Sunday, August 25, 2019

Russian Games

In the aftermath of the release of the Mueller report earlier this year (2019), I wrote an article debunking many of the so-called "smoking guns" behind what is often referred to as "Russiagate." Inevitably, I addressed both Fusion GPS, the private intelligence firm that produced the infamous "Steele dossier"; and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russia attorney who allegedly offered Donald Trump Jr. and company dirt on Hillary Clinton at the equally infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

In said article, I noted that Veselnitskaya had actually met with Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, on the same exact morning as the Trump Tower meeting, which occurred later that day. As Fusion GPS was already compiling opposition research on Trump at the time, the Veselnitskaya-Simpson pow-wow has the air of improbable coincidence to it.

But there is no disputing that Veselnitskaya and Simpson were working in conjunction for the same client at the time. Further, the interests of this client reportedly dominated the conversion at the Trump Tower meeting. And no, that client was not Hillary Clinton.

Rather, it was Denis Katsyv, a Russian business man most well known for his holdings in the company Prevezon. Prevezon, in turn, is said to have been engaged in money laundering and tax fraud. These charges were reportedly first uncovered by the Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, whom the Magnitsky Act was named after.

The Magnitsky Act was passed by the US Congress with bipartisan support in 2012 and was soon signed into law by then-President Barack Obama. The law effectively allowed the US government to freeze the assets of Russians the government deemed guilty of human rights abuses, or something along those lines. Thus far, the effects of the Magnitsky Act have been minimum, with only some $20 million in Russia assets frozen and a few minor officials being barred from these United States. While this is rather inconsequential, Russian elites are said to keep nearly $500 billion in assets in Western banks. The Magnitsky Act would pave the way for seizures of this largess, which has probably caused a few sleepless nights in Moscow.

But let us return to Fusion GPS for a moment. When not doing opposition research on Donald Trump, the private intelligence provider was snooping around the chief architect of the Magnitsky Act: hedge fund manager Bill Browder.

Browder is a figure your humble researcher had never looked too deeply into. But thanks to the efforts of a regular reader, it was brought to my attention that Browder has curious links to several figures that have featured prominently on this blog in recent weeks. As such, I thought the rest of you may be intrigued by a closer look at Mr. Browder.

Crusader or Intelligence Asset?

For years, the mainstream media has worked tirelessly to depict Browder as a heroic reformer engaged in a herculean struggle against Putin, and presumably the forces of evil and darkness as well. Browder is the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management, which was the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia from 1996 until 2005. Hermitage was able to massively cash in on the mass privatization efforts that unfolded in Russia during the 1990s.

Browder's acquisitions came in the midst of economic collapse and spiraling death rates then unfolding in post-Soviet Russia. By contrast, the American Browder was doing so well by 1998 that he renounced his American citizenship to avoid paying taxes. Ever since then he's been a subject of Her Royal Majesty the Queen. 

Browder initially made a name for himself in Russia by investigating corruption amongst the privatization bonanza. For instance, he exposed a certain fire sale Gazprom was engaged in involving gas fields being sold for pittances between 1996 and 1999. The newly-elected Vladimir Putin was impressed at first, and duly sacked Gazprom's CEO in 2001. 

Things had soured badly by 2005, however. During that year Browder was blacklisted by the Russia government and expelled from the country due to his business practices. This included (again) avoiding paying taxes, and, in a bit of irony, attempting to use Russian citizens to buy a controlling stake in Gazprom

Putin was not amused and this led to a protracted legal battle. Browder's surrogate was Magnitsky, whose creative accounting had enabled his tax fraud and other such business practices. Eventually, the accountant was arrested in 2008. He died in a Russian prison ten months later, in 2009. Naturally, Mr. Browder accused the Russian government of murdering Magnitsky while he was in their custody.

This allegedly sparked Browder's crusade abroad to regain his lost assets, which the Russian government had seized in the mean time. He alleged that Mr. Magnitsky was his attorney, and that he had uncovered damning evidence of the corruption of Putin's regime. This had led to his imprisonment, torture, and ultimate murder at the hands of the Russian state. 

