Spy vs Spy vs Spy: The Mysterious Mr. Smolenkov

Global Research, September 19, 2019

A new spy story has been making the rounds in Washington, but this time it involved a brave Russian official who allegedly was allegedly recruited while in the Russian Embassy in Washington in 2007 and then worked secretly for the CIA until he was exfiltrated safely in 2017 lest he be discovered and caught. The tale was clearly leaked by the Agency itself to CNN by way of “multiple Trump administration officials.”

The CNN headline Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017 landed like a bombshell but then pretty much disappeared as journalists noted a number of inconsistencies in the government-produced account of what had taken place. Matt Taibbi observed succinctly that “Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent…the tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies.”

The account that appeared in the mainstream media went something like this: A midlevel Russian official named Oleg Smolenkov was recruited decades ago by the CIA. He eventually wound up in an important office in the Kremlin that gave him access to President Vladimir Putin. Smolenkov was the principal source of information confirming that Russia, acting on Putin’s instructions, was trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

It was claimed that Smolenkov was actually able to photograph documents in Putin’s desk. CIA concerns that a mole hunt in the Kremlin resulting from the media revelations concerning Russian interference in the election might lead to Smolenkov resulted in a 2016 offer to extract him and his family from Russia. This was successfully executed during a Smolenkov family vacation trip to Montenegro in 2017. The family now resides in Virginia.

The CNN story and other mainstream media that picked up on the tale embroidered it somewhat, suggesting that although Smolenkov was the CIA’s crown jewel, the US has a number of “high level” spies in Moscow. It was also claimed that the timetable for the exfiltration was pushed forward by CIA in 2017 after it was noted that Donald Trump was particularly careless with classified information and might inadvertently reveal the existence of the source. The allegation about Trump carelessness came, according to CNN, after a May 2017 meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which the president reportedly shared sensitive information on Syria and ISIS that had been provided by Israel.

Variants of the CNN story appeared subsequently in the New York Times headlined C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to US for Decades, which confirmed that the extraction took place in 2017 though it also asserts that the decision to make the move came in 2016 when Barack Obama was still president.

Taibbi observes, correctly, that CNN and the other mainstream elements reporting the story elaborated on it through commentary coming from anonymous “former senior intelligence officials.” As the networks have all hired ex-spooks, it raises the interesting possibility that employees of the media are themselves providing comments on intelligence operations that they were personally involved in, meaning that they might deliberately promote a narrative that does not cast them in a bad light.

Next morning’s Washington Post story US got key asset out of Russia following election hacking touched all bases and also tried hard to implicate Trump. It confirmed 2016 as the time frame for the decision to carry out the exfiltration and also mentioned the president’s talk with Lavrov in May 2017, though the meeting itself was not cited as the reason for the move. As Taibbi observes, “So why mention it?”

The Russians have denied that Smolenkov was an important official and have insisted that the whole story might be something of a fabrication. And the alleged CIA handling of the claimed top-level defector somewhat bears out that conclusion. Normally, a former top spy is resettled in the US or somewhere overseas in a fake name to protect him or her from any possible attempt at revenge by their former countrymen. In Smolenkov’s case, easily public accessible online county real estate records indicate that he bought a $1 million house in Stafford Virginia in 2018 using his own true name.

If the Russians were truly conducting a mole hunt that endangered Smolenkov it may have been because the US media and their anonymous intelligence sources have been bragging about how they have “penetrated the Kremlin.” A Washington Post June 2017 articled called “Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin’s Election Assault is typical. In that article, the author describes how CIA Director John Brennan secured a “feat of espionage” by running spies “deep within the Russian government” that revealed Russia’s electoral interference.

So, the Smolenkov story has inconsistencies and one has to question why it was deliberately leaked at this time. The only constant in the media coverage is the repeated but completely evidence-free suggestion that the mole was endangered and had to be removed because of Donald Trump’s inability to keep a secret. One has to consider the possibility that the story has been leaked at least in part due to the continuing effort by the national security state to “get Trump.”

Highly recommended is former weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s fascinating detailed dissection of Smolenkov’s career as well as a history of the evolution of CIA spying against Russia. Scott speculates on why the leak of the story took place at all, examining a number of scenarios along the way. Smolenkov, who, according to former CIA officer Larry Johnson, has oddly never been polygraphed to establish his bona fides, might have been a double agent from the start, possibly a low level functionary allowed to work for the Americans so the Russian FSB intelligence service could feed low level information and control the narrative. It is a “dirty secret” within the Agency that many agents are recruited by case officers for no other reason than to enhance one’s career. Such agents normally have no real access and provide little reporting.

Or alternatively, Smolenkov might have been someone who was turned after recruitment or a genuine agent who was trying to respond to urgent demands from his controller in Washington, who was de facto John Brennan, by producing a dramatic report that was basically fabricated. Or the story itself might be completely false, an attempt by some former and current officials at CIA to demonstrate a great success at a time when the intelligence community is under considerable pressure.

Scott also believes, as do I, that the story was leaked because John Brennan and his associates knew that they were deliberately marketing phony intelligence on Russia to undermine Trump and are trying to preempt any investigation by Attorney General William Barr on the provenance of the Russiagate story. If it can be demonstrated somehow that the claims of Kremlin interference came from a highly regarded credible Russian source then Brennan and company can claim that they acted in good faith. Of course, that tale might break down if anyone bothers to interview Smolenkov.

Another theory that I tend to like is that the CIA might be making public the Smolenkov case in an attempt to lower the heat on another actual high-level source still operating in Moscow. If Russia can be convinced that Smolenkov was the only significant spy working in the Kremlin it might ratchet down efforts to find another mole. It is an interesting theory worthy of spy vs. spy, but one can be pretty sure that Russian counterintelligence has already thought of that possibility and will not be fooled.

The reality is that spying is a highly creative profession, with operational twists and turns limited only by one’s imagination. In this case, unless someone actually succeeds in interviewing Oleg Smolenkov and he decides to tell the complete truth as he sees it, the American public might never know the reality behind the latest spy story.

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

For the last few years, a deep state coup against the presidency has been in the media off and on. Starting in 2015 very serious efforts were made to put all the parts in place that guaranteed the 2016 US presidential election’s outcome.

This went so far beyond every extraordinary measure that it deserves special attention.

Before your eyes glaze over, this isn’t an article discussing theories. Why debate what could have happened when we can trace the route showing how things developed. We will show how this is continuing today through a continuing deep state coup.

The first thing you’ll notice is the title is present tense. The cyber terrorists I’ve written about through the last articles have very definite political goals in mind. That word “political” separates what they do from anything remotely close to 1st Amendment freedom of speech issues. The terrorists work for foreign countries directly or they work for groups working for foreign governments that aren’t trying to influence but change the fabric of the US. They’re doing a bang-up job so far.

The attacks on society, social groups, and governmental institutions have been for profit. The terrorist groups push political agendas at the expense of republican democracy in the west, eastern and central Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Second, you’re going to see even the most successful conspiracies in history including this one are a matter of process. Things actually have to happen for the terrorists to be dangerous. It can’t just be ideas. They follow specific directions with their plans to reach goals and milestones.

Third, not all the most brilliant strategies are built on a clean process. Things get messy. When you include new methods, things evolve as you go. People start shooting from the hip or chattering if they are inexperienced. New people are generally clueless about how they should conduct your business.

The case at hand is the business of overthrowing legitimate governments. One of these happens to be your own. The terrorists are in the business of destroying citizen rights and protections. Reducing innocent people into victims like a wolf does its prey.

The coup against the office of the president of the United States started unofficially in 2012. It wasn’t meant to, but it did. It was a reaction to something we never thought about. We certainly didn’t believe it.

This was long before anyone had issues with Donald Trump who was busy with other things at the time. So, understand the term coup against the presidency means against the executive branch.

Should it succeed, and it still may, the next world war will be one of the invariable consequences. Fascism and its sidekick nationalist chauvinism will become the new norm across the western world. If they win, there may be nothing left to turn the clock back to after this.

If we succeed, the coup against the US government stops. There will be no war with Russia. The war in Donbass stops. Criminals investigations, trials in court, and sentencing of seditionists and traitors can and will happen.

On the day before the 2016 election happened, I wrote an article about the current deep state coup and what some of the ramifications were. In the larger sense, it helps because it shows the coup started when no one knew who would be running in the general election or who would win.

Think about that. The first problem was Bernie Sanders, only afterward it became Donald Trump. The accusation against both was they were Putin’s lackeys.

Let’s start at the end of the story. In 2019, a deep state coup still continues against the office of the president of the United States. This materialized in the media as an Information Operation (IO) during the 2016 election cycle.

We are watching the second evolution of a new regime change method in play. It was originally developed to overthrow the election process and be the deciding factor for a given election.

The developers have decided it pays to screw the will of the people. And that is the easiest answer to every political problem we face today.

The newest iteration of this method was developed in 2012 as a new strategy for IO (Information Operations). It’s important to note IO is the realm of Green Berets (SF-Special Forces) and spies. With that in mind, the tactician, a former SF, took the following definition of IO and put it on steroids.

In military IO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of “Inform and Influence Operations” is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences “think and act” in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audience’s emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant. US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

Former Green Beret Joel Harding pioneered IO for the US military. In 2012, he took his expertise, the core of regime change, to the extreme for Ukrainian nationalists inside the State Department and in the US Ukrainian Diaspora.

Harding revolutionized regime change by asking the crucial question; What if we did this at a whole nation level?

Next Generation Regime Change

What you are about to see is literally the cutting edge of US military regime changeLessons from Others for Future U.S. Army Operations in and Through the Information Environment –Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Michael Schwille, Jakub P. Hlávka, Michael A. Brown, Steven S. Davenport, Isaac R. Porche III, Joel Harding

Today, this method is being used in the United States by public Intel officials, NGOs, lobbyists, and private IO and Intel contractors.

Joel Harding developed this IO program for the 2014 coup in Ukraine to enact regime change. It is being used to provoke a war with Russia in the western media. His method is being used across many of the conflict areas primed for regime change in the post-2014 world. Taiwan is the newest example. Syria has suffered the most from this.

Instead of focusing on a small group, Harding’s methods speed the process by controlling all the information everyone has access to within the operation zone and every zone that can influence the operation outcome across the world. Regime change will be welcomed by every sane person reading, watching, or hearing the news his channels are publishing.

This enables him to define the terms used and the enemies fought. Controlling the information means you decide who and where the enemy is. You decide what the enemy is.

All this deals with information that an adversary desperately needs to make an informed decision. That is how we ” influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries”.

Bottom line on the bottom. Cyber and EW are cool, but we dare not lose sight of their ultimate goal, targeting an adversary’s or potential adversary’s decision cycle. Cyber and EW are not goals nor ends by themselves, it’s all about information. Information is the most powerful tool or weapon at our disposal at all times. To Inform is to Influence

After managing the coup in 2014 Ukraine, Harding’s IO group started the war in Donbass. Every major event from the overthrow of Victor Yanukovych until today in Ukraine has its clear marker on it.

This same group is responsible for Russian interference accusations before and during the 2016 election as well as blaming Russia for the DNC hacking exploits. This is very dangerous. The real “hackers” had State Department server passwords from two sources for years, access to DNC servers, as well as state-level tools and support.

The goal of Harding’s employers is to break up Russia and China and reward their old cold war cronies in the Diasporas with countries of their own under a two-level nationalism which is subservient to their interests. This ensures corrupt US politicians will remain incumbents and national elections will always have pre-determined results. If US politicians ignore what these groups are doing or worse, continue to help them, they won’t stop until nuclear war occurs.

This current IO group works with the US State Department and all the agencies from the ODNI including the FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, etc. Many of them are still trainers and contractors. They still provide the Intel that goes into the President’s Daily Briefing.

They can and do literally provide the president of the United States with enough rope to hang himself through foreign policy missteps. This quagmire has to be cleaned up.

The group we expose today is infecting the US and international media with their Information Operation talking points. This is part is integral to the process of regime change. None of them do this for any high or lofty goal of a better life.

They do this for money and an anti-American contempt for US democracy. To make their story more compelling, I’ll rely on the conspirator’s braggadocio and allow them to tell it while I provide context.

The rest of the article will show the single most successful IO campaign the world has seen.

2010

For the sake of this one event, the world is almost at war. This statement by Stepan Bandera II is the catalyst that prepared the ground for the Ukrainian coup in 2014 and brought us here today.

For the same day your court in Donetsk ruled to strip [Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist hero Stepan] Bandera of his Hero title, God bestowed the best gift possible to our family: the birth of Stepan Bandera’s fifth great-grandchild. The KGB succeeded in killing his great-grandfather. But try as you might, you will never stop the Banderas Coming soon to a gene pool near you! Signed, Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Her Children! In prostration, S.A. Bandera, Grandson of Hero of Ukraine.” This was the third-generation Stepan Bandera’s open letter to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych in 2010.- Kyiv Post

2012

2012 was a pivotal year for history and international diplomacy. Every evil from the early 20th century that could never rise again was about to be given a platform and PR campaign that would make Adolf Hitler blush.

In 2012, regime changer and former Green Beret Joel Harding was already hard at work. He worked with the HRC (Hillary Rodman Clinton) State Department to develop the method for regime change in Ukraine. The attempt in the US was soon to follow.

“…but I was having problems describing a “whole of government” approach, and I was having even more difficulty explaining how a “whole of nation” effort might be divided. We finally came up with five categories for what I might call government/corporate/private information activities…I am also not certain how to include discussions on content, such as a narrative. Cultural, religious and historical considerations also may be discussed. Where would they fit in?

I also can’t forget the methodology of efficiency, how do we determine Methods of Effectiveness. Once again, the voice of my friend and mentor, Dr. Dorothy Denning reminds me of this important consideration.

If I take a whole of nation approach then I should include marketing, public relations, perception management, reputation management and strategic communications (with an s).

What have I missed?”- How Best to Discuss a Whole of Nation Approach to Information Activities?

Methods of Effectiveness are ways to measure your success or failure so you can adjust course. Harding was keen to publish those too. Pay attention to the dates as we go. We’ll be jumping back and forth across the timeline as we go to cover the involvement of different actors getting involved.

By 2019, Harding’s IO success included Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich and the namesake and grandson to Ukrainian NAZI leader Stepan Bandera working together to rehabilitate Bandera’s murderous image. Bandera is responsible for the murder of close to 500,000 Jews and it was also his people staffed the death camps. When you can get Jewish leaders to deny the Holocaust, it’s a big win for your IO.- Haaretz.com

Milestone 2012

Recently, on a LinkedIn forum, I referred to the Swiss model for a cyber militia. As many of you are aware the Swiss have a ‘home guard’, where all citizens are trained, armed and sent home packing their own individual weapon. Each has the responsibility to secure their weapon, practice periodically and are subject to recall to defend their country. Basically, they go home, stay in shape and wait.- Joel Harding On a US Cyber Militia 2012

Milestone January 2014 Digital Maidan, gained momentum following the initial Twitter storms. Leading the effort were: Lara Chelak, Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra Chalupa, Constatin Kostenko, and others.

The Diaspora learned they could organize and fund the coup in Ukraine from the outside.

· Milestone February 4, 2015- The Ukrainian Diaspora illegally crowdfunded weapon for Ukrainian punisher battalions. This was a continuation of the practice using social media platforms through 2014. The Atlantic Council’s Michael Weiss reports the UCCA was raising money for weapons. These weapons were subsequently used in war crimes. This action by itself is enough to take away 5013C tax-exempt status for every Ukrainian group giving money for Ukraine’s war effort. Ukrainian Diasporas have been funding all the Ukrainian punisher battalions. According to Ukrainian Diaspora sources, Ukrainian Diaspora leaders like Ivanka Zajac is also making leadership decisions for the battalions including how they spend the money. Just knowing that the volunteers are murdering innocent civilians with continued funding by their groups makes the Ukrainian Diaspora liable for the crimes.

