—–ON THE AGENDA—–
MUSLIM BAN TO GO INTO EFFECT TONIGHT
Bloomberg reports, “The Trump administration will introduce new restrictions on travel to the U.S. by refugees and migrants from six countries as of 8 p.m. eastern time Thursday,” citing a single source “familiar with the matter.” This is how America loses its moral courage? According to Bloomberg, “President Donald Trump’s 90-day travel ban on people entering the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen,” none of which are included among the various Muslim nations where Trump does business like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Bloomberg adds, “Existing visas will be respected,” we are told, but do not be surprised if that is violated too, “but new applicants from the countries must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, sibling or close in-law already in the U.S., the Associated Press reported, citing a diplomatic cable.” Recall when it was briefly in effect in January, ordinary people working for Customs and Border Protection demonstrated their capacity to do unbelievably cruel things to people they presumably thought were fair game to be treated as “the other”. Shameful. America is now a nation that turns its back on the world’s poorest and most desperate. Consider this a victory for Russia in defeating America’s moral leadership in the world.
DEFENSE INTEL AGENCY REPORTS RUSSIAN CONCERNS OF REGIME CHANGE
The AP reports, “Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm,” the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA of which Michael Flynn was once the head before Obama fired him), “has assessed.” An unclassified version of the report was released Wednesday but AP received an advanced copy of the report that “cites Moscow’s ‘deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values.’” According to AP, the report says, “Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.” The report is titled, “Russia Military Power,” and the AP notes, “it is the agency’s first such unclassified assessment in more than two decades.” In a preface, DIA’s director, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, wrote, “Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge”. Most fascinating, “No new, global ideological struggle akin to the Cold War is forecast,” so the world will continue on rudderless and without an underlying ideology guiding either side beyond capitalist greed, the key distinction between today’s warm hybrid war and the Cold War. According to AP, the report was “prepared long before Trump’s election”. “Jim Kudla, a DIA spokesman, said his agency’s report is unconnected to any recent events,” the AP reports. MUST READ.
From the AP.
GIULIANI CONCEDES RUSSIANS HACKED OUR ELECTION + WILL AGAIN
The Washington Post reports, “The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a close Trump ally, is concerned that Russia could hack our next election.” Currently his only gig with Trumpworld is as “an informal advisor to Trump on cybersecurity issues,” The Washington Post notes. The omission is significant. According to The Washington Post, “he’s ‘very worried’ that there could be ‘cyber-interference’ of a more serious nature than there was in 2016 — meaning interference that could alter vote totals and effect the election outcome.” We only know what we have been told technically, but there is plenty of reason to suspect that ruthless KGB trained Russian mafia state rulers went further than we have been told to date as what we have been told is constantly being revised upward to show greater Russian interference than previously reported for months now. Curiously, The Washington Post reports, “Giuliani said that he would be participating in an upcoming presidential trip to Eastern Europe, during which he promised Trump would reassure NATO allies of the United States’ commitment to the alliance.” Do not count on it and do not get too excited because how could you it is Giuliani? But also because “In his interview with Haaretz, Giuliani flatly declared that Trump has no ‘involvement’ with Vladimir Putin.” No just the girls and oligarchs and “bankers” with intelligence links he sends? The Washington Post reports [italics theirs], “On the security of future elections, then, Giuliani also shares the concerns of cybersecurity experts and intelligence officials that future hacking efforts could alter election results.” Remember when Trump claimed for months this was all a hoax?
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIA READIES RETALLIATORY ACTIONS TO RETALLIATORY ACTIONS
USA Today reports, “Six months after shrugging off President Obama’s last-minute round of U.S. sanctions, Russia is preparing to retaliate for the U.S. expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and seizure of two Russian dachas, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.” These would be retaliatory actions for the retaliatory actions of the 2016 election year hacking which itself was a retaliatory action for sanctions against Russia which was retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Crimea which was retaliation for the events in Maidan which was a retaliatory act against Russia for installing and supporting a corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine which was retaliation for the Orange Revolution in 2004, less anyone forget how things have spiraled out of control already. Citing Russian state-run Interfax, USA Today reports Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “The response measures are being prepared, which, as you understand, will not be decided only in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” naturally as Russia is a mafia state where nothing is just left to the ministries. USA Today notes, “The Russian move comes barely three weeks after the U.S. Senate voted 97-2 to approve even more sanctions”.
