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19 September 2017

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The Twisted Genius

steve,

I know of no protocol to stop an ongoing criminal or national security investigation or not initiate such an investigation into any politician or political operative. Politicians get investigated, indicted and convicted all the time. I doubt campaigns are regularly told anybody associated with those campaigns is under investigation and/or surveillance until there is an indictment. If any prior notification happens, it would be as a courtesy not a legal requirement.

I'm sure the Congressional committees are aware of this surveillance and have been for some time. The rabid impeach Trump crowd have been talking about Manafort's phone being used as a mike for months. I'm also sure what Mueller knows from all the available surveillance and IC intercepts positively dwarfs anything we know. His problem is digesting all that info, corroborating all that info with confessions and other evidence and, most importantly, explaining the full extent of the Russian info op. That's what's taking so long. There may never be indictments for anything related to possible collusion. Hell, I not yet convinced there was any actual collusion. But I am pretty damned certain there was a masterfully planned and executed Russian info op.

The Twisted Genius

Bill Herschel,

"Which brings us to the Russian Ambassador. Are we to believe that he was tapped because he was using a cellphone which he did not understand could be used to tap him"

Kislyak is in his mid-sixties. I seriously doubt he grasped the technical details of his cellphone or perhaps he just didn't give a shit about those technical details. He was far too important a man to bother with those silly details. I've worked around plenty of his generation and know how technically oblivious they can be. It's a combination of arrogance and ignorance, not stupidity.

Jack

Mueller's special counsel office is a perfect example of a self-licking ice cream cone. Their incentives are to keep going as long as possible and increase the scope of their activities as much as possible and if they find nothing after all this, they'll find some technicality with which to indict. Those under the microscope will be under increasing financial pressure as this drags on and their legal bills mount. This leads to plea deals even if there's nothing there just to stanch the financial bleeding. There's no doubt that this was a witch hunt right from the beginning.

They'll never be able to provide credible evidence that the Russians changed the outcome of the election nor will they be even handed and investigate the influence of big foreign money on all political campaigns. No matter how weak the evidence the MSM will spin the hysteria to create the sense of their preferred outcome that Russians manipulated the election to hand Trump victory. Clearly Hillary is traveling the country selling her book as to why she had nothing to do with her electoral loss.

ked

Don't ask me, Anna. I wasn't focusing on personality, but pointing out implications of behavior. The judicial system will run its course - those who own & operate justice have first cut at the Constitution.

turcopolier

TTG

This has nothing to do with any "protocal" or rule. It has everything to do with common sense. pl

ked

No, it isn't. Nor is my opinion that he's an odious person teasing our nation with a touch of mental illness at the apex of power.
My arguement is that faith he's going to save us from the Borg (wether by craft, consequence or sheer fate) & contribute mightily to a better future is ludicrous. I see no evidence of deliverance through Trump. Choose another idol... this one will poison your cause.

MRW

You’re a whack job, ked. What are you smoking?

The Twisted Genius

Bill Smith,

The smartphone would always be with Manafort. A phone in his condo, if there even is one, would seldom be near him. So far all reports say it was Manafort's smartphone that was hacked.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Do you think the Watergate or Whitewater investigations should have met the same threshold of common sense?

I am well aware that the Mueller investigation is divisive as are all the questions surrounding the Russian IO and any possible collusion by US citizens. The investigation is like cleaning out a wound. It's painful, but it will lead to successful healing. I have full faith in the strength of the Constitution to withstand whatever may come out of the Mueller investigation.

turcopolier

TTG

Are you for due process or mob rule in the media? The constitution is a social construct. You are implying that the president is a Russian agent of influence. Where is the proof? pl

The Twisted Genius

pl,

What I see are numerous indicators of a broad based and sophisticated Russian IO. I want that IO to be fully understood, fully exposed and methods to counter future IO developed and implemented. I also see weaker indications that some surrounding the Trump campaign had an idea what the Russians were doing and were willing to gain from that. I see no indications that Trump is either a willing or unwitting Russian agent of influence.

