—–ON THE AGENDA—–
HAPPY SEPTEMBER 11!
ABC News notes Trump will preside over his first September 11 ceremony as president. Be still, beating heart! You can of course hear the audio of Trump boasting as the towers fell that now he has the tallest building in Manhattan, which still is not even remotely true. Trump and Melania will be at the Pentagon Memorial in a ceremony hosted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford, ABC News reports. Maybe the fake president will remember to put his hand on his heart for the national anthem, or better, they will skip “The Star Spangled Banner”. The AP reports Pence is in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where United flight 93 went down. And Lavrov is in Saudi, the AP reports. Putin is eating bonbons and drinking champagne in a bubble bath in Sochi – sorry for the gross visual – thinking of how a KGB invention, air hijacking, helped put an adversary on this current path of self-destruction.
US, RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS TO MEET IN FINLAND MONDAY + TUESDAY
The AP reports, “U.S. and Russian envoys are to meet in Finland this coming week in a bid to calm diplomatic tensions that have risen to levels of the Cold War.” According to the AP, “The State Department’s third-ranking official, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, will meet on Monday and Tuesday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Shannon and Ryabkov have held several rounds of talks this year focused on resolving irritants in U.S.-Russian relations, such as the tit-for-tat closures of diplomatic missions and expulsion of diplomats. They’re expected to address broader strategic relations and arms control as well.”
From the AP.
EVERYONE IS A WITNESS
The Washington Post reports, “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has alerted the White House that his team will probably seek to interview six top current and former advisers to President Trump who were witnesses to several episodes relevant to the investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election”. They include such all-stars as “trusted adviser Hope Hicks, former press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus” as well as White House Counsel Don McGahn, his deputy, James Burnham, and princeling Jared’s PR consultant/whatever Josh Raffel. The Washington Post notes, “The advisers are also connected to internal documents that Mueller’s investigators have asked the White House to produce”. So let’s get real: anything Trump is charged with so far will be related to the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower and Trump’s efforts to conceal it.
From The Washington Post.
“HELP WORLD PEACE + MAKE A LOT OF MONEY”
Business Insider reports, “A letter of intent forwarded by Russian-born businessman Felix Sater to the Trump Organization’s lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen, outlines the terms of a licensing agreement to purchase property to build a ‘Trump World Tower Moscow.’” This is the same Sater who grew up with Cohen and has done numerous deals with Trump but who Trump denies knowing and has walked out of interviews to avoid discussing. The same Sater tied to the Russian mob,who has done time and also worked as an FBI informant. Business Insider notes, “Sater sent the letter of intent — dated October 13, 2015, and signed by a Russian investor named Andrey Rozov — to Cohen for then-candidate Donald Trump’s signature.” Just great! Attached was a personal note from Felix to Michael that read in part that Trump World Tower could “possibly fix relations between the countries by showing everyone that commerce & business are much better and more practical than politics. That should be Putins message as well, and we will help him agree on that message. Help world peace and make a lot of money, I would say thats a great lifetime goal for us to go after.” Yeah, barf. Obviously, more to do with adoptions. These men only ever think about the children. If Felix is still using the same email as on the letter, you can write him yourself and stress the state of grief he has helped foist upon you personally and our nation at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
From Business Insider.
WHO HAS EVEN LESS CREDIBILITY: RUSSIA OR THE WHITE HOUSE?
Reuters reports, “Russia’s newly installed ambassador to Washington said on Friday that he had a warm and constructive meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian news agencies reported.” Let’s repeat that last part: Russian news agencies reported. Read: Russian state propaganda. Russian state-run RIA Novosti quoted Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, aka Ambassador Soviet Dinosaur, “President Trump received me in a warm and friendly way … The atmosphere was very genial, constructive and welcoming. At least, that was my personal feeling”. He is sanctioned by the European Union and Canada for his involvement in the occupation of Crimea, so you know he really feels nothing like what he says. However, not long after Russian state propaganda said their new Ambassador Soviet dinosaur met Trump, Talking Points Memo reports, “The White House late Friday swatted down claims made by Russia’s new ambassador to the U.S. that he had held a ‘warm and friendly’ introductory meeting with President Donald Trump earlier in the day.” According to Talking Points Memo, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “He was here for a credentialing ceremony with 12 other new ambassadors and their spouses,” which makes it not a meeting. Now you get to decide who has even less credibility: Russia or the White House. Hard call but experienced hands say likely the White House is in the right in this instance.
