TRUMP’S PRESENT FOR PUTIN: FREEZING SYRIA RECOVERY FUNDS
CBS News reports, “President Trump’s administration has frozen $200 million earmarked for Syria recovery efforts”. CBS News adds, “The development comes after Mr. Trump said this week the U.S. will be pulling out of Syria ‘very soon.’” CBS News adds, “the decision was relayed to the State Department Friday in a call that White House chief of staff John Kelly made to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. There is some recovery funding that will continue for the next few weeks, but all future money is on hold.” Gee who will fill that power vacuum? When in the last 15 years have we seen this movie before? Did it end well?
From CBS News.
ERIK PRINCE’S BEER BUDDY KIRILL DMITRIEV CLOSELY LINKED TO KREMLIN
The Daily Beast reports, “The Russian financier whose Seychelles meeting with Trump campaign adviser Erik Prince in January 2017 raised red flags in the ongoing Russia probe has been tied directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Financial Times reports.” (Pay wall hence The Daily Beast summary.) The Daily Beast recalls, “Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, is known to have met with Prince shortly before President Trump’s inauguration, and Prince admitted to the meeting while testifying before the House Intelligence Committee late last year.” Now The Financial Times reports, “Dmitriev’s wife, Natalia Popova, is close friends with Putin’s younger daughter, Yekaterina Tikhonova, and also serves as the deputy director of her Innopraktika foundation. While Prince has maintained his brief meeting with Dmitriev was spontaneous, these new details on Dmitriev’s direct links to Putin are likely to renew concerns the pair’s meeting was organized to set up a secret Kremlin backchannel with the Trump administration.”
TED MALLOCH AGREES TO TESTIFY BEFORE GRAND JURY NEXT MONTH
Reuters reports, “An American academic who supports U.S. President Donald Trump and is a strong advocate of Britain’s exit from the European Union will testify next month before the federal grand jury considering evidence in the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia.” Reuters adds, “Theodore Malloch, the author of a forthcoming pro-Trump book and an ally of Nigel Farage, a former leader of Britain’s UK Independence Party, said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Friday by the book’s publisher that he was questioned by FBI agents when he landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport on Tuesday after a flight from London and served with a subpoena to appear before the grand jury. Malloch ‘is scheduled to testify in Washington D.C. on April 13th under Robert Mueller’s Grand Jury investigation,’ Hector Carosso, a representative of Skyhorse Publishing, said in a separate email.” Reuters notes, “Malloch’s book, ‘The Plot to Destroy Trump: How the Deep State Fabricated the Russian Dossier to Subvert the President,’ is scheduled for publication on May 1.” Additionally Reuters reports, “Malloch said in his email that the FBI presented him with a document authorizing the agents to seize his cellphone. He said he handed it over and later was told the FBI had to send it to Washington for a ‘full assessment.’”
FBI REPORT SHOWS DISCREPANCIES IN COMEY + MCCABE ACCOUNTS
CNN reports, “The internal FBI report that served as grounds for the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe includes key testimony from his former boss that shows a discrepancy with McCabe’s public statements”. CNN adds, “Former FBI Director James Comey told internal investigators at the Justice Department that he could not recall McCabe telling him about having authorized FBI officials to talk to a reporter about an ongoing investigation”. CNN notes, “Comey’s comments to the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which were later included as part of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility report on McCabe that prompted his firing earlier this month, put him at odds with the statements McCabe has made about authorizing FBI officials to provide information to the Wall Street Journal in an October 2016 story about FBI and Justice Department tensions over an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.”
ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST JOHN BOLTON’S SUPER PAC FILED
The Center for Public Integrity reports, “the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging Bolton’s super PAC violated the Federal Election Campaign Act when it worked with embattled data voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis’ campaign committee in 2014.” The Center for Public Integrity adds, “Separately, the nonpartisan government watchdogs Democracy 21 and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI requesting an investigation into whether the John Bolton Super PAC and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. violated criminal laws.” The Center for Public Integrity notes, “The two watchdog groups called on the agencies to investigate whether Cambridge Analytica, its U.K.-based parent company SCL Elections, its former CEO and British national Alexander Nix, and its former vice president Stephen Bannon criminally violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by ‘directly or indirectly participating in the decision-making process of the John Bolton Super PAC and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.’”