Milestone -February 8th, 2014 On Maidan”… Russian websites outright accusing the US of supplying ammunition and other support to the rebels. I asked a friend in a position within the US, that might know more about this, he claims it is a private initiative of US citizens. This I like” “- Harding

· In February 2014, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat made his first analysis of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan. He claimed the Russians were attacking.

· February 22nd, 2014 marks Harding’s first visible involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. “Yesterday I agreed to help present the information about this situation, bringing in representatives from many of the sources cited above. It is time International Broadcasting is examined. “- Harding

Milestone– On February 22, 2014, Joel Harding did his first efficiency assessment. His only concern was whether or not the international media saw the February 22, 2014 ouster of Victor Yanukovych as a coup. According to Harding “This is a snapshot in time, showing headlines only. The intent is to show how a current situation is being divided in its presentation, pro or con the power in Ukraine, pro or con Russian/Chinese/Iranian, or, it could be argued, pro and anti-Western powers (US/UK, etc).

· On February 28th, 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center. Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations.

MilestoneOn March 1 st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine. “Since March 2014, in the wake of the rise of the volunteer movement, several activist groups and individuals assumed the state security functions in the media- and cyber-space

In January 2014, Harding worked with 17-year-old Sviatoslav Yurash to open Euromaidanpress.com. He took Yurash under his wing showing him how to run an IO platform. This can be seen in the comments early on. Sviatoslav Yurash went on to become the deputy representative in Kiev for the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). The UWC was a sponsor of the 2014 coup and is a signatory partner to the Atlantic Council.

Yurash became the spokesman for the EuroMaidan protest that was turning into an insurgency. He became the post-coup Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Dimitry Yarosh, as well as the 3 conspirators, Arsenii Yatsenyuk, V. Klitschko, and Oleh Tyanhybok.

· Yurash web properties spawned InformNapalm and Ukrainian Cyber Intel UCA, CyberHunta, RUH8, TRINITY, Shaltay Boltay (Humpty Dumpty) aka Anonymous Ukraine: This hacker group is the branch of the hacktivist movement Anonymous in Ukraine. It is, however, internally divided in its position regarding the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Some of its members are pro-Ukrainian and tend to be close to Cyber Hundred and Null Sector, while others are pro-Russian and close to CyberBerkut. The pro-Russian element is prominent, having claimed several attacks on NATO, US and EU governments’ websites (Carr, 2014). Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

Anonymous/ Shaltay Boltay/Humpty Dumpty very important when the DNC hacks and influence story comes into play. Note now, they fall under Joel Harding’s IO operation. The other names for these combined groups you are more familiar with are APT 28, APT29, Fancy Bear, and Cozy Bear.

· March 2014 According to InformNapalm, InformNapalm, Myrotvorets, Ukrainian Cyber army, and other volunteer communities organized a series of effective campaigns in data collection, data analysis, identification of hostile activities and retaliation against them. The volunteers took on the roles of intelligence and counterintelligence agents.

· They collected the information on locations and movements of enemy weapons and equipment, blocked servers and websites engaged in Russian terrorist propaganda, and blocked bank accounts of the militants. And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare…

Sviatoslav Yurash worked with Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra, Chalupa, and Irena Chalupa. His team works directly with the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and Dimtri Alperovich from Crowdstrike. The importance of this will be clear shortly.

· Today, Yurash is a chief advisor to new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Milestone-On March 3rd, 2014 Harding’s advice was “Now I have a thought bouncing around inside my head, which actually makes sense. But the repercussions are wild, off the charts, bloody and may destroy a nation. .. If one looks at that graphic, natural gas pipelines run through Ukraine. If one had the talent, one could close valves in any of those pipelines and shut down a major part of Russia’s exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand.

Bumping this up one step, blow up those pipelines, although that is going to make one helluva mess. This would result in a Russian invasion. End of story? No. Imagine trying to defend thousands of miles of pipeline. Ukrainian insurgents would make Russia devote dozens of divisions of soldiers…” At the time Victoria Nuland was trying to court Pravy Sektor into legitimacy by offering money and support.

· On March 16th Dimitri Yarosh answered. Yarosh threatened gas lines across Ukraine. The advice Harding gave threatened one of the only remaining sources of income remaining in Ukraine for the Kiev junta. Joel Harding was writing his own foreign policy.

Milestone May 2, 2014, Odessa Trade Union Massacre

It was after this event I figured out Joel Harding existed. Within a couple of days, it was evident from the reporting that a hand was guiding the narrative Ukraine was building. I didn’t know who Joel Harding was, but I could see his handiwork clearly. I started passively looking for him. The official death toll from Ukraine stands at 42.

This alone should have been enough to warrant independent investigations. When enough information came in, witness accounts put the Odessa Trade Union death toll to over 340 and later it rose closer to 400 with over 200 people missing that were never in the building.

According to a police detail who was guarding the scene and a Pravy Sektor member who carried the bodies out, 99 corpses were removed before the official count. That was just from the basement.

This isn’t public relations. This is a crime against humanity on Harding’s part. He covered up the crime which makes him part of it.

The free press part has already been covered. Building dissenting opinions make the work of IO/IIO professionals difficult or impossible. It’s called Information Fratricide and it is to be avoided by all means possible.

Information fratricide is defined as Actions, perceptions, and information from friendly forces that create improper impressions can adversely affect IO in sensitive situations.

Milestone MH17 July 17, 2014, All the information about MH17 from Ukraine comes from Ukrainian IO Joel Harding developed. His sources are described in the March 1st milestone. Five years later, no other sources have been considered by the investigators. Harding took control of the information and took it out of the realm of witness testimony or forensics.

Milestone July 29, 2014, The Information War for Ukraine has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Suffer, Russia.- Words Fail the World Against Russia

  • The addition of Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat (see Feb 2014 Maidan) as an independent investigator cemented Ukraine’s reliance on Harding’s IO. Ukraine’s cyber team (InformNapalm, UCA, CyberHunta) provided the information Bellingcat collated and called their own.
  • The Deputy of Information Policy (Joel Harding started the ministry) announces Bellingcat is his counterpart. They work under Harding. Pay attention as the rest of the IO team comes aboard. This is the same crew mounting the deep state coup. US Intel leaders at the ODNI, FBI, and CIA will be working very closely with them in just over 2 years.
  • Harding’s IO team covered up the shootdown of MH17. This is a crime against humanity. The families will never see justice because until a real investigation is mounted, the only proof of wrongdoing is easily shown to be manufactured.
  • Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014, The nephew of Bandera’s 3rd in command, Mikola Lebed was shot in the back as he fled at the battle of Ilovaisk with Donbass battalion.

“The second reason I mention Paslawsky is that he was, after all, a Ukrainian American. In killing him—and make no mistake about it: Putin killed him—Putin has taken on, in addition to the entire world, the Ukrainian American Diaspora. He probably thinks it’s a joke. But in killing a Ukrainian American, he’s made the war in Ukraine personal for Ukrainian Americans. Their intellectual, material, and political resources are far greater than Putin can imagine. Be forewarned, Vlad: diasporas have long memories. And this one will give you and your apologists in Russia and the West no rest.- Alexander Motyl Loose Cannons and Ukrainian Casualties

This event is what unifies the players, methods, and leaders fighting Ukraine’s IO and is the seed for the deep state coup in the USA. It’s important to note who Paslawsky’s brother is. Nestor Paslawsky is the apparent leader of OUNb Ukrainian American Diaspora. It is his rage and revenge that Motyl threatens Putin with. Paslawsky is coming for his pound of flesh.

The June 2016 milestone will show Harding, Ukrainian hackers, Team Hillary, Chalupas, the Ukrainian Diaspora, Bellingcat, and Aaron Weisburd working together pushing toward the overthrow of the 2016 general election.

Milestone-On December 12th, 2014 Harding wrote “Ukraine is a bright shining star. They approved a Minster of Information Policy. They received a National Information Strategy and are working on a counter-propaganda center.

Milestone January 2015 Andrew Aaron Weisburd joins Harding’s IO group and starts Kremlintrolls.com to start documenting websites against the Ukrainian agenda and geolocate readers for action against them.

Milestone February 23rd, 2015 Harding tweeted the creation of the i-army. The next day it was announced to the world. “This effort is geared to contain what they call Russian propaganda in the west.”In late January, Ukraine’s Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, promised to create an “information-army” to fight Russian propaganda…”

With this, the concept of the troll army was born. Right out of the gate, Ukraine was bragging the Ukrainian I-Army numbered over 40,000 volunteer trolls, hackers, commenters, and propagandists.  According to the Ukrainian Information Ministry– The first assignment is to “Invite your best and closest friends to the website of the Ukrainian Information Forces, where they can join the army by subscribing to a mailing list of daily assignments. This is very important, considering our information struggle against the foreign aggressor.”

· Ukrainian Cyber Troops/Army: This hacker group, which was founded by Eugene Dukokin, a former cybersecurity consultant and programmer (Maheshwari, 2015), targets pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops in Ukraine. The report accounts of pro-Russian officials to various banking and payment websites or social media in order to get the accounts closed. These actions are legal and do not require them to hack any systems (Kerkkänen and Kuronen, 2016) Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

· In January 2015 Andrew Weisburd starting work for the Ukrainians showing them how he finds the networks of people he is paid to hurt.

· Weisburd starts Kremlintrolls.com and builds the first list of journalists and publications that are against Harding’s Ukrainian Information Ministry agenda.

· Between him and Joel Harding, over 200 publications were listed as Russian assets. Many of them are American websites.

· It should be noted that according to Weisburd and Harding the only real qualifier to be included on the lists is supporting someone other than Hillary Clinton

· According to Weisburd- These countries account for 81% of all the Kremlin Trolls and their engaged followers. The top five countries alone account for 58%. That the USA is ranked first came as something of a surprise. Detailed analysis is ongoing, and I’m unlikely to share the findings publicly.”

From the Economist-“As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine.

Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”Information warfare, like the shooting kind, is a new art for Ukraine and the learning curve is steep…Criticism of the government is dismissed as mudslinging by Kremlin agents. Last month authorities jailed Ruslan Kotsaba, a western Ukrainian blogger who had spoken out against mobilization. 

Ukrainian authorities accused him of working in Russia’s interests; Amnesty International labeled him a 

As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine; Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”

Milestone April 16, 2015, Joel Harding/ Ukraine Ministry of Information Policy property Myrotvorets claims first murder victim, Oles Buzina.

From here, we have most of the players lined up. Two years of IO events clearly showcase their handiwork now that it’s been put in context. The same IO teams responsible for developing the terms Russian trolls and characterizing fake Russian influence started characterizing journalists and news sites that were contrary to Harding’s mission as close to enemies of the state as they dared.

“Disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive” The 2016 US Election and Deep State Coup

Milestone 1990, Nigel Oakes of Cambridge Analytica fame started the Behavioral Dynamics Institute. He set up a facility that became home for the leading experts in strategic communication and manipulation. He wanted to turn the ability to change people’s behavior into a commercial business. Shifting mass opinion would be more lucrative than traditional advertising ever could be. Based on this, in 1993 he opened Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL).

He expanded into military disinformation, social media, and voter targeting. Within a few years, he advertised he could change the outcome of elections. His company participated in 25 international elections since 1994. Because he was successful, by 1997 SCL was in trouble in the UK because its principals were ignoring the principle of neutrality at home and targeting UK election results.

According to Wikipedia “SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience.”

SCL promoted itself as having the knowledge, the people and the experience to help global brands, political organizations, world leaders and militaries deliver measurable and lasting behaviour change.

Wikipedia goes on to say SCL claims that its methodology has been approved or endorsed by agencies of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal government of the United States, among others

The SCL Group has been working at the forefront of behavioural change communication for 25 years. Developed in conjunction with the Behavioural Dynamics Institute, SCL has evolved into a multi-disciplined group of behavioural research and communication agencies.

Cambridge Analytica was developed as a subgroup of SCL and designed specifically to take part in the US elections.

While the end of Cambridge Analytica is known, it wasn’t the only company spawned out of the Behavioral Dynamics Institute.

Remember Milestone July 29, 2014, by Joel Harding about MH17 The Information War for Ukraine, has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Milestone 11 Aug 2014 1st tweet from IOTA Global. We are an InfoOps, PsyOps, & StratCom training org staffed by 30 experts from 6 nations. iota-global.com

IOTA Global was what changed. Joel Harding started advertising the company he started with his friend IO expert Steve Tatham. IOTA Global and Cambridge Analytica while loosely partnered were worlds apart in terms of skill sets.

IOTA Global is an organisation of the world’s most recognised military Information Operations, Psychological Operations, and Influence professionals, backed by proven social and behavioural scientists, who provide the capability transfer and advice to governmental clients, globally.  Our members have commanded Information Operations and Psychological Operations units on operations; they have written NATO and national doctrine; they lecture in the world’s Defence Academies. Teamed with some of the leading behavioural scientists in the field, there is no other organisation with the same experience and knowledge.

…IOTA Global is the world’s experts.

As predominantly ex-military Officers and diplomats, we understand the importance of discretion and we appreciate the needs of governmental and military organizations. We work only with clients approved by our own respective governments. All IOTA Global products and services are subject to Export Control regulation by the UK Government. Our expertise is so strong that we are the only commercial IO company subject to such conditions.

Through Joel Harding, IOTA Global’s expertise was shared with Ukraine’s Intel community which works for Ukraine’s Information Ministry that Harding is responsible for.

· Milestone July 18, 2014, This appears to be IOTAs first venture into the information space about MH17.

· August 13, 2014, Haynes Mahoney, previously @StateDept and Deputy Chief of US Mission to #Syria has joined

· Milestone June 2015 IOTA Global has been selected as the research and advisory partner to the Norwegian Defence Research Organisation (FFI) for a major project on understanding IO threats and developing future capabilities.

· Milestone July 20, 2015, 8 weeks in Latvia doing #NATO course in TA Analysis. I’m now a senior trainer in the #BDI methodology. stratcomcoe.org/lv/NewsandEven… @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone October 2015 Pleased to have been helping @STRATCOMCOE Latvia with training today. #Stratcom @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone November 2015 Behavioural Conflict @BehaviouralC · 27 Nov 2015

· @iotaglobalIO in Chisinau Moldova working with NATO to build Moldovan govt

· StratCom capability with @STRATCOMCOE

· Milestone December 2015 @iotaglobalIO assists @stratcomcoe in @CanadaLatvia funded capacity building of Ukraine Govt Strat Coms.

SCL Elections shut down, SCL Group’s defence work needs real scrutiny– We can’t understand the significance of Cambridge Analytica without looking at the network it sits in, and how inadequate controls nurtured aspects of this networks’ development. It’s been frustrating to watch some of the key players manage to escape crucial questions that should be asked of them. Because this isn’t just a scandal about an obscure, unethical company. It’s a story about how a network of companies was developed which enabled wide deployment of propaganda tools – based on propaganda techniques that were researched and designed for use as weapons in warzones – on citizens in democratic elections. It’s a logical product of a poorly regulated, opaque and lucrative influence industry. There was little or nothing in place to stop them.- Emma Briant OpenDemocracy.net

While all this success is going on, Harding doesn’t neglect Ukraine, NATO COE Latvia, or the US press with his efforts. From the beginning, he pulled together a team that trains and influences the ODNI and its agencies. For Russia, Ukraine, and Syria, Harding’s teams are writing what the media is presenting and the Intel committees and US president are reading.

Even at this point, everything is about Russia and anything favorable toward Russia is an American heresy. Harding’s machine looks well oiled when it has no visible opponents standing in the way.

· Milestone November 2015 Information Policy Advisor to the Minister Dmitry Zolotukhin met with his US counterpart, team representative Bellingcat Aric Toler. In the notice above which was prepared by his office, it is noted Bellingcat’s Aric Toler is working in an equal capacity to him in the USA. One of the Media Development Center’s sponsors is NATO. It is a project of the US Embassy in Kiev because of the association with the embassy’s diplomatic paper, the Kyiv Post.

