Watergate Deja Vu and Fake News by Publius Tacitus

If you have HBO I encourage you to carve out some time to watch their latest documentary on the life and times of former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. The most important take away from the film is how different the so-called Russian collusion scandal is from Watergate, which brought down Richard Nixon. Yet, in watching this documentary you can easily grasp the desperate fantasy of the Trump-haters who are hoping for a repeat of a President being humiliated and forced from office.

The other major event in Ben Bradlee's life that provides more insight into the current Trump Derangement Syndrome that has seized most of the media is the Janet Cooke scandal. Cooke, an African-American woman hired by Bradley, became infamous for fabricating a story about an 8 year old inner city heroin addict. Her editors included Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee. Their desire for the story to be true blinded them to the bald lies of Cooke. She won a Pulitzer for her story, but it fell on Bradlee to inform the Pulizer committee that the award could not be accepted. This was a major stain on his legacy.

That sure sounds a lot like the current state of the media. We have witnessed this type of hysteria ourselves in just the last two days. First there was the Brian Ross debacle, which entailed Ross peddling the lie that Trump ordered Flynn to contact the Russians. That "fake news" elicited an emotional orgasm from Joy Behar on The View. She was on the verge of writhing on the floor as she prematurely celebrated what she thought would seal the impeachment of Donald Trump. Whoops. Ross had to retract that story.


Second, there was today's claim that the ironically named "Independent Counsel" Robert Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank demanding Trump's Bank records. That report struck me as quite odd because this was old, recycled news. Remember this from last July? (Here's the link, dated 20 July 2017):

Deutsche Bank, which had loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars when no one else would, even after he sued the firm. Now, investigators probing the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia are wondering why—and they’re beginning to take a closer look at the president’s accounts with his favorite bank, which also happens to have strong ties to Russia itself.

The New York Times reports that banking regulators are currently “reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit . . . to [see] if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risk.” Meanwhile, the Guardianreports that executives at Deutsche are “expecting that the bank will soon be receiving subpoenas or other requests for information from Robert Mueller,” and that the special counsel’s investigative team and the bank have “already established informal contact in connection to the federal investigation.”

What the hell? Why was the media today cheering and acting like this was some new revelation. Then things took another weird turn. The White House and Trump lawyers flatly denied the story:

“We confirmed that the news reports [that] the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing.

“No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. I think this is another example of the media going too far and too fast and we don't see it going in that direction," she said.

Now please compare and contrast today's events with those from the Watergate era. Back then Richard Nixon accused the press of lying and making up facts, but it turned out that the press largely had the story right. It was Nixon who was lying.

Trump is derided regularly as a liar and mocked for his attacks on the press but, so far, it is the press that has been pushing prevarications. Trump, by contrast, is not experiencing the humiliation of Richard Nixon, who insisted he had no knowledge of the Watergate break in. Nope. Trump strongly insists that neither he nor his campaign colluded with Russian and the evidence revealed to date backs him up.

Watergate and "Russiagate" do share a common trope. During Watergate the Washington Post was mostly a lone voice covering the story. Washington Post publisher at the time, Kate Graham, reportedly remarked that she was worried that none of the other papers were covering the story. And it was an important story. It exposed political corruption and abuse of power and a threat to our democracy.

How is that in common with Russiagate? The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired  to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. Hardly anyone in the media, mainstream or fringe, are writing about this fact and trying to rally public support for action. What is one to say when confronted with the fact that the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump that was initially commissioned by the Clinton campaign. And who is the FBI Agent paying for the dossier? Why a fellow now revealed as a Clinton partisan.

This piece is intentionally short. I just want to get the discussion rolling. But there is something rotten in Washington and it is not Donald Trump, no matter how boorish he is at times.

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72 Responses to Watergate Deja Vu and Fake News by Publius Tacitus

  1. David E. Solomon says:

    Trump may not be rotten. However, he is definitely not very intelligent. Assuming that he has some greater plan for the good of the country is allowing yourself to be lost in a dream world.
    I met the man twice in the mid-seventies. He is neither intelligent nor in the least bit altruistic. In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations. Buy hey, you are entitled to your opinion.

  2. It is a shame you wanted to start the discussion with such a stupid comment. I have made no representation whatsoever about the intelligence or lack of intelligence of Trump. I have expressed nothing regarding “my expectations” for him or his policies. I get it. You don’t like the man and want to grind a meaningless axe.

  3. EEngineer says:

    How much of what we see is the real DJT and how much is a projected public persona?
    There’s truth and lies, but then there’s just plain old bullshit which has nothing to do with either. He seems to throw a ton of it around as a diversionary tactic. I understand the technique, but I can’t see through the smoke screen to divine what he’s up to or who he really is. So I continue to dispassionately observe.

  4. walrus says:

    DJT’s threat to “drain the swamp” has created fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the swamp folk. They naturally fight back. By definition, all swamp critters must toe the neocon line else they would have been fired by previous incumbents. They are all therefore fair game for DJT.

  5. sbjonez says:

    Maybe a citation could be offered here, but there does not appear to be any support for the assertion made by the author of this piece that “…the FBI paid money to a former British spy for alleged dirt on Donald Trump…”.There were reports that the FBI ‘considered’ paying Steele to continue his work, ( a not altogether uncommon practice), yet within the more responsibly researched reports it was also clearly stated that in the end the FBI did not in fact pay Steele anything for any work at all.

  6. As it happens the FBI and most probably the others were created by executive order.
    Perhaps it’s time to end them by executive order…….

  7. Eric Newhill says:

    I admire your persistence and agree with the points you make in this and your other posts on the topic of Trump. This is an extremely important subject matter. A President was elected, lawfully, and a bunch of stupid ninnies got their panties in a knot over that and are therefore more or less willing to support a Borgist (“deep state”, if you prefer) coup d’état. Said ninnies are immune to the rational arguments you present because they are not intelligent, they are hyper emotional and many of them belong to a cult called “liberalism” (or the “progressive movement”, if you prefer). When you belong to a cult, you must suspend reason; make it subordinate to the hive mind. You lose all perspective. They believe all kids of ridiculous notions that fail to withstand the most basic rational scrutiny; like Islam and feminism can be allies, socialism would work if only it were applied correctly, if a man puts on a dress he has actually become a woman and that such a person would make a good 11 series in the military, low skill/low IQ immigrants – legal or otherwise – are actually good for the country……so of course they believe that a coup d’état is appropriate when the target is Trump. In their madness they have convinced themselves that Trump is uniquely dangerous. He is going to destroy the world via ignoring global warming, tax cuts, immigration reform, pushing the nuclear button just for fun; all of the above and maybe more. You know this, of course. You did mention “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.
    As for the rest of the subject matter, personally, I feel that what with all that has been revealed about the FBI, CIA and NSA, someone should be bringing the involved members of these agencies up on charges related to treason, sedition or whatever legal terms are correct. Actually, these people should have their doors kicked down and be brought out in hand cuffs. Death sentences should be on the table and should be applied when legally possible.
    This is no more Watergate than a man in a dress is a woman.
    The depths to which the govt, populace and values of this country have degenerated have never been more on display than in this witch hunt. We are in very bad shape. The media is thoroughly scurrilous. Officials in bureaucracies are treasonous and have no respect for the rule of law. Half of the citizens are insane and support the media and the traitors.
    If someone doesn’t at least just pull the plug on this “investigation”, it’s going to ruin what’s left of this country. It may be too late. A lot of ninnies are going to wake up to a very harsh reality.

