WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, THERE WAS A MILITARY COUP
Evidently in this new post-America Trumpistan, we are told the military is above reproach. In the old America of the war on terror years, we just acted as if it was. But to be told? This is quite another thing. The Hill reports, “The White House on Friday vociferously defended President Trump’s chief of staff after he mischaracterized remarks made by a Democratic congresswoman who criticized Trump’s condolence call to a widow of a fallen U.S. solider. Facing persistent questions from reporters, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded that John Kelly’s four-decade career in the Marine Corps makes him beyond reproach.” Come again? Furthermore in a revisit of Kelly’s press conference a day earlier in which he asserted falsehoods about a member of Congress, Masha Gessen notes in The New Yorker, Kelly “said that he would take questions only from those members of the press who had a personal connection to a fallen soldier, followed by those who knew a Gold Star family.” Horrifyingly, “As if on cue, the first reporter allowed to speak inserted the phrase ‘Semper Fi’—a literal loyalty oath—into his question.” Semper Fidelis, or “Always Faithful” in Latin, is the Marines’ motto.
TWITLER RAILS AGAINST STEELE DOSSIER
Business Insider reports, “President Donald Trump unleashed his frustration over the ongoing Russia investigation in several tweets Saturday afternoon. Addressing the dossier compiled by the former British spy Christopher Steele, which alleges several ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, Trump tweeted, ‘Officials behind the now discredited “Dossier” plead the Fifth. Justice Department and/or FBI should immediately release who paid for it.’”
From Business Insider.
TRUMP *PLEDGES* TO PAY LEGAL DEFENSE OF WITNESSES
The Washington Post reports, “President Trump plans to spend at least $430,000 of his personal funds to help cover the mounting legal costs incurred by White House staff and campaign aides related to the ongoing investigations of Russian meddling in last year’s election, a White House official said.” The Washington Post notes, “The arrangement drew immediate criticism from Walter Shaub, the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who suggested on Twitter that it is rife with potential conflicts.” Shaub tweeted, “A potential witness or target of an investigation (and boss of investigators) paying for legal fees of other potential witnesses or targets?” The Washington Post adds, “The White House official said many issues remain to be resolved, including how the money will be accessed and who can request it. The White House’s and campaign aides’ legal costs are expected to balloon well beyond what Trump is putting forward,” or rather pledging to, and we all know how good the loon’s word is (not very).
From The Washington Post.
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS EFFORTS TO GET AT PRIVATE EMAILS
Bloomberg reports, “House Democrats pressed Republicans to join them in trying to obtain documents about the Trump administration’s use of private email for government work, saying the White House general counsel’s office refused to oblige in a meeting this week.” Bloomberg adds, “Among the information being sought is whether top presidential advisers — including Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law — complied with the Presidential Records Act, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee wrote in a letter Friday. That act requires official records to be forwarded and preserved from their personal email accounts to their governmental email accounts within 20 days.” Newsweek notes the letter from the Congressmen also did not detail which employees of the White House had made use of personal email for official business, but it has been previously reported Aryan princess Ivanka and princeling Jared have made extensive use of private email. But their emails!
ARYAN PRINCESS IVANKA FORGOT THE TRUMP FOUNDATION ON HER FORMS
Newsweek reports Aryan princess “Ivanka Trump’s federal financial disclosure report doesn’t mention her past involvement with the charitable foundation that bears her family’s name—and which remains under investigation for self-dealing.” Ooops, she did it again! Newsweek notes, New York Attorney General Eric “Schneiderman opened the investigation in June 2016, questioning why the foundation hadn’t registered with the state while engaged in fundraising. Not registering, the attorney general said, allowed the Trump charitable organization to skirt the rigors of outside audits.”
