Final scene of Being There.
September 29, 2017
by David Livingstone
Trump can be likened to the Chauncey Gardiner character of the 1979 film Being There, a simpleton installed in power by secret puppeteers. Like Chauncey, Trump “likes to watch,” and has a notorious appetite for television. Nor, like Chauncey, does he read. Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Trump’s 1987 book The Art of the Deal told The New Yorker that in the 18 months he spent with Trump, he “never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.” Schwartz told the magazine, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” Trump explained he does not need to read extensively because he is able to come to correct decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”
The movie ends with one of the most overt references to the Illuminati in modern film history, where pallbearers carry a casket to a tomb modeled on the pyramid on the reverse side of the American dollar bill, featuring a Masonic all-seeing eye, and discuss their plans to make Chauncey the next President of the United States.
The pyramid recalls a similarly Masonic-inspired pyramid featured on the roof of the Israeli Supreme Court. Instrumental in its construction was Yad Hanadiv, an Israeli charitable foundation chaired by Lord Jacob Rothschild. David Rockefeller, the founder of the CFR, has a longtime personal relationship with the Rothschilds. The CFR was a sister organization of the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA), both agencies of the Round Table, a secret organization created by Lord Nathaniel Rothschild at the bidding of diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes, and which was devoted to “the extension of British rule throughout the world.” David’s grandfather was John D. Rockefeller, a leading Robber Baron whose conquest of America’s oil industry was funded by the Rothschilds. In a press release, David Rockefeller said of the current Baron of the family, “Lord [Jacob] Rothschild and I have known each other for five decades. The connection between our two families remains very strong.”.
Being There was based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, who was born in Poland and educated in the Soviet Union before he moved to the United States where he was funded by the Ford Foundation, a known CIA front. Interestingly, the lead character in the movie is the aging business mogel Ben Rand, which may not be a reference to a single person, but to the people behind the powerful RAND Corporation, which was also funded by the Ford Foundation, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation, and where Henry Kissigner—CFR member, and leading agent of the Rothschilds and Rockefellers—was a major participant.
It is becoming increasingly evident that Trump does not possess the competence to have achieved the financial success he enjoys. In fact, a series of studies by the Financial Times has shown how after he suffered a string of six successive bankruptcies, Trump was bailed out by Russian crime lords. This same Russian Mafia and their ties to powerful oligarchs close to Putin helped orchestrate Trump’s successful election to president.
However, what the mainstream media is not exploring, is their ties to Henry Kissinger, the CFR and the Rothschilds. “I don’t doubt that the Russians are hacking us,” Kissinger told CBS’ Face the Nation in an interview that aired December 18, 2016. “And I hope we’re doing some hacking there.” “But it’s very difficult to communicate about it. Because nobody wants to admit the scope of what they’re doing.” In the same interview, Kissinger described Putin as a character out of Dostoyevsky, and said, “And he is a man with a great sense of connection, inward connection to Russian history as he sees it.”
Kissinger then remarked, “I had not thought of President Trump as a presidential candidate until he became a President.” But Kissinger described Trump as “a phenomenon that foreign countries haven’t seen… And I believe he has the possibility of going down in history as a very considerable president.” Kissinger gives Trump credit for “having analyzed an aspect of the American situation, develop a strategy (AUDIO GAP) against his leadership of his own party and prevailing.” “I think he operates by a kind of instinct that is a different form of analysis as my more academic one,” Kissinger said. “But he’s raised a number of issues that I think are important, very important. And if they’re addressed properly, could lead to good—great results.”
Sputnik reported that Kissinger was advising Trump on how to “to bring the United States and Russia closer together to offset China’s military buildup.” According to Paul Craig Roberts, who was Kissinger’s colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for many years, this tells us that Kissinger is trying to use better relations with Russia in order to separate Russia from its strategic alliance with China. As Roberts explains: “Kissinger… is aware of the pro-American elites inside Russia, and he is at work creating for them a “China threat” that they can use in their effort to lead Russia into the arms of the West. If this effort is successful, Russia’s sovereignty will be eroded exactly as has the sovereignty of every other country allied with the US.”
