MARKET DROPS ANOTHER 1,000 POINTS
The Washington Post report, “The Dow Jones industrial average nose-dived more than 1,000 points Thursday, registering another eye-popping loss for the closely followed stock market barometer, as fears of rising interest rates rattled traders on Wall Street. The Dow’s 4.1 percent fall means it is now in ‘correction’ territory, or 10 percent lower than its all-time high, for the first time in two years. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has experienced a similar slide.” The Washington Post notes, “Thursday’s losses wiped out all of the gains for the year for the Dow and the S&P 500. The Dow dropped 1,032 points to close at 23,860.46 — the second time it has lost more than 1,000 points over the past week. The Dow is 10.4 percent below its all-time high on Jan. 26.”
From The Washington Post.
NAVALNY UNCOVERS MANAFORT LINKED OLIGARCH-KREMLIN YACHT PARTY
The Telegraph reports, “A Russian deputy prime minister secretly met with oligarch Oleg Deripaska to discuss US relations after Paul Manafort reportedly offered Mr Deripaska briefings on the Trump campaign, according to videos discovered by a Russian opposition activist,” Alexey Navalany. “While a recorded snippet of Mr Deripaska’s alleged conversation with Sergei Prikhodko, deputy prime minister and head of the government executive office, does not specifically mention Donald Trump, the fact of their meeting on a yacht raises further questions of collusion with Vladimir Putin’s government.” The Telegraph notes, “The rendezvous at sea with Mr Prikhodko suggests a cosy relationship between Mr Deripaska, the president and largest shareholder of the aluminium giant Rusal, and the Russian government. It reportedly took place in August 2016, a month after Mr Manafort, then Mr Trump’s campaign manager, offered ‘private briefings’ to Mr Deripaska”. The Telegraph adds Navalny, “revealed the videos in an online investigation. He claimed taking the deputy prime minister on a yacht with young women amounted to bribery.” Is he wrong? The Telegraph continues, “Using Ms Rybka’s photographs and open source documents to identify the yacht as the Elden, which is officially owned by Mr Deripaska’s mother, Mr Navalny discovered through a tracking service that the ship had been cruising near Molde, Norway, in August 2016. The model posted photographs of the Norwegian coastline and herself on the yacht that same month.” The Telegraph continues, “Ms Rybka, who appeared on a Russian state television show last year to explain her ‘man-hunting’ techniques, described an August 2016 yacht trip in a book she wrote that year. She transcribed the conversation from her video, naming the interlocutors as ‘Ruslan’ and ‘Papa’. The meeting was so secret, Papa was taken off the yacht mid-voyage since ‘he couldn’t even go onshore with Ruslan,’ she wrote.” The Telegraph notes, “Mr Prikhodko has been a key Kremlin figure. A diplomat who became an aide to president Boris Yeltsin in 1997, he was in charge of foreign policy in Putin’s first administration and served as a presidential aide until 2012. Mr Deripaska hired Mr Manafort on a $10 million annual contract in 2006 after the Washington insider proposed a campaign to ‘greatly benefit the Putin government’ by influencing US politics and media,” adding, “He sued Mr Manafort in January for allegedly defrauding him of $18.9 million.”
From The Telegraph.
FBI SURVEILLANCE OF CARTER PAGE PICKED UP CALL WITH BANNON
POLITICO reports, “The FBI was monitoring Carter Page when the former Trump campaign adviser says he spoke with Trump adviser Steve Bannon about Russia in January 2017, raising the strong possibility that the FBI intercepted a conversation between the two men.” POLITICO adds, “The significance of a possible FBI recording depends on the exact content of the conversation between Bannon and Page, about which Page has been vague. But it means the FBI’s surveillance of Page — which has been the subject of intense partisan anger in Washington — may have touched one of the highest-ranking figures in Trump’s incoming administration just days before inauguration.” POLITICO notes, “Page says the Bannon call, which he described as ‘brief,’ occurred as Trump’s transition team was reeling from the dossier’s Jan. 11 publication by BuzzFeed.” Delicious.
