Saturday, March 17, 2018

McCabe, the Russians, "Spectre," Cambridge Analytica, Flynn -- and treason.

Looks as though McCabe may get his pension after all. More than that: The AP has just reported that McCabe kept some rather important memos on Trump.
That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to discuss the memos publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

This person says the memos are similar to the ones maintained by former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last May.

Comey’s series of notes detailed interactions with Trump that Comey said unnerved him.

The person with knowledge of McCabe’s situation says McCabe’s memos include details of interactions with the president, among other topics.
There's an old saying: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Trump is apparently unfamiliar with this aphorism.

Added note: The memos are now in Mueller's hands. Tweet from Joy Reid:
Republican source to me just now: “The McCabe Memos are the new Pentagon Papers.”
Unfortunately, it seems that McCabe's retirement problem won't be solved if a congressperson hires him. It's complicated.

Why Russia targeted McCabe. In the preceding post, my view mirored McCabe's: The GOP/St. Petersburg demonization machine targeted Andrew McCabe because he can testify to Comey's basic truthfulness. Trump needs to rob McCabe of credibility in order to take out Comey.

But this may not be the full story. After giving the matter much further thought, I believe that we should view the McCabe matter in light of Russia's infiltration -- dare I say "takeover"? -- of western intelligence.

Andrew McCabe worked for many years in the FBI's New York office. There, he oversaw investigations into organized crime -- particularly Russian organized crime.

McCabe is the reason why the FBI bugged the gambling ring at Trump Tower -- a ring which you should know all about from the film Molly's Game. (Unfortunately, director/writer Aaron Sorkin decided to create a very deceptive film. One of these days, I shall offer a full explanation of Sorkin's deceit.) McCabe is the reason why the leader of that ring, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov -- a Russian mobster who worked with Donald Trump in Russia -- can't enter this country. Trump claims to have nothing to do with this ring, even though he and Ivanka own a company called "Poker Venture" headquartered in Trump Tower.

In most press accounts, Preet Bharara gets credit for breaking up that ring. But it was the FBI who bugged the place -- and McCabe was in charge of the FBI's efforts.

McCabe has also crossed paths with Trump's business partner Felix Sater, who (with the help of Chris Hayes, of all people) is making an unconvincing bid to convince the populace that he is not a crook. Sater also ran a criminal enterprise out of Trump Tower:
Further, pending civil litigation alleges that Bayrock, whose offices were just a floor beneath Trump’s in Trump Tower, served as a massive money laundering operation for funds from the former Soviet Union.
The Tokhtakhounov ring was also just below Trump's residence in Trump Tower. Someone should prepare a map of who owned which suite. Or perhaps it was all one big suite...?
In the mid-1990s, Sater had been one of the chiefs of State Street, a mobbed-up financial brokerage that racked up tens of millions of dollars in profits in a few short years and fleeced thousands. Sater and 21 others were swept up in the high-profile FBI operation that targeted the brokerage, which included associates of both Italian crime families and the Russian mob — which includes Sater. Sater then “flipped” and became an informant, after pleading guilty to a single count of racketeering. He was working at Bayrock a few short years later.
That's the real story of Sater's work for the FBI. He became a rat in order to stay out of the pokey, so don't let anyone convince you that he was some sort of patriotic super-spy. Logic tells us that he would not have been in a position to rat out anyone if he did not associate with terrorists and mobsters. (Chris Hayes tried to make that point during his interview; unfortunately, he didn't do his best work on that occasion.)

Side note: Do you remember the time, in the summer of 2017, Sater was telling associates that his name was about to become a household word? What was all that about, I wonder?

Here's how McCabe links up with the Sater investigation:
McCabe worked for 20 years in the New York field office of the FBI. According to older FBI biographical information, he joined the New York office in 1996, when he worked on “organized crime matters.” In 2003, “he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, a joint operation with the New York City Police Department.”

“Eurasian organized crime” is the FBI designation for crime that originates from the former Soviet Union, including Russia and Ukraine.
Let's sum things up. McCabe made Sater's life miserable. Now, Sater's friend Donald Trump is president. Sater is doing his rehabilitation tour while his old enemy McCabe -- who should be running the Bureau right now -- was treated like trash.

