Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN.
After the DNC emails were leaked, Clinton and other Democrats immediately blamed Russia for hacking their computers, but the DNC refused to allow the FBI to examine its computer servers to see who might have hacked in.
Instead the DNC turned to a private company, CrowdStrike, to investigate. The company – linked to the anti-Russian think tank, the Atlantic Council – concluded that Russia was behind the hack. The company said it was a sophisticated attack but also that the hackers sloppily left behind Cyrillic script and the name of the first Soviet chief of secret police – clues cited to pin the hack on Russia.
Russia and WikiLeaks have both denied that Russia was the source of the leaked emails.
William Binney, arguably one of the best mathematicians ever to work at the National Security Agency, and former CIA officer Ray McGovern, have argued that the emails must have come from a leak because a hack would be traceable by the NSA.
More speculation about the alleged election hack was raised after WikiLeaks’ “Vault 7” release, which revealed that the CIA is not beyond covering up its own hacks by leaving clues implicating others.
After Trump’s election victory, President Obama’s intelligence agencies also pinned the blame for the DNC and other Democratic-connected leaks on Russia and depicted the leaks as part of a Russian government scheme to hurt the Clinton campaign and thus boost Donald Trump.
But the Jan. 6 report by selected analysts at the FBI, CIA and NSA – and released by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – offered no hard evidence of Russian guilt, merely intelligence “assessments.”
A New Turn
Now, the email mystery has taken a new turn. While the Seth Rich murder case remains unsolved, a private detective hired by an anonymous third party for Rich’s family has spoken out, saying there is evidence on Seth Rich’s computer indicating that he was in touch with WikiLeaks.
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)
Rod Wheeler, a former D.C. homicide detective, also told the local Washington Fox TV affiliate on Monday night that a police source told him the detectives were ordered to back off the murder investigation, a claim that D.C. police denied.
Wheeler also raised questions about the relationship between the DNC and Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Browser, who could have control over the D.C. police investigation. Browser told The Daily Caller: “I don’t think I particularly talked to the DNC. They came in to talk to us. I was with [Rich’s family] and their discussions with us.” When she was asked about Wheeler’s assertion that the DC police were told to shut down the case, Browser said: “Certainly not. That’s preposterous.”
The DNC did not respond to questions put to its press office by Consortium News regarding whether Rich would have had legal access to the DNC emails. Rich was not included as a participant in any of the more than 40,000 emails given to WikiLeaks.
The #SethRich murder investigation is stuck because it would reveal that an American hero with a memory stick stopped Clinton. Not Russia.
When FOX 5 initially interviewed investigator Rod Wheeler about the Seth Rich case, Wheeler stated he believes there’s a cover-up at the DC Police department and keys to the murder are located within a laptop:
“The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” said Wheeler. “They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.”
Wheeler also told us,
“I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you.’ Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor’s office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday]”.
One would think CNN, and other stations with a liberal bent would want to focus on a possible murder cover-up, or the whereabouts (and contents) of Rich’s computer. While Fox stated “Rod Wheeler backtracks statements about Seth Rich investigation,” as clarification to the updated link, it failed (thanks to CNN’s intrepid journalism) to explain how clarifying one statement erases the validity of others, or specify that most statements were never backtracked.
In addition, something overlooked by everyone trying to discredit Wheeler is that he clearly states
“I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI.”
So, Wheeler states there’s a cover-up.
Wheeler states he does not know the whereabouts of Seth Rich’s computer, which he believes holds the truth regarding potential ties to WikiLeaks.
Two claims that have nothing to do with a source at the FBI, since other pieces of circumstantial evidence bolster both claims.
Apparently, CNN’s Oliver Darcy doesn’t care about both clearly stated claims, and made no mention of these claims in his recent hit piece on Wheeler, prompting establishment media to proclaim victory in the Seth Rich murder narrative.
Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter at CNN wrote a piece titled Story on DNC staffer’s murder dominated conservative media — hours later it fell apart. When reading the title, one might think this story is purely about political partisanship, rather than a murder investigation that’s provided no leads after one year. However, it’s almost certain Rod Wheeler doesn’t view himself to be a mouthpiece for conservative media and the Rich family hired him for his expertise.
Aside from clickbait, the headline is deceptive for numerous other reasons. First, the Seth Rich murder has been on the hearts and minds of progressives throughout the United States, not just conservatives. Second, the fact Wheeler might not speak to a source at the FBI has absolutely zero relevance to his claims of a DC Police Department cover-up, or other aspects of this unsolved case. Most importantly, Darcy wrote the following message to me today on Twitter:
Great, show us the email, Oliver Darcy!
The screenshot of the Tweet (in case Darcy pulls a Cenk Uygur), and the Tweet itself speak volumes. First, it’s highly doubtful Rod Wheeler would agree entirely with the headline Story on DNC staffer’s murder dominated conservative media — hours later it fell apart.
Darcy’s mystery “Wheeler email” almost certainly doesn’t condone CNN’s misleading headline. If anything, the majority of the Fox interview was about something other than an FBI source. Wheeler clearly spoke about the D.C. Police Department cover-up (and Rich’s laptop) for the majority of his short interview with FOX 5 and it’s telling that FOX and CNN’s Darcy fail to make that distinction.
