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Moscow arrests third cyber spy in ongoing treason inquiry

Rumours sweep media of connection to Clinton leaks as Moscow arrests another alleged cyber spy on treason charges and a former KGB general is found dead in his car.

Alexander Mercouris

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The dragnet in Moscow of cyber experts caught up in what is increasingly looking like a spy inquiry continues to widen with news that a third individual – named as Dmitry Dokuchaev, whom The London Times calls “a cyber-spy and former hacker” (whatever that means) – has also been arrested on treason charges.

This follows earlier news of the arrest on treason charges of an FSB officer, now named by The London Times as Sergei Mikhailov, who was apparently deputy head of information security at the FSB, and Ruslan Stoyanov, who is now being called a senior researcher at the Kaspersky Lab.

When news of the arrests of Mikhailov and Stoyanov first surfaced I wrote that there was speculation that these arrests in Moscow might be connected to the scandal in the US concerning alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, and the alleged leak by the Russians of their stolen emails to Wikileaks.

The London Times in its article reporting Dokuchaev’s arrest makes this link explicit

The Kremlin has widened an apparent crackdown on high-level figures implicated in hacking the US presidential elections.  Russian newspapers said last week that Dmitry Dokuchaev, a cyber-spy and former hacker, had been arrested on Kremlin orders. He was the third leading agent to be detained on treason charges since Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign was exposed.

(bold italics added)

Before proceeding further, I should say that the article in The London Times reads strongly as if it has been written on the basis of information provided to The London Times by the British intelligence service.  That this is so is strongly suggested by the highlighted words of the above paragraph, which imply that Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev were actually involved in hacking Podesta and the DNC.

On the face of it that is extremely unlikely.

Firstly Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev cannot by any stretch of the imagination be described as “high-level figures” of the sort the article says are now the subject of a “crackdown”.

Secondly, if they really were involved in hacking the DNC and Podesta on the Kremlin’s orders then it is difficult to see on what basis they are being charged with treason.  Even if they hacked Podesta and the DNC on their own initiative, the treason charges are difficult to understand.  It would in that case be more logical to charge them with theft.

It seems far more likely that Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev are being charged because they have acted as informants for a foreign intelligence agency.  That is what the treason charges strongly suggest.   If they are being held in connection with the Russian hacking allegations then the intelligence agency in question is almost certainly a member of the US intelligence community, and is almost certainly the CIA.

Quite possibly Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev are being arrested because they are named as informants in the classified 50 page report US intelligence provided to Barack Obama and Donald Trump in early January.  Though Mikhailov and Stoyanov are reported to have been arrested in December, it is likely drafts of the report had been prepared and were circulating for some time, in which case it is not surprising if by the time of Mikhailov’s and Stoyanov’s arrest its contents had leaked to Moscow.

I have previously pointed out that because the existence of the report has been so widely publicised – so that Russian intelligence knows of its existence – and because copies of it have been so widely circulated to senior officials and other people in Washington, that all but guarantees that sooner or later Russian intelligence will get hold of a copy.

If Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev are named as informants in the report then it is a clear sign that Russian intelligence knows its contents already.

The alternative – which is equally plausible – is that enough information about the Russian hacking allegations was made public by the US intelligence community, the Obama administration, and the US media, to make it possible for the FSB’s analysts to work out who the CIA’s informants in Moscow are.

Either way the US intelligence community, the former officials of the Obama administration, and the US media, ought to realise that by cranking up the campaign around the Russian hacking allegations to such hysterical levels, they may have compromised at least some of the CIA’s informants in Moscow.

In saying all this it is however important to stress that there is as yet no definite confirmation that Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev have been arrested in connection with the Russian hacking allegations, though the timing of the arrest makes that likely.

There is also no information at present as to what information they might have provided, or – more importantly – as to whether this information was true.

It would still be treason if Mikhailov, Stoyanov and Dokuchaev were passing on information – perhaps for money – to the CIA that was actually nothing more than a pack of lies.  In the world of intelligence such things happen all the time.  The Russian authorities would be entirely unforgiving about this if they found out about it, even if the ‘information’ was all lies, especially if they concluded that its effect had been to damage relations between Russia and the US.

The article in The London Times also makes one further very interesting claim.

Supposedly on the strength of the opinion of someone called Christo Grozev – whose blog can be read here – and who is referred to in the article as an “intelligence expert” – the article links the death of an individual called Oleg Erovinkin – described in the article as a former KGB general turned oil industry executive, who was supposedly the chief of staff of Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin – and who died in Moscow on Boxing Day (which Boxing Day, the Western on 26th December, or the Russian on 8th January?) – to the Trump Dossier.

Again the article contains no information which actually links Erovinkin to the Trump Dossier.  Moreover it says that Erovinkin’s death is “unexplained” whereas the article itself says Rosneft has attributed his death to heart failure.

As I have however previously said, the wording of the article suggests it may be based at least in part on information provided to The London Times by the British intelligence service.  If so then the information that Erovinkin was the ultimate source of the Trump Dossier might have come from them, in which case it might ultimately originate with Christopher Steele, the man who compiled the Trump Dossier, who according to some reports is hiding in a ‘safe house’ under MI6’s protection.

If Erovinkin really was the main source of the Trump Dossier – which as of now is speculation – then this all but confirms that the Trump Dossier is a fabrication not based on evidence or actual knowledge.  Rosneft’s CEO’s chief of staff was no doubt an important figure in the Russian oil industry.  However he would certainly not have been privy to the sort of highly confidential discussions supposedly held in the Kremlin of which the Trump Dossier is full.

Conceivably Erovinkin became an agent of Steele’s when Steele was posted by MI6 to Moscow in the 1980s, at a time when Erovinkin was apparently a KGB general.  He might have continued to milk Steele for money after Steele returned to London, getting money in return for information which as his intelligence connections faded he would have increasingly had to make up.  Obviously this is speculation, but on past history it is neither farfetched nor unreasonable.

The alternative equally plausible possibility is that someone has seized on Erovinkin’s death to link him falsely to the Trump Dossier in order to lend that unhappy document some semblance of plausibility.

It would not be the first time the death of someone in Moscow has been used in this way.  This time last year officials of a certain Western intelligence agency – quite possibly British intelligence – seized on the death by natural causes of the GRU’s chief General Igor Sergun to spread disinformation that he had died after leading an unsuccessful mission to Damascus to get President Assad to stand down.

All in all the trickle of news of arrests in Moscow provides some information but few facts.

Clearly something is going on, and it is likely that whatever it is it does have some connection to the allegations of Russian involvement in the DNC and Podesta leaks.

Given the huge interests involved the possibility of disinformation is however very strong.  It is important to remain skeptical of whatever claims appear in the media until the Russian authorities reveal more of the information in their possession.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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