I believe in repentance and redemption. But the FBI remains an unrepentant, vile sinner. Yesterday, Tuesday, the FBI and the Department of Justice made a stunning admission in the Michael Flynn case–they mislabeled evidence. DOJ sheepishly admitted that the notes of the interview of Michael Flynn taken by Agent Pientka actually belonged to Agent Strzok and that the notes attributed to Strzok actually belonged to Pientka. Holy Guacamole, Batman. It is still not clear that the FBI is freely confessing its sin and is committed to turning its bureaucratic life around.
There is no good news in this for the government’s case. At a minimum it exposes the FBI as incompetent clowns. At worse, it may be evidence of a deliberate effort to deceive the defense and the judge. It has been exposed because of the insistent demands of the principled Sidney Powell, a relentless Honey Badger. That woman will not quit in demanding that General Flynn be treated fairly. She knows right from wrong. Cannot say the same for the FBI. The Bureau is a disgrace.
Now that we know that the FBI mislabeled the notes taken by the FBI agents during their interview of General Flynn, it would appear the entire case is in jeopardy. The foundation of the charge that Flynn lied about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador is predicated on the notes the FBI agents took and then turned into a 302 report. I asked one of my retired FBI buddies (he served as a Special Agent in Charge of a large US city) if the agents were required to date and sign their notes. He replied:
No, we did not sign and date notes. They were placed in a 1-A (evidence) Envelope which had our name and the date collected along with the file number and, I believe, the case title. The 1-As were kept as part of the original case file. They were not entered into evidence like other things we collected.
Those notes should have been placed in an “evidence” envelope with the appropriate name and date on the envelope. How could so-called professionals screw up something this basic?
There was something more nefarious afoot. Let’s put this into the broader context. If Flynn actually had lied to Strzok and Pientka that fact would have been reflected in the notes and the original 302. But that did not happen. A normal routine would be to write up the 302 and put it into final within five days. That did not happen. The original 302 still has not been produced. However, Ms. Powell has presented exhibits showing that there were other versions of the 302 generated and that substantive, unsupportable changes were made. The “final” 302 essentially made the case that Flynn lied.
But Sidney Powell has produced documentary evidence showing that Strzok stated he did not believe that Flynn lied. And there was more FBI misconduct. General Flynn, for example, was not advised of the need to have a lawyer present nor was he shown the transcript of the call that was illegally recorded by the NSA. At no point was he given a chance to correct the record. It was a total setup and designed to paint Flynn as a liar and a collaborator with the Russians. This is malevolently diabolical conduct by law enforcement officers.
Honey Badger Powell’s terrific lawyering and insistence on getting her hands on the evidence the US Government is withholding has now backed the Mueller team into a corner. Sidney Powell has exposed staggering misconduct and malfeasance. Michael Flynn will be exonerated. The only real question is whether or not the prosecutors will be held in contempt and tried.
Why doesn’t the FBI, just record an interview? It’s not that video cameras and tape recorders are a new invention. Is the objective to manipulate using written interpretations of conversations?
I’m worried there won’t be any popcorn left by the time we get to the end of this sorry saga. It would be nice to think that success by Sidney Powell might be the start of the finale in this duplicitous story but I doubt it. The world is upside down and to many this is now a matter of belief not evidence, something that has been largely caused be an entirely partisan mainstream media (interested only in improving its revenue stream) and what can only be described as a totally gullible section of the voting public.
One thing, Flynn has one hell of a lawsuit against his prior lawyers – a well known swamp law firm.
Egregious malpractice if not outright conspiring with the prosecutors.
Nothing can bring back the time he has spent in this horrible situation.
I think for most of us, it was clear from the start that Flynn was just used by the Democrats (and FBI) as “meat” for their mindless followers to get them excited for the never ending impeachment quest.
Again, people should never be used as a means to an end. They are ends in themselves. (Kant)
How did Sidney Powell become involved in this long, on-going case? She can’t ethically “solicit” the business, but someone must have put Flynn in touch with her — at what point. What made Flynn seek legal advice elsewhere.
Flynn seemed so passive about facing these drummed up charges earlier in the case – what exactly was he trying to protect his son about that allegedly caused this legal passivity about his own case.
Love watching this unfold and the lessons in ” big government” that come with it. But Flynn having to live out a modern day Greek tragedy is a very high price to pay for our civics lesson.
From what I have read, I gather that the FBI in the Mueller / Comey era has made extensive use of “perjury traps”. They then threaten charges to get someone to “flip” on someone bigger, in this case Trump. Flynn wouldn’t flip even when they threatened to go after Flynn’s son. So they decided to “F” him, as stated by Andrew McCabe.
The FBI has been thoroughly disgraced, and Wray is incapable of cleaning it up. He just wants to keep the dirt under the rug. It is too late for that, it is all coming out. US citizens deserve to know how dirty our FBI and CIA are – they are criminal organizations.
Why bother? With today’s image synthesizing technology they can just create such videos to order.
Apparently they were going to paint them, to go alongside the written notes but they didn’t like the mess.
Is it just me (wink, wink) but I find it completely coincidental that both Strzok (100%) and Pientka (likely) are of Polish origins. Could it be my Russian paranoia. Nah, I am being unreasonable–those people never had a bad feeling towards Trump’s attempts to boost Russian-American relations with Michael Flynn spearheading this effort. Jokes aside, however, I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle. I can only imagine how many “free” promotions and awards can be attach to this thing as a free ride.
I am reminded of Susan MacDougall in the Clinton Whitewater case, decades ago -she claimed “they’ were trying to make her flip too – can’t remember who was on which side, but was it also government prosecutors against a vulnerable individual who they had hope to break to get the goods they decided they wanted? If so, I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful “government”.
Perhaps Larry Johnson knows — Does Michael Flynn have some form of redress agains the government, some established protocol for compensation for the misery and expense he’s been put through? Or are lawsuits against former lawyers his only option to try to recoup legal expenses?
Strozk’s caree/life is over. An interesting meditation: is he an evil man, or did he get caught up in something larger than he could handle? (He thought he had what it took to swim with the sharks, but he was just a barnacle. Or steelhead trout.)
The “unidentified” supposed whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, is young – early 30s. Age of consent, for sure, but very young, the “age of youthful ambition,” a different category from Strozk, the age of damn well should have known better. I would judge Eric — whom I suspect was at very least put up to carrying out dirty deeds for Biden and careerism — less harshly than Strozk.
FBI interviews are not recorded because if they were, then the interview subject could not be falsely charged with the felony of lying to a federal investigator.
Many/most government actions are privileged and not subject to legal recourse, but a clear abrogation of one’s constitutional rights opens up the option of Bivens action. See Biven’s case.