The stage was now set for 2012's Magnitsky Act. Browder would continue to hammer away at Russia in the aftermath, publishing the expose' Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice. He also continued to name companies and individuals who had participated in the death of Magnitsky and the assault on Hermitage. One of the former was Prevezon.

As a result of the Magnitsky Act and Browder's efforts, property owned by Prevezon in NYC was seized by the US Department of Justice amidst an investigation. Prevezon fought back, however, and accused Browder of defrauding his own company. Enter Fusion GPS and Miss Veselnitskaya. 

Further muddying the waters are persistent allegations that Mr. Browder is some type of intelligence asset. Some sources have accused him of working for MI6, while others have questioned the legitimacy of these allegations. As with many things in the Cold War 2.0, the truth is not an easy thing to come by. But based upon his past history, it seems highly probable that Mr. Browder had some type of relationship with Western intelligence. And that brings me to his very curious background. 

Commies and Capitalists

Browder's family is quite colorful, to put it mildly. His father was Felix Browder, a famed mathematician who served as the president of the American Mathematical Society (1999-2000) and who won National Medal of Science in 1999. Felix had two brothers, both of whom were also mathematicians as well. His brother William had also served as president of the American Mathematical Society.

Then there's Bill's grandfather, Earl Browder, who just so happened to have been the chairman of the American Communist Party for nearly eleven years (1934-1945). He had also been the General Secretary of said party for fifteen years (1930-1945) and ran for the presidency twice on this particular ticket. Browder was later expelled from the Communist Party in 1946 after he broke with the Stalinist line, but would continue to serve as a kind of "literary agent" for the Soviets for some years afterwards. There is ample evidence that since at least the 1930s he had collaborated with Soviet intelligence, most notably the NKVD, one of the predecessors of the KGB. This collaboration appears to have continued even after he was expelled from Communist Party USA.

Earl Browder
Nor was Earl the only family member linked to Soviet intelligence. Browder's younger sister, Marguerite, had worked for the NKVD in various European countries during the 1930s. His niece, Helen Lowry, married NKVD officer Iskhak Akhmerov and assisted him in his espionage activities in the US during the late 1930s. 

And then there's Kitty Harris. Born in London's East End, Harris was likely the daughter of Russian emigres. Her family migrated to Canada in the early twentieth century, with Kitty making the scene in Chicago by the 1920s. There she met Earl Browder and allegedly married him. The marriage turned out to be bigamous, but Harris still followed Browder to Shanghai and later Moscow. During this period she was talent-scouted by Soviet intelligence and began to formally work for them in 1931. By the end of the decade she become linked to a member of the infamous Cambridge Five, a UK-based Soviet spy ring that ravaged British intelligence for decades. Specifically, Kitty allegedly carried on an affair with Donald Maclean while serving as his cut-out for Soviet intelligence.

Kitty Haris
So, to recap: Earl Browder himself, his younger sister, his niece, and his onetime wife had all worked for Soviet intelligence at some point. Two of his three children were also born in Soviet Moscow, including Bill Browder's father. 

As such, it is not entirely surprising that Browder's first significant employer also had longstanding ties to Soviet intelligence. This would be none other than Robert Maxwell, whom Browder worked for briefly during the early '90s at the MCC conglomerate. According to Tom Bower in Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Maxwell had first established ties with the KGB in the immediate aftermath of World War II and had agreed to work as an asset by 1946.

Maxwell's first publisher was Pergamon Press, which specialized in scientific publications. In 1954, Maxwell traveled to Moscow and parlayed his KGB contacts into access to the Soviet Union's scientific publications.
"... Maxwell wanted to negotiate the right to translate and publish Soviet scientific journals and books in the West alongside his German and British publications. After weeks of patient waiting, playing chess and drinking vodka, he eventually persuaded the KGB to approve his venture. Yuri Gradov, the lawyer at Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga, the Soviets copyright agency, was told that the KGB had approved Maxwell's venture: 'I was ordered to conclude a deal at any price.' Indeed, the price paid by Maxwell was astonishingly low. To Gradov's surprise, the Britain was allowed to meet Russia's most important scientists and to sleep in room 107 at Moscow's National Hotel, which had been occupied in 1917 by Lenin..."
(Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Tom Bower, pg. 159)
Robert Maxwell
As was noted above, Earl Browder had been working as "literary agent" for the Soviet Union in the early postwar years. This was around the time Maxwell first came into contact with the KGB. This researcher has been unable to determine if Browder was still operating in this function by the time Maxwell approached the KGB about publishing rights, but there is certainly a distinct possibility that Maxwell encountered Bill Browder's grandfather at some point during this time frame.

