Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 12, 2017

Beyond the Golden Showers

Filed under: Donald Trump — louisproyect @ 12:47 am

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-7-47-43-pm(click to animate)

I have finally gotten around to reading the 35-page dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia that has only become viral because of the Golden Showers reference. I will take the president elect’s denial at his word and accept that this lurid tale is the result of a prank on the spook who collected various memos into a dossier.

You can get that side of the story on Zero Hedge, the conspiracist website that is party of the Putin/Assad old boy’s network:

In a story that is getting more surreal by the minute, a post on 4Chan now claims that the infamous “golden showers” scene in the unverified 35-page dossier, allegedly compiled by a British intelligence officer, was a hoax and fabricated by a member of the chatboard as “fanfiction”, then sent to Rick Wilson, who proceeded to send it to the CIA, which then put it in their official classified intelligence report on the election.

In a story that is getting more surreal by the minute, a post on 4Chan now claims that the infamous “golden showers” scene in the unverified 35-page dossier, allegedly compiled by a British intelligence officer, was a hoax and fabricated by a member of the chatboard as “fanfiction”, then sent to Rick Wilson, who proceeded to send it to the CIA, which then put it in their official classified intelligence report on the election.

Here is 4Chan’s explanation of how the story came to light:

>/pol/acks mailed fanfiction to anti-trump pundit Rick Wilson about trump making people piss on a bed obama slept in

>he thought it was real and gave it to the CIA

>the central intelligence agency of the united states of america put this in their official classified intelligence report on russian involvement in the election

>donald trump and obama have both read this pol/acks fanfiction

>the cia has concluded that the russian plans to blackmail trump with this story we made up

just let that sink in what we have become.

There’s only one problem with the claim that this “fanfiction” about Golden Showers was transmitted to the CIA via Rick Wilson, namely that the dossier was apparently put together by a man named Christopher Steele who is reputedly a former MI6 agent and who is a top executive at Orbis, a private intelligence company similar to Stratfor. While Steele has not admitted to being the man behind the Golden Dawns dossier, there are reports that support such a claim including the Wall Street Journal:

A former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm has been identified as the author of the dossier of unverified allegations about President-elect Donald Trump’s activities and connections in Russia, people familiar with the matter say.

Christopher Steele, a director of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd., prepared the dossier, the people said. The document alleges that the Kremlin colluded with Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and claims that Russian officials have compromising evidence of Mr. Trump’s behavior that could be used to blackmail him. Mr. Trump has dismissed the dossier’s contents as false and Russia has denied the claims.

Mr. Steele, 52 years old, is one of two directors of the firm, along with Christopher Burrows, 58.

What is left out of the WSJ article and every other I have read about the dossier’s provenance is who commissioned it. These sorts of reports cost a bundle of cash and it would be interesting to see who paid for it. Likely, we’ll never know. (Update: The Guardian reports that it was a unnamed opponent of Trump in the Republican Party that paid Orbis for the dossier.)

Once you get past the Golden Showers business, which occupies only a couple of sentences in a 35-page document, you’ll find that most of it is a rather unsurprising account of how Russia worked with the Trump campaign to get him elected. Quelle surprise. Towards the end of the dossier, you’ll discover that Putin encountered “buyer’s remorse” over being outed in the American press as responsible for getting Trump elected, who does not quite seem to be regarded as a reliable asset by the Kremlin. That would explain why they were so anxious to accumulate damaging material on Trump even if the Golden Showers business does seem unlikely. Why would Trump spend good money to have prostitutes put on a pee show when the guy was much more interested in “grabbing their pussy”.

Most of the 35 pages are about efforts being made to intervene politically in the American elections after the fashion of the report made by American intelligence agencies on January 6th that had less to say about hacking than it did about the open propaganda such as the kind RT.com traffics in:

In an effort to highlight the alleged “lack of Messaging on RT prior to the US presidential election democracy” in the United States, RT (RT, 3 November) broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a “sham.”

Holy fuck. I never thought I’d end up as a Kremlin propagandist myself.

