“The chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.”
– RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882) American poet, Unitarian minister, philosopher
istory Professor Daniele Ganser is a teacher many have wished they had while in school, and one suspects they will become joined by many others after hearing him speak. To accentuate our admiration for Dr. Ganser, we would say his teaching style is simple, direct and shows a concern for reaching the student or listener with a maximum of facts and minimum of extraneous or irrelevant tangential information.
To use a baseball hitting analogy, one might suggest that Daniele Ganser has an extremely high batting average as a teacher, where comparisons to the great Boston Red Sox .400 hitter Ted Williams – Williams nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter” – are perfectly in order.
We would like to share a selection of some of our comments on YouTube from the past (3) months illustrative of our strong alignment to the worldview of Professor Ganser, and to help emphasize our equally strong appreciation for his peace activism efforts and moral courage.
Natalia Veselnitskaya didn’t have “dirt” on Hillary Clinton and when the Russian lawyer met with Trump’s people her focus was not on the 2016 campaign.
By Lucy Komisar
A “key event” described in the Mueller Report is the Trump Tower meeting where a Russian lawyer met with the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Russiagaters have been obsessed with the meeting, saying it was the smoking gun to prove collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to steal the 2016 election. Months after Mueller concluded that there was no collusion at all, the obsession has switched to “obstruction of justice,” which is like someone being apprehended for resisting arrest without committing any other crime.
The Mueller report thus focuses instead on “efforts to prevent disclosure of information about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and senior campaign officials.”
But the report on this topic is deceptive. Ironically, as it attacks Donald Trump and top campaign officials for lying, the report itself lies about the issue the meeting addressed.
It wasn’t to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton, which the Russian lawyer did not have and never produced. That was a ploy by Robert Goldstone, a British music publicist whose job is to get what his clients want, in this case, a meeting. So, recklessly, he invented the idea of Clinton dirt as a bait-and-switch to get Trump’s people to come to it. He got the lawyer the meeting for her to lobby a potentially incoming administration against the Magnitsky Act, which is why she was in the United States in the first place.
The Magnitsky Act is a 2012 U.S. law that was promoted by William Browder, an American-born British citizen and hedge fund investor, who claimed his “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky had been imprisoned and murdered because he uncovered a scheme by Russian officials to steal $230 million from the Russian Treasury. It sanctioned Russians he said were involved or benefitted from Magnitsky’s death. It has since been used by the U.S. to put sanctions on other Russians and nationals from other countries.
The lawyer lobbying against the act, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort that Browder’s story was fake, a smokescreen to block the Russians from going after him for multi-millions in tax evasion. She argued the Magnitsky Act was built on this fraud. Manafort’s notes, included in the Mueller Report, trace what she said.
The Trump people did nothing illegal to meet with her. Their problem was the exaggerating communications Goldstone sent them about Veselnitskaya having “dirt” on Clinton. (While U.S. election laws says it’s illegal for a campaign to receive “a thing of value” from a foreign source, it’s never been established by a court that opposition research fits that description, the Mueller Report admits. ) Veselnitskaya testified to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2017 that Browder’s major American client, the Ziff brothers, had cheated on American and Russian taxes and contributed the “dirty money” to the Democrats.
The Mueller investigators appear not to have looked into her charges. The report promotes Browder’s fabrications, citing “the Magnitsky Act, which imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian officials and which was named for a Russian tax specialist who exposed a fraud and later died in a Russian prison.”
But instead of his “lawyer” Magnitsky exposing Russian fraud, for which he was jailed and killed in prison, Magnitsky was actually Browder’s accountant who was detained under investigation for his part in Browder’s tax evasion and died of natural causes in prison, as Magnitsky’s own mother admits to filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov in the film “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes.”
Mueller’s investigators might have started with documents filed in U.S. federal court in the case of Veselnitskaya’s client, Prevezon, a Russian holding company that settled a civil-forfeiture claim by the U.S. government that linked it, without proof, to the tax fraud.
The documents include a deposition where Browder admits that the alleged “lawyer” Magnitsky did not go to law school nor have a law degree. Magnitsky’s own testimony file identifies him as an “auditor.”
Why does that matter? Because it was Browder’s red herring. Magnitsky had worked as Browder’s accountant since 1997, fiddling on Browder’s taxes on profits from sales of shares held by Russian shell companies run by his Hermitage Fund. He was not an attorney hired in 2007 to investigate and then expose a tax fraud against the Russian Treasury.
