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TBR News August 11, 2020

Aug 11 2020

The Voice of the White House

Comments for August 11, 2020: Due to gross and mishandling of the relatively harmless Corona virus, economic  chaos has descend on the United States. The economic structure was already wobbling on the edge of the quarry and the social one was right behind it. One all of this sinks in, Fat Donald will be out of the Oval Office, screeching like a turpentined tom cat. If we can get manufacturing business back into the country instead of moving all of it to China, the economy will recover but dealing with the social issues will be more complicated. If we let this go too long, we will find ourselves in 1933-style depression.

The Table of Contents

  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu
  • Trump has no problem letting billionaires profit off the pandemic
  • Trump is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power. Can he be stopped?
  • The Failed Economic Rape of Russia
  • The Broken Encirclement Plan: Nato in Eastern Europe
  • Accidents on Purpose
  • The Dissection of a con-man

 

 

 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu

by Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Influenza (the flu) and COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus that’s led to the current pandemic, are both infectious respiratory illnesses. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses.

Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, explains how the flu and COVID-19 are similar and how they are different.

Similarities: COVID-19 and the Flu

Symptoms

Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue and congestion or runny nose; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The full list of symptoms of COVID-19 continues to evolve as more is learned about the illness.

Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.

Can result in pneumonia.

Transmission

Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.

A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences).

Both can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear.

Treatment

Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.

Both are treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.

Prevention

Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected. Physical distancing can limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities.

Differences: COVID-19 and the Flu

Cause

  • COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.
  • Flu: Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.

Transmission

While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.

Antiviral Medications

  • COVID-19: Antiviral medications and other therapies are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms.
  • Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness.

Vaccine

  • COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though development and testing is in progress.
  • Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu.

Complications

  • COVID-19: Lasting damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain and other organs is possible after a severe case of COVID-19.
  • Flu: Influenza complications can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscles (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure.

Infections

  • COVID-19: The first cases appeared in China in late 2019 and the first confirmed case in the United States appeared in January 2020.

Approximately 19,111,123 cases have been confirmed worldwide. There have been 4,884,406 cases in the U.S. as of August 7, 2020.*

  • Flu: The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people worldwide get the flu every year.

In the U.S., for Oct. 1, 2019 – Apr. 4, 2020, the CDC estimates that there were 39 million to 56 million cases of flu. (The CDC does not know the exact number because the flu is not a reportable disease in most parts of the U.S.)

Deaths

  • COVID-19: There have been approximately 715,163 deaths reported worldwide. In the U.S, 160,104 people have died of COVID-19, as of August 7, 2020.*
  • Flu: The World Health Organization estimates that 290,000 to 650,000 people die of flu-related causes every year worldwide.

In the U.S., from Oct. 1, 2019 – Apr. 4, 2020, the CDC estimates that 24,000 to 62,000 people died from the flu. (The CDC does not know the exact number because the flu is not a reportable disease in most parts of the U.S.)

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working to estimate the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be substantially higher than that of most strains of the flu.

*This information comes from the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

 

From Wikipedia: The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people–about a third of the world’s population at the time–in four successive waves. The death toll is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 17 million and 50 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.

 

Trump has no problem letting billionaires profit off the pandemic

The president thinks that as long as they buoy the stock market, they’re helping the US economy – and that’s pure rubbish

August 9, 2020

by Robert Reich

The Guardian

Since the start of the pandemic, American billionaires have been cleaning up. As more than 50 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance, billionaires became $637bn richer. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth has ballooned 59%. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’s, 39%. Walmart’s Walton family has added $25bn.

Big drug company CEOs and their major investors are doing nicely, too. Since the start of the pandemic, Big Pharma has raised prices on over 250 prescription drugs, 61 of which are being used to treat Covid-19.

Apologists say this is the “free market” responding to supply and demand – the barons of Big Tech and Big Pharma merely providing what consumers desperately need during the pandemic.

But the market also operates under laws that ban profiteering, price gouging, and monopolizing, and that tax excess profits in wartime. Where did they go? The Trump administration hasn’t enforced them.

Trump is also ignoring laws that ban trades on insider information. The White House is distributing billions in subsidies and loans to select corporations – enabling CEOs and boards to load up on stocks and stock options just before deals are announced, then rake in fat profits after stock prices surge.

Insiders from at least 11 companies have sold shares worth over $1bn after such announcements, according to an analysis by the New York Times.

In late June, a San Francisco company called Vaxart announced that the Trump administration had selected it to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Presto. The value of stock options distributed to company insiders just weeks before increased six-fold. Stock options held by Vaxart’s CEO went from $4.3m to more than $28m.

Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has never brought a vaccine to market, but company insiders have sold some $248m of shares – most of them after the company was selected in April to receive Trump funding. (Moderna plans to sell its vaccine for profit although taxpayers have footed its research and development.)

The most blatant involves the venerable old camera and film-maker, Kodak. On 28 July, Trump announced a $765m deal with the firm to bring drug production back to the United States. He called it “one of the most important deals in the history of the US pharmaceutical industries,” even though Kodak isn’t even a pharmaceutical company.

Before the announcement, Kodak had handed its board of directors 240,000 stock options, and just the day before had given its CEO 1.75m stock options. After Trump’s announcement, Kodak shares shot up more than 2,757%. Suddenly, the board’s stock options were worth about $4m, and the CEO’s, about $50m.

Is this sort of insider trading against the law? You bet. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the deal, now temporarily on hold. But the SEC’s co-director of enforcement, Steven Peikin, who had been investigating several of the deals involving the White House and corporate insiders – including Kodak – resigned last week, without explanation. Another in the lengthening list of independent regulators and inspectors general forced out by Trump?

This much is clear: Trump and his Republican enablers won’t provide $600 per week to tens of millions of Americans who need the money to survive the pandemic, because Trump and the GOP believe the money undermines incentives to work. Yet Trump has no problem letting billionaires illegally profit off the pandemic. He thinks that as long as they buoy the stock market, they’re helping the American economy.

That’s pure rubbish. The stock market is not America. The richest 1% of Americans own half the value of all shares of stock held by American households. The richest 10% owns 92%. For years now, stock prices have risen largely because profits have been siphoned from the wages of ordinary workers.

In the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, stock prices are almost back to where they were before the pandemic began. Big corporations and major investors are doing fine. Billionaires are doing better than ever. But most Americans are sinking fast.

This isn’t just unfair. Much of it is illegal.

 

Trump is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power. Can he be stopped?

 What If Trump Won’t Leave?

