This is the second column of Miscellanea, where I take a few short items, possibly related by six degrees of separation or less, and string them together into one. (Click here for the debut edition.) These are all stories that I expect we’ll have more on in the days and weeks ahead, but I want to get out some interesting information now.
The first item discusses how the Clinton Foundation is back in the news, most notably in regard to a sleazy deal it cut in Kazakhstan that benefited one of its biggest donors, the pump-and-dump stock fraudster Frank Giustra, known as the “Poison Dwarf.” Charles Ortel, a source, friend and the leading expert on the Clinton Foundation, talked about the deal here. Yeah, I know, it’s Sputnik News. Too bad, I don’t totally trust them either, but I’d say that same thing about the New York Times. As readers, it’s up to us to sort through the media muck and reach our own conclusions.
(And by the way, I have heard from multiple sources that reporters from major outlets are chasing Clinton Foundation news, and we might soon be reading of long-delayed action against that reprehensible racketeering operation.)
Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the Sputnik News story:
Hillary and Bill Clinton could have been involved in “pay-to-play” schemes, while transferring money through their charity in a non-transparent manner, Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik. The uranium deal may become the trigger for an all-out inquiry into the Clinton Foundation, he believes.
The Clintons’ “modus operandi” is first, to lie under oath, and, second, to obstruct justice from within government and even from outside government, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, commenting on investigations launched by the Senate and the House of Representatives into the Obama-era uranium deal.
It was rumored that as secretary of state Hillary Clinton approved the agreement benefiting Russia in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation (CF) from Canadian mining industry leaders involved in the deal. Clinton refuted the claim that she helped support the donors’ interests.
Answering the question why of all times Hillary Clinton’s uranium case has surfaced now, the analyst noted that it was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley who kicked off the initiative following the release of reports by US journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter.
Incidentally, you can read about why Giustra became known as the Poison Dwarf here. I’m embarrassed to say this story about the Clinton Foundation and Giustra ran in Fusion, which was totally in the tank for the Hillary campaign and apparently ran this story of mine so it could claim it wasn’t. It also posted a “correction” to the story after the Clinton campaign and foundation complained about the piece. Most of their complaints were absurd, but there were several mistakes that could easily have been fixed without apologizing for the story, which was dead-on in portraying the Clinton Foundation’s activities in Colombia as worse than useless.
2/ The second and last item in this “Miscellanea” concerns William Browder, the American-born oligarch who got rich in Moscow sucking up to Putin and who renounced his U.S. citizenship to become Irish, apparently to reduce taxes on his murkily obtained loot.
Browder has been zealously pushing the Russiagate narrative, for reasons I’ll inevitably be writing about here but let’s just say for now that said reasons are not altruistic, as is routinely claimed in U.S. media accounts. Browder finally has begun getting critical coverage, but thus far not yet in mainstream outlets, but here at Washington Babylon, at 100 Reporters, and now at a great new website run by my friend Seth Hettena, TrumP Россия.
Here’s an excerpt from a recent post by Seth:
The fact is that Browder was once one of Putin’s biggest cheerleaders. He defended the 2003 arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the head of Yukos, one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Khodorkovsky was convicted, imprisoned in a gulag at Russia’s border with China, and then put on trial and convicted again. His company was seized and acquired by the state.
It wasn’t exactly clear what Khodorovsky had done wrong except he had criticized Russia’s corruption during a televised meeting with President Putin a few months before his arrest and funded a movement promoting the rule of law and democratic values called Open Russia.
Khodorkovsky’s arrest and the seizure of Yukos wasn’t democracy; it was Mafia tactics. But Browder hailed Khodorkovsky’s arrest as progress in the English-language Moscow News:
Putin, was only doing “what any leader would do to further his nation’s interests,” Browder wrote. “While there may be some things about Putin that we disagree with, we should give him the benefit of the doubt in this area and fully support him in his task of taking back control of the country from the oligarchs.”
As for Khodorkovsky, Browder said he was hiding something.
“Khodorkovsky collected an enormous pile of cheap assets from the government and minority shareholders, and then embarked on an impressive charm and lobbying offensive to legitimize himself and his wealth. He has been very successful in getting people to forget his not-so-distant past,” Browder wrote.
Now, it’s Browder who has been very successful in getting people to forget his not-so-distant past. When word leaked out that Browder had been denied entry to Russia, The Wall Street Journal noted that he was no Kremlin critic…
Please don’t mistake what I’m saying here. I’m no fan of Putin, but Browder is undermining his own cause when he selectively uses the law and the press to serve only his own interests.
The story also noted:
Browder has been demanding justice for Sergei Magnitsky — and rightfully so — but, at least in one instance, he literally ran away from an American court. Here is what happened when a process server tried to serve Browder with a subpoena in New York following his 2015 appearance on The Daily Show:
The case involved a Russian financier named Denis Katsyv. At the time, Katsyv was accused in federal court of laundering money that was part of the fraud that Sergei Magnitsky uncovered. The case that was based on information Browder provided to prosecutors in New York. Browder eventually did have to testify and I’ve posted Browder’s Deposition.
Am I wrong in thinking that it’s grossly unfair and somewhat suspicious for Browder to demand justice for Magnitsky while fleeing a subpoena in the case he instigated? Shouldn’t he be proud to stand up for his late friend and colleague?
And by the way, I clicked on the link to the deposition. I haven’t had time to read it carefully but there’s a lot of interesting stuff there for people with an open mind about Browder. He is very most definitely not America’s Hero, as self-advertised and promulgated in the press.