WHY WAS OLEG DERIPASKA’S JET IN NEWARK FOR A DAY IN AUGUST 2016?
Vice News reports, “In August 2016, a private jet linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska traveled from Moscow to Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. The Gulfstream G550 (registration M-ALAY) landed shortly after midnight and, according to publicly available flight records, flew back to Moscow that same afternoon.” Vice notes, “that August flight has caught the attention of congressional investigators, in part because of its timing.” Vice adds, “The jet arrived within hours of a meeting in nearby Manhattan between Paul Manafort, then chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik spent over a decade as Manafort’s translator and fixer in Ukraine. Weeks earlier, Manafort had emailed his old associate and told him to extend an offer of ‘private briefings’ to Deripaska.”
From Vice News.
T REX DISAPPEARED FROM STATE DEPARTMENT WEBSITE
The AP reports, “Rex Tillerson has all but vanished from the State Department’s website as his unceremonious firing by tweet took effect over the weekend. The ‘Secretary of State Tillerson’ link at the top of the department’s homepage (www.state.gov ) disappeared overnight Saturday and was replaced with a generic ‘Secretary of State’ tab.” The AP notes, “When clicked, it leads to a page that informs visitors in a brief statement that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan ‘became acting Secretary of State on April 1, 2018.’ It shows a photo of Sullivan signing his appointment papers as deputy in June 2017 but offers no explanation for the change in leadership.”
From the AP.
REALITY WINNER WANTS TO SUBPOENA STATES, CYBER SECURITY FIRMS
POLITICO reports, “National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who is accused of leaking a top-secret report on Russian hacking activity connected to the 2016 election, is seeking to pull 21 states and an array of leading cybersecurity firms into her criminal case by subpoenaing them as part of her trial.” POLITICO adds, “Lawyers for Winner revealed in a court filing Friday that they want to subpoena representatives of the states formally notified by the Department of Homeland Security last September that they were targeted by hackers the U.S. government says were acting on behalf of the Russian government. Winner’s attorneys also listed 10 cybersecurity companies they contend could have information useful to her defense: TrendMicro, FireEye, Eset, CrowdStrike, Volexity, F-Secure Corporation, ThreatConnect, Motherboard, Secureworks and Fidelis Cybersecurity.” POLITICO notes, “Winner’s justification for the subpoenas remains under seal and will undergo a classification review before being released to the public.”
FROM PROTO-STASI TO STASI
CNN reports, “The Trump administration plans to require immigrants applying to come to the United States to submit five years of social media history, it announced Thursday, setting up a potential scouring of their Twitter and Facebook histories.” And that ladies and gentlemen is how FARAbook goes from proto-Stasi to Stasi! CNN adds, “According to notices submitted by the State Department on Thursday, set for formal publication on Friday, the government plans to require nearly all visa applicants to the US to submit five years of social media handles for specific platforms identified by the government — and with an option to list handles for other platforms not explicitly required.” CNN notes, “The decision will not take effect immediately — the publication of the planned change to visa applications on Friday will start a 60-day clock for the public to comment on the move.”
RUSSIAN HACKER ARRESTED IN PRAGUE EXTRADITED TO THE US
The New York Times reports, “A Russian man accused of hacking the systems of three American technology companies in 2012, possibly compromising the personal information of more than 100 million users, was extradited to the United States from the Czech Republic on Friday. The man, Yevgeniy A. Nikulin, appeared in Federal District Court in San Francisco after arriving in the city around 6 a.m. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley scheduled his next court appearance for next week.” The New York Times notes, “Mr. Nikulin had been held in the Czech Republic since the authorities there arrested him in 2016. His case quickly turned into a battle between Washington and Moscow over whether he should be tried in the United States. He was arrested just two days before the Obama administration formally accused the Russian government of stealing and disclosing emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and prominent individuals.” He is the newest addition to a growing list of these shits the U.S. has successfully reeled in to face consequences as “This year, Spain extradited to the United States two Russians suspected of hacking. Another Russian, Aleksandr V. Vinnik, is being held in Greece pending extradition requests from Washington and Moscow.” The New York Times adds, “The charges were laid out in an indictment unsealed after he was arrested. He is accused of hacking into the computer networks at LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring; damaging computers used by LinkedIn and Formspring employees; and using their credentials for further intrusions. The charges include three counts of computer intrusion, two counts of causing damage to a protected computer, two counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of trafficking and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, Mr. Nikulin could be sentenced to more than 30 years in prison and fined more than $1 million.”
