Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew: Insights from colleagues and friends

John Harding’s book, Escape from Paradise – Paperback and Kindle Versions


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Now, available in Kindle and Paperback! Free Kindle if you purchase Paperback. After buying Paperback, go for the free Kindle!

It took me two and a half evenings to complete your un-put-downable book…it is a unique contribution to the appreciation of a life in Singapore. Thank you for having written it. C. V. Devan Nair, former President of Singapore.

Bought the book from Select this weekend and can’t put it down! It’s a great read! And so nostalgic for me—the good old days! Glen Goei, writer and director of the Miramax film That’s the Way I Like It and who played the title role opposite Anthony Hopkins in the London production of M. Butterfly. Mr. Goei’s latest film is The Blue Mansion – Click for the trailer!

It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction.Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President, Talk Miramax Books.

“It’s quite a story The legendary Alice Mayhew, Vice-President & Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster.

This book out-Dallas, Dallas. No one has written so well of the other side of paradise,Francis T. Seow, former Solicitor General of Singapore

ThunderBall Films is successfully putting together the movie production of Escape from Paradise and has received a new LOI (Letter of Intent) from actress Bai Ling who starred with Richard Gere in the film Red Cross.

This includes a commitment from a CPA firm who does tax credit financing in Ireland, a possible location to film, as part of the package needed for investors – along with the CPA firm’s commitment to apply for and finance the tax credits if ThunderBall does shoot in Ireland and what portion of the budget they would provide.
For inquiries, please contact John Harding at jbharding@gmail.com.

Escape from Paradise – the Promotional Trailer

Glenn Simpson, Grilled by FBI on Million Dollar Dossier

The dirty dealers behind the

The dirty dealers behind the “Dossier”

Simpson, who will appear in a closed session on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, hired the former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to compile the fake news dossier, which alleged that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents to damage Hillary Clinton.

Republicans in Congress are stepping up their efforts to uncover the Democratic and Republican funders of and sources for the infamous dossier and its unverified claims.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has made it clear that Simpson’s work has landed Simpson in the crosshairs.

“We will also pursue details about Mr. Simpson’s role in this event and the creation and circulation of the dossier that started this whole controversy,” Grassley said in a hearing in July.

As a reporter, Simpson specialized in coverage of money laundering and Russian organized crime. Back in 2016, he explained that he started Fusion GPS after leaving journalism because he thought his investigative skills would be valuable to a range of wealthy clients and he could make a fortune. Simpson said. “I call it journalism for rent.”

The 35-page dossier, which included a series of salacious allegations, was completed shortly before the presidential election. When BuzzFeed obtained and published the document in January 2017, little more than a week before of Trump’s inauguration, Simpson was outraged.

Simpson isn’t the only person who could face questions about dossier’s production. Lawmakers also want to talk to Steele, and a recent U.S. court ruling in a related case could compel him to comply.

Lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech mogul who was named in the dossier, were recently granted approval by Judge Ursula Ungaro of U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida to seek British approval to question Steele under oath as part of Gubarev’s libel suit against BuzzFeed.

“I have to ask myself, ‘What is it that they’re hiding?’” said Valentin Gurvits, Gubarev’s attorney. “To me, it is a very strange situation.”

According to people briefed on the developments, Steele has recently been questioned by the FBI and provided agents with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.

It is unclear how much information lawmakers will be able to obtain from Simpson this week. Attorneys for Fusion GPS, in desperation, have indicated to the committee that its client relationships are confidential—it should be very doubtful that the committee (or the FBI) will agree, unless of course they too have been corrupted.

Here is your copy of the BuzzFeed dossier—click!

December 12, 2017 update:

A senior Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed. Bruce G. Ohr’s wife, Nellie H. Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election and she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016. The FBI really is in tatters.

September 3, 2017 update:

Finally! Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation — the now infamous Trump dossier. But the FBI doesn’t want those officials to talk — even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

This began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey’s chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau’s national security branch. “The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations,” the chairman and ranking member wrote. “Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017.”

https://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/aaeaaqaaaaaaaajpaaaajgqxmde5ytuylte4mtutnda1yy1hotaxlwzhnmfmnzdkm2q0zq.jpg?quality=65&strip=all&strip=all

Comey’s guy, James Rybicki from the Swamp!

It didn’t happen because, on July 27, Samuel Ramer, the acting assistant attorney general, wrote to say that Rybicki and Ghattas would not be talking. Why? Because, with the Mueller investigation, Ramer said, “Under these circumstances and consistent with the department’s long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters, the department cannot make Mr. Ghattas or Mr. Rybicki available for transcribed interviews at this time.”

Grassley and Feinstein did not agree and Grassley and Feinstein wrote another letter, this time to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“The department declined to make Mr. Ghattas and Mr. Rybicki available for interviews because of pending matters and their current work on those matters with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Grassley and Feinstein wrote. “However, in our de-confliction discussions with the Special Counsel’s office, we have clarified that the committee intends to limit the scope of the interviews to avoid that concern. There is no intent to seek information about these witnesses’ current work with the Special Counsel’s office. Rather, we seek their independent recollections, as fact witnesses, of events that occurred before and including Director Comey’s removal.”

