—–ON THE AGENDA—–
NAVALNY IN COURT FOR CRIME OF “ILLEGAL DEMONSTRATIONS”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny is scheduled to appear at an administrative hearing on October 2 on charges of repeatedly organizing illegal demonstrations. His lawyer, Olga Mikhailova, said the hearing is scheduled to take place in Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Navalny was detained by police on September 29 in Moscow and prevented from boarding a train to Nizhny Novgorod to attend a political rally in the city’s Markin Square.” Nonetheless, “Navalny spoke on October 1 at a rally in the northern city of Arkhangelsk.”
ENTER GIULIANI: BECAUSE MANY WERE WONDERING NOT IF BUT WHEN
McClatchy reports, “A powerful Kazakh family,” the Khrapunovs, “and a developer linked to Donald Trump,” Felix Sater, “enlisted the law firm of a high-profile Trump confidante,” Rudy Giuliani, “to create a web of offshore companies designed to minimize taxes.” Since so many have been waiting with anticipation for this moment: behold, enter Rudy Giuliani! McClatchy notes, “The firm: Bracewell & Giuliani, which carried the name of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani was a frequent surrogate for Trump during the 2016 campaign and was considered for a position in his Cabinet.” And there’s more! McClatchy reports, “Bracewell & Giuliani had an office in Kazakhstan, and Giuliani even raised funds from expatriates there for his failed 2008 presidential bid,” because what could go wrong? McClatchy adds, “the developer, Bayrock Group, which partnered with the Trump Organization on at least three projects in the mid-2000s, was in business with the Khrapunov family”. Note, “Documents obtained by McClatchy, Dutch broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project show that the Khrapunovs — former Kazakh politician Viktor, his anchorwoman wife Leila and Geneva-based son Ilyas — joined forces with Bayrock and Sater during a period that Bayrock was developing the famed Trump Soho project in Manhattan, which Trump touted often on NBC’s hit show The Apprentice.” Talk about cross-platform branding and transitioning to video, buzzwords in today’s media environment! McClatchy reports, “Together, the Khrapunovs and Bayrock Group created KazBay B.V. in the Netherlands in 2007, with the legal advice of Bracewell & Giuliani.” Oh, “America’s mayor”! McClatchy however injects caution, adding, “Giuliani joined the law firm as a partner in 2005, staying until 2016. It’s unclear how involved he was in Kazakhstan, but the head of the law firm’s Kazakh office at the time, Gregory Vojack, raised money there for Giuliani’s failed presidential bid in 2008.” Giuliani spoke to the crowd gathered in Vojack’s Almaty home via video conference. In a time before Trump, this was moderately controversial.
DOJ DEMANDS ACCESS TO “ANTI-ADMINISTRATION ACTIVISTS’” FACEBOOK
CNN reports that the Trump administration has borrowed language and intent from the post-Soviet world in going after anti-Trump activists online. CNN cites court documents noting, “Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant”. What a two-bit wannabe third world dictatorship! Note, CNN reports, “The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as ‘anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.’” But the KKK and Nazis are “some very fine people” according to His Heinous, the Great Lunatic — remember that! According to CNN, “One of those users, Emmelia Talarico, operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed; the page was visited by an estimated 6,000 users whose identities the government would have access to if Facebook hands over the information sought in the search warrants.” CNN reports, “The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the three Facebook users, filed a motion to quash the warrants Thursday.” CNN adds, “the search warrant also seeks all information about the personal accounts of Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour.” Law Newz, which broke the story, reports, in their filing, the ACLU said “the government’s demands violate the Fourth Amendment because they are so broad, and threatening First Amendment speech.” Didn’t Attorney General Private Russian Sessions just use Georgetown as a legitimacy prop to deliver a monologue on free speech, by which he meant of course racist hate speech? Oh right, that happened only last week. Smell the bullshit there. Free speech is Nazi speech to this cabal of Russian puppets.
