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10 May 2020

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LondonBob

Seth Rich is a Jack Ruby. He was a reliable cutout for the Israelis, in this case to pass information to Wikileaks, there is a reason his motives aren't examined except for nonsense about he was upset for Bernie Sanders.

Giraldi has pointed out the Israelis were monitoring Assange.

https://ahtribune.com/world/wikileaks/3710-who-spied-on-julian-assange.html

We know the Israelis were involved in planting intel.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/redacted-fbi-document-hints-at-israeli-efforts-to-help-trump-in-2016-campaign/

We know that the Israel first crowd has been pushing the Russia smokescreen as much as the Clintonites and Obamaites. Trump has relentlessly pursued Israeli goals, not Russian.

Fred

LondonBob,

"Trump has relentlessly pursued Israeli goals, not Russian."

If only we had a president who put America first. Was it an Israeli goal to refuse a no fly zone in Syria? To refuse to send troops to Ukraine, Libya, or additional ones to Afghanistan? Was it an Israeli goal to announce we were going to leave Afghanistan? To attempt to make an agreement with North Korea, to tariff China, impose a travel ban from the MidEast, attempt to close the border with Mexico, to appoint conservative judges to federal courts? Of course, because just like Clinton and Obama he's really doing things for Israel, because we all know how pro-Netanyahu, I mean pro-Israel, Obama was.

Thanks for the liink to the story about " a May 2018 affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an application for a search warrant, and relates to communication between Stone and Jerome Corsi, an American author, commentator and conspiracy theorist."

That sure sounds like a credible method of gaining a search warrant to gather evidence done by America's scandal free FBI. Which is nothing like what Larry is actually writing about, criminal conduct of the FBI and of members of Robert Mueller's investigative team being used to get a search warrant on a man linked to the newly elected President, or covering it up; I'm sure there wasn't any criminal conduct by the FBI in the Roger Stone case, the FBI is scandal free, and so are the jury pools in South Florida......Nice of you to link Seth Rich to the guy who shot JFK's assasin and then both to Isreal. Neither are mentioned in either article you link to, nor have I ever heard that particular theory. Good work with inuendo, congrats.

David Habakkuk

blue peacock,

There is another major strand in the attempts by Ed Butowsky’s lawyers to break down the wall of obfuscation shielding the truth about the life and death of Seth Rich.

In a ‘tweet’ on 28 April, Clevenger posted a link to a letter on ‘outstanding discovery’ written on 27 March by Eden Quainton, who is acting for Butowsky in the case brought against him by Aaron Rich, to the judge presiding in the case.

(See http://lawflog.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020.04.28-Eden-letter-to-court.pdf .)

Unfortunately, as far as I can see, the comprehensive listing of documentation about the case one frequently finds on the ‘Courtlistener’ site is not available.

However, I did manage to find a ‘Defendants’ Motion to Extend or Stay Discovery’ from 6 January.

(See https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.194794/gov.uscourts.dcd.194794.97.0.pdf .)

It has not helped, I think, that Butowsky appears to have been very seriously ill.

However, comparing the January and March documents, it seems that the various lawyers representing him have made a good deal of progress.

The recent document gives, I think, some very useful pointers to what Butowsky and his legal team think actually happened, in relation to the involvement of both Rich brothers in the exfiltration of material from the DNC to ‘WikiLeaks’, the murder of Seth, and the subsequent cover-up.

To my mind, this is an indispensable part of the background to the way that the conspiracy, as it were, spiralled into ‘high gear’ in May/June 2016.

LondonBob

Just trying to tie together certain anomalies with my hypothesis Fred. The Roger Stone revelations have, unsurprisingly, been met with the usual wall of silence. Personally it was what I have been expecting for a while.

walrus

Zerohedge is reporting that Sidney Powell has apparently accused Obama of ordering the framing of Flynn.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/obama-participated-plot-frame-flynn-sidney-powell

David Habakkuk

Terence Gore,

I was interested to see that Dan Bongino was expressing scepticism about the notion that Steele actually authored the dossier.

A seminal statement of the sceptics’ view was the March 2018 post ‘The Mechanics of Deception’ by Yaacov Apelbaum.

(See https://apelbaum.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/the-mechanics-of-deception/ .)

