UDAY MET KREMLIN CONFIDANT ALEXANDER TORSHIN AT NRA CONVENTION
CBS News reports it “has confirmed that Donald Trump Jr. met with Alexander Torshin – a man with close ties to the Kremlin — at an NRA event in May 2016. Torshin had been trying to set up a meeting with then-candidate Donald Trump but ended up being introduced to Mr. Trump’s son.” Oh, Uday! According to CBS News, “the two men were introduced to each other by a third party and that the conversation only last about two or three minutes,” adding, “the conversation centered on the men’s mutual interest in firearms and, as far as the source could recollect”.
From CBS News.
OF COURSE UDAY IS THE FIRST ONE THEY STRING OUT TO DRY
Bloomberg reports, “The Trump campaign has stopped paying legal bills for Donald Trump Jr. and is setting up a legal defense fund to cover the costs for him and other campaign staffers related to investigations into Russian election meddling”. Of course Trump’s idiot son and unwanted junior Uday is the first they string out to dry. According to Bloomberg, “The Trump campaign’s legal bills have already topped more than $2 million this year, including payments related to the Russia investigations, as well as $287,924 for Trump Jr. Separately, in September, the Republican National Committee paid $166,527 to Alan Futerfas, who represents Trump Jr., according to the party’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.” Additionally Bloomberg notes, “White House lawyer Ty Cobb said last week that the president would also assume responsibility for his own legal bills, which could exceed $1 million. Trump’s legal costs had previously been covered by the RNC, which paid $131,250 to Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow and $100,000 to attorney John Dowd.” That’s a small price to pay for corrupting and destroying a free republic. Besides isn’t this what friends in the Russian state mafia are for?
THE BUDAPEST CONNECTION
ABC News reports, “Travels by Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to meet with senior officials in Hungary during the 2016 presidential election are being closely examined by congressional investigators, given the increasingly close ties between Hungary and Russia and the role of the country as a hub for Russian intelligence activity.” Recall, Viktor Orban, “The Hungarian prime minister was the first foreign leader to endorse Donald Trump’s candidacy.” According to ABC News, “The meetings included a 45-minute session in September 2016 with Jeno Megyesy, who is a close adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and focuses on relations with the United States, at his office in Budapest, where Page presented himself as a member of then-candidate Trump’s foreign policy team.” Megyesy told ABC News, “he met with Page at the request of Reka Szemerkenyi, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States.”
From ABC News.
MCMASTER OF HIS DOMAIN? ADULT DAY CARETAKER BREAKS IT DOWN?
BuzzFeed reports, “Over a July dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz — who has been mentioned as a candidate for several potential administration jobs — McMaster bluntly trashed his boss, said the sources, four of whom told BuzzFeed News they heard about the exchange directly from Catz. The top national security official dismissed the president variously as an ‘idiot’ and a ‘dope’ with the intelligence of a “kindergartner’”. After Stanley McChrystal’s firing and considering the audience is money not military, TRUMPISTAN WATCH has some doubts about this report, entertaining though it is – and is that not the point, to be entertained? However, BuzzFeed also notes, “A sixth source who was not familiar with the details of the dinner told BuzzFeed News that McMaster had made similarly derogatory comments about Trump’s intelligence to him in private, including that the president lacked the necessary brainpower to understand the matters before the National Security Council.” That assessment does seem to be the case. Interestingly, “Both Oracle and the Trump administration heatedly denied the comments that Catz later recounted,” and Catz was an avid Trump supporter during the campaign. So perhaps there is something here. According to BuzzFeed, “McMaster’s dinner with Catz,” was “on July 18 at the Washington, D.C., restaurant Tosca,” so a long time ago in Trumpistani terms. Further accounts suggest, “McMaster disparaged multiple members of the administration to Catz, including Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, and President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Of Kushner, one source told BuzzFeed News, McMaster said he had no business being in the White House and should not be involved in national security issues.” BuzzFeed concludes, “Catz was so alarmed by the tenor of McMaster’s comments about President Trump and Israel that she confided her concerns in several administration officials, as well as Adelson.” It is like now she is woke or something, finally. Remember: money does not care who owns it, having it does not mean you possess extra intellect or a thoughtful, measured historical approach. Money can buy these things but it cannot compensate wholly for their absence. Meanwhile, Kate Brannen at Just Security and Talking Points Memo speculate Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the fired intel coordinator on the National Security Agency, may be at least one of the sources as he went to work for the D.C. office of Oracle thereafter.