MORE PROPAGANDA THAN INFO ON TWITTER DURING 2016 ELECTION
The Hill reports, “During the height of the 2016 presidential race, Twitter users shared more ‘misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content’ than actual news stories, an Oxford University study released Thursday says.” According to The Hill, “The study also found that levels of misinformation on Twitter were higher on average in swing states than in uncontested states.” Everyone was exposed but no one was influenced by Russian propaganda, just ask them. People are happy to tell you about how much autonomous free will and agency they have deceived themselves into believing they possess.
From The Hill.
RUSSIANS SPENT REAL MONEY TO DO DISINFO + PSYOPS RIGHT
Defense One reports Senator Mark Warner said, “Warner said the amount Moscow spent in total influencing the American, French and Dutch elections was about a quarter the cost of building an F-35 fighter jet.” In other words, they spent a lot of money, a sum with so many zeroes it is beyond the simple comprehension of most people. Warner also expressed concern that 21st century warfare meant social media was the first front. His concerns echo a months-old Vice piece on whether or not America is ready for memetic warfare, likening the enterprise to IEDs.
From Defense One.
GOOGLE CONDUCTS INTERNAL PROBE TO SEE IF RUSSIA USED THEIRS ADS
Because of course it did and now the best crisis management is to get ahead of the scandal, unless your name is Donald Trump, in which case you are probably screwed because your behavior is beyond criminal. The Wall Street Journal reports now, “Google is conducting a broad internal investigation to determine whether Russian-linked entities used its ads or services to try to manipulate voters ahead of the U.S. election”. One more thing for everyone to be shocked just shocked about later!
From The Wall Street Journal.
FACEBOOK SHARES DATA WITH GOOGLE ON RUSSIAN DISINFO OPS
Recode reports, “Facebook has shared some details about the Russian-operated profiles it discovered on its platform with Google, as the search giant — with the rest of the tech industry — continues to probe the extent to which Kremlin-backed misinformation spread through their websites during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Recode notes, “It is unclear if Google has found any suspicious ads or other content after evaluating Facebook’s data,” but it is safe to assume at this point and based on observation in 2016.
REALITY WINNER IS NOT A WINNER IN REALITY
POLITICO reports Reality Winner, “A National Security Agency contractor accused of leaking a classified report on Russian hacking aimed at the 2016 election told FBI agents she smuggled the document out of a high security intelligence facility in her pantyhose.” The “details appear in a transcript federal prosecutors filed in court Wednesday detailing the interrogation of 25-year-old linguist Reality Winner by the FBI as they carried out a search warrant at her home in June.” According to POLITICO, “Winner appears to say she believed the contents of the report — which described Russian spearfishing cyberattacks aimed at U.S. voter registration databases — should be in the public debate,” adding, “Winner told the agents that she knew the report implicated intelligence sources and methods.” Also included, “prosecutors say that in a Facebook chat in March with her sister, Winner said she was on the ‘side’ of both Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange,” POLITICO notes. Most interestingly, it “says she was assigned to “the Iranian Aerospace Forces Office.” Overall, sounds like a useful idiot with great potential to go rogue had any such possible mission not been aborted by shoddy tradecraft in leaking. It is however disconcerting because it sounds like the Russians – or rather, their proxies Assange and Snowden – got in her head and she mistook this for critical thinking. She put her faith in the hands of a publication Glenn Greenwald sits atop the masthead of and they screwed her royally. Remind me again why anyone on the left still listens to Greenwald? It’s because all of us who don’t are supposed to be brainwashed by the C.I.A., isn’t it?
THE PRICE IS NOT RIGHT: DIE UNTERGANG
TRUMPISTAN WATCH has avoided covering the scandal involving former Secretary of Health and Human Services extensive use of private and chartered aircraft because the story broke early last week as the result of Washington Post investigative reporting. POLITICO sent out an alert Friday, the point in the week when the reality show cast usually let’s go of a cast member, “HHS [Health and Human Services] Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday in the face of multiple federal inquiries and growing criticism of his use of private and government planes for travel, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1 million since May.” In other words, it reeked of first world accountability despite real efforts made towards royal family levels of spending on behalf of the Secretary. However, now with his downfall, or as the Germans call it, die untergang, we can look back and forward, because such scandals of excess privilege of elites, in this case Trumpistanis, very often brought about the downfall of Soviet regimes and puppet states in the past. Note the outrage over the accouterment of Rosneft’s private aircraft recently, for instance. To replace Price, Trump surely seeks a real Mengele. It is no longer enough to take away people’s health care and starve an island of recovery supplies; it may come time to conduct inhumane experiments.