T REX’S STATE DEPARTMENT ERASES THE PAST
Business Insider reports, “A former US diplomat who resigned earlier this year in protest of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s leadership said Trump administration officials wouldn’t let her teach new Foreign Service workers about foreign polices under former President Barack Obama. Nancy McEldowney, who started her career in government under former President Ronald Reagan, said that she was told to ‘make no reference to the policies of the prior administration.’” In The New York Times daily podcast Friday, she said, “We were told that memos that would go forward could not reference the polices of the Obama administration”. Business Insider notes, “From 2013 until her resignation this year in June, McEldowney was the director of the Foreign Service Institute, the federal agency responsible for training Foreign Service workers and diplomats before they serve abroad.” According to Business Insider, “More than 300 officials left following Tillerson’s takeover, and hundreds more senior positions remain unfilled. Tillerson has also supported massive budget cuts and reshaped the department’s management.” Horrible. For his part, T Rex is reportedly “mystified” by accusations he wants to gut the State Department and destroy the Foreign Service because like many Soviet creatures, his sense of self seems divorced from the reality of his actions.
From Business Insider.
RUSSIA PUTS BILL BROWDER ON INTERPOL LIST AS U.S. REVOKES VISA
The Guardian reports, “Russia has placed a prominent British businessman,” Bill Browder, “on the Interpol wanted list.” It appears to be retaliation as “Canada became the latest country to pass a ‘Magnitsky Act’”. The Guardian notes, “Browder said he was alerted to the move by an email from the US department of homeland security, stating his ‘global entry status’ had been revoked”. The New York Times adds this morning that Russian officials are huffing their crazy extra hard and blaming Browder now for Magnitsky’s death. Expect this might be a preview for the Trump administration to launch charges against its enemies that they are the ones who colluded with Russia, as is happening now in right wing media.
D.C. NATO CONFERENCE AS RUSSIAN HACKER BAIT
The Daily Beast reports, “The Russian military hackers behind last year’s election meddling are using an upcoming cyber warfare conference in Washington D.C. as a lure to infect a new crop of victims with malware, security researchers said Sunday, effectively turning a high-level gathering packed with NATO and U.S. military cyber defenders into an opportunity for more attacks.” The Daily Beast adds, “The new campaign by the hackers known as Fancy Bear and APT28 began in early October, when the hackers began spamming out a flier for next month’s International Conference on Cyber Conflict, or CyCon U.S.” The Daily Beast reports, “The Russian hackers’ flier for the event is a Microsoft Word document named ‘Conference_on_Cyber_Conflict.doc’. It contains the logos of the conference organizers and a sponsor, and text copied from the conference website touting the 2017 theme, ‘The Future of Cyber Conflict.’ But Russia isn’t distributing the document to boost attendance. Buried inside is a malicious macro that downloads and installs malware called Seduploader, a Fancy Bear reconnaissance program that lets the hackers take screenshots and gather basic system information to decide if the victim is worth spying on long-term.” The Daily Beast notes, “CyCon U.S takes place November 7 and 8 at the Ronald Reagan building. It’s hosted by the U.S. Army Cyber Institute at the United States Military Academy, and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence based in Estonia, a NATO institute set up in response to a massive denial-of-service attack launched by Russian hackers against Estonia’s Internet in 2007.”
From The Daily Beast.
RUSSIA TREATS REGISTERING RT AS FOREIGN AGENT AS OPTIONAL
CNN reports, “The Russian television network RT is resisting the U.S. government’s request that its American arm register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act,” or FARA. Russian state-run RT says “the Department of Justice gave it an Oct. 17 deadline to register as a foreign agent. But according to publicly available DOJ filings, RT has not yet registered, and in a statement RT said it plans to fight back.” Do not expect Attorney General Private Russian Sessions to do much of anything either about it. According to CNN, Russian state-run RT’s statement read, “Our legal team has been doing everything possible for RT to avoid having to register under FARA and the dialogue is ongoing. On their advice we are not discussing further details at this time”. CNN notes, “The DOJ has repeatedly declined to comment on the FARA request,” and experts say, “There’s no clear path to what happens next”. One guess: the Russians whine a bunch, the only thing they are capable of on an Olympic level with any real sincere feeling or ability.
