Tag: alexander smirnov
Russian Witness Against Biden Received $600K From 'Trump Associates'

Russian Witness Against Biden Received $600K From 'Trump Associates'

I’ll bet you didn’t know that it is possible in this great big world of ours to live a comfortable life being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing basically nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly, but the money you get is unattached to normal stuff we are all familiar with like a job, complete with job-related duties and office hours and a W-2 and maybe even a job title. The money can thus be described by what it is not, which is aboveboard and visible. Instead, this kind of money often ends up in the kinds of accounts said to be “controlled” by you or others, which is to say, accounts which may not, and often do not, have your name on them.

We could describe this kind of money, then, as free floating. It’s just out there. Your function in life, if you are a man like our friend the lying Russian agent and Republican witness Alexander Smirnov, is to make sure that some of it becomes “controlled” by you.

The Guardian published a fascinating story on Thursday in which it connected money paid to Smirnov to firms connected to what the paper called “Trump associates.” It’s not a small amount of free-floating money, either. It’s $600,000, and according to The Guardian, it was paid to Smirnov by a company called Economic Transformation Technologies (ETT) back in 2020, the same year he began his career as a witness against the family of Joe Biden by lying to the FBI.

There’s got to be a whole industry that just has a bunch of people sitting in an office somewhere coming up with company names like Economic Transformation Technologies and selling them to people, almost always men, who are setting up businesses and need something to call them. Note the “ies” on the end of the word “Technology” in the company title. That sort of clever twist – that it isn’t just one technology we’re talking about, but several, maybe even many – is what you’re paying for.

Now why would ETT want to pay $600,000 dollars to a person who has been described as a “criminal, fixer and agent” who has two passports and ends up having connections to Russian intelligence agencies? Six hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, but in the world of people who traffic in information about, among others, Russian oligarchs, Ukrainian energy companies, and British holding companies with interests in Dubai and elsewhere, maybe it isn’t. Smirnov, when he was arrested recently, was described to the judge considering whether or not to give him bail, as “having access” to as much as $6 million, three million of which was said to be held in accounts “controlled by” his girlfriend.

See where we’re going here? We’re already in the world of accounts “controlled by” people “connected to” other people, and in the case of Smirnov, not by any kind of legal instrument you and I would be familiar with, such as a marriage license that would give you access to the money “controlled” by another person, but simply a “girlfriend” legally unattached to Smirnov but who, according to the Department of Justice, was simply holding as much as $3 million, so Smirnov could have access to it.

Do you live in that world? I’ll bet not. I’ll bet that you have a bank account with your name on it. Maybe it also has your wife’s name on it, and maybe you and she have a joint savings account, or a joint account with a securities brokerage, and I’ll bet you and she have your names on the title and registration of a car – maybe even two cars – and your names are on the title and mortgage of a house or condo or on the lease for an apartment.

But not Smirnov, recipient of $600,000 from a company controlled by people connected to Donald Trump. Smirnov is one of those among us with access to some of the floating-around money that’s out there, money that comes from somewhere and goes somewhere but it isn’t clear why, or how, or through what sort of financial instrument or arrangement.

It would help us if we knew something about the company that arranged to transfer the $600,000 to Smirnov, wouldn’t it? Maybe if we knew what the company does, how it makes money, what its business is, we could better understand why Economic Transformation Technologies decided it would be a good idea to pay, or transfer to, a man who is and has been a fixer and a criminal and an informant and an agent for foreign powers such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia. So, let’s ask ETT what kind of company it is.

On its website, ETT tells us this about what the company does: “ETT’s state-of-the-art platform utilizes advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Data Science, Lexicon Management, and many other workflows in an extremely secure environment, the ETT Platform creates the ‘holy grail’ of Real-Time, Predictive, and Meaningful Data through more than 1,600 APIs - making it one the world most momentous and timely platforms. As a final point, ETT set up the chess board to bring in top notch executives from those sectors to help implement its vision of love and social impact to improve the quality of human existence through the application of ‘New Age’ technologies.”

If that sounds like a word-salad put together, complete with misspelled words, by the kind of boiler room that probably generated the name of the company, well, I agree with you. What they appear to have done is watch some cable TV and read a few newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and maybe even paid attention to a technology site or two, and they came up with a list of buzz words describing what others are doing in what we might call the “technology sector,” and then they threw in a phrase approximating a mission statement, the wonderful sounds-like-it-was-written-by-a-speaker-of-a-second-language, “…implement its vision of love and social impact to improve the quality of human existence through the application of ‘New Age’ technologies.”