From The New York Times.
UK BELIEVES SKRIPAL POISONING APPROVED BY THE KREMLIN
CNN reports, “British authorities examining the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal believe the daring placement of the nerve agent on his door shows a sophistication that likely had the approval of the Kremlin”. CNN notes, “There are doubts that rogue agents could have carried out the attack without approval from the top levels of Russian government.”
UK SEARCHES AEROFLOT PLANE AT HEATHROW
BBC News reports, “The UK has rejected a complaint from Russia over a search of one of its aircraft at London’s Heathrow Airport, as a row over the poisoning of a former Russian spy deepens.” The BBC adds, “The British government described the search of the Aeroflot plane on Friday as ‘routine’ after Russia suggested it was ‘illegal’.” BBC News details, “Aeroflot flight SU2582 landed at Heathrow on Friday at 15:40 local time. Once passengers and crew had departed, a search began. But a man identified by Russian TV as pilot Vitaly Mitrofanov said he was confined to his cockpit by a the search team with a sniffer dog. The Border Force officers inspected the plane for up to three minutes before leaving with a ‘thank you’, he added. The pilot maintains they ‘gave no reasons’ for the inspection, and he was not allowed to ‘observe their actions’ or accompany them in their work.”
From BBC News.
RUSSIANS LEAVE CONSULATE IN SEATTLE BUT THE FLAG STAYS
Russian state-run RT reports, “The Russian consulate in Seattle has been closed by order of the US authorities. The staff has decided not to take down the Russian flag, though, leaving it for the Americans to deal with.” That’s code for let’s try and start an international incident. Russian state-run RT adds, “Having wrapped up their last day of work on Friday, the Seattle consulate staff gathered outside their office, rented in a 25-story office building, took a picture together, then removed the plaque with the consulate’s name from the wall, RIA reports. They now have until April 2 to remove all papers and other items, as that is the date that access to the premises will be shut off.”
From Russian state-run RT.
RUSSIA SUMMONS WESTERN DIPLOMATS FOR EXPULSIONS
Reuters reports, “Russia summoned a slew of senior Western diplomats on Friday to tell them how many of their embassy officials it was expelling in a worsening standoff with the West over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.” Reuters adds, “Embassy officials from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Belgium, Ukraine, Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Czech Republic were all seen arriving in their official cars at the Foreign Ministry building in Moscow.” Reuters notes, “Among those nations whose diplomats were shown the door were the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Poland and Lithuania.” Additionally, “Putin discussed Russia’s package of retaliatory measures with the Security Council on Friday.”
RUSSIAN SHIPS SUSSING OUT UNDERWATER SEA CABLES
CBS News reports, “Russian ships are skulking around underwater communications cables, causing the U.S. and its allies to worry the Kremlin might be taking information warfare to new depths. Is Moscow interested in cutting or tapping the cables? Does it want the West to worry it might? Is there a more innocent explanation?” CBS News adds, “But whatever Moscow’s intentions, U.S. and Western officials are increasingly troubled by their rival’s interest in the 400 fiber-optic cables that carry most of world’s calls, emails and texts, as well as $10 trillion worth of daily financial transactions.” CBS Notes it is “Russia’s Main Directorate of Deep Sea Research, whose specialized surface ships, submarines, underwater drones and mini subs conduct reconnaissance, underwater salvage and other work,” that is responsible for this.
From CBS News.