  8. Peter Reichard says:

    From day one the Republicans were trying to impeach Bill Clinton by investigating every dark corner of the Clintons’ past and present until they could find something that would stick. Same thing with Trump except this time it goes far beyond the opposition party to include elements of the government, most of the media and even leading members of his own party. Elections be damned, we have an empire to maintain and he is seen by the establishment as too impulsive, unstable and so far uncontrollable to be allowed to stay in power. While no threat to the sacred cows of Wall Street and Israel or even to drain the swamp they are terrified of his unpredictability, hence the full court press unprecedented in American history to remove him from office. My very low opinion of Trump doesn’t blind me to the dangers inherent in this effort.

  9. Eric Newhill says:

    To the main points of the post; Watergate was independent investigative reporters doing their job and this “investigation” is a bunch of palace conspirators attempting a coup d’état. The former is farmer looking into the matter of his missing hens and the latter is the foxes looking into the farmer.

  10. PT – Isn’t the point you’ve just made central? The issues here are far more important than the personalities?
    I like what I’ve seen of our PM, Mrs May. Nice person, to my outsider’s way of thinking. Doesn’t alter the fact that I consider her policies and philosophy to be hopeless. And since we’re never going to meet her in the pub that’s what counts. Would it not be possible to separate things out in the same way with Trump? Set on one side the partisan arguments about his personality – politics is not a TV show – and consider him on the basis of what he may or may not do or be able to do?
    You mention briefly the Steele affair. I still find it difficult to believe that an ex-UK Intelligence Officer can get mixed up in American politics to this extent and scarcely an eyebrow raised. Surely someone’s asking questions somewhere about this? The facts are clear enough, for once.

  11. JMH says:

    Actually, I think he shares many of Bismark’s qualities:
    “a political genius of a very unusual kind [whose success] rested on several sets of conflicting characteristics among which brutal, disarming honesty mingled with the wiles and deceits of a confidence man. He played his parts with perfect self-confidence, yet mixed them with rage, anxiety, illness, hypochrondria, and irrationality. … He used democracy when it suited him, negotiated with revolutionaries and the dangerous Ferdinand Lassalle, the socialist who might have contested his authority. He utterly dominated his cabinet ministers with a sovereign contempt and blackened their reputations as soon as he no longer needed them. He outwitted the parliamentary parties, even the strongest of them, and betrayed all those … who had put him into power. By 1870 even his closest friends … realized that they had helped put a demonic figure into power.[6]”-wiki
    Bernie can be Lasalle.

  12. I think, I hope, I believe, I persuade myself that all is unfolding as it should. Mueller turns up nothing but further examples of officials pimping themselves out to foreign governments; meanwhile revelations of bias on his team; meanwhile chewing away at the Fusion GPS thing (one of the key pillars); meanwhile investigation of the FBI. And, off stage, a slow but powerful campaign exposing many of Trumnp’s enemies as corrupt, perverted hypocrites. And, from time to time, unexpected presents like Brazile’s book.
    But faster please

  13. Martin Oline says:

    I agree about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has afflicted the media. I think they are suffering from O.C.T.D.: Obsessive Compulsive Trump Disorder. There are some in the media who are of the opinion that this may not be working with most Americans. I saw two pieces this morning from BBC and The New York Times:
    Trump May Be Winning
    Why Don’t Sanders Supporters Care About Trump….
    Perhaps this is the start of a change or a recognition that the MSM’s habitual crying wolf behavior is not resonating with Main Street. I can only hope, but I stopped watching the national news long ago.

  14. Ken Roberts says:

    The crucial point is not about respect for the man. It is respect for the office. All men are flawed, and high position exposes additional flaws.
    It is evident, to this outside observer, that Trump won “fair and square” according to the established procedures. The variety of “dirty tricks” used against him, both before the election and after, is astounding. There was a “back room” negotiation on election eve, visible in public as the long delay in final over-the-top results, and Trump’s apology to his supporters for the delay, “it was complicated”.
    That truly is water under the bridge, and at least must be so, if you wish to preserve your republic. You all have the right to withhold consent and trash what you and your fathers and grandfathers have achieved. Most will not like the outcome. But I sincerely hope that you, each and collectively, instead will choose the positive aspects of this model:
    “… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
    Best wishes,

  15. JohnA says:

    I empathize. You put a lot of thought and time into a valuable piece of enlightenment and you get this Solomon guy bragging he’s met Trump as post #1?
    Who cares?

  16. Greco says:

    The ABC story had to be “clarified” given they originally reported Flynn had contacted the Russians DURING the election when in fact it was AFTER the election. The story had consequences on the stock market:
    This all happened on the eve of the passage of Trump’s tax cuts and it seemed timed to hurt the stock market. It may even possibly have torpedoed the tax cuts by putting into question Trump’s legal standing as president.

  17. David E. Solomon says:

    Sorry JohnA it is not bragging. There is nothing to brag about for having met Trump. I met him because I had worked for Barnes & Noble Bookstores as a corporate book buyer for their college stores. At the time I went to work for B&N (in 1974), people who I had known for years in the book business regularly said: “you know who you will be working for don’t you”. The word in those days was that B&N was bought out of bankruptcy by Len Riggio with backing from the mob.
    I was never involved in any of that and I only stayed one year. However, we were strictly given orders by Len Riggio to never say nasty things about Joey Gallo or “other boys in the neighborhood”.
    When I met Trump, I did so with another B&N personality (now long dead). He was attempting to open a very large bookstore in the Bonwit Teller building during the years after Trump’s purchase of it and before he started tearing it down.
    Trump struck both of us at that time as neither very intelligent nor very stable. He could not hold a conversation for more that a few moments and contunualy wandered around the room. Now I would say he had Attention Deficit Syndrome (not sure if the term was used in those days).
    Trump did not appear to be offensive, just not one of the brightest bulbs on the block. I think some many commentators believe he has some grand plan. Personally, I think his grand plan is self-aggrandizement. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS TO HIM….

  18. jdledell says:

    I detest Trump as a person but still acknowledge that he is our current President. I will continue to fight against the implementation of his policies and work hard to to try to insure he does not win a second term. Other than that in 3 more years the American people will have an opportunity to judge his performance and make a decision on his worthiness to continue as President. That is as it should be.
    Trump has taken some hard shots, some deserved and some not. That is the nature of our current political system. When Trump traveled the nation proclaiming Obama was not American born and thus an illegitimate President is also an example of “all is fair in War and politics”.

  19. Fred says:

    He was smart enough to get elected, defeating a dozen professional republicans and the Democratic machinery along with the MSM. “In the end you will see that he does not live up to your expectations.” I thought he was a boor and a mediocre showman. In that regard he’s exceeded mine by surviving this long.

  20. You are correct that there is no public source yet confirming the FBI paid Steele. However, the FBI’s refusal to turn over relevant documents regarding their relationship with Steele tells me there was money paid. What is indisputable is that the information in the dossier was used as a predicate to seek permission from a FISA court to go after Trump and his team. That is outrageous.

  21. semiconscious says:

    nothing to add. well said!…

  22. Charles says:

    A brilliant psychological evaluation, and done with so little data.
    It is quite possible that Trump had no interest in you at that time and felt little need to massage you and your friend.