Kissinger’s recent recommendations to Trump come from a long history of diplomacy inclined to the interests of the Russians. According to Colonel Michal Goleniewski, a former KGB agent, Kissinger had been recruited by Soviet intelligence during World War II. Goleniewski defected to the United States in January 1961, after which he went to work for the CIA, until he was discredited when he claimed to be Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia, heir apparent to the Russian throne. Nevertheless, Goleniewski was responsible for uncovering a long list of KGB and GRU agents and officers.
Historian Richard A. Moss of the Naval War College recently published an authoritative book-length study titled, Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and Détente, revealing how Kissinger established his own personal backchannel to the Soviet leadership in 1968, soon after being named Nixon’s national security adviser. Kissinger used Boris Sedov, a known KGB operative he met when he was visiting Harvard, to whom he conveyed his interest in improving US-Soviet relations. Additionally, Oleg Kalugin, the head of the KGB’s station in Washington, as he recounted in his own memoirs The First Directorate, boasted that the back channel with Kissinger forged a direct line between Nixon and Brezhnev. Kalugin maintains that the KGB preferred Nixon to his election rival, Hubert Humphrey, because no one would dare accuse Nixon of being soft on communism. According to Kalugin:
Again and again, in meetings with Sedov, Kissinger told us not to underestimate Nixon’s political abilities, not to overestimate his anti-Communism, and not to take Nixon’s hard-line campaign pronouncements at face value. Kissinger told Sedov that Nixon, if elected, would strive for a new era of improved relations between the two superpowers.
Only after Nixon’s inauguration did Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin agree that all further communication would be through him. Nixon agreed to set up a secure phone line in the White House linking him directly to Dobrynin. According to Moss, the US intelligence agencies, the National Security Council staff and the Pentagon were kept in the dark about these conversations. Sedov later boasted to Kalugin that he had been so successful in cultivating Kissinger’s assistant Richard Allen that he wanted to try to recruit and even potentially blackamail Allen into becoming an agent, according to Kalugin. Although Kalugin rejected the proposal, Sedov and Allen continued to maintain their relationship, and Allen eventually served as national security adviser to Ronald Reagan.
As Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and a proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in American foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending America’s proxy war against Russia in Vietnam.
After leaving office in 1977, Kissinger was appointed to Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS board of trustees includes many former senior government officials including Zbigniew Brzezinski, William Cohen, George Argyros and Brent Scowcroft. Within the intelligence community, CSIS is known for having “some of the most insightful analysis and innovative ideas for strengthening our national security,” according to former CIA Director John Brennan. In the University of Pennsylvania’s 2013 Global Go To Think Tanks Report, CSIS is ranked the number one think tank in the world for “Top Defense and National Security Think Tanks.”
In 1982, Kissinger founded Kissinger Associates (KA), after loans had been secured from Goldman Sachs and a consortium of three other banks. KA assists its clients in identifying strategic partners and investment opportunities, advising clients on government relations throughout the world. The firm does not disclose its list of corporate clients, and reportedly bars clients from acknowledging the relationship. In 1999 Kissinger joined Mack McLarty to open Kissinger McLarty Associates. McLarty was Carlyle Group Senior Advisor and White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton. Kissinger McLarty is a corporate member of the Council of the Americas, the New York-based business organization established by David Rockefeller in 1965.
In November 2002, Kissinger was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the newly established 9/11 Commission, under great controversy. Kissinger stepped down as chairman on December 13, 2002 rather than reveal his business client list, when questioned about potential conflicts of interest.
In 2003, Kissinger was in Moscow where he heard George H.W. Bush deliver the keynote speech at a dinner for Russian business leaders, including Yukos-Sibneft founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, on behalf of the Carlyle Group.
