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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

20 = XX: Beware the double cross

As most of you know by now, the anti-Trump movement includes prominent "former" spies and/or people with close ties to Spookworld. The best-known names would be Louise Mensch and John Schindler, whose pronouncements, in recent times, have received a great deal of publicity from the left-wing media. For example, Raw Story and Democratic Underground paid very respectful attention when Schindler proclaimed that the White House is targeting journalists using "Russian intel."

Is that specific allegation true? Don't know. This post is not about the merits of that claim. I am writing now to sound a note of caution.

Former NSA man Schindler claims to represent something called the 20committee. When I first saw that name, it struck a chord -- yet I did not comprehend the historical reference until this morning, when I slapped my forehead and flashed on a truth that should have been obvious from the start.

What an idiot I was! Why didn't I see it?

The "20committee" nomenclature is an homage to a classic WWII espionage operation better known as the XX Committee. "XX" is, of course, the number 20 in Roman numerals -- but in its original incarnation, it also referred to the double cross.

British intelligence agent John Masterman set up a spectacularly effective counter-intelligence ring which took effective control of all German spies within the British isles. Many Nazi spies were doubled; others were deceived. In order to sell false information to the Third Reich, the Brits surrounded each lie with a surprisingly large coating of genuine intelligence. It was the XX committee which convinced the Nazi high command that the Allied invasion would take place at Calais, not Normandy.

If John Schindler wants us to trust him, perhaps his group (if he really does represent a group) should not have named itself after history's grandest double cross.

About a month ago, liberal websites discovered Schindler. When he said that the intelligence community sought to remove Donald Trump, when he proclaimed that Trump would "die in jail," he told us precisely what we wanted to hear. Schindler tossed steak to the starving.

Schindler made no secret of the fact that he was a Republican. At first, his conservatism buttressed his credibility, since it automatically exempted him from the commonly-heard charge that only Hillary-loving die-hards believe in the Trump/Putin connection.

But Schindler is no ordinary conservative.

He is -- or was, until recently -- an employee of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law and loyal aide. Before he began working in the White House, Kushner owned The Observer, which published many articles in which John Schindler smeared Hillary Clinton. According to Schindler, Hillary is a demon from the deepest pits of hell -- and the email pseudoscandal was history's worst betrayal since Judas took up coin-collecting.

In short and in sum: Mere months ago -- hell, mere weeks ago -- John Schindler was trying get Donald Trump elected.

What an idiot I was! Why didn't I see it?

I had, in fact, run across Schindler's work during the campaign. I recall reading a couple of his pieces -- as much as I could tolerate before the emetic effect necessitated a dash to the john. Unfortunately, the man's name simply did not stick in my memory banks. 

(This post reveals a weakness I've tried to hide for years: My memory for names is awful. I once forgot my own middle name. Literally.) 

Here are some examples of what John Schindler was getting up to in the days when he was a toiler for Trump's son-in-law:
Hillary’s Secret Kremlin Connection Is Quickly Unraveling
Why didn't that story catch fire? There are two possibilities. Either 1) Evil George Soros controls the entire mass media worldwide, or 2) Schindler didn't have his ducks in a row.
Did NSA Try to Destroy Hillary Clinton?
Allegations are circulating that the National Security Agency may be behind the massive hack of Hillary Clinton and her party
Vladimir, thou art absolved.
FBI Data Dump Shows Clinton Is Criminal and Clueless
She was neither.
EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA
Hillary Clinton’s 'unclassified' email included highly classified NSA information—why didn’t the FBI mention this fact?
Because it's bullshit...? No-one can credibly argue that the FBI helped Hillary.
Why Obama Is to Blame for Russia’s SpyWar on America
Most of us would blame Putin.

During this period, Schindler also published some material on the Trump/Putin linkage, although he was hardly "the firstest with the mostest." Always remember that Schindler is an admirer of the XX Committee. Always remember that the XX Committee deliberately fed genuine intelligence to the Nazis in order to make the false information seem credible.

