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Federal Judge Orders Mueller To Turn Over Flynn Material

By Jonathon Turley | December 13, 2018

In a surprising move, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Mueller late Wednesday to turn over all of the government’s documents and “memoranda” related to Flynn’s questioning. This follows a Flynn filing that described an effective trap set by agents who encouraged him not to bring a lawyer and left inconsistencies unaddressed in what has been described by critics as a “perjury trap.” I have practiced in front of Judge Sullivan for years and he is a respected judge who has a keen eye for prosecutorial and investigative abuse. That does not mean that he will find such abuse here and could ultimately make a finding that nothing improper occurred. Yet, despite a recommendation of no jail time, Sullivan wants to review the entire record before deciding on the issue.

Sullivan’s order gives Mueller a 3:00 p.m. EST Friday deadline for the special counsel’s office to produce the FBI documents. Those include 302 field reports that have been widely discussed in the media, including one which reportedly shows then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushing Flynn not to have an attorney present during the questioning. McCabe of course was later fired from the Justice Department and is viewed by critics as someone who had an anti-Trump agenda. Many however have defended his actions and denounced efforts, including President Trump, to make him a villain without any clear evidence of political bias. The scene however is made all the more suspicious for Trump supporters with the involvement of Peter Strzok, who was also later fired.

Some have also noted that McCabe never warned Flynn that false statements to investigators are crimes or that this was not some routine sit-down during the very busy opening days of the Administration. The fact is however that Flynn was not in custody and thus was not guaranteed a Miranda warning.

On the other hand, the false statement that Flynn allegedly made was not reportedly viewed by the agents as an intentional lie. His meeting with the Russians was not illegal or even unprecedented as the incoming National Security Adviser. He did not deny the meeting but a memory of sanctions being discussed. Robert Mueller however decided to reexamine the statement and charge it as a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

In reality, it was doubtful that Flynn would ever get jail time for such an alleged false statement. His range as a first offender started at 0 and that is likely where it would remain even without the recommendation of Mueller.

There is no question that this was an aggressive approach to an interview at a time when the subject was in the middle of establishing a new office for a new Administration in the midst of serious national security pressures. Moreover, Flynn “clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,” according to the 302 prepared by Strzok and another agent. They made the conscious decision that “If Flynn still would not confirm what he said, … they would not confront him or talk him through it.” Again they have no duty to reveal the discrepancy but it is unclear why they would adopt such a seemingly hostile or aggressive stance toward Flynn.

Flynn is set to be sentenced next Tuesday.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 1 Comment

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Deep State…

… and Bob Parry Exposed It

By Ray McGovern | Consortium News | December 13, 2018

A year ago yesterday, it became fully clear what was behind the feverish attempt by our intelligence agencies and their mainstream media accomplices to emasculate President Donald Trump with the Russia-gate trope.

It turned out that the objective was not only to delegitimize Trump and make it impossible for him to move toward a more decent relationship with Russia.

On December 12, 2017, it became manifestly clear that it was not only the usual suspects — the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank Complex, namely, the Boeings, Lockheeds, and Raytheons profiteering on high tension with Russia; not only greedy members of Congress upon whom defense contractors lavish some of their profits; not only the TV corporations controlled by those same contractors; and not only the Democrats desperately searching for a way to explain how Hillary Clinton could have lost to the buffoon we now have in the White House.

No, it was deeper than that. It turns out a huge part of the motivation behind Russia-gate was to hide how the Department of Justice, FBI, and CIA (affectionately known as the Deep State) — with their co-opted “assets” in the media — interfered in the 2016 election in a gross attempt to make sure Trump did not win.

Russia-gate: Cui Bono?

This would become crystal clear, even to cub reporters, when the text exchanges between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and girlfriend Lisa Page were released exactly a year ago. Typically, readers of The New York Times the following day would altogether miss the importance of the text-exchanges.

Readers of Robert Parry’s article on December 13, 2017, “The Foundering Russia-gate ‘Scandal,” would be gently led to understand the importance of this critical extra dimension explaining the media-cum-anonymous-intelligence-sources frenzied effort to push the prevailing Russia-gate narrative, and — how captivated and unprofessional the mainstream media had become.

Bob Parry did not call me frequently to compare notes, but he did call on Dec. 12, 2017 for a sanity check on the release of the Strzok-Page texts. We agreed on their significance, and I was tempted to volunteer a draft to appear the next day. But it was clear that Bob wanted to take the lead, and it would turn out to be his last substantive piece. He had already laid the groundwork with three articles earlier that month. (All three are worth reading again. Here are the links.

Here’s how Bob began his article on the Strzok-Page bombshell. (Not a fragment of it seemed to impact mainstream media.):

“The disclosure of fiercely anti-Trump text messages between two romantically involved senior FBI officials who played key roles in the early Russia-gate inquiry has turned the supposed Russian-election-meddling “scandal” into its own scandal, by providing evidence that some government investigators saw it as their duty to block or destroy Donald Trump’s presidency.

“As much as the U.S. mainstream media has mocked the idea that an American ‘deep state’ exists and that it has maneuvered to remove Trump from office, the text messages between senior FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal how two high-ranking members of the government’s intelligence/legal bureaucracy saw their role as protecting the United States from an election that might elevate to the presidency someone as unfit as Trump.”

Parry’s Cri de Coeur

Fast forwarding just two weeks, Bob had a stroke on Christmas Eve, which seriously affected his eyesight. By New Year’s Eve 2017, though, he was able to “apologize” (typical Bob) to Consortium News readers for not filing for two weeks.

In January, he had additional strokes. When I visited him in the hospital, he was not himself. What is indelible in my memory, though, is the way he kept repeating from his hospital bed: “It’s too much; it’s just too much, too much.”

What was too much?

Since Bob told me how hard he had to struggle, with impaired vision, to put together his Dec. 31 piece, and since what he wrote throws such light on Bob and the prostitution of the profession he loved so much, I include a few excerpts below. (Forgive me, but I cannot, for the life of me, pare them down further.)

These paragraphs from Bob are required reading for those who want to have a some clue as to what has been going on in Washington, and the Faustian bargain Strzok — sorry, I mean struck — between the media and the Deep State. Here’s what Bob, clear-eyed, despite fuzzy eyesight, wrote:

“On Christmas Eve, I suffered a stroke that has affected my eyesight (especially my reading and thus my writing) although apparently not much else. The doctors have also been working to figure out exactly what happened since I have never had high blood pressure, I never smoked, and my recent physical found nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps my personal slogan that ‘every day’s a work day’ had something to do with this.