Bush was there to facilitate an $18 billion deal by American oil giant ChevronTexaco for a blocking stake in the new Yukos-Sibneft. Bush was also there to help complete a $500 million deal between Alfa and the Carlyle Group. Carlyle was the eleventh largest military contractor in the US, and a leading contributor to George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. Former President George H. W. Bush has visited Saudi Arabia at least twice to successfully court bin Laden family financing for the Carlyle Group. Alfa’s dubious clout in Washington during the 1990s was assisted through the support of senior Democrats like Richard Burt and Republicans like Dick Cheney.
In May 2017, Alfa filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the Trump Dossier, which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and Alfa Bank’s owners in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Alfa, one of Russia’s largest privately owned investment groups, was founded by Mikhail Fridman, a CFR member and the second wealthiest man in Russia according to Forbes, and the eighth wealthiest Jew in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post. Fridman is also co-founder of the Russian Jewish Congress.
As reported by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Knut Royce and Nathaniel Heller, Alfa’s “roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds, according to Russian and U.S. sources and documents.” A former KGB major said that Alfa was founded with party and KGB funds, and soon attracted rogue agents who had served in anti-organized-crime units. Two reports, one by a former US intelligence office and another by a Russian FSB officer, concluded that Alfa had been deeply involved in the early 1990s in laundering of Russian and Colombian drug money and in trafficking drugs from the Far East to Europe. The 2007 report of the global intelligence company Stratfor connected Fridman and Aven to Solntsevo mafia.
The Moscow Times noted that the last Bush had come to Moscow was in June of 1998, just two months before the Russian economy imploded, for the lavish opening of Goldman Sachs’ office there. Kissinger was on the board of Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia Foundation, a position he said he accepted at the invitation of Lord Rothschild, another board member.
For years, Kissinger has argued that promoting a greater balance of power between the U.S. and Russia would improve global stability. In his autobiography, Putin recalled that in the 1990s, he first met Kissinger who asked him a series of questions. “I worked in intelligence,” Putin finally told him. To which Kissinger replied: “All decent people got their start in intelligence. I did, too.” As Putin gained power in Russian politics, eventually becoming president, he and Kissinger kept up a warm rapport even as the United States and Russia grew further apart.
Kissinger met with Putin on December 8, 2015, a few weeks after he had met Donald Trump on November 17, 2016, and one week before Putin and Trump were to meet at the Group of Twenty summit in Germany. These meetings took place despite the swirl of controversy about Russian interference in the election. Kissinger also met with President Trump at the White House in May 2017. This was following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a day after Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey, who was leading the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian officials.
The American public only found out about thanks to photos posted to Twitter by Russia’s state news agency Tass, who photographer was the only one allowed in the meeting, while U.S. journalists were barred. Trump told those attending the meeting that firing Comey, who was “crazy” and a “real nut job,” had relieved “great pressure” on him.
Trump also later confirmed via Twitter that during the meeting he shared information related to a potential airline plot by Islamic State, thought to involve a laptop bomb. Israeli intelligence experts were gravely concerned that Trump’s sharing of classified information with Russia may have compromised an Israeli agent. Lavrov had met first with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss Ukraine, Syria and other bilateral issues.
Journalists were later allowed into the Oval Office, but instead of Lavrov and Kislyak they found Trump sitting alone with Henry Kissinger. Kissinger is one of the few people who can get Trump on the phone whenever he wants, according to one transition adviser. Along with Tillerson, Kissinger is one of the few Americans to meet frequently with Putin. At their meeting of November 17, 2016, Kissinger and Trump discussed “China, Russia, Iran, the EU and other events and issues around the world.” In December 2016, Kissinger advised Trump to accept “Crimea as a part of Russia” in an attempt to encourage a rapprochement between the United States and Russia, as a result of frayed relations due to the Crimean crisis. In a speech in February at the Gorchakov Foundation in Moscow, Kissinger used language familiar to Alexander Dugin: “In the emerging multipolar order, Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not primarily as a threat to the United States.”