Of course, one should not simply take this on trust, particularly as a good deal of the sourcing is unclear, and I am, obviously, conscious of the dangers of fitting new evidence into theories one finds congenial.

That said, there is something interestingly paradoxical about what emerged in the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson. It was conducted on the basis that it could be taken as self-evident that he was author of the dossier, but much of what emerged actually ‘meshed’ much better with Apelbaum’s reading.

So, for instance, Hugh Tomlinson raised the long-standing puzzle that the memorandum which provoked the action from the Alfa Group owners spelt them ‘Alpha.’ (See page 49 of the transcript.)

As Steele quite fairly said, ‘ph’ is a perfectly normal transliteration of the relevant Russian letter – which is actually derived from the Greek ‘phi.’

(Indeed, the Russian ‘spetnaz’ unit which has the same name, in Russian, is conventionally transliterated ‘Alpha.’)

However, someone whose native language was English would naturally, in both cases, follow the transliteration used by the group and found in all English-language discussion I can recollect seeing, apart from the memo which provoked the lawsuit.

The use of a different transliteration in my view suggests quite strongly, although not decisively, that the actual author of the relevant passage in the memorandum was more used to reading, and writing, in Russian and/or Ukrainian.

Moreover, if a native English speaker 'copy edited' the document, they were probably less familiar with Alfa than I think Steele is likely to be.

And then, the puzzles about the peculiar numbering of the memoranda in the dossier were raised by Tomlinson.

The memorandum which provoked the lawsuit was listed as 2016/112. It was one of 16 in the dossier as published, numbered 2016/080 to 2016/166. So, when the dossier was published, people quite fairly asked if there were many more documents related to ‘Russiagate.’

A likely answer to the puzzle came with the release to ‘Judicial Watch’ last July of redacted versions of the memoranda from Orbis which were circulated in the State Department.

(See https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/JW-DCNF-v-State-Steele-prod-9-00968.pdf .)

These use precisely the method of listing found in the dossier: ‘2015/191’ is just one of a number of examples.

Asked about the missing reports by Tomlinson (page 67 of the transcript), Steele responded:

‘Within Orbis every report, no matter which project it is being produced on, is given a consecutive number. So there is no significance in the numbers that are missing, if you like, the numbers that refer to reports that were going into other project work.’

This is patent nonsense. No company would send out material intended exclusively for one client with a numbering which included those sent out to all its other clients.

As used in the reports circulated in the State Department, this looks like a system which one could very well employ for a service sent out to a range of clients – as it were, a kind of ‘newsletter.’

Precisely what one would on no account expect was that such reports contained ‘secret intelligence’ intended for a specific client. The wider the dissemination, the more chance of them falling into the hands of counter-intelligence agencies with an interest in identifying the sources.

And of course, nobody in their right mind would discuss any report containing genuine material attributed to ‘secret sources’ with journalists, as Steele did, given that the risks of ‘blowing’ any genuine ones would then be very great.

My SWAG about this is that, in the conditions of panic in which the initial memoranda were produced – note the complete confusion of the dating – people at Fusion produced an incompetent imitation of the actual style used in Orbis memoranda which had been circulated to them as well as through the State Department.

Also interesting is what Steele said at the hearing about the supposed communications link between the Trump campaign and Alfa.

In addition to completely changing the ‘timeline’, so that he was now saying that the – supposed – commission to investigate the group came soon after Michael Sussman mentioned this link to him on 29 July, rather than on 11 September, as he earlier claimed, Steele had interesting things to say at the hearing about his meeting at the State Department on 11 October.

The notes taken by Kathleen Kavalec record him as telling her:

‘Petr Aven of Alfa Bank has been the conduit for secret communications between the Kremlin and Manafort; messages are encrypted via Tor software and run between a hidden server managed by Alfa Bank (see separate paper on this channel).’

According to Steele, what he had actually said was that this ‘was the reporting that we had from, I believe, Mr Simpson at the time.’

What I think may well have happened is that, in a characteristically slapdash interpretation of the intercepts obtained from the NSA, some of the ‘contractors’ who had had access to material which did establish the server link jumped to the conclusion that it was incriminating.

They then, probably with the aid of their Ukrainian associates, concocted a farrago, intended to combine the notion of a link with Putin through Alfa with that of an indirect link through Manafort, and attributed it to Steele.

