—–ON THE AGENDA—–
DARKNESS AT NUNES INTERFERENCE MISSION TO BE DECLARED A SUCCESS
Bloomberg reports, “Republicans are set to shut down the House Intelligence Committee’s contentious Russia probe Thursday, amid revelations that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign may have benefited from the exploitation of personal information from millions of Facebook users.” Bloomberg adds, “The panel has scheduled a morning vote on a Republican-written final report, which will assert there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians in the 2016 election. Despite strong Democratic objections, that report will be Congress’s first official finding on that issue — although it won’t be immediately released because declassification could take several weeks.” Bloomberg notes, “Schiff and other Democrats say the panel has yet to interview key witnesses like George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser; former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland, Flynn’s former deputy. Other witnesses, they add, have been allowed to refuse to answer some questions, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Donald Trump Jr.; former White House strategist Steve Bannon; Corey Lewandowski, who ran the Trump campaign for a time; and outgoing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. In the case of Bannon, the committee hasn’t taken action in response to his refusal — even under subpoena — to answer some questions.” So they did not investigate anything at all, they dressed some windows and called it an investigation. Remember the members of the GOP death cult involved in this effort at stifling the truth: these are the men who have helped rob you of a future you want, a future in a sovereign nation. Then remember this: “On their own, Schiff and Democrats have already invited two key witnesses in that matter to testify, even if the Republicans aren’t interested. One of them, a Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, has agreed to be interviewed.”
WHAT DOES MUELLER WANT?
CNN reports, “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has so far discussed with President Donald Trump’s lawyers four main topics they want to talk about with the President.” CNN adds, “the areas that the special counsel investigators have indicated they want to pursue with Trump are the President’s role in crafting a statement aboard Air Force One that miscast Donald Trump Jr.’s campaign June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower, the circumstances surrounding that Trump Tower meeting as well as the firings of FBI Director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.” CNN notes, “The topics are not the extent of Mueller’s interest, but, based on discussions between the two sides, they represent significant areas of focus so far for a Trump interview.”
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR ADDRESSES KOMPRAMAT ON TRUMP
Business Insider reports, “Former CIA Director John Brennan suggested Wednesday that Russia may have compromising information on President Donald Trump and is using it to exercise power over him.” Brennan noted to journalist Mika Brzezinski, “the fact that he’s had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin, has not said anything negative about him, continues to say to me that he has something to fear, and has something very serious to fear.”
From Business Insider.
EX-FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR OVERSAW PROBE OF PRIVATE RUSSIAN SESSIONS
ABC News reports, “Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a ‘lack of candor,’ McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives.” ABC News notes the fairly obvious but this is now not the easiest or most straightforward plot line, so it goes, “Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.” ABC News reports, “Last year, several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe”. ABC News recalls, “By then, Sessions had recused himself from the FBI’s probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, giving Rosenstein oversight of the growing effort.” ABC News notes, “Two months ago, Sessions was interviewed by Mueller’s team, and the federal inquiry related to his candor during his confirmation process has since been shuttered”. Meanwhile CNN adds, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ private attorney said Wednesday that the attorney general is not under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office for perjury related to statements made at his confirmation hearing.”
SPECIAL COUNSEL PROBING CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA, FARABOOK + THE RNC
ABC News reports, “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team for the last several weeks has had a growing interest to better understand the relationship between the campaign, the Republican National Committee, and Cambridge Analytica”. ABC News notes, “Mueller’s team has asked witnesses about the process of ‘micro targeting’ which is the process of using data to identify specific groups of individuals and thereby influence their thoughts and potentially their actions,” and we now know to be a double entendre of sorts that includes a pretty full package of coercive actions that can also be found in the old KGB playbook.
From ABC News.
