in organising – I found she was referring to precisely that visit to Washington by Scaramella which had been described in the wiretap request.
    As you can perhaps imagine, the fact that ‘Miller’ had featured in the conversations with Guzzanti both as a key contact, who could introduce Scaramella to Aldrich Ames (which is who ‘Heims’ clearly is), and with whom there had been meetings about ‘the three things that are needed’ made me inclined to take seriously what Karon von Gerhke said about his role.
    In December 2008, I put up another post on ‘European Tribune’, putting together the material from David Loepp and that from Karon von Gerhke – but not discussing the references to ‘Miller.’ As I had hoped, this led to her getting in touch.
    Among the material with which she supplied me, which I in turn supplied to the Solicitor to the Inquest, were covers of faxes to John Rizzo, then Acting General Counsel of the CIA. From a fax dated 23 October 2005.
    ‘John: See attached email to Chuck Patrizia. Berezovsky alleges he is in possession of a copy of a classified file given to the CIA by Russia’s FSB, which he further alleges the CIA disseminated to British, French, Italian and Israeli intelligence agencies implicating him in business associations with the Mafia and to ties with terrorist organizations. Yuri Shvets was authorised/directed by Berezovsky to raise the issue with Bud McFarlane scheduled for Thursday. McFarlane is unaware the issue will be raised with him.’
    From a fax dated 7 November 2005:
    ‘John: I am attaching an email exchange between Yuri Shvets and me re: 1) article he published on his Ukraine website on alleged sale of nuclear choke to Iran, which I reproached him on as having been planted by Berezovsky and 2 the alleged FSB/CIA document file that Berezovsky obtained from Scaramella, which Yuri acknowledges in his e-mail to me. Like extracting wisdom teeth to get him to put anything on paper, especially in an e-mail! [NAME REDACTED BY ME – DH] is the source McFarlane referred Yuri to re: Berezovsky’s visa issue. She proposed meeting Berezovsky in London. Alleged it would take a year to clear up USG issues and even then could not guarantee him a visa. She too has access to USG intelligence on Berezovsky. Open book.’
    From a fax dated 5 December 2005:
    ‘John. From Mario Scaramella to Yuri Shvets to my ears, the DOJ has authorised Mario Scaramella to interview Aldrich Ames with regard to members of the Italian Intelligence Service agent recruited by Ames for the KGB. Scaramella, as you may recall, is who gave Boris Berezovsky’s aide, a former FSB Colonel [LITVINENKO – DH], that alleged document number to the FSB file that the CIA disseminated on Berezovsky – a file that Bud McFarlane’s “Madam Visa” [NAME REDACTED BY ME – DH] is alleged is totting off to London for ameeting with Berezovsky, who has agreed to retain her re: his visa issue. Quid pro quo’s with Berezovsky and Scaramella on the CIA agent currently facing kidnapping charges for the rendition of the Muslim cleric? Scott Armstrong has a most telling file on Scaramella. Not a single redeeming quality.’
    In the course of very extensive exchanges with Karon von Gerhke subsequently, we had some rather acute disagreements. It was unfortunate that her filing was a shambles – a crucial hard disk failed without a backup, and the ‘hard copies’ appeared to be in a chaotic state.
    However, the only occasion when I can recall having reason to believe that was deliberately lying to me was when David Loepp unearthed a cache of documentation including the full Italian text of the letter from Litvinenko containing the ‘StratCom’ designed to suggest that Putin had attempted to supply a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ to Al Qaeda. Having been asked to keep this between ourselves for the time being, Karon insisted on immediately sending it to her contacts in Counter Terrorism Command, and then produced bogus justifications.
    Time and again, moreover, I found that I could confirm statements that she made – see for example the two posts I put up on the legal battles following the death in February 2008 of Berezovsky’s long-term partner Arkadi ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili in June and July 2009, which were based on careful corroboration of what she told me.
    (I should also say that I acquired the greatest respect for her courage.)
    And while Owen and his team suppressed all the evidence from her, and almost all of that from David Loepp, which I had I provided to them, the dossier about Berezovsky is described in a statement made by Litvinenko in Tel Aviv in April 2006, presented in evidence in the Inquiry.
    (See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    Other evidence, moreover, strongly inclines me to believe that there were overtures for a ‘quid pro quo’, purporting to come from Putin, but that this was a ruse orchestrated by Berezovsky.
    Part of the purpose of this would almost certainly have been to supply probably bogus ‘evidence’ about arms sales in the Yeltsin years to Iraq, Iran and Syria. Moreover, I think there was an article on the second ‘Fifth Element’ site run by Shvets about the supposed sale of a nuclear ‘choke’ – whatever that is – to Iran.
    The likelihood of the involvement of elements in the FBI in these shenanigans seems to quite high, given what has already emerged about the activities of Levinson. Also relevant may be the fact that the ‘declaration’ which was part of the attempt to frame Romano Prodi was authenticated, in London, by ‘a certain BAKER of the FBI.’)

  79. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you David Habakkuk.
    Truly sordid and deplorable.
    WWIII to be initiated on basis of lies.

  80. blowback,
    In response to 36.
    Thanks for the link. But what Mattis has said relates to the latest accusations, not early ones. Key paragraphs:
    ‘A deadly sarin attack on another rebel-held area in April 2017 prompted President Donald Trump to order a U.S. missile strike on the Shayrat airbase, from which the Syrian operation is said to have been launched.
    ‘“We are on the record and you all have seen how we reacted to that, so they would be ill-advised to go back to violating the chemical (weapons) convention,” Mattis said.’
    So he is not repudiating the conventional wisdom according to which sarin was used at Khan Sheikhoun, and the possibility of a military response to a fresh ‘false flag’ is left open. Unless he is basing his accusation on credible evidence, this to be blunt, comes close to inciting jihadists to atrocity.
    The extent – and unscrupulousness – of the mounting propaganda campaign in relation to the recently claims is well brought out in a piece by Rick Sterling in ‘Consortium News’ on Sunday. Whether those involved are still hoping to precipitate a serious American military intervention, and whether those hopes might be realistic, I cannot say.
    (See https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/04/wmd-claims-in-syria-raise-concerns-over-u-s-escalation/ .)
    This makes the detailed demonstration by Professor McKeigue of the frankly farcical nature of the ‘Joint Investigative Mechanism’ report into Khan Sheikhoun, to which I linked, all the more important. In addition to exposing the total dependence of its analysis on a completely incredible claim about the aircraft which is supposed to have delivered the chemical weapon, and discussing much other evidence, he brings out a key point about developments in ‘chemical forensics’ over the past years.
    As well as the 1995 sarin attacks, the 2001 anthrax letter attacks led to an enormous investment of money and intellectual energy in the development of analytical techniques making it possible to identify perpetrators of chemical weapons incidents. A fascinating article entitled ‘Tracing a Threat’ by Bethany Halford in ‘Chemistry & Engineering News World’ in February 2012 provides a good picture of what the state of play was at that time.
    (See https://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i6/Tracing-Threat.html .)
    She quotes an expert called Joseph Chipuk, from a consultancy called ‘Signature Science’ in Austin, explaining how the ‘spectra’ – different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation associated with different ‘impurities’ in samples, including ‘environmental’ ones, such as soil, fragments of weapons, and clothing – can be matched with reconstructions of possible ‘synthetic pathways’.
    The levels of sophistication of which this kind of analysis was already capable, he made clear, are close to breathtaking:
    ‘To figure out signatures based on various synthetic routes and conditions, Chipuk says that the synthetic chemists on his team will make the same chemical threat agent as many as 2,000 times in an “almost robotic manner,” following a database that tells them exactly what conditions to use. They then hand off the product to the analytical chemists, who look at all the tiny impurities that turn up along with the toxic chemical – “the stuff that’s down in the weeds,” as Chipuk describes it. From there, the hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of spectra that are collected go to statisticians and computer scientists who work their magic to tease out the unique attribution signatures.’
    At the end of the article, Halford quotes Chipuk again making clear that improvement is continuous in a way that is making it quite extraordinarily difficult to fool analysts who are genuinely looking for the truth – as not only Dan Kaszeta but, very regrettably, key figures at the OPCW and some of its ‘Designated Laboratories’ do not appear to be:
    ‘“The fact is that technology continues to improve, instrumentation continues to improve, and computers continue to improve. The chances of someone being able to slip by undetected are getting smaller and smaller,” says Signature Science’s Chipuk. “If you were to choose to do something like this, the science is going to catch up to you.”’
    In relation to the claims now being made, what is initially at issue is simply the question of whether the ‘impurities’ identified by the ‘spectra’ in samples from the incidents at Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, Saraqeb, and Khan Al-Asal match.
    What characterised the ‘hexamine hypothesis’ as put forward by Kaszeta was the – close to surreal – suggestion that a single substance, hexamine, was a ‘smoking gun’. To anyone who had taken the trouble to read easily accessible discussions of the methodology, such as Halford’s piece, it would be apparent that it is simply ludicrous to base a claim on a single substance – particularly given that hexamine is also used in explosives.
    In the ‘Reuters’ report on 30 January, we were told:
    ‘Two compounds in the Ghouta sample matched those also found in Khan Sheikhoun, one formed from sarin and the stabilizer hexamine and another specific fluorophosphate that appears during sarin production, the tests showed.’
    (See https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-chemicalweapons-exclusiv/exclusive-tests-link-syrian-government-stockpile-to-largest-sarin-attack-sources-idUSKBN1FJ0MG .)
    So we have an – unidentified – compound which supposedly establishes that the hexamine did indeed form part of the sarin production process, rather than of the explosive charge. And we are then told of the presence of another compound, which are told is ‘another specific fluorophosphate’: why not tell us which?
    To anyone interested in actually making sense of the evidence, to have a mere two compounds mentioned, and those not adequately identified, suggests an alternative possibility: that people who knew details of the ‘synthetic pathway’ by which Syrian government sarin had been synthesised leaked them to those who were producing the substance for a ‘false flag.’ It would have been beyond the capabilities of a relatively primitive operation to produce any kind of close fit – to get a couple of compounds to match would probably not have been difficult at all.
    If this suspicious interpretation if false, there is a very simple way to refute it – and General Mattis is in a perfect position to do this.
    The close links between the American and British ‘intelligence communities’ have been stressed in comments on this thread. It is clear that in relation to Syrian chemical weapons, there was a division of labour.
    Analysis of ‘environmental’ samples was concentrated at the British OPCW-certified facility, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire. Meanwhile, preparations for the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal were the made at one of the two American OPCW-certified laboratories, the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland.
    The destruction of the 581 tonnes of the sarin precursor methylphosphonyl difluoride, or DF, aboard the specially kitted out vessel ‘M.V. Cape Ray’ in the Mediterranean was announced in August 2014. In the extensive reporting on the preparations for this, it was made absolutely clear that – as one would expect – the vessel was equipped with a proper analytical laboratory, with OPCW scientists involved as well as those from the Edgewood Center.
    (See https://www.chemistryworld.com/feature/eliminating-syrias-chemical-weapons/7390.article .)
    In a post entitled ‘Sentence First – Verdict Afterwards?’ shortly after the Khan Sheikhoun attack, and then in two ‘open letters’ to the members of our Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees, I pointed to the mass of evidence suggesting that the test results from different incidents did not match each other or those from the stocks destroyed on the ‘Cape Ray.’
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/habakkuk/ .)
    The publicly available evidence, I argued, provided strong reason to believe that results from Porton Down and the OPCW confirmed the claim made by the Russians, supposedly on the basis of tests from their own OPCW-certified laboratory, that the sarin used at Khan Al-Asal and Ghouta was a ‘cottage industry’ product. This was also what Seymour Hersh claimed that tests carried out at Porton Down had revealed about the sarin used at Ghouta – he used the term ‘kitchen sarin.’
    What the Reuters report has – perhaps inadvertently – confirmed is that Porton Down had in fact tested ‘environmental’ samples from the Khan Al-Asal incident on 19 March 2013, the first where sarin was used in Syria, by suggesting that tests from that incident as well as those at Ghouta and Khan Sheikhoun matched the results from the stocks on the ‘Cape Ray’:
    ‘Laboratories working for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons compared samples taken by a U.N. mission in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta after the Aug. 21, 2013 attack, when hundreds of civilians died of sarin gas poisoning, to chemicals handed over by Damascus for destruction in 2014.
    ‘The tests found “markers” in samples taken at Ghouta and at the sites of two other nerve agent attacks, in the towns of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib governorate on April 4, 2017 and Khan al-Assal, Aleppo, in March 2013, two people involved in the process said.
    ‘“We compared Khan Sheikhoun, Khan al-Assal, Ghouta,” said one source who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the findings. “There were signatures in all three of them that matched.”’
    Can anyone seriously believe that if the tests we know to have been done on at Porton Down had established what this ‘source’ who does not have the guts to the identify himself claims, this fact would not have been trumpeted to the skies – first when the results from Ghouta matched those from Khan Al-Asal, and then when both matched those from the ‘Cape Ray’?
    Allright – sometimes the practically incredible turns out to be true. But if he has any evidence on which to base his claims, General Mattis should have the courage of his convictions, and order the disclosure of the relevant ‘spectra.’