In terms of Darcy’s article (a piece that everyone in the “Seth Rich was killed by two bullets in the back from a botched robbery” crowd used as political ammunition), the CNN piece is more of a public relations press release, than actual investigative journalism. Rod Wheeler clearly states he doesn’t have possession of the computer, and clearly states he believes DC Police aren’t doing their job. Both claims are ignored by Darcy’s laser-focus on these quote, introduced by specious introductions:
Wheeler instead said he only learned about the possible existence of such evidence through the reporter he spoke to for the FoxNews.com story. He explained that the comments he made to WTTG-TV were intended to simply preview Fox News’ Tuesday story. The WTTG-TV news director did not respond to multiple requests for comment. “I only got that [information] from the reporter at Fox News,” Wheeler told CNN.
Asked about a quote attributed to him in the Fox News story in which he said his “investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and Wikileaks,” Wheeler said he was referring to information that had already been reported in the media.
For a breakthrough article in the Seth Rich saga, Wheeler is hardly quoted at all (short, likely out of context quotes) in the over 800 word CNN piece. Interestingly, nobody knows what [information] Darcy is referring to in one quote of Wheeler, nor does the reader know the actual question Wheeler answered.
Mr. Darcy, do you think it’s somewhat important to show readers the question Wheeler answered with
“I only got that [information] from the reporter at Fox News,” and not simply your summary of the question?
Then Wheeler clearly refutes Darcy’s thesis, that an FBI source is the only basis for other claims, within this Fox interview on Hannity:
In the interview on Fox, Wheeler states he has a source, but doesn’t specify only an FBI source; the maniacal focus of Darcy’s CNN piece.
Take note, CNN, because at 2:10 of the Hannity interview, Wheeler states
“I have never the seen the emails myself directly, I haven’t even seen the computer that Seth Rich used… I don’t even know where the computer is… where did this information come from… there was a federal investigator… a person that’s very credible… he said he laid eyes on the computer and he laid eyes on the case file… it’s very consistent for a person with my experience… perhaps there were some email communications between Seth and WikiLeaks… every time I talk to the police department about the WikiLeaks or the emails, it’s automatically shut down…that discussion is automatically shut down.”
Why would that discussion be automatically shut down by DC Police? Any thoughts, Oliver Darcy?
WikiLeaks has a decade-long pristine reputation for accuracy; they’ve only published authentic documents. Unlike spy agencies or news organizations linked to political parties, Wikileaks is not affiliated with any American political group, despite the belief by some that DNC or Podesta emails (that CNN used to fire Donna Brazile and the DNC used to fire Debbie Wasserman Schultz) swayed the election. It could be quite meaningful that WikiLeaks offered a reward for information about Seth Rich’s murder, and Tweeted about the case six times, including one Julian Assange retweet of the original Fox story:
WikiLeaks also retweeted the following:
These six Tweets were sent at different times after the latest Fox story, and there are potentially a greater number of WikiLeaks Tweets since last year, after Seth Rich was murdered.
Is CNN’s Oliver Darcy claiming that 5 retweets by WikiLeaks and one by Julian Assange have zero relevance to this case?
It’s highly doubtful WikiLeaks or Assange would go out of their way to retweet various pieces of information pertaining to the Seth Rich case, if there was no link whatsoever to Seth Rich. In addition, this doesn’t mean Seth Rich was the WikiLeaks source. It only means there’s a possible connection (Rich might have been involved, in some way with WikiLeaks) due to the Podesta emails stating Clinton’s campaign chairman was willing to make an example of leakers, or the WikiLeaks reward, etc.
Darcy’s overt disregard for Wheeler’s claim of a cover-up and his statements on the importance of Seth Rich’s laptop also discredits CNN’s obvious hit piece on Wheeler.
Ultimately, we have the Comey memo in the news, but Americans must now see the “Darcy email.”
If your email, Mr. Darcy, shows that Rod Wheeler approves 100% of the title Story on DNC staffer’s murder dominated conservative media — hours later it fell apart, then I’ll offer a sincere apology and retract my claims that you’ve deceived people regarding this topic.
Until then, there’s a possible cover-up at the DC Police Department, and a laptop that holds the keys to the Seth Rich murder is nowhere to be found. Even if Wheeler had an IRS or NASA contact as a source, or any other federal employee, those two issues (DC Police cover-up and laptop information) would remain just as relevant, and sadly, just as ignored by people like CNN’s Oliver Darcy.
Dianne Feinstein and James Clapper have both stated categorically that no direct evidence of Trump colluding with Russia exists (to their knowledge), yet circumstantial ties have dominated American media. If the same logic is applied to the Seth Rich case, circumstantial evidence points to far more than a failed robbery. Thankfully, more people care about potential police corruption, or the fate of whistleblowers, than CNN and establishment pundits.
Finally, millions of progressives, liberals, independents, and people who never vote Republican want justice for Seth Rich. To claim it’s only of interest to right-wing conspiracy theorists isn’t only disingenuous, but ignores a large portion of the United States wondering at this moment if there’s indeed a Seth Rich cover-up.
