durham & barr’s investigation of the Spooky origins of russia-gate expands


‘Barr & Durham travel to Rome, as walls close in on [Russia-gate’s] mysterious Professor Mifsud (Video)’,
October 10, 2019, raymcgovern.com

Ray links to the Oct. 8, 2019 duran.com video (25 minutes; but worth it), he explains:

“The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the highly unusual trip to Rome, Italy, taken by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Russiagate-origin-Investigator, John Durham.  Their ostensible purpose was to listen to a secret tape of Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud, the man many believe is the contracted spy who kicked off the Mueller investigation.  They did more, of course, than simply listen to a tape.

The origins of Russiagate are about to unravel. The trip to Rome, plus the expected results of the investigation of those who approved the FISA warrants for surveillance of Carter Page, which is led by Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz, have seriously rattled the Democrats, corporate media, and other aficionados of the Russia-gate caper.  The best defense being an aggressive offense, they came up not only with “Ukraine-gate,” but also with an “impeachment inquiry!” The “inquiry” appears to be on shaky legal/constitutional grounds and Trump’s lawyers today explained why he refuses to cooperate.  Hold onto your hats."

From the duran.com, Oct. 8, 2019:

“The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning trip to Rome, Italy taken by US Attorney General Barr and Russiagate investigator, John Durham, in order to hear a secret tape of Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud…the man many believe is the contracted spy who kicked off the Mueller investigation.

(a craptastic wd rush transcript in case you can’t want to take the time to watch):

‘mercouris finds the fact that both durham and barr went to rome solely to listen to a tape of deposition by mifsud a bit barmy, thus he concludes they must have gone together to meet with other people, but apparently they hadn’t met with mifsud himself.  that suggests to him that he’s under someone’s protection, as in: some nation’s intelligence community.  it’s clearly not russia’s, and that nation’s spooks are attempting to negotiate terms under which barr and durham could have access to him, whether in rome or the US by DoJ investigators.  and if he’s correct, it means that mifsud is in fact an intelligence officer.  he calls the event a Huge Event, and he’s guessing he works for MI-5 or MI-6. 

he notes that one of the parts of george papadopoulos’s  testimony was that there’s a british spy school in rome, and that rome was also where the FBI had met with christpoher steele.

alex christoforu adds that downer of australia was also in the UK; mercouris speaks at lenght about the intimacy between the UK and australia as part of the british commonwealth, as in: wholesale intelligence sharing.

who’s next?  your guess: steele and julian assange, others in the british intelligence service, and ukraine.  plus a baltic state: latvia, estonia?

christoforou asks in effect, ‘does the fact that durham and barr got on the plane spooking the dems, and they fabricated the whole ukraine-gate psyop?

mercouris laughs and answers that the dems are terrified of this, of course there was an enormous amount of collusion between the dems, the US intelligence community, and the media, all three of which are NOW terrified. 

and bear in mind, he says…FBI inspector general horowitz’s report on the origins of russia-gate is coming out soon, and is already being vetted by the justice dept. to make sure it doesn’t contain any classified material.  he says he’d forgotten to mention that there are reports that the state dept. has re-opened an investigation into SoS clinton’s misuse of a private email server.

christofou: throw crazy joe under the bus who cares, the deep state wants liz warren.  (the rest is an ad for their site ad their products, including a mug of sergei lavrov, best diplomat on the planet.)

On the screen was some text of this article at the daily beast (?):

‘Barr Went to Rome to Hear a Secret Tape From Joseph Mifsud, the Professor Who Helped Ignite the Russia Probe; The U.S. attorney general traveled to Italy to meet with Italian secret service agents—and, potentially, undermine the Mueller investigation, Oct. 1, 2019 (one snippet):

“Three weeks before the FBI opened the investigation, Stefan Halper, a longtime FBI informant and retired professor, met at the University of Cambridge with Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Halper would have contact with Trump advisers Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos later in the campaign.”

Also on the page at the duran is:

Via The Washington Examiner… (some excerpts)

“Barr and Durham listened to a taped deposition of Mifsud at the U.S. Embassy in Rome as well as met with Italian security officials who provided them with other information that the Italian government had on Mifsud, according to the Daily Beast. Mifsud explained why he was leaving his job at Rome’s Link University and asked for police protection, claiming that his life might be endangered.

The Trump administration’s interest in Mifsud likely stems from a 2016 conversation in which Mifsud allegedly told Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos about possible Russian dirt on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos allegedly mentioned this to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who passed it to the Australian government, who passed it to the United States, leading to the official launch of the Trump-Russia investigation in July 2016.

The Australian government is also cooperating with Barr in his efforts, and the DOJ said last week that Barr and Durham were reaching out to foreign governments for help.

“Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said. “At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”

Stephan Roh, a lawyer who says he represents Mifsud and shared a picture of Mifsud allegedly signing a power of attorney in 2018, told the Washington Examiner that Mifsud “is in Italy, at least until recently.” But Roh said Mifsud, whose whereabouts are unknown, hadn’t contacted him in a while.

Mifsud denied he told Papadopoulos the Russians had Clinton’s emails, and Roh claims his client cooperated with Western intelligence, not Russian intelligence, aligning with what some GOP investigators have said. Roh previously said Durham was seeking an interview with Mifsud, but it was not clear if Durham and Barr were doing so.

Papadopoulos has claimed Mifsud has “connections to Italian intelligence.”

The Mueller report confirmed the role information from Mifsud played in prompting the FBI “to open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.” The investigation “did not establish” any criminal conspiracy between the Kremlin and anyone associated with Trump.

Mueller’s report said Mifsud “had connections to Russia” and “maintained various Russian contacts.” Mueller also said Mifsud misled investigators when they questioned him, but he was not charged. As part of Mueller’s Russia investigation, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud and served 12 days in prison late last year.

Republicans have alleged that foreign intelligence agencies, like those in Western Europe, may have played a role in monitoring Trump associates in 2016.

Durham’s investigation is separate from the one just finished by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The DOJ watchdog investigated allegations of abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the DOJ and the FBI, and Horowitz has spoken with Durham, who is handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz’s investigation.” (the pdf is here.)

A bit of a primer on Mifsud from realclearpolitics.com, Aug. 2, 2109: Starting to Unravel the Mystery of Joseph Mifsud’ (a few outtakes):

“Perhaps Mifsud isn’t under indictment because he can’t be found. But, of course, Mueller’s team indicted a dozen Russian military intelligence officers, GRU agents safely in Russia and beyond the special counsel’s legal reach. Even if Mifsud were hiding out in Russia, why wouldn’t the special prosecutor indict him? The “guy who launches everything, the guy who puts this whole story in motion, you can’t charge him,” Jordan said. “I think that’s amazing.”

“I can’t get into the evidentiary filings.” Mueller said.

Jordan asked, “When the Special Counsel’s Office interviewed Mifsud, did he lie to you guys too?”

“Can’t get into that.”

“Did you interview Mifsud?”

“Can’t get into that.”

“Is Mifsud Western intelligence or Russian intelligence?”

Can’t get into that.”

That’s an awfully consequential question to be outside the special counsel’s purview, one consequential enough to be worth asking until an answer can be found.”

“As Lee Smith has reported for RealClearInvestigations, “Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services.” One of his jobs was to train diplomats, police officers, and intelligence officers at schools in London and Rome, where he lived and worked for years.

Now that Republicans are openly asking whether Mifsud might be a Western intelligence agent, they are posing the possibility that Mifsud’s approach to Papadopoulos was a counterintelligence sting rather than a Russian operation. These were questions Robert Mueller would not or could not answer.

Because they are essential to making sense of how the Russia affair began and what it is all about, the questions about Mifsud won’t go away. Nunes says, “We’re just trying to find out who this guy really is.”

Now were I part of Mueller and Durham’s investigations of the Spooks behind Russia-gate, I’d want a boatload of these US Spooks Palace Coup against Trump deposed as well:

Ninety former national security officials under the Obama and Bush administrations—and three who served for a period under Donald Trump—have signed an “Open Letter to the American People” defending the CIA officer, as yet unidentified, whose whistleblower complaint has become the basis for the House of Representatives opening an impeachment inquiry into the president.” (Patrick Martin, wsws)

Julian Assange?  Well, as he’s dying in Belmarsh Gitmo’s hospital wing, and can barley speak coherently, that ain’t gonna happen.  And when he was subpoenaed by the Senate intelligence committee, his attorneys said: Not without safe passage, which obviously never came.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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edg's picture

Your detailed coverage of issues like this is one of the reasons I like c99 so much. This trumped-up impeachment case against Trump (bada-bing!) is so obviously a case of Democrats, Deep State, and MSM busily working to cover their own asses.

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wendy davis's picture

@edg

amigo. did you end up watching the video? lordie, do i loathe the time it takes to do such, nor do i retain/process spoken information at all. hence, my craptastic transcript but making that will pretty much stick in my brain for a while.

i sure do hope durham and barr keep on keepin' on, and take my (ahem) suggestions to subpoena the USian spooks. ; )

ta for both reading and commenting, edg.

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edg's picture

@wendy davis

Naw, didn't watch it. Your transcript was great.

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@edg
I watch the Duran almost every day. These two have incredible insight because of who they are. Both have deep family roots in Mediterranean diplomacy—Alex Christoforu knows Cyprus while Mercouris' roots are Greek. Listening to them discuss the importance of Barr traveling to Rome was about as eye-opening as anything I have heard in my life. Only folks who have listened to diplomatic chatter since childhood could be that comfortable with the level of complexity of the actions of spooks on their mission to overturn the outcome of the US election.

