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   PastimesClown-Free Zone... sorry, no clowns allowed


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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435918)9/24/2021 3:20:57 PM
From: bull_dozer
1 Recommendation   of 435943
 
>> Unfortunately his health has deteriorated further and he is now in hospital. According to the doctors, the situation is very, very serious.

Sorry about Heinz's health. Wishing him the very best and hope he gets better soon!

His last blog on "acting-man" was on December 20, 2020 :

acting-man.com

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435918)9/24/2021 6:35:01 PM
From: TobagoJack
   of 435943
 
Hi Terry, Heinz. He is wise. We benefit from his observations and he calms me on my PM positions.

He had always wished to visit Asia but his chronic breathing issue and the pandemic made the task impossible.

Prayers, and shall burn incense at temple this day.

Best to all, J

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (435919)9/25/2021 7:20:26 AM
From: Terry Maloney
1 Recommendation   of 435943
 
Agreed. He was always the gentleman here on SI.

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To: TobagoJack who wrote (435922)9/25/2021 7:27:13 AM
From: Terry Maloney
   of 435943
 
Hi Jay,

As you know, R's next message was sadder still.

Gentlemen,

I have just received the sad message, that our group member Heinz passed away last night.

I assume that he is now already sitting on a cloud in heaven, busily discussing capital structure and central bank policy with Mises, Rothbard and Menger and arguing with commies, central bankers and Keynesians.

Rest in peace, Pater Tenebrarum, you will be dearly missed .-(

Kind regards from Vienna, R


Yes, RIP Heinz.

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435924)9/25/2021 10:01:28 AM
From: TobagoJack
3 Recommendations   of 435943
 
Yes Message 33503448

Super that SI community members remember Heinz well. Not a single ignore.



I shall likely remember him best by this post, circa 2009 Message 25689429
i will provide a free service and rephrase the stratfor sentence:
Constant government intervention in the markets has nothing but flaws. Inequality and social stress are just two of sheer innumerable less-than-desirable, if not to say , scandalous and utterly revolting, side effects. The side effect most relevant to the current situation is, of course, the biggest speculative bubble of all time that has just popped and that will more than likely cause a depression - especially as the government intervention has now intensified even more.

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To: TobagoJack who wrote (435925)9/25/2021 10:57:35 AM
From: Terry Maloney
   of 435943
 
>> Super that SI community members remember Heinz well. Not a single ignore. <<

It is, and that's quite the tribute indeed.

I see that post of his has 67 recs. I wonder how many of them are as of today (mine ie).

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To: S. maltophilia who wrote (435920)9/25/2021 1:12:44 PM
From: Box-By-The-Riviera™
3 Recommendations   of 435943
 
I've written to his brother for confirmation. But, I would say it could be true.

He's had a long difficult health road to travel, which is no secret really.

I will post if I get a confirmation from the family.

As many of you can guess he was one of my closest friends for decades now and on many levels.

If this news is true, I do not have words at all for the loss and there are no words enough that can express what an amazing unique person he is and maybe was and of his talents he was generous beyond measure.

Box

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To: S. maltophilia who wrote (435920)9/26/2021 3:17:24 AM
From: Box-By-The-Riviera™
15 Recommendations   of 435943
 
I hoped it was not true, but with tears I write he's gone. There is a hole in the universe where this astonishing broadly learned and generous person once lived. Lacking all pretense, he was an enormously kind hearted soul with great intelligence, broadly talented, a musical master, an artful wordsmith in several languages, an historian, an economist, and a skillful trader from Persian rugs to equities of all flavors and precious metals. A truly epic human. Too smart to rest in peace, I think. He's still busy thinking about something, I feel sure. If there is life after death, I truly cannot wait to meet again.

Goodbye Heinz Blasnik. It was a fantastic 30 year conversation. Cheers!