· Milestone November 2015 “I am building a database of planners, operators, logisticians, hackers, and anyone wanting to be involved with special activities I will call ‘inform and influence activities’. I have received a few different suggestions to help organize operations – of all sorts – against anti-Western elements. No government approval, assistance or funding. This skirts legalities. This is not explicitly illegal and it may not even be legal, at this point. That grey area extends a long way. I am only trying to assess the availability of people willing to participate in such efforts. Technology, equipment and facility offers are also appreciated. If you would like to be included in my database, please send a tailored resume to joel_harding@”

At the same time, team Bellingcat was training the groups in Ukraine its methods and branches out to doing seminars across the western world. Andrew Weisburd, his partners Clint Watts, and J Berger are filling the media with stories of Russian trolls and Russian conspiracies.

January 2016 started with an unfocused attempt to prove Russian interference in the US election primaries and general election. Until the late summer of 2016, the accusations were incoherent and partisan. The White House and Intel Agencies denied there was any Russian election interference and didn’t put any credence on the rapidly coagulating narrative in MSM.

In fact, the ODNI chief James Clapper said there was no evidence of Russian interference in late November 2016.

Milestone June 2016, Joel Harding met with Christina Dobrovolska and a small contingent of Rada MPs after meeting with one of her bosses, Alexandra Chalupa.  Chalupa was working with the Ukrainians to get OppoResearch on Donald Trump. By working with the Information Ministry, Chalupa was working with a group she was familiar with through her sister Andrea’s work with them, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council, and Crowdstrike. Yes, later we’ll detail how Ukrainian Intel worked with Crowdstrike on the DNC hacks. See Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014

Christina and Joel worked on the Ukrainian project together since the beginning or according to Harding for years already. Dobrovolska worked with Harding’s Information Ministry in Ukraine with Ukrainian cyber Intel CyberHunta, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance (UCA), and RUH8.

As a side note, according to the Ukrainian State hackers Milestone March 2014- And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare The Ukrainian Intel project provides Bellingcat’s MH17 intelligence as well as Syria Intel through the same workgroups. Refer to the March 2014 Milestone.

Chistina Dobrovolska took the visiting Rada members to the top of the Ukrainian Diaspora, OUNb head Nestor Paslawsky in New York after meeting Harding and Harding was hired.

It was only subsequent to this meeting that the Russian interference and hacking charges started to crystallize into a narrative that went across the spectrum of media. Connecting the Diaspora to Ukraine’s Monsters Through a Ukrainian Diaspora Handler

How important is the Diaspora to understand the events around the 2016 election and subsequent coup attempts? It couldn’t be done without them. In 2010, HRC set up the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance. This brought all the Diasporas supporting HRC together to work on foreign policy initiatives under the umbrella of the State Department. HRC’s State Department set up the Ukrainian coup and subsequent war the same way she did in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and so on by tapping the various Diasporas. The Diasporas decided who should be in power. All in all her choices have been solidly nationalist chauvinist oppositional governments or figures in exile.

We understand the Clinton camp has hired beaucoup and Zwanzig (a lot) of trolls, we also understand the Kremlin has done the same. We just do not know if Trump has followed suit. From a counterintelligence perspective, this is confusing as heck.- Joel Harding

While the Clinton trolls turned out to be a real I-army (Ukraine), the Kremlin trolls turned out to be the list of American alternative news and analysis websites that published articles against a Clinton presidency.

Benchmark November 2016, this panned out for HRC in a big way. The Central & Eastern European Coalition (CEEC) brought her a 20 million strong bloc vote and internet army based on one question. Will you stand against Russia? The story of the Diasporas full support for HRC can be read here as well as the electoral math that goes with it.

This includes the story of the single Diaspora bloc responsible for the election win by Donald Trump. I still can’t believe Sara Palin spoke to this group and thought they were “cheez heads.”

If you go to the CEEC website, this group represents 20 million US BLOC votes in any election. This means with a little organizing they can and do determine elections.  The Atlantic Council (AC) is the primary think tank among many it employs. The AC is signatory as a working partner with the Ukrainian World Congress which represents another 20 million Ukrainian Diaspora donors worldwide. The AC is signatory with the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America (UCCA).

The Atlantic Council and its resources primarily through its experts like Irena Chalupa, Dimitry Alperovich, or Aric Toler work to support the Ukrainian and American IO effort. When we get to the DNC hacking aspect, you’ll see how closely the AC works with the hackers the AC experts found.

Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos.  Eyewitness accounts are suspect.  Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don’t know of any others). Harding Aug 31, 2015

What you are about to read should be impossible. No matter how directly or indirectly Hillary Clinton was behind the Ukrainian coup in 2014, showing US government agencies conspiring at the directors level to overthrow the 2016 election and continuing to pursue a coup against the presidency on her behalf should not be possible.

Let’s set the bar.

Is US & international media complicit in the coup against Donald Trump?

The answer is yes. Media is the backbone of any Information Operation and to overthrow the US government it is the key component. The IO operator has to control information and the impact it has on the population.

For a deep state coup against the US presidency to be possible through IO, mainstream media has to be complicit. No proof can stand without this leg in place. Information Operations are about controlling all the information. You set the message and control it.

Why would mainstream media work with Joel Harding’s IO group?

Two years ago I started breaking a story that all of a sudden became popular early in the winter of 2016 with the Washington Post’s introduction of propornot which listed news websites that published”misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.”

The Russian troll and interference lists Joel Harding and Andrew Weisburd drew up became the model for anti-Americanism inside DNC McCarthyite circles. The Atlantic Council project called @propornot plagiarized these lists to come up with the one the Washington Post made famous and start the fake news meme.

One of the really neat things about this election is seeing all my information operations and information warfare friends on social media, contributing and commenting, looking darned intelligent! Theirs is normally the voice of reason, maturity, and intelligence.” Joel Harding

Tablet Magazine’s story SPIES ARE THE NEW JOURNALISTS-  And with the help of big names in media, they’re turning journalism into an intelligence operation By Lee Smith makes short work out of finding friends for Joel Harding. At the agency and policy-making level, Harding pioneered IO and cyber in the US.

If you look at Harding’s Ukraine and Syria team, they are a who’s who of agency, state, law enforcement, and military trainers. These aren’t just the guys the media listens too, Lee Smith drives it home they are the media too. With so many journalists and analysts freelancing, who are they working for?

The media is now openly entwined with the national security establishment in a manner that would have been unimaginable before the advent of the age of the dossier—the literary forgery the FBI used as evidence to spy on the Trump team. In coordinating to perpetuate the Russiagate hoax on the American public, the media and intelligence officials have forged a relationship in which the two partners look out for the other’s professional and political interests. Not least of all, they target shared adversaries and protect mutual friends.

Fellow MSNBC contributor Naveed Jamali— author of How to Catch a Russian Spy and a self-described “Double agent” and “Intel Officer”—joined in tweeting: “Here’s the other thing to understand about espionage: once you’ve crossed the line once, the second time is easier. While at DIA Flynn had contact with Svetlana Lokhova who allegedly has Russian intel ties.”

Lokhova is seeking $25 million from NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal, and U.S. government informant Stefan Halper. The British historian alleges that Halper was the source for the press’ multipronged smear campaign against her, a private citizen.

Unlike the New Journalists at CNN and MSNBC/NBC, Julian Assange meets the old-fashioned definition of a journalist, meaning a person who is willing to take personal risks to publish information that powerful people and institutions routinely lie to the public about in order to advance their political and personal agendas.

This problem is unique in that it is private-sector spies that are staffing publications and Intelligence work that gets reported to the agencies and the Presidents Daily Briefing. They literally write the stories their clients want to sell to the government thereby setting policy.

Why aren’t the publishers complaining about this?

If the journalists work for and with Intel, who would they complain to? One of the functions of the US State Department is maintaining America’s image abroad. So, suffice to say it has tools to do this in what was until recently called the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), now the USAGM.

Milestone 2016 According to The Quasi-Legal Coup-Hillary Clinton Information Operations In Election 2016 published November 7, 2016the 8-member board, appointed by the President of the United States, are the who’s who of powerful media moguls in film, news, print, and radio. Appointment to the BBG is like being awarded an ambassador position for the media industry. It’s also why big media carries the same line or themes.

· The 7th member of the board of directors which runs RFE/RL in 2016 was Mathew Armstrong. He is a longtime friend and mentor to Joel Harding. He provides Harding a lot of access and influence in media. Armstrong’s background is public relations. He is an expert in IO and IIO operations. His bio: Author, lecturer, and strategist on public diplomacy and international media. He has worked on traditional and emerging security issues with both civilian and military government agencies, news organizations, think tanks, and academia across several continents.

· After the election results came in and Mathew Armstrong found himself without a job, he has sequestered himself to the no extradition country of Switzerland for some unknown reason.

· In what appears to be a conflict of interest, at least two BBG board members were working actively for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

· Karen Kornbluh is helping refine and to get Hillary Clinton’s message out. ” All of them are names to watch if Clinton wins — and key jobs at the FCC and other federal agencies are up for grabs.”

· According to her bio: Karen founded the New America Foundation’s Work and Family Program and is a senior fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Karen has written extensively about technology policy, women, and family policy for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Washington Post. New York Times columnist David Brooks cited her Democracy article “Families Valued,” focused on “juggler families” as one of the best magazine articles of 2006.

· Michael Kempner is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of MWW Group, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, and may get a greater role if she is elected.  Kempner is a member of the Public Relations Hall of Fame. Michael Kempner hired Anthony Weiner after the sexting scandal broke in 2011.

· Jeff Shell, chairman of the BBG and Universal Filmed Entertainment is supporting a secondary role by being an honor roll donor to the Atlantic Council. While the BBG is supposed to be neutral it has continuously helped increase tensions in Eastern Europe. While giving to the Atlantic Council may not be illegal while in his position, currently, the Atlantic Council’s main effort is to ignite a war with Russia. This may set up a major conflict of interest.

Today, Karen Kornbluh is Director of Technology Programming at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank dedicated to finding Russian trolls in cyberspace. The German Marshall Fund subgroup, Alliance for Securing Democracy has former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff its board of advisors.

Milestone 2019 Kornbluh is still on the board of the BBG, now renamed to the USAGM and is supposed to be politically neutral in her work. Instead, the German Marshall Fund helped produce the failed Hamilton 68 troll finder cobbled together by Joel Harding IO superstars Andrew Weisburd, Clint Watts, and J Berger.

This team has the distinction of fabricating most of the lies that plague the Trump presidency today starting with Russian election interference.

This state agency within the State Department is actively working against the office of the presidency.

What’s missing?

To say this is happening and not tie Joel Harding in would be a travesty. Joel Harding’s bio at InfoWarCon includes working at the BBG. Harding quite literally positioned himself to decide what the narrative for HRC politics would be and accomplished it.

Joel Harding has shown clearly what the world looks like when a private citizen is allowed to put themselves in positions that are clearly a state responsibility. The world today is according to his client’s politics.

Benchmark January 2015 US broadcasters put RT on same challenge list as ISIS, Boko Haram

RT, formerly known as Russia Today has been labeled a threat by Andrew Luck, the brand new CEO of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors or BBG. Thank you, Joel.

Benchmark- Everything up to this point takes the legs away from the Russian influence and hacking lie. As you ‘ll see, the accusations of collusion along with everything else can’t be real unless some of the information Harding’s IO team released was real.

· This fact makes it clear that the general election was being thrown to HRC through an illegal maneuver that threatens US democracy. After the election, it is coldly clear these same forces used these tools and resources to try to overthrow the presidency of the United States.

Milestone June 2016 The DNC HACK, ALMOST HACK, AND ATTRIBUTION

I have the distinction of showing you Russian hackers without a Russian hack. After HRC left the State Department she retained 6 seats (passwords) to the State Department server for research purposes. Alexandra Chalupa was one of those researchers and she was investigating Paul Manafort in 2015.

One of the groups working for Chalupa (Diaspora royalty) is Christina Dobrovolska’s Ukrainian Intel. Refer to Milestone March 2014 and Milestone of June 2016.

The Ukrainian Intel hacker group working for the Atlantic Council and the DNC through Alexandra Chalupa and Christina Dobrovolska was the only hacker group outside of Crowdstrike that had the X-Agent component of the DNC hack.

· They had access to the DNC servers because of this.

· In January 2016, Alexandra Chalupa claimed there was a hack attempt that Google informed her of. The origin according to Google was Ukraine.

· Because of the Yahoo email hack, some of their members had Huma Abedin’s State Department passwords already

· Their favorite way to hack was phishing exploits. This was the same used on the Podesta hack.

· Ukrainian hackers code in Russian because the Ukrainian language is too underdeveloped. It’s too young to have the expressiveness.

· Russian hacker contingent of Ukrainian Intel was in Kiev working with Ukrainian Intel at the time of the hack. They did OppoResearch with Alexandra Chalupa and Andrea Chalupa.

Benchmark DNC HACKS

If there is only one group that possesses the tools, means, opportunity, and can blame part of their own group to get away with it, all that’s left is to ask- WHO BENEFITED FROM THE “HACK?’ HRC & TEAM HILLARY.  Was there a hack? Nothing remotely close to what is claimed happened.

· “So the help of the USA, I don’t know, why would we need it? We have all the talent and special means for this. And I don’t think that the USA or any NATO country would make such sharp movements in international politics.” We have no Need of 2016 Help Ukrainian Hackers of #Surkov Leaks

· Ukrainian Intel hackers testify as experts for US Congress– Usovsky’s correspondence with the Russian MP and director of the Institute of CIS countries, Konstantin Zatulin, who provided this funding, was revealed by the Ukrainian groups CyberHunta and Cyber Alliance. Usovsky coordinated his anti-Ukrainian actions with…” – Statement of Mustafa Nayyem and Svitlana Zalishchuk Members of the Parliament of Ukraine before the Subcommittee on Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations March 29, 2017

Ukraine’s IO hackers testify in front of Congress to get more money and support so they can continue their operations?

Milestone Early 2017 HRC advisor Ukrainian Diaspora member Adam Parkhomenko goes to work with the Ukrainian Intel hackers at the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and the Digital Sherlock program.

Tic Toc Why The Clock Stops for Progressives if Trump is Dumped

According to the Washington Times ” As recently as Nov. 17, 2016, James Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence officer told Congress his agencies “don’t have good insight” into a direct link between WikiLeaks and the emails supposedly hacked by a Russian operation from Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

· January 10, 2017, According to Reuters “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday the U.S. intelligence community’s report concluding that Russia orchestrated hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign was based on a mix of human sources, collection of technical data and open-source information.”

In January 2017, when the ODNI report came out, the report relied almost in its entirety on Joel Harding’s IO groups which now included Dimitry Alperovich and the Atlantic Council. Alperovich has a professional relationship with the Ukrainian Intel hackers.

The only evidence Dimitry Alperovich provided outside this loop came from a blog Joel Harding tries to denounce. The information stream went like this: IISS Report(think tank) –>Colonel Cassad (Russian blogger)–> the Saker(analytical blog/ translator)—>Alperovitch/ Crowdstrike(information purposely misquoted to create Russian hacker) —>FBI—>CIA—>ODNI (DNI report)—-> You scratching your head wondering who makes this intel crap up. This is one of the DNI report’s secret sources and one that the whole report rests on.

Benchmark  May 31, 2018, Former top spy James Clapper explains how Russia swung the election to Trump “It stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions.”

But now I’m speaking as a private citizen, having left government service and knowing what I know about what the Russians did, how massive the operation was, how diverse it was, and how many millions of American voters it touched. When you consider that the election turned on 80,000 votes or less in three key states, it stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions, and therefore swing the election.

If you refer to the Benchmark November 2016 the group that caused HRC’s loss by that small margin is laid open and they give their own reason why they bloc voted Donald Trump into the presidency.

Benchmark The ODNI and associate agencies based their claim of Russian hacking and influence on a group of Influence peddlers including- Aric TolerPetr PoroshenkoJames ClapperDimitry AlperovichDimitry YaroshHillary ClintonBarrack ObamaAndrij DobrianskyIvanka ZajacGeorge MasniTaras MasnijAlexandra ChalupaIrena ChalupaElliot HigginsNestor PaslawskyJoel HardingAndrew Aaron WeisburdClint WattsAndreas Umland, and Andrea Chalupa. Oh, lest I forget, it just wouldn’t be the same without Ukrainian nationalism’s uber nazi- Stepan Bandera III.

