Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #981 The Ukrainian Fascist Foundation of the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op

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Hel­mets of the Ukrain­ian Azov bat­tal­ion

Intro­duc­tion: In FTR #967, we not­ed the Ukrain­ian fas­cist affil­i­a­tion of Andrei Arte­menko, a Ukrain­ian mem­ber of Par­lia­ment who worked with CIA and FBI-con­nect­ed Trump busi­ness asso­ciate Felix Sater. Alleged by our media and gov­ern­ment to have sig­ni­fied “Russ­ian influ­ence” on the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, this Sater/Artemenko gam­bit was actu­al­ly an ANTI-Russ­ian con­spir­a­cy.

In this pro­gram, we high­light the pro­found extent to which the “evi­dence” in the Rus­sia-Gate “inves­ti­ga­tion” tracks back to the very same OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions we have cov­ered in so many of our pre­vi­ous pro­grams:

  1. A sto­ry not­ing the prob­a­ble Dnipropetro­vsk ori­gin of the mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy appar­ent­ly facil­i­tat­ing North Kore­a’s guid­ed mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy doc­u­ment­ed the polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion of Igor Kolo­moisky [Kolo­moiskoy], gov­er­nor of the “Dnipro” dis­trict: ” . . . . So, among the Kolo­moisky-backed mili­tias was the Azov bat­tal­ion whose mem­bers marched with Swastikas and oth­er Nazi insignias. . . . . . . . In response to the reports of pos­si­ble Ukrain­ian col­lu­sion in North Korea’s mis­sile pro­gram, Olek­san­dr Turchynov, sec­re­tary of the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, issued a bizarre denial sug­gest­ing that The New York Times and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies were pawns of Rus­sia. . . . Press reports about Turchynov’s state­ment left out two salient facts: that as the inter­im Pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup, Turchynov ordered Right Sek­tor mil­i­tants to begin the bloody siege of rebel-held Slo­vian­sk, a key esca­la­tion in the con­flict, and that Turchynov was the one who appoint­ed Kolo­moisky to be the ruler of Dnipropetro­vsk.”
  2. The jour­nal­is­tic view­point on a Ukrain­ian hack­er alleged­ly used by “Russ­ian hack­ers” against the U.S. comes from  Anton Gerashchenko, part of the same milieu as Pravy Sek­tor, Azov, etc. Gerashchenko is, in fact, an apol­o­gist for Azov, as dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 803, 804, 808, 818:  . . . . Secu­ri­ty experts were ini­tial­ly left scratch­ing their heads when the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty on Dec. 29 released tech­ni­cal evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing that seemed to point not to Rus­sia, but rather to Ukraine. . . A mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the inter­ac­tion was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose, only lat­er learn­ing it was used in Russ­ian hack­ing. . . . It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers. . . .”
  3. Read­ing between the lines, an oth­er­wise char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly pro­pa­gan­dized New York Times arti­cle encap­su­lat­ed crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant infor­ma­tion: “. . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port. . . .”
  4. Exem­pli­fy­ing the Ukrain­ian fas­cists at the epi­cen­ter of “Rus­sia-Gate” are a group of Ukrain­ian hack­ers, work­ing in tan­dem with fas­cist politi­cians like the afore­men­tioned Anton Gerashchenko. The hacker/Ukrainian fas­cist link spawned the “Pro­pOrNot” list of “Russian/Kremlin/Putin” dupes in the U.S. media: This list was com­piled by the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice, inte­ri­or min­istry and–ahem–hackers: “. . . . One of the more fright­en­ing poli­cies enact­ed by the cur­rent oli­garch-nation­al­ist regime in Kiev is an online black­list [42] of jour­nal­ists accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with pro-Russ­ian ‘ter­ror­ists.’ [43]  The web­site, ‘Myrotvorets’ [43] or ‘Peacemaker’—was set up by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence and police, all of which tend to share the same ultra­na­tion­al­ist ide­olo­gies as Paru­biy and the new­ly-appoint­ed neo-Nazi chief of the Nation­al Police. . . . The web­site is designed to fright­en and muz­zle jour­nal­ists from report­ing any­thing but the pro-nation­al­ist par­ty line, and it has the back­ing of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, spies and police—including the SBU (Ukraine’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB), the pow­er­ful Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Avakov and his noto­ri­ous far-right deputy, Anton Geraschenko. Ukraine’s jour­nal­ist black­list web­site—oper­at­ed by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence—led to a rash of death threats against the doxxed jour­nal­ists, whose email address­es, phone num­bers and oth­er pri­vate infor­ma­tion was post­ed anony­mous­ly to the web­site. . . .”
  5. A Ukrain­ian activist named Alexan­dra Chalu­pa has been instru­men­tal in dis­trib­ut­ing the “Rus­sia did it” dis­in­for­ma­tion to Hillary Clin­ton and influ­enc­ing the progress of the dis­in­for­ma­tion in the media. ” . . . . One of the key media sources [46] who blamed the DNC hacks on Rus­sia, ramp­ing up fears of cryp­to-Putin­ist infil­tra­tion, is a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist work­ing for the DNC. She is Alexan­dra Chalupa—described as the head of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Committee’s oppo­si­tion research on Rus­sia and on Trump, and founder and pres­i­dent of the Ukrain­ian lob­by group ‘US Unit­ed With Ukraine Coali­tion’ [47], which lob­bied hard to pass a 2014 bill increas­ing loans and mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, impos­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sians, and tight­ly align­ing US and Ukraine geostrate­gic inter­ests. . . . In one leaked DNC email [50] ear­li­er this year, Chalu­pa boasts to DNC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Luis Miran­da that she brought Isikoff to a US-gov­ern­ment spon­sored Wash­ing­ton event fea­tur­ing 68 Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists, where Chalu­pa was invit­ed ‘to speak specif­i­cal­ly about Paul Man­afort.’ In turn, Isikoff named her as the key inside source [46] ‘prov­ing’ that the Rus­sians were behind the hacks, and that Trump’s cam­paign was under the spell of Krem­lin spies and sor­cer­ers. . . .”
  6. Alleged “Russ­ian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 as a prob­a­ble “advance man” for regimes tar­get­ed for destabilization–may well have been the per­son who rec­om­mend­ed to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors. It was that gun­fire that sig­nalled the end of Yanukovich’s gov­ern­ment. This rein­forces Mr. Emory’s take on Man­afort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter, [since con­firmed as gen­uine, at least in part–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: ‘Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.’ It con­tin­ued ‘You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.’ . . . .”
  7. Rein­forc­ing the hypoth­e­sis that the Maid­an shoot­ings were a provo­ca­tion is the dis­clo­sure by Ukraine’s chief pros­e­cu­tor that the rifles alleged­ly used to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors were recov­ered by an alleged Yanukovich oper­a­tive and leader of the snipers who was one of the demon­stra­tors on the Maid­an! “ . . . Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests. ‘With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hun­dred,’ includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel. . . . ‘We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hun­dred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,’ Lut­senko said. . . . ”
  8. The sniper activ­i­ty in the Maid­an must be weighed against the fact that Nazi-linked ele­ments from the Azov milieu were serv­ing as snipers in Kiev at the time. Were they con­nect­ed to the shoot­ings of demon­stra­tors?
  9. The sup­posed “evi­dence” of Russ­ian hack­ing in the U.S. elec­tion comes from Crowd­Strike, whose co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer–Dmit­ry Alper­ovitch–is deeply tied to the NATO/OUN/B milieu installed in pow­er in Ukraine: ” . . . . Dmitri Alper­ovitch is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil. The con­nec­tion between Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Council—which is is fund­ed in part by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da. . . .”

Emblem of the Ukrain­ian Azov Bat­tal­ion

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. Infor­ma­tion sup­ple­ment­ing the dis­cus­sion from FTR #967 con­cern­ing attempts by the OUN/B suc­ces­sor orga­ni­za­tions to oust Poroshenko.
  2. Efforts by Yulia Tymoshenko to pass infor­ma­tion about Poroshenko to U.S. author­i­ties.
  3. The role of for­mer Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence chief, Pravy Sek­tor inti­mate Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko in Tymoshenko’s efforts.
  4. The role of Naly­vaichenko in pro­vid­ing dirt on Poroshenko to Arte­menko
  5. The role of Atlantic Coun­cil financier Vik­tor Pinchuk in advanc­ing “peace plans” being attrib­uted to “Russia/Putin/the Kremlin/dupes of same.”

1. Robert Par­ry high­lights a crit­i­cal fea­ture of the trans­fer of Ukrain­ian ICBM tech­nol­o­gy to North Korea. Dnipropetro­vsk, where a finan­cial­ly dis­tressed mis­sile fac­to­ry resides, had Ukrain­ian oli­garch Igor Kolo­moisky as gov­er­nor, begin­ning in 2014 just after the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion.

Kolo­moisky is a strong backer of neo-Nazi ele­ments of the Ukrain­ian mili­tia units that are promi­nent in the mil­i­tary con­flict in East­ern Ukraine–the Azov bat­tal­ion in par­tic­u­lar.

Azov’s polit­i­cal front, Nation­al Corp, recent­ly formed a far-right union, along with Right Sector/Pravy Sek­tor and Svo­bo­da, call­ing for: an end to the coun­try’s attempts to move clos­er to the EU; instead form­ing a “Euro­pean Union with the Baltic States;” Ukraine to acquire its own nuclear arse­nal.

As Par­ry also notes below, it was Kolomoisky’s oper­a­tion in Dnipro that has come under sus­pi­cion for a pos­si­ble role in the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. That may well have been a rogue Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary oper­a­tion authored by neo-Nazi mili­tias oper­at­ing in that area–they had access to the anti-air­craft mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy used to down the air­craft.

A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Mis­siles?” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 08/15/2017

U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts report­ed­ly have traced North Korea’s leap for­ward in cre­at­ing an inter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile capa­ble of strik­ing U.S. ter­ri­to­ry to a decay­ing Ukrain­ian rock­et-engine fac­to­ry whose alleged role could lift the cov­er off oth­er sup­pressed mys­ter­ies relat­ed to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev.

Because the 2014 coup – over­throw­ing elect­ed Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych – was part­ly orches­trat­ed by the U.S. government’s influ­en­tial neo­con­ser­v­a­tives and warm­ly embraced by the West’s main­stream media, many of the ugly fea­tures of the Kiev regime have been down­played or ignored, includ­ing the fact that cor­rupt oli­garch Igor Kolo­moisky was put in charge of the area where the impli­cat­ed fac­to­ry was locat­ed.

As the region’s gov­er­nor, the thug­gish Kolo­moisky found­ed armed mili­tias of Ukrain­ian extrem­ists, includ­ing neo-Nazis, who spear­head­ed the vio­lence against eth­nic Rus­sians in east­ern provinces, which had vot­ed heav­i­ly for Yanukovych and tried to resist his vio­lent over­throw.

Kolo­moisky, who has triple cit­i­zen­ship from Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel, was even­tu­al­ly oust­ed as gov­er­nor of Dnipropetro­vsk (now called Dnipro) on March 25, 2015, after a show­down with Ukraine’s cur­rent Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko over con­trol of the state-owned ener­gy com­pa­ny, but by then Kolomoisky’s team had put its cor­rupt mark on the region.

At the time of the Kolo­moisky-Poroshenko show­down, Valen­tyn Naly­vay­chenko, chief of the State Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, accused Dnipropetro­vsk offi­cials of financ­ing armed gangs and threat­en­ing inves­ti­ga­tors, Bloomberg News report­ed, while not­ing that Ukraine had sunk to 142nd place out of 175 coun­tries in Trans­paren­cy International’s Cor­rup­tions Per­cep­tion Index, the worst in Europe.

Even ear­li­er in Kolomoisky’s bru­tal reign, Dnipropetro­vsk had become the cen­ter for the vio­lent intrigue that has plagued Ukraine for the past sev­er­al years, includ­ing the dis­patch of neo-Nazi mili­tias to kill eth­nic Rus­sians who then turned to Rus­sia for sup­port.

Tol­er­at­ing Nazis

Yet, pro­tect­ed by the waves of anti-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da sweep­ing across the West, Kolomoisky’s crowd saw few rea­sons for restraint. So, among the Kolo­moisky-backed mili­tias was the Azov bat­tal­ion whose mem­bers marched with Swastikas and oth­er Nazi insignias.

Iron­i­cal­ly, the same West­ern media which hearti­ly has con­demned neo-Nazi and white-nation­al­ist vio­lence in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, adopt­ed a much more tol­er­ant atti­tude toward Ukraine’s neo-Nazism even as those mil­i­tants mur­dered scores of eth­nic Rus­sians in Odessa in May 2014 and attacked eth­nic Russ­ian com­mu­ni­ties in the east where thou­sands more died.

When it came to Ukraine, The New York Times and oth­er main­stream out­lets were so ded­i­cat­ed to their anti-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da that they veered between min­i­miz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of the neo-Nazi mili­tias and treat­ing them as bul­warks of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion.

For instance, on Feb. 11, 2015, the Times pub­lished a long arti­cle by Rick Lyman that pre­sent­ed the sit­u­a­tion in the port city of Mar­i­upol as if the advance by eth­nic Russ­ian rebels amount­ed to the arrival of bar­bar­ians at the gate while the inhab­i­tants were being brave­ly defend­ed by the forces of civ­i­liza­tion. But then the arti­cle cit­ed the key role in that defense played by the Azov bat­tal­ion.

Though the arti­cle pro­vid­ed much col­or and detail and quot­ed an Azov leader promi­nent­ly, it left out the fact that the Azov bat­tal­ion was com­posed of neo-Nazis.

This incon­ve­nient truth that neo-Nazis were cen­tral to Ukraine’s “self-defense forces” would have dis­rupt­ed the desired pro­pa­gan­da mes­sage about “Russ­ian aggres­sion.” After all, wouldn’t many Amer­i­cans and Euro­peans under­stand why Rus­sia, which suf­fered some 27 mil­lion dead in World War II, might be sen­si­tive to neo-Nazis killing eth­nic Rus­sians on Russia’s bor­der?

So, in Lyman’s arti­cle, the Times ignored Azov’s well-known neo-Nazism and referred to it sim­ply as a “vol­un­teer unit.”

In oth­er cas­es, the Times casu­al­ly brushed past the key role of fas­cist mil­i­tants. In July 2015, the Times pub­lished a curi­ous­ly upbeat sto­ry about the good news that Islam­ic mil­i­tants had joined with far-right and neo-Nazi bat­tal­ions to kill eth­nic Russ­ian rebels.

The arti­cle by Andrew E. Kramer report­ed that there were three Islam­ic bat­tal­ions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around Mar­i­upol. One of the bat­tal­ions was head­ed by a for­mer Chechen war­lord who went by the name “Mus­lim,” Kramer wrote, adding:

“The Chechen com­mands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-cen­tu­ry Chechen resis­tance fig­ure. It is sub­or­di­nate to the nation­al­ist Right Sec­tor, a Ukrain­ian mili­tia. Right Sec­tor formed dur­ing last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist groups like White Ham­mer and the Tri­dent of Stepan Ban­dera.

“Anoth­er, the Azov group, is open­ly neo-Nazi, using the Wolf’s Hook’ sym­bol asso­ci­at­ed with the [Nazi] SS. With­out address­ing the issue of the Nazi sym­bol, the Chechen said he got along well with the nation­al­ists because, like him, they loved their home­land and hat­ed the Rus­sians.”

Rock­ets for North Korea

The Times encoun­tered anoth­er dis­com­fort­ing real­i­ty on Mon­day when cor­re­spon­dents William J. Broad and David E. Sanger described U.S. intel­li­gence assess­ments point­ing to North Korea’s like­ly source of its new and more pow­er­ful rock­et engines as a Ukrain­ian fac­to­ry in Dnipro.

Of course, the Times bent over back­ward to sug­gest that the blame might still fall on Rus­sia even though Dnipro is a strong­hold of some of Ukraine’s most mil­i­tant­ly anti-Russ­ian politi­cians and although U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts have cen­tered their sus­pi­cions on a Ukrain­ian-gov­ern­ment-owned fac­to­ry there, known as Yuzh­mash.

So, it would seem clear that cor­rupt Ukrain­ian offi­cials, pos­si­bly in cahoots with finan­cial­ly pressed exec­u­tives or employ­ees of Yuzh­mash, are the like­li­est sus­pects in the smug­gling of these rock­et engines to North Korea.

Even the Times couldn’t dodge that real­i­ty, say­ing: “Gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tors and experts have focused their inquiries on a mis­sile fac­to­ry in Dnipro, Ukraine.” But the Times added that Dnipro is “on the edge of the ter­ri­to­ry where Rus­sia is fight­ing a low-lev­el war to break off part of Ukraine” – to sug­gest that the Rus­sians some­how might have snuck into the fac­to­ry, stolen the engines and smug­gled them to North Korea.

But the Times also cit­ed the view of mis­sile expert Michael Elle­man, who addressed North Korea’s sud­den access to more pow­er­ful engines in a study issued this week by the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies.

“It’s like­ly that these engines came from Ukraine — prob­a­bly illic­it­ly,” [mis­sile expert Michael Elle­man said in an inter­view with the Times. “The big ques­tion is how many they have and whether the Ukraini­ans are help­ing them now. I’m very wor­ried.” . . .  .

. . . . Yet, while the Ukraine cri­sis may have reduced liv­ing stan­dards for aver­age Ukraini­ans, it was an impor­tant cat­a­lyst in the cre­ation of the New Cold War between Wash­ing­ton and Moscow, which offers lucra­tive oppor­tu­ni­ties for U.S. mil­i­tary con­trac­tors and their many think-tank apol­o­gists despite increas­ing the risk of nuclear war for the rest of us. . . . .

The MH-17 Case, Kolomoisky’s oper­a­tion in Dnipro also has come under sus­pi­cion for a pos­si­ble role in the shoot-down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. Accord­ing to a source briefed by U.S. intel­li­gence ana­lysts, Dnipro was the cen­ter of a plot to use a pow­er­ful anti-air­craft mis­sile to shoot down Putin’s offi­cial plane on a return flight from South Amer­i­ca, but instead – after Putin’s plane took a more norther­ly route – the mis­sile brought down MH-17, killing all 298 peo­ple aboard.

For rea­sons that have still not been explained, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion sup­pressed U.S. intel­li­gence reports on the MH-17 tragedy and instead joined in pin­ning the shoot-down on eth­nic Russ­ian rebels and, by impli­ca­tion, Putin and his gov­ern­ment.

In the West, the MH-17 shoot-down became a cause cele­bre, gen­er­at­ing a pow­er­ful pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign to demo­nize Putin and Rus­sia – and push Europe into join­ing sanc­tions against Moscow. Few peo­ple dared ques­tion Rus­sia alleged guilt even though the Rus­sia-did-it argu­ments were full of holes. [See here and here.] . . . .

. . . . In response to the reports of pos­si­ble Ukrain­ian col­lu­sion in North Korea’s mis­sile pro­gram, Olek­san­dr Turchynov, sec­re­tary of the Ukrain­ian nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, issued a bizarre denial sug­gest­ing that The New York Times and U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies were pawns of Rus­sia.

“This infor­ma­tion [about North Korea pos­si­bly obtain­ing rock­et engines from Ukraine] is not based on any grounds, provoca­tive by its con­tent, and most like­ly pro­voked by Russ­ian secret ser­vices to cov­er their own crimes,” Turchynov said.

Press reports about Turchynov’s state­ment left out two salient facts: that as the inter­im Pres­i­dent fol­low­ing the Feb­ru­ary 2014 coup, Turchynov ordered Right Sek­tor mil­i­tants to begin the bloody siege of rebel-held Slo­vian­sk, a key esca­la­tion in the con­flict, and that Turchynov was the one who appoint­ed Kolo­moisky to be the ruler of Dnipropetro­vsk.

2. We are being told that a Ukrain­ian hack­er, nick­named “The Pro­fex­er” was the cre­ator of the mal­ware alleged­ly used in the high-pro­file hacks.

The asser­tion that the Pro­fex­er was paid by Russ­ian hack­ers to write cus­tom mal­ware comes from Anton Gerashchenko, a far-right mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices and an open apol­o­gist for the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

And accord­ing to Mr. Gerashchenko, the inter­ac­tion the Prefex­or had with the ‘Russ­ian hack­ers’ was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose.

As the arti­cle also notes, how­ev­er, “It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers, but it was iden­ti­fied in oth­er Russ­ian hack­ing efforts in the Unit­ed States.”

The cen­tral point here involves Pro­fex­er’s claims to have writ­ten soft­ware for the Russ­ian hack­ers who “hacked” the DNC.

Aside from the fact that the DNC may not have been “hacked” at all, the P.A.S. web shell tool the Pro­fex­er wrote that was cit­ed in the “Griz­zly Steppe” report  was an out­dat­ed ver­sion of P.A.S. web shell.

Unless there’s more infor­ma­tion yet to come along this line of inquiry, it appears that the pri­ma­ry crim­i­nal activ­i­ty that the Pro­fex­er wit­nessed was the his own qua­si-crime of cre­at­ing “cus­tomized mal­ware” for an anony­mous group that may or may not have been used in the DNC hacks. Based on this com­pelling evi­dence it appears we can nar­row the cul­prits down to…pretty much any hack­er. Huz­zah!

It’s clear that the P.A.S. web shell mal­ware that was used in the DNC hacks wasn’t cus­tomized. Because it was already an out­dat­ed ver­sion of P.A.S. web shell.

The arti­cle also notes that the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has hand­ed over to the FBI serv­er images of the Ukrain­ian Elec­tion Com­mis­sion serv­er that was hacked in 2014 dur­ing a high pro­file hack sus­pect­ed to be the work of Russ­ian gov­ern­ment agents.

That hack cre­at­ed mate­r­i­al tout­ing Dmit­ry Yarosh–the head of Pravy Sek­tor (“Right Sec­tor”) as the vic­tor in the Ukrain­ian elec­tions of 2014.

“In Ukraine, a Mal­ware Expert Who Could Blow the Whis­tle on Russ­ian Hack­ing” by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Hig­gins; The New York Times; 08/16/2017

The hack­er, known only by his online alias “Pro­fex­er,” kept a low pro­file.He wrote com­put­er code alone in an apart­ment and qui­et­ly sold his hand­i­work on the anony­mous por­tion of the inter­net known as the dark web. Last win­ter, he sud­den­ly went dark entire­ly.

Profexer’s posts, already acces­si­ble only to a small band of fel­low hack­ers and cyber­crim­i­nals look­ing for soft­ware tips, blinked out in Jan­u­ary — just days after Amer­i­can intel­li­gence agen­cies pub­licly iden­ti­fied a pro­gram he had writ­ten as one tool used in Russ­ian hack­ing in the Unit­ed States. . . . .

But while Profexer’s online per­sona van­ished, a flesh-and-blood per­son has emerged: a fear­ful man who the Ukrain­ian police said turned him­self in ear­ly this year, and has now become a wit­ness for the F.B.I.

“I don’t know what will hap­pen,” he wrote in one of his last mes­sages post­ed on a restrict­ed-access web­site before going to the police. “It won’t be pleas­ant. But I’m still alive.” 

It is the first known instance of a liv­ing wit­ness emerg­ing from the arid mass of tech­ni­cal detail that has so far shaped the inves­ti­ga­tion into the elec­tion hack­ing and the heat­ed debate it has stirred.The Ukrain­ian police declined to divulge the man’s name or oth­er details, oth­er than that he is liv­ing in Ukraine and has not been arrest­ed.

There is no evi­dence that Pro­fex­er worked, at least know­ing­ly, for Russia’s intel­li­gence ser­vices, but his mal­ware appar­ent­ly did. . . .

 . . . . “There is not now and nev­er has been a sin­gle piece of tech­ni­cal evi­dence pro­duced that con­nects the mal­ware used in the D.N.C. attack to the G.R.U., F.S.B. or any agency of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment,” said Jef­frey Carr, the author of a book on cyber­war­fare. The G.R.U. is Russia’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency, and the F.S.B. its fed­er­al secu­ri­ty ser­vice. . . .

. . . . Secu­ri­ty experts were ini­tial­ly left scratch­ing their heads when the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty on Dec. 29 released tech­ni­cal evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing that seemed to point not to Rus­sia, but rather to Ukraine.

In this ini­tial report, the depart­ment released only one sam­ple of mal­ware said to be an indi­ca­tor of Russ­ian state-spon­sored hack­ing, though out­side experts said a vari­ety of mali­cious pro­grams were used in Russ­ian elec­toral hack­ing.

The sam­ple point­ed to a mal­ware pro­gram, called the P.A.S. web shell, a hack­ing tool adver­tised on Russ­ian-lan­guage dark web forums and used by cyber­crim­i­nals through­out the for­mer Sovi­et Union. The author, Pro­fex­er, is a well-regard­ed tech­ni­cal expert among hack­ers, spo­ken about with awe and respect in Kiev.

He had made it avail­able to down­load, free, from a web­site that asked only for dona­tions, rang­ing from $3 to $250. The real mon­ey was made by sell­ing cus­tomized ver­sions and by guid­ing his hack­er clients in its effec­tive use. It remains unclear how exten­sive­ly he inter­act­ed with the Russ­ian hack­ing team.

After the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty iden­ti­fied his cre­ation, he quick­ly shut down his web­site and post­ed on a closed forum for hack­ers, called Exploit, that “I’m not inter­est­ed in exces­sive atten­tion to me per­son­al­ly.”

Soon, a hint of pan­ic appeared, and he post­ed a note say­ing that, six days on, he was still alive.

Anoth­er hack­er, with the nick­name Zloi San­ta, or Bad San­ta, sug­gest­ed the Amer­i­cans would cer­tain­ly find him, and place him under arrest, per­haps dur­ing a lay­over at an air­port.

