Britain caused some of the biggest modern intelligence failures for the Americans: Traitors like Kim Philby who betrayed the major US operations against the Soviets, or the atomic spies such as Klaus Fuchs.
Every time the Unites States was forced to deal with the consequences. And there was never a fundamental change of the way Britain handled intelligence.
Before World War I the British decided to form an alliance with Russia and France to demolish the Germans and Austrians; a decision which ultimately required American assistance and paved the way for the communist revolution.
A lesser known disaster was the British deception operation against the Nazis which seemed like simple appeasement and passiveness in public, but behind the scenes the aristocrats feigned great sympathies for the Hitler cult. As the researchers Lou Kilzer and Carroll Quigley demonstrated, this charade was intended to make the Nazis look to the East and ultimately clash with the Russians. But the right choice would have been to be blunt early towards the Germans, when the Nazi war machine was in its infant stages. Again, things spiralled out of control and the US had to move in and save the world.
Kim Philby was exonerated in Britain even when the Americans had already exposed what he was. After his escape to the Soviet Union there was speculation by the expert Ben Macintyre that the British MI6 had simply refused to make an arrest. It took until 2020 to see some files released to the British National Archives which contained the lame excuse that the government had intended to avoid public embarrassment.
But did Philbys treason lead to a shake-up of and renewal of British intelligence in the 1960s? No.
Newer books such as Trinity reexamine the strange series of supposed blunders of British intelligence when it came to vetting the atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs, a German communist who had fled the Nazis and joined the Tube Alloys project in Britain. The US was promised he was trustworthy enough to work on the Manhattan project. But the repeated failures by the British on a fundamental level suggest to researchers there must have been a highly placed mole who protected Fuchs for as long as possible.
Did the epic failure fundamentally change British intelligence? No.
The fairly new book “The Secret Royals” bluntly states that British spies are “crown servants” and that Queen Elizabeth had unrestricted access to all intelligence and was theoretically able to share information with her relatives. That also included the secrets which the United States was trusting Britain with. It has never been properly researched how the British had infiltrated America after the Revolution with assets posing as migrants and merchants. The Royal family that is seen on television is a tiny little fraction of a very old and staggeringly large cluster of three aristocratic lines: Welfen, Wettiner and Reginare. Their sub-lineages such as Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein held the Russian tsarist throne in the past. If these family networks were seriously compromised by communist Russia, this problem would extend to the older British spy networks that had been established in the US.
Ever since the red October Revolution in Russia the American intelligence community has been baffled by the successes of the communist espionage. Things were so bad that the CIA and the FBI were desperately searching for moles in their own leadership and even beyond that. The KGB always relied on very basic techniques, yet their successes seemed supernatural. Was their secret recipe the failure of British aristocratic intelligence?
Louis Mountbatten, the infamous uncle of Prince Philip (husband of Queen Elizabeth) was considered a sympathizer of Marxism and came under suspicion of being compromised by the Soviets due to his sexual deviances. Researchers to this day try to reconstruct whether he was linked to the Kincora Boys home scandal and traitors like Anthony Blunt. Andrew Lownie tried in vain to gain access to Mountbattens written correspondences.
Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, told undercover reporters in a virtual meeting that he could be hired for £10,000 a day to establish “confidential” links with Putin’s regime. Journalists from Channel 4 Dispatches and The Sunday Times claim that Prince Michael and the Marquess of Reading were leasing their connections to the Russian regime.
If the aristocrats had fully admitted to their staggering blunders in the past they would have been finished. They always preferred to cover things up, in the hopes of securing their own survival. The biggest secret still to be uncovered is their role before, during and after the Communist revolution.
British spies are “crown servants”. The first head of MI6 Mansfield Cumming considered himself to be in the service of the King, not the Prime Minister. King George VI knew all the secrets during World War II; from the D-Day plans to the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. MI6 chief Stewart Menzies was the stepson of the king’s equerry and perhaps the illegitimate child of a king. Queen Elizabeth selected a former MI5 chief, Andrew Parker, to be Lord Chamberlain in the Royal Household in 2021. Special Branch was once created because of assassination attempts against Queen Victoria.
1950 King George VI shared secret documents with Princess Elizabeth, who was only 23 years old at the time. Prime Minister Clement Attlee provided her with detailed notes from the cabinet, classified as “Top Secret”. She also received State Department documents. Her private secretary was Baron Martin Charteris; Member of the Privy Council and decorated with the most elite medals. His grandfather had already been a deputy lieutenant of the crown. Martin served in military intelligence and worked closely with Maurice Oldfield, later head of MI6.
In October 2012, the BBC current affairs program Panorama reported that he had been linked by Operation Midland and a Metropolitan Police informant to the Elm Guest House child abuse scandal, which allegedly involved senior MPs and security staff. The investigation ended without charges, and in 2017 Oldfield was acquitted of all allegations of child abuse at the Elm Guest House and elsewhere.
Princess Elizabeth grew up with her cousin Margaret Rhodes, who worked for MI6. The royal family communicated with the political government via new encrypted telephones; Elizabeth was given the code name 2519.
She fell in love with Prince Phillip of the House of Mountbatten (actually Hesse-Darmstadt). His infamous uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia. Although Phillip came from the usual family circles, there was a PR problem: all three of his sisters had married German princes during the Nazi era.
Elizabeth became significantly involved in Cold War matters. Every evening at seven o’clock she received a red leather-clad box containing top-secret diplomatic cables, cabinet meeting notes and intelligence memos. The Queen also always received the first copy of the weekly summary from the secret services. Even in the event of war, she would have been able to access all information, no matter how secret, on the condition that the documents were burned after reading them. She was considered to be very neat and tidy in her handling of documents and returned all government papers that were not destroyed. Who else from her family she shared the information with is of course a secret. In the mornings there were additional meetings at Buckingham Palace with diplomats, intelligence chiefs, high-ranking politicians and military officers. Tuesday afternoons were reserved for secret meetings with the prime ministers.
Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Andrew Duke of York, later had a most embarrassing scandal with a young lady procured by Jeffrey Epstein. The Royal Family knew that Anthony Blunt was a KGB spy as early as 1948. Elizabeth was ahead of her own Prime Minister Alec-Douglas-Home on the matter. Blunt was “turned,” meaning he had to work against the Soviets in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Phillip’s uncle, Louis Mountbatten, became chairman of the armed forces and was given access to all of America’s nuclear weapons secrets. After visiting Aunt Olga in Toronto, sister of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, he met with the head of the Strategic Air Command. Britain’s Blue Streak missile program was plagued by technical problems, so they turned to the American Skybolt missiles.
In 1995, Elizabeth and Philipp visited the headquarters of GCHQ in Cheltenham, responsible for electronic espionage. The Queen received briefings from GCHQ, which grew out of naval intelligence. Her relatives from the aristocratic line of Hesse-Darmstadt traditionally made up the Lords of the Admiralty, i.e. the leadership of the navy. The access to secret intelligence made it possible, theoretically, to use classified materials to further the wealth and power of the larger cluster of aristocratic families.
After the end of the Soviet Union, the royals played a crucial role in the new relations with Russia and Eastern Europe. In principle, the KGB was allowed to move assets to the City of London and various associated tax havens.
Brian Fall, the British ambassador to Moscow, orchestrated royal visits to signal support for Yeltsin. Francis Richards from the embassy, who later became head of GCHQ, was able to move around everywhere in St. Petersburg and met with the mayor, a certain Wladimir Putin. The author Catherine Belton says that her source confirmed a visit by a very young Putin to a Russian-born princess in Hesse-Darmstadt.
The largest family you will (n)ever meet
It is clear that the British royal family, in theory, could cause the biggest possible damage if they had traitors in their midst who shared intelligence with Soviet Russia. But the true size of the family and how far it reaches back turns this issue into the biggest possible intelligence nightmare in history.
The average person assumes the extended Royal family has maybe a hundred members or maybe a few hundred. Pompous buffoons who lost control a long time ago, just like the Russian tsars or the French kings or the Prussian Hohenzollern or the Austrian Habsburgs.
Let me introduce you to the largest family cluster you have never met or you may have never recognized.
There are three main lines named Welfen, Wettiner and Reginare. You have probably never heard these names in your life and that is exactly how they wanted it to be from a certain point in time onwards. Those three lines contain sub-lineages with names that should be a lot more familiar because they also describe the places in Germany which they controlled: Hessen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Sachsen, Hannover, Braunschweig etc. For the longest time, Germany was not a unified empire, but simply a patchwork of different mini kingdoms, principalities and countdoms. Some were allies, some were enemies.
New studies suggest that even in the Roman empire, the intelligence sphere was far greater than previously known and intelligence drove every important decision. Previously historians noted the lack of grand, formal and bureaucratic agencies. But the Romans had specific reasons to avoid such agencies at the time. Intelligence was in the hands of the aristocracy and they could use anything and everything as a vehicle for networks and operations.
This style of intelligence was inherited by various European empires. The Welfen are traced back to the year 800 while they themselves see their origins in the troubled times after the fall of Rome. Just like the Wettiner and Reginare, they used the advantage of size and loyalty. They usually tried to have up to ten or more legitimate children, and often there were up to 50 illegitimate offspring with mothers from these aristocratic circles. If someone did not inherit an official title, they could still be valuable assets under a normal name.
While Rome was plagued by competing aristocratic factions and the assatination of a specific emperor could have significant consequences, the Welfen/Wettiner/Reginare always had a large pool of people to replace someone immediately. And they certainly had enough personnel, money and protected locations to form their own large scale intelligence service. By controlling universities they had access to the science necessary to build corporations.
Their main enemy was the French monarchy which dominated the catholic Vatican. In 1714 the Welfen King George I. who was originally from Hannover, ascended to the British throne and kept a low profile. His family network was supposed to flood Britain and run as much as possible in politics and business from the shadows. Only three years later British Freemasonry was founded and it’s siter organization was the “Royal Society”. The goal was to have a controlled version of the enlightenment. Modern science was the first opportunity in thousands of years of imperial history to improve the ancient system to a cryptocracy. Before the people knew exactly who wielded the power but were not allowed to complain. In the future people would be allowed to complain but no longer know who truly wielded the ultimate power. More people were put in schools, universities and factories to create more wealth and vital technology for Britain. French and catholic networks tried to no avail to overthrow the Welfen kings and make Britain a catholic nation again.
As we all know, Britain lost the American revolutionary war. But the British were determined to win the intelligence war in the shadows.
The American colonies were dwarfed by the French one and when the Revolution happened the British decided to cease military action and use clandestine methods instead. Brute forcing the issue would have lead to an increased permanent threat in America. By officially accepting US independence the pressure was greatly reduced. A few decades later even Napoleon didn’t see the US as a threat and ultimately sold Louisiana.
The 13 colonies had contained British clandestine networks and a later a steady flow of migrants from Europe flooded the US. Not just British migrants were potentially intelligence assets, but also those who came from German territories of the Welfen, Wettiner and Reginare.
If the British aristocracy was infiltrated by communist Russia this would have given Moscow access to the old spy networks in the US.
The creation of conspiracy literature
In France various circles calculated that the Monarch was outdated and favored a constitutional Monarchy. British intelligence followed a dual strategy: Partially support the revolutionaries and partially support the adherents of the old order. One of the front groups that had operated in Bavaria was the Order of the Illuminati. The key members were princes and. Several blunders led to raids and arrests by the Bavarian police. Membership lists and internal documents ended up in newspapers and pamphlets. The British feared that more front organizations and networks could be exposed and therefore they created modern conspiracy literature.
Austrian researcher Claus Oberhauser published a study which initially focused on the British agent Alexander Horn who was rumored to have supplied material for the bestselling book “Proofs of a Conspiracy” by John Robison, a leader of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. During his research Oberhauser stumbled upon a much greater operation which also included Augustin Barruel and August von Starck. These conspiracy books carefully avoided any leads that might connect the illuminati to Britain and aristocratic intelligence. Instead they told the story of weird masonic lodges pursuing the French revolution as a revolt against god and traditional order. The most powerful illuminati members were painted as naive ad well-meaning. Especially Barruel called for the re-installment of the French monarchy.
The British had established the modern fractional banking system and bond market. To prevent competing empires from copying this system, British intelligence badmouthed these modern capitalist tools in various books and pamphlets aimed at the French, German and Austrian audiences. The propaganda was framed as socialist, extreme rightwing and conspiracy material.