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From: Broken_Clock9/30/2021 5:35:35 PM
1 Recommendation   of 435943
 
walterkirn.substack.com

THE BULLSHITDigging Out








Walter Kirn











I used to like to read the news, the middlebrow mass-market weekly news. I also used to like to write it. Some. This was back in the 90s at Time magazine, a publication which still exists in name but whose original, defining mission – grounding the American mind in a moderate, shared reality – is dead. The whole concept seems strange now – the American mind; a cloud of ideas, opinions, and sentiments floating somewhere above the Mississippi – but at Time, in the 90s, before the internet made its approach seem sluggish and slashed its readership, it was still possible to regard our product as unifying and, in its way, definitive. Sometimes I covered tangible events such as drug epidemics and forest fires, but much of the time I stitched together interviews conducted by local stringers and reporters into feature stories on such topics as “The New Science of Happiness” and “Children of Divorce.” It was an article of faith at Time that the findings of social scientists, simplified for popular consumption, ranked with hard news as a source of public enlightenment. Until business began to suffer, requiring cut-backs, the magazine kept an in-house research library, the better for checking even the smallest facts. The burden of accuracy lay heavy on Time. Its mighty name required nothing less.

Things are different now.

Every morning, there it is, waiting for me on my phone. The bullshit. It resembles, in its use of phrases such as “knowledgeable sources” and “experts differ,” what I used to think of as the news, but it isn’t the news and it hasn’t been for ages. It consists of its decomposed remains in a news-shaped coffin. It does impart information, strictly speaking, but not always information about our world. Or not good information, because it’s so often wrong, particularly on matters of great import and invariably to the advantage of the same interests, which suggests it should be presumed wrong as a rule. The information it imparts, if one bothers to sift through it, is information about itself; about the purposes, beliefs, and loyalties of those who produce it: the informing class. They’re not the ruling class — not quite — but often they’re married to it or share therapists or drink with it at Yale Bowl football games. They’re cozy, these tribal cousins. They cavort. They always have. What has changed is that the press used to maintain certain boundaries in the relationship, observing the incest taboo. It kept its pants zipped, at least in public. It didn’t hire ex-CIA directors, top FBI men, NSA brass, or other past and future sources to sit beside its anchors at spot-lit news-desks that blocked our view of their lower extremities. But it gave in.

I’m stipulating these points, I’m not debating them, so log off if you find them too extreme. Go read more bullshit. Immerse yourself in news of Russian plots to counterfeit presidential children’s laptops, viruses spawned in Wuhan market stalls, vast secret legions of domestic terrorists flashing one another the OK sign in shadowy parking lots behind Bass Pro Shops experiencing “temporary” inflation, and patriotic tech conglomerates purging the commons of untruths. Comfort yourself with the thoughts that the same fortunes engaged in the building of amusement parks, the production and distribution of TV comedies, and the provision of computing services to the defense and intelligence establishments, have allied to protect your family’s health, advance the causes of equity and justice, and safeguard our democratic institutions. Dismiss as cynical the notion that you, the reader, are not their client but their product. Your data for their bullshit, that’s the deal. And Build Back Better. That’s the sermon.

Pious bullshit, unceasing. But what to do?

One option, more popular each day, is to retreat to the anti-bullshit universe of alternative media sources. These are the podcasts, videos, Twitter threads, newsletters, and Facebook pages that regularly vanish from circulation for violating “community standards” and other ineffable codes of conduct, oft-times after failing “fact-checks” by the friendly people at Good Thoughtkeeping. Some of these rebel outfits are engrossing, some dull and churchy, many quite bizarre, and some, despite small staffs and tiny budgets, remarkably good and getting better. Some are Substack pages owned by writers who severed ties with established publications, drawing charges of being Russian agents, crypto-anarchists, or free-speech “absolutists.” I won’t bother to give a list. Readers who hunt and choose among such sources have their own lists, which they fiercely curate, loudly pushing their favorites on the world while accusing those they disagree with of being “controlled opposition” and running cons. It resembles the old punk-rock scene, but after it was discovered, not early on. Some of the upstart outlets earn serious money, garnering higher ratings and more page-views than the regime-approved brands Apple features on the News screen of my iPhone. (A screen I’ve disabled and don’t miss.) This wilderness of “contrarianism” – a designation easily earned these days; you merely have to mention Orwell or reside in Florida -- requires a measure of vigilance and effort from those who seek the truth there. As opposed to those who go there to relax, because they prefer alt-bullshit to mainstream bullshit. They can just kick their shoes off and wade in.