“It could be, or it could not be, it depends only on pol­i­tics,” Pro­fex­er respond­ed. “If U.S. law enforce­ment wants to take me down, they will not wait for me in some country’s air­port. Rela­tions between our coun­tries are so tight I would be arrest­ed in my kitchen, at the first request.”

In fact, Ser­hiy Demediuk, chief of the Ukrain­ian Cyber Police, said in an inter­view that Pro­fex­er went to the author­i­ties him­self. As the coop­er­a­tion began, Pro­fex­er went dark on hack­er forums. He last post­ed online on Jan. 9. Mr. Demediuk said he had made the wit­ness avail­able to the F.B.I., which has post­ed a full-time cyber­se­cu­ri­ty expert in Kiev as one of four bureau agents sta­tioned at the Unit­ed States Embassy there. The F.B.I. declined to com­ment.

Pro­fex­er was not arrest­ed because his activ­i­ties fell in a legal gray zone, as an author but not a user of mal­ware, the Ukrain­ian police say. But he did know the users, at least by their online han­dles. “He told us he didn’t cre­ate it to be used in the way it was,” Mr. Demediuk said.

A mem­ber of Ukraine’s Par­lia­ment with close ties to the secu­ri­ty ser­vices, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the inter­ac­tion was online or by phone and that the Ukrain­ian pro­gram­mer had been paid to write cus­tomized mal­ware with­out know­ing its pur­pose, only lat­er learn­ing it was used in Russ­ian hack­ing.

Mr. Gerashchenko described the author only in broad strokes, to pro­tect his safe­ty, as a young man from a provin­cial Ukrain­ian city. He con­firmed that the author turned him­self in to the police and was coop­er­at­ing as a wit­ness in the D.N.C. inves­ti­ga­tion. . . .

. . . . It is not clear whether the spe­cif­ic mal­ware the pro­gram­mer cre­at­ed was used to hack the D.N.C. servers. . . .

. . . . Includ­ed in this shar­ing of infor­ma­tion were copies of the serv­er hard dri­ves of Ukraine’s Cen­tral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, which were tar­get­ed dur­ing a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in May 2014. That the F.B.I. had obtained evi­dence of this ear­li­er, Russ­ian-linked elec­toral hack has not been pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed.

Traces of the same mali­cious code, this time a pro­gram called Sofa­cy, were seen in the 2014 attack in Ukraine and lat­er in the D.N.C. intru­sion in the Unit­ed States. . . .

. . . . . Hack­ers had loaded onto a Ukrain­ian elec­tion com­mis­sion serv­er a graph­ic mim­ic­k­ing the page for dis­play­ing results. This pho­ny page showed a shock­er of an out­come: an elec­tion win for a fierce­ly anti-Russ­ian, ultra­right can­di­date, Dmytro Yarosh. Mr. Yarosh in real­i­ty received less than 1 per­cent of the vote.

The false result would have played into a Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da nar­ra­tive that Ukraine today is ruled by hard-right, even fas­cist, fig­ures. . . .

. . . . A Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment researcher who stud­ied the hack, Niko­lai Koval, pub­lished his find­ings in a 2015 book, “Cyber­war in Per­spec­tive,” and iden­ti­fied the Sofa­cy mal­ware on the serv­er.

The mir­ror of the hard dri­ve went to the F.B.I., which had this foren­sic sam­ple when the cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­ny Crowd­Strike iden­ti­fied the same mal­ware two years lat­er, on the D.N.C. servers.

. . . .Ukraine’s Cyber Police have also pro­vid­ed the F.B.I. with copies of serv­er hard dri­ves show­ing the pos­si­ble ori­gins of some phish­ing emails tar­get­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty dur­ing the elec­tion. . . .

3. Note the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices’ appar­ent role in the “inves­ti­ga­tion” into Rus­sia-Gate. Not­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance of an arrest­ed Ukrain­ian hack­er and quot­ing the afore­men­tioned Olek­sander Turchynov, a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly slant­ed New York Times arti­cle notes that: ” . . . . . . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port. . . . [The “evi­dence” comes from Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty services–D.E.]”

“Schooled in Scan­dal: What Makes Ukraine a Hotbed of Intrigue” by Andrew Hig­gins and Andrew E. Kramer; The New York Times; 10/7/2017.

. . . . The arrest of Gen­na­di Kap­kanov, 33, a Russ­ian-born Ukrain­ian hack­er, and the take­down of Avalanche, a vast net­work of com­put­ers he and his con­fed­er­ates were accused of hijack­ing through mal­ware and turn­ing into a glob­al crim­i­nal enter­prise, won a rare round of applause for Ukraine from its fre­quent­ly dispir­it­ed West­ern back­ers.

By the fol­low­ing day, how­ev­er, Mr. Kap­kanov had dis­ap­peared.

A judge in a dis­trict court in Polta­va turned down a pros­e­cu­tion request that he be held in pre­ven­tive cus­tody for 40 days, and ordered him set free. Mr. Kap­kanov has not been seen since. . . .

. . . . “Why is there so much noise around Ukraine? Because Ukraine is the epi­cen­ter of the con­fronta­tion between the West­ern demo­c­ra­t­ic world and author­i­tar­i­an, total­i­tar­i­an states,” Olek­san­dr Turchynov, the head of Ukraine’s nation­al secu­ri­ty and defense coun­cil, said in an inter­view. . . .

. . . . While still polit­i­cal­ly influ­enced, Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment is no longer a swamp of incom­pe­tence and cor­rup­tion. It has been able to mon­i­tor Mr. Man­afort’s for­mer busi­ness asso­ciates and turn up evi­dence of Russ­ian hack­ing in the 2016 Unit­ed States elec­tion, in part owing to Amer­i­can sup­port.

The C.I.A. tore out a Russ­ian-pro­vid­ed cell­phone sur­veil­lance sys­tem, and put in Amer­i­can-sup­plied com­put­ers, said Vik­to­ria Gor­buz, a for­mer head of liai­son at the S.B.U.

Ms. Gor­buz’s depart­ment trans­lat­ed tele­phone inter­cepts from the new sys­tem and for­ward­ed them to the Amer­i­cans.

It is unclear whether any phone inter­cepts rel­e­vant to the elec­tion med­dling inves­ti­ga­tion have gone to the Amer­i­can author­i­ties. But a Ukrain­ian law enforce­ment offi­cial has giv­en jour­nal­ists par­tial phone records of for­mer asso­ciates of Mr. Man­afiort. . . .

4. A key ele­ment of analy­sis is an impor­tant arti­cle in The Nation by James Car­den. This sto­ry points out that a num­ber of cyber-secu­ri­ty experts are skep­ti­cal of the offi­cial find­ings.

Fur­ther­more the sto­ry points out that Crowd­strike is head­ed by Dmitri Alper­ovitch a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil, which is fund­ed, in part, by the State Depart­ment, NATO, Lithua­nia, Latvia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress and Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk!

” . . . . Yet despite the scores of breath­less media pieces that assert that Russia’s inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion is ‘case closed,‘might some skep­ti­cism be in order? Some cyber experts say ‘yes.’ . . . Cyber-secu­ri­ty experts have also weighed in. The secu­ri­ty edi­tor at Ars Tech­ni­ca observed that ‘Instead of pro­vid­ing smok­ing guns that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was behind spe­cif­ic hacks,’ the gov­ern­ment report ‘large­ly restates pre­vi­ous pri­vate sec­tor claims with­out pro­vid­ing any sup­port for their valid­i­ty.’ Robert M. Lee of the cyber-secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny Dra­gos not­ed that the report ‘reads like a poor­ly done ven­dor intel­li­gence report string­ing togeth­er var­i­ous aspects of attri­bu­tion with­out evi­dence.’ Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty con­sul­tant Jef­frey Carr not­ed that the report ‘mere­ly list­ed every threat group ever report­ed on by a com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­ny that is sus­pect­ed of being Russ­ian-made and lumped them under the head­ing of Russ­ian Intel­li­gence Ser­vices (RIS) with­out pro­vid­ing any sup­port­ing evi­dence that such a con­nec­tion exists.’ . . .”

“In this respect, it is worth not­ing that one of the com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment has relied on is Crowd­strike, which was one of the com­pa­nies ini­tial­ly brought in by the DNC to inves­ti­gate the alleged hacks.”

” . . . . Dmitri Alper­ovitch is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil. . . . The con­nec­tion between [Crowd­strike co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer Dmitri] Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Coun­cil—which is is fund­ed in part by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da. . . .

 “Is Skep­ti­cism Trea­son?” by James Car­den; The Nation; 1/3/2017.

. . . . In this respect, it is worth not­ing that one of the com­mer­cial cyber­se­cu­ri­ty com­pa­nies the gov­ern­ment has relied on is Crowd­strike, which was one of the com­pa­nies ini­tial­ly brought in by the DNC to inves­ti­gate the alleged hacks.

In late Decem­ber, Crowd­strike released a large­ly debunked report claim­ing that the same Russ­ian mal­ware that was used to hack the DNC has been used by Russ­ian intel­li­gence to tar­get Ukrain­ian artillery posi­tions. Crowdstrike’s co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer, Dmitri Alper­ovitch, told PBS, “Ukraine’s artillery men were tar­get­ed by the same hackers…that tar­get­ed DNC, but this time they were tar­get­ing cell­phones [belong­ing to the Ukrain­ian artillery men] to try to under­stand their loca­tion so that the Russ­ian artillery forces can actu­al­ly tar­get them in the open bat­tle.”

Dmitri Alper­ovitch is also a senior fel­low at the Atlantic Coun­cil.

The con­nec­tion between Alper­ovitch and the Atlantic Coun­cil has gone large­ly unre­marked upon, but it is rel­e­vant giv­en that the Atlantic Council—which is is fund­ed in part by the US State Depart­ment, NATO, the gov­ern­ments of Latvia and Lithua­nia, the Ukrain­ian World Con­gress, and the Ukrain­ian oli­garch Vic­tor Pinchuk—has been among the loud­est voic­es call­ing for a new Cold War with Rus­sia. As I point­ed out in the pages of The Nation in Novem­ber, the Atlantic Coun­cil has spent the past sev­er­al years pro­duc­ing some of the most vir­u­lent spec­i­mens of the new Cold War pro­pa­gan­da.

It would seem then that a healthy amount of skep­ti­cism toward a gov­ern­ment report that relied, in part, on the find­ings of pri­vate-sec­tor cyber secu­ri­ty com­pa­nies like Crowd­strike might be in order. And yet skep­tics have found them­selves in the unen­vi­able posi­tion of being accused of being Krem­lin apol­o­gists, or worse. . . .

 5. The OUN/B milieu in the U.S. has appar­ent­ly been instru­men­tal in gen­er­at­ing the “Rus­sia did it” dis­in­for­ma­tion about the high-pro­file hacks. In the Alternet.org arti­cle, Mark Ames high­lights sev­er­al points:

“The Anony­mous Black­list Quot­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Post Has Appar­ent Ties to Ukrain­ian Fas­cism and CIA Spy­ing” by Mark Ames; Alternet.org; 12/7/2016.

  • Emblem of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion

    Emblem of the Ukrain­ian Azov Bat­tal­ion

    The “Pro­pOrNot” group quot­ed in a Wash­ing­ton Post sto­ry tag­ging media out­lets, web­sites and blogs as “Russian/Kremlin stooges/propaganda tools/agents” is linked to the OUN/B heirs now in pow­er in Ukraine. ” . . . One Pro­pOrNot tweet, dat­ed Novem­ber 17, invokes a 1940s Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute “Hero­iam Sla­va!!” [17] to cheer a news item on Ukrain­ian hack­ers fight­ing Rus­sians. The phrase means “Glo­ry to the heroes” and it was for­mal­ly intro­duced by the fas­cist Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) at their March-April 1941 con­gress in Nazi occu­pied Cra­cow, as they pre­pared to serve as Nazi aux­il­iaries in Oper­a­tion Bar­barossa. . . . ‘the OUN‑B intro­duced anoth­er Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute at the Sec­ond Great Con­gress of the Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists in Cra­cow in March and April 1941. This was the most pop­u­lar Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute and had to be per­formed accord­ing to the instruc­tions of the OUN‑B lead­er­ship by rais­ing the right arm ‘slight­ly to the right, slight­ly above the peak of the head’ while call­ing ‘Glo­ry to Ukraine!’ (Sla­va Ukraїni!) and respond­ing ‘Glo­ry to the Heroes!’ (Hero­iam Sla­va!). . . .”

  • The OUN/B heirs rul­ing Ukraine com­piled a list of jour­nal­ists who were “Russian/Kremlin stooges/propaganda tools/agents,” includ­ing per­son­al data and con­tact infor­ma­tion (like that made pub­lic in the Wik­iLeaks data dump of DNC e‑mails). This list was com­piled by the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice, inte­ri­or min­istry and–ahem–hackers: “. . . . One of the more fright­en­ing poli­cies enact­ed by the cur­rent oli­garch-nation­al­ist regime in Kiev is an online black­list [42] of jour­nal­ists accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with pro-Russ­ian ‘ter­ror­ists.’ [43]  The web­site, ‘Myrotvorets’ [43] or ‘Peacemaker’—was set up by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intel­li­gence and police, all of which tend to share the same ultra­na­tion­al­ist ide­olo­gies as Paru­biy and the new­ly-appoint­ed neo-Nazi chief of the Nation­al Police. . . . The web­site is designed to fright­en and muz­zle jour­nal­ists from report­ing any­thing but the pro-nation­al­ist par­ty line, and it has the back­ing of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, spies and police—including the SBU (Ukraine’s suc­ces­sor to the KGB), the pow­er­ful Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Avakov and his noto­ri­ous far-right deputy, Anton Geraschenko [close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Azov Bat­tal­ion]. Ukraine’s jour­nal­ist black­list website—operated by Ukrain­ian hack­ers work­ing with state intelligence—led to a rash of death threats against the doxxed jour­nal­ists, whose email address­es, phone num­bers and oth­er pri­vate infor­ma­tion was post­ed anony­mous­ly to the web­site. Many of these threats came with the wartime Ukrain­ian fas­cist salute: “Sla­va Ukrai­ni!” [Glo­ry to Ukraine!] So when PropOrNot’s anony­mous “researchers” reveal only their Ukrainian(s) iden­ti­ty, it’s hard not to think about the spy-linked hack­ers who post­ed the dead­ly “Myrotvorets” black­list of “trea­so­nous” jour­nal­ists. . . .”
  • Helmets of the Ukrainian Azov battalion: Your tax dollars at work

    Hel­mets of the Ukrain­ian Azov bat­tal­ion: Your tax dol­lars at work

    A Ukrain­ian activist named Alexan­dra Chalu­pa has been instru­men­tal in dis­trib­ut­ing the “Rus­sia did it” dis­in­for­ma­tion to Hillary Clin­ton and influ­enc­ing the progress of the dis­in­for­ma­tion in the media. ” . . . . One of the key media sources [46] who blamed the DNC hacks on Rus­sia, ramp­ing up fears of cryp­to-Putin­ist infil­tra­tion, is a Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist work­ing for the DNC. She is Alexan­dra Chalupa—described as the head of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Committee’s oppo­si­tion research on Rus­sia and on Trump, and founder and pres­i­dent of the Ukrain­ian lob­by group ‘US Unit­ed With Ukraine Coali­tion’ [47], which lob­bied hard to pass a 2014 bill increas­ing loans and mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, impos­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sians, and tight­ly align­ing US and Ukraine geostrate­gic inter­ests. . . . In one leaked DNC email [50] ear­li­er this year, Chalu­pa boasts to DNC Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Luis Miran­da that she brought Isikoff to a US-gov­ern­ment spon­sored Wash­ing­ton event fea­tur­ing 68 Ukrain­ian jour­nal­ists, where Chalu­pa was invit­ed ‘to speak specif­i­cal­ly about Paul Man­afort.’ In turn, Isikoff named her as the key inside source [46] ‘prov­ing’ that the Rus­sians were behind the hacks, and that Trump’s cam­paign was under the spell of Krem­lin spies and sor­cer­ers. . . .”

6a. Andrei Arte­menko wasn’t the only Ukrain­ian politi­cian to approach the Trump admin­is­tra­tion with a peace plan in ear­ly 2017. Yulia Tymoshenko did the same thing in Feb­ru­ary, say­ing Trump promised her that he would “not aban­don Ukraine.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, the for­mer head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine and a polit­i­cal ally of Tymoshenko, claims he trav­eled to the US in Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary and deliv­ered to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice proof of “polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion by (Ukraine’s) top offi­cials.” And he appar­ent­ly gave the same mate­r­i­al to Arte­menko in 2015. And while Naly­vaichenko says he doesn’t back Artemenko’s peace plan, he did admit to sub­mit a peace plan of his own to the US gov­ern­ment.

Naly­vaichenko is a direct heir to the OUN/B, hav­ing run Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence (the SBU) along the lines of the OUN/B. Naly­vaichenko is very close to Pravy Sek­tor and Dim­it­ry Yarosh.

Peace pro­pos­als by anti-Russ­ian figues include one by Vik­tor Pinchuk, a Ukrain­ian oli­garch who also a mem­ber of the anti-Russ­ian Atlantic Coun­cil.

“Arte­menko Goes from Obscu­ri­ty to Noto­ri­ety” by Melko­reze­va, Oksana Gryt­senko; Kyiv Post; 02/24/2017

. . . . But Arte­menko is not the only Ukrain­ian politi­cian to reach out to the White House behind Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s back.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the for­mer prime min­is­ter and leader of Batkivshchy­na Par­ty, had a brief meet­ing with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump before the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast in Wash­ing­ton on Feb. 3, dur­ing which Trump report­ed­ly promised her that he would “not aban­don Ukraine.”

And Valen­tyn Naly­vaichenko, the for­mer head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine and a polit­i­cal ally of Tymoshenko, says he vis­it­ed the U.S. in Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary.

Naly­vaichenko told the Kyiv Post he met there with for­mer Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim DeMint, a Trump advi­sor and pres­i­dent of the con­ser­v­a­tive the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, a con­ser­v­a­tive think tank, and Bob Cork­er, a Repub­li­can sen­a­tor from Ten­nessee and Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee chair­man.

Naly­vaichenko said he deliv­ered to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice proof of “polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion by (Ukraine’s) top offi­cials.” He said also deliv­ered to Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office mate­ri­als about alleged mon­ey laun­der­ing and the ille­gal use of off­shore com­pa­nies by Poroshenko’s busi­ness part­ner and law­mak­er Ihor Kononenko.

Back in 2015, Naly­vaichenko gave the com­pro­mis­ing mate­ri­als on Poroshenko to Arte­menko, which he claimed to also give to the U.S. author­i­ties. . . .

6b. Alleged “Russ­ian agent” Paul Manafort–identified in FTR #919 as a prob­a­ble “advance man” for regimes tar­get­ed for destabilization–may well have been the per­son who rec­om­mend­ed to his “client” Yanukovich to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors. It was that gun­fire that sig­nalled the end of Yanukovich’s gov­ern­ment. This rein­forces Mr. Emory’s take on Man­afort. ” . . . . The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter, [since con­firmed as genuine–D.E.] Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: ‘Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.’ It con­tin­ued ‘You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.’ . . . .”

“As the Rus­sia Inves­ti­ga­tion Con­tin­ues, the Focus Has Inten­si­fied on Ukraine”  by Kim Sen­gup­ta; The Inde­pen­dent; 9/21/2017.

A hear­ing took place last week in Kiev on Andrii Artemenko’s efforts to have his cit­i­zen­ship restored. A day lat­er John Bolton, the for­mer Amer­i­can envoy to the UN, and a staunch Don­ald Trump sup­port­er, told an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence in the city that he expect­ed some of the peo­ple around the US Pres­i­dent to go to prison. Inves­ti­ga­tions into Paul Man­afort, mean­while, are look­ing at his activ­i­ties in Ukraine.

The Ukrain­ian con­nec­tion in the Trump affair is under increas­ing scruti­ny. Mr Arte­menko, an MP, is a rel­a­tive­ly unfa­mil­iar name in the expand­ing and colour­ful cast of those now entan­gled. But his links with Don­ald Trump’s per­son­al lawyer, Michael Cohen, and Felix Sater, a crim­i­nal and for­mer busi­ness asso­ciate of Trump, has become impor­tant in estab­lish­ing whether the Krem­lin was active­ly seek­ing to influ­ence Amer­i­can pol­i­cy.

Mr Arte­menko has been accused of trea­son by the gov­ern­ment of Petro Poroshenko and stripped of his cit­i­zen­ship. That came after rev­e­la­tions that he report­ed­ly gave details of a secret plan to Mr Sater and Mr Cohen to be passed on to the Trump White House which would, in effect, for­malise the dis­mem­ber­ment of Ukraine. The pro­pos­al was that sanc­tions against Rus­sia would be lift­ed in return for Moscow leas­ing the Crimea for an unspec­i­fied amount of time.

Mr Trump had stat­ed dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign that he may accept the Kremlin’s annex­a­tion of Crimea. Mr Arte­menko deliv­ered his plan to Mr Cohen who passed it on, it has been claimed, to Michael Fly­nn, a for­mer Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al, who was then Mr Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Mr Fly­nn was him­self forced to resign over his con­tacts with the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment and is now the sub­ject of an inquiry over that as well as over lob­by­ing for Recep Tayyep Erdogan’s Turk­ish gov­ern­ment.

It is Mr Man­afort who is most imme­di­ate­ly in the fir­ing line with his work as Mr Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er as well as that of Vik­tor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s pro-Moscow Pres­i­dent who was over­thrown in the rev­o­lu­tion of four years ago and fled to Rus­sia, being exam­ined.

It has been revealed that Mr Man­afort was secret­ly wire­tapped by the FBI and has been told by pros­e­cu­tors that he may face indict­ment over alleged vio­la­tions of tax laws, mon­ey laun­der­ing, and lob­by­ing for a for­eign pow­er. Fed­er­al agents work­ing for Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tor Robert Mueller, who car­ried out an ear­ly morn­ing raid at his apart­ment in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, have tak­en away doc­u­ments and com­put­er files which include, it is believed, details of his work for Pres­i­dent Yanukovych.

A num­ber of Mr Manafort’s asso­ciates have been sub­poe­naed by Mr Mueller’s team. They include the heads of two con­sult­ing firms, Mer­cury Pub­lic Affairs and the Podes­ta Group, who worked with Mr Man­afort in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau, set up under West­ern super­vi­sion, has alleged­ly dis­cov­ered secret accounts, the so-called “black ledger”, sup­pos­ed­ly show­ing that in a peri­od of five years, between 2007 and 2012, when Mr Man­afort received $12.7m from Mr Yanukovych’s Par­ty of Regions. Offi­cials hold that the mon­ey was part of an ille­gal clan­des­tine sys­tem which had been used to pay off a num­ber of fig­ures. Mr Man­afort has insist­ed that he had not received the mon­ey.

Human rights groups in Ukraine also want to ques­tion Mr Man­afort about killings dur­ing the Maid­an protests in Kiev in 2014. Euge­nia Zakrevs­ka, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing fam­i­lies of vic­tims, is part of a team seek­ing infor­ma­tion on who was com­plic­it in Pres­i­dent Yanukovych’s order­ing secu­ri­ty forces to open fire on demon­stra­tors.

The lawyer’s demands for expla­na­tion spring from the hack­ing ear­li­er this year of the iPhone of Mr Manafort’s daugh­ter, Andrea, with around 300,000 mes­sages pub­lished in the dark web. One of the texts sent to her sis­ter Jes­si­ca said: “Don’t fool your­self. That mon­ey we have is blood mon­ey.” It con­tin­ued “You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly, as a tac­tic to out­rage the world and get focus on Ukraine. Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not. Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple get them slaugh­tered.”

In anoth­er text she said: “He is cash-poor right now. And now Ukraine is late in pay­ing him.”

No evi­dence has been pre­sent­ed that Mr Man­afort was respon­si­ble for deaths and Andrea Man­afort has refused to com­ment on the texts. Ms Zakrevs­ka, how­ev­er, wants Mr Man­afort “to clar­i­fy the alle­ga­tions con­tained in the text mes­sages and to con­tact us with any infor­ma­tion you may have about events that occurred in cen­tral Kiev between 18 and 20 Feb­ru­ary 2014”.

Mr Arte­menko, accord­ing to a New York Times report “emerged from the oppo­si­tion” organ­ised against Pres­i­dent Poroshenko by Mr Man­afort and was insti­gat­ed in putting togeth­er the “peace deal” by fig­ures close to Vladimir Putin. This is denied by the MP com­plains that that “any­one who has a per­son­al opin­ion in Ukraine is auto­mat­i­cal­ly named a Russ­ian spy. I don’t have such con­nec­tions with Rus­sia, that is the rea­son why I tried to involve the Trump admin­is­tra­tion on this issue and not the Krem­lin.”

But the man Mr Arte­menko chose to help him get his plan to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion boasts of the sheer extent of his Russ­ian con­nec­tions. Felix Sater, born Felix She­fer­ovsky in Rus­sia, whose fam­i­ly emi­grat­ed to the US when he was six, had declared that he could get the Kremlin’s back­ing to make Mr Trump the US Pres­i­dent.

“Our boy can become Pres­i­dent of the USA and we can engi­neer it … I will get Putin on this pro­gramme and we will get Trump elect­ed,” he emailed Mr Cohen, a life­long friend. Anoth­er excit­ed email to Mr Trump’s lawyer said “Can you believe two guys from Brook­lyn are going to elect a Pres­i­dent?”

Mr Sater’s con­nec­tions were enough to ensure that Ivan­ka Trump got to seat on Putin’s chair at the Pres­i­den­tial office in the Krem­lin. He had chap­er­oned her and Don­ald Jr on a trip to Moscow at the request of Mr Trump. Ivan­ka recalls the trip includ­ed “a brief tour of Red Square and the Krem­lin” and this may have involved sit­ting at Pres­i­dent Putin’s desk.