ZUCK SPEAKETH: “I’M REALLY SORRY THAT THIS HAPPENED”
Oh kid, so are we! TRUMPISTAN WATCH is also sorry he didn’t put on a suit and tie for this instead of that blue-ish grey tee shirt. He can don a suit for Medvedev but not for us? He even cleans up nice. Anyways! CNN reports, “Mark Zuckerberg has regrets.” But he still has his billions and his freedom. On Wednesday, he told CNN, “I’m really sorry that this happened,” but don’t worry he still gets to be class president. Of course, “News broke this weekend that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, accessed information from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, and might have kept that data even after Facebook told the company to delete it,” but that is the most hedged way to minimize the scope and reality of the fact that it appears to have ended up in the hands of a hostile foreign power. Also like all things, expect the number of users affected to increase dramatically over time as all previous early figures have as the company seeks to clean up its tracks. CNN adds, “The revelation put Facebook and Zuckerberg under the microscope for their handling of user data and privacy,” which is better characterized as a mishandling of user data and privacy. The AP notes, “Zuckerberg is breaking more than four days of silence as he posts an update about the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” a case study of sorts in how not to run crisis communications suggesting the problem, as always, will be so much bigger than it is initially being reported. Surprise! But remember this, you never had privacy, only your illusions. POLITICO notes Zuck said a few things we know to be false based on previous behavior: that he would be happy to testify before Congress and thinks regulation in the online ad sector would be helpful.
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CEO ALEXANDER NIX + RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR PIX!
Mother Jones reports, “Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, made splashy headlines this week when Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast undercover video of Nix and a colleague boasting that their firm entraps politicians through sting operations using fake businessmen offering bribes and covert seduction schemes involving Ukrainian women.” So Mother Jones cheekily adds, “The footage, though, was a bit grainy. So here is a clearer shot of Nix, snapped during a polo match in which he played on July 28, 2016. He happens to be posing with Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom. The photo was taken days after Democratic National Committee files and emails hacked by Russian intelligence were dumped online by WikiLeaks at the start of the Democratic Party’s convention. The previous month, the Trump campaign had hired Nix’s company, and by this point, it had been widely reported that Russian intelligence was behind the DNC hack.” Isn’t that fun!? Are we having fun yet?! Entertained at least? Does anyone care or pretend to care that we’re staring down a future of unfreedom?
From Mother Jones.
THE EMPIRE HAS NO SECURITY, ELECTION 2018 EDITION
CNN reports, “Senators on Wednesday warned that the Trump administration — and President Donald Trump himself — are not doing enough to prepare for the cybersecurity threat to election systems in this year’s midterms. Senators from both parties knocked the Trump administration for not working quickly enough on election security in advance of the upcoming election season,” which is probably a signal that no one cares about the elections because they are not real, again! CNN notes, “Both homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former department head Jeh Johnson testified before the committee Wednesday, one day after the panel issued a list of recommendations to bolster election security at the state and federal levels,” while giving no additional money, so window dressing recommendations. For their parts, predictably Nielsen and Johnson said their administrations were taking or took the right steps but whatever, our state is on fire and these are the people telling us everything is just fine.
UK TABLOID SAYS GEORGE NADER FLED TO UAE
The Dialy Mail reports, “A key witness in the investigation into President Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia has fled the country,” adding, “Convicted pedophile George Nader was allegedly both a paid adviser for the United Arab Emirates and had close ties to the Trump administration. He met Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon in Trump Tower just before the inauguration at a meeting they held with the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates.” The Daily Mail adds, “he has flown back to the UAE, according to two sources close to the country’s de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Zayed,” who is being promoted by The Daily Mail as MBZ. The Daily Mail notes, “The revelation comes just days after Nader was revealed to be a convicted pedophile.” Everyone involved in this saga is a massive flight risk.
From The Daily Mail.
JUDGE TOSSES CARTER PAGE LAWSUIT AGAINST YAHOO PARENT COMPANY
The AP reports, “A New York judge has tossed out a defamation lawsuit brought by a former adviser to President Donald Trump against a media company. Federal Judge Lorna Schofield said Tuesday that the lawsuit against Oath Inc. over a September 2016 Yahoo News article lacked sufficient factual allegations to proceed toward trial.” The AP recalls, “[Carter] Page filed the lawsuit in Manhattan last September, alleging that defamation in articles led to threats against him and damaged his business relationships.”
