Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nick Hopkins and Luke Harding - Intelligence sources vouch for credibility of Russia dossier author / Mark Sumner - Trump Was Bailed Out of Bankruptcy by Russia Crime Bosses

It was Steele, sources say, who correctly and quickly realised Litvinenko’s death was a Russian state “hit”.

His denials – at least some of them – were emphatic, even by the standards that Donald Trump has come to be judged by. The dossier, he said, was a confection of lies; he compared it to Nazi propaganda; it was fake news spread by sick people. At his press briefing on Wednesday, the president-elect effectively dared the world’s media to scrutinise the 35 pages of claims, before throwing down a challenge – where’s the proof? Nobody had any. Case closed.

But in the rush to trample all over the dossier and its contents, one key question remained. Why had America’s intelligence agencies felt it necessary to provide a compendium of the claims to Barack Obama and Trump himself? And the answer to that lies in the credibility of its apparent author, the ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, the quality of the sources he has and the quality of the people who were prepared to vouch for him.

In both respects, the 53-year-old was in credit. Former colleagues of Steele describe him as “very credible” – a sober, cautious and meticulous professional with a formidable track record. One former foreign office official who has known Steele for 25 years and considers him a friend, said: “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false, completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.” 

The official added: “If he puts something in a report he believes there’s sufficient credibility in it for it to be worth considering. Chris is a very straight guy. He could not have survived in the job he was in if he had been prone to flights of fancy or doing things in an ill-considered way.”.. read more:


Trump's trainwreck press conference ushers in a shambolic presidency

Mark Sumner - Trump Was Bailed Out of Bankruptcy by Russia Crime Bosses
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. attended a real estate conference, where he stated that Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. As it turns out, that may have been an understatement. Human rights lawyer Scott Horton, whose work in the region goes back to defending Andrei Sakharov and other Soviet dissidents, has gone through a series of studies by the Financial Times to show how funds from Russian crime lords bailed Trump out after yet anther bankruptcy. The conclusions are stark.

Among the powerful facts that DNI missed were a series of very deep studies published in the [Financial Times] that examined the structure and history of several major Trump real estate projects from the last decade - the period after his seventh bankruptcy and the cancellation of all his bank lines of credit. ... The money to build these projects flowed almost entirely from Russian sources. In other words, after his business crashed, Trump was floated and made to appear to operate a successful business enterprise through the infusion of hundreds in millions of cash from dark Russian sources. He was their man. Yes, even that much seems fantastic, and the details include business agencies acting as a front for the GRU, billionaire mobsters, a vast network of propaganda sources, and an American candidate completely under the thumb of the Kremlin.

It reads like the a B-grade spy novel, a plot both too convoluted—and too bluntly obvious—for John le Carré. The problem is it may not be a conspiracy theory. It may be a conspiracy. Horton’s analysis comes from piecing together information in three Financial Times “deep reports.” One of these focused on Sergei Millian, the head of the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the US at the time of Trump Jr.’s “money pouring in from Russia” claim.

Mr Millian insists his Russian American Chamber of Commerce (RACC) has nothing to do with the Russian government. He says it is funded by payments from its commercial members alone.
Most of the board members are obscure entities and nearly half of their telephone numbers went unanswered when called by the Financial Times. An FT reporter found no trace of the Chamber of Commerce at the Wall Street address listed on its website. 

Why was RACC’s background filled with so many holes? The Financial Times quotes former Russian MP Konstantin Borovoi in tagging the chamber as a front for intelligence operations that dates back to Soviet times. “The chamber of commerce institutions are the visible part of the agent network . . . Russia has spent huge amounts of money on this.” Read more: