Daily Check-In 10/29/2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

 

THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION

In The Guardian today, Luke Harding explains that Czechoslovak intelligence, a junior partner of the KGB, seems to have been rather close to Donald Trump as far back as the late 1970s. During the Cold War, Prague’s State Security or StB cultivated Western rising stars (including current British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn) as possible spies. They had high interest in Donald Trump, given his bright future in New York and beyond.

Trump came to the StB’s attention due to his relationship with his first wife Ivana (née Zelníčková), a Czech model he was married to from 1977 to 1992. When Ivana moved to America to live with her new husband, the StB kept tabs on her and her family, as has been known for some time. Her father, Miloš Zelníček, collaborated with the StB, sharing information on his daughter and her new life.

This was normal in the East Bloc during the Cold War, when the Communist state security apparatus had enormous power and citizens with relatives living in the West had little choice but to collaborate if they wished to stay in touch with loved ones abroad. Most of what Zelníček shared with the StB about his daughter and son-in-law appears mundane, of interest only because decades later Trump became the American president.

Many StB foreign intelligence operations focused on monitoring citizens living abroad like Ivana, keeping tabs while trying to leverage them for espionage purposes. Although existing StB files don’t indicate that Donald Trump himself was ever recruited by the StB, the November 1979 report includes a tantalizing fact, namely that among the StB organizations copied on it for distribution was the service’s 1st Directorate, the foreign intelligence arm. Specifically, its 23rd Department was copied on the report.

The highly secretive 23rd Department was no ordinary StB office, but part of the elite Illegals sub-directorate. Illegals were the StB’s crème de la crème, hand-selected deep-cover spies dispatched to the West, without the benefit of diplomatic protection; if caught, they were on their own. They posed as ordinary people, often immigrants, but they reported to the StB. The 23rd Department had the demanding job of selecting, training, and managing Illegals in the field. There was no more sensitive office in the service.

Why was the super-secret 23rd Department copied on a mundane information report about the Trump family? To those versed in the ways of Soviet bloc espionage, there can only be one answer: Because the StB either had (or was planning to have) an Illegal close to the Trump family. The service’s effort to keep tabs on Ivana Trump and her husband in America, mainly through her father, was not the real secret here.

I’ve mentioned once or twice before that Ivana’s father had some ties to Soviet Intelligence, and we’ve talked at length about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia going back to 1987. (Daily Check-In 11/20/2017)  That Russia trip was thought by many to be the first attempts at trying to cultivate him as a Russian Asset, but according to this news, the efforts likely started at least 10 years earlier.

Plus, John’s analysis brings up another important find, and that’s the 23rd Department.  Their job was managing Illegals.  In spycraft, Illegals, also known as Sleepers or Sleeper Agents, are the top wrung of spies, the best of the best.  They go deep undercover, and are offered no protection from their government like a diplomatic post or passport.  They are on their own, and they infiltrate where no one else can get to them.  The fact that tiny details like how many nannies a little boy has, or what their ethnicities are, is pretty interesting.

The Czechs and the Soviets had their eyes on Trump for years.  Many years.  At least 40 years at this point.

 

COHEN, NEW YORK, AND THE OTHER LAWSUITS

The allegations take aim at the heart of Mr. Trump’s personal narrative that he is a successful deal-maker who built a durable business, charging he and his family lent their name to a series of scams.

The 160-page complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.

Those business entities were ACN, a telecommunications marketing company that paid Mr. Trump millions of dollars to endorse its products; the Trump Network, a vitamin marketing enterprise; and the Trump Institute, which the suit said offered “extravagantly priced multiday training seminars” on Mr. Trump’s real estate “secrets.”

The four plaintiffs, who were identified only with pseudonyms like Jane Doe, depict the Trump Organization as a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people for years as the president turned from construction to licensing his name for profit. The suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump as defendants.

But the new suit alleges “a pattern of racketeering activity” involving three other organizations. Roberta A. Kaplan and Andrew G. Celli Jr., two lawyers for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that they were not aware of “any prior case against the Trumps alleging consumer fraud on this scale.”

