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Six Men Connected to the Trump-Russia Steele Dossier

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]s already mentioned in my last column, some political science and intelligence experts continue to deny any importance to the Trump-Russia Steele Dossier, branding it as gossip or amateurish propaganda tool devised by those who wish to console themselves for losing an election. Yet, they have provided few clues as to the whereabouts of five men connected with said dossier.

One would have thought that a document which practically accuses Mr. Trump and some in his former campaign staff of nothing short than treason against the US would have been granted a bit more attention by those experts.

One wonders why that is not the case; one wonders even more when one considers that the ones who revealed it were not the Russians, not Putin or his cyber-space warrior hackers (who, it stands to reason had no compelling reason to do so before it could be used for blackmail) but a former high-ranking agent for Britain’s M16 service, the head for that intelligence service’s Russia desk: Christopher Steele, with the reputation of high competency and credibility.

Steele is now in hiding and nobody knows where he may be. Speculation is that he is in hiding for fear of his own and his family’s safety. Another one of the five men was fired from his job, another was promoted, another was found dead in the back of his car the day after Christmas, and a fifth met Vladimir Putin a few weeks ago.

That list does not include Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort who, for some reason or other, was fired by Trump, right after reports emerged that Manafort assisted with the Crimean invasion in the Ukraine.

It is very interesting that in July 2016 a certain Carter Page traveled to Moscow to deliver a speech at the Higher Economic School. According to the dossier in question, the CEO of Russia’s national oil company, Igor Sechin, offered Page brokerage of a 19% stake in the oil company, if he could convince Mr. Trump to lift US sanctions on Russian oil.

Why was Page asked for such a favor? Because four months before Trump had mentioned him (to the editorial board of The Washington Post, to be precise) as a key member of his foreign policy team. By coincidence, four days after Trump’s inauguration Russia sold 19.5% stage in its oil company to a yet undisclosed buyer. So far, the media has done precious little investigation of this strange coincidence.

Interesting to note that Page’s Moscow speech condemned the US for its purportedly “hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change’ in its Russia policy. Two months later Page was dumped from the Trump campaign, and Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary now says that Trump does not know Page.

This wouldn’t be the first time high-level officials in the Trump administration have lied about who they know or have talked to. Lately, as discussed in my previous column, we have learned that Michael Flynn—Mr. Trump’s top adviser on Russia policy—lied to the Vice President of the United States, the chief of staff, the Press Secretary and the President himself about whether he was negotiating with the Russians prior to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Did Mr. Flynn go rogue? Or did Mr. Trump—who claims to know nothing about Flynn’s pre-inaugural conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.—order the conversation and then deny knowledge of it, much like he had many conversations with Carter Page and then denied knowing him at all?

Moreover, now that what’s in the dossier is getting more and more confirmation by the day, the question arises: will the media change its attitude and begin a serious investigation?

Let’s return to Christopher Steele. How did he get the news of the Page-Sechin meeting in Moscow? Via a trusted compatriot, Oleg Erovinkin. So Steele is no longer the only person to report on the meeting. The source was probably a US intelligence source who had spoken to Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff.

Politico reports that Page may also have met with Sergei Ivanov, who was then chief of Putin’s presidential administration, as well as with Igor Diveykin, a senior Kremlin internal affairs official.

Steele’s dossier contends that it was at this meeting with Diveykin that it was revealed to Page that the Russian government held compromising material (so called Kompromat) on Donald Trump.

Meanwhile Diveykin has been promoted to deputy chief of the State Duma Apparatus and chief administrator of Duma Affairs. He has informed reporters that he wants to sue the US media outlets that revealed his alleged meeting with Page. So far no lawsuit has ensued.

Sechin remains the head of the state oil company in good graces with Putin. Not so Erovinkin, the closest associate of Sechin and a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. As per The Telegraph, he is suspected of helping Christopher Steele compile the infamous dossier. He is now dead; found dead in his car the day after Christmas and immediately removed to a morgue run by Russia FSB, the successor of the KGB. Multiple media reports in Russia allege that the death was by murder. Another coincidence?

And then there is Christopher Steele himself, the one accused of concocting “fake news” by Donald Trump. Were it so, why would Mr. Steele be in any danger? Indeed, he could conceivable be a very valuable witness in any criminal investigation. It would then be important that he provide no additional information on his dossier and its sources.

So, Christopher Steele is now on the run for his life, and that of his family. Nobody knows his whereabouts.

The fate of those men seems highly inconsistent with Donald Trump’s insistence that the dossier is “fake news.” It is also inconsistent with Putin claim that the document is “clearly fake.”

Finally, a preliminary crucial questions arises (and there will be others after the investigation is complete): why so much drama, death and threat of death, fear and anguish, for a document which according to Trump is a fake, almost a joke?

To answer that question in a reasonable mode, one has to keep in mind that both presidents, that of the US and that of Russia have been repeatedly been caught in lies, seem to have a proclivity to put their personal interests ahead of those of their nations. It remains to be seen how this drama ends. The omens are not good.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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Burkina Faso: Former colony orders French troops to leave

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A soldier from Burkina Faso stands guard along the border with Mali and Niger during a military operation against terrorist suspects.(file photo) © Michele Cattani

Burkina Faso has demanded the withdrawal of French troops stationed on the territory of the West African nation, local media reported, citing a government decision. Relations between Paris and its former colony have been on a downward spiral for months now, with the local population blaming France for their security problems.

Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB) reported that the government of Burkina Faso had suspended a 2018 agreement with France, which regulated the deployment of its service members in the country. Paris now has one month to remove its soldiers, the agency said.

France currently has 400 troops in the African country, who are stationed there as part of efforts to combat Islamist terrorist groups in the region.

In November 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron officially announced the end of anti-insurgent ‘Operation Barkhane’ in the Sahel region, which has been largely viewed as a failure. In doing so, France also vowed to “reduce the exposure and visibility of [its] military forces in Africa.”

The Sahel is a region in northern Africa that includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, and a number of other neighboring countries.

Paris ended another military mission in neighboring Mali last August after relations went sour, with the government calling France’s military involvement “not satisfactory.”

Hundreds of people protested in the Burkina Faso’ capital Ouagadougou against the French military presence, chanting anti-French slogans.

Mohamed Sinon, one of the main leaders of the collective that called the demonstration, said it was to show support for junta leader Traore and the security forces fighting jihadists. “We are a pan-African movement and we want cooperation between Burkina Faso and Russia, but also the strengthening of friendship and of cooperation with Guinea and Mali,” he added.

Protesters carried huge posters showing the presidents of Mali and Guinea — both of whom also came to power in coups — as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A source close to the government clarified it was “not the severance of relations with France. The notification only concerns military cooperation agreements”.

Sources familiar with the matter told AFP that France’s preferred option would be to redeploy its forces in the south of neighbouring Niger, where nearly 2,000 French soldiers are already stationed.

French troops withdrew from Mali last year after a 2020 coup in the former French colony saw its rulers also inch closer to Russia.

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The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

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The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.

The  emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.

Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.

According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.

Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.

The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.

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Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

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The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.

Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.

The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.

Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.

However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.

As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.

Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”

In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Now the world is focused on two options:

– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;

– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.

Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.

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