12:05 PM 11/30/2017 – Donald Trump Attacks China For Having ‘No Impact On Little Rocket Man’

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Donald Trump Attacks China For Having ‘No Impact On Little Rocket Man’
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Donald Trump Attacks China For Having ‘No Impact On Little Rocket Man’

While offering no details of his own plan for North Korea, Trump has pinned much of the responsibility on China, which experts say will do little to solve the crisis.
Britain should demand an apology from Trump and cancel his state visit | Martin Kettle

The US presidents foul tweet aims a wrecking ball at Theresa May. It will do untold damage to the special relationshipWinston Churchill once wrote that the balances of world history can sometimes turn on what he called small agate points. Churchill had in mind the accidental shooting of the American civil war general Stonewall Jackson by his own men in 1863, without which, he speculated, the Confederate armies might have captured Washington DC, and the United States might have split into two. But he could have been talking of Donald Trumps latest tweets and their implications for British foreign policy after Brexit.Related: Special relationship? Theresa May discovers she has no friend in Donald Trump | Julian Borger

Related: By retweeting Britain First, Trump offends a decency he cannot understand | Brendan Cox

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Moscow mulls next move in escalating media spat with US – ABC News
 


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‘Retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do’, says May video

The British prime minister said even though the UK works with the US she is not afraid to say when they have got something wrong and retweeting Britain First was the wrong thing to do. May made her comments at a press conference in Jordan

Continue reading…

Theresa May ‘not afraid’ to criticise Donald Trump

British PM makes first personal response following US presidents retweeting of videos by far-right Britain First groupTheresa May has said she will not be afraid to criticise Donald Trump and the United States as she reiterated her criticism of his retweeting of the hateful far-right group Britain First.

Related: Theresa May says Trump retweeting Britain First was ‘wrong thing to do’ Politics live

Related: Britain should demand an apology from Trump and cancel his state visit | Martin Kettle

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British PM May meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II
 

From: AFP
Duration: 00:39

British Prime Minster Theresa May on Thursday met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman as part of her visit to the region. IMAGES

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From: AlJazeeraEnglish
Duration: 02:23

As winter approaches in Syria, many in the north of the country worry about how they will survive.

There is a lack of fuel and people living in besieged areas say they have already used most of the trees around them for firewood.

Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports from Gaziantep, on the Turkey-Syria border.

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The Daily Vertical: Never Mind The Corruption, Here Comes The Apocalypse
 

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The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.
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Benghazi terrorist cleared of murder charges
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
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Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz comments on ‘Fox & Friend


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10:49 AM 11/30/2017 – Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard.

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Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard. “I think part of it is he has signaled his frustrations with his current job, which would make the transition much easier,” the second State Department staffer said. “He is already a willing participant to move over to state, which he sees as a much easier, much better job for him in terms of what he wants to do.”

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Its All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department

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Left, Mike Pompeo testifies on Capitol Hill in May; Right, Rex Tillerson during an event at the White House in October.

Left, from REX/Shutterstock; Right, by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

The who’s-next-at-State soap opera appears to be moving to a denouement, with Mike Pompeoeclipsing Nikki Haley as Rex Tillerson’s likely successor, multiple current and former State Department staffers tell me. Diplomats are bracing themselves for the rumored shakeup that would see the current C.I.A. director supplant the former ExxonMobil executive as early as January. According to one source, there is already a candidate chosen to assume the helm of the spy agency in Pompeo’s stead.

While Tillerson has dismissed the narrative that he has considered resigning, his controversial 10-month tenure appears to have accelerated looming changes in Foggy Bottom. Several diplomats I spoke to believe that the cake is largely baked. “The working knowledge here is that Tillerson will be leaving in late January and Pompeo will be coming in as quickly as he can following that,” a current State Department staffer told me. Diplomats believe that the C.I.A. chief is more than open to the move. “I will call it all but a done deal,” one former diplomat said, adding that according to a source familiar with the conversations involving Pompeo, the C.I.A. chief’s replacement has already been selected. Though they declined to identify them by name, this person noted the expected nominee to lead the intelligence agency is a retired military officer who has not previously worked at the C.I.A.

A State Department spokesperson referred me to previous comments dismissing widespread rumors that the secretary has imminent plans to leave. The C.I.A. did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo’s own tenure has not been without controversy. The former Kansas congressman has faced accusations of politicizing the traditionally nonpartisan intelligence agency and prioritizing his loyalty to Donald Trump over the findings of the intelligence community. Notably, Pompeo came under fire for comments he made about Russian interference in the 2016 election and found himself publicly at odds with his predecessor John Brennan. (Pompeo did publicly break with the president on this issue, stating that he agrees with the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that the Kremlin sought to derail Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, but he has also entertained alternate conspiracy theories promoted by the president.)

Still, Pompeo could prove an improvement at the State Department, which Tillerson has been busy dismantling. Morale within the agency is at an all-time low: more than 100 senior diplomatic officershave left since January, and applications to the Foreign Service have fallen by more than 50 percent. Part of the hollowing-out has been at the direction of the White House, which has called for massive cuts to the State Department budget. But much of the agency’s listlessness is the result of Tillerson’s strained relationship with Trump. (Sources cited the decision not to send senior State Department officials to accompany the U.S. delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India this week, led by First Daughter Ivanka Trump, as evidence of further tensions between Tillerson and the White House.) Pompeo, who is well-known on Capitol Hill and is friendly with Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, might prove a more effective interlocutor and advocate.

Pompeo has also chafed at the restrictions inherent in running the C.I.A., where he has been expected to be neither seen nor heard. “I think part of it is he has signaled his frustrations with his current job, which would make the transition much easier,” the second State Department staffer said. “He is already a willing participant to move over to state, which he sees as a much easier, much better job for him in terms of what he wants to do.”

Appointing a retired military officer to serve as Pompeo’s successor at the spy agency also fits with a broader pattern of Trump tapping battle-tested officers to serve as his top advisers. As his administration has evolved, Trump has demonstrated an impulse to name individuals to his Cabinet with the appearance of being straight out of “central casting”—most notably in regards to his national security team. Kelly and Mattis are both retired four-star generals; Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, is an active duty officer who boasts three stars; Mike Flynn, McMaster’s short-lived predecessor, was a retired three-star general, and Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point before serving as an officer in the United States Army.

Of course, as with all rumblings of Trump administration shake-ups, this one should be taken with a grain of salt. Mere weeks ago, ambassador Haley was widely viewed as waiting in the wings to take over State. Only after a deluge of denials from Haley that she had her sights set on Tillerson’s post did Pompeo emerge as the reported front-runner for the job. And another senior State Department staffer is not yet putting too much stock in the Pompeo rumors. “The succession thing to me is just chatter at the moment,” they told me. But the source conceded that arguably any replacement would be an improvement. “I hate to say it, but I think almost anything would be better than what we have,” they added. “It is just where the bar is.”

It’s All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department – Vanity Fair

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It’s All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department
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A State Department spokesperson referred me to previous comments dismissing widespread rumors that the secretary has imminent plans to leave. The C.I.A. did not respond to a request for comment. Pompeo’s own tenure has not been without controversy. The 

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Kushner Reportedly Met With Mueller’s Team (VIDEO)

mikenova shared this story from Newsy Headlines.

Jared Kushner reportedly met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team at some point in November.

Mueller is leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Sources told CNN that Mueller’s team spent the majority of the meeting asking Kushner questions about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn resigned in February after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about communications he had with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before President Donald Trump took office.

Flynn appears to be a key part of Mueller’s investigation. The New York Times reports Mueller’s team questioned Kushner about a December 2016 meeting between him, Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Related StoryRobert Mueller's Team Has Requested Documents From The DOJRobert Mueller’s Team Has Requested Documents From The DOJ

It’s unknown how much of Mueller’s investigation — if any — is centering on Kushner. But he’s already been somewhat of a focus in other Russia investigations taking place on Capitol Hill.

He’s spoken with both the Senate and House intelligence committees, and he turned over documents from the campaign and the transition to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kushner reportedly handed over similar documents to Mueller’s team.

Mueller’s office did not comment to media on the meeting. Kushner’s lawyer said in a statement that his client “has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so.”

Kushner’s Meeting With Mueller’s Team Reportedly Focused On Flynn – Newsy

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Trump Completely Botches New York Times Attack Over Tax Bill Tweets

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“The president is mistaken,” tweeted Clifford Levy, the paper’s deputy managing editor.

All-time rifle : See the iconic Kalashnikov 1948 prototype

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The development of the Kalashnikov assault rifle began in 1943. The Ministry of Defence a decided to make a series of weapons which provided the infantry with the possibility of effective fire at ranges of about 400 meters. The first part of the Kalashnikov assault rifle was manufactured in 1948.
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Just Security

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. called for the international community to suspend diplomatic ties with North Korea and further isolate the regime at an emergency U.N. Security Council session yesterday, following North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.) on Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also said that the council could revoke Pyongyang’s U.N. privileges and voting rights, demand that countries expel North Korean laborers and impose sanctions on its crude oil imports. Farnaz Fassihi reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” Haley said yesterday, adding that if a war comes “make no mistake – the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” Zachary Cohen reports at CNN.

Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone yesterday and urged Xi to apply more pressure on Pyongyang, Trump saying in a tweet after their conversation that “additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” China’s state Xinhua news agency reported that Xi told Trump that China is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Simon Denyer reports at the Washington Post.

“Little Rocket Man, he is a sick puppy,” Trump said yesterday at a public event in Missouri, referring derogatorily to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Julian Borger reports at the Guardian.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia urged the U.S. and South Korea to refrain from holding military drills next month, saying at the Security Council session yesterday that all concerned parties should “stop this spiral of tension.” Reuters reports.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called on North Korea to “desist from taking any further destabilizing steps,” in a statement issued on Tuesday by Guterres’ spokesperson, separately the top U.N. political affairs official urged all Security Council members yesterday to unite “to prevent an escalation.” The UN News Centre reports.