As many on the left have noted, there is an enormous amount of hypocrisy involved with such accusations. The USA has openly admitted if not bragged about doing exactly the same thing in countries that had the impudence to stake out an independent course.

During the late 80s, when I was co-editor of the NY Nicaragua Network newsletter, I was always writing about how the USA was basically buying candidates to run against Daniel Ortega. The National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and other groups operating sub rosa like the CIA spent millions of dollars to unseat Ortega in 1990. On its own, the CIA spent $38 million—an amount that far exceeds proportionately what the Koch brothers routinely spend buying candidates here.

Obviously acting on behalf of its own interests, the Kremlin curried the favor of Americans predisposed to its political agenda. And if there is a more motley crew than those named in the dossier, I’d be astonished. It seems that Putin cultivated the support of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, the Larouche cult, Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who attended an RT banquet alongside Stein, and a key Trump adviser named Carter Page.

From left to right: Flynn, Putin and Stein

Page’s name keeps cropping up in the dossier like a bad penny. He is cut from the same cloth as Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager who was dropped in favor of Steve Bannon. Page and Manafort were big-time operators in Russia seeking to promote the interests of Putin and his flunkies like the toppled Ukrainian president Yanukovych.

Page is an investment banker who formed an energy oriented firm in partnership with Gazprom executive Sergei Yatsenko. In other words, Page has the same relationship to Russia as Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, who was CEO of ExxonMobil and a close associate of Vladimir Putin.

People like Diana Johnstone are tickled pink that people like Tillerson and Page are key players in the Trump administration. Supposedly this will forestall any moves toward WWIII as the beady-eyed conspiracists at WSWS.org keep warning about even though many on the left are far more worried about a war with China since Trump’s saber-rattling against a country supposedly cheating the USA is well known.

What I found intriguing was a comment in the dossier that claimed Trump was far more interested in partnering with China than Russia: “Suggestion from source close to TRUMP and MANAFORT that Republican campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries.” That, of course, backs up what I reported on the article titled “Trumponomics as Professional Wrestling“.

Is there any reason to put a lot of confidence in this dossier? I wouldn’t since most of it is patently obvious, as if it hasn’t been clear for the longest time that Russia is using RT.com and perhaps hundreds of paid trolls to influence voters in the USA. Since I have found Stratfor next to useless over the years, I find no reason to take Orbis’s intelligence more seriously.

The only thing we can be sure about is that Trump, Putin, Obama and Clinton are united around the need to make money for the capitalist class that they orient to. Unlike 1914 or 1941, there is little evidence that the nation-state of today is bent on going to war with its adversaries over the control of markets and resources. With ExxonMobil in partnership with Putin, Lenin’s essay on imperialism cannot be applied mechanically even though some sectarians are in the habit of doing so. There is a war going on, however, and that is between the global capitalist class that these politicians serve and the rest of us who work for a living and would face imminent ruin if we lost our jobs.

Eugene V. Debs put it well:

And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.

 

28 Comments »

  1. The collective hissy fit across the country about dastardly foreign powers influencing U.S. elections has made for a great horselaugh in Italy where I live. Historians of all colors and anyone who has survived the period knows that Washington bought every crucial Italian election from the end of WWII till Italy no longer constituted a strategic asset. By then the country was permanently bought anyway thanks to NATO and the EU. Let’s stop saying tragedy is being replayed as farce. That demeans turn-of-century French writers like Feydeau and Courteline whose farces were intelligent structures full of social insight, not to speak of Italy’s own Dario Fo. Now we’re beyond farce and into a pratfall period, crude slapstick.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 12, 2017 @ 2:01 pm

  2. What LP is channeling here is not Eugene Debs, but the renegade Kautsky and his theory of “ultra-imperialism.” This approach is shared nowadays by the scab socialists of David North’s WSWS (albeit driven by different political appetites).