Green Zone Café

The people? He has a 38% approval rating now.

Mueller and the media can drive that down into the twenties or teens.

I don't see policies of any coherent kind being rolled out, moderate or otherwise. Obamacare repeal? Immigration? Tax reform? Infrastructure spending bill? Nothing effective yet.

I don't think he'll be impeached, rather resign after Mueller drops the bomb.

We don't know the circumstances of the wiretap: FISA or standard warrant based on probable cause on facts we don't know about.

There's a good chance he'll try to decapitate North Korea. If it goes well, he'll be a hero for awhile. If it goes badly, we'll all be in trouble.

As the Colonel mentioned, Trump is all-too enthused about going after Iran with his shrill UN Ambassador Nikki.

David Habakkuk

Tidewater,

I am slightly puzzled. The date generally given for Christopher Steele's departure from Moscow is 1992 not 1996, and I have read nothing about his cover having been blown. For his time as head of the MI6 Russia Desk, the accepted dates are from 2004 to 2009.

That last is certainly the date he set up Orbis. (Where companies are registered with Companies House, Googling the name plus 'Companies House' supplies a good deal of info.)

So the notion that the organisation 'let him go' because of the incident with the fake rock in 2006 clearly does not hold water. I would be curious to know your sources for all this, as it sounds very like the kind of disinformation which MI6 disseminates when they are trying to conceal their involvement in yet another clusterf**k their incompetence has produced.

It is relevant here that the pattern whereby former members of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and military, set up private companies is now common on both sides of the Atlantic, but appears particularly prevalent in Britain.

This has created a system whose dynamics can be very difficult to interpret. A major problem is that it is always possible that the supposedly private sector activities of people like Steele are actually carried out either on behalf of, or at least in cahoots with, their former employers.

Another is that it becomes possible for other players to, as it were, 'buy their way' into the system, particularly as the sources of funding for such companies are commonly not transparent. (This can provide yet another means by which, as it were, 'tails' can wag 'dogs'.)

Some examples of the interpretive problems that result from Syria may be worth mentioning. In 2008, Dan Kaszeta, a former Chemical Weapons officer with the US Army, who had worked in the White House for the previous twelve years, moved to London.

As you will recall, the first protests in Syria came in March 2011, with the 'Free Syrian Army' being formed by defectors from the country's military that July.

In May of that year Kaszeta set up a company called 'Strongpoint Security.' In June that year, a company called 'Secure Bio' was set up. This was run by Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon – former commander of the British CBRN regiment and NATO's Rapid Reaction CBRN battallion – following his retirement from the Army that September.

Both these figures have been pivotal in the 'information operations' designed to obscure the compelling evidence that a range of atrocities involving use of chemical weapons, in particular sarin, were 'false flags' designed to inveigle the United States into destroying the Syrian government – the likely result being to hand the country over to jihadists.

Other former British Army officers have played critical roles in 'information operations' in Syria are James Le Mesurier, with Mayday Rescue and the White Helmets, and Paul Tilley with Innovative Communication and Strategies – InCoStrat.

Questions obviously arise in relation to all these figures as to how far they were actually as agents of long-standing policies of 'regime change' in Syria embraced by successive American and British governments. In relation to some of them – not, interestingly, Strongpoint – the company structures are opaque, so the funding is unclear.

In relation to the British involvement in the attempts at 'regime change' in the United States, similar questions arise. This is not the place to get into the credibility or lack of it of the claims made by 'Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity' analysts about these events.

However, it is worth looking again at the chronology, produced in their report, adding in key dates relating to the involvement of people in Britain, and some other facts I consider relevant. (The additions are in capital letters):

'On 25 May last year, the final email, in the sequence of material which opened in January 2015, which was later to be released by WikiLeaks, was sent.

'On June 12 last year Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

'On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.

'On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.