FAKE RUSSIAN PRESIDENT NOT ENFORCING RUSSIA SANCTIONS YET
Reuters reports, “Two months after signing it, President Donald Trump has not begun enforcing a law imposing new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, Senators John McCain and Ben Cardin said in a letter,” which the newswire has seen. Additionally, “with just two days to go, his administration has not provided information related to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors required under the measure by Sunday”. Reuters notes, “Later on Friday, the White House issued a presidential memorandum taking the first step toward implementation by designating different agencies to start the process putting the law into effect.”
ZAPAD WATCH: UKRAINE SAYS RUSSIA LEFT GEAR BEHIND IN BELARUS
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “The Ukrainian military’s chief of staff says Russia left troops behind in Belarus after staging military exercises there, despite Moscow’s pledge not to do so,” citing Reuters. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Viktor Muzhenko’s comments in an interview with the news agency on September 29 could heighten tensions further between Moscow and Kyiv”. Naturally, “The claim also contradicts a statement by the Belarusian Defense Ministry, which said that the last train of Russian troops who participated in the Zapad (West) 2017 military drills left Belarus on September 28.”
POSSIBLE UN PEACEKEEPING MISSION FOR DONBASS?
Interfax-Ukraine reports, “United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov will meet in early October to discuss the possibility of a United Nations peacekeeping mission for Donbas, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said.” However, parsing the diplomatic language means it is a bit more nuanced as “The U.S. believes it is important to try to reach a mutual understanding on a mandate for such a possible peacekeeping mission, Tefft said in an interview published in the Kommersant newspaper,” according to Interfax-Ukraine. Additionally, Interfax-Ukraine reports, “A source familiar with the matter said last week that Volker and Surkov may meet in the Balkans in the first half of October.”
AND YOU GET A SUBPOENA, AND YOU GET A SUBPOENA, AND YOU…
CBS News reports, “The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee say that they have reached an agreement to subpoena Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, to testify before the committee if he won’t appear voluntarily.” Senator Chuck Grassley said “there’s been agreement in personal,” but the kinks, where the Russian mafia state lives, are being worked out still.
From CBS News.
NSC CHIEF OF STAFF QUESTIONED BY MUELLER
The Hill reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly started interviewing White House officials as part of the investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.” On Friday, Fox News broke the story that “retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, the chief of staff for the National Security Council, was interviewed on Thursday. According to the report, Kellogg was shown information and asked questions related to President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.”
From The Hill.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
TRUMP “FAMILY SPRING BREAK” COST TAXPAYERS $300K IN SECURITY
Every great populist revolution begins with a $300k in security costs Aspen ski vacation for the leader’s extended family! And every good Third World kleptocrat expects none of the plebes and surfs to bat an eyelash. CBS News reports, “The annual Aspen ski vacation taken in March by President Trump’s children, Ivanka and Eric Trump, and their families, including son-in-law Jared Kushner, left taxpayers on the hook for security costs of at least $330,000”. “Family spring break” is just a fancy way of saying we do not care what this costs you or ultimately, us. What a klan!
From CBS News.
PAUL MANAFORT: PERFECT MARK FOR RUSSIAN INTEL
Steven Hall “oversaw intelligence operations in the former Soviet Union and the former Warsaw Pact and worked on counterintelligence and cybersecurity at CIA headquarters,” and writes in The Washington Post of how when he “read the recent reports that President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had offered to brief Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska on the presidential election last year,” he “was alarmed.” According to Hall, “to Russian intelligence in 2016, Manafort would have looked like the ideal spy. Someone like Deripaska is exactly how they would have gotten to him.” Hall lays it out: “the ideal spy looks something like this: an individual with a significant financial vulnerability or motivation (such as debt or a threat of meaningful financial loss); someone with access to inside information of interest to the Russian government; a person who understands the need for discretion and, if necessary, secrecy. It is a plus to the Russian security services if the person in question also has ideological motivations (being pro-Russian, or at least not anti-Russia) and is already a known quantity.” It is with this in mind that Hall states, “Any Russian intelligence officer worth his salt would have identified Manafort — whom Deripaska had sued in 2014 in the Cayman Islands, alleging that he took almost $19 million without accounting for the money — as meeting all those qualifications.” Furthermore, “From a counterintelligence perspective, a scenario where Manafort became a target of Russian operatives does not take a lot of imagination to come up with,” Hall writes in The Post.