Key organizations working directly and indirectly with Joel Harding’s IO are BellingcatInformNapalmStopfakePropornot, InterpreterMagEuromaidan PressHamilton 68 Dashboard, Facebook, and Twitter.

Linked into the article already is the continuation of the IO starting with the Women’s March which was about everything other than Women’s rights. Trans rights and Immigration topped the headlines while Ukrainian Diaspora allies that don’t qualify for status were tucked in. The Ukrainian Diaspora was bold enough to have youth dressed in WWII OUN nazi uniforms parading around in New York.

Charlottesville had IO operatives on both sides. George Soros footed the bill for Black Lives Matter who were taking down the statues and the so-called neo-nazis forgot to change and some were wearing Ukrainian Diaspora aligned polo shirts with their own CEEC nation logo emblazoned on it.

What this did was legitimize the destruction of historic monuments without even a public hearing and attempt to delegitimize the presidency of the United States.

The free speech protest in Boston on the heels of this was shut down by these same IO actors. The rally was even recognized by the Atlantic Council as a legitimate free speech rally.

What they took note of was the salient point, no one gave a damn about freedom of speech.

If those attempting to impeach Donald Trump do so on any of the false information provided by the IO actors, no future presidency is safe. Without those lies, what is left to target this president? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

Every one of the Intel seniors, leaders of the Intel community that took part, agency heads, and department heads, groups, companies, and private citizens responsible for organizing this have to be investigated. While there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle, Congress has to regulate who gets to do this and how.

If this IO wins and the president is cast out, war with Russia and then World War is the only inevitable event left to look forward to. If you don’t like Donald Trump, vote in 2020 like any other person that believes in western democracy.

If we don’t stop this Information Operation deep state coup, you may not get the chance.

Living Amongst Others

living amongst others.jpg

by Gilad Atzmon

A few days ago Vanity Fair,  the same outlet that once attempted to block the exposé of monster pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, published an article by Venessa Grigoriadis that provides some details of  Epstein’s friend and alleged ‘co-conspirator’ Ghislaine Maxwell.

Multiple victims claim that Maxwell often brought girls to Epstein and that she was an active sexual participant as well. According to Vanity Fair, “a source close to Maxwell says she spoke glibly and confidently about getting girls to sexually service Epstein, saying this was simply what he wanted, and describing the way she’d drive around to spas and trailer parks in Florida to recruit them. She would claim she had a phone job for them, ‘and you’ll make lots of money, meet everyone, and I’ll change your life….’”  Vanity Fair’s source added: “When I asked what she thought of the underage girls, she looked at me and said, ‘they’re nothing, these girls. They are trash.”

This is gossipy information, but it seems consistent with what we have learned about Epstein and his ring. Those familiar with Maxwell family history won’t be shocked that Maxwell is quoted calling the girls “trash.” Daddy Maxwell plundered the lifetime pensions of his workers for his own use. He was alleged to be a Mossad agent.  Not many know that Daddy Maxwell was also under police investigation for war crimes just before he drowned. Metropolitan Detectives were preparing to interview Maxwell, once a decorated captain in the British army, about an allegation that he murdered the unarmed mayor of a German City back in 1945.

One may say ‘like father like daughter’. But the total dismissal of otherness and human life is not limited to the Maxwells. Those of us who follow the unfolding Palestinian tragedy are pretty familiar with the institutional disregard to human life that is symptomatic of Israeli policy and is supported by its forceful lobby around the world. The saga of disgraceful conduct on the part of Epstein and others in his orbit suggests that the dismissal of otherness is characteristic of a wide circuit of those affiliated ideologically, politically and spiritually with Zion.

During an interview with Miami news station WPLG  Alan Dershowitz not only bashed one of his accusers, calling her an “admitted prostitute and a serial liar” but claimed that the then-teen was not victimized and in fact “made her own decisions in life.” I am not in a position to determine whether Dershowitz is guilty of sex crimes (which he denies) but this kind of language is the last thing you would expect from a retired Ivy League law professor. One wouldn’t imagine that a law ‘scholar’ would refer to an alleged victim of sex trafficking as ‘an admitted prostitute.’ Nor would one expect a veteran ‘law scholar’ to suggest that the child victim of sexual abuse by a registered sex offender was actually ‘making her own decisions in life.’ But this is exactly what we hear from Alan Dershowitz. No doubt one of the most vocal Zionist advocates around.

Watch the entire interview:

The disregard of others and the dismissal of human life, symptomatic of the Epstein Orbit, extends beyond ethnicity, religious barriers and class. Indeed, we read in various outlets that Leslie Wexner, long standing patron of Epstein, is accused by some of having some connection to the murder of  Arthur Shapiro — a Jewish lawyer who was killed in a 1985 ‘mob-style murder’. Shapiro’s doomed soul was resurrected when the Columbus, Ohio Police released the controversial—and once believed destroyed—document investigating his death.  Presumably Shapiro knew too much.  And author Daniel Halper claims that Israel and its operators within American politics have not refrained from blackmailing even an American president.

According to Halper, Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy sex chats with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard. Halper claims that during the Wye Plantation talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held in Maryland in 1998, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled Bill Clinton aside to press for Pollard’s release.  “The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations–they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote,  “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.”

This horrific narrative of how Israel allegedly blackmailed an American president initially surfaced in 1999.  In his book  Gideon’s Spies, author Gordon Thomas claimed that the Mossad had collected some 30 hours’ worth of phone sex conversations between Lewinsky and Clinton and was using them to blackmail the US or to protect a deeply-embedded mole in the White House.

The Clintons have often been referred to in relation to the Epstein affair.  It is likely, that as with the young women Epstein abused, the Clintons and other prominent Americans were also ‘victims’ so to say.

I now believe that Epstein was just a player in a huge crime syndicate that often seems to operate in large parts of American life, its politics, culture, academia and, of course, finance. In such a vile apparatus Epstein ran an amusement park.  He was never ‘a financier.’ He specialized in accumulating filth that could be used to extract dollars or other favours. In America in 2019 just about every politician at any level except probably Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib has been reduced into a Zionist puppet. Every prominent American is subject to direct or indirect Zionist pressure of one kind or another.

Igor Ogorodnev wrote yesterday on Russia Today that, “the media has wilfully misinterpreted Donald Trump’s words to portray the most pro-Israel US president in history as an anti-Semite. It makes more sense to chide him for sacrificing US interests to please Benjamin Netanyahu.” Here is my practical advice for Americans. Instead of accusing Trump of being an ‘anti-Semite,’ ask instead why your president is more loyal to Israel than most Israelis, let alone Jews.

To follow the path that led to Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal listen to this spectacular Jake Morphonios’s podcast
https://youtu.be/QK9GA46feWc

The Russiagate hoax is now fully exposed.

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The Russiagate hoax is now fully exposed.

The last leg of the Russiagate hoax to become exposed was on August 16th, when Gareth Porter bannered at The American Conservative“U.S. States: We Weren’t Hacked by Russians in 2016”. He revealed there that, “A ‘bombshell’ Senate Intelligence Committee report released in July repeated the familiar claim that Russia targeted the electoral websites of at least 21 states — but statements from the states themselves effectively undermine that narrative,” and NONE of the states was claiming that even a possibility had existed that its vote-counts had been affected, at all, by any hacker, anywhere. However, in one case, that of Illinois, there actually had been a hack; but it might have been by a criminal in order to sell the information, and not by any politically involved entity.

Porter reported:

The states’ own summary responses contained in the report show that, with one exception, they found either no effort to penetrate any of their election-related sites or merely found scanning and probing associated with an IP address that the FBI had warned about ahead of the 2016 election. Hardly a slam dunk.

Federal authorities, including Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, later claimed that the Russians used that IP address to hack into the Illinois state election systems and access some 200,000 voter records, though Mueller provided no additional evidence for that in his report. Nor was there any evidence that any data was tampered with, or a single vote changed.

About the same time, in August 2016, it was reported that Arizona state election systems were also breached, and it was widely speculated afterward that the Russians were behind it. But the Senate committee itself acknowledged that it was a criminal matter, and didn’t involve the Russians.

The “Russian” hack on the Illinois website, however, eventually became part of conventional wisdom, mainly because of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 GRU (Russia’s foreign intelligence agency) officers for allegedly carrying it out. 

But the overarching reality here is that there was no real penetration anywhere else. As for outside “probing” and “testing of vulnerabilities” (which, when closely read, makes up the vast majority of the “targeting” cited in the Senate report), that is something that states contend with every day at the hands of an untold number of potential hackers, including, but not limited to, foreign actors.

As Lisa Vasa, Oregon’s chief information security officer, explained to The Washington Post, the state blocks “upwards of 14 million attempts to access our network every day.” And Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams told the Post that the kind of scanning that was discussed by DHS “happens hundreds, if not thousands, of times per day.”  

Furthermore, not all federal officials buy into the theory that the Illinois intrusion was political — rather than criminal — in nature. In fact, DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications Andy Ozment testified in late September 2016 that the aim of the hackers in the Illinois case was “possibly for the purpose of selling personal information,” since they had stolen the data but made no effort to alter it online.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, DHS, and the intelligence community nevertheless chose to omit that reality from consideration, presumably because it would have interfered with their desired conclusion regarding the Russian cyber attacks on the 2016 election.

——

Prior to that revelation, here were highlights from the major news-reports which had exposed other fraudulent aspects of the “Russiagate” accusations:

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The Real Russiagate Scandal”

9 May, 2019  in Uncategorized by craig View Comments

Robert Mueller is either a fool, or deeply corrupt. I do not think he is a fool.

I did not comment instantly on the Mueller Report as I was so shocked by it, I have been waiting to see if any other facts come to light in justification. Nothing has. I limit myself here to that area of which I have personal knowledge – the leak of DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks. On the wider question of the corrupt Russian 1% having business dealings with the corrupt Western 1%, all I have to say is that if you believe that is limited in the USA by party political boundaries, you are a fool.

On the DNC leak, Mueller started with the prejudice that it was “the Russians” and he deliberately and systematically excluded from evidence anything that contradicted that view.

Mueller, as a matter of determined policy, omitted key steps which any honest investigator would undertake. He did not commission any forensic examination of the DNC servers. He did not interview Bill Binney. He did not interview Julian Assange. His failure to do any of those obvious things renders his report worthless.

There has never been, by any US law enforcement or security service body, a forensic examination of the DNC servers, despite the fact that the claim those servers were hacked is the very heart of the entire investigation. Instead, the security services simply accepted the “evidence” provided by the DNC’s own IT security consultants, Crowdstrike, a company which is politically aligned to the Clintons.

That is precisely the equivalent of the police receiving a phone call saying:

Hello? My husband has just been murdered. He had a knife in his back with the initials of the Russian man who lives next door engraved on it in Cyrillic script. I have employed a private detective who will send you photos of the body and the knife. No, you don’t need to see either of them.”

There is no honest policeman in the world who would agree to that proposition, and neither would Mueller, were he remotely an honest man.

Two facts compound this failure.

The first is the absolutely key word of Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, the USA’s $14 billion a year surveillance organisation. Bill Binney is an acknowledged world leader in cyber surveillance, and is infinitely more qualified than Crowdstrike. Bill states that the download rates for the “hack” given by Crowdstrike are at a speed – 41 Megabytes per second – that could not even nearly be attained remotely at the location: thus the information must have been downloaded to a local device, eg a memory stick. Binney has further evidence regarding formatting which supports this. …

——

US Govt’s Entire Russia-DNC Hacking Narrative Based On Redacted Draft Of Crowdstrike Report”

17 June 2019

It’s been known for some time that the US Government based its conclusion that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on a report by cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike, which the DNC paid over a million dollarsto conduct forensic analysis and other work on servers they refused to hand over to the FBI. 

CrowdStrike’s report made its way into a joint FBI/DHS report on an Russia’s “Grizzly Steppe“, which concluded Russia hacked the DNC’s servers. At the time, Crowdstrike’s claim drew much scrutiny from cybersecurity expertsaccording to former Breitbart reporter Lee Stranahan. 

Now, thanks to a new court filing by longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone requesting the full Crowdstrike analysis, we find out that the US government was given a redacted version of the report marked “Draft,” 

——

“CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims”

5 July 2019 By Aaron Maté, RealClearInvestigations, 6,539 words

Mueller’s other “central allegation” regards a “Russian ‘Active Measures’ Social Media Campaign” with the aim of “sowing discord” and helping to elect Trump.

In fact, Mueller does not directly attribute that campaign to the Russian government, and makes only the barest attempt to imply a Kremlin connection. According to Mueller, the social media “form of Russian election influence came principally from the Internet Research Agency, LLC (IRA), a Russian organization funded by Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and companies he controlled.” 

After two years and $35 million, Mueller apparently failed to uncover any direct evidence linking the Prigozhin-controlled IRA’s activities to the Kremlin. …

——

“Judge dismisses DNC lawsuit”

W. 31 July 2019 by Eric London

US federal court exposes Democratic Party conspiracy against Assange and WikiLeaks

In a ruling published late Tuesday, Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a devastating blow to the US-led conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In his ruling, Judge Koeltl, a Bill Clinton nominee and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, dismissed “with prejudice” a civil lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alleging WikiLeaks was civilly liable for conspiring with the Russian government to steal DNC emails and data and leak them to the public.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading lawyer for Assange, and other WikiLeaks attorneys welcomed the ruling as “an important win for free speech.”

The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street. Judge Koeltl stated:

If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC’s published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers. …

——

In the World of Truth and Fact, Russiagate is Dead. In the World of the Political Establishment, it is Still the New”

4 Aug, 2019 

Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all.

It was the Russians who hacked the DNC and published Hillary’s emails, thus causing her to lose the election because… the Russians, dammit, who cares what was in the emails? It was the Russians. It is the Russians who are behind Wikileaks, and Julian Assange is a Putin agent (as is that evil Craig Murray). It was the Russians who swayed the 1,300,000,000 dollar Presidential election campaign result with 100,000 dollars worth of Facebook advertising. It was the evil Russians who once did a dodgy trade deal with Aaron Banks then did something improbable with Cambridge Analytica that hypnotised people en masse via Facebook into supporting Brexit.

All of this is known to be true by every Blairite, every Clintonite, by the BBC, by CNN, by the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post. “The Russians did it” is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated “consensus” the elite constructed and sold to us, where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don’t like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers.

Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller’s inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off “Russiagate” forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koeltl of the Federal District Court of New York.

In a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Russia and against Wikileaks, and against inter alia Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, for the first time the claims of collusion between Trump and Russia were subjected to actual scrutiny in a court of law. And Judge Koeltl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing.

The judgement is 81 pages long, but if you want to understand the truth about the entire “Russiagate” spin it is well worth reading it in full. Otherwise let me walk you through it. …

The key finding is this. Even accepting the DNC’s evidence at face value, the judge ruled that it provides no evidence of collusion between Russia, Wikileaks or any of the named parties to hack the DNC’s computers. It is best expressed here in this dismissal of the charge that a property violation was committed, but in fact the same ruling by the judge that no evidence has been presented of any collusion for an illegal purpose, runs through the dismissal of each and every one of the varied charges put forward by the DNC as grounds for their suit.

Judge Koeltl goes further and asserts that Wikileaks, as a news organisation, had every right to obtain and publish the emails in exercise of a fundamental First Amendment right. The judge also specifically notes that no evidence has been put forward by the DNC that shows any relationship between Russia and Wikileaks. Wikileaks, accepting the DNC’s version of events, merely contacted the website that first leaked some of the emails, in order to ask to publish them.

Judge Koeltl also notes firmly that while various contacts are alleged by the DNC between individuals from Trump’s campaign and individuals allegedly linked to the Russian government, no evidence at all has been put forward to show that the content of any of those meetings had anything to do with either Wikileaks or the DNC’s emails.

