On this edition of Parallax Views, we have another “Triple Feature” for listeners. First up, former New York Times journalist Barry Meier joins us to discuss the saga of the private intelligence firm Fusion GPS, former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele of Orbis Business Intelligence, and the media coverage of the infamous Steele Dossier (which purported, among other things, that Vladimir Putin and Russia had “kompromat” on President Donald J. Trump vis-a-vis an alleged “pee tape” with prostitutes that was then used to blackmail Trump) as outlined in his book Spooked: The Trump Dossier, Black Cube, and the Rise of Private Spies. We delve into the hidden billion-dollar industry of corporate investigative firms, Jules Kroll, the mercenary nature of these firms, the connection between “vulture capitalist” Paul Singer and the saga that would come to be known as the Steele Dossier, oppo research in the world of politics, Fusion GPS’s connection to a Russian oligarch, and much, much more.
Then in our second segment, prolific author Sally Denton joins us for a short conversation about her 2008 book The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right in light of the Janury 6th Capitol breach anniversary. Denton explains how powerful Wall Street forces, allied with various right-wing elements including Christian evangelicals, Nazi sympathizers, and militias, plotted a coup against President Franklin Delano Roosevelt due to the path he wanted to take the United States on vis-a-vis the New Deal. The plotters approached the “Maverick Marine” Gen. Smedley Butler, known for his seminal antiwar book War is a Racket, in the hopes that he would assist them. Instead of taking up their offer, Butler notified J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. The plot was then eventually investigated by Congress. Know alternately as the Business Plot or Wall Street Putsch, this extent of the plans and how close they were to being executed have been a matter of heated historical debate over the decades. Media at the time denounced it as a hoax, but since then the question, again, has become how close the plot was to being carried out. Denton and I talk about all of this as well as the relevance of this story to our current times.
And finally in our third segment, Paul Robinson, professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and a scholar on issues related to Russia and its history, joins us to discuss Russia, Ukraine, and NATO. In particular we discuss his Irrussianality blog post “Why Russia Fears NATO”.