—–ON THE AGENDA—–
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE TO BACK INTEL ASSESSMENT OF 2016
The Washington Post reports, “Senate Intelligence Committee leaders are expected on Wednesday to largely endorse the intelligence community’s findings that Russia sought to sway the 2016 U.S. elections through a hacking and influence campaign as they sound the alarm that states preparing for the coming election season must be vigilant against similar threats.” According to The Washington Post, “The planned news conference from Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) has been billed as a forum for the two panel leaders to give the public an interim status update on the committee’s long-running investigation of allegations Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections”.
From The Washington Post.
RUSSIANS TARGETED MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN WITH FAKEBOOK ADS
CNN reports, “A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November”. It stretches credulity to believe our great new friends the Russians did so without help or assistance from Americans as “Some of the Russian ads appeared highly sophisticated in their targeting of key demographic groups in areas of the states that turned out to be pivotal”. According to CNN, “the ads were aimed at reaching voters who may be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, even suggesting that Muslims were a threat to the American way of life. Such messaging could presumably appeal to voters attracted to Trump’s hard-line stance against immigration and calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States,” e.g. bigots in plain English. There are words for this, especially as Trump was the end result: pure evil.
FBI DIRECTOR SAID RUSSIANS WILL JUST TRY HARDER NEXT TIME
Newsweek reports, “The newly installed FBI director,” Christopher Wray, “said Monday night he does not expect Russia to back down from attempts to interfere with United States elections.” The comments were made to “a crowd of about 150 people at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.” Newsweek reports according to Wray, “he expects the U.S. to be better prepared to deal with threats in the 2018 and 2020 elections. But he added that he anticipates Russia will also be better prepared to carry out its efforts to interfere.” Oh? And how are we better preparing? Paper ballots?
ROHRABACHER MET WITH KREMLIN-LINKED LAWYER LAST YEAR TOO
Foreign Policy reports Putin’s favorite congressman “Rep. Dana Rohrabacher met with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during a 2016 trip to Moscow”. According to an interview she gave to a pro-Russian Crimean propaganda outlet, “Veselnitskaya said she met with Rohrabacher — a California Republican and arguably the most prominent advocate in Congress for closer relations between Washington and Moscow — in April 2016 to discuss issues surrounding the Magnitsky Act,” Foreign Policy reports. Taking a page from White House shill Kellyanne Conway, “‘We just asked to listen to us, just to listen to the alternative version,’ Veselnitskaya said in the interview,” because “alternative facts” fuel the Kremlin’s legitimacy in the absence of anything real. Recall, “Two months after her meeting with Rohrabacher, Veselnitskaya met in New York with Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., to discuss Magnitsky and to offer potentially incriminating information about his father’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”. Not mention here: that Trump Tower meeting that also included princeling Jared and then campaign manager Paul Manafort.
From Foreign Policy.
ROHRABACHER WHINES KELLY WON’T LET HIM SEE TRUMP
Business Insider reports, “California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican known for his fondness of the Russian government and ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said he is unable to even speak to President Donald Trump due to barriers put in place by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.” All hail the great General Kelly! Rohrabacher whined to Business Insider, “Kelly and ‘a coalition of people in the White House’ are preventing him from having a conversation with Trump that would entail clearing Assange and the Russian government from allegations they meddled in the 2016 presidential election.” A true coalition of the willing and ready to serve! According to Rohrabacher, “Last month during a phone call with Kelly, Rohrabacher requested a pardon of Assange in exchange for evidence that would clear the fugitive’s name,” Business Insider reports. No wonder Kelly is tepid. However, assume anything that comes out of Rohrabacher’s mouth is not true as believing otherwise is a bit like believing the Kremlin, since one works for the other.
From Business Insider.
AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN ARRIVES + CREDENTIALED IN MOSCOW
The AP reports, “The new U.S. ambassador to Russia presented his diplomatic credentials to President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony Tuesday in the Kremlin, a move that marks the formal start of Jon Huntsman’s work in Russia.” According to The AP, “In his address to Huntsman, Putin offered Russia’s condolences over Monday’s deadly shooting attack in Las Vegas and expressed hope for better ties with the U.S.”
From the AP.
EU-NATO HYBRID THREAT CENTER LAUNCHED IN FINLAND
Deutsche Welle reports, “The EU and NATO have teamed up in Europe’s far north to fight hybrid threats from ‘tweets to tanks’. A new center of excellence focuses on resilience”. According to Deutsche Welle, “Finland is the host of the new European Center of Excellence (CoE) for Countering Hybrid Threats, a facility officially inaugurated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.” Deutsche Welle notes, “NATO already has two dozen accredited centers of excellence, but this is the EU’s first”.
From Deutsche Welle.
