The Very Globalized Forces Manipulating the Anti-Globalist President

I want to consider three stories related to the conspiracies that got Trump elected and have influenced his policy decisions.

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook privatizes intelligence sources and methods behind “democratic” elections

First, there’s the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Here are some of the most scandalous tidbits:

Likelihood Facebook failed to abide by a 2011 FTC consent decree and certainty that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook failed to abide by British and EU privacy law, respectively. While Facebook and other big tech companies have sometimes publicly bowed to the onerous restrictions of more repressive regimes and have secretly bowed to the invasive demands of American spies, the public efforts to rein in big tech have had limited success in Europe and virtually none in the US.

In the US in particular, weak government agencies have done little more than ask consumers to trust big tech.

As privacy advocates have long argued, big tech can’t be trusted. Nor can big tech regulate itself.

Cambridge Analytica used legally suspect means — the same kind of illegal means intelligence agencies employ — to help its customers. Channel 4 reported that Cambridge Analytica at least promised they could set honey traps and other means to compromise politicians. The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica acted as a cut-out to share hacked emails in Nigerian and a Nevis/St. Kitts elections. Thus far, the most problematic claim made about Cambridge Analytica’s activities in the US are the aforementioned illegal use of data shared for research purposes, visa fraud to allow foreign (British) citizens to work on US elections, and possibly the illegal coordination between Rebekah Mercer’s PAC with the campaign.

Internet Research Agency used the same kind of methods advertising and marketing firms use, but to create grassroots. The IRA indictment laid out how a private company in Russia used Facebook (and other tech giants’) networking and advertising services to create fake grassroots enthusiasm here in the US.

All of these means undermine the democratic process. They’re all means nation-state intelligence services use. By privatizing them, such services became available to foreign agents and oligarchical interests more easily, with easy ways (many, but not all, broadly acceptable corporate accounting methods) to hide the financial trail.

Russia buys the network behind Joseph Mifsud

Then there’s the Beeb piece advancing the story of Joseph Mifsud (ignore the repetitive annoying music and John Schindler presence). It provides details on the role played by German born Swiss financier and lawyer Stephan Roh. Roh has three ties to Mifsud. In 2014, Roe started lecturing at the London Academy of Diplomacy where Misfud worked. In the same year, he bought the Roman institution Misfud helped manage. And then, in 2016, when George Papadopoulos was being targeted, Roh was on a panel with Papadopoulos’ two handlers.

That same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and the third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire.

Mifsud and Roh interlock: in 2014, Roh became a visiting lecturer at the London Academy of Diplomacy. Roh bought Link Campus University, a private institution in Rome where Mifsud was part of the management and Mifsud became a consultant at Roh’s legal firm.

The Beeb piece goes on to describe how Roh bought a British nuclear consultancy too. When the British scientist behind it balked at cozying up to Russia, he was fired, but it appears to still be used as a cut-out.

Again, none of this is new: Russia just spent a lot of money to set up some fronts. The amount of money floating around and the ability to buy into a title by buying an old castle do make it easier, however.

George Nader purchases US foreign policy for the Saudis and Emirates

Then there’s NYT’s confirmation of something that was obvious from the first reports that the FBI whisked George Nader away from Dulles Airport before he could meet Donald Trump at Mar a Lago earlier this year. Nader got an immunity deal and has been cooperating with Mueller’s team to describe how he brokered US foreign policy decisions (most notably, and anti-Qatari stance). He did so by cultivating GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, turning him into both an asset and front for foreign influence. Those activities included:

  • Securing hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts for Broidy’s private security firm, Circinus, with the Saudis and Emirates, and offering several times more.
  • Working with Broidy to scuttle the nomination of Anne Patterson to DOD and to orchestrate the firing, last week, of Rex Tillerson, in both cases because they were deemed too supportive of diplomacy towards Iran.
  • Offering financial support for a $12.7 million Washington lobbying and public relations campaign, drafted by a third party, targeting both Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Paying Broidy $2.7 million to fund conferences at both Hudson Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies attacking Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood; Broidy provided a necessary American cut-out for the two think tanks because their fundraising rules prohibit donations from undemocratic regimes or foreign countries, respectively. The payment was laundered through an “Emirati-based company [Nader] controlled, GS Investments, to an obscure firm based in Vancouver, British Columbia, controlled by Mr. Broidy, Xieman International.”
  • Unsuccessfully pitching a private meeting, away from the White House, between Trump and Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.
  • Obtaining a picture of Nader with Trump, effectively showing the president in the company of a foreign agent and convicted pedophile.

Effectively, Nader provides Mueller what Mueller has been getting from Rick Gates: details of how a foreign country purchased American policy support via cutouts in our easily manipulated campaign finance system.

