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Bellingcat may have tipped off Russian FSB of Paul Whelan’s alleged espionage activity (Video)

News agency Interfax has confirmed that Russian authorities have brought espionage charges against an American citizen, Paul Whelan, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Russian investigative agencies have indicted U.S. citizen Paul Whelan for spying, an informed source told Interfax on Thursday.

“An indictment has been presented. Whelan dismisses it,” the source said.

It had been reported earlier that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officials detained Whelan in Moscow on suspicion of spying on December 28.

“The FSB’s Investigative Directorate opened a criminal case against the U.S. citizen under Russian Criminal Code Article 276 (espionage),” the FSB told Interfax on December 31.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris go over the explosive story of espionage in Moscow, and the reasons why Paul Whelan may indeed be a spy, and how Russian authorities may have been tipped off of espionage activities courtesy of Atlantic Council-funded site Bellingcat.

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Via The New York Times

Mr. Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir A. Zherebenkov, who said he spent much of Wednesday with Mr. Whelan, said he had found his client in an upbeat mood despite the long legal road that he faces.

“I was surprised to see him being so confident,” said Mr. Zherebenkov, a high-profile criminal defense lawyer.

Mr. Whelan, 48, the head of global security for the Michigan auto parts maker BorgWarner and a Marine Corps veteran, was arrested last Friday and is being held in solitary confinement in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison. Russia’s domestic security agency, the F.S.B., issued a brief statement on Monday saying that Mr. Whelan had been caught in “an act of espionage” but provided no other details.

Mr. Zherebenkov said that he had not seen all the evidence, but that he suspected that the American had been under surveillance for some time.

“I presume that he is innocent, because for now I haven’t seen any evidence against him that would prove otherwise,” said Mr. Zherebenkov, who said that Mr. Whelan would petition the court for bail.

Rosbalt, a Russian news agency close to the security services, quoted an unidentified intelligence source on Wednesday as saying that Mr. Whelan had been apprehended during a meeting with a Russian citizen in his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. He is accused of trying to recruit this person to obtain classified information about staff members at various Russian agencies, the account said.

Mr. Whelan was arrested five minutes after receiving a USB stick containing a list of all the employees at a classified security agency, the report said.

Unusually for an occasional visitor to Russia, Mr. Whelan had an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, for about a decade. The account showed that he was last active at 4:55 p.m. on Dec. 28, the day the F.S.B. said he was arrested.

Rosbalt quoted its security source as saying it was considered odd that Mr. Whelan did not use the social media site to try to meet women. Rather, he sought to ingratiate himself into the lives of his contacts on the site.

Most of those contacts seemed to be men with some sort of connection to academies run by the Russian Navy, the Ministry of Defense or the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr. Whelan’s family said that he had been in Russia to attend the wedding of a friend from the Marine Corps who was marrying a Russian woman at the storied Metropol Hotel. Mr. Whelan knew his way around Moscow, they said, and offered to help wedding guests navigate the city.

Russians who knew him via social media sites over the past decade said he seemed to pop up every six months or so and enjoyed traveling around Russia, especially by train. Not all of them met him in person, however, so it remained unclear just how often he had visited. One contact said that on this trip, Mr. Whelan had written that he had planned to stay in Moscow through the New Year and then head for St. Petersburg.

Via Zerohedge


After he was purportedly arrested while “carrying out an act of espionage”, Russia has formally indicted US citizen Paul Whelan, a 48-year-old US Marine and head of global security at autoparts maker BorgWarner, for being a spy, according to a report in Russian news agency Interfax being cited by US media. 

Whelan was arrested by Russia’s security services Dec. 28 while in Moscow on a personal trip. Whelan’s Russian lawyer Vladimir Zherebenkov, who was appointed to represent him, said earlier Thursday that the American will remain in custody in Moscow until the end of February.

While many US security analysts have speculated that Whelan might be used as a bargaining chip by Moscow to secure the return of Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty to trying to acting on behalf of the Kremlin to infiltrate the NRA to “establish unofficial lines of communication” with Washington, others have pointed out that the charges suggest that Whelan was probably genuinely suspected of espionage.

Here are seven reasons why the allegations against Whelan might be true:

He was in Iraq in 2004 and 2006, started visiting Russia for business and pleasure immediately after (according to his brother) in 2007 which was a year before he was convicted in court martial on charges related to larceny.

He was in Russia to attend a wedding of a former marine to a Russian girl. He arrived on December 22nd and was scheduled to depart on January 6th… a totally normal amount of time to be in town for a wedding.

He joined the marines in 1994 and served until his discharge in 2008. Yet his brother says he has been going there since 07 for business and pleasure.

The U.S. ambassador already visited him in prison, normal citizens do not get that treatment. The US governments response has been consistent with past incidences of spy’s being caught.

The FSB has said little but claims he was caught red handed, which, in past cases of US spies being caught has implied he was caught in the act. There’s thousands of Americans in Russia and thousands of Russians in America. Even if they wanted a bargaining chip for Maria Butina they wouldn’t take a random private citizen, they’d want an equal bargaining chip for a swap. Similar to when Skripal and 3 others got swapped for a group of Russian spies caught in the US. It’s bad PR to try and swap a tourist for your spy that got caught.

“Paul Whelan, his brother said, has been visiting Russia for business and pleasure since 2007, working in corporate security, with automotive industry components firm BorgWarner his most recent employer.” Highly unlikely a 24 year marine who fought in Iraq and was not known to be an intel officer in the marines, or a know background in Russian would be traveling to Russia for work in every job he’s had, while also regularly visiting for pleasure since the moment he left the military.