Asked and answered: Powell tussled dramatically in the past with Andrew Weissman over his role in the government’s prosecution of Enron steam roller cases. She finally got court vindication for her clients 9 years later.
Why does Andrew Weissman’s name keep popping up just about everywhere now, when one is looking in pari delitci (including our now famous Pierre Delecto)?
I need to write about the long history of the FBI honoring J. Edgar Hoover’s policy, even countering former Director Louis Freeh, after a meeting in mid 1990’s with a federal judge who had same suggestion, ORDERED the FBI to begin tape recording confessions and even after many states like Minnesota, began to find their own constitutions required tape-recording (at least of custodial confessions). After Freeh ordered the FBI to begin tape-recording, a number of SACs argued the advantages for prosecutorial purposes of sticking with the old policy of allowing Agents to write up, from memory and notes, what subjects and witnesses said. The SACs made the point that juries would always tend to believe agents over the word of defendants. So Freeh backed down. Flynn’s attorney ought to request these memos documenting how FBI policy was deliberately kept antiquated because it was advantageous.
Hang Charlie with a shorter rope.
If you are THE Coleen Rowley… I have to say I… and many others have great admiration for you.
If all of this corruption were carried out to entrap or thwart a liberal Democrat instead of Trump and his associates, we all know the MSM would be banging a drum of utter outrage, 24/7. We’d never hear the end of a story such as this — that the FBI misidentified the authors of Flynn’s interview notes. Unbelievable.
A while back, I recall reading about a sexual discrimination or harassment case involving FBI’s Andrew McCabe in which Gen. Flynn intervened on behalf of the female accuser, and it was thought by some that the bogus charge against the general was in part an act of revenge on McCabe’s behalf. There are so many dots out there, unconnected, because the MSM is doing its best to suppress the truth.
How long can they continue to hear, see and speak no evil if the you-know-what hits the fan? I guess we’re going to find out.
” I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle”.
Guess the neo fbi is enjoying it too________ or not so much!!!
re: I guess we need generational reminders of the awesome and terrifying powers of an overly powerful “government”.
I’d put it more precise – “the awesome and terrifying powers of ANY overly powerful “government”.
If it’s an Obama FBI crew getting after you or a Trump FBI crew – it must be very bad every time, guilty of anything or not.
A classic case of how really bad it can get is Brazil’s evangelical Bolsonaro.
Iirc a brazilian tv station had reported that his son was likely deeply involved in the murder of a left polician or reporter in Brazil, a deed done by former brazilian cops who also happened to call Bolsonaro’s house.
Bolsonaro simply freaked out and was not interested at all in any investigation or the question whether the report was accurate. He simply threatened the tv station that, when reelected, he would nullify their media license.
He showed no interrest in any reality or facts but was just trying to brutally silence and intimidate the media outlet he doesn’t like.
He also suggested that his son should become Brazil’s ambassador to the US. Probably a perfect job since Trump doesn’t have any problems with the Saudi murder prince MbS as well.
A crook by the book …
Is this just a situation where the DoJ are giving the judge an easy way out to throw the case for a technical reason?
This would leave Flynn high and dry without his innocence having been proved having just got off on a technicality. Also the DoJ would not be exposed to having to produce all the damning stuff that the Honey Badger wants out in public.
Very interesting to see which way Judge Sullivan goes now. Wonder if he wants another Powell book.
Your comment brings to mind the outdated Russophobia of many in positions of influence within the American administration.
I couldn’t remember who coined the term “the crazies in the basement” as applied to the more hawkish elements in US politics. I thought it had been an American Admiral. I had no luck finding a reference so I googled it. Still no joy with the American admiral, but the list thrown up had near the top of it this informative quote from Patrick Bahzad.
“The “crazies in the basement” is an expression that was coined originally by some unknown member of George W’s administration. It used to designate the small clique of Neo-Cons who had found their way into Bush junior’s team of advisors, before they rose to dubious fame after the 9/11 attacks. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, at the time Colin Powell’s chief of staff, described their status enhancement from “lunatic fringe” to top executives in the White House with his Southern sense of humour, adding that they had become almost overnight what was henceforth called the Cheney “Gestapo”. And what happened over the weekend in the Middle-East – and in D.C. – certainly looked like a distant but distinct reminder of that period in the early 2000s when “crazies” coming right out of a dark basement took over the policy agenda on questions that would require adult supervision.”
Both in Canada and the States men and women of Eastern European background have risen to positions of influence in the respective administrations. I’d argue that that has not been uniformly beneficial. Not when those men and women enlist under the crazy banner. Or, to put it more soberly, form part of the neocon wing of those administrations. Though I, as an outside observer, might be prejudiced here because I happen not to get on very well with Brzezinski and his copious output.
Allowing for that prejudice, which I confess runs very deep, I still think that to an extent American foreign policy has been hijacked by Eastern European emigres who themselves retain some of the prejudices and mindset of another age and place.
Looking at it from afar, the influence of some Eastern European emigres on American foreign policy has been uniformly deleterious. And that from a long way back and no matter whether those emigres are in Washington or Tel Aviv.
It cannot but help be distorting, that influence. It’s not merely that unexamined Russophobia is embedded in the DNA of many Eastern Europeans. There’s a narrow minded focus on aggressive Machtpolitik, bred from centuries of violent territorial disputes with neighbours.
That, transferred to the world stage as it must be when it infects the foreign policy of the United States – because that is a country that cannot but help be at the centre of the world stage – distorts US foreign policy. To a great degree American foreign policy no longer operates in the interests of the broad mass of the American people. It too often plays to the obsessions inherited from Old Europe.
In the most famous of his speeches Churchill spoke of the time when, as he hoped, “the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
Let the historians dispute as they will, that is what happened. And continued to happen for half a century and more. But there was a price few noticed. The New World might have stepped forward to rescue the old, but it carried back from that old world a most destructive freight.
Which country are you from where people have to prove innocence rather than prosecutors prove guilt? A technicality – do you mean that as a joke since this is obviously criminal misconduct by the FBI/DOJ; or do you really believe they made a mistake that went undiscovered through the entire Mueler probe, congressional testimony and a couple years worth of legal discovery by defense counsel?
Thank goodness the German government has never done anything like this.
How do you know the FBI/DOJ and our wonderful allies never did this to a Democratic politician before? Keeping them in office and subject to extortion to get favorable policies in place would be far more effective than removing someone from office. Perhaps we should ask Jeffrey Epstein just what those politicians and businessmen were doing on that island, that manions in NYC or the one in Paris…..
Wow, THANKS, wonderful Coleen Rowley, for these facts and all others, past and future!
The scientist who was framed for the anthrax attack successfully sued the Feds for malicious prosecution, and recieved, I think, $6 miliones.