In short, Koeltl dismissed the case entirely because simply no evidence has been produced of the existence of any collusion between Wikileaks, the Trump campaign and Russia. That does not mean that the evidence has been seen and is judged unconvincing. In a situation where the judge is duty bound to give credence to the plaintiff’s evidence and not judge its probability, there simply was no evidence of collusion to which he could give credence. The entire Russia-Wikileaks-Trump fabrication is a total nonsense. But I don’t suppose that fact will kill it off. …

And in conclusion, I should state emphatically that while Judge Koeltl was obliged to accept for the time being the allegation that the Russians had hacked the DNC as alleged, in fact this never happened. The emails came from a leak not a hack. The Mueller Inquiry’s refusal to take evidence from the actual publisher of the leaks, Julian Assange, in itself discredits his report. Mueller should also have taken crucial evidence from Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who has explained in detail why an outside hack was technically impossible based on the forensic evidence provided.

The other key point that proves Mueller’s Inquiry was never a serious search for truth is that at no stage was any independent forensic independence taken from the DNC’s servers, instead the word of the DNC’s own security consultants was simply accepted as true. Finally no progress has been made – or is intended to be made – on the question of who killed Seth Rich, while the pretend police investigation has “lost” his laptop.

Though why anybody would believe Robert Mueller about anything is completely beyond me.

So there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardian front page lie published by Kath Viner and Luke Harding fabricating the “secret meetings” between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant, and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power.

——

Did Russian Interference Affect the 2016 Election Results?”

8 August 2019  Alan I. Abramowitz, Senior Columnist, Sabato’s Crystal Ball

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony was a reminder that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and very well may try to do so again in 2020.

— This begs the question: Is there any evidence that Russian interference may have impacted the results, particularly in key states?

— The following analysis suggests that the 2016 results can be explained almost entirely based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states. So from that standpoint, the answer seems to be no.

What explains the 2016 results?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, and the Mueller Report itself, make it very clear that the Russian government made a major effort to help Donald Trump win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. What the Mueller Report did not determine, however, was whether that effort was successful. In this article, I try to answer that question by examining whether there are any indications from the 2016 results that Russian interference efforts may have played a clear role in the outcome. One such indication would be if Trump did better in key swing states than a range of demographic, partisan, and historical factors would have predicted.

We know from the Mueller Report that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort briefed a longtime associate who the FBI believes had ties with Russian intelligence about campaign strategy and, according to Manafort deputy Rick Gates, discussed decisive battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Manafort also directed Gates to share internal polling data, which may have influenced Russian operations.

In order to address the question of whether the Russian interference effort worked, I conducted a multiple regression analysis of the election results at the state level. The dependent variable in this analysis was the Trump margin. My independent variables were the 2012 Mitt Romney margin, to control for traditional state partisanship, state ideology measured by the Gallup Poll (the percentage of conservatives minus the percentage of liberals), the percentage of a state’s population made up of whites without college degrees, the estimated turnout of eligible voters in the state, the state unemployment rate in November 2016 (to measure economic conditions), the number of Trump campaign rallies in the state, the number of Clinton campaign rallies in the state, a dummy variable for the state of Utah to control for the large vote share won by an independent conservative Mormon candidate from that state, Evan McMullin, and, finally, a dummy variable for swing states. The swing states included Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia, in addition to Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The results of the regression analysis are displayed in Table 1 along with a scatterplot of the actual and predicted results in Figure 1.

Table 1: Results of regression analysis of Trump margin in the states

Source: Data compiled by author.

Figure 1: Scatterplot of actual Trump margin by predicted Trump margin in the states

Note: Alaska and District of Columbia omitted due to lack of state ideology data.

Source: Data compiled by author.

The regression equation proved to be extremely successful in predicting the election results, explaining a remarkable 98% of the variance in Trump vote margin in the states. Several of the independent variables had very powerful effects including the 2012 Romney margin, state ideology, and the percentage of non-college whites in the state. Even after controlling for traditional state partisanship and ideology, the size of the non-college white population in a state was a strong predictor of support for Donald Trump. The data in Table 1 also show that Evan McMullin’s candidacy dramatically reduced Trump’s vote share in Utah — although Trump still carried the state easily. In addition, the results show that voter turnout had a modest but highly significant effect on the results — the higher the turnout in a state, the lower the vote share for Trump. These results seem to confirm the conventional wisdom that higher voter turnout generally helps Democrats.

In addition to showing what mattered in explaining the results of the 2016 presidential election in the states, the data in Table 1 also show what did not matter. Economic conditions at the state level, at least as measured by state unemployment, did not matter. The number of campaign rallies held by the candidates in a state did not matter. Finally, and perhaps most importantly from the standpoint of estimating the impact of Russian interference, Donald Trump did no better than expected in the swing states. The coefficient for the swing state dummy variable is extremely small and in the wrong direction: Trump actually did slightly worse than expected in the swing states based on their other characteristics.

Table 2: Predicted and actual Trump margin in key swing states

Source: Data compiled by author.

This can also be seen in Table 2, which compares the actual and predicted results in the three swing states that ultimately decided the outcome of the election: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. What is most striking about the data in this table is that Donald Trump actually slightly under-performed the model’s predictions in all three states. He did about one point worse than predicted in Michigan, about two points worse than predicted in Pennsylvania, and between two and three points worse than predicted in Wisconsin. There is no evidence here that Russian interference, to the extent that it occurred, did anything to help Trump in these three states.

Conclusions

I find no evidence that Russian attempts to target voters in key swing states had any effect on the election results in those states. …

——

Overstock CEO Turned Over Docs To DOJ ‘In Greatest Political Scandal In US History’”

12 August 2019

Via SaraACarter.com,

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne delivered to the Department of Justice a number of documents, including emails and text messages, in April, regarding both the origins of the Russian investigation, and an FBI operation into Hillary Clinton with which he was personally involved during the first months of 2016, according to a U.S. official who spoke SaraACarter.com.

Byrne has also confirmed the account.

Byrne claims the documents, which have not been made public and are currently under investigation by the DOJ, are allegedly communications he had with the FBI concerning both the Clinton investigation and the origins of the Russian investigation. …

I gave to the DOJ documents concerning both the origin of the Russian probe and the probe into Hillary Clinton, both of which I was involved in, and both of which turned out to be less about law enforcement than they were about political espionage,” Byrne told SaraACarter.com Monday. …

This is going to become the greatest political scandal in US history,” he said. …

Byrne said the investigation into Clinton was one of the main reasons he came forward. …

Here’s the bottom line. There is a deep state like a submarine lurking just beneath the waves of the periscope depth watching our shipping lanes. …

I think we’re about to see the biggest scandal in American history as a result. But it was all political. …

It’s all a cover-up. It was all political espionage.” …

——

The Russiagate hoax was used by Obama’s successor, Trump — who, of course, had been one of the two targets of the Obama-initiated hoax — in order to step up actions against Russia. Here is one example of that:

——

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/

http://archive.is/ek04S

http://web.archive.org/web/

U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid”

By David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth June 15, 2019 front page Sunday 16 June 2019

WASHINGTON — The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’”

Power grids have been a low-intensity battleground for years. …

——

MY CONCLUSION: Both the liberal (Democratic) and conservative (Republican) wings of the U.S. aristocracy hate and want to conquer Russia’s Government. The real question now is whether that fact will cause the book on this matter to be closed as being unprofitable for both sides of the U.S. aristocracy; or, alternatively, which of those two sides will succeed in skewering the other over this matter. At the present stage, the Republican billionaires seem likelier to win if this internal battle between the two teams of billionaires’ political agents continues on. If they do, and Trump wins re-election by having exposed the scandal of the Obama Administration’s having manufactured the fake Russiagate-Trump scandal, then Obama himself could end up being convicted. However, if Trump loses — as is widely expected — then Obama is safe, and Trump will likely be prosecuted on unassociated criminal charges. To be President of the United States is now exceedingly dangerous. Of course, assassination is the bigger danger; but, now, there will also be the danger of imprisonment. A politician’s selling out to billionaires in order to reach the top can become especially risky when billionaires are at war against each other — and not merely against some foreign (‘enemy’) aristocracy. At this stage of American ‘democracy’, the public are irrelevant. But the political battle might be even hotter than ever, without the gloves, than when the public were the gloves.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

August 12, 2019
Image result for Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus

There’s a good reason the presidential hopeful met with Assad, but the media doesn’t want to talk about it.

Scott RITTER

It was eight minutes of hell for Kamala Harris. Onstage at the second Democratic debate in Michigan, Harris was subjected to a blistering assault on her record as a California prosecutor at the hands of Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Afterwards, Harris was asked about Gabbard’s attack by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Listen,” she replied, “I think that this coming from someone who has been an apologist for an individual, [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad, who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches. She has embraced and been an apologist for him in the way she refuses to call him a war criminal. I can only take what she says and her opinion so seriously, so I’m prepared to move on.”

Harris was referring to a controversial four-day visit by Gabbard to Syria in early January 2017, during which she met with Assad. While Gabbard’s performance during the debate was stellar (her name was the most searched of all the Democratic candidates), Harris’s jab regarding Assad seemed like all the mainstream media wanted to talk about.

“When sitting down with someone like Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian asked Gabbard, “do you confront him directly and say why do you order chemical attacks on your own people? Why do you cause the killings of over half a million people in your country?”

Following six months of strenuous pre-deployment training, Tulsi Gabbard deployed to Iraq in early 2005 as part of the 29th Brigade Combat Team, an all-National Guard/Reserve unit. She and the rest of the 29th Support Battalion were deployed to Camp Anaconda, a sprawling U.S. facility situated on the grounds of Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad. At the time, Camp Anaconda was under such frequent attack by insurgent mortar fire that it had acquired the nickname “Mortaritaville,” a play on a Jimmy Buffet song of a similar title.

Mortar and rocket attacks became an ever-present reality for the young Hawaiian soldier.

“Sometimes,” Gabbard told the Honolulu Advertiser, “we can go for days with no alarm siren going off, no attacks, and sometimes there can be many in one day…sometimes the attacks are so far away you can’t hear the explosion; other times so close that the ground and sky just seem to shake from the impact.” The feeling of helplessness was palpable: “all you can really do,” Gabbard said, “is say a silent prayer that you and your buddies are unharmed.”

While Charlie Med, as her unit was known, came through the deployment unscathed, 18 members of the 29th Brigade Combat Team were killed in Iraq, and scores more were wounded.

“Every single day,” Tulsi Gabbard reminded her fellow Americans during the second Democratic debate in July, “I saw the high cost of war.”

The 29th Brigade Combat Team was deployed in Iraq at a time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was engaged in an all-out war with U.S. forces. The casualties that Gabbard and her comrades endured were a result of “the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against these insurgent terrorists”; these losses, she noted, “we have felt in Hawai’i.” War for Tulsi Gabbard and her fellow soldiers wasn’t an abstraction, but an ever-present, horrible reality.

Gabbard returned from her year-long deployment a decorated combat veteran, having earned commendations and the coveted Combat Medic Badge for her service. Gabbard went on to graduate from Officer Candidate School and was trained as a Military Police Officer. Later she completed a second tour of duty in the Iraq theater, commanding a Military Police Company stationed in Kuwait.

For Gabbard, the road to Damascus began with her initial deployment to Iraq and continued through her 2009 deployment to Kuwait. Having enlisted in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Gabbard instead found herself engaged in a “regime change” war in Iraq predicated on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. It then continued through the halls of Congress, following Gabbard’s successful bid for office in 2011. From her position as a member of the Armed Services Committee, she watched as the al-Qaeda enemy she’d fought in Iraq morphed into ISIS and spread its influence into Syria.

Over the next few years, Gabbard saw how the Obama administration began, in her words,

“funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda” in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS,” Gabbard declared via Twitter, “we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?”

For someone who watched her fellow soldiers die fighting al-Qaeda in 2005, the Obama policy of supporting terrorists, whether directly or indirectly, as part of a new regime change war against Syria was a betrayal of that sacrifice.

A vocal supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election, Gabbard opposed Hillary Clinton’s more hawkish policies on Syria. Following Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Donald Trump, she continued to flaunt the rules of political expediency, taking a meeting with the president-elect in order to discuss Syria and the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. “I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the president-elect now,” Gabbard noted at the time, “before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”

In January 2017, Tulsi embarked on her fateful visit to Syria. As she told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an interview after her return, she hadn’t planned on meeting with the Syrian president. When the opportunity presented itself, however, Gabbard stated that she went

“because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace, and that’s exactly what we talked about.”

“Obviously,” Tapper stated in response, “Bashar al-Assad is responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced during this five-year long civil war. Did you have any compunctions about meeting with somebody like that, giving him any sort of enhanced credibility because a member of the United States Congress would meet with someone like that?”

“Whatever you think about President Assad,” Tulsi replied, “the fact is that he is the president of Syria. In order for any peace agreement, in order for any possibility of a viable peace agreement to occur, there has to be a conversation with him.”

In the aftermath of President Trump’s three meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Tulsi’s observations don’t seem quite as controversial. But at the time she was lambasted by her colleagues in Congress for ostensibly giving credence to Assad, whom they labeled a “brutal dictator.”

If the U.S. succeeded in overthrowing Assad, Tulsi knew, the very terrorists she’d fought against in Iraq would end up ruling Syria. Meeting with Assad to discuss the prospects of defeating a common enemy was the most meaningful way she could honor the service and sacrifice of her fellow soldiers. That the mainstream media and detractors like Kamala Harris don’t get this only underscores the deep divide between those like Tulsi Gabbard, who have served in combat, and those who have not.

Gabbard’s performances in the first two Democratic debates were strong, but it remains an open question as to whether she will qualify for the third debate in September. At a time when she should be campaigning hard to secure a spot on that debate stage, however, she’s instead taking a two-week break to fulfill her annual training requirement as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard.

Kamala Harris and the other Democratic candidates would do well to take note of the following reality—if the U.S. goes to war in Syria, Iran, North Korea, or elsewhere, Tulsi alone among her colleagues could be called upon to serve on the front line.

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take

“The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president. Gravel, an Army veteran, is perhaps most famous for placing the Pentagon Papers in the public record in 1971. A popular progressive voice for peace, his endorsement should not be taken lightly. Kamala Harris should take note.

theamericanconservative.com

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

How pervasive is Saudi penetration of western political systems?

Padraig McGrath, political analyst

When the Royal Marines seized the Iranian-owned Grace 1 supertanker off Gibraltar on July 4th, then British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hailed the seizure as a sign that Iran had “no place to hide.” On July 19th, when the Iranian government retaliated by authorizing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to seize the Swedish-owned, British-registered tanker Stena Impero in Hormuz, Hunt described it as an act of “state-piracy.”

Now, at first glance, this looks like just another tedious example of the blatant double-standards which we’ve come to expect from western politicians in relation to non-vassal states, and it is certainly that. This is not the first article in which I have drawn attention to Hunt’s tendency to practice blatant double-standards such as these. However, it has subsequently transpired that Jeremy Hunt’s recent campaign for the leadership of the British Conservative Party was largely financed by a close associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. The South African banker and philanthropist Ken Costa has been described in some quarters as Bin Salman’s “point-man” in the UK.

Or bagman, if you prefer.

It is unsurprising, then, that Hunt publicly bats for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) at every available opportunity, for example in deflecting criticism regarding the Saudi role in the precipitation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and also in consistently demonstrating hostility toward Iran.

On August 7th, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry met with Saudi Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. They are reported to have discussed ways of countering what they see as Iranian attempts to “destabilize” world-oil markets, with Al-Falih indicating that KSA favours the policy of increasing oil-production to moderate any surges in the world-price of crude.

Well, when the US withdraws from the JCPOA as a pretext for unilaterally imposing new sanctions on Iranian oil, “destabilization” is inevitable, but there wouldn’t be any point in making that argument to someone to whom it was not already self-evident.

