—–ON THE AGENDA—–
MATTIS IN UKRAINE FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is in Kyiv for Ukrainian Independence Day celebrations and talks with President Petro Poroshenko and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “The 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on August 24 comes as the Kyiv government and Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east committed to a cease-fire before the start of the new school year.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Addressing a military parade attended by Mattis and several other Western defense chiefs, Poroshenko said that ‘Ukraine is ready to give a tough military response to the aggressor if he tries to goes on the offensive’ — a warning to Moscow and the separatists not seek to take more territory. But he said that Ukraine’s ‘priority’ is a ‘peaceful, diplomatic, political, and law-based path to the return of the Donbas and Crimea’”. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Mattis “thanked the defense ministers and troops from Britain, Georgia, Estonia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and the United States for attending or marching in the parade.” Except for Britain and Canada, all countries with first hand experience of the horrors of Russian occupation and Russian-backed regimes.
ANOTHER TRUMP AIDE EMAILED ABOUT ARRANGING PUTIN CONFAB
CNN reports, “Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top Trump aide,” Rick Dearborn, “that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin”. Dearborn, who “is now President Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin”. According to CNN, “The person was only identified in the email as being from ‘WV,’ which one source said was a reference to West Virginia.” CNN reports, “the individual was believed to have had political connections in West Virginia, but details about the request and who initiated it remain vague.” CNN notes, “Sources said the email occurred in June 2016 around the time of the recently revealed Trump Tower meeting where Russians with Kremlin ties met with the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort,” which is to say right after he secured the nomination. CNN notes, “Dearborn spent nearly two decades working for [Attorney General Jeff “Private Russian”] Sessions in the Senate, eventually rising to chief of staff, a position he held for 12 years, including throughout the 2016 campaign,” adding, “Shortly after Trump’s victory, Dearborn emerged as executive director of the Trump transition.”
STERN MAGAZINE DEPICTS TRUMP’S “SEIN KAMPF”
Not Mein Covfefe? The latest cover of German news magazine Stern depicts our lunatic traitor trash fake puppet president Donald Trump as an American Hitler, a human zero, giving a heil salute wrapped in the American flag with the caption “Sein Kampf,” meaning “His Struggle”. Although we knew “never again” was meaningless drivel in light of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Bosnia, Saddam Hussein’s gasing of the Kurds, Rwanda, Darfur, Syria, etc., we are now experiencing in our time precisely how meaningless it is! America is canceled and Trumpistan is contaminated with horror. Like Russia, Trump destroys lives. But we now have context and experience in our times. Achtung! To everyone who is lucky enough to not have this come at the prime of your life, you have no idea how lucky and blessed you are, truly. To TRUMPISTAN WATCHians abroad if you have a nice country, hold onto it and cherish it. We once had a halfway decent country too.
From Stern via The Hill.
TRUMP AT WAR… WITH REPUBLICAN SENATORS… OVER RUSSIA
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump privately vented his frustration over Russia-related matters with at least two other Republican senators this month, according to people familiar with the conversations — in addition to the president’s public admonishments of Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Jeff Flake.” POLITICO reports, “Trump expressed frustration over a bipartisan bill sanctioning Russia and tried to convince Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that it wasn’t good policy, according to three people familiar with the call. Trump argued that the legislation was unconstitutional and said it would damage his presidency. Corker was unrelenting”. POLITICO adds, “Trump dialed up Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) on Aug. 7, two days before a blunt call with the Senate majority leader that spilled over into a public feud. Tillis is working with Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on a bill designed to protect Robert Mueller, the independent counsel investigating the president’s Russia connections, from any attempt by Trump to fire him.” POLITICO reports, “Since coming into the West Wing, chief of staff John Kelly has tried to curb Trump’s unscheduled interactions with legislators,” and “has asked that senior White House aides, such as legislative affairs head Marc Short, be present for the calls,” because toddler Trump requires a babysitter at all times.