One reason to stick with the premium name-brand bullshit is to deconstruct it. What lines are the propagandists pushing now? Where will they lead? How blatant will they get? Why are the authors so weirdly fearless? The other day when Cuba erupted in protests, numerous stories explained the riots, confidently, instantly, as demands for COVID vaccines. The accompanying photos didn’t support this claim; they featured ragged American flags and homemade signs demanding freedom. One wire-service headline used the protests to raise concerns about viral spread in crowds. A puzzling message. It wasn’t meant for the defiant Cubans, who weren’t at liberty to read it and whose anger at their rulers clearly outweighed their concerns about contagion. It had to be aimed at English-speaking Americans. But to what end? American protests of the previous summer hadn’t raised such cautions from the press. To the contrary. Our riots, if one could call them that (and one could not at many companies) were framed as transcendent cries for justice whose risks to public health were negligible, almost as though moral passion enhances immunity. And maybe it does, but why not in Cuba, too? To me, the headline only made sense in the context of the offensive against domestic “vaccine hesitancy” and its alleged fascist-bumpkin leaders. The Reuters writer had seen in Cuba’s revolt a chance to glancingly editorialize against rebelliousness of another type. The type its staff abhors day in, day out, no matter what’s happening in Cuba, or, for that matter, in America. The bullshit is consistent in this way, reducing stories of every kind into nitrogen-rich soil for the same views. These views feel unusually ferocious now, reflecting the convictions of those on high that they should determine the fates of those on low with minimal backtalk and no laughter. Because science. Because Putin. Democracy. Because we’re inside your phones and know your names.

Engaging with the bullshit news-stream for defensive, deconstructive reasons has been my personal program for a while now. The game can be intellectually amusing and it confers a sense of brave revulsion. I was conditioned to seek this feeling in school, during units on “current events,” when my classmates and I were invited to deplore poverty, pollution, and prejudice. Behind these exercises was the notion that our little lives were isolated, vulnerable affairs loomed over by colossal, distant “trends.” Like bad weather, these trends might sneak up on us and harm us, especially if we ignored them, but unlike bad weather, which came from nature, these grim enormities were human-made and therefore partly our responsibility. This idea promoted magical thinking. Take our sixth-grade war on “smog,” which worsened children’s asthma and killed trees. Smog didn’t bother our Minnesota town but it smothered Los Angeles and other cities, as we learned from mock-newspapers and film strips. We cast spells against it from our desks by drawing pictures of smoky traffic jams. Our teacher called this “showing awareness” and implied it helped. I must have bought this. It explains why I thought being conscious of the bullshit actually accomplished something.

The idea of ignoring it entirely raised superstitious fears in me. Unnoticed bad trends might whack me from behind. Also, dropping out seemed immature. Well-adjusted grown-up read the news, if only to curse the news. They read it because other grown-ups read it, creating a common model of the world that might be bullshit but forms a frame of reference for public debate. Then I considered the state of public debate. Judging by Twitter, it wasn’t high. One problem was no matter how well you argued, no matter how strong your evidence and logic, your foes almost never recognized they’d lost. No judges to arbitrate the matches, no rules to guide them, and no trusted sources of facts to balance them. Mostly you just called bullshit on each other, and sometimes you wondered if both of you were right. Such arguments were sink holes. They never advanced past their own premises.

At times in my life, by happenstance, I’ve dwelled in oblivion, thoroughly news-free. In college in the early 80s I went four years without turning on TV or opening a paper. I learned that President Reagan had been shot from a pilot’s announcement on a plane, then gathered more details when I landed, from a stranger in a cowboy hat. My sense of the wider world derived from classes, books, conversations, works of art, and glimpses of newsstands and magazine racks. I don’t remember feeling deprived. Then, last year, at the height of the pandemic, when everyone else was merging with their screens, I turned my back on the bullshit for two whole months.