August 11, 2020

by Frances Fox Piven Man and Deepak Bhargava

The Intercept

Evnts in Charlottevills , Lafayette Square, and Portland have shown the country that President Donald Trump is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep power, including embracing militant white supremacists and using federal troops to tear gas and arrest peaceful protesters. His noxious proposal to postpone the elections is not the real threat to democracy. He has openly declared that he may not abide by the election results in a nationally televised interview on Fox News. Trump has a lot of tools at his disposal to steal the election if he loses, many of which he’s already putting into motion. Can he be stopped? We believe that he can be, but only if most Americans are willing to put their trust in people power — rather than courts, norms, and elites — to save democracy.

The evidence of the risk we face is impossible to ignore. Trump is questioning the legitimacy of an election that will rely on mail-in ballots, even though he himself has often voted absentee. He has threatened to withhold funding from states that are trying to make it easier for people to vote, and he is undermining the U.S. Postal Service, both of which are essential, especially in a pandemic. His Republican allies around the country have been passing voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and cutting the number of polling places in urban areas, forcing people to stand in line for hours to exercise their right to vote. This is a war on voters who lean Democratic, specifically Black people, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, naturalized immigrants, poor people, and young people. We’ve already seen in Georgia and Wisconsin how these tactics play out on Election Day.

Trump’s administration has downplayed foreign interference in the elections that benefit him. He has given succor to white nationalist groups, and the Republican Party has deputized 50,000 “poll watchers” to intimidate minority voters on Election Day. This will be the first election since 1980 during which the Republican National Committee will not be bound by a federal consent decree that prohibited “ballot security” efforts whose real purpose was to intimidate and disenfranchise minority voters. Let’s be clear: Trump and the Republicans are already trying to steal the election.

Trump is already crying fraud with absolutely no proof and could use the days after the election to stoke hysteria, rage, and violence among his supporters.

If all that chicanery fails and Trump still loses, most people assume that his only option is to concede defeat and leave — especially if he loses by a big margin. But let’s picture what things could look like after Election Day. The new voting procedures implemented in response to Covid-19 will make this election feel different to many voters, and will also delay the counting of ballots well past November 3. New York was still counting ballots over a month after its June 23 primary election. Most people expect a “blue shift” — meaning that Trump may be ahead in the count of votes cast on Election Day ballots but that mailed ballots will skew Democratic. Trump is already crying fraud with absolutely no proof and could use the days after the election to stoke hysteria, rage, and violence among his supporters.

To steal the election, we suspect he will adapt the standard playbook of authoritarians everywhere: cast doubt on the election results by filing numerous lawsuits and launching coordinated federal and state investigations, including into foreign interference; call on militia groups to intimidate election officials and instigate violence; rely on fringe social media to generate untraceable rumors, and on Fox News to amplify these messages as fact; and create a climate of confusion and chaos. He might ask the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security — which he has now weaponized against democracy — to deploy to big cities in swing states to stop the vote count or seize ballots. If he does all this right, he’ll be able to put soldiers on the streets, inflame his base, and convince millions of people that the election is being stolen from him. This would create the predicate for overturning the will of the voters.

What’s his end game? Under the Constitution, state legislatures decide how to appoint electors. They have all chosen to rely on the popular vote. But could they create a false justification to claw back this power? The legislatures in all of the closely contested states this fall — Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina — are controlled by Republicans. Trump could argue that mail-in ballots should not be counted and ask state legislatures to appoint electors different than the ones chosen by voters. This would be undemocratic and illegal; it’s hard to conceive how you justify changing the rules for appointing electors after the election. But they have contemplated it before: Florida’s Republican legislature seriously considered doing just that in 2000 before the Supreme Court ultimately stepped in

All this orchestrated chaos could prevent the electors from casting their ballots as required on December 14 or allow Trump to get a competing slate of electors sent to Congress from the states. Either way, he will have pushed our election into January when the new Congress meets to decide the outcome. At this point, the rules about how to resolve disputes are unclear, and could be governed by a badly worded law passed in 1887. If neither candidate receives a majority of the Electoral College votes, the Constitution’s 12th Amendment allows the House of Representatives to choose the president. You might think that’s good news — but the rules in this case give each state delegation one vote, so the lone Republican congresswoman from Wyoming has the same power as the 52 members of the overwhelmingly Democratic California delegation. Right now, Republicans control a majority of the state delegations even though the Democrats control the chamber.

This is far from an exhaustive list of what could go wrong in the 78 fraught days between Election Day and inauguration. Experts have considered the mechanisms in our rickety constitutional order that a would-be autocrat could use to defy the will of the people and the provisions that might restrain the usurpation. It turns out that our democracy rests on a set of shaky norms more than on ironclad rules. The possibilities for malign mischief are legion.

We will be urged not to “politicize” the process, to wait patiently and to not “prejudge the results.” We need to ignore such advice and take to the streets.

What must we be prepared to do if Trump questions the legitimacy of the electoral results and won’t concede defeat? We can learn what not to do from the disastrous 2000 election in which George W. Bush lost Florida and therefore the election to Al Gore but ended up taking the White House anyway. Republicans famously mobilized a “Brooks Brothers riot” of young white male campaign staffers, many flown in from D.C., to protest the recount and create an atmosphere of intimidation and chaos. Democrats dithered, mobilized no one, and played by Marquess of Queensberry rules. They naively relied on the courts and local election officials to validate Gore’s victory. The ultimate result of this pathetic Democratic strategy was not only a Bush victory but the Iraq War, the racist and inept response to Hurricane Katrina, and trillions of dollars of tax cuts for the rich.

Exactly the same dilemma will face us this time if Trump won’t accept defeat. Joe Biden’s campaign is recruiting lawyers, not organizers, and Biden himself has expressed misplaced confidence that the military “will escort [Trump] from the White House with great dispatch” on Inauguration Day. Democratic Party operatives, good-government types, an army of constitutional lawyers, and other self-appointed experts will urge us not to “politicize” the process, to wait patiently and talk about the “rule of law,” to not “prejudge the results” — to trust the process and the courts, to stay home and let the smart boys in D.C. work things out on our behalf.

We need to ignore such advice and take to the streets. We have been through four horrendous years in which our vaunted institutions have failed to hold Trump to account — most notably with the failure to convict him in the Senate after the House impeached him. The Republican Party and Fox News have divorced themselves from both the formal rules and the unwritten norms that constrained unaccountable executive behavior. During the public health crisis, the president and many Republican leaders have shown contempt for truth and a willingness to fan the flames of outlandish conspiracy theories. There’s no reason to believe that there are any norms that will constrain this president, who likely faces criminal prosecution when he leaves office. His fellow Republicans have had four years to reign him in and have chosen not to. And if you think John Roberts’s Supreme Court will save us, think again: For all the attention given to a few unexpected victories for liberals, the Court ruled four separate times this term against voting rights.

