Wednesday, November 14, 2018

UPDATED: Call For The Dead

As reported by the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, as recently as 9/7/18 the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was claiming that Joseph Mifsud--the shadowy Maltese professor who appears to have been instrumental in drawing George Papadopoulos into the Russia Hoax--"was missing and may be deceased." Mifsud had variously been reported to have had close ties to Russian intelligence, or to British intelligence, or to other Western intelligence services. It was Mifsud who, according to the FBI interview of Papadopoulos in January, 2017, had introduced Papadopoulos to a woman who falsely claimed to be Vladimir Putin's niece and it was Mifsud who Papadopoulos also said told him that Russia was in possession of thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails (Mifsud has denied all this).

The DNC's claim drew a quick response from Mifsud's longtime friend and lawyer, Stephan Roh. Roh appears to be as shadowy in his connections as is Mifsud. According to Wikipedia,
Roh is a Russian-speaking German lawyer and multimillionaire with close ties to Russia, has worked alongside Mifsud for years. Papadopoulos's wife, who briefly worked for Mifsud, has described Roh as Mifsud's lawyer, best friend, and funder. Roh owns multiple businesses, many headquartered in Moscow or Cyprus; he also co-owns Link University, where Mifsud taught. Roh was detained and questioned by investigators on Robert Mueller's Special Counsel team in October 2017.
Roh told reporters that, while Mifsud has not been seen since November of 2017, the DNC's claim of Mifsud's decease was "nonsense".
I got it from really good sources. They say that he is alive, that he has another identity, and that he is staying somewhere, at a nice place,” Stephan Roh told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Sunday.
“I just this morning got a message, indirectly, that he is alive and that they have provided him with another identity,” added Roh, who did not describe his sources.
It happens, coincidentally or not, that Papadopoulos pled guilty in ... November of 2018.

But Roh has much more to say about Mifsud. He has, in fact, in collaboration with Thierry Pastor, a French political analyst and associate of Mifsud, written a book, about the Mifsud - Papadopoulos connection: "The Faking of Russia-gate: The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis" (not yet published). In the book Roh makes a variety of interesting statements regarding Mifsud. According to Roh--and as has been argued by other investigative journalists, including Lee Smith:
Mifsud is not a Russian spy, as has been claimed. Instead, Mifsud is associated with Western intelligence agencies.
Mifsud was "in close relation to the Western intelligence world as well as to the Clinton network, and ... today he is fully cooperating with and following the orders of easily identifiable intelligence agencies."
While Mifsud is not an employee of any specific intelligence service, he was definitely working for Britain's MI6.
So, today Ross is reporting that Roh is in negotiations with lawyers for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with the object of arranging for Mifsud to testify before the Senate. Interestingly, Ross reports:
Roh says that he has encouraged Mifsud to cooperate with U.S. investigators, but he says that Mifsud told him he has been instructed to lay low until the completion of the Mueller investigation.
What is behind these developments must remain speculative for the time being. On the other hand, a few things seem fairly clear:

Mifsud likely could not have disappeared so completely for so long without professional assistance--from one or more intelligence services. Certainly no intelligence service has appeared to be terribly interested in producing Mifsud for questioning. With Lee Smith we may well wonder just how interested Robert Mueller, the FBI, or the DoJ really is in Mifsud coming forward.

The most likely intelligence service to have been concealing Mifsud--"instructing him to lay low"--would have to be MI6. And we know that British intelligence, MI6 and GCHQ, was cooperating closely with the FBI and CIA in the Russia Hoax that was intended to discredit the Trump presidency in favor of Hillary Clinton.

It's difficult to see at this point how Mifsud's testimony could work to the advantage of the Democrat Party or the larger Russia Hoax narrative.

UPDATE: Brian Cates writing at the Epoch Times makes an interesting observation:

Alberto Nardelli reported: “But in an email to BuzzFeed News sent on Monday, Stephan Roh, a 51-year-old Swiss lawyer with a long history of dealings with Mifsud, wrote, ‘Prof. Mifsud is to testify in front of the U.S. Senate—we are working towards his appearance.’