From The Washington Post.
WHAT IS ROSNEFT? OR IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION
Deutsche Welle reports, “If you look at the city of Moscow from the Kremlin, you will see – among other representative buildings – a dome-crowned palace, which serves as the headquarters of the Russian oil behemoth Rosneft.” Therefore, “the company’s employees have an unobstructed view of the seat of the Russian government”. Now keep in mind, this is not Exxon Mobil, there are no shareholders, the board of directors is the seat of the Russian government. If you have ever complained about oil companies working against the national interest, well in Russia they are the national interest. Deutsche Welle notes, “The British petroleum company BP is the second-largest shareholder, owning some 19.75 percent stake in the firm. The Anglo-Swiss commodity trader Glencore, together with Qatar’s state investment fund, holds an additional 19.50 percent of the shares.” Additionally, “Rosneft is in the business of oil exploration and production; its approximately 260,000 employees worldwide generated sales of around €75 billion ($88.5 billion) in 2015.” Along with “Gazprom, which also has its headquarters in Moscow and had an annual revenue of €57 billion in 2014, Rosneft forms the backbone of the Russian petroleum industry,” Deutsche Welle notes, which is to say, the entirety of industries in Russia. Deutsche Welle reports, “the company is a leading actor in oil refining in Russia and is also active in a number of countries, including Venezuela, Cuba, Canada, the US, Brazil, Norway, Italy, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Vietnam and others.” And of course, “Rosneft is also present in Germany,” and has “a market share of about 12 percent.” The head of Rosneft is Igor Sechin and the head of Gazprom is Alexei Miller; both men are from St. Petersburg. As Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been made chairman of the board of Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft.”
ACTIVE MEASURES IN THE COLD WAR BATTLESPACE
War on the Rocks takes us on a trip down memory lane back to see what active measures looked like during the Cold War. Hint: it is a lot of familiar techniques you will recognize from not-so-ancient times because the “modern” Russian mafia state is the KGB rebranded FSB and the party dropped all pretext of ideology in becoming United Russia. War on the Rocks notes the Soviet Union’s “official news agency, TASS, as well as the nominally independent Novosti, the predecessor to Sputnik, cooperated with the KGB active measures department to disseminate covert propaganda – that is, propaganda that masks its origin – abroad.” Yes, Assange, Snowden, Greenwald, Fairbanks, etc. and their ilk had antecedents in Soviet times. Indeed, “The Soviets commonly used forgeries — fabricated documents, often made to look like government memos”. France was hit by that, but not us, so far, that we know of. War on the Rocks notes, “Soviet intelligence cultivated assets in mainstream media outlets including Reuters and CBS.” Then as now, “U.S. policymakers decided information was the answer. Active measures ‘are infections that thrive only in darkness, and sunlight is the best antiseptic,’ concluded then-Undersecretary of State Lawrence Eaglerburger.” War on the Rocks notes, “Soviets believed active measures functioned like ‘drops on a stone’ wearing down the target over decades.” There were also “Kremlin-backed front organizations, which feigned altruism,” sort of like The Intercept today, but surely there are even greater examples out there. And even more familiar to my fellow Americans, War on the Rocks notes, “Soviet leadership condoned using or promoting violence to deepen a target society’s latent fissures,” including funding terrorist groups. George F. Kennan, the great American statesman said the “health and vigor of our society” is our best defense, which is part of why we are having so much trouble now, much as an earlier generation of KGB defectors stated.
