—–ON THE AGENDA—–
PRIME TIME: TRUMP TO GO ON FAUX NEWS FOX NEW SHOW
The Hill reports, “President Trump is slated to sit down with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Thursday for an interview on her newly launched prime-time show, the network announced.” The Hill notes, “The interview marks Trump’s 20th appearance on a Fox News or Fox Business program since taking office in January. He has largely avoided doing interviews on other outlets in recent months,” because they feature real journalists not the sycophants of faux news Fox News.
From The Hill.
PDVSA TO MAKE BOND PAYMENT TODAY
Reuters reports, “Holders of one of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s distressed bonds will by Thursday receive an amortization payment that was due last week, according to a message from U.S. trust company DTC seen by five market sources on Tuesday.”
TRUMP ATTACKS CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
CNBC reports, “The White House on Wednesday flatly denied that President Donald Trump had ever called the American criminal justice system ‘a joke and a laughingstock,’ just hours after Trump said precisely that during a televised Cabinet meeting.” At the meeting, Trump said, “We need quick justice and we need strong justice — much quicker and much stronger than we have right now — because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughingstock”. CNBC notes, “A few hours after Trump’s Cabinet meeting, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, ‘Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock?’” To which a real laughingstock, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, replied, “That’s not what he said,” when in fact that is exactly what he said.
TRUMP DIDN’T DISMISS MEETING WITH PUTIN
CNN reports, “Candidate Donald Trump did not dismiss the idea of arranging a meeting with Russia’s president when it was suggested in a meeting with his campaign foreign policy advisers last year, according to a person in the room.” A court filing reveals, “The idea was raised by George Papadopoulos as he introduced himself at a March 2016 meeting of the Republican candidate’s foreign policy advisers”. It was Private Russian Session who objected, according to this account as CNN reports, “But the chairman of Trump’s national security team, then Alabama senator and now attorney general Jeff Sessions, shut down the idea of a Putin meeting at the March 31, 2016”.
GET HER OUT OF HERE: VESELNITSKAYA SEEKS TO RETURN TO NYC
Reuters reports, “Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, wants permission to return to the United States to defend a claim by prosecutors that her client’s company has failed to pay a $6 million settlement in an international money laundering case.” Recall, “Veselnitskaya represented Prevezon Holdings Ltd, a Russian-controlled company, which in May this year agreed to pay nearly $6 million to the U.S. government to settle a $230 million Russian tax fraud case related to Hermitage Capital, an American fund that invested in Russia,” and was run by Kremlin adversary and Magnitsky Act crusader Bill Browder. Now the Russians will not pay as the U.S. released the funds so it could get its money but then they were immediately frozen by the Netherlands, also involved in litigation over money laundering. Also recall the Kremlin lawyer Veselnitskaya “met Donald Trump Jr in New York last year while she was in the United States to represent Prevezon in the money laundering case,” at the notorious June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
HOW MUCH DOES THE TRUTH COST? MUCH LESS THAN THE PROPAGANDA
The Independent reports, “A former British spy was paid more than £125,000 to outline Russian financial and personal links to Donald Trump’s election campaign.” That is much, much less than the propaganda; just keep that in mind as you read about the tech sectors descent into an abyss of bullshit, lies and understatements. The Independent reports Fusion GPS said in a statement, “A total of $168,000 (£126,000) was paid to Orbis Business Intelligence, Mr Steele’s company, to produce the ‘Trump dossier’”.
From The Independent.
REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES: TENS OF THOUSANDS ATTENDED PROTEST
The Hill reports, “Thousands of Americans attended a march last November organized by a Russian group that used social media to interfere in the 2016 election. The demonstration in New York City, which took place a few days after the election, appears to be the largest and most successful known effort to date pulled off by Russian-linked groups intent on using social media platforms to influence American politics.” Wait, we have not yet gotten to the Women’s March yet. Here it is: “Sixteen thousand Facebook users said that they planned to attend a Trump protest on Nov. 12, 2016, organized by the Facebook page for BlackMattersUS, a Russian-linked group that sought to capitalize on racial tensions between black and white Americans. The event was shared with 61,000 users. As many as 5,000 to 10,000 protesters actually convened at Manhattan’s Union Square.” That’s a lot of people! Bet they all think they could never be deceived because they have agency and free will.
From The Hill.