Thomas Duncombe spread the Rothschild myths in the British parliament as early as 1828. The French early socialists created the modern myth of the jewish world conspiracy. When the left dropped the antisemitism (but kept their hatred against trade and private ownership intact) the German and Austrian extreme rightwing picked it up in a big way. The first meaningful Rothschild had been recruited by the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel. British intelligence kept using him and his sons, while at the same time the intelligence services pumped out anti-jewish conspiracy literature.
The aristocrats get into the socialism game
In the 1800s empires had to industrialize while still maintaining control over the population. Socialist ideas had gained traction in previous generations when roughly 90% of the population were serfs, mostly farmers with only rudimentary legal protection. The agenda of toppling the aristocrats, ending the influence of the church, redistributing the land and the assets, and then making private ownership illegal, was of course met with blunt force and espionage in Europe and Russia. A communist terrorist or simply an activist did not have any meaningful legal protection against searches and seizures, torture and pressure against family members. This made it relatively easy for the “secret police” to infiltrate the leftist movement. In German Prussia for example, the ruling aristocracy intended to control “Social Democrats” and slowly improve the working conditions and wages, without risking insurgencies. France was hoping to placate the workers and farmers as well.
Britain thought socialism was a tool to destabilize France and Germany. And that it how they got themselves into this dangerous game. It was a much bigger risk than running operations under the cover of the far less radical “enlightenment” ideas. Germany was still saturated with old aristocratic networks of Welfen, Wettiner and Reginare. Needless to say, front groups like the Bavarian order of the Illuminati had an enlightenment façade.
The “League of Communists” tried to push for revolution through actions and publications, including participation in civil war-like struggles in various failed uprising attempts. On the European mainland, turmoil was raging everywhere. There was relative calm in Britain.
Wolfgang Waldner published a rare (but unfortunately left-wing) study with the title “The Prussian government agent Karl Marx”, which contains many illustrative quotes. The core thesis is that Marx assumed a leadership position in the socialist movement on behalf of his aristocratic in-laws from Prussia in order to spy on socialists and to ideologically drive the movement in a direction that was useful to the Prussian nobility. Marx seemed to be the suitable candidate: aggressive-narcissistic but engaging when necessary, cunning but not too smart, ambitious but without any real enduring work ethic. Thanks to his father’s connections, Marx married Jenny von Westphalen. Her ancestors included high-ranking officials from Prussia who, for example, headed the Ministry of the Interior and were therefore responsible for espionage against revolutionary groups. In 1751, Philipp von Westphalia became secretary to the Prussian lieutenant general and freemason Ferdinand von Braunschweig, the brother-in-law of the Prussian king and freemason Friedlich II. Ferdinand was also a member of the Illuminati Order, which also included people like Landgrave Karl of Hesse-Kassel. The Hesse-Kassel family was extremely closely related to the British and Russian thrones. Ferdinand of Braunschweig was in command of the allied troops of England, Hanover (the origin of the British royal dynasty) and Prussia. Philip of Westphalia also took on an important military function and the British King George III. from the House of Hanover gave him a title. Philip married a noblewoman with Scottish ancestry. His son was Ludwig von Westphalen. His son Ferdinand Otto, in turn, became Prussian Interior Minister and was therefore responsible for espionage against revolutionary groups. Ludwig’s daughter Jenny eventually married Karl Marx. Ludwig worked as a highly paid legal clerk in Trier.
The Marx-friendly historians try to make it seem as if there were tensions between Jenny and her family, even though the facts show more normal family relationships.
Of all people, Ludwig von Westphalen suggested Saint Simon’s ideas of socialism to Marx, and Marx later dedicated his doctoral thesis to Ludwig. Had Ludwig really set the young Marx on the path to socialism? My guess, however, is that he recruited Marx as an informant. Marx and Edgar von Westphalen, Jenny’s brother, already knew each other at the high school in Trier, and there is evidence that students back then spied on their teachers and reported suspicious left-wing revolutionary or other tendencies. Marx was a destroyer; he infiltrated organisations, then caused arguments, chaos and legally sensitive provocations and somehow always got away with it unscathed.
Some comrades accused Marx of preaching eternal waiting for revolution and salvation. Others accused him of initiating provocations at an inopportune time and thus causing problems for socialist groups. Marx begged his friends like Engels for money, who established contact with Robert Owen, a British entrepreneur and early socialist is considered the founder of the cooperative system. Its factory became a model company that was also visited by princes, politicians, Tsar Nicholas I and the Austrian princes Johann and Maximilian. Owen even gave speeches to the US Congress.
In 1854, Marx befriended David Urquhart (1805–1877), a British aristocrat who believed Lord Palmerston to be a Russian spy. Several British politicians were likely agents of the Tsar who was part of the family cluster of Welfen, Wettiner and Reginare. In public, the British and Russian thrones kept their distance.
Marx and Engels took over the “League of the Righteous” and turned it into the “League of Communists,” from which the Socialist International eventually grew. Marx completed his Communist Manifesto and “Capital”.
Marx took control of the so-called “First International”. He died in London on March 14, 1883 at the age of 64. Royal Society members attended the funeral. Lenin’s brother had translated texts by Marx and was involved in a plot to assassinate the Tsar. Lenin himself referred to Marx and elevated him to a quasi-sacred figure. Stalin came into contact with Marxist circles in the seminary in Tbilisi in 1893 and was recruited by the tsarist secret service Okhrana.
The Communist Revolution in Russia
The tsars were from the German aristocratic families of Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein. They did not have full control over the Russian empire but instead had to share power with the older, regular aristocracy. Various ideas were considered to modernize the system, like converting it into a constitutional monarchy or a republic, but all these attempts were vetoed by the normal aristocracy. Another idea was to retain the monarchy and reorganize everything below as a socialist control system.
In his book “The Young Stalin” former CIA agent and historian Edward Ellis Smith voiced his surprise about how lackluster the efforts were by the tsarist secret police to slow the growth of socialist movements. The infiltration was thorough enough to be able to shut down illegal printing presses and networks, but for some reason socialism was allowed to grow. If the tsars and their British relatives had intended to oust the regular Russian aristocracy, this behavior makes sense: Rile up the Russian farmers, preach liberation from the old systems of serfdom and have a controlled revolution, while keeping the tsarist throne intact.