MORE ON THE MISSILES OVER THE BAY OF RIGA
The Baltic Times reports, “The Main Air Traffic Management Center of Russia has informed Latvia that the Russian Navy will be performing missile tests over Latvia’s exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea from April 4 to 6,” adding, “The missile tests will take place on the aforementioned dates from 6 a.m. to 6.p.m.” The Baltic Times adds, “The Russian side has asked Latvia to close part of its airspace on the 18-kilometer altitude around 40 kilometers from Latvia’s seacoast for the tests. Defense Ministry spokesman Kaspars Galkins told LETA that the Russian side has not informed Latvia as to what kind of weapons it is going to use during the exercise. He said that the National Armed Forces (NAF) have not been put on alert over the Russian drills.” What!? The Baltic Times notes, “The Latvian Defense Ministry has summoned Russian Military Attache to Latvia, Colonel Andrey Lobov, and expressed its discontent with the situation, noting that although international agreements do not prohibit Russia from holding such exercises in this territory, such activities are provocative and can be regarded as a demonstration of force. Moreover, such missile tests can threaten civilian ship traffic in the Baltic Sea.” Citing Fontanka, a Russian outlet, The Baltic Times reports, “the Swedish aviation service has issued a warning to civil aviation that missiles ships of the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet would be firing missiles in Kaliningrad Region from April 4 to 6, and that airspace over the Baltic Sea would be partly closed during that time.” And that is this week in foreseen horrors.
From The Baltic Times.
RUSSIA RELEASES MISSILE TEST FOOTAGE
Also on Friday CNN reports, “Russia’s Ministry of Defense released video footage Friday of a test launch of its new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat. The short video said the missile — nicknamed ‘Satan 2’ — was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.”
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
JOHN BOLTON ON RUSSIA
USA Today reports, “President Trump’s new national security adviser John Bolton minces no words about whether he thinks his boss and Russian President Vladimir Putin can be friends. In speeches, interviews and op-eds, Bolton has called Putin a liar who aligns himself with America’s enemies, and whose country is a long-term strategic threat to the United States.” USA Today notes, “Bolton said the Russian leader lied to Trump when they met last July at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, and Putin denied interfering in the U.S. elections.” USA Today adds, “‘Attempting to undermine America’s constitution is far more than just a quotidian covert operation. It is in fact a casus belli, a true act of war, and one Washington will never tolerate,’ Bolton said.” USA Today notes, “Bolton was an early proponent of arming Ukraine, so it could effectively counter Russia’s support for separatist militias that seized territory in the country’s east after Russia seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in early 2014.”
From USA Today.
WHAT IS THE CANADIAN FIRM AGGREGATE IQ?
The Guardian reports on “A document that linked Cambridge Analytica to a small, seemingly inconsequential firm based above an optician’s shop in Victoria, Canada. A document that was among the stash of those released by the DCMS [digital, culture, media and sport select] committee on Thursday.” As The Guardian notes, “The firm – AggregateIQ – didn’t appear inconsequential. In the words of Vote Leave’s campaign manager, Dominic Cummings, it played a crucial role in the Brexit campaign. For more than a year, a quote from Cummings – ‘we couldn’t have done it without them’ – was emblazoned across AIQ’s website. Words that disappeared from the website a week ago, removed after we submitted our questions to the firm.” After Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalladr “wrote about Cambridge Analytica last February,” several stories which “outlined a relationship between Nigel Farage’s Leave.EU campaign and Cambridge Analytica and the relationships with Robert Mercer, the firm’s main investor, and its shareholder and vice-president Steve Bannon. It kicked off an investigation by the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office.” The Guardian’s Cadwalladr adds, “Then, a few days later, a reader from Canada got in touch. Did I know that the telephone number and address listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its Canadian office – SCL Canada – belonged to Zackary Massingham? Did I know that he was the chief executive of a company called AggregateIQ? A firm that had worked for Vote Leave? I didn’t.” The Guardian continues, “Because Vote Leave was the official campaign. It was of a different order of importance to Farage’s Leave.EU. Vote Leave had been recognised by the Electoral Commission. It had been entrusted with taxpayers’ money. It was headed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – now both ministers in Theresa May’s government. And who are now seeing the scandal currently engulfing Cambridge Analytica arriving at their doorstep.” The Guardian notes, “The documents published last week finally make the legal connection between AggregateIQ and Cambridge Analytica public. The committee has published an intellectual property agreement between AIQ and SCL Elections – Cambridge Analytica’s parent company. There’s also a service agreement between the two firms that set out revenue-sharing clauses and payment details, an internal Cambridge Analytica staff list that names Massingham, and emails about work the two firms did together for John Bolton, the newly appointed national security adviser to Donald Trump.”