Neoconservative Richard Burt, a former Reagan State Department official and US ambassador to Germany, and close ally of Kissinger, helped craft Trump’s first major foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel, in Washington, hosted by the pro-Russia think tank Center for the National Interest (CFTNI) on April 27, 2016. Burt said the main theme he talked about to Trump was the need for the United States to pursue a “more realist foreign policy,” in which the United States would avoid seeking “regime change” abroad, and instead make protecting the itself and its interests the main policy goal.
The Honorary Chairman of CFTNI, which is composed primarily of members of the CFR, is Henry Kissinger. In addition to belonging to Kissinger McLarty, Burt is also a Senior Advisor to CSIS. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed Burt as chief negotiator for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) between the United States and the Soviet Union, with the rank of ambassador. Burt is also chairman of the American Committee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (IISS), founded in 1958 by members of the RIIA. He is also Vice Chairman of the American Council on Germany, and a member of the CFR.
Burt has served as an Advisor of Carlyle Group, was affiliated with the RAND Corporation, and the Aspen Institute. Along with Kissinger, he was affiliated with Hollinger International, whose parent was Hollinger Inc., a Canadian media company based in Toronto started by Conrad Black. Its flagship paper was the Chicago Sun-Times. Hollinger also owned The Jerusalem Post and interests in Australian and Canadian newspaper chains. Hollinger’s boards of directors and advisory boards included Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Dr. Giovanni Agnelli, William F. Buckley, Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Paul A. Volcker.
The CFTNI was established by former President Nixon in 1994 as the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, and was renamed was renamed in 2011. The CFTNI publishes the National Interest, its foreign policy bi-monthly magazine, The National Interest, founded in 1985 by Irving Kristol, and which received funding by Hollinger. The advisory council was chaired by James Schlesinger until his death in 2014. Schlesinger was a university professor, researcher at Rand, and became Director of the CIA in 1973. He served as Secretary of Defense from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He became America’s first Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter.
CFTNI’s Chairman Emeritus is Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), which was the largest insurance and financial services corporation in history. He is a past chairman, deputy chairman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He was also vice chairman and director of the CFR and a member of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission. He is a former chairman and current trustee of the Asia Society, a trustee emeritus of the Rockefeller University, and is an honorary trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, all three institutions founded by the Rockefeller family.
CFTNI’s chairman is General Charles Boyd, a program director of the CFR s and as president of Business Executives for National Security. Vice Chairman of the CNI is CFR member Drew Guff, who was instrumental in the formation of Russia Partners Company, the first major private equity fund to invest in Russia, and on the Board of Trustees of the Eurasia Foundation. Fellow Vice Chairman is Richard Plepler, the CEO of HBO, a Time Warner company. Another Vice Chairman, Dov Zakheim, is also a member of the CFR, IISS and Adjunct Scholar of the Heritage Foundation.
Other board members include Graham Allison, professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was among those mentioned to succeed David Rockefeller as President of the CFR; Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner; Leslie Gelb, a former correspondent and columnist for The New York Times, and currently President Emeritus of the CFR. Governor Jon Huntsman, former Ambassador to China, who was recently selected by Trump to be the next Ambassador to Russia. David Keene, opinion Editor of The Washington Times, President of the NRA and chairman of the American Conservative Union; Zalmay Khalilzad of RAND, and forrner ambassador to Afghanistan and the UN; David McCormick, a Trustee of the Aspen Institute and Carnegie Mellon University, member of the Trilateral Commission, the CFR and the Aspen Strategy Group.
Also on the board is billionaire Peter Peterson, who succeeded David Rockefeller as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1985 and served until his retirement in 2007. Peterson currently serves as Trustee of the Rockefeller family’s Japan Society and of the Museum of Modern Art, and was previously on the board of Rockefeller Center Properties, Inc. In 1985, Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, who had previously worked together at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., founded Blackstone Group, the largest alternative investment firm in the world. Blackstone Group is located in River House on Park Avenue at Fifty-first Street, in a building also occupied by Kissinger Associates.