For a complete explanation of why CNN’s latest journalistic hit piece actually exonerates Rod Wheeler, just watch my critique of CNN:
The original source of this article is Counter Propa
SETH RICH MURDER COVERED UP BY CNN JOURNALIST: CNN Tries Desperately to End Seth Rich Probe
DNC staffer Seth Rich was shot and killed in his Washington, DC neighborhood on July 10, 2016.
WASHINGTON – Describing a shroud of secrecy over the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, a Virginia-based group brought an open-records complaint against D.C.’s mayor and attorney general.
Noting that the investigation of Rich’s unsolved July 2016 murder dried up months ago, the Profiling Project says there is no reason for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to keep a lid on surveillance footage from the area, or the medical examiner’s and forensic ballistic reports.
“MPD essentially terminated their efforts in late October 2016,” the complaint states, filed on May 30 in D.C. Superior Court. “The case is now clearly a cold case. As such, the release of the desired information would not and would not harm MPD’s efforts in any way, as there is no continuing effort.”
After Rich was shot twice in the back on July 12, 2016, a block from his apartment in D.C.’s Bloomingdale neighborhood, police suggested that the 27-year-old might have been the victim of an attempted robbery.
At the height of the presidential election season, a conspiracy theory emerged that Rich was connected to the dissemination of DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and killed because of it. WikiLeaks offered a reward for information about Rich’s death, but it has never confirmed that Rich was a source.
The Profiling Project’s lawsuit comes a few weeks after Fox News gave airtime to unsubstantiated claims by private investigator Rod Wheeler that Rich’s laptop was in FBI custody and contained evidence of a WikiLeaks connection.
Rich’s family, which denies the WikiLeaks theory, told the Washington Post recently that they have noticed recent attempts by hackers to infiltrate Rich’s email accounts.
This photograph offers a view of the Virginia offices of the Profiling Project, a group dedicated the investigating the 2016 murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. (Image source: The Publicity Agency via Courthouse News Service)
This photograph offers a view of the Virginia offices of the Profiling Project, a group dedicated the investigating the 2016 murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. (Photo: The Publicity Agency via Courthouse News Service)
Founded by Republican political operative Jack Burkman, the Profiling Project is a Virginia group whose sole purpose is investigating Rich’s murder.
The group says there is no reason for D.C. to keep a shroud on surveillance footage captured by a camera on the second floor of Fragler Market, a convenience store near where Rich was shot.
Though the group says its requests have gone ignored, the complaint is not clear on whether the request came from a formal Freedom of Information Act demand.
“The information is necessary in furtherance of the role of Jack Burkman as a watchdog to ensure accountability with legal requirements by the police and to protect and defend the constitutional rights of those who wish to engage in political and associational activity protected by the First Amendment,” the complaint states.
Hinting at the conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death, the Profiling Project’s complaint says the sought-after records would show whether the murder was at the hands of “street thugs or whether it was the product of much boarder and deeper political or international forces.”
The Metropolitan Police Department did not respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Burkman represents the Profiling Project in the case and did not provide comment when reached by email on Friday.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said the hack of DNC emails last year was directed by the Russian government in an attempt to help Donald Trump win the election.
‘….Hayman was referred to during the case but not by name. Later that year he was finally exposed by crusading MP Geoffrey Dickens.
Mr Dickens used Parliamentary privilege to name Hayman to fellow MPs in the House of Commons.
He demanded to be told why Hayman had not been prosecuted….’
What with Prince Andrew’s shenanigans on Epstein’s ‘Orgy Island’, Prince Charles staying at Jimmy Savile’s Scottish house, and an ex-Deputy Head of MI6 being a paedophile, as well as MP’s and even a Cabinet Minister being peadophiles, it’s little wonder the ‘Historic Inquiry’ into high-level paedophilia is going nowhere, fast.
Indications are that it is rife among our nobility and ‘Ruling Class’. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
'Published on 27 Jul 2017
Sources within the FBI confirm that Seth Rich was in contact with wikileaks... News outlets have confirmed the reports as well as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz complicity in the DNC cover-up'. _________________ 'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
by Justin Raimondo Posted on August 04, 2017
Journalist Seymour Hersh has given us good reason to believe what many have long suspected: that the “hacking” of the Democratic National Committee, which supposedly delivered the White House to Donald Trump, was an inside job. In a recorded phone conversation (here’s a transcript) with Ed Butowsky, a Republican operative who has been financing an investigation of the Seth Rich affair, Hersh told Butowsky that Seth Rich, who worked for the DNC and was murdered on July 10, 2016, was in contact with WikiLeaks, and wanted money for access to the DNC emails.
Hersh doesn’t buy the conspiracy theory surrounding Rich’s death: he sees it as a random event, one that wasn’t too unusual given the neighborhood Rich lived in – and yet this haphazard tragedy may have led to the unraveling of the mystery that is, today, at the core of our politics: the controversy over who delivered the DNC/Podesta emails to WikiLeaks.
The Democrats, the media, and the War Party contend that the Russians hacked into the DNC, and fooled John Podesta into handing the keys to his emails over to them: a full-fledged federal investigation, complete with a special counsel, is now busy trying to find evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion with this nefarious plot. On the other hand, the case for Russian “hacking” has been fragile from the start, and has only gotten less tenable as time goes on. Now another blow has been delivered to the “Putin did it” conspiracy theory, one that may indeed prove fatal.