From War on the Rocks.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SELLS TRUMP DATA TO HERITAGE FOUNDATION
The Daily Beast reports, “Cambridge Analytica, inked a deal with the nation’s leading conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, for the purpose of hitting up Trump voters for donations.” The Daily Beast notes, “Cambridge Analytica is run by Rebekah Mercer, who with her father provided major cash infusions for Trump and groups supporting him during the 2016 campaign. Mercer is also a board member of the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s flagship conservative think tank.”
From The Daily Beast.
RUSSIAN BASTARDS BEGIN TO PICK AT CNN OVER BULLSHIT
Meduza reports, “Russian regulators have issued an administrative warning to the American cable news network CNN. Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media regulator, says the warning concerns a ‘trivial violation’ of broadcasting rules. ‘This sort of thing happens often,’ he said, explaining that CNN published incorrect masthead information that it’s required by law to report on the air.” Translated from Russian bullshit into polite American: we are asshole sand we will fuck with you at our discretion because now this has gotten serious since your State Department opted to deny U.S. visas to our wives so we are stuck with them in Moscow for the winter instead of exiling them to Miami so we can jaunt to Paris for the weekend with the mistress. Seriously CNN, everyone wearing a tin foil hat knows it’s the cable network that controls State Department policy. This is the Russians tapping the microphone to see if it works.
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: THEIR PROPAGANDA IS “MEDIA”
Reuters reports, “President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of Russia’s Security Council on Friday that Russian media outlets working abroad were facing growing and unacceptable pressure,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. The Security Council in Russia is a bunch of brutal old KGB hands, so support American journalists reporting on this because they will need it.
SHIT DMITRY PESKOV SAYS: “FIRST HE SHOULD FLY TO MOSCOW”
For starters, the incoming U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, has previously served in this role in Singapore under former President George H.W. Bush and China under Obama. He is not new to the scene or international travel. So it is obscene when Russian propaganda quotes Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “First he should fly to Moscow.” Who do the Russians think they are, for real? So what prompted Peskov to mutter such rubbish? Russian state-run RT writes, “It is too early to speak about the date of the presentation of the new US ambassador’s credentials in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. Earlier media reports said that Jon Huntsman could take part in the ceremony of diplomatic credentials’ presentation at the Kremlin on October 3.” More tapping of the mic from the Russians.
From Russian state-run RT.
LENTA.RU PAPER FIRE BOMBED + SWASTIKAS PAINTED ON ITS WALLS
Agence France Presse reports, “Attackers on Friday hurled a Molotov cocktail into the Moscow offices of Russian news website, Lenta.ru , and daubed a swastika and a neo-Nazi slogan on its walls, its editor said.” Agence France Presse notes, “Kremlin-friendly outlet, Lenta.ru is part of Rambler&Co media holding controlled by billionaire Alexander Mamut, who owns British bookstore chain Waterstones.”
From Agence France Presse.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
KIM PHILBY, ETERNAL RUSSIAN HERO IN THE ABSENCE OF REAL ONES
The New York Times reports, “Bereft of friends in Western capitals since its 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia is celebrating the memory of the British K.G.B. spy Kim Philby, a stalwart supporter who stood by it through thick and thin – and spent the last 25 years of his life in Moscow, often drunk and miserable but still loyal.” Recall Philby was “a notorious double-agent who defected to Moscow in 1963 and died there in 1988”. The New York Times reports, “The adulation has now reached a new level with the opening of an exhibition in Moscow on the life and work of the best-known of the so-called Cambridge Five Soviet spies in Britain. It portrays Mr. Philby as an unwavering Russian patriot, and it includes the first public display of some of the more than 900 secret British documents he passed on to the K.G.B., the Soviet-era spy agency.” Somewhat cheekily, The New York Times notes, “Portraying Russia’s secret police officers as selfless public servants rather than lawless goons, however, has sometimes been an uphill struggle.” The New York Times notes, “The exhibition is put on by the Russian Historical Society, a state organization run by Sergei Y. Naryshkin, who is the chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or S.V.R., the successor to the foreign intelligence arm of the K.G.B.”
From The New York Times.
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