From The Guardian.
THE GEORGE NADER CHILD PORN INDICTMENT FROM THE 80S
The Daily Mail reports it “has unearthed a more than 30-year-old document alleging [Mueller cooperating witness George] Nader was found with a stash of child pornography while living in Washington DC in 1984. The document dated January 29, 1985 states that Nader was brought up on two charges – mailing obscene matter and the importation of obscene matter. It states that between March 27 and April 12, 1984 Nader mailed an envelope containing copies of ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy magazines, pictures and films, commonly known as ‘child pornography‘.” The Daily Mail adds, “And in a second charge the indictment, signed by the US District Attorney for Washington DC, stated that Nader was accused of ‘knowingly’ bringing the material into the US. A grand jury was sworn but the case failed, apparently over problems with a search warrant that led to the discovery of the material.” The Daily Mail notes, Nader “was convicted in federal court in Northern Virginia in 1991 on a felony charge of transporting sexually explicit materials in foreign commerce – importing child pornography from overseas. And a Czech Republic court sentenced him to a year in prison in 2003 for 10 cases of sexually abusing minors between 1999 and 2002.”
From The Daily Mail.
JUST TO BE CLEAR: 60 RUSSIANS MUST GO, BUT 60 MORE CAN COME IN
Business Insider reports, “A State Department official confirmed to Business Insider that the White House’s diplomatic expulsion will not require Russia to reduce its staffing levels in the US, and vice versa. In other words, the 60 diplomats who were kicked out – many of whom were undercover intelligence operatives – can be replaced by others.” Business Insider adds, “The revelation initially gained traction in Russian state media, which said an anonymous senior White House staffer told the Russian government that it could send new diplomats to take the place of those who had been expelled. The Russian state media outlet Vesti quoted the official as saying, ‘The doors are open.’”
From Business Insider.
TRUMP DINES WITH FAUX NEWS FOX PROPAGANDIST
The Hill reports our fake Russian bullshit president “reportedly dined with Fox News personality Sean Hannity at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this weekend.” The Hill adds, “The Palm Beach Post also reported that Trump golfed with Hannity on Saturday.” The Hill notes, “Trump was joined Friday night by former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, according to a tweet from ABC News reporter Meridith McGraw, and on Saturday by first lady Melania Trump and daughter Tiffany Trump.”
From The Hill.
“PROVOCATIVE” FARABOOK MEMO DISAVOWED BY AUTHOR AFTER BAD PR
ABC News reports, “The author of a provocative Facebook memo declaring that growth is justified even if it costs lives says he doesn’t actually agree with the memo and wrote it to provoke debate.” Sure, buddy. But wait, it’s more than just “provocative,” it rationalizes evil because FARAbook’s growth must take precedent over humanity! ABC News continues, “The 2016 internal memo, titled ‘The Ugly,’ was leaked to BuzzFeed this week. In it, Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth said ‘all the work we do in growth is justified,’ even if it costs people their lives because they are exposed to bullies or die in a terrorist attack coordinated through Facebook.” Yes, they are in fact evil and inhumane and presumably it will not be their lives that will end in their not-so-hypothetical, they will be the ones profiting over said blood that is not their own. Now this is no run of the mill exec but “Bosworth, who goes by ‘Boz,’ has been at Facebook since 2006 and serves as the company’s vice president in charge of virtual- and augmented-reality efforts. Previously, he was vice president of ads and helped create Facebook features such as Messenger, its news feed and groups,” so this is someone pretty entrenched in FARAbook culture. Zuck said in a statement, “We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,” but that is not really how it looks from the outside, kid. Maybe go back to college and take some humanities classes?
From ABC News.