RUSSIAN MILITARY MANUEVERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES TO SERBIA
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Three Russian navy ships have arrived in the Philippines and two others are expected over the weekend to deliver donated military equipment”. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty notes, “It is Russia’s third naval visit since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office vowing to diversify the country’s ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty also reports, “Russia’s state-owned Rosneft oil company says it has agreed with the government of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region to take a controlling stake in the region’s main oil export pipeline.” Reuters adds, “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari will meet in Moscow on Oct. 23 to discuss the situation in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.” Meanwhile, the AP reports, “Russia formally handed over six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia Friday, part of an arms delivery that has the potential to accentuate tensions in the war-weary Balkans. The ceremony at a military airport close to the Serbian capital, Belgrade was attended by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.” Vucic, once Milosevic’s Minister of Information, called the planes “beautiful gifts”.
NAVALNY FREED FROM JAIL, ATTENDS CAMPAIGN RALLY
Reuters reports, “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny held a political rally on Sunday, hours after being released from jail and pledged to continue his presidential campaign despite the authorities saying he is ineligible to stand.” Recall, “was detained by police in late September and sentenced to 20 days in jail on charges of repeatedly violating laws by organizing public meeting and rallies.”
RUSSIAN JOURNALIST STABBED
The Financial Times reports, “A Russian journalist is in critical condition after a man broke into the Ekho Moskvy radio studio and stabbed her in the throat on Monday. The reporter, longtime host Tatiana Felgenhauer, is in hospital and breathing through a tube, editor-in-chief Alexei Veneditkov said.” The Financial Times adds, “Police arrested the man, who has not yet been identified.”
From The Financial Times.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE SPOKE TO RUSSIANS AT TRUMP TOWER MEETING
CNN reports, “Senate intelligence committee investigators have spoken with several Russians who attended a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr.” According to CNN, “Burr, R-North Carolina, would not say which Russians, or how many, investigators have spoken with. Committee officials declined to comment further,” but what does it matter they likely lied no matter.
SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE POSTPONES MICHAEL COHEN HEARING
Reuters reports, “The Senate Intelligence Committee investigating U.S. allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election said on Friday it had postponed a public hearing with Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, and it would be rescheduled.” Reuters notes, “Senators Richard Burr, the Intelligence committee’s Republican chairman, and Mark Warner, its Democratic vice chairman, did not offer an explanation on Friday for the postponement of the public hearing.”
HOUSE INTEL DEMOCRATS ALLEGE REPUBLICANS SABOTAGING EFFORTS
Reuters reports, “Democrats on a congressional panel say members of its Republican majority are trying to sabotage an investigation into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, raising concerns the two parties will reach contradictory conclusions. Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee have coached witnesses, scheduled interviews without first requesting important documents, and many fail to attend witness interviews”. According to Reuters, “The panel has heard from about 10 witnesses, the sources said. But given the lack of preparation and the absence of many Republican members, hearings amount to ‘going through the motions’ rather than a serious investigation”.
SPEAKING OF SABOTAGE, DARKNESS AT NUNES’ INTERFERENCE CONTINUES!
ABC News reports, “A powerful Republican is trying to force the identity of the person who first financed the infamous dossier of alleged links between Russians and the Donald Trump campaign into public view.” Of course this is DARKNESS AT NUNES who “quietly approved a subpoena earlier this month that would compel the unidentified bank handling finances for Fusion GPS, the private investigative firm that compiled the document, to open up its books,” ABC News notes, adding, “Lawyers for Fusion GPS went to U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday to ask a judge to block the bank from sharing their confidential records with Congress,” during an emergency telephone hearing. Fusion GPS’ lawyers argued that the judge should at least stay the bank’s Monday deadline. For its part, the bank, which is not named, is torn between wanting to protect its clients and not wanting to defy Congress. DARKNESS AT NUNES!