“Perhaps, too, the unrelenting ugliness that has become Official Washington and national journalism was a factor. It seems that since I arrived in Washington in 1977 as a correspondent for The Associated Press, the nastiness of American democracy and journalism has gone from bad to worse. …

“More and more I would encounter policymakers, activists and, yes, journalists who cared less about a careful evaluation of the facts and logic and more about achieving a pre-ordained geopolitical result –and this loss of objective standards reached deeply into the most prestigious halls of American media. This perversion of principles –twisting information to fit a desired conclusion – became the modus vivendi of American politics and journalism. And those of us who insisted on defending the journalistic principles of skepticism and
evenhandedness were increasingly shunned by our colleagues … Everything became ‘information warfare.’ …

“The demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia is just the most dangerous feature of this propaganda process – and this is where the neocons and the liberal interventionists most significantly come together. The U.S. media’s approach to Russia is now virtually 100 percent propaganda. Does any sentient human being read the New York Times’ or the Washington Post’s coverage of Russia and think that he or she is getting a neutral or unbiased treatment of the facts? … The American people and the West in general are carefully shielded from hearing the ‘other side of the story.’ Indeed to even suggest that there is another side to the story makes you a ‘Putin apologist’ or ‘Kremlin stooge.’

“Western journalists now apparently see it as their patriotic duty to hide key facts that otherwise would undermine the demonizing of Putin and Russia. Ironically, many ‘liberals’ who cut their teeth on skepticism about the Cold War and the bogus justifications for the Vietnam War now insist that we must all accept whatever the U.S. intelligence community feeds us, even if we’re told to accept the assertions on faith. …

“The hatred of Trump and Putin was so intense that old-fashioned rules of journalism and fairness were brushed aside. On a personal note, I faced harsh criticism even from friends of many years for refusing to enlist in the anti-Trump ‘Resistance.’ The argument was that Trump was such a unique threat to America and the world that I should join in finding any justification for his ouster. Some people saw my insistence on the same journalistic standards that I had always employed somehow a betrayal.

“Other people, including senior editors across the mainstream media, began to treat the unproven Russia-gate allegations as flat fact. No skepticism was tolerated and mentioning the obvious bias among the never-Trumpers inside the FBI, Justice Department and intelligence community was decried as an attack on the integrity of the U.S. government’s institutions. Anti-Trump ‘progressives’ were posturing as the true patriots because of their now unquestioning acceptance of the evidence-free proclamations of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“Hatred of Trump had become like some invasion of the body snatchers –or perhaps many of my journalistic colleagues had never believed in the principles of journalism that I had embraced throughout my adult life. To me, journalism wasn’t just a cover for political activism; it was a commitment to the American people and the world to tell important news stories as fully and fairly as I could; not to slant the ‘facts’ to ‘get’ some ‘bad’ political leader or ‘guide’ the public
in some desired direction.”

Robert Parry, who exposed Deep State skullduggery in the Iran-Contra affair, died on January 27, 2018. Our corrupt media, though, live on in infamy. Strokes and pancreatic cancer were named as the cause. But I think Bob was also a casualty of the Faustian media/Deep State bargain. It was just “too much.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Bob Parry was happily surprised when he learned that CIA and other intelligence analysts, as opposed to operations people, were as devoted as he was to spreading some truth around; he welcomed our input — in particular the corporate memos from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; the VIPS archive on CN appears at: https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Trump Tower Moscow: A CIA-Backed Provocation Against Putin, Trump – Economist

Sputnik – December 5, 2018

The media fuss surrounding the Trump Tower Moscow project that was never implemented may further exacerbate Russian-American relations, Sputnik contributor Ivan Danilov wrote, sharing his views on what was really behind the much-discussed initiative

The Trump Tower Moscow “plot” was nothing less than a CIA-backed provocation, deems Ivan Danilov, a Russian economist and Sputnik contributor.

“If we separate wheat from the emotional chaff of US media, we would get the following: immediately after [Donald] Trump becomes a presidential candidate, an agent of several US intelligence agencies, [Felix Henry] Sater, who had been earlier embedded in Trump’s business structure, came to then [Trump’s] lawyer [Michael Cohen] with a ‘brilliant idea’: to give [Vladimir] Putin a penthouse in order to turn the Russian president into an element of advertising”, Danilov wrote in his latest op-ed.

The economist underscored that one important link is missing in this chain, stressing that no one had confirmed so far whether the American president knew about the Sater-Cohen plan and endorsed it.

If this link is missing, the whole “chain” snaps, according to Danilov.

On 17 May 2018 BuzzFeed News reporters  Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold broke that Trump’s two “key business partners” had been secretly negotiating a deal aimed at building “an icon of the Trump empire — the Trump World Tower Moscow” amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

The media outlet referred to “exclusively” obtained documents revealing “a detailed and plausible plan” and “well-connected Russian counterparts”.

On 29 November, Cormier and Leopold unveiled ex-Trump business associate Sater’s plan “to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin” as part of the aforementioned real estate initiative. Sater discussed this plan with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, who hailed the idea at that time.

“My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin”, Sater told BuzzFeed News.

Meanwhile, on 29 November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Tower project in Russia in an attempt to “minimize” his boss’s ties to Russia.

However, the biggest news about the proposed real estate deal is that it was considered “during the 2016 primaries and caucuses,” The Washington Post highlighted on 30 November, stressing that the former Trump lawyer earlier lied that the endeavour had been brought to naught before the primaries.

“This provides more evidence that the project was being rather seriously pursued with potential assistance from the Russian government, despite Trump’s presidential candidacy and despite Trump’s regular assurances that he didn’t deal with Russia”, the Post claimed.

In addition, Cohen “did recall” that in or around January 2016, he received a “response” from Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary, Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote on Thursday.

For his part, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed what sort of response he gave to Trump’s business associates after receiving Cohen’s letter that was sent to his official email.

“They were asked what the presidential administration has to do with this and if they realized who they contacted”, the Kremlin spokesman recalled. “They said they wanted to build a house… They were told that the administration is not engaged in construction projects and we will be happy to see them at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum if they are interested in investment”.

The case does not appear to be a smoking gun. Commenting on the media fuss, a source close to the US president told Fox News that the Sater-Cohen plan to provide the Russian president with a penthouse would have been a “stupid idea”, and emphasised that Trump had “never heard” about it.

Sater’s longstanding cooperation with US intelligence services, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) adds further controversy to the case.

On 12 March, 2018, Cormier and Leopold reported that Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky), 52, had “spent more than two decades as an intelligence asset who helped the US government track terrorists and mobsters”.

Given all of the above, the whole case looks like a “three-penny provocation” aimed at discrediting President Donald Trump, Danilov pointed out.