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wendy davis's picture

@Jonathan Larson

makes me triply glad i took the time, then. i listened, crap-transcribed, on the strength of ray mcgovern's recommendation, as when i'm sent to the duran, i almost never make it through a whole video discussion.

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wendy davis's picture

@edg

that you might toss a few bucks to JtC who allows me to hang out here. ; ) but as i don't have any amerikan dollars that aren't earmarked far ahead of the time they dribble, i'll sure understand if you're tapped out as well. ; )

glad my craptastic transcript helped, though. what did it include again, lol?

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Same locations and spook networks that produced the Niger Yellowcake forgeries that served as the basis for Bush & Cheney's fraudulent case for the Iraq War.

The MI6 "school" in Rome really reverberates. Recall this international cast of characters and locales:

In his January 2003 State of the Union speech, U.S. President George W. Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." This single sentence is now known as "the Sixteen Words." The administration later conceded that evidence in support of the claim was inconclusive and stated, "These sixteen words should never have been included." The administration attributed the "error" to the CIA.

[ . . . ]

the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FAC).[25] The committee comprises fourteen Members of Parliament from government and opposition parties, and has permanent cross-party support.They examined and tested several key claims in the September Dossier, Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government, including the topic of uranium acquisition.

In June and July, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw testified that the claim in the dossier rested on separate evidence to the fraudulent documents, and that this specific intelligence, obtained from a foreign government, was still under review and had not been shared with the CIA.

[ . . . ]

By late 2003, the trail of the documents had been partially uncovered. They were obtained by a "security consultant" (and former agent of the precursor agency to SISMI, the SID), Rocco Martino, from Italian military intelligence (SISMI)

[ . . . ]

It is as yet unknown how Italian intelligence came by the documents and why they were not given directly to the US. According to a 2003 article in The New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, the forgery may have been a deliberate entrapment by current and former CIA officers to settle a score against Cheney and other neoconservatives. Hersh recounts how a former officer told him that "somebody deliberately let something false get in there." Hersh continues:

He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.

"The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney", the former officer said. "They said, 'O.K, we're going to put the bite on these guys.'" My source said that he was first told of the fabrication late last year, at one of the many holiday gatherings in the Washington area of past and present C.I.A. officials. "Everyone was bragging about it—'Here's what we did. It was cool, cool, cool.'" These retirees, he said, had superb contacts among current officers in the agency and were informed in detail of the sismi intelligence.]

In an interview published 7 April 2005, Cannistraro was asked by Ian Masters what he would say if it were asserted that the source of the forgery was former National Security Council and State Department consultant Michael Ledeen. (Ledeen had also allegedly been a liaison between the United States Intelligence Community and SISMI two decades earlier.) Cannistraro answered by saying: "you'd be very close".

Smoke and mirrors and echoes. Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends . . .

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

what a brilliant and precise analogy! i'm reeling with memories of valerie plamegate, scooter libby, joe wilson, judith miller at the NYT, and most of it, but i hadn't known (or remembered):

By late 2003, the trail of the documents had been partially uncovered. They were obtained by a "security consultant" (and former agent of the precursor agency to SISMI, the SID), Rocco Martino, (SISMI)

but goddam, sy hersh had it right again! (i'm scouring several relevant Wiki entries to refresh my holey memory.) hope it's okay if i tke your comment to the Café (?).

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

outta this:

In an interview on 26 July 2005, Cannistraro's business partner and columnist for the "American Conservative" magazine, former CIA counter terrorism officer Philip Giraldi, confirmed to Scott Horton that the forgeries were produced by "a couple of former CIA officers who are familiar with that part of the world who are associated with a certain well-known neoconservative who has close connections with Italy." When Horton said that must be Ledeen, he confirmed it, and added that the ex-CIA officers, "also had some equity interests, shall we say, with the operation. A lot of these people are in consulting positions, and they get various, shall we say, emoluments in overseas accounts, and that kind of thing".[44]

In a second interview with Horton, Giraldi elaborated to say that Ledeen and his former CIA friends worked with Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. "These people did it probably for a couple of reasons, but one of the reasons was that these people were involved, through the neoconservatives, with the Iraqi National Congress and Chalabi and had a financial interest in cranking up the pressure against Saddam Hussein and potentially going to war with him."

at my.firedoglake back in the day, a fellow commenter and i shared solidarity over chalabi; the good penny/bad penny (offices raided, files taken away, etc.) pops up again, like a living zombie. did he end up in south ossetia for a time?

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Peetape. Every story has a beginning.

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wendy davis's picture

@Snode

Buzzfeed: 'the micturation that launched a thousand ships!'

thanks for the laugh, snode.

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