That fraud was exposed by Rimma Starova, the Russian nominee director of a British Virgin Islands shell company that held Hermitage’s reregistered companies and who gave testimony to Russian police on April 9 and July 10, 2008. It was reported by The New York Times and Vedomosti on July 24, 2008, months before Magnitsky mentioned it in an Oct. 7 interrogation.
The Mueller Report says Veselnitskaya promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government support for Trump.” Two days before the meeting, Goldstone emailed Trump Jr. and said “the Russian government attorney” was flying in from Moscow. She had not been a government attorney since 2001, 15 years earlier.
I interviewed Veselnitskaya in New York in November 2016. She explained what she later told the Trump group, that Browder’s clients the Ziff Brothers had invested in Russian shares in a way that routed the money through loans so that they could evade U.S. taxes. [“Not invest – loans” in Manafort’s notes.]
The report says, “Natalia Veselnitskaya had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time.” Later it says that from 1998 to 2001, she had worked as a prosecutor for the “Central Administrative District” of the Russian Prosecutor’s office. “And continued to perform government-related work and maintain ties to the Russian government following her departure.” We are meant to presume, with no evidence, as the media does – that means “a Kremlin-connected lawyer.”
When Trump Jr asked for evidence, how the payments could be tied to the Clinton campaign, she said she couldn’t trace them, according to the Mueller Report.
Then she turned to the Magnitsky Act. The report repeats earlier fakery: “She lobbied and testified about the Magnitsky Act, which imposed financial sanctions and travel restrictions on Russian officials and which was named for a Russian tax specialist who exposed a fraud and later died in a Russian prison.” Magnitsky did not expose a fraud. Rimma Starova did.
A footnote in the report said: “Browder hired Magnitsky to investigate tax fraud by Russian officials, and Magnitsky was charged with helping Browder embezzle money.” Browder did not hire Magnitsky to investigate the fraud. Magnitsky had been the accountant in charge of Hermitage since 1997, 10 years before the fraud. Embezzlement refers to Browder shifting assets out of Russia without paying taxes.
But the investigation’s focus was not on Browder’s fakery — the substance of the Trump Tower meeting — but on the communications organizing the event. The section on obstruction says Trump became aware of “emails setting up the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians who offered derogatory information on Hillary Clinton as ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.’”
That would have been Goldstone’s inflated promises.
The report says “at the meeting the Russian attorney claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.” Trump Jr. told a White House press officer that “they started with some Hillary thing, which was bs and some other nonsense, which we shot down fast.”
As Veselnitskaya told me, she knew the Ziffs made contributions to Democrats. She probably started with that. Manafort’s notes don’t report a “Hillary thing,” but are about Browder and the Ziffs.
On the issue of Browder, the Magnitsky story and the essence of the Trump Tower meeting, the Mueller Report is a deception intended to keep the myth of collusion in the air while dismissing that any collusion took place.
Mueller Report deals with Browder and Trump Tower mostly in Part I, pages 110-123, and Part II, pages 98-107.
Excellencies, distinguished colleagues, ladies and
The world order established by the UN Charter takes
precedence over other international and regional treaties and imposes positive
and negative obligations on member states, including the United States of
America and the European Union. This is stipulated in Article 103 of the
Charter, the supremacy clause.
The question arises whether in the light of the UN
Charter unilateral coercive measures could be considered compatible with modern
international law? The orthodox answer
is that only those sanctions that are imposed by the Security Council
under Chapter VII can be considered legal. Article 41 of the charter stipulates
“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed
force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions “. But even Security Council decisions and resolutions must be…
“The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told in silence, by equivocation, by the accent of a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; but all of these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded.”
– JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900) British writer
scandal of historic and global proportions has surfaced after an omitted engineering report focused on an alleged April 2018 chemical weapons incident in Douma, Syria, – by experts associated with The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – has become leaked to the public.
Strangely, United States President Donald Trump, outgoing United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, and President Emmanuel Macron of France are all silent on the rapidly growing scandal, especially mysterious because the omitted report clearly obliterates the basis for their controversial, combined April 2018 bombing of Syria.
In addition to the concerning and inexplicable silence of world leaders Trump, May and Macron and their governments to what is obviously a tremendous scandal involving the OPCW, the (non)reporting of the scandal from major Western corporate media organizations is equally silent and/or absent.
“Cover-up” might be the applicable term for the combined U.S./U.K./France government and media silence on this matter, seeing that acknowledgement of the now-revealed facts regarding the Syria bombing opens the flood gates wide open for discussions on corrupt manipulation of OPCW operations, and the committing of war crimes by leaders Trump, May and Macron.
