The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:33 pm

Preet Bharara is about the closest thing to a folk hero you can get these days to many in NY.
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:12 am

The set in the vox article is much better and has the important addition of actually discussing methodology and presenting several alternatives. I'd note rather than the cartoonish layout of the earlier examples with Trump and Putin always connected from the top and bottom margins, the main action here is more plausibly shown as a flow of money between two business complexes, that of Trump and that of private interests based in Russia.

What if instead of putting Trump (organization) at center and mapping out definite and presumed connections related to "Russia" in some broad sense, one were to put Trump (organization) at center and mapped out (necessarily in simplified form) all business connections. Would "Russia" still be the biggest international element? If not, then what would be?
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:14 am

Tax returns!

I believe Bharara also supported NY's AG Schneiderman's efforts to investigate those very connections.

forgot the link!

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/eric-schneiderman-donald-trump-new-york-214734
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:02 am

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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Luther Blissett » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:09 pm

seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:31 pm wrote:
Roger Stone now admits he communicated directly with Russian hacker who stole DNC emails
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

Two days ago, investigative site The Smoking Gun uncovered evidence that former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone had communicated directly with the Russian hacker who stole DNC emails. Today, Stone himself is admitting in an interview with the Washington Times that the conversations did indeed happen. This marks the first official documentation that the Trump campaign communicated directly with Russian hackers during the election – and it’s a big deal.

Roger Stone had admitted in a Twitter post months ago that he’d been keeping a “backchannel” open with international cyberterrorist group WikiLeaks, which went on to release the stolen DNC emails in question — an admission he repeated last week in a twitter post he later deleted. It’s long been suspected that a Russian hacker nicknamed Guccifer 2.0 stole the DNC emails and then fed them to WikiLeaks for public release. And now Stone is finally admitting that he was communicating directly with Guccifer 2.0, and not merely with the WikiLeaks intermediary.

So where does this leave us? Several of Donald Trump’s campaign advisers, including Jeff Sessions and J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, have now admitted to having met privately with the Russian Ambassador during the course of the election. According to recent admissions by Page and Gordon, those meetings were related to Trump’s personal insistence that the Republican Party platform be changed to favor Russia.

While that’s suspicious in its own right, proving a conspiracy to rig the election would require demonstrating that the Trump campaign knowingly made the platform change in exchange for Russia hacking the election. Thus it’s a big deal that Roger Stone is now admitting to the Washington Times (after he’d just been outed by The Smoking Gun) that he was in direct contact with the Russian hacker responsible.

This means the Donald Trump campaign was in direct contact with both the Russian diplomat who wanted the party platform changed and the Russian hacker who rigged the election, connecting the campaign to both sides of the conspiracy and making it nearly impossible for the campaign to argue that it wasn’t a quid pro quo arrangement. Roger Stone was a Trump campaign adviser, and Trump and Stone are close friends going back decades, making it nearly impossible for Trump to claim that he didn’t know about the Russian plot his campaign was carrying out.
http://www.palmerreport.com/news/roger- ... ails/1868/


Why is Donald Trump’s State Dept. using “diplomatic immunity” to protect a dead Russian?
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

“Diplomatic immunity” is a privilege granted to foreign diplomats and ambassadors to make sure the host nation can’t falsely charge them with a crime in the name of gaining political leverage over their home nation. But Donald Trump’s State Department appears to have an entirely different understanding of the term, as it’s invoking diplomatic immunity today in the name of not revealing the cause of death of Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Churkin unexpectedly died in New York three weeks ago, making him the seventh out of eight prominent Russians to drop dead since the Trump-Russia scandal exploded. And now we’re suddenly being told that we’re not allowed to know how Churkin died, because the information needs to be protected under diplomatic immunity.

The claim is absurd on its face for two reasons. One is that an ambassador’s diplomatic immunity is not generally considered to be still intact after his death, as its sole purpose was to protect him from being falsely charged with crimes while he was alive. But even if one were to stipulate to the odd notion that Vitaly Churkin still enjoys diplomatic immunity from the grave, it would still only apply with regard to protecting him from criminal charges.

As such, suppressing his cause of death would only fall under “diplomatic immunity” if revealing his cause of death would implicate him in a crime in the process. To pick an arbitrary hypothetical example, if Churkin were killed by police while attempting to rob a 7-Eleven, then his cause of death couldn’t be revealed without accusing him of the robbery. But even then, accusing Churkin of that crime wouldn’t be the same as trying to charge him with a crime. In other words, this is a fully nonsensical claim.

And yet the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced today that it can’t publicly reveal Vitaly Churkin’s cause of death because it’s been instructed not to by the city’s legal department. It’s referring any further questions to the State Department, which just happens to be run by longtime Vladimir Putin ally and recently appointed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. This suggests Churkin’s cause of death is being covered up for purely political reasons.

Is the Donald Trump administration attempting to cover up the death of Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin because he was involved in the Trump-Russia conspiracy and he was murdered over it? Or did Churkin die of harmless causes, and the Trump administration doesn’t realize how much suspicion it’s bringing down on itself by absurdly invoking “diplomatic immunity” to suppress his cause of death? Now we find out if we can force the cause of death to be publicly released under the Freedom of Information Act.
https://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/wh ... sian/1866/


After watchdog asks U.S. attorney to launch Donald Trump probe, Jeff Sessions fires him
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

Two days ago, an ethics watchdog group formally asked U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s financial ties, which are in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Today, in what it highly unlikely to be a coincidence, Attorney General has asked Preet Bharara to resign. In fact Sessions is now pushing out dozens of Bharara’s colleagues in a seeming attempt at ensuring no one is left to investigate Trump.

The political watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington sent a letter to Preet Bharara on Wednesday, which was reported at the time by NPR. Bharara was appointed by President Barack Obama. And now, according to a report from the LA Times today, Jeff Sessions is asking for all forty-six U.S. Attorneys appointed by Obama to immediately resign.

This is a staggering break from protocol, as new presidents have generally handled these things in a staggered manner to ensure that enough U.S. Attorneys remain on the job at any given time. The timing is also highly suspicious. Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General more than a month ago, yet he saw no urgency in pushing out holdover U.S. Attorneys until one of them was asked to investigate his boss Trump – and now Sessions suddenly wants them all gone.

This stands out as even more suspect in light of the Donald Trump administration’s inability to staff up the federal government with its own people on any level. Hundreds of key federal government positions are sitting vacant because Trump hasn’t nominated anyone to fill them. He’s filled virtually none of the U.S. Ambassador positions. And the State Department in particular has no current leadership team in place at all.

And yet Jeff Sessions woke up today and suddenly decided to simultaneously create forty-six new high level vacancies within his DOJ that he’ll have great difficulty filling. If he tries to argue that he didn’t make the brash and reckless move as a last ditch effort at protecting Donald Trump’s increasingly obvious financial violations of the Constitution, he’ll look foolish doing so.
https://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/wa ... sign/1869/


Roger Stone most definitely did not "communicate" "directly with" the "hacker" who "rigged the U.S. election." Holy moly.
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby tapitsbo » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:15 pm

Why is it a big deal? Who determines who the "adversaries" of the US are? (Russia as opposed to other countries who overtly backed HRC's campaign, for instance)

To be sure, this is not a democratic process we're talking about. Hence the "deep state" heuristic going mainstream.

Something something lying, perjury - the institutional figures yelling 'liar liar pants on fire" at the current administration have left such a breadcrumb trail of evidence of their big fat fibs that my guess is they'll be relegated to more ineffectual tantrums about all this, for now

Also, that's a lot of dead Russians piling up while the Russians play it cool in regards to all these developments. What happens when their patience runs out?
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Elvis » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:41 pm

Luther Blissett wrote:Roger Stone most definitely did not "communicate" "directly with" the "hacker" who "rigged the U.S. election." Holy moly.


I've been curious: who is Bill Palmer? His headlines don't always match the content.

Does the name "Bill Palmer" strike anyone else as being an obvious pun?—a pseudonym? Not that it is, but it's funny.
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:55 pm

if you find anything that he has written to be untrue or that can not be verified that I have posted here please let me know

I post his stuff because it seems to be a summery of what is going on ..again if anything is untrue or you don't want to click on his site....you don't have to.....he's just a guy writing stuff with links ..again if anything is untrue or can not be verified I would appreciate knowing about it. I consider him to be a blogger with links and that the right wingers and trump lovers hate him....that's all ..oh and I don't think he is a fan of trump

I know every single link I post here now is verboten but I guess that's just the way it is

Hi, I’m Bill Palmer. I’m the creator of Palmer Report. I’m a political journalist who covered the 2016 election cycle from start to finish. Now my editorial staff and I are reporting on the political aftermath.

As the publisher of an independent news site, I can affirm all of the following: Every one of our articles includes supporting source links for independent verification. If you’re not familiar with Palmer Report, you can use those links to confirm the accuracy of our reporting for yourself. We have no connection of any kind with any candidate, campaign, party, PAC, or any other political entity. We’re as independent as they come.
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:47 pm

Bush ethics lawyer on Trump-Russia ties: 'KGB agents running around the West Wing'
BY BROOKE SEIPEL - 03/11/17 09:06 AM EST 600

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... hdATW5G02s
Richard Painter, President George W. Bush's former ethics lawyer, said late Friday he has major concerns over the Trump administration's ties to Russia.

In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, Painter spoke about reports that former national security advisor Flynn was working for foreign agents while also working for the American government.

“It makes no sense to run a government this way,” Painter said. "This is a completely chaotic situation, and then Gen. Flynn lied about his contacts with the Russians, lied to the vice president, and we’ve had the attorney general in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee say he did not contact the Russians when he had contacts with the Russians."

“People are not being honest about their foreign contacts, and talk about this ‘deep state theory’ as if there are somehow Obama moles in the government under the Trump administration,” Painter continued.
“It’s the KGB agents running around the West Wing or the national security council."

Lemon appeared shocked by Painter's language saying "Wow, wow! That is a pretty strong — that’s pretty strong, Richard."

President Trump’s transition team was reportedly told that Flynn would likely have to register as a foreign agent before stepping into an administration job. The White House claims Trump was unaware of his lobbying work.

Flynn filed paperwork on Wednesday to officially register as a foreign agent, and admitted that he may have done work that benefited the Turkish government. The retired Army lieutenant general was previously paid more than half a million dollars for work for a Turkish company.
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing- ... a-ties-kgb


Canada's highest court upholds ruling that Donald Trump did mislead investors
'Both believed that buying into the Trump project would be an excellent investment,' says Justice Paul Rouleau. 'And in time, both came to realise that they were wrong'

Chantal Da Silva @chantaladasilva Friday 10 March 2017 18:30 GMT32 comments

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from the real estate mogul, seen with children Eric and Ivanka in the background, at a press conference at the Trump International Hotel in Chicago Getty
A lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump and a real estate development firm misled investors, has been upheld by Canada's highest court.

Sarbjit Singh and Se Na Lee alleged they were sold units in Toronto's, Trump International Hotel, under false pretences.

The pair claimed they were misled to believe their investments would see returns ranging from 7.7 per cent to 20.9 per cent. Instead, they said they lost a combined C$1.2m (£732,810).

The Ontario Court of Appeal last year, sided with them in their case against Mr Trump, Talon International Development and former executives of that firm.

That decision was backed by The Supreme Court of Canada which upheld the lower court's ruling and refused to hear an appeal from the defendants.

In a document outlining the case, Justice Paul Rouleau wrote that “neither Mr Singh nor Mrs Lee were sophisticated investors, in real estate or otherwise" and "both had to borrow heavily from family to finance their purchases”.

Mr Singh had been discharged from bankruptcy three years before making the purchase and was earning around C$55,000 a year as a warehouse supervisor, it said.

He did not have enough money for the deposit for the unit and had to receive help from his father, a retired welder, who agreed to help and took out a line of credit on his own home to finance the loan.

Ms Lee was a homemaker, whose husband worked as a mortgage underwriter at the time. Her parents loaned her money for the deposit.

“Both believed that buying into the Trump project would be an excellent investment," Justice Rouleau said. "And in time, both came to realise that they were wrong.”

The 65-storey tower in Toronto's financial district includes both hotel rooms and private residences. It is managed by The Trump Organisation.

The “cornerstone” of the plantiffs’ claims, Justice Rouleau said, was a document that was presented to each of them outlining the “estimated return on investment”.

Both Mr Singh and Ms Lee said they relied heavily on the estimates provided to them in making their individual decisions to purchase their respective properties.

But “as it turned out, the estimates bore no relation to financial reality. The motions judge found as a fact that the estimates were ‘deceptive documents’ and ‘replete with misrepresentations of commission, of omission, and of half-truth’,”Justice Rouleau said.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the investors, ordering that the sale of the unit must be rescinded for Singh and damages must be paid to Lee for “negligent misrepresentation”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 23566.html



:P

Popular hair-loss drug Propecia could be linked to long-term mojo meltdown
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Luther Blissett » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:38 pm

I think there's more than enough evidence now for impeachment, but Elvis posted the piece earlier from the Intercept regarding the super flimsy Crowdstrike methodology and proof:

Elvis » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:33 am wrote:Great video with Assange & Hannity, thanks! Hannity of course once demanded that Assange be locked up, but now they're buds. :lol:

This Intercept piece should go here, a review of the publicly available knowns & unknowns concerning the Kremlin hacking:


Here’s the Public Evidence Russia Hacked the DNC — It’s Not Enough

Sam Biddle
December 14 2016, 8:30 a.m.

There are some good reasons to believe Russians had something to do with the breaches into email accounts belonging to members of the Democratic party, which proved varyingly embarrassing or disruptive for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. But “good” doesn’t necessarily mean good enough to indict Russia’s head of state for sabotaging our democracy.

There’s a lot of evidence from the attack on the table, mostly detailing how the hack was perpetrated, and possibly the language of the perpetrators. It certainly remains plausible that Russians hacked the DNC, and remains possible that Russia itself ordered it. But the refrain of Russian attribution has been repeated so regularly and so emphatically that it’s become easy to forget that no one has ever truly proven the claim. There is strong evidence indicating that Democratic email accounts were breached via phishing messages, and that specific malware was spread across DNC computers. There’s even evidence that the attackers are the same group that’s been spotted attacking other targets in the past. But again: No one has actually proven that group is the Russian government (or works for it). This remains the enormous inductive leap that’s not been reckoned with, and Americans deserve better.

We should also bear in mind that private security firm CrowdStrike’s frequently cited findings of Russian responsibility were essentially paid for by the DNC, which contracted its services in June. It’s highly unusual for evidence of a crime to be assembled on the victim’s dime. If we’re going to blame the Russian government for disrupting our presidential election — easily construed as an act of war — we need to be damn sure of every single shred of evidence. Guesswork and assumption could be disastrous.

The gist of the Case Against Russia goes like this: The person or people who infiltrated the DNC’s email system and the account of John Podesta left behind clues of varying technical specificity indicating they have some connection to Russia, or at least speak Russian. Guccifer 2.0, the entity that originally distributed hacked materials from the Democratic party, is a deeply suspicious figure who has made statements and decisions that indicate some Russian connection. The website DCLeaks, which began publishing a great number of DNC emails, has some apparent ties to Guccifer and possibly Russia. And then there’s WikiLeaks, which after a long, sad slide into paranoia, conspiracy theorizing, and general internet toxicity has made no attempt to mask its affection for Vladimir Putin and its crazed contempt for Hillary Clinton. (Julian Assange has been stuck indoors for a very, very long time.) If you look at all of this and sort of squint, it looks quite strong indeed, an insurmountable heap of circumstantial evidence too great in volume to dismiss as just circumstantial or mere coincidence.

But look more closely at the above and you can’t help but notice all of the qualifying words: Possibly, appears, connects, indicates. It’s impossible (or at least dishonest) to present the evidence for Russian responsibility for hacking the Democrats without using language like this. The question, then, is this: Do we want to make major foreign policy decisions with a belligerent nuclear power based on suggestions alone, no matter how strong?


What We Know

So far, all of the evidence pointing to Russia’s involvement in the Democratic hacks (DNC, DCCC, Podesta, et al.) comes from either private security firms (like CrowdStrike or FireEye) who sell cyber-defense services to other companies, or independent researchers, some with university affiliations and serious credentials, and some who are basically just Guys on Twitter. Although some of these private firms groups had proprietary access to DNC computers or files from them, much of the evidence has been drawn from publicly available data like the hacked emails and documents.

Some of the malware found on DNC computers is believed to be the same as that used by two hacking groups believed to be Russian intelligence units, codenamed APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) 28/Fancy Bear and APT 29/Cozy Bear by industry researchers who track them.

The attacker or attackers registered a deliberately misspelled domain name used for email phishing attacks against DNC employees, connected to an IP address associated with APT 28/Fancy Bear.

Malware found on the DNC computers was programmed to communicate with an IP address associated with APT 28/Fancy Bear.

Metadata in a file leaked by “Guccifer 2.0″ shows it was modified by a user called, in cyrillic, “Felix Edmundovich,” a reference to the founder of a Soviet-era secret police force. Another document contained cyrillic metadata indicating it had been edited on a document with Russian language settings.

Peculiarities in a conversation with “Guccifer 2.0″ that Motherboard published in June suggests he is not Romanian, as he originally claimed.

The DCLeaks.com domain was registered by a person using the same email service as the person who registered a misspelled domain used to send phishing emails to DNC employees.

Some of the phishing emails were sent using Yandex, a Moscow-based webmail provider.

A bit.ly link believed to have been used by APT 28/Fancy Bear in the past was also used against Podesta.


Why That Isn’t Enough

Viewed as a whole, the above evidence looks strong, and maybe even damning. But view each piece on its own, and it’s hard to feel impressed.

For one, a lot of the so-called evidence above is no such thing. CrowdStrike, whose claims of Russian responsibility are perhaps most influential throughout the media, says APT 28/Fancy Bear “is known for its technique of registering domains that closely resemble domains of legitimate organizations they plan to target.” But this isn’t a Russian technique any more than using a computer is a Russian technique — misspelled domains are a cornerstone of phishing attacks all over the world. Is Yandex — the Russian equivalent of Google — some sort of giveaway? Anyone who claimed a hacker must be a CIA agent because they used a Gmail account would be laughed off the internet. We must also acknowledge that just because Guccifer 2.0 pretended to be Romanian, we can’t conclude he works for the Russian government — it just makes him a liar.

