The fear mongering of associating WikiLeaks with a Russian plot to elect Donald Trump ignores the reality that John Podesta’s former lobbying firm worked to further the interests of a Russian-owned corporation and bank. Few people know that Open Secrets.org lists the Podesta Group as once having a $60,000 lobbying deal with Uranium One. In addition to lobbying on behalf of a corporation that was mostly owned by the Russian government, the Podesta Group’s ties to a Russian bank is well-documented.
As stated by John R. Schindler in a 2016 Observer article, the Panama Papers revealed that “Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C.” If you don’t believe this claim, just look at the Podesta Group’s Senate Lobbying Registration. As for other foreign ties to John Podesta, Ben Norton of Salon writes “A key gear in the Clinton machine that has sucked in hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on behalf of the Saudi absolute monarchy has also worked for Russia’s biggest bank.”
Medea Benjamin of Code Pink unveils Podesta’s link with Saudi Arabia in a Huffington Post piece titled Hillary Clinton, The Podesta Group And The Saudi Regime: A Fatal Menage A Trois. As Medea Benjamin states, “If I told you that Democratic Party lobbyist Tony Podesta, whose brother John Podesta chairs Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is a registered foreign agent on the Saudi government’s payroll, you’d probably think I was a Trump-thumping, conspiratorial nutcase.”
For a great summary of the Podesta Group’s association with one of Russia’s largest banks, Michael Sainato explains this link in piece titled Clinton’s Russia Diversion On DNC Leaks Hides Her Own Kremlin Connections:
Earlier this year, the Podesta Group registered as lobbyists for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, naming three staffers from the group, including John Podesta and two former assistant secretaries of state in the registration. “Western intelligence is well acquainted with Sberbank, noting its close relationship with Vladimir Putin and his regime,” wrote John Schindler in an April 2016 article for the Observer.
“Funds moving through Sberbank are regularly used to support clandestine Russian intelligence operations, while the bank uses its offices abroad as cover for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.”
Thus, who’s afraid of Vladimir Putin? Certainly, not John Podesta or the Clinton Campaign.
Hillary Clinton and her campaign are engaging in sleight of hand by accusing WikiLeaks of conspiring in a Russian plot to elect Donald Trump. Aside from the fact there’s zero hard evidence linking Russia to WikiLeaks (unnamed security officials also stated Iraq had WMD), Democrats loyal to Clinton ignore the massive corruption uncovered by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Instead of focusing on a DNC chair passing questions to Clinton, or Clinton Foundation quid pro quo schemes granting access to America’s Secretary of State, the Clinton campaign has engaged in antiquated Cold War propaganda.
WikiLeaks is an award-winning whistleblowing organization doing the job that The Washington Post and New York Times won’t do; exposing corruption within the Democratic Party. Since massive media collusion has been uncovered by WikiLeaks, it’s understandable most publications would rather focus on Julian Assange’s motives, as opposed to the damaging information he’s disclosed thus far. Nonetheless, when leveling allegations that Assange and WikiLeaks work for Vladimir Putin, it’s important to remember that John Podesta’s former lobbying firm once worked on behalf of a Russian-owned corporation and a large Russian bank.
In addition to certain ties with one of Russia’s largest banks, the Podesta Group is also linked to the Uranium One sale of U.S. uranium. Yes, the Clinton Campaign’s chairman is linked to a firm that lobbied the U.S. government on behalf of a corporation that eventually sold 20% of U.S. uranium to the Russian government.
The notion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Podesta didn’t know Uranium One would eventually sell 20% of U.S. uranium to the Russian government ignores an inconvenient timeline. First, Podesta’s lobbying firm worked for Uranium One after half the company was owned by the Russian government. By 2010, Russia’s state-owned Rosatom controlled a 51% stake in Uranium One.
With the Clinton campaign accusing WikiLeaks of helping Trump, under the rationale that Vladimir Putin wants a Trump presidency, it’s important to investigate Clinton’s motive in furthering Cold War Red Scare tactics.
Second, journalist Chuck Ross states “Senate records show that the Podesta Group has lobbied the State Department on behalf of Uranium One — once in 2012, when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and once in 2015.” Chuck Ross brilliantly explains the Podesta Group’s lobbying work in a Daily Caller piece titled Firm Co-Founded By Hillary’s Campaign Chair Lobbies For Russia’s Uranium One:
Chalk it up to a small world or to a tangled web, but Uranium One, the Russian-owned uranium mining company at the center of a recent scandal involving the Clintons and a close Canadian business partner, has lobbied the State Department through a firm co-founded by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman.
Senate records show that The Podesta Group has lobbied the State Department on behalf of Uranium One — once in 2012, when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and once in 2015.
Uranium One paid The Podesta Group $40,000 to lobby the State Department, the Senate, the National Park Service and the National Security Council for “international mining projects,” according to a July 20, 2012 filing.
Clinton left the State Department on Feb. 1, 2013.
Uranium One is significant because it fell under the corporate control of Rosatom, Russia’s atomic energy agency, through a series of transactions approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One effectively gave Russia control of 20 percent of uranium in the U.S.
Thus, as Ross points out, the Podesta Group lobbied the U.S. government for Uranium One during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State; an obvious conflict of interest.
There’s also an interesting press release documenting the timeline of the Podesta Group’s relationship with Uranium One after Russia had purchased ownership in the corporation. As stated in a Uranium One press release in 2010 (years before Podesta’s firm lobbied for the company), the Russian government already owned a majority of the mining company:
investing in our energy
News Release June 8, 2010
ARMZ is the world’s fifth largest uranium producer with operating mines in Russia and Kazakhstan. During 2009, operations in which ARMZ is involved produced 12.1 million pounds of U3O8. It is wholly-owned by State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom", the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy which consolidates all nuclear assets of the Russian Federation…
ARMZ currently holds 23.1% of Uranium One’s outstanding common shares.
On completion of the transaction, ARMZ will own not less than 51% of the Company’s outstanding common shares.
ARMZ has agreed to a standstill of 18 months from closing during which it may not, without prior consent, dispose of or acquire any additional Uranium One shares, except pursuant to agreed antidilution rights, which will permit ARMZ to maintain not less than a 51% interest in the Company and to certain other exceptions.
Therefore, the Podesta Group lobbied for Uranium One after Rosatom had acquired ownership in the corporation.
How does this correlate directly to Hillary Clinton?
Uranium One’s Clinton Foundation donors are highlighted in a New York Times piece titled Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal:
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
While few people know the Clinton Foundation’s ties to Uranium one, or the Podesta Group’s ties to both Uranium One and Sberbank, even fewer people know Bill Clinton’s activities in Russia. As stated above, “Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin.”
Accusing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks of working for Russia or Trump is not only irresponsible, but also ignores the fact millions of Americans want to learn about corruption within their political system. WikiLeaks has thus far contributed greatly to American democracy by balancing out a press enjoying lavish dinners at John Podesta’s house. Even more troubling is NBC’s Chuck Todd hosting a dinner for John Podesta. Between the Washington Post and New York Times sending the Clinton campaign articles to edit, America needs Julian Assange and WikiLeaks more than ever.
Most importantly, the Podesta Group’s well-documented ties to Russia far outweigh the Cold War propaganda leveled at WikiLeaks. There’s a reason the Clinton campaign has frantically blamed Russia for every WikiLeaks revelation. Hillary Clinton certainly doesn’t want voters to learn of her campaign’s links to Russia, and would rather disparage a needed whistleblower than focus upon the lobbying history of her own campaign manager.