... Roh appears to be saying Mifsud’s appearance has been scheduled, and the details of his appearance for his testimony are in the process of being finalized.
If true, that tells me it’s extremely likely Mifsud has already been interviewed by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. So far, no congressional committee has heard from any of the Spygate participants until Horowitz was finished with them, and their testimony often had to be behind closed doors so as to not compromise his ongoing investigation.
Congress didn’t hear from Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, James Baker or any others until Horowitz let it be known he was finished with them.


  1. Well, my theory almost from the start was that Mifsud was a spy for the FBI/CIA sent to Papadopoulos intentionally to dirty him up. Indeed, the story told by Mueller's team in the charging of Papadopoulos makes no sense if one believes the narrative about how the Operation Crossfire Hurricane got its start- if you believe that story, then there is no way Papadopoulos' "lies" could have been the cause for Mifsud being allowed to leave the US in early 2017 without answering "tough" questions. Indeed, everything the FBI seems to have done implies strongly they knew about Mifsud and Papadopoulos' April 2016 meeting from the moment it happened, and everything they have leaked to the press is in service of obscuring that interesting little detail.

  2. I'm with ya, Yancey. I doubt they ever wanted to ask "tough" questions--they simply wanted him out of the country and beyond the reach of inquisitive legislators/investigators/reporters.

  3. The common denominator of the Spygate OP has been the repeated use of attempted entrapment ploys in order to compromise various members of the Trump Campaign. Papadopoulos was on the receiving end of many such stings; executed by Maltese, British, Ausy, and Israeli agents. Also targeted were Carter Page, Sam Clovis, and (shockingly) going after Trump's son in the famous June 9th meeting. Taken together, this reveals a major operation specifically aimed at creating crimes rather than investigating them. If this story were to be fully revealed, there is no way the FBI can survive in it's current form. The reputation damage would be too great. That is the essence of the current dilemma, and is why Mueller is continuing to run interference. In theory, if this drags on long enough, the public will lose sufficient interest to tolerate a coverup without much blowback on current politicians.

  4. Unknown, I'm afraid that that is the game--keep the clock running on the Mueller hoax investigation to prevent the truth from surfacing. To the degree possible.

  5. The DOJ/FBI should issue a frank report telling how its own role in starting and developing the RussiaGate hoax. Tell the true story, punish the guilty officials and improve policies and procedures.

    The public would accept that conclusion of the matter. In particular, the Republicans -- who have been the most loyal supporter of the DOJ/FBI for decades -- would accept it. Instead, the DOJ/FBI has made itself the enemy of the Republican Party and seems to be counting instead on the Democratic Party to be its patron from now into the foreseeable future. That political calculation will end badly for the DOJ/FBI.

    The continuing foot-dragging and stone-walling indicates that the DOJ/FBI is hiding an extraordinarily embarrassing and self-incriminating truth.

  6. I totally agree, Mike. I've wondered who's calling the shots on this. Certainly this coverup stuff can't be helping Wray's credibility with rank and file at the FBI--and that does make a difference. He's either stupid or following Rosenstein's directions. If the latter, it'll be interesting to see if Whitaker will demand more transparency.

  7. I know this is a trite analogy, but I will use it anyway. There is a chess match playing out in DC between those who believe coverup is the lesser evil and those who believe no effective remedy can occur absent transparency. The game plan for the former is to delay and obfuscate indefinitely until public interest is fully dissipated and a charade of token gestures can be offered as closure. Despite hopeful aspirations, there is no White Knight in the Congress or Administration that is likely to save the day for truth, justice, and the American Way. As things stand currently, the best we can hope for is a few more small crumbs of revelation before the book is closed. There is, however, a path to forcing transparency, but it would require great courage and sacrifice. In essence, Nunes would have to use his few remaining weeks as Chairman to call before his committee a handful of DOJ/FBI employees that would be willing to tell the whole truth of what has transpired in a open public hearing. It would likely require a week or two of televised hearings, but it would start an avalanche that not even the most powerful players in DC could stop. I don't think this is likely, but it is doable.

