Back in the late 1980s, when I lived in the United States, during one of my occasional visits to New York I called on a high level executive at the Bank of New York, met through common friends in the “white” Russian community on the East Coast. That banker belonged to an eminent family from erstwhile Imperial Russia and he looked after the growing business with the USSR. That is how I found that a lot of money from there was moving into American financial institutions.
From 1990, with the disintegration of the Soviet system and the USSR, that flow turned into a flood, and I saw how the privatisation of the formerly socialist economy was being commandeered by neo-liberal American and European financial advisers supervised by the US ambassador in Moscow, Robert S. Strauss during the turbulent transition period.
Fast forward to the 1998 financial collapse in Russia, which led to a change of guard. Soon after, the discredited President Boris Yeltsin, known for his collusion with a group of oligarchs allied with the western bloc, passed the torch to Vladimir Putin, initially with the backing of those same oligarchs created by the “loans for shares programme”. Among the big beneficiaries of the catastrophic Yeltsin years was an ex-Solomon Brothers executive, who had given up his US citizenship to become a British subject, Bill Browder, co-founder, with billionaire Edmond Safra of Hermitage Capital Management.
Browder, the grandson of a millionaire leader of the US Communist party, who had run for President in 1936 and 1940 and was recruited by the NKVD/KGB, is held by many to be a double agent like his grandfather. His operations in Russia seem to have been part of the wider US strategy of taking control of strategic sectors (oil, gas, technology) of the Russian economy through proxy investors. Indeed in 1998, one of the Russian companies he had invested in, Avisma sued him under RICO (racketeers influenced and corrupt organizations act) for illegally siphoning funds out of the country and parking them in offshore locations and in Barclays accounts in the US.
In December 1999, Safra, Browder’s partner was murdered in his Monte Carlo villa by an American bodyguard in unclear circumstances and Browder settled the case confidentially with Avisma in the following year, before going on to make ever bigger profits (some 150 million pounds a year in 2006 and 2007). However, with the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a close ally and protégé of the Bush administration in 2003, the stars of various oligarchs began to fade and in 2006, Browder himself was declared a “threat to national security” by the Russian government, denied entry in the country and tried in absentia, along with his auditor Magnitsky (subsequently found dead in prison), for fraud and tax evasion. The trial led to a nine-year prison sentence. Browder subsequently played a key role in getting Congress to pass the anti-Russian Magnitsky Act in 2012, an early salvo in the looming war.
There are allegations that over a billion dollars were moved into the Ziff Brothers Hedge Fund in New York, much of which was made available to the Clinton electoral machine. By then, Browder had become a bitter enemy of the Russian President and a campaigner for human rights and “transparency”, who still works overtime with American official support to undermine the Russian state. His business practices were shady to say the least and, as a man repeatedly charged and once convicted of criminal practices, he has low credibility, although he has been made into a hero of capitalism and freedom by western mainstream media.
Now we move to the last US presidential elections, which pitted the anointed candidate of the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton, against GOP dark horse, Donald Trump. A deal had been made in 2008 between the Clintons and Obama’s camp, which promised the White House to the wife of the former President for 2016, in exchange for letting the young Chicago Afro-American attorney win the nomination. The deep state then wanted a fresh face epitomising American ethnic diversity and social progress. He would appoint Hillary in return as Secretary of State and give full backing to the Clinton Foundation, a formidable political influence machine, to raise funds from foreign governments and businesses for the benefit of the Clinton family.
That plan, however, was jeopardised by the unexpected rise of Bernie Sanders, supported by the left wing and the grassroots supporters of the Democratic Party, viscerally opposed to Hillary’s election. To prevent Sanders’ nomination, the DNC headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a “Clinton hand”, resorted to fraud and manipulated the primaries, rather successfully at first, thanks to the notoriously opaque and corrupt polling system. However, the trick could not escape notice and someone in the DNC decided to leak out the compromising data. In early June 2016, when Clinton clinched the party nomination, an anonymous insider downloaded a vast number of files from the server and within a few days it reached Wikileaks. Julian Assange announced from London on 12 June 2016 that he had received a cache of internal documents from the DNC and he published them on 22 June after verifying their authenticity.
The announcement triggered a panic in the DNC and Hillary is reported to have asked whether Assange could be “droned”. Whether coincidental or not, on 10 July, DNC staffer Seth Rich was shot dead in the back next to his home in Washington DC by unknowns. It was no robbery and the perpetrators have not been found so far. Wikileaks and other sources hinted that he might have provided information on the DNC, without confirming that suggestion. Could Rich have been a Sanders supporter, who decided to expose the dirty tricks in the party? In any event, it is now proven that another leak was engineered from inside the DNC on 5 July and disguised as a hack by someone codenamed Guccifer 2.0, who inserted telltale “Russian footprints”, probably using CIA/NSA proprietary technology, also revealed later by Wikileaks.
Dutifully, on 13 June, the DNC’s Internet services contractor Crowdstrike claimed that there was evidence of Russian hacking in the system. The goal of this “psy op” was to convince the world that the DNC was the target of sabotage organised by Vladimir Putin through Wikileaks to make Hillary Clinton lose and help Trump win. From then on that became the leitmotif of the Democrat campaign, allied with the liberal media and the bi-coastal Establishment. Any fraud committed in the Party’s primaries could be ignored as long as it was officially asserted that Trump was Moscow’s candidate. The rest is history.
The forensic evidence for the DNC’s internal leak was provided in the last few weeks by a reputed American non-political group of technical experts and intelligence executives called VIPS: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which, back in 2003, had warned about the manufactured intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction presented to the UN General Assembly by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to justify the invasion of Iraq. Those experts have sent their conclusions to President Trump, warning him of likely complicity between the Clinton-controlled DNC and top intelligence officials of the Obama Administration, including James Comey, the former head of the FBI and John Brennan, ex-director of the CIA, who may have acted on behalf of the Obama-Clinton faction to cover up the false flag, or “forensic attribution double game” perpetrated by their services.
Apart from exposing the widespread deception and skulduggery at the top levels of the US political system accounting for the so-called “Russiagate” conspiracy, which may lead to the impeachment and trial of a sitting President and has resulted in a new Cold War against that very President’s wishes, the VIPS investigation evinces the power of a bi-partisan deep state that does not hesitate to commit or condone large scale obfuscation in order to achieve its goals.
Predictably, Bill Browder is one of the most vocal advocates of an all out assault on Putin and Russia. His state-sponsored reputation as a “martyr of Putin’s Russia” protects him from any investigation or charge in America.
The Kremlin did not hide the fact that it preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, well known for her close association with fiercely anti-Russian politicians and businessmen. All governments seek to influence elections in countries that are of interest to them. However, Russia was not a player in the internal drama, which unexpectedly climaxed in Trump’s election, partly because perhaps the DNC’s dishonesty had been exposed by Wikileaks, following an internal revolt within the Party. However, it is far more advantageous for the US establishment to blame an allegedly inimical foreign power for the crisis, rather than muster the will to drain the allegorical swamp of its terminally dysfunctional polity.