—–ON THE AGENDA—–
COMEY ON THE HILL
It’s morning again in America… And FBI Director James Comey, the one time hero of Trumpworld who won’t be after today, will be on the Hill to testify on Trump’s ties to Russia before the House intelligence committee. CBS News helpfully tells you how you can watch online and lays the stage, noting, neither chairman, Reps. Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes, of the house intelligence committee, which Comey is set to testify in front of, has seen NO evidence to substantiate Trump’s allegations Obama had him wiretapped. According to POLITICO, Comey is “expected to be asked to confirm or deny the existence of criminal investigations into Trump or his campaign aides over ties to Moscow, though several committee members said Comey will likely decline to comment because doing so could undermine active probes.” And Twitler was of course up early screaming about FAKE NEWS to a media eager to run with stories about whatever the lunatic tweets.
QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMITTEE FROM A POPULAR CONSPIRACY THEORIST
After botching so much of it’s Trump and Russia coverage, The New York Times is in no rush to make amends with the truth, lending coveted op-ed space to former British MP turned Murdoch-owned News Corporation employee and full-time internet conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch. This is not how you make things right, NYT! In any case she suggests a bunch of witnesses and questions for the committee, which is remarkable given that Mensch has been floating for month’s her own theory of all this and is the source of the FISA warrant rumor that appeared on Heat Street that no one credible has picked up or verified. For real, what are they thinking over at The New York Times these days? The week of the election they published a WikiLeaks apologia by Sarah Harrison, the only other truly public figure of the organization other than the notorious Julian Assange. It’s like they are trolling us from the inside, then they follow up with daily emails encouraging us to subscribe to get the “truth”. LOL. Did I mention Mensch is blond, or did you just assume if she works as an on-air personality for the News Corporation?
From The New York Times.
The Washington Post, which has been very on top of the story as it falls in their traditional sphere of influence, Washington, the White House, Watergate-style Washington controversies and the intelligence community, much more helpfully publishes a list of five things to watch for (also in classic Washington fashion; although ideally, then it would be three). In order, they are: “1. Can Republicans stop the bleeding? Can the Democrats unearth a smoking gun?” “2. Will Comey admit to an investigation?” “3. Is it just about wiretapping — or could there be surveillance involved?” “4. Will Republicans cross the White House?” “5. Where do we go from here?”
From The Washington Post.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: TWITLER, GCHQ, MERKEL + ENEMIES OF THE STATE
Well, you knew shit would blow up on Twitter Saturday morning at Mar-a-Lago because it is just about the only thing predictable about this presidency along with tantrums in front of our most well-established allies. Sure enough, Twitler woke up and attacked Germany, tweeting, “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..,” and “…vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” No shit, did the Kremlin write this for real?! What is the point? That a woman upstaged him yesterday so he wants to shoot the U.S. military in the foot? Germany, less we remind Twitler, is home to some of the biggest U.S. military bases in the world because it is in the heart of Europe. Naturally German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, another strong woman likely to upstage Trump at every turn, rebutted Trump’s jibberish with a gentle reminder, ““Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism”. He also picked a needless fight with GCHQ alleging that Obama had ordered the British spy agency to wiretap Trump Tower, an allegation furiously denied by GCHQ. The Deputy Director of the National Security Agency stateside Rick Ledgett did damage control to the BBC calling it “errant nonsense”. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster also did damage control by apologizing to his counterparts in the UK, according to CNN. Our friends across the pond in the UK at The Telegraph report however that contrary to White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s denials, both he and McMaster offered apologies for our man-child president’s latest tantrum. According to The Telegraph, McMaster conveyed apologies to Sir Mark Lyall Grant, the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, and Sean Spicer did so through Britain’s Ambassador in Washington Sir Kim Darroch. On what planet is Merkel and GCHQ the enemy of the American president instead of our staunchest of allies in the world — unless you work for Putin?