From USA Today.
SECOND UKRAINIAN INTEL COLONEL KILLED IN CAR BOMB IN EAST UKRAINE
The Telegraph reports, “Another intelligence officer, Col Yuri Vozny, was killed in an apparent car bombing in east Ukraine on Wednesday, local media said.” The attack that killed Colonel Maksim Shapoval in central Kiev made big global headlines; this war zone attack was buried in the second to last paragraph in a story about the global cyber attack that began in Ukraine (next two items, same source story).
From The Telegraph.
AFTERMATH OF PETYA CYBER ATTACK: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
The Telegraph reports while it remains “unclear how the virus spread across companies,” Russia-based “Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber security firm, said on Tuesday it had tracked the outbreak to a Ukrainian local government website that had been hacked and used to distribute the malware via a ‘drive-by-download’ to visitors’ computers,” which came “disguised as a Windows update”. Meanwhile The New York Times reports, “Cybersecurity experts said that whoever launched the assault — on the eve of a holiday celebrating Ukrainian independence — must have known that M.E.Doc software, which is integrated into Ukrainian government computers, was their gateway.” The New York Times spoke with “Craig Williams, the senior technical researcher with the Talos division of Cisco, the American technology company, which helped pinpoint the origin of the Tuesday attack,” who said, “You don’t hit the day before Constitution Day for no reason”. Should America then expect similar acts next Monday as Tuesday is the Fourth of July? Contradicting earlier reports from yesterday, “Unlike WannaCry, however, the latest attack seemed designed to sow chaos rather than extort money, despite the ransom message that appeared on victims’ screens,” The Telegraph reports. A former Deputy Director of Intelligence at GCHQ Brian Lord in the U.K. told “cautioned that there is currently not sufficient evidence to tie the hacks to a state-on-state attack,” according to The Telegraph.
AFTERMATH OF PETYA CYBER ATTACK: ARTICLE V
The Telegraph reports, “cyber attack against any member state would trigger c [sic; should be Article V] – Nato’s mutual defence clause – the alliance has warned after a massive computer hack paralysed government ministries and dozens of businesses in Ukraine before spreading around the world.” The Telegraph notes, “Ukrainian officials have pointed at Russia,” adding, “Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general, said alliance members agreed last year that a cyber attack could trigger Article 5 of the north Atlantic treaty in the same way as a conventional military assault and promised more help to Ukraine to bolster its own cyber defences.” Curiously the U.S. just experienced a cyber hack of its elections in various ways and is still under attack from various active measures; NATO has ramped up activities and spending across Eastern Europe. Has Article V been triggered already in all but name only? This is not a question of a conspiracy but of transparency; the evidence to support asking such a question is evident before our very eyes and in daily news reports. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference in Brussels Wednesday, “The attack in May and this week just underlines the importance of strengthening our cyber defences and that is what we are doing,” The Telegraph reports. Stoltenberg also said, “Nato helps Ukraine with cyber defence and has established a trust fund to finance programs to help Ukraine improve its cyber defences,” adding, “We will continue to do this and it is an important part of our cooperation.” Ukraine is not a member of NATO but the current government very much seeks NATO support and armaments in its war against the Russian occupation of eastern territories of Luhansk and Donetsk.
From The Telegraph.
HOUSE BACKS ARTICLE V RESOLUTION
Reuters reports, “The U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously on Tuesday to reaffirm the NATO alliance’s guarantee that all members defend each other,” Article V. According to Reuters, “The vote was 423-4 in the House, where Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 48-seat majority, for a resolution ‘solemnly reaffirming’ the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.” Reuters notes, “The resolution was co-sponsored by [House Speaker Paul] Ryan and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as the number two Republican and Democrat in the chamber, and the Republican chairman and the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
MATTIS’ WAR OF WORDS WITH MOSCOW
The New York Post reports, citing Agence France Presse reports, “Defense Secretary James Mattis accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making international ‘mischief’ and reassured allies that the US commitment to NATO is resolute”. According to these reports, “Russia is challenging the ‘secure and peaceful’ post-war order,” adding, “Putin’s ‘making mischief beyond Russian borders will not restore their fortunes or rekindle their hope’”. He “made the comments during an address to German students on the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II. It was his fourth trip to Germany since becoming defense secretary,” The New York Post reports.