  81. Jack says:

    You may already know this but Steele was a no show in a UK court for a deposition on the libel suit.

  82. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I know something of spectroscopy.
    The critical issue here is the provenance of the samples and not the sophistication of the techniques used in the analysis itself or its instrumentation.
    The paragraph that you have quoted:
    “To figure out signatures based on various synthetic routes and conditions, Chipuk says that the synthetic chemists on his team will make the same chemical threat agent as many as 2,000 times in an …” reeks of intellectual intimidation – trying to brow-beat any skeptic by the size of one’s instrument – as it were.”
    And then there is a little matter of confidence level in any of the analysis – such things are normally based on prior statistics – which did not and could not exist in this situation.

  83. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says,
    So you have forgiven the Communists for taking all the Spanish gold bullion from the Spanish equivalent of Fort Knox and shipping the whole kit and caboodle to Odessa? Wasn’t that a bit much? And never a hint of giving it back either to this very day.
    Why are your interests so far flung, like some sort of Isobel Eberhardt, when you have such a great and yet troubling story in your own back-yard. Or mountains.
    What happens when Catalonia becomes independent? What does that do to the Basque country? What are they thinking there?
    Are you for an independent Catalonia?
    And now, what may or may not be the Trick Question: What do you think of Ernest Hemingway?

  84. LeaNder says:

    David, it’s no doubt interesting to watch how attention on Victor Ivanov in another deficient inquiry on the British Isles, was managed in that inquiry. If I may, since he pops up again in the Steele dossier. You take what’s available? Is that all there is to know?
    I know its hard to communicate basics if you are deeply into matters. Usually people prefer to opt out. It’s getting way too complicated for them to follow. You made me understand this experience. But isn’t this (fake) intelligence continuity “via” Yuri Svets what connects your, no harm meant I do understand your obsession with the case, with what we deal with now in the Steele Dossier? Again, one of the most central figures is Ivanov.
    Of course later reports in the Steele Dossier go hand in hand with a larger public relations campaign. Creating reality? Irony alert: as informer/source I would by then know what the other side wants to hear.
    By the way, babbling mode, I found your Tom Mangold transcription. It felt it wasn’t there on the link you gave. I used the date, and other search terms. Maybe I am wrong. Haven’t looked at what the judge ruled out of the collection. Yes, cozy session/setting.
    According to Google search there are no other links then your articles here:
    The Collapsing Wall. Hybrid Journalism.
    A Comparative Study of Newspapers and
    Magazines in Eight Countries in Europe
    Available online. Haven’t read it yet, but journalism as hidden public relations transfer belt would be one of my minor obsessions. …

