"UK MI6 dumps Steele in plan to mend fences with Trump White House (Video)"
The Duran Quick Take: Episode 450 (January 30, 2020)
Alex Christoforou: "It looks like the noose is tightening around Christopher Steele. And interestingly enough, it looks like the British press are the ones tightening that noose. Perhaps they sense that Steele is going to be in big trouble on the US side of things. [shows screen shot of headline from The Times of London]:
"Ex-MI6 spy 'fabricated dossier on Trump and prostitutes.'
"Maybe they're trying to preempt what is about to happen. You sent me a message, something along those lines. And you also sent me a message with an article via the Times of London which is behind a pay wall but let me read you an excerpt of that and you can comment. It's an article which focuses on a guy named Nigel West, which is the pen name of a former Tory MP named Rupert Allison. And Nigel West was commissioned to look at the Steele dossier... [shows screen shot of article quote]:
"Nigel West has revealed that he was hired by a US Republican law firm to assess the dossier in 2017 and concluded that large parts of it were faked.'
"... so he was actually paid for to check the reliability of the Steele Dossier, quote-unquote 'pee" tape. And all that comes from the Times article. Let me read you two paragraphs from that:
"The writer considered Steele, a former MI6 officer, to be a friend, someone he had met on a NATO intelligence project and again at a conference on espionage in Cambridge. The pair had lunched together. So West was "frankly stunned" that a forensic examination of Steele's dossier and the 11 sources he cites bore none of the rigour he expected of a respected former intlligence officer.
Instead, West's report, which has been passed to The Sunday Times, concludes 'there is ... a strong possibility that all Steele's material has been fabricated.'
[2:07] Alexander, get into this story via The Sunday Times."
Alexander Mercouris: "The first thing to say is that this is an extraordinary story in The Sunday Times. And can I say, there are two big articles in the Times and the Sunday Times, a part of the same Media Group. This is one of the oldest newspapers in the world. The Times, or the Sunday Times, for centuries have been acknowledged to be the official record, the place where the British establishment sets out its thoughts and views and reports its news. Now, they don't have that kind of prestige anymore. In fact, they are both owned by Rupert Murdoch. So that shows you that they're not the kind of official newspapers that they once were. But having said that, they're still big newspapers in Britain. They're absolutely part of the mainstream. And they still do have a very close connection with the British establishment. And especially so with Boris Johnson's Conservative government. They support the conservatives and they're known to be especially close to Boris Johnson. In fact, Rupert Murdoch is known to have met Boris Johnson on the day the election was announced. ... So this is a very, very important, well-connected newspaper."
[3:38] "And the second thing to say, is that this is the first big article I've seen in Britain which actually challenges the credibility of Christopher Steele which has appeared in a mainstream British newspaper. And there are, in fact, two articles and they are both very long, and they both go into incredible detail about the Steele Dossier, stories about the Steele Dossier, and they bring out all these facts. You know, if somebody has been following The Duran, 90% of the material you will read in these articles you will find in our discussons in The Duran. There is so much there which we are familiar with from our discussions together, Alex and I. But if you are British, and if you are only getting your news from mainstream media -- and there are such people -- these articles will come as a shock. Because none of this has appeared in the mainstream media before. I mean, they've never heard abou the kind of detail that we've been discussing. They've never heardd things about Primary Source A and Primary Source E and the Subprime Source and all this stuff. They never heard of Michael Horowitz and his report. They've never heard about the doubts which have existed about Christopher Steele for a very long time and all the detail that we've gone into. It's all there in these articles. And it's the first time British people -- who as I said only get their opinions from mainstream news -- will have been confronted by them."
[5:32] "And the third thing I want to say is about this rather strange person, Nigel West ... a former Conservative MP. The thing to say about him is that he got that name partly by writing spy thrillers. But also he's kind of the semi-official voice, on many issues, of the intelligence services. He's known to be very close to the intelligence services. And he's very very familiar with the way they work. And he speaks to them very closely. And he knows many things about them."