From The New York Post.
BALTIC SEA: RUSSIAN NAVAL HARASSMENT OF US MERCHANT SHIP
Defense News reports, “The Russian military has been accused of harassing a U.S.-flagged cargo ship,” Green Ridge, “carrying equipment for an annual military exercise in the Baltic region that wrapped up Friday.” Citing an internal report, Defense News notes, “At least one Russian naval vessel and helicopters harassed the M/V Green Ridge in late May as it was bound for a port in Lithuania, an encounter the ship’s master characterized as ‘intense and threatening’”. The “experts warn that the harassment of unarmed U.S. shipping carrying military equipment highlights a potential vulnerability in the ability of the U.S. to move heavy equipment to the region,” Defense News reports. The ship was carrying materiel for Saber Strike 2017, a regional military exercise involving the U.S. and NATO allies Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom that wrapped up last week which has grown bigger in scope each subsequent year over the last three years at least. A statement from U.S. Transportation Command read in part, “We are aware of an alleged situation on May 25, involving a contracted, U.S.-flagged vessel, and Russian military ship and aircraft,” adding, “The commercial ship was bound for Lithuania, and was contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense to transport equipment for an upcoming planned exercise.”
From Defense News.
NATO NAVAL EXERCISES IN NORTH ATLANTIC
Business Insider reports, “A NATO-led training exercise focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) just kicked off in the north Atlantic,” off the coast of Iceland involving the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Norway and Iceland. The goal of the exercise is “to hone their skills in hunting down and destroying enemy submarines as part of Exercise Dynamic Mongoose,” Business Insider reports, adding, “Running from June 27 to July 6, the training will feature warships, submarines, and maritime patrol aircraft.” According to Business Insider, “The US Navy is bringing a Los Angeles-class fast attack sub, an Arleigh Burke-guided missile destroyer, one P-8A Poseidon aircraft, and two P-3C Orion aircraft, both of which are designed to hunt down subs and surface vessels from the air.”
From Business Insider.
NEW RUSSIAN NAVAL DEFENSE MISSILE SHOWN OFF IN ST. PETERSBURG
Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, “The ‘Pantsir’ is a short to medium range surface-to-air and anti-aircraft artillery system that covers Russian soldiers in Syria,” and it “might be installed on next generation ships.” The Pantsir is “A new sea-based missile system was presented to the world on June 28 during a naval show in St. Petersburg,” reports Russia Beyond the Headlines. The Russian Ministry of Defense has yet to green light the project “so it remains to be seen if it will be adopted by the Russian military,” Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, before quoting a defense industry leader contradicting this report. According to Russia Beyond the Headlines, “The new ‘Pantsir-ME’ will be able to intercept missiles during rough seas, rain, wind, and even storms. It will also be more compact and covered with an anticorrosive sheath to ensure its longevity.” As for specs, “the sea-based system will be able to fire 160 projectiles per second (nearly 10,000 rounds per minute),” and “can track and shoot down four air targets at the same time including jets, bombers, UAVs, and missiles.” The CEO of High Precision Systems Alexander Denisov told Russia Beyond the Headlines, “The Pantsir-ME creates a 20 km anti-aircraft dome around the ship it’s installed on.” Denisov also contradicted earlier parts of Russia Beyond the Headlines’ own story and said the Russian Navy “has already ordered a number of the systems.” There were drummer girls in white boots to show it off, a totally Russian/East Euro touch.
RUSSIA PRACTICES MISSILE WAR IN THE BALTIC SEA
Newsweek reports, “A group of Russian warships have practiced a missile fire ‘duel’ in the Baltic Sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday”. Newsweek adds, “The Russian corvettes Stoikiy and Liven took part in the Baltic drill, facing off against corvettes Boykiy, Steregushchy and Zeleny Dol in a practice fire standoff. All of the ships also took part in defensive maneuvers, practicing evading anti-ship missiles as well as damage control.”
