7:06 AM 11/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG

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US to continue arming PKK/YPG despite Trump’s pledge

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Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG

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Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPG
 

mikenova shared this story from Yeni Safak.

Despite a pledge by U.S. President Donald Trump to his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a phone call on Friday to stop providing weapons to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning told reporters on Monday that Washington would continue to support and arm the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The YPG is the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD), and dominates the SDF.

Col. Manning said that the U.S. Defense Department was “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided” to the PKK/YPG.

The pentagon spokesman stated that the measure of halting military support to the group was not implemented.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Monday said that weapons provided by the U.S. to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) must be collected.Following a telephone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Friday, Trump said that Washington would not give weapons to the PKK/PYD terror group anymore.“The call marked a turning point in strained relations between the two countries, but Washington must honor a pledge to end weapons provisions to the terrorists,” Bozdağ said.US pledges to end arming PKK/PYD terroristsThe YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed.Bozdağ said the United States would be deceiving the world if it did not halt the weapons supplies to the PKK/YPG.Over 4,000 trucks of ammunition, hundreds of armored vehicles and weapons were sent to the PKK/PYD by the U.S.Erdoğan-Trump discussionThe White House said on Friday that Trump said that he had informed Erdoğan that Washington was “adjusting” military support to partners on the ground in Syria.Before his call with Erdoğan, Trump tweeted about the U.S. presence in the Middle East saying: “What a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!”President Erdoğan shared a photograph taken during the call his on Twitter account. It was seen that the call was conducted in his study of the Presidential Palace complex. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, National Intelligence Organization Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın, Chief of Cabinet Hasan Doğan and Senior Advisor Hamdi Kılıç were photographed.PM Yıldırım: US must end partnership with PKK/PYDUS wants to use Zarrab case to impose sanctions on AnkaraBozdağ said that the U.S. wanted to use the trial in New York of a Turkish gold trader to impose sanctions on Ankara. Bozdağ stated that the U.S. had pressured the trader, Reza Zarrab, to sign off on accusations against Turkey.”They may have told Zarrab, ‘Either you will remain in prison until you die, or you will sign under what we tell you,’ and they threatened him with retributions to sign off on accusations,” Bozdağ said.’The US interfered with Turkish trade relations’

“Weapons provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which include Kurdish elements of the SDF, would be limited, mission specific, and provided incrementally to achieve our objectives,” Col. Manning said.

In a Friday phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump “clearly stated that weapons will not be given to the YPG anymore and said that essentially this nonsense should have been ended before,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Friday.

While recognizing the PKK as a terrorist group, the U.S. has treated the PKK/PYD/YPG as an ally using Daesh as a pretext, despite its PKK ties as documented by Turkey.

Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in clear terms that it was “wrong” to supply weapons to the PKK/YPG, the Turkish prime minister has confirmed.Binali Yıldırım’s comments came during an interview with BBC World.”Mr. Trump understood what is important for Turkey,” Yıldırım said, in reference to Trump’s pledge to Erdoğan in a Friday phone call on ending the supply of arms to the terrorist PKK/PYD and PKK/YPG in Syria.”They [the U.S.] said this [cooperation with YPG or PYD] is not a choice. This is a necessity… Ok. We understand, although we do not accept. It is a temporary relation. Now, it is time to finish because Daesh is already defeated,” the premier said.”So, President Trump said it is wrong to provide weapons. This is clearly mentioned.”Stating that Turkish policy on fighting against Daesh had been quite “clear” since the beginning, Yıldırım said it was important to “choose the right partner” to fight Daesh.”You are not able to fight a terror organization using another terror organization,” he added.The U.S. later said it is “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-ISIS and stabilization efforts will allow to prevent ISIS from returning,” referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.”We have always been clear with Turkey that the weapons provided to the SDF, to include its Kurdish elements, would be limited, mission-specific and provided incrementally to achieve military objectives,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Anadolu Agency. He said the U.S. would “continue our partnership with the Syrian Democratic Forces to complete the military defeat of ISIS”.Pentagon says will continue arming PKK/YPGAt the White House, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said even though a complete defeat of Daesh is in sight, “that doesn’t mean stopping all support of those individual groups”.”Once we started winning the campaign against ISIS, the plan and part of the process is to always wind down support for certain groups,” she said. “Now that we’re continuing to crush the physical caliphate, we’re in a position to stop providing military equipment to certain groups.”No doubt about Gulen’s links to coup bidIn response to a question whether Turkey had submitted evidence to Washington showing Fetullah Gülen, the U.S-based leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), had links to last year’s defeated coup attempt, Yıldırım said the necessary documents had been submitted.”For us, it is obvious. We have no hesitation. We have no doubt about it,” he said, referring to Gulen’s role in the defeated coup bid.FETÖ and Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which martyred 250 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.FETÖ is also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.Yıldırım also answered a question on accusations about the detentions since the defeated coup attempt.”This kind of accusation is there. I accept. But those who are accusing us should think about what happened on July 15,” he said.”Our parliament building [was] bombed. And their bombs killed 250 innocent people and [left] 2,194 heavily injured. What can we do then? We have to find [those] who committed crime. This is the situation in Turkey,” Yıldırım said.”We don’t detain people without evidence. This is for sure,” he said, adding the rule of law prevailed in Turkey.The Turkish premier called on Turkey’s critics to show “empathy” instead.”Did you face this kind of thing? If you face this kind of thing, then we will see what you are going to do,” he said.Yıldırım also dismissed accusations that Erdoğan had been becoming an “authoritarian” leader.”Erdoğan is not deciding who is going to jail or who is going to [be] freed. The court is deciding,” he said, adding there was freedom of the press in Turkey.”We have a free press,” he said. “Even the pro-PKK paper is published.”Video: Turkish PM meets with British foreign secretary

The deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said on Monday that the U.S. will need Turkey’s backing for staying in Syria after Daesh is defeated in the region.Speaking to journalists in the parliament, Ozturk Yilmaz called on the U.S. to cooperate with Turkey ahead of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva.“The U.S. will need Turkey and Turkey’s backing for staying in Syria after Daesh,” said Yilmaz.He added that this could lead to diffusing of tensions between the two countries.US must collect weapons distributed to PKK/YPG: Deputy PMThirty-six members of Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee will attend the peace talks in Geneva this week.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss Syria, last week.During the meeting, the three leaders agreed to gather a congress of Syrian groups to advance a political solution for the war-torn nation.Ozturk Yilmaz recalled that Iran, the Bashar al-Assad regime and Hezbollah did not want the presence of the U.S. in Syria’s future.Russian air strikes kill over 50 civilians in eastern SyriaHe added that only PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist group wants U.S. presence in Syria “which will not be at the solution table” in Geneva.”For this reason, the U.S. needs a powerful regional partner, which is Turkey,” said Yilmaz.Yilmaz also urged Turkey and the U.S. to take a joint step for the territorial integrity of Syria.The PYD and its military wing YPG are Syrian branches of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.While recognizing the PKK as a terrorist group, the U.S. has treated the PKK/PYD as an ally in its anti-Daesh efforts.Syrian child escapes death after playing with bombSyria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 10 million displaced, according to claims by the UN.

FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers US targets – The Washington Post
 

mikenova shared this story .


Traffic along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington streaks past the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building Wednesday night, Nov. 1, 2017. Scores of U.S. diplomatic, military and government figures were not told about attempts to hack into their emails even though the FBI knew they were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has learned. (J. David Ake/Associated Press)

 

November 27 at 9:21 PM

WASHINGTON — The FBI failed to notify scores of U.S. officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year that the targets were in the Kremlin’s crosshairs, The Associated Press has found.

Nearly 80 interviews with Americans targeted by Fancy Bear, a Russian government-aligned cyberespionage group, turned up only two cases in which the FBI had provided a heads-up. Even senior policymakers discovered they were targets only when the AP told them, a situation some described as bizarre and dispiriting.

“It’s utterly confounding,” said Philip Reiner, a former senior director at the National Security Council, who was notified by the AP that he was targeted in 2015. “You’ve got to tell your people. You’ve got to protect your people.”

FBI policy calls for notifying victims, whether individuals or groups, to help thwart both ongoing and future hacking attempts. The policy, which was disclosed in a lawsuit filed earlier this year against the FBI by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, says that notification should be considered “even when it may interfere with another investigation or (intelligence) operation.”

Last week, the FBI declined to discuss its investigation into Fancy Bear’s spying campaign, but did provide a statement that said in part: “The FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of potential threat information.”

Three people familiar with the matter — including a current and a former government official — said the FBI has known for more than a year the details of Fancy Bear’s attempts to break into Gmail inboxes. A senior FBI official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the hacking operation because of its sensitivity, declined to comment on when it received the target list, but said that the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks.

“It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.

In the face of a tidal wave of malicious phishing attempts, the FBI sometimes passes on information about the attacks to service providers and companies, who can then relay information to clients or employees, he added.

The AP, which acquired a list of about 4,700 targeted email accounts, has reported in recent weeks on the global reach of the hacking operation and strategy used to break into emails of the Democratic Party and presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Tens of thousands of those emails were leaked online in advance of the November election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Fancy Bear works for the Russian government and meant to push the election in favor of Donald Trump. The Russian government has denied interfering.

The AP did its own triage, dedicating two months and a small team of reporters to go through a hit list of Fancy Bear targets provided by the cybersecurity firm Secureworks.

Previous AP investigations based on the list have shown how Fancy Bear worked in close alignment with the Kremlin’s interests to steal tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic Party . The hacking campaign disrupted the 2016 U.S. election and cast a shadow over the presidency of Donald Trump, whom U.S. intelligence agencies say the hackers were trying to help . The Russian government has denied interfering in the American election.

The Secureworks list comprises 19,000 lines of targeting data . Going through it, the AP identified more than 500 U.S.-based people or groups and reached out to more than 190 of them, interviewing nearly 80 about their experiences.

Many were long-retired, but about one-quarter were still in government or held security clearances at the time they were targeted. Only two told the AP they learned of the hacking attempts on their personal Gmail accounts from the FBI. A few more were contacted by the FBI after their emails were published in the torrent of leaks that coursed through last year’s electoral contest. But to this day, some leak victims have not heard from the bureau at all.

Charles Sowell, who previously worked as a senior administrator in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was targeted by Fancy Bear two years ago, said there was no reason the FBI couldn’t do the same work the AP did.

“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data,” Sowell said. “Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying, ‘It’s too much’? That’s ridiculous.”

___

“IT’S CURIOUS”

The AP found few traces of the bureau’s inquiry as it launched its own investigation two months ago.

In October, two AP journalists visited <a href=”http://THCServers.com” rel=”nofollow”>THCServers.com</a> , a brightly lit, family-run internet company on the former grounds of a communist-era chicken farm outside the Romanian city of Craiova. That’s where someone registered <a href=”http://DCLeaks.com” rel=”nofollow”>DCLeaks.com</a>, the first of three websites to publish caches of emails belonging to Democrats and other U.S. officials in mid-2016.

DCLeaks was clearly linked to Fancy Bear. Previous AP reporting found that all but one of the site’s victims had been targeted by the hacking group before their emails were dumped online.

Yet THC founder Catalin Florica said he was never approached by law enforcement.

“It’s curious,” Florica said. “You are the first ones that contact us.”

THC merely registered the site, a simple process that typically takes only a few minutes. But the reaction was similar at the Kuala Lumpur offices of the Malaysian web company Shinjiru Technology , which hosted DCLeaks’ stolen files for the duration of the electoral campaign.

The company’s chief executive, Terence Choong, said he had never heard of DCLeaks until the AP contacted him.

“What is the issue with it?” he asked.

Questions over the FBI’s handling of Fancy Bear’s broad hacking sweep date to March 2016, when agents arrived unannounced at Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn to warn her campaign about a surge of rogue, password-stealing emails.

The agents offered little more than generic security tips the campaign had already put into practice and refused to say who they thought was behind the attempted intrusions, according to a person who was there and spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was meant to be confidential.

Questions emerged again after it was revealed that the FBI never took custody of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server after it was penetrated by Fancy Bear in April 2016. Former FBI Director James Comey testified this year that the FBI worked off a copy of the server, which he described as an “appropriate substitute.”

___

“MAKES ME SAD”

Retired Maj. James Phillips was one of the first people to have the contents of his inbox published by DCLeaks when the website made its June 2016 debut.

But the Army veteran said he didn’t realize his personal emails were “flapping in the breeze” until a journalist phoned him two months later.

“The fact that a reporter told me about DCLeaks kind of makes me sad,” he said. “I wish it had been a government source.”

Phillips’ story would be repeated again and again as the AP spoke to officials from the National Defense University in Washington to the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.

Among them: a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retired Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes; a former head of Air Force Intelligence, retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula; a former defense undersecretary, Eric Edelman; and a former director of cybersecurity for the Air Force, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Schissler.

Retired Maj. Gen. Brian Keller, a former director of military support at the Geospatial Intelligence Agency, was not informed, even after DCLeaks posted his emails to the internet. In a telephone call with AP, Keller said he still wasn’t clear on what had happened, who had hacked him or whether his data was still at risk.

“Should I be worried or alarmed or anything?” asked Keller, who left the spy satellite agency in 2010 and now works in private industry.

Not all the interviewees felt the FBI had a responsibility to alert them.

“Perhaps optimistically, I have to conclude that a risk analysis was done and I was not considered a high enough risk to justify making contact,” said a former Air Force chief of staff, retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, who was targeted by Fancy Bear in 2015.

Others argued that the FBI may have wanted to avoid tipping the hackers off or that there were too many people to notify.

“The expectation that the government is going to protect everyone and go back to everyone is false,” said Nicholas Eftimiades, a retired senior technical officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency who teaches homeland security at Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg and was himself among the targets.

But the government is supposed to try, said Michael Daniel, who served as President Barack Obama’s White House cybersecurity coordinator.

Daniel wouldn’t comment directly on why so many Fancy Bear targets weren’t warned in this case, but he said the issue of how and when to notify people “frankly still needs more work.”

___

“CLOAK-AND-DAGGER”

In the absence of any official warning, some of those contacted by AP brushed off the idea that they were taken in by a foreign power’s intelligence service.

“I don’t open anything I don’t recognize,” said Joseph Barnard, who headed the personnel recovery branch of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command.

That may well be true of Barnard; Secureworks’ data suggests he never clicked the malicious link sent to him in June 2015. But it isn’t true of everyone.

An AP analysis of the data suggests that out of 312 U.S. military and government figures targeted by Fancy Bear, 131 clicked the links sent to them. That could mean that as many as 2 in 5 came perilously close to handing over their passwords.

It’s not clear how many gave up their credentials in the end or what the hackers may have acquired.

Some of those accounts hold emails that go back years, when even many of the retired officials still occupied sensitive posts.

Overwhelmingly, interviewees told AP they kept classified material out of their Gmail inboxes, but intelligence experts said Russian spies could use personal correspondence as a springboard for further hacking, recruitment or even blackmail.

“You start to have information you might be able to leverage against that person,” said Sina Beaghley, a researcher at the RAND Corp. who served on the NSC until 2014.

In the few cases where the FBI did warn targets, they were sometimes left little wiser about what was going on or what to do.

Rob “Butch” Bracknell, a 20-year military veteran who now works in Norfolk, Virginia, said an FBI agent visited him about a year ago to examine his emails and warn him that a “foreign actor” was trying to break into his account.

“He was real cloak-and-dagger about it,” Bracknell said. “He came here to my work, wrote in his little notebook and away he went.”

Left to fend for themselves, some targets have been improvising their cybersecurity.

Retired Gen. Roger A. Brady, who was responsible for American nuclear weapons in Europe as part of his past role as commander of the U.S. Air Force there, turned to Apple support this year when he noticed something suspicious on his computer. Hughes, a former DIA head, said he had his hard drive replaced by the “Geek Squad” at a Best Buy in Florida after his machine began behaving strangely. Keller, the former senior spy satellite official, said it was his son who told him his emails had been posted to the web after getting a Google alert in June 2016.

A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who like many others was repeatedly targeted by Fancy Bear but has yet to receive any warning from the FBI, said the lackluster response risked something worse than last year’s parade of leaks.

“Our government needs to be taking greater responsibility to defend its citizens in both the physical and cyber worlds, now, before a cyberattack produces an even more catastrophic outcome than we have already experienced,” McFaul said.

___

Donn reported from Plymouth, Massachusetts. Associated Press writers Vadim Ghirda in Carcea, Romania, Chad Day in Washington, Frank Bajak in Houston, Justin Myers in Chicago and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

___

Satter, Donn and Butler can be reached at:

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EDITOR’S NOTE — Raphael Satter’s father, David Satter, is an author and Russia specialist who has been critical of the Kremlin. His emails were published last year by hackers and his account is on Secureworks’ list of Fancy Bear targets. He was not notified by the FBI.

EDITOR’S NOTE _ One in a series of stories on the findings of an Associated Press investigation of the Russian hackers who disrupted the U.S. presidential election in 2016

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

Russian Intelligence services – Google News: FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
FBI gave heads-up to fraction of Russian hackers’ US targets
Washington Post
Tens of thousands of those emails were leaked online in advance of the November election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Fancy Bear works for the Russian government and meant to push the election in favor of Donald Trump. TheRussian …
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 Russian Intelligence services – Google News

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mikenova shared this story from Trump Investigations Report.

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Michael Flynn’s lawyer meets with members of special counsel’s team, raising specter of plea deal – ABC News
 

mikenova shared this story from mike flynn kidnapping – Google News.


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The lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn met Monday morning with members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team the latest indication that both sides are discussing a possible plea deal, ABC News 
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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary
 

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Egyptian security forces targeted militants in the Sinai peninsula after an attack on a mosque in a local village killed 305 people, the New York Times reported. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi pledged to get vengeance against a group of 25-30 armed men that Egyptian authorities said carried an Islamic State flag during their massacre at the mosque in Bir al-Abed. According to Egyptian security officials, warplanes struck vehicles associated with the fighters. The attack is the latest escalation in the long-brewing conflict in Sinai, where the Egyptian military has struggled to contain an insurgency that took hold after the 2013 coup in which President Sisi took power.

Pakistans justice minister will step down after accusations of blasphemy against him sparked protests and violence from Islamic fundamentalist groups, the Times reported. After Zahid Hamid, the law minister, attempted to change religious language in an oath that Pakistani lawmakers take upon entering parliament, protests erupted that have paralyzed Islamabad, Pakistans capital, for weeks. Following military-led negotiations, Hamid agreed to step down, and a hard-line Islamic party promised not to issue an edict of blasphemy against him, an accusation that has led to killings in the past.

Pope Francis met the head of Myanmars military during an official visit, as the pontiff faces pressure to address the violence against the Rohingya Muslim population, Reuters reported. The pope discussed religious freedom and the countrys transition to democracy with General Min Aung Hlaing. Advisers have warned the pope against even using the word Rohingya, as Myanmars government says they are not a separate ethnic group. The pope will meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmars civilian leader, on Tuesday.

Michael Flynns lawyers told President Donald Trumps legal team they were halting their correspondence about the special counsels investigation, according to the Times. Flynns lawyers cancelled an agreement concluded between Trump and Flynns legal teams to share information about the investigation and their responses. Trumps lawyers said this development suggested Flynn was working on a deal with the special counsel. Special Counsel Robert Muellers team is looking into Flynns work on a Turkish documentary film, the Wall Street Journal reported. Flynn paid consultants to create a currently unfinished film attacking exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. The FBI is probing Flynns business connections to the Turkish government in connection with the film. Separately, Congressional officials referred allegations about Flynns role in a scheme to provide nuclear power to Middle East countries to the special counsels investigation, the Washington Post reported. Rep. Trey Gowdy sent a letter to Mueller referring congressional democrats concerns about Flynns sponsorship of a plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East while he was in office.

The U.S. will cease arming Kurdish fighters in Syria, CBS News reported. President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the U.S. would stop its arms shipments to the YPG, a Kurdish group that forms an integral part of the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has called the YPG a terrorist organization because of its connections to rebel groups in Turkeys eastern mountains. The White House did not explicitly confirm the change in policy, but Turkish officials called on the U.S. to uphold its pledge, according to Reuters.

Aid shipments entered Yemen for the first time in the weeks since the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels blockaded major ports, the Times reported. A shipment of flour reached the seaport at Al Hudaydah and aid planes landed at Sanaa, Yemens capital. The U.N. said the Saudi coalition must continue to allow supplies to arrive as Yemen faces a devastating famine and health crisis. A cholera epidemic has threatened vulnerable members of Yemens population  as over 17 million people lack reliable access to food.

The FBI failed to inform dozens of current and former U.S. officials that the Russian hacking operation Fancy Bear had targeted their email accounts, the AP reported. Of more than 80 officials whose emails the Russian group aimed to compromise, the FBI notified only two of the potential threat. Many former intelligence and military officials learned about the attempted hacking only when journalists contacted them about the matter.

The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to take steps to ensure the security of Polish parliamentarians after far-right groups staged mock hangings of the politicians, Reuters reported. Extremists hanged the portraits of Polish representatives to Brussels who backed a resolution condemning a Polish far-right march in early November as fascist. The head of the European Parliament asked the Polish government to condemn the attacks on the politicians.

The Pentagon is likely to admit that there are over 2,000 U.S. soldiers in Syria, revising upwards its previously estimate of 500 troops on the ground, according to Reuters. The Department of Defense is expected to announce the revised number to reflect a more accurate accounting of troops present in Syria and not to announce an increase in troop commitments.

 

ICYMI: This holiday weekend on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes posted the Mother May I Launch a Missile edition of Rational Security.

Orin Kerr argued that the Fourth Amendment does not guarantee a general right to be secure against government surveillance.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Alina Polyakova and Arkady Ostrovsky on Russias far east.

In the Foreign Policy Essay, Kim Cragin argued that foreign fighters who are transferred to third countries that are not their homes are a major security risk.

 

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Russia Is Returning to Growth. (Just in Time for an Election.)
 

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Figures discussed on Friday at Mr. Putin’s meeting with government and central bank officials showed strong consumer demand, a main driver of the growth. Retail sales for the month increased 3 percent compared with a year before, according to the state statistics service. The Finance Ministry projects the overall economy to grow 2.1 percent for the year. That would be Russia’s first full year of economic growth since a recession began in 2014.

Other economic indicators have been trending in the same direction. Inflation is expected to be about 4 percent for 2017, low by recent Russian standards. As recently as 2015, official figures showed consumer prices were rising more than 15 percent, and ordinary Russians were feeling the pinch. The cost of Russian staples was rising: The price of bread, an important product because of its mythologized status in the Soviet period as a symbol of well being, increased about 11 percent a year during the recession, according to the state statistics agency.

But as the price of oil, a major export commodity, has recovered from multiyear lows in 2014, Russia’s central bank has resumed purchases of hard currency. It has been replenishing the reserves its uses to maintain the long-term stability of the ruble.

“It’s a broad recovery, and it will continue,” said Vladimir Osakovsky, chief Russia economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “There is strong fundamental support.”

The country certainly faces challenges, Mr. Osakovsky and other analysts say. It remains vulnerable to swings in the price of oil and natural gas, for example. The two commodities account for about 60 percent of export revenue and 50 percent of the federal government’s tax base, and a sudden drop in prices could expose wider issues with the economy.

Experts also worry that Russia’s banking system is vulnerable. The central bank had to nationalize two midsize private lenders this year, and several banks lost money betting against the ruble in recent years, according to Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Global Markets, an investment bank.

“So far, the central bank has managed to keep the banking system working,” Mr. Tikhomirov said. But, he added, “the cost of saving these banks is growing.”

Still, positive news has been trickling in.

In September, Fitch, the credit rating agency, revised its outlook for Russian sovereign debt to positive from stable. Through the year, foreign investors have piled into Russian government bonds, raising the share of Russian debt held by foreigners to more than 30 percent, up from 5 percent.

Also helping the recovery was government spending on major infrastructure projects, including a bridge across the Kerch Strait to Crimea, a major gas pipeline to China called the Power of Siberia, and soccer stadiums for the World Cup, which Russia will host next year.

That has helped the country overcome Western sanctions imposed during the Ukraine crisis and over meddling by Moscow in the 2016 election in the United States. These “smart sanctions” were in any case narrowly targeting companies and businessmen aligned with Mr. Putin, meant to affect Kremlin insiders and not to slow the overall economy or hasten political change.

Mr. Putin now finds himself in a more favorable economic environment before next year’s election. And even though Russians have taken a considerable hit to their pocketbooks in recent years — real income, or wages adjusted for inflation, declined through the recession — he remains the overwhelming favorite. In an October survey conducted by the Levada Center, an independent polling organization, two-thirds of likely voters said they would cast their ballots for Mr. Putin.

Spurring growth beyond the 2 percent region forecast by the government will not be easy, though.

The country will very likely have to agree a series of major economic overhauls in order to bolster its long-term growth potential. The retirement age — currently 55 years for women and 60 years for men — will have to be raised, economists say. Without such changes, expansion will remain capped at its current levels, Russia’s central bank chairwoman, Elvira S. Nabiullina, warned this month.

“Without reform,” Mr. Tikhomirov said, “the future for Russia will be fairly bleak.”

Continue reading the main story

Russia in Syria: ‘Victory’ in war but can Moscow win the peace?
 

mikenova shared this story from BBC News – Home.

Russia has emerged from the Syrian crisis with its military and diplomatic reputation significantly enhanced. But this has been achieved amid huge controversy over the means used and amid much international criticism.

It has ensured the survival of the Assad regime at the same time expanding its own small military footprint in the country. But the diplomatic ramifications too have been considerable.

It, not the United States, is the “go to” player. Russia is marshalling a loose alliance of Iran and Turkey to try to plot Syria’s future. Even the Saudis have had to beat a path to Moscow’s door.

Russia drew its own lessons from a series of Western military interventions over the past two decades. It watched with alarm as the US and its allies hailed the upheavals of the Arab Spring as the dawn of a new era of democracy in the Middle East.

Russia’s conclusions were more pragmatic and more pessimistic. And it subsequently applied those lessons in Syria.

Russia did not see the popular rebellion there as the positive harbinger of a new democratic order. Rather it was seen as part of a wider tide of instability rising across the region that threatened to lap over Russia’s own borders.

Crucially, it made a pragmatic assessment of the situation. It chose to stick with its long-time ally, Mr Assad. It defined its strategic goals quite narrowly and, crucially, it deployed sufficient military force to carry them out. In short, it saw an opportunity and acted.

Russian air power, special forces and equipment gave a military backbone to President Assad’s crumbling forces, with Iran’s allies like Hezbollah and various other Shia militias providing badly needed foot soldiers.

Together they allowed President Assad to defeat both rebel forces and so-called Islamic State across a significant part of the country. Syrian government forces and their allies have taken back all of Syria’s major population centres.

The opposition is not totally destroyed but it is largely demoralised.

As Prof Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert at the University of Oklahoma, told me: “There remain a number of militias that have not given up and continue to win foreign backing, but they are almost uniquely arranged along the border with Turkey.

“They will continue to give Assad a hard time, until he crushes them or comes to terms with Turkey about their disposition.

“Otherwise,” he argues, “the opposition has been largely dismantled. It is possible that secret cells will try to carry on with strikes on government buildings and explosions in crowded markets, but the Assad government demonstrated considerable skill and ruthlessness in rolling up such terror organisations before the uprising broke out.”

Russia has achieved this “victory” – if you want to call it that – by the simple exercise of realpolitik with little concern about what its many critics would call the morality of its actions.

Russia sided with a regime that many people believe was not just turning its guns on its own people but was carrying out war crimes. It has shielded the Syrian government from pressure over strongly based allegations that it has used banned sarin gas and other chemical weapons.

The Russian air campaign obeyed its own rules and typically used large numbers of “dumb” or unguided bombs and missiles.

The US and its allies have tended to use largely precision-guided weapons in their operations over Iraq and Syria. (These, of course, still kill innocent civilians, often far more than the military spokesmen are prepared to admit.)

But the fact remains that Western air power, mindful, not least, of public opinion at home, does go to great lengths to minimise civilian casualties as far as possible. Russia’s leaders have no such constraints.

And to the extent that Russian domestic opinion is a factor, Mr Putin has achieved success in Syria with relatively few Russian casualties and with a relatively limited military deployment.

So is it all over for the Syrian opposition? Prof Landis says that “it will be very hard for those that live in exile to maintain a serious military option in the future so long as Syria’s neighbours are unwilling to sponsor them and provide them safe havens as they were in the past.

“Of course,” he notes, “millions of Syrian opposition members now living as refugees or outside the country revile Putin and Russia and continue to look to Western governments to destroy the Syrian regime and return them to their country.

“Like the White Russians of 100 years ago, (the exiled conservative opponents of the Bolshevik Revolution) they are likely to be disappointed.”

Russia has secured a military victory but can it win the “peace”? Well it emerges from this crisis with its diplomatic hand strengthened. In many ways it outplayed the Obama administration – Washington’s efforts to build and arm a coherent Syrian opposition collapsed a number of times – and it has run rings round President Trump’s team.

Some of Washington’s allies like Turkey, who had long called for President Assad’s removal, ultimately decided that they needed to secure their own strategic interests. For Ankara this is the prevention of the emergence of any autonomous Kurdish entity and thus they have thrown in their lot with Moscow and Tehran.

The Trump administration is yet to elaborate a coherent policy towards Syria or indeed for its broader goal of containing Iran’s rising regional influence. It has few levers to pull. The only successful element of US strategy has been its support for and arming of Kurdish fighters.

If the US maintains its support for the Kurds then Joshua Landis says Washington “will be able to beggar the Syrian government and maintain leverage in the region. The US has helped the Kurds take control of most of Syria’s oil and gas fields. This means that Syria will have a much harder time rebuilding.

“The US effort to keep Damascus weak and poor”, he says, “will also limit the victory of both Russia and Iran in the region. But strategically, by choosing to side with the Kurds, Washington will continue to alienate Turkey, Syria and Iraq.”

But Mr Trump’s stance towards the Kurds seems clouded in uncertainty with reports emerging that he has assured the Turks that arms supplies to Kurdish fighters will now be halted in the wake of IS’s defeat. As so often with this presidency the news seems to have caught other members of the administration off balance. Such a stance may help to pacify Ankara but it will be seen as a betrayal by the Kurds and may weaken them if the Syrian government decides to go onto the offensive.

Russia too may face diplomatic problems ahead. Moscow, Damascus, Ankara and Tehran may be united for now, but their medium-term strategic goals may differ.

Russia is under pressure from the Israelis to curb Iran’s influence in Syria. Israel may not be able to bring much diplomatic pressure to bear on Moscow but it clearly has the military power to seek to influence developments in Syria if it feels threatened. And will Turkey, Russia and Iran continue to see eye-to-eye ?

Russia’s real plans for Syria’s future are unclear. It has assiduously worked with some opposition groups to bring them into local ceasefire arrangements. But this is essentially short-term. Will these hold?

Will the Syrian regime have the manpower to maintain its control over the areas it has recaptured? Will the Shia militias and Hezbollah remain in the country? And whose interests will they be serving, Syria’s or Iran’s?

Russia’s “victory” – if you want to call it that – is far from complete. If Moscow really has a plan for Syria, few details have been provided so far.

Russia certainly has a whip hand over the developing peace process, but its goals remain opaque. Will President Assad himself remain a fixture or merely the regime that he represents?

For now though, Mr Putin has many achievements that he can bank. Russia has been shown to be a reliable ally. Its military forces have shown their ability to mount a complex expeditionary operation. Syria has provided a “shop-window” for many of Russia’s most modern weapons systems.

Russia is again a significant diplomatic player in the Middle East in a way that it has not been since the early 1970s. Indeed then it was probably already a waning force. Today it is a rising one facing a US diplomatic effort that is largely incoherent.

Russia is back on the world stage. And if you set aside the misery and suffering in Syria to which all of the external actors have contributed, that ranks as an achievement in Mr Putin’s playbook.

Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal | TheHill
 

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Flipping Michael Flynn: The real and imagined damage of a Mueller deal
© Getty Images

News that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller has Trump critics virtually hyperventilating with excitement. Indeed, the prospect of flipping Flynn has led some to all but declare the end of the Trump administration as we know it.

Former Obama administration ethics chief Norman Eisen declared on Twitter, “BAD NEWS FOR TRUMP. Flynn may or may not have dirt on the Prez, but he surely will roll over on Kush, who will flip like a pancake on daddy-in-law’s [obstruction]. They are gonna have to start frisking Jared for a wire in the Oval.” He ominously noted about Mueller, “When I was at State & he was at FBI we worked together on an investigation, & he loves surprises. Kushner, Donnie Jr. and the rest of the Trump crime family better keep their overnight bags handy. Pack shoes with no laces guys.”

While this case may be endlessly entertaining for some and Mueller may “love surprises,” these people, including Trump himself, are not props in some progressive fantasy production. Before Mueller has some major delicious “surprise,” he will need a crime other than those committed by Flynn himself. The effort to flip Flynn is the most predictable development in this investigation. First, he has clear allegations of criminal conduct in his work as a foreign agent. Second, his crimes are the type that prosecutors would have few qualms in trading away for good testimony. Third, he was in a high position that could allow him to produce “deliverables” on higher ranking individuals.Finally, and most importantly, he has a kid in the mix: Michael Flynn Jr., who served as chief of staff to the Flynn Intel Group. As I previously discussed with regards to Trump himself, there is a danger in enlisting family in political work, and this is one of them. It makes you profoundly vulnerable when investigators come knocking. Mueller’s people have been circling “junior” and this withdrawal may indicate that he is the one price that Flynn is not willing to pay. Flynn’s son could now be the subject of a “third-party credit” in exchange for his father turning government witness.

It is important not to make any assumptions about the status of Flynn. Withdrawal is necessary even at the start of negotiations due to the conflict presented with other potential defendants. Any such deal could fall apart. Flynn is not some low hanging fruit. He is a major player and would be a trophy defendant for Mueller to add to his current indictment of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. He has to produce something more valuable than himself for any real deal.

Nevertheless, Flynn could have counted on a potential presidential pardon if he remained loyal. Trump’s controversial pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio showed everyone that the president is willing to use this power despite overwhelming criticism. Becoming a cooperating witness could close off this avenue, and Flynn would have to believe that what Mueller is threatening is more significant than what Trump might offer.

Flynn could be facing serious claims of false statements to investigators under the U.S. Code and other laws. He is accused of misrepresenting meetings, including one with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak that Flynn is accused of misrepresenting to Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePreet Bharara: Helping Mueller probe might be only ‘sane’ move for FlynnMueller grand jury to question Flynn associate: report White House military personnel reassigned after ‘incident’ on Trump’s Asia trip: report MORE and others. He also failed to register as a foreign agent. While only a handful of such cases have ever been prosecuted, Mueller charged Manafort under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, including allegations that he gave false information and sought to hide money derived from his work.

Flynn faces analogous alleged violations, including the cycling of payments through a Dutch firm, Inovo, that is owned by Ekim Alptekin, chairman of the Turkish American Business Council and close ally of President Erdoğan. Some of Flynn’s contacts with the Russians may have been captured by U.S. intelligence agencies, and he reportedly sought to gain access to damaging hacked emails on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSusan Sarandon: ‘It wouldn’t be much smoother’ with Hillary Clinton as president GOP chief: Voters will be ‘judge and jury’ in Alabama Senate race Dem on Flynn: ‘Karma can be very difficult’ MORE. Flynn could shed light on a June 2016 meeting with Russians to obtain disparaging information about Clinton as well as the influence of people like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in establishing Russian ties.

Flynn also faces some more sensational claims, including alleged discussion of the effective kidnapping and delivery of Erdoğan critic Fethullah Gülen to Turkey for presumed torture and execution. At a meeting at the 21 Club in New York, Flynn was reportedly offered $15 million to arrange for Gülen to be taken on a private plane to a Turkish prison island. Flynn was also allegedly involved in a virtual propaganda film meant to discredit Gülen. The timing of these meetings is important because some communications occurred in December, when Flynn was assuming the role of acting national security adviser. If Flynn continued to be paid for such work in January, bribery charges could be alleged.