The two lawmakers asked the Justice Department to get in touch by September 1 to schedule the interviews, but September 1 came and went with no department effort to set up the interviews.

Now, it is not clear what is next. Grassley and Feinstein appear to be determined to talk to Rybicki and Ghattas. It is obvious that both men know a lot about what went on in the FBI in the last couple of years. As far as the Trump dossier specifically is concerned, they could be able to shed light on the FBI’s reported decision in October 2016 to pay a lot of money for work on the dossier, which at the time was an anti-Trump opposition research project funded by Clinton donors. Grassley has said that decision “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

James Rybicki has been hot in the news in the last few days. He was one of the FBI officials cited in a letter from Grassley and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggesting that Comey may have decided to exonerate Hillary Clinton in the email investigation even before Clinton and more than a dozen other witnesses were even grilled by the FBI.

Now Grassley and Feinstein want to know what the swamp guys, Rybicki and Ghattas, know about the fake dossier—but first, they’ll have to get past the Justice Department’s determination to keep such damaging things secret. Anything to protect the Swamp!

Obama’s Campaign Paid $972,000 To Law Firm That Secretly Paid Fusion GPS In 2016

Since April 2016, Obama’s campaign organization has paid nearly a million dollars to the law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier to compile a dossier of unverified allegations against Donald Trump.

The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been verified.

OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified and hidden only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.
FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.

Federal records show that Hillary Clinton’s official campaign organization, Hillary For America, paid just under $5.1 million to Perkins Coie in 2016. The DNC paid nearly $5.4 million to the law firm in 2016. The money was just piling in for the discredited Steele dossier.

According to the Washington Post, Fusion GPS was first retained by Perkins Coie on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in April of 2016.

At the same time that Hillary’s campaign, Obama’s campaign organization, and the DNC were all simultaneously paying Perkins Coie, the spouse of one of Fusion GPS’s key employees was working directly for Obama in the West Wing of the White House (and passing information to the Russians?). It was Shailagh Jane Murray, a former Washington Post reporter-turned-political operative, who was serving as a top communications adviser to Obama while the Obama administration was reportedly using information from the dossier to justify secret surveillance of Trump campaign staff. Shailagh Jane Murray is an American political aide and former journalist who served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Shailagh Jane Murray

Washington Post photo of Murray, Biden, and a member of the Swamp enjoying themselves

Murray previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Vice President Joe Biden as well—talk about a well connected mole. Murray is also married to Neil King, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was hired by Fusion GPS in December of 2016. While at the Wall Street Journal, King worked alongside Fusion GPS’s core team, even sharing bylines with Glenn Simpson, the Fusion GPS executive who personally hired Steele to probe Trump’s alleged Russia connections. The gang was and is very well placed and intertwined.

Digging into the Details

The sordid history of the dossier began when the Washington Free Beacon, a neocon website, engaged a firm of researchers called Fusion GPS to dive into Trump’s personal and professional life – and take him out.

A spinoff of Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard, the Beacon is run by his son-in-law. And its Daddy Warbucks is the GOP oligarch and hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer.

From October 2015 to May 2016, Fusion GPS dug up dirt for the neocons and never-Trumpers. By May, however, Trump had routed all rivals and was the certain Republican nominee.

So, the Beacon bailed, and Fusion GPS found two new cash cows to finance its work – the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

To keep the sordid business at arm’s length, both DNC and the Clintons engaged the party’s law firm of Perkins Coie. Paid $12.4 million by the DNC and Clinton campaign, Perkins used part of this cash hoard to pay Fusion GPS.

In June 2016, Fusion GPS engaged a retired British spy, Christopher Steele, who had headed up the Russia desk at MI6, to ferret out any connections between Trump and Russia.

Steele began contacting old acquaintances in the FSB, the Russian intelligence service. And the Russians began to feed him astonishing dirt on Trump that could, if substantiated, kill his candidacy.

Steele’s final product, a 35-page dossier, has been described as full of “unsubstantiated and salacious allegations.”

Steele’s research, however, had also made its way to James Comey’s FBI, and Comey was apparently so taken with it that the bureau considered paying Steele to continue his work.

The questions begin to pile up.

What was the FBI’s relationship with the British spy who was so wired into Russian intelligence?

Did the FBI use the information Steele dug up to expand its own investigation of Russia-Trump “collusion”? Did the FBI pass what Steele unearthed to the White House and the National Security Council?

Did the Obama administration use the information from the Steele dossier to justify unmasking the names of Trump officials who had been picked up on legitimate electronic intercepts?

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claimed they did not know that Perkins Coie had enlisted Fusion GPA or the British spy to dig up dirt on Trump.

Yet, when Podesta testified, of all people the lawyer sitting right beside Podesta in the committee room was Marc Elias of Perkins Coie, who had engaged Fusion GPS and received the fruits of Steele’s undercover work.

Thus, we have Free Beacon neocons, never-Trump Republicans, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the DNC, a British spy and comrades in Russian intelligence, and the FBI, all working with secret money and seedy individuals to destroy a candidate they could not defeat in a free election.

The real indictment here should be of the American political system, truly the swamp, which wages its political battles while doing little or nothing for the American people.

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