Hersh contends that, upon Rich’s death, the District of Colombia police went into his apartment – with a warrant — and examined his computer, but they couldn’t get into it. So they called in the DC cyber unit, which didn’t do much better, and so they called in the FBI’s Washington field office, the cyber unit, and they got in. “What I know came off an FBI report,” says Hersh. “Don’t ask me how. You can figure it out.” Well, yes, we can indeed. He goes on to say:
“And so what the report says is that sometime in late spring, we’re talking June you know summers in June 21st, late spring would be after, I presume, I don’t know, I’d just say late spring, early summer and he makes contact with WikiLeaks. That’s in his computer and he makes contact.”
Hersh notes that the last DNC/Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks are from late May 2016, or “early summer,” a timeline that fits in with the sequence of events: his contact with WikiLeaks followed by his death in what appears to be a random shooting. Hersh continues:
“So, they found what he’d done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this * about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this *, you know what I mean? All I know is that he [Seth] offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of emails and said ‘I want money.’”
This note of realism – “I want money” – for the first time provides us with something that has previously been missing from the arguments of those who have claimed that the “hacks” were an inside job, and not a case of Russian cyber-warfare: motive. After all, why would Rich, supposedly a loyal employee of the DNC and a committed Democrat, hand over embarrassing emails that would hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign? Well, now here we have it. If true, this not only explains why Rich would do such a thing, but also why the Rich family is furiously denying that their son was in any way connected with the DNC/Podesta email revelations.
Hersh goes on to detail what is in the FBI report:
“Then later WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox.”
And so, according to Hersh, WikiLeaks must have reached a deal with Rich, and the rest is history. It’s not clear to me what “They got access to the Dropbox” means: is Hersh talking about WikiLeaks, or the FBI? In any case, Rich apparently took precautions to cover his ass, as Hersh relates:
“He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about WikiLeaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the WikiLeaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, ‘I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem.’ Ok. I don’t know what that means.”
Well, something did happen to him, but we’ll pass over that and note that Hersh mentions “the NSA report.” So the FBI, in investigating this case, turned to the National Security Agency, which has access to everyone’s online communications, and came up with evidence confirming that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks, that he had a secure Dropbox, and that he was concerned that he might be in danger. Hersh says “the word was passed” – but to whom? There are more mysteries here than we can uncover with just these bits of information.
According to Hersh, a warrant exists for the DC police entry into Rich’s residence. There’s also a report from the FBI, which Hersh has not seen, as far as I can tell, but which has perhaps been read to him. As Hersh puts it:
“I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me.”
Hersh’s record speaks for itself: from exposing the My Lai massacre to ripping the lid off the false flag Syrian “chemical attack,” he’s made a career out of unmasking the lies and machinations of the War Party. I’ll take his word over the word of some anonymous spook leaking to the Washington Post any day of the week. And perhaps this is the time to point out that there’s just as much evidence for what Hersh is telling us as there is for the tall tales of “collusion” with Moscow that have been retailed by the “mainstream” media for a solid year.
The “Russia-gate” conspiracy theory never had any real evidence to support it aside from the arbitrary assertions of three US intelligence agencies: the “proof” they submitted to the public was laughable, as Jeffrey Carr and other cyber-warfare experts have pointed out. Yet we don’t have the actual evidence to support Hersh’s contentions, although if he’s right there is indeed a paper trail: the warrant, the FBI and NSA reports, and probably more.
However, it is an exercise in elementary logic to take the simplest explanation for how the DNC/Podesta materials got out – an insider with access did it for money — rather than assume it was an elaborate Russian conspiracy involving teams of hackers, the Russian intelligence agencies, and Vladmir Putin himself. Apparently our brainless media, not to mention our not-very-intelligent “intelligence community,” have never heard of Occam’s Razor.
Hersh, who has been around the block several times, and is intimately familiar with how the intelligence community operates – as well as being personally familiar with the individuals involved – is onto the game that’s being play here. In his words:
“I have a narrative of how that whole * thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and * the * President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, * c***-sucker Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean [it’s] all bs…. Trump’s not wrong to think they all * lie about him.”
It’s all bs: Russia-gate, the “collusion” gambit, and the whole avalanche of fake “news” that purports to describe a Russian conspiracy to “undermine our democracy.” It’s a lie, pure and simple. More than that: it’s an exact inversion of the truth. Because what’s happening is that a vast intelligence-gathering apparatus is being utilized to undermine an elected President and undertake what is in effect a “legal” coup d’etat. But then again, projection has always been an essential element of the War Party’s methodology.
I’m not surprised that Hersh’s revelations have been studiously ignored, even by some “alternative” news sites. Despite this ominous silence, there has been one attempt to cut Hersh off at the pass: National Public Radio ran a piece about the lawsuit Butowsky is being served with in which Hersh’s conversation is quoted. NPR tellingly edits out what Hersh actually said in that conversation, but does cite Hersh purportedly saying Butowsky misunderstood him.