Next, consider the fact that CrowdStrike describes APT 28 and 29 like this:

Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of “living-off-the-land” techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and “access management” tradecraft — both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected.


Compare that description to CrowdStrike’s claim it was able to finger APT 28 and 29, described above as digital spies par excellence, because they were so incredibly sloppy. Would a group whose “tradecraft is superb” with “operational security second to none” really leave behind the name of a Soviet spy chief imprinted on a document it sent to American journalists? Would these groups really be dumb enough to leave cyrillic comments on these documents? Would these groups that “constantly [go] back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels” get caught because they precisely didn’t make sure not to use IP addresses they’d been associated before? It’s very hard to buy the argument that the Democrats were hacked by one of the most sophisticated, diabolical foreign intelligence services in history, and that we know this because they screwed up over and over again.

But how do we even know these oddly named groups are Russian? CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch himself describes APT 28 as a “Russian-based threat actor” whose modus operandi “closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government” and “may indicate affiliation [Russia’s] Main Intelligence Department or GRU, Russia’s premier military intelligence service.” Security firm SecureWorks issued a report blaming Russia with “moderate confidence.” What constitutes moderate confidence? SecureWorks said it adopted the “grading system published by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence to indicate confidence in their assessments. … Moderate confidence generally means that the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence.” All of this amounts to a very educated guess, at best.

Even the claim that APT 28/Fancy Bear itself is a group working for the Kremlin is speculative, a fact that’s been completely erased from this year’s discourse. In its 2014 reveal of the group, the high-profile security firm FireEye couldn’t even blame Russia without a question mark in the headline: “APT28: A Window into Russia’s Cyber Espionage Operations?” The blog post itself is remarkably similar to arguments about the DNC hack: technical but still largely speculative, presenting evidence the company “[believes] indicate a government sponsor based in Moscow.” Believe! Indicate! We should know already this is no smoking gun. FireEye’s argument that the malware used by APT 28 is connected to the Russian government is based on the belief that its “developers are Russian language speakers operating during business hours that are consistent with the time zone of Russia’s major cities.”

As security researcher Jeffrey Carr pointed out in June, FireEye’s 2014 report on APT 28 is questionable from the start:

To my surprise, the report’s authors declared that they deliberately excluded evidence that didn’t support their judgment that the Russian government was responsible for APT28’s activities:

“APT28 has targeted a variety of organizations that fall outside of the three themes we highlighted above. However, we are not profiling all of APT28’s targets with the same detail because they are not particularly indicative of a specific sponsor’s interests.” (emphasis added)

That is the very definition of confirmation bias. Had FireEye published a detailed picture of APT28’s activities including all of their known targets, other theories regarding this group could have emerged; for example, that the malware developers and the operators of that malware were not the same or even necessarily affiliated.



The notion that APT 28 has a narrow focus on American political targets is undermined in another SecureWorks paper, which shows that the hackers have a wide variety of interests: 10 percent of their targets are NGOs, 22 percent are journalists, 4 percent are aerospace researchers, and 8 percent are “government supply chain.” SecureWorks says that only 8 percent of APT 28/Fancy Bear’s targets are “government personnel” of any nationality — hardly the focused agenda described by CrowdStrike.

Truly, the argument that “Guccifer 2.0″ is a Kremlin agent or that GRU breached John Podesta’s email only works if you presume that APT 28/Fancy Bear is a unit of the Russian government, a fact that has never been proven beyond any reasonable doubt. According to Carr, “it’s an old assumption going back years to when any attack against a non-financial target was attributed to a state actor.” Without that premise, all we can truly conclude is that some email accounts at the DNC et al. appear to have been broken into by someone, and perhaps they speak Russian. Left ignored is the mammoth difference between Russians and Russia.

Security researcher Claudio Guarnieri put it this way:

[Private security firms] can’t produce anything conclusive. What they produce is speculative attribution that is pretty common to make in the threat research field. I do that same speculative attribution myself, but it is just circumstantial. At the very best it can only prove that the actor that perpetrated the attack is very likely located in Russia. As for government involvement, it can only speculate that it is plausible because of context and political motivations, as well as technical connections with previous (or following attacks) that appear to be perpetrated by the same group and that corroborate the analysis that it is a Russian state-sponsored actor (for example, hacking of institutions of other countries Russia has some geopolitical interests in).

Finally, one can’t be reminded enough that all of this evidence comes from private companies with a direct financial interest in making the internet seem as scary as possible, just as Lysol depends on making you believe your kitchen is crawling with E. Coli.


What Does the Government Know?

In October, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement blaming the Russian government for hacking the DNC. In it, they state their attribution plainly:

The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.


What’s missing is any evidence at all. If this federal confidence is based on evidence that’s being withheld from the public for any reason, that’s one thing — secrecy is their game. But if the U.S. Intelligence Community is asking the American electorate to believe them, to accept as true their claim that our most important civic institution was compromised by a longtime geopolitical nemesis, we need them to show us why.

The same goes for the CIA, which is now squaring off directly against Trump, claiming (through leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times) that the Russian government conducted the hacks for the express purpose of helping defeat Clinton. Days later, Senator John McCain agreed with the assessment, deeming it “another form of warfare.” Again, it’s completely possible (and probable, really) that the CIA possesses hard evidence that could establish Russian attribution — it’s their job to have such evidence, and often to keep it secret.

But what we’re presented with isn’t just the idea that these hacks happened, and that someone is responsible, and, well, I guess it’s just a shame. Our lawmakers and intelligence agencies are asking us to react to an attack that is almost military in nature — this is, we’re being told, “warfare.” When a foreign government conducts (or supports) an act of warfare against another country, it’s entirely possible that there will be an equal response. What we’re looking at now is the distinct possibility that the United States will consider military retaliation (digital or otherwise) against Russia, based on nothing but private sector consultants and secret intelligence agency notes. If you care about the country enough to be angry at the prospect of election-meddling, you should be terrified of the prospect of military tensions with Russia based on hidden evidence. You need not look too far back in recent history to find an example of when wrongly blaming a foreign government for sponsoring an attack on the U.S. has tremendously backfired.


We Need the Real Evidence, Right Now

It must be stated plainly: The U.S. intelligence community must make its evidence against Russia public if they want us to believe their claims. The integrity of our presidential elections is vital to the country’s survival; blind trust in the CIA is not. A governmental disclosure like this is also not entirely without precedent: In 2014, the Department of Justice produced a 56-page indictment detailing their exact evidence against a team of Chinese hackers working for the People’s Liberation Army, accused of stealing American trade secrets; each member was accused by name. The 2014 trade secret theft was a crime of much lower magnitude than election meddling, but what the DOJ furnished is what we should demand today from our country’s spies.

If the CIA does show its hand, we should demand to see the evidence that matters (which, according to Edward Snowden, the government probably has, if it exists). I asked Jeffrey Carr what he would consider undeniable evidence of Russian governmental involvement: “Captured communications between a Russian government employee and the hackers,” adding that attribution “should solely be handled by government agencies because they have the legal authorization to do what it takes to get hard evidence.”

Claudio Guarnieri concurred:

All in all, technical circumstantial attribution is acceptable only so far as it is to explain an attack. It most definitely isn’t for the political repercussions that we’re observing now. For that, only documental evidence that is verifiable or intercepts of Russian officials would be convincing enough, I suspect.


Given that the U.S. routinely attempts to intercept the communications of heads of state around the world, it’s not impossible that the CIA or the NSA has exactly this kind of proof. Granted, these intelligence agencies will be loath to reveal any evidence that could compromise the method they used to gather it. But in times of extraordinary risk, with two enormous military powers placed in direct conflict over national sovereignty, we need an extraordinary disclosure. The stakes are simply too high to take anyone’s word for it.


https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/her ... ot-enough/
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:43 am

I don't believe it is necessary for the impeachment of trump...trump and his gang being involved with Russian gansters that's the problem


barracuda » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:19 pm wrote:
barracuda » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:48 pm wrote:Dead since election day, all connected to the Christopher Steele dossier:

Sergei Krivov - blunt force trauma on election day in NY

Andrei Karlov - 12/19, assassinated in Turkey

Petr Polshikov - 12/20 - shot in head, found dead at home in Moscow

Yves Chandelon 12/23 - NATO Chief Auditor, gunshot to head, found dead in car in Belgium

Oleg Erovinkin - 12/26 - ex-KGB/FSB, found dead in car in Moscow

Andrei Melanin - 1/9 - found dead of "abnormal causes" on floor of apartment in Athens, Greece)

Vitaly Churkin - 2/20 - heart attack? in NY



Alex Oronov - 3/2

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/new ... an-meeting


"It was unclear what Lesin was doing in Washington."


Former Putin Aide Died Of 'Blunt Force Injuries' In D.C., Medical Report Says

March 11, 201610:03 AM ET
BILL CHAPPELL

Mikhail Lesin, a former Russian press minister and adviser to President Vladimir Putin, was found dead in November. A new report contradicts earlier reports in Russian media that he died from a heart attack.
Image
Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images
A former Russian press minister and aide to President Vladimir Putin who was found dead in a Washington, D.C., hotel last November died from blunt force injuries, according to a report from the chief medical examiner's office.

It's the first time an official cause of death for Mikhail Lesin has been announced in the case. When Lesin died four months ago, Russian media outlets reported that the cause was a heart attack, citing family members.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington says Lesin died as a result of blunt force injuries to his head, with other contributing causes listed as blunt force injuries to his "neck, torso, upper extremities and lower extremities."

Under the entry for manner of death, the medical examiner wrote, "Undetermined."

The autopsy was conducted and completed within 24 hours after Lesin's body arrived at the lab in November, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports. But she says that the autopsy report, in which a medical examiner interprets the results of the autopsy, was only just completed.

"We adhere to the national standard of completing 90 percent of autopsy reports within 90 days," LaShon Beamon, of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington, told NPR. "But there are outliers. And this was one fell out of that range."

In response to the medical examiner's report, Russian officials said they have repeatedly sought information about the investigation into Lesin's death at a hotel in Washington's Dupont Circle neighborhood on Nov. 5.

"But the US side has not provided us with any substantive information," Russia's Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. "We are waiting for clarification from Washington and the relevant official details on the progress of the investigation."

Police in Washington say they have an active investigation into the death of Lesin, an influential media executive who until early 2015 ran Russia's largest media holding, Gazprom-Media. He worked under Putin for roughly 10 years, from 1999 to 2009, first as a press minister and then as an adviser.

Russia Today, the English-language TV and online media outlet, has repeatedly cited Lesin as the man who came up with the idea of establishing the state-run network.

Lesin's death also brought out memories of his long career in Russia, with Sputnik News highlighting his allegiance to former President Boris Yeltsin — and his rumored role in creating a secret video recording that created a storm of scandal around a prosecutor who was investigating Yeltsin's family over allegations of corruption.

When Yeltsin left office, Lesin stayed; he is seen as the man responsible for placing several large TV and other media outlets, such as NTV, under Putin's central control in 2000.

The death of Lesin prompted many conspiracy theories, which variously implicate Putin, the CIA and, in some corners, Mossad. Early efforts in Russia to describe the cause of death as a heart attack added to the suspicions — and so did reports that Lesin might somehow have been compromised by money-laundering allegations raised by a U.S. senator who claimed Lesin had "bought homes worth a total of $28 [million] in Los Angeles and moved his immediate family there," as The Financial Times reported.

Immediately after Lesin died, the authorities released only the most basic information. From The Washington Post's initial report on his death:

"D.C. police said only that a body was found before noon on an upper floor of a hotel in the 1500 block of New Hampshire Avenue in Northwest.
"A police spokesman said Friday night that authorities have not yet publicly identified the man and that a cause of death had not yet been determined. Russian state media said Lesin died of a heart attack. He was 57 or 58, according to different Russian new agencies.
"District police said on Thursday that detectives who investigate apparent natural deaths were handling the case.
"It was unclear what Lesin was doing in Washington."
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ ... eport-says


'Russia Today' Creator Found Dead

nashvillebrook » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:07 pm wrote:Thought this was interesting. Oligarch fight.


Here's a link to the request made by Senator Roger Wicker that the Dept of Justice look into potential corruption and money laundering by Mikhail Lesin. http://www.wicker.senate.gov/public/_ca ... -lesin.pdf
It's unclear if the FBI ever opened a probe.


Putin Associate Found Dead in DC Hotel
http://abcnews.go.com/International/putin-associate-found-dead-dc-hotel/story?id=35024556

A prominent Russian millionaire with high-level ties to the Kremlin has been found dead inside a Washington hotel, a Russian official and a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who's been accused of curtailing the country’s press freedoms, had been staying at The DuPont Circle Hotel when he was found Thursday, according to officials.

It's unclear why the long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Washington, but the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death. On Thursday, U.S. authorities notified the Russian embassy in Washington that one of its citizens had died, and Russian officials are now working with American authorities to determine the circumstances of the death, the embassy told ABC News in a statement.

Citing an ongoing investigation, an MPD spokesman would only confirm the department is conducting a “death investigation."

Lesin is credited with creating Russia Today, the English-language news network backed by the Russian government. Now known as RT, the network “provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” according to its website.

Lesin “led the Kremlin’s efforts to censor Russia’s independent television outlets,” one U.S. lawmaker charged last year.

In fact, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Lesin over allegations of corruption and money laundering.

In a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Wicker said Lesin had “acquired multi-million dollar assets” in Europe and the United States “during his tenure as a civil servant,” including multiple residences in Los Angeles worth $28 million.

“That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions,” Wicker wrote.

It's unclear if the FBI ever begun a probe.

From 1999 to 2004, Lesin served as Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio, often traveling with Putin on official trips. In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe. Lesin resigned the next year, reportedly citing family reasons.

This story has been updated to reflect the official name of the hotel.A prominent Russian millionaire with high-level ties to the Kremlin has been found dead inside a Washington hotel, a Russian official and a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who's been accused of curtailing the country’s press freedoms, had been staying at The DuPont Circle Hotel when he was found Thursday, according to officials.

It's unclear why the long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Washington, but the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death. On Thursday, U.S. authorities notified the Russian embassy in Washington that one of its citizens had died, and Russian officials are now working with American authorities to determine the circumstances of the death, the embassy told ABC News in a statement.

Citing an ongoing investigation, an MPD spokesman would only confirm the department is conducting a “death investigation."

Lesin is credited with creating Russia Today, the English-language news network backed by the Russian government. Now known as RT, the network “provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” according to its website.

Lesin “led the Kremlin’s efforts to censor Russia’s independent television outlets,” one U.S. lawmaker charged last year.

In fact, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Lesin over allegations of corruption and money laundering.

In a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Wicker said Lesin had “acquired multi-million dollar assets” in Europe and the United States “during his tenure as a civil servant,” including multiple residences in Los Angeles worth $28 million.

“That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions,” Wicker wrote.

It's unclear if the FBI ever begun a probe.

From 1999 to 2004, Lesin served as Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio, often traveling with Putin on official trips. In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe. Lesin resigned the next year, reportedly citing family reasons.

This story has been updated to reflect the official name of the hotel.




Controversial Russian media mogul found dead in Washington

http://news.yahoo.com/putin-associate-found-dead-washington-hotel-report-045001851.html

Washington (AFP) - Controversial Russian media mogul Mikhail Lesin, who helped launch the English-language television network RT, has been found dead at a Washington hotel. He was 57.

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, said the former minister of media affairs died of a heart attack.

"Lesin died. It's impossible to believe this," tweeted Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT, which is state funded.

Police in Washington said Lesin was found unresponsive early Thursday downtown, at a location ABC News identified as the Dupont Circle Hotel.

"A ruling on the cause and manner of death is pending further investigation," a statement added on Saturday.

A controversial figure, Lesin had been accused of limiting press freedom in Russia.

In a terse statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the "president highly values the enormous contribution Mikhail Lesin made helping establish Russian media."

US officials notified the Russian Embassy of Lesin's death and authorities from both countries are trying to determine the circumstances in which he died.

Lesin was Russia's minister of press, television and radio between 1999 and 2004, and later served as a Kremlin aide.

In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the media arm of state energy giant Gazprom, and oversaw the work of Russia's top liberal radio station Echo of Moscow.

Lesin resigned a year later, citing family reasons.

In a recent interview, the former editor of state news agency RIA Novosti, Svetlana Mironyuk, claimed Lesin was one of two people behind her sacking in 2013.

- 'A state man' -

Mironyuk told the Russian edition of Forbes she was let go after she became a student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with Kremlin officials telling her a media executive of her stature should not study in the United States.

Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi called for a probe into Lesin last year on suspicion of money laundering and corruption.

He allegedly amassed millions of dollars in assets in Europe and the United States while working for the government, including $28 million in real estate in Los Angeles.

"That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions," Wicker wrote.

It was unclear whether the FBI had actually opened an investigation.

In 2014, Lesin told Forbes he found it acceptable that most television channels in Russia were state-controlled.

"I am a state man," he said.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=39280&p=576997&hilit=Lesin#p576997


What is Russia Today All About?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=29055&p=506608&hilit=Lesin#p506608

backtoiam » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:22 pm wrote:I wasn't sure where to plug this in. I guess this thread will do.
Russian Millionaire & Founder of RT Discovered Dead In Washington DC Hotel Room

Image

Washington DC – It was reported late on Friday that Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government, and the founder of Russia Today (RT), was found dead in the hotel room that he was staying at in Washington DC.

Lesin, who is said to be a close associate to Russian President Putin, was staying at the Hotel Dupont when he passed away this week, and very few details about the case have been made public. According to ABC, the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death, but his family was quick to say that the cause of death was a heart attack.

Lesin’s death comes at a time where he was surrounded in controversy, especially in the US. RT, the Russian-based news source that Lesin founded has become very controversial in the US for challenging the western narrative of foreign policy and privacy issues. Some US politicians have suggested that RT be banned in the US for “spreading propaganda,” while others have been blatant enough to attack Lesin personally.

Some US Senators, including Roger Wicker of Mississippi, recently called for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Lesin’s finances.

Wicker was concerned that Lesin made too much money, something that was really none of his business.

“That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions,” Wicker said.

Lesin was 57 years old, an age where heart attacks happen, but not extremely often.

“The president has a high appreciation for Mikhail Lesin’s massive contribution to the creation of modern Russian mass media,” the Kremlin’s press service said on Saturday.