From the AP.
TOP US + RUSSIAN GENERALS TALK SYRIA + STUFF
CNN reports, “America’s top military officer, Gen. Joseph Dunford, spoke again with his Russian counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov, on Wednesday, according to a statement from a spokesman for Dunford, the second such conversation in less than two weeks.” CNN notes, “Calls between the two senior officers are relatively rare but there has been increased communication in recent weeks. The two men last spoke on March 13, a conversation focused on the same issues,” adding, “The last call prior to that was on January 20.” CNN adds, “Gerasimov also spoke on the phone Wednesday with NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe US Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, according to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense.”
FLORIDA MAN FOUND GUILTY OF VIOLATING MILITARY EXPORT LAW
The Washington Times reports, “A Florida man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to illegally export military devices to a Russian customer. Vladimir Nevidomy, 31, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, had planned to send military-grade, night-vision and thermal-vision rifle scopes along with munition primers to Russia, prosecutors allege. All of those devices are banned from being exported by the U.S. State Department.” The Washington Times adds, “From April 2013 through November 2013, customers in Russia contacted Nevidomy, a Ukrainian national who became a naturalized U.S. citizen, to purchase the devices, according to court documents. He proceeded to obtain the equipment from U.S. vendors by falsely representing to vendors that the items were not for export, prosecutors allege.” The Washington Times notes, “Sentencing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams, on May 25. If convicted, he could face maximum of five years in prison.”
From The Washington Times.
IF IT LOOKS LIKE A QUID PRO QUO + SMELLS LIKE A QUID PRO QUO…
Interfax-Ukraine reports, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his administration to work on a list of 16 people whom presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak asked him to pardon.” Interfax-Ukraine notes, “Among the 16 names on Sobchak’s list are Dmitry Borisov and Stanislav Zimovets (sentenced as part of ‘the March 26 case’), Alexander Kolchenko (a Crimean activist convicted of terrorism), Vladimir Lapygin (a scientist convicted of high treason), Sergei Mokhnatkin (a human rights campaigner convicted of violence against a police officer during a Strategy 31 protest), Oleg Navalny (the opposition activist Alexei Navalny’s brother who is serving a prison sentence in the Yves Rocher case), Alexei Sokolov (an RBC journalist convicted of forming an extremist group), and Oleh Sentsov (a Ukrainian film director who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for terrorism).”
EU LAWMAKERS BACK DRAFT OF NORDSTREAM2 RULES
Reuters reports, “EU lawmakers backed draft rules on Wednesday to extend the bloc’s internal energy market laws to offshore gas pipelines such as Russia’s planned Nord Stream 2 link to Germany.” Reuters notes, “The Commission’s proposal is supported by east European and Baltic countries, which fear the 1,225 km (760 mile) pipeline will undercut EU efforts to reduce dependence on Moscow and EU support for Ukraine by depriving it of gas transit fees.” Reuters adds, “The pipeline’s backers, including Germany, oppose the rule change as an attempt to block what they see as a commercial project to pump 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year under the Baltic Sea.” One thing is clear: Nordstream2 happens and European security will be blown up into pieces. Luckily, “In its current form, the Nord Stream 2 project, fully owned by Russia’s gas export monopoly Gazprom, does not comply with the EU’s so-called third energy package rules,” Reuters adds.
