TWITLER DOES NOT RESPECT THE SABBATH
The roof is on fire. Friday Trump left the White House for Mar-a-Lago in a fury after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia. On Saturday morning, he woke up early and tweeted bizarre allegations that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign, a move likely done to prepare his base to call this and everything else damaging to him and his presidency “fake news”. Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes under Obama Tweeted, “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman adds, “Trump was known for years to tape calls in his own offices. And during campaign, staffers fretted their offices were bugged.” Senator Lindsay Graham observed the political opening and decided to run right through the little gate left open during a town hall in South Carolina. According to POLITICO, “most of Trump’s aides were back in Washington and woke up exasperated at the posts. After making the explosive claims – and trashing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings – in the Twitter rant, the president headed to the golf course near his Mar-a-Lago resort.” A few things to note: yes, Trump is in Florida, again. Yes, Saturday is the Sabbath meaning daddy whisperer Ivanka is unavailable, which maximizes the probability that what Twitler blasts out to the world in 148 characters will be insane. The Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza acknowledges the truth: the conspiracy theory candidate is now the conspiracy theory president. For his part, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump’s accusations of wiretaps are without merit. “I can deny it,” he said. And FBI Director James Comey asked the Department of Justice to refute “the highly charged claim” as false, something it so far has declined to do. The New York Times notes, “Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness.” For its part, the Kremlin also seemed to rebuke any association with Trump. According to Russian state-run Sputnik News, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We should not in any way be associated with internal US problems. We have no desire and no intention in any way to be associated with these affairs”. What a difference Flynn’s ouster makes! CNN reports the “barely-disguised delight in Moscow that greeted Donald Trump’s victory on November 8 has gradually melted into a mixture of confusion and frustration.” He is not like the other puppets!
HIS EYES SAY THEY MURDERED CHURKIN
How many of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s colleagues have been killed since November 2016? So you would think logically from an American standpoint that if Lavrov is to open his mouth and begin to speak of witch-hunts, he might be referring to the one occurring within his own ministry. No, no, cynical Russians know much better, they know he must deflect from that most inconvenient reality by casting aspersions elsewhere. Behold, look what is happening to Trump! And poor Jeff Sessions, the noose is tightening around him when he is the one who likes to walk around dangling it in front of minorities – unfair fake news! All these press reports about Trump’s campaign team and inner circle holding secret talks with Russian officials or shady characters with ties to the Russian mafia are lies. Something is wrong in the state of America and it has nothing to do with Russia! Russophobic hysteria has taken hold! — This is how the Russians handle purges. In the future, the revisions will also be revised. The Washington Post went with a stellar photo where Lavrov tries to say Russophobia but his eyes say, “They murdered Churkin, the FSB guy behind my back.”
SESSIONS DOES NOT BELIEVE FACTS, PREFERS “ALTERNATIVE”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from any investigations involving Trump and Russia, does not believe in facts but rather prefers some fantastical bullshit lies known as “alternative facts”. Sessions told Fox “News” “that he did not know whether Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton” according to The Washington Post. This preference for disputing the obvious stands in contrast to the stated analysis of 17 American intelligence agencies. Of all the facts of the case, this is the one where there is startlingly little dispute. However, Trump and those who aren’t singing to the Feds don’t quite grasp yet that the Russians don’t care about Trump or any of his people and were willing to throw an awful lot of money at this operation, which far exceeds any debts he may owe. What the Russians care about is chaos. In this regard, Sessions is working for them no matter what.
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIAN TO CHANGE THE STORY
Another Trump advisor has suddenly changed his story on meetings with Russian officials. Everyone on the merry-go-round, in Russian it is called something else! Former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon, also a Trump advisor, said he pushed to have the Republican National Convention’s platform altered to be more pro-Russia, especially on the question of Ukraine. According to Business Insider, these new comments represent a “dramatic shift from previous comments,” which means the circle of Trump’s Team’s Russia contacts seems to grow ever more.
From Business Insider.
RUSSIA TO NATO: LET’S CATCH UP
For the first time since the annexation of Crimea, the Chief of the Russian General Staff General Valeriy Gerasimov spoke Friday to his NATO counterpart, Czech General Petr Pavel. According to The AP, the two “discussed the prevention of incidents, prospects for restoring military co-operation and acute security issues.” Gerasimov also took the opportunity to menace with the Kremlin-crafted message of “Moscow’s concerns about NATO’s buildup near Russian borders …confirmed the need for joint steps to reduce tensions.” Russia Beyond the Headlines adds further commentary from NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Jamie Shea, “The important thing is that we talk to each other. We continue the dialog, and the NATO-Russia Council is meeting“.
