Before proceeding to our main topic, let's take another look at the Stormy Daniels affair. To be specific, let's hear from her lawyer, the redoubtable Mike Avenatti
, who projects an air of unnerving confidence:
Avenatti said he has further "substantial evidence and facts that were not included in the complaint" to back up his claims, though he said he was "not going to lay all of our cards out on the table" Friday.
"When that evidence and those facts come to light, the American people are going to conclude that attorney Cohen and the White House have not shot straight with them on this," he alleged.
He also said that Stormy would pay back the $130,000. How can she afford to do so and
afford Avenatti's fee? One can only presume that whatever she's sitting on is big
. (Yes, there's a porny pun to be made out of the previous sentence, but let's not go there.) What I don't understand is why she doesn't just spill the beans, agreement or no agreement. If what she reveals is really that
humiliating for Trump, is he likely to sue?
Maybe she already has
told all to 60 Minutes
. Maybe Avenatti's suit is just a bid for publicity.
just published an excellent analysis which argues that this "sex scandal" is actually a campaign finance scandal. I agree. But if it were not also a sex scandal, few would be paying attention.
Erik Prince was recently exposed by the WP as an ad hoc Trump representative during that meeting in the Seychelles. Despite his denials, it's now clear that he was trying to set up a secret back channel with the Russians.
This claim was first made in an anonymous communication sent to the Post. Prince denied it -- under oath, no less -- but his denial now looks very questionable. Mueller, we are told, has learned more about this matter from George Nader -- a Lebanese mystery man whom MSNBC seems to have just now discovered, although I wrote a very full account of his comings and goings on January 23
(In that earlier piece, I wrote that Nader must have played a role in the Seychelles episode. Nice to see one of my little theories confirmed!)
Who was the secret pen pal who first tipped off the Post?
I'm now leaning toward Mark Corallo, the former spokesperson for the Trump legal team. He quit after Trump (in Corallo's opinion) requested him to obstruct justice. Corallo was the one who revealed that Hope Hicks played an important role in covering up the truth about the Trump Tower meeting. An uncharitable soul might characterize that
as obstruction of justice.
Corallo is, or at least was, a friend to Erik Prince. Mueller interviewed Corallo last month. We've been told that they discussed Hicks -- but did they also talk about Prince?
The important point is this: Prince -- like Jared -- set out to create a secret Trump-Russia communications channel, a channel designed to avoid American intelligence. This fact tells us all we need to know: Russiagate is not a hoax. Collusion is real
. There is no innocent reason for a new, incoming administration to treat American intelligence as The Enemy. The establishment of a secret backchannel proves collusion.
The Prince connection becomes even more ominous when we consider last December's revelation
that Erik Prince and Oliver North proposed setting up a private intelligence network with covert action capability. These "mercenary spooks" would be loyal only to Trump and unrestrained by congressional oversight.
In other words, Prince hopes to use the myth of the "the deep state" to create an even deeper
state -- one which would be utterly lawless. (You may recall North's own contempt for the CIA, privately expressed during the Iran-Contra episode.)
Trump and his apologists frequently blame the CIA for the bad intel that led to the Iraq war. Wrong. Fake history.
In that case, the intel was fixed around a predetermined policy, as the Downing Street memo proved. Moreover, the dubious intel came not
from the CIA (which hesitated to go along with the Bush/Cheney program) but from several ad hoc groups set up within the Department of Defense, as is demonstrated by the story of "the Italian letter"
In essence, Prince wants Trump to recapitulate and to enlarge upon that great error.
History buffs might say that Prince seeks to recreate the Praetorian guard, who (as many forget) were secret policemen as well as bodyguards. I guess nobody ever told Trump what happened to Caligula.
Prince, the UAE and the slave trade.
Keep Prince's ominous ambition in mind as I present the findings of an investigator we shall call F. She sent me a large mass of material a few days ago, before the latest twists in the Prince/Seychelles saga. (Since then, I've stumbled across much more -- too much for this
Her message offers deep background on Erik Prince and the UAE -- the kind of material you don't see elsewhere. As you read, keep two facts in mind:
1. Erik Prince, formerly of Blackwater, has transferred his operation to the United Arab Emirates, where he created a secret army, similar to the one he hopes to bestow upon Trump. Prince's secret army protects an evil, corrupt regime which profits from slave labor.