The Russian Embassy in the US put out the following statement:

“Our consular officials had an opportunity to confirm that the Russian national who passed away in DC is indeed Mikhail Lesin. Out of respect to the privacy and sensitivity of the matter we are not at liberty to disclose any other information, and would ask you to refer all further requests to his family and the law enforcement officials.”
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/putin- ... otel-room/


posting.php?mode=quote&f=8&p=577016
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
BE CAREFUL THE NOTHINGBURGER YOU ARE EATING HAS BEEN POISONED
Without Russian mafia Donald Trump would not be president of the United States
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:31 am

RUSSIA & THE WEST
The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections
JAMES S. HENRY
Did the American people really know they were putting such a “well-connected” guy in the White House?



“Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.”

—Cervantes

“I’ve always been blessed with a kind of intuition about people that allows me to sense who the sleazy guys are, and I stay far away.”

—Donald Trump, Surviving at the Top

Even before the November 8 election, many leading Democrats were vociferously demanding that the FBI disclose the fruits of its investigations into Putin-backed Russian hackers. Instead FBI Director Comey decided to temporarily revive his zombie-like investigation of Hillary’s emails. That decision may well have had an important impact on the election, but it did nothing to resolve the allegations about Putin. Even now, after the CIA has disclosed an abstract of its own still-secret investigation, it is fair to say that we still lack the cyberspace equivalent of a smoking gun.

Fortunately, however, for those of us who are curious about Trump’s Russian connections, there is another readily accessible body of material that has so far received surprisingly little attention. This suggests that whatever the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relationship with President Putin, he has certainly managed to accumulate direct and indirect connections with a far-flung private Russian/FSU network of outright mobsters, oligarchs, fraudsters, and kleptocrats.

Any one of these connections might have occurred at random. But the overall pattern is a veritable Star Wars bar scene of unsavory characters, with Donald Trump seated right in the middle. The analytical challenge is to map this network—a task that most journalists and law enforcement agencies, focused on individual cases, have failed to do.

Of course, to label this network “private” may be a stretch, given that in Putin’s Russia, even the toughest mobsters learn the hard way to maintain a respectful relationship with the “New Tsar.” But here the central question pertains to our new Tsar. Did the American people really know they were putting such a “well-connected” guy in the White House?

The Big Picture: Kleptocracy and Capital Flight

A few of Donald Trump’s connections to oligarchs and assorted thugs have already received sporadic press attention—for example, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s reported relationship with exiled Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. But no one has pulled the connections together, used them to identify still more relationships, and developed an image of the overall patterns.

Nor has anyone related these cases to one of the most central facts about modern Russia: its emergence since the 1990s as a world-class kleptocracy, second only to China as a source of illicit capital and criminal loot, with more than $1.3 trillion of net offshore “flight wealth” as of 2016.1

This tidal wave of illicit capital is hardly just Putin’s doing. It is in fact a symptom of one of the most epic failures in modern political economy—one for which the West bears a great deal of responsibility. This is the failure, in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in the late 1980s, to ensure that Russia acquires the kind of strong, middle-class-centric economic and political base that is required for democratic capitalism, the rule of law, and stable, peaceful relationships with its neighbors.

CapFlight-1Instead, from 1992 to the Russian debt crisis of August 1998, the West in general—and the U.S. Treasury, USAID, the State Department, the IMF/World Bank, the EBRD, and many leading economists in particular—actively promoted and, indeed, helped to finance one of the most massive transfers of public wealth into private hands that the world has ever seen.

For example, Russia’s 1992 “voucher privatization” program permitted a tiny elite of former state-owned company managers and party apparatchiks to acquire control over a vast number of public enterprises, often with the help of outright mobsters. A majority of Gazprom, the state energy company that controlled a third of the world’s gas reserves, was sold for $230 million; Russia’s entire national electric grid was privatized for $630 million; ZIL, Russia’s largest auto company, went for about $4 million; ports, ships, oil, iron and steel, aluminum, much of the high-tech arms and airlines industries, the world’s largest diamond mines, and most of Russia’s banking system also went for a song.

In 1994–96, under the infamous “loans-for-shares” program, Russia privatized 150 state-owned companies for just $12 billion, most of which was loaned to a handful of well-connected buyers by the state—and indirectly by the World Bank and the IMF. The principal beneficiaries of this “privatization”—actually, cartelization—were initially just 25 or so budding oligarchs with the insider connections to buy these properties and the muscle to hold them.2 The happy few who made personal fortunes from this feeding frenzy—in a sense, the very first of the new kleptocrats—not only included numerous Russian officials, but also leading gringo investors/advisers, Harvard professors, USAID advisers, and bankers at Credit Suisse First Boston and other Wall Street investment banks. As the renowned development economist Alex Gerschenkron, an authority on Russian development, once said, “If we were in Vienna, we would have said, ‘We wish we could play it on the piano!'”

For the vast majority of ordinary Russian citizens, this extreme re-concentration of wealth coincided with nothing less than a full-scale 1930s-type depression, a “shock therapy”-induced rise in domestic price levels that wiped out the private savings of millions, rampant lawlessness, a public health crisis, and a sharp decline in life expectancy and birth rates.

Sadly, this neoliberal “market reform” policy package that was introduced at a Stalin-like pace from 1992 to late 1998 was not only condoned but partly designed and financed by senior Clinton Administration officials, neoliberal economists, and innumerable USAID, World Bank, and IMF officials. The few dissenting voices included some of the West’s best economic brains—Nobel laureates like James Tobin, Kenneth Arrow, Lawrence Klein, and Joseph Stiglitz. They also included Moscow University’s Sergei Glaziev, who now serves as President Putin’s chief economic advisor.3 Unfortunately, they were no match for the folks with the cash.

There was also an important intervention in Russian politics. In January 1996 a secret team of professional U.S. political consultants arrived in Moscow to discover that, as CNN put it back then, “The only thing voters like less than Boris Yeltsin is the prospect of upheaval.” The experts’ solution was one of earliest “Our brand is crisis” campaign strategies, in which Yeltsin was “spun” as the only alternative to “chaos.” To support him, in March 1996 the IMF also pitched in with $10.1 billion of new loans, on top of $17.3 billion of IMF/World Bank loans that had already been made.

With all this outside help, plus ample contributions from Russia’s new elite, Yeltsin went from just 8 percent approval in the January 1996 polls to a 54-41 percent victory over the Communist Party candidate, Gennady Zyuganov, in the second round of the July 1996 election. At the time, mainstream media like Time and the New York Times were delighted. Very few outside Russia questioned the wisdom of this blatant intervention in post-Soviet Russia’s first democratic election, or the West’s right to do it in order to protect itself.

By the late 1990s the actual chaos that resulted from Yeltsin’s warped policies had laid the foundations for a strong counterrevolution, including the rise of ex-KGB officer Putin and a massive outpouring of oligarchic flight capital that has continued virtually up to the present. For ordinary Russians, as noted, this was disastrous. But for many banks, private bankers, hedge funds, law firms, and accounting firms, for leading oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as for needy borrowers like the Trump Organization, the opportunity to feed on post-Soviet spoils was a godsend. This was vulture capitalism at its worst.

The nine-lived Trump, in particular, had just suffered a string of six successive bankruptcies. So the massive illicit outflows from Russia and oil-rich FSU members like Kazahkstan and Azerbaijan from the mid-1990s provided precisely the kind of undiscriminating investors that he needed. These outflows arrived at just the right time to fund several of Trump’s post-2000 high-risk real estate and casino ventures—most of which failed. As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in Manhattan in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):

[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

All this helps to explain one of the most intriguing puzzles about Donald Trump’s long, turbulent business career: how he managed to keep financing it, despite a dismal track record of failed projects.4

According to the “official story,” this was simply due to a combination of brilliant deal-making, Trump’s gold-plated brand, and raw animal spirits—with $916 million of creative tax dodging as a kicker. But this official story is hokum. The truth is that, since the late 1990s, Trump was also greatly assisted by these abundant new sources of global finance, especially from “submerging markets” like Russia

This suggests that neither Trump nor Putin is an “uncaused cause.” They are not evil twins, exactly, but they are both byproducts of the same neoliberal policy scams that were peddled to Russia’s struggling new democracy.

A Guided Tour of Trump’s Russian/FSU Connections

The following roundup of Trump’s Russo-Soviet business connections is based on published sources, interviews with former law enforcement staff and other experts in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iceland, searches of online corporate registries,5 and a detailed analysis of offshore company data from the Panama Papers.6 Given the sheer scope of Trump’s activities, there are undoubtedly other worthy cases, but our interest is in overall patterns.

Note that none of the activities and business connections related here necessarily involved criminal conduct. While several key players do have criminal records, few of their prolific business dealings have been thoroughly investigated, and of course they all deserve the presumption of innocence. Furthermore, several of these players reside in countries where activities like bribery, tax dodging, and other financial chicanery are either not illegal or are rarely prosecuted. As former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey once said, the difference between “legal” and “illegal” is often just “the width of a prison wall.”

So why spend time collecting and reviewing material that either doesn’t point to anything illegal or in some cases may even be impossible to verify? Because, we submit, the mere fact that such assertions are widely made is of legitimate public interest in its own right. In other words, when it comes to evaluating the probity of senior public officials, the public has the right to know about any material allegations—true, false, or, most commonly, unprovable—about their business partners and associates, so long as this information is clearly labeled as unverified.

Furthermore, the individual case-based approach to investigations employed by most investigative journalists and law enforcement often misses the big picture: the global networks of influence and finance, licit and illicit, that exist among business people, investors, kleptocrats, organized criminals, and politicians, as well as the “enablers”—banks, accounting firms, law firms, and havens. Any particular component of these networks might easily disappear without making any difference. But the networks live on. It is these shadowy transnational networks that really deserve scrutiny.

Bayrock Group LLC—Kazakhstan and Tevfik Arif

We’ll begin our tour of Trump’s Russian/FSU connections with several business relationships that evolved out of the curious case of Bayrock Group LLC, a spectacularly unsuccessful New York real estate development company that surfaced in the early 2000s and, by 2014, had all but disappeared except for a few lawsuits. As of 2007, Bayrock and its partners reportedly had more than $2 billion of Trump-branded deals in the works. But most of these either never materialized or were miserable failures, for reasons that will soon become obvious.

Bayrock’s “white elephants” included the 46-story Trump SoHo condo-hotel on Spring Street in New York City, for which the principle developer was a partnership formed by Bayrock and FL Group, an Icelandic investment company. Completed in 2010, the SoHo soon became the subject of prolonged civil litigation by disgruntled condo buyers. The building was foreclosed by creditors and resold in 2014 after more than $3 million of customer down payments had to be refunded. Similarly, Bayrock’s Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale was foreclosed and resold in 2012, while at least three other Trump-branded properties in the United States, plus many other “project concepts” that Bayrock had contemplated, from Istanbul and Kiev to Moscow and Warsaw, also never happened.

Carelessness about due diligence with respect to potential partners and associates is one of Donald Trump’s more predictable qualities. Acting on the seat of the pants, he had hooked up with Bayrock rather quickly in 2005, becoming an 18 percent minority equity partner in the Trump SoHo, and agreeing to license his brand and manage the building.7

Exhibit A in the panoply of former Trump business partners is Bayrock’s former Chairman, Tevfik Arif (aka Arifov), an émigré from Kazakhstan who reportedly took up residence in Brooklyn in the 1990s. Trump also had extensive contacts with another key Bayrock Russian-American from Brooklyn, Felix Sater (aka Satter), discussed below.8 Trump has lately had some difficulty recalling very much about either Arif or Sater. But this is hardly surprising, given what we now know about them. Trump described his introduction to Bayrock in a 2013 deposition for a lawsuit that was brought by investors in the Fort Lauderdale project, one of Trump’s first with Bayrock: “Well, we had a tenant in … Trump Tower called Bayrock, and Bayrock was interested in getting us into deals.”9

According to several reports, Tevfik Arif was originally from Kazakhstan, a Soviet republic until 1992. Born in 1950, Arif worked for 17 years in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade, serving as Deputy Director of Hotel Management by the time of the Soviet Union’s collapse.10 In the early 1990s he relocated to Turkey, where he reportedly helped to develop properties for the Rixos Hotel chain. Not long thereafter he relocated to Brooklyn, founded Bayrock, opened an office in the Trump Tower, and started to pursue projects with Trump and other investors.11

Tevfik Arif was not Bayrock’s only connection to Kazakhstan. A 2007 Bayrock investor presentation refers to Alexander Mashevich’s “Eurasia Group” as a strategic partner for Bayrock’s equity finance. Together with two other prominent Kazakh billionaires, Patokh Chodiev (aka “Shodiyev”) and Alijan Ibragimov, Mashkevich reportedly ran the “Eurasian Natural Resources Cooperation.” In Kazakhstan these three are sometimes referred to as “the Trio.”12

The Trio has apparently worked together ever since Gorbachev’s late 1980s perestroika in metals and other natural resources. It was during this period that they first acquired a significant degree of control over Kazakhstan’s vast mineral and gas reserves. Naturally they found it useful to become friends with Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s long-time ruler. Indeed, State Department cables leaked by Wikileaks in November 2010 describe a close relationship between “the Trio” and the seemingly-perpetual Nazarbayev kleptocracy.

In any case, the Trio has recently attracted the attention of many other investigators and news outlets, including the September 11 Commission Report, the Guardian, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition to resource grabbing, the litany of the Trio’s alleged activities include money laundering, bribery, and racketeering.13 In 2005, according to U.S. State Department cables released by Wikileaks, Chodiev (referred to in a State Department cable as “Fatokh Shodiyev”) was recorded on video attending the birthday of reputed Uzbek mob boss Salim Abduvaliyeva and presenting him with a $10,000 “gift” or “tribute.”

According to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, Chodiev and Mashkevich also became close associates of a curious Russian-Canadian businessman, Boris J. Birshtein. who happens to have been the father-in-law of another key Russian-Canadian business associate of Donald Trump in Toronto. We will return to Birshtein below.

The Trio also turn up in the April 2016 Panama Papers database as the apparent beneficial owners of a Cook Islands company, “International Financial Limited.”14 The Belgian newspapers Het Laatste Nieuws, Le Soir, and La Libre Belgique have reported that Chodiev paid €23 million to obtain a “Class B” banking license for this same company, permitting it to make international currency trades. In the words of a leading Belgian financial regulator, that would “make all money laundering undetectable.”

The Panama Papers also indicate that some of Arif’s connections at the Rixos Hotel Group may have ties to Kazakhstan. For example, one offshore company listed in the Panama Papers database, “Group Rixos Hotel,” reportedly acts as an intermediary for four BVI offshore companies.15 Rixos Hotel’s CEO, Fettah Tamince, is listed as having been a shareholder for two of these companies, while a shareholder in another—“Hazara Asset Management”—had the same name as the son of a recent Kazakhstan Minister for Sports and Tourism. As of 2012, this Kazakh official was described as the third-most influential deputy in the country’s Mazhilis (the lower house of Parliament), in a Forbes-Kazakhstan article.

According to a 2015 lawsuit against Bayrock by Jody Kriss, one of its former employees, Bayrock started to receive millions of dollars in equity contributions in 2004, supposedly by way of Arif’s brother in Russia, who allegedly “had access to cash accounts at a chromium refinery in Kazakhstan.”

This as-yet unproven allegation might well just be an attempt by the plaintiff to extract a more attractive settlement from Bayrock and its original principals. But it is also consistent with fact that chromium is indeed one of the Kazakh natural resources that is reportedly controlled by the Trio.

As for Arif, his most recent visible brush with the law came in 2010, when he and other members of Bayrock’s Eurasian Trio were arrested together in Turkey during a police raid on a suspected prostitution ring, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

At the time, Turkish investigators reportedly asserted that Arif might be the head of a criminal organization that was trafficking in Russian and Ukrainian escorts, allegedly including some as young as 13.16 According to these assertions, big-ticket clients were making their selections by way of a modeling agency website, with Arif allegedly handling the logistics. Especially galling to Turkish authorities, the preferred venue was reportedly a yacht that had once belonged to the widely-revered Turkish leader Atatürk. It was also alleged that Arif may have also provided lodging for young women at Rixos Group hotels.17

According to Russian media, two senior Kazakh officials were also arrested during this incident, although the Turkish Foreign Ministry quickly dismissed this allegation as “groundless.” In the end, all the charges against Arif resulting from this incident were dismissed in 2012 by Turkish courts, and his spokespeople have subsequently denied all involvement.

Finally, despite Bayrock’s demise and these other legal entanglements, Arif has apparently remained active. For example, Bloomberg reports that, as of 2013, he, his son, and Rixos Hotels’ CEO Fettah Tamince had partnered to pursue the rather controversial business of advancing funds to cash-strapped high-profile soccer players in exchange for a share of their future marketing revenues and team transfer fees. In the case of Arif and his partners, this new-wave form of indentured servitude was reportedly implemented by way of a UK- and Malta-based hedge fund, Doyen Capital LLP. Because this practice is subject to innumerable potential abuses, including the possibility of subjecting athletes or clubs to undue pressure to sign over valuable rights and fees, UEFA, Europe’s governing soccer body, wants to ban it. But FIFA, the notorious global football regulator, has been customarily slow to act. To date, Doyen Capital LLP has reportedly taken financial gambles on several well-known players, including the Brazilian star Neymar.

The Case of Bayrock LLC—Felix Sater

Our second exhibit is Felix Sater, the senior Bayrock executive introduced earlier. This is the fellow who worked at Bayrock from 2002 to 2008 and negotiated several important deals with the Trump Organization and other investors. When Trump was asked who at Bayrock had brought him the Fort Lauderdale project in the 2013 deposition cited above, he replied: “It could have been Felix Sater, it could have been—I really don’t know who it might have been, but somebody from Bayrock.”18

SaterBizCardAlthough Sater left Bayrock in 2008, by 2010 he was reportedly back in Trump Tower as a “senior advisor” to the Trump Organization—at least on his business card—with his own office in the building.

Sater has also testified under oath that he had escorted Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow in 2006, had met frequently with Donald over several years, and had once flown with him to Colorado. And although this might easily have been staged, he is also reported to have visited Trump Tower in July 2016 and made a personal $5,400 contribution to Trump’s campaign.