ON JUNE 15, MATT TAIT OF CAPITAL ALPHA SECURITY 'DISCOVERED' EVIDENCE IN THE 'GUCCIFER 2.0' MATERIAL SUGGESTING THAT HE IS WORKING ON BEHALF OF RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE – INCLUDING 'FELIX EDMUNDOVICH', THE NAME AND PATRONYMIC OF DZERZHINSKY, FOUNDER OF THE CHEKA.

A QUICK INVESTIGATION WOULD SHOW THAT THIS IS ANOTHER INTERESTING 'PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY.' A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF GCHQ, WHO HAD WORKED FOR GOOGLE'S 'PROJECT ZERO', TAIT HAD SET UP 'CAPITAL ALPHA SECURITY' IN FEBRUARY 2016. AS WITH KASZETA AND 'STRONGPOINT SECURITY' HE IS THE SOLE SHAREHOLDER.

ON JUNE 20, IF THE CLAIMS ABOUT THE DOSSIER ARE TO BE BELIEVED, STEELE FINALISED HIS FIRST MEMORANDUM FOR FUSION – ANOTHER INTERESTING PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY – CONTAINING THE 'GOLDEN SHOWERS' CLAIMS. IT OPENED WITH THE CRUCIAL ALLEGATION THAT 'RUSSIAN REGIME HAS BEEN CULTIVATING, SUPPORTING AND ASSISTING TRUMP FOR AT LEAST 5 YEARS. AIM, ENDORSED BY PUTIN, HAS BEEN TO ENCOURAGE SPLITS AND DIVISIONS IN THE WESTERN ALLIANCE.'

'On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia.

ON JULY 10, SETH RICH WAS MURDERED IN WASHINGTON.

ON JULY 22, WIKILEAKS BEGAN RELEASING THE DNC MATERIALS.

ON JULY 26, IF THE CLAIMS IN THE DOSSIER ARE TO BE BELIEVED, THE SECOND OF THE MEMORANDA IN THE BUZZFEED DOSSIER IS FINALISED. CURIOUSLY, THE DATE IS GIVEN AS 2015, RATHER THAN 2016. IT OPENS

' – RUSSIA HAS EXTENSIVE PROGRAMME OF STATE-SPONSORED OFFENSIVE CYBER OPERATIONS. EXTERNAL TARGETS INCLUDE FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS AND BIG CORPORATIONS, ESPECIALLY BANKS. FSB LEADS ON CYBER WITHIN THE RUSSIAN APPARATUS. LIMITED SUCCESS IN ATTACKING TOP FOREIGN TARGETS LIKE G7 GOVERNMENTS, SECURITY SERVICES AND IFIS BUT MUC MORE ON SECOND TIER ONES THROUGH IT BACK DOORS, USING CORPORATE AND OTHER VISITORS TO RUSSIA'.

As to the credibility of Steele, I produced a great deal of evidence on a post on this site and the subsequent exchanges of comments, in the wake of the publication of Sir Robert Owen's ludicrous report into the Litvinenko mystery.

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html ; for the report, see http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090305/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090305/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/ .)

It appears to be consensual that Steele was responsible for the MI6 'investigation', although earlier claims that he was Litvinenko's 'case officer' have been repudiated. It is now suggested the two never even met, which seems wildly improbable, given the Russian's pivotal role in a range of 'information operations.'

What however is clearly established by the evidence are three things:

1. In their efforts to counter Russian government arguments that in supporting jihadists Western governments were risking catastrophic 'blowback', Steele and his associates in the group around Berezovsky produced some quite extraordinary disinformation. Among its purposes was to suggest that the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich, while working as an agent for the FSB and under Putin's personal 'krysha', had attempted to obtain a 'mini nuclear bomb' for Al Qaeda;

2. As a result of 'information operations' orchestrated by elements in the Russian security services, these were, initially cock-a-hoop that Counter Terrorism Command would have to identify a timeline which incriminated Berezovsky and Litvinenko in handling polonium

3. To escape what would have been a total public relations catastrophe, Steele orchestrated one of the more inept and transparent 'information operations' in history – of which the eventual outcome was Owen's Inquiry. This operation has succeeded for two reasons: The Russian security services are no more enthusiastic about having the truth about how Litvinenko lived and died come out than their Western counterparts, and MSM journalists on both sides of the Atlantic are quite prepared to accept the garbage produced by people like Steele at face value.

