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Putin critic Bill Browder detained by Swiss authorities

A man hiding in plain sight, William Browder has a formidable record of alleged lies and deceit, and a political influence that may be behind the biggest hoax in political history

Seraphim Hanisch

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William “Bill” Browder is an American born, naturalized British financier who has been convicted of fraud in Russia twice. He was detained in Geneva just recently while on the run from the Russian FSB. He was in Europe this week, giving news conferences about how he did business in Russia, but according to Rossiya 24 “Vesti” News, he conveniently neglected to talk about some things, like how Moscow has him under an extradition order because he swindled billions of rubles by creating fake companies and money laundering.

Many people may not be familiar with Mr. Browder, but they may recall the Magnitsky Act. This act, signed into law by President Obama in 2012, is for the purpose of punishing Russian officials who were thought to be responsible for the death of Sergey Magnitsky, who was himself a Russian tax accountant who got put in prison in Russia and died while incarcerated there.

At this point the accounts of Mr. Browder and the Russian Federation diverge, and since the Russian version is written in Russian, it remains not immediately accessible to English-speaking and English-reading people in the West. The Russian and English language accounts are so different that the differences demand attention from the critical thinker.

The main point of divergence centers around the unfortunate case of Sergey Magnitsky himself.

Browder’s claim

Sergey Magnitsky was assasinated in a Russian prison because he discovered that Russian tax officials were involved in fraud. While in prison he developed gallstones, pancreatitis and calculous cholecystitis, and was refused medical treatment for months. After almost a year of imprisonment, he was reportedly beaten to death.

In an effort to punish the people who facilitated (Browder claims orchestrated) Magnitsky’s death, he lobbied the US Congress (as a British citizen!) to get the “Magnitsky Act” passed to punish the Russian “human rights violators” who were responsible for the death of his friend, and former colleague who had represented Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management investment fund. This act has been expanded since its inception to give the US Congress a “legal” right to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.

Russian Government claim

There is much more to the story, even before Sergey Magnitsky’s name even arises.

The Russian government and Browder began to be at odds with one another starting in 2005, when Mr. Browder was detained at Sheremetyevo-2 Airport on November 13th immediately upon his arrival, and held for fifteen hours, before being put back on a plane to London. The official reason given for his refusal of admittance into the Russian Federation was that he was considered a national security risk, and so the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that under Article 27 of Russian Federal law on entry and exit, Browder was no longer allowed in the Russian Federation.

In 2005, Browder decided to get involved in the ownership structure of a company named Surgutneftegaz, run by Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, but which was also frozen by order of the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin. Khodorkovsky’s assets were frozen based on tax charges associated with fraud, which Khodorkovsky was charged with.  Browder didn’t want this to happen to him, so he had all his employees relocate to the UK and the Hermitage Fund sold all the shares in Russian companies or transferred them elsewhere in the summer of 2006.

In 2007, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation came to the offices of Hermitage Capital and conducted searches. The charter documents and seals of several front, or “shell” companies through which Hermitage acted in Russia were removed. This action was all carried out in the framework of a criminal investigation.

The front companies, Parfenion LLC, Mahaon LLC and Ryland LLC were found to have improperly benefitted from the illegal return of some 5.4 billion rubles of profit tax. The first people to be discovered as participants in this crime were employees of the Firestone Duncan firm. This firm is a law firm that handled the affairs of the shell companies, and of course, Hermitage Capital. One of the lawyers there was Sergey Magnitsky.

The lawyers at Firestone Duncan had themselves initiated an investigation into the theft of Russian government funds, totalling about , and the list of participants in the crime grew to some 60 employees of various Russian executive bodies, most of whom continued (and may still be continuing to serve) in various ministries and departments of the Russian Federation.

However, it was discovered that the same criminal group regularly organized such crimes, which stole significant amounts of money from the Russian budget. On November 24th, 2008, Sergey Magnitsky himself was arrested on charges of helping William Browder in tax evasion.

In other words, Magnitsky is held by Moscow to have been aiding and abetting Browder in a tax evasion scheme that defrauded 5.4 billion rubles from the Russian Federation’s operating funds and budget. In these years, the ruble was worth quite a bit more than it is now, so this was a big cash haul.

Since Browder is no longer allowed in Russia, Russia has tried to go after him. There is a standing extradition order at present, and also, as recently as October, 2017, the Russian Federation put Mr. Browder unilaterally on Interpol’s search list.

The Russian story has a lot more details still; we have only given some. Yet, Mr. Browder considers himself safe in Europe, since neither the EU nor the US will extradite him to Moscow. However, according to Vesti news, Browder refuses to acknowledge US subpoena requests just as much as he evades Russian extradition attempts.

So, what, though? So he is a dishonest businessman. Why is this important?

There is another interesting piece to this story.

Video: President Vladimir Putin discusses the Browder – Magnitsky affair at October’s Valdai conference, with Western journalists present.

On July 27, 2017, Browder testified to the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election. He testified regarding the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Fusion GPS.

Sound familiar?

Browder directly discussed President Vladimir Putin, saying that he is “the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world.” This, apparently, is accomplished by Putin’s threatening Russian oligarchs and getting a 50% cut of their profits.  Browder went on to say this:

I estimate that [President Putin] has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains from these types of operations over his 17 years in power. He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation. Therefore, he has a significant and very personal interest in finding a way to get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions.

…I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests. I also hope that this story and others like it may lead to a change in the FARA enforcement regime in the future.”

So, in other words, this offers a bit of motive perhaps for why the election of Donald Trump is such a hot issue with some people. Browder has cast Vladimir Putin as a mega-oligarch, and has portrayed this situation as that of Putin trying in any way possible to take apart the Magnitsky Act, because it affects his vast wealth which is held in western banks.

However, Russia’s FSB is not without abilities to remind Mr. Browder that all is not just smooth sailing. They got the Geneva authorities to stop him and to discuss confidential matters with them a the request of the FSB. He has presently at least 22 years worth of prison time from in absentia convictions, and the more one investigates the man’s life, the more wily he is revealed to be.

This piece only scratches the surface. We plan to discuss this issue much more, because there is much more to discuss.

And to think that his words have been marching orders for the US’ propaganda and slander campaign against Russia since at least as early as 2012, and continuing through today. While Vesti has its own rather sensationalist feeling about this story, research beyond Vesti through Russian entries on Magnitsky and Browder and Yukos in Wikipedia reveal that there is a lot going on here, and that this is not likely to be the tale of an intrepid and honest businessman, but in the words of Yury Chaika, Prosecuter General of Russia:

I call him Yasha Browder. He has Moscow roots. He has a dark personality, he’s an international level criminal, a schemer.”

One wonders: where is Robert Mueller now??

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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