The most serious threat of flipping Flynn might be to Manafort, former CIA director James Woolsey, or Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Woolsey reportedly participated in the meeting on the kidnapping or “rendition” of Gulen and has been named as involved in some of these lucrative arrangements with foreign entities. Of course, there is always the possibility of damaging testimony involving President Trump. Such testimony would have heightened value to Mueller given Trump’s own statements. By trying to pressure Comey to “let Flynn go,” the president created his own damning narrative. With James Comey ready to testify that Trump’s overtures made him feel uncomfortable, leading to his famous memos, a witness on the other side could box in the president.

None of this means a perp walk down the White House driveway anytime soon. There is still no evidence of criminal conduct by Trump nor Kushner revealed in public court papers. Flynn is clearly a live torpedo in the water. However, while he has the range, it is not clear if he has the load to do serious damage to anyone in the White House. Rather, the concern should be that he and Mueller may be seeking a target of mutual interest, and if he hits, there will be nothing speculative or subtle about it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

Ex-Russian minister says he thought bag with $2 million cash was gift of alcohol
 

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, accused of extorting a bribe, told a court on Monday he thought a bag holding $2 million in cash which he took from Rosneft (ROSN.MM) chief executive Igor Sechin held a gift of expensive alcohol.

Ulyukayev faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of accepting the $2 million cash from Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors said the bribe was given last year on Nov. 14 in exchange for Ulyukayev approving the sale of a state-controlled oil company Bashneft (BANE.MM) to Rosneft.

Police detained Ulyukayev inside Rosneft headquarters shortly after Sechin handed him the cash inside a lockable brown bag and “a little basket with sausage” as a gift, prosecutors said. . The next day Putin fired Ulyukayev.

Ulyukayev, speaking to the court, said he had believed the package contained a gift but that a trap had been set for him. “All this was an action directed against me, planned in advance, a provocation organized in advance,” he said.

Ulyukayev’s lawyers are trying to explain to the court why he accepted the bag from Sechin given that – according to transcripts of their conversations – neither man had discussed what was inside.

Ulyukayev said when he had been economy minister, Sechin had visited his ministry two or three times and usually had come to the office “with a bulky bag,” containing presents.

During that period, Sechin personally presented Ulyukayev with a watch and a model of an oil-derrick, and he sent a food hamper on occasions such as birthdays, Ulyukayev said.

Ulyukayev had also received alcoholic drinks from Sechin as gifts, a prosecutor said.

“That was a norm of etiquette,” from Sechin’s point of view, Ulyukayev told the court.

The ex-minister said the bag which Sechin gave him last year at Rosneft headquarters in a law enforcement sting operation weighed about 15 kg (33 lbs) and he thought there had been expensive wine or spirits inside.

Ulyukayev said that a month before, Sechin promised to present him with a wine he “had never tried before in his life” to mark the successful closing of the Bashneft privatization deal.

For that reason it came as a surprise that the bag contained money, Ulyukayev said.

Sechin has been issued with four summonses to testify in the trial, but has failed to show up, despite being a key witness. His lawyer said in a letter to the court that Sechin had been away on business trips.

Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Christian Lowe and Richard Balmforth

McCain: Trump doesnt have any principles and beliefs | TheHill
 

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McCain: Trump doesnt have any principles and beliefs
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump touts ‘big week for tax cuts’ as Senate GOP nears critical voteFive health-care fights facing Congress in December State Department wracked by departures under Trump: report MORE(R-Ariz.) ripped President Trump in an interview, saying he doesn’t think the president has “principles and beliefs.”

“I don’t agree with the way he’s conducting his presidency, obviously,” McCain said during an interview with Esquire.

“He’s an individual that unfortunately is not anchored by a set of principles. I think he’s a person who takes advantage of situations.”

McCain said Trump was “successful” as a builder and an entrepreneur.

“But I don’t think he has the fundamental underpinnings of principles and beliefs,” he said.

He added: “I don’t think there was any doubt about his views toward me. But I’m a loyal Republican.”

McCain has criticized Trump in the past. Last month, McCain during an event blasted the “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in the United States.

In response to McCain’s comments, Trump warned: “At some point, I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

McCain later shot back, saying: “I’ve faced far greater challenges than this.”

Trump also attacked the Arizona Republican after he voted against a GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

McCain’s dramatic vote killed the bill and left ObamaCare the law of the land.

Trump later said McCain “let down” his party and the people of Arizona by opposing the measure.

Putin and United Russia Have Some Very Liberal Moscow Neighbors
 

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Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin might maintain a strong grip on Russia, but since a Sept. 10 election, the ancient fortress on the Moscow River is surrounded by the opposition.

Anti-Putin liberals have filled local councils in the Russian capital’s historic and commercial core as well as a few upmarket residential areas—attaining majorities in 17 of the city’s 125 municipal districts. In some others, the opposition has sizable minorities. While these councils have only the slightest power to effect change, on par with a New York City community board at best, the symbolism is what really seems to matter to the election’s victors.
In one of Russia’s political paradoxes, it’s often easier for the Kremlin to control the rest of the country than its own capital. It was home to the giant rallies of the late 1980s and the defense of the Russian parliament during the hardliners’ coup of 1991, which precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow has continued to be a hotbed of opposition during Putin’s tenure, even as the federal government pours billions of dollars into urban improvement and new transportation infrastructure.
“The authorities understand that a voter in Moscow requires a more sophisticated approach—straightforward suppression of the opposition doesn’t really work,” said Abbas Gallyamov, a political consultant who used to work for the government supervising regional election campaigns.
This envelopment of the Kremlin by political enemies may serve Putin’s purposes by keeping activists focused on broken elevators and potholes instead of publicizing corruption or seeking higher office. However, Gallyamov said, the local victories coincide with the rise of protest activity across the country, fueled in part by the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, and his long-shot presidential campaign. (It’s unlikely Putin will even allow him to register as a candidate for the March 2018 vote.)
Dmitry Orlov, a political strategist who sits on the Supreme Council of Putin’s party, United Russia, said the authorities understand the problem posed by the emergence of what he calls “a ring of hostile municipalities” around the Kremlin, and they do their best to neutralize it—sometimes through cooperation, sometimes by trying to split the opposition. It’s not that the locals have any real power in the face of an authoritarian central government: “The main threat is that the municipalities might transform into centers of protest activity in the run up to the presidential election,” Orlov said. But suppression is not the answer, he added, since “it will lead to a more aggressive protest movement consolidated around politicians of the Navalny type.”

So for now, while party strategists ponder how to deal with this new reality, the liberals are gaining experience doing something they probably thought impossible under Putin—governing, if just a little bit.

Yelena Rusakova presides over a meeting of the district council in Gagarinsky.

Photographer: Misha Friedman for Bloomberg

The central administrative area of Moscow includes 10 districts, of which five have majority-opposition councils, four are evenly split, and one is controlled by pro-Kremlin deputies. The historic area centered on the Kremlin, known as Kitay-gorod, is part of the Tverskoy district, where the opposition holds 10 of 12 seats.

Moscow, like St. Petersburg to the northwest, has federal status, so its mayor functions as a regional governor. Sergey Sobianin defeated Navalny in 2013 to become Moscow’s mayor in an election the opposition protested as tainted. From his office in the middle of the city, Sobianin presides over Moscow’s City Council (which is controlled by Putin allies) and appoints the heads of district council executive boards, or upravas. The upravas oversee the activities of liberal councils like the one in Gagarinsky.

The district (population: 79,000) is a showcase of Soviet urban planning. An area of wide avenues and fortress-like apartment blocks encasing tree-filled courtyards, Gagarinsky incorporates a long belt of landscaped parks running along a bend in the Moscow River. Home to scientific institutions and a Moscow University skyscraper, the district has a large number of children and relatives of scientists who moved there in the 1950s. Ever since it elected famous dissident Andrei Sakharov to the Soviet parliament in 1989, Gagarinsky, which sits southwest of the Kremlin, has had a reputation as one of the most liberal-leaning districts in the entire country.
The gateway to Gagarinsky is a vast square, where the statue of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin faces the Russian Academy of Sciences, itself topped with a shiny, golden metal installation that’s earned the building its nickname: the brains. On Sept. 10, Putin arrived there to cast his vote in the Moscow municipal election. All 12 of the deputies who won were nominated by the opposition liberal party Yabloko. United Russia came up empty, though in races for offices representing the district at the national level, Putin’s party won handily.

A board for public notices outside the Gagarinsky District Council.

Photographer: Misha Friedman for Bloomberg

Putin, 65, is widely expected to seek a fourth term next year, and win. This would extend his presidency to 2024, completing almost a quarter-century in power as the longest-serving Russian ruler since Josef Stalin. Liberal candidates for national and regional offices have repeatedly come under pressure by the government during his tenure.
But none of this stops Yelena Rusakova, who before the September election was the only liberal deputy on the Gagarinsky council. It’s not that the opposition had lost the previous election—she was just the only one running back then. Other members of the council before this year’s liberal sweep were largely nominated by United Russia and the Moscow mayor’s office. Pro-government council slates were often made up of school teachers, military pensioners, and retired public sector employees, and they traditionally didn’t challenge the mayor or the uprava.
Rusakova, 55, a social psychologist, has been an activist since before the Berlin Wall fell. In 1988, she joined the Memorial, an organization that researches state-sponsored violence under the former Communist regime (and which has been targeted by Putin’s campaign against “foreign” agents). These days, she’s affiliated with the liberal Yabloko party and chairs the Gagarinsky council with an absolute majority of fellow activists. Before the election, they had worked to block several construction projects, including a proposed rebuilding of Leninsky Avenue, a central Moscow thoroughfare that bisects Gagarinsky. Almost all of the council’s new members are middle-aged professionals and academics.

On a Friday evening late last month, the new deputies of the Gagarinsky council took their seats in a cramped room on the ground floor of a Universitetsky Avenue tower. Activists and ordinary residents filled the rest of the room, often interrupting deputies with questions and long-winded addresses. (Apart from Rusakova, the deputies generally don’t get paid.)
Sitting quietly was the newly appointed head of the district’s uprava, Yevgeny Veshnyakov. He oversees the council in Gagarinsky with three deputies and a staff of a few dozen. The uprava functions as the local arm of the mayor’s office, which approves all decisions regarding construction, transport, urban improvement and trade regulation. The council, meanwhile, can allocate funds only for lower-grade projects such as renovating courtyards and organizing public celebrations. They can question the actions of the uprava and make their own proposals about bigger projects, but they cannot enforce their will.
The previous head of the uprava was fired by Moscow Mayor Sobianin following the United Russia party’s total defeat in the council elections. After Rusakova introduced Veshnyakov, the session moved on to issues the deputies do have the authority to decide—in this case, the reconstruction of playgrounds and parking lots.
In an interview, Rusakova said she had low expectations about cooperating with the uprava. “These people are sent here to wage a war against us, not to cooperate,” she said. Veshnyakov declined to comment.

Neighbors fill in a cable trench, dug by a developer, that runs from a power station through Gagarinsky to an unfinished apartment building in another district.

Photographer: Misha Friedman for Bloomberg

Local residents seemed cautiously optimistic about their new representatives. Yelena Vorobyeva, a mathematician in her fifties, has spent years lobbying for replacement of a potentially unsafe swing at the children’s playground, but old deputies said there was no money. After the election, things started moving. “These guys hear us,” she said, adding that she admires the new deputies’ business-like approach. Aleksandr Bunin, an aviation engineer, has been bogged down in prolonged litigation with the district council over the installation of traffic barriers outside his home. He thinks he’ll be able to resolve his issue with new deputies. “They are, of course, very inexperienced, but at least they are normal people.”

The issues handled by the council may be minuscule, but Rusakova believes this is exactly where the opposition to Putin needs to start. “The state should be rebuilt again from ground zero,” she said, hitting on the key question about her strategy: The ruling party seems content to leave liberals to their devices at the lowest level of governing, but the liberals see their small victories as the beginning of a long road back. Who is right?

One Saturday, Rusakova led a visitor to a local patch of greenery known as Molodyozhnaya ulitsa. “Look at this park,” she said. The council has had to fight repeatedly to prevent development, pushed by private investors, that would eradicate the little oasis among the grim apartment blocks. “This is a favorite place for locals—but for government officials, it’s a potential construction site.”

“Moscow is a trendsetter. It’s always a step ahead—but the rest of the country eventually catches up”

Before the latest election, the Kremlin had full control of all 125 municipalities in the capital, with only a few opposition deputies on a handful of councils. Now, with 17 opposition-run districts and some 13 councils evenly split, the tide at the lowest level of government may be turning. The belt of opposition-controlled councils stretches from the southwest of Moscow across the city center to the north. Dozens of other districts with their first opposition members are concentrated in the leafier, western neighborhoods favored by the middle class. Districts in the grittier, working-class east are solidly pro-Putin.

Government supporters, meanwhile, aren’t sitting idly by as this tiny rebellion brews. Members of Facebook groups tied to the Gagarinsky district and Rusakova began to attract sponsored posts linking to a story by the government-funded RAPSI news agency. In it, Rusakova and her allies were accused of “destabilizing the situation” by protesting construction projects, some of which they fear will damage the area’s verdant character.
Gagarinsky is filled with trees dating back to the 1950s. Every Saturday, Rusakova and her fellow council members put on rubber boots and grab shovels for their weekend routine—filling in a trench dug out by a developer. It was cut to run six kilometers of cable from a power station to an apartment block in another district. The construction was frozen, but the trench remains, leaving roots exposed as the ice-cold Moscow winter approaches, threatening the trees planted by the grandparents of current residents.
“People need really good self-organization to oppose this system and eventually, to change it,” Rusakova said. “Where we see hotbeds of self-organization, we can also see instances when the government backs off.” This is what happened with the trench. When people first gathered to fill it, the uprava sent in the police. But when more people came the following Saturday, it sent shovels and few janitors to give a hand.

Ilya Yashin heads the Krasnoselsky District Council.

Photographer: Misha Friedman for Bloomberg

North of the Kremlin, a man who spent years trying to stage a peaceful anti-Putin revolution now occupies a key office in the local government of Krasnoselsky (population 48,500), a district centered around three major railway stations. Like Rusakova in Gagarinsky, Ilya Yashin, a close ally of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, now heads a council of like-minded deputies.
After moving into his office, Yashin, 34, took down Putin’s portrait and replaced it with a vintage 1989 election poster for Solidarity, the Polish anti-Communist movement, featuring John Wayne as “the new sheriff in town.” A bookcase is still filled with United Russia literature left by his predecessors.
After almost two decades of street protests aimed at bringing about a Ukraine-style revolution, Yashin is now focusing on the same small-bore issues as Rusakova—repairing old apartment buildings, neighborhood beautification, and opposing unpopular construction projects.
Yashin’s new duties verge on the ironic, given that he helped write reports critical of Russia’s wars in Ukraine and Chechnya: He  heads the local military draft commission and supervises the work of district police, whose chief must report to him on his achievements. “I have been delivered into his police department in handcuffs several times,” Yashin said, adding that the police chief has already asked him for help finding apartments for his officers.
Yashin’s new job is indeed a reversal from his old life of street protests. But the example of neighboring Ukraine, which saw two revolutions in the span of a decade, makes him wonder why successful revolutionaries aren’t as good at conducting crucial reforms. “It is easy to gather a group of passionate people and oust a dictator, but life doesn’t stop there, and you need to manage the country in a different way,”, he said. In Yashin’s view, what he’s doing now might be more important than getting rid of Putin. “If there is no functional self-government, then—soon after revolution—you’ll need to make another revolution,” Yashin said.
“I want to show that even at this low level, we can achieve results,” he said.

Moscow State University, in the Gagarinsky district.

Photographer: Misha Friedman for Bloomberg

As optimistic as these local politicians may be, the rest of the country is a different story. Moscow’s moderate political climate contrasts with more conservative, pro-Putin sentiment elsewhere. Gallyamov, the expert on Russian politics, said Putin tolerates his Moscow opponents in the same way China tolerates dissent in Hong Kong. The thinking is that, out in the suburbs and beyond, the Kremlin doesn’t really have anything to worry about.

Yashin disagrees. “Moscow is a trendsetter. It’s always a step ahead,” he said. “But the rest of the country eventually catches up.”

LGBT hate crimes double in Russia after ban on ‘gay propaganda’
 

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MOSCOW (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia have doubled in five years, researchers said on Tuesday, in the wake of a law banning “gay propaganda”.

Murders accounted for almost 200 out of 250 crimes analyzed, the Center for Independent Social Research said, attributing the surge to Russia’s 2013 ban on the spreading of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

“(Offenders) have become more aggressive and less fearful,” said Svetlana Zakharova, a board member with Russian LGBT Network, the country’s most prominent gay rights campaign group, which has noted the same trend.

“It seems to them that, to some extent, the government supports their actions. Many perpetrators openly talk about their crimes as noble deeds.”

The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The number of sentences for crimes against LGBT people increased to 65 in 2015 from 18 in 2010, the St. Petersburg-based researchers said, drawing on court records and data from judicial watchdog RosPravosudie. Most victims were gay men.

Homosexuality in Russia, where the influence of the socially conservative Orthodox Church has grown in recent years, was a criminal offence until 1993 and classed as a mental illness until 1999.

Researchers said the figures are an underestimate as many hate crimes are not reported, investigated or prosecuted.

The ‘gay propaganda’ law, which has been used to stop gay pride marches and to detain gay rights activists, is seen by many as a move by President Vladimir Putin to crack down on dissent and draw closer to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russia was ranked Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation in 2016 by ILGA-Europe, a network of European LGBT groups.

Reporting by Daria Litvinova. Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.

: Технологии и медиа :: РБК
 

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Владимир Путин поручил Минприроды навести порядок в сфере утилизации отходов. Бывают ситуации, когда на неподготовленные площадки «в совершенно не контролируемом масштабе» начинают свозить мусор, добавил он

Фото: Антон Ваганов / «Коммерсантъ»

Президент России Владимир Путин поручил главе Минприроды Сергею Донскому разобраться в ситуации с утилизацией отходов вокруг больших городов. Об этом он заявил во время встречи с министром, говорится в сообщении на сайте Кремля.

Путин призвал к «плотной работе с регионами». «Нельзя поощрять ситуацию, когда в одном месте полигон закрывают, а в другое место в совершенно не контролируемом масштабе начинают свозить, на неподготовленные площадки, опять рядом с жильем и так далее», — заявил президент. Такие действия вызывают негативную реакцию людей, что абсолютно законно с их стороны, добавил президент.

«Надо просто наводить порядок», — сказал Путин, добавив, что важны принцип утилизации и расчеты в этой системе. Проблема ликвидации отходов наиболее актуальна для крупных городов, в том числе для Москвы и Московской области. «Я вас прошу еще раз с коллегами к этому вернуться», — заключил президент.

Ранее спецпредставитель президента по вопросам природоохранной деятельности, экологии и транспорта Сергей Иванов заявил, что масштаб проблемы незаконных свалок велик и на их ликвидацию потребуются огромные деньги. Так он прокомментировал информацию, что Общероссийский народный фронт нашел в России 15 тыс. незаконных свалок. По словам Иванова, ликвидация только одной свалки у Шереметьево обошлась в 1,5 млрд руб.

Полигон «Кучино» в Балашихе, который принимал 650 тыс. отходов в год, был закрытгубернатором Подмосковья Андреем Воробьевым, после того как жители города пожаловались на свалку во время прямой линии с Путиным. «Вот послушайте меня, и чтобы Воробьев меня услышал: в течение месяца закрыть эту свалку. Не знаю, за какое время самое короткое можно сделать, но через месяц я спрошу что сделано и с вас, и с Воробьева», — говорил тогда Путин.

Тогда власти опасались, что крупнейший в области полигон «Тимихово» не сможет принять весь мусор после закрытия «Кучино», что привело бы к вывозу отходов в те места, где их накопление не разрешено.

Вместо закрытого полигона власти решили построить 13 мусороперерабатывающих комплексов с вводом в 2018–2019 годах и еще четыре — с вводом в 2021–2022 годах. Но эту инициативу жители области восприняли негативно, и из-за протестов власти отложили введение объектов на более поздний срок.

Под предлогом инкассации из банка в центре Москвы вынесли 5 миллионов долларов
 

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27 ноября 201715:13

Под предлогом инкассации из банка в центре Москвы вынесли 5 миллионов долларов

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В самом центре Москвы псевдоинкассаторы ограбили банк “Европейский стандарт”. Как сообщил РИА Новости источник в правоохранительных органах, пропажу обнаружили утром 24 ноября, хотя прессе о ней известно стало только 27 ноября.

Источник отметил, что было вскрыто хранилище, где находилось не менее 5 миллионов долларов США.

При этом каких-либо повреждений хранилища полицейскими обнаружено не было. По словам источника, следствие выяснило, что похитили деньги и скрылись неизвестные из числа сотрудников банка.

В полицейском главке столицы при этом сам факт пропажи денег в одной из кредитно-финансовых организаций в Москве подтвердили. Однако там утверждают, что подтверждена пропажа не пяти миллионов долларов США, а одного миллиона рублей.

Ведется розыск подозреваемых в ограблении банка. Возбуждено уголовное дело по статье о мошенничестве в особо крупном размере.

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В Москве эвакуировали Центральный детский магазин :: Общество :: РБК
 

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Мосгорсуд смягчил условия домашнего ареста директору Российского академического молодежного театра (РАМТ) Софье Апфельбаум. Об этом сообщает Российское агентство правовой и судебной информации (РАПСИ).

«Суд разрешил обвиняемой ежедневные прогулки с 12 до 14 часов. В остальном постановление суда первой инстанции оставлено без изменений», — рассказали агентству в суде.

Директора РАМТ Софью Апфельбаум задержали по делу «Седьмой студии» 26 октября. Басманный суд Москвы 27 октября отправил ее под домашний арест до 26 декабря. Защита попросила отпустить ее под залог в размере 1 млн руб., но решение суда изменено не было. Дело касается хищения 68 млн руб., выделенных на проект «Платформа», созданный режиссером и основателем «Седьмой студии», а также худруком «Гоголь-центра» Кириллом Серебренниковым.

Следствие указало, что подписи Апфельбаум стоят на соглашениях о субсидиях для «Седьмой студии». Следственный комитет (СК) считает, что руководители «Седьмой студии» с помощью фирм-однодневок выводили средства, Серебренников распределял деньги между участниками преступной схемы, а Апфельбаум согласовывала отчетность.

Созданный Серебренниковым проект «Платформа» получил от Минкультуры с 2011 по 2014 год на популяризацию современного искусства 214 млн руб. Дело о хищении госсредств через «Седьмую студию» было возбуждено в 2015 году. Обстоятельства дела стали известны в мае 2017 года, после обысков в «Гоголь-центре» и в квартире Серебренникова. Тогда режиссер был привлечен к делу в качестве свидетеля, а экс-гендиректор «Седьмой студии» Юрий Итин, который сейчас возглавляет Театр им. Федора Волкова в Ярославле, бывший главный бухгалтер Нина Масляева, экс-директор «Гоголь-центра» Алексей Малобродский были задержаны, а затем арестованы. 22 августа в Санкт-Петербурге на съемках фильма о певце Викторе Цое был задержан сам Серебренников. Ему предъявили обвинение в хищении 68 млн руб. Басманный суд 23 августа поместил его под домашний арест.

Улюкаев обвинил Сечина в лжесвидетельстве
 

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27 ноября 201715:22

Улюкаев обвинил Сечина в лжесвидетельстве

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Экс-министр экономического развития РФ Алексей Улюкаев обвинил в ходе заседания Замоскворецкого суда главу “Роснефти” Игоря Сечина в лжесвидетельстве, передает ТАСС. В суде слушается дело Улюкаева, которого обвиняют в вымогательстве взятки.

“Сечин лжесвидетельствует, а я говорю правду. У меня нет этому объяснений”, — заявил Улюкаев. Так он ответил на вопрос судьи о причин6ах противоречий его показаний заявлению Сечина.

Ранее Улюкаев заявил, что вину свою отрицает, а в полученной от Сечина сумке он ожидал найти вино, а не деньги. В офис “Роснефти”, по словам Улюкаева, Сечин его заманил обманом.

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Chechen leader, amid reshuffles, says ready to die for Putin
 

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s Chechnya, said he was ready to die for Vladimir Putin and stand down, if ordered, ahead of a federal presidential election next year which has triggered personnel reshuffles that have put some politicians on edge.

Kadyrov, 41, spoke during an interview broadcast on state TV late on Sunday that showcased what the unpredictable former warlord regards as his main achievements and, to a stirring soundtrack, showed him boxing, riding a horse, and giving his views on everything from polygamy to gay marriage.

His comments looked like a tactic, one he has used before, to secure the Kremlin’s public approval, something he didn’t have to wait long for.

“Kadyrov has repeatedly said that he is, speaking figuratively, quite a consistent and committed member of Putin’s circle of adherents and intends to continue working where and how the president of the country orders him,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters on Monday.

“He didn’t say anything different and that’s what we’re going on. Ramzan continues to remain the current head of the republic.”

Who rules the majority Muslim region is important for the Kremlin as Chechnya fought two wars against Moscow after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but now, in return for generous subsidies and a wide degree of autonomy, pledges absolute loyalty.

Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya for the past decade during which rights groups have accused him of abuses, is seen by Moscow as the guarantor of that pact and was groomed by the Kremlin for his role after his father’s 2004 murder.

‘PUTIN‘S FOOT SOLDIER’

His comments about possibly quitting came when asked by his state TV interviewer what he made of the prospect of having to leave office “at some point.”

Kadyrov said it was “his dream” to one day step down from what he described as a very difficult job. He said that, if asked, he could propose several candidates to take over.

“Once there was a need for people like me to fight, to put things in order. Now we have order and prosperity … and the time has come for changes,” said Kadyrov.

Kadyrov, who calls himself “Putin’s foot soldier,” has made similar statements before which have come to nothing.

Nor is his position under threat. He was re-elected last year for a five-year term after Putin gave his personal blessing for him to carry in on the job, while warning him that Russian law must be strictly enforced in Chechnya.

Kadyrov’s statement, like those before it, looked instead like a symbolic show of loyalty to curry favor with Putin who the Chechen leader said in the same interview he saw “rarely” and only when summoned.

Putin, 65, is widely expected to run for a fourth term and has started clearing out the old Russian political elite to bring in younger people, a process that has seen some regional leaders pressured to stand down.

That has caused unease in some political circles and Kadyrov has found himself in the headlines in the West this year after rights groups accused him of presiding over a campaign of torture and murder of gay men.

Kadyrov, in the same interview, said the allegations had been “made up” by rights group to attract funding grants and that he and his forces could not have persecuted gay men in Chechnya because there weren’t any.

He described Putin as his idol.

“I am ready to die for him, to fulfill any order,” he said.

Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Mark Heinrich

ANALYSIS: The ball is rolling in Syria, against Iran
 

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Developments over Syria following recent collaborations between leaders of the United States and Russia have gained significant momentum. This also signals a decreasing Iranian role and a prelude to further setbacks for Tehran.

An hour long phone call last Tuesday between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin followed the latter’s meeting with Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

After allocating billions on its Levant campaign, Iran is witnessing its hegemony fading as measures aimed at bringing the Syria war to a close gain momentum.

Political flexibility

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed last week to facilitate a full-scale political process in Syria and to sponsor a conference in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi to end the war.

While some may consider this a victory for Iran, jumping to early conclusions blinds us from understanding how Tehran sought full hegemony in Syria. Today, circumstances account to major setbacks.

Putin’s hosting of talks on Syria inclines that Moscow calls the shots. This leaves Tehran deeply concerned, especially following its six-year long campaign to maintain Assad in power. The mere fact that Iran is sitting at the table with Russia, also in talks with the US over different issues, and Turkey, a Syrian opposition supporter, leaves no doubt Tehran will need to display political flexibility.

After allocating billions on its Levant campaign, Iran is witnessing its hegemony fading as measures aimed at bringing the Syria war to a close gain momentum. (Reuters)

Many would argue a pact between Washington and Moscow will define the blueprint of finalizing Syria’s crisis. Did the Sochi talks place Tehran and Ankara in line with Moscow and Washington? Doubts remain in this regard and Iran understands clearly how a post-ISIS Syria will come at a heavy price.

And with Russia significantly scaling down its military presence on the ground in Syria, Iran’s dreams of a Shiite crescent are endangered, to say the least. Moreover, the mere fact that China is considering a role in reconstructing post-war Syria means more players in the future of this country, and a declining part for Iran.

Seeking to safeguard its interests in Syria, Iran’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is also eyeing a share in Syria’s reconstruction. This should sound alarm bells, especially since such a role would provide a front for Iran’s efforts to maintain a foothold in the Levant.

Higher global interests

Certain is the fact that Russia’s reservations are not limited to Syria. On the international stage Moscow and Washington enjoy a certain stature. This said, it is quite obvious Moscow will not sacrifice its higher global interests for Syria.

The phone call between Trump and Putin is a sign of coordination between their two countries in Syria. With Washington playing an observer role in the Astana talks weighing Syria, one can conclude their role in the Levant is not eliminated.

Far from it, in fact. US Defense Secretary James Mattis said recently how the US is in Syria to stay. “US troops, in Syria to fight Islamic State, won’t be packing their bags now the jihadist group is essentially beaten. They’re staying on,” Bloomberg reported. This comes as the Pentagon is also likely to announce the presence of around 2,000 US troops in Syria, according to Reuters.

Iran understands fully that US presence in Syria is a source of dilemma for any future plans in the region. Considering the drastic consequences of Obama’s premature departure from Iraq, there are doubts Trump will allow such a repeat in Syria.

Riyadh’s reservations

Considering the relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia, one can conclude that Moscow will also be taking Riyadh’s reservations over Syria into consideration. Knowing the Arab world’s support is crucial, Putin will strive to obtain Riyadh’s consent.

In his latest meeting with United Nations special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized how his government worked with Saudi Arabia to unify the Syrian opposition, also indicating UN’s blessing for this latest push.

Unlike Iran, Assad remaining in power is not a red line for Russia. And Moscow will seek Riyadh’s cooperation to have the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional states jump on the train to bring a final end to the Syria crisis.

This spells into a more significant role for Saudi Arabia, Iran’s Middle East archrival, whose Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has in a recent New York Times interview described Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “the new Hitler of the Middle East.”

Foreign Ministers, Sergei Lavrov (C) of Russia, Walid al-Muallem (L) of Syria and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, April 14, 2017. (Reuters)

The shadow

Fueling more concerns for Iran is the fact that the Sochi talks focused on establishing peace and stability in Syria based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. This platform was even described by Iranian state media as an “American and Zionist conspiracy.”

The shadow of UN-backed solutions for Syria will continue to haunt Tehran. Putin also emphasized changes in the process of Syria’s political agreement will render based on the Geneva agreement framework.

To add insult to injury, the Syrian opposition meeting Thursday in Riyadh agreed to dispatch a single bloc for next weeks’ UN-backed peace talks. Nasr Hariri, a known Syrian opposition figure selected as the new chief negotiator, is heading to Geneva for the talks set to begin tomorrow. The opposition is ready to discuss “everything on the negotiating table,” according to Hariri.

Tehran would have been delighted to continue fragmenting the Syrian opposition, as witnessed throughout the 6½ year war.

Iran’s dilemma

An opportunity is available to end Syria’s fighting, with a high possibility that a final political solution will materialize in the Geneva talks.

Iran, however, thrives on increasing violence across the region. Any decrease in such tensions is against Tehran’s interests as it allows the international community to place its crosshairs on Iran’s belligerence, including a controversial nuclear programdeveloping ballistic missiles, as senior Revolutionary Guards commanders recently threatened, spreading its influence across the Middle East through supporting terrorism and proxy groups across the board, and human rights violations.

In his abovementioned interview, the Saudi Crown Prince reiterated how the world has “learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work.” As the international community seeks to bring an end to the war in Syria, appeasing Iran through this delicate process must be strictly prohibited.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the viewpoint of Al Arabiya English.

SHOW MORELast Update: Monday, 27 November 2017 KSA 09:48 – GMT 06:48

Turkey says Trump must keep pledge on not arming YPG militia
 

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November 27, 2017 / 2:37 AM / Updated 3 hours ago

ANKARA (Reuters) – A telephone call on Friday between U.S. and Turkish leaders marked a turning point in strained relations between the two countries, but Washington must honor a pledge to end weapons provisions to Syrian Kurdish fighters, Turkey said on Monday.

“The ‘We will not give weapons’ remarks from a U.S. president for the first time is important, but it will lose value if it is not implemented. It would be deceiving the world,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.

The White House said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump informed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington was adjusting the military support to partners on the ground in Syria.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State with the help of a U.S.-led coalition.

A spokesperson for the coalition said on Sunday that it was looking at “adjustments” to the support it provides to the SDF, ranging from the number of advisers to training and artillery.

Weapons provided to Syrian YPG have been limited and mission specific, the spokesperson added.

Ankara has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG militia, seen by Turkey as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and European Union.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara and Lisa Barrington in Beirut; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans

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Prime Minister Kvirikashvili Meets Prime Minister of Ukraine
 

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Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, meets with Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine today, while on an official visit to Georgia. After the two Prime Ministers meeting to be held at the government administration, an extended meeting is planned between Georgian and Ukrainian government representatives.

During his visit to Georgia, Prime Minister of Ukraine is to participate in the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum, delivering a speech at the opening ceremony together with Georgia’s PM, and will take part in the discussion session of the forum: High Level Dialogue on Belt and Road Connectivity for Stability. Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum starts tomorrow on November 28.

During his visit to Georgia, Volodymyr Groysman is expected to visit the Ministry of Defence’s rehabilitation center in Tserovani, and lay a wreath at the Heroes Memorial.

By Nino Gugunshvili

27 November 2017 11:28

Putins proposal for Ukraine another trap for Trump – WP
 

mikenova shared this story from News Agency UNIAN.

REUTERSREUTERS

Moscow’s plan is to legitimize its invasion and control over parts of two eastern regions of Ukraine by drawing President Trump into another bad deal, says the op-ed published by WP.

Vladimir Putin’s pattern is familiar. He uses his military to escalate fighting on the ground and then approaches the West with a proposal sold as de-escalation. Appealing to European and U.S. desires for peace without Western intervention, the Russian president puts forward an alleged compromise. But in the details, Putin’s proposals are really designed to divide his adversaries and cement his gains.

Such was the case in September, when Putin introduced a proposal for “peacekeepers” inside eastern Ukraine, where Russia continues to fuel a violent separatist uprising that has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and displaced more than 1.5 million people since 2014. Ukraine, European powers and the United States all decided to engage Moscow on the idea.

Read alsoRussia must not be among UN peacekeepers in Donbas – Ukraine defense ministerBut as Ukraine’s foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, said at the recent Halifax International Security Forum, Putin’s plan really isn’t for “peacekeepers” at all, Josh Rogin wrote. “He is proposing that international troops deploy only to protect the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s special monitoring mission members in eastern Ukraine,” said the author.

“The idea of a peacekeeping mission is a serious one,” Klimkin said. “But the Russian proposal of a protection mission doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Read alsoKuchma: Russia suggests redrawing Ukraine border in eastFor one thing, the original Russian proposal was to deploy these forces along the line of contact between the Ukraine military and separatist forces. As the Ukrainian government sees it, that is simply Putin’s way of fortifying the reality that Russia created on the ground.

Nevertheless, Ukraine’s international supporters are taking the proposal seriously. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Putin in September and persuaded him to yield on one point; Putin agreed the international force could be deployed not just along the contact line. That gave Western governments confidence a genuine negotiation with Moscow was possible.