T REX DEFENDS HIMSELF AS IF BUTCHERING STATE IS DEFENSIBLE
CNN reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended his management of the State Department Monday, following a host of recent criticisms from members of congress”. Oh is T Rex sad? Too damn bad. Butchering the State Department is not a defensible activity! We saw that horrific PowerPoint about the so-called “Re-design” delivered to Congress, it was atrocious and obvious the Seventh Floor has not a clue what an embassy actually does. T Rex, at the height of approximating Icarus, proclaimed, “This department is performing extraordinarily well,” while leaving out that is despite the fact that he broke it and will not be the one to fix it. Meanwhile, you should all shop the SAVE THE STATE DEPARTMENT collection in the merch shop for mugs, totes and stickers and show your support for the rescue of the endangered American diplomat! Meanwhile back on planet serious not shopping (most of the rest of the world), Reuters reports, “A group of about a dozen U.S. State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers”. So things are going well, right T Rex?
GEN. DUNFORD: U.S. MILITARY ADVANTAGE OVER RUSSIA, CHINA ERODING
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports, “The US military advantage against so-called near-peer competitors such as China and Russia is eroding, according to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford.” That’s a warning you all should listen to, especially as most everyone in the West has only ever known peace under a U.S. security blanket. However, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes that while “Speaking at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts on 14 November, Gen Dunford said that the United States has a conventional competitive advantage against any potential adversary.” But we live in an era of hybrid war now, a battlespace we neither sought, defined nor know how to manage.
PENTAGON WARNED ABOUT KASPERSKY IN 2004
The Hill reports, “The Pentagon’s military intelligence arm flagged software produced by Moscow-based firm Kaspersky Lab as a potential threat in 2004, according to recent correspondence with Congress.” Shameful. According to The Hill, “The House Science, Space and Technology Committee uncovered the detail in the course of its oversight investigation into potential risks to government information systems posed by Kaspersky”. The Hill reports, “the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had flagged Kaspersky as a potential threat in 2004, according to a memo that Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) sent to other committee members late last week.” The Hill adds, “The memo references an email from the Pentagon’s legislative affairs staff on Nov. 15 confirming that the DIA ‘began producing threat reporting referencing Kaspersky Lab as a threat actor as early as 2004.’ The correspondence also confirmed that the Pentagon issued a department-wide threat assessment on Kaspersky in 2012 as part of its efforts to manage risks to the supply chain.”
From The Hill.
ROMANIA WILL BUY PATRIOT MISSILES IN 2019
The AP reports, “Romania’s defense minister says the country will purchase Patriot missiles worth $3.9 billion from the United States in the first half of 2019.” According to the AP, “The comments from Defense Minister Mihai Fifor came after Romania’s Senate’s defense committee on Monday formally approved the acquisition of the missiles, which then needs to be approved by the Senate,” which notes, “Fifor said the missiles would become operational by 2020.”
From the AP.
RUSSIANS MOUNT MISSILES IN KALININGRAD FOR PROPAGANDA PURPOSE
Newsweek reports, “Russia’s Baltic fleet mounted several missiles on Kaliningrad’s Victory Square over the weekend, deploying soldiers to act as tour guides under the banner of ‘defending the motherland.’” Newsweek notes that, “According to the fleet’s spokesman, Roman Martov, the move was a demonstration for local residents”. Newsweek adds, “A military orchestra also marked the service holiday of artillery and missile defense servicemen, playing and marching through Victory Square on Sunday.”
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FILES TO BLOCK AT+T-TIMEWARNER MERGER
POLITICO reports, “The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, amid a growing political storm over whether the administration has tried to use its review of the $85 billion deal to force the sale of CNN, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s media criticism.” According to POLITICO, “AT&T is fully prepared to litigate if the Justice Department rejects the transaction and would ask for an expedited hearing. The company also hired attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who once represented Trump, in preparation for the legal fight.” CNN notes, “Trump’s history of statements about the merger and CNN — including tweeting an edited professional wrestling video that showed him striking a man whose head is replaced by a CNN logo — are expected to be fodder for AT&T’s arguments in the court case. Even Democratic lawmakers who oppose the deal on ideological grounds have expressed concern that politics has poisoned the merger’s review.”