BEYOND “AN ACT OF AGGRESSION,” NUCLEAR ENOUGH FOR ARTICLE FIVE
NATO’s top British commander, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, “has claimed that alleged Russian cyber attacks could be deemed an act of aggression and trigger the military alliance’s principle of collective defence,” namely Article Five. What Russia did in our election with “active measures” goes beyond a mere act of aggression into nuclear territory, done knowing full well that Obama would never retaliate with nuclear weapons because he said as much in his Prague “Nuclear Zero” speech. As for if Article Five could come into effect, Bradshaw said, “It is a political decision, but it is not out of the question that aggression, blatant aggression, in a domain other than conventional warfare might be deemed to be Article Five”.
From The Independent.
WHEN YOU HAVE ACTUAL POWER YOU ARE DEFENDING AGAINST THIS
Military.com has more details of an incident on February 10 when “Russian pilots buzzed the guided missile destroyer Porter, but also had ‘relatively large number of interactions with’ U.S. and NATO aircraft the same day,” according to the Department of Defense (DoD), “”some of which were deemed to be safe and standard and some of which were assessed as unsafe and unprofessional,’ …An Air Force official told Military.com on Friday that officials do not believe the Russian aircraft involved in intercepting the U.S. planes were the same ones involved in the USS Porter flyby, and do “not want to give further specifics.” The same unnamed official also reportedly said, “This happens almost every time U.S. and NATO aircraft fly — especially in the Baltics” and “added that ‘vast majority of intercepts” from either side “are safe and professional.’” This disclosure comes after “Gen. Tod Wolters, head of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, cited four interceptions of NATO aircraft on Feb. 10 during a media roundtable Thursday.”
ANOTHER DEAD RUSSIAN?
On Saturday, the internet went alight over talk of another dead Russian. So many dead Russians of prominent association with Trump and his people these days! Who will be next is a parlor game from the Acela corridor of New York-D.C. to Moscow, and probably Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin in between. Ukrainian Member of Parliament Andrii Artemenko who supported a fake peace plan for his country that would “lease” the Donbass to Russia, noted on his Facebook page, according to Talking Points Memo, that the father-in-law, Alex Oronov, of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen’s brother, Bryan, is now dead. Let’s unpack. “Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness concern in Ukraine” – concern being Russian for enterprise – “was a partner in the ethanol business [Michael] Cohen and Cohen’s brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago… Oronov apparently organized that ‘peace plan’ meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater.” I located an online obit from the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. Those who know Ukraine and the ethanol sector might find it fascinating to comb through the entries. Tips welcome! Also: why aren’t major mainstream papers on this and has anyone seen the body? Sorry, I am from Chicago, we ask these questions, not sorry.
From Talking Points Memo.
WILBUR ROSS QUITS BANK OF CYPRUS BOARD
A press release issued Saturday from the Bank of Cyprus announced that Wilbur Ross, Trump’s just confirmed Commerce Secretary, has resigned as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus according to the Famagusta Gazette on the island. The paper adds, “The 79-year-old billionaire investor became Bank of Cyprus vice chairman after the investment fund he managed invested about 700 million euros (734 million U.S. dollars) during the lender’s capitalization in October 2014.” Cyprus is notorious as a haven for laundered Russian dirty money; in 2013, the Bank of Cyprus was at the center of the resolution found to stymie total financial collapse of the banking sector.
From the Famagusta Gazette.
BACKING THE BEAR
Two pro-Russian opposition senators in Montenegro, Andrija Mandic and Milan Knezevic, have written a letter to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon asking for NATO membership for the country to be blocked. Mandic and Knezevic assert in their letter that Montenegro does not meet the criteria for NATO membership because security in the country is “very complex” and the country’s democratic future and system are uncertain. According to The AP, which obtained a copy of the letter on Friday, the two pro-Russian senators claim, “Montenegro has been deeply split by between those who seek NATO membership and those who reject it.” This last part being true and this letter making the case that pro-Russian is the new camouflage for pro-self-interest in the Balkans.
From The AP.
