« Phase Three of Operation Big Dawn - TTG | Main | "Demand to cancel Iran deal is an Israeli spin" by Ron Ben-Yishai »

19 September 2017

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Harry

Quite so Colonel. But to tell the truth my leftist bullshit detector already suspected as much. What fascinates me is how little airtime the truth is accorded.

Jack

David

It would seem that the web of MI6 operators and others linked to British intelligence can only attempt to "subvert the constitutional order in the United States" with the connivance and possibly active participation of the political appointees in US intelligence. Do you believe the British spooks would do this on their own? What would be their motivation?

Tidewater

Tidewater says to David Habakkuk,

Thanks for your reply. It was good to hear from you. One of the main sources for my comments on Christopher Steele comes from John Helmer. Yves Smith published it on January 18, 2017 on her blog Naked Capitalism. It was also published on Helmer's own blog, Dances with Bears, at about the same time. The article is: JOHN HELMER: PARSING THE DOSSIER ON TRUMP'S ALLEGED RUSSIAN BEDROOM ANTICS.

About Steele, Helmer wrote: "Trump has responded that Steele is a "failed spy." This is not an impetuous tweet. It's the assessment of both US and British intelligence agencies, including MI6, for which Steele worked undercover in Moscow between 1994 and 1996. His cover was blown; he was evacuated; and as British intelligence sources report this week, Steele has been unable to enter Russia for a decade. "No Russian with official links and knowledge would risk communicating with Steele for fear of being detected by Russian counter-intelligence," said an intelligence source in London. Said another: "I met [Steele] a couple of times and thought that for a relatively undistinguished man who never made very senior rank he was a smug, arrogant s.o.b. So I don't work with him. The description of his being the top expert on Russia in MI6 is bollocks."

Helmer goes on: "Steele's career in Russian intelligence at MI6 had hit the rocks in 2006, and never recovered. That was the year in which the Russian Security Service (FSB) publically exposed an MI6 operation in Moscow. Russian informants recruited by the British were passed messages and money, and dropped their information in containers fabricated to look like fake rocks [sic] in a public park. Steele was on the MI6 desk in London when the operation was blown. Although the FSB announcement was denied in London at the time, the British prime ministry confirmed its veracity in 2012..."

You don't suppose SIS did a sting on John Helmer do you? I hope not.

And thanks for patiently bringing us up to date on your work with reminder links. I do print them out. And, of course, I admit I am in over my head.

I had written a longer comment, but I lost it.

Cheers.

LeaNder

spells differently. Stasi: State Sicherheit/Security

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi

If there was such a thing in the US. If Obama really introduced something like that: You should check your surrounding for possible HUMINT sources. Occasionally they were family members too. Of course you would also be highly afraid to talk to strangers/foreigners anywhere. Could cause you loose your right to study. That's a real case I know of. ...

David Habakkuk

Tidewater,

Thanks for reminding me of the Helmer piece, which I had forgotten.

It I think illustrates a general principle – that it is unwise to do what the MSM currently do, and divide the world into supposed purveyors of 'fake news' and reliable information. Many of the most interesting sources of information produce some invaluable material, and some which is highly questionable: Helmer being a case in point.

A key figure in the Litvinenko mystery is the former K.G.B. operative Yuri Shvets – who also played a central role in the 'Orange Revolution' in Ukraine. As his Wikipedia entry makes clear, in his 2005 book 'Washington Station: My Life as a KGB spy in America', Shvets claimed to have recruited two key sources of political intelligence, whom he referred to as 'Sputnitsa' and 'Socrates.'

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Shvets .)

In his book 'Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer' published the same year, Victor Cherkashin, who was case officer for two notorious Soviet spies in the United States, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, claimed that 'Socrates' was Helmer, and 'Sputnitsa' his wife Claudia Wright. However, Cherkashin also asserted that Helmer was 'never an agent or even a target' of the KGB.

On the credibility of Shvets as a witness, see the 'diary' entitled 'Fact, frame-up, or fiction? – Litvinenko's “deathbed testimony”', which I and my Italian collaborator David Loepp posted on the 'European Tribune' website back in December 2012.

(http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2012/12/18/171030/73 .)

The answer to the question raised by our title, incidentally, is now clear. One can be absolutely certain that what is supposed to be the 'deathbed testimony', the interviews supposedly recorded by Litvinenko with Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt on 18-20 November 2006, are clumsy fabrications. It seems likely, although not certain, that one of the activities in which Steele was engaged with Orbis was organising the 'industrial scale' faking of evidence apparent at Owen's inquiry.

If the British authorities, and indeed Steele, want to dispute my arguments on this point, rather than relying on the credulity of the MSM, they should produce audio tapes of the Russian language originals of the interviews. What conceivable good grounds can there be for not doing so?

