Fusion GPS strategist Glenn Simpson clearly recycled an old hit piece that he wrote on John McCain in the Wall Street Journal in order to tie President Donald Trump to Russia through Paul Manafort.
Here is the March 14, 2008 piece that Simpson co-bylined with Mary Jacoby when McCain was running for president as a Republican. The piece, noticed by Based Basterd, is eerily similar to the Trump dossier, which McCain’s henchmen smuggled along like dossier coyotes during the 2016 election. (READ: Jennifer Rubin Quotes McCain Flunky That Passed Along Steele Dossier).
A consultant to Sen. John McCain hired a public-relations firm last year to burnish the U.S. image of a Ukrainian political party backed by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to documents filed with the Justice Department.
The lobbying firm of Davis Manafort Inc. arranged for the public-relations firm’s work through an affiliate last spring, at the same time Davis Manafort was being paid by the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign. The firm is co-owned by lobbyist Rick Davis, manager of Sen. McCain’s presidential campaign, and longtime Republican strategist Paul Manafort.
The Arizona senator has endorsed a political movement in Ukraine that is at odds with the Putin-backed Party of Regions.
The work for the Ukrainian party represents the latest issue to arise for the McCain campaign involving aides’ ties to foreign interests. Last weekend, the campaign parted ways with two former lobbyists for the military government of Myanmar after their ties were reported in Newsweek.
This year, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton demoted her chief campaign strategist, Mark Penn, after it emerged that he was advising the Colombian government on how to win passage of a free-trade agreement that she opposed. Mr. Penn is also world-wide chief executive of Burson-Marsteller, a public-relations and lobbying firm.
McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said Mr. Davis receives no income from Davis Manafort, although he still owns a share of the firm. “He earns no money from their activities while he is on leave,” Mr. Rogers said.
The spokesman said the Ukraine lobbying activities weren’t relevant to the campaign. “There has been no greater enemy of the status quo and corrupt lobbying practices in Washington than John McCain,” he said.
Working for foreign interests is legal, but it can be politically hazardous for lobbyists and the politicians they advise. The issue is becoming harder for politicians to avoid because globalization has made such work lucrative, drawing some of Washington’s best political talent.
Some of the best-paying but most-controversial contracts in Washington involve companies and individuals allied with the Kremlin. In addition to its work for the Party of Regions, the Davis Manafort lobbying firm has pursued business deals with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, the Washington Post reported in January. In 2006, Mr. Davis introduced Mr. McCain to Mr. Deripaska, a supporter and confidant of Mr. Putin, according to the Post.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Mr. Deripaska has been barred from the U.S. for allegedly lying to the FBI about his involvement with organized crime.
Wall Street Journal passage ends
Hillary Clinton even said just recently that she remembers how some Republicans attacked McCain in 2000:
— Based Basterd (@BasedBasterd) October 9, 2018
The Robert Mueller investigation and the criminal case against Paul Manafort are irreparably tainted by the involvement of a Russian oligarch and other deep-undercover double agents who set up members of the President Donald Trump campaign, including Don Jr. in a meeting at Trump Tower.
The Christopher Steele dossier — widely believed to have come from the Kremlin — is tainted by a Russian oligarch’s role in the anti-Trump plot, which was codenamed “Operation Crossfire Hurricane.” The fact that conspirators relied on Natalia Veselniskaya, the Russian Fusion GPS operative, means that the Robert Mueller case to find Russian corruption is badly damaged.
Chuck Marler, longtime FBI Special Surveillance Group member and whistleblower in the Robert Mueller case, explains Steele’s business relationship with Russian Oleg Deripaska.
“Christopher Steele was an Intelligence Officer for MI6 but in 2004 he and other Intelligence Officers were outed publicly and they had to be removed from their post. Steele had to start working a desk job and he went into management in London,” Marler tells Big League Politics.
“He quit in 2008 to start his own investigative agency, Orbis. Due to his previous exposure and activities in Russia, he would be watched closely by Russian Intelligence. In 2015 Steele was overtly asking contacts in Russia for dirt on Donald Trump. Conveniently, during this same time Orbis is doing work for an Oligarch named Oleg Deripaska through Deripaska’s law firm. Deripask (who has a lawsuit against Paul Manafort) has direct ties to Vladimir Putin and has direct knowledge of Manafort’s old business dealings in Ukraine. Steele in 2016 is conveniently fed stories about Trump, hookers, Manafort business dealings and Flynn’s attempts to be a lobbyist,” Marler said.
“So let me get this clear, Manafort is on trial for working with an Oligarch just like Steele did. Steele was asking around in Moscow for dirt on Trump although he was already on Russia’s radar as a Western Intelligence Officer. Russians provided dirt to Steele, his client Hillary Clinton and the FBI. Hillary Clinton and Peter Strzok used the dirt all-while they are obstructing justice regarding Hillary’s email case. Now Trump is under investigation by the FBI/Special Counsel/Democrats for Collusion with Russia and Obstruction of Justice. DID THE RUSSIANS JUST PLAY THE DEMOCRATS, THE FBI/SPECIAL COUNSEL AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE U.S. PUBLIC!,” Marler explained.
The Daily Caller reported: “At the same time Christopher Steele was compiling a dossier accusing the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russian government, the former British spy was lobbying Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr on behalf of a Russian oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The connection between Steele and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, is laid out in emails the Justice Department recently provided Congress. The emails show that Steele, a former British spy, advocated for Deripaska in negotiations over his visa status with the U.S. government. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, had been blocked from traveling to the U.S. in 2006 because of suspected ties to Russian mobsters. Deripaska hired an American lawyer named Adam Waldman in 2009 to lobby the U.S. government to obtain a visa for the billionaire.”
But the corruption does not stop there.
The Russian attorney partner of Paul Manafort who was named as a defendant in new Robert Mueller charges is also linked to the Russian spy Natalia Vesenilskaya, who was paid by Fusion GPS to attend a meeting with Don Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower.
According to Mueller’s new charges, Manafort’s Russian partner Konstantin Kilimnik tried to intimidate or coerce witnesses in Manafort’s upcoming money laundering trial. That puts Konstantin Kilimnik at the center of the Mueller effort to find obstruction of justice in Trump-World (Mueller is giving himself until September 1 to try to find obstruction of justice, after finding no Russian collusion involving Trump).
So who is Konstantine Kilimnik? It turns out that Kilimnik is linked to Veselnitskaya, the Fusion GPS agent, according to Senate documents.
Here is how ProPublica described Kilimnik: “Konstantin Kilimnik: Manafort, who worked for the pro-Russian party in Ukraine before running Trump’s campaign, had an employee in Kiev named Konstantin Kilimnik who U.S. and Ukrainian authorities have suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence, according to Politico. Kilimnik served in the Russian army and learned English at a school that experts say often trains spies. Kilimnik denied being a spy to The Washington Post. Manafort had dinner with Kilimnik last August in New York, just before he was forced out of the Trump campaign amid growing questions about his work in the Ukraine, the Post reported.”
Documents reveal Kilimnik’s ties to Veselniskaya. Let’s take a look at United States Senate Judiciary Committee documents questioning Veselniskaya in October. Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Veselniskaya if she knew a handful of characters believed to be conspirators in the case.
Grassley and Feinstein specifically asked Veselnitskaya if she knew Konstantin Kilimnik.
Here is page 4 of the documents, naming Kilimnik:
Current Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as senator from Alabama.
Veselnitskaya’s meeting with Don Jr. in Trump Tower provided some of the basis for warrants to surveil Trump Tower and for other FBI surveillance measures on the Trump campaign.
The fact that Veselnitskaya, a lawyer herself, was in the meeting with Trump Jr. and Kushner opened the president’s son and son-in-law up to being qualified as “target associations” for law enforcement under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed during the Bush administration.
Veselniskaya’s link to suspected conspirator Kilimnik is now coming under scrutiny. But that’s not all. Veselnitskaya is also closely linked to James Comey, a top official alongside Andrew McCabe in Barack Obama’s White House High Value Intelligence Group (HVIG), which secretly surveilled millions of law-abiding American citizens with facial recognition software.
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Exiled Turkish Journalist Warns: Authoritarian Leaders like Erdogan Use Guise of Populism to Destroy Democracy
The exiled former Editor-in-Chief of Turkey’s now-defunct daily Zaman newspaper Abdulhamit Bilci explained how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fooled Turkey and the world as he strategically destroyed the secular model that was put in place by his predecessor and implemented an Islamic form of government which is changing the face of the nation.
Now, Bilci devotes his time to warning other people about the early signs of the destruction of democracy. He is currently living in exile in the United States.
In a stunning tell-all with The Investigative Journal, Bilci detailed Erdogan’s path from local-level politics to his rise as one of the world’s most notorious authoritarian rulers.
Bilci started his career as a reporter in the 1990s covering political rallies and events for then-candidate Erdogan who ran a successful campaign to become the mayor of Istanbul. He said he developed a familiarity with Erodgan through years of his political coverage of him as a reporter and leading up to his time as editor-in-chief of Zaman — a role he held until he fled the county in March 2016, four months before the failed coup attempt.
In the 1990s, before Erdogan was imprisoned for being seen as a threat to Turkey’s secularism – a model that was instated by the late Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – Erdogan had stated “Democracy is like a train: when you reach your destination, you get off.” That quote can be sourced to a newspaper, “Milliyet Gazete Arsivi.”
“He was jailed in the 1990s, for four months, for reciting a poem because the secular establishment did not like his ideas and they were trying to stop him. But he was a successful mayor with his crazy ideology,” Bilci said. Erdogan was imprisoned between March to July of 199. During his conviction, he was forced to forfeit his mayoral position. “When he was mayor of Istanbul he was from the Islamist Party,” Bilci said.
Bilci said it was unfortunate that the secular establishment by jailing him made him more popular because then he became a victim; a tool of manipulation Erodgan used to his political advantage.