Nader brings two more elements of what I pointed to last May: what is ultimately a Jared Kushner backed “peace” “plan” that is instead the money laundered wish of a bunch of foreign interests. While we’ve seen the Russian, Saudi, and Emirate money behind this plan, we’re still missing full details on how Mueller is obtaining the Israeli side, though I’m sure he’s getting that too.

Note, Broidy has claimed the details behind his work with Nader were hacked by Qatari hackers. That may be the case; there have also been a slew of presumably hacked documents from Emirates Ambassador to the US, Yousef al Otaiba, floating around. So while this is important reporting, it relies on the same kind of illicitly obtained intelligence that was used against Hillary in 2016.

Importantly, the Nader story generalizes this. Nader has worked with both the Clinton and the Dick Cheney Administrations, and the laundering of foreign funds to US think tanks has long been tolerated (in some cases, such as Brookings, the think tank doesn’t even bother with the money laundering and accepts the foreign money directly). Democrats are not immune from this kind of influence peddling, in the least. It’s just that Trump, because of his greater narcissism, his ignorance of real foreign policy doctrine, and his debt and multinational business make Trump far more vulnerable to such cultivation. Given Cheney’s ties to Halliburton and the Clinton Foundation, it’s a matter of degree and competence, not principle.

Globalism is just another word for fighting over which oligarchs will benefit from globalization

Which brings us to Trump’s claim (orchestrated by Steven Bannon, paid for by the Mercers) to oppose “globalists,” a racialized term to demonize the downsides of globalization without actually addressing the forces of globalization in an effective way. Little Trump is doing (up to and including the trade war with China he’s rolling out today) will help the white people who made him president (the demonization of immigrants will have benefits and drawbacks).

What it will do is foster greater authoritarianism in this country, making it easier both to make Trump’s white voters less secure even while channeling the resultant anger by making racism even more of an official policy.

And it will also shift somewhat which oligarchs — both traditionally well-loved ones, like the Sauds, and adversaries, like the Russians — will benefit as a result.

Importantly, it is being accomplished using the tools of globalization, from poorly overseen global tech companies, easily manipulated global finance system, and a global network of influence peddling that can also easily be bought and paid for.

21 replies
  1. Trip says:

    I completely agree, Marcy. Which then brings us back to lesser evilism again, unfortunately. But I would argue that we are at the pinnacle of evil, with the proposed structure of the oligarchal forces involved, and the tyranny to ensue. It’s funny that Trump chastises China while still manufacturing there. Such a ridiculous farce that Trump is considered an “anti-globalist” by the cult.

    He needs to be stopped along with the forces behind him.

  2. Willis Warren says:

    Putin has been demonizing the Rothschilds for years.  I’m curious about how his goals, which I assume is discrediting the international banking system so he can hide his money, and the proto fascists that Bannon is championing align.


    • Trip says:

      The power of the EU and (NATO) breaking it apart to more authoritarian right wing governing. Without sanctions enforced over different nations or multi-national organizations, who stops the dirty stolen money or business deals? No one. No one pushes back against it. No one gets sanctioned for human rights abuses either.

    • Trip says:

      If I had to armchair analyze him, as a nonprofessional (not a shrink), I’d say he’s a person who desperately wants control, especially as one who lost control as a past alcoholic or alcohol abuser as well as alleged wife abuser.

      Maybe his childhood was devoid of self-determination.

      Or maybe, he’s just a dick, who was born a dick, who mistakenly believes he is an ‘original thinker’.

      Monty, I’ll take door number 2.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good synthesis, even without the zither music.

    As you say, demonizing “globalization” without acting to reduce it or its harmful effects, and without addressing any of its causes or principal actors, will heighten systemic anxiety.  That anxiety will seek its own relief valve.  Trump has identified his preferred outlet: attacks on people of color from “shithole” countries.  He has normalized violence through his rhetoric.

    It’s a recipe, a game plan, for authoritarian oligarchic rule.  The billionaires are vying amongst themselves to be the right authoritarian in the right place at the right time, with Trump as the useful idiot enabling them to go about their business with a minimum of disturbance.

    This isn’t about Germany in the Thirties, or the Southern Cone in the Seventies.  This is most like the threats posed by global warming. It promises massive disruption and extinction of both lives and ways of life.  We might ask ourselves the same question Malone put to Eliot Ness, as they strategized how to get Al Capone, “And then what are you prepared to do” to stop this?

    • emptywheel says:

      There was an outside of Germany in 1933 to stop Hitler. There’s no outside of this system right now.

      • matt says:

        That’s unsettling.  Is there any political fraction in the US that wants to address the source of Middle East conflict and Climate Change- war profiteering and control of the last 100 years of fossil fuel?

        • matt says:

          Marcy, I’m dying to know… even with your incredible post, I can’t figure out the foreign policy rift in the Mercer/Koch/Alt-Right agenda that was so at odds with a possible Hillary Clinton presidency- that generated so much motivation to defeat her.  She seemed hawkish enough for most of the “establishment” on both sides of the aisle.  On the surface, Trumps foreign policy does not seem much different than Hillary’s would have been, save the tension with Putin.  What am I missing?