LATVIA TO PUT FORWARD LEGISLATION TO BAN SHELL COMPANIES
Reuters reports, “Latvia will put forward legislation to ban shell companies, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said on Wednesday, after a chorus of demands from its Western allies that it clamp down on money laundering.” Reuters recalls, “Latvia is struggling to restore confidence in its financial institutions after U.S. accusations that the euro zone state’s third biggest bank, ABLV, was serving as a conduit for illicit funds. The bank, whose former management denies wrongdoing, was shut down last month,” adding, “The use of shell companies has been widespread in Latvia, with the country’s financial watchdog putting their number at over 26,000.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
OUR FAKE RUSSIAN BULLSHIT POTUS HAS 99 PROBLEMS AND…
POLITICO reports, “As a candidate, Donald Trump vowed to sue the slew of women accusing him of sexual misconduct. That never happened.” So they rose up! It’s the she-devils who want to take Cheeto Jesus away from the red caps! Too bad woman is required for non-gay sex making! So it goes our fake Russian bullshit president is “increasingly enmeshed in litigation related to pre-election efforts to contain stories about his alleged sexual affairs and improprieties — a legal morass seemingly unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia and the firing of FBI Director James Comey, among other issues.” POLITICO adds, “Just Tuesday, former Playboy model Karen McDougal sued the publisher of the National Enquirer to escape an agreement that appears to have been aimed at bottling up her story of an affair with Trump. And a state court judge in New York rejected a bid by Trump’s legal team to use presidential immunity to shut down a lawsuit from former ‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos, who says Trump groped her and kissed her against her wishes.” POLITICO notes, “Those developments came amid an ongoing legal battle between Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump over a decade ago. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing to void a nondisclosure agreement she agreed to in exchange for a $130,000 payment just before the election. Trump’s side is arguing that she owes more than $20 million for violating the terms of the deal.” Just remember: no one is above the law, except the people who are.
EARLY ON FAKE RUSSIAN POTUS THREW NDAS AT THE TRUMPSTER FIRE
“A few weeks after he was elected president of the United States,” in a stolen election, CNN reports, “the President-elect decided he would require his White House staff to sign non-disclosure agreements — just like he had done for years with employees at the Trump Organization.” CNN notes, “Trump was immediately advised that the idea wasn’t feasible for federal government employees and couldn’t be enforced,” but no matter, “as leaks spilled out of the West Wing in the early days of the administration, Trump continued to push the idea. But he wasn’t alone. Both Ivanka Trump, who became a federal employee in late March, and Jason Greenblatt, the former lawyer for the Trump Organization, supported having employees sign nondisclosure agreements”. CNN adds, “Finally, by spring, White House counsel Don McGahn relented. He drafted what has been described to CNN as a watered-down, unenforceable version of a nondisclosure agreement.” Why not have fake NDAs? Everything else is fake but lawsuits are real.
PRINCELING JARED REALLY ACTS LIKE IT WHEN IT COMES TO SAUDI
The Intercept reports, “Until he was stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief”. The Intercept notes, “In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. ‘The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,’ the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.” The Intercept adds, “On November 4, a week after Kushner returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in official Washington by his initials MBS, launched what he called an anti-corruption crackdown. The Saudi government arrested dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and imprisoned them in the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh”. The Intercept reports, “The Saudi figures named in the President’s Daily Brief were among those rounded up; at least one was reportedly tortured.” The Intercept adds, “Indeed, Kushner has grown so close to the Saudi and Emirati crown princes that he has communicated with them directly using WhatsApp, a reasonably secure messaging app owned by Facebook and popular in the Middle East”. Of course, “Kushner’s unconventional communications with regional leaders excluded diplomats during the summer of 2017, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE initiated an economic blockade aimed at weakening their Gulf neighbor Qatar. Tillerson’s attempts to mediate the crisis were quickly undercut by Trump and Kushner, who supported the blockade. Three State Department officials told The Intercept that Tillerson was largely in the dark about Kushner’s communications with MBS during that period.” The Intercept notes, “Saudi Arabia and the UAE over Qatar in the Gulf crisis has raised questions about a possible conflict of interest. Kushner backed the blockade a month after Qatar’s ministry of finance rebuffed an attempt by Kushner’s real estate firm, Kushner Companies, to extract financing for the firm’s troubled flagship property at 666 Fifth Avenue.” The Intercept adds, “As recently as the spring of 2017, Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, asked former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani to invest in the building. Then in April 2017, Charles Kushner made a direct pitch to the Qatari government through the country’s minister of finance. Qatar rejected the deal as not financially viable.”