Among the 'key documents' listed by Owen in his report, one finds the ‘Transcript of press conference of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun, 31 May 2007.’ In his prepared statement, Lugovoi claimed that: ‘Litvinenko used to say: They are total retards in the UK, they believe everything we are telling them about Russia.’

In the Q&A, Kovtun claimed:

'Litvinenko said interesting things about the British judiciary system. He was thrilled, he loved it, that in Britain you could prove anything, really. He used to say: “You can’t imagine, you can simply raise your hand, tell the judge whatever, and they will believe you! They will believe you!” And in this respect, a Russia to totally different things, so for a Russian person it is all available and beneficial.'

Whether or not Litvinenko said these things – and I think it quite likely that he did – as an assessment of the intellectual level of MI6, the British law enforcement system, and the MSM, this seems to me absolutely accurate.

A consequence is that, time and again, such people have got themselves involved, or played the 'useful idiot' role, in Machiavellian intrigues where they are, quite simply, out of their depth. An instance, ironically, is the coverage of the Seth Rich murder. If, as I think likely, he was involved in leaking material from the DNC, it would be natural for opponents of Hillary Clinton to conclude that he had been 'Arkancided'.

But, ironically, precisely because of this, in fact the murder had something to do with the DNC leaks, the 'cui bono' argument could rather more easily point to people who did not want to see her elected than her supporters. (The same holds, in reverse, with the death in December 2016 of Steele's supposed source, the former FSB General Oleg Erovinkin. Murdering someone like that could be a rather obvious way of making the accusations in the dossier appear credible.)

What does seem probable is that both the intervention of Matt Tait, and also the beginnings of the BuzzFeed dossier have their origins in a panic-stricken attempt to cover up – just like the conventional wisdom about Litvinenko. It is, for instance, interesting that the claims made in the dossier clearly contradict those made by Alperovitch and Tait.

I have not had time to look closely at more than a part of the material supposed to establish the existence of a Russian 'influence operation' to influence the US election. That material which I am in a position to assess, however, looks like amateurish 'information operation' stuff, which might fool British judges or the MSM, but should not impress anyone with reasonable critical faculties. Accordingly, it is evidence against the notion of Russian interference, rather than for it.

The extraordinary way that the British involvement in attempts to subvert the constitutional order in the United States has been ignored is a source of continuing amazement to me. What did you people bother to have a Revolution for, for God's sake, if you're prepared to be led by the nose by twerps like Tait and Steele?

Lars

As with many prior investigations, it may start with one aspect and as information is gained, turn into other areas. Typically money is involved and once the flow is mapped out, unsavory practices are found. I expect the current one will follow this path. I also think it will go on much longer than expected. These are complicated matters with complicated aspects that can have profound effects in the future. The methodology seems to follow true and tried efforts to deal with organized crime, with lower participants squeezed for information about the actions of higher ups.

I don't think anyone knows how and when this ends.

turcopolier

All

Someone banned wrote to say that I hate Obama. I voted for him twice. I couldn't vote for either McCain or Romney. IMO McCain has been emotionally unwell for a long time and Romney is a lot like Trump in the essence of his hard hearted business soul. Obama governed far left of where he ran for office. That was a disappointment to me. pl

ked

now, THAT's a quality arguement for ya, folks!

Gary Hamm

Not sure where you get your indicators. I would say any Russian attempts at influencing the 2016 election would be less than 1/1000 of the influence Israel (or Saudi Arabia) has going on, on a continuous basis. But of course, this can't be said in public or the "Who" of the Bolshevist phrase "Who, whom?" will have your career and life destroyed and you will be silenced. And the "Who" will see to it that you have a lifetime pox placed on you.

