4/23/18, "A Conversation with Chris Blackburn on the Contradictions Surrounding Mifsud," Disobedient Media, Elizabeth Lea Vos (Chris Blackburn is a UK Political Analyst focusing on International Relations and Security)
"After the publication of Disobedient Media’s coverage of ‘eclectic scholar’ Joseph Mifsud’s unexamined ties to UK intelligence officials, this author was contacted by Chris Blackburn, a UK Political Analyst focusing on International Relations and Security, whose Twitter post instigated this writer’s research into the matter.
This writer’s interest in Mifsud and in turn, the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, was heightened by a Twitter threadon the subject published by WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange shortly before Ecuador cut off his connection to the outside world.
|Mifsud and Claire Smith|
Chris Blackburn’s initial Tweets on the matter included of a photograph showing UK Joint Intelligence Committee member Claire Smith and Joseph Mifsud together at LINK Campus in Rome, where they collaborated on a training program involving Italian military officials. Disobedient Media was able to confirm the photograph’s authenticity, finding that the program was organized by the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD), which Mifsud directed.
The event took place in 2012 – a significant date because, at that time, Claire Smith was a member of the UK intelligence security vetting panel.
|2017, Mifsud w. Boris Johnson|
[Ed. note: Caption for image "at Brexit dinner" on 10/19/17 from UK Guardian, 11/11/2017 article: "Boris Johnson pictured at the dinner with the ‘London professor’, Joseph Mifsud (left) and Prasenjit Kumar Singh." Article, "Boris Johnson met 'London professor' linked to FBI's Russia investigation," Carole Cadwalladr, "Fresh questions as photograph emerges of Joseph Mifsud and foreign secretary at Brexit dinner." Described as a "fundraising dinner."]
(continuing): ..............."Disobedient Media asked Chris [Blackburn] to explain the process of his research into Joseph Mifsud’s most important ties:
Chris Blackburn: “When Joseph Mifsud’s name was leaked by The Washington Post as being the ‘professor’ named in George Papadopoulos’ court papers, bloggers and journalists took to Twitter to try to understand who he was. Everyone was looking for connections to Russia. They quickly found them. The London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) had been working on hosting financial sanctions workshops, and LINK Campus in Rome and the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) had provided a vehicle for Mifsud to make connections with Russian universities and academics.”
“Before the story broke, I had heard of the London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP) where George Papadopoulos and Mifsud both worked. The relatively new legal firm had been trying to move into the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) sector in the UK. They had done some research into ISIS territorial gains in the Middle East and wrote a widely circulated report on the group. They also hosted a few seminars with [UK] Foreign Office types on terrorism. LCILP had also tried to reach out to a couple of Bangladeshi activists working on the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunals. I didn’t think much of it, but I couldn’t ignore it. Why would a suspected Russian intelligence front try to engage with Bangladesh’s War Crimes Tribunal from London?”...
Mifsud worked with diplomats and NATO allies, so they would need to know the potential damage he had caused. I found that two of Joseph Mifsud’s closest colleagues, who the FBI would have designated as high-frequency, were Claire Smith and Gianni Pittella. They had followed him between LAD [London Academy of Diplomacy], Stirling University and LINK Campus in Rome. Claire Smith was a former member of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). As a team, Smith and Mifsud trained Italian law enforcement on intelligence at LINK Campus in Rome. LINK Campus’ ties to the Italian Foreign Ministry and intelligence agencies had been quickly skimmed over by The Washington Post, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and The Guardian.”
“Gianni Pittella has known Mifsud for a while. They met at the European Parliament and have collaborated on numerous projects together. In July 2016, Pittella gave a rousing speech at Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign launch in Philadelphia, calling Donald Trump ‘a virus’ which needed to be stopped, while his close collaborator Mifsud was supposedly helping Trump’s campaign to conspire with Russia. If the FBI had been doing a proper investigation into Joseph Mifsud, these two connections should have raised red flags immediately.”...
“While other researchers were looking into Mifsud’s academic links to Russia, I decided to conduct a more wide-ranging investigation. The London Academy of Diplomacy was being built up in the press as a shady operation. It wasn’t. British diplomats and Foreign Office ministers often visited LAD. Sir Tony Baldry, Alok Sharma MP and former Foreign Secretary William Hague all visited LAD or spoke at their conferences.”
“If Mifsud was working with western intelligence agencies that would be rather pertinent in an espionage scandal. Italian journalists have been slow to pick up the story, but they are now calling LINK Campus the ‘007 university’ because Vincenzo Scotti, a former Italian Foreign Minister, and director at LINK University, has been trying to defend himself from suggestions he’s in Russia or the CIA’s pocket.”