“One can presume that the next phase of the scandal will be the publication of Sater and Cohen’s photographs on the side-lines of the SPIEF or near the venue of the forum in the American media, which, from the point of view of US investigators, may well prove that the ‘Kremlin and Trump plot’ did take place”, he noted, bemoaning the fact that this “three-penny provocation” could seriously affect the already complicated US-Russian relations.

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Timidity is Letting Comey Off the Hook

By Ray McGovern • Consortium News • December 4, 2018

Because President Donald Trump has again pulled the rug out from under them, House Republicans face Mission Impossible on Friday when they try to hold ex-FBI Director James Comey accountable for his highly dubious authorization of surveillance on erstwhile Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Comey let go his unprecedented legal maneuver to have a court quash a subpoena for him to appear behind closed doors before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee until the Democrats take over the committee in January. The current committee chair, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), decried Comey’s use of “baseless litigation” in an “attempt to run out the clock on this Congress.”

The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); so the still secret FISA application “justifying” surveillance of Page is almost sure to come up.

Comey had wanted a public hearing so he could pull the ruse of refusing to respond because his answers would be classified. He has now agreed to a closed-door meeting on Friday, with a transcript, likely to be redacted, to appear a few days later.

In an interview with The New York Post last Wednesday, Trump acknowledged that he could declassify Comey’s damning Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant request to show how devastating those pages likely are, but said he would not do so “until they were needed,” namely, if a Democratic House starts going after him. “If they go down the presidential harassment track, if they want go and harass the president and the administration, I think that would be the best thing that would happen to me. I’m a counter-puncher and I will hit them so hard they’d never been hit like that,” Trump told the paper. He added:  “It’s much more powerful if I do it then, because if we had done it already, it would already be yesterday’s news.”

But they are needed before Comey’s hearing on Friday. Barely a week will remain before Congress adjourns. Four weeks later Democrats take over the oversight committees.

Cowardice Deja Vu

This is not the first time Trump has flinched. On September 17 he ordered “immediate declassification” of Russia-gate documents, including FISA-related material. Four days later he backed down, explaining that he would leave it to the Justice Department’s inspector general to review the material, rather than release it publicly.

What exactly is in the FISA application, and why had House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes, for example, kept pleading with Trump to declassify it? In July Nunes expressed hedged confidence “that once the American people see these 20 pages, at least for those that will get real reporting on this issue, they will be shocked by what’s in that FISA application” to surveil Page, a U.S. citizen.

Oddly, Trump echoed Nunes, telling The New York Post that, were he to declassify FISA warrant applications and other documents, all would “see how devastating those pages are.” But Trump blamed his reluctance to declassify on one of his lawyers, Emmet Flood, who thought it would be better politically to wait. “He didn’t want me to do it yet, because I can save it. … I think [eventual release] might help my campaign.” So Nunes et al. find themselves thrown under the bus, again.

Worse still, according to Comey’s attorney, the “accommodation” worked out with House Judiciary Committee includes a proviso that a representative of the FBI will be present on Friday to advise on any issues of confidentiality and legal privilege. The committee undertook to publish a transcript very quickly. Do not be surprised to see many Peter-Strzok-type responses: “I would really like to answer that question, but the FBI won’t let me.”

Afraid?

In an insightful posting, David Stockman, budget director for President Ronald Reagan, was puzzled about why Trump doesn’t seem to get what’s going on. I think, rather, that Trump does get it, and that Stockman’s puzzlement may be due mostly to his specific experience as budget director. In that role, Stockman did not have to pay much heed to the Deep State, so long as he did not demur about the obscenely excessive budgets automatically given to the FBI, DOJ, CIA, NSA, and the Pentagon.

With Trump it’s a different kettle of fish — and they are piranhas. Trump has ample reason to fear the Deep State is out to get him because it is. And by this point he seems to have internalized quite enough fear that it would be too dangerous to take on the the FBI and intelligence community. Needless to say, the stakes are exceedingly high — for both sides. As president-elect, Trump dismissed the usual warnings as to how things work in Washington. But he could hardly have missed Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s attempt to ensure that Trump knows what he should be afraid of.

Not Afraid? Then ‘Really Dumb’

On Jan. 3, 2017, three weeks before Trump took office, Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, that President-elect Trump was “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and doubting its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Schumer’s words came just three days before then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper and the heads of the FBI, CIA, and NSA descended upon the president-elect with the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” — a rump, evidence-free embarrassment to serious practitioners of intelligence analysis, published that same day, alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin had done what he could to get Trump elected.

Adding insult to injury, after the January 6, 2018 briefing of the president-elect by the Gang of Four, Comey asked the others to leave, and proceeded to brief Trump on the dubious findings of the so-called “Steele dossier” — opposition research paid for by the Democrats (and, according to some reports, by the FBI as well) — with unconfirmed but scurrilous stories about Trump cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow, etc., etc. (And according to The Washington Post, that incident with hookers was written by a Clinton operative.) That opposition research was apparently used in the FISA warrant request, without revealing its provenance to the judge.

This Russia Thing’

Hoover: Model for Comey. (Wikipedia)

It seems to have taken Trump a few months to appreciate fully that he was being subjected to the classic blackmail-type advisory previously used with presidents-elect by the likes of J. Edgar Hoover. Indeed, this may be what Trump had in mind when he told Lester Holt in May 2017 that he had fired Comey over “this Russia thing.” (Trump can be his worst enemy when he opens his mouth.)

Comey’s closed-door deposition is now scheduled for the 77th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. But don’t look for any surprise attack on Comey this December 7 from Judiciary Committee members, highly vulnerable though he is.

With just a few days left before Congress adjourns, House Republicans, like their President, have pretty much let the clock run out on them. Few will see much percentage at this late date in “taking on the intelligence community.” Trump has already pretty much thrown them under the bus.

The leadership of the three House committees with purview over Russia-gate matters — Judiciary, Intelligence, and Government Operations — changes next month. So while Friday had seemed to be shaping up as a key day for confronting Comey — and for getting answers to questions on Russia-gate — the day will likely land with an anticlimactic thud. Even if the committee is able to expose additional misdeeds not already known, nothing much is likely to happen before Christmas.

After that, the three committees and their aborted work will be history.

The dominant mainstream media narrative about Russia-gate — ignoring FBI-gate — will hop happily into the new year. And no congressional “oversight” committee will dare step up to its constitutional duty, despite a plethora of documentary evidence on FBI-gate. And why? Largely because “they” of the Deep State “have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Most consequential of all, any significant improvement in relations with Russia will remain stymied. And the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank) complex, with its Deep-State enforcer, will have won yet another round. Merry Christmas.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He worked for the senior Bush when he was director of the CIA and then briefed him mornings, one-on-one, with the President’s Daily Brief during the first Reagan administration. In Jan. 2003, Ray co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and still serves on its Steering Group.