DOZENS AT WHITE HOUSE INCLUDING JARED LACK CLEARANCES
The Washington Post reports, “Dozens of White House employees are awaiting permanent security clearances and have been working for months with temporary approvals to handle sensitive information while the FBI continues to probe their backgrounds, according to U.S. officials. People familiar with the security-clearance process said one of those White House officials with an interim approval is Jared Kushner — the president’s son-in-law and one of his most influential advisers.” The Washington Post adds the focus on security clearances comes after “Porter, according to officials, was interviewed by the FBI in September, when he was asked about the alleged domestic violence,” that surfaced in The Daily Mail this week and led to his ouster as the staff secretary at the White House. Porter had been working on a temporary clearance as well. The Washington Post notes, “It is unusual for senior White House personnel to wait more than three months for a permanent top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance though it has happened”.
From The Washington Post.
DARKNESS AT NUNES FORMER STATE DEPT TARGET SPEAKS OUT
The Washington Post features an op-ed by Jonathan Winer, the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for international law enforcement and special envoy to Libya, who writes, “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) announced last week that the next phase of his investigation of the events that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will focus on the State Department. His apparent area of interest is my relationship with former British intelligence professional Christopher Steele and my role in material that Steele ultimately shared with the FBI.” This is called getting ahead of a story and knee capping your opponent while they are still chasing after you. Winer details how, “In the 1990s, I was the senior official at the State Department responsible for combating transnational organized crime. I became deeply concerned about Russian state operatives compromising and corrupting foreign political figures and businessmen from other countries. Their modus operandi was sexual entrapment and entrapment in too-good-to-be-true business deals.” Then, “After 1999, I left the State Department and developed a legal and consulting practice that often involved Russian matters. In 2009, I met and became friends with Steele, after he retired from British government service focusing on Russia. Steele was providing business intelligence on the same kinds of issues I worked on at the time. In 2013, I returned to the State Department at the request of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, whom I had previously served as Senate counsel.” Winer adds, “In the summer of 2016, Steele told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials. He did not provide details but made clear the information involved ‘active measures’”. Winer continues, “In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the ‘dossier.’ Steele’s sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign. I was allowed to review, but not to keep, a copy of these reports to enable me to alert the State Department. I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with [Victoria] Nuland”. Winer notes he contacted Sidney Blumenthal, an old Clinton hand, and shared the information with him as well. Winer said Blumenthal “showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature,” which he then shared with Steele, who in turn left it with the FBI along with all other material he had gathered, upon their request. Winer said he did all of this because he “was alarmed at Russia’s role in the 2016 election, and so were U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials. I believe all Americans should be alarmed”.
From The Washington Post.
DEATH CULT GOP WANTS WALL FOR ITS HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE AIDES
CBS News reports, “Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee plan to construct a wall — a physical partition — separating Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces, according to multiple committee sources. It’s expected to happen this spring.” A piece of drywall won’t stop the truth that barreling down on Trump, idiots. CBS News notes, “For now, some Republican committee members deny knowing anything about it, while strongly suggesting the division is the brainchild of the committee’s chairman, Devin Nunes, R-California,” a funny turn of the phrase as it suggests DARKNESS AT NUNES has a brain.
From CBS News.
TWITTER LEFT PROPAGANDA VIDEOS ON PLATFORM FOR MONTHS
CNN reports, “Twitter left hundreds of Russian propaganda videos, with millions of views, on its video platform Vine for months after it should have known they were posted by a Kremlin-linked troll group.” CNN adds, “The accounts and videos were removed only after CNN brought them to Twitter’s attention on Wednesday. Twitter did not comment as to why it removed the accounts or why they had been allowed to remain live for so long.” For example, “The Police State Vine account posted more than 600 videos showing incidents of alleged police misconduct in the United States. The account began posting in September 2015 and stopped suddenly in August 2016. 25,000 accounts subscribed to the account’s feed, and its videos were ‘looped’ more than 6 million times. The Police State Vine account links back to the now-suspended Police State Twitter account.” CNN adds, “Another account, GUNS4LIFE, posted more than 600 videos that were looped more than 8 million times. That account also appeared to be active from September 2015 before stopping suddenly in August 2016.”