From The Intercept.
MILE HIGH BILLS CLUB
POLITICO reports, “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spent more than $105,000 on first-class flights in his first year on the job, according to records EPA provided to the House Oversight Committee”. POLITICO adds, “Pruitt has drawn criticism for regularly booking first-class flights rather than the coach tickets recommended by EPA protocol. The agency has said the expensive flights were necessary because of the high number of security threats Pruitt has received,” meaning he is totally afraid of the people he is supposedly serving, just like in a real autocracy where he is one of the kleptocrats. Of note, “That $105,000 figure doesn’t include an additional $58,000 Pruitt rang up on charter flights and a military jet to carry him and his staff from an event with President Donald Trump in Cincinnati to catch a connecting flight to Europe out of New York,” POLITICO adds.
WHAT IS BIG DATA REALLY? HUMAN + SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE
The New York Review of Books reports, “Apparently, the age of the old-fashioned spook is in decline. What is emerging instead is an obscure world of mysterious boutique companies specializing in data analysis and online influence that contract with government agencies.” The New York Review of Books adds that when it comes to Cambridge Analytica, “Representatives have boasted that their list of past and current clients includes the British Ministry of Defense, the US Department of Defense, the US Department of State, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and NATO. Nevertheless, they became recognized for just one influence campaign: the one that helped Donald Trump get elected president of the United States. The kind of help the company offered has since been the subject of much unwelcome legal and journalistic scrutiny.” The New York Review of Books notes, “Two young psychologists are central to the Cambridge Analytica story. One is Michal Kosinski, who devised an app with a Cambridge University colleague, David Stillwell, that measures personality traits by analyzing Facebook ‘likes.’ It was then used in collaboration with the World Well-Being Project, a group at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center that specializes in the use of big data to measure health and happiness in order to improve well-being. The other is Aleksandr Kogan, who also works in the field of positive psychology and has written papers on happiness, kindness, and love”. The New York Review of Books adds, “Despite its prominence in research on well-being, Kosinski’s work, Cadwalladr points out, drew a great deal of interest from British and American intelligence agencies and defense contractors”. Additionally, “Several of Kosinski’s co-authored papers list the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as a funding source. His résumé boasts of meetings with senior figures at two of the world’s largest defense contractors, Boeing and Microsoft, both companies that have sponsored his research. He ran a workshop on digital footprints and psychological assessment for the Singaporean Ministry of Defense. For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed).” The New York Review of Books notes, “In a 2014 interview, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, speaking then as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said that such open-source data initiatives, and in particular the study of social media such as Facebook, had entirely transformed intelligence-gathering. He reported that traditional signals intelligence and human intelligence were increasingly being replaced by this open-source work and that the way in which intelligence agents are trained had been modified to accommodate the shift. A growing portion of the military’s $50 billion budget would be spent on this data analytics work, he claimed, creating a ‘gold rush’ for contractors. A few weeks after this interview, Flynn left the DIA to establish the Flynn Intel Group Inc. He later acted as a consultant to the SCL Group.” He has since pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, of course.
DARK PERSONALITY ALEKSANDR KOGAN IS INTO DARK PERSONALITIES
Reuters reports, “The psychologist at the center of a scandal over the misuse of millions of Facebook users’ personal data worked with Russian researchers on a study of toxic personality traits. Aleksandr Kogan advised a team at St Petersburg State University that was exploring whether psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism – dubbed the ‘dark triad’ by psychologists – were linked to abusive online behavior, said Yanina Ledovaya, senior lecturer at the university’s department of psychology.” According to Ledovaya, “We wanted to detect (internet) trolls in order to improve in some way the lives of people suffering from trolling,” but that is what the Russian mafia state is always about, trying to improve lives. Also Mueller indicted a bunch of Russian trolls not because they were into improving our quality of life. This is not the Coca Cola Corporation that they have to answer to.
