July 19, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Hard Left attacks Trump Supporters with Violence; NY Times Vicious Cartoon of Trump and Putin as “Gay Lovers”; and Bill Browder, Poster-Boy for Fox News
Several short items make up MY CORNER today, and, as always, I will provide some references for further reading or the complete item reprinted here.
(1) First, back a week ago I came across a partial list, a catalogue if you will, of SOME of the violent acts and physical threats that have been perpetrated against “deplorables,” against folks who apparently support President Trump, folks who hold traditional beliefs. The list I copy below includes just seventy (70) such acts between March 1 and July 5—that is, four months. And these were just the ones reported by the national press, which means that there were very likely many other actions and threats by the far Left, which may have been perpetrated locally and not reported by the national media.
As you look over this list, let me ask this question: Are we not already in a real “civil war” of sorts? Are not at least one-third of the citizens of this country certifiably insane, people who accept a narrative that advances a cultural Marxist transformation of what is left of the American republic? And, in their revolutionary march, we are in their cross hairs, and thus, must be suppressed, eliminated, and silenced.
Here is the list:
Rap Sheet: ***70*** Acts of Media-Approved Violence and Harassment Against Trump Supporters
by Jim Nolte
5 Jul 2018
When not calling Trump supporters “” as a means to dehumanize us, the establishment media like to whine about the lack of civility in American politics, even as they cover up, ignore, downplay, or straight-up approve of the wave of violence and public harassment we are seeing against supporters of President Trump.
It is open season on Trump supporters, and the media is only fomenting, encouraging, excusing, and hoping for more… The media are now openly calling Trump supporters “” and are Trump for a mass murder he had nothing to do with. This, of course, is a form of harassment because it incites and justifies mob violence.
Here is the list, so far, and remember that if any of these things happened to a Democrat, the media would use the story to blot out the sun for weeks. But what we have when it comes to Trump supporters is a media eager to normalize harassment and violence.
This list will be updated as needed…
- : Trump supporter wearing Make America Great Again hat allegedly assaulted in burger joint (video at link).
- : Nebraska GOP office vandalized.
- : Cher accuses ICE of “Gestapo tactics.”
- : Man accused of threatening to kill Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and his family.
- : reporter publicly calls on mobs to give Trump officials a “life sentence” of harassment.
- : Man wearing MAGA hat refused service in restaurant.
- : Media falsely blame Trump for murder of five journalists in Maryland.
- : Journalist lies about Maryland mass-shooter being a Trump supporter.
- : Hollywood actor calls on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to be harassed at “every meal.”
- : California man accused of threatening to kill FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s children.
- : Reuters editor says Trump has blood on his hands for murder of five journalists in Maryland. He still has a job.
- : Singer John Legend praises and agrees with Rep. Maxine Waters for calling on mobs to publicly harass Trump officials out of public spaces like restaurants.
- : Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) calls on “angry” Latinos to oust Trump.
- Media defend and champion Virginia restaurant owner who kicked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her family out, and then reportedly harassed them as they ate at a nearby restaurant.
- : Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) blames President Trump for her intern yelling “F--k you!” at him through the halls of the U.S. Capitol. The intern was not fired.
- : Comedienne Kathy Griffin attacks the Trump administration as “pro-Nazi.” Obviously, once you describe someone as a Nazi, you are calling for violence against them.
- : Chicago bar refuses to serve Trump supporters.
- : Singer John Legend calls on Trump officials to be harassed until our immigration policies are weakened.
- : Late night comedians celebrate the harassment of Sarah Sanders and her family.
- : Burned animal carcass left on Trump staffer’s porch.
- : After refusing to serve Sarah Sanders and the family, we learn a restaurant owner then organized a mob to harass Sanders’ family at a nearby restaurant.
- : Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) calls on mobs to confront Trump officials over immigration policies.
- : CNN contributor attacks those on the right calling for civility.
- : CNN’s Jake Tapper dismisses harassment of Sarah Sanders as a political ploy on Sander’s part.
- : Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) publicly calls on mobs to “turn on” Trump officials, to “harass” them, ensure they “they won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store.”
- : Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi harassed, menaced, and reportedly spit at by left-wing protesters at movie theater.
- : Sarah Sanders and her family booted out of restaurant by left-wing owner.
- : Kirstjen Nielsen harassed by protesters outside her private home.
- : Rep. Jackie Sperier (D-CA), compares border enforcement to Auschwitz.
- : Left-wing activists vandalize billboard.
- : On Donny Deutsch smears Trump and his supporters as “Nazis.”
- : Democrat state legislator in Pennsylvania greets Vice President Mike Pence with a “middle finger salute.”
- : White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller heckled and harassed at restaurant.
- : Actor Adam Scott compares Tucker Carlson to a Nazi.
- : Florida man accused of threatening to kill Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), a U.S. combat veteran, and his children in a series of nearly 500 calls to his office.
- : Actor Peter Fonda calls for a mob to kidnap President Trump’s 11-year-old son and throw him in a cage with pedophiles.
- : Actor Peter Fonda calls for a mob to sexually humiliate and abuse Sarah Sanders and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
- : Nancy Sinatra praises Peter Fonda for his tweets.
- : Documentary filmmaker Josh Fox praises Peter Fonda for his tweets.
- : Arnold Schwarzenegger calls for politicians in favor of border security to be put in cages.
- : Kirstjen Nielsen harassed out of restaurant.
- : Democrat interns screams “Fuck you!” at Trump through the halls of the U.S. Capitol. She was not fired.
- : fact checker publicly (and falsely) accuses a disabled war veteran who works for ICE of being a Nazi.
- : CNN analyst heckles and screams at Sarah Sanders.
- A Bernie Sanders supporter opens fire on a group of Republican congressman. Rep. Steve Scalise is shot and nearly dies.
- : creator David Simon calls on mobs to pick up a “brick” if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller.
- : Left-wing terrorists with AntiFa hurl urine at woman protesting against Sharia.
- : “Trump” is stabbed to death in front of cheering audience in Central Park
- : Kathy Griffin beheads Trump.
- : Left-wing terrorists with AntiFa assult Trump supporter with bike lock.
- : Snoop Dogg “shoots” Trump in the head.
- : CNN points what looks like a sniper scope at the Oval Office.
- : Stephen Colbert puts White House adviser Stephen Miller’s head on a pike.
- : Comedienne Sarah Silverman calls on the military to overthrow Trump.
- : Left-wing terrorist group AntiFa assaults Trump supporters at Berkeley.
- : Madonna fantasizes about blowing up the White House.
- : Left-wing terrorist group Antifa riots over Trump’s inauguration.
- : CNN fantasizes about Obama staying in power if Trump is assassinated.
- : Left-wing thugs kidnap, beat, and torture an 18-year-old with schizophrenia while shouting “fuck Trump” and “fuck white people.”
- : Left-wing thugs assault 15-year-old Trump supporter.
- : director Joss Whedon says Trump “CANNOT” be allowed to serve out his term in office.
- : star Lea DeLaria threatens “to pick up a baseball bat and take out every f*cking republican and independent I see.”
- : Marilyn Manson “kills” Trump in music video.
- : Left-wing terrorists firebomb GOP headquarters in North Carolina.
- : Robert De Niro says he wants to “punch” Trump in the face.
- : Left-wing thugs attack Trump’s motorcade and his supporters.
- Left-wing thugs violently attack Trump supporters. One women was surrounded by a mob and pelted with raw eggs.
- : CNN treats man who tried to tackle Trump as folk hero.
- : Man tries to tackle Trump at campaign rally.
- Former contributor Larry Wilmore “jokes” about killing Trump.