December 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Mueller Withheld “Details That Would Exonerate The President” Of Having Kremlin Backchannel

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | December 3, 2018

It appears that special counsel Robert Mueller withheld key information in its plea deal with Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, which would exonerate Trump and undermine the entire purpose of the special counsel, according to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.

Cohen pleaded guilty last week to lying to the Senate intelligence committee in 2017 about the Trump Organization’s plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow – telling them under oath that negotiations he was conducting ended five months sooner than they actually did.

Mueller, however, in his nine-page charging document filed with the court seen by Capitol Hill sources, failed to include the fact that Cohen had no direct contacts at the Kremlin – which undercuts any notion that the Trump campaign had a “backchannel” to Putin.

On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case.RCI

Page 2 of the same charging document offers further evidence that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin; an August 2017 letter from Cohn to the Senate intelligence committee states that Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me,” an assertion which Mueller does not contest as false – which means that “prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources” and found it to be truthful, according to Sperry’s sources. Also unchallenged by Mueller is Cohen’s statement that he “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”

“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it’s clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”

“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, “the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.” –RCI

The Trump Tower Moscow meeting – spearheaded by New York real estate developer and longtime FBI and CIA asset, Felix Sater, bears a passing resemblance to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian attorney (who hated Trump), and which was set up by a British concert promotor tied to Fusion GPS – the firm Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid to write the salacious and unverified “Trump-Russia Dossier.”

British concert promotor and Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone

“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier” –Washington Post

In both the Trump Tower meeting and the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations, it is clear that nobody in the Trump campaign had any sort of special access to the Kremlin, while Cohen’s emails and text messages reveal that he failed to establish contact with Putin’s spokesman. He did, however, reach a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office.

What’s more, it was Sater – a Russian immigrant with a dubious past who was representing the Bayrock Group (and not the Trump Organization), who cooked up the Moscow Trump Tower project in 2015 – suggesting that Trump would license his name to the project and share in the profits, but not actually commit capital or build the project.

Felix Sater, FBI and CIA asset, real estate developer, ex-con

Sater went from a “Wall Street wunderkind” working at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, to getting barred from the securities industry over a barroom brawl which led to a year in prison, to facilitating a $40 million pump-and-dump stock scheme for the New York mafia, to working telecom deals in Russia – where the FBI and CIA tapped him as an undercover intelligence asset who was told by his handler “I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head.”

The Moscow project, meanwhile, fizzled because Sater didn’t have the pull within the Russian government he said he had. At best, Sater had a third-hand connection to Putin which never panned out.

Sources say Sater, whom Cohen described as a “salesman,” testified to the House intelligence panel in late 2017 that his communications with Cohen about putting Trump and Putin on a stage for a “ribbon-cutting” for a Trump Tower in Moscow were “mere puffery” to try to promote the project and get it off the ground.

Also according to his still-undisclosed testimony, Sater swore none of those communications involved taking any action to influence the 2016 presidential election. None of the emails and texts between Sater and Cohen mention Russian plans or efforts to hack Democrats’ campaign emails or influence the election. –RCI

As Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch noted of Mueller’s strategy: “”Mueller seems desperate to confuse Americans by conflating the cancelled and legitimate Russia business venture with the Russia collusion theory he was actually hired to investigate,” said Fitton. “This is a transparent attempt to try to embarrass the president.”

The MSM took the ball and ran with it anyway

CNN, meanwhile, said that Cohen’s charging documents suggest Trump had a working relationship with Putin, who “had leverage over Trump” due to the project.

“Well into the 2016 campaign, one of the president’s closest associates was in touch with the Kremlin on this project, as we now know, and Michael Cohen says he was lying about it to protect the president,” said CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer.

Jeffrey Toobin – CNN‘s legal analyst, said the Cohen revelations were so “enormous” that Trump “might not finish his term,” while MSNBC pundits said that the court papers prove “Trump secretly interacted with Putin’s own office.”

“Now we have evidence that there was direct communication between the Trump Organization and Putin’s office on this. I mean, this is collusion,” said Mother Jones‘s David Corn.

Adam Schiff, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, said Trump was dealing directly with Putin on real estate ventures, and Democrats will investigate whether Russians laundered money through the Trump Organization. –RCI

As Sperry of RealClearInvestigations points out, however, “former federal prosecutors said Mueller’s filing does not remotely incriminate the president in purported Russia collusion. It doesn’t even imply he directed Cohen to lie to Congress.

“It doesn’t implicate President Trump in any way,” said former independent counsel Solomon L. Wisenberg. “The reality is, this is a nothing-burger.”

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FBI raids home of whistleblower who had ‘dirt’ on Clinton Foundation, Mueller

RT | December 1, 2018

More than a dozen FBI agents searched for six hours the house of a contractor who had given Congress and the DOJ documents about the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One scandal, implicating then-FBI director Robert Mueller.

Sixteen agents showed up at the Maryland home of Dennis Nathan Cain on November 19, the Daily Caller reported this week, citing Cain’s attorney Michael Socarras. They demanded to see the documents Cain had already turned over to the Department of Justice inspector-general and the House and Senate intelligence committee.

“I cannot believe the Bureau informed the federal magistrate who approved the search warrant that they wanted to search the home of an FBI whistleblower to seize the information that he confidentially disclosed to the IG and Congress,” said Socarras. He also objected to the fact that the FBI at no point reached out to him, even though Cain provided the agents with his contact information, calling that “serious misconduct.”

FBI spokesman Dave Fitz confirmed to the Daily Caller that the bureau had conducted “court authorized law enforcement activity,” declining to comment further.

The search warrant, signed by federal magistrate Stephanie A. Gallagher in the US District Court for Baltimore, said that Cain possessed “stolen federal property.”

Cain informed the agents that he was a federally protected whistleblower, but gave them the documents at their insistence, Socarras said. Even so, they searched his house for hours afterward.

What were the agents looking for? According to the Daily Caller, they were after the document suggesting that Robert Mueller – now special counsel in charge of the “Russiagate” probe targeting President Donald Trump, but FBI director back in 2001-2013 – failed to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct in the case of Uranium One.

The Canadian-based mining company controls over 20 percent of the US uranium supply, and was sold to the Russian conglomerate Rosatom in 2010. The sale needed to be approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), which was chaired by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Since then, multiple whistleblowers have revealed claims of misconduct, bribery and fraud on part of the people involved in the sale, even suggesting a “pay for play” scheme in which the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations in exchange for greenlighting the deal. Republicans have also pointed to Bill Clinton’s $500,000 fee for a speech in Moscow in 2010 as evidence the Clintons were peddling influence for Russian money.