While institutions, norms, and elites have failed us, there is abundant evidence that mass protest produces change. We are living in a golden age of social movements. Most recently, the Movement for Black Lives changed how white people think about policing in America, put bold new demands on the agenda, and is producing substantial, albeit thus far insufficient, changes in policies. The immigrant rights movement responded to the Muslim ban and the caging of children at the border with mass protest that forced a national reckoning with these cruel policies. Workers, often outside of union structures, have taken to the streets in extraordinary numbers – from the Fight for 15 to strikes by teachers and mobilizations by Amazon employees and essential workers. They have won big increases in wages and improved working conditions. The Occupy movement reintroduced the problem of economic oligarchy into the political debate. Bernie Sanders’s and Elizabeth Warren’s presidential candidacies were powered by this movement vision and pushed the Democratic Party to the left. And the “resistance” groups that mobilized early in the Trump years — the Women’s March, Indivisible, and others — have built muscle memory among millions of people of what it’s like to engage in sustained activism. Most encouraging, these movements have recruited millions of new supporters. These groups together provide a powerful social base from which to contest the president’s planned usurpation of power.

And the movements have substantial leverage in two decisive arenas: politics and the economy. In politics, the Democratic Party relies on voters allied with these movements. If the party decides to play hardball, it can stop Trump from stealing the election. Right now, Democrats can insist on funding for a free and fair election as well as the Postal Service, and ensure that local election systems have the resources and systems in place to accommodate the surge of mail-in ballots. And when Trump tries to steal the election after November 3, Democrats will control governors’ mansions in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. If the Republican legislatures in these states try to overrule the will of the people, governors can push back and send a legitimate electoral vote tally to Congress. Likewise, after the election, Democratic House and Senate members will have leverage of their own.

Getting Democrats to use the full extent of their power will not be easy. It will take a mass movement on a scale we have not yet seen, and the mobilization will need to be sustained for weeks and possibly months. Intense pressure from millions of people — that rivals the intensity of the Trump base — will be needed to stiffen the spines of national and state Democratic leaders.

The professional communicators, technocrats, and lawyers in much of the mainstream Democratic Party and some in the media will be horrified by this call for a mass nonviolent uprising in response to the theft of an election. Culturally, the professional, middle-class people in these roles believe that expertise and good judgment, not mass protest, deliver the goods. They have learned in their own lives that rational debate, rule-following, and conflict avoidance help them climb the ladder. Unfortunately, these traits and behaviors don’t work against autocrats. Politically, the Democratic Party has, for 30 years, triangulated, dodged, and capitulated to its ruthless opponents, and since its leaders are from that earlier generation schooled to cower, they will not adapt quickly now. The liberal establishment inside the Beltway will argue for sober analysis, moderate messages, following procedures, and, above all … for waiting. We must prepare to defy those milquetoast nostrums just as much as we prepare for Trump’s planned theft of the election. Overcoming complacency, rampant incredulity that “it could happen here,” and misplaced faith in norms, courts and elites may be our biggest challenges.

Unfortunately, rational debate, rule-following, and conflict avoidance don’t work against autocrats.

Another key movement objective should be to force corporate and Republican elites to break with Trump. Doing so will require pushing them to answer a simple question: Is the price of keeping Trump in power greater than the price of allowing Biden to take over as president? Truth be told, Biden should not scare the elite. He has been sympathetic to their agenda on everything from bankruptcy to trade, and has resisted policies like Medicare for All. But Trump has delivered deregulation, tax cuts, and huge numbers of judges for the right’s core constituencies. He has, until perhaps recently, been good for their bottom line. So the protests will need to be not only boisterous and performative but also to put profits at risk. We should plan for and encourage forms of mass action such as work stoppages, consumer boycotts, and rent strikes that target the corporate class. The message from us to them needs to be clear: If you stand by and allow Trump to steal the election, we will threaten your profit. The only thing that would compel corporate titans and their political lackeys in the Republican Party to abandon Trump would be a crisis — not a crisis of conscience but of profitability.

If Trump steals the election, a broad united front will have to make the country ungovernable and the reigning regime illegitimate, despite the risks involved. We can take lessons and heart from other countries around the world where autocrats have sought to steal elections. We can pull off a peaceful Orange Revolution of our own. To do so, we will need to encourage mass civil disobedience — and dare the authorities to arrest hundreds of thousands of people day after day. If an illegitimate election gives rise to civil disorder that cannot be easily suppressed, corporate and political elites will move to dump Trump to protect their interests.

To prevent Trump from stealing the election, we must act now. Movement leaders should discuss these scenarios with their members and plan for action immediately on election night and beyond. We can also reach beyond progressive bubbles and talk to other people of good will, local elected officials, civil servants, members of security forces, and faith and civic leaders who will likely be willing to take risks they have never previously considered if they are engaged about the stakes and respectfully invited in. Thousands more people should be trained in the methods of nonviolent civil disobedience; this would be the right way to honor and carry forward the tradition of the late John Lewis, who famously enjoined us to make “good trouble, necessary trouble” in response to injustice. Organizations should create bail funds and recruit lawyers. Everyone working to defeat Trump should redouble their efforts, with a focus on mobilizing voters of color — a landslide weakens Trump’s hand — and also be prepared to keep staff and volunteers going until noon on January 20. Grassroots groups in key states should be supported with extra human and financial resources, since all of us are depending on them to be able to keep up the fight past Election Day. Everyday people can make plans as workers, tenants, and consumers to organize and prepare to use their economic leverage in the days and weeks after Election Day to cut off the source of profits for Trump’s corporate enablers. We can also organize mutual aid, building on the explosion of such effort during the pandemic, to support people who take such risks, many of whom already face great hardship.

We hope that the worst does not unfold this fall. If the establishment concludes Trump is a menace to them as well as to the rest of us, they may yet rally to find a path to ease Trump out of the way and get him to abide by the results. But we should not make the fatal mistake of underestimating Trump or, more importantly, his supporters and the vast infrastructure aligned behind him. Trump did not beam into America from another planet; there are millions of people who are driving this authoritarian turn, and they are independent actors unlikely to stand down. If they don’t believe in Covid-19 or in wearing masks, and do believe in unproven drugs, what makes anyone think they’ll believe Trump lost the election? Fox News and the right-wing social media apparatus are formidable vehicles for mobilization and coordination. Perhaps most ominously, some of local law enforcement has proved to be in cahoots with the right-wing machine.

So we should prepare now to respond — psychologically and strategically — to something akin to a coup. These are dark but plausible scenarios, and we’d be better off facing than avoiding them. The worst of all possible outcomes would be for a broad united front of anti-Trump forces to be caught flatfooted in the 72 hours after Election Day, stunned by his brazenness and gathering its wits. We must lay the groundwork now for the kind of mass action that defends democracy and evicts this despicable, racist, wannabe authoritarian from the White House. In so doing, we will remind ourselves that American democracy is not a set of institutions or rules or an event that happens once every four years; it is what everyday people do to participate in and shape the life of our country.