W SAYS “PRETTY CLEAR” THE RUSSIANS HACKED OUR ELECTION
POLITICO reports, “Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that there is ‘pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled’ in the 2016 presidential election, a seeming rebuke of President Donald Trump, who has at times questioned the intelligence community’s assessment that the Kremlin is to blame.” Bush is the last Republican President before the one-time political party turned death cult threw itself behind the madman fake Russian puppet president Trump. Bush also kept his mouth shut for eight years of Obama, when he was content to fade into history and discover a new life as an amateur painter, and is speaking out now. POLITICO adds, “‘Whether [Russia] affected the outcome is another question,’ Bush said at a conference in Abu Dhabi, according to a USA Today report. ‘It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.’” At least when the Supreme Court stole 2000 for him, it was Americans doing that.
KSENIA SOBCHAK APOLOGIZES FOR RUSSIAN HACKING KREMLIN DENIES
CNN reports, “Ksenia Sobchak, who is challenging Russian President Vladimir Putin in next month’s elections, says she believes Russian hackers may have interfered in the 2016 US elections and said she was ‘sorry’ if that was the case.” CNN adds, “‘It sounds we really had something to do with it,’ Sobchak told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. ‘If that’s so, I want to say sorry.’” Of course Sobchak added, “It’s unacceptable for any country to meddle into the affairs of another country”. In response to questions about the legitimacy of her candidacy, Sobchak told Amanpour, “They are afraid of Alexei Navalny,” adding, “they are not that much afraid of a blonde girl from TV shows.” Sobchak continued, “In [a] totalitarian regime, this is in the only kind of thing you can do. You can make someone feel they can underestimate you, and then you do your job.” Just remember, no real opposition is allowed anywhere near Russia’s elections.
8 CANDIDATES ON BALLOT IN FAKE RUSSIAN ELECTIONS BUT NO NAVALNY
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Eight candidates will be on the ballot in Russia’s March 18 presidential vote, a poll that appears certain to hand President Vladimir Putin a new six-year term. The list of candidates was finalized when the Central Election Commission formally approved Ksenia Sobchak and Maksim Suraikin on February 8, the last day of the registration process.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “The six candidates registered earlier are Putin, business ombudsman Boris Titov of the Party of Growth, nationalist Sergei Baburin of the Russian All-People Union Party, liberal Grigory Yavlinsky of the Yabloko party, flamboyant ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky — the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia — and Communist Party nominee Pavel Grudinin. Opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, a vocal critic of Putin, has been barred from running because of a criminal conviction that he contends was the result of fabricated evidence.” All the farce and bullshit you have come to expect from fake elections in Russia. If unchecked, Trumpistani reality could soon resemble such predetermined nonsense.
RUSSIAN HACKER MOVED FROM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN U.S. JAIL
Russian state-run Sputnik reports, “The United States has improved the imprisonment conditions of Russian citizen Pyotr Levashov after numerous requests by the Russian diplomatic mission, the Russian Consulate General in New York said in a statement on Thursday.” The statement read in part, “Russian citizen Levashov’s incarceration conditions have been improved after many appeals of the Russian Consulate General in New York to the US law enforcement agencies, and he was transferred from the solitary confinement to the general population”. Russian state-run Sputnik adds, “On February 2, Levashov was extradited to the US from Spain where the programmer was detained on April 7, 2017, at the request of Washington as he was accused of creating malicious software and mass mailing of spam. On the same day, Levashov appeared for the first time in court in Connecticut,” where he pleaded not guilty.
ESTONIAN INTEL SERVICES RELEASES REPORT, RUSSIAN ATTACK UNLIKELY
Estonian Public Broadcasting reports, “While the only existential threat to the sovereignty of Estonia and other Baltic Sea countries comes from Russia, the threat of a direct Russian military attack on NATO member states in 2018 is low, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) said in its annual report. The EFIS on Thursday published its annual report, titled ‘International Security and Estonia 2018,’ and most of the report focuses on Russia.” Estonian Public Broadcasting notes, “‘In early 2018, the big question pertaining to Russia is what will happen after its March presidential elections,’ EFIS Director General Mikk Marran wrote in the foreword of the report. ‘Our aim is to cover the events in Russia that tend all too often to reach the public in a distorted or incomplete fashion.’” Marran said, “Although Russia conducts large-scale military exercises, our report states clearly: the threat of a direct military attack on NATO member states in 2018 is low”. A link to the PDF of the full report is available in the story and is at the top of the queue of TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s weekend reading as last year’s report was tops.