A different question, obviously, is how the obviously problematic suggestion that Oleg Govorun acted as a conduit for corrupt payments by the Alfa people to Putin at a time when a quick ‘open source’ check would have revealed he had not yet gone to work for the company, entered the dossier.

This is one of the most important unresolved puzzles about the dossier. And, I admit, it is not obvious that one of Fusion's Ukrainian contacts in Washington would have left such an obvious 'hostage to fortune.'

But, in general, the material coming out in London, which has received to little attention on your side, seems to me to support Apelbaum’s reading, rather than undermine it.

On a different matter, as to Bongino’s view of the role of the FIFA investigation in all this, it is I think material that the collaboration of Steele with elements in the DOJ, FBI and CIA is likely to have started very much earlier than is conventionally accepted.

In one of John Solomon’s two – crucial – August 2018 pieces, he wrote:

‘In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in American history.’

(See https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/400810-opinion-how-a-senior-justice-official-helped-dems-on-trump-russia-case .)

There is a lot more to be said about the links involved, which I think actually may go back a lot further than this.

However, it might help us understand the documentation of the contacts between Steele, Simpson and Ohr in 2016-17 better, if we could actually see some some of those emails and texts dating back to 2002.

I do not know whether Solomon has had sight of this material, but I think it might help if he made a serious attempt to make it possible for the rest of us to see it.

turcopolier

walrus

Yes. I watched her do that on TeeVee. I assume that once Sullivan vacates Flynn's conviction, Flynn will sue everyone in the room at the WH for the 5 Jan, 2017 meeting at which the plot against Flynn was revealed. He can sue them all for violation of his civil rights for costs and punitive damages. Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, etc.

David Habakkuk

walrus,

Pat has just provided an answer to a some questions I was raising in a response to some comments by ‘Jack.’

However, it may be worth posting what I had written, as it may still be a useful contribution to this discussion, even though it was clearly misguided, and I was, as it were, 'behind the times.'

For what it is worth, although I am still absorbing recent disclosures, whether or not they adequately establish that Obama was ‘ordering’ the framing of Flynn, I cannot for the life of me see any plausible reading of the evidence according to which there 1. was not a conspiracy to frame him, and 2. at the very least, Obama was complicit in this.

Moreover, all this ties up with some points I have been trying to make in these exchanges.

As I have repeatedly tried to stress, not just now but over the years, it is unfortunate that people in the States do not look more closely at developments in the U.K.- and also, perhaps, Australia.

Although I need to look further, it seems from the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson that 5 January 2017 was a crucial date in his destruction of evidence, and also that one of the matters at issue between the two sides is whether some crucial evidence was destroyed then or a week earlier.

Is it a coincidence that this was also the date of the crucial meeting involving Obama?

Maybe.

But it is not the most obvious hypothesis.

The comment I had drafted reads as follows:

Jack,

You raise a range of critical questions.

There is a lot more to be said about all of them.

However, for the moment, let me pick up one matter.

I do not have a clear view on the question of whether or not the withdrawal of the case against Flynn could have been a ‘damage limitation’ exercise by AG Barr.

A question, for you and others.

Does the extraordinary way in which Covington & Burling handled his defence provide grounds for Flynn to take legal action against them?

If so, what would be the prospects for success?

Would such action, if pursued, be likely to help onward the letting of precisely those ‘skeletons’ out of various ‘cupboards’ that you suggest Barr may be trying to prevent?

And also, if in fact suing Covington & Burling could be a way forward, is it one that Flynn is likely to take, or is he, by now, simply so exhausted – and damaged – by the appalling way in which he has been treated that he will be more inclined to let things be?

LG

Jack, would not Trump's foreign policy account for the not so silent coup attempt? Despite his avowed love for Israel and the bromance with Netanyahu, his wanting to get out from never-ending middle east wars would have undone all the hard work by H Clinton to destabilize the middle east to the benefit of her Israeli handlers. No doubt, Trump, when cornered, caves in and lobs a few ineffective bombs on empty Syrian airbases, or, when at his weakest, takes out an Iranian general earn some reprieve. However, it remains, that given a chance he tries his hardest to get the US out of the ME mess, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Yemen. And at least he has not gotten his country into any new conflict there. All this is enough for him to earn undying hostility of the Borg. It seems to me now that as his position gets stronger, and as his detractors take cover, we will see more of this.
As the laylatul qadr in this holy month approaches, I pray your country gets out of this mess it has helped create in the ME.

blue peacock

Col. Lang,

Would there be a reasonable probability that the dossier was actually written by Fusion GPS - Glenn Simpson, his wife Mary Jacoby (who did have a meeting at the WH at an important date in this frame up) and Nellie Ohr (DoJ official Bruce Ohr's wife)? And Steele was used to provide intelligence legitimacy due to his prior relationships with US officials?

