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COMMENTARY: Milan Fashion Week – Models Carry Fake Heads On Gucci Catwalk

Those who do not see Satan’s work here are already lost. What more do people need to see what is happening to the world?! They are praising Lucifer while destroying the human race! Men and women look more alike than ever before, there have never been so many gays and lesbians like today, and there has never been so much ‘respect’ for degeneration. Meanwhile ‘scientists’ are working to transform the human condition.

Prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes! Satan knows what his destiny is so he is trying to take as many souls as he possibly can with him while he can. Don’t let yours be one of them! Open your eyes to the Truth and Speak Out against this!

Revelation 20 – King James Bible

Satan Bound the Thousand Years

1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Satan Cast into the Lake of Fire

7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Final Judgment

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Male model walks down the catwalk holding a mannequin head that is a replica of his head Image copyright Reuters

“Milan Fashion Week: Models carry fake heads on Gucci catwalk,” Source: bbc.com

Models were seen cradling replicas of their own heads on the Gucci catwalk, in one of Milan Fashion Week’s most surreal shows.

The fake heads were eerily accurate, down to the hairstyles and the expressions of those walking in the show.

And the strangeness didn’t end there – Gucci’s creative director also sent models down the catwalk cradling baby dragons and snakes, and another had a third eye in the center of her forehead.

All of this was done in a space made up to look like an operating theatre, complete with a table and surgical lights.

Female model in floral dress walks down the catwalk holding a mannequin head that is a replica of her head Image copyright Reuters
Close-up of female model in floral dress holding a mannequin head that is a replica of her head Image copyright Reuters

Creative director Alessandro Michele said the heads were intended to represent the struggle of finding your identity, and “looking after your head and thoughts”.

Female model with a prosthetic third eye attached to her forehead Image copyright Reuters
Female model in a brightly coloured dress and headscarf walks down the catwalk next to a medical bed as an audience looks on Image copyright Reuters

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was among those on the front row – wearing her trademark sunglasses.

Female models walk down the catwalk next to medical beds Image copyright Reuters

Michele said the show had been “exhausting” to stage.

He had wanted to show that among the chaos and creativity of his job, there was also order and a “scientific clarity” to the work.

A female model on the catwalk clutching a prosthetic sleeping baby dragon Image copyright Reuters
A female model holds a brightly coloured snake Image copyright Reuters

Michele has been director of the fashion house since January 2015.

He added: “Our job is a surgical job: cutting and assembling and experimenting on the operating table.”

Two models on the catwalk, one wearing a bright blue headscarf with silver floral stitching and the other wearing a woolly hat, balaclava and glasses Image copyright Reuters
Two models on the catwalk, one wearing an brightly coloured wool skirt, jacket and hat, the other wearing a brightly patterned dress and headscarf Image copyright Reuters

The collection took inspiration from many different ethnicities and cultures, with Sikh turbans, South American patterns and embellished headpieces all on the catwalk.

A style note said the designs were to embody Gucci’s pluriverse concept – and drew inspiration from an essay rejecting the idea of rigid boundaries.

Michele said: “Limiting fashion to something that only produces business is too easy.”

Two models on the catwalk, one wearing a black top with a black hat in the shape of tiered building, the other wearing a red velvet dress including a red headscarf Image copyright Reuters
Communist Canada

Canada Deports North Korean Asylum Seekers

What is Trudeau but a Zionist puppet who has no morals and no respect for human life? He has proven to be one of the most disgusting leaders in the world and the only purpose of these deportations is to create more tensions, which are key if they intend to keep the world on its toes. Who are those who always suffer the consequences of these actions? The people, who they care nothing about and simply use to fulfill their goals. 

Psalm 2 King James Version (KJV)

“2 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

 Communist Canada

“Canada deports North Korean asylum seekers,” Source: aljazeera.com

Despite its reputation as a haven for refugees, Canada has been deporting North Korean asylum seekers who came to the country through South Korea.

Nearly 2,000 have been kicked out of the country since 2013 because the government says they lied on their asylum application forms. Another 150 Koreans are under imminent threat of deportation. 

Eleven years ago, Taegun Kim came to Canada with his wife, daughter, and son. Now they have two more children, both Canadian citizens. A deportation would be catastrophic for the family.

“That notice means death to me,” Kim told Al Jazeera. “I came all the way here for a better life and my family is well adjusted to life in Canada. To think we’re going to be separated, it breaks my heart.”

The Jo family could be broken up too if Canada carries out its deportation orders. Two children are Canadian-born; the eldest came with his parents in 2010.

The family admits they lied on their asylum application – saying they defected to China, not South Korea – to help ease the immigration process, but add they did it to escape a horrible situation.

“I feel so desperate. It’s our fault,” Hye Kyung Jo said. “They [the children] haven’t done anything wrong. They have to go through this separation because of us.”

Last chance

Rocky Kim of the Canada Federation of North Korean Defectors group said family members still inside the totalitarian state remain vulnerable because of their escape. Attracting attention to their situation could be deadly, he said.

The refugees say South Korea is definitely not safe for them as North Korean spies can track them down.

“If we’re found by the North Korean government, our family left in North Korea will be executed or sent to a labour camp,” Kim said.

A lawyer has met Canadian officials to appeal to the Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen to allow the Koreans to stay on compassionate grounds. There’s been no response yet, however.

“Internationally we are recognised as a humanitarian and compassionate country, accepting refugees from Syria and all over the world. And why should these 150 remaining people be sent back?” said lawyer Jacqueline An.

 

Farrow - Trump

Donald Trump, The Playboy Model Karen McDougal, And A System For Concealing Infidelity

If anyone still thinks that Hillary Clinton would have been a better president, they are WRONG and have no clue who is truly ruling America, and the world for that matter. Decency, respect, tradition, moral values, Christianity and all those things that America was supposed to be built upon have not been there for centuries. Instead, its decline and corruption began shortly after its independence and continued to grow exponentially until today.

Today Amerika is a country ruled by a Luciferian doctrine where only the very corrupt get to power and that is why Trump and Clinton were selected as options for leadership. Trump was not chosen by the people, but by those who continuously fool the people into believing in political candidates. Trump is an example of decadence, corruption, and greed. He represents a country that has clearly pushed God to the side allowing evil forces to destroy her mission in this world. In what god do you trust America?

Farrow - Trump

At right, from the top, David Pecker, the chairman of American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer; Karen McDougal, a former Playmate of the Year; Donald Trump; and Dylan Howard, A.M.I.’s chief content officer.

Illustration by Oliver Munday; Source Photographs: Jesse Grant / WireImage / Getty (McDougal); Mark Peterson / Redux for The New Yorker (Pecker); Jamie Squire / Getty (Trump); Lucas Jackson / Reuters (Howard)

“Donald Trump, the Playboy Model Karen McDougal, and a System for Concealing Infidelity,” Source: newyorker.com

One woman’s account of clandestine meetings, financial transactions, and legal pacts designed to hide an extramarital affair. 

In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, The Apprentice,” at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s publisher, threw a pool party for the show’s contestants with dozens of current and former Playmates, including Karen McDougal, a slim brunette who had been named Playmate of the Year, eight years earlier. In 2001, the magazine’s readers voted her runner-up for “Playmate of the ’90s,” behind Pamela Anderson. At the time of the party, Trump had been married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years; their son, Barron, was a few months old. Trump seemed uninhibited by his new family obligations. McDougal later wrote that Trump “immediately took a liking to me, kept talking to me – telling me how beautiful I was, etc. It was so obvious that a Playmate Promotions exec said, ‘Wow, he was all over you – I think you could be his next wife.’ ”

Trump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to The New Yorker by John Crawford, a friend of McDougal’s. When I showed McDougal the document, she expressed surprise that I had obtained it but confirmed that the handwriting was her own.

The interactions that McDougal outlines in the document share striking similarities with the stories of other women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump, or who have accused him of propositioning them for sex or sexually harassing them. McDougal describes their affair as entirely consensual. But her account provides a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs—sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously—out of the press.

On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to McDougal’s story, which it never ran. Purchasing a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call “catch and kill.” This is a favorite tactic of the C.E.O. and chairman of A.M.I., David Pecker, who describes the President as a personal friend.” As part of the agreement, A.M.I. consented to publish a regular aging-and-fitness column by McDougal. After Trump won the Presidency, however, A.M.I.’s promises largely went unfulfilled, according to McDougal. Last month, the Journal reported that Trump’s personal lawyer had negotiated a separate agreement just before the election with an adult-film actress named Stephanie Clifford, whose screen name is Stormy Daniels, which barred her from discussing her own affair with Trump. Since then, A.M.I. has repeatedly approached McDougal about extending her contract.

McDougal, in her first on-the-record comments about A.M.I.’s handling of her story, declined to discuss the details of her relationship with Trump, for fear of violating the agreement she reached with the company. She did say, however, that she regretted signing the contract. “It took my rights away,” McDougal told me. “At this point I feel I can’t talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about. I’m afraid to even mention his name.”

A White House spokesperson said in a statement that Trump denies having had an affair with McDougal: “This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.” A.M.I. said that an amendment to McDougal’s contract—signed after Trump won the election—allowed her to “respond to legitimate press inquiries” regarding the affair. The company said that it did not print the story because it did not find it credible.

Six former A.M.I. employees told me that Pecker routinely makes catch-and-kill arrangements like the one reached with McDougal. “We had stories and we bought them knowing full well they were never going to run,” Jerry George, a former A.M.I. senior editor who worked at the company for more than twenty-five years told me. George said that Pecker protected Trump. “Pecker really considered him a friend,” George told me. “We never printed a word about Trump without his approval.” Maxine Page, who worked at A.M.I. on and off from 2002 to 2012, including as an executive editor at one of the company’s Web sites, said that Pecker also used the unpublished stories as “leverage” over some celebrities in order to pressure them to pose for his magazines or feed him stories. Several former employees said that these celebrities included Arnold Schwarzenegger, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, and Tiger Woods. (Schwarzenegger, through an attorney, denied this claim. Woods did not respond to requests for comment.) “Even though they’re just tabloids, just rags, it’s still a cause of concern,” Page said. “In theory, you would think that Trump has all the power in that relationship, but in fact Pecker has the power—he has the power to run these stories. He knows where the bodies are buried.”

As the pool party at the Playboy Mansion came to an end, Trump asked for McDougal’s telephone number. For McDougal, who grew up in a small town in Michigan and worked as a preschool teacher before beginning her modeling career, such advances were not unusual. John Crawford, McDougal’s friend, who also helped broker her deal with A.M.I., said that Trump was “another powerful guy hitting on her, a gal who’s paid to be at work.” Trump and McDougal began talking frequently on the phone and soon had what McDougal described as their first date: dinner in a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. McDougal wrote that Trump impressed her. “I was so nervous! I was into his intelligence + charm. Such a polite man,” she wrote. “We talked for a couple hours – then, it was “ON”! We got naked + had sex.” As McDougal was getting dressed to leave, Trump did something that surprised her. “He offered me money,” she wrote. “I looked at him (+ felt sad) + said, ‘No thanks – I’m not ‘that girl.’ I slept w/you because I like you – NOT for money’ – He told me ‘you are special.’ ”

Afterward, McDougal wrote, she “went to see him every time he was in LA (which was a lot).” Trump, she said, always stayed in the same bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel and ordered the same meal—steak and mashed potatoes—and never drank. McDougal’s account is consistent with other descriptions of Trump’s behavior. Last month, In Touch Weekly published an interview conducted in 2011 with Stephanie Clifford in which she revealed that during a relationship with Trump she met him for dinner at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Trump insisted they watch “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” alleged that Trump assaulted her at a private dinner meeting, in December of 2007, at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Trump, Zervos has claimed, kissed her, groped her breast, and suggested that they lie down to “watch some telly-telly.” After Zervos rebuffed Trump’s advances, she said that he “began thrusting his genitals” against her. (Zervos recently sued Trump for defamation after he denied her account.) All three women say that they were escorted to a bungalow at the hotel by a Trump bodyguard, whom two of the women have identified as Keith Schiller. After Trump was elected, Schiller was appointed director of Oval Office Operations and deputy assistant to the President. Last September, John Kelly, acting as the new chief of staff, removed Schiller from the White House posts. (Schiller did not respond to a request for comment.)

Over the course of the affair, Trump flew McDougal to public events across the country but hid the fact that he paid for her travel. “No paper trails for him,” she wrote. “In fact, every time I flew to meet him, I booked/paid for flight + hotel + he reimbursed me.” In July, 2006, McDougal joined Trump at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, at the Edgewood Resort, on Lake Tahoe. At a party there, she and Trump sat in a booth with the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Trump told her that Brees had recognized her, remarking, “Baby, you’re popular.” (Brees, through a spokesman, denied meeting Trump or McDougal at the event.) At another California golf event, Trump told McDougal that Tiger Woods had asked who she was. Trump, she recalled, warned her “to stay away from that one, LOL.”

During the Lake Tahoe tournament, McDougal and Trump had sex, she wrote. He also allegedly began a sexual relationship with Clifford at the event. (A representative for Clifford did not respond to requests for comment.) In the 2011 interview with In Touch Weekly, Clifford said that Trump didn’t use a condom and didn’t mention sleeping with anyone else. Another adult-film actress, Dawn Vanguard, whose screen name is Alana Evans, claimed that Trump invited her to join them in his hotel room that weekend. A third adult-film performer, Jessica Drake, alleged that Trump asked her to his hotel room, met her and two women she brought with her in pajamas, and then “grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking for permission.” He then offered Drake ten thousand dollars in exchange for her company. (Trump denied the incident.) A week after the golf tournament, McDougal joined Trump at the fifty-fifth Miss Universe contest, in Los Angeles. She sat near him, and later attended an after-party where she met celebrities. Trump also set aside tickets for Clifford, as he did at a later vodka launch that both women attended.

During Trump’s relationship with McDougal, she wrote, he introduced her to members of his family and took her to his private residences. At a January, 2007, launch party in Los Angeles for Trump’s now-defunct liquor brand, Trump Vodka, McDougal, who was photographed entering the event, recalled sitting at a table with Kim Kardashian, Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Trump, Jr.,’s wife, Vanessa, who was pregnant. At one point, Trump held a party for “The Apprentice” at the Playboy Mansion, and McDougal worked as a costumed Playboy bunny. “We took pics together, alone + with his family,” McDougal wrote. She recalled that Trump said he had asked his son Eric “who he thought was the most beautiful girl here + Eric pointed me. Mr. T said ‘He has great taste’ + we laughed!” Trump gave McDougal tours of Trump Tower and his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. In Trump Tower, McDougal wrote, Trump pointed out Melania’s separate bedroom. He “said she liked her space,” McDougal wrote, “to read or be alone.”

McDougal’s account, like those of Clifford and other women who have described Trump’s advances, conveys a man preoccupied with his image. McDougal recalled that Trump would often send her articles about him or his daughter, as well as signed books and sun visors from his golf courses. Clifford recalled Trump remarking that she and Ivanka were similar and proudly showing her a copy of a “money magazine” with his image on the cover.

Trump also promised to buy McDougal an apartment in New York as a Christmas present. Clifford, likewise, said that Trump promised to buy her a condo in Tampa. For Trump, showing off real estate and other branded products was sometimes a prelude to sexual advances. Zervos and a real-estate investor named Rachel Crooks have both claimed that Trump kissed them on the mouth during professional encounters at Trump Tower. Four other women have claimed that Trump forcibly touched or kissed them during tours or events at Mar-a-Lago, his property in Palm Beach, Florida. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing pertaining to the women.)