Even if he had not, there is still a possibility that the Browder family's ties to the KGB had contributed to Browder being hired by Maxwell during the early 1990s. By this point in time, Maxwell's ties to the KGB were a close as ever. Indeed, Maxwell factored heavily into the KGB's plans for perestroika, the initial efforts to privatize the Soviet Union's economy. Maxwell's role in these efforts have been approved by Vladimir Kryuchkov, the KGB head whom Maxwell had known for years prior to his chairmanship. Shortly after being tapped to lead the KGB in 1988, Kryuchkov met with Maxwell to lay out his vision for perestroika.
"... Even more fearful at the pace at which perestroika was accelerating, Kruychkov said that for the KGB to remain a potent force he wanted to establish 'over six hundred commercial enterprises'. They would all have links to the West. Just as Maxwell's companies provided cover for Mossad's katsas, Kryuchkov envisaged his companies would provide similar protection for KGB operatives. The Russian companies would operate on sound business principles, just like any other corporation in the West. The profits from the Russian concerns would go to the KGB and help fund its foreign intelligence operations. Maxwell was assured none of these would be against the State of Israel.
"Kryuchkov had explained that behind his immediate plan was a long-term one. The six hundred companies would each employ a quota of senior party members to provide them with an income during the difficult days ahead in the transition from Communism to capitalism. Through genuine trading links, the companies would obtain access to the very heart of capitalism: Wall Street and the City of London and the Bourses of the Western Europe. Its staffs would then learn the innermost secrets of the West's banking system, the wellspring of all capitalism. Eventually it might even be possible to destabilize Western economies – and pave the way for the return of Communism."
(Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy, Gordon Thomas & Martin Dillon, pgs. 172-173)
Obviously, things didn't quite go according to plan, though whether the plan was ever to return to Communism is highly debatable. Regardless, the opening of the Soviet economy led to widespread exploitation by the West during the 1990s, as was noted above. Rather than the KGB gaining control of the West's banking system, it was the US and UK who seized control of many of Russia's precious natural resources. Since Putin and his KGB cronies returned to power in 2000, there has been an ongoing struggle to wrest control of these resources back from the West.

And Bill Browder, the grandson of a former prominent American Communist and a onetime Maxwell employee, was at the heart of these efforts. When Browder launched Hermitage Capital in 1996, he had a curious partner in this endeavor: billionaire banker Edmond Safra, founder of the Republic National Bank of New York. Safra was both a longtime friend and business partner of Maxwell's, and an individual who had his own extensive ties to the Russian Mafia. Indeed, Safra's bizarre 1999 death may have been related to his dealings with Russian gangsters. More on this strange death can be found here.

Enter Lord Lamont

Easily the most curious figure in this whole netherworld is Lord Norman Lamont, a leading official in the Tory party under Thatcher and Major. The apex of Lamont's political career occurred under the latter when Lamont was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, the UK's equivalent of the Secretary of Treasury here in the US. The Chancellorship was a crucial stepping stone for Tory politicians during the second half of the twentieth century. Both Major and Harold Macmillan had served as the Chancellor prior to becoming the Prime Minister. Lamont's political career was derailed by Black Wednesday, however, and he was effectively driven out of the Cabinet by Major in 1993. Lamont was finally voted out of office in 1997, and accepted a peerage the following year. 

But while Lamont's political career was over, this was hardly the end of his involvement in politics. I'm greatly indebted to a bio on Lamont on the great Institute for the Study of Globalization and Covert Politics for much of the following material. Among it is the fact that Lamont is an arch Eurosceptic and a leading figure in the Bruges Group. Founded in 1989, Burges has been keeping the flame of Euroscepticism alive now for four decades. Unsurprisingly, it played a key role in Brexit, with Lamont campaigning vigorously in support of "Leave."

Am I alone in thinking Lord Lamont subsists on human blood? 
Lamont also played a crucial role in privatization efforts in the Soviet Union during the late 1980s and early 1990s as well. During this time frame personally advised both Gorbachev and Yeltsin on economic reforms in the Soviet sphere. After being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lamont became the Chairman of the G7 Group of Finance Ministers, which played a crucial role in securing IMF loans for Russia. Indeed, Lamont appears to have been at the forefront of these efforts. Thus, Lamont laid the stage of the economic rape of Russia during the 1990s as much as anyone. What's more, it has been suggested that Edmond Safra's death was related to diverted IMF earmarked for Russia --presumably the same funds Lamont had helped procure. 

But let us return to the matter at hand. Lamont appears to have had deep ties to both Robert Maxwell and Bill Browder. In Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Tom Bower notes that Maxwell had periodic lunches with Lamont by the late 1980s, and implies that they were a kind of liaisons with Thatcher's government. As was noted here, Maxwell also had access to Thatcher herself, and appears to have had quite a warm relationship with the Iron Lady. John Major was much less taken with Maxwell, but Lamont would continue to meet with Maxwell until at least February of 1991. Their last known meeting occurred at 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

11 Downing Street
Superficially, this relationship may seem strange. After all, Maxwell had longstanding ties to both Soviet Intelligence and the Labour Party (he had served as a Labour MP from 1964-1970). And yet Maxwell also had extensive dealings with British intelligence and the Tories, as I noted before here. Maxwell is known to have had a warm relationship with Gorbachev, and with Lamont actively playing a  crucial role in privatization efforts in Russia, it is certainly possible Maxwell was acting as a kind of back channel between Gorbachev and Lamont in what amounted to setting terms for the aftermath of the Cold War.

However, there is another potential explanation for their meetings: Arms trafficking. 

Under Thatcher, the UK had became a major player in the arms trade. The Iran-Iraq War in particular had been a major boon to the British arms industry. The Tories were of course making a killing off of this state of affairs. At the forefront was the so-called "Savoy Mafia," which included Mark Thatcher, the son of the Prime Minister. Labour was not doing nearly as well, but were no doubt getting something out of this racket for their silence. It is probable that Maxwell's extensive financial contributions to Labour during the 1980s were in part were being funded by arms trafficking. Former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe has gone on record stating that the Labour Party was engaged in selling arms to Iran "through Robert Maxwell" (Maggie's Hammer, Geoffrey Gilson, pg. 205).

Mark Thatcher
As for Lamont, it is likely that he was Maxwell's liaison with the Tories in this bonanza. In either 1996 or 1997, Lamont became the chairman of Le Cercle, a far right foreign policy think tank and private intelligence network. Le Cercle emerged in the 1952-1953 period as an auxiliary to the infamous Bilderberg group, but always had a much more rightward drift. Much of the early membership was dominated by members of especially reactionary Catholic orders such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Opus Dei. Much more information on Le Cercle can be found here

Beginning in the 1970s, Le Cercle forged close ties with reactionaries among the British Tories. This clique took over the Cercle by the 1980s, with every chairman having been British since then. Gerald James, a British arms merchant and Monday Club member (for years, the Monday Club was at the heart of the Tory far right), was recruited into the Savoy Mafia during the late 1980s. James later published a tell-all book on these experiences called In the Public Interest. There, he remarked upon the overlap between the Savoy Mafia and Le Cercle.

In particular, James notes that future Cercle chairman Jonathan Aitken was especially close to the Savoy clique. Elsewhere, the great Geoffrey Gilson recounts in Maggie's Hammer how Kevin Maxwell had dealings with Aitken in the aftermath of his father's death and that these were potentially related to arms trafficking as well. As recently as 2003, Kevin Maxwell and his then-wife Pandora were spotted at Aitken's wedding.

Elsewhere, Aitken turned up at a gathering of the Kit-Kat Club in 2004. This outfit was founded by none other than Ghislaine Maxwell, Robert's favorite daughter and Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam. Ghislaine's Kit-Kat Club was supposedly established to help women in commerce and industry, which sounds both hysterical and sad in equal measures in 2019.

Regardless, it would seem that the Maxwells and various Cercle chairmen had established a certain simpatico by the early twenty-first century, if not much sooner. I have not been able to confirm when Lamont joined the Cercle, but it does not seem like the type of organization to appoint someone its chairman who had only been with the outfit for a few years. Lamont was almost surely a member by the time of his last meeting with Robert Maxwell in 1991, putting the Maxwells in the group's orbit by time frame if not much sooner.

So much for the Maxwells. As for Browder, he has clearly been in the orbit of the Cercle for some time as well. At least one Belgian member of the Cercle complex had used Edmond Safra's Republic National Bank of New York to launder funds produced from arms trafficking during the early 1990s. But beyond that, Hermitage Capital had acquired an interesting board member by 2011: Lord Norman Lamont.

And not only was the former Cercle chairman on Hermitage's board, but Lamont was also poised to assist Browder in his quest for further sanctions against Russia by lobbying Cameron's government. Curiously, Lamont was joined in these efforts by Tory MP Julian Lewis. Lewis has had dealings with the Cercle since the 1980s. He was a protege' of another Cercle chairman, Brian Crozier. Naturally, Lewis is also a Knight of Malta. More information on him can be found here.

Conclusions: The Dilemma of the Tories

Superficially, it is a little surprising that an arch Eurosceptic like Lamont would be so gung-ho to support Browder's crusade. But then again, the same could be said of Fusion GPS's decision to investigate Browder at the same time it was digging up dirt on Trump's Russian ties. And then there's the curious coincidence that this dirt was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer who served in Moscow between 1990 and 1993. Naturally, this is the same exact time frame Lamont was meeting regularly with Gorbachev and Yeltsin about their IMF bailout. Of course, the UK is alleged to have played a crucial role in launching Russiagate

So, what gives? Well, the motives of the American players are a little more enigmatic. But as far as the British are concerned, the rise of Trump is both a blessing and a curse. Men like Lamont have worked for years to bring about Brexit. Indeed, the origins of this agenda may go back to Quigley's Round Table movement, which was always about forging an Anglo-American Union (noted before here) despite what you may have read. Already, there are warnings that a post-Brexit trade deal with the US will lay the foundation for a more perfect Union. 

The Tories (and much of the British Establishment) have been working towards this goal for a very, very long time. And now, they finally have a president in place to give them their Union. The only real snag appears to be the whole Russian thing. 

The Tories, and pretty much all of the British Establishment for that matter, have greatly enriched themselves via Russia's natural resources ever since the end of the Cold War. But once Putin came to power, the gravy train has gradually been put back in the hands of actual Russians. As a board member of Hermitage, Lord Lamont surely has a considerable financial stake in what is going on in Russia. He is hardly alone, either. 

This puts Lord Lamont and his cronies in a delicate situation. On the one hand, Trump's support of Brexit is a dream come true. On the other hand, if he normalizes relations with Russia, Lamont's bottom line could take a real beating. Thus, promoting (or even creating) the Russiagate narrative could be viewed as cudgel to keep an otherwise friendly president committed to sanctions against the Bear. And if Russia is not willing to play ball, there are always those $500 billion worth of assets in Western banks that could offset Lord Lamont's losses. Hence the importance of the Magnitsky Act and why the arch Eurosceptics of the Cercle complex are so keen on supporting it. 

As such, discussions concerning the Magnitsky Act at the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting are far more significant than any alleged dirt the Russians may have had on Hillary. A lot of people's livelihoods depend on how this plays out, to put it mildly. As such, the Russians probably could have done better than Fusion GPS as far as private intelligence is concerned. Just try and read the Steele dossier without breaking into fits of laughter.

But then again, if Russiagate was never meant to be a serious threat to Trump's presidency, Fusion GPS found a fine way to discredit itself by doing opposition research against the Orange One after it was already working for Prevezon since at least 2015. Surely, the British must have smiled when MI6 man Chris Steele turned his dossier over to them as well. 

And with that I shall sign off for now dear readers. Until the next time, stay tuned. 


  1. "Babylonian Bankers" is not a bad label.

    - Bill Browder: "William Felix Browder was born to a Jewish family[13] in Princeton, New Jersey,"
    - Denis Katsyv: "Denis Katsyv is a Russian and Israeli[1] businessman based in Moscow"
    - Robert Maxwell: "Maxwell was born into a poor Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish family in the small town of Slatinské Doly"
    - Edmond Safra: "The Safra family is a Lebanese Jewish[4] family from Beirut, Lebanon."

    - Norman Lamont: "Before entering Parliament he worked for N M Rothschild & Sons, the investment bank, and became director of Rothschild Asset Management."

    - a little research on the "russian mafia" shows that the majority of the leading figures had the same background.

  2. So, we are in the middle of the Ruling Class civil war? A secret struggle among sociopaths, psicopaths and monsters with power.

  3. Great research! Quick connection I noticed—Edmond Safra's father, Jacob Safra, bought 100% of the Encyclopaedia Britannica's stock back in 1996. (
    This lines up with the elite goal of manipulating education. Bill Browder’s connection to the Safra family, and Russia in general, is telling. In Jim Marrs’ Book, The Rise of the Fourth Reich, he gives more details on the elite/Soviet influence on education and notes the following:
    “Norman Dodd, Director of research for House Select Committee to Investigate Foundations and Comparable Organizations, reported that in 1952 the president of the Ford Foundation told him bluntly that ‘operating under directive from the White House,’ his foundation was to ‘use our grant-making power so as to alter our life in the United States that we can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.’. . . Dodd also stated that the congressional investigation found that the Guggenheim, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations and the Carnegie Endowment were ‘working in harmony to control education in the United States.’ He added that these entities had been subverted from the original goals of their creators by subsequent directors—another example of wealth taking control of existing organizations.” (p. 300-301.)
    And that was way back in 1952. With a growing portion of today’s youth believing Socialism is a good thing, it would appear that their globalist goal is closer to being realized. But thanks to the internet, and bloggers like you, at least we’re not dependent on the Encyclopaedia Britannica like we were in 1996. God bless you, sir, and keep up the great work!

  4. RE: A Sun That Never Sets/Archived Blog from 2014

    Recluse, I have been spending some time re-familiarizing myself with your site. Time well spent, in my opinion.
    But, I do have to ask why, in the above referenced posts, you described Farrell's work as "ridicules"? Please bear in mind that I am asking this as a serious question; not merely rhetorically.
    The motive behind the question is that even though I try not to get too enmeshed in conspiracy culture, (the speculations are fine; the internal politics of these groups however, is another matter), I am always interested in finding out more about the perceived luminaries in the field.
    An example would be someone that you have cited on your blog; Peter Levenda. My opinions about Levenda have undergone considerable revision since I first encountered him. While I still have a great deal of regard for his work, I have found that he also has some rather glaring blind spots; one of which is his refusal to take seriously the connection between Aleister Crowley/the OTO, and organized pedophilia. There are also some indications that he may be working in a damage control capacity for one intel org or another.
    So, I am curious if your criticism of Farrell rests on information or insights that I may not have. Or, if you just find some of his speculations to be to far within the realm of the unverifiable?
    I concede that some of what he has written is definitely on the far end of the conspiracy spectrum. But, in his defense, I would say that his work is well researched, well argued, and articulate. For instance what he details in books like "The Nazi International" is not at all untenable. Ample evidence has come to light to show that the Nazi exodus and "flight capital" plans were both more far ranging and more successful than many had been willing to credit previously.
    Ideas like the Bell device, etc? Well, yes, these are definitely among the harder pills to swallow. But, I also think its not out of the question that some of what he writes about the Nazis possessing greatly advanced technology is not at all speculative. Many sources have confirmed that in many areas, by the end of the war, the Germans were decades ahead of any other nation on Earth.
    So, again, I am asking this question not to be contentious. But, to see if there are insights that you have that I need to factor in in my views on Farrell.
    As always, I greatly appreciate your efforts here. And, hope you continue in your investigations.