  23. rjj says:

    is this doom-and-gloom or hope-assaulting-experience? Am guessing that the only thing he has shares with Old Otto is a preference for the classic method of donning trousers.
    OOPS! there’s this (was reminded of it by the hyperventilatory “breaking news” about Blackwater/Erik Prince):

    Bismarck held von Holstein in high esteem, and when the latter went to him with his plan for establishing a vast organization of almost universal spying, the Chancellor of the new German Empire immediately grasped the advantages he could obtain from it. ….
    Von Holstein … had one great ambition; that of knowing everything about everybody and of ruling everybody through fear of the disclosures he could make were he at any time tempted to do so. ….
    The German Foreign Office knew everything and made use of everything …. In the Prussian Intelligence Department as Holstein organized it there was hardly a person of note or consequence in Europe about whom everything was not known, including, of course, his weaknesses and cupboard skeletons. And this knowledge was used when necessary without any compunction or remorse. ….
    His first care, whenever an individual capable at a given moment of playing a part, no matter how humble, in the great drama attracted his attention, was to ferret out all that could be learned about him or her. With few exceptions he contrived to lay his finger on a hidden secret. Once this preliminary step had been performed to his satisfaction, the rest was easy. The unfortunate victim was given to understand that he would be shamed publicly at any time, unless . . . unless . . .

    As this has been the SOP of Karl Rove (presumably), of Jedgar, and before that [__fill in the blanks___], the only thing unprecedented about the Prince/Blackwater story is the disregard for omerta.
    DISCLAIMER: The Princess Radziwill who published the passage on von Holstein was an opportunistic swashbucklereuse type and [guessing] would have been so even in less horrifically interesting times.

  24. rjj says:

    Could it have been a lack of interest in retail booksellers and bookselling. Publishing and distribution are the critical control nodes in that business.

  25. Eric Newhill says:

    I’ll remind you that Obama himself used to say that he was born in Kenya. So he was born in Kenya before he wasn’t.
    Also, it is very different for a private citizen to make accusations than it is for entrenched members of govt bureaucracies to concoct reasons to depose a lawfully elected POTUS. Your attempt at equivalence is not very good.

  26. walter says:

    My humble opinion on what is going on. “The Borg” are individuals whose self-interest is tied to perpetuating “business as usual” in Washington DC. FBI agents, CIA, NSA need domestic and foreign conflict to aggrandize and justify their positions. They do not want our national problems solved…god forbid, budgets, salaries, bonuses, future contracting and consulting jobs might be reduced or eliminated.
    Hillary, Bush, Obama and “the establishment” knew unconsciously not to “rock the boat”. Trump was seen as too independent and uneducated in the ways of The Borg to be trusted. He had un-borg-like views like “..what the hell are we doing supporting Al Quida?” “…grab her in the pussy..” “..lets make Jerusalem the capital of Israel..” “lets get along with Russia..” “..the Media is fake and biased..” all very un-PC and un-borg-like positions. Too disruptive of the status quo. Might actually solve some problems and reduce the importance of government.
    I think the Borg determined he was N.O.K. (Not Our Kind). And he has royally pissed off the Media and he is in a death fight with the Media.

  27. walter says:

    Mr. Solomon, there are many different types of intelligences…he may not have the calm, intellectual intelligence that u might be used to.. but he might have a different kind of fast-thinking, big picture, “get ‘er done” intelligence that does not come across as intelligent but comes across in winning and building wealth. Many many successful people do not have “Ivy League” intelligence…they have street smarts and competitive determination.
    IMHO, there are no humans smart enough to do the job of POTUS well..its too hard of a job…they all get by to some extent…

  28. “He could not hold a conversation for more that a few moments and contunualy wandered around the room. Now I would say he had Attention Deficit Syndrome (not sure if the term was used in those days).”
    A lot of people behave like that when they’re not interested in a project. Too polite to say “go away please” and unable to walk away themselves.
    Unfortunately people also behave like that when they’re unable to concentrate for very long. Take your choice which you believe, I suppose.
    Did you get your book shop opened? I believe that was a good time for such ventures. But I’m not clear from what you say whether you were attempting to open a bookstore in a mob neighbourhood. Praiseworthy effort, if so.

  29. Sylvia 1 says:

    This is increasingly my take as well—the FBI, CIA and NSA do seem to have “conspired” to destroy Donald Trump. I finger Brennan, Clapper, Susan Rice, Benjamin Rhodes, and maybe Samantha Power as being involved in the flood of illegal leaks earlier in the year that did so much to pave the way for Mueller’s appointment.
    What I fail to understand is why Democrats are sitting back and cheering as these agencies work together to destroy a duly elected President of the USA. Does anyone really believe that if these agencies get away with it this time they will stop with Trump?
    All these agencies are out of control and are completely unaccountable.