(2) Perhaps you have heard about—or seen—the salacious cartoon produced by The New York Times that portrays President Trump and President Vladimir Putin as gay lovers? A little history here: The Times is one of the most over-the-top vocal journals in the nation in its vociferous support of homosexual rights; it is extravagant in presenting all the assorted “grievances” and most outlandish demands of the LGBTQ lobby; for the Times, to even insinuate the mildest critique of that lobby or its actions is an “incitement to hate” and a “vile example of homophobia,” that should be banned and punished. Yet, here is the Times employing “gayness” stereotypically and despectively to attack Donald Trump, and imply that he has a secret homosexual lust for Vladimir Putin, which, of course, is meant to be considered negatively.
Where is the powerful professional gay lobby to denounce this caricature? Where are the prominent Hollywood voices who come on our television sets to decry this anti-gay exercise?
Deafening silence, that’s it.
It seems as long as the target is President Trump (or some traditionalist believer in our Western Christian heritage) everything is fair game. The utter ideological hypocrisy, the putrid and rank praxis is, to put it mildly, nauseatingly disgusting, and should cause any rational person to reject the Times and denounce it. But, of course, that won’t happen with the Mainstream Media, for whom The New York Times remains the “newspaper of record.” I would suggest its motto, “All the news that’s fit to print,” should be changed to: “All the cultural Marxism that we can fit.”
Here’s the disgusting Times cartoon (if you can stomach it):
(3) Lastly, I return to a topic about which I’ve written before: the very visible incline of Fox News to a much harder Left position in its news and commentary.
Except for Tucker Carlson, this trend has been palpably apparent now for some time. And I will cite here just one fascinating example: the case of international financier Bill Browder who has appeared four times during the past week on Fox (mostly on the 7 p.m. Martha McCallum “news” program—along with support from hard core Marxist Michael Isikoff, who co-authored with another hard core ultra-Leftist, David Corn, the volume, Russian Roulette, which essentially implies that Trump is a Russian puppet).
Who is Bill Browder? He is the grandson of Earl Felix Browder, the head of the Communist Party in the United State during the crucial years—the 1930s and early 1940s, a firm supporter of the Soviets, and the author of the volume The Jewish People and the War (1940) taking the Soviet line of “friendship” with the Nazis (after the Soviets had invaded the eastern half of Poland in 1939, while the Germans had taken the western half), that is, before the Germans ended that pact and attacked the USSR.
Grandson Bill was chairman of Hermitage Capital Management, an international financial investment corporation with a very shady history.
Bill Browder complains bitterly that “Putin is out to get him,” and that his attorney, Sergei Magnitsky, was “assassinated” by Putin, and, in what may be one of the more egregious examples of boosted self-importance, that “he is Putin’s number one enemy” in the world.
And Fox News has bought into this tendentious narrative full blast…Over the years, counting his most recent appearances on Fox in one of those fascinating conjunctions timed to coincide with the Helsinki Summit, he’s been featured more than half a dozen times. And each time he’s not been challenged, not been closely questioned at all by the network which claims to be “fair & balanced.”
Thus, he repeats the mantra that: “Putin is a thug,” “Putin is an assassin,” “Putin is the new Hitler,” “Putin had Magnitsky killed” (something about which Browder managed to convince an utterly gullible Deep State-dominated Congress, which then passed legislation to punish the Russians).
The facts are far different than the ideological, Russophobic line that Browder spouts. Rather, as an international businessman he attempted successfully to avoid taxes paid to Russia and the United States. He was found guilty by a Russian court, and there have been a dozen reputable reports offering details of this—NONE of which Fox cared to report. Not one. [I print three of them below.]
And the reason for that? As I have written in previous columns and in published essays: Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is just as zealously Russophobic as the “farther Left.” Post-Communist Russia—a nationalist Russia—a Russia that is embracing its Christian past and heritage—a Russia that has doubts about the value of American-style “liberal democracy” and our consumerist-driven culture—a Russia that fails to embrace the secular humanist template of “human rights”—a Russia that refuses to bow to and accept globalist control of its economy—THAT kind of Russia is unacceptable to the Neoconservatives on Fox. And, in the not-so-secret recesses of their thoughts and remote memories, there is the recollection that it was pre-Communist Russia, that is, the Russia under the tsars when Christianity was the religion of the state and nationalism was dominant, that their ancestors largely from the Pale of Settlement for Russian Jews suffered persecution. A careful reading of the various histories and accounts demonstrate this fully—even if Fox will not admit it, and even if globalist financial bandit Bill Browder won’t say it.