Whatever Felix Sater has been up to recently, the key point is that by 2002, at the latest,19 Tevfik Arif decided to hire him as Bayrock’s COO and managing director. This was despite the fact that by then Felix had already compiled an astonishing track record as a professional criminal, with multiple felony pleas and convictions, extensive connections to organized crime, and—the ultimate prize—a virtual “get out of jail free card,” based on an informant relationship with the FBI and the CIA that is vaguely reminiscent of Whitey Bulger.20

Sater, a Brooklyn resident like Arif, was born in Russia in 1966. He reportedly emigrated with his family to the United States in the mid-1970s and settled in “Little Odessa.” It seems that his father, Mikhael Sheferovsky (aka Michael Sater), may have been engaged in Russian mob activity before he arrived in the United States. According to a certified U.S. Supreme Court petition, Felix Sater’s FBI handler stated that he “was well familiar with the crimes of Sater and his (Sater’s) father, a (Semion) Mogilevich crime syndicate boss.”21 A 1998 FBI report reportedly said Mogilevich’s organization had “approximately 250 members,” and was involved in trafficking nuclear materials, weapons, and more, as well as money laundering. (See below.)

But Michael Sater may have been less ambitious than his son. His only reported U.S. criminal conviction came in 2000, when he pled guilty to two felony counts for extorting Brooklyn restaurants, grocery stores, and clinics. He was released with three years’ probation. Interestingly, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who handled that case at the time was Loretta Lynch, who succeeded Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General in 2014. Back in 2000, she was also overseeing a budding informant relationship and a plea bargain with Michael’s son Felix, which may help to explain the father’s sentence.

By then young Felix Sater was already well on his way to a career as a prototypical Russian-American mobster. In 1991 he stabbed a commodity trader in the face with a margarita glass stem in a Manhattan bar, severing a nerve. He was convicted of a felony and sent to prison. As Trump tells it, Sater simply “got into a barroom fight, which a lot of people do.” The sentence for this felony conviction could not have been very long, because, by 1993, 27-year-old Felix was already a trader in a brand new Brooklyn-based commodity firm called “White Rock Partners,” an innovative joint venture among four New York crime families and the Russian mob aimed at bringing state-of-the art financial fraud to Wall Street.

Five years later, in 1998, Felix Sater pled guilty to stock racketeering, as one of 19 U.S.-and Russian mob-connected traders who participated in a $40 million “pump and dump” securities fraud scheme. Facing twenty years in Federal prison, Sater and Gennady Klotsman, a fellow Russian-American who’d been with him on the night of the Manhattan bar fight, turned “snitch” and helped the Department of Justice prosecute their co-conspirators.22 Reportedly, so did Salvatore Lauria, another “trader” involved in the scheme. According to the Jody Kriss lawsuit, Lauria later joined Bayrock as an off-the-books paid “consultant.” Initially their cooperation, which lasted from 1998 until at least late 2001, was kept secret, until it was inadvertently revealed in a March 2000 press release by U.S. Attorney Lynch.

Unfortunately for Sater, about the same time the NYPD also reportedly discovered that he had been running a money-laundering scheme and illicit gun sales out of a Manhattan storage locker. He and Klotsman fled to Russia. However, according to the New York Times, which cited Klotsman and Lauria, soon after the events of September 11, 2001, the ever-creative Sater succeeded in brokering information about the black market for Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the CIA and the FBI. According to Klotsman, this strategy “bought Felix his freedom,” allowing him to return to Brooklyn. It is still not clear precisely what information Sater actually provided, but in 2015 U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch publicly commended him for sharing information that she described as “crucial to national security.”

Meanwhile, Sater’s sentence for his financial crimes continued to be deferred even after his official cooperation in that case ceased in late 2001. His files remained sealed, and he managed to avoid any sentencing for those crimes at all until October 23, 2009. When he finally appeared before the Eastern District’s Judge I. Leo Glasser, Felix received a $25,000 fine, no jail time, and no probation in a quiet proceeding that attracted no press attention. Some compared this sentence to Judge Glasser’s earlier sentence of Mafia hit man “Sammy the Bull” Gravano to 4.5 years for 19 murders, in exchange for “cooperating against John Gotti.”

In any case, between 2002 and 2008, when Felix Sater finally left Bayrock LLC, and well beyond, his ability to avoid jail and conceal his criminal roots enabled him to enjoy a lucrative new career as Bayrock’s chief operating officer. In that position, he was in charge of negotiating aggressive property deals all over the planet, even while—according to lawsuits by former Bayrock investors—engaging in still more financial fraud. The only apparent difference was that he changed his name from “Sater” to “Satter.”23

In the 2013 deposition cited earlier, Trump went on to say “I don’t see Felix as being a member of the Mafia.” Asked if he had any evidence for this claim, Trump conceded “I have none.”24

As for Sater’s pal Klotsman, the past few years have not been kind. As of December 2016 he is in a Russian penal colony, working off a ten-year sentence for a failed $2.8 million Moscow diamond heist in August 2010. In 2016 Klotsman was reportedly placed on a “top-ten list” of Americans that the Russians were willing to exchange for high-value Russian prisoners in U.S. custody, like the infamous arms dealer Viktor Bout. So far there have been no takers. But with Donald Trump as President, who knows?

The Case of Iceland’s FL Group

One of the most serious frauds alleged in the recent Bayrock lawsuit involves FL Group, an Icelandic private investment fund that is really a saga all its own.

Iceland is not usually thought of as a major offshore financial center. It is a small snowy island in the North Atlantic, closer to Greenland than to the UK or Europe, with only 330,000 citizens and a total GDP of just $17 billion. Twenty years ago, its main exports were cod and aluminum—with the imported bauxite smelted there to take advantage of the island’s low electricity costs.

But in the 1990s Iceland’s tiny neoliberal political elite had what they all told themselves was a brilliant idea: “Let’s privatize our state-owned banks, deregulate capital markets, and turn them loose on the world!” By the time all three of the resulting privatized banks, as well as FL Group, failed in 2008, the combined bank loan portfolio amounted to more than 12.5 times Iceland’s GDP—the highest country debt ratio in the entire world.

For purposes of our story, the most interesting thing about Iceland is that, long before this crisis hit and utterly bankrupted FL Group, our two key Russian/FSU/Brooklyn mobster-mavens, Arif and Sater, had somehow stumbled on this obscure Iceland fund. Indeed, in early 2007 they persuaded FL Group to invest $50 million in a project to build the Trump SoHo in mid-town Manhattan.

According to the Kriss lawsuit, at the same time, FL Group and Bayrock’s Felix Sater also agreed in principle to pursue up to an additional $2 billion in other Trump-related deals. The Kriss lawsuit further alleges that FL Group (FLG) also agreed to work with Bayrock to facilitate outright tax fraud on more than $250 million of potential earnings. In particular, it alleges that FLG agreed to provide the $50 million in exchange for a 62 percent stake in the four Bayrock Trump projects, but Bayrock would structure the contract as a “loan.” This meant that Bayrock would not have to pay taxes on the initial proceeds, while FLG’s anticipated $250 million of dividends would be channeled through a Delaware company and characterized as “interest payments,” allowing Bayrock to avoid up to $100 million in taxes. For tax purposes, Bayrock would pretend that their actual partner was a Delaware partnership that it had formed with FLG, “FLG Property I LLC,” rather than FLG itself.

The Trump Organization has denied any involvement with FLG. However, as an equity partner in the Trump SoHo, with a significant 18 percent equity stake in this one deal alone, Donald Trump himself had to sign off on the Bayrock-FLG deal.

This raises many questions. Most of these will have to await the outcome of the Kriss litigation, which might well take years, especially now that Trump is President. But several of these questions just leap off the page.

First, how much did President-elect Trump know about the partners and the inner workings of this deal? After all, he had a significant equity stake in it, unlike many of his “brand-name only” deals, and it was also supposed to finance several of his most important East Coast properties.

Second, how did the FL Group and Bayrock come together to do this dodgy deal in the first place? One former FL Group manager alleges that the deal arrived by accident, a “relatively small deal” was nothing special on either side.25 The Kriss lawsuit, on the other hand, alleges that FLG was a well-known source of easy money from dodgy sources like Kazakhstan and Russia, and that other Bayrock players with criminal histories—like Salvatore Lauria, for example—were involved in making the introductions.

At this stage the evidence with respect to this second question is incomplete. But there are already some interesting indications that FL Group’s willingness to generously finance Bayrock’s peculiar Russian/FSU/Brooklyn team, its rather poorly-conceived Trump projects, and its purported tax dodging were not simply due to Icelandic backwardness. There is much more for us to know about Iceland’s “special” relationship with Russian finance. In this regard, there are several puzzles to be resolved.

First, it turns out that FL Group, Iceland’s largest private investment fund until it crashed in 2008, had several owners/investors with deep Russian business connections, including several key investors in all three top Iceland banks.

Second, it turns out that FL Group had constructed an incredible maze of cross-shareholding, lending, and cross-derivatives relationships with all these major banks, as illustrated by the following snapshot of cross-shareholding among Iceland’s financial institutions and companies as of 2008.26

Cross-shareholding Relationships, FLG and Other Leading Icelandic Financial Institutions, 2008
Cross-shareholding Relationships, FLG and Other Leading Icelandic Financial Institutions, 2008
This thicket of cross-dealing made it almost impossible to regulate “control fraud,” where insiders at leading financial institutions went on a self-serving binge, borrowing and lending to finance risky investments of all kinds. It became difficult to determine which institutions were net borrowers or investors, as the concentration of ownership and self-dealing in the financial system just soared.

Third, FL Group make a variety of peculiar loans to Russian-connected oligarchs as well as to Bayrock. For example, as discussed below, Alex Shnaider, the Russian-Canadian billionaire who later became Donald Trump’s Toronto business partner, secured a €45.8 million loan to buy a yacht from Kaupthing Bank during the same period, while a company belonging to another Russian billionaire who reportedly owns an important vodka franchise got an even larger loan.27

Fourth, Iceland’s largest banks also made a series of extraordinary loans to Russian interests during the run-up to the 2008 crisis. For example, one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs, a close friend of President Putin, nearly managed to secure at least €400 million (or, some say, up to four times that much) from Kaupthing, Iceland’s largest bank, in late September 2008, just as the financial crisis was breaking wide open. This bank also had important direct and indirect investments in FL Group. Indeed, until December 2006, it is reported to have employed the FL Group private equity manager who allegedly negotiated Felix Sater’s $50 million deal in early 2007.28

Fifth, there are unconfirmed accounts of a secret U.S. Federal Reserve report that unnamed Iceland banks were being used for Russian money laundering.29 Furthermore, Kaupthing Bank’s repeated requests to open a New York branch in 2007-08 were rejected by the Fed. Similar unconfirmed rumors repeatedly appeared in Danish and German publications, as did allegations about the supposed Kazakh origins of FLG’s cash to be “laundered” in the Kriss lawsuit.

Sixth, there is the peculiar fact that, when Iceland’s banks went belly-up in October 2008, their private banking subsidiaries in Luxembourg, which were managing at least €8 billion of private assets, were suddenly seized by Luxembourg banking authorities and transferred to a new bank, Banque Havilland. This happened so fast that Iceland’s Central Bank was prevented from learning anything about the identities or portfolio sizes of the Iceland banks’ private offshore clients. But again, there were rumors of some important Russian names.

Finally, there is the rather odd phone call that Russia’s Ambassador to Iceland made to Iceland’s Prime Minister at 6:45 a.m. on October 7, 2008, the day after the financial crisis hit Iceland. According to the PM’s own account, the Russian Ambassador informed him that then-Prime Minister Putin was willing to consider offering Iceland a €4 billion Russian bailout.

Of course this alleged Putin offer was modified not long thereafter into a willingness to entertain an Icelandic negotiating team in Moscow. By the time the Iceland team got to Moscow later that year, Russia’s desire to lend had cooled, and Iceland ended up accepting a $2.1 billion IMF “stabilization package” instead. But according to a member of the negotiating team, the reasons for the reversal are still a mystery. Perhaps Putin had reconsidered because he simply decided that Russia had to worry about its own considerable financial problems. Or perhaps he had discovered that Iceland’s banks had indeed been very generous to Russian interests on the lending side, while—given Luxembourg’s actions—any Russian private wealth invested in Icelandic banks was already safe.

On the other hand, there may be a simpler explanation for Iceland’s peculiar generosity to sketchy partners like Bayrock. After all, right up to the last minute before the October 2008 meltdown, the whole world had awarded Iceland AAA ratings: Depositors queued up in London to open high-yield Iceland bank accounts, its bank stocks were booming, and the compensation paid to its financiers was off the charts. So why would anyone worry about making a few more dubious deals?

Overall, therefore, with respect to these odd “Russia-Iceland” connections, the proverbial jury is still out. But all these Icelandic puzzles are intriguing and bear further investigation.

The Case of the Trump Toronto Tower and Hotel—Alex Shnaider

Our fourth case study of Trump’s business associates concerns the 48-year-old Russian-Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider, who co-financed the seventy-story Trump Tower and Hotel, Canada’s tallest building. It opened in Toronto in 2012. Unfortunately, like so many of Trump’s other Russia/FSU-financed projects, this massive Toronto condo-hotel project went belly-up this November and has now entered foreclosure.

According to an online profile of Shnaider by a Ukrainian news agency, Alex Shnaider was born in Leningrad in 1968, the son of “Евсей Шнайдер,” or “Evsei Shnaider” in Russian.30 A recent Forbes article says that he and his family emigrated to Israel from Russia when he was four and then relocated to Toronto when he was 13-14. The Ukrainian news agency says that Alex’s familly soon established “one of the most successful stories in Toronto’s Russian quarter, “ and that young Alex, with “an entrepreneurial streak,” “helped his father Evsei Shnaider in the business, placing goods on the shelves and wiping floors.”

Eventually that proved to be a great decision—Shnaider prospered in the New World. Much of this was no doubt due to raw talent. But it also appears that for a time he got significant helping hand from his (now reportedly ex-) father-in-law, another colorful Russian-Canadian, Boris J. Birshtein.

Originally from Lithuania, Birshtein, now about 69, has been a Canadian citizen since at least 1982.31 He resided in Zurich for a time in the early 1990s, but then returned to Toronto and New York.32 One of his key companies was called Seabeco SA, a “trading” company that was registered in Zurich in December 1982.33 By the early 1990s Birshtein and his partners had started many other Seabeco-related companies in a wide variety of locations, inclding Antwerp,34 Toronto,35 Winnipeg,36 Moscow, Delaware,37 Panama,38 and Zurich.39 Several of these are still active.40 He often staffed them with directors and officers from a far-flung network of Russians, emissaries from other FSU countries like Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, and recent Russia/FSU emigres to Canada.41

According to the Financial Times and the FBI, in addition to running Seabeco, Birshtein was a close business associate of Sergei Mikhaylov, the reputed head of Solntsevskaya Bratva, the Russian mob’s largest branch, and the world’s highest-grossing organized crime group as of 2014, according to Fortune.42 A 1996 FBI intelligence report cited by the FT claims that Birshtein hosted a meeting in his Tel Aviv office for Mikhaylov, the Ukrainian-born Semion Mogilevich, and several other leaders of the Russo/FSU mafia, in order to discuss “sharing interests in Ukraine.”43 A subsequent 1998 FBI Intelligence report on the “Semion Mogilevich Organization” repeated the same charge,44 and described Mogilevich’s successful attempts at gaining control over Ukraine privatization assets. The FT article also described how Birshtein and his associates had acquired extraordinary influence with key Ukraine officials, including President Leonid Kuchma, with the help of up to $5 million of payoffs.45 Citing Swiss and Belgian investigators, the FT also claimed that Birshtein and Mikhaylov jointly controlled a Belgian company called MAB International in the early 1990s.46 During that period, those same investigators reportedly observed transfers worth millions of dollars between accounts held by Mikhaylov, Birshtein, and Alexander Volkov, Seabeco’s representative in Ukraine.

In 1993, the Yeltsin government reportedly accused Birshtein of illegally exporting seven million tons of Russian oil and laundering the proceeds.47 Dmytro Iakoubovski, a former associate of Birshtein’s who had also moved to Toronto, was said to be cooperating with the Russian investigation. One night a gunman fired three shots into Iakoubovski’s home, leaving a note warning him to cease his cooperation, according to a New York Times article published that year. As noted above, according to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, two members of Bayrock’s Eurasian Trio were also involved in Seabeco during this period as well—Patokh Chodiev and Alexander Mashkevich. Chodiev reportedly first met Birshtein through the Soviet Foreign Ministry, and then went on to run Seabeco’s Moscow office before joining its Belgium office in 1991. Le Soir further claims that Mashkevich worked for Seabeco too, and that this was actually how he and Chodiev had first met.

All this is fascinating, but what about the connections between Birshtein and Trump’s Toronto business associate, Alex Shnaider? Again, the leads we have are tantalizing.The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that in 1991, while enrolled in law school, young Alex Shnaider started working for Birshtein at Seabeco’s Zurich headquarters, where he was reportedly introduced to steel trading. Evidently this was much more than just a job; the Zurich company registry lists “Alex Shnaider” as a director of “Seabeco Metals AG” from March 1993 to January 1994.48

In 1994, according to this account, he reportedly left Seabeco in January 1994 to start his own trading company in Antwerp, in partnership with a Belgian trader-partner. Curiously, Le Soir also says that Mikhaylov and Birshtein co-founded MAB International in Antwerp in January 1994. Is it far-fetched to suspect that Alex Shnaider and mob boss Mikhaylov might have crossed paths, since they were both in the same city and they were both close to Shnaider’s father-in-law?

According to Forbes, soon after Shnaider moved to Antwerp, he started visiting the factories of his steel trading partners in Ukraine.49 His favorite client was the Zaporizhstal steel mill, Ukraine’s fourth largest. At the Zaporizhstal mill he reportedly met Eduard Shifrin (aka Shyfrin), a metals trader with a doctorate in metallurgical engineering. Together they founded Midland Resource Holdings Ltd. in 1994.50

As the Forbes piece argues, with privatization sweeping Eastern Europe, private investors were jockeying to buy up the government’s shares in Zaprozhstal. But most traders lacked the financial backing and political connectons to accumulate large risky positions. Shnaider and Shifrin, in contrast, started buying up shares without limit, as if their pockets and connections were very deep. By 2001 they had purchased 93 percent of the plant for about $70 million, a stake that would be worth much more just five years later, when Shnaider reportedly turned down a $1.2 billion offer.