Of interest is a group of influential men from the British elite University of Oxford and the secret service SIS/MI6. The Russian nobleman Felix Yusupov, who married into the Romanov clan, was accepted into the Bullingdon Club student organization during his studies at Oxford, where British kings, British nobles, future political stars and businessmen rubbed their shoulders. Yusupov took part in the plot to kill Rasputin, who had used his considerable influence to stir up sentiment against Russia’s involvement in the First World War. If Russia had withdrawn from the war, the Germans would no longer have been in the grip of a two-front war and could have deployed virtually all their troops against Britain, France and the USA.
The Briton Samuel Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood, had also been in the Bullingdon Club in Oxford, learned Russian as a military officer and was recruited by the secret service chief Mansfield Cumming (SIS/MI6) to maintain connections with the Russian secret service in St. Petersburg. Hoare’s career later extended into the Second World War. Captain Stephen Alley, an SIS/MI6 agent who was most likely involved in the assassination attempt on Rasputin, was raised in a Yusupov family home. The SIS/MI6 agent John Scale served in the propaganda department “Anglo-Russian Commission” in St. Petersburg, which was also involved in British supplies for the Russian military. Oswald Rayner studied at Oxford, became friends with Yusupov there and eventually joined the SIS. Rayner was said to be the only man with a gun at the scene of Rasputin’s murder. Another acquaintance of Yusupov was the Briton Albert Stopford, who had connections to Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V. Stopford spied for the British War Office.
During World War I. the Russian forces and supplies were drained enough to set the stage for the Russian Civil war. The “Whites” had previously lost so many men and arms that they were soon outnumbered and outgunned by the “Reds”.
The tasrist family was taken to Yekaterinburg in the Urals. The British throne openly announced that it would bring in the closely related tsars, but then decided against it. The most obvious thing would have been to fake the death of the tsars, take the tsar’s family out of Russia and hide them in Denmark, for example, where relatives also sat on the throne. According to the usual historiography, the members of the Tsar’s family were murdered on the night of July 16th to 17th, 1918 by a commando from the Soviet state security service Cheka in the basement of the Ipatiev House near Yekaterinburg, the bodies were taken away or burned and the remains of the bones partly dissolved in acid.
According to legend, the tsar’s family was lured into the cellar, the death sentence was briefly read out and they opened fire, requiring several volleys and the use of knives to kill everyone. The bodies were hastily removed, then brought out again shortly afterwards, using fire and acid and burying the remains. Why hadn’t the Cheka simply used poison and blown up the bodies with dynamite? Wouldn’t that have been much simpler and more professional? The alleged murderers took no photos, no films, there was no confession that the Tsar had to write, no show trial, nothing.
It was only many decades later, after the end of the Soviet Union, that Russian, British and American scientists presented DNA “evidence” based on bone remains from a forest find, which could easily have been manipulated. The Bolsheviks said nothing concrete about the whereabouts of the Romanovs until 1926 and then spoke of a probable assassination. We must first understand that a large number of members of the Romanov dynasty were confirmed to have fled abroad. In April 1919, for example, a number of Romanov grand dukes left Crimea in a British naval ship. Queen Alexandra of Great Britain (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Royal House of Denmark and Hesse-Kassel) was the aunt of the last Tsar, i.e. the sister of Maria Feodorovna. After the revolution, at Aleksandra’s urgent request, Maria was brought to safety from the Crimea on the ship HMS Marlborough. She traveled to Denmark via England and settled in the summer residence Hvidøre near Copenhagen.
Most of the information about the crime scene and witness statements were published in a book by Sokolow. The White Army soldiers were able to occupy the Ipatiev House and collect evidence around eight days after the alleged murder of the tsars, but eight days is a long time. It was only a year later that Sokolow was able to begin to systematically evaluate the material and he was unable to find the bodies, although two amateurs are said to have managed to track down the remains nearby in 1979. Since Sokolov and the White Army men were not idiots, there were probably no bodies to be found nearby at the time.
In addition to Maria Feodorovna, mother of the last tsar, her two daughters Xenia and Olga and their relatives also fled Russia. Other refugees were the brothers Nikolai and Peter Nikolayevich Romanov and their families. After a short stay with his brother-in-law, the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III. Nikolai traveled with his wife near Paris, while Peter went to southern France. Maria Pavlovna fled with her sons Boris and Andrei Vladimirovich and their lovers. Her eldest son, Kyrill Vladimirovich, set off with his wife and children via a northern route to Finland. Dimitri Pavlovich emigrated to Paris. Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov, the Tsar’s younger brother and therefore theoretical heir to the throne, was imprisoned; his family under surveillance. When she was exiled to Perm, she was accompanied by the British secretary Nicholas Johnson. The son was smuggled into Denmark via Germany in good time. Mother and daughter made their way to Ukraine and finally via Odessa aboard a British warship to Great Britain. The Cheka then also searched for the missing Mikhail and his secretary. Afterwards it was claimed that the communists had shot the two in the forest and buried them, but no bodies ever turned up. Several Romanovs were temporarily close to the Tsar and his family in Yekaterinburg, like Jelisaweta Fyodorovna, a née princess of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Other Romanovs were staying near Alapaevsk. At night they are said to have been pushed into a mine shaft in the forest. According to legend, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich was shot, the rest were killed or wounded with grenades, and three days later the shaft was filled in because there were still people alive in it. The advancing White Army later identified the severely disfigured corpses only using identification documents.
Princess Elena Karađorđević of Serbia (known in Russia as Grand Duchess Elena Petrovna) was allowed to travel to Norway after her relatives had already fled there. According to legend, on the night of January 28th to 29th, 1919, the four Romanov Grand Dukes Nikolai Mikhailovich, Paul Alexandrovich, Dmitri Konstantinovich and Georg Mikhailovich were placed against the wall in the Peter and Paul Fortress and shot. There are no eyewitnesses, certainly no photos, just rumors and hearsay. Three of the bodies were said to have simply been thrown into a mass grave in the fortress and were never found there or positively identified. Dimitri’s body is said to have ended up in a garden in Petersburg, according to the book “Gilded Prism” by Greg King.