“This case connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans,” the statement said.

The four plaintiffs each invested in ACN after watching promotional videos featuring Mr. Trump.

According to the lawsuit, ACN required investors to pay $499 to sign up to sell its products, like a videophone and other services, with the promise of additional profits if they recruited others to join.

Mr. Trump described the phone in an ACN news release as “amazing” but failed to disclose he was being “paid lavishly for his endorsement,” the suit says.

One plaintiff, a hospice worker from California identified as “Jane Doe,” decided to join ACN in 2014 after attending a recruitment meeting at a Los Angeles hotel where she listened to speakers and watched Mr. Trump on video extol the investment opportunity.

For her, the video was the “turning point,” the lawsuit said.

“Doe believed that Trump had her best interests at heart,” the suit said.

Jane Doe then signed up for a larger ACN meeting in Palm Springs, Calif., which cost almost $1,500, and she later spent thousands more traveling to conventions in Cleveland and Detroit, according to the suit.

In the end, she earned $38 — the only income she would ever receive from the company, the suit said.

Something that’s been missing from the world of Trump corruption lawsuits was an MLM scam.  If you had that on your bingo card, now’s the time to cover that square.

For those of you out there fortunate enough to not know what an MLM is, it’s Multi-Level-Marketing.  This is a kind of business where people try to sell products and the business itself.  Those that get their associates to join their business are also promised a percentage of sales from those people they signed up, and so on and so on.

If this sounds shady AF, that’s because it is.  The MLM phrase is used to describe a slightly legal Pyramid Scheme.  They cannot promise guaranteed revenue streams, and they must focus at least half of their efforts on selling the product and not expanding the business.  I ran across a couple of these in my younger and dumber days.  They can be great opportunities for people getting in on the ground floor, at the very beginning, but are a money pit and scam for everyone else.

So, let’s take multiple pyramid schemes, and licensing deals with a family that will slap their names on anything that had a price tag with it, and what do you get?

Trump Vitamins.  This is like an Onion article that’s writing itself.

They’re also getting sued for running another MLM scam with ACN, a company that sold videoconference tech right as Skype and Smartphones were coming along, and the Trump Institute, an overpriced seminar ploy to teach the “secrets” that Trump has used in the real estate world.

Trump Institute is not to be confused with Trump University, which did THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING!  Christ, they’re not even original in their scams.

 

RIGHT WING TERRORISM

 

KHASHOGGI & SAUDI ARABIA

 

SCOTUS 

 

TRUMP THE RUSSIAN ASSET

 

TRAITOR TOTS

 

FIGHTING BACK

 

IMMIGRATION

 

COLD WAR 2.0

 

#NEVERAGAIN

 

FIXING THE INTERNET

 

THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE

 

TRADE WAR AND ECONOMY

 

BIGOTRY

 

GOP: THE PARTY OF LINCOLN IS DEAD

 

POLLS

 

ELECTION 2018

 

PROGRESS IS PROGRESS

 

RUMOR MILL

 

That’s it for Monday.  If it seems like there’s less content here than recent days, that’s because there is.  I got wrapped up in a home repair project that went a little sideways.  It was supposed to take me 10 minutes to replace a ceiling fan with a light fixture.  3 and a half hours later, I completed this 10 minute job.  That also meant that I spent hours working on a project instead of gathering more information for this site.  Which is actually kind of a good thing, since this site can get pretty unwieldy from time to time.

One thing I don’t have in this story is anything on Mueller.  It’s been quiet on that front, with the election coming up next week.  I did see a rumor that some GOP operatives were trying to plant a hit piece on Mueller.  The gist of it is a sexual harassment/assault story that’s being fished out to multiple news outlets, but so far no reputable place is biting.  Sources are flaking, the women involved are saying they’re being paid.  Keep an eye out for this story, and if it does come, be skeptical of the source.  Always ask “what’s the motivation behind the story?”

 

Thank you, and have a good one.

 

“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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