  85. Babak Makkinejad,
    You are wrong about this. That the ‘chain of custody’ principle has been flagrantly violated in the reports of the ‘Fact-Finding Mission’ and the ‘Joint Investigative Mechanism’ is patently the case, and in itself reason why the almost unanimous acceptance of these in the MSM is scandalous. But that is a separate issue.
    (See http://russiaun.ru/en/news/opcwun – the whole document is well worth reading.)
    The reasons why the test results from the various laboratories were critical were set out last April in my ‘“Sentence First – Verdict Afterwards”?’ piece, and the two ‘open letters’ to the members of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committees pointing out the need for clarification as to what was being claimed about the test results.
    Let me recap, and update.
    An example of the kind of ‘chemical forensics’ one needs in incidents like this was provided by the analysis of test results on ‘shell and soil’ samples purporting to derive from the Khan Al-Asal incident on 19 March 2013 which formed part of the document from the Russian OPCW-certified laboratory which was submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 9 July that year.
    On 4 September, as part of the attempt to stop the visible attempt to use Ghouta to create an unstoppable momentum towards the destruction of the Syrian government, more details of what looks like an expanded version of the original document were made public by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In it they claimed that:
    ‘shell and soil samples contained nerve agents – sarin gas and diisopropylfluorophosphate – not synthesized in an industrial environment, which was used by Western states for producing chemical weapons during World War II.’
    It was also made clear that the conclusions rested upon precisely the kind of very complex analysis Bethany Halford is describing:
    ‘We highlight that the Russian report is extremely specific. It is a scientific and technical document containing about 100 pages with many tables and diagrams of spectral analysis of the samples. We expect that it will significantly assist in the investigation into this incident by the UN. Unfortunately, it has in fact not started yet.’
    (See https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/3169 .)
    Unfortunately, the detailed ‘spectra’ have not been released, but they have certainly been analysed by experts at the OPCW and that organisation’s ‘Designated Laboratories’ in the West, including Porton Down. We know that the results from the materials tested on the ‘Cape Ray’ will show a sarin precursor ‘manufactured in an industrial environment.’
    To prove what Mattis and others want to claim it is necessary that the ‘spectra’ from none of the other tests match those in the Russian report, and the ‘markers’ from the ‘Cape Ray’ materials are the same as those from Khan Sheikhoun, Ghouta, and Khan Al-Asal. If there are serious ‘chain of custody’ problems, the ‘markers’ from the four sets of tests might not be sufficient to establish Syrian government culpability – a lack of a match would be quite sufficient to establish that the indictment cannot be accepted as it stands.
    As I brought out in my post last April, the publicly available evidence – of which Hersh’s ‘Red Line and Rat Line’ article and subsequent interviews form an important part – strongly suggests the Russian claims that the toxin used in both Khan Al-Asal and also Ghouta was ‘cottage industry’, as they put it, or ‘kitchen sarin’, as he put it, are correct.
    It is simply not a refutation of these claims to treat one compound supposed to validate the ‘hexamine hypothesis’, and an unspecified fluorophosphate, which could be the diisopropylfluorophosphate reported by the Russians, or hexafluorophosphate, as conclusive evidence. (The implications, or lack of them, would be quite different, depending on which compound it was.)
    And all this hush-hush whisper-whisper from ‘diplomats and scientists’ who are not prepared to be identified, as well as assurances from that supposedly ‘independent’ expert Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, only add to the grounds for scepticism. As I brought out in my post, he is under the strongest possible suspicion of having been involved in covering up, and quite possibly colluding in, the ‘false flags.’
    If they have evidence to support the case, then let Western governments produce the ‘spectra’ – as also should the Russians. We do not need complete reports, which may need to be kept secret for perfectly good reasons – simply the ‘many tables and diagrams’ which must exist. Once these were out in the open, then it would be much easier to have an informed argument.
    Most of this ground I covered last April. However, there is some crucial new context. Part of this is provided by a report in ‘The Intercept’ last October, entitled ‘NSA Document Says Saudi Prince Directly Ordered Coordinated Attack By Syrian Rebels On Damascus.’ As it explains:
    ‘According to a top-secret National Security Agency document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the March 2013 rocket attacks were directly ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Salman had provided 120 tons of explosives and other weaponry to opposition forces, giving them instructions to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the airport, the document, produced by U.S. government surveillance on Syrian opposition factions, shows.’
    (See https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/ .)
    This was on 18 March – the day before Khan Al-Asal. Further relevant context is provided by a piece in February 2017 on the ‘Monitor on Massacre Marketing’ site by Adam Larson, entitled ‘What happened on March 19, 2013?’ which is subtitled ‘The First Bodies Tossed Across Obama’s “Red Line” in Syria.’
    (See http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/what-happened-on-march-19-2013.html .)
    This starts by reviewing the – ample – evidence that the Khan Al-Asal attack came at a point where there was very visible enthusiasm on the part of a lot of people in the United States and Western Europe for intervention in support of the ‘Assad must go’ agenda, so that he had every incentive to avoid chemical weapons use, and the insurgents every incentive to produce a ‘false flag.’
    And Larson goes on to note that ‘Ironically, the first solid news of the feared chemical attack came in the form of a Syrian government announcement on March 19 that their forces had been gassed by “terrorists” in a town just west of Aleppo” – that is, the Shi’ite town of Khan Al-Asal.
    There follow detailed reviews of the evidence of another incident on the same day, in which the victims appeared to be insurgents, at the Damascus suburb variously transliterated as Otaybah and Uteibah, and more fragmentary and puzzling evidence about events at Homs.
    And Larson goes on to suggest that a three-pronged ‘false flag’ was planned for 19 March, in Aleppo, Damascus and Homs – the country’s three largest cities. This would obviously fit very well with the NSA intercept, in that it would suggest that the intent was to portray these as Assad’s savage response to the attacks in Damascus, thus, hopefully, generating unstoppable momentum for American military intervention.
    This seems to me eminently plausible, but it leaves open two possible interpretations of Khan Al-Asal. When insurgents who are difficult to control are given access to weapons like sarin, there is an obvious possibility of matters developing in unexpected directions, either as the result of their bungling an attack, or succumbing to the temptation to use it against government forces.
    However, a different set of unintended consequences is also possible. It could be that Syrian intelligence, perhaps with the assistance of Russian and/or Iranian, and with a combination of ‘SIGINT’ and ‘HUMINT’ methods quite possibly being deployed, knew precisely what was going on – and had double agents inside the groups preparing the ‘false flags.’
    Rather than wait until the inevitable chorus calling for all-out air strikes began, it could well have made sense to turn one of the incidents into a ‘false flag’ within a ‘false flag.’
    The anti-Assad camp would then have been effectively ‘snookered.’ They would have faced a situation where they would know that, if they acceded to the calls from the Syrians and Russians for a proper UN/OPCW investigation, making a rigorous use of ‘chemical forensics’, these would implicate the insurgents. And if the evidence suggested that it was these who had crossed Obama’s ‘red line’, it would have been game and set, and probably match, to the Syrian and Russian governments.
    Irrespective of people’s views on what interpretation is plausible in relation to Khan Al-Asal, the important point is that strategies which rely strongly on convert action – as the ‘régime change’ projects I outlined in the current post do – are inherently liable to run out of control. The uncontrollability of their instruments, and the possibility of covert action meeting covert action in return, are always liable to generate unintended consequences which can escalate.
    As soon as the possible that an impartial investigation would implicate the insurgents was real, in relation to Khan Al-Asal, irrespective of whether the imputation would have been justified, the alternative to facing a complete collapse of their projects in Syria, for Western governments, was inherently likely to be at best covering up, at worst colluding in, further ‘false flags.’ Moreover, intense pressure had to be mounted, to ensure that what were supposed to be sources of independent expertise supported their cover-ups.
    This pattern, I am suggesting is common both to history of the ‘StratCom’ in which Christopher Steele has been involved, and that relating to chemical weapons use in Syria. Particularly when the ‘Fourth Estate’ ceases to do its job, a likely result is the progressive systematic corruption of institutions.

  86. turcopolier says:

    Which “Leander” are you? pl

  87. LeaNder says:

    Always the same Pat.
    But thanks, got the difference by now. Pape – Papadopoulos.
    Although, yes, I may have used Alex once lately. Without, to the extend I recall, sinister intention.

  88. LeaNder says:

    Pape – Papadopoulos.
    should be Page – Papadopoulus.

  89. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I wonder too; their command of the English idiom is very au currant – noticed “opt in/opt out” reference? Too American.
    They clearly are not native speakers of German.

  90. LeaNder says:

    why California, Kooshy #18? California among other things left this verbal trace, since I once upon time thought a luggage storage in SF might be free/available now: this is my home, lady.
    Tourists from many—but not all—foreign nations wishing to enter Kish Free Zone from legal ports are not required to obtain any visa prior to travel. For those travelers, upon-arrival travel permits are stamped valid for 14 days by Kish officials.
    Who are the not all? Can we assume Britain is not one of those?
    The German link is different. How about the Iranian?
    or isn’t this the Kish we are talking about?