My father was dying of ALS in his retirement cabin in Montana, out of range of cell-phone towers. It was an overwhelming situation. Disregarding all the latest rules, friends had brought him there in a motorhome from his seniors’ community near Tucson. I needed help lifting him, so I hired a health aid who flew in from Miami, another breach of quarantine. This hazard required the local hospice workers to visit wearing full protective gear and stay outside the cabin in the driveway when passing me my father’s meds and pamphlets on the stages of death. They stuck to this protocol for the first week, then abandoned it so they could see their patient’s face. I lost track of the rules, the days, the virus. I sat at his bedside before his big TV watching reruns of Murder She Wrote, his favorite show, he told me, “Because there’s never any blood.” A former patent attorney with a degree in chemical engineering, a Republican who’d ofted voted Democrat, he’d tuned out the news a few years ago, he said, because it gave him stomach aches. He forbade me to handle the remote lest I land for a moment on CNN while changing channels. He talked about family history, old friends, and had me place phone calls to banks and credit card firms, which he seemed to take pleasure in informing of his any-minute-now demise. I turned on my computer exactly once, to research a narcotic he’d been prescribed, and I peeked at a rundown of election news that curdled my brain with its lazy tropes and buzzwords. To think that people wore out their precious lives consuming and reacting to such bullshit, cycling through the emotions it unleashed, sweating out its bulletins and updates, believing, disputing, and decrying it. And ultimately, in my father’s case, avoiding it.

Maybe he should have ignored it all along. Once time grew short, he didn’t mention a bit of it, with one exception: the day John F. Kennedy was shot. He spoke of it three days before he died. He said he was in Washington DC then, working as a law clerk in the same building that housed the Associated Press. He ran to its offices when he heard the news and watched paper spill from the teletype machines and pile on the floor. He told me he regretted not snatching some; those first dispatches might be worth a lot now. I thought about this. One-of-a-kind original paper documents, not identical, infinitely reproducible electronic files. No wonder there was so much bullshit now. It was content. Mere content. Ones and zeros. Lots of zeros, not so many ones.

“I’ve always wondered who killed him,” my father said. “It wasn’t Oswald. Not Oswald on his own.”

“Who do you think?” It seemed he’d studied the matter. New side of him. Should have spent more time together.

“Maybe the Mafia, maybe LBJ. There may have been certain Cubans in the mix. All I know is we didn’t get the truth.”

I’m fairly sure we often don’t. Still, it’s hard to give up hope, and today I blew half an hour on the bullshit, under which the truth lies buried. Maybe. Maybe it’s bullshit the whole way down. How much time do you have for finding out?

Less than you had this morning.

Fact.

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From: Broken_Clock10/13/2021 8:28:39 PM
   of 435943
 
5 years and counting of Russiagate lies...

Konstantin Kilimnik, Russiagate's Last Fall Guy, Speaks OutThe Senate Intelligence Committee, the Treasury, and even Robert Mueller pointed fingers. But none bothered to question him

On Real Time With Bill Maher two Fridays ago, I fumbled and deflected politely over a Russiagate question, instead of going full cage match. The segment went off the rails beginning with this exchange:

MAHER: You compared it to WMDs. You said, the Russia connection with Trump is this generation’s WMD. I don’t think that’s an accurate analogy, because there were no WMDs. But there was collusion with Russia.

TAIBBI: Really? Where?

MAHER: Where? The Senate Intelligence Committee, run by Republicans, who are if anything slavish to Trump, their report said, “The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a ‘grave’ counterintelligence threat.”

First of all, that quote isn’t from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report from last August. It’s actually a paraphrase of the report from an Associated Press article, “ Trump campaign’s Russia contacts ‘grave’ threat, Senate says,” which reads:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a “grave” counterintelligence threat, a Senate panel concluded Tuesday…

The real SSCI quote is a little different:

Taken as a whole, Manafort's high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.

By all rights, Russiagate should be dead as a serious news story. But as the Real Time episode showed, “collusion” is still alive for some, and the bulk of the case essentially rests now upon the characterization of one person from the above passage as a Russian agent: a former aide to Paul Manafort named Konstantin Kilimnik.

