Uncovering the roots of an investigation
By TOM JUSTICE
“. . . they felt justified in supplying whatever was needed to convict him. The dossier they assembled, later to be known as the ‘Secret File,’ was persuasive enough to cause [people] . . . to sincerely believe Dreyfus guilty, but it lacked legal proof.” -Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower, p. 174
In the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906), a man was falsely accused of treason, of “colluding” with the Germans. He was tried, wrongly convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. In America, the Mueller Report has avoided that grievous error. It concluded that no “U.S. persons conspired or coordinated” with the Russians. “Did not identify evidence”, “did not establish”, or similar phrases appear over and over again in the Report.
Reflect for a moment on the tens of thousands of negative print, TV, and electronic media stories which, over the past two years, have told us otherwise. Remember the May 29, 2017 cover of Time magazine depicting the White House morphing into the Kremlin, or the July 30, 2017 cover illustrating Trump morphing into Putin? Remember “The Plot to Subvert an Election” [The New York Times, September 22, 2016] in which the authors cited “a mountain of evidence” proving Trump-Russia collusion? No mountain emerged. Journalists were not only blind to the truth, they weren’t even seeking it. Instead, they joined the partisan chorus, “They shouted . . . ‘Down with Dreyfusards!’ ‘Down with Jews!’ ‘Death to traitors!’ ‘Vive Mercier!’ [Auguste Mercier, the Dreyfus case prosecutor]
And now it is time to uncover the roots of this. As in the Dreyfus case, we need to understand why this happened. A New York Times article (April 19, 2019) has belatedly admitted that the Steele dossier-which James Comey himself claimed was “wild stuff” (A Higher Loyalty, p. 214)-“could be Russian disinformation.” For disinformation to work there must be believers, and the highly partisan American political system provided tens of millions of people on both sides who were willing to believe the worst. In this case, Democrats were joined by never-Trump Republicans, by Brits (like Christopher Steele), by Israelis, by Australians, by Ukrainians.
Perhaps it began in 2015 when Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) chief, Robert Hannigan, passed on material to Obama’s CIA chief, John Brennan, a man who has publicly called Trump a traitor. The Guardian (April 13, 2017) reported that “GCHQ played an early, prominent part in kick-starting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation.” Here, we must note Christopher Steele’s MI6 connections and the fact that he was paid $168,000 by Fusion GPS out of a pot of $1.2 million which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC for “opposition research.”
President Obama’s Obama for America also chipped in $972,000 for Fusion via the Perkins-Coie law firm. (The Federalist, October 29, 2017).
Indeed, James Clapper, Obama’s DNI chief, stated on CNN (July 22, 2018) that, “If it weren’t for President Obama,” the entire Trump-Russia collusion investigation might not have occurred. And FBI agent Lisa Page’s email, “potus [President Obama] wants to know everything we are doing”, is incriminating. (FBI Inspector General’s Report, p. 409)
The paid-for dossier, ironically, consisted of “more than a dozen memos, based on conversations with Russian sources,” according to The Washington Post (April 24, 2019). If anyone was “colluding” with the Russians then it was Steele and those who were paying him. Indeed, there are fingerprints everywhere. Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese academic who told Papadopoulos that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton, claimed to be a member of the Clinton Foundation. (Repubblica, Nov. 1, 2017) Records show that he was a Foundation donor. (The Daily Caller, March 30, 2018) He was also a British intelligence asset. Nagi Idris, Papadopoulos’s boss at LCILP in London, who offered Papadopoulos an all-expense-paid trip to Rome (to meet Mifsud) was connected to British intelligence. (Deep State Target, pp. 36-37)
On September 2, 2016 Stefan Halper emailed Papadopoulos “out of the blue” and offered him a free trip to London along with $3,000.
“The FBI instructed Mr. Halper to set up a meeting in London with Mr. Papadopoulos,” The New York Times reported (May 2, 2019). Arriving on Sept. 15, Papadopoulos was contacted immediately by Azra Turk, a person posing as Halper’s “research assistant.” She has since been identified as an undercover FBI agent. When they met, Ms. Turk pumped Papadopoulos with questions, trying to get him to say something, anything, about Russia. The NYT described this as “the operation aimed at a presidential campaign official.” No “fruitful information” resulted.
London was a busy place. In London Papadopoulos met Mifsud again (March 24, 2016), and was introduced to Olga Vinogradova, whom Mifsud claimed was Putin’s niece. She was another imposter. On April 18 Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos “by email” to Ivan Timofeev, an actual Russian.
They never met. In London two U.S. military attaches, Terrence Dudley and Gregory Baker, contacted Papadopoulos and entertained him lavishly.
They asked Papadopoulos if he could get them jobs in the Trump campaign. (Target, p. 69) Were they CIA or military intelligence? On May 6th Papadopoulos got an invitation to meet with Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner, and a person posing as his “assistant”, Erika Thompson. Thompson was another intelligence agent. Downer told Papadopoulos that he had “close ties to the Obama administration” that “he’s very pro-Clinton.” (Target, pp. 74-75)
Downer had, in fact, bundled $25 million in donations for the Clinton Foundation.
To close this Foundation circle, the Mueller prosecutor going after Papadopoulos was Jeannie Rhee, who had provided legal counsel for the Clinton Foundation.
Papadopoulos received yet another email “out of the blue” from Sergei Millian, posing as a Russian-American with deep ties to Moscow (Target, p. 94). Millian later flew to Chicago and offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month as a “consultant” on Oct. 15, 2016 (p. 126). Papadopoulos rejected the deal and later learned that Millian, too, was an undercover agent.
“Just so you know, Sergei works for the FBI,” he was told. In yet another attempt at entrapment, David Ha’ivri, an Israeli, introduced him to Charles Tawil who invited him to Israel where he met Shai Arbel, ex-Israeli intelligence, who gave him $10,000 in cash as a consulting “retainer”. Papadopoulos wisely entrusted this to a Greek lawyer, then flew back to America.
He was immediately arrested and questioned; all his bags are searched. The FBI was looking for the $10,000, and Papadopoulos later learned that Tawil was an American intelligence agent (p. 158). There are many more stories such as these.
So, the picture we have is not one of Trump campaign officials making all kinds of secret meetings with Russians. Instead, it is a picture of CIA, FBI and foreign intelligence agents (British, Australian, Israeli) working together, “colluding”, to spy on the Trump campaign and to create “crimes”. Spying occurred not just on unpaid volunteers but went all the way to the top. The Inspector General’s report of 2018 found that Vice President Pence was a target, as FBI attorney 2 emailed, “. . . my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.” Pence was an innocent man.
And the press, which gave up all pretense of objectivity, “colluded”, too. In September of 2016, Christopher Steele flew to Washington, D.C. where he briefed The New York Times,
The Washington Post, CNN, & etc. on the dossier. The purpose was clearly to spread disinformation as widely as possible prior to the Election. The Inspector General’s report uncovered “a culture of unauthorized media contacts” in the FBI (p. xii). Among many emails, FBI agent, Peter Strzok messaged, “I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ” (April 10, 2017).
On April 12 he congratulated FBI agent Lisa Page on the planting of two false stories about Carter Page, “. . . two articles are coming out, one which is worse than the other . . . Well done.” The media enthusiastically played their part, and as Tuchman wrote, “It was the press which created the affair and made truce impossible.” (The Proud Tower, p. 178) “Columns of opinion, criticism, controversy, poured out like water.” (p. 179)
Tom Justice worked 27 years as a coach with the Lock Haven University wrestling, women’s swimming and diving teams, and the volleyball program, which he founded in 1991 and built into a perennial national power.