  30. All,
    I think the Peter Stryok/Lisa Page connection adds very greatly to the grounds for suspicion about Mueller’s investigation.
    From a report on the investigation in the ‘Guardian’ in June:
    ‘One of the more recent recruits is reported to be Lisa Page, a justice department trial attorney with a substantial record of investigating Russian and former Soviet organised crime and in particular its reputed godfather, Semion Mogilevich.
    ‘Mogilevich associates are reported to have owned condos in Trump Tower in New York, and the father of Trump’s business partner in the Trump Soho hotel, Felix Sater, was a Mogilevich lieutenant.
    ‘Vladimir Putin is known to use oligarchs and organised crime bosses as instruments of Kremlin influence abroad.’
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/15/robert-mueller-trump-russia-investigation-team-members .)
    From an excerpt from Luke Harding’s ‘Collusion’ book published by ‘Morning Joe Staff’ on MNSBC, explaining how Christopher Steele met up with Glenn Simpson of Fusion, apparently as early as 2009:
    ‘One of Simpson’s subjects was Semion Mogilevich, a Ukrainian-Russian mafia don and one of the FBI’s ten most wanted individuals. Mogilevich, it was alleged, was behind a mysterious intermediary company, RosUkrEnergo (RUE), that imported Siberian natural gas into Ukraine. The profits were measured in billions of dollars.
    ‘Mogilevich wasn’t someone a reporter might meet; he was more myth than man. He lived in Moscow – or was it Budapest? Seemingly, the Russian state and FSB harbored him. Simpson talked to U.S. investigators. Over years, he built up a portfolio of contacts in Hungary, Israel, Cyprus. At home he knew individuals inside the Department of Justice – in particular its Organized Crime and Racketeering Section – the U.S. Treasury, and elsewhere.
    ‘By 2009 Simpson decided to quit journalism, at a time when the media industry was in all sorts of financial trouble. He cofounded his own commercial research and political intelligence firm, based in Washington, D.C. Its name was Fusion GPS. Its website gave little away. It didn’t even list an address or the downtown loft from where a team of analysts worked.
    ‘Fusion’s research would be similar to what he had done before. That meant investigating difficult corruption cases or the business activities of post-Soviet figures. There would still be a public interest dimension, only this time private clients would pay. Fusion was very good at what it did and— Simpson admitted – expensive.
    ‘In 2009 Simpson met Steele. They knew some of the same FBI people and shared expertise on Russia. Fusion and Orbis began a professional partnership. The Washington- and London-based firms worked for oligarchs litigating against other oligarchs. This might involve asset tracing—identifying large sums concealed behind layers of offshore companies.’
    (See http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/excerpt-collusion .)
    Admitted into evidence in Sir Robert Owen’s Inquiry, as INQ018922, are two pages from a letter faxed from Litvinenko to the ‘Mitrokhin Commission’, for which his Italian associate Mario Scaramella worked, on 1 December 2005 – which happened to be immediately before the latter set out on a visit to Washington. It may well have been included because a garrulous contact had told Counter Terrorism Command that I had the Italian version back in, I think, 2010.
    As the following extract makes clear, a central purpose of the letter was to claim that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent of the FSB, and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’, had attempted to obtain a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ for Al Qaeda.
    ‘I would also like to add as a fact linked to this case that about three weeks ago from Yuri Shvets; friend of mine who used to work in KGB intelligence as an undercover reporter stationed in Washington USA, I learned that well-known criminal terrorist Mogilevich Semion, one of the most wanted by the FBI, is in a good relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and most senior officials of the Russian Federation. Yuri Shvets now is decoding the tapes recorded in Kuchma’s office. This was recorded by the Ukrainian President’s bodyguard Melnichenko Nikolai, who later sold it to Yuri Felshtinski, Boris Berezovski and Alik Goldfarb of Berezovski’s foundation. At the present Yuri Shvets is decoding these tapes. And Yuri Shvets found that in 2002 ex SBU (Security Services of Ukraine) boss Derkach is reporting to President Kuchma that they found Semion Mogilevich who at present is residing in Russia and that Semion Mogilevich met with SBU officers on Derkach’s, Kuchma’s request and that Semion Mogilevich said he purchased a house from ex head of the Georgian special services Georgadze who is hiding in Russia as he is wanted for terrorism. Semion Mogilevich currently residing in that “dacha” (summerhouse interpreter’s note) not far from Moscow. This house is next door to Zuganov’s house – head of the communist party of Russia. He and Zuganov see each other every day. When Kuchma asked what sort of place is it and why Mogilevich is residing alongside with such high ranked people, Derkach said this is a particularly safeguarded place were high ranking Russian officials are residing. Semion Mogilevich managed to get a residence there as he is in a very close relationship with Russian president Putin whom he knows since Putin was working in St. Petersburg and they had a common cause, in my understanding a criminal cause. At the present Putin is Mogilevich’s “krisha” (protection in criminal jargon – interpreter’s note). This is Putin who protects Mogilevich. And this is the reason that FBI can not arrest Mogilevich. It is obvious from this conversation that Putin is in fact hiding Mogilevich. Earlier I had information that Mogilevich was arm dealer and particularly was selling weapons to the Al-Qaeda leaders. There is information that on Al-Qaeda’s request Mogilevich tried to get a mini nuclear bomb. I know beyond the doubt that Mogilevich is FSB’s long-standing agent and all his actions including the contacts with Al-Qaeda are controlled FSB – the Russian special services. For this very reason FSB is hiding Mogilevich from FBI.’
    (The evidence is http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    What we are dealing with is a familiar pattern in ‘StratCom.’ One starts from information that is both accurate and embarrassing for one’s targets – Mogilevich almost certainly was used as an agent both by the FSB and the SBU, and is also extremely likely to have been involved in the peculiarly opaque companies involved in the gas transit trade, Eural Trans Gas and RosUkrEnergo, in the shadows behind Dmitri Firtash.
    One then adds in some complete hogwash, in this case by ‘doctoring’ the relevant tapes, and – hey presto! – one can disregard all those warnings from Putin about the dangers of cooperating with jihadists, because, what do you know, he was trying to hand over nuclear weapons to them. And we really would not want these arguments to get in the way of our support for ‘moderate Islamists’ like Ibn al-Khattab in Chechnya, or Zahran Alloush in Syria.
    And of course, now that all those comforting assumptions – that Bandar could keep these people under control, that the attack on the World Trade Center was just the product of an unfortunate lapse, and that, really, ‘Islamic State’ only want to butcher Shiites – are looking just a bit threadbare, we really do need to cover our traces, don’t we?
    In the description by the ‘Guardian’ of Lisa Page’s expertise we were told: ‘Vladimir Putin is known to use oligarchs and organised crime bosses as instruments of Kremlin influence abroad.’
    If people working for that paper were journalists, rather than stenographers for corrupt spooks, we might know that much of what is supposedly ‘known’ about his Putin’s use of ‘organised crime bosses’ is fabrication by sleazy disinformation peddlers.
    There are I think very strong reasons to suspect that very similar sleazy tactics to those which were employed against Putin, Kuchma, and others – including notably Romano Prodi, who was a prime target of the ‘Mitrokhin Commission’ – have been, and are continuing to be, applied in the campaign against Trump.
    Note also that precisely the figures referred to in the extract above were employed when Steele et al were attempting to cover up what had happened to Litvinenko.
    Also in the ‘evidence’, as HMG000513, one will a transcript issued from the Cabinet Office of a BBC Radio 4 programme which went out on 16 December 2006. This was presented by Tom Mangold, a leading conduit for the 2001 anthrax scare stories, which Comey and Mueller failed to investigate properly.
    (See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    It was wholly devoted to a collection of palpable lies and half-truths from Shvets, helped out by the former FBI agent Robert ‘Bobby’ Levinson, who had earlier, like Lisa Page, been intimately involved in investigating Mogilevich.
    The tragic story told was of how Litvinenko, forced by penury into ‘due diligence’ work, had in collaboration with these other impartial ‘due diligence’ investigators – people like Glenn Simpson – had unearthed terrible truths about the links of a figure close to Putin to organised crime.
    Supposedly, this figure had sent Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun to pour polonium into Litvinenko’s green tea in retaliation.
    Unfortunately, Shvets had a contact, Karon von Gerhke, to whom he had sent e-mails, at the time, directly contradicting what he claimed to Mangold. So, when the BBC ‘Panorama’ programme turned to the subject the following month, in place of lies by Shvets we were given lies by Scaramella.
    (A transcript, again sent out from the Cabinet Office, was presented as evidence as HMG00507, and is at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    As it happened, the following March Levinson would disappear off the Iranian island of Kish, on what – after years of mendacious denials – was admitted to be a covert CIA mission.
    A quite likely hypothesis, I think, is that he was engaged in one frame-up attempt too many, and Russian intelligence and Iranian both agreed that he should be taken out of circulation. People do sometimes get a tiny bit ‘peeved’, when people go on producing lies to justify ‘regime change’ projects.
    A central question, I think, is whether those in the British Government who sent out and received the transcripts to which I have linked were the ‘useful idiots’ of people like Steele, or co-conspirators of them, or some mixture of both.
    Does Theresa May have any idea as to what really happened?

  31. Eric Newhill says:

    Are you aware that the Office of Inspector General has been investigating politicization of the FBI and DOJ for 11 months now?
    The investigation was brought about at the recommendation of certain members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe. Among the allegations being looked into is that DOJ/FBI have highly political agents that should have at least recused themselves from certain investigations and that their politics may have influenced the course of the investigations.
    Given the revelations around Strzok, Rhee and Weissman, on Mueller’s team, you’d think we’d be hearing more about OIG case. IMO, we are about to though.

  32. Fred says:

    Dr. George,
    And replace the investigative apparatus of the DOJ with what?

  33. Fred says:

    “When Trump traveled the nation proclaiming…” I missed out on which elected office Trump held when he did so. Please remind me.
    “all is fair in War and politics”. That appears to be the level of integrity of the Mueller investigative team.

  34. Huckleberry says:

    Mr. Solomon,
    I have noticed that Trump’s fiercest critics share a certain ethnic and tribal affiliation. Is this your experience?

  35. RMF says:

    And they control the media.

  36. David E. Solomon says:

    I am not sure what you mean. I am Jewish by birth and RC by conversion (but have not been to church in years). Other than that I have no tribal affiliation.
    My wife and I have lived in a small town in upstate NY for nearly fifteen years now. We know a number of people who voted for Trump (mostly because the could not stand the Clintons). Obama had a chance to do something worthwhile, but all he cared about was his post presidential years of ease and looting.
    I don’t believe that any of those we know who voted for Trump can stand him, but they still feel the same way they did about the Clintons and Obama as they did before the election.
    Really, this is not a democracy.
    Nothing much we old people can do about it.
    PS: I should add, that while I was born Jewish, I have absolutely no pro-Israeli feelings. I think Israel is the major problem in the Middle East.