[6:26] "Now, having all that introduction out of the way, my interpretation of these articles is that they are very carefully picked for publication at this time. And what they show is that Boris Johnson's government and the British establishment are, as we say in England, leaving Christopher Steele hanging out to dry. In other words, they are washing their hands of him. Boris Johnson and the British govenment have calculated that Donald Trump will survive the impeachment proceedings, that he's going to win the election in 2020. They have to, going forward, get a trade deal with the US now that they've left the European Union, that Brexit is about to happen. So. Whatever mileage there was in keeping Christopher Steele going has gone. They're washing their hands of him. They are telling us, finally, things about Christopher Steele, semi-officially, through Nigel West, Through the Times and Sunday Times things that people like us have known for a very long time, and they're doing it in a way that is preparing the British public for the fact that Christopher Steele is going to be dropped. And when the whole scandal, the Russiagate scandal, reverses and implodes and we see Barr and Durham and the American investigators closing in, the British will have set up Christoper Steele as the Fall Guy. He will be the person who will be blamed. The article goes into extraordinary detail about the fact that Christopher Steele was acting on his own, that any suggestion by the Republicans in the United States that he was working with the British authorities is a quote 'conspiracy theory.' That's actually something that the article says. So. It's not us. We've nothing to do with Christopher Steele. Christopher Steele is this rogue agent. He's been acting entirely on his own. He's been working with Glenn Simpson. He's been putting together this obviously fabricated and untrue Steele Dossier. We're not to blame. He's the person you should go after. And we now accept fully and entirely and completely that everything tht appears in that dossier is a load of nonsense."
[9:10] "And that's the story about why these two articles have appeared in The Times now. Just a few little further things I would be very curious to know: which Republican law firm this is. Is that Rudi Giuliani perhaps? Almost certainly I think probably not."
Alex Christoforou: "You mean the law firm that commissioned West?"
Alexander Mercouris: "West. Exactly. Who are these people? These famous Republican lawyers. The thought Rudy Giuliani did cross my mind. I think, on balance, probably not. But no doubt we will probably be learning more there. "
[9:53] Alex Christoforou:"What a piece of work they are, three-and-a-half years, all of the British mainstream media has been pounding on this "RUSSIA COLLUDED WITH TRUMP" and now here we are. Here we are and they're going to throw Steele under the bus. It is incredible, Alexander. Let me read you the passage which I think proves your point: that this is all one big bait-and-switch. All of it. They're changing gears now. They're changing direction. They know what's going to happen to Steele. They know that Steele is screwed. And now they're looking to all cover their asses. Here it is, Alexander, three short paragraphs:"
"West's report is an explosive contribution to an affair that security sources in London acknowledge has damaged relations between Washington and British intelligence. They say Trump blames Steele for triggering the FBI inquiry into his campaign, even though it was launched before his evidence was passed to the agency.
Steele's closeness to British intelligence has contributed to a conspiracy theory among Repbublicans that MI6 and elements of the American "deep state" were involved in a plot to stop Trump becoming president. It prompted Trump to accuse GCHQ of spying on his presidential campaign -- something the UK's listening station took the unprecedented step of publicly denying.
West believes the tensions, and much of the FBI's investigation, were based on a report from Steele, which he and the bureau came to view as riddled with inaccuracies. 'He [Steele] has done immense damage to relations with the US,' a security source in London said."
Alex Christoforou: "It is incredible."
Alexander Mercouris: "We are the victims of Steele also. Not just Donald Trump."
Alex Christoforou: "MI6 had nothing to do with anything."
[12:15] Alexander Mercouris: "MI6 are the victims, too, you know! We were getting all this material from Steele." They admit, by the way, that Steele was in contact with British intelligence, was meeting with all these people and was providing British intelligence with this dossier. So. MI6 [says]: it's absolutely nothing. They don't go around saying to everybody, tipping off the media in Britain: 'We've looked at Steele's findings, we don't believe there's any truth in them. They don't make sense. They're absolute rubbish.' The Times of London talks about the Republican conspiracy theory about the involvement of the British intelligence services in trying to get Russiagate going and stopping Donald Trump. Of course. No acknowledgment by The Times of London that the Times of London has been running, for three years, this massive conspiracy -- the real conspiracy theory -- that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians, and that the whole of the rest of the media did, too. Oh, no. All that is, you know, a non-history now."