“When Erdogan got out of prison, he told the powers that be that he had changed his mind and that he was no longer an Islamist and had become democratic. And when he founded the AK Party he said we are not Islamists. We are conservative democrats; we are like Christian democrats in Europe. He then pushed for Turkey to become a member of the EU.”
However, prior to this, Erdogan had vehemently been opposed to having Turkey join the European Union. According to Bilci, “Erodgan saw the EU as a Christian club and believed Turkey has no place in that according to his Islamist vision.”
With his cosmetic change away from Islamism, Erdogan began receiving the support of democracies throughout the world. He was seen as the rising example and model of a Muslim leader who was trying to democratize his country. In fact, Turkey became a model for the Muslim world for democracy.
“I believed in him and I supported him in those years. But things started to change in his third term in 2011,” he said. “There were some signals of change and he gradually stopped the policy of Turkey becoming a better democracy and part of the EU. Instead, he turned increasingly to the Middle East. These were the Arab spring years.”
For a period of about 8-9 years, Zaman Daily supported Erdogan. The publication had approximately 1 million daily subscribers at its peak.
“The newspaper was supporting him during his first eight years as prime minister,” Bilci said. “And the whole world was supporting him; the international media, the New York Times.” He continued, “but that was during the Obama years. He was trying to make reforms in democracy and improve the economy and make Turkey a member of the European Union. All of these policies were in line with our newspaper’s interior line as well.”
Bilci said Erodgan played a very clever game.
“He was showing himself as being democratic for 8-9 years during the time we were supporting him in an attempt to control all the power because he needed that support since the secular establishment in Turkey hated him. So, to counterbalance the secular establishment, he needed the support of democrats and to show up as a democrat.”
But around 2012-2013, things started to change and Erdogan took on an authoritarian approach which Bilci says the world is seeing to this day.
“Obama and the Europeans continued to legitimize Erdogan in 2013 and beyond. They were not candid in criticizing him and it is a pity they did not stop him,” he said. “We were telling them that Erdogan is destroying democracy and the rule of law and you should be candid to protest that and not appease the guy because it will be bad for the Turkish people and the entire democratic world.” However, despite these warnings, many western, democratic leaders, including Obama continued to appease Erdogan who continued to get closer to Russia and jail journalists even going so far as attacking America’s allies, the Kurds, and procuring negative policies in Libya and Syria that benefited jihadists.
“Once his authoritarianism and corruption were revealed, we exposed it and that made him the enemy,” Bilci said of Erdogan. He said the Turkish government was providing the crux of the publication’s funding and the newspaper fell on hard times between 2015 and 2016 because Erdogan “was calling companies and telling them not to purchase advertisements from our media and there were financial and legal pressures applied.” Similar attempts to crush opposition media were made against conservative publications like Breitbart News by progressives in the United States.
“Our reporters were not able to attend press conferences. He revoked our press cards. In those three years, there were crazy things occurring but we continued our critical editorial line. We did not fall down,” Bilci said. “Finally, he used the nuclear option. He used appointees that he controlled and sent police forces to come to our offices and fired me.” He said in his place, “Erdogan’s thugs” hired a mouthpiece journalist from the pro-government daily paper (Akit), which he described as “a hardline Islamist newspaper,” to be the new editor. “Within 24 hours, Zaman newspaper became a propaganda mouthpiece for the Erdogan regime.”
The move by Erdogan to strangle press freedom had dire consequences for the publication.
“Our readers did not approve of that change,” Bilci said. “At the time of occupation, our circulation was around 700,000 people a day, which had come down from 1 million people per day due to the government takeover of it.” He continued, “our readers did not approve that change and they protested by stopping to buy it. So, within one week the circulation decreased to 5,000 people per day. This was the total and complete and total destruction of a private media company.”
Once the coup took place, Zaman was shut down altogether. In addition to this, Erdogan’s government shut down around 200 critical media outlets. They raided the homes of journalists and columnists from media outlets critical of Erdogan and arrested them. “Luckily, I was not home. But colleagues of mine who were arrested in July 2016 are still in jail. Some of them received life sentences, others 10 years, and others still 6 years.”
Academics, teachers, lawyers, doctors, are among those who have been locked up unjustly.
“I feel lucky that I got out and I am free but I feel so sad that I left my friends behind,” Bilci said. “The only thing I can do is continue speaking out to tell this story.” Despite having over 200,000 followers on Twitter, Bilci’s message does not reach those inside of Turkey. “A court order in Turkey has blocked my Twitter from being visible to the Turkish people. Unfortunately, Twitter cooperated with the Turkish court’s decision.”
“When he grabbed power, he showed his real identity. He used Islamism but I don’t think that he is a sincere Muslim. I think he is using Islam to fool people; specifically –Turkey’s conservative people which are his constituency — to cover up his authoritarianism and corruption.” Bilci added, “Democracies are fragile and anyone living in democracy today should be careful about the ways and methods that are being used to destroy democracy using democratic mechanisms.”
He concluded, “Turkey should be studied more by the democratic world, by the media, and by academics so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Erdogan is one of the prime examples of populism gone wrong. He should become an example of what not to let happen. So, in that regard, Turkey is a prime example for learning lessons in history.”
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