As reported by Alana Goodman for The Free Beacon, the Center’s ties to Russia extend throughout the organization. The advisory council of the National Interest includes Alexey Pushkov, a Russian Duma official who was targeted for sanctions by the US government in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Pushkov has been criticized for claiming that the Bush administration orchestrated the 9/11 attacks and for blaming the 2013 Navy Yard shooting on “American exceptionalism.”
A Kremlin-backed think tank, the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation (IDC), was formed in New York in 2008 under Putin adviser Andranik Migranyan, which often partners with CFTNI. Migranyan was selected to run the IDC by Sergey Lavrov, according to a confidential State Department cable released by WikiLeaks.
Goodman suggests the IDC originated when Kremlin adviser Gleb Pavlovsky, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort to discuss forming a Russian-funded think tank, as reported in 2005 by the Russian-American newspaper Kommersant.
According to Forbes magazine, Deripaska is Russia’s sixth-wealthiest man, with an estimated fortune of $13.3 billion. In 2001, about a year after Putin signed a decree granting legal immunity to Yeltsin’s family, Deripaska married Yeltsin’s granddaughter, thereby cementing his own immunity and influence. In 2010, the Financial Times published a story exploring Deripaska’s business relations with Sergei Popov and Anton Malevsky, alleged heads of Russian organized crime groups.
Deripaska’s principle advisor is Nathaniel Rothschild, son of the current Baron of the family, Lord Jacob Rothschild. Nathaniel played a crucial role in 2000, when Deripaska and Roman Abramovich created a partnership and founded RUSAL, the largest aluminum company in the world. Abramovich is the primary owner of the private investment company, Millhouse LLC and is best known outside Russia as the owner of Chelsea Football Club, a Premier League football club. In their 2004 biography of Abramovich, the British journalists Chris Hutchins and Dominic Midgely describe the relationship between Putin and Abramovich as like that between a father and a favorite son. Abramovich was the first person to originally recommend to Yeltsin that Putin be his successor. Abramovich and fellow oligarch Lev Leviev would go on to become Chabad Lubavitch’s biggest patrons worldwide.
As early as 2005, Manafort secretly worked for Deripaska on a confidential strategy that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” The Associated Press reported. Manafort told Deripaska he was pushing policies as part of his work in Ukraine “at the highest levels of the U.S. government — the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department.”
According to The Nation, Deripaska’s business partner, Nathaniel Rothschild, owns a stake in Diligence LLC, where Burt served as an Executive Chairman. Diligence is a Washington-based, private global intelligence firm with William Webster, former director of the CIA and FBI on its advisory board. Diligence was co-founded by Nicholas Day, a former officer with M15. The chairman of Diligence’s chairman is Michael Howard, the former head of the British Conservative party. In 2007, Diligence LLC was charged over allegations of corporate espionage in a case that involved the Alfa Group, for whom Burt functioned as an advisor, working closely with its co-founder, CFR member and the second wealthiest man in Russia, Mikhail Fridman.
Diligence offered Deripaska corporate intelligence gathering, visa lobbying, and help in obtaining a $150 million World Bank/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan that was useful in providing cover for Western investors concerned about RUSAl.
During the campaign, Burt also wrote white papers for Jeff Sessions on foreign policy and national security. In 2014, along with Dimitri Simes, a close friend of Putin and CFTNI’s President and publisher of The National Interest, Burt served as a foreign policy advisor for Rand Paul’s campaign for president. Simes was born in Moscow, where he graduated from the Moscow State University. He studied and worked at the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations, an influential foreign policy think tank in the Soviet Union at that time, while also serving as the deputy secretary of the Young Leninist League (VLKSM). Simes emigrated to the US in 1973. He was selected to lead CFTNI in 1994 by Nixon, for whom he served as an informal foreign policy advisor and with whom he traveled regularly to Russia and other former Soviet states as well as Western and Central Europe.