"What is history, you know, the official story from now on in London, is that 'We are Steele's victims. He fooled us, too. He created all this bad blood between us and the Americans. Oh, yes. There is no way we could possibly have guessed, or seen through, the nonsense of what he was saying.' As you absolutely, rightly say, it almost makes you want to reach for your vomit bag, frankly. "
[13:43] "But there we are. There are some useful -- just to say -- there are also some useful revelations in these articles about the dossier. The one interesting thing that has come out of all of this, is that there are two points that we've now learned, which is, firstly, that the key primary source, the person who the FBI interviewed on three occasions in January, February, and March 2017, before Mueller was appointed, and who told the FBI that this whole dossier is nonsense and it was all gossip and shouldn't be taken seriously, that the person who was, you know, the key source, he's now securely identified as an American businessman -- I stress an AMERICAN businessman, called Sergei Millia [sp?], who is an American businessman based in the United States. He does not have Russian origins. He has some connection to Belarus but not to Russia. So Christopher Steele wasn't getting his information directly from Russia at all. It's doubtful he had any sources in Russia. He was supposedly getting it from Sergei Millian, except now we're told by Nigel West and the Times of London -- and I stress, it is THEY who are saying that to us NOW -- that Christopher Steele almost certainly, at the very least embellished and quite possibly invented, some of the stories that appear in the dossier. I mean, you read the exact words, that you know it's an actual active fabrication. And if you read the article -- the two articles -- carefully, they make it pretty clear that it is actually Christopher Steele that Nigel West is pointing the finger at".
[16:04] "And the key point of invention is around an individual who appears in the dossier called 'Primary Source E,' and 'Primary Source E' is the person who's supposed to have provided all this information about Donald Trump having met with prostitutes in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Moscow. And it turns out that Nigel West's point about him is that Primary Source E knows"too much about too many unrelated things, and that is a clear sign that there is some invention or fabrication connected to him. He's not saying that there is no such person, but what he's saying, what Nigel West, I think, is saying, is that some of the things that Primary Source E is alleged to have said, were probably almost certainly not said by him, but were attributed to him by other people who had invented them. And he's making it pretty clear that it's Steele he's referring to."
[17:08] Alex Christoforou: "OK. Three comments, Alexander, and then you can close out the video. Comment Number One: It was all Steele, Right? But in the meantime you had Halper, Mifsud, Papadapolous, Downer, all this stuff going down in Cambridge, in London, all of these things. But it was all Steele who was orchestrating everything. Bollocks. That's Point Number One. Three quick points."
[17:37] "Point Number Two: 'Source E is a work of fiction. Right?" ... But a FISA warrant, FISA surveillance, was dependent on this Source E that doesn't even exist in order to surveil Carter Page and, in effect, move it [i.e., surveillance] to the Trump Campaign. So all of the FISA warrants and the FISA surveillance, everything, Crossfire Hurricane, is based on a completely fictitious entity. Point Number Two.
"Point Number Three. And I'm going to go back to the Times article: This guy Sergei Millian, was a professional BS-er. He was a joker. And I mean that in the literal sense. He was really a joker, and I quote:
More worryingly, they worked out that most of Steele's information came from a "primary sub-source," identified by American media as a Belarus-born businessman, Sergei Millian. The FBI interviewed Millian three times, in January, March, and May 2017.
He told the FBI that he was an unwitting source and much of what he had told Steele was "just talk," "word-of-mouth and hearsay" or conversations "had with friends over beers." The claims about Trump cavorting with prostitutes at the Ritz-Carlton were rumor and speculation" or said "in jest." The Inspector-general's report says Millian "made statements indicating that Steele misstated or exaggerated" what he had told him and that his reports were far more "conclusive" than was justified.
[19:42] Alex Christoforou: "The whole Mueller investigation, the whole soft-coup against the US president was based on a guy drinking beers, talking smack and nonsense about Trump."
[19:55] Alexander Mercouris: "Well, that's entirely right, except, of course, that it's a lot more than that, actually, and let's go back to your very first point about all these activities in London, Stefan Halper in London, Joseph Mifsud in London." [shows screen shot of headline from the Washington Times]:
Trump counter-probe descends on Rome as questions swirl around mysterious Joseph Mifsud.
