Sunday, October 06, 2019

Whistleblowers and the CIA. Plus: Giuliani's corrupt connection to Ukraine. (NEW AND IMPORTANT.)

I wanted the previous post (which debunks Ukraine/Biden conspiracy theories) to stay up for a couple of days. But so much is happening...!

First and foremost, there now appear to be "multiple" whistleblowers.
“IC WHISTLEBLOWER UPDATE: I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” the attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said in a tweet. “No further comment at this time.”

Mark Zaid, who also is a member of the original whistleblower’s legal team, confirmed to The Washington Post that the team is now representing a second whistleblower, who works in the intelligence community. The second individual has spoken to the inspector general of the intelligence community and has not filed a complaint. “Doesn’t need to,” Zaid said.
Doesn't need to? Tell me more!

At any rate, keep in mind that people in the intelligence community use spooky lawyers, which means that the "Deep State" conspiracy junkies are going to leap on Bakaj and Zaid.

Andrew P Bakaj, 36, is indeed a "former" CIA officer who formally served from 2012 to 2015. He is now running Compass Rose Legal Group. Interestingly, he once worked in the American embassy in Kiev. As a young man, Bakaj served on Capitol Hill (probably as an intern) for Chuck Schumer, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and -- wait for it -- Hillary Clinton.

Oh boy. You know what the rightwingers are going to do with all of that. "He's got Clinton cooties all over him!"

 From his firm's website:
Bakaj won DoD’s Investigator of the Year award in 2012 for his work on chemical weapons storage. He personally wrote both CIA and DoD agency regulations prohibiting reprisals against whistleblowers.
Bakaj says that he himself received wrongful termination for helping whistleblowers in a case that we don't know much about because the details remain classified.

The Liquid Natural Gas connection. What I'm about to lay out for you is very important, and almost nobody is talking about it. So PLEASE: Read carefully, double-check if you can, and spread the word.

First: We all got a nice giggle when Trump tried to deflect blame for the Zelensky call to Rick Perry. If I were in Trump's shoes, I wouldn't want to give people the impression that I was dumb enough to be hornswoggled by Rick freakin' Perry. I think I'd rather just take an impeachment.

The marvelous Wendy Siegelman decided to investigate further, and what she found is pretty damned amazing.

After reading this, you'll be asking the obvious question: Why is anyone talking about Hunter Biden? Rudy Giuliani is the one with deep and continuing business interests in Ukraine. Read Siegelman's piece and you'll get a good whiff of Giuliani's corruption.

I've taken the liberty of translating her Twitter-ese into conventional prose. The words below the asterisks are hers. I have improved the grammar slightly; if that decision bothers you, hit the link and read the original thread.

* * *

Trump's attempt to blame Rick Perry for his call to Zelensky is hilarious, but there is an underlying truth to his new narrative. No, Perry isn't responsible for Trump coercing Ukraine into supporting his campaign, but LNG is at the heart of the Ukraine scandal.

It's also why I've grown skeptical of the idea that the Ukraine scandal's supposed simplicity means it should be the focus of the House's impeachment inquiry. Yes, the corruptness of Trump's request to Zelensky is straightforward, but there's a much messier story underlying it.

Different members of the Trump administration saw a Liquid Natural Gas deal in Ukraine as a means to different ends, but for Trump, exporting LNG to Ukraine was closely associated with his frequent (incorrect) boasts about how America is now a net energy exporter, etc. It's also the thing Trump cites to when he claims 'nobody has been tougher on Russia than him.' While he's obviously wrong about the whole toughest on Russia part, Trump is right that this is one area – probably the only area – where his policies are genuinely adverse to Russia.

To grossly oversimplify everything: Russia has a lot of LNG that it supplies to Europe, and how reliant those European countries are on Russia for their total gas supply, and what pipelines Russia uses to transport the LNG to them, both have huge political ramifications. Ukraine's role in Europe's LNG politics is why Rick Perry and John Bolton were two of the heavy-lifters when it came to the negotiations with the new presidential administration in Ukraine. And it's why they were involved in the negotiations in July with Ukraine's security chair.

Back in May, Perry was subbed in last minute for Pence to attend Zelensky's inauguration. In part, it was a warning to Zelensky that he was being tested. But it is also the case that Perry was sent there, along with Sen Johnson and Volker, to discuss the LNG pipeline.

(Side note: check out that attendance list from the Ukrainian side. Why on earth would Ruslan Riaboshapka, an attorney, have been sent to an LNG meeting? Riaboshapka, btw, is also the guy Zelensky tapped to be his Chief Prosecutor. Who will lead any investigation into Biden.)

All of this negotiation over LNG pipelines and supply agreements is a normal part of politics. Yes, corruption is endemic in the LNG world, especially in developing nations, but there's nothing inherently wrong with what Perry/Bolton were doing in these LNG talks with Ukraine.

But what was happening in Ukraine wasn't just the usual LNG politics, because there was a monkey wrench that was interrupting the normal foreign policy process. That monkey wrench was Rudy Giuliani. Because Giuliani is the President's personal attorney. And he was in Ukraine operating on Trump's behalf.

But Trump doesn't pay Giuliani. Trump isn't paying for Giuliani's work in Ukraine. A Ukrainian-American LNG company is paying Giuliani for all his work in Ukraine.

Giuliani's actual client – his paying client – is Global Energy Producers. GEP's business is facilitating LNG export contracts to Ukraine. Which means that is also Giuliani's purpose in Ukraine. While simultaneously acting on behalf of the President of the United States.

"Conflict of interest" is an insufficient term for this abuse of power.

Giuliani was negotiating with the Ukrainians on Trump's behalf, while also try to help his clients score an LNG contract. All while Perry and Bolton are also negotiating with Ukraine on an LNG deal.

GEP is owned by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. They're the ones who got Giuliani in touch with Lutsenko, and who Giuliani sent to first make contact with Zelensky after his election. They're also the ones helping Giuliani in his quest to manufacture dirt on Biden in Ukraine.

Since 2016, Parnas and Fruman have gotten millions in funding from an unknown source, which they have used to donate millions of dollars to GOP campaigns and PACs. This, in turn, has given them a bit of access to some elected officials.
More here.
Wendy Siegelman undercuts her credibility by repeatedly referring to "LNG pipelines". There is no such thing as a Liquefied Natural Gas pipeline except the short distance between an LNG compression facility a transportation vehicle.

Natural gas is transported via pipeline in a gaseous state to a liquefaction facility, then in pressure vessels (usually aboard ships) in a liquefied state to a regasification plant.
@stickler - 5 whole seconds of research would have shown you the standard term used to refer to any pipeline associated with LNG production, whether it carries liquified natural gas or natural gas to a compression plant for liquification, is "LNG pipeline." This isn't even a fringe use of the term, but the one the industry and regulatory bodies consistently follow.
The LPG story is growing.
It's about LNG and natural gas VERSUS electric cars.
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