The alleged murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his immediate relatives is considered solved by historians, but this view does not meet modern standards of criminology. The Bolsheviks had to show that their revolution was final and that they did not want to have to deal with a tsarist government in exile in England or Denmark for the next few decades. Then at least short show trials could have been recorded and, above all, the executions could have been photographed in order to demonstrate power and crush any hope of a return of the tsars. All you needed was some paper and a camera. In addition, it would have been easy to cremate the corpses or blow them up with dynamite so that the White Army soldiers would never get their hands on the corpses and then turn their graves into holy pilgrimage sites. According to legend, instead of implementing these simple and obvious ideas, the Bolsheviks let their most important prisoners sit around for months, then killed them in an amateurish way, failed to dispose of the bodies thoroughly, and finally remained publicly silent on the matter for a long time.
The white forces took photos, picked up objects and interviewed a bunch of people from whom practically no one saw anything concrete. It was only a year later that Nikolai Sokolov was able to begin systematically evaluating the material. A surviving photo from the basement is said to show the crime scene where eleven people were shot and stabbed together in a small space. The amount of blood could have filled several cleaning buckets, but it’s not visible in the photos. The bullet holes are no longer there either because the corresponding pieces of the wall (and probably also the bullets) were removed.
In 1977 the house was ordered to be demolished because, according to Soviet logic, it was not sufficiently historically significant. Two men named Avdonin and Ryabov came across a photo of the vicinity of the crime scene in Sokolov’s book, finally visited the site in 1979 and supposedly found the bodies. They took three skulls with them and put them back a year later. In 1989, towards the end of the Soviet Union, Ryabov published his find, and two years later the exhumation took place. This depiction seems to be a fairy tale. According to another story, workers in Yekaterinburg found nine skeletons by chance during excavations.
Russian, British and American forensic experts agreed that the Romanovs’ remains had been found. The DNA tests were carried out by the Russian Dr. Pavel Ivanow and Dr. Peter Gill from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in the UK. Generously, Prince Philip Mountbatten, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and a close relative of the Tsars, donated a blood sample for comparison. This was cross-checked by Dr. Erica Hagelberg from the University of Cambridge. This means that the investigations were carried out by researchers from countries with an interest in declaring the tsars dead. The DNA was already largely destroyed and the remains had been in the care of the Russian state, where someone could easily have contaminated them. If there is hardly any usable DNA left, the existing fragments are artificially propagated using a method such as PCR. Contamination would therefore also increase. In 2004, scientists from the USA criticized the results of the British Forensic Science Service and expressed the suspicion that the bone remains had been accidentally or intentionally contaminated.
In 2007, amateur archaeologists are said to have discovered the bone remains of two tsar’s children who had not yet been discovered, just 70 meters from the site. AFDIL was used for the tests because Peter Sarandinaki from the “Sci-entific Expedition to Account for the Romanov Children” (S.E.A.R.C.H.) foundation was able to persuade the Russian government to use that method.
An old shirt of the Tsar’s with traces of blood that he wore during an assassination attempt in Japan is said to have suddenly appeared in a museum. According to other information, it was a scarf or a handkerchief. As if by a miracle, it was not thrown away but kept and a DNA sample could even have been obtained from it, even though the material and the blood had been exposed to sunlight and oxygen for almost 100 years. The scientist Rogaev was thrilled.
All individual bodies were identified using the PCR method and compared with the blood stain on the shirt or cloth.
The Japanese scientist Tatsuo Nagai doubted the test results as early as 1997 and in 1999 compared hair samples from Georgii Romanov with the gene sequence that Dr. Peter Gill from the Forensic Science Service (FSS) in Great Britain presented. There was no match. The criticized researchers responded that the hair sample was contaminated, without admitting that the Russians may have deliberately contaminated the alleged Romanov body remains.
Then there was an examination by Dr. Alec Knight at Stanford University, which was cross-checked by other scientists and published in the journal Annals of Human Biology. Knight criticized Dr.’s use of the PCR method. Peter Gill from the Forensic Science Service (FSS). DNA from bones that lay at a shallow depth underground for over 70 years in an area where it gets quite warm in summer must have decayed to such an extent that it is difficult to find pieces longer than 250 base pairs. So if a sequence of 1223 base pairs was detected in all nine corpses, it could only be a contamination. Dr. Knight and his team also examined the DNA from a finger of Elizabeth, the sister of Tsar Nicholas’ wife Alexandra.
Peter de Knijff, head of the forensic DNA research laboratory at Leiden University Medical Center in Holland, agreed that Gill and Iwanow’s original studies were not entirely convincing. Ivanov also refused to take a look at the blood-stained handkerchief or shirt that the Tsar had allegedly used to dab a wound in Japan. Ivanov kept the details of this alleged 100-year-old blood sample to himself and claimed that after his examination the DNA had now finally decayed.
Lawyer Daryl Litwin spoke with an expert on Russian history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University who recommended a reevaluation of the Romanov case.
So, if we don’t have a convincing DNA analysis, the body finds are not convincing, and without bodies it is not proven by criminalistic standards that the Tsar’s family was murdered. Nowadays, if a public prosecutor wants to charge a person with murder, but no body has turned up, then the public prosecutor has a problem.
It is important to remember the magnitude of this matter: our conventional 20th-century understanding of history is based on a ridiculous DNA analysis of ancient bones that were in the care of the Russian state and were probably deliberately contaminated. If we consider the possibility that the Tsar’s family had fled, then they would most likely have gone into hiding with relatives in Britain or Denmark.
Russian authorities and the state-controlled Orthodox Church launched a ridiculous investigation in 2015 into whether the tsars died in a Jewish-Satanic ritual murder. These cheap and cheesy conspiracy theories are not only intended to distract from real new investigations, but to perpetuate the age-old myth that the revolution was the work of satanic Illuminati Jews. This trick is used to burden “the Jews” with the worst chapters of Soviet history and at the same time present the Putin regime as the fiercest opponent of the “Jewish-controlled” NATO sphere.
