The intelligence illiteracy of the mainstream media (MSM) is startling. Almost from the time that President Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States the MSM has smeared him as a Russian stooge and claimed that Russia rigged the outcome of the 2016 general election.
It was always an unlikely charge but in recent weeks the MSM has parted company with reality. Coverage of the so-called Russia Scandal has spilled over from hype to hysteria.
The coverage has been so partisan that the Times and the Post in particular have forfeited any claim to be regarded as serious newspapers.
Their journalistic standards had descended to the level of the National Enquirer by Easter. They have carried on plummeting since, rather like U-361 after John Cruickshank VC straddled her with a pair of depth charges from his Consolidated Catalina. They haven’t hit the bottom yet, but they’re plunging fast, bow first, with water pouring in.
The principal claims
There are six principal claims:
(1) That the Russian FSB hacked the Democratic Party’s computers in 2016 and leaked damaging emails to Wikileaks.
(2) That the Russian FSB somehow managed to rig the 2016 election.
(3) That there was collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Government.
(4) That President Trump obstructed justice by trying to get disgraced FBI Director James Comey, later sacked for incompetence, to drop the investigation.
(5) That there was an important meeting between senior figures in the Trump Campaign and a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is allegedly a Kremlin confidante and
(6) That there has been a determined attempt to cover up this meeting.
Whilst there was a meeting with Veselnitskaya, none of these claims is even remotely true. What is more, they are so absurd that no reasonable journalist could possibly suppose that there was any truth in them, i.e. the claims have mostly been advanced in bad faith.
I propose to examine each of these claims in detail, before moving on to some counter-intelligence analysis. This is something which has so far been lacking in MSM commentary on the affair and Robert Mueller’s with respect facile investigation, with its overtones of the disgraceful setting-up of Lewis Libby in 2005, as part of the FBI’s destabilization campaign against the Bush-Cheney Administration.
This in turn requires an understanding of the weaknesses of the FBI as America’s principal internal intelligence agency, weaknesses which go back to the formation of the Bureau and its role in the 1930s and 40s as an adjunct of the German Abwehr intelligence organisation. The FBI’s grotesque present-day failings cannot be understood unless they are placed in the historic context of the Bureau’s desperate efforts to protect the kidnappers and murderers of the Lindbergh Baby and its unceasing efforts to ensure victory for the Axis in World War II.
This history is only partially understood by even the smartest Fibbies. I’ve only ever been invited into one FBI Field Office to brief in agents (on an operation directed at a Gulf port by the principal Iranian external intelligence agency VEVAK), but I’ve no doubt that the American flag I saw there is proudly displayed in other Field Offices. Sadly it’s the wrong flag. The FBI has always put Germany’s interests ahead of America’s.
I know that’s not how Efrem Zimbalist Jnr put it in the FBI TV series, but that series bore about as much relation to reality as the A-Team does to modern private investigation. As an intelligence analyst I’m only interested in what is real – TV portrayals don’t help much in understanding the FBI.
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy watching The FBI as a kid, just as I’m enjoying the current reruns of the A-Team on British TV. It doesn’t mean, however, that next time I drive on an American freeway I’m going to be on the lookout for low-flying helicopters, or Mr. T driving a smart van with a red stripe.
The ultimate victim of the crude attempt to smear President Trump as a Russian puppet is far more likely to be the FBI than the President. The Bureau has already been reduced to an international laughing stock, sadly.
The alleged hacking
The trail pointing to Russia is crude. It’s more consistent with a false-flag operation, something which President Trump has picked up. Had the Russians wanted to hack the DNC why would they have left such obvious traces?
Until the fairly loose connection between Veselnitskaya and the FSB emerged, it was unclear why the MSM and the various Congressional inquiries were banging on about the FSB. The Federal Security Service, as its name implies, is Russia’s internal intelligence agency. The external agency is the SVR. A hacking operation would have been conducted, if at all, by the Special Communications and Information Service or Spetssvyaz. It looks like the MSM were steered towards the FSB as that was the only agency Jerry could manufacture a link with, however tenuous.
Murdered staffer Seth Rich seems a much more likely candidate for the leaks out of the DNC. As Seymour Hersh has pointed out only this week the leaks stopped after Rich was brutally whacked. The Democrats have strong connections with the CIA, which in turn employs a number of wetwork specialists (not on the payroll, of course!) and is controlled by the murderous Correa/COREA Group in Frankfurt.
Setting up a hit on Seth Rich would have been fairly straightforward. His murder has not been seriously investigated, further evidence of a hit. The Democrats have long had links with organised crime, indeed the party used get some of its funding from narcotics shipments via Marseilles, mostly heroin.
