KLEPTOCRACY WATCH: TRUMP TRAVEL DRAINS SECRET SERVICE BUDGET
USA Today reports, “The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump’s family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.” According to USA Today, citing Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, “more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.” USA Today reports, “Alles said the service is grappling with an unprecedented number of White House protectees. Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family. That’s up from 31 during the Obama administration.” USA Today notes, “without congressional intervention to provide additional funding, Alles will not even be able to pay agents for the work they have already done.” Where is the money going? Oh, into Trump’s coffers as USA Today reports, “The Secret Service has spent some $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone this year to protect Trump at both Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster.” Maybe Trump and his trash family could be a little less greedy on the front end? Ha! That would require “a very good brain.” Then of course, “Trump’s other sons, Trump Organization executives Donald Jr. and Eric, based in New York, also are covered by security details, including when they travel frequently to promote Trump-branded properties in other countries,” as USA Today reports. Even forgotten Trump trash child Tiffany gets in on draining the budget as she and her boyfriend vacationed in Germany and Hungary this summer. Sacrifice – it is just not a word this family knows or understands, but may soon when it comes time to play, who gets to go to jail and who will plea for immunity. They will learn at least how to sacrifice each other!
From USA Today.
NEVER ENOUGH: MANAFORT MONEY TRAIL
McClatchy reports, “investigators are working to confirm information indicating that Manafort and the consulting firms he led earned between $80 million and $100 million over a decade from pro-Moscow Ukrainian and Russian clients.” According to McClatchy, “Mueller’s expanded focus on Manafort’s complicated financial picture is zeroing in on whether he may have evaded taxes or engaged in any money laundering schemes, the sources say, and the hunt for his financial records through a labyrinth of offshore bank and business accounts has become an important prong of the investigation.” McClatchy notes, “Whether Manafort can be squeezed depends in part on whether he failed to report foreign income and overseas bank accounts annually to the Internal Revenue Service as required by law. The volume of money said to be involved and the time elapsed could put him at significant risk.” Obviously, “Money-laundering charges, of course, would very possibly heighten Manafort’s interest in flipping and cooperating with investigators,” McClatchy notes. Let it bleed!
ANATOLY ANTONOV OFFICIALLY NAMED RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Anatoly Antonov, a veteran diplomat who is under European Union sanctions for his role in Moscow’s interference in Ukraine, as ambassador to the United States.” While reports have swirled since May that Antonov would be the next Russian Ambassador to the U.S., replacing the highly visible and controversial Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, “The appointment of Antonov, who has served in both the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry, was announced on the Kremlin’s website on August 21.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Antonov, 62, has been a staunch public advocate of Russia’s assertive foreign policy in recent years, and is seen as a tough negotiator on issues including arms control. In February 2015, the EU added Antonov to a list of Russians targeted by sanctions over Moscow’s takeover of Crimea and backing for armed separatists in eastern Ukraine”. Canada and Ukraine have also sanctioned Antonov, but curiously not the U.S.
SURKOV PLEASED AFTER VOLKER MEETING ON UKRAINE
Reuters reports, “Kremlin aide Vladislav Surkov said that fresh ideas of resolving the Ukraine crisis had emerged during his first meeting with U.S. special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker on Monday,” citing reports in Russian state-run Interfax. The first meeting over Ukraine between Volker and Surkov was held yesterday in Minsk, Belarus.
NATO SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG TO POLAND THIS WEEK
The Warsaw Voice reports, “NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will meet with Polish PM Beata Szydlo, president Andrzej Duda as well as foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski and National Security Office head Pawel Soloch during his trip to Poland on August 24-25”.
From The Warsaw Voice.
NATO JETS SCRAMBLED IN BALTICS THREE TIMES TO COUNTERACT RUSSIA
Estonian Public Broadcasting reports, “NATO fighter jets serving in the alliance’s Baltic Air Policing mission out of Ämari Air Base in Estonia and Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania were scrambled three times last week in order to intercept Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea,” citing the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense. According to Estonian Public Broadcasting, “The alliance’s jets took off twice on Aug. 17, first to identify and escort two Russian IL-20 planes flying from mainland Russia to the exclave of Kaliningrad and the second time to intercept an IL-20 headed for mainland Russia.” The follow day, “on Aug. 18, an IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted en route from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia.” The onboard transponders were switched off on all three occasions, Estonian Public Broadcasting reports.
LITHUANIA RECEIVES FIRST LNG SHIPMENT FROM THE US
Reuters reports, “Lithuania received its first spot shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States on Monday, the result of a deal aimed at reducing dependence on Russia and consolidating relations with Washington amid increased tension in the region.” According to Reuters, Lithuania’s “government estimates it will import half of its gas consumption in 2017 as LNG, mostly from Norway’s Statoil. The rest will be imported via a gas pipeline from Russia.” For background on this shipment, Reuters notes, “In June, Lithuanian state-owned trader Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas signed a deal with a unit of U.S. firm Cheniere Energy, its first direct import of LNG from the United States. The LNG tanker from Sabine Pass in the United States moored in Klaipeda port on Monday.” Reuters adds, “The LNG is for clients in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.”