Read alsoGermany’s top diplomat says West, Russia’s views on peacekeeping mission in Donbas differSecretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke about the idea with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko on Nov. 4. Kurt Volker, the Trump administration’s part-time special envoy for Ukraine, met with his Russian counterpart Vladislav Surkov on Nov. 13 and proposed a counterplan.

Moscow rejected 26 out of 29 of the paragraphs in Volker’s proposal. But Volker said he intends to keep negotiating. He said the peacekeeping plan represents the best hope to return to Minsk II, a peace agreement that both Ukraine and Russia pledged to follow.

Read alsoVolker names two options for Russia’s moves on DonbasThat process is stalled primarily because Russia won’t honor provisions mandating a cease-fire, the removal of its heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine and access to the border. Russia still won’t even acknowledge that it has forces on the ground in eastern Ukraine, much less remove them.

But the U.S. strategy is based on the assumption that Putin is looking for — or at least considering — a way out of his financial and military commitments in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine has responsibilities under Minsk as well, including holding local elections in eastern Ukraine, giving the region special status and granting amnesty for the separatists. That can happen only if Putin holds up his end.

Read alsoWhat Russian “peacekeepers” want

But if Putin’s goal is to stay in Ukraine and keep the country destabilized, prevent it from joining European institutions and maintain control over a buffer zone, he will never agree to a peacekeeping mission that meets Ukraine or Western conditions.

Most likely Putin intends to buy time to consolidate battlefield gains he has no intention of giving up. Trump — and before him, President Barack Obama — went along with it, ensuring that the next phase of the conflict plays out on Russia’s terms.

Trump and Putin spoke Nov. 21 and “discussed how to implement a lasting peace in Ukraine,” according to the White House. Trump should pursue that peace, but not on Putin’s terms.

Ynetnews News – Russian strikes reportedly kill 53 civilians in Syria
 

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At least 53 civilians, including 21 children, perished early Sunday morning when Russian air strikes hit “residential buildings” in a village held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, a monitor said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes hit the village of Al-Shafah in Deir Ezzor province, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. The monitor had initially given a death toll of 34 civilians but the number spiked after more bodies were recovered.

“The toll increased after removing the debris in a long day of rescue operation,” Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP, adding the strikes hit “residential buildings.” At least 18 people were also wounded in the air raids, he added.

Russian fighter jets (Photo: Reuters)Russian fighter jets(Photo: Reuters)

The Observatory relies on a network of sources inside Syria, and says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used.

Russia is a close ally of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, and in September 2015 began a military intervention in support of his government that has gradually helped Damascus regain territory.

 (Photo: Reuters)(Photo: Reuters)

Syria’s Deir Ezzor is one of the last places Islamic State jihadists hold territory in the country, after being driven from their major strongholds including their one-time de facto Syrian capital Raqa city. The oil-rich eastern province that borders Iraq was once almost completely under Islamic State control, but the jihadists now hold just nine percent of Deir Ezzor, according to the Observatory.

 (Photo: Reuters)(Photo: Reuters)

They have faced two separate offensives there, one led by the regime with Russian backing and the other by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab rebel fighters.However, recent reports claim that the US has agreed to Turkey’s request to stop supporting the Kurdish Democratic Forces (SDF). Despite this, a senior official among the rebels refuted this, and told the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that they consider the US a true partner that would not go back on its promise.

More than 340,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.As part of a round of talks that Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted with world leaders last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with him on the phone on Tuesday for half an hour. The Prime Minister’s Office said that the phone conversation dealt with Syria and Iran’s attempts to establish itself in Syrian territory, with the PMO stating that “Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted on Israel’s security principles.”

Netanyahu has long since accused Iran of trying to gain a foothold in Syria, in an effort to position itself along the Israel-Syria border—something that Netanyahu has vowed to prevent.

Putin (L) and Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)Putin (L) and Netanyahu (Photo: AFP)

Earlier on Tuesday, the White House announced that US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart talked for an hour on the phone, discussing events in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan. Putin also spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The latest strikes come as the United Nations tries to revitalise its flagging efforts to end a six-year civil war that has left Syria devastated and huge swathes of its population refugees.

Assad arriving at Putin's residence in SochiAssad arriving at Putin’s residence in Sochi

On Tuesday, the eighth round of UN-brokered talks will kick off. They have achieved little so far, but may be bolstered by the opposition’s decision to bring a unified delegation to Geneva for the first time. For progress to happen rival sides will need to overcome the hurdle that has derailed past discussions: the fate of Syrian President Assad.He retains Moscow’s support and had even dropped by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Black Sea resort in Sochi, where the two were photographed embracing one another.

Within Syria, however, Assad but is loathed by much of the rebel opposition, who want him gone.

Backed by Russia’s decisive military support, Assad’s government has regained control of 55 percent of the country, including major cities Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hama, and around two-thirds of the population lives in regime-held areas. The rest is carved up between rebel factions, jihadists and Kurdish forces. Some experts believe that Russia has clearly put itself in the driver’s seat in recent months, especially as US President Donald Trump’s administration has pulled back from Syrian diplomatic front.Russia, fellow regime ally Iran and rebel-backer Turkey have hosted negotiations in the Kazakh capital Astana that led to the creation of four “de-escalation zones” which produced a drop in violence, though deadly air strikes and battles continue in some areas.

L to R: Rouhani, Putin and Erdoğan (Photo: Reuters)L to R: Rouhani, Putin and Erdoğan (Photo: Reuters)

Last week, Putin called for a “congress” of Syrian regime and opposition figures, a move backed by Ankara and Tehran during Putin’s summit meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Putin told Ruohani and Erdoğan that ISIS’s occupation of Syria had been thwarted by Iran and Turkey, noting that thanks to their three countries, “Syria’s collapse was prevented.”

Following the Putin-Ruohani-Erdoğan summit leaders’ meeting, Putin announced that 98 percent of Syrian territory has returned to Assad’s control.

At the end of the month, all in the Syrian conflict are set to meet in Geneva to begin a series of talks that will determine Syria’s future: these include consolidating its territory, rebuilding its ruins after six years of civil war and policing its affairs in the near future.

Following Missile Deal, NATO Forced to Shrug Off Turkeys Closer Ties with Russia | World
 

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HALIFAX. Nova Scotia – A top NATO official says the alliance has no choice but to accept for now Turkey’s decision to purchase a highly advanced missile defense system from Russia, a move that puts additional strain on an already damaged relationship with its allies.

“We have to see the situation in a very pragmatic way,” Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, the top military officer for NATO policy and strategy at its Brussels headquarters, told U.S. News on the sidelines of a security conference here earlier this month. “What’s the alternative? Are we going to alienate Turkey because of some issues, when at the same time we know Turkey is willing to discuss these issues? It would be very unwise.”

Following a failed military coup in Turkey last year and a subsequent crackdown on civil liberties by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, analysts fear that Ankara is moving away from Western partnerships and more toward hard-line governments in Russian and Iran.

The sale of the missile system, which Turkey acknowledged earlier this month, is causing headaches for members of the Western alliance for two reasons: Militarily, Turkey will now rely on new heavy weaponry that does not comport with NATO countries’ common arsenals. And politically, it will be doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business with Russia, violating new sanctions that Congress and the Trump administration have put into place.

NATO awaits a formal announcement from Turkey that it has purchased the S-400 long-range missile shield from Russia – as Ankara has already announced it will – and will then begin an assessment of the implications.

Pavel cites the importance of Turkey as a NATO ally, not only by its geography at the borders of Iraq, Syria and Iran, but also the resources it provides as the alliance’s second-largest military. Turkey is also the only predominantly Muslim nation that belongs to the 29-country alliance.

He says he spoke with the head of the Turkish Ministry of Defense shortly after the news of the deal was published.

“There is common will on the Turkish side as well as our side to discuss all issues that may come up. I believe that, up to now, there was always enough good will to resolve these issues successfully. We will also find a solution for this situation,” Pavel says.

Some observers believe the provocative missile deal is the latest move by Russian President Vladimir Putin to undermine the NATO alliance, a relic of the Cold War that found new relevance after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks through operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Russian propaganda routinely claims the alliance is poised to launch pre-emptive strikes on Russian territory, and it is used to threaten former Soviet nations that have since joined the NATO with claims that Brussels won’t come to their aid if they are attacked.

The missile deal follows other overtures Turkey has extended to Russia, as well as Iran, on the situation in neighboring Syria, including talks that excluded U.S. direct participation in Astana, Kazakhstan, on a plan for the political future of the war-torn nation.

“Russia is trying in any way, even perceived, to fracture the alliance, to build in dividing the alliance,” Pavel says. “Turkey in Astana, I believe, is very pragmatic. They want to address the issues, understand the best way to include all important actors.”

ВЗГЛЯД / Улюкаев пожаловался на несоблюдение прав после задержания
 

mikenova shared this story from Latest Articles.

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В РПЦ уверяют, что Октябрьская революция не должна называться «русской», потому что коммунизм был привнесен в Россию извне. Вы согласны?

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12:34 PM 11/22/2017 – Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Today’s Headlines and Commentary
President Trump pardons “Wishbone” and “Drumstick” – KNSS
The costs of the opioid epidemic, and the price of ending it
‘Do you think they’ll get the president?’: Kushner is reportedly worried as the Russia investigation heats up – Business Insider
Masha Gessen explains why Trump, Putin target LGBT people – Salon
The Latest: Putin Says Syria Talks Will Help Advance Talks – U.S. News & World Report
Rouhani says Iran, Turkey, Russia back upcoming talks between Syrian sides – Reuters UK
Путин, Эрдоган и Роухани договорились о проведении общесирийского конгресса
Russia Summons French Diplomat Over Billionaire Kerimov’s Detention In Tax Fraud Case
Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With Foreign Leaders
Venezuela Detains Four U.S. Citizens for Alleged Corruption
Report: Military personnel reassigned following Trump’s Asia trip – CNN
Military Staff Removed From White House After ‘Incident’ On Trump’s Asia Trip: Report – HuffPost
Совещание о выполнении гособоронзаказа
Совещание с руководством Минобороны, оборонно-промышленного комплекса, главами министерств и регионов
Putin says Russian people will choose his successor via ballot box – Egypt Independent
4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post
4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post…
5:01 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner
Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner Business Insider
22.11.2017 11:28
5:36 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller Investigating Kushners Contacts With Israeli Officials Forward
5:36 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller Investigating Kushners Contacts With Israeli Officials Forward
“Kelly Has Clipped his Wings: Jared Kushners Horizons Are Collapsing within the West Wing | Vanity Fair
6:06 AM 11/22/2017 KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS

 

Saved Stories – None
Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Saad Hariri, Lebanons prime minister, rescinded his resignation after returning to Lebanon and meeting with President Michel Aoun, Reuters reported. Hariri said he agreed with Aoun that it would benefit Lebanons stability for Hariri to continue as prime minister. The announcement puts the political crisis in Lebanon that began when Hariri said was he resigning while on a trip to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Myanmars military carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims, the Washington Post reported. The military operations against the Rohingya population have caused over 600,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. The U.S. joins a chorus of international organizations that have described the atrocities in Myanmar as ethnic cleansing.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Jared Kushners interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition, the Wall Street Journal reported. Muellers team is looking into Kushners role in a dispute at the U.N. over a resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. Kushner initially failed to list any foreign contacts on his security clearance form but later updated it to include over 100 instances of contact with foreign representatives.

The American-led U.N. Command in South Korea said North Korea violated the terms of the 1953 truce when its troops fired on one of their own soldiers defecting across the demilitarized zone, the Times reported. The U.N. Commandwhich oversees the armistice that ended hostilities on the Korean peninsulasaid North Korea breached the ceasefire agreement when its soldiers fired across the border line and when one of its troops went on the other side of the line.

A U.S. Navy transport plane crashed into the ocean near Japan, the Post reported. The U.S. 7th Fleet said its ships had rescued eight of the 11 passengers on the plane, leaving three still missing. The incident is the latest in a series of accidents among 7th Fleet forces, including two collisions between U.S. warships and civilian ships that left seventeen dead.

The U.S. attorneys office in the southern district of New York denied Turkeys allegations that the office is carrying out politically motivated prosecutions, the Times reported. Turkey has charged that the case against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman accused of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran, is motivated by political opposition to the Turkish government. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim denied that Gulenists, a group of political opponents to the Turkish regime, had any role in the case.

A U.N. tribunal convicted Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian-Serb commander, of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Times reported. Mladic led the Bosnian-Serb military operations that killed thousands of Muslims and Croats at the siege of Sarajevo, in concentration camps and in massacres like that at Srebrenica that killed 8,000 Muslims. The verdict is one of the last for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which convicted Bosnian-Serb Radovan Karadzic of similar crimes last year.

A U.S. airstrike in central Somalia killed over 100 al-Shabab militants on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The pace of U.S. strikes against militants in Somalia has increased dramatically since a bombing in Mogadishu, Somalias capital, that killed hundreds in October. The Department of Defense said it had coordinated with Somalias government to orchestrate the strike.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Garrett Hinck outlined the threats against submarine communications cables and the legal regime protecting them.

Robyn Greene argued that polling data suggests Americans are generally concerned about their privacy despite findings that they are apathetic about specific surveillance programs.

Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with David Ignatius about his new book, The Quantum Spy.

Amanda Sloat explained why the Reza Zarrab case is matter of high interest to the Turkish government.

Daniel Byman analyzed the significance of decision to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Paul Rosenzweig posted a video of a Federalist Society panel on international counterterrorism surveillance cooperation.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Benjamin Wittes and Gordon Wood about the relationship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

 

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.

President Trump pardons “Wishbone” and “Drumstick” – KNSS

President Trump pardons “Wishbone” and “Drumstick”
KNSS
President trump continues at Thanksgiving tradition at the White House a presidential pardon for drumstick. In the annual tradition does before the Thanksgiving holiday president trump pardoned at 36 pound gambler named drumstick. The feather full blue …

The costs of the opioid epidemic, and the price of ending it

The US can control abuse of the drug, if it will spend the money required
‘Do you think they’ll get the president?’: Kushner is reportedly worried as the Russia investigation heats up – Business Insider


Business Insider
‘Do you think they’ll get the president?’: Kushner is reportedly worried as the Russia investigation heats up
Business Insider
The statement had to be amended several times, after it emerged that Trump Jr. took the meeting when he was promised dirt on then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Donald TrumpJared …

and more »

Masha Gessen explains why Trump, Putin target LGBT people – Salon


Salon
Masha Gessen explains why Trump, Putin target LGBT people
Salon
Political leaders can employ a wide array of tactics for uniting people, including finding a common enemy. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are both prime examples of using the demonization approach to build up their domestic support, and …

and more »

The Latest: Putin Says Syria Talks Will Help Advance Talks – U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News & World Report
The Latest: Putin Says Syria Talks Will Help Advance Talks
U.S. News & World Report
The Latest: Putin Says Syria Talks Will Help Advance Talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that trilateral talks with leaders of Turkey and Iran will help advance a peace settlement in Syria. Nov. 22, 2017, at 11:05 a.m.. The Latest: Putin Says

and more »

Rouhani says Iran, Turkey, Russia back upcoming talks between Syrian sides – Reuters UK

Rouhani says Iran, Turkey, Russia back upcoming talks between Syrian sides
Reuters UK
Sochi, Russia (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran along with Russia and Turkey supported an upcoming meeting between Syrian sides in Sochi to discuss future of Syria. Rouhani, speaking after a summit hosted by his …

Путин, Эрдоган и Роухани договорились о проведении общесирийского конгресса

В ходе трехсторонней встречи главы России, Турции и Ирана поддержали идею созыва конгресса представителей конфликтующих сторон в Сирии в качестве первого шага к диалогу по урегулированию конфликта, заявил Владимир Путин. Повесткой общесирийского конгресса станут общенациональные вопросы: новая Конституция, политика, религия, а также выборы под наблюдением представителей ООН. “Предстоит проделать большую работу, по сути, помочь сирийцам заново создать инфраструктуру, возродить промышленность и сельское хозяйство, торговлю, вновь открыть социальные объекты: больницы, школы, детские сады”, заявил Путин по итогам встречи. Главной темой саммита в Сочи, на который приехали президенты Турции (Реджеп Эрдоган) и Ирана (Хасан Роухани), стал переход к политическому урегулированию сирийского кризиса. По словам Эрдогана, стороны также согласились, что людям на территориях боевых действий необходимо обеспечить свободный доступ к гуманитарной помощи. Глава Турции также выразил надежду на позитивный вклад совместных усилий трех государств в урегулирование конфликта. Саммит в Сочи проходит менее чем за неделю до сирийских переговоров в Женеве, где 28 ноября под эгидой ООН встретятся представители официального Дамаска и оппозиции. Россия и Иран поддерживают режим Башара Асада, Турция вооруженную оппозицию.  Трехстороннюю встречу раскритиковали на Западе из-за того, что на нее не были приглашены США. Тем временем в Саудовской Аравии стартовал свой саммит объединенной сирийской оппозиции. В нем принимают участие около 140 различных групп. Открывая саммит, спецпосланник ООН по Сирии призвал к объединению. “Сильная единая команда это тот партнер, который нужен нам в Женеве. Тот, который может увидеть много путей, способных привести к нужной нам цели”, заявил Стефан де Мистура, спецпосланник ООН по Сирии.

Russia Summons French Diplomat Over Billionaire Kerimov’s Detention In Tax Fraud Case

Russia summoned a senior French diplomat in Moscow in connection with the detention of Russian billionaire and federal lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov in France as part of a tax-evasion case.

Mueller Probes Jared Kushner’s Contacts With Foreign Leaders

Special Counsel Robert Muellers investigators are asking questions about White House senior adviser Jared Kushners interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition and what role he may have played in firing former FBI Director James Comey.

Venezuela Detains Four U.S. Citizens for Alleged Corruption

Four of the six oil executives arrested in Caracas for alleged corruption are U.S. citizens, a Citgo Petroleum Corp. executive said Wednesday.

Report: Military personnel reassigned following Trump’s Asia trip – CNN


CNN
Report: Military personnel reassigned following Trump’s Asia trip
CNN
(CNN) Allegations that multiple US service members had “improper contact” with foreign women while on the President’s Asia tour have spurred an investigation and led to their reassignment, The Washington Post reports, attributing the information to 
White House personnel investigated for improper foreign contact: Washington PostAOL
Military officials removed over ‘improper conduct’ with foreign women while travelling with Donald Trump in AsiaThe Independent

all 31 news articles »

Military Staff Removed From White House After ‘Incident’ On Trump’s Asia Trip: Report – HuffPost


HuffPost
Military Staff Removed From White House After ‘Incident’ On Trump’s Asia Trip: Report
HuffPost
Military personnel with the White House Communications Agency are under investigation after alleged improper contact with women in Vietnam. Download. Three members of a White House team staffed by military personnel have been removed from their …

and more »

Совещание о выполнении гособоронзаказа

Владимир Путин провёл очередное совещание с руководящим составом Министерства обороны и оборонно-промышленного комплекса страны. Обсуждались вопросы, связанные с выполнением заданий государственного оборонного заказа.

Совещание о выполнении государственного оборонного заказа.В.Путин: Добрый день, уважаемые коллеги!

В мае на совещаниях здесь, в Сочи, мы с вами предметно обсудили основные параметры гособоронзаказа на 2017 год, определили практические меры по его реализации.

В рамках уже выполненных заданий в войска поступило более 3400 единиц основных видов новейшего и модернизированного вооружения. В их числе  16 боевых кораблей и судов, 190 современных самолётов и вертолётов, 800 танков и боевых бронированных машин, 170 зенитных ракетных систем и комплексов, 1950 автомобилей многоцелевого назначения.

Непосредственно в войсках специалисты ОПК провели плановое сервисное обслуживание основного вооружения и военной техники.

В целом эти меры позволят довести долю современного оружия и техники в частях постоянной боевой готовности к концу 2017 года до почти 60 процентов.

Отмечу, что многие из образцов вооружений прошли проверку на эффективность в ходе боевых действий против террористов в Сирийской Арабской Республике. Работа в боевых условиях подтвердила высокие характеристики российского оружия. Его традиционные преимущества  это простота в эксплуатации и надёжность в применении.

Ряд наших иностранных партнёров, в том числе новых партнёров, уже выразили заинтересованность в приобретении отечественных вооружений и техники, в расширении военно-технического сотрудничества с Россией.

Нам нужно внимательно изучить и использовать практический опыт применения наших систем вооружения. И конечно, нужно закрепить положительные тенденции в планировании, размещении и реализации гособоронзаказа, добиваться, чтобы все звенья этой взаимосвязанной системы работали эффективно и слаженно.

Давайте начнём работать.

<>

Совещание с руководством Минобороны, оборонно-промышленного комплекса, главами министерств и регионов

Владимир Путин продолжил серию совещаний с руководством Министерства обороны и оборонно-промышленного комплекса. В ходе встречи, прошедшей с участием глав ряда министерств и регионов, обсуждались итоги учений «Запад-2017».

Совещание с руководством Минобороны, оборонно-промышленного комплекса, главами министерств и регионов.В.Путин: Добрый день, уважаемые коллеги!

Сегодня предлагаю поговорить о ключевом событии в календаре учёбы, стратегическом учении «Запад2017», учёбы  стратегическом учении «Запад2017»  и прежде всего затронуть его гражданские аспекты: как известно, много было задействовано гражданских ведомств, регионов.

Здесь присутствуют и руководители отдельных министерств, губернаторы, которые принимали участие в организации и проведении этих учений. Хотел бы услышать сегодня ваши выводы, предложения, а именно какие проблемы возникли, какие позиции требуют доработки, уточнения.

Отмечу, что в ходе учений был успешно решён ряд важных задач, в первую очередь задач. В первую очередь, проверена мобилизационная готовность и возможности обеспечения потребностей войск на местах, обеспечения из местных ресурсов. Пребывающие в запасе военнослужащие, граждане были привлечены на военные сборы, отработаны вопросы передачи в состав Вооружённых Сил автотранспорта и техники гражданских предприятий, а также организации технического прикрытия транспортных коммуникаций.

Кроме того, была проведена комплексная оценка обеспечения войск транспортно-логистическими услугами, продовольствием и медикаментами. Нам необходимо ещё еще раз проанализировать возможности оборонных предприятий по оперативному наращиванию объёмов производства военной продукции.

По итогам учения были выявлены определённые недостатки. Нужно внимательно их изучить, выработать дополнительные меры по повышению мобилизационной готовности.

Отмечу, что способность экономики быстро увеличивать объёмы оборонной продукции и услуг в нужное время  одно из важнейших условий обеспечения военной безопасности государства. К этому должны быть готовы все стратегические и просто крупные предприятия независимо от форм собственности.

Ранее, в 20152016 годах, Ранее  в 20152016 годах  мы уже довольно подробно обсуждали эту тему. Были даны поручения по модернизации производственных мощностей, формированию резерва материальных и технических ресурсов, обеспечению перевозок войск. Эта работа проводится министерствами и ведомствами под руководством коллегии Военно-промышленной комиссии и в тесном взаимодействии с Министерством обороны. Я прошу в ходе сегодняшней нашей встречи кратко подвести итоги этой работы, доложить, какие недоработки прошлых лет устранены и какие проблемы ещё еще устранить не удалось.

Давайте обо всем этом поговорим поподробнее и сделаем соответствующие выводы на будущее.

<>

Putin says Russian people will choose his successor via ballot box – Egypt Independent


Egypt Independent
Putin says Russian people will choose his successor via ballot box
Egypt Independent
Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that only the Russian people will choose who succeeds him as president, through the electoral process. Russia will hold a presidential election in March next year. Putin has not said whether he will run or not, but is 

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4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post

Saved Stories Saved Stories – None Mandalay Bay and concert promoter sued by hundreds of Las Vegas massacre survivors – Los Angeles Times Laughlin Air Force Base T-38 trainer jet crashes in Texas; 1 dead – USA TODAY Report: Conyers settled wrongful dismissal complaint over ‘sexual advances’ – The Hill Pilot killed, another injured after … Continue reading“4:51 AM 11/22/2017 – US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan – Washington Post”
4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post…

4:51 AM 11/22/2017 US Navy plane carrying 11 crashes into Pacific Ocean off Japan Washington Post
5:01 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 5:00 AM Jared Kushner – Google News 1 Share Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner Business Insider–7 hours ago Jared Kushner White House Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner arrives to address Congressional interns at the U.S. Capitol Visitors … Report: Trump, frustrated with Jared Kushner and his advice, wants … Continue reading“5:01 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner”
Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner Business Insider

Robert Mueller’s team has reportedly questioned witnesses about some of Kushner’s conversations and meetings with foreign leaders during the transition. Source: Mueller is turning up the heat on Jared Kushner – Business Insider
22.11.2017 11:28

5:36 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller Investigating Kushners Contacts With Israeli Officials Forward

Politics: “Reuters reported earlier this year that the FBI is examining whether Gorkov suggested to Kushner that Russian banks could finance Trump associates’ business ventures if US sanctions were lifted or relaxed.” … Additional emails that he failed to turn over, according to the committee, involved communication with the anti-secrecy agency WikiLeaks and with a Belarusian-American businessman named … Continue reading“5:36 AM 11/22/2017 – Mueller Investigating Kushner’s Contacts With Israeli Officials – Forward”
5:36 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller Investigating Kushners Contacts With Israeli Officials Forward

5:36 AM 11/22/2017 Mueller Investigating Kushners Contacts With Israeli Officials Forward
“Kelly Has Clipped his Wings: Jared Kushners Horizons Are Collapsing within the West Wing | Vanity Fair

Source: Kelly Has Clipped his Wings: Jared Kushners Horizons Are Collapsing within the West Wing | Vanity Fair
6:06 AM 11/22/2017 KELLY HAS CLIPPED HIS WINGS: JARED KUSHNERS HORIZONS

john kelly – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 6:11 AM 1 Share – john kelly – Google Search Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 at 6:10 AM John Kelly – Google News 1 Share John Kelly’s folly Pittsburgh Post-Gazette–Nov 20, 2017 From the cesspool that the White House has become, Chief of Staff Robert Kelly may have emerged last month as the … Continue reading

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10:49 AM 11/20/2017 – German Coalition Talks Fail

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Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None
U.S., Russia Trade Blame After Syria Chemical-Arms Probe Lapses
Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Makes First Public Appearance Since Military Takeover
NATO Apologizes for Offending Turkey
Saudi Crackdown Escalates With Arrests of Top Military Officials
November 17, 2017
U.S. Warned of Russian Firm Kaspersky as Early as 2004
Argentina Steps Up Search for Missing Submarine
November 19, 2017
Buoyant Central and Eastern Europe Revives Overheating Fears
Beyond Trump-Xi Bond, White House Looks to Toughen China Policy
German Coalition Talks Collapse
Search Continues for Missing Argentine Submarine
Fatal Riots in Kenya as Court Upholds Kenyatta’s Win
Political Paralysis Hits Germany as Collapse of Talks Tests Merkel
Turkey says Kurds attack post in Syria, no casualties – Fox News
Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring
The Russian army: bullying war cargo 200 – www.MICEtimes.asia (press release)
Angela Merkel faces worst political crisis of her career
Report: Visa Consultations in US Consulates in Russia May Resume Soon
Люди погибли в давке за едой
Canada faces Russia-linked cyberthreats at home and abroad, NATO chief says – CTV News
Former internet troll reveals secrets of Russia’s Internet Research Agency – SC Magazine UK
Kushner Cos. Found New Israeli Partner to Return to New Jersey – Bloomberg
Is a Deal in the Works for Turkish Businessman Implicated in Iran Sanctions Case? – Foreign Policy (blog)

 

Saved Stories – None
U.S., Russia Trade Blame After Syria Chemical-Arms Probe Lapses

The United Nations Security Council, in a bitter standoff between U.S. and Russia, failed on Thursday to renew the mandate of an independent committee investigating chemical-weapon use in Syria.

German Coalition Talks Fail to Bridge Gaps as Deadline Passes

Angela Merkels path to a fourth term as German chancellor hit a hurdle when negotiations to form the countrys first three-party coalition reached a self-imposed deadline without an agreement on key policy areas.

Zimbabwe’s Mugabe Makes First Public Appearance Since Military Takeover

President Robert Mugabe made his first public appearance at a university graduation ceremony, three days after the military took control of the Southern African country.

NATO Apologizes for Offending Turkey

The head of NATO apologized to Turkey Friday after its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pulled his troops from a joint exercise he said had offended him and the nations founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Saudi Crackdown Escalates With Arrests of Top Military Officials

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are widening a corruption probe that has reached the upper echelons of the royal family and entangled prominent businessmen who are now being asked to surrender assets in exchange for their freedom.

November 17, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.

U.S. Warned of Russian Firm Kaspersky as Early as 2004

A Russian cybersecurity firm whose products current and former U.S. officials suspect Moscow has used as a tool for spying was flagged by U.S. military intelligence as a potential security threat as early as 2004.

Argentina Steps Up Search for Missing Submarine

The Argentine Navy said Saturday it was ramping up the search for a submarine that hadnt been heard from in three days, and at least six other nations said they would join in the effort.

November 19, 2017

A look at the best news photos from around the world.

Buoyant Central and Eastern Europe Revives Overheating Fears

The speed and scale of Europes economic recovery has taken almost everyone by surprise, and nowhere has the turnaround been more impressive than in central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, the region faces challenges that pose risks to the recovery.

Beyond Trump-Xi Bond, White House Looks to Toughen China Policy

The administration is investigating trade actions against China as it looks to fundamentally challenge Chinese trade practices and reject a tradition of eking out concessions from Beijing around high-level meetings.

German Coalition Talks Collapse

Negotiations to form the first German government made up of center-right parties and left-leaning environmentalists collapsed, leaving the country in political limbo and raising doubts about Chancellor Angela Merkels political future.

Search Continues for Missing Argentine Submarine

A multinational search for a missing Argentine submarine continued late Sunday as concern rose over the fate of the 44-member crew, which was supposed to have made contact four days ago.

Fatal Riots in Kenya as Court Upholds Kenyatta’s Win

The Kenyan Supreme Court upheld Uhuru Kenyattas victory in a controversial presidential election, as riot police fought deadly battles with angered opposition supporters in Nairobi and Western Kenya.

Political Paralysis Hits Germany as Collapse of Talks Tests Merkel

Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel was scrambling to address the biggest political threat to her leadership in 12 years in office, after the collapse of talks to form a new government raised doubts about the stability of Europes largest economy and a push for an ambitious eurozone overhaul.

Turkey says Kurds attack post in Syria, no casualties – Fox News


Hurriyet Daily News
Turkey says Kurds attack post in Syria, no casualties
Fox News
Turkey sent troops into Syria last month to set up observation posts in the border province that is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish militia to be terrorists because of its links to Kurdish rebels fighting in 
PYD launches mortar attack on Turkish observation point in Syria’s IdlibHurriyet Daily News
PKK/PYD attacks Turkish forces in Syria’s IdlibYeni Şafak English

all 19 news articles »

Moscow 1956: The Silenced Spring

The year 1956 in Russia started with Nikita Khrushchevs bombshell Secret Speech denouncing Stalins purges and ended with Soviet intervention to quash the Hungarian uprising.  Kathleen Smith pinpoints the beginning of the unraveling of the Soviet system in the traumatic events of the year.

The Russian army: bullying war cargo 200 – www.MICEtimes.asia (press release)


www.MICEtimes.asia (press release)
The Russian army: bullying war cargo 200
www.MICEtimes.asia (press release)
The story caused a wide public resonance and, by estimations of analysts, has put an end to the aspirations of the then-defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, to become President of the country. In such circumstances the country’s leadership had to start the 

Angela Merkel faces worst political crisis of her career

Breakdown of coalition talks plunges Germany into new era of uncertainty
Report: Visa Consultations in US Consulates in Russia May Resume Soon

Visa consultations in U.S. consulates in Russia could be resumed in the near future, TASS news agency cited U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman as saying on Monday. “I believe that in the near future they [visa consultations] may be resumed,” the agency quoted him as saying. “We are trying to do everything possible, and I hope that in coming weeks we will be able to effectively issues visas.” In August, the United States began to scale back its visa services in Russia, drawing an angry reaction from Moscow three weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered Washington to more than halve its embassy and consular staff. The U.S. consulates are located in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg in the Urals and Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Люди погибли в давке за едой

From: euronewsru
Duration: 00:57

В Марокко бесплатная раздача продуктов питания обернулась трагедией.
ЧИТАТЬ ДАЛЕЕ : http://ru.euronews.com/2017/11/20/food-stampede-kills-15-in-morocco

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Canada faces Russia-linked cyberthreats at home and abroad, NATO chief says – CTV News


CTV News
Canada faces Russia-linked cyberthreats at home and abroad, NATO chief says
CTV News
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Canadian troops in Latvia are being smeared by Russia-backed onlinepropaganda aimed at undermining the alliance, and it may not be long before Canada sees similar tactics being waged within its borders 

and more »

Former internet troll reveals secrets of Russia’s Internet Research Agency – SC Magazine UK


SC Magazine UK
Former internet troll reveals secrets of Russia’s Internet Research Agency
SC Magazine UK
And the marketing team on the second floor would incorporate the propaganda into social media. It was very rare for employees on one floor to fraternise with workers from another floor. Bespalov said he also created fake social media profiles that 

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Kushner Cos. Found New Israeli Partner to Return to New Jersey – Bloomberg


Bloomberg
Kushner Cos. Found New Israeli Partner to Return to New Jersey
Bloomberg
Jared Kushner, previously the company’s chief executive officer, joined the administration of his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, in January. The Kushners’ link to the White House has been both blessing and curse — attracting wealthy foreigners 

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Is a Deal in the Works for Turkish Businessman Implicated in Iran Sanctions Case? – Foreign Policy (blog)


Foreign Policy (blog)
Is a Deal in the Works for Turkish Businessman Implicated in Iran Sanctions Case?
Foreign Policy (blog)
Other lawyers on Zarrab’s defense team include former New York mayor and Donald Trump condidante Rudy Giuliani and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who have attempted to broker a deal between the U.S. and Turkish governments for Zarrab’s …
Does cooperating witness have info on Flynn tie to Turkey?NBCNews.com

all 413 410 news articles »


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9:14 AM 11/20/2017 – James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary – GQ Magazine
Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner face new scrutiny in Russia investigation – ABC News
Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known
Confirmed: Robert Mueller knows about even more Trump-Russia meetings than the public does
Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them like Pac-Man
Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man”
Donald Trumps ticking clock may expire after Thanksgiving
Report: Mueller’s Russia Probe Seeks Justice Department Emails on Comey Firing – Daily Beast
Robert Mueller is going after the Department of Justice to take down Donald Trump
Should The FBI Be Abolished?
Should The FBI Be Abolished? – American Spectator
Russias Gay Demons | by Robert Cottrell
John Raines, 84; was accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses – The Boston Globe
Rumors Fly About The ‘Last Year Of Putin’
Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries – NBC New York
8:57 PM 11/18/2017 John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12
fbi – Google News: EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds … – Daily Mail
fbi – Google News: Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up – seattlepi.com
The Hidden History of Trumps First Trip to Moscow
The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow – POLITICO Magazine
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom – The Hill
US Ambassador to Russia Attacks Moscow’s Pending Restrictions on US-funded News Agencies
New US Sanctions to Be Directed at Putin Personally, Piontkovsky Says

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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary
mikenova shared this story .

“I’ve been a political appointee in both Democratic and Republican administrations,” he said, his voice a phlegmy rumble. “Support the commander in chief. That was the first order of business. But this one, you know…” He reached for his coffee, leaned back, took a sip. “It’s hard. This is a unique situation. We’ve never had a president like this before.”

The Clappers live in a well-to-do suburb outside Washington, in a brick house with heavy shutters. Clapper’s wife, Susan, a retired NSA administrator, answered the door. Her husband, she said, was at work in the basement. I followed her down a carpeted staircase past some paintings of bald eagles. We found James Clapper sitting at a small round table. He was dressed casually, in sandals, a polo shirt, and board shorts.