 

The Failed Economic Rape of Russia

August 10, 2020

by Christian Jürs

After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.

By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.

The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya  which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.

The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.

The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.

Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.

The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.

The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.

This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries.

The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.

The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.

On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.

Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism

The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikhail Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.

The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.

During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia.

Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.

When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.

Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent stationed in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy.

British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.

The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.

The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.

On September 6, 2016, Vladimir Putin’s state limousine, travelling on a Moscow highway, was slammed into by a car which jumped the median strip.

Putin’s driver was killed but Putin was not in the car at the time.

Shortly after this incident, a WikiLeaks release disclosed the CIA’s ability to get control of a car’s computer system and cause it to go out of control.

 

The Broken Encirclement Plan: Nato in Eastern Europe

 

The first serious, and successful, U.S. direct interference in Russian leadership policies was in 1953. An ageing Josef Stalin, suffering from arteriosclerosis and becoming increasingly hostile to his subordinates, was poisoned by Laverenti P. Beria, head of his secret police. Beria, was a Mingrelian Jew, very ruthless and a man who ordered and often supervised the executions of people Stalin suspected of plotting against him, had fallen out of favor with Stalin and had come to believe that he was on the list of those Stalin wished to remove. With his intelligence connection, Beria was contacted by the American CIA through one of his trusted agents in Helskinki and through this contact, Beria was supplied dosages of warfarin  The first drug in the class to be widely commercialized was dicoumarol itself, patented in 1941 and later used as a pharmaceutical. potent coumarin-based anticoagulants for use as rodent poisons, resulting in warfarin in 1948. The name warfarin stems from the acronym WARF, for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation + the ending -arin indicating its link with coumarin. Warfarin was first registered for use as a rodenticide in the US in 1948, and was immediately popular; although it was developed by Link, the WARF financially supported the research and was assigned the patent.

Warfarin was used by a Lavrenti Beria to poison Stalin. Stalin’s cooks and personal bodyguards were all under the direct control of  Beria. He acknowledged to other top Soviet leaders that he had poisoned Stalin, according to Molotov’s memoirs. Nikita Khrushchev and others to poison Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Warfarin is tasteless and colorless, and produces symptoms similar to those that Stalin exhibited. Stalin collapsed during the night after a dinner with Beria and other Soviet leaders, and died four days later on 5 March 1953.

Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, in his political memoirs (published posthumously in 1993), claimed that Beria told him that he had poisoned Stalin. “I took him out,” Beria supposedly boasted. There is evidence that after Stalin was found unconscious, medical care was not provided for many hours. Other evidence of the murder of Stalin by Beria associates was presented by Edvard Radzinsky in his biography Stalin. It has been suggested that warfarin was used; it would have produced the symptoms reported.

After the fall of Gorbachev and his replacement by Boris Yeltsin, a known CIA connection, the Russian criminal mob was encouraged by the CIA to move into the potentially highly lucrative Russian natural resource field.

By 1993 almost all banks in Russia were owned by the mafia, and 80% of businesses were paying protection money. In that year, 1400 people were murdered in Moscow, crime members killed businessmen who would not pay money to them, as well as reporters, politicians, bank owners and others opposed to them. The new criminal class of Russia took on a more Westernized and businesslike approach to organized crime as the more code-of-honor based Vory faded into extinction.

The Izmaylovskaya gang was considered one of the country’s most important and oldest Russian Mafia groups in Moscow and also had a presence in Tel Aviv, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, Miami and New York City. It was founded during the 1980s under the leadership of Oleg Ivanov and was estimated to consist of about 200 active members (according to other data of 300–500 people). In principle, the organization was divided into two separate bodies—Izmailovskaya and Gol’yanovskaya  which utilized quasi-military ranks and strict internal discipline. It was involved extensively in murder-for-hire, extortions, and infiltration of legitimate businesses.

The gangs were termed the Oligarchy and were funded by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Israeli-owned Bank of New York all with the assistance of the American government.

The arrival of Vladimir Putin as the new leader of Russia was at first ignored in Washington. A former KGB Lt. Colonel who had been stationed in East Germany, Putin was viewed as inconsequential, bland and colorless by the purported Russian experts in both the Department of State and the CIA.

Putin, however, proved to be a dangerous opponent who blocked the Oligarchs attempt to control the oil fields and other assets, eventual control of which had been promised to both American and British firms.

The Oligarchs were allowed to leave the country and those remaining behind were forced to follow Putin’s policies. Foreign control over Russian natural resources ceased and as both the CIA, various foreign firms and the American government had spent huge sums greasing the skids, there was now considerable negative feelings towards Putin.

The next serious moves against Russia came with a plan conceived by the CIA and fully approved by President George W. Bush, whose father had once been head of the CIA.

This consisted of ‘Operation Sickle’ which was designed to surround the western and southern borders of Russia with states controlled by the United States through the guise of NATO membership. Included in this encirclement program were the Baltic States, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia and a number of Asiatic states bordering southern Russia. It was the stated intention of the NATO leadership to put military missiles in all these countries. The so-called “Orange Revolution” funded and directed by the CIA, overthrew the pro-Moscow government in the Ukraine, giving the United States theoretical control over the heavy industrialized Donetz Basin and most importantly, the huge former Soviet naval base at Sebastopol.

The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an American-sponsored 18-month, $64-million program aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Georgian armed forces by training and equipping four 600-man battalions with light weapons, vehicles and communications. The program enabled the US to expedite funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom.

On February 27, 2002, the US media reported that the U.S. would send approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to Georgia to train Georgian troops. The program implemented President Bush’s decision to respond to the Government of Georgia’s request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and addressed the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

The program began in May 2002 when American special forces soldiers began training select units of the Georgian Armed Forces, including the 12th Commando Light Infantry Battalion, the 16th Mountain-Infantry Battalion, the 13th “Shavnabada” Light Infantry Battalion, the 11th Light Infantry Battalion, a mechanized company and small numbers of Interior Ministry troops and border guards.

Eventually, responsibility for training Georgian forces was turned over to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army. British and American teams worked as part of a joint effort to train each of the four infantry battalion staffs and their organic rifle companies. This training began with the individual soldier and continued through fire team, squad, platoon, company, and battalion level tactics as well as staff planning and organization. Upon completing training, each of the new Georgian infantry battalions began preparing for deployment rotations in support of the Global War on Terrorism

The CIA were instrumental in getting Mikheil Saakashvili, an erratic politician, pro-West, into the presidency of Georgia but although he allowed the country to be flooded with American arms and “military trainers” he was not a man easily controlled and under the mistaken belief that American military might supported him, commenced to threaten Moscow. Two Georgian provinces were heavily populated by Russians and objected to the inclusion in Georgia and against them, Saakashvili began to make threatening moves.

