The Russia Trip


At some point in August, Debbie showed up to one of the G5 meetings with an elaborate story about an all-expense paid trip to Russia supposedly organized by the Russian ambassador to the U.N., Vitaly Churkin. Lyn immediately latched onto this. It became the focus for his identity in this period. It was proof to him that he wasn't slipping into dementia, and symbolized for him his sense of importance in the world. Lyn insisted that Helga would not accompany him on this trip to Russia, because "it would not be safe to have them both in the same location." He gave an NEC meeting where he announced provocatively that there was something that only Sky and he knew about but that no one else could know which, of course, made everyone want to ask Sky about it.

At a certain point, after a week or so had passed, Sky, Lyn, Rick, and Helga all became frustrated at not knowing who Debbie's contact people were for the trip. Sky and Lyn were unable to plan for a presentation, because Debbie just kept insisting that they were going to meet with "everybody" when pressed about whether they would present at a university, to government officials, to scientists, or to some other grouping. Rick was frustrated that Debbie would provide no contact person to handle security on the other end. Because these mysterious Russian contacts were supposedly handling the costs of tickets, rooms, etc., there was no paper trail to follow to verify any aspect of the trip. At G5 meetings, Sky, Lyn and Helga would press Debbie for more information on the trip. At one point, Debbie said that she could not provide the information because her point-person, Churkin, had returned to Russia for some days on an emergency. Bizarrely, this was claimed on the date that the U.N. Security Council (including Churkin) was voting on the question of Syria in New York. Interviews after the vote placed Churkin in the U.S. for many of the following days. Sky and Lyn pressed Debbie until she finally said that Churkin had "returned" from abroad and given her the trip details.

Once they finally received it, the list of supposed contacts was an unlikely mix of contrasting ideologies, including enemies of what were ostensibly the movement's ideals, such as a 26 year-old friend of Leonid Grigoryev, minister of finance in Yegor Gaidar's government. Rick, Sky and Helga spoke openly about the likelihood that Debbie had simply snagged the list of names from some event program in D.C. Lyn suspected Debbie of holding out on him, and tasked Sky to keep pressing her for more details, but he was too emotionally connected to the fantasy of his involvement to agree with Helga, Rick, Barbara, and Sky about the possibility of the whole thing being completely fabricated. As a result, discussions to this effect excluded him, though Sky eventually briefed members of the Basement, and Rick spoke to Ben.

As the date of the trip approached, Debbie found an excuse to move the date back two weeks. This was especially disturbing, since the new dates now fell on a Russian national holiday, where none of the state schools that were supposed to host Lyn and Sky would even be open. Further, none of the event calendars for those universities showed events planned for those dates (or the earlier dates). This made no sense, because Debbie was insisting that there would be hundreds of people attending each of the speaking events. At this point, still no one else besides Debbie had any contact with any other human being connected with sponsoring the supposed trip. Rick was becoming more frustrated and more suspicious.

At a G5 meeting sometime around October 20th, Debbie sat down very somberly and announced that she had something to report. Sky was somewhat relieved, as he realized that this was probably where she was going to relate an elaborate story about why the Russia trip would have to be cancelled for good. The story lasted for over half an hour, and was told far too quickly and convolutedly to be written down exactly. It took place in several nations, and involved the most important political players in the LaRouche Movement mythology.