He seemed to be transitioning smoothly into the life of an ex-official, what D.C. types call a “former.” He now socializes with some of the capital’s more august senators, meeting them for lunch and bumping into them with the grandkids behind home plate at Nationals games. He had sworn off his trademark martinis, hit the gym, and lost 20 pounds. He would soon buy a Chevy Camaro. A friend told him that he was having a midlife crisis at age 76.

“Well, this is my man cave,” he said, gesturing at a meticulously arranged trophy room with a rolltop desk and two couches. Two glass cases contained a glittering array of polished medals from his time in the Air Force, which he joined in 1963. The far wall had built-in shelves showing off a dim series of objects. Clapper dismissed my interest with a wave of his hand, calling it “various other junk from across the course of my career.”

Clapper was one of the first hundred Air Force intelligence officers to go to Vietnam. “I hated the war,” Clapper said. “What we were doing to the country—our own country—was bad.” For a time, he worked alongside his father, who was the NSA’s deputy country chief. Susan gave birth to a daughter while he was overseas. She was 7 months old the first time he saw her.

He stuck with the Air Force after his tours, was promoted “below the zone”—before almost all of his contemporaries—and went on to a career in military intelligence, eventually leading the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. In the years after the September 11 attacks, he clashed with Donald Rumsfeld over how to re-organize the country’s spying apparatus, which today consumes roughly $70 billion a year. Rumsfeld won the argument and fired Clapper, but it wasn’t long before he himself was out of a job. Clapper’s willingness to stand his ground impressed Rumsfeld’s replacement, Bob Gates, who recommended him to Obama as director of national intelligence in 2010.

Clapper forged close ties with Obama, whom he often briefed personally. He could be brutally frank; he had no qualms about bringing the president bad news. When the time came to make policy recommendations, Clapper would stick to intelligence and remain silent. Obama staffers would sometimes wonder if he was secretly a Republican.

The worst day of Clapper’s career came on March 12, 2013, when he was called to testify before an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Ron Wyden, the senior senator from Oregon, asked Clapper whether the NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans.”

“It does not?” asked Wyden. He looked surprised.

“Not wittingly,” said Clapper. The corners of his mouth bent down into his Grumpy Cat face. “There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”

Wyden believed, and still believes, that Clapper was being intentionally deceptive. Clapper told me that he made a mistake and misunderstood the question. Wyden holds a grudge to this day. “There’s no other way to describe this than he lied to Congress. He lied to the American people,” Wyden told me. “And that, in my judgment, is unacceptable.”

James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary – GQ Magazine
mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump – Google News.

GQ Magazine
James Clapper on Donald Trump, Russia, and the First Line of His Obituary
GQ Magazine
As director of national intelligence, James Clapper was charged with protecting America’s secrets. But now he’s unwilling to keep silentspeaking out about Russia’s role in our politics and about Donald Trump, whom he calls downright scary and 

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Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner face new scrutiny in Russia investigation – ABC News
mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump – Google News.

ABC News
Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner face new scrutiny in Russia investigation
ABC News
Next to the growing investigation into Russian meddling in the trump campaign. As the president’s son-in-law faces new questions about wikileaks. David Wright is at the white house tonight with the latest. Reporter: Tonight, the president’s son and son 
British publicist who arranged Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian lawyer breaks silence on collusion claimsThe Independent
Rob Goldstone comes clean over Donald Trump and dirt on Hillary ClintonThe Times

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Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known
mikenova shared this story from FB-RSS feed for Palmer Report.

Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known

Confirmed: Robert Mueller has far more Trump-Russia evidence than previously known

Robert Mueller is WAY out ahead of the rest of us

Confirmed: Robert Mueller knows about even more Trump-Russia meetings than the public does
mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

All along, it’s appeared that Special Counsel Robert Mueller knows far more about Donald Trump’s Russia scandal than Congress, the media, or the public knows. Although Mueller keeps his cards close to the vest, his actions periodically suggest that he’s several steps ahead of the game. Now comes confirmation that Mueller knows about a whole new set of Trump-Russia meetings that are not yet public.

Buried all the way down in the fifteenth paragraph of a new Washington Post article, you’ll find this key revelation: “Witnesses questioned by Muellers team warn that investigators are asking about other foreign contacts and meetings that have not yet become public, and to expect a series of new revelations.” (link). In other words, this week the media managed to expose Donald Trump Jr’s contacts with WikiLeaks and Jared Kushner’s contacts with a suspected Russian mobster, and yet those are stillfar from the last of the Trump-Russia contacts that Mueller already knows about.

So just what are we looking at here? The WaPo article hints that many of the secret meetings involved Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who is reportedly on the verge of being arrested on a variety of charges which may include conspiracy to commit kidnapping (Flynn denies the charges). So even as the media has been recently exposing Trump-Russia meetings involving members of Donald Trump’s family, Robert Mueller is focused on Trump-Russia meetings of an entirely different nature.

Another remarkable part of the WaPo article in question is the revelation that Donald Trump and his attorney Ty Cobb are both insisting Robert Mueller’s investigation will be completed soon, and that Trump will be exonerated. That’s nothing short of delusional. Mueller is just getting started, and has only arrested three of the dozens of Trump-Russia players he’s targeting. Moreover, Mueller’s entire gameplan is based around getting these targets to flip on Trump himself. Trump isn’t just a target of the investigation; he’s the target.

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Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them like Pac-Man
mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally managed to breach Donald Trump’s inner circle. It was revealed last week that he interviewed White House senior adviser Stephen Miller about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal. Now it turns out Mueller is aggressively working his way through Trump’s top people as we speak, and it’s clearly making them nervous. In fact one insider says they’re panicking as Mueller kicks into high gear.

A Trump White House insider claims that Mueller is chewing through Trump’s senior staff “like Pac-Man” and that they’re all panicked about how deep the investigation is running, summing it up by saying that “its going to be a long winter,” according to a new Washington Post report (link). That same article points to Hope Hicks and Don McGahn as being Mueller’s next two targets, which offers some hints about what Mueller is specifically pursuing.

Hope Hicks is essentially the gatekeeper for Donald Trump himself, filtering his emails and deciding what to loop him in on. This week it was revealed that Hicks was aware of Donald Trump Jr’s ongoing coordination with WikiLeaks, which means almost for certain that Donald Trump knew. Hicks will have to decide whether to admit to Mueller that Trump knew, or commit obstruction of justice by refusing to truthfully answer the question. White House counsel Don McGahn nixed a letter that Trump and Miller wrote justifying the firing of FBI Director James Comey. McGahn will have to decide whether to risk incriminating Trump, or risk incriminating himself. He does not share attorney-client privilege with Trump.

It’s important to keep in mind that Robert Mueller has consistently been several steps ahead of the media and the public when it comes to these matters. For instance it was widely reported by the media that Mueller’s first White House senior staff target would be Hope Hicks. Then it was later revealed that Mueller had already interviewed Stephen Miller instead. The “Pac-Man” reference strongly suggests that Mueller has already interviewed far more of Trump’s inner circle than is publicly known.

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Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man”
mikenova shared this story from FB-RSS feed for Palmer Report.

Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man”

Insider: Donald Trumps staff panicking as Robert Mueller chews through them “like Pac-Man”

Robert Mueller is far ahead of what was previously known

Donald Trumps ticking clock may expire after Thanksgiving
mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Since the start of Donald Trump’s illegitimate and toxically unpopular presidency, the public has asked the same question every day: why hasn’t he been ousted yet? The simple answer is that because his approval rating hasn’t yet dropped into the twenties, the Republican-controlled Congress doesn’t feel like it has to oust him. But the main reason they’ve been keeping him around may be about to expire.

The Republican Congress is still trying to find a way to pass its tax scam legislation for the wealthy. But up to this point, every major piece of legislation it’s attempted has failed, partly due to Trump’s instability and unpopularity. The real reason the GOP wants Trump to remain in place: it’s been allowing the party to ram through the appointment of several conservative federal judges. However, according to Axios (link), that streak may be about to end after Thanksgiving.

In fact Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been ramming through the confirmations of these judges as quickly as he can. Trump’s instability means that he could self destruct on his own at any minute and once he does, the focus will be on his demise and ouster, making Senate confirmations more difficult. But even if Trump doesn’t self destruct, the Republicans in Congress are increasingly uneasy about the idea of leaving him in power as they head into the midterms. They just got wiped out across the nation in the November 2017 elections, as a direct result of Trump’s unpopularity.

Once the Republican Congress finishes ramming through its judges after Thanksgiving, it’ll be in position to strategically throw Donald Trump overboard. Once he’s out the door, Trump’s crimes in the Russia scandal will no longer directly be the party’s problem. The GOP’s haste with confirmations, a process which now appears to be reaching its conclusion, suggests that it may be ready to oust Trump soon. Tick tock.

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Report: Mueller’s Russia Probe Seeks Justice Department Emails on Comey Firing – Daily Beast
mikenova shared this story from Comey – Google News.

Daily Beast
Report: Mueller’s Russia Probe Seeks Justice Department Emails on Comey Firing
Daily Beast
Investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia election collusion probe have directed the Justice Department to hand over communications on former FBI Director James Comey’s firing, ABC News reports. Citing a source familiar with the matter
Mueller requested DOJ hand over documents related to Comey firing: reportThe Hill
Mueller Wants to Know More About the Justice Department’s Role in Comey’s FiringNew York Magazine
Mueller asks Justice Department to hand over documents about Comey’s firing: reportNew York Daily News
Business Insider –ABC News –The Independent
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Robert Mueller is going after the Department of Justice to take down Donald Trump
mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

A few days ago, it was revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed the Donald Trump campaign a month ago. It served as a reminder that Mueller is always several steps ahead of the media and the public. It also demonstrates that Mueller is going directly after Trump himself, and not merely settling for taking down Trump’s underlings. Now another new development points to how Mueller plans to get to Trump.

Mueller has requested a treasure trove of documents from the Department of Justice which relate to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, according to an ABC News report (link). This means Mueller is targeting Trump for obstruction of justice. It also suggests that Mueller may be targeting Sessions for some criminal charge related to the reason he had to recuse himself.

The article in question makes no reference to subpoenas, which means that as of yet, the DOJ hasn’t said no to anything Mueller is requesting. Ironically, because Sessions has recused himself, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will make any decisions on what evidence to turn over, meaning Sessions can’t prevent incriminating evidence against himself from being turned over. Rosenstein can be counted on to cooperate with Mueller, as it was Rosenstein who appointed Mueller to begin with.

Although Robert Mueller can be counted on to pursue every possible criminal charge against Donald Trump, ranging from conspiracy against the United States to money laundering on down, proving obstruction of justice will likely be his quickest and most efficient path for establishing Trump’s criminal nature. Now we know that Mueller is going after the Department of Justice to not only prove Trump guilty of obstruction of justice, but likely to take down Jeff Sessions as well.

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Should The FBI Be Abolished?
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For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama intelligence officials; that Hillary used a private email server to transmit classified information; that Hillary and the DNC colluded with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump, and finally, that Russia acquired 20% of America’s uranium supply during the same time period $145 million miraculously appeared in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. It all stinks to high heaven but it’s created a confusing array of facts that has bewildered most Americans. They all know something is seriously wrong with their country even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

But there is a common denominator in all these scandals or alleged scandals, and that would be the FBI and the actions they took or didn’t take. Indeed, it’s hard to not conclude that the agency’s actions in these events were improper if not illegal. If so, this validates the warnings by constitutionalists in the early 1900s that a federal police force would someday be used to prop up the ruling elites and attack those who dare challenge the establishment.

Under FBI Director James Comey, Hillary was allowed to escape prosecution, even though he presented compelling evidence that she committed numerous felonies by transmitting classified documents using her private email server. Comey also leaked classified information to a friend to be disseminated to the media, another felony, and his FBI was the recipient of a dossier full of sensational but false allegations traced to Putin-connected individuals. Instead of investigating the dossier’s sources, Comey used the phony intel as the basis for his allegation that the Russians intervened in our election, a charge later proven to be without factual basis. It also appears that Comey likely used the dossier’s claims to convince a FISA court to authorize a phone tap on various Trump aides and possibly even Trump himself.

Lastly, Comey refused to demand that the DNC hand over the computer servers they claimed were hacked by Russia, but nevertheless, he announced that the Russians had hacked into the DNC, thereby helping to create the phony Trump/Russia collusion narrative. But a group of cyber experts led by former high-ranking NSA cyber expert Bill Binney have concluded that the hack simply could not have occurred for technical reasons and that the leaked DNC emails had to come from an inside source. Regardless, for Comey to create a phony “Russia hacked the DNC” narrative without his agency ever analyzing the DNC server calls into question his honesty and his integrity.

On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller — now Special Counsel — is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was the Democratic Party. But Mueller doesn’t have the integrity to widen his investigation to cover the Clinton/GPS Fusion/Russian dossier scandal but instead is spending millions on investigating alleged crimes by former Trump campaign workers that occurred years ago and had nothing to do with Trump, Russian collusion, or the 2016 election.

Lastly, when Mueller was FBI Director, he served on the board of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the agency that approved the sale of uranium to Russia by the Uranium One company only a short time after his own agency had arrested a Russian official attempting to bribe American uranium officials. But there is no record of Mueller warning his fellow CFIUS members about the illegal Russian efforts. It likewise begs logic to believe that Mueller knew nothing about the $145 million the Clinton Foundation received from Putin-connected sources shortly after the CFIUS vote. It is also inconceivable that Mueller, as FBI Director from 2001-2013, was not aware that the Clintons were using their foundation and Hillary’s Secretary of State position to operate a massive pay-to-play scam that went far beyond the Uranium One scandal.

It has become abundantly clear that Mueller is a partisan, as is Comey. Both of them have jeopardized national security in order to protect the Democratic Party. This is an unprecedented situation and both men should be investigated. Moreover, Mueller should be removed as the Special Counsel. The foxes are guarding the hen house.

Mueller and Comey have turned the FBI into a partisan force that ignores crimes by the left and fabricates crimes on the right such as the Trump/Russian collusion theory. Again, such corruption of the FBI was predicted by constitutionalists at the time the agency was formed. That time has arrived.

Within most conservative circles today it would be considered sacrilegious to argue in favor of abolishing the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Indeed, older Americans still think of the FBI as an agency full of incorruptible, efficient, clean cut guys in suits tracking down mobsters and exposing communist subversion. Younger Americans are influenced by popular shows such as television’s Criminal Minds, which, again, portray the G-Men as squeaky clean heroes.

However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that this agency has become so politicized, so corrupt, and so large and bureaucratic that it may no longer be an effective agency. The time has come to discuss its abolition.

The FBI was started in 1935, although its predecessor — the Bureau of Investigation — was founded in 1908. In the early 1900s, crime was becoming more nationalized with multi-state mob crime families and the creation of large prostitution smuggling rings that crossed state lines. As a result, advocates of a federalized police force argued that a federal law enforcement agency was necessary in order to keep up with the criminals. The main argument was that the local police forces didn’t have the resources or the flexibility to investigate complex criminal cases or to chase mobsters from state to state.

But note that the FBI did not come into existence until 132 years after the country declared its independence. This was because the founders never envisioned a federal role for law enforcement. It is not one of the “enumerated” duties of the federal government listed in the constitution.

There were reasons for that. Our founders were skeptical of a large federal government and, indeed, not even the “federalist” faction argued for a federal law enforcement role. The Constitution’s authors all assumed that most of the country’s governing would be carried out by state and local governments; the Federal government was created simply to take care of things that states were not well suited to do, such as maintaining a military, minting currency, and negotiating trade treaties. Indeed, for most of America’s first century, the highest law enforcement officer was the county sheriff.

Except for treason, the idea of federal crimes was not even mentioned in the Constitution. Our founders had a healthy fear of America turning into a tyrannical government such as those which existed all over the world at the time. They wanted to maximize freedom; hence the Bill of Rights. They assumed the creation of a federalized police force would make it far easier for the federal government to abuse the rights of its citizens. This is why neither the Constitution, the ratification debates, nor the Federalistpapers ever mention anything about a federal law enforcement role. Nada. Nothing. Indeed, in FederalistNo. 45, James Madison specifically singles out “internal order” as an “unenumerated power” that must “remain in the state governments.”

In the last few decades, Congress has created over 3,000 federal crimes, thereby undermining the authority of local law enforcement and ultimately making the federal government more powerful and more prone to corruption and tyranny. As the late Washington Times columnist Sam Francis wrote, “Over the last 30 years or so, the creeping federal incursion into law enforcement has yielded some 140 agencies at the federal level that have such a role… but everyone knows the federal engulfment of law enforcement has failed miserably to control crime and make the country safe. That’s because, by its very nature, effective law enforcement is local.”

And there’s no doubt that national police forces in other countries have been used to transition a country to a dictatorship. Historian William L. Shirer wrote in his famous history of Nazi Germany, The Rise and Fall of the Third Rich, “On June 16, 1936, for the first time in German history, a unified police as established for the whole of the Reich — previously the police had been organized separately by each of the states …the Third Reich, as is inevitable in the development of all totalitarian dictatorships, had become a police state.”

But the FBI has never seemed concerned about its growing powers. Indeed, in the aftermath of WWII, the FBI was so impressed with Hitler’s police state, they secretly hired hundreds of Nazis as spies and informants. As Rutherford Institute president and conservative civil rights lawyer John Whitehead writes, the FBI “then carried out a massive cover-up campaign to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. Moreover, anyone who dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed and labeled a threat to national security.”

But long before the rise of Hitler, America’s founders understood that the more locally controlled law enforcement is, the more accountable they are, whereas, a federal police force tends to be abused by a central government and is largely unaccountable to local and state governments. Indeed, it is unsettling to review the long list of incidents in which the FBI abused the rights of Americans and was clearly used by one political faction or another to carry out police state-like tactics. Let’s take a trip down memory lane:

Prosecuting Opponents of World War 1. President Woodrow Wilson used the FBI’s predecessor to illegally harass and prosecute thousands of peaceful opponents of World War 1, a war most conservatives would argue America had no business entering.

COINTELPRO. This was the FBI’s covert internal security program in the 1950s and ’60s, created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government deemed to be enemies. It was carried out under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover with the consent of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Congressional hearings found that “Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that … the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association…” Many conservatives of the day cheered on COINTELPRO since it targeted Marxists and antiwar groups, but that cheering ended when the FBI set its sights on the right.

FBI Preparations for Martial Law. MuckRock, a group that exposes governmental corruption, obtained a 1956 FBI document via a FOIA request that described the FBI’s plans to implement martial law and round up dissidents in the event of nuclear war. The document, titled “Plan C,” states that ‘”as of April 17, 1956, 12,949 individuals were scheduled for apprehension in an emergency.” The FBI’s secretive list of “anti-government” citizens they felt needed to be rounded up has never been revealed but it’s clear the FBI was keeping files on anti-government individuals.

The Ruby Ridge Murders. In 1992, a BATF informant convinced former Green Beret Randy Weaver to sell him two shotguns which had barrels shortened illegally, thus creating the pretext for the FBI to launch a military-style assault on Weaver’s remote Idaho cabin, eventually killing his wife and fatally shooting his son in the back. The FBI agents violated numerous rules of engagement and an Idaho jury found Weaver innocent of almost all charges. According to author James Bovard, “Judge Lodge issued a lengthy list detailing the Justice Departments misconduct, fabrication of evidence and refusal to obey court orders.” No one was held accountable; indeed the agent in charge, Larry Potts, was promoted to FBI Deputy Director.

The Waco Massacre. In 1993, 76 citizens — including 26 children — were burned to death when the FBI laid siege to a Branch Davidian compound in Waco on the grounds they believed cult leader David Koresh possessed unauthorized weapons. However, there was no reason for the FBI to use police state tactics. Koresh visited town almost every week and could have easily been arrested during these excursions. Six years later the FBI admitted during the course of a civil lawsuit that the tear gas it fired into the compound was, in fact, pyrotechnic tear gas, which, probably caused the fire that killed most of the people. The shells were even stamped with a fire warning. Moreover, a law enforcement infrared video revealed muzzle flashes from the FBI’s positions, so contrary to the FBI’s testimony that they did not fire “a single shot,” it appears its snipers were shooting people as they tried to escape the compound. Indeed, a Policy Analysis report by the Heritage Foundation stated that “numerous crimes by government agents were never seriously investigated or prosecuted” and therefore, “the people serving in our federal police agencies may well come to the conclusion that it is permissible to recklessly endanger the lives of innocent people, lie to newspapers, obstruct congressional subpoenas, and give misleading testimony in our courtrooms.”

Helping Bill Clinton Collect Dirt on his Enemies. Often referred to as “Filegate,” in 1993-94, the FBI willingly turned over as many as 900 background check files on Republicans to the Clinton White House. Nothing came of the investigation into this as the Clintons claimed it was all a big mistake. Right.

Project Megiddo. This was another shady FBI project, launched in 1999, created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right, such as constitutionalists, devout Christians, anti-tax activists, anti-UN and pro-gun groups and individuals, all considered by the FBI to be budding terrorists. Such descriptions cover just about everyone on the right. It is not known if Project Megiddo violated the rights of individuals as the FBI did with previous similar programs, such as COINTELPRO, but it’s likely. Not surprisingly, much of the info used by Project Megiddo was fed to them by hysterical leftist groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), as even the FBI has publicly acknowledged. Shameful.

Use of Criminals as Undercover Agents. Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead writes, “FBI agents are also among the nation’s most notorious lawbreakers. In fact, in addition to creating certain crimes in order to then ‘solve’ them, the FBI also gives certain informants permission to break the law… USA Today estimates that agents have authorized criminals to engage in as many as 15 crimes a day. Some of these informants are getting paid astronomical sums.”

Operation Vigilant Eagle. This FBI program initiated in 2009 targeted anti-government activists such as Tea Party activists and, alarmingly, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are, as one FBI document states, “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering for the psychological effects of war.” The purpose of this program was allegedly to counter terrorism, but there’s not a shred of evidence veterans are more prone to terrorism than any other citizen. Nonetheless, the FBI actually claimed that veterans who challenge the government are suffering from “Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).” One of the program’s first targets was 26-year-old decorated Marine veteran Brandon Raub. Due to posting anti-government statements on his Facebook page, the FBI arrested Raub with no warning, labeled him mentally ill and placed him in a psych ward against his will. Thankfully, Rutherford Institute attorney John Whitehead intervened and secured his release. Whitehead writes that he “may have helped prevent Raub from being successfully ‘disappeared’ by the government.” And this has happened to other veterans. If the FBI paid as much attention to jihadists as it does to military veterans, it would have stopped every domestic terror plot!

Targeting Pro-Lifers. In 2010, The FBI held a joint training session on terrorism with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation. The main message of the seminar was that all pro-lifers are potential terrorists, an outrageous allegation. Indeed, material passed out by the pro-aborts at the seminar listed three pages of “anti-abortion web sites,” including those of National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, the American Center for Law and Justice, and Human Life International. None of those groups advocate violence. This is another example of how the FBI allows itself to be used by the left to go after its enemies. Similarly, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, the FBI created a project called VAAPCON to create files on pro-life religious leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell. Indeed, Judicial Watch, representing Falwell, sued the Clinton White House, seeking info on the project, but all the files mysteriously disappeared, Clinton style.

The IRS Scandal. The government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, obtained documents revealing that the FBI was involved with the illegal IRS effort to investigate — and thus silence— around 500 conservative and Tea Party groups during Obama’s 2012 reelection. Perhaps the worst use of the IRS in American history, this was about manipulating the 2012 presidential election and the FBI was complicit in this abuse of governmental power. As JWs Tom Fitton writes, “Both the FBI and Justice Department collaborated with Lois Lerner and the IRS to try to persecute and jail Barack Obama’s political opponents.”

FBI Worked With the SPLC. For much of the Obama era, the FBI listed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on its website as part of its effort to combat “hate crimes.” However, many of the groups identified by the SPLC as “hate groups” are not. One example is the Family Research Council, a mainstream pro-family organization. As a result of the FBI’s promotion of SPLC’s phony hate group list, a shooter entered FRC’s headquarters in 2012, wounding the front desk security guard and attempted to slaughter all the FRC employees. He was subdued by the wounded guard. Indeed, the SPLC believes all Christian groups that oppose the gay agenda or abortion are “hate groups,” a bizarre notion that has never been condemned by the FBI even though it did, in 2014, quietly drop the SPLC from its website.

Data Mining Innocent Americans. In 2013, Bloomberg exposed the FBI’s data mining project carried out on hundreds of thousands of Americans, most of whom were not guilty of any crimes.

Raids on Homes of Anti-Government Activists. Repeatedly, the FBI has raided homes on the flimsiest of evidence. In 2014, it raided the home of prepper Martin Winters, claiming he was some kind of domestic terrorist. But nothing was found aside from food stocks and other survivalist gear. Then there’s Terry Porter, also a prepper, whose house the FBI raided in 2012 using twice as many agents as in the Branch Davidian raid. Again, nothing alarming found there. Since when did anti-government preppers become terrorists? The FBI raids group meetings as well, such as when it raided a Republic of Texas secessionist movement meeting in 2015. No one was arrested because no one did anything illegal. But once again, the FBI treated a handful of elderly men discussing constitutional issues as a terrorist plot.

Fraudulent Forensics. Special Agent and whistleblower Frederic Whitehurst revealed in 2015 that FBI crime lab technicians routinely testified falsely about crime lab samples throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As former Judge Andrew Napolitano writes, “its agents and lab technicians who examine hair samples testified falsely in 257 of 268 cases that resulted in convictions. Of the convictions, 18 persons were sentenced to death, and of those, 12 have been executed.” Yes, innocent people died, thanks to the FBI.

FBI High School Informer Network. In 2016, the FBI launched an effort to enlist the help of high school students to ostensibly identify terrorists, but the FBI documents in question reveal they were also urging students to report on anti-government groups such as libertarian and constitutional groups. This effort is shockingly similar to the informant networks set up by the KGB in the USSR and the Stasi in East Germany.

The FBI Record on Fighting Terrorism.
Many Americans assume, however, that at least in the area of Islamic terrorism, the FBI has kept Americans largely safe. Not so fast. The record doesn’t quite show that. In fact, the agency has blundered many terrorism investigations and thus jeopardized the security of Americans. Examples:

  • In 2009, Islamist Nidal Hasan fatally shot 13 people at the Fort Hood Military Base, but his radical associations and open support for jihad were previously known by the FBI. It even had emails in which Hasan stated he wanted to kill his fellow soldiers. Indeed, records show that not only was there reluctance by officials to drum Hasan out of the military — for political reasons — but he was promoted at every opportunity.
  • In 2013, local officials caught seven foreign Muslims trespassing after midnight onto Quabbin Reservoir, a critical Northwest drinking reservoir. The FBI took over the case but let the trespassers go because they believe them to be just “tourists.” Yes, just midnight tourists. Only a few months earlier, another terrorist had been arrested for planning to poison a different reservoir.
  • In 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers bombed the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring hundreds more. Russian intelligence warned the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the agency even interviewed him, but it appears the FBI determined that Russia’s intelligence was not accurate. Until the bombs went off.
  • In 2015, when the government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents confirming that ISIS terrorists were crossing the Mexican/Texas border, concerned FBI agents held meetings at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez with Mexican officials. But not to figure out a plan to deal with such crossings, but rather to deny these allegations and to determine who leaked the info to JW. Forget the message and attack the messenger. What a great counter-terrorism strategy.
  • In 2015, the FBI failed to prevent the San Bernardino terror attack by an Islamic couple from Pakistan connected to an Islamic terrorist group whose files were among those purged earlier by the FBI, thereby making it nearly impossible for the agency to detect this pair.
  • In 2015, two Islamic terrorists attacked a Muhammad art expo in Garland, Texas, but the FBI actually had an informant at the scene with the terrorists, but it never bothered to warn the expo’s organizers of the impending attack. Apparently, the agency didn’t want to blow the informant’s cover! Fortunately, security guard Bruce Joiner shot and killed both shooters before they could get inside the exhibition hall. Joiner wonders why the FBI would allow this attack to transpire, stating “That’s not the kind of thing we do in the United States with our citizens.”
  • In 2016, Islamist Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people at an Orlando nightclub. While the FBI did investigate him for 10 months it closed his file because it believed he was “being marginalized because of his Muslim faith.” Seriously.
  • The FBI has flat out denied that Las Vegas shooter Steven Paddock has any Islamic terror connections, but the reality is it really doesn’t know enough about him to make such a claim. Indeed, ISIS never takes credit for attacks that are not its own and on three occasions, it has announced Paddock was connected to ISIS. It even revealed Paddock’s Islamic name: Abu Abdul Barr al-Amriki. Also, Paddock made trips to the Middle East. Given the FBI’s record, ISIS’s statements may be more credible than the FBI’s denials.
  • The latest terrorist incident in New York City was also bungled. Months before Sayfullo Saipov mowed down over 20 people, the FBI interviewed him because it knew he was connected to two men with terrorist connections. As such, his visa should have been revoked and he should have been deported, but the agency didn’t even open up a file on him.
  • Finally, the 9/11 terrorist attack itself could have been prevented by the FBI. It had enough intel to connect the dots but didn’t. Many of its pre-9/11 reports on al Qaeda were lost or not shared with the proper people. One was a memo by Phoenix FBI Agent Ken Williams, describing suspected al Qaeda members training at U.S. flight schools. How could that not result in a full scale investigation? And Special Agent Mark Rossini sent a message to FBI headquarters warning that 9/11 hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar had a multi-entry visa to enter the U.S. before 9/11. But that cable went “missing” when Congress held hearings on how our intelligence agencies manage to completely miss so many obvious clues.

And there are many other examples that can’t be cited here due to lack of space, but it’s difficult to find a domestic terrorist investigation that the FBI hasn’t screwed up. The above incidents alone cost the lives of almost 3,200 Americans. One would think that in the aftermath of 9/11, the FBI would make an effort to become more efficient when it comes to counter-terrorism, but with the 2008 election of Barack Obama, the FBI not only remained overly bureaucratic but became hyper politically correct.

Incredible as it may seem, in 2011, Obama’s FBI Director, Robert Mueller, met with a coalition of radical Islamic groups and agreed to purge thousands of files “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch said the “purge is part of a broader Islamic ‘influence operation’ aimed at our government and constitution.”

In other words, the FBI caved in to groups that do not have our best interests at heart. Indeed, two of the groups Mueller met with, ISNA and CAIR, were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding case. Many terror experts believe this purge crippled the FBI’s abilities to detect some of the terror plots that occurred during the Obama years. Due to its desire not to offend Muslims, the FBI jeopardized the lives of many Americans.

Conservatives Should Quit Defending the FBI
The FBI has a long history of being used by various administrations to harass certain groups and individuals, or, conversely, to allow certain groups and individuals to commit crimes without fear of prosecution. The FBI is supposed to uphold the Constitution but instead has repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of Americans. This politicization has cost many Americans their lives and their freedoms. The abuse listed here is not comprehensive but it’s enough, one would think, to make conservatives think twice about defending this agency’s police state tactics.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal has reported that “nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database,” even though most of them have not been convicted of a crime. Does anyone really believe our founding fathers would be fine with such sweeping federal law enforcement powers?

The aforementioned conservative civil rights attorney, John Whitehead, summarizes today’s FBI: “In additions to procedural misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, the FBI’s laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, and harassment.” President Harry Truman once said, “We want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is trending in that direction.” And that was 72 years ago.

It’s Time to Turn Over FBI Investigations to the States
If the FBI was abolished and its workload turned over to the states, it would not be as difficult as some would portray it. Indeed, what most Americans don’t realize is that almost every state already has a state version of the FBI. New Mexico has the New Mexico State Police, the Golden State has the California Bureau of Investigation, Texas has both the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Georgia has the Georgia Bureau of investigation. (One can view the list here.)

Moreover, all these agencies are equipped with crime labs and the latest forensic tools. At one time, such tools were prohibitively expensive for state police agencies to acquire, but technological advances have brought the cost of such equipment down, resulting in most states having the latest forensics equipment that at one time was monopolized by the FBI. For example, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is famous for its forensic work: “The Division of Forensic Sciences envisions a future in which we continue to build and develop an internationally recognized forensic laboratory system that partners with governmental and private entities….”

Today, much of the FBI’s work entails the investigation of federal crimes committed within one state. There is no reason why the states can’t handle these investigations and if the case does happen to cross over into other states, then the states simply coordinate. Those days in which a criminal would escape the law by crossing a state line are long gone. Indeed, that practice was one of the reasons why the FBI was created, but with today’s advances in communication technology, that simply doesn’t happen anymore. All states today have the technology to easily track criminals as they cross state lines and it’s not difficult for two states or more to work together in the apprehension of a criminal. Already, states today cooperate on a wide array of governmental actions; there is no reason why they can’t coordinate on a police investigation or criminal apprehension.

Some of the FBI’s workload involves complex white collar cases such as tax evasion, money laundering, bank fraud, and commodities fraud, but if a state police agency feels it doesn’t have the expertise to investigate such crimes, it can enlist the assistance of existing agencies that already investigate such crimes. The IRS, Securities Exchange Commission, Treasury Department and the Secret Service all have investigative branches that handle different aspects of financial crimes.

Then, of course, there are the federal crime data bases largely maintained by the FBI, including the National Crime Information Center database, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the Integrated Fingerprint Identification System, and the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). These databases should be turned over to the Department of Justice, which, in part, already play a role in maintaining them. More importantly, the state police agencies will need to be given ready access to these databases if they are to take on cases formerly handled by the FBI.

State law enforcement agencies are not perfect but it is far more difficult for the federal government to politicize the actions of a state agency. Moreover, it is much easier to hold state agencies accountable for any abuses they commit, just by virtue of being closer to the people.

Indeed, with access to federal crime data bases, most state police agencies have the capability to handle cases the FBI now handles, including domestic terrorist investigations. It’s a good bet that, given the FBI’s record on terrorism, the states will do a better job at stopping and preventing terrorism.

America’s founders were wise men and they knew not to make law enforcement a federal responsibility. They foresaw how the federal government could use a national police agency to play favorites, wreck havoc on our democratic institutions, and ultimately move us closer to a police state. The only question that remains is whether any politician will have the guts to initiate discussion on abolishing the FBI.

Should The FBI Be Abolished? – American Spectator
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American Spectator
Should The FBI Be Abolished?
American Spectator
On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller now Special Counsel is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was 

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Russias Gay Demons | by Robert Cottrell
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by Masha Gessen

Riverhead, 515 pp., $28.00

Early in Vladimir Putin’s first presidency I spoke to a Moscow banker, with reason to care on this point, who said he detected no trace of anti-Semitism in Putin personally, but that Putin would encourage popular anti-Semitism in a second if he thought that doing so would serve his interests. So far, Putin has not felt the need to demonize Russia’s Jews. He has instead identified the enemy within as Russia’s homosexuals, whose persecution is one of the main themes of The Future Is History, Masha Gessen’s remarkable group portrait of seven Soviet-born Russians whose changing lives embody the changing fortunes and character of their country as it passed from the end of Communist dictatorship under Mikhail Gorbachev to improvised liberalism under Boris Yeltsin and then back to what Gessen sees as renewed totalitarianism under Putin.

Two of Gessen’s central characters, Masha* and Lyosha, were born into the educated middle class of the 1980s. Two more characters of the same generation have lives touched by great privilege: Seryozha is the grandson of Alexander Yakovlev, who was Gorbachev’s close adviser and a longtime member of the Central Committee; Zhanna is the daughter of Boris Nemtsov, a minister under Yeltsin and a dissident murdered under Putin. All four are encountered first in childhood and referred to throughout by their childhood names. Three characters appear first as adults, with private and public lives. Alexander Dugin is a philosopher who develops an ideology of Russian exceptionalism that wins him fame and favor under Putin. Lev Gudkov is a sociologist who seeks to model the emerging new Russia. Marina Arutyunyan is a psychologist who reestablishes the practice of psychoanalysis in Russia after its disappearance under communism.