    Comment by Lumpy Lang — January 12, 2017 @ 5:53 pm

  3. Mr. Lumpy, this is not Twitter. You are allowed more than 140 characters to expound on your ideas–that is, if you have any.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 12, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

  4. Peter Byrne,

    You make an important point, of course, but the problem here is many if not most Americans of different political stripes are invested in denying Russia had any role at all. Mainly, they are the most reactionary elements in the country, i.e. Trump boosters who won’t hear of anything that potentially undermines Trump. But the deniers also include leftists, principally because the latter believe, like you, our focus should be on calling out USG hypocrisy and criticizing its role in the world. I agree with this sentiment, except when it leads people into a position of denying facts and/or refusing to criticize foreign powers, particularly the Russian state, toward which most of the left still holds inexplicable sympathy.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 12, 2017 @ 6:10 pm

  5. Is it possible that Russian hackers tried to influence the November election? Absolutely. Will Prez Trump continue the policy of influencing elections in Venezuela? Of course, just as Paris has never stopped manipulating the vote in its former African colonies. If the election in Northern Ireland to replace Martin McGuinness seems important enough to London, you can be sure MI6 will play a role. Christopher Steele, one of their ex’s, did the spicy Trump memo and everyone knows that you don’t retire from MI6. But all that is beside the point. Russia is a regional power whose diplomacy can make fools of Washington but offers no existential threat to the U.S.A. The present anti-Russian hysteria is a red herring.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 12, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

  6. There is no hysteria in America over Russia: majority of people don’t think it’s a big deal, despite all the attention paid to the issue in the media. For most, if they do not understand how something affects them personally, they don’t care about it.

    Intense media focus on the issue is driven partly by frustration over public unwillingness to accept or care about the IC report on Russian hacking. This apathy or hostility happens to be driven by the president-elect who also happens to hold overtly pro-Putin views. Trump’s refusal to release his taxes moreover makes many of us wonder what exactly he’s trying to hide: financial deals with Russians perhaps (something he denies, despite his Don Jr.’s past statement to the contrary)? Seems possible. In short, there are ample reason for curious, open-minded to be suspicious of the Putin-Trump bromance.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 12, 2017 @ 9:06 pm

  7. So, no anti-Russian hysteria among the populace, only “media focus”. But it’s focussing on what men in authority are saying. When Sen. McCain calls some mirky bit of hacking “an act of war”, to my mind he’s fueling hysteria. On the Steele Trump-memo and what proofs have been offered, see ‘Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain’ in yesterday’s ‘Huffington Post’. On US and Russian intervention in foreign elections, see TomDispatch also of yesterday. It’s old news but apparently needs recalling.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 13, 2017 @ 4:01 pm

  8. If I didn’t know better, I would wonder why the Democrats and their ilk are focusing so obsessively on Trump’s alleged pee party and the only slightly more important issue of Russian election meddling and corrupt influence while seeming to ignore the massive assault not only on “Obamacare” (which is a piss-poor substitute for the real thing at best) but also on Social Security and Medicare, which are in fact very important to the welfare of millions and which are apparently on the chopping block along with the ACA.

    One would not expect any further focus on social equality from the Dems but you would think (if you didn’t know better) that they could at least be bothered to focus just a little on something other than the mud-and-jello wrestling that is occupying center stage at the moments while so many vulnerable citizens are being set up for dire poverty and (in fact) death.

    Where is the outcry–where is the storm of protest? Where are the organizers?

    Our only practical alternative appears to be just letting the motherfuckers work their evil will while Goldman Sachs get their probosci into the bloodstream just as much as they would with the Dems in power.

    What powerlessness one feels.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — January 13, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

  9. Yes, there is predictable overreaction by the likes of McCain, and that should be called out, but I think the tendency to blow it off as a non-issue or as ‘fake news’ is the larger problem. McCain’s words might possibly fuel hysteria across the country, but I’m not seeing it. For the most part I think people’s concerns are well founded. If Trump’s telling the truth when he says he has ‘nothing to do with Russia, no deals, no loans, nothing’ then fine, that’s good. But there are so many red flags here, it’d be irresponsible not to investigate and demand answers from him, and demand his tax returns, as some journalists tried to do at his press conference.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 13, 2017 @ 7:51 pm

  10. Farans: That’s what I mean by the Russian issue being a red herring–“A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue.” Wikipedia.