We will get back to McCabe before we end this post. But first, this:

Putin takes control of western intelligence. I want to remind you of an extremely important story we referenced a few days ago. Viktor Kamenev writes for an important Russian military journal, Military Review -- a journal which would never print anything contrary to Putin's wishes. In this piece, Kamanev impudently declares that "Trump is ours." The Russian word for "ours" is nash. It's an old-school spy term: When the KGB called someone nash, they meant "He's one of our own agents."

As you read the following excerpt, keep in mind that these words reflect Kamanev's highly biased point of view.
But Kamenev says, Trump “somehow was able to take under control the special services” in part by his alliance with Republicans in Congress like Representative Devon Nunes whose report “in fact reveals a conspiracy of FBI agents and the Justice Department against President Trump.” That report may lead to “a massive purge of the FBI, other US special services, and the Justice Department as well as a political earthquake in Congress.”

According to Kamenev, “the special services are the main instrument of American democracy; and if Trump masters them completely, then the days of the fake globalist press and of the Congress which has fallen under its sway are numbered.”
McCabe is not mentioned by name here, but these words were largely directed against him. In the deranged propaganda of the Alex Jonesian right, McCabe was the leader of this "conspiracy of FBI agents."

There is no such conspiracy. It's fictional.

The real conspiracy is the one against the FBI. Moscow is the ultimate power behind that conspiracy. They targeted Andrew McCabe because he was the FBI official who led the fight against Russian organized crime. During his time in New York, he learned a lot about Trump's Russian business associates.

You should read the rest of the article to which I have linked. Kamenev goes on to say that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is, in essence, "nash". That is to say: Kamenev considers Pompeo to be a de facto Russian agent. Any pro forma criticisms of Putin which Pompeo uttered in the past were just a matter of political expediency; pay no heed.

Pompeo will soon replace Rex Tillerson as head of the State Department. Tillerson was originally Moscow's choice, which explains why he kept his job even after calling Trump a "fucking idiot." Once Tillerson started to criticize Vladimir Satanovich, he had to go. Soon, Pompeo will be in.

Trump did not make that choice. Putin did. Let's not kid ourselves.

"Pip pip, cheerio, and Hail Hydra!"
Although few have attempted to give the matter sufficient study, Putin's control of western intelligence may be even more profound in the UK than it is in the United States. We've known for a while that Cambridge Analytica is largely staffed by "former" MI6 personnel. Some consider it a lightly-privatized outgrowth of MI6.

We've also known that Cambridge Analytica receives Mercer money. One investor (and officer) was Steve Bannon, who is on record as admiring Benito Mussolini, Nazi theoretician Julius Evola, and Satan himself.

(Side note: Although it has been reported that Bannon invested millions in Cambridge Analytica, we should note that some -- including Trump himself -- have questioned whether Bannon actually has that kind of money. Alas, we shall have to leave the Mysteries of Bannon for another occasion.)

We're now learning why Facebook took the extraordinary step of banning Cambridge Analytica.
A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.
Here comes Russia:
The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, separately from his work at Cambridge University.
Kogan is an incredibly strange fellow who has changed his name to -- I kid you not -- "Spectre." That's right: He named himself after the Bad Guy Group in the James Bond movies. That's almost as outrageous as Steve Bannon's praise of Satan and Mussolini.

For more about his work, see here. This nugget deserves to be better known:
Trump’s former National Security Adviser Lt-Gen Michael Flynn, a compromised Russian asset, also disclosed he played an advisory role for Cambridge Analytica.
Flynn? Cambridge Analytica? Let's explore this tributary further.

You should understand that Cambridge Analytica has strong ties to Cambridge University, which, in turn, has long had a special relationship with Britain's secret services. Basically, if you're a young Brit hoping to get recruited to work as a spy, Cambridge is the school for you.

But be warned: Russia is there too.

