WRAY CONFIRMED FBI DIRECTOR BUT TRUMP AIN’T ANYWHERE IN SIGHT
Trump loves law enforcement but he is afraid of those investigating him. ABC News reports, “Wray’s two direct predecessors as FBI director, James Comey and Robert Mueller, were also absent, avoiding potentially uncomfortable encounters amid an investigation that touches the White House.” ABC News notes, “Trump’s absence was all the more striking given that President Barack Obama attended the most recent FBI director installation ceremony, for Comey in 2013, and spoke warmly about him.” Obama was squeaky clean like a whistle compared to the Trumpistani bullshit but recall, he was not white.
From ABC News.
TWITTER FAILS ITS HISTORY TEST
CNN reports, “Twitter has informed Congress that it found and took action on roughly 200 accounts on its service after determining they were linked to Russia and sought to interfere in American politics.” Let’s be clear: there are way more than 200 accounts tied to Russia on Twitter and it is obvious to anyone with half a brain following the news for the last six months. Russia spent over a quarter of a million dollars, at least on ads, as CNN reports Russian state-run “RT spent $274,100”. CNN adds, “Virigina Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, slammed Twitter for a presentation he said was ‘deeply disappointing’.” Warner added Twitter’s response was “inadequate at almost every level,” which is a spot-on commentary that too is obvious to anyone who uses the site.
RUSSIA CREATED FAKE BLACK LIVES MATTERS ACCOUNTS ON FAKEBOOK
CNN reports, “A social media campaign calling itself ‘Blacktivist’ and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an apparent attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election”. According to CNN, “The Twitter account has been handed over to Congress; the Facebook account is expected to be handed over in the coming days.” According to CNN, “Both Blacktivist accounts, each of which used the handle Blacktivists, regularly shared content intended to stoke outrage. ‘Black people should wake up as soon as possible,’ one post on the Twitter account read. ‘Black families are divided and destroyed by mass incarceration and death of black men,’ another read. The accounts also posted videos of police violence against African Americans.” The worst part? CNN reports, “The Facebook account had 360,000 likes, more than the verified Black Lives Matter account on Facebook, which currently has just over 301,000.” That’s right, it was more successful than our own activists.
SENATE CONFIRMS HUNTSMAN AS NEXT AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA
POLITICO reports, “The Senate on Thursday confirmed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to Russia.”
CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS JOSEPH DUNFORD RECONFIRMED
The Hill reports, “Gen. Joseph Dunford has been confirmed for a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking military officer in the country.”
From The Hill.
ALFA BANK LAWYER BRIAN BENCZKOWSKI MOVES CLOSER TO DOJ JOB
The Washington Times reports, “The Senate Judiciary Committee gave a first approval Thursday to President Trump’s pick,” Brian Benczkowski, “to be assistant attorney general overseeing the criminal division at the Criminal Division, overcoming Democratic objections that he has ties to a controversial Russian bank,” Alfa Bank. Horror! As a result “Benczkowski will now need confirmation by the full Senate, after clearing the committee on an 11-9 party-line vote. The Washington Times notes, “Benczkowski worked for the Trump campaign during the transition period as a liaison to the Justice Department,” and that he “also served as a staffer for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he was in the Senate.” The Washington Times adds, “Dianne Feinstein of California said she was worried Mr. Benczkowski lacked qualifications and independence because he had never served as a prosecutor or worked in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.” If your Senator is on the judiciary committee and happens to be Republican, now is the time to raise hell.
From The Washington Times.
RUSSIA WHINES U.S. REQUIRING PROPAGANDA AGENTS’ REGISTRATION
CNN reports Russian “Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a warning Thursday that Russia would retaliate if U.S. authorities took action against their government-funded media outlets in the U.S. RT and Sputnik.” Lying out the side of her mouth, Zakharova said, “Russia is dedicated to all international statues and norms regarding the freedom of speech and proved that on many occasions”. Yeah, Russia is a free country and other things you should laugh at on your way to your death there, because really, try exercising your right to free speech in Moscow or Chelyabinsk or wherever, we probably will not hear from you again after that, if ever.