McDougal ended the relationship in April 2007, after nine months. According to Crawford, the breakup was prompted in part by McDougal’s feelings of guilt. “She couldn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore,” Crawford said. “And she was concerned about what her mother thought of her.” The decision was reinforced by a series of comments Trump made that McDougal found disrespectful, according to several of her friends. When she raised her concern about her mother’s disapproval to Trump, he replied, “What, that old hag?” (McDougal, hurt, pointed out that Trump and her mother were close in age.) On the night of the Miss Universe pageant, McDougal attended, McDougal and a friend rode with Trump in his limousine and the friend mentioned a relationship she had had with an African-American man. According to multiple sources, Trump remarked that the friend liked “the big black dick” and began commenting on her attractiveness and breast size. The interactions angered the friend and deeply offended McDougal.

Speaking carefully for fear of legal reprisal, McDougal responded to questions about whether she felt guilty about the affair, as her friends suggested, by saying that she had found God in the last several years and regretted parts of her past. “This is a new me,” she told me. “If I could go back and do a lot of things differently, I definitely would.”

McDougal readily admitted that she voluntarily sold the rights to her story, but she and sources close to her insisted that the way the sale unfolded was exploitative. Crawford told me that selling McDougal’s story was his idea and that he first raised it when she was living with him, in 2016. “She and I were sitting at the house, and I’m watching him on television,” Crawford said, referring to Trump. “I said, ‘You know, if you had a physical relationship with him, that could be worth something about now.’ And I looked at her and she had that guilty look on her face.”

McDougal, who says she is a Republican, told me that she was reluctant at first to tell her story because she feared that other Trump supporters might accuse her of fabricating it or might even harm her or her family. She also said that she didn’t want to get involved in the heated Presidential contest. “I didn’t want to influence anybody’s election,” she told me. “I didn’t want death threats on my head.” Crawford was only able to persuade her to consider speaking about the relationship after a former friend of McDougal’s began posting about the affair on social media. “I didn’t want someone else telling stories and getting all the details wrong,” McDougal said.

Crawford called a friend who had worked in the adult-film industry who he thought might have media connections, and asked whether a story about Trump having an affair would “be worth something.” That friend, Crawford recalled, was “like a hobo on a ham sandwich” and contacted an attorney named Keith M. Davidson, who also had contacts in the adult-film industry and ties to media companies, including A.M.I. Davidson had developed a track record of selling salacious stories. A slideshow on the client’s page of his Web site includes Sara Leal, who claimed to have slept with the actor Ashton Kutcher while he was married to Demi Moore. Davidson told Crawford that McDougal’s story would be worth “millions.” (Davidson did not respond to a request for comment.)

Dozens of pages of e-mails, texts, and legal documents obtained by The New Yorker revealed how the transaction evolved. Davidson got in touch with A.M.I., and on June 20, 2016, he and McDougal met Dylan Howard, A.M.I.’s chief content officer. E-mails between Howard and Davidson show that A.M.I. initially had little interest in the story. Crawford said that A.M.I.’s first offer was ten thousand dollars.

After Trump won the Republican nomination, however, A.M.I. increased its offer. In an August 2016, e-mail exchange, Davidson encouraged McDougal to sign the deal. McDougal, worried that she would be prevented from talking about a Presidential nominee, asked questions about the nuances of the contract. Davidson responded, “If you deny, you are safe.” He added, “We really do need to get this signed and wrapped up…”

McDougal, who has a new lawyer, Carol Heller, told me that she did not understand the scope of the agreement when she signed it. “I knew that I couldn’t talk about any alleged affair with any married man, but I didn’t really understand the whole content of what I gave up,” she told me.

On August 5, 2016, McDougal signed a limited life-story rights agreement granting A.M.I. exclusive ownership of her account of any romantic, personal, or physical relationship she has ever had with any “then-married man.” Her retainer with Davidson makes explicit that the man in question was Donald Trump. In exchange, A.M.I. agreed to pay her a hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The three men involved in the deal—Davidson, Crawford, and their intermediary in the adult-film industry—took forty-five percent of the payment as fees, leaving McDougal with a total of eighty-two thousand five hundred dollars, billing records from Davidson’s office show. “I feel let down,” McDougal told me. “I’m the one who took it, so it’s my fault, too. But I didn’t understand the full parameters of it.” McDougal terminated her representation by Davidson, but a photograph of McDougal in a bathing suit is still featured prominently on his Web site—according to McDougal, without her permission. The Wall Street Journal reported that, two months after McDougal signed the agreement with A.M.I., Davidson negotiated a nondisclosure agreement between Clifford and Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, for a hundred and thirty thousand dollars. (On Tuesday, Cohen told the Times that he had facilitated the deal with Daniels and paid the money out of his own pocket. Cohen did not respond to a request for comment.)

As voters went to the polls on Election Day, Howard and A.M.I.’s general counsel were on the phone with McDougal and a law firm representing her, promising to boost McDougal’s career and offering to employ a publicist to help her handle interviews. E-mails show that, a year into the contract, the company suggested it might collaborate with McDougal on a skin-care line and a documentary devoted to a medical cause that she cares about, neither of which has come about. The initial contract also called for A.M.I. to publish regular columns by McDougal on aging and wellness, and to “prominently feature” her on two magazine covers. She has appeared on one cover and is in discussions about another, but in the past seventeen months, the company has published only nine of the almost a hundred promised columns. “They blew her off for a long time,” Crawford said. A.M.I. said that McDougal had not delivered the promised columns.

A.M.I. responded quickly, however, when journalists tried to interview McDougal. In May, 2017, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin, who was writing a profile of David Pecker, asked McDougal for comment about her relationships with A.M.I. and Trump. Howard, of A.M.I., working with a publicist retained by the company, forwarded McDougal a draft response with the subject line “SEND THIS.” In August, 2017, Pecker flew McDougal to New York and the two had lunch, during which he thanked her for her loyalty. A few days later, Howard followed up by e-mail, summarizing the plans that had been discussed, including the possibility of McDougal hosting A.M.I.’s coverage of awards shows such as the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars. None of that work materialized. (A.M.I. said that those conversations related to future contracts, not her current one.)

A.M.I.’s interest in McDougal seemed to increase after news broke of Trump’s alleged affair with Clifford. Howard sent an e-mail suggesting that McDougal undergo media training, and a few days later suggested that she could host coverage of the Emmys for OK! Magazine. In an e-mail on January 30th, A.M.I.’s general counsel, Cameron Stracher, talked about renewing her contract and putting her on a new magazine cover. The subject line of the e-mail read, “McDougal contract extension.” Crawford told me, “They got worried that she was going to start talking again, and they came running to her.”

Several people close to McDougal argued that such untold stories could be used as leverage against the President. “I’m sixty-two years old,” Crawford said. “I know how the world goes round.” Without commenting on Trump specifically, McDougal conceded that she had a growing awareness of the broader implications of the President’s situation. “Someone in a high position that controls our country, if they can influence him,” she said, “it’s a big deal.” In a statement, A.M.I. denied that it had any leverage over Trump: “The suggestion that AMI holds any influence over the President of the United States, while flattering, is laughable.”

McDougal fears that A.M.I. will retaliate for her public comments by seeking financial damages in a private arbitration process mandated by a clause of her contract. But she said that changes in her life and the emergence of the #MeToo moment had prompted her to speak. In January, 2017, McDougal had her breast implants removed, citing declining health that she believed to be connected to the implants. McDougal said that confronting illness, and embracing a cause she wanted to speak about, made her feel increasingly conflicted about the moral compromises of silence. “As I was sick and feeling like I was dying and bedridden, all I could do was pray to live. But now I pray to live right, and make right with the wrongs that I have done,” she told me. McDougal also cited the actions of women who have come forward in recent months to describe abuses by high-profile men. “I know it’s a different circumstance,” she said, “but I just think I feel braver. McDougal told me that she hoped speaking out might convince others to wait before signing agreements like hers. “Every girl who speaks,” she said, “is paving the way for another.”

Video

Trump’s Business of Corruption

Adam Davidson follows the money trail in one of the President’s past deals all the way to Vladimir Putin.

VIDEO: The Bottomless Pitt 

Israel - Syria

COMMENTARY: Iran, Israel Battle Openly In Race To Define ‘Rules Of The Game’

Are we seeing the beginning of a much larger war in the Middle East? We sure are and guess who is behind it again – The Tribe. They ‘miraculously’ defeated ISIS but Al Qaeda reemerges like magic. And what is Russia’s role in all this? They are ONE and the same playing opposite sides. The goal is oil, power and total control in Syria and blaming Iran to expand their power in the area. Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting “We made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way. We will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy.” Is it ‘coincidental’ that their tactics always guarantee future hatred and conflict? Isn’t Netanyahu a Kissinger protégé like the rest of world leaders? Reach your own conclusions.

Israel - Syria

“Iran, Israel battle openly in race to define ‘rules of the game’,” Source: nbcnews.com

LONDON — The shift from covert attacks to open fighting between Iran and Israel illustrates that the regime in Tehran feels emboldened enough to confront and provoke its enemy, according to analysts.

Last weekend’s clashes involving an Iranian drone launched from Syria, a downed Israeli jet and retaliatory airstrikes may also signal a new and intensified period of conflict, experts warn.Fighting between Iran and Israel had until now been conducted furtively or through proxies — such as Tehran-backed Lebanese militant group and political party, Hezbollah.Saturday’s confrontation signals “a different level of self-confidence in Tehran and Damascus in terms of them having the upper hand in Syria,” said Ofer Zalzberg, a Jerusalem-based senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.He said Iran, Israel, and Syria would likely continue to test each other’s boundaries as each tries to “define the new rules of the game.” The back-and-forth attacks demonstrate how the conflict in Syria — what began as a civil war nearly seven years ago — has turned into a broader power contest with ramifications for the entire region.The showdown began with Israel shooting down an Iranian reconnaissance drone that Israel claimed had entered its airspace. Israel retaliated for the incursion by striking the Iranian base in Syria from which the drone was operated. A Syrian anti-aircraft missile hit one of the attacking Israeli F-16 jets, which crashed on Israeli soil before the two pilots ejected; both survived, but one was seriously injured.

The incident culminated in the largest set of Israeli airstrikes against Syrian air defenses since the 1982 Lebanon War. The strikes also targeted several Iranian positions in Syria.By downing Iran’s drone and attacking its sites in Syria, Israel signaled that it has little tolerance for a stronger Iranian presence on its northern border. Image: Israeli F-16

An Israeli F-16 that crashed after coming under fire from Syrian air defenses on Saturday. Jack Guez / AFP – Getty Images

But the extent of the damage to Syrian air defenses likely unsettled Russia, given Moscow’s support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and its own presence in the country.

After the second set of Israeli strikes, Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly called Netanyahu and cautioned against further action.

In March 2017, Moscow also summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest a wave of Israeli airstrikes that had reportedly come close to hitting Russian assets in Syria. Moscow has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate attacks on Russian soldiers in Syria.

Image: A map showing Israel, Syria, Iran and Lebanon A map showing countries including Israel, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. 

Russia’s official statement following Saturday’s confrontation condemned Israeli intervention in Syria without mentioning violations of Israeli sovereignty.

Russia’s message to Israel seems to have been “you can attack Iran in Syria, but don’t attack the Syrian military,” suggested Kamal Alam, a visiting fellow at London’s RUSI think tank.

Moscow hopes that last weekend’s clashes gave each side enough of a “bloody nose” to deter them from further fighting, according to Javedanfar.

“We’re seeing the Russians inching toward mitigating the Israeli-Iranian conflict to protect their investment in Damascus,” Zalzberg added.

Yadlin suggested that Israel’s actions were also intended to send a “strong diplomatic message” to the U.S. and Russia.

“Russia is not our enemy, but Russia has different interests than we have,” he said. “I think that instead of pointing fingers we have to try and let the Russians understand that if they will support Iran and Hezbollah there will be an escalation and an escalation is not a Russian interest.”

Yadlin added, “The strategic collision between the Iranian determination to build a force and the Israeli determination not to let them build the force in Syria and Lebanon is a potential for a war.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Manafort

COMMENTARY: The Plot Against America

So who is Paul Manafort? And to what extent did he influence Trump’s election? In this report, Franklin Foer, staff writer of The Atlantic, dives into Manafort’s shady past and exposes Manafort’s connections with key Russian figures. Is Putin behind all this? You bet! The entire Communist machine is and has been behind “Capitalistic West” for centuries! Remember, there are NO two sides in this sick game. And parasites like Manafort are responsible for this diabolical plan to continue in existence. Let’s face it, Trump did NOT ‘just happen’ to Amerika, Trump is the result of the work carried out behind the scenes by those who can be easily corrupted including Mr. Donald Trump. 

Paul Manafort
“The Plot Against America,” Source: theatlantic.com

Paul Manafort, American Hustler

I. The Wisdom of Friends

The clinic permitted Paul Manafort one 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, his voice often soaked in tears. “Apparently he sobs daily,” his daughter Andrea, then 29, texted a friend. During the spring of 2015, Manafort’s life had tipped into a deep trough. A few months earlier, he had intimated to his other daughter, Jessica, that suicide was a possibility. He would “be gone forever,” she texted Andrea.

His work, the source of the status he cherished, had taken a devastating turn. For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. He’d been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom he’d developed a highly personal relationship. Manafort would swim naked with his boss outside his banya, play tennis with him at his palace (“Of course, I let him win,” Manafort made it known), and generally serve as an arbiter of power in a vast country. One of his deputies, Rick Gates, once boasted to a group of Washington lobbyists, “You have to understand, we’ve been working in Ukraine a long time, and Paul has a whole separate shadow government structure … In every ministry, he has a guy.” Only a small handful of Americans—oil executives, Cold War spymasters—could claim to have ever amassed such influence in a foreign regime. The power had helped fill Manafort’s bank accounts; according to his recent indictment, he had tens of millions of dollars stashed in havens like Cyprus and the Grenadines.

Manafort had profited from the sort of excesses that make a country ripe for revolution. And in the early months of 2014, protesters gathered on the Maidan, Kiev’s Independence Square, and swept his patron from power. Fearing for his life, Yanukovych sought protective shelter in Russia. Manafort avoided any harm by keeping a careful distance from the enflamed city. But in his Kiev office, he’d left behind a safe filled with papers that he would not have wanted to fall into public view or the wrong hands.Money, which had always flowed freely to Manafort and which he’d spent more freely still, soon became a problem. After the revolution, Manafort cadged some business from former minions of the ousted president, the ones who hadn’t needed to run for their lives. But he complained about unpaid bills and, at age 66, scoured the world (Hungary, Uganda, Kenya) for fresh clients, hustling without any apparent luck. Andrea noted her father’s “tight cash flow state,” texting Jessica, “He is suddenly extremely cheap.” His change in spending habits was dampening her wedding plans. For her “wedding weekend kick off” party, he suggested scaling back the menu to hot dogs and eliminated a line item for ice.

He seemed unwilling, or perhaps unable, to access his offshore accounts; an FBI investigation scrutinizing his work in Ukraine had begun not long after Yanukovych’s fall. Meanwhile, a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska had been after Manafort to explain what had happened to an $18.9 million investment in a Ukrainian company that Manafort had claimed to have made on his behalf.

Manafort had been dodging Deripaska. The Russian oligarch wanted to know what had become of his money.Manafort had known Deripaska for years, so he surely understood the oligarch’s history. Deripaska had won his fortune by prevailing in the so-called aluminum wars of the 1990s, a corpse-filled struggle, one of the most violent of all the competitions for dominance in a post-Soviet industry. In 2006, the U.S. State Department had revoked Deripaska’s visa, reportedly out of concern over his ties to organized crime (which he has denied). Despite Deripaska’s reputation, or perhaps because of it, Manafort had been dodging the oligarch’s attempts to contact him. As Deripaska’s lawyers informed a court in 2014 while attempting to claw back their client’s money, “It appears that Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have simply disappeared.”