Today, Midland Resources Holdings Ltd. reportedly generates more than $4 billion a year of revenue and has numerous subsidiaries all across Eastern Europe.51 Shnaider also reportedly owns Talon International Development, the firm that oversaw construction of the Trump hotel-tower in Toronto. All this wealth apparently helped Iceland’s FL Group decide that it could afford to extend a €45.8 million loan to Alex Shnaider in 2008 to buy a yacht.52

As of December 2016, a search of the Panama Papers database found no fewer than 28 offshore companies that have been associated with “Midland Resources Holding Limited.”53 According to the database, “Midland Resources Holding Limited” was a shareholder in at least two of these companies, alongside an individual named “Oleg Sheykhametov.”54 The two companies, Olave Equities Limited and Colley International Marketing SA, were both registered and active in the British Virgin Islands from 2007–10.55 A Russian restaurateur by that same name reportedly runs a business owned by two other alleged Solntsevskaya mob associates, Lev Kvetnoy and Andrei Skoch, both of whom appear with Sergei Mikhaylov. Of course mere inclusion in such a group photo is not evidence of wrongdoing. (See the photo here.) According to Forbes, Kvetnoy is the 55th richest person in Russia and Skoch, now a deputy in the Russian Duma, is the 18th.56

Finally, it is also intriguing to note that Boris Birshtein is also listed as the President of “ME Moldova Enterprises AG,” a Zurich-based company” that was founded in November 1992, transferred to the canton of Schwyz in September 1994, and liquidated and cancelled in January 1999.57 Birshstein was a member of the company’s board of directors from November 1992 to January 1994, when he became its President. At that point he was succeeded as President in June 1994 by one “Evsei Shnaider, Canadian citizen, resident in Zurich,” who was also listed as director of the company in September 1994.58 “Evsei Schnaider” is also listed in the Panama registry as a Treasurer and Director of “The Seabeco Group Inc.,” formed on December 6, 1991,59 and as treasurer and director of Seabeco Security International Inc.,” formed on December 10, 1991. As of December 2016, both companies are still in existence.60 Boris Birshtein is listed as president and director of both companies.61

The Case of Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian Oligarchs

Our fifth Trump associate profile concerns the Russo/Ukrainian connections of Paul Manafort, the former Washington lobbyist who served as Donald Trump’s national campaign director from April 2016 to August 2016. Manafort’s partner, Rick Davis, also served as national campaign manager for Senator John McCain in 2008, so this may not just be a Trump association.

One of Manafort’s biggest clients was the dubious pro-Russian Ukrainian billionaire Dmytro Firtash. By his own admission, Firtash maintains strong ties with a recurrent figure on this scene, the reputed Ukrainian/Russian mob boss Semion Mogilevich. His most important other links are almost certainly to Putin. Otherwise it is difficult to explain how this former used-car salesman could gain a lock on trading goods for gas in Turkmenistan and also become a lynchpin investor in the Swiss company RosUrEnergo, which controls Gazprom’s gas sales to Europe.62

In 2008, Manafort teamed up with a former manager of the Trump Organization to purchase the Drake Hotel in New York for up to $850 million, with Firtash agreeing to invest $112 million. According to a lawsuit brought against Manafort and Firtash, the key point of the deal was not to make a carefully-planned investment in real estate, but to simply launder part of the huge profits that Firtash had skimmed while brokering dodgy natural gas deals between Russia and Ukraine, with Mogilevich acting as a “silent partner.”

Ultimately Firtash pulled out of this Drake Hotel deal. The reasons are unclear—it has been suggested that he needed to focus on the 2015 collapse and nationalization of his Group DF’s Bank Nadra back home in Ukraine.63 But it certainly doesn’t appear to have changed his behavior. Since 2014 there has been a spate of other Firtash-related prosecutions, with the United States trying to extradict from Austria in order to stand trial on allegations that his vast spidernet “Group DF” had bribed Indian officials to secure mining licenses. The Austrian court has required him to put up a record-busting €125 million bail while he awaits a decision.64 And just last month, Spain has also tried to extradite Firtash on a separate money laundering case, involving the laundering of €10 million through Spanish property investments.

After Firtash pulled out of the deal, Manafort reportedly turned to Trump, but he declined to engage. Manafort stepped down as Trump’s campaign manager in August of 2016 in response to press investigations into his ties not only to Firtash, but to Ukraine’s previous pro-Russian Yanukovych government, which had been deposed by a uprising in 2014. However, following the November 8 election, Manafort reportedly returned to advise Trump on staffing his new administration. He got an assist from Putin—on November 30 a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of leaking stories about Manafort in an effort to hurt Trump.

The Case of “Well-Connected” Russia/FSU Mobsters

Finally, several other interesting Russian/FSU connections have a more residential flavor, but they are a source of very important leads about the Trump network.

Indeed, partly because it has no prying co-op board, Trump Tower in New York has received press attention for including among its many honest residents tax-dodgers, bribers, arms dealers, convicted cocaine traffickers, and corrupt former FIFA officials.65

One typical example involves the alleged Russian mobster Anatoly Golubchik, who went to prison in 2014 for running an illegal gambling ring out of Trump Tower—not only the headquarters of the Trump Organization but also the former headquarters of Bayrock Group LLC. This operation reportedly took up the entire 51st floor. Also reportedly involved in it was the alleged mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov,66 who has the distinction of making the Forbes 2008 list of the World’s Ten Most Wanted Criminals, and whose organization the FBI believes to be tied to Mogilevich’s. Even as this gambling ring was still operating in Trump Tower, Tokhtakhounov reportedly travelled to Moscow to attend Donald Trump’s 2013 Miss Universe contest as a special VIP.

In the Panama Papers database we do find the name “Anatoly Golubchik.” Interestingly, his particular offshore company, “Lytton Ventures Inc.,”67 shares a corporate director, Stanley Williams, with a company that may well be connected to our old friend Semion Mogilevich, the Russian mafia’s alleged “Boss of Bosses” who appeared so frequently in the story above. Thus Lytton Ventures Inc. shares this particular director with another company that is held under the name of “Galina Telesh.”68 According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, multiple offshore companies belonging to Semion Mogilevich have been registered under this same name—which just happens to be that of Mogilevich’s first wife.

A 2003 indictment of Mogilevich also mentions two offshore companies that he is said to have owned, with names that include the terms “Arbat” and “Arigon.” The same corporate director shared by Golubchik and Telesh also happens to be a director of a company called Westix Ltd.,69 which shares its Moscow address with “Arigon Overseas” and “Arbat Capital.”70 And another company with that same director appears to belong to Dariga Nazarbayeva, the eldest daughter of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the long-lived President of Kazakhstan. Dariga is expected to take his place if he ever decides to leave office or proves to be mortal.

Lastly, Dmytro Firtash—the Mogilevich pal and Manafort client that we met earlier—also turns up in the Panama Papers database as part of Galina Telesh’s network neighborhood. A director of Telesh’s “Barlow Investing,” Vasliki Andreou, was also a nominee director of a Cyprus company called “Toromont Ltd.,” while another Toromont Ltd. nominee director, Annex Holdings Ltd., a St. Kitts company, is also listed as a shareholder in Firtash’s Group DF Ltd., along with Firtash himself.71 And Group DF’s CEO, who allegedly worked with Manafort to channel Firtash’s funding into the Drake Hotel venture, is also listed in the Panama Papers database as a Group DF shareholder. Moreover, a 2006 Financial Times investigation identified three other offshore companies that are linked to both Firtash and Telesh.72

Anatoly Golubchik’s Panama Papers Network Neighborhood
Anatoly Golubchik’s Panama Papers Network Neighborhood
Of course, all of these curious relationships may just be meaningless coincidences. After all, the director shared by Telesh and Golubchik is also listed in the same role for more than 200 other companies, and more than a thousand companies besides Arbat Capital and Arigon Overseas share Westix’s corporate address. In the burgeoning land of offshore havens and shell-game corporate citizenship, there is no such thing as overcrowding. The appropriate way to view all this evidence is to regard it as “Socratic:” raising important unanswered questions, not providing definite answers.

In any case, returning to Trump’s relationships through Trump Tower, another odd one involves the 1990s-vintage fraudulent company YBM Magnex International. YBM, ostensibly a world-class manufacturer of industrial magnets, was founded indirectly in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1995 by the “boss of bosses,” Semion Mogilevich, Moscow’s “brainy Don.”

This is a fellow with an incredible history, even if only half of what has been written about him is true.73 Unfortunately, we have to focus here only on the bits that are most relevant. Born in Kiev, and now a citizen of Israel as well as Ukraine and Russia, Semion, now seventy, is a lifelong criminal. But he boasts an undergraduate economics degree from Lviv University, and is reported to take special pride in designing sophisticated, virtually undetectable financial frauds that take years to put in place. To pull them off, he often relies on the human frailties of top bankers, stock brokers, accountants, business magnates, and key politicians.74

In YBM’s case, for a mere $2.4 million in bribes, Semion and his henchmen spent years in the 1990s launching a product-free, fictitious company on the still-badly under-regulated Toronto Stock Exchange. Along the way they succeeded in securing the support of several leading Toronto business people and a former Ontario Province Premier to win a seat on YBM’s board. They also paid the “Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte Touche very handsomely in exchange for glowing audits. By mid-1998, YBM’s stock price had gone from less than $0.10 to $20, and Semion cashed out at least $18 million—a relatively big fraud for its day—before the FBI raid its YBM’s corporate headquarters. When it did so, it found piles of bogus invoices for magnets, but no magnets.75

In 2003, Mogilevich was indicted in Philadelphia on 45 felony counts for this $150 million stock fraud. But there is no extradition treaty between the United States and Russia, and no chance that Russia will ever extradite Semion voluntarily; he is arguably a national treasure, especially now. Acknowledging these realities, or perhaps for other reasons, the FBI quietly removed Mogilevich from its Top Ten Most Wanted list in 2015, where he had resided for the previous six years.76

For our purposes, one of the most interesting things to note about this YBM Magnex case is that its CEO was a Russian-American named Jacob Bogatin, who was also indicted in the Philadelphia case. His brother David had served in the Soviet Army in a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft unit, helping to shoot down American pilots like Senator John McCain. Since the early 1990s, David Bogatin was considered by the FBI to be one of the key members of Semion Mogilevich’s Russian organized crime family in the United States, with a long string of convictions for big-ticket Mogilevich-type offenses like financial fraud and tax dodging.

At one point, David Bogatin owned five separate condos in Trump Tower that Donald Trump had reportedly sold to him personally.77 And Vyacheslav Ivankov, another key Mogilevich lieutenant in the United States during the 1990s, also resided for a time at Trump Tower, and reportedly had in his personal phone book the private telephone and fax numbers for the Trump Organization’s office in that building.78

So what have we learned from this deep dive into the network of Donald Trump’s Russian/FSU connections?

First, the President-elect really is very “well-connected,” with an extensive network of unsavory global underground connections that may well be unprecedented in White House history. In choosing his associates, evidently Donald Trump only pays cursory attention to questions of background, character, and integrity.

Second, Donald Trump has also literally spent decades cultivating senior relationships of all kinds with Russia and the FSU. And public and private senior Russian figures of all kinds have likewise spent decades cultivating him, not only as a business partner, but as a “useful idiot.”

After all, on September 1, 1987 (!), Trump was already willing to spend a $94,801 on full-page ads in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the New York Times calling for the United States to stop spending money to defend Japan, Europe, and the Persian Gulf, “an area of only marginal significance to the U.S. for its oil supplies, but one upon which Japan and others are almost totally dependent.”79

This is one key reason why just this week, Robert Gates—a registered Republican who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Bush and Obama, as well as former Director and Deputy Director of the CIA—criticized the response of Congress and the White House to the alleged Putin-backed hacking as far too “laid back.”80

Third, even beyond questions of illegality, the public clearly has a right to know much more than it already does about the nature of such global connections. As the opening quote from Cervantes suggests, these relationships are probably a pretty good leading indicator of how Presidents will behave once in office.

Unfortunately, for many reasons, this year American voters never really got the chance to decide whether such low connections and entanglements belong at the world’s high peak of official power. In the waning days of the Obama Administration, with the Electoral College about to ratify Trump’s election and Congress in recess, it is too late to establish the kind of bipartisan, 9/11-type commission that would be needed to explore these connections in detail.

Finally, the long-run consequence of careless interventions in other countries is that they often come back to haunt us. In Russia’s case, it just has.

1Author’s estimates; see globalhavenindustry.com for more details.

2For an overview and critical discussion, see here.

3See Lawrence Klein and Marshall Pomer, Russia’s Economic Transition Gone Awry (Stanford University Press, 2002); see also James S. Henry and Marshall Pomer, “A Pile of Ruble,” New Republic, September 7, 1998.

4See this Washington Post report, which counts just six bankruptcies to the Trump Organization’s credit, but excludes failed projects like the Trump SoHo, the Toronto condo-hotel, the Fort Lauderdale condo-hotel, and many others Trump was a minority investor or had simply licensed his brand.

5For example, the Swiss federal and cantonal corporate registries, available here.

6For ICIJ’s April 2016 “Panama Papers” database of offshore companies, see here.

7Trump’s minority equity deal with Bayrock was unlike many others, where he simply licensed his name. See this March 2008 New York Magazine piece.

8“I dealt mostly with Tevfik,” he said in 2007.

9Case 1:09-cv-21406-KMW Document 408-1. Entered on FLSD Docket 11/26/2013. p. 15.

10Source.

11Bayrock reported its co-ownership of six Rixos hotels in a 2007 press release.

12See also Salihovic, Elnur, Major Players in the Muslim Business World, p.107, and this Telegraph piece.

13See also Zambia, Mining, and Neo-Liberalism; Brussels Times; and Le Soir.

14According to the Panama Papers database, “International Financial Limited” was registered on April 3, 1998, but is no longer active today, although no precise deregistration date is available. Source.

15According to the Panama Papers, “Group Rixos Hotel” is still active company, while three of the four companies it serves were struck off in 2007 and the fourth, Hazara Asset Management, in 2013.

16Source.

17See also TurizmGüncel.com and Le Grand Soir.

18Case 1:09-cv-21406-KMW Document 408-1. Entered on FLSD Docket 11/26/2013. p. 16.

19The exact date that Sater joined Bayrock is unclear. A New York Times article says 2003, but this appears to be too late. Sater says 1999, but this is much too early. A certified petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court places the time around 2002, which is more consistent with Sater’s other activities during this period, including his cooperation with the Department of Justice on the Coppa case in 1998–2001, and his foreign travel.

20See Financial Times, New York Times, and Washington Post. Note that previous accounts of Sater’s activities have overlooked the role that this very permissive relationship with federal law enforcement, especially the FBI, may have played in encouraging Sater’s subsequent risk-taking and financial crimes. See here.

21See here, p. 13.

22Sater’s 1998 case, never formally sealed, was U.S. v. Sater, 98-CR-1101 (E.D.N.Y.) The case in which Sater secretly informed was U.S. v. Coppa, 00-CR-196 (E.D.N.Y.). See also this piece in the Daily Beast.

23Source. Sater also may have taken other steps to conceal his criminal past. According to the 2015 lawsuit filed by x Bayrocker Jody Kriss, Arif agreed to pay Sater his $1 million salary under the table, allowing Sater to pretend that he lacked resources to compensate any victims of his prior financial frauds. See Kriss v. Bayrock, pp. 2, 18. The lawsuit also alleges that Sater may have held a majority of Bayrock’s ownership, but that Arif, Sater and other Bayrock officers may have conspired to hide this by listing Arif as the sole owner on offering documents.

24See here, p. 155.

25Author’s interview with Sigrun Davidsdottir, Iceland journalist, London, August 2016.

26See “Report of the Special Investigation Commission on the 2008 Financial Crisis” (April 12, 2010).

27These loans are disclosed in the Kaupthing Bank’s “Corporate Credit – Disclosure of Large Exposures > €40 mm.” loan book, September 15, 2008. This document was disclosed by Wikileaks in 2009. See this Telegraph piece. http://file.wikileaks.info/leak/kaupthi ... h-2008.pdf, p.145 (€79.5mm construction yacht loan to Russian vodka magnate Yuri Shefler’s Serena Equity Ltd.); p. 208 (€45.8 mm yacht construction loan to Canadian-Russian billionaire Alex Shnaider’s Filbert Pacific Ltd.).

28Kriss lawsuit, op. cit.; author’s analysis of Kaupthing/ FL G employees published career histories.

29Author’s interview with an “Iceland economist,” Reykjavik, July 2016.

30Source. The passage in Russian, with the father’s name underlined, is as follows: “Родители Алекса Шнайдера владели одним из первых успешных русских магазинов в русском квартале Торонто. Алекс помогал в бизнесе отцу—Евсею Шнайдеру, расставляя на полках товар и протирая полы. С юных лет в Алексе зрела предпринимательская жилка. Живя с родителями, он стал занимать деньги у их друзей и торговать тканями и электроникой с разваливающимися в конце 80-х годов советскими предприятиями.” “Евсею Шнайдеру” is the dative case of “Евсей Шнайдер,” or “Evsei Shnaider,” the father’s name in Russian.

31The Zurich company registry reports that “Seabeco SA” (CHE-104.863.207) was initially registered on December 16, 1982, with “Boris Joseph Birshtein, Canadian citizen, resident in Toronto” as its President. It entered liquidation on May 5, 1999, in Arth, handled by the Swiss trustee Paul Barth. The Zurich company registry listed “Boris Joseph Birshtein, Canadian citizen, resident in Toronto,” as the President of Seabeco Kirgizstan AG in 1992, while “Boris Joseph Birshtein, Canadian citizen, resident in Zurich,” was listed as the company’s President in 1993. “Boris Birshtein” is also listed as the President and director of a 1991 Panama company, The Seabeco Group, Inc. as of December 6 1991. See below.

32Source.

33The Zurich company registry reports that “Seabeco SA” (CHE-104.863.207) was initially registered on December 16, 1982, with “Boris Joseph Birshtein, Canadian citizen, resident in Toronto” as its President. According to the registry, it entered liquidation on May 5, 1999. See also this. The liquidation was handled by the Swiss trustee Paul Barth, in Arth.

34For Seabeco’s Antwerp subsidiary, see here.

35“Royal HTM Group, Inc.” of Toronto, (Canadian Federal Corporation # 624476-9), owned 50-50 by Birshtein and his nephew. Source.

36Birshtein was a director of Seabeco Capital Inc. (Canadian Federal Incorporatio # 248194-4,) a Winnipeg company created June 2, 1989, and dissolved December 22, 1992.