However, it looks like Hersh didn’t know he was being recorded, because the recording directly contradicts both Hersh and what NPR is reporting. An email exchange between Butowsky and Hersh, in which the former pleads with the famous journalist to go public, has been published, and when a reporter called him for comment Hersh clammed up:
“‘I’m not going to comment about that stuff, I mean, come on, I live in the real world.’
“When asked to confirm that it was him speaking on the bombshell audio recording, he stated, ‘I’m not going to talk to anybody about that. No comment.’”
While Hersh is being called on to clear this matter up, there are several reasons why he might not do so, at least quite yet. He could be working on his own story, and – in the same vein – doesn’t want to burn his source, who would be understandably nervous about possibly being outed.
Whatever is going on here, Hersh’s contentions are now public. The truth, whatever it may be, is going to come out.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here. _________________ --
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
Over the last few months, Professor Joseph Mifsud has become a feather in the cap for those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. He is characterized as a “Russian” intelligence asset in mainstream press, despite his declarations to the contrary. However, evidence has surfaced that suggests Mifsud was anything but a Russian spy, and may have actually worked for British intelligence. This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.
To give an idea of the scope of this report, a few central points showing the UK connections with the central pillars of the Trump-Russia claims are included here, in the order of discussion in this article:
Mifsud allegedly discussed that Russia has ‘dirt’ on Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails’ with George Papadopoulos in London in April 2016.
The following month, Papadopoulos spoke with Alexander Downer, Australia’s ambassador to the UK, about the alleged Russian dirt on Clinton while they were drinking at a * Kensington bar, according to The Times. In late July 2016, Downer shared his tip with Australian intelligence officials who forwarded it to the FBI.
Robert Goldstone, a key figure in the ‘Trump Tower’ part of the RussiaGate narrative, sent Donald Trump Jr. an email claiming Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign. He is a British music promoter.
Christopher Steele, ex-MI6, who worked as an MI6 agent in Moscow until 1993 and ran the Russia desk at MI6 HQ in London between 2006 and 2009. He produced the totally unsubstantiated ‘Steele Dossier’ of Trump-Russia allegations, with funding from the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
Robert Hannigan, the head of British spy agency GCHQ, flew to Washington DC to share ‘director-to-director’ level intelligence with then-CIA Chief John Brennan.
Each of these strands of UK-tied elements of the Russiagate narrative can be substantially dismantled on close inspection. This untangling process leads to the surprising conclusion that UK intelligence services fabricated evidence of collusion in order to create the appearance of a Trump-Russia connection.
This trend begins with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese scholar with an eclectic academic history who Quartz described as an “enigma,” while legacy press has enthusiastically characterized him as a central personality in the Trump-Russia scandal. The New York Times described Mifsud as an “enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia”, citing his regular involvement in the annual meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian-based think-tank, as well as three short articles he wrote in support of Russian policies.
Mifsud strongly denied claims that he was associated with Russian intelligence, telling Italian newspaper Repubblica that he was a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Foundation, adding that his political outlook was “left-leaning.” Last month, Slate reported Mifsud had ‘disappeared’, as did some of the other figures linking the UK to the Trump-Russia scandal. This aspect will be discussed in more detail below.
To contextualize Mifsud’s eclectic academic career in terms of intelligence service, it is helpful to note that research undertaken by this author and Suzie Dawson as part of the Decipher You project has repeatedly shown the close ties – an outright merger in many cases – between the intelligence community and academia. This enmeshment also takes place with think-tanks, NGOs, and in the corporate sphere. In this light, Mifsud’s brand of ‘scholarship’ becomes far less mysterious.
Mifsud’s alleged links to Russian intelligence are summarily debunked by his close working relationship with Claire Smith, a major figure in the upper echelons of British intelligence. A number of Twitter users recently observed that Joseph Mifsud had been photographed standing next to Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee at Mifsud’s LINK campus in Rome. Newsmax and Buzzfeed later reported that the professor’s name and biography had been removed from the campus’ website, writing that the mysterious removal took place after Mifsud had served the institution for “years.”
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange likewise noted the connection between Mifsud and Smith in a Twitterthread, additionally pointing out his connections with Saudi intelligence: “[Mifsud] and Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and eight-year member of the UK Security Vetting panel both trained Italian security services at the Link University in Rome and appear to both be present in this [photo].”
The photograph in question originated on Geodiplomatics.com, where it specified that Joseph Mifsud is indeed standing next to Claire Smith, who was attending a: “…Training program on International Security which was organised by Link Campus University and London Academy of Diplomacy.” The event is listed as taking place in October, 2012. This is highly significant for a number of reasons.
Claire Smith Stands next to Joseph Mifsud at LINK Campus
First, the training program Smith attended with high-ranking members of the Italian military was organized by the London Academy of Diplomacy, where Joseph Mifsud served as Director, as noted by The Washington Post. That Claire Smith was training military and law enforcement officials alongside Mifsud in 2012 during her tenure as a member of the UK Cabinet Office Security Vetting Appeals Panel, which oversees the vetting process for UK intelligence placement, strongly suggests that Mifsud has been incorrectly characterized as a Russian intelligence asset. It is extremely unlikely that Claire Smith’s role in vetting UK intelligence personnel would lead to her accidentally working with a Russian agent.