The Democrats also had three slightly dodgy Pakistani IT workers, no offense intended, one of whom, Imran Awan, was recently arrested whilst trying to flee the country. If Awan was involved and knew of Rich’s involvement then his desire to flee the States was understandable.
More than one leaker may have been involved, of course. As presently advised the DNC leaks were internal, i.e. there was no hacking, period.
The alleged rigging
There is no simply no credible evidence of this at all. The MSM, Democrats and RINOs are banging on about Russian rigging of the 2016 election as though it were a fact.
Nobody has yet explained how voting machines that were not hooked up to the Internet could have been hacked without a Russian presence on the ground or some sort of Russian interference in their software. Whilst there seems to have been widespread voter fraud, this was in favour of the Democrats.
My conclusion is that Russia did not either affect or try to affect the outcome of the 2016 general election. That is what any serious counter-intelligence analyst would expect. It would be a highly dangerous operation with an uncertain outcome at best.
There is this about it as well: since any intelligent observer could see that Donald Trump was going to win, why bother? Simply because the MSM weren’t smart enough to predict the outcome it doesn’t mean that the election was rigged. It may just mean that the MSM are pretty dumb. And, yes, I did predict a Trump win!
The alleged collusion
Again there is no credible evidence of collusion. There were some meetings, with some Russians, but none seems to have been of any significance. Jeff Sessions was as marginal a figure in the campaign as he has been in the Administration, no offense intended.
Diplomats from all the world’s leading states followed the 2016 election. The Trump campaign probably had as much contact with the French embassy as it did with the Russian.
The obstruction of justice allegation
This is an obvious crock. It follows established DoJ policy, where no actual crime has been committed, of targeting political opponents using auxiliary allegations. The most notorious example is the Lewis Libby prosecution.
As the FBI and DoJ well knew, since they had access to her CIA personnel file, CIA analyst Valerie Plame’s identity was not covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. No crime could have been committed by releasing her name to the media, whoever did it. (It turned out that the leaker, the late Robert Novak, who had minimal connections to the Bush-Cheney Administration, was being blackmailed by the DVD.)
The DoJ nonetheless went ahead with the Libby prosecution, for political reasons, corruptly taking care to suppress the contents of Plame’s CIA file from the defense and the court. Suppressing material facts is a feature of DoJ prosecutions. They are hardball prosecutors, who have learnt nothing from the Duke University scandal, where equally corrupt prosecutors sought to convict a man they knew was innocent.
I have prosecuted cases myself. I understand the importance of acting as a minister of justice when you prosecute. I also know that it’s ethically wrong to prosecute for auxiliary offenses when no substantive crime has been committed. It brings the machinery of justice into disrepute.
DoJ prosecutors tend to behave like they’re acting for the wife in a Russian divorce. They have a reputation for being bullying, arrogant, devious and rude, no offense intended. I doubt that Comey’s friend Patrick Fitzgerald correctly addressed Lord Black of Crossharbour, a Lord of Parliament, once throughout the spurious prosecution he conducted, the arrogant little upstart. (In the good old days Fitzgerald would have been birched for such gross effrontery.)
The 2016 Veselnitskaya meeting
This was a non-event and seems to have been held under false pretences. Donald Trump Jr wanted background on his father’s Democrat opponent, perfectly properly, just as Senator Clinton’s people were engaged on a fruitless search for dirt on Donald Trump. Opponent research is not illegal and is an electoral practice of long standing. It’s not very nice, but it’s no more illegal than calling your opponent names or suggesting that they are unfit for office.
There was nothing nice about the Democrats’ campaign. Their candidate was a surly bitch, no offense intended, who ran down her opponent at every opportunity. Indeed her surliness and bitchiness probably contributed to her richly-deserved defeat.
Veselnitskaya once acted for the FSB in a property transaction. That seems to be about the extent of her links with the Russian intelligence community. The idea that she is a Kremlin confidante is simply a fantasy. Fact-checking suggests that she has never met President Putin, let alone influenced him.
She’s a minor player in Moscow, no offense intended. I’m sure she’s a nice lady and a competent lawyer, but she had no dirt on Hillary Clinton, which in itself suggests that her intelligence contacts are limited, given the wealth of material on the Clintons lying on intelligence files.
The idea that she did seems to have come only from the intermediaries, who were wasting the principals’ time. It is far more likely that the meeting was a set-up, a standard German intelligence tactic. In so far as the intermediaries have intelligence connections it appears to be with the DVD and its client agencies like the Correa/COREA Group, not the FSB.
Since the initiative to set up the meeting came from the intermediaries their lack of connections to Russia’s intelligence services is telling. My conclusion is that Natalia Veselnitskaya was used, most probably by German intelligence, as part of their campaign against Donald Trump.