37Since 1998, Boris Birshtein (Toronto) has also served as Chairman, CEO, and a principle shareholder of “Trimol Group Inc.,” a publicly-traded Delaware company that trades over the counter. (Symbol: TMOL). Its product line is supposedly “computerized photo identification and database management system utilized in the production of variety of secure essential government identification documents.” See Bloomberg. However, according to Trimol’s July 2015 10-K, the company has only had one customer, the former FSU member Moldova, with which Trimol’s wholly owned subsidiary Intercomsoft concluded a contract in 1996 for the producton of a National Passport and Population Registration system. That contract was not renewed in 2006, and the subsidiary and Trimol have had no revenues since then. Accordingly, as of 2016 Trimol has only two part time employees, its two principal shareholders, Birshtein and his nephew, who, directly and indirectly account for 79 percent of Trimol’s shares outstanding. According to the July 2015 10-K, Birshtein, in particular, owned 54 percent of TMOL’s outstanding 78.3 million shares, including 3.9 million by way of “Magnum Associates, Inc.,” which the 10-K says only has Birshtein as a shareholder, and 34.7 million by way of yet another Canadian company, “Royal HTM Group, Inc.” of Ontario (Canadian Federal Corporation # 624476-9), which is owned 50-50 by Birshtein and a nephew. It is interesting to note according to the Panama Papers database, a Panama company called “Magnum Associates Inc. was incorporated on December 10, 1987, and struck off on March 10, 1989. Source. As of December 2016, TMOL’s stock price was zero.

38See the case of Trimol Group Inc above. The Seabeco Group, Inc., a Panama company that was formed in December 1991, apparently still exists. Boris J. Birshtein is listed as this company’s Director and President. See “The Seabeco Group Inc.” registered in Panama by Morgan Y Morgan, 1991-12.06, with “Numero de Ficha” 254192; source here and here.

39As of December 2016, the Zurich company registry listed a Zurich company called “Conim Investment AG” (CH-020.3.002.334-7) was originally formed in May 1992, and in January 1995 was transferred to Arth, in the Canton of Schwyz, where it is still in existence. (CHE-102.029.498). This is confirmed by the Schwyz Canton registry. According to these registries, Conim Investment AG is the successor company to two other Zurich campanies, “Seabeco Kirgizstan AG,” formed in 1992, and “KD Kirgizstan Development AG,” its direct successor. Source. The Swiss federal company registry also reports the following Swiss companies in which Boris J.Birshtein has been an officer and or director, all of which are now in liquidation: (1) Seabeco Trade and Finance AG (CH-020.3.002.179-4, 4/3/92-11/30/98 ), ; (2) Seabeco SA (CHE-104.863.207,12/16/82-5/9/99) ; (3) Seabeco Metals AG (4/3/92-6/11/96); (4) BNB Trading AG (CH-020.3.002.181-9, 1/10/92-11/19/98 ); and (5) ME Moldova Enterprises AG (CH-020.3.003.104-1, 11/10/92-9/16/94). All of these liquidations were handled by the same trustee, Paul Barth in Arth.

40As of December 2016, active Birshtein companies include “Conim Investment AG” (CH-020.3.002.334-7) in the Swiss Canton of Schwyz and he Seabeco Group, Inc. in Panama.

41For example, the Zurich and Schwyz company registries indicates that the following have been board members of Birshtein companies: (1) Seabeco Trade and Finance AG: Iouri Orlov (citizen of Russia, resident of Moscow), Alexander Griaznov (citizen of Russia, resident of Basserdorf Switzerland), and Igor Filippov (citizen of Russia, resident of Basel). (2) ME Moldova Enterprises: Andrei Keptein (citizen of FSU/ Moldova; Evsei Shnaider (Russian émigré to Canada); (3) Seabeco Kirigizstan/ Conim Investment AG: Sanjarbek Almatov (citizen of Bishkek, FSU/ Kirgizstan), Toursounbek Tchynguychev (citizen of Bishkek, FSU/Kirgizstan), Evsei Shnaider (Russian émigré to Canada); (4) BNB Trading AG: Yuri Spivak (Russian émigré to Canada; (5) Seabeco Metals AG: Alex Shnaider (Russian émigré to Canada).

42Charles Clover, “Ukraine: Questions over Kuchma’s adviser cast shadows,” Financial Times, October 30, 1999, available here. See also Misha Glenny, 2009. McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld (Vintage Books), pp. 63–5.

43Clover, “Ukraine: Questions over Kuchma’s adviser cast shadows.”

44See FBI, Organizational Intelligence Unit (August 1998), “Semion Mogilevich Organization: Eurasian Organized Crime,” available here.

45Clover, “Ukraine: Questions over Kuchma’s adviser cast shadows.”

46Clover, “Ukraine: Questions over Kuchma’s adviser cast shadows.”

47“Boris knows everyone,” Toronto Star, August 28, 1993.

48See Zurich corporate registry for “Seabeco Metals AG” (CH-020.3.002.181-9), formed 4/3/92 and liquidated 6/11/96.

49Source.

50Source.

51Source.

52See Kaupthing Bank, “Loan Book, September 2008,” Wikileaks.

53The Panama Papers database provides an address for “Midland Resources Holding Limited” that exactly matches the company’s corporate address in Guernsey, as noted by Bloomberg’s corporate data base. Here are the 28 companies that are associated with Midland in database: Aligory Business Ltd.; Anglesey Business Ltd.; Blue Industrial Skies Inc.; Cl 850 Aviation Holdings Ltd.; Cl 850 Aircraft Investments Ltd.; Caray Business Inc.; Challenger Aircraft Company Limited; Colley International Marketing S.A.; East International Realty Ltd.; Filbert Pacific Limited; Gorlane Business Inc.; Jabar Incorporated; Jervois Holdings Inc.; Kerryhill Investments Corp.; Leaterby International Investments Corp.; Maddocks Equities Ltd.; Maverfin Holding Inc.; Midland Maritime Holding Ltd.; Midland River-Sea Holding Ltd.; Midland Drybulk Holding Ltd.; Midland Fundco Ltd.; Norson Investments Corp.; Olave Equities Limited; Orlion Business Incorporated; Perseus Global Inc.; Sellana Investments Global Corp.; Stogan Assets Incorporated; Toomish Asset Ltd.

54With the address “11 First Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street; apt. 42; Moscow; Russia.”: here, here, and here.

55As for the Midland-related offshore vehicles still listed as active, one shareholder in two of them—Stogan Assets Incorporated and Blue Sky Industries Inc.—happens to have the same name as Russia’s Deputy Culture Minister Gregory Pirumov, reportedly arrested in March 2016 on embezzlement charges. The “Gregory Pirumov” in the Panama Papers has a registered address in Moscow (4 Beregkovskaia Quay; 121059), as do the reported agent of these two companies: “Global Secretary Services Ltd. Mal. Tolmachevskiy pereulok 10 Office No.3 Moscow, Russia 119017 Attention: Katya Skupova).” See here. A “Georgy Pirumov” is also listed separately in the Panama Papers as having been a shareholder in the same two companies. For what it is worth, in September 2016, one “Georgy Pirumov” was convicted in Moscow of “illegally taking over a building in Gogolevsky Boulevard,” and sentenced to 20 months in a minimum-security correctional facility. See The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Sept 15, 2016. At this point, however, we need to emphasize that there is still plenty that needs to be investigated—we cannot yet confirm whether “Georgy” and “Gregory” are the same person, whether they are related, how they might be related to Shnaider’s Mineral Resources, or whether they are the same people named in the articles just noted above about criminal prosecutions.

56Source.

57See Schwyz canton corporate registry, “ME Moldova Enterprises AG,” CH-130.0.007.159-5.

58See Zurich corporate registry, “ME Moldova Enterprises AG,” CH-020.3.003.104-1 (11/10/92-9/16/94).

59See “Seabeco Group Inc.,” Panama Corporate Registry # 254192, formed 12-6-1991.

60See “Seabeco Security Intl Inc.” Panama Corporate Registry #254206, formed 12-10-1991.”

61See footnotes 58 and 59.

62Source.

63See Unian Information Agency.

64Source.

65See Transparency International Russia.

66A.K.A. “Tochtachunov.” See FBI, Organizational Intelligence Unit (August 1998), “Semion Mogilevich Organization: Eurasian Organized Crime.”

67According to the Panama Papers, as of December 2016, Lytton Ventures Inc., incorporated in 2006, was still an active company but its registration jurisdiction was listed as “unknown.”

68For Telesh’s company the director’s name is given as “Stanley Williams,” as compared with “Stanley Edward Williams” in Golubchik’s, but they have the same address. See here. Telesh’s company, Barlow Investing, was incorporated in 2004. In the PP database, as of December 2016 its status was “Transferred Out,” although its de-registration date and registration jurisdiction are unknown.

69Westix Ltd., registered in 2005, is still active, according to the Panama Papers.

70In the Panama Papers, Telesh’s company and Golubchik’s reportedly have the same director, one Stanley Williams. Williams is also reportedly a director of Westix, which shares its address with two other offshore companies that use corporate names that Mogilevich has reportedly used at least twice each in the past. Arbat Capital, registered in 2003, was still active as of December 2016, as was Arigon Overseas, registered in 2007.

71See the diagram below.

72These three offshore companies are not in the Panama Papers database. Firtash acknowledged these connections to Telesh but still told FT reporters that he didn’t know her. The three companies identified in the report are (1) Highrock Holdings, which Firtash and Telesh each reportedly owned 1/3rd of, and where Firtash served as director beginning in 2001; (2) Agatheas Holdings, where Firtash apparently replaced Telesh as director in 2003; and (3) Elmstad Trading, a Cyprus company owned by Firtash which in 2002 transferred the shares of a Russian company named Rinvey to Telesh and two other people: one of them Firtash’s lawyer and the other the wife of a reputed Mogilevich business partner. See also here.

73On Mogilevich, see, for example, this.

74See also FBI, Organizational Intelligence Unit (August 1998), “Semion Mogilevich Organization; Eurasian Organized Crime,” available here.

75Source.

76See FBI archives and Slate.

77David Cay Johnston, interview with the author, November 2016. Wayne Barrett, Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention (Regan Arts, 2016).

78Johnston, interview; see also here. In another interesting coincidence, the President of YBM Magnex was also reportedly a financial director of Highrock in the late 1990s, before Manafort-client Dmytro Firtash joined the company as a director in 2001. See note 151. Source.

79Source.

80Source.

James S. Henry, Esq. is an investigative economist and lawyer who has written widely about offshore and onshore tax havens, kleptocracy, and pirate banking. He is the author of The Blood Bankers (Basic Books, 2003,2005), a classic investigation of where the money went that was loaned to key debtor countries in the 1970s-1990s. He is a senior fellow at the Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment, a Global Justice Fellow at Yale, a senior advisor at the Tax Justice Network, and a member of the New York Bar. He has pursued frontline investigations of odious debt, flight capital, and corruption in more than fifty developing countries, including Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil, the Philippines, Argentina, Venezuela, and Panama.
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Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Without Russian mafia Donald Trump would not be president of the United States
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:49 am

Luther Blissett » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:09 pm wrote:
seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:31 pm wrote:
Roger Stone now admits he communicated directly with Russian hacker who stole DNC emails
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

Two days ago, investigative site The Smoking Gun uncovered evidence that former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone had communicated directly with the Russian hacker who stole DNC emails. Today, Stone himself is admitting in an interview with the Washington Times that the conversations did indeed happen. This marks the first official documentation that the Trump campaign communicated directly with Russian hackers during the election – and it’s a big deal.

Roger Stone had admitted in a Twitter post months ago that he’d been keeping a “backchannel” open with international cyberterrorist group WikiLeaks, which went on to release the stolen DNC emails in question — an admission he repeated last week in a twitter post he later deleted. It’s long been suspected that a Russian hacker nicknamed Guccifer 2.0 stole the DNC emails and then fed them to WikiLeaks for public release. And now Stone is finally admitting that he was communicating directly with Guccifer 2.0, and not merely with the WikiLeaks intermediary.

So where does this leave us? Several of Donald Trump’s campaign advisers, including Jeff Sessions and J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, have now admitted to having met privately with the Russian Ambassador during the course of the election. According to recent admissions by Page and Gordon, those meetings were related to Trump’s personal insistence that the Republican Party platform be changed to favor Russia.

While that’s suspicious in its own right, proving a conspiracy to rig the election would require demonstrating that the Trump campaign knowingly made the platform change in exchange for Russia hacking the election. Thus it’s a big deal that Roger Stone is now admitting to the Washington Times (after he’d just been outed by The Smoking Gun) that he was in direct contact with the Russian hacker responsible.

This means the Donald Trump campaign was in direct contact with both the Russian diplomat who wanted the party platform changed and the Russian hacker who rigged the election, connecting the campaign to both sides of the conspiracy and making it nearly impossible for the campaign to argue that it wasn’t a quid pro quo arrangement. Roger Stone was a Trump campaign adviser, and Trump and Stone are close friends going back decades, making it nearly impossible for Trump to claim that he didn’t know about the Russian plot his campaign was carrying out.
http://www.palmerreport.com/news/roger- ... ails/1868/


Why is Donald Trump’s State Dept. using “diplomatic immunity” to protect a dead Russian?
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

“Diplomatic immunity” is a privilege granted to foreign diplomats and ambassadors to make sure the host nation can’t falsely charge them with a crime in the name of gaining political leverage over their home nation. But Donald Trump’s State Department appears to have an entirely different understanding of the term, as it’s invoking diplomatic immunity today in the name of not revealing the cause of death of Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Churkin unexpectedly died in New York three weeks ago, making him the seventh out of eight prominent Russians to drop dead since the Trump-Russia scandal exploded. And now we’re suddenly being told that we’re not allowed to know how Churkin died, because the information needs to be protected under diplomatic immunity.

The claim is absurd on its face for two reasons. One is that an ambassador’s diplomatic immunity is not generally considered to be still intact after his death, as its sole purpose was to protect him from being falsely charged with crimes while he was alive. But even if one were to stipulate to the odd notion that Vitaly Churkin still enjoys diplomatic immunity from the grave, it would still only apply with regard to protecting him from criminal charges.

As such, suppressing his cause of death would only fall under “diplomatic immunity” if revealing his cause of death would implicate him in a crime in the process. To pick an arbitrary hypothetical example, if Churkin were killed by police while attempting to rob a 7-Eleven, then his cause of death couldn’t be revealed without accusing him of the robbery. But even then, accusing Churkin of that crime wouldn’t be the same as trying to charge him with a crime. In other words, this is a fully nonsensical claim.

And yet the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced today that it can’t publicly reveal Vitaly Churkin’s cause of death because it’s been instructed not to by the city’s legal department. It’s referring any further questions to the State Department, which just happens to be run by longtime Vladimir Putin ally and recently appointed Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. This suggests Churkin’s cause of death is being covered up for purely political reasons.

Is the Donald Trump administration attempting to cover up the death of Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin because he was involved in the Trump-Russia conspiracy and he was murdered over it? Or did Churkin die of harmless causes, and the Trump administration doesn’t realize how much suspicion it’s bringing down on itself by absurdly invoking “diplomatic immunity” to suppress his cause of death? Now we find out if we can force the cause of death to be publicly released under the Freedom of Information Act.
https://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/wh ... sian/1866/


After watchdog asks U.S. attorney to launch Donald Trump probe, Jeff Sessions fires him
By Bill Palmer | March 10, 2017 | 0

Two days ago, an ethics watchdog group formally asked U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to launch an investigation into Donald Trump’s financial ties, which are in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Today, in what it highly unlikely to be a coincidence, Attorney General has asked Preet Bharara to resign. In fact Sessions is now pushing out dozens of Bharara’s colleagues in a seeming attempt at ensuring no one is left to investigate Trump.

The political watchdog group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington sent a letter to Preet Bharara on Wednesday, which was reported at the time by NPR. Bharara was appointed by President Barack Obama. And now, according to a report from the LA Times today, Jeff Sessions is asking for all forty-six U.S. Attorneys appointed by Obama to immediately resign.

This is a staggering break from protocol, as new presidents have generally handled these things in a staggered manner to ensure that enough U.S. Attorneys remain on the job at any given time. The timing is also highly suspicious. Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General more than a month ago, yet he saw no urgency in pushing out holdover U.S. Attorneys until one of them was asked to investigate his boss Trump – and now Sessions suddenly wants them all gone.

This stands out as even more suspect in light of the Donald Trump administration’s inability to staff up the federal government with its own people on any level. Hundreds of key federal government positions are sitting vacant because Trump hasn’t nominated anyone to fill them. He’s filled virtually none of the U.S. Ambassador positions. And the State Department in particular has no current leadership team in place at all.

And yet Jeff Sessions woke up today and suddenly decided to simultaneously create forty-six new high level vacancies within his DOJ that he’ll have great difficulty filling. If he tries to argue that he didn’t make the brash and reckless move as a last ditch effort at protecting Donald Trump’s increasingly obvious financial violations of the Constitution, he’ll look foolish doing so.
https://www.palmerreport.com/opinion/wa ... sign/1869/


Roger Stone most definitely did not "communicate" "directly with" the "hacker" who "rigged the U.S. election." Holy moly.


Former Trump Adviser Roger Stone Admits Collusion With WikiLeaks, Then Deletes It
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did he deleted it because it was a lie or did he delete it because it was the truth?

we will find out at the Intel hearings next week when he is under oath

from The Smoking Gun to Vice

seemslikeadream » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:32 am wrote:
Roger Stone's Russian Hacking "Hero"

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Trump loyalist communicated with "Guccifer 2.0," target of FBI probe


MARCH 8--In the months before Election Day, a longtime confidante and political consultant for Donald Trump was in contact with the Russian hacking group that U.S. intelligence officials have accused of illegally breaching the Democratic National Committee’s computer system and the e-mail accounts of Hillary Clinton campaign officials in a bid to aid Trump, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The contact between Roger Stone, the Trump associate, and the Russian influence operation came via private messages exchanged on Twitter, according to a source. Stone’s contact was with “Guccifer 2.0,” an online persona that U.S. officials say was created by Russian government officials to distribute and publicize material stolen during hacks of the DNC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Gmail accounts used by Clinton staffers like John Podesta, the campaign's chairman.
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Though “Guccifer 2.0” maintained that he was a lone “hacktivist” committed to “fight all those illuminati,” a U.S. intelligence assessment concluded with “high confidence” that the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence service, was operating the “Guccifer 2.0” persona, which communicated through Twitter, a WordPress blog, and a series of burner e-mail accounts.