          • JD12 says:

            GOP still has some hawks but the donor class is more isolationist now. They don’t think we should spend money on foreign interventions, aid, human rights advancement, or democracy promotion. During the campaign Trump was actually left of Clinton in that area, but he has shifted since then.

            The Kochs could never advertise it publicly, their useful idiots would revolt, but they don’t even believe in liberal democracy, which has driven most of our foreign policy. Their core philosophy is neoliberalism with radical laissez faire policies, the market dictates winners and losers. If they have the most wealth it’s because they’ve competed better, so they should have the most power. They can destroy federal agencies, give themselves tax cuts, or even undermine the post-WWII world order (like Mercer with Brexit) whether the public likes it or not.

            • matt says:

              It seems odd that they do not see the danger in environmental Armageddon or the trouble that hordes of unemployed masses causes.  If I were a billionaire- and I and my progeny were “made” for 100 lifetimes… why would I care so much to undermine the social/political atmosphere that created my vast wealth?  Maybe I’m deluding myself- that, if I were a billionaire- I would use my wealth to better the world.

              I had hoped that the anti-Clinton cabal was actually anti-war and pro domestic economy (in a good way).  But, that has proven to be bullshit.  I think sadly you are correct.  The Alt-Right believes they are entitled to unlimited wealth, democracy and society be damned.  Clinton/Obama for sure represented elites… but at least believed in a minimum lifestyle standard for human beings- if for nothing more than providing stability in the system to protect elites.

              Reading between the lines during Obama’s presidency, I think Barack and Hillary were trying to back away from the Neocon/Israeli worldview.

              Just having to deal with the mess the “W” years created in the Middle East, sometimes made them look complicit in the neocon agenda… but I’m starting to think that they were trying to back away.  I guess eight years wasn’t enough to get the job done.

              Now the only thing I hope for is a hailstorm of chaos in the economy and increasing political tensions- more, and more discord and ineptitude from the Trump administration.  Enough suffering of historical proportions to make all Americans and world citizens say, “What the fuck just happened to the world?”

              If we don’t get a big enough “jolt” now… it will become harder and harder to reverse humanities inevitable collapse… or, maybe that’s the scale of “jolt” that is needed for humanity to change directions.

              • JD12 says:

                Their environmental positions can be tough to comprehend, although an enormous amount of wealth has been built on fossil fuel consumption, and to sustain that wealth they need it to continue. I think they’ve honestly been in denial about how bad it is on the environment, and rationalized that environmental concerns are simply a variable to factor into choices that guide the almighty market.

                I completely agree, it makes no sense to accumulate all that wealth and then try to systematically destroy the system that allowed it. Most billionaires don’t really do that so it’s about power. GOP in Congress even admitted the tax cut scam was for their donors. It may not violate the laws of our democracy but it definitely violates the spirit. After ramming it through, Paul Ryan received a $500k donation from the Kochs. He’s the Speaker of course so he has some leadership duties, but he represents a district in Wisconsin. Billionaires from Kansas have their own representative. And how can they know what’s best for society if they only leave their gated properties to go to fundraisers with other mega donors? It’s a farce.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for Trump’s new tariffs against Chinese made goods, I guess nobody told the Chief where his apples, computers, pet food, tooth paste, phones, clothes, toys, paper towels, bed linens and car parts come from.

    The rage to distract intensifies.  Mueller must be getting close, even if George Nader gets to fly back to the UAE.  Should someone in the foreign policy establishment get on the phone to our trading partners and tell them to defer responding to these irrational moves, because change is on the way?  But who believes us anymore?

  5. pseudonymous in nc says:

    See also: Brexit. There’s plenty of irony in how capital that slid effortlessly from shell company to shell company and jurisdiction to jurisdiction powered a campaign about “taking back control” and keeping out foreigners.

    I think that’s why the Manafort/Gates charges offer a kind of prologue and primer for ConFraudUS: they show the drift of the grift.

  6. Kick the darkness says:

    I guess a question becomes-at what point does Mueller stop digging? He needs to get underneath the tumor, but if you keep going…..

  7. matt says:

    Wow, and wow again. Marcy, your analysis is amazing and I thank you for devoting the time to put all the pieces together and share with the world. I’m going to have to read this post a dozen times to absorb all the implications…

  8. it's complicated says:

    Thanks again, I had expected a good analysis when I saw the BBC report, and I wasn’t disappointed.

    Seeing “Russia […] fake grassroot” I want to donate a word to make it easier to distinguish from the classical fakes.

    Cosmo Turf.

    • matt says:

      How in the world can another Cambridge Analytica insider be allowed as National Security Adviser?  Especially in light of them being suspect #1 in US election meddling and Brexit?  Where’s the national outcry??

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