I mean, really. If this is what passes for corporate-speak today, woe be unto the world of corporations in general and this one, ETT, in particular.

The Guardian describes the man at the helm of ETT, an American by the name of Christopher Condon, as a one-third shareholder in something called ETT Investment Holding Limited in London, because of course he is, London being the epicenter of all things international when it comes to finance and moving money around. The connections go on, to one Farooq Arjomand, described by The Guardian as “a former chairman and current board member of Damac Properties in Dubai who is also listed as an adviser on ETT’s American website.” And from Farooq, and Dubai, it’s just a short hop and a jump and what do you know, we’re in a Trump branded property in Dubai that paid our former president $5 million in 2017, and the only reason we know about the $5 million is because Trump was elected president in 2016 and had to fill out an FEC financial statement for the first year he was in the White House as a federal employee, 2017.

See what happened there? Donald Trump, for all his carefully curated reputation as a billionaire, which we now know is about as solid as a pile of melting snow along a random roadside, was one of those free-floating-money guys, out there in business-world-land, grabbing $5 million here and a few hundred thousand there and making his own private decisions about how, or whether, he would report the money as income. And then, in 2015, he decided to run for president and what do you know, he was elected and had to start filling out stuff like FEC forms, where it’s not so easy to attribute or even hide money.

While in office, Donald Trump became addicted to perks like Air Force One, on which he repeatedly flew down to Mar a Lago or over to Bedminster to play a round of golf and then flew back. So, he decided after losing the White House to Joe Biden in 2020 that he would like to go back to flying around on Air Force One and decided to run for election again. To this end, he enlisted a gaggle of half-wits in the House of Representatives to engender an impeachment of his rival, President Biden, and they began casting about for “evidence” that “the Biden crime family” had committed the same sort of crimes the Trump crime family had committed.

And out of a crack in a condo in Las Vegas slithered a sneaky snake called Alexander Smirnov to whisper in the ear of his FBI handlers – because of course a fixer/criminal/agent like Smirnov would have handlers – that Joe Biden and his son Hunter took bribes from a company called Burisma in Ukraine. The half-wits in Congress, having failed to come up with any other “evidence” of crimes, glommed onto Smirnov’s assertion of criminal wrongdoing by the Bidens, and off they went.

At least until it emerged that the FBI discovered they had been lied to by Smirnov and charged him with committing several serious crimes, and the whole house of cards of the impeachment investigation began to crumble.

The problem with houses of cards when they fall is that they have to land somewhere, and where the particular card with Smirnov’s name on it landed is a connection right back to Donald Trump, who in 2020 with a tightly contested race against Joe Biden on his mind was looking around for “dirt” on Joe Biden. Friends of Trump’s found Alexander Smirnov slithering out of cracks in Las Vegas, so they threw six hundred grand his way and thus began his years-long construction of the Burisma lie that has now landed him in pre-trial detention awaiting trial on charges of lying to the FBI and generally being a criminal/fixer/agent for foreign powers, including Putin’s Russia.

Funny how that keeps happening with Donald Trump, isn’t it? In 2016, it was yet another itinerant floating-money Russian intelligence-connected guy named Joseph Mifsud, who in Rome spied an eager-beaver young “adviser” to Donald Trump’s campaign named George Papadopoulos and started romancing him by coming up with a Russian honeypot he introduced to young George as “Putin’s niece,” and a Russian think tank executive who was actually an agent for the FSB, and bingo! All of a sudden there is dirt on offer in the form of Hillary’s emails!

The emails, once revealed by the Russian FSB through WikiLeaks, contained nothing criminal or even mildly interesting, but that didn’t matter. They gave Trump something he could yell at his rallies, along with “lock her up,” and that beat Hillary in November, and he won the presidency.

Now, please take your seats and fasten your seat belts because we’re coming in for a landing. The Guardian story delves deeper and deeper into the connections between Smirnov and Dubai guys and a Pakistani-American and a bunch of companies that include a “blank check company” called BurTech Acquisition Group which is connected to Digital World, another “blank check company” that becomes associated with Donald Trump’s Truth Social in a merger that, after problems with the SEC are resolved, may “garner Trump as much as $4 billion in shares.”

The whole thing circles back to ETT and the $600,000 it paid to Smirnov in 2020, which the Wall Street Journal discovered was “in exchange for a stake in an Israel-based crypto trading platform, called Bitoftrade, [that] Smirnov was working on launching.”

