PUTIN SACKS TEN GENERALS AND TWO PROSECUTORS
The removal of ten generals and two prosecutor generals is usually not a good sign in any nation and often means a coup was afoot or serious dysfunction had infected the ranks. It is impossible without more knowledge than the information provided by Russian state-run TASS to say for certain but the state news service reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree dismissing ten high-ranking generals in the Interior Ministry, Federal Penitentiary Service and the Investigative Committee… Besides that, prosecutor generals of the Republic of Chuvashia and the Jewish Autonomous Region have also been dismissed.”
From Russian state-run TASS.
WIKILEAKS AT WAR
Malcontent narcissist trapped in a semi-gilded cage of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London Julian Assange plans to give away the CIA’s hacking tools arsenal because he thinks he can. Why might he think that? The big bad United States is after Assange, does he have another big bad state to protect him? Does it begin with an R? According to Assange, “The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal” which is a reason to celebrate if you are a naïve leftist failing to grasp the magnitude of the fact that your opinions are irrelevant if you are silenced or slaughtered by an adversary. Reminder: in Snowden biopic “Citizenfour” we watch his lawyers usher their phones off to the refrigerator, seemingly aware they could be used as listening devices to eavesdrop by state-backed intelligence services and hackers. So Assange is not new to such concerns according to the film, nor is anyone else involved in sensitive work. So let’s call Assange what he is: a Kremlin mouth piece heading an organization that is part of their arsenal to menace our population and sow the seeds of mistrust.
From USA Today.
NO COLLUSION SAYS EX-DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
According to ABC News, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Brian Ross, “”There was no evidence whatsoever, at the time [by January 20], of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians“. Clapper is stepping into the fray as the White House feuds with the FBI over reckless allegations Trump made on Twitter in the early hours of Saturday morning that Obama had Trump Tower wire tapped. Perhaps this is political cover for both the intelligence community and Senator Lindsay Graham. Possibly a signal to the Russians that we have cleaned the house and now are left with homegrown horror – it is truly impossible to say without more information. There are lots of things he is not saying which may be more important.
From ABC News.
WHAT AN ODD THING, A PRIVATE SERVER
CNN reports the FBI is investigating a private server at the Trump Tower connected to Russia’s closely Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank, headed by Putin ally Mikhail Fridman. CNN reports, “Questions about the possible connection were widely dismissed four months ago. But the FBI’s investigation remains open, the sources said, and is in the hands of the FBI’s counterintelligence team — the same one looking into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election.” An official told the cable news network the relationship of the server is “odd” and investigators “are not ignoring it.” CNN is also reporting that there is no Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on the server. According to CNN – and this is fascinating because it suggests Breitbart is on a similar mission as the Kremlin, namely to sow chaos – “The server issue surfaced again this weekend, mentioned in a Breitbart article that, according to a White House official, sparked President Trump’s series of tweets”. Good lord, don’t let the Russians and Nazis rebranded as “alt-right” do to you what they are doing to Trump and the country!
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WILL NOT COMMENT
FBI Director James Comey put the arm on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comment after Trump unleashed a Sabbath Twitter tirade alleging his predecessor had him wiretapped with absolutely zero evidence whatsoever beyond the conspiracy ramblings of rightwing media. Well, now the DOJ has commented by choosing not to comment. According to The New York Times, “the Justice Department declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump is — or is not — the subject of an investigation. ‘No comment,’ a department official said.” In ordinary times, this would be beyond ordinary. In this highly charged political environment, it is anything but.
From The New York Times.
COMEY WILL OUTLIVE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE, HE THINKS
Would you drink from the fountain of youth if you could? Would you be as immortal as Zimbabwe forever President Robert Mugabe if you could be? Ok, FBI Director James Comey is not quite on that level, but he does plan on serving his full term. He told an audience at a Boston College cybersecurity conference that he plans on fulfilling his term as FBI Director. Obama appointed Comey in 2013; his term is 10 years. “You’re stuck with me for another 6 ½ years,” he reportedly said according to POLITICO. That is longer than the president and certainly longer than a fair number of marriages!
KISLYAK ALSO MISREMEMBERS WRONG
Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak also covered the tracks feebly of his meeting with Trump in April at the Mayflower Hotel in DC before Trump’s foreign policy address or Trump campaign official, then Senator now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. At a speech before the Economic Club of Detroit, a video of which CNN just obtained from Lawrence Technological University, Kislyak told those assembled to hear him on October 27 that he had not met with Trump officials despite receiving invites to both conventions, he was recalled to Moscow at that time. CNN also reminds us that U.S. officials see him “as a top Russian spy recruiter in Washington”.