    Voline: I’m afraid we’re at cross purposes here. Trump is probably guilty of more than he has ever been accused of. I wouldn’t dream of defending him. (No more than I’d make a hero of Putin.) But making Russia into the new evil empire is cover for something else. As for fueling hysteria, read the review in this Sunday’s NYTimes of Edward Jay Epstein’s ‘How America Lost Its Secrets’. Epstein repeats what an unnamed Obama ex-cabinet member assured him: “that there are only three possible explanations for the Snowden heist: 1) It was a Russian espionage operation; 2) It was a Chinese espionage operation; 3) It was a joint Sino-Russian operation.” And that’s the impression Epstein’s book leaves although it has only offered speculation and no proof at all. So it’s a variant of false news, pure slapstick.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 13, 2017 @ 9:30 pm

  11. “Yes, there is predictable overreaction by the likes of McCain, and that should be called out, but I think the tendency to blow it off as a non-issue or as ‘fake news’ is the larger problem.”

    It is fake news, designed to preserve the autonomy of the military industrial complex (which, for some odd reason, feels threatened by Trump), and the power of neoliberals within the Democratic Party.

    “But there are so many red flags here, it’d be irresponsible not to investigate and demand answers from him, and demand his tax returns, as some journalists tried to do at his press conference.”

    Saying it doesn’t make it so. In any event, politicians have gone to DC and gotten obscenely wealthy for decades, publicly releasing their tax returns all along the way.

    Comment by Richard Estes — January 14, 2017 @ 4:44 am

  12. Richard Estes, with all due respect, you are making assertions based on nothing. At least my claims are based on intelligence reports. Could it be a huge government inside job? It could be, but I doubt it, and so far there’s no evidence.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 14, 2017 @ 4:53 am

  13. “At least my claims are based on intelligence reports.”

    I have a vague recollection of people telling me something similar back in 2002 and 2003.

    Comment by Richard Estes — January 14, 2017 @ 7:24 pm

  14. “I have a vague recollection of people telling me something similar back in 2002 and 2003.”

    So because of Iraq/WMD, every single intel report that comes down the pike should be completely dismissed? Government reports should no longer even be considered possible sources of information to be reviewed by say academic researchers?

    I’m open to the theory that it’s nothing but a USG false flag operation to overthrow Trump in a coup, but what is this claim based on aside from suspicion?

    In the meantime, the classified report swayed even Trump who went from total denial to “I think Russia was behind it” after he read it. You also have respectable people like Sanders and Wyden saying the evidence is “overwhelming.” I will remain skeptical until the classified report is made public, but if I had to bet now, I’d certainly bet on the theory that Russia hackers were responsible. And not simply based on the intel report but on months of having my own suspicions about Trump and his ties to Putin.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 14, 2017 @ 11:30 pm

  15. Sanders did not believe the intelligence on Iraq/WMD, but he believes the intelligence on this.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 15, 2017 @ 6:59 am

  16. Voline: You’ve got so absorbed in the Trump-and-the-Russians soap opera you miss the big picture. What intelligence agencies see fit to release or leak is simply a crude way of laying down the policy of one current or another within government.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 15, 2017 @ 8:51 am

  17. “What intelligence agencies see fit to release or leak is simply a crude way of laying down the policy of one current or another within government.”

    Except, in this particular case, that doesn’t really make any sense. Obama will not have any opportunity to lay down policy based on the intelligence, and Trump has already made clear he has no intention of letting the intel conclusions affect his stance toward Putin.

    If Obama had wanted to take advantage of the intelligence, it would’ve come out earlier and been pushed harder. Instead, Obama has for the most part played it off: ‘Yes, it’s serious, but it’s just puny little Russia, so let’s not let this rattle us.’ I seriously doubt Obama wanted this fight. There’s very little indication to me he was interested in a military confrontation with Russia.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 15, 2017 @ 10:11 pm

  18. Obama? He’s only one of the wielders of power. They (government, including intelligence agencies, but not only office holders) have conflicting aims. They squabble amongst themselves. The only thing you can be sure of is that your well-being isn’t one of their objectives. Enough said.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 16, 2017 @ 9:02 am

  19. Congratulations to LP. His is really becoming a go-to blog for ostensible ‘leftists’ trying on all sorts of theoretical contortions to cover for U.S. imperialism while providing back-handed support to its bloody intrigues in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. Nothing new about it really… back in the 80s the same types were cheerleading for Polish Solidarnosc along with the CIA, Wall Street and the Vatican while mouthing the same kind of ‘class struggle’ clap-trap against the USSR.