Before the CFTNI was established, Simes served as Chairman of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he was also a Senior Associate. Earlier, he was the Director of the Soviet and East European Research Program and a Research Professor of Soviet Studies at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to his work at SAIS, Simes was a Senior Research Fellow and subsequently the Director of Soviet Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Simes is the author of After the Collapse: Russia Seeks its Place as a Great Power (1999), which predicted the rise of Russian authoritarian nationalism.
“No one directly addresses Putin at Dimitri Simes’ level,” noted a Washington-based Russia policy expert. “It just doesn’t happen.” In 2013, Simes attended Valdai International Discussion Club alongside Putin, where both took part in a two-hour panel discussion. Other participants were Germany’s former defense minister and prime ministers of France and Italy. Putin meets Valdai Club’s participants every year since 2004. Among many other Kremlin officials attending Valdai meetings are Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister; Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office; Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sergei Shoigu, Defense Minister and others. On February 27, 2017, CFTNI hosted a talk on “The Future of U.S. — Russia Relations.” The speaker, Dr. Andrey Sushentsov, works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a managing partner with Moscow’s Foreign Policy Advisory Group, and a program director of the Valdai Foundation.
Writing in The National Interest, Simes predicts a revival of a new Cold War, warning that Russia is capable of inflicted more damage than it is on the United States, and that the Americans should be seeking to normalize its relationship with Russia. Washington should do so without illusions, and from a position of strength.” Similarly, during his foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel, Trump said that “an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength, is possible.” Sitting in the front row was Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Simes, the publisher of The National Interest and the organizer of the event, introduced Kushner to Kislyak and three other ambassadors.
Like his mentor Henry Kissinger, a key element to Kushner’s attempts at diplomacy would involve the creation of direct back channels to the Russians. Prior to the inauguration, Kushner met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. CNN alleged that American intelligence officials have claimed Kislyak is a top Russian spy and spy recruiter, which Russian officials have denied. It has also been reported that Kusher met with Sergey Gorkov, who is close to Putin, was trained by Russian intelligence, and runs a state-owned bank that has been placed on a US sanctions list. Yet, Kushner failed to disclose these and dozens of other contacts when sought the top-secret security clearance, which required to report all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.
Kushner also failed to disclose his business ties with George Soros, Peter Thiel, and Goldman Sachs, or that he owes $1 billion in loans. This despite the fact that not only is Soros the brunt of Russian propaganda as a leading “globalist,” and supporter of liberal causes, he is the subject of many discredited right-wing conspiracy theories, in particular, widely blamed on the right for having allegedly paid anti-Trump protesters like town halls and the Women’s march since inauguration.
Also meeting with Kislyak was Trump’s pick for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in his confirmation hearings said that he did not have contact with Russian officials during the 2016 US presidential campaign. In March 2017, news reports revealed that Sessions had twice met with Kislyak in 2016. A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for US-Russia relations in a Trump administration. Sessions subsequently recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election while some Democratic lawmakers called for his resignation.
The New York Times reported that Kushner and Ret. Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had an undisclosed meeting with Kislyak in December 2016 to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said.
Trump’s personal counsel, Michael Cohen, along with Trump’s Russian mob-affiliated Lubavitcher business associate Felix Sater, and Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii V. Artemenko, delivered a “peace” plan for Russia and Ukraine to Flynn before he was asked to resign on February 13, 2017. The plan involved lifting sanctions on Russia in return for Moscow withdrawing its support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. It would also allow Russia to maintain control over Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
Similarly, former Blackwater founder Erik Prince was an avid supporter of Trump. On January 17, 2017, The Intercept reported that Prince was advising Trump “from the shadows.” In July, Prince told Steve Bannon that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program to fight ISIS. On January 11, 2016, nine days before Trump’s inauguration, the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting between Prince and a Russian close to Putin as part of an effort to establish a back-channel communications to between Trump and the Krelim, according to US, European and Arab officials.