  8. Nunes has subpoenaed--not requested--Comey and Lynch to testify. I presume they'll want to take the Fifth, but since they've already testified before the Intelligence Committee in Russia Hoax related matters they may not be able to do that. Nunes has some time, and may have some support from DoJ with Rosenstein presumably out of the Russia Hoax supervision role. Come the new Congress, however, it'll be up to Senate Republicans, the WH, and DoJ get the truth out.

  9. More plans for testimony:

    "Goodlatte said he is scheduling the interview of people like former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI director James Comey, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Nellie Ohr, Glenn Simpson and others.

    "Goodlatte said if they don't appear voluntarily he would subpoena them."

  10. This strategy won't work for the same reason it hasn't worked previously. These witnesses are all very likely guilty of committing numerous Class I felony criminal acts and hence will behave with the desperation that befits that status. That means their lawyers will use every possible means to delay and deflect, and then only allow an appearance after being well rehearsed on what to say and not say. All dangerous questions will be preempted by DOJ/FBI co-council advising that no response can be permitted. These hearings will merely be the first act of a public disinformation campaign designed to wither public interest and mitigate outrage.

    The proper course of action would be to first hold open hearings with lower-level DOJ/FBI/CIA whistle-blower employees (they exist but live in fear of reprisal) in order to burst the bubble of secrecy (think Alexander Butterfield in the Watergate hearings). That this is not happening strongly suggests that the fix has been in for a long time now. I submit that the price of this betrayal will be unparalleled public cynicism and a major loss of faith is these core institutions. I also suspect that Trump senses this but is actually powerless to prevent it.

  11. Unknown, I disagree somewhat with your first paragraph--in this sense. I don't believe that Nunes is participating in a public disinformation campaign. OTOH, I agree that the results of these hearings will be disappointing for the simple reason that no effective pressure can be brought to bear upon these witnesses within the time constraints imposed by the beginning of a new Democrat Congress. It's theoretically possible that the results could be positive--if the GOP retakes the House in 2020. But that is theoretical.

    Re your second paragraph, of course I agree with you re the proper way of proceeding. But that doesn't mean that Nunes is part of a "fix." The difference with Watergate is that pretty much the entire USG was united against Nixon. By contrast, and as I've maintained in the past, there is an effective Republican opposition to Trump that I believe has 1) prevented Nunes from making as much progress as otherwise might be possible, especially by shielding DoJ from rigorous oversight, and 2) has prevented Trump from taking full control of DoJ through the appointment process and by firing recalcitrant officials. Thus, the greatest share of blame probably lies with NeverTrump Republicans. And so I agree with your final assessment that Trump is powerless to prevent what will result.

    However, the resignation of Sessions and removal--one way or another--of Rosenstein from supervision of Mueller may offer some grounds for optimism. One caveat, in that regard, which I've also offered in the past, is that Rosenstein will continue to supervise Wray at the FBI. Much will depend on McConnell and Graham.

  12. I intended no criticism of Nunes, and in fact, regard him as being one of the very few truly honorable men in politics today. He is also the only individual holding some measure of power that can actually make a difference against the wave of corruption currently engulfing DC. It actually can be a simple as one open hearing and one witness giving testimony.

    There exist several federal employees who were first person witnesses to the illegal conduct of non-governmental persons (contractors) researching the NSA database for political information and then leaking that information to an unauthorized outside entity (Fusion GPS). This is the same crime that DOJ intends to use to prosecute Julian Assange, and that hypocrisy would not be lost on the American public. Such an event would likely have the same impact that Butterfield's testimony did in the Watergate hearing. Nunes need not fear retribution from Ryan because he is leaving office, and Trump's tweets could help offset the media whitewash that would follow.

    The Swamp wins by systematically wearing down public interest and hope. They lose if a spark of truth ignites a wildfire of public outrage. This is not rocket science.