  37. Apologies,
    I left out out the link to the transcript of the tape on which the claims by Litvinenko that Putin had been involved in attempting to equip Al Qaeda with nukes relies.
    It is INQ015726, at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence
    What I really love is the clear implication that the ‘dachas’ have ‘good relations with Putin.’
    This is pretty crude editing – like that which Shvets used earlier, in order to turn a brief except which started with it having to be explained to Kuchma what the Kolchuga passive detection system was, so that it ended with him approving its sale to Saddam.
    This was certified to have been unedited by the former FBI audiotape expert Bruce Koenig.
    (See https://www.publicintegrity.org/2002/04/15/3197/special-report-kuchma-approved-sale-weapons-system-iraq .)

  38. David E. Solomon says:

    Sorry, there was no plan to engage Trump in retail bookselling. The guy I was working with was named Dan Weiner and he was also one of the ones who had access to funny money. This building sat for several years before Trump started tearing it down by destroying an Art Nouveau facade that the courts had ordered him to salvage for a museum.
    I think the only reason we had a meeting with Trump was that Trump knew about Dan Weiner’s “funny money” connection and was unsure if he was required to see us. I cannot ask Dan Weiner. He ate himself to death about thirty-five years ago.

  39. HawkOfMay says:

    @Eric Newhill
    Care to back that claim about former President Obama with some reliable links? Seems to me plenty of people suffered from ‘Obama Derangement Syndrome’ before others suffered from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’.
    It does look like his literary agent made the simple mistake in a promotional booklet. https://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/booklet.asp
    I fully trust Mueller to do his job. It is good that Flynn was caught lying to the FBI. Just as it is good news about the Manafort indictment. We will have to wait and see who else in President Trump’s orbit will be caught. I personally doubt that any of these will reach President Trump.

  40. David E. Solomon says:

    It was Fifth Avenue (directly across from Bantam Publishing Building). The building in put us is that disgusting Trump Tower.

  41. rjj says:

    Let whoever has never distractedly short shrifted anyone throw the first stone. Mea culpa.
    HOWEVER [changing subject] had the indignation munchies so looked up the building they demolished. 666 Fifth Avenue came up in the search. BOGGLE, BOGGLE! Hoax? It can’t be serious. Were the Hadad people taking the piss? Were the Kushners?

  42. Peter VE says:

    I’m also stunned by the stupidity of the Democrats. Any liberal who believes the intelligence agencies is a fool. They’ve just shown us their true nature by blocking the release of several thousand pages of records relating to the assassination of President Kennedy. If they can’t allow the truth to come out after 54 years, they surely can’t be trusted to be truthful about today’s information.

  43. I definitely agree with your last sentence about self-aggrandizement.
    As I’ve said before, I think Trump only ran for President for 1) ego, and 2) he knows he will have access to billions of dollars of business deals once he leaves office, with the cachet of having been President.
    In the interim, he’s simply playing at being President – he really couldn’t care less about his performance in office, other than avoiding being tarred and feathered like Nixon or impeached like Clinton.
    People who think he has some grand plan to “make America great” are delusional.

  44. Eric Newhill says:

    Snopes? Politifact? I’m surprised you didn’t including shaking your magic 8 ball real hard before receiving an answer on this.
    I repeat that private citizens – like Trump or Obama’s very own half-brother – accusing Obama of being foreign born is not at all the same as an organized conspiracy concocted by the well connected power brokers and high level bureaucrats. You can’t – or won’t – see the difference because of your TDS. Your TDS leads you to prefer destruction of our system of governance as opposed to respect the will of voters you disagree with.

  45. There we find common ground. Architecture is not one of your President’s strengths. Trump Tower is an indictable offence in itself, aesthetically speaking, and I’m surprised that Mr Mueller didn’t put that on his to do list when he was preparing his fishing expeditions. Perhaps later.
    Sadly, looking at the standard of redevelopment in your country and mine, it’s not as bad as most so perhaps that’s why it’s not on the charge sheet.
    Moving away from that common ground we share, the scale of the attack on Donald Trump is truly astonishing, at least as seen from over here. Maybe, used as you are to the frantic impeachment epics of earlier times it doesn’t seem out of the way to you, but surely during even those times almost the entire weight of the American and European political and media establishment wasn’t so vehemently directed against one man.
    Any idea why?

  46. Cvillereader says:

    Fox News, which has been fairly reliable of late, reported last night that the FBI OIG report will be finalized and made public sometime in the next 4-5 weeks.

  47. Eric Newhill and Patrick Armstrong,
    I never would have taken you two for birthers. My family always got a kick out of the birther movement. My sons have the same “long form” certificate of live birth as Obama. They’ve sometimes joked about being Kenyans because of those certificates.
    Not believing Russia was behind the DNC and Podesta email hacks is reasonable. I doubt either of you spent time digitally amongst Russian hackers and government official organizing and conducting these kinds of activities like me, but I understand the reasons for doubt. Not believing Trump is guilty of collusion with the Russians during the 2016 election is not just reasonable, it’s prudent. I’m skeptical of that myself. But this birther stuff. Wow.

  48. blue peacock says:

    Publius Tacitus

    The real story is that the FBI, the NSA and the CIA effectively conspired to try to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump.
    How can this conspiracy be investigated? Who could do it? Clearly not anyone from the DoJ, FBI, CIA and NSA as they are fully compromised.

  49. blue peacock says:

    David Habakkuk
    Would you have a suggestion of a paper that most accurately describes the Litvinenko affair?
    Your posts have greatly intrigued me and I would like to learn more. This story seems incredibly fascinating. A recruited Russian “MI6 agent” killed by polonium poisoning. By whom? Why? And what is the real back story? Why was the farce of the Owens inquiry even ordered? And of course what role did Chris Steele, the author of the “Trump dossier” play in all this?

  50. JamesT says:

    Mr. Solomn
    My thinking is very much in line with that of Publius Tacitus, but the fact that you have actually met Trump (twice in fact) gives me pause. I think that a lot of the Trump haters overestimate their knowledge of someone they have never met. The fact that you have actually met the man is very salient in my opinion, and I appreciate you sharing your impressions of the man.

  51. JamesT says:

    If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would in 2017 consider Fox News to be the most reliable MSM news outlet, I would have rolled around on the ground laughing hysterically. Yet it is true. I am not quite sure what I should deduce from this but I think it is something along the lines of “one cannot be too cynical about the news media”.

  52. Imagine says:

    Real News: Outstanding official independent post-mortem of Charlottesville. Includes maneuver tactics, I think y’all will like it.

  53. JMH says:

    Prince is a rather dim bulb in my opinion, which is why his current ideas get zero traction anywhere. He got lucky at the outset of the GWOT but it’s hard to catch lighting in a bottle twice.

  54. AK says:

    English Outsider,
    “Any idea why?”
    He certainly gives them plenty of ammunition. However, I believe a great deal of the vituperative outrage directed at him has much (possibly primarily) to do with exactly whom he bested in the general election. Not to pile on, but see David E. Solomon’s comments on this thread. One can’t underestimate the cult of personality that was so carefully crafted around Hillary Clinton for the past two decades. Their chosen strategy of identity politics only kicked it into hyper-drive over the past eight years. Still, this phenomenon existed long before Trump, The Politician, and even before Obama and his own cult. Many of these people were able to put their expectations on hold for eight long years. Obama was a result they could at least live with temporarily – “Just eight more years, and then they owe her.” They had their very structures of reality built around a certain outcome, which didn’t come to pass. So, the disappointment was all the more bitter when they realized that their waiting was in vain. That’s a tidal wave of cognitive dissonance unleashed by that unimaginable (for some) occurrence of her defeat. He didn’t put paid to Martin O’Malley or even Bernie Sanders. He vanquished The Queen. That sort of thing never goes down lightly.

