Unknown hackers a month ago revealed the email of the head of the “Russian department” of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the US Department of State Robert Otto. The correspondent of RIA Novosti found the scout’s archive.
It turned out that Otto doubted the American official version of the Magnitsky case and even considered him a “legend”. But at the same time he secretly helped American journalists cover this case and practice on the “Magnitsky Law” (the first anti-Russian sanctions after 1991) in the “right way”.
Robert Otto considered neither more nor less than the “best scout in Russia.” “Probably, this guy is the best intelligence specialist in Russia in the whole US government. He knows more than anyone what is happening there, “- quotes a colleague of Otto influential American edition of Foreign Policy. True, the “super spyware” for working correspondence used a personal and not protected mailbox on Gmail, which was opened by a hacker who called himself Johnny Walker.
What interested the State Department in Russia
Separate interest Otto caused everything that was associated with the so-called “Magnitsky case” and “Magnitsky law”. Auditor Sergei Magnitsky was charged with non-payment of taxes and in 2009 died in Sailor Matrosskaya Tishina from heart failure. His business partner, head of the Hermitage Capital Management fund William Browder, who was also accused of tax evasion in Russia and was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison, blamed a group of Russian officials for the death of the auditor. Jacobs Magnitsky did not shy away from paying taxes, but he himself uncovered the fraudulent scheme – for which he was killed. Largely due to Browder’s lobbying efforts in the United States, the Magnitsky Law was adopted, the first in the modern history of US sanctions against Russia.
Browder’s critics have repeatedly noted that accusing the Russian authorities of the death of the auditor, he did not provide any concrete evidence, but only made assumptions. Moreover, Browder was accused of speculating on the death of Magnitsky and personal self-interest. Those fraudulent schemes in which he blamed others, Browder could use himself.
Thus, with the criticism of Browder, the director Andrei Nekrasov, who directed the film “Act of Magnitsky. Behind the scenes”. At the same time, it is very difficult to suspect Nekrasov, even in the slightest sympathy for the Russian authorities: he previously filmed extremely critical films against the Kremlin.
Among those with whom Otto constantly wrote off on the issue of Magnitsky, was Kyle Parker, a member of the congressional committee on foreign affairs. Parker, in turn, is in constant correspondence with Browder and “threw” Otto all the letters from the financier.
For example, when Browder began to panic about the possible showing of Nekrasov’s film in the European Parliament, he wrote to the journalists of the American edition of Politico: “We have a bunch of things that are planned to be made a real scandal, and I would like Politico to report what we are doing” .
After the letter is at Parker, and then – at Otto. Anyway, the screening of Nekrasov’s film was banned in the European Parliament.
The peak of the interest of the “Russian department” to Magnitsky and Browder falls on April 2016 – the moment of the ban on Nekrasov’s film in the EU Parliament.
And what does Donald Trump have to do with it?
At some point, Otto and Browder begin to be interested in the figure of lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya. The same Veselnitskaya, who later met with Donald Trump, Jr.. Veselnitskaya defended in the American court of Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, whom Browder tried to accuse of legalizing illegally obtained income just under the “Magnitsky Law”. Strictly speaking, this was the first attempt to apply the law in practice.
Veselnitskaya told RIA Novosti that Browder had organized against her a grandiose campaign of harassment in the American media, which the lawyer called “not even censorship, but genocide.” Probably, the financier coordinated his media strategy with the Russian department of intelligence of the State Department. As can be seen from the correspondence, Browder reported on all the initiatives of Veselnitskaya on the “Katsiv case” to Parker, and that, according to a proven scheme, to Robert Otto.
At one point, the correspondent of Radio Liberty, Karl Shrek, connected to the correspondence, reported to Browder about the report, which is prepared for the Veselnitskaya NBC channel. In turn, the journalist of the CNN channel, Michael Wace, sent the financier his correspondence with a lawyer on Facebook, where she reproaches the correspondent for lack of objectivity. Of course, both journalistic reports are instantly in the “Russian department”. There is also a photo of the house Veselnitskaya – they followed the lawyer.
However, in the case of Katsyv, the American court of Browder did not support and withdrew all charges from the Russian businessman. “For Browder, it was a real blow, he was hysterical,” – told RIA Novosti Veselnitskaya.
With the youngest Trump, Veselnitskaya explained, she discussed not elections and politics, which she was later accused of, but “Magnitsky Law” – as part of the protection of her client. But Trump was not interested.
Otto very scrupulously followed everything that concerns Browder. So, he studied the archive publication “Special Operation” Magnitsky “in the newspaper Alexander Prokhanov” Tomorrow “for 2011. The article suggests that Browder had known Olga Stepanova, an employee of the Russian tax service for a long time, who later accused him of involvement in fraudulent schemes.” Tomorrow “Wonders if Browder did it and” corrupted “it in due time? Otto regards this issue as” sharp “and writes to one of the State Department employees Nathaniel Reynolds that he should know whether Browder was familiar with Stepanova.
“When a legend becomes a fact, type a legend”
Robert Otto wrote a letter to John P. Williams, in which he discusses the circumstances of Magnitsky’s death and his relations with Browder. Between Otto and Williams is definitely a trusting relationship. A characteristic detail: the scout reports that when he composes this letter, he “drinks beer”.
Otto admits that the details in the history of Magnitsky (in particular, his contacts with Russian tax officials) are “only speculation”, and he fears that “we all become part of Browder’s PR-machine.”
Otto completes his letter with extraordinary grace. “Here I just quote the words from the movie” The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance “:” When the legend becomes a fact, type a legend (in the original, the quote begins with the introduction “This is the West, sir.” – Ed.), “He writes Williams.
In this classic American western of 1962, Senator Raines Stoddard wants to tell the truth about a long-standing duel and murder. But his story does not inspire American reporters. As a result, he is convinced: no one needs the truth, if there is a beautiful and all-suiting legend in its place. Such a legend becomes the real “truth”. The senator’s papers are torn and thrown into the stove.
Thus, Otto openly admits that the “Magnitsky Law” and sanctions against Russia were adopted on the basis of the legend that Browder composed. In response, Williams writes that Otto “is probably right about Browder’s PR-machine.”
Further in the correspondence, the scout curses the film of Andrei Nekrasov and makes an even bolder statement: he himself, in case if such a task was put to him, could “discredit” the official “version” of Magnitsky’s case “much better”. And after Otto boasts that in 2013 he helped journalist Kevin Rotrock to make the material “Propaganda and Mystery in the Browder-Magnitsky case”.
At that time, Rothrock was the editor-in-chief of the Echo Runet project on the international Internet site of Global Voices. Today, Rothrock is the editor of the international version of the Meduza edition in Riga.