Kilimnik is a Ukrainian-American who’d served in the army and was hired to work as a translator at the American-funded International Republican Institute in Moscow beginning in the mid-nineties. In 2005, he left the IRI to go work for Paul Manafort, who was advising future president Viktor Yanukovich and the “Party of Regions” in Ukraine.

As it happens, Kilimnik worked at the IRI in Moscow during the same time I lived in that city in the nineties and early 2000s. In fact, he was well-known enough in that small expatriate community that in the space of a day last week I was able to reach, through mutual acquaintances, five of Kilimnik’s former colleagues, including three from the IRI and one from the U.S. State Department, to whom he was a regular and valuable contact (the Senate investigators left that fact out). I also called Kilimnik and had two lengthy interviews with him.

Why bring this up? Because in that little flurry of calls, I did more actual work on Konstantin Kilimnik than either the Special Counsel or SSCI researchers, who ostensibly spent thousands of man-hours investigating him.

Kilimnik being a spy wouldn’t just mean that the Trump campaign had been penetrated. It would mean the same thing for the IRI, which was chaired by late Senator and leading proponent of the Russiagate theory John McCain at the time. More to the point, it would also be disastrous for the State Department, and particularly for the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, whose staffers placed great trust in “KK” as a regular source.

The FBI’s own declassified reports show Kilimnik met with the head of the Kiev embassy’s political section “at least biweekly” during his time working with Manafort and Yanukovitch, adding that he “displayed good knowledge and seemed to know what was going on,” and came across as “less slanted” than other sources, among many other things. This fits with what I was told by multiple former colleagues of Kilimnik’s, that staffers in the Kiev embassy valued his analyses above those of some Americans in Yanukovitch’s orbit. (A third former co-worker was a little more blunt about what he heard, saying the Kiev embassy was “sucking his dick”).

They also show the embassy was so intent on protecting Kilimnik’s identity as a State Department source that they pulled his name out of diplomatic cables sent home:


Kilimnik says he “played a certain role in communication with the Western embassies in Kiev” both before and after the “Euromaidan” Revolution in 2014. “I tried to draw attention to facts about thugs attacking TV channels and opposition politicians, and things like [an arson attack against “InterTV” in 2016],” he says, adding that he “naively thought the West would stand for media freedom and protecting rules for fair play in politics, like it has for many years.”

The only reason nobody’s asked the Senate Committee why Kilimnik’s alleged spy status doesn’t also represent a “grave” embarrassment to, say, the U.S. State Department is because our press corps is the most dogshit on earth (more on that in a moment).

Special Counsel Robert Mueller claimed the FBI spoke to an IRI employee who said Kilimnik was “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Though not all the IRI staffers I reached liked Kilimnik, each found the idea that he might be a spy alternately ridiculous and baffling. Multiple ex-colleagues said they believed he was fired for “moonlighting,” i.e. because he’d already started working for Manafort.

“I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story,” Kilimnik says (for a more complete explanation, see the Q&A below).

As to the idea that it was known around the IRI office that Kilimnik had intelligence ties, one former senior IRI official said, “I think whoever said that, that’s someone trying to feel more important in retrospect,” adding that the idea that he was “some GRU plant from years gone by” was questionable because the Russians “didn’t know their right from their left back then, and the IRI could not described as a high-value target.” The official concluded: “I find the notion that Kilimnik is now this big figure remarkable.” None of former employees of the Moscow IRI office I spoke with had been contacted by any American investigator, including Mueller.

Then there’s the matter of the suspect himself. Question to Kilimnik: how many times was he questioned by American authorities, with whom he was so familiar — remember he met with American officials “at least biweekly” at one point pre-Trump — during the entire Russiagate period?

“Not a single person from the U.S. Government ever reached out to me,” Kilimnik says.

Nobody from the Office of the Special Counsel, the FBI, or the Senate Intelligence Committee ever contacted him?

“Not once,” Kilimnik says. “Nobody from Mueller’s team reached out to me, literally nobody.”