  91. LeaNder says:

    correcting myself #94:
    another Ivanov. I struggled with names (…) in Russian crime novels, admittedly. But that’s long ago from times Russian crime and Russian money flows and rogues getting hold of its nuclear material surfaced more often in Europe. 90s
    I see Sergei seems to share my interest in the literary genre:

  92. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you.

  93. turcopolier says:

    You become more entertaining all the time. I would think you are more like the age of a grand daughter. Are you actually a member of a communist party or just a wannabe? pl

  94. turcopolier says:

    But, you should join the party! Show the courage of your convictions! The Guardia Civil would like to know you. I’ll bet your grandfather was a party member or was he also a wannabe? I don’t care what you call me so long as it is not obscene. As a contribution to your education I will tell you that in the US retired military people are still in the military. They are not “former” military people. That is a different status. pl

  95. turcopolier says:

    God is with the Communists? I think you are a little confused. Marxism-Leninism is specificall atheirst and anti-religious. pl

  96. kooshy says:

    Don’t know, never been to Kish myself, just meant (compering) California is like paradise (persian Pardiss) once you enter you wouldn’t want to leave. That’s what happened to me anyway, never left.

  97. turcopolier says:

    Fatima Manoubia
    I have decided that you are either a troll or an idiot. It is tempting to think that you are merely a fool but you display the symptoms of trollism: a desire to cause disruption through provocation and a desire to wound by denigration. You are banned from SST and guest authors are cautioned not to post comments from you. pl

  98. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You cannot be serious; not just in USSR, but also in Eastern Europe (e.g. Romania) the Communists continued the anti-clericalism of the Enlightenment Tradition. In Spain, 8600 priests were murdered by in territory of the Republic. Have you not read “Cypress Trees Believe in God”?

  99. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I suggested to LeaNder, the Zionist Troll in these parts, to get out of her place and see the world – at the time believing that she was a German living in Germany. Likewise, I suggest you live your protected bubble in Spain and live in New Delhi for a few months; they live and die a zero sum game.

  100. LeaNder says:

    David #88, was interesting to go back to this memory hole. Or to look back from now into then.
    But admittedly, I still don’t understand why Mario Scaramella wanted to see Adrich Ames in 2006. What for? And how Judith Miller, I guess, could have helped in that. I only have this vague memory trail of emails exchanged between her David Kelly not long before his death.
    From your article:
    Shortly after the letter was sent Scaramella departed on a trip to Washington, where he appears to have got access to Aldrich Ames.
    DH #88
    As you can perhaps imagine, the fact that ‘Miller’ had featured in the conversations with Guzzanti both as a key contact, who could introduce Scaramella to Aldrich Ames (which is who ‘Heims’ clearly is), and with whom there had been meetings about ‘the three things that are needed’ made me inclined to take seriously what Karon von Gerhke said about his role.
    But yes, how the “intelligence” on Iraq made it from Italy (SISMI related) via France, if I recall correctly to London was curious indeed.
    But maybe you can help me to understand more then I admittedly do.

  101. LeaNder says:

    Pat, if I may still. I can of course address you as Colonel or Sir too. I also think that respect is something more subtle. And I can assure you, I respect you no matter if I use Colonel, Sir, or Pat.
    I realize it invites people that may not share my basic standards.
    We have not had a self declared communist on SST before although LeaNder in her youth may have come close to that exalted status.
    I guess, I wasn’t that even in my youth. Some of my closest friends were attracted to Anarchism though. I still have this distinct memory that a classmate got on my nerves during on math class when he tried to lecture me about Bakunin. That was maybe with sixteen. I realized he had lost the thread (understanding, the ability to follow) years ago. I changed seats after that experience.
    This more general type, and a lot of my friends belonged into this category, labelled den real existierenden Kommunismus “Communism as system in reality” as Red Fascists.
    I enjoyed English Outsider’s feedback to our recent lurker, by the way. A little humor now and then is refreshing.

  102. IZ,
    In response to 6.
    Thanks for your kind words.
    I fully agree that stupid Zionists are a major cause of the mess we find ourselves in. Unfortunately, one of the effects of the way that they were successfully suckered into clamouring for the toppling of Saddam, whose inevitable result was the creation of the ‘Shia Crescent’ is that we now have both the Zionist and Saudi ‘tails’ wagging the ‘dogs’ in the same direction, both in the United States and Britain.
    Unfortunately, alike in the United States and Britain today there appears to be an inverse correlation among Jews between genuine intelligence and influence. It is symptomatic that Stephen F. Cohen, is now treated as a pariah for questioning the ‘Borgist’ line on Russia, while Julia Ioffe, who really is a silly girl, is invited to pontificate on that country at the Aspen Security Forum.
    Also, the subsuming of Jewish identity in Zionism is something new. The opposition in Cabinet to the Balfour Declaration was led by Edwin Montagu, who had then just been appointed Secretary of State for India. He thought Zionism inherently antisemitic, and entitled the document in which he set out his case ‘Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government.’
    (See http://www.balfourproject.org/edwin-montagu-and-zionism-1917/ .)
    In 1922, Montagu would wreck his political career when he authorised the publication of a message from the Viceroy, Sir Rufus Isaacs, Marquis of Reading, also Jewish, advocating the revision of the harsh terms of the Treaty of Sevres which had been imposed on Turkey in 1920 – both men being concerned about the effects on Indian Muslim opinion.