ROHRABACHER’S PAL REGISTERS AS A FOREIGN LOBBYIST
McClatchy reports, “A GOP fundraiser-turned-foreign agent has updated his registration with the Justice Department, disclosing he’s lobbying in the United States for a businessman in Ukraine. Fundraiser Yuri Vanetik, a Russian émigré, is described as a close friend by California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and has posted numerous social-media photos with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also of California, and other high-profile Republicans.” McClatchy cites earlier reports that, “Vanetik appeared to violate disclosure rules by registering to lobby for an anonymous shell company in Wyoming called Medowood Management without disclosing its true owners. His clients were a wealthy Ukrainian legislator and, separately, Ukraine’s Agrarian Party.” McClatchy notes, “Vanetik originally listed a woman from Belarus, Aksana Cherniavskaya, as the principal of Medowood, and said the owners were four unnamed individuals and a limited liability company.” McClatchy adds, “Like Vanetik, she is an avid social-media poster, adding a picture Tuesday on Instagram from the Trump International Hotel, just blocks from the White House.” McClatchy continues, “Vanetik’s prolific social-media postings show him at an April 2017 dinner in Berlin with his friend Rep. Rohrabacher and Ukraine’s Agrarian Party leader Vitaliy Skotsyk. On that same trip Rohrabacher also met with Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who has past links to Russian intelligence agencies and is under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That’s because Akhmetshin was present at the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Jr., former Donald Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.”
FINDING JOSEPH MIFSUD
BBC News’ “Newsnight” went in search of the mysterious Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, “of the London Academy of Diplomacy, originally from Malta, who mixed with Britain’s foreign secretary and ex-CIA people, but who also helped connect Team Trump with the Russians.” BBC News’ “ investigation into Mifsud has thrown new light on to the enigmatic don and his circle, who include a Kremlin trusty and a third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a wheeler-dealer who bought a British nuclear firm which suddenly started coining millions of dollars.” Cheekily BBC notes, “Mifsud became a selfie king of the diplomatic circuit. Boris Johnson and then Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood were photographed with Mifsud – as was the Russian ambassador to London.” BBC News adds, “In April 2016, Mifsud reportedly introduced [George] Papadopoulos via email to Ivan Timofeev, who works for a think tank close to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same month, Mifsud was in Moscow on a panel run by the Kremlin-backed Valdai Club with Timofeev and the third man, Dr Stephan Roh, a German multi-millionaire.” Now we have the man at the center of Mifsud’s alleged Krmlin ties as “Mifsud and Roh interlock: in 2014, Roh became a visiting lecturer at the London Academy of Diplomacy. Roh bought Link Campus University, a private institution in Rome where Mifsud was part of the management and Mifsud became a consultant at Roh’s legal firm. Roh and his Russian-born wife, Olga, have homes in Switzerland, Monaco, London and Hong Kong. And then there is a derelict castle in Scotland – buying it made Stephan and Olga the Baron and Baroness of Inchdrewer.” Curiously BBC adds, “Olga was a star in Fox’s reality TV show Meet The Russians, in which, surrounded by the trappings of extreme wealth, she purrs: ‘My family was always achievements orientated.’ She’s extraordinarily well-connected, running an upmarket fashion company in London’s Mayfair. Among her customers is Britain’s prime minister. There is a photograph of Theresa May meeting the Queen in an Olga Roh coat.” BBC News reports, “in 2005 Dr Roh bought Severnvale Nuclear Services Ltd from its one man-band owner, British nuclear scientist Dr John Harbottle. He then invited Dr Harbottle on an all-expenses paid trip to a conference in Moscow. But the nuclear scientist was alert to the danger that visitors to Moscow can be targeted or even honey-trapped in compromising situations. Dr Harbottle said: ‘We smelt a rat,’” and so, “Shortly afterwards, he was fired.” Then suddenly the firm went from making thousands to making millions.