Stalin, the asset
Josef Stalin came from a humble Georgian background and tried his hand at being a communist revolutionary after his education at a church school and was repeatedly caught and imprisoned by the police. Somehow he managed to achieve an elevated status within the important communist circles, even though he was unable to contribute anything special. He was not a good speaker, a good writer or theorist, he had no military skills and no money. He wasn’t present at important events, just somewhere else or in prison. Many of the comrades distrusted him. But somehow he remained surprisingly relevant and, after the revolution, found himself in a position to continually expand his position until he achieved totalitarian rule. So a nasty no-gooder from nowhere would have made it to the top. Stalin had been arrested so often that it would have been extremely easy for the authorities to recruit him as an informant and, moreover, he regularly traveled thousands of kilometers through several checkpoints without clean papers as a wanted man. Nothing could harm him. Not even escaping through ice and snow over hundreds of kilometers. Edward Smith’s 1967 book “The young Stalin: The early years of an elusive revolutionary” remains the most serious study of Stalin’s possible spy activities, and Smith himself had worked as a CIA agent.
Even the Harvard Historian Robert C. Tucker writes that the socialist groups initially planned to build socialism under tsarist rule and disempower only the ordinary Russian nobility. The plan was later modified so that in the future there would be a committee of socialists at the head of the state. It would have been a great thing for the Romanovs to use their secret services to build a massive socialist underground movement and then use this to disempower the ordinary nobility.
Author Edward Ellis Smith graduated from West Virginia University in 1939 and he was sent to Germany to serve in World War II. From 1946 to 1947 he attended the Strategic Intelligence School at the Pentagon and the Counter Intelligence School at Camp Holabird. After graduating, Smith began working at the American Embassy in Moscow, serving as deputy military and economic attaché. In 1950, he was appointed by the US Army Intelligence Department to head the department that investigated the economic and political department of the Soviet Union and analyzed policies in Soviet affairs. He resigned towards the end of 1953 to become a CIA intelligence officer and served various missions throughout Moscow.
Stalin’s life up to the 1917 revolution was retroactively romanticized by the Soviet state and stylized as the heroic story of a true revolutionary, but viewed soberly it is very nebulous and was further clouded by false information and a reserve that was unusual for him. He was completely silent about his family members. In 1801, the Russian Tsar Alexander I annexed the eastern part of Georgia, deposed the Georgian royal family and replaced them with Russian officials. The administrative bureaucracy and church leaders were also replaced and a system of spies and informers was installed. Of course, resistance movements against Russian foreign rule formed, and these movements were often strongly influenced by socialist ideas. It wasn’t particularly difficult to infiltrate and contain the movements. In March 1897, Noi Zhordania moved to London with the socialist journalist Prince Varlam Cherkesishvili, read literature from around the world at the British Museum and later that year returned to Georgia and founded the magazine Sotsial Democratia. Josef Stalin grew up in lousy Georgian conditions: his parents were farmers and his grandparents were serfs. The father was known as a drunkard and a thug. Young Joseph was considered callous towards living beings and a control freak. The usual mix of psychopathy and narcissism with a touch of paranoia. As a good student, he got access to the higher theological school in Tbilisi with a kind of scholarship, where he came into contact with socialist literature and founded forbidden cliques that he wanted to control absolutely. He himself was caught by his teachers dozens of times, denounced his fellow students and was possibly already turned into an informant. Despite his rebellious activities, he got the best grades and was further encouraged by his teachers. The school administration and the police made no arrests. Even historian Tucker says the school’s methods seemed tailor-made to produce revolutionaries rather than theologians. When the Red Army invaded Georgia in 1921, the files were confiscated on Stalin’s orders. Stalin became more and more an activist instead of having a regular job and networked with other activists who had an illegal printing press. Mesame Dasi was the first social democratic party in the Caucasus and they thought little of Stalin there and sent him away in 1901. There are almost no sources about his life for the period of around 12 months after he left the theological school. There are police files that show that his political activities became increasingly noticeable. It is estimated that at least one or two secret service agents or informants were involved in each group of revolutionaries. Senior officers were responsible for a city or provincial region and had to identify and infiltrate radical networks within that territory. Neatly drafted reports were sent to headquarters in St. Petersburg. Most of the time, the people spied on were just frustrated, penniless activists who exchanged Marxist literature and held discussions in small circles with like-minded people. Some operations were strictly isolated and files were not kept on every informant so that important information could not fall into the wrong hands. These secret service structures were not cheap, but the tsar had hundreds of billions at his disposal. If a left-wing revolutionary was recruited by the secret service as a spy, his cover and credibility in the scene could be improved by occasionally being arrested and exiled. The spy was trained in the basics and of course paid for his services. It is entirely conceivable that the penniless Stalin received an early offer from the police in Tbilisi to sound out left-wing circles. He is said to have had a job at the Tbilisi Geophysical Observatory, where revolutionaries were gathering. He soon seemed to want to set up an illegal printing press, which would have given him prominence, and encouraged other people to stage strikes. The Tiflis Okhrana arrested virtually all major Social Democrats on the night of March 21-22, 1901, but Stalin remained at large. During a search of the observatory, no incriminating literature was found in his room. He was present at a strike in Tbilisi in 1901, in which 2,000 demonstrators fought with police and soldiers. Decades later, Soviet authors gave a distorted account, declaring Stalin the leader or organizer of this strike. The day was a serious failure for the left-wing demonstrators, but a success for the authorities. Stalin’s reputation among the leftists in Tbilisi had become quite poor and he moved to the Georgian port city of Batumi, where the oil was shipped that was produced in the important oil fields of Baku in Azerbaijan with the participation of the Dutch aristocratic company Royal Dutch Shell, the Rothschild clan and the Nobel family. Stalin had a portable printing press in his luggage, which caused horror among the local socialists because the transport must have made a suspicious impression on observers. The local socialists tried to improve the conditions for the workers with a moderate course, but Stalin, whose bad reputation had preceded him from Tiflis to Batumi, was inclined to riot and demanded provocative actions. He was behind a demonstration in which all 300 participants were arrested, while he himself somehow remained unmolested. The Georgian socialist leader Noe Zhordania wrote afterwards that Stalin only had intrigue and ambition to offer, but no real leadership qualities, no writing skills. On April 5, 1902, Stalin was arrested for the first time by the Okhrana. If he had already been a spy, the arrest would have strengthened