THESE ARE THE DISINFO ADS RUSSIA CREATED FOR FAKEBOOK
The New York Times reports, “They made for a wildly varied slide show, designed by Russia to exploit divisions in American society and to tip the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald J. Trump and against Hillary Clinton. The House Intelligence Committee provided on Wednesday the biggest public platform to date for a sample of the Facebook ads and pages that were linked by a trail of ruble payments to a Russian company with Kremlin ties.” Emphasis there on “trail of ruble payments” because let us hope this is where and when Mark Zuckerberg’s presidential ambitions crumble and die. Never say propaganda does not work because the one about how “the South will rise again” is sort of the horribly unfortunate reality we are living now. If these idiots do not object to slavery maybe they should know that with Russia, white slavery is a reality, then maybe they can find it in the abyss of their wallet shaped non hearts to give a shit. POLITICO notes one ad for the “Black Matters” group cost “ 53,425 rubles ($915)”. Other ad buys for less priority groups not hellbent on sowing racial divisions went for the ruble equivalent of less than $10. They are such cheap whores at Fakebook. Meanwhile, The New York Times concludes, “Perhaps the biggest collection, put together by two American researchers who asked not to be identified to avoid online harassment, is posted at a page on Medium.” Indeed it is mega impressive, far more so than RU SOCIAL DISINFO page on the TRUMPISTAN WATCH website so there goes the weekend. Step on up!
THEY ARE LYING AS IF ACCOUNTING + ACCOUNTABILITY A NEGOTIATION
TechCrunch reports, “Facebook detailed the extent of Russia’s election interference campaign on Instagram today during its second congressional hearing. Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said that 120,000 posts by Russian election attackers reached 16 million Americans from October through the election, and the posts reached an additional 4 million Americans prior to October when Facebook has less complete data.” Keep in mind, these numbers only go up. They treat accounting when it comes to doing it for the American people the way Cher in “Clueless” did her grades: as a starting point for negotiations. TechCrunch notes, “That’s on top of the 126 million Americans reached by Russian election propaganda on Facebook. It’s unclear if these two groups overlap, but if not, that would bring the total number to 146 million Americans. That’s a big climb from the original 10 million figure Facebook originally announced as the audience of Russian election interference.” TechCrunch adds, “For context, yesterday Twitter said that its investigation had found 2,700 accounts tied to Russia election interference, which was a steep increase from the 200 it initially announced last month. And today Twitter general counsel Sean Edgett was accused of underreporting the percentage of Twitter’s users that are bots, which he said was less than 5 percent, but that the Senate Intelligence Committee said outside estimates peg it much higher.” Liars, liars, pants are on fires.
TWATTER OFFERED 15 PERCENT OF U.S. ELECTION AD BUY TO RUSSIA
BuzzFeed reports, “A Russian news outlet described by the US intelligence community as ‘the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet’ was once a top sales prospect for Twitter’s US elections ad team.” Isn’t that fun? And all for only $3 million. Horrible. Shameful. Misguided would be a gross understatement; selfish, naïve, pitiful, absurd, inhumane, unpatriotic, these words are all far more applicable. BuzzFeed reports, “Twitter wanted [Russian state-run] RT to spend big ahead of the 2016 US election, offering a significant portion of its election-related ad inventory in return. The social media company offered the Russian state-owned television network up to a 15% share of voice (‘SOV’) on US election advertising — or the precent [sic] of all ads run on that topic — for $3 million dollars.” There you have it, the past and the future of tech dystopian hell in the bland technical language that enabled the Germans to detach themselves from the slaughter of six million plus innocents. This is what happens when you live in the realm of ideas and neglect history, gentlemen. You cannot be apolitical in the face of evil, then it is just called complicit.
ACTIVE MEASURES WATCH: CAPTURE THE STATE DEPARTMENT
Foreign Policy reports, “The Trump administration has nominated an associate of Vice President Mike Pence for a top diplomatic role historically reserved for senior career diplomats, prompting fears President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plan to further politicize American diplomacy. Last month, Trump nominated Stephen Akard to be director general of the foreign service.” Horror. Foreign Policy notes, “Akard served eight years in the foreign service over a decade ago, from 1997 to 2005 — including tours in Belgium and India and as a staff aide to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell — before leaving to work on economic development for the state of Indiana under then-Governor Mike Pence.” He is described as a “yes man,” which is diplomatic for lackey or sycophant.
From Foreign Policy.
T REX MET AMBASSADOR SOVIET DINOSAUR
The Hill reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Tuesday afternoon with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, amid heightened tensions involving the two nations.” Horrible to dignify their existence in any regard, especially when we still have not an entire clue as to who is actually representing American interests versus those of their own bank accounts. The Hill notes, “State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said that Tillerson and the ambassador ‘discussed the need to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and fully implement the Minsk agreements,’ referring to the failed cease-fire agreements between the two countries.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH imagines sanctions (code word: adoptions) came up too. Of course, “Tillerson regularly meets with foreign officials, but his meeting with the Russian envoy comes a day after special counsel Robert Mueller announced charges against three former Trump campaign officials as part of the federal probe into the campaign’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election,” The Hill reports.