Gessen’s deft blending of these stories gives us a fresh view of recent Russian history from within, as it was experienced at the time by its people. It is a welcome perspective. In turbulent periods, anything seems possible. Only with hindsight does causality creep in, and with it the illusion of inevitability. The infinite possibilities of the moment are lost. Through the eyes of her characters, Gessen manages to restore those possibilities, to convey how it felt to imagine that life in the new Russia could go in any direction.

The tension between experience and hindsight is there within Gessen’s writing. She alternately zooms in on the lives of her characters and zooms out to give more general accounts of the major events of the time—the putsch against Gorbachev in 1991, Yeltsin’s shelling of the Russian White House in 1993, the reelection of Yeltsin as president in 1996, the handover of power to Putin in 2000, and so on. How familiar these events appear when Gessen arranges them in their historical order, and how unfamiliar they appear when we see them as fragments of experience. On one side is the historian explaining the rise of Putin as a logical reaction to the failings of Yeltsin. On the other is Masha’s mother, wondering how on earth that dull man she met while selling insurance in St. Petersburg a few years back is now the prime minister.

Gessen was born in Moscow, emigrated to America with her family as a teenager in 1981, and returned to Russia ten years later to pursue a distinguished career as a journalist and LGBT activist. She came back to America in 2013, fearing that if she stayed in Russia, official hostility toward homosexuals could result in her children being seized by the state. Russia’s persecution of homosexuals is the strand of Gessen’s book that shows Putin at his cruelest. She arranges this narrative around Lyosha, who was born near Perm in 1985, and who was fifteen, on holiday in Crimea, when he recognized himself as gay:

When he saw other boys, teenagers like himself or young men, dressed, like he was, in only a pair of small black bathing trunks, he felt heat shoot excruciatingly through his body and a thrilling invisible shiver set in. It happened every day after that first time…. I am a pervert, he thought. I am sick. I am the only person in the world who feels this way.

The early post-Soviet period was not the very worst of times to be gay in Russia. Between 1989 and 1994, according to surveys conducted by the Russian sociologist Yuri Levada, support for “liquidating deviants” fell from 31 percent to 23 percent. It fell again to 15 percent in 1999, shortly before Lyosha had his realization. Homosexuality was no longer illegal. Teachers and doctors could talk about it if they wanted to. Lyosha did not much want to talk, but after a horrible beating from a local thug who was tipped off by a suspicious classmate, he opened up to a school counselor and discovered the liberating power of a sympathetic ear. He returned energized to his studies, graduated with distinction, and came out.

Lyosha built an academic career as a pioneer of gender and LGBT studies at Perm University, but when government-sanctioned hate campaigns made his work impossible and put his life in danger, he left the country. The sadistic murder in 2013 of a young gay man in Volgograd made a deep impression on him, and Gessen’s account of it will make a deep impression on you too. Whatever Putin’s legacy, it includes—among other results of his state-approved homophobia—three bloody beer bottles and one dead boy.

Demonizing homosexuality is, most obviously, a way for Putin to assert Russia’s superiority over the West. The West’s acceptance of homosexuality is given as proof of its moral and social collapse. Putin also sees, correctly, that the equality of all sexual orientations is widely proclaimed in the West but not uniformly accepted, allowing Russia to pose as a beacon of hope for Western reactionaries. To make homosexuality seem truly evil even to Russians who had ceased to think of it as such, Putin conflated it with pedophilia. If, in the age-old anti-Semitic narrative, “they” were conspiring to steal the nation’s money, in Putin’s anti-gay narrative “they” are conspiring to steal the nation’s children.

As Gessen recounts, Putin encountered few obstacles in selling this notion to the public. Politicians competed to imagine new crimes with which LGBT people could be charged and new punishments for them. Even to contest the conflation of homosexuality with pedophilia marked the objector as a friend of the pedophile conspiracy. The crudeness and viciousness of views expressed in parliament and the media verged on the medieval. According to Dmitry Kiselev, a host on state-owned television: “If [gays] should die in a car accident, we need to bury their hearts underground or burn them; they are unsuitable for the aiding of anyone’s life.”

I suppose it is worth pointing out that just as my banker friend did not think Putin to be personally anti-Semitic, so I doubt that Putin hungers to murder homosexuals with his own bare hands. He might even enjoy the company of a gay grandson. When Oliver Stone asked him a question about gay rights in a recent series of interviews, Putin responded much as a middle-aged Western male might have responded forty years ago, jocularly and gingerly:

Putin: Sometimes I visit events where people publicly declare that they’re homosexuals, these events are attended by such people and we communicate and have good relations.

Stone: Is that true in the military as well?

Putin: There’s no restriction.

Stone: No restriction in the military? I mean, if you’re taking a shower in a submarine and you know he’s gay, do they have a problem with that?

Putin: [laughs] Well, I prefer not to go to the shower with him. Why provoke him?

At such moments, thinking of a young man on a park bench in Volgograd with three beer bottles up his rectum, you have to wonder about the mixture in Putin’s character of the stupid, the brilliant, the evil, and the naive.

While Lyosha very wisely gets out of Russia, Seryozha gets by there, Zhanna gets on, and Masha gets involved with the 2011 protest movement organized by Boris Nemtsov—Zhanna’s father—and by Alexei Navalny, a younger dissident. It is an uneasy alliance. Navalny is a nationalist, whereas Nemtsov is the last and best survivor of Yeltsin-era liberalism, perhaps the last true liberal to have held any meaningful political power in Russia. When Nemtsov is murdered within sight of the Kremlin in 2015, apparently for his opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Zhanna blames the killing squarely on Putin. Others report that Putin is both surprised and angered by Nemtsov’s murder, less because he has any affection for Nemtsov than because a high-profile assassination in the center of Moscow is a direct challenge to his own monopoly on violence.

The outlier among Gessen’s seven is Alexander Dugin, the only one to favor repression, to reject freedom, to want more and better Putinism. He is too big and too strange to fit easily into the story, and instead haunts its margins. Dugin has always seemed to me a bogus thinker, a fantasist, an opportunist. But others take him seriously, and he emerges from Gessen’s account as a prodigious consumer and manipulator of philosophy and political science.

Dugin was expelled from college and has been deeply influenced by Heidegger and Hitler. He’s allegedly capable of learning a new European language in two weeks merely from reading books in that language. He appropriates the arguments of the Russian Eurasianists, including the émigré linguist Nikolai Trubetskoy and the Soviet ethnographer Lev Gumilev, to the effect that Russia’s geographical sprawl between Europe and Asia gives the nation a unique, non-Western character. Russia is not a country, but a civilization. The Russian identity belongs not to the Russian Federation but to the “Russian World,” and the West is the natural enemy of the Russian World.

Dugin had his wilderness years in the 1990s, but with the arrival of Putin his influence rocketed. His Eurasian Youth Union marched through Moscow. He was given a teaching job at Moscow State University. When, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Putin referred on television to “a Russian person, or, to speak more broadly, a person of the Russian World,” Dugin’s happiness was complete. He was putting words into Putin’s mouth that articulated in a suitably lofty manner their common vision of ethnic, cultural, and religious Russian supremacy. Dugin wants his Russian World to be totalitarian, which is to say, a world in which the state polices everybody’s thoughts as well as everybody’s actions. He opposes universal human rights and the rule of law as alien ideas from the hostile West.

Gessen claims in her title that Russia is already totalitarian. I imagine that Dugin would disagree. And from a different perspective, so would I. Take, for example, Gessen’s account of a moment after Masha has been arrested as a political protester in 2012. Under prolonged police investigation, she goes to stay in her mother-in-law’s dacha outside Moscow. The neighboring dacha belongs to a senior police officer called Natalia. The two fall into conversation:

“Hey, you are part of the Bolotnoye case, aren’t you,” she asked when they were having a cigarette Masha’s first night at the dacha. It was cool and quiet and you could see the stars.

“Yeah,” said Masha.

“Who is your investigator?”

“Grachev.”

“Ah, Timokha!” Natalia’s voice sang with the joy of recognition. “He is one of mine. I had to send three people. It’s a big case. He doing his job?”

“Oh, he is doing his job, all right.”

“Good. Say hi to him there.”

That is not my idea of how life proceeds in a totalitarian society. I sense in this brief exchange humanity and sincerity on both sides. I do not want to generalize too much from this. Many horrible things happen in Russian police stations. But totalitarianism ought surely to be total, if only among the police.

The idea of categorizing dictatorships as either authoritarian or totalitarian is a twentieth-century one. Totalitarianism took as its examples Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. The distinction was of practical significance during the cold war, when there was a political need in the West to distinguish between cruel regimes that the US supported (Pinochet’s Chile, the Shah’s Iran) and cruel regimes that the US opposed (China, the USSR). The former were deemed authoritarian, the latter totalitarian. Totalitarian regimes were beyond hope of improvement; authoritarian regimes were not.

If we accept the distinction between an authoritarian desire to control behavior and a totalitarian desire to control thought, then, as Gessen shows, Russia crossed that line some time ago under Putin. But what if you set Russia alongside North Korea? Putin wants all Russians to think like him, whereas Kim Jong-un would rather his subjects not think at all. That is not a very encouraging distinction, but at the darker end of government, it is surely one worth maintaining.

One problem with trying to understand totalitarianism is that, to the extent it succeeds, it is impenetrable to outsiders. Everything that is said and thought is the product of propaganda. Lev Gudkov, the sociologist in Gessen’s book, has a lucid account of this problem that merits quoting at some length, in Gessen’s paraphrase:

Looking from the outside in, one cannot see, for example, whether people attend a parade because they are forced to do so or because they so desire. Researchers generally assumed one or the other: either that people were passive victims or that they were fervent believers. But on the inside, both assumptions were wrong, for all the people at the parade…and for each one of them individually. They did not feel like helpless victims, but they did not feel like fanatics either. They felt normal. They were members of a society. The parades and various other forms of collective life gave them a sense of belonging that humans generally need…. They would not be lying if they said that they wanted to be part of the parade, or the collective in general—and that if they exerted pressure on others to be a part of a collective too, they did so willingly.

Another problem with trying to arrive at an account of totalitarianism—at least from a Western point of view—is that totalitarian societies are by definition the enemy, so we are not terribly interested in what their better points might be. “After the fall of the Soviet Union made it easier to study the country that had been,” Gessen writes, referring to the work of Sheila Fitzpatrick and others, “academics began noting how much richer private life had been in the USSR than they had once thought, how inconsistent and how widely disregarded the ideology, and how comparatively mild police enforcement became after Stalin’s death.”

This seems to be borne out by the lives of Gessen’s older characters. Even in the 1960s and 1970s, long before Gorbachev cracked open the old certainties, Arutyunyan the psychologist and Gudkov the sociologist were finding that Soviet academia allowed them a fair amount of room to maneuver, as long as this was exercised discreetly and deniably. For example, although you could not study the problems of Soviet society (Soviet society had only solutions), you could still study sociology so long as you pretended to be denouncing Western sociological theories, or if you called it something else. Gudkov’s mentor, Yuri Levada, was allowed to set up a department within the Academy of Sciences called the Institute for Concrete Social Studies. I also admire Gessen’s line that “the Soviet system offered not a vision of the future but the ability to know one’s future, much as tradesmen did in feudal times, and to make very small-scale, manageable decisions about the future.” If this was totalitarianism, you start to see why so many Russians wanted Putin to turn the clock back.

Gudkov argues that, in fact, the clock never moved. It was always striking thirteen. Institutions and systems designed for a totalitarian Soviet Union survived with little or no change into the new Russian state, encouraging totalitarian behavior to return through them. Elections became public displays of support for the regime, just like parades. Public protest was more frequent in Putin’s Russia than it had been in the Soviet Union, but only because the regime had reached a new understanding that street demonstrations changed nothing—on the contrary, they helped to maintain the existing order. Dissidents revealed themselves and were arrested. The rest of society was reassured by the regime’s show of power in shutting the demonstrations down.

Gudkov fears that the Soviet system has reshaped the Russian national character to such an extent that Russians can willingly recreate a totalitarian society among themselves even without compulsion from the state to do so. A corollary of that argument is that Russia can have a totalitarian society even without a totalitarian state—a useful formulation if one takes the view that the ultimate aim of the Putin regime is the accumulation of wealth even more than the accumulation of power. Thus Gessen, when she discusses the ideas of the Hungarian political scientist Bálint Magyar, can speak of Russia as a “mafia state ruling over a totalitarian society.”

With all due respect to Gessen and to Gudkov, the term “totalitarian” is being used loosely here. It may be useful to invoke the prospect of totalitarianism as a rhetorical way of alerting Russians to the fact that their government is a danger to themselves and to others. But to claim that Russia is already totalitarian is to absolve Russians in general from what is done in their name by proposing that they have been indoctrinated into acquiescence. One risks imagining a Russian nation which, freed from thought control, reveals itself to be liberal and freedom-loving. This is exactly the mistake that Westerners made when Soviet communism was on its last legs thirty years ago—and when, as Gessen so poignantly shows, what was revealed was the appetite for a newer and better dictator.

My own view of Putin is that he came to power fully intending to be an authoritarian leader but also to allow some small degree of pluralism in politics and some larger degree of liberalism in private life and business, on the purely pragmatic grounds that he knew from Soviet times the weakness of totalitarianism. He would rather be Lee Kuan Yew than Robert Mugabe. But he found it personally intolerable to be criticized, let alone thwarted, so freedom to oppose him politically soon disappeared. Economics was a closed book to Putin when he took power, but he came to understand that a thriving market economy required a well-functioning rule of law capable of constraining even government—and that was the death knell for the market economy. Freedom in private life lasted rather longer, but was eventually curtailed, most obviously in the sexual domain, when the stagnating regime needed new ways to mobilize popular support.

The theater and film director Andrei Konchalovsky, quoted by Christian Neef in Der Spiegel, sees roughly the same trajectory in Putin’s career, but attributes it to pressure from below:

Putin initially thought like a Westerner, but ultimately realized why every Russian ruler struggles to lead this nation: Because its inhabitants, in accordance with an unshakable tradition, freely delegate all their power to a single person, and then wait for that power to take care of them, without doing anything themselves.

We are close here to the dilemma of Bertolt Brecht’s poem “The Solution,” about the anti-Communist uprising in East Germany in 1953, and a thought that must have struck every observer of Russia at some time or other:

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

John Raines, 84; was accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses – The Boston Globe
mikenova shared this story from fbi – Google News.
John Raines, 84; was accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses
The Boston Globe
The cache of documents they stole revealed a sweeping campaign of intimidation by the FBI, then led by J. Edgar Hoover, against civil rights and antiwar activists, communists, and other dissenters. One now-infamous document told agents to ramp up …

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Rumors Fly About The ‘Last Year Of Putin’
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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attends the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. Media rumors of his desire to retire from politics went public over the weekend with an article by The Independent. (Photo by JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)

For the last three months, rumors within Russia media circles have been circulating that Vladimir Putin might not run for president next year. He has yet to make an announcement of his candidacy. And now the Independent newspaper out of London has taken those rumors live.  The cat is now out of the bag.

The takeaway: no matter if Putin wins, this is his last turn as President. In six years, at the latest, Russia will be without their longest running president since the days of the Soviet Union.

Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Kremlin advisor and head of the Effective Politics Foundation, told The Independent’s Oliver Carroll that the Putin era has entered a “terminal” phase. “Whichever way you play it, this campaign is about transitioning to a post-Putin Russia,” he told the paper.

Like all things politics, Carroll had to rely on Wall Street’s version of the “whisper numbers” regarding Putin’s desire to run again. The article may ultimately get an answer from Team Putin as to his 2018 election plans. If he runs, everybody knows he is a shoo-in. There is no effective opposition. Even Western darling Alexei Navalny barely polls at 10% and has almost no support in the Rusian parliament. His Progress Party has precisely zero seats.

One of the only real challengers to the United Russia party of Putin are the communists and the ultra-nationalist, ironically named Liberal Democrats, run by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He would make Putin look like George W. Bush to those who have no love for Donald Trump.

The Communist Party is run by Gennady Andreyevich Zyugano. He garnered 17% of the vote in 2012, the only contender to Putin. Some argue that he is the only contender allowed to run. Others believe that even if Navalny was allowed to run for the presidency despite having no political presence in either house of Congress, that the anti-Russia rhetoric coming from the U.S. would persist. In other words, a Putin exit is by no means a white flag waving high above the Kremlin for Washington to see.

Gennady Zuganov, Russia’sn communist party leader. He came in second against Putin in 2012. Some say United Russia always puts Putin up against weak candidates. Still, Putin’s approval rating is at least 60%. (Photo by MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries – NBC New York
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NBC New York
Scaffolding Collapses in SoHo, Reports of Injuries
NBC New York
A bystander shot this video of firefighters responding to a scaffolding collapse in SoHo. Credit: @eringoscratch/Instagram (Published 19 minutes ago). A large scaffolding collapsed in SoHo, scattering debris across the street, photos and video from the 
Wooden planks everywhere as scaffolding collapses into the street in Lower ManhattanWABC-TV
Breaking: Scaffolding collapse causes injuries in NYC amid gusty windsAccuWeather.com
Several Injured After Scaffold Crashes Onto SoHo StreetCBS New York

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8:57 PM 11/18/2017 John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12
mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

John Raines – Google Search Saturday November 18th, 2017 at 9:02 PM 1 Share John Raines – Google Search Saturday November 18th, 2017 at 9:01 PM John Raines – Google News 1 Share John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses … The Boston Globe–2 hours ago WASHINGTON For 43 years, John Raines, a Temple University religion … Continue reading”8:57 PM 11/18/2017 – John Raines, accomplice in 1971 burglary that revealed FBI abuses, died at 84 on Nov. 12″

fbi – Google News: EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds … – Daily Mail
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Daily Mail
EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds …
Daily Mail
A letter newly released from the FBI’s archives may prove that DB Cooper – the 1971 hijacker last seen leaping out of a plane with a fortune in cash – survived his apparent death. The letter, which was sent 17 days after the hijacking appears to 
Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-upseattlepi.com

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fbi – Google News: Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up – seattlepi.com
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seattlepi.com
Investigators: DB Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up
seattlepi.com
Investigators: D.B. Cooper letter confirms suspect, FBI cover-up. A fifth Cooper letter obtained through FOIA, allegedly from the real hijacker, team says, FBI not interested in revisiting case. By Daniel DeMay, SeattlePI …
EXCLUSIVE: Was DB Cooper’s escape COVERED UP by the FBI? A letter that spent 46 years buried in the feds …Daily Mail

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The Hidden History of Trumps First Trip to Moscow
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It was 1984 and General Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov had a problem. The general occupied one of the KGB’s most exalted posts. He was head of the First Chief Directorate, the prestigious KGB arm responsible for gathering foreign intelligence.

Kryuchkov had begun his career with five years at the Soviet mission in Budapest under Ambassador Yuri Andropov. In 1967 Andropov became KGB chairman. Kryuchkov went to Moscow, took up a number of sensitive posts, and established a reputation as a devoted and hardworking officer. By 1984, Kryuchkov’s directorate in Moscow was bigger than ever before—12,000 officers, up from about 3,000 in the 1960s. His headquarters at Yasenevo, on the wooded southern outskirts of the city, was expanding: Workmen were busy constructing a 22-story annex and a new 11-story building.

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In politics, change was in the air. Soon a new man would arrive in the Kremlin, Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s policy of detente with the West—a refreshing contrast to the global confrontation of previous general secretaries—meant the directorate’s work abroad was more important than ever.

Kryuchkov faced several challenges. First, a hawkish president, Ronald Reagan, was in power in Washington. The KGB regarded his two predecessors, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, as weak. By contrast Reagan was seen as a potent adversary. The directorate was increasingly preoccupied with what it believed—wrongly—was an American plot to conduct a preemptive nuclear strike against the USSR.

It was around this time that Donald Trump appears to have attracted the attention of Soviet intelligence. How that happened, and where that relationship began, is an answer hidden somewhere in the KGB’s secret archives. Assuming, that is, that the documents still exist.

Trump’s first visit to Soviet Moscow in 1987 looks, with hindsight, to be part of a pattern. The dossier by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele asserts that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years” before his stunning victory in the 2016 US presidential election. This would take us back to around 2011 or 2012.

In fact, the Soviet Union was interested in him too, three decades earlier. The top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB. It took place while Kryuchkov was seeking to improve the KGB’s operational techniques in one particular and sensitive area. The spy chief wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans.

In addition to shifting politics in Moscow, Kryuchkov’s difficulty had to do with intelligence gathering. The results from KGB officers abroad had been disappointing. Too often they would pretend to have obtained information from secret sources. In reality, they had recycled material from newspapers or picked up gossip over lunch with a journalist. Too many residencies had “paper agents” on their books: targets for recruitment who had nothing to do with real intelligence.

Kryuchkov sent out a series of classified memos to KGB heads of station. Oleg Gordievsky—formerly based in Denmark and then in Great Britain—copied them and passed them to British intelligence. He later co-published them with the historian Christopher Andrew under the title Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations 1975–1985.

In January 1984 Kryuchkov addressed the problem during a biannual review held in Moscow, and at a special conference six months later. The urgent subject: how to improve agent recruitment. The general urged his officers to be more “creative.” Previously they had relied on identifying candidates who showed ideological sympathy toward the USSR: leftists, trade unionists and so on. By the mid-1980s these were not so many. So KGB officers should “make bolder use of material incentives”: money. And use flattery, an important tool.

The Center, as KGB headquarters was known, was especially concerned about its lack of success in recruiting US citizens, according to Andrew and Gordievsky. The PR Line—that is, the Political Intelligence Department stationed in KGB residencies abroad—was given explicit instructions to find “U.S. targets to cultivate or, at the very least, official contacts.” “The main effort must be concentrated on acquiring valuable agents,” Kryuchkov said.

The memo—dated February 1, 1984—was to be destroyed as soon as its contents had been read. It said that despite improvements in “information gathering,” the KGB “has not had great success in operation against the main adversary [America].”

One solution was to make wider use of “the facilities of friendly intelligence services”—for example, Czechoslovakian or East German spy networks.

And: “Further improvement in operational work with agents calls for fuller and wider utilisation of confidential and special unofficial contacts. These should be acquired chiefly among prominent figures in politics and society, and important representatives of business and science.” These should not only “supply valuable information” but also “actively influence” a country’s foreign policy “in a direction of advantage to the USSR.”

There were, of course, different stages of recruitment. Typically, a case officer would invite a target to lunch. The target would be classified as an “official contact.” If the target appeared responsive, he (it was rarely she) would be promoted to a “subject of deep study,” an obyekt razrabotki. The officer would build up a file, supplemented by official and covert material. That might include readouts from conversations obtained through bugging by the KGB’s technical team.

The KGB also distributed a secret personality questionnaire, advising case officers what to look for in a successful recruitment operation. In April 1985 this was updated for “prominent figures in the West.” The directorate’s aim was to draw the target “into some form of collaboration with us.” This could be “as an agent, or confidential or special or unofficial contact.”

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The form demanded basic details—name, profession, family situation, and material circumstances. There were other questions, too: what was the likelihood that the “subject could come to power (occupy the post of president or prime minister)”? And an assessment of personality. For example: “Are pride, arrogance, egoism, ambition or vanity among subject’s natural characteristics?”

The most revealing section concerned kompromat. The document asked for: “Compromising information about subject, including illegal acts in financial and commercial affairs, intrigues, speculation, bribes, graft … and exploitation of his position to enrich himself.” Plus “any other information” that would compromise the subject before “the country’s authorities and the general public.” Naturally the KGB could exploit this by threatening “disclosure.”

Finally, “his attitude towards women is also of interest.” The document wanted to know: “Is he in the habit of having affairs with women on the side?”

When did the KGB open a file on Donald Trump? We don’t know, but Eastern Bloc security service records suggest this may have been as early as 1977. That was the year when Trump married Ivana Zelnickova, a twenty-eight-year-old model from Czechoslovakia. Zelnickova was a citizen of a communist country. She was therefore of interest both to the Czech intelligence service, the StB, and to the FBI and CIA.

During the Cold War, Czech spies were known for their professionalism. Czech and Hungarian officers were typically used in espionage actions abroad, especially in the United States and Latin America. They were less obvious than Soviet operatives sent by Moscow.

Zelnickova was born in Zlin, an aircraft manufacturing town in Moravia. Her first marriage was to an Austrian real estate agent. In the early 1970s she moved to Canada, first to Toronto and then to Montreal, to be with a ski instructor boyfriend. Exiting Czechoslovakia during this period was, the files said, “incredibly difficult.” Zelnickova moved to New York. In April 1977 she married Trump.

According to files in Prague, declassified in 2016, Czech spies kept a close eye on the couple in Manhattan. (The agents who undertook this task were code-named Al Jarza and Lubos.) They opened letters sent home by Ivana to her father, Milos, an engineer. Milos was never an agent or asset. But he had a functional relationship with the Czech secret police, who would ask him how his daughter was doing abroad and in return permit her visits home. There was periodic surveillance of the Trump family in the United States. And when Ivana and Donald Trump, Jr., visited Milos in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, further spying, or “cover.”

Like with other Eastern Bloc agencies, the Czechs would have shared their intelligence product with their counterparts in Moscow, the KGB. Trump may have been of interest for several reasons. One, his wife came from Eastern Europe. Two—at a time after 1984 when the Kremlin was experimenting with perestroika, or Communist Party reform—Trump had a prominent profile as a real estate developer and tycoon. According to the Czech files, Ivana mentioned her husband’s growing interest in politics. Might Trump at some stage consider a political career?

The KGB wouldn’t invite someone to Moscow out of altruism. Dignitaries flown to the USSR on expenses-paid trips were typically left-leaning writers or cultural figures. The state would expend hard currency; the visitor would say some nice things about Soviet life; the press would report these remarks, seeing in them a stamp of approval.

Despite Gorbachev’s policy of engagement, he was still a Soviet leader. The KGB continued to view the West with deep suspicion. It carried on with efforts to subvert Western institutions and acquire secret sources, with NATO its No. 1 strategic intelligence target.

At this point it is unclear how the KGB regarded Trump. To become a full KGB agent, a foreigner had to agree to two things. (An “agent” in a Russian or British context was a secret intelligence source.) One was “conspiratorial collaboration.” The other was willingness to take KGB instruction.

According to Andrew and Gordievsky’s book Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, targets who failed to meet these criteria were classified as “confidential contacts.” The Russian word was doveritelnaya svyaz. The aspiration was to turn trusted contacts into full-blown agents, an upper rung of the ladder.

As Kryuchkov explained, KGB residents were urged to abandon “stereotyped methods” of recruitment and use more flexible strategies—if necessary getting their wives or other family members to help.

Story Continued Below

As Trump tells it, the idea for his first trip to Moscow came after he found himself seated next to the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin. This was in autumn 1986; the event was a luncheon held by Leonard Lauder, the businessman son of Estée Lauder. Dubinin’s daughter Natalia “had read about Trump Tower and knew all about it,” Trump said in his 1987 bestseller, The Art of the Deal.

Trump continued: “One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel, across the street from the Kremlin, in partnership with the Soviet government.”

Trump’s chatty version of events is incomplete. According to Natalia Dubinina, the actual story involved a more determined effort by the Soviet government to seek out Trump. In February 1985 Kryuchkov complained again about “the lack of appreciable results of recruitment against the Americans in most Residencies.” The ambassador arrived in New York in March 1986. His original job was Soviet ambassador to the U.N.; his daughter Dubinina was already living in the city with her family, and she was part of the Soviet U.N. delegation.

Dubinin wouldn’t have answered to the KGB. And his role wasn’t formally an intelligence one. But he would have had close contacts with the power apparatus in Moscow. He enjoyed greater trust than other, lesser ambassadors.

Dubinina said she picked up her father at the airport. It was his first time in New York City. She took him on a tour. The first building they saw was Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, she told Komsomolskaya Pravdanewspaper. Dubinin was so excited he decided to go inside to meet the building’s owner. They got into the elevator. At the top, Dubinina said, they met Trump.

The ambassador—“fluent in English and a brilliant master of negotiations”—charmed the busy Trump, telling him: “The first thing I saw in the city is your tower!”

Dubinina said: “Trump melted at once. He is an emotional person, somewhat impulsive. He needs recognition. And, of course, when he gets it he likes it. My father’s visit worked on him [Trump] like honey to a bee.”

This encounter happened six months before the Estée Lauder lunch. In Dubinina’s account she admits her father was trying to hook Trump. The man from Moscow wasn’t a wide-eyed rube but a veteran diplomat who served in France and Spain, and translated for Nikita Khrushchev when he met with Charles de Gaulle at the Elysée Palace in Paris. He had seen plenty of impressive buildings. Weeks after his first Trump meeting, Dubinin was named Soviet ambassador to Washington.

Dubinina’s own role is interesting. According to a foreign intelligence archive smuggled to the West, the Soviet mission to the U.N. was a haven for the KGB and GRU (Soviet military intelligence). Many of the 300 Soviet nationals employed at the U.N. secretariat were Soviet intelligence officers working undercover, including as personal assistants to secretary-generals. The Soviet U.N. delegation had greater success in finding agents and gaining political intelligence than the KGB’s New York residency.

Dubinin’s other daughter, Irina, said that her late father—he died in 2013—was on a mission as ambassador. This was, she said, to make contact with America’s business elite. For sure, Gorbachev’s Politburo was interested in understanding capitalism. But Dubinin’s invitation to Trump to visit Moscow looks like a classic cultivation exercise, which would have had the KGB’s full support and approval.

In The Art of the Deal, Trump writes: “In January 1987, I got a letter from Yuri Dubinin, the Soviet ambassador to the United States, that began: ‘It is a pleasure for me to relay some good news from Moscow.’ It went on to say that the leading Soviet state agency for international tourism, Goscomintourist, had expressed interest in pursuing a joint venture to construct and manage a hotel in Moscow.”

There were many ambitious real estate developers in the United States—why had Moscow picked Trump?

According to Viktor Suvorov—a former GRU military spy—and others, the KGB ran Intourist, the agency to which Trump referred. It functioned as a subsidiary KGB branch. Initiated in 1929 by Stalin, Intourist was the Soviet Union’s official state travel agency. Its job was to vet and monitor all foreigners coming into the Soviet Union. “In my time it was KGB,” Suvorov said. “They gave permission for people to visit.” The KGB’s first and second directorates routinely received lists of prospective visitors to the country based on their visa applications.

As a GRU operative, Suvorov was personally involved in recruitment, albeit for a rival service to the KGB. Soviet spy agencies were always interested in cultivating “young ambitious people,” he said—an upwardly mobile businessman, a scientist, a “guy with a future.”

Story Continued Below

Once in Moscow, they would receive lavish hospitality. “Everything is free. There are good parties with nice girls. It could be a sauna and girls and who knows what else.” The hotel rooms or villa were under “24-hour control,” with “security cameras and so on,” Suvorov said. “The interest is only one. To collect some information and keep that information about him for the future.”

These dirty-tricks operations were all about the long term, Suvorov said. The KGB would expend effort on visiting students from the developing world, not least Africa. After 10 or 20 years, some of them would be “nobody.” But others would have risen to positions of influence in their own countries.

Suvorov explained: “It’s at this point you say: ‘Knock, knock! Do you remember the marvelous time in Moscow? It was a wonderful evening. You were so drunk. You don’t remember? We just show you something for your good memory.’”

Over in the communist German Democratic Republic, one of Kryuchkov’s 34-year-old officers—one Vladimir Putin—was busy trying to recruit students from Latin America. Putin arrived in Dresden in August 1985, together with his pregnant wife, Lyudmila, and one-year-old daughter, Maria. They lived in a KGB apartment block.

According to the writer Masha Gessen, one of Putin’s tasks was to try to befriend foreigners studying at the Dresden University of Technology. The hope was that, if recruited, the Latin Americans might work in the United States as undercover agents, reporting back to the Center. Putin set about this together with two KGB colleagues and a retired Dresden policeman.

Precisely what Putin did while working for the KGB’s First Directorate in Dresden is unknown. It may have included trying to recruit Westerners visiting Dresden on business and East Germans with relatives in the West. Putin’s efforts, Gessen suggests, were mostly a failure. He did manage to recruit a Colombian student. Overall his operational results were modest.

By January 1987, Trump was closer to the “prominent person” status of Kryuchkov’s note. Dubinin deemed Trump interesting enough to arrange his trip to Moscow. Another thirtysomething U.S.-based Soviet diplomat, Vitaly Churkin—the future U.N. ambassador—helped put it together. On July 4, 1987, Trump flew to Moscow for the first time, together with Ivana and Lisa Calandra, Ivana’s Italian-American assistant.

Moscow was, Trump wrote, “an extraordinary experience.” The Trumps stayed in Lenin’s suite at the National Hotel, at the bottom of Tverskaya Street, near Red Square. Seventy years earlier, in October 1917, Lenin and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, had spent a week in room 107. The hotel was linked to the glass-and-concrete Intourist complex next door and was— in effect—under KGB control. The Lenin suite would have been bugged.

Meanwhile, the mausoleum containing the Bolshevik leader’s embalmed corpse was a short walk away. Other Soviet leaders were interred beneath the Kremlin’s wall in a communist pantheon: Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov—Kryuchkov’s old mentor—and Dzerzhinsky.

According to The Art of the Deal, Trump toured “a half dozen potential sites for a hotel, including several near Red Square.” “I was impressed with the ambition of Soviet officials to make a deal,” he writes. He also visited Leningrad, later St. Petersburg. A photo shows Donald and Ivana standing in Palace Square—he in a suit, she in a red polka dot blouse with a string of pearls. Behind them are the Winter Palace and the state Hermitage museum.

That July the Soviet press wrote enthusiastically about the visit of a foreign celebrity. This was Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel Prize–winning novelist and journalist. Pravda featured a long conversation between the Colombian guest and Gorbachev. García Márquez spoke of how South Americans, himself included, sympathized with socialism and the USSR. Moscow brought García Márquez over for a film festival.

Trump’s visit appears to have attracted less attention. There is no mention of him in Moscow’s Russian State Library newspaper archive. (Either his visit went unreported or any articles featuring it have been quietly removed.) Press clippings do record a visit by a West German official and an Indian cultural festival.

The KGB’s private dossier on Trump, by contrast, would have gotten larger. The agency’s multipage profile would have been enriched with fresh material, including anything gleaned via eavesdropping.

Nothing came of the trip—at least nothing in terms of business opportunities inside Russia. This pattern of failure would be repeated in Trump’s subsequent trips to Moscow. But Trump flew back to New York with a new sense of strategic direction. For the first time he gave serious indications that he was considering a career in politics. Not as mayor or governor or senator.

Trump was thinking about running for president.

The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow – POLITICO Magazine
mikenova shared this story from former FBI agents power influence – Google News.

POLITICO Magazine
The Hidden History of Trump’s First Trip to Moscow
POLITICO Magazine
The dossier by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele asserts that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for at least five years before his stunning victory in the 2016 US presidential election. This would take … Too many 

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35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom
mikenova shared this story .

By Craig Osth, opinion contributor — 11/19/17 10:00 AM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

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35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom – The Hill
mikenova shared this story from Russian Intelligence services and international organized crime – Google News.

The Hill
35 Years with the CIA: Enemies, adversaries and threats to freedom
The Hill
Over 35 years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency hired me to become a case officer. I just retired after … At the same time, Vladimir Putin-led Russia regressed into Soviet Union lite. Putin’s Russia … Survival of the Soviet Union might have 
US Ambassador to Russia Attacks Moscow’s Pending Restrictions on US-funded News Agencies
mikenova shared this story from Voice of America.

