Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What the hell is going on?

Can anyone explain these alleged cooperators? The Maria Butina deal makes no sense.

If she sincerely and helpfully cooperates, she'll likely be deported. If she goes back to Russia -- well, we know how Putin deals with those he considers traitors. If she arranges to stay in the United States, her safety remains questionable, to say the least: We all know what happened to Skripal and Litvinenko.

The witness protection program? I wouldn't bet my life on that. Look at who's running the country. Look at who is running the DOJ.

I dunno about you, but if I had to choose between an orange jumpsuit and following in the footsteps of Sergei Skripal, I'd go orange.

Maybe Butina is only going to pretend to cooperate, a la Manafort. Team Trump seems to have perfected the art of the fake plea deal. You'd think prosecutors would be wise to this trick by now.

The strange case of Michael Flynn. Just a few days ago, everyone was celebrating: "Flynn gave up EVERYTHING!" Even I broke into an uncharacteristic smile.

But then doubt set in: If Flynn did damage to Trump, why didn't Trump respond in his usual fashion? Trump always demonizes his enemies. Since Flynn remains unnervingly un-demonized, we must presume that he was never a Trump enemy. Note that the pro-Trump propagandists are dutifully laying the groundwork for a Flynn pardon -- a service they would never provide for a genuine turncoat like Michael Cohen.

So why did the Office of Special Counsel praise Flynn's cooperation? It just don't add up!

Remember, when Trump tried to lean on Comey, it was with the intention of securing leniency for Flynn. Michael Flynn is that important to Trump.

Michael Flynn Jr.'s twitter feed -- always worth watching -- remains as cocky as ever. These are not the tweets one would expect from the son of a man who cooperated with the Special Counsel.

Svetlana Lokhova showed up in that feed, touting the virtues of General Flynn, and also touting her upcoming book, which supposedly will tell the truth about her interactions with Flynn. She sparred a bit with Louise Mensch. Although I've had my issues with lovely Louise, I must admit that Mensch handled herself well.

Lokohva has officially denied to the BBC that she was a honeytrap. Believe her if you will.

Never forget: After the former DIA head fell into a pro-Putin orbit, pro-American moles within the Russian security establishment were arrested. See also here and here and here, and I could list another dozen links. It sure looks to me as though someone has handed Putin a list of American agents in Russia.

I'm not saying that Michael Flynn was that someone. I'm simply reminding you of something Ian Fleming used to say: Three times is enemy action. We are way past three.

George Papadopoulos. Talk about cocky..!

Aren't those flags cute? It's clear that the guy is now an all-out MAGA propagandist, spewing insane, Breitbart-esque conspiracy twaddle. The Trumpers have redoubled their efforts to convince the country that those FISA warrants were all issued pursuant to an imagined pro-Hillary conspiracy, and not because Trump had surrounded himself with some very shady characters. If there was a pro-Hillary conspiracy, why was the FBI investigation of Trump kept secret before the election?

Here's the thing that really bugs me: There was a time, not long ago, when Paps seemed to be sincerely cooperating Mueller. Team Trump demonized Paps and belittled him as a coffee boy. Those attacks told me that he posed a serious threat.

Something changed. Someone flipped a switch. 

Take a look at the video embedded below, the second part of a four-part documentary produced some months ago for Australian television. The interview with Papdopoulos' wife Simona (after the 33 minute mark) gives us some insight into her husband's state of mind at that time. She does not complain about Mueller or the Democrats; she dishes dirt on Mifsud, the handler for Papdopoulos. How can we reconcile what Simona said then with the crap that George is tweeting now?

It's very clear that Trump did not choose Papdopoulos; Papadopoulos was chosen for him.

What the hell is going on with the UK? Mifsud ran his center out of London. Cambridge Analytica employs many "former" MI6 personnel. Christopher Andrew, the MI5 historian who ran the spyworld seminar where Flynn met Lokhova, has been roundly criticized for his Russian links.
The concerns emerged after a number of experts unexpectedly resigned from their positions at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (CIS), an academic forum on the Western spy world.

The men - former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, Stefan Halper, a former policy adviser at the White House, and historian Peter Martland - are said to have left amid concerns that the Kremlin is behind a newly-established intelligence journal, which provides funding to the group.

Mr Halper told earlier reports that his decision to step down was due to "unacceptable Russian influence" on the group.
The CIS was set up by official MI5 historian Professor Christopher Andrew. Seminars, which take place on Fridays at the university's Corpus Christi college, are advertised on the university website, with previous attendees including Mike Flynn, Donald Trump’s choice as new national security adviser for the US, and Dr Paul Martin, the ex-director of parliamentary security.
Suspicions were allegedly raised after claims a new digital publishing house called Veruscript, which helps cover some of the CIS’s costs, may be acting as a front for the Russian intelligence services.
Back in the day, Christopher Andrew was the cold warrior par excellence. What the hell happened?

It is clear that the British Establishment has been infected. But just how far and deep does the infection run?

