SANCTIONS HIT RUSSIA, NO “TRUMP BUMP” THERE EITHER
Reuters reports, “New U.S. sanctions on Moscow have forced Russian business chiefs to accept that Donald Trump’s rise to power is not about to produce a ‘Trump Bump’ in foreign investment.” Moscow’s great miscalculation comes back to bite them. Recall, “The latest measures allow Congress to block any effort by the president to ease or lift the existing sanctions, tightens some of those sanctions, and imposes new restrictions in some sectors.” Reuters adds, “Executives in Russian banks and energy companies, the main targets of the U.S. sanctions, told Reuters their compliance departments were still going through the fine print of the new law to understand the practical impact,” and presumably find the loopholes. Reuters reports, “Moody’s rating agency said in a note to clients that the new sanctions on Russia ‘are likely to further deter investment there.’” Of course, “Trump’s election triumph last November led many in the Russian business community to believe that the worst of the sanctions was over,” because Russia was that shortsighted and stupid. Reuters reports, “It was at this time that a long-planned deal to privatize a stake in Sovcomflot, a state-owned shipping company with a fleet of modern vessels and lucrative energy sector contracts, was put back on the government’s agenda.” This plan has been revised and re-revised, “because of deteriorating market conditions,” Reuters reports. While “The new sanctions are unlikely to trigger an immediate crisis in Russia,” because the Russians will put up with almost anything and are stoic in the face of sacrifices most Americans would consider extreme, “Longer-term, tepid foreign investment is likely to shave a few percentage points off economic growth, economists say.” Reuters reports, “The Russian economy contracted in 2015 and 2016, and is seen growing up to 1.8 percent this year, according to Russia’s central bank,” so don’t believe it because the source is the Russian government. Reuters notes, “That is far below the average annual growth of nearly 7 percent on which President Vladimir Putin built high approval ratings early in his presidency.” Looks like Putin will have some explaining to do ahead of next year’s fake elections in Russia.
RUSSIA CLAIMS VOLKER-SURKOV MEETING WILL BE IN MINSK
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aide Vladislav Surkov and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker most likely will be held in Minsk, Belarus, a political expert close to the Kremlin said Tuesday.” Like most all things Russia says and does, it is now a wait and see game until this is confirmed by a source more trustworthy than the Russian state and its propaganda outlets. The source for this report is the Facebook page of Alexey Chesnakov, the director of the Center for current policy (CCP), so really wait and see. Also isn’t that center missing a C?
ZAPAD WATCH: MORE PRE-GAME ACTIVITIES COMING UP IN BELARUS
The Belarusian Telegraph Agency reports, “Belarusian and Russian army units will stage a special logistics exercise before the Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad 2017,” citing the Belarusian Ministry of Defense. According to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, “a joint exercise will be held for logistics command and control organizations of the two armies on 21-25 August. Units from the Russian part of the regional army group will be arriving in Belarus as from 15 August to create a real situation the logistics army units will have to handle.” The Belarusian Telegraph Agency adds, “As part of the exercise army units will practice the technical protection of military roads. They will practice evacuating and repairing broken vehicles and weaponry in addition to deploying a trunk pipeline and vehicle refueling stations in the field.” If you are just joining TRUMPISTAN WATCH now or need a quick refresher on what Zapad is, how and why it’s also for now thankfully only psychological warfare against NATO’s Eastern flank, CNN has a good crash course explainer. In essence, CNN notes of the massive joint Russian-Belarusian exercise, “While major Russian units remaining on Belarusian territory seems a remote prospect, another possibility that has been put forward is Russian military equipment being left there without troops, as part of pre-positioning for possible future Russian military action launched against neighbors such as Lithuania or Poland, or the so-called Suwałki gap, from Belarus itself.”
MORE CANADIAN TROOPS + MILITARY MATÉRIEL TO LATVIA
The Ottawa Citizen reports, “The Canadian Forces is sending 100 additional military personnel, equipment, and support vehicles to Latvia to support the military exercises of US Army Europe, NATO’s eFP battlegroup in Latvia, and other NATO allies.” This includes “an artillery battery made up of four M777 Howitzer guns,” The Ottawa Citizen reports, adding, “When not required for training, the equipment will be stored in the Canadian compound at Camp Ādaži, Latvia, and the artillery personnel will return to Canada.”
From The Ottawa Citizen.
RUSSIA MENACES BALTIC AIR SPACE, AGAIN
Citing the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, The Baltic Times reports, “NATO fighter jets serving in the Baltic air policing mission were scrambled eight times last week to intercept Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea”. The Baltic Times reports, “The ministry said that a total of 21 Russian planes were intercepted, around half of which were fighter jets, while the NATO jets also identified several transport and passenger planes over the Baltic Sea.” As per what is becoming standard operating procedure, “Most of the Russian aircraft had their automatic transponders switched off,” and “The biggest number of scrambles took place last Thursday”.
From The Baltic Times.