"These people, let us remember, Barr and Durham are taking very seriously. Barr and Durham went all the way to Rome and made inquiries about Mifsud there. And they've heard a tape by him. Now, you can believe in coincidences if you like, but sometimes coincidences stretch to impossible limits. And the idea that Christopher Steele was doing all these things all by himself and that all these other things were going on in London with Stefan Halper and George Papadapolous and Joseph Mifsud, and all of this this is all pure chance, [A.C.:'Downer,' 'Burk'] and the British authorities somehow were unaware of all this going on. I mean, that is beyond crazy. I would remind our viewers, that George Papadapolous actually gave an interview with the London Times during the 2016 election in which he criticized, he made some extremely critical comments which got him into trouble with the Trump campaign. And so it's not as if he wasn't somebody that wasn't already on the radar where the British authorities would have been concerned. They knew all about him. This is not guess work. The British authorities would have known all about Papadapolous, because Papadapolous wasn't hiding. He was meeting, or supposedly meeting with all of these important people. He was having e-mail contacts with the Valdai Club: people in Russia. All this was going on in London. And he was meeting people like Mifsud. And he was meeting people like Halper, who of course, has intelligence connections. And, of course, he was meeting the Australian High Commissioner. And we're asked to believe in all seriousness that the British authorities don't know about it.... There are stories that are beyond ridiculous.
[22:33] "I would also remind our viewers that in the early weeks of the Russiagate scandal, especially directly before the inauguration and during the transition period, there were floods of leaks in the British media, especially the Guardian newspaper, actually boasting about the cooperation that the British had provided to the US. With all the information that they had passed on to the Americans, about all these suspicious contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians..So we mustn't take these denials and all these stories about what an extraordinary conspiracy theory it is that the British were involved in starting the campaign: the 'collusion' story and the 'Russiagate' story, we mustn't take these denials seriously. Let us stress again: It is not a conspiracy theory to say that. The conspiracy theory was Russiagate. The Times bought into it. And it is disintegrating. And the British authorities are now trying to step away from it."
[23:34] "I would add by the way, that Christopher Steele provided information to the British authorities. He was a primary figure in building up the Litvinenko story. And he was also one of the people who provided all kinds of information about how the Russians bribed their way into the World Cup. That latter story has been discredited... But it's cost Russia a huge amount of damage. The Russians are victims of what Christopher Steele is doing, if you want to talk in the language of victimhood. The Russians were victims. Donald Trump and his campaign were victims. To be very very clear, the British were not victims. They were his enablers. There is no other word for it. They were his enablers if not his accomplices."
[24:35] That's the first thing. Now the second thing, what you were saying about Primary Source E being a work of fiction, well, we're not saying that. Nigel West is saying that. And Nigel West undertook this research, supposedly on behalf of a Republican law firm, but as I said, he knows the intelligence world backward and forward. And I have no doubt that he has consulted people within the intelligence world about these things and I've no doubt that the Times has done so also. So maybe there is a real person somewhere, though I'm starting to have my doubts. Actually, I've had my doubts about the reality of many of these sources for a long time. Maybe there is a real person, but Nigel West is saying quite clearly that it is inconceiveable that one person knows all the things that are attributed to him. And the point Nigel West is making, is that a real case officer, a real person involved in intelligence work, would know that it is impossible that Primary Source E could possibly know all the things he says he knows. And that's obviously true. So, when you say that this entire investigation, the Russiagate investigation, those FISA warrants -- they're not metioned in the Times articles. They don't go into that -- when you say that the surveillance of Carter Page was constructed on fictions, that's true. But Michael Horowitz has said that already, the Inspector General of the FBIhas all but said that. And all those things about Millian being a bullshitter, that's also true. But again, Michael Horowitz has told us this. Can I also say that I think that it's clear that Millian is Christopher Steele's primary source. He is securely identified as the primary source, because in Michael Horowitz's report, there is a reference to the fact that the Primary Source had been in touch with George Papadapolous. When I heard about that it absolutely stunned me. [28:12] [More stuff, but I'll get back to this later.]
[The conversation in this video goes on until the [40:58] minute mark and so I will have to complete this transcript as time allows me to come back to it.]