FUSION GPS’ GLENN SIMPSON OF STEELE DOSSIER ON THE HILL TODAY
ABC News reports Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson, the firm behind the now notorious Steele dossier, “will be questioned by investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee today about the funding and sources for the document.” According to ABC News, Simpson “will appear in a closed session on Capitol Hill on Tuesday”.
From ABC News.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
CRAZY THINGS MOSCOW DOES TO DETECT MOLES + DESTROY US DIPLOMACY
Just Security has a completely fascinating read by John Sipher, a former CIA agent, that uses recent reports of sonic “attacks” against U.S. diplomats in Cuba as a jumping off point to discuss some of the crazy stuff Russia has done to U.S. diplomats and spies over the years. According to Sipher, “In the 1980s and 1990s, the Soviet and then Russian intelligence services deployed doses of nitrophenyl pentaden (NPPD) against American diplomats whom they suspected of managing espionage operations against Russian interests. This so-called ‘spy dust’ was an invisible electromagnetic powder with a customized chemical identifier. It was smeared onto door handles, furniture and cars of suspected American spy handlers. It was a tagging agent used by Russian security elements to covertly monitor their own community by revealing unreported (and potentially espionage related) contacts between Russian and American officials.” Before dusting came along, “earlier Russian tracking devices like radioactive nails hammered into the tires of U.S. diplomatic vehicles,” allowed, “Russian surveillance vehicles to hang back unseen and follow along by using special equipment to track targets’ tire residue.” Sipher adds, “The Russian security services were also known to flood the U.S. embassy in Moscow with electromagnetic radiation. They would beam concentrated microwaves and electronic pulses at the Embassy in an attempt to eavesdrop on U.S. typewriters and conversations. In the 1970s, a U.S. Ambassador contracted and died of a blood disease that many assumed to be a result of the attacks. The State Department detected high levels of radiation in the embassy staff, and provided hazard pay to personnel who worked in Moscow.” Then there are the more quotidian efforts to bug each other’s embassies in Moscow and Washington, which seem positively ordinary by contrast to these other paranoiac hazards. Basically, though, the bottom line is “President Donald Trump’s thoughtless comments about our diplomats,” are a disgrace as “there are often hidden or untold challenges which potentially include being monitored day and night and serious health risks from invisible corners.”
From Just Security.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: STATE DEPARTMENT HIRING PROGRAMS
Foreign Policy reports yet another “program designed to bring undergraduate and Master’s students into State Department and other federal government positions following graduation is the latest victim,” of our fake puppet president and awful Secretary of State (and Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient) Rex Tillerson’s efforts to destroy U.S. diplomacy. According to Foreign Policy, “Participants in the Pathways program were offered jobs in March with the possibility of full-time positions. However, at the end of a three-month period, they found that they would not, in fact, be getting a job.” According to Foreign Policy, “The suspension of the internship program will hit the State Department especially hard after two other similar programs,” Diplomacy Fellows Program and the Presidential Management Fellows Program, “were put on hold.” Curiously Foreign Policy notes, “In an address to interns last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that all state fellowship and internship programs would remain in place.” Well, he lied. Recall the goal of active measures is to capture the three pillars of the state: foreign policy, defense and the economy. Tillerson is doing a fine job of moving along and overseeing the collapse of U.S. diplomacy. He is a very good friend to Moscow indeed!
From Foreign Policy.
LITHUANIA SEEKS TO BAR TWO RUSSIAN TV CHANNELS
The Baltic Times reports, “The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) on Monday will consider taking measures against two Russian-language TV channels broadcast in the country for alleged incitement to war and hatred.” The Baltic Times adds, “The media watchdog plans to decide if to take further steps to restrict the broadcasting of RTR Planeta and TVCI in Lithuania.” According to The Baltic Times, “The LRTK says that a Vladimir Solovyov show broadcast on RTR Planeta on May 31 and The Right to Know show broadcast on TVCI on June 10 contained incitement to war and hatred.”
From The Baltic Times.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES SAY LIFE EXPECTANCY TOPS 72 FOR FIRST TIME
Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, “the Russian authorities reported that in the first half of this year life expectancy reached 72.4 years,” which is to say who knows if it is true or not but it sounds better than it was! Russia Beyond the Headlines reports, “life expectancy in the USSR was recorded in 1990: 60.1 years,” making it “twice as high as it was during the end of the Russian Empire, from 1896 to 1897 – when it was a lowly 30.5 years. A huge leap was made 10 years after the 1917 Revolution. In 1927 it was already almost 43 years,” that is if one survived! But just as Russia caught up with the West, it did not because “Currently, life expectancy in the West is generally around 80 years.”
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