Jim,

Apparently the Washington Free Beacon was a cutout for uber-zionist hedge fund manager Paul Singer of Elliott Management who funded Fusion GPS for the initial oppo research.

blue peacock

Deap,

There is no threat larger to a constitutional republic than the attempted overthrow of the constitutional order especially by the intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

The 150 "strict constructionists" on the federal courts don't hold a candle compared to the threat to liberty that the attempted coup would. BTW, are these judges like the FISA court judges that approved the surveillance warrants on Carter Page?

Note that the public unions didn't attempt the coup. They're small fry in relative terms compared to the oligarchy. Who do you think is more powerful - Trumka or Sheldon Adelson or Larry Fink? Who do you think has more influence even on Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer? Who do you think Barak & Michelle Obama partied with immediately after they left the White House?

A.I.S.

I have a more "innocent" explanation for the whole Steele bullshit.

Essentially, Russian decisionmaking is isolated from its suroundings by a veritable moat/maze of high faluting bullshitpeddlers, who are all totally connected to Putin of course! In all seriousness, several 10s of thousands of people in Moscow alone are claiming connection to Putin.

If one such hustler is approached by an obvious unfriendly spy like Steele, he will probably fed Steele some initial bullshit, report this conversation to the FSB counterintel (and congratulate himself on his decision when FSB informs him Steele was monitored anyway). Said Russian will then reach some type of accomodation with the FSB. Krysha courtesy of teh FSB, in exchange for perhaps a percentage of Steeles bribe money. Said Russian was probably told something like "Tell Steele whatever the expletive you want as long as its bullshit".

walrus

I wonder if the “golden showers” reference in the dossier was supplied to Steele as a disguised watermark? I suppose it could have been salacious journalist bait but I wonder.

blue peacock
"Sen. Mitch McConnell will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories via an amendment to the PATRIOT Act, which will be renewed in a vote this week

https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1260026947532279809?s=20

Note that both parties talk a big game about the Bill of Rights. But when it comes down to it they're both authoritarian. Yet folks are so invested in the partisan kabuki they can't see the forest from the trees.

Yeah, Right

A.I.S. it is my understanding that Steele has been persona non grata with the Russian Federation since at least 2009, so there is no way he can travel to Russia to "approach" anyone.

So any salacious BS that he picked up was likely fed to him by persons that he has known for many years.

My take is that the vast majority of the "research" that went into his dossier was conducted in some nondescript pub in Salisbury, and as Sergei Skripal, Pablo Miller and Steele took turns shouting the rounds then the made-up misadventures of Donald Trump became increasingly more ribald.

David Habakkuk

A.I.S.

Insofar as you suggest that what I call ‘Wormoldism’ (as in Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man in Havana) is likely to have been at issue with the dossier – people being fed fabricated material they are predisposed to believe – I would not disagree with you.

In relation to the initial memorandum, and most of its successors, however, their sheer preposterousness has to be given due weight.

The notion that one sits in a private security company in London, and recruits some ‘Primary Sub-source’, who then recruits other ‘sub-sources’ who just happen to have access to people right at the heart of the Putin ‘sistema’, is patent BS.

Quite as ludicrous is the idea that everyone in the chain of communications could be expected to be reporting honestly, and the results would turn out to ‘mesh’ rather precisely with the preferred ‘narratives’ of the Clinton people.

Sceptical as I am of the competence of Steele and his confederates in the British, and American, bureaucracies, I cannot see them genuinely believing all the garbage found in the dossier.

However, the second memorandum, 2016/086, dated 26 July 2015 (sic), which deals with Russian cyber operations, is not simply garbage, in my view.