The manner in which Comey and his select team of officials engineered the Flynn ‘interview’ was contemptible, but not surprising. The group had been steeping in politics from the moment Comey agreed to the Clinton e-mail case under the conditions he did. The special organization he created, an FBI within the FBI operating out of HQ, the administering of ‘blood oaths’, etc, only made matters worse, or better, depending on one’s political point of view. The only thing lacking was secret hand shakes.
In my now outdated experience, the charge of lying to the FBI was viewed as B.S., period; it was never even contemplated as as a stand alone charge. Separated from a substantive charge, it is worse than B.S.
There are several things wrong about the Flynn interview. Among them: if there was indeed a reason for a strategy session to deceive Flynn about his possibly requiring a lawyer, that reason to the fair minded person meant there should have been no need for a strategy session: the interview required telling Flynn that he had the right to a lawyer; he should have been told the purpose of the interview, ie what it was he was suspected of having done wrong and that the import of his answers was sufficiently serious that if he didn’t tell the truth he could be charged with lying; if there was uncertainty whether Flynn had told the truth, as apparently there was because the 302 was subjected to editing and reediting, itself highly irregular, the proper way to have resolved any question would have been to reinterview Flynn, not tailor the paperwork to support the charge; if in fact Flynn did lie, what was the harm caused by the lie, or put another way, what would have been the outcome if Flynn had told the truth.
On the subject of recorded interviews, I am of uncertain mind. There is a before interview; there is an after interview. Electronics change the dynamics of the interview itself, and it may be to the advantage of the person interviewed and it may be to his or her disadvantage. If an interview is fairly played, there should be no need to record it; if the interview is intent on something other than fair play, he will find some way to game the electronics. Electronics are no panacea to instilling integrity where integrity is not otherwise to be found.
The ‘honey badger’ was a species unknown to me, but having looked that animal up, it seems an apt comparison.
Indeed, at the risk of being frivolous, I am tempted to quote the Kipling refrain about the ‘female of the species’ being ‘deadlier than the male.’ It seems to me quite likely that people at the FBI, and elsewhere, are still finding it difficult to grasp what has hit them.
Something which interests me greatly is the possible knock-on effects of Ms. Powell’s breakthroughs in exposing the conspiracy to frame Michael Flynn on other cases, notably those in which Ty Clevenger and Steven S. Biss are involved.
The pair are representing Ed Butowsky and Devin Nunes, and also, crucially, Svetlana Lokhova, in her case against the ‘ratfucker’ – the term used in the ‘Complaint’ – Stefan Halper and some of the MSM organisations who have collaborated in his ‘dirty tricks.’
In all of these cases, material freely available on the ‘Courtlistener’ site is a mine of fascinating information.
Of particular interest at the moment, I think, are the efforts of Clevenger to ‘prise open’ the cover-up over the role over Seth Rich in leaking the materials from the DNC which the conspirators falsely alleged were hacked by the Russians, and that about the circumstances of his murder.
These efforts have been aided by a remarkable ‘hostage to fortune’ given by Deborah Sines, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C. who was assigned to the Rich case.
On 8 October, Clevenger produced motions to ‘accept supplemental evidence’ and ‘permit discovery’ in the case he has himself brought against the DOJ, FBI and NSA. (His filing is freely available at https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6775665/clevenger-v-us-department-of-justice/ .)
The ‘supplemental evidence’ in question appeared back in July in Episode 5 of the podcast ‘Conspiracyland’ which Michael Isikoff produced for ‘Yahoo! News’. In this, Ms. Sines recycled the familiar disinformation from Andrew McCabe to the effect that it had been established that there was no connection between Rich and Wikileaks.
She then suggested that the FBI had indeed examined his computer, but solely because someone had been trying to ‘invade his Gmail account and set up a separate account after Seth was murdered.’ The supposed purpose of this activity, by a ‘foreign hacker’, was ‘so they could dump false information in there.’
As Clevenger pointed out, this claim is rather hard to reconcile with the FBI’s insistence that it has no records pertaining to Rich, and makes the Bureau’s refusal to search its Computer Analysis Response Team (“CART”) for relevant records, and the Washington Field Office for email records, look even more suspicious than it already did.
From the ‘Courtlistener’ pages it also appeared that, following a telephone conference, Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom ruled that the statement by Ms. Sines did not rise to the ‘level of bad faith’ required to justify the ‘discovery’ that Clevenger sought, on the basis of it.
Also freely available on ‘Courtlistener’, however, is an ‘Unopposed motion for stay’ which Clevenger filed on 30 November. From this, we learn that Judge Bloom had ‘noted that Ms. Sines’ statements were not made under oath, further suggesting that the Plaintiff might try to obtain a sworn statement from Ms. Sines.’
In response, Clevenger made clear that he intended to subpoena that lady for a deposition, in the relation to the defamation cases brought against Michael Gottlieb et al, and also David Folkenflik et al, where he is representing Ed Butowsky.
Accordingly, he asked the Court to stay his own case ‘until the deposition of Ms. Sines can be arranged and the transcripts can be produced.’ Apparently, there was no objection from the DOJ, FBI, and NSA.
In addition, Clevenger asked the court to take ‘judicial notice’ of the fact that, in her reply dated 24 October to the lawyers for the USG, ‘attorney Sidney Powell laid out damning evidence that high-ranking FBI officials systematically tampered with records and hid exculpatory evidence for the purpose of framing the defendant, retired General Mike Flynn.’
So it looks as though what the ‘honey badger’ has been digging out in relation to Flynn may help in the burrowing efforts of others in related matters – who may be in a position to return the favour.
Increasingly, it seems not entirely unthinkable that the cumulative effect of of the cases in which Powell, Clevenger and Biss are involved may blow open the whole conspiracy against the Constitution, irrespective of whether or not Horowitz, Barr and Durham are prepared to go substantially beyond a ‘limited hangout.’
Another important, and neglected, aspect here relates to the cases still ongoing against Steele and Orbis in London – that brought by Aleksej Gubarev, and that by the Alfa oligarchs. It is material that libel laws on this side are noticeably less favourable to defendants than on yours – not least in that the ‘fair report privilege’ retains its original narrower construction here.
Unfortunately, we do not have here any equivalent to ‘PACER’ and ‘Courtlistener.’ The last I heard about the Gubarev case was in the spring, when his American lawyers suggested that it should come to court before Xmas.
It would not at all surprise me if it was postponed. Ironically, however, I now think that it may be quite likely that his British lawyers see delay as being in Gubarev’s interests.
A critical point is that Steele is making no attempt to defend the accuracy of the claims about the involvement of Gubarev and his companies in hacking in the final memorandum in the dossier.