  103. JohnB,
    In response to #68.
    The decline in the ability of the MSM to do serious investigative journalism over the past decades has been astounding.
    However, there are exceptions. For instance, there was a good BBC Radio ‘File on 4’ on ‘Chemical Weapons’ in January 2014, in which the reporter Alan Urry and the producer Paul Grant interviewed Hugh Gregg, who is Head of Laboratory at the OPCW, and he made clear that they had the technical capability to establish responsibility for incidents like Ghouta, and the obstacles to doing so were simply a question of mandate. This is the crucial point, which has never been adequately pursued.
    (See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/07_01_14_fo4_chemicalweapons.pdf )
    However, a lot of serious investigation is now done by informal groups collaborating on the internet, mining the wealth of ‘open source’ material there is available. Some of the participants involved turn out to have curious histories.
    So since the appearance of a site called ‘Rootclaim’ back in 2016, it now appears overwhelming probable that the ‘sasa wawa’ who masterminded the highly successful ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ investigation is the Israeli high-technology entrepreneur and former Unit 8200 employee Saar Wilf. However, as Colonel Lang has repeatedly stressed, one has to judge the source and the information provided separately.
    Because of the ‘crowdsourced’ nature of the venture, he was able to mine much more information than anyone could have done on his own – while there was no visible attempt to censor rational objections to the analysis.
    (See https://www.rootclaim.comhttps://www.rootclaim.com ; http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk .)
    The ‘Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media’ can build on a lot of work, notably that done on the ‘A Closer Look at Syria’ site. A great deal of material has already been assembled on the ‘Talk: British involvement in Syria’ page, which also provides a lot of leads which can be pursued further.
    (See http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:British_involvement_in_Syria .)
    The third originating member of the group, along with Paul McKeigue and Tim Hayward, is Piers Robinson, whose chair, at Sheffield, is in Politics, Society and Political Journalism. His research group has two research students who are already working on this material. I have seen some of the material produced by one of them, Jake Mason, and he really is working at the detail, which is what you need to do in this kind of research.
    Ironically, this is what some academics who were conspicuously successful in Second World War intelligence did. Both the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who ran the collation and analysis of the material on German from Bletchley Park and other sources, and also Enoch Powell, who was a pivotal figure in military intelligence first in the Middle East and then South Asia, worked very hard at the detail.
    So there is reason to hope that the site may be a magnet for academics who are interested in, as it were, doing investigative journalism. This has the potential very materially to help fill the gap left by the decline of the requisite interests and skills in the MSM.
    It also may have the potential to make certain kinds of challenge to absurd conventional wisdoms acceptable. The powers-that-be can easily ignore the kind of material produced on ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ and ‘ACLOS’, however cogent it is, or indeed anything I write. A group of academics at respected universities may not be quite so easy to disregard.

  104. Jack says:

    I don’t think even academics from “respected” universities will get much coverage if their findings challenge conventional wisdom. The only step that could have potential beneficial results is the vigorous enforcement of Robinson-Patman and the break up of the five media conglomerates to return to the media competition of the 60s.

  105. LeaNder#114.
    It was not Judith Miller. It was someone called Marshall Lee Miller – see the quotation from Karon von Gerhke in #32.
    In #53, Sid Finster said he knew Marshall Miller, as well as one of the Chalupas, and asked for an explanation of his role. It turns out that there are two Marshall Millers, who sound as though they could be father and son, so it would be possible that he knows the other one.
    As to the one to whom Karon von Gerhke referred, I was able to confirm that there was such a person who, as she said, had been a law partner of the former CIA Director William Colby.
    So, for instance, he surfaces in a 1984 report in the ‘Washington Post’, relating to his attempts to get hold of materials held by the CIA relating to Anglo-American attempts to get rid of the Enver Hoxha ‘régime’ in Albania, in which, I think wrongly, the Agency implied that the KGB might still have doubts about the loyalty of Kim Philby.
    It is widely believed that he was the source of the information which allowed American and British agents sent into that country to be destroyed, although some have argued this is wrong. From the article:
    ‘Curiously, the affair was triggered by a former member of the U.S. intelligence community, Marshall Lee Miller. Miller once served in a senior position at the Defense Intelligence Agency and is now a law partner of former CIA Director William E. Colby. In addition to his intelligence and legal background, Miller is a recognized historian specializing in the Balkans and author of a book on Bulgaria.
    (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1984/06/10/was-philby-a-phony-spynew-cia-affidavits-cast-doubt-on-his-loyalty-to-the-russians/75640cb5-56c1-403d-97a8-40042b79cb3f/?utm_term=.431325e26ab2 .)
    As to Karon von Gerhke’s claim that Marshall Lee Miller was a lifelong friend of another former CIA Director, James Woolsey, from Yale days, I have not found confirmation in the public record, but have no doubt it is true.
    If you look at the ‘Wikipedia’ entry on Colby, you can find some relevant background to what Scaramella might have been hoping to get from Aldrich Ames with the help of Miller and Shvets (he did not get it, clearly.)
    (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Colby .)
    In the conditions of the immediate post-war period, it was perfectly natural that Western intelligence agencies should be heavily involved in covert activities in Western Europe, in particular Italy. One purpose was to avoid the possibility of the communists coming to power by legal means – another to make contingency plans for resistance in the event of a Soviet invasion.
    So Colby was heavily involved in covert activities in Italy in the ‘Fifties, having earlier been involved in ‘Operation Gladio’, in Sweden.
    A problem is that, over time, unexpected consequences are liable to materialise.
    In Italy, if one was looking for forces opposed to the communists, one was not going to be able to rely on pure, unblemished figures who had no connections to the Fascist dictatorship. A similar situation, obviously, arose with support for anti-Soviet insurgents in Ukraine and the Baltics. Of course Chrystia Freeland will insist that the notion that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator is Russian propaganda, and she may very well believe it. But that is what he was.
    In Italy, some of the people involved in ‘Gladio’ seem to have run rather spectacularly out of control.
    At the same time, both before and after the collapse of the Soviet system, former KGB people coming to the West have commonly had strong vested interests in telling their audiences what these want to hear. The problem was compounded when a kind of ‘wall of money’ from Berezovsky and the Menatep oligarchs became available, as these, obviously, had the strongest possible incentives for disseminating the ‘return of Karla’ narrative.
    A particularly interesting case is illustrated by the affidavit provided in Tel Aviv by Litvinenko in April 2006, to which I am afraid I also provided a link that did not work.
    (See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    The affidavit describes how – according to this version in 2003 – he was introduced to Scaramella by the GRU defector Vladimir Rezun, aka ‘Viktor Suvorov’, and as a result spent five days in Naples in January 2004 providing the Italian with declarations.
    These, which included the key document entitled ‘A Nuclear Suitcase from Moskow to Zurich’, were uncovered by David Loepp, and I provided them to Owen’s team back in September 2012.
    If they had been produced in evidence, people might have realised that the presence of polonium in London in October-November 2006 might have something to do with the ‘information operations’ contests about ‘suitcase nukes’. So, not surprisingly, they were suppressed.
    What I also told the team was that Rezun/Suvorov had got into an argument with two pre-eminent authorities on Soviet strategy in the Stalin years, Colonel David Glantz, the leading American expert on the war in the East in 1941-2, and the Israeli historian Gabriel Gorodetsky.
    Having started out writing essentially diplomatic history, with a book published in 1984 on the Ambassadorship of Stafford Cripps in Moscow in 1940-2, in his subsequent work on the lead-up to the German attack Gorodetsky both drew on a mass of Russian archival material, and also on advice from a range of experts on Soviet military strategy.
    As well as Colonel Glantz, these included Bruce Menning, whom Gorodetsky in the acknowledgements to his 1999 study ‘Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia’ describes as ‘the foremost expert on Soviet military planning.’ Both Glantz and Menning were instrumental in the creation of the ‘Soviet Army Studies Office’ at Fort Leavenworth, now the ‘Foreign Military Studies Office.’ It is still one of the first ‘ports of call’, if one wants informed Western commentary on Russian military thinking.
    What provoked Gorodetsky’s work on the background to ‘Barbarossa’ was the restatement by Suvorov/Rezun, first in a 1985 article and then in his 1990 study ‘Icebreaker’, which was translated into Russian in 1992, of the claim that Stalin was ultimately responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War.
    In essence, these writings attempted to defend a view held by the ‘appeasers’ at the time, and strongly championed by MI6, on the basis, supposedly, of ‘covert intelligence’, which was in essence that the ‘Popular Front’ and ‘collective security’ approaches advocated by Litvinov were an exercise in ‘reflexive control’ – to use TTG’s phrase.
    Supposedly, both were underpinned by a long-term strategy to exploit ‘useful idiots’ in the West to finesse Germany and the Western powers into war.
    This interpretation was combined by Rezun/Suvorov with the contention that Hitler only pre-empted an intended attack by Stalin.
    How comprehensively Glantz and Gorodetsky demolished Suvorov/Rezun is apparent from a review of the ‘Grand Delusion’ study by the American historian Dr Truman Anderson.
    (See http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/93 .)
    Another irony, incidentally, is that Gorodetsky’s book is essentially a restatement of the view of Stalin’s foreign policy held at the time by the diplomats of the German Moscow Embassy. One of the threads he weaves into his account is the long and unavailing struggle waged by Werner von der Schulenberg, the German Ambassador in the period leading up to ‘Barbarossa’, to prevent Hitler embarking on a quite unnecessary and suicidal war.
    In his book on the Cripps mission, Gorodetsky brought out that a very similar view was held by one of my late father’s teachers, the economic historian Sir Michael Moissey Postan, a Jewish refugee born in Bender, in what was then the Bessarabia Governate of the Russian Empire.
    As head of the Russian section of the Ministry of Economic Warfare, Postan attempted to explain to idiots in the British Foreign Office that – precisely as Schulenberg had told Hitler – Stalin’s policy was dominated by fear of Germany, and that this could push him either to accommodation or confrontation with that country.
    And he was just about the only person in British officialdom to argue – before the evidence from Bletchley Park made the conclusion inescapable – that Hitler was not simply engaged in ‘coercive diplomacy’ but actually intended to invade Russia.
    What is at issue is not sympathy for communism. Rather obviously, Werner von der Schulenberg was no communist, and – as I can vouch for directly – Postan had no sympathy whatsoever for the Soviet system.
    The point is rather that, in dealing with other countries, one needs to work with as an accurate an account as one can get of the past, as well as the present.
    More and more evidence is suggesting that the antics of Christopher Steele and his associates are underpinned by views of key events in twentieth century history which are simply delusional.
    You do not think that he and his like would read Gorodetsky, or Glantz, or Menning, do you? No, all the evidence suggests that people like Steele, and Dearlove, and Scarlett, and Sawyers, and Younger, preferred to listed to Suvorov/Rezun et al telling them what they want to hear.