RUSSIAN OBSERVATION FLIGHT OVER ESTONIA TODAY
Estonian Public Broadcasting reports, “A Russian aircraft will be conducting observation flights over Estonia from Thursday morning until noon in the framework of the Treaty on Open Skies. The aircraft arrived in the Southern Estonian town of Tartu on Wednesday from a similar observation flight over Finland.” Estonian Public Broadcasting adds, “The aircraft will carry 17 observers from Russia and Belarus as well as four members of the Estonian Defence Forces, the latter of whom will monitor the observers’ activity as well as adherence to the designated route. Members of the Estonian and Finnish Defence Forces carried out a similar observation flight over Russia at the end of May.”
ESTONIAN EU PRESIDENCY SEEKING MANDATE ON EU-RUSSIA GAS TALKS
Euractiv reports, “Estonia will ask the EU’s 28 member states for a broad mandate to discuss all imports of gas from Russia, said an Estonian Presidency official who was briefing journalists in Brussels on Wednesday (28 June).” According to Euractiv, “Poland, the Baltic states and including Denmark, argue that Nord Stream 2 would increase the EU’s dependence on Gazprom,” noting, “the European Commission asked EU countries to give it a mandate to negotiate an agreement with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 project,” earlier this month. However, the Commission argued, “The offshore section of the pipeline lies outside the EU’s jurisdiction where the bloc’s single energy market rules won’t apply,” meaning the entire Nordstream-2 pipeline project is in “uncertain legal territory.” As Estonia takes over the EU presidency on July 1, Euractiv reports, “At stake is whether EU laws requiring energy production to be separate from pipeline ownership should apply to Russia in the same way as Norway and other major gas exporters, who apply EU rules,” whereas Russia runs on mafia state rules. “The first in-depth discussions will take place during a Council working group meeting on 25 July,” Euractiv reports. Expect that Germany will not be pleased.
SPECIAL COUNSEL TEAM’S PAST DONATIONS TO DEMS UNDER ATTACK
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump and his surrogates are attacking the judgment and independence of former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation and related matters. They are criticizing the political contributions of some of the attorneys hired to Mueller’s team, questioning the investigators’ independence.” They have even released ads, which explains the constant fundraising by Trump and his Trumpkins’ pro-authoritarian groups despite the next presidential election not taking place until 2020. According to The Washington Post, “Trump claimed the attorneys are all supporters of Hillary Clinton and worked for her. The ad described the hires as a part of a ‘rigged game.’” The Washington Post notes, “Mueller has hired 13 attorneys and is expected to hire more. Most are veteran attorneys at the Justice Department or the FBI, or attorneys Mueller worked with at the WilmerHale law firm”. According to The Washington Post, of the 13, “Four (Quarles, Weissmann, Rhee, Prelogar) have made political contributions to Democrats and four (Zebley, Dreeben, Page, Jed) have no record of making political contributions. Previous news reports incorrectly identified Dreeben as a Democratic donor, mistaking him for a furniture designer in Chicago named Michael W. Dreeben.” Of the team, “Quarles is the only one who donated to Republicans.” The Washington Post reports, “Rhee was a partner on the defense team representing the Clinton Foundation in a lawsuit over Clinton’s use of her private email server. Zebley once represented a Clinton aide at WilmerHale”. Naturally, “Trump twisted the facts: Not all of Mueller’s hires supported Clinton, and none of them worked for Clinton directly,” The Washington Post reports, adding, “The Justice Department’s ethics experts found Mueller and those he hired from his former firm are consistent with DOJ rules”. Recall also that princeling Jared and Aryan princess Ivanka and ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort have hired WilmerHale attorneys so there is that glaring contradiction of who is good enough for what. The Washington Post awards Trump and his allies “Three Pinocchios” for the allegation and ads.
From The Washington Post.
THIS IS NOT AN EFFORT AT WITNESS INTIMIDATION, JUST ASK TRUMP
ABC News reports, “President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers are postponing filing complaints with the Department of Justice and Senate Judiciary Committee related to former FBI Director James Comey’s admission that he leaked details of his conversations with the president to reporters.” According to ABC News, “A person familiar with the matter told ABC News the legal team’s decision was made so that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller would have space to continue his investigation into Russian election meddling”. How generous! This is not an effort at witness intimidation, just ask Trump, he will give you the facts, straight up, alternative facts.
From ABC News.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE FAST TRACKS TO FINISH THIS YEAR!