One peculiarity lies quite precisely in the fact that it appears as the second memorandum. In terms of date, it only does so because 2015 is before 2016. If one corrects what seems an obvious sloppy error, however, the second memorandum in the sequence ought to be 2016/094, dated 19 July 2016. But 19 July is before 26 July.

It is really quite bizarre, and then there is the peculiarity that 2016/095, which one would anticipate should have a date which might help one make sense of the sequence, actually is undated.

What however makes confusion worse confounded is that, by contrast to its companions, 2016/086 sounds as though it could be the product of people talking to real sources, whose claims are not actually totally ‘off-the-wall.’

Set in context, however, they are still fairly bizarre. So, it is asserted that:

‘FSB leads on cyber within Russian apparatus. Limited success in attacking top foreign targets like G7 governments, security services and IFIs but much more on second tier ones through IT back doors, using corporate and other visitors to Russia’.

This, it would seem, cuts the ground out from under the claims which had been made by ‘CrowdStrike’, which had first been publicised on 14 June. (The initial memorandum in the dossier is dated 20 June.)

For one thing, the GRU, which had been placed centre-stage right at the outset, is completely omitted. For another, it is suggested that there had been only ‘limited success’ in attacking ‘top foreign targets’. If the DNC and Hillary Clinton were not ‘top foreign targets’, I do not know what would have been.

The claim also surprised me.

Although I am no expert in the area, the impression I have formed of the approach of Clinton and her cronies to security matters, together with the fact that Russian IT education is really rather good, had led me to think it eminently possible that all the material published by ‘WikiLeaks’ was in the hands of the Russian security services.

(There is no contradiction between believing this and thinking that the material was supplied to the organisation by Seth and Aaron Rich, that the murder of the former resulted from this, and that the inchoate confusion visible in the dating of the memoranda was the product of the panicky cover-up that became necessary as a result.)

Immediately following these somewhat strange claims in memorandum 166, there is the suggestion that: ‘FSB often uses coercion and blackmail to recruit most capable cyber operatives in Russia into its state-sponsored programmes.’

This obviously raises questions. One would have thought that recruiting people by ‘coercion and blackmail’ would be a risky business, as they could hardly be regarded as reliable.

One can however see how the suggestion might have an elliptical relation to a possible truth. Recruiting some ‘capable cyber operatives’ who had been involved in, for instance, the targeting of financial institutions, might be judged a perfectly sensible thing to do.

And, some months later, we discovered that something of that kind appeared to have happened with a certain Major Dmitri Dokuchaev, after he and his colleagues were arrested shortly after the publication of the dossier.

This brings us on to the puzzle of the final memorandum, 2016/166, dated 13 December 2016.

This restates the claim about recruitment under duress:

‘[Redacted: 39 characters] reported that over the period March-September 2016 a company/Webzilla and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct "altering operations” against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one Aleksei GUBAROV were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, Seva KAPSUGOVICH, were significant players in this operation.’

In my view, while it would have been unsurprising if people in the FSB thought they could use someone like Dokuchaev, someone like Kapsugovich is a somewhat less likely candidate. According to a McClatchy report, he is a twice-convicted pedophile who has been imprisoned in Russia in a facility where he has no access to the internet or cellphones.

His inclusion looks to me like a piece of black humour.

After lengthy legal proceedings, Dokuchaev, a superior of his in the FSB, and two others were convicted on charges of treason early last year, with the precise nature of the charges remaining somewhat opaque, but apparently having to do with contacts with the FBI.

It has long been clear that there were quite extensive, and totally legitimate, links, between people like Dokuchaev and his colleagues and their counterparts in the FBI. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Steele had any connections with FSB cybersecurity whatsoever.

A problem with ‘double agents’, as there is every reason to believe those convicted were, is that they can turn out to be ‘triple agents.’

So a revised version of your scenario might run something like this. One of the targets of recruitment – perhaps someone whose criminal background was judged to make him vulnerable – did indeed report what was going on to FSB counterintelligence.

At this point, however, the ‘said person’ would not have been told to feed his contacts ‘bullshit.’

He might rather have been told something like:

‘We must feed the FBI people things that are not so ludicrous that they will smell a rat, but play to their prejudices. Something about people like you being recruited under “coercion and blackmail” would help. And, of course, you must not any account say anything that would implicate us in “Russiagate”: at least not yet.’