It seems quite likely that what is coming to light as the result of the lawsuits on your side may make it materially more difficult to mount any credible case that these were not very seriously defamatory.
There have been repeated attempts to locate the dossier attributed to Steele in another version of a familiar ‘Russophobic’ narrative, suggesting that he was deliberately fed disinformation by his Russian contacts as part of an ‘active measures’ campaign.
In my view, these are largely BS. However, a possible partial exception has to do with the claims about Gubarev, which follow on from the those made in Company Report 2016/086, which is dated 26 July 2015.
My suspicion has long been that the sloppy misdating – 2016 is clearly meant – reflected the fact that the document was part of a panic-stricken response to the murder of Rich, which had taken place on 10 July. What I may well have happened is that FBI cybersecurity people, who had been cultivating sources among their FSB counterparts, put out an urgent request, which generated material that went into the dossier.
If that was the case however, it would have been likely that some of their informants were playing a ‘double game.’ And my suspicion is that, when a further request was put in, following Trump’s election victory, those making it were fed a ‘baited hook’ about Gubarev, very likely cast in the hope of producing something like the outcome that materialised.
I noted with interest that both Devin Nunes and Lee Smith are now expressing scepticism about the notion that Steele’s role was in actually authoring the dossier, rather than taking ownership of a compendium essentially produced within Fusion GPS.
Another ground for believing this was put into sharp focus with the publication by ‘Judicial Watch’ in September of – heavily redacted – versions of reports from Steele circulated in the State Department prior to the dossier.
(See https://www.judicialwatch.org/tag/christopher-steele/ )
These clarify a matter which has long puzzled me about the memoranda. Normally, one would expect the product of a serious business intelligence company to be properly presented, on headed stationery, without elementary errors. And one would not expect a numbering which suggests that the documents made public are part of a much larger series.
A document dated 13 June 2014, headline ‘RUSSIA-UKRAINE CRISIS: Kremlin Emboldened to Challenge USG Sanctions and Anti-Russian Leverage On Financial Markets’, which is labelled ‘Report ID: 2014/130a’, suggests that we are actually dealing with a format used in an information service sent out to a large number of clients. Precisely what this would not contain was material attributed to highly sensitive sources.
So the clumsy imitation of this formatting in the dossier gives further reason to believe that it was produced by people other than Steele, who were trying to attribute authorship to him.
A further implication is that Steele may have ended up left facing libel charges in relation to claims for which he was not actually responsible.
In addition to those about Gubarev, the use of the transliteration ‘Alpha’ instead of ‘Alfa’ for the Fridman/Aven/Khan group makes me think that the author of the relevant memorandum was not a native English speaker, but someone used to thinking in Russian and/or Ukrainian.
If so, the memorandum may be part of ‘Ukrainegate’, which, unlike ‘Russiagate’, looks like being a real story.
And here, of course, the question of what became of Seth Rich’s laptop, and what information the FBI is concealing about it, is again critical.
It would not in the least surprise me if the kind of traces described by Ms. Sines are actually really present on some hard drive.
If however they are, a quite likely explanation is that Alperovitch and his Ukrainian ‘partners-in-crime’ organised a hack, after the leak was discovered, as part of the more general attempt to obfuscate the truth.
Andrei: Strzok and Pientka come from Galicia — the westernmost portion of what is now Ukraine — that was acquired by Empress Maria Theresa in the mid – 18th century.
Thank goodness the German government has never done anything like this?
Please enlighten me, I am curious and must have missed it – and I live in Germany.
If you want to go back to Attila, Genghis Khan, Adolf or Honnecker – please spare me since about all of that happened long before I was born (and two of those are huns or mongols) and is utterly irrelevant here.
Bolsonaro-isms on the other hand “happen right now” and are an example of pretty obvious abuse of power to cover up crimes like political murder and to permanently silence critics and/or inconvenient media.
In context of Factotum’s point that is relevant.
Why does the media and virtually every pundit commenting on the Ukrainian phone call intentionally avoid any mention of Trump’s Crowdstrike “favor” request?
Very well put. No better example, apart from being utter academic failure, expected from “white board” theorists with zero understanding of power, exists of this than late Zbig. Only blind or sublime to the point of sheer idiocy could fail to see that Brzezinski’s loyalties were not with American people, but with Poland and old Polish, both legitimate and false, anti-Russian grievances. He dedicated his life to settling whatever scores he had with historic Russia using the United States merely as a vehicle. So do many, as you correctly stated, Eastern European immigrants to the United States. They bring with them passions, of which Founding Fathers warned, and then infuse them into the American political discourse. It finally reached it peak of absurdity and, as I argue constantly, utter destruction of the remnants of the Republic.
Andrei: Strzok and Pientka come from Galicia
Well, that explains a lot. Not all of it, but a lot.
Andrei and EO,
I wrote what follows before reading Andrei’s response to EO, but do not see much reason to change what I had written.
When in 1988 I ended up working at BBC Radio ‘Analysis’ programme because it was impossible to interest any of my old television colleagues in the idea that one might go to Moscow and talk to some of the people involved in the Gorbachev ‘new thinking’, my editor, Caroline Anstey, was an erstwhile aide to Jim Callaghan, the former Labour Prime Minister.
As a result of his involvement with the Trilateral Commission, she had a fascinating anecdote about what one of his fellow members, the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, said about another, Zbigniew Brzezinski: that he could never work out which of his country’s two traditional enemies his Polish colleague hated most.
Almost a generation after hearing her say this, in December 2013, I read an article Brzezinski published in the ‘Financial Times, headlined ‘Russia, like Ukraine, will become a real democracy.’
(See https://www.ft.com/content/5ac2df1e-6103-11e3-b7f1-00144feabdc0 .)
Unfortunately, it is behind a subscription wall, but it clearly expresses its author’s fundamental belief that after all those years of giving Russia the ‘spinach’ treatment – to use Victoria Nuland’s term – it would finally ‘knuckle under’, and become a quiescent satellite of the West.
An ironic sidelight on this is provided in a recent article by a lady called Anna Mahjar-Barducci on the ‘MEMRI’ site – which actually has some very useful material on matters to do with Russia for those of us with no knowledge of the language – headlined ‘Contemporary Russian Thinkers Series – Part I – Renowned Russian Academic Sergey Karaganov On Russia And Democracy.’
Its subject, who I remember well from the days when he was very much one of the ‘new thinkers’, linked to it on his own website, clearly pleased at what he saw as an accurate and informed discussion of his ideas.
(See http://karaganov.ru/en/news/534 )
There is an obvious risk of succumbing to facetiousness, but sometimes what one thinks are essential features of an argument can be best brought out at the risk of caricaturing it.