The alleged cover-up
Whilst the Trump Campaign might have been more forthcoming about this meeting there was nothing illegal or improper in meeting in the US with a respected Russian lawyer whose entry had been cleared by the State Department. Put shortly there was nothing to cover up.
There is no reason to doubt Donald Trump Jr’s account of the meeting. The other Russian attendee lived in the States. The whole thing has been hugely overblown, rather like the Russia thing overall. As the President has said, it’s fake news.
Germany or Russia?
The intelligence illiteracy of the MSM is striking. Not a single journalist covering this story – not one – has even mentioned the DVD. This is absurd.
Since the end of the Second World War German intelligence has tried to drive a wedge between the wartime allies. The facts that the CPSU was a German front organisation and that Stalin was a German asset greatly helped, at least until Stalin was spotted and very sensibly taken out by the GRU. (They couldn’t prosecute, as the Soviet Union’s prosecution machinery very frankly was even more corrupt and vulnerable to political influence than the DoJ or the British CPS.)
Even the Soviet Union was wary about interfering in elections in the democracies. There is no known case of the KGB, e.g. ever influencing the outcome of a Western election. Germany on the other hand has complete contempt for the democratic process. She cannot abide any people anywhere in the world electing a candidate of their choice who is prepared to serve their interests.
Donald Trump is opposed to communist China and the EU, each a German creation (Mao Tse-Tung was a German agent and the godfather of the EU was Reichsminister Funk). Germany had every reason to back Hillary Clinton, whereas there was no obvious advantage to Russia in backing Donald Trump. He was more sympathetic to Russia than Clinton, but that was never likely to carry over into policy.
The evidence points overwhelmingly towards Germany. This has all the appearance of a German propaganda campaign, indeed it’s noticeable that the media organisations pushing this smear tend to be anti-American or pro-German, or both.
Who should be fired next?
The President was right to fire James Comey, who was useless, no offense intended. Comey is also close to the Lockerbie scandal, where the DoJ knowingly supported the prosecution of two innocent men and conspired with the CIA to pay off a lying witness, Tony Gauci, knowing all along that his testimony was false, calling Comey’s ethics into question. (Mueller is also implicated in the Lockerbie Scandal, where the DoJ effectively acted as accessories after the fact to mass murder, their intent being to suppress the truth and protect the guilty, including an American citizen with influence over the DoJ).
Jeff Sessions has been an equally useless Attorney-General, again no offense intended. It looks as though he’s been compromised, which would certainly explain his bizarre decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.Sessions should go next, along with Deputy A-G Rod Rosenstein and Mueller himself.
Mueller isn’t a Special Prosecutor. He’s a mere employee of the federal government, who serves at the President’s pleasure. It’s time for the President to show his displeasure, with respect.
Aside from any other consideration Mueller’s past collaboration with Comey, a key witness, means that he’s conflicted out. There needs to be a thorough counter-intelligence investigation of Comey, Mueller and Rosenstein to determine what links if any they have with German intelligence, and whether or not they have been blackmailed.
Their participation in the Lockerbie Scandal, with respect, means that both Mueller (known to some in the Intelligence Community as ‘von Mueller’) and Comey are likely to be vulnerable to blackmail. The danger of blackmail is particularly acute as regards the DVD, which blew PanAm 103 out of the night sky over Scotland and masterminded the bent Megrahi prosecution, no offense intended to m’learned friends at the Scottish Bar. (It’s a basic rule of bent prosecutions in Britain that you find the straightest barrister or advocate that you can to front the prosecution and then keep them in the dark – when the prosecution called Gauci they had no idea that his testimony had been bought and paid for by the CIA.)
The DoJ by the way can’t do the same in the States, since so far as I know they don’t have any straight prosecutors. Prosecuting for the DoJ is a bit like defending for the Mob – it’s not something any lawyer really wants on your resume.
Robert Hardy (1925-2017)
The great character actor Robert Hardy sadly died on Thursday. Thanks to the Harry Potter series, where he played the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge (great name for a politician!) he should need no introduction to an American audience.
The Potter movies came towards the end of a long and distinguished career on stage and screen. A Shakespearian actor, he found most fame playing Sir Winston Churchill. Until I read his obituary in The Times I must confess that I hadn’t realised that Hardy had actually met the great man, twice.
His portrayals of Churchill were definitive. It’s unlikely that any actor will play him better and impossible that any actor will ever again play Churchill having observed the greatest statesman of the 20th century at first hand. From recollection (we had a number of drinkies together, usually in the Naval Club in Mayfair) Winston Churchill, Sir Winston’s grandson, rather approved of Robert Hardy’s portrayals of his famous ancestor.
He was a pretty crusty character by all accounts, but Robert Hardy was a much-loved and accomplished actor and he will undoubtedly be missed.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.