The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War (in Russia also known as the Five-Day War) was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other.

During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory. Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia. Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops in South Ossetia, and launching airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.

When the Russian incursion was seen as massive and serious, U.S. president George W. Bush’s statement to Russia was: “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” The US Embassy in Georgia, describing the Matthew Bryza press-conference, called the war an “incursion by one of the world’s strongest powers to destroy the democratically elected government of a smaller neighbor”.

Initially the Bush Administration seriously considered a military response to defend Georgia, but such an intervention was ruled out by the Pentagon due to the inevitable conflict it would lead to with Russia. Instead, Bush opted for a softer option by sending humanitarian supplies to Georgia by military, rather than civilian, aircraft. And he ordered the immediate evacuation of all American military units from Georgia. The huge CIA contingent in the Georgian capital fled by aircraft and the American troops, mostly U.S. Marines, evacuated quickly to the Black Sea where they were evacuated by the U.S. Navy. British and Israeli military units also fled the country and all of them had to leave behind an enormous amount of military equipment to include tanks, light armored  vehicles, small arms, radio equipment, and trucks full of intelligence data they had neither the time nor foresight to destroy.

The immediate result of this demarche was the defection of the so-called “NATO Block” eastern Europeans from the Bush/CIA project who saw the United States as a paper tiger that would not, and could not, defend them against the Russians. In a sense, the Russian incursion into Georgia was a massive political, not a military, victory.

The CIA was not happy with the actions of Vladimir Putin and when he ran for reelection, they poured money into the hands of Putin’s enemies, hoping to reprise the Ukrainian Orange Revolution but the effort was in vain.

And when the Poles, nervous about the apparent speed with which the US forces had abandoned their bases in Georgia, were in the progress of establishing a rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. Slated to fly into Smolensk for a ceremony to mark the killing by Stalin of many Polish officer prisoners of war. Someone, the Russians are sure was CIA, tampered with the landing signals on the airfield so that the foggy landing strip appeared to be at a lower altitude. He plane, with the entire upper level of the Polish government, slammed into the ground, killing all of the passengers.

Elegant diplomacy executed by true gentlemen!

 

Accidents on Purpose

by Christian Jürs

Pity the poor Ukrainians, so far from God and so close to the United States.

When the Ukraine separated from Russia, it was with the assistance of the American CIA and when a pro-Russian president came into office there, the same CIA moved to remove him.

The Ukraine is important to the United States because she then controlled the strategically important Crimea with its extensive offshore oil deposits and, more important, the large former Soviet naval base at Sevastopol. One of the demands of the CIA when it worked to remove the pro-Russian president was that the lease the Russians had on this base would be cancelled and the U.S. Navy given the same lease.

This would give the US a naval presence in the Black Sea, part of the encirclement of Russia. To facilitate this, a CIA-trained unit started protest meetings in Kiev and to sharpen their demands, on February 20, 2014, a large public meeting in Kiev’s Maidan square had hidden snipers shoot into the crowd, killing over 50 people. This created the necessary push for a successful anti-Russian putsch.

Acts of violence resulting in the deaths of many people seemed to be the norm in the encirclement campaign against Russia

On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft of the Polish Air Force crashed near the city of Smolensk, Russia, killing all 96 people on board. Among the victims were the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria, the former President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, the chief of the Polish General Staff and other senior Polish military officers, the president of the National Bank of Poland, Polish Government officials, 18 members of the Polish Parliament, senior members of the Polish clergy and relatives of victims of the Katyn massacre. The group was arriving from Warsaw to attend an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the massacre, which took place not far from Smolensk.

The pilots were attempting to land at Smolensk North Airport – a former military airbase – in thick fog, with visibility reduced to about 500 meters (1,600 ft). The aircraft descended far below the normal approach path until it struck trees, rolled inverted and crashed into the ground, coming to rest in a wooded area a short distance from the runway.

In this case, a man code-named ‘Corey’ was able to alter the signals on the airport landing area to show the ground twenty-seven feet lower than it actually was.

‘Corey’ was a member of a CIA group called ‘Summerfield II’ that was run by a CIA officer named Russle.

His real name is George Macalister, his date of birth is 5.29.42 and his American Social Security number SS # 465-80-9315, his email address is :

george_macalister@hotmail.com  (G137596.)

The reason why the aircraft was destroyed is because the US wanted Poland to be a supportive member of countries facing Russia who were to form a bloc of American-supportive entites designed to threaten Russia both militarily and economically. The Poles were flying to Smolensk to take part, with Russian officials in a memorial to the Stalin-killed Polish officers at Katyn during the Second World War. This rapproachment was anathema to the CIA and had to be somehow disrupted. Hence we had the entire Polish government wiped out in a single action as an object lesion to others.

After the installation of a CIA-friendly government in the Ukraine and a pending revoking of the Russian lease on the Sebastopol naval base, on April 15, 2014, CIA Director John Brennan and is staff flew into Kiev and met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema to discuss the formation of new, more secure channels for sharing U.S. intelligence with the country now fighting pro-Russian secessionists in its eastern cities.

Shortly after this, on July 17,  2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) a scheduled passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. The rocket projectors used in this attack were of Russian origin but had been sold to the Ukrainian military ten years earlier.

This operation was also run by the ‘Summerfield II’ people.

And note that the two ships that caught on fire were dealing in oil from a country that the US had sanctioned. It has been reliably reported that external sabotage was the reason for the explosions and fire and that the group responsible for the sabotage are headquarted in the same building in Kiev that also houses the large CIA unit.

Mr. Macalister, now retired, lives in Vienna, Virginia and no doubt enjoys leafing through his scrapbook filled with photographs and old newspaper clippings depicting international incidents involving large death tolls.

 

 

The Dissection of a con-man

Who is the real Jeremy Harvey?

by Nell Boeschenstein

cville.com

Like so many eager lovebirds before them, a blushing bride walked down the softly lit aisle of the Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel’s wedding chapel on February 16 to meet her dashing groom and exchange vows. The elements of the ordinary were all there: bouquets, champagne, rings and vows, but otherwise this union was hardly run of the mill. The bride was an 81-year-old society matron and longtime Char-lottesville-area resident Betty Scripps, worth about $300 million and heiress to the Scripps newspaper fortune. The groom was Scripps’ 62-year-old ex-husband Jeremy Harvey, a Brit who lived in the area during his first marriage to her and stayed on after the divorce, a man whose past is as shady as a weeping willow in direct sunlight.

