Why George Papadopoulos Is As Insignificant As Paul Manafort

The military-industrial complex wank rag known as the New York Times has published an op-ed titled “Why George Papadopoulos Is More Dangerous Than Paul Manafort”, which I’d like to focus on for the purpose of addressing the latest charges that Russiagaters have been so excited up about lately.

The op-ed’s author, Harry Litman, makes an attempt to shepherd his audience into a direction that is more beneficial to the official establishment narrative, because that is his job. He does this by discouraging his readers from getting their hopes up that the indictments of Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates will lead to anything that could get Trump impeached (because they won’t), and telling them they should instead be focusing on the crimes that George Papadopoulos has confessed to. This is a problem for Mr. Litman, though, because there’s nothing in Papadopoulos’ case that will get Trump in trouble, either.

Litman begins by rightly pointing out that “while Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates’s Eastern European misadventures, beginning in 2005, were extensive and seamy, they have no immediate link to Mr. Trump’s campaign activities or even to his many financial adventures in Russia before he was a candidate. Connecting the dots to Mr. Trump’s own financial misdeeds — if there are any dots to connect — will be a long and laborious process.”

That pretty much says it all about Manafort and Gates, right there.

“Not so with Mr. Papadopoulos,” Litman continues.

Litman lists his reasons for Papadopoulos being the one to watch if the Trump administration is going to come crashing down in an avalanche of vodka and golf balls. In Papadopoulos’ plea there was a reference to Manafort and Gates saying that a hypothetical meeting with Russian officials ought not involve Trump personally, there’s a remote possibility that Papadopoulos could have been wearing a wire for the last few weeks in any meetings he may have had with current or former Trump insiders, and, perhaps most jarringly, “the plea agreement makes clear the Trump campaign knew about the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails well before it was publicly revealed.”

Variations on this strange assertion have been advanced throughout the mainstream and even not-so-mainstream media for the last 24 hours, despite their having no factual basis in the actual text of the plea deal. In reality the text says only that Papadopoulos spoke with a Russian “professor” in April of 2016 who claimed that the Russians “have dirt on” Hillary Clinton, consisting of “thousands of emails.” Not only was this a mere unsubstantiated claim, but the text doesn’t even state what emails these would have been. Litman makes the extremely strained assumption that it would have had to have been the Podesta emails, since those were allegedly spearfished on March of 2016, whereas it couldn’t have been the DNC emails WikiLeaks dropped since those were exfiltrated in May of 2016.

But there’s no reason to believe that the emails in question, if they existed at all, would have been the documents WikiLeaks ended up releasing in October of 2016. Firstly, they could have been not emails from Podesta, but from Hillary Clinton herself. Remember, there were numerous indications that Clinton’s server was insecure and may have been hacked by multiple foreign governments, any of which could have gotten them to the Kremlin for use as blackmail following what was at the time believed to be Hillary’s inevitable election. Maybe it was the infamous 30,000 emails she deleted, who knows, or any number of possible ways incriminating information can appear in email format. None of these fit into the official Russia/WikiLeaks narrative, however, so Litman made it about Podesta emails.

Secondly, there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that John Podesta’s emails were “hacked”, as Litman inaccurately claims, nor even that they were spearphished at all. This is important to point out when talking about Papadopoulos, because Russiagaters are citing his plea as evidence that Russia had the emails WikiLeaks ended up releasing, and according to the official narrative the Podesta emails are the only ones those could have been. The reason the establishment Russian hacking narrative tends to focus on the DNC leaks over the Podesta emails is because the official narrative about the Podesta emails is so much more flimsy and easily invalidated.

There’s a common belief that Clinton campaign manager John Podesta was using the word “p@ssw0rd” as a password, but that was just a temporary one given to him after he carelessly left his phone in a taxi in early 2015. An under-appreciated WikiLeaks document reveals that Podesta’s password was actually “Runner4567”, and from the context of the email appears to have been commonly known among his office assistants. He’s seen asking his assistant Eryn Sepp if she knows his password, and she tells it to him “in case Milia hasn’t gotten it to you let [sic],” referring to Podesta aide Milia Fisher. This remained his password for many months, and still wasn’t changed after WikiLeaks began publishing his emails, which was almost certainly how one of the naughty boys on 4chan was able to access Podesta’s Twitter account and make this tweet:

The Twitter hack was confirmed by the Clinton campaign, and Podesta hasn’t had the account hacked since. That mischievous /pol/ anon was able to get in there because Podesta not only used this very weak, easy-to-remember password for months, but apparently used it for everything, not just his Apple ID.

So we’re really meant to believe that this guy who couldn’t even keep track of who at his office knew his weak password, and who used that weak password for everything, needed to be hacked or phished by Russian operatives in order for those emails to make their way to WikiLeaks? In an environment like that, anyone who spent any time around his office could’ve gained access to those emails; read the drama about Podesta’s taxicab experience for a clear picture of how involved his assistants were in his passwords and technology access. Anyone with any insider status could have leaked Podesta’s emails to WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray insists that this is exactly what happened. Podesta’s email security was as airtight as a sieve, so there’s no reason to attribute their release through WikiLeaks specifically to Russia.

The news churn has forgotten this last item I’d like to talk about, but the Washington Post actually reported on Papadopoulos a month and a half ago. Reading back on it, it’s remarkable how much the narrative has shifted in so little time. Far from the influential head-turning campaign stud establishment outlets are trying to portray him as having been today, back in mid-August Papadopoulos was “the youngest of the new advisers”, “a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience”, who “appeared to hold little sway within the campaign, and it is unclear whether he was acting as an intermediary for the Russian government, although he told campaign officials he was.”

But what made this August 14 article especially interesting was the way WaPo, not exactly a cheerleader for the Donald if we’re being honest, described the reaction of Trump campaign staff when Papadopoulos began trying to arrange for meetings with Russian staff:

“The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.”

The entire Trump campaign, including Manafort, was made very nervous by Papadopoulos’ attempts to arrange meetings with Russian officials for various campaign leaders, and ended up expressing concerns and rejecting them. The article describes “the internal resistance to Papadopoulos’s requests” shutting him down at every turn, despite the administration’s public support for Russia.

This is WaPo saying this. This man who we are being told is going to expose Trump’s collusion with Russia was actively resisted and shut down by all levels of the Trump campaign when he tried to get them to form bonds with Russia. He saw no emails, he was rejected at every turn, he had an erroneous idea in his head that some Russian woman he knew was related to Vladimir Putin — he was, by all indications, a bit of a nobody trying hard to look like a somebody. Some guy got in over his head with matters he didn’t fully understand, he lied, he got arrested, he got scared, he pled guilty. Either that or he’s a really bad spy who failed spectacularly at everything he tried to do.

Did Papadopoulos make contacts which people would frown upon in today’s political environment? Certainly. Does his behavior constitute any “Russian collusion” on the part of the Trump campaign beyond his own bumbling attempts at it? No. Is he going to get Trump impeached? Certainly not.

So. Let’s move on to the next idiotic segment in this gruelling worldwide psyop, I guess?

— — —

Hey you, thanks for reading! My work is entirely reader-funded so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and maybe throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal.

I write about the end of illusions.