Nine months after the Ukrainian revolution, Manafort’s family life also went into crisis. The nature of his home life can be observed in detail because Andrea’s text messages were obtained last year by a “hacktivist collective”—most likely Ukrainians furious with Manafort’s meddling in their country—which posted the purloined material on the dark web. The texts extend over four years (2012–16) and 6 million words. Manafort has previously confirmed that his daughter’s phone was hacked and acknowledged the authenticity of some texts quoted by Politico and The New York Times. Manafort and Andrea both declined to comment on this article. Jessica could not be reached for comment.Collectively, the texts show a sometimes fraught series of relationships, by turns loving and manipulative. Manafort was generous with his family financially—he’d invested millions in Jessica’s film projects, and millions more in her now ex-husband’s real-estate ventures. But when he called home in tears or threatened suicide in the spring of 2015, he was pleading for his marriage. The previous November, as the cache of texts shows, his daughters had caught him in an affair with a woman more than 30 years his junior. It was an expensive relationship. According to the text messages, Manafort had rented his mistress a $9,000-a-month apartment in Manhattan and a house in the Hamptons, not far from his own. He had handed her an American Express card, which she’d used to good effect. “I only go to luxury restaurants,” she once declared on a friend’s fledgling podcast, speaking expansively about her photo posts on social media: caviar, lobster, haute cuisine.

The affair had been an unexpected revelation. Manafort had nursed his wife after a horseback-riding accident had nearly killed her in 1997. “I always marveled at how patient and devoted he was with her during that time,” an old friend of Manafort’s told me. But after the exposure of his infidelity, his wife had begun to confess simmering marital issues to her daughters. Manafort had committed to couples therapy but, the texts reveal, that hadn’t prevented him from continuing his affair. Because he clumsily obscured his infidelity—and because his mistress posted about their travels on Instagram—his family caught him again, six months later. He entered the clinic in Arizona soon after, according to Andrea’s texts. “My dad,” she wrote, “is in the middle of a massive emotional breakdown.”

By the early months of 2016, Manafort was back in greater Washington, his main residence and the place where he’d begun his career as a political consultant and lobbyist. But his attempts at rehabilitation—of his family life, his career, his sense of self-worth—continued. He began to make a different set of calls. As he watched the U.S. presidential campaign take an unlikely turn, he saw an opportunity, and he badly wanted in. He wrote Donald Trump a crisp memo listing all the reasons he would be an ideal campaign consigliere—and then implored mutual friends to tout his skills to the ascendant candidate.

Shortly before the announcement of his job inside Trump’s campaign, Manafort touched base with former colleagues to let them know of his professional return. He exuded his characteristic confidence, but they surprised him with doubts and worries. Throughout his long career, Manafort had advised powerful men—U.S. senators and foreign supreme commanders, imposing generals and presidents-for-life. He’d learned how to soothe them, how to bend their intransigent wills with his calmly delivered, diligently researched arguments. But Manafort simply couldn’t accept the wisdom of his friends, advice that he surely would have dispensed to anyone with a history like his own—the imperative to shy away from unnecessary attention.

His friends, like all Republican political operatives of a certain age, could recite the legend of Paul Manafort, which they did with fascination, envy, and occasional disdain. When Manafort had arrived in Washington in the 1970s, the place revealed in its shabby glories, most notably a self-satisfied sense of high duty. Wealth came in the form of Georgetown mansions, with their antique imperfections and worn rugs projecting power so certain of itself, it needn’t shout. But that old boarding-school establishment wasn’t Manafort’s style. As he made a name for himself, he began to dress differently than the Brooks Brothers crowd on K Street, more European, with funky, colorful blazers and collarless shirts. If he entertained the notion, say, of moving his backyard swimming pool a few feet, nothing stopped him from the expense. Colleagues, amused by his sartorial quirks and his cosmopolitan lifestyle, referred to him as “the Count of Monte Cristo.”

His acts of rebellion were not merely aesthetic. Manafort rewrote the rules of his adopted city. In the early ’80s, he created a consulting firm that ignored the conventions that had previously governed lobbying. When it came to taking on new clients, he was uninhibited by moral limits. In 2016, his friends might not have known the specifics of his Cyprus accounts, all the alleged off-the-books payments to him captured in Cyrillic ledgers in Kiev. But they knew enough to believe that he could never sustain the exposure that comes with running a presidential campaign in the age of opposition research and aggressive media. “The risks couldn’t have been more obvious,” one friend who attempted to dissuade him from the job told me. But in his frayed state, these warnings failed to register.

When Paul Manafort officially joined the Trump campaign, on March 28, 2016, he represented a danger not only to himself but to the political organization he would ultimately run. A lifetime of foreign adventures didn’t just contain scandalous stories, it evinced the character of a man who would very likely commandeer the campaign to serve his own interests, with little concern for the collective consequences.Over the decades, Manafort had cut a trail of foreign money and influence into Washington, then built that trail into a superhighway. When it comes to serving the interests of the world’s autocrats, he’s been a great innovator. His indictment in October after investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleges money laundering, false statements, and other acts of personal corruption. (He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.) But Manafort’s role in Mueller’s broader narrative remains carefully guarded, and unknown to the public. And his personal corruption is less significant, ultimately, than his lifetime role as a corrupter of the American system. That he would be accused of helping a foreign power subvert American democracy is a fitting coda to his life’s story.

II. The Young Man and His Machine

in the spring of 1977, a 28-year-old Paul Manafort sat at a folding table in a hotel suite in Memphis. Photos from that time show him with a Tom Selleck mustache and meaningful sideburns. He was surrounded by phones that he’d specially installed for the weekend. The desk held his copious binders, which he called “whip books.” Eight hundred delegates had gathered to elect a new leader of the Young Republicans organization, and Manafort, a budding kingmaker, had compiled a dossier on each one. Those whip books provided the basis for deal-making. To wheedle and cajole delegates, it helped to have an idea of what job they wanted in return for their support. Control over the Young Republicans—a political and social network for professionals ages 18 to 40—was a genuine prize in those days. Presidential hopefuls sought to harness the group. This was still the era of brokered presidential conventions, and Young Republicans could descend in numbers sufficient to dominate the state meetings that selected delegates. In 1964, the group’s efforts had arguably secured Barry Goldwater the GOP nomination; by the ’70s every Republican aspirant understood its potency. The attention paid by party elders yielded opportunities for Young Republican leaders. Patronage flowed in their direction. To seize the organization was to come into possession of a baby Tammany.In Memphis, Manafort was working on behalf of his friend Roger Stone, now best known as a pioneer in opposition research and a promiscuous purveyor of conspiracy theories. He managed Stone’s candidacy for chairman of the group. Stone, then 24, revealed in the fact that he’d received his political education during Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972; he even admitted to playing dirty tricks to benefit his idol. Stone and Manafort had met through College Republicans. They shared a home state, an affection for finely tailored power suits, and a deeper love of power itself. Together, they campaigned with gleeful ruthlessness.Even at this early stage in his career, Manafort had acquired a remarkable skill for managing a gathering of great size. He knew how to command an army of loyalists, who took his orders via walkie-talkie. And he knew how to put on a show. In Memphis that year, he rented a Mississippi River paddleboat for a booze cruise and dispatched his whips to work over wavering delegates within its floating confines. To the Young Republican elite, the faction Manafort controlled carried a name that conveyed his expectation of unfailing loyalty: the Team. And in the face of the Team’s prowess, Stone’s rival eventually quit the race, mid-convention. “It’s all been scripted in the back room,” he complained.Manafort had been bred for politics. While he was in high school, his father, Paul Manafort Sr., became the mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, and Manafort Jr. gravitated toward the action—joining a mock city council, campaigning for the gubernatorial candidate Thomas Meskill as part of his Kiddie Corps. For college and law school, he chose Georgetown University, a taxi ride from the big time.In the ’70s, the big time was embodied by James A. Baker III, the shrewdest Republican insider of his generation. During the epic Republican National Convention of 1976, Manafort holed up with Baker in a trailer outside the Kemper Arena, in Kansas City, Missouri. They attempted to protect Gerald Ford’s renomination bid in the face of Ronald Reagan’s energetic challenge; Manafort wrangled delegates on Baker’s behalf. From Baker, he learned the art of ostentatious humility, how to use the knife to butter up and then stab in the back. “He was studying at the feet of the master,” Jeff Bell, a Reagan campaign aide, remembers.
By the late ’70s, Manafort and Stone could foresee Ronald Reagan’s ascendance, and both intended to become players in his 1980 campaign. For Manafort, this was an audacious volte-face. By flipping his allegiance from the former Ford faction, he provoked suspicion among conservatives, who viewed him as a rank opportunist. There was little denying that the Young Republicans made an ideal vehicle for his ambitions.Roger Stone Paul Manafort (left), Roger Stone (center), and Lee Atwater (right) in 1985. Their efforts helped transform how Washington works. (Harry Naltchayan / The Washington Post / Getty)
These ambitions left a trail of damage, including an Alabama lawyer named Neal Acker. During the Memphis convention, Acker had served as a loyal foot soldier on the Team, organizing the southern delegates on Stone’s behalf. In return, Manafort and Stone had promised to throw the Team behind Acker’s campaign to replace Stone as the head of the Young Republicans two years later, in 1979. Manafort would manage the campaign himself.But as the moment of Acker’s coronation approached, Manafort suddenly conditioned his plan. If Acker wanted the job, he had to swear loyalty to Reagan. When Acker ultimately balked—he wanted to stay neutral—Manafort turned on him with fury, “an unprecedented 11th-hour move,” the Associated Press reported. In the week leading up to the 1979 Young Republicans convention, Manafort and Stone set out to destroy Acker’s candidacy. At Manafort’s urging, the delegates who were pledged to Acker bolted—and Manafort took over his opponent’s campaign. In a bravura projection of power that no one in the Reagan campaign could miss, Manafort swung the vote sharply against Acker, 465 to 180. “It was one of the great fuck jobs,” a Manafort whip told me recently.Not long after that, Stone and Manafort won the crucial positions in the Reagan operation that they’d coveted. Stone directed the campaign in the Northeast, Manafort in the South.The campaign had its share of infighting; both men survived factional schisms and purges. “They were known as the Young Republican whizzes,” Jeff Bell told me. Their performance positioned them for inner-sanctum jobs in the Reagan administration, but they had even grander plans.
III. The Firm
.During the years that followed World War II, Washington’s most effective lobbyists transcended the transactional nature of their profession. Men such as Abe Fortas, Clark Clifford, Bryce Harlow, and Thomas Corcoran were known not as grubby mercenaries but as elegant avatars of a permanent establishment, lauded as “wise men.” Lobbying hardly carried a stigma, because there was so little of it. When the legendary lawyer Tommy Boggs registered himself as a lobbyist, in 1967, his name was only 64th on the active list. Businesses simply didn’t consider lobbying a necessity. Three leading political scientists had studied the profession in 1963 and concluded: “When we look at the typical lobby, we find its opportunities to maneuver are sharply limited, its staff mediocre, and its typical problem not the influencing of Congressional votes but finding the clients and contributors to enable it to survive at all.”On the cusp of the Reagan era, Republican lobbyists were particularly enfeebled.Generations of Democratic majorities in Congress had been terrible for business. The scant tribe of Republican lobbyists working the cloakrooms included alumni of the Nixon and Ford administrations; operating under the shame-inducing cloud of Watergate, they were disinclined toward either ambition or aggression.
This was the world that brash novices like Manafort and Stone quickly came to dominate. The Reagan administration represented a break with the old Republican establishment. After the long expansion of the regulatory state, business finally had a political partner eager to dismantle it—which generated unprecedented demand for lobbyists.
Manafort could convincingly claim to know the new administration better than anyone. During its transition to power, he was the personnel coordinator in the Office of Executive Management, which meant that he’d stacked the incoming government with his people.* Along with Stone and Charlie Black, another veteran of the Young Republican wars, he set up a firm, Black, Manafort and Stone, which soon compiled an imposing client list: Bethlehem Steel, the Tobacco Institute, Johnson & Johnson, Trans World Airlines. Whereas other firms had operated in specialized niches—lobbying, consulting, public relations—Black, Manafort and Stone bundled all those services under one roof, a deceptively simple move that would eventually help transform Washington.

Time magazine deemed the operation “the ultimate supermarket of influence peddling.” Fred Wertheimer, a good-government advocate, described this expansive approach as “institutionalized conflict of interest.” The linkage of lobbying to political consulting—the creation of what’s now known as a double-breasted operation—was the real breakthrough. Manafort’s was the first lobbying firm to also house political consultants. (Legally, the two practices were divided into different companies, but they shared the same founding partners and the same office space.)

One venture would run campaigns; the other would turn around and lobby the politicians whom their colleagues had helped elect. The consulting side hired the hard-edged operative Lee Atwater, notorious for pioneering race-baiting tactics on behalf of Strom Thurmond. “We’re getting into servicing what we sell,” Atwater told his friends. Just as imagined, the firm’s political clients (Jesse Helms, Phil Gramm, Arlen Specter) became reliable warhorses when the firm needed them to promote the agendas of its corporate clients. With this evolution of the profession, the effectiveness and influence of lobbying grew in tandem.In 1984, the firm reached across the aisle. It made a partner of Peter Kelly, a former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who had earned the loyalty of lawmakers by raising millions for their campaigns. Some members of the firm worked for Democratic Senate candidates in Louisiana, Vermont, and Florida, even as operatives down the hall worked for their Republican foes. “People said, ‘It’s un-American,’ ” Kelly told me. “ ‘They can’t lose. They have both sides.’ I kept saying, ‘How is it un-American to win?’ ” This sense of invincibility permeated the lobbying operation too.When Congress passed tax-reform legislation in 1986, the firm managed to get one special rule inserted that saved Chrysler-Mitsubishi $58 million; it wrangled another clause that reaped Johnson & Johnson $38 million in savings. Newsweek pronounced the firm “the hottest shop in town.”Manafort’s lobbying firm exuded the decadent spirit of the ’80s. “Excess Is Best” was the theme of one annual gathering.

Demand for its services rose to such heights that the firm engineered a virtual lock on the 1988 Republican primary. Atwater became the chief strategist for George H. W. Bush; Black worked with Bob Dole; Stone advised Jack Kemp. A congressional staffer joked to Time, “Why have primaries for the nomination? Why not have the candidates go over to Black, Manafort and Stone and argue it out?” Manafort cultivated this perception. In response to a questionnaire in The Washington Times, he declared Machiavelli the person he would most like to meet.