RUSSIAN REPORTS INDICATE FSB MOLES TOOK CIA CASH
Meduza reports, “The treason case against a handful of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents was launched after the suspects passed several names and other information about Russian hackers to the CIA,” citing a report on Russian TV station Dozhd. However, “Ivan Pavlov, the lawyer for one of the treason suspects, has denied these allegations.” Meduza reports, “As director of the FSB’s Center for Information Security, Sergey Mikhailov — now a defendant in the treason case — investigated Russian cybercrimes and collected information about hackers.” According to this report, “Mikhailov and his accomplices sold some of this information to the U.S. government, allegedly leading to the apprehension of several Russian hackers abroad. The anonymous source claims that it was Mikhailov’s leak that allowed American officials to capture Roman Seleznev, known by the hacker handle ‘Track2,’ in Maldives in 2014. In April 2017, Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison on 38 different criminal convictions.” Meduza adds, “In February 2017, the news agency Rosbalt reported that the FSB agents in custody are accused of providing the CIA with information about ‘counterintelligence activities and specific names.’” Meduza notes, “The FSB has not officially disclosed the substance of its charges against the former agents.” Recall, “Sergey Mikhailov, his former colleague Dmitry Dokuchayev, and former Kaspersky Lab expert Ruslan Stoyanov were arrested in December 2016, though the news was reported only a month later. Georgy Fomchenkov, presumably another former FSB agent, is also a suspect in the case,” Meduza adds. Could it be Fomchenkov is the so-called fourth man, the agent whose case is so secret lawyer Pavlov was so silent about to The Daily Beast in a report TRUMPISTAN WATCH covered on August 21?
NAVALNY SHOWS PHOTO OF AUTHORITIES CONFISCATING CAMPAIGN LIT
Meduza reports, “Opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s campaign manager, Leonid Volkov, published a photograph on August 22 of what he describes as bombshell evidence that Russian police coordinated an effort to seize campaign materials ahead of a national outreach weekend in early July.” According to Meduza, the photo allegedly shows “a copy of an order issued by Igor Astrakhantsev, the head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Western Position Transport Control office,” that is “Dated July 4,” and says “agents in the Kaliningrad regional office of the Federal Security Service ‘received information’ that Navalny’s headquarters planned to ship 16 tons of campaign newspapers and 2 million leaflets to the area (Volkov says this tip was accurate). The document also identifies the courier companies hired to deliver these supplies, and named Egor Chernyuk, the head of Navalny’s local campaign headquarters, as the shipment’s likely recipient.” Navalny’s camp asserts in any other country this would be a Watergate moment but Russia being Russia, it’s like what is new in that lawless authoritarian shithole? And everyone shrugs.
CANADIAN HACKER PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN YAHOO! HACK
Reuters reports, “In his first U.S. court appearance on Wednesday, Canadian Karim Baratov pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped Russian agents in a high-profile cyber attack on Yahoo email accounts, his lawyer said.” Reuters adds, “Baratov, a 22-year old Canadian citizen born in Kazakhstan, was arrested in Canada in March at the request of U.S. prosecutors. They charge he was paid to break into at least 80 email accounts by Russian intelligence agents who masterminded the 2014 theft of data from some 500 million Yahoo Inc” users. “Baratov entered his plea during a brief appearance at the U.S. Federal Court in the Northern District of California,” Reuters reports. According to a lawyer involved in the case, it is unclear what Baratov’s “prospects for a plea bargain” are.
FUSION GPS GLENN SIMPSON DID NOT REVEAL SOURCE OF DOSSIER FUNDS
ABC News reports, “The private investigator,” Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson, “behind the now-infamous Trump ‘dossier’ spent nearly 10 hours behind closed doors answering questions from Senate investigators on Tuesday, but his attorney says he did not reveal who paid his company for the research.”
From ABC News.
SENATE COMMITTEE TO VOTE ON WHETHER TO RELEASE TRANSCRIPT
The Washington Examiner reports, “Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Wednesday said he will hold a committee vote to release the transcripts of a 10-hour hearing with Glenn Simpson, the former reporter for the Wall Street Journal whose firm helped compile the infamous ‘dossier’ about President Trump’s campaign team and Russia.” According to The Washington Examiner, “The Iowa senator warned the committee would have to give Simpson and his lawyer a copy of the transcript for them to look over before potentially making it public.”