North Korea fired a “Hwasong-15” I.C.B.M. and its capabilities have caused alarm among missile experts, Anna Fifield explains at the Washington Post.

North Korea’s test of the Hwasong-15 I.C.B.M. appeared calibrated to avoid provoking a U.S. military response and was a demonstration of Pyongyang’s status as a nuclear armed state, analysts have said. Andrew Jeong and Jonathan Cheng explain at the Wall Street Journal.

The fact that North Korea fired the I.C.B.M. late at night suggests a broader strategy, demonstrating that it could launch a missile at any time and from anywhere with little warning, Adam Taylor observers at the Washington Post.

A U.S.-Canada hosted international meeting in January on North Korea would try to “come up with some better ideas” to deal with the threat, Canadian officials said yesterday, David Ljunggren reporting at Reuters.

President Trump is the “first president who’s been able to get the attention of the Chinese who are actually squeezing the North Koreans as we speak,” the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview broadcast yesterday, praising the president for his handling of the situation and expressing hope that the U.S. could avoid a war in the region. Mallory Shelbourne reports at the Hill.

“Is it time to accept that North Korea will never give up its nuclear arms, and try to reach a deal to stop its arsenal growing further?” Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun explain at the New York Times that this is the question that must be addressed “sooner or later” by the U.S. and its allies following the latest missile test.

The toughest sanctions on North Korea have not yet been imposed and the latest U.N. sanctions are being slowly implemented, there is still more economic pressure that the U.S. can put on Pyongyang and China can do much more to rein in the regime. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

The latest missile test could “signal a chance for a new diplomatic opening,” many have considered that North Korea would not enter into serious negotiations until the regime has achieved its nuclear ambitions, therefore now may be the chance to pursue dialogue. The New York Times editorial boardwrites.

A Cold War strategy of “mutually assured destruction” has a different dynamic when it comes to North Korea depending on what the U.S. seeks to achieve and what it prioritizes, nevertheless it has been made clear that Kim Jong-un has not been deterred by the increased pressure over the past few months and the direction of travel seems to be in favor of the U.S. accepting that North Korea would have nuclear capability. David E. Sanger writes at the New York Times.

The missile test has reiterated seven critical truths, including the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power now and probably has the ability to strike Washington D.C. and New York, Max Fisher explains at the New York Times.

The prospect of a new Korean war should be taken seriously, it is unlikely that more economic pressure would drastically change their behavior, it would be better to “try talking” to avoid a precarious situation. Nicholas Kristof writes at the New York Times.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team earlier this month as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to two sources familiar with the matter, and Mueller’s team questioned Kushner about the former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Kara Scannell report at CNN.   Continue Reading »

Trump-Russia: Jared Kushner ‘questioned about Michael Flynn’ – BBC News

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Trump-Russia: Jared Kushner ‘questioned about Michael Flynn’
BBC News
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators about former top White House aide Michael Flynn, US media reports say. The investigators reportedly wanted to know if Mr Kushner had 
Mueller’s Prosecutors Are Said to Have Interviewed Jared Kushner on Russia MeetingNew York Times
The latest TrumpRussia investigation news, explainedVox
Jared Kushner: Donald Trump’s son-in-law reportedly meets with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation teamThe Independent
USA TODAY –The Guardian –CNN –Wall Street Journal
all 102 news articles »
Lavrov: Trump’s Russia policy similar to Obama’s – The Times of Israel

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The Times of Israel
Lavrov: Trump’s Russia policy similar to Obama’s
The Times of Israel
But after the US Congress approved new economic sanctions against Moscow over its alleged meddling in the 2016 USpresidential electionPutin in July ordered drastic cuts in US staff in retaliation. In August, Trump grudgingly signed what he called a 

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US financial intelligence collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite – https://en.crimerussia.com/

mikenova shared this story from Putin and the Russian Mafia – Google News.

US financial intelligence collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite
https://en.crimerussia.com/
As The CrimeRussia previously reported, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the US Secretary of State, shoult provide an open report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian 

Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search

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Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search

mikenova shared this story from Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google News.

Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Politico

How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard

Politico2 hours ago
The Trump administration is pushing back aggressively against what the intelligence community often refers to as the “Iran Threat Network” or ITN, and as part of that campaign it is especially keen to focus on the activities of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian Lebanese militia, in Latin America. Now, new revelations …
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Breitbart News

Terror Task Force Chair: Jihadists ‘Are Teaming Up with Violent …

Breitbart NewsNov 23, 2017
Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist groups are joining forces with “violent drug lords” in Latin America to raise money to fund their nefarious activities, posing a “grave threat” to U.S. national security, warned Rep. … Islamic Terrorist are teaming up with violent drug lords located in America’s backyard.
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Newsmax

Iran Plans Naval Excursion Into Western Hemisphere

NewsmaxNov 27, 2017
They have political support from some Latin American countries that purportedly offered them assistance with Iran’s Lebanese Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah. The Middle East situation and Iran’s excursion into America’s backyard hold the classic elements for another Cold War between Russia and the …
Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Haaretz

While America’s AWOL on Coordinating anti-Iran Allies, Saudi …

HaaretzNov 18, 2017
In Yemen, Saudi Arabia faces a legitimate Iranian-sponsored threat in its backyard in the form of the Houthi rebels. The November 4 … Will such a Saudi-led strategy – toward a clearly legitimate objective – succeed in getting Hezbollah to reduce its involvement in regional affairs? Could it, on the way, spark …
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Politico

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Politico
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard
Politico
In May 1996, the three border countries launched a Tripartite Command of the Tri-Border to coordinate their law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat organized crime and terrorist activities in the area. The next monthjust days before 

The Self-Destruction of American Democracy – New York Times

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New York Times
The Self-Destruction of American Democracy
New York Times
Add to Trump’s list of lies, his race baiting, his attacks on a free press, his charges of fake news, his efforts to instigate new levels of voter suppression, his undermining of the legitimacy of the electoral process, his disregard for the 

Nobodys President? Putin Enters the Era of Transition – Carnegie Moscow Center

mikenova shared this story from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Carnegie Publications.

The 2018 election in Russia is turning into a real political event. Putin is an undeclared candidate and Navalny is an unregistered one, who will have a real influence. The Kremlin is now run by regents around a diminished president, and discussion is already focusing on what the post-Putin era will look like.

The Russian political scene is entering a new phase. The official candidate for president in the election of March 2018 has not declared himself and is increasingly absent, while most discussion within the ruling elite focuses not on the next stage of the Putin era but on what will constitute the post-Putin era.

Political life has returned to Russia. Who would have expected last fall that Alexei Navalny, best known hitherto as an anti-corruption campaigner, would be able to launch a juggernaut of a pre-electoral campaign a full fifteen months before polling day? I didn’t. We had gotten so used to the idea that nobody can influence a Russian electoral campaign that we forgot that someone might simply try to fight one.

By the middle of the year it was clear that Navalny’s public meetings were more than civic activism, and that an active political election campaign was underway. Russia’s political stage was full of life, which made Putin’s absence from it all the more noticeable and his silence louder. The problem for the Kremlin is that the importance of the election of March 2018 that many were dismissing as a formality or an irrelevance has grown, while the comparable stature of President Putin has not. Navalny is posing a challenge and a double question to the Kremlin: What will you do with me? And what will you do with this election?

With the election less than four months away, Putin has not yet declared the candidacy that all expect. He is as visible as ever in the media, and yet he increasingly fails to convince that, as before, he is the author of Russia’s political activity, is still a leader who takes responsibility for everything. In short, the Kremlin writers who are putting together the script for 2018 now worry that Putin has become nobody’s leader, that he is now more akin to the centerpiece of the nation, a fixed entity against which other forces collide.

At the end of 2017, it is now possible to talk about a system that operates without Putin. He is not acting in sync with his inner circle. Each feels uncomfortable with the other, as the president grows more stingy about intervening to resolve the power struggles within the elite. Putin has never been interested in classical “politics,” seeing it as an empty term. That means that the apolitical president does not take definite positions on issues—making it easier for decisions to be taken in his name.

Nowadays, we increasingly have the impression that “the boss is away.” The management of Russia that is formally exercised by the president has been almost entirely taken over by his inner circle and the presidential administration, which has ceased being just a general staff and has turned into a player with its own special interests. To put it another way, the president himself has suddenly discovered that he is surrounded by “regents” with varying degrees of power. Russia is developing a regime of collective regency.

The higher we go in the presidential administration, the less we find administration and the more we see pure palace rule. The modern-day “court of his imperial majesty” regards anything that is in the state budget or can be made liquid as its property, whether that be governmental positions, territories, threats, people, or infrastructure. Meanwhile, Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the administration, is guarding Putin’s Russia until Putin returns. He is the overtime manager. He waits for orders but none come.

The system is not only functioning without a fully functional Putin, it also lacks any strategic direction. A lot of noise is made about “hiring younger people,” but in actual fact no political rejuvenation is taking place. The new staff don’t have a program they can work to and are strategically useless under the current model. Only when the political environment thaws will they acquire real power. We hear the word “technocrat” being used about young Russian government officials, but what that term really means is that these people are part of the transition into the post-Putin Russia.

The atmosphere inside the government apparatus is becoming more fearful, and the rivalry with the security agencies is intensifying. Arrests taking place in Kremlin circles are not carried out according to “Putin’s plan,” ordered from above, but are rather a manifestation of competition for power.