THE ALL-STAR GAME IS COMING!
March 20, mark the date in your calendar, especially if you are prone to doing so for events like the Munich Security Conference or your Latvian name day (mine is October 26). The ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee Rep. Adam Schiff wants to bring in “golden showers” dossier author and former British intelligent agent Christopher Steele. Why do I every day feel like we might get some random celebrities at this or incidents like the pie in the face Murdoch took during a British inquiry into hacking years ago?
DISBAR SESSIONS FOR MORE THAN LYING ABOUT A BLOW JOB
President Bill Clinton was famously disbarred for lying under oath about a blowjob he received from a certain intern in the Oval Office. Well, the current Attorney General ALSO lied under oath for much more than a blowjob, no not actual intercourse, unless if you count bending over for a foreign adversary. Sessions did not disclose during his Senate confirmation hearing when questioned directly under oath by Senator Al Franken if he had met with any Russian officials during the course of the 2016 campaign when Sessions was a surrogate for the Trump campaign. So now the ACLU is asking the Alabama Bar Association to disbar Sessions for his lying indiscretion. BuzzFeed has the complaint and posted it. Like so much else around this administration and its present roof on fire status, it could not be happening to worse people.
SEVEN PLUS CHARTS TO DISENTANGLE TRUMP’S RUSSIA TIES
POLITICO Magazine has a presentation of seven charts to disentangle Trump’s Russia ties with the not so humble and sure to be proven inaccurate in time headline of, “All of Trump’s Russia Ties, in 7 Charts”. Nay, nay, I doubt this is ALL of Trump’s Russia ties, but it is an eye pleasing effort at diagraming the Russian associations of key players Trump, Putin, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Carter Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Felix Sater, Trump’s idiot corrupt kids Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, Donald Jr. and Eric. A similar effort has been launched by Rep. Eric Swalwell, Roll Call reports.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: THE GREAT GAME
While Trump plays media and political games and generally tries to keep his head above water, Putin is focused on the real prize: oil. This is of course of great concern because one obvious way to break an economy, especially one like ours that counts on suburban and ex-urban sprawl, is with a fuel crisis. CBS News reports, “Rosneft, an oil corporation majority-owned by the Russian government, says it has the right to claim an ownership stake in U.S. oil company Citgo Petroleum if Citgo’s cash-strapped parent company defaults on billions in loans, according to a lien Rosneft recently filed in Delaware.” Yes, that is the Russians coming for our economy. If successful, Rosneft, which is run by Igor Sechin who is closely aligned with Putin, “would own a sizable chunk of a company that is among the 10 largest petroleum refiners in America.” Such a turn of events would be unprecedented according to the experts CBS News consulted. Be afraid or continue on in denial, that’s up to you. The story leads to Venezuela, a country in a state of collapse, since “Citgo’s parent company, the Venezuela state-owned PDVSA, pledged a 49.9 percent stake in Citgo to Rosneft as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan signed on Nov. 30. That same day, attorneys for Rosneft filed the lien with the Delaware Department of State, asserting that Rosneft… could claim the collateralized 49.9 percent if the struggling Venezuelan debtor defaults or folds” as it is highly anticipated it will. Why would the Russians throw so much capital into a failing economy if not to leverage somehow? Note when this happened: in November of last year. What else happened in November of last year? Must read.
From CBS News.
The Washington Post runs a total hit job on Ambassador Jon Huntsman a day after word leaked that Trump has named him the next Ambassador to Russia – and it is so much fun. Evidently when his name comes up around Washington, words like craven and opportunistic follow. In Washington – imagine! That’s unheard of there, what the hell is wrong with him! They have “love letters” to Obama and Hillary to prove it! Huntsman never really savaged Trump until after the “grab them by the pussy” video emerged at which point he recalculated. Well, that’s a good time to do so but you don’t get real points for integrity for having made it that far either. Personally, I lean in for a good Daley family clan story as a born and bred Chicagoan and yay, there is one! “Then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley called Huntsman in the middle of the night in Beijing after reading a Washington Post story about his campaign-in-waiting while he was still serving as Obama’s ambassador. ‘This is a pretty s—y way to treat someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime,’ Daley told him. Huntsman denied The Post’s report, even though he knew it was accurate.” It’s soooo Daley family!!! The Washington Post slays the diss with all of this ingratiating being in the hopes of becoming Secretary of State. Now he is the Richard Holbrooke of this era, about 15 years too young, given the most thankless job around with the greatest risks and probably limited real input. This is too much fun not to read. Reuters reports the Russians are also unexcited about Huntsman’s appointment. Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov complained that Huntsman was the head of the Atlantic Council, “where harsh criticism of Russia has become the norm. He is definitely not a dove”.