Remarriage to an ex can have sentimental overtones, yes, but on the groom’s side of the aisle at the Bellagio, things might have looked closer to “broke and desperate” than “romantic and remorseful.” Just 72 hours earlier, the groom had been living the suburban dream with another, much younger woman in Charlottesville’s Colthurst subdivision off Barracks Road, all the while trailed by the legal and financial woes that await him in the Albemarle County courts.

Harvey and Scripps married the first time on Valentine’s Day in 1998 after a whirlwind, month-long courtship. Itm  mwas all chauffeured Rolls Royces and suites at the Ritz until they divorced in early 2004. Scripps left Albemarle, where she had an estate, but Harvey stayed around, “downsizing” to the Colthurst place, a rambling white clapboard house bordered by evergreens that dwarfs many of its neighbors. Harvey shared it with his girlfriend and her three children until the day he jetted to Vegas, refreshing the suburban cliché: Behind every freshly painted door, there’s a nasty divorce, an empty bank account, a tragic suicide, or some other soap opera subplot.

Matching picnic basket

In January, Jeremy Harvey was served two lawsuits brought by former employees of his small investment bank, Quadrant Capital Group, based in Charlottesville. Stan Manoogian, who was the bank’s managing director for seven months last year, has filed suit in Albemarle Circuit Court. Manoogian alleges fraud, breach of contract and slander, and seeks $2.2 million from Harvey. Jim Hoffmann, who was Quadrant’s director for just nine weeks last fall, has filed suit in Albemarle County General District Court. Hoffmann wants $15,000 in wages he says he never saw. The lawsuits follow a stream of gossip and speculation about Harvey’s past that began flowing not long after he set up his business around here.

Last October, the mother of Harvey’s Colthurst girlfriend anonymously sent Quadrant employees a package containing two newspaper articles from the Channel Islands, a set of British-owned islands in the English Channel. Harvey had lived on one of them, Jersey Island, prior to arriving in this country around 1997. Presumably, his not-mother-in-law disliked and distrusted Harvey from the start, doing everything possible to curtail her daughter’s affair. Her suspicions now seem well founded.

The articles detail Harvey’s prior history in South Africa, as well as on Jersey Island. He was a schemer, they said, who had been brought to court or had had charges filed against him on 89 separate occasions in relation to debts totaling $280,000.

All accounts characterize Harvey as the consummate wannabe, scrimping and scrounging to hobnob with the upper crust.

One of his first schemes unfolded in South Africa. He was allegedly digging holes for pools there, collecting the money, then skipping out on the job. The article referred to the nickname given to Harvey by a South African newspaper—“Mr. Cool”—in cutting reference to his manners as well as his business, Cool Pools. Once settled in Jersey, he had a different scam, a time-management training system called Business Time Ltd. Reportedly, Harvey was threatened with copyright infringement after co-opting training techniques for Business Time without crediting the company that developed them. A pattern of unpaid debts, threatened suits and suspicious behavior was starting to emerg

The Jersey articles present compelling evidence of, at worst, con artistry and at best, chronic financial mismanagement that leaves innocent people in its wake. Tall, dapper and distinguished-looking with steely gray hair and a square jaw, Harvey plied friends and associates abroad with charm and polish—the same affects he eventually used to woo his millionairess wife and do business in Char-lottesville and Albemarle County.

“[Harvey] is incredibly plausible,” says Jim Hoffmann, a jocular man with an impressive sweater collection and fondness for Barbour jackets. He echoes the same sentiment of “plausibility” expressed by Harvey’s former customers and business associates on Jersey Island in the newspaper article.

“He was very good at getting people to put a bit of money into his schemes,” one former associate is quoted as saying. “He was a high-flying type of guy. His ambition was limitless, and he was always an edgy sort.”

An American, Hoffmann attributes Harvey’s plausibility to “[the fact] that he’s an Englishman, was married to a wealthy woman…and he had the trappings. He had the new Range Rover and the matching luggage and the matching picnic basket.”

Even after his divorce from Scripps, Harvey shamelessly traded on the Scripps caché. He maintained various local Scripps connections post-di-vorce, which is when Hoffmann first encountered him, and allegedly dangled them like juicy bait to attract Quadrant employees in Charlottesville.

Ripples in the pond

Combine “Englishness” with money and Americans go weak in the knees. It’s a phenomenon turn-of-the-century novelist Henry James spent a career exploring. It’s partly a fascination with surface flash—something people in Charlottesville certainly respond to. A flashy newcomer—be it a developer or slick politician—breezes in from out of town, wows us with big ideas, then disappears when cash runs low or the big ideas burst. But hey, it was a beautiful ride while it lasted.

With his accent and continental charm, Harvey seems to take surface flash one step further, dragging clients, employees, and yes, vulnerable women into his snare.

“One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life,” James wrote. “No State…no sovereign, no court…no country gentlemen, no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses…”

Parts of this nation manifest a preoccupation with cloaking what we lack (yes, aristocracy and country gentlemen) with whatever generic brands are available. Harvey chose his latest playground well: Albemarle County has a special, even naive, appetite for all things English. Take a spin out Route 231 through Keswick and it’s a feast of estates with names like Cismont Manor and Chopping Bottom that only wish they could claim Sir Christopher Wren as their architect.

Literary analogies account for Harvey’s entrée, but they don’t explain his constant scheming. What does? Harvey would not comment for this article. Perhaps his new/former wife understands and forgives him. Locally, not many others do.

Manoogian and Hoffmann were among the first to fall for Harvey’s schtick. With the Scripps name as his lucky charm, Harvey was more dangerous here than he’d been on the other side of the pond. He was no longer the guy digging the hole for the pool, he was now the guy sunning himself beside the pool. And power always reclines poolside in a chaise-lounge.

Manoogian and Hoffmann see now where they should have asked more questions.

“There are moments in time,” says Hoffmann, “when I’m like, ‘How stupid was I?’ But everybody’s had a strange boss. People behave in very strange manners. That’s not necessarily an issue. The issue is the collateral damage from that behavior. The ripples in the pond, so to speak.”

They want their money, but their lawsuits, Manoogian and Hoffmann say, are about more than that. Quadrant is still ostensibly in business—complete with a descriptive website and a live secretary. Money aside, Manoogian and Hoffmann say they just want Harvey to pack it up and move along. As Scripps’ Eagle Hill estate was recently listed among the luxury homes for sale in The New York Times Magazine, the chances of the recently reunited lovebirds setting up house again in Charlottesville look slim.

Scripps Air Force

Manoogian, a businessman who’s worked everywhere from China to Chile, cuts a pretty sophisticated figure himself. Well traveled with large, somber green eyes, and a meticulously groomed moustache, Manoogian is most comfortable in tailored suits sans necktie.

