Marco Orioles’ in-depth analysis of the links between Russiagate and the Link Campus University of Rome outlined in the new book by the previous Trump counselor George Papadopoulos. The book promises shocking revelations about a “Spy Story” where Italy would even be the “epicenter”.
The reports from the United States tell us that the investigation by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russiagate has been concluded, and that the new Secretary of Justice, William Barr, will announce it to the press as early as next week. Soon, the whole world will know if in the unexpected victory of Donald Trump at the 2016 Presidential Elections there was a little help from Moscow. That is, whether the New York’s tycoon, or at least the men in his entourage, were colluded with the Kremlin, allegedly the center of a sophisticated and unscrupulous operation of influence conceived and implemented with the aim of damaging the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and favoring her Republican rival who had promised to mend the relations with Russia.
While waiting to see the results of Mueller’s big inquiry, some information is already emerging from the United States that promises to overlap with these which will come out from the Special Prosecutor. In the United States, in fact, many are closely monitoring the Twitter profile of the man who, three years ago, determined the Mueller’s investigation.
We’re talking about George Papadopoulos, as to say the man who, before falling into disgrace, held the role of foreign policy adviser of the candidate Trump during the incredible phase of the Primary Election and subsequent stages of the triumphant election campaign. A young rampant who soon ended up on the FBI’s attention because of his “liaisons dangereuses” with Russian circles and, above all, because of the famous e-mails from Hillary Clinton that the Moscow military intelligence, the GRU, stole and that, before being made public, were made available to Papadopoulos – through a mysterious intermediary with strong ties to Italy – with the obvious intention of providing him with embarrassing material capable of compromising the rival candidate. A bad story, which cost Papadopoulos the incrimination – the first, in Mueller’s investigation – and a sentence to fourteen days in jail for lying to the FBI about those deals.
Well, for a few days now the Twitter account of Papadopoulos has been emitting strange smoke signals. These are, as far as we know, the signs of a possible detonation parallel to the one that will occur when we know the results of Mueller’s investigation. Papadopoulos seems to have something big in his hands and he is about to reveal it in a book that will be released on March 26.
The book is entitled “Deep State Target” and is presented by him as a “first-hand report that demonstrates the attempted sabotage of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by American and international intelligence services“. A “Spygate”, in short, of which Papadopoulos would have been “the first target“. A great conspiracy plotted by the “Deep State” – the famous Washington “swamp” in which spies, unscrupulous politicians and unfair officials splash around – with the aim of damaging not Hillary Clinton as Mueller’s investigation would have tried to prove (investigation that the author calls a “hoax”), but Trump himself.
So far, nothing to turn us upside down on the chair. We know that there are many Americans who have doubts about Russiagate or who consider it, in the wake of The Donald, a “witch hunt”. In the land of fake news and “alternative facts”, it comes as no surprise that there are people who propose more or less bizarre theories. The fact is that, as we said, Papadopoulos has been sending ambiguous messages via Twitter for some time now. Messages that call Italy into question, which he even considers “the epicenter of the conspiracy”.
Disturbing references that will force us to carefully consider this book. While waiting for its release, it is useful to put together the known elements of a story that develops, also, in Italy. A story that has already been abundantly told by newspapers, but whose details are apparently not yet entirely known. A story built around the figure of a mysterious Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, who in the meantime has disappeared, and one of the universities where that professor taught, the Link Campus University of Rome, founded by the former Christian Democracy party Minister Vincenzo Scotti, who wants to become the political and governance lab of the Five Star Movement. Papadopoulos defines the Link University as a “school of spies” in the tweet where he advertises his book, fueling the suspicion that in the corridors of the university unmentionable secrets move. Questions on which Start Magazine previously focused on.
But let’s start with him: Joseph Mifsud. Who is he, and what role does he play in Russiagate?
This 60-years-old Maltese docent appears in Mueller’s inquiry as the “professor” that Papadopoulos met several times, between March and April 2016, in Rome and London.
Mifsud graduated from the University of Padua. According to the medallion published on the website “The Washington Diplomat” he played an important role in the Malta’s Accession Negotiations with the European Union, as an assistant of the Maltese Foreign Minister, Michael Frendo.
Trump’s young adviser had good reason to pay attention to Mifsud due to his important connections into Russian politics. Mifsud, in fact, regularly went to Moscow to participate at conferences. As a member of the Valdai Club, the Russian “Davos”, the professor had relations with people who counted, people who developed and implemented Russian foreign policy.
This raised the attention from Papadopoulos: when he joined the electoral team of Trump, he understood that, if elected, Trump intended to bring Washington closer to Moscow. Then, a contact with a man who had access to the Russian political power could certainly come in handy. Especially since, at the meeting that the two had in Rome on March 14th, 2016, the professor repaid the attention.
The informal understanding between the two made possible another meeting, this time in London, on March 24th, 2016. Mifsud was accompanied by a Russian citizen, Olga Polonskaya, presented to Papadopoulos as the niece of Vladimir Putin. It is not, but it is the signal that Papadopoulos awaited: Mifsud was the man he needed.
But it was in a new meeting, in a hotel in London on April 26th, 2016, that Mifsud offered Papadopoulos an ace opportunity. According to the Mueller’s investigation, Mifsud claimed to be “returned from a trip to Moscow where he met high-level representatives of the Russian government“, who told him that they had “dirty stuff” on Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails”. Boom.