RUSSIAN HACKER ARRESTED IN SPAIN SAYS HE WORKED FOR UNITED RUSSIA
Reuters reports, “A Russian hacker arrested in Spain on a U.S. warrant said on Thursday he previously worked for President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and feared he would be tortured and killed if extradited”. Reuters notes, “Peter Levashov was arrested while on holiday in Barcelona in April. U.S. prosecutors later charged him with hacking offences, accusing him of operating a network of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber criminals. Levashov’s comments offered a rare glimpse into the relationship between cyber criminals and the Russian state.” According to Reuters, “U.S. prosecutors are seeking a 52-year jail sentence and Levashov, who denies the charges against him”. Reuters reports, “He told a court in Madrid on Thursday that he had worked for the United Russia party for the last 10 years.”
NAVALNY DETAINED OUTSIDE HIS HOME
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny says he has been detained outside his home on Moscow on his way to a rally in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. In an Instagram post on September 29, Navalny wrote that he was detained as he left his apartment building to catch a train for the Volga River city.” A car pulled up and that was that.
J-KUSH NEVER TOLD SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE ABOUT PRIVATE EMAIL
But his goddamn motherfucking private emails! CNN reports, “In his closed interview with the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner did not share the existence of his personal email account, which he has used for official business,” because to J-Kush and the rest of the Trump klan, nothing matters but money and rules so obviously do not apply – except for when they do, then it is devastating. “CNN has also learned that the chair and vice chair of the committee were so unhappy that they learned about the existence of his personal email account via news reports that they wrote him a letter via his attorney Thursday instructing him to double-check that he has turned over every relevant document to the committee including those from his ‘“personal email account” described to the news media, as well as all other email accounts, messaging apps, or similar communications channels you may have used, or that may contain information relevant to our inquiry.’” Oh, snap.
JOURNEY INTO THE WHIRLWIND, DARKNESS AT NUNES
The Washington Times reports, “The House Intelligence Committee met behind closed doors Thursday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to address mounting frustration over the Justice Department’s handling of the infamous anti-Trump dossier that stunned America weeks after Mr. Trump’s election victory.” Reuters reports, “The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI are resisting demands from a Republican lawmaker,” DARKNESS AT NUNES, “to hand over documents about a former British spy’s dossier on purported Russian support for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign, because the FBI has its own open criminal investigation,” and because DARKNESS AT NUNES is running interference on as many investigations into Trump and Russia as possible for still unknown reasons. Put finding out why on your list of reasons to live and things to look forward to.
PENCE’S LAWYER VISIT SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER OVER SUMMER
POLITICO reports, “Vice President Mike Pence’s outside lawyer met privately with special counsel Robert Mueller at Pence’s request last summer”. The meeting, “held at Pence’s request,” was “to express his willingness to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation”. POLITICO notes, “Pence has largely remained on the sidelines of the Russia controversy, but he became a central figure in the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn, after Trump said he fired Flynn for misleading Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador during the transition. The vice president was also at an Oval Office meeting after which Trump cleared the room to speak alone with Comey. Comey claims that during that conversation, Trump said, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.’”
BORIS EPSHTEYN BEFORE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
The Hill reports, “Former Trump campaign adviser and White House communications official Boris Epshteyn interviewed behind closed doors with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday”. The Hill notes, “Epshteyn, who resigned from the White House in March without explanation, has drawn attention for his apparent dismissal of the intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.” Who do you trust, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies and some of the greatest patriots in the land or Boris Epshteyn, the lunatic Russian puppet president and such unstable backers as Info Wars’ Alex Jones? An age old dilemma for sure. Note, “Epshteyn, who grew up in Moscow, is fluent in Russian. He met Trump’s son, Eric Trump, at Georgetown University, where Epshteyn received a law degree.” His ties to Lubyanka are unknown at present time. These days, Epshteyn is primarily “Known for his combative television appearances on behalf of the president”. Of course, “He now works as a political analyst at the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting,” The Hill notes.