Asked if he had exchanged private Twitter direct messages with “Guccifer 2.0,” Stone said in a text, “don’t recall.” In reply to a question about whether anyone else had access to his Twitter account, Stone--who has called “Guccifer 2.0” his “hero”--said, “Numerous people who work for me have access to my twitter feed.”

Stone said he thought his “entire communication” with “Guccifer 2.0” “was on twitter for the world to see.” The “brief exchange was public,” Stone contended. The 64-year-old Stone, who revels in his reputation as a dirty trickster, added he was unsure that the “Guccifer 2.0” on Twitter “is really him.” With the exception of “Guccifer 2.0” replying to one Stone tweet and directing a second tweet at the Republican operative, their Twitter accounts reflect no public back-and-forth communication.

Stone has mocked assertions that Democrats were targeted by Vladimir Putin’s government, saying that Clinton and her supporters could not admit being hacked by “one person” because that “didn’t look sinister enough.”

The “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account was used by the hackers to publicize material stolen in the DNC, DCCC, and Gmail incursions. The account also hyped the publication of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mails on Wikileaks and retweeted calls for support for Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In late-July, “Guccifer 2.0” began following Stone, the only Trump World figure among the small group followed by the hackers.

Beginning in mid-June, for nearly four months TSG had intermittent contact with “Guccifer 2.0” via the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account and several e-mail accounts (from which hundreds of stolen documents were transmitted to the site).

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In late-August, TSG asked “Guccifer 2.0” about contact with Stone. After wondering, “why r u asking?,” “Guccifer 2.0” then accused TSG of receiving reportorial guidance from federal investigators: “the fbi’s tracing me, reading my dm [direct messages] and giving u hints. no?” When further pressed, “Guccifer 2.0” said, “i won’t comment on my conversations with other ppl.” The self-professed “freedom fighter” added, “why r u so interested in stone? he’s just a person who wrote a story about me. or i don’t know some important stuff?”

“Guccifer 2.0” surfaced on June 15, a day after The Washington Post reported that the DNC had been hacked and that security experts concluded that the Russian government was behind the intrusion.

In an e-mail to TSG, the hackers wrote, “Hi. This is Guccifer 2.0 and this is me who hacked Democratic National Committee.” After bragging that the DNC hack was “easy, very easy,” “Guccifer 2.0” noted that, “The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to Wikileaks.” Attached to the introductory e-mail were an assortment of documents stolen from the DNC’s servers.

While “Guccifer 2.0” subsequently shared additional documents with TSG and other reporters (and posted stolen material to the WordPress blog), the most damaging DNC material appeared on Wikileaks in late-July, days before the Democratic National Convention opened in Philadelphia.

After “Guccifer 2.0” took credit for the DNC attack--as well as the provision of stolen goods to Wikileaks--the FBI opened a criminal investigation into the hack. As part of the probe being run out of the bureau’s office in San Francisco, agents have obtained detailed records for the “Guccifer 2.0” Twitter and WordPress accounts, according to two sources. It is unknown whether the account records were obtained via search warrant or grand jury subpoena, or whether federal agents have gathered enough evidence to seek an indictment against “Guccifer 2.0” or, perhaps, individuals connected to the online persona.

Records obtained from Twitter and WordPress--both of which are headquartered in San Francisco--would include IP addresses from which the accounts were accessed. But barring an operational security mishap, those IP logs likely lead to an assortment of proxies spread across Europe. “I took all the measures so that they won't track me!” Guccifer wrote in one e-mail to TSG.

Stored Twitter records, however, would include tweets and direct messages, according to the company. “Guccifer 2.0” also used ever-changing e-mail accounts (he corresponded with TSG from three addresses, including an encrypted ProtonMail account).

The FBI also has an ongoing counterintelligence investigation that is examining possible links between several Trump loyalists, including Stone, and Russian officials. That investigation, aided by a multiagency working group including CIA and National Security Agency officials, has involved the review of intercepted communications and financial records, according to press reports.

Responding to media reports about the counterintelligence probe, Stone recently told the pro-Kremlin RT network that he had read that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had approved the wiretapping of his phone calls and the monitoring of his e-mail accounts. “I don’t know if that’s true. I’m told that there’s a grand jury convened,” said Stone, who did not specify where he had learned about the supposed interception of his communications.

Among the Trump associates being investigated by the FBI, Stone has known the 45th president the longest. For more than 30 years, Stone has worked, on and off, for Trump as a lobbyist, strategic advisor, and political consultant. Stone, who urged Trump to run for president in 1988, 2000, and 2012, wrote in 2011 that the real estate developer was a “middle class phenomenon,” adding that, “The higher your level of education the more likely you are to loathe Trump.”

Like Trump, Stone is vain, vindictive, and prone to declarations untethered to the truth. Both men are protégés of Roy Cohn, the reptilian attorney whose career initially blossomed at the elbow of Senator Joseph McCarthy and ended in disbarment weeks before his death from AIDS in 1986.
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Stone began working for Trump’s presidential campaign months before the Republican candidate famously descended Trump Tower’s escalator in June 2015. Two months after Trump’s announcement, Stone--who had clashed with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski--was gone. Stone told reporters he quit, while Trump said he fired the veteran consultant, who was paid a total of $50,000 for his campaign work, Federal Election Commission records show.

Though no longer on the campaign payroll, Stone eventually resumed contact with Trump, according to numerous media reports describing Stone as an informal advisor to the Republican candidate (whose campaign was briefly chaired by Paul Manafort, a former partner of Stone’s in a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm).

Four months after Stone quit/was fired, he got Trump to agree to an interview with Alex Jones, the crackpot conspiracy theorist. During that notorious December 2015 Skype conversation--broadcast live on Jones’s Infowars program--Trump told the loony host, “Your reputation’s amazing” and pledged, “I will not let you down. You will be very, very impressed, I hope.” Sitting at his Trump Tower desk, Trump also saluted Stone as a “patriot” and “tough cookie” who “has been so loyal and so wonderful.”

In light of Stone’s relationship with Trump (whom Stone paid a congratulatory Trump Tower visit in December), some of the operative’s campaign pronouncements have come under close scrutiny by federal investigators. Especially since Stone appeared to have an inside line on upcoming Wikileaks e-mail dumps.

During an August 8 speech, Stone said, “I actually have communicated with Assange” and then referred to a Wikileaks “October surprise.” Stone subsequently stated that while he had never met or spoken to the Wikileaks founder, the men had a “mutual friend” who served as an “intermediary.”

Days after Stone’s speech, he told Jones that he had been the victim of a hack targeting “My personal accounts, my business accounts, my political work, a number of my bank accounts have been accessed.” Stone claimed that the hack occurred “as soon as it became publicly known that I was in communication with Julian Assange.”

When asked about Stone’s claim that he had a “back channel communications with Wikileaks,” a spokesperson for Assange issued a flat denial: “Wikileaks has had no contact with Roger Stone.”



On August 21, Stone tweeted that it would soon be Podesta’s “time in the barrel.” Stone’s Twitter predictions became more precise in the days before Wikileaks began publishing the contents of Podesta’s Gmail account on October 7. On October 1, Stone declared that “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done.” Two days later, Stone tweeted that he was confident that “my hero Julian Assange” would soon “educate the American people.” In an October 5 tweet, Stone reported that, “Payload coming” and included the hashtag “Lockthemup.”

Stone also went on Jones’s show on October 2 to declare that, “I’m assured the motherlode is coming Wednesday.” He added, “I have reason to believe that it is devastating.” Stone also claimed that Assange was fearful that “the globalists and the Clintonites are trying to figure out how to kill him.”

Though Stone missed the Wikileaks release date by two days, Podesta told reporters that it was a “reasonable conclusion” that “Mr. Stone had advanced warning and the Trump campaign had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do.” During his October 11 remarks, Podesta added, “I think there’s a reasonable belief that Mr. Assange may have passed this information onto Mr. Stone.” For his part, Stone dismissed Podesta’s collusion charge as “categorically false.” When asked by a TV interviewer if he was being used to pass information to the Trump campaign, Stone replied, “No. I’m using them to write a blog that more people read than watch MSNBC.”

Like many of his supporters, Trump repeatedly promoted the Wikileaks disclosures during the campaign’s final months (and mentioned them at all three presidential debates). A few days into the month-long drip of Podesta’s 55,000 e-mails, Trump called the stolen material “incredible,” “unbelievable,” and “big stuff.” On October 10, Trump told a Pennsylvania audience, “Wikileaks. I love Wikileaks.” A day later he gushed to Bill O’Reilly, “Wikileaks is amazing.”

On October 7, one of the presidential campaign’s most consequential days, The Washington Post published the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video showing Trump having a lewd conversation about grabbing women “by the pussy.” About two hours after the video’s uploading, Wikileaks posted its first installment of the Podesta e-mails. That Friday afternoon also saw the release of a statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence about Russian efforts to “interfere with the US election process.”
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The joint statement reported that the U.S. intelligence community was confident that the Russian government “directed” the hacking of the DNC, Podesta, and other Clinton campaign officials. Charging that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement noted that the distribution of hacked material via “Guccifer 2.0” and the web site DC Leaks was “consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.”

Like “Guccifer 2.0,” DC Leaks first appeared online last June and was used to house the correspondence of Clinton campaign officials who fell for a spear phishing e-mail. TSG learned of the DC Leaks site in a late-June e-mail from “Guccifer 2.0.” The hackers falsely claimed DC Leaks was a Wikileaks affiliate and later provided a reporter with a password allowing access to a protected part of the web site.

While Stone’s prescient comments about Podesta’s “time in the barrel” and the Wikileaks “motherlode” have justly prompted scrutiny by federal agents (and suspicious Democratic officials), the Trump associate’s contact with “Guccifer 2.0” is worthy of even closer review. Because while Stone’s claim of a “back channel” to Wikileaks rests solely on his shaky credibility, his admiration for “Guccifer 2.0”--Russian operatives peddling purloined goods--is well documented.

In an August 13 Twitter post, Stone called “Guccifer 2.0” a “HERO.” After the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account was banned in response to the distribution of a spreadsheet containing the private phone numbers and e-mail addresses of hundreds of Democratic officeholders, Stone called the punishment “Outrageous!” and wondered, “why are those exposing the truth banned?” When Twitter restored the “Guccifer 2.0” account, Stone exclaimed, “Thank You, Sweet Jesus. I’ve prayed for it.”
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While “Guccifer 2.0” was briefly bounced from Twitter, Stone declared that the “Clintonistas” needed to “censor their critics to rig the upcoming election.” Stone’s reference to “Guccifer 2.0” as a Clinton “critic” came after published reports had already identified “Guccifer 2.0” as a G.R.U. invention. Additionally, multiple cybersecurity firms had by then issued reports concluding that the DNC breach was the handiwork of Russian government hackers.

Stone’s declaration that “Guccifer 2.0” was his hero came about a week after Breitbart.com published a story by Stone which excoriated Clinton for accusing the Russian government of hacking the DNC. Declaring that Clinton’s “dishonest blame-casting is so dangerous,” Stone blasted the Democratic nominee for using “rhetoric that poses a dangerous threat to out democracy and even world peace.”

Stone then identified the “real culprit” as a lone operator using the handle “Guccifer 2.0.” While the exploits of “Guccifer 2.0” had been widely reported for nearly two months, Stone wrote that “our pathetic press patsies” had mindlessly opted to “keep repeating Hillary’s spin” about a Russian cyber attack. Stone, you see, took claims from “Guccifer 2.0” that he was just a Romanian guy with a laptop at face value. “The DNC being hacked by one person didn’t look sinister enough,” wrote Stone, who has no tech expertise or history of analyzing hacking methodology. “Time for the victim card! Blame the Russians! Blame Putin! Blame Trump!”

Stone’s piece on Breitbart--which was then still being run by Stephen Bannon--contended that “common sense” dictated that “if Russia were doing what Hillary says they were doing they simply would have gone straight to Wikileaks” with the stolen DNC documents. Which, of course, is exactly what “Guccifer 2.0” said was done, a fact Stone neatly avoided.

After posting the Breitbart story to his personal web site, Stone tweeted out a link to his 100,000-plus followers along with the claim that, “Roger Stone shows Russians didn’t hack Hillary.”

Despite Stone’s shoddy reporting and harebrained analysis, his piece was a hit with at least one reader: “Guccifer 2.0.”

In an August 12 tweet, the hackers wrote, “@RogerJStoneJr thanks that u believe in the real #Guccifer2.” This was Russia’s military intelligence agency saluting a Trump associate for his work as a signal booster when it came to the fiction that “Guccifer 2.0” was a Romanian laptop warrior battling the Illuminati. The G.R.U. was likely equally pleased when--the following day--Stone rushed to the defense of his “HERO” when Twitter briefly banned the “@GUCCIFER_2” account.

On August 16, Stone posted a link to a story he authored about how the presidential election could be “rigged against Donald Trump” through the manipulation of electronic voting machines. This piece of fantasy stirred “Guccifer 2.0” to reply directly to Stone’s tweet.

“paying u back,” wrote “Guccifer 2.0.” The hackers then retweeted Stone’s tweet on the “@GUCCIFER_2” Twitter account.
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During the course of the presidential campaign, Stone, like Trump, denied that Russian agents were behind the coordinated attacks on the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign. It could have been anyone, they reasoned, from China to a fat guy on a couch.

But following a two-hour briefing on January 6 by the director of national intelligence and the heads of the FBI and CIA, Trump grudgingly conceded Russia was the culprit. “I think it was Russia,” was the best Trump could muster at a January 11 press conference.

Stone, however, is less convinced. Days after Trump’s classified briefing and the release of an intelligence assessment that identified “Guccifer 2.0” as a G.R.U. asset used to distribute hacked material, Stone dismissed accounts of “a massive Russian conspiracy.” In a blog post, Stone blamed “Clinton Cohorts in the media,” among others, for mounting a distraction campaign aimed at vilifying Russia and inciting a “global conflict.”

In mid-January, Stone even claimed that he was “poisoned to stop me from exposing the ‘Russian Hacking’ LIE” before a congressional committee. During an Infowars appearance with Jones, Stone said that he became extremely ill before Christmas and suffered “over 14 days of high fevers, delirium, night sweats, I had lesions on my chest and my face. I had extreme diarrhea. I had vomiting that could not be stopped with medication.”

The “general consensus” of doctors, Stone claimed, was that he was poisoned with polonium or a substance with the characteristics of the radioactive agent (which was famously used to kill Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko). Stone told Jones that “the conjecture of all the doctors” was that he did not receive “a large enough dose to kill me.” He went on to spin a conspiracy theory involving George Soros, David Brock, and enemies in the “Deep State” who manufactured “this Russian fraud.”

Jones said it was a “stroke of luck” that Stone did not drink the “full potion,” thus dodging a poisoning death. It remains unclear, however, if the polonium survived its encounter with Stone.

* * *

Trump’s presidential campaign and ascendancy to the White House have provided Stone with something of a late-career resurgence. While he relishes media pieces describing him as “Possibly The Most Dangerous Man In Politics,” Stone has long been marginalized in top-tier Republican circles. Stone, who splits his time between rentals in Manhattan and Ft. Lauderdale, has recently been limited to handling smaller campaigns in south Florida.

Running on the fumes of dirty tricks dating to Richard Nixon’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President, Stone has pivoted from being a political consultant to a media firebrand peddling books and other merch.



In the process, Stone has become a darling of the alt-right thanks to his nonstop disparagement of members of the Obama, Bush, and Clinton families. He is pictured in one of the most popular right-wing memes of the campaign season, a Photoshopped reworking of a poster for the Sylvester Stallone movie “The Expendables.” Stone, one of “The Deplorables,” is seen flanking Trump along with the candidate’s sons, Jones, Rudolph Giuliani, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Pepe the Frog.

Stone has delighted the Breitbart and Infowars crowd with a stream of misogynistic, racially charged Twitter slurs. He has called a TV commentator a “stupid negro,” a former Clinton cabinet member a “disgusting lesbian dwarf,” and labeled former Rep. Michele Bachman a "tranny" with a "mincing, lisping husband."

In a Twitter tirade this weekend, Stone called one female detractor a “stupid ignorant ugly bitch” and told a journalist, “go fuck yourself, u talentless asswipe.” These comments prompted author J.K. Rowling to tweet, “This man is an advisor to the leader of the free world. This guy, right here. #rogerstone.” Stone, no doubt, was thrilled to be upbraided by the creator of Harry Potter, who has nearly 10 million Twitter followers.

When confronted about his online antics, Stone has described the slurs as “intemperate” and “two-martini tweets.” But Stone offers no apologies, because smearing is like breathing for him.

An aging bottle blonde with an overbite and a suspicious hairline, Stone is a dandy who enjoys discussing his Anderson & Sheppard threads and the proper top hat to be matched with a morning suit. He is partial to vintage Jaguars and Citroens and his Instagram feed reflects his fondness for playing dress up.

That Stone has succeeded in marketing himself to the coarse Infowars and alt-right crowd is a testament to his talents as a chameleon and world-class media manipulator.
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In 1996, Stone was forced to resign a top post with Bob Dole’s presidential campaign after the National Enquirer reported that he and his wife Nydia, now 69, had placed numerous ads online and in swingers magazines seeking single men and couples for group sex. One ad described Stone as a bodybuilder and included a shirtless photo of him with a black bar over his eyes. His wife is pictured topless in an accompanying image.

Stone initially denied placing the ads, claiming that they were the work of a “very sick individual.” But years later he admitted to The New Yorker that the ads were authentic, and described himself as a “libertine.”

Undaunted by the Dole disaster, the Stones continued swinging. In a December 2006 post on the Dark Cavern web site, the couple advertised for a male partner who “must be 22-40, lean, muscular and hung like a horse.” The ad, which included Stone’s Hotmail address, offered a graphic description of Nydia’s body and the notation that “Obidient husband shares her cunt.” Respondents were directed to “Contact me/us with a photo of face/body/meat.” The Stone ad was found on a meetup page for Florida swingers.

Dark Cavern (motto: “We unite black and white”) is dedicated to facilitating and chronicling sexual encounters between “black studs” and white women (usually while the husband looks on). The site offers recaps from couples about “going black” and has a section where “wives and studs” can suggest “new ways to humiliate the wimp hubbies.”