RUSSIA SEEKS TO HACK NATO SOLDIERS’ SMART PHONES
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Russia has opened a new battlefront with NATO, according to Western military officials, by exploiting a point of vulnerability for almost all allied soldiers: their personal smartphones,” in “a campaign to compromise soldiers’ smartphones.”
From The Wall Street Journal.
SPAIN AGRRES TO EXTRADITION OF RUSSIAN HACKER TO US
The AP reports, “Spain’s National Court has decided to extradite a suspected Russian hacker,” Pyotr Levashov, “to the United States.” Recall Levashov “was arrested earlier this year while vacationing with his family in Barcelona. U.S. authorities had requested his arrest, for they want him on fraud charges and unauthorized interception of electronic communications.” Russian state-run TASS notes, “Russia also requested Levashov’s extradition earlier,” for no reason other than to keep him out of American hands. Too bad!
RUSSIAN MILITARY HOLDING SNAP DRILLS
The AP reports, “The Russian military is conducting sweeping drills that involve dozens of intercontinental ballistic missile launchers.” According to the AP, “The Defense Ministry said Tuesday in a statement carried by the [Russian state-run] Interfax news agency that the maneuvers involve over 60 Topol, Topol-M and Yars missile launchers,” adding, “The ministry said the drills are spread across vast area from the Tver region northwest of Moscow to the Irkutsk region in eastern Siberia.”
From the AP.
RUSSIA ACCUSES US OF SAN FRANCISCO CONSULATE RESIDENCES BREAK IN
Reuters reports, “The Russian Foreign Ministry said U.S. officials had broken into residences at Russia’s consulate in San Francisco, and threatened retaliation over what it called an illegal act.” Recall, “Russian staff left the consulate last month, after Washington ordered Moscow to vacate some of its diplomatic properties, part of a series of tit-for-tat actions during a thorny phase in bilateral relations,” Reuters reports. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, “Since then, U.S. officials had occupied administrative parts of the compound, but on Monday they entered residential areas that the departing staff had locked,” Reuters adds. The State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called phooey on Russian accusations, because either that or ignoring their bullshit is usually the best course.
KREMLIN WARNS AGAINST PROTEST ACTIONS
Reuters reports, “The Kremlin on Tuesday warned supporters of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny not to hold unsanctioned rallies, saying the organizers of such events would be prosecuted.” All on the far right in America, including the fake Russian puppet president and his Attorney General Private Russian Sessions who believe Nazi speech is free speech, should take that struggle to Russia about now and see how well they fair. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Public calls for unsanctioned events and rallies run counter to the legislation in force and, certainly, their organizers will be prosecuted,” because in Russia nobody has any rights. Remember, Trump admires this nation.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE CALLING UP GOOGLE EXECS
Bloomberg reports, “As part of a wide-ranging investigation into how Russian-linked operatives harnessed social media during the 2016 U.S. election, lawmakers are homing in on Google services including YouTube and Gmail.” According to Bloomberg, “The Senate has called Alphabet Inc.’s Google to testify Nov. 1, along with executives from Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.” Bloomberg notes, “Google’s most vulnerable property might be YouTube.” In case anyone doubts profits are not a primary motivator here, “Russia Today, a Kremlin-tied media outlet and a focus of Congressional investigators, has YouTube channels with more than 2.5 million subscribers. Google sells the network, known as [Russian state-run] RT, in its package of premium ad inventory, which commands higher rates because of its large audience.” Note: the purpose of Russia Today is that you have no clue as to what is happening in Russia today. However, “The internet giant said Tuesday it recently pulled RT from this program, known as Google Preferred,” Bloomberg notes.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
ARYAN PRINCESS IVANKA + UDAY ALMOST CHARGED WITH FELONIES
ProPublica, in conjunction with New York public radio WNYC and The New Yorker magazine, reports, “In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell. Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.” According to ProPublica, “In 2010, when the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the D.A.’s office opened an investigation of the siblings, the Trump Organization had hired several top New York criminal defense lawyers to represent Donald Jr. and Ivanka.” Then, “Marc Kasowitz entered the case,” according to ProPublica, which adds, “in 2012, Kasowitz donated $25,000 to the reelection campaign of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., making Kasowitz one of Vance’s largest donors.” Kasowitz then “went directly to Vance to ask that the investigation be dropped,” according to ProPublica. Surprise of surprises, “Ultimately, Vance overruled his own prosecutors. Three months after the meeting, he told them to drop the case.” However, ProPublica notes, “Just before the 2012 meeting, Vance’s campaign had returned Kasowitz’s $25,000 contribution, in keeping with what Vance describes as standard practice when a donor has a case before his office.” So what the hell happened? Well, “less than six months after the D.A.’s office dropped the case, Kasowitz made an even larger donation to Vance’s campaign, and helped raise more from others — eventually, a total of more than $50,000,” which Vance now says he will return when pressed about it by ProPublica.
