Paul Manafort once told his daughter he felt suicidal. He told her while at home, awaiting trial, living in luxury that most of us only dream about. That, coupled with the fact that this is a 69 year old man used to living at the pinnacle of everything, romping around the world with the most powerful politicians, bankers, and …criminals, facing his first night in jail, seeing the reality, the “hell hole” that the DC -area jails are known to be, and that would merit putting anyone in similar circumstances under suicide watch.
But, those aren’t the only two reasons.
Paul Manafort is now in a position where he will either turn, or spend the rest of his life in jail. People have oft-speculated as to why Manafort hasn’t turned yet, why not tell the whole story in exchange for one year in jail versus one lifetime? It seems like an easy decision. But it isn’t, and the other complicating factor is the third reason Manafort is likely under a suicide watch.
Remember who Manafort did business with. He made the money he did because he would take the risks in supporting the world’s most ruthless people, including Putin, Ukranian politicians, and Russian oligarchs (we’re talking about the same crime organization, just getting larger and larger from the center). Putin kills journalists who write critical things. Putin kills politicians who are too critical, in fact he has them shot at Red Square, as yet an “unsolved random act of violence,” a brazen message to anyone else foolish enough to take him on. Manafort also worked for Russian mob figures under Putin who also have a license to kill in Russia (does Putin care if they murder a threat to the “business”?). So, Paul Manafort’s decision is not as simple as we might think.
Manafort decides, “Ok, prison is awful, I’ll cooperate.” He gets an 2 year sentence based on the invaluable information he gave up, and then spends the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, worried that he will soon be gunned down, or have his car explode, or – if the Russians are more fearful of acting on U.S. soil – have a bad car accident. Oh, and watch out for what looks like suicide, because intelligence agencies specialize in “suiciding people” – take a look at the list of witnesses to the Warren Commission sometime and get a very very quesy feeling that the mob and/or the CIA was still very much at work.
Now you see why Manafort’s “choice” isn’t nearly as obvious. Could the government protect him?
If he said to them; “I want to help you, but if I do, I’m a dead man.” Can the government help him? They can try, though it’s pretty hard to hide a 69 year old man known throughout the world, and there would be a huge price on his head. Could a strong, future, U.S. president say “If any witness against Russia-Trump-Manafort ends up dead, we are presuming Russia to be at fault until proven otherwise” – Yes, a strong U.S. president could say that, but we don’t have one of those right now, and second, Paul Manafort is 69 years old, how tough do you think it is to make it look natural for the world’s most sophisticated intelligence networks?
Thinking about such things makes me question why I am seeing Allen Dersherwitz on TV supporting Trump saying things that are simply not true:
“My own view is it is unfair for Manafort to join thousands of others sitting in jail with the presumption of innocence,” he said. “We don’t know whether he tampered with witnesses… This so undercuts the presumption of innocence when we put people in jail, poor or rich, without a trial, without a hearing. Based on a judge’s conclusion and a prosecutor’s assertion that they may have violated the terms of their bail… this is punitive and it’s designed to put pressure on Manafort and it may very well work. The reason we get 98% conviction rates in some part of the country is because we put people in jail prior to trial.”
That is a complete and total lie. Manafort had a hearing, the prosecution put on evidence, the judge found probable cause based on the evidence, and revoked the bail. Toobin called out Dershowitz right afterward, stating that Manafort had already been indicted by the grand jury on witness tampering. Toobin said specifically that Dershowitz was lying (strong language). Caught in a lie, Dershowitz just fell back to, “Yeah, but you can indict anything.”
Why is a man like Allen Dershowitz, formerly one of the greatest legal minds in this country, now unable to put together coherent arguments? It truly makes you wonder – did someone get to him and say, “You will do this or else”?
Please, I find it unlikely, I find it highly unlikely. But it is not impossible, and too often, we who who are used to playing by American rules forget that we’re now playing by the rules of the Russian mob, perhaps Israeli intelligence, perhaps Saudi operatives, people who aren’t afraid to pay off or threaten media personalities, or kill to further their nation’s needs.
Sean Hannity, Devin Nunes? Are they operating wholly under the own volition? Probably.
But not “certainly.” And they have done some extremely weird things.
Paul Manafort is on suicide watch right now, that comes as a near certainty. It’s not unusual to put similarly situated people under suicide watch. The traditional media sources cannot come out and say “he may fear for his life if he testifies” because it puts into question the U.S. government’s ability to protect witnesses, and it sounds too “James Bondish” for their comfort. I will say it because I can point to Putin’s record, he kills. The Saudis kill. Mueller’s investigation could blow the whole operation open if the right people talk. The stakes couldn’t possibly be higher, and that is something to keep in mind when wondering “Why is Manafort on suicide watch, why doesn’t he just talk?” or even just “When did Allen Dershowitz get so stupid?”
Don’t get paranoid, don’t assign everything to an ever-deepening conspiracy, just be aware that the world’s most powerful people stand to lose it all if this goes very wrong. That clarifies the mind a bit, and should open up the world of the possible.
*** Turning into our second week on Twitter we’ve branched out to the cuttng edge theoretical physics on the nature of time, cheering on Iceland at 10 ET on Fox, and yes, there absolutely will be a real prize given to each and every one of the first 100 followers, about 50 spots are taken, I’ll announcement and send prize at 100. We have fun. @MiciakZoom