EERY SINCLAIR LIKE STATE TV CLIP OF ANCHORS IN UNISON GOES VIRAL
Slate reports, “if you only have eleven seconds and still want to understand what Sinclair Broadcast Group is doing to the country, this tweet from Deadspin writer Timothy Burke makes it all crystal clear,” because it shows, “a montage of local news anchors repeating, word for word, an editorial Sinclair Broadcast Group required all of its stations—and it owns nearly 200—to air.” For further proof, Slate notes, “maybe steal a minute and thirty-eight seconds for the entire video on Deadspin, which is even more horrifying.” New York Magazine explains, “Over the last week or so, local television news anchors across the country have joined together to paradoxically warn viewers about the ‘troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.’ The identical, seemingly earnest editorial messages paid lip service to the importance of fact-checking and unbiased reporting, but they also complained about ‘false news’ and ‘fake stories.’ If that seems to echo the rhetoric of President Trump, it’s probably because the statement was written by one of his allies.” New York Magazine adds, “Think Progress rounded up many of the ‘fake stories’ segments for a chilling video on Friday, but Deadspin’s Timothy Burke published a much more terrifying version on Saturday, which at one point shows 30 of the segments synced up in unison.” A reminder that once gone integrity is irretrievable from the dustbin. CNN adds, “Journalists in local US markets are chafing at the company’s requirements, including a new promotional campaign that echoes President Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric,” and, “A person in Sinclair management confirmed that tensions are on the rise.” As the fake Sinclair PSA puts it, “This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”
FIRST KNOWN CROSSOVER FROM RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA TO SINCLAIR
Newsweek reports, “The United States’ largest owner of television stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group, mandated that its outlets run a segment on the so-called deep state that was produced by a former reporter for the Russian propaganda outlet RT”. Newsweek adds, “The ‘must-run’ piece aired on March 21 and featured Sebastian Gorka, the former adviser to President Donald Trump, lamenting the existence of a deep state,” noting, “Trump has repeatedly complained about such a mysterious rogue network.” Newsweek notes, “Sinclair national correspondent Kristine Frazao produced the segment. Before joining Sinclair in 2013, she was an anchor/correspondent at RT, formerly Russia Today, for more than three years, according to her LinkedIn page.” This is significant as Russian state-run Sputnik ran a now deleted piece that ran a little over a week after Trump’s Inauguration entitled, “Why Only Russian Journalists Can Be Trusted in America Right Now,” which the Internet Archive Wayback Machine captured, gratefully. You can pretty much imagine the content, the reasons and how much Frazao adheres to the idea that only Russian-sponsored liars can be “Trusted in America Right Now”.
RALPH PETERS ON WHY HE QUIT FOX NEWS
Ralph Peters who quit in colorful fashion his role as a Fox News contributor after 10 years with on air flourishes writes an op-ed in The Washington Post which begins noting, “You could measure the decline of Fox News by the drop in the quality of guests waiting in the green room. A year and a half ago, you might have heard George Will discussing policy with a senator while a former Cabinet member listened in. Today, you would meet a Republican commissar with a steakhouse waistline and an eager young woman wearing too little fabric and too much makeup, immersed in memorizing her talking points. This wasn’t a case of the rats leaving a sinking ship. The best sailors were driven overboard by the rodents.” Damn. Peters continues, “As I wrote in an internal Fox memo, leaked and widely disseminated, I declined to renew my contract as Fox News’s strategic analyst because of the network’s propagandizing for the Trump administration. Today’s Fox prime-time lineup preaches paranoia, attacking processes and institutions vital to our republic and challenging the rule of law.” Peters is honest about the affliction that befalls many who are drawn into this shit by the lure of power and influence but nonetheless emerge invariably tainted by the association while the fake Russian bullshit president’s reign of terror continues unabated: “My error was waiting so long to walk away. The chance to speak to millions of Americans is seductive, and, with the infinite human capacity for self-delusion, I rationalized that I could make a difference by remaining at Fox and speaking honestly.” Most alarmingly Peters notes, “All Americans, whatever their politics, should want to know, with certainty, whether a hostile power has our president and those close to him in thrall. This isn’t about party but about our security at the most profound level. Every so often, I could work in a comment on the air, but even the best-disposed hosts were wary of transgressing the party line.” He adds, “There is indeed a witch hunt, and it’s led by Fox against Robert Mueller.” For instance Lou “Dobbs has no experience with the intelligence system. Yet he ranted about its reputed assaults on our privacy and other alleged misdeeds (if you want to know who spies on you, it’s the FGA — Facebook, Google and Amazon — not the NSA).” Peters winds down, “With my Soviet-studies background, the cult of Trump unnerves me. For our society’s health, no one, not even a president, can be above criticism — or the law.”