Oh yeah, those horrible Russians. According to Catholic Bishop, Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M., "The Russian operation in Syria is our salvation." Sadly, while we and our friends wanted Christians (and other religious minorities) subjugated and/or slaughtered. Well, maybe not wanted, but we thought, to quote Madeleine Albright, "we think the price is worth it" to facilitate the strategic interests of the "Who".

Eric Newhill

GZC,
Your mistake is to believe the phony polls. They're manipulated in several ways to result in the appearance of an unpopular president; just as they were before the election to give the appearance of an unpopular candidate.

Beyond purposeful deceit the polls are reflecting only one facet of reality. Not approving - or approving at a low level for a guy - does not mean you won't ultimately vote for that guy or that you prefer the other guy more. There has to be a viable alternative, and there isn't. The Rs have failed to live up to their rhetoric of the past 8 years, Trump exposed them on that..... and the liberals are just plain nuts.

Also, Trump is not a quitter. He's been in tight spots before and we can see how he reacted. He will fight back.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
I am another 2X Obama voter. Same reasons for voting for him and same disappointment with the result. Disagree with the Romney/Trump comparison.

IMO, Trump actually has a heart, but in business, as in war, be kind to your enemies, be cruel to yourself. Romney, however, is a cold fish and he disrespected working class Americans.

Allen Thomson

This pertains to some 25 years ago, but at the time I asked a friend who had been an FBI SAC working national security issues about the high FISA approval rates. The answer I got was that the process was so tightly constrained that the FBI was very, very careful to have its ducks lined up before approaching the court. Sort of a "failure is not an option" approach.

Dr.Puck

Thank you TTG. This isn't about semantics and spin, this about precise descriptions of what actually happened, and, happened under a FISA warrant--irrespective of whether one thinks listening to conversations between American citizens and overseas persons should not be allowed.

An accurate differentiation between smartphone and landline doesn't negate the inaccuracy of Trump's original assertion. Nor is Obama himself implicated until there is evidence of his having a hand in the intel op.

A lot of tax payer dollars goes into intelligence gathering. It strikes me as naive but common sensical to hope the surveillance is aimed at one's enemies rather than at one's own self.

Dr.Puck

It seems the trend is moving in the direction of increasing government police powers. It also is usually the case that once new powers are gained, these are retained by the 'next guy.'

Dr.Puck

The problem with your assertion about the polls is that any number of groups can counter-poll for the sake of unearthing the actual numbers that are "missed" by the phony polls.

Question is begged, why don't such 'counter' polls and their solid transparent methodologies exist?

I agree that impeachment has close to a zero chance of coming into play. POTUS can pardon everyone--although the NY AG is pesky--and get back to the main event of tweeting.

Incidentally, I note the common casting of stones against a monolithic left that ends up with calling them, in your example, nuts. Yet, POTUS is actually mentally ill! I have compassion for the poor man.

Sam Peralta

David

I always appreciate your input. Thank you!

Do you have any thoughts or speculations on why the British intel agencies and those private companies created by their former employees are in the business of disinformation in the US? Wouldn't they be concerned that they could be unmasked by US intel agencies unless of course they are in cahoots with them? Whose agenda are they really promoting?

Sam Peralta

Dr. Puck

You are spot on in my opinion on the trend towards increasing totalitarian powers among law enforcement. IMO, this is part and parcel of the growth in government and the impunity with how those that run the government act. Note how Clapper got away without even a slap on his wrist for blatant perjury in sworn testimony to Congress. Note how there is no serious pushback on civil forfeiture with no due process.

You are absolutely correct that the powers gained are always retained and then expanded upon by the next administration. Note how few signed on to Rand Paul's amendment to the Defense appropriations bill to repeal the Authorization to Use Military Force. 9/11 happened a while ago, yet AUMF and the Patriot Act remain. And at present course will remain forever and even strengthened further.

There is no constituency in America today for essential Liberty. The very idea that animated the formation of the US. Does anyone believe that the Founding Fathers and their message of limited government would be elected by the present day American electorate? Both the left and the right want bigger government to use the increasing power of the state to enforce their ideological hobby horses. The political and corporate elite are happy to oblige.

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