It turns out that Perry also has a lot of Saudi grit under his fingernails. The US Senate House Oversight Committee has just published a report which is extremely critical of Perry’s role in advocacy for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Attempts have been made by IP3, an energy-consulting firm, to persuade the US Department of Energy to facilitate the sale without requiring the Saudis to sign a Section 123 agreement, which would be a commitment regarding the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Can you imagine Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons?

Not that these dubious Saudi entanglements mark the Trump administration in particular, of course. Enormous Saudi funding for the Clinton Foundation prior to 2016 was well documented. During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, US arms-sales to Saudi Arabia increased by 97%, including a $29.4 billion sale of over 80 F-15 fighters to KSA, and her 2016 campaign-manager John Podesta’s consulting firm was paid $140,000 per month to lobby on behalf of the KSA government. The Clinton Foundation itself also received about $10 billion in donations from the Saudi government while Clinton was Secretary of State.

And let’s not even talk about the Bush family’s history with the Saudis.

So we see, then, that the level of penetration which the Saudi government has achieved in the west’s political systems transcends both nationalities and ideological boundaries. British and American hostility toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is usually analyzed as being primarily ideologically driven. This interpretation is certainly valid on a number of levels.

The Iranian Islamic revolution has been one of the most stunningly resilient and successful anti-colonial movements in history, and therefore many imperial strategists see it as an imperative that the Islamic revolution must be crushed, not simply in order for Iran’s immense natural resources to be looted as they were before 1979, but also for the same strategic-ideological reasons that the western geo-strategic perspective has historically seen it as an imperative that all revolutionary societies be crushed.

Furthermore, we can discern a deeper ideological confluence between Saudi Wahhabism and liberal universalism, currently the Occident’s dominant (but rapidly decaying) ideological paradigm. Both are rooted in 18th century excessively transcendental thought, in an explicitly ahistorical, anti-historical or post-historical way of thinking. Both explicitly reject historical comparison or collective historical experience as a normative basis for the evaluation of social, political, ideological or ethical questions.

While the French philosophes of the 18th century sought to ground their worldview in something which they called “pure reason,” unburdened by any considerations of historical embeddedness or context (a form of philosophical naiveté thankfully not shared by any of the most notable figures in the German enlightenment), Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab sought to rediscover a “pure” version of Islam, unburdened by the allegorical Koranic hermeneutics of sophisticated Persian intellectuals.

In an Inforos column on August 1st, my colleague Sarah Abed argued that the United States’ ultimate objective in Iran remains regime-change, hence the willingness to use any spurious pretext whatsoever in order to re-impose sanctions. She argues that there is a strategy of continuing to economically pressure the Iranian state until it collapses in its current form.

I certainly agree with this analysis, but in breaking down the various motivating factors behind it, our broadly justified emphasis on ideological and geo-strategic issues sometimes blinds us to the role of straightforward corruption and influence-peddling in the process. Saudi financial power has led to a situation wherein KSA exerts very arguably more influence on the foreign policies of western governments than any other foreign entity.

Paranoid liberal fantasies about the Kremlin’s influence in subverting the internal political processes of western countries used to make us laugh, but by now they are simply tedious, and paranoid fantasies about pervasive Israeli influence are almost as tedious. We overlook the point that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arguably more raw bribery-power than any other nation-state.

Source: InfoBrics

Mega Group, Maxwells and Mossad: The Spy Story at the Heart of the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

Mega Group Epstein Wexler Feature photo

The picture painted by the evidence is not a direct Epstein tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

August 07th, 2019

As billionaire pedophile and alleged sex-trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein sits in prison, reports have continued to surface about his reported links to intelligence, his financial ties to several companies and “charitable” foundations, and his friendships with the rich and powerful as well as top politicians.

While Part I and Part II of this series, “The Jeffrey Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail,” have focused on the widespread nature of sexual blackmail operations in recent American history and their ties to the heights of American political power and the U.S. intelligence community, one key aspect of Epstein’s own sex-trafficking and blackmail operation that warrants examination is Epstein’s ties to Israeli intelligence and his ties to the “informal” pro-Israel philanthropist faction known as “the Mega Group.”

The Mega Group’s role in the Epstein case has garnered some attention, as Epstein’s main financial patron for decades, billionaire Leslie Wexner, was a co-founder of the group that unites several well-known businessmen with a penchant for pro-Israel and ethno-philanthropy (i.e., philanthropy benefiting a single ethnic or ethno-religious group). However, as this report will show, another uniting factor among Mega Group members is deep ties to organized crime, specifically the organized crime network discussed in Part I of this series, which was largely led by notorious American mobster Meyer Lansky.




By virtue of the role of many Mega Group members as major political donors in both the U.S. and Israel, several of its most notable members have close ties to the governments of both countries as well as their intelligence communities. As this report and a subsequent report will show, the Mega Group also had close ties to two businessmen who worked for Israel’s Mossad — Robert Maxwell and Marc Rich — as well as to top Israeli politicians, including past and present prime ministers with deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community.

One of those businessmen working for the Mossad, Robert Maxwell, will be discussed at length in this report. Maxwell, who was a business partner of Mega Group co-founder Charles Bronfman, aided the successful Mossad plot to plant a trapdoor in U.S.-created software that was then sold to governments and companies throughout the world. That plot’s success was largely due to the role of a close associate of then-President Ronald Reagan and an American politician close to Maxwell, who later helped aid Reagan in the cover-up of the Iran Contra scandal.

Years later, Maxwell’s daughter — Ghislaine Maxwell — would join Jeffrey Epstein’s “inner circle” at the same time Epstein was bankrolling a similar software program now being marketed for critical electronic infrastructure in the U.S. and abroad. That company has deep and troubling connections to Israeli military intelligence, associates of the Trump administration, and the Mega Group.

Epstein appears to have ties to Israeli intelligence and has well-documented ties to influential Israeli politicians and the Mega Group. Yet, those entities are not isolated in and of themselves, as many also connect to the organized crime network and powerful alleged pedophiles discussed in previous installments of this series.

Perhaps the best illustration of how the connections between many of these players often meld together can be seen in Ronald Lauder: a Mega Group member, former member of the Reagan administration, long-time donor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Likud Party, as well as a long-time friend of Donald Trump and Roy Cohn.

 

From cosmetics heir to political player

One often overlooked yet famous client and friend of Roy Cohn is the billionaire heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics fortune, Ronald Lauder. Lauder is often described in the press as a “leading Jewish philanthropist” and is the president of the World Jewish Congress, yet his many media profiles tend to leave out his highly political past.

In a statement given by Lauder to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman in 2018, the cosmetics heir noted that he has known Trump for over 50 years, going back at least to the early 1970s. According to Lauder, his relationship with Trump began when Trump was a student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, which Lauder also attended.

Donald Trump Ronald Lauder

President-elect Trump walks with Ronald Lauder after meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach, Fla. Evan Vucci | AP

Though the exact nature of their early friendship is unclear, it is evident that they shared many of the same connections, including to the man who would later count them both as his clients, Roy Cohn. While much has been said of the ties between Cohn and Trump, Cohn was particularly close to Lauder’s mother, Estee Lauder (born Josephine Mentzer). Estee was even counted among Cohn’s most high-profile friends in his New York Times obituary.

A small window into the Lauder-Cohn relationship surfaced briefly in a 2016 article in Politicoabout a 1981 dinner party held at Cohn’s weekend home in Greenwich, Connecticut. The party was attended by Ronald Lauder’s parents, Estee and Joe, as well as Trump and his then-wife Ivana, who had a weekend home just two miles away. That party was held soon after Cohn had helped Reagan secure the presidency and had reached the height of his political influence. At the party, Cohn offered toasts to Reagan and to then-Senator for New York Alfonse D’Amato, who would later urge Ronald Lauder to run for political office.

Two years later, in 1983, Ronald Lauder — whose only professional experience at that point was working for his parent’s cosmetics company — was appointed to serve as United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs. Soon after his appointment, he served on the Dinner Tribute Committee for a dinner hosted by the Jewish fraternal and strongly pro-Israel organization B’nai B’rith, the parent organization of the controversial Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in Roy Cohn’s honor. Cohn’s influential father, Albert Cohn, was the long-time president of B’nai B’rith’s powerful New England-New York chapter and Roy Cohn himself was a member of B’nai B’rith’s Banking and Finance Lodge.

The dinner specifically sought to honor Cohn for his pro-Israel advocacy and his efforts to “fortify” Israel’s economy, and its honorary chairmen included media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump and then-head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, all of whom are connected to Jeffrey Epstein.

During his time as deputy assistant secretary of defense, Lauder was also very active in Israeli politics and had already become an ally of the then-Israeli representative to the United Nations and future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Lauder would go on to be one of the most important individuals in Netanyahu’s rise to power, particularly during his upset victory in 1996, and a major financier of Israel’s right-wing Likud Party.

In 1986, the year that Roy Cohn died, Lauder left his post at the Pentagon and became the U.S. ambassador to Austria, where his tenure was shaped by his confrontations with the then-Austrian president and former Nazi collaborator, Kurt Waldheim. Lauder’s interest in Austrian politics has continued well into recent years, culminating in accusations that he sought to manipulate Austrian elections in 2012.

After leaving his ambassadorship, Lauder founded the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in 1987 and later went on to run for Mayor of New York against Rudy Giuliani in 1989. Lauder was encouraged to run by then-Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who had close ties to Roy Cohn and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan, who was D’Amato’s adviser. At the aforementioned 1983 B’nai B’rith dinner honoring Cohn, D’Amato was the featured speaker.

The likely reason was that Giuliani, though once an ally of the “Roy Cohn machine,” was at the time deeply disliked by the late Cohn’s associates for prosecuting Cohn’s former law partner, Stanley Friedman, for racketeering, conspiracy and other charges. Giuliani also had a history of bitter disagreements with D’Amato. Lauder’s primary campaign, though unsuccessful, was noted for its viciousness and its cost, as it burned through more than $13 million.

A few years later, in the early 1990s, Lauder would join a newly formed group that has long evaded scrutiny from the media but has recently become of interest in connection with the Jeffrey Epstein scandal: the Mega Group.

 

Lauder, Epstein and the mysterious Austrian passport

Before getting to the Mega Group, it is worth noting one particular act apparently undertaken by Lauder while he was U.S. ambassador to Austria that has recently come to light in relation to the arrest in early July of Jeffrey Epstein, a finding first reported by journalist Edward Szall. When police recently discovered an Austrian passport with Epstein’s picture and a fake name after raiding his Manhattan residence, the source and purpose of the passport came under media scrutiny.

According to the Associated Press, Epstein’s defense lawyers specifically argued that “a friend gave it to him [Epstein] in the 1980s after some Jewish-Americans were informally advised to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally during a period when hijackings were more common.” This claim appears to be related to concerns that followed the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 in 1976 when Israeli and Jewish hostages were separated from other hostages based largely on the passports in their possession.

Given that Epstein was unable to meet the conventional qualifications for an Austrian passport — including long-term residency in Austria (the passport lists him as a resident of Saudi Arabia) and fluency in German — it appears that the only way to have acquired an Austrian passport was by unconventional means, meaning assistance from a well-connected Austrian official or foreign diplomat with clout in Austria.

Epstein Wexler Lauder

Ronald Lauder, right, and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima pose with students from the Lauder Chabad School in Vienna, Austria in 1999. Martin Gnedt | AP

Lauder, then-ambassador to Austria for the Reagan administration, would have been well-positioned to acquire such a passport, particularly for the reason cited by Epstein’s attorneys that Jewish-Americans could be targeted during travel, and in light of Lauder’s very public concerns over threats Jews face from certain terror groups. Furthermore, the passport had been issued in 1987, when Lauder was still serving as an ambassador.

In addition, Lauder was well-connected to Epstein’s former patron — former head of Bear Stearns Alan Greenberg, who had hired Epstein in the late 1970s immediately after the latter was fired from the Dalton School — and Donald Trump, another friend of Lauder and Greenberg who began his friendship with Epstein in 1987, the same year the fake Austrian passport was issued. In 1987, Epstein also began his relationship with his principal financier, Leslie Wexner, who is also closely associated with Lauder (though some sources claim that Epstein and Wexner first met in 1985 but that their strong business relationship was not established until 1987).

Though Epstein’s defense attorney declined to reveal the identity of the “friend” who provided him with the fake Austrian passport, Lauder was both well-positioned to acquire it in Austria and also deeply connected to the Mega Group, which was co-founded by Epstein’s patron Leslie Wexner and to which Epstein has many connections. These connections to both the Austrian government and to Epstein’s mentor make Lauder the most likely person to have acquired the document on Epstein’s behalf.

Furthermore, Epstein and the Mega Group’s ties to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, also suggest Lauder was involved in procuring the passport, in light of his close ties to the Israeli government and the fact that Mossad has a history of using ambassadors abroad to procure false, foreign passports for its operatives.

Lauder himself has been alleged to have ties to Mossad, as he is a long-time funder of IDC Herzliya, an Israeli university closely associated with Mossad and their recruiters as well as Israeli military intelligence. Lauder even founded IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.

Furthermore, Lauder co-founded the Eastern European broadcasting network CETV with Mark Palmer, a former U.S. diplomat, Kissinger aide and Reagan speechwriter. Palmer is better known for co-founding the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization often described as an accessory to U.S. intelligence, and one whose first president confessed to the Washington Post that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” A 2001 report in the Evening Standard noted that Epstein once claimed that during the 1980s he worked for the CIA, but Epstein later backed away from that assertion.

 

The origins of the Mega Group Mafia

The Mega Group — a secretive group of billionaires to which Lauder belongs — was formed in 1991 by Charles Bronfman and Leslie Wexner, the latter of whom has received considerable media scrutiny following the July arrest of his former protege Jeffrey Epstein. Media profiles of the group paint it as “a loosely organized club of 20 of the nation’s wealthiest and most influential Jewish businessmen” focused on “philanthropy and Jewishness,” with membership dues upwards of $30,000 per year. Yet several of its most prominent members have ties to organized crime.

Mega Group members founded and/or are closely associated with some of the most well-known pro-Israel organizations. For instance, members Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt formed Birthright Taglit with the backing of then- and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Steinhardt, an atheist, has stated that his motivation in helping to found the group was to advance his own belief that devotion to and faith in the state of Israel should serve as “a substitute for [Jewish] theology.”

Other well-known groups associated with the Mega Group include the World Jewish Congress — whose past president, Edgar Bronfman, and current president, Ronald Lauder, are both Mega Group members — and B’nai B’rith, particularly its spin-off known as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Bronfman brothers were major donors to the ADL, with Edgar Bronfman serving as the ADL’s honorary national vice-chair for several years.

Shimon Peres Edgar Bronfman Mega Group

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, second from left, listens to Edgar Bronfman during a 1995 lunch thrown in Peres’ honor. From left are: Laurence Tisch, Chairman, President and Chief executive officer of CBS; Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Itamar Rabinowitz and Bronfman. David Karp | AP

When Edgar Bronfman died in 2013, long-time ADL Director Abe Foxman said, “Edgar was for many years Chair of our Liquor Industry Division, Chair of our New York Appeal, and one of our most significant benefactors.” Other Mega Group members that are donors and major supporters of the ADL include Ronald LauderMichael Steinhardt and the late Max Fisher. As previously mentioned, Roy Cohn’s father was a long-time leader of B’nai B’rith’s influential New England-New York chapter and Cohn was later a celebrated member of its banking and finance lodge.

In addition, Mega Group members have also been key players in the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. For instance, Max Fisher of the Mega Group founded the National Jewish Coalition, now known as the Republican Jewish Coalition — the main pro-Israel neoconservative political lobbying group, known for its support of hawkish policies, and whose current chief patrons, Sheldon Adelson and Bernard Marcus, are among Donald Trump’s top donors.

Though the Mega Group has officially existed only since 1991, the use of “philanthropy” to provide cover for more unscrupulous lobbying or business activities was pioneered decades earlier by Sam Bronfman, the father of Mega Group members Edgar and Charles Bronfman. While other North American elites like J.D. Rockefeller had previously used philanthropic giving as a means of laundering their reputations, Bronfman’s approach to philanthropy was unique because it was focused on giving specifically to other members of his own ethno-religious background.