MOSCOW ON THE ATLANTIC
Reuters “has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida” in the town of Sunny Isles Beach through interviews, public records and corporation filings. As per the customary characters of mafia and state connections in Russia that embroil Trump, “buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.” Now if you know Russia and the post-Soviet sphere generally, you don’t just have those connections just to have them. While Reuters is clear there is no apparent wrongdoing on Trump’s part and “none of the buyers appear to be from Putin’s inner circle” there is a hint at the level of Russian state involvement in that “People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well.” This suggests a very high level of coordinated state involvement, for it can hardly be considered coincidence that all the new Russians would want Trump-branded real estate like they would a Dennis Simachev hoodie. And we have hints of pro-Kremlin ideological persuasions in that, “One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.” About one third of the properties are in limited liability companies (LLCs) which gives the real owners considerably more privacy. Six of the seven properties Reuters looked at are tied to a deal Trump struck with “father-and-son American developers Michael and Gil Dezer”. Experts estimate despite the scale of the project “Trump likely made between one percent and four percent in initial sale commissions, based on the standard fees paid on similarly branded projects. If so, Trump stood to reap a total of $20 million to $80 million in Sunny Isles.” Despite this comparatively small return in terms of scale of the project, “according to disclosure forms Trump filed in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. The disclosure form states that Trump received between $100,000 and $1 million from a business called Trump Marks Sunny Isles I LLC. Dezer said these funds came from the Trump International Beach Resort, a hotel and condominium complex.” The seventh Trump property in Florida involved “BH3, an investment fund which took over 180 units in a foreclosure sale, paid Trump a licensing fee of $25,000 for each unit, according to Daniel Lebensohn, a principal at the fund.” Buyers include Trump Palace unit 3901 Alexander Yuzvik, who “From 2013 to 2016, Yuzvik was a senior executive at Spetstroi, a state-owned company that has carried out construction projects at military facilities”. My personal favorite of the shady, corrupt officials is Oleg Misevra, a “former traffic police commander whose company’s main assets are in the Pacific island of Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East.” In 2010 Putin praised his work and held a lengthy question and answer session with him at a regional United Russia party meeting. That same year, you might even call it a reward, Misevra’s “Swiss Residence Aliance Inc, purchased Penthouse #1 in Trump Hollywood for $6.8 million”.
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ IS AWAKE + SMELLS THE COMING FUEL CRISIS
CBS News reports Senator Bob Menendez is very awake because he smells trouble with the November 30 deal made between Russian state-run Rosneft and Venezuela’s PDVSA “which means the Russian company will ultimately claim at least 49.9 percent of U.S. oil company Citgo.” This is hugely problematic as “Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies.” In giving a sweetheart loan to PDVSA as a sort of financial lifeline to the Venezuelan government as the state is in the full throes of collapse, Rosneft acquired the stake as “Citgo is owned and operated by PDVSA.” This could spell real trouble down the road for the U.S. as Citgo “operates three oil refineries and three pipelines in the United States, and is one of the country’s 10 largest domestic oil producers.” In an email to CBS News, Menendez wrote, ““Russia has attacked the United States in various ways including cybercampaigns aiming to sow distrust of our democratic institutions and violating nuclear arms treaties. I absolutely have concerns with the idea of a Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin gaining a large ownership share of a major U.S. energy supplier, and I plan to request the administration undertake a thorough review of any potential acquisition by Rosneft, including through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.” Good luck with that with this administration, which is probably equal parts if not greater part active measure than this deal in particular.
From CBS News.
DIRECT AND INDIRECT EVIDENCE
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday that there is “’circumstantial evidence’ of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials — and ‘direct evidence’ of deception.” He expressed surprise at hearing former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper say that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
LOSE PRIEBUS SINK SHIPS
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff and worst circus tamer ever, may have violated White House rules in asking the FBI “to refute a report of Donald Trump’s associates’ contacts with Russian intelligence” that appeared in The New York Times in February, according to POLITICO. According to a White House memo of January 27 from White House counsel Don McGahn, “only the president, vice president and White House counsel can discuss specific investigations or cases with the attorney general, deputy attorney general, associate attorney general or solicitor general.” In a White House where there are no rules but shovel as much money at toward the extended Trump klan as possible, this one seems like the sort of technicality that was used to oust Trotsky from the Communist Party.
ROGER STONE ASKED TO SAVE DOCUMENTS
The Senate intelligence committee has asked Roger Stone to save documents “he may have in connection to a broader inquiry into Russian attempts to interfere with United States elections,” according to The New York Times in a letter sent to him on February 17 and obtained by the paper. Stone has confirmed the letter.