From The Hill.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
NORTH CAROLINA: HACKING IN THE HOT SEAT
The Washington Post reports, “The New York Times never reported that election systems in Durham, N.C., had succumbed to Russian hacking. In fact, the story indicated straight-up that ‘no clear-cut evidence of digital sabotage has emerged, much less a Russian role in it.’” However, despite that clear effort in The New York Times to minimize it, “There were indeed difficulties”. Shock! The Washington Post reports, “So-called e-poll books — essentially digital rolls that guide voting-day check-ins — malfunctioned, resulting in potential voters leaving in frustration or standing in line, annoyed. The state’s vendor for e-poll books was VR Systems, a Florida company that was targeted by Russian state hackers”. The result? “Publication of the story touched off some contentious correspondence between elections officials in North Carolina and the New York Times,” The Washington Post reports. The other result? “The New York Times isn’t budging much,” The Post notes. Critical question: The Washington Post notes, “a key line” in the story “reads: ‘Nobody in Durham — or any other county that relied on VR Systems’s electronic poll books — was ever informed that their equipment had been compromised by Russian hackers.’” So, “Then why quote an observer saying, ‘It felt like tampering, or some kind of cyberattack’?” The Post asks. Good question.
From The Washington Post.
BEWARE WHO IS INVESTING IN SILICON VALLEY THESE DAYS
Forbes spoke with Yuri Milner, the Alisher Usmanov-liked investor, who is splashing money around Silicon Valley these days, or as Forbes puts it, “When he’s not hosting Google founder Sergey Brin or Keira Knightly at his home in the Los Altos Hills he’s jetting between continents and managing a small team of partners to stoke deals with late-stage Internet startups.” Guess where he was invested?! Facebook, of course! Milner tells Forbes, “We started to invest in Facebook in 2009 and continued through 2011,” but says, “we disposed of our stake in 2012-2013.” Forbes also notes, “Last year you took part in a $50 million investment round for Jared Kushner’s fintech-real estate startup Cadre.” Milner states, “The investment was less than a million dollars as a part of $50 million fundraising round. I did not participate in other Cadre fundraising rounds and did not invest in other Kushner family enterprises.” Milner says he does not get involved in politics. This is all well and good if you close your eyes and magically pretend Russian money is just like any other money. But it’s not. So let us quit pretending!
RUSSIA’S RACE IN AMERICA STRATEGY
The Root has an excellent piece on Russia’s use of racial divisions in America. The Root accurately notes, “one thing is 100 percent clear: The Russian Federation, a nation that, through its former state of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, long claimed to be an advocate for black liberation, never loved us. This week’s revelations of Facebook ads specifically using Black Lives Matter activists as bait for white aggrievement is a sharp reversal of Russia’s racial manipulation tactics in the United States. As early as the 1920s, Soviet leadership realized they could take on Western imperialism by exploiting its mistreatment of black people—be they under Jim Crow in the United States or colonialism on the continent of Africa. The selling point was that the USSR was better, which it never really was.” For more, listen to the BBC interview with Robert Robinson who left America for Russia under Stalin and quickly realized he made the biggest mistake of his life. Out of fear, he always slept with his shoes on awaiting a knock on the door. Excellent article and if you are looking for more on the question of race in relations for Soviet and Russian propaganda and U.S. foreign policy, check out the book Cold War Civil Rights.
From The Root.
POLAND + FINLAND COOPERATING ON CYBER SECURITY
Newsweek reports, “Two of Russia’s neighbors, Poland and Finland, have struck a deal to cooperate in fighting cyber threats, as Russia’s shadow looms large over Europe’s northeastern Baltic region. The countries’ defense ministers met in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on Wednesday to strike a deal that calls for exchanging information and pooling togther their technology. The deal is significant in large part because Finland is one of the last neutral states in Europe and has the longest land border with Russia on the continent. In addition to Finland, only Sweden and Russia are not members of NATO in the Baltic region, the security of which is at the heart of the new deal.” Curiously, the author of this article is Damien Sharkov, prone to occasional fits of Russian cheerleading and it quotes Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macieriewicz who has come under scrutiny, similarly, for his links to Russia and his deputy’s links to Russia and the far right. “‘This agreement is of special importance to all Baltic Sea countries, but also the entire European Union,’ Poland’s defense minister, Antoni Macierewicz, said at the document’s signing in Helsinki,” Newsweek reports. Be wary and beware.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
NOT DEAD YET: ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI, DESPITE WHAT RUSSIA SAID
BBC reports, “Islamic State militants have released what appears to be an audio recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” BBC notes, “A speaker who sounds like the IS leader seems to refer to recent North Korean threats against Japan and the US.” Recall, “Baghdadi, who has a $25m (£19m) US bounty on his head, has not been seen in public since July 2014, leading to much speculation about his fate.” Russia has previously said it killed the man but now it appears it did not. Russia lied, surprise!
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