The connection between Mifsud and Smith does not end at bumped elbows in a photograph. Mifsud’s LinkedIn profile lists the University of Stirling as a place of occupation in connection with his service as Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD), where Claire Smith served as a visiting professor from 2013-2014 according to her LinkedIn profile. This adds yet another verifiable connection between a man who is at the center of already-flimsy Trump-Russia allegations and a high-ranking British intelligence figure.
Screenshot of Claire Smith's LinkedIN showing her service on the Security Vetting Appeals Panel while also occupied as a visiting Professor at Stirling University
Claire Smith also hosted a seminar titled “Making Sense of Intelligence” at the University of Stirling. The event registration form describes her career, including her service as Deputy Chief of Assessments Staff in the Cabinet Office, as a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and her completion of an eight-year term as a member of the UK Security Vetting and Appeals Panel.
A particularly compelling factor indicating that Mifsud’s working relationship with Claire Smith suggests his direct connection with UK intelligence is Smith’s membership of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), a supervisory body overseeing all UK intelligence agencies. The JIC is part of the Cabinet Office and reports directly to the Prime Minister. The Committee also sets the collection and analysis priorities for all of the agencies it supervises. Claire Smith also served as a member of the UK’s Cabinet Office.
In summary, Mifsud’s appearance with Claire Smith at the LINK campus, in addition to her discussion on intelligence at yet another university where Mifsud was also employed, as well as her long-standing role in UK intelligence vetting and her position as a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, would suggest that the roving scholar is not a Russian agent, but is actually a UK intelligence asset. The possibility that such a high-ranking member of this extremely powerful intelligence supervisory group was photographed standing next to a “Russian” asset unknowingly is patently absurd. This finding knocks the first pillar out from under the edifice of the Trump-Russia allegations. It provides an initial suggestion of the UK’s involvement in procuring the ‘evidence’ that fueled the debacle.
Claire Smith is not the only British official associated with Mifsud. He was a speaker at an event by the Central European Initiative alongside former British diplomat Charles Crawford, whose postings included Moscow, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Warsaw. Crawford is listed as a visiting Professor with the same London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) where Mifsud served as Director, associated with Stirling University. This adds more weight to the idea that Mifsud is a familiar figure among the upper echelons of the UK intelligence and foreign policy establishment.
The final nail in the coffin of the theory that Mifsud is a Russian spy is this photograph of Mifsud standing next to Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary, as reported by The Guardian. The photograph, taken in October 2017 – nearly a full year after the US Presidential election and nine months after Mifsud’s name appeared in newspaper headlines worldwide as allegedly involved in Russian meddling in that election – is either highly embarrassing for the hapless Mr Johnson, or it’s not, because Joseph Mifsud is actually a valued and security-vetted asset to the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson pictured at the dinner with the ‘London professor’, Joseph Mifsud (left) and Prasenjit Kumar Singh.
Another aspect of the RussiaGate claims tied to the UK includes the reported conversation between George Papadopoulos and Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK who was based in London. The pair reportedly spoke about the alleged Russian ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton while they were drinking at a * bar in London. According to Lifezette, Downer is closely tied with The Clinton Foundation via his role in securing $25 million in aid from his country to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS.
He is also a member of the advisory board of London-based Hakluyt & Co, an opposition research and intelligence firm set up in 1995 by three former UK intelligence officials and described as “a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking”. Whereas opposition research group Fusion GPS has received all the media attention so far, Lifezette states that Hakluyt is “a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm… with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign”.
Yet another UK link to a central pillar of the Trump-Russia narrative is British music promoter Robert Goldstone, who was reported to have organized a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian nationals in June 2016. In the email chain setting up the Trump Tower meeting, both before and after the meeting, the only real ‘evidence’ of collusion with Russia come from Goldstone’s own emails; none-too-subtle heavy hints about ‘Russian help’ dropped by Goldstone but later – after the emails became public – walked back by him as “hyping the message and… using hot-button language to puff up the information I had been given.”
Some have speculated that Goldstone was also involved with British or US intelligence efforts to concoct the RussiaGate narrative. As soon as his name emerged in the press, Goldstone – like Christopher Steele and Joseph Mifsud – went into ‘hiding’. Multiple press reports claimed he had done so out of fear for his safety, a claim also made about Christopher Steele when his name first became public. Indeed, the UK government issued a DA Notice(a press suppression advisory notice) to the British press to suppress the ex-spy Steele’s name. It is notable that, of all the people swept up into the ever-burgeoning RussiaGate investigation, it is only the UK-linked witnesses – Mifsud, Steele, Goldstone – who have felt the need to go into hiding when their role has been exposed.
The New York Times summed up the contents of Christopher Steele’s dossier: “Mr. Steele produced a series of memos that alleged a broad conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Mr. Trump. The memos also contained unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes.”
Press reports also relate that Steele was ordered by an English court to appear for a videotaped deposition in London as part of an ongoing civil litigation against Buzzfeed for publishing the unverified dossier, for which Steele was paid $168,000 by Glenn Simpson’s company Fusion GPS, who were in turn paid by Mark Elias of law firm Perkins Coie, lawyers to both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.