THEY OWN YOUR PRIVACY: SAY GOODBYE TO NET NEUTRALITY
POLITICO reports, “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will reveal plans to his fellow commissioners on Tuesday to fully dismantle the agency’s Obama-era net neutrality regulations, people familiar with the plans said, in a major victory for the telecom industry in the long-running policy debate.” Don’t you want those micro targeted ads that allowed us to be sold for rubles to get more targeted so others can get richer on the back of your privacy? Don’t you love your country? O Trumpistan!
TWITTER TOO BUSY WITH IMMATURE RICH MAN BABY ACTIVITIES
The Daily Beast reports, “Twitter has not provided the House and Senate Russia investigations with any additional Kremlin-backed imposter accounts and bots since at least Nov. 1”. The Daily Beast notes, “The lack of new disclosure comes as evidence continues to mount that inauthentic Russian activity continues apace on the microblogging platform.” The Daily Beast recalls, “Twitter first identified 201 non-bot accounts tied to the St. Petersburg-based troll farm known as the Internet Research Association on Sept. 28. Barely a month later, for a Nov. 1 congressional hearing, the company increased that figure tenfold, to 2,752—in addition to the existence of 36,746 Russia-linked bot accounts involved in election-related tweets. Twenty days after that, however, Twitter has yet to provide an updated amount, let alone specific propaganda accounts, to legislators”. No need to repeat the spokesperson’s covfefe and denials, you can imagine, all very pro forma and irrelevant to reality.
From The Daily Beast.
SEEK + YOU SHALL FIND: DERANKING RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA
Russian state-run RT whines, “Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, says the company will ‘engineer’ specific algorithms for RT and Sputnik to make their articles less prominent on the search engine’s news delivery services.” Russian state-run RT notes, ““We are working on detecting and de-ranking those kinds of sites – it’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt said during a Q & A session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada on Saturday, when asked about whether Google facilitates ‘Russian propaganda.’” The quotes there are pretty choice propaganda.
From Russian state-run RT.
EFFECTIVE RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA: THE HOTTIE SPOKESWOMAN
The U.K. tabloid The Sun reports on Russia’s new Defense Ministry spokeswoman. Guess what? She’s being marketed as a sexpot. This is effective propaganda because men. So go on gentlemen, have a peak and get it out of the way…
From The Sun.
—–TOWARDS A PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXCHANGE—–
LATE BREAKING FROM HALIFAX: STRATCOM HEAD ON ILLEGAL ORDER
Defense News reports, “The head of U.S. Strategic Command on Saturday said he would refuse to execute an order from President Donald Trump to launch a nuclear weapon if he believed its use was illegal.” According to Defense News, “Gen. John Hyten, who oversees the operation of nuclear weapons, told participants at the Halifax International Security Forum that he and Trump have already had discussions about the nuclear decision-making process. Hyten would likely be the final person that Trump would talk to, should the president decide to move forward with a nuclear strike.” General Hyten said at Halifax, “The way the process works is simple. I provide advice to the president, he’ll tell me what to do, and if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal,’ and guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is.” With the KISS principle in place what could possibly go wrong? Reassuring!
From Defense News.
THE NEXT CHERNOBYL?
CBS News reports, “Russian authorities on Tuesday confirmed reports of a spike in radioactivity in the air over the Ural Mountains.” This is a sea change from categorical silence on the matter, and also how Chernobyl started. According to CBS News, “The Russian Meteorological Service said in a statement Tuesday that it recorded the release of Ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as ‘extremely high contamination.’” CBS News adds, “The Russian meteorological office’s report, however, noted high levels of radiation in the villages adjacent to Rosatom’s Mayak plant for spent nuclear fuel.” CBS News reports, “Mayak in a statement on Tuesday denied being the source of contamination. The plant said it has not conducted any work on extracting Ruthenium-106 from spent nuclear fuel ‘for several years.’” CBS News notes, “Mayak, in the Chelyabinsk region, has been responsible for at least two of Russia’s biggest radioactive accidents. In 2004 it was confirmed that waste was being dumped in the local river.”
From CBS News.
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