    No political support for Putin, Assad or any other regional thug is required to take the elementary Marxist duty of upholding opposition to one’s OWN imperialist bourgeoisie, and welcoming each setback and defeat it suffers. Defeats for imperialism in the heart of the beast represent openings for working class struggle against it. Any international ‘working class solidarity’ which fails to start from this premise – as richly shown by LP and his supporters here – just provides a little extra ‘progressive’ camouflage to imperialism a la Kautsky.

    Comment by Lumpy Lang — January 16, 2017 @ 7:00 pm

  20. Lumpy, you are repeating yourself. I understand that you are a true Bolshevique even if nobody has a clue what you have done in your entire life to concretely oppose capitalism. I have a 200 page FBI file and all you have to show for yourself is a handful of comments on my blog that you post using a fake name. Doubt that you will ever fear being jailed for such activity.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 16, 2017 @ 7:37 pm

  21. QED. Any FBI minders ever tasked with keeping an eye on LP already knew they were getting paid for nothing: this guy and his ilk will never touch a hair on capitalism’s head. :-DDD

    Comment by Lumpy Lang — January 16, 2017 @ 8:43 pm

  22. And who looks after you? Your mommy who calls you in for a peanut butter and jelly lunch? “Marvin, come here right now to have your lunch, dear. Afterwards you can go back to trolling that revisionist website. Just make sure to empty the garbage first.”

    Comment by louisproyect — January 16, 2017 @ 8:49 pm

  23. “They (government, including intelligence agencies, but not only office holders) have conflicting aims. They squabble amongst themselves.”

    I agree, which is one reason I think it’s juvenile to talk about a monolithic Deep State bent on manufacturing intelligence to remove Trump, when there are thousands of people working in various intel agencies with different views and agendas. Trump obviously has various factions on his side.

    Going back to my point citing your claim: what policies are about to be laid down based on the intelligence report that says the Russian state carried out the hacks/leaks? As far as I can tell, Trump is going to ignore the intelligence and move forward with his plan to remove sanctions, recognize Crimea and beyond.

    “The only thing you can be sure of is that your well-being isn’t one of their objectives. Enough said.”

    Irrelevant to this discussion.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 16, 2017 @ 10:37 pm

  24. “Defeats for imperialism in the heart of the beast represent openings for working class struggle against it”

    Yes, if US and Europe fall to Russian imperialism, then the working class is bound to triumph.

    Comment by Voline (@pyotr_kropotkin) — January 17, 2017 @ 8:31 am

  25. “Yes, if US and Europe fall to Russian imperialism,…”.

    Come on. A laugh’s a laugh, but you’re boring us with this 1950s stuff.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 17, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

  26. Don’t flatter yourself, Louis: you smoked some dope in the 60s, brought some computers to Nicaragua or something in the 80s, swore at some neo-cons on the internet in the 90s and then started an anti-Leninist blog. You might be a footnote in somebody else’s FBI file.

    Comment by Alessandro — January 18, 2017 @ 4:55 pm

  27. And what is an “Alessandro”? Someone who posts anonymously on this blog? Is the idea that you will compose some insult so devastating that it will lead to a chain of events that culminates in a socialist revolution? How do you spend your time when you are not writing such comments, masturbating or playing video games? And what is it with the phony Italian email address when you know and I know that you are in Canada. Certainly there is no shame being some wanker in East Jesus, Manitoba.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 18, 2017 @ 4:58 pm

  28. There are only hosers in Canada. The wankers are across the pond or down under.

    Comment by aaron hawley — January 18, 2017 @ 5:27 pm


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