REMINDER: THE RUSSIANS CARE ABOUT CHAOS NOT TRUMP
The Washington Post issues a helpful reminder of how two days after the election last November, the Russians told the media they had spoken to the Trump campaign. The Kremlin readout of a conversation with Trump after the election is also the readout of a successful coup. Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied the Russian statement however, but, “In fact, it is now clear it did happen… It is unclear why the White House has consistently denied contacts with Russian officials if the meetings that took place were innocuous.” Ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lasted only 24 days on the job due to covering up his Russia contacts. The Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself of all investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia because he met twice with the Ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year and failed to tell the Senate during his confirmation hearings. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax last November, “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage.” Ambassador Kislyak was in the front row at Trump’s first major foreign policy address last April at the Mayflower Hotel and appeared in a receiving line with Trump beforehand. This speech was also attended by son-in-law Jared Kushner and then Senator Jeff Sessions. Kislyak also attended the Republican National Convention and “Two days later, met with Trump advisers Carter Page and J.D. Gordon… at Case Western Reserve University,” something both advisers have confirmed and minimized. Recall, the Republican platform on Russia and its stance towards Ukraine was softened in Russia’s favor and Paul Manafort was forced out of his job as campaign manager officially very soon after due to his ties to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. On July 8, Carter Page gave a speech in Moscow. There, he “shook hands” with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich. Last Thursday, Page said “no material discussions” occurred during this Moscow trip. On July 27, Trump took a bullhorn to Russia and called on them to hack Hillary to find 30,000 emails he alleged were missing. So much data! At the bottom: useful chart of “Known or possible links between Team Trump, Russia”.
From The Washington Post.
CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS CAN INCLUDE THE KIDS
Remember when Hillary said during the debate she respected Trump’s kids? Still shaking my head over that. ABC News reports that Congressional investigations will cast a wide net, which will include the Trump kids, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, and her crude brothers Donald Jr. and Eric. Reject kid Tiffany will probably be very grateful for her second-class status some day soon if not already. Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Representative Adam Schiff said, “I don’t think anyone is beyond the scope of what we need to look at”. Under the spotlight is the meeting Donald Trump Jr. attended in October of last year at the Ritz Paris hosted by an organization that fits the pattern of the “Russian use of front groups,” according to Marcel H. Van Herpen, author of the book Putin’s Propaganda Machine. Alan Garten the chief legal officer and executive vice-president of the Trump Organization “noted that former Clinton advisor James Rubin met with the same group a month earlier.” Rubin was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s Spokesman during the Bosnia conflict and is married to CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.
From ABC News.
BLOWJOBS OVER TREASON
Now recused of overseeing investigations into Trump’s Russia ties Attorney General Jeff Sessions had some very interesting things to say about lying under oath when he was not in the hot seat. As a junior senator, he cared a great deal about Bill Clinton being fellated by a certain intern, The Washington Post reminds us in a compendium of hypocrisy now that an era that of national security that actually matters as opposed to sex scandals is upon us. One of the finest lines to weave it’s way into this karmic series of events came in 1999 when Sessions said, “The president has gotten himself into this fix that is very serious.” Recall, a situation like this one is precisely why you don’t want the president getting it under the desk – because the giver could be sent by a foreign adversary. Yet a kompramat sex tape is not so interesting? Very confusing.
From The Washington Post.
WHAT WE KNOW + WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
CNN has a very useful list of basic facts as a timeline of events of what we know concerning the Trump team ties to Russia and also very helpfully, a list of what we do not know. This is exceptionally helpful and quite accurate (arguably they could be far more specific on both ends, but this is the popular press) because what we don’t know is the realm in particular where conspiracy theory thrives. The difference between conspiracy theorists and those working to unravel a conspiracy is in essence, the acknowledgement of the difference between theory and legal definition and an interrogation of both the facts we think we know them as well as introspection concerning the wealth of things we don’t know or understand. This is the fundamental difference between say TRUMPISTAN WATCH and Alex Jones “Info Wars” and his nut bar ilk.