From The Hill.
AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN VIDEO MESSAGE OF PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE CONTACT
Russian state-run TASS reports, “US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has pledged to do everything to promote people to people ties between the two countries despite difficulties surrounding the issuance of US visas to Russians. The ambassador’s video address has been published on the embassy’s social media accounts.” Not even remotely the right time for this. We need fewer Russians, not more in our country right now, or so it would seem to an informed citizen. While Huntsman scolded them for demanding staff reductions, Russian state-run TASS reports, “Following Moscow’s proposal that the US diplomatic staff in Russia be reduced, the US embassy suspended nonimmigrant visa operations across Russia. On September 1, visa operations resumed, but only in Moscow. Nonimmigrant visa interviews at the US consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok remain suspended.” WTF.
From Russian state-run TASS.
KREMLIN ALLY IN CONGRESS DEFENDS HOLOCAUST DENIER
The Forward reports, “Representative Dana Rohrabacher defended his allowing a known Holocaust denier to sit in on a meeting on Capitol Hill, Jewish Insider reported. The Republican said that Charles Johnson, who has said that Auschwitz was ‘not real,’ was not invited to the meeting but simply asked not to leave.” Son, Auschwitz is more “real” than you will ever be. Rohrabacher used a bunch of false equivalencies, deflections and customary sidestepping of this major bit of historical oversight, noting in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League, “he also agrees with me on other very significant issues.” Might it occur to Rohrabacher that when you are looking for allies among Holocaust deniers you are not only scraping the bottom of the barrel but you are also hard-core knocking from below?
From The Forward.
“HISTORY REPEATS, FIRST AS TRAGEDY THEN AS FARCE”
The Moscow Times reports, “The head of a pro-Kremlin business association has announced he will run for president, following bids from two celebrity journalists and amid criticism that the upcoming vote is likely to be more show than substance.” It is Russia, there is no substance when you leave the kitchen or the theater. This one is really special though because his aim is to rally the youth around Putin because what a fucking farce. The Moscow Times writes, “Rakhman Yansukov, president of the Avanti Association of Entrepreneurs for the Development of Patriotic Business, says he is running to prove to opposition leader Alexei Navalny that Russia’s youth supports President Vladimir Putin.” So we have: Putin, his mentor’s daughter who will not criticize him (Sobchak), this guy, and someone who terrifies Putin and keeps being sent to jail (Navalny). And no matter what, Putin will win. At least this one is colorful as “Yansukov is the former assistant to Chechen businessman Umar Dzhabrailov, the founder of Avanti, currently awaiting trial over a shooting at a five-star Moscow hotel last summer.” The Avanti connection also means, “He was also a boss to Yelizaveta Peskova, the daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who served as Yansukov’s adviser at Avanti in summer.” Maybe Liza could run too for the Instagram spectacle of it?
From The Moscow Times.
REMINDER: THIS IS WHO SNOWDEN + ASSANGE STAND WITH
The Telegraph reports, “A law restricting the software used to surf the internet anonymously has come into effect in Russia as part of a wider clampdown on online freedoms. The legislation, approved by President Putin, obliges virtual private networks (VPNs) to register with the state communications watchdog within 30 days, or be blocked.” If you are not currently using one, you should be, because as The Telegraph notes, “VPNs and other proxy servers known as anonymisers allow people to use the web without being identified, and to access banned websites by hiding a user’s physical location.”
From The Telegraph.
—–INDICTMENT WEEK SPECIAL: INDICTMENT ROCK CITY—–
HOUSE ARREST ROCK
POLITICO reports, “A federal judge said Wednesday that a prosecution filing about the financial condition and travel histories of former Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates won’t be enough to persuade her to alter the terms the two men were released on after being arraigned Monday on charges of money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents. On Tuesday, prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller submitted a court filing arguing that Manafort and Gates both pose a risk of flight due to their wealth and their foreign travels.” POLITICO notes, “On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson released the two men under home detention. However, Manafort committed to forfeit $10 million to the court if he fails to appear and Gates pledged to give up $ 5 million if he jumps bond.” According to POLITICO, “‘Any requests for review of the conditions of release must be made in the form of a written motion to the Court,’ Jackson wrote in a brief order Wednesday. Both men have been ordered to appear before Jackson Thursday at 2 p.m. for her first hearing on the case.”