It seems to me that some of the central themes of Karaganov’s writing over the past few years – doubly interesting, because his attacks on conventional Western orthodoxies are very far from silly, and because he is a kind of ‘panjandrum’ of a significant section of the Russian foreign policy élite – may be illuminated in this way.
So, attempting to link his Russian concerns to British and American ones, some central contentions of his writings might be put as follows:
‘“Government of the people, by the people, for the people’ looked a lovely idea, back in 1989. But if in practice “by the people” means a choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn, how can it be “for the people?”
‘Moreover, it turned out that our “deplorables” were always right, against us ‘intellectuals’, in grasping that, with “Russophobes” running Western policy, a “real democracy” would simply guarantee that we remained as impotent and humiliated as people like Brzezinski clearly always wanted us to be.
‘Our past, and our future, both in terms of alliances and appropriate social and political systems, are actually “Eurasian”: a ‘hybrid’ state, whose potential greatest advantage actually should be seen as successfully synthesising different inheritances.
‘As the need for this kind of synthesis is a normal condition, with which most peoples have to reckon, this gives us a very real potential advantage over people in the West, who, like the communists against whom I rebelled, believe that there is one path along which all of humanity must – and can – go.’
At the risk of over-interpreting, I might add the following conclusion:
‘Of course, precisely what this analysis does not mean is that we are anti-European – simply that we cannot simply come to Europe, Europe come some way to meet us.
‘Given time, Helmut Schmidt’s fellow countrymen, as also de Gaulle’s, may very well realise that their future does not lie in an alliance with a coalition of people like Brzezinski and traditional “Russophobes” from the “Anglosphere”.
‘And likewise, it does not lie with the kind of messianic universalist “liberalism” – and, in relation to some of the SJC and LGBT obsessions, one might say “liberalism gone bonkers” – which Putin criticised in his interview with the “Financial Times” back in June.
(This is also behind a subscription wall, but is available at http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836 . It is well worth reading in full.)
An obvious possibility implicit in the argument is that, if indeed the continental Europeans see sense, then the coalition of traditional ‘Anglophobes’ and the ‘insulted and injured’ or the ‘borderlands’ may find itself marginalised, and indeed, on the ‘dustbin of history’ to which Trotsky once referred.
Of course, I have no claims to be a Russianist, and my reading of Karaganov may be quite wrong.
But I do strongly believe that very superficial readings of what was happening when I was working in the ‘Analysis’ office, back in 1988-9, have done an immense disservice alike to Britain and the United States.
I have been curious about precisely where both Srzok and Pientka came from, but have not had time to do any serious searches.
What is the actual evidence that they have Galician origins?
And, if they do, what are these?
I would of course automatically tend to assume that Polish names mean that their origins are Polish.
But then, if this is so, why are they enthusiastically collaborating with ‘Banderista’ Ukrainians?
It has long been a belief of mine that one of Stalin’s great mistakes was to attempt to incorporate Galicia into the empire he was creating.
Had he returned it to Poland, the architects of the Volhynia massacres of Poles – as also of the massacres of Jews in Lviv/Lvov/Lemberg – could have gone back to their old habits of assassinating Polish policemen.
David, Karaganov is an opportunist, granted a smart one. But the events of two days ago with Putin and Lavrov being personally present at the unveiling of the monument to Evgenii Primakov in a front of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs speaks, in fact screams, volumes. You know of Primakov’s Doctrine. It is being fully implemented as I type this and it means that the West “lost” (quotation marks are intentional–Russia was not West’s to lose) Russia and it can be “thankful” for that to a so called Russia Studies field in the West which was primarily shaped and then turned into the wasteland, in large part thanks to influx of East European “scholars” and some “Russian” dissidents which achieved their objectives by drawing a caricature. They succeeded and Russia had it with the West.
K.T. McFarland (whose name comes up every now and then in this matter)
has some pertinent thoughta on how the government used its power against Flynn:
“KT McFarland speaks for first time about Michael Flynn”, Fox News interview, 2019-11-05
Andrei Martyanov & David Habakuk:
I first picked up the Galician connection in an article by Scott Humor: ” North America is a land run by Galician zombies ” — published by The Saker on July 4, 2018. It seems that Galicians, especially those that arrived after WWII, migrate into security positions such as ICE / FBI / NSA etc. It may have to do with a family history of work in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Regrettably, I am not from Eastern Europe and cannot help you further about the Bortnicks, the Gathkes, Buchtas, and so on.
There has been plenty of abuse of government power and it doesn’t all require a bullet in the back or investigators/prosecutors making false claims. I’m on the road but will write something up about that over the weekend.
DH, appreciate your comment. Haven’t read the MEMRI paper yet. Scanned the first page though.
Karaganov is an opportunist, granted a smart one. … You know of Primakov’s Doctrine. It is being fully implemented as I type this and it means that the West “lost” (quotation marks are intentional–Russia was not West’s to lose)
Well, two things sticked out for me during Tumps reelection campain.
1) on the surface he stated, he wanted closer relations to Russia. Looked at more closely, as should be expected, maybe. They were ambigous. If I may paraphrase it colloguially: I meet them and, believe me, if I don’t get that beautiful deal, i’ll be out of the door the next second.
2) he promised to be enigmatic, compared to earlier American administrations. In other words, hard to read or to predict. Guess one better is as dealmaker. But in the larger intelligence field? Enigmatic may well be a commonplace. No?
Otherwise, Andrei, I would appreciate your further elaboration on Karaganov as opportunist.
That said, would you please explain why
Mr. Johnson: where are these people going wrong? https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/11/05/emptywheel-fact-check-service-doj-1-1-sidney-powell-0-28/
The Poles certainly don’t like it when Petliura or Bandera are celebrated –
But were and are also supplying arms and working with Ukrainian forces –
“A very important initiative, particularly in terms of sharing experience and preparing Ukraine for the process of joining NATO, is the establishment of the LITPOLUKRBRIG Multinational Brigade, composed of soldiers from Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade includes over 4,000 soldiers, who are stationed with their home units on a day-to-day basis. The brigade headquarters is located in Lublin, Poland. There are currently 58 Polish officers, 18 Ukrainian officers and 5 Lithuanian officers stationed here.”
As for Mr Strzok, I’d assumed that in the environment he was working in his motivation would be firmly anti-Trump anyway.
One to two million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, says Wiki. Sounds like shorthand for nobody knows. They are filling the gaps in the Polish labour market left by Poles who’ve sought jobs elsewhere
Haven’t heard of them fetching up in Germany yet, but someone has to pick asparagus and the Poles aren’t as keen as they were on the job. Pay and conditions poor, it seems.
Good people, the Ukrainians. Not all Right Sector by a long chalk. Tragedy that so many will end up as ultra-cheap labour washing around Europe.