Democrats have dismissed the apparent scandal as a right-wing conspiracy theory, and Clinton herself called the accusations of wrongdoing “baloney.

In April this year, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the Utah-based US Attorney John Huber to investigate both the Uranium One probe and the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. That second probe was the subject of a scathing report in June by the DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, the same official to whom Cain gave the documents as a whistleblower. The status of that investigation is currently unknown.

Also on rt.com:

FBI documents detail Clinton and Mueller’s own ‘Russiagate’ – but they’re classified

December 1, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

“THE CHIMERA OF DONALD TRUMP, RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERER”

Sic Semper Tyrannis | November 23, 2018

Is Donald Trump guilty of money laundering? If you ask most Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans, they fervently believe that he has been moving money for Russian mobsters for more than twenty years and that an investigation of this will bring Trump’s Presidency to an end. Don’t count on it. Although there is clear evidence of Trump’s past relationship with Russian/American mobsters, knowing someone or collaborating on a business deal is not proof of money laundering. I have spent three decades investigating money laundering cases (I helped develop the civil money laundering case against Philip Morris—click here) and it is clear to me that those who are earnestly accusing Trump of such a crime do not understand what constitutes money laundering.

Apart from not understanding how to make a money laundering case, the anti-Trumpers have failed to grasp another key element to the narrative that Trump was a puppet to the Russians—one of his longtime Russian business associates, Felix Sater, was an FBI informant during the entire time that Robert Mueller was FBI Director. Since Sater was a fully signed up FBI informant or asset, he was in a unique and powerful position to implicate Trump. But none of the “evidence” uncovered or planted by Sater ever produced an indictment of Donald Trump. With the benefit of hindsight it appears that the FBI, relying on Sater, used Trump and his organization as bait to go after Russian mobsters.

The Democrat case for Trump’s money laundering is laid out in a complaint the Democratic National Committee filed in April 2018 against the Russians, Julian Assange and Trump:

Beginning in 2003, Trump engaged in multiple real estate deals with the Bayrock Group, a firm founded and run by Soviet emigres, who reportedly had close ties to the Russian government and Russian organized crime. In 2004, Trump negotiated with the Deputy Mayor of Moscow over a potential real estate development. In the mid-2000s, Trump partnered with wealthy Russian-Canadian businessmen to develop real estate in Toronto. And in 2006, Trump contracted with the Russian Standard Corporation, a Moscow-based entity that owns and operates the Miss Russia beauty pageant, to allow the winner of the pageant to compete in Trump’s Miss Universe pageant, an action that had not been taken since at least 2002. In 2008, Trump sold a Palm Beach, Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch for a $54 million profit. In 2013, Trump established a business relationship with Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, a close ally of Putin, to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Russia and work on plans to develop a Trump-branded project in Moscow. . . .

As Trump, Jr. explained, the Trump Organization “s[aw] a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” and “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of our assets.” And Trump’s son Eric Trump has reportedly stated that substantial funding for Trump’s golf courses comes from Russian investors.

I do not know who was advising the DNC on this complaint, but it is clear that the drafter or drafters do not have a clue about money laundering. Money laundering is very easy to define:

The act of disguising the source or true nature of money obtained through illegal means.

The key element is the phrase, “illegal means.” If you are going to be charged as a participant or accessory in a money laundering case, you must be handling or receiving money that came from a criminal activity, such as trafficking in drugs, arms or people. So here’s the critical question with respect to Donald Trump and money laundering—what was the predicate crime?

In the world of real estate, the money laundering component is always in the financing.  That is, you want to trade the bad money for good bank money by using the property as the chattel to do it. But when this is done as part of a money laundering scheme, it almost always involves the financing of major building projects. Someone with dirty money is not going to waste time purchasing individual condos or homes as their primary means of cleaning the money. When the dirty money comes from activities like drug trafficking, the amount of cash generated is enormous. You need big money projects to launder large quantities of cash.

Given Donald Trump’s extensive and controversial real estate ventures over the last thirty years, which have involved several Russians, it is understandable why those opposed to Trump seize on these transactions as evidence of “money laundering.” Unfortunately, the journalists who have tried to make the case that Donald Trump was “laundering” money for the Russian mob, have failed to provide actual evidence of such activity. Instead, they have relied on innuendo and guilt by association.

Yes, it is true that Russians with ties to organized crime purchased condos in Trump Towers in New York City. But there is no evidence that the sales of these condos were an organized, structured transaction. Individual Russians, acting in person or through shell companies, purchasing a condo is not proof of criminal activity. The fact that those who have made such purchases have not been arrested or indicted undermines the claim that their mere presence in a Trump building is proof of criminal activity.

As Shakespeare wrote, “Ay, there’s the rub.”  Association with unsavory characters is not a criminal offense. While it is quite true that Trump associated with several Russians with links to organized crime it is also true that Trump has never been indicted or charged with such criminal activity. Is he really that good in hiding his trail?

One of the loudest voices claiming that Trump is in bed with the Russians is Craig Unger. Craig was known as a good reporter at one point in his life, but I think his work on Trump is both shoddy and incomplete. To be fair, Craig is not the only one claiming Trump is facilitating Russian money laundering. Other prominent journalists, including Richard Behar, Tom Burgis of the Financial Times and John Harwood of CNBC, also have echoed Unger’s thesis.

All four focus much of their reporting on a Russian born American “mobster”, Felix Sater, to implicate Trump as a Russian money laundering chump. The following snippet from an interview Unger did with Vox about his book, House of Trump, House of Putin is representative of how Sater is used as some sort of proof that Trump is part of a money laundering scheme:

Bayrock was a real estate development company located on the 24th floor of Trump Tower. The founder was a guy named Tevfik Arif and the managing director was Felix Sater, a man with numerous ties to Russian oligarchs and Russian intelligence. Bayrock proceeded to partner with Trump in 2005 and helped him develop a new business model, which he desperately needed.

Recall that Trump was $4 billion in debt after his Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt. He couldn’t get a bank loan from anywhere in the West, and Bayrock comes in and Trump partners with other people as well, but Bayrock essentially has a new model that says, “You don’t have to raise any money. You don’t have to do any of the real estate development. We just want to franchise your name, we’ll give you 18 to 25 percent royalties, and we’ll effectively do all the work. And if the Trump Organization gets involved in the management of these buildings, they’ll get extra fees for that.”

It was a fabulously lucrative deal for Trump, and the Bayrock associates — Sater in particular — were operating out of Trump Tower and constantly flying back and forth to Russia. And in the book, I detail several channels through which various people at Bayrock have close ties to the Kremlin, and I talk about Sater flying back and forth to Moscow even as late as 2016, hoping to build the Trump Tower there.