NOT SO SECRET AGENT MAN
Vice reports, “Looks like even alleged international criminals have shitty password practices.” Wait for, it’s really fucking good. Vice reports, former Trump campaign manager Paul “Manafort, whose alleged involvement in off-the-books Ukrainian government dealings and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign make him sound like a character from a spy novel, used to reference another character from a spy novel in his online passwords: James Bond. The password associated with both his former Adobe and Dropbox accounts were variations of ‘Bond007,’ according to two security researchers who asked not to be named citing professional concerns.” Good grief what a clown. He probably still suffers from the affliction of believing he is someone. Here is how this was uncovered: “In March, hacked text messages allegedly belonging to Manafort’s daughter, Andrea, were released on the dark web. Manafort confirmed to Politico that his daughter had experienced a breach. The messages contained what is believed to be Manafort’s former email address: email@example.com, uncovered by the security researcher known as Krypt3ia,” Vice reports. “By searching for the email address on HaveIBeenPwned.com, a website that helps users discern whether their data has been compromised as part of a major hack, the researcher discovered that firstname.lastname@example.org was indeed part of two breaches: the 2013 Adobe hack, as well as the 2012 Dropbox hack.” Then it was a matter of following the password hints and trying a few combinations. Beyond ridiculous.
TRUMP’S OLD ENFORCER WILL TAKE THE STAND
CNN reports, “Keith Schiller, a long-time adviser to Trump who left the White House in September after serving as director of Oval Office Operations, is expected to appear next Tuesday before the House intelligence committee”.
SALLY YATES ON DECK FOR FRIDAY
CNN reports the House intelligence “committee is also expected to interview another former Justice Department official on Friday: former acting Attorney General Sally Yates”. CNN notes, “Yates was previously invited to testify before the House intelligence committee in the spring, and she did appear before the Senate judiciary subcommittee in May. Yates testified that she had warned the White House that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn was at risk of blackmail by the Russians.”
DOJ OFFICIAL MARY MCCORD INTERVIEWED WEDNESDAY
CNN reports, “On Wednesday, the [House intelligence] committee interviewed Mary McCord, the former acting assistant attorney general at the National Security division, multiple sources said. McCord, who left the Justice Department in April, was one of the top Justice Department officials overseeing the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
YOU BREXIT, YOU FIX IT
The Guardian reports, “A former aide to Nigel Farage who was arrested on money-laundering charges last year gave US federal agents ‘information’ as part of a plea agreement that sharply reduced his possible prison sentence from a maximum of 20 years to eight months, according to court documents.” Now Farage was spotted coming out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London earlier this year and completely forgot why he had been inside. He also appeared at Trump Tower, glowing, effervescing populist ooze, beside a certain fake Russian president of the United State of America in front of a tasteless golden elevator. So, intrigue! According to The Guardian, “George Cottrell, a Briton who was arrested in the US last summer after attending the Republican National Convention with Farage, the former Ukip leader, received a sentence that was on the low end of the sentencing guidelines used to determine such cases even though the Arizona prosecutors in his case said they had evidence that showed Cottrell had shown ‘clear intent’ to engage in criminal activity in the past.” The Guardian notes, “A court document filed by the prosecutors in February – which has not previously been reported in detail – advised the judge in the case to offer Cottrell a light prison sentence because he had been willing to ‘provide federal agents additional information after his arrest’. Cottrell ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in a case that was unrelated to his work at Ukip. The crime was committed in 2014, before Cottrell worked for either the anti-EU party or Farage. Twenty other counts against him, including blackmail, were dismissed as part of the plea deal.” The final bit of color: “Several photographs published by media outlets after the arrest in July, when Cottrell’s story was front page news in the British press, showed that Cottrell had enjoyed a personal relationship with Farage and the Ukip donor Arron Banks. In his book about the Brexit campaign, Banks called Cottrell, the nephew of Lord Hesketh, a former Tory minister who defected to Ukip, ‘Posh George’.” Lastly, “Cottrell’s LinkedIn account reveals that he has experience in the financial sector. He includes being a ‘federal inmate’ on his LinkedIn resume, as well as working as a consultant at an unnamed private intelligence agency serving government and corporate clients. He allegedly worked for the intelligence firm from October 2014 to July 2016, while also working for Ukip from January 2016 until his arrest. He also claims to have worked as a private client manager at an unnamed bank, specialised in ‘onboarding’ wealthy clients and assisting in the implementation of ‘leading edge tax solutions within multiple jurisdictions,’” The Guardian reports. In other words, he is proficient in the dark arts and money laundering, a perfect catch for a Russian hook. To be continued.
