TRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder VII
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Translation: Fairpress

Author: Munir Podumljak

Trained in managing human assets (with knowing and unknowing subjects), Russian intelligence engaged with Julian Assange using an old intelligence technique known as ‘programming the subject.’ This consists in profiling the subject’s response to certain outside actions that are planned by the intelligence community and ensuring that it is predictable and serves the objectives of the intelligence operation. Both Assange and Putin shared a hatred of Hillary Clinton. Assange was an easy target for the Russian operation, since WikiLeaks had a long known weak spot: it published all the information it received, without the capability or aim of seeing the bigger picture behind certain information campaigns. On 22 July 2016, it released the first round of Clinton Leaks, while on 7 October 2016, it followed up by publishing John Podesta’s e-mails,[1] just a month before the November elections.

Our investigation and analysis suggests that the WikiLeaks operation was carefully crafted by high-level analysts on many sides – Putin’s operatives (including Fancy Bears and Guccifer 2.0), WikiLeaks management (including Julian Assange himself) and Trump’s campaign strategists. However, the key question – whether the actors knowingly and willfully participated and coordinated this operation – still remains to be answered.

If Putin saw Trump as an asset in the traditional intelligence sense, we can surmise that he would have sought not just to help Trump get elected but also to make his value known to the campaign, so as to be able to consolidate commitments to return the favor in future. This would require a concerted effort to cultivate relationships and embed reciprocal obligations, which is difficult to do without leaving a trail of evidence. We know that several Russian nationals, including intelligence officers, engaged with members of the Trump campaign team throughout the lead-up to the elections:[2]

RUSSIAN NATIONALS ENGAGED WITH MEMBERS OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN:

Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign chairman) – Regularly communicated with Russians that are persons of interest for US intelligence in pre-election and transition period. In August 2016, he resigned from Trump’s campaign when it emerged that he had worked on the political campaign of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (who fled Ukraine to Russia). Manafort has been indicted in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation on 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money and acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign principal. In June 2018, the FBI accused Manafort of attempting to tamper with witnesses in a previous case.[3] According to Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukrainian leader, Manafort and Firtash had planned a joint real estate project —a hotel and luxury shopping mall on the site of the Drake Hotel in Midtown Manhattan for the purpose of money laundering.[4]

Rick Gates (Deputy campaign chairman) – Long-lasting relationship with Manafort. He joined Manafort’s lobbying firm in the mid-2000s and was involved in Manafort’s projects in Eastern Europe, including in Ukraine and with Yanukovych. Gates remained on the campaign after Manafort was ousted, despite questions about his work in Ukraine. However, he was ousted from a pro-Trump advo-

cacy group.

George Papadopoulos (Trump campaign foreign policy adviser) – Refers to himself as an oil, gas and policy consultant.  According to the FBI, Papadopoulos lied to FBI agents “about the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.”[5]

Michael Flynn (Trump’s National security adviser) – Received financial compensation from Russian national TV. Discussed sanctions against Russia (that were imposed by Obama administration) with the Russian ambassador in Washington Sergey Kislyak. Forced to resign after it was revealed that he lied to US Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his discussions with the Russian ambassador.

Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law; head of digital campaign and „secretary of everything“) – Kushner was in charge of the Trump campaign’s on-line activities and is took credited with bringing Cambridge Analytica data in to the election campaign. Kushner also attended an infamous meeting in Trump tower (June 2016) where Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who offered them “damaging information on Hillary Clinton”. Kushner also met with a Putin ally, banker Sergey Gorkov, with whom he discussed sanctions on the Russian bank and a loan that he needed for his troubled business.

Roger Stone (Self-proclaimed ‘master of political dark arts’) –Claimed that in the 2016 campaign he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew of the group’s forthcoming document dumps. Had contacts with hacker Guccifer 2.0 . New developments suggest that Stone was proactively seeking incriminating information on Hillary Clinton during the pre-election campaign and that he personally invested resources in this operation.

Wilbur Ross (US Commerce secretary) – Ross bought a stake in Bank of Cyprus in 2014. According to the New York Times, Ross is the “owner of a big but failing bank with a vice chairman who used to work with Vladimir Putin in the Leningrad KGB and five other Russians on its board.”[6] Dmitry Rybolovlev — who paid Trump $95 million for a house in Florida was also a Bank of Cyprus investor.[7] Ross’s firm Diamond S Shipping, and one of its biggest clients, Glencore, owns a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil giant.[8]

Michael Cohen (Trumps lawyer) – Involved in now infamous settlement with Stormy Daniels prior to 2016 elections. Managed cash transfers from companies tied to Putin’s close associates for as yet unknown purposes. In early 2017, allegedly discussed Ukrainian peace proposal with Ukrainian lawmaker that proposed to lease Crimea — annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014 — to Moscow for 50 to 100 years. Cohen was reportedly paid $400,000 (£300,000) to arrange talks between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (and ensuring that the meeting with Trump did not get cut short). A week later (after the meeting), the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau dropped its investigation into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.[9]

Read more in the next article

 

This article was created with the support of the Fund for the Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity of Electronic Media within the project “Media Reality” – Developing and Encouraging the Media Literacy Programme

 

 

Connected articles: TRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder VITRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder VTRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder IVTRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder IIITRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder IITRUMP’S CODE: Making Money on Populist Disorder I

 

[1] ABC (2017) How Russia-linked hackers stole the Democrats’ emails and destabilised Hillary Clinton’s campaign. [online]. Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-04/how-russians-hacked-democrats-and-clinton-campaign-emails/9118834 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[2] This is based on a CNN report and extended with our own analysis of other sources.

Cohen, Z. (2917) Who’s who in Trump-Russia saga. CNN, [online]. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/29/politics/russia-investigation-cast-of-characters/index.html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[3] Apuzzo, M. (2018) Mueller Accuses Paul Manafort of Attempted Witness Tampering. The New York Times, [online]. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/paul-manafort-mueller-witness-tampering.html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[4] Kolker, R. (2017) Will Trump Rescue the Oligarch in the Gilded Cage? Bloomberg Businessweek, [online]. Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-02-16/will-trump-rescue-the-oligarch-in-the-gilded-cage [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[5] Chappell, B. (2017) Former Trump Adviser Admits To Seeking ‘Dirt’ On Clinton From Russians, Lying To FBI. NPR, [online]. Available at: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/30/560816481/trumps-former-foreign-policy-advisor-pleads-guilty-to-lying-to-the-fbi or https://www.nbc26.com/news/national/trump-campaign-aide-george-papadopoulos-pleads-guilty-to-false-fbi-statements [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[6] Nicolaci da Costa, P. (2017) Wilbur Ross has links to Russia that he won’t answer questions about. Business Insider, [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-connection-and-wilbur-ross-2017-5 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[7] Nicolaci da Costa, P. (2017) Wilbur Ross has links to Russia that he won’t answer questions about. Business Insider, [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-connection-and-wilbur-ross-2017-5 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[8] Nicolaci da Costa, P. (2017) Wilbur Ross has links to Russia that he won’t answer questions about. Business Insider, [online]. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-connection-and-wilbur-ross-2017-5 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

[9] Shugerman, E. (2018) Michael Cohen reportedly paid $400,000 by Ukraine to arrange a meeting with Trump. Independent, [online]. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/michael-cohen-ukraine-paid-arrange-meeting-with-donald-trump-a8366491.html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

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