The relevance of this in relation to Shvets is that my hunch would be that he is either simply lying about Helmer and Wright, or doing what spooks have on occasion been known to do: taking people with whom they have contact, and discuss the world, and portraying them as actual agents, or something close to it.

That said, it would not particularly surprise me if on occasion Helmer was a conduit for material from Russian intelligence agencies. For one thing, it would perfectly natural if he cultivated sources in these – I certainly would, in his shoes.

In relation to his claims about the dossier, however, he showed no more inclination to check what his informants told him than the MSM journalists who have simply accepted without question the kind of patently fabricated evidence about the life and death of Litvinenko provided by Steele, DI Brent Hyatt, and others.

By the time Helmer's piece appeared on 18 January, it had already been reported that its subject had left MI6 in 2009, and that he had been put in charge into the investigation into Litvinenko's death. So the suggestion that the mishap over the fake rock operation, which occurred in January of that year, had any radical influence on Steele's career is patent hokum – as Helmer should have known.

As it happens, ever since the story of Steele's involvement in the dossier broke, it has been clear that there have been deep divisions among Western intelligence agencies as to how to handle him: whether they should, as it were, 'hang him out to dry', or endorse and defend his work.

A good example of the latter approach come a report on 15 January – three days before Helmer's piece – by the 'Defence Editor' of the 'Independent', Kim Sengupta, entitled 'Head of MI6 used information from Trump dossier in first public speech'.

(See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-dossier-mi6-christopher-steele-russia-documents-alex-younger-a7528681.html .)

The approach taken here was the exact reverse of that taken by Helmer, as it unambiguously identified the head of the organisation, Sir Alex Younger, with the 'defend Steele to the hilt' school. It opened:

'The head of MI6 used information obtained by former officer Christopher Steele in his Trump investigation, in a warning against Russian cyberattacks and attempts to subvert Western democracies, The Independent has learned.

'Sir Alex Younger’s briefing notes for his first public speech as head of the Secret Intelligence Service contained some of the material supplied by Mr Steele, according to security sources. Drawing on the alleged hacking carried out by Moscow in the US presidential campaign, he warned of the danger facing Britain and Western European allies, and especially to elections due to be held next year.

'Security sources stress that MI6 had extensive information, British and international, on the Russian threat apart from that of Mr Steele. But they pointed out that he is held in high regard and the contribution he provided was valuable.'

It is worth reading the full text of Younger's speech, to get a picture of quite how dismal the intellectual, and moral, quality of today's MI6 is. From his discussion of 'the increasingly dangerous phenomenon of hybrid warfare':

'In this arena, our opponents are often states whose very survival owes to the strength of their security capabilities; the work is complex and risky, often with the full weight of the State seeking to root us out.'

(See https://www.sis.gov.uk/media/1155/cs-public-speech-8-december-2016-final.doc .)

As well as being borderline illiterate, and factually inaccurate, these remarks involve a – clearly unintended – irony. So we have it on the authority of the head of MI6 that the very survival of Russia can be attributed to the strength of the FSB, SVR, and GRU. How can any patriotic Russian do anything other than vote for Putin?

A key part of the truth which underlies this drivel is actually brought out in the contemptuous remarks from Lugovoi and Kovtun I quoted, about the willingness of the British to take on trust anything claimed by Berezovsky and his associates – which brings me back to the reasons I suspect that Helmer may have been a conduit for Russian disinformation.

As has been amply evident from the MSM coverage, and was made even more clear by Owen's report, this view of British credulity has been essentially vindicated. One of its more dangerous consequences is that – in common with their American counterparts – British élites have consistently both gravely underestimated the strength of Putin's position and also misunderstood his preferred 'modus operandi.'

By telling the oligarchs that they could hold on to what they had looted, so long as they kept out of politics, did actually pay taxes, and a few other things, and installing his cronies as quasi-oligarchs, Putin was able effectively to isolate those who were not prepared to accept the bargain offered: above all, Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky.

As the outcome of the power struggle was initially uncertain, however, a lot of people, very naturally, played both sides. However, the general pattern was a steady move to the one which was clearly winning, and which also increasingly appeared to be pulling the country back from chaos, and so could appeal to patriotism (a very evident factor with Lugovoi.)

This was at the core of the events in London in October-November 2006. It seems reasonably certain that Litvinenko's supposed assassin was being used in an attempt – probably successful – to bring Berezovsky's partner Arkadi 'Badri' Patarkatsishvili back into the Putin camp. It also seems likely that Lugovoi was being used in a bid to bring his supposed victim back on side.