If we are to understand Russia’s pre-election landscape, we must first understand the Kremlin’s 2018 agenda. The near-term political goal is not about getting to a post-Putin Russia, it is about planning a transition. But it’s worth noting that the discussions are all about preserving the system, not about preserving Putin. (Putin himself, it should be said, is sure to have his own opinion on this matter.) Unlike Putin, this is a system determined not to disappear, and it is run by champions in the art of survival.

The skills of the election strategists are now facing an especially stern test. For three presidential elections in a row, in the elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012, they have worked to make the campaigns a politics-free zone in which the outcome was fully predetermined. Navalny is now working hard to spoil this script and to make the forthcoming vote a real contest again. He has done this by choosing to put himself forward and resolving to fight to the end. Whether or not Navalny is registered as an official candidate, he has succeeded in making the election a proper political process once again.

Even if Navalny is not registered, it will still be a boost to his campaign, and he will be able to mobilize a wide range of people. In that case, he will face some difficult political questions: where to direct this powerful force and how to recommend that they vote. That’s where a political opening exists for the liberal socialite Ksenia Sobchak. If Navalny is refused registration, she may gain political momentum by winning over his electorate. However, there are big question marks over her political durability and as to whether she could do anything like Navalny has done in creating a national structure.

The start of the 2018–2024 presidential term will be the occasion for deal-making at the highest level. The deal will be about more than the interests of a tired older gentleman, nor can it rely solely on the Kremlin circle of “regents,” who have too great an interest in gaining control over Putin as he weakens.

The deal that is made will have to have a firmly fixed objective and a deadline, which may be 2024, for when a new kind of politics returns to Russia and there is real strategic planning for the future. That may even be the moment that Putin regains his own political face, a face he has rubbed away with years of bad decisions.

Even while Putin is an undeclared candidate and Navalny is an unregistered one, the race between them is approaching a culmination around the New Year period. Soon the state will either have to try to register Navalny for the election or refuse him. Either option could trigger a crisis.

In either eventuality, Putin will have to fight against the unregistered Navalny Party, which consists of tens and hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens. This will be the main conflict of the campaign—not the one between Putin and Navalny, but the one between Putin and Navalny’s supporters. These people are not just the supporters of their candidate but the most determined supporters of transition, of Russia’s passage into a post-Putin future.

Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’ – U.S. News & World Report

mikenova shared this story from trump russian ties – Google News.


U.S. News & World Report
Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’
U.S. News & World Report
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visit the Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery at Istra, outside Moscow, Russia November 15, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS Reuters. MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian 

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The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

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The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Is Pavlovsky right? There certainly are data points out there suggesting that he is. Arrests are taking place that do not appear to be sanctioned by Putin. Figures like Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov seem to be pursuing 

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5:30 AM 11/30/2017 Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot? M.N.  | The Web World Times

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Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot, carried over directly from the “Obama Leftist plot”, and masquerading as the Rightist Alliance of Putin’s regime, Trump Republicans, and the European rightists? 

At the head of this plot might be the certain elements of the New Russian Left, visible and invisible, and including the various military-political circles, German (Stasi dominated) Intelligence, and the ubiquitous Chinese, practicing all kinds of deceptions against everybody, as their traditional “Art of War” is. 

A nice combination, well screwed-up little Leftist Bolt from the sky… 

M.N.  

11.30.17 

Quotes from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu:

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. 

_____________________________

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

mikenova shared this story from FB-RSS feed for Palmer Report.

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Trump tried to start World War III with Great Britain, and couldn’t even get it right

Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot – Google Search

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США для нового санкционного списка собирают сведения о десятках тысяч россиян

mikenova shared this story from Росбалт.

Российские спецслужбы зафиксировали небывалую активность финансовой разведки США в странах Европы и ряде других государств. Связано это с тем, что в начале следующего года будет оглашен новый санкционный список.

Как рассказал «Росбалту» источник, знакомый с ситуацией, российские спецслужбы узнали, что последние месяцы страны Европы буквально забросали запросами из финансовой разведки США относительно россиян. «Речь идет о работниках госкомпаний, чиновниках,  их близких и дальних родственниках и т. д. Всего о десятках тысяч россиян», — рассказал собеседник агентства. По его словам, в ходе дальнейшей работы было установлено, что такая активность финразведки напрямую связана с расследованием ФБР и подготовкой Сенатом доклада о якобы имевшем место вмешательстве России в президентские выборы в США. Предполагается, что по итогам расследования будет оглашен новый список граждан России, в отношении которых вводятся санкции.

«У нас есть данные, что этот список будет беспрецедентно большим. Некоторые горячие головы в США предлагают ввести санкции чуть ли не в отношении более чем 50 тыс. граждан России», — отметил источник агентства.

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US actively collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite after Trumps new law on sanctions against Russia

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A new sanctions list will be drawn up based on an open report, which will provide information on Russian oligarchs and key political figures.⁠

Russian special services hold an unprecedented activity of US financial intelligence in Europe and a number of other countries requesting data on Russians. This is due to the fact that at the beginning of next year a new sanction list will be announced, Rosbalt reports with reference to the source.

“We are talking about employees of state companies, officials, their close and distant relatives, etc. In total, about tens of thousands of Russians,” the source said. Such activity is directly related to the law on sanctions against Russia, signed by US President Donald Trump on Aug. 4, 2017, proposed by US congressmen. It deals primarily with collecting data on key political figures and oligarchs.

As The CrimeRussia previously reported, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the US Secretary of State, shoult provide an open report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian Federation to relevant congressional committees not later than 180 days after the adoption of the law. It should provide information on key political figures of Russia and the oligarchs, the level of their proximity to Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian ruling elite, their fortune and sources of income; moreover, a list of their relatives, including spouses, children, parents, their assets, including investments, business interests, property that generates income should be concluded; foreign companies affiliated with these persons have been identified too.”

In fact, by January 31, 2018, the Ministry of Finance should prepare a report on all significant politicians, businessmen and officials. The open document will reflect data on their assets, including foreign ones. In the future, the report will only be supplemented with new information and names. All these names will appear in the new sanctions list, which can number up to 50.000 Russian citizens.

According to experts who have already expressed their opinion on the new law, it is possible that later foreign accounts under the jurisdiction of countries that support sanctions against Russia can be frozen. Assets can be confiscated as property that is earned on criminal or illegal way. The Spanish authorities have the same experience, for example, Spain converts property of Russian mafia, accused of money laundering.

Please, read our material about the forthcoming report and how it threatens Russia.

Mitigating the Russian challenge

mikenova shared this story from News from EUobserver.

“It is time”, the USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev said in a 1989 speech, “to consign to oblivion the Cold War postulates when Europe was viewed as an arena of confrontation divided into ‘spheres of influence’.”

In place of old rivalries, Gorbachev laid out his vision of a “common European home”. Russia and Europe, he declared optimistically, should work together “to transform international relations in the spirit of humanism, equality and justice”.

Fast forward to 2017, and it is clear that things have not quite gone according to plan.

Gorbachev is defending Russia’s takeover of Crimea. For the first time since the Cold War, Nato is opening new command centres in Europe.

The stakes involved in the EU-Russia relationship are still high.

The EU is the most important investor in Russia, as well as its largest trading partner. Moscow, for its part, remains a crucial energy and security player for Europe.

Yet at the core of the Russia-EU confrontation lies the fundamental disagreement over values and geopolitical zones of influence. Those differences are unlikely to be bridged soon.

The EU, built on the values of interdependence and liberal norms, is willing to engage with Moscow, but with strings attached. To access the community’s perks – closer economic links, visa-free travel – the Kremlin is expected to abide by international laws and embrace liberalisation at home.

To Russia’s leadership, those conditions are unacceptable. It sees its neighbourhood as the bulwark against Nato expansion and the wave of ‘colour’ revolutions. As for domestic liberalisation, it would destroy Vladimir Putin’s regime, or, at least, seriously undermine it.

It is against this context that Russia’s attempts to stoke troubles in Europe should be considered.

Carrot vs Stick

To deter Russia, the EU global strategy recommends, member-states, above all, must “strengthen the EU and enhance the resilience of our eastern neighbours”.

The conspicuity of this observation doesn’t render it any less relevant. Russian leadership values strength and preys on weakness.

Show the Kremlin that you cannot use a stick, and it will wrestle the carrot out of your hands.

Thus, the most obvious thing the EU can do is to enhance its defensive capabilities. That means protecting eastern flunk, while also improving military mobility. Boosting cyber defence, too, is crucial, given recent attacks on Europe’s infrastructure.

Response to Russian meddling in European politics, though, is a more nuanced challenge. Concerns over Moscow’s malignant campaign – via TV, social media and financing of populist parties – are valid.

Yet it is also crucial to keep cool when confronting Russian propaganda.

The Kremlin’s aim, as the US example showed, is to sow discord within Western politics, not necessarily to achieve a concrete electoral outcome.

That is why media panic – and attaching the ‘Putin’s stooge’ label to any anti-establishment cause – only plays into Moscow’s hands.

The best way to deal with the Kremlin’s meddling, therefore, is treating it more as a security issue than a political one.

Western agencies have learned about Russia’s web campaign, so they can tackle it with considerable success in future. Reforms to increase transparency in party financing, likewise, is a useful step.

To bring Russia around to the idea of a common future on European terms requires demonstrating calm resolve. Moscow must understand that, despite its tricks, the EU’s institutions will continue to work as normal.

Making cooperation pay

But while Europe must demonstrate firmness, it is equally important to show what Moscow can gain by cooperating.

A deterrence-only approach to the Kremlin will only amplify its exuberance, leading to an endless ‘action-response’ cycle.

So, how can Russia be induced to cooperate?

Firstly, the EU should retain clear conditions for lifting economic sanctions on Russia. As the economist Vladislav Inozemtsev observed, wherever economic sanctions worked – like South Africa or Yugoslavia – they came with clear instructions of their relaxation or removal.