Just don’t argue with it. Globalism rules, OK?
Crowdstrike is center to the left’s diversion. Ukraine is tied-in at so many levels to the origins of Obama-Clinton corruption scams. Recent reports now suggest the US Embassy (more of Brennan’s cronies) may have been monitoring the communications of key US Citizens. To what end? Providing early warning, against uncovering the Ukraine link! What is Rudy saying? What information has he uncovered? More importantly, who is talking with Rudy? Crowdstrike is key to Ukraine’s involvement. Which in turn exculpates the Russian Hoax. Which brings into question their entire X-Fire, Secret Society.
Hopefully AG Barr and US Att Durham have flipped some key personnel. Those capable of making the connection from Brennan to Comey to Crowdstrike, to the DNC hacking and beyond.
IMO, they picked the wrong conversation to base their Witch Hunt on. There are far to many, basic indicators of criminality in the part of the Obama administration in Ukraine. Than for President Trump. However time is getting short, and people are panicking.
I urge Larry Johnson to investigate the effects of Obama’s repeal of the 1948 Smith-Mundt Propaganda Ban as part of the 2012 NDAA. Until 2012, government propaganda aimed at Americans was illegal. Obama legalized propagandizing us, and this has been a gamechanger. Are all these FBI, CIA and Cable TV pundits and “reporters of record” now protected from prosecution under the NDAA? It seems the late investigative journalist Michael Hastings wrote was right. He tried to warn us. Here is his 2012 article sounding the alarm. Very informative.
“Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban….”
My, Congress is now “Obama” and then at the bottom of that linked report from almost a decade ago: “CORRECTION: The amendment under consideration would not apply to the Department of Defense, though the it is attached to a defense authorization bill.”
Why should anyone waste more than 60 seconds on your badly worded distraction?
I am very glad that you are commenting again. I have an off-topic request; apologies for the imposition.I would be very interested in your take on the Epstein/Maxwell case. You might have run across their operations at some time.
Many thanks in advance
LJ – sorry that that last comment went seriously off topic. You’ll understand, I hope, that some of your readers have preoccupations that draw them off course.
On your article what struck me immediately was 1, that those documents had been retained 2, that you take it for granted they had not been tampered with and 3, that, albeit with enormous reluctance, some at least were produced when required. In most countries most of that wouldn’t happen. In most countries you could have as many “honey badgers” as you pleased and they’d not make a dent.
So one does not get the impression that the organisations you are examining are corrupt or derelict from top to bottom. More that they are functioning organisations that have been abused by a relatively small number of people; and those people themselves having to at least seem to play by the rules and unable themselves to bend those rules entirely.
Which, if that impression is justified, leaves one feeling relatively cheerful.
My comment was mainly about MSM stonewalling. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear enough.
Eric Ciaramella (the slithering viper as he’s referred to by many) info:
So he’s back at the Agency? Now my question, is why hasn’t Gina fired the little worm, or transferred him to a secluded assignment on a mountain top?
Here’s an interesting item on Ciaramella’s lawyer Mark Zaid:
The caravan has moved on, but in the light of the importance of the issue you raise, it seems worth hazarding some comments.
Unfortunately, it takes me into areas where I do not feel in command of the evidence. Obviously, one cannot be sure that the recent claims by Ari Ben-Menashe are accurate. However, my impression is that most of what he wrote back in 1992 about Iran-Contra, and also about Maxwell’s involvement with Israeli intelligence, has stood up quite well.
His recent suggestion that rather than the relationship between Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein beginning after her father’s death in 1991, it started in the early ‘Eighties, and the daughter falling for the American led the father to bring the boyfriend into his activities with Israeli intelligence, seems to me to make better sense of the history.
Be that as it may, I cannot see any other credible interpretation than that this is an Israeli intelligence operation, aimed at gathering ‘kompromat’ on people who could be influential. A $60,000 question, of course, was whether it was actually used for purposes of blackmail.
But then, merely the possibility, and the fact of being involved in circles of complicity, could make the targets more prone to serve what those doing the targeting saw as the interests of Israel.
I think one has to take into account the way that Zionism became, not for all its adherents but for a significant number of important ones, a kind of ‘corrupt holy crusade.’
Also, for very many Zionists – as with many Poles, Balts, and in particular Galician nationalists – the opportunity to secure ‘krysha’ from the United States, to use another Russian term, has been intoxicating. A not particularly surprising result is that end results are not necessarily in the long-term interests of these people, let alone anyone else.
The antics of Lieutenant-Colonel Vindman are simply a rather extreme example of a wider problem.
For a whole range of reasons, it has long been my view that, irrespective of what courses of action it followed, the long-term prospects for a settler Jewish state in the contemporary Middle East were going to be questionable. And while all courses of action seemed problematic, I have certainly never thought that their ‘least worst option’ involved pursuing the kind of goals set out in the Oded Yinon plan.
Among the many pernicious effects of the approaches followed, has been that in order to neutralise criticism of the uses to which Israel and its fellow-travellers put the ‘krysha’ of the United States, the – very natural – post-1945 taboo on anti-Semitism has been exploited.
To do this, however, it is necessary to disseminate what is actually a myth: that Jews have, from time immemorial, constituted some kind of coherent ‘people’, pining for a return to their ‘ancestral home’ in Palestine. Only by doing this can you hope to make the charge ‘anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism’ stick.
As it happens, the case of Robert Maxwell – born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch – illustrates some of the problems. He was certainly an inventive businessman. Back in the early ‘Sixties, the bookshop he opened in Oxford had sofas and served coffee – and as my school was over the road, and its facilities were primitive, we used to go there quite often.
But in a city where – both in the university and elsewhere – there were a lot of Jewish refugees from the disasters of European history and their children, it was very evident that Hitler had the effect of bringing together people who had nothing in common.
The Pioneer Corps – digging not fighting – was the only place where young German Jewish refugees were allowed to serve, at the start of the war, because of the fear spies had been infiltrated. Apparently, although Maxwell was from Czechoslovalia, having got into problems with the Czech army he served there, before transferring into proper Army and winning the Military Cross.
As it happens, we grew up thinking that Peter Ganz, a father of schoolfriend of mine, who was a scholar of medieval German literature, spent the whole war in the Pioneer Corps, and I only learnt after his death that he had transferred into highly sensitive intelligence operations.
I see him referred to in a recent review in the ‘Times of Israel’ headlined ‘How Britain’s German-born Jewish “secret listeners” helped win World War II; A new book by historian Helen Fry details the daring operation in which the UK eavesdropped on Nazi prisoners, gleaning precious intel – and early graphic accounts of Holocaust.’
(See https://www.timesofisrael.com/how-britains-german-born-jewish-secret-listeners-helped-win-world-war-ii/ .)