THE ENEMY IS NO LONGER ONLY IN CAVES
POLITICO Magazine has a first person account from a former intelligence agent on how the war on terror has shaped the culture of the CIA in the last fifteen plus years as attention shifted from “Chalk marks on a street lamp to signal a meeting; dead drops in a park, filled or emptied after hours traipsing through a bustling city to determine whether you were under surveillance” to the kind “done by officers based in military compounds, only able to leave with a Glock on the hip, in armored personnel carriers, guarded by armed men and women in uniforms with the American flag sewn on the arm.” In news that if you were unaware but that should alarm you, the default for the younger generation of agents is the ““global war on terror” mindset. After all, the misperception that “The Cold War was over; we had a new enemy to defeat,” permeated the ranks under Bush. Now we see the Cold War never went away, it merely hit pause so Russia could reconfigure its state without the mindless ideology and configurations of Marxism. Now it is the proper mafia state it always was without pretense or justification of anything greater.
From POLITICO Magazine.
FROM BLM TO FULL ON KREMLIN PROPAGANDIST
A few weeks back I attended Misinfocon, a conference on misinformation at MIT’s Media Lab sponsored by a number of journalistic and tech outfits. There I was tipped off to the existence of a woman calling herself “Cassandra Fairbanks” who cultivated a Twitter following in the Baltimore area around the Black Lives Matter movement before shifting gears and going full-on Trumpista, undoubtedly an effort to take Bernie supporters and such ilk with her. There is quite a bit of evidence to link this effort to something called RusInfoService and a Russian operator going back the 1990s. To see what a Kremlin disinfo opp looks like from conception to germination, head over to @CassandraRules and have a dive through the account. Let’s see if the attention here results in any activity there. Well, now she is peddling conspiracies for full on Russian state-run Sputnik, and the opener is so much fun if you know all this! “Much of the hearing focused on the US presidential election, and claims that Russian ‘propaganda’ impacted the outcome.” Russia would never, Cassandra, never! We are just as naïve as the Kremlin hilariously imagines us to be because if you fail to see the humor there, you are not winning the war.
FAKE PHOTO MAKES ROUNDS ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
A fake photo of unknown provenance started making the rounds on international women’s day showing a banner being unfurled atop a spire at the Kremlin has been revealed to be a fake. Why it was created, who distributed it and to what end it was created are all unclear, which suggests it may have come from within the Kremlin or Russia as these are very much their techniques: chaos and undermining real causes. Had it been real, it surely would have shown a more freewheeling, wily Russia than the one that is real and actually exists, namely the Russian police state.
RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS
THE MAFIA STATE SEEKS NORMALCY
How do you attract foreign investors when your economy has tanked, your subject to international sanctions, investors worry about losing their money and their lives in your country? You send your spokesman out to proclaim conditions for investment are really great, so very great! So Russian state-run TASS brings us the words of Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, “The Russian authorities are certainly ready to do everything possible to maintain a comfortable environment for foreign business and foreign investors in our country,” which is great news because there are “no new meetings with large Western businesses in the near future in the schedule of the Russian President Vladimir Putin” so maybe now that the businesses know the door is open… More likely this is messaging to the Russian people who want better relations with the West, obsess over what Americans think of them and generally reject Putin unless they have been quieted by the presence of bread and circuses compared to shortages and collapse like the 1980s and 1990s.
From Russian state-run TASS.
IN “REALITY,” IT’S THE HUNGER GAMES OVER THERE
The New York Post reports on a new reality show in Russia where participants sign over their lives to participate in a real life “Hunger Games”. According to the pre-press the show will be “held on a remote Siberian Island in the Ob River and broadcast worldwide” and highlights the normalization of such brutality as “fighting, rape and even murder”. It is a Russian effort to normalize brutality and slaughter, to convince us this is permissible and likely ask that someday the people of our nations see the show as a model of alpha masculinity. Mark Burnett gave us Trump, the telegenic creation with mass appeal, so why won’t this give us future rape and concentration camps, gulags?
From The New York Post.
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