Heeding that, any comprehensive plan to resolve the Ukraine crisis should include the roadmap for sanctions relief.

The economic card is the strongest ace in the EU’s deck. It must play it wisely.

Secondly, there is a need to communicate with Russia in the way that brings maximum utility. Putin’s regime is here to stay. Nonetheless, it can still be affected, even if incrementally.

To facilitate change, it may be worth raising commercial and human rights concerns with Moscow on diplomatic level rather than just in the media. This approach will assure the Kremlin that Western concerns are genuine, and not an attempt to embarrass it.

Before any progress is achieved with Russia, things may get even more muddled. To succeed, Europe must demonstrate strategic patience.

Evgeny Pudovkin is a journalist writing on European politics, Russia and foreign affairs

AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn case put off

mikenova shared this story .

Prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller have postponed grand jury testimony related to the private business dealings of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the ongoing investigation into Trump campaign associates and Russian election interference told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The reason for the postponement was not immediately clear, but it comes one week after attorneys for Flynn alerted President Donald Trump’s legal team that they could no longer share information about the case. That discussion between lawyers was widely seen as a possible indication that Flynn was moving to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation or attempting to negotiate a deal for himself.

An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Wednesday afternoon.

The testimony that had been scheduled for the coming days related to Flynn’s firm, Flynn Intel Group, its work with a public relations firm and interactions with congressional staff, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

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Mueller and the FBI have been interested in hearing from employees at the public relations firm, SGR LLC, because of the firm’s work with Flynn Intel Group. SGR LLC, which does business as Sphere Consulting, did public relations work on a film Flynn Intel Group was working on about Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The film was never completed.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which produced its first criminal charges last month against three former Trump campaign officials, incorporated an earlier FBI inquiry into Flynn’s lobbying and investigative research work on behalf of a Turkish businessman. Sphere employees have cooperated for months with the investigation, including by turning over documents requested by investigators and sitting for voluntary interviews.

The October 2016 meeting that was expected to be the subject of the grand jury testimony has been described as a bait-and-switch carried out on behalf of Flynn’s firm.

As the AP reported in March, Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian, invited a representative of the House Homeland Security Committee to Flynn Intel’s offices in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss secure communications products. But after discussing the products, the session quickly turned into a lobbying pitch that mirrored Turkish government talking points. Kian and others involved were particularly interested in pushing for congressional hearings to investigate Gulen, whom the Turkish government has blamed for a botched coup and who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement.

The requests for congressional hearings went nowhere.

According to a filing with the Justice Department, an employee of Sphere consulting was present during the meeting.

CNN first reported the postponement.


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10:39 AM 11/30/2017 – Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department

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It’s All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department – Vanity Fair
The Latest: Attorney General Facing Committee Interview – U.S. News & World Report
Why Is There No Saudi-Gate? – Jacobin magazine
How Donald Trump uses tribal loyalty to drive economic optimism
Trump’s Hostile Takeover – RollingStone.com
Justices May Impose New Limits On Government Access To Cellphone Data – WABE 90.1 FM
‘Are you stupid?’ Donald Trump’s Tweets Just Gave These Lawyers Ammunition for Their Court Case Against His … – Newsweek
Trump Completely Botches New York Times Attack Over Tax Bill Tweets
Kushner’s Meeting With Mueller’s Team Reportedly Focused On Flynn – Newsy
‘Retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do’, says May video
Theresa May ‘not afraid’ to criticise Donald Trump
British PM May meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II
‘Winter without food, firewood or diesel’ in Syria’s besieged towns
The Daily Vertical: Never Mind The Corruption, Here Comes The Apocalypse
Benghazi terrorist cleared of murder charges
Keane: NKorea clearly advancing their missile capabilities
TuckerTucker vs. Politico’s baffling argument on Islamic clerics
Look Who’s Talking: Marco Rubio
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Give back to families of the fallen this holiday season
All-time rifle : See the iconic Kalashnikov 1948 prototype
Former Argentine military officer jailed for life for crimes against humanity
North Korea Crisis: “US looks to pressure China as UN meets to discuss Pyongyang’s missile launch”

 

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It’s All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department – Vanity Fair


Vanity Fair
It’s All but a Done Deal: Insiders Expect CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Take Over the State Department
Vanity Fair
A State Department spokesperson referred me to previous comments dismissing widespread rumors that the secretary has imminent plans to leave. The C.I.A. did not respond to a request for comment. Pompeo’s own tenure has not been without controversy. The 

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The Latest: Attorney General Facing Committee Interview – U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News & World Report
The Latest: Attorney General Facing Committee Interview
U.S. News & World Report
… of the intermediary he says he used to communicate with Assange during the campaign. Stone now says the intermediary was radio host Randy Credico. Stone tells the Associated Press that Credico verified for him “what Assange had said publicly.”U.S 
Gregg Jarrett: Mueller’s investigation imperils American-Russian relations, jeopardizing livesFox News
Intel committee subpoenas comedian who met with Julian Assange in Russia probeAOL
Dianne Feinstein isn’t letting up on probe into Trump-Russia investigationSacramento Bee
Torrington Register Citizen –Bloomberg
all 69 news articles »
Why Is There No Saudi-Gate? – Jacobin magazine


Jacobin magazine
Why Is There No Saudi-Gate?
Jacobin magazine
Take Robert Mueller, the current #Resistance hero leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russiaand the director of the FBI at the time the 9/11 commission was undertaking its investigation. Andrew Cockburn learned that 

How Donald Trump uses tribal loyalty to drive economic optimism

Democrats beware: it might not be the economy, stupid after all
Trump’s Hostile Takeover – RollingStone.com


RollingStone.com
Trump’s Hostile Takeover
RollingStone.com
(Farage has been a particularly keen supporter of Trump’s and, with his ties to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, is reportedly a “person of interest” in the FBI’s investigation of connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.) Under

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Justices May Impose New Limits On Government Access To Cellphone Data – WABE 90.1 FM


WABE 90.1 FM
Justices May Impose New Limits On Government Access To Cellphone Data
WABE 90.1 FM
Frankly, he continued, it seems to me that the normal expectation is that wireless providers have your cellphone data. I think everybody knows that, he observed, adding ruefully, If I know it, everybody knows it. Justice Stephen Breyer posed 

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‘Are you stupid?’ Donald Trump’s Tweets Just Gave These Lawyers Ammunition for Their Court Case Against His … – Newsweek

‘Are you stupid?’ Donald Trump’s Tweets Just Gave These Lawyers Ammunition for Their Court Case Against His …
Newsweek
A lawyer who is suing the Department of Justice to gain information on whether President Donald Trump was surveilled by the Obama administration says the president’s tweets will help them win their case against the government. OMG, are you stupid? You 

Trump Completely Botches New York Times Attack Over Tax Bill Tweets

“The president is mistaken,” tweeted Clifford Levy, the paper’s deputy managing editor.

Kushner’s Meeting With Mueller’s Team Reportedly Focused On Flynn – Newsy


Newsy
Kushner’s Meeting With Mueller’s Team Reportedly Focused On Flynn
Newsy
Share Video. 00:00. 00:00. Kushner’s Meeting With Mueller’s Team Reportedly Focused On Flynn. By Katherine Biek November 30, 2017. ShareTweetEmail · SMS. By Katherine Biek November 30, 2017. Jared Kushner reportedly met with special counsel Robert 
Jared Kushner interviewed by special counsel’s officeCBS News
Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talksCNN

all 114 news articles »

‘Retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do’, says May video

The British prime minister said even though the UK works with the US she is not afraid to say when they have got something wrong and retweeting Britain First was the wrong thing to do. May made her comments at a press conference in Jordan

Continue reading…

Theresa May ‘not afraid’ to criticise Donald Trump

British PM makes first personal response following US presidents retweeting of videos by far-right Britain First group

Theresa May has said she will not be afraid to criticise Donald Trump and the United States as she reiterated her criticism of his retweeting of the hateful far-right group Britain First.

Related: Theresa May says Trump retweeting Britain First was ‘wrong thing to do’ Politics live

Related: Britain should demand an apology from Trump and cancel his state visit | Martin Kettle

Continue reading…

British PM May meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II

From: AFP
Duration: 00:39

British Prime Minster Theresa May on Thursday met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman as part of her visit to the region. IMAGES

‘Winter without food, firewood or diesel’ in Syria’s besieged towns

From: AlJazeeraEnglish
Duration: 02:23

As winter approaches in Syria, many in the north of the country worry about how they will survive.

There is a lack of fuel and people living in besieged areas say they have already used most of the trees around them for firewood.

Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid reports from Gaziantep, on the Turkey-Syria border.

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The Daily Vertical: Never Mind The Corruption, Here Comes The Apocalypse

From: rferlonline
Duration: 02:18

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.
Originally published at – https://www.rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-corruption-apocalypse/28888375.html

Benghazi terrorist cleared of murder charges

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 06:13

Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz comments on ‘Fox & Friends First.’

Keane: NKorea clearly advancing their missile capabilities

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 03:28

The Fox News military analyst reacts to the latest launch and how the U.S. and world should respond.

TuckerTucker vs. Politico’s baffling argument on Islamic clerics

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 01:27

Tucker’s Thoughts: Politico argues the Trump travel ban is causing a shortage of Islamic clergy in America that’s dangerous because Muslims could turn to more dangerous, radical influences. Haven’t liberals told us for years foreign Islams are not dangerous and Islamic etremists are in the minority? #Tucker

Look Who’s Talking: Marco Rubio

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 01:05

Florida senator calls for a child tax credit that will benefit working class voters who elected Trump.