POLITICO reports, “The Senate panel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election aims to finish its work by the end of this year and plans to double the number of witness interviews to nearly 90 before lawmakers break for the August recess”. That is break neck, especially since it is being led by committee chair Richard Burr. Burr has shown himself to be rather responsible at least publicly to date, with any potential feuds not erupting in public and into the media at least so stay tuned both to the speed but more importantly, the substance of the Senate intelligence committee’s efforts. Burr himself describes the goal as “aspirational”.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE TO GET COMEY MEMOS
POLITICO reports, “The Senate Intelligence Committee has reached an agreement to receive memos written by former FBI Director James Comey detailing his interactions with President Donald Trump”. Senate intelligence committee chair Richard Burr told POLITICO, “I’ve got a commitment,” but would not say from whom. POLITICO notes, “Burr’s panel does much of its work in secret, so it’s unlikely he would release the memos to the public.” Leaks! Leaks!
REPUBLICAN SENATORS WANT FISA REPORTS FROM FBI
The Hill reports Senate judiciary committee chair Lindsey Graham and Republican committee member Chuck Grassley “are asking the FBI to hand over any applications for surveillance warrants tied its probe on Russia’s election interference.” They sent acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a letter stating, “We are writing to request information regarding FISA-related actions by the FBI and the Justice Department in the course of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the investigations into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” The Hill notes, “the two senators also want the court’s responses.” According to The Hill, “In addition to any proposals, applications and responses, they also want any orders from the surveillance court tied to the applications by July 11.”
From The Hill.
JD GORDON HOUSE INTEL INTERVIEW DELAYED
CNN reports, “House investigators are planning on a round of closed-door interviews with associates of President Donald Trump this summer, promising to bring in a former national security adviser to the campaign,” J.D. Gordon. According to CNN, “Former Trump national security adviser JD Gordon told CNN that members of the House intelligence committee had planned to speak to him Wednesday, but the classified hearing was abruptly canceled because of a scheduling conflict.” CNN reports, “Gordon has said he had just two brief interactions on the same day with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak last year during the week of the Republican National Convention — and insisted he’s done nothing wrong,” as is the case with everyone else in Trumpistan who has known the acquaintanceship of an ambassador no one could recall until forced to through press leaks.
HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE WANTS TO TALK TO TRUMP’S ENFORCER
ABC News reports, “Congressional investigators now want to interview Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign”. ABC News adds, “Schiller, the former head of security for the Trump Organization who now serves as the White House director of Oval Office operations, is one of several Trump associates on the House Intelligence Committee’s witness list”. In other words, they want to talk to the enforcer.
From ABC News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
WHITE HOUSE INFIGHTING + THE FIGHT FOR US FOREIGN POLICY
POLITICO reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s frustrations with the White House have been building for months. Last Friday, they exploded,” when he “unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment.” Citing a person familiar with the meeting, POLITICO reports, “Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging information about him to the news media.” According to POLITICO, “The episode stunned other White House officials gathered in chief of staff Reince Priebus’ office, leaving them silent as Tillerson raised his voice. In the room with Tillerson and DeStefano were Priebus, top Trump aide Jared Kushner and Margaret Peterlin, the secretary of state’s chief of staff.” Now most implausibly and unself-consciously, four officials told POLITICO the blow up “was so explosive that Kushner approached Peterlin afterward and told her that Tillerson’s outburst was completely unprofessional”. Oh there is a word that should never leave Kushner’s lips without some sort of self-reflexive verb preceding it or that could be used to describe the entire puppet regime squatting in the White House. Will we even have a foreign policy after all these walking, talking, breathing active measures are done destroying the State Department? There are no good guys to root for America, only very, very bad guys here. Cheer for a house cleaning that sweeps them all from the White House and into the big house.
ARYAN PRINCESS IVANKA’S HUMOROUS HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
Vanity Fair reports, “Flanked by an American flag and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had just introduced her on stage, Ivanka Trump told an audience gathered for a ceremony to unveil an annual report of human trafficking that shining a light on these human-rights abuses is a high priority of the administration.” Except it is not nor is it of the family’s businesses. Or as Vanity Fair put it, “Ivanka Trump is a very complicated messenger for these issues,” to put it mildly. Vanity Fair reports on Tuesday “just hours after the human trafficking ceremony with Tillerson, the Associated Press published a report detailing alleged human-rights abuses at a Chinese factory that manufactured items for Ivanka Trump’s brand and other fashion lines.” Surprise! Human rights are fun when you get to act as a celebrity advocate not so fun when they cut into your profit margins and result in actually caring about humans, the people, not the adulating celebrity fans. Three men with China Labor Watch who investigating the factories where Aryan princess Ivanka’s makes her designer knock-offs who had been arrested were released on bail Wednesday, weeks after they initially disappeared into custody.
