The New York Times reports Monday night “Two Russian long-range bombers flew about 100 miles off the Alaskan coast”. It was “the first time since President Trump took office that Moscow has sent warplanes so close to the United States, the military said Tuesday.” The Russian Tu-95 “Bear bombers flew off Kodiak Island, within a 200-mile area called the Air Defense Identification Zone,” 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, according to Fox News, which broke the news. The U.S. Air Force responded by scrambling “two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept the Russian planes”. The American jets flew beside the Russian jets for several minutes before the Russian planes backed off. Fox News recalls, “The last time Russian bombers flew near the U.S. was July 4, 2015, when a pair of Russian bombers flew off the coasts of Alaska and California, coming as close as 40 miles to Mendocino”.

From The New York Times and Fox News.



CNN reports the FBI was so tone deaf to all the Russian interference that it pulled out a trusty road map in the Steele dossier BuzzFeed published earlier this year. CNN reports, the “FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate,” which is pretty epic if so because it means they were not hot on the scent of weird Russian contacts and interference but none too surprising given all that has happened to try and destroy America since November 9, 2016, and before. Evidently, “This includes approval from the secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor the communications of Carter Page, two of the officials said” to CNN, thereby lending further credibility to its contents including the infamous golden showers that will shame the nation and likely send Trump to jail as the greatest traitor since Benedict Arnold – may their names become interchangeable some day.

From CNN.



Bloomberg reports that Erik Prince, the former Blackwater CEO who now heads Frontier Services Group, which is helping China establish a new silk road in its wild west, was a secret advisor to candidate Trump via now disgraced and ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. “Trump was weakest in the area where stakes were the highest – foreign policy,” and now we will forever live with the consequences. This current generation will hope to put humpty dumpty back together and detach the military from control over foreign policy. What fun! We will waste our lives on the task so let’s hope our elders enjoy their golf and chocolate cake now. “According to people familiar with his activities, Prince entered Trump Tower through the back, like others who wanted to avoid the media spotlight,” because his firm killed a bunch of Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in 2007 in a very well publicized slaughter of innocents and that would not look good. Last week White House press secretary and fabulist Sean Spicer said, “Erik had no role in the transition”. Prince also shared an Acela journey from New York to DC with Kellyanne Conway, the dark arts dragon lady, and Kevin Harrington, “a longtime associate of Trump adviser Peter Thiel who is now on the National Security Council,” where he likely does not belong. Quite the pedigree and non-involvement! Who isn’t trainspotting the Acela corridor with Kellyane and Thiel’s companions these days? Oh right, those of us who are powerless and refuse to normalize an America in which only white men are considered part of the human race.

From Bloomberg.



Reuters reports, “The man Russian investigators say orchestrated a suicide bombing on the St Petersburg metro told a court on Tuesday he was an unwitting accomplice in the attack”. According to investigators, Abror Azimov spoke with Akbarzhon Jalilov before the April 3 attack on the St. Petersburg metro. Investigators say Azimov “was helping mastermind the attack from a Moscow suburb” whereas Azimov says, “I did not realize that I was helping with this act,” and “I was being given instructions.” From who were these instructions?! The FSB as some have publicly alleged, including those close to now murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov? While “a state investigator told the court that Azimov had confessed to having taking part in preparations for the attack,” Azimov said that was not so. Azimov is from Jalalabad, Kyrgyzstan and he and his brother had worked at a sushi restaurant in Moscow, according to his wife who spoke with Reuters.

From Reuters.



Russian state-run TASS reports Putin congratulated the butcher of Syria, Bashar Al Asssad, ironically enough on the occasion of Syria’s independence. “The text of the telegram was made public by the Syrian president’s Office on Tuesday.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed, “In a telegram to President Assad, Putin confirmed Russia’s intention to continue supporting the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis by means of a broad national dialogue”. Putin “expressed confidence that the Russian-Syrian friendly relations will develop continuously.”

From Russian state-run TASS.





The New Yorker profiles “Trump and Nunes’s fake scandal,” and calls Trump’s accusations against Obama of wiretapping “the most reckless lie President Trump has ever told.” The New Yorker reports members and House intelligence committee staffers traveled to Fort Meade, Maryland where the National Security Agency’s headquarters are located to review documents containing intercepts of conversations between members of Trump’s transition team and foreign government officials. The New Yorker was told “only one of the documents had anything to do with Russia”. All U.S. officials were “masked” as a result of the documents given to Devin Nunes in the middle of the night as he aborted an Uber ride to visit the White House and former staffer now with the National Security Council, Ezra Cohen-Watnick. Behold, according to The New Yorker (and most with common sense and knowledge earlier): “It is now clear that the scandal was not Rice’s normal review of the intelligence reports but the coördinated effort between the Trump Administration and Nunes to sift through classified information and computer logs that recorded Rice’s unmasking requests, and then leak a highly misleading characterization of those documents, all in an apparent effort to turn Rice, a longtime target of Republicans, into the face of alleged spying against Trump.”. Surprise! “It was a series of lies to manufacture a fake scandal.” The consequences beyond the surface are enormous from Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which is up for renewal soon to the lists of witnesses both parties have drawn up as part of the House intelligence committee investigation.