Despite his young age, Manafort projected the sort of confidence that inspires others to have confidence, a demeanor often likened to that of a news anchor. “He is authoritative, and you never see a chink in the armor,” one of his longtime deputies, Philip Griffin, told me. Manafort wrote well, especially in proposals to prospective clients, and excelled at thinking strategically. Name-dropping never substituted for concrete steps that would bolster a client. “If politics has done anything, it’s taught us to treat everything as a campaign,” he once declared. He toiled for clients with unflagging intensity. His wife once quipped, according to the text messages, that Andrea was conceived between conference calls. He “hung up the phone, looked at his watch, and said, ‘Okay, we have 20 minutes until the next one,’ ” Andrea wrote to her then-fiancé.The firm exuded the decadent spirit of the 1980s. Each year, it hosted a golf outing called Boodles, after the gin brand. “It would have to move almost every year, because we weren’t invited back,” John Donaldson, an old friend of Manafort’s who worked at the firm, says. “A couple of women in the firm complained that they weren’t ever invited. I told them they didn’t want to be.” As the head of the firm’s “social committee,” Manafort would supply a theme for the annual gatherings. His masterwork was a three-year progression: “Excess,” followed by “Exceed Excess,” capped by “Excess Is Best.”Partners at the firm let it be known to The Washington Post that they each intended to take home at least $450,000 in 1986 (a little more than $1 million today). “All of a sudden they came into a lot of money, and I don’t think any of them were used to earning the money that we were earning,” Kelly said. Senior partners were given luxury cars and a membership to the country club of their choosing. Manafort would fly the Concorde to Europe and back as if it were the Acela to New York. “I must confess,” Atwater swooned to The Washington Post, “after four years on a government payroll, I’m delighted with my new lifestyle.”Paul Manafort

Manafort with the Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole at the 1996 GOP convention, which Manafort managed (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / Getty)

The firm hired kids straight out of college—“wheelmen” in the office vernacular—to drive the partners around town. When Roger Stone’s old hero, Richard Nixon, came to Washington, the wheelmen would shuttle him about.Many of these young associates would eventually climb the firm’s ladder and were often dispatched to manage campaigns on the firm’s behalf. Climbing the ladder, however, in most cases required passing what came to be known as Manafort’s “loyalty tests”—challenging tasks that strayed outside the boundaries of standard professional commitment and demonstrated the control that Manafort expected to exert over the associates’ lives. At the last minute, he might ask a staffer to entertain his visiting law-school buddies, never mind that the staffer had never met them before. For one Saint Patrick’s Day party, he gave two junior staffers 24 hours to track down a plausible impersonator of Billy Barty, the 3-foot-9-inch actor who made movies with Mickey Rooney and Chevy Chase—which they did. “This was in the days before the internet,” one of them told me. “Can you imagine how hard that was?”

IV.  Man of the World 

By the 1990s, the double-digit list of registered lobbyists that Tommy Boggs had joined back in 1967 had swelled to more than 10,000. Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly had greatly abetted that transformation and stood to profit from the rising flood of corporate money into the capital. But by then, domestic politics had begun to feel a little small, a bit too unexotic, for Paul Manafort, whom Charlie Black described to me as a self-styled “adventurer.” Manafort had long befriended ambitious young diplomats at the trailhead to power, including Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, then the Saudi ambassador to Washington.When Bandar attended the 1984 Republican National Convention, Manafort dedicated a small group of advance men to smooth his way. Manafort arranged for Bandar to arrive at the presidential entrance, then had him whisked to seats in the vice-presidential box. Foreign lobbying had certainly existed before the ’80s, but it was limited in scale and operated under a penumbra of suspicion. Just before World War II, Congress had passed the Foreign Agents Registration Act, largely in response to the campaigns orchestrated by Ivy Lee, an American publicist hired by the German Dye Trust to soften the image of the Third Reich. Congress hadn’t outlawed influence peddling on behalf of foreign interests, but the practice sat on the far fringes of K Street. Paul Manafort helped change that. The Reagan administration had remade the contours of the Cold War, stepping up the fight against communism worldwide by funding and training guerrilla armies and right-wing military forces, such as the Nicaraguan contras and the Afghan mujahideen. This strategy of military outsourcing—the Reagan Doctrine—aimed to overload the Soviet Union with confrontations that it couldn’t sustain.

All of the money Congress began spending on anti-communist proxies represented a vast opportunity. Iron-fisted dictators and scruffy commandants around the world hoped for a share of the largesse. To get it, they needed help refining their image, so that Congress wouldn’t look too hard at their less-than-liberal tendencies. Other lobbyists sought out authoritarian clients, but none did so with the focused intensity of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly. The firm would arrange for image-buffing interviews on American news programs; it would enlist allies in Congress to unleash money. Back home, it would help regimes acquire the whiff of democratic legitimacy that would bolster their standing in Washington.The firm won clients because it adeptly marketed its ties to the Reagan administration, and then the George H. W. Bush administration after that.In one proposal, reported in The New York Times in 1988, the firm advertised its “personal relationships” with officials and promised to “upgrade” back channels “in the economic and foreign policy spheres.” No doubt it helped to have a friend in James Baker, especially after he became the secretary of state under Bush. “Baker would send the firm clients,” Kelly remembered. “He wanted us to help lead these guys in a better direction.” But moral improvement never really figured into Manafort’s calculus. “Generally speaking, I would focus on how to bring the client in sync with western European or American values,” Kelly told me. “Paul took the opposite approach.” (Kelly and Manafort have not spoken in recent years; the former supported Hillary Clinton in the last presidential campaign.)In her memoir, Riva Levinson, a managing director at the firm from 1985 to 1995, wrote that when she protested to her boss that she needed to believe in what she was doing, Manafort told her that it would “be my downfall in this business.” The firm’s client base grew to include dictatorial governments in Nigeria, Kenya, Zaire, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, among others. Manafort’s firm was a primary subject of scorn in a 1992 report issued by the Center for Public Integrity called “The Torturers’ Lobby.”

The firm’s international business accelerated when the Philippines became a client, in 1985. President Ferdinand Marcos desperately needed a patina of legitimacy: The 1983 assassination of the chief opposition leader, Benigno Aquino Jr., had imperiled U.S. congressional support for his regime. Marcos hired Manafort to lift his image; his wife, Imelda, personally delivered an initial payment of $60,000 to the firm while on a trip to the States. When Marcos called a snap election to prove his democratic bona fides in 1986, Manafort told Time, “What we’ve tried to do is make it more of a Chicago-style election and not Mexico’s.” The quip was honest, if unintentionally so. In the American political lexicon, Chicago-style elections were generally synonymous with mass voter fraud. The late pollster Warren Mitofsky traveled to the Philippines with CBS News to set up and conduct an exit poll for the election. When he returned, he told the political scientist Sam Popkin the story of how a representative of Manafort’s firm had asked him, “What sort of margin might make a Marcos victory legitimate?” The implication was clear, Popkin told me: “How do we rig this thing and still satisfy the Americans?” The firm’s most successful right-wing makeover was of the Angolan guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi, a Maoist turned anti-communist insurgent, whose army committed atrocities against children and conscripted women into sexual slavery. During the general’s 1986 trip to New York and Washington, Manafort and his associates created what one magazine called “Savimbi Chic.” Dressed in a Nehru suit, Savimbi was driven around in a stretch limousine and housed in the Waldorf-Astoria and the Grand Hotel, projecting an image of refinement. The firm had assiduously prepared him for the mission, sending him monthly reports on the political climate in Washington. According to The Washington Post, “He was meticulously coached on everything from how to answer his critics to how to compliment his patrons.” Savimbi emerged from his tour as a much-championed “freedom fighter.” When the neoconservative icon Jeane Kirkpatrick introduced Savimbi at the American Enterprise Institute, she declared that he was a “linguist, philosopher, poet, politician, warrior … one of the few authentic heroes of our time.”

This was a racket—Savimbi paid the firm $600,000 in 1985 alone—that Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly did its best to keep alive; the firm’s own business was tied to Savimbi’s continued rebellion against Angola’s leftist regime. As the country stood on the brink of peace talks in the late ’80s, after nearly 15 years of bloody civil war, the firm helped secure fresh batches of arms for its client, emboldening Savimbi to push forward with his military campaign. Former Senator Bill Bradley wrote in his memoir, “When Gorbachev pulled the plug on Soviet aid to the Angolan government, we had absolutely no reason to persist in aiding Savimbi. But by then he had hired an effective Washington lobbying firm.” The war continued for more than a decade, killing hundreds of thousands of Angolans.

V. The Family Business 

“Paul’s not especially ideological,” his former partner Charlie Black told me recently. Many of Manafort’s colleagues at Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly professed to believe in the conservative catechism. Words like freedom and liberty flowed through their everyday musings. But Manafort seldom spoke of first principles or political ideals. He descends from a different kind of political lineage, and in his formative experience one can see the makings of his worldview. Back in the ’60s, Manafort’s hometown, New Britain, Connecticut, was known as Hardware City. It housed the factory that turned out Stanley tools and was a tangle of ethnic enclaves—Poles, Italians, Irish, Ukrainians. Nancy Johnson, who served New Britain in Congress, told me that when she arrived in the city during those years, she couldn’t believe how little it interacted with the outside world. “It was a small city and very ingrown. When my kids were in high school, the number of their classmates who hadn’t been to Hartford was stunning.” Hartford, the state capital, is a 15-minute drive from New Britain.

In 1919, not long after the Manaforts emigrated from Naples, the family founded a demolition company, New Britain House Wrecking, which eventually became Manafort Brothers, a force in local construction. When Manafort’s father, Paul Sr., ran for mayor in 1965, he was a lonely Republican attempting to seize a blue bastion. But he had the schmoozing gene, as well as an unmistakable fierceness. Paul Carver, a former New Britain City Council member and a protégé of the old man, told me, “It was like going to the bar with your grandfather. He would stick his hand out and buy a round of drinks. He knew almost everybody in town.” Paul Jr., known as P.J. to his friends, idolized his dad, plunging himself into the campaign, whose success he would decades later describe as “magic.” Over the years, he would remain a devoted son. All the partners in his firm came to know his father, running into him at parties that P.J. hosted in his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home. “He was dedicated to him,” Nancy Johnson told me.The elder Manafort’s outsize capacity for charm made him the sort of figure whose blemishes tend to be wiped from public memory. But in 1981, he was charged with perjury for testimony that he had provided in a municipal corruption investigation. New Britain police had been accused of casting a blind eye toward illegal gambling in the city—and of tampering with evidence to protect Joseph “Pippi” Guerriero, a member of the DeCavalcante crime family.

Several investigations into the tampering drilled through New Britain’s rotten government. The most devastating report came from Palmer McGee, a Hartford lawyer hired by New Britain to sort through its muck. In his findings, he pointed a finger straight at Manafort Sr., calling him the person “most at fault.” According to the testimony of a whistle-blower, Manafort had flatly announced that he wanted to hire someone “flexible” to manage his personnel office, a place that would “not [be] 100 percent by the rules.” The whistle-blower also testified that he had delivered an envelope to Manafort’s home containing the answers to the exam that aspiring police officers had to pass—and that Manafort had given it to two candidates via a relative. Manafort never denied receiving the envelope but insisted that he’d merely asked for “boning-up materials.”A statute of limitations precluded prosecutors from filing charges against Manafort for the alleged crime of test-fixing—and ultimately he was never convicted of perjury. But his arrest caused the Hartford Courant to compile a list of dealings that reflected badly on him: “Throughout his more than twenty years in public life, he has been the focus of controversy, and several accusations of wrongdoing.” The litany includes a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development accusing him of steering contracts to Manafort Brothers, whose stock he still owned while mayor. When investors from Florida built a jai alai arena in Bridgeport—using the Teamsters’ pension fund to finance the project—Manafort had “improperly” finagled its environmental permit. His family business had then inflated the fees for its work on the arena so that cash could be kicked back to the Teamsters. (The business admitted to inflating its fees, but a grand jury declined to issue an indictment.) Even before this scandal broke, a former mayor of New Britain blasted Manafort for behavior that “violates the very essence of morality.”Conventional wisdom suggests that the temptations of Washington, D.C., corrupt all the idealists, naïfs, and ingenues who settle there. But what if that formulation gets the causation backwards? What if it took an outsider to debase the capital and create the so-called swamp? When Paul Manafort Jr. broke the rules, when he operated outside of a moral code, he was really following the example he knew best. As he later said of his work with his father in an interview with a local Connecticut paper, “Some of the skills that I learned there I still use today … That’s where I cut my teeth.”

VI. Al Assir 

By the late 1980s, Manafort had a new friend from abroad, whom he mentioned to his partners more than any other, an arms dealer from Lebanon named Abdul Rahman Al Assir. “His name kept popping up,” Peter Kelly remembered. While Al Assir never rated much attention in the American press, he had a familial connection who did. He was, for a time, the brother-in-law of the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, the middleman used in the arms-for-hostages scheme that became the Iran-Contra scandal. In the early ’80s, Khashoggi was worth $4 billion; his biography, published in 1986, was titled The Richest Man in the World. At the height of his wealth, Khashoggi spent $250,000 a day to maintain his lifestyle—which reportedly included a dozen houses, 1,000 suits, a $70 million yacht, and a customized airplane, which has been described as a “flying Las Vegas discotheque.”Al Assir was the Khashoggi empire’s representative in Spain and a broker of big weapons sales to African armies. He’d ensconced himself among the rich and famous, the set that skied in Gstaad, Switzerland, and summered in the south of France. The London-based Arabic-language magazine Sourakia wrote, “The miracle of Al Assir is that he will have lunch with Don Juan Carlos [the king of Spain], dinner with Hassan II [the king of Morocco], and breakfast the next day with Felipe González [the prime minister of Spain].” Manafort suggested to his partners that Al Assir might help connect the firm to clients around the world. He wanted to increase the firm’s global reach. Manafort’s exploration of the outermost moral frontiers of the influence business had already exposed him to kleptocrats, thugs, and other dubious characters. But none of these relationships imprinted themselves more deeply than his friendship and entrepreneurial partnership with Al Assir. By the ’90s, the two had begun to put together big deals. One of the more noteworthy was an arms sale they helped broker between France and Pakistan, lubricated by bribes and kickbacks involving high-level officials in both countries, that eventually led to murder allegations.

The arms dealer Al Assir introduced Manafort to an aristocratic world that exceeded anything he had ever known.

It all arguably began with a 1993 dinner hosted by Manafort in his Virginia home and attended by Pakistan’s prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto had just returned to power after three years in the opposition, and Manafort badly wanted her business. She knew of him as a skilled manipulator of public opinion, and throughout the meal, Manafort displayed his most strategic, most charming self. One former Pakistani official who attended the dinner told me that Bhutto came away determined to make use of his services. She suggested that Manafort work with the Pakistani intelligence service. Spooks in Islamabad had observed the international rush to hire Washington lobbyists, and they had been clamoring for one of their own.

At about that same time, Pakistan was looking to upgrade its submarine fleet, and European arms contractors raced to hawk their wares. In the end, France’s state-owned manufacturer won the contract—and Al Assir was added as an intermediary at the last minute. An ensuing scandal that is still unfolding, some 20 years later, would entangle both Al Assir and Manafort. It entailed alleged kickbacks into the 1995 presidential campaign of Édouard Balladur, apparently arranged by the French defense minister. Al Assir seems to have been a key conduit of the kickbacks. Years later, in 2002, a car bomb went off in Karachi, killing 11 French naval engineers in transit to the shipyard where the submarines were being assembled, along with three Pakistanis. One theory, fervently supported by some of the engineers’ families, holds that the bombing was orchestrated by Pakistani officials who were disgruntled that the bribes promised to them as part of the deal had never arrived.

Manafort was not a central figure in this scandal and was never charged with any wrongdoing. But as the former Pakistani official told me, “He was an introducer—and he received a fee for his part.” Documents show that Manafort earned at least $272,000 as a consultant to the Balladur campaign, although, as Manafort later conceded to French investigators, it was Al Assir who actually paid him. (Balladur has denied any wrongdoing and doesn’t recall Manafort working for him. Al Assir could not be reached for comment on this story.)