Flynn is the co-author of The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, with neoconservative and former Gladio operative Michael Ledeen, published in 2016. Flynn sees Islam as one of the root causes of Islamist terrorism, describing the religion as a political ideology and a “cancer.” He stated in a Twitter post that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL” and included a video link claiming that Islam wants “80% of people enslaved or exterminated.” Flynn has been a board member of ACT! for America, an American conservative political group founded in 2007 to “promot[e] national security and defeat terrorism.” Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times states that it, “…draws on three rather religious and partisan streams in American politics: evangelical Christian conservatives, hard-line defenders of Israel (both Jews and Christians) and Tea Party Republicans.” ACT! members have introduced David Yerushalmi’s anti-foreign law bill (also known as anti-Shariah bill) in several state legislatures, accompanying it with “a public outreach blitz about the ‘threat’ of Sharia to America.
In 2013, as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Flynn travelled to Moscow where he became the second director of the DIA to be invited into the headquarters of the GRU, though he will later boast of being the first. “Flynn thought he developed some rapport with the GRU chief,” a former senior U.S. military official said. Records show that Flynn collected nearly $68,000 in fees and expenses from Russia-related entities in 2015. The bulk of the money, more than $45,000, came from Russia Today, when he was invited to a gala in Moscow in honor of RT, to participate in a panel on “Geopolitics 2015 and Russia’s changing role in the world.”
Flynn, who had made semi-regular appearances as an analyst on RT after he retired from government service, sat next to Putin, and at the same table as Green Party candidate Jill Stein. According to the Trump Dossier, a Kremlin official involved in US relations commented that Russian operations involved supporting various political figures, including indirectly funding their recent visits to Moscow, including a delegation from Lyndon Larouche, Jill Stein, Carter Page and Michael Flynn.
It has also been reported that Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, who is close to Putin, was trained by Russian intelligence, and runs a state-owned bank that has been placed on a US sanctions list. Gorkov’s bank, VEB, is regularly used by the Kremlin to finance politically important projects, including some of the infrastructure for the Sochi Olympics in 2014, which cost the Russian government a total of about $50 billion.
VEB employed and financed the defense of a Russian intelligence operative, Evgeny Buryakov, who was deported in April 2017 after pleading guilty and being sentenced in 2016 to prison for his role in a spy ring. That ring also attempted in 2013 to recruit Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who has sought to do business with Gazprom. Another Trump campaign adviser, Michael Caputo, did work for Gazprom Media in the early 2000s.
Jared and Putin confidant Roman Abramnovich have met three to four times in social settings, and their wives have been friends for a decade. Jared and Ivanka were introduced to Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, by Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife Wendi Deng. Deng is also one of Ivanka’s closest friends, and a friend of Karlie Kloss, the longtime girlfriend of Kushner’s brother, Josh. Deng was rumored to be dating Putin, which she has since denied. All of them were guests in August 2016 on medial mogul David Geffen’s Geffen’s $200 million yacht off the coast of Croatia, and a few weeks later at the US Open. Zhukova reportedly attended Trump’s inauguration as Ivanka’s guest.
Jared and Ivanka attended a charity event with Abramovich in early 2014, just a few months after the Miss Universe Moscow pageant and Sochi Olympics, that included representatives from Russia’s Alfa Bank, and numerous Russian oligarchs.
Also in attendance was Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ partner in the Bank of Cyprus, Vladimir Strzhalkovskiy, who worked with Putin in the KGB in the 1980s. When Trump found himself in financial trouble when his three casinos in Atlantic City were under foreclosure threat from lenders, he was bailed out by senior managing director of N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Wilbur Ross. Ross, who is known as the “King of Bankruptcy,” specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses. In the late 1970s, Ross began 24 years at the New York City office of N.M. Rothschild & Sons, where he ran the bankruptcy-restructuring advisory practice. Along with Carl Icahn, Ross convinced bondholders to strike a deal with Trump that allowed Trump to keep control of the casinos.