  55. AK says:

    As I’ve said before, I think Trump only ran for President for 1) ego, and 2) he knows he will have access to billions of dollars of business deals once he leaves office, with the cachet of having been President.
    You might as well assert that lions only hang out around watering holes because 1) there’s water there, and 2) gazelles and zebras have to drink water. Can you point me to one President from living memory who did not 1) run for the Office at least partially out of ego, and 2) take advantage in his subsequent “private life” of these exact perks of having held the Office? I ask seriously, because it seems you are pining for a nobility in presidential politics which to my recollection hasn’t existed for at least three generations. Cincinnatus, they ain’t. Maybe Ike, but anyone else is a real stretch.

  56. blue peacock,
    On the Litvinenko mystery, my initial responses to Owen’s report were posted here on SST back in January 2016. There is a great deal more material in the exchanges of comments that followed. Some further material relating to patent fabrications in the evidence presented to the Inquiry, and the fact it now seems clear Owen himself must have been consciously colluding in fabrication, was presented in comments of mine in a discussion last month.
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/11/harper-a-reminder-of-the-obscene-power-of-the-israel-lobby.html .)
    As to the background, there are a number of matters to do with ‘perception management’ or ‘StratCom’ operations about which it is important to be clear. One is that attempting to combine these with intelligence analysis is fraught with pitfalls. This was done rather successfully in the Second World War disinformation operations, which repeatedly blinded the Germans to the actual places where the Allies intended to land.
    But the conditions – including a large degree of separation between the conduits in which intelligence was coming in and those through which disinformation was channelled – were I think distinctly atypical.
    The problem is compounded when ‘perception management’ depends upon painting the world in black and white terms. It is most of the time true, to hark back to the aphorism of the novelist Graham Greene, that the world is not black and white, but black and grey.
    Last but hardly least, a common ‘perception management’ strategy is, as it were, to attempt to achieve a ‘snooker’ – to put the adversary in a situation where he or she has no effective counter-move. One way of doing this is illustrated by the passages I quoted. Because some of the material relating to Mogilevich is likely to be true, Litvinenko and his associates could embroider it with a whole mass of falsehood, countering on the inability of their targets effectively to counter the falsehood without admitting some of the truth.
    What is clear about the events of October-November 2006 in London is that when the story of Litvinenko’s poisoning was first made public, those in the know in the Russian security services believed that Counter Terrorism Command would have to identify a timeline of his movements on the day he was supposedly poisoned that would incriminate him in trafficking polonium. So, they thought that they had managed a ‘snooker’ against Berezovsky and MI6.
    To avoid this, these colluded – with Steele clearly playing a key role – in massive fabrication of evidence. It is likely that they thought they had escaped the ‘snooker’, and achieved one of their own. What then seems to have happened is that Lugovoi consulted lawyers in London, who worked out a means of bringing a case, probably under human rights law, on the basis that he had been accused without the evidence against him being released. This, in essence, forced the British into resuming the inquest.
    Once again the group around Berezovsky – the names mentioned in the letter to the Mitrokhin Commission from which I quoted – were placed centre stage, and there had to be industrial scale fabrication of evidence. Of course, as Steele was no longer running the MI6 Russia Desk, one cannot be absolutely certain that he was at the centre of things, but it seems overwhelmingly likely.
    Be that as it may however, what is important is that Americans realise that he is a serial fabricator – the forging of evidence, and the corruption of judicial processes, are parts of his stock in trade. He is, to put it bluntly, a ‘sewer rat.’
    As to the claims about Manafort, Firtash, Mogilevich et al. These are a natural product of ‘perception management’ run riot. The whole history of the intermediary companies in the gas trade through Ukraine is a complex one, on which I am currently engaged in trying to get ‘up to speed.’ However, it is not a simple story of ‘black’ and ‘white’, and attempting to reduce it to one produces nonsense.
    So, for example, back in 2010 there were allegations and counter-allegations about involvement with Mogilevich, with its being claimed that the supporters of Timoshenko had destroyed a dossier which would incriminate her. In 2008, she and Putin had reached an agreement to eliminate the intermediary company RusUkrEnergo, with which it has been very credibly argued that the mobster was involved, and which has indeed subsequently been wound up.
    Its key role, it has plausibly been argued, derived from the fact that Ukraine, having a strangehold on the pipeline network connecting supplies from the former Soviet Union to Europe, exploited this to avoid paying for gas. The intermediary allowed Gazprom to get paid, and also by dealing directly with end using companies to produce differential pricing which stopped important ones going bankrupt.
    It also, critically, provided a means of ‘greasing palms’ on both sides, and as well as Yanukovich, this included Yushchenko. So Timoshenko’s supporter Oleksandr Turchinov charged that the accusations against about the destruction of the material incriminating her in relation was an ‘elaborate ruse’ by Yushchenko and his circle to divert attention from their plans to preserve RosUkrEnergo as an intermediary.
    (See https://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/ukraine-politics/new-and-conflicting-details-emerge-over-mogilevich-92521.html ; for background, see https://www.ifri.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/ifri_Gazprom_guillet_anglais_mars2007.pdf ; http://russiaotherpointsofview.typepad.com/russia_other_points_of_vi/2009/01/the-pipe-is-blocked-in-kiev.html#more )
    As to the notion that Yanukovich is ‘Putin’s man’, it is nonsense. He is Yanukovich’s man, pure and simple, out for his own ends, and would have signed the Association Agreement with the EU had the terms not been patently unacceptable. On this, see https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/trumps-ukrainian-connection/ .
    A crucial question which needs to be sorted out is for whom Glenn Simpson and his associates at Fusion GPS are working. What Harding calls ‘asset tracing’ has been a critical activity, and here, it is relevant that Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky were given their first lessons in Western ‘business practices’ as early as 1989 by Christopher Samuelson and Christian Michel of Valmet, a company with clear links to some of the more dubious elements in Western intelligence. They were experts in creating elaborate structures to hide the real ownership and control of assets.
    (See http://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society_two.blogspot.co.uk .)
    What has to be explained is the apparent paradox that Simpson et al were collaborating with Steele, and at the same time, supposedly, working against Browder. This could indicate that they were indeed simply ‘hired guns’, or alternatively, it could point to an elaborate deception, designed to disguise the fact that they were really working for Western intelligence.
    Here, there is a further paradox, in that one of the few good pieces of reporting on the mysterious death of the Menatep lawyer Stephen Curtis, who had been part of the circles involving Samuelson and Michel, in a helicopter accident in March 2004, was done by Thomas Catan, now a partner in Fusion. What this demonstrated was that, if as seems likely Curtis was murdered, Putin and the Russian security services were among the least plausible suspects.
    At that time, Catan demonstrated, Curtis had started ‘singing sweetly’ to what was then the National Criminal Intelligence Service – and what he was telling them would have been music to Putin’s ears.
    (See http://offshorenet.com/before_the_crash/ .)
    As part of their attempt to wriggle out of the mess into which they had got themselves with the lawsuits provoked by the dossier, ‘BuzzFeed’ produced some melodramatic pieces claiming that all kinds of people had been assassinated by the Russian security services.
    (See https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/from-russia-with-blood-14-suspected-hits-on-british-soil .)
    One of those included is Curtis. That this is nonsense is something that Catan, it seems to me, must know. Unlike Harding, who is a clown, he was a very good investigative journalist indeed. Perhaps he has simply gone over to the dark side. The large sums of money to be made by doing so are, unfortunately, very tempting. But then, sometimes, ‘devil’s bargains’ blow up in people’s faces.