Manafort and Al Assir were more than business partners. “They were very brotherly,” one mutual acquaintance of theirs told me. Manafort took Al Assir as his guest to George H. W. Bush’s inauguration, in 1989. When Al Assir and his second wife had a child, Manafort became the godfather. Their families vacationed together near Cannes. Al Assir introduced Manafort to an aristocratic world that exceeded anything he had ever known. “There’s money, and there’s really big money,” a friend of Manafort’s told me. “Paul became aware of the difference between making $300,000 and $5 million. He discovered the south of France. Al Assir would show him how to live that life.” “Colleagues at Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly noticed changes that accompanied the flowering of the friendship. Manafort’s sartorial style began to pay homage to Al Assir, with flourishes of the European dandy. Suddenly he started wearing unconventional shirts and suede loafers without socks. In the firm’s early years, Manafort had been a fixture of the office, a general presiding over his headquarters. But now he frequently flew off to France or Spain, collaborating with Al Assir on projects that remained a mystery to his subordinates, and even to his partners. “Paul went off on different foreign things that none of us knew about,” Peter Kelly told me.

Manafort’s lifestyle came to feature opulent touches that stood out amid the relative fustiness of Washington. When Andrea expressed an interest in horseback riding, Manafort bought a farm near Palm Beach, then stocked it with specially bred horses imported from Ireland, which required a full-time staff to tend. John Donaldson, Manafort’s friend, recalls, “He was competing with the Al Assirs of the world—and he wanted to live in that lifestyle.”

Manafort's Estate
Manafort’s Hamptons estate includes a putting green and a basketball court. He believed only “suckers stay out of debt,” a former colleague says. (Google Maps)

There were always suspicions among Manafort’s colleagues in the firm that he was making money for himself without regard for his partners. Al Assir’s occasional appearance in the international press lent these suspicions weight. One deal brokered by Al Assir helped crash a private bank in Lisbon. In 2002, he and Manafort persuaded the bank to invest 57 million euros in a Puerto Rican biometrics company. According to reporting by the Portuguese newspaper Observador, Manafort was the lead American investor in the company; his involvement helped justify the bank’s investment, despite evidence of the company’s faulty products and lax accounting. Al Assir is alleged to have extracted bloated commissions from the deal and to have pocketed some of the bank’s loans. Manafort reportedly made $1.5 million selling his shares of the biometrics firm before the company eventually came tumbling down.Stories about Manafort’s slipperiness have acquired mythic status. In the summer of 2016, Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, now with The New York Times, wrote a rigorous exegesis of a long-standing rumor: Manafort was said to have walked away with $10 million in cash from Ferdinand Marcos, money he promised he would deliver to Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign (which itself would have been illegal). Vogel relied in part on the 1996 memoir of Ed Rollins, a Republican consultant and Reagan’s reelection-campaign director. In the book, Rollins recounted a dinner-party conversation with a member of the Filipino congress who claimed to have personally given a suitcase of cash to a “well-known Washington power lobbyist” involved in the Marcos campaign. Rollins would neither confirm nor deny that the lobbyist was Manafort, though his description doesn’t leave much uncertainty, and he conceded in an email that “it’s a pretty good guess.” Rollins admits in his book to being “stunned” by what he heard—“not in a state of total disbelief, though, because I knew the lobbyist well and I had no doubt the money was now in some offshore bank.” This irked Rollins greatly: “I ran the [Reagan] campaign for $75,000 a year, and this guy got $10 million in cash.”Manafort has always denied Rollins’s insinuation—“old stuff that never had any legs,” he told Vogel. And as a practical matter, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could stuff $10 million in a suitcase. Still, Vogel found a raft of circumstantial evidence that suggested the plausibility of the tale. When I asked Manafort’s former colleagues about the Apocrypha, they couldn’t confirm the story. But some didn’t struggle to imagine it might be true, either. Even though John Donaldson doubts the veracity of the tale, he told me that it persists because it reflects Manafort’s ethics. “I know how Paul would view it. Paul would sit there and say, ‘These guys can’t get access to Reagan. I can get them access to Reagan. They want to give $10 million to Reagan. Reagan can’t take $10 million. I’ll take the $10 million. They think they’ll be getting their influence. Everybody’s happy.’ ”Another alumnus of Manafort’s firm answered my questions about the Marcos money with an anecdote. After the election of George H. W. Bush, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly agreed to help organize the inauguration festivities. The firm commissioned a company from Rhode Island to sell memorabilia on the parade route—T-shirts, buttons, and the like. After crews had taken down the reviewing stand and swept up the debris, the alumnus recalled, a vendor showed up in the office with a bag full of cash. To the disbelief of his colleague, Manafort had arranged to take his own cut. “It was a Paul tax,” the former employee told me. “I guess he needed a new deck. But this was classic: Somebody else does the work, and he walks away with the bag of cash.”

Having spent so much time in the company of oligarchs, Manafort decided to become one himself.

Colleagues suspected the worst about Manafort because they had observed his growing mania for accumulating property, how he’d bought second, third, and fourth homes. “He would buy a house without ever seeing it,” one former colleague told me. His Hamptons estate came with a putting green, a basketball court, a pool, and gardens. “He believed that suckers stay out of debt,” the colleague told me. His unrestrained spending and pile of debt required a perpetual search for bigger paydays and riskier ventures. In 1991, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly was purchased by the mega public-affairs firm Burson-Marsteller, the second-largest agency in the world. It was a moment of consolidation in the industry, where the biggest players came to understand how much money could be made from the model that Manafort had created. But nearly as soon as Burson acquired the firm, Tom Bell, the head of its Washington office, began to notice the ways in which Manafort hadn’t played by the rules. He’d been operating as a freelancer, working on projects that never went to the bottom line. In 1995, Manafort left Burson. Taking a handful of colleagues with him, he started a new firm—Davis, Manafort and Freedman—and a new chapter, one that would see him enter the sphere of the Kremlin.

VII. The Master of Kiev 

During the 1980s and ’90s, an arms dealer had stood at the pinnacle of global wealth. In the new century, post-Soviet oligarchs climbed closer to that position. Manafort’s ambitions trailed that shift. His new firm found its way to a fresh set of titans, with the help of an heir to an ancient fortune.In 2003, Rick Davis, a partner in Manafort’s new firm, was invited to the office of a hedge fund in Midtown Manhattan. The summons didn’t reveal the name of the man requesting his presence. When Davis arrived, he found himself pumping the hand of the Honorable Nathaniel Philip Victor James Rothschild, the British-born financier known as Nat. Throughout his young career, Nat had fascinated the London press with his love interests, his residences, and his shrewd investments. For his 40th birthday, he threw himself a legendary party in the Balkan state of Montenegro, which reportedly cost well over $1 million—a three-day festival of hedonism, with palm trees imported from Uruguay.Russian oligarchs were drawn to Rothschild, whose name connoted power—and he to them. “He likes this wild world,” Anders Åslund, a friend of Rothschild’s, told me. Rothschild invested heavily in post-communist economies and became a primary adviser (and a friend) to the young Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Rothschild and Deripaska fed off each other’s grand ambitions. Like a pair of old imperialists, they imagined new, sympathetic governments across eastern Europe that would accommodate and protect their investments. Their project required the type of expertise that Manafort had spent years accumulating. In 2004, Rothschild hired Manafort’s new firm to resurrect the influence of an exiled Georgian politician, a former KGB operative and friend of Deripaska’s then living in Moscow. This made for a heavy lift because the operative had recently been accused in court as a central plotter in a conspiracy to assassinate the country’s president, Eduard Shevardnadze. (He denied involvement.) The rehabilitation scheme never fully developed, but a few years later, Rick Davis triumphantly managed a referendum campaign that resulted in the independence of Montenegro—an effort that Deripaska funded with the hope of capturing the country’s aluminum industry.Deripaska’s interests were not only financial. He was always looking to curry favor with the Russian state. An August 2007 email sent by Lauren Goodrich, an analyst for the global intelligence firm Stratfor, and subsequently posted on WikiLeaks, described Deripaska boasting to her about how he had set himself up “to be indispensable to Putin and the Kremlin.”

This made good business sense since he had witnessed the Kremlin expropriate the vast empires of oligarchs such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky who’d dared to challenge Putin. In fact, the Kremlin came to consider Deripaska an essential proxy. When the United States denied Deripaska a visa, the Russians handed him a diplomatic passport, which permitted him to make his way to Washington and New York.Manafort understood how highly Deripaska valued his symbiotic relationship with the Kremlin. According to the Associated Press, he pitched a contract in 2005, proposing that Deripaska finance an effort to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet Republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.” (Deripaska says he never took Manafort up on this proposal.)The Kremlin’s grip on its old Soviet sphere was especially precarious in the early aughts. President George W. Bush’s democratic agenda espoused an almost messianic sense of how the United States could unleash a new age of freedom. The grandiloquent American rhetoric posed an existential threat to entrenched rulers of the region who were friendly to Russia, and who had become rich by plundering state resources. Suddenly, the threat of democratic revolution no longer felt theoretical.The risks of popular uprising were very much on Rothschild’s and Deripaska’s minds during the last months of 2004, when they handed Manafort a specific task. Ukraine had descended into political crisis, one that jeopardized business interests they’d already developed in the country (Rothschild had various private-equity investments; Deripaska had an aluminum smelter). They sent Manafort to Kiev to understand how they might minimize the dangers.Of all Paul Manafort’s foreign adventures, Ukraine most sustained his attention, ultimately to the exclusion of his other business. The country’s politics are hardly as simple as commonly portrayed; corruption extends its tentacles into all the major parties. Still, the narrative of Manafort’s time in Ukraine isn’t terribly complicated. He worked on behalf of a clique of former gangsters from the country’s east, oligarchs who felt linguistic and cultural affinity to Russia, and who wanted political control of the entire nation. When Manafort arrived, the candidate of this clique, Viktor Yanukovych, was facing allegations that he had tried to rig the 2004 presidential election with fraud and intimidation, and possibly by poisoning his opponent with dioxin. He lost the election anyway, despite having imported a slew of consultants from Moscow. After that humiliating defeat, Yanukovych and the oligarchs who’d supported him were desperate for a new guru.

Yanukovich Ferdinand Marcos (left), Viktor Yanukovych (center), and Jonas Savimbi (right) are among the many strongmen whom Manafort has advised and assisted. (AP; Dmitry Azarov / Kommersant Photo; Selwyn Tait / Getty)

By the time Manafort first entertained the possibility of working with Yanukovych, the defeated candidate had just returned to Kiev following a brief self-imposed exile at a Czech resort. They met at an old movie palace that had been converted into the headquarters for his political organization, the Party of Regions. When Manafort entered the grandiose building, the place was a mausoleum and Yanukovych a pariah. “People avoided him,” Philip Griffin said. “He was radioactive.” Manafort groomed Yanukovych to resemble, well, himself. Åslund, who had advised the Ukrainian government on economic policy, told me, “Yanukovych and Manafort are almost exactly the same size. So they are big, tall men. He got Yanukovych to wear the same suits as he did and to comb the hair backwards as he does.” Yanukovych had been wooden in public and in private, but “Manafort taught him how to smile and how to do small talk.” And he did it all quietly, “from a back seat. He did it very elegantly.” He also directed Yanukovych’s party to harp on a single theme each week—say, the sorry condition of pensioners. These were not the most-sophisticated techniques, but they had never been deployed in Ukraine. Yanukovych was proud of his American turn. After he hired Manafort, he invited U.S. Ambassador John Herbst to his office, placed a binder containing Manafort’s strategy in front of him, and announced, “I’m going with Washington.” Manafort often justified his work in Ukraine by arguing that he hoped to guide the country toward Europe and the West. But his polling data suggested that Yanukovych should accentuate cultural divisions in the country, playing to the sense of victimization felt by Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine. And sure enough, his clients railed against Nato expansion. When a U.S. diplomat discovered a rabidly anti-American speech on the Party of Regions’ website, Manafort told him, “But it isn’t on the English version.” Yanukovych’s party succeeded in the parliamentary elections beyond all expectations, and the oligarchs who’d funded it came to regard Manafort with immense respect. As a result, Manafort began spending longer spans of time in Ukraine. One of his greatest gifts as a businessman was his audacity, and his Ukrainian benefactors had amassed enormous fortunes. The outrageous amounts that Manafort billed, sums far greater than any he had previously received, seemed perfectly normal. An associate of Manafort’s described the system this way: “Paul would ask for a big sum,” Yanukovych would approve it, and then his chief of staff “would go to the other oligarchs and ask them to kick in. ‘Hey, you need to pay a million.’ They would complain, but Yanukovych asked, so they would give.” When Yanukovych won the presidency in 2010, he gave Manafort walk in” privileges, allowing him to stroll into the inner sanctum of the presidential offices at any time. Yanukovych could be bullheaded, and as his presidency progressed, he increasingly cut himself off from advisers. Manafort, however, knew how to change Yanukovych’s mind, using polling and political arguments to make his case. Oleg Voloshyn, a former spokesman in the foreign-affairs ministry, told me that his own boss, the foreign minister, eventually turned to Manafort to carry messages and make arguments regarding foreign-policy priorities on his behalf. “Yanukovych would listen to him,” Voloshyn told me, “when our arguments were ignored.”

VIII. A Reversal of Fortune.

Before everything exploded in Ukraine, Manafort saw the country as his golden land, the greatest of his opportunities. But his role as adviser, as powerful as it was, never quite matched his own buccaneering sense of self. After spending so much time in the company of Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, he set out to become an oligarch himself. Rick Davis declared their firm to be mostly “in the deal business,” according to James Harding’s 2008 book, Alpha Dogs: The Americans Who Turned Political Spin Into a Global Business. “The thing I love,” Davis said, “is that the political elites and the economic elites in every other country but the United States of America are the same.” The elected officials and the people “running the elections are the richest people in the country, who own all the assets.”In 2006, Rick Gates, who’d begun as a wheelman at the old firm, arrived in Kiev. (Gates did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this article.) Manafort placed him at the helm of a new private-equity firm he’d created called Pericles. He intended to raise $200 million to bankroll investments in Ukraine and Russia. “It was a virgin market in virtually any industry you wanted to pick up,”  Philip Griffin told me.Manafort had always intended to rely on financing from Oleg Deripaska to fund Pericles. In 2007, Manafort persuaded him to commit $100 million to the project, a sum that would have hardly made a dent in the oligarch’s fortune. On the eve of the 2008 global financial crisis, he was worth $28 billion.Deripaska handed his money to Paul Manafort because he trusted him. Manafort repeatedly traveled to the oligarch’s Moscow office, where they would sit for hours and tour the business and political horizon of the former Eastern Bloc. Deripaska had become a billionaire in his 30s and acquired the noisy pretensions of young wealth. He wanted to become the global face of Russia, he said. But that would require overcoming the reputation that stalked him, and Manafort could help. In 2001, before Manafort and Deripaska met, the World Economic Forum in Davos had withdrawn its invitation to the oligarch, as a court examined his alleged misdeeds in the course of erecting his empire. (The case was eventually dismissed.) Five years after the Davos rejection, Rick Davis shepherded Deripaska around the elite confab, taking him to a party brimming with U.S. senators, including John McCain.For Pericles’s first deal, Manafort used Deripaska’s money to buy a telecommunications firm in Odessa called Chorne More (“Black Seas,” in English) at a cost of $18.9 million. He also charged a staggering $7.35 million in management fees for overseeing the venture.But months after the Chorne More purchase, the 2008 financial crisis hit, gutting Deripaska’s net worth. It plummeted so far that he needed a $4.5 billion bailout from the Russian state bank to survive. The loan included an interest payment in the form of abject humiliation: Putin traveled to one of Deripaska’s factories and berated him on television.As Deripaska’s world came crashing down, his representatives asked Manafort to liquidate Pericles and give him back his fair share. Manafort had little choice but to agree. But that promise never translated into action. An audit of Chorne More that Rick Gates said was underway likewise never materialized. Then, in 2011, Manafort stopped responding to Deripaska’s investment team altogether.Deripaska wouldn’t let go of the notion that Manafort owed him money. In 2015, his lawyers filed a motion in a Virginia court. They wanted the authority to track down more information on the deal, even though the initial papers for it had been filed in the Cayman Islands. The lawyers had already managed to get their hands on some of the documentation surrounding the deal, and they had extracted a belated explanation of what had happened from Gates. According to a spokeswoman for Deripaska, Gates said that Chorne More had defaulted on a $1 million loan that it had taken out to pay for capital expenditures, allegedly forfeiting the partnership’s entire investment in the process. This explanation struck Deripaska’s lawyers as wildly implausible. Deripaska began to publicly doubt whether Manafort had even bought the telecommunications company in the first place. “At present, it seems that the Partnership never acquired any of the Chorne More entities,” his lawyers argued.All of the papers for the initial deal had included Rick Davis’s name. They suggested that he would serve as Manafort’s partner and that shares would be divided evenly between the two. But Davis knew nothing of the Chorne More deal. While Manafort had been putting together Pericles, Davis had been on leave from Davis, Manafort and Freedman, running John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Because Davis’s connections to Manafort and Deripaska had caused him a public-relations headache at the outset of the campaign, he’d kept a healthy distance from both men. When Deripaska’s lawyers asked him about the money he supposedly owed their client, Davis was gobsmacked. He soon discovered that Manafort had also registered a new company—Davis Manafort International—to continue trading on the old firm’s name while cutting him out of consulting fees. Upon returning from the campaign, and witnessing the extent to which Manafort had abused his trust, Davis left the firm they had created together.Paul Manafort Paul Manafort – Mark Peterson / Redux