Sam Bronfman, as was detailed in Part I of this series, had long-standing deep ties to organized crime, specifically Meyer Lanksy’s organized crime syndicate. Yet, Bronfman’s private ambition, according to those close to him, was to become a respected member of high society. As a consequence, Bronfman worked hard to remove the stain that his mob associations had left on his public reputation in Canada and abroad. He accomplished this by becoming a leader in Canada’s Zionist movement and, by the end of the 1930s, he was head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had begun to make a name for himself as a philanthropist for Jewish causes.

Yet even some of Bronfman’s activism and philanthropy had hints of the mobster-like reputation he tried so hard to shake. For instance, Bronfman was actively involved in the illegal shipping of arms to Zionist paramilitaries in Palestine prior to 1948, specifically as a co-founderof the National Conference for Israeli and Jewish Rehabilitation that smuggled weapons to the paramilitary group Haganah.

At the same time Bronfman was abetting the illegal smuggling of weapons to the Haganah, his associates in the criminal underworld were doing the same. After World War II, close aides of David Ben-Gurion, who would later become the first prime minister of Israel and was instrumental in the founding of Mossad, forged tight-knit relationships with Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Mickey Cohen and other Jewish gangsters of the period. They used their clandestine networks to establish a vast arms smuggling network between the United States and Zionist settlements in Palestine, arming both the Haganah and the Irgun paramilitary groups. As noted in Part I of this report, at the same time these gangsters were aiding the illegal arming of ZIonsit paramilitaries, they were strengthening their ties to U.S. intelligence that had first been formally (though covertly) established in World War II.

After Israel was founded, Sam Bronfman worked with future Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres to negotiate the sale of Canadian armaments at half-price to Israel and the bargain weapons purchase was paid for entirely by a fundraising dinner hosted by Bronfman and his wife. Many years later, Peres would go on to introduce another future prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, to Jeffrey Epstein.

The rest of the Bronfman family’s march on “the road to respectability” was undertaken by Bronfman’s children, who married into aristocratic families such as the European Rothschildsand the Wall Street “royalty” of the Lehmans and the Loebs.

The Bronfmans’ newfound respectability did not mean that their association with the Lansky-led criminal empire had dissolved. Indeed, prominent members of the Seagrams dynasty came under fire in the 1960s and 1970s for their close association with Willie “Obie” Obront, a major figure in Canadian organized crime, whom Canadian professor Stephen Schneider has referred to as the Meyer Lansky of Canada.

However, Edgar and Charles Bronfman were hardly the only members of the Mega Group with deep and long-standing ties to the Lansky-led National Crime Syndicate. Indeed, one of the group’s prominent members, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt, opened up about his own family ties to Lansky in his autobiography No Bull: My Life in and out the Markets, where he noted that his father, Sol “Red McGee” Steinhardt, was Lansky’s jewel fence of choice and a major player in New York’s criminal underworld. Sol Steinhardt was also his son’s first client on Wall Street and helped him jumpstart his career in finance.

The ties between the Mega Group and the National Crime Syndicate don’t stop there. Another prominent member of the Mega Group with ties to this same criminal network is Max Fisher, who has been described as Wexner’s mentor and is also alleged to have worked with Detroit’s “Purple Gang” during Prohibition and beyond. The Purple Gang were part of the network that smuggled Bronfman liquor from Canada into the United State during Prohibition, and one of its founders, Abe Bernstein, was a close associate of both Meyer Lansky and Moe Dalitz. Fisher was a key adviser to several U.S. presidents, beginning with Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as to Henry Kissinger.

Henry Kissinger | Max Fisher

Max Fisher, center, and Henry Kissinger, right, meet with leaders of Jewish organizations prior to Kissinger’s 1975 Middle East trip. Henry Burroughs | AP

In addition to Fisher, Mega Group member Ronald Lauder was connected to Roy Cohn and Tom Bolan, both of whom were closely associated with this same Lansky-led crime network (see Part I and Part II) and who regularly represented top Mafia figures in court. Furthermore, another member of the Mega Group, director Steven Spielberg, is a well-known protege of Lew Wasserman, the mob-connected media mogul and long-time backer of Ronald Reagan’s film and later political career, discussed in Part II of this series.

One surprise connection to Cohn involves Mega Group member, and former president of U.S. weapons firm General Dynamics, Lester Crown, whose brother-in-law is David Schine, Cohn’s confidant and alleged lover during the McCarthy hearings, whose relationship with Cohnhelped bring about the downfall of McCarthyism.

Another member of the Mega Group worth noting is Laurence Tisch, who owned CBS News for several years and founded Loews Corporation. Tisch is notable for his work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, where Donald Barr, who hired Epstein at the Dalton School, also served and which forged ties with Lansky’s criminal empire during World War II.

 

Wexner’s mansions and the Shapiro murder

Leslie “Les” Wexner, the other Mega Group co-founder, also has ties to organized crime. Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein have come under scrutiny following the latter’s recent arrest, as Wexner was the only publicly acknowledged client of Epstein’s suspicious hedge fund, the source of much of this wealth, and the previous owner of Epstein’s $56 million Manhattan townhouse, which Wexner transferred to an Epstein-controlled entity for free.

Before Epstein received the townhouse, Wexner appears to have used the residence for some unconventional purposes, noted in a 1996 New York Times article on the then-Wexner-owned residence, which included “a bathroom reminiscent of James Bond movies: hidden beneath a stairway, lined with lead to provide shelter from attack and supplied with closed-circuit television screens and a telephone, both concealed in a cabinet beneath the sink.” The Timesarticle does not speculate as to the purpose of this equipment, though the allusion to famous fictional superspy James Bond suggests that it may have been used to snoop on guests or conduct electronic surveillance.

The 1996 Times article also noted that, after Wexner bought the residence for $13.2 million in 1989, he spent millions more decorating and furnishing the home, including the addition of the electronic equipment in the “James Bond” bathroom, only to apparently never live in it. The Times, which interviewed Epstein for the piece, quoted him as saying that “Les never spent more than two months there.” Epstein told the Times, which identified Epstein as Wexner’s “protege and one of his financial advisers,” that the house, by that time, already belonged to him.

That same year, Epstein was commissioning artwork for Wexner’s Ohio mansion. A recent article from the Times noted that:

In the summer of 1996, Maria Farmer was working on an art project for Mr. Epstein in Mr. Wexner’s Ohio mansion. While she was there, Mr. Epstein sexually assaulted her, according to an affidavit Ms. Farmer filed earlier this year in federal court in Manhattan. She said that she fled the room and called the police, but that Mr. Wexner’s security staff refused to let her leave for 12 hours.”

Farmer’s account strongly suggests that, given the behavior of his personal security staff at his mansion following Epstein’s alleged assault on Farmer, Wexner was well aware of Epstein’s predatory behavior towards young women. This is compounded by claims made by Alan Dershowitz — a former lawyer for and friend of Epstein’s, who has also been accused of raping underage girls — that Wexner has also been accused of raping underage girls exploited by Epstein on at least seven occasions.

The presence of the electronic equipment in his home’s bathroom, other oddities related to the townhouse, and aspects of the links between Epstein and Wexner suggest there is more to Wexner, who has rather successfully developed a public image of a respectable businessman and philanthropist, much like other prominent members of the Mega Group.

Leslie Wexner Jeffrey Epstein

Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail tour the “Transfigurations” exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts. Jay LaPrete | AP

However, bits and pieces of Wexner’s private secrets have occasionally bubbled up, only to be subjected to rapid cover-ups amidst concerns of “libeling” the powerful and well-connected billionaire “philanthropist.”

In 1985, Columbus (Ohio) lawyer Arthur Shapiro was murdered in broad daylight at point-blank range in what was largely referred to as a “mob style murder.” The homicide still remains unsolved, likely due to the fact that then-Columbus Police Chief James Jackson ordered the destruction of key documents of his department’s investigation into the murder.

Jackson’s ordering of the documents’ destruction came to light years later in 1996, when he was under investigation for corruption. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Jackson justified the destruction of one “viable and valuable” report because he felt that it “was so filled with wild speculation about prominent business leaders that it was potentially libelous.” The nature of this “wild speculation” was that “millionaire businessmen in Columbus and Youngstown were linked to the ‘mob-style murder.’”

Though Jackson’s efforts were meant to keep this “libelous” report far from public view, it was eventually obtained by Bob Fitrakis — attorney, journalist, and executive director of the Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism — after he was “accidentally” sent a copy of the report in 1998 as part of a public records request.

The report, titled “Shapiro Homicide Investigation: Analysis and Hypothesis,” names Leslie Wexner as linked “with associates reputed to be organized crime figures” and also lists the names of businessman Jack Kessler, former Columbus City Council President and Wexner associate Jerry Hammond, and former Columbus City Council member Les Wright as also being involved in Shapiro’s murder.

The report also noted that Arthur Shapiro’s law firm — Schwartz, Shapiro, Kelm & Warren — represented Wexner’s company, The Limited, and states that “prior to his death, Arthur Shapiro managed this account [The Limited] for the law firm.” It also noted that, at the time of his death, Shapiro “was the subject of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service because he had failed to file income tax returns for some seven years prior to his death, and he had invested in some questionable tax shelters.” It also stated that his death prevented Shapiro from his planned testimony at a grand jury hearing about these “questionable tax shelters.”

As to Wexner’s alleged links to organized crime, the report focuses on the close business relationship between Wexner’s The Limited and Francis Walsh, whose trucking company “[had] done an excess of 90 percent of the Limited’s trucking business around the time of Shapiro’s murder,” according to the report. Walsh was named in a 1988 indictment as a “co-conspirator” of Genovese crime family boss Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, whose long-time lawyer was Roy Cohn; and the Shapiro murder report stated that Walsh was “still considered associates of the Genovese/LaRocca crime family, and Walsh was still providing truck transportation for The Limited.”

Notably, the Genovese crime family has long formed a key part of the National Crime Syndicate, as its former head, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, co-created the criminal organization with his close friend Meyer Lansky. Upon Luciano’s imprisonment and subsequent deportation from the United States, Lansky took over the syndicate’s U.S. operations and his association with Luciano’s successors continued until Lansky’s death in 1983.

 

The “Mega” Mystery and the Mossad

In May 1997, the Washington Post broke an explosive story — long since forgotten — based on an intercepted phone call made between a Mossad official in the U.S. and his superior in Tel Aviv that discussed the Mossad’s efforts to obtain a secret U.S. government document. According to the Post, the Mossad official stated during the phone call that “Israeli Ambassador Eliahu Ben Elissar had asked him whether he could obtain a copy of the letter given to [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat by [then-Secretary of State Warren] Christopher on Jan. 16, the day after the Hebron accord was signed by Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.”

The Post article continued:

According to a source who viewed a copy of the NSA transcript of the conversation, the intelligence officer, speaking in Hebrew, said, ‘The ambassador wants me to go to Mega to get a copy of this letter.’ The source said the supervisor in Tel Aviv rejected the request, saying, ‘This is not something we use Mega for.’”

The leaked communication led to an investigation that sought to identify an individual code-named “Mega” that the Post said “may be someone in the U.S. government who has provided information to the Israelis in the past,” a concern that subsequently spawned a fruitless FBI investigation. The Mossad later claimed that “Mega” was merely a codeword for the U.S.’ CIA, but the FBI and NSA were unconvinced by that claim and believed that it was a senior U.S. government official that had potentially once been involved in working with Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. naval intelligence analyst later convicted of spying for the Mossad.

Almost one year to the day after the “Mega” spy scandal broke, the Wall Street Journal was the first outlet to report on the existence of a little-known organization of billionaires that was “informally” called the Mega Group and had been founded years prior in 1991. The report made no mention of the spy scandal that had spread concerns of Israeli espionage in the U.S. only a year prior. However, the group’s distinctive “informal” name and the connections of its members to the Mossad and to high-ranking Israeli politicians, including prime ministers, raise the possibility that “Mega” was not an individual, as the FBI and NSA had believed, but a group.

In 1997, when the “Mega” spy scandal broke, Netanyahu had recently become prime minister of Israel after an upset victory, a victory that was largely credited to one well-connected Netanyahu backer in particular, Ronald Lauder. Beyond being a major donor, Lauder had brought Arthur Finklestein on to work for Netanyahu’s 1996 campaign, whose strategies were credited for Netanyahu’s surprise win. Netanyahu was close enough to Lauder that he personally enlisted Lauder and George Nader to serve as his peace envoys to Syria.

Mega Group Benjamin Netanyahu Ronald Lauder

Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara with Ronald Lauder in 1997. Photo | Reuters

Nader, who was connected to the Trump 2016 campaign and Trump ally and Blackwaterfounder Erik Prince, was recently hit with federal child sex trafficking charges last month, soon after Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested on similar charges. At the time Nader was picked to work with Lauder on Netanyahu’s behalf, he had already been caught possessing large amounts of child pornography on two separate occasions, first in 1984 and later in 1990.

This strong connection between Netanyahu and Lauder during the time of the 1997 “Mega” spy scandal is important considering Mossad answers directly to Israel’s prime minister.

Another possible connection between the Mega Group and the Mossad owes to the Mega Group’s ties to Meyer Lansky’s criminal network. As was detailed in Part I, Lansky had established deep ties to U.S. intelligence after World War II and was also connected to the Mossad through Mossad official Tibor Rosenbaum, whose bank was frequently used by Lansky to launder money. In addition, Lansky collaborated on at least one occasion with notorious Mossad “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who he helped acquire sensitive electronic equipment possessed only by the CIA but coveted by Israeli intelligence. Eitan is best known in the U.S. for being the Mossad handler of Jonathan Pollard.

Notably, Eitan was the main source of claims that the code-word “Mega” used by the Mossad officials in 1997 referred to the CIA and not to a potential source in the U.S. government once linked to Pollard’s spying activities, making his claims as to the true meaning of the term somewhat dubious.

Given that the organized crime network tied to the Mega Group had ties to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence, the “Mega” codeword could plausibly have referred to this secretive group of billionaires. More supporting evidence for this theory comes from the fact that prominent members of the Mega Group were business partners of Mossad agents, including media mogul Robert Maxwell and commodities trader Marc Rich.

 

The mysterious Maxwells

The Maxwell family has become a source of renewed media interest following Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest, as Ghislaine Maxwell, long described in the media as a British “socialite,” was publicly cited as Epstein’s long-time “on and off” girlfriend, and Epstein’s victims, as well as former wives of Epstein’s friends, have claimed that she was Epstein’s “pimp” and procured underage girls for his sexual blackmail operation. Ghislaine Maxwell is also alleged to have engaged in the rape of the girls she procured for Epstein and to have used them to produce child pornography.

Ghislaine was the favorite and youngest daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. Maxwell, born Jan Ludvick Hoch, had joined the British Army in World War II. Afterwards, according to authors John Loftus and Mark Aarons, he greatly influenced the Czechoslovakian government’s decision to arm Zionist paramilitaries during the 1948 war that resulted in Israel’s creation as a state, and Maxwell himself was also involved in the smuggling of aircraft parts to Israel.

Around this time, Maxwell was approached by British intelligence outfit MI6 and offered a position that Maxwell ultimately declined. MI6 then classified him as “Zionist — loyal only to Israel” and made him a person of interest. He later became an agent of the Mossad, according to several books including Seymour Hersh’s The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, and Robert Maxwell: Israel’s Superspy by Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon.

According to Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad case officer:

Mossad was financing many of its operations in Europe from money stolen from Maxwell’s newspaper pension fund. They got their hands on the funds almost as soon as Maxwell made the purchase of the Mirror Newspaper Group with money lent to him by Mossad.”

In exchange for his services, the Mossad helped Maxwell satisfy his sexual appetite during his visits to Israel, providing him with prostitutes, “the service maintained for blackmail purposes.” It was later revealed that the hotel in which he stayed in Israel was bugged with cameras, allowing the Mossad to acquire “a small library of video footage of Maxwell in sexually compromising positions.” As with the CIA, the Mossad’s use of blackmail against both friend and foe is well-documented and known to be extensive.