From The Washington Examiner.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
“WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING ZAPAD”
War on the Rocks wins the headline-off around the Russian-Belarusian joint military exercises with that one. As for the enormous military exercise, War on the Rocks reports, “The combined strategic exercise will likely have two phases, starting with an initial crisis stemming from infiltration by a supposed terrorist or asymmetric threat. Russian forces will typically respond to several armed groupings on Belarusian territory, and perhaps in Kaliningrad as well, although the entire affair is geared toward a conventional operation against a high-end adversary,” so NATO. War on the Rocks adds, “Phase two will then involve a combined force to ‘stabilize’ the situation in response to the crisis. This will see Russian units both in theater and across several military districts conducting exercises intended to defend Russia against a conventional threat. The situation in question will prove to be a provocation from a state adversary (the unnamed culprit of course being NATO)”. “Throughout the exercise, Russian armed forces will try to signal that they have the ability to impose substantial costs on a technologically advanced adversary,” War on the Rocks reports, adding, “The scenario will likely transition from deterrence to escalation control, during which the Russian military will simulate long range strikes with naval and air power, perhaps together with non-kinetic capabilities, as part of a ‘non-nuclear deterrence’ package that shows how Moscow can compel an adversary into abandoning the conflict.” Russia’s strategic thinking “is founded on the belief that its military can raise costs for the West such that they will grossly outweigh the potential gains for sustaining hostilities,” War on the Rocks assesses. “Kavkaz 2008,” an early Russian military exercise, “teaches us that if there’s any cause to worry, it should be a month or two after the exercise,” as was the case with Kavkaz 2008 and the subsequent invasion of Georgia. Good read if you are on Zapad Watch along with TRUMPISTAN WATCH.
From War on the Rocks.
ROHRABACHER FOR RUSSIA
The Los Angeles Times reports, “the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website detailing the ties between the 15-term Republican,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, also known as Putin’s favorite Congressman, “and various current and former Russian lobbyists.” For at least twenty years he has been doing this with no one much caring, so there are quite a few. Making cameos on Rohrabacher’s web of deceit are Russian state-linked lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, both of whom met Donald “Uday” Trump Jr., princeling Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort at a notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, as well as, far right blogger Charles “Chuck” Johnson, WikiLeaks whiner Julian Assange and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
From The Los Angeles Times.
PRO-RUSSIAN BOTS FOR THE FAR RIGHT POST-CHARLOTTESVILLE
ProPublica reports, “The same social media networks that spread Russian propaganda during the 2016 election have been busily amplifying right-wing extremism surrounding the recent violence in Charlottesville, according to researchers who monitor the activity.” Trump’s favorite “both sides” are violent theme is a common trope, ProPublica reports.
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
FORMER DNI JAMES CLAPPER CALLS NUKE CODES IN TRUMP HANDS “SCARY”
The Guardian reports former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, “Donald Trump’s access to the nuclear codes is ‘pretty damn scary’”. It is also pretty damn scary to see the intelligence community leaders get so political when they have never had to do so before in such a way. Clapper “questioned the US president’s ‘fitness to be in this office’ after his demagogic performance in Phoenix, and expressed anxiety about Trump’s power to launch nuclear weapons without consulting Congress or any other official.” Clapper told CNN, “Having some understanding of the levers that a president can exercise, I worry about, frankly, the access to the nuclear codes”. The full “damn scary” quote: “in a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong-un, there’s actually very little to stop him. The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.” Great. Maybe we can get close enough to the stage where the living envy the dead just prior so it’s, like, no biggie?
From The Guardian.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
ANOTHER DEAD RUSSIAN DIPLOMAT
Al Arabiya reports, “Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, was found dead at his Khartoum residence on Wednesday, the Sudanese foreign ministry said.” Citing reports by Agence France Presse, Al Arabiya reports, “An initial investigation had ruled out ‘foul play’ as the cause of the ambassador’s death, which was confirmed by Moscow”. He died in his swimming pool.
From Al Arabiya.
PROMINENT RUSSIAN DIRECTOR ORDERED HELD UNDER HOUSE ARREST
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “A Russian court has placed prominent director Kirill Serebrennikov under house arrest in connection with fraud charges he dismissed as ‘incredibly absurd.’” The brave man told the court, “Explaining that he is making a film about Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi and is also involved in a stage production for which tickets have already been sold, Serebrennikov said: ‘I will not run from the investigation. I will work.’” He also directed the recently cancelled Bolshoi Ballet show “Nureyev,” which was likely cancelled because Nureyev was an openly gay dancer who fled the Soviet Union dramatically screaming, “I want to be free!” at the Paris airport. Opposition leader Alexey Navalny wrote on his blog, “The main reason for the high-profile detention of Serebrennikov is to ensure that the remaining ‘masters of culture’ do not play hard to get but instead run quickly to sign up to represent Putin.” What a horrible country.
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