Final notes. The hypocrisy of the MAGA crowd continues to astound me. Can anyone explain to me why William Barr -- a CIA lawyer who helped cover up many Bush-era crimes and scandals -- should not be considered an exemplar of the so-called "Deep State"? By what metric is Mueller a hireling of the Deep State while Barr is not?

The first person to use the term "deep state" in an American context was the left-wing professor Peter Dale Scott. I am quite sure that Scott meant to describe people like Barr. The Trumpers use the term as a catch-all designator for anyone who gets in Trump's way.  (Or as a euphemism for the Illuminati.)

So: The MAGA crowd hated the neocons -- but did not complain when Trump chose John Bolton. The MAGA crowd hated Goldman Sachs -- but did not complain when Trump let Goldman alums run the economy. The MAGA crowd dissed Hillary for being too close to the Saudis -- but applauds Trump's disgusting fealty to MBS. The MAGA crowd pretends to hate the Deep State -- but has no problem with William Barr.

Do the Trumpers even realize that these contradictions are, in fact, contradictions? Aren't they even a little bothered by the fact that loyalty to Trump requires constant revision of their belief system? Isn't there anyone in Oceania willing to say: "Hey -- didn't we used to be allied with Eastasia against Eurasia?"

Anyways, here's the Australian documentary referenced earlier. It's worth a watch -- or a re-watch, if you've seen it before. Can you reconcile the Papadopoulos in this presentation with the MAGAbot we now see?


Mr Mike said...

MAGAs suffer cognitive dissonance?
As to Manafort's playing both sides it probably didn't take Robert Mueller long to catch on if he wasn't aware from the start. Same with the Russian moles found out, Mueller knows who really dropped a dime on them and it wasn't Flynn.
Mueller has somebody else in Trump's circle by the short hairs we don't know about. If not a Trump intimate someone at Facebook who worked in or related to people in Washington?

joseph said...

My buddy says I'm crazy for my theory, but what the hell, here goers. What if Putin has turned on Trump? Butina was no doubt visited by Russian delegates, international law requires it. She says she is pleading out because she can no longer afford her attorneys. I'm not buying that. Putin helped put Trump in the White House. We know he promised a $50 million dollar penthouse, but why was the deal really cancelled? What promises did Trump make? Could Putin have finally figured out that Trump's word is worthless? Putin wants chaos in the West, though it is difficult to see what his endgame is, but what else does he want? It looks to me like Butina's plea is a direct threat to Trump, but by who? Putin?

Anonymous said...

Mr. mike: exactly. Cognitive dissonance is the bread and butter, or rather, the bacon double cheeseburgers, of these people. The more internal contradictions, the lower the cognitive performance.

I woke up this morning thinking about Allen Weisselberg, Trump’s accountant. He’s been keeping the books and writing the checks for decades. At the age of 71, it’s a certainty that he would prefer to not go to prison. Then I wodered, as you do, about who else there might be.

It seems that Flynn may have struck a deal that for full cooperation that he would be allowed to have his past relationships with Russians kept quiet. So he would be allowed to keep his reputation, and I would guess, his pension.

joseph, True. Putin must’ve realized that Trumpp is a moron. Interesting speculations.


gadfly said...

Louise Mensch is the self-made Russian expert who declared that Putin did in Andrew Breitbart, FWIW - Breitbart died from congestive heart failure!

Joseph Cannon said...

I have plenty of problems with Mensch, which I've discussed in the past. For quite some time, I tried to ignore those problems, because I find her attractive. (So I'm heterosexual. Sue me.)

Regarding Breitbart's heart failure: Well, he WAS a fairly young man, and theoretically, we must admit that there are ways to arrange deaths that look like heart attacks but aren't. That said, I would never, ever offer even the slightest hint of a whisper that he was murdered to pave the way for the rise of Steve Bannon. Never. The very idea is nonsense. Forget I mentioned it.

nemdam said...

* Marcy Wheeler states that the Butina deal is a precursor to a spy swap. She says this is commonly a way spy swaps are done in that after the US catches the spy, they make he or she plead guilty and then swap them. Don't know if this is true as I have my issues with Wheeler (though she's been good as of late).
* Don't forget that Trump did attack Flynn around the time he announced his plea deal. It was about a year (so ancient history), but it's possible Trump's silence is because he has given up on Flynn. Or, my favorite theory, that Flynn is faking out Trump by covertly telling him his cooperation is fake like Manafort's. If Mueller says he has provided substantial cooperation, then I believe it.
* It's obvious someone got to Papadopoulos. I too thought he was showing true remorse and was turning a corner. But it's obvious something happened and whatever it is isn't good.

Anonymous said...

In re: Young Mr. Breitbart. While the demise of an enemy can be a cause of schadenfreude, we can also look to more mundane causes of premature departure. He was not in the best of condition, and probably had other problems that hardened his heart. Or maybe he was using too much of Steve’s meth.