The U.S. ambassador to Russia on Sunday attacked Moscow’s move toward forcing nine United States government-funded news operations to register as “foreign agents” as “a reach beyond” what the U.S. government did in requiring the Kremlin-funded RT television network to register as such in the United States. Ambassador Jon Huntsman said the Russian reaction is not “reciprocal at all” and Moscow’s move toward regulation of the news agencies, if it is implemented, would make “it virtually impossible for them to operate” in Russia. WATCH: Ambassador Jon Huntsman He said the eight-decade-old Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) under which RT has registered as a foreign agent is aimed at promoting transparency, but does not restrict the television network’s operation in the United States. Russia’s lower house of parliament approved amendments Wednesday to expand a 2012 law that targets non-governmental organizations, including foreign media. A declaration as a foreign agent would require foreign media to regularly disclose their objectives, full details of finances, funding sources and staffing. Media outlets also may be required to disclose on their social platforms and internet sites visible in Russia that they are “foreign agents.” The amendments also would allow the extrajudicial blocking of websites the Kremlin considers undesirable. The Russian Justice Ministry said Thursday it had notified the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and seven separate regional outlets active in Russia they could be affected. “It isn’t at all similar to what we’re doing under FARA  it’s a reach beyond,” Huntsman said. “And, we just think the principles of free media, in any free society and democracy, are absolutely critical to our strength, health, and well-being. Freedom of speech is part of that. So, that’s why I care about the issue. That’s why we in the embassy care about the issue. And, it’s why we’re going to follow the work that is going on in the Duma and the legislation that is being drafted, very very carefully, because we’re concerned about it.” The Justice Ministry said the new requirements in Russia were likely to become law “in the near future.” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said last week that if Russia imposes the new restrictions, “We can’t say at this time what effect this will have on our news-gathering operations within Russia. All we can say is that Voice of America is, by law, an independent, unbiased, fact-based news organization, and we remain committed to those principles.” RFE/RL President Tom Kent said until the legislation becomes law, “we do not know how the Ministry of Justice will use this law in the context of our work.”   Kent said unlike Sputnik and other Russian media operating in the United States, U.S. media outlets operating in Russia do not have access to cable television and radio frequencies. “Russian media in the U.S. are distributing their programs on American cable television. Sputnik has its own radio frequency in Washington. This means that even at the moment there is no equality,” he said. Serious blow to freedom The speaker of Russia’s lower house, the Duma, said last week that foreign-funded media outlets that refused to register as foreign agents under the proposed legislation would be prohibited from operating in the country. However, since the law’s language is so broad, it potentially could be used to target any foreign media group, especially if it is in conflict with the Kremlin. “We are watching carefully… to see whether it is passed and how it is implemented,” said Maria Olson, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. The Russian amendments, which Amnesty International said would inflict a “serious blow” to media freedom in Russia if they become law, were approved in response to a U.S. accusation that RT executed a Russian-mandated influence campaign on U.S. citizens during the 2016 presidential election, a charge the media channel denies. The U.S. intelligence community concluded in early 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally directed a campaign to undermine American democracy and help real estate mogul Donald Trump win the presidency. A criminal investigation of the interference is underway in the United States, as are numerous congressional probes. The foreign registration amendments must next be approved by the Russian Senate and then signed into law by Putin. RT, which is funded by the Kremlin to provide Russia’s perspective on global issues, confirmed last week it met the U.S. Justice Department’s deadline by registering as a foreign agent in the United States.

New US Sanctions to Be Directed at Putin Personally, Piontkovsky Says
mikenova shared this story from Window on Eurasia — New Series.

Paul Goble

Staunton, November 19 The United States is now prepared to impose sanctions in the harshest possible form, Andrey Piontkovsky says, thus directly affecting not only the business and political entourage of Vladimir Putin but also — and in ways that change the nature of the game — the Kremlin leader himself.

On Youtube yesterday, the émigré Russian analyst says it is his impression that the August 2 sanctions law will be carried out in the harshest possible form and that what is the most revolutionary aspect of the law is that this will be the first case when the head of the Russian state will turn up on this list (youtube.com/watch?v=xvbRqX5fYG0&feature=youtu.be).

The inclusion of Putin on this list is significant, Piontkovsky says, because normally such sanctions are imposed only on absolutely hardened rogues and criminals like Milosevich, the Sudanese president, someone from Equatorial Guinea and so on. For Putin to be on this list and for the Americans to put him there is thus a breakthrough.

He adds that US President Donald Trump, although he has opposed this measure despite signing it, will not be able to interfere with the imposition of sanctions. This is a government law, and any effort to sabotage it will have the most serious consequences for the incumbent of the White House.

In other comments, Piontkovsky argues that the approximately one trillion US dollars in illegal earnings of Russians now stashed abroad must be returned to the first post-mafia government of Russia, something requiring more changes in Russia than just a move to a post-Putin one.

It is a mistake to over-personalize things in the Russian case, he suggests. Putin may leave office but the essence of this mafia system will not change as a result by that alone. But seizing the assets of Putin and other Russians held abroad via the new sanctions law will help promote the necessary changes in Russia and bring closer the day these assets can be returned.


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1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)
Stars and Stripes: Afghanistans opium production rises as Taliban gain ground
Stars and Stripes: More Europe-based troops considered in House budget
Just Security: Yemen Strike Raises Questions About Whether the US Follows Its Own Drone Rules
In Homeland Security: China Sending Envoy To North Korea Following Trump Visit
Washington Free Beacon: Trump on Philippines Visit: I Was Forced to Watch Fake CNN
Just Security: The Internationalists Mini-Forum: Why Has War Declined?
The U.S. and Global Security Review: News Reviews and Opinions: 8:38 AM 11/15/2017 – Trump: We will be reciprocal….
Stars and Stripes: Pope auctions Lamborghini to rebuild Christian Iraq
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: US drone strike in Somalia kills ‘several’ with al-Shabab
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Just Security: The Early Edition: November 15, 2017
Washington Free Beacon: Zimbabwes Army Seizes Power, Targets Criminals Around Mugabe
Security Intelligence: Data Storage and Encryption Should Top the CISOs To-Do List
Stars and Stripes: New robotic hand named after Luke Skywalker helps amputee touch and feel again
The National Interest: In 2030, the U.S. Army Could Be Waging War With ‘Stealth’ Helicopters
fbi – Google News: FBI report for 2016 sees hate crimes on the rise – wtkr.com
Stars and Stripes: Gunmans family appalled by California rampage
Stars and Stripes: American returns to Yongsan schools name after public outcry
The National Interest: Su-27: This Plane Could Start a War Between Russia and NATO
Stars and Stripes: Dangerous Hawaii psychiatric patient flew to California
National Security: When the subject is Russia, Trumps advisers have spotty memories

 

1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)
Stars and Stripes: Afghanistans opium production rises as Taliban gain ground

Opium production has nearly doubled in Afghanistan in 2017, reaching a record high, according to a joint survey by the Afghan government and the United Nations.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: More Europe-based troops considered in House budget

Lawmakers want the military to draw up a strategy for stationing more troops in Europe and to reconsider future base closures, given concerns about a more assertive Russia.

Stars and Stripes

Just Security: Yemen Strike Raises Questions About Whether the US Follows Its Own Drone Rules

While we were visiting Yemen this month, the United States conducted a drone strike against alleged al-Qaeda members in Mareb Governorate, reportedly killing two suspects while they were traveling in a vehicle. As one of over 116 drone strikes in Yemen this year, the attack made little news. But the circumstances of this strike, combined with information shared with us by the governor of Mareb, a key U.S. ally, raise very serious questions about whether the U.S. is following its own drone strike rules, or, perhaps, whether those rules are actually in force.

U.S. policy and rules purport preference for capture of suspects 

For years, the U.S. government has told the American public and the international community that it only uses lethal force outside areas of active hostilities where conditions laid out in the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) (2013) are fulfilled. The PPG was announced to much fanfare in May 2013 by President Barack Obama, and it has been heralded by supporters as setting out strict rules for when lethal force can be used. Indeed, a major national security speech by Obama, and the publication of a summary of the rules in 2013, led to reduced criticism of U.S. lethal force operations in the following months.

The PPG emphasized a preference for capturing, rather than killing, suspects. The first page of the PPG included this key statement:

Capture operations offer the best opportunity for meaningful intelligence gain from counterterrorism (CT) operations and the mitigation and disruption of terrorist threats. Consequently, the United States prioritizes, as a matter of policy, the capture of terrorist suspects as a preferred option over lethal action and will therefore require a feasibility assessment of capture options as a component of any proposal for lethal action.

The PPG then set out that the before any operation could proceed, the following must be satisfied:

(i) an assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

(ii) an assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S. persons; and

(iii) an assessment that no other reasonable alternatives to lethal action exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

The rules have been key to U.S. government efforts to legitimize their lethal force: U.S. officials have often relied on these rules in responding to critiques about U.S. counterterrorism actions and allegations of civilian casualties and counterproductive operations.

Two developments under the Trump administration have cast doubt on where and how the PPG now applies to U.S. operations.

In March 2017, reports indicated that the Trump administration had granted Defense Department requests to deem areas of Yemen and Somalia as areas of active hostilities and thereby relax or exempt operations in such areas from the constraints imposed by the PPG.

In September, The New York Times Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt reported that the Trump administration was preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields. The article discussed a number of concerning proposed changes, but did not mention any changes to the capture feasibility rules. The NYT subsequently reported that the changes went through, although the administration has not released the new rules.

However, we have seen no reports that the rule requiring no feasibility of capture has been rescinded or loosened in the context of U.S. operations in Yemen.

Yemeni official puts capture preference into question

Earlier this month, we spent several hours meeting with Mareb Governor Sultan Bin Ali Al-Aradah. We discussed at length his views about counterterrorism and armed conflict in Yemen. As a local tribal leader and governor of the provincial stronghold of Hadi-led Yemeni government forces, Al-Aradah is a powerful and influential politicianand one of the most powerful Yemeni government officials in the country. A critical partner of the Saudi-led coalition and fierce opponent of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he is also an important local U.S. ally.

The governor told us that the Nov. 2 drone strike took place in an area that his security forces couldaccess. More generally, the governor lamented the United States failure to inform local officials, or to provide information that could lead or facilitate the capture of suspected members and leaders of AQAP. As long as were able to do the job ourselves, inform us.if we can, we want to arrest, he stated.

The governor is not a drone strike opponent. He stated that sometimes drones work, but he had real concerns about how the U.S. deploys its force in Yemen. He explained why he has voiced a strong preference for capturing al-Qaeda suspects, a preference which he stated he has shared with the U.S. ambassador to Yemen in the past. The governor explained that capture enabled questioning of suspects and created the potential for gaining critical information about armed group activity. He added that the unilateral nature of U.S. counterterrorism concerns him, and makes fighting AQAP harder for his government and security forces: Protect civilian lives, and the psychology of those in the city, and most important, we dont want to pass people to the sympathies of the terrorists He expressed concern about the U.S. relying on poor (mis)information, which led to mistakes in strikes and civilian harm, and the risk of creating more terrorists. The governor also argued that arresting suspects, often by working through tribal relations and customs, would help strengthen the rule of law, and expressed concerns about the legality of and accountability for U.S. drone strikes.

We want the state to stand on its feet and to take every criminal to courtand at the very least countries that use drones to come up with legal accountability for their use, Al-Aradah told us. Thats why I always say the flow of info and actions needs to come through local security agencies. Right now, there is no one to hold accountable.

During our conversation, the governor was flanked by his chief of security, chief of intelligence, and chief of special forces, all of whom expressed strong agreement with his points.

The governors criticism was also echoed by tribal sheikhs we met in Mareb.

The problem is that America takes the exclusive role on counter-terrorism, criticized tribal leader and member of parliament, Sheikh Ali abdu Rabu al-Qadhi.

Sheikh al-Qadhi added that such strikes, especially when they kill innocent civilians and individuals from prominent local families, can lead to AQAP expanding, and communities taking out grievances on tribal leaders and the local government. Sheikh al-Qadhi also criticized the legality of drone strikes: When a country like America chooses to assassinate outside the law, this is a big problem.

Other tribal leaders also expressed disappointment and frustration at the United States lack of information sharing and cooperation with local authorities and tribes who are on the front lines against AQAPfighting to prevent recruitment and influence in their communities.

Its not just about the drone, as another Sheikh put it. This conflict is local and when theres a strike the whole village can join the fight. We believe that it should be our local communities that should fight al-Qaeda.

The leaders also criticized the overly military focus of U.S. counter-terrorism approaches, recommending that far more support is needed for development programs, education, and partnerships.

Questions for the Trump administration

The governors claim that security forces could have accessed the area in which the strike took place raises many questions about the U.S. decision to take the strike.

The Obama administrations PPG was meant to bring some level of constraint and accountability to U.S. counter-terrorism operations. In light of the Trump administrations murky attempts to roll back these rules, the governors account raises crucial questions that merit immediate answers:

Does the capture preference of the PPG continue to apply after Trump administration revisions? Did the U.S. conduct a capture feasibility assessment for the Nov. 2 strike? Did the U.S. government conclude that the governor and his security forces cannot or will not address the threat? If so, based on what information and engagement with local authorities? Why was it not a reasonable alternative to conduct an operation to capture the suspects? Beyond Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, where exactly has the Trump administration declared areas of active hostilities?The Nov. 2 drone strike  is not an entirely unique case, and several past U.S. drone strikes in Yemen have also raised serious concerns that attacks were conducted when capture was feasible. The situation in Mareb, however, does seem to be a particularly concerning case.

Mareb is perhaps the most stable governorate in Yemen, with an extensive presence of Yemeni military forces and U.S.-allied Saudi and Emirati advisers and special forces on the ground. At its head is a powerful governor, with deep trust amongst tribal leaders, and eager for more engagement, support from, and security cooperation with U.S. authorities. Yet Governor Al Aradahs account indicates that coordination and information sharing with local allies is minimal. Understandably, hed like to know why.

Image: Mareb, Yemen Photo by: Sarah Knuckey

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Just Security

In Homeland Security: China Sending Envoy To North Korea Following Trump Visit

BEIJING (AP) Following President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing, China said Wednesday that it would send a high-level special envoy to North Korea amid an extended chill in relations between the neighbors over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

Song Tao, the head of China’s ruling Communist Party’s International Department, will travel to Pyongyang on Friday to report on outcomes of the party’s national congress held last month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

In Homeland Security

Washington Free Beacon: Trump on Philippines Visit: I Was Forced to Watch Fake CNN

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he was forced to watch CNN while visiting the Philippines, one stop during his 11-day Asia trip.

Trump sent out a series of tweets reflecting on his Asia trip, where he said that the United States is “respected again in Asia.”

 

Our great country is respected again in Asia. You will see the fruits of our long but successful trip for many years to come!

He then tweeted his praise of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” saying the show will be “showing much of our successful trip to Asia, and the friendships & benefits that will endure for years to come!”

.@foxandfriends will be showing much of our successful trip to Asia, and the friendships & benefits that will endure for years to come!

He characteristically didn’t have the same praise for CNN. “While in the Philippines I was forced to watch CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!” Trump tweeted.

While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!

Trump has praised “Fox and Friends” several times on his Twitter account for its favorable coverage of his administration and has even said it is one of  his favorite shows to watch on the network.

He has also blasted CNN several times, referring to the network as “fake news,” a term he started using during the presidential campaign to go after news outlets he argued were unfairly and inaccurately critical towards his campaign and administration.

Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a “tenfold” increase in our U.S. nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!

Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH

 

The post Trump on Philippines Visit: I Was Forced to Watch ‘Fake’ CNN appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Just Security: The Internationalists Mini-Forum: Why Has War Declined?

Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King signing the Kellog-Briand pact in August 1928.(This piece is the first of several on Just Security examining The internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World, written by Just Security editorial board member Oona Hathaway and her colleague Scott Shapiro.)

If we were having this discussion in the late 1920s or early 1930s, most of us would probably be fans of the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war. Not so today, obviously. But back in the 1930s, as Samuel Huntington points out, American academia put the emphasis almost entirely upon the questions of form and structure studied in courses in international law and international organization, aimed at vindicating world organization. After the catastrophic failure of such institutions to ward off fascism and global war, the American study of international relations, as taught in law schools and public policy schools, has embraced a postwar disenchantment brilliantly championed by the great realist Hans Morgenthau. Huntington writes, By the late 1940s, however, American writers were vying with each other in denouncing the moralism, legalism, utopianism, Wilsonism, and sentimentalism of the American diplomatic past.

So Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro know perfectly well that theyre making a bold claim that the Kellogg-Briand Pact represents among the most transformative events of human history. Their new book is cogent and provocative, a gripping study of the diplomats and thinkers who pressed for the outlawry of war, but obviously headed for controversy from critics wary of Whiggish history.

Oona and Scotts point in The Internationalists isnt that Kellogg-Briand ended war, but that it ushered in a new legal order in which war is no longer a legitimate tool for righting wrongs, imposing a restraint on leaders contemplating war. Theyre well aware that the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 came not long after the fancy signing ceremony in Paris for the Kellogg-Briand treaty in 1928. To their own lists of wars since Paris, you could add the 1962 war between India and China, the Sino-Soviet border conflict, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, and Vladimir Putins annexation of Crimea, which Condoleezza Rice recently called perhaps the greatest affront to the law-based international order in Europe since World War II.

Oona and Scott might well point to Rices words as evidence that powerful decision-makers stand against aggression on grounds of law and world order. Their argument revolves around a legal shift which causes a cognitive shift in the minds of important leaders. At the same time, they insist upon the role of powerful states in maintaining what they see as a new legal order; their fear, appropriate to these dismal days of Trump, is that the United States will withdraw from that role.

The Internationalists is fundamentally, in Oona and Scotts words, a work of intellectual historynot international law, not international relations, not political science, not diplomatic history, although it obviously contains elements of all of those. Its about how ideas matter (their italics), as carried into practice by Robert Jackson, Hersch Lauterpacht, Sumner Welles, Nishi Amane, and others who influenced and advanced the development of international norms and law worldwide. This is another reason why some realists might not warm to it: neorealist theories of international relations are concerned with the structure of the system, dismissing as reductionist the internal workings of states, including ideas held by individuals within them.

Heres whats not controversial: its well known that there has been a steep decline in interstate war in the decades since World War II. This argument has been powerfully made by John Mueller (who says that war is not a necessity like breathing and eating, but more like obsolete social practices such as dueling and slavery), Richard Rosecrance, and John Lewis Gaddis, who has famously called the absence of major war among the great powers since 1945 the Long Peace. But this good news is usually attributed to, variously, a spreading zone of peace among liberal democracies, nuclear deterrence, the increasing destructiveness of war among industrialized states, declining advantages to territorial conquest, delegitimization of imperialism, economic interdependence, and so on. In his fascinating book The Better Angels of Our Nature, the psychologist Steven Pinker argues that the historical decline of violence (not just interstate war, but violence itself) is due to the ascendancy of our empathy, self-control, moral norms, and reason, exemplified by, among other things, the Rights Revolutions after World War II. For Mueller, in The Remnants of War, World War I was the crucial moment when people in the developed world got disillusioned with the value and efficacy of war, reinforced after the spectacular anachronism of World War II, which he blames almost entirely on Hitler. Ethical and legal constraints are often seen as part of the explanation for the decline of war, but not in the starring role given by Oona and Scott, and without the emphasis on Kellogg-Briand.

What are the observable implications of Oona and Scotts argument? How can you measure mental change in the minds of policymakers? They do a great job of describing the frenetic activism of Lauterpacht and the others, the individuals whom political scientists would call norm entrepreneurs. They have an engrossing discussion of Nishi, the influential Japanese philosopher who introduced Western international law to a Japanese readership. The next step would be showing how the norm cascades outward after 1928 from their norm entrepreneurs into a wider world.

One way to observe norms in operation is to comb through the secret innermost records of government, to see the hidden debates and deliberations which result in policy. While international lawyers will sometimes point to public justifications to see legal rationales at work, political scientists will dig into private debates for evidence (in dreadful social science jargon, process-tracing). If Oona and Scott are right, we ought to see references in internal deliberations to Kellogg-Briand, or at least to its norms. Since its a new norm, on their account, its unlikely that its contents would be so internalized that its impact would go unspoken, or unchallenged.

To look for more such evidence, I did a little hunting in what seemed like a promising place: the secret diary of Kido Koichi, the closest aide to Emperor Hirohito, a deft player in the machinations of the Japanese court and government. This journal was used by the Allied prosecution at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal in 1946-48 as one of their crucial pieces of evidence. Kido was distinctly nationalistic but also suspicious of the expansionists in the domineering army, so would be more likely to have taken note of Kellogg-Briand than militarists like Tojo Hideki.

So what did Kido have to say about Kellogg-Briand during the Manchuria crisis in 1931? Zilch. He wrote neither about it, nor its norms, nor the reputational consequences for violating them. Instead, he privately worried about the renegade Japanese army, coup attempts, and the maneuverings of the imperial court. He (and other civilian politicians) did fret about the prospect of punishment from the League of Nations, or having to withdraw from the League, and he paid some attention to a U.S. statement by Henry Stimson that it could not accept the legality of any changes made by force in Manchuria. Kido feared that a delay in resolving the Manchurian crisis would make it harder to bring the rogue army under control, but not that Japan was violating its treaty commitment or trampling a legal norm against aggression.

Oona and Scott count Stimsons views as evidence for their argument, and theyre right to classify militarist Japan as a country which believed in war as a tool of statecraft. Of course, this Kido inquiry was just one quick test, what social scientists call a plausibility probe. But if Oona and Scott are looking for more evidence which would silence critics, this could be one way to do itexcept, obviously, with results that are the opposite of what was found in this small check. The Imperial Japanese view of the Kellogg-Briand Pact was closer to Mussolinis, who signed it but called it so sublime that it might be called transcendental.

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Just Security

The U.S. and Global Security Review: News Reviews and Opinions: 8:38 AM 11/15/2017 – Trump: We will be reciprocal….

News Reviews and Opinions: 8:38 AM 11/15/2017 – Trump: We will be reciprocal….: 8:28 AM 11/15/2017 RED BLUFF, Calif. A gunman killed four people and wounded a number of others | Donald Trump: We will be reciprocal …

The U.S. and Global Security Review

Stars and Stripes: Pope auctions Lamborghini to rebuild Christian Iraq

Pope Francis got the keys to a fancy new Lamborghini on Wednesday but he won’t be tooling around the Vatican gardens in it.

Stars and Stripes

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: US drone strike in Somalia kills ‘several’ with al-Shabab

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – The U.S. military says it has carried out a drone strike against al-Shabab in Somalia that killed several extremists.

The U.S. Africa Command says this is the 28th such airstrike this year in Somalia against both the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab and the new but growing presence of …

www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security

Security Intelligence: Dont Let a Retail Vulnerability Cause Holiday Havoc

Retail data breaches have historically occurred during the holiday season. The high volume of transactions and management’s focus on sales and inventory distract attention from a potential retail vulnerability, exposing opportunities for cybercriminals to infiltrate point-of-sale (POS) systems and online transaction streams.

Although the majority of holiday shopping occurs during the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it often takes companies months or longer to realize they’ve been breached. It’s possible that this year’s thieves have already loaded their attack tools on retailers’ systems and will trigger them to launch when it’s most advantageous for them and least convenient for the retailer.

Retail CISOs need to take a deep dive into their systems and unearth any possible openings that may exist before the rush begins. Here are five actions that CISOs need to undertake immediately to get ahead of breaches during peak traffic periods.

Update Your POS Systems

Every retailer uses some kind of POS system to make sales and collect payments, and all of these systems can be vulnerable to malware. While it may be impossible to protect against every new variant, POS software vendors generally understand the issues and periodically provide patches to close security gaps in their software. It’s up to the retailer to install these updates across all their stores and take advantage of the protections their vendors provide.

Retail CISOs should also ensure that all antivirus systems across the network are updated. If a POS system runs on a device with a standard operating system (OS), such as Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS or Android, install all OS patches and update the antivirus systems that protect them.

Lock Down Encryption for User Data

After so many data breaches resulting in stolen user credentials, it seems obvious that sensitive user information, including passwords and credit card data, would be encrypted to the highest level possible. However, data thefts continue to prove that important data is inadequately protected.

Encrypting password stores is inadequate because once the file containing the passwords has been unencrypted, all its contents are exposed and easily usable. CISOs need to go beyond the basics and use a specialized protection scheme designed specifically to secure passwords, such as SHA-2.

Secure the Network

If your POS systems are on the same network as your management controls and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, a breach of one can allow access to the others. Segment your network and ensure you have firewalls or proxies in place. Deploy both intrusion prevention systems and intrusion detection systems that provide alerts when malicious activity is detected.

Provide Real-Time Alerts for Indicators of Compromise (IoC)

CISOs can monitor the myriad IoCs generated and tracked across the globe, but only a relatively few are pertinent to their specific environment. IoC volume is a significant data issue that needs to be addressed by intelligent systems that can filter out irrelevant information and evaluate the remainder against the context of the environment.

Real-time alerts based on relevant IoCs can notify security staff to threats that are either imminent or in progress so action can be taken. At the same time, threat analysis needs to be transparent to the ongoing commerce, especially during peak traffic periods.

Educate Employees

Staff education can make a difference in reducing the success and severity of cyberattacks. Coordinate ongoing employee education to raise awareness on how to help prevent intruders from accessing company systems. Train them to use the devices on which POS systems operate only for their intended purpose and not for accessing other applications or the internet. Alert them to practices that thieves posing as customers might attempt, such as using skimmers, USB sticks or other devices they might attach to systems. Put safeguards in place for technicians working on the systems so they are always supervised and properly vetted before they are granted access to equipment.

This holiday season is sure to bring a new crop of cyber intrusions. Take precautions now to make certain your POS systems won’t be compromised.

The post Don’t Let a Retail Vulnerability Cause Holiday Havoc appeared first on Security Intelligence.

Security Intelligence

Just Security: The Early Edition: November 15, 2017

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Heres todays news.

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday and maintained that he had always told the truth about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, saying that he had no recollection of a campaign round-table at which the aide George Papadopoulos was present until he saw the news reports and added that he had pushed back against the aides suggestion of a meeting between Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Matt Apuzzo and Nicholas Fandos report at the New York Times.

Sessions addressed the apparent discrepancies between his recent recollections and his previous testimonies about Trump-Russia connections. Democrats on the committee questioned Sessions on his interactions with Papadopoulos and the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who had testified before the House Intelligence Committee over a week ago and said that he had told Sessions of his plan to travel to Moscow in 2016. Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horowitz report at the Washington Post.

The four key points from Sessions hearing are provided by Amber Phillips at the Washington Post.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Sessions about the dossier alleging connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, Jordan drawing attention to the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) partially funding the dossier, the F.B.I.s apparent payment of the author of the document the former British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele and the apparent cooperation between the Democratic Party and the federal government to secure a warrant to spy on Trump campaign officials; Sessions responded that the apparent connections were not enough basis to appoint a special counsel. Aaron Blake explains at the Washington Post, saying that the Attorney Generals comments would probably irk the president.

The F.B.I. is scrutinizing more than 60 money transfers the Russian foreign ministry sent to embassies around the world to finance election campaign of 2016, it is not clear how the funds were used by the embassies and the Russian embassy and foreign ministry have denounced the story. Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier and Jessica Garrison reveal at BuzzFeed News.

The co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion G.P.S., Glenn Simpson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday in a closed session, the firm was behind the controversial Steele dossier and a lawyer for Simpson criticized the Trump administration for its attempts to discredit Fusion G.P.S., Olivia Beavers reports at the Hill.

Russias lower house unanimously voted in favor of legislation allowing the government to designate international media outlets as foreign agents today, making the move after the Russian state-funded R.T. television channel complied with a request from the U.S. Justice Department to register as a foreign agent. Vladimir Isachenkov reports at the AP.

Did Sessions changing testimony amount to perjury? Jan Wolfe provides an analysis at Reuters.

Republicans on the Judiciary committee attempted to deflect from the Russia investigations and Sessions hearing was dominated by his inability to recall events that one would think most people would, the New York Times editorial board writes, asking what else are you forgetting, Mr. Attorney General?

Its hard to overstate the mind-blowing stupidity of Donald Trump Jr.s posts on Twitter about his communications with WikiLeaks, an organization that was affiliated with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election, Jill Filipovic writes at CNN.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

The Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that he had directed Justice Department prosecutors to evaluate the concerns raised by Republicans about Clinton, an Obama-era uranium deal with Russia and other issues in his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

A decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Clinton-related issues would shatter post-Watergate norms and would suggest that the Justice Department has been further politicized and weaponized by the Trump administration. To date, Sessions has largely resisted Republican pressure to appoint a special counsel, but he has been put in a difficult position, Peter Baker explains at the New York Times.

The demands for Clintons prosecution are profoundly inappropriate and degrading to democracy, the Justice Department must commit to the rule of law in the face of the political pressure from the president and his allies, the Washington Post editorial board writes.

CYBERSECURITY, PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY

Around one-sixth of U.S. government computers have been using software produced by the Russia-based Kaspersky Lab, the assistant secretary for cyber-security and communications at the Department for Homeland Security (D.H.S.) Jeannette Manfra said yesterday, adding that federal agencies have until Dec. 12 to remove the software which has been connected to Russian intelligence operations. Paul Sonne reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The Trump administration is expected to publicly release revised rules on disclosing cyber security flaws today, according to an anonymous officials, the rules intend to aid agencies in weighing the balance between maintaining secrecy and the need to warn manufacturers about possible breaches. Dustin Volz reports at Reuters.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy separately claimed that Russian operatives had intervened in European elections, May accused Russia of attempting to sow discord through online and media campaigns, and Rajoy said that Russian bots spread fake news about Spain during Catalonias independence referendum last month. William Booth and Michael Birnbaum report at the Washington Post.

The chief of Britains National Cyber Security Center warned yesterday that Russian hackers have tried to carry out cyber-attacks in the U.K. in a summary of a speech to be delivered today, making the comments following a speech by Theresa May targeting Russia for its interference. David D. Kirkpatrick reports at the New York Times.

Theresa May offered the appropriate response to Putin and Russias interference in western democracies, an approach that sharply contrasts with President Trump. Andrew Rosenthal writes at the New York Times.

NORTH KOREA

China will send a special envoy to North Korea and reopen a channel of dialogue with Pyongyang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced today, a week after Trump visited China and urged President Xi Jinping to exert more pressure on North Korea; however it is unclear how much Pyongyangs nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program will feature in discussions. Simon Denyer reports at the Washington Post.

He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people, North Koreas state Rodong Sinmun newspaper said today about President Trump, responding the insults Trump leveled at the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The AFP reports.

A war with North Korea would end in a nuclear holocaust, the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned yesterday, making the comments at the last day of the A.S.E.A.N. summit and following Trumps 12-day tour of Asia. Al Jazeera reports.

The U.N. General Assemblys Human Rights Committee approved a resolution condemning North Korea for serious human rights violations yesterday and its decision to divert resources from civilians to developing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

YEMEN

The Trump administration unfroze Yemens central bank funds yesterday, allowing the Saudi-backed Yemeni administration to service its debt and resume salary payments, the measure forms part of U.S. efforts to counter Irans influence in Yemen and the region. Katrina Manson reports at the Financial Times.

The Saudi-led coalition bombed an airport in Yemens capital of Sanaa yesterday, according to Yemeni officials, the capital is held by the Houthi rebels and the U.N. stated that most of the airport remained intact and would not impact humanitarian operations. Ahmed Al-Haj reports at the AP.

Houthi officials claimed that the attack on the airport was intended to disrupt humanitarian efforts and said that the air strike destroyed a radio navigation system crucial for coordinating aid shipments. Al Jazeera reports.

SAUDI ARABIA

The Lebanese President Michel Aoun said today that Saudi Arabia have detained the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, adding that the action was in violation of the Vienna agreements and human rights law. Hariri unexpectedly resigned on Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital of Riyadh in a televised announcement, Reuters reports.

Saudi Arabia is set to be the second country to acquire a T.H.A.A.D. anti-missile defense system from the U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin, a senior executive of the company said yesterday, the announcement coming amid increased Saudi-Iran tensions and a ballistic missile that was launched at the capital of Riyadh by Yemens Houthi rebels on Nov. 4. Aya Batrawy reports at the AP.

Saudi Arabias Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmans approach to domestic and foreign affairs has led to debate around the region about his motivations, with some analysts believing that his bold actions including the ongoing Yemen war, an escalating in tension with Iran, and an intervention in Lebanese politics reflect his conviction that he has the support of President Trump. Ben Hubbard and David D. Kirkpatrick provide an analysis at the New York Times.

SYRIA

The Syrian Kurdish P.Y.D. political party today welcomed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis comments earlier this week saying that the U.S. forces should play a longer-term role in Syria, even after the Islamic State group has been defeated. Reuters reports.

The Turkish foreign ministry said yesterday that the U.S. Defense Departments approach to an agreement between the Syrian Kurdish Y.P.G. militia and Islamic State militants was appalling, saying that the agreement for the Islamic State militants to withdraw from the city of Raqqa, which was reported by the BBC at the weekend, was extremely troubling. Reuters reports.

The bombing of a Syrian market in the rebel-held town of Atareb earlier this week shows that Turkey, Russia and Iran are not effective guarantors of de-escalation zones, at least 61 people were killed by a series of airstrikes according to Syrian Civil Defense search-and-rescue volunteers. Philip Issa reports at the AP.

The Russian defense ministry appeared to rely on photographs from a video game to provide irrefutable evidence that the U.S. cooperated with Islamic State militants in a series of tweets yesterday, the ministry deleted the tweets once the origins of the evidence were thrown into question and blamed the incident on a civilian employee. Shaun Walker reports at the Guardian.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 12. Separately, partner forces conducted one strike against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

The Zimbabwean military have deployed tanks on the streets of the capital Harare in an apparent coup against President Robert Mugabe, the military have denied that they are staging a military takeover and claimed that Mugabe was safe. The CNN provide rolling coverage of the situation.

Debate over President Trumps ability to authorize an unprovoked nuclear attack has caused division among senators, a session on authorization was held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, Karoun Demirjian explains at the Washington Post.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Myanmars leader Aung San Suu Kyi today and said that the U.S. would consider evidence based sanctions against individuals responsible for violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Esther Htusan reports at the AP.

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a nearly $700bn defense policy bill, Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (I.C.T.Y.) is set to give its verdict on the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic who has been accused of war crimes, Daria Sito-Sucic reports at Reuters.

A U.S.-funded media outlet has been started a campaign to counter the Islamic State groups recruitment in Central Asia, Jessica Donati and Nathan Hodge report at the Wall Street Journal.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmed Trumps nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security (D.H.S.) yesterday, Kirstjen Nielsen is a cybersecurity expert and served under White House Chief of Staff John Kelly when he led the D.H.S., Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) issued a blistering attack on Trumps nominee to be the general counsel of the Department of Transportation, saying yesterday that Steven Bradburys attempts to justify torture during the Bush administration should disbar him from consideration. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte praised China today for its critical role in the campaign against Islamic State-affiliated militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi, comments that may not be well-received by the U.S. and Australia who support the operation from its early stages. Karen Lema and Martin Perry report at Reuters.

Trumps 12-day adulation tour of Asia was closer to a pilgrimage than a projection of power, David Ignatius writes at the Washington Post, saying that the president failed to articulate U.S. policy, failed to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and gave space for China to expand its influence in the region and the world.

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Just Security

Washington Free Beacon: Zimbabwes Army Seizes Power, Targets Criminals Around Mugabe

By: MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwes military seized power early on Wednesday saying it was targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe, the only ruler the country has known in its 37 years of independence.

Soldiers seized the state broadcaster. Armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby. The atmosphere in the capital remained calm.

The military said Mugabe and his family were safe. Mugabe himself spoke by telephone to the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and told him he was confined to his home but fine, the South African presidency said in a statement.

