Revelations earlier today that Paul Manafort had been seen arriving at the FBI office in Washington, after leaving his home early Monday morning, prior to being arrested on charges relating to tax fraud, money laundering and several other key offences, appear to indicate that a number of prominent people are now effectively off the hook; for the time being at least. Among them is Christopher Steele, the author of the ‘Dodgy Dossier’ linked to research into Donald Trump’s Russian connections carried out on behalf of Fusion GPS: a firm retained by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and a Conservative website The Free Beacon; a venture funded to a large degree by Republican donor Paul Singer; himself described by the New York Times as a ‘hedge fund billionaire’.
Although the mainstream media in the United States and elsewhere were to spend much of the weekend obsessing about the Fusion GPS story, many key facts have yet to be picked up by the mainstream media; due to the fact that the current obsession with the still on going Russia Investigation has largely focused itself on Trump’s Russia ties, rather than some of the more obscure details that appear to have escaped the attention of most media pundits. The fact that Paul Manafort has been principally charged in connection with matters related to his dealings with the Ukraine, and not with Russia as many of Trump’s opponents would have hoped, is likely to obscure those matters still further, as media attention moves away from Trump, and indeed Russia, and on to a former Campaign Manager and one of the latter’s business associates, Rick Gates, with particular reference to the pair’s Ukrainian business dealings up to and before 2015.
Back in August the Guardian newspaper revealed that two US congressional staffers had traveled to London in July in a failed attempt to contact Steele at the behest of a ‘longstanding aide’ to Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House intelligence Committee; the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee currently investigating the Trump Russia allegations. Earlier this month however, when the Senate Intelligence Committee gave its latest updates to a press conference on alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 Elections, its representatives had still been unable to have face to face dialogue with Mr. Steele; in spite of the fact that he himself was alleged to have been in the building when the two previously mentioned congressional staffers had turned up at his lawyers’ offices back in the Summer.
Some two weeks before the Guardian published its report, on Monday 24th July, as the mainstream media focused on Russian Sanctions, the North Korean missile threat, Iran and the plight of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, another major political story broke on a relatively obscure investigative news website; and was subsequently ignored. At the start of a working week that would see Donald Trump’s feud with his Attorney General over Hilary Clinton brought to a head, the US based investigative website, Consortium News, broke the story which may well turn out to exonerate Wikileaks, the principal agency which many close to the Clinton Camp are still accusing of acting directly as little more than a Russian Proxy. Facts that we ourselves reported back in May, shortly after the Swedish decision to drop its investigation into the longstanding rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
In April of this year the now beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at the time had incurred the Presidential wrath on account of his self recusal in the matter of the still on going Russia investigation, announced that he was making Assange’s arrest an absolute priority. The principal grounds upon which these proposed criminal indictments were supposedly going to be made was Wikileaks’ alleged role as a ‘non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.’ A description attributed to the CIA Director Mike Pompeo by the UK Guardian website, which had posted a number of links to some of Mr. Pompeo’s official speeches on the US Central Intelligence Agency website.
Elsewhere, in the same speech, Mr. Pompeo referred to how ‘WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.’
July’s revelations however would seem to have thrown these accusations into disarray. In a controversial memorandum, authored by a group calling itself Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which was posted on the Consortium News website, it was revealed that the material that was to form the basis for the so called ‘DNC Leaks’ had been ‘copied….in 87 seconds onto an external storage device….’ This had been done by someone using ‘a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network’. The fact that this individual, or individuals, downloaded ‘1,976 MegaBytes of data’ during that short period of time, means that the download was pulled off at a speed which ‘is many times faster than what is physically possible with a hack.’
Following Consortium’s publication of the Memorandum, which was itself to be the subject of an in depth investigative report on the ‘Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence’ website, a team of high ranking former US Intelligence Officials, including John Kiriakou, the controversial former CIA Counter Terrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, who served with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before his imprisonment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program, signed up to endorse its contents. However, in spite of the fact that forensic studies of the supposed ‘Russian hacking‘ of the DNC computers had revealed that no actual hack had taken place, and that the data retrieved had actually been leaked by someone with direct physical access to the DNC computer at the center of the investigation, the entire story has been systematically sidelined by the corporate mainstream media.
In January of this year Distract the Media published hard evidence that much of the Steele dossier at the heart of this controversy had been fabricated by a variety of high level players close to the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6. After Putin’s subsequent denial, and the initiation of court proceedings against Buzzfeed, who had had been the first to publish the dossier on-line, by one of those apparently defamed by some of the document’s contents, our stories have since stood the test of time. In the meantime, Julian Assange has been vindicated, and Hilary Clinton has been utterly discredited and is now effectively the laughing stock of the American political scene.
Having begun his career as a junior researcher at Thames Television in London, he has written for a wide range of publications including 'The Brighton Reporter', 'Durham Town and Country', 'The Brighton and Hove People' and 'The New Celtic Review'. As an exhibited film maker he has been a regular contributor and award nominee at the Portobello Film Festival in London; and has seen his work shown at the annual London Film Makers' Convention at the prestigious Round House Theatre.
As well as receiving enthusiastic reviews from BBC Radio 4 and others for his book on Sir Walter Scott, his pioneering work as an Underground Film Maker on the fledgeling Goa Trance Scene has set him in a field of his own amongst many of his contemporaries; both in the UK, where he presently resides, and elsewhere. Current projects presently in hand include a book centred on his 'Legendary London' series of documentary films, which have stimulated an enthusiastic response from the likes of Glenda Jackson and others; and a novel set in France and Edinburgh during the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment.
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