Noting how some of what those involved in the Trent Park surveillance operation heard was ‘utterly harrowing’, especially for Jews with families still trapped in Europe, the review continues ‘Some, such as Peter Ganz, would indeed discover after the war that members of their family had perished in the Holocaust.’
Unfortunately, this is a rather glaring instance of how the Zionist ‘narrative’ has become detached from reality.
So, as I also only learnt after Peter Ganz’s death, the grandfather who died in Auschwitz had converted to Lutheranism, while his father had distinguished himself in the Imperial German Army in 1914-18.
A radio play which my schoolfriend’s younger brother wrote about the ‘secret listeners’ has a character clearly based on their father describing to his – English – girlfriend arriving at the Buchenwald concentration camp after Kristallnacht. He was saying that the ludicrousness of the whole situation was that the Jews who had been sent there had nothing in common, and trying to explain the meaning of the German work ‘Heimat’: by which he meant Mainz, not Jerusalem.
It seems to me unfortunate that Helen Fry is trying to use a fascinating history to do with German Jewish refugees for purposes of ‘Holocaust Education’, without realising that she is, unwittingly, reinforcing traditional, and false, anti-Semitic sterotypes: that the prime loyalty of Jews has to be to other Jews.
I see that Ben-Menashe was born in Tehran, but is referred to as an Iraqi Jew. My suspicion is that his ‘whistleblowing’ may be partly the product of his history having have led to an initial belief that Israel was a refuge, followed by disillusion with the kind of East European Jews running the place – and quite possibly the belief that their approaches to the Middle East were ultimately futile.
Ironically, the one other thing which Peter Ganz had in common with Maxwell – who was apparently born into a Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish family – was that they both ‘married out.’ So, technically, Ghislaine Maxwell is not actually Jewish.
In a style completely different to most of the other Jews I have known, Maxwell used to like to throw about his money. A decade after I used to frequent his bookshop, when my own father was heavily involved in the administration of Oxford University, he would receive invitations to functions at Headington Hill Hall, where the family lived, which he always declined.
His own background was in South Wales, and, as he said himself, he retained something of a smell of chapel whitewash about him. But a somewhat hysterical Calvinism – a tendency, as it were, to assume that the first drink you take may take you on a slippery slope down to the poorhouse – sometimes has its uses.
A lesson I took from him is that there are people who are experts in, as it were, getting people to travel along ‘primrose paths’ – more commonly to do with sex or money than with drink or drugs.
Often, this is done with concrete political ends in view. Sometimes, however, there is also element of pleasure in seduction – which can involve persuading oneself and others that people with pretensions and high-minded principles are really no better than oneself – and perhaps an element of revenge.
After my father had retired, he still remained very much in contact with and involved with, university affairs. I remember talking to him about the negotiations which led to the creation of what is now called the Said Business School.
It was a difficult time, because the University was trying to remain internationally competitive, in a context where funding was not easy to find. But, unlike others, my father had no delusions that the Saudis – acting through Wafic Said – were giving things out of the kindness of their hearts.
If you want to see an example of quite how stupid the contemporary British can be, have a look at an interview with Said by Charles Moore in the ‘Spectator’ from January 2012.
(See https://www.spectator.co.uk/2012/01/the-road-from-damascus/ .)
While I hope that experience has taught me to be less hysterically ‘Protestant’ than my father, a lesson I have seen no need to unlearn is that there are certain people to whom, unless you really fancy your skills at manipulation, you should give a wide berth, or at least handle with great care.
Examples, as well as Maxwell, Epstein, and Said, include Ahmed Chalabi and Boris Berezovsky.
If you have not the sense to see this, not only are you liable to get taken to the cleaners, but you may well find that you have no alternative but to become involved in criminality – or, to cover-up for the criminality of others.
This, I think, has happened time and again in recent years.
Many thanks for your response. As I anticipated you wrote a very valuable comment w/ first-hand info. IMO, the “caravan” has not moved on, but has been moved on, post haste, and “disappeared”. Those responsible for moving it on are the usual suspects. The third time-enemy action… Epstein’s arrival in the USA and his subsequent demise-way too convenient for some and way too fast and easy for him- might live on irrespective of all attempts to make it disappear. Something hideous came out of the depths, breathed a charnel smell over all and sunk back. Mayhap we will get it and its symbiotes one day.
Empty Wheel is a highly partisan analyst who continues to believe a high level collusion scheme existed between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, run out of Manafort’s Kiev office, with a secondary operation to publicize emails hacked by the GRU run by Roger Stone in liaison with Wikileaks. She believes Flynn helped initiate the scheme beginning at the RT dinner. She believes Mifsud is a Russian operative. She claims the proof of the collusion conspiracy is in the redacted portions of the Mueller Report. She believes the Mueller investigation was a professional operation which always acted in good faith. Many of the “fact-checks” presented are either hair-splitting details, hinge on her interpretation of a redaction, or follow from a prexisting conclusion that Flynn was involved in a collusion conspiracy.
Marcy Wheeler is an Empty Headed crazy person. Devoid of logic. Lacking in experience. But damn certain of her stupid opinions. If her blog was printed on paper you would not be able to use it as toilet paper. Even her prose causes chafing.
Thanks for the summary as it is hard to keep up with the competing narratives. I could sense a shrillness at EW but the presentation of events here and at Yves Smith’s blog seemed more realistic.
Keep up the good work Larry.
OMG – Ahmed Chalabi — my own personal favorite for total international grifter and con man. We can almost thank him 100% for the Iraq War mess. Sy Hersh drew a bead on him years before he finally wormed his way into the Bush inner circle. Ancient Egypt said a man dies twice – once when he leaves his earthly realm and the second time when his name is no longer spoken. AGGGGRH — you just ressurected the Fiend of Bahgdad. Now he has to pass from the memory banks yet again. Am I being fair?
previous comments (by Petrel, David Habakkuk) mention the Eastern European, Polish, Galician, roots of many “movers and shakers” in USA. By extension it would include also Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish people. Recently someone recommended to me a book by a seemingly very influential person, a person who shapes the “narrative” (I very much do not like this word) – a professor of history and acclaimed author of books on history of Eastern Europe, Timothy Snyder. I am trying to find if he is also somehow from that region, but my internet search of his biography is very brief and does not give any hints. Can anyone give an explanation why a Midwesterner would go through the pain of learning Ukrainian, Polish?
Parenthetically I may add, that i have known a really talented man, an American, who spoke fluently French, Italian, Spanish, German, some Russian and some Ukrainian, some Farsi. He was married to an Ukrainian lady.
Linguists have reported Polish and Japanese are the two most difficult languages to learn.