Michael Flynn visits Cambridge. In a previous Cannonfire post, we looked at Russian infiltration of Cambridge. (That post owed much to the exemplary work of Luke Harding, although I also included material from other sources.) To explore how this infection has spread, we need to take a hard look at a fellow named Christopher Andrew, an esteemed professor of history at Cambridge.

Most Americans don't know the name, but in the UK he is familiar as a presenter on television and BBC4. More than that: He is the official historian of MI5, and his protegees now hold important positions in British intelligence. Rumor has long held that Andrew is the main recruiter in Cambridge for the British services. Some would go so far as to say that the distance between Andrew and the intelligence community is as narrow as the distance between mortar and brick.

Andrew also heads the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which is an important gathering in the world of British -- and American -- intelligence. In short and in sum, spy chiefs go to these gatherings and freely discuss world developments.

One of Andrew's post-graduate students is Svetlana Lokhova, an attractive Russian woman in her 30s who claims to be nothing more than a historian with an interest in espionage. Oddly, she has been granted full access to the archives of the GRU -- a privilege granted to no other outsider. Odder still: While perusing her historical studies, she maintained a second life as an official at the British branch of Sperbank, the Russian bank inextricably linked to Russian intelligence.

One of the things you'll learn from the Corn/Isikoff book Russian Roulette is that FSB agents in the west have used Sperbank as a cover. Just thought I'd mention that bit in passing.

Lokhova is litigious. Lokhova denies being a Russian spy. Therefore, I will not call her a Russian spy. I can, however, state that other people have (rightly or wrongly) strongly implied that she works for Russian intelligence.

And that is why her proximity to Christopher Andrew is troubling. But he is not the only one she got to know well.

As you know, former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn used to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. In that capacity, he attended the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar and met Lokhova. The two became very close -- indeed, some have alleged a romantic entanglement. Although I do not share that view, I do think that Lokhova took Flynn by the hand and led him down a troubling path -- a path that led first to Putin's table, and ultimately to that federal court in which Flynn entered a "guilty" plea.

Flynn and Lokhova met at Christopher Andrew's Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS). At this time, CIS -- formerly a revered institution within the British and American intelligence community -- came under suspicion. The former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, decided that he wanted nothing to do with it. Others followed his lead.

Why? Because Dearlove learned that a Russian front company called Veruscript was providing funding for CIS. From a site called Intel Today:
Some of those involved are thought to be concerned that Russia may attempt to use the link to the seminars to influence sensitive debates on national defence and security.”
For more about the Flynn/Lokova/CIS interaction, read the rest of the post at the other end of that last link. Also see my earlier piece.

McCabe vs. Flynn. At this point, let me repeat an overlooked nugget of information from our previous post on McCabe. Michael Flynn Jr. -- son of the indicted former Trump aide -- has this to say of McCabe:
Good. Now he needs to be prosecuted. He’s had it out for my father since his days at the DIA.
In response, Natasha Bertrand tweeted:
Flynn was on McCabe’s radar when he was at DIA? In 2014?
McCabe was an FBI official in New York who specialized in the Russian mob. Flynn was the head of the DIA engaged in an unnerving dalliance with Svetlana Lokhova, Sperbank official and espionage historian who insists that she is not a Russian spy, all indications to the contrary notwithstanding. Flynn and Lokhova met at CIS, which was apparently taken over the by Russians, and which has strong links to Cambridge Analytica, which worked with the Russians to put Trump in power.

How did McCabe learn about Flynn's Russian connections? I honestly don't know, but I suspect that Sperbank may be the key.

A final word. The Russians have penetrated our air traffic control systems and our energy systems. In all likelihood, the Russians can shut off the juice this very evening; nothing can stop them. In all likelihood, the Russians can make jets crash; nothing can stop them.

Nobody will admit that the Russians have hacked into our voting systems, but evidence suggests that they have done so. Note that Lamb received far fewer votes in Pennsylvania than the polls predicted.

We would not be in this situation if Russia had not first compromised our intelligence services.