Deripaska’s attorneys had leveled a serious allegation—and true to his pattern, Manafort never filed a response. Those who have known Manafort the longest suggest that this reflects his tendency to run away from personal crises: “He’ll get on a jet and fly off to Hawaii—and will come back when everything blows over,” an old colleague told me, recalling Manafort’s response to a scandal in the late ’80s. But it was one thing to hide from reporters; it was another to hide from Oleg Deripaska. Though no longer the ninth-richest man in the world, he was still extremely powerful. The fact is that by then, Manafort’s options were tightly limited: Despite all the riches he had collected in Ukraine, it is unlikely that he could have paid Deripaska back. For years, according to his indictment, Manafort had found clever ways to transfer money that he’d stashed in foreign havens to the U.S. He’d used it to buy real estate, antique rugs, and fancy suits—all relatively safe vehicles for repatriating cash without paying taxes or declaring the manner in which it had been earned. But in the summer of 2014, in the wake of the revolution that deposed Viktor Yanukovych, the FBI began scrutinizing the strongman’s finances. Manafort had stuck with Yanukovych as the president had initiated criminal investigations of his political opponents, opened the government’s coffers to his cronies and turned his country away from Europe and toward Russia. He’d stuck with him to the gruesome end, amid growing popular unrest—right up to the slaughter of more than 100 protesters by government forces on the Maidan. He’d remained faithful to Yanukovych while large swathes of the strongman’s circle abandoned him. Perhaps living so long in moral gray zones had eroded Manafort’s capacity to appreciate the kind of ruler Yanukovych was, or the lines he had crossed. (He is now being tried in absentia in Ukraine for high treason, although he has denied any culpability from his perch in Moscow.)

The previous December, as protesters had gathered on the Maidan, Manafort had texted his daughter Andrea, “Obama’s approval ratings are lower than [Yanukovych’s] and you don’t see him being ousted.” The FBI investigation into Yanukovych’s finances came to cover Manafort’s own dealings. Soon after the feds took an interest, interviewing Manafort in July 2014, the repatriations ceased. Meanwhile, Manafort struggled to collect the money owed him by Yanukovych’s cronies. To finance his expensive life, he began taking out loans against his real estate—some $15 million over two years, his indictment says. This is not an uncommon tactic among money launderers—a bank loan allows the launderer to extract clean cash from property purchased with dirty money. But according to the indictment, some of Manafort’s loans were made on the basis of false information supplied to the bank in order to inflate the sums available to him, suggesting the severity of his cash-flow problems. All of these loans would need to be paid back, of course. And one way or another, he would need to settle Deripaska’s bill.

IX. The Prize.

“I really need to get to” Trump, Manafort told an old friend, the real-estate magnate Tom Barrack, in the early months of 2016. Barrack, a confidante of Trump for some 40 years, had known Manafort even longer. When Manafort asked for Barrack’s help grabbing Trump’s attention, he readily supplied it.

Manafort’s spell in the Arizona clinic had ended. It hadn’t been a comfortable stay. After having acquired so many properties of his own, he had been forced to share a room with another patient, according to Andrea’s texts. Despite his reticence about his private life, he’d spent his days in group therapy—and he claimed that it had changed him. “I have a real self-awareness of why I broke down,” he texted her.

Still, most of the proximate causes of his breakdown remained in place. Once an indispensable man, he had not been missed in professional circles. He was without a big-paying client and held heavy debts. His attempts to prove his entrepreneurial skills had ended as expensive busts. Because of his biggest bust of all, Deripaska was looking for him. “He has too many skeletons,” Andrea had written her sister soon after he had entered the clinic, noting that his work in Ukraine was legally dubious. “Don’t fool yourself,” she had texted Jessica a few months before. “That money we have is blood money.”

She had not forgiven him for his affair. She complained to a cousin about her father’s treatment of her mother. “We keep showing up and eating the lobster,” she wrote. “Nothing changes.” But Manafort’s ability to provide lavishly for his family—a role he had always played, whatever his other failings—had in fact changed. The millions he’d invested in Jessica’s films were gone; so, too, were the millions he’d blown on her then-husband’real-estate ventures.

With the arrival of Donald Trump, Manafort smelled an opportunity to regain his losses, and to return to relevance. It was, in some ways, perfect: The campaign was a shambolic masterpiece of improvisation that required an infusion of technical knowledge and establishment credibility.

Barrack forwarded to Trump’s team a memo Manafort had written about why he was the ideal match for the ascendant candidate. Old colleagues describe Manafort as a master pitchman with a preternatural ability to read his audience. He told Trump that he had “avoided the political establishment in Washington since 2005,” and described himself as a lifelong enemy of Karl Rove, who represented the entrenched party chieftains conspiring to dynamite Trump’s nomination. In other words, to get back on the inside, Manafort presented himself as the ultimate outsider—a strained case that would strike Trump, and perhaps only Trump, as compelling.

Manafort reached out to Deripaska almost immediately upon securing a post with the Trump campaign.

Manafort could write such a calibrated pitch because he had observed Trump over the decades. Back in the ’80s, his firm had represented Trump when the mogul wanted to reroute planes flying over Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach. Since 2006, Manafort had kept a pied-à-terre in Trump Tower, where he and Trump had occasionally seen each other and made small talk. This exposure yielded perhaps another crucial insight: Trump’s parsimony. When Manafort offered Trump his services, he resisted his tendency to slap a big price tag on them; he would provide his counsel, he said, free of charge. To his family, Manafort described this decision as a matter of strategy: If Trump viewed him as wealthy, then he would treat him as a near-equal, not as a campaign parasite.

But Manafort must have also believed that money would eventually come, just as it always had, from the influence he would wield in the campaign, and exponentially more so if Trump won. So might other favors and dispensations. These notions were very likely what led him to reach out to Oleg Deripaska almost immediately upon securing a post within the campaign, after having evaded him for years. Through one of his old deputies, a Ukrainian named Konstantin Kilimnik, he sent along press clippings that highlighted his new job. “How do we use to get whole,” Manafort emailed Kilimnik. “Has OVD operation seen?” Manafort’s spokesman has acknowledged that the initials refer to Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska. In the course of the exchanges, Kilimnik expressed optimism that “we will get back to the original relationship” with the oligarch.

All of Manafort’s hopes, of course, proved to be pure fantasy. Instead of becoming the biggest player in Donald Trump’s Washington, he has emerged as a central villain in its central scandal. An ever-growing pile of circumstantial evidence suggests that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian efforts to turn the 2016 presidential election in its favor. Given Manafort’s long relationship with close Kremlin allies including Yanukovych and Deripaska, and in particular his indebtedness to the latter, it is hard to imagine him as either a naive or passive actor in such a scheme—although Deripaska denies knowledge of any plan by Manafort to get back into his good graces. Manafort was in the room with Donald Trump Jr. when a Russian lawyer and lobbyist descended on Trump Tower in the summer of 2016, promising incriminating material on Hillary Clinton. That same summer, the Trump campaign, with Manafort as its manager, successfully changed the GOP’s platform, watering down support for Ukraine’s pro-Western, post-Yanukovych government, a change welcomed by Russia and previously anathema to Republicans.

When the Department of Justice indicted Paul Manafort in October—for failing to register as a foreign agent, for hiding money abroad—its portrait of the man depicted both avarice and desperation, someone who traffics in dark money and dark causes. It seems inevitable, in retrospect, that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, would treat Manafort’s banking practices while in Ukraine as his first subject of public scrutiny, the obvious starting point for his investigation. The sad truth is that all of the damning information contained within the Mueller indictment would have remained submerged if Manafort had withstood the temptation to seek out a role in Trump’s campaign. Even if his record had become known, it would have felt unexceptional: Manafort’s misdeeds, in our current era, would not have seemed so inconsistent with the run of global play.

From both the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, vast disclosures illuminating previously hidden offshore accounts of the rich and powerful worldwide, we can see the full extent to which corruption has become the master narrative of our times. We live in a world of smash-and-grab fortunes, amassed through political connections and outright theft. Paul Manafort, over the course of his career, was a great normalizer of corruption. The firm he created in the 1980s obliterated traditional concerns about conflicts of interest. It imported the ethos of the permanent campaign into lobbying and, therefore, into the construction of public policy.

And while Manafort is alleged to have laundered cash for his own benefit, his long history of laundering reputations is what truly sets him apart. He helped persuade the American political elite to look past the atrocities and heists of kleptocrats and goons. He took figures who should have never been permitted influence in Washington and softened their image just enough to guide them past the moral barriers to entry. He weakened the capital’s ethical immune system.

Helping elect Donald Trump, in so many ways, represents the culmination of Paul Manafort’s work. The president bears some likeness to the oligarchs Manafort long served: a businessman with a portfolio of shady deals, who benefited from a cozy relationship to government; a man whose urge to dominate and to enrich himself, overwhelms any higher ideal. It wasn’t so long ago that Trump would have been decisively rejected as an alien incursion into the realm of public service. And while the cynicism about government that enabled Trump’s rise results from many causes, one of them is the slow transformation of Washington, D.C., into something more like the New Britain, Connecticut, of Paul Manafort’s youth.

Last year, a group of Manafort’s longtime friends, led by an old Republican hand named Bill Greener, tried to organize a cadre of surrogates to defend Manafort from the allegations against him, including the worst one: that he collaborated with a hostile foreign power to subvert the American democratic process. Manafort’s old partner Charlie Black even showed up for a meeting, though the two had largely fallen out of touch. A few of the wheelmen from the old firm wanted to help too. Yet, when volunteers were needed to go on TV as character witnesses, nobody raised his hand. “There wasn’t a lot to work with,” one person contacted by this group told me. “And nobody could be sure that Paul didn’t do it.” In fact, everything about the man and the life he chose suggests that he did.

Pope John XXIII

COMMENTARY: Vatican II – The Beginning Of The End Of Catholic Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism? Or Anti-Communism? The Washington Post seems to have ignored the real reasons that led to WWII. The truth is that Europe had a solid and documented history of what the Jews had brought to their lands. Usury, adoration of false gods, corruption, degeneration, massive communist infiltration, in one word the DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY. Everything that has been corroding our society ever since. But the Catholic Church, that was supposed to withstand the evil infiltration, succumbed to demonic persuasion. It stopped being the House of God and turned into the House of Lucifer. Wasn’t that the idea all along?

Pope John XXIII played a key role in this ‘transition’. He was a false prophet and his role is explained in this linked article. 

John XXIII “was the inspiration behind the “historical compromise” between Catholics and Communists, especially in Italy. For the Communists, Pope John was “the Good Pope” and Vatican II “the Council of Peace”; the Kremlin launched the doctrine of the “Pacific coexistence”, “dialogue” and “peace”, whereas the Soviet Premier Khrushchev described it in a discourse given on January 1, 1961, as a time of intense struggle of ideologies and politics.”

Pope John XXIII

“Vatican II: The beginning of the end of Catholic anti-Semitism,” Source: washingtonpost.com

On Oct. 28, 1958, Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, a rotund jolly Italian was elected to succeed the recently deceased Pope Pius XII.
At age 77, most of the world believed that the new Pope John XXIII would be a caretaker pope, an interim leader who would maintain the status quo and permit the entrenched bureaucracy to preserve things as they were during the long reign of his predecessor. Elected on the 12th ballot, some even called Roncalli an “accidental pope.”How wrong they were.

Just three months after his election, John XXIII called for the world’s Catholic bishops to gather for a second Vatican Council to chart the church’s future in the post-World War II era.

Because people underestimated John XXIII, his plans initially received little attention, but things changed when he used a vivid image to describe his plans: the council would serve, he said, to “throw open the windows of the church and let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through.”

Clearly, he was serious about confronting the scientific and intellectual revolutions of the 20th century, the legacy of two world wars, communism, fascism, and Nazism, and especially the horrific Holocaust. John XXIII wanted Catholics to face up to that dismal history — and Christians’ role in it — and make positive changes vis-a-vis Jews and Judaism.

Exactly 50 years ago this month, more than 2,000 bishops arrived in Rome and began complex deliberations that eclipsed John XXIII’s own death in 1963 and concluded in 1965. During that time, many ecclesiastical reforms were debated, none more important than the Catholic Church’s frequently negative and turbulent relations with Jews and Judaism.

Indeed, Catholic-Jewish relations became a central topic of what became known as Vatican II. In the midst of the Holocaust, Roncalli had written: “We are dealing with one of the great mysteries in the history of humanity. Poor children of Israel. Daily I hear their groans around me. They are relatives and fellow countrymen of Jesus.”

Before and during the war, Roncalli was the Vatican’s top diplomat in Turkey and Greece; in 1944, he was transferred to Paris as the Vatican ambassador to France. The future John XXIII used his Vatican credentials to save thousands of Jews in Europe.

The pope wanted his church to officially change its teaching, preaching, liturgy and beliefs about Jews and Judaism. He and other Catholic leaders, including many American Catholics, desired a new relationship with “the relatives” of Jesus — one built upon mutual respect and understanding, not bigotry and hatred.

It all sounded good when things got started in October 1962, but it was no small thing for a global church to eradicate the long-standing pathologies of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism that were embedded in the hearts and minds of many Catholics throughout history. Although deicide was never an official doctrine of Catholicism, the obscene and lethal charge of “Christ killers” had been hurled against Jews for nearly 2,000 years.

It was an enormous task to transform the church’s encounter with the Jewish people and Judaism. But John XXIII’s leadership — followed by that of his successor, Paul VI — inspired a host of Catholic clergy and laity to work together to achieve purposeful change throughout the church.