It didn’t seem true to Papadopoulos: the professor was making precious material available to him, which would have raised his profile in the Trump team, and possibly opened the door to better positions in the future government led by the tycoon. From that moment on, Papadopoulos worked tirelessly on a project: to organize a meeting between Putin and the candidate Trump, to forge an alliance soaked in those e-mails that Russia offered to the future creator of the Washington-Moscow thaw. Among other things, subsequent contacts between Papadopoulos and the Russian Foreign Ministry are documented.
The meeting between Putin and the future head of the White House, as propitiated by those contacts, never takes place: rumors told that Jeff Sessions, the Senator from Alabama who is at the side of the Republican candidate and who will be rewarded with the assignment of Secretary of Justice, killed the idea, putting Papadopoulos in trouble.
Papadopoulos, in fact, made an unforgivable mistake: he confided in Alexander Downer, a high ranking Australian diplomat, that Papadopoulos met in May 2016 in the Kensington Wine Room in London. Downer decided to inform his country’s intelligence.
Once alerted by Australian intelligence and having understood the nature of the deal, the American authorities decided to start an investigation, the one that would have developed into the Russiagate.
When the case broke out, the world wondered: who is this “professor” that, according to Mueller’s investigation, offered to a Trump’s advisor explosive material on Hillary? Mifsud suddenly became one of the most wanted men in the world. Everyone wanted to talk to him and know the details of this story. T
he Italian newspaper “Repubblica” found him at the Link Campus University in Rome. When the reporter asked him about the revelations coming from overseas, Mifsud replies: “Nonsense. (…) what Papadopoulos said is not true. (…) I absolutely exclude having spoken of secrets concerning Hillary. I swear on my daughter. (…) All I have done was to encourage relations between unofficial sources, and between official and unofficial sources, to resolve a crisis. It’s done all over the world. I have put in contact think-tanks with think-tanks“.
Then, Mifsud disappeared. He was no longer in his apartment in Rome, nor at the Campus. In the United States, the Democratic National Committee, which sued him in the case of hacking e-mails, says that “he disappeared or maybe died”. In Italy, the Court of Auditors of Palermo, which condemned him for unjustified compensation received by the University Consortium of the province of Agrigento (Italy) of which he was president, was forced to write in the sentence “Residence unknown”. All the pages about him on the Internet, including the Link Campus website, to which he was affiliated, also disappeared.
Unfortunately, the Internet does not forgive. Thus the traces of a series of conferences in which Mifsud participated at the Link Campus University in Rome emerged, such as initiatives where the Maltese professor appeared together with fellow professors like Paola Giannettakis (rumored last year as possible Five Star Movement candidate for the assignment of the Minister of the Interior) with Misfud at the “First interdisciplinary forum on terrorism” in September 2015, or the European Parliament Member, Gianni Pittella, Mifsud’s friend since the joint attendance of the London Academy of Diplomacy, where Pittella has been visiting professor, or the current Italian Minister of Defense, Elisabetta Trenta (previously Deputy director of the Master in Intelligence and Security of the Link Campus University of Rome), assistant at the University Campus of Agrigento in the same period as Mifsud.
Mifsud’s collaborations at the Link Campus University embarrassed its founder, Vincenzo Scotti, who, in an interview at the website “Letter 43“, minimized saying that “he came here to start teaching courses as a full time professor of a foreign university, but he didn’t start them anymore. That’s it”. “Professor Mifsud” – says Scotti in another interview – “collaborated with us when we were a subsidiary of the State University of Malta in Italy, indicated by Malta (…). For the academic year 2017-2018, he had an assignment at the Link Campus University of Rome as a full professor of the prestigious Stirling University. When Stirling declared him decayed -in November 2017-, the position we held, as a visiting professor, has been closed.”
However, most of the damage is done. The name of Mifsud went around the world associated with that of the Link Campus University of Rome. And the newspapers went wild. Luciano Capone of the Italian newspaper “Il Foglio” personally went to the University, asked for explanations, and gathering comments from the press office (“Joseph Mifsud’s professional relationship with Link Campus University began in 2017 as a foreign professor in Italy”). With the explosion of the Russiagate, Mifsud would have “decayed” in November of the same year. Furthermore, facing questions, the University said that Mifsud collaborated “in the development of international relations of Link Campus University” since it was a subsidiary of the Maltese university.
The relationship with Mifsud therefore seems not to have been impromptu. “On the contrary”, Capone wrote, “the Maltese professor played a leading role in connecting people, in building international partnerships and in fundraising for the Link University, resulted in financial agreements with foreign entities, including a Russian one.”
“Mifsud,” Capone reported, “thanks to his excellent relations with the Russians, played a fundamental role (…) in the agreement between the small Link Campus University and the Lomonosov Moscow State University“, considered “the most important state university in Russia”. Three people signed the agreement in Moscow on October 8, 2016: Vincenzo Scotti, the former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Joseph Mifsud. Following this partnership, the Link Campus University planned a Master in “Globalisation, governance and international understanding” with the presence of several Russian professors, together with Italian docents. The webpage of the list of professors of the master was removed from the Link Campus University website.
This story, as we have told, has already been widespread. Now, the book of Papadopoulos promises new revelations. On the Vincenzo Scotti’s “spy school” and about that mysterious Maltese docent who disappeared, whose traces have been erased by the Roman university, along with the dots that connect him to Putin’s Russia. While waiting for the book to be released, it is perhaps time to follow the Twitter profile of Papadopoulos.
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