Mr Sater was jailed in 1991 for slash­ing a man with a bro­ken cock­tail glass (a mar­gari­ta) and he was also con­vict­ed for involve­ment in an invest­ment scam in which Russ­ian and Amer­i­can organ­ised crime groups tar­get­ed the elder­ly, some of whom were Holo­caust sur­vivors. On that occa­sion he avoid­ed a poten­tial sen­tence of 20 years, pay­ing a £25,000 fine instead. He also became a fed­er­al informer. Accord­ing to pros­e­cu­tion doc­u­ments he sup­plied high­ly valu­able mate­r­i­al on al-Qae­da, Russ­ian organ­ised crime, the Amer­i­can mafia and for­eign gov­ern­ments.

Mr Arte­menko, Mr Sater and Mr Cohen met at a Man­hat­tan restau­rant ear­li­er this year where, accord­ing to Mr Arte­menko and Mr Sater, the Ukraine plan was dis­cussed at length and Mr Cohen offered to take it to Michael Fly­nn. The New York Times report­ed that he sub­se­quent­ly deliv­ered it per­son­al­ly, in a sealed enve­lope, to the President’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er. Mr Cohen lat­er denied this account. The news­pa­per stands by its sto­ry, say­ing that he had acknowl­edged what he had done to its jour­nal­ists.

Mr Fly­nn was forced to resign soon after­wards. Inves­ti­ga­tors now have obtained a copy of the Arte­menko plan. Pros­e­cu­tion lawyers are said to be con­sid­er­ing whether it con­sti­tut­ed a covert attempt by a for­eign pow­er to influ­ence US pol­i­cy.

Mr Arte­menko feels he has been caught in the cross­fire between Mr Trump and “the lib­er­al media”. He will con­tin­ue with his “Roadmap for Peace”, he says, and strive to regain Ukrain­ian nation­al­i­ty – his birth right. A source close to him refused to say whether or not he has agreed to meet Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tors.

6c. It’s worth not­ing that Paul Man­afort has con­firmed that some of the hacked texts are real. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle also notes, Andrea Man­afort was actu­al­ly with her dad in Flori­da dur­ing the sniper attacks. Might he have shared details of his behav­ior visa

“Ukraine Lawyer Seeks Probe of Alleged Hacked Texts of Manafort’s Daugh­ter” by Simon Ostro­vsky; CNN; 03/11/2017

A Ukrain­ian human rights attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the vic­tims of mass police shoot­ings in Kiev in 2014 has asked pros­e­cu­tors to inves­ti­gate what are pur­port­ed to be the hacked text mes­sages of one of Paul Manafort’s daugh­ters, say­ing the texts point to pos­si­ble influ­ence Man­afort had with Ukraine’s pres­i­dent dur­ing that peri­od.

“You know he has killed peo­ple in Ukraine? Know­ing­ly,” Andrea Man­afort alleged­ly wrote of her father in March 2015 in an angry series of texts to her sis­ter, Jes­si­ca, about her father’s per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life.

“Remem­ber when there were all those deaths tak­ing place. A while back. About a year ago. Revolts and what not,” reads anoth­er text in ref­er­ence to the blood­shed in Kiev.

“Do you know whose strat­e­gy that was to cause that, to send those peo­ple out and get them slaugh­tered.”

“He has no moral or legal com­pass,” Andrea alleged­ly wrote about her father ear­li­er as part of the same con­ver­sa­tion.

The mes­sages were obtained from a hack­er web­site that in Feb­ru­ary post­ed four years’ worth of texts, con­sist­ing of 300,000 mes­sages, appar­ent­ly tak­en from Andrea Manafort’s iPhone.

Paul Man­afort: No com­ment

Paul Man­afort cur­rent­ly faces an FBI inves­ti­ga­tion over mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of pay­ments he alleged­ly received while work­ing as a polit­i­cal strate­gist for Ukraine’s Rus­sia-backed pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych. Man­afort has denied receiv­ing the unde­clared cash pay­ments.

Pro­test­ers descend­ed on Kiev’s cen­tral square in a peace­ful protest in the win­ter of 2013 when Yanukovych unex­pect­ed­ly backed out of a trade deal with the Euro­pean Union under pres­sure from the Krem­lin. Close to 100 peo­ple died in the shoot­ings in the weeks before Yanukovych fled in Feb­ru­ary 2014.

Ukrain­ian author­i­ties say Yanukovych cre­at­ed con­di­tions that allowed secu­ri­ty forces to kill the pro-West­ern pro­test­ers in Kiev, but so far have not been able to charge him because he is in Rus­sia.

Man­afort has not been linked to the shoot­ings.

Asked by CNN to com­ment, Man­afort said via text mes­sage: “Com­ment on what. There is noth­ing.”

Man­afort would not con­firm whether the texts were gen­uine, but in a Politi­co sto­ry last month on the texts, he indi­cat­ed that some of them were.

The texts sug­gest that Man­afort and his daugh­ter were togeth­er in Flori­da on the day of the worst vio­lence in Kiev on Feb­ru­ary 20th, when close to 50 peo­ple died.

Man­afort already influ­en­tial in Ukraine

Thurs­day, the human rights lawyer, Euge­nia Zakrevs­ka, filed a motion in Kiev request­ing that pros­e­cu­tors ver­i­fy the con­tents of the text mes­sage dump and take mea­sures to com­pel US author­i­ties to ques­tion Man­afort.

“I call on Mr. Man­afort to clar­i­fy the alle­ga­tions con­tained in the text mes­sages and to con­tact us with any infor­ma­tion he may have on those events,” Zakrevs­ka told CNN.

Zakrevs­ka and a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tion unit have been work­ing togeth­er on sev­er­al con­cur­rent cas­es look­ing into the vio­lence in and around Kiev’s Inde­pen­dence Square.

Zakrevs­ka said all of the killings would have already tak­en place by the time Man­afort met his daugh­ter the evening of the 20th, if the texts’ time­stamps are accu­rate, and she thought it was unlike­ly that Andrea actu­al­ly wit­nessed Paul Man­afort per­son­al­ly direct­ing Kiev police forces.

“But this doesn’t rule out Manafort’s influ­ence on Yanukovych’s actions and deci­sions dur­ing that peri­od,” Zakrevs­ka said.

Ser­hiy Gor­batyuk, Ukraine’s pros­e­cu­tor for spe­cial inves­ti­ga­tions, con­firmed to CNN that his office received Zakrevska’s motion and said the text mes­sages would be inves­ti­gat­ed and poten­tial­ly entered into evi­dence. “We will check thor­ough­ly to ver­i­fy if they are real or not.”

Asked by CNN about the prospect of an inves­ti­ga­tion by the gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tors’ office, Man­afort replied: “Total BS on GP (gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor).”

Man­afort began work­ing for Yanukovych in 2004 and grew to be an influ­en­tial fig­ure in Ukraine who had the ear of the Pres­i­dent. After Yanukovych was oust­ed and pro-West­ern forces took the reins, Man­afort stayed on in the coun­try to help rebrand Yanukovych’s Par­ty of Regions as “Oppo­si­tion Bloc.”

Covert meth­ods and ‘shady email’

The text mes­sages, if gen­uine, shed light both on the last days of the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine and a tur­bu­lent peri­od in the Trump cam­paign last sum­mer, when Trump shook up his team’s lead­er­ship struc­ture.

They also cov­er the time peri­od when Rus­sia, accord­ing to US intel­li­gence agen­cies, may have been con­duct­ing hacks into email accounts asso­ci­at­ed with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

In the same 2015 con­ver­sa­tion with her sis­ter, Andrea alleged­ly sug­gests to Jes­si­ca that their father used covert meth­ods to send mes­sages to Ukraine.

“I was there when it hap­pened. I saw him on his shady email,” she alleged­ly wrote. “They don’t write emails. They log on and write in the drafts So it’s nev­er trans­mit­ted over any servers.”

In anoth­er alleged exchange with Jes­si­ca, in June 2016, Andrea plays down her father’s involve­ment in the hacks of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty emails.

“Pret­ty crazy about all the email hack­ing huh?” the texts read. “Dad must be over the moon.”

“Oh i saw.” is the reply. “The rus­sians.”

“Well it wasn’t dad’s doing. It was hack­ers,” Andrea alleged­ly writes back. “No clue who the hack­ers were. Fbi is look­ing into it.”

———-

6d. Rein­forc­ing the hypoth­e­sis that the Maid­an shoot­ings were a provo­ca­tion is the dis­clo­sure by Ukraine’s chief pros­e­cu­tor that the rifles alleged­ly used to fire on the Maid­an demon­stra­tors were recov­ered by an alleged Yanukovich oper­a­tive and leader of the snipers who was one of the demon­stra­tors on the Maid­an! “ . . . Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped the so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests. ‘With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the ‘black hun­dred,’ includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel. . . . ‘We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the ‘black hun­dred’ flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,’ Lut­senko said. . . . ”

“Pros­e­cu­tors say pub­lic to face unpleas­ant sur­prise in Maid­an killings probe”; Unian.info; 07/24/2016

Ukraine’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al Yuriy Lut­senko says that the man who helped so-called “black hun­dred” of police task force Berkut, who had been shoot­ing at pro­test­ers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion of Dig­ni­ty, flee Kyiv and delib­er­ate­ly drowned their weapons to con­ceal evi­dence, was him­self one of the par­tic­i­pants of the Maid­an protests.

“With the help of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, we have found weapons of the “black hun­dred,” includ­ing a sniper rifle, which the entire coun­try saw on footage show­ing the shoot­ing at the pro­test­ers from out­side the Octo­ber Palace,” he told the 112 Ukraine TV chan­nel.

“We found it with a large num­ber of auto­mat­ic rifles on the bot­tom of one of Kiev’s lakes. They were cut and drowned in one batch by a sin­gle group, whose leader is one of the tar­gets of our inves­ti­ga­tion. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this man who, accord­ing to our ver­sion, upon the orders of [for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Vitaliy] Zakharchenko helped the “black hun­dred” flee Kyiv, destroyed and drowned their weapons, he, him­self, was with us on the Maid­an,” Lut­senko said.

As UNIAN report­ed ear­li­er, the Pros­e­cu­tor General’s Office July 14 con­duct­ed search­es at the hous­es of per­sons involved in assist­ing the troops from Berkut police spe­cial forces’ “black hun­dred” in flee­ing Kyiv after the bloody killings of the Maid­an activists and sub­se­quent destruc­tion of their weapons.

Ear­li­er, Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al of Ukraine, Chief Mil­i­tary Pros­e­cu­tor Ana­toliy Matios said: “When pub­lic learns who is involved in this, peo­ple will be very sur­prised.” Accord­ing to him, infor­ma­tion to be pub­lished may cause rejec­tion, “but the truth is the truth.”

 

 

 

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #981 The Ukrainian Fascist Foundation of the “Russia-Gate” Psy-Op”

  1. Fol­low­ing the reports that the Mueller inves­ti­ga­tion was about to issue its first round of charges in the #TrumpRus­sia inves­ti­ga­tion, the big ques­tion was whether or not the charges would be over some­thing unre­lat­ed to the Trump cam­paign (e.g. like mon­ey-laun­der­ing that was dis­cov­ered over the course of the inves­ti­ga­tion) or whether or not it would actu­al tie in to the whole #TrumpRus­sia affair (e.g. some­thing show­ing the Trump cam­paign col­lud­ing with Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials over the Demo­c­ra­t­ic hacks). And sure enough we got both! In that respect in did­n’t dis­ap­point.

    First we got the indict­ment of Paul Man­afort, who was prob­a­bly #1 on the list of peo­ple expect­ed to be arrest­ed, along with his long-time busi­ness asso­ciate Rick Gates. It appears to most­ly involve crimes relat­ed to their work in Ukraine, con­sist­ing of 12 counts of con­spir­a­cy against the U.S., con­spir­a­cy to laun­der mon­ey, unreg­is­tered agent of a for­eign prin­ci­pal, false and mis­lead­ing FARA (For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act) state­ments, false state­ments and sev­en counts of fail­ure to file reports of for­eign bank and finan­cial accounts, accord­ing to a Mueller spokesper­son. All in all it was­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly sur­pris­ing or nec­es­sar­i­ly relat­ed to any­thing involv­ing the Trump cam­paign.

    And then there was the sec­ond round of reports involv­ing a rel­a­tive­ly obscure Trump cam­paign advi­sor, George Papadopou­los. It was much, much more #TrumpRus­sia-relat­ed:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump cam­paign advis­er admit­ted to lying about Russ­ian con­tacts

    By Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man and Tom Ham­burg­er
    Octo­ber 30, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    George Papadopou­los, a for­mer cam­paign advis­er to Pres­i­dent Trump, plead­ed guilty ear­li­er this month to lying to fed­er­al offi­cials about con­tacts he had with peo­ple he believed had ties to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment while he was affil­i­at­ed with Trump’s cam­paign.

    Papadopou­los, who was named by Trump in March 2016 as a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the cam­paign, was first charged under seal in July and ulti­mate­ly plead­ed guilty in Octo­ber to lying to fed­er­al agents inves­ti­gat­ing Russ­ian inter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    Accord­ing to court papers released Mon­day, those con­tacts includ­ed an unnamed over­seas pro­fes­sor whom Papadopou­los met in Italy in March, the same month he joined the cam­paign. In April 2016, the pro­fes­sor told him the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment had “dirt” on Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton, includ­ing thou­sands of Clinton’s emails.

    That con­ver­sa­tion occurred two months before the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee revealed it had been hacked and believed Rus­sians were behind the attack. It also came about a month after an email account belong­ing to Clinton’s cam­paign chair­man, John Podes­ta, was tar­get­ed with a phish­ing attempt that may have led to the hack of his emails. Podesta’s emails were released by Wik­iLeaks in Octo­ber.

    An email quot­ed in court fil­ings appears to match one described to The Wash­ing­ton Post in August in which Papadopou­los iden­ti­fied the pro­fes­sor with whom he met as Joseph Mif­sud, the direc­tor of the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy. That doc­u­ment was among more than 20,000 pages the Trump cam­paign turned over to con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees after review by White House and defense lawyers.

    Papadopou­los, who was arrest­ed when he arrived at Dulles Air­port on July 27, signed a plea agree­ment that indi­cates he is coop­er­at­ing with spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Robert S. Mueller III, fil­ings show. The charge against him indi­cates that Mueller is deeply exam­in­ing any links between Trump aides and Russ­ian offi­cials as part of his probe into pos­si­ble coor­di­na­tion between the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin.

    ...

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, Trump was aware of Papadopoulos’s claims that he had pipeline to Moscow: Dur­ing a March 2016 meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton of the campaign’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­ers, Papadopou­los said he had con­nec­tions that could help arrange a meet­ing between the then-can­di­date and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

    On Mon­day, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Sanders said she was “not sure that the pres­i­dent recalls spe­cif­ic details of the meet­ing,” call­ing it “brief.” She described Papadopoulos’s role with the cam­paign as “extreme­ly lim­it­ed.”

    Asked about the indict­ments on Mon­day evening in Moscow, Krem­lin spokesman Dmit­ry Peskov said, “We don’t know what the charges are.” After being sent a copy of the indict­ments, he respond­ed, “My office hours are over!”

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, Papadopou­los updat­ed sev­er­al Trump cam­paign offi­cials for months on his efforts to bro­ker meet­ings between the cam­paign and the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, for­ward­ing infor­ma­tion to unnamed peo­ple described as “high-rank­ing cam­paign offi­cials” and “cam­paign super­vi­sor.”

    Papadopoulos’s emails began days after he was named to Trump’s cam­paign team and con­tin­ued for months. At one point, he offered to set up a meet­ing direct­ly between Trump and Putin.

    In response, one high-rank­ing cam­paign offi­cial emailed anoth­er offi­cial Papadopoulos’s offer, adding, “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be some­one low lev­el in the cam­paign so as not to send any sig­nal.”

    The doc­u­ments show Papadopou­los lied to fed­er­al agents about his inter­ac­tions with the pro­fes­sor, say­ing their con­ver­sa­tions pre­dat­ed his involve­ment with the cam­paign and indi­cat­ing he believed the pro­fes­sor had low-lev­el con­tacts in Rus­sia. In fact, he knew that the pro­fes­sor had ties to senior lev­els of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to court papers.

    Mif­sud told The Post in an email in August that he had “absolute­ly no con­tact with the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment” and said he was an aca­d­e­m­ic whose only ties to Rus­sia are through aca­d­e­m­ic links. He did not respond to a request for com­ment Mon­day.

    In addi­tion, Papadopou­los com­mu­ni­cat­ed with a Russ­ian woman with ties to the gov­ern­ment and a man in Moscow he believed was con­nect­ed to the Min­istry of For­eign Affairs, the fil­ings show.

    Trump iden­ti­fied Papadopou­los as one of his advis­ers in a March 2016 meet­ing with The Wash­ing­ton Post edi­to­r­i­al board, dur­ing which the then-GOP can­di­date described Papadopou­los as “an ener­gy con­sul­tant. Excel­lent guy.”

    The court papers show that while he was serv­ing as an advis­er to the cam­paign, Papadopou­los met a Russ­ian woman he believed was a niece of Putin and with whom he com­mu­ni­cat­ed about set­ting up a meet­ing between Trump cam­paign offi­cials and Russ­ian offi­cials.

    He told agents that he met the woman a year before join­ing the Trump cam­paign, but, in fact, he met her only after he was named to the cam­paign and com­mu­ni­cat­ed with her for months while work­ing with Trump aides, the doc­u­ments show.

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, she told Papadopou­los she would like to help set up meet­ings for the Trump cam­paign with her asso­ciates to dis­cuss U.S.-Russia ties under a future Pres­i­dent Trump.

    Papadopou­los emailed cam­paign offi­cials about her offer. A super­vi­sor, who is not named, wrote back, “Great work.”

    The Post has report­ed that Papadopou­los repeat­ed­ly emailed top cam­paign aides to set up such meet­ings, and some emails show his offers were rebuffed.

    How­ev­er, court doc­u­ments demon­strate that Papadopou­los had ongo­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions with his Russ­ian con­tacts and cam­paign offi­cials about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “off the record” trip he might take to Moscow to help facil­i­tate ties.

    In one email exchange in August 2016, a cam­paign super­vi­sor told Papadopou­los that he would “encour­age” him and anoth­er unnamed for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to “make the trip, if it is fea­si­ble,” accord­ing to fil­ings. The trip did not ulti­mate­ly take place.

    Pros­e­cu­tors allege Papadopou­los also obstruct­ed their inquiry by delet­ing a Face­book page that would have revealed his con­tacts with Rus­sians not long after learn­ing of the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    At the time Trump iden­ti­fied Papadopou­los as an advis­er, the hotel and real estate exec­u­tive was ris­ing in the field of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates and his cam­paign was eager to show it had cred­i­ble voic­es offer­ing advice on for­eign pol­i­cy. On the same day, Trump also announced he was being advised by Carter Page, anoth­er ener­gy con­sul­tant whose ties to Rus­sia have been under scruti­ny.

    Papadopou­los ini­tial­ly drew atten­tion because of his scant for­eign pol­i­cy back­ground. He had ear­li­er advised the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Ben Car­son, but he had grad­u­at­ed from col­lege less than a decade ear­li­er and he appeared to have exag­ger­at­ed his résumé.

    Still, Papadopou­los was present lat­er in March, at a meet­ing of the team in Wash­ing­ton that includ­ed both Trump and then-Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, who had endorsed the cam­paign.

    Through­out the sum­mer, Papadopou­los met with for­eign offi­cials and gave inter­views to media in oth­er coun­tries, some­times describ­ing Trump’s views on Putin on Rus­sia.

    He told a group of researchers in Israel that Trump saw Putin as “a respon­si­ble actor and poten­tial part­ner,” accord­ing to a col­umn in the Jerusalem Post, while lat­er he met with a British For­eign Office rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Lon­don and a Greek offi­cial in New York, British and Greek embassy spokes­men have said. He also crit­i­cized U.S. sanc­tions on Rus­sia in an inter­view with the Russ­ian news out­let Inter­fax.

    The Post has also report­ed that Sergei Mil­lian, who was a key source of infor­ma­tion con­tained in a dossier of infor­ma­tion about Trump’s ties to Rus­sia, told peo­ple around him that he was in con­tact with Papadopou­los dur­ing the cam­paign.

    ———-

    “Trump cam­paign advis­er admit­ted to lying about Russ­ian con­tacts” by Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man and Tom Ham­burg­er; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 10/30/2017

    “Papadopou­los, who was named by Trump in March 2016 as a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the cam­paign, was first charged under seal in July and ulti­mate­ly plead­ed guilty in Octo­ber to lying to fed­er­al agents inves­ti­gat­ing Russ­ian inter­fer­ence in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.”

    A young for­eign pol­i­cy advi­sor who joins the Trump cam­paign in March of 2016. And what makes March a notable month in the his­to­ry of Demo­c­ra­t­ic hacks? It was March when APT28 (Fan­cy Bear) alleged­ly phished John Podesta’s email cre­den­tials and broke into the DNC’s.

    So the same month these twin hacks take place we have George Papa­p­dou­p­los join­ing the Trump cam­paign, and then meet­ing with a mys­te­ri­ous pro­fes­sor, iden­ti­fied as Josphe Mif­sud, who, in April, tells Papadopou­los that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment had “dirt” on Hillary Clin­ton, includ­ing thou­sands of Clin­ton’s emails:

    ...
    Accord­ing to court papers released Mon­day, those con­tacts includ­ed an unnamed over­seas pro­fes­sor whom Papadopou­los met in Italy in March, the same month he joined the cam­paign. In April 2016, the pro­fes­sor told him the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment had “dirt” on Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hillary Clin­ton, includ­ing thou­sands of Clinton’s emails.

    That con­ver­sa­tion occurred two months before the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee revealed it had been hacked and believed Rus­sians were behind the attack. It also came about a month after an email account belong­ing to Clinton’s cam­paign chair­man, John Podes­ta, was tar­get­ed with a phish­ing attempt that may have led to the hack of his emails. Podesta’s emails were released by Wik­iLeaks in Octo­ber.

    An email quot­ed in court fil­ings appears to match one described to The Wash­ing­ton Post in August in which Papadopou­los iden­ti­fied the pro­fes­sor with whom he met as Joseph Mif­sud, the direc­tor of the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy. That doc­u­ment was among more than 20,000 pages the Trump cam­paign turned over to con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees after review by White House and defense lawyers.
    ...

    Well that, uh, rather con­spic­u­ous. But it gets a lot more con­spic­u­ous when we learn that Trump cam­paign was well aware of Papadopoulo’s ‘pipeline’ to Moscow since Papadopou­los made this clear duing a meet­ing in March and claimed he could arrange a meet­ing between Trump and Putin. And then he updat­ed cam­paign offi­cias for months on his efforts to bro­ker some kind of meet­ing:

    ...
    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, Trump was aware of Papadopoulos’s claims that he had pipeline to Moscow: Dur­ing a March 2016 meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton of the campaign’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­ers, Papadopou­los said he had con­nec­tions that could help arrange a meet­ing between the then-can­di­date and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

    ...

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, Papadopou­los updat­ed sev­er­al Trump cam­paign offi­cials for months on his efforts to bro­ker meet­ings between the cam­paign and the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, for­ward­ing infor­ma­tion to unnamed peo­ple described as “high-rank­ing cam­paign offi­cials” and “cam­paign super­vi­sor.”

    Papadopoulos’s emails began days after he was named to Trump’s cam­paign team and con­tin­ued for months. At one point, he offered to set up a meet­ing direct­ly between Trump and Putin.

    In response, one high-rank­ing cam­paign offi­cial emailed anoth­er offi­cial Papadopoulos’s offer, adding, “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be some­one low lev­el in the cam­paign so as not to send any sig­nal.”
    ...

    “In response, one high-rank­ing cam­paign offi­cial emailed anoth­er offi­cial Papadopoulos’s offer, adding, “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be some­one low lev­el in the cam­paign so as not to send any sig­nal.””

    Note that it’s already been con­firmed that Paul Man­afort is the cam­paign offi­cial who said “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that [Trump] is not doing these trips. It should be some­one low lev­el in the cam­paign so as not to send any sig­nal.”

    And adding to the intrigue the woman Papadopou­los thought was Putin’s niece (but was­n’t) who was com­mu­ni­cat­ing with him and encour­ag­ing all these efforts to arrange a Trump campaign/Moscow meet­ing:

    ...
    The court papers show that while he was serv­ing as an advis­er to the cam­paign, Papadopou­los met a Russ­ian woman he believed was a niece of Putin and with whom he com­mu­ni­cat­ed about set­ting up a meet­ing between Trump cam­paign offi­cials and Russ­ian offi­cials.

    He told agents that he met the woman a year before join­ing the Trump cam­paign, but, in fact, he met her only after he was named to the cam­paign and com­mu­ni­cat­ed with her for months while work­ing with Trump aides, the doc­u­ments show.

    Accord­ing to court fil­ings, she told Papadopou­los she would like to help set up meet­ings for the Trump cam­paign with her asso­ciates to dis­cuss U.S.-Russia ties under a future Pres­i­dent Trump.

    Papadopou­los emailed cam­paign offi­cials about her offer. A super­vi­sor, who is not named, wrote back, “Great work.”

    The Post has report­ed that Papadopou­los repeat­ed­ly emailed top cam­paign aides to set up such meet­ings, and some emails show his offers were rebuffed.

    How­ev­er, court doc­u­ments demon­strate that Papadopou­los had ongo­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions with his Russ­ian con­tacts and cam­paign offi­cials about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “off the record” trip he might take to Moscow to help facil­i­tate ties.

    In one email exchange in August 2016, a cam­paign super­vi­sor told Papadopou­los that he would “encour­age” him and anoth­er unnamed for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to “make the trip, if it is fea­si­ble,” accord­ing to fil­ings. The trip did not ulti­mate­ly take place.
    ...

