Monday, April 24, 2017

Will the FBI Spy on the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity? It Wouldn’t Surprise Me - By Michael S. Rozeff

Carter Page is an FBI target of investigation, and he shouldn’t be. He has been under surveillance for years, and he shouldn’t be. The FBI’s reasons are his associations with Russians, built through business and financial matters, and his views on U.S. foreign policy toward Russia that are critical of U.S. foreign policy.
On grounds like these, the FBI could build a case for spying on a large number of people looking to do business with Russians.  The FBI could also spy on many, many people in the pro-liberty and anti-empire camp who are critical of U.S. foreign policy: Justin Raimondo, Lew Rockwell, Daniel McAdams and Ron Paul, to name a few of the more prominent.
Here are the incontrovertible facts about Carter Page, as best as I can assemble them. My statements are all based on evidence available to anyone who will do the research. The source articles are hereherehereherehere and here. They will support the conclusion that the FBI is operating way out of bounds, along police state lines in which the Bill of Rights is seriously violated.
Carter Page is not a spy for the Russians. He never has been a spy for the Russians. Carter Page is not a dupe in the hands of Russian agents and never has been. The Russians didn’t infiltrate the Trump campaign through Carter Page or anyone else.
Page didn’t advise Trump on foreign policy. He didn’t attend national security meetings. Trump had never met Page when, under pressure from the media, he released a list of national security advisers that included the name of Carter Page. Page was strictly a junior figure for a brief period, splitting the campaign before the election.
Carter Page is a businessman and financier, an investment banker, who has specialized in Russian investments for years. That’s his career. He worked at a Merrill Lynch office in Moscow in 2004. He developed relationships with Gazprom executives before returning to New York in 2007.
Speaking from experience, he takes issue with the “conventional wisdom that these are all crooks and bad guys.”
The FBI has brought no charges against Page, and they’ve been spying on him for 4 years. The spying began when he met with Victor Podobnyy, who turned out to be a “Russian operative”. Page denies knowing that the man was a spy. He says he gave him some extracts of lectures he gave at NYU.
According to the New York Times, “The F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Page in 2013 as part of an investigation into the spy ring, but decided that he had not known the man was a spy, and the bureau never accused Mr. Page of wrongdoing.”
Page made a speech in July of 2016 in Russia in which he criticized U.S. foreign policy toward Russia. He said that the West was prolonging “Cold War tendencies”. He said that the U.S. was “condescending and hostile” toward Russia. He said “Ironically, Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.”
Two months later, the FBI, its suspicions aroused, got a FISA warrant from a federal judge so that they could electronically surveil Page. To get this, the FBI had to affirm through “facts and circumstances” that Page is an “agent of a foreign power”.
CNN now reports that the investigation has come up with no evidence of wrongdoing by Page or anyone else in the Trump campaign: “Intelligence analysts and FBI investigators who analyzed various strands of intelligence from human sources to electronic and financial records have found signs of possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials. But there is not enough evidence to show that crimes were committed, US officials say.”
There is no Russiagate scandal in the sense of Trump collaborating with Russia or winning an election through dastardly Russian intervention or hacking, and, if one believes that there is such a scandal, Carter Page is not a key figure in this imagined but non-existent scandal. That version of Russiagate is fake.
The FBI has a habit of investigating people they shouldn’t. This includes Jackie Robinson, Arthur Miller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Helen Keller, Charlie Chaplin, Rock Hudson, Truman Capote, and Lucille Ball. (See here.)
If a warrant can be issued because Carter Page had Russian friends, criticized the sanctions against Russia and lambasted U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, then when you come right down to it, no one is safe from FBI spying. Ron Paul is not safe. Lew Rockwell is not safe. Daniel McAdams is not safe. Justin Raimondo is not safe.
Trump and his team were not safe. A real scandal or the real Russiagate scandal has to include as one facet the FBI’s extended, superfluous and invasive investigations of people like Carter Page on the basis of no evidence worthy of probable cause of a crime.
Many irresponsible media used these investigations and associated leaks from other intelligence sources as a means to attack the Trump administration. This has had the very real effect of undermining a nascent alteration in policy that would have sought better relations with Russia. Obama poisoned that well to some extent, but it was reversible. The poison could have been cleansed from the well. The fake Russiagate and publicity have halted that process.
What we have now is heightened suspicion, which is a risk factor for outright hostilities. We have Nikki Haley, our UN Ambassador saying “Take it seriously. We cannot trust Russia. We should never trust Russia.” This is an extraordinary sentiment coming from someone who is supposed to be a diplomat and who is supposed to interact to our benefit with Russia at the UN.
If this is a sign of the attitude that’s in power, why would we not expect Haley or her domestic counterparts to begin attacking Americans whom they brand as untrustworthy because they trust Russians enough to want to do business with them? Why won’t Haley and her ilk next be attacking Americans who criticize U.S. foreign policy toward Russia, who criticize the sanctions and the expansion of NATO, and who accept the annexation of Crimea as legitimate and not a Russian invasion? Why should we not expect the FBI to bear down upon outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy like Ron Paul?
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.