Last week the coalition government of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives and Vice-Chancellor Strache’s Freedom Party (anti-immigration) came undone when a secretly recorded videotape of a July 2017 meeting in Ibiza was leaked to German media. The video showed Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and the deputy leader of the Freedom Party negotiating with a woman posing as the ‘niece of a Russian oligarch’ to provide government contracts for favorable media coverage for Strache’s party and coalition government.
The resulting ‘scandal’ forced Strache to resign and saw Chancellor Kurz (who officially had no part in the scandal) forced out of office in a no-confidence vote. The fact that the videotape was withheld for almost two years and then released less than a week before European parliamentary elections is obviously no coincidence, and the ‘scandal’ was clearly a set-up designed to achieve exactly what it did.
But who was behind it?
While the inclusion of a bogus ‘niece of a Russian oligarch’ (she’s a Bosnian agricultural science student who was paid $7,000 for her role) was an obvious attempt to further smear Russia in the eyes of Western populations, the idea that the Russian government was involved is implausible given that Strache has repeatedly advocated for stronger ties with Russia. The claim by some idiot internet pundits that Strache was ‘in Putin’s pocket’ and ‘this is how democracy dies’ because he was willing to take favors from a supposed Russian oligarch misses the point that most EU politicians would take favors from anyone with enough influence, and regularly do. Oh, and democracy is already dead, you dolts!
We can also discount the involvement of the Trump administration given that the Kurz-Strache coalition government was ideologically in line with Trump’s advocacy for nationalist and populist parties in Europe.
One likely suspect might be the EU central powers, as best represented by outgoing high chief of Europe Jean-Claude Juncker, who has made no secret of his disdain for populists in Europe, calling them “stupid nationalists in love with their countries”. But the idea that EU HQ is organized enough to carry out an operation of this complexity, which Strache himself described as a “honey trap stage-managed by intelligence agencies,” is unlikely and not the way that Brussels does business, which tends more towards leveraging their significant financial influence over European governments.
The Israeli Angle
One country that has the means, motive, opportunity and past form, is Israel. While Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung – the German papers that revealed the video – have refused to comment on the tape’s origins in order to protect their sources, both Strache and Kurz have suggested that a shadowy Israeli political consultant, Tal Silberstein, orchestrated the set-up.
Silberstein had previously worked with Austria’s left-wing Social Democrats (SPÖ) in 2017 to discredit Kurz’s bid for power, and while working for U.S. political “consultants” GCS (Stan Greenberg James Carville and Bob Shrum), he consulted for Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in his 2002 presidential bid. At the time, Lozada was very unpopular and his opponent, Manfred Reyes Villa, was likely to win. But Silberstein had a plan. Referring to Reyes Villa he said: “We have to start negative campaigns against him. We have to make him from clean to a dirty candidate, that’s our task… So I told him [another member of the campaign team], everything you do, it cannot be connected to us in any way.” Silberstein was arrested in 2015 in Israel for a land fraud and political manipulation scheme in Romania that also involved Israel’s second-richest man, Beny Steinmetz, who has a fraud, bribery, money-laundering and general corruption rap sheet as long as your arm.
Writing for the political magazine Cicero, former diplomat and deputy head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, Rudolf Adam said that the only state that has the human and technical capacities for such an operation and a clear motive was Israel. As a rationale for why Israel would take such action, Adam said that Strache embodied a deep-seated anti-semitism that Israel seeks to work against:
“Israel has a survival interest in the EU pursuing an Israel-friendly policy. This line has already been controversial among EU members. A triumph of political parties close to the FPO could initiate a turnaround here and bring the EU as a whole into a more Israel-critical line.” he suggested.
Ironically, the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), the foremost Rabbinical alliance in Europe, said that Adam’s attempt to blame Israel for Strache’s downfall is, in itself, “reminiscent of classic anti-Semitism”. Damned if you do….
While it’s likely that Israel played a central role in the secretly-recorded and leaked video tape, there is little evidence that anti-semitism in the now-ousted Austrian government was the reason for the suggested Israeli involvement in the leak. The claim that Strache is anti-semitic is based on pretty spurious evidence. In 2017 Strache committed his party to moving the Austrian embassy to Jerusalem and expressed support for Israel’s right to build illegal settlements on Palestinian land. That’s hardly an anti-Israel/anti-semitic stance. In addition, after their win in the 2017 Austrian elections, Strache’s coalition partner, Chancellor Kurz, announced that he would impose a policy of ‘zero tolerance for anti-semitism’. More to the point, it’s no secret that the accusation of anti-semitism is, very often, used as a political pressure technique than anything else.
If Israel was behind the ‘honey trap’ and the subsequent downfall of the Austrian government coalition, then it seems more reasonable to suggest that, for some reason, Israel has a problem with the rise of right-wing nationalist/populist anti-immigrant and, to one extent or another, anti-Muslim governments in Europe. While this may seem counter intuitive – after all, Israel isn’t exactly fond of ordinary Muslims either, and tends to have a rather nationalistic approach to its political and social life – Israel has a long-standing goal of encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment among its powerful ‘friends’ in Europe. If achieving that goal means it has to choose between aligning itself with governments that speak out against and attempt to curb [Muslim] immigration to Europe, and governments that encourage Muslim immigration to European nations so that anti-Muslim immigrant sentiment can continue to be stoked, it’s possible that the latter is favored by the ‘social engineers’ in Israeli intelligence.