Attempts to produce a plausible explanation of why the Russian security services could have commissioned Lugovoi to assassinate Litvinenko are, frankly, only susceptible of belief by those the former claimed the latter called 'retards.' It is very easy to see how the supposed assassin could have been used to sing a siren song. It might have gone something like this:

'Come back home, spill all the beans about Berezovsky, MI6, the CIA, etc, and go public with what of it suits Putin. Whatever his faults, he's not one to bear grudges, and if you play ball, he will be happy to let bygones by bygones, just as with me and “Badri”.'

All this has a corollary: that the suggestion in Helmer's piece that, having been 'blown', Steele could not have had Russian sources may give further grounds to suspect that he was being used as a conduit for Russian disinformation.

A major problem with the dossier is that different parts of it read very differently. While on many occasions I regard utter incompetence as a plausible hypothesis when it comes to MI6, I am still somewhat sceptical of the suggestion that the former head of its Russia Desk could not spell the name of the Alfa Group, one of the most significant business groups in Russia.

And while parts of the dossier sound like simple fabrication, others – in particular some of those which, as Helmer notes, contradict claims by 'CrowdStrike', and also Matt Tait – sound as though they could have come from sources that existed.

If this was so, however, it would have been likely that they would have been among the sources, most of them involved in one way or another with Putin's oligarch opponents, on whom MI6 had drawn. Accessing such sources would obviously have been done through indirect channels. But there is no conceivable way it could have been done without the consent of the organisation.

Some of the sources might still either be genuinely identified with the opposition, or so afraid of having their activities exposed that they had to continue to collaborate. Others, however, are likely to have wanted, like Lugovoi, to liquidate their involvement in a lost cause. Such figures could easily have been happy to disseminate disinformation, either on behalf of the Russian security services, or on their own account.

The first kind of situation could account for the arrests of FSB information security experts in January – which would of course imply that Steele had fed genuine sources to the wolves, one more reason for thinking him a lower form of life. The second could account for the claims which have led to lawsuits from Aleksej Gubarev, the principals in the Alfa Group, and now Carter Page.

However, this could provide a further reason why elements in the Russians security services might be happy covertly to collude with those of their Western counterparts who wanted to portray Steele as a kind of kind of lone 'rogue operator.' In my view, it is likely that he was nothing of the kind.

LeaNder

My opinion is he owes $$$ to Russian oligarchs ("gangsters") and that haunts him

I rarely do, but I agree with MRW in this case. I object only to his question about what you are smoking. If the law changed I might have one or other plant in backyard.

But yes, no one calls anyone in any other country with the money, power or assumed power to control matters an oligarch:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy

David Habakkuk

Sam and Jack,

Very good questions.

A short answer is that MI6 and key elements in the CIA appear to be joined at the hip, and likewise, the GCHQ and the NSA.

If as I think – more on this in my second response to Tidewater – Steele was acting in cahoots with the leadership of MI6, this would give further reason to think that everything that was going on was part of a operation which was co-ordinated between both sides of the Atlantic, if rather shambolically so.

As regards the agendas, a key point is that the new consensus which emerged in Britain in the Thatcher years – after in large measure 'New Labour' ideologically capitulated – was both neoconservative and neoliberal.

One thing however that people like Tony Blair retained from their youthful socialist enthusiasms was the 'rainbow coalition', 'coalition of the fringes' element. While what can be called 'cultural Marxism' is part of this over here, much more has to do with what Steve Sailer, following Michael Barone, has termed 'Lennonism.'

A great deal of this, ironically, was taken on board by figures like Cameron and Osborne when it was their turn to work out how to deal with successive electoral defeats.

A result has been an enthusiastic cross-party collaboration with the 'invade the world, invite the world' agenda. This is I think part of the reason effective political control of the intelligence agencies has been absent, and people like Steele have been able to 'run amuck.'

The supporters of this agenda were completely taken aback by the comprehensive way in which it has blown up in people's faces – which is I think one reason for the extraordinary lengths to which the transatlantic co-operation against Trump has gone.

ked

thanks for the link.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_oligarch

Eric Newhill

Dr. Puck,
Counter polls do exist. They just aren't given a space in the MSM. I said repeatedly during the election that the polls were phony. I pointed how and where the methodology was shabby - by design or accident, or both - to favor Hillary. I put money on a Trump win based on my analysis. Tyler also saw some of the flaws and also won money.

You sound like one of those global warming hysterics repeating the lie that virtually all scientists agree that it's happening. Same problem, they don't, but those that don't are given air time or publication space. Media, political and greed manipulated consensus isn't science, but it does temporarily sooth mediocre minds and separates them from their money.

Fred

Eric,

Trump's up almost 10%. Or, back to 40% approval. Take you pick:
http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/21/politics/trump-approval-40-percent-hurricanes-north-korea/index.html

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28            
Blog powered by Typepad