From The New Yorker.





NBC News takes a look at now disgraced Michael Flynn’s December 2015 appearance at the Russian state-run RT Gala in Moscow where he sat beside Putin at a dinner attended by “a healthy serving of ex-spies, cronies and oligarchs, with a side of friendly journalists and another American,” Green Party candidate Jill Stein whose campaign was “heavily promoted” by Russian state-run RT. Flynn was one of 10 at the head table, heavily represented by the Kremlin’s top leadership where “Three of the Russians, including Putin, were under U.S. sanctions at the time for their role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.” “After Putin got up to make his speech, his place at Flynn’s side was taken by Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chiefThe U.S. intelligence assessment of RT paints Simonyan as the lead person, along with [Putin’s Deputy Chief of Staff Alexey] Gromov, engaging in ‘information warfare’ against U.S. policies.’” Julian Assange appeared “via satellite as host of one of the 10th anniversary event’s seminars, where he lamented the end of privacy,” by supporting those most active in restricting privacy and civil liberties in the world. “When Putin finished his speech that night, Flynn was among the first to leap to his feet and offer a standing ovation.”

From NBC News.



Benghazi obsessed Trump just can’t find time to name someone to head overseas diplomatic security in a surprise to no one who understands his priority is military might and helping facilitate Russian active measures against our state, after making money. POLITICO reports, “More than three dozen State Department leadership jobs remain unfilled, according to a tracker maintained by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service”. The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, Senator Mark Warner, said it was “inappropriate” not to nominate anyone given Trump’s focus on Benghazi and the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens during the campaign. Trump said in one speech last summer for example that Clinton’s “decisions spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched”.






The Moscow Times reports, “Being paid by the Russian government to troll the internet just isn’t what it used to be.” Nowadays “more of the Kremlin’s online army are now coming forward to tell their stories of working 12-hour shifts in Russia’s most controversial office.” Citing Russia’s Bumaga news outlet, The Moscow Times translates an interview with one former troll who professes, “the industry just isn’t what it used to be.” At the troll farm, paid trolls write “about 200 comments and 20 news posts for various fake pages each day.” For example, “At the end of 2016, I know for sure that there were departments dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis and the U.S. elections.” During an interview to become a troll, an aspiring troll was “to write a test comment on ‘fascist elements in the United States.’ I was a little ashamed, but it was funny too.” The former troll said, “Even Russia’s economic crisis didn’t affect us,” as the pay is quite good” because “If you work there for long enough, then with all the bonuses you get for hitting your quotas and turning out good work, you can get 80,000 to 90,000 rubles a month.” It’s “easy work and good money.” Curiously, the former troll said, “the ideal Internet troll would be [State Duma deputy Vitaly] Milonov. Everything he says and does is almost dreamlike in its insanity.” That sounds so familiar! Accordingly, “our patriots do not like anything related to [opposition politician Alexei Navalny, including his rally”. The former troll was clear, “I can’t name any benefits that society would gain from this kind of work, to be honest. I was always ashamed to work there”. Now that it’s in the headlines, the Russian government is scaling back and firing paid trolls. “Now they are recruiting people who really believe what they are writing,” so they will be very demented and delusional.

From The Moscow Times.





The New York Times has been on a bit of a normalizing Russia in our lives binge as of late. For example, Monday the only article about Russia on the homepage of the mobile app was about Bolsheviks in love. Now we get a bizarre, even ahistorical and factually inaccurate look at Russian fashion’s moment in the sun. For example, the head of the house of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia, is a Georgian born fashion darling who for some reason is considered Russian by a writer who does not understand the shape and contours of the former Soviet Union and present post-Soviet life. He is from Sokhum, in the now Russian-occupied region of Abkhazia where Russian Foreign Minister is on the second of a two-day visit to open an embassy that is illegal in the eyes of international law. The mistakes abound from the alleged nine hour flight from London to Kaliningrad (allegedly “the real Russia”) to the bizarre misuse of the term “Eastern bloc,” which evaporated into the dustbin of history in 1989-1990 in favor of the best normalcy a free Eastern Europe could hope to achieve in the immediate shadow of the horrific circumstances of Soviet occupation. Everyone wants to write about Eastern Europe now, no one wants to deal with the task of reading history, so these mistakes and many others from the past are doomed to repeat. If you are interested in Russian fashion, get a copy of Russian Style by Evelina Khromtchenko for a thorough crash course.

From The New York Times.


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