I find myself in a strange position. For much of my adult life, I counted myself as a critic of the CIA. I believe that CIA counterintelligence orchestrated the murder of John Kennedy. I have always advocated strict oversight of the intelligence community and strict limits of the NSA's power to eavesdrop.

But before this crisis, I never wondered what would happen if our services were penetrated -- and perhaps commandeered -- by a foreign power.

God help us all. 
"Basically, if you're a young Brit hoping to get recruited to work as a spy, Cambridge is the school for you."

Cambridge would be top of your list. Every college at Cambridge University has an MI6 presence and, the whole place being so private boarding schooly, many "tutors" think they are experts at "character" and some like to spot talent for the said agency. But there are other places too, including the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The universities of Durham, Exeter and St Andrews are also MI6-y to some extent.

Some youngsters know they can make an application which will probably be successful, and therefore they can probably have the secret service as a career option, before they reach university and are still a pupil at one of a handful of top boarding schools, aged maybe 16. Does it work like that at Andover or Exeter or other places in the US?
A bit like that. Everyone knows that Yale is a "feeder" into the intelligence community, and you don't necessarily have to be tapped into Skull and Bones. (I think JJA was Book and Snake. Isn't that a wonderful name?) Harvard has a similar clique. Obama went there. So have a number of famous old spooks.

Although I was mostly blind to it at the time of my attendance, the Agency had links to UCLA. Good old Dr. Jolly ran the neuropsychiatric center on campus, but did most of his dirty work at the Veteran's Administration center across the freeway. Wesley Liebeler (of Warren Commission ill-fame) more or less ran the law school. During my own school days, I did notice that the CIA regularly ran recruitment ads in the Daily Bruins. They were kind of corny and everyone I knew laughed at them.

The CIA has wires into a number of other universities. But I don't think that any one school in this country is quite as spooky as Cambridge.
Another article by Carole Cadwalladr, this time with Emma Graham-Harrison:
"Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university | Data company gave briefing to Moscow firm Lukoil, and the lecturer who developed the crucial algorithm worked for St Petersburg university".

And the Tories say it's Jeremy Corbyn who has got snow on his boots!
b, I should add: I don't really know how things work at Andover or other prep schools. I was always too poor to travel in such circles. As far as I know, the spooks do no recruiting at the high school level. The military does.
Facebook bans Cambridge Analytica and Chris Wylie gets a mention there. Wylie also crops up in relation to Aggregate IQ, a Canadian company CA used as a cut-out to conceal its role in the Brexit vote, and later, the US elections:

>>> AggregateIQ holds the key to unravelling another complicated network of influence that Mercer has created. A source emailed me to say he had found that AggregateIQ’s address and telephone number corresponded to a company listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its overseas office: "SCL Canada". A day later, that online reference vanished.

... Paul, the first of two sources formerly employed by Cambridge Analytica. He is in his late 20s and bears mental scars from his time there. 'It’s almost like post-traumatic shock. It was so… messed up. It happened so fast. I just woke up one morning and found we’d turned into the Republican fascist party. I still can’t get my head around it.'

... There wasn’t just a relationship between Cambridge Analytica and AggregateIQ, Paul told me. They were intimately entwined, key nodes in Robert Mercer’s distributed empire. 'The Canadians were our back office. They built our software for us. They held our database. If AggregateIQ is involved then Cambridge Analytica is involved'. <<<
In a letter to the Times, written FOUR DAYS after the Salisbury attack, a consultant medic at the Salisbury hospital writes as follows (emphasis added).

The Times, 16 Mar 2018
Sir, Further to your report (“Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment”, Mar 14), may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.
Stephen Davies
Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

The Times then reported on his letter, distorting his words, as follows.

In a letter to The Times Dr Davies writes that no patients experienced symptoms other than the three with “significant poisoning”. “Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed,” he adds. “None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved.”
Correction: Davies wrote that letter TWELVE days after the alleged Salisbury attack, not four.
Two things, the FBI field agents in the Trumpland office leaking to Rudy Giuliani, are they nash?
You had written you thought President Obama did some work for the CIA whilst visiting friends overseas have you given any more thought in light of recent events?
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