    So we have a young ener­gy ana­lyst join­ing the Trump team in March of 2016, where his only real asset he brings to the cam­paign his is alleged ties to the Krem­lin. After join­ing the cam­paign he gets into con­tact with a mys­te­ri­ous pro­fes­sor who sug­gests the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has “dirt” on Hillary and thou­sands of email. And also a mys­tery woman who con­vinced him she’s Putin’s niece. And then Papadopou­los spends months try­ing to arrange a meet­ing between the Trump cam­paign and Moscow but it nev­er seems to pan out. It’s rather amaz­ing. Espe­cial­ly in the con­text of things like:

    1. The Felix Sater push to get Michael Cohen to trav­el to Rus­sia to get the “Trump Tow­er Moscow” deal worked out fiz­zled with now Krem­lin response in Jan­u­ary of 2016.

    2. The noto­ri­ous meet­ing in Trump Tow­er between Man­afort, Jared Kush­n­er, and Don­ald Trump, Jr. ini­ti­at­ed when Rob Gold­stone wrote an email about the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hav­ing “dirt” on Hillary.

    3. The “oppo­si­tion research” team of Peter Smith that set out to dis­cov­er Russ­ian hack­ers on the dark web who were alleged­ly in pos­ses­sion of Hillary’s hacked emails. A team that appar­ent­ly includ­ed Michael Fly­nn, Steve Ban­non, and Kellyanne Con­way and brought them into con­tact with “Guc­cifer 2.0” (who appar­ent­ly told them to con­tact neo-Nazi hack­er Andrew ‘the weev’ Auern­heimer).

    Yes, we appear have the Trump cam­paign (or peo­ple affil­i­at­ed with it) try­ing to reach out to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment at the same time the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was try­ing to reach out to the Trump cam­paign. What kind of crazy game of spy-foot­sie was going on here? Giv­en the ini­tial rebuffs of the Trump team that Moscow appeared to deliv­er to the Sater/Cohen out­reach effort in Jan­u­ary of 2016 it’s pos­si­ble that much of the Russ­ian efforts were intend­ed to ame­lio­rate any hurt feel­ings for a poten­tial future pres­i­dent.

    But what’s the expla­na­tion for why the Trump cam­paign seemed to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly want to reach out to the Krem­lin while con­stant­ly rebuff­ing Papadopoulos’s out­reach efforts? After all, it seemed like that was why the cam­paign hired the guy in the first place. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, Papadopou­los sent out his first email float­ing a meet­ing with Putin just three days after join­ing the Trump cam­paign in March of 2016. And by May, Papadopou­los was appar­ent­ly in con­tact with Ivan Tim­o­feev, a senior offi­cial at the gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil the orga­ni­za­tion. Papadopou­los told the Trump cam­paign that Tim­o­feev reached out to him that Russ­ian for­eign min­istry offi­cials were open to a Trump vis­it to Moscow and request­ed that the cam­paign and Rus­sians write a for­mal let­ter out­lin­ing the meet­ing. But that effort was rebuffed by the Trump cam­paign too.

    So the pat­tern we seem to see is that the Trump cam­paign want­ed Russ­ian gov­ern­ment con­tacts, just not very high-lev­el con­tacts. And yet in ear­ly 2016 we have Trump Org lawyer Michael Cohen reach­ing out to get Krem­lin help to build Trump Tow­er Moscow in Jan­u­ary of 2016. You almost could­n’t do some­thing more con­spic­u­ous­ly ‘pro-Russ­ian’ than to announce a deal to build Trump Tow­er Moscow and yet that was part of the plan Sater and Cohen were pur­su­ing. Don’t for­get that Sater was sell­ing the deal as a way to help Trump win by demon­strat­ing what a deal­mak­er he was.

    So while the Trump team’s desire to get into con­tact with the Krem­lin did­n’t appear to change, the team’s will­ing­ness to do these con­tacts in a high pro­file man­ner did appear to change pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant­ly over of the course of 2016. And such a change in behav­ior makes sense since Trump became the nom­i­nee and had an actu­al pres­i­den­tial race to run. But it’s still pret­ty notable shift in behav­ior. Espe­cial­ly giv­en how Papadopou­los did­n’t appear to shift his behav­ior at all and was appar­ent­ly repeat­ed­ly try­ing to arrange these meet­ings for months despite being con­sis­tent­ly rebuffed:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump cam­paign emails show aide’s repeat­ed efforts to set up Rus­sia meet­ings

    By Tom Ham­burg­er, Car­ol D. Leon­nig and Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man
    August 14, 2017

    Three days after Don­ald Trump named his cam­paign for­eign pol­i­cy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advis­ers sent an email to sev­en cam­paign offi­cials with the sub­ject line: “Meet­ing with Russ­ian Lead­er­ship — Includ­ing Putin.”

    The advis­er, George Papadopou­los, offered to set up “a meet­ing between us and the Russ­ian lead­er­ship to dis­cuss US-Rus­sia ties under Pres­i­dent Trump,” telling them his Russ­ian con­tacts wel­comed the oppor­tu­ni­ty, accord­ing to inter­nal cam­paign emails read to The Wash­ing­ton Post.

    The pro­pos­al sent a rip­ple of con­cern through cam­paign head­quar­ters in Trump Tow­er. Cam­paign co-chair­man Sam Clo­vis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be con­sult­ed before any plans were made. Anoth­er Trump advis­er, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cit­ed legal con­cerns, includ­ing a pos­si­ble vio­la­tion of U.S. sanc­tions against Rus­sia and of the Logan Act, which pro­hibits U.S. cit­i­zens from unau­tho­rized nego­ti­a­tion with for­eign gov­ern­ments.

    But Papadopou­los, a cam­paign vol­un­teer with scant for­eign pol­i­cy expe­ri­ence, per­sist­ed. Between March and Sep­tem­ber, the self-described ener­gy con­sul­tant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from pri­ma­ry can­di­date to par­ty nom­i­nee, or for mem­bers of his team to meet with Russ­ian offi­cials. Among those to express con­cern about the effort was then-cam­paign chair­man Paul Man­afort, who reject­ed in May 2016 a pro­pos­al from Papadopou­los for Trump to do so.

    The exchanges are among more than 20,000 pages of doc­u­ments the Trump cam­paign turned over to con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees this month after review by White House and defense lawyers. The selec­tion of Papadopoulos’s emails were read to The Post by a per­son with access to them. Two oth­er peo­ple with access to the emails con­firmed the gen­er­al tone of the exchanges and some spe­cif­ic pas­sages with­in them.

    Papadopou­los emerges from the sam­ple of emails as a new and puz­zling fig­ure in the exam­i­na­tion of the Trump campaign’s con­tacts with Russ­ian offi­cials and their prox­ies dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion, now the sub­ject of a spe­cial-coun­sel inves­ti­ga­tion.

    Less than a decade out of col­lege, Papadopou­los appeared to hold lit­tle sway with­in the cam­paign, and it is unclear whether he was act­ing as an inter­me­di­ary for the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, although he told cam­paign offi­cials he was.

    While the emails illus­trate his eager­ness to strength­en the campaign’s con­nec­tions to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, Papadopou­los does not spell out in them why it would be in Trump’s inter­est to do so. His entreaties appear to have gen­er­at­ed more con­cern than excite­ment with­in the cam­paign, which at the time was look­ing to seal the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion and take on a heav­i­ly favored Hillary Clin­ton in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    But the inter­nal resis­tance to Papadopoulos’s requests is at odds with oth­er over­tures Trump allies were mak­ing toward Rus­sia at the time, most­ly at a more senior lev­el of the cam­paign.

    Three months after Papadopou­los raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a meet­ing between Trump and Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, the president’s son Don­ald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kush­n­er met with a del­e­ga­tion led by a Russ­ian lawyer offer­ing to pro­vide dam­ag­ing infor­ma­tion on Clin­ton.

    Man­afort attend­ed that Trump Tow­er ses­sion in June 2016, a meet­ing now under scruti­ny in the spe­cial counsel’s col­lu­sion inquiry. But the new emails reveal that Man­afort had reject­ed a request from Papadopou­los just the pre­vi­ous month to set up a meet­ing between Trump and Russ­ian offi­cials.

    In July 2016 and again two months lat­er, Jeff Ses­sions, then a sen­a­tor and senior for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to Trump, met with Russ­ian Ambas­sador Sergey Kislyak.

    And also in July, a few weeks after Papadopou­los asked his supe­ri­ors whether oth­er cam­paign advis­ers or aides could accept some of the Rus­sians’ invi­ta­tions, Carter Page, anoth­er for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er, spoke at a Russ­ian uni­ver­si­ty in Moscow. Page said he made the trip inde­pen­dent­ly of the cam­paign.

    To experts in Russ­ian intel­li­gence gath­er­ing, the Papadopou­los chain offers fur­ther evi­dence that Rus­sians were look­ing for entry points and play­ing upon con­nec­tions with low­er-lev­el aides to pen­e­trate the 2016 cam­paign.

    For­mer CIA direc­tor John Bren­nan in May told the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee that he had seen wor­ri­some evi­dence of “con­tacts and inter­ac­tions” between Russ­ian offi­cials and the Trump cam­paign, although he offered no specifics.

    Steven L. Hall, who retired from the CIA in 2015 after 30 years of man­ag­ing the agency’s Rus­sia oper­a­tions, said when told by The Post about the emails: “The bot­tom line is that there’s no doubt in my mind that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was cast­ing a wide net when they were look­ing at the Amer­i­can elec­tion. I think they were doing very basic intel­li­gence work: Who’s out there? Who’s will­ing to play ball? And how can we use them?”

    Papadopou­los, a for­mer intern and researcher at the con­ser­v­a­tive Hud­son Insti­tute, was on a list of cam­paign vol­un­teers that Trump announced as his for­eign pol­i­cy advi­so­ry team dur­ing a meet­ing with The Post’s edi­to­r­i­al board in March 2016. Trump called Papadopou­los an “excel­lent guy.”

    Almost imme­di­ate­ly, Papadopou­los came under scruti­ny for his lack of expe­ri­ence. He grad­u­at­ed from col­lege in 2009, and his LinkedIn pro­file cit­ed his par­tic­i­pa­tion in a Mod­el U.N. pro­gram for stu­dents among his qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Papadopou­los did not respond to repeat­ed requests for com­ment.

    Page, who has been the sub­ject of a for­eign sur­veil­lance war­rant over his con­nec­tions to Rus­sia, said the Papadopou­los email exchange was anoth­er sign that the Rus­sia com­mu­ni­ca­tions were incon­se­quen­tial.

    “The entire­ly benign offer from a vol­un­teer mem­ber of the Trump move­ment is infi­nite­ly less rel­e­vant than the real col­lu­sion in the 2016 elec­tion,” said Page, who was copied on the first Papadopou­los email com­mu­ni­ca­tion in March. Page said in an email exchange Sat­ur­day that “the real scan­dal lies among Clin­ton and Oba­ma asso­ciates who fed false evi­dence” to inves­ti­ga­tors that he said formed the basis of the fed­er­al war­rant con­cern­ing him.

    Papadopou­los made more than a half-dozen over­tures on behalf of Rus­sians or peo­ple with Rus­sia con­tacts whom he claimed to know.

    On March 24, Clo­vis, the cam­paign co-chair­man who also served on the for­eign pol­i­cy team, react­ed to one pro­posed Rus­sia meet­ing by writ­ing, “We thought we prob­a­bly should not go for­ward with any meet­ing with the Rus­sians until we have had occa­sion to sit with our NATO allies.”

    In the same email chain, Kubic, the retired admi­ral, remind­ed oth­ers about legal restric­tions on meet­ings with cer­tain Russ­ian offi­cials, adding, “Just want to make sure that no one on the team out­runs their head­lights and embar­rass­es the cam­paign.”

    Unde­terred, Papadopou­los alert­ed then-cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki in an April email that he was receiv­ing “a lot of calls over the past month” about arrang­ing a Rus­sia meet­ing.

    “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” he wrote on April 27.

    On May 4, Papadopou­los for­ward­ed Lewandows­ki and oth­ers a note he received from the pro­gram head for the gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil. In it, Ivan Tim­o­feev, a senior offi­cial in the orga­ni­za­tion, reached out to report that Russ­ian for­eign min­istry offi­cials were open to a Trump vis­it to Moscow and request­ed that the cam­paign and Rus­sians write a for­mal let­ter out­lin­ing the meet­ing.

    Clo­vis respond­ed to the Tim­o­feev invi­ta­tion by not­ing: “There are legal issues we need to mit­i­gate, meet­ing with for­eign offi­cials as a pri­vate cit­i­zen.”

    The email chain does not show a response from Lewandows­ki, who did not return calls seek­ing com­ment.

    Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, Papadopou­los for­ward­ed the same mes­sage from Tim­o­feev to Man­afort, the new­ly named cam­paign chair­man.

    “Rus­sia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time and have been reach­ing out to me to dis­cuss,” the advis­er told Man­afort.

    Man­afort react­ed cool­ly, for­ward­ing the email to his asso­ciate Rick Gates, with a note: “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that DT is not doing these trips.”

    Gates agreed and told Man­afort he would ask the campaign’s cor­re­spon­dence coor­di­na­tor to han­dle it — “the per­son respond­ing to all mail of non-impor­tance” — to sig­ni­fy this did not need a senior offi­cial to respond.

    ...

    In an email to The Post, Tim­o­feev con­firmed that his orga­ni­za­tion had dis­cussed a meet­ing with the Trump cam­paign in the spring of 2016.

    The Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil was cre­at­ed in 2010 by a decree of then-Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev as a project of var­i­ous Russ­ian gov­ern­ment agen­cies. It is led by for­mer for­eign min­is­ter Igor Ivanov. Its board includes Russia’s cur­rent for­eign min­is­ter, Sergei Lavrov, as well as top Russ­ian schol­ars and busi­ness lead­ers, among them the chair­man of Alfa-Bank and Sber­bank, two of Russia’s largest banks.

    “We dis­cussed the idea infor­mal­ly as one of the oppor­tu­ni­ties for ... dia­logue between Rus­sia and the U.S.,” Tim­o­feev said in the email. “RIAC often hosts meet­ings with promi­nent polit­i­cal fig­ures and experts from the US and many oth­er coun­tries.”

    He said the group would have been open to meet­ing with oth­er cam­paigns.

    Clin­ton spokesman Nick Mer­rill said offi­cials with the Democrat’s cam­paign have “no rec­ol­lec­tions or record” of hav­ing been con­tact­ed by the group. Sim­i­lar­ly an advis­er to Barack Obama’s first pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, for­mer Russ­ian ambas­sador Michael McFaul, said he could not recall any sim­i­lar invi­ta­tion.
    ———-

    “Trump cam­paign emails show aide’s repeat­ed efforts to set up Rus­sia meet­ings” by Tom Ham­burg­er, Car­ol D. Leon­nig and Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 08/14/2017

    “Three days after Don­ald Trump named his cam­paign for­eign pol­i­cy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advis­ers sent an email to sev­en cam­paign offi­cials with the sub­ject line: “Meet­ing with Russ­ian Lead­er­ship — Includ­ing Putin.””

    Just three days after he joins the team he floats the idea of a meet­ing with Putin. And keeps float­ing the idea for months, appar­ent­ly with the encour­age­ment of some Russ­ian con­tacts:

    ...
    Papadopou­los made more than a half-dozen over­tures on behalf of Rus­sians or peo­ple with Rus­sia con­tacts whom he claimed to know.

    On March 24, Clo­vis, the cam­paign co-chair­man who also served on the for­eign pol­i­cy team, react­ed to one pro­posed Rus­sia meet­ing by writ­ing, “We thought we prob­a­bly should not go for­ward with any meet­ing with the Rus­sians until we have had occa­sion to sit with our NATO allies.”

    In the same email chain, Kubic, the retired admi­ral, remind­ed oth­ers about legal restric­tions on meet­ings with cer­tain Russ­ian offi­cials, adding, “Just want to make sure that no one on the team out­runs their head­lights and embar­rass­es the cam­paign.”

    Unde­terred, Papadopou­los alert­ed then-cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki in an April email that he was receiv­ing “a lot of calls over the past month” about arrang­ing a Rus­sia meet­ing.

    “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” he wrote on April 27.

    On May 4, Papadopou­los for­ward­ed Lewandows­ki and oth­ers a note he received from the pro­gram head for the gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil. In it, Ivan Tim­o­feev, a senior offi­cial in the orga­ni­za­tion, reached out to report that Russ­ian for­eign min­istry offi­cials were open to a Trump vis­it to Moscow and request­ed that the cam­paign and Rus­sians write a for­mal let­ter out­lin­ing the meet­ing.

    Clo­vis respond­ed to the Tim­o­feev invi­ta­tion by not­ing: “There are legal issues we need to mit­i­gate, meet­ing with for­eign offi­cials as a pri­vate cit­i­zen.”

    The email chain does not show a response from Lewandows­ki, who did not return calls seek­ing com­ment.

    Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, Papadopou­los for­ward­ed the same mes­sage from Tim­o­feev to Man­afort, the new­ly named cam­paign chair­man.

    “Rus­sia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time and have been reach­ing out to me to dis­cuss,” the advis­er told Man­afort.

    Man­afort react­ed cool­ly, for­ward­ing the email to his asso­ciate Rick Gates, with a note: “We need some­one to com­mu­ni­cate that DT is not doing these trips.”

    Gates agreed and told Man­afort he would ask the campaign’s cor­re­spon­dence coor­di­na­tor to han­dle it — “the per­son respond­ing to all mail of non-impor­tance” — to sig­ni­fy this did not need a senior offi­cial to respond.
    ...

    The guy was per­sis­tent. You have to give him that. And yet these emails appear to indi­cate that the Trump team was per­sis­tent in ignor­ing Papadopoulos’s pro­posed. Per­haps they were redun­dant or too high pro­file giv­en the oth­er avenues of com­mu­ni­ca­tion but that’s all part of the #TrumpRus­sia mys­tery: we have evi­dence of both covert Krem­lin out­reach efforts (the Peter Smith Dark Web team) and extreme­ly overt efforts (like Trump say­ing “Rus­sia, please hack Hillary’s emails” in the mid­dle of cam­paign event). Both of these efforts were hap­pen­ing simul­ta­ne­ous­ly while the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment itself appeared to be ignor­ing Trump cam­paign out­reach while ini­ti­at­ing its own out­reach efforts. It’s like some sort of tragi­com­ic spy par­o­dy farce. And that does­n’t even include all of the incred­u­lous hack­ing evi­dence where the Russ­ian hack­ers appeared to be out to impli­cate them­selves.

    And then there’s the mys­tery pro­fes­sor, Joseph Mif­sud, who told Papadopou­los about the “dirt” and thou­sands of emails on Hillary. It turns out he’s a pro­fes­sor who claims he has no ties to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment even though you can google them. It’s one of the lat­est twists in this tragi­com­ic spy farce:

    Moth­er Jones

    Mys­tery Pro­fes­sor in Mueller Case Had Con­tacts With Russ­ian Offi­cials
    Why did Joseph Mif­sud, who was appar­ent­ly col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Trump cam­paign, deny this?

    Han­nah Lev­in­to­va and David Corn
    Oct. 30, 2017 5:16 PM

    The state­ment made pub­lic by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller on Mon­day morn­ing announc­ing the guilty plea of for­mer Trump for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er George Papadopou­los pro­duced a stun­ning rev­e­la­tion: a pro­fes­sor who tout­ed his close ties to Russ­ian offi­cials told Papadopou­los in late April 2016 that he had learned on a trip to Moscow that the Rus­sians had “dirt” on Hillary Clin­ton in the form of “thou­sands of emails.” (This was two months before the Russ­ian hack of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee became pub­lic.) This pro­fes­sor was not named in the state­ment, but accord­ing to the doc­u­ment, he is based in Lon­don, a cit­i­zen of a Mediter­ranean coun­try, and on April 18, 2016 flew to Moscow to attend a meet­ing of the Val­dai Dis­cus­sion Club, an aca­d­e­m­ic forum in Rus­sia known for con­nect­ing Russ­ian offi­cials with West­ern diplo­mats.

    This mys­tery pro­fes­sor is like­ly Joseph Mif­sud of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stir­ling in Scot­land. Accord­ing to a cal­en­dar entry on the Val­dai club’s web­site, Mif­sud spoke on a Val­dai pan­el on April 19, 2016, titled, “World Ener­gy: Key Trends and Polit­i­cal Risks.” Mif­sud grew up in the Mediter­ranean nation of Mal­ta, where he served in var­i­ous gov­ern­ment posts; he was the only Lon­don­er and the only pro­fes­sor on the pan­el. The Mueller legal fil­ing revealed that Papadopou­los had exten­sive con­tacts with the pro­fes­sor as part of an effort to set up a meet­ing between Trump cam­paign rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Russ­ian offi­cials. Papadopou­los told his cam­paign super­vi­sors about this effort and was encour­aged to pro­ceed. Papadopou­los has plead­ed guilty to lying to the FBI about his com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the pro­fes­sor and oth­ers con­nect­ed to Rus­sia.

    The Wash­ing­ton Post not­ed on Mon­day that Mif­sud is prob­a­bly the pro­fes­sor cit­ed in the Mueller state­ment. One of the emails quot­ed in the doc­u­ment, accord­ing to the Post, “appears to match one described to the Wash­ing­ton Post in August in which Papadopou­los iden­ti­fied the pro­fes­sor with whom he met as Joseph Mif­sud, the direc­tor of the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy.” But the Post report­ed that in August Mif­sud told the news­pa­per he had “absolute­ly no con­tact with the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment,” and he insist­ed his ties to Rus­sia were pure­ly aca­d­e­m­ic.

    The pub­lic record, though, con­tains infor­ma­tion con­tra­dict­ing Mif­sud and show­ing that he has had con­tacts with Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Accord­ing to pho­tos on the web­site of Russia’s embassy in the Unit­ed King­dom, Mif­sud met with embassy rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ernest Cher­nukhin in July of this year (weeks before he issued his denial to the Post). A biog­ra­phy from a 2013 busi­ness con­fer­ence says Mif­sud “has advised Gov­ern­ments on inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion issues in many coun­tries includ­ing Moroc­co, Syr­ia, Rus­sia, Tunisia, and Italy.” Mif­sud also met with Russ­ian Ambas­sador to the UK Alexan­der Yakovenko in May of 2014, accord­ing to a 2014 Russ­ian embassy press release.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, in ear­ly 2017, Mif­sud invit­ed Alex­ey Klishin, a depart­ment head and pro­fes­sor in the inter­na­tion­al law divi­sion of the Moscow State Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions, a school run by Russia’s For­eign Min­istry, to the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy to present a lec­ture. Klishin was a for­mer mem­ber of the upper house of the Russ­ian par­lia­ment. Accord­ing to a Jan­u­ary 2017 press release from the Insti­tu­tion of the Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, “Klishin’s pre­sen­ta­tion was devot­ed to inter­na­tion­al law and nation­al legal sys­tems [and] to their coex­is­tence in the era of Brex­it and the new pres­i­den­cy in the Unit­ed States.” The release not­ed that Klishin had “vis­it­ed the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stirling…at the invi­ta­tion of the Direc­tor Joseph Mif­sud.” Here’s a pho­to with Mif­sud (sec­ond from the right) and Klishin (cen­ter) stand­ing next to each oth­er:

    Mif­sud did not respond to a request for com­ment from Moth­er Jones.

    One obvi­ous ques­tion for the pro­fes­sor is why he told the Post he had “absolute­ly” no con­tacts with Russ­ian offi­cials when on-line mate­r­i­al sug­gests he has. There are no indi­ca­tion in the Mueller state­ment whether his team has ques­tioned Mif­sud about the Clin­ton “dirt” or Papadopoulos’s ini­tia­tive to cre­ate a back-chan­nel bond between the Trump cam­paign and Vladimir Putin’s office.

    There’s anoth­er rea­son why Mif­sud could be of inter­est to Mueller and his inves­ti­ga­tors. In the past year, the New York Times has report­ed that US intel­li­gence agen­cies col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion in the sum­mer of 2016 indi­cat­ing that top Russ­ian intel­li­gence and polit­i­cal offi­cials were look­ing to gain influ­ence over Trump through his advis­ers and that US spy agen­cies had inter­cept­ed calls show­ing that Trump cam­paign aides and oth­er Trump asso­ciates had repeat­ed inter­ac­tions with senior Russ­ian intel­li­gence offi­cials, per­haps unwit­ting­ly. (In June, for­mer FBI chief James Comey, in con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny, dis­put­ed the Times sto­ry dis­clos­ing con­tacts between the Trump aides and Russ­ian intel­li­gence, but he did not spec­i­fy what was wrong with the arti­cle.) So Mueller is no doubt look­ing for pos­si­ble instances of when Russ­ian intel­li­gence infiltrated—or tried to infiltrate—the Trump cam­paign, either direct­ly or through wit­ting or unwit­ting cut-outs. And the Papadopou­los episode could be a case not only of a Trump aide try­ing to estab­lish a cam­paign con­nec­tion with the Krem­lin but of Russ­ian intel­li­gence attempt­ing to score a con­tact with­in the Trump cam­paign.

    ...
    ———-

    “Mys­tery Pro­fes­sor in Mueller Case Had Con­tacts With Russ­ian Offi­cials” by Han­nah Lev­in­to­va and David Corn; Moth­er Jones; 10/30/2017

    One obvi­ous ques­tion for the pro­fes­sor is why he told the Post he had “absolute­ly” no con­tacts with Russ­ian offi­cials when on-line mate­r­i­al sug­gests he has. There are no indi­ca­tion in the Mueller state­ment whether his team has ques­tioned Mif­sud about the Clin­ton “dirt” or Papadopoulos’s ini­tia­tive to cre­ate a back-chan­nel bond between the Trump cam­paign and Vladimir Putin’s office.”