From BBC News.
FAUX NEWS FOX ANALYST QUITS BECAUSE FOX IS PART OF THE CANCER
The New York Times reports, “A longtime analyst for Fox News is leaving the network, saying that he could not ‘in good conscience’ remain with an organization that, he argued, ‘is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.’” The New York Times adds, “In a searing farewell note sent to colleagues on Tuesday, Ralph Peters, a Fox News strategic analyst and a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, castigated the network for its coverage of President Trump and the rhetoric of its prime-time hosts.” Peters wrote, “In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” adding, “Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association,” however, “Now I am ashamed.” Of note, “Colonel Peters, who appeared regularly on Fox News and the Fox Business Network — including as recently as Monday morning — spent more than two decades in the Army, eventually specializing in Russian intelligence.” So he knows.
From The New York Times.
JOHN BOLTON STARS IN RUSSIAN PRO-GUN PROPAGANDA
NPR reports, “Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton recorded a video used by the Russian gun rights group The Right to Bear Arms in 2013 to encourage the Russian government to loosen gun laws.” Recall, that’s the group connected to Aleksander Torshin and Maria Butina who are deeply connected to both the Kremlin and the NRA. NPR notes, “The episode, which has not been previously reported, illustrates the common cause that Russian and American gun rights groups were forming in the years leading up to the 2016 election through former National Rifle Association president David Keene. Keene appointed Bolton to the NRA’s international affairs subcommittee in 2011.” As NPR notes, “The Bolton video appears to be another plank in a bridge built by Russia to conservative political organizations inside the United States.”
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
THE AMERICANS FINAL SEASON STARTS MARCH 28
The Los Angeles Times reports “The Americans” will return “for its final 10-episode season March 28”. The Los Angeles Times notes, “The series is both a gripping story of espionage and a portrait of a uniquely complicated marriage. Initially arranged by their KGB handlers, the Jennings’ relationship is loving but also strained by their spy duties, which include extramarital affairs, the assumption of numerous false identities and the occasional disposal of a dead body.” If you have not seen it, it’s pretty good and even the television-adverse TRUMPISTAN WATCH recommends.
From The Los Angeles Times.
CORRECTION: An item about Dmytro Firash yesterday mistakenly cited a story from last year incorrectly as if it was a recent report, rather than noting a detail from that report in light of more recent developments this week. Firtash was in court in Austria on Tuesday, which also should have been better noted in the original item:
KEEPING UP WITH DMYTRO FIRTASH: THE KEY TO EVERYTHING (REVISED)
Dmytro Firtash, the Paul Manafort-linked Ukrainian oligarch, had a status hearing in Austria and is again out on based on a Chicago Tribune report from last Friday. In it The Chicago Tribune reports, “[Dan] Webb on Friday wrote to U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer to warn her that Firtash’s extradition may once again be imminent. A ruling in an Austrian court case now expected Tuesday could quickly lead to Firtash’s extradition ‘sooner than was predicted’ previously, warned Webb, who wants Pallmeyer to toss out the case before Firtash can be put on a plane bound for O’Hare International Airport.” Don’t get excited though, he still is not here in Chicago where we await him with great anticipation as “The case initially attracted international interest because of Firtash’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It has since taken on increased significance because of Manafort’s October indictment on charges of failing to register as an agent of former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of both Firtash and of Putin, and of laundering payments from Ukraine to evade taxes.” TRUMPISTAN WATCH hears he is out on bond in Austria. In light of recent events and the Cambridge University ties of Cambridge Analytica’s Aleksandr Kogan, let’s recall that The Times of London reported last year, “Cambridge university has accepted more than £6 million from a Ukrainian oligarch wanted on criminal charges in the United States and Spain.”
From The Chicago Tribune and The Times of London.
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