One wonders what mastery of complex languages does to the brain’s ability to organize and process other intellectual input. Does a brain that “thinks” in Polish or Japanese just see things differently?
Could it be the complexity of one’s native language is key to their later intellectual performance and has nothing to do with any other superficial factor – race, class, gender etc.
David, how on earth can you, an obviously intelligent person with wide knowledge, write what you wrote above (but numbers have been added for later reference):
Regarding item 2), anyone with the extensive knowledge of Jews you claim should know that
the very last words of the traditional Seder are “next year in Jerusalem.”
References for that:
Quoting the Wikipedia article:
It seems to me that those references prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
item 2) is most definitely not a “myth”, but a proven fact.
Your claim seems to me to be a deliberate fraud
(the sort of thing often called “a canard” by Jews)
With regard to item 1) see, for example, the Wikipedia articles (emphasis added)
See references 11, 12, 13 for more detail on that.
I can also observe that in my readings of what Jews write,
they do refer to “the Jewish nation” in a sense, not referring to the nation of Israel, but in the sense of “the Jewish people”, however they choose to define that (of course there is disagreement among Jews as to how that should be defined).
David, you impress me, and no doubt others, with the range of your knowledge.
How can you ignore such basic knowledge?
As to my personal views on this and related matters,
I have the highest regard for the the many accomplishments of the Jewish people, and certainly do not wish them ill.
However, both honesty and the survival, if possible, of the Western culture that contributed so much to the achievements of the West,
demand that we be cognizant of those who are trying to subvert
the traditional values of (this refers to multiculturalism), and
demographic dominance of (this refers to the massive immigration of the last few decades)
of the traditional West.
And who might those subversives be?
A scholar, born a Jew, Larry Auster has addressed that issue with an impressively erudite article:
“Jews: The Archetypal Multiculturalists” by Lawrence Auster, 1998/2013
I, for one, feel the need to “defend the Shire”.
I had not looked back at this thread, so had missed your response.
There will, I think, be better occasions to take up the issues you raise, which are very important ones.
For now, a few remarks.
In the interests of clarity, I should perhaps say that insofar as I am ill at ease with the ‘Hobbits’ of Tolkien’s ‘Shire’, it is because of forefathers who were ‘dwarves’ in the coalfields and smelters of South Wales.
My possessing the name of an Old Testament prophet betokens Calvinist origins, not Jewish. But then, radical Protestants have commonly been philo-Semitic.
There is a figure called Kevin Macdonald, whose writings on Jews as an ‘hostile élite’ you may well know.
(See https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2068070204_Yuri_Slezkine .)
As it happens, I do not much like him. His reference to ‘the Germans, from Wagner to von Treitschke to Chamberlain and Hitler’, disliking the irony of Heine, seems to me to demonstrate an inability to grasp that groups, be they Germans, Jews, Muslims, or whoever, are rarely monolithic wholes.
That said, an important part of the background to his writing – as of the piece by Lawrence Auster to which you link, which seems to me far superior to Macdonald’s writing – is that very many of the most influential American Jews seem to be queuing up for starring roles in versions of the ‘hostile élite’ drama.
Quite a few of them appear to be doing their level best to persuade people who place any value on the traditional ‘Anglo’ culture of the American Republic that they are something close to an ‘existential threat’ to it.
In Britain, also, ‘tribal’ Jews – ‘ghetto Jews’ sometimes seems to me an appropriate term – have claimed the right to speak for some kind of coherent ‘Jewish people.’
So, for example, concluding his May 2015 article ‘We never forget Jerusalem’, our former Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, wrote:
‘We have had the privilege to be born in a generation that has seen Jerusalem reunited and rebuilt. We have seen the Jewish people come home.
‘Today God is calling on us all to be Guardians of Zion. Never has this been more important. We must all stand up for the one home our people has ever known and the one city our people has loved more than any other. We are all shagrirey medinat Yisrael (ambassadors for the State of Israel) and we must all make Israel’s case in a world that sometimes fails to see the beauty we know is here. Let us all take on that task. With Hashem’s help, we will succeed and we pray may the world make its peace with Israel so that Israel and Israel’s God can bring peace to the world.’
(See http://rabbisacks.org/we-never-forget-jerusalem/ .)
As it happens, I think this is an ‘open-and-shut’ case of ‘incitement to anti-Semitism.’
That there are some Jews who have their ‘home’ in this country – and are more than temporary residents – seems to be beyond our former Chief Rabbi’s capacity to imagine.
That he cannot see the possible implications of implicitly defining all Jews as ‘resident aliens’ is, I think, indicative of extraordinary stupidity and recklessness.
It also completely obscures the fact that, for many Jews here, their history is one of lost homes, and the equally important fact that very many of them had long abandoned the Jewish religion.
I mentioned Peter Ganz, for whom ‘home’ had clearly been Mainz: clearly not a Jew, in Rabbi Sachs’s definition.
What then can I say about Peter Stern, who likewise made it over here just before the outbreak of war, leaving relatives who died? He also ended up as a professor of German, having been a sergeant in His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Again, the comparison with Maxwell is interesting, in that like him Stern came from Czechoslovakia – he served in No 311 Squadron, the Czech bomber squadron in the RAF, hunting U-boats over the Atlantic.
I well remember two fingers clawed around a pipe, a relic of one of the ultimate lucky escapes, when the Wellington bomber in which he served as ‘tail gun Charlie’ was shot down by Ju-88s, and the survivors were picked up, by pure fluke, after fourteen hours in the water.
While Peter Ganz was an agnostic brought up as a Lutheran, Peter Stern was brought up a Catholic, and remained a kind of ‘Jewish Christian’ to the end of his life.
Like so refugees from ‘assimilationist’ families, both completely failed to maintain the concern for group survival which Macdonald appears to think a Jewish characteristic, marrying out.
And then, what can I say of a lifelong friend of my mother’s from schooldays, the daughter of a secular Jewish lawyer, who herself ended up as a pillar of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Kensington?
I vividly remember their house, with the walls covered in prints of the St. Petersburg which the father had left in the Civil War, leaving his coat on the door, before finally making it over here through Crimea.
My ‘few remarks’ have got longer than I intended.
What is important is that the kind of ‘tribalism’ which Macdonald sees as a general Jewish characteristic is found among some Jews, but not others.
An obvious fact is that ‘assimilationist’ Jews tend over time to disappear.
However, a situation where the ‘tribal’ Jews who do not want to ‘assimilate’ attempt to shape the fate of non-Jewish polities is, quite patently, fraught with potential for disaster.
That however, does not provide good reason for accepting the simplicities either of Sacks or Macdonald – who agree on a ‘totalitarian’ vision of all true Jews as essentially the same, but simply differ on whether the largely mythical identity in which they believe should be given a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ sign.