    Yeah, like so much of this sto­ry, almost noth­ing makes sense because it’s almost like every­one want­ed to get caught.

    All in all, if the Krem­lin real­ly did plan an elec­tion dis­rup­tion cam­paign as some sort of attempt to dis­cred­it the US democ­ra­cy, it does­n’t appear to be a cam­paign sim­ply ded­i­cat­ed to embar­rass­ing Hillary Clin­ton and the Democ­rats. It also appeared to involve get­ting lots of evi­dence demon­strat­ing how the GOP was more than hap­py to col­lude with the Krem­lin and engage in a joint coverup, thus demon­strat­ing the pro­found cor­rup­tion of the Repub­li­cans too. And when you look at what’s get­ting exposed — a lit­tle bit of DNC dirty laun­dry vs evi­dence the GOP enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly work with for­eign pow­ers to win elec­tions and enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly work to cov­er it up — it would appear to be Krem­lin cam­paign that, in the end will do much, much more dam­age to the GOP. At least it should be far more dam­ag­ing to the GOP based on all avail­able evi­dence...avail­able evi­dence that is in many cas­es avail­able pre­cise­ly because of the inex­plic­a­bly overt nature of so much of the behav­ior of all these appar­ent Krem­lin agents, either those con­tact­ing the Trump cam­paign with incrim­i­nat­ing ‘the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has dirt on Hillary and wants to share it with you!’ emails or the hack­ers them­selves who appear to have run a self-impli­cat­ing frame up job. Thanks, Krem­lin?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 30, 2017, 5:02 pm
  2. Here’s an arti­cle with some impor­tant details about on Joseph Mif­sud, the Mal­tese pro­fes­sor in Lon­don who was alleged­ly the main point of con­tact between Trump cam­paign for­eign pol­i­cy advi­sors George Papadopou­los, and what appears to be an odd Krem­lin intel­li­gence oper­a­tion of teas­ing the Trump cam­paign with promis­es of “thou­sands of Hillary’s emails”: Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle, Mif­sud was­n’t sim­ply telling Papadopou­los about rumors that the Krem­lin had “dirt” on Hillary in the form of thou­sands of emails. In April of 2016, Mif­sub report­ed­ly told Papadopou­los that he had returned from Moscow where he has a meet­ing with “high-lev­el offi­cials” who dis­cussed with him these thou­sands of emails.

    Addi­tion­al­ly, the fol­low­ing piece it was Mif­sud who intro­duced Papadopou­los to the Russ­ian woman who pre­tend­ed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece. So if this real­ly was a Russ­ian intel­li­gence oper­a­tion it appeared they were will­ing to approach the Trump cam­paign with fig­ures who could be out­ed as lying to them WITH GOOGLE. After all, if some­one is claim­ing to be Putin’s niece that should be some­thing that can, and should, be ver­i­fied by the Trump cam­paign, right? Like, what’s her name and which of Putin’s sib­lings is her par­ent? Would­n’t there be all sort of fran­tic research into this Putin niece by a cam­paign that was about to col­lude with Putin’s niece? Appar­ent­ly not.

    It’s the lat­est twist in an alleged Krem­lin intel­li­gence oper­a­tion that appears to have the cre­ation of high com­e­dy spy farce as one of its key objec­tives:

    The New York Times

    The Pro­fes­sor Behind the Trump Cam­paign Advis­er Charges

    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
    OCT. 31, 2017

    LONDON — Joseph Mif­sud, who inves­ti­ga­tors say tempt­ed a Trump cam­paign offi­cial with a promise of Russ­ian “dirt” on Hillary Clin­ton, always pre­sent­ed him­self as a pro­fes­sor, accord­ing to sev­er­al online biogra­phies and a per­son who knows him. But his aca­d­e­m­ic affil­i­a­tions are hard to pin down.

    He iden­ti­fied him­self as the direc­tor of the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy — or, on anoth­er web page, as its hon­orary direc­tor. But the acad­e­my is dif­fi­cult to find.

    The acad­e­my was affil­i­at­ed with the Uni­ver­si­ty of East Anglia until 2014, before trans­fer­ring its affil­i­a­tion to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Stir­ling, in Scot­land, the Uni­ver­si­ty of East Anglia said in a state­ment on Tues­day.

    In a biog­ra­phy that was pre­vi­ous­ly dis­played on the web­site of the Lon­don Cen­ter of Inter­na­tion­al Law Prac­tice, where Mr. Mif­sud was the direc­tor of inter­na­tion­al strate­gic devel­op­ment, there is no men­tion of aca­d­e­m­ic train­ing or any degrees he may have earned. Instead, he is list­ed as the “hon­orary direc­tor” of the Lon­don Acad­e­my of Diplo­ma­cy, an “hon­orary” pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of East Anglia and a full pro­fes­sor at Stir­ling Uni­ver­si­ty.

    A spokesman for Stir­ling Uni­ver­si­ty, how­ev­er, said that Mr. Mif­sud “has been a full-time, pro­fes­so­r­i­al teach­ing fel­low in the university’s pol­i­tics depart­ment since May 2017.”

    The biog­ra­phy goes on to say that Mr. Mif­sud has “lec­tured exten­sive­ly through­out the world,” “worked in a num­ber of uni­ver­si­ties,” “attend­ed and chaired con­fer­ences” and “orga­nized major min­is­te­r­i­al and insti­tu­tion­al meet­ings on pan-Mediter­ranean dia­logue.”

    Mr. Mifsud’s prin­ci­pal expe­ri­ence in diplo­ma­cy or inter­na­tion­al rela­tions appears to have been work for the gov­ern­ment of the Mediter­ranean island state of Mal­ta. A biog­ra­phy of Mr. Mif­sud on the web­site of an orga­ni­za­tion call­ing itself the Soci­ety for Inter­cul­tur­al Edu­ca­tion Train­ing and Research said he worked in the Mal­tese For­eign Min­istry, in the Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion and as the head of an uniden­ti­fied depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mal­ta.

    ...

    Mr. Mif­sud was an enthu­si­as­tic pro­mot­er of Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin of Rus­sia. He was a reg­u­lar at meet­ings of the Val­dai Dis­cus­sion Club, an annu­al con­fer­ence held in Sochi, Rus­sia, that Mr. Putin attends. Three short arti­cles on the Val­dai web­site cite Mr. Mif­sud as an expert echo­ing Russ­ian gov­ern­ment views.

    “As more and more dif­fer­ences emerge between Sau­di Ara­bia and the Unit­ed States, it is time for Moscow and Riyadh to inten­si­fy their rela­tions, Mif­sud believes,” one arti­cle stat­ed, before quot­ing Mr. Mif­sud: “‘I feel there is a taste for this rela­tion­ship to devel­op between the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion and Sau­di Ara­bia.”

    Anoth­er arti­cle, writ­ten by Mr. Mif­sud, argued against the clos­er inte­gra­tion of the Euro­pean Union and a third, also by Mr. Mif­sud, laud­ed Mr. Putin’s inter­ven­tion in Syr­ia while find­ing Amer­i­can lead­er­ship “despon­dent­ly lack­ing.”

    Mr. Mifsud’s unusu­al résumé, how­ev­er, did not appear to raise alarms with George Papadopou­los, a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the Trump cam­paign, accord­ing to court papers filed Mon­day in Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia by the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor inves­ti­gat­ing Russ­ian inter­fer­ence in the elec­tion. Mr. Papadopou­los has plead­ed guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his con­ver­sa­tions with the “pro­fes­sor.”

    Mr. Mif­sud is referred to in the papers only as “the pro­fes­sor,” based in Lon­don, but a Sen­ate aide famil­iar with emails involv­ing Mr. Mif­sud — law­mak­ers in both the Sen­ate and the House are inves­ti­gat­ing Russia’s role in the elec­tion — con­firmed that he was the pro­fes­sor.

    Mr. Papadopou­los was an ener­gy con­sul­tant before he joined the Trump cam­paign, and Mr. Mif­sud was “ini­tial­ly” unin­ter­est­ed in him until he dis­closed his Trump cam­paign role, the pros­e­cu­tors wrote in the court papers. Then, they said, Mr. Mif­sud “appeared to take great inter­est.”

    When the two men first met, in Italy in March 2016, Mr. Mif­sud quick­ly promised “dirt” on Mrs. Clin­ton, then the like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, in the form of “thou­sands of emails” obtained by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, pros­e­cu­tors say.

    Mr. Papadopou­los “under­stood that the pro­fes­sor had sub­stan­tial con­nec­tions to Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials” and “repeat­ed­ly sought to use the professor’s Russ­ian con­nec­tions in an effort to arrange a meet­ing between the cam­paign and Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials,” the pros­e­cu­tors wrote.

    On March 24, 2016, Mr. Mif­sud false­ly pre­sent­ed a young Russ­ian woman as a niece of Mr. Putin’s and intro­duced her to Mr. Papadopou­los, pros­e­cu­tors wrote. Mr. Papadopou­los emailed his cam­paign super­vi­sor about his promis­ing meet­ing with his “good friend” — Mr. Mif­sud — and “Putin’s niece.”

    “Great work,” the super­vi­sor respond­ed, accord­ing to the pros­e­cu­tors.

    Mr. Papadopou­los emailed both Mr. Mif­sud and the Russ­ian woman the fol­low­ing month, on April 10, about set­ting up a poten­tial trip to Rus­sia.

    “This is already been agreed,” Mr. Mif­sud replied. “I am fly­ing to Moscow on the 18th for a Val­dai meet­ing, plus oth­er meet­ings at the Duma,” a ref­er­ence to a Russ­ian leg­isla­tive body.

    “I have already alert­ed my per­son­al links to our con­ver­sa­tion and your request,” the Russ­ian woman wrote to Mr. Papadopou­los.

    Mr. Mif­sud then put Mr. Papadopou­los in con­tact with the Russ­ian For­eign Min­istry and, on April 26, met Mr. Papadopou­los for break­fast in Lon­don. Mr. Mif­sud said he had returned from meet­ings with high-lev­el offi­cials in Moscow. There, he said, he learned that the Rus­sians had “dirt” on Mrs. Clin­ton — “emails of Clin­ton” and “thou­sands of emails,” as Mr. Papadopou­los lat­er told the F.B.I.

    Four days lat­er, Mr. Papadopou­los thanked Mr. Mif­sud for his “crit­i­cal help” in arrang­ing a pos­si­ble meet­ing between the Trump cam­paign and Russ­ian offi­cials.

    “It’s his­to­ry mak­ing if it hap­pens,” Mr. Papadopou­los wrote.

    ———-

    “The Pro­fes­sor Behind the Trump Cam­paign Advis­er Charges” by DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK; The New York Times; 10/31/2017

    “When the two men first met, in Italy in March 2016, Mr. Mif­sud quick­ly promised “dirt” on Mrs. Clin­ton, then the like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, in the form of “thou­sands of emails” obtained by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, pros­e­cu­tors say.”

    It’s some­what unclear from the report­ing if Mif­sud promised “dirt” in the form of “thou­sands of emails” back when they first met in March of 2016 or a month lat­er, because accord­ing to this pas­sage it was­n’t intil April that Mif­sud told Papadopou­los about the “dirt” and “thou­sands of email”:

    ...
    Mr. Mif­sud then put Mr. Papadopou­los in con­tact with the Russ­ian For­eign Min­istry and, on April 26, met Mr. Papadopou­los for break­fast in Lon­don. Mr. Mif­sud said he had returned from meet­ings with high-lev­el offi­cials in Moscow. There, he said, he learned that the Rus­sians had “dirt” on Mrs. Clin­ton — “emails of Clin­ton” and “thou­sands of emails,” as Mr. Papadopou­los lat­er told the F.B.I.
    ...

    And the tim­ing is rather impor­tant here in terms of get­ting a sense of what the Trump team thought it was get­ting into, because the fake Putin niece appears toh have entered the pic­ture on March 24th:

    ...
    Mr. Papadopou­los “under­stood that the pro­fes­sor had sub­stan­tial con­nec­tions to Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials” and “repeat­ed­ly sought to use the professor’s Russ­ian con­nec­tions in an effort to arrange a meet­ing between the cam­paign and Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials,” the pros­e­cu­tors wrote.

    On March 24, 2016, Mr. Mif­sud false­ly pre­sent­ed a young Russ­ian woman as a niece of Mr. Putin’s and intro­duced her to Mr. Papadopou­los, pros­e­cu­tors wrote. Mr. Papadopou­los emailed his cam­paign super­vi­sor about his promis­ing meet­ing with his “good friend” — Mr. Mif­sud — and “Putin’s niece.”
    ...

    So was the Trump team think­ing it was in con­tact with Putin’s niece before or after it was told the Krem­lin had thou­sands of Hillary’s emails? It’s an inter­est­ing ques­tion although giv­en all the sub­se­quent con­tacts — like the Rob Gold­stone meet­ing at the Trump Tow­er — it’s not like the Trump team has­n’t demon­strat­ed an ample will­ing­ness to col­lect “dirt” that it thought was com­ing from the Krem­lin.

    It will cer­tain­ly be inter­est­ing to see what more is released about Papadopoulos’s Col­lu­sion Adven­tures. But if there’s one thing this chap­ter in #TrumpRus­sia makes clear, it’s that when Rob Gold­stone sent those over-the-top emails to Don­ald Trump Jr. in ear­ly June, emails that almost seemed like an intel­li­gence fish­ing attempt to see if the Trump cam­paign was will­ing to accept such overt and self-incrim­i­nat­ing over­ture sent over email, the ques­tion of whether or not the Trump cam­paign would be recep­tive to over-to-top overt over­tures was already thor­ough­ly answered months ear­li­er by George Papadopoulus.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2017, 2:13 pm
  3. Fol­low­ing up on the strange case of the enthu­si­as­tic col­lu­sion of George Papadopou­los, the fol­low­ing arti­cle makes a cou­ple impor­tant clar­i­fi­ca­tions. First, regard­ing the ques­tion of when exact­ly the mys­te­ri­ous pro­fes­sor Mif­sud float­ed the rumor that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clin­ton in the form of “thou­sands of emails” (March or April), the arti­cle notes that it was def­i­nite­ly “on or about April 26th” of 2016.

    The arti­cle also notes that in addi­tion to intro­duc­ing Papadopou­los to the woman claim­ing to be Vladimir Putin’s niece it was Mif­sud who also intro­duced Papadopou­los to Ivan Tim­o­feev, the senior offi­cial from the gov­ern­ment-fund­ed Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil. So the two peo­ple who claimed to be reach­ing out to the Trump cam­paign on behalf of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment via Papadopoulus were both intro­duced by Mif­sud the mys­te­ri­ous Mal­tese pro­fes­sor:

    The New York Times

    Trump Cam­paign Advis­er Met With Russ­ian to Dis­cuss ‘Dirt’ on Clin­ton

    By MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
    OCT. 30, 2017

    WASHINGTON — A pro­fes­sor with close ties to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment told an advis­er to Don­ald J. Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in April 2016 that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clin­ton in the form of “thou­sands of emails,” accord­ing to court doc­u­ments unsealed Mon­day.

    The advis­er, George Papadopou­los, has plead­ed guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that con­ver­sa­tion. The plea rep­re­sents the most explic­it evi­dence that the Trump cam­paign was aware that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment was try­ing to help Mr. Trump and that the cam­paign was eager to accept that help.

    As part of that effort, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hacked Demo­c­ra­t­ic accounts and released a trove of embar­rass­ing emails relat­ed to Mrs. Clinton’s cam­paign. The Trump cam­paign has repeat­ed­ly denied any inside knowl­edge about that.

    “They have dirt on her,” the pro­fes­sor told Mr. Papadopou­los, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments. “They have thou­sands of emails.”

    Mr. Papadopou­los was qui­et­ly arrest­ed at Wash­ing­ton Dulles Air­port on July 27 and has since been coop­er­at­ing with the spe­cial coun­sel, Robert S. Mueller III, records show. Mr. Papadopoulos’s con­ver­sa­tion in April rais­es more ques­tions about a sub­se­quent meet­ing in June at Trump Tow­er, where Mr. Trump’s eldest son and senior advis­ers met with Rus­sians who were sim­i­lar­ly promis­ing on Mrs. Clin­ton.

    The doc­u­ments released on Mon­day said that sev­er­al senior cam­paign offi­cials knew about some of Mr. Papadopoulos’s inter­ac­tions with the Rus­sians. The doc­u­ments do not say whether he men­tioned the Clin­ton emails to any­one.

    The pro­fes­sor, who was not iden­ti­fied in court doc­u­ments, intro­duced Mr. Papadopou­los to oth­ers, includ­ing some­one con­nect­ed to the Russ­ian Min­istry of For­eign Affairs and a woman who he believed was a rel­a­tive of the Russ­ian pres­i­dent, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Papadopou­los repeat­ed­ly tried to arrange a meet­ing between the Trump cam­paign and Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials, court records show.

    “We are all very excit­ed by the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a good rela­tion­ship with Mr. Trump,” the woman, who was not iden­ti­fied, told Mr. Papadopou­los in an email. She was not actu­al­ly a rel­a­tive of Mr. Putin, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Mr. Papadopou­los told the F.B.I. in Jan­u­ary that the pro­fes­sor was “a noth­ing.” But Mr. Papadopou­los now acknowl­edges that he knew the pro­fes­sor had “sub­stan­tial con­nec­tions to Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials.” Attempts to reach Mr. Papadopou­los on Mon­day were not suc­cess­ful.

    ...

    Mr. Papadopou­los was first inter­viewed by the F.B.I. in Jan­u­ary, as the bureau was inves­ti­gat­ing con­nec­tions between the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia. In that inter­view, Mr. Papadopou­los said that he began com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the pro­fes­sor and the Russ­ian woman before he became a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the cam­paign. He has since acknowl­edged that is untrue.

    “The pro­fes­sor only took inter­est in defen­dant Papadopou­los because of his sta­tus with the cam­paign; and the pro­fes­sor told defen­dant Papadopou­los about the ‘thou­sands of emails’ on or about April 26, 2016, when defen­dant Papadopou­los had been a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the cam­paign for over a month,” accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

    In Feb­ru­ary, Mr. Papadopou­los delet­ed his Face­book account, which includ­ed his com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Rus­sians. Lat­er that month, he began using a new cell­phone num­ber.

    The doc­u­ments say that Mr. Papadopou­los knew that the pro­fes­sor had met with senior offi­cials in Moscow to dis­cuss Mrs. Clinton’s email.

    Mr. Papadopou­los alert­ed his super­vi­sor and sev­er­al mem­bers of the for­eign pol­i­cy team about his con­tacts, refer­ring to his “good friend” the pro­fes­sor and a woman he called Mr. Putin’s niece. The cam­paign super­vi­sor — who was not iden­ti­fied in the doc­u­ments — said in response that he would “work it through the cam­paign” and added “Great work.”

    ...

    ———-
    “Trump Cam­paign Advis­er Met With Russ­ian to Dis­cuss ‘Dirt’ on Clin­ton” by MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT; The New York Times; 10/30/2017

    “The pro­fes­sor, who was not iden­ti­fied in court doc­u­ments, intro­duced Mr. Papadopou­los to oth­ers, includ­ing some­one con­nect­ed to the Russ­ian Min­istry of For­eign Affairs and a woman who he believed was a rel­a­tive of the Russ­ian pres­i­dent, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Papadopou­los repeat­ed­ly tried to arrange a meet­ing between the Trump cam­paign and Russ­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials, court records show.”

    Recall how the Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil includ­ed a num­ber of peo­ple from the Russ­ian Min­istry of For­eign Affairs, includ­ing for­eign min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov, so the ref­er­ence to “some­one con­nect­ed to the Russ­ian Min­istry of For­eign Affairs is like­ly a ref­er­ence to Ivan Tim­o­feev.
    And here’s the clar­i­fi­ca­tion on when the “thou­sands of emails” idea was first float­ed:

    ...
    “The pro­fes­sor only took inter­est in defen­dant Papadopou­los because of his sta­tus with the cam­paign; and the pro­fes­sor told defen­dant Papadopou­los about the ‘thou­sands of emails’ on or about April 26, 2016, when defen­dant Papadopou­los had been a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er to the cam­paign for over a month,” accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.
    ...

    So that helps give us a bet­ter pic­ture of the role Pro­fes­sor Mif­sud played in all this. A pret­ty big role in appears. First he befriends Papadopou­los in March. Then he intro­duces him to a fake Putin niece lat­er that month. Then, a month lat­er, he tells Papadopou­los that Moscow has thou­sands of Hillary’s emails. And at some point dur­ing all this he intro­duces Papadopou­los to Ivan Tim­o­feev of the Russ­ian Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Coun­cil who informs Papadopoulus that Russ­ian for­eign min­istry offi­cials are will­ing to meet­ing with the the Trump cam­paign and request­ed that the cam­paign and Rus­sians write a for­mal let­ter out­lin­ing the meet­ing. A fake Putin niece, the hint of Hillary’s emails, and request for a for­mal let­ter out­lin­ing a meet­ing with Russ­ian for­eign min­istry offi­cials.

    Giv­en all that, and giv­en how many of these inter­ac­tions hap­pened before Trump was offi­cial­ly the GOP nom­i­nee, one of the inter­est­ing ques­tions raised by all this is whether or not the Trump cam­paign was the only GOP cam­paign tempt­ed with that kind of rumor of Hillary’s emails. It’s pos­si­ble, although it’s also worth not­ing that when Papadopoulus was report­ed­ly informed of this “dirt” on Hillary it was in late April, when the GOP pri­ma­ry was still under­way but not for much longer. Ted Cruz and John Kasich both dropped out on May 3rd and 4th, so Trump was effec­tive­ly the GOP’s nom­i­nee by ear­ly May and appeared to be on his way to being the nom­i­nee in April. So if the Krem­lin real­ly was reach­ing out to the Trump team via Papadopou­los in April to dan­gle a “we got Hillary’s emails” offer to it would­n’t be stun­ning if the Trump team was the only cam­paign that was made that offer.

    Still, the ques­tion of who else may have known about these “Krem­lin has Hillary’s emails” rumors dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, either told by some­one like the Pro­fes­sor who we are assum­ing is work­ing as a Russ­ian intel­li­gence proxy or told by the Trump team after they found out, is a pret­ty mas­sive ques­tion. Rumors spread, after all.

    For instance, might Ted Cruz’s cam­paign have received a hot tip from some­one claim­ing to be a a Krem­lin proxy about thou­sands of Hillary emails pos­sessed by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment? It will be inter­est­ing to see if any­thing of that nature comes out over the course of the inves­ti­ga­tion. And it turns out there was at least one ele­ment of Ted Cruz’s cam­paign that def­i­nite­ly heard rumors that Hillary’s “33,000 delet­ed emails” were float­ing around some­where. That would be Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca. Don’t for­get, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and Robert and Rebekah Mer­cer all backed Ted Cruz. It was only after he lost that they switched over to Team Trump.

    And accord­ing to the fol­low­ing report, at some point in at some point in June of 2016 — the month Guc­cifer 2.0 first emerged and the month Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca for­mal­ly joined the Trump cam­paign — Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s CEO Alexan­der Nix actu­al­ly emailed Julian Assange to ask if Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca could help index Hillary’s thou­sands of stolen email so they could be more eas­i­ly search­able online:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange
    The head of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca said he asked the Wik­iLeaks founder for help find­ing Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 delet­ed emails.

    Bet­sy Woodruff
    10.25.17 10:30 AM ET

    Alexan­der Nix, who heads a con­tro­ver­sial data-ana­lyt­ics firm that worked for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign, wrote in an email last year that he reached out to Wik­iLeaks founder Julian Assange about Hillary Clinton’s miss­ing 33,000 emails.

    On Wednes­day, Assange con­firmed that such an exchange took place.

    Nix, who heads Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, told a third par­ty that he reached out to Assange about his firm some­how help­ing the Wik­iLeaks edi­tor release Clinton’s miss­ing emails, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with a con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into inter­ac­tions between Trump asso­ciates and the Krem­lin. (CNN lat­er report­ed Cam­bridge backer Rebekah Mer­cer was one of the email’s recip­i­ents.) Those sources also relayed that, accord­ing to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca CEO that he didn’t want his help, and pre­ferred to do the work on his own.

    The inter­change between Nix—whose com­pa­ny made mil­lions from the Trump campaign—and Assange rep­re­sents the clos­est known con­nec­tion between Trump’s cam­paign and Wik­ileaks.

    Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca did not pro­vide com­ment for this sto­ry by press time. But after pub­li­ca­tion, Assange pro­vid­ed this state­ment to The Dai­ly Beast: ”We can con­firm an approach by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and can con­firm that it was reject­ed by Wik­iLeaks.”

    Nobody has pub­lished the 33,000 emails that were delet­ed from the per­son­al email serv­er Hillary Clin­ton used while she was sec­re­tary of State.

    “It’s not at all clear that any­body hacked Clinton’s emails or has them,” said one of the sources famil­iar with the inves­ti­ga­tion.

    Those 33,000 mes­sages were a cen­tral focus of Trump and his allies dur­ing the cam­paign. At least one Repub­li­can oper­a­tive tried to recruit hack­ers to obtain those emails, accord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal. And at a press con­fer­ence on July 27, 2016, while the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion was under­way, Trump—then the Repub­li­can nominee—said he hoped the Krem­lin would recov­er those emails.

    “Rus­sia, if you’re lis­ten­ing, I hope you’ll be able to find the 30,000 emails that are miss­ing,” he said.

    And on the cam­paign trail, Trump praised Wik­iLeaks and tweet­ed about its find­ings. Poli­ti­fact cal­cu­lat­ed that he men­tioned the site about 137 times dur­ing the cam­paign.

    “I love Wik­iLeaks!” he pro­claimed at a ral­ly on Oct. 10, short­ly after the site began pub­lish­ing emails hacked from Hillary Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podes­ta.

    ...

