By John Helmer, Moscow
There once was a young man called Marko Papic (centre), living in Austin, Texas. Each morning he went to work at a desk paid for by an older man named George Friedman (right), the owner of a company called Stratfor. That was a money-for-secrets scheme hatched by Friedman and his friends (left) in the US Government.
Friedman sent invoices for his friends’ secrets to accountancy firms like Booz Hamilton. Here’s one of them for $20,790:
Here’s what our young expert looks like when he is discussing Norway.
And here’s what he sounded like in July 2009, when he was talking on Johannesburg radio as Stratfor’s expert on Russia.
From Texas Papic is still Stratfor’s expert on Russia (for the BBC, he is the expert on all of Europe). In addition to his broadcasts and byte-sized commentaries in publicly accessible sources, it is now possible to read Papic’s internal reports to Friedman on what has been happening inside Russia. Here is the Papic-on-Russia dossier as leaked by Wikileaks this week.
Wikileaks makes a habit of concealing its selectivity and it is impossible to search the entire 5-million item Stratfor dossier, which Wikileaks claims to have liberated, for Russia-related search words. For the time being, there are just a couple of messages analyzing Russian news. Originated by Papic, or by two others in his team, Fred Burton and Lauren Goodrich, this is the dossier.
Burton is a former US agent specializing in security and assassination (incoming, outgoing), according to his own email admissions, and his Wikipedia bio entry.
From a separate email in the Stratfor archive, Burton is reported as claiming this on November 7, 2008: “The hunt is on for the sleezy [sic] Russian money into O-mans [President Barack Obama] coffers. A smoking gun has already been found. Will get more on this when the time is right. My source was too giddy to continue.”
If Burton’s source is more reliable than his spelling, this may be a reference to at least two Russian oligarchs who are believed to have met with John McCain and Sarah Palin, the Republican Party presidential ticket in 2008, on board motor yachts in the August-September 2008 period. If they were preceded or followed by meetings with Obama campaign functionaries, then Burton’s reference to “sleezy Russian money” may be of genuine interest.
Here’s the other member of Stratfor’s Russian expert team, Lauren Goodrich. Also speaking from Texas, she appears to have trouble pronouncing the Russian name, Kuznetsov. Her scripted reference to $20 billion worth of Russian investment in Syria is such a howler, nothing she claims may be credible.
But did she really have a conversation with Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika, on or just before September 3, 2007, as this email claims: “could only chat briefly with Chaika… pls keep the fact that he gave us this info under wraps, but we can use the info other than that”. Two months later, according to Goodrich, here Chaika is again chatting to her about a plot by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to fire him.
“These publications can’t be called anything but hogwash and an open provocation,” a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General’s Office told Interfax. There is at least one reason for believing this: Chaika cannot speak English, and Goodrich cannot speak Russian.
Incidentally, if you still want to read on and find out what Stratfor has to reveal about Ukraine, try this.