In his thread on the role of UK intelligence interference in the 2016 US Presidential race, Assange also noted how Christopher Steele used another former UK ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood, to funnel the dossier to Senator John McCain in a way that moved the handover out of London, to Canada. It’s often said that no one ever really leaves the UK security services when they retire – many ‘former’ MI6 or MI5 officers’ private intelligence businesses are dependent on maintaining good contacts among their ex-colleagues – so it is interesting to note that Sir Andrew Wood says he was “instructed” — by former British spy Christopher Steele — to reach out to the senior Republican, whom Wood called “a good man,” about the unverified document.
Lastly, Robert Hannigan, former head of British intelligence agency GCHQ, is another personality of note in the formation of the RussiaGate narrative and its surprisingly deep links to the UK. The Guardian noted that Hannigan announced he would step down from his leadership position with the agency just three days after the inauguration of President Trump, on 23 January 2017. Jane Mayer in her profile of Christopher Steele published in the New Yorkeralso noted that Hannigan had flown to Washington D.C. to personally brief the then-CIA Director John Brennan on alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow. What is so curious about this briefing “deemed so sensitive it was handled at director-level” is why Hannigan was talking director-to-director to the CIA and not Mike Rogers at the NSA, GCHQ’s Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partner.
Screenshot of GCHQ Tweet announcing Hannigan's resignation on 23 Jan 2017
The central supporting pillars of the RussiaGate allegations hinge on figures with close ties to British intelligence and UK nationals. Even establishment media like The Guardian reported that British spies from GCHQ were the first to alert US authorities to so-called Russian interference. Did the entire narrative originate with UK intelligence groups in an effort to create the appearance of Russian collusion with the Trump Presidential campaign, much as the Guccifer 2.0 persona was used in the US to discredit WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC emails?
If it was not Russia at the heart of a complex operation to topple the Clinton campaign in 2016, then was British Intelligence responsible for creating false narratives and mirage-like ‘evidence’ on which the Trump-Russia scandal could hinge?
Put another way, if UK intelligence is responsible for manufacturing the Trump-Russia allegations, it suggests that the UK’s efforts formed an international arm running concurrently with domestic US ‘Deep State’ efforts to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign and/or oust him once he had been elected.
Is British intelligence involvement in RussiaGate, as outlined above, the international version of CrowdStrike and former FBI figures manufacturing the Guccifer 2.0 persona specifically to smear WikiLeaks via false allegations of a Russian hack of the DNC? Have we been looking in the wrong place – at the wrong country – to unearth the so-called ‘foreign meddling’ in the 2016 US election all along?
Will every critic of our government policies soon be indictable?
Philip Giraldi • February 20, 2018 • 2,000 Words • 213 Comments • Reply
It’s hard to know where to begin. Last Friday’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was detailed in a 37 page document that provided a great deal of specific evidence claiming that a company based in St. Petersburg, starting in 2014, was using social media to assess American attitudes. Using that assessment, the company inter alia allegedly later ran a clandestine operation seeking to influence opinion in the United States regarding the candidates in the 2016 election in which it favored Donald Trump and denigrated Hillary Clinton. The Russians identified by name are all back in Russia and cannot be extradited to the U.S., so the indictment is, to a certain extent, political theater as the accused’s defense will never be heard.
In presenting the document, Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, stressed that there was no evidence to suggest that the alleged Russian activity actually changed the result of the 2016 presidential election or that any actual votes were altered or tampered with. Nor was there any direct link to either the Russian government or its officials or to the Donald Trump campaign developed as a result of the nine-month long investigation. There was also lacking any mention in the indictment of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton and Podesta e-mails, so it is to be presumed that the activity described in the document was unrelated to the WikiLeaks disclosures.
Those of the “okay, there’s smoke but where’s the fire” school of thought immediately noted the significant elephant in the room, namely that the document did not include any suggestion that there had been collusion between Team Trump and Moscow. As that narrative has become the very raison d’etre driving the Mueller investigation, its omission is noteworthy. Meanwhile, those who see more substance in what was revealed by the evidence provided in the indictment and who, for political reasons, would like to see Trump damaged, will surely be encouraged by their belief that the noose is tightening around the president.
Assuming the indictment is accurate, I would agree that the activity of the Internet Research Agency does indeed have some of the hallmarks of a covert action intelligence operation in terms how it used some spying tradecraft to support its organization, targeting and activity. But its employees also displayed considerable amateur behavior, suggesting that they were not professional spies, supporting the argument that it was not a government intelligence operation or an initiative under Kremlin control. And beyond that, so what? Even on a worst-case basis, stirring things up is what intelligence agencies do, and no one is more active in interfering in foreign governments and elections than the United States of America, most notably in Russia for the election of Boris Yeltsin in 1996, which was arranged by Washington, and more recently in Ukraine in 2014. From my own experience I can cite Italy’s 1976 national election in which the CIA went all out to keep the communists out of government. Couriers were discreetly dispatched to the headquarters of all the Italian right wing parties dropping off bags of money for “expenses” while the Italian newspapers were full of articles written by Agency-paid hacks warning of the dangers of communism. And this all went on clandestinely even though Italy was a democracy, an ally and NATO member.