From The New York Times.
PENTAGON SAYS RUSSIAN CARGO COMPANY THAT PAID FLYNN “UNSUITABLE”
The Russian cargo firm responsible for paying ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn more than $11,000 “had been blacklisted without warning by the Pentagon months before he became Donald Trump’s top campaign adviser on military matters,” according to McClatchy. The payment of “$11,250 in August 2015” came through “the U.S. affiliate of Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr”. In February of 2015, the cargo airline was placed on the Pentagon’s blacklist. Why was it blacklisted? “One possible explanation in the heavily redacted documents obtained by McClatchy: Volga-Dnepr in December 2014 ferried two Su-30MK2 attack aircraft to Da Nang, Vietnam, on behalf of Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport,” a defense firm later targeted by sanctions. Interestingly, “The Russian-based cargo airline flew about 13,000 missions as a subcontractor for USTRANSCOM from 2002 to 2014, according to Volga-Dnepr’s Freedom of Information Act [(FOIA)] appeal last year.” The FOIA request was made in order to determine the reasons for the blacklisting. The cargo airline also had previously worked for the U.N., “But it was suspended from a list of approved vendors in 2007 after two Russian U.N. officials were prosecuted for steering contracts to the airline in exchange for bribes”.
ALFA BANK CRIES FALSE FLAG
Do you believe the Russian state or anything tied to it after all the lies, disinformation and propaganda we have been subjected to over the last few years? Alfa Bank is counting on the fact that you will, telling Bloomberg that any ties to Trump are the result of “ hackers intent on giving a false impression that the Russian lender has communicated with the Trump Organization,” and in classic Russian trolling fashion, they are “asking U.S. law enforcement authorities for help.” On Friday, Alfa Bank said “ it was hit by three attempted domain name server (DNS) attacks since mid-February.” Poor Russia — always the victim of the big, bad West!
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
POLITICAL COMMISAR LABELED SUCH BY THE PENTAGON
Donald Trump is either the most insecure leader on earth or taking direct instruction from the Russians about the need to install political commissars to monitor everyone’s ideological inclinations. Even the man in charge of destroying the environment, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (it’s very Orwellian now, that name) Scott Pruitt has found that his political commissar “has offered unsolicited advice so often that after just four weeks on the job” that it is best to “shut him out of many staff meetings, according to two senior administration officials.” Over at the Pentagon where watch is kept on our nuclear arsenal and America’s many foreign wars as well as our borders, the political commissar is pretty much assumed to be FSB because there are still dinosaurs who spent a lifetime sniffing out KGB and ruskis around, thank god, if we read between the lines of The Washington Post’s story. Those tasked with our nation’s defense have simply labeled their Trump-aligned minder spy person as such: commissar. Because it’s been all together too long since people remembered the Cold War (when you have survivors of Stalinism in the family, it’s much harder, trust me), The Washington Post reminds us, “It’s a reference to Soviet-era Communist Party officials who were assigned to military units to ensure their commanders remained loyal.” ProPublica went through the trouble of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and found, “The White House has installed at least 16 of the advisers at departments including Energy and Health and Human Services and at some smaller agencies such as NASA,” which should give everyone confidence that Trump is intent on destroying the U.S. government, as per Bannon’s Leninist fantasies of deconstructing “the administrative state”. Leakers have informed The Washington Post that, “These aides report not to the secretary, but to Rick Dearborn, the White House deputy chief of staff for policy, according to administration officials.” One of Dearborn’s deputies, “John Mashburn, leads a weekly conference call with the advisers, who are in constant contact with the White House.” How many trips have Dearborn and Mashburn taken to Moscow? Seriously someone should look into this! These clowns do not create a parallel Stalinist structure existing in present day Lubyanka at will, do not believe they are that clever despite all propaganda, public relations or mainstream efforts to convince you this is all a beautiful Aryan ideal.
From The Washington Post.