Tucker: Bakery that hired illegals a victim of its own scam

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 01:04

Tucker’s Thoughts: A Chicago bakery is now crying the blues because it lost a third of its workforce to an illegal immigration crackdown and is blaming the Trump administration. Cry me a river. #Tucker

Outrage after college exhibits artwork by Gitmo detainees

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 04:17

On ‘Fox & Friends,’ Pete Hegseth sounds off on the exhibit at New York City’s John Jay College.

National forecast for Thursday, November 30

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 01:26

‘Fox & Friends’ college associate Danielle Seat has your FoxCast.

Give back to families of the fallen this holiday season

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 04:39

Folds of Honor founder Dan Rooney speaks out on fundraising efforts to send the children of America’s heroes to college.

All-time rifle : See the iconic Kalashnikov 1948 prototype

From: RussiaToday
Duration: 01:27

CREDIT: KALASHNIKOV MEDIA
The development of the Kalashnikov assault rifle began in 1943. The Ministry of Defence a decided to make a series of weapons which provided the infantry with the possibility of effective fire at ranges of about 400 meters. The first part of the Kalashnikov assault rifle was manufactured in 1948.
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Former Argentine military officer jailed for life for crimes against humanity

From: Euronews
Duration: 02:11

Alfredo Astiz, known as the “Angel of Death” has been jailed for life for torture and murder during Argentina’s military dictatorship
READ MORE : http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/30/former-argentine-military-officer-jailed-for-life-for-crimes-against-humanity

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North Korea Crisis: “US looks to pressure China as UN meets to discuss Pyongyang’s missile launch”

From: france24english
Duration: 01:30

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8:16 AM 11/30/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Lavrov: Trump’s Russia policy similar to Obama’s – The Times of Israel

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Image result for Is the "Trump-Russia affair" an elaborate Leftist plot

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Just Security
Trump-Russia: Jared Kushner ‘questioned about Michael Flynn’ – BBC News
US financial intelligence collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite – https://en.crimerussia.com/
Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search
Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Politico
The Self-Destruction of American Democracy – New York Times
Nobodys President? Putin Enters the Era of Transition – Carnegie Moscow Center
Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’ – U.S. News & World Report
The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
5:30 AM 11/30/2017 Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot? M.N.  | The Web World Times
Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead
Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot – Google Search
США для нового санкционного списка собирают сведения о десятках тысяч россиян
US actively collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite after Trumps new law on sanctions against Russia
Mitigating the Russian challenge
AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn case put off
Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial | Business News
Feinstein asks for Russia records from Trump campaign aides – The Hill
Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report
Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report
Lawsuit seeks details of Trump administration’s policies on surveilling journalists – Washington Post
Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks
Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Just Security
 

mikenova shared this story from Just Security.

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

NORTH KOREA

The U.S. called for the international community to suspend diplomatic ties with North Korea and further isolate the regime at an emergency U.N. Security Council session yesterday, following North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (I.C.B.M.) on Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also said that the council could revoke Pyongyang’s U.N. privileges and voting rights, demand that countries expel North Korean laborers and impose sanctions on its crude oil imports. Farnaz Fassihi reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it,” Haley said yesterday, adding that if a war comes “make no mistake – the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” Zachary Cohen reports at CNN.

Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone yesterday and urged Xi to apply more pressure on Pyongyang, Trump saying in a tweet after their conversation that “additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!” China’s state Xinhua news agency reported that Xi told Trump that China is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Simon Denyer reports at the Washington Post.

“Little Rocket Man, he is a sick puppy,” Trump said yesterday at a public event in Missouri, referring derogatorily to the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Julian Borger reports at the Guardian.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia urged the U.S. and South Korea to refrain from holding military drills next month, saying at the Security Council session yesterday that all concerned parties should “stop this spiral of tension.” Reuters reports.

The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called on North Korea to “desist from taking any further destabilizing steps,” in a statement issued on Tuesday by Guterres’ spokesperson, separately the top U.N. political affairs official urged all Security Council members yesterday to unite “to prevent an escalation.” The UN News Centre reports.

North Korea fired a “Hwasong-15” I.C.B.M. and its capabilities have caused alarm among missile experts, Anna Fifield explains at the Washington Post.

North Korea’s test of the Hwasong-15 I.C.B.M. appeared calibrated to avoid provoking a U.S. military response and was a demonstration of Pyongyang’s status as a nuclear armed state, analysts have said. Andrew Jeong and Jonathan Cheng explain at the Wall Street Journal.

The fact that North Korea fired the I.C.B.M. late at night suggests a broader strategy, demonstrating that it could launch a missile at any time and from anywhere with little warning, Adam Taylor observers at the Washington Post.

A U.S.-Canada hosted international meeting in January on North Korea would try to “come up with some better ideas” to deal with the threat, Canadian officials said yesterday, David Ljunggren reporting at Reuters.

President Trump is the “first president who’s been able to get the attention of the Chinese who are actually squeezing the North Koreans as we speak,” the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview broadcast yesterday, praising the president for his handling of the situation and expressing hope that the U.S. could avoid a war in the region. Mallory Shelbourne reports at the Hill.

“Is it time to accept that North Korea will never give up its nuclear arms, and try to reach a deal to stop its arsenal growing further?” Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun explain at the New York Times that this is the question that must be addressed “sooner or later” by the U.S. and its allies following the latest missile test.

The toughest sanctions on North Korea have not yet been imposed and the latest U.N. sanctions are being slowly implemented, there is still more economic pressure that the U.S. can put on Pyongyang and China can do much more to rein in the regime. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

The latest missile test could “signal a chance for a new diplomatic opening,” many have considered that North Korea would not enter into serious negotiations until the regime has achieved its nuclear ambitions, therefore now may be the chance to pursue dialogue. The New York Times editorial boardwrites.

A Cold War strategy of “mutually assured destruction” has a different dynamic when it comes to North Korea depending on what the U.S. seeks to achieve and what it prioritizes, nevertheless it has been made clear that Kim Jong-un has not been deterred by the increased pressure over the past few months and the direction of travel seems to be in favor of the U.S. accepting that North Korea would have nuclear capability. David E. Sanger writes at the New York Times.

The missile test has reiterated seven critical truths, including the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power now and probably has the ability to strike Washington D.C. and New York, Max Fisher explains at the New York Times.

The prospect of a new Korean war should be taken seriously, it is unlikely that more economic pressure would drastically change their behavior, it would be better to “try talking” to avoid a precarious situation. Nicholas Kristof writes at the New York Times.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team earlier this month as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to two sources familiar with the matter, and Mueller’s team questioned Kushner about the former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Kara Scannell report at CNN.   Continue Reading »

Trump-Russia: Jared Kushner ‘questioned about Michael Flynn’ – BBC News
 

mikenova shared this story from trump and russia – Google News.


BBC News
Trump-Russia: Jared Kushner ‘questioned about Michael Flynn’
BBC News
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has been questioned by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators about former top White House aide Michael Flynn, US media reports say. The investigators reportedly wanted to know if Mr Kushner had 
Mueller’s Prosecutors Are Said to Have Interviewed Jared Kushner on Russia MeetingNew York Times
The latest TrumpRussia investigation news, explainedVox
Jared Kushner: Donald Trump’s son-in-law reportedly meets with Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation teamThe Independent
USA TODAY –The Guardian –CNN –Wall Street Journal
all 102 news articles »
Lavrov: Trump’s Russia policy similar to Obama’s – The Times of Israel
 

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The Times of Israel
Lavrov: Trump’s Russia policy similar to Obama’s
The Times of Israel
But after the US Congress approved new economic sanctions against Moscow over its alleged meddling in the 2016 USpresidential electionPutin in July ordered drastic cuts in US staff in retaliation. In August, Trump grudgingly signed what he called a and more »

US financial intelligence collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite – https://en.crimerussia.com/
 

mikenova shared this story from Putin and the Russian Mafia – Google News.

US financial intelligence collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite
https://en.crimerussia.com/
As The CrimeRussia previously reported, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the US Secretary of State, shoult provide an open report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian  

Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story .

Image result for Hezbollah in America's Backyard

Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story from Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Google News.

Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Politico

How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard

Politico2 hours ago
The Trump administration is pushing back aggressively against what the intelligence community often refers to as the “Iran Threat Network” or ITN, and as part of that campaign it is especially keen to focus on the activities of Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian Lebanese militia, in Latin America. Now, new revelations …

Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Breitbart News

Terror Task Force Chair: Jihadists ‘Are Teaming Up with Violent …

Breitbart NewsNov 23, 2017
Hezbollah and other Islamic terrorist groups are joining forces with “violent drug lords” in Latin America to raise money to fund their nefarious activities, posing a “grave threat” to U.S. national security, warned Rep. … Islamic Terrorist are teaming up with violent drug lords located in America’s backyard.

Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Newsmax

Iran Plans Naval Excursion Into Western Hemisphere

NewsmaxNov 27, 2017
They have political support from some Latin American countries that purportedly offered them assistance with Iran’s Lebanese Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah. The Middle East situation and Iran’s excursion into America’s backyard hold the classic elements for another Cold War between Russia and the …

Story image for Hezbollah in America's Backyard from Haaretz

While America’s AWOL on Coordinating anti-Iran Allies, Saudi …

HaaretzNov 18, 2017
In Yemen, Saudi Arabia faces a legitimate Iranian-sponsored threat in its backyard in the form of the Houthi rebels. The November 4 … Will such a Saudi-led strategy – toward a clearly legitimate objective – succeed in getting Hezbollah to reduce its involvement in regional affairs? Could it, on the way, spark …
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard – Politico
 

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Politico
How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard
Politico
In May 1996, the three border countries launched a Tripartite Command of the Tri-Border to coordinate their law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat organized crime and terrorist activities in the area. The next monthjust days before  

The Self-Destruction of American Democracy – New York Times
 

mikenova shared this story from Putin and American political process – Google News.