It was not clear whether the apparent military coup would bring a formal end to Mugabes rule; the main goal of the generals appears to be preventing Mugabes 52-year-old wife Grace from succeeding him.

But whether or not he remains in office, it is likely to mark the end of the total dominance of the country by Mugabe, the last of Africas generation of state founders still in power.

Mugabe, still seen by many Africans as an anti-colonial hero, is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africas most promising states.

He plunged Zimbabwe into a fresh political crisis last week by firing his vice president and presumed successor. The generals believed that move was aimed at clearing a path for Grace Mugabe to take over and announced on Monday they were prepared to “step in” if purges of their allies did not end.

“We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

Whatever the final outcome, the events could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the southern African nation, once one of the continents most prosperous, reduced to poverty by an economic crisis Mugabes opponents have long blamed on him.

Even many of Mugabes most loyal supporters over the decades had come to oppose the rise of his wife, who courted the powerful youth wing of the ruling party but alienated the military, led by Mugabes former guerrilla comrades from the 1970s independence struggle.

“This is a correction of a state that was careening off the cliff,” Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the liberation war veterans, told Reuters. “Its the end of a very painful and sad chapter in the history of a young nation, in which a dictator, as he became old, surrendered his court to a gang of thieves around his wife.”

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change called for a peaceful return to constitutional democracy, adding it hoped the military intervention would lead to the “establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state”.

Zuma – speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – expressed hope there would be no unconstitutional changes of government in Zimbabwe as that would be contrary to both SADC and African Union positions.

Zuma urged Zimbabwes government and the military “to resolve the political impasse amicably”.

ECONOMIC DECLINE

Zimbabwes economic decline over the past two decades has been a drag on the southern African region. Millions of economic refugees have streamed out of the country, mostly to neighboring South Africa.

Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, a leading member of the ruling ZANU-PF partys G40 faction, led by Grace Mugabe, had been detained by the military, a government source said.

Soldiers deployed across Harare on Tuesday and seized the state broadcaster after ZANU-PF accused the head of the military of treason, prompting speculation of a coup.

Just 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga threatened to intervene to end a purge of his allies in ZANU-PF, a Reuters reporter saw armored personnel carriers on main roads around the capital.

Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. “Dont try anything funny. Just go,” one barked at Reuters on Harare Drive.

Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, the state broadcaster, a Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said.

Shortly afterwards, three explosions rocked the center of the capital, Reuters witnesses said.

The United States and Britain advised their citizens in Harare to stay indoors because of “political uncertainty.”

The southern African nation had been on edge since Monday when Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president sacked last week.

In the last year, a chronic absence of dollars has led to long queues outside banks and an economic and financial collapse that many fear will rival the meltdown of 2007-2008, when inflation topped out at 500 billion percent.

Imported goods are running out and economists say that, by some measures, inflation is now at 50 percent a month.

According to a trove of intelligence documents reviewed by Reuters this year, Mnangagwa has been planning to revitalize the economy by bringing back thousands of white farmers kicked off their land nearly two decades ago and patching up relations with the World Bank and IMF.

The post Zimbabwe’s Army Seizes Power, Targets ‘Criminals’ Around Mugabe appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

Security Intelligence: Data Storage and Encryption Should Top the CISOs To-Do List

In today’s digitized world, data storage and encryption are surely top of mind for most chief information officers (CIOs). But given the increasing regulations and privacy implications surrounding data security, these measures should also be on the chief information security officer (CISO)’s agenda.

Most organizations need to house massive amounts of data to comply with privacy regulations, enable cognitive activities, and facilitate the construction and analysis of attack patterns. At the same time, an effective data storage strategy promotes security awareness and encourages employees and users to consider best practices from both a technological and a process point of view.

To protect the organization from unauthorized employees and external threat actors seeking to destroy or otherwise corrupt enterprise data, security teams must deploy protective measures. The most common approach to safeguarding sensitive data is encryption, but it’s important to consider a few technological implications before diving head-first into an encryption strategy.

Choosing the Right Data Storage and Encryption Tools

For any organization, it’s important to encrypt both structured and unstructured data. Storage solutions often deliver encryption capabilities to address part of the CISO’s security concerns. The key is to select the right platform to simplify security procedures and generate consistent cost savings.

Encrypting at-rest data within storage is an attractive option that many companies opt to use on 100 percent of their data. This approach is easy and relatively inexpensive to implement, since it comes standard in many storage solutions and there are no host CPU costs. Of course, hardware-based solutions, which rely on a self-encrypting hard disk or flash drive, are less likely than software-based tools to significantly impact performance. It’s also worth noting that, while encrypting data at rest is an effective way to protect any drive or box that is being retired or repurposed with virtually zero impact on performance, some use cases call for this type of encryption to be combined with technologies capable of encrypting data in motion.

When using storage virtualization, solutions that allow encryption of at-rest data at the virtualization layer offer advantages in terms of simplicity and of costs. However, it’s important to be cautious when encrypting data at rest while conducting data reduction processes such as compression and deduplication, since data reduction fails with encrypted data. To avoid underutilization of expensive storage solutions, the CISO should manage both encryption and data reduction within the same platform. This ensures that the data is reduced before it is encrypted.

Some storage solutions require an external key manager, while others provide local key managementcapabilities. A few tools even enable users to choose between the external and built-in options. Of course, external key management is the most secure option because it centralizes and automates activities across the enterprise. However, built-in key management is preferable for organizations seeking to simplify deployment and optimize costs.

Defining Your Data Storage Strategy

The key to defining an appropriate data storage and encryption strategy is to understand what risks are addressed by encrypting data at rest, in motion and in transit.

Encrypting data at rest means safeguarding data housed in the storage system. This process ensures that information is protected when single disks or flash modules are misplaced or removed from the premises for repair, or the storage system is stolen, discontinued or repurposed. Less effective alternative options include employing a data erasure service to destroy all information residing on the storage system and even buying back the drives and destroying them. Disk encryption is a better method because it renders stolen or misplaced data unreadable without a decryption key.

Still, protecting data at rest is not enough to safeguard all the enterprise’s crown jewels. CISOs must also secure the data that flows between hosts and storage systems, and information that is replicated on various platforms for business continuity. Data traveling through networks is more susceptible to cyberthreats, not to mention the potential for human error and technical failure.

CISOs can address these concerns by combining technologies that encrypt data at rest with those that encrypt data in transit. Some storage solutions are capable of encrypting data at the network level, in networking equipment, and at the application, database, data set or operating system level. Since these solutions are typically more expensive and complex to implement than tools that encrypt data at rest, most organizations use them to secure only the most sensitive information. Such an integrated approach can help each individual organization define the best solution for encrypting its data, maintaining regulatory compliance and reducing management costs.

The Benefits of Storage Virtualization

CISOs should consider using storage virtualization technologies to pool multiple storage devices into a single platform managed from a central console. These solutions offer significant advantages in terms of both cost optimization and application availability, enabling security teams to change storage platforms without disrupting operations and provide continuous data access in case of technological failure.

Companies that use virtualized storage can manage encryption either in the back-end disk systems or, if the solution offers built-in encryption capabilities, in the virtualization layer. The latter option enables security teams to optimize both hardware and management costs, since common encryption services are adopted across heterogeneous storage pools and at-rest data can be protected on any virtualized system, whether it is encryption-capable or not.

To adequately protect enterprise data, CISOs do more than the bare minimum of encrypting data at rest and storing it in the most economic solution. It’s critical to asses the risks associated with data storage and to implement effective security controls and policies driven by your organization’s infrastructure, application ecosystem, people, data and technological capabilities.

Encryption can be the linchpin of your security strategy, but a solution that fails to accommodate your enterprise’s unique needs can only take you so far along your data protection journey.

The post Data Storage and Encryption Should Top the CISO’s To-Do List appeared first on Security Intelligence.

Security Intelligence

Stars and Stripes: New robotic hand named after Luke Skywalker helps amputee touch and feel again

A few weeks after surgeons implanted electrodes into the nerves of Keven Walgamott’s arm, he found himself hooked up to a computer getting ready to touch something with his left hand for the first time in more than a decade.

Stars and Stripes

The National Interest: In 2030, the U.S. Army Could Be Waging War With ‘Stealth’ Helicopters

Kris Osborn

Security,

Yes, its possible.

Bell Helicopter engineers and weapons developers and looking at innovative ways to reduce the radar signature of their new, next-generation V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft slated to be operational by the 2030s.

While developers stop short of calling the new project a stealth helicopter, they do acknowledge they are engineering stealthy characteristics — such as infrared (IR) heat suppressing systems and various fuselage contour constructions as a specific way to make the new aircraft less targetable by enemies.

We will definitely employ some passive measures in terms of how we shape the aircraft, to make it invisible. The key is not to be able to target it and reduce the signature passively so radar sweeps do not see anything. In the end, you do not want to get detected or engaged, Vince Tobin, vice president of advanced tiltrotor systems, Bell Helicopter, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

Recommended: US Army’s 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War

While, quite naturally, many of the specifics regarding stealth technology are not available, there are a few broad parameters followed closely by developers of low-observability aircraft. They include reducing the heat signature coming from engines or exhaust along with efforts to shape the exterior of the aircraft to be less detectable to pings or return signals to enemy radar.

Recommended: Russia’s Armata Tank vs. America’s M-1 Abrams – Who Wins?

Radar sends electromagnetic signals, pulses or pings traveling at the speed of light bounces them off of an object and analyzes the return signal to determine the shape, size and speed of an enemy target. For this reason, electronic jamming is another tactic used to thwart or throw off enemy radar systems.

Recommended: Who Swallows North Korea after it Collapses

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The National Interest

fbi – Google News: FBI report for 2016 sees hate crimes on the rise – wtkr.com


wtkr.com
FBI report for 2016 sees hate crimes on the rise
wtkr.com
National hate crime statistics are flawed and incomplete. That’s because bias and motivations for crimes aren’t always clear, such crimes can be underreported by both victims and police, and even when the available data are compiled by the FBI, they
FBI: Surge in hate crimes reported in 2016WQAD.com
FBI: Hate Crimes Are UpColorLines magazine
FBI releases annual report on hate crimesWOWT
Southern Poverty Law Center –nbc25news.com –Vermont Public Radio
all 85 news articles »

fbi – Google News

Stars and Stripes: Gunmans family appalled by California rampage

The mother of a gunman who shot 14 people, killing four, during a rampage in Northern California said he called her a day earlier and told her that he was finished feuding with the small rural community where he lived.

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes: American returns to Yongsan schools name after public outcry

After a public outcry, the word American was restored to the name of the soon-to-be-consolidated middle/high school at the Armys Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, officials said Wednesday.

Stars and Stripes

The National Interest: Su-27: This Plane Could Start a War Between Russia and NATO

David Axe

Security,

They patrol over the Baltic, intercept NATO and neutral spy planes in international air space and, on occasion, harass the rival planes so aggressively that they have no choice but to flee.

On June 9, 2017, examples of all three of the U.S. Air Forces heavy bombers the swing-wing B-1, the stealthy B-2 and the lumbering B-52 gathered in international air space over the Baltic Sea for a rare photo-op with allied fighters and patrol planes.

They had a surprise visitor. A Russian air force Su-27 Flanker fighter sidled up to the U.S.-led formation and flew alongside long enough to appear in multiple photos. A few days prior, an Su-27 intercepted a B-52 over the Baltic.

The Su-27 was apparently one of seven Flankers that fly from Kaliningrad, Moscows Baltic enclave, sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland and geographically separate from the rest of Russia.

Recommended: US Army’s 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War

The Kaliningrad Flankers are arguably the busiestand most dangerousSu-27s anywhere in the world.

They patrol over the Baltic, intercept NATO and neutral spy planes in international air space and, on occasion, harass the rival planes so aggressively that they have no choice but to flee.

Recommended: Russia’s Armata Tank vs. America’s M-1 Abrams – Who Wins?

If any Russian warplanes end up causing an international incident in the tense Baltic region, it will likely be the Kaliningrad Su-27s.

Over the Baltic on Oct. 3, 2014, an Su-27 with the numeral 24 on its nose in red paint flew so close to a Swedish air force Gulfstream spy planearound 30 feet, according to Combat Aircrafts Babak Taghvaeethat the Swedish crew could clearly identify the Russian jets weapons, including four R-27 and two R-73 air-to-air missiles.

Recommended: Who Swallows North Korea after it Collapses

Read full article

The National Interest

Stars and Stripes: Dangerous Hawaii psychiatric patient flew to California

A man acquitted of a 1979 murder by reason of insanity escaped from a Hawaii psychiatric hospital over the weekend, took a taxi to a chartered plane in Honolulu bound for the island of Maui and then boarded another plane to San Jose, Calif., police said.

Stars and Stripes

National Security: When the subject is Russia, Trumps advisers have spotty memories

Those in Trumps orbit have repeatedly had to adjust their stories when confronted with documents or testimony that contradict previous accounts.

National


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9:22 AM 11/15/2017

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Saved Stories

Saved Stories – None
The Early Edition: November 15, 2017
German Economy Accelerates, Driven by Strong Exports
Putin-Linked Businessman Trump Doesn’t Recognize Was At His Party – Carbonated.tv (blog)
Donald Trumps “people will die” remark takes Trump-Russia scandal in a whole new direction
Russian mafia figure busted for making illegal donations to Donald Trump campaign
Sessions Says He Did Not Lie to Congress on Contacts With Russia – New York Times
FBI investigates 60 Russian wire transfers ‘to finance election campaign of 2016’ – Metro US
Is the Trump administration is afflicted with ‘Moscow memory’? | Richard Wolffe
Mike Flynn – Google News: Flynn lawyer denies reports of quid pro quo plan to deliver cleric to Turkey – Reuters
Mike Flynn – Google News: Ex-Trump aide Mike Flynn says Gulen kidnap allegations ‘false’ – BBC News
Secret Finding: 60 Russian Payments “To Finance Election Campaign Of 2016 – BuzzFeed News
What we learned and didn’t learn from Sessions’ testimony – PBS NewsHour
Congress Asks If Donald Trump Really Can Blow The World Up Without Restraints – The Intercept
Anti-terror laws try only ordinary criminals – The Express Tribune
How did WikiLeaks become associated with Russia? – CBS News
CIA Narrative On WikiLeaks Dominates Coverage Of Trump Jr. Correspondence – Shadowproof (blog)
US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions angrily denies lying to Congress about Trump campaign Russia contacts – Los Angeles Times
Russia Sent Dozens of Wire Transfers ‘to Finance Election Campaign of 2016,’ Report Says – Newsweek
Clinton aides try to keep focus on Trump over special counsel threat – Politico
The Un-Trump-Ables: Here’s The Team Investigating Russia and Trump – The Cheat Sheet
Mike Pence is completely screwed
Why Don’t Sanders Supporters Care About the Russia Investigation? – New York Times
This is How Grown-Ups Deal With Putin – New York Times
Donald Trump Jr.’s incredible history of dumb decisions – Washington Post

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6:14 PM 11/10/2017 – What to Make of the Latest Story About Flynn and Gulen?

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1. US Security from mikenova (83 sites)
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Equifax puts price tag on massive data breach: $140 million
Stars and Stripes: 100-year-old WWII veteran sparks bill for Pacific War memorial
Saved Stories – 1. US Security: RUSSIA and THE WEST – РОССИЯ и ЗАПАД: 1:33 PM 11/10/2017 – Russian Intelligence Service …
global security – Google News: Treasury Takes Aim at Global Food Security Program – Foreign Policy (blog)
Stars and Stripes: Maine Troop Greeters Museum opens at Bangor airport
Twitter Search / DefenseIntel: Happy Birthday @USMC! https://twitter.com/deptofdefense/status/928970497710161920 
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: What to Make of the Latest Story About Flynn and Gulen?
Twitter Search / siteintelgroup: Amazon Gift Cards Endorsed by Jihadists Seeking Funds http://tinyurl.com/y7q4ldp7
Washington Free Beacon: CBO: Repealing Obamacares Individual Mandate Would Reduce Deficit By $338 Billion
United States Defense and Military Forces: Did Airstrikes in Afghanistan Last Week Kill Civilians? U.S. and U.N. Disagree
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: Ex-Army bomb tech rebuilds life after losing hearing, sight
www.washingtontimes.com stories: Security: The Latest: Melania Trump plays with kids at Alaska base
Washington Free Beacon: Murkowski Introduces Bill to Authorize Arctic Drilling: Path Toward Greater Prosperity
fbi – Google News: FBI and Apple May Again Clash Over Encypted iPhone After Texas Shooting – ExtremeTech
Stars and Stripes: Female directors are ready to topple an ignoble Oscar stat
Washington Free Beacon: U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 242nd Birthday
Lima Charlie News: LIVESTREAM NYC Veterans Day Parade StorytellersX Show LIVE
Stars and Stripes: US, Russia seek understanding on next steps in Syria
Cyber Warfare – Google News: Military jury sentences Marine drill instructor to 10 years in prison for targeting Muslim recruits – Washington Post
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: The Lawfare Podcast, Special Edition: A Person of Flynnterest

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3:12 PM 11/9/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings

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The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., and the shattering of illusions by Michael Novakhov

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The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., and the shattering of illusions – by Michael Novakhov pic.twitter.com/DMrK7jCrlu



Posted by  mikenov on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 5:07pm
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4:55 AM 11/9/2017 – Mueller could indict Putin for multiple violations of American law | M.N.: Prepare the VIP prison cell at Rikers Island! pic.twitter.com/zP5cwQfudm 

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4:55 AM 11/9/2017 – Mueller could indict Putin for multiple violations of American law | M.N.: Prepare the VIP prison cell at Rikers Island! pic.twitter.com/zP5cwQfudm



Posted by  mikenov on Thursday, November 9th, 2017 10:41am

FBI counterterror chief, reportedly drunk, loses weapon

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Manson, a supervisor in the FBI’s counterterrorism division, got drunk — allegedly — during a party with exotic dancers, better known as strippers, at a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina, went to bed, woke up and found his service weapon missing.

This isn’t just embarrassing. It’s downright dangerous to innocent American citizens.

Cut to video, “When FBI Guys Go Crazy.” The subtitle? “FBI Follies: Following in the Footsteps of the Secret Service.”

Seriously. Could we please keep the federal law enforcement weapons out of the hands of strippers? Seems a simple request.

Here’s how the New York Times reports the story: “Manson, a unit chief in the F.B.I.’s international terrorism section, had his Glock .40-caliber handgun, a $6,000 Rolex watch and $60 cash stolen from his room at the Westin hotel in Charlotte. … Manson and other senior agents were in Charlotte for training … The agents later told the police that they had been drinking with women who said they were exotic dancers.”

Nice.

What a red-faced moment for the agency. To say the least.

Police officers for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were called to investigate the thefts, during which they ascertained “Manson was incapacitated because of alcohol.”

In other words, he was stone-cold drunk — a stumbling, bumbling idiot.

“A fellow agent, Kevin Thuman, gave the report,” the New York Times went on.

And here’s the kicker — the red flag to watch.

“Federal law allows agents to carry concealed weapons while off duty, but not while they are intoxicated. … FBI rules prohibit agents from leaving their guns in unsecure places,” the newspaper reported. “No arrests have been made and police officers have not recovered the gun.”

Great. So an FBI agent’s gun is out there, floating around in some undisclosed circle — some undisclosed circle related to the field of stripping. And the cover-up at the federal level goes on. The incident occurred in July, post-James Comey and pre-Christopher Wray, when Andrew McCabe was interim agency director (McCabe, who’s married to the Democratic-donating, Hillary Clinton-loving Jill McCabe). Yet America’s taxpayers, the ones who pay, apparently, for FBI agents to get drunk and hang with strippers and compromise citizen security by losing their weapons, are just learning of it all now.

Remember when Secret Service agents went similarly wild?

As CNN noted in early 2015: “Gate-crashing agents make 4 Secret Service scandals in 3 years.”

The story detailed how the second-in-charge of Barack Obama’s presidential detail went out for a night of drinking and driving that ended only when the taxpayer-funded vehicle smashed into a White House barrier — and how agents serving in Colombia were caught in embarrassing throes of passion with local prostitutes, just feet from where Obama’s own hotel digs. That latter story came to light ‘cause the prostitutes were pissed they didn’t get paid.

Eight Secret Service agents lost their jobs over that public relations headache.

Now how about Manson?

Michael Kortan, a spokesman for the FBI, said the North Carolina hotel incident was under internal investigation. But come on now. It happened back in July — July 10, to be exact, according to Fox News.

Does it really take that long to review a hotel camera or two?

Regardless, this is more than embarrassing for the FBI. Citizen safety is at issue. There’s a missing weapon involved — a missing weapon the FBI let into the world. And try as the agency might to keep a lid on the whole shameful drunken partying hotel matter, fact is, if a citizen ends up being injured by this weapon, the FBI will be culpable. And that’s not just red-faced. That’s near-criminal.

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Russian Intelligence Service fire: Bblaze at Moscow secret service HQ | World | News | Express.co.uk

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Russian Intelligence Service fire: Bblaze at Moscow secret service HQ | World | News | Express.co.uk

Syria declares victory over Islamic State group 

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From: Euronews
Duration: 00:45

Syria’s army declared victory over the Islamic State (ISIL) militant group on Thursday, saying its capture of the jihadists’ last town in the country marked the collapse of their self-declared caliphate.

The army and its allies say they are still fighting ISIL in desert areas near the eastern town of Albu Kamal, which was the group’s last major urban stronghold in Syria.

Government troops earlier linked up with Iraqi forces at the border after taking the nearby city of al-Qaim.

ISIL already l…
READ MORE : http://www.euronews.com/2017/11/09/syria-declares-victory-over-islamic-state-group

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FBI struggling to unlock Texas gunman’s phone

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 03:43

Rep. McCaul speaks out on the ongoing technology hurdles facing law enforcement.

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Are Mass Murderers Insane? Usually Not, Researchers Say

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Ditto for Dylann Roof, the racist who murdered nine African-American churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015, and Christopher Harper-Mercer, the angry young man who killed nine people at a community college in Oregon the same year.

Nor does anything in these criminals’ history — including domestic violence, like Mr. Kelley’s — serve to reliably predict their spectacularly cruel acts. Even if spree killers have committed domestic violence disproportionately more often — and this assertion is in dispute — the vast majority of men who are guilty of that crime never proceed to mass murder.

Most mass murderers instead belong to a rogue’s gallery of the disgruntled and aggrieved, whose anger and intentions wax and wane over time, eventually curdling into violence in the wake of some perceived humiliation.

“In almost all high-end mass killings, the perpetrator’s thinking evolves,” said Kevin Cameron, executive director of the Canadian Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.

“They have a passing thought. They think about it more, they fantasize, they slowly build a justification. They prepare, and then when the right set of circumstances comes along, it unleashes the rage.”

This evolution proceeds rationally and logically, at least in the murderer’s mind. The unthinkable becomes thinkable, then inevitable.

Researchers define mass killings as an event leaving four or more dead at the same place and time. These incidents occur at an average of about one a day across the United States; few make national headlines.

At least half of the perpetrators die in the act, either by committing suicide (Mr. Kelley is said to have shot himself in the head) or being felled by police.

Analyzing his database, Dr. Stone has concluded that about 65 percent of mass killers exhibited no evidence of a severe mental disorder; 22 percent likely had psychosis, the delusional thinking and hallucinations that characterize schizophrenia, or sometimes accompany mania and severe depression. (The remainder likely had depressive or antisocial traits.)

Among the psychotic, he counts Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, and 18 others in 2011. By most accounts, including his own, Mr. Loughner was becoming increasingly delusional.

Adam Lanza, who in 2012 killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., exhibited extreme paranoia in the months leading up to his crime, isolating himself in his room.

But what to make of John Robert Neumann Jr., who in June shot and killed five former co-workers at a warehouse in Orlando before turning the gun on himself? Mr. Neumann was not overtly psychotic, as far as anyone knows, and this is far more typical of the men who commit mass killings generally.

“The majority of the killers were disgruntled workers or jilted lovers who were acting on a deep sense of injustice,” and not mentally ill, Dr. Stone said of his research.

In a 2016 analysis of 71 lone-actor terrorists and 115 mass killers, researchers convened by the Department of Justice found the rate of psychotic disorders to be about what Dr. Stone had discovered: roughly 20 percent.

The overall rate of any psychiatric history among mass killers — including such probable diagnoses as depression, learning disabilities or A.D.H.D. — was 48 percent.

About two-thirds of this group had faced “long-term stress,” like trouble at school or keeping a job, failure in business, or disabling physical injuries from, say, a car accident.

Substance abuse was also common: More than 40 percent had problems with alcohol, marijuana or other drugs.

Looking at both studies, and using data from his own work, J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist who consults with the F.B.I., has identified what he believes is a common thread: a “paranoid spectrum,” he calls it.

At the extreme end is full-on psychosis of the Loughner variety. But the majority of people on this spectrum are not deeply ill; rather, they are injustice collectors. They are prone to perceive insults and failures as cumulative, and often to blame them on one person or one group.

“If you have this paranoid streak, this vigilance, this sense that others have been persecuting you for years, there’s an accumulation of maltreatment and an intense urge to stop that persecution,” Dr. Meloy said.

“That may never happen. The person may never act on the urge. But when they do, typically there’s a triggering event. It’s a loss in love or work — something that starts a clock ticking, that starts the planning.”

Mental health treatment might make a difference for the one in five murderers who have severe mental disorders, experts say. Prevention is also possible in a few other cases — for instance, if the perpetrators make overt threats and those threats are reported.

But other factors must be weighed.

“In my large file of mass murders, if you look decade by decade, the numbers of victims are fairly small up until the 1960s,” said Dr. Stone. “That’s when the deaths start going way up. When the AK-47s and the Kalashnikovs and the Uzis — all these semiautomatic weapons, when they became so easily accessible.”

Continue reading the main story

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Trump tweets that failed Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate ‘did not embrace me’ 

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Trump tweets that failed Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate 'did not embrace me'

President Trump on Tuesday quickly sought to distance himself from Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ed Gillespie in the Virginia governor’s race as Democrat Ralph Northam was projected to win by multiple news outlets. “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” Trump said on Twitter in the midst of his […]

In Beijing, Trump lavishes praise on Chinese leader, touts ‘great chemistry’ between them 

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In Beijing, Trump lavishes praise on Chinese leader, touts ‘great chemistry’ between them

BEIJING — President Trump lavished praise on Chinese leader Xi Jinping ahead of a formal bilateral meeting here Thursday, touting “great chemistry” between them and declaring their relationship a “great one.” In brief remarks, Trump said the two nations could work together “to solve world problems for many, many years to come,” and he thanked Xi […]

putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Tillerson: Trump could have formal meeting with Putin at Asia summit – Fox News

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Fox News
Tillerson: Trump could have formal meeting with Putin at Asia summit
Fox News
Trump met over the summer with Putin at the G-20 summit in Germany. The U.S. and Russia have since been in a diplomatic tit-for-tat, all while the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign escalates. Tillerson … Serafin  

 putin won US 2016 election – Google News

Russian Intelligence Service fire: Bblaze at Moscow secret service HQ | World | News

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The blaze ripped through part of the secret service facility in Yasenevo, Moscow.

Local media reported 15 fire crews had been sent to battle the flames.

Workers were evacuated as the fire raged.

It is thought the fire affected a two-storey building in the complex, situated on the outskirts of Moscow.

Colonel Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the spy agency, later said the fire happened at one of the service’s “technical installations.

He later said the fire had been extinguished, and there were no casualties.

Russian media, quoting unnamed sources in the emergency services, said that the fire broke out in a cable gallery under the spy service’s headquarters.

The job was made more complex by the fact that mobile communication is blocked at the centre.

The country’s Foreign Intelligence Service, a successor to the KGB, is the centre for the regime’s spy network, directing espionage activities outside the country.

Its building complex has doubled in size in recent years.

The service is led by Mikhail Fradkov, an ex-diplomat who is thought to have served with the KGB.

What the Manafort Indictment Reveals About What Drove Putin | Putin’s Revenge | FRONTLINE | PBS

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More than a decade before he became Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort started advising another future president, Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine. That relationship would lead him into a network of Russian and pro-Russian business and political interests, netting him millions of dollars.

On Monday, it led to his surrender to the FBI to face criminal charges in the widening investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

While the White House said that the indictment of Manafort and his longtime business partner had nothing to do with President Trump or his campaign, Manafort’s Ukrainian connections put him near the center of a political drama that experts say became a prelude to Russia’s eventual determination to interfere in the presidential election.

In interviews for the film Putin’s Revenge, FRONTLINE’s months-long investigation into the origins of Russia’s electoral meddling, former U.S. diplomats, intelligence officials, historians, and Russian and American journalists singled out protests in 2014 to oust Yanukovych as a pivotal moment for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who blamed the Obama administration for the unrest.

It  was in Ukraine, that Putin would test out a new type of “hybrid” warfare, a strategy combining diplomatic and military deception along with cyber attacks and efforts to sow confusion through propaganda and “fake news” – foreshadowing what would eventually transpire in the U.S. elections two years later.

As demonstrators marched on the Ukrainian capital, hackers intercepted a phone call between Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. On the call, Nuland appeared to signal a preference for a new government in Ukraine and uttered a profanity about the European Union, a key American ally during negotiations over the crisis.

Intercepting diplomatic communications was nothing new. But the subsequent leak of the conversation, experts said, was designed to create division between U.S. negotiators and the EU.

“Clearly they were looking to discredit me personally as the main negotiator at that time to thereby reduce U.S. influence,” Nuland told FRONTLINE.

“In retrospect, some people think we should have taken this a lot more seriously than we did … Because it was the first demonstration that Russia was willing and able to use techniques against the United States that it had previously not dared to attempt,”  Evan Osnos of The New Yorker said in an interview with FRONTLINE.

Ukraine would also become a testing ground for using disinformation as a weapon, most notably, in Putin’s denials after Russian forces moved into the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. The forces numbered in the thousands, and although they wore Russian-style combat uniforms, the uniforms lacked Russian insignia, providing the Kremlin a measure of deniability.

“This is a classic example of [Russia] using asymmetric tactics,” said Antony Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017. “It sent in small numbers of special forces who allied themselves with local separatists, gave them instruction, gave them equipment, gave them money, gave them direction, and then Putin denied their presence.”

“It was striking,” added Blinken. “We would be in the Oval Office, and the president would be on the phone with Putin, and Putin would be denying, and in fact, flat-out lying, about Russia’s presence in Ukraine. Obama would say to him, ‘Vladimir, we’re not blind. We have eyes. We can see.’ And Putin would just move on as if nothing had happened.”

Based on the success of his efforts in Ukraine, by the start of the 2016 election, Putin saw a ripe opportunity for intervention in the U.S. election, according to interviews for Putin’s Revenge.

One reason was Trump’s public praise of Putin and the involvement in the Trump campaign of officials with ties to Russia. These included Manafort, a longtime Republican political operative who had worked as a political consultant to Yanukovych and his pro-Russia Party of Regions.

Manafort was brought onto the Trump campaign in 2016 to help keep GOP delegates from breaking with Trump. Just three months later, he was promoted to the role of chief strategist and campaign manager. In August, Manafort was fired following reports about his business dealings in Ukraine, but not before raising Russia’s profile within the candidate’s team.

“Manafort has these connections to Putin-friendly forces in Eastern Europe, so the campaign suddenly started to reflect more of Manafort’s instincts than the disorienting Trump instincts on foreign policy that we saw earlier in the campaign,” said Robert Costa, a national political reporter for The Washington Post. “There wasn’t really a Russia view from Trump or his campaign team until the summer of 2016, the spring of 2016, when Manafort comes on.”

Manafort not only “spent years in Ukrainian politics,” he also “became close to Russian oligarchs,” according to Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker. 

“If you’re Putin, you’re saying: ‘Huh, OK. This is a whole new team. This is not Hillary Clinton and her circle of anti-Putin hawks. This is a group of people that knows that region, is skeptical of NATO, and is probably willing to reach out to Moscow,’” said Lizza.

President Trump is now trying to distance himself from Manafort, saying in a tweet on Monday, “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign.” But the 31-page indictment alleges that for nearly a decade — including while he running the Trump campaign — Manafort and his longtime business partner, Rick Gates, used overseas shell companies to launder millions of dollars earned while lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian officials in the Ukrainian government. The two men were also charged with making false statements and other counts. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Putin and the Kremlin have denied any involvement in the U.S. election. But the case against Manafort and Gates is just part of the intensifying Russia probe, which now also includes the cooperation of a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, who admitted lying to the F.B.I. about how he sought to meet with Russians offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Of particular interest to investigators will be what Trump officials knew about Papadopoulos’s contacts with Russians ahead of a June meeting at Trump Tower between Russians who were promising damaging information on Clinton and senior members of the Trump campaign, including the candidate’s eldest son and Manafort.

Court documents released Monday show that Papadopoulos informed members of the Trump campaign about his conversations with the Russians. What the documents leave out, however, is whether Papadopoulos informed campaign officials about a conversation in which he was told by that Moscow had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told FRONTLINE that the Trump Tower meeting suggested that its members had previous knowledge about what the Russian government wanted to achieve.

“It’s significant because a whole context of the meeting was set up under the premise, ‘We have some dirt to give you on Hillary Clinton as a part of our effort to help elect Donald Trump,’” he said. “It was part of the Russian government’s effort to help Donald Trump. That suggests a prior relationship, prior work, prior communication about what the Russian government hopes an effort was designed to accomplish.”

In their initial response to the meeting, Trump officials did not say whether the presidential campaign was discussed, but maintained that the conversation focused “primarily” on the issue of Russian adoptions. The New York Times later reported that Trump officials attended the meeting after a trusted intermediary told Trump’s eldest son that a senior Russian government official was offering documents that “would incriminate Hillary … and would be very useful to your father.”

Donald Trump Jr. responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting and said he would bring colleagues, including “Paul Manafort (campaign boss).

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Political Polarization Is A Psychology Problem

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And there are some easy ways to address it.

Russian intelligence building in Moscow catches fire – Daily Sabah

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RT
Russian intelligence building in Moscow catches fire
Daily Sabah
A building used by Russia’s foreign spy service on the outskirts of Moscow caught fire Wednesday, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the service as saying. Colonel Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the External Intelligence Service, one of the successor …
Fire breaks out at Russian foreign intel service facility in Moscow, reports of people trappedRT
Fire in Russian foreign spy buildingThe Sun Daily
Russia: Fire flares at spy agency headquarters; no injuriesWashington Postall 7 news articles »

Russian Intelligence Service fire – Huge blaze at Moscow secret service HQ – Express.co.uk

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Express.co.uk
Russian Intelligence Service fire – Huge blaze at Moscow secret service HQ
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Colonel Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the spy agency, later said the fire happened at one of the service’s “technical installations. He later said the fire had been extinguished, and there were no casualties. Russian media, quoting unnamed sources in 
Fire breaks out at Russian foreign intel service facility in Moscow (VIDEO)RT
Russian intelligence building in Moscow catches fireDaily Sabah
Russia: Fire flares at spy agency headquarters; no injuriesABC News
Newsmax –The Australian
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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a glance – Compton Herald

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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a glance
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Organizational Structure and Budget: The FBI is a field-oriented organization in which nine divisions and three offices at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., provide program direction and support services to 56 field offices, approximately 400  

Vox Populi: HOLY SHIT!! I would love to see this: “Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin” – The Hill | Trump Investigations Twitter Searches 

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Saved Stories Trump Investigations Twitter Searches Saved Stories – None HOLY SHIT!! I would love to see this Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin – The Hill #MuellerTime #LockHimUp https://apple.news/An1O7nwyeSgm2Gezz1NpzBw  Conspiracy against the US” or otherwise Treason! Get ready for prison It was his buddy Vlad Putin calling wasn’t it? #indict This should not even … Continue reading “Vox Populi: HOLY SHIT!! I would love to see this: “Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin” – The Hill | Trump Investigations Twitter Searches”

HOLY SHIT!! I would love to see this— Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin – The Hill #MuellerTime #LockHimUp https://apple.news/An1O7nwyeSgm2Gezz1NpzBw …

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HOLY SHIT!! I would love to see this— Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin – The Hill   https://apple.news/An1O7nwyeSgm2Gezz1NpzBw …

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indict putin – Google Search

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Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin

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Based on publicly available evidence there is a compelling case that special counsel Robert Mueller could indict Russian dictator Vladimir …

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What the Manafort Indictment Reveals About What Drove Putin

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More than a decade before he became Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort started advising another future president, Viktor …
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Donald Trump’s Russia Ties: How Is Paul Manafort’s Work in …

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At first glance, the indictments issued October 30 against former … There are many ties linking Team Trump to Team Putin, and Gates and …
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Mueller’s First Indictments

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He indicted former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his … He tried to set up a meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin, and had …
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Manafort Indictment Reveals Trump Russia Collusion.