his badly damaged credibility in left-wing circles. If he wasn’t a spy before, it would have been an opportunity to recruit him as a spy. Without a proper trial, he was sentenced to a lenient prison sentence and exile, although he was able to use this entire time undisturbed to continue managing left-wing networks from prison. The famous Trotsky later wondered why the Okhrana handled Stalin’s case without the usual prosecutorial and court procedures and why the files on all his arrests were not published. There are different and contradictory statements about the time when he fled Siberia and returned, as well as the circumstances. Despite suffering from tuberculosis, he marched through the freezing cold and was then looked after by people in a forest hut, and then traveled thousands of kilometers home as a wanted man, without being picked up at the 29 police checkpoints on the railway network, and without that some socialist remembered afterwards that he had helped Stalin along the way. It is quite likely that Stalin was not actually in Siberia. Why should he even return to Batumi and Tbilisi, where the socialists suspected him and where he was known to the police? His activities in 1904 and 1905 are nebulous. He was arrested a second time by the Ochra-na, according to a top secret memo from the police’s special branch. Somehow he was able to escape again and take part in the Bolshevik conference abroad, where he met Lenin. Otherwise, there were a number of pamphlets for which he was listed as an author, but nothing else that significantly improved his profile and justified his high status among the Bolsheviks. He was able to take the train unmolested to Stockholm for the big conference, where several of the 112 participants were Ochrana agents. Lenin considered Okhrana agent Jacob Zhitomirsky a friend and great revolutionary. Stalin traveled an estimated 23,000 miles without being stopped, even though there had been an arrest warrant for him since 1905. Stalin went to Baku in 1907, where Azerbaijan’s oil industry was located. A year later he was arrested again and ended up in exile. The year 1909 is also a mystery in his life. He managed to escape again and traveled over 1,000 kilometers to St. Petersburg and then to Moscow. In 1911 the police are said to have stopped hunting for him because the term of his exile sentence would have expired anyway. But there was another arrest and another exile in Vologda. Confirmed Okhrana spy Roman Malinovsky, Lenin’s closest confidant, was regularly arrested by the police to bolster his reputation. He seemed to encourage Lenin to appoint Stalin, of all people, as a member of the inner party circle “Central Committee”. He promptly managed to escape from exile in Vologda and travel to St. Petersburg to work for the Central Committee. Boris Nicolaevsky suspected Stalin. Lenin made another Okhrana agent named Miron Chernomazov editor-in-chief of the newspaper Pravda. After Stalin’s short trip to Baku, the Okhrana arrested a number of his comrades. Then there was another arrest, another exile in Siberia and another escape. The socialists in Russia were strongly divided and in some cases even downright enemies; The Social Democratic Russian Workers’ Party (RSDLP) was already divided into the so-called Bolsheviks under Lenin and the Mensheviks. The foundation was the teachings of Karl Marx, who himself was highly intelligent was suspected of being an informant for the authorities. Soon after, the RSDLP split and the Bolsheviks founded a new party, which was later called the Russian Communist Party. Stalin ended up in exile again, where he remained until the outbreak of the October Revolution in 1917. Almost every revolutionary who had anything to do with him hated him or at least distrusted him. He was not a gifted speaker or writer, he had no military experience and he took no visible leadership role in the crucial weeks and months of the revolution. Nevertheless, Lenin gave him a position in the leadership of the Bolsheviks. The last tsar disappeared and the tsar’s secret service was officially over. However, the staff and the files did not disappear into thin air. If Stalin had worked for the Okhrana, there was a risk that he would be exposed later because a party rival would find the relevant files somewhere. Or someone with incriminating records could be blackmailing him. For the author Edward Ellis Smith, the American intelligence expert, the picture that emerges in the book “The Young Stalin” is that Stalin was lucky enough not to be exposed and in the following decades he tried diligently to destroy files and his early to falsify history. As a dictator, he gradually destroyed almost all of his old Bolshevik comrades. Edward Ellis Smith explains that Stalin’s rule was comparable to that of a tsar. It is almost as if the Okhrana had finally belatedly won over the Bolsheviks. A few pages earlier, Smith speculates that at the time of the revolution, parts of the Okhrana went underground and collaborated with Stalin in some form. Since Stalin was not the only Okhrana agent in the new Soviet system, and since the Okhrana most likely had a direct line to British intelligence, we have to ask what the British intentions were.
Did they mess up again and tried to cover this up in order to stay relevant? British intelligence was up to its old tricks by spreading the fake “Protocols of Zion” which painted the communist revolution as the work of satanic jews.
Old networks help the USSR
When Alexander Ulyanov had already been executed (or his death had been faked), his brother Vladimir (later world-famous as Soviet leader Lenin) graduated from school with honors for outstanding achievements and then began studying law at the University of Kazan. There he took part in a demonstration, was expelled from school and banished to his home, where he read radical literature. Because of his mother’s influence, he was allowed to return to Kazan, where he promptly joined a radical group and continually sought new contacts. A Russian translation of Marx’s Communist Manifesto is said to have come from him. Somehow, despite his activities, Vladimir remained untouched and graduated with honors in law from the University of St. Petersburg, which enabled him to work in the legal field for years. Magically, he managed to expand his radical activities and even expand into Europe without being caught by the Russian secret service, or by the secret services in Berlin, Paris and Geneva. When he returned to Russia, his pockets and suitcases were full of forbidden literature, which he distributed in various cities. His first arrest led to a charge of sedition and a sentence of three years of exile in Siberia under lenient conditions. For socialist circles he was no more than one of many activists, but exile gave him a little more status and he was able to continue networking there. Afterwards he traveled to Switzerland, then to Munich and finally London. On paper, he had no relevant skills at all, apart from Tsarist Russian law, which for a revolutionary would only have had the benefit of knowing exactly what was forbidden and what was not. He had never had any military experience, had never formally undergone any real intelligence training, had never worked in the administration of citizens and state affairs, and certainly never run a company. He returned to Russia, then went back to Finland, Switzerland and Paris. One might think that a successful revolutionary is a man who simply travels from one city to the next, writing pamphlets and participating in party intrigues. For a long time he did not notice that his right-hand man, Roman Malinovsky, was a spy for the Russian secret service Okhrana. Maybe a little research would have provided information in time that Malinovsky had been in prison for several robberies and a rape and then enrolled in the military using a cousin’s passport. As a soldier in the regiment, he became an informant for the Okhrana. Whether Lenin, his brother and father were also agents is an extremely interesting question that ordinary historians avoid. The Tsarist police kept Lenin under close observation from 1900 to 1917.