GUIDE TO THE STARS OR SOME RUSSIAN RECREATION
FELIX THE FAT CAT, HOMETOWN HERO
A bizarre anecdote about Felix Sater emerges from his hometown area’s local paper, Newsday. Once a heavy weight on the international scene with international reporting Pulitzers to its name, like many other papers nationwide, Newsday, has receded in money, influence and power to primarily one of local beats these days. So we get a tale about Felix Sater and praise from U.S. intelligence agents of him from his hometown rabbi. Rabbi Shalom Paltiel of Chabad of Port Washington, New York, gives us a story that is “posted to the web from a 2014 speech”. Sater, “a long time resident of Port Washington” who describes himself as “a secular Jew” was honored as “man of the year” at this particular Chabad. According to Paltiel, “two and a half years ago, Felix invited me to join him at a private, closed-door session in the federal building of New York. Only his immediate family members were allowed in and he had gotten special clearance for his rabbi to be there as well. To my amazement I see dozens of U.S. intelligence officers. They’re taking turns standing up, one after the other, offering praise for Felix… They’re talking about his clandestine activities to help the government and protect our country.” Newsday reports that when it came Sater’s turn to speak, “he told the audience in part: ‘My life has been beyond interesting. My wife says that living with me is like reading next week’s newspaper today.’”
CARTER PAGE, HOMETOWN HUH
The Poughkeepsie Journal profiles native son turned Trump advisor Carter Page. According to the paper, “Page, the founder of Global Energy Capital,” seems to have listed the address of his parents in Poughkeepsie, Allan and Rachel Page, as the firm’s address on documents filed with the New York State Department of State, according to Duchess County Parcel Access. Father Allan Page’s firm, also an energy consultancy, A. Page & Associates, declined to comment. Carter Page also confirmed to MSNBC News Chris Hayes that he met with Ambassador Kislyak at the Republican National Convention but declined to disclose what was discussed “to confidentiality rules”. What the hell is he talking about?
CHEAT SHEET: PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS + MORE!
Another day, another “ultimate guide to Donald Trump’s Russia connections” — this time from Quartz. This one is quite thorough and goes by personality and property or issue, breaking down the characters on Trump’s team such as ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and advisors past and present Carter Page and Roger Stone, as well as son-in-law Jared Kushner and his own sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and their involvement with Russia and Russian officials. The Quartz guide also takes a look at Trump’s own business ties, his past with Putin, his 2013 Moscow trip around the “Miss Universe” competition, a man named Sergei Millian and a dummy front organization called the Russian American Chamber of Commerce, Dmitry Rybolovlev and Trump’s Florida mansion, Felix Sater, the Steele dossier, and in brief at the end a look at how Trump’s White House has tried to pressure intelligence agencies to refute stories about ties between Trump and Russia.
THE NEXT LAYER: CHABAD DOES IT GET?
The New York Times also contributes to the genre of looking at how “Trump Team’s Links to Russia Crisscross in Washington”. The article begins with great promise: Paul Manafort “had regular communications with his longtime associate – a former Russian military translator in Kiev who has been investigated in Ukraine on suspicious of being a Russian intelligence agent” by the name of Konstantin Kilimnik. He was “previously the Kiev manager of Mr. Manafort’s consulting company, Davis Manafort International”. Manafort hired him in 2005 after he was dismissed from his job in the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute “amid concerns that he was informing on its activities, according to a former employee”. From August-December of 2016, Kilimnik was under investigation by Ukrainian authorities for “suspicion of ties to Russian spy agencies, according to documents from Ukraine’s Parliament and the prosecutor general… In a recent interview, Mr. Manafort said he thought there was no chance Mr. Kilimnik was a Russian agent.” Former Pentagon spokesman J.D. Gordon met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “At the Republican National Convention… at a time when Mr. Gordon was helping keep hawkish language on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine out of the party’s platform.” A former Trump Organizaion lawyer turned special representative for international negotiations in the White House Jason Greenblatt “met last summer with Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia and an ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.” Lazar has “condemned critics of Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine,” and “is the leader of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group in Russia”. Greenblatt “handled outreach to Jews for the campaign, said that Rabbi Lazar was one of several Chabad leaders he had met during the campaign.” Both men downplay the meeting. According to The New York Times, “Joshua Nass, a public relations executive in New York, confirmed arranging the meeting”. Gordon and Kislyak portray their meeting “as similarly unremarkable.” By end, we have not a clue what this all means other than that there might be clues here.
From The New York Times.