Ross has had direct financial ties to several leading oligarchs from Russia and the Former Soviet Union. As of February 2017, Forbes magazine lists Ross as one of the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of $2.5 billion. Ross has been Vice Chairman and a major investor since 2014 in the Bank of Cyprus, the largest bank in Cyprus, one of the key offshore havens for illicit Russian finance. Since the 1990s, Cyprus has served as one the top three offshore destinations for Russian and former Soviet Union flight capital, most of it motivated by tax dodging, kleptocracy, and money laundering.
According to the Associated Press, starting in 2006, Deripaska made annual payments of $10 million to Paul Manafort through the Bank of Cyprus to advance Putin’s global agenda.
The Bank of Cyprus is led by CEO John Hourican, the former Royal Bank of Scotland head of investment banking that resigned after the group settled with US and UK authorities over Libor fixing. In 2014, the bank selected former Deutsche Bank head Josef Ackermann, as chairman. During Ackermann’s tenture, the bank paid Between $630 and $650 million in those fines for allegedly laundering $10 billion in Russian money suspected to have ties to Putin’s family and associates. Deutsche Bank has also been and still is Trump’s main creditor, and for a long time, the only major bank that would lend him significant money.
Ackermann’s appointment was supported by Ross and Viktor Vekselberg, one of the richest men in Russia with close ties to the Kremlin, and whose Renova Group is the second largest single shareholder in Bank of Cyprus. Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik had formed the Renova investment vehicle, and then the two joined with Fridman’s Alfa Group to form the AAR venture. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ukrainian-born billionaire Sir Leonard “Len” Blavatnik, is part of a number of rich donors to the Republican Party account that Trump is using to fund his legal battles in the Russia Probe. Blavatnik, who was named Britain’s richest man in 2015, founded Access Industries which now owns Warner Music Group. Blavatnik and Vekselberg hold their 15.8 percent joint stake RUSAL. Blavatnik is also embroiled in investigations about his friend Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged attempts to influence the Israeli media while he was both Prime Minister and Minister of Communications in Israel.
During the 2015-2016 election season, Blavatnik contributed a total of $6.35 million to Trump and the political action committees for Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich and John McCain. Blavatnik donated another $1 million to Trump’s Inaugural Committee.
Both Vekselberg and Blavatnik were at the gala attended by Jared and Ivanka, as were Alexey Reznikovich, the head of LetterOne Technology, which is controlled by Alfa Group’s Mikhail Fridman; and Ekaterina Vinokurova, the daughter of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with her husband Alexander Vinokurov, who sits on the board of Alfa Group.
In May 2017, Alfa filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the Trump Dossier, which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and Alfa Bank’s owners in an attempt to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
According to the Trump Dossier, a top level Russian government official reported that the Alfa Group, led by Fridman and his partners Petr Aven and German Khan, are on very good terms with Putin, providing him informal advice on foreign policy, and especially about the US. A key intermediary is Oleg Govorun, currently Head of a Presidential Administration department, and a close ally of Vladislav Surkov. Govorun apparently previously served as Alfa’s “bag man” delivering illicit cash to Putin when he was mayor of St Petersburg. The Dossier alleges that Alfa held these details as “kompromat” on Putin, who in turn was able to use his own political influence to induce Alfa do his bidding.
On October 31 and November 2, 2016, Slate reported that there had been unusual repeated activity from between two computer servers registered to Alfa Bank in Moscow and a server owned by the Trump Organization. The activity also included communications to a server at Spectrum Health, a medical facility chain led by Dick DeVos, the husband of Betsy DeVos. On 10 March 2017, CNN reported that the FBI was continuing to investigate the unusual computer activity between Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization which had occurred in the summer of 2016, and which had been reported in the media just before the U.S. presidential election. In June 2017, President Trump nominated Brian Benczkowski, Alfa’s former attorney, to be to become Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.
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