When Lenin arrived in Russia, his revolutionary plans initially failed. He went to Helsinki in Finland and hid in several safe houses. He traveled back to Russia for the October Revolution and there the Bolsheviks had created the Military Revolutionary Committee, a fighting force that established the new socialist government, the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom). Trotsky had previously been in New York and got his hands on $10,000 there. Olof Aschberg, founder and majority owner of the Swedish cooperative bank AB Nya Banken, diligently helped finance the communist revolution. He had excellent relations with the last finance minister of the Russian Empire, Pyotr Lwo-witsch Bark, who, with the help of, among others, Great Britain and the USA, financed Russia’s military activities against Germany in the First World War. Bark fled to London to a luxury villa, changed his first name to Peter and was promptly hired by Barings Bank. On behalf of the “Bank of England” he was paid out an amount of 16,500 pounds sterling. To this day, historians cannot explain this. The Baring family originally came from Hanover and belonged to a privileged middle class there that enjoyed the trust of the nobility. The Hanover branch of the Welfen occupied the British throne from 1714. Peter Bark became an adviser to the Bank of England and earned the Royal Victorian Order and the title of baronet. Before he fled to London, he was in Paris and was under surveillance by the French secret service. In a dossier dated January 25, 1919, he stated that Bark was a “Bolshevik agent” who had been in contact with Leon Trotsky since 1917 and was said to have continued contact after the establishment of the Soviet regime. At the same time, Bark was a loyal supporter of the Romanov refugees in England, Denmark and elsewhere. The Roma-nows were one and the same family as the British throne. For example, through King George V, with whom he was already in close contact during the war, Bark provided the Tsar’s sister, Grand Duchess Xenija, with Frogmore Cottage as a new home. After the death of Maria Fyodorovna, Bark brought jewels worth 200,000 pounds (adjusted for inflation today around 6 million euros) from Copenhagen to London on behalf of Xenija and her sister Olga. The Romanovs, the British throne and, to a lesser extent, Peter Bark knew where the last Tsar’s vast fortune had gone. The former net worth of Tsar Nicholas II was estimated at 214 to 256 billion euros in 2010, adjusted for inflation. The majority of the capital was allegedly invested in stocks and almost nothing was parked in foreign bank accounts. The private accounts at the Bank of England are said to have been closed during the First World War and the balances transferred back to Russia. Russia traditionally conducted all foreign business through the City of London and had several accounts at the Bank of England. The authorized representative and trustee of these accounts was Pyotr Bark.
Agents of the aristocracy helped to quickly rebuild the economy of Soviet Russia. In 1917 and 1918, the American prosecutor and later judge Thomas D. Thacher was in charge of the Russian mission of the American Red Cross, whose chairman was William Howard Taft, who had previously served as US president. The Red Cross was officially a charity, but at the same time a vehicle for (secret) foreign policy. The Red Cross mission included Frederick M. Corse from the branch of the National City Bank in Petrograd. Both Thacher and Taft were members of the secret organization Skull & Bones, which dates back to the British colonial empire and the nobility.
Over time, Lenin and his comrades had formally become the rulers of Russian territory through a brutal military struggle, but industry was virtually at a standstill, meaning the new socialist state had no significant revenue and limited diplomatic recognition from foreign countries. Where should new equipment be purchased to produce oil and manganese on a significant scale again? A number of Americans came to the rescue, based in the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway in New York’s financial district. Over time, the brand new high-rise has had top corporations such as General Electric, DuPont, Aluminum Company of New York, railroad companies, and B. as tenants banks like Barclays and the New York Federal Reserve. Exactly what the Soviets desperately needed. The key to Russian reconstruction was the Caucasus oil fields in Baku. American companies like the International Barnsdall Corporation sold the necessary equipment and even bought oil from the Soviets.
Between 1898 and 1903, British oil companies invested 60 million rubles in the oil fields of Baku. Between 1898 and 1901, Baku produced more oil than the United States. By 1901, half of the world’s oil was produced from wells located within 6 square miles. On the eve of World War I, three companies (Russian General Oil Company, Royal Dutch Shell and Partnership of Nobel Brothers) held 86% of the total share capital and controlled 60% of oil production. In 1912, Anglo-Dutch Shell acquired 80% of the shares in the Caspian-Black Sea Society “Mazut”, which had belonged to the Rothschild Frères. Other British companies bought oil operations from Hajji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev.
The Soviets also acquired modern mining and transportation facilities for their manganese deposits, acquired foreign currency, and circumvented official American foreign policy regarding loans to the USSR in a series of business arrangements with the W.A. Harriman Company and the Guaranty Trust. On July 12, 1925, an agreement was reached between the W.A. Harriman Company of New York and the USSR concluded a concession agreement for the exploitation of the Chiaturi manganese deposits and the comprehensive introduction of modern mining and transport methods. Again and again we come across members of the secret organization Skull&Bones. The chairman of the Georgian Man-ganese Company was Bones member C. Brush. The Harriman Guaranty Syndicate did not inform the US State Department of its plans. Averell Harriman had essentially smuggled an illegal project past the US government. The law firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett was located at 120 Broadway in New York in the 1920s and helped the interests of the Soviet Union. The law firm was founded in 1884 by Thomas Thacher (Skull and Bones 1871). His son, Thomas Day Thacher (Bones class of 1904), worked for the family law firm after leaving Yale and entering the order. The younger Thomas Thacher worked for Henry L. Stimson (Bones 1888). Around this time, Thacher became friends with both Felix Frankfurter and Raymond Robins. According to extensive documentation in the Lusk Committee files, both Frankfurter and Robins were of considerable assistance to the Soviets. Frankfurter, who later became a Supreme Court justice, led a meeting in November 1919 to advocate for American recognition of the newly created Soviet Union. The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce still advertises on its website that it has been the bridge for business between Britain and Russia since 1916.
The Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement was an agreement signed on March 16, 1921 to facilitate trade between the United Kingdom and the Russian Soviet Republic. It was signed by Robert Horne, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leonid Krasin, the Russian Commissioner for Foreign Trade. Robert Stevenson Horne, 1st Viscount Horne of Slamannan, sat on the Privy Council and was King’s Counsel.