And then, when, months later, the increasingly desperate plotters came back looking for evidence to back up the dossier claims, the ‘said person’could have been told something along the following lines:

‘Now’s our chance. We need to incriminate a perfectly reputable expatriate Russian cyberperson with enough bogus “evidence” so they think he cannot sue, whatever garbage they use to embellish the tale, and add a rather disgusting “pedo” into the mix. We do not know how the situation will develop, but can see interesting possibilities.’

Of course, the ‘said person’ might also be told that, to cover-up what had happened, it would be necessary to arrest both those who had not ‘reported the conversation to the FSB counterintel’, and those who had.

I am speculating, but I have not – yet at least – seen anything to make me totally abandon a favourite SWAG of mine: that in ‘durance vile’ somewhere, perhaps in comfortable lodging overlooking the Black Sea, Dmitri Dokuchaev is giving lectures on how to hoodwink gullible Americans (and Brits, perhaps.)

English Outsider

David Habakkuk - the slow uncovering of "Russiagate" brings Mr Steele into the limelight again, as the second transcript Mr Johnson has kindly provided with his fascinating and most informative article shows.

I'm glad Mr Johnson, as a professional, evaluated "Agent Doe" as straight. That was very much my lay impression from reading the transcript.

But whether he's straight or not "Agent Doe" is not simple. He's distanced himself from any monkey business and isn't even interested in speculating about it. As long as he's done his work by the book and can show he did, that's as far as he's going.

Privately though, he's speculating like hell about whether or rather when he got taken for a ride, and by whom.

Just wondering whether Mr Steele's doing some speculating along the same lines.

Sir Richard Dearlove is a more interesting subject. His interactions with Mr Steele were scarcely "look no hands!", and the two references below are merely a few references that show Sir Richard was scarcely the man lurking in the the shadows throughout. If he'd hired a PR man he couldn't have got himself more centre stage -

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/christopher-steele-meeting-mi6-chief-revealed-new-fusion-gps-book-99292

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/07/ex-british-spy-christopher-steele-interviewed-russia-election/

I'm struggling when it comes to the American end of the Steele affair. Too many players, too many links, it's not a world I know of. But it's clear at the UK end that senior UK Intelligence Officers were in this up to their necks. For that there is no innocent explanation.

It can no longer be said that Mr Steele was working in a private capacity and that his activities were unknown to elements within British Intelligence. Had that been the case then it would have been automatic for HMG to have disciplined Mr Steele and to have immediately disavowed his activities.

If the whole affair was merely Sir Richard Dearlove and elements within British Intelligence working without the knowledge of HMG then again HMG would have disavowed them. I don't believe the tail wags the dog when it comes to the relationship between British Intelligence and HMG.

It's probable that HMG knew of the affair before its public disclosure. Obviously it did afterwards. Yet we never disavowed.

The Steele affair made a lot of noise in the States. It served to publicly discredit an American President as far as his personal life went and gave him severe political difficulties thereafter.

In those circumstances HMG's failure to disavow at any stage showed a deliberate decision by the British Government to allow an American President to be damaged.

Why would HMG do that to an American President?

turcopolier

EO

Surely personal disdain would not be an operative reason?

Colonel Smithers

Further to David’s question, having worked on Brexit in the City and knowing officials in London and Brussels, let me venture an answer. Out of the EU and with Trump not interested in the Atlantic alliance and other foreign entanglements, the UK, or its establishment, feared isolation and the loss of influence. In addition, many of the UK’s “securocrats” are involved with the fossil fuel industry and more interested in their pay checks than peace. Please have a look at a recent expose by Adam Curtis. Dearlove is mentioned.

blue peacock

EO,

The role of HMG and the Australian and even Italian governments may be one of the things that Barr obscures. As David Habakkuk notes the "limited hangout" and "red meat" could possibly shield an international conspiracy to directly intervene in a presidential election on the side of the "sure thing" candidate from the incumbent party.

What none of them bet on was the probability that the much vilified candidate would actually win the election. The question is will we ever know the extent of the coup attempt? Trump doesn't want to disclose, yet anyway.