The NATO Angle
One other ‘usual suspect’ is that conglomeration of US intelligence, political and big business interests known as the ‘deep state’. While it may appear that the US establishment has more than enough on its plate in trying to shore up its empire against the threat from China and Iran to be concerned about Austrian politics, we should remember that, while not a member, Austria is very much within the NATO ‘realm’, and viewed as a ‘weak point’ because of its proximity to Russia.
The long history of Anglo-American deep state influence in and over Europe has involved Operation GLADIO-type campaigns that propped-up, toppled or – on occasion – outright murdered political leaders in western Europe since WW2. Then as now Russian ‘subversion’, ‘invasion’ and ‘encroachment’ was uppermost in the minds of the Pentagon, CIA, MI6 and ‘ideologically-aligned’ agencies and networks within NATO.
As one of the few European countries not in NATO, Austria’s ‘independent streak’ stems from the aftermath of WW2, when it committed itself to an agreement with the USSR to not join a military alliance. The long-term fruits of this are that Austria’s relations with Russia are, by far, the best of any government in the European Union. Also, because Russia is on the rise today, this has recently translated into booming trade between both countries.
Despite the sanctions madness, over 700 Austrian companies operate in Russia, while Russian companies have investments worth $27 billion in Austria. When Kurz took office, Austria was already buying most of its natural gas from Russia, but that volume is set to increase by a whopping 33% this year alone, and it will climb higher as Austria becomes the major central European gas transit hub for both the Nordstream II and Turkstream gas pipelines.
Kurz’s first visit outside the EU when he was elected was to Moscow. Putin’s first foreign trip when he was re-elected last year was to Austria. Two days before the ‘Ibizagate’ scandal broke, Austrian president Alexander Van Der Bellen was in Sochi with Putin co-hosting the inaugural summit of the ‘Sochi Dialogue Civil Society Forum’, a joint initiative between both governments to “promote direct ties between the civil societies of Russia and Austria.”
Needless to say, Western countries are not ‘supposed’ to be integrating with Russia; they’re supposed to be isolating it like the plague (or at least, being seen to). But Austria – particularly since the formation of the Kurz-Strache government – consistently and openly flouts this ‘unspoken rule’. When British intelligence in September last year exposed a retired Austrian colonel as having been a spy for the Russians since the 1990s, an anonymous ‘NATO military intelligence officer’ told BuzzFeed News:
“Austria has been a problem for everyone. The current government has deep ideological and economic links to the Putin regime and has been trying to have it both ways: Solid member of the EU plus close friend of Putin isn’t going to work post-Skripal.”
But Austria is making it work. It does not see membership of the EU and closer integration with Russia as mutually incompatible. And that, as the NATO spook affirmed, is a problem – specifically, an ideological problem for them.
When the Skirpal Saga erupted in Europe over the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, the Kurz government, through its foreign minister Karin Kneissl (yes, the one whose wedding Putin attended), had the temerity to ask for actual evidence before joining the Russia-bashing bandwagon. When it subsequently refrained from joining the hysterical booting out of Russian diplomats, and the British government attempted to pressure Austria into line, Kurz’s foreign ministry told them to take a hike.
Kneissl, an expert on the Middle East, got up before the UN General Assembly last September to tell the world – in fluent Arabic – that Syria was a war over the configuration of energy pipelines criss-crossing the region, and that it was just the latest such intrigue in a long line of them dating to WW1. Right there, we can see how that kind of honesty in foreign policy would irritate both NATO and Israel.
Six weeks before ‘Ibizagate’, on April 10th, the shadowy Club de Berne – an informal ‘network’ of European spy chiefs that operates ‘behind the EU’ but is not accountable to it – let it be known to the Austrian government, though a leak to Austrian newspaper Der Standard, that it had ‘missed’ the Christchurch maniac Brenton Tarrant’s visit to their country because the Club had been, for the previous year, “withholding the sharing of certain information” with the Austrian government.
Der Standard made sure to note that “US spies are too important to shut out and are considered autonomous from President Donald Trump,” before informing Austrians that German, British and Dutch intelligence had been keen to keep Austria’s BVT intel agency “in the dark because it is overseen by politicians from the Freedom Party,” which cannot be trusted “because of its Kremlin ties.” Between the lines, of course, they were suggesting that this ‘minor bureaucratic issue’ could be ironed out if Strache’s FPÖ were no longer in the picture…
So Austria’s Western ‘partners’ also had the means, motive, opportunity and past form for meddling in its democracy by knocking out a conservative-nationalist government through rank kompromat… ‘because Russia’ (the very thing Russia is constantly accused of doing, but for which no evidence exists, irony of ironies!).
Circling back to the ‘social engineering’ angle, Austria’s conservative-nationalist coalition government was – until its sudden downfall – methodically implementing stabilizing solutions to the social tension generated by the ‘Muslim mass migration’ crisis: expelling particularly extreme imams and closing down a handful of troublesome mosques, bolstering its border defences for any repeat mass migrations from the war-torn Middle East, and following Hungary’s lead by withdrawing from the globalist UN Compact on Migration.
In summary, it’s possible that the orchestrated removal of the nationalist/populist pro-Russian coalition government in Austria serves the ‘strategic interests’ of both Western ‘deep state’ forces and the ubiquitous and deceptive Israeli intel types – and, as a result, one or other (or both) of these forces are likely to have been behind this particular operation. The really tragic part in this drama, however, is that, while the brain-power of ‘political experts’, mainstream media journalists and other assorted idiots on social media limits their understanding of this event to ‘more evidence of ‘Russian meddling in EU democracies’, European democracy continues to be stolen from them by the very same people they expect to protect them against Russia.