How could somebody as doggedly patriotic as recent American citizen Louise Mensch be a secret agent of the Kremlin? / Larry Koester
Emmett Rensin,  May 2

Operation Mensch

The scooper scooped

How could somebody as doggedly patriotic as recent American citizen Louise Mensch be a secret agent of the Kremlin? / Larry Koester
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Louise Mensch doesn’t want you to read this story[*]. But don’t worry—you’ve got a head start. The moment she saw the headline, Louise dived to the floor, looking for Russians under her bed. She checked her closets and her gutters. She’s grabbing her best red pen right now and rushing to the corkboard on her wall, ready to write my name in big bold letters under “KGB.”

Dear reader, I’ve made this sacrifice for you. Because while it’s too late for me, you can still finish reading this account before she finds you, before she sees this window on your laptop screen, before your name winds up next to mine on her blacklist. Despite the risk, it’s vital that you hear the shocking news I’ve got for you. Nothing less than our national security, the fate of the republic, is at stake. Thanks to the tireless work of a top-secret source who speaks only to me (and Kurt Eichenwald, if he’s drunk), I bring you this bombshell report: Louise Mensch, the former British member of Parliament–turned–American Twitter impresario, is a Russian secret agent.

I know it sounds outlandish, but remember: we live in a world of Alternative Facts now. The alternatives to the alternatives are the truth.

The alternatives to the alternatives are the truth.

I’ll admit, Mensch has done a remarkable job covering her tracks these past few months. Since the election of Donald Trump, she has, according to a recent report from BuzzFeed News, “transformed herself into the leader of a wide-ranging internet investigation into Russian espionage and influence in American politics, media, and business.” “Every day,” the BuzzFeed scribes summarize, “Mensch and her network of online detectives unravel what they claim is a massive conspiracy linking the Kremlin, the Republican Party, armies of internet trolls, and moneyed puppet masters around the world.” Beyond her prolific tweeting, Mensch has appeared in the New York Times and The Guardian and even on Real Time with Bill Maher, assembling an ironclad list of over two hundred individuals who subvert American democracy on the orders of Vladimir Putin. Her notable scoops include street protestors in Ferguson, Missouri (funded by Russia), Jeremy Corbyn (beholden to Russia), and her local Comcast service provider (overcharging her from Russia). “Mensch . . . has claimed or implied that targets ranging from top government officials to journalists to teenagers to anonymous Twitter users are in thrall to Vladimir Putin,” the writers explain. Putin, in other words, has sold out hundreds of hard-won assets in order to create cover for a single psychological operator. Even after all we’ve seen, it’s terrifying to behold just how many dimensions of chess these Russians can play.

At first, I had my doubts. How could somebody as doggedly patriotic as recent American citizen Louise Mensch be a secret agent of the Kremlin? But as my source—a former CIA man with a Mark Cuban jaw-line and David Axelrod moustache who says he’s seen the Trump Piss Tape and it’s got “better raps than Hamilton”—explained to me, “Actually, Emmett, you’re proving my point by your own logic.”

I didn’t understand. I was suspicious: was this a set-up? Was I talking to yet another Russian spy, sent to gather kompromat on my credulity? But my source—who told me he’s visited the vacation home that Putin bought Bernie Sanders in exchange for destroying the Clinton campaign—it’s “dope, but not worth it?” —lit a cigarette and sighed. “Where’s the best place to hide your most valuable assets?” he asked. I opened my mouth to answer but he cut me off like an impatiently competent man in an Aaron Sorkin drama: “IN PLAIN SIGHT.” 

“My god,” I said. “My god.” I was whispering now. “But . . . ok, maybe that’s true . . . but don’t you think it’s risky to tell me this while we’re in line at the Farragut North Chipotle? This place is filled with journalists.” My source—who I think maybe actually was just Mark Cuban, wearing a false moustache?—arched his thick eyebrows. I looked around the Chipotle. Journalists were everywhere, as well as several men who made their living gesturing wildly at charts while frothing at the mouth. This venue was so obvious, so unlikely a spot for clandestine dealings that none of them were even bothering to eavesdrop.

“Yeah, it’s that. Exactly,” my source said, tongue probing the last of his side-guac, which cost extra.

That’s when I understood. Louise Mensch is the most dangerous Putin stooge we’ve ever faced. She didn’t come here to do the ordinary work of setting up back-channel coordination between the Kremlin and the White House. She didn’t come here to assassinate bold truth tellers like Andrew Breitbart. She didn’t even come to the United States to tweet rude jokes at brave #resistance journalists. No, Louise Mensch has a singular mission: to turn the greatest scoop of the century into a farce. She’s come to infiltrate the ranks of the Resistance, to pretend to be our ally and our friend, and then to act so utterly batshit that she permanently discredits the whole Russia-Trump investigation. It’s scary. It’s genius. It’s an idea Putin got from The Americans, which is a documentary he made.