From The Guardian.
DEAR TECH EXECUTIVES: DISRUPT, BUT THEN GO FUCK YOURSELVES
Let’s rake the tech executives over the coals some more because they so fucking deserve it for failing to show face and instead sending the corporate lawyers to Capitol Hill to answer for the consequences for all these years of apolitically disrupting while living in the realm of ideas and exorbitant wealth, evidently in a vacuum from history. The New York Times reports, “On Valentine’s Day in 2001, the heads of the major television news networks went to Capitol Hill to answer hard questions about the poor job they had done on Election Day. In a buck-stops-with-us moment, they were resolute about doing better. And they were contrite — even the Fox News founder and chief executive, Roger Ailes, a famous bully who rarely shied from a fight. ‘We let our viewers down,’ Mr. Ailes said. ‘It will not happen again.’” Except now it has. Turn on Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson’s show less you have any doubt. However not it has spread across the land like a fully fertile seed of bullshit poisoning both sides of the political divide. Less you forget, after the 2000 Election, “The networks were on the hot seat because their election-night coverage had contributed to the chaos of that shambolic evening. They declared Al Gore the winner in Florida before all of the state’s polls were closed — and then they called it for George W. Bush, although the results remained in doubt for weeks,” The New York Times reminds us. This time the Republicans got help from a foreign adversary and Russia in turn paid the tech companies off to make sure it was stolen properly so it would not even need to go to the Supreme Court or be adjudicated on Fox News. Furthermore, the last few days on the Hill look absolutely nothing like this. If there is a proper heading on this week on the Hill, it’s “Triumph of Greed,” because it is certainly not democracy, civil society or anything but the military-intelligence complex otherwise. Just remember: money does not care who owns it. And as one headline in TechCrunch points out, “On Russia, tech doesn’t know what it doesn’t know,” something TRUMPISTAN WATCH learned first hand at MisinfoCon at MIT in the spring. One thing it does seem to know: according to Business Insider, the Russian ads and the Trump ads mimicked each other. What they would not say though is who mimicked who — preferring to give a “cryptic” answer instead of an honest one.
MATH IS HARD. SO IS TRUTH.
The Washington Post reports, “A senior U.S. military commander said Tuesday that 4,000 American troops are on the ground in Syria, a figure far greater than the 503 personnel the Trump administration says are deployed there.” Surprise! The Washington Post notes, “Army Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard, who heads the U.S.-led Special Operations task force targeting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, offered the surprising figure while briefing Pentagon-based reporters via satellite from Baghdad. When asked to confirm the 4,000 figure, Jarrard appeared to be caught off guard. He then apologized and said the number is about 500. Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman facilitating the briefing, interjected moments later, insisting the number is just 503.” Pahon insisted, “The general misspoke,” because in fact, “I don’t know what 4,000 refers to. That’s nowhere near an accurate number.” Well that is the most Trumpian thing ever. That thing you heard which you heard here just a moment ago must be erased from the hard drive of your memory now before our very eyes. Turns out “it’s long been an open secret,” so why worry as long as a few Pentagon-based reporters know and do not tell anyone? Just assume your military, our military is lying? Is this for real? Oh there is definitely a part of every thinking American persons’ brain that is screaming “Vietnam!” And an even greater part screaming, “Cheeseburger! Ice cream!” to drown out the unpleasantness of that thought.
From The Washington Post.
MICHAEL FLYNN, RUSSIAN TOOL
The Daily Beast reports, “Former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn followed five Twitter accounts based out of the Russian-backed ‘troll factory’ in St. Petersburg—and pushed their messages at least three times in the month before the 2016 election.” Of course, “Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., was an even more ardent consumer of Russian troll content, retweeting the propaganda accounts 47 times in all, according to data in the Polititweet archive.”
From The Daily Beast.
CURRENT TIME: CRUSH RUSSIA WITH TRUTH BOMBS
The Washingtonian reports on “Current Time, a 24-7 Russian-language TV channel headquartered in Prague,” that is “run by the US government.” The Washington writes, “Launched in February, the project is a collaboration between two venerable broadcasters, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. After Russia annexed Crimea, says Daisy Sindelar, the network’s director, ‘we realized that we were losing a messaging war.’” According to The Washingtonian, “Current Time now has a $22-million annual budget and a mission to combat Moscow’s disinformation efforts. The channel is available on cable or satellite in countries with Russian-speaking populations, such as Ukraine and Estonia, and via Facebook and other online platforms in Russia itself.”
From The Washingtonian.
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