Harry

All roads lead to Obama.

https://tomluongo.me/2020/05/12/from-russiagate-to-obamagate-end-boomerville/

The Twisted Genius

David Habakkuk,

In reference to the Steele memorandum dealing with Russian cyber operations, it is correct in saying that the bulk of Russian cyber operations reside with the FSB. Prior to this these operations along with signal operations were conducted by FAPSI, the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information. FAPSI only came into existence in 2001. Prior to that these functions were carried out by the KGB. In 2003, FAPSI was dissolved with the bulk of its functions incorporated into the FSB. In both the FAPSI and FSB, cyber operations were focused on the internal and defensive realms. It was similar to the FBI cyber operations. As such they had a history of collaborating on cyber security and hacker cases.

FSB did have a history of "turning" Russian cyber criminals and overly curious hackers to do their bidding. Some of us admired the FSB's comfort with working with hackers since they often possessed excellent skills. China also has a symbiotic relationship with nongovernmental hackers in what was call patriotic hackers. These patriotic hacker groups took taskings from Chinese Intelligence and were paid for their successes. In effect, they were issued letters of marque which I think is a brilliant idea. USI never developed this level of comfort with hackers.

What cyber intelligence functions FAPSI had were transferred to the SVR. One of the capabilities that came out of this was Cozy Bear or APT29. This was the group penetrated by the Dutch AIVD who watched as they penetrated the State Department and Pentagon networks in an uncharacteristically bold and aggressive operation. The GRU seemed to develop their cyber capability on their own. I don't know if they actively recruited hackers or just grew them in their education system. Fancy Bear or APT28 was a GRU group.

The Twisted Genius

English Outsider,

When Steele publicly told his story, it was clear that he felt that Trump was a horrible man who should never be president. He was driven to get his reporting to the highest levels of the FBI any way he could whether it be giving his reports to US politicians or seeking interviews. He may have been patient zero for TDS. What percentage of his reporting was pure shithouse rumors, Moscow gossip or Russian disinformation is a mystery to me. His inclusion of the pee pee tape report shows how much his hatred and fear of Trump clouded his judgement. I remember when the dossier first came out, the only part that was trending was that tape. It was 48 hours of outrage and jokes on twitter. The rest was lost.

Fred

Harry,

He's only the lead instigator of the coup plot. The whole framework of the institutional left and a majority of their enablers on the right is failing before the view of the world at large. There are at least two diametricly opposed theories of governance in play in additon to all the corruption and foreign interference. Trump was the manifestation of a cultural opposition to the remaking of America by the left.Trump, his bully pulpit, media antics and twitter account have done what the little boy did by telling everyone the truth about emperor "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" .

David Habakkuk

blue peacock,

‘The role of HMG and the Australian and even Italian governments may be one of the things that Barr obscures.’

Over the years, it has been born in on me that what our host long ago christened ‘the Borg’ is a much odder phenomenon than people common realise. It is effective, in part because it has been ‘transnational’ in organisation, and in overt ideology (though the ambiguous relationships to various ‘nationalisms’ are themselves an interesting study.)

Resistance to the ‘Borg’ is also ‘transnational’, and also commonly a much more complex phenomenon than people realise. (One example: it has become progressively clearer to me that sections of the Israeli ‘security establishment’ have been rather less than totally ‘on board’ with some of the dottier enthusiasms of American ‘neoconservatives.’)

A long-standing view of mine is that a lack of serious investigation of transnational links is a major reason why ‘the Borg’ has been able to get away with so much.

And here, the case of Christopher Steele – always interesting – has just got a lot more so.

So, it is clear that the recently declassified transcripts of House Intelligence Committee interviews repeatedly push us back to the puzzles about Steele’s role.

As a point of basic investigative methodology, it should surely be obvious that these need to be compared with Steele’s own accounts.

As I noted in an earlier comment, it is clear that cross-examination in London by Hugh Tomlinson QC on behalf of the owners of the ‘Alfa Group’ on 17-18 March, which has been made publicly available, was conducted on the basis of four separate witness statements, which have not been.

And it is also clear that the production of the three new statements reflect the fact that when Steele’s version of events actually came under serious critical scrutiny, he started changing it drastically, and repeatedly.

Why is there absolutely no visible sign that anybody, other than Bonnie Eslinger of ‘Law 360’, has made the slightest effort to get access to these witness statements?

Earlier in these exchanges, I also harked back to the ‘Mechanics of Deception’ piece which Yaacov Apelbaum posted in March 2018.