“He always made an effort to present himself as a privileged financier,” says Manoogian of his initial impressions of Harvey. The two met at a Washington, D.C. Christmas party in 2001, while Harvey was still married to Scripps. “[Harvey] presented his marriage as the union of two moneyed families… Our meetings were usually held in a suite at the Hay-Adams. When coming up from Palm Beach [to D.C.], he’d refer to his use of the ‘Scripps Air Force.’ And he’d always refer to so and so from a list of social luminaries with whom he’d just had dinner.”

Sufficiently wowed, Manoogian saw the beginning of a beautiful business friendship when Harvey told him about Quadrant Capital Group. Harvey envisioned a small investment bank that would cater to privately owned family businesses, specializing in selling off those businesses once families decided to cash in. At the time Manoogian had a prior business commitment overseas, but the two kept in touch.

Hoffmann met Harvey at the Foxfield steeplechase races in the fall of 2004. As with Manoogian, business and pleasure mixed well when Harvey and Hoffmann started chatting over the tailgate. According to Hoffmann, in the ensuing weeks, Harvey eagerly pursued the possibility of working together.

When Manoogian returned stateside in February 2005, Quadrant had offices in Palm Beach, and the newly single Harvey was looking to open another office closer to home in Charlottesville. The timing, it seemed, was perfect for everyone.

Harvey then gathered the players—Manoogian, Hoffmann and chief executive officer, Bob Lloyd—amid wood paneling, soft lighting and bottles of fine wine for an official get-to-know-you dinner at the clubby and oh-so-English Boar’s Head Inn. Lloyd declined to comment on the record for this article, but with him, too, Harvey practiced his art of promising one thing and delivering another. He reneged on his initial offer to make Lloyd chief executive officer of Quadrant, eventually signing Lloyd as co-managing director, instead. Lloyd, too, resigned from his position at Quadrant in December.

Over dinner, Harvey indicated that his recent divorce not only freed up his desirable social calendar, but that the settlement would provide him substantial extra capital to invest in Quadrant. Three million dollars, he allegedly said, had already been invested, and another $15 million was earmarked for the firm. Manoogian and Hoffmann took the $15 million bait.

Manoogian agreed to a two-year contract as Quadrant’s managing director, and began to move his family to Charlottes-ville, eventually settling in the upscale subdivision of Glenmore.

Sixth sense creditor-dodging

Wherever that $3 million investment might have been, it sure wasn’t spent on basic business necessities. When Manoogian arrived for his first day of work at the beginning of May, there were no copiers or fax machines in sight. No computer server, either. Dismissing—or simply missing—the red flag, Manoogian chalked up the deficient equipment to the fact that Harvey, old-world emissary that he is, doesn’t really get the whole technology thing. Manoogian thus spent the first couple months on the nuts and bolts, and coaxing Harvey’s social relationships into business relationships for Quadrant.

Burying his head in the basics only lasted so long. The second red flag flew high at the end of June when Harvey indicated he was having trouble funding payroll. Quadrant’s payroll was managed out of the Palm Beach office. A payroll company issued the checks and provided health insurance coverage; Harvey was responsible for providing the money to the payroll company.

At the time, Harvey blamed the cash flow problem on his Colthurst house, newly purchased for $1.3 million. The divorce money was supposedly on its way, and the absent $15 million was explained away as being temporarily tied up with family trusts in the Channel Islands. Having billed himself as independently wealthy from a respected British family, Harvey’s $15 million was supposedly separate from the divorce settlement.

As Quadrant’s employees were to learn all too soon, payroll excuses and no server were only the first of signs to come that the cash in Harvey’s sterling money clip may have been more akin to Monopoly money than Ben Franklins.

At the end of one of the hottest summers on record, what had been a temporary lull in Harvey’s suspicious behavior abruptly ended when a part-time employee’s check for $6,000 bounced. New and part-time staffers were not paid by the payroll company, but rather directly out of Harvey’s business account. Manoogian and Hoffmann now found themselves questioning not only Harvey’s business acumen, but his ethics as well.

Around the same time—early fall—a secretary who wishes to remain anonymous due to her current work situation, had trouble getting Harvey to simply sign her paycheck. Accord-ing to her, all three of her paychecks were late.

Hardly flush, she says the tardy checks left her $500 in debt. She has chosen not to take Harvey to court simply because, as she says, “I just wanted to leave. I felt that whatever I had gotten was all I had gotten and I was lucky to get that because he wasn’t going to give anything else up.”

As for Hoffmann, although he had been working with the firm throughout the summer, he didn’t come on as a full-time employee until the end of September. Harvey immediately urged Hoffmann to submit paperwork to the payroll company so that it could handle his salary and insurance. Hoffmann submitted the paperwork in October and November, but it never went through for reasons Quadrant’s employees were soon to find out, but by then only Harvey understood. The missing pay is the $15,000 Hoffmann is seeking in his lawsuit.

Simply paying his employees wasn’t the only demand on Harvey’s wallet. In organizing Quadrant’s files, his secretary saw her fair share of Harvey’s personal debts, she says: enormous amounts spent on clothing, jewelry, fancy hotels, and in the space of just two months, $30,000 allegedly shelled out for landscaping at the Colthurst mini-mansion.

Given his flair for evading payment, Harvey’s debtors had no choice but to persist, coming by the office like salmon swimming upstream. A sixth sense for impending check-writing sessions always seemed to guide Harvey out of the office when his debtors came a-calling. Although no one interviewed for this article knows exactly where Harvey went, more often than not, he was nowhere to

be found. At Quadrant, as on Jersey\Island and in South Africa, running out, on debts—literally—was just business as usual.

According to the secretary and others, when Harvey’s debtors did catch him at the office, he was blasé.

Echoing Hoffmann’s and Manoogian’s impressions of Harvey, the secretary describes Harvey’s method with his debt seekers as “very smooth, a lot of people get caught up with the fact that he has that British accent. He can persuade people that things are just wonderful.”

Who knows which debtors played Harvey’s game, but his employees were nearing the ends of their ropes. Then, at the end of October, the package of Jersey Island newspaper articles arrived, and Harvey’s none-too-glamorous history in the Channel Islands was out in the open.

Upon reading the articles, Hoffmann describes his reaction: “Damn. That explains a lot.”

Happy Valentine’s Day

The articles were sent by the mother of Harvey’s now ex-girlfriend, who is unnamed in this article out of consideration for her young children. The not-mother-in-law had hired a private investigator to check out her daughter’s boyfriend. The P.I. she employed, David Watkins, was incensed by what he discovered. He was the one to go to the Jersey papers with Harvey’s rap sheet.

Watkins’ research on “Mr. Cool” measures an inch thick on single spaced computer paper. It’s a masterpiece of a long history of dissemblance.

The pages upon pages of Watkins’ document abound with testaments from Jersey Islanders, references to swimming pool holes, repossessed cars, Business Time Ltd., and Harvey’s capacity for maintaining, as one person writes, “a champagne lifestyle based upon a beer income.”