“The venue for the alleged acts of treachery involving Papadopoulos and Mifsud– LINK Campus Rome – should have set alarm bells ringing for the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigators. The CIA has a long history of working there. David Ignatius of The Washington Post even wrote about a CIA-sponsored event he attended at LINK Campus in 2004.”
“The FBI’s Legat [Legal Attache office] in Rome also sends its agents to train Italian and Maltese law enforcement at the small private campus. Mifsud had worked at LINK Campus for quite some time. Before the story broke in August last year, Mifsud had been working with CNN’s Freedom Project to host a televised debate on modern slavery. After Mifsud had been named, CNN continued with the event. Richard Quest hosted while one of Mifsud’s colleagues, Franco Frattini, acted as one of the panelists.”...
..............."Disobedient Media asked Chris for his thoughts on why multiple red flags easily spotted by due diligence may have been missed regarding Mifsud, intentionally or otherwise.
Chris Blackburn: “If Mifsud is a genuine Russian asset, he has been enabled by the United States’ most trusted allies. His relationship with senior intelligence and political leaders in Europe should constitute one of the greatest security breaches in decades. He had access to diplomats in training, sanctions targets and counter-terrorism strategy in the Middle East and South Asia. However, government reactions don’t show that. The FBI doesn’t appear to have warned their closest allies.”...
...............Disobedient Media asked Chris [Blackburn] to explain what conclusions can be drawn, or questions raised, by the evidence he’s shared.
Chris Blackburn: “There are too many contradictions and blatant omissions concerning Joseph Mifsud, in the media and the judicial system, to ignore. The NSA would have been monitoring Mifsud’s communications with the production crew that worked on the CNN Freedom Project before the George Papadopoulos indictment was made public. Why didn’t CNN Europe’s producers come out and say anything? It’s one of the greatest scandals in US history. Does CNN’s European division not read the news?”
“After Mifsud allegedly engaged George Papadopoulos in trying to set him up with allegedly stolen data, he went on to host conferences with US Treasury officials, ex-CIA agents, congressmen and State Department officials in numerous venues. If the investigation were genuine, US authorities would have alerted the British government and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mifsud would not have been able to get into a position to be photographed with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson if he was a security threat or an agent of influence.”
“Mifsud still hasn’t been named by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or indicted by his team. The first time an official named him was when Rep. Adam Schiff (D), the minority chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), mentioned him in a rebuttal to the majority memo on FISA abuses in the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ).”
“There are enough red flags here to suggest that Mifsud was potentially tied to efforts to kick-start a phony investigation that was designed to be leaked to the American press. Peter Strzok, the counter-intelligence official that started the Joseph Mifsud investigation, has been demoted and removed from Mueller’s investigative team. Mifsud is a mystery to people that can’t be bothered to look, but many journalists are aware of his links.”
“They don’t want to ruin a narrative. Trump is a divisive figure, but if we let intelligence officials illegally taint and sabotage candidates in a democratic election, it sets a dangerous precedent. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has previously stepped into contemporary politics to malign Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, and the Liberal Democrats during British elections. He guided Christopher Steele on his strategy with his infamous dossier. It’s a trend which needs to be addressed.”
“For those that still believe we are living in democratic, free and open societies it is sadly starting to look like fantasy. Democracies flourish when the checks and balances in the system are robust. We need them to work now more than ever.”
............[Elizabeth Vos] As a closing thought on Blackburn’s findings, it’s important to set the exposure of Mifsud’s ties to the UK establishment and intelligence community into context.
Julian Assange brought this matter to the public’s attention just before being silenced by the Ecuadorian government. Although this particular story is most likely not causative in terms of Assange being relegated to solitary confinement, it is important to remember Assange’s interest in Mifsud’s ties to UK intelligence. It is one among many subjects that Assange has been prevented from discussing at the time of writing.
Ultimately, Disobedient Media’s previous coverage of Mifsud’s links to UK intelligence and Chris Blackburn’s thorough research suggest that the same interests involved in the fabrication of Russian hacking fingerprints via the anonymous Guccifer 2.0 persona are associated with the concoction of faulty evidence for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.
Even reports casting Mifsud as a Russian intelligence asset do not object to the conclusion that Mifsud worked as a spy. Their claim simply depicts him as working for the wrong master, and in so-doing, rests the beating heart of the Trump-Russia collusion scandal on a single inaccurate premise. In exposing this sleight of hand, Chris Blackburn, Julian Assange, and others have debunked a narrative which, if successful, could have fatally raised tensions between two nuclear powers already facing off on the geopolitical playing field.
In the Trump-Russia and Russian hacking narratives, American and UK intelligence agencies appear to have recklessly and deceptively acted in the interest of a single political candidate, Hillary Clinton.
This singularity of purpose speaks to the insecurity and magnitude of the unelected Western power structure, equaled by the scale of lies propping up the Trump-Russia and Russian hacking narratives."