DEAL OR NO DEAL
According to The AP, Trump is finally starting to wake up to the fact that Russia doesn’t care about him, only chaos. According to the AP, “President Donald Trump is telling advisers and allies that he may shelve, at least temporarily, his plan to pursue a deal with Moscow on the Islamic State group and other national security matters”. Whoever said this would become more frightening when the fragile alliance based on naiveté broke down, go buy your self some fried chicken. Of course the reversal does not come in a vacuum, the awakening Trump is undergoing is fraught with the peril of all the bad judgments made over the course of his adult life. He and his aides have been forced to rethink “a central tenet of his foreign policy… as long as the FBI investigates his campaign associates’ connections to Moscow and congressional committees step up their inquiries into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.” The AP also reports that on February 15 Trump sent a letter to the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid that said in part, “Your support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is important for our shared goal of enhancing European and regional security”.
From The AP.
21st CENTURY MEMETIC WARFARE
Trump hit back with photos of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer meeting with senior Russian officials. According to Fox News, “Pelosi has an egg on her face after she told Politico reporters that she had never met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak… But Politico unearthed a 2010 photo from a meeting of congressional lawmakers with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, at which both Pelosi ad Kislyak were present.” Naturally Trump tweeted this Friday. Senator Chuck Schumer responded to a tweet from Trump showing him sharing a donut with Putin in 2003, by tweeting, “my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in ’03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team?” Senator Claire McCaskill was also forced to walk back on similar statements. She tweeted, “I’ve been on the Armed Services Com for 10 years.No call or meeting w/Russian ambassador. Ever. “ However POLITICO confronted her with “her own tweets from 2013 and 2015 in which she described a meeting with Kislyak,” and she “walked back her comment.”
FOLLOW UP: BUT HIS EMAILS
On Friday, TRUMPISTAN WATCH told you how Vice-President Mike Pence used a private AOL account to deal with official state business as governor and was hacked. Today TRUMPISTAN WATCH has the distinct pleasure of bringing you his reaction. “There’s no comparison,” CNN reported Pence said of his use of private emails to Hillary Clinton’s, a source of major attacks on her made during the presidential campaign, “following an event he did with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Janesville, Wisconsin”. The Washington Post delves deeper into the differences between this Pence controversy and Hillary’s private server, which was not hacked, and wonders if maybe his contact list was not spoofed instead or as well. All TRUMPISTAN WATCH asks is that when the kompramat sex tape eventually comes out, Trump has the courtesy to pay homage and say, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
TRUMP IS LOSING THE MEDIA BATTLE
The military learned the lessons of the Vietnam era that Trump did not, namely you can’t win the war without the media. So The Washington Post reports that Trump sat out this year’s Gridiron dinner for the “elite group of Washington’s 65 top journalists”. In lieu of ratings blockbuster and media cash cow Trump, they got Pence, who “was there for the jokey monologues by lawmakers and musical skits by the Fourth Estate”. Republican Senator Joni Ernst took aim at Trump for his absence because “Saturday is golf night.” She said she had Russian dressing on her salad, a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions who “got the recipe from the Russian Ambassador.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi greeted members of the Trump administration present, “Nasdrovia!” (“To your health!” is a Russian toast.) Political Kardashians Sean Spicer, the White House spokesman, and dark arts dragon lady Kellyanne Conway, ostensibly a Counselor to Trump, were present. Sessions did not attend as he “skipped out in favor of dinner with the boss down at Mar-a-Lago.” Also not in attendance, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIAN STATE-RUN RT UK HAS “AN EXTRA SPECIAL TREAT FROM US”
UK Independence Party and Brexit Crusader Nigel Farage was knighted by a small girl on Russian state-run RT. The BBC’s Daniel Sanford shared the offending clip with the disclaimer, “I have a general rule against tweeting [Russian state-run] Russia Today footage. But rules are made to be broken”. At the end, the small girl tells Farage, “My mummy says you hate foreigners” and the host tries to shush it up instinctively. Absolutely a ratings blockbuster that shows how Russian communications have “evolved” as the goal ultimately remains chaos not messaging towards the ideological, spiritual or material well being of society.
From The Daily Mirror.
A NATION TERRIFIED OF GAYS IS IN DENIAL AND DISTRESS
Russia hates gay people despite the fact that now deceased ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned by the Kremlin’s polonium tea party, was likely killed for alleging Putin is a pedophile attracted to very young boys. Homophobes so often act as if homosexuality and pedophilia are the same when they demonstrably are not. SO! Russia seeks to ban the new Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” for offering up a gay character. A 2013 law in the country calls homosexuality “non-traditional sexual relations”. The law itself was a step back to the darkness of the Soviet era on this topic since “Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993 and the country officially removed it from a list of psychiatric disorders in 1999.” Look at the countries in the world today. The nations most in denial and distress repress gays; those that offer the greatest freedoms say we are different, so what?