In reaching Kilimnik last week I also became just the second American reporter, after Aaron Maté of RealClear Investigations and Grayzone, to call Kilimnik for comment on the Senate report. Virtually every American news organization or TV commentary program has in the last year repeated accusations against Kilimnik made by either the Senate Intelligence Committee or the U.S. Treasury Department, which earlier this year called him a “Russian Intelligence Services agent” in an announcement of sanctions against Russia.

It was once normal practice in American media to give people a chance to respond to serious allegations, but no longer, apparently. “Zero. Zero,” says Kilimnik, when asked how many American media outlets called him after the release of the Senate report. Incidentally, Kilimnik isn’t hiding under a snow-covered trap door at a secret FSB installation outside Izhievsk. He’s in an apartment in Northwest Moscow, where anyone could find him.

“Everybody knows my phone number. It was in Mueller’s reports,” he says. “But I got no questions. I mean, a lot of people know how to find me. I guess they just didn’t care.”

Kilimnik was even on the list of 16 entities and 16 individuals the Treasury just this year said “attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government.” That’s the 2020 election, not the 2016 election, meaning the one that came after the Senate report.

“The US actually sanctioned me for interference in 2020 elections,” Kilimnik says. “I would not be able to say why. I’d love to know. I’ve been sitting in fucking Moscow, in my backyard, and feeding squirrels. Must have been some sort of interference.”

The aforementioned Maté published photos of Kilimnik’s passport that appear to show he entered the U.S. on a visa stamped in a regular Russian passport on October 28, 1997. This is the same date the Senate committee said he was entering the United States on a diplomatic passport. The Senate also said Kilimnik met with Manafort in Spain in 2017, which he denies. “I’ve never been to Spain,” Kilimnik laughs. “I haven’t been there. Let them prove I’ve been there.”

Another thing that came up on Real Time was the idea that we shouldn’t dismiss the monetarily tiny Russian Facebook campaign — featuring classics that ironically read like Real Time bits, with images of Jesus pleading with American voters, “Struggling with addiction to masturbation? Reach out to me and we’ll beat it together” — because “9/11 didn’t cost much either”:


I oversold things on the air, talking about how the Internet Research Agency only spent $100,000, as only $ 44,000 of that was before the campaign. More importantly, only a tiny percentage of ads qualified as coherent propaganda. I’d wager few Americans have actually read through all these ads, which have messages like, “Tell me once again that there’s no such thing as white privilege,” “Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!”, and “Share the experience and the challenges of the black hair industry.” Overall, for 2016, they read like a creepy, overambitious parody of woke culture, with a tinge of Charlie Manson’s “Helter Skelter” plan thrown in. Whatever it is/was, it’s pretty far from 9/11:


Kilimnik stands accused of helping Evil Von Putin aim this high-tech weapon. How? Senate investigators said, “Manafort briefed Kilimnik on sensitive Campaign polling data and the Campaign’s strategy for beating Hillary Clinton.” What was sensitive about it?

“That’s bullshit. There was nothing that resembled ‘sensitive’ polling data,” Kilimnik says. “I would get two figures maybe once a month, not every day, not every week.”

Two figures — meaning two pages?

“Two digits,” he says. “Like, ‘Trump 40, Hillary 45.’ That’s all I would get, nothing more. So I don’t understand how this is sensitive data.”

Kilimnik was getting his information from former Trump deputy campaign chief Rick Gates, who was directed to send the data to Kilimnik by Manafort. None other than Rachel Maddow once called Gates “Mueller’s star cooperating witness.” I called Gates last week and asked: what was he passing to Kilimnik?

“Top-line data, and I want people to understand what that means,” he says. “It was like, ‘Ohio, Clinton 48, Trump 50,’ Or, ‘Wisconsin, Trump 50, Clinton 42.’ The sources were a combination of things like RealClear Politics and occasionally some numbers from [Republican pollster] Tony Fabrizio. But it was all just top-line stuff.”

Gates’s story is that Manafort was passing this data back to people like his longtime sponsors, the Ukrainian barons Rinat Akhmetov and Sergei Lyvochkin, because “Paul was just trying to show that Trump was doing well,” as “Paul was just trying to do what he’s always done,” i.e. trying to show how valuable he could be.