Maxwell was also a close associate and friend of Israeli “superspy” Rafi Eitan, who, as previously mentioned, was Jonathan Pollard’s handler and who had previously worked directly with Meyer Lansky. Eitan had learned of a revolutionary new software being used by the U.S. government known as “Promis” from Earl Brian, a long-time associate and aide to Ronald Reagan. Promis is often considered the forerunner to the “Prism” software used by spy agencies today and was developed by William Hamilton, who leased the software to the U.S. government through his company, Inslaw, in 1982.

Mega Group Ariel Sharon Robert Maxwell

Ariel Sharon (right)meets with Robert Maxwell in Jerusalem on Feb. 20, 1990. Photo | AP

According to author and former BBC investigative journalist Gordon Thomas, Brian was angrythat the U.S. Department of Justice was successfully using Promis to go after organized crime and money-laundering activities and Eitan felt that the program could aid Israel. At the time, Eitan was the director of the now defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem, which gathered scientific and technical intelligence abroad from both public and covert sources, especially in relation to Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

A plan was hatched to install a “trapdoor” into the software and then market Promis throughout the world, providing the Mossad with invaluable intelligence on the operations of its enemies and allies while also providing Eitan and Brian with copious amounts of cash. According to the testimony of ex-Mossad official Ari Ben-Menashe, Brian provided a copy of Promis to Israel’s military intelligence, which contacted an Israeli American programmer living in California who then planted the “trapdoor” in the software. The CIA was later said to have installed its own trapdoor in the software but it is unknown if they did so with a version of the already bugged software and how widely it was adopted relative to the version bugged by Israeli intelligence.

After the trapdoor was inserted, the problem became selling the bugged version of the software to governments as well as private companies around the world, particularly in areas of interest. Brian first attempted to buy out Inslaw and Promis and then use that same company to sell the bugged version.

Unsuccessful, Brian turned to his close friend, then-Attorney General Ed Meese whose Justice Department then abruptly refused to make the payments to Inslaw that were stipulated by the contract, essentially using the software for free, which Inslaw claimed to be theft. Some have speculated that Meese’s role in that decision was shaped, not only by his friendship with Brian, but the fact that his wife was a major investor in Brian’s business ventures. Meese would later become an adviser to Donald Trump when he was president-elect.

Inslaw was forced to declare bankruptcy as a result of Meese’s actions and sued the Justice Department. The court later found that the Meese-led department “took, converted, stole” the software through “trickery, fraud and deceit.”

With Inslaw out of the way, Brian sold the software all over the world. Eitan later recruited Robert Maxwell to become another Promis salesman, which he did remarkably well, even succeeding in selling the software to Soviet intelligence and conspiring with Republican Texas Senator John Tower to have the software adopted by the U.S. government laboratory at Los Alamos. Dozens of countries used the software on their most carefully guarded computer systems, unaware that Mossad now had access to everything Promis touched.

Whereas the Mossad’s past reliance on gathering intelligence had relied on the same tactics used by its equivalents in the U.S. and elsewhere, the widespread adoption of the Promis software, largely through the actions of Earl Brian and Robert Maxwell, gave the Mossad a way to gather not just troves of counterintelligence data, but also blackmail on other intelligence agencies and powerful figures.

Indeed, Promis’ backdoor and adoption by intelligence agencies all over the world essentially provided the Mossad with access to troves of blackmail that the CIA and FBI had acquired on their friends and foes for over half a century. Strangely, in recent years, the FBI has sought to hide information related to Robert Maxwell’s connection to the Promis scandal.

According to journalist Robert Fisk, Maxwell was also involved in the Mossad abduction of Israeli nuclear weapons whistleblower Vanunu Mordechai. Mordechai had attempted to provide the media with information on the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which was eventually published by the Sunday Times of London. Yet, Mordechai had also contacted the Daily Mirror with the information, the Mirror being an outlet that was owned by Maxwell and whose foreign editor was a close Maxwell associate and alleged Mossad asset, Nicholas Davies. Journalist Seymour Hersh alleged that Davies had also been involved in Israeli arms deals.

Per Fisk, it was Maxwell who contacted the Israeli Embassy in London and told them of Mordechai’s activities. This led to Mordechai’s entrapment by a female Mossad agent who seduced him as part of a “honey trap” operation that led to his kidnapping and later imprisonment in Israel. Mordechai served an 18-year sentence, 12 years of which were in solitary confinement.

Then, there is the issue of Maxwell’s death, widely cited by mainstream and independent media alike as suspicious and a potential homicide. According to authors Gordon Thomas and Martin Dillon, Maxwell had sealed his own fate when he attempted to threaten top Mossad officials with the exposure of certain operations if they did not help him rescue his media empire from crippling debt and financial difficulties. Many of Maxwell’s creditors, who had grown increasingly displeased with the media mogul, were Israeli and several of them were alleged to be Mossad-connected themselves.

Thomas and Dillon argue in their biography of Maxwell’s life that the Mossad felt that Maxwell had become more of a liability than an asset and killed him on his yacht three months after he demanded the bailout. On the other extreme are theories that suggest Maxwell committed suicide because of the financial difficulties his empire faced.

Mega Group Robert Maxwell death

Ghislaine Maxwell, far right, Robert Maxwell’s daughter, looks on his casket is unloaded from a plane in Jerusalem, Nov. 8, 1991. Heribert Proepper | AP

Some have taken Maxwell’s funeral held in Israel as the country’s “official” confirmation of Maxwell’s service to the Mossad, as it was likened to a state funeral and attended by no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence. During his funeral service in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized him and stated: “He has done more for Israel than can today be said.” Other eulogies were given by future Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert (then Health Minister) and Shimon Peres, with the latter also praising Maxwell’s “services” on behalf of Israel.

 

Swimming in the same swamp

As he built his business empire — and even became a member of Parliament, Maxwell was also doing work for Israeli intelligence, as several of the Israeli companies in which he invested became fronts for the Mossad. In addition, as he became a media mogul, he developed a bitter rivalry with Rupert Murdoch, a close friend of Roy Cohn and an influential figure in American and British media.

Maxwell also partnered with the Bronfman brothers, Edgar and Charles — key figures in the Mega Group. In 1989 Maxwell and Charles Bronfman partnered up to bid on the Jerusalem Post newspaper and the Post described the two men as “two of the world’s leading Jewish financiers” and their interest in the venture as “developing The Jerusalem Post and expanding its influence among world Jewry.” A year prior, Maxwell and Bronfman had become top shareholders in the Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva.

Maxwell also worked with Charles Bronfman’s brother Edgar in the late 1980s to convince the Soviet Union to allow Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Edgar’s efforts in this regard have received more attention, as it was a defining moment of his decades-long presidency of the World Jewish Congress, of which Ronald Lauder is currently president. Yet, Maxwell had also made considerable use of his contacts in the Soviet government in this effort.

Maxwell also moved in the circles of the network previously described in Parts I and II in this series. A key example of this is the May 1989 party Maxwell hosted on his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine — named for his youngest daughter and Epstein’s future “girlfriend.” Attendees of the party included Roy Cohn’s protege Donald Trump and his long-time law partner Tom Bolan. A close friend of Nancy Reagan was also present, journalist Mike Wallace, as was literary agent Mort Janklow, who represented Ronald Reagan and two of Cohn’s closest friends: journalists William Safire and Barbara Walters.

The CEO of what would soon become Time Warner, Steve Ross, was also invited to the exclusive event. Ross’ presence is notable, as he had built his business empire largely through his association with New York crime lords Manny Kimmel and Abner “Longy” Zwillman. Zwillman was a close friend of Meyer Lansky, Michael Steinhardt’s father, and Sam Bronfman, father of Edgar and Charles Bronfman.

Another attendee of the Maxwell yacht party was former Secretary of the Navy and former Henry Kissinger staffer Jon Lehman, who would go on to associate with the controversial neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century. Prior to being secretary of the Navy, Lehman had been president of the Abington Corporation, which hired arch-neocon Richard Perle to manage the portfolio of Israeli arms dealers Shlomo Zabludowicz and his son Chaim, who paid Ablington $10,000 month. A scandal arose when those payments continuedafter both Lehman and Perle joined the Reagan Department of Defense and while Perle was working to persuade the Pentagon to buy arms from companies linked to Zabludowicz. Perle had been part of the Reagan transition team along with Roy Cohn’s long-time friend and law partner Tom Bolan (another Maxwell yacht guest).

In addition to Lehman, another former Kissinger staffer, Thomas Pickering was present at Maxwell’s yacht part. Pickering played a minor role in the Iran-Contra affair and, at the time of the Maxwell yacht party, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel. Senator John Tower (R-TX), who allegedly conspired with Maxwell in the Mossad-bugged Promis software at the Los Alamos laboratories, was also present. Tower died just months before Maxwell in a suspicious plane crash.

Ghislaine Maxwell was also at this rather notable event. After her father’s mysterious death and alleged murder on the same yacht that bears her name in 1991, she quickly packed her bags and moved to New York City. There, she soon made the acquaintance of Jeffrey Epstein and, a few years later, developed close ties to the Clinton family, which will be discussed in the next installment of this series.

 

Jeffrey Epstein and the new “Promis”

After it was revealed that Epstein had evaded stricter sentencing in 2008 due to his links to “intelligence,” it was the Mossad ties of Ghislaine Maxwell’s father that have led many to speculate that Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation was sharing incriminating information with the Mossad. Former CBS executive producer and current journalist for the media outlet Narativ, Zev Shalev, has since claimed that he independently confirmed that Epstein was tied directly to the Mossad.

Trump Epstein Maxwell Mega Group

Donald and Melania Trump with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club, Palm Beach, Florida in 2000. Photo | Davidoff Studios

Epstein was a long-time friend of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who has long-standing and deep ties to Israel’s intelligence community. Their decades-long friendship has been the source of recent political attacks targeting Barak, who is running in the Israeli elections against current Prime Minister Netanyahu later this year.

Barak is also close to Epstein’s chief patron and Mega Group member Leslie Wexner, whose Wexner Foundation gave Barak $2 million in 2004 for a still unspecified research program. According to Barak, he was first introduced to Epstein by former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who eulogized Robert Maxwell at his funeral and had decades-long ties with the Bronfman family going back to the early 1950s. Peres was also a frequent participant in programs funded by Leslie Wexner in Israel and worked closely with the Mossad for decades.

In 2015, a few years after Epstein’s release from prison following his conviction for soliciting sex from a minor in 2008, Barak formed a company with Epstein with the chief purpose of investing in an Israeli start-up then known as Reporty. That company, now called Carbyne, sells its signature software to 911 call centers and emergency service providers and is also available to consumers as an app that provides emergency services with access to a caller’s camera and location and also runs any caller’s identity through any linked government database. It has specifically been marketed by the company itself and the Israeli press as a solution to mass shootings in the United States and is already being used by at least two U.S. counties.

Israeli media reported that Epstein and Barak were among the company’s largest investors. Barak poured millions into the company and it was recently revealed by Haaretz that a significant amount of Barak’s total investments in Carbyne was funded by Epstein, making him a “de facto partner” in the company. Barak is now Carbyne’s chairman.

The company’s executive team are all former members of different branches of Israeli intelligence, including the elite military intelligence unit, Unit 8200, that is often likened to Israel’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Carbyne’s current CEO, Amir Elichai, served in Unit 8200 and tapped former Unit 8200 commander Pinchas Buchris to serve as the company’s director and on its board. In addition to Elichai, another Carbyne co-founder, Lital Leshem, also served in Unit 8200 and later worked for Israeli private spy company Black Cube. Leshem now works for a subsidiary of Erik Prince’s company Frontier Services Group, according to the independent media outlet Narativ.

The company also includes several tie-ins to the Trump administration, including Palantir founder and Trump ally Peter Thiel — an investor in Carbyne. In addition, Carbyne’s board of advisers includes former Palantir employee Trae Stephens, who was a member of the Trump transition team, as well as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Trump donor and New York real-estate developer Eliot Tawill is also on Carbyne’s board, alongside Ehud Barak and Pinchas Buchris.

Narativ, which wrote the first expose on Carbyne after Epstein’s arrest, noted that the Chinese government uses a smartphone app very similar to Carbyne as part of its mass surveillance apparatus, even though the original purpose of the app was for improved emergency reporting. According to Narativ, the Chinese Carbyne-equivalent “monitors every aspect of a user’s life, including personal conversations, power usage, and tracks a user’s movement.”

Given the history of Robert Maxwell — the father of Epstein’s long-time “girlfriend” and young-girl-procuring madam, Ghislaine Maxwell — in promoting the sale of Carbyne’s modified Promis software, which was also marketed as a tool to improve government efficacy but was actually a tool of mass surveillance for the benefit of Israeli intelligence, the overlap between Carbyne and Promis is troubling and warrants further investigation.

It is also worth noting that Unit 8200-connected tech start-ups are being widely integrated into U.S. companies and have developed close ties to the U.S. military-industrial complex, with Carbyne being just one example of that trend.

As MintPress previously reported, Unit 8200-linked outfits like Team8 have recently hired former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers as a senior advisor and gained prominent Silicon Valley figures, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as key investors. Many American technology companies, from Intel to Google to Microsoft, have merged withseveral Unit 8200-connected start-ups in recent years and have been moving many key jobs and operations to Israel with backing from key Republican donors like Paul Singer. Many of those same companies, particularly Google and Microsoft, are also major U.S. government contractors.

 

Who was Epstein really working for?

Even though Jeffrey Epstein appears to have had ties to the Mossad, this series has revealed that the networks to which Epstein was connected were not Mossad-exclusive, as many of the individuals close to Epstein — Lesie Wexner, for instance — were part of a mob-connected class of oligarchs with deep ties to both the U.S. and Israel. As was discussed in Part I of this series, the sharing of “intelligence” (i.e., blackmail) between intelligence agencies and the same organized crime network connected to the Mega Group goes back decades. With Leslie Wexner of the Mega Group as Epstein’s chief patron, as opposed to a financier with direct ties to the Mossad, a similar relationship is more than likely in the case of the sexual blackmail operation that Epstein ran.

Given that intelligence agencies in both the U.S. and elsewhere often conduct covert operations for the benefit of oligarchs and large corporations as opposed to “national security interest,” Epstein’s ties to the Mega Group suggest that this group holds a unique status and influence in both the governments of the U.S. and of Israel, as well as in other countries (e.g., Russia) that were not explored in this report. This is by virtue of their role as key political donors in both countries, as well as the fact that several of them own powerful companies or financial institutions in both countries. Indeed, many members of the Mega Group have deep ties to Israel’s political class, including to Netanyahu and Ehud Barak as well as to now-deceased figures like Shimon Peres, and to members of the American political class.

Ultimately, the picture painted by the evidence is not a direct tie to a single intelligence agency but a web linking key members of the Mega Group, politicians, and officials in both the U.S. and Israel, and an organized-crime network with deep business and intelligence ties in both nations.

Though this series has so far focused on the ties of this network to main Republican Party affiliates, the next and final installment will reveal the ties developed between this web and the Clintons. As will be revealed, despite the Clintons’ willingness to embrace corrupt dealings during the span of their political careers, their mostly friendly relationship with this network still saw them use the power of sexual blackmail to obtain certain policy decisions that were favorable to their personal and financial interests but not to the Clintons’ political reputation or agendas.

Editor’s note | The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Rafi Eitan was interested in repurposing the American-made Promise software to restore his standing in Israel’s intelligence community caused by the fall-out from the Pollard Affair. The Pollard Affair occurred three years after Eitan had succeeded in repurposing the software and MintPress has removed that incorrect information from the article and regrets the error. 

This article also originally neglected to mention that Eitan, at the time of his collaboration with Earl Brian to repurpose the Promis software, was the director of the now-defunct Israeli military intelligence agency Lekem at the time of those events and that information has been added to the story.

Feature photo | Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

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