As well as expressing scepticism about the notion that dossier was authored by Steele, its author also suggested that the – London-based – Hakluyt/Holdingham group was a key part of this story.

And he made a very interesting specific claim: that the ‘Guardian’ journalist Luke Harding, and also Edward Baumgartner, were ‘contractors’ of Hakluyt, as well as Orbis, as well as the former British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood being a ‘contractor’ of the latter organisation.

If true, these suggestions would have very radical implications, particularly given the publicly documented transatlantic links not only of Steele but of Baumgartner, and Wood.

Checking some easily available material established that there was nothing inherently implausible about Apelbaum’s claims about Hakluyt – with which, of course, Alexander Downer had been closely involved – although of course that left open the possibility that, as often happens, accurate information had been used to give disinformation credibility.

What however I also discovered was that one of the founding figures in the company, a former FCO official called Michael Maclay, had, back in the ‘Eighties, been an employee of the current affairs and features department of London Weekend Television, as I had myself, although as I never met him I think he must have joined around 1984, which was when I left.

If one is looking for information on these matters, as they relate to Britain, the ‘Powerbase’ site is generally a good place to start.

(See https://powerbase.info/index.php/Hakluyt .)

Ironically, given its ‘leftist’ orientation, it turned out that the normally rather thorough people there had swallowed a good deal of disinformation put out by Maclay and the two former MI6 people with whom he founded the company.

What I now think is that its creation was intimately involved with the coming together of some of the sometime ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies ‘student radicals’ who were instrumental in the creation of ‘New Labour’, and the key elements in the security services.

This was, as it were, ‘consummated’ around the time of Blair’s election landslide in 1997, but its roots went back to the mid-Eighties, and what happened at Maclay’s and my old department was an important part of the background. It was involved with the history of the ‘British American Project’, as it is now called, of whose ‘Advisory Board’ Maclay is now chairman.

It was clear from the exchanges of comments that Apelbaum was unfamiliar with this history (and, after all, why should he know anything about it?)

One of the things which emerged, however, was that from very early on, sympathetic journalists notably from the ‘Financial Times’ were being used to make deeply suspect claims that there was a ‘Chinese Wall’ between its operations and those of Maclay’s two co-founders erstwhile employers at MI6.

Ironically, precisely Apelbaum’s ignorance of this history made me much more inclined to take more seriously his claims about Harding and Baumgartner.

And this is all the more so as the implicit suggestion – that one of the successes of Hakluyt has been to contribute to turning the ‘Guardian’, once a great liberal newspaper, into a kind of British equivalent of ‘Pravda’ or ‘Izvestiya’ in Brezhnev’s day – meshes with a lot of other information.

One does not, I think, need to approach Apelbaum’s work uncritically – one should not do this with anyone’s, and emphatically not where so much of the sourcing is less than clear – to think that following up a whole series of claims he makes about transatlantic links might throw a great deal of light on ‘Russiagate.’

Also material here is the fact that neither John Solomon, nor anybody else of whom I am aware, appears to have attempted to follow up his suggestion back in August 2018 that contacts between Bruce Ohr’s contacts with ‘Steele and/or Simpson’ go back ‘2002 in London.’

Again, as a simple fact of investigative methodology, in making sense of the latter stages of an ongoing relationship, the context provided by earlier stages is commonly crucial.

How on earth can we realistically expect to make full sense of the ‘vast majority’ of the exchanges between the three which apparently occurred ‘during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history’, if ‘notes, emails and texts’ going back to 2002 are not explored?

It may not be material that 2002 takes us back to the period when the collaboration of ‘New Labour’ and the British and intelligence services was in the process of yielding interesting results. It was, for one thing, a time when the ‘loops of lies’ about Iraqi WMD were circulating at accelerating speed. And here, as in later events, not only Britain but Italy played a crucial role.

Moreover, it was also the time when the late Boris Berezovsky was settling down in his self-appointed role of ‘king over the water’ in London – and when in Moscow the now self-styled ‘dissident’ Mikhail Khodorkovsky was heading down the course of confrontation with Putin that would lead to his arrest the following year.

I think it would be most interesting to know more both about what Hakluyt was doing at this time, and about the communications between Ohr, Steele, and Simpson then and later.

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