WE LOST THE WAR
Yale University Professor Timothy Snyder, an East Europeanist by trade, has a magnificent piece in The New York Daily News outlining how we lost the war with Russia. He said they won the psychosphere and now the future is up to us. Snyder has become popular among those concerned with the fate and future of our nation after publishing a list of ways to protect democracy in the time of a Trump presidency immediately after the election day coup for Trump and has been sounding the alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic as far as how little time we have left to truly do so.
From The New York Daily News.
DEEP DIVE WHILE WE ALL AWAIT A DEEP THROAT
The New Yorker takes a deep dive into the White House’s strategic communications strategy and it is so ripped from the Soviet KGB playbook, it will leave our friends and readers behind the Iron Curtain shaking their head and grief stricken that Americans are enamored with a novelty, fascism, that belonged to the early half of the last century. However, our version will be different! The nouveau aspect is the state has control over nothing but the message, the budget, the military, immigration and women’s reproductive rights, otherwise everything else from schools to banking to health care are left to the market whose invisible hand is raised in a sieg heil. Imagine the Chicago School of Economics meets Tito’s messaging. On the other hand, no one here is promising the trains will run on time, instead they are flooding the zone with half baked rivals to traditional “legacy media” outlets in the hopes of saturating the White House press briefing room with enough reporters to ask “‘When and how do you plan to make America great again?’” One unnamed TV correspondent complained about the abrupt disruption to protocol in the White House press briefing room where “floaters,” e.g. newbie outlets usually catering to far right (not and never alt-right, not normalizing, not here) were called on in lieu of more experienced reporters, usually assigned seats near the front. “Maybe you’ll get a question, if you shout loud enough, who knows?’—makes everyone desperate and competitive and makes us look like a bunch of braying jackals,” this TV correspondent lamented. The Kremlin will be so delighted, as this and hypocrites engaged in all the vices known to man are the desirable portrayal of an undesirable press in Russia. Another “longtime Washington reporter” is even more concise, “When does it cross the line into pure trolling?” Are we not there, yet? I guess not so long as the media itself delights in the trolling, or perhaps that is the signal that the lights have gone out on the Fourth Estate? “Trump also paints his relationship with the media as one of mutual antagonism, but it’s actually closer to codependency.” INDEED. He saved the press from financial ruin and it only cost us the nation. For indeed, “Just a few weeks into the tenure of the first reality-star President, the drama in the White House is already at mid-season-cliffhanger levels.” The conclusion: Trump delivers “an anti-press conference” and is the ultimate media troll. He is more in the spirit of the rodeo clown, distracting both the bull and the audience. Yes, we are there! Full Trumpistan! Meanwhile, check out how much these techniques jive with a Russian state-run Sputnik story that states Russia’s interest is to replace American journalists with Russian ones which appeared a few days after Trump’s Inauguration (note the original disappeared from the web but we have internet archive Wayback Machine to thank for saving it). Nobody has done any digging but would not be surprised if quite a few of these new right-wing outlets can be linked to Russia’s disinformation campaign. If anyone has tips or leads, do send! USA, largest exporter of free media all other countries have inferior free media!
From The New Yorker.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: INDEPENDENT JOKE REVIEW
On the topic of Trump administration-created fake news or propaganda or lies and conspiracy innuendo TRUMPISTAN WATCH learned via the always excellent Retraction Watch that the Independent Journal Review retracted a story connecting Obama’s Hawaii trip with a judge there ruling against Trump’s Muslim travel ban. Why is this important to Russia, active measures and Kremlin-style propaganda? Two reasons. First, it was so salient to the over-arcing rightwing nut-job conspiracy hook that it spread to such bastions of insanity as Info Wars and Gateway Pundit before ending up on Fox News even after it was retracted, and who knows maybe it will come from Twitler’s mouth or appear on his Twitter soon because that is how this shit seems to work. Second and perhaps more disturbing, the Independent Journal Review supplied the sole “reporter” who was permitted to travel with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his Pacific trip, filing one alleged sit down interview with Tillerson. Now reading this interview you cannot help but think something is amiss and no way would the head of a multinational oil company use the word global four times in a single sentence. That is likely because he did not; it is the opinion of TRUMPISTAN WATCH that this “interview” was likely received from the White House and would finger Steve Bannon or his office in particular as the probable source given that the rhetoric and use of key words like “global” seem more befitting of him than Tillerson. Shame on them! FAKE NEWS! And BuzzFeed reports that this suspect ridiculous outlet is co-owned by Nick Ayers, a top political aide to Vice-President Mike Pence. Collusion!