Tom Burgis, writing in the Financial Times, provides additional details on the relationship between Sater and Trump and implies something nefarious, perhaps even illegal, was afoot:

As work on Trump Soho got under way in 2007, the partnership between Mr Trump and Bayrock was gathering momentum. Another tower, in Fort Lauderdale, was rising. A 2008 Bayrock presentation includes a picture of Mr Trump grinning beside Mr Arif and names him as a referee. Bayrock had its office on the 24th floor of Trump Tower and calls the Trump Organization a “strategic partner”.

The same presentation says Bayrock was one of the backers of the redevelopment of the 101-year-old Hotel du Parc on the shores of Lake Geneva, owned by Swiss Development Group, a Geneva-based company. In May this year, Nicolas Bourg, a Belgian businessman who says he worked with Viktor Khrapunov’s son Ilyas on US real estate deals, claimed in a separate dispute that Swiss Development Group was “owned and controlled by Ilyas and his family and used to conceal the movement and investment of his family’s money”.

All of this sounds pretty bad on the surface until you examine what Sater actually did. Messrs. Unger and Burgis neglected to analyze the critical fact that Felix Sater was an FBI informant since 1998. If Trump was taking dirty money or engaged in criminal activity with Russians then he was doing it with Felix Sater, who was under the control of the FBI. Felix Sater was proposing deals and making contacts with Russian criminals overseas and this activity surely was known by the FBI. If there was any suspicion on the part of the FBI that Trump was taking bad money, they would have recorded such activity in detail and he would have been indicted. Instead of running around in an orange jump suit, Donald Trump ran for President.

Given Sater’s relationship with the FBI, one needs to look at Trump’s relationship with Russians, especially those facilitated by Sater, in a different light. Put simply, were Trump’s real estate deals being used as bait to attract targets of interest for the FBI. Was Trump a witting cooperator with the FBI or unwitting?

We do know that Sater was trying to put together real estate deals overseas while serving as a FBI informant and working from Trump Tower in New York City. This was reported in a March 2017 Los Angeles Times piece:

Working from a 24th-floor office in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, Felix Sater spent years trying to line up lucrative deals in the United States, Russia and elsewhere in Europe with Donald Trump’s real estate organization.

For much of that time, according to court records and U.S. officials, Sater also worked as a confidential informant for the FBI, and — he says — U.S. intelligence.

“I was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night,” Sater, now 50, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview from New York.

As managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate development firm, the Russian-born businessman met Trump in 2003, court records show, when Trump was looking to expand his business and branding organization around the globe.

Why are the anti-Trump forces failing to grasp the import of Sater and his role as an FBI informant as undermining the claim that Trump was conspiring with the Russians? Sater’s role with the FBI has been widely reported:

There is no question that Sater led a double life during the years he worked with the Trump Organization.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to a federal charge of racketeering for his role in a Mafia-linked $40-million stock fraud scheme. He quickly cut a deal, agreeing to become a secret FBI informant in hopes of getting a lenient sentence.

Court records were sealed to protect Sater’s identity, so his role in the fraud case stayed secret for a decade while he was at Bayrock. After a court hearing in 2009, he was fined $25,000 but was not sent to prison or ordered to pay restitution.

Along with press reports regarding Sater’s role with the FBI, we have Sater’s attorney, in a letter sent to Judge Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of NY on 1 September 2005, telling the court that:

. . . Mr. Sater has been involed in on-going cooperation activities with law enforcement agents, and has provided truthful and credible information on a wide variety of criminal activities, some of which has already led to criminal prosecution of others.

Even Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, provided Sater cover :

At his sentencing hearing, several FBI officials vouched for Sater’s help. He got his biggest endorsement in January 2015 when Loretta Lynch was asked at her Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. attorney general why court records had been sealed in the fraud case.

If Trump was the target of the FBI, then fair observers must concede that the Bureau has failed during an 18 year period to obtain any incriminating information about Trump and his business practices. Had the FBI been successful, Trump surely would have already been indicted by now in the Southern District of New York and charged with criminal conduct.

Sater’s status as an FBI informant is not an honorary position. It is not a job that entitles the informant to regular social chats with an FBI agent. It is a job that puts the informant in the position of having to help the FBI make criminal cases, including entrapping folks willing to engage in illegal acts. The FBI website describes the informant role:

The courts have recognized that the government’s use of informants is lawful and often essential to the effectiveness of properly authorized law enforcement investigations. However, use of informants to assist in the investigation of criminal activity may involve an element of deception, intrusion into the privacy of individuals, or cooperation with persons whose reliability and motivation may be open to question. Although it is legally permissible for the FBI to use informants in its investigations, special care is taken to carefully evaluate and closely supervise their use so the rights of individuals under investigation are not infringed. The FBI can only use informants consistent with specific guidelines issued by the attorney general that control the use of informants.

And who was in charge of the FBI during all of the time that Sater was a signed up FBI snitch? You got it—Robert Mueller. Let us just stick with the facts—during Mueller’s term (2001 thru 2013) the FBI did not make or bring a case of money laundering against Donald Trump. Yet, during this period, Felix Sater, a fully signed up and operating FBI informant, was trying to cobble together real estate deals with Russians of questionable character. Trump and his organization were not implicated in any of this activity in a way that led the FBI to seek an indictment against them.

Many House Democrats are convinced that there is untapped evidence implicating Trump in a variety of money laundering schemes. But their belief, in my view, is based on a fundamental ignorance about money laundering and financial crimes in general. Tax avoidance, for example, is not money laundering. Highly publicized real estate deals are not the kind of cleaning operation that genuine money launderers embrace. Why? Those kind of deals come with scrutiny and the last thing that criminals with dirty money want is a high profile and public attention.

If you hate Trump and are betting that the Democrat investigative tsunami will bring Trump down, I have a word of advice—don’t bet your house. Donald Trump may be guilty of boorish behavior and brash comments, but the evidence of laundering money for the Russians is not there.

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

The Rehabilitation of Robert Mueller

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | November 24, 2018

The “Resistance” – the loose affiliation of liberals, progressives and neo-conservatives dedicated to opposing Donald Trump – is NOT a grass-roots movement. They don’t speak for the everyman or the poor or the oppressed. They are a distraction, nothing more. A parlor game. The face to Trump’s heel.

The Resistance is the voice of the Deep State – Pro-war, pro-globalisation, pro-Imperialism. It just hides its true face behind a mask of “progressive values”. They prove this with their own actions – opposing Trump’s moves toward peace with North Korea and finding common ground with Russia.