I offer here, in this connection, researched pieces by Robert Parry and by Philip Giraldi, who have done their homework…but have NOT been invited on “unfair & and unbalanced” Fox (when it comes to such questions) to confront Browder….
A Blacklisted Film and the New Cold War
August 2, 2017
Special Report: As Congress still swoons over the anti-Kremlin Magnitsky narrative, Western political and media leaders refuse to let their people view a documentary that debunks the fable, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Why is the U.S. mainstream media so frightened of a documentary that debunks the beloved story of how “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky uncovered massive Russian government corruption and died as a result? If the documentary is as flawed as its critics claim, why won’t they let it be shown to the American public, then lay out its supposed errors, and use it as a case study of how such fakery works?
Instead we – in the land of the free, home of the brave – are protected from seeing this documentary produced by filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov who was known as a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin but who in this instance found the West’s widely accepted Magnitsky storyline to be a fraud.
Instead, last week, Senate Judiciary Committee members sat in rapt attention as hedge-fund operator William Browder wowed them with a reprise of his Magnitsky tale and suggested that people who have challenged the narrative and those who dared air the documentary one time at Washington’s Newseum last year should be prosecuted for violating the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
It appears that Official Washington’s anti-Russia hysteria has reached such proportions that old-time notions about hearing both sides of a story or testing out truth in the marketplace of ideas must be cast aside. The new political/media paradigm is to shield the American people from information that contradicts the prevailing narratives, all the better to get them to line up behind Those Who Know Best.
Nekrasov’s powerful deconstruction of the Magnitsky myth – and the film’s subsequent blacklisting throughout the “free world” – recall other instances in which the West’s propaganda lines don’t stand up to scrutiny, so censorship and ad hominem attacks become the weapons of choice to defend “perception management” narratives in geopolitical hot spots such as Iraq (2002-03), Libya (2011), Syria (2011 to the present), and Ukraine (2013 to the present).
But the Magnitsky myth has a special place as the seminal fabrication of the dangerous New Cold War between the nuclear-armed West and nuclear-armed Russia.
In the United States, Russia-bashing in The New York Times and other “liberal media” also has merged with the visceral hatred of President Trump, causing all normal journalistic standards to be jettisoned.
A Call for Prosecutions
Browder, the American-born co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management who is now a British citizen, raised the stakes even more when he testified that the people involved in arranging a one-time showing of Nekrasov’s documentary, “The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes,” at the Newseum should be held accountable under FARA, which has penalties ranging up to five years in prison.
“As part of [Russian lawyer Natalie] Veselnitskaya’s lobbying, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Chris Cooper of the Potomac Group, was hired to organize the Washington, D.C.-based premiere of a fake documentary about Sergei Magnitsky and myself. This was one the best examples of Putin’s propaganda.
“They hired Howard Schweitzer of Cozzen O’Connor Public Strategies and former Congressman Ronald Dellums to lobby members of Congress on Capitol Hill to repeal the Magnitsky Act and to remove Sergei’s name from the Global Magnitsky bill. On June 13, 2016, they funded a major event at the Newseum to show their fake documentary, inviting representatives of Congress and the State Department to attend.
“While they were conducting these operations in Washington, D.C., at no time did they indicate that they were acting on behalf of Russian government interests, nor did they file disclosures under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. United States law is very explicit that those acting on behalf of foreign governments and their interests must register under FARA so that there is transparency about their interests and their motives.
“Since none of these people registered, my firm wrote to the Department of Justice in July 2016 and presented the facts. I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests.”
While he loosely accused a number of Americans of felonies, Browder continued to claim that Magnitsky was a crusading “lawyer” who uncovered a $230 million tax-fraud scheme carried out ostensibly by Browder’s companies but, which, according to Browder’s account, was really engineered by corrupt Russian police officers who then arrested Magnitsky and later were responsible for his death in a Russian jail.
Browder’s narrative has received a credulous hearing by Western politicians and media already inclined to think the worst of Putin’s Russia and willing to treat Browder’s claims as true without serious examination. However, beyond the self-serving nature of Browder’s tale, there are many holes in the story, including whether Magnitsky was really a principled lawyer or instead a complicit accountant.
According to Browder’s own biographical description of Magnitsky, he received his education at the Plekhanov Institute in Moscow, a reference to Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, a school for finance and business, not a law school.
Nevertheless, the West’s mainstream media – relying on the word of Browder – has accepted Magnitsky’s standing as a “lawyer,” which apparently fits better in the narrative of Magnitsky as a crusading corruption fighter rather than a potential co-conspirator with Browder in a complex fraud, as the Russian government has alleged.
Magnitsky’s mother also has described her son as an accountant, although telling Nekrasov in the documentary “he wasn’t just an accountant; he was interested in lots of things.” In the film, the “lawyer” claim is also disputed by a female co-worker who knew Magnitsky well. “He wasn’t a lawyer,” she said.
In other words, on this high-profile claim repeated by Browder again and again, it appears that presenting Magnitsky as a “lawyer” is a convenient falsehood that buttresses the Magnitsky myth, which Browder constructed after Magnitsky’s death from heart failure while in pre-trial detention.
But the Magnitsky myth took off in 2012 when Browder sold his tale to neocon Senators Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, and John McCain, R-Arizona, who threw their political weight behind a bipartisan drive in Congress leading to the passage of the Magnitsky sanctions act, the opening shot in the New Cold War.
A Planned Docudrama
Browder’s dramatic story also attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a well-known critic of Putin from previous films. Nekrasov set out initially to produce a docudrama that would share Browder’s good-vs.-evil narrative to a wider public.
Nekrasov devotes the first half hour of the film to allowing Browder to give his Magnitsky account illustrated by scenes from Nekrasov’s planned docudrama. In other words, the viewer gets to see a highly sympathetic portrayal of Browder and Magnitsky as supposedly corrupt Russian authorities bring charges of tax fraud against them.
However, Nekrasov’s documentary project takes an unexpected turn when his research turns up numerous contradictions to Browder’s storyline, which begins to look more and more like a corporate cover up story. For instance, Magnitsky’s mother blames the negligence of prison doctors for her son’s death rather than a beating by prison guards as Browder had pitched to Western audiences.
Nekrasov also discovered that a woman who had worked in Browder’s company blew the whistle before Magnitsky talked to police and that Magnitsky’s original interview with authorities was as a suspect, not a whistleblower. Also contradicting Browder’s claims, Nekrasov notes that Magnitsky doesn’t even mention the names of the police officers in a key statement to authorities.
When one of the Browder-accused police officers, Pavel Karpov, filed a libel suit against Browder in London, the case was dismissed on technical grounds because Karpov had no reputation in Great Britain to slander. But the judge was sympathetic to the substance of Karpov’s complaint.
Browder claimed vindication before adding an ironic protest given his successful campaign to prevent Americans and Europeans from seeing Nekrasov’s documentary.
“These people tried to shut us up; they tried to stifle our freedom of expression,” Browder complained. “[Karpov] had the audacity to come here and sue us, paying high-priced libel lawyers to come and terrorize us in the U.K.”
The ‘Kremlin Stooge’ Slur
A pro-Browder account published at the Daily Beast on July 25 – attacking Nekrasov and his documentary – is entitled “How an Anti-Putin Filmmaker Became a Kremlin Stooge,” a common slur used in the West to discredit and silence anyone who dares question today’s Russia-hating groupthink.
The article by Katie Zavadski accuses Nekrasov of being in the tank for the Kremlin and declares that “The movie is so flattering to the Russian narrative that Pavel Karpov — one of the police officers accused of being responsible for Magnitsky’s death — plays himself.”
But that’s not true. In fact, there is a scene in the documentary in which Nekrasov invites the actor who plays Karpov in the docudrama segment to sit in on an interview with the real Karpov. There’s even a clumsy moment when the actor and police officer bump into a microphone as they shake hands, but Zavadski’s falsehood would not be apparent unless you had somehow gotten access to the documentary, which has been effectively banned in the West.
In the documentary, Karpov, the police officer, accuses Browder of lying about him and specifically contests the claim that he (Karpov) used his supposedly ill-gotten gains to buy an expensive apartment in Moscow. Karpov came to the interview with documents showing that the flat was pre-paid in 2004-05, well before the alleged hijacking of Browder’s firms.
Karpov added wistfully that he had to sell the apartment to pay for his failed legal challenge in London, which he said he undertook in an effort to clear his name. “Honor costs a lot sometimes,” the police officer said.
Karpov also explained that the investigations of Browder’s tax fraud started well before the Magnitsky controversy, with an examination of a Browder company in 2004.
“Once we opened the investigation, a campaign in defense of an investor started,” Karpov said. “Having made billions here, Browder forgot to tell how he did it. So it suits him to pose as a victim. … Browder and company are lying blatantly and constantly.”
However, since virtually no one in the West has seen this interview, you can’t make your own judgment as to whether Karpov is credible or not.
A Painful Recognition
Yet, in reviewing the case documents and noting Browder’s inaccurate claims about the chronology, Nekrasov finds his own doubts growing. He discovers that European officials simply accepted Browder’s translations of Russian documents, rather than checking them independently. A similar lack of skepticism prevailed in the United States.
In other words, a kind of trans-Atlantic groupthink took hold with clear political benefits for those who went along and almost no one willing to risk the accusation of being a “Kremlin stooge” by showing doubt.
As the documentary proceeds, Browder starts avoiding Nekrasov and his more pointed questions. Finally, Nekrasov hesitantly confronts the hedge-fund executive at a party for Browder’s book, Red Notice, about the Magnitsky case.
The easygoing Browder of the early part of the documentary — as he lays out his seamless narrative without challenge — is gone; instead, a defensive and angry Browder appears.
“It’s bs,” Browder says when told that his presentations of the documents are false.
But Nekrasov continues to find more contradictions and discrepancies. He discovers evidence that Browder’s web site eliminated an earlier chronology that showed that in April 2008, a 70-year-old woman named Rimma Starova, who had served as a figurehead executive for Browder’s companies, reported the theft of state funds.
Nekrasov then shows how Browder’s narrative was changed to introduce Magnitsky as the “whistleblower” months later, although he was then described as an “analyst,” not yet a “lawyer.”
As Browder’s story continues to unravel, the evidence suggests that Magnitsky was an accountant implicated in manipulating the books, not a crusading lawyer risking everything for the truth.
A Heated Confrontation
In the documentary, Nekrasov struggles with what to do next, given Browder’s financial and political clout. Finally securing another interview, Nekrasov confronts Browder with the core contradictions of his story. Incensed, the hedge-fund executive rises up and threatens the filmmaker.
“I’d be very careful going out and trying to do a whole sort of thing about Sergei [Magnitsky] not being the whistleblower, it won’t do well for your credibility on this show,” Browder said. “This is sort of the subtle FSB version,” suggesting that Nekrasov was just fronting for the Russian intelligence service.
In the pro-Browder account published at the Daily Beast on July 25, Browder described how he put down Nekrasov by telling him, “it sounds like you’re part of the FSB. … Those are FSB questions.”
But that phrasing is not what he actually says in the documentary, raising further questions about whether the Daily Beast reporter actually watched the film or simply accepted Browder’s account of it. (I posed that question to the Daily Beast’s Katie Zavadski by email, but have not gotten a reply.)
The documentary also includes devastating scenes from depositions of a sullen and uncooperative Browder and a U.S. government investigator, who acknowledges relying on Browder’s narrative and documents in a related case against Russian businesses.
In an April 15, 2015 deposition of Browder, he, in turn, describes relying on reports from journalists to “connect the dots,” including the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which is funded by the U.S. government and financial speculator George Soros. Browder said the reporters “worked with our team.”
While taking money from the U.S. Agency for International Development and Soros, the OCCRP also targeted Ukraine’s freely elected President Viktor Yanukovych with accusations of corruption prior to the Feb. 22, 2014 coup that ousted Yanukovych, an overthrow that was engineered by the U.S. State Department and escalated the New Cold War with Russia.
OCCRP played a key role, too, in the so-called “Panama Papers,” purloined documents from a Panamanian law firm that were used to develop attack lines against Russian President Vladimir Putin although his name never appeared in the documents.
After examining the money-movement charts published by OCCRP about the Magnitsky case, Nekrasov notes that the figures don’t add up and wonders how journalists could “peddle these wooly maths.” He also observed that OCCRP’s Panama Papers linkage of Magnitsky’s $230 million fraud and payments to an ally of Putin made no sense because the dates of the Panama Papers transactions preceded the dates of the alleged Magnitsky fraud.
The Power of Myth
Nekrasov suggests that the power of Browder’s convoluted story rested, in part, on a Hollywood perception of Moscow as a place where evil Russians lurk around every corner and any allegation against “corrupt” officials is believed. The Magnitsky tale “was like a film script about Russia written for the Western audience,” Nekrasov says.
But the Browder’s narrative also served a strong geopolitical interest to demonize Russia at the dawn of the New Cold War.
In the documentary’s conclusion, Nekrasov sums up what he had discovered: “A murdered hero as an alibi for living suspects.” He then ponders the danger to democracy: “So do we allow graft and greed to hide behind a political sermon? Will democracy survive if human rights — its moral high ground — is used to protect selfish interests?”
But Americans and Europeans are being spared the discomfort of having to answer that question or to question their representatives about the failure to skeptically examine this case that has pushed the planet on a course toward a possible nuclear war.
Instead, the mainstream Western media has hurled insults at Nekrasov even as his documentary is blocked from any significant public viewing.
Despite Browder’s professed concern about the London libel case that he claimed was an attempt “to stifle our freedom of expression,” he has set his lawyers on anyone who might be thinking about showing Nekrasov’s documentary to the public.
The documentary was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016, but at the last moment – faced with Browder’s legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States. There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill.
Browder’s lawyers then tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.
“We’re not going to allow them not to show the film,” said Scott Williams, the Newseum’s chief operating officer. “We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen.”
In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that “A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides.”
So, Nekrasov’s documentary got a one-time showing with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary’s discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.
After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov’s documentary Russian “agit-prop” and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder’s misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case.
Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using “facts highly selectively” and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin’s “campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act.”
Like the recent Daily Beast story, which falsely claimed that Nekrasov let the Russian police officer Karpov play himself, the Post misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov’s original idea for a docudrama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder’s self-exculpatory story to a skeptic.
But the Post’s deception – like the Daily Beast’s falsehood – is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one has gotten to see the film.
The Post’s editorial gloated: “The film won’t grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin’s increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky’s family.
“We don’t worry that Mr. Nekrasov’s film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions.”
The Post’s arrogant editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.
It is also unlikely that Americans and Europeans will get a chance to view this blacklisted documentary in the future. In an email exchange, the film’s Norwegian producer Torstein Grude told me that “We have been unsuccessful in releasing the film to TV so far. ZDF/Arte [a major European network] pulled it from transmission a few days before it was supposed to be aired and the other broadcasters seem scared as a result. There have been threats. Netflix has declined to take it. …
“The film has no other release at the moment. Distributors are scared by Browder’s legal threats. All involved financiers, distributors, producers received thick stacks of legal documents (300+ pages) threatening lawsuits should the film be released.” [Grude sent me a password so I could view the documentary on Vimeo.]
The blackout continues even though the Magnitsky issue and Nekrasov’s documentary have become elements in the recent controversy over a meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth.”]
So much for the West’s vaunted belief in freedom of expression and the democratic goal of encouraging freewheeling debates about issues of great public importance. And, so much for the Post’s empty rhetoric about our “open society.”
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com).
One has to ask why there is a crisis in US-Russia relations since Washington and Moscow have much more in common than not, to include confronting international terrorism, stabilizing Syria and other parts of the world that are in turmoil, and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In spite of all that, the US and Russia are currently locked in a tit-for-tat unfriendly relationship somewhat reminiscent of the Cold War.
Apart from search for a scapegoat to explain the Hillary Clinton defeat, how did it happen? Israel Shamir, a keen observer of the American-Russian relationship, and celebrated American journalist Robert Parry both think that one man deserves much of the credit for the new Cold War and that man is William Browder, a hedge fund operator who made his fortune in the corrupt 1990s world of Russian commodities trading.
Browder is also symptomatic of why the United States government is so poorly informed about international developments as he is the source of much of the Congressional “expert testimony” contributing to the current impasse. He has somehow emerged as a trusted source in spite of the fact that he has self-interest in cultivating a certain outcome. Also ignored is his renunciation of American citizenship in 1998, reportedly to avoid taxes. He is now a British citizen.
Browder is notoriously the man behind the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which exploited Congressional willingness to demonize Russia and has done so much to poison relations between Washington and Moscow. The Act sanctioned individual Russian officials, which Moscow has rightly seen as unwarranted interference in the operation of its judicial system.
Browder, a media favorite who self-promotes as “Putin’s enemy #1,” portrays himself as a selfless human rights advocate, but is he? He has used his fortune to threaten lawsuits for anyone who challenges his version of events, effectively silencing many critics. He claims that his accountant Sergei Magnitsky was a crusading "lawyer" who discovered a $230 million tax-fraud scheme that involved the Browder business interest Hermitage Capital but was, in fact, engineered by corrupt Russian police officers who arrested Magnitsky and enabled his death in a Russian jail.
Many have been skeptical of the Browder narrative, suspecting that the fraud was in fact concocted by Browder and his accountant Magnitsky. A Russian court recently supported that alternative narrative, ruling in late December that Browder had deliberately bankrupted his company and engaged in tax evasion. He was sentenced to nine years prison in absentia.
William Browder is again in the news recently in connection with testimony related to Russiagate. On December 16th Senator Diane Feinstein of the Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcript of the testimony provided by Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS. According to James Carden, Browder was mentioned 50 times, but the repeated citations apparently did not merit inclusion in media coverage of the story by the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico.
Fusion GPS, which was involved in the research producing the Steele Dossier used to discredit Donald Trump, was also retained to provide investigative services relating to a lawsuit in New York City involving a Russian company called Prevezon. As information provided by Browder was the basis of the lawsuit, his company and business practices while in Russia became part of the investigation. Simmons maintained that Browder proved to be somewhat evasive and his accounts of his activities were inconsistent. He claimed never to visit the United States and not own property or do business there, all of which were untrue, to include his ownership through a shell company of a $10 million house in Aspen Colorado. He repeatedly ran away, literally, from attempts to subpoena him so he would have to testify under oath.
Per Simmons, in Russia, Browder used shell companies locally and also worldwide to avoid taxes and conceal ownership, suggesting that he was likely one of many corrupt businessmen operating in what was a wild west business environment. My question is, “Why was such a man granted credibility and allowed a free run to poison the vitally important US-Russia relationship?” The answer might be follow the money. Israel Shamir reports that Browder was a major contributor to Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who was the major force behind the Magnitsky Act.
The Magnitsky Hoax?
Who stole all the money?