It began with Susan Rice issuing a challenge to "our friend" Vitaly Churkin. 20 Vitaly told Debbie that when he agreed to this super-tour of Russia for Lyn and Sky, he "was prepared for a scandal, but not for an international incident." Lavrov supposedly talked to Hillary Clinton about the trip, and Hillary sneakily told him that there was no need to tell the President. Michael McFaul however was somehow tipped off by Hillary not being careful about something, and then approached someone we knew named Sergei (maybe the Sergei Karaganov who Matt and Meghan later spoke to). McFaul supposedly issued a warning to Sergei: "We will consider this an attempt by a foreign government to influence the electoral process in the United States." McFaul then sent Sergei a transcript of the Sept. 30 address by Lyn to prove this point. McFaul then brought this up to Alexander Parshin. Dame Pringle in Moscow brought it up to Lavrov, warning him that this "will affect how the international community views the electoral process in Russia," supposedly implying that there would be an enormous scandal about Lyn not liking Obama. Further comments were made to Yakovenko in London by somebody, and the whole thing ended with a dramatic assassination threat: "Lyn has certain protections in the U.S., but those protections are not extended if he travels abroad." "Our friends" then canceled the Russia trip for LaRouche's safety. The spy movie character of this whole thing sent Lyn into a complete frenzy, and he declared that "our friends" were absolutely right to cancel the trip, and that none of this would ever be spoken of. Lyn also knew, however, that Sky was suspicious about the whole trip, and that Sky expected Debbie would find a dramatic way to cancel the whole thing. Thus, Lyn's declaration that nothing would be spoken of effectively buried the entire thing. Sky and others continued to investigate, however. The implications concerning the authenticity of much of our political activities were enormous. Helga and Rick, due to their suspicions of Debbie, both encouraged Sky in this investigation, though Barbara held on to a convoluted belief that yes, Debbie was a pathological liar, but that she also had important contacts. Like most of the weird theories Barbara came up with to comfort everyone else, this latter theory of Barbara's (that a pathological liar might actually be talking to Bill Clinton 21 on behalf of our association) actually disturbed Sky more than the former possibility.

Several points of follow-up were made even after the trip was canceled. Notable among them was that on February 27, Meghan Rouillard and Matt Ogden were sent into D.C., not knowing that Rick and others intended for them to find out whether or not Sergei Karaganov had ever actually had any contact with Debbie or the organization (since he was supposedly one of the trip's sponsors). They were told to simply make contact with him, and offer him a statement from Larouche. When they returned, it was clear from their report that Karaganov did not even know who LaRouche was.


20 Debbie always had elaborate stories about Susan Rice confronting Vitaly Churkin. She would act out both parts very dramatically.
21 The illusion of the 'stanford Group" became a major theme in this period. The founding of the "group of 5" (G5) was the first time any of the youth had spent an extended time in Debbie Freeman's presence. It soon became a constant theme of discussions between Rick, Alicia, Sky (and later Helga) that Debbie was a compulsive liar, even on subjects that had nothing to do with politics. Helga tried repeatedly to meet with Debbie's contacts, and each time Debbie invented rather elaborate stories for why the meetings would have to be called off at the last minute. At one point, a supposed meeting between Helga and Cheryl Mills (Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff) was called off due to a freak car accident, of which no one was ever able to find evidence. This later became a topic of discussion between Sky and Helga in Germany, who together tried to find a way to trap Debbie in one of her lies. Debbie soon began trying to avoid close scrutiny, by finding excuses to miss "group of five" meetings. These excuses were as interesting as her other stories -- at one point she was unable to make it to a meeting because a gas main supposedly blew up a house down the street from hers, and another time she was unable to call because her phone malfunctioned and "could only receive text messages."
The bizarreness of the Stanford group stories goes back farther, however, to the very peculiar teleconferences in which Sky and Lyn were supposedly speaking to Bill Clinton and his collaborators. The dialogue was always with Debbie as the sole voice on the other end of the line, with no questioners asking questions in their own voice and name. Not even crowd noises could be heard through Debbie's mic, despite the fact that she was supposedly standing in a room packed with international representatives (the Irish, Chinese, Russians, and Clintonistas). One particularly freakish meeting (the infamous "Glass-Steagall dialogue") began with Debbie opening the meeting, and then ordering for the signals to be established from 'satellite 1," 'satellite 2," 'satellite 3," and 'satellite 4" in a ridiculously drawn out bit of theater. (Upon hearing this story related, one Basement member wittily remarked that perhaps Debbie was actually broadcasting from inside the head of a giant robot.) At many moments Debbie's performances verged on the absolutely comic, but the juicier elements were removed because the actual recordings were never released. Only redacted print versions were allowed to be distributed to members (supposedly because Vladimir Putin himself would allow nothing else), giving the impression that there was an actual dialogue with Clinton and others, while the actual scene was simply Sky and Lyn looking silly while talking to Debbie through a speaker phone. Lyn's addiction to Debbie's fantasy stories became a major theme through the period described here.

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