In fact, though the resistance lives to criticize the Trump administration, they have been notably quiet – even in favour of – three key issues: The bombing of Syria, the tearing up of the INF treaty and the prosecution of Julian Assange.

They tell us, in clear voices, who they are and what they want and millions of people refuse to listen. So totally brain-washed by the “Orange Man Bad” hysteria, that they will side with anyone hitting the same talking points, spouting the right buzzwords, using the same hashtags.

This process has contrived to turn hard-line, inveterate warmongers into a pantheon of “liberal” heroes. John “bomb bomb Iran” McCain was mourned across the media as if he were a champion of civil rights, while Bill Kristol and his ilk are suddenly regular guests on notionally “liberal” channels.

… and Robert Mueller receives a glowing write-up in the Guardian, being praised as “America’s straightest arrow”.

The painful prose paints a blurry picture of Mueller. Slapping ounces of vaseline onto the lens of reality. It praises his hair and his clothes and his 35 dollar watch. It declares him a soldier “forged in combat”, regaling us with tales of the bravery of Mueller’s marine regiment – “The Magnificent Bastards”.

Vietnam is reduced to a movie set – nothing but a backdrop for Mueller’s courage under fire. He won a bronze star, you know. Apparently while “The Magnificent Bastards” strode around the Vietnamese jungle, burning villages down and watching the napalm fall from the sky, a couple of angry farmers shot back and Mueller was wounded.

Taking a bullet in the leg from a terrified peasant who just wants you to sod off out of his country will always win you medals, but it shouldn’t.

Voluntarily signing on to enforce Imperial foreign policy in a war of conquest will always have the media paint you as a hero, but it shouldn’t.

What flaws the author does ascribe to Mueller are those we all happily admit to having ourselves. He’s a “micromanager” and he’s “too tough”.

Yes, and I’m sure he works himself too hard and doesn’t suffer fools gladly and always speaks his mind as well.

Read the column if you want, but I’d suggest not eating for a few hours first. A more nauseating panegyric I have not witnessed, at least since Barack Obama left office.

Far more telling than what it does say… is what it does not say. It mentions Mueller’s role as head of the FBI during the launch of the “war on terror”, but doesn’t go into any of the abuse of human rights that accompanied (and still accompanies) the increasingly authoritarian powers granted to US intelligence agencies by the Patriot Act.

Let’s be clear: Mueller’s FBI was complicit in rendition, torture, Gitmo. All of it.

Given that, it’s rather unsurprising that the article doesn’t mention the word “Iraq” once. A breath-taking omission, considering Mueller’s testimony in front of congress played a key role in spreading the lie of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”:

It doesn’t matter how many Vietnamese peasants took pot-shots at him, it doesn’t matter how tidy his hair is, or how cheap his watch. It doesn’t matter if he looks like Cooper or speaks like Eastwood or walks like Wayne. He is a proven liar – a man culpable in the greatest crime of the 21st century. He is, and always will be, a servant of the Deep State.

A proven liar. A proven killer. An Imperialist. A criminal.

Is this the stuff of which political heroes should be made?

Only in “the Resistance”.

Obviously, Trump’s administration is dangerous – it still stokes warlike approaches to Iran and Russia. It has directly threatened Venezuela and Cuba. But you can’t fight the right-hand of the Deep State by clasping the left. They all join in the middle. They’re the same monster.

Anti-Trumpers, all over the world, need to take a good look at WHO they’re fighting alongside, and ask themselves WHAT they are fighting for.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he’s forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 12 Comments

UK spy chiefs up in arms over Trump making public Russiagate surveillance requests – report

RT | November 22, 2018

A recent report alleges that British MI6 operatives fear that releasing the ‘Russiagate’ wiretap warrant on Donald Trump surrogate Carter Page in full will jeopardize intel-gathering and set a dangerous precedent for the future.

British spies have “genuine concerns” that the publication of the unredacted version of the FBI’s request to surveil Page will expose valuable sources, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday, citing interviews with a “dozen” UK and US officials.

The FBI suspected that Donald Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, was being recruited by Moscow amid the 2016 US presidential campaign. The agency filed a request to wiretap him under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The request was approved by the court, and later renewed three times, even after Page quit Trump’s team.

Upon assuming the presidency, Trump pressured the Department of Justice to make the FISA request public. The released document was heavily redacted, with entire pages blacked out. It revealed that the FBI’s reasoning to spy on Gates was partially based on the notorious ‘Steele Dossier’, an unverified anti-Trump memo compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Convinced that the FBI “misled” the court, President Trump ordered in September to declassify 21 redacted pages of the wiretap request, then allowed the DOJ to delay the procedure.

In opposition to Trump, people within spy agencies in both Washington and London agree that the complete document should never be released, the Telegraph reported.

“It boils down to the exposure of people”, an unnamed US intelligence official told the paper. “We don’t want to reveal sources and methods.”

His colleague was quoted by the outlet as saying that Britain worries about setting a “precedent” which will discourage people from sharing information in the future.

The paper doesn’t specify whether MI6 had taken concrete steps to prevent the Carter Page FISA application from being released. Trump and his allies suggested that the fact that the document referred to the Steele Dossier indicated that the Trump campaign was surveilled with political motives in minds. Page himself, who denied ties with Moscow, told RT last month that “various political actors” in Washington had “put in a lot of false information” about him.

Some people close to Trump suspect that once the document is released in full, it will not only portray the US secret services in a bad light, but will hurt London as well. Speaking to the Telegraph, an unnamed former top adviser to Trump stated: “You know the Brits are up to their neck.”

“I think that stuff is going to implicate MI5 and MI6 in a bunch of activities they don’t want to be implicated in,” he was quoted as saying.

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , | Leave a comment

Christopher Steele’s Russia Intel Sucked, Contradicted CIA Assessment: Solomon

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 11/21/2018

It turns out that Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy tasked with creating an opposition research dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump using “Kremlin sources,” actually had terrible intelligence on Russian matters, reports The Hill’s John Solomon.

In a business matter unrelated to the dossier, Steele boasted in a Feb. 8, 2016 email to a potential private-sector client that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be losing his grip on power.

“I also don’t believe any Russian client or associate will admit to a Western business contact that PUTIN has been weakened or is on the way out, as the intel suggests, out of fear of being branded an oppositionist,” Steele cautioned the recipient. “We shall see but I hope you find them informative/useful anyway.” –The Hill

Steele was very hush-hush to the prospective client of his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, writing “All are sensitive source, of course, and need handling accordingly with anyone Russian or Ukrainian.”

Not only was Steele’s information dead wrong, it flew in the face of CIA intelligence indicating that Putin was in fact gaining power.