After many drafts and sometimes bitter debates, the now historic declaration Nostra Aetate, (Latin for “In Our Time”) was adopted by the bishops in October 1965 by a vote of 2,221 to 88. The declaration, less than 1,600 words in length, specifically denounced anti-Semitism, urged “mutual respect and understanding” and the establishment of “biblical and theological studies” as well as “fraternal dialogues” between Catholics and Jews.

While the term deicide does not appear in the final text, Nostra Aetate effectively served as a formal rejection of the charge of Jewish culpability for Jesus’ death.

In the 50 years since Vatican II, much has been accomplished in building a new relationship between Catholics and Jews, even as more work is required. However, what John XXIII began in October 1962 represented the beginning of the end of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church.

 

Bilderberg

VIDEO: Bilderberg 2018 In Italy – More Russian Connections Than Trump

Russia is a product of the Jewish infiltrated west. This is a fact. But we know that the masses continue to live in ignorance, and this allows the elite to keep on playing the game. The following interview exposes how companies associated with the Bilderberg Group have deep connections to Russia. Keep in mind that all the tensions that the superpowers create, guarantee their stability and continuous profit flow.

Freemasonry

COMMENTARY: The God Of Freemasonry Exposed – Worship Of The Fake Light

It is crucial to understand the level of brainwashing being done to society through Cultural Marxism. They only way to raise awareness is by first learning the hidden intentions of the ‘way of life’ being constantly imposed on us through subliminal and distorted messages on morals, freedom, religion, tolerance, etc.

This article mentions Gnosticism as one of the branches of Luciferianism. In our recently published ebook titled “Challenge Your Knowledge” we explain what Gnosticism is:

“The Gnostics were heretics within Christianity, they believed that the real god is the prince of this earth, and his name is Lucifer ‘Angel of Light’ also called Satan, Baphomet, Baal, or Remphan, etc. Gnostics are against Jesus and need to destroy His teachings. Gnosticism (basically a Luciferian doctrine) infiltrated different secret societies for centuries by acting behind the scenes.

When the fourth Gospel of John was written, it talked about a heretic thought of the time, and called it Gnosticism. This is the basic doctrine, which later derived into multiple other doctrines. It states that matter is essentially bad and sprit is essentially good.

Gnostics thought that God was too divine to touch matter hence God could have not created the world, because the world is tangible. They believe that God sent emanations and each one of these emanations moved farther and farther apart from God. The farthest emanation, the last one, was the one that touched matter and the one who created the world. The idea is bad enough, but they made it worse by adding the following to it, Gnostics believed that as these emanations moved farther from God, they knew less and less of God Itself. They are so far away from God, that they get to a point where they not only ignore God but, are hostile towards Him. That is how they reached the conclusion that god the creator was not only different from the true god, but that their creator ignored God and was actively hostile to Him.

Cerinthus one of the leaders of Gnosticism, claimed that the world was created not by God, but by a power totally separate from God, and that this force is located above the universe. He claimed that this force ignores that God is over everything material. For them, Satan, the Angel of Light is the Illuminated. This is where the name ‘Illuminati’ comes from “the illuminated one” the creator of the earth of the tangible. Satan is the prince of this earth.

That is why the disciple John begins the Gospel by saying: “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3) that is why he insists that ‘that is how God loved the world” (John 3:26)

You must keep in mind that this corrupt elite believes in Satan as their god. What you think doesn’t matter to them the only thing that matters for them, is carrying out their centuries old agenda.”

Freemasonry Many have wondered who or what the God of Freemasonry is. We have enough clues & evidence to connect the dots … and no surprise: more Satanic inversion.

“The God of Freemasonry Exposed – Worship of the Fake Light,” Source: freedomarticles-toolsforfreedom.com

The God of Freemasonry is an important thing to know if you are interested in zooming in on the source of evil in this world. Centuries of leaked documents, former insider accounts and scholarly research has shown that Freemasonry has become the most pervasive, influential and powerful of all the Secret Societies on Earth. Many US Founding Fathers were masons. Many leading figures of the French Revolution were masons. Many US presidents have been masons. Freemasonry inspired Mormonism and was a central theme behind the occult assassination of JFK. People in high positions of power place their oath to Freemasonry above their oath to serve the people who elected them; some such policemen and judges make decisions not based on truth and justice but rather based on protecting the masonic network, the Lodge and their masonic brethren. Many lower level masons are deliberately kept in the dark, not told what they are getting into, but what are the higher levels initiates really worshipping? Who or what is the god of Freemasonry?

The Great Architect of the Universe

In trying to decipher the god of Freemasonry, there are many clues that point towards a dark force that is the engineer or creator of this world, especially the dystopian aspects of this world which some people have dubbed The Establishment, The System or The Matrix. It is no coincidence that in The Matrix movie series themselves, Neo finally meets his maker, i.e. the being who created the entire system. He is called “the architect” and is represented by a bearded old man. Saturn, god of time, harvest, law and death, is also represented this way. Masons typically refer to their god as the “Great Architect of the Universe” while Gnostics also used the same term in reference to the tyrant they claimed had created a fake, inferior copy of the original perfect world (they also called this force “Demiurge” and “Yaldabaoth”). The primary masonic logo of the letter G is enclosed inside a square and compass, which are tools of an engineer, draftsman or architect who designs and draws with them to create things.

It’s easy to get lost in names here, but the point is to see the connections. There are many names but one underlying force beneath all the names. The Architect/Demiurge is the cruel god who is basically the same force as Satan or the Devil, and goes by many other names, as we shall see.

god of freemasonry masonic lodge

Ceiling of masonic lodge in Philadelphia.

The Mysterious Masonic Letter “G”

Speaking of the masonic G, what does it stand for? Official masonic lore claims that it stands both for “God” and “Geometry”. Is G a clue for the God of Freemasonry?:

““By letters four and science five, this “G” aright doth stand, in due Art and Proportion; you have your answer, friend.”

What are the “letters four”?  It is believed that they stand for “YHWH”, the name of the Great Architect of the Universe (pronounced “Yahway”. (sometimes pronounced Jehovah) in the ancient Hebrew language, from which the Bible was translated: Which is the 5th science? Geometry. The Letter G stands for “Geometry”, which is the mathematical science upon which Architecture and Masonry were founded.”

However there are others who quote famous grand masons Eliphas Levi and Albert Pike to claim that the masonic G really stand for gnosis and generation. Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge, and this fits in precisely with the masonic ideology of worshiping the light (more on this below) to become enlightened or illuminated (think Illuminati). This is from the website GnosticWarrior.com:

“In the Mysteries of Magic by Eliphas Levi and interpreted by Arthur Edward Waite, it is written; “All these magical theorems, based on the unique dogma of Hermes, and on the analogical inductions of science, have been invariably confirmed by the visions of ecstatics and by the convulsions of cataleptics under the supposed possession of spirits. The G which Freemasons place in the centre of the Burning Star signifies Gnosis and Generation, the two sacred words of the ancient Kabbalah. It also signifies Grand Architect, for the Pentagram, from whatever side it may be looked at, always represents an A. (Also See Eliphas Levi, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, vol. II, p. 97.)

Albert Pike had reconfirmed this fact by quoting Levi in his book, Liturgy of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry: IV to XIV; “In the centre of this Blazing Star Freemasons place the letter G. It signifies Gnosis and Generation, the two sacred words of the ancient Kabala; and also the Grand Architect; for the Pentagram, whichever way we view it, presents the letter A.”

god of freemasonry masonic G

The masonic G.

Jahbulon, Baal and Nimrod

Is the God of Freemasonry Jahbulon? Historian Jasper Ridley claims in his book The Freemasons that before joining a lodge all Masons must accept that the God of Freemasonry is Jahbulon and that they learn this once they get to the Royal Arch Degree. Interestingly, Jahbulon is a composite word made up of 3 parts: Jah is the Hebrew name for God (Jahovah is very similar to Jehovah) and is also used by certain Rastafarian religions to mean God; Bul refers to the Babylonian deity Baal; and On refers to the Egytpian deity Osiris.

Baal is mentioned in the Bible as a god who demanded and required human sacrifice. Baal is another name for the Babylonian god Nimrod. The ancient Mystery Schools which spawned the world’s current Secret Societies, of which Freemasonry became the dominant strain, trace their roots back to Egypt and Babylon. Hence Nimrod may be yet another name for the God of Freemasonry. This article on MediaMonarchy.com states:

“Masonic writings … dwell heavily on a descendant of Ham as one of the founders of Masonry—Nimrod. In the
Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (Mackey-McClenachan), under the heading “Nimrod,” we find:

“The legend of the Craft in the Old Constitutions refers to Nimrod as one of the founders of Masonry. Thus in the York MS., No. 1, we read: “At ye making of ye toure of Babell there was a Masonrie first much esteemed of, and the King of Babilon yt called Nimrod was a Mason himself and loved well Masons”.”

As Nimrod had so many things attributed to him, it was only reasonable for peoples, now in segregation, to adopt the portion of belief best interpreted by each group. Thus, diverse religious attributes and beliefs, yet peoples remaining reverent to their god. We find such names for this revered god (Nimrod) in scripture as Chemosh, Molock, Merodach, Remphan, Tamuz, and Baal, to mention only a few of the some thirty-eight Biblical titles plus numerous representatives of these “gods”.”

Did you catch that Moloch (aka Moloch, Molech) was among the other names of the God of Freemasonry? The same Molech is featured at Bohemian Grove where Secret Society initiates perform black magic, mock (or otherwise) sacrifices and sexual rituals under a giant 40 foot owl.

god of freemasonry baphomet washington

Statue of George Washington, 1st US President and high-level Freemason, in a Baphomet pose.

Baphomet, Mendes, Horny Goats, Pan, Capricorn and Saturn

Baphomet is another god associated with Freemasonry, even though some Freemasons officially deny it. You can see master mason George Washington doing his baphomet pose above. Baphomet was a hermaphroditic god (having both male and female genitalia) which will begin to take on more significance in the future, as we head into a transhumanistic world where the NWO transgender agenda (part of the synthetic agenda) is to make all humans more robotic – non-binary, genderless and sexless. Baphomet’s head is an inverted 5-pointed star/pentagram (more Satanic inversion), and being a goat he is linked to Mendes, Pan (god of the wild, often linked to horniness and sexual excess), Capricorn (the zodiac sign symbolized by goat horns) and of course Saturn (housed in Capricorn in the night sky).

god of freemasonry seething energies of Lucifer

Blatant: Manly Hall writes of the “seething energies of Lucifer”, the God of Freemasonry.

The Seething Energies of Lucifer

Albert Pike and Manly Hall are former masons whose work is widely quoted by those seeking to understand what exactly Freemasonry is. Both of these men referred explicitly to Lucifer as the God of Freemasonry. Pike spoke of the pure doctrine of Lucifer while Hall wrote about the seething energies of Lucifer which can be awakened by master masons:

“Lucifer, the Light-bearer ! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! It is he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable, blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls? Doubt it not!”

– Albert Pike (33º Freemason), Morals and Dogma of the ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, pg. 321

“When the Mason learns that the key to the warrior on the block is the proper application of the dynamo of living power, he has learned the mystery of his craft. The seething energies of Lucifer are in his hands and before he may step onwards and upwards he must prove his ability to properly apply (this) energy.”

Manly Hall (33º Freemason), Lost Keys of Freemasonry, pg. 48

Freemasonry, like other strands of Satanism, inverts everything and takes the opposite as the truth. Grand Commander and sovereign pontiff of universal freemasonry Albert Pike was quoted as giving instructions to the 23 supreme councils of the world:

“That which we must say to the crowd is, we worship a god, but it is the god one adores without superstition. To you sovereign grand inspector general, we say this and you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees – the Masonic religion should be by all of us initiates of the high degrees, maintained in the purity of the luciferian doctrine. 

If lucifer were not god, would Adonay (the God of the Christians) whose deeds prove cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion for science, would Adonay and His priests, calumniate Him? 

Yes, lucifer is god, and unfortunately Adonay is also God, for the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods. darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil, as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive. 

Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in lucifer, the equal of Adonay, but lucifer, god of light and god of good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the god of darkness and evil.”

Recorded by A.C. De La Rive, La Femme et L’enfant dans La Franc-Maconnerie Universelle, pg. 588. Cited from ‘The question of freemasonry” (2nd edition 1986 by Edward Decker pp12-14)

This is the very same Albert Pike whom I have quote elsewhere as predicting a World War 3 scenario, where the NWO controllers pit Zionism against Islam (same source as above):

“We shall unleash the nihilists and the atheists and we shall provoke a great social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to all nations the effect of absolute atheism; the origins of savagery and of most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the people will be forced to defend themselves against the world minority of the world revolutionaries and will exterminate those destroyers of civilization and the multitudes disillusioned with Christianity whose spirits will be from that moment without direction and leadership and anxious for an ideal, but without knowledge where to send its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer brought finally out into public view. A manifestation which will result from a general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and Atheism; both conquered and exterminated at the same time.”

god of freemasonry fake light

The God of Freemasonry: responsible for the fake light that initiated the Simulation/System/Matrix we inhabit.

Worship of the “Light” … But What Light?

“Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light from them and to draw them away from it.”

― Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonryp.104-5

Which it calls “light” – indeed. The open admission by esteemed masons that the God of Freemasonry is Lucifer (and concomitantly that the ideology of Freemasonry is Luciferian, that the goal of Freemasonry is to become enlightened) is itself another inversion. The light is not what you think it is. In this context, light is not synonymous with good, pure, moral or love. Remember, Freemasonry extolls the virtue of intellect and knowledge represented by the light. They worship Prometheus, the mythological figure who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind (a statue of Prometheus can be found outside the Rockefeller building in New York). Not coincidentally, in another of his myths, Prometheus establishes a form of animal sacrifice that was practiced in ancient Greece.

The evidence that Freemasonry is a negative force is overwhelming. The Illuminati are a group of cold-hearted psychopaths, eager for power and control at any cost, and are the furthest thing from enlightened or illuminated in the normal and common sense of the world. To be truly enlightened or illuminated would be to realize that we are all one, we are all connected, that whatever you do to another you do to yourself, and that therefore empathy for others is a natural extension of love for yourself. The attitude of high-level manipulative Secret Society initiates is just the opposite of this.

The light of Freemasonry is a fake light, which has given birth to a fake reality. The light is the start of the Matrix. “Let there be light …” can be interpreted as the story of creation of the inverted, dystopian world in which we live, designed and created by the same negative force with many names that I am exposing throughout this article. The light has been weaponized.

This is, of course, intimately connected to the widespread idea that we live on a prison planet, trapped through karma (ruled by Saturn, god of time), where (unless we elevate our consciousness) we may not be able to escape a soul net or reincarnation cycle – which works by introducing a fake light at the point of death to entice our souls to rinse and repeat ad infinitum. Read Soul-Catching Net: Are We “Recycled” at Death to Remain in the Matrix? for a deeper explanation.

And the God of Freemasonry Is …

What is most important is to see the deeper unity of reality, to connect the dots among seemingly disparate names, terms, ideas and cultures. Whether you call this dark force the Great Architect of the Universe, the Demiurge, Yaldabaoth, Satan, Devil, Yahweh, Jehovah, Saturn, Jahbulon, Baal, Nimrod or Lucifer, it’s the same basic force. Rich and powerful people are worshipping something – and they’re not just doing it for fun. They’re getting something out of it. They are literally selling their souls – handing them over for possession – in exchange for (what they perceive as) power, but which in reality is a diminishment of their power.

With consciousness rising, more of this horrible truth will be brought to light – the true light, not the fake light that fuels the synthetic Matrix – and hopefully sooner rather than later.

*****

Makia Freeman is the editor of alternative media / independent news site The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com, writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance.