Journalist Aaron Mate of the independent media organization The Grayzone talked to weapons expert and emeritus M.I.T. Professor Theodore Postol about the leaked report, as well as the extremely serious ramifications of the scandal with respect to international law prohibiting chemical weapons.
Attention will now most likely turn to the arm of the organization responsible for managing the scandal, – the OPCW’s Office of Internal Oversight – described in the following from the OPCW website:
The Office of Internal Oversight (OIO) assists the Director-General in the management of the OPCW’s resources through Audits, Evaluations, Quality audits, Inspections, Investigations and Monitoring.
OIO’s mission is to enhance and protect organisational value and improve OPCW’s operations by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice, and insight. OIO helps OPCW achieve its objectives by applying a systematic approach to evaluating and enhancing the adequacy and effectiveness of risk management, internal control and governance processes, so as to add value by improving the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
The Office provides State Parties and the Director-General with reasonable assurance that financial, operational, confidentiality and security controls are adequate and complied with as well as that the management of resources and programmes is efficient and effective. In its work related to audits (both internal audits and confidentiality audits), the Office follows the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), United States of America).
The evaluation function of the OPCW is part of the internal oversight mechanism of the Organisation and is managed by the Office of Internal Oversight (OIO). Our mission is to promote accountability through independent, credible and useful evaluations of the OPCW programmes and activities. The Office follows the Evaluation Standards prescribed by the United Nations Evaluations Group (UNEG).
The OIO also reviews the Quality Assurance policy and strategy in order to maintain a comprehensive programme aimed at meeting the requirements of the following international standards, which are subject to the assessment of the RvA: ISO/IEC 17025:2005 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories); and ISO/IEC 17043:2010 (Conformity assessment—General requirements for proficiency testing).
As Oversight of QMS in the accredited parts of the Technical Secretariat has been entrusted to the Office of Internal Oversight, OIO is responsible for establishing and maintaining the accreditation of the quality assurance regime for the OIO itself, the OPCW Laboratory and on-site analytical procedures. Although the focus is on the OPCW Laboratory, OIO is responsible for managing two accredited processes: certification of OPCW Central Analytical Database and On-Site Databases and certification of preparation and testing of GC-MS inspection equipment
In addition, OIO carries out oversight audits covering quality assurance, conducted in accordance with current ISO auditing standards, and assess “the analytical network, including the OPCW quality assurance/quality control programme for on-site analysis, the OPCW Laboratory, together with the designated and other laboratories performances”.
In addition, by placing the responsibilities of the Quality Manager (currently SEQAO) in the Oversight Function, the OIO is the process owner for the set of processes related to the daily management of QMS.
It is worth noting that the April 2018 alleged chemical incident in Douma, Syria occurred shortly after the controversial March 2018 so-called Skripal-Novichok incident in Salisbury, United Kingdom. Besides an extremely brief scripted “interview” by Reuters of Yulia Skripal, featuring nothing by way of a detailed question-and-answer, in the (14) months since the incident millions are asking why virtually nobody has seen nor heard from Yulia and her father Sergei Skripal.
The events in Douma and Salisbury suggest a coordinated dual-aspect covert false flag operation intended to deceptively link Syria and Russia, namely Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin, in the public’s mind as “chemical weapons criminals”. The motivation for such a false flag operation, if that is indeed the truth of the matter, would be to ease the prospects for public acceptance of a military response from the U.S., U.K. and France leading to the overthrow of the Syrian government.
It is also worth noting and remembering that there was a certain sense of impatience on the part of Trump, May and Macron to give the orders for the April 2018 bombing strikes, ignoring the voices urgently calling for restraint from many quarters of the Earth, and particularly as many serious questions about the Douma incident were near immediately after the incident being raised worldwide.
The separate but arguably related weeks-apart incidents share a major subsequent similarity: the strange, puzzling non-response from Trump, May and Macron on the scandal involving the OPCW, and the effective father-daughter total silence of Yulia and Sergei Skripal.
Will the world’s people ever hear from Yulia and Sergei Skripal – ever again? Will the world’s people ever hear from Donald Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron on the OPCW scandal – ever … for the first time?
Palestinians are at the heart of the conflict in the M.E Palestinians uprooted by force of arms.. Yet faced immense difficulties have survived, kept alive their history and culture, passed keys of family homes in occupied Palestine from one generation to the next.
This blog is devoted to legal, historical and human rights matters, in which issues of general concern are addressed freely and spontaneously. It is intended to further an informal exchange of views in the democratic spirit of freedom of opinion and respect for the opinions of others, in an effort to understand rather than condemn, to propose constructive solutions rather than grandstand. The perspective is both from inside and outside the box and the added value lies more in the questions than in the answers.