A not-so-famous first. Fun fact: You know who was the first writer to publish the words "Russia is covertly working on behalf of Donald Trump"? Modesty forbids. For the record, these words appeared as early as June 16, 2016:
Bottom line: I think Putin wants Trump to win.

If Hillary faces Trump in a fair fight, she stands a good chance, because Donald Trump is an unlovable fool and a national disgrace. But what if Hillary's true opponent is the intelligence apparat of a formidable foreign power?

If that is the case, she cannot win.
If you can name another writer who made that argument before that date, please share with the rest of the class. John Schindler sure as hell didn't do it.

Jeez, Louise! I could write at equal length about Louise Mensch, the other "spooked up" conservative writer who has gained fame among the anti-Trumpers. For now, let's confine ourselves to two main points:

1. Just as Schindler took a paycheck from Jared Kushner, Mensch took (takes?) a paycheck from Rupert Murdoch. There's a line from Lawrence of Arabia for every occasion, and on this occasion, that line is this: "The servant is the one who takes the money."

2. Donald Trump's instantly-infamous tweet-storm blaming Obama for wiretapping Trump Tower traces back -- ultimately -- to a piece that Louise Mensch wrote for Murdoch's right-wing "libertarian" publication Heat Street. (Fucking libertarians are fucking everywhere.) In recent days, Mensch has (truthfully) stressed that her article does not accuse Obama of wiretapping. As this WP profile notes...
In tweets on Monday, Mensch emphasized that her reporting does not back up Trump’s wiretapping claim, even though the White House cited her article to justify the allegation. She stressed that her reporting refers to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant and does not mention anything about wiretapping.
In her report, published Nov. 7, Mensch said the FBI was granted a FISA court warrant in October “giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.”

She cited “two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community” as evidence for those claims.
Her twitter feed indicates that she is quite tight with John Schindler, whose 20committee is named after history's most successful counter-intelligence operation. Is Schindler one of those two sources? If he were, would she admit it?

For that matter, can we be certain that there is a second source? (James Angleton would sometimes pretend to have multiple sources when he was just repeating Golitsyn's bullshit.) If there are two sources, how can we be certain of their independence? How do we know that her sources are not beholden to the pro-Trump faction of the intelligence community?

As I've noted in a number of previous posts, Breitbart has been spooked up for years. Go ahead and double-check that claim. I dare you to prove me wrong.

I'm still of the opinion that Donald Trump's bizarre tweets were not simply issued in a moment of madness. I'm still of the opinion that he was "but mad north-northwest." I'm still of the opinion that he said what he said as part of a larger plot to frame Obama.

An outlandish idea, you say? Before you scoff, please re-read the above section labeled "A not-so-famous first." Many who scoffed last June 16 are not scoffing now.

A short word about the CIA documents on Wikileaks. I hope to have much more to say about this important topic. For now, let us note that, ten days after Trump took office, high-placed western moles in the FSB had bags placed over their heads as they were hustled off to their presumed dooms. And now we learn that -- at roughly the same time -- Wikileaks received a massive CIA data-dump, although Assange waited until now to spill the beans.

Did Assange get that material from the Russians? Grow up. Of course he did. That's the second serious indication that someone within the Trump administration is leaking secrets to Putin.

"Twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action."

Who was it who said those words? Can't remember. I think he introduced himself as Something, James Something. Damn my memory for names...!
Schindler and Mensch both write compelling texts but both leave me with that creepy feeling in the belly.
Great catch Joseph! Ian Fleming is the name you're trying to remember. Wikipedia also mentioned the Moscow Rules.
Thanks for the heads up, Joe. I've been following Schindler and Mensch. The caution you've sounded is well founded. Particularly in the case of Schindler. I found a cache of anti-Hillary Clinton material ranging from 'her' Russian connections (bank related) )and all kinds of Clinton Foundation accusations. He was bellowing this garbage last fall just prior to the election. And now he's anti-Trump? Disturbing, not to mention disappointing because I thought Schindler's comments on Trump were spot on. And yes, Mensch and Schindler appear to be buddy-buddy. The fact that Mensch was connected to Rupert Murdock is equally suspicious. So, now I'll read their comments with a jaded eye. The Carolina Conspiracy, a Mensch article and research project, was partially picked up by Rachel Maddow. Hope these people are doing their due diligence.

I'm still following Malcolm Nance. Although after this, I'll do some poking around. Your theory makes a certain sense. If we have intelligence 'experts' out there spreading false information then the public's ability to tell fact from fiction becomes increasingly difficult. Which I suspect is the point. Distrust the experts, the press, the opposition in general. Only listen to Dear Leader, Herr Drumph.

We are in a world of hurt.

Dear Louise already blocked me from her twitter feed for some reason...
We should all go back and review the reporting that Rupert Murdoch opposed Trump in the beginning. Reports that Murdoch was frustrated trying to rein in Aisles direction of the editorial leaning of the on-air Fox talent.

Bob Beckel said this in a RealClearPolitics reproduced piece. But Murdoch himself strongly criticized Trump many times in his own tweets.

It's true that politics makes for strange bedfellows, but this tryst seems more an arranged shotgun marriage. Perhaps not meaning that Murdoch's original view has changed at all, but that he's cooperating on the surface for his own benefit.


XI, I admit that Murdoch was pretty damned hard to read throughout this election cycle. One also has to look at the "Ex-" factor. By which I mean Wendi Deng, Ivanka's BFF, and Putin's possible lover.

But at the risk of sounding like a fanatic, I should like to remind readers that Murdoch himself has likely had ties to CIA and to Israeli intelligence.

Make of it what you will. This is yet another one of those areas where we are forced to figure out the image on a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle even though we have only a couple dozen pieces.
I think John Schindler is just a serial exaggerator. I read him, think there's value in his writing, but remain cautious (same with Louise Mensch). His Hillary stuff is garbage, but given Trump's attacks on the IC and military, I think it's credible that he is genuinely anti-Trump.
remember when Murdoch took over Fox personally, after Ailes? i recall his saying the job was 'too important.' huh.

Murdoch had personally made the decision to promote Carlson...a big Carlson fan, ...he invited Carlson to lunch at his Madison Square Park penthouse and personally offered him the 7 p.m. show...[which became] a ratings success... ...Whereas Kelly was all but blacklisted by Trump, Carlson scored more than a dozen interviews with Trump during the campaign. In recent weeks, his show has been sympathetic to Trump’s skepticism about the intelligence community’s claims that Russia hacked the DNC and intentionally meddled in the election.

Carlson’s promotion is one sign of just how much Murdoch wants to appease Trump, Fox insiders say. Murdoch has been intent on forging a tight relationship with Trump since his victory, sources close to both men tell me. One longtime Murdoch confidante told me the two speak by phone at least three times per week. As I reported Tuesday, at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays Trump criticized Roger Ailes and lavished praise on Murdoch. And Murdoch has told Fox executives that Trump asked him to submit names for FCC commissioner. (A Trump spokesperson denied that.) Murdoch has allowed Sean Hannity to turn his 10 p.m. show into de facto infomercials for Trump."

People close to Murdoch are surprised by how fast Fox has fallen into line with the Trump administration... During the GOP primary, Murdoch veered from neutral to openly hostile to Trump’s candidacy. One Murdoch associate told me that over the years Murdoch spoke of Trump as a buffoon. Murdoch was also turned off by Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric. But in the general election, Murdoch came around to backing Trump (after a détente brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner). Now he seems intent on turning up Fox’s support to a new level.

Murdoch’s reversal, the associate said, can partly be explained by Murdoch’s longtime desire to have a relationship with an American president. Murdoch has met every occupant of the Oval Office since Nixon, but has never had a personal connection with one. The 85-year-old Murdoch may see Trump as his last chance.

above is a summary of Rupert Murdoch Is Turning Fox News Into Trump TV, NY Magazine, 01/05/2017. only the italicized is a direct quote.

hmm. thanks Mr. Cannon.
The guy who wrote the original Bond material?
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