FACEBOOK WANTS TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS ROLE
Yahoo! News reports, “Facebook, which acknowledged this week that it sold $100,000 worth of political ads in the last two years to accounts linked to a Russian troll factory, came under stinging criticism Thursday over its refusal to release copies of the ads to the public — or to congressional investigators.” Thanks, Facebook! Well this will not end well either for Facebook or for the freedom of information. Yahoo! News notes, “After denying for months that any Russian entities purchased ads on Facebook during last year’s election, the social media giant has admitted that it belatedly discovered that some 470 phony accounts linked to a shadowy St. Petersburg media firm with ties to the Kremlin. The firm allegedly placed ads on highly charged issues in American politics, such as LGBT and gun rights — ads that in some cases explicitly mentioned Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the 2016 election.” Ooops! They fucking lied. But when a liar occupies the highest seat in the land, what are consequences? According to Yahoo! News, “The phony accounts that began placing political ads first popped up on its platform in June 2015 — the same month Trump declared his candidacy for president. They continued until May 2017, when Time magazine first reported the suspicions of U.S. intelligence officials that Russian trolls were placing political ads on Facebook; it was also around that time that Facebook says unidentified ‘U.S. officials’ first alerted the company to what they had discovered.” The official Facebook excuse is weak sauce: “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible, but there are certain restrictions on what we can disclose under our data policies”. Facebook: protecting the privacy of nonexistent foreign adversary propaganda “people”. DISINFO WARS has more on the content of the Ruski effort to destroy American democracy, none of which reflects well on the gullibility or intellect of our people.
From Yahoo! News.
IT BEGINS: VIRGINIA TO DITCH ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES
POLITICO reports, “Virginia’s election supervisors on Friday directed counties to ditch touchscreen voting machines before November’s elections, saying the devices posed unacceptable digital risks.” Recall the Netherlands switched to paper ballots so the Russians could not install Geert Wilders and thank god for that before we have another electoral Arnhem or Verdun. Also the Dutch are decent people. POLITICO reports, “The move represents one of the most dramatic actions taken to help secure elections since a 2016 presidential race rife with concerns about digital meddling and vote tampering. Election security experts have long warned that such machines are a top target for hackers.” Electronic voting machines are the new butterfly ballots but this time it’s all ipso post-facto, but, like, seriously for real post-facto.
US CALLED OFF ISIS CONVOY AT RUSSIAN REQUEST
The Washington Post reports, “At Russia’s request, the U.S. military on Friday called off its surveillance of a convoy of Islamic State fighters that has been stuck in the Syrian desert for the past 10 days, saying it is now up to the Syrian government to resolve its fate.” According to The Washington Post, “The convoy became stuck in the no man’s land between the front lines of the Syrian army and the Islamic State after the U.S. military bombed the road ahead to prevent it from reaching Islamic State territory in eastern Syria. It had been traveling there from western Syria under the terms of a deal struck between the Islamic State and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement to end fighting along the Lebanese border.” It is as if everyone is saying to everyone else, move your war along.
From The Washington Post.
ZAPAD WATCH: EUROPEANS FINALLY FREAKING OUT RIGHT ON TIME
The Guardian reports, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “The world is more dangerous today than it has been in a generation” and that “the sheer number of converging threats was making the world increasingly perilous”. “Asked in a Guardian interview whether he had known a more dangerous time in his 30-year career, Stoltenberg said: ‘It is more unpredictable, and it’s more difficult because we have so many challenges at the same time. We have proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea, we have terrorists, instability, and we have a more assertive Russia’”. He added, “It is a more dangerous world.”
From The Guardian.
SWEDEN KICKS OFF LARGEST MILITARY EXERCISE IN 20 YEARS, WITH NATO
The AP reports, “Sweden has started its largest military exercise in over 20 years with nearly 20,000 troops drilling on air, land and sea, including a contingent of over 1,000 U.S. soldiers, amid rising military activity in the Baltic Sea region.” The AP adds, “The three-week Aurora 17 drill kicked off Monday and will chiefly take place around the strategic Baltic Sea island of Gotland and the regions surrounding Stockholm and Goteborg.” The AP notes Sweden is not in NATO and adds, “Troops from non-NATO Finland will also attend along with NATO soldiers from Denmark, Norway, France, Estonia, Lithuania and the United States.” Russia, we hope you receive this message: Veyshnoria is greater than you.
From the AP.
BEST BUY PULLS KASPERSKY PRODUCTS
Reuters reports, “Best Buy Co, the No.1 U.S. electronics retailer, is pulling Kaspersky Lab’s cyber security products from its shelves and website, amid concerns that the Moscow-based firm may be vulnerable to Russian government influence.” So begins the era of tech nationalism among consumers and retailers.