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Manafort Indictment Reveals Trump Russia Collusion. … Yanukovych is a bad guy, a Vladimir Putin ally and a triple word score in Scrabble.

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Documents Reveal Ties Between Wilbur Ross and Putin-Linked …

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Jared Kushner Will Probably Be Indicted, Says Former DNC Chair …

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Special counsel Robert Mueller will probably indict President … had long-term links with Vladimir Putinas well as Russian-Jewish oligarchs.

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Manafort Indictment Is Good News For Trump, Bad News For Putin’s …

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Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson reported last week that according to a source with knowledge of Robert Mueller’s investigation, Mueller is not …

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Putin, Ga-a-ga! Ga-a-ga! Ga! Ga! (The Hague) Ga! – Google Search

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Manafort and Gates Under House Arrest, John Kelly says Robert E …

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… try to killers would likely match and she called Georgia tonight and had your … And a one minute two he was told was Vladimir Putin’s niece. ….. The you know the next so to speak on Chris Hague morning OW BT was having him. ….. So up fairly gaga named Tom bloke now this could all be a joke here or …

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Ukraine Tells Hague Court Russia Making It ‘Impossible’ For …

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Georgia brought a similar case against Russia, but the court ruled in 2011 that it had no jurisdiction. Experts said Russia is likely to argue that …

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Nursing student who suffered PTSD after surviving horror truck crash …

Daily MailJan 21, 2017
Georgia pediatric nurse who survived a crash but lost five of her classmates when a truck crashed into their vehicle wept in court as she was …

4:55 AM 11/9/2017 – Mueller could indict Putin for multiple violations of American law | M.N.: Prepare the VIP prison cell at Rikers Island! | The World News and Times

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M.N.: Prepare the VIP prison cell at Rikers Island! 

Based on publicly available evidence there is a compelling case that special counsel Robert Mueller could indict Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for crimes involving multiple violations of American law, as the U.S. once indicted former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.

_____________________________________

Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin

All Americans, including all Republicans serving in Congress, must fully understand the dangerous implications of the continuing covert war waged against American democracy, in violation of American law, by Russian operatives acting under the command and control of Putin.
Were Mueller and his special counsel team to name Putin as an unindicted co-conspirator, and publicly detail the full list of crimes that have been committed during these attacks against American democracy, they would offer America and the world a breathtaking case that every democratic citizen must fully understand.
Reasonable people hope that relations between America and Russia can be restored to normalcy and mutually beneficial relations can be established between our nations. This can only happen when Putin ends his war against American democracy, which American intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies warn is continuing today. These crimes appear designed to continue against our national unity, national security and national elections in 2018 and 2020, with ever-growing attacks and ever-increasing violations of American law.
Robert Mueller and his special counsel team offer the great bulwark of protection and defense against this attack against our country by a hostile power that wishes us ill. It is the truth that sets our nation free and the law that protects our nation’s security as much as guns, bombs and courageous troops.
For these reasons, Congress should make it clear that any effort by President Trump to fire Mueller or grant pardons to those who are found guilty or suspected of crimes involving this Russian attack against America would constitute an impeachable offense. The president’s supporters in Congress state that this will not happen. Hopefully they are right, but the fact that these actions would bring the most severe legal and constitutional consequences should be made crystal clear to the president and his advisers today.
Some who travel in Trump circles are facing a cold Russian winter in the American justice system. There have already been two indictments and one major plea bargain. Almost certainly there will be more of both in the coming weeks and months.
There is no need to list the well-known names who have been the subject of speculation, and there is a need to reiterate that no guilt or innocence has yet been determined about anyone.
However, it is self-destructive and damaging to America for the president to constantly attack, criticize, berate or undermine the work of legal or congressional authorities investigating the Russian crimes against democracy.
It would be an abuse of power for the president to pressure the Justice Department or FBI to initiate a wrongful attack against a political opponent such as Hillary Clinton. Readers should revisit the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, passed by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, to understand the grave implications of this presidential conduct.
The fact is: Putin hated Clinton. The truth is: Putin worked to elect Trump. Any lie to the contrary does no service to the political or legal interests of the president. Nor do partisan Republican actions in Congress that misuse taxpayer money to continue legislative vendettas against Clinton, which will not succeed in diverting the crucial investigations of the Russian attacks against America and do not provide any defense for those under suspicion in them.
Robert Mueller and his special counsel team are the vital bulwarks of American democracy under attack from Russian aggression. The innocent should be cleared. The guilty should be convicted. The truth should be revealed. The Russian attacks must end.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

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putin indicted by mueller – Google Search

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Brent Budowsky: Mueller could indict Putin

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By Brent Budowsky, opinion contributor — 11/08/17 06:54 PM ESTThe views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited And Weak’ Response To Russia – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited And Weak’ Response To Russia
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The Democratic West Should Stop Putin, some 70 experts said steps need to be taken to halt Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to play “divide and rule in the … 

Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности

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Президент провёл совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.

Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.Обсуждались текущие вопросы внутрироссийской социально-экономической повестки дня. Состоялось также обсуждение в рамках подготовки к участию главы Российского государства в саммите АТЭС во Вьетнаме и к его двусторонним контактам, запланированным на полях саммита.

В совещании приняли участие Председатель Совета Федерации Валентина Матвиенко, Председатель Государственной Думы Вячеслав Володин, Руководитель Администрации Президента Антон Вайно, Министр обороны Сергей Шойгу, Министр внутренних дел Владимир Колокольцев, директор Федеральной службы безопасности Александр Бортников, директор Службы внешней разведки Сергей Нарышкин, спецпредставитель Президента по вопросам природоохранной деятельности, экологии и транспорта Сергей Иванов.

Who Leaked the Paradise Papers? – Google Search

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Who Leaked the Paradise Papers?

Wall Street JournalNov 7, 2017
With the latest leak of international financial records comes evidence … won’t be investigated—the theft of the papers themselves from Appleby, …

Who Leaked the Paradise Papers?

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Is the consortium of journalists fronting for an intelligence agency?

These are the questions to ask about the Trump-Russia connection 

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It’s clear Moscow wanted to help Trump, but which campaign officials knew this and did they cooperate?

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Facing Russian threat, NATO boosts operations for the first time since the Cold War 

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Plans for new bases would defend against Russian subs and speed troops across Europe during war.

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The Trump Campaign’s Spy-Ties to Moscow Have Been Exposed 

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Yesterday was filled with legal bombshells for President Donald Trump. As expected, after months of investigation into the White House’s ties to Moscow, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team announced three arrests and indictments. Together, these cases have fundamentally shifted the game in our nation’s capital—very much to the president’s detriment.

The arrest of Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager in the summer of 2016 who secured him the Republican Party’s nomination, was expected by many. For months, rumors had swirled around Manafort, given his longstanding and unsavory ties to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, compounded by his barely concealed links to Kremlin intelligence, as I reported three months before the November 2016 election.

Manafort has surrendered to the FBI and faces a dozen federal charges relating to financial crimes including money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, plus neglecting to report foreign cash to the IRS. These charges are serious and will be difficult for Manafort to beat, leading to speculation that what Mueller really wants is Manafort’s cooperation against Team Trump—which may be the 68-year-old’s only alternative to dying in prison.

Rick Gates, a Manafort protégé and 2016 Trump campaign associate, has also surrendered to the Feds and is facing a raft of charges relating to money laundering. Gates also played a key role in President Trump’s inauguration and pushed the White House’s agenda as a lobbyist until April of this year, when questions about Gates’ ties to the Kremlin made his position untenable.

On cue, the White House protested that they barely know Manafort and Gates—a transparent falsehood—while stating that their alleged crimes have nothing directly to do with the president. The latter may be technically true, but difficult questions lurk regarding why Donald Trump wanted someone as unsavory and Moscow-connected as Paul Manafort to head his campaign, particularly since the longtime swamp denizen Manafort’s links to Eastern oligarchs were an open secret in Washington.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

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Solving the Mystery of the Maltese Professor 

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This week began with the bombshell legal news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller brought charges against members of Team Trump relating to their illicit ties to Moscow. As I explained, this fundamentally changes the game in our nation’s capital, and the White House is struggling to cope with this new environment, which finds the president on the defensive, awaiting further indictments of his associates.

No aspect of this week’s news is more mysterious than the saga of “the Professor”—in reality, Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese national—who served as the hush-hush go-between for the Trump campaign and the Kremlin in the spring of 2016. Notably, he acted as Moscow’s cut-out for contacts with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor hired by the Trump campaign in the late winter of 2016.

Mifsud’s role is crystal-clear to anyone versed in Russian espionage tradecraft, what the Kremlin calls konspiratsiya (yes, “conspiracy”). He is a secret operative of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, as I elaborated:

Papadopoulos met “the Professor” in Italy in mid-March 2016, then again in London later that month; on the latter occasion “the Professor” brought along a Russian female, allegedly Putin’s niece, to help facilitate the engagement. Papadopoulos emailed the campaign about the success of this meeting, which responded enthusiastically about what had transpired and on March 31, he participated in a national security meeting in Washington that included campaign principals, with Trump himself present.

But Misfud’s role soon moved into even darker territory:

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageUSG  

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Today’s Headlines and Commentary 

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In a speech to South Korean lawmakers, President Donald Trump warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un not to underestimate the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a portion of the address directed at Kim, Trump called for Pyongyang to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Heavy fog forced Trump to cancel a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, the New York Times reported.

Trump then headed to China, arriving on Wednesday. He plans to ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to increase economic pressure on Pyongyang, according to the Times. Xi opened Trump’s visit by offering a series of business deals and a private tour of the Forbidden City, but Trump and Xi may struggle to find common ground on both trade and measures against North Korea, the Journal reported.

The Senate banking committee approved a bill that would impose harsh new sanctions on Chinese financial institutions assisting North Korea, Foreign Policy reported. The bipartisan legislation targets companies that help North Korea evade sanctions. Sen. Chris Van Hollen said it would put “some real teeth” in sanctions.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief received assurances from U.S. lawmakers that they plan to comply with the Iran nuclear deal, Reuters reported. Federica Mogherini said congressional officials told her their intention is to keep the U.S. in the agreement.

Russia criticized a U.N. report that labeled the Syrian government as responsible for the April chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, the Times reported. Russia’s representative to the Security Council faulted U.N. investigators for not visiting the site of the attack. The U.S. and the United Kingdom supported the report’s findings. Russia and the U.S. have circulated conflicting resolutions to extend the investigators’ mandate.

Spain’s constitutional court officially struck down Catalonia’s declaration of independence, according toReuters. The move formally ended the autonomous region’s bid for separation from Spain.

Saudi Arabia expanded its crackdown on political corruption, targeting up to $800 billion of assets belonging to dozens of princes and businessmen, the Journal reported. The anti-corruption push has frozen the accounts of political opponents of the crown prince. Their seized assets may bring in billions to the Saudi government. Separately, Saudi airstrikes killed dozens of civilians in northern Yemen, including women and children, Al Jazeera reported. The strikes targeted Houthi rebel group villages.

Lebanon’s prime minister remained in Saudi Arabia, prolonging a political crisis in Beirut, the Journal reported. Saadi Hariri said he resigned his post on Sunday in Riyadh, but Lebanon’s president said he would not accept the resignation until Hariri returns freely to Beirut. Hariri visited the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday but then returned to Saudi Arabia. The leader of Hezbollah, one of Hariri’s political opponents, said he believed Saudi Arabia was holding Hariri against his will.

The Philippines halted construction on a small island in the South China Sea to avoid angering China,the Times reported. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered military construction on a sandbar in the Spratly Islands to cease after Chinese officials put pressure on the Philippines to stop its building efforts.

Mike Pompeo, the CIA director, met with a former intelligence official who advocates the unsupported idea that Russian intelligence services did not hack the Democratic National Convention (DNC), the Intercept reported. Pompeo met with William Binney, a former NSA official turned critic, to discuss Binney’s paper arguing that a DNC insider committed the hack, not Russian spies. According to Binney, Pompeo told him Trump urged Pompeo to take the meeting.

Politico’s Cory Bennett wrote about one international accord the Trump administration is keeping: the U.S.-China cyber espionage agreement.

The Times’ Paul Mozer detailed how China uses Facebook to spread propaganda abroad.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein covered the released audio of George Papadopoulos’ July arraignment.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Paul Rosenzweig flagged the American Bar Association’s newly released cybersecurity handbook for lawyers.

J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker, covering the power play in Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s aggressive foreign policy moves.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Adam Twardowski and Benjamin Wittes analyzed survey data on public confidence in the president and the military on specific national security issues.

Sarah Grant summarized military commissions hearings from last Thursday and Friday, covering the habeas petition for Brig. Gen. John Baker.

Tamara Cofman Wittes and Brian Reeves analyzed policy options for reconstructing the newly captured city of Raqqa.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the National Security Law Podcast, covering developments in the Mueller investigation, military commissions news, and the ‘hybrid model’ of detainee interrogation and prosecution.

Vanessa Sauter posted the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion between Benjamin Wittes and Susan Landau on her new book “Listening In.”

 

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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7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. 

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“Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N.  Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable Tuesday November 7th, 2017 at 7:38 PM 1 Share Sound familiar? It does to American citizens who must regularly study these bloody rituals and be left by political … Continue reading “7:43 PM 11/7/2017 – “Mass Shootings Don’t Have to Be Inevitable”, just like the New York Times does not have to pontificate all the time. – M.N. “

4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review 

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4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S.: In my opinion: If you admit as the hypothetical explanatory option the  hostile special intelligence operation nature of the mass killings, and it is impossible not to consider this scenario as an, if not the (in majority of cases) explanation, then all the sociological and … Continue reading “4:28 PM 11/7/2017 – The Root Causes of Mass Shootings in the U.S., in my opinion – M.N. | NYT Shows How Not to Analyze Mass-Shooting Data – National Review”

Download audio: https://av.voanews.com/clips/VEN/2017/11/06/20171106-070000-VEN119-program_hq.mp3

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3:39 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”… 

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Joan Sutherland “Casta diva” from “Norma” 2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such as “Papa-whom?”…November 7, 2017  2:13 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update:  “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas“, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”, such … Continue reading “3:39 PM 11/7/2017 – Interpretation update: “Sutherland Springs Only Happens to Be in Texas”, and it produces a lot of “Joan Sutherlands”…”
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france24english’s YouTube Videos: Video: Trump’s Divided States of America, one year on 

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From: france24english
Duration: 12:51

Subscribe to France 24 now:
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FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
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One year ago, Donald Trump won a surprise victory in the US presidential election, sending shockwaves around the world. Since then, the line has been drawn further in the sand with more and Americans pushed to extremes of either loving President Trump or loathing him. In this special edition of Inside The Amercias, we take a closer look at Trump’s Divided States of America.
Twelve months after his election as president of the United States, the billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump continues to cause controversy, through his tweets, his relations with the media and his divisive policies.
With Donald Trump as US president, many minority groups have gone from being protected under the Obama administration to feeling persecuted. Our reporters Philip Crowther and Sonia Dridi have been to the north-eastern city of Baltimore, where some live in very real fear of what Trump’s years in power could bring.
►► On France24.com: Civil rights in the Trump era: Has the White House abandoned American values?
Also, Genie Godula speaks to Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of independent non-profit publication, the Columbia Journalism Review. He explains why 2017 has been “The Year That Changed Journalism” following Trump’s election.
Meanwhile, in California, Trump voters are finding it increasingly difficult to live in a state that is a Democratic stronghold. They say they have been ostracized, to the point where some of them have actually decided to leave and move to a more conservative state. Our correspondents Valérie Defert, Romain Jany and Haydé FitzPatrick report from Los Angeles.
Finally, we discover a pop-up store with a difference, where two female activists are calling for resistance to Trump through art.
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 france24english’s YouTube Videos

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New York City Marathon features massive security effort after deadly truck attack – Fox News

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Fox News
New York City Marathon features massive security effort after deadly truck attack
Fox News
Despite widespread news reports and images of the trail of bodies left by the truck attack, the cancellation rate has remained about the same, he said. Boston Marathon organizers, working with local, state and federal law enforcement, also 
Over 2 Million Turn Out For 2017 TCS New York City Marathon Less Than One Week After Lower Manhattan Terror AttackCBS New York
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New York marathoners undaunted by deadly truck attackReuters
The Week Magazine –WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports | Fort Lauderdale
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Why Trump Should Not End ‘Green Card Lottery’ After the Manhattan Attack – Newsweek

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Newsweek
Why Trump Should Not End ‘Green Card Lottery’ After the Manhattan Attack
Newsweek
… little chance of a gain in safety. 11_07_Manhattan_Truck Emergency personnel respond after a man driving a rental truck struck and killed eight people on a jogging and bike path in lowerManhattan on October 31 in New York City. Kena Betancur/Getty …
Author: Manhattan truck jihadist part of a stealth invasionWND.com
Diversity-Visa Lottery Is a Jackpot for Immigrants from Terror StatesNational Reviewall 64 news articles »

Trump’s YouTube Videos: Trump Travels to Asia as Russia Probe Escalates: A Closer Look 

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From: Trump
Duration: 11:39

Seth takes a closer look at how Trump can’t seem to escape the escalating Russia investigation, even when he is abroad in Asia.
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Trump Travels to Asia as Russia Probe Escalates: A Closer Look- Late Night with Seth Meyers
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 Trump’s YouTube Videos

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Voice of America: Kremlin: Putin, Trump Likely to Meet in Vietnam 

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United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely meet later this week on the sidelines of an economic summit in Vietnam, The Kremlin said Wednesday. Yuri Ushakov, a Putin foreign affairs advisor, said “there are things to discuss and we are ready for it.” He said the two leaders will meet between sessions at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum that begins Friday in Danang, Vietnam. He also said Trump and Putin may hold a more “extensive” one-on-one meeting at some point, but no specific date has been set. Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Russian news agency RIA if the two leaders do meet there is a “great probability” they would discuss the situation in North Korea. Peskov, though, said there is currently no cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on North Korea. Trump is currently in China, where he is making his first visit as U.S. president. Just prior to arriving in Beijing Wednesday, Trump gave a speech in front of South Korea’s National Assembly, in which he called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up all his nuclear weapons for a chance to step on to “a better path.” Trump warned the North, “Do not underestimate us and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity and our sacred liberty.”

 Voice of America

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The Early Edition: November 8, 2017 

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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.

TRUMP ASIA TRIP

“Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” President Trump said in a speech to the South Korean National Assembly today about the threat posed by North Korea, warning Pyongyang of the consequences of failing to halt its ballistic and nuclear weapons programs, but saying that “we will offer a path to a much better future.” Michael C. Bender reports at the Wall Street Journal.

“The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer; they are putting your regime in grave danger,” Trump also said about the Pyongyang regime, his speech taking a less belligerent line than his previous threats and taunts of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but still emphasizing that the U.S. would tackle the “rogue regime.” Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Mark Landler and Choe Sang-Hun report at the New York Times.

“To those nations that choose to ignore this threat or, worse still, to enable it, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience,” Trump said yesterday in an implicit warning to China and Russia about their approach to North Korea. Henry C. Jackson reports at POLITICO.

“We don’t care about what that mad dog may utter because we’ve already heard enough,” North Korean officials said about Trump today, responding to his speech to the South Korean Assembly. Will Ripley and Joshua Berlinger report at CNN.

Russia has never supported a complete embargo on North Korea and U.S. attempts to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula through sanctions is extremely alarming, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said today according to the R.I.A. news agency, Ryabkov adding that the crisis would be raised during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump this week. Reuters reporting.

The Senate Banking Committee yesterday approved new legislation to aid the Treasury Department in enforcing sanctions against Chinese banks that knowingly deal with North Korea, taking the steps following a similar bill that was passed in the House. Ian Talley reports at the Wall Street Journal.

Heavy fog prevented Trump from making a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone (D.M.Z.) between North and South Korea this morning, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in had supported Trump in his decision to go to the D.M.Z. according to a spokesperson for South Korea’s presidential Blue House, and Trump had tried his best to make the trip. Michael C. Bender and Jonathan Cheng report at the Wall Street Journal.

The President and White House officials were frustrated by the fact that they could not visit the D.M.Z., Julie Hirschfield Davis provides an insight at the New York Times as a reporter meant to accompany the President on his trip.

Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping today and seek the help of Beijing to exert further pressure on North Korea, however there is concern that Trump would make trade concessions to China in order to achieve his aims. Mark Landler and Jane Perlez report at the New York Times.

Trump will dine in China’s Forbidden City tonight, an honor that has not been granted to any U.S. President since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, demonstrating the efforts Beijing has been going through to impress Trump and use flattery to their advantage. James Griffiths reports at CNN.

Live updates of Trump’s Asia trip, his attempts to pressure North Korea, and today’s meeting with Xi are provided by James Griffiths and Veronica Rocha at CNN.

Trump’s meeting with Xi comes at a time when Xi’s position has been strengthened and Trump has been undermined by a series of domestic troubles. The meetings will focus on North Korea and trade and investment, which will have broader implications for U.S. interests in Asia and regional dynamics, Michael C. Bender, Jeremy Page and Eva Dou explain at the Wall Street Journal.

Trump is expected to still tweet during his visit to China despite the strict rules over internet use and censorship of online platforms, David Nakamura explains at the Washington Post.

Trump’s repeated reference to the “Indo-Pacific” region during his Asia trip suggest a push toward a new dynamic that attempts to mitigate China’s influence and promote India as a key counterweight to Beijing. Louis Nelson explains at POLITICO.

North Korean officials have signaled that they would be open to the possibility of discussions and Pyongyang’s weapons program has been motivated by fears of regime-change; within this context, the potential for dialogue should be explored through “talks about talks” without preconditions instead of escalating rhetoric against North Korea. Suzanne DiMaggio and Joel S. Wit write at the New York Times.

President Moon’s recent actions “suggest he is an unreliable friend” to the U.S.: he has favored appeasing Kim Jong-un, has caved into pressure from Beijing in relation to the U.S.-made T.H.A.A.D. anti-missile defense system, and has agreed not to join the U.S.’s regional missile-defense system, showing that Moon’s so-called “balanced diplomacy” is to the detriment of South Korea and U.S. security interests. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes.

YEMEN

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman yesterday blamed Iran for providing Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a ballistic missile that was fired toward the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthis in violation of two U.N. resolutions, calling on the U.N. and international partners to “hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations.” Al Jazeera reports.

The White House condemned the missile attack against Saudi Arabia by the Houthi rebels in a statement yesterday, saying that “these missile systems were not present in Yemen before the conflict” and calling on the U.N. to investigate Iran’s role in “perpetuating the war in Yemen to advance its regional ambitions.” Reuters reports.

Saudi-led coalition air strikes killed at least 30 Yemeni civilians yesterday in the Houthi rebel-controlled northern province of Hajjah, according to activists and local media, the claims have not been independently verified. Al Jazeera reports.

The Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of Yemen’s air, sea and land ports “is threatening millions of people and should be lifted immediately,” the U.N. said yesterday, referring to a reported decision by Saudi Arabia at the weekend and warning that the measures would have an impact on the already dire humanitarian situation in the country. The U.N. News Centre reports.

The Houthi rebels have offered sanctuary to “any member of the Al Saud family or any Saudi national that wants to flee oppression and persecution,” an anonymous source close to the Houthi leadership said yesterday, referring to Saudi Arabia’s recent anti-corruption purge. Faisal Edroos reports at Al Jazeera.

SAUDI-IRAN RIVALRY

“Why are you interfering with Lebanon’s internal affairs and governance?” the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said today on his website, criticizing Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saturday from the Saudi capital of Riyadh, also pledging that Iran would support stability in Lebanon. Sarah El Deeb reports at the AP.

The E.U. and U.S. have expressed backing for the Lebanese government, taking a different line to Saudi Arabia which said that the Lebanese government now acts as a cover for the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group. Tom Perry reports at Reuters.

The decision of the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign suggests that Saudi Arabia and Iran are in a struggle for influence in Lebanon and engaged in regional power play. Hariri was a key ally of Saudi Arabia and accused Iran and Hezbollah of causing chaos in his resignation speech, while Iran has been supporting Hezbollah, who have gained significant influence within Lebanon. Linah Alsaafin and Farah Najjar explain at Al Jazeera.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been taking bold steps to confront Iran’s expansionism, and his actions have consequences across the Middle East, possibly leading to more proxy battles, a struggle for influence over Lebanon and Syria, and changing dynamics as a consequence of the Saudi-led diplomatic isolation of Qatar. Aya Batrawy and Lee Keith explain at the AP.

An explanation of the recent escalation of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia is provided by Al Jazeera.

The recent events in Saudi Arabia amount to a “slow-motion coup” consolidating the power of bin Salman, who has opened a new front against Iran, has a “misguided foreign policy,” and has the potential to disrupt the internal politics of Lebanon. The Guardian editorial board writes.

Saudi Arabia has been taking an aggressive approach in the region, due to fears that Hezbollah and Iran have been gaining the advantage in light of the dwindling war in Syria and the impending post-Islamic State group era, the approach causing concern among diplomats that the changing dynamics in the region would lead to the Saudis pushing Israel to attack Lebanon as Hezbollah is deemed to hold the real power in the Beirut. Erika Solomon observes at the Financial Times.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel are united in their desire to halt Iran’s expansionism, it is possible that Bin Salman, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been planning to confront Iran in one shape or form. Dov Zakheim writes at Foreign Policy.

Saudi Arabia has been in need of a “shake-up,” but where will Bin Salman’s reforms and autocratic impulses lead to? Thomas L. Friedman provides an analysis at the New York Times, suggesting that a new basis for Saudi society would replace “Wahhabism as a source of solidarity with a more secular Saudi nationalism, one that has anti-Iran/Persian Shiite tenor” – a strategy that is fraught with risk.

Bin Salman’s reforms are making him a lot of enemies, including Saudi Arabia’s old guard, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Frida Ghitis writes at CNN.

SYRIA

Russia yesterday denounced the report by the U.N. panel investigating chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including the investigation into attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in April which was blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Russian deputy ambassador to the U.N. saying that the report submitted by the panel in October was riddled with “systemic deficiencies.” Rick Gladstone reports at the New York Times.

The dispute over the report raises doubts about the possibility of the U.N. panel investigating the chemical weapons attacks having its mandate renewed, the mandate expires on Nov. 14 and the U.S. and Russia have circulated rival resolutions extending the panel’s work. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.

“Turkey today is a colonizer country, its forces on our soil are illegal, just as the American forces are on our soil illegally,” a top adviser to Assad said yesterday, adding that Syria would “deal with this issue.” Reuters reports.

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. U.S. and coalition forces carried out four airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on November 3. Separately, partner forces conducted two strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

Democratic lawmakers have been demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appear before committees to clarify their testimonies on connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Andrew Desiderio reports at The Daily Beast.

The E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said yesterday that she had received “clear indications” that U.S. lawmakers plan to ensure the U.S. complies with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Arshad Mohammed reporting at Reuters.

A guide to the U.S.S. Cole trial being heard at Guantánamo Bay is provided by the Miami Herald.

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost $5.6tn since they began in 2001, according a study by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, marking a figure three times higher than the Pentagon’s own estimates. Gordon Lubold reports at the Wall Street Journal.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte intends to ask China about its plans in the disputed South China Sea during meetings in Vietnam, Duterte said today. Manuel Mogato reports at Reuters.

The F.B.I. has been unlock the phone of the gunman who fired on churchgoers in Texas on Sunday, with Special Agent Christopher Coombs telling reporters that their difficulty accessing information highlights the issues surrounding encryption. Morgan Chalfant reports at the Hill.

Russia has warned that a reported plan by Ukraine to cut all diplomatic ties between the two countries would further deteriorate relations to the detriment of interests of Ukrainians and Russians. Reutersreports.

N.A.T.O. is planning a major new restricted to its command structures in light of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014, precipitating a shift toward collective defense in Europe. Michael Peel and David Bond report at the Financial Times.

The C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo has been meeting with a source who has pitched “what the intelligence community basically regards as a conspiracy theory,” pointing to the possible politicization of Pompeo’s job with a pro-Trump slant. Aaron Blake writes at the Washington Post.

The U.S. must devise a post-Islamic State strategy for the Middle East that includes a push for regionalism in Syria, long-term U.S. military presence and aid for Iraq, reining in Iran’s influence in Iraqi Kurdistan, compromise on the war in Yemen, encouragement of political and economic reform in other parts of the region, and investment in Jordan. Suzanne Maloney and Michael O’Hanlon write at the Wall Street Journal.

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Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Us vs them: the sinister techniques of ‘Othering’ – and how to avoid them
The Guardian
Ethno-nationalism is on the rise – from the Rohingya people forced out of Myanmar in what many are calling the world’s latest genocide, to neo-Nazis marching through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in an action President Trump pointedly  

mike pompeo – Google Search

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Story image for mike pompeo from Washington Post

Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously …

Washington Post14 hours ago
The Intercept just broke a pretty big story: CIA Director Mike Pompeo reportedly met with the purveyor of a disputed theory about the internal …
NSA Critic Bill Binney Says Trump Pushed Meeting With CIA’s …
Highly Cited<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>18 hours ago

FBI’s Christopher Combs: Active Shooters on Rise

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The country continues to reel from Sunday’s horrific mass shooting, in which a gunman killed 26 Texas parishioners and injured dozens more. The brutal attack, in which the shooter is reported to have shot multiple crying babies, has been politicized to hell and back, on both sides of the aisle. Common sense gun control. Ban bump stocks. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. It’s just the price of freedom. The real cause is mental illness. We’ve heard it all.

There is one point that cannot be argued, however. These spree killings are on the rise. The number of “active shooter” incidents have skyrocketed in the past two decades. America in the year 2000 was plagued by just one shooter that deliberately sought out populated areas. 2015? 20 shooters. That’s one horrifying episode every 18 days. 2017 is set to be the deadliest year in our history, with 114 confirmed deaths so far. Las Vegas was just over a month ago.

So, yeah. This is who we are now. Every few weeks someone gets ahold of some guns and kills a bunch of people. That’s just the way of things.

You know who else agrees that active shooting incidents have become part of our national identity? The FBI.

Christopher Combs, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation, took part in a Texas press conference today and told reporters that the numbers of active shooters are “on the rise.”

Combs also acknowledged that this isn’t going to change anytime soon, and he suggested that every American needs to prepare themselves for the eventuality that they may become involved in one of these massacres.

“I think everybody, no matter where you are, needs to think about this,” he said. “If you’re in a school, if you go to college, if you’re at the movies, we should all be thinking about ‘what are we gonna do if a crisis breaks out right here?’”

The FBI special agent went on to sadly propose that all Americans should learn to protect themselves, to train to become one of those good guys with a gun.

“There are a lot of programs out there. The FBI supports programs. We teach law enforcement. There’s private community programs out there,” he said.

“I think we ought to think very hard about this and make sure that we are prepared.”

Additionally, ATF officials noted at the same press conference that the shooter’s rifle appears to be a semiautomatic but has yet to be test-fired.

Past as prologue, we’ll continue this discussion in approximately three weeks. See you guys then, if you make it.

[Image via screengrab]

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FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves – Mediaite

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Mediaite
FBI Official: Active Shooter Numbers ‘On the Rise’ and Americans Need to ‘Prepare’ Themselves
Mediaite
The brutal attack, in which the shooter is reported to have shot multiple crying babies, has beenpoliticized to hell and back, on both sides of the aisle. Common sense gun control. Ban bump stocks. Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. It’s and more »

The real question behind the Mueller indictments is unprecedented in US history – The Telegraph

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USA TODAY
The real question behind the Mueller indictments is unprecedented in US history
The Telegraph
Trump’s urging of a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton is meant to divert attention. But the accusations against Clinton, recklessness with regard to the handling of email, are far less serious crimes than what Mueller has charged and is 
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The Atlantic –Newsweek –The Intercept
all 1,852 news articles »

Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously pro-Trump — things – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump’s CIA director keeps doing controversial — and suspiciously pro-Trump — things
Washington Post
The implications here are pretty big: A U.S. president telling his own CIA director to meet with someone pitching what the intelligence community basically regards as a conspiracy theory. Theintelligence community’s report on Russian interference 
CIA Director Met Advocate of Disputed DNC Hack Theory — at Trump’s RequestThe Intercept
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NSA Critic Bill Binney Says Trump Pushed Meeting With CIA’s PompeoNBCNews.com
Mother Jones –Daily Beast
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How the KGB birthed the JFK assassination conspiracy industry – WND.com

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WND.com
How the KGB birthed the JFK assassination conspiracy industry
WND.com
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West, who currently lives under deep cover in the U.S. as a proud American citizen. In 1988 Gen. Pacepa published “Red … the Kremlin’s “science and more »

Exclusive: Russia Activated Twitter Sleeper Cells for Election Day Blitz – Daily Beast

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Daily Beast
Exclusive: Russia Activated Twitter Sleeper Cells for Election Day Blitz
Daily Beast
In its final, climactic push for Donald Trump, the Kremlin’s troll army enlisted new members: semi-dormant propaganda accounts created as far back as 2009. Kevin Poulsen. 11.07.17 7:30 PM ET. exclusive. Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast.
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Explosive FBI report on Martin Luther King Jr. among documents in JFK files – WDBJ7

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WDBJ7
Explosive FBI report on Martin Luther King Jr. among documents in JFK files
WDBJ7
WASHINGTON (CBS) — The FBI prepared a secret 20-page analysis of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. containing explosive allegations about King’s political ties and sexual activity, just a month before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Fresh JFK assassination files show FBI keeping close watch on civil rights, anti-war movementsThe Keene Sentinel
JFK files reveal Oswald CIA links ‘unfounded,’ FBI studied Martin Luther King’s sex lifeRTall 120 news articles »

The FBI has confirmed the motive behind the assault on Sen. Rand Paul – TheBlaze.com

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TheBlaze.com
The FBI has confirmed the motive behind the assault on Sen. Rand Paul
TheBlaze.com
According to local Kentucky news station WNKY-TV, the FBI launched an investigation into the attack shortly after it happened. They believe the attack, which occurred Friday afternoon, was politically motivated. The Daily Caller revealed Saturday and more »

Sen. Rand Paul had trouble breathing after assault; FBI involved in probe – Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times
Sen. Rand Paul had trouble breathing after assault; FBI involved in probe
Los Angeles Times
In June, when Sen. Rand Paul was with congressional colleagues near Washington, practicing his baseball swing, he escaped injury when a gunman opened fire. On Friday, when Paul was mowing the lawn of his Bowling Green home, he wasn’t as lucky, …
Politically motivated? FBI investigating attack on Rand PaulHot Airall 119 news articles »

Why some attacks are labeled ‘terrorism’ while others are not – wreg.com

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wreg.com
Why some attacks are labeled ‘terrorism’ while others are not
wreg.com
“There is not a domestic terrorism crime as such,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Senate hearing in September. “We in the FBI refer to domestic terrorism as a category but it’s more of a way in which we allocate which agents, which squad is and more »

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