GERMANY TO SET UP NEW NATO HQ
Deustche Welle reports, “The Bundeswehr is expected to install a new NATO military headquarters in Germany. The move is part of the alliance’s strategic upgrade in the face of increased tensions with Russia. Germany is expected to set up a new NATO planning and control center, possibly near the former capital Bonn, as part of the alliance’s upgrade plans in Europe. The new headquarters is designed to accelerate troop and equipment transport around the continent. Unusually, it will not be integrated into the current NATO command structure.” Deutsche Welle notes, “The German Defense Ministry refused to confirm the report, saying in a statement only that “the possible installation of a NATO support command center” was indeed part of NATO’s current plans, and that Germany, because of its geographical situation and importance as a NATO partner, would naturally be considered as a location.”
From Deutsche Welle.
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE SAYS U.S. WON’T BE OK UNDER TRUMP
POLITICO reports, “Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman offered a dire outlook of the U.S. under President Donald Trump while taping ‘Celebrity Big Brother,’ tearfully cautioning that the country is ‘going to not be OK.’” Dust to dust, ashes to ashes and reality TV star back to reality TV star. POLITICO notes, “Manigault Newman, who left her post as White House director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison in December, was shown in a clip set to air Thursday as co-star and TV personality Ross Mathews asked if she was concerned for the country under Trump’s leadership. Manigault Newman nodded, then remarked: ‘I’d like to say it’s not my problem, but I can’t say that because it’s bad.’ Asked if the U.S. would be ‘OK’ going forward, Manigault Newman replied: ‘No, it’s going to not be OK.’” POLITICO adds, “The former White House aide and reality star, who appeared alongside Trump on ‘The Apprentice,’ added that she had fretted about the president’s social media use while in the administration. ‘I was haunted by tweets every single day,’ Manigault Newman said. ‘Like what is he going to tweet next?’” The Washington Post notes she also said, “In a million years, never,” would she vote for Trump again.
T REX WILL OPEN CYBERSPACE + DIGITAL ECONOMY BUREAU AT STATE
Defense One reports, “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to launch a new cyberspace and digital economy bureau, seemingly reversing course under congressional pressure after he shuttered the department’s cyber coordinator’s office in August. Tillerson announced plans for the new bureau in a letter to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., delivered in the middle of a Tuesday hearing on cyber diplomacy issues. Among the witnesses testifying at that hearing was the department’s ousted cyber coordinator Chris Painter.” The devil is in the details. Also timing is interesting.
From Defense One.
BIG TECH BACKS CONGRESSIONAL VOTE TO RESTORE NET NEUTRALITY
Reuters reports, “Technology companies including Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Thursday threw their weight behind a congressional bid to reverse the Trump administration’s plan to repeal Obama-era rules designed to protect an open internet. U.S. Senate Democrats said last month they had the backing of 50 members of the 100-person chamber for a reversal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) plan, leaving them just one vote short of a majority.” Reuters reports, “The FCC voted along party lines in December to repeal net neutrality regulations. Those rules, introduced in 2015, were lauded by tech companies and consumer groups but denounced by internet service providers as hindering investment.”
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
DOZENS OF RUSSIAN ATHLETES LOSE APPEAL, BARRED FROM OLYMPICS
The New York Times reports, “Russia failed in an 11th hour attempt to overturn a ban against 47 athletes and coaches from participating at the 2018 Winter Games on Friday, saving the International Olympic Committee from welcoming individuals it had judged to be tainted by the most elaborate doping program in sports history.” The New York Times adds, “The court essentially ruled that the I.O.C. had the right to decide which Russian athletes it could invite because it had already banned the country’s Olympic committee in December for its yearslong doping program that had corrupted several Winter and Summer Games.” However, POLITICO notes, “Ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics, anti-doping chiefs across Europe are criticizing the International Olympic Committee over a controversial pseudo-ban on Russian athletes,” because, “despite the ban, Russia will send more than 160 athletes to the Winter Olympics, which officially opens in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday.” POLITICO adds, “some in the anti-doping world believe IOC President Thomas Bach’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin may have contributed to the lenient handling of the Russia case.”
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