For those disinclined to believing the Gates or Kilimnik version of events, remember that neither Mueller nor the Senate Intelligence Committee could come up with a different one. Apart from adding “sensitive” to their description (Mueller just called it “internal polling data”), the Senate never offered evidence that Kilimnik was getting more than those few numbers. As to why Kilimnik was sent this information, this is what the Senate had to say:

The Committee was unable to reliably determine why Manafort shared sensitive internal polling data or Campaign strategy with Kilimnik. Manafort and Gates both claimed that it was part of an effort to resolve past business disputes and obtain new work with their past Russian and Ukrainian clients by showcasing Manafort's success.

Why “sensitive?” The Committee was “unable to reliably determine” why, having no idea what Kilimnik did with those numbers. But they were sure enough it was bad to conclude it represented a “grave counterintelligence threat.”

Kilimnik is roughly the twentieth suspect in a long list of alleged secret conduits that across five years have already been tried out and discarded by pundits and investigators alike as “smoking gun” links between Trump and Putin.

An abbreviated list:

There was a Maltese professor named Josef Mifsud and a young Trump aide named George Papadopoulos, former Trump adviser Carter Page, an alleged “secret server” supposedly pinging between Trump and Alfa Bank, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser J.D. Gordon, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, real estate developer Felix Sater, another Russian who approached Trump people claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton named Henry Oknyansky, a Russian firm called Concord Consulting, plus Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and many others.

The pattern with all of these “smoking gun” cases was the same. At first, there would be a great press hullaballoo, complete with front-page media profiles and heated straight-to-camera monologues at the tops of cable commentary shows over “Breaking News” chyrons:

Freakouts would be long, but months or years later, narratives would collapse. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was everyone’s favorite suspect in the summer of 2016 for having done everything from rig the Republican convention platform to turning Sessions into a spy, but then Mueller quietly said Kisylak’s interactions with Trump officials in those months were “brief, public, and non-substantive.” Reporters howled that Christopher Steele was right about Cohen meeting Russian hackers in Prague to help rig the 2016 race, and even claimed (see above) that Mueller was about to release evidence of it any minute, until Mueller said flatly, “Cohen… never traveled to Prague.”

The saddest case involved Carter Page. Steele’s Dossier identified Page — not Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, or even Donald Trump — as the mastermind of the Wikileaks leak:

The aim of leaking the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP… This objective had been conceived and promoted, inter alia, by TRUMP’s foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE…

Steele also had Page negotiating a massive bribe via the oil company Rosneft in exchange for the dropping of sanctions, and acting as the personal intermediary between Paul Manafort and the Kremlin. Page, not knowing he was being spied upon, told an FBI informant that August that he had “literally never met” or “said one word to” Paul Manafort, even going so far as to complain that Manafort never answered his emails. The FBI sat on this information, and wrote up a secret surveillance warrant application that read:

Sub-Source reported that the conspiracy was being managed by Candidate’s then campaign manager, who was using, among others, foreign policy advisor Carter Page as an intermediary…

It wasn’t until the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came out in December of 2019 that the world found out that the FBI not only “did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page,” but had covered up Page’s history as an informant for the CIA, very much like the Senate and the Treasury are now covering up Kilimnik’s status as a U.S. State Department source.

Kilimnik is just the last person on the list, and he’s conveniently in Moscow, unlikely to ever come back here to defend himself. As such, he’s the perfect fall guy for the marooned-Japanese-soldier-type holdouts on Russiagate who think the collusion narrative is still viable. More from Kilimnik:

TK: You were described by the Senate Intelligence Committee as a “Russian Intelligence Officer.” Are you one?

Konstantin Kilimnik: I have not had any relationship with any intelligence agency. Not with U.S. intelligence, not the Ukrainian, Russian, Zimbabwean, whatever. I’m a consultant who has worked for many years running elections in Ukraine. I just haven’t had any relationship with any intelligence, and haven’t seen any facts proving otherwise.