One anecdote, in particular, could have been a slapstick scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels…if it weren’t so distressingly desperate. It goes like this: Harvey was having a standoff with the oil company over what he owed them. (Typical.) The company sent someone to Harvey’s house to collect while Harvey was hosting a dinner party (typical) and Harvey told the man to leave. (Typical.) The man left, but parked his truck so that none of the guests could leave. He refused to move until the bill was paid. (Not so typical.) Cornered, Harvey passed a hat among his guests to collect the funds. You can only hope the guests got at least some good cha

Harvey, however, couldn’t pass the hat for 89 debts and $280,000, so he ran all the way to the United States around 1997. There, he turned his ultimate trick, landing a rich, older woman.

According to an article in Hello! Mag-azine, a celebrity-happy British tabloid obsessed with money and fancy houses, Harvey met Betty Scripps—who is 20 years his senior—at a Washington, D.C. party in January 1998. They waltzed the night away and by dawn Scripps was smitten and blushing like a teenager in love. The notice of their Valentine’s Day wedding appeared in The New York Times one month later.

Even that announcement is fraudulent. It said Harvey’s family started the Bowater Paper Company in London in the early 19th century. Not exactly. Known today as Rexam, the company has no Harvey names engraved in the cornerstone. Harvey’s dad worked for the company, but he was no founding father.

For the six years they were married, Harvey and Scripps split their time between Scripps’s 202-acre Eagle Hill estate in Albemarle, and Palm Beach, Florida, where Scripps was a grand dame of the society set.

“[The Palm Beach scene] is the richest scene in America, bar none,” says Jose Lambiet, who writes a gossip columnm for The Palm Beach Post and has covered Scripps and Harvey for years. “Family name matters a lot and while there is a lot of new money, there are also the staples of the upper crust and [Scripps] is up there.”

Like all random people photographed with the rich and famous, with Scripps on his arm—or, rather, Harvey on her arm—Mr. Cool became a gossip column celebrity by association, his name popping up regularly in the society pages of The Palm Beach Post, Women’s Wear Daily, The Washington Post and The Washington Times. The couple was also active philanthropically in Charlottesville, donating $1.6 million to UVA’s Miller Center for the creation of the Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive to house the center’s collections on the presidency.

By early 2004, however, the passion had fizzled and Scripps was waiting for her divorce from Harvey to be finalized. That year she moved to the Bahamas; Harvey remained in Albemarle County, traded on the shiny trappings of his former life and recruited Manoogian and Hoffmann to work at Quadrant. It’s probably fair to say now that having tasted life at the top, the pain of returning to a plebian lifestyle was simply too much for Harvey to bear.

Spaking through her lawyer, Scripps had “no comment” on anything regarding her relationship—past or present—with her former/new husband. Harvey, also speaking through a lawyer, had “no comment” on anything.

Going nowhere

Once they had received the Jersey Island articles about Harvey’s shady past, the stakes rose steeply for Manoogian and Hoffmann. Their ethics in question, their professional careers were in danger as well. Fraud was the issue. Without putting what they knew of Harvey on the table, could they legitimately do business with Quadrant clients?

Quadrant’s lawyers said yes. Legally speaking, the firm was in the clear. However, what Manoogian had now learned about Harvey and what he was to learn in the ensuing weeks, is the basis for his fraud charge: Manoogian entered into a contract with Harvey believing that Harvey and Quadrant were legit. In the end, Manoogian believes that Quadrant was legit; Harvey himself, not so much.

By the middle of November it was clear Quadrant was on shaky, if not shady, ground. It was then that an employee phoned the payroll company with a routine question about health insurance coverage. Instead of getting a routine answer, he was told Quadrant had no relationship with the company. It had been suspended as a result of outstanding debts. All full-time Quadrant employees had been without health insurance for weeks though they were unaware of that. Harvey, allegedly, had not paid for payroll funds since September, nor had he alerted Quadrant employees that their coverage had been terminated. The payroll company did not return repeated inquiries for confirmation.

At the beginning of the second week of December, Manoogian, Hoffmann and Lloyd all resigned from Quadrant. As a parting gift, according to Manoogian, his November paycheck for $10,400 bounced.

“In the end we [the secretaries and the bankers] were all the same,” says Harvey’s former secretary. “Everybody’s out of something. We were all cheated and we believed we were part of something that was going somewhere.”

That $15 million in start-up capital never materialized. Chances are, it never existed.

The return of Mr. Cool

Call Quadrant today and a cheerful-sounding secretary answers the phone, but Harvey isn’t there. Quadrant’s list of “professionals” includes only Harvey and William Mitchell, the former vice president of Quadrant who was based in Palm Beach. That’s another lie: Mitchell also left the company in December. Harvey’s all alone at Quadrant now, but he may be too busy honeymooning with Scripps to attend to business.

According to Manoogian and Hoff-mann, before skipping town, Harvey had been spreading rumors that his former employees were fired, not that they resigned within days of each other. Both Manoogian and Hoffmann have written proof of their resignations. This, for Manoogian, is slander. And he’s taking it to court.

With the debts that await Harvey should Manoogian and Hoffmann win their

lawsuits, and on the seemingly good chance that there’s no $15 million stashed away somewhere, Harvey will need another checkbook and someone else’s AmEx at his disposal. His bride has what he needs.

Lambiet, the Palm Beach gossip columnist, reported at the beginning of February that Harvey and Scripps planned to remarry on Valentine’s Day, which, had they stayed married in the first place, would have been their eighth anniversary. However, just days later, the wedding was off. The article insinuated the lawsuits facing Harvey in Albemarle County played a roll in the latest breakup.

Moreover, Lambiet insinuated that the lawsuits and Harvey’s financial straits prompted his overtures to Scripps to begin with. The article quoted Scripps’ would-be matron of honor as saying, “When it comes to Jeremy, Betty is like a 16-year-old girl… But I can’t figure out what she is thinking. And then, I’m sure Harvey was the one pushing for remarriage.”

It went back and forth for a week and a half—the wedding was on, the wedding was off, the wedding was on again, the wedding was off again—culminating in news of the Vegas elopement. While Harvey may be thanking his lucky stars that Scripps took him back, there may be a family in the Colthurst subdivision that’s not exactly celebrating the news.

Through his lawyers, Harvey has expressed his intent to file a countersuit to Manoogian’s, but would not specify what the suit would allege, when it would be filed, or whether he would be around to see it through himself.

While lawyers handling these suits busy themselves with the language of the courts, there is of course another currency—literally—that undergirds this sordid tale. Harvey, Manoogian, Hoffmann and the others unnamed in this cross-continental story were seduced alike. It’s an allure best summed up by Henry James: “Money’s a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet.”

 

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