    Roger Stone, a long­time advis­er to Trump, was in touch with Assange through an inter­me­di­ary. The House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee is push­ing Stone to share the iden­ti­ty of that inter­me­di­ary with them. So far, he has not com­plied.

    Robert and Rebekah Mer­cer, a bil­lion­aire father-daugh­ter duo that spent big to boost Trump’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­da­cy, are major investors in Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca. Robert Mer­cer co-man­ages a hedge fund that drew scruti­ny from con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors in 2014 for using ques­tion­able bank­ing tac­tics to alleged­ly dodge pay­ing upward of $7 bil­lion in tax­es. Steve Ban­non, for­mer­ly a senior White House aide, was on the company’s board before he joined the White House. He has worked with the Mer­cers on mul­ti­ple con­ser­v­a­tive projects, and Bloomberg News report­ed he pre­vi­ous­ly had hold­ings in Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca val­ued at between $1 mil­lion and $5 mil­lion.

    On Wednes­day after­noon, Trump cam­paign exec­u­tive direc­tor Michael Glass­ner tried to down­play the role Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca played dur­ing the elec­tion, stat­ing that the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee [RNC] was its “main source” for data ana­lyt­ics.

    After Trump secured the GOP nom­i­na­tion, Glass­ner said in a state­ment: “We were proud to have worked with the RNC and its data experts and relied on them as our main source for data ana­lyt­ics. ... Any claims that vot­er data from any oth­er source played a key role in the vic­to­ry are false.”

    But FEC data con­tra­dict­ed Glass­ner. Accord­ing to the campaign’s own FEC fil­ings, the Trump cam­paign paid Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca $5.9 mil­lion from July 29, 2016—a week after Trump for­mal­ly accept­ed the Repub­li­can Party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion in Cleveland—to Decem­ber 12, 2016. Brad Parscale, the campaign’s dig­i­tal direc­tor, told the Wall Street Jour­nal that the “psy­cho­graph­ic” firm’s invoic­es is “mis­la­beled” in the FEC fil­ing but he did­n’t elab­o­rate how or why.

    A Repub­li­can dig­i­tal strate­gist who worked with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign told The Dai­ly Beast that Nix should not be viewed as a reli­able nar­ra­tor.

    “Alexan­der Nix is not cred­i­ble at all,” the strate­gist said. “He is a con­sum­mate sales­man, and there are numer­ous instances already out in the pub­lic record where he made claims that were not just fac­tu­al­ly wrong—they were total fab­ri­ca­tions.”

    The source added that this doesn’t mean Nix didn’t reach out to Assange.

    “I wouldn’t put it past him, if you con­sid­er every oth­er thing that he’s done, every oth­er way that he’s con­duct­ed busi­ness,” the strate­gist added. “I absolute­ly can see him reach­ing out and mak­ing an inquiry, hop­ing to find anoth­er way that Cam­bridge could become the heroes.”

    The source made these state­ments before Assange pub­licly admit­ted the dia­logue with Nix.

    ———-

    “Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange” by Bet­sy Woodruff; The Dai­ly Beast; 10/25/2017

    “Nix, who heads Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, told a third par­ty that he reached out to Assange about his firm some­how help­ing the Wik­iLeaks edi­tor release Clinton’s miss­ing emails, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with a con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion into inter­ac­tions between Trump asso­ciates and the Krem­lin. (CNN lat­er report­ed Cam­bridge backer Rebekah Mer­cer was one of the email’s recip­i­ents.) Those sources also relayed that, accord­ing to Nix’s email, Assange told the Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca CEO that he didn’t want his help, and pre­ferred to do the work on his own.”

    So after the Trump cam­paign basi­cal­ly gets teased about Moscow get­ting its hands on Hillary’s emails in late April we find Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, now work­ing for the Trump cam­paign, actu­al­ly con­tact­ing Julian Assange about help­ing Wik­ileaks release them. And Assange con­firmed this email exchange did indeed take place:

    ...
    On Wednes­day, Assange con­firmed that such an exchange took place.
    ...

    And don’t for­get that ear­ly June was when the bizarre out­reach to Rob Gold­stone took place cul­mi­nat­ing in the June 9th Trump Tow­er meet­ing.

    It’s all part of why it’s not at all sur­pris­ing to see the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and rest of the GOP run­ning as fast as it can from the firm:

    ...
    On Wednes­day after­noon, Trump cam­paign exec­u­tive direc­tor Michael Glass­ner tried to down­play the role Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca played dur­ing the elec­tion, stat­ing that the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee [RNC] was its “main source” for data ana­lyt­ics.

    After Trump secured the GOP nom­i­na­tion, Glass­ner said in a state­ment: “We were proud to have worked with the RNC and its data experts and relied on them as our main source for data ana­lyt­ics. ... Any claims that vot­er data from any oth­er source played a key role in the vic­to­ry are false.”

    But FEC data con­tra­dict­ed Glass­ner. Accord­ing to the campaign’s own FEC fil­ings, the Trump cam­paign paid Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca $5.9 mil­lion from July 29, 2016—a week after Trump for­mal­ly accept­ed the Repub­li­can Party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion in Cleveland—to Decem­ber 12, 2016. Brad Parscale, the campaign’s dig­i­tal direc­tor, told the Wall Street Jour­nal that the “psy­cho­graph­ic” firm’s invoic­es is “mis­la­beled” in the FEC fil­ing but he did­n’t elab­o­rate how or why.

    A Repub­li­can dig­i­tal strate­gist who worked with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign told The Dai­ly Beast that Nix should not be viewed as a reli­able nar­ra­tor.

    “Alexan­der Nix is not cred­i­ble at all,” the strate­gist said. “He is a con­sum­mate sales­man, and there are numer­ous instances already out in the pub­lic record where he made claims that were not just fac­tu­al­ly wrong—they were total fab­ri­ca­tions.”
    ...

    “Cam­bridge who? Anawhat­i­ca?” That’s basi­cal­ly the GOP’s response at this point. For under­stand­able rea­sons.

    And just to be clear, here’s an arti­cle that points out that this email was sent in June. Appar­ent­ly Nix had to point out to Rebekah Mer­cer that he had already con­tact Assange in June after Mer­cer con­tact­ed Nix in August float­ing exact­ly the idea:

    Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er

    Top Trump donor inquired if data firm could help orga­nize Hillary Clin­ton-relat­ed emails from Wik­iLeaks

    by Diana Stan­cy Cor­rell | Oct 27, 2017, 6:08 PM

    Rebekah Mer­cer, a top Trump donor, con­tact­ed the CEO of the data ana­lyt­ics firm the Trump cam­paign hired and asked if the com­pa­ny could bet­ter orga­nize the emails relat­ed to Hillary Clin­ton that were being released by Wik­iLeaks, a report said Fri­day.

    Mer­cer for­ward­ed Alexan­der Nix, CEO of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, an email in August 2016 from a per­son she had met at an event sup­port­ing Sen. Ted Cruz, R‑Texas, that the Trump cam­paign should help orga­nize the hacked emails con­cern­ing Clin­ton to make them more search­able, accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal.

    She then asked whether this was pos­si­ble for Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca or the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Insti­tute, a con­ser­v­a­tive non­prof­it ded­i­cat­ed to inves­tiga­tive research.

    Nix report­ed­ly respond­ed that he had already con­tact­ed Wik­iLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in June and asked him to share the emails with the com­pa­ny so they could help dis­perse them, but said Assange had denied his request.

    ...

    ———-

    “Top Trump donor inquired if data firm could help orga­nize Hillary Clin­ton-relat­ed emails from Wik­iLeaks” by Diana Stan­cy Cor­rell; The Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er; 10/27/2017

    “Nix report­ed­ly respond­ed that he had already con­tact­ed Wik­iLeaks founder, Julian Assange, in June and asked him to share the emails with the com­pa­ny so they could help dis­perse them, but said Assange had denied his request.”

    June was quite a month for the Trump cam­paign.

    Ok, let’s review: we have this strange out­reach effort start­ing in March cen­tered around the mys­te­ri­ous Mr. Mif­sud who prompt­ly intro­duced George Papadoulus to a fake Putin niece. Then he starts talk­ing about Hillary’s emails in late April. And then we have the infa­mous Trump Tow­er meet­ing on June 9th that start­ed off with an email from Gold­stone to Trump Jr. promis­ing Russ­ian gov­ern­ment help but instead the meet­ing appeared to most­ly be about over­turn­ing the Mag­nit­sky act. Guc­cifer 2.0 goes pub­lic on June 14th, and then at some point in June, the CEO of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca con­tacts Julian Assange and seem­ing­ly acts as if he believes Assange already has those emails.

    So You have to wonder...did that del­e­ga­tion dur­ing that June 9th meet­ing tell the Trump cam­paign that Wik­ileaks already had the emails? Or maybe some sort of cryp­tic hint point­ing the cam­paign in Wik­ileak­s’s direc­tion? Because it seems pret­ty clear that the Trump cam­paign had those emails on its mind dur­ing the meet­ing. How could the top­ic not have come up?

    And if that hap­pened and the del­e­ga­tion real­ly did direct the Trump cam­paign towards Wik­ileaks for those emails it once again rais­es the ques­tion: were the Russ­ian inten­tion­al­ly toy­ing with the Trump cam­paign? Kind of like intro­duc­ing a fake Putin niece and then hint­ing at pos­ses­sion of Hillary’s emails but nev­er deliv­er­ing them, that kind of toy­ing?

    We’ll prob­a­bly nev­er know the answer to that, but it hard to ignore the pos­si­bil­i­ty that get­ting the Trump team to total­ly impli­cate itself in Russ­ian col­lu­sion would have been one of the goals of Krem­lin plans to mess around with the US elec­tion. After all, if the Krem­lin real­ly was plan­ning on wag­ing an over-the-top elec­tion inter­fer­ence fias­co the self-impli­cat­ing hack­ing cam­paign filled with “I’m a Russ­ian hack­er” clues makes no sense because it’s not like Moscow could rea­son­ably expect to ben­e­fit sig­nif­i­cant­ly from a Trump vic­to­ry after a hack­ing cam­paign filled with “I’m a Russ­ian!” clues. But pulling off a self-impli­cat­ing hack­ing cam­paign against Hillary while get­ting the Trump team to impli­cate itself in the hack­ing, on the oth­er hand, does make some amount of sense. At least the pay­out isn’t pred­i­cat­ed on get­ting spe­cial treat­ment from the new admin­is­tra­tion. It would still be a pret­ty crazy plan...just not as crazy as the plan we’re expect­ed to assume the Krem­lin had where the mas­sive “I’m a Russ­ian” hack­ing is done in order to get a Pres­i­dent installed who will lift all the Russ­ian sanc­tions.

    So might we be see­ing the out­lines of a Krem­lin cam­paign designed to smear the Democ­rats with the email hacks while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly mak­ing sure Team Trump leaves a long trail of evi­dence lead­ing back to those hacks and col­lu­sion with Moscow? It would be a pret­ty high risk gam­bit, but if the plan was always for this whole this to explode in a mega-scan­dal that prob­a­bly would­n’t have been as high risk as a plan to pull off a scheme this self-incrim­i­nat­ing with­out get­ting caught.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 31, 2017, 8:17 pm
  4. For The Record 981 is the most coher­ent piece of mod­ern polit­i­cal analy­sis. Lit­er­al­ly noth­ing being broad­cast in the mass-media (left-right-cen­ter-alter­na­tive includ­ed) comes close to the amount of fac­tu­al tri­an­gu­la­tion that has been pre­sent­ed here. Bra­vo!

    I must say though, if the end goal is a fas­cist rev­o­lu­tion, the ring lead­ers must real­ize that the entire plan­et is going thru an accel­er­at­ed state of decay. Ice caps melt­ing, trop­i­cal forests destroyed, deserts expand­ing, rivers and seas poi­soned, ect. What is to be had if you can no longer live on the plan­et?

    I this why the pri­va­ti­za­tion of space explo­ration is being enter­tained?

    All of the world’s fas­cist ring lead­ers hang out in low-orbit while they release a plague that will wipe out the rest of us?

    What is the end game?

    Posted by Robert Montenegro | November 1, 2017, 9:20 am
  5. @Robert Mon­tene­gro–

    At your ear­li­est con­ve­nience, please exam­ine FTR #982, which fur­ther devel­ops the sit­u­a­tion.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 1, 2017, 6:53 pm
  6. We just got some more infor­ma­tion on the tim­ing of the offer by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca’s CEO Alexan­der Nix to Julian Assange back in June 2016 to help Wik­ileaks make the pre­sumed cache of Hillary Clin­ton’s stolen emails more search­able online: Accord­ing to Nix, that offer was made in “ear­ly June”. And unless he’s using the term “ear­ly” loose­ly here that almost cer­tain­ly means this offer to Wik­ileaks was made before the June 14th news reports about the DNC get­ting hacked:

    The Guardian

    Data firm that worked for Trump asked Wik­iLeaks to share hacked emails

    Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca exec­u­tive con­firms firm asked Assange to share hacked emails relat­ed to Clin­ton – report­ed­ly around time it start­ed work­ing for Trump

    Julian Borg­er in Wash­ing­ton

    Fri­day 10 Novem­ber 2017 18.08 EST
    Last mod­i­fied on Fri­day 10 Novem­ber 2017 18.09 EST

    The chief exec­u­tive of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca has con­firmed that the UK data research firm con­tact­ed Julian Assange to ask Wik­iLeaks to share hacked emails relat­ed to Hillary Clin­ton at about the time it start­ed work­ing for the Trump cam­paign in sum­mer 2016.

    Speak­ing at a dig­i­tal con­fer­ence in Lis­bon, Alexan­der Nix said he had read a news­pa­per report about Wik­iLeaks’ threat to pub­lish a trove of hacked Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty emails, and said he asked his aides to approach Assange in ear­ly June 2016 to ask “if he might share that infor­ma­tion with us”, accord­ing to remarks pub­lished by the Wall Street Jour­nal.

    Assange, WikiLeaks’s founder, has already acknowl­edged the approach by Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and said Wik­iLeaks reject­ed the request. In Lis­bon, Nix report­ed­ly agreed that the over­ture had been rebuffed.

    “We received a mes­sage back from them that he didn’t want to and wasn’t able to, and that was the end of the sto­ry,” Nix said at the Web Sum­mit con­fer­ence, accord­ing to the WSJ. He called the exchange “very benign”.

    How­ev­er, the con­tacts between Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and Wik­iLeaks are of inter­est to inves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion between the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin. The doc­u­ments pub­lished by Wik­iLeaks in the sum­mer of 2016 were lat­er deter­mined by US intel­li­gence agen­cies to have been stolen by hack­ers work­ing for Russ­ian intel­li­gence.

    Accord­ing to the Jour­nal, cit­ing emails and unnamed sources, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca had sent employ­ees to the Trump dig­i­tal cam­paign head­quar­ters and was in the process of final­is­ing a con­tract with the cam­paign in ear­ly June of last year, appar­ent­ly around the time Nix said he made the approach to Assange. It is not sug­gest­ed that Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca made the approach at the Trump campaign’s request. The Guardian has con­tact­ed Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca for com­ment.

    Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Schiff, the rank­ing Demo­c­rat on the House intel­li­gence com­mit­tee look­ing into pos­si­ble Trump-Moscow col­lu­sion has said the com­mit­tee had a “deep inter­est” in the rela­tion­ship between Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and Wik­iLeaks.

    In an inter­view at the Web Sum­mit, Nix reject­ed any sug­ges­tion of col­lu­sion with Rus­sia.

    “We did not work with Rus­sia in this elec­tion, and more­over we would nev­er work with a third-par­ty state actor in anoth­er country’s cam­paign,” he said.

    Robert Mer­cer, a Trump mega-donor, and his daugh­ter, Rebekah, are major investors in Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca and Steve Ban­non was a vice-pres­i­dent of the com­pa­ny before join­ing the Trump cam­paign and becom­ing the president’s chief strate­gist in the White House.

    ...

    ———-

    “Data firm that worked for Trump asked Wik­iLeaks to share hacked emails” by Julian Borg­er; The Guardian; 11/10/2017

    “Speak­ing at a dig­i­tal con­fer­ence in Lis­bon, Alexan­der Nix said he had read a news­pa­per report about Wik­iLeaks’ threat to pub­lish a trove of hacked Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty emails, and said he asked his aides to approach Assange in ear­ly June 2016 to ask “if he might share that infor­ma­tion with us”, accord­ing to remarks pub­lished by the Wall Street Jour­nal.

    Ear­ly June 2016. That’s the win­dow. But we can prob­a­bly nar­row the win­dow down even more based on Nix’s expla­na­tion because he said “he had read a news­pa­per report about Wik­iLeaks’ threat to pub­lish a trove of hacked Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty emails”.

    So which news report about Assange’s threat was he refer­ring to? Well, prob­a­bly this one from June 12th:

    The Guardian

    Wik­iLeaks to pub­lish more Hillary Clin­ton emails — Julian Assange

    New release like­ly to fan con­tro­ver­sy and pro­vide fur­ther ammu­ni­tion for Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial rival Don­ald Trump

    Mark Tran
    Sun­day 12 June 2016 10.50 EDT

    Julian Assange, the founder of Wik­iLeaks, has said his organ­i­sa­tion is prepar­ing to pub­lish more emails Hillary Clin­ton sent and received while US sec­re­tary of state.

    Clin­ton, the pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, is under FBI inves­ti­ga­tion to deter­mine whether she broke fed­er­al law by using her pri­vate email in send­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion. A new Wik­iLeaks release of Clin­ton emails is like­ly to fan a con­tro­ver­sy that has bedev­illed her cam­paign and pro­vide fur­ther ammu­ni­tion for Don­ald Trump, her Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial rival, who has used the issue to attack her.

    Assange’s com­ments came in an inter­view on ITV’s Peston on Sun­day. “We have upcom­ing leaks in rela­tion to Hillary Clin­ton … We have emails pend­ing pub­li­ca­tion, that is cor­rect,” Assange said.He did not spec­i­fy when or how many emails would be pub­lished.

    Wik­iLeaks launched a search­able archive in March of 30,322 emails and email attach­ments sent to and from Clinton’s pri­vate email serv­er while she was sec­re­tary of state. The 50,547 pages of doc­u­ments are from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014, and 7,570 of the doc­u­ments were sent by Clin­ton, who served as sec­re­tary of state from 2009 to 2013.

    ...

    ———-

    “Wik­iLeaks to pub­lish more Hillary Clin­ton emails — Julian Assange” by Mark Tran; The Guardian; 06/12/2016

    Assange’s com­ments came in an inter­view on ITV’s Peston on Sun­day. “We have upcom­ing leaks in rela­tion to Hillary Clin­ton … We have emails pend­ing pub­li­ca­tion, that is cor­rect,” Assange said.He did not spec­i­fy when or how many emails would be pub­lished.”

    That report is from Sun­day June 12th, 2016, and it’s based on Assange’s com­ments made “on ITV’s Peston on Sun­day.” So if that’s the report Nix was refer­ring to that would be Nix’s out­reach to Wik­ileaks after the noto­ri­ous June 9th Trump Town meet­ing. And it was June 14th when the first reports of the DNC hacks hit the news and June 15th when Guc­cifer 2.0 first went pub­lic and start­ed dump­ing doc­u­ments. And this, of course, is assum­ing Nix is telling the truth.

    But also note how there’s noth­ing in the above arti­cle hint­ing at Assange hav­ing emails from Hillary’s pri­vate email serv­er and he was already pub­lished 30,000+ Hillary-relat­ed emails in March of 2016:

    ...
    Wik­iLeaks launched a search­able archive in March of 30,322 emails and email attach­ments sent to and from Clinton’s pri­vate email serv­er while she was sec­re­tary of state. The 50,547 pages of doc­u­ments are from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014, and 7,570 of the doc­u­ments were sent by Clin­ton, who served as sec­re­tary of state from 2009 to 2013.
    ...

    But as we saw from pre­vi­ous reports, when Nix reached out to Assange, it was about Hillary’s 33,000 miss­ing emails (emails that were deemed per­son­al and not relat­ed to her State Depart­ment work and delet­ed before Hillary’s pri­vate serv­er was turned over to the FBI). So when Assange talks about an impend­ing new cache of Hillary’s emails it’s not like Nix should have auto­mat­i­cal­ly assumed this meant Assange had those 33,000 miss­ing emails because Assange clear­ly had a large cache of Hillary-relat­ed emails.

    So it’s worth not­ing that there were in fact news reports that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment had indeed hacked Hillary’s email serv­er and had those 33,000 miss­ing emails. Or rather, ‘news’ reports. It turns out Gate­way Pun­dit, one of the least cred­i­ble right-wing blogs on the inter­net, pub­lished a piece claim­ing exact­ly that on May 10, 2016. And here’s the kick­er: It’s based on a ‘report’ from WhatDoesItMean.com, a site that makes InfoWars seem sane in com­par­i­son:

    The Gate­way Pun­dit

    REPORT: Hillary’s Emails Hacked by Rus­sia – Krem­lin Decid­ing Whether to Release 20,000 Stolen Emails (VIDEO)

    May 10, 2016 by Jim Hoft
    Guest Post by Joe Hoft

    The Krem­lin is debat­ing whether to release the 20,000 emails they have hacked off of Hillary Clinton’s serv­er..

    Accord­ing to a report from four days ago, begin­ning in 2011, the Rus­sians began mon­i­tor­ing Roman­ian com­put­er hack­er Mar­cel Lazar Lehel (aka Guc­cifer) after he attempt­ed, unsuc­cess­ful­ly, to break into the com­put­er sys­tem of the Russ­ian fund­ed RT tele­vi­sion net­work.

    After mon­i­tor­ing Guc­cifer, the Rus­sians were report­ed­ly able to record (both phys­i­cal­ly and elec­tron­i­cal­ly) his actions which allowed the Russ­ian intel­li­gence ana­lysts, in 2013, to not only detect his break­ing into the pri­vate com­put­er of Sec­re­tary Clin­ton, but also break in and copy all of its con­tents as well.

    The report notes that short­ly after Rus­sia obtained Clinton’s emails, they released a lim­it­ed amount to RT TV which were pub­lished in an arti­cle in March 2013, titled Hillary Clinton’s ‘hacked’ Beng­hazi emails: FULL RELEASE.

    ...

    A cou­ple of years lat­er, in 2016, the US then brought in Guc­cifer for ques­tion­ing relat­ed to this inci­dent. Accord­ing to the report, NBC news knew why Guc­cifer was being ques­tioned but with­held this infor­ma­tion from the Amer­i­can pub­lic.

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed in Octo­ber 2015 that “Hillary Clinton’s pri­vate email serv­er main­tained in her home while serv­ing as sec­re­tary of State was pos­si­bly hacked by Rus­sia-tied author­i­ties, and oth­ers, on five sep­a­rate occa­sions.”

    The AP report not­ed that inves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered among Clinton’s cache of released emails mali­cious soft­ware aimed at trans­mit­ting data to three over­seas com­put­ers, includ­ing at least one in Rus­sia. This mali­cious soft­ware was report­ed­ly acti­vat­ed by click­ing on it; but in Octo­ber it was not clear if Clin­ton actu­al­ly opened these mes­sages or not, per the AP.

    Recent­ly sep­a­rate reports have come out not­ing that Guc­cifer had indeed hacked Clinton’s emails. Now accord­ing to this lat­est report, Clinton’s serv­er was not only com­pro­mised by Guc­cifer but also by Rus­sia. Guc­cifer told FOX News last week that he hacked Hillary’s home­brew serv­er and so did at least 10 oth­ers.

    UPDATE: Judge Andrew Napoli­tano told Meg­yn Kel­ly on Mon­day,

    “There’s a debate going on in the Krem­lin between the For­eign Min­istry and the Intel­li­gence Ser­vices about whether they should release the 20,000 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that they have hacked into.”


    Via Free Repu­bic:
    https://youtu.be/oounggTI-jk?t=1m18s
    ———-
    “REPORT: Hillary’s Emails Hacked by Rus­sia – Krem­lin Decid­ing Whether to Release 20,000 Stolen Emails (VIDEO)” by Joe Hoft; The Gate­way Pun­dit; 05/10/2016;

    The Krem­lin is debat­ing whether to release the 20,000 emails they have hacked off of Hillary Clinton’s serv­er.”

    A link to WhatDoesItMean.com about the Krem­lin debat­ing over whether or not it should released Hillary’s hacked per­son­al emails. That’s what was swirling around the right-wing media cesspool in ear­ly May of 2016.

    And note how Andrew Napoli­tano made sure this rumor made it into Fox News:

    ...
    UPDATE: Judge Andrew Napoli­tano told Meg­yn Kel­ly on Mon­day,

    “There’s a debate going on in the Krem­lin between the For­eign Min­istry and the Intel­li­gence Ser­vices about whether they should release the 20,000 of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that they have hacked into.”


    Via Free Repu­bic:
    https://youtu.be/oounggTI-jk?t=1m18s

    Napoli­tano also ref­er­ence this rumor in a piece in Rea­son Mag­a­zine on May 12, 2016.

    And recall that Trump cam­paign team mem­ber George Papadopou­los was report­ed­ly told by Joseph Mif­sud, the mys­te­ri­ous Mal­tese pro­fes­sor, that the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment had thou­sands of Hillary’s emails in late April of 2016. So around a week after that encounter we get a report from WhatDoesItMean.com on May 6th about the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment debat­ing releas­ing Hillary’s emails that gets pro­mot­ed by Gate­way Pun­dit on May 10 and then pushed into the main­stream-ish news by Andrew Napoli­tano short­ly after­wards.