DOJ RELEASES NEPOTISM OPINIONS OVERRULED TO GIVE JAVANKA ROLES
POLITICO reports, “The Justice Department has released a series of recently overruled legal memos concluding that presidents cannot appoint their relatives to the White House staff or presidential commissions, even to unpaid posts.” According to POLITICO, “In January, a career Justice Department official essentially declared the earlier opinions erroneous or obsolete,” which meant Aryan princess Ivanka and princeling Jared could saunter into the White House and pretend to do important things. POLITICO obtained the opinions through the Freedom of Information Act. The opinions “detail how Justice Department lawyers concluded for decades that such appointments of family members were illegal under an anti-nepotism law passed in 1967.” If ever there was living proof as to the merit of these opinions, princeling Jared and Aryan princess Ivanka are it, useless persons as they are.
TURNS OUT RULES DO APPLY EVEN TO SELF-ANOINTED ROYAL FAMILY
McClatchy reports princeling Jared + Aryan princess Ivanka “were both fined $200 for missing deadlines to submit financial reports required by government ethics rules”. It is a slap on the wrist for sure but it is nonetheless an indication that for these two self-anointed, self-important royals rules do apply! McClatchy notes, “It’s the second time that Kushner has been fined for late filing as part of his months-long process of divesting pieces of his vast business empire to serve in the White House, a highly unusual occurrence.” Curiously, the destructive duo, “listed vastly different values for some of their joint assets, with some discrepancies of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.” McClatchy notes, “In total, Kushner has made changes to his financial disclosure form 39 times — in many cases in response to questions from the Office of Government Ethics — after receiving an initial 18-day filing extension.” Maybe it is time to go back to New York kids and let adults handle the serious business of governing?
RUSSIAN STATE-RUN RT STILL HAVING ZERO ISSUES REACHING AMERICANS
Recode reports, “Twitter has continued to allow a Russian government-supported news network to advertise on its platform,” and so has Facebook. Recode reports neither Facebook nor Twitter have moved to shutdown Russian state-run RT accounts on either platform. It is as if they are awaiting special instructions because money and clicks are all that matter. Shock! Of course Facebook notes, “they are monitoring the situation,” whatever the hell that means. Recode notes Google has similarly done nothing and unlike Facebook and Twitter has announced nothing, despite the fact that Russian state-run “RT videos had been viewed about 800 million times on Google-owned YouTube between the video platform’s founding in 2005 and the U.S. government’s January 2017 analysis of the election.” Of course the tech companies fall behind a façade of censorship and free speech but hey, walk into a crowded movie theater, yell “fire!” and see how far that defense gets you because very little difference.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULES IN FAVOR OF NOVAYA GAZETA
The BBC reports, “The European Court of Human Rights says Russia must compensate journalists who were sued for articles about the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster in 2000. The case was won by Novaya Gazeta, an investigative newspaper often critical of the Kremlin.” According to the BBC, “Russia must now pay it 3,388 euros (£3,007; $3,984), and 2,170 euros to its correspondent Yelena Milashina.” The BBC notes, “The paper had alleged failure by the military to properly investigate the deaths of 118 Kursk sailors.”
From the BBC.
RUSSIAN PREPARATIONS FOR 2018 WORLD CUP LAGGING
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “President Vladimir Putin has expressed satisfaction about Russia’s progress in preparing for soccer’s 2018 World Cup, but said construction work on some of the venues remained behind schedule,” as officials steal day and night to get ready for this thing. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “Russia has pumped billions of dollars into stadiums and other infrastructure ahead of the World Cup, the world’s main soccer tournament, which will take place in June-July 2018 in 11 Russian cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Sochi.” Do not go to Russia unless you have a sadistic or self-hating streak. Local officials from Samara to Kaliningrad want more money, because of course they do. Does the Kremlin have any left after their extraordinarily expensive and ongoing America operation?
GEORGE FOREMAN HIGHLIGHTS RUSSIA’S SHODDY CELEBRITY WAR CHEST
Esquire reports, “George Foreman slings fat-grilling machines on home shopping networks. Steven [sic] Seagel films low-budget martial arts movies in Russia and carefully maintains the single worst grooming situation in the world.” Now however the “former World Heavyweight Champion Foreman had challenged his [sic] Seagel to a massive punch-up over Twitter.” Esquire does not seem to get that this is a fantastic effort to highlight that Russia went to war with America and all it had in its celebrity war chest is Steven Seagal, whose name Esquire cannot even spell correctly because no one in America except Russia watchers actually gives a damn about Seagal, who is an enormous loser and has been — sort of like another Russian puppet squatting in the White House.
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