  106. Alex says:

    INQ015669 INQ015671 Affidavit by Alexander Litvinenko and confirmation by Michael Cotlick 11/04/2006 16/03/2015
    Is there a larger document of the hearing in which one could find out why this document was called on March, 16 2015? Do we learn there why he would give such an affidavit? And why in Israel?
    Did the late Beresovsky at one point hire a lawyer in Israel since he spoke Russian and had translators available? No such services in London? Hard to believe. Or is Mikhael Kotlik acting as something like a solicitor to a barrister in London?

  107. In reply to Alex #120.
    Actually, the affidavit was not produced in evidence when Michael Cotlick appeared at the Inquiry on 16 March 2015.
    Unfortunately, for some reason if one reproduces the link from the Inquiry website, it seems not to work. So the best thing to do is often to Google ‘The Litvinenko Inquiry’ and then trace the material on the relevant page. Where one has the reference number of a document, putting that into Google will find it.
    On the ‘Hearings’ page, the testimony of Cotlick is indeed on 16 March 2015, Day 25 of the proceedings. In the list of items produced on the right hand side, you will see INQ020347, ‘AL documents’, which lists the affidavit which Litvinenko gave in Tel Aviv in April 2006, but the document itself is not produced.
    It however you search for it in the Report, you will find that 4.82 explains that ‘There is also in evidence an Affidavit sworn by Mr Litvinenko in 2006 that provides an outline account of his dealings with the Mitrokhin Commission.’ It is specifically referenced again in 4.83(f), where Owen writes that:
    ‘Mr Litvinenko assisted Mr Scaramella by providing him with information. Their first meeting took place in Naples in January 2004 and lasted about five days. Mr Scaramella told me that they had a number of subsequent meetings at which Mr Litvinenko provided him with information. He thought that they met on three or four occasions in Italy and also on three or four occasions in London.’
    What Scaramella told Owen is in the transcript for 18 March 2015, Day 27 of the hearing. A relevant excerpt:
    ‘Once we organised a formal meeting at the 17 International Maritime Organisation with him and other 18 people, from ECPP and from – so other senior discussant, so Oleg Gordievsky, Vladimir Bukovsky, so 20 staff at International Maritime Organisation, Mr Cohen and some senior expert of the ECPP.
    ‘So once it was just a meeting in London, just aimed to analyse Litvinenko’s statements, and other times it was just me and him, yes.’
    Following this meeting, which was held on 26 July 2004, a dossier largely composed of material provided to it by the ‘Environmental Crime Prevention Programme’, Scaramella’s largely non-existent organisation, was sent from the Italian Embassy in London to the ‘Mitrokhin’ Commission, for which he worked. This kind of circular reporting is a rather familiar ‘information operations’ technique. It would fool some people.
    Unfortunately, the link I provided in #88 got a full stop added to it, but if you follow the correct link – http://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:1857/diary – you will find Scaramella refers to this document in his wiretapped conversations with Senator Guzzanti.
    The full dossier was obtained by David Loepp in the ‘Historical Archives of the Senate of the Italian Republic, Mitrokhin Commission Archives’, where it is Document 341.2. It was attached by me in September 2012 to the first of a series of commentaries and submissions I sent to the Solicitor to the Inquest, Martin Smith, through until Owen’s conduct of the Hearings made it clear the proceedings were completely corrupt.
    From the description of the ‘threat hypothesis’ in Scaramella’s presentation at the meeting, reproduced from the dossier:
    ‘At the end of the cold war nuclear devices were allocated by USSR in several coastal areas or dumped at sea. Also big ammount (sic) of waste to be used as weapons of mass destruction were released. Only in the Mediterranean sea more than 50 billions Curie of High Level Radioactive materials were dumped, in particular in the Sicily Street and in the Sicily Channel. Evidences confirms that telemines were dumped inside the waste material.’
    And much of the rest is quite as ludicrous.
    Just as Scaramella had suggested in his intercepted conversations with Senator Guzzanti, this garbage was endorsed by the much-lauded ‘dissident’, Vladimir Bukovsky, the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, the GRU defector Vladimir Rezun aka ‘Viktor Suvorov’, and the former CIA operative Louis Palumbo. The presence of the second and third of these is further evidence that MI6 was in this exercise up to the hilt, that of the last-named brings us back to the question of how far elements in the CIA were also.
    The ‘statements’ which were to be ‘analyzed’ at this meeting are also included in the dossier. Although they are in Italian translation, the titles are given in English. They include – with authors: ‘From KGB to FSB’ (Litvinenko); ‘Organized Crime in Moskow’ (Litvinenko); ‘Red Brigades’ (Bukovsky); ‘Environmental Terrorism in Italy’ (Litvinenko); ‘Russian Training of Al Qaida Members’ (Limarev) and ‘A Nuclear Suitcase from Moskow to Zurich’ (Litvinenko).’
    It is against this background that one needs to look at the affidavit given by Litvinenko in April 2006. The central subject of this is, quite clearly, the same dossier which Karon von Gerhke referred to in the faxes to John Rizzo I quoted in #88, which were sent in October-December 2005.
    A difference is that according to her faxes, the dossier was originally disseminated by the FSB to the CIA, who then send it on to British, French, Italian and Israeli agencies. According to the affidavit, it was sent to Italian, German, French and Israeli agencies, and had triggered an exchange of information between the last and the Russians.
    Both agree that it accused Berezovsky of supplying Chechen insurgents with arms, but the affidavit is more specific about the mafia links supposed to be involved, pointing to Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, nicknamed ‘Taiwanchik.’
    The faxes from Karon von Gerhke were also submitted by me as evidence, and suppressed.
    As to the reasons why such an affidavit was given in Israel, a crucial point is that there have long been disagreements both in Western intelligence agencies and in the Israeli about the wisdom of using jihadists as an instrument.
    In December 2015 – ironically, just before Owen published his report – the former head of the Israeli National Security Council, Giora Eiland, published an article in the ‘Guardian’ entitled ‘Russia is right: fighting Isis is the priority for us all.’ At the start, he recalled:
    ‘About a dozen years ago, the head of a Russian thinktank visited Israel. As head of the National Security Council, I met him, along with several other senior defence officials, and we heard him say that the greatest threat to world peace was Islamic State. True, the name “Isis” wasn’t mentioned then, but the phenomenon that it represents was predicted with astounding accuracy. The Russian official warned about the formation of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq, which was in the process of disintegrating; he warned that this caliphate would try to take control of the Middle East and, from there, would send its long arms northward, via the Islamic former Soviet republics. At the same time, it would try to take advantage of the weakness of the west and would turn its attention to Europe. His conclusion was that Russia, the western powers and Israel shared a common enemy and it was in their utmost interests to join forces to defeat it. I heard similar messages when I met other Russian officials over the years. They also criticised the US’s war in Iraq – which they described as “imbecilic” – and which they said would only accelerate the arrival of a caliphate.’
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/01/russia-fighting-isis-moscow-turkey .)
    It was in January 2004, the same month that Litvinenko provided his material to Scaramella, that the Hutton Report, which effectively exonerated both Blair and the intelligence services in relation to that ‘imbecilic’ war, was published. In so doing, it ensured that one of the figures most responsible, Sir Richard Dearlove, would be succeeded as head of MI6 by another, Sir John Scarlett.
    It was following this that, at some point that year, Christopher Steele, who had worked under Scarlett at the start of the ‘Nineties in Moscow, was appointed to head the Russia Desk. Whether it was before or after the July 2004 meeting I do not know.
    Be that as it may a central preoccupation of Steele, and very likely Scarlett, was clearly with countering Russian ‘information operations’ which pointed towards the kind of radically different geopolitical strategy implicit in Eiland’s remarks. This was the background to the exchanges of accusations which went on both in public and in covert communications, alike in the United States and Western Europe and in Israel.
    Obviously, Owen had to suppress the evidence as to what Scaramella, Litvinenko and Shvets had actually been up to, because had it been produced it might have occurred even to the ‘retards’ in the Anglo-American MSM that there was a more likely explanation for the smuggling of polonium into London than to use it to assassinate Litvinenko.
    From the evidence I have presented in this thread, it is clear that the use of dubious claims about Mogilevich and the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’ which has now become central to the attempted ‘coup’ against Trump goes back a long way. Earlier, as I have brought out, both figured centre stage in the attempt to implicate Putin in WMD proliferation to jihadists – and the linked attempt to smear Romano Prodi as KGB/FSB agent.
    To both of these, Steele was clearly central. In relation to his American collaborators, who seem to include most of the top leadership of the FBI, the question is what kind of ‘retard’ are they. It is possible that they are simply ‘useful idiots’, and really do believe everything he has told them.
    It is also however possible that many of them actually know a good deal of the truth about the Litvinenko mystery and other matters which Owen, with the help of Martin Smith, who had previously been solicitor to the Hutton Inquiry, covered up. If they do, of course, this could provide them, as it clearly does their British counterparts, powerful reasons to consolidate their respective polities as what one might call ‘spookocracies.’

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