    The tim­ing of it all is pret­ty inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 10, 2017, 4:46 pm
  7. With reports of North Korea build­ing new ICBMs as the same fac­to­ry that pro­duced mis­siles capa­ble or reach­ing the Unites States, here’s a pair of sto­ries that are rather inter­est­ing regard­ing the sto­ry about the sus­pect­ed acqui­si­tion of Ukrain­ian bal­lis­tic mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy by North Korea:

    First, the Atlantic Coun­cil has a bit of a con­flict of inter­est scan­dal on its hands. Atlantic Coun­cil Senior Fel­low Anders Aslund pub­lished a paper ear­li­er this year tout­ing the alleged enor­mous progress made by Lat­vian banks regard­ing the mon­ey-laun­der­ing Lat­vian banks have a rep­u­ta­tion to be deeply involved with. The prob­lem is, he was asked to write this paper by Sal­ly Painter, who was named to the Atlantic Coun­cil’s board in April of 2017. Painter is also a long­time lob­by­ist for Latvi­a’s “non­res­i­dent banks” (banks were a large por­tion of the clients are based in oth­er coun­tries).

    Aslund nev­er indi­cat­ed in the paper that he was asked to write it by lob­by­ist for exact­ly the kinds of banks most like­ly to be engaged in mon­ey-laun­der­ing, hence the con­flict of inter­est scan­dal. And he now acknowl­edges that he was­n’t sim­ply asked to write the paper. He was paid by a con­sor­tium of Lat­vian banks.

    The Atlantic Coun­cil con­firmed that Aslund did dis­close the paper to the coun­cil, so it was­n’t like it was secret. In addi­tion, The paper was pre­sent­ed at a pri­vate event host­ed by the Atlantic Coun­cil. Inter­est­ing­ly, it was­n’t an offi­cial Atlantic Coun­cil pub­li­ca­tion and not found on the Atlantic Coun­cil web­site. At the same time, Aslund’s Atlantic Coun­cil affil­i­a­tion is the first item not­ed in the paper’s expla­na­tion of its author­ship. It’s like an unof­fi­cial Atlantic Coun­cil pub­li­ca­tion.

    Here’s where the North Kore­an nuclear mis­sile pro­gram comes in: One of the banks that paid Aslund was a sub­sidiary of par­tic­u­lar­ly noto­ri­ous Lat­vian bank, ABLV. At the time of this paper, ABLV was try­ing to get per­mis­sion to open a branch in the US. That effort failed, with the US cit­ing a num­ber of con­cerns over mon­ey-laun­der­ing, includ­ing with enti­ties involved with North Kore­a’s nuclear tech­nol­o­gy pro­cure­ment pro­gram in 2017 after North Korea had US and EU sanc­tions imposed on them. And ABLV was also charged by the US with laun­der­ing bil­lions in assets for polit­i­cal­ly exposed cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als from Azer­bai­jan, Russ­ian, and Ukraine. ABLV was forced to shut down short­ly after the US issued its report.

    So while there’s no direct indi­ca­tion at this point that ABLV was specif­i­cal­ly involved with that Ukrain­ian mis­sile fac­to­ry, the fact that the bank did a lot of busi­ness in Ukraine and was charged with know­ing­ly work­ing with North Kore­a’s nuclear pro­gram sure makes it a rea­son­able sus­pect. And that’s part of what makes the sto­ry about the Anders Aslund’s paid of abso­lu­tion of Latvi­a’s banks so extra scan­dalous:

    Buz­zFeed News

    A Report On Mon­ey Laun­der­ing At Lat­vian Banks Rais­es Ques­tions About Con­flict Of Inter­est At The Atlantic Coun­cil

    The Atlantic Coun­cil, with a rep­u­ta­tion for tak­ing tough, anti-Rus­sia stands, allowed a senior fel­low to write a report that said Latvia had made great strides in curb­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing.

    Inga Springe
    Buz­zFeed Con­trib­u­tor

    Emi­ly Tamkin
    Buz­zFeed News Reporter

    Sani­ta Jem­ber­ga
    Buz­zFeed Con­trib­u­tor

    Wash­ing­ton, DC

    Post­ed on July 30, 2018, at 10:31 a.m. ET

    The Wash­ing­ton-based Atlantic Coun­cil has long had a rep­u­ta­tion of being tough on Rus­sia and its shad­owy expan­sion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy. The orga­ni­za­tion recent­ly launched a web­site focused on Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts and runs dis­cus­sions on bol­ster­ing US alliance with coun­tries in the Baltics and East­ern Europe.

    Now, how­ev­er, a paper pro­duced by a senior fel­low at the coun­cil and com­mis­sioned by a mem­ber of the Atlantic Council’s board of direc­tors rais­es ques­tions about whether the coun­cil is being trans­par­ent about its affil­i­ates’ links to orga­ni­za­tions that might serve Russ­ian inter­ests.

    The paper was writ­ten and made pub­lic in Sep­tem­ber by Atlantic Coun­cil Senior Fel­low Anders Aslund, a promi­nent Swedish econ­o­mist who lives in the Unit­ed States. In it, Aslund argued that Latvia’s banks — long crit­i­cized as rife with mon­ey laun­der­ing, much of which is thought to involve Russ­ian clients — had made great strides in enforc­ing anti–money laun­der­ing statutes. Aslund told Re:Baltica, a web­site that col­lab­o­rat­ed with Buz­zFeed News on this sto­ry, that he was asked to write the paper by Sal­ly Painter, a long­time lob­by­ist for Latvia’s non­res­i­dent banks who was named to the Atlantic Council’s board in April 2017.

    Aslund acknowl­edged in cor­re­spon­dence with Buz­zFeed News that a con­sor­tium of Lat­vian banks paid him to write the paper. Those banks includ­ed a sub­sidiary of ABLV Bank, which, at the time, was try­ing to win per­mis­sion to estab­lish a branch in the Unit­ed States. That effort failed, how­ev­er, after the US Trea­sury Department’s Finan­cial Crimes Enforce­ment Net­work in Feb­ru­ary named ABLV as a bank of “pri­ma­ry mon­ey laun­der­ing con­cern.”

    “Fin­CEN has rea­son­able grounds to believe that ABLV exec­u­tives, share­hold­ers, and employ­ees have insti­tu­tion­al­ized mon­ey laun­der­ing as a pil­lar of the bank’s busi­ness prac­tices,” the Trea­sury Depart­ment said when it announced that its inten­tion to pro­hib­it ABLV from clear­ing dol­lar-denom­i­nat­ed trans­ac­tions through US banks.

    “ABLV man­age­ment per­mits the bank and its employ­ees to orches­trate and engage in mon­ey laun­der­ing schemes; solic­its the high risk shell com­pa­ny activ­i­ty that enables the bank and its cus­tomers to laun­der funds; main­tains inad­e­quate con­trols over high-risk shell com­pa­ny accounts; and seeks to obstruct enforce­ment of Lat­vian anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing and com­bat­ing the financ­ing of ter­ror­ism (AML/CFT) rules in order to pro­tect these busi­ness prac­tices,” the announce­ment said.

    It added that some of that “illic­it finan­cial activ­i­ty ... includ­ed trans­ac­tions for par­ties ... involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles.”

    The state­ment also sin­gled out mon­ey laun­der­ing for “cor­rupt polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons,” say­ing ABLV “has fun­neled bil­lions of dol­lars in pub­lic cor­rup­tion and asset strip­ping pro­ceeds through shell com­pa­ny accounts. ABLV failed to mit­i­gate the risk stem­ming from these accounts, which involved large-scale illic­it activ­i­ty con­nect­ed to Azer­bai­jan, Rus­sia, and Ukraine.”

    Short­ly after the Fin­CEN report was made pub­lic, ABLV was forced to close.

    A spokesper­son for ABLV, Arturs Egli­tis, con­firmed that one of the bank’s sub­sidiaries “was involved in financ­ing this report.”

    “It’s not a secret that ABLV’s sub­sidiary has opened an office in US with a long-term goal to open the branch of the bank. Aslund’s report was pre­sent­ed in the Atlantic Coun­cil to tell about the achieve­ments in Latvi­a’s bank­ing sec­tor,” Egli­tis wrote in an email to Re:Baltica.

    Who read Aslund’s paper is not clear. The paper was pre­sent­ed at a pri­vate event host­ed by the Atlantic Coun­cil in Wash­ing­ton in Octo­ber, but it was not an offi­cial Atlantic Coun­cil pub­li­ca­tion and can­not be found on the Atlantic Coun­cil web­site, though Aslund’s Atlantic Coun­cil affil­i­a­tion is the first item not­ed in the paper’s expla­na­tion of its author­ship.

    Aslund did dis­close the project to the Atlantic Coun­cil, as fel­lows are required to dis­close out­side sources of income, accord­ing to Damon Wil­son, the council’s exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent. “I became aware that Anders was doing in a pri­vate capac­i­ty some­thing with Sal­ly Painter and Blue Star relat­ing to the Lat­vian banks,” Wil­son said, though he did not know the exact con­tent of the paper.

    The paper does not men­tion Painter’s role in its cre­ation. A long­time lob­by­ist for Lat­vian non­res­i­dent banks — that is, banks whose main busi­ness comes not from Lat­vian res­i­dents, but from for­eign­ers — Painter is a cofounder and the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Blue Star Strate­gies, a Wash­ing­ton-based pub­lic rela­tions firm that is list­ed in US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives records as hav­ing among its clients two com­pa­nies relat­ed to ABLV: ABLV Advi­so­ry Ser­vices and ABLV Cor­po­rate Ser­vices. Painter her­self was list­ed as a lob­by­ist in a 2007 fil­ing that showed that a lob­by­ing firm then known as Dutko World­wide and now as Dutko Grayling had received $120,000 to lob­by for the Latvian–American Finan­cial Forum.

    Painter was at the paper’s pre­sen­ta­tion, as were the Lat­vian ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States and Aivis Ronis, a for­mer Lat­vian for­eign min­is­ter who was, at the time, a mem­ber of the ABLV board.

    “The report and my ser­vice to the Atlantic Coun­cil speak for them­selves,” Painter wrote in response to a request for com­ment from Buz­zFeed News.

    Nicole Meir, a media rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Atlantic Coun­cil, said that nei­ther Painter nor Aslund had bro­ken coun­cil rules in com­mis­sion­ing and writ­ing the report. “This report was com­mis­sioned by a pri­vate enti­ty as a pri­vate engage­ment and had no Atlantic Coun­cil involve­ment. It was writ­ten and pub­lished out­side the Coun­cil and with­out Coun­cil resources,” she wrote in an email.

    Asked whether ties to Lat­vian bank­ing mon­ey hurt the Atlantic Council’s cred­i­bil­i­ty, John Herb­st, direc­tor of the Atlantic Council’s Eura­sia Cen­ter and a for­mer ambas­sador to Ukraine, told Buz­zFeed News, “The short answer is no.”

    “We have a body of work on Latvia with a very clear mes­sage, which is: We want the coun­try to be strong, to be inde­pen­dent. ... And we have done numer­ous events towards that end. So the fact that some­one asso­ci­at­ed with us does a report on the bank­ing sys­tem that’s pre­sent­ed at the Atlantic Coun­cil in no way detracts from or dimin­ish­es the work we’ve done,” he said.

    ...

    A Blue Star Strate­gies rep­re­sen­ta­tive also defend­ed Painter’s role at the Atlantic Coun­cil, say­ing it was unre­lat­ed to her lob­by­ing on behalf of Lat­vian banks accused of laun­der­ing Russ­ian mon­ey. “For decades, Ms. Painter has pro­mot­ed transat­lantic rela­tions through her pro-bono ser­vice, includ­ing her ser­vice with the Atlantic Coun­cil and through her work at Blue Star Strate­gies, LLC,” the rep­re­sen­ta­tive wrote.

    As for Aslund, he stood behind his paper, despite the scathing Fin­CEN report that came just months lat­er. “My ver­dict was they had done a lot, while I was care­ful not to say they had done enough,” Aslund told Buz­zFeed News. Aslund’s report itself reads, “Latvia no longer appears to be a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern for mon­ey laun­der­ing.”

    “I stand by my report. It is fac­tu­al­ly cor­rect. It describes how Latvia has done so many dif­fer­ent things to com­bat mon­ey laun­der­ing and how the sit­u­a­tion has improved. I do not pass any judg­ment on indi­vid­ual banks or to what extent the pol­i­cy has even­tu­al­ly suc­ceed­ed,” Aslund wrote in a final email. He did not answer an email ask­ing how much he had been paid.

    ———-

    “A Report On Mon­ey Laun­der­ing At Lat­vian Banks Rais­es Ques­tions About Con­flict Of Inter­est At The Atlantic Coun­cil” by Inga Springe; Emi­ly Tamkin; and Sani­ta Jem­ber­ga; Buz­zFeed; 07/30/2018

    “The paper was writ­ten and made pub­lic in Sep­tem­ber by Atlantic Coun­cil Senior Fel­low Anders Aslund, a promi­nent Swedish econ­o­mist who lives in the Unit­ed States. In it, Aslund argued that Latvia’s banks — long crit­i­cized as rife with mon­ey laun­der­ing, much of which is thought to involve Russ­ian clients — had made great strides in enforc­ing anti–money laun­der­ing statutes. Aslund told Re:Baltica, a web­site that col­lab­o­rat­ed with Buz­zFeed News on this sto­ry, that he was asked to write the paper by Sal­ly Painter, a long­time lob­by­ist for Latvia’s non­res­i­dent banks who was named to the Atlantic Council’s board in April 2017.

    So Anders Aslund writes this paper tout­ing the great strides Latvi­a’s banks have made in enforc­ing anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing rules. When asked about it, Anders says fel­low Atlantic Coun­cil mem­ber Sal­ly Painter asked him to do it. And also acknowl­edge to Buz­zFeed that he was paid by a con­sor­tium of Lat­vian banks, includ­ing a sub­sidiary of ABLV. ABLV was, try­ing to get per­mis­sion to open a branch in the US at the time. An effort that failed due to US con­cerns over mon­ey-laun­der­ing:

    ...
    Aslund acknowl­edged in cor­re­spon­dence with Buz­zFeed News that a con­sor­tium of Lat­vian banks paid him to write the paper. Those banks includ­ed a sub­sidiary of ABLV Bank, which, at the time, was try­ing to win per­mis­sion to estab­lish a branch in the Unit­ed States. That effort failed, how­ev­er, after the US Trea­sury Department’s Finan­cial Crimes Enforce­ment Net­work in Feb­ru­ary named ABLV as a bank of “pri­ma­ry mon­ey laun­der­ing con­cern.”
    ...

    But it was­n’t just US con­cerns over mon­ey-laun­der­ing that thwart­ed ABLV’s ambi­tions. It was con­cern that ABLV had engaged in “illic­it finan­cial activ­i­ty ... includ­ed trans­ac­tions for par­ties ... involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles”:

    ...
    “Fin­CEN has rea­son­able grounds to believe that ABLV exec­u­tives, share­hold­ers, and employ­ees have insti­tu­tion­al­ized mon­ey laun­der­ing as a pil­lar of the bank’s busi­ness prac­tices,” the Trea­sury Depart­ment said when it announced that its inten­tion to pro­hib­it ABLV from clear­ing dol­lar-denom­i­nat­ed trans­ac­tions through US banks.

    “ABLV man­age­ment per­mits the bank and its employ­ees to orches­trate and engage in mon­ey laun­der­ing schemes; solic­its the high risk shell com­pa­ny activ­i­ty that enables the bank and its cus­tomers to laun­der funds; main­tains inad­e­quate con­trols over high-risk shell com­pa­ny accounts; and seeks to obstruct enforce­ment of Lat­vian anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing and com­bat­ing the financ­ing of ter­ror­ism (AML/CFT) rules in order to pro­tect these busi­ness prac­tices,” the announce­ment said.

    It added that some of that “illic­it finan­cial activ­i­ty ... includ­ed trans­ac­tions for par­ties ... involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles.”
    ...

    ABLV was also appar­ent­ly involved in mon­ey-laun­der­ing for “cor­rupt polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons” involv­ing peo­ple from Azer­bai­jan, Rus­sia, and Ukraine. Short­ly after the US made these charges pub­lic (which effec­tive­ly froze the bank out of inter­na­tion­al mar­kets), ABLV was forced to close:

    ...
    The state­ment also sin­gled out mon­ey laun­der­ing for “cor­rupt polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons,” say­ing ABLV “has fun­neled bil­lions of dol­lars in pub­lic cor­rup­tion and asset strip­ping pro­ceeds through shell com­pa­ny accounts. ABLV failed to mit­i­gate the risk stem­ming from these accounts, which involved large-scale illic­it activ­i­ty con­nect­ed to Azer­bai­jan, Rus­sia, and Ukraine.”

    Short­ly after the Fin­CEN report was made pub­lic, ABLV was forced to close.

    A spokesper­son for ABLV, Arturs Egli­tis, con­firmed that one of the bank’s sub­sidiaries “was involved in financ­ing this report.”

    “It’s not a secret that ABLV’s sub­sidiary has opened an office in US with a long-term goal to open the branch of the bank. Aslund’s report was pre­sent­ed in the Atlantic Coun­cil to tell about the achieve­ments in Latvi­a’s bank­ing sec­tor,” Egli­tis wrote in an email to Re:Baltica.
    ...

    So was Aslund’s paid-for paper an offi­cial Atlantic Coun­cil project? Not quite. It was pre­sent­ed at a pri­vate Atlantic Coun­cil event, attend­ed by the Lat­vian ambas­sador to the US, along with a for­mer Lat­vian for­eign min­is­ter was was a mem­ber of ABLV’s board at the time. So it sure seems like there was a real push by the Lat­vian gov­ern­ment to get the US to give an ‘all clear’ report on Latvi­a’s banks and Aslund’s paper was a crit­i­cal part of that lob­by­ing effort:

    ...
    Who read Aslund’s paper is not clear. The paper was pre­sent­ed at a pri­vate event host­ed by the Atlantic Coun­cil in Wash­ing­ton in Octo­ber, but it was not an offi­cial Atlantic Coun­cil pub­li­ca­tion and can­not be found on the Atlantic Coun­cil web­site, though Aslund’s Atlantic Coun­cil affil­i­a­tion is the first item not­ed in the paper’s expla­na­tion of its author­ship.

    Aslund did dis­close the project to the Atlantic Coun­cil, as fel­lows are required to dis­close out­side sources of income, accord­ing to Damon Wil­son, the council’s exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent. “I became aware that Anders was doing in a pri­vate capac­i­ty some­thing with Sal­ly Painter and Blue Star relat­ing to the Lat­vian banks,” Wil­son said, though he did not know the exact con­tent of the paper.

    The paper does not men­tion Painter’s role in its cre­ation. A long­time lob­by­ist for Lat­vian non­res­i­dent banks — that is, banks whose main busi­ness comes not from Lat­vian res­i­dents, but from for­eign­ers — Painter is a cofounder and the chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of Blue Star Strate­gies, a Wash­ing­ton-based pub­lic rela­tions firm that is list­ed in US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives records as hav­ing among its clients two com­pa­nies relat­ed to ABLV: ABLV Advi­so­ry Ser­vices and ABLV Cor­po­rate Ser­vices. Painter her­self was list­ed as a lob­by­ist in a 2007 fil­ing that showed that a lob­by­ing firm then known as Dutko World­wide and now as Dutko Grayling had received $120,000 to lob­by for the Latvian–American Finan­cial Forum.

    Painter was at the paper’s pre­sen­ta­tion, as were the Lat­vian ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States and Aivis Ronis, a for­mer Lat­vian for­eign min­is­ter who was, at the time, a mem­ber of the ABLV board.

    “The report and my ser­vice to the Atlantic Coun­cil speak for them­selves,” Painter wrote in response to a request for com­ment from Buz­zFeed News.
    ...

    Inter­est­ing­ly, an Atlantic Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive said that nei­ther Aslund nor Sal­ly Painter broke any Atlantic Coun­cil rules. So you can appar­ent­ly pay the Atlantic Coun­cil to lob­by for you:

    ...
    Nicole Meir, a media rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Atlantic Coun­cil, said that nei­ther Painter nor Aslund had bro­ken coun­cil rules in com­mis­sion­ing and writ­ing the report. “This report was com­mis­sioned by a pri­vate enti­ty as a pri­vate engage­ment and had no Atlantic Coun­cil involve­ment. It was writ­ten and pub­lished out­side the Coun­cil and with­out Coun­cil resources,” she wrote in an email.

    Asked whether ties to Lat­vian bank­ing mon­ey hurt the Atlantic Council’s cred­i­bil­i­ty, John Herb­st, direc­tor of the Atlantic Council’s Eura­sia Cen­ter and a for­mer ambas­sador to Ukraine, told Buz­zFeed News, “The short answer is no.”

    “We have a body of work on Latvia with a very clear mes­sage, which is: We want the coun­try to be strong, to be inde­pen­dent. ... And we have done numer­ous events towards that end. So the fact that some­one asso­ci­at­ed with us does a report on the bank­ing sys­tem that’s pre­sent­ed at the Atlantic Coun­cil in no way detracts from or dimin­ish­es the work we’ve done,” he said.
    ...

    And Aslund con­tin­ues to stand by his paper. The fact that the bank that appeared to be the pri­ma­ry intend­ed ben­e­fi­cia­ry of his paper was shut down after the US issued a report indi­cat­ing it was involved with North Kore­a’s nuclear mis­sile pro­gram does­n’t seem to have changed his assess­ment of Latvi­a’s banks:

    ...
    As for Aslund, he stood behind his paper, despite the scathing Fin­CEN report that came just months lat­er. “My ver­dict was they had done a lot, while I was care­ful not to say they had done enough,” Aslund told Buz­zFeed News. Aslund’s report itself reads, “Latvia no longer appears to be a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern for mon­ey laun­der­ing.”

    “I stand by my report. It is fac­tu­al­ly cor­rect. It describes how Latvia has done so many dif­fer­ent things to com­bat mon­ey laun­der­ing and how the sit­u­a­tion has improved. I do not pass any judg­ment on indi­vid­ual banks or to what extent the pol­i­cy has even­tu­al­ly suc­ceed­ed,” Aslund wrote in a final email. He did not answer an email ask­ing how much he had been paid.
    ...

    Ok, so that was all rather scan­dalous, although based on the state­ments from all the par­ties involved it was­n’t scan­dalous at all. Which seems extra scan­dalous.

    Now here’s a report from back in June that gives more infor­ma­tion about the US charges against ABLV. As the arti­cle notes, it was after North Korea was hit with new US sanc­tions in 2017 that North Korea turned to ABLV to keep mon­ey flow­ing to its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram. So the tim­ing is some­what ambigu­ous. The UN issued new sanc­tions against North Korea in August of 2017, and the US issued addi­tion­al sanc­tions in Sep­tem­ber of 2017. That makes it sound like ABLV’s role in North Kore­a’s mis­sile pro­gram must have been ramp­ing up in the lat­ter half of 2017. Recall that the launch of the sur­pris­ing­ly advanced bal­lis­tic mis­sile launch took place in July of 2017. So it’s unclear how much ABLV worked for North Korea before the new rounds of sanc­tions were imposed in August of Sep­tem­ber of 2017, but it seems like a good bet that there must have been some sort of pri­or rela­tion­ship, mak­ing the ques­tion of whether or not that pri­or rela­tion­ship involved facil­i­tat­ing the pay­ments for the acqui­si­tion of that Ukrain­ian mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy a very big ques­tion:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    US sanc­tions have a weak spot: tiny allies like Latvia

    By CARLO PIOVANO
    Jun. 01, 2018

    RIGA, Latvia (AP) — When the U.S. hit North Korea with sanc­tions last year, Pyongyang’s state-owned banks found a qui­et backchan­nel to keep mon­ey flow­ing to the country’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams, the U.S. says: the tiny Euro­pean coun­try of Latvia.

    One of the biggest banks in Latvia — a mem­ber coun­try of the Euro­pean Union and NATO — built a busi­ness from pro­cess­ing ille­gal mon­ey trans­fers, enabling North Korea to con­tin­ue to pro­cure mis­siles, the U.S. gov­ern­ment says.

    Latvia has come into focus as a poten­tial weak link in the West’s bank­ing sys­tem as the U.S. and EU increas­ing­ly rely on finan­cial sanc­tions as a weapon in their diplo­mat­ic spats — with North Korea, but also Rus­sia and Syr­ia, among oth­ers. After a slew of accu­sa­tions of high-lev­el cor­rup­tion, Latvia is now try­ing to appease its U.S. and Euro­pean allies and dras­ti­cal­ly reform its finan­cial sec­tor.

    Lat­vian Prime Min­is­ter Maris Kucin­skis told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in a recent inter­view that his coun­try “can­not afford to have any uncon­trolled mon­ey flows from the coun­tries which have to be con­stant­ly mon­i­tored in order to avoid med­dling or influ­ence.”

    Kucin­skis and his gov­ern­ment have come under intense pres­sure to take action since the U.S. Trea­sury pub­lished a scathing report in Feb­ru­ary on one of Latvia’s biggest banks, ABLV. The report accused the bank of proac­tive­ly try­ing to cir­cum­vent finan­cial rules to laun­der mon­ey and skirt sanc­tions, and said it bribes Lat­vian offi­cials to be able to do so.

    The bank denied the accu­sa­tions, but the report caused a run on the bank and it col­lapsed a week lat­er.

    That same week, Lat­vian author­i­ties said their cen­tral bank chief, Ilmars Rim­se­vics, was sus­pect­ed of tak­ing bribes. Secu­ri­ty ser­vices also are inves­ti­gat­ing him after an AP report con­tain­ing alle­ga­tions that he asked a Lat­vian bank to laun­der mon­ey from Rus­sia.

    Latvia has strong busi­ness ties to Rus­sia and oth­er for­mer Sovi­et states, and a third of its pop­u­la­tion is eth­ni­cal­ly Russ­ian. It has a long his­to­ry as a bank­ing cen­ter and, since the 1990s, has sought to become a “Switzer­land on the Baltic” by offer­ing finan­cial ser­vices to for­eign indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies, often shell com­pa­nies whose true own­er­ship is kept secret in tax havens like the Cay­man Islands or Pana­ma.