Sources:

*http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/kennedy-assassination-who-how-why-part-3/

*http://www.masonic-lodge-of-education.com/letter-g.html

*https://gnosticwarrior.com/g.html

*http://mediamonarchy.com/2015/02/masonic-roots-christ-solomon-or-baa/

*http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/satanic-black-magic-rules-the-world/

*http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/synthetic-agenda-heart-new-world-order/

*https://www.christian-restoration.com/fmasonry/lucquotes.htm

*http://www.manlyphall.org/text/the-lost-keys-of-freemasonry/chapter-iv-the-fellow-craft/

*https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/69103.Albert_Pike

*http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/russia-already-china-to-come-syria-ww3/

*http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/soul-net-deep-down-rabbit-hole

VIDEO: Gilad Atzmon On Israel, The Lobby, Yinon Plan And Trump

If Erdogan mentions Gilad Atzmon, it is because he is definitely using him for some hidden purpose. The truth is, that behind the scenes Erdogan and Netanyahu are in bed together. These criminals plan is not only to destroy Christianity but also those a Jews, who to these criminals are not considered ‘Jewish enough’. Atzmon is right about many things, but when it comes to the Jewish conspiracy, we do not agree with him. Jews have always worked behind the scenes and never assumed responsibility for their actions. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9xJWBn1B9M

Ben Gurion

COMMENTARY: ‘We Look At Them Like Donkeys’ – What Israel’s First Ruling Party Thought About Palestinian Citizens

There is an ‘apparent’ clear divide among Jews today, but one finds it hard to believe that there are Jews who do not think or feel different than non-Jews, especially when they have been raised believing that they are the ‘chosen people of God’. The truth of the matter is, that Jews have ALWAYS been a problem, because they DO NOT INTEGRATE, but rather INFILTRATE and CORRODE society. 

So what is this ‘divide’ all about then? Could it be that there is a plan to destroy those who are not ‘that Jewish’?

Ben Gurion‘We look at them like donkeys’: What Israel’s first ruling party thought about Palestinian citizens,” Source: haaretz.com

“The Arab question in Israel” was the term used in the top ranks of Mapai, the ruling party in the young State of Israel – and forerunner of Labor – to encapsulate the complex issue that arose after the War of Independence of 1948-49. In the wake of the fighting, and the armistice agreements that concluded the war, about 156,000 Arabs remained within Israel (out of an estimated 700,000 before the war), accounting for 14 percent of the nascent state’s population. So it was with some justification that Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett stated in a meeting of Mapai Knesset members and the party’s senior leadership, on June 18, 1950, that “this is one of the fundamental questions of our policy and of the future of our country.” He added that the issue was one “that will determine the direction of the country’s morality,” for “our entire moral stature depends on this test – on whether we pass it or not.”

Almost 70 years later, the “Arab question in Israel” continues to pose a conundrum for politicians when they address the issue of the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel (or, as they are often imprecisely called, “Israeli Arabs”).

The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration.

The disagreement between Ben-Gurion and Sharett mirrored the respective approaches held by the two regarding the Arab world in general. Sharett was critical of Ben-Gurion’s policy, which he said, held that “the only language the Arabs understand is force,” and called for an approach that preferred the “matter of peace.” Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, then a Knesset member, and later Israel’s second president (1952-1963), summed up succinctly the alternatives in a meeting of the Mapai MKs several weeks later, on July 9, 1950: “The question is the attitude the state takes toward the minorities. Do we want them to remain in the country, to be integrated in the country, or to get out of the country We declared civic equality irrespective of race difference. Does this refer to a time when there will be no Arabs in the country? If so, it’s fraud.”

‘Transfer’ option

The discussions within the party were quite freewheeling, even if speakers frequently expressed concern of leaks to the press, which could have lead to international pressure on Israel to improve the treatment of its Arab citizens. Indeed, the future of the relations between the peoples who inhabited the country demanded weighty political decisions. Among the issues in question: the right to vote, the Absentees’ Property Law, the status of the Arab education system, membership of Arab workers in the Mapai-affiliated Histadrut federation of labor, and more.

One proposition that arose frequently in the discussions was that of a transfer – the expulsion of the Arabs who continued to reside in Israel – a term that some found grating already then. In the June 1950 meeting, Sharett took issue with the allegation, voiced by Ben-Gurion and his supporters, that the Arabs in Israel were a “fifth column.” That was a simplistic assumption, Sharett said, “which needs to be examined.” As he saw it, the fate of the relations between the two peoples depended overwhelmingly on the Jews. “Will we continue to fan the flames?” Sharett asked, or try to douse them? Even though a high-school education was not yet mandatory under law (and the state was not obligated to offer one), a large number of the Jewish youth in the country attended high school, and Sharett thought that the state should establish high schools for the Arabs as well. Israel needs “to guarantee them their cultural minimum,” he added.

For political reasons, the segregationists tended to ignore the difference between the Arabs living in Israel and those who were left on the other side of the border following the war, many of whom made attempts to “infiltrate” and return to their homes. Sharett took the opposite view: “A distinction must be made between vigorous action against Arab infiltration” and “discrimination against Arabs within the country.”

Ben Gurion David Ben-Gurion. Fritz Cohen / GPO

Ranking figures such as Sharett and Lavon, who was defense minister in 1954-55, viewed positively a further exodus of Arabs from the country, but only “by peaceful means.” Sharett vehemently objected to the position taken by Dayan, who not only wanted to bring about a situation in which there would be fewer Arabs in Israel, but sought to achieve this through active expulsion. In Sharett’s view, “We must not strive to do this by a wholesale policy of persecution and discrimination.” Sharett spoke of “distinctly unnecessary forms of cruelty, which are tantamount to an indescribable desecration of God’s name.”

Dayan, notwithstanding the fact that he was serving in the army at the time – as head of Southern Command – participated in Mapai’s political meetings and helped set public policy. He was one of the leaders of the aggressive stance against the country’s Arabs and was against a proposal that they should serve in the army (an idea that came up but was shelved). He opposed granting the Arabs “permanent-citizenship certificates,” opposed compensating those who had been dispossessed of their land, and in fact opposed every constructive action that could contribute to bridge-building between the peoples. “Let’s say that we help them live in the situation they are in today” and no more, he proposed.

Dayan’s approach remained consistent over the years, and conflicted with the view taken by Sharett and the stream in Mapai that he represented. Speaking in the same June 1950 meeting, Dayan asserted, “I want to say that in my opinion, the policy of this party should be geared to see this public, of 170,000 Arabs, as though their fate has not yet been sealed. I hope that in the years to come there will perhaps be another possibility to implement a transfer of these Arabs from the Land of Israel, and as long as a possibility of this sort is feasible, we should not do anything that conflicts with this.”

Dayan also objected to Sharett’s proposals to improve the level of education among the country’s Arabs. “It is not in our interest to do that,” he said. “This is not the only question on which the time for a final solution has not yet arrived.”

Zalman Aran, a future education minister, objected to the military government that had been imposed on Israel’s Arabs at the time of statehood and remained in effect until 1966. Under its terms, Arabs had to be equipped with permits both to work and to travel outside their hometowns, which were also under curfew at night. “As long as we keep them in ghettos,” Aran said, no constructive activity will help. Lavon, too, urged the dismantlement of the military government. In 1955, a few months after resigning as defense minister, he savaged the concept at a meeting in Beit Berl. “The State of Israel cannot solve the question of the Arabs who are in the country by Nazi means,” he stated, adding, “Nazism is Nazism, even if carried out by Jews.”

Even earlier, Lavon was a sharp critic of the line taken by Dayan and other advocates of transfer. At a meeting of another Mapai leadership forum, on May 21, 1949, he said acidly, “It’s well known that we socialists are the best in the world even when we rob Arabs.” A few months later, on January 1, 1950, in another meeting, he warned, “It is impossible to take action among the Arabs when the policy is one of transfer. It is impossible to work among them if the policy is to oppress Arabs – that prevents concrete action. What is being carried out is a dramatic and brutal suppression of the Arabs in Israel… Transfer is not on the cards. If there is not a war, they will not go. Two-hundred thousand Arabs will be citizens in terms of voting… As the state party, we must set for ourselves a constructive policy in the Arab realm.”

Back in December 1948, during the discussions on granting the right to vote for the Constituent Assembly – Israel’s first parliamentary institution, which was elected in January 1949, and a month later became the “Israel Knesset” – Ben-Gurion agreed to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who had been in the country when a census was taken, a month earlier. About 37,000 Arabs were registered in the census. The decision to enfranchise them apparently stemmed from party-political considerations. The thinking was that most of them would vote for Mapai.

This assessment was voiced in the discussions on the Citizenship Law in early 1951, when Ben-Gurion expressed the most assertive opinion. He refused to grant the right to vote to the Arabs who were living in the country lawfully (as Sharett demanded) but who had been elsewhere during the census (because they had fled or had been expelled in the wake of the war); or to those Arabs who resided in the “Triangle” (an area of Arab towns and villages on the Sharon plain), which was annexed to Israel only in April 1949, under the armistice agreement with Jordan. “Is there no country in the world that has two types of citizens in elections [meaning voting and non-voting],” Ben-Gurion asked rhetorically in a meeting of Mapai MKs on February 20, 1951.

Moshe Dayan. Fritz Cohen / GPO

In the view of Sharett, who submitted a conflicting draft resolution, it would not be possible to defend “this situation in regard to ourselves and in regard to these Arabs, and in regard to the Arabs in Israel as a whole and in terms of world public opinion. Accordingly, I suggest granting them the right to vote… Discriminate only against the Arabs who entered Israel without permission.”

Sharett maintained that Ben-Gurion had not given consideration to the root of the problem. “Terrible things” were being done against Arabs in the country, he warned. “Until a Jew is hanged for murdering an Arab for no reason, in cold blood, the Jews will not understand that Arabs are not dogs but human beings.” Sharett’s view carried the day in the vote, and the Arabs in the Triangle voted in the elections.

In the July 9, 1950, meeting, MK David Hacohen disputed the argument that discrimination against the Arabs and the institution of the military government were essential for the country’s security. Assailing the Absentees’ Property Law – a series of measures that allowed the state to expropriate land and homes abandoned by Palestinians who were displaced during the war, even if they subsequently returned to the country – he said, “I don’t know whether it was clear to us all, when we voted, how grave it is.” He noted that, “According to the law, when an Arab dies, his property does not go to his wife but to the Custodian of Absentees’ Property It is inconceivable for us to declare equality of all citizens and at the same time have a law like this on the books.”

Apparently, no one took issue with the next comparison Hacohen drew: “These laws that we are coming up with in regard to Israel’s Arab residents cannot even be likened to the laws that were promulgated against the Jews in the Middle Ages, when they were deprived of all rights. After all, this is a total contrast between our declarations and our deeds.”

A similar approach was voiced during the same meeting by Zalman Aran, who viewed Mapai’s handling of the Arabs as a “process of despair” that must be rejected instead of finding excuses for it.

“Morally, if we are a movement that does not lie, and we do not want to lie, we are here living a total lie,” he said. “All the books and articles that have been written, and the speeches made internally and for external consumption, are groundless when it comes to implementation. I am not talking about the attitude of individuals in the country toward the Arabs. I am talking about a [policy] line. I reject this line, which has emerged within society and has a thousand-and-one manifestations. I do not accept all the excuses that have been put forward.”

Taking issue with Dayan’s approach, Aran compared the situation of the Arabs in Israel with the situation of Jews in other countries. “On the basis of what we are doing here to the Arabs, there is no justification for demanding a different attitude toward Jewish minorities in other countries I would be contemptuous of Arabs who would want to form ties with us on the basis of this policy. We would be lying in the [Socialist] Internationale, we are lying to ourselves and we are lying to the nations of the world.”

Dayan – still an officer in uniform, it must be remembered – objected to the opinions voiced by Hacohen and Aran, and saw no reason to draw a distinction between the Arab public in Israel and Arabs in enemy countries. “I am far more pessimistic about the prospect of viewing these Arabs as loyal,” he countered.

Moshe Sharett. Frank Scherschel

Flawed democracy

During the same period of a decade-plus when Ben-Gurion was premier, a political battle raged in Mapai over the continued existence of the military government. Ben-Gurion persistently defended the military government, which he saw as a “deterrent force” against the Arabs in Israel. In a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 1, 1962, he railed against the “dominant naivete” of those, such as Sharett and Aran, who do not understand the Arabs, and warned of the possible consequences: “There are people living under the illusion that we are like all the nations, that the Arabs are loyal to Israel and that what happened in Algeria cannot happen here.”

He added, “We view them like donkeys. They don’t care. They accept it with love…” To loosen the reins on the Arabs would be a great danger, he added: “You and your ilk” – those who support the abolition of the military government or making it less stringent – “will be responsible for the perdition of Israel.” A decade earlier, on January 15, 1951, Shmuel Dayan, Moshe Dayan’s father, a Mapai leader and longtime Knesset member, had voiced similar sentiments in a meeting of Mapai MKs. The Arabs, he said, “could be good citizens, but it’s clear that at the moment they become an obstacle, they will constitute a terrible danger.”

A decade later, Aran offered an opposite assessment of the situation. Speaking at a meeting of the Mapai Secretariat in January 1962, he maintained that it was the military government that “is exacerbating the situation.” He also rejected the Algeria analogy. On the contrary, he thought, the existence of the military government would not delay an Arab uprising but would only spur it. He reiterated his critique of the early 1950s a decade later. He was against a situation in which the Arabs are “second-class” citizens who lack rights like the Jews, and he was critical of both himself and his colleagues: “We accepted this thing, we became accustomed to it… We took it in stride… It’s hard to swallow… No Arab in the State of Israel is able, needs to, is capable of – whatever you give him economically, educationally – accepting that he is a second-class citizen in this country. I think that the world does not know the true situation. If it did, it would not let us keep going on this way.”

Already then, Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, under whose term as prime minister the military government would be abolished, foresaw the dire consequences: “It would not surprise me if something new suddenly emerges, that people will not want to rent a stable – or a room – to an Arab in some locale, which is the [logical] continuation of this situation. Will we be able to bear that?”

One person who was not impressed by such arguments was the deputy defense minister, Shimon Peres. In a Mapai Secretariat meeting on January 5, 1962, he maintained that in practice, the military government “is not a strain on the Arabs.” The military government, he added, was [effectively] created by the Arabs, “who endanger Israel and as long as that danger exists, we must meet it with understanding.” In contrast, Isser Harel, head of the Shin Bet security service (1948-1952) and the Mossad (1952-1963), stated in 1966, days after resigning as Eshkol’s adviser for intelligence and security, that “the military government is not a security necessity, and therefore there is no need for its existence. The army should not be dealing with the Arab citizens. That is a flaw in terms of our democracy” (quoted in the daily Maariv, July 10, 1966). That had been the view of the security hawks, including Yigal Allon, since the early 1950s.

Over the years, it was claimed that the military government had served as a tool in Mapai’s hands for reinforcing its rule, both by giving out jobs and by distributing benefits, and also by intervening in election campaigns through the creation of Arab factions within existing parties that were convenient for the ruling party (and suppressing opponents on the other side). This is not the venue to discuss that allegation – for which evidence exists – but it’s worth noting one of the motifs of the hard-hand policy, which preserved the segregation between Arabs and Jews, as expressed candidly by Ben-Gurion in the meeting of the Mapai Secretariat on January 5, 1962: “The moment that the difference between Jews and Arabs is eliminated, and they are at the same level If on that day there does not exist a regime in a world where there are no more wars, I do not have the shadow of a doubt that Israel will be eradicated and no trace will remain of the Jewish people.”