  57. Morongobill says:

    It sure looks like a fight to the death. Unfortunately for the media, they are taking on a wily street fighter.

  58. Eric Newhill says:

    I am not really a birther. I am agnostic. Obama could have been born in Kenya, or it could be that he used a story about a foreign birth to gain both financial aid and street cred in the liberal world, when he was actually born in the US as he later claimed when that became more convenient.
    I don’t really care where he was born, not now and not when it was an issue.
    It is noteworthy that his own brother, who is Kenyan, says that Obama was born in Kenya. My spider sense says that the brother is telling the truth. My spider sense counts for nothing beyond my own head and is of less value than Snopes in a public discussion.
    At one point, Obama was boasting Indonesian citizenship. The guy is a chameleon. Again, I don’t really care. There is enough lack of clarity around where he was born that we might as well accept that it was in the US. He was legitimately elected.
    I say again that private citizen DJT questioning this is quite different than all the secretive alphabet agencies actually looking to depose in a coup d’état.

  59. Read what I said and think about what I said and what question I was answering. (PS I believe BHO was born in Hawaii)

  60. Barbara Ann says:

    I agree with @sbjonez. Though I thoroughly agree with the thrust of your article, I would respectfully advise that your analysis that the FBI paid Steele not be described as a “fact” until, or unless, hard evidence of such sees the light of day.
    The best way to counter the ‘Trump collusion with Russia’ narrative is to be absolutely rigorous in supporting a factual counter narrative, whilst demanding that each and every allegation be substantiated, or retracted.

  61. I, too, thought the whole Tea Party thing–especially the birther stuff–was crazy. But Trump Derangement Syndrome is just an order of magnitude crazier. For openers, hardly any non-Fox media outlet ever even gave a hearing to the birthers’ ‘theory’. But now, the whole media and entertainment complex (except Fox) are on the impeach-Trump-now bandwagon. Secondly, as dumb as birtherism was, at least it wasn’t a threat to our national security. Hillary’s ‘Russiagate’ accusations, by way of contrast, are designed to worsen our relations with a nuclear-armed super-power. Very scary indeed.

  62. Oh, I agree completely.
    But in my lifetime, most Presidents at least TRIED to “act Presidential” (with some exceptions). Trump isn’t even trying.
    Also, some Presidents (Reagan, for example) actually had some sort of ideology they wanted to push. Trump’s got nothing but some vague notions he probably holds only because it plays to his supporters.
    The main point is that every single President since Ike has been worse than the last, and we had real devolution since Reagan, and a complete collapse since Clinton (although a case could be made that Clinton started the collapse). Bush, Obama and now Trump – an unmitigated disaster.

  63. Charles says:

    He will be 79 when he leaves office.
    He will still be a billionaire.
    He will still have a loving family and grandkids.
    I can not think of a president who did not have a noticeably grand ego before he was elected. Some left humbled by the job, this president appears to be rising to the job quite nicely.
    While the Clintons and now the Obamas are the standard setters for milking the presidency after they departed it; they are not representative of honest Americans.

  64. helenk3 says:

    18 questions for the Clinton News Network.
    fact checking does not seem to be a requirement to have a story printed there. They make the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, look like the smartest guys in the room

  65. blue peacock says:

    David Habakkuk
    Thank you!
    What was the general reaction in Britain to the Owens inquiry? Did anyone in parliament or those with access to the media ever question its integrity and raise the contradictions in the various pieces of so called evidence?
    Did any reporter see through the obfuscations and provide more realistic interpretations of what actually happened and the sordid attempts by Steele and his minders to fix the evidence?
    I am particularly interested in the role of Fusion GPS and its founder Glenn Simpson who I believe was previously a WSJ reporter, in both the Litvinenko matter as well as the production of the “dossier” on Trump. Fusion GPS was apparently hired by Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager, and the main person at Elliott Management initially to do oppo research on the different GOP presidential candidates. Singer is an ardent zionist and uses his immense wealth to influence politics. Once Trump won the primary, Singer ended the contract with Fusion GPS, and this is where the Clinton campaign and the DNC enter into a deal with Fusion GPS to produce material on Trump. Fusion GPS then hires Steele to create the salacious dossier on Trump. It seems Glenn Simpson and Steele had some linkages during the fabrication of evidence in the Litvinenko affair.
    It would seem rather obvious that MI6 and the US intelligence agencies have some role to play in this game of disinformation and attempts to derail a legitimately elected POTUS, due to the fact that Steele was employed by MI6.
    Considering that some of the characters who were deeply involved in the Litvinenko cover-up are also involved in “Russiagate”, I am curious what else they are involved in? We continue to read about the lead “investigators” on the Mueller team from both the FBI and DoJ, as well as the Judge who approved the FISA warrant to wiretap Trump associates have been found to be political partisans.
    Would you care to speculate on what actually happened in both the Litvinenko affair and “Russiagate”?

  66. LeaNder says:

    interesting. I forgot to add, when I stumbled across your comment.
    I wasn’t aware how much she published. But your allusion*/”intelligence?” made me realize she didn’t surface on Wikipedia in one context I expected her to surface. She may no doubt have been 76 at that point in time. But?
    Which of her other publications do you feel could be important? Did she have influence on one or the other historians? More arbitrary question. Not that I would expect anything but usage to prove a point as cynic.