CANADA’S CRYSTALLEX SEEKS TO MANEUVER CITGO SHARES FROM PDVSA
Reuters reports, “Canadian mining company Crystallex has asked a court for an order to attach shares in Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s Delaware subsidiary that owns U.S. refiner Citgo, according to a court document filed on Monday and seen by Reuters on Tuesday.” Recall PDVSA is deeply indebted to Rosneft so this maneuver could be a way to keep the Russian state oil company from taking over one of the U.S.’s largest oil companies, and if that’s the case the State Department and TRUMPISTAN WATCH should support it because Canada over Russia any day. Canada does not worship Stalin or cheer a fascist lunatic Nazi into the White House through hacking and other acts of psychological warfare. Reuters notes, “Crystallex is seeking to collect some $1.4 billion in damages associated with late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s nationalization of the Las Cristinas gold mine.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
17th ANNIVERSARY OF THE KURSK SUBMARINE DISASTER THIS WEEK
Bellona reports, “As Russia begins a new season of naval drills,” its worth noting, “many of its sailors this week are remembering their colleagues who died on the Kursk, the 21st Century’s worst nuclear submarine disaster.” Bellona’s article entitled, “Kursk anniversary marks 17th birthday for Kremlin’s age of deception,” beautiful sums it up. Recall, “Seventeen years ago this week, the world was riveted by the fate of 118 Russian submariners who sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea after an explosion aboard the largest sub in the Russian fleet. The Kursk, the pride of Russia’s Oscar Class sub line, was participating in a large-scale naval exercise when a leaky torpedo exploded in its bow.” Bellona reminds us, “Moscow almost immediately gave the sailors up for dead,” however, “it later emerged that 23 of the crewmembers had taken refuge in the submarine’s aft section, where they survived for hours in the flickering light, writing final letters to their loved ones and hammer-tapping pleas for help on the steel of the breached hull.” Remember this when Putin gets all manly man about the Russian military and fleet. Bellona notes, “It was a deeply human ending to the long-held myth of Russia’s military superiority,” as “Hundreds of camera crews descended on Murmansk, just ten years before a closed port, to televise the Kremlin’s inept response to the disaster. Naval spokesmen fled questions at hastily arranged press briefings while Vladimir Putin, only a month into his first presidential term, broadcast his unwillingness to accept international help.” That’s Putin: the great coward. The pathetic little man, “Putin waited more than a week,” after the Kursk sank on August 12, 2000, “to emerge from a Sochi vacation and publicly address the accident.” Of course then as now, “Putin’s tack, now familiar, was to blame the independent media and its owners,” because they sank the Kursk and left Russian sailors for dead. Bellona reminds us, “When one of the Kursk sailor’s mothers began screaming her scorn at him, she was silenced by a syringe full of sedatives delivered by one of Putin’s security officers. Footage of the slumping woman was beamed out across the world, but was not replayed at home.” Hero of our time: the mother, never Putin. Bellona recalls, “The day after Putin’s appearance, the Kremlin assented to assistance from a Norwegian diving crew, which accomplished in hours what the Russian Navy hadn’t been able to do for ten days: it opened the aft hatch of the vessel. They found the hatch clogged with water, and the Navy moved in to recover their dead.” As usual, Russia learned nothing, not about safety or caring for its own as “Since 2011, four nuclear submarines caught fire,” including, “one while it still possibly had nuclear weapons onboard”. Bellona concludes, “if anything goes wrong with the new naval exercises, Russia will be among the last to know.” The Kursk dead and their families deserve to have served a better country than the one they died for.
NATION STORY REFUTING HACKING UNDER POST-PUBLICATION REVIEW
The Washington Post reports, “There is some discontent in the Nation,” after “Staffers and contributors at the storied lefty magazine have raised concerns about an Aug. 9 piece by contributing writer Patrick Lawrence under the headline, ‘A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack,’” because it smells like total bullshit. Surprise! Russia is planting disinformation in far left and far right circles and all over the place and The Nation, like their Stephen Cohen, falls for it. Recall: Russia’s goal is not to get you to believe something, it is to get you to believe nothing. TRUMPISTAN WATCH previously flagged a similar piece in Bloomberg citing the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) last Friday, but mainly to flag their ties to Snowden and Assange hagiographer Laura Poitras, who made one compelling film, “Citizenfour,” and appears to have been used terribly in the process. According to The Washington Post, “Lawrence’s piece is undergoing a post-publication editorial review,” and Bloomberg should be doing the same of their piece of work. Derisively, The Washington Post suggests, “Maybe the Nation should have done the technical patdown prior to publication.” It also seems Lawrence’s story was held up as exemplary by Breitbart. A tell tale sign you should flag something as suspect Russian bullshit is when the far right and far left concur as they are Russia’s favorite actors for sowing the seeds of discord in order to divide and conquer. Oh and then there is the fact that there is “A complicating consideration: Lawrence tweeted last week in support of the conspirator’s notion that Seth Rich — a former DNC staffer who was murdered in what police believe was a botched robbery attempt — may have been behind the leak,” The Washington Post notes. The only thing suspicious about Seth Rich’s death is how quickly Russian disinformation agents and the far right combined pounced on conspiracy theories about it. The Washington Post notes, “The editorial review of Lawrence’s article should conclude by week’s end”.
From The Washington Post.
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