… more than two-and-a-half years later, Steele’s intelligence seems debunked in retrospect.

Putin is firmly entrenched in power and, in the summer and fall of 2016, he pulled off one of his most daring feats against the Western world with his meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Yet, even more alarming at the time was the fact that Steele’s reporting in February 2016 flew in the face of the CIA’s own assessment of Moscow, ironically given that exact same month to Congress in the agency’s annual global threats assessment. –The Hill

On Feb. 9, 2016 – just one day after Steele sent the email, the CIA declared that Putin was pursuing a “more assertive foreign policy approach,” as well as a Western disinformation campaign since his popularity at home was soaring.

“President Vladimir Putin has sustained his popular approval at or near record highs for nearly two years after illegally annexing Crimea,” the CIA reported, suggesting that protests in 2016 over the weakening Russian economy could be tamped down using “repressive tactics.”

In other words, Steele’s Russian intel was crap.

When it came to the wildly salacious and unproven “Trump-Russia dossier,” meanwhile, the icing on this particular cow-pie has to be that Steele’s “Kremlin” sources – described in Vanity Fair as “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” and “a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin – was instead a former intelligence figure in Washington D.C. 

In notes between Steele’s former employer, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, and the former #4 official at the Justice Department, Bruce Ohr, Ohr writes “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the US,” quoting Simpson.

In other words, Steele’s intelligence was hearsay collected a continent away from Moscow. –The Hill

What makes this particularly troubling is that the FBI relied on Steele’s Trump-Russia dossier, which they struggled to verify, in order to justify surveiling the Trump campaign. 

Steele’s correspondence with the business associate is the latest piece of evidence suggesting the former British spy may not have been as well-versed or -sourced in Russian intelligence as he was portrayed when the FBI used his now-infamous anti-Trump dossier to support a request for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Both the DOJ’s inspector general and multiple committees in Congress are investigating whether the FBI properly handled the Trump-Russia collusion case or whether it fell prey to political pressure and shoddy investigative work, as congressional Republicans and President Trump himself claim.

The FBI has an obligation to submit only verified information to support a FISA warrant. –The Hill

No wonder Steele is afraid to come to the United States and testify in front of lawmakers!

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Leave a comment

Russian journalist observing US midterms briefly detained by FBI

RT | November 11, 2018

The FBI has reportedly questioned USA Really head Alexander Malkevich at Washington airport after his trip to cover the midterm elections. The Russian mission in the US has requested information on the incident.

“In connection with media reports concerning the detention of Russian journalist Alexander Malkevich by FBI officers in Washington airport, an inquiry regarding the circumstances of the event was sent to the US Department of State,” it said.

Malkevich, a member of the Russian Civic Chamber, was an observer during the November 6 elections in the US state of Maryland, according to the chamber’s website.

On Thursday, he said that the scale of violations in states ruled by Democrats had “deeply shocked” him. The next day, several FBI agents approached him in the airport “like in the movies,” and asked him to follow them, he told Federal News Agency (FAN).

The agents searched Malkevich’s luggage and questioned him for around half an hour. They suggested that he had better cooperate with them, he recounted.

At first, the agents tried to delve into the activities of the USA Really website, which Malkevich heads, and link the journalist to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections.

He described the questioning as really “funny,” especially the second part, in which the FBI wondered if he was a military intelligence (GRU) agent, and asked other questions that reflected myths about Russia that are fueled by Western mainstream media.

It eventually transpired that the purpose of this incident was to notify the journalist that USA Really may be required to register as a foreign agent. After the questioning, Malkevich was allowed to leave the US

November 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

We want to believe: ‘Russian hacking’ memo REVEALS how US intel pinned leaks to Kremlin

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | November 10, 2018

A newly-out memo containing the Obama admin’s talking points about “Russian hacking” in the 2016 election reveals how US spy agencies attributed email leaks to the Kremlin by saying it’s “consistent” with what they think Russia does.

The seven-page document was contained within the 49 pages published on Friday by BuzzFeed, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiry from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in late October. At the root of it is a November 29 letter by several Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, asking then-President Barack Obama to declassify documents concerning “Russian Active Measures.”

The claim that Russia directly interfered in the 2016 US presidential elections – by first hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, and then releasing them through DCLeaks, WikiLeaks and the hacker known as “Guccifer 2.0” – was all the rage in Washington at the time, as Democrats sought to explain the fact that Clinton just lost to Donald Trump.

Obama did not declassify the documents. Instead, he apparently instructed DNI James Clapper to respond to the senators. Moving at the speed of government, the ODNI responded on January 27 – a week after Trump’s inauguration – saying that their inquiry resulted in the January 6 release of the intelligence community assessment (ICA) on “Russian activities and intentions.”

This ended up as the infamous report making all sorts of claims and accusations but offering no evidence – and prominently featuring an annex about RT dating back from 2012.

The talking points memo sent by ODNI to the Senate Democrats has not been previously published. Reading through it, one is struck by the circular reasoning of the US “intelligence community” – or rather, Clapper’s hand-picked group of CIA, FBI and NSA people charged with coming up with the assessment.

The US intelligence community is “confident” that the Russian government was behind the “compromises” of emails, because their release is “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the talking points say. In other words, this fits what US spies believe are Russian objectives, therefore it had to be the Kremlin doing it!

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the memo goes on to say. Again, inference based on assumption, not evidence.

Blaming Russia for the hack of the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCC) was based on “the forensic evidence identified by a private cyber-firm” – meaning CyberStrike, a DNC contractor led by Atlantic Council fellow Dmitry Alperovich – and the spies “own review and understanding of cyber activities by the Russian Government.”

In plain English, the evidence CrowdStrike gave the intelligence community fit its preconceived notions about Russian cyber operations, which sounds quite convenient.

Remember the accusations that several state election systems were also “hacked” by the Russians? Here is the ODNI, saying that they “are not definitively attributing the intrusions into state elections systems to the Russian Government.” But “the fact that they are consistent with Russian motivations and intent behind the DNC and DCCC intrusions, strongly suggests that Russia is responsible.”

Answering its own question whether Russia is trying to alter the outcome of the election, the ODNI says: “The Kremlin probably expects that publicity surrounding the disclosures will raise questions about the integrity of the election process and would undermine the legitimacy of the President-elect.”

At this point, any TV legal drama would have a charming courtroom lawyer shout out “Objection, speculation!” Except that passage is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. It wasn’t the disclosures of Democrat emails, however, that sowed doubts about the legitimacy of US elections, but rather the absurd conspiracy theory about Trump’s “collusion” with the Kremlin and “Russian hacking,” which the ODNI memo reveals was based on nothing more than the spies wanting to believe it was true.

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment