Eurasia, History, Politics

“Grand Deception” book review

Positive reviews are one of the most gratifying rewards in publishing a book, but reviews that are as thoughtful and generous as the one I’ve recently received from Harley Schlanger is a rare thing. More rare still is a review that actually adds depth and perspective to the subject matter and is a worthwhile read in itself. Here goes:Book Review: Alex Krainer, “GRAND DECEPTION: the Truth about Bill Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and Anti-Russian Sanctions” (Red Pill Press, 2018)

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by: Harley Schlanger
August 10 — In his press conference with President Donald Trump following their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, Russian President Putin dropped a bombshell that panicked Russophobes in Congress and in the media.  After saying that he would be willing to allow representatives of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s team to observe interrogations in Russia of twelve GRU officers charged by Mueller with hacking the computers of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Putin declared that he would expect that the “Americans would reciprocate”, and allow Russian investigators to question those who engaged in illegal actions in Russia.
Putin singled out for interrogation British investor William Browder, who he said has never paid taxes in the U.S. or Russia on his large earnings stolen from Russia.  Browder renounced his American citizenship in 1998, it is believed, to avoid paying American taxes. There is no tax on foreign earnings in the U.K.  Browder, who was first convicted in 2003 in a Russian provincial court of evading $40 million in taxes, was expelled from Russia in November 2005.  He was later convicted in absentia  in 2013 of tax evasion, and the Russians have requested on multiple occasions that Interpol issue a warrant for his arrest.
Asked about Putin’s suggestion, Browder told MSNBC that “Putin is obsessed with me,” and denounced President Trump for not immediately rejecting Putin’s offer.  Trump first described Putin’s suggestion as “an incredible offer.”  However, three days later, after a series of vicious attacks against him for even considering it, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that while the proposal “was made in sincerity by President Putin…President Trump disagrees with it.”
Browder has been at the forefront of efforts to inflict damage on Russia and President Putin through the use of sanctions since his expulsion from that country.  He claims that the passage of the Magnitsky Act in November 2012 resulted from his lobbying, and he again played a role in the passage of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), in July 2017, through his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  It passed both Houses of Congress by such an overwhelming margin that President Trump had little choice but to sign it — though he did issue a signing statement in which he called CAATSA “fundamentally flawed”, asserting that it includes “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
Following the Trump-Putin summit, there has been a renewed push from the neo-con/neo-liberal anti-Trumpers to punish Russia, They intend to prevent Trump from pursuing cooperative relations with President Putin, through imposing more sanctions on Russia and Russian officials, to poison relations further between the two nations.  On August 8, the U.S. government announced new sanctions, in response to the alleged deployment of a Russian team with chemical weapons to assassinate a former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, in Salisbury, England.  Though no evidence has been produced to prove those charges, the new sanctions will restrict exports which have a possible “national security purpose.”  At the same time, the Senate is preparing to adopt yet another sanctions bill, which sponsor Lindsey Graham said will “change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia,” over alleged meddling in elections, cyber attacks, aggression in Ukraine and “creating chaos in Syria”!  Among the six cosponsors from both parties, Sen. John McCain, who has been a key figure in the Republican operation against Trump and Putin, and who called the Helsinki summit a “tragic mistake,” described the purpose of this new bill to be to “build on the strongest sanctions ever imposed on the Putin regime.”
Since January 2017, the U.S. has imposed sanctions against 213 Russian targets.  These sanctions are part of an all-out offensive against both Trump and Putin, which had been launched initially during the presidential campaign by leading officials in British intelligence, who collaborated with former Obama intelligence officials, to concoct the “Russiagate” narrative.  The support from Congressmen in both parties and the mainstream media for the “Get Trump” campaign has played a major role in expanding the use of punitive sanctions, as part of a coordinated effort to sabotage Trump’s intention.  Yet, despite this deployment, President Trump has continued to insist on the need to improve relations with Russia, with the successful summit discussion with Putin in Helsinki a product of that determination.
This offensive against Trump and Putin has created an environment which could lead to nuclear confrontation between the world’s two leading nuclear powers.  A new look at the role of William Browder, who has played a significant role in the anti-Russian propaganda campaign, as a puppet of powerful financial interests of the City of London and Wall Street — which are behind the attempt to sabotage better relations between the two nations — provides essential intelligence as to who wants this war, and why.
THE “GRAND DECEPTION”
A new book written by Alex Krainer, “Grand Deception”, provides significant information, and numerous leads, that prove that Browder’s claim that his efforts against Putin and Russia come from his dedication to fight for justice for his deceased accountant, Sergei Magnitisky, is about as truthful as the fictional story of “Russian meddling” and “Trump collusion” in the 2016 election campaign.   Browder claims that he hired Magnitsky as an attorney to investigate the attempt, by the Putin regime, to shut down his firm, Hermitage Capital, in 2007, and steal its funds, under cover of a tax fraud case.  Magnitsky was later arrested by Russian financial police, and was murdered in prison by thugs, according to Browder’s account, to cover up for the theft of his assets by corrupt Russian officials, including Putin personally.
In painstaking detail, Krainer deconstructs Browder’s lying narrative, which Browder published under the title “Red Notice”, and spreads at every opportunity in venues throughout the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.  Krainer presents a chapter-by-chapter review of Browder’s book, highlighting the many frauds and inconsistencies in Browder’s story.  For example, for starters, despite Browder’s insistence — to this day — that Magnitsky was his “attorney”, he was not an attorney, but an accountant.  Browder has been confronted on this, yet continues to lie that Magnitsky was his attorney!  Further, he wasn’t hired in 2007, but was actually hired by Browder’s law firm, Firestone Duncan, in 2002.  According to other published accounts, his assignment at Firestone Duncan was to set up an offshore arrangement to use for tax evasion purposes for shell companies run by Browder, and to make illegal share purchases for Browder and his clients, which enabled Browder to make Hermitage the largest foreign investment portfolio company operating in Russia.  Part of Magnitsky’s job, prior to his arrest, was to cover up Browder’s tax fraud; contrary to Browder’s claim, that Magnitsky was investigating fraud committed by Russian financial authorities, Krainer writes there is no evidence in Magnitsky’s letters, notes and personal statements during interrogation which substantiate Browder’s story. (1.)
What Krainer substantiates is not just that Browder is a liar, but that to understand this story, one must look at the broader context.  That broader context is first presented in the chapter “Russia in the 1990s“, which details the deliberate assault on Russia economically, through the imposition of “shock therapy” policies which were disguised as plans to bring Russia into the modern age but were, in fact a vicious looting policy to enrich western bankers and their Russian stooges — later called “oligarchs” — while destroying the social safety net, resulting in what Krainer calls “Economic Genocide.” (2.)
His review of the Yeltsin years exposes some familiar names when it comes to looting operations, such as George Soros who, along with the Harvard  Management Company and a select group of City of London and Wall Street banks, were given exclusive rights to takeover Russian firms through loans-for-share auctions.  Overseen by the International Monetary Fund and Clinton administration U.S. Treasury Department officials such as Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, Krainer concludes that while some of those involved in the shock therapy disaster came with “sincere and honorable intentions…the whole project, insofar as it was determined by its command and control structure, was simply a massive, bald-faced criminal enterprise.”
Among those given free reign to participate in the looting operation was a previously unknown figure, William Browder.
WHO IS BILL BROWDER?
A brief review of how Browder came to run one of the largest financial swindles in modern times demonstrates that he was placed in position to do so by his powerful benefactors, several of whom are notorious for running large-scale financial scams, with protection from leading British institutions.  Among his patrons was Robert Maxwell, who hired him in 1991 to work on an eastern European investment fund.  Maxwell’s career as a swindler is well known.  His financial empire, based on huge volumes of debt, blew up shortly after he hired Browder, and, in November 1991, he conveniently died in a suspicious drowning.
Browder then went to Salomon Brothers, a pioneer in “financial innovation”, which eventually led to its demise.  While at Salomon, Browder got involved in the western-directed Russian privatization program, where parts of more than 27,000 Russian companies were being sold off for a tiny percentage of their actual value.  Browder was given $25 million to buy vouchers from Russian citizens, who were given the vouchers by the government.  Speculators like Browder bought the vouchers from desperately poor Russians for a fraction of their value, then used them at auctions to buy shares of the firms being privatized.  In this way, he turned his original $25 million stake into a $125 million portfolio, which brought him notice from Soros and others, eventually leading to his collaboration with Edmond Safra.
Safra is another notorious swindler operating under protection of British and Israeli officials, whose Republic National Bank was accused among other crimes of engaging in money laundering involving drugs and arms.  Krainer reports that Safra’s bank was exposed in a 1994 CIA report as part of an operation that provided upwards of $40 billion in cash which was used in the purchase of Russian national assets.  The report asked, “why are the Republic National Bank and the Federal Reserve continuing to supply…bills [i.e., U.S. dollars] to banks that so many money-laundering experts agree are tainted?”  When a {New York} magazine article exposed this operation in 1996, showing that the money given to Safra and Browder was ending up in the hands of Russian organized crime figures who became their “partners”, it was then-U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer who jumped in to defend them.  Schumer, who is one of the leading opponents today of Trump’s Russia policies, as Minority leader in the U.S. Senate, defended Safra’s bank as a “well-respected institution serving the New York community and employing thousands of its residents.”
Also defending this operation was Robert Strauss, the former Ambassador to Russia, who Lyndon LaRouche called the “Prince of Thieves,” for his role in directing the privatization program.  Strauss said, “Providing a steady supply of U.S. currency to Russian banks is perhaps the single most efficient form of support the U.S. can offer any country in a position as delicate as Russia’s.”  It was this “form of support” which enriched those who became known as Russian oligarchs, who served the purpose of being front-men for swindlers such as Browder, who was himself a front-man for the big-time London/Wall Street elites and the geopoliticians they employed, to insure that a humiliated and bankrupt Russia would never again challenge the Trans-Atlantic empire and its post-Cold War order.   This would explain why former British Prime Minister and war criminal Tony Blair agreed to intercede at a G8 summit on Browder’s behalf after his expulsion in 2005.  While Blair was not able to do so, his agreement to act for Browder was covered in the British press.
Krainer makes it clear that the Browder operation was not masterminded by Browder and Safra, writing that while Safra was a “key middle man” in bringing in U.S. dollars to buy up Russia’s wealth, “the masterminds of the operation were individuals in the very top echelons of power at the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department.”
Not content with the money made from this looting, Browder engaged in tax evasion to increase his profits.  It was his tax evasion scam which was identified by Russian financial officials, which led to the death of Magnitsky.
WAR AND PEACE
It is impossible in a review to cover the richness in details which Krainer unfolds in exposing the complexity behind the dirty dealings of Bill Browder.  That Krainer does so as a kind of “detective story” aids the reader in understanding how this looting operations was a criminal enterprise, but one in which the ultimate goal of its authors was not simply enrichment, but the destruction of a potential opponent to its world order.  In a chapter on Putin, Krainer shows that the demonization of Putin not only paints a fraudulent picture, but is designed to destroy any effort at rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia.
Browder used the death of Magnitsky to produce a continuing narrative of Putin as corrupt, and Russia as a threat to western democracy.  Browder was put in contact with Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, who sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to enlist her support in the anti-Russia campaign.  Though Clinton was known as being strongly opposed to Putin — she engaged in direct interference in the 2012 Russian presidential election — Cardin concluded a more effective track would be through the Congress.  In September 2010, Cardin introduced the Magnitsky Act sanctions bill in the U.S. Senate, cosponsored by McCain, Roger Wicker and Joe Lieberman.  It passed on December 6, 2010.  Browder boasted that “What started out as a Bill about Sergei had morphed into a historic piece of global human rights legislation.”  Krainer has a different characterization: he writes that rather than being about justice for Magnitsky, “Browder gives the impression that he is cynically exploiting Sergei’s death and his family’s tragedy to vindicate himself and to inflict as much damage as he can on Russia and its legitimate leadership.”  In April 2014, the European Union passed its own version of the Magnitsky Act, imposing sanctions on 32 Russians for “complicity” in the Magnitsky case.
Cardin hooked up again with Browder to push through CAATSA.  In his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 26, 2017, Browder accused Putin of demanding 50% of the assets of all firms run by “oligarchs”, saying this was “50% for Vladimir Putin personally.”  He said Putin had amassed a $200 billion fortune, which he protects by deploying a force of 10,000 officials to kill, torture and extort money.  Not one Senator challenged this nonsense, and the CAATSA bill passed with only two negative votes in the Senate.  Krainer explains this by saying that either lawmakers “are a bunch of witless, incompetent and sentimental dupes the likes of which have never in the history of mankind occupied the chamber of government, or Bill Browder has powerful helpers capable of making sure these lawmakers ask the right questions and reach the right decisions.”  He adds that while both explanations sound compelling, he finds the second one “slightly more plausible.”
In his conclusion, he says he wrote this book because he is convinced that only an alliance of the U.S. and Russia can guarantee peace in the world.  Opposing this option is “the global financial oligarchy that has been able to impose control over most nations of the world through their system of money and credit and their central banking franchise.”  Now that President Trump has heard from President Putin directly about his interest in investigating Browder, reading this book would give him a deeper awareness of what he already seems to understand, that the networks deployed to impeach him, are the same as those which looted Russia, and are accelerating their looting of the population of the rest of the world, to prop up their debt-ridden, collapsing empire.
Then, perhaps, the President can reverse his decision, and accept the “incredible offer” made by Putin at their Helsinki press conference.  And perhaps, if Congressmen would take the time to read this important book, they would become less “witless, incompetent and sentimental dupes.”
END
Footnotes
1.) Much of what is reported by Krainer about Browder’s consistent dishonesty parallels the compelling documentary made by Russian film maker Andrei Nekrasov, “The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes.”  Nekrasov, who is known as a critic of Putin, began his film sympathetic to Browder’s story.  However, after thorough investigation, as the narrative unravels, Nekrasov confronted Browder, who accused him of working for Putin!  As in the case of the publication of Krainer’s book, Browder’s attorneys have been engaged in actively suppressing distribution of the Nekrasov documentary.
2.) The charge that the Shock Therapy strategy was a deliberate anti-Russian assault which led to genocide was first fully exposed by economist and activist Sergei Glazyev, whose book, “Genocide: Russia and the New World Order”, was published in English in 1999 by {Executive Intelligence Review}.  Glazyev served in a number of capacities in government after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is today an adviser to President Putin.

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One thought on ““Grand Deception” book review

  1. Reblogged this on THE ONENESS of HUMANITY and commented:
    “Krainer makes it clear that the Browder operation was not masterminded by Browder and Safra, writing that while Safra was a ‘key middle man’ in bringing in U.S. dollars to buy up Russia’s wealth, ‘the masterminds of the operation were individuals in the very top echelons of power at the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department.’”

    The immensity of the William Browder-Magnitsky Act scandal ranks it, arguably, – given today’s unprecedented, precarious, rapidly-evolving state of international relations – the most important story of the 21st century.

    Like

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