PUTIN PROMOTES TECH NATIONALISM AMONG HIS SIDE
Reuters reports Putin said Friday, “Russian technology companies will lose out on state orders unless they switch to using home-grown software”. Reuters adds, “Putin said that, in some spheres, state institutions could not work with companies running foreign software because that represented a risk for national cyber-security.” Here is to hoping and guessing that joint U.S.-Russian cyber commission Trump and his master wanted is dead too.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
THIS IS YOUR GERMAN MARSHALL FUND AUTHORIZED ZAPAD CHEAT SHEET
The German Marshall Fund blog reviews what has finally woken our friends in Europe up to the total danger we are facing, namely the Zapad military exercise or 100,000 Russian troops amassing on the eastern edge of the European Union. Why is this so scary frightening? Well… Just asking assumes you have never dealt with the awfulness that is modern Russia or its antecedents in the Soviet KGB state before. All your worst nightmares are still too tame. In the West, intimidation is not the primary means of our interaction with the state. But aside from that, there are five very Zapad specific reasons to freak out! The German Marshall Fund blog writes: “First, recent history has repeatedly shown that such military exercises can be used by the Kremlin to prepare its next aggression against a neighbor, as with Georgia in 2008 or Ukraine in 2014.” Both are lovely countries, much better countries than Russia. “Second, such exercises provide a cover for Russia to move equipment, and an opportunity to train the reconstituted forces in its Western military district, both of which significantly alter the military constellation along NATO’s Eastern Flank. Third, Zapad takes place on either side of one of NATO’s most neuralgic points: the Suwalki gap, a narrow land corridor that connects the Baltic states with their NATO Allies, and that is flanked by Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Belarus. Imagining that Russia might sever this critical cord is a nightmare scenario for many in NATO. Fourth, like previous exercises, Zapad 2017 implies possible retaliation against NATO and military conflict on the territory of its allies as Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia are, in the war game’s scenario, sources of aggression against Belarus and Russia. Fifth, there has been intense speculation whether or not Russia’s Vladimir Putin may use the Zapad exercise to reign in his unruly partner, Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenka, at gunpoint, leaving behind a Russian military presence that Belarus has so far rejected, or even annex Belarus altogether. Sixth, such a stronger Russian military presence in Belarus would also pose an additional threat to Ukraine, adding a Northern vector to the Eastern and Southern ones that Russia has already exploited for annexing Crimea and invading Donbass. Finally, NATO–Russia relations are clearly at their tensest since the Cold War.” That’s sort of all a consequence of a Russian backed coup to destroy Western style democracy and impose a lunatic piece of racist trash beholden to a foreign power instead of his people as American president. Welcome Europe to our world, but you still have a fighting chance, we lost ours on November 9, 2016 and subsequently on January 20, 2017! We forever have the Russia cancer and memory of it now, even if we choose the code of silence on it, which we won’t, Americans are far too chatty and earnest, literal, direct.
PENTAGON RESTRICTING PRESS ACCESS TO MATTIS
Mic reports, “The Pentagon has decided to dramatically reduce the number of reporters allowed to travel with United States Defense Secretary James Mattis on an upcoming overseas trip, and will not allow reporters from the Associated Press and Reuters wire services to attend”. This is our first real sense of how the generals feel about quaint instruments of democracy – and it is oh so disconcerting! Mic writes, “six reporters will be given seats on Mattis’ plane on an upcoming trip to India and the region, including a reporter with the French wire service Agence France-Presse, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, a three-person television pool and one radio pool reporter,” adding, “The plane has room for up to 18 reporters, although normally about a dozen travel on overseas trips”. Mic notes, “The decision has shocked and concerned the Pentagon press corps, who are worried about transparency going forward,” and that’s because it is shocking.
WHAT’S IN A RUSSIAN MEME? GET YOUR RACIST RUSSIAN MEMES HERE!
Casey Michel writes on Medium about his favorite Texas secession Facebook page that was likely created by Russian disinfo artistes. Special tip: check out the whole section on typos and weird grammar that aligns with Russian mistakes. You may laugh until you cry, first that this exists, second that it was so popular, third because it may occur to you things you know and trusted like the Women’s March have eerily similar back stories. Lastly because my god this is all so embarrassing. Next up The Daily Beast trolls through the racist memes the Russians likely created for us. Did you know that concerns about Shariah law could be used to manipulate our electorate? Sure you did, Karl Rove and Bush’s Defense of Marriage Act taught you that but now our adversaries have caught on! The stupidity of our people is laid bare for the world to see and has been since the moment Trump announced his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists. Man is it embarrassing, every day we are demoralized is a day Russia wins.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIAN JOURNALIST FLEES RUSSIA AFTER INCESSANT THREATS
Reuters reports, “Prominent Russian political commentator and writer Yulia Latynina has left Russia fearing for her life, she told a Moscow radio station.” According to Reuters, “Latynina’s car was set on fire at the beginning of September, weeks after unidentified assailants sprayed a poisonous substance on her house outside Moscow and the car.” Latynina said after the arson, “I‘m quite scared … I‘m terrified that the people who did it were prepared for fatalities”. Reuters notes, “Latynina, who works as a columnist at the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, has been critical of the Kremlin’s policy in the Chechnya republic in the Caucasus, as well as the local authorities.” She was attacked last year in the middle of Moscow, Reuters adds.
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