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

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 161.

Alex Christoforou

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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
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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
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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
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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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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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