From The Washington Post.
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
Masha Gessen previews her new book with photographer Misha Friedman, Never Remember in The New Yorker. The book preview begins, “Here are some of the things that you will not find if you go looking for traces of the Soviet Gulags: memorials at every known execution site, museums on the ruins of camps, accurate documentation of what happened to the still uncounted numbers of people who disappeared, a widely accepted story of the terror. Most of all, what’s missing is a reckoning, an attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. How do you locate what’s not there?” Well, if you are like TRUMPISTAN WATCH and family, you wait 70 years and open a can of worms! The writer and photographer went looking “for Stalin’s Gulags in Putin’s Russia”. Gessen writes, “We wanted to document memory—or the lack of memory.” Disturbingly Gessen notes, “what we found everywhere we went: even where memorialization efforts existed, as in the Gulag Museum, in Moscow, they lacked coherence, passion, mastery.”
From The New Yorker.
RUSSIANS AGAINST TRASH
Bloomberg reports, “Thousands of residents of the Moscow suburbs have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest foul odors from overflowing trash dumps, in an unusual surge of anti-government activism that’s set off alarm bells in the Kremlin.” Bloomberg adds, “Authorities in the city of Volokolamsk began giving residents gas masks after demonstrators bombarded the regional governor with snowballs and demanded a state of emergency be declared. About 6,000 people demonstrated in the city on Sunday,” and, “Residents of Kolomna, south of Moscow, defied riot police last week to block trucks carrying trash from the capital.” Bloomberg notes, “Officials and activists say the trash crisis is also a by-product of Putin’s highly centralized rule, where even seemingly local decisions like closing an overfilled dump outside the capital are made by the president, often on the spur of the moment.” Bloomberg adds, “The latest wave of anger around Moscow over garbage traces to last summer, when Putin ordered one of the largest dumps serving the capital shut down. Local residents had complained of the smell and pollution on a live national television ‘Direct Line’ to the president.” Bloomberg continues, “While Putin’s snap decision to close the aging landfill got overwhelmingly positive coverage on state TV, it left the capital desperately short of space to dump its trash. Landfills in the surrounding region were suddenly swamped, while the high-tech incinerators he promised viewers won’t be built for years.”
RUSSIA TO TRY JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Human Rights Watch (HRW) is calling on Russian authorities to drop the charges against a Jehovah’s Witness adherent who is set to go on trial this week, and to put an end to their ‘ruthless persecution’ of the religious group. On April 3, a criminal court in the central Russian city of Oryol is to begin the trial of Dennis Christensen, a 46-year old Danish citizen who has been in pretrial custody for more than 10 months.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty adds, “If convicted on charges of ‘organizing activities of a religious organization that has been declared extremist,’ the accused faces up to 10 years in prison.”
RESISTANCE ADVICE: ART FOR DEMOCRACY
Perez Hilton, the gossip site most famous for crude drawings and writing on top of photographs of celebrities, writes, “Forget Kim Jong Un and his nukes! Donald Trump’s biggest threat might just be Jim Carrey and his paintbrush. The actor has been getting a lot of attention for the stunning political caricatures he draws and shares on Twitter, which have taken aim at guns in schools, D.C. hypocrisy, and of course the Bronze Trumpet himself.” Thank you Jim Carrey, it fits in a long tradition of art for democracy and caricaturing men who imagine themselves as god, and represents something that over time becomes intolerable for the tyrant, whether it is Assad breaking Ali Ferzat’s bones or Erdogan jailing Turkish cartoonists. Remember to take advantage of all your liberties while you still have them because the space for them is shrinking no matter how much we fight back, they have all the money and pliant media in the world and a hostile foreign nation backing them.
From Perez Hilton.
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