From BBC News.
POLONIUM TEA PARTY
Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza gave an interview to NBC News after surviving a second poisoning attempt, likely both being state-sponsored by the Kremlin’s polonium tea party. Early in February, Kara-Murza “woke up in shock” to find “The heartbeat was getting faster and faster and I could feel it… like I was suffocating.” He was “rushed to the hospital in Moscow, barely maintaining consciousness long enough to call his wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, who was in the United States in Virginia, where she lives with their three children.” Kara-Murza had been poisoned once before in 2015. “Toxicology labs in three countries are working to identify the poison,” according to Kara-Murza.
From NBC News.
OVER THE FINNISH LINE
If the first step is admitting the problem, “Finnish President Sauli Niinisto took the first step, when he acknowledged that information warfare is real for Finland.” Those familiar with the Helsinki Committee and Helsinki Watch will recall that Finland spent decades staring down Russia during the Cold War. According to former Finnish Ambassador to Moscow René Nyberg, Finland has several advantages: having dealt with war and annexation, there is historical experience, but these days Finland is hardly the primary target of Russia’s hybrid warfare. Stellar education, a highly homogenous society and a high standard of living leave fewer cleavages for the Russians to work at cementing. Nyberg said, “Merkel is the main course… We are just a side dish.” Must read.
From Foreign Policy.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF JUAN THOMPSON
The FBI arrested a St. Louis area man named Juan Thompson this past week for a series of threatening calls to synagogues and Jewish Community Centers across the nation. His is a most curious case because he used to work for The Intercept, publisher of fine journalism on occasion and Glenn Greenwald diatribes (who has an uncanny, consistent way of matching up his message to meet Moscow’s) on other occasions, usually all from the perspective of the inquisitive, critical left. Thompson it seems was fired early last year after The Intercept editors “discovered that he had fabricated sources and quotes in his articles.” What the hell is one to make of this curious case of Juan Thompson?
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: POPULATION CENTERS
The American Enterprise Institute is out with some devastating statistics culled from various sources on the effectiveness of “active measures”. Senator John McCain aptly and early on diagnosed the problem when he said what most concerned him was the effective divisions created in American society. “Nationally, around 35 percent have a very negative view of Trump (NBC News/The Wall Street Journal) or view him very unfavorably (Public Religion Research Institute). Around 85 percent of Republicans approve of the job he is doing as president; around 85 percent of Democrats disapprove (NBC News/The Wall Street Journal; CBS News).” More horrific for anyone who grew up with the Chicago Machine from a family that survived Stalinism, “Before 2016, Democrats had slightly more positive views toward Russia than Republicans.” The good news? “A strong majority (80 percent) think the NATO alliance should be maintained, including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents (Gallup).”
RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM OUR PRESS AND THEIRS
THE PUSSY GRABBER WON’T CARE
Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster appears to have mishandled the case of two West Point rugby players accused of groping and assaulting a female cadet who were allowed in to Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia despite being the subjects of a criminal investigation. The details of the assault emerged around a chain of immature, misogynist emails floating around the rugby team that were forwarded to West Point administrators that generally denigrated women, even close female relatives. While McMaster was never formally reprimanded, the case was investigated internally and McMaster received a “memorandum of concern” from army investigators. McMaster was aware of the criminal investigation but did not want to jeopardize their training prematurely based on allegations, he said at the time. The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock broke the story citing a report by the Army Inspector General. An anonymous White House official told The New York Times that the chief pussy grabber “had been informed of the investigation and retained confidence in General McMaster”.
HORROR! AMBASSADOR’S GENERIC AMERICAN BULK RETAILER VODKA
Ambassador Sergey Kislyak received the profile treatment in both The New York Times and POLITICO. He seems like a dutiful diplomat, hosting parties, cultivating contacts, keeping his head above water and staying out of the fray – until now. However, one detail sets the POLITICO profile apart: Kislyak’s residency “functions may also reveal hints of Russia’s economic malaise: At one recent event, bartenders served Kirkland vodka – the brand sold by bulk-discount retailer Costco.” Shudder — how terribly, terribly American! At least they were not drinking bath lotion.
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