    That made it a con­ve­nient con­duit for mon­ey to get into the EU. Once inside the bloc, mon­ey is legal­ly free to move to any of its 28 coun­tries with­out fur­ther checks and can be used to buy man­sions on the French Riv­iera or lux­u­ry watch­es in Milan. Much of it ends up in Britain, where the gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing ways to tight­en such flows to put pres­sure on oli­garchs with ties to Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, espe­cial­ly after the poi­son­ing of a for­mer Russ­ian spy in Eng­land.

    Sev­er­al small EU coun­tries, like Cyprus and Mal­ta, have like­wise been accused of being used for mon­ey-laun­der­ing. The size of the prob­lem in Latvia has been laid bare by numer­ous reports over years. U.S. and Euro­pean author­i­ties say it was involved in the so-called Mag­nit­sky scan­dal, in which $230 mil­lion in Russ­ian tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey was siphoned off. In 2014, leaked doc­u­ments detailed how $20 bil­lion was sent from Rus­sia, large­ly through Latvia, over a four-year peri­od. The so-called Pana­ma Papers showed many of Latvia’s banks did busi­ness with shell com­pa­nies owned by Putin asso­ciates.

    Latvia promised repeat­ed­ly to clean up as it pre­pared to join the EU’s shared euro cur­ren­cy in 2014 and the OECD, a club of devel­oped economies, in 2016. Those efforts appar­ent­ly proved insuf­fi­cient and the coun­try is now tak­ing more dras­tic mea­sures.

    Latvia says it will ban its banks from doing busi­ness with shell com­pa­nies, which can be used to mask wrong­do­ers’ iden­ti­ties. In the case of ABLV, the U.S. says North Korea was using shell com­pa­nies that the bank should have known were fronts.

    Banks note that shell com­pa­nies can be used for legit­i­mate busi­ness pur­pos­es, such as to facil­i­tate a multinational’s pay­ments across bor­ders in dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies. The onus is on banks to know who ben­e­fits from a shell com­pa­ny they pro­vide ser­vices for, though banks usu­al­ly are fined only when proven to have sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly cir­cum­vent­ed the law.

    In April, the Lat­vian par­lia­ment approved a ban on almost all shell com­pa­nies, and the coun­try aims to reduce the amount of for­eign deposits its banks hold from about 40 per­cent of the total to 5 per­cent by the end of the year.

    “We have to have a new approach to the way our finan­cial sys­tem works,” Kucin­skis told the AP.

    In 2015, Lat­vian banks held deposits from peo­ple out­side the coun­try worth over 12 bil­lion euros, the equiv­a­lent of almost half the entire econ­o­my. By the end of 2017, those deposits had fall­en by a third to 8 bil­lion euros and are like­ly to have dropped fur­ther since then because of ABLV’s col­lapse. About half of those deposits are owned by 26,000 shell com­pa­nies, the Lat­vian reg­u­la­tor esti­mates. And the fig­ures do not cap­ture mon­ey that mere­ly trav­els through Lat­vian banks, with­out stay­ing in them.

    Indus­try experts are cau­tious about the prob­a­bil­i­ty of Latvia suc­cess­ful­ly reform­ing its bank­ing sec­tor.

    Eriks Sel­ga, a Latvia-based researcher with Philadelphia’s For­eign Pol­i­cy Research Insti­tute, say the efforts are by far the most extreme reform of Latvia’s bank­ing indus­try to date, effec­tive­ly end­ing its decades-old role as an region­al finan­cial hub in a mat­ter of months.

    “Our track record is that these reforms don’t work,” Sel­ga said. “We have some of the high­est qual­i­ty anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing laws in Europe, if not the world. But the enforce­ment is just not there.”

    Lat­vian author­i­ties inves­ti­gate only about 1 per­cent of reports of sus­pi­cious finan­cial trans­ac­tions, com­pared with an EU aver­age of 10 per­cent, accord­ing to local reg­u­la­tors and secu­ri­ty agency Europol.

    The skep­ti­cism was shared by the own­er and chair­man of the Lat­vian bank Norvik, which holds many accounts by non-Lat­vians. Grig­o­ry Gusel­nikov labeled ban­ning shell com­pa­nies as akin to lock­ing a car in a garage to prove you are a safe dri­ver.

    He, too, not­ed that Latvia’s prob­lem has been that its laws are not prop­er­ly enforced, par­tic­u­lar­ly by author­i­ties like Rim­se­vics, who Gusel­nikov said active­ly flouts the rules to prof­it per­son­al­ly.

    The kind of mon­ey-laun­der­ing that hap­pened in Latvia in recent years is “not pos­si­ble with­out reg­u­la­tor involve­ment,” he said.

    Rim­se­vics has become the poster child for Latvia’s bank­ing trou­bles. He has been at the top of the cen­tral bank for 25 years, almost since Latvia’s inde­pen­dence from the Sovi­et Union, and over­saw the country’s growth as a bank­ing hub.

    Gusel­nikov said Rim­se­vics reg­u­lar­ly asked for bribes and demand­ed he laun­der $100 mil­lion from Rus­sia, alle­ga­tions Rim­se­vics rejects.

    Mean­while, a pho­to obtained by the AP shows Rim­se­vics on vaca­tion in 2010 in the com­pa­ny of the head of a Russ­ian mil­i­tary com­pa­ny now sanc­tioned by the U.S., as well as a Lat­vian busi­ness­man, Juri­js Simo­nenkovs, who owned a bank that was sanc­tioned by the U.S. for mon­ey-laun­der­ing in 2005.

    Rim­se­vics con­tend­ed that he knows none of the peo­ple in the pho­tos, but Lat­vian secret ser­vices are inves­ti­gat­ing his links to Rus­sia.

    Rim­se­vics has been banned from doing his job or going to his office, but has refused to resign. He can be removed only if he is charged with a crime, since his posi­tion is polit­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent from the gov­ern­ment.

    The stakes are par­tic­u­lar­ly high as Rim­se­vics is on the top pol­i­cy­mak­ing board of the pow­er­ful Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, which has asked the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice to rule whether he should be allowed to work or be replaced.

    Kucin­skis has called on Rim­se­vics to resign and says he will be indict­ed with­in months.

    Anoth­er com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor in Latvia’s bid to clean up its image is that the offi­cial in charge of detail­ing to the U.S. how Latvia is fight­ing finan­cial crime has a his­to­ry of work­ing for banks that engaged in mon­ey-laun­der­ing.

    Arnis Lagzdins worked for Latvia’s Parex bank before its col­lapse in 2008 and for Lithuania’s Ukio bank before its demise in 2013. In both cas­es, he was the com­pli­ance offi­cer, in charge of ensur­ing the banks did not run afoul of mon­ey-laun­der­ing rules.

    After Parex’s fail­ure, an audit found the bank had been giv­ing huge loans to polit­i­cal­ly con­nect­ed Rus­sians with­out col­lat­er­al. Ukio was men­tioned in the leaked Pana­ma Papers doc­u­ments as being used by Russ­ian cel­list Sergei Roldug­in, the god­fa­ther to one of Putin’s daugh­ters and a long­time friend. After that bank col­lapsed, its main share­hold­er, Vladimir Romanov, was sus­pect­ed of embez­zle­ment and fled to Rus­sia, where he was grant­ed asy­lum in 2014.

    A lit­tle over a year lat­er, Latvia’s finan­cial reg­u­la­tor tapped Lagzdins to be its envoy to Wash­ing­ton. Both the reg­u­la­tor and Lagzdins, who has not been accused of any wrong­do­ing, declined repeat­ed requests for com­ment.

    The U.S. Trea­sury and the OECD will send offi­cials to Latvia this year to eval­u­ate its abil­i­ty to fight mon­ey-laun­der­ing. But the risk is that while Latvia cleans up, the activ­i­ty might shift else­where. Before the focus was on Latvia, experts high­light­ed Cyprus as a haven for the flow of dirty mon­ey, par­tic­u­lar­ly from Rus­sia, before a bank­ing cri­sis in 2013 forced Cyprus to over­haul its own sys­tem.

    Mon­ey-laun­der­ing is cit­ed as a grow­ing prob­lem in oth­er EU states as well, such as Mal­ta, anoth­er tiny coun­try with a big indus­try pro­vid­ing finan­cial ser­vices to for­eign­ers.

    Though Mal­ta does not have his­toric ties to Rus­sia, it awards cit­i­zen­ship to for­eign­ers will­ing to invest 650,000 euros ($750,000) and Russ­ian and Arab names fea­tured heav­i­ly on the list of its new cit­i­zens last year. In Octo­ber, a jour­nal­ist inves­ti­gat­ing mon­ey-laun­der­ing in Mal­ta was assas­si­nat­ed in a car bomb­ing.

    ...

    ———-

    “US sanc­tions have a weak spot: tiny allies like Latvia” by CARLO PIOVANO; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 06/01/2018

    “When the U.S. hit North Korea with sanc­tions last year, Pyongyang’s state-owned banks found a qui­et backchan­nel to keep mon­ey flow­ing to the country’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams, the U.S. says: the tiny Euro­pean coun­try of Latvia.”

    So after the US hits North Korea with sanc­tions, North Korea turns to ABLV to con­tin­ue bank­ing in Europe. And note how the US gov­ern­ment says this allowed North Korea to con­tin­ue to pro­cures mis­siles:

    ...
    One of the biggest banks in Latvia — a mem­ber coun­try of the Euro­pean Union and NATO — built a busi­ness from pro­cess­ing ille­gal mon­ey trans­fers, enabling North Korea to con­tin­ue to pro­cure mis­siles, the U.S. gov­ern­ment says.
    ...

    The charges also include ABLV brib­ing Lat­vian offi­cials, so this is a poten­tial­ly huge scan­dal if it turns out some Lat­vian offi­cials knew about the North Kore­an laun­der­ing:

    ...
    Latvia has come into focus as a poten­tial weak link in the West’s bank­ing sys­tem as the U.S. and EU increas­ing­ly rely on finan­cial sanc­tions as a weapon in their diplo­mat­ic spats — with North Korea, but also Rus­sia and Syr­ia, among oth­ers. After a slew of accu­sa­tions of high-lev­el cor­rup­tion, Latvia is now try­ing to appease its U.S. and Euro­pean allies and dras­ti­cal­ly reform its finan­cial sec­tor.

    Lat­vian Prime Min­is­ter Maris Kucin­skis told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in a recent inter­view that his coun­try “can­not afford to have any uncon­trolled mon­ey flows from the coun­tries which have to be con­stant­ly mon­i­tored in order to avoid med­dling or influ­ence.”

    Kucin­skis and his gov­ern­ment have come under intense pres­sure to take action since the U.S. Trea­sury pub­lished a scathing report in Feb­ru­ary on one of Latvia’s biggest banks, ABLV. The report accused the bank of proac­tive­ly try­ing to cir­cum­vent finan­cial rules to laun­der mon­ey and skirt sanc­tions, and said it bribes Lat­vian offi­cials to be able to do so.

    The bank denied the accu­sa­tions, but the report caused a run on the bank and it col­lapsed a week lat­er.
    ...

    The US gov­ern­ment also charges that ABLV allowed North Korea to do busi­ness using shell com­pa­nies that ABLV should have known were fronts. In oth­er words, ABLV was a wit­ting accom­plice and not just a dupe:

    ...
    Latvia promised repeat­ed­ly to clean up as it pre­pared to join the EU’s shared euro cur­ren­cy in 2014 and the OECD, a club of devel­oped economies, in 2016. Those efforts appar­ent­ly proved insuf­fi­cient and the coun­try is now tak­ing more dras­tic mea­sures.

    Latvia says it will ban its banks from doing busi­ness with shell com­pa­nies, which can be used to mask wrong­do­ers’ iden­ti­ties. In the case of ABLV, the U.S. says North Korea was using shell com­pa­nies that the bank should have known were fronts.

    Banks note that shell com­pa­nies can be used for legit­i­mate busi­ness pur­pos­es, such as to facil­i­tate a multinational’s pay­ments across bor­ders in dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies. The onus is on banks to know who ben­e­fits from a shell com­pa­ny they pro­vide ser­vices for, though banks usu­al­ly are fined only when proven to have sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly cir­cum­vent­ed the law.
    ...

    And just to high­light how big a role mon­ey-laun­der­ing like­ly plays in Latvi­a’s bank­ing sec­tor, not how 40 per­cent of the mon­ey in Lat­vian banks is from for­eign deposits. But the for­eign hold­ings have dropped sub­stan­tial­ly over the last year thanks to the col­lapse of ABLV:

    ...
    In April, the Lat­vian par­lia­ment approved a ban on almost all shell com­pa­nies, and the coun­try aims to reduce the amount of for­eign deposits its banks hold from about 40 per­cent of the total to 5 per­cent by the end of the year.

    “We have to have a new approach to the way our finan­cial sys­tem works,” Kucin­skis told the AP.

    In 2015, Lat­vian banks held deposits from peo­ple out­side the coun­try worth over 12 bil­lion euros, the equiv­a­lent of almost half the entire econ­o­my. By the end of 2017, those deposits had fall­en by a third to 8 bil­lion euros and are like­ly to have dropped fur­ther since then because of ABLV’s col­lapse. About half of those deposits are owned by 26,000 shell com­pa­nies, the Lat­vian reg­u­la­tor esti­mates. And the fig­ures do not cap­ture mon­ey that mere­ly trav­els through Lat­vian banks, with­out stay­ing in them.
    ...

    So it sounds like one of the most prob­lem­at­ic banks in one of the most cor­rupt bank­ing sec­tors in Europe final­ly got shut down this year fol­low­ing the scathing US report that includ­ed charges of mon­ey-laun­der­ing for North Kore­a’s mis­sile pro­cure­ment net­works even after the 2017 US sanc­tions were imposed. It’s a pret­ty damn­ing accu­sa­tion. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, it’s actu­al­ly worse. Because the US charges against ABLV assert that the bank con­tin­ued these mon­ey-laun­der­ing activ­i­ties for North Korea in the sum­mer of 2017 even after the bank declared a North Korea “no tol­er­ance” pol­i­cy:

    Forbes

    Why The U.S. Trea­sury Killed A Lat­vian Bank

    Frances Cop­po­la
    Feb 28, 2018, 01:19am

    Latvia’s third largest lender, ABLV, is to be closed down. On Feb­ru­ary 24th, 2018, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank announced that ABLV was “fail­ing or like­ly to fail in accor­dance with the Sin­gle Res­o­lu­tion Mech­a­nism Reg­u­la­tion.” It will be wound up under Lat­vian law, and its sub­sidiary ABLV Bank Lux­em­bourg will be wound up under Lux­em­bourg law.

    The ECB said that ABLV’s liq­uid­i­ty posi­tion had dete­ri­o­rat­ed to the point where it had insuf­fi­cient funds to meet “stressed out­flows.” In plain Eng­lish, ABLV expe­ri­enced a bank run which drained it of mon­ey. The ECB did­n’t want to give it any more funds, because to do so would sim­ply encour­age more deposit flight — and in this bank’s case, there are good rea­sons not to allow deposits to run. So it closed it down.

    The bank run was trig­gered by the U.S. Trea­sury. On Feb­ru­ary 13, 2018, the Treasury’s Finan­cial Crimes Enforce­ment Net­work (Fin­CEN) issued a not­ice accus­ing ABLV of mon­ey laun­der­ing. ABLV was prompt­ly denied U.S. dol­lar fund­ing. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, depos­i­tors rushed to remove their mon­ey. Less than a week lat­er, to pre­vent the bank’s dis­or­der­ly col­lapse, the Lat­vian reg­u­la­tor and the ECB froze all pay­ments out of ABLV. But a frozen bank is a use­less bank, and there have been too many cas­es where Euro­pean banks have been kept on ice for years on end while reg­u­la­tors and local author­i­ties dither about what to do with them. This time, to their cred­it, reg­u­la­tors did not mess around. They autho­rised ABLV’s exe­cu­tion less than a week after impos­ing the mora­to­ri­um.

    But ABLV would have died any­way. Even had there not been a bank run, the bank would not have sur­vived the action that the U.S. Trea­sury pro­posed to take against it.

    FinCEN’s notice says that it intends “to pro­hib­it the open­ing or main­tain­ing of a cor­re­spon­dent account in the Unit­ed States for, or on behalf of, ABLV Bank, AS.” This is the fifth and most severe of the “spe­cial mea­sures” pro­vid­ed for under Sec­tion 113 of the Patri­ot Act. It can only be imposed with the agree­ment of the Sec­re­tary of State, the Attor­ney Gen­er­al, and the Chair­man of the Board of Gov­er­nors of the Fed­er­al Reserve Sys­tem, and after very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the con­se­quences for the Unit­ed States.

    Since the U.S. dol­lar dom­i­nates inter­na­tion­al trans­ac­tions, ban­ning U.S. cor­re­spon­dent bank­ing rela­tion­ships with ABLV amounts to shut­ting it out of the glob­al finan­cial net­work. This is why ABLV was denied U.S. dol­lar fund­ing after the notice was issued. Even though the notice was only in draft, oth­er banks wouldn’t want to take the risk of fund­ing ABLV with a pro­hi­bi­tion order hang­ing over it.

    A bank that was main­ly domes­ti­cal­ly focused might sur­vive such a mea­sure, but then such a bank would not be very like­ly to be accused of U.S. mon­ey laun­der­ing. It is the very fact that ABLV was facil­i­tat­ing exten­sive inter­na­tion­al U.S. dol­lar trans­ac­tions that made the U.S. Trea­sury sus­pect it of mon­ey laun­der­ing.

    Or rather, it is the nature of those trans­ac­tions. FinCen’s accu­sa­tions are extreme­ly seri­ous:

    Fin­CEN has rea­son­able grounds to believe that ABLV exec­u­tives, share­hold­ers, and employ­ees have insti­tu­tion­al­ized mon­ey laun­der­ing as a pil­lar of the bank’s busi­ness prac­tices…..ABLV man­age­ment per­mits the bank and its employ­ees to orches­trate and engage in mon­ey laun­der­ing schemes; solic­its the high risk shell com­pa­ny activ­i­ty that enables the bank and its cus­tomers to laun­der funds; main­tains inad­e­quate con­trols over high-risk shell com­pa­ny accounts; and seeks to obstruct enforce­ment of Lat­vian anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing and com­bat­ing the financ­ing of ter­ror­ism (AML/CFT) rules in order to pro­tect these busi­ness prac­tices. In addi­tion, illic­it finan­cial activ­i­ty at the bank has includ­ed trans­ac­tions for par­ties con­nect­ed to U.S. and UN-des­ig­nat­ed enti­ties, some of which are involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

    Fin­CEN’s accu­sa­tion hangs on the fact that ABLV has – or had – very high lev­els of non-res­i­dent deposits (NRD) and an extreme­ly large and very risky non-res­i­dent cus­tomer base. Fin­CEN says that nine­ty per­cent of its cus­tomers are “high-risk per ABLV’s own risk rat­ing method­ol­o­gy” and are “pri­mar­i­ly high-risk shell com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in secre­cy juris­dic­tions”. And it alleges that some of these shell com­pa­nies are con­nect­ed to “U.S. and UN-des­ig­nat­ed enti­ties” – which is code for sanc­tioned indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies. The alle­ga­tions are spe­cif­ic and damn­ing. Here, for exam­ple, Fin­CEN names ABLV as the recip­i­ent bank in the Moldovan bank heist of 2014:

    In 2014, ABLV was involved in the theft of over $1 bil­lion in assets from three Moldovan banks, BC Uni­bank S.A., Ban­ca Sociala S.A., and Ban­ca de Economii S.A., in which crim­i­nals took over the three Moldovan banks using a non-trans­par­ent own­er­ship struc­ture, part­ly financed by loans from off­shore enti­ties bank­ing at ABLV. Sep­a­rate­ly, ABLV pre­vi­ous­ly devel­oped a scheme to assist cus­tomers in cir­cum­vent­ing for­eign cur­ren­cy con­trols, in which the bank dis­guised ille­gal cur­ren­cy trades as inter­na­tion­al trade trans­ac­tions using fraud­u­lent doc­u­men­ta­tion and shell com­pa­ny accounts.

    And here it links ABLV to a Ukrain­ian oli­garch sanc­tioned by the U.S. for asset-strip­ping:

    In addi­tion, ABLV has facil­i­tat­ed pub­lic cor­rup­tion through the pro­vi­sion of shell com­pa­ny accounts for cor­rupt CIS-based polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons (PEPs) and oth­er cor­rupt actors. Through 2014, for exam­ple, Ukrain­ian tycoon Ser­hiy Kurchenko fun­neled bil­lions of dol­lars through his ABLV shell com­pa­ny accounts. Treasury’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol (OFAC) des­ig­nat­ed Kurchenko in 2015, find­ing that he was respon­si­ble for, com­plic­it in, or had engaged in, direct­ly or 12 indi­rect­ly, the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of state assets of Ukraine or of an eco­nom­i­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant enti­ty in Ukraine. ABLV main­tained at least nine shell com­pa­ny accounts linked to Kurchenko.

    Most damn­ing of all, Fin­CEN alleges that the bank not only facil­i­tat­ed trans­ac­tions for North Kore­an sanc­tioned enti­ties, it lied about it (my empha­sis):

    ABLV’s busi­ness prac­tice of bank­ing high-risk shell com­pa­nies with­out appro­pri­ate risk mit­i­ga­tion poli­cies and pro­ce­dures has also caused the bank to facil­i­tate trans­ac­tions for par­ties con­nect­ed to U.S.- and UN-des­ig­nat­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic People’s Repub­lic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) enti­ties. These des­ig­nat­ed enti­ties include For­eign Trade Bank (FTB), Koryo Bank, Koryo Cred­it Devel­op­ment Bank, Korea Min­ing and Devel­op­ment Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (KOMID), and Ocean Mar­itime Man­age­ment Com­pa­ny (OMM), some of which are involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles. ABLV facil­i­tat­ed trans­ac­tions relat­ed to North Korea after the bank’s sum­mer 2017 announce­ment of a North Korea “No Tol­er­ance” pol­i­cy.

    ABLV, there­fore, was not just doing mon­ey laun­der­ing, it was sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly break­ing sanc­tions all over the world. No won­der Fin­CEN want­ed to throw the book at it.

    ...

    The involve­ment of Lat­vian banks in inter­na­tion­al mon­ey laun­der­ing net­works has been an open secret for years. Belat­ed­ly, reg­u­la­tors on both sides of the Atlantic are now act­ing to shut down these net­works and elim­i­nate crim­i­nal banks. Trasta Komer­cban­ka, the Lat­vian bank at the heart of the “Russ­ian laun­dro­mat,” was closed down in 2016 for fail­ing to com­ply with mon­ey laun­der­ing reg­u­la­tions. Now ABLV has been closed down too. It may not be the last.

    ———-

    “Why The U.S. Trea­sury Killed A Lat­vian Bank” by Frances Cop­po­la; Forbes; 02/28/2018

    “ABLV’s busi­ness prac­tice of bank­ing high-risk shell com­pa­nies with­out appro­pri­ate risk mit­i­ga­tion poli­cies and pro­ce­dures has also caused the bank to facil­i­tate trans­ac­tions for par­ties con­nect­ed to U.S.- and UN-des­ig­nat­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic People’s Repub­lic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) enti­ties. These des­ig­nat­ed enti­ties include For­eign Trade Bank (FTB), Koryo Bank, Koryo Cred­it Devel­op­ment Bank, Korea Min­ing and Devel­op­ment Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (KOMID), and Ocean Mar­itime Man­age­ment Com­pa­ny (OMM), some of which are involved in North Korea’s pro­cure­ment or export of bal­lis­tic mis­siles. ABLV facil­i­tat­ed trans­ac­tions relat­ed to North Korea after the bank’s sum­mer 2017 announce­ment of a North Korea “No Tol­er­ance” pol­i­cy.”

    So ABLV explic­it­ly banned itself from mon­ey-laun­der­ing for North Korea and pro­ceed­ed to keep doing it. That’s some seri­ous ded­i­ca­tion to cus­tomer ser­vice, even for high­ly ques­tion­able cus­tomers.
    And note the charges involv­ing mon­ey-laun­der­ing for a Ukrain­ian oli­garch, Ser­hiy Kurchenko:

    ...
    In addi­tion, ABLV has facil­i­tat­ed pub­lic cor­rup­tion through the pro­vi­sion of shell com­pa­ny accounts for cor­rupt CIS-based polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons (PEPs) and oth­er cor­rupt actors. Through 2014, for exam­ple, Ukrain­ian tycoon Ser­hiy Kurchenko fun­neled bil­lions of dol­lars through his ABLV shell com­pa­ny accounts. Treasury’s Office of For­eign Assets Con­trol (OFAC) des­ig­nat­ed Kurchenko in 2015, find­ing that he was respon­si­ble for, com­plic­it in, or had engaged in, direct­ly or 12 indi­rect­ly, the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of state assets of Ukraine or of an eco­nom­i­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant enti­ty in Ukraine. ABLV main­tained at least nine shell com­pa­ny accounts linked to Kurchenko.
    ...

    Ser­hiy Kurchenko is one of the oli­garchs who fled Ukraine in 2014 and is cur­rent­ly in an unknown loca­tion. But he’s obvi­ous­ly not the only Ukrain­ian oli­garch ABLV did busi­ness with, high­light­ing how we should expect all sorts of illic­it activ­i­ty involv­ing ABLV and Ukraine’s oli­garch. And that all makes ABLV the per­fect bank to have facil­i­tat­ed an tech­nol­o­gy sales of Ukrain­ian mis­sile tech­nol­o­gy to North Korea.

    So that’s the remark­able sto­ry about how a ded­i­ca­tion to North Kore­an mon­ey-laun­der­ing led to the the down­fall of one of the largest banks in Latvia, despite the Atlantic Coun­cil’s remark­ably sleazy attempts to hold it up.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 31, 2018, 3:29 pm

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