From Vanity Fair.
MORE ON VEB = VERY ELUSIVE “BANK”
The American Interest carries an article by Anders Aslund of Georgetown University and the Atlantic Council on Putin’s personal bank, e.g. slush fund where we learn more about VEB, which technically stands for Vnesheconombank, despite not having a banking license. Aslund writes, “VEB is a strange creation. Its website states: ‘Vnesheconombank is not a commercial bank…. VEB does not compete with commercial credit institutions and participates only in those projects that cannot receive funding from private investors.’ It used to be the Soviet foreign trade bank, but that changed in 2007, when it was re-established as a ‘state corporation’ through a federal law,” which makes it an instrument of the Russian mafia state and under Putin’s personal command. Aslund writes, “Its international credit rating equals that of the Russian government, since it is fully covered by state guarantees. It is exempt from profit tax. Yet legally it is a non-governmental organization, and Putin controls it himself.” Now read this closely as it details the bank’s deep state ties to Russia’s intelligence services, VEB “has a senior foreign intelligence officer as CEO— Sergey Gorkov, whom Putin appointed in February 2016,” and is who princeling Jared met with last December about financing his troubled Fifth Avenue tower. Aslund reports, Gorkov’s “official CV acknowledges that ‘in 1994, [he] graduated from the Academy of the Federal Security Service of Russia.’ His predecessor, Vladimir Dmitriev, served as a diplomat in Stockholm, but the Swedish authorities expelled him for espionage in 1993. A recent example of VEB engagement in intelligence is the case of VEB employee Evgeny Buryakov, who was arrested for spying in the United States in 2015 and sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was accused of having tried to recruit the Carter Page, who would later become foreign affairs adviser to the Trump campaign.” As Trumpworld aspires to, “VEB is completely non-transparent. It has no outside shareholders, no shareholders’ meeting, no public annual reports, and no external auditing.” The nine supervisory board members, including Putin’s “obedient servant” CEO Gorkov, are all appointed by Putin, Aslund notes. VEB’s sizeable assets amounted to $60.1 billion in January and its loan portfolio totaled $33.2 billion. Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto “was saved due to $850 million of VEB funding to a Canadian-Ukrainian partner of the Trump Organization,” Aslund reports, noting, “The only bank that has given the notoriously bankruptcy-prone Trump Organization credits is Deutsche Bank—to the tune of some $400 million. The German publications Die Welt and Die Zeit now demand to know whether this funding comes from Russia in some way.” This is a portrait of VEB that should leave every American concerned for our state assets in the hands of Trump and his totally corrupt klan. MUST READ.
From The American Interest.
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: KREMLIN COMMITTED TO CYBER SECURITY
Reuters reports, “Cyber attacks like the one which hit Russia and other countries on Tuesday underline the need for a concerted international action to fight cyber crime, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.” Like the ones Russia attacked the 2016 U.S. elections with, Dmitry? Reuters notes, “Tuesday’s cyber attack caused no serious problems at a corporate or state level in Russia, Peskov also told a conference call with reporters. He said the Kremlin had no information about the origin of that attack.” Never believe anything until the Kremlin denies it, as the @DarthPutinKGB account reminds everyone all the time.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
UKRAINE FACES FINE OVER RUSSIA’S EUROVISION PROVOCATIONS
Reuters reports, “The European Broadcasting Union [EBU] said on Thursday that Ukraine faced a large fine due to severe delays in the organization of May’s Eurovision song contest in Kiev and a lack of cooperation with the EBU over the participation of a Russian artist.” The EBU said in a statement that should get a lot of play in Russian state propaganda, “As a result of this, attention was drawn away from the competition and the brand reputation of the Eurovision Song Contest was endangered,” without saying how much the fines would be. Reuters notes, “Ukraine, the host country, barred entry to the Russian contestant because she had performed in Crimea after the Ukrainian peninsula was annexed by Russia,” a clear violation of the host country’s sovereignty.
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