New York Times
The Self-Destruction of American Democracy
New York Times
Add to Trump’s list of lies, his race baiting, his attacks on a free press, his charges of fake news, his efforts to instigate new levels of voter suppression, his undermining of the legitimacy of the electoral process, his disregard for the  

Nobodys President? Putin Enters the Era of Transition – Carnegie Moscow Center
 

mikenova shared this story from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Carnegie Publications.

The 2018 election in Russia is turning into a real political event. Putin is an undeclared candidate and Navalny is an unregistered one, who will have a real influence. The Kremlin is now run by regents around a diminished president, and discussion is already focusing on what the post-Putin era will look like.

The Russian political scene is entering a new phase. The official candidate for president in the election of March 2018 has not declared himself and is increasingly absent, while most discussion within the ruling elite focuses not on the next stage of the Putin era but on what will constitute the post-Putin era.

Political life has returned to Russia. Who would have expected last fall that Alexei Navalny, best known hitherto as an anti-corruption campaigner, would be able to launch a juggernaut of a pre-electoral campaign a full fifteen months before polling day? I didn’t. We had gotten so used to the idea that nobody can influence a Russian electoral campaign that we forgot that someone might simply try to fight one.

By the middle of the year it was clear that Navalny’s public meetings were more than civic activism, and that an active political election campaign was underway. Russia’s political stage was full of life, which made Putin’s absence from it all the more noticeable and his silence louder. The problem for the Kremlin is that the importance of the election of March 2018 that many were dismissing as a formality or an irrelevance has grown, while the comparable stature of President Putin has not. Navalny is posing a challenge and a double question to the Kremlin: What will you do with me? And what will you do with this election?

With the election less than four months away, Putin has not yet declared the candidacy that all expect. He is as visible as ever in the media, and yet he increasingly fails to convince that, as before, he is the author of Russia’s political activity, is still a leader who takes responsibility for everything. In short, the Kremlin writers who are putting together the script for 2018 now worry that Putin has become nobody’s leader, that he is now more akin to the centerpiece of the nation, a fixed entity against which other forces collide.

At the end of 2017, it is now possible to talk about a system that operates without Putin. He is not acting in sync with his inner circle. Each feels uncomfortable with the other, as the president grows more stingy about intervening to resolve the power struggles within the elite. Putin has never been interested in classical “politics,” seeing it as an empty term. That means that the apolitical president does not take definite positions on issues—making it easier for decisions to be taken in his name.

Nowadays, we increasingly have the impression that “the boss is away.” The management of Russia that is formally exercised by the president has been almost entirely taken over by his inner circle and the presidential administration, which has ceased being just a general staff and has turned into a player with its own special interests. To put it another way, the president himself has suddenly discovered that he is surrounded by “regents” with varying degrees of power. Russia is developing a regime of collective regency.

The higher we go in the presidential administration, the less we find administration and the more we see pure palace rule. The modern-day “court of his imperial majesty” regards anything that is in the state budget or can be made liquid as its property, whether that be governmental positions, territories, threats, people, or infrastructure. Meanwhile, Sergei Kiriyenko, first deputy head of the administration, is guarding Putin’s Russia until Putin returns. He is the overtime manager. He waits for orders but none come.

The system is not only functioning without a fully functional Putin, it also lacks any strategic direction. A lot of noise is made about “hiring younger people,” but in actual fact no political rejuvenation is taking place. The new staff don’t have a program they can work to and are strategically useless under the current model. Only when the political environment thaws will they acquire real power. We hear the word “technocrat” being used about young Russian government officials, but what that term really means is that these people are part of the transition into the post-Putin Russia.

The atmosphere inside the government apparatus is becoming more fearful, and the rivalry with the security agencies is intensifying. Arrests taking place in Kremlin circles are not carried out according to “Putin’s plan,” ordered from above, but are rather a manifestation of competition for power.

If we are to understand Russia’s pre-election landscape, we must first understand the Kremlin’s 2018 agenda. The near-term political goal is not about getting to a post-Putin Russia, it is about planning a transition. But it’s worth noting that the discussions are all about preserving the system, not about preserving Putin. (Putin himself, it should be said, is sure to have his own opinion on this matter.) Unlike Putin, this is a system determined not to disappear, and it is run by champions in the art of survival.

The skills of the election strategists are now facing an especially stern test. For three presidential elections in a row, in the elections of 2004, 2008, and 2012, they have worked to make the campaigns a politics-free zone in which the outcome was fully predetermined. Navalny is now working hard to spoil this script and to make the forthcoming vote a real contest again. He has done this by choosing to put himself forward and resolving to fight to the end. Whether or not Navalny is registered as an official candidate, he has succeeded in making the election a proper political process once again.

Even if Navalny is not registered, it will still be a boost to his campaign, and he will be able to mobilize a wide range of people. In that case, he will face some difficult political questions: where to direct this powerful force and how to recommend that they vote. That’s where a political opening exists for the liberal socialite Ksenia Sobchak. If Navalny is refused registration, she may gain political momentum by winning over his electorate. However, there are big question marks over her political durability and as to whether she could do anything like Navalny has done in creating a national structure.

The start of the 2018–2024 presidential term will be the occasion for deal-making at the highest level. The deal will be about more than the interests of a tired older gentleman, nor can it rely solely on the Kremlin circle of “regents,” who have too great an interest in gaining control over Putin as he weakens.

The deal that is made will have to have a firmly fixed objective and a deadline, which may be 2024, for when a new kind of politics returns to Russia and there is real strategic planning for the future. That may even be the moment that Putin regains his own political face, a face he has rubbed away with years of bad decisions.

Even while Putin is an undeclared candidate and Navalny is an unregistered one, the race between them is approaching a culmination around the New Year period. Soon the state will either have to try to register Navalny for the election or refuse him. Either option could trigger a crisis.

In either eventuality, Putin will have to fight against the unregistered Navalny Party, which consists of tens and hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens. This will be the main conflict of the campaign—not the one between Putin and Navalny, but the one between Putin and Navalny’s supporters. These people are not just the supporters of their candidate but the most determined supporters of transition, of Russia’s passage into a post-Putin future.

Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’ – U.S. News & World Report
 

mikenova shared this story from trump russian ties – Google News.


U.S. News & World Report
Russian PM Says US-Russia Ties at Low Ebb but Trump ‘Friendly’
U.S. News & World Report
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visit the Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery at Istra, outside Moscow, Russia November 15, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS Reuters. MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian and more »

The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017 – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
 

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The Morning Vertical, November 30, 2017
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Is Pavlovsky right? There certainly are data points out there suggesting that he is. Arrests are taking place that do not appear to be sanctioned by Putin. Figures like Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov seem to be pursuing and more »

5:30 AM 11/30/2017 Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot? M.N.  | The Web World Times
 

mikenova shared this story from The Web World Times News and Opinions Review.

Image result for Is the "Trump-Russia affair" an elaborate Leftist plot

Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot, carried over directly from the “Obama Leftist plot”, and masquerading as the Rightist Alliance of Putin’s regime, Trump Republicans, and the European rightists? 

At the head of this plot might be the certain elements of the New Russian Left, visible and invisible, and including the various military-political circles, German (Stasi dominated) Intelligence, and the ubiquitous Chinese, practicing all kinds of deceptions against everybody, as their traditional “Art of War” is. 

A nice combination, well screwed-up little Leftist Bolt from the sky… 

M.N.  

11.30.17 

Quotes from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu:

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. 

_____________________________

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead
 

mikenova shared this story from FB-RSS feed for Palmer Report.

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Donald Trump tries to attack British Prime Minister Theresa May, accidentally attacks some other woman instead

Trump tried to start World War III with Great Britain, and couldn’t even get it right

Is the “Trump-Russia affair” an elaborate Leftist plot – Google Search
 

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США для нового санкционного списка собирают сведения о десятках тысяч россиян
 

mikenova shared this story from Росбалт.

Российские спецслужбы зафиксировали небывалую активность финансовой разведки США в странах Европы и ряде других государств. Связано это с тем, что в начале следующего года будет оглашен новый санкционный список.

Как рассказал «Росбалту» источник, знакомый с ситуацией, российские спецслужбы узнали, что последние месяцы страны Европы буквально забросали запросами из финансовой разведки США относительно россиян. «Речь идет о работниках госкомпаний, чиновниках,  их близких и дальних родственниках и т. д. Всего о десятках тысяч россиян», — рассказал собеседник агентства. По его словам, в ходе дальнейшей работы было установлено, что такая активность финразведки напрямую связана с расследованием ФБР и подготовкой Сенатом доклада о якобы имевшем место вмешательстве России в президентские выборы в США. Предполагается, что по итогам расследования будет оглашен новый список граждан России, в отношении которых вводятся санкции.

«У нас есть данные, что этот список будет беспрецедентно большим. Некоторые горячие головы в США предлагают ввести санкции чуть ли не в отношении более чем 50 тыс. граждан России», — отметил источник агентства.

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US actively collects data on foreign assets of Russian elite after Trumps new law on sanctions against Russia
 

mikenova shared this story .

A new sanctions list will be drawn up based on an open report, which will provide information on Russian oligarchs and key political figures.⁠

Russian special services hold an unprecedented activity of US financial intelligence in Europe and a number of other countries requesting data on Russians. This is due to the fact that at the beginning of next year a new sanction list will be announced, Rosbalt reports with reference to the source.

“We are talking about employees of state companies, officials, their close and distant relatives, etc. In total, about tens of thousands of Russians,” the source said. Such activity is directly related to the law on sanctions against Russia, signed by US President Donald Trump on Aug. 4, 2017, proposed by US congressmen. It deals primarily with collecting data on key political figures and oligarchs.