DONALD TRUMP IS A KREMLIN TROLL
John Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst, has an article in the formerly Kushner-run, now in a Kushner family trust, paper The Observer, also sees the stark role Donald Trump contributes to the Russian propaganda cycle, noting “the new administration has taken to parroting Russian disinformation when it suits their political needs.” The propaganda cycle begins “with Kremlin lies emerging on Putin regime outlets like RT and Sputnik, then being pushed by far-right conspiracy websites such as Breitbart and InfoWars, and finally winding up on Fox News where they receive a mass audience.” As part of that audience, Trump fits into “this disinformation cycle” when he Tweets something inflammatory and inaccurate, such as his predecessor Obama wiretapped him.
From The Observer.
RUSSIA’S CYBER PIRATES
Sheera Frankel examines Russia’s cyber warfare game for BuzzFeed. Frankel, the author of some of the best and earliest hacking stories to appear last fall, notes, “If the world is currently entering a new era of cyberwarfare, Russian hackers are the pirates of those yet-uncharted seas” as “every week brings a new cyberattack”. One U.S. intelligence official involved in America’s cyber ops said, “It’s not that the Russians are doing something others can’t do,” it’s just that Russians are less scrupulous than nations, which are not run like a mafia. “Russian hackers are willing to go there, to experiment and carry out attacks that other countries would back away from,” this official said. Several Russian attacks on Ukraine targeted Ukraine’s power grid in 2015 and 2016, which is something “the U.S. is terrified of,” according to Robert M. Lee, “a former cyberwarfare operations officer for the US Air Force and co-founder of Dragos Security”.
WIKILEAKS AT WAR: JULIAN ASSANGE V. THE PEOPLE
The Moscow Times via StopFake.org, a Ukrainian site dedicated to busting apart Russian propaganda, has a fascinating feature on their perceptions and analysis of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange alignment with the Russian state. According to the site, which could not get any former WikiLeaks associates on the record as Assange and his global band of bullies have intimidated many into silence. According to one former collaborator, “Julian has long viewed the world through the prism of his own situation,” stating, “Assange sees Russia as a supporter, and views the U.S. and Britain as his enemies. As a result, “’in recent years, WikiLeaks and the Russian state have effectively joined forces,’ the former collaborator said.” That’s very healthy narcissism projected onto the world. A character with the interesting name of Israel Shamir, in the context of him being “A Russian-born writer frequently accused of anti-Semitism” appears to be the key conduit between Assange and the Russian state. Shamir described WikiLeaks as “a black box”.
RUSSIAN DUMA ORDERS PROBE OF U.S. NEWS OUTLETS IN THE COUNTRY
In retaliation for “for what it said was an attack on Russian media in the United States,” the Russian parliament or Duma has ordered an investigation into American media outlets operating in Russia, specifically usual suspects CNN, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America. Konstantin Zatulin, a member of the Duma, said he was reacting to Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s bill introduced into Congress to grant the Department of Justice new authority to investigate Russian state-run RT for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
From ABC News.
***A NEW SECTION***
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
No we are not building lakes in Rajasthan but we are borrowing hard from India and their “peaceful nuclear explosion,” ie “the PNE” in the literature, of 1974. We kick it off with…
PREPARE FOR THE FINAL BLAST
According to CNN, Rep. Seth Moulton who sits on the House Armed Service Committee “doubled down Friday on recent remarks he made claiming a potential nuclear war with Russia was a possibility.” Moulton said, “Donald Trump’s minions are paid by the Russian regime”.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
MOSCOW BANS NAVALNY RALLY
Moscow has banned an anti-corruption rally organized by opposition leader and 2018 presidential candidate Alexey Navalny planned for March 26 due to concerns that it “would hamper traffic and infrastructure and violate the rights of residents.” LOL, Russia so concerned for the welfare of its people it robs blind of both wealth and dignity! According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “The Interfax news agency quoted a senior city security official, Vladimir Chernikov,” saying the decision is “final.”
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