You just knew crypto had to be in there somewhere, didn’t you?

But still we’re stuck with the mystery of ETT, the company we’re told is in the business of “implement[ing] its vision of love and social impact to improve the quality of human existence through the application of ‘New Age’ technologies.” Where the hell did ETT come from in the first place, you may ask?

The Guardian figured that out, too. Turns out ETT used to be called Pandora Venture Capital Corp, which was registered in Florida by a Ukrainian-American called Boris Nayflish, who is – you’re going to love this – the ex-husband of Alexander Smirnov’s current “partner,” Diana Lavrenyuk, she of the $3 million that the Department of Justice told a judge that Smirnov “has access to,” because of course he does.

The old hippie phrase comes to mind: what goes around comes around. In the world of free-floating money and blank-check companies and outfits that describe themselves as implementing visions of love and social impact through “new age” technologies, one of the truths of this particular new age is that when it comes to Donald Trump, what goes around keeps coming around to Russian intelligence and fixer/criminals like Alexander Smirnov.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have now landed. Feel free to use your electronic devices, and welcome to the world of sneaky snakey Donald Trump’s America.

Evidence Of GOP Complicity In Kremlin Assault On America Is Now Overwhelming

Evidence Of GOP Complicity In Kremlin Assault On America Is Now Overwhelming

On February 23, a federal judge in California ordered marshals to seize Alexander Smirnov at his lawyers' office only days after he had been released on bail by a different judge, with the clear implication that he might be preparing to flee the country. Smirnov is the much touted prime witness in the House Republican impeachment campaign against Joe Biden, accusing the president of having taken $5 million in bribes from Ukrainian oligarchs. It's all a lie manufactured by Russian intelligence.

Smirnov's initial arrest was ordered by special counsel David Weiss, the Trump-appointed Republican investigating Hunter Biden, who has indicted the star witness for fabricating his entire story and lying to the FBI. In subsequent court filings, the prosecutor charged that the lies transmitted by Smirnov originated with Russian spies.In other words, the number one Republican witness in the public and repeated smearing of President Biden -- on the floor of Congress and in right-wing media -- was a knowing conduit for Kremlin disinformation. The intent is nothing less than to help elect Trump again.

What makes this scandal so much worse -- and so embarrassing to Johnson, if he were capable of shame -- is that Smirnov's deception emanated from the much broader Russian penetration of American politics that began ... when?

Perhaps with that Trump Tower meeting in 2015, when Donald Trump Jr. enthusiastically welcomed the idea of a Russian dossier on Hillary Clinton from a Russian intelligence operative. And then it continued with the Kremlin's cyber assault against Clinton in 2016, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's secret cooperation with a Russian spy named Konstantin Kilimnik. After Trump became president, he withheld weapons from Ukraine while demanding a phony probe of Biden. Trump's blackmail attempt triggered his first impeachment.

Along the way, a gang of Trump associates led by Rudy Giuliani worked with various Putin stooges in Ukraine and elsewhere to invent mendacious nonsense about the Bidens. Giuliani worked closely with Putin crony Andriy Derkach and other dubious characters, who were later indicted for attempting to interfere in the 2020 election.

For years, it has been blindingly obvious that the "investigation" of Joe Biden and Ukraine emanated not from any legitimate source but directly from this country's enemies. And yet while those accusers were repeatedly exposed and discredited, congressional Republicans insisted on pursuing the bogus case invented in Moscow.

But Johnson's undermining of American security has gone well beyond the assistance he and Republicans have provided to the Kremlin in subverting American democracy. Now refusing to fund U.S. military assistance to Ukraine in its courageous struggle against Russian invaders, they have helped Putin gain a critical victory in the battle of Avdiivka and jeopardized the Western alliance that is fundamental to European and American security. Johnson has admitted he's taking his orders from Trump, who worships Putin. The cowardice of Johnson and the Republicans has become crucial to Putin and his savage war.

Johnson has his own little Russian secrets. The speaker must still explain the laundered campaign funds from Konstantin Nikolaev, a Russian oligarch and confederate of confessed convicted Kremlin spy agent Maria Butina. She served a prison sentence here after the exposure of her successful scheme to penetrate the National Rifle Association and other right-wing groups, including some of the "Christian nationalist" outfits that Johnson promotes.

What attracts extremists like the House speaker -- and his puppet master Trump -- to the Russian dictator who looms above them is an authoritarian political orientation that smells of fascism. Putin is a threat from without, and they are a threat from within.