As The CrimeRussia previously reported, the Ministry of Finance, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the US Secretary of State, shoult provide an open report on the oligarchs and parastatal organizations of the Russian Federation to relevant congressional committees not later than 180 days after the adoption of the law. It should provide information on key political figures of Russia and the oligarchs, the level of their proximity to Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian ruling elite, their fortune and sources of income; moreover, a list of their relatives, including spouses, children, parents, their assets, including investments, business interests, property that generates income should be concluded; foreign companies affiliated with these persons have been identified too.”

In fact, by January 31, 2018, the Ministry of Finance should prepare a report on all significant politicians, businessmen and officials. The open document will reflect data on their assets, including foreign ones. In the future, the report will only be supplemented with new information and names. All these names will appear in the new sanctions list, which can number up to 50.000 Russian citizens.

According to experts who have already expressed their opinion on the new law, it is possible that later foreign accounts under the jurisdiction of countries that support sanctions against Russia can be frozen. Assets can be confiscated as property that is earned on criminal or illegal way. The Spanish authorities have the same experience, for example, Spain converts property of Russian mafia, accused of money laundering.

Please, read our material about the forthcoming report and how it threatens Russia.

Mitigating the Russian challenge
 

mikenova shared this story from News from EUobserver.

“It is time”, the USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev said in a 1989 speech, “to consign to oblivion the Cold War postulates when Europe was viewed as an arena of confrontation divided into ‘spheres of influence’.”

In place of old rivalries, Gorbachev laid out his vision of a “common European home”. Russia and Europe, he declared optimistically, should work together “to transform international relations in the spirit of humanism, equality and justice”.

Fast forward to 2017, and it is clear that things have not quite gone according to plan.

Gorbachev is defending Russia’s takeover of Crimea. For the first time since the Cold War, Nato is opening new command centres in Europe.

The stakes involved in the EU-Russia relationship are still high.

The EU is the most important investor in Russia, as well as its largest trading partner. Moscow, for its part, remains a crucial energy and security player for Europe.

Yet at the core of the Russia-EU confrontation lies the fundamental disagreement over values and geopolitical zones of influence. Those differences are unlikely to be bridged soon.

The EU, built on the values of interdependence and liberal norms, is willing to engage with Moscow, but with strings attached. To access the community’s perks – closer economic links, visa-free travel – the Kremlin is expected to abide by international laws and embrace liberalisation at home.

To Russia’s leadership, those conditions are unacceptable. It sees its neighbourhood as the bulwark against Nato expansion and the wave of ‘colour’ revolutions. As for domestic liberalisation, it would destroy Vladimir Putin’s regime, or, at least, seriously undermine it.

It is against this context that Russia’s attempts to stoke troubles in Europe should be considered.

Carrot vs Stick

To deter Russia, the EU global strategy recommends, member-states, above all, must “strengthen the EU and enhance the resilience of our eastern neighbours”.

The conspicuity of this observation doesn’t render it any less relevant. Russian leadership values strength and preys on weakness.

Show the Kremlin that you cannot use a stick, and it will wrestle the carrot out of your hands.

Thus, the most obvious thing the EU can do is to enhance its defensive capabilities. That means protecting eastern flunk, while also improving military mobility. Boosting cyber defence, too, is crucial, given recent attacks on Europe’s infrastructure.

Response to Russian meddling in European politics, though, is a more nuanced challenge. Concerns over Moscow’s malignant campaign – via TV, social media and financing of populist parties – are valid.

Yet it is also crucial to keep cool when confronting Russian propaganda.

The Kremlin’s aim, as the US example showed, is to sow discord within Western politics, not necessarily to achieve a concrete electoral outcome.

That is why media panic – and attaching the ‘Putin’s stooge’ label to any anti-establishment cause – only plays into Moscow’s hands.

The best way to deal with the Kremlin’s meddling, therefore, is treating it more as a security issue than a political one.

Western agencies have learned about Russia’s web campaign, so they can tackle it with considerable success in future. Reforms to increase transparency in party financing, likewise, is a useful step.

To bring Russia around to the idea of a common future on European terms requires demonstrating calm resolve. Moscow must understand that, despite its tricks, the EU’s institutions will continue to work as normal.

Making cooperation pay

But while Europe must demonstrate firmness, it is equally important to show what Moscow can gain by cooperating.

A deterrence-only approach to the Kremlin will only amplify its exuberance, leading to an endless ‘action-response’ cycle.

So, how can Russia be induced to cooperate?

Firstly, the EU should retain clear conditions for lifting economic sanctions on Russia. As the economist Vladislav Inozemtsev observed, wherever economic sanctions worked – like South Africa or Yugoslavia – they came with clear instructions of their relaxation or removal.

Heeding that, any comprehensive plan to resolve the Ukraine crisis should include the roadmap for sanctions relief.

The economic card is the strongest ace in the EU’s deck. It must play it wisely.

Secondly, there is a need to communicate with Russia in the way that brings maximum utility. Putin’s regime is here to stay. Nonetheless, it can still be affected, even if incrementally.

To facilitate change, it may be worth raising commercial and human rights concerns with Moscow on diplomatic level rather than just in the media. This approach will assure the Kremlin that Western concerns are genuine, and not an attempt to embarrass it.

Before any progress is achieved with Russia, things may get even more muddled. To succeed, Europe must demonstrate strategic patience.

Evgeny Pudovkin is a journalist writing on European politics, Russia and foreign affairs

AP source: Grand jury testimony in Flynn case put off
 

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Prosecutors working with special counsel Robert Mueller have postponed grand jury testimony related to the private business dealings of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a person familiar with the ongoing investigation into Trump campaign associates and Russian election interference told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The reason for the postponement was not immediately clear, but it comes one week after attorneys for Flynn alerted President Donald Trump’s legal team that they could no longer share information about the case. That discussion between lawyers was widely seen as a possible indication that Flynn was moving to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation or attempting to negotiate a deal for himself.

An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, did not immediately respond to email and phone messages Wednesday afternoon.

The testimony that had been scheduled for the coming days related to Flynn’s firm, Flynn Intel Group, its work with a public relations firm and interactions with congressional staff, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

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Mueller and the FBI have been interested in hearing from employees at the public relations firm, SGR LLC, because of the firm’s work with Flynn Intel Group. SGR LLC, which does business as Sphere Consulting, did public relations work on a film Flynn Intel Group was working on about Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The film was never completed.

Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department in May to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which produced its first criminal charges last month against three former Trump campaign officials, incorporated an earlier FBI inquiry into Flynn’s lobbying and investigative research work on behalf of a Turkish businessman. Sphere employees have cooperated for months with the investigation, including by turning over documents requested by investigators and sitting for voluntary interviews.

The October 2016 meeting that was expected to be the subject of the grand jury testimony has been described as a bait-and-switch carried out on behalf of Flynn’s firm.

As the AP reported in March, Flynn’s business partner, Bijan Kian, invited a representative of the House Homeland Security Committee to Flynn Intel’s offices in Alexandria, Virginia, to discuss secure communications products. But after discussing the products, the session quickly turned into a lobbying pitch that mirrored Turkish government talking points. Kian and others involved were particularly interested in pushing for congressional hearings to investigate Gulen, whom the Turkish government has blamed for a botched coup and who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement.

The requests for congressional hearings went nowhere.

According to a filing with the Justice Department, an employee of Sphere consulting was present during the meeting.

CNN first reported the postponement.

Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial | Business News
 

mikenova shared this story .

In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Denton points at defendant Mehmet Hakan Atilla, right, during opening arguments of a trial, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in New York federal court. Denton said Atilla, deputy CEO of Halkbank, was the architect of a “massively successful” scheme to dupe U.S. banks into letting Iran move money around the world. Judge Richard Berman is seated at the bench, background left. (Elizabeth Williams via AP) The Associated Press

By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A Turkish-Iranian gold trader testified at a New York trial Wednesday that he paid over $50 million in bribes to Turkey’s finance minister in 2012 to overcome a banker’s fears he was too popular in Turkey to launder Iranian money and evade U.S. sanctions.

Reza Zarrab, 34, calmly described his 2012 encounters with one of Turkey’s most important public officials as he began what will be several days on the witness stand at the trial of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who is charged in a conspiracy that involved bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.

Zarrab’s decision to cooperate with U.S. investigators — revealed Tuesday — was a surprise twist in a prosecution that seemed in jeopardy just months earlier after Zarrab tried to free himself by hiring prominent and politically connected American attorneys to try to arrange a prisoner transfer between Turkey and the United States.

Zarrab said he began cooperating after efforts by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey failed. In the spring, prosecutors seemed alarmed after learning that Giuliani and Mukasey would meet with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top U.S. officials to try to broker a deal.

With Zarrab as a powerful addition to their arsenal of evidence, prosecutors wasted no time in getting him to name names and muddy reputations in the banking industry and in government.

Testifying with an American flag behind him, Zarrab answered questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Sidhardha Kamaraju as the prosecutor elicited details of what the United States has said was a well-orchestrated conspiracy to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran and enable $1 billion in Iranian oil proceeds to move through international banking markets.

Zarrab said he ran into resistance from a Halkbank executive when he approached the Turkey government-owned bank in late 2011 or early 2012 to try to gain access to Iranian money through trades in gold.

The executive, he said, feared that Zarrab’s marriage to Turkish pop star and TV personality Ebru Gundes made him too popular and transparent to make gold trades.

Feeling unjustly rejected, he said he met with Zafer Caglayan, Turkey’s finance minister. He said Caglayan told him he would broker gold trades in return for half the profits.

Zarrab said he paid Caglayan over $50 million to broker the trades and that Caglayan’s involvement overcame the bank’s resistance.

Caglayan is indicted in the case. The indictment describes his alleged role in the gold-transfer scheme and in another scheme in which he and other Turkish government officials supposedly approved of and directed the movement of Iranian oil proceeds by claiming they were in connection with the sale of food and medicine to Iran from Dubai.

