PUTIN WANTED FULL RAPPROCHEMENT WITH AMERICA
Putin is the little boy with a crush who will never ever get what he truly seeks because she is too beautiful, too shiny, too full of herself, too distracted. He also misjudged terribly how not broken the West is and how he would get his way. BuzzFeed reports, “In the third month of Donald Trump’s presidency, Vladimir Putin dispatched one of his diplomats to the State Department to deliver a bold proposition: The full normalization of relations between the United States and Russia across all major branches of government.” So much more in it for Russia than for America! Who is a more desperate small man – Trump or Putin? According to BuzzFeed, “The proposal, spelled out in a detailed document obtained by BuzzFeed News, called for the wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military and intelligence channels severed between the two countries after Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria. The broad scope of the Kremlin’s reset plan came with an ambitious launch date: immediately.” Oh, how pathetic because we have sanctioned the hell out of them and fought back hard ever since. Smell the desperation on the Ruskis. Isn’t it delicious?
GOOD NEWS: U.S. SANCTIONS THREATEN RUSSIA’S DEFENSE BUILD UP
Bloomberg reports, “The new U.S. sanctions law threatens to cut off a vital channel for Russia’s funding of its massive defense buildup”. According to Bloomberg, “Officials in the government and state banks — Sberbank PJSC and VTB Bank PJSC are the biggest players — are looking for ways to get around the restrictions or minimize their impact on the funding”. Bloomberg notes, “One section in the new law mandates that the president to impose additional sanctions on anyone doing ‘significant transactions’ with the Russian military or intelligence sectors, with the limits to be introduced 180 days after the law took effect.” Bloomberg reports, “The law’s provisions have led Sberbank and VTB, Russia’s main state-owned banks, to worry that the large loans they make to weapons producers could expose them to such sanctions, crippling their business”. Bloomberg adds, “While the banks already are subject to restrictions on their ability to raise financing, the new provisions include more sweeping limits, such as a ban on holding accounts at U.S. financial institutions or access to foreign currency.” Bloomberg reports, “Among the options the Russian government is considering to resolve the issue is the creating a new state-owned bank to finance defense spending or making the expenditures directly from the treasury”. Both would be more expensive, making Russia’s defense build up extra costly. Super!
RUSSIANS SQUIRMING IN OTHER WAYS: DIPLOMATICALLY
Voice of America reports, “Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has urged the United States to start finding a way to resolve the problems between the two countries.” A Russian Foreign Ministry statement following Ryabkov’s turn with Thomas Shannon, the U.S. Undersecretary of State, in Helsinki, Finland said, “We called for a stop to the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations and … to start finding solutions to resolve problems that are mounting through no fault of ours”. Oh are they squirming! Why Donald Trump and a coup on our state are more than a little fault of Russia’s – granted our own stupid and prejudice are to blame too, but you don’t play with that at such levels in a country that is not you own and call it anything other than a declaration of war.
From Voice of America.
RUSSIA USED FACEBOOK TO ORGANIZE PROTESTS IN THE U.S.
Wait until we get to the Women’s March – but we are not there yet, for your ready made, “but it was for a good cause” excuses. That’s because The Daily Beast reports, “Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the U.S., including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho”. Now we know they exploited the prejudices, biases and persuasions of the right and the left, so do not think for a moment this activity was confined to just immigration issues as a means of dividing and conquering. According to The Daily Beast, “A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Beast that the social-media giant ‘shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week.’ The company declined to elaborate, except to confirm that the events were promoted with paid ads.” Note, “This is the first time the social media giant has publicly acknowledged the existence of such events.”
From The Daily Beast.
RUSSIA REACTS: IF FBI INVESTIGATES SPUTNIK WHY CAN’T FSB U.S. MEDIA?
Meduza reports, “Following the news that Sputnik is in the FBI’s crosshairs, Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of RT, another Russian state media outlet, warned that Moscow would retaliate: ‘There is no doubt that Russia will respond to the FBI investigation in the same way and will check the work of American journalists in Moscow.’” Doesn’t she sound more like an apparatchik than an editor speaking there? As Meduza correctly assesses, “Though Simonyan didn’t say which ‘American journalists’ Russian police would target, it’s a good bet that Moscow would start with reporters from RFE/RL and Voice of America. Both these outlets are supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. government agency whose stated mission is ‘to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.’” They could also target reporters who report stories they find unfavorable or objectionable in some way. So what is new? Meduza notes, “Radio Svoboda has already lost access to radio waves in Russia,” adding, “In June 2016, Radio Svoboda‘s final shortwave radio transmissions hit the airwaves before the network went permanently silent.”
BRING FIRTASH ON HOME TO SWEET HOME CHICAGO
The Chicago Tribune reports, “Billionaire Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash is at “great risk” of being brought from Austria to face justice in a Chicago courtroom ‘within weeks,’ his lawyer told a federal judge Monday.” According to The Chicago Tribune, “But prosecutors say they are concerned that Firtash — who is wanted on racketeering charges and has ties to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort — will jump on a private jet to Russia if a Chicago judge rules against him before he is handed over to U.S. authorities.” The Chicago Tribune reports, “His lawyer, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, on Monday told U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that Firtash has never been to the U.S., and the crimes of which he is accused all happened in India and had no impact on the U.S.”
From The Chicago Tribune.
TURKEY INKS MISSILE DEAL WITH RUSSIA, BLOW TO NATO
The BBC reports, “Turkey has signed a controversial deal with Russia to arm its forces with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.” Recall, Turkey is a member of NATO. According to the BBC, “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara had already paid the deposit on the deal, estimated to be worth $2.5bn (£1.9bn).”
From the BBC.
ZAPAD WATCH: BELARUS LAUNCHES ZAPAD WEBSITE FOR PRESS
The Belarusian Telegraph Agency reports, “Belarus’ Defense Ministry has launched a website dedicated specifically to the joint strategic exercise of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia Zapad 2017 – http://exercise.mil.by”. Helpfully, there appears to be no English. According to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, “The website will provide daily press releases, information materials on the exercise, photos, videos. All relevant information regarding Zapad 2017 will be also posted on the website of the Defense Ministry (http://mil.by) and the website of the TV company VoenTV.” Watch as Russia and Belarus fail at projecting strength and instead project weakness. The Belarusian Telegraph Agency reports, “According to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 270 foreign mass media outlets have applied for accreditation. Applications have been received from news agencies, publications and TV channels from all the neighboring countries, and also the UK, Germany, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, Turkey, Finland, France, and Sweden. The army exercise will also be covered by journalists from Qatar, South Korea and Japan.”
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS SUGGESTS IMPEDING THE RULE OF LAW
CNN reports, “The White House on Tuesday said the Justice Department should consider a criminal prosecution of former FBI Director James Comey, claiming he had leaked privileged information to the press and offered false testimony to Congress.” Like the Obama wiretap allegation, that’s a hell of a falsehood. These people are out of their minds.
GERMAN MARSHALL FUND IN THE U.S. LAUNCHES ARTIKEL 38 DASHBOARD
The German Marshall Fund in the U.S. launched the Artikel 38 dashboard. According to the German Marshall Fund in making the announcement, “The Artikel 38 Dashboard, hosted by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, monitors Russian influence operations on Twitter that target German-language audiences.” They explain their methodology but the U.S. counterpart, Hamilton 68 dashboard, has been effective and accurate.
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