Bill Browder the US/UK citizen behind the magnitsky act, who Putin’s been trying to arrest/kill for years was always charged on tax evasion, neither the US nor Russia uses spy charges on private citizens/tourist. It’s extremely unlikely you could do something that would be mistakenly interpreted by a foreign government as an act of espionage.

While the exact circumstances surrounding his arrest aren’t yet known, one Russian news agency cited by the NYTquoted an unidentified intelligence source on Wednesday who said that Whelan had been arrested during a meeting with a Russian citizen in his room at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow.

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Olivia Kroth
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Whelan has US and British passports. What do you make of that?

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The American man being held on espionage charges in Moscow also has British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, officials said on Friday, a status that is certain to put more pressure from the West on Russia.
Now this story gets more and more interesting, doesn’ it???

Guy
Member
Guy

Given what we know about the intelligence agencies in the UK ,that alone raises the bar considerably about his guilt.LOL

Olivia Kroth
Guest

LONDON, January 4. /TASS/. The UK is extremely worried about the fate of Paul Whelan, a dual US/UK citizen, who was detained in Russia, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday.

“We are extremely worried about Paul Whelan, we have offered consular assistance,” Reuters quotes him as saying.

More:
http://tass.com/world/1038960

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

They never allowed Yulia Skripal, the Russian citizen, consular access. So why should Russia allow this man consular access, from the numerous nations he is connected with? UK, Eire, US, Canada and rising.

Taras 77
Guest
Taras 77

Also Maria Butina, who was kept in solitary for weeks, sleep deprived, one hour daily for supervised walk in yard, etc, all for failing to register as a foreign agent, an alleged offense which has almost no prosecutions in the past.

Hi AM Hants-hope you are well!

Taras 77
Guest
Taras 77

Nailed it but i would say lowers the bar to almost 100% guarantee that he is guilty.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Not forgetting Irish and Canadian passports, so far.

Guy
Member
Guy

Would be interesting to know who was in the room with him and how that fits with the spying charge .Wonder if the Russian in the room at the time of the arrest was also arrested on the same charges.We will find out more as this case develops .

TheCelotajs
Guest
TheCelotajs

The FSB does not go after anyone not unless they have all their ducks lined up and have an air tight case.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I hope the FSB did not forget to collect and confiscate all of the man’s passports: US, GB, Irish, Canadian! This looks like a farce. Is there anything that man hasn’t got?

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Tuttut, Mr Mercouris, You may well have read Russian History and Law, but you clearly can never have read a word about the JFK murder, nor seen Oliver Stone’s excellent movie, nor even watched many of the videos presenting the evidence, or even have talked directly to any ex Army snipers!! The evidence that L.H.Oswald could have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. Either you have never read a word, or read without understanding [and you’re an intelligent man, I doubt that] or are happy… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Whoever killed JFK had his motives. Some rumours say that his own wife, Jackie Bouvier-Kennedy killed him herself, when they drove around in that open car in Dallas, Texas. Her motive: She was sick of his continuous philandering and wanted to marry Ari Onassis in Greece, whom she had met several years before. Some also say that Jackie was a CIA asset. That would not surprise me at all.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Clearly “some reports” come straight from the mad house!!! Given they were filmed the entire time [see the Zapruder film for example] how she managed to shoot him in the forehead, the Governor in the front seat in the arm and not be seen doing it is mystery beyond belief 🙂 😉

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Well Isabella, of course Jackie might not have been the only one involved in the shooting, since it was a CIA operation with various shooters involved. She certainly did not shoot the governor in the front seat in the arm, she had no reasons for doing that. She sat in the back seat, right beside her husband. It was easy to shoot him in the temple with a small revolver, which would not have been seen on Zapruder’s film. Moreover, some people say that this film was re-edited several times later (probably to fit in with the CIA narrative of… Read more »

warmingmyth
Guest
warmingmyth

Isabella totally agree! but advise editing your post from “The evidence that L.H.Oswald could have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt” to “The evidence that L.H.Oswald could NOT have had anything to do with it is overwhelming and way beyond being anything but evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

ruca
Guest
ruca

Olivia Kroth
Guest

This man is like a Russian multiple Matriyoshka doll. You open the first, out pops the second. You open this one, and out pops the next, etc. APR reports: Multiple Embassies Working To Help Paul Whelan, Accused Of Spying In Russia Embassies of several countries are trying to assist ex-U.S. Marine Paul Whelan as he remains in a Moscow prison over allegations of espionage. Whelan was born in Canada and has since gained citizenship in the U.S., Britain and Ireland. “British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was extremely worried about Whelan and that the United Kingdom needed to see… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Hasn’t he got citizenship associated with UK, Canada, US plus Eire? How do you manage that?

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Interesting if the Belingcat leaks led to this, if it turns out to be true. Karma can be so sweet.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

And here comes the tit-for-tat! The US never wait long to take their revenge. THE MOSCOW TIMES reports: The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the United States had detained a Russian citizen, days after Moscow arrested the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of spying. The ministry said the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko in the Northern Mariana Islands on Dec. 29 and had moved him to Florida. “… Makarenko, born in 1979, has arrived on Saipan Island with his wife, underage children and elderly parents. He was detained by FBI personnel at the airport right… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

And now the Russians should catch two more US spies in Moscow: one for Victor Bout, one for Dmitry Makarenko. If the US again does tit for tat, all the better. It will show and teach Russians not to travel to the USA. What are they doing there? Russians, stay home, do your business in Russia, China, Iran and other befriended countries! Go on vacation within the Russian Federation, there are many beautiful spas and holiday spots! Keep away from the USA! Do not give them your money! Do not buy their products!

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