Erdogan has called on American authorities to “review” the decision to indict Caglayan, saying the former minister had not engaged in any wrongdoing because Turkey had not imposed sanctions on Iran, an important trade partner.

Zarrab took the stand wearing tan scrubs a month after pleading guilty to seven crimes, including conspiracy, violating U.S. sanctions, bank fraud, money laundering and paying a bribe to a prison guard to get alcohol and the use of a cellphone.

Atilla, a 47-year-old former deputy CEO of Halkbank, has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for Atilla attacked Zarrab’s credibility Tuesday during opening statements, saying the trial is about Zarrab’s crimes.

As he testified, Zarrab described his 2016 arrest as he arrived in the U.S. for a trip to Disney World with his wife and daughter.

He said he initially lied to U.S. authorities when he was confronted with crimes.

“I did not know what I was facing and after a long trip I was shocked and I couldn’t give the right answers,” Zarrab said. “I was afraid.”

The prosecution in Manhattan has been major news in Turkey, where Erdogan has repeatedly asked the U.S. to release Zarrab.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister recently said Zarrab was a “hostage” being forced to testify against Turkey’s government.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feinstein asks for Russia records from Trump campaign aides – The Hill
 

mikenova shared this story from trump russian ties – Google News.


The Hill
Feinstein asks for Russia records from Trump campaign aides
The Hill
Clovis came under fire in late October after documents from March revealed that he encouraged a young Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, to meet with Russian officials in an effort to help improve the relations between Moscow and the campaign …
Mueller’s TrumpRussia Probe May Be Only One That Leads to AnswersOr HandcuffsNewsweek
Dianne Feinstein wants more documents from former Trump campaign officials as part of Russia probeWashington Examiner
The TrumpRussia Story Is Coming Together. Here’s How to Make Sense of ItTruth-Out
Tribune-Review
all 52 news articles »
Rudy Giuliani – Google News: Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report
 

mikenova shared this story from 1. Trump Circles: Elections from mikenova (16 sites).


U.S. News & World Report
Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial
U.S. News & World Report
Those lawyers included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Kamaraju asked him if the talks, which included a meeting with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were successful. “No,” Zarrab answered 
The Odyssey of a Turkish Trader Now Spilling His Secrets in USBloombergall 42 news articles »

 Rudy Giuliani – Google News

Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial – U.S. News & World Report
 

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U.S. News & World Report
Turkish-Iranian Gold Trader Testifies at US Trial
U.S. News & World Report
Those lawyers included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Kamaraju asked him if the talks, which included a meeting with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were successful. “No,” Zarrab answered 
The Odyssey of a Turkish Trader Now Spilling His Secrets in USBloombergall 42 news articles »

Lawsuit seeks details of Trump administration’s policies on surveilling journalists – Washington Post
 

mikenova shared this story from Trump FBI file – Google News.


Washington Post
Lawsuit seeks details of Trump administration’s policies on surveilling journalists
Washington Post
Two media organizations planned to sue the Trump administration on Wednesday for details of government policies on surveillance of journalists, which remain hidden despite the groups’ public records requests. The Knight First Amendment Institute at and more »

Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks
 

mikenova shared this story .

Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company.

Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said.

“Time seems to be of the essence,” said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked.

The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.

close dialog

The consultant’s expected testimony comes as the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser’s business dealings has taken a new turn.

Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation, a move that signals Flynn is beginning conversations with the government that could involve a plea deal or a cooperation agreement.

 ABC News reported

 that Flynn’s attorney met with special counsel’s attorneys on Monday.

Sphere’s government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.

Inovo paid Flynn’s group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere’s SGR was paid $40,000.

Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as “a cooperating witness at best.” Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the

business dealings of Flynn and his son

 such as their firm’s reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.

Another area of interest to Mueller’s team is Flynn’s alleged participation in discussions about the idea of removing Gulen, who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania, sources said. In the past, a spokesman for Flynn has denied that such discussions occurred. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, has called reports of an alleged kidnapping scheme “outrageous” and “false.” Kelner could not be reached for comment.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment.

Flynn disclosed its work for Inovo in a lobbying disclosure form in September 2016. Months later, in March 2017, it filed a FARA disclosure form stating “because of the subject matter of the engagement, Flynn Intel Group’s work for Inovo could be construed to have principally benefitted from the Republic of Turkey.”

Sphere entered the assignment in August 2016 when it was approached by Bijan Kian, Flynn’s business partner, to publicize the proposed documentary to promote investing in Turkey, according to the Sphere source. At Flynn’s direction Sphere created a Gulen-themed Monopoly graphic, according to Flynn’s FARA disclosure. A lawyer for Kian declined to comment. No explanation was given for why the graphic was created.

Two other consultants hired by Flynn, journalists David Enders and Rudi Bakhtiar, a former CNN anchor, were brought in to work on the documentary, according to the FARA form. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the investigation, reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation has contacted Enders and Bakhtair to set up interviews. Enders and Bakhtiar have not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

The documentary was never completed. But Sphere did place Flynn’s election day op-ed on Gulen in The Hill newspaper, according to the source at the company and the FARA filing. Flynn’s FARA filing distances that op-ed from the work he did for Inovo acknowledging it was shared with Inovo but: “To the best of our knowledge, Inovo did not communicate with the Republic of Turkey regarding the op-ed or provide the draft op-ed to the government.”

Through Flynn and Kian, Sphere met Alptekin, the Turkish businessman, who wanted Sphere to do PR work to get Gulen extradited, according to the source at Sphere.

According to a memo sent to Flynn’s firm, Sphere told Alptekin in November, when the firm first met with him, that none of this should be done through a publicity campaign, but rather should pursued through lawsuits.

Today’s Headlines and Commentary
 

mikenova shared this story from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile in a test that demonstrated the Kim regimes longest potential range capability yet. The Hwasong-15 missile could reach all of the continental United States, the New York Times reported. The missiles 53-minute flight took the projectile 2,800 miles into space before landing in the Sea of Japan 600 miles east of its launch site. Experts said the test flight showed a potential range of 8,000 miles. President Donald Trump, the leaders of Japan and South Korea, and the U.N. secretary-general condemned the launch, the Washington Post reported. The United Nations Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss Pyongyangs latest provocation.

The Syrian government agreed to a Russian plan for a ceasefire in a rebel-held region near Damascus,the BBC reported. Syrian forces had besieged rebels in the Eastern Ghouta area, and in recent weeks Russian airstrikes and Syrian artillery fire have killed dozens of civilians. The ceasefire came as Syrian government and opposition negotiators met for U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva.

The FBI is investigating the murders of a Syrian-American journalist and her mother in Turkey, ABC News reported. Halla Barakat and her mother Orouba both reported on abuses by the Syrian regime. Their killer strangled and stabbed them to death in their apartment in Istanbul in September. Turkish prosecutors have arrested a man who says he killed them because of a dispute about money, but the prosecutors suspect the man acted on orders from the Assad regime to assassinate the women.

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, promoted a private scheme to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East while he was in office, the Wall Street Journal reported. Flynn consulted for the companies proposing the plan during the presidential transition. After coming into office, he directed a National Security Council staffer to prepare a memo about the plan for Trump to approve. The staffer continued to promote the plan after Flynn resigned in February until his own ouster in July.

Special Counsel Robert Muellers investigation of Michael Flynn may now cover Flynns tenure as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), BuzzFeed News reported. The DIA cited ongoing law enforcement investigative activities to justify refusing a reporters three-year old request for information about Flynns two-year tenure as director from 2012 to 2014. The Obama administration forced Flynn to retire early.

A jury in Washington, D.C. convicted Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the alleged mastermind of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, on terrorism charges, the Post reported. The jury in federal district court acquitted Khatallah on murder charges for the deaths of four U.S. diplomats at Benghazi. U.S. commandos captured Khatallah in 2014 in Libya and brought him to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

Shooting broke out in Sanaa, Yemens capital, between rival factions of the Houthi movement, Reuters reported. Forces loyal to Yemens former president Ali Abdullah Saleh fought allies of another key Houthi leader, threatening to fracture the Houthi rebel movement. A Saudi-led coalition backing Yemens internationally-recognized government is fighting the Houthis for control of the country.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended his redesign of the State Department, the Post reported. There is not hollowing out, Tillerson said in remarks at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. Dozens of senior diplomats have resigned or been fired since the beginning of the administration. Tillersons redesign plan has sparked widespread opposition in the department. Tillerson said reports of a depleted department are not accurate and that his redesign would improve the working environment for the nations diplomatic corps. The official overseeing the redesign quit on Tuesday after three months on the job, Bloomberg reported.

A Belgian court blocked the deportation of an imam at the countrys largest mosque, according to the Post. Belgian immigration and asylum officials said Abdelhadi Sewif threatened national security. The court found that officials had provided no evidence that Sewif posed a specific security risk. Belgiums investigation into the 2016 terror attacks on the Brussels airport has put pressure on Sewifs mosque for its connections to foreign backers.

A Bosnian-Croat military commander died after taking poison at the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Reuters reported. Slobodan Praljak drank from a glass that he said contained poison as a U.N. judge upholding his 20-year prison sentence for war crimes related to plan to carry out ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Clare Duncan detailed Yemens recent history in a primer on its civil war.

Nicholas Weaver emphasized the seriousness of the danger from autonomous weapons systems such as slaughterbots.

J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker, covering the Sinai attack, U.S.-Turkey tensions and the fallout from the Saudi power play.

Yishai Schwartz summarized the Nov. 13 military commission hearing in U.S. v. al-Nashiri.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the National Security Law Podcast, featuring discussion of Carpenter v. U.S. and the hearing in ACLU v. Mattis.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.


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