“Yeah, it’s that. Exactly,” my source said, tongue probing the last of his side-guac, which cost extra. He rose from our table. “Alright,” he said, “I’m toasted. I’m gonna go tell Kurt about this now. It’ll only take him a few hours to do a ‘fact check,’ so file quick.”

You may be skeptical. But to quote Louise (sorry, it’s painful to let her go): “I just report the truth, to the best of my ability.” For an honest American, the thought of an operator so heartless, so sociopathically cool that they can tweet several hundred times a day pretending to be your ally while secretly conspiring to destroy your country might seem too mind-bogglingly devious to believe. But there’s a word for it in Russian: Agent provocateur. And if you say that agent provocateur is actually French, well, I know which shirtless Slavic strongman is paying your salary.

It gets worse. Louise Mensch is not alone. Over the past several months, a whole network of agents provocateurs have infiltrated the Resistance, using kompromat to secure key punditry positions and gushing retweets from woke patriots like journalist David Fahrenthold and Clara Jefferey, the editor-in-chief of Mother Jones. The true number of operatives is impossible to know, but among the most prominent are the body double who replaced Keith Olbermann (come on Vladimir, draping the man in an American flag security blanket is a little too obvious, you know?), the “former NSA analyst”–turned–Observer columnist John Schindler (Schindler, presumably catching wind of my investigation, tried to pre-emptively accuse me of being a Russian agent earlier this year. Laying a trap, I confessed as much, admitting that the KGB funded my MFA program. Schindler bought it. Of course, any real “national security expert” would know that the Iowa Writer’s Workshop was funded by the CIA, something that really just proves my loyalty to the flag if you think about it), and Eric Garland, better known by his code-name “Game Theory Guy”—that’s “Внесите свой вклад в Patreon” to his friends. (I’ll be straight with you: I’ve got no proof whatsoever that Eric Garland is a Russian spy, he talks about craft beer like an alien trying to sound Chill and Human at a party. I’m just saying it adds up.)

How many more of these Slavic scoundrels were out there? I needed an answer. I tried calling my source —who, frankly, I made up—but after spending an hour reading me the names of every blue-collar voter in Michigan and Pennsylvania whose American birth certificates he wanted to double check, he hung up and threw his phone into the sea.

If there’s any consolation in all of this, I thought while checking my Twitter mentions for signs I’d been followed by Russian agents, it’s that it proves how desperate Vladimir Putin has become. Despite flawlessly executing his expensive, multi-year plan to make the guy from The Apprentice his puppet President of the United States, the walls have begun to close in. The FBI is onto him. The Senate is swooping down. The American people are suspicious and the whole operation is threatening to blow up in his no good, very bad Russian face. Putin can’t make the story go away. Now his only hope is to discredit it, to keep the dogs at bay until President Trump can dissolve Congress and proclaim the Soviet Socialist Republic of America. He only needs to buy his Manchurian candidate a little time. According to The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, would-be fascist dictators always follow a three-step process when they consolidate power. First, they get handed humiliating back-to-back defeats by the judicial and legislative branches of their governments. Then they have their top aide call their son-in-law a cuck. Then they declare martial law.

We’re dangerously close to oblivion. But with this vital intelligence about Mensch and her henchmen, we’re close to uncovering the truth and saving the republic too.

I know that somewhere deep down inside of her, she’s hashtag-resisting with all she’s got.

I don’t know when Putin compromised Louise Mensch. Did he do it when she was in Parliament, forcing her to give up her life as an actual elected member of the British government in order to infiltrate C-list American media? Perhaps the Russians hacked her brain, like they did to Hillary Clinton when they made her appear on national television and say “Pokemon Go . . . to the polls!” then also not campaign in Wisconsin. We may never get the chance to find out.

But here’s what I do know. Despite everything, I still believe in Louise Mensch. I still believe that her heart beats pure and true. No matter what the Russians have done to her, no matter how much damage she’s doing to our cause with her Soviet duplicity, I know that somewhere deep down inside of her, she’s hashtag-resisting with all she’s got. Some day, some day soon, Louise Mensch will break through the mind control, or shrug off whatever consequence will come with the leaking of her kompromat file, and tell the world what’s really going on. She’ll get free, give the finger to Putin, and blow the lid on the whole operation before it’s too late.

Or at least I hope she will. The truth is that this Russian plot is as ingenious as it is dangerous, and the really devious part of it, the real sick and tricky consequence of acting so undeniably out of your mind that the world begins to regard anyone who merely points out that the FBI director, Black Lives Matter, Nugget Teen, and ISIS are all part of a Kremlin conspiracy against the American people as a dangerously unhinged lunatic, the horrible truth is that when you do that it’s hard to regain the trust of the people you’ve betrayed. When Louis Mensch finally breaks through, tears down the corkboard, takes to Twitter, and publicly accuses herself of being a Russian agent . . . will we even believe her?

 

[*] Satire.

Emmett Rensin is a writer based in Iowa City, as well as a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Review of Books. @emmettrensin

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