The news that one of their beloved “Deplorables” once advertised for “huge hung black Cock” might not go over well in alt-right circles, where masculinity, virility, and racial prominence are prized. In fact, there is a favorite pejorative used by Breitbartians when they sense that someone is weak, effeminate, or a supporter of someone other than Trump. If only Pepe & Co. knew there was a real-life cuck in their midst.

Since Stone has been banned from many cable TV programs, his relationship with Jones--and access to the conspiracy theorist’s large audience--has become central to his ability to maintain his profile and sell his slipshod books about the Bush crime family, LBJ’s plot to murder JFK, and Bill Clinton’s war on women. Stone and Jones even jointly marketed a Bill Clinton “RAPE” t-shirt (now marked down to $9.99 on Stone’s online store) and a Clinton rape whistle (available for just $6.99 in the Infowars shop).

Stone’s latest tome, a 363-page slog about Trump’s march to the White House, is titled “The Making of the President 2016.” Stone stole the book’s title from the late journalist Theodore White, whose four-book series chronicled the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections.

Stone’s grave robbing is not limited to White, who died in 1986. He also publishes an “International Best and Worst Dressed” list, an annual compilation made famous by Richard Blackwell, who died in 2008. Stone, whose bio lists him as “Men’s Fashion Editor” of The Daily Caller, a political web site without a fashion section, this year named Yiannopoulos, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, and conservative commentator Tomi Lahren to his best dressed list. Oddly, many of those on Stone’s worst dressed list also double as his political enemies: Hillary Clinton, David Brock, Michael Moore, and Lena Dunham. And, of course, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, whom Stone has delighted in denigrating on Twitter as “fat,” “stupid,” “borderline retarded,” and an “entitled diva bitch.”

While Stone promoted his books and merch during the 2016 campaign, he was also operating a pro-Trump Super PAC called the Committee to Restore America’s Greatness. Launched in December 2015--four months after Stone left the Trump campaign--the PAC promised to target Trump’s GOP rivals, particularly Senator Marco Rubio.
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Upon learning of Stone’s PAC, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski branded it a “Big league scam.” Stone responded on Twitter, saying that he was “a volunteer” and was “uncompensated” by the PAC, which had just started to solicit donations.

But Stone did not volunteer for long, according to Federal Election Commission records. Beginning in March 2016, two Stone companies were paid a total of $159,000 by the PAC for consulting services and “voter fraud research and documentation.” The PAC, which was terminated last month, raised about $500,000.

Stone’s PAC paid $141,000 to Jensen & Associates, a two-lawyer personal injury firm in Costa Mesa, California. The firm is run by Paul Rolf Jensen, 58, an anti-gay activist and Obama birther who has previously represented Stone. FEC filings report that the payments to Jensen’s firm were for “legal and accounting” services provided to Stone’s PAC.

In 2008, weeks after The New York Times reported that Eliot Spitzer was ensnared in a prostitution investigation, Stone claimed responsibility for tipping off the FBI about the New York governor’s weakness for hookers. The claims of Stone, a Spitzer nemesis, were detailed in a letter that was signed by Jensen and purportedly sent to the FBI in late-2007. A copy of Jensen’s letter somehow found its way to a Miami Herald reporter, who noted that while the missive was addressed to the FBI, the names of the supposed recipients were blacked out. Which, of course, would make it difficult to determine whether the letter was actually sent.

Jensen’s letter stated that Stone learned about Spitzer paying for hookers from a call girl he met at a Miami strip club. The letter noted that Spitzer “did not remove his mid-calf length black socks during the sex act.” This tawdry detail, now lodged in the public record as if it were demonstrably true, reads like a trademark Stone fabrication, an allegation spoon fed to the media in a bid to humiliate a political adversary.

Stone’s tendency to exaggerate his accomplishments--and to take credit for things he did not do--once prompted GOP consultant Ed Rollins to say, “I don’t think you’ll find anyone in the business who trusts him. Roger was always a little rat.” Stone last year called Rollins a “talentless buffoon” and, in an appearance on Jones’s show, charged that Rollins was running a pro-Trump PAC that was a “scam” and a “fraud.”

What Stone forgot to mention was that the Trump campaign--at Lewandowski’s direction--had, weeks earlier, sent the FEC a “disavowal letter” stating that both the Stone and Rollins PACs were not authorized by Trump. When Lewandowski was fired by Trump last June, Stone rejoiced since his ex-partner Manafort was taking over as campaign manager. After Lewandowski was deposed, reporter Matt Labash wrote in The Weekly Standard, “Stone called me, singing ‘Back In The Saddle Again.’”

In addition to his Super PAC, Stone also formed Stop The Steal, a tax-exempt organization that, due to Internal Revenue Service rules, could raise and spend unlimited amounts, but was barred from supporting (or opposing) a specific candidate. Stop The Steal, Stone explained, was initially formed to help safeguard against Republican Party insiders denying Trump the party’s nomination. The group subsequently alleged that the Clinton campaign was



plotting to steal the general election--a warning echoed by Trump and Jones--and claimed to be arranging for independent exit polls to be conducted on November 8.

Stop The Steal, IRS records show, raised about $40,000. While the group has not been disbanded, visitors to stopthesteal.org are redirected to Stone’s personal web site.

For an organization purportedly dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the voting process, Stone’s group made a series of odd expenditures in December:

* Stop The Steal paid $4000 to Steven Gray, a North Little Rock, Arkansas resident, for “fundraising expenses.” Gray is the best friend of Danney Williams, 31, who claims to be Bill Clinton’s illegitimate black son (a story that Stone and Jones have vigorously pushed). Williams and Gray appeared together at a press conference before the final presidential debate in Las Vegas in mid-October. After announcing his intention to file a paternity suit seeking a DNA sample from Clinton, Williams was asked how he paid for the Nevada trip. Williams, a jobless ex-con, and Gray replied that they had saved their own money and raised other funds from neighbors. When a journalist asked Williams about his relationship with Stone--who wrote about Williams in his 2015 book “The Clintons’ War on Women”--Williams replied, “I don’t have no relationship with Roger Stone.” Stone’s new book includes an undated photo (seen at right) of him posing with Williams.
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* On December 27, Stone’s group paid $3500 to Kristin Davis for “fundraising expenses.” Davis, 41, is a twice-convicted felon who has served prison time for running a high-end prostitution business and then for selling controlled substances. Davis, a close friend of Stone’s, ran for governor of New York in 2010 at Stone’s urging and claimed that she once supplied hookers to a rough sex-loving Spitzer. Released from federal custody in May 2016, Davis will remain on probation until 2018. The former pimp/pusher gave birth to a son in late-September (she says she was impregnated while serving the final portion of her sentence in a halfway house). Davis has declined to identify the father of her son, Carter Stone Davis. But she has said that Stone is one of the baby’s two godfathers. Davis and Stone are pictured below.

* Stop The Steal paid Alejandro Vidal $5000 for “fundraising expenses.” Vidal, a 31-year-old Floridian, is the founder of Freenauts, a hip-hop group whose catalog consists of raps about the “Clinton Crime Cartel,” the “Bush Crime Family,” and Williams’s plight. The group’s video for “Justice for Danney Williams” was released two days before the final Clinton-Trump debate and was heavily promoted by Stone, Jones, and their cohorts. Vidal’s web site reports that he helps produce Stone’s weekly “Stone Cold Truth” radio show.

* A Virginia PR firm headed by Stone pal Christian Josi was paid $3500 by Stop The Steal (and another $3000 by Stone’s PAC). In his Trump book, Stone credits Josi with running “the Clinton Rape T-shirt campaign for me,” a “crude guerilla tactic” that “Alex Jones then kicked off into the stratosphere.” Josi’s tasks apparently included running the “@ClintonRapeTee” Twitter account, which included a link to clintonrapeshirt.com (which redirected visitors to Stone’s online store).
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Stop The Steal and Stone’s PAC also paid a total of $14,000 to Andrew Miller, a veteran Stone henchman who ran Davis’s gubernatorial campaign. Miller, who started as Stone’s chauffeur, has moved to California, where, along with his wife (another Stone crony) he is operating a medical cannabis firm that cultivates and delivers product to clients in Anaheim and Yorba Linda. Stone and Miller have talked about developing “Tricky Dick,” a pot strain that would honor Richard Nixon, who was born in Yorba Linda. Like Assange and “Guccifer 2.0,” Nixon is another of Stone’s heroes.

Stone has been surrounded for years by a ragtag coterie of operatives who execute the boss’s astroturfing and smear campaigns. One Stone sidekick was convicted of smuggling 19 illegal aliens into the country via a 25-foot cabin cruiser he piloted from the Bahamas. The man got his sentence reduced by providing federal agents with “valuable information concerning individuals involved in narcotics trafficking and alien smuggling,” according to court records.

While competitors like Rollins, Mike Murphy, Steve Schmidt, and Karl Rove handled high-profile GOP campaigns, Stone and his troupe mucked around with sleazier pursuits. When a south Florida TV reporter began probing Stone’s operation, Miller published a story on his Broward County news blog that claimed an unidentified “peeper” was on the prowl. The item was accompanied by an artist's sketch of the newsman. A pending lawsuit accuses Stone of smearing a Libertarian Party candidate in an election mailer labeled “SEXUAL PREDATOR ALERT.” The piece included a photo of the pol, his home address, and the warning that the man was a “sick twisted pervert” who was a danger to children.

A typical stealth Stone operation occurred in early-2015, just before the launch of the Trump campaign.

A proposal to pay $500 million for nearly 50,000 acres of land in the Florida Everglades was backed by environmental activists. But the taxpayer-funded purchase was not supported by the land’s owner, the U.S. Sugar Corporation (which, years earlier, had retained Stone to help kill a one-cent sugar tax earmarked for Everglades restoration).

While the land purchase had the support of actual Floridians, some of the opposition was manufactured by Stone, who stayed in the shadows. Tea Party Miami joined with a new outfit, Florida Citizens Against Waste, to oppose the land deal. The tea party group--which claimed a membership in excess of 26,000--was a shell operation founded by Stone’s longtime executive assistant. Florida Citizens Against Waste was fronted by another Stone crony and launched a web site at stopthelandgrab.org that urged citizens to join a protest outside the South Florida Water Management’s Palm Beach office. Signs would be provided, the group noted, and there would be “Free lunch afterwards.”

The “protesters” that subsequently showed up one Thursday morning were actually 50 members of a Broward County acting group who were paid $75 each (and learned of the gig via a Facebook post). Contacted by a Palm Beach Post reporter, a U.S. Sugar spokesperson said the firm had no involvement with the rally.

[Two months after Stone & Co. staged the Palm Beach protest, Trump announced his presidential campaign in front of a Trump Tower audience that was papered with dozens of extras who were paid $50 to cheer, wear “Make America Great Again!” t-shirts, and hold signs (which were provided).]

The Everglades land purchase was eventually rejected by state Republican leaders. Florida Citizens Against Waste--victorious in its public debut--quickly disappeared, as if there was no further need to ferret out governmental profligacy. As for the group’s web site, it sat dormant for a spell before ultimately redirecting visitors to rogerstone.net, one of Stone’s personal web sites. But in the last month, traffic was rerouted to a new url, floridiansagainstwaste.org. The web site urges the defeat of a new piece of Everglades legislation being pushed by Joe Negron, the moderate Republican who is president of the Florida Senate. Negron’s legislation is opposed by U.S. Sugar.

* * *

Following his two-martini tantrum this past weekend, Stone received a 12-hour timeout from Twitter for violating company rules regarding abusive behavior. Stone, of course, decried the wrist slap as a move by the “Censorship brigade” at Twitter to “stymie free speech. Shameful!” Jones, a one-man force multiplier, quickly jumped to Stone’s defense. “If they silence him,” Jones tweeted to his 580,000 followers, “We're all in danger of loosing our voices.”

Since unspooling his tales about a) being hacked after revealing his purported “communication” with Assange and b) his miraculous survival after a polonium attack, Stone has frequently spoken about how patriots like him and Jones are under siege by the “Deep State,” the shadow government that purportedly is seeking to undermine Trump’s authority and legitimacy.
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During one Infowars appearance, Stone disclosed that he was being harassed by the Internal Revenue Service. Stone said that he was being accused of failing to pay his 2014 taxes, which he denied. Jones replied that the IRS audit of his pal was “all part of a war,” adding that, “They’re pulling out all the stops.”

According to a series of federal tax liens filed by the IRS in Florida, Stone and his wife owe nearly $1.5 million in unpaid taxes. Several of the liens, which cover six separate years, were filed in Dade County when the Stones resided in Miami Beach. The most recent lien, recorded in mid-2014, was filed in Broward County since the couple had relocated to a rented home in Ft. Lauderdale. The liens remain active in both counties, where no satisfaction or release documents have been docketed.

In Stone’s estimation, investigations into campaign hacking are a “witch hunt.” Likewise, those calling for an examination of ties between Trump associates and Russian government figures are engaging in “the new McCarthyism.” It must be difficult for Stone, one of Roy Cohn’s golden boys, to make those claims with a straight face.

Like Trump, Stone is a master of distraction who prefers to avoid accountability, especially when someone else can be blamed. It would not be surprising if Stone chalked up the lagging sales on his new book to a conspiracy hatched by Jeff Bezos and Obama holdovers at the CIA.

As federal agents continue to probe “Guccifer 2.0” and the Russian influence operation, Stone assures reporters that his vindication is near. Of course, this is coming from a man who has long counseled clients under siege to “Admit nothing. Deny everything. Launch counterattack.” (7 pages)

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/ ... fer-913684


I guess now Vice and Smoking Gun links are verboten here also

from Vice

Russian connection
Trump adviser Roger Stone communicated with Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign
Trump adviser Roger Stone communicated with DNC hacker “Guccifer 2.0” during the 2016 campaign
By Alex Lubben on Mar 12, 2017
Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime adviser, has admitted to exchanging what he claims are “completely innocuous” messages with the hacker or hackers who claim to have infiltrated the DNC during the 2016 presidential campaign. He told the Washington Times that he corresponded on Twitter with “Guccifer 2.0,” the self-described “hacktivist” from Romania who claims responsibility for the breach of the DNC’s email servers last summer.

Stone wrote an article about the hacks for Breitbart in August of last year.
Dear Hillary: DNC Hack Solved, So Now Stop Blaming Russia

by ROGER STONE5 Aug 20162,449

Hillary Clinton has tried to save herself from her latest email scandal with rhetoric that poses a dangerous threat to our democracy and even world peace.
This new email scandal is the Wikileaks release of a gaggle of DNC emails that prove the Democrat primary race was rigged in establishment Hillary’s favor. She’s tried to make herself the victim once again, blaming the Russians and—bizarrely—Donald Trump for the hack that set the emails free.

I have some news for Hillary and Democrats—I think I’ve got the real culprit. It doesn’t seem to be the Russians that hacked the DNC, but instead a hacker who goes by the name of Guccifer 2.0. The original Guccifer famously hacked Hillary’s home email server, you might remember.

Here’s Guccifer 2.0’s website. Have a look and you’ll see he explains who he is and why he did the hack of the DNC.

Now, ask yourself: Why is Roger Stone the guy showing you this? This website isn’t hidden but of course our pathetic press patsies haven’t reported it; they just keep repeating Hillary’s spin.

Before I tell why Hillary’s dishonest blame-casting is so dangerous, let me explain a little more about why it seems like Guccifer 2.0 is the real deal. He seems to have set up a Twitter account back in June and then a WordPress blog to let the world know that he’d hacked the DNC.
http://www.breitbart.com/2016-president ... ng-russia/



On Saturday, Stone dismissed his contact with the hacker as “cursory,” and having taken place “after he releases the D.N.C. stuff.” Stone is under investigation for his connections to the Russians.

Innocuous or not, Stone’s disclosure adds to an ever-growing list of Trump campaign officials and allies linked to Russia during the 2016 campaign.
https://news.vice.com/story/trump-advis ... ewstwitter


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Roger Stone, Trump confidant, acknowledges ‘innocuous’ Twitter conversation with DNC hackers

By Andrew Blake - The Washington Times - Updated: 10:01 a.m. on Monday, March 13, 2017
Roger Stone, President Trump’s former campaign advisor, engaged privately last year with a person involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee, he told The Washington Times Friday, but insisted the conversations were “completely innocuous.”
“It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it,” the political consultant told The Times on Friday with respect to a private Twitter exchange he had with “Guccifer 2.0,” a pseudonymous entity explicitly tied to the DNC hack.
Guccifer 2.0 appeared last summer shortly after it was revealed that the DNC’s computer network had been breached by hackers. The self-described Romanian hacktivist claimed in a June 15 blog post that he had compromised the DNC — not Russian hackers, as experts had indicated — and said he had supplied WikiLeaks with a trove of documents ultimately published by the antisecrecy website the following month.
Mr. Stone wrote an article for Breitbart News on Aug. 5 attributing the DNC breach to Guccifer 2.0, not Russia, and swapped a handful of direct messages with the persona in the weeks that followed, according to copies of the conversations provided to the Times.
In one of the messages dated Aug. 14, Mr. Stone said he was “delighted” that Twitter had reinstated Guccifer 2.0’s account following a brief suspension. Two days later, Mr. Stone again privately messaged the Twitter account and asked for it to retweet a column he had written about the prospects of the 2016 presidential election being “rigged.”
“wow. thank u for writing back, and thank u for an article about me!!!” Guccifer 2.0 wrote Mr. Stone in the interim, referring to the Breitbart piece. “do u find anything interesting in the docs i posted?”
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/201 ... innocuous/
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
BE CAREFUL THE NOTHINGBURGER YOU ARE EATING HAS BEEN POISONED
Without Russian mafia Donald Trump would not be president of the United States
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby Luther Blissett » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:40 pm

I mean it could be any number of things. I think there's maybe a 50% chance Stone believes what he's saying about Wikileaks and Guccifer even though he is incorrect and a 50% chance he's knowingly lying. I don't think he's telling the truth because that doesn't seem to be an option.
The Rich and the Corporate remain in their hundred-year fever visions of Bolsheviks taking their stuff - JackRiddler
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:59 pm

sorry for my misunderstanding your post I shouldn't let past interactions with other people to cloud my reaction thanks for clarifying...

truth will be an option at the hearings :)
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
BE CAREFUL THE NOTHINGBURGER YOU ARE EATING HAS BEEN POISONED
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