From ABC News.
TRUMP DIGITAL DIRECTOR BRAD PARSCALE TO BE INTERVIEWED TUESDAY
The Wall Street Journal reports, “President Donald Trump’s campaign digital director, Brad Parscale, will be interviewed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, his first appearance before any of the panels examining the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
From The Wall Street Journal.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
RACE IN AMERICA: “COMINTERN WITH US!”
The Atlantic looks at race relations in America as a recurring motif of anti-American Soviet propaganda pumped out throughout the Soviet period (1917-1991), which was putting up an ideological fight in those days based on the glorious lie of socialism. Point to “a spate of recent reports” detailing the propaganda uses of Facebook groups Russia set up with names like Blacktivist, Black Matters, Don’t Shoot Us, The Atlantic notes, “Except for the technology used, however, these tactics are not exactly new.” The Atlantic adds, “In 1932, for instance, Dmitri Moor, the Soviet Union’s most famous propaganda poster artist created a poster that cried, ‘Freedom to the prisoners of Scottsboro!’ It was a reference to the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama, and then repeatedly—wrongly—convicted by all-white Southern juries. The case became a symbol of the injustices of the Jim Crow South”. Furthermore The Atlantic reports, “a plan put in place in 1928 by the Comintern—the Communist International, whose mission was to spread the communist revolution around the world. The plan initially called for recruiting Southern blacks and pushing for ‘self-determination in the Black Belt.’” While “The Soviets also exploited the oppression of Southern blacks for their own economic benefit,” it is worth listening to the BBC’s interview with Robert Robinson for a full picture understanding of what that experience was like, and how horrifying it was to sleep with one’s shoes on at night lest there come a knock on the door from the authorities. As “The beginning of the Cold War coincided with the beginning of the civil rights movement, and the two became intertwined,” largely because black troops came back from the battlefield, the armed forces were integrated soon thereafter but the rest of society dragged behind. The September 1957 standoff over the integration of a school in Little Rock, Arkansas “was covered by newspapers around the world, many of which noted the discrepancy between the values America expressed and hoped to spread around the world, and how it implemented them at home,” which presented the Soviets with a gold mine. As Mary Drudziak, the author of the seminal Cold War Civil Rights notes, “Sometimes, in Pravda, all they needed to do was to reprint something that appeared in Time Magazine. Just the facts would themselves inflame international opinion.” The solution? Greater social justice and racial equality.
From The Atlantic.
ALL QUIET ON THE EASTERN FRONT – FOR NOW
Der Spiegel reports, “Since the end of June, a report marked ‘NATO SECRET’ has been circulating in headquarters in Brussels that unsparingly lists the alliance’s weaknesses. Under the innocuous title “Progress Report on the Alliance’s Strengthened Deterrence and Defense Posture,” the authors arrive at the shocking conclusion that ‘NATO’s ability to logistically support rapid reinforcement in the much-expanded territory covering SACEUR’s (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) area of operation has been atrophied since the end of the Cold War.’” Der Spiegel adds, “There are shortages of almost everything: things like low-loaders for tanks, train cars for heavy equipment and modern bridges that can bear the weight of a 64-ton giant like the Leopard 2 battle tank. What good are the most expensive weapons systems when they can’t be transported to where they are needed most? ‘The overall risk to rapid reinforcement is substantial,’ the report reads.” In the most precarious position as always are the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
From Der Spiegel.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
RUSSIA ACCUSES U.S. OF PUSHING IT OUT OF THE OLYMPICS
The AP reports, “The Kremlin has accused the U.S. government of pushing for Russia’s exclusion from the Olympics. A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said ‘certain U.S. bodies’ were pressuring the International Olympic Committee through its sponsors, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Putin meant ‘state (structures), including through social and non-government organizations.’”
From the AP.
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