  67. blue peacock,
    The history of the coverage of the Litvinenko mystery, on both sides of the Atlantic, from the time the story broke through until the Owen cover-up and subsequently, illustrates the collapse alike in standards of integrity and of basic journalistic competence in the MSM. The only honourable exception among British journalists is Mary Dejevsky.
    Given the way that Mogilevich, having been used in ‘information operations’ against Kuchma, Putin and Romano Prodi, is now being used against Trump, some of the history deserves to be better known.
    As I noted, according to Luke Harding, Glenn Simpson met Steele in 2009. Meanwhile, in his attempts to wriggle out from the libel case brought by Aleksej Gubarev, the latter has referred to a confidentiality agreement supposedly made in January 2010, in relation to work carried out for him by Fusion – not the other way round.
    From what I know about the Litvinenko mystery, it seems to me that the work that Simpson et al were doing at that time could have involved a number of matters. One is asset tracing to do with Mogilevich. More likely however, is asset tracing in relation to issues to do with the Tambov Gang, a St Petersburg mafia outfit with links to Colombian drug cartels – Fusion has Latin American involvement and expertise.
    Another possible candidate has to do with the lawsuits about the estate of Berezovsky’s erstwhile partner Arkadi ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili, who died, probably of a heart attack, in February 2008. His close relationship with Lugovoi is central to understanding the Litvinenko mystery, and the lawsuits were intimately involved with the covert struggles between Berezovsky and MI6 on the one hand, and Putin and the Russian security services on the other. Here, there was a strong American angle, because Patarkatsishvili’s American lawyer, Emanuel Zeltser, was a crucial figure.
    A third possibility is that Fusion were already being used as an instrument of media manipulation – which of course takes us back to the question of why the company was making payments to journalists.
    What is important both in relation to claims about Mogilevich and these other matters is that anything coming from Steele or Fusion, separately or jointly, was always likely to be a mixture of truth and the most outrageous falsehood. This is where the ability of such people to manipulate the MSM, as demonstrated by the history of the Litvinenko cove-up, becomes critically important.
    A pathbreaking investigation which did appear in the MSM was a piece entitled ‘The Specter that Haunts the Death of Litvinenko’ which the veteran American investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein published in the ‘New York Sun’ in March 2008.
    (See http://www.nysun.com/foreign/specter-that-haunts-the-death-of-litvinenko/73212/ .)
    What Epstein did was go to take the trouble to go to Moscow and interview the Russian investigators. Curiously, however, while his account suggested that the Italian angle to the story might be crucial, he did not probe it. Describing the crucial meeting with Mario Scaramella on the day Litvinenko was, supposedly, poisoned, Epstein wrote that that the Italian ‘had been involved with Litvinenko in, among other things, a Byzantine plot to penetrate the operations of a suspected trafficker in prostitutes, arms, and enriched uranium.’
    This is Mogilevich. The supposed operation had been central to a piece which appeared in the ‘Guardian’ the previous January, an article entitled ‘Why a spy was killed’ by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy. This was inept – the authors simply swallowed wholesale wildly implausible claims by associates of Litvinenko.
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/jan/26/weekend.adrianlevy .)
    Concluding his article, Epstein wrote:
    ‘After considering all the evidence, my hypothesis is that Litvinenko came in contact with a Polonium-210 smuggling operation and was, either wittingly or unwittingly, exposed to it.’
    In May that year, the ‘Guardian’ published an interview with Lugovoi by Luke Harding, entitled ‘Prime suspect.’ A key paragraph:
    ‘Recently, Lugovoi’s claim that he is the victim has been gaining some ground. In an article in the New York Sun, the veteran US investigative journalist Edward Epstein claimed that Britain’s evidence against Lugovoi was weak – and said that British prosecutors had failed to submit Litvinenko’s autopsy report. Litvinenko was an international polonium smuggler, Epstein speculated. The Independent’s Mary Dejevsky wrote a similarly revisionist piece, raising doubt about the British case against Lugovoi.’
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/may/21/ukcrime.internationalcrime .)
    What Harding was doing here was smearing Epstein, by attributing to him a suggestion that Russian sources had indeed made, but he had not. Moreover, any competent editorial team would have done the obvious, and asked British sources whether it was true that the autopsy report had not been submitted, and if not, why not. A more appropriate subject for a book called ‘Collusion’ would be the way in which the current ‘régime’ at the ‘Guardian’ has turned what was once a great liberal paper into stenographers for corrupt spooks, policemen, and judges.
    As it happened, some rather elementary Google checks had a good while before alerted me to some very good coverage of the Italian angle which had appeared a site called ‘European Tribune’, after the story initially broke, from a blogger using the name ‘de Gondi’, who I already knew because of his work at the Italian end of the transnational Niger uranium forgeries investigation. Based in Rome, his actual name is David Loepp, and his ‘day job’ is as an artisan jeweller specialising in ancient and traditional goldsmith techniques.
    It seemed to me time that rather than dead-beat MSM journalists, it was time that someone of proven investigative competence took a fresh look at the Italian angle, so I posted a long piece on ‘European Tribune’, setting out what I thought was the state of the evidence. Among the materials David Loepp produced in response was the translation of an excerpt from the request by Italian prosecutors to use intercepts of conversations involving Scaramella in connection with their case against him for ‘aggravated calumny.’
    The request was unsuccessful, but it was ‘hiding in plain sight’ on the website of the Italian Senate, complete with detailed summaries of the conversations. The passage David translated read:
    ‘3) – 4) – 5) – 6) – 7) – 8) – 9) conversations that took place on number [omissis] on December 1st, 2005, at 16:10:08 # 833, 16:43:40 # 848, 17:13:02 # 856, 17:56:45 # 860, 18:15:48 # 861, 19:56:22 # 867, 20:20:50 # 873, containing precise references to the campaign organized by Scaramella and Litvinenko to support the thesis of a conspiracy to assassinate Guzzanti, attributing the responsibility to TALIK and elements of the Russian mafia, the camorra and Russian and Ukrainian secret services, with the indication of relevant documents acquired by Scaramenlla and sent to Senator Guzzanti, or to be acquired and transmitted. The conversations are of particular relevance if confronted with intercepted conversations in the acts between Litvinenko and Ganchev on one part and between TALIK and his wife on the other, having as their object the same facts albeit their reconstruction appears quite different, as noted in the motivations behind the arrest warrant emitted against Scaramella (Scaramella calls Guzzanti and tells him that at least ten different press agencies in Ukraine have mentioned the assassination attempt against Guzzanti, including the declarations of Litvinenko as referred by him. Litvinenko received dozens of calls from Ukranian reporters and Litvinenko mentioned Talik’s name. Guzzanti tells Scaramella that he received a letter in Russian from Litvinenko; Scaramella will send the translation which corresponds to the registration but omitting all references to Mario Scaramella. Guzzanti notes that there is a problem since in the letter Litvinenko asserts that he works for the Commission; Scaramella says that Litvinenko had in precedence undertaken activity concerning nuclear [?] in Italy that they [the commission] had acquired; at the London meeting, official missions, documents countersigned by Bukowsky, Gordievsky, Svorov and Palombo. Conversations intercepted between CUCHMA (he lost the elections against Yushenko) and MOGILEVICH/FSB. SHVEZ, ex-president of the KGB took the material [?] to the USA. Scaramella tells Guzzanti that in Ukraine there is an agency, “the fifth element,” probably close to Berezovsky, that follows the work of a commission similar to the Mitrokhin Commission that investigates facts of Soviet Union espionage. This agency had interviewed Litvinenko, and Scaramella sent the article to Guzzanti. In the interview Litvinenko talks about the Ukrainian aspects and also mentions Guzzanti (indicated as Paolo Guzzante), Talik, etc. They study the article together even if it is in Russian or Ukrainian. 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.)’
    The ‘letter in Russian from Litvinenko’ is that I already cited, which attempted to establish that Putin had been involved in using Mogilevich to try to equip Al Qaeda with nukes. That and the remainder of the intercept gives you rather a vivid picture of the kind of utter garbage which Litvinenko, then an agent of MI6, whose Russia Desk was run by Steele, was fabricating, and how it was disseminated. From the intercepts, it was clearly that shortly after this conversation Scaramella left on a trip to the United States.
    A mass of material gathered by myself and David Loepp, with crucial input from an American lady called Karon von Gerhke who was a long-term contact of Yuri Shvets – the ‘SHVEZ’ referred to in the passage – was drawn by me to the attention of Owen’s team. It included the full text of the ‘documents countersigned by Bukowsky, Gordievsky, Svorov and Palombo’ (Vladimir Bukovsky, Oleg Gordievsky, ‘Viktor Suvorov’ aka Vladimir Rezun, and Louis Palumbo – the last three all connected to British/American intelligence agencies.) This contains a collection of garbage allegations even more ridiculous than those I already discussed.
    Almost all the crucial evidence was suppressed by Owen and his team.
    The piece I originally posted on ‘European Tribune’, together with further pieces I posted on that site in 2008-9 containing a lot of material still currently relevant, together with some mistakes, is at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/uid:1857/diary.
    Other relevant material is included in three pieces which David Loepp and I wrote jointly following Scaramella’s conviction in the second ‘aggravated calumny’ case against him in November 2012 are on his page at the site, at http://www.eurotrib.com/user/de%20Gondi/diary .

  68. rjj says:

    LeaNder, don’t have a clue. Between ignorance and the endemic American handicap of innocence, can’t know. She is too dodgy for anybody to believe her proto-tabloid versions of events, BUT [!!!] the dates (she would have been a young woman when Bulow was active), plus something about the intensity of her description of him are attention getting and make for a qualified suspension of disbelief on that subject.
    Apologies for cluttering a thread containing David Habakkuk’s content rich posts.

  69. Frank says:

    Trump manages to attract critics from all walks of life. No need to single any one out.

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