Does that mean that Washington should do nothing in response? No, not at all. Russia, if the indictment is accurate, may have run an influencing operation and gotten caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Or maybe not. And Washington might also actually have information suggesting that Russia is preparing to engage in further interference in the 2018 and 2020 elections, as claimed by the heads of the intelligence agencies, though, as usual, evidence for the claim is lacking. There has to be bilateral, confidential discussion of such activity between Washington and Moscow and a warning given that such behavior will not be tolerated in the future, but only based on irrefutable, solid evidence. The leadership in both countries should be made to understand very clearly that there are more compelling reasons to maintain good bilateral working relations than not.
With that in mind, it is important not to overreact and to base any U.S. response on the actual damage that was inflicted. The indictment suggests that Russia is out to destroy American democracy by promoting “distrust” of government as well as sowing “discord” in the U.S. political system while also encouraging “divisiveness” among the American people. I would suggest in Russia’s defense that the U.S. political system is already doing a good job at self-destructing and the difficult-to-prove accusations being hurled at Moscow are the type one flings when there is not really anything important to say.
I would suggest that Moscow might well want to destroy American democracy but there is no evidence in the indictment to support that hypothesis. I particularly note that the document makes a number of assumptions which appear to be purely speculative for which it provides no evidence. It describes the Russian company Internet Research Agency as “engaged in operations to interfere with elections and political processes.” Its employees were involved in
“interference operations targeting the United States. From in or around 2014 to the present, Defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”
The theme of Russian subversion is repeated throughout the indictment without any compelling evidence to explain how Mueller knows what he asserts to be true, suggesting either that the document would have benefited from a good editor or that whoever drafted it was making things up. Internet Research Agency allegedly “conduct[ed] what it called ‘information warfare against the United States of America’ through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media.” The indictment goes on to assert that
“By in or around May 2014, the ORGANIZATION’s strategy included interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with the stated goal of ‘spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general’”
“strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Defendants posted derogatory information about a number of candidates, and by early to mid-2016, Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton. Defendants made various expenditures to carry out those activities, including buying political advertisements on social media in the name of U.S. persons and entities. Defendants also staged political rallies inside the United States, and while posing as U.S. grassroots entities and U.S. persons, and without revealing their Russian identities and ORGANIZATION affiliation, solicited and compensated real U.S. persons to promote or disparage candidates. Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and without revealing their Russian association, communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign and with other political activists to seek to coordinate political activities.”
Two company associates
“traveled in and around the United States, including stops in Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, and New York to gather intelligence. After the trip, [they] exchanged an intelligence report regarding the trip. The conspiracy had as its object the opening of accounts under false names at U.S. financial institutions and a digital payments company in order to receive and send money into and out of the United States to support the ORGANIZATION’s operations in the United States and for self-enrichment. Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts, including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist. All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.”
Note particularly the money laundering and for-profit aspects of the Internet Research scheme, something that would be eschewed if it were an actual intelligence operation. There is some speculation that it all might have been what is referred to as a click-bait commercial marketing scheme set up to make money from advertising fees. Also note how small the entire operation was. It focused on limited social media activity while spending an estimated $1 million on the entire venture, with Facebook admitting to a total of $100,000 in total ad buys, only half of which were before the election. It doesn’t smell like a major foreign government intelligence/influence initiative intended to “overthrow democracy.” And who attended the phony political rallies? How many votes did the whole thing cause to change? Impossible to know, but given a campaign in which billions were spent and both fake and real news were flying in all directions, one would have to assume that the Russian effort was largely a waste of time if it indeed was even as described or serious in the first place.
And apart from the money laundering aspect of the alleged campaign was it even illegal apart from the allegations of possible visa fraud and money laundering? If the Russians involved were getting their financial support from the Moscow government then it would be necessary to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938, but if not, they would be protected by the Constitution and have the same First Amendment right to express their opinions of Hillary Clinton on blogs and websites while also associating with others politically as do all other residents of the United States. Many of the commenters on this Unz site are foreign and are not required either by law or custom to state where they come from.
And, of course, there is one other thing. There always is. One major media outlet is already suggesting that there could be consequences for American citizens who wittingly or unwittingly helped the Russians, identified in the indictment as “persons known and unknown.” A former federal prosecutor put it another way, saying “While they went to great pains to say they are not indicting any Americans today, if I was an American and I did cooperate with Russians I would be extremely frightened…” Politico speculates that “Now, a legal framework exists for criminal charges against Americans…” and cites a former U.S. district attorney’s observation that “Think of a conspiracy indicting parties ‘known and unknown’ as a Matroyshka doll. There are many more layers to be successively revealed over time.”
Under normal circumstances, an American citizen colluding with a foreign country would have to be convicted of engaging in an illegal conspiracy, which would require being aware that the foreigners were involved in criminal behavior and knowingly aiding them. But today’s overheated atmosphere in Washington is anything but normal. Russia’s two major media outlets that operate in the U.S., Sputnik and RT America, have been forced to register under FARA. Does that mean that the hundreds of American citizens who appeared on their programs prior to the 2016 election to talk about national politics will be next in line for punishment? Stay tuned.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is email@example.com.
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