I think the investigation was so politically charged from the beginning, that they just needed to find a Russian body that they could just put as much dirt as possible on. Ultimately, nobody is going to care, because all the Russians are considered to be bad anyhow, they’re all spies.

TK: The intelligence community in the U.S. seems unanimous in their conclusion that Russians interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections. Did they not?

Konstantin Kilimnik: I don’t think Russians interfered… I know that runs counter to all the conclusions of the intelligence community and all that country to all the intelligence and press and all that. And maybe there were other efforts, as well. But, I was not involved in any of that.

There was a lot of misinformation, just because the public wanted someone, and I just happened to be that person thrown into the mix. If I had Hungarian citizenship or any other citizenship, of course, people would not have given my name. They just needed the Russian connection, and I happened to be that unfortunate Russian connection.

TK: The Mueller report claims an IRI employee believed you were “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Others say you were “moonlighting.” Why did you leave the IRI?

Konstantin Kilimnik: I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story. I was looking for ways to move on, because by 2005 I had been at IRI for 10 years. Some time in mid-2004 an old IRI pal, Phil Griffin, reemerged and proposed a well-paying job of going to Ukraine and writing analyses of what was going on during the Orange Revolution, for Manafort.

So, I went there after not having been to Ukraine for over 10 years. I was ecstatic about Kiev and got seriously interested in what was going on politically… Manafort, Griffin and I (as a translator) went to Donetsk in, I think, November 2004 to meet some guy I had no previous knowledge of (who turned out to be Rinat Akhmetov’s closest confidant, Borys Kolesnikov). Manafort and he spoke for several days and got convinced that the “Donetsk guys” were not even close to being thugs they had been portrayed by the Western media to be. I went back a couple of times to translate for these meetings, which I thought were not in any conflict with my work at IRI Moscow.

Then, the government in Ukraine changed. [Viktor] Yuschenko became the President, Manafort was in negotiations about the contract, and I almost forgot about my short translation jobs. In April 2005, we were at an IRI retreat, and my boss, director of Europe and Eurasia programs Steve Nix got a tip from the new President’s office that “Donetsk thugs” were looking to hire an American consultant, and that a guy who seemed to work at IRI was helping in the process.

Steve, who was very pro-Yuschenko, completely freaked out, and accused me of working for criminals. I said that a) I was doing this in my free time, 2) this did not conflict in any way with my job at IRI Russia, and 3) maybe things are not so straightforward in Ukrainian politics, and there are no guys in black and white hats, but mostly gray hats. He disagreed and demanded I resign, which I did.

TK: The Senate claims you met Manafort in Spain in 2017. Did you?

Konstantin Kilimnik: I have never been to Spain. (laughter)...I have not been there. They can’t prove that. And yet they’ve inserted that. And yet, that’s central to what they’re saying.

Europe is specific place in terms of passports and immigration. To cross the border, you have to give your fingerprints, and upon any re-entry too. If I went to Spain, I can guarantee that, first of all, Europe keeps a record of that. They would say that I have crossed the border at a certain time in a certain place. And that would be okay because, again, it’s all tied to the fingerprints. You cannot get into the EU without this. You can’t fake it. So let them prove it.

TK: You’ve been accused of obtaining that “sensitive polling data” for Oleg Deripaska. Was that right?

Konstantin Kilimnik: No, Deripaska was a Russian businessman. I actually didn’t have any contact with him. There were Ukrainian businessmen and Ukrainian politicians in 2016 who were in opposition, and who were actually under pressure from Petro Poroshenko’s government. Naturally, for them, any change, opening a channel into the U.S. Government, that for them would have been a great thing. So that’s why they were interested in the outcome of the elections. There was no Russian connection whatsoever. If there were, they would have a record of me talking to Deripaska or visiting him.

TK: You never had any contact with Deripaska?

Konstantin Kilimnik: No, I haven’t met him since, I’m afraid to be exact, but like 2006, I think was the last time I saw him. I was translating for Manafort. But after that, Manafort spoke to him himself, because Deripaska spoke the language by then. And there was no need for me.

Part 2 of my interview with Konstantin Kilimnik is coming later this week.

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