2. George Nader, the smooth-talking facilitator now cooperating with Mueller, primarily works for the UAE.
F believes that the UAE and the illegal trade in weapons and slaves may have played a role in the under-investigated Niger incident
. Personally, I'm not convinced by this notion -- yet -- but I'm willing to consider the idea. I'm sure of this much: Too few people are paying attention to the UAE's role in the slave trade, which is the
most under-reported story of our time.
I have little doubt that Erik Prince knows all about what the UAE is doing in that part of the world.
The material below the asterisks was originally my correspondent and edited by me.
* * *
It's hard to see exactly where UAE fits into Mueller investigation at this point, but there are glimmers.
My personal take is that the Prince investigation will lead to a revelation that some of Trump's "best people" -- like Erik Prince, corrupt elements of the CIA, and perhaps Wilbur Ross -- are directly involved with weapons and human trafficking in Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The trail leads back to mercenary-style outsourced security contracts in Africa, money laundering, and UAE slave trading.
Without doubt, U.S. military operations in Niger are interfering with the internal affairs of some African nations, without Congressional consent.
Perhaps the U.S. or the UAE is underwriting private contractor security operations that are complicit in unauthorized use of U.S. drone intelligence. Perhaps corrupt security contractors have provided cover for trafficking routes for militants, weapons and humans in Africa.
I think a betrayal by security contractors or operators financed by UAE (and perhaps run by Erik Prince) occurred when Special Forces got too close to the truth in Niger. This is just my unsubstantiated conjecture at this point.
There are two U.S. drone bases in Niger. Questions:
1. Who is getting access to U.S. drone intelligence and military communications?
2. What is the full scope of the U.S. mission in Niger?
3. Is this tied into the Saudi and UAE investment in troops from 5 African Nations (see below)?
4. Who vets U.S. or UAE security contractors to be sure that these guns for hire aren't vulnerable to bribes, drugs, and other perks?
From the Washington Post
Agadez, about 500 miles northeast of Niamey, is much closer to Saharan smuggling routes that Islamist militants use to transport arms and fighters from Libya to northern Mali. U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones have a range of about 1,150 miles.
The Air Force initially budgeted $50 million to build an airfield, living quarters and other facilities at the Agadez site, but the project has taken far longer than expected to finish. The cost has doubled to about $100 million, according to a report last year by the Intercept, an investigative media website.
I suspect trafficking between Libya and northern Mali is 2-way. Slave trading in refugees and migrants in Libya finances weapons and fighters. UAE has a finger in the slave trade
in a couple of ways, including creating market for the labor of persons who have unpaid migrant debt
Also see here
The gateway to Europe was left wide open. Instead of Gaddafi's functioning state, Libya became a country of vast ungoverned spaces awash with weapons.
Into the power vacuum militias have presented as the most effective deterrent to the refugee influx into Europe. Within this messy situation, a complex people trafficking system has emerged.
It is a money spinner: Sub-Saharan Africans pay fees to militiamen - the gatekeepers - but money can go missing and passage can be arbitrarily denied. Without authority or oversight, increasing numbers of Africans have become ensnared.
Powerful Libyan militias operate detention centres which hold fresh arrivals from sub-Sahara, including many from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.
Testimony from the International Organization for Migration suggests that the Libyan trade in human beings has become normalised to the point that people are being openly traded in public. CNN released footage in November apparently showing Africans being sold at auction for as little as $400.
Some arrivals in Libya are held in makeshift prisons controlled by militias and carry out forced labour. The militias will call the captives' family homes and demand a ransom. Africans are sold between prisons, when the demand arises, and are held without sufficient food in unsanitary conditions. If no ransom is forthcoming, the slaves can be killed.
* * *
Perhaps I should add an additional note which will explain the fuller implications of this last point. War and strife in the region has forced many unfortunates to make a horrifying choice. To escape starvation or slavery, they must take their chances as illegal immigrants.
The destabilization of sub-Saharan Africa created a massive surge in African migration to Europe -- in particular, to Italy
. The eight-fold increase in migration led directly to the recent surge of fascism in Italy.
Similarly, the Syrian civil war -- fomented by the west -- led to an influx of Syrian refugees in Europe. (A handful came to America, thus laying the groundwork for that insane conspiracy theory involving Chobani yogurt.)
Syrian refugees, through no fault of their own, helped fuel anti-Islamic madness in Europe. Who benefited from this madness? Far right demagogues.
If we step back and take in the